I Am Wikileaks (Open Letter / Petition)

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See below the sticky for NEW CONTENT.

beans Haiti disappeared Metanoia

Posted in General, Urgent

The Avalanche – Snapshot 52 – Jan 21, ’20

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera for MintPress News

“Social Media and Social Control: How Silicon Valley Serves the US State Department” by Morgan Artyukhina (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from The above linked-to article follows:

[:[:[:
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is in the spotlight for “dining with far-right figures,” and their influence over the information that appears in your feed is apparent. However, Facebook isn’t the only Silicon Valley firm that’s masquerading as nonpartisan as it curates the “facts” you see in ads, posts, or searches: Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and others are deeply wedded to the U.S. security state and the billionaires it upholds…

The media giants that control our access to information, from search engines like Google to social media like Facebook, have turned themselves into portals to the world and present themselves as impartial in that role. However, behind a facade of separateness, strong connecting links bind the tech giants to the oligarchy and security state on which they rely, giving the interests of the elite determinative influence over which information we access…

This cyberpunk dystopia isn’t a new perversion of a previously free internet, though – in fact, it is the internet’s raison d’être in the first place…

“For years, Mark Zuckerberg has met with elected officials and thought leaders all across the political spectrum,” a Facebook spokesperson said. Yet when The Intercept put that claim to the test, they couldn’t find a single left-wing figure invited to his private California estate for one of these wine and dine symposia on free speech.
:]:]:]

Even if those ‘leftwing’ figures were rightwing but looked leftwing and only uttered a leftwing sentiment here and there, the point made is good. Zuckerberg is narrowing his approval of ideas and statements, with material consequences, to those who are unabashed rightwingers.

“After US killing of Iran’s Soleimani, narrative control on social media is getting worse” by Eva Bartlett (In Gaza and beyond)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

]=-
Twitter has been on a narrative-control rampage, removing or censoring legitimate accounts that are critical of US-led wars, propaganda and lies. Facebook and Instagram have increased their Big Brother policing, too.

Attempts by American-based social media behemoths to silence or censor voices critical of the establishment-approved narrative is nothing new, but this trend seems to have intensified lately.

Just in the past several days, following the criminal US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, Instagram and Facebook have been removing posts supportive of Soleimani, even profile photos honouring the general, allegedly to comply with US sanctions, a truly absurd explanation for the narrative control…

Many anti-war voices have been scrubbed from Twitter and Facebook, including the prominent anti-war voice of Daniel McAdams – Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity– who was banned from Twitter for using the word “retarded” to describe a Fox News host, something I’m sure many people would think an insufficient and mild description of such corporate media entities…
Accounts Calling For Genocide A-Okay on Twitter

While accounts like McAdams’ are taken down allegedly for reasons of political correctness, other accounts can call for genocide and destruction with no repercussions.

Take the rather no-name lobbyist Jack Burkman, who, after the US assassination of Iran’s beloved General Soleimani, tweeted about the “need to burn every major Iranian city to the ground.” His tweet actually included “Load up the [chemical weapon] napalm.”

Then there is the President of the United States, who, after having General Soleimani illegally assassinated, went on to threaten to destroy 52 Iranian cultural sites. That tweet remains up on Twitter, in spite of surely violating rules on threatening violence (and not only against a person but a nation). I mean, most normal people consider threatening to destroy places somewhat violent…

And there are accounts representing the terrorists themselves, whose graphic content certainly ought to be deemed violations of Twitter’s rules, yet so many of these accounts remain intact.

Twitter serves as a platform for war propaganda, that’s fairly clear. But there’s a point that some people might not know about Twitter and Syria: Twitter doesn’t recognize the Syrian country code, thus you’d need a non-Syrian phone number to open an account…

In researching for this piece last week, I came across a recent article announcing a new feature Twitter would test, in its valiant efforts to quash trolls: limiting who may reply to tweets before sending a tweet.

This smacks not of cutting out trolls, but of making echo chambers more impenetrable, so war propagandists can back-slap one another without allowing intelligent voices to poke holes in their lies.
-=[

“Trump Impeachment… Slapstick Diversion From Reality” by Finian Cunningham (Strategic Culture Foundation)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Finian Cunningham follows:

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“Oh yes, he is!.. Oh no, he isn’t!..” and so it went on for nearly 10 hours of to-and-fro between Democrats and Republicans. Eventually, the finale came when black-clad Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hammered the gavel, announcing President had been impeached – only the third-ever in two-and-half centuries of 45 presidents.

It was a foregone conclusion given the Democrat majority in the House. The next step in the impeachment process goes to the Republican controlled Senate next month where Trump will almost certainly be acquitted…

What was truly sad, however, is how the impeachment fiasco dominated other news, thereby drawing the curtain on several far more significant events.

On the same day as the House brouhaha, over in the Senate Inspector General Michael Horowitz was continuing to give withering testimony from his report into FBI wiretapping of the Trump election campaign back in 2016. The misconduct by the FBI in carrying out surveillance on private American citizens is a shocking abuse of power by the intelligence agency. All the implications suggest that the Obama administration engaged with secret services to sabotage the election campaign of Donald Trump in 2016 with phony allegations about Russia collusion. The constitutional violations by the FBI are colossal.

Knowing the murky past of the FBI and its dirty tricks, we shouldn’t be surprised by Horowitz’s findings. A follow-up report by attorney John Durham promises to be even more damning. But what is so astounding is how the US media, by and large, had their focus on the impeachment debacle instead of this far bigger show of grave importance. Perhaps not really astounding given that major media outlets like CNN, New York Times, MSNBC and Washington Post have invested so much capital in whipping up the Russia claims. Their ignoring the FBI misconduct is vital for self-preservation by avoiding accountability for their “Russia collusion” fantasies.

Another blockbuster story roundly ignored was the unfolding scandal at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
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Finian also notes that “Surely on any objective scale, the OPCW scandal is worth far more media attention than the turgid proceedings in the House. But then again invoking objectivity is a naive request when the polarized politics in the US have become so hyper-subjective.” Yes, but let’s remember that the “polarized politics” itself is part of the show slash charade. Read Finian’s entire article in which he hammers that point home. It gives you a good look at the mafia capitalism that powerful special interests are spilling oceans of blood to protect.

“Major Defeat for the US and its Allies at the OAS, a Victory for Evo!” by Arnold August (RESUMEN)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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On December 18, in Washington, DC, the CARICOM (bloc of Caribbean states) resolution presented to the Organization of American States (OAS) reads as follows: “Rejection of violence and call for full respect for the rights of indigenous peoples in the Plurinational State of Bolivia.”

The Bolivian pro-US coup delegation, in order to stop the resolution from being adopted, claimed it could have been “more constructive and instead of supporting the intention of burning the country as Evo Morales wishes, and contribute to pacification.”

Granada began the meeting by pointing out that the Bolivian Project did not constitute amendments to the CARICOM Project, but a new draft Resolution. On the proposal of another small country, Belize, the Bolivian coup resolution was put to a vote.

The result of the vote on the Bolivian coup plotters’ project was as follows:

In favor 8: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, USA, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay and Venezuela (represented by the pro-U.S. Guiadó).

.Against: 17 Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Uruguay, Bahamas, Saint Kitts, and Nevis.

Abstention 8: Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Peru and Honduras.

Absent 1: Haiti

So, the Bolivian “government” project was rejected.

Then the ambassador of the United States proposed to vote on the draft Resolution of CARICOM, which resulted in the following, a bad surprise for the US and its OAS puppet Almagro:

In favor 18: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Uruguay and Panama.

Against 4: Bolivia, Colombia, USA, Venezuela (the representative of the self-proclaimed Guaidó).

Abstention 11: Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Honduras, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay

Absent: 1 Haiti

As a result, the Resolution “Rejection of violence and call for full respect for the rights of indigenous peoples in the Plurinational State of Bolivia” was approved. Great news!

Despite millions of Canadian workers CUPE (680,000 workers), CUPW (54,000) OFL (one 1 million), UNIFOR (300,000) & CLC (3 million) in favour of Evo and opposed to the coup, Canada abstained on the CARICOM resolution at the OAS. This raises serious issues about democracy, not in the pre-Evo Bolivia, nor in current Venezuela, but in Canada!

Trudeau had to take this “neutral stand” (as opposed to his very possible preference to vote against the just CARICOM the resolution) probably as a result of the strong movement in Canada against the coup and in favour of Evo.

This opposition to the Trudeau government’s Bolivia policy was completely censured by Canada’s corporate media. However, Trudeau must have seen the writing on the wall and thus took the cowardly stance, increasingly a trade mark of his government and himself as a politician.
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“German Parliament Office Reports No Russian Invasion Of Donbass, Rejects Media And Government Propaganda” by John Helmer (Dances With Bears)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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A report by a research unit of the German Bundestag, just released in Berlin, has defied the narrative of the European Union, NATO and the US, with the conclusion that since the Ukraine civil war began in early 2014, there has been no reliable evidence of Russian troop invasion or intervention by regular Russian military forces in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

After a review of the press, official public releases and reports, as well as European court rulings, the Bundestag’s experts have described the outcome with the German phrase, ohne belastbares Faktenmaterial – “without reliable fact material.”

The Bundestag report, which runs to 17 pages and was completed on December 9, has been noted in the German-language media. To date, however, it has been ignored by the Anglo-American press, including the alt-media.
-:=====

“Backlash Over Meat Dietary Recommendations Raises Questions About Corporate Ties to Nutrition Scientists” by Rita Rubin (JAMA)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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It’s almost unheard of for medical journals to get blowback for studies before the data are published. But that’s what happened to the Annals of Internal Medicine last fall as editors were about to post several studies showing that the evidence linking red meat consumption with cardiovascular disease and cancer is too weak to recommend that adults eat less of it…

Annals Editor-in-Chief Christine Laine, MD, MPH, saw her inbox flooded with roughly 2000 emails—most bore the same message, apparently generated by a bot—in a half hour. Laine’s inbox had to be shut down, she said. Not only was the volume unprecedented in her decade at the helm of the respected journal, the tone of the emails was particularly caustic.

“We’ve published a lot on firearm injury prevention,” Laine said. “The response from the NRA (National Rifle Association) was less vitriolic than the response from the True Health Initiative.”

The True Health Initiative (THI) is a nonprofit founded and headed by David Katz, MD. The group’s website describes its work as “fighting fake facts and combating false doubts to create a world free of preventable diseases, using the time-honored, evidence-based, fundamentals of lifestyle and medicine.” Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, and Frank Hu, MD, PhD, Harvard nutrition researchers who are among the top names in their field, serve on the THI council of directors.

Katz, Willett, and Hu took the rare step of contacting Laine about retracting the studies prior to their publication, she recalled in an interview with JAMA. Perhaps that’s not surprising. “Some of the researchers have built their careers on nutrition epidemiology,” Laine said. “I can understand it’s upsetting when the limitations of your work are uncovered and discussed in the open.”

Subsequent news coverage criticized the methodology used in the meat papers and raised the specter that some of the authors had financial ties to the beef industry, representing previously undisclosed conflicts of interest.

But what has for the most part been overlooked is that Katz and THI and many of its council members have numerous industry ties themselves. The difference is that their ties are primarily with companies and organizations that stand to profit if people eat less red meat and a more plant-based diet. Unlike the beef industry, these entities are surrounded by an aura of health and wellness, although that isn’t necessarily evidence-based…

Demands to retract the Annals papers before they were published suggest that the journal’s embargo policy had been violated. (Embargoes prohibit reporters and press officers at the authors’ institutions from circulating articles before they’re published. Breaking an embargo is a serious breach.)

An article on the THI website states that the organization had obtained the meat articles 5 days before they were scheduled to be published online. Laine said Katz was on the Annals’ press release list because he writes a weekly column for the New Haven Register, a Connecticut newspaper.

Katz said he circulated only the press release—“that’s in the public domain”—but not the embargoed articles, among THI colleagues, telling them that the guideline “looks like it’s going to be a serious problem for us.”

Actually, embargoes apply to press releases as well as the articles themselves, said Angela Collom, the Annals media relations manager. The Annals and many other journals post releases to a website run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science that restricts access to members of the media who agree to embargo policies…

Tufts University professor Sheldon Krimsky, PhD, described it differently. “It sounds like a political campaign,” said Krimsky, who spoke on a panel about corporate influence on public health at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association. “I’ve seen Monsanto do the same thing on the other side.”

Krimsky, who studies linkages between science and technology, ethics and values, and public policy, said THI is part of a plant-based diet “movement.” “If Katz wrote a paper, and it was published in one of the journals, I would assume he would have to disclose his relationship with his organization.”

Steven Novella, MD, founder and executive editor of the Science-Based Medicine website and a long-time critic of Katz, was more pointed in his assessment of the THI campaign against the meat articles. “It’s a total hit job,” Novella, a Yale neurologist, told JAMA. “They have a certain number of go-to strategies…in order to dismiss any scientific findings they don’t like.” One such strategy, he said, is to lodge accusations of “tenuous” conflicts of interest…

The cacophony that has erupted over the meat papers is drowning out the valid points they made, Laine said.

“The sad thing is that the important messages have been lost,” she said. “Trustworthy guidelines used to depend on who were the organizations or the people they came from.” Today, though, “the public should know we don’t have great information on diet,” Laine said. “We shouldn’t make people scared they’re going to have a heart attack or colon cancer if they eat red meat.”
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The above is a lengthy article and I can’t pretend to get it all. I’m just not informed, nor do I possess specialized knowledge in the areas looked at. But what I’m interested in, for purposes of this blog post, is the way that those who, rightly or wrongly, don’t agree with others are so willing to simply silence them any way they can. But that is the way of the world. It’s called ‘riches for the strongest’. As for the question whether to eat meat or not; I’m a Christian. God never meant for us to eat meat, but when we rebelled and came to be without his blessing and facing harsh conditions on earth as a result, God made the concession of allowing us to eat meat, but with one important condition: We must not eat blood. I don’t eat meat because, as a Christian who wants God’s approval, I avoid blood. Most purveyors of meat products don’t care about that, even if their meat products are quality. So I play it safe and it hasn’t hurt me. (And I also eat mainly organic food, trying hard to avoid industrial food produced by those focussed on profits first and foremost.) I do eat fish, because it’s easier to buy ‘clean’ fish than ‘clean’ meat. But I would never tell people that eating meat (at this time) is wrong, because it isn’t. Which isn’t to say that there are not issues.

And I wonder, especially after having read the above linked-to article, about how much of my knowledge of the problems associated with cattle and meat products from cattle is good or a product of certain special interests who want me off of meat but not because it’s bad for me. If you aren’t doing ‘some’ unlearning, then you aren’t really learning. That’s because we exist in a world full of liars and manipulators and some of those ones are relatively good people!

“Western “Political Correctness” does not make all people equal” by Andre Vltchek (NEO via Dissident Voice)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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In the West, there is a new wave of political correctness at work: it is all about one’s sexual orientation; who has sex with whom, and how. Suddenly, the mass media in London, Paris and New York is greatly concerned about who has the right to change his or her sex and who does not want to belong to any ‘traditional’ gender bracket.

Thinking about ‘it’, writing about it, doing it, is considered “progressive”; cutting edge. Entire novels are being commissioned and then subsidized as far away as in the Asia Pacific. Western organizations and NGOs (so-called “non-government organizations” but financed by Western régimes), are thriving on the matter.

These days it is not just LGBT that are in the spotlight, glorified and propagandized; there are all sorts of new types of combinations that many people never even heard about or imagined could exist.

Even some Western airlines do not call their passengers “ladies, gentlemen and children” anymore in order “not to offend” those who do not want to be any of the above.

Accept any sexual habit, repeat loudly many times that you have done it; then preferably write about it, and you will be lauded as progressive, tolerant, and even “left-wing”.

This is a discussion which is clearly encouraged, even invented by, the Western regime: a safe discussion which is aimed at diverting dialogue from topics such as the fact that even in the West a great number of people are living in fear and misery, and that the majority of neo-colonies of North America and Europe are once again being totally, shamelessly exploited…

Gender changing surgery is now obviously a much more important topic in the U.K. and the U.S., than whether Western imperialism should be stopped, once and forever.

But remember: We will all burn if we burn. Heterosexuals, homosexuals, trans-gender individuals, even those whose sexual orientation I still do not understand. If there is a Third World War, we will all be fried.

Therefore, I suggest that we first try to disarm the Empire, stop savage capitalism, give freedom and the right to choose their destiny to all nations of the world, and then… Only then, shall we make sure that we support all the people of countless sexual orientation, that our humanity has.
=::::::

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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Professional Scam Artists – part 79

“Impeachment: Does Anyone Even Care?” by Daniel Lazare (Strategic Culture Foundation)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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“Pelosi is crushing McConnell, step by strategic step.”

So a true-blue liberal website known as the Daily Kos declared in a bizarre headline last month. It’s as good an example as any of how completely Democrats have retreated into a fantasy world all their own.

Pelosi is not crushing anyone. Thanks to the ongoing impeachment fiasco, she’s caught in a trap of her own devising and is unable to take a single step without making matters worse. The more she balks at forwarding the articles of impeachment to the Senate, the more foolish she appears…

But it’s a pipedream. For one thing, it’s unlikely that Bolton has anything to say at this point beyond what his deputy, Fiona Hill, already told the House intelligence committee in November. Hill, a stern ramrod-straight neocon who would probably scare the pants off Vladimir Putin himself, testified that European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland declared last summer that Trump would grant Zelensky a much-desired White House meeting only “if specific investigations are put underway” concerning why Joe Biden had pushed for the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor looking into a businessman who had hired his son.

This was the quid pro quo that Democrats had been looking for according to the corporate media. But it wasn’t for the simple reason that Hill was unable to shed light on why Trump was so keen for an investigation in the first place. Was it because he wanted to smear a political opponent he knew to be innocent? Or was he bursting with outrage over Biden’s obviously corrupt behavior and therefore determined that the Ukraine help bring the facts to light?

The difference is crucial…

So Pelosi will wind up humiliated all the more. And that assumes that Republicans don’t twist the knife by subpoenaing witnesses of their own – people like Joe and Hunter Biden, Adam Schiff, or CIA whistleblower Eric Ciaramella – a collection of frauds and phonies whom they’ll happily roast over burning coals. Their glee will br boundlesss. Yet the only person Pelosi has to blame is herself.
-)

I’d have to review the pertinent material (I forget details), but I think that it’s incorrect to state, or to support the statement, that Trump was focussed on getting dirt on Joe Biden. Trump was focussed on getting at the origin of Russiagate, which was the attempt to frame him and provide a reason for the authorities to remove Trump from office. We all know how that worked out. Robert Mueller, in presenting his findings, had zilch. As awful as Donald Trump is, he has every right to know exactly how Russiagate came about and who were the culprits, hence the references to the Crowdstrike (Democratic Party-connected company) servers that reside in Ukraine. Russiagate was cooked up by Ukrainian, UK, Australian and US intelligence figures. Here’s a pdf of the famous phone call that Donald made to Volodymyr Zelensky: “Trump talks to Zelensky”

Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Donald Trump

“Trump Blackmails Iraq to Keep US Troops, Threatening to Close Their Oil Account at Fed” by ? (21st Century Wire)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

):):)
It wasn’t enough to mount drone attacks which assassinated Iraq’s military leadership, along with killing some 50 Iraqi police and soldiers in the process. Now, faced with the prospect of seeing its 5,000 troops and military personnel kicked out of Iraq, the Trump Administration has now resorted to blackmailing Baghdad by threatening to close the country’s crucial oil trading account at the US Federal Reserve.

More than any single move, this latest episode of international racketeering demonstrates the financial power Washington has accrued in the post-World World II era, which allows the US government to subjugate its client states by gaming the global financial system – currently dominated by the fiat US dollar.

Trump’s latest provocation came just one week after the Iraqi parliament had voted to notify caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to begin the process of expelling all foreign troops from their country.
(:(:(

Here’s what the False Prophet looks like. Donald Trump would have you and I believe that he and his associates are people of God while they go to extreme limits in trampling God’s standards. There may be no consequences for that in this dark world, but that doesn’t mean that there will be no consequences. Those who believe otherwise should meditate on what is recorded in the Christian Bible at 2 Thessalonians 2:912: “But the lawless one’s presence is by the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and wonders and every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth in order that they might be saved. That is why God lets a deluding influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie, in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Not only was the murder of Qassem Soleimani extremely evil, because he was an effective fighter ‘against’ terrorists and terrorism and because he was acting as a diplomat on a peace mission that the US had, apparently signed off on, but then to tell the Iraqis, who the US military supposedly liberated so that they could be free, that they will either allow the US military to remain in Iraq or the US will harm them, is just awful. There are no words left to describe the evil, the cruelty and the perversity of the False Prophet.

Here’s an excerpt from a related article, also by Patrick Henningsen, titled “Trump Stands Down Against Iran, U.S. Still In Denial Of The New Middle East”:

“Iraq’s prime minister revealed that he was due to be meeting the Iranian commander to discuss moves being made to ease the confrontation between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia – the crux of so much of strife in the Middle East and beyond.

“Adil Abdul-Mahdi was quite clear: “I was supposed to meet him in the morning the day he was killed, he came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered from the Saudis to Iran.”

“The prime minister also disclosed that Donald Trump had called him to ask him to mediate following the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. According to Iraqi officials contact was made with a number of militias as well as figures in Tehran. The siege of the embassy was lifted and the US president personally thanked Abdul-Mahdi for his help.

“There was nothing to suggest to the Iraqis that it was unsafe for Soleimani to travel to Baghdad – quite the contrary. This suggests that Trump helped lure the Iranian commander to a place where he could be killed.”

Terrorists own and rule and ruin the world.

“Esper Admits No Intelligence for Soleimani ‘Threat’, MSM Still Loyal to Iran Narrative” by Patrick Henningsen (21st Century Wire)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

[=-
The dominos continue to fall. Despite repeated protestations and assurances from Trump’s national security clique, the public has yet to see any sign of the much-celebrated ‘intelligence’ which the White House claims it has, and which was supposedly the basis for the double assassination of Iranian Quds Force leader, General Qasem Soleimani, and senior Iraqi PMU commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, on January 3rd.
-=]

“Esper” refers to Mark Esper.

If the above is true, then, I would submit, that is a good example of what it means to not possess the courage of your convictions. Didn’t the US dream up and codify the Bethlehem Doctrine? Why, then, doesn’t its spokespersons just tell the people, “In employing the word ‘imminent’, in connection with the killing of Qassem Soleimani, we didn’t intend that it should mean what it normally means.”?

“Canadian ‘Srebrenica Genocide Denial Law’: When Even the Truth Is No Defense” by Stephen Karganovic (Strategic Culture Foundation)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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A major scrupulously legal assault on freedom of speech and conscience as well as scholarly research (and we are not talking here about the rampaging of informal terror squads such as Antifa) is in the works in Canada. A Srebrenica genocide denial law is coming up soon for parliamentary vote in Ottawa. It is being sponsored by MP Brian Masse (brian.masse@parl.gc.ca). The pending bill is the result of a petition filed by a Bosniak lobby group in Canada, “Institute for genocide research.” The “institute” is not known to have published a single serious and academically viable book or scholarly paper on any subject whatsoever, including Srebrenica. It is a comically misnamed ethnic pressure group financed, as usual, by mysterious patrons. But given the manufactured climate of opinion, unless this bill is strongly and competently opposed, there is little doubt about the outcome.

Here is some basic information about this parliamentary project, now known as Petition No. 421-03975, presented to the House of Commons on May 29, 2019.

And here is the maudlin nonsense the measure’s sponsor, Brian Masse, spouted in Canada’s House of Commons as he put the matter before his colleagues:

“Madam Speaker … the House unanimously declared April as ‘Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Awareness Month’ and named genocides, which have been recognized by Canada’s House of Commons, including the Srebrenica genocide.

“It is time for the government to extend resources to commemorate the victims and survivors of genocide, educate the public and to take specific action to counteract genocide denial, a pernicious form of hate which reopens wounds and reinvigorates division. Truth is justice; honesty is the path to reconciliation and peace.”

Just so that no one is taken in by this fine rhetoric, the geopolitical significance of Srebrenica (forget about truth, justice, reconciliation, and peace) should briefly be recalled. The alleged failure in July of 1995 of the collective West to come to the rescue of 8,000 “men and boys” in Srebrenica was transfigured into the pretext for the “Right to protect” (R2P) doctrine. That fraudulent rationale was used for subsequent “humanitarian interventions” which wrecked and plundered at least half a dozen countries and cost about two million mostly Muslim lives.

But contrary to interventionist propaganda and the simplistic cant of politicians, always campaigning to attract a few more ethnic votes and to impress the political correctness brigade with their loyalty to the right causes, in the real-world there exist complex issues not given to simplistic reductionism. Srebrenica is one of them.
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In the above quote, the word “Here,” which precedes “is some basic information,” and is a link, now leads to a message on the House of Commons website that there’s a system error and they are working hard to fix it. Uh huh.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party speaking at a “Labour Roots” event in Bolton [Credit: Sophie Brown]

“UK: Corbyn offers no fight against war with Iran” by Thomas Scripps (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

:||:-
Jeremy Corbyn’s cowardly performance during this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions confirms that the outgoing Labour leader offers no principled opposition to the eruption of imperialist violence.

The debate was the first time Prime Minister Boris Johnson had appeared in public since the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Suleimani by the United States, after he refused to cut short his luxury holiday on the Caribbean island of Mustique.

This was the first opportunity for Labour MPs, led by Corbyn, to oppose a blatant act of war carried out by US imperialism, with Johnson’s slavish support, that threatens to set the Middle East aflame.

Year after year Corbyn’s numerous political apologists have sought to justify his constant retreats before the warmongers on the Blairite right of his party with the claim that he was seeking to hold the party together so as to form a government that could replace the Tories.

Here at last, after losing the December 12 general election by a landslide and with a contest underway to replace him as leader by April, was an opportunity for the “real” “anti-war” Corbyn to step forward. Instead, it was business as usual, with Corbyn making a series of ineffectual pleas for a general de-escalation and for Johnson, Trump’s partner in crime, to “stand by international law, as I am sure the Government do and would want to.”

From discussions with the Confederation of British Industry and City of London, to holding Brexit talks with former Prime Minister Theresa May, offering the same to Johnson, Corbyn’s guiding principle is safeguarding the “national interest,” that is, the strategic interests of British imperialism. The independent, diametrically opposed interests of the British and international working class are absolutely excluded.

Corbyn articulates the concerns within ruling circles, including Johnson’s Tories and the armed forces, that Trump’s recklessness can endanger the UK’s world position.

On this basis alone, he asked in the mildest possible terms, “What evidence has the Prime Minister got to suggest that this attack on General Suleimani, and his death, was not an illegal act by the United States?” and “Can the prime minister confirm that the British Government will respect any decision made by a sovereign Parliament and Government in Iraq that may make such a request in the future and will respect the sovereignty of Iraq as a nation?”

Johnson responded to Corbyn’s entreaties with undisguised contempt. “I think that most reasonable people would accept that the United States has a right to protect its bases and its personnel. … That man [Suleimani] had the blood of British troops on his hands.”

In 2015, a serving British general anonymously threatened mutiny against a Corbyn-led government. Two years later, Kemp publicly stated, alongside similar comments from Former First Sea Lord Alan West and Former chief of defence staff Lord General Richards, “Quite literally if Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister enacted the policies he describes, he would have blood on his hands … he must never be elected to lead this country.”

Corbyn ignores these threats not out of some priestly dignity, but out of fear of a genuine mass movement of the working class and youth against British imperialism. He knows that to seriously expose the UK’s predatory ambitions abroad and the threats of the military at home would risk unleashing class forces far beyond the control of his own mealy-mouthed appeals for social harmony.

The only “anti-war” movement Corbyn is interested in leading is one which is a pliant tool of the Labour and trade union bureaucracy—including his own front-bench MPs, who sat silent and arms folded as he was ridiculed by Johnson.
-:||:

Johnson’s “most reasonable people” are those who are most unreasonable, who are unprinicpled and who are down with this dark world’s operating principle of ‘riches for the strongest’.

“Britain’s Bo-Jo Brown-Noses Sicko Trump” by Finian Cunningham (Strategic Culture Foundation)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

:::::—
In a first major test of Boris Johnson’s premiership, the British leader has shown himself to be the dangerous sycophant that many feared he would be to US President Donald Trump.

Britain has always been a loyal lapdog for American imperialism. Remember Tony Blair’s obsequious services to GW Bush in the destruction of the Middle East. But under Johnson the sycophancy is even more sinister.

When Boris “Bo-Jo” Johnson was re-elected to Downing Street last month many observers have been waiting to see how he would react in an international crisis, especially given his dependence on retaining favorable terms with Trump for Britain’s post-Brexit economic survival.

It is clear from the present brink-of-war crisis between the US and Iran that Johnson is choosing the path of brown-nosing and emboldening Trump rather than speaking out against what is reckless American aggression. If not speaking out against (too much for lapdog, admittedly), he could at least say that extra-judicial killing is wrong.

Johnson’s brown-nosing is in spite of the fact that Trump has compounded his criminal action of ordering the assassination of Iran’s top general by subsequently threatening Iran with annihilation of its cultural centers if the country dares to retaliate. Trump’s boasting about carrying out war crimes is a sign of someone who is sick in the mind, with absolutely no regard for international law.

But Britain’s Johnson has said nothing about this American barbarity…

Britain’s Johnson is the most abject vassal among the Europeans. He knows that he has to keep Trump sweet in order to ingratiate himself for a trade deal with America after Britain leaves the European Union. If Britain doesn’t get a trade deal with the US, then its economy is sunk.
—:::::

The following entry could not be completed because the Axis of Logic website is down for some reason. When it returns, then I’ll finish this part of the blog post. In the meantime, you will have no difficulty in seeing just how scammy Jagmeet Singh is from the related article I link to.

“Canada’s NDP chooses the neoliberal approach to geopolitics” by Jim Miles (Axis of Logic)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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A recent article in the Canadian Jewish News website presented a summary of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) Jagmeet Singh’s position towards Israel. [1]

In general for Singh to take the positions he does with Israel highlights how strongly he supports the U.S.-Israeli geopolitical views, his views on the assassination of Qassem Soleimani not withstanding.

My response that I posted on CJN was quickly edited out as it obviously did not support the Israeli position, nor the position of the local Zionist supporters. In that comment I did not so much address Singh’s comments as address a general geopolitical view concerning Israel and why the U.S. supports it so strongly. As Canada is essentially an adjunct to the U.S., the comments stand in for Canada’s view as well…

Canada’s NDP, as much as they will deny it, has trended toward the center and in issues such as this are well right of center. Sure, they advocate for all the LBGTQ issues, and acknowledge the necessity to do something about climate change, but most political parties in Canada, including the Conservatives, also acknowledge these issues.

Make no mistake, the NDP accept the neoliberal world order, its economic structures, its military structures, its geopolitical endeavours just as much as the other Canadian political parties. As with supposedly socialist democratic parties in other areas they have accommodated to the existing powers in order to try and gain more votes. This pro-Zionist meeting with the a sector of the Jewish community is all part of their right wing turn.
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Jim Miles thinks Armageddon is a myth and doesn’t mind accepting mainstream, fake Christianity’s version of Armageddon. There’s nothing I can do about that. I believe in Armageddon. Departing from the position of self-identified Christians on the Right, I believe in the Christian Bible’s version of Armageddon. Departing from the arrogant leftwing position, I do believe in God and his plan of salvation for imperfect mankind and I do believe in Armageddon, which normal people, if they understand what Armageddon is, should welcome. I want to see an end to this manmade hell.

related: “NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh talks with Jewish community” You really have to read this article to get the full awful flavor of Jagmeet Singh and the ruined people he sucks up to here.

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Lawlessness / Ruined – part 69

From WSWS:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin brief reporters about additional sanctions placed on Iran, at the White House, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, in Washington. [Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci]

“US and Israel escalate Middle East tensions in wake of Suleimani assassination” by Bill Van Auken (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

(+
A week after Washington’s drone missile assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani at Baghdad’s international airport, a series of actions by the US and its principal regional ally, Israel, have escalated the drive toward a full-scale war throughout the region.

On Thursday, it was reported that a US drone strike killed or wounded more than 60 civilians in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat, close to the border with Iran. Wakil Ahmad Karkhi, a member of the Herat provincial council, confirmed the mass casualties to TOLO news, saying the civilians were killed and maimed in a US attempt to eliminate the leader of a split-off from the Taliban, known as Mullah Nangyalay.

The Pentagon has made increasingly indiscriminate use of air strikes in an attempt to stave off the Taliban, which controls the largest areas of the country since the regime it headed was overthrown by the US invasion more than 18 years ago. US strikes killed 579 civilians in the first 10 months of last year alone, a third more than in 2018.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes struck targets on the Syria-Iraq border early Friday morning, killing eight members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, the coalition of predominantly Shia militias that is considered part of the Iraqi armed forces…

Three days later, the US drone strike killed Suleimani, considered the second most important figure in the Iranian state, along with the top commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and eight other Iranians and Iraqis. This assassination attack amounted to an act of war against Iran and a war crime, punishable under both US and international law.

Friday also saw Washington roll out a new round of sanctions against Iran, further escalating the “maximum pressure” economic blockade, tantamount to a state of war, which has been imposed since the Trump administration unilaterally abrogated the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the major powers in May of 2018.
+)

I have two quick points to make about the above linked-to article: Alexander Mercouris (who I disagree with about big things but is still quite informative) notes that the additional sanctions just won’t impact Iran. The Iranians are impacted thoroughly already by the sanctions in place now. And sanctions mean war and they mean lawlessness since sanctions target civilians. Stephen Gowans also correctly noted how this de facto state of war between the US and Iran is not new. See Gowan’s article titled “Soleimani assassination only one of many (and not the most consequential) US acts of war against Iran.”

In this image released by the White House, President Donald Trump is joined by Vice President Mike Pence, second from left, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, left; Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, second from right, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, right, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in the Situation Room of the White House monitoring developments in the U.S. Special Operations forces raid that took out Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.. (Shealah Craighead/White House via AP)

“Official ISIS Newspaper ‘Thanks God’ for Trump Killing Iran’s General Soleimani” by Patrick Henningsen (21st Century Wire)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

[:[:
It was only a matter of time before US President Donald Trump got the recognition he deserved for America’s military exploits these past two weeks. Yesterday, Trump received glowing praise from the official international ISIS newspaper, Al Naba, highlighting Washington’s assassination of Iranian IRGC’s General Qasem Soleimani on January 3rd.
:]:]

Source: Flickr.com, Zulio

“Trump slashes Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico” by Julio Patron (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

:||:-
Last week, President Trump intervened in the final stages of legislative passage of a $1.4 trillion spending package, funding the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, to further slash the impoverished island of Puerto Rico of billions of dollars of Medicaid funding.

The initial spending bill would have sent about $12 billion in Medicaid funding to Puerto Rico over four years, but Trump demanded this be slashed to $5.7 billion over two years, according to a Politico report. In a bipartisan vote, the Democratic-controlled House overwhelmingly passed the spending package last Tuesday and it was approved Thursday by the Senate. Trump signed the bill into law on Friday, ahead of the December 20 deadline…

While social services such as health care are being cut by the billions, the two budget bills passed by Congress and signed into law by Trump include a massive $738 billion for the military and national security spending. The package includes $1.4 billion in spending for Trump’s border wall.

Hurricane Maria, which hit the island in 2017 and destroyed essential infrastructure and thousands of homes, led to a mass exodus to the mainland US. Those who remain on the island are elderly or impoverished, and many doctors and medical professionals have left the island in search of better working conditions and better pay. Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors are 40 percent lower than in the mainland US. More than 60 percent of people on the island receive either Medicare or Medicaid, and 1.6 million are on the island’s Medicaid program, called “Mi Salud.”

Just as the Trump administration used the social devastation after Hurricane Maria to secure debt repayments to Wall Street creditors and crystallize the austerity programs imposed by the Obama administration through the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), Trump’s response to the funding of medical care on the island expresses the complete indifference and criminality of the entire ruling elite toward the working class.
-:||:

related: “Fascists Consolidate Via Crises + The Phony Contest Between The Repubs And Dems”

Jair Bolsonaro

“Brazil to Go Through With Mining on Tribal Lands” by ? (teleSUR)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Brazil’s right-wing regime said it was pushing ahead with its plans to mine on tribal lands, despite the objections of the people that live in these targeted areas…

According to a public statement on the ministry’s website, the Mning [sic] and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque told the European diplomats on Friday that “significant leadership” from native communities had asked for the opportunity to mine on their lands…

The Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), which advocates for native rights in Brazil, has argued against Bolsonaro’s plans to open up mining on reservation lands, saying most indigenous groups are opposed.
-=(

“Invisible Ink “Tattoos” Could Be Used to ID Vaccinated Kids” by Victor Tangermann (Futurism.com)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

===== =
For the people overseeing nationwide vaccination initiatives in developing countries, keeping track of who had which vaccination and when can be a tough task.

But researchers from MIT might have a solution: they’ve created an ink that can be safely embedded in the skin alongside the vaccine itself, and it’s only visible using a special smartphone camera app and filter.

In other words, they’ve found a covert way to embed the record of a vaccination directly in a patient’s skin rather than documenting it electronically or on paper — and their low-risk tracking system could greatly simplify the process of maintaining accurate vaccine records, especially on a larger scale.

“In areas where paper vaccination cards are often lost or do not exist at all, and electronic databases are unheard of, this technology could enable the rapid and anonymous detection of patient vaccination history to ensure that every child is vaccinated,” researcher Kevin McHugh said in a statement.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the team’s research, which was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday. According to a Scientific American story, the project came about following a direct request from Microsoft founder Bill Gates himself, who has been personally involved in efforts to eradicate polio and measles through vaccinations.
= =====

It’s not clear to me whether the author of the above report is for or against the continuing war on informed consent. But I can tell you that I am absolutely against the war on informed consent and freedom and find the above report to be alarming.

related: “Destroying Consent”

related:

© Sarah James

“Groundwater pumping drains rivers in BC and globally” by Gavin MacRae (Watershed Sentinel)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

(:(:
Coho, steelhead, and cutthroat trout struggled to survive this August in “severely degraded” habitat caused by bottomed-out flow levels on the Koksilah River, south of Duncan on Vancouver Island.

Three summers running, provincial officials had requested voluntary reductions in water use on the Koksilah, but this time it wasn’t enough, and the province issued a mandatory restriction on water draws.

What made the stop-order unique is that for the first time in BC, groundwater wells were included.

It’s unlikely to be the last.

An estimated 70% of the water drawn from the Koksilah watershed is groundwater, and essential for crop irrigation, businesses, and rural homes. But many of the wells tap shallow aquifers hydraulically connected to the river.

It’s a textbook example of groundwater pumping affecting streamflows, and could have made a fitting case study for new hydrological modelling by an international team of researchers, published in October in Nature.

The findings of the study show that globally, unsustainable groundwater pumping is causing a “slow desiccation” of thousands of streams and rivers, with “potential devastating effects” on aquatic ecosystems.
:):)

Detail from the frontispiece to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne | Public Domain

“Mining sets its sights on the deep seabed” by Gavin MacRae (Watershed Sentinel)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

|-
Since the influential book Mineral Resources of the Sea by J. L. Mero was published a half-century ago, governments and mining companies have dreamed of extracting untapped metal and mineral deposits from the sea floor.

Progress has been stuttering, but the technology is now sufficiently advanced that commercial scale deep sea mining is considered by many observers to be imminent…

A decade ago, deep sea mining exploration centred around prospects off Papua New Guinea, and the target was massive sulphide deposits rich in copper, gold, silver, and zinc, occurring around active or dormant hydrothermal vents. Now, geopolitical and economic forces have shifted attention to the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, a 4.5 million square kilometre swath of Pacific seafloor stretching between Hawaii and Mexico. This time the focus is on mining polymetallic nodules: billions of mineral-rich, potato-sized rocks littering the seafloor at depths of 3000 to 6000 meters…

Polymetallic nodules are found on the abyssal plains – vast seafloor mudflats covering over half the earth’s surface – which, despite their bleak moniker and homogeneous appearance, support a phenomenal amount of life…

The ore would be pumped up to a ship and processed, with waste tailings returned to the ocean floor – creating a sediment plume that could bury and smother organisms. As well, disturbing seafloor sediments could release unknown amounts of stored carbon, potentially making climate change worse.

According to a July Greenpeace report, In Deep Water, the combined risks pose “severe and potentially irreversible environmental harm, both at the mine site and beyond. The deep ocean’s biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is barely understood and robust mitigation is not possible.”
-|

I don’t buy the ‘life existed on the ocean floor for “tens of millions of years” line. But that’s irrelevant. And, What if I’m wrong?

“Britain’s Security Services Granted License to Kill” by Finian Cunningham (Strategic Culture Foundation)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

|\||
In a landmark ruling last week, a panel of five senior British judges ruled that a secret government policy of granting immunity to its state security service was “legal”. Below is an interview with one of the human rights groups which challenged the murky policy demanding that it be banned.

First though, some background to the issue. British government policy holds implicitly that agents or informants operating for the state’s security service, MI5, are permitted to commit crimes without fear of prosecution if those crimes are committed in the line of duty to protect national security.

This is tantamount to the British state granting its agents and proxies a “license to kill”. The judges in the panel of the so-called Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) have formally recognized this hitherto secret government policy as “legal”. The panel voted by 3 to 2 in favor. The two dissenting judges expressed deep concern that the ruling was “opening the door to future abuses” of power by British state agents.

MI5 is the branch of state intelligence that deals specifically with internal security. The other branch, MI6, deals with overseas activities. The disturbing implication is that MI5 can act with impunity, including acts of murder, against British citizens in the name of national security. The powers granted to it are secret and beyond public scrutiny in the courts. That means Britain’s secret services are now officially untouchable and above the law. This is a description fitting for a police state, not a supposed democracy which proclaims to be under the rule of law.
||\|

‘Licence to murder’ is more like it.

via Russia Business Today

“Germany Slams Trump’s ‘Meddling’ In Europe’s Energy After Nord Stream 2 Sanctions Passed” by Tyler Durden (ZeroHedge)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Included in Wednesday’s just passed mammoth 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — which increases the Pentagon budget by $22 billion (to a whopping $738 billion) — were long-threatened sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 underwater natural gas pipeline.

In the House bill, expected to be approved by the Senate sometime next week before Trump signs it into law, are measures which specifically target companies assembling the pipeline, a last ditch US effort to block the controversial 760-mile project that would allow Russia to export natural gas directly to Germany, depriving Ukraine of badly needed gas transit fees along the current route for Russian supplies.
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The US states that Russia’s decision to lay Nordstream 2 will hurt Ukraine. That’s not only irrelevant (and strange coming from hyper capitalists of the neoliberal variety), but it’s nonsensical. And there’s certainly no good reason for the US’s opposition to Nordstream 2. If a vendor sells to someone and not to someone else, that’s up to the vendor. End of story. And there’s Ukraine, happy to work with Trump (read the transcript of the famous phone call between Volodymyr Zelensky and Donald Trump; it’s not long) to undermine Russia and Russia’s supposed to do business with Ukraine (laying pipelines in Ukraine supplying Europeans with gas and enabling Ukraine to charge a fee for allowing the transitting of that gas through its territory?) What’s also remarkable about this – and again illustrates the consequences of no consequences; the US is in the habit of firing sanctions at targetted countries left and right and has always got away with it – is the decision by the psycho US administration (and, for you rightwingers out there, Trump doesn’t get a pass here) to put sanctions on an ally, in this case Germany, simply in order to force Germany to help it play its destructive geopolitical games. Germany needs Russia much more than it needs the United States. But it may not be free to do whatever it pleases, partly because it’s a NATO member and partly because the US really does rule the world. So we’ll see.

“The Hidden Military Use of 5G Technology” by Manilo Dinucci (Global Research)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

:::::-
At the London Summit, the 29 member countries of NATO agreed to “guarantee the security of our communications, including 5G”. Why is this fifth generation of mobile data transmission so important for NATO?

While the earlier technologies were perfected to create ever more advanced smartphones, 5G is designed not only to improve their performance, but mainly to link digital systems which need enormous quantities of data in order to work automatically. The most important 5G applications will not be intended for civil use, but for the military domain…

The possibilities offered by this new technology are explained by the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology, published by the Defense Science Board, a federal committee which provides scientific advice for the Pentagon –

“The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements”.

In other words, the 5G commercial network, built and activated by private companies, will be used by the US armed forces at a much lower expenditure than that necessary if the network were to be set up with an exclusively military goal. Military experts foresee that the 5G system will play an essential role for the use of hypersonic weapons – missiles, including those bearing nuclear warheads, which travel at a speed superior to Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound).
-:::::

related (petition): e-2141 (Telecommunications)

Craig Murray

“The USA Doubles Down on its Saudi Allegiance” by Craig Murray (Craig Murray)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

)=-
For the United States to abandon proxy warfare and directly kill one of Iran’s most senior political figures has changed international politics in a fundamental way. It is a massive error. Its ramifications are profound and complex.

There is also a lesson to be learned here in that this morning there will be excitement and satisfaction in the palaces of Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Tehran. All of the political elites will see prospects for gain from the new fluidity. While for ordinary people in all those countries there is only the certainty of more conflict, death and economic loss, for the political elite, the arms manufacturers, the military and security services and allied interests, the hedge funds, speculators and oil companies, there are the sweet smells of cash and power.
-=(

“Pentagon Warmongers Double-Down, Deploying 6 Nuclear Bombers to Persian Gulf” by ? (21st Century Wire)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

(+
After escalating tensions in the region by attacking facilities and leaders from both Iraq and Iran, war hawks in Washington DC are now doubling-down on their World War III rhetoric by deploying six nuclear-enabled long-range B52 bombers to the contested British territorial island of Diego Garcia located in the Indian Ocean.

This latest deployment comes on the heals of two other recent B52 wing deployments, firstly beginning in 2016, when the Pentagon sent six bombers to Qatar near Iran, and also this past November 2019 when the US moved another wing of B52’s to the Mediterranean island of Crete, and quickly proceeded to use one of these aircraft to provoke the Russian air force in Syria.

US officials told CNN that Diego Garcia was chosen this time in order to keep the aircraft out of the range of Iranian missiles.

This latest move by Washington comes after the US bombed an Iraqi military facility on December 29, 2019, supposedly as retaliation for a “rocket barrage” which the US claim was carried out by “Iranian militias” (although no evidence has been shown to back this US claim) which hit a joint US-Iraqi base near Kirkuk and killed one “US defense contractor” on Dec 27, 2019. The US followed-up with that bombing raid by carrying out a double state-sponsored assassination of two highly respected Iranian and Iraqi military commanders, Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Mouhendis just days after on Wed Jan 2, supposedly in response to Iraqi protesters who had attacked the outer ring of the US embassy in Baghdad on Dec 30th and 31st.
+)

As we now know, the neocons, especially John Bolton (now gone from the US admin), had the idea to kill Qassen Soleimani many months ago. Other deranged staff in the US admin couldn’t wait to do it and finally pushed Trump to sign off on the violent action. But it’s not hard to twist someone’s arm when that someone is like you and possesses your world view and lack of principles. Trump doesn’t get a pass here, whether he is dumb or not. Defenders of Trump can’t make up their minds whether he’s dumb or smart, blaming his dumb moves on inexperience and the unfortunate influence on him of neocons in his cabinet, as though Trump wasn’t a neoconservative himself. Or they call him a diplomat and clever (Alexander Mercouris) and other supporters say he’s just playing 4G chess. Go figure. Alexander Mercouris even compared Trump’s de-escalation with Iran, over the killings that took out Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Mouhendis and Iran’s response, to JFK’s back channel negotiations with Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis, implying that both leaders were on top of their game in those two situations. Nothing could be further from the truth. Richard Walton, who wrote “Cold War And Counterrevolution” observed that no matter how dumb and reckless JFK was, his worshippers would just shrug it off and call this or that blunder by the young president a learning experience. Seymour Hersh, in his book titled “The Dark Side Of Camelot,” explains how JFK should not get any credit for defusing, with Khrushchev, the Cuban missile crisis when it was he who created it in the first place with his, unknown to the public and much of the US government, program to assassinate Fidel Castro, which the Cubans and Soviets did know about.

“Ruin”

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There is no sacrifice (of others) too great to make for the desired regime change to happen.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich and Finian Cunningham

“Iran Jet Disaster A Setup?” by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich and Finian Cunningham (Information Clearing House)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich and Finian Cunningham follows:

|-
The 19-second video published by the New York Times last week showing the moment an Iranian missile hit a passenger jet has prompted much social media skepticism.

Questions arise about the improbable timing and circumstances of recording the precise moment when the plane was hit.

The newspaper ran the splash story on January 9, the day after a Ukrainian airliner was brought down near Tehran. It was headlined: ‘Video Shows Ukrainian Plane Being Hit Over Iran’. All 176 people onboard were killed. Two days later, the Iranian military admitted that one of its air defense units had fired at the plane in the mistaken belief that it was an incoming enemy cruise missile.

“A smoking gun” was how NY Times’ journalist Christiaan Triebert described the video in a tweet. Triebert works in the visual investigations team at the paper. In the same tweet, he thanked – “a very big shout out” – to an Iranian national by the name of Nariman Gharib “who provided it [the video] to the NY Times, and the videographer, who would like to remain anonymous”.

The anonymous videographer is the person who caught the 19-second clip which shows a missile striking Flight PS752 shortly after take-off from Tehran’s Imam Khomenei airport at around 6.15 am. This person, who remains silent during the filming while smoking a cigarette (the smoke briefly wafts over the screen), is standing in the suburb of Parand looking northwest. His location was verified by the NY Times using satellite data. The rapid way the newspaper’s technical resources were marshaled raises a curious question about how a seemingly random video submission was afforded such punctilious attention.

But the big question which many people on social media are asking is: why was this “videographer” standing in a derelict industrial area outside Tehran at around six o’clock in the morning with a mobile phone camera training on a fixed angle to the darkened sky? The airliner is barely visible, yet the sky-watching person has the camera pointed and ready to film a most dramatic event, seconds before it happened. That strongly suggests, foreknowledge…

Turns out that Nariman Gharib, the guy who received the video and credited by the NY Times for submitting it, is a vociferous anti-Iranian government dissident who does not live in Iran. He ardently promotes regime change in his social media posts.

Christiaan Triebert, the NY Times’ video expert, who collaborated closely with Gharib to get the story out within hours of the incident, previously worked as a senior investigator at Bellingcat. Bellingcat calls itself an independent online investigative journalism project, but numerous critics accuse it of being a media adjunct to Western military intelligence. Bellingcat has been a big proponent of media narratives smearing the Russian and Syrian governments over the MH17 shoot-down in Ukraine in 2014 and chemical weapons attacks.
-|

My online response to the above linked-to article follows:

:::-
“The Iranian military has claimed this was the nature of the shoot-down error. It seems plausible given the existing electronic warfare used by the Pentagon.” Then this is the first time that the Iranian military’s thoughts have been conveyed to this reader. This is a very interesting report.

I read a report on Fort Russ, which I found utterly confusing and I now realize that that report may have been confusing because key elements were left out, namely elements that Finian here relates to us. The Fort Russ article mentioned human error and culprits. I scratched my head over that one. Why is someone who commits an error a ‘culprit’?

And are we going to see some grunt get sacrificed in order to cover up higher-ups who are responsible for ‘policy’? Grounding or not grounding civilian aircraft during a crisis is a policy decision. The psychos could not exploit this radar-fooling tech if the Iranians had simply grounded all civilian aircraft during the crisis.

I am eager to know what is discovered about all this in the coming days.
-:::

The Fort Russ article by Joaquin Flores: “BREAKING: Iran Admits it Shot Down Flight 752 – Citing Human Error”

And then I came across an article on SOTT, by Joe Quinn, that added much detail to Soraya and Finian’s report. It is titled “Was Iranian Missile Operator Tricked Into Shooting Down The Ukrainian Airlines Plane Over Tehran?”

An excerpt from Joe Quinn’s above article follows:

)=-
For some as yet unknown reason, our guy had suddenly become convinced that the Boeing 737 was an ‘enemy target’. As per protocol, he had requested authorization to launch, but his superiors could not be reached because of ‘some problem with the communication network’. Again according to protocol, he had a 10-second window in which to decide whether to launch or not. Still convinced the 737 was a cruise missile or enemy aircraft, he launched the two missiles that sealed the fate of the 178 people on board.

The Iranian government and military has taken full responsibility for the shooting down of Flight 752, but no one has yet explained why a presumably well-trained missile system operator, having watched 9 commercial airliners fly past him that night, was so convinced that the 10th one was an enemy target that he made a decision – by himself – to shoot it down.

Iran purchased 29 Tor-M1 air-defense systems from Russia in late 2005. In 2012, Wikileaks revealed that they may have quickly become compromised…

Unluckily for Iran, two years after their large purchase of M1s, the Russians rolled out Tor-M2E which, significantly upgraded, included “protection against spoofing.” As it relates to general internet usage, spoofing means:

“when a hacker or malicious individual impersonates another user or device on a network, duping users or systems into believing they are communicating or interacting with a different person or website.”

In military terms however, spoofing usually refers to radar-spoofing and involves capturing enemy radar signals and sending them back in an altered format in order to confuse the radar operator about what he is seeing…

Another way that the Tor-M1 system (and operator) could have been ‘spoofed’ that night is through alteration of the identifying signals sent by the transponder on the Ukrainian airliner. The newer ADS-B transponder systems that are today on most airliners are known to be vulnerable to hacking. Of most concern to transport authorities is the potential for hackers to inject ‘ghost aircraft’ into the ATC system, but it is equally possible for a hacker to inject data directly into the aircraft’s ADS-B so that it transmits false data about its identity, location, speed and direction.

In 2012, researchers from the Air Force Institute of Technology showed that a variety of “false injection” attacks can be readily coded on a commercial software-defined radio platform and launched from the ground or air with a cheap antenna. Attacks could cause aircraft to believe a collision is imminent, flood the airspace with hundreds of false transmissions, or prevent reception of legitimate messages…

Another curious part of the official story of the shoot-down of the Ukrainian plane involves a clique of Iranians who were responsible for documenting and distributing video footage of the missile launch and its impact with the plane, the crash, and photographs of what are allegedly the remains of the Tor-M1 missile.

On January 9th, an Instagram account called ‘Rich Kids of Tehran’ – described as “a popular social media account showcasing Iran’s young and wealthy as they flaunt their wealth and jet around the world” – posted a video showing what was apparently a mid-air explosion. That same day, the New York Times contacted the administrator of the ‘Rich Kids of Tehran’ account and received the video in high resolution, and later confirmed its authenticity.
-=(

related: “Electronic Warfare: Video shows launched Syrian air-defense missiles RETURNING to hit Damascus during Israeli airstrikes last November” by ? (jewishpress.com)

Joe Quinn, James Corbett, Caitlin Johnstone, Stephen Gowans

related: “Soleimani assassination only one of many (and not the most consequential) US acts of war against Iran” by Stephen Gowans (Stephen Gowans)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=====:-
While the assassination of an Iranian general by a US drone attack in Iraq has been construed in some quarters as a consequential act of war, it is only one, in a long series of US actions, that constitute de facto acts of war by the United States against Iran that have caused considerable harm to the country.

Ever since Iranians overthrew the US puppet ruler, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1979, Washington has pursued an unceasing campaign of aggression against the sovereign state with the aim of returning Iran to its orbit. Since 2018, US aggression has intensified. In a stepped up effort to topple the independence-minded government in Tehran, Washington has undertaken campaigns of destabilization on top of information-, cyber-, and economic-warfare—significant aggressions against which the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani is but a minor act…

To destroy Iran’s economy, Washington has acted to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero. Additionally, by “sanctioning many of the country’s largest banks, including its central bank, it has severed most of Iran’s financial ties to the world. Other major non-oil sources of revenue have also been targeted—including the auto, aluminum, and petrochemical sectors—and insurers are prohibited from covering Iranian shipments,” according to The Wall Street Journal. [5] The sanctions, in the words of US president Donald Trump, are “massive.” [6] Indeed, the United States has used its economic weight and pressure on other countries to impose a total embargo on Iran, adding the Islamic republic to the list of countries now facing a total US embargo, including Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Cuba. [7] Significantly, all of these countries share a single thing in common: refusal to submit to US domination.

The “massive” sanctions are hardly limited, surgical, or targeted—that is, restricted to government figures with exemptions for the civilian population. On the contrary, as the Iranian diplomat Majid Takht-Ravanchi explained to the United Nations Security Council in June,

The sanctions are basically designed to harm the general public, particularly those who are vulnerable, such as women, children, the elderly and patients. The sanctions harm the poor more than the rich, the ill more than the healthy and infants and children more than adults. In short, those who are most vulnerable suffer the most. For instance, patients who have severe conditions and therefore need scarce and expensive medicines and advanced medical equipment, which in most cases must be imported, suffer the most.

“Sanctions aren’t an alternative to war,” tweeted Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif in June. “They ARE war.”
-:=====

related: ““We Do Not Seek War,” Says President Who Just Started A War” by Caitlin Johnstone (Caitlin Johnstone.com)

Caitlin’s statement could profitably have been qualified in order to make it clear that she was talking about a ‘hotter’ war.

related: “The Long Planned U.S. Assassinations In Iraq Will Increase Its Political Chaos” by ? (Moon of Alabama)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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The Trump administration has given various justification for its assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani and commander Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. It claimed that there was an ‘imminent threat’ of an incident, even while not knowing what, where or when it would happen, that made the assassination necessary. Trump later said the thread was a planned bombing of four U.S. embassies. His defense secretary denied that.

That has raised the suspicion that the decision to kill Soleimani had little to do with current events but was a long planned operation. NBC News now reports that this is exactly the case:

President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran’s increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.

The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said.

The idea to kill Soleimani, a regular General in an army with which the U.S. is not war, came like many other bad ideas from John Bolton…

There was no intelligence of any ‘imminent threat’ or anything like that.

This was an operation that had been worked on for 18 month. Trump signed off on it more than half a year ago. Those who had planned it just waited for a chance to execute it.

We can not even be sure that the embassy bombing had caused Trump to give the final go. It might have been that the CIA and Pentagon were just waiting for a chance to kill Soleimani and Muhandis, the leader of Katib Hizbullah, at the same time. Their meeting at Baghdad airport was not secret and provided the convenient opportunity they had been waiting for.

Together Soleimani and Muhandis were the glue that kept the many Shia factions in Iraq together. The armed ones as well as the political ones.
|\||

The bolding in the above quote is mine. As Caitlin Johnstone does, MoA is setting aside the de facto state of war that exists between the US and Iran. He too should qualify his statements in that regard. Otherwise, This is another interesting, informative report.

related: “Did Soleimani Kill 600 Americans? – Questions For Corbett #050”

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Lawlessness / Ruined – part 68

Photos by the Associated Press, Graphic by Claudio Cabrerra for MintPress News

“The Valley of Death: the Saudi Coalition is Creating a Living Nightmare for African Migrants in Yemen” by Ahmed Abdulkareem (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Over the course of the nearly five-year-long war in Yemen, U.S. bombs and shells in the hands of the Saudi-led coalition have not only devastated the lives of many Yemenis but have dashed the dreams of migrants from the Horn of Africa who have been stranded in Yemen’s nightmare since 2015, when the war began…

A combination of factors has driven hundreds of thousands like Hermala to travel through some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth in hopes of crossing the sea into war-stricken Yemen and eventually Saudi Arabia after the United States and Europe closed their doors to migrants and refugees.

This past November, Hermala traveled more than 1,000 kilometers from his home through one of the busiest maritime mixed migration routes in the world. First on buses and then later on foot, jumping the border into Djibouti, he trekked through mountains, sandstorms, and high temperatures, surviving on crumbs of bread and unclean water…

Despite the ongoing war and the escalating humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the past four years have seen a spike in the number of arrivals of East African refugees and migrants to Yemen. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said that almost 90,000 East Africans, 90 percent of them Ethiopian, have arrived in Yemen since April. However, more than 150,000 migrants arrived in Yemen in 2018, a 50 percent increase from the year before…

In Southeastern Yemen, a region under the total control of Saudi and Emirati forces, migrants face extreme risks and serious human rights violations including torture, extortion, and sexual and physical abuse…

Reports from Human Rights Watch and other groups confirm that migrants are routinely tortured and abused by traffickers and officials in Southeastern Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition and its allies have tortured, raped and executed migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa in detention centers in the port cities of Aden and Lahj, according to reports by Human Rights Watch…

Although themselves facing famine, local residents provide refugees with clean water and food when possible. Through an eclectic mix of broken English and Arabic, refugees who spoke to MintPress said: “Yemenis are hospitable, they do not mind us passing through their areas or staying in them.” Others recounted how residents provided them with food and clothing and told them “the right way to Saudi Arabia.” Yemen has long been a host nation for refugees, indeed, it is the only country in the Arabian Peninsula that is a signatory to the Refugee Convention and its protocol.
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What a hellish world when desperate people trying to survive are forced to run the gauntlet described in Ahmed’s above article so as to make it INTO barbaric Saudi Arabia!

“The US, the EU and Klaus Barbie” by Stephen Sefton (Tortilla con Sal via Axis of Logic)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

===== =
In a comprehensive way, Bolivia’s coup leaders reincarnate the most sinister ghosts of Latin America and the Caribbean’s imperialist torturers and mass murderers. The religious fanaticism of coup figureheads like Camacho and Añez, abject servants of their US owners, invokes the fearsome history of colonial genocide and enslavement of indigenous populations in the name of Christ. Aping events of only forty years ago, the armed forces’ role in the coup of last November 10th reenacted the military coups of Hugo Banzer and Luis Meza. Western racism and fascism are inseparable from these sinister historical motifs of European conquest and endless US intervention.

Despite this reality, the European Parliament has just approved a resolution condemning… Nicaragua. Contrary to fact-free Western media and NGO propaganda, there is no torture in Nicaragua, no arbitrary detention or forced disappearance, no police officers deliberately fire pellets to blind protestors as in Chile, no soldiers fire from helicopters murdering indigenous protestors as in Bolivia. In Nicaragua, the authorities applied minimum force in 2018 to overcome an extremely violent, murderous coup attempt and subsequently amnestied the violent minority opposition’s murderers and torturers for the sake of peace.

Nicaragua’s minority opposition continue mounting persistent provocations because they have no national political project except to obey their US and EU country owners.
= =====

The headquarters of Kata’ib Hizbullah lies in ruins after US air attacks. (AP Photo)

“Washington escalates Mideast war threat with strikes on Iraq, Syria” by Bill Van Auken (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

(O
A wave of US airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria Sunday linked to elements branded by Washington as Iranian “proxies” has sharply escalated the threat of a direct military confrontation between the US and Iran.

Targeted in Sunday’s attacks were bases of Kata’ib Hizbullah, an Iraqi Shia militia that the Trump administration has blamed for a series of mortar and rocket attacks on bases in Iraq where US troops are stationed. These attacks allegedly culminated Friday in the launching of 30 Katyusha rockets against an army base near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk in which one US private contractor was killed and four US military personnel were wounded.

Iraqi Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi and the country’s President Barham Salih both condemned the US attack, which they said had been carried out without any coordination with Baghdad.

A statement by Abdul Mahdi’s office said, “The prime minister described the American attack on the Iraqi armed forces as an unacceptable vicious assault that will have dangerous consequences.” The statement described the US action as “a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a dangerous escalation that threatens the security of Iraq and the region.” Abdul Mahdi reported that US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper had notified him only half an hour before the US attacks. He said he had asked him to call off the raids and had attempted to warn the militia, part of the Popular Mobilization Forces which Baghdad regards as part of its armed forces.

President Salih similarly said he had been notified shortly before the attacks by a US diplomatic official and had unsuccessfully called for them to be aborted. He described the strikes as “unacceptable” and in violation of security agreements between the US and Iraq.
O)

Craig Murray

“Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani” by Craig Murray (Craig Murray)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

)=-
In one of the series of blatant lies the USA has told to justify the assassination of Soleimani, Mike Pompeo said that Soleimani was killed because he was planning “Imminent attacks” on US citizens. It is a careful choice of word. Pompeo is specifically referring to the Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self Defence.

Developed by Daniel Bethlehem when Legal Adviser to first Netanyahu’s government and then Blair’s, the Bethlehem Doctrine is that states have a right of “pre-emptive self-defence” against “imminent” attack. That is something most people, and most international law experts and judges, would accept. Including me.

What very few people, and almost no international lawyers, accept is the key to the Bethlehem Doctrine – that here “Imminent” – the word used so carefully by Pompeo – does not need to have its normal meanings of either “soon” or “about to happen”. An attack may be deemed “imminent”, according to the Bethlehem Doctrine, even if you know no details of it or when it might occur. So you may be assassinated by a drone or bomb strike – and the doctrine was specifically developed to justify such strikes – because of “intelligence” you are engaged in a plot, when that intelligence neither says what the plot is nor when it might occur. Or even more tenuous, because there is intelligence you have engaged in a plot before, so it is reasonable to kill you in case you do so again.

I am not inventing the Bethlehem Doctrine. It has been the formal legal justification for drone strikes and targeted assassinations by the Israeli, US and UK governments for a decade. Here it is in academic paper form, published by Bethlehem after he left government service (the form in which it is adopted by the US, UK and Israeli Governments is classified information).
-=(

“Democrats fault Trump on strategy, silent on illegality of Suleimani assassination” by Patrick Martin (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

[[((
The Democrats competing for the party’s presidential nomination to replace Donald Trump issued statements after the killing of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani generally denouncing the victim of the US state killing while faulting Trump for not embedding the murder of Suleimani in a broader strategy for promoting US imperialist interests in the Middle East.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, campaigning in Iowa for the February 3 caucuses, the first contest in the campaign for the Democratic nomination, said that Suleimani “deserved to be brought to justice,” but that Trump had “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and the plan” going forward.

“We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East,” Biden, who leads in national polls among the Democratic contenders, said in Dubuque. “I hope the administration has thought through the second- and third-order consequences of the path they have chosen. But I fear this administration has not demonstrated at any turn the discipline or long-term vision necessary.”

Senator Bernie Sanders was the only top Democratic candidate to flatly describe the killing of Suleimani as an assassination and to connect Trump’s actions to previous acts of American military aggression, both in Vietnam and in Iraq. “This is a dangerous escalation that brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East, which would cost countless lives and trillions more dollars and lead to even more death, more conflict, more displacement in that already highly volatile region of the world,” he said.

But Sanders placed that criticism in the context of praising the foreign policy of the Obama administration, the first in US history to be at war every day for eight years. Obama massively expanded the use of drone-fired missiles to carry out targeted murders, the method employed by Trump against Suleimani.

Sanders is well aware of the deep-seated opposition to imperialist war among working people. On Friday, he and Representative Ro Khanna of California introduced legislation that would deny funding for US military attacks on Iran without a congressional vote. They issued an accompanying statement declaring, “It will ultimately be the children of working class families who will have to fight and die in a new Middle East conflict—not the children of the billionaire class.”

This antiwar posturing is an empty gesture, given that Congress will never vote on the legislation and Trump would ignore it if it passed, just as he has ignored restrictions on the use of military funding to build the wall on the US-Mexico border. The bill was introduced only to give the Democrats a “left” cover after they voted overwhelmingly to approve the record $738 billion military budget sought by Trump…

Not one of the Democratic presidential candidates characterized the state assassination as a criminal action or suggested that this charge should become the basis for the impeachment and removal of Trump.
))]]

Are Americans ruined or what? With what we, who are paying even just minimal attention, know about Biden’s criminality, especially in connection with Ukraine, a picture is painted of a criminal and psychopath many times over. Is it true that Biden leads the pack of Democratic Party candidates for the 2020 election? And there’s sheep-dog Bernie in action!

“Canadian government tacitly endorses US assassination of Iranian general Soleimani” by Roger Jordan (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

|-
Canada’s Liberal government has effectively endorsed the illegal and provocative assassination by the United States of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, which amounts to a declaration of war against Tehran. Just hours after US President Trump ordered a drone strike to exterminate the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force at Baghdad international airport, the Canadian government issued a statement denouncing Iranian “aggression” in the Middle East and cynically appealing for de-escalation.

Washington’s calculated murder of Soleimani, who is widely seen as the second most powerful figure in Tehran, and seven other people was a war crime and reckless act of state terrorism. Reflecting the descent into criminality of American foreign policy, which is driven by its deepening geostrategic crisis in the Middle East, Trump openly boasted of having “terminated” Soleimani, who he alleged was the “number one terrorist anywhere in the world.” Over the weekend, he issued a chilling threat of further attacks, declaring that the US has selected 52 Iranian targets to be obliterated, including cultural institutions…

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who never loses an opportunity in highly choreographed appearances to publicly tout his “progressive” credentials, has not uttered a single word about the state murder of a senior foreign military and political official by Canada’s closest ally, one, moreover, which was carried out in blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

In a cowardly and cynical statement released just hours after Soleimani’s murder, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne avoided directly addressing Soleimani’s killing. Instead, Champagne declared, “Canada has long been concerned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, led by Qasem Soleimani, whose aggressive actions have had a destabilizing effect in the region and beyond.”

Striking a hypocritical pose of diplomacy and neutrality, Champagne went on, “We call on all sides to exercise restraint and pursue de-escalation. Our goal is and remains a united and stable Iraq.”

In a cynical attempt to exploit widespread popular opposition to war and the thuggish actions of the Trump administration, New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh criticized Soleimani’s killing. The assassination, Singh wrote on Twitter, has “brought us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East.” He appealed to Trudeau to “act quickly with other countries to de-escalate the situation and not be drawn into the path that President Trump is taking.”

These empty bromides will have no impact on the NDP’s steadfast support for Trudeau’s minority Liberal government, as shown by the NDP’s recent backing for the Liberals in their first parliamentary confidence vote. The NDP’s support for the Trudeau government is based on the party’s endorsement of Trudeau’s vast rearmament program, which includes an increase in military spending of more than 70 percent by 2026. The ruling elite views the strengthening of Canada’s armed forces as essential if Canadian imperialism is to share in the spoils of US-led military aggression around the world, including in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Eastern Europe.
-|

I want to throw up!

From Mondoweiss:
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo visits troops in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 9, 2018. (State Department photo/ Public Domain)

“Trump Threatens Afghan Armageddon: U.S. ‘plans’ for the Afghan War might prove a crime against humanity” by Nick Turse (Mondweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

(+
On February 4, 2002, a Predator drone circled over Afghanistan’s Paktia province, near the city of Khost. Below was al-Qaeda’s founder Osama bin Laden — or at least someone in the CIA thought so — and he was marked for death. As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put it later, both awkwardly and passively: “A decision was made to fire the Hellfire missile. It was fired.” That air-to-ground, laser-guided missile — designed to obliterate tanks, bunkers, helicopters, and people — did exactly what it was meant to do.

As it happened, though (and not for the first time in its history either), the CIA got it wrong. It wasn’t Osama bin Laden on the receiving end of that strike, or a member of al-Qaeda, or even of the Taliban. The dead, local witnesses reported, were civilians out collecting scrap metal, ordinary people going about their daily work just as thousands of Americans had been doing at the World Trade Center only months earlier when terror struck from the skies.

In the years since, those Afghan scrap collectors have been joined by more than 157,000 war dead in that embattled land. That’s a heavy toll, but represents just a fraction of the body count from America’s post-9/11 wars…

“I have plans on Afghanistan that, if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone,” the president remarked prior to a July 2019 meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. “If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people.” In September, he ramped up the rhetoric — and the death toll — further. “We’ve been very effective in Afghanistan,” he said. “And if we wanted to do a certain method of war, we would win that very quickly, but many, many, really, tens of millions of people would be killed.”

If America’s commander-in-chief is to be believed, plans and methods are already in place for a mass killing whose death toll could, at a minimum, exceed those of the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, the Rwandan genocide, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Hundred Years’ War, and the American Revolution combined — and all in a country where the Pentagon believes there are only 40,000 to 80,000 Taliban fighters and fewer than 2,000 Islamic State militants.
+)

Nick Turse is knowledgeable, but he’s connected with the fake progressive outlet “TomDispatch,” and perhaps that helps to explain some nonsense we find in his otherwise revealing article. Does he really think Donald Trump or any American President can be brought before any international criminal court? The following is the comment I attached to the above linked-to article on Mondoweiss:

[([(
“According to a study by the Costs of War Project of Brown University’s Watson Institute, as many as 801,000 people, combatants and noncombatants alike, have been killed in those conflicts. That’s a staggering number, the equivalent of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. But if President Donald Trump is to be believed, the United States has “plans” that could bury that grim count in staggering numbers of dead.”

Why does Nick Turse spout this establishment line about Rwandan casualties? I know, absolutely, that Nick knows better. He’s far, far too informed.

I hope that Mondoweiss, and Mondoweiss readers, know about Edward Herman and accept his credentials as a solid progressive. Noam Chomsky, who worked with Herman on “The Manufacturing Of Consent,” may have gone over to the dark side with his pro imperialist sentiments in regard to Turkey and Syria and the Kurds, but I know of no such defection by (the late) Edward Herman. In his book titled “Enduring Lies,” co-authored with David Peterson, Edward Herman wrote:

(+
A very serious ongoing research project named GenoDynanics, led by Christian Davenport and Allan Stam of the University of Michigan’s Political Science Department, more conservatively estimates that “around 500,000” persons perished during the April – July 1994 period. But more disturbing to the advocates for the standard model, these researchers also draw the important conclusion that a much greater number of Hutu die in Rwanda in 1994 than Tutsi. To this they add the important point, equally disturbing to advocates for the standard model, that the higher the total number of total deaths in Rwanda, the greater the disparity between the relative (greater) number of Hutu and Tutsi deaths will also turn out to be. Finally, they have been arguing for at least the past ten years that spikes in civilian casualties correlated with surges in RPF advances during the April – July, 1994 period.
+)
)])]

Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei and Hassan Nasrallah and Qasem Soleimani

“Iranian and Hezbollah leaders condemn attacking civilians as Trump threatens to bomb cultural sites” by Ben Norton (The Grayzone)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

|(-
If you listened only to the rhetoric of the United States government, you might think that fighters from the Iranian government and Lebanese armed group Hezbollah are bloodthirsty terrorists hellbent on attacking Americans anywhere, from shopping malls in Minneapolis to airports in New York.

But in reality, their leaders have repeatedly called for protecting civilians and retaliating exclusively against military targets. Meanwhile the US commander-in-chief, Donald Trump, has openly threatened to carry out war crimes against Iranian cultural sites.

Donald Trump’s January 3 drone strike killing Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani and major Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis ignited a global firestorm of outrage. This clear act of war took out senior military leaders who were beloved in their respective countries, where they were seen as war heroes for the roles in the defeat of ISIS.

Trump’s attack was immediately denounced by the United Nation’s top expert on extrajudicial executions, special rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who said the assassinations “are most likely unlawful and violate international human rights law.”

On January 4, the US president tweeted threats to carry out explicit war crimes by targeting Iranian cultural sites. His sadistic vows brought to mind some of the most notorious crimes committed Wahhabi extremist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.

“If Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD,” Trump tweeted.

Speaking to reporters the next day, Trump repeated his threat. “We’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” he said.

Media outlets quickly pointed out that such attacks are blatantly illegal and clear war crimes under international law.
-)|

What disturbs me about Ben’s article is his mention of Agnes Callamard’s statement about Trump’s murder of Qasem Soleimani as “most likely” unlawful and a violation of international law. There’s no ‘most likely’ about it.

“Ruin”

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