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For Your Information / Who Is Responsible for Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar?
« Last post by Roger on October 10, 2017, 10:09:54 PM »

 Who Is Responsible for Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar?
 Gearóid Ó Colmáin, American Herald Tribune 
Sept 30


 On the 15th of September the dead bodies of a family were discovered by Burmese security forces In Mayu Mountain Rakhine state. The family are believed to be Daingnet minorities. The murders have been blamed on the Arakanese Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA, formerly Harakah al Yakin) a terrorist group with links to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Myanmar's Rakhine State has experienced a wave of violence since ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) terrorists attacked security forces on the 25th of August killing 10 police officers, 1 soldier, 9 security officers and several civilians.

The ARSA attacks were clearly timed to coincide with the report before the UN General Assembly of the Advisory Committee on Rakhine led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Dr Annan was appointed by the Burmese government to oversee an independent investigation of violence in the troubled region.

Numerous eyewitness reports in Myanmar say terrorists set fire to villages provoking an exodus, while others, including the Western corporate media, say the fires were lit by the Burmese military (Tatmadaw). There is no conclusive proof of who is responsible for the tragic exodus of Myanmar's ethnic Bengali Muslim communities from North Rakhine State. But former US chargé d'affaires at the US Embassy in Burma, Pricilla Clapp contradicted US agencies when she told France 24 News that she believed the Takfiri terrorists were responsible for the burning of villages as well as laying land mines.

If Clapp's claims are true, it strongly suggests that the terrorist insurgency in north Rakhine state is gaining in strength. The Islamist insurgency is estimated to be between 20 and 30,00 fighters. There are many accounts by Buddhist Muslim and Hindu villagers of being surrounded and attacked by the Takfiri terrorists.

According to American Burmese researcher Rich Heizman, almost all the inhabitants of Ye Bauk Kyar village, three miles from the Bangladeshi border, were hacked to death with machetes, swords and axes by the "Bengali" Islamist terrorists. 92 Hindus were also slaughtered in Kha Maung Seik village.

Mass graves of mostly Hindu villagers have been found near the Bangladeshi border. They are believed to have been murdered in August 2016 terrorist insurgency.

Hundreds of Hindu villagers remain missing. Some Hindu's, captured by the terrorists, have been found in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

None of this evidence has been mentioned in the mainstream media reports. The horrific suffering of thousands of people has been deliberately and callously ignored. Instead, we are fed a constant, lachrymose refrain about ‘the world's most persecuted minority' and ‘genocide against the Rohingya'. The soundbites mask what may be a far more disturbing reality, namely that those screaming genocide are the very people behind the mass killing! The modus operandi is familiar to followers of the Syrian and Libyan wars where false-false terrorist atrocities, designed to gain maximum media attention in order to blame the targeted government, have been the norm.

The discovery of the massacre in the Mayu Mountain comes after the Asian Human Rights Centre (ACHR) recently called on the UN to dismiss its current Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Professor Yanghee Lee, due to serious violations of the UN Human Rights Council's Resolution 5/2 ‘Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council- article 3 General Principles of conduct.'

Professor Lee is accused of omitting to mention the terrorist groups who are responsible for atrocities. Lee has also been accused of grossly inflating the figures of Bengali (Rohingya) deaths.

The ACHR accuses the UN Special Rapporteur of failing to name the Takfiri groups for the killing of 3 Mro villagers on the third of August, 2017, 5 ethnic Daingnets in Kyandoe village on the 26th of August and 7 Mro people in Kan-Taing village, Maungdaw on the 28th of August.

The anti-terrorist operation in Myanmar is far from over with reports of thousands of terrorists still hiding in the jungle of the Mayu Mountains.

The whereabouts of thousands of victims remain unknown. Some Buddhist and Hindu refugees who fled to Rakhine State capital Sittway after the violence, have been transported by the military back to their villages. Many Buddhist refugees, who are a minority in Maungdaw township in north Rakhine State, have said they will never return to the area due to fear of more attacks.

Thousands of Muslim refugees remain in Bangladesh. Many of the community leaders are refusing to cooperate with Myanmar's identity verification process, making repatriation impossible. Many Muslims in the refugee camps are also coming under pressure from terrorist groups such as ARSA. Half of North Rakhine's Muslim community have remained in Rakhine State. But ARSA terrorists have also been murdering Muslim's accused of collaborating with the Burmese military (Tatmadaw). All Myanmar Islamic Religious Organisation has condemned the terrorists and urged all Muslims to collaborate with the government.

The Burmese military has been accused of torturing and decapitating children. The claims are highly unlikely. In fact, it is far more likely that such atrocities are being committed by the Takfiri terrorists themselves. The Tatdadaw are highly trained soldiers who are armed mostly with Browning Hi-powder, Heckler & Koch G 3s and MP5 submachine guns. The photos of thousands of slaughtered victims have been released by the Burmese government. The bodies are badly mutilated with deep gashes from machetes, swords and knives – the main weapons of the Takfiri terrorists. The Western press is trying to play down the savagery of the ARSA terrorists, claiming that they are ‘lightly armed'. There is nothing ‘light' about a machete or a sword in the hands of a lunatic Takfiri terrorist!

Since communal violence in 2012 where Mosques and Buddhist temples were attacked leading to the murder of Buddhists and Muslims, Myanmar has been targeted with a growing foreign-backed Islamist insurgency in north Rakhine State, where Bengali Muslims are the ethno-religious majority.

The Buddhist majority in Myanmar fear that if illegal Bengali immigration is not curbed, they may one day face the same persecution as their co-religionists in Bangladesh. Murders and rapes of Buddhists by Takfiri terrorists are regularly documented in Bangladesh, where the growing Wahhabi death cult is receiving copious funding from Saudi Arabia.

Since the destruction of the ancient statues of Buddha in Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2001, there have been growing religious tensions in South East Asia. The strategic objective of Western imperialism in Asia is to exploit those tensions by stoking sectarian hatred – a Huntingtonian ‘clash of civilisations' which provides the pretext for ‘humanitarian' intervention' or ‘anti-terrorist' counter-insurgency operations by the United States and its allies. The growing Buddhist/Muslim tensions provide Uncle Sam with the pretext he needs to counter the rise of China. Only in that context can one begin to understand imperialism's new humanitarian cause- the Rohingya.

Gearóid Ó Colmáin, AHT Paris correspondent, is a journalist and political analyst. His work focuses on globalization, geopolitics and class struggle. His articles have been translated into many languages. He is a regular contributor to Global Research, Russia Today International, Press TV, Sputnik Radio France, Sputnik English , Al Etijah TV , Sahar TV Englis, Sahar French and has also appeared on Al Jazeera. He writes in English, Irish Gaelic and French.
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For Your Information / THE RISING OF BRITAIN'S 'NEW POLITICS'
« Last post by Roger on October 10, 2017, 10:04:11 PM »
THE RISING OF BRITAIN'S 'NEW POLITICS'
 JohnPilger.com - the films and journalism of John Pilger 
6 October 2017

 Delegates to the recent Labour Party conference in the English seaside town of Brighton seemed not to notice a video playing in the main entrance. The world's third biggest arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, supplier to Saudi Arabia, was promoting its guns, bombs, missiles, naval ships and fighter aircraft.

It seemed a perfidious symbol of a party in which millions of Britons now invest their political hopes. Once the preserve of Tony Blair, it is led today by Jeremy Corbyn, whose career has been very different from Blair's and is rare in British establishment politics.

Addressing the Labour conference, the campaigner Naomi Klein described the rise of Corbyn as "part of a global phenomenon. We saw it in Bernie Sanders' historic campaign in the US primaries, powered by millennials who know that safe centrist politics offers them no kind of safe future."

In fact, at the end of the US primary elections last year, Sanders led his followers into the arms of Hillary Clinton, a liberal warmonger from a long tradition in the Democratic Party.

As President Obama's Secretary of State, Clinton presided over the invasion of Libya in 2011, which led to a stampede of refugees to Europe. She gloated notoriously at the gruesome murder of Libya's president. Two years earlier, she signed off on a coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras. That she has been invited to Wales on 14 October to be given an honorary doctorate by the University of Swansea because she is "synonymous with human rights" is unfathomable.

Like Clinton, Sanders is a cold-warrior and an "anti-communist" obsessive with a proprietorial view of the world beyond the United States. He supported Bill Clinton's and Tony Blair's illegal assault on Yugoslavia in 1998 and the invasions of Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, as well as Barack Obama's campaign of terrorism by drone. He backs the provocation of Russia and agrees that the whistleblower Edward Snowden should stand trial. He has called the late Hugo Chavez - a social democrat who won multiple elections - "a dead communist dictator".

While Sanders is a familiar liberal politician, Corbyn may well be a phenomenon, with his indefatigable support for the victims of American and British imperial adventures and for popular resistance movements.

For example, in the 1960s and 70s, the Chagos islanders were expelled from their homeland, a British colony in the Indian Ocean, by a Labour government. An entire population was kidnapped. The aim was to make way for a US military base on the main island of Diego Garcia: a secret deal for which the British were "compensated" with a discount of $14 million off the price of a Polaris nuclear submarine.

I have had much to do with the Chagos islanders and have filmed them in exile in Mauritius and the Seychelles, where they suffered and grieved and some of them "died from sadness", as I was told. They found a political champion in a Labour Member of Parliament, Jeremy Corbyn.

So did the Palestinians. So did Iraqis terrorised by a Labour prime minister's invasion of their country in 2003. So did others struggling to break free from the designs of western power. Corbyn supported the likes of Hugo Chavez, who brought more than hope to societies subverted by the US behemoth.

And yet, now that Corbyn is closer to power than he might have ever imagined, his foreign policy remains a secret.

By secret, I mean there has been rhetoric and little else. "We must put our values at the heart of our foreign policy," said Corbyn at the Labour conference. But what are these "values"?

Since 1945, like the Tories, British Labour has been an imperial party, obsequious to Washington and with a record exemplified by the crime in the Chagos islands.

What has changed? Is Jeremy Corbyn saying Labour will uncouple itself from the US war machine, and the US spying apparatus and US economic blockades that scar humanity?

His shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, says a Corbyn government "will put human rights back at the heart of Britain's foreign policy". But human rights have never been at the heart of British foreign policy -- only "interests", as Lord Palmerston declared in the 19th century: the interests of those at the apex of British society.

Thornberry quoted the late Robin Cook who, as Tony Blair's first Foreign Secretary in 1997, pledged an "ethical foreign policy" that would "make Britain once again a force for good in the world".

History is not kind to imperial nostalgia. The recently commemorated division of India by a Labour government in 1947 - with a border hurriedly drawn up by a London barrister, Gordon Radcliffe, who had never been to India and never returned - led to blood-letting on a genocidal scale.

Shut up in a lonely mansion, with police night and day

Patrolling the gardens to keep the assassins away,

He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate

Of millions. The maps at his disposal were out of date

And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect,

But there was no time to check them, no time to inspect

Contested areas. The weather was frightfully hot,

And a bout of dysentery kept him constantly on the trot,

But in seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided,

A continent for better or worse divided.

W.H. Auden, 'Partition'

It was the same Labour government (1945--51), led by Prime Minister Clement Attlee - "radical" by today's standards - that dispatched General Douglas Gracey's British imperial army to Saigon with orders to re-arm the defeated Japanese in order to prevent Vietnamese nationalists from liberating their own country. Thus, the longest war of the century was ignited.

It was a Labour Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, whose policy of "mutuality" and "partnership" with some of the world's most vicious despots, especially in the Middle East, forged relationships that endure today, often sidelining and crushing the human rights of whole communities and societies. The cause was British "interests" - oil, power, wealth.

In the "radical" 1960s, Labour's Defence Secretary, Denis Healey, set up the Defence Sales Organisation (DSO) specifically to boost the arms trade and make money from selling lethal weapons to the world. Healey told Parliament, "While we attach the highest importance to making progress in the field of arms control and disarmament, we must also take what practical steps we can to ensure that this country does not fail to secure its rightful share of this valuable market."

The doublethink was quintessentially Labour.

When I later asked Healey about this "valuable market", he claimed his decision made no difference to the volume of military exports. In fact, it led to an almost doubling of Britain's share of the arms market. Today, Britain is the second biggest arms dealer on earth, selling arms and fighter planes, machine guns and "riot control" vehicles, to 22 of the 30 countries on the British Government's own list of human rights violators.

Will this cease under a Corbyn government? The preferred model - Robin Cook's "ethical foreign policy" - is revealing. Like Jeremy Corbyn, Cook made his name as a backbencher and critic of the arms trade. "Wherever weapons are sold," wrote Cook, "there is a tacit conspiracy to conceal the reality of war" and "it is a truism that every war for the past two decades has been fought by poor countries with weapons supplied by rich countries".

Cook singled out the sale of British Hawk fighters to Indonesia as "particularly disturbing". Indonesia "is not only repressive but actually at war on two fronts: in East Timor, where perhaps a sixth of the population has been slaughtered ... and in West Papua, where it confronts an indigenous liberation movement".

As Foreign Secretary, Cook promised "a thorough review of arms sales". The then Nobel Peace Laureate, Bishop Carlos Belo of East Timor, appealed directly to Cook: "Please, I beg you, do not sustain any longer a conflict which without these arms sales could never have been pursued in the first place and not for so very long." He was referring to Indonesia's bombing of East Timor with British Hawks and the slaughter of his people with British machine guns. He received no reply.

The following week Cook called journalists to the Foreign Office to announce his "mission statement" for "human rights in a new century". This PR event included the usual private briefings for selected journalists, including the BBC, in which Foreign Office officials lied that there was "no evidence" that British Hawk aircraft were deployed in East Timor.

A few days later, the Foreign Office issued the results of Cook's "thorough review" of arms sales policy. "It was not realistic or practical," wrote Cook, "to revoke licences which were valid and in force at the time of Labour's election victory". Suharto's Minister for Defence, Edi Sudradjat, said that talks were already under way with Britain for the purchase of 18 more Hawk fighters. "The political change in Britain will not affect our negotiations," he said. He was right.

Today, replace Indonesia with Saudi Arabia and East Timor with Yemen. British military aircraft - sold with the approval of both Tory and Labour governments and built by the firm whose promotional video had pride of place at the Labour Party conference - are bombing the life out of Yemen, one of the most impoverished countries in the world, where half the children are malnourished and there is the greatest cholera epidemic in modern times.

Hospitals and schools, weddings and funerals have been attacked. In Ryadh, British military personnel are reported to be training the Saudis in selecting targets.

In Labour's 2017 manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn and his party colleagues promised that "Labour will demand a comprehensive, independent, UN-led investigation into alleged violations ... in Yemen, including air strikes on civilians by the Saudi-led coalition. We will immediately suspend any further arms sales for use in the conflict until that investigation is concluded."

But the evidence of Saudi Arabia's crimes in Yemen is already documented by Amnesty and others, notably by the courageous reporting of the British journalist Iona Craig. The dossier is voluminous.

Labour does not promise to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia. It does not say Britain will withdraw its support for governments responsible for the export of Islamist jihadism. There is no commitment to dismantle the arms trade.

The manifesto describes a "special relationship [with the US] based on shared values ... When the current Trump administration chooses to ignore them ... we will not be afraid to disagree".

As Jeremy Corbyn knows, dealing with the US is not about merely "disagreeing". The US is a rapacious, rogue power that ought not to be regarded as a natural ally of any state championing human rights, irrespective of whether Trump or anyone else is President.

When Emily Thornberry linked Venezuela with the Philippines as "increasingly autocratic regimes" - slogans bereft of contextual truth and ignoring the subversive US role in Venezuela -- she was consciously playing to the enemy: a tactic with which Jeremy Corbyn will be familiar.

A Corbyn government will allow the Chagos islanders the right of return. But Labour says nothing about renegotiating the 50-year renewal agreement that Britain has just signed with the US allowing it to use the base on Diego Garcia from which it has bombed Afghanistan and Iraq.

A Corbyn government will "immediately recognise the state of Palestine". But it is silent on whether Britain will continue to arm Israel, continue to acquiesce in the illegal trade in Israel's illegal "settlements" and continue to treat Israel merely as a warring party, rather than as an historic oppressor given immunity by Washington and London.

On Britain's support for Nato's current war preparations, Labour boasts that the "last Labour government spent above the benchmark of 2 per cent of GDP" on Nato. It says, "Conservative spending cuts have put Britain's security at risk" and promises to boost Britain's military "obligations".

In fact, most of the £40 billion Britain currently spends on the military is not for territorial defence of the UK but for offensive purposes to enhance British "interests" as defined by those who have tried to smear Jeremy Corbyn as unpatriotic.

If the polls are reliable, most Britons are well ahead of their politicians, Tory and Labour. They would accept higher taxes to pay for public services; they want the National Health Service restored to full health. They want decent jobs and wages and housing and schools; they do not hate foreigners but resent exploitative labour. They have no fond memory of an empire on which the sun never set.

They oppose the invasion of other countries and regard Blair as a liar. The rise of Donald Trump has reminded them what a menace the United States can be, especially with their own country in tow.

The Labour Party is the beneficiary of this mood, but many of its pledges - certainly in foreign policy - are qualified and compromised, suggesting, for many Britons, more of the same.

Jeremy Corbyn is widely and properly recognised for his integrity; he opposes the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons; the Labour Party supports it. But he has given shadow cabinet positions to pro-war MPs who support Blairism, and tried to get rid of him and abused him as "unelectable".

"We are the political mainstream now," says Corbyn. Yes, but at what price?
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News Items / Syria demands immediate international action against US-led coalition
« Last post by nestopwar on October 01, 2017, 04:48:20 PM »
Syria demands immediate international action against US-led coalition
 Syrian Arab News Agency 
September 28, 2017
 

 The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry addressed on Thursday new letters to the chiefs of the UN and the international Security Council over the constantly repeated attacks of the US-led coalition against Syrian territory and civilians.

The recent crime committed by the coalition, within a series of repeated attacks on civilians and infrastructure in Syria for the past several months, took place on Wednesday, as the coalition's warplanes shelled al-Sout town in the countryside of Deir Ezzor with the internationally-banned white phosphorus , claiming the lives of a number of civilians and leaving others injured, the Ministry complained.

A day before, the coalition's air force committed a massacre in Markada town to the south of Hasaka city, killing Syrian civilians, including two women, and 6 members of an Iraqi family that had moved to Hasaka from Mosul, the Ministry added.

While expressing its strong condemnation of the coalition's attacks, "war crimes and crimes against humanity", Syria regrets that some countries that claim to respect human rights and the international law remain acting members of this coalition, the Ministry said in its letters.

Syria "calls on these countries, which we got used to hearing their voices and demands for an end of all forms of aggression and for respect of human rights and the international humanitarian law, to withdraw from this coalition that has marred [these countries'] reputation and shed plenty of the Syrians' blood in their name," the letters read.

In its two letters , the Ministry renewed also its demand that the Security Council take immediate action to stop the "barbarous crimes" and "gross violations" of the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law repeatedly committed by the coalition.
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Newcastle Stop the War / No War in Korea!
« Last post by nestopwar on September 16, 2017, 03:35:13 PM »
No War in Korea!

by Theo Russell
 About 90 people attended a meeting at Friends House in central London last Tuesday called by the Stop the War Coalition, with writer and film-maker Tariq Ali, CND General Secretary Kate Hudson, Stop the War convenor Lindsey German, and Owen Miller, a Lecturer in Korean Studies at the School of African and Oriental Studies, on the panel.
All of the speakers condemned the warmongering history and recent actions by the USA and NATO, and recalled in great detail the crimes committed by the US-led forces in the Korean War. The platform also showed how the history of the introduction of nuclear weapons into the Korean peninsula, the failure of attempts to negotiate any agreements because of US sabotage, and the recent history of wars and regime change, all explained why the DPRK had embarked on its nuclear and missile development programmes. The peace and anti-THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defence; an American anti-ballistic missile defence system] movements in south Korea, and solidarity with them and with the DPRK, were also discussed. Tariq Ali summed up the feeling of the meeting when he said that thanks to its strong defences “North Korea is one of very few  genuinely sovereign states left in the world.”
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Newcastle Stop the War / North Korea an Aggressor? A Reality Check
« Last post by nestopwar on September 07, 2017, 08:49:30 AM »
North Korea an Aggressor? A Reality Check

by Felicity Arbuthnot  (London Progressive Journal)

Tue 5th Sep 2017


 “ … war in our time is  always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children.”  (Howard Zinn, 1922-2010.)
 
 “All war represents a failure of diplomacy.” (Tony Benn, MP. 1925-2014.)
 
 “No country too poor, too small, too far away, not to be threat, a threat to the American way of life.”  (William Blum, “Rogue State.”)
 
 The mention of one tiny country appears to strike at the rationality and sanity of those who should know far better. On Sunday, 6thAugust, for example, The Guardian headed an editorial: “The Guardian view on sanctions: an essential tool.” Clearly the average of five thousands souls a month, the majority children, dying of ”embargo related causes” in Iraq, year after grinding year - genocide in the name of the UN - for over a decade has long been forgotten by the broadsheet of the left.
 
This time of course, the target is North Korea upon whom the United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to freeze, strangulate and deny essentials, normality, humanity. Diplomacy as ever, not even a consideration.

The Guardian, however, incredibly, declared the decimating sanctions: “A rare triumph of diplomacy …” (Guardian 6thAugust 2017.)
 
As US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the US’ top “diplomat” and his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho headed for the annual Ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila on 5thAugust, a State Department spokesperson said of Tillerson: “The Secretary has no plans to meet the North Korean Foreign Minister in Manila, and I don’t expect to see that happen”.
 
 Pathetic. In April, approaching his hundredth day in office, Trump said of North Korea: “We'd love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult.” No it is not. Talk, walk in the other’s psychological shoes. Then, there they were at the same venue but the Trump Administration clearly does not alone live in a land of missed opportunities, but of opportunities deliberately buried in landfill miles deep. This in spite of his having said in the same statement: “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.”
 
 A bit of perspective: 27thJuly 2017 marked sixty four years since the armistice agreement that ended the devastating three year Korean war, however there has never been a peace treaty, thus technically the Korean war has never ended. Given that and American’s penchant for wiping out countries with small populations which pose them no threat (think most recently, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) no wonder North Korea wishes to look as if it has some heavy protective gear behind the front door, so to speak.
 
Tiny North Korea has a population of just 25.37 million and landmass of 120,540 km². The US has a population of 323.1 million and a landmass of 9.834 MILLION km². Further, since 1945, the US is believed to have produced some 70,000 nuclear weapons - though now down to a “mere” near 7,000 - but North Korea is a threat?
 
America has fifteen military bases in South Korea - down from a staggering fifty four - bristling with every kind of weapons of mass destruction. Two bases are right on the North Korean border and another nearly as close. See full details of each, with map at (1).
 
North Korea also has the collective memory of the horror wrought by the US in the three year conflict on a country then with a population of just 9.6 million souls. US General Curtis Lemay in the aftermath stated: “After destroying North Korea’s seventy eight cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians … Over a period of three years or so we killed off - what - twenty percent of the population.”
 
 “It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 - 9 million people during the 37-month long ‘hot’ war, 1950 - 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerence of another.”  (2)
 
 In context: “During The Second World War the United Kingdom lost 0.94% of its population, France lost 1.35%, China lost 1.89% and the US lost 0.32%. During the Korean war, North Korea lost close to 30 % of its population.”.
 
 “We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, some way or another …”, boasted Lemay.
 
Gen. Douglas MacArthur said during a Congressional hearing in 1951 that he had never seen such devastation.
 
 “I shrink with horror that I cannot express in words … at this continuous slaughter of men in Korea,” MacArthur said. “I have seen, I guess, as much blood and disaster as any living man, and it just curdled my stomach, the last time I was there.” (CNN, 28thJuly 2017.) Horrified as he was, he did not mention the incinerated women, children, infants in the same breath.
 
Moreover, as Robert M. Neer wrote in “Napalm, an American Biography”:
 
 ‘ “Practically every U.S. fighter plane that has flown into Korean air carried at least two napalm bombs,” Chemical Officer Townsend wrote in January 1951. About 21,000 gallons of napalm hit Korea every day in 1950. As combat intensified after China’s intervention, that number more than tripled (...) a total of 32,357 tons of napalm fell on Korea, about double that dropped on Japan in 1945. Not only did the allies drop more bombs on Korea than in the Pacific theater during World War II - 635,000 tons, versus 503,000 tons - more of what fell was napalm … ‘
 
 In the North Korean capitol, Pyongyang, just two buildings were reported as still standing.
 
In the unending history of US warmongering, North Korea is surely the smallest population they had ever attacked until their assault on tiny Grenada in October 1983, population then just 91,000 (compulsory silly name: “Operation Urgent Fury.)
 
North Korea has been taunted by the US since it lay in ruins after the armistice sixty five years ago, yet as ever, the US Administration paints the vast, self appointed “leader of the free world” as the victim.
 
As Fort-Russ pointed out succinctly (7thAugust 2017): “The Korean Peninsula is in a state of crisis not only due to constant US threats towards North Korea, but also due to various provocative actions, such as Washington conducting joint military exercises with Seoul amid tensions, and which Pyongyang considered a threat to its national security.”
 
 This month “massive land, sea and air exercises” involving “tens of thousands of troops” from the US and South Korea began on 21st of August and continue until 31st. ‘In the past, the practices are believed to have included “decapitation strikes” - trial operations for an attempt to kill Kim Jong-un and his top Generals …’, according to the Guardian (11thAugust 2017.) The obligatory stupid name chosen for this dangerous, belligerent, money burning, sabre rattling nonsense is Ulchi-Freedom Guardian.

It is an annual occurrence since first initiated back in 1976.
 
US B-1B bombers flying from Guam recently carried out exercises in South Korea and “practiced attack capabilities by releasing inert weapons at the Pilsung Range.” In a further provocative (and illegal) move, US bombers were again reported to overfly North Korea, another of many such bullying, threatening actions, reportedly eleven just since May this year.
 
Yet in spite of all, North Korea is the “aggressor.”
 
“The nuclear warheads of United States of America are stored in some twenty one locations, which include thirteen U.S. states and five European countries … some are on board U.S. submarines. There are some "zombie" nuclear warheads as well, and they are kept in reserve, and as many as 3,000 of these are still awaiting their dismantlement. (The US) also extends its “nuclear umbrella” to such other countries as South Korea, Japan, and Australia.” ( worldatlas.com )
 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who also attended the ASEAN meeting in Manila did, of course, do what proper diplomats do and talked with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho. Minister Lavrov’s opinion was summed up by a Fort Russ News observer as:
 
 “The Korean Peninsula is in a state of crisis not only due to constant US threats towards North Korea, but also due to various provocative actions, such as Washington conducting joint military exercises with Seoul amid tensions, and which Pyongyang considered a threat to its national security.”
 
 The “provocative actions” also include the threatening over-flights by US ‘planes flying from Guam. However when North Korea said if this continued they would consider firing missiles into the ocean near Guam - not as was reported by some hystericals as threatening to bomb Guam - Agent Orange who occasionally pops in to the White House between golf rounds and eating chocolate cake whilst muddling up which country he has dropped fifty nine Tomahawk Cruise missiles on, responded that tiny North Korea will again be: “… met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
 
 It was barely noticed that North Korea qualified the threat of a shot across the bows by stating pretty reasonably:
 
(The US) “should immediately stop its reckless military provocation against the State of the DPRK so that the latter would not be forced to make an unavoidable military choice.” (3)
 
As Cheryl Rofer (see 3) continued, instead of endless threats, US diplomacy could have many routes:
 
 “We could have sent a message to North Korea via the recent Canadian visit to free one of their citizens. We could send a message through the Swedish embassy to North Korea, which often represents US interests. We could arrange some diplomatic action on which China might take the lead. There are many possibilities, any of which might show North Korea that we are willing to back off from practices that scare them if they will consider backing off on some of their actions. That would not include their nuclear program explicitly at this time, but it would leave the way open for later.”
 
 There are in fact twenty four diplomatic missions in all in North Korea through which the US could request to communicate - or Trump could even behave like a grown up and pick up the telephone.
 
Siegfried Hecker is the last known American official to inspect North Korea's nuclear facilities. He says that treating Kim Jong-un as though he is on the verge of attacking the U.S. is both inaccurate and dangerous.
 
 “Some like to depict Kim as being crazy - a madman - and that makes the public believe that the guy is undeterrable. He's not crazy and he's not suicidal. And he's not even unpredictable. The real threat is we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.” (4)
 
Trump made his crass “fire and fury” threat on the eve of the sixty second commemoration of the US nuclear attack on Nagasaki, the nauseating irony seemingly un-noticed by him.
 
Will some adults pitch up on Capitol Hill before it is too late?
 
1. https://militarybases.com/south-korea/

2. http://www.globalresearch.ca/know-the-facts-north-korea-lost-close-to-30-of-its-population-as-a-result-of-us-bombings-in-the-1950s/22131

3. https://nucleardiner.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/north-korea-reaches-out/

4. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/08/08/sane-voices-urge-diplomacy-after-lunatic-trump-threatens-fire-and-fury
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South Tyneside Stop the War / Korea Crisis Exposes Orwellian West
« Last post by nestopwar on September 05, 2017, 08:49:57 AM »
Korea Crisis Exposes Orwellian West
 Finian Cunningham, Sputnik News - Information Clearing House 
Sept 2

September 02, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - The Western media would have us believe that North Korea and its nuclear arsenal is the world's number one threat. The continual depiction of a "rogue" state in the Western media plays into the US agenda of a pre-emptive attack on North Korea.

But let's get this straight. North Korea has an estimated 10-20 total number of nuclear warheads, according to the latest annual report from the respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). That represents a minuscule fraction – some 0.1 per cent – of the world's total stockpile of nuclear weapons.

The United States has a nuclear arsenal of some 5,000 weapons – more than 300 times the size of North Korea's. The US along with Russia (also 5,000 warheads) account for 93 per cent of the world's total inventory of nuclear weapons.

What distinguishes the US are the following pertinent facts. (Yet these facts are rarely if ever considered in Western media news coverage.)

It was the first country to develop such weapons of mass destruction, in 1945. Russia, the second country, developed its first atomic bomb four years later in 1949.

The US is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, when it dropped two atomic bombs on Japan – just three weeks after it successfully tested the weapon in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945. The attacks on Japan killed at least 200,000 civilians. Official US justifications about swiftly ending the Pacific War with Japan are dubious and arguably irrelevant to the immoral barbarity.

Since the end of the Second World War, the US has engaged in dozens of wars in dozens of countries, according to respected historians such as William Blum, with an estimated death toll of 20 million. Since the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the US has been in a state of permanent war over the past two decades, carrying out aerial bombardments in up to seven countries simultaneously. Official US justifications for these wars are dubious if not contemptible.

The incontestable fact is that the US is the biggest serial violator of international law with the blood of millions of civilians on its hands. It is arguable that Nazi Germany's Third Reich was succeeded by a Fourth Reich in the US.

The US may not have used nuclear bombs since the mass destruction carried out in Japan in 1945. But in spite of the heinous shame of its unique criminality, American leaders continually reserve the right to threaten other nations with nuclear annihilation. The oft-repeated phrase "all options on the table" is the Orwellian language used by the US to refer to its self-ordained prerogative to use nuclear weapons, codified in its "first-strike doctrine."

US President Donald Trump routinely invokes the veiled threat of nuclear annihilation against North Korea. His warning of "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" is a chilling reference. While Trump's senior administration have sought to temper his comments with vaguely worded possible diplomacy, they too at other times openly use the "all options on the table" nuclear threat.

North Korea's defiant testing of ballistic missiles is wrongly presented by Western media in complete isolation from the crucial context of the United States habitually threatening Pyongyang with pre-emptive war.

Both Russia and China have rebuked the US for its current display of military force during its annual "war games" on the Korean Peninsula as being destabilizing. But with incorrigible arrogance, Washington insists on its right to conduct such "defensive" maneuvers, and the Western media dutifully indulge this irrational distortion.

North Korea has not been at war with any country since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War when it fought against the US-backed South. By contrast, the US has gone on to launch wars against dozens of countries under various pretexts, as well as retain a war-footing against North Korea by refusing to sign a peace treaty. If that's because Kim Jong-un is a "dictator," then what about Saudi Arabia?

Nearly 50 years after signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which mandates nuclear weapons states to disarm, the US is the process of upgrading its nuclear arsenal at a cost of $400 billion over the next 10 years, or at least $1,000 billion over the next 30 years, according to SIPRI. (That financial outlay will no doubt bring cheer to the millions of survivors of Hurricane Harvey.) Out of the 193 member states of the United Nations, only nine are believed to possess nuclear weapons. The US, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. All of them are in the process of upgrading their nuclear stockpiles, not disarming.

Russia, being a top nuclear power along with the US, has an onerous responsibility to lead the world towards nuclear disarmament.

But there is a huge difference between Russia and the US. The record shows that Russia is not a warmongering state, nor a systematic violator of international law from waging wars of aggression on other nations. Unlike Washington, Moscow has never verbally threatened anyone with a nuclear first strike.

In the current crisis between the US and North Korea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated again this week that diplomacy and dialogue was the only permissible option. Lavrov said that the day after US President Trump made the sinister comment that "talking was not a solution."

It is the function of Western news media to present the world in a form that is favorable to Western governments. Put less delicately, the Western media's function is to distort the world in a way that justifies conduct by Western governments which would otherwise cause outrage due to flagrant violation of international law. Two instances of that can be seen from the way the US and its NATO partners invaded and destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan under bogus pretexts. Another instance is the way the US and its NATO allies sought to destroy Syria with a covert war of regime change involving the sponsorship of terrorist proxies.

In every case, the Western media distort and sanitize the criminal conduct of their governments.

The crisis with North Korea is another classic case of Western media distorting reality and audaciously inverting the problem.

The objective facts clearly show that, by far, the biggest threat to world security – perhaps even world survival – is the United States with its track record of war-making and systematic decimation of international law. For every nuclear warhead suspected to be in North Korea's possession, the United States has nearly 333 weapons, each one manifold more destructive than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The US, uniquely, continues to arrogate the right to drop nuclear bombs on civilians. The US is holding massive military maneuvers on North Korea's border, not the other way around. It refuses to hold talks for mutual disarmament.

Only in a thoroughly Orwellian brainwashed world, as presented by the Western media, could North Korea be viewed as "the threat."

Infernally, not only is such a warped view of the world making a catastrophic war more likely, it is also precluding the morally rational option of a diplomatic, peaceful solution.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.
7
For Your Information / Brian Eno: Why We Need Stop the War
« Last post by Phil Talbot on August 22, 2017, 02:17:27 PM »
Brian Eno: Why We Need Stop the War

Written by Brian Eno on 21 August 2017

[Stop the War's new President on the importance of the anti-war movement.]

Stopping wars isn’t something that happens when hostilities have already begun. It starts much earlier than that, in the very fabric of society. Our society is increasingly built around war - or the threat of war - and a lot of people have an interest in keeping things that way.
Who are they?
First there are the ideologues, those so certain of their moral (and military) superiority that they’re ready to force it down another’s throat. In their minds, war is supported with the excuse that it’s ‘for the good’ of the other side: to liberate them from ignorance and tyranny. The intellectuals behind the Iraq War, for example, were convinced that, bristling with guns and bombs and chewing gum, they would be welcomed as saviours. They predicted a ‘cakewalk in Iraq’ which would be ‘over in weeks’. Such sunny predictions are always part of the recipe.
Then there are the weapons manufacturers. Britain is the 4th biggest weapons exporter globally. BAE systems, for example, one of our largest companies, makes over 95% of its (huge) income from defence contracts. We sell weapons indiscriminately, to almost anybody who’ll pay: and our biggest clients are the Saudis, who in turn fund extremist groups like Isis. The world is awash with lethal weapons, many of which we built, and these often end up being directed against us….and then we spend even more on weapons to defend ourselves.
Beyond the technology of war - the weapons systems and the materiel - there is the science. Advanced weaponry systems employ lots of scientists and technologists, people who could be doing something useful in the world. A climate of endless war has to be maintained, otherwise people might start to wonder why we spend so much of our national resources building generations of jets and tanks and ships that never see action, and why all that expensive brainpower is being squandered while the world is melting.
Think also of the media: they relish the prospect of war, and talk it up relentlessly. They know that alarm sells papers and gets clicks, and that’s often all they want. It’s the rubberneck syndrome: we can’t help looking. Most of the media business is about turning attention into money, holding your attention so that you can be advertised to. On the other hand, peace talks are a bit dull by comparison, so nobody bothers reporting them. So, intentionally or not, the media nurture and perpetuate the climate of continuous war.
And think of the politicians, anxious to advertise their ‘strength’ and ‘determination’, shoring up failing popularity by rattling sabres. Think of Blair and Bush swaggering about the White House as though setting fire to a whole nation was some kind of laddish game. Or think of Trump with his ‘Fire and Fury’ tough guy talk. Again, the media revel in this. It’s what editors call ‘great copy’.
And then there’s the ‘security’ business - one of the only growth sectors on the British employment scene. As ‘security’ increases, society becomes tighter, more paranoid, more spied upon and suspected, than ever before. It shouldn’t be called the security business: it’s the insecurity business. The business is to create insecurity, to make you scared, to make you believe that war is the only option.
How did all this happen? Why are we where we are now? The truth is that the economies of both the US and the UK (and lots of other countries) have become so centred around military production that they have grown to need an ongoing threat of war. America emerged from WWII as a very wealthy country, having learned that the people who really win wars are the people making the weapons.
But they learned something else too:
Societies can be made coherent - can be held together - in two broad ways. One is through hope; the other is through fear. But for a society to be held together through hope there has to be a credible sense of promise in the future: a majority of people have to believe that things will get better. Until perhaps 25 years ago that majority existed, but, with neoliberalism rolling back post-war social arrangements like the welfare state, unions, free education and job security things started to look different. The prospect of automation, which ought to have liberated us, instead translates into even bigger profits for the elites. As a result, working people now look forward to a much more precarious and uncertain future than they have done for decades.
You can't have a hopeful society if its elites prioritise aggressive foreign wars and 6 billion pound floating bombing platforms over social spending. You can’t have a hopeful society focused on fighting aggressive foreign wars which in turn flood your shores with refugees.
What we now have instead of hope is rising unemployment, a surfeit of both overqualified and underqualified young people, the gig economy, zero-hour contracts, and automation. Our politicians could be working on that problem, on rethinking our future prospects, and throwing off the disastrous market fundamentalism of neoliberalism.but by and large they are timid minds who live in mortal fear of the press and run a mile from anything that might conceivably be called socialism, so they don’t. Instead they default to option two…fear.
Fear is a great paralyser. A frightened population is easy to govern. In a climate of fear, people are willing to allow their rights and freedoms to be limited. They’re willing to follow orders and penalise resisters. They’re willing to fall for easy, quick and ill-conceived military ‘solutions’. They’re willing to serve as defenders of the state without asking why that state needs defending, or from what.
So it’s fear that keeps the hamster-wheel turning; but it’s hope that will get us out of the cage.
Stopping war means building a society based not on relentless consumption and profiteering but instead on sustainability and conservation and sharing. It means making a world that is worth saving for everybody, so that the idea of war - of destroying all that - becomes unthinkable, ridiculous.
It means breaking up those entrenched hierarchies that regularly produce over-privileged halfwits - con-artists who know how to talk but not how to think, and who exist in some eternal public-school-of-the-mind*. Their unshakeable sense of natural superiority fosters a hubristic arrogance with which they ride into war after war, certain that they couldn’t possibly be wrong.
And Stopping war entails, perhaps beyond anything else, distributing the wealth of the planet so it doesn’t automatically accrue in the hands of the already-powerful but instead is used to build a world where more people get better chances.
We live in the wealthiest societies in history. The creativity and ingenuity and labour of generations of humans has produced enormous wealth. With that wealth properly deployed, a world of peace is more feasible than ever before.
Stop the War Coalition is part of a big, wide movement to change the way we think, and what we think about. Instead of making destructive wars, let’s think how we make a creative peace. Instead of thinking how we get more as individuals, let’s think how we can better share what we already have as a society. Instead of thinking that our role in life is to keep our heads down and be obedient shoppers, let’s stand up straight and proud and create something new together.
Brian Eno 2017
*I remind foreign readers that ‘public school’ in English means ‘least public of all schools’
8
For Your Information / Turkey to Deploy Aircraft and Warships in Qatar
« Last post by Roger on June 17, 2017, 10:10:02 AM »
Turkey to Deploy Aircraft and Warships in Qatar
Prensa Latina
June 9

Ankara, June 9 (Prensa Latina) Under the two military agreements approved in the National Assembly, the Turkish authorities will send aircraft and warships to Qatar, according to official sources.

The main objective will be to deploy members of the Turkish gendarmerie in Doha and form an equivalent body in the Arab country, while also deploying navy and air force troops.

The number of fighter jets and warships will be evaluated based on the preliminary examinations and the report to be made later, according to the official information.

So far the joint military base in Doha has 90 Turkish soldiers, which will increase by 200 or 250 in the next two months depending on the evolution of the situation in Qatar.

With the agreement signed in 2014, both governments set the stage for the creation of a joint headquarters with the goal of 'developing Qatar's defensive capability' through the implementation of training programs and joint exercises, as well as 'carrying out other missions in both countries by mutual agreement.'

After the approval of the treaty by the Turkish Parliament on Wednesday, it is expected that in the next months, three thousand soldiers will be deployed in Doha base.

Several states in the Persian Gulf and North Africa broke diplomatic relations with Qatar and closed its airspace on Monday, accusing it of financing terrorist groups.




9

This Is The Real Story Behind The Crisis Unfolding In Qatar
Robert Fisk, The Independent - Information Clearinghouse
June 11

June 11, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - The Qatar crisis proves two things: the continued infantilisation of the Arab states, and the total collapse of the Sunni Muslim unity supposedly created by Donald Trump's preposterous attendance at the Saudi summit two weeks ago.

After promising to fight to the death against Shia Iranian "terror," Saudi Arabia and its closest chums have now ganged up on one of the wealthiest of their neighbours, Qatar, for being a fountainhead of "terror". Only Shakespeare's plays could come close to describing such treachery. Shakespeare's comedies, of course.

For, truly, there is something vastly fantastical about this charade. Qatar's citizens have certainly contributed to Isis. But so have Saudi Arabia's citizens.

No Qataris flew the 9/11 planes into New York and Washington. All but four of the 19 killers were Saudi. Bin Laden was not a Qatari. He was a Saudi.

But Bin Laden favoured Qatar's al-Jazeera channel with his personal broadcasts, and it was al-Jazeera who tried to give spurious morality to the al-Qaeda/Jabhat al-Nusrah desperadoes of Syria by allowing their leader hours of free airtime to explain what a moderate, peace-loving group they all were.

Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Qatar over terror links

First, let's just get rid of the hysterically funny bits of this story. I see that Yemen is breaking air links with Qatar. Quite a shock for the poor Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, since Yemen – under constant bombardment by his former Saudi and Emirati chums – doesn't have a single serviceable airliner left with which to create, let alone break, an air link.

The Maldives have also broken relations with Qatar. To be sure, this has nothing to do with the recent promise of a Saudi five-year loan facility of $300m to the Maldives, the proposal of a Saudi property company to invest $100m in a family resort in the Maldives and a promise by Saudi Islamic scholars to spend $100,000 on 10 "world class" mosques in the Maldives.

And let us not mention the rather large number of Isis and other Islamist cultists who arrived to fight for Isis in Iraq and Syria from – well, the Maldives.

Now the Qatari Emir hasn't enough troops to defend his little country should the Saudis decide to request that he ask their army to enter Qatar to restore stability – as the Saudis persuaded the King of Bahrain to do back in 2011. But Sheikh Tamim no doubt hopes that the massive US military air base in Qatar will deter such Saudi generosity.

When I asked his father, Sheikh Hamad (later uncharitably deposed by Tamim) why he didn't kick the Americans out of Qatar, he replied: "Because if I did, my Arab brothers would invade me."

Like father, like son, I suppose. God Bless America.

All this started – so we are supposed to believe – with an alleged hacking of the Qatar News Agency, which produced some uncomplimentary but distressingly truthful remarks by Qatar's Emir about the need to maintain a relationship with Iran.

Qatar denied the veracity of the story. The Saudis decided it was true and broadcast the contents on their own normally staid (and immensely boring) state television network. The upstart Emir, so went the message, had gone too far this time. The Saudis decided policy in the Gulf, not miniscule Qatar. Wasn't that what Donald Trump's visit proved?

But the Saudis had other problems to worry about. Kuwait, far from cutting relations with Qatar, is now acting as a peacemaker between Qatar and the Saudis and Emiratis. The emirate of Dubai is quite close to Iran, has tens of thousands of Iranian expatriates, and is hardly following Abu Dhabi's example of anti-Qatari wrath.

Oman was even staging joint naval manoeuvres with Iran a couple of months ago. Pakistan long ago declined to send its army to help the Saudis in Yemen, because the Saudis asked for only Sunni and no Shia soldiers; the Pakistani army was understandably outraged to realise that Saudi Arabia was trying to sectarianise its military personnel.

Pakistan's former army commander, General Raheel Sharif, is rumoured to be on the brink of resigning as head of the Saudi-sponsored Muslim alliance to fight "terror".

Five things to know about Qatar's first 2022 World Cup stadium

President-Field Marshal al-Sissi of Egypt has been roaring against Qatar for its support of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood – and Qatar does indeed support the now-banned group which Sissi falsely claims is part of Isis – but significantly Egypt, though the recipient of Saudi millions, also does not intend to supply its own troops to bolster the Saudis in its catastrophic Yemen war.

Besides, Sissi needs his Egyptian soldiers at home to fight off Isis attacks and maintain, along with Israel, the siege of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

But if we look a bit further down the road, it's not difficult to see what really worries the Saudis. Qatar also maintains quiet links with the Assad regime. It helped secure the release of Syrian Christian nuns in Jabhat al-Nusrah hands and has helped release Lebanese soldiers from Isis hands in western Syria. When the nuns emerged from captivity, they thanked both Bashar al-Assad and Qatar.

And there are growing suspicions in the Gulf that Qatar has much larger ambitions: to fund the rebuilding of post-war Syria. Even if Assad remained as president, Syria's debt to Qatar would place the nation under Qatari economic control.

And this would give tiny Qatar two golden rewards. It would give it a land empire to match its al-Jazeera media empire. And it would extend its largesse to the Syrian territories, which many oil companies would like to use as a pipeline route from the Gulf to Europe via Turkey, or via tankers from the Syrian port of Lattakia.

For Europeans, such a route would reduce the chances of Russian oil blackmail, and make sea-going oil routes less vulnerable if vessels did not have to move through the Gulf of Hormuz.

So rich pickings for Qatar – or for Saudi Arabia, of course, if the assumptions about US power of the two emirs, Hamad and Tamim, prove worthless. A Saudi military force in Qatar would allow Riyadh to gobble up all the liquid gas in the emirate.

But surely the peace-loving "anti-terror" Saudis – let's forget the head-chopping for a moment – would never contemplate such a fate for an Arab brother.

So let's hope that for the moment, the routes of Qatar Airways are the only parts of the Qatari body politics to get chopped off.

This article was first published by The Independent
10
For Your Information / NATO Is a Large Chunk of Swiss Cheese
« Last post by Roger on June 17, 2017, 09:44:31 AM »
NATO Is a Large Chunk of Swiss Cheese
Wayne Madsen, Strategic Culture Foundation
June 9


NATO, although bound to expand with the addition of Sweden, Finland, Austria, and Malta as members, is essentially a giant chunk of Swiss cheese. When one considers that NATO membership is not popular with many opposition parties within its member states or with several sub-national regional governments, the Western alliance more resembles the pseudo-secure French Maginot Line.

In the four countries where there are current efforts by the current governments to enter NATO, there is immense domestic political opposition. In the lead-up to Malta's general election, NATO member states' psychological operations personnel began floating stories about «Russian interference» in the election on behalf of the anti-NATO opposition Nationalist Party-Democratic Party coalition. In the end, the «fake news» stories circulated by NATO interests appear to have helped incumbent pro-NATO Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his Malta Labor Party hold on to power with a parliamentary majority in the June 3rd election.

During the campaign, Muscat claimed he was warned by the CIA and Britain's MI6 that the Russians were «possibly» targeting Malta's election process. Press reports, likely planted by the CIA, accuse Russia of setting up a front company in Malta called MTACC Ltd. The company was said to be headed by a Russian who lived in Grunwald, Germany and an American who listed his address in California. On April 26 of this year, Muscat reportedly held discussions about NATO membership with visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Muscat also agreed to allow the Antonov company of Ukraine to build an aircraft maintenance facility in Malta. Ukraine is also a prospective member of NATO.

According to the «Times of Malta», the opposition Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil called Muscat's charges of Russian interference in Maltese politics «totally ridiculous and absurd». Busuttil also said, «If this was true, the Prime Minister would have called a meeting of the security committee, which I form part of», adding, «I don't think Vladimir Putin cares if it's him [Muscat] or someone else who runs the country». Democratic Party leader Marlene Farrugia said Muscat's charge of Russian interference in Malta's politics «sounded far-fetched» and that she was «not convinced» they were true. The opposition coalition is opposed to NATO membership for Malta, preferring to maintain Malta's traditional neutrality.

Russia was also being accused of being behind the data leak that exposed 70,000 offshore companies in Malta, many used for tax evasion. The data was leaked by an «anonymous» source to a North Rhine-Westphalia tax office in the German town of Wuppertal. Several German firms and up to 2000 German citizens were discovered to maintain tax avoidance corporate contrivances in Malta. The scandal resulted in Malta being called the «Panama of Europe», a reference to the leaked Panama Papers showing massive use of Panama's Mossack-Fonseca law firm to set up dummy corporations in the country.

Muscat's wife Michelle was identified as the sole shareholder of a Panama-based company, Egrant Inc., that was used to launder money for the ruling Aliyev family of Azerbaijan. Money from Al Sahra FZCO, based in Dubai's Jebel Ali free trade zone, was discovered to= have been transferred to Egrant. Al Sahra FZCO is owned by Leyla Aliyev, the daughter of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. As if all of this was not bad enough news for Muscat, Konrad Mizzi, the deputy leader of the Labor Party and the Energy and Health Minister, was discovered to have maintained both an offshore trust in New Zealand and a shell company in Panama called Hearnville Inc. Another political bombshell hit Muscat when it was discovered that his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, also operated a dummy corporation in Panama called Tillgate Inc.

Maltese investigators discovered that Mizzi's and Schembri's financial advisory firm, Nexia BT, was owned by another firm, BT International, which in turn was owned by Brian Tonna, the sole shareholder of Mossack Fonseca & Co. (Malta) Ltd. Schembri's British Virgin Islands-based shell company was found, courtesy of the Panama Papers, to be a co-owner of a Cyprus-based firm called A2Z Consulta.

The investigation of the Muscat government was impeded by two sudden resignations of law enforcement officers: Michael Cassar, the Commissioner of Police, and Manfred Galdes, the Director of Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).

The fact that so many members of Muscat's pro-NATO government possessed secret offshore tax shelters may indicate that NATO and the CIA compensates pro-NATO politicians with bribes paid through secret bank accounts. How else could a corrupt organization like NATO maintain a high level of support, particularly in neutral nations, almost 30 years after the end of the Cold War?

Charges of financial corruption tarnished Muscat's government days before the June 3rd election but the scandal was not enough to unseat the pro-NATO government. Muscat and his NATO and CIA friends had to concoct a story of Russian interference in Malta's election to save both Muscat's NATO agenda and his Panama Papers scandal-ridden government.

There is little wonder why former CIA director John Brennan did not want to publicly discuss details of the CIA's covert election manipulation operations before a recent hearing of the House Intelligence Committee that was examining alleged «Russian interference» in U.S. and foreign elections.

It was perhaps no coincidence that the pro-NATO prime minister of NATO member Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, and his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, were also discovered to have an offshore company, Wintris, Inc., based in the British Virgin Islands. If NATO and the CIA are buying off NATO allies like Muscat and Gunnlaugsson, at least they are including the wives in the operation!

After Gunnlaugsson was forced to resign over the Panama Papers scandal, it was discovered that his successor, the conservative pro-NATO Bjarni Benediktsson, maintained an offshore investment firm in Seychelles called Falson & Company.

NATO is also slowly absorbing Europe's other traditionally neutral nations. Finland recently hosted the Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation in Helsinki, another step toward full NATO membership. Finland's membership in NATO would give NATO the right to position military forces on 833-mile long Finno-Russian border. A September 2016 report by the Swedish government concluded that there would be «advantages» for Swedish membership in NATO. Based on the examples of Malta and Iceland, perhaps anti-NATO opposition parties in Finland and Sweden should start examining pro-NATO politicians' finances for foreign bank accounts and tax avoidance shell companies.

It has been discovered that Montenegro, NATO's newest member, has also figured prominently in the Panama Papers. Some 13 companies based in Montenegro were discovered in the Panama Papers. Two of them, Wicked Soft SA of Panama and Sunnydale Services of the British Virgin Islands, were linked to officials in the government of Prime Minister Dusko Markovic. The prime minister ignored opposition Democratic Front demands for a popular referendum on NATO membership prior to steering his nation into the military bloc.

A distinct pattern has emerged that links pro-NATO politicians in Europe to offshore contrivances exposed in the Panama Papers. Opposition politicians from both the left and right understand that NATO is a dangerous anachronism. They are joined by regional politicians in Wales, Scotland, the Outer Hebrides, Isle of Man, Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Greenland, Catalonia, Basque Country, Flanders, Wallonia, Aland Islands, Saaremaa, Gotland, Bornholm, Sardinia, Corsica, Azores, and Sicily. From NATO environmental pollution and economy-damaging sanctions on Russia to making their homes targets in a nuclear war and unwanted foreign troops on their soil, the democratic opposition and regional leaders are waking up to the dangers posed by NATO, along with the graft and corruption NATO brings to their ruling elites.
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