Archive | September 12th, 2017

Does the US Military “Own the Weather”?


Does the US Military “Own the Weather”? “Weaponizing the Weather” as an Instrument of Modern Warfare?


Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century.

The issue has been amply documented and should be part of the climate change debate.

Note: There is no evidence of “weather modification” in relation to recent climatic disturbances (hurricanes), but at the same time there is no firm evidence that this climate instability is attributable to greenhouse gas emissions.

The broader issue of environmental modification techniques must be addressed and carefully analyzed.


US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’. During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which was initially developed in the 1990s under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), was an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP  –which was officially abolished in 2014– is  a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.

Officially, the HAARP program has been closed down at its location in Alaska. The technology of weather modification shrouded in secrecy, nonetheless prevails. HAARP documents confirm that the technology was fully operational in the mid 1990s.

(For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction: Owning the Weather for Military Use, Global Research). 

It should be emphasized that while the US military confirms that weather warfare is fully operational, there is no documented evidence of its military use against enemies of the US. The subject matter is a taboo among environmental analysts. No in-depth investigation has been undertaken to reveal the operational dimensions of weather warfare.

The irony is that the impacts of  ENMOD techniques for military use were documented by CBC TV in the early 1990s.

The CBC TV report acknowledged that the HAARP facility in Alaska under the auspices of the US Air Force had the ability of triggering typhoons, earthquakes, floods and droughts:


Directed energy is such a powerful technology it could be used to heat the ionosphere to turn weather into a weapon of war. Imagine using a flood to destroy a city or tornadoes to decimate an approaching army in the desert. The military has spent a huge amount of time on weather modification as a concept for battle environments. If an electromagnetic pulse went off over a city, basically all the electronic things in your home would wink and go out, and they would be permanently destroyed.”

CBC TV Report

Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather

In this article we will provide key quotations from a US 1996 military document which analyzes weather modification techniques for military use.

The underlying objective from a military standpoint is “Owning the Weather”.

At the time this study was commissioned in  1996, the HAARP program was already fully operational as documented by the CBC documentary.

The stated purpose of the Report is described below:

In this paper we show that appropriate application of weather-modification can provide battlespace dominance to a degree never before imagined. In the future, such operations will enhance air and space superiority and provide new options for battlespace shaping and battlespace awareness there, waiting for us to pull it all together;” in 2025 we can “Own the Weather.” US Air Force document AF 2025 Final Report,  

Weather-modification, according to the US Air Force document AF 2025 Final Report, 

offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary”, capabilities, it says, extend to the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes:

‘Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of [military] technologies.” 

See complete reports commissioned by the US Air Force at

 ….From enhancing friendly operations or disrupting those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of natural weather patterns to complete dominance of global communications and counterspace control, weather-modification offers the war fighter a wide-range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary. Some of the potential capabilities a weather-modification system could provide to a war-fighting commander in chief (CINC) are listed in table 1.

Source: US Air Force

Why Would We Want to Mess with the Weather? is the subtitle of chapter 2 of the Report

According to Gen Gordon Sullivan, former Army chief of staff, “As we leap technology into the 21st century, we will be able to see the enemy day or night, in any weather— and go after him relentlessly.” global, precise, real-time, robust, systematic weather-modification capability would provide war-fighting CINCs with a powerful force multiplier to achieve military objectives. Since weather will be common to all possible futures, a weather-modification capability would be universally applicable and have utility across the entire spectrum of conflict. The capability of influencing the weather even on a small scale could change it from a force degrader to a force multiplier.

Under the heading:

What Do We Mean by “Weather-modification”?

The report states:

The term weather-modification may have negative connotations for many people, civilians and military members alike. It is thus important to define the scope to be considered in this paper so that potential critics or proponents of further research have a common basis for discussion.

In the broadest sense, weather-modification can be divided into two major categories: suppression and intensification of weather patterns. In extreme cases, it might involve the creation of completely new weather patterns, attenuation or control of severe storms, or even alteration of global climate on a far-reaching and/or long-lasting scale. In the mildest and least controversial cases it may consist of inducing or suppressing precipitation, clouds, or fog for short times over a small-scale region. Other low-intensity applications might include the alteration and/or use of near space as a medium to enhance communications, disrupt active or passive sensing, or other purposes. (emphasis added)

The Triggering of Storms:

Weather-modification technologies might involve techniques that would increase latent heat release in the atmosphere, provide additional water vapor for cloud cell development, and provide additional surface and lower atmospheric heating to increase atmospheric instability.

Critical to the success of any attempt to trigger a storm cell is the pre-existing atmospheric conditions locally and regionally. The atmosphere must already be conditionally unstable and the large-scale dynamics must be supportive of vertical cloud development. The focus of the weather-modification effort would be to provide additional “conditions” that would make the atmosphere unstable enough to generate cloud and eventually storm cell development. The path of storm cells once developed or enhanced is dependent not only on the mesoscale dynamics of the storm but the regional and synoptic (global) scale atmospheric wind flow patterns in the area which are currently not subject to human control. (page 19)

Is the CIA involved in Climate Engineering? 

The Involvement of the CIA in Climate Change Technologies

Back in July 2013,  MSN news reported that the CIA was involved in helping to fund a project by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) focusing on geo-engineering and climate manipulation. The report not only acknowledged these technologies, it confirmed that US intelligence has been routinely involved in addressing the issue of climatic manipulation:

The CIA is helping fund the research because the NAS also plans to evaluate “the national security concerns (that could be) related to geoengineering technologies being deployed somewhere in the world,” Kearney said.

In an emailed statement, Christopher White, a spokesman for the CIA’s office of public affairs, told MSN, “On a subject like climate change, the agency works with scientists to better understand the phenomenon and its implications on national security.”

Although the CIA and the NAS are tight-lipped about what these concerns might be, one researcher notes that geoengineering has the potential to deliberately disrupt the weather for terrorist or military goals.

John Pike, the director of, a Washington-based firm that specializes in addressing emerging security concerns, says that worries about the potential impact of geoengineering aren’t as paramount as the potential security issues that could arise if the United States doesn’t use the technology.

“A failure to engage in geoengineering could impact the political stability of other countries, and that could lead to trouble for the U.S.,” he said.

The NAS project is supported by the U.S. intelligence community, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Energy.

historical examples of related technologies (e.g., cloud seeding and other weather modification) for lessons that might be learned about societal reactions, examine what international agreements exist which may be relevant to the experimental testing or deployment of geoengineering technologies, and briefly explore potential societal and ethical considerations related to geoengineering. This study is intended to provide a careful, clear scientific foundation that informs ethical, legal, and political discussions surrounding geoengineering.


According to a  2015 report in the Independent (screenshot above), quoting a renowned US scientist Alan Robock:

A senior American climate scientist has spoken of the fear he experienced when US intelligence services apparently asked him about the possibility of weaponising the weather as a major report on geo-engineering is to be published this week.

Professor Alan Robock stated that three years ago, two men claiming to be from the CIA had called him to ask whether experts would be able to tell if hostile forces had begun manipulating the US’s weather, though he suspected the purpose of the call was to find out if American forces could meddle with other countries’ climates instead. (emphasis added)

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I$raHell: “There Is No Palestine”


Israel: “There Is No Palestine”, It Cannot be Allowed to Join the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)


Many think tourism is something Israel and Palestine are agreeing and tourism is a peace industry – they may be wrong.

Besides the confirmation hearing for the next UNWTO Secretary General, another important decision is the application by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Tourism for a full membership as a country into the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The application for Palestine was submitted last year and the full General Assembly has to agree with a two third majority to accept Palestine as a new country to join the organization. The full General Assembly is getting together in Chengdu, China next week. Palestine became a full member of UNESCO in 2011.

Tourism is an important revenue channel for Palestine and also Israel. However, Israel is indirectly in control of Palestine tourism since all international borders are controlled by the Jewish State. The UNWTO “human right for tourists to travel” does not always apply when it comes to visiting Palestine, and having to deal with Israel’s rules.

From time to time, Israel puts more restrictions on tourism to Palestine, including disallowing western visitors to re-enter Israel when staying in a hotel in Palestine.

However, cooperation between Palestine and Israel is an important and successful activity, and organizations including the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism and its founder Louis D’Amore had worked tirelessly for decades to make both Israel and Palestine understand the importance of tourism and peace. Louis d’Amore will be attending the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu next week.

The Israel Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said that Israel’s position is that the “State Of Palestine” does not exist, and therefore it cannot be accepted as a state in the UN or in any of its affiliated organizations.

Israel, of course, knows money always talks, and diplomatic pressure has been put on Taleb Rifai, the current Jordanian Secretary General to disallow Palestine’s move. Money talks and Israel’s foreign ministry threatened: Granting state membership to the Palestinians will lead to a greater politicization of the organization and a cut in funding. Furthermore, the Jewish State continues its pressure on UWNTO member states saying:

“We are not expecting any negative impact on Israel or its continued activity in the organization – the expected damage will be to the organization itself.”

“Israel has taken all diplomatic measures to block the request,” an Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman told the Jerusalem Post.

The United States of America is not a member of UNWTO, but Israel Israel has also involved the Americans, who have warned the Palestinians that their joining the organization could have consequences in their relations with the US.

The application for Palestine is expected to be confirmed, especially since countries who could be counted on to support Israel and vote against the move – such as the US, Canada, the U.K.and Australia – are not members of the UNWTO.

Having Palestine as a full voting member of this global community could be an important step forward to secure peace and expand on tourism making the occupied territory seen less occupied and more independent.

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Iraq: “US-led Coalition Jets Deliberately Bombed Our Positions to Halt Our Progress Against ISIS”

Babylon Battalions Leader

Featured image: Ryan Khaldani, a leader of the Popular Mobilization Units-aligned Babylon Battalions

“The American planes bombed our positions to prevent us from reaching the Nineveh Plains”, said Ryan Khaldani, a leader of the Popular Mobilization Units-aligned Babylon Battalions, adding that the countries, known to be hostile to Iraq, are looking for ways to create tensions in the country, especially as regards the post-ISIS era.

In an interview with Al Mayadeen network, Khaldani said that both, the US-led international anti-ISIS coalition and the Kurdish Peshmerga were deliberately making moves that benefited ISIS, while causing damage to the Iraqi forces fighting ISIS.

He also said his movement firmly opposes the forthcoming referendum on independence of the so-called “Iraqi Kurdistan”, noting that his movement will not allow not even an inch of the Nineveh Plains to be taken away from its original inhabitants.

He, however, said that for now his movement will not raise its arms against Peshmerga, although it might resort to tougher measures should the latter try to take the land by force.

On September 24th, the Barazani regime in so-called “Iraqi Kurdistan” will hold a referendum on the province’s independence from Iraq.

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The Kiev-Controlled Mariupol Airport Continues to Operate as a Concentration Camp

In Mariupol, on the territory of the local airport, Ukrainian nationalists organized a concentration camp, which works to this day. In it punishers torture and kill people who don’t agree with the policy that is conducted by Kiev.

This was stated by the participant of the movement of liberation of Mariupol Irina Popova during an interview, reports the correspondent of Politnavigator.

Also she spoke about how exactly in the city another anniversary of the liberation from fascist aggressors was celebrated, and emphasized the fact that, despite all the attempts of the authorities to show that the city continues to lead a peaceful life, the situation there is far from being easy.

Irina Popova: “Events devoted to the Day of liberation of Mariupol from German fascist invaders were held at the initiative of the residents themselves who, for example, on September 9th came to a meeting in a small group in the Levoberezhny district. Also at the initiative of the city’s landscapers 500 bushes of flowers were planted. This day is a celebration of liberation from German fascist invaders, and, as far as Ukrainian propaganda tries to present Mariupol as a city of wellbeing, in reality the situation there is not simple at all, but very difficult.

I will describe it in an everyday picture: a person in Ukrainian military or police uniform comes onto a bus. Passengers immediately stop talking, everyone turns away and looks out of the window. What can be said here? About a normal situation in the city? Of course, no.

Many residents of Mariupol know firsthand how their acquaintances, relatives, and work colleagues disappear without a trace. Members of families of missing persons, being afraid of punishment in regards to their relatives, very often are simply afraid to submit statements to the police about the disappearance of their relatives.

And there is now no doubt that such punishment is being carried out. As such a concentration camp was already at work in Mariupol airport, it still continues to act. Nobody closed this airport. Many are being shown it for the purpose of intimidation. For example, they brought a mother to the airport, whose son had been detained, and they just kept her there for 48 hours. She was simply led to the places of shooting and torture. And I can imagine what mood and what psychological state she was in after what she had seen.

You understand, this person won’t be shown on the Ukrainian television, as well as the airport itself, but that will show the festival ‘Chervona Ruta’. Unfortunately, it is two realities: one is on TV, and another is in the real life of the residents of Mariupol, who wait for liberation and for our arrival.”

I.e., in fact, in Mariupol there is now terror?

Irina Popova: “It is unambiguously terror, and this excess cannot be called anything else.”

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GM Mustard and the Indian Government: The Game Is up, the Emperor Has No Clothes!


The next stage of the case involving the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India is to be heard on 15 September in the Supreme Court (SC). GM mustard could be India’s first commercially cultivated GM food crop, which could very well open the floodgates to the commercialisation of various other food crops that are in the pipeline.

Lead petitioner Aruna Rodrigues is seeking a moratorium on the environmental release of any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the absence of comprehensive, transparent and rigorous biosafety protocols in the public domain and biosafety studies conducted by independent expert bodies the results of which are made available in public domain.

The petitioners argue that the present circumstances warrant a prohibition on commercial release of DMH-11 mustard in view of the fact that:

  • Mustard is a crop of origin/diversity in India
  • DMH-11 and parental lines contain herbicide tolerant (HT) traits
  • DMH11 has failed to satisfy the prior requirement of ‘need’ of this crop as evidenced from the results of the open field trials
  • The conduct of Biosafety Research Level (‘BRL’) trials were comprehensively flawed and are invalid

In this ongoing saga, two government ‘additional affidavits’ were recently submitted to the SC, following the recommendations of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to permit the environmental release of DMH-11 and its transgenic parental lines.

The government says that only 15 kilograms of DMH-11 would be planted in the upcoming winter season (beginning from Oct 2017) to demonstrate its yield potential and commercial viability. It has revealed plans for hybrid seed production in preparation for commercial use in approx. two years.

It also reiterates its claims that DMH-11 is not a HT crop. It claims it has been developed through ‘hybridization technology’. The government averred that DMH-11 does not pose any risk to human/animal health or the environment. Furthermore, it urged that the DMH-11 and other hybrids using this technology are necessary to improve yields in mustard in India which has been ‘stagnant around 7-8 MT for the last 20 years’.

The government has not only projected the hybrid seed production of DMH-11 as an innocuous and harmless procedure, but also revealed its predisposed mind to permit commercialisation of GE Mustard.

Exposing the government’s claims

In response to this, Aruna Rodrigues has submitted a 45-page ‘Addtional Affidavit Reply’ (citing all relevant sources and in-depth arguments) to the SC to rebut the claims by the government.

The basis of the rebuttal is stated on pages 3 and 4:

“At the outset, it is stated that the above [government] Affidavits hide more than they reveal. The stand of the Central Government reflects a high degree of technical incompetence and a deliberate intent to obfuscate science. The claims made are also straightforwardly untrue; broad statements, without evidence, presented as fact.”

Based on the Report on Assessment for Food & Environmental Safety (AFES) submitted by the Sub-Committee of GEAC, the government argues that DMH-11 does not pose any risk to human/animal health or the environment.

In response to this, Rodrigues states:

“As such, the AFES Report is not a detailed scientific description of the biosafety of HT DMH-11. The dossier with the raw biosafety data submitted by CGMCP [Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants at the University of Delhi, which has developed DMH -11] running into thousands of pages is still concealed, for which the Petitioners were constrained to initiate contempt proceedings against the Respondents which is currently pending for consideration by this Hon’ble Court.”

While Rodrigues expresses deep concern about the government’s attempts to confuse and even mislead on matters of core importance to biosafety, she is also concerned about minutes of a crucial GEAC meeting being suppressed.

The affidavit then discusses the recent report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment and Forests: ‘Genetically Modified Crops and its Impact on Environment’.

The report is scathing in its criticism of the regulation and risk assessment of GMOs, including GM HT mustard. It finds relevant high-level agencies as shockingly casual in their approach to GMOs in agriculture and “takes serious note of the apathy of the concerned government agencies” about the impact of GMOs on the environment (including agriculture) and on human and animal health. It finds the current regulatory framework to lack rigour, expertise, transparency and is seriously ‘conflicted’ (conflict of interest).

The Committee strongly believes that unless the bio-safety and socioeconomic desirability is evaluated by a participatory, independent and transparent process and a retrieval and accountability regime is put in place, no GM crop should be introduced in the country. The report states that with GM mustard being an herbicide tolerant GMO, there is clear evidence on the adverse impacts of such GMOs from elsewhere in the world.

The Committee argues that the government should reconsider its decision to commercialise GM crops in the country and recommends that the whole process of evaluation should be carried out by an independent agency consisting of the people of impeccable credentials in the relevant field to ensure that there is no violation of the existing regulations in this regard.

The above findings are entirely in agreement with four previous official government reports. A short description of these reports is contained in the affidavit, followed by a discussion of the history of regulatory delinquency with special reference to events surrounding GM brinjal. Regrettably and alarmingly, in HT mustard DMH-11, India faces a repeat of the disastrous regulatory history of Bt brinjal, which was eventually prevented from being commercially cultivated.

The affidavit then goes on to deconstruct each aspect of the government’s case for GM mustard. It exposes a catalogue of deceptions and misrepresentations, not least the government’s newly concocted claim that HT stands for ‘hybridisation technology’ and not ‘herbicide tolerant’, which – given the evidence set out by Rodrigues in the affidavit – appears to be a desperate attempt to backtrack given the massive dangers and impracticalities associated with HT crops in a country like India.

As in previous court documents and in various other literature, it is made clear that GM mustard does not improve yields and that there is in fact no need for it. Much is also made of the field trails that were based on invalid tests, poor science and a lack of rigour and is supported by a good degree of technical data and argument. The conclusion is there has been a “regulatory vacuum” and the SC is being misled by the government.

Rodrigues is scathing in her criticisms, not least in the proven dangers posed by the herbicide glufosinate and the contamination of India’s mustard germplasm. The government’s actions indicate:

“a disregard for India’s priceless biodiversity, a heritage that we must ferociously guard and also status as a biodiversity ‘hot spot’… lip service is paid to the certain contamination of India’s germplasm from HT DMH 11. This is outstanding issue that Petitioners emphasise repeatedly, because it is critical. If the GM ‘genie’ escapes, it cannot be bottled again.”

Rodrigues adds:

“In reality, the ruse is to obtain the authorisation of this Hon’ble Court now, to ‘creeping commercialisation’ which will be undertaken in 2 stages. This first stage, (limited to 15 kg of seed), will be the backdoor entry to eventual full commercial release sometime in the future, when there is sufficient seed produced from this first stage for full commercial planting.”

Given the conflicts of interest at work in the regulatory process, the invalid field tests, the lack of transparency, the proven lack of need, the threat to India’s mustard biodiversity and the dangers of glufosinate to health and to agriculture in a nation of small farmers using a multi-cropping system, isn’t it time for the government to come clean? Isn’t it time to follow the recommendation set out in numerous high-level reports.

The developers at Delhi University, the government and the GEAC have been found out.

No one wants GM mustard. Not farmers, not the various states. And do we hear the public speaking out in favour of it?

The game is up. The emperor has no clothes. The fraud has been exposed.

For those who have not been following the issue of GM mustard in India and its implications, additional insight may be obtained by accessing Colin’s previous articles on the matter here.

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Struggles Challenging Neo-Colonial Regime Prompts Postponement of ‘Israel’-Africa Summit in Togo


Millions oppose the continuation of successive Gnassingbe administrations after five decades

Featured image: Togo President Faure Gnassingbe with Israeli PM Netanyahu

A controversial gathering which was scheduled to be held in the West African state of Togo has been called off amid a burgeoning movement aimed at the removal of a French-backed political dynasty.

Called the Israel-Africa Summit, the event was obviously designed to enhance the political and economic role of Tel Aviv on the continent.

Absent of any serious attempts to resolve the Palestinian question related their right to self-determination and nationhood along with the ongoing occupation of the Golan Heights in Syria, the state of Israel is seeking to undermine any appearance of anti-imperialist sentiments among African leaders. Reversing developments in years pass when progressive and moderate African governments gave diplomatic and material support to the anti-Zionist movement in Palestine and surrounding countries, Israel is making a bold offensive to strengthen relations with African Union (AU) member-states.

The summit was to have taken place in October in Lome the capital. Several leaders in Africa had already objected to the meeting and said they would not attend.

News of the postponement came from the Israeli Foreign Ministry which noted that the President of Togo would not be in a position to hold the summit at this time. Mass demonstrations have erupted in Togo demanding the removal of the administration of President Faure Gnassingbe who has ruled the country since his father’s death, Gnassingbe Eyadema, in 2005. The elder Gnassingbe seized power in a military coup in 1967. Therefore, the country has been ruled by one family for 50 years.

According to an article published by the Associated Press on September 11, it conveys:

“In a statement Monday (Sept. 11), the ministry said the decision had come at the request of Togo’s president, Faure Gnassingbe, after consultations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It said talks would continue ‘to guarantee the full success of the summit.’ The statement gave no reason for the decision. But Togo has been experiencing unrest in recent days, with thousands of protesters demanding presidential term limits amid anger over the 50-year rule of the Gnassingbe family.”

This announcement represents a setback in Israeli foreign policy towards Africa. The convening of such a summit on the continent would represent a major departure from the traditions of solidarity with the struggling peoples of the world particularly in the Middle East.

Largely stemming from the failed British, French and Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956 in the aftermath of the nationalization of the Suez Canal by the-then President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the newly-emerging African states began to look critically at Tel Aviv. Just over a decade later during the so-called “Six Day War” of June 1967 between Egypt, Syria and Jordan against the Israeli state, where Tel Aviv more than doubled its size by seizing control of the Sanai in Egypt right up to the Suez Canal, while at the same time occupying the Golan Heights of Syria and the taking of the West Bank previously under Jordanian authority, most African states severed diplomatic relations with Israel.

Six years later in 1973, Egypt under President Anwar Sadat launched an offensive taking back vast stretches of the Sinai from Israeli control, lead to the escalation of tensions even further. Two years later in 1975, the United Nations General Assembly voted to declare that “Zionism is racism”, intensifying the isolation of Tel Aviv. Eventually in 1991, the resolution against Israel was revoked by the same UN General Assembly.

The London-based Independent newspaper noted that in the current situation:

“A number of African countries were reportedly threatening to boycott the October 23-27 event, in protest at Israel’s conduct in the Palestinian conflict. Morocco’s King Mohamed VI stayed away from a summit of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS in Liberia in June, because Netanyahu was invited. “

Togolese Masses Take to the Streets in Early September

Perhaps the most significant factor in the decision to postpone the summit was the unrelenting mobilizations by opposition parties and coalitions in Togo aimed at the resignation of the current administration of Gnassingbe. During August 19-20, tens of thousands marched and rallied in defiance of the national government.

Reports indicated that as many as 7 people were killed by police and military forces inside the country. Many others were arrested and 15 members of a leading opposition group, the Pan-African National Party (PNP), were sentenced to prison terms.

A new round of mass demonstrations against the Gnassingbe administration erupted on September 6-7. The government in response reportedly shutdown internet connectivity preventing the various opposition groups from communicating among themselves as well as limiting access to information related to developments inside the country and internationally.

Togo opposition on the march for removal of neo-colonial regime in Lome

Thousands of Togolese marched into the central area of Lome on September 7 facing down the security forces. Later police fired teargas to disperse the crowd arresting some 80 people.

Al Jazeera described the September 7 demonstrations emphasizing that:

“The scale of this week’s protests, which the opposition said were attended by hundreds of thousands of people, represented the biggest challenge to Gnassingbe’s rule since the aftermath of his ascension to power in 2005. US-based company Dyn, which monitors the internet, said traffic dropped off at 09:00 GMT in what critics said was a move by the government to suppress protests as other African governments have done. Residents said that text messages had also been blocked. The communications minister could not immediately be reached for comment on the cuts.”

Those seeking to remain informed about the mass demonstrations of September 6-7 were forced to travel to the border between Togo and Ghana in order to have access to internet services. Officials within the Gnassingbe regime admitted that internet services were blocked citing concerns of threats to national security.

Demonstrators told members of the press they wanted a return to the reform constitution enacted in 1992. This document limits the existing administrations from remaining in office for more than two terms.

Nonetheless, after the ascendancy of the current president, amendments were made which allowed the perpetuation of the Gnassingbe family rule. Efforts aimed at reform have been met with fierce repression from the government.

Understanding the mounting mass pressure, members of parliament have announced the need for a bill to institute reforms. Nonetheless, opposition figures are quite skeptical of such a move at this time.

Coalition Broadens Through the Emergence of PNP

These recent demonstrations have reached a critical point with the emergence of the Pan African National Party (PNP) leader Tikpi Atchadam, 50, as a central figure in the mass mobilizations over the last month. The party has reached out to form a broader alliance with the Combat for Political Change (CAP 2015) which brought together opposition groups in over the last few years.

PNP was formed in 2014 and has no representation in parliament. Atchadam is from the northern region of Togo as is the Gnassingbe family. The willingness of the various opposition parties to work together has created a dynamic movement committed to the toppling of the existing administration.

Atchadam has never before run for president. Parliamentary opposition leader of the National Alliance for Change (ANC), Jean-Pierre Fabre, 65, has also formed a coalition with the PNP in the interests of political transformation.

Fabre has run unsuccessfully for president on several occasions. The ANC leader repeatedly charged that the elections were rigged and not representative of the Togolese political will.

In response to the growing demonstration against President Gnassingbe, members of his ruling Rally for the Togolese People (RPT) have also staged demonstrations in support of the government. At present President Gnassingbe is chair of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) therefore hampering the capacity of the organization to effectively address the current political impasse inside the country.

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The People of Afghanistan Have Had Truly Enough of Western Imperialist Barbarism


Interview with Andre Vltchek by Alessandro Biancchi, Chief Editor of Anti-Diplomatico


Alessandro Bianchi: The geographic location of Afghanistan has always occupied a central role. The April peace talks between Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Russia and China seemed to have put an end to the persistent and dominant American presence in the country. What’s your opinion?

Andre Vltchek: What you have mentioned is extremely important, but I’m not ready to celebrate, yet. This could be, at least in theory, the first step towards the end of one of the most destructive and brutal occupations in NATO’s history, or in what the US mainstream press likes to describe as “the longest American war.”

Let us also not call it only the “American presence”. I know some Europeans lately love to portray themselves as some kind of victims, but they are definitely not. Europe is at the core of this entire global nightmare. And the US is nothing else other than its creation: it is Europe’s offspring. In many ways, the United States is Europe.

The UK is now well behind this horror through which Afghanistan is being forced to go through, at least theoretically; a sadistic revenge for all former British defeats in the country. The UK is responsible for more massacres worldwide than any other country on Earth. And now it is shaping the US and in fact the entire Western imperialism, ideologically. Its Machiavellianism, its propaganda machine is second to none.

What I can confirm from my first-hand experience is that by now the people of Afghanistan have had truly enough of this Western imperialist barbarism. They are exhausted after 16 years of the horror invasion. They dislike the West; mistrust the West… But most of them are silent, because they are constantly being frightened into submission. And also remember: collaboration with the Western occupation forces is now the greatest ‘business’ in the country. Afghan diplomats, many politicians, countless military commanders, Western-funded NGOs, even thousands of educators, are all serving the occupiers. Billions of dollars are being made from such shameful collaboration.It is all one huge business, and the mafia of servile Afghan ‘journalists’, diplomats, governors and ‘educators’ will never leave their lucrative positions voluntarily.

Western colonialism corrupts! It corrupts one generation after another in all conquered, occupied countries.

Afghans who are pure, Afghans who are proud, true patriots with beautiful hearts (and there are still many of such people in this country that became one of my favorite places on Earth) have presently no power, no say.

Fortunately, even the elites are now realizing that there is no way forward under the present regime, and under the present foreign rule.

In Kabul and in the provinces, people are beginning to look towards Russia, China, but also Iran, even India. Despite its terrible past track record in this part of the world, even Pakistan cannot be ignored, anymore. Anything is better than NATO.

AB: Like in other parts of the world, the presence of American troops does not fully explain the long-term goals of military planners. Afghanistan in some respects resembles a similar situation to Southeast Asia. In South Korea, the American presence has persisted since 1950, and with it the destabilization of the Korean peninsula. The American surge will not change the delicate balance negotiated between the parties back in April and it will not affect the efforts of Moscow and Beijing to stabilize the country. How do you define the US presence today in Afghanistan?

AV: I define it as inhuman, barbaric and thoroughly racist. And I’m not talking about the US presence only, but also about the European presence, particularly the British one.

There could be absolutely no doubts regarding how deep once-socialist Afghanistan has sank under the NATO cruelty. It is enough to go even to the sites of the UNDP or the WHO and it all there, in details: Afghanistan is now the least ‘developed’ (using HDI criteria) country in Asia. Afghan people have the lowest life expectancy on their continent.

The US alone claims that it has managed to spend, since the invasion in 2001, between 750 billion and 1.2 trillion dollars. That’s huge, an astronomical amount, even bigger than the entire Marshall Plan after WWII (adjusted to today’s dollar)! But has it been spent to help the Afghan people? Of course not! It has gone mainly into corrupting of ‘elites’ and their offspring, into the military, into the salaries of foreign contractors. Huge military bases were built; some were at some point decommissioned, others were moved somewhere else. Airports were constructed – all of them military ones. Private Western security firms are having a ball. I once calculated that if all that money were to be equally divided between all Afghans, the country would have had a much higher income per capita than relatively affluent Malaysia, for 16 consecutive years!

What the West has done to Afghanistan is insane! It is Orwell meeting Huxley, and all mixed with the worst nightmares of painters like George Grosz and Otto Dix.

Old trolley bus lines built by the former Czechoslovakia are gone; only stumps are left. But so much is still surviving. Soviet apartment buildings, so-called Makroyans, are still standing and flats there are in great demand to date. Water ducts in the countryside were built by Soviet Union, and so were irrigation canals around Jalalabad and elsewhere. India built dams. China constructed public medical facilities. What did the West create? Nothing else other than total misery, armed conflicts and above all–countless military barracks, tall concrete walls and fences, the drug trade, intellectual prostitution and as always, dark and complete nihilism!

In 2007, around 700 Afghan civilians were killed by Western airstrikes alone, a great increase even when compared with 2006.

Georgian military contractors who are working for the US occupation army recently told me: US have total spite for Afghan people. They even destroy unused food at its military bases, instead of giving it to starving children.

People of Afghanistan know perfectly well who are their friends, and who are enemies.

AB: The world is changing, and more and more fruitful efforts to replace the chaos wrought by US policies can be seen. The road to economic prosperity and a re-established unity among the Afghan people is still a work in progress, but once the country manages to establish its independence, Washington will have a hard time dictating conditions. Will countries like Russia, China and India be able to prevent a dangerous escalation in Afghanistan?

AV: Many people in Afghanistan are actually dreaming about true independence, and most of them remember with great love, all the kindness and internationalism given to them by the Soviet people. Unlike the Westerners, the Soviets came here first as teachers, doctors, nurses and engineers. They shared with the locals all that they had. They lived among them. They never hid behind fences. To date, in Afghanistan, you say you are Russian, and dozens of people will embrace you, invite you to their homes. It is all in stark contrast to the Western propaganda, which says that Afghans dislike Russians!

When it comes to Russia and China, yes, both countries acting in concert would be able to bring economic prosperity and social justice to Afghanistan. I’m not so sure about India, which is, until now, clearly sitting on two chairs, but definitely China and Russia are ready and able to help.

The problem is that Afghanistan is still very far from any sort of independence. The West has occupied it for 16 years, that’s terrible enough. But the country has also been sacrificed for the even more sinister designs of the US and NATO, for much longer than that: Afghanistan has been, for decades, a training ground for the pro-western jihadi cadres, starting with Al-Qaeda/Mujahedeen (during the ‘Soviet War’ and the war against Afghan socialism). Now the Taliban is ruining the country, but also, increasingly, ISIS are murdering all in sight here. Recently, ISIS have been arriving from Syria and Lebanon, where they are in the process of being defeated by the Syrian army, by the Russians, but also by the Lebanese forces and Hezbollah. The ISIS was, as is well known, created by the West and its allies in the Gulf.

This is essential to understand: two countries that the West wants to fully destabilize are Russia and China. In both of them, Islamist fundamentalists have been fighting and bringing horrible damage. The West is behind all this. And it is using and sacrificing Afghanistan which is absolutely perfect for the Western imperialist designs due to its geographical location, but also because it is now fully destabilized and in a state of chaos. In Afghanistan, NATO is maintaining ‘perpetual conflict’. Jihadi cadres can be easily hardened there, and then they can be ‘exported’; to go and fight somewhere in Northwest China or in the Central Asian parts of Russia.

The destruction of Afghanistan is actually a well-planned genocidal war of the West against the Afghan people. But the country is also a training ground for jihadists who will eventually be sent to fight against Russia and China.

AB: While the United States exhales the last breaths as a declining global power, no longer able to impose its will, it lashes out in pointless acts like lobbing 60 cruise missiles at Syria or sending 4,000 troops to Afghanistan. Such acts do not change anything on the ground or modify the balance of forces in Washington’s favor. They do, however, have a strong impact on further reducing whatever confidence remains in the US, closing the door to opportunities for dialogue and cooperation that might have otherwise got on the table.

AV: Here I have to strongly disagree. I’m almost certain that the West in general, and the United States in particular, are clearly aware of what they are doing. The US has some of the most sinister colonial powers as its advisers, particularly the United Kingdom.

The US will not simply go down the drain without a great fight, and don’t ever think that Europe would either. These two parts of the world were built on the great plunder of the planet. They still are. They cannot sustain themselves just from the fruits of their brains and labor. They are perpetual thieves. The US can never be separated from Europe. The US is just one huge branch growing from an appalling trunk, from the tree of European colonialism, imperialism and racism.

Whatever the US, Europe and NATO are presently doing is brilliantly planned. Never under-estimate them! It is all brutal, sinister and murderous planning, but from a strictly strategic point of view, it is truly brilliant!

And they will never go away on their own! They will have to be fought and defeated. Otherwise they are here to stay: in Afghanistan, in Syria, or anywhere else.

AB: What is the role of Italian troops that you have seen in your last visit to Afghanistan?

Italian troops took over ancient Citadel in Herat City (Source: Andre Vltchek)

AV: It is a usual cocktail consisting of what Italian fascism has been made of throughout its colonialist, fascist and NATO eras: a medley of cruelty, hypocrisy, as well as some great hope in Rome that Italy could finally become a competent and ‘respected’ occupier… I saw the Italian troops in Herat… They occupied an ancient citadel of the city, jumping like members of some second-rate ballet troupe all around, just because some high-ranking Italian officer was bringing his family to visit the site. It was all tremendously embarrassing… I still have some photos from that ‘event’. But the best thing about Italians as occupiers is that they can hardly be taken seriously; they are disorganized, chaotic, and hedonistic even during war.

I actually love to see them in such places like Afghanistan, because they do very little damage. They are true showoffs. The French, Brits, and the US – they are efficient and brutal, true killing machines. Italians are still better at making movies, writing poetry and cooking, than murdering locals in occupied foreign countries.

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Racism and the National Football League (NFL): The Unspoken Truth Behind the Colin Kaepernick Story


Featured image: Colin Kaepernick (Source: ESPN)

“The spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of sleep.” – Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

It is generally accepted that sports, especially spectator sports, serve many social purposes, good and bad, and that they function to distract people from the cares and worries of everyday life, or the “real world.” No doubt this is true. The etymology of the word sport, derived as it is from the word “disport” – divert, amuse, carry away – tells us that.  But often a distraction can also be a reminder, even when that reminder remains shrouded in unconsciousness or forgotten in the moment. Sometimes, however, the reminder can be linked to memories that bring a startling clarity to the present.

Two recent sports news items have reminded me of incidents from my own athletic past. And those memories in turn have brought my reflections back to the current news regarding the failure of any National Football League (NFL) team to sign quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a contract, and the recent boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.

Kaepernick’s case is well-known and much discussed. He took a valiant and principled stand last football season by taking a knee during the national anthem to protest the violent treatment of black Americans by the police and American society in general. History was on his side, unless one was a clear-cut white racist and ignorant of American history. But as a terrific football player and a well-known athlete, his stand was unusual in the world of sports where political protest is very rare and not being reminded of the “real” world is the key to success. The NFL, in particular, is a very conservative organization, long infused with a super patriotic ethos wrapped in the American flag and the song that celebrates it, and Kaepernick’s protest was a diversion from the diverting spectacle on the field and not welcomed by NFL owners, to put it mildly.

Related image


So as of this writing, Kaepernick, a very good football player who would clearly strengthen an NFL team, remains without a job. That this is because he lacks talent is ridiculous. While pressure against the NFL from multiple media and organizational sources is growing to reverse this situation, even well-meaning writers have implicitly used racist language to describe the situation by saying that Kaepernick is being blackballed. Ironic as it is, our language is filled with such subtle reminders of the white mindset that equates white with good and black with bad.

But there is a deeper irony involved, and language once again reveals it.

First, however, let me briefly tell you of my memories, not because the details are important in themselves, but because they are examples of how we bring to our present perspectives past experiences that can both help to clarify and obfuscate current events. The saying “where you’re coming from” contains truth; our past experiences deeply influence how we see the present.

When I was 19-20 years old, a senior in high school and a Division I college freshman on an athletic scholarship, I was involved in two incidents involving sports and violence. The sport was basketball, not football or boxing, and the violence was minimal, but both are etched in my memory. As a young man, I was rarely involved in fighting, but when I felt abused and disrespected, my Irish temper got the best of me and I would physically defend myself. Otherwise, I was a normal young athlete, fueled by the competitive nature of high-level sports and testosterone. But these incidents taught me that the propensity for violence is in us all, and that certain situations and social arrangements can inflame and promote it, especially when you are most unaware and naïve.

But what do these memories have to do with the news about Kaepernick and Mayweather/McGregor? What I saw in both sports stories was violence; one quite obvious with boxing, the other involving Kaepernick, less so.

I realized that violence has many faces, whether it be minor or major, fisticuffs or “blitzes,” face-to-face or helmet-to-helmet, physical or verbal, racial or political, institutional or personal, etc. It’s largest and most savage one is war, and endless war and preparations for war are the large canvas within which the others lie. Sometimes remembering one’s individual inclinations toward violence can help one see the larger picture.

As usual, the Unites States is currently waging multiple wars, and is fomenting many others, including a nuclear one. Most of the victims of U.S. violence are considered “other,” the expendable people, as were slaves, Native Americans, and other people of color. Nothing has changed since that other heroic black American dissenter said that America is “the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.” And we know that Martin Luther King was murdered by those violent U.S. government forces he criticized in his opposition to war, racial inequality, and economic injustice for all Americans.

I am not equating Kaepernick with MLK, but his protest follows in the King tradition and that of other black athletes who have taken political stands: Mohammed Ali, Tommy Smith, John Carlos, et al. All suffered for their courageous positions.

Of course, Colin Kaepernick has a right to play football, just as Ali had the right to beat people up in the ring. Yet boxing, despite the Mayweather/McGregor extravaganza, has generally been recognized for the brutal “sport” it is, and has grown less popular over the years, perhaps in part because of Ali’s “pugilistic brain syndrome.” Not football.  It has grown to become America’s number one sport, despite the growing evidence of what may be called “football brain syndrome,” and all the violence and other crippling injuries suffered by former players, revealed as far back as 1970 when Dave Meggyesy, a former NFL linebacker, published Out of Their League, his expose of the dehumanizing aspects of football.

But the unspoken truth in the Kaepernick story is that football is the war sport par excellence, extremely violent, and deeply tied to the spectacle of cruelty that dominates American society today and that has caused so much suffering for black people and other people of color for centuries. In the 1960s, Brazilian television, in an effort to distinguish football (soccer) from American football, aptly termed it “military football.” And while it, like other sports, has been an avenue to wealth and “success” for some black Americans (a tiny minority), its war-like structure and violent nature is noted with a nod and a wink. Heck, it’s fun to play and exciting to watch, and is just a colorful spectacle that we can’t do without.

That it’s a conditioning agent for the love of war and violent aggression is usually passed over. Its language, like all good linguistic mind control, becomes powerfully invisible. Colin Kaepernick, like all quarterbacks, is the field general who throws bombs to flankers as he tries to avoid the blitz. Each team defends and conquers the enemy’s territory, pushing its opponent back through frontal assaults and pounding the enemy’s line. This is mixed with deceptive formations and aerial assaults behind the opponent’s line. When none of this works and the enemy goes on the offensive, a different platoon is brought in to defend one’s territory. One’s front line must then defend against a frontal assault and hit back hard. The analogies are everywhere, and as with many aspects of “everywhere,” what’s everywhere is nowhere – its familiarity making it invisible and therefore all the more powerful.

In a society of the spectacle, football is the most spectacular and entertaining mass hypnotic induction into the love of violence that we have. Yes, Mayweather and McGregor beating the shit out of each other satisfies the blood lust of gamblers and a much smaller audience, but boxing is small peanuts compared to football. Most American parents wouldn’t bring their children to a boxing match, but football is deeply ingrained in the American psyche and structured into the fabric of our lives from youth onwards, concussions and violence be damned. It is a microcosm of our militaristic, war-loving culture. Our love of violence disguised as fun.

As an American man, I understand its appeal. I am sometimes drawn in myself, but against my better nature, which embraces MLK’s non-violent philosophy. I appreciate the great athletic prowess of football players, and know that it is enjoyable and a way to recognition for many, and for a smaller number a scholarship to college, and, for even less, a lucrative job in the NFL. But as an opponent of American militarism, I find its violent ethos and the way it disfigures the bodies and minds of participants and spectators alike to be appalling. It functions as an arm of the Pentagon and the growing militarization of the country’s police departments.

As for Conor McGregor, the slum boy from south Dublin, they say he is an artist, a mixed “martial arts artist.” That violence is an art is good to know. I have been living in a bubble, thinking that art was a counterbalance to violence. When I grew out of my adolescent readiness to defend my dignity with my fists and grew into art, I had hoped that the world would grow up with me. No luck. No luck of the Irish. Conor should read our Irish ancestor, the great poet William Butler Yeats, and take the money and run.

“Too long a sacrifice/Can make a stone of the heart.”

So too Colin Kaepernick, whom I greatly admire for his courage to take an ethical stand. He deserves to be offered a job by an NFL team. If he is, I hope he turns it down, and speaks out on the propagandistic nature of the sport that made him famous, on its school of violence and its art of war. In doing that, he would be carrying on the legacy of MLK, Malcom X, Mohammed Ali, and other black leaders who said violence must stop now, war must stop, the violence on people of color must stop, and let it begin with me.

He would be disclosing the taboo truth of an American sporting distraction that does violence to its participants while it brainwashes its fans into the martial spirit. He would be waking an awful lot of people up from the slumber of the spectacle of cruelty that has this country in its grip.

Many people would take a knee in gratitude.

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Syria Summary – A New Clash Looms in Syria’s East


When the Islamic State siege on Deir Ezzor was broken by the Syrian Arab Army we asked:

Will the SAA cross the Euphrates at Deir Ezzor to retake the valuable oilfields east of it? Or will it stay south of the river and leave those oil fields to the Kurdish U.S. proxies in the north?

To cross the river is clearly desirable but also potentially contentious.

Since then several convoys of military bridging equipment have been seen on the road to Deir Ezzor. It is now obvious that the SAA will bridge the river (all regular bridges have been destroyed by U.S. bombing) and send significant forces across. New questions now are: When, where and with what aim?

As soon as the government intent became clear the U.S. pushed its local proxy forces to immediately snatch the ISIS held oilfields. In less than two days they deployed over 30 kilometers deep into the ISIS held areas north of the Euphrates. It is obvious that such progress could not have been made if ISIS had defended itself. I find it likely that a deal has been made between those two sides.

The U.S. diplomat tasked with the job, Brett McGurkrecently met with local tribal dignitaries of the area. Pictures of the meeting were published. Several people pointed out that the very same dignitaries were earlier pictured swearing allegiance to the Islamic State.

Just like during the “Anbar Awaking” in its war on Iraq the U.S. is bribing the local radicals to temporarily change over to its side. This will help the U.S. to claim that it defeated ISIS. But as soon as the payments stop the very same forces will revert back to their old game.

Originally the U.S. had planned to let ISIS take Deir Ezzor. It had twice attacked Syrian government forces in the area killing more than a hundred of them. This had allowed ISIS to capture large chunks of the government enclave and to disable the airport which was need for resupplies:

After Russian support for the SAA changed the balance of power, and after the election of Donald Trump, those plans had to change. Syria and its allies created facts on the ground and it is now again in control of the area it had lost to ISIS. It will also liberate the rest of the city.

Here is current map of the east-Syrian Euphrates area.

Map by Weekend Warrior

The SAA (red) has liberated parts of the city and the airport. The road from Damascus to Deir Ezzor is completely under SAA control. The population, which had nearly starved under the ISIS siege, is receiving fresh food, other necessary goods and medical attention.

The hatched areas of the map show possible next aims for the U.S. proxy campaign (yellow) and the Syrian government forces (red) in their fight against ISIS (grey) and against each other.

Critical oil fields are north and east of Mayadin. The Omar oil field in the east is the biggest one in all Syria. The U.S. wants these under its control to finance its Kurdish and Arab proxies in north-east Syria. The Syrian government needs the oil to rebuild the country. Should the U.S. supported forces try to annex the area we will likely see a direct conflict between them and the Syrian government forces. Would the U.S. and Russia join that fight?

Areas in the north-west and south-west of Syria have been relatively quiet. In recent weeks no relevant change of positions took place. In the south-east around the Syria, Jordan, Iraq border triangle the Syrian government retook several border points. The move comes after an agreement between Russia, the U.S. and Jordan conceded the area back to Syrian government control. The “rebels” in the area were CIA financed but are now out of income. They were ordered by their masters to move to Jordan but several groups refused to do that. The Syrian army and air force will take care of them.

The Syrian government again pointed out that U.S. (and Turkish) forces on its ground are uninvited and that their presence is illegal. The Russian foreign minster made the same point in a press conference today. Yesterday the Turkish president said “we mustn’t allow foreign powers intervene in Syria to serve their own interests.” (His palace seems to lack mirrors.) These are clear signals to the U.S. that its presence and that of a U.S. proxy forces in Syria will not be condoned.

President Trump had clearly said that his only interest in Syria is to get rid of ISIS:

“As far as Syria is concerned, we have very little to do with Syria other than killing ISIS,”

But Trump is now under the influence (or control?) of the U.S. military. The Pentagon and those forces influencing it might have their own plans. The war is mostly decided. The Syrian government will prevail. But the war is not yet over. Undesirable surprises may still come from the U.S. or other interested sides.

Adding: Several recent rumors about incidents in Syria were and are obvious fakes. Please be careful distributing wild claims when these have not been verified by a multitude of sources. The truth is: NO deconfliction line exists east of Deir Ezzor. The SAA did NOT shoot down an Israeli jet over Lebanon. NO U.S. General said that the Syrian army would be bombed if it tried to cross the Euphrates. NO attack on a SAA convoy by the U.S. airforce happened today.

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UN Security Council Adopts Revised Sanctions on North Korea


Sanctions don’t solve problems. They create greater ones. Officials in targeted countries are minimally affected at most, ordinary people bearing the brunt of what’s imposed.

That’s America’s intention. Make them suffer enough to oppose their governments, a failed tactic every time, yet used repeatedly.

When actions by one or groups of nations, like Security Council members, impose harshness on targeted countries, their people most often look to their government for help. Where else can they turn?

During years of genocidal sanctions on Iraq, their people looked to Saddam Hussein for whatever help he could provide. No rebellion occurred. The same holds for North Korea.

Punitive sanctions accomplish nothing but pain and suffering for ordinary people. They achieve nothing else. They don’t change policies of targeted nations. They don’t get citizens to rebel against their governments.

In Pyongyang’s case, its leadership is increasingly determined to pursue its nuclear and ballistic missile programs as deterrents against feared US aggression.

Without them, the country is vulnerable to attack. Having them gives aggressors like America pause about striking a nation able to hit back hard, including with nuclear weapons – thousands of US forces in South Korea and Japan in harm’s way if war erupts.

Given the counterproductiveness of sanctions, why do China and Russia usually support them on nations like the DPRK – especially when rhetorically they express opposition, calling them counterproductive.

Their willingness to compromise with Washington to get along is wrongheaded when doing the wrong things. Beijing and Moscow should have vetoed Washington’s draft resolution, even in softer revised form – because it does nothing to resolve contentious issues. Just the opposite is achieved.

On Monday, Security Council sanctions were imposed on the DPRK for the 9th time since 2006, their imposition encouraging, not curtailing, its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Changes from the original US draft dropped the total ban on oil sales to the DPRK. Instead oil imports are capped at around 30% below current levels. Gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oil and other refined fuel products are capped well below current levels.

Imports of natural gas and condensates are prohibited. So are purchases of North Korean textiles. Exports of its coal, iron, iron ore, lead and seafood were banned earlier.

The status of North Korean guest workers abroad is uncertain. Nations employing them no longer need renewing their contracts – except when involved in humanitarian-related activities.

Vessels suspected of carrying banned North Korean products can be interdicted and inspected in international waters. Pyongyang won’t permit these hostile actions. Others foreign flag ships can refuse to allow them.

The original draft’s travel ban and asset freeze on Kim Jong-un were dropped. Major Chinese banks indicated they’ll no longer open accounts for North Korean individuals or companies. New deposits won’t be accepted. Existing accounts may be closed.

Around 90% of North Korean exports are now banned. Russia and China insist SC members consider adopting its double-freeze proposal – requiring a halt in provocative US, South Korean, Japanese military exercises in return for Pyongyang suspending its nuclear and ballistic missile testing. If voted on, a US veto is certain.

Newly imposed sanctions will increase economic harshness on the DPRK – heightening regional tensions, not easing them.

While acknowledging that sanctions are counterproductive, Russia and China on Monday supported what they should have vetoed.

At the end of the day, North Korea remains firmly committed to continue developing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs – newly imposed sanctions and earlier ones doing nothing to suspend these programs.

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