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31
For Your Information / Of A Type Developed By Liars
« on: March 16, 2018, 08:15:57 PM »
Of A Type Developed By Liars

Craig Murray

16 Mar 2018

I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the “Novichok” programme a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilisers. This substance is a “novichok” in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China.

To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days. The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was used by Theresa May in parliament, used by the UK at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, “of a type developed by Russia” is the precise phrase used in the joint communique issued by the UK, USA, France and Germany yesterday:


This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.

When the same extremely careful phrasing is never deviated from, you know it is the result of a very delicate Whitehall compromise. My FCO source, like me, remembers the extreme pressure put on FCO staff and other civil servants to sign off the dirty dossier on Iraqi WMD, some of which pressure I recount in my memoir Murder in Samarkand. She volunteered the comparison to what is happening now, particularly at Porton Down, with no prompting from me.

Separately I have written to the media office at OPCW to ask them to confirm that there has never been any physical evidence of the existence of Russian Novichoks, and the programme of inspection and destruction of Russian chemical weapons was completed last year.

Did you know these interesting facts?

OPCW inspectors have had full access to all known Russian chemical weapons facilities for over a decade – including those identified by the “Novichok” alleged whistleblower Mirzayanov – and last year OPCW inspectors completed the destruction of the last of 40,000 tonnes of Russian chemical weapons

By contrast the programme of destruction of US chemical weapons stocks still has five years to run

 Israel has extensive stocks of chemical weapons but has always refused to declare any of them to the OPCW. Israel is not a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention nor a member of the OPCW. Israel signed in 1993 but refused to ratify as this would mean inspection and destruction of its chemical weapons. Israel undoubtedly has as much technical capacity as any state to synthesise “Novichoks”.

Until this week, the near universal belief among chemical weapons experts, and the official position of the OPCW, was that “Novichoks” were at most a theoretical research programme which the Russians had never succeeded in actually synthesising and manufacturing. That is why they are not on the OPCW list of banned chemical weapons.

Porton Down is still not certain it is the Russians who have apparently synthesised a “Novichok”. Hence “Of a type developed by Russia”. Note developed, not made, produced or manufactured.

It is very carefully worded propaganda. Of a type developed by liars.

UPDATE

This post prompted another old colleague to get in touch. On the bright side, the FCO have persuaded Boris he has to let the OPCW investigate a sample. But not just yet. The expectation is the inquiry committee will be chaired by a Chinese delegate. The Boris plan is to get the OPCW also to sign up to the “as developed by Russia” formula, and diplomacy to this end is being undertaken in Beijing right now.

I don’t suppose there is any sign of the BBC doing any actual journalism on this?

32
The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam 401
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/the-novichok-story-is-indeed-another-iraqi-wmd-scam/

14 Mar, 2018  in  Uncategorized   by Craig Murray

As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.

In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. (Black, 2016)

Robin Black. (2016) Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents. Royal Society of Chemistry

Yet now, the British Government is claiming to be able instantly to identify a substance which its only biological weapons research centre has never seen before and was unsure of its existence. Worse, it claims to be able not only to identify it, but to pinpoint its origin. Given Dr Black’s publication, it is plain that claim cannot be true.

The world’s international chemical weapons experts share Dr Black’s opinion. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is a UN body based in the Hague. In 2013 this was the report of its Scientific Advisory Board, which included US, French, German and Russian government representatives and on which Dr Black was the UK representative:

[The SAB] emphasised that the definition of toxic chemicals in the Convention would cover all potential candidate chemicals that might be utilised as chemical weapons. Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”. (OPCW, 2013)

OPCW: Report of the Scientific Advisory Board on developments in science and technology for the Third Review Conference 27 March 2013

Indeed the OPCW was so sceptical of the viability of “novichoks” that it decided – with US and UK agreement – not to add them nor their alleged precursors to its banned list. In short, the scientific community broadly accepts Mirzayanov was working on “novichoks” but doubts he succeeded.

Given that the OPCW has taken the view the evidence for the existence of “Novichoks” is dubious, if the UK actually has a sample of one it is extremely important the UK presents that sample to the OPCW. Indeed the UK has a binding treaty obligation to present that sample to OPCW. Russa has – unreported by the corporate media – entered a demand at the OPCW that Britain submit a sample of the Salisbury material for international analysis.

Yet Britain refuses to submit it to the OPCW.

Why?

A second part of May’s accusation is that “Novichoks” could only be made in certain military installations. But that is also demonstrably untrue. If they exist at all, Novichoks were allegedly designed to be able to be made at bench level in any commercial chemical facility – that was a major point of them. The only real evidence for the existence of Novichoks was the testimony of the ex-Soviet scientist Mizayanov. And this is what Mirzayanov actually wrote.


One should be mindful that the chemical components or precursors of A-232 or its binary version novichok-5 are ordinary organophosphates that can be made at commercial chemical companies that manufacture such products as fertilizers and pesticides.

Vil S. Mirzayanov, “Dismantling the Soviet/Russian Chemical Weapons Complex: An Insider’s View,” in Amy E. Smithson, Dr. Vil S. Mirzayanov, Gen Roland Lajoie, and Michael Krepon, Chemical Weapons Disarmament in Russia: Problems and Prospects, Stimson Report No. 17, October 1995, p. 21.

It is a scientific impossibility for Porton Down to have been able to test for Russian novichoks if they have never possessed a Russian sample to compare them to. They can analyse a sample as conforming to a Mirzayanov formula, but as he published those to the world twenty years ago, that is no proof of Russian origin. If Porton Down can synthesise it, so can many others, not just the Russians.

And finally – Mirzayanov is an Uzbek name and the novichok programme, assuming it existed, was in the Soviet Union but far away from modern Russia, at Nukus in modern Uzbekistan. I have visited the Nukus chemical weapons site myself. It was dismantled and made safe and all the stocks destroyed and the equipment removed by the American government, as I recall finishing while I was Ambassador there. There has in fact never been any evidence that any “novichok” ever existed in Russia itself.

To summarise:

1) Porton Down has acknowledged in publications it has never seen any Russian “novichoks”. The UK government has absolutely no “fingerprint” information such as impurities that can safely attribute this substance to Russia.
 2) Until now, neither Porton Down nor the world’s experts at the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were convinced “Novichoks” even exist.
 3) The UK is refusing to provide a sample to the OPCW.
 4) “Novichoks” were specifically designed to be able to be manufactured from common ingredients on any scientific bench. The Americans dismantled and studied the facility that allegedly developed them. It is completely untrue only the Russians could make them, if anybody can.
 5) The “Novichok” programme was in Uzbekistan not in Russia. Its legacy was inherited by the Americans during their alliance with Karimov, not by the Russians.


With a great many thanks to sources who cannot be named at this moment.

33
How Britain has become a world leading manufacturer of the products of war

https://aoav.org.uk/2017/britain-manufactured-state-war/

34
For Your Information / The Elephant In The Room
« on: March 12, 2018, 10:44:15 PM »
The Elephant In The Room

7 Mar, 2018  in  Uncategorized   by craig murray | View Comments

Nerve agents including Sarin and VX are manufactured by the British Government in Porton Down, just 8 miles from where Sergei Skripal was attacked. The official British government story is that these nerve agents are only manufactured “To help develop effective medical countermeasures and to test systems”.

The UK media universally accepted that the production of polonium by Russia was conclusive evidence that Vladimir Putin was personally responsible for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. In the case of Skripal, po-faced articles like this hilarious one in the Guardian speculate about where the nerve agent could possibly have come from – while totally failing to mention the fact that incident took place only eight miles from the largest stock of nerve agent in western Europe.


The investigation comprises multiple strands. Among them is whether there is any more of the nerve agent in the UK, and where it came from.

Chemical weapons experts said it was almost impossible to make nerve agents without training. “This needs expertise and a special place to make it or you will kill yourself. It’s only a small amount, but you don’t make this in your kitchen,” one said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commanding officer at the UK’s chemical, biological and nuclear regiment, said: “This is pretty significant. Nerve agents such as sarin and VX need to be made in a laboratory. It is not an insufficient task. Not even the so-called Islamic State could do it.”

Falling over themselves in the rush to ramp up the Russophobia, the Guardian quotes


“One former senior Foreign Office adviser suggested the Kremlin was taking advantage of the UK’s lack of allies in the US and EU. He said the British government was in a “weaker position” than in 2006 when two Kremlin assassins poisoned the former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko with a radioactive cup of tea.

The adviser said the use of nerve agent suggested a state operation…”

It certainly does. But the elephant in the room is – which state?


There is a major difference between Alexander Litvinenko and Sergei Skripal, which is not being reflected in the media. Litvinenko was a good man who attempted to expose abuses of power within Russia, in defence of the rights of Russians. Skripal is a traitor who sold the identities of Russian agents abroad to the UK, in exchange for hard cash. This may very well have caused the deaths of some of those Russian agents operating in conflict zones. If this is indeed a poisoning, there are a great many people who may want Mr Skripal dead – nor in this murky world should we overlook the fact that he must have known interesting things about his MI6 handlers. “Litvinenko II” is rather too pat and obvious, and could be a false flag set-up.

I certainly hope that Skripal, his companion, and anybody else affected, recover fully from whatever has attacked them. But I moved long ago past a world view where my country are the “goodies” and Russians are the “baddies”, and instead I reached an understanding that those in power oppress the people, universally. The idea that the elaborate spy games between world intelligence agencies are a battle between right and wrong, is for the story books. They are all wrong, all part of a system where power over people is controlled for the benefit of the wealthy, and battles are over hard resources, whichever “side” you are on.

35
Boris Johnson resumes subsidizing Al Qaeda through the CSSF
Voltaire Network

20 February 2018

   Without making a big deal about it, Boris Johnson, British Minister of Foreign Affairs is now resuming subsidizing Adam Smith International (ASI) following a two-month break.

In December 2017, the BBC programme Panorama had shown that the ASI, supported by Her Majesty's government to train police in the "liberated areas" (sic) of Syria, was actually funding Al-Qaeda.

Other investigations have shown that this NGO had also funded lobbying in the UN to convince diplomats that Bahrain is respecting human rights.

Put under pressure by the Labour Party, the Conservative Government had then cut the funding of the most important "humanitarian" NGO in the country.

Several scandals - from the sky-high salaries of its several of leaders to stealing confidential state documents, had then arisen, challenging several people holding key positions within the NGO. Several directors of the Adam Smith International had then resigned.

Her Majesty's government has created a fund for security and stabilization (Conflict Stability and Security Fund— CSSF) which is funding Al-Qaeda in Syria via three humanitarian NGOs: Adam Smith International, Integrity Global and Tamkeen. The funds have been paid to the so-called "Mayor" of Aleppo (in actual fact a mouth piece for the Saudi jihadists who occupy the East of the city) and to the White Helmets (which claims to be a local organization, led by an MI6 officer which has organized both military operations and propaganda operations). Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon confirmed before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons that CSSF had pledged £66 million to Syria in 2015-16, £64 million in 2016-17, and had given £69 million for tax year 2017-18 [1].

Translation Anoosha Boralessa

1. "Syria : Conflict, Stability and Security Fund:Written question - HL1251", House of Commons, September 20, 2017.





36
https://aoav.org.uk/2017/wars-workshop-exposing-britains-war-industries/


War’s Workshop: Exposing Britain’s War Industries

By Matt Kennard and Iain Overton on 17 Oct 2017

Action on Armed Violence is undertaking an investigation into how the United Kingdom has become the world’s primary designer and exporter of the machines of war.

In the past decade, the UK has effectively become War’s Workshop. Between 2006 and 2016, the UK  – a country with a population of just 65 million people – was listed as the world’s second biggest arms dealer in absolute terms, second only to the USA. In that same period, this island nation established itself as the global hub for companies involved in manufacturing cyber weaponry, surveillance gear, and other spyware sold to governments and corporations around the world. Such equipment was often for use for internal repression. Finally, in this decade, the UK became the global centre for private military and security companies (PMSCs). According to AOAV’s research, there are more surveillance companies and PMSCs headquartered in the UK than any other country in the world.

To find out more about this, please go to ‘How Britain has become a world leading manufacturer of the products of war‘

How did this happen? Why have successive governments done nothing to stop this? Indeed, how did they, in fact, encourage these industries of violence to take off? How have they helped this industry grow? These are the questions AOAV will be investigating over the next ten months.

We will being doing extensive interviews with key players in the industries, as well as recording the words of critics and analysts.

We will tell an unknown history: how the UK’s war industries were given the same boost by the Thatcher Revolution as that given to the financial industries.

As deindustrialisation and the loss of manufacturing imperilled the UK economy in the 1980s, the government moved to make UK, particularly London, the finance capital of the world through loosening regulation. This is a well known story. But at the same time it appears that this was also a plan as regards the war industry, whether that be arms companies (BAE specifically), as well as cyber technology and PMSCs. The regulation was kept light touch or not updated – and in so doing the UK aimed to attract such business to our shores. All of this was given a fillip with the War on Terror, which put the UK at the centre of global conflict in the modern era.

Starting in October, 2017, our first job will be publishing in depth human rights reports on the countries the UK is exporting conventional weaponry to. The UK is complicit in the worst human rights abuses around the world, and these reports will show that the export licensing system the government uses is largely meaningless in restricting exports to human rights abusers.

For more information on this project, please contact AOAV’s Executive Director Iain Overton – ioverton@aoav.org.uk.

The total numbers of licenses sold by the UK from 2008-2016

Did you find this story interesting? Please support AOAV's work and donate.
Donate


AOAV is working to reduce armed violence - please help

37
75th Anniversary of Victory of the Battle of Stalingrad

All Glory to Those Whose Heroism
 Defended Stalingrad and Changed
 the Course of World War II 

Red Army soldier raises victory flag over Stalingrad, February 2, 1943.
 (Colourized by Olga Shirnina)

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 
 

• Importance of Discussion on Significance of the Victory
- Louis Lang -
• Anti-Communist Renderings
- Yi Nicholls -

For Your Information
• Turning Point of World War II
- George Allen -
• Stalin's Assessment of Battle of Stalingrad and
 Course of Patriotic War in Its Third Year
• Brief History
• Reparations from Second World War
- Valentin Katasonov -
• British Betrayal of Its Own Convoys Carrying
 Supplies to Help the Soviets
- Nikolay Starikov -

Source Communist Party of Canada (ML)  http://cpcml.ca/Tmlw2018/W48003.HTM#8

 
75th Anniversary of Victory of the Battle of Stalingrad

All Glory to Those Whose Heroism Defended Stalingrad and Changed the Course of World War II


On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Battle of Stalingrad on February 2, 1943, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) sends its heartfelt congratulations to all the descendants of those who fought and defeated the Nazi invaders who attacked Stalingrad on August 23, 1942. The battle concluded with the encirclement and surrender of a German army of 300,000 troops. This dealt a crushing blow to the Nazi Wehrmacht. Followed by a decisive victory at Kursk, the victory of the Battle of Stalingrad began a powerful counteroffensive that drove the Hitlerites steadily back from whence they came, until the final demise of the Third Reich in Berlin in May 1945. The battle changed the course of WWII in favour of the Soviet peoples and the peoples of Europe and the world.

Speaking in November 1943 at the celebration of the 26th anniversary of the Great October Revolution, Joseph Stalin assessed the battle as follows:


The battle of Stalingrad ended in the encirclement of a German Army 300,000 strong, its rout and the capture of about one-third of the encircled troops. To form an idea of the scale of the slaughter, unparalleled in history, which took place on the battlefields of Stalingrad, one must realize that after the battle of Stalingrad was over, 147,200 bodies of killed German officers and men and 46,700 bodies of killed Soviet officers and men were found and buried. Stalingrad signified the decline of the German-fascist army. After the Stalingrad slaughter, as is known, the Germans were unable to recover. [...]

All the peoples of the Soviet Union have risen as one in defence of their Motherland, rightly regarding the present Patriotic War as the common cause of all working people irrespective of nationality or religion. By now the Hitlerite politicians themselves see how hopelessly stupid were their calculations on discord and conflict among the peoples of the Soviet Union. The friendship of the peoples of our country has withstood all the hardship and trials of the war and has become tempered still further in the common struggle of all Soviet people against the fascist invaders. Herein lies the source of the strength of the Soviet Union. (Loud and prolonged applause.)

As in the years of peaceful construction, so in the days of war, the leading and guiding force of the Soviet people has been the Party of Lenin, the Party of the Bolsheviks. No other Party has ever enjoyed, or enjoys, such prestige among the masses of the people as our Bolshevik Party. And this is natural. Under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, the workers, peasants and intelligentsia of our country have won their freedom and built a Socialist society. In the Patriotic War the Party has stood before us as the inspirer and organizer of the nation-wide struggle against the fascist invaders. The organizational work of the Party has united and directed all the efforts of the Soviet people towards the common goal, subordinating all our forces and means to the cause of defeating the enemy. During the war, the Party has increased its kinship with the people, has established still closer links with the broad masses of the working people. Herein lies the source of the strength of our state. (Loud and prolonged applause.)




 Painting of Battle of Stalingrad (G. Marchenko)

The victory shows many things, from the depths of Nazi brutality and barbarity -- as well as arrogance and vainglory -- to the heights of Soviet bravery, heroism and innovation. But, perhaps above all else, the affirmation of Stalingrad's right to be in the face of Nazi aggression required the organization of a new kind which had been created in the Soviet Union in the form of the communist party of a new type and Soviet Power. The battle revealed the new quality of organization and resistance that emerged in war conditions as a result of Soviet Power, where the people and their communist leadership became one to realize the justice of their cause. The aim, determination and the expression of their motivation can be seen in their deeds as they rose to defend their city, their Soviet motherland and workers' state.







Today, too, in the new historical conditions, establishing an aim and the organization capable of realizing that aim are crucial to turn things around in the peoples' favour. To avert the dangers which lie ahead, peoples saddled with old forms of representation require new forms of organization in the form of anti-war governments where it is the people who take decisions in their own name. No longer will they hand over their decision-making power to others who act in their name but then betray the people's interests. Far from it, the peoples' so-called sovereign representatives represent a fictitious person of state who rules over the people to advance private interests, not those established by the people themselves.

The form of rule and the form of leadership must be consistent with the requirements of the new historical conditions which have emerged in the last 30 years since the fall of the former Soviet Union.

The forms used in the past, which was a period of flow of revolution, were consistent with a situation which required the containment and eradication of  Nazi-fascism, come what may, to safeguard the future of humankind. That was a period when the peoples of the world had the great Soviet Union on their side to spearhead the battle for victory and inspire the peoples of the entire world to do likewise.

But today the revolution is in retreat. The imperialists and reactionary forces have the initiative, not the peoples of the world. These counter-revolutionary forces have formed international cartels and coalitions comprised of powerful private interests that collude and contend for control of the world's resources and spheres of influence as well as the power to be sole decision-makers on a supranational basis. Whatever they cannot control they seek to destroy, as in the case of invasions of sovereign nations and untold crimes against humanity, which surpass even those of the Hitlerites in scale and brutality. All of this is carried out under the guise that they uphold the cause of freedom, democracy and peace -- the very things the peoples of the world fought for in World War II and made the supreme sacrifice to achieve.

Today, as we celebrate the victories of the past, it is necessary to discuss the significance of the victory of the Battle of Stalingrad so as to enable the peoples to turn the tide of counter-revolution which assails the peoples of the world at this time. The peoples need to seize the initiative and turn things around in their favour. The opposition of the peoples of the world to the neo-liberal counter-revolution and its attendant wars of aggression and crimes against humanity must be strengthened. From acts of resistance, a mighty force must emerge that is capable of ending the barbaric rule of the present-day rulers.

This issue of TML Weekly pays homage to the heroism of the defenders of Stalingrad and their leadership on the occasion of their glorious victory at Stalingrad. Click here for the calendar of events taking place in Canada on this occasion.


38
For Your Information / British Betrayal of Its Own Convoys Carrying
« on: February 01, 2018, 09:36:34 PM »
 
British Betrayal of Its Own Convoys Carrying
 Supplies to Help the Soviets

- Nikolay Starikov -

Source with photos  http://cpcml.ca/Tmlw2018/W48003.HTM#8

The following is excerpted from the book Proxy Wars (St. Petersburg, 2017) by Russian historian, writer and political activist Nikolay Starikov.   


Part I




 Photo of PQ 17 convoy in Iceland in May 1942, before it sailed.

The disaster that befell Great Britain's legendary PQ 17 convoy, which was carrying military aid to the Soviet Union in July 1942, remains a mystery only to those who do not understand London's true agenda during World War II.

The second front, which the Allies had promised Moscow in 1941, was not opened either in that year or the next. After all of Stalin's diplomatic efforts and battles, assistance to the USSR came in the form of military supplies. The simplest and most efficient way to deliver that cargo was by sea. Polar convoys were assembled in Iceland and then sailed around Scandinavia to wind their way to Murmansk or Arkhangelsk. Each of them was guarded by British warships. The Germans attacked the polar convoys from airfields inside Nazi-occupied Norway. German submarines and surface vessels were based there, at military installations in Narvik and Trondheim.

Before July 1942 the convoys had experienced few casualties -- the first occurred when convoy PQ 12 (March 1942, consisting of 12 merchant ships) lost one vessel and one destroyer escort. PQ 13 lost four vessels, PQ 14 -- one vessel, PQ 15 -- three vessels, and PQ 16 -- seven merchant ships.


But out of the 34 merchant ships and tankers in the PQ 17 convoy, which set sail out of Hvalfjörður fjord on June 27, 1942, only 13 made it to the shores of the Soviet Union -- 21 vessels were sunk! Out of the 297 airplanes included in that cargo, 210 went to the bottom of the sea, as did 430 of the 584 tanks, 3,530 of the 4,246 automobiles that were secured to the decks and stored in the holds, plus so much other military cargo that was so badly needed by the USSR, which was embroiled in fierce, heavy fighting on the Don and Volga. In all, 122,000 tons of cargo were lost out of the original total of 188,000 tons, in addition to the hundreds of human deaths ...






But it was not these enormous losses that gave the PQ 17 convoy its own page in the history books -- it was because of the reason why they happened. This reason had a human face.  The fact is, the British warships ... simply abandoned the convoy to the mercies of fate. They sailed away, ordering the convoy to scatter and for all its ships to make their own way to Soviet shores. Afterward, those defenseless vessels were easy prey for German submarines and aircraft ...

The convoy's military escort and covering forces consisted of six destroyers, four corvettes, four armed trawlers, three minesweepers, two submarines, and two anti-aircraft auxiliaries. Commander Jack Broome was in charge of the expedition and would later publish quite a remarkable memoir, Convoy Is to Scatter.

On July 3, 1942, after successfully fending off several German air attacks, the flagship of the escort received a coded cable from London, claiming that "photographs of Trondheim show that [German battleships] Tirpitz, Hipper, and 4 destroyers have left."

On July 4, 1942, there were renewed German air attacks on the convoy. This time the Germans had much better luck: two ships were sunk and three damaged, but the Luftwaffe lost six planes. And then "something strange" happened. Early in the morning of July 5, Rear Admiral Hamilton gave his First Cruiser Squadron orders to retreat, withdrawing its protection from the convoy, and Admiral Pound, the Admiral of the Fleet, commanded the merchant ships to "scatter." This decision was based on information that had allegedly been received regarding a threat of attack on the convoy from the battleship Tirpitz. It would be an understatement to say that Commander Jack Broome found this order to be utterly baffling and bewildering:




The best descriptive parallel I could think of was an electric shock. The order to SCATTER is the prerogative of the senior man on the spot when, and only when, an overwhelming force attacks his convoy, which would be more difficult to massacre spread out than if it remained concentrated. It is the last straw, the ‘sauve qui peut' and it is, of course, irrevocable ... Upon obtaining these messages, separated by an interval of only 13 minutes and arriving with increasing urgency, we could draw only one conclusion. The Admiralty had received confirmation that the Germans were ready to strike, and these confirmations were sufficiently reliable for them to decide that, in the event of unrelenting attacks from above and below, defenseless merchant vessels would thus be safer than they would in the convoy ... PQ 17 was the first convoy in the history of the Royal Navy to be ordered to scatter by an officer who was not on the spot.







 Admiral Dudley Pound, who was responsible for the destruction of convoy PQ 17, resigned on Oct. 5, 1943 and was dead by Oct. 21
 of that year ...
 

The official British story insists that the PQ 17 convoy was the victim of a tragic mistake. Supposedly, as soon as Lord Pound made his fateful decision and saw it through, it emerged that the German squadron had not gone anywhere and was still at its base in Norway!



But what really happened? Immediately after the treaty of alliance was signed with the USSR on May 26, 1942, British leaders, most likely Churchill himself, issued a secret order that the next convoy must not make it to the shores of the Soviet Union. All of Admiral Pound's later actions, which are without parallel in naval and military history, are nothing more than his efforts to carry out the instructions he had been given. This not only made it possible to "help without helping" the Red Army, but also gave the British leadership a free hand to do their best to end the convoys altogether, on the pretext of having suffered "huge casualties." This was a cutoff of assistance to the Soviet Union, right at a critical moment during the Battle of Stalingrad. What's more, because the British practically surrendered the convoy and handed over their sea route to the Nazis by withdrawing the protecting warships, this amounted to directly abetting Hitler's continued surge toward Stalingrad to finish off Soviet Russia. In order for the Führer to be made to see that his only way out was to crush the USSR, or in other words, to escalate the war, he needed irrefutable evidence that the British were prepared to betray Russia. And although they were officially allies, the British would be ready to make peace with the Reich if the USSR could be defeated. The British betrayal of their own convoy was proof offered to the Germans that this time a deal with them was possible.

The Germans really did know the names of each of the ships in the convoy and even the cargo each carried! The German submariners had no reason to hide. They surfaced and, not wasting their torpedoes, easily sank the defenseless merchant ships with artillery fire. The rescued Allied sailors later claimed that the Nazis were surprisingly well informed as to what each vessel was carrying. To explain this astonishing fact, the British later circulated the information that the Germans had allegedly found the code books and ship list aboard the merchant ship the SS Paulus Potter, which had been left adrift after having fallen under attack (the crew had abandoned the vessel but never scuttled it). Another oddity in the Germans' behavior that was noticed by the eyewitnesses was their surprising nonchalance and confident sense of impunity. They did not seem to be fighting as much as ... enjoying themselves, on a pleasant, innocent outing:

They were virtually handed a licence to bomb, torpedo, and photograph us, then shoot off home to photograph themselves putting on their medals! ... Seldom can so much film footage have been taken of a single action at sea, all from an enemy standpoint, which reaped such a rich harvest in propaganda. (Paul Lund, PQ 17: Convoy to Hell)

One more curious detail: the radio cable ordering the convoy to retreat was sent by the British "in the clear," in other words, without encryption! There is to this day still no rational explanation for why every basic rule of secrecy was suddenly violated. The only logical reason for sending a crucially important radio message in the clear when there was no pressing need to do so (!) would be that there was a desire for it to be immediately read by the enemy. The British openly informed the Germans that the convoy was now defenseless and could be easily attacked, but that there was no need to strike at the retreating cruisers and ships from the convoy that could fend for themselves. From that perspective it is immediately clear why the Germans behaved with such nonchalance and were so utterly confident of their impunity.

Another important fact: on July 5, 1942, the British warships received yet another radio cable, the meaning of which is difficult to interpret as anything other than a desire to cover their tracks:


Please note that the Admiralty's message ... to the ships escorting the PQ 17, to the commander of the 1st Cruiser Squadron and the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet ordering the convoy to scatter was transmitted in naval encryption, and not in the clear, as was noted on the copies in circulation." (Jack Broome, Convoy Is to Scatter).


In other words, the ship captains were asked to forge an entry in their ship's log and to note that the telegraphed order "convoy is to scatter" was sent in encrypted form, rather than in the clear, as it actually was! Later, the Admiralty decided to destroy all the radio transmission logs from that campaign.

Is it not surprising that, after learning of the tragedy of convoy PQ 17, Stalin asked, "Do British naval officers even understand the concept of honour?"

Part II

On July 28, 1942 Stalin issued his famous order no. 227: "Not one step back!" And this was not because he had forgotten to do it in 1941, but because the state of affairs on the front lines of the war had become much more dangerous and the prospect of a Soviet military defeat seemed far more possible than it had at the beginning of the war. That is why on Oct. 19, 1942, Stalin wrote to the Soviet ambassador in England, Ivan Maisky:




All of us in Moscow have gained the impression that Churchill is aiming at the defeat of the USSR, in order to then come to terms with the Germany of Hitler or Brüning at the expense of our country. Otherwise it is difficult to explain Churchill's behavior either in regard to the second front in Europe or the arms shipments to the USSR, which continue to dwindle.



The PQ 17 tragedy occurred in early July 1942, and Stalin's telegram was sent in mid-October. In the interval Churchill had sent letters of "explanation," the British had attempted to scale back the convoys, and Churchill had visited Moscow from August 12-14. As a result -- Stalin became convinced, as he expressed in his telegram to Maisky, that Churchill was conspiring with Hitler.


 Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at the Kremlin in August 1942.[1]

You can judge for yourself the feebleness of Sir Winston's "explanations" about the PQ 17 tragedy by reading the correspondence of the two leaders in its entirety, so we'll just offer the highlights here. The British prime minister's entire letter to Stalin on July 18, 1942 can be boiled down to one sentence: we cannot fight the Germans, because it will cost us dearly. And therefore, writes Sir Winston, we have no choice but to end the convoys to the USSR. Stalin's letter of response on July 23, 1942 sheds a clarifying light on what was happening at that time:

I have received your message of July 18. I gather from the message, first, that the British Government refuses to go on supplying the Soviet Union with war materials by the northern route and, secondly, that despite the agreed Anglo-Soviet Communique 20 on the adoption of urgent measures to open a second front in 1942, the British Government is putting off the operation till 1943. According to our naval experts, the arguments of British naval experts on the necessity of stopping delivery of war supplies to the northern harbours of the U.S.S.R. are untenable. They are convinced that, given goodwill and readiness to honour obligations, steady deliveries could be effected, with heavy loss to the Germans. The British Admiralty's order to the P.Q. 17 convoy to abandon the supply ships and return to Britain, and to the supply ships to disperse and make for Soviet harbours singly, without escort, is, in the view of our experts, puzzling and inexplicable. Of course, I do not think steady deliveries to northern Soviet ports are possible without risk or loss. But then no major task can be carried out in wartime without risk or losses. You know, of course, that the Soviet Union is suffering far greater losses. Be that as it may, I never imagined that the British Government would deny us delivery of war materials precisely now, when the Soviet Union is badly in need of them in view of the grave situation on the Soviet-German front. It should be obvious that deliveries via Persian ports can in no way make up for the loss in the event of deliveries via the northern route being discontinued. As to the second point, namely, that of opening a second front in Europe, I fear the matter is taking an improper turn. In view of the situation on the Soviet-German front, I state most emphatically that the Soviet Government cannot tolerate the second front in Europe being postponed till 1943. I hope you will not take it amiss that I have seen fit to give you my frank and honest opinion and that of my colleagues on the points raised in your message.



 Moscow Conference, August 1942: Winston Churchill, U.S. Ambassador Averell Harriman,
 Joseph Stalin, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.




During Churchill's visit to Moscow a few days later, Stalin would tell him quite pointedly, "The Germans do not have a large fleet, and it needs to be destroyed, rather than scattering the convoys." Stalin knew who he was dealing with. He knew who had raised Hitler to power and the reason for that. He understood that England's ultimate goal was to drag out the Soviet-German war for as long as possible. This was why he was so affronted by the excuse of these "circumstantial factors" that his "allies" were forced to send the PQ 18 convoy to the USSR in early September 1942. Interestingly enough, the military escort ships accompanying the PQ 18 convoy were also ordered to focus on protecting themselves, rather than the supply vessels. (Paul Lund, PQ17: Convoy to Hell ). But this time that order was ignored, and the British sailors successfully safeguarded the transports. The fact that the PQ 17 could have been protected is also evident from the fact that despite a fierce battle in the Barents Sea north of North Cape, 28 out of 41 vessels of the PQ 18 arrived safely in Soviet port, causing a dramatic loss to Luftwaffe (around 40 aircrafts piloted by the best German aces were hit by the escort during the voyage).

The history of the PQ 17 is only a small fragment in the mosaic of the elaborate games that the British establishment employed during the Second World War to achieve its elusive goals. To that end they sacrificed their own citizens and soldiers. For example, as part of the Operation Fortitude campaign of disinformation in the first half of 1944, British intelligence sent agents into various countries of occupied Europe who, for one reason or another, "knew" the place and time of the Allied landing in Europe. According to the information they provided, that landing was to occur in Pas-de-Calais. The directors of the operation also saw to it that these agents fell into the hands of the Gestapo and that the poison capsules they were given to use in the event of their arrest turned out to be worthless. But the evidence of those suicide attempts would make the information that the Gestapo obtained by torturing the captured agents seem more reliable. As a result, the credulous Germans were awaiting the Allied landing in entirely the wrong place. Moreover, after Allied troops stormed the beaches at Normandy, Hitler, who was expecting a landing in Pas-de-Calais, failed to move several tank divisions south that would have been capable of repelling that invasion.

And what about those unfortunate agents? Some of them survived the war, and, realizing what had happened to them, demanded an investigation. But, like the logs of the arctic-convoy radio cables, the archive of the Special Operations Executive had been destroyed just in time. In response to attempts to discover what really happened, the British government has donned an expression of affronted dignity. They claim that such a course of action would have been beneath them and they are outraged by the very suggestion.

No documents exist. That means it never happened ...






TML Note

1. It was after that meeting in August 1942 that Churchill, in a speech to the British House of Commons on September 8, 1942, had the following to say about Joseph Stalin:





It was an experience of great interest to me to meet Premier Stalin ... It is very fortunate for Russia in her agony to have this great rugged war chief at her head. He is a man of massive outstanding personality, suited to the sombre and stormy times in which his life has been cast; a man of inexhaustible courage and will-power and a man direct and even blunt in speech, which, having been brought up in the House of Commons, I do not mind at all, especially when I have something to say of my own. Above all, he is a man with that saving sense of humour which is of high importance to all men and all nations, but particularly to great men and great nations. Stalin also left upon me the impression of a deep, cool wisdom and a complete absence of illusions of any kind. I believe I made him feel that we were good and faithful comrades in this war -- but that, after all, is a matter which deeds not words will prove.

(Adapted and translated by Oriental Review, October 24, 2017.)

39
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.

40
Newcastle Stop the War / No War in Korea!
« 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.”

41
Newcastle Stop the War / North Korea an Aggressor? A Reality Check
« 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

42
South Tyneside Stop the War / Korea Crisis Exposes Orwellian West
« 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.

43
US "Jihadi Express": Indonesia – Afghanistan – Syria – Philippines
 Andre Vltchek, Global Research 
June 09, 2017

 It was late at night but the new Terminal 3 at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport outside Jakarta was still bustling with families and friends waiting for their loved ones returning from abroad.

My friend Noor Huda Ismail was just arriving from Singapore, and I decided to pick him up and discuss ‘certain issues' with him in the car, on the way to the capital. Lately he and I were busy, awfully busy, and a one-hour journey seemed to be the most appropriate setting for the exchange of at least some essential ideas and information.

Huda could easily pass for the most knowledgeable Indonesian "expert on terrorism"; a Muslim man who grew up and was educated in the madrasahs that have produced some of the most notorious jihadi cadres in the country. Later he became the man who managed to ‘get away' from the extremism, to study, and to finally become a respected filmmaker and a thinker.

For years, both of us have been studying a complex web produced by Western imperialism – a web, which has literally destroyed entire countries, while locking other ones ‘behind bars', in virtual neo-colonialist slavery. All this done in the name of ‘freedom' and democracy, naturally, and often using various religions as tools, even as weapons.

Inside the car we managed to quickly ‘compare notes'. Huda filled me in on his groundbreaking film ‘Jihad Selfie', while I informed him about my political revolutionary novel ‘Aurora', and my big work in progress, a book about Afghanistan. I also mentioned my future ‘Afghan' film, a dark love story, a drama about betrayal, collaboration and the virtual collapse of one family; a film which I'm preparing to produce and direct sometime during the next year.

 "Afghanistan," he says, "that's where the roots of so many things lie You recall that in the 80's, the U.S. was using some local, Indonesian, jihadi cadres, sending them to Afghanistan "

I knew about it; I knew something, but not everything. The fact that both Indonesian and Malaysian citizens went to fight against the Soviet Union, Karmal, and then Mohammad Najibullah's government in Afghanistan, was something that I have never yet addressed in my books or films. Now I suddenly felt that it was important, extremely important, to address this fact.

 "Huda," I asked, as we were slowly progressing through perpetual traffic jam of Jakarta, "how many Indonesian men went to fight in Afghanistan, after the 1979 Soviet intervention?"

Huda didn't hesitate. He always knows the numbers:

"Just from one group, there were 350 fighters. Indonesians fought in Afghanistan, and were based in a camp belonging to Ittehad-al-Islami (Islamic Union). Ustad Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf ran the camp. Of course Rab Rasul Sayyaf is Wahhabi, and the Wahhabis have been fully funded by the U.S. What we are seeing now, all those ‘terrorist threats', is a blowback effect, of what the U.S. has done in the region, specifically in Afghanistan. And even the ISIS now: in 2003 they came to topple Saddam "

Could I meet one of the Afghan ‘alumni' here in Jakarta?

 "Of course you can," he nodded, "I'll arrange it, while you are here."

***

Before an encounter with an "Afghan" jihadi cadre, I traveled to the city of Bandung, where I met Iman Soleh, a professor at the Faculty of Social and Political Science (University of Padjadjaran- UNPAD). He is yet another renowned authority on ‘terrorism'. He came to my hotel, accompanied by his wife, Professor Antik Bintari, a conflict management expert who teaches at the same university.

Professor Iman Soleh and his wife, Professor Antik Bintari

For quite some time, professor Iman Soleh and I discussed the link between the ‘old guard' Southeast Asian (mainly Indonesians and Malaysians) jihadi cadres, so-called ‘Afghan alumni', and the vanguard, a ‘new wave', that which is now trying to destabilize, even destroy both Syria and the Philippines.

While the name ‘jihad' itself has been used habitually and ‘liberally' all over the Western mainstream media, it was clear to all of us at the table that behind the brutal combat as well as most of the horrors unleashed in such places like Syria and Philippines, hidden are the geopolitical interests of the West in general and of the United States in particular.

Professor Soleh has explained the latest ‘dynamics':

 "Since World War Two, the U.S. was afraid of so-called ‘domino effects'. Among other things that are now happening in the Philippines under president Duterte, the government is curbing activities of the multi-national mining conglomerates, and the West cannot accept that. Philippines are putting its environmental concerns above the short-term profits! For the millions of left-wing activists here in Indonesia and all over Southeast Asia, Duterte is a role model."

Therefore, following the imperialist logic, the Philippines have to be attacked and destabilized, as has already been done to Syria. Defiance is punishable by death. And how else other than through the most effective weapons which the West has been utilizing for years and decades: extremist religious terrorist groups. What better assembly of fighters to choose for that difficult task than the jihadists from the groups that had already proven to be so effective and lethal in places such as Afghanistan?

By now, almost nobody who is at least to some extent informed on the subject has any doubts that the West is mainly interested in maintaining ‘perpetual conflict' in several regions of the world. As Professor Soleh observes:

 "I think all this is not just to ‘destabilize' the Philippines, but also because the country has conflict areas that could be ‘nurtured'. The best example is predominantly Muslim island of Mindanao, vs. the rest of the Philippines, which is predominantly a Catholic country. As we know, the Philippines is also involved in the South China Sea dispute with the PRC, and the U.S. is trying to fully dominate the region "

And President Duterte is committing an ‘unpardonable crime' in the eyes of Washington and London, by trying to resolve the territorial conflict with China, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

***

But back to the "Jihadi Express " It is important to understand the background:

The Indonesian jihadi, Salafi group Darul Islam, fought for a caliphate and against the secular and socialist state headed by President Sukarno, in the 1950's and well into the 1960's. "Terror is halal", they used to say.

Professor Saleh further clarifies:

 "Eventually the Indonesian state dismantled ‘Darul Islam', but there was an off-shoot of it created soon, ‘Komando Jihad'."

Komando Jihad later transformed into a transnational Southeast Asian group Jamaah Islamiyah (with its spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir). The group has been maintaining active links and cooperation with al-Qaeda and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines, to name just two religious guerrillas.

 "Fighters from Komando Jihad then went to Afghanistan. Ideologically they were hard-core Salafis, but with the Western support. They received Western help to acquire weapons and other basics. According to my contacts in the Indonesian intelligence community, the U.S. was backing this infiltration of Afghanistan by ‘Komando Jihad' and by others. I'm also in possession of a piece of information that the Indonesian army (TNI) commander in the 1980's, General Moerdani, was supporting Indonesian and Afghan jihadists, by supplying them with the weapons (including the AK-47's)."

 "Again, according to my Indonesian intelligence sources, the ‘departure' itself of the Indonesian jihadists for Afghanistan was also directly helped by the U.S., under the cover of ‘Islamic study groups' and other ‘communities', and the route that was utilized was: Indonesia – Malaysia – Philippines – Afghanistan".

These are not well-publicized facts, but they should not surprise anyone familiar with Indonesian history: after the brutal 1965 U.S.-sponsored military/religious coup, Indonesia rapidly transformed itself from an anti-imperialist, internationalist and progressive country into the closest Western ally in the entire Southeast Asia. The main ‘ideology' of the new fascist pro-Western regime of General Suharto became "anti-Communism". For months and years, the Communists as well as alleged ‘Communists'were slaughtered all over the archipelago, while Communist ideology was banned, as were the Chinese language and culture, including dragons and cakes. The anti-Communist propaganda became the main sample of the ‘intellectual' diet. The fourth most populous country on Earth went through a total reset, became one of the most ‘religious' places on Earth, and soon after collapsed both socially and intellectually.

Allegations of "atheism" against the Communists were used in Indonesia in order to stir and radicalize thousands of potential and already existing jihadi cadres. Anti-atheism, even anti-secularism, became the rallying cry of those who were ready to sacrifice their lives for the ultimate goal and dream -a caliphate.

The West in Afghanistan played the same ‘game', during the "Soviet era", as it did in Indonesia after 1965, and elsewhere. It is clear and obvious that the imperialist scheme designed in Washington and London has been interchangeable and successfully applicable in many different geographical locations.

In Kabul, in March 2017, a legendary Afghan intellectual, Dr. Omara Khan Masoudi, explained to me:

 "The biggest mistake the Soviet Union made here was to attack religion outrightly. If they'd first stuck to equal rights, and slowly worked it up towards the contradictions of religion, it could perhaps have worked But they began blaming religion for our backwardness, in fact for everything. Or at least this is how it was interpreted by the coalition of their enemies, and of course by the West.

 Now, why is the present Western invasion so ‘successful'; why is there so little in terms of intellectual opposition? Look at the regime in Kabul During its rule, the US convinced people that Western intervention was ‘positive', ‘respectful of their religion and cultures'. They kept repeating ‘under this and that UN convention', and again ‘as decided by the UN' They used NATO, a huge group of countries, as an umbrella. There was a ‘brilliantly effective' protocol that they developed According to them, they never did anything unilaterally, always by ‘international consensus' and in order to ‘help Afghan people'. On the other hand, the Soviet Union never had the slightest chance to explain itself. It was attacked immediately, and on all fronts."

US Air Force, Bagrani Base, Afghanistan

In reality, the West has always been using(and finally it has managed to divert) Islam. Some great Muslim scholars, including those that I met in Tehran,a ctually believe that Washington, London, Paris and other centers of the Western imperialism and neo-colonialism, actually succeeded, in many parts of the world,to create a totally new and (to many true and intellectual Muslims) unrecognizable religion.

***

Indonesian jihadi cadres hardened in Afghanistan and trained by the Pakistanis eventually returned to their country. There, they went to "work", participating in such bloodlettings and killings as those in Ambon (Maluku) and Poso (Sulawesi). In Ambon the conflict continued from 1999 to 2002, and while it lasted, allegedly 8,000 people died, while thousands belonging to both sexes were involuntarily and brutally circumcised and genitally mutilated. In Ambon, I saw the jihadi cadres in action, hacking to death a young innocent boy, right in front of the eyes of a cheering crowd of onlookers. I later described the horror of this incident in my novel "Point of No Return".

Little did I know, then, what I was really witnessing and trying to document. Only much later, in Bandung, in May 2017, a couple of professors, Iman Soleh and Antik Bintari, explained to me:

 "Poso and Ambon, that's the "Afghani Link". During those massacres, there were still some ‘old jihadists' from the Afghan days, participating in the actual fighting. However, there were also some ‘fresh' fighters there, many of them undergoing exercises with the Indonesian ‘Afghans'. Poso and Ambon conflicts were in fact serving as two training grounds. After that, a new generation of combatants had risen".

***

Mr. Farihin, Jamaah Islamiyah Fighter

That same night – very late at night – after driving for hours on hopelessly congested highway that connects the cities of Bandung and Jakarta, I met Mr. Farihin, an active member of the outlawed "JI" (Jamaah Islamiyah), a man who personally met Osama bin Laden, a warrior who fought in Paktia and other provinces in Afghanistan, a former Mujahideen, an unapologetic jihadist.

I was longing to know, to understand, how the old ‘Afghan alumni' were thinking, how they saw the world, and what their goals were.

Mr. Farihin was actually an impressive human being: upright, strong, manly, proud, extremely polite, and totally brainwashed

His hatred for Communism knew no boundaries; it was epic. He dreamed, he ‘saw' Communists everywhere, all over the world: in Syria, in the present-day Russia, even in Karzai's and Ghani's Afghanistan. Anything remotely secular, anything that was not a caliphate, was "Communist" in his simple but determined mind of a combatant.

We began with Osama bin Laden:

 "I met Osama fleetingly, in 1987 and 1988, but in those days he was not an ‘ulama'. He was funding Mujahideen. He was a contractor in Paktia Province and he was based in the north of that province, in an Arab camp, helping Mujahideen and also building the roads. After Soviets entered Afghanistan, Osama's people made a ‘council'; it was like a shadow Mujahideen government."

Mr. Farihin came to Afghanistan in 1987. After his group NII (Negara Islam Indonesia – Islamic State of Indonesia) received ‘an invitation' from Mujahedeen.

What prompted him to go to Afghanistan?

 "There was news all over Indonesia, that a Muslim country was attacked by the Soviet Union. My initial desire was to fight the USSR. At the beginning I was not allowed to fight, and it was not Afghanistan where I was sent; it was Pakistan. I was ordered to study at Etihad Islami Military Academy there. At some point, all foreign jihadis had to leave Pakistan, so we were moved directly to Afghanistan. In Paktia Province they built an entire camp for us. We were attacked by the Soviets there, on several occasions; us, as well as the ‘Arab Camp'. MIG-21 jet fighters were used. But by then, Russians were already beginning their withdrawal. After the Soviets left, Afghanistan was still governed by a Communist government, so we fought it, too. I was ready to fight: first the Soviets, than that Communist Afghan governments. I saw Russian prisoners, pilots, shackled, in Pakistan. I was not afraid of them."

I quickly noticed that Mr. Farihin was not proud of the support his group and Mujahideen in general were receiving from the United States and the rest of the West. He kept repeating that he did not "see" any direct U.S. support, that supplies just kept coming from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Muslim countries. For him, it was essential that his fight in Afghanistan would be seen as a ‘pure', pan-Islamic struggle.

I was not there to contradict him, I was there to listen.

He spoke about the fronts on which he had fought: Nangarhar, Jalalabad among others:

 "I was rotating between the fronts. The war, the battles were ‘orderly'".

"But what was the goal?" I asked.

He didn't hesitate one single moment.

 "The goal was simple: in Afghanistan we wanted to prevent the Communist ideology from being accepted."

How much did he know about the Communism?

 "Actually, my knowledge about it was very shallow. That's fine: we were war machines for Mujahideen. What we were told was that the Communists don't believe in God, and that they are professing secularism."

I wondered whether they knew anything about the improving medical system, about the all of a sudden decent education, about public housing, transportation, and culture?

 "Almost everything done by the Communists was good, I know But because they believed in Communism and socialism, it was not right, it was ‘haram'. Our pledge to God was what really mattered. In terms of importance, God was Number 1, and only then came the world of humans."

I asked him how he sees Afghanistan now.

 "As long as their government is Communist, we'll fight it And I pray that Taliban wins."

For a moment I thought that I had misunderstood: the Afghanistan government is Communist? Doesn't he know anything about the U.S., about the Western occupation?

 "Yes but the U.S. went to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, not Communism. The government is still Communist; a puppet regime of Russia."

I quickly changed the subject, but things did not improve. I asked him about Syria, about Iraq. He replied politely:

 "I train, we train volunteers who are ready to go and fight in Syria. It is because Syria is not only Communist, you know – Assad and Russians – but also it is Shi'a."

Being Shi'a is an arch crime in today's Indonesia. People are getting killed, ostracized, and intimidated for being Shi'a. I witnessed it once, on the island of Madura.

 "'Aghan alumni' are training fighters that are ready to go abroad, both ideologically and militarily. Whether the government knows, I'm not sure. Perhaps intelligence knows. During Suharto era, the fight against Communism was supported. I saw Indonesian intelligence operating in the Afghan refugee camps in Peshawar, Pakistan. We were told by the Pakistani intelligence that the Indonesian intelligence was deployed in the region. Indonesia was then supporting Mujahideen, and we were receiving some Indonesian supplies, including food. Indonesia and Pakistan were then very good friends; Pakistani intelligence made our life very easy: we were going back and forth, freely, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, across the border, while civilians were not allowed "

And what was their fee? Certainly jihad is not fought for free?

The lowest pay was then US$150 per month, a lot of money in poor Indonesia, in the late 1980's. Between US$300 and US$400 for the officers.

Islamic Defender's Front (FPI) goodies on display in Jakarta

Before we parted, we talked about Afghanistan, the country. He remembered it fondly:

 "I like the country, it is beautiful. I liked religious life there. Afghans were very kind to us, treated us like guests We were offered their women, too, to marry, but the dowry was too high. Some had blue eyes, and we wanted to marry them, badly, but really: we couldn't afford their women with our modest ‘salaries'."

Does he miss Afghanistan?

 "Yes."

"Me, too," I nodded. "But I'm going back, soon."

We didn't embrace. By then he sensed that we belonged to the opposite sides of the barricade, and that most likely we were arch enemies. But until we parted, both of us remained polite, excessively polite: the Afghan way.

***

Dina Y. Sulaeman

"Jihad in Indonesia – against the Western imperialism? Oh no, no way " smiles Dina Y. Sulaeman, an Indonesian political analyst, an author of the book "Salju Di Aleppo" (Snow of Aleppo):

 "Jihad in which Indonesians want to participate is based on hate In my book, I explain that the Indonesian fighters in Syria are mainly affiliated with several groups: ‘Ikhwanul Muslimin', ‘Hizbut Tahrir' and Al Qaeda/ISIS. Unfortunately these groups have supporters in Indonesia. They keep spreading fake photos and videos about Syria, to ignite sympathy, even anger of Indonesian people, so they give donations or even join jihad. It's a good deal for them. They are waging ‘holy war', they'll go to heaven, and plus they get paid. They accuse president Assad of being ‘infidel'. That's their rallying cry."

 "Indonesian mass media ‘coverage' is only directly translating what is said by the Western media: the CNN, the BBC and others . If not those, then at least Al-Jazeera which is often even worse As a result, Indonesians are ‘very concerned' about Syria.' Of course, in my books I'm trying to correct the misconceptions, but the propaganda apparatus is so powerful."

"Like in Afghanistan," I add.

Earlier I asked Noor Huda Ismail:

 "But the Afghan ‘alumni' and the ISIS do not necessarily like each other, do they?"

Huda nods, but then he adds:

 "Al-Qaeda and ISIS do not get along well. In the context, most of the fighters, those who support ISIS, they have been gathering in the same mosque. They are using social media. Maybe the Afghan ‘alumni' and the ISIS supporters do not like each other, but they share the same ideology; the root, the matter is the same, which is toppling and challenging the secular systems."

"Including the one in Indonesia."

 "Yes, including the one here."

Jihadi Express is now rolling, gaining speed. One country after another is being shred to pieces under its merciless wheels.

Destroyed Aleppo

Those who think that it is "all about oil" are mistaken. The West is of course trying to control, fully and brutally, all that moves in the Middle East, North Africa and as far as Iran and Afghanistan. But that's definitely not all: jihadi groups, created by the West and its allies in the Gulf, have been used to destabilize the two greatest adversaries of the West: Russia and China.

Soviet Union was tricked into Afghanistan in 1979, and then brutally destroyed. Afghanistan itself was ‘sacrificed' in the process, its social structures broken, and all hope its people were enjoying, choked. China is now also greatly suffering from the operations of several Muslim terrorist groups, as well as from other religious implants, which are without exception supported by the West.

The Philippines is most likely the next ‘front'. It has been for years and decades, in Sulu and elsewhere, but as this report goes to print, things are deteriorating, getting more and more desperate there.

To fight terrorism in such places like Syria and Afghanistan, has been and will be increasingly, one of the main foreign policy goals of both Moscow and Beijing; in order to help those countries under siege, but also in order to prevent them from becoming the training grounds of the ‘anti-Communist' and anti-secularist terrorist armies.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel "Aurora" and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: "Exposing Lies Of The Empire" and "Fighting Against Western Imperialism". View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

Copyright © Andre Vltchek, Global Research, 2017
 

44
For Your Information / Confrontation at Bilderberg 2017
« on: June 12, 2017, 01:28:07 PM »
Confrontation at Bilderberg 2017
 Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network 
June 6


 While President Trump seems to have sorted out his problems of interior authority - more or less - the conflict has now moved on to concern NATO. Washington is currently speaking against the manipulation of terrorism, while London has no intention of giving up such a useful tool for the extension of its influence. The Bilderberg Group, initially organised as a sounding board for the Alliance, has just been the stage for a difficult debate between the partisans and the adversaries of imperialism in the Middle East.

There exist no photographs of the meeting of the Bilderberg Group, whose work is confidential. Security for the meeting is not handled by the FBI, nor the Virginia police force, but by a private militia organised by NATO.

The Bilderberg Group was created in 1954 by the CIA and MI6 in order to support the Atlantic Alliance. It was intended to gather personalities from the economic and media sectors with political and military leaders in order to sensitize civil society to the « Red peril ». Far from being a place for decision-making, this very exclusive club has historically been a forum where the elders had to juggle with their fidelity to London and Washington, and the younger members were expected to show that they could be trusted with the opposition to the Soviets [1].

It was during the annual reunion of 1979 that Bernard Lewis revealed to those present the rôle of the Muslim Brotherhood in the resistance to the Afghani Communist government. This Israëli-British-US Islamologist then proposed that the « War for Freedom » (sic) should be extended to all of Central Asia.

It was in 2008, in other words two and a half years in advance, that Basma Kodmani (future spokewoman for the Syrian opposition) and Volker Perthes (future advisor to Jeffrey Feltman for the total and unconditional capitulation of Syria [2]) explained the interest of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in order to dominate the Middle East. They stressed the « moderation » of the Brotherhood faced with the West, and the contrast offered by the « extremist sovereignty » of Iran and Syria [3].

And it was in 2013 that the chairman of the German executive board, Ulrich Grillo, made a case for the organisation of a massive migration of 800,000 Syrian workers to German factories [4]. Bilderberg 2017

The Bilderberg Group has just held its 2017 meeting, from 1 to 4 June, in the United States. Contrary to habit, the 130 participants were not all defending the same project. Quite the opposite - following the speeches by Donald Trump at the Arabo-Islamic-US summit, and at NATO [5], the CIA and MI6 organised a first-day debate which opposed those who are partisans of the fight against Islamism and those who support it. The point was, obviously enough, either to find a compromise between the two camps, or to acknowledge the dissension without allowing it to destroy the initial objective of the Alliance – the fight against Russia [6].

On the anti-Islamism side (that is opposed not to the Muslim religion, but to political Islam as formulated by Sayyid Qutb), we noted the presence of General H. R. McMaster (President Trump's National Security Advisor) and his expert Nadia Schadlow. McMaster is a recognised strategist whose theories have been verified on the battle-field. Above all, Schadlow has worked on the ways of transforming military victories into political successes. She is particularly interested in the restructuration of poltical movements in conquered countries. She should soon be publishing a new book about the struggle against Islamic radicalism.

On the pro-Islamism side, we note the presence, for the United States, of John Brennan (ex-Director of the CIA) and his ex-subordinates Avril Haines and David Cohen (financing of terrorism). For the United Kingdom, Sir John Sawers (ex-Director of MI6 and a long-time protector of the Brotherhood) and General Nicholas Houghton (ex-Chief of Staff, who prepared the land invasion of Syria). For France, General Benoît Puga (ex-Chief of Staff for the Elysée and commander of the Special Forces in Syria) and Bruno Tertrais (neo-conservative strategist for the Ministry of Defence). Finally, for the private sector, Henry Kravis (Director of the investment fund KKR, and unofficial treasurer for Daesh) and General David Petraeus (co-founder of Daesh).

And if this imbalance were not enough, the organisers had planned for the presence of experts capable of justifying the unjustifiable, like Professor Niell Fergusson (historian of British colonialism). The possible reversal of alliances

It will take a little time before we know what was said during this meeting, and to understand the conclusions that were reached by the various attendees. However, we already know that London is pushing for a change of paradigm in the Middlde East. If the model of the « Arab Spring » (reproduction of the « Arab Revolt of 1916 » organised by Lawrence of Arabia in order to replace the Ottoman Empire by the British Empire) is abandoned, MI6 hopes to create a new agreement on the basis of political Islamism.

As a result, while Washington has renewed its alliance with Saudi Arabia, and has convinced it to break with the Brotherhood in exchange for 110 billion dollars worth of armament [7], London is pushing for an agreement between Iran, Qatar, Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood. If this project were to be realised, we would experience the abandon of the Sunni/Chiite conflict and the creation of a « croissant of political Islam » encompassing Teheran, Doha, Ankara, Idleb, Beyrouth and Gaza. This new distribution would enable the United Kingdom to maintain its influence in the region.

The only thing upon which the Allies seem to agree is the necessity of abandoning the principle of a jihadist state. Everyone admits that the devil has to be put back in his box. Which means getting rid of Daesh, even if some people keep working with Al-Qaïda. This is why, worried about its survival, the self-proclaimed Caliph has secretly transmitted an ultimatum to Downing Street and the Elysée. Choosing sides

We shall see within the next few months if Saudi Arabia's about-face is genuine. It would be good news for the Syrians, but bad news for the Yemenites (whom the Western world would then ignore). It would offer King Salman the possibility of stimulating the evolution of Wahhabism from a fanatical cult to a normal religion. Already, the sudden conflict which opposes Riyadh to Doha on the question of Iran is doubled by an argument about the possible kinship between the founder of the cult, Mohammed ben Abdelwahhab, and the Qatari Al-Thani dynasty – a claim which has enraged the Saudi's.

The project of « political Islam » consists of uniting the Muslim Brotherhood and the Khomeinists. It would mean that Iran, and even Hezbollah, would have to substitute this problem for the fight against anti-imperialism. If this were come to pass, it would most certainly lead to the withdrawal of Iran from Syria. The White House is taking this very seriously and is frantically preparing for it. In his speech in Riyadh, Donald Trump already designated Teheran as his new enemy, and has just nominated Michaël D'Andrea (who organised the assassination of Imad Mougniyeh in Damascus in 2008) as the representative for the Iranian section of the CIA [8].

Russia had already prepared for a potential new deal in the Middle East. Consequently, by supporting Syria, it pursued its ambition of gaining access to « warm waters », and by seeking rapprochement with its hereditary adversary, Turkey, of being able to navigate freely via the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus (indispensible for entering the Mediterranean). However, in the long term, political Islam could only cause it problems in the Caucasus.

As always when the players sort their cards, they all have to define their positions. The United Kingdom defends its Empire, France defends its ruling class, and the United States defends its people. In the Middle East, some people will fight for their community, others for their ideas. But things are not always so simple. Thus, Iran might follow the ideal of Imam Khomeiny, confusing the end and the means. What was in the beginning an anti-imperialist revolution led by the power of Islam could evolve into a simple affirmation of the political use of this religion. The consequences for the rest of the world

MI6 and the CIA took a huge risk by inviting a non-Atlantist to the meeting of Bilderberg 2017. The Chinese ambassador, Cui Tiankai, who was scheduled to speak only on the fourth day of the seminar, was thus able to evaluate the positions of each member of NATO as from the first day.

On one hand, Beijing is counting on the collaboration of Donald Trump, the opening to the United States of its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the development of all its commercial routes. On the other, it is hoping that the Brexit will lead to an economic and financial alliance with London [9].

Ambassador Cui, who was the Director of the Centre of Political Research for the Chinese Ministry for Foreign Affairs, might possibly be satisfied with the simple destruction of Daesh. But he is not unaware that the people who organised the Caliphate in order to cut the « Silk Road » in Iraq and Syria, and then the war in Ukraine in order to cut the « new Silk Road », are preparing, preventatively, to open a third front in the Philippines and a fourth in Venezuela in order to cut off other communiction projects.

From this point of view, China, which, like Russia, has an interest in supporting Donald Trump, if only to prevent terrorism in its own country, will be asking itself about the possible long-term consequences of British hegemony in the « croissant of political Islam ». Thierry Meyssan

Translation Pete Kimberley

[1] "What you don't know about the Bilderberg-Group", by Thierry Meyssan, Komsomolskaïa Pravda (Russia) , Voltaire Network, 9 May 2011.

[2] "Germany and the UNO against Syria", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 28 January 2016.

[3] Sous nos yeux. Du 11-Septembre à Donald Trump, Thierry Meyssan, Editions Demi-lune, 2017.

[4] "How the European Union is manipulating the Syrian refugees", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 2 May 2016.

[5] "Trump advances his pawns", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 30 May 2017.

[6] « La réunion 2017 du Groupe de Bilderberg », Réseau Voltaire, 1er juin 2017.

[7] "Donald Trump against jihadism", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 23 May 2017.

[8] "The CIA is preparing to take rather harsh measures against Iran", Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 5 June 2017.

[9] "The Brexit reshuffles world geopolitics", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 28 June 2016. Thierry Meyssan

45
Father of Omran Daqneesh exposes the charade fabricated by terrorists and hostile media about his child
 Shaza, Hazem Sabbagh, SANA 
7 June? 2017

Damascus, SANA – Once again a new episode in the long-running series of lies promoted by terrorist groups and the hostile media outlets is revealed, as the issue of Omran Daqneesh, the child from Aleppo whose photos went viral last year, is back under the spotlight, with his family coming out to expose the charade that Western and Gulf countries had exploited during the later parts of 2016 in an attempt to slander the Syrian Arab army and to take an international resolution against Syria.

Today, Omran's father comes out to reveal to SANA the details of the lies made by the so-called "White Helmets," with the father affirming that a terrorist group snatched his child Omran from his hands after he was injured in Karm al-Qaterji neighborhood in Aleppo, and they took photos of the child with the sole aim of exploiting them via hostile media outlets.

"I was with my family in al-Qaterji neighborhood when our house damaged due to an explosion whose source we didn't know, and although I was wounded I carried my child Omran who was unharmed and rushed out for fear of a new explosion, the father said.

He went on that a number of terrorists came and snatched Omran from his hands and put him inside an ambulance and took photos which they published later in a way that suits their propaganda and lies, confirming again that Omran has not injured and all the photos of him were staged by the terrorists.

"The terrorists asked me to accompany them outside the city to record false statements about what happened to my son in exchange for large sums of money, but I refused and stayed in Aleppo and didn't submit to their demands despite the massive pressure and threats they used against me," he confirmed.
 

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