Archive | January 28th, 2020

CIA Official ‘Behind Soleimani’s Assassination’ Killed in Downed Plane in Afghanistan?

By Middle East Monitor

Global Research,

The following report by Middle East Monitor remains to be fully corroborated.

***

Russian intelligence sources have claimed that Michael D’Andrea, head of CIA operations in Iran and who orchestrated the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US spy plane downed yesterday in Ghazni, Afghanistan.

The plane with US Air Force markings reportedly served as the CIA’s mobile command for D’Andrea, who earnt several nicknames including: Ayatollah Mike, the Dark Prince, and the Undertaker. He is one of the most prominent CIA figures in the region, appointed head of the agency’s Iran Mission Centre in 2017. Under his leadership, the agency was perceived to take a more “aggressive stance toward Iran”.

The Taliban claimed to have shot down the plane but have yet to provide evidence, whilst the US has denied the claim but has acknowledged the loss of a Bombardier E-11A plane in central Afghanistan. Graphic images online have already circulated purportedly showing some of the charred remains of those on board.

#AlFath
Enemy intelligence aircraft crashed in Sado Khelo area of Deh Yak district #Ghazni noon hours today resulting in all crew & high-ranking CIA members killed.
Wreckage & dead bodies laying at crash site. https://t.co/DL7qwHpcRe

— Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) January 27, 2020

Unconfirmed reports that the CIA head of anti-Iran operations, Michael D’Andrea aka Ayatollah Mike, was on board the plane that crashed near Ghazni, Afghanistan this morning.

D’Andrea also masterminded the murder of Imad Mughniyeh, former Hezbollah Chief of Staff, back in 2008.

— Brasco_Aad (@Brasco_Aad) January 27, 2020Soleimani’s Assassination: An Act of Psychological Warfare

Afghan authorities initially claimed the plane was a state-owned airline, but this was denied by the company, Ariana. Helicopters have been brought down before by the Taliban, but they are not believed to have the capabilities required to bring down a high-flying aircraft.

It has been speculated that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) may also have a hand in the incident, especially as anti-aircraft support has previously been given to the Taliban. Additionally, the Afghan Shia Fatimyoun Brigades, who are trained by the IRGC, also have a presence in the country.

CIA Middle East chief, Soleimani Killer and Bin Laden Hunter, dead on Jet in Afghanistan. Tasnim and Mirror told after VT
by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio for VT iTaly

VERSIONE ORIGINALE IN ITALIANO
The news is so big that we have to write it running the risk of a denial, … pic.twitter.com/7Da2jmkHug

— VeteransToday (@veteranstoday) January 28, 2020

An exiled Iranian journalist who has written previously for the hard-line Javan daily newspaper suggested the IRGC was involved, tweeting: “The American Gulfstream plane was downed in Afghanistan by the Taliban. They say that intelligence officers were on board. This report has not yet been confirmed, but if it is, it is possible that the issue of Iran will also emerge in this case.”

Another Iranian journalist who writes for Mashregh newspaper, described as having close links to IRGC, tweeted not long after the news broke out: “We will attack them on the same level as they are attacking us.”

Soleimani’s successor as head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, Esmail Qaani, has established ties in Afghanistan going back to the 1980s. Additionally, the chief commander of the IRGC, General Hossein Salamiwarned that no American military commanders will be safe if the US administration continues to threaten Iranian commanders.

D’Andrea, who is reportedly a convert to Islam, doing so in order to marry his Muslim wife, who is from a wealthy family from the Mauritius of Gujarati origins, having met on his first overseas assignment in East Africa, one of the senior directors of her family’s company Curumjee Group, has been speculated to provide cover for CIA operations.

He also oversaw hundreds of drone strikes, which according to The New York Times “killed thousands of Islamist militants and hundreds of civilians”. D’andrea is credited with being the mastermind behind the CIA’s notorious “signature strike” used to kill people based on their behaviour, not identity, subsequently used to determine someone’s guilt or likelihood of being a terrorist.

He was central to the post-9/11 interrogation programme and ran the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Assassinations and torture were central to his approach. He also oversaw the hunt for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and was involved in the assassination of Hezbollah member Imad Mughniyah in Damascus, Syria.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, C.I.A, Iran, Iraq, Middle EastComments Off on CIA Official ‘Behind Soleimani’s Assassination’ Killed in Downed Plane in Afghanistan?

Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis, The Iran-Contra Affair ‘Video’

By Horizons and Bill Moyers

Global Research,

Conspiracy Theory

This was posted on Youtube in 2011.

This is the full length 90 min. version of Bill Moyer’s 1987 scathing critique of the criminal subterfuge carried out by the Executive Branch of the United States Government to carry out operations which are clearly contrary to the wishes and values of the American people.

The ability to exercise this power with impunity is facilitated by the National Security Act of 1947. The thrust of the exposé is the Iran-Contra arms and drug-running operations which flooded the streets of our nation with crack cocaine. The significance of the documentary is probably greater today in 2007 than it was when it was made.

We now have a situation in which these same forces have committed the most egregious terrorist attack on US soil and have declared a fraudulent so-called “War on Terror”. The ruling regime in the US who have conducted the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, are now banging the war drum against Iran.

No One Trusts the US Government, Not Even the American People

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis, The Iran-Contra Affair ‘Video’

Trump, Pence & Pompeo, the Gang of Three, Claim Criminal Theft of Palestinian Land to be Lawful!

By Hans Stehling

Global Research,

As the jumped-up, self-proclaimed, blonde new ruler of the world gives away half the Palestinian West Bank to the current Israeli military occupier, the world watches in amazement at the idea that this unbalanced popinjay – currently facing impeachment – could possibly be elected for a second term.

What on Earth happened to integrity and the rule of law?  What happened to the Geneva Conventions? What happened to the NPT? What has happened to America? How is it possible that the world has to succumb to the unlawful activities of the Gang of Three: Trump, Pence and Pompeo?

The idea that this dangerously out-of-control  triumvirate is allowed to continue to trample on international law by overturning hundreds of years of legal consensus around the world, is a frightening indication of corrupt government and leadership.Trump’s Threat to Dispossess Four Million Palestinians by Violent Annexation of East Jerusalem and West Bank

The activities of the Gang of Three becomes more bizarre every day as they configure both America and the world to their own personal advantage. It is reminiscent of the recent rape of South Africa by the Gupta family.

Who would have believed that after Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan and Obama, the American people would then make the gigantic error of electing a hotel developer with no political experience to run the most powerful state in the world? A man who cannot read and write but is adept at tweeting and philandering.

This political aberration must be dealt with once and for all by the electorate.

Time is now of the essence as the nuclear clock is already now at two minutes to midnight.    These are very dangerous times. The clowns must go otherwise the United States will eventually mirror lame-duck South Africa – a country hugely rich in natural resources but now near to collapse, and that, for America, would be a complete tragedy for the entire world.

Annexation of the Palestinian West Bank is unlawful and a criminal act of the Israeli state in collusion with the Gang of Three in the White House. The international community must condemn and reject such acts of forced colonisation. This is 2020 not 1936.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Trump, Pence & Pompeo, the Gang of Three, Claim Criminal Theft of Palestinian Land to be Lawful!

UN Rejects Trump’s “Deal of the Century”?

By Middle East Monitor

Global Research,

United Nations has rejected US President Donald Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ and reiterated that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be solved based on UN resolutions and international law.

In a statement, a copy of which sent to MEMOStephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, said:

“The position of the United Nations on the two-State solution has been defined, throughout the years, by relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions by which the Secretariat is bound.”

He added:

“The United Nations remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis in resolving the conflict on the basis of United Nations resolutions, international law, and bilateral agreements and realizing the vision of two States – Israel and Palestine – living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.”

It is worth noting that Trump has ignored the two-state solution adopted by the UN and the international community and proposed his own view of the two-state solution, which ignores the 1967 borders and has all of Jerusalem under full Israeli sovereignty.

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Featured image: Trump and Netanyahu’s love affair around Jerusalem and Palestine’s fate – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]Netanyahu Response to Trump’s Advocacy of Two-State Solution: “Palestinians Will Never Have a State”The original source of this article is Middle East MonitorCopyright © Middle East MonitorMiddle East Monitor, 2020

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Trump’s Farcical Mideast “Peace Deal” Ignores International Law. Green Light to Israeli Annexation of Palestine?

Trump Regime’s Criminal “Deal of the Century”: Breaking Palestine, Endorsing “Greater Israel”?

Trump’s “No-Peace/Peace Plan” for Palestine. Netanyahu/Gantz Invited to White House to Discuss “Deal of the Century”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, USA, ZIO-NAZI, UNComments Off on UN Rejects Trump’s “Deal of the Century”?

Don’t be Surprised if Russia Tacitly Supports the Trump-Naziyahu “Deal of the Century”

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research,

Don’t be Surprised if Russia Tacitly Supports the Trump-Netanyahu “Deal of the Century”

Russia’s relations with “Israel” in recent years are much deeper and more strategic than its historic ones with Palestine so it’s unthinkable that Moscow won’t tacitly support the so-called “deal of the century” despite expectedly voicing mild reservations about it in public for the sake of retaining its regional soft power.

Trump finally unveiled his much-touted and over-hyped “deal of the century” on Tuesday, which more or less matches what was previously reported about its contents. In practice, it treats the Palestinians as a conquered people who are forced to perpetually accept “Israel‘s” hegemony seeing as how the latter will retain its existing settlements and continue to functionally exercise dominance over them in almost all matters of life. Palestinian refugees and their descendants also won’t be allowed to return to their original homeland except for the part that the US and “Israel” recognize as constituting their so-called “state”, meaning that they couldn’t in theory democratically overturn the current state of affairs between them and their oppressors if they voted to dismantle the self-professed “Jewish State” and replace it with something more inclusive for example. The American leader portrayed his plan as supposedly being the “only option for peace”, which isn’t surprising since nobody should have expected anything different from the US.

The “deal of the century” is basically an attempt to generate more foreign support for “Israel’s” decades-long occupation of Palestine, “sweetening” the deal with promises of economic aid so as to create the “publicly plausible” pretext for Muslim countries such as those in the GCC to officially support this plan. It’s already an open secret that those aforementioned countries are on excellent terms with “Israel”, especially in regards to coordinating joint regional strategies against their shared Iranian foe, so they’re expected to eventually (if not immediately) use this proposal as their excuse for openly formalizing their relations. The dramatic marketing behind the plan also puts Palestine’s sincere and superficial international supporters alike in a soft power bind since they’ll now be portrayed as supposedly “standing against peace in order to advance their (‘anti-Semitic’) interests” if they don’t go along with it. This is even more so the case since the memory of the 75h anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz which helped “justify” “Israel’s” establishment is still fresh on the world’s mind.

Importantly, Netanyahu will be flying straight from the US to Russia to brief his close friend President Putin about this plan after last meeting him just a week ago at the “Remembering the Holocaust: Fighting Antisemitism” forum in Jerusalem. The Russian leader regularly talks to his “Israeli” counterpart and has met with him over a dozen times in the past several years, which strongly suggests that he’ll at the very least portray his country as “neutral” (which in this context is equivalent to tacitly supporting “Israel”) by predictably reaffirming that “Russia supports peace and will agree to whatever the Palestinians decide upon” following the standard diplomatic protocol of repeating this platitude . It’s unthinkable for Russia to openly endorse the “deal of the century” since a lot of its regional soft power rests in its historical support of the Palestinian cause during the Old Cold War, but it’s also equally unthinkable for it to oppose the deal because of its close ties with “Israel”. In the event of any progress, the Russian government already said it would be a “common success“.

Taking the so-called “middle ground” and presenting itself as the “balancer” in accordance with the role that it’s attempted to play in recent years is therefore the most realistic stance that Russia will take. After all, even in the unlikely event that President Putin thought that his country’s overall interests could best be pursued by vocally opposing the “deal of the century”, Russia won’t take any tangible action to stop it. Moscow won’t curtail (let alone cut off) its ties with Tel Aviv since it didn’t even do so after the September 2018 incident when an “Israeli” jet’s irresponsible mid-air maneuver tricked a Syrian S-200 into accidentally downing a Russian spy plane. Moreover, President Putin has proudly said on more than one occasion that he regards the Soviet-descended population of “Israel” as his own countrymen, even going as far as saying last September that their mass migration there makes “Israel” a “Russian-speaking” country and therefore their two people are now “a true common family”, which is the highest honor that the Russian leader has ever bestowed to anyone abroad.

The author’s following analyses explain the fraternal ties between Russia and “Israel” more at length:

Therefore, from the standpoint of Russia’s state interests, it won’t meaningfully oppose the proposed “deal”.

Contrary to what some “wishful thinkers” in the Alt-Media Community demand, President Putin won’t sanction “Israel” over this latest development no matter how loud his representatives might be in the reservations that they possibly voice about it. Nor, for that matter, will Russia arm the Palestinians so that they can more effectively fight for better “negotiating leverage”, let alone go to war with “Israel” directly. Simply put, modern-day Russia is a status-quo state that only supports gradual changes to the international system, not anything revolutionary like its Soviet predecessor did. In this contemporary context, it’s also vehemently opposed to anything that could de-legitimize “Israel” so it would never support any option that even remotely runs the risk of dismantling it, whether democratically or otherwise, unlike Iran for example which regularly calls for that outcome. Regardless of how one feels about this reality, it should be recognized that Russia and “Israel” are unofficial allies so Moscow is expected to tacitly support Tel Aviv instead of meaningfully oppose it.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, RussiaComments Off on Don’t be Surprised if Russia Tacitly Supports the Trump-Naziyahu “Deal of the Century”

Zionist puppet Trump’s Mideast “Steal of the Century”. Breaking Palestine

By Global Research News

Done Deal: How the “Peace Process” Sold Out the Palestinians

By David Hearst,

In November 2016, fresh off his electoral win, US President-elect Donald Trump boasted of his intention to end the Israel-Palestine conflict by striking what he called the “ultimate deal”.

Calling it “the war that never ends,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal: “As a deal maker, I’d like to do … the deal that can’t be made. And do it for humanity’s sake.”

The ‘Deal of the Century’ Is Apartheid

By Sheena Anne Arackal,

Under President Trump’s newly unveiled peace plan, the Palestinians will be granted limited autonomy within a Palestinian homeland that consists of multiple non-contiguous enclaves scattered throughout the West Bank and Gaza. The government of Israel will retain security control over the Palestinian enclaves and will continue to control Palestinian borders, airspace, aquifers, maritime waters, and electromagnetic spectrum. Israel will be allowed to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish communities in the West Bank. The Palestinians will be allowed to select the leaders of their new homeland but will have no political rights in Israel, the state that actually rules over them.

Macron’s Macro-hypocrisy on Palestine

By Dr. Vacy Vlazna,

As a Frenchman, Macron is an expert on antisemitism, white feathers and collaboration. Under German occupation, the French government capitulated. Rather than fight the Nazis, it signed an armistice on 22 June 1940 with Germany that divided France into occupied and unoccupied zones- the latter referred to as Vichy France though the Vichy regime administered both.

Trump’s Farcical Mideast “Peace Deal” Ignores International Law. Green Light to Israeli Annexation of Palestine?

By CJPME,

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is highly critical of the Mideast Peace Plan announced by US President Donald Trump today – one that CJPME considers preposterous. The plan was done without the participation of the Palestinians, and ignores both international law and international precedent on the conflict. The Plan further entrenches pro-Israel decrees that Trump has made in recent years, including that Jerusalem will be Israel’s “undivided” capital and that Israel will be able to annex major illegal Israeli colonies in the occupied West Bank. Given that the Plan virtually ignores Palestinian interests, CJPME considers it useless in terms of resolving decades of violent conflict.

Trump Regime’s Criminal “Deal of the Century”: Breaking Palestine, Endorsing “Greater Israel”?

By Stephen Lendman,

Edward Said minced no words denouncing what he called “the fashion-show vulgarities of the White House ceremony, the degrading spectacle of Yasser Arafat thanking everyone for the suspension of most of his people’s rights, and the fatuous solemnity of Bill Clinton’s performance, like a 20th century Roman emperor shepherding two vassal kings through rituals of reconciliation and obeisance, (and) the truly astonishing proportions of the Palestinian capitulation.”

Palestinian Rejection: End of Oslo Peace Process and the Trump-Netanyahu Apartheid “Steal of the Century”

By Juan Cole,

The Palestinian leadership has entirely rejected what is known of the Trump plan for Israel and Palestine, and warned that they see it as destroying the Oslo Peace accords. The Trump administration did not consult the Palestinians in drawing up the plan, which gives away East Jerusalem and 30% of the Palestinian West Bank to Israel. The Palestinians may as well, Palestine foreign minister Saeb Erekat said, just withdraw from the 1995 Interim Agreement on Oslo.

European Jewish Congress (EJC) Launches Campaign Against ‘Antisemitism’ (Aka Support for Palestinian Rights)

By Alison Weir, January 24, 2020

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) has announced the launch of a worldwide, star studded social media campaign against what it calls “antisemitism,” but which is often advocacy for Palestinian human rights and opposition to Israeli apartheid. EJC is the regional affiliate of the World Jewish Congress, one of whose main missions is to advocate for Israel.

Can you help us keep up the work we do? Namely, bring you the important news overlooked or censored by the mainstream media and fight the corporate and government propaganda, the purpose of which is, more than ever, to “fabricate consent” and advocate war for profit.

We thank all the readers who have contributed to our work by making donations or becoming members.

If you have the means to make a small or substantial donation to contribute to our fight for truth, peace and justice around the world, your gesture would be much appreciated.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Zionist puppet Trump’s Mideast “Steal of the Century”. Breaking Palestine

Buried in Trump-Netanyahu Deal Is Effort to ‘Torpedo’ ICC War Crimes Probe

The plan announced Tuesday by the White House demands Palestinians “dismiss all pending actions” before the International Criminal Court.

by: Andrea Germanos,

A fireball exploding in Gaza City during Israeli bombardment on July 20, 2018.

A fireball exploding in Gaza City during Israeli bombardment on July 20, 2018. (Photo: Bashar Taleb/AFP via Getty Images)

As the International Criminal Court moved forward this week with its investigation into alleged war crimes committed against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, the White House’s new so-called “peace” plan includes a largely unreported provision that would end such efforts to hold the Israeli government to account.

The document, released Tuesday, was widely criticized as a “screw the Palestinians over harder non-peace plan” that lets Israel continue its illegal occupation and a “ludicrous” proposal that offers no path towards Palestinian statehood.

The plan’s architect, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House advisor Jared Kushner, suggested Palestinians “take a cold shower” and accept it lest they “screw up,” he said, like with “every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”

A portion of the document states that “the parties should conduct themselves in a manner that comports with this vision, and in a way that prepares their respective peoples for peace.” For the Palestinians, that means victims of war crimes should keep quiet.

The plan states, in part, that Palestinians must take “no action, and shall dismiss all pending actions, against the State of Israel, the United States, and any of their citizens before the International Criminal Court” and other tribunals.

A portion of the White House's "Peace to Prosperity" plan released Jan. 28, 2020.

The provision drew criticism from Amnesty International.

“A just and sustainable peace requires a plan that prioritizes the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis, and must include justice and reparation for victims of war crimes and other grave violations. This plan not only fails this fundamental test; it seeks to torpedo efforts towards justice for both Palestinians and Israelis that are currently under way,” said Philip Luther, the organization’s Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director.

Netanyahu, who was indicted Tuesday on corruption charges and stood alongside Trump as he released the plan, reiterated his condemnation of the ICC this week.

In an interview set to air Thursday with Christian network TBN, he called on global powers to sanction the court over the probe.

“The U.S. government, under President Trump, has spoken forcefully against the ICC for this travesty, and I urge all your viewers to do the same. To ask for concrete actions, sanction against the international court, its officials, prosecutors, everyone,” he said, according to an excerpt of the interview released by the Israeli government.

The internation court, he continued, is “basically in a full-frontal attack on the democracies, both on the democracies’ right to defend themselves, and on Israel’s right, the Jewish people’s right, to live in their ancestral homeland, the Land of Israel.”

Michael Lynk, the U.N. special rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, has a different perspective. In December, Lynk praised the possibility of justice the investigation could bring. 

“Over the years, the international community has adopted hundreds of resolutions through the United Nations condemning various features of Israel’s entrenched occupation of the Palestinian territory. Yet rarely has it ever combined criticism with consequences for Israel,” he said. “Now, the possibility of accountability is finally on the horizon.”

Trump has bristled at the possibility of the probe into alleged Israeli wrongdoing as well.

In a statement last April celebrating his administration’s successful intimidation campaign to stop an ICC investigation into alleged war crimes the U.S. committed in Afghanistan, Trump said, “Any attempt to target American, Israeli, or allied personnel for prosecution will be met with a swift and vigorous response.”

Despite U.S. and Israeli objections to the ICC probe into war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza, the effort—at least at this point—continues to advance.

The ICC announced Tuesday that it set a March 16 deadline for Israel, Palestine, and alleged victims to submit documents to the court.

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in December that “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine” as she was “satisfied that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip,” and “there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights, UNComments Off on Buried in Trump-Netanyahu Deal Is Effort to ‘Torpedo’ ICC War Crimes Probe

The End of American Exceptionalism? Study Indicates Failure of US Democracy Creating Wave of Self Doubt

A new study shows that less than half of all Americans are satisfied with the nation’s democratic system.

by: Eoin Higgins,

Nearly 75% of Americans are dissatisfied with U.S. democracy, a new study has found.

Nearly 75% of Americans are dissatisfied with U.S. democracy, a new study has found. (Photo: Shutterstock)

More Americans are dissatisfied with democracy than at any point since records began in 1995, according to a new study published Wednesday, and the number of citizens with a positive view of the U.S. system of government dipped for the first time below 50%. 

To observers like journalist Rania Khalek, the reason for such a shift in global attitudes was clear.

“Our systems aren’t actually democratic,” said Khalek. “We live in a miserable oligarchy, no wonder people are unhappy.”

A majority of people around the world—57.5%—are dissatisfied with democracy, the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Future of Democracy study (pdf) found. 

“If confidence in democracy has been slipping, it is because democratic institutions have been seen failing to address some of the major crises of our era, from economic crashes to the threat of global warming,” said study lead author Dr Roberto Foa.

According to the study, Americans’ dissatisfaction with democracy has been on the rise since the financial crisis of 2008:

The U.S. has seen a “dramatic and unexpected” decline in satisfaction, according to researchers. In 1995, more than three-quarters of US citizens were satisfied with American democracy, a figure that plateaued for the next decade. The first big knock came with the 2008 financial crisis, and deterioration has continued year-on-year ever since. Now, less than half of US citizens are content with their democracy.

“Such levels of democratic dissatisfaction would not be unusual elsewhere,” said Foa. “But for the United States it may mark an end of exceptionalism, and a profound shift in America’s view of itself.”

More broadly, Foa said, the dissatisfaction should be seen in the context of rational actors replying in a logical fashion to the questions posed by researchers. If the systems fail, they don’t deserve the people’s faith.

“Our findings suggest that citizens are rational in their view of political institutions,” said Foa, “and update their assessment in response to what they observe.”

Posted in USAComments Off on The End of American Exceptionalism? Study Indicates Failure of US Democracy Creating Wave of Self Doubt

Venezuela, January 2020: Hardship and Resistance

by PETER LACKOWSKi

Illustration by Nathaniel St. Clair

This January I went to Venezuela with a group of North Americans to see for ourselves how economic “sanctions” are affecting people’s access to food. We wondered how the Venezuelan popular classes are responding to the massive attack on their economic well-being.

We saw a complicated scene, with virtually every kind of productive activity crippled in many ways, some not so obvious on the surface. Nevertheless, people have had time to adjust to the situation; they have been creative, energetic, and determined. Communes are growing, the government is surviving, and “It’s not as bad as it was in 2017” was a common refrain. These are some of the stories we heard as we met people working to achieve food sovereignty for their country.

The biggest problem, getting adequate food to the majority of people, is the same as it is all around the world: food production and distribution is still done mostly through a capitalist system. Venezuela is governed by a socialist party which has socialism as its goal. But the capitalist sector controls an estimated 80% of the economy; the government’s share is mostly in oil and some heavy industry. Stores and restaurants are well stocked with food, but the price is too high for most people to easily afford. Up to last year there was a system by which the government controlled the prices that merchants could charge, selling dollars at a discount to importers, in order to make low retail prices possible. Massive corruption on the part of the importers and others made that system unsustainable, and once the economic war ramped up it collapsed, since the government bank had no more dollars to sell.

The government’s response was to set up an alternative system to eliminate at least some of the middlemen whose scarcity-based profits were making food unaffordable.

Food is acquired in quantity by the government, and packages of basic things like rice, lentils, beans, tuna, cooking oil, pasta, corn flour, sugar and milk are assembled. These are distributed through committees set up by communal councils, which are made up of about 200 households in a neighborhood (fewer in rural areas.) Recipients pay a nominal price of about 50 cents. This system is called CLAP (Committees for Local Supply and Production).

We encountered places where packages don’t come regularly, some not at all, and at times certain items are missing. We were told that Mérida and Zulia in the west are examples of places experiencing serious hunger. Nevertheless, CLAP has saved many lives; about 6 million households depend on it, 60% of the population.

The Bolivarian volunteer militia has been put in charge of distribution of the food, but the government still has to rely on commercial channels to obtain the products. The US strategy of economic war includes making it nearly impossible for Venezuela to do business with the capitalist world. Big Venezuelan corporations like Polar control much of the food business. These are serious obstacles, but the program continues.

Schools, factories, universities and other institutions have facilities that provide meals. Many communes operate a system to feed people. Our group visited one far up a steep hillside in Caracas, Altos de Lídice. In areas of elevated poverty and malnutrition casas de alimentación—food housesare established. Householders are found who are willing to run a facility that can provide cooked meals for up to 200 people. The government provides funds to upgrade their kitchen with appropriate equipment. Food is supplied partly by the government and partly by the commune, and the team of cooks are paid for their work.

The commune has the responsibility of running these kitchens, including strict accounting: the books are open to the community, to eliminate corruption. This transparency is fundamental to all communal enterprises. In Altos de Lídice we saw their pharmacy, a sewing business, and other productive projects. Community members participate in keeping the books as well as doing the work.

Eliminating the profits that capitalist intermediaries in the food chain extract is a big part of the solution. There are farmers’ markets, direct links between rural and urban communities, and arrangements by which consumers advance money to farmers to provide them with the capital they need (similar to CSA’s—community supported agriculture—in the US.) But many of the most productive agricultural areas are far from urban centers.

Spare parts for trucks and cars are often impossible to obtain, and many are out of commission. Altos de Lídice is one of many communities that have had to deal with a shortage of trash compacting trucks. Chemicals essential in refining crude oil into gasoline are no longer available from the US, which has led to a fuel shortage. These things make transportation a serious problem in the food supply. Many farmers who would prefer to sell their products directly to consumers have no option; they have to sell them to merchants.

Soon after Chávez became president, trawling by giant factory ships was banned within Venezuelan waters. The ecology of the sea floor was no longer disrupted, and fish became more abundant. They are now harvested from open boats. But replacement parts for outboard motors are also unobtainable due to the blockade. Boats from Choroní and Chuao, which we visited in the central part of the country, have managed to actually increase their catches nevertheless, since they have begun to use technology that enables them to locate schools of fish in the depths. Those along other parts of the coast do not have the devices yet. Again, trucks are also needed to get fish to consumers. And these trucks need refrigeration, which may need repairs. Many of our appliances are built so we can’t fix them. Venezuelans can’t fix them either, but they can’t buy a new one.

Seeds are another bottleneck. The imported seeds that Venezuelan farmers have relied upon are no longer available. We visited farms in Yaracuy, for example, that could not use all of their land for lack of seeds. Even people of the very urban Altos de Lidice commune in Caracas were very eager to get a share of the seeds that I brought along in my luggage. They have terraced a hillside too steep to have been built on, and they have been growing corn and other things. Now that they have seeds for things like beets and carrots they can let some plants go to seed and create a seed bank.

To learn more about the Venezuelan government’s views on food production we interviewed Diana Castillo, Office Director of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Miguel Ángel Nuñez, an activist/scientist who has been a leader in the struggle to establish agro-ecological, organic, non-GMO practices in Venezuela.

They outlined a radical departure from agricultural policies of the past. Nuñez spoke of a science/peasant alliance, respecting the way peasants live on their land, the knowledge of plant and soil ecology that is implicit in their practice. The garden that a peasant family lives from, a conuco in Venezuela, a milpa in Mexico, is a sustainable form of production, a model for a new kind of agricultural production. The Ministry is focusing on seeds as a key component in a comprehensive program to use ecological methods to build soils, control pests, and improve production.

One notable achievement of this approach has been the development of potatoes adapted to local conditions. Centers to provide certified seed potatoes have been established in 24 locations in the Andean state of Merida, and 21 in other states across the country.

Science and Technology has to work with other ministries to deal with security, in every sense of the word. One of their concerns is contamination: genes from GMO plants getting into the seed banks, imports contaminated with plant or animal diseases, organisms that damage the soil. The heritage varieties and the biodiversity of Venezuela is an asset that needs to be protected. There are political threats, too. Guaidó’s people have already drawn up a law to bring in transgenic seeds. Land reform would be reversed and monoculture encouraged by the neocolonial government the US is attempting to re-establish.

Land reform began in earnest with Chávez’s election, but it has been a bitter, continuing struggle. We visited a farm in Yaracuy run by a collective of 15 to 20 families. Its ten hectares had been part of a larger parcel, which was not producing food, and thus was subject to redistribution according to the land reform law. It took years before their legal right to farm the land was recognized, while they suffered attacks of vandalism and an attempted assassination. They expect that the former landowner will try to drive them off if there is a change in government.

The farmers told us their tactics have always been non-violent; they have gained support by showing how much food they can generate. But they are determined to defend what they have created. They pointed out that after the coup in Bolivia the Venezuelan government distributed weapons to units of the volunteer militia. The farmers said their fellow campesinos consider the changes brought by land reform to be irreversible. They are prepared to take to the hills to defend what they have achieved.

A recent census found that 51% of Venezuelans self-identify as Afro-descendants, many of whom are concentrated in certain areas, such as Veroes, a town centered around a sugar refinery in Yaracuy. The mayor of Veroes and others spoke to us, starting with all the reasons they have benefited from the Bolivarian process, summed up by referring to the enormous “social debt” that had been paid. As to the current situation: “We have been cimarrones for centuries,” aluding to Veroes’s history as a self-governing community of people who escaped from slavery and fiercely defended their freedom. The refinery was running under capacity due to lack of fertilizer and farm machinery parts needed to grow sugar cane. They were able to get seed, but certain acids needed in refining were lacking. They are moving forward by diversifying; we saw rice paddies in various stages of growth.

The refinery is “social property,” with an integral relationship to the town. When we arrived we saw young people training in a field facing the office building. We were told that the area produces sugar, tobacco, coffee, and baseball players. Right now there are seven players in the Major Leagues who started in the town’s program. Big league players would come back to coach the kids in off seasons. They can’t now, due to “sanctions.”

Many campesinos have turned to sophisticated organic methods to replace imported fertilizers. At another farm we were told about power surges during the cyber-sabotage that caused massive blackouts last spring. The surges destroyed essential refrigeration and air conditioning equipment in the laboratory where these micro-organisms are cultured. Electronic devices throughout the country were affected, another less obvious consequence of the covert war against Venezuela’s ability to produce food.

The United States has frozen the assets of countless Venezuelan officials, declaring them to be engaged in corruption, drug trafficking, etc. Superficially, this tactic seems to affect only the individuals involved. But in reality it is another way to attack the livelihood of everyone in the country. If the US designates an official as “corrupt,” then any transactions that they engage in automatically become suspect, even if the accusation is not true. A company doing business with that official’s enterprise or ministry risks prosecution or penalties for dealing with someone the US has designated a “criminal.” This intimidation is another way of economically isolating Venezuela for resisting imperial domination. It hurts the individuals named, and its effects are felt in countless everyday problems for the popular classes who depend on officials being able to do their jobs.

El Hatillo is one of the five municipalities that make up greater Caracas. Its small but charming Plaza Bolívar is surrounded by stores and restaurants catering to tourists and prosperous Venezuelans. The municipality also encompasses a rural area of steep hills and deep valleys, with small growers who can take advantage of the relative proximity of the city. We visited some families with members who are professors, students, or recent graduates of the University of Simón Bolívar, one of the most prestigious in the country. But inflation has reduced the value of their salaries, and they need another source of income.

These were Chávistas, all engaged in agricultural production that they take to a farmers’ market—a wine maker fermenting berries, growers of cassaba who also make bread and flavored crackers from the nutritious root, and growers of herbs who offer advice on their medicinal uses. There is no commune in their area; their neighbors are too diverse politically and socially. They are professionals who are solidly on board with the Bolivarian revolution, producing for the people-to-people economy.

Chavistas often criticize President Nicolas Maduro for many things, depending on their point of view. Many think he should arrest Guaidó, in spite of Guaidó’s parliamentary immunity. Some see him as too conciliatory toward the bourgeoisie. Rural communes want more protection and support in their struggles with big landowners. But these people in El Hatillo are remarkably positive in their assessment of Maduro’s overall performance.

They praise him mainly for being able to keep the Bolivarian government in control of the country, thereby preventing the opposition from restoring Venezuela’s 20th century status as a neo-colony. They see programs such as CLAP and the housing mission (which has built over 3 million homes to date) as the continuation of Chávez’s concern for the welfare of the popular classes. They appreciate the introduction of the crypto-currency, the Petro, as an innovative response to the attack on the national currency, the Bolívar, Maduro’s acceptance of dollarization as simply being realistic.

I suspect that their spirited defense of Maduro is partly due to the virulent anti-Chavismo at the elite USB that they have had to deal with routinely. A recent graduate spoke of being harassed and put down by students and professors alike, grades reduced for political reasons, a raid on the office of the scholarship students’ association that featured feces and urine in their files.

We were in town when the National Assembly replaced Guaidó as its president. As usual, accounts of the event that we heard in Caracas were quite different from those in the US press. But the activities of right wing politicians never came up in conversations unless we asked. We found no indication that they have significant credibility among the popular classes, even those who have complaints about the government.

The economic war is certainly effective in making life more difficult for ordinary Venezuelans. But instead of dejection and despair, we observed a surge of grass roots organizing: communes, farmers’ markets, collective farms, city-country direct exchanges, community building in many forms. The activists we met this January share a cautious optimism, a sense that the Bolivarian process that Chávez initiated might survive this economic war. Meanwhile, a new kind of society, one based on communal values of cooperation, social solidarity, and mutual support, is emerging.

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on Venezuela, January 2020: Hardship and Resistance

Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination

by JIM KAVANAGH

Photograph Source: Anthony Crider – CC BY 2.0

“Praise be to God, who made our enemies fools.”

– Ayatollah Khamenei

The Killing

I’ve been writing and speaking for months about the looming danger of war with Iran, often to considerable skepticism.

In June, in an essay entitled “Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back,” after the U.S. initiated its “maximum pressure” blockade of Iranian oil exports, I pointed out that “Iran considers that it is already at war,” and that the downing of the U.S. drone was a sign that “Iran is calling the U.S. bluff on escalation dominance.”

In an October essay, I pointed out that Trump’s last-minute calling off of the U.S. attack on Iran in June, his demurral again after the Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities, and his announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria were seen as “catastrophic” and “a big win for Iran” by the Iran hawks in Israel and America whose efforts New York Times (NYT) detailed in an important article, “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran.” I said, with emphasis, “It always goes to Iran,” and underlined that Trump’s restraint was particularly galling to hard-line zionist Republican Senators, and might have opened a path to impeachment. I cited the reported statement of a “veteran political consultant” that “The price of [Lindsey] Graham’s support… would be an eventual military strike on Iran.”

And in the middle of December, I went way out on a limb, in an essay suggesting a possible relation between preparations for war in Iran and the impeachment process. I pointed out that the strategic balance of forces between Israel and Iran had reached the point where Israel thinks it’s “necessary to take Iran down now,” in “the next six months,” before the Iranian-supported Axis of Resistance accrues even more power. I speculated that the need to have a more reliable and internationally-respected U.S. President fronting a conflict with Iran might be the unseen reason—behind the flimsy Articles of Impeachment—that explains why Pelosi and Schumer “find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that.”

So, I was the guy chicken-littling about impending war with Iran.

But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) unit, Kataib Hezbollah? Did not see that coming. Rage. Fear. Sadness. Anxiety. A few days just to register that it really happened. To see the millions of people bearing witness to it. Yes, that happened.

Then there was the anxious anticipation about the Iranian response, which came surprisingly quickly, and with admirable military and political precision, avoiding a large-scale war in the region, for the moment.

That was the week that was.

But, as the man said: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” And it ain’t over. Recognizing the radical uncertainty of the world we now live in, and recognizing that its future will be determined by actors and actions far away from the American leftist commentariat, here’s what I need to say about the war we are now in.

The first thing, the thing that is so sad and so infuriating and so centrally symptomatic of everything wrong with American political culture, is that, with painfully few exceptions, Americans have no idea of what their government has done. They have no idea who Qassem Soleimani was, what he has accomplished, the web of relationships, action, and respect he has built, what his assassination means and will bring. The last person who has any clue about this, of course, is Donald Trump, who called Soleimani “a total monster.” His act of killing Soleimani is the apotheosis of the abysmal, arrogant ignorance of U.S. political culture.

It’s virtually impossible to explain to Americans because there is no one of comparable stature in the U.S. or in the West today. As Iran cleric Shahab Mohadi said, when talking about what a “proportional response” might be: ”[W]ho should we consider to take out in the context of America? ‘Think about it. Are we supposed to take out Spider-Man and SpongeBob?… ‘All of their heroes are cartoon characters — they’re all fictional.” Trump? Lebanese Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah said what many throughout the world familiar with both of them would agree with: “the shoe of Qassem Soleimani is worth the head of Trump and all American leaders.”

To understand the respect Soleimani has earned, not only in Iran (where his popularity was around 80%) but throughout the region and across political and sectarian lines, you have to know how he led and organized the forces that helped save ChristiansKurds, Yazidis and others from being slaughtered by ISIS, while Barack Obama and John Kerry were still “watching” ISIS advance and using it as a tool to “manage” their war against Assad.

In an informative interview with Aaron Maté, Former Marine Intelligence Officer and weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, explains how Soleimani is honored in Iraq for organizing the resistance that saved Baghdad from being overrun by ISIS—and the same could be said of Syria, Damascus, or Ebril:

He’s a legend in Iran, in Iraq, and in Syria. And anywhere where, frankly speaking, he’s operated, the people he’s worked with view him as one of the greatest leaders, thinkers, most humane men of all time. I know in America we demonize him as a terrorist but the fact is he wasn’t, and neither is Mr. Mohandes.

When ISIS [was] driving down on the city of Baghdad,…the U.S. armed and trained Iraqi Army had literally thrown down their weapons and ran away, and there was nothing standing between ISIS and Baghdad…

[Soleimani] came in from Iran and led the creation of the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] as a viable fighting force and then motivated them to confront Isis in ferocious hand-to-hand combat in villages and towns outside of Baghdad, driving Isis back and stabilizing the situation that allowed the United States to come in and get involved in the Isis fight. But if it weren’t for Qassem Soleimani and Mohandes and Kataib Hezbollah, Baghdad might have had the black flag of ISIS flying over it. So the Iraqi people haven’t forgotten who stood up and defended Baghdad from the scourge of ISIS.

So, to understand Soleimani in Western terms, you’d have to evoke someone like World War II Eisenhower (or Marshall Zhukov, but that gets another blank stare from Americans.) Think I’m exaggerating? Take it from the family of the Shah:

Beyond his leadership of the fight against ISIS, you also have to understand Soleimani’s strategic acumen in building the Axis of Resistance—the network of armed local groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the PMF in Iraq, that Soleimani helped organize and provide with growing military capability. Soleimani meant standing up; he helped people throughout the region stand up to the shit the Americans, Israelis, and Saudis were constantly dumping on them

More apt than Eisenhower and De Gaulle, in world-historical terms, try something like Saladin meets Che. What a tragedy, and travesty, it is that legend-in-his-own-mind Donald Trump killed this man.

Dressed to Kill

But it is not just Trump, and not just the assassination of Soleimani, that we should focus on. These are actors and events within an ongoing conflict with Iran, which was ratcheted up when the U.S. renounced the nuclear deal (JCPOA – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and instituted a “maximum pressure” campaign of economic and financial sanctions on Iran and third countries, designed to drive Iran’s oil exports to zero.

The purpose of this blockade is to create enough social misery to force Iran into compliance, or provoke Iran into military action that would elicit a “justifiable” full-scale, regime-change—actually state-destroying—military attack on the country.

From its inception, Iran has correctly understood this blockade as an act of war, and has rightfully expressed its determination to fight back. Though it does not want a wider war, and has so far carefully calibrated its actions to avoid making it necessary, Iran will fight back however it deems necessary.

The powers-that-be in Iran and the U.S. know they are at war, and that the Soleimani assassination ratcheted that state of war up another significant notch; only Panglossian American pundits think the “w” state is yet to be avoided. Sorry, but the United States drone-bombed an Iranian state official accompanied by an Iraqi state official, in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister, on a conflict-resolution mission requested by Donald Trump himself. In anybody’s book, that is an act of war—and extraordinary treachery, even in wartime, the equivalent of shooting someone who came to parley under a white flag.

Indeed, we now know that the assassination of Soleimani was only one of two known assassination attempts against senior Iranian officers that day. There was also an unsuccessful strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, another key commander in Iran’s Quds Force who has been active in Yemen. According to the Washington Post, this marked a “departure for the Pentagon’s mission in Yemen, which has sought to avoid direct involvement” or make “any publicly acknowledged attacks on Houthi or Iranian leaders in Yemen.”

Of course, because it’s known as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” the Pentagon wants to avoid “publicly” bloodying its hands in the Saudi war in Yemen. Through two presidential administrations, it has been trying to minimize attention to its indispensable support of, and presence in, Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen with drone strikesspecial forces operations, refueling of aircraft, and intelligence and targeting. It’s such a nasty business that even the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan resolution to end U.S. military involvement in that war, which was vetoed by Trump.

According to the ethic and logic of American exceptionalism, Iran is forbidden from helping the Houthis, but the U.S. is allowed to assassinate their advisors and help the Saudis bomb the crap out of them.

So, the Trump administration is clearly engaged in an organized campaign to take out senior Iranian leaders, part of what it considers a war against Iran. In this war, the Trump administration no longer pretends to give a damn about any fig leaf of law or ethics. Nobody takes seriously the phony “imminence” excuse for killing Soleimani, which even Trump says “doesn’t matter,” or the “bloody hands” justification, which could apply to any military commander. And let’s not forget: Soleimani was “talking about bad stuff.”

The U.S. is demonstrating outright contempt for any framework of respectful international relations, let alone international law. National sovereignty? Democracy? Whatever their elected governments say, we’ll will keep our army in Syria to “take the oil,” and in Iraq to…well, to do whatever the hell we want. “Rules-based international order”? Sure, we make the rules and you follow our orders.

The U.S.’s determination to stay in Iraq, in defiance of the explicit, unequivocal demand of the friendly democratic government that the U.S. itself supposedly invaded the country to install, is particularly significant. It draws the circle nicely. It demonstrates that the Iraq war isn’t over. Because it, and the wars in Libya and Syria, and the war that’s ratcheting up against Iran are all the same war that the U.S. has been waging in the Middle East since 2003. In the end is the beginning, and all that.

We’re now in the endgame of the serial offensive that Wesley Clark described in 2007, starting with Iraq and “finishing off” with Iran. Since the U.S. has attacked, weakened, divided, or destroyed every other un-coopted polity in the region (Iraq, Syria, Libya) that could pose any serious resistance to the predations of U.S. imperialism and Israel colonialism, it has fallen to Iran to be the last and best source of material and military support which allows that resistance to persist.

And Iran has taken up the task, through the work of the Quds Force under leaders like Soleimani and Shahlai, the work of building a new Axis of Resistance with the capacity to resist the dictates of Israel and the U.S. throughout the region. It’s work that is part of a war and will result in casualties among U.S. and U.S.-allied forces and damage to their “interests.”

What the U.S. (and its wards, Israel and Saudi Arabia) fears most is precisely the kind of material, technical, and combat support and training that allows the Houthis to beat back the Saudis and Americans in Yemen, and retaliate with stunningly accurate blows on crucial oil facilities in Saudi Arabia itself. The same kind of help that Soleimani gave to the armed forces of Syria and the PMF in Iraq to prevent those countries from being overrun and torn apart by the U.S. army and its sponsored jihadis, and to Hezbollah in Lebanon to deter Israel from demolishing and dividing that country at will.

It’s that one big “endless” war that’s been waged by every president since 2003, which American politicians and pundits have been scratching their heads and squeezing their brains to figure out how to explain, justify (if it’s their party’s President in charge), denounce (if it’s the other party’s POTUS), or just bemoan as “senseless.” But to the neocons who are driving it and their victims—it makes perfect sense and is understood to have been largely a success. Only the befuddled U.S. media and the deliberately-deceived U.S. public think it’s “senseless,” and remain enmired in the cock-up theory of U.S. foreign policy, which is a blindfold we had better shed before being led to the next very big slaughter.

The one big war makes perfect sense when one understands that the United States has thoroughly internalized Israel’s interests as its own. That this conflation has been successfully driven by a particular neocon faction, and that it is excessive, unnecessary and perhaps disruptive to other effective U.S. imperial possibilities, is demonstrated precisely by the constant plaint from non-neocon, including imperialist, quarters that it’s all so “senseless.”

The result is that the primary object of U.S. policy (its internalized zionist imperative) in this war is to enforce that Israel must be able, without any threat of serious retaliation, to carry out any military attack on any country in the region at any time, to seize any territory and resources (especially water) it needs, and, of course, to impose any level of colonial violence against Palestinians—from home demolitions, to siege and sniper killings (Gaza), to de jure as well as de facto apartheid and eventual further mass expulsions, if deems necessary.

That has required, above all, removing—by co-option, regime change, or chaotogenic sectarian warfare and state destruction—any strong central governments that have provided political, diplomatic, financial, material, and military support for the Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonialism. Iran is the last of those, has been growing in strength and influence, and is therefore the next mandatory target.

For all the talk of “Iranian proxies,” I’d say, if anything, that the U.S., with its internalized zionist imperative, is effectively acting as Israel’s proxy.

It’s also important, I think, to clarify the role of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in this policy. KSA is absolutely a very important player in this project, which has been consistent with its interests. But its (and its oil’s) influence on the U.S. is subsidiary to Israel’s, and depends entirely on KSA’s complicity with the Israeli agenda. The U.S. political establishment is not overwhelmingly committed to Saudi/Wahhabi policy imperatives—as a matter, they think, of virtue—as they are to Israeli/Zionist ones. It is inconceivable that a U.S. Vice-President would declare “I am a Wahhabi,” or a U.S. President say “I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die” for Saudi Arabia—with nobody even noticing. The U.S. will turn on a dime against KSA if Israel wants it; the reverse would never happen. We have to confront the primary driver of this policy if we are to defeat it, and too many otherwise superb analysts, like Craig Murray, are mistaken and diversionary, I think, in saying things like the assassination of Soleimani and the drive for war on Iran represent the U.S. “doubling down on its Saudi allegiance.” So, sure, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Batman and Robin.

Iran has quite clearly seen and understood what’s unfolding, and has prepared itself for the finale that is coming its way.

The final offensive against Iran was supposed to follow the definitive destruction of the Syrian Baathist state, but that project was interrupted (though not yet abandoned) by the intervention of Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran—the latter precisely via the work of Soleimani and the Quds Force.

Current radical actions like the two assassination strikes against Iranian Quds Force commanders signal the Trump administration jumping right to the endgame, as that neocon hawks have been “agitating for.” The idea—borrowed, perhaps from Israel’s campaign of assassinating Iranian scientists—is that killing off the key leaders who have supplied and trained the Iranian-allied networks of resistance throughout the region will hobble any strike from those networks if/when the direct attack on Iran comes.

Per Patrick Lawrence, the Soleimani assassination “was neither defensive nor retaliatory: It reflected the planning of the administration’s Iran hawks, who were merely awaiting the right occasion to take their next, most daring step toward dragging the U.S. into war with Iran.” It means that war is on and it will get worse fast.

It is crucial to understand that Iran is not going to passively submit to any such bullying. It will not be scared off by some “bloody nose” strike, followed by chest-thumping from Trump, Netanyahu, or Hillary about how they will “obliterate” Iran. Iran knows all that. It also knows, as I’ve said before, how little damage—especially in terms of casualties—Israel and the U.S. can take. It will strike back. In ways that will be calibrated as much as possible to avoid a larger war, but it will strike back.

Iran’s strike on Ain al-Asad base in Iraq was a case in point. It was preceded by a warning through Iraq that did not specify the target but allowed U.S. personnel in the country to hunker down. It also demonstrated deadly precision and determination, hitting specific buildings where U.S. troops work, and, we now know, causing at least eleven acknowledged casualties.

Those casualties were minor, but you can bet they would have been the excuse for a large-scale attack, if the U.S. had been entirely unafraid of the response. In fact, Trump did launch that attack over the downing of a single unmanned drone—and Pompeo and the neocon crew, including Republican Senators, were ”stunned” that he called it off in literally the last ten minutes. It’s to the eternal shame of what’s called the “left” in this country that we may have Tucker Carlson to thank for Trump’s bouts of restraint.

There Will Be Blood

But this is going to get worse, Pompeo is now threatening Iran’s leaders that “any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response.” Since Iran has ties of some kind with most armed groups in the region and the U.S. decides what “proxy” and “interests” means, that means that any act of resistance to the U.S., Israel, or other “ally” by anybody—including, for example, the Iraqi PMF forces who are likely to retaliate against the U.S. for killing their leader—will be an excuse for attacking Iran. Any anything. Call it an omnibus threat.

The groundwork for a final aggressive push against Iran began back in June, 2017, when, under then-Director Pompeo, the CIA set up a stand-alone Iran Mission Center. That Center replaced a group of “Iran specialists who had no special focus on regime change in Iran,” because “Trump’s people wanted a much more focused and belligerent group.” The purpose of this—as of any—Mission Center was to “elevate” the country as a target and “bring to bear the range of the agency’s capabilities, including covert action” against Iran. This one is especially concerned with Iran’s “increased capacity to deliver missile systems” to Hezbollah or the Houthis that could be used against Israel or Saudi Arabia, and Iran’s increased strength among the Shia militia forces in Iraq. The Mission Center is headed by Michael D’Andrea, who is perceived as having an “aggressive stance toward Iran.” D’Andrea, known as “the undertaker” and “Ayatollah Mike,” is himself a convert to Islam, and notorious for his “central role in the agency’s torture and targeted killing programs.”

This was followed in December, 2017, by the signing of a pact with Israel “to take on Iran,” which took place, according to Israeli television, at a “secret” meeting at the White House. This pact was designed to coordinate “steps on the ground” against “Tehran and its proxies.” The biggest threats: “Iran’s ballistic missile program and its efforts to build accurate missile systems in Syria and Lebanon,” and its activity in Syria and support for Hezbollah. The Israelis considered that these secret “dramatic understandings” would have “far greater impact” on Israel than Trump’s more public and notorious recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli’s capital.

The Iran Mission Center is a war room. The pact with Israel is a war pact.

The U.S. and Israeli governments are out to “take on” Iran. Their major concerns, repeated everywhere, are Iran’s growing military power, which underlies its growing political influence—specifically its precision ballistic missile and drone capabilities, which it is sharing with its allies throughout the region, and its organization of those armed resistance allies, which is labelled “Iranian aggression.”

These developments must be stopped because they provide Iran and other actors the ability to inflict serious damage on Israel. They create the unacceptable situation where Israel cannot attack anything it wants without fear of retaliation. For some time, Israel has been reluctant to take on Hezbollah in Lebanon, having already been driven back by them once because the Israelis couldn’t take the casualties in the field. Now Israel has to worry about an even more battle-hardened Hezbollah, other well-trained and supplied armed groups, and those damn precision missiles. One cannot overstress how important those are, and how adamant the U.S. and Israel are that Iran get rid of them. As another Revolutionary Guard commander says: “Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides…if only one missile hits the occupied lands, Israeli airports will be filled with people trying to run away from the country.”

This campaign is overseen in the U.S. by the likes of “praying for war with Iran” Christian Zionists Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, who together “urged” Trump to approve the killing of Soleimani. Pence, whom the Democrats are trying to make President, is associated with Christians United For Israel (CUFI), which paid for his and his wife’s pilgrimage to Israel in 2014, and is run by lunatic televangelist John Hagee, whom even John McCain couldn’t stomach. Pompeo, characterized as the “brainchild” of the assassination, thinks Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran. (Patrick Lawrence argues the not-implausible case that Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper ordered the assassination and stuck Trump with it.) No Zionists are more fanatical than Christian Zionists. These guys are not going to stop.

And Iran is not going to surrender. Iran is no longer afraid of the escalation dominance game. Do not be fooled by peace-loving illusions—propagated mainly now by mealy-mouthed European and Democratic politicians—that Iran will return to what’s described as “unconditional” negotiations, which really means negotiating under the absolutely unacceptable condition of economic blockade, until the U.S. gets what it wants. Not gonna happen. Iran’s absolutely correct condition for any negotiation with the U.S. is that the U.S. return to the JCPOA and lift all sanctions.

Also not gonna happen, though any real peace-loving Democratic candidate would specifically and unequivocally commit to doing just that if elected. The phony peace-loving poodles of Britain, France, and Germany (the EU3) have already cast their lot with the aggressive American policy, triggering a dispute mechanism that will almost certainly result in a “snapback” of full UN sanctions on Iran within 65 days, and destroy the JCPOA once and for all. Because, they, too, know Iran’s nuclear weapons program is a fake issue and have “always searched for ways to put more restrictions on Iran, especially on its ballistic missile program.” Israel can have all the nuclear weapons it wants, but Iran must give up those conventional ballistic missiles. Cannot overstate their importance.

Iran is not going to submit to any of this. The only way Iran is going to part with its ballistic missiles is by using them. The EU3 maneuver will not only end the JCPOA, it may drive Iran out of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As Moon of Alabama says, the EU3 gambit is “not designed to reach an agreement but to lead to a deeper conflict” and ratchet the war up yet another notch. The Trump administration and its European allies are—as FDR did to Japan—imposing a complete economic blockade that Iran will have to find a way to break out of. It’s deliberately provocative, and makes the outbreak of a regional/world war more likely. Which is its purpose.

This certainly marks the Trump administration as having crossed a war threshold the Obama administration avoided. Credit due to Obama for forging ahead with the JCPOA in the face of fierce resistance from Netanyahu and his Republican and Democratic acolytes, like Chuck Schumer. But that deal itself was built upon false premises and extraordinary conditions and procedures that—as the current actions of the EU3 demonstrate—made it a trap for Iran.

With his Iran policy, as with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, what Trump is doing—and can easily demonstrate—is taking to its logical and deadly conclusion the entire imperialist-zionist conception of the Middle East, which all major U.S. politicians and media have embraced and promulgated over decades, and cannot abandon.

With the Soleimani assassination, Trump both allayed some of the fears of Iran war hawks in Israel and the U.S. about his “reluctance to flex U.S. military muscle” and re-stoked all their fears about his impulsiveness, unreliability, ignorance, and crassness. As the the Christian Science Monitor reports, Israel leaders are both “quick to praise” his action and “having a crisis of confidence” over Trump’s ability to “manage” a conflict with Iran—an ambivalence echoed in every U.S. politician’s “Soleimani was a terrorist, but…” statement.

Trump does exactly what the narrative they all promote demands, but he makes it look and sound all thuggish and scary. They want someone whose rhetorical finesse will talk us into war on Iran as a humanitarian and liberating project. But we should be scared and repelled by it. The problem isn’t the discrepancy in Trump between actions and attitudes, but the duplicity in the fundamental imperialist-zionist narrative. There is no “good”—non-thuggish, non-repellent way—way to do the catastrophic violence it demands. Too many people discover that only after it’s done.

Trump, in other words, has just started a war that the U.S. political elite constantly brought us to the brink of, and some now seem desperate to avoid, under Trump’s leadership. But not a one will abandon the zionist and American-exceptionalist premises that make it inevitable—about, you know, dictating what weapons which countries can “never” have. Hoisted on their own petard. As are we all.

To be clear: Iran will try its best to avoid all-out war. The U.S. will not. This is the war that, as the NYT reports, “Hawks in Israel and America have spent more than a decade agitating for.” It will start, upon some pretext, with a full-scale U.S. air attack on Iran, followed by Iranian and allied attacks on U.S. forces and allies in the region, including Israel, and then an Israeli nuclear attack on Iran—which they think will end it. It is an incomprehensible disaster. And it’s becoming almost impossible to avoid.

The best prospect for stopping it would be for Iran and Russia to enter into a mutual defense treaty right now. But that’s not going to happen. Neither Russia nor China is going to fight for Iran. Why would they? They will sit back and watch the war destroy Iran, Israel, and the United States.

Happy New Year.

Posted in Middle East, USA, ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination

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