Archive | February 28th, 2020

Turkish-Russian troops meet at border

The Russian and Turkish armed forces were filmed on Tuesday meeting at a crossing near the Turkish-Syrian border.

The two forces were filmed sharing a friendly greeting before discussing border security and their coordination in this safe zone.

As part of the new Sochi agreement that was established earlier this month, the Russian and Turkish armed forces will both be deployed to the Syrian border to ensure the safety of the region and ease Ankara’s concerns about the terrorist activities taking place there.

Ankara previously launched an offensive that was geared at expelling the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the border region.

The Turkish regime views both Kurdish groups as offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which was involved in a long war against the Turkish regime.

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Russian-Turkish meeting ends with no agreement

The Russian-Turkish military meeting has ended with both sides mutually departing with no agreement.

Russian and Turkish armed forces discussed the possibility of Ankara using Syrian airspace; however, the proposition was ruled out by Moscow, despite Turkey’s demands. the Russian and Turkish armed forces could not reach an agreement regarding a new demilitarized zone, as Ankara demands the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) withdraw from all of the areas they captured this year.

With no agreement in place, the Syrian Arab Army will resume their offensive in the southern countryside of the Idlib Governorate, which was paused on Thursday because of this meeting.

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Trump Budget Gives Top Priority to New Generation of Nuclear Weapons

By Patrick Martin

Global Research,

The most ominous feature of the new budget document issued Monday by the Trump administration is the prominent place given to the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons, including so-called low-yield weapons, smaller than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which are widely regarded as more likely to actually be used in combat.

The document calls for nearly $50 billion to be devoted to nuclear modernization, including $29 billion from the Pentagon budget, and $19.8 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a unit of the Department of Energy which operates the actual production of nuclear warheads, as well as some of the primary research.

The Trump budget would slash spending on diplomacy and foreign aid while sharply increasing funding for nuclear weapons, a clear indication of the policy direction being given from the White House in the wake of Trump’s acquittal last week in the impeachment trial before the Senate. The debacle of the Democratic effort to impeach Trump over foreign policy differences—while ignoring his real and ongoing crimes against the working class and democratic rights—has only emboldened the White House to press ahead with its program of militarism, austerity and attacks on immigrants.

The budget provides the largest amount for the Pentagon’s research and development budget in 70 years, since the period when US imperialism was engaged in the initial research on the hydrogen bomb and the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Nuclear weapons modernization funds rose by 18 percent compared to last year’s budget.

The modernization program, which was given initial approval under the Obama administration, will last 30 years and cost more than a trillion dollars, split between the three components of the US nuclear triad: ground-based missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and nuclear bombs delivered by long-distance bombers.

An important aspect of the modernization program is the improvement of the delivery systems, including a new generation of nuclear-powered submarines (the Columbia Class) and making the stealth F-35 jet fighter, the most expensive weapons system ever built, capable of carrying nuclear bombs. That configuration would be ideal for a prospective nuclear “Pearl Harbor” sneak attack on Russia or China, since the warplanes are nearly invisible to radar.

According to one defense industry publication, there had been serious infighting between the NNSA and the White House Office of Management and Budget over the huge figure for nuclear modernization, a conflict won by the NNSA after Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Imhofe (R-Okla) intervened on its behalf.

Senate Democrats like Jack Reed of Rhode Island lost the battle over funding priorities, as the Navy canceled one nuclear submarine—to be built in Groton, Connecticut, and Quonset Point, Rhode Island—as a “pay for” to accommodate the additional spending on nuclear warheads.

NNSA chief Lisa Gordon-Hagerty said that there were five major warhead modernization programs being funded: the B61-12 Life Extension Program, the W80-4 Life Extension Program, the W88 Alteration 370, the W87-1 Modification Program and the W93 warhead program. She cited the need to increase production of plutonium “pits,” the key component of a nuclear explosive device, to 80 per year by 2030.Obama Set to Veto any Cuts to Pentagon War Machine

The budget announcement follows the Pentagon’s confirmation that it has deployed a new low-yield variant of the W76-1 nuclear warhead used on the Trident missile. The deployment of the W76-2 came on the submarine USS Tennessee, operating from the Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia. The escalation of US preparations for nuclear war was first reported by the Federation of American Scientists, which warned that the action would bring forward the danger of a nuclear weapon actually being used.

Building the W76-2 was a direct consequence of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, which accompanied the more general overhaul of Pentagon military doctrine, elevating “great power” conflict with Russia and China to first place in US war preparations, displacing the so-called “war on terror.”

In terms of the overall military budget, while the Pentagon receives a year-to-year increase of 0.3 percent, that figure is misleading on at least two counts. At $740.5 billion, the proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Defense Department budget would be the largest amount ever spent by the US government on war buildup and dwarfs the spending of all the rivals of US imperialism combined.

Moreover, the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund, a component of the budget that pays for ongoing combat operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other locations where US troops, ships and drones are engaged in combat, is open-ended.

While the White House is seeking $69 billion for OCO, this figure assumes a significant drawdown in US troop strength in Afghanistan. If those troops remain in Afghanistan, or are redeployed to another war zone, the Pentagon will seek a supplemental appropriation that would be swiftly rubber-stamped both by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate.

The release of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget has been accompanied by media commentaries and declarations by leading congressional Democrats that the budget is merely a “wish list” devised for political purposes to appeal to Trump’s right-wing base, and that as a practical matter it is “dead on arrival.”

This may be true for the massive cuts in domestic programs like Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps, which come to some $2 trillion over ten years. Neither capitalist party is likely to enact such cuts in the nine months before the November 3 election. But the document is nonetheless significant as a blueprint for the social counterrevolution which Trump proposes to carry out if he is reelected—and to which the Democrats have no principled objections, despite their posture of dismay.

Among the cuts proposed—all over a ten-year period—are $465 billion from Medicare reimbursements to hospitals and doctors, which will undermine the ability of the elderly to get care; $292 billion from Medicaid, which pays for health care for the poor and disabled, and from food stamps; and $70 billion from Social Security disability payments.

House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth (D-Ky), issued a statement denouncing the Trump budget as “destructive and irrational,” pointing out that it “includes destructive changes to Medicaid, SNAP, Social Security, and other assistance programs that help Americans make ends meet—all while extending his tax cuts for millionaires and wealthy corporations.”

The fact is, however, that the Democrats have never rescinded Republican tax cuts or restored Republican budget cuts, despite their posturing to the contrary. There is a longstanding division of labor in the capitalist two-party system, in which the Republican propose gigantic cuts in social spending which the Democrats “fight” ferociously, eventually reaching a bipartisan agreement that incorporates substantial cuts and sets the stage for the next round in a never-ending onslaught on what remains of the welfare state.

While this pretended conflict takes place in relation to domestic social spending, the two parties usually cooperate openly on increasing spending for the military-intelligence apparatus. This means that while the domestic cuts proposed by Trump may be deferred until after the election, the military buildup will gain overwhelming bipartisan support, and the plans elaborated in the budget document deserve careful scrutiny.

One significant element is the buildup in ground troops available for the invasion and occupation of foreign territory, or for the suppression of domestic unrest. The Army seeks a significant manpower increase, to 485,900 regular troops, reinforced by 336,500 in the Army National Guard and 189,800 in the Army Reserves. This would bring the total ground force to over one million soldiers—1,012,200 in all.

New weaponry for these soldiers will include hypersonic weapons, laser-based antiaircraft weapons (the Directed Energy Mobile Short-Range Air Defense System), and the Indirect Fire Protection Capability, described as “a mobile capability to defend against unmanned aircraft systems, cruise missiles, rockets, artillery and mortars.”

There is at least $6 billion to modernize key weapons systems, including the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the Stryker armored vehicle, the M1 Abrams tank and the Paladin howitzer, and $3.5 billion in aviation procurement, including 36 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and 50 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.

It is also worth noting, in relation to the overall budget numbers, that the federal budget deficit will hit $1 trillion this year and is likely to soar far beyond that figure next year. While the White House budget office projects the deficit at just below $1 trillion in FY 2021, this assumes completely unrealistic economic successes: Gross Domestic Product rising at over 3 percent, and interest rates remaining at near-zero levels, so that federal debt can be refinanced cheaply.

When these figures inevitably prove too optimistic, and the deficit soars, there will then be a clamor from the political establishment and the media that social spending must be slashed even more because “there is no money.” In the meantime, the incomes and wealth of the financial aristocracy will continue to rise exponentially.

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Assad’s Victory in Syria War?

By Global Research News

Global Research,

*     *     *

Capture of M5 Hama-Aleppo Highway: One of the Most Celebrated Prizes in Damascus’ Campaign to Regain Territory

By Michael Jansen,

As soon as the Syrian government announced that the north-south highway was open last weekend, my courageous friend Jamil drove from Damascus to Aleppo and back. “The road was fine and very quick,” he told me on the phone on his return to the capital. The Hama-Idlib-Aleppo sector of the highway, the M5, is known as the “international road” because it begins on the Jordanian border and runs to the Turkish border. The highway was closed by conflict for eight years, forcing travellers to take a detour in the desert over rough roads. This route was 90 kilometres longer than the M5 and consumed six hours rather than four and a half, as well as more petrol.

Video: “Fake News”: “The Shining Forces of Idlib Democracy” = Al Qaeda Terrorists backed by Turkish Army

By South Front,

The shining forces of Idlib democracy are crushing the Assad regime’s brutal aggression in eastern Idlib dealing blow after blow to the pro-government sectarian militias so cynically backed by Teheran and Moscow… at least according to mainstream media.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party and other peaceful al-Qaeda groups backed by the Turkish Army entered Nayrab on the evening of February 24th and consolidated control over the village on February 25th. Since then, they’ve made hundreds of selfies and proclamations of victory. Pro-Turkish sources even claimed that the rebels advanced towards Saraqib.

Syria: “Moderate Rebels” or “Intelligence Assets”?

By Mark Taliano,

The fabricated narratives were and are a smokescreen to conceal the fact that the West supports all of the terrorists, covertly and overtly, and always did.

Forget Bana Alabed, an icon of both child abuse and war propaganda, in which innocent children are weaponized to advance imperial projects.

Evidence on Continuing US-NATO Media Lies About the War in Syria

By James ONeill,

One of the clearest indicators of the legitimacy or otherwise of Western military actions is the coverage that is given to it by the western media. When evidence emerges that the given military action was at best ill-founded and more often blatantly illegal under international law, then the western media is silent as to any criticism. Alternatively, it gives undue prominence to self-serving and frequently blatant falsehoods about the actions in question.

Turkey’s War on Syria: Erdogan Sponsored Terrorists Cut Drinking Water off Al-Hasakah, Two Million People Affected, an Explicit War Crime

By Arabi Souri,

Terrorists loyal to Erdogan along with Turkish Army forces cut the drinking water off more than 2 million people in the city of Hasakah and its suburbs yesterday.

The terrorists infested the Alouk Water Station, the main source for drinking water for the people of Hasakah city and the towns around it and immediately cut off the water pumps, a war crime by all definitions.

Turkey’s Request for U.S. Patriot Missiles to Pressure Russia in Syria Will Not Work

By Paul Antonopoulos,

With Turkey supporting and backing jihadists against the Syrian Army in Idlib, the situation in Syria is becoming increasingly hostile as Erdoğan has threatened to directly go to war at the end of the month if Syria does not reverse the gains it made in previous weeks. There is a certain danger for war that could drag Russia as it is the main backer of the Syrian Army. Turkey has not shied away that it is increasingly getting frustrated with Moscow as it has unrelentingly backed its Syrian allies against Turkish-backed forces. This becomes complicated as not only Turkey and Russia have interests in Idlib, but so do the U.S. and Iran, however, Russia and Turkey are not going to war as many have speculated.

The Syrian Arab Army’s Victorious Liberation of Aleppo. Historical Comparisons

By Andrew Korybko,

While there are certainly some structural similarities between the Syrian Arab Army’s ongoing liberation offensive in Northwestern Syria and Saakashvili’s previous desire to restore Georgia’s full sovereignty over Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008, the international legal and situational differences between the two are much too important to ignore and thus make these two cases morally incomparable, though some significant strategic insight can nevertheless be gained by studying both of them together.

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Assange Extradition: Can a French Touch Pierce a Neo-Orwellian Farce?

By offering asylum to the persecuted publisher of WikiLeaks, France’s Macron would enhance his status in myriad European latitudes and all across the Global South, writes Pepe Escobar.

By Pepe Escobar

Global Research,

It’s quite fitting that the – imperially pre-determined – judicial fate of Julian Assange is being played out in Britain, the home of George Orwell.

As chronicled by the painful, searing reports of Ambassador Craig Murray, what’s taking place in Woolwich Crown Court is a sub-Orwellian farce with Conradian overtones: the horror…the horror…, remixed for the Raging Twenties. The heart of our moral darkness is not in the Congo: it’s in a dingy courtroom attached to a prison, presided by a lowly imperial lackey.

In one of Michel Onfray’s books published last year, “Theorie de la Dictature” (Robert Laffont) – the top dissident, politically incorrect French philosopher starts exactly from Orwell to examine the key features of a new-look dictatorship. He tracks seven paths of destruction: to destroy freedom, impoverish language, abolish truth, suppress history, deny nature, propagate hate, and aspire to empire.

To destroy freedom, Onfray stresses, power needs to assure perpetual surveillance; ruin personal life; suppress solitude; make opinion uniform and denounce thought crimes. That sounds like the road map for the United States government’s persecution of Assange.

Other paths, as in impoverishing language, include practicing newspeak; using double language; destroying words; oralizing language; speaking a single language; and suppressing the classics. That sounds like the modus operandi of the ruling classes in the Hegemon.

To abolish truth, power must teach ideology; instrumentalize the press; propagate fake news; and produce reality. To propagate hate, power, among other instruments, must create an enemy; foment wars; and psychiatrize critical thinking.

There’s no question we are already mired deep inside this neo-Orwellian dystopia.

John “Paradise Lost” Milton, in 1642, could not have been more prophetic, when he wrote “Those that hurt the eyes of the people blame them for being blind.” How not to identify a direct parallel with Le Petit Roi Emmanuel Macron’s army, month after month, willfully blinding protesting Gilets Jaunes/Yellow Vests in the streets of France.

Orwell was more straightforward than Milton, saying that to talk about freedom is meaningless unless it refers to the freedom to tell people what they don’t want to hear. And he put it in context by quoting a line from Milton: “By the known rules of ancient liberty.”

No “known rules of ancient liberty” are allowed to penetrate the heart of darkness of Woolwich Crown Court.

A Spy at the Service of the People

Juan Branco is arguably the most brilliant young French intellectual – heir to a fine Sartre/Foucault/Deleuze tradition. The French establishment detests him, especially because of his best-seller “Crepuscule,” where he dissected Macronism – branded as a thuggish regime – from the inside, and the French president as a creature and instrument of a tiny oligarchy.

He has just published Assange: L’Antisouverain” (Les Editions du Cerf), an absorbing, erudite study that he defines as “a philosophy book about the figure of the Anti-Sovereign.” The Sovereign is of course the state apparatus.

Here (in French) is an excellent interview with Branco about the book. There’s nothing even remotely comparable to it in the Anglosphere, which has treated Assange essentially as an unpleasant freak, oozing pedestrian slander and piling up sub-ideology tirades disguised as facts.Is Assange to be the Sacrificial Lamb to the Slaughter?

The book is essentially structured as a seminary for the hyper-selective Ecole Normale Superieure, the august school in the Latin Quarter here that shapes French elites, a privileged nest of power institutions and reproduction of privileges. Branco takes the reader to the heart of this universe just to make him or her discover Assange from the point of view of one of those students.

Branco was privileged to profit from the interaction between the Ecole Normale Superieure and Yale. He met Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in January 2014, “in a state of radical confinement,” and then followed him as a juridical consultant, then lawyer, “day after day,” until meeting him again in September 2016, “getting ready to no less than change the course of the American presidential election and engineer the fall of the one who had sworn to crush him, one Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Branco is fascinated by Assange’s “scientific journalism,” and his capacity to “intervene in the political space without occupying a determined place.” Assange is painted as a contemporary oracle, a maniac for free access to information, someone who “never looked for a reward, or insertion, or juridical protection,” which is a totally different modus operandi from any media.

Branco shows how WikiLeaks “allowed whistleblowers to act,” by growing an archive parallel to the “production of data related to the mechanism of contemporary power apparatuses.” Under this framework “every citizen is able to become a researcher.”

So, Assange’s work has been about redistributing power. It’s as if Assange had become a “spy at the service of the people.” And that leads Branco to draw the connection with the Gilets Jaunes/Yellow Vests. WikiLeaks releasing the “Macron Leaks” in 2017 legitimized the Yellow Vest struggle for direct democracy.

Branco describes Assange as “a strange figure, a bridge between the pre-history of digital civilization and its definitive penetration as a primordial, structural element of political and social space.”

But arguably his best appraisal is of Assange as “a dissident of his own internal space, mostly interested by the sphere of cultural, economic and social domination in which he was born, that of the American imperium, of which his native Australia is one of the most dedicated allies, and that dominates this cyber-space where he constituted himself as a political actor.”

In what could be construed as the top reason for the United States government’s unbounded thirst for vengeance against Assange, he challenged the fact that “American acts have a natural regulatory function for the rest of the world, a result of their over-dominance of the contemporary geopolitical space.”

It’s All in the Algorithm

And that brings us to the heart of the matter: algorithms. As Branco synthesizes it, the “revelation of raw documents aims at reinvesting in the political space those that have been discarded because of their submission to a word of authority whose algorithms have been masked.”

Onfray had already warned about “destroying words,” “impoverishing language” and clinging to newspeak  – but Branco takes it to a new level. Because “the word of power is a word assimilated to the algorithm, in the sense that it benefits from a presumption of truth, it does not reveal, to remain effective, any of its assets, settling to enounce a reality impossible to contest.”

Branco is careful to explain that, “Algorithm would not have become a social power without the support of an ethical presupposition (the consecration of Homo Economicus), a postulation towards scientificism (thus to universality) and a technological rupture (big data).”

Branco breaks it down to the formula “Algorithmization is the foundation of sovereignty.” And that’s exactly what Assange challenged. And that’s why he’s such a divisive, eternally controversial figure, unlike Edward Snowden, who’s basically an average guy – with a sterling IQ – who simply wants to reform a system.

A Chance for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity?

When he worked on behalf of Assange, Branco essentially coordinated a team of lawyers responding to star judge Baltasar Garzon, who was present at Woolwich Crown Court earlier this week. Last week, Assange’s legal team said they would apply for asylum in France. Branco can’t possibly be part of the team because of “Crepuscule” – which eviscerates Macron.

Le Petit Roi, for his part, may now be presented with the ultimate global reach P.R. opportunity. Ending a ghastly neo-Orwellian charade, offering asylum to Assange, and ridiculing Trump and Boris Johnson at the same time would enhance his status in myriad European latitudes and all across the Global South.

Yet there should be no illusions. On July 3, 2015, advised by his legal team, Assange wrote an op-ed for Le Monde asking about the possibility of asylum. Only one hour after publication the Elysee Palace – under Francois Hollande – issued a firm denial. There were no leaks on what kind of pressure was applied by the U.S. Deep State.

Assange lawyer Geoffrey Robertson is under no illusions: “He won’t be pardoned by President Trump, although [a future] President Sanders might do so. I think that’s the objective of the Pentagon — to put him in prison for the rest of his life.”

A measure of the cowardice of all those established newspapers who profited handsomely from the work of Assange and WikiLeaks is this despicable Le Monde editorial that half-heartedly pretends to defend him as a journalist and publisher.

It’s idle to expect from Anglo-American corporate media even a modicum of decency to admit that journalists must not be treated as spies and dangerous criminals. Criminalization of critical thinking – capable of provoking, unmasking and denouncing raw power — is a key plank of the new dictatorship examined by Onfray, and already in effect. Now it comes down to Onfray and Branco not to be lost in translation – and forcefully demonstrate to the Anglosphere that the heart of darkness must not be allowed to prevail.

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Canada’s First Nations: Ottawa Lays Bare the Lie It Calls “Reconciliation”

Canada and British Columbia send police to arrest Wet’suwet’en leadership opposing pipeline construction on their land.

By Corvin Russell

Global Research,

The Canadian state today is in the throes of a historic crisis of its own making, as it stands off against the Wet’suwet’en Nation, an Indigenous nation in northern British Columbia (BC) that is blocking construction of the Coastal GasLink (CGL)1 pipeline through their land (called the Yintah). The CGL pipeline would bring fracked gas from northwestern British Columbia to a planned LNG Canada liquid natural gas terminal on the BC coast at Kitimat that is to be built by an international fossil fuel consortium.Condensate, a byproduct of the fracking, will also be used as diluent needed to send tar sands oil through another planned pipeline, the TransMountain Expansion pipeline.

On February 5, after Canada and BC would not concede on any point, talks with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs broke down, and the following day, heavily armed RCMP were sent in. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters were arrested and violently removed from their lands. In the run-up, the RCMP had imposed an unprecedented and unconstitutional “media exclusion zone” in an attempt to prevent incendiary images of the violent police action from getting out, an attempt that ultimately failed. Solidarity actions erupted across Canada, encompassing road and rail blockades, occupations and sit-ins, and blocking off the BC legislature. Solidarity from the Mohawk nation at Tyendinaga resulted in Canada’s busiest passenger rail corridor being shut down.

In many locations, standing injunctions and preemptive injunctions have been used to clear protests, but these have continued to be organized. Early on February 22, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) moved in on the Tyendinaga railside encampment, but in response, a number of other blockades and occupations sprouted across the country. The mobilizations show no sign of ending soon.

Seeking to discredit the Wet’suwet’en traditional government and their supporters, the coordinated messaging of colonial governments and ruling class media has centred on disingenuous arguments that the Wet’suwet’en are “divided” – therefore the colonizer must decide! Some Indian Act bands on the pipeline route have consented to the project, but the traditional government of the Wet’suwet’en has not. And while the Ottawa-imposed Indian Act administration of the Wet’suwet’en may support the pipeline, its remit does not run to title and rights, which are the purview of the hereditary chiefs, a fact that Canada and BC know well. Nevertheless, despite lacking consent, the NDP-Green government of the province of British Columbia decided to plough ahead with the project, issuing all permits required and ante-ing up $5.35-billion in direct subsidies alongside a federal tax break of $1-billion. Courts granted injunctions against the Wet’suwet’en, once again deeming resource extraction of greater importance than the well-being and wishes of Indigenous communities.

For fractions of Canada’s ruling class, this carbon extraction project is a matter of economic and political urgency. In elite political circles, Alberta’s perennially offside politics are suddenly being framed as a national unity crisis of the highest importance, allegedly requiring both the federal government and Alberta to desperately expand Alberta’s carbon export capacity at any cost in order to address Alberta’s economic crisis, which is largely the result of collapsing demand for its expensive and dirty petroleum output. Large sums of money, including public pension fund monies and private capital, have already been committed to these heavily subsidized fossil fuel projects.

Canada’s Stubborn Unwillingness to Deal with Indigenous People’s Title and Rights

Yet the deeper challenge to Canada’s wholeness in this crisis lies in the in-built contradictions of the colonial Canadian state that Wet’suwet’en resistance has made concrete and highly visible. Central to Canada’s extractivist political economy is “Crown title,” the claim of jurisdiction over Indigenous lands. The supposed legitimacy of Crown title rests on two half-inconsistent principles. The first is the “doctrine of discovery,” by which European colonizers arrogated to themselves the right to claim as their own any lands where there were no Christian inhabitants. The second is the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which requires the Crown to negotiate treaties with Indigenous Peoples before settling their lands. Into the mix is a growing body of Canadian and international law that recognizes the continuity and priority of Indigenous rights and land title where these have not been truly consensually ceded in Treaty.

The Wet’suwet’en have not signed any treaty with Canada. Their title in the land has never been removed, and this is a fact that will not go away, yet a fact that Canada cannot properly reconcile itself to without fundamentally changing laws on resource and land development and governance, and abandoning its policy toward Indigenous Peoples that goes back 170 years. Far from being caught unawares, the Canadian state apparatus knows what changes need to be made to truly achieve the “reconciliation” it preaches, as can be shown by a brief history of Canada’s refusal to budge on the core issue of recognizing Indigenous title.

In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP)3 as part of its comprehensive recommendations called for an overhaul of government policy on Indigenous land rights and jurisdiction. In particular, they called for an approach that recognized Indigenous title and did not make title claims prohibitively expensive and burdensome for Indigenous Peoples. It also argued for interim relief based on title without this depending on title being proved in court. And it called for policy alternatives that would allow Indigenous Peoples to retain title, and to ensure that any negotiated extinguishment of title would truly involve informed consent and deliver additional benefits – rather than merely the necessary baseline of viability that governments have withheld as a pressure tactic.

In 1997, the Delgamuukw decision of the Supreme Court, specifically in relation to the Wet’suwet’en Nation, recognized that Indigenous Peoples had retained title unless explicitly extinguished. (Bear in mind that in historic as opposed to modern treaties, the validity of cession and surrender clauses is dubious as there is multiple reinforcing evidence – oral tradition, treaty commissioner diaries in Treaty 9, eyewitness testimony, and the Paypom treaty record – across numbered treaties these clauses were not in the oral agreements but were tacked on in Ottawa after signatures had been collected or in some cases forged.)

In 2007, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was passed at the UN. Its bedrock principle is Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) for development on Indigenous lands. In subsequent years one federal government has signed on to the treaty, and several provincial governments have passed aspirational motions declaring their respect for the principles of UNDRIP. Most recently, British Columbia passed legislation implementing UNDRIP in law, and the federal government has promised to do the same. Yet none of these has given effect to the core principle of FPIC. BC claims UNDRIP is equivalent to the much weaker “duty to consult” under which Indigenous Peoples do not have a “veto” on development on their lands.

In 2015 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), formed to address the causes and long-term consequences of Canada’s genocidal residential schools system, released its final report. Among its calls was recognizing Indigenous title by default and reversing the burden of proof onto those who would seek to limit title. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to fully implement the TRC recommendations.

Despite this history, no government has recognized Indigenous title, and Canada’s policy on Indigenous lands has not been changed.4 The RCAP recommendations were shelved in toto, UNDRIP’s bedrock principle of FPIC was slipped out of implementing legislation, and the TRC call for default recognition of title and reversing the burden of proof was simply ignored.

De Facto Extinguishment of Indigenous Title, By Hook and By Crook

Instead, the federal government has stuck to its policy which in its modern form dates back to the 1970s, but which is a direct continuation of the approach taken to Indigenous title since the mid-19th century. This contemplates as the only viable policy the de facto extinguishment of Indigenous title everywhere, by hook and by crook. The contemporary incarnation of this policy is the Comprehensive Claims Policy, which is the umbrella framework for modern treaty processes whose core policy goal and non-negotiable precondition for agreement is extinguishment of title, in contravention of UNDRIP and against the calls of RCAP and the TRC.

For Indigenous Peoples who enter it, the modern treaty process is a long drawn-out affair of many-year negotiations, with government providing money to pay Indigenous-side negotiators and consultants who have a vested interest in continuing the process. Despite this, the final agreements all conform to a template – extinguishment of title, the ending of distinct “Indian” status for individuals and communities, the municipalization of communities and their subordination to provincial regimes rather than being recognized as a third order of government, and the retention of a small fraction of their territory (5%) as their municipal land base, with a retained economic interest in an additional small sliver of their original territory. (In the Orwellian language of Indian Affairs bureaucrats, extinguishment today is camouflaged as “modified rights.”)

Out of final settlement monies lawyers (who have a vested interest in the process) take a huge chunk. In the approvals process, government rather than playing a neutral role actively intervenes by funding and supporting the Yes side with intelligence and PR money. If the vote says No this is never final – they push for do-overs until they get a Yes, but there is no do-over allowed on a Yes. At the local level this can involve brutal intimidation campaigns toward those dissenting from a Yes. Yet these agreements are so inherently unappealing that Canada has succeeded in getting a Yes from only very few communities.

The only option that Canada officially contemplates for Indigenous Nations wishing to retain title is litigation. Title cases require years of evidence collection, tens of millions of dollars and a decade or more in court – because the government’s strategy (as most defendants’ – but the government is supposed to have a ‘trust relationship’ toward Indigenous people!) is to appeal everything it can, including procedural issues, and drag it out as long as possible. There are 200 Bands in BC alone. The BC Courts told one community in the pipeline for a title case that the courts can manage at most two simultaneous title cases because of their size and complexity. This means that it would take up to 1000 years for the courts to deal with all title cases in BC. Meanwhile, Bands are not provided with litigation budgets to fight Ottawa (Ottawa sets the budgets for most Bands) except in limited circumstances where government is compelled, and unlike the extinguishment processes, no help is forthcoming for title cases. The government strategy is one of attrition, part of which is literally “waiting for the evidence to die,” that is, elders and their often distinctive knowledge of land use and occupancy. Another part is willfully denying Indigenous communities adequate services, and engineering poverty conditions that are intended as a pressure pump to drive outmigration and encourage bendability to Canada’s will.

Canada and the provinces are not good faith actors. All the words about reconciliation and recognition are fake, for non-Indigenous public consumption. This is not a policy that seriously contemplates Indigenous people retaining title. There has been absolutely no change by any government, Conservative, Liberal, or NDP on this core aspect of Indigenous-Canada relations, which underpins and motivates all other colonial policy and action. Allowing Indigenous Peoples the possibility of a “no” on development is so far anathema to governments that they could not even contemplate the suggestion of alternative pipeline routes from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en. Consent is not consent when “yes” is the only answer allowed. Consent is not “try for consent, otherwise do it anyway.” The possibility of a “no” is essential to informed consent.

Recognizing Indigenous Title and Rights – and upholding FPIC – are Canada’s only way out

Yet despite all Canada’s attempts and its endemically Orwellian rhetoric on Indigenous rights, Indigenous Peoples are still here. Today as a result of the internet and social media, Indigenous people and nations are networked across Canada and North America. Decades of movement building and grassroots education and organization have laid the groundwork for today’s resistance. Indigenous intellectuals and journalists can now disseminate their message through social media and independent media, even while mainstream media continue to reflect the blinkered perspectives of their tiny social world. Younger generations who are cutting their teeth on climate change activism also understand solidarity more fluently, and are very conscious of Indigenous rights and the colonial character of the settler state.

This has resulted in an uprising that is the nightmare of Canada’s security state and political and economic elites, one they cannot get out of until they own up to the choice before them and reckon with what they have so far willfully postponed. There can be no “reconciliation” until Canada “gets over it” and breaks with colonial domination and theft as its core policy toward Indigenous people by recognizing Indigenous title and fully implementing UNDRIP, including the essential principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.

Posted in CanadaComments Off on Canada’s First Nations: Ottawa Lays Bare the Lie It Calls “Reconciliation”

War and Natural Gas: The ‘Israeli’ Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Eleven years ago, Israel invaded Gaza under “Operation Cast Lead”.

The following article was first published by Global Research in January 2009 at the height of the Israeli bombing and invasion under Operation Cast Lead.

***

Author’s Note and Update

The purpose of Operation Cast Led was to confiscate Palestine’s maritime natural gas reserves. In the wake of the invasion, Palestinian gas fields were de facto confiscated by Israel in derogation of international law.

A year following “Operation Cast Lead”,  Tel Aviv announced the discovery of  the Leviathan natural gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean “off the coast of Israel.”

At the time the gas field was: “ … the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.” (i)

Coupled with Tamar field, in the same location, discovered in 2009, the prospects are for an energy bonanza for Israel, for Houston, Texas based Noble Energy and partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration. (See Felicity Arbuthnot, Israel: Gas, Oil and Trouble in the Levant, Global Research, December 30, 2013

The Gazan gas fields are part of the broader Levant assessment area.

What has been unfolding is the integration of these adjoining gas fields including those belonging to Palestine into the orbit of Israel. (see map below).

It should be noted that the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline extending from Egypt’s Sinai to Syria constitutes an area encompassing large gas as well as oil reserves.

While the debate regarding  Trump’s “Deal of the Century” has largely concentrated on the de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley and the integration and extension of  Jewish settlements, the issue of the de facto confiscation and ownership of  Palestine’s offshore gas reserves have not been challenged.

Michel Chossudovsky, February 28, 2020


War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

by Michel Chossudovsky

January 8, 2009

The December 2008 military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves. 

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline. 

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21,  2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger.Will Israel’s Gas Hopes Come True? Accused of Stealing Gas from the Gaza Strip


Map 1

Map 2

Who Owns the Gas Fields

The issue of sovereignty over Gaza’s gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.

The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza’s offshore gas reserves.

British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.

The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine’s sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that “Israel would never buy gas from Palestine” intimating that Gaza’s offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.

In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza’s offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)

The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2006, British Gas “was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt.” (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.

The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert  “to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority.” The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.

Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:

Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.

Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza’s offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel.

The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:

 “Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror”. (Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on “The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas,” March 1, 2006, quoted in Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza’s Coastal Waters Threaten Israel’s National Security?  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 2007)

Israel’s intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.(BG website).

Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board

The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under “Operation Cast Lead” was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:

“Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”(Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)

That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza’s natural gas:

“Both Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler agreed to inform BG of Israel’s wish to renew the talks.

The sources added that BG has not yet officially responded to Israel’s request, but that company executives would probably come to Israel in a few weeks to hold talks with government officials.” (Globes online- Israel’s Business Arena, June 23, 2008)

The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage.

Moreover, these negotiations with British Gas were conducted by the Ehud Olmert government with the knowledge that a military invasion was on the drawing board. In all likelihood, a new “post war” political-territorial arrangement for the Gaza strip was also being contemplated by the Israeli government.

In fact, negotiations between British Gas and Israeli officials were ongoing in October 2008, 2-3 months prior to the commencement of the bombings on December 27th.

In November 2008, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures instructed Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to enter into negotiations with British Gas, on the purchase of natural gas from the BG’s offshore concession in Gaza. (Globes, November 13, 2008)

“Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler wrote to IEC CEO Amos Lasker recently, informing him of the government’s decision to allow negotiations to go forward, in line with the framework proposal it approved earlier this year.

The IEC board, headed by chairman Moti Friedman, approved the principles of the framework proposal a few weeks ago. The talks with BG Group will begin once the board approves the exemption from a tender.” (Globes Nov. 13, 2008)

Gaza and Energy Geopolitics 

The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.

What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?

What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine’s Natural Gas reserves?

A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or “peacekeeping” troops?

The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel?

The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas?

If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel’s offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above).

These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel’s energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport – pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. “What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel’s Tipline.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on War and Natural Gas: The ‘Israeli’ Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

Brexit: Devastating Impacts on Employment

Number of Workers on ‘Zero-Hour Contracts’ Hits New Record High and Other Records of Injustice

By True Publica

Global Research,

It seems every day brings news of the crisis of daily life for millions in the sixth wealthiest country on earth. Even if the government was unexpectedly gifted a trillion or two, it would take a decade or more to right the wrongs when it comes to the social policies that has led to such widespread injustice. And more than anything it is injustice that people despise the most.

The number of working-age adults trapped on zero-hours contacts has reached a new record high, with close to one million people aged 16 and over counting a “zero-hour contract” as their main job, official figures reveal.

Figures published by the Office National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday show a record 970,000 people in employment on a zero-hour contract as their main job between October to December 2019 – up from 896,000 in the previous quarter.

The proportion of working-age adults in zero-hours employment has increased significantly since 2012 when around 252,000 workers were on this type of contract as their main job – equivalent to just 0.8% of the workforce.

By the end of December 2019, this number had increased to 3% of the workforce and looks set to continue rising without action from government and businesses.

This news comes just as we find out that the new daily allowance for the “unelected and unaccountable” House of Lords is set to rise to £323, whereas the monthly allowance for a single person over 25 on Universal Credit is £317.82.A Week in Tory Britain

In addition, millions of the UK’s most vulnerable adults are at risk of being locked out from claiming vital welfare support, due to mind-bending complexities surrounding the Government’s new Universal Credit system, a leading charity has warned.

Research by the Salvation Army found that up to two million people suffering from mental health problems or learning difficulties could be left struggling to navigate the new benefits system, despite promises from Government ministers that Universal Credit will simplify the application process. Researchers found that 85% of clients experienced difficulties in making a claim, with around two-thirds of these (60%) citing a lack of computer access or problems in understanding the claims process.

The Salvation Army says there is overwhelming evidence that unless the Government provide more support immediately for people to apply, vulnerable people will struggle to access their benefits.

Millions could be left unable to buy food, pay their rent, and take care of their children, the charity warns.

In the meantime, the proportion of people living in poverty who are in a working family has hit a record high, according to a report that shows rising levels of employment have failed to translate into higher living standards.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said that while paid employment reduces the risk of poverty, about 56% of people living in poverty in 2018 were in a household where at least one person had a job, compared with 39% 20 years ago.

The NHS crisis has got worse with waiting times in A&E hitting an all-time record in January with the Society for Acute Medicine saying urgent action was needed, warning the system was “imploding“. The Nuffield Trust said this was “one of the bleakest winters in the NHS’s history”.

From all this news comes the result – the latest report on health in England shows that life expectancy has ‘flatlined’ in the last 10 years with austerity taking ‘a significant toll on equity and health’, according to an expert report. Professor Sir Michael Marmot said worsening health inequalities between the most and least deprived parts of the country have resulted in a ‘lost decade’.

The equation is really quite simple and pretty much sums up where the country is right now. Prof Marmot said: ‘England is faltering. From the beginning of the 20th century, England experienced continuous improvements in life expectancy but from 2011 these improvements slowed dramatically, almost grinding to a halt.’ He added: ‘England has lost a decade. ‘Pretty much – with a few dips and bounces – life expectancy improved about one year every four years from the end of the 19th century until 2010, then it slowed down dramatically. ‘If health has stopped improving, that means society has stopped improving and if health inequalities continue and in fact increase, that means inequalities in society have been increasing.”

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Erdogan Now Claims Syria’s Idlib Province Belongs to Turkey

On February 26th,  Turkey’s President, told his Islamist political party that Idlib, which is the most heavily jihadist of all of Syria’s provinces and the province where Syria had been sending jihadists who had been defeated but not killed by the Syrian army elsewhere in the Syrian war, is now permanently under Turkey’s protection, and belongs to Turkey — Turkish territory. Russia’s RT news headlined on the 26th, “‘We’re the hosts there’: Erdogan says Turkey won’t pull back from Syria’s sovereign territory, gives Assad ultimatum to retreat”, and reported that, 

The Turkish leader has ruled out withdrawal from Idlib, where his forces are backing militants fighting the Syrian Army. He also gave Damascus an ultimatum to retreat beyond Turkey’s observation posts placed on Syrian soil.

“We will not step back in Idlib. We are not the guests in this realm, we are the hosts,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting of his AK party on Wednesday. Vowing to bring “the regime’s attacks” to an end, Erdogan said Ankara is giving Damascus time to pull forces back from Turkish observation posts.

The very next day, on the 27th, the Turkish English-language newspaper Yeni Safak bannered “Situation in Syria’s Idlib ‘in favor of Turkey’: Turkish president says Turkey has also reversed situation in Libya, which was previously in favor of Libyan warlord Haftar” and they reported that Erdogan saw signs that Turkey was introducing new international realities in both Syria and Libya.

Later on the 27th, RT headlined “33 Turkish soldiers confirmed killed in Idlib airstrike as Erdogan chairs emergency meeting on Syria” and reported that “Turkish officials attributed the strike to the Syrian military.” However, any Turkish retaliation against Syrian forces would not only be met by Russian defense of Syrian forces but would be clearly a Syrian response to Turkish aggression and therefore any U.S. involvement supporting Turkey in this matter would be America’s participating in Turkey’s blatantly illegal grab for Idlib. Even America’s allies in Europe and elsewhere might then turn away from the U.S., and away from Turkey.

This extraordinarily assertive position by Erdogan results from the sequence of events that will be described here: 

U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. allies made unequivocally clear in late August and early September of 2018 that if Syria and Russia would try to restore Syrian Government control over Syria’s Idlib Province, then the U.S. and its allies would greatly escalate their war against Syria’s Government. For example, on 3 September 2018, Trump tweeted, “President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.” South Front reported, the following day, that, 

Trump’s tweet comes as Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the start of his visit to Damascus said that “terrorists must be purged” from the province and Idlib in its entirety must be returned under government control.

“Syria’s territorial integrity should be safeguarded and all tribes and groups, as one society, should start the reconstruction process, and the refugees should return to their homes,” Mr Zarif said.

Zarif met with President Assad and the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. They mostly discussed the expected September 7th summit, which will happen in Tehran. Russian, Turkish, Syrian and Iranian leaders are supposed to meet and discuss the situation in Idlib.

A statement from Assad’s office said that Iran and Syria “had similar views on the different issues” that are to be discussed.

On 10 September 2018, I wrote that “Unless Syria will simply hand its most heavily pro-jihadist province, Idlib, to adjoining Turkey, which claims to have 30,000 troops there and is planning to add 20,000 more,” there would be a war between NATO member Turkey, which has invaded there, versus Russia, which — at Syria’s request — has been assisting Syria’s Government to conquer all of Syria’s jihadists. Syria’s Army has gradually liberated and retaken most of Syria’s territory from jihadists, but had been using Idlib Province as a collection-area for the ones who were holding Syrian civilians as human shields. Syria was bussing into Idlib the tens of thousands of jihadists that surrendered. This was being done so as to minimize the numbers of civilians who would be killed when Syria’s army would retake an area, under Russian air-cover. This would allow the civilians there to escape to Syrian-Government-held territory, and the armed forces of Syria and Russia then to move in and slaughter the jihadists who remained there, so that Syria would retake that area from the U.S.-backed jihadists

Then, seven days later, I headlined “Putin and Erdogan Plan Syria-Idlib DMZ as I Recommended”, and reported that,

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan jointly announced on September 17th in Tehran, “We’ve agreed to create a demilitarized zone between the government troops and militants before October 15. The zone will be 15-20km wide,” which compares to the Korean DMZ’s 4-km width.

Though the understanding that Erdogan had reached with Iran’s President Rouhani and with Russia’s President Putin was that this would be only a temporary measure in order to get the U.S. and its allies to cease threatening World War III if Syria and Russia promptly let loose and slaughtered the ‘rebels’ in Idlib (Americas’s previous main fighters to defeat and replace Syria’s Government), Erdogan soon presented clear indications that he actually wanted to seize Syrian territory and to get as much of it as he could — that his goal in Syria included expanding Turkey into Syria. His temporary policing function, as agreed-to by Russia, to isolate and not allow to escape the defeated jihadists who had become trapped there, turned out to be far more than that: it turned out to be Erdogan’s protection of those jihadists.  

On September 25th of 2018, I bannered “Turkey Now Controls Syria’s Jihadists”, and presented the historical background behind this. Then, on 14 July 2019, I headlined “Turkey Will Get a Chunk of Syria: An Advantage of Being in NATO”, and explained that because of NATO’s backing of Turkey’s seizure of Syrian territory, Turkey was already committed to the construction of Syrian branches of Turkey’s Gaziantep University and of Turkey’s Harran University, as well as of building supportive infrastructure for those facilities — absorbing portions of northern Syria into Turkey. 

So, this has been a gradual process, and now Erdogan, backed by U.S.President Trump and by NATO, will be saving the lives of the tens of thousands of jihadists (plus their families) who had been defeated elsewhere in Syria, and who thus will avoid what the U.S. and its allies had warned would be a ‘humanitarian crisis’ of mass-slaughtering those defeated jihadists (which the U.S. and its allies still call ‘Syrian rebels’ — even though most of them aren’t even Syrian).

As I noted in the 14 July 2019 article:

At that time, just prior to the Tehran conference — and this was actually the reason why the conference was held — the U.S. and its allies, and the U.N., were demanding that an all-out invasion of Idlib, which had been planned by the Governments of Syria and of Russia, must not take place, for ‘humanitarian’ reasons. There was all that ‘humanitarian’ concern (led by the United States) for the world’s biggest concentration of Nusra and Nusra-led jihadists — and for Syria’s most jihadist-supporting civilian population. So much ‘kindness’, such ‘admirable’ ‘humanitarianism’. Furthermore the U.S. Government was threatening to greatly increase its forces against Syria if that invasion by Syria and by Russia into Idlib (which is, after all, part of Syria — so, what business is it, even of the U.N., at all?) were to be carried out. The Tehran conference was meeting in order to resolve that emergency situation (mainly America’s threats of a possible war against Russia), so as to forestall this attack.

Trump’s backing of Turkey’s aggression was taking the United States even deeper into his predecessor, Barack Obama’s, support of jihadists in order to overthrow Syria’s non-sectarian Government and install one that would be acceptable to the fundamentalist-Sunni Saud family who own Saudi Arabia.

And now Erdogan again is threatening Russia with WW III if Russia continues to defend Syria’s sovereignty over Idlib — Syria’s most-jihadist province.

On February 26th, Yeni Safak bannered “Turkey will never compromise on Sochi deal for Syria, says Erdoğan”; so, Erdogan is openly threatening WW III if Russia and Syria resist Turkey’s seizure of Idlib and protection of its many thousands of jihadists.

Although the U.S. has led this apparent victory for jihadists and for international aggression, Turkey’s Erdogan has been its spearhead. Russia and Iran had not agreed to this. Certainly, Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, hadn’t agreed to anything like this outcome.

Turkey, in its 10 September 2018 agreement with Russia and with Iran, had committed itself to separating-out and killing the jihadists; but, instead, Turkey has been protecting them, and now will be absorbing them, and taking Idlib Province from adjoining Syria. As recently as 22 October 2019, Erdogan had promised Putin in Sochi that “The two sides reiterate their commitment to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria,” and that, “They emphasize their determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.” Yeni Safak’s February 26th article opened “Turkey will never compromise on the Sochi deal on embattled Idlib, Syria and it expects the deal to be implemented, said the country’s president on Wednesday.” Turkey “expects the deal to be implemented” while blatantly violating it.

Brett McGurk, a leading neoconservative in the Administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, admitted, on 27 July 2017, that “Idlib Province is the largest Al Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11, tied directly to Ayman al-Zawahiri,” and that “to send in tens of thousands of tons of weapons and looking the other way as these foreign fighters come into Syria, may not have been the best approach,” but yet the U.S. regime continues that approach, and backs Turkey’s grab of Idlib and protection of those jihadists.

Previously, McGurk had been U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy for the anti-Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) coalition. He had supported jihadists led by al-Nusra (Syrian branch of Al Qaeda) and supported separatist Kurds in Syria, to overthrow Syria’s Government. Even the liberal (or Democratic Party, pro-Obama) neoconservative Washington Post  had not hidden the fact that “The U.S. team, headed by senior White House adviser Robert Malley and State Department envoy Brett McGurk” had informed the newspaper that “Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire” — the fact that Obama was actually protecting those jihadists (though not protecting ISIS or ‘ISIL’). Obama backed al-Qaeda there, and so does Trump. However, when Trump ran for the Presidency in 2016, he promised to reverse Obama’s obsession to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That, and similar promises he made, were antithetical to the most-basic commitments of the U.S. Establishment. They became his implacable enemies.

Finally, on 10 November 2016, right after Trump’s election, that same newspaper, the WP, bannered “Obama directs Pentagon to target al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, one of the most formidable forces fighting Assad” and, without noting that Obama had supported that “al-Qaeda affiliate” until then, but instead falsely reporting that “the administration had largely ignored until now” it, said: “While Obama, White House national security adviser Susan E. Rice, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and special presidential envoy Brett McGurk agreed with [the super-neoconservative Obama Secretary of Defense Ashton] Carter on the need to keep the focus on the Islamic State, they favored shifting resources to try to prevent al-Nusra from becoming a bigger threat down the road.” That was extreme euphemism, coming from this extremely neoconservative liberal newspaper. Actually, Obama had built his overthrow-Assad operation mainly upon al-Nusra, to train and lead the tens of thousands of foreign jihadists who had been pouring into Syria. The Washington Post was one of the most lying, deceptive, newspapers reporting anywhere in the world about international relations, very heavily slanted neoconservative — in favor of expanding the U.S. mega-corporate empire. Whereas the separatist Kurds were America’s main proxy-army fighting in Syria’s northeast, al-Nusra led America’s proxy-armies everywhere else in Syria. That 10 November 2016 WP article also asserted “But aides say Obama grew frustrated that more wasn’t being done by the Pentagon and the intelligence community to kill al-Nusra leaders given the warnings he had received from top counter­terrorism officials about the gathering threat they posed.” That’s another lie, because Secretary of State John Kerry had actually fought inside the Administration against Obama’s policy on that, and the policy came from Obama himself — and NOT from his subordinates (such as Ashton Carter), as that lying newspaper alleged. The article referred to “the expanded push against al-Nusra” — but here is the reality: by no later than December 2012 Obama had settled upon al-Nusra to lead America’s overthrow-Assad campaign inside Syria. And the reason for that has very deep historical roots — all hidden from the American public. Instead of such realism, that propaganda-organ, in its article on 10 November 2016, wrote:

A bitterly divided Obama administration had tried over the summer to cut a deal with Moscow on a joint U.S.-Russian air campaign against al-Nusra, in exchange for a Russian commitment to ground Syrian government warplanes and to allow more humanitarian supplies into besieged areas. But the negotiations broke down in acrimony, with Moscow accusing the United States of failing to separate al-Nusra from more moderate rebel groups and Washington accusing the Russians of war crimes in Aleppo.

‘Humanitarian’. How stupid does the owner of the Washington Post think that the American public is in order for it still to believe that its Government really cares about being “humanitarian” around the world — especially in countries it’s trying to conquer, such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia …? Really? He thinks it’s that stupid? Or, does he think his newspaper can help to make them so misinformed?

That rabidly anti-Russian newspaper continued there:

Russia had accused the United States of sheltering al-Nusra, a charge repeated Thursday in Moscow by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“The president doesn’t want this group to be what inherits the country if Assad ever does fall,” a senior U.S. official said. “This cannot be the viable Syrian opposition. It’s al-Qaeda.”

Officials said the administration’s hope is that more-moderate rebel factions will be able to gain ground as both the Islamic State and al-Nusra come under increased military pressure.

The article also featured a headline and link to their 9 November 2016 news-story, “Intelligence community is already feeling a sense of dread about Trump”. Even back then, the Democratic Party’s billionaires were pumping their agents’ allegations which would lead to Russiagate, the Mueller Report, and ultimately to Ukrainegate and Trump’s impeachment for being insufficiently supportive of President Obama’s 2014 coup and conquest of Ukraine, which Obama had started planning by no later than 2011. All of that was a warning to any current or future U.S. President, that to buck the collective will of America’s billionaires is to commit political suicide. It doesn’t make any difference what the President’s Party is — the dictate, from the billionaires, applies to any U.S. President. This ‘restored Cold War’ is nothing of the sort — on the U.S. side, the war secretly continued uninterrupted, even after the Soviet Union ended its communism, and its Warsaw-Pact mirror of America’s NATO military alliance.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Uncategorized, Russia, Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Erdogan Now Claims Syria’s Idlib Province Belongs to Turkey

Yemen: Ansarallah fighters capture capital city of Al-Jawf in decisive battle

The Ansarallah fighters have announced the capture of the capital city of the Al-Jawf Governorate, following a week-long battle with the Saudi-Zio-Wahhabi backed Islah Muslim brotherhood militias in northern Yemen.

According to the Ansarallah fighters, the pro-government Yemeni military and Islah militias withdrew from the administrative capital of the Al-Jawf Governorate, Hazm, after nearly besieging the aforementioned groups on Sunday.

The loss of Hazm marks the first time in over two years that the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led Coalition has lost a capital city in Yemen.

Furthermore, the loss of Hazm could not come at a worse time for the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led Coalition, as the Ansarallah fighters are still advancing towards the administration capital of the Marib Governorate.

Should the Ansarallah fighters captured Marib city, this would mean that the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led Coalition no longer controls any capitals in the northwestern part of Yemen.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on Yemen: Ansarallah fighters capture capital city of Al-Jawf in decisive battle

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