Professional Scam Artists – part 48

From OG:
Theresa May declaring “no one is above the law” in Parliament, and somehow maintaining a straight face.

““No One is Above the Law:” You Have to be Kidding” by James O’Neil (Off Guardian)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Reacting to the arrest and detention in British custody of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that the arrest confirms “that no one is above the law.” This was a phrase repeated multiple times by members of her government.

It is, or ought to be, a fundamental principle of a society based upon the rule of law, that this is indeed the case. If an individual, or group of individuals, transgress upon the law then they ought to be held accountable. That ought to apply regardless of that person’s status…

Returning to Mrs May’s triumphalist claim that no-one is above the law, her rhetoric immediately raises the question: if that is indeed true why is she and members of the government and those of governments before her not standing trial for the many and egregious breaches of international law perpetrated by successive British governments?
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“BOYCOTT ISRAELI DATES” by ? (Innovative Minds)

An excerpt from the above linked-to boycott page follows:

O—
Israel is even using ‘Made in Palestine’ label to peddle stolen dates from illegal settlements. If you buy a Medjool date, there’s a strong possibility that it is from an illegal settlement – grown on stolen land. Unless its from a trusted Palestinian source like Zaytoun or Yaffa, we would caution against buying it.
—O

Diane Ravitch

“Peter Greene Explains Why Betsy DeVos Doesn’t Care About How Many Charters Closed” by Diane Ravitch (Diane Ravitch’s Blog)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

|#\
Peter Greene puts his finger on the reason that Secretary DeVos is unmoved by charter failures. In her ideal free-market model, failure is a feature, not a bug.

in the free market, businesses open and close all the time. Where is Eastern Airlines, Braniff, TWA? Gone.

Stability, in her view, is not desirable. Disruption and churn show that the market is working well.

Thats why she is not at all disturbed to learn that one-third of the charters funded by the U.S. Department of Education either never opened or closed soon after opening. That’s music to her ears. The market is working!

He writes:

“This is one of the area where choicers have a fundamental disagreement with public education advocates. For public schools, stability is a basic foundational value. The school is a community institution, and like all institutions, part of its values comes from its continuity, its connections to tradition, the past. It means something to people to see their children and neighbors all passing through the same halls, having the same teachers, being part of a community collective that stretches across the years. For free market Reformsters, anything that gets in the way of their idea of free market mechanics is bad; there should be winners and losers and the market should judge their worth, ruthlessly culling the weak and undeserving…

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Roméo Dallaire and Paul Kagame

“Roméo Dallaire and the Toronto Star’s distortion of Rwanda’s tragedy” by Yves Engler (Yves Engler)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

## #
A day after the 25th anniversary of when two Hutu presidents were blown out of the sky, the Star’s editorial board published “There’s no excuse for ignoring lessons of Rwanda’s genocide”. It claims, “on Jan. 11, 1994, Canadian Maj.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire, at the time force commander with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, sent a chilling and urgent cable to UN Headquarters in New York. He had been informed of the details of a plan for the ‘extermination’ of ethnic Tutsis by Hutus.” After stringing together a few hundred more humane-sounding, though meaningless, words Star editorialists returned to their core liberal interventionist Canadian hero theme: “In his cable of January 1994 he urged UN leaders to act by telling them the obvious: Where there’s a will to prevent mass killing, there is a way.”

The Star should check Dallaire’s fax more closely. Revealingly, the much-celebrated “genocide fax” the editorialists reference is not titled “‘genocide’ or ‘killing’ but an innocuous ‘Request for Protection of Informant’”, reports International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) lawyer Christopher Black in a 2005 story titled “View from Rwanda: The Dallaire Genocide Fax: A Fabrication”. The two-page “genocide fax”, as New Yorker reporter Philip Gourevitch dubbed it in 1998, was probably doctored a year after the mass killings in Rwanda ended. In a chapter devoted to the fax in Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later Edward S. Herman and David Peterson argue two paragraphs were added to a cable Dallaire sent to Canadian General Maurice Baril at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York about a weapons cache and protecting an informant (Dallaire never personally met the informant). The added paragraphs said the informant was asked to compile a list of Tutsi for possible extermination in Kigali and mentioned a plan to assassinate select political leaders and Belgian peacekeepers.
# ##

From The Intercept:
The Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire in Port-au-Prince, where American mercenaries who were arrested were detained on Feb. 17, 2019. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

“U.S. Mercenaries Arrested in Haiti Were Part of a Half-Baked Scheme to Move $80 Million for Embattled President” by Kim Ives and Matthew Cole (The Intercept)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

==== == =
Most of the Americans arrived in Port-au-Prince from the U.S. by private jet early on the morning of February 16. They’d packed the eight-passenger charter plane with a stockpile of semiautomatic rifles, handguns, Kevlar bulletproof vests, and knives. Most had been paid already: $10,000 each up front, with another $20,000 promised to each man after they finished the job.

A trio of politically connected Haitians greeted the Americans when their plane landed around 5 a.m. An aide to embattled Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and two other regime-friendly Haitians whisked them through the country’s biggest airport, avoiding customs and immigration agents, who had not yet reported for work.

The American team included two former Navy SEALs, a former Blackwater-trained contractor, and two Serbian mercenaries who lived in the U.S. Their leader, a 52-year-old former Marine C-130 pilot named Kent Kroeker, had told his men that this secret operation had been requested and approved by Moïse himself. The Haitian president’s emissaries had told Kroeker that the mission would involve escorting the presidential aide, Fritz Jean-Louis, to the Haitian central bank, where he’d electronically transfer $80 million from a government oil fund to a second account controlled solely by the president. In the process, the Haitians told the Americans, they’d be preserving democracy in Haiti…

Many details of the operation remain murky, but based on interviews with Haitian law enforcement and government officials, as well as a person with direct knowledge of the plan, a picture of the clumsy effort emerges. What at first resembled a comedic plot about a group of ex-soldiers looking for a quick and easy mercenary score was in fact a poorly executed but serious effort by Moïse to consolidate his political power with American muscle.
= == ====

The above entry is ‘not’ an endorsement of The Intercept. It’s a rather late entry, but Haiti and her enemies need the extra exposure.

“No, Bernie’s not anti-war” by Kollibri Terre Sonnenblume (The Greanville Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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The Democratic Party has an undeserved reputation for being anti-war. The last time the party ran an anti-war candidate for president was George McGovern in 1972. The 1980’s was the last decade when it was typical of candidates to pledge “defense” cuts or nuclear arms reductions. Dennis Kucinich has been the only exception to that rule this century. In fact, the most successful anti-war candidate of the last twenty years was a Republican: Ron Paul, who made a notable splash in both 2008 and 2012.

Though he is not a member of the political party that writer Paul Street regularly refers to as the “dismal, dollar-drenched Dems,” Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders is once more seeking its presidential nomination and has signed the requisite “loyalty oath.” Sanders is often considered anti-war, but this is wishful thinking. His decades-long record in office demonstrates otherwise.

It’s telling that Sanders has been more likely to cast a vote that could be deemed anti-war when a Republican is president. That betrays an allegiance more to partisanship than principle. Given this pattern, one can rightly wonder if he would have pushed his resolution against US support of Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen if Hillary had been elected. (Also note that the resolution would not end the US’s role even if Trump does not veto it, as he is expected to do.)

According to opensecrets.org, in the 2016 race, Sanders took $366,458 from the Defense Industry, only 8% less than Trump and about 1/3 as much as Hillary accepted. Given that even peacenik Jill Stein is down for $26,395 in this category, one might wonder how it is defined, but that’s just too much to be called anti-war.
//||

From EI:
The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is attempting to solve Greece’s chronic economic and debt problems at the expense of Palestinian rights. (Yonatan Sindel Xinhua)

“Greece bids for role in Israeli settler railway” by Adri Nieuwhof (The Electronic Intifada)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

+++—
Encouraged by the Greek government, state-owned public transport firm STASY is bidding for a role in the Jerusalem light rail, which links Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

This would make the firms – and the Greek state – complicit in Israel’s illegal colonization.

Greek and Israeli transport ministers signed an agreement to cooperate in transport sectors in 2017.

This came after a summit between the leaders of Israel, Greece and Cyprus aimed at drawing the countries closer together.

Lawmakers in Greece’s nominally left-wing ruling party Syriza are demanding to know why the government is supporting a Greek role in Israel’s colonial expansion.

Metro workers union SELMA has also denounced STASY for its plan to bid for a role in the construction, operation and maintenance of the Israeli project.

The light rail’s Green Line, which the Greek firm wants to be involved in, begins and ends in the occupied West Bank, SELMA stated last month. “This means that the Greek companies are directly engaged in supporting illegal Israeli settlements.”
—+++

“CSIS Makes New Attempt To Misrepresent Yongbyon Satellite Imagery” by William Craddick (Disobedient Media)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

|(|(|
One month after media outlets and think tanks misrepresented satellite photos of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station and the Sanumdong Research and Development Facility, a new attempt on April 16, 2019 from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) purports to claim that radioactive materials are being transported near North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Research Facility.

Analysis shows that this is not true, and that the authors have past ties to government entities and intelligence contractors involved with attempts to undermine North Korean denuclearization talks. Additionally, the first journalist to cover the story has a history of apparent collaboration with National Security Advisor John Bolton…
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Kwon Jong Gun. Photo: Arirang News.

“North Korea’s Former UN Ambassador Tries To Undermine Peace Talks” by William Craddick (Disobedient Media)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

:||:-
On April 18, 2019, North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency ran a statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Kwon Jong Gun calling for Mike Pompeo to be replaced on the US negotiating team working with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on denuclearization and an end to the Korean War. Kwon’s statement appears to be an intentional attempt by Western-connected factions within North Korea to undermine talks with the US and makes a very strong case for his total removal from the DPRK’s political affairs…

This is not the first time that Kwon has jeopardized the health of the peace process with hostile statements…

Kwon’s previous involvement with the UN reasonably leads to the conclusion that he is covering for other parties who use the international organization as a front for sabotage of a Korean peace deal. John Bolton also has also previously served as the US ambassador to the UN and leads the charge on the American side for increased sanctions in clear opposition to President Trump’s clearly stated desire for further dialogue. By choosing to target a US official on the negotiation team who has made actual efforts to reach out to the DPRK and meet with North Korean officials, Kwon exposes his true intentions – erosion of rapport to the point that both sides are dragged into a situation where hostile confrontation becomes more likely.
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