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Trump EPA Greenlights ‘Emergency’ Bee-killing Pesticide Over 13.9 Million Acres

Thu, 2019-06-20 16:21


The following is an environmental report filed by the Center for Biological Diversity

WASHINGTON— The Environmental Protection Agency announced so-called “emergency” approvals today to spray sulfoxaflor — an insecticide it considers “very highly toxic” to bees — on nearly 14 million acres of crops known to attract bees.

The approval includes 2019 crops of cotton and sorghum in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Ten of the 11 states have been granted the approvals for at least four consecutive years for the same “emergency.” Five have been given approvals for at least six consecutive years.

“The only emergency here is the Trump EPA’s reckless approval of this dangerous bee-killing pesticide,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s sickening that even amid the current insect apocalypse, the EPA’s priority is protecting pesticide industry profits.”

The approvals include 5.8 million acres in Texas, which is home to more than 800 species of native bees. Monarch butterflies and eight species of bumblebees, including the rare American bumblebee and variable cuckoo bumblebee, live in Texas counties where cotton or sorghum are grown.

The EPA may approve temporary emergency uses of pesticides, including unapproved pesticides, if it determines they are needed to prevent the spread of an unexpected outbreak of insects.

But the agency has routinely abused this authority, as chronicled in the Center’s report, Poisonous Process: How the EPA’s Chronic Misuse of ‘Emergency’ Pesticide Exemptions Increases Risks to Wildlife. The report found that the alleged “emergencies” cited are foreseeable occurrences.

Last year the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General released a report finding that the agency’s practice of routinely granting “emergency” approval for pesticides across millions of acres does not effectively measure risks to human health or the environment.

In response to a lawsuit by beekeepers, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the EPA’s original registration of sulfoxaflor in 2015. The EPA’s 2016 registration for sulfoxaflor — purportedly designed to ensure essentially no exposure to bees — excluded crops like cotton and sorghum that are attractive to bees.

“The Trump EPA is allowing potentially catastrophic harm to imperiled insect populations,” said Burd. “It’s hard to imagine how much more evidence could possibly be needed for the agency to wake up to the damage they are causing.”

A study published last year in Nature found that sulfoxaflor exposure even at low doses had severe consequences for bumblebee reproduction. The authors cautioned against the EPA’s current trajectory of replacing older neonicotinoids with nearly identical insecticides like sulfoxaflor.

A major study published earlier this year found that more than 41 percent of the world’s insect species are on the fast track to extinction, and that a “serious reduction in pesticide usage” is key to preventing their extinction.

***
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

‘We Are Golunov’ but Not ‘Assange’: Western Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

Wed, 2019-06-19 20:22

The case of Julian Assange poses many questions about the direction western society is heading in…


OPPOSITE ENDS: The case of award-winning journalist and publisher Julian Assange held in UK Belmarsh Prison awaiting possible extradition to the US for espionage charges – contrasts with recently released Russian opposition journalist Ivan Golunov.

Johanna Ross
21st Century Wire

‘Journalists should never have to face intimidation for doing their jobs’ – tweeted UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt last week, a day before his country granted a US request to extradite former Wikileaks editor Julian Assange to the United States to face charges relating to the leaking of government documents.  But Hunt was not referring to Assange in his tweet. In fact the UK foreign minister even condemned the UN Special Rapporteur last month for interfering in the business of the British courts, when he commented that Assange should not be extradited. 

Absolutely right that charges have been dropped against Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov @meduzaproject – journalists should never have to face intimidation for doing their jobs. Great to see strong support for Golunov from across Russian society #DefendMediaFreedom

— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) June 12, 2019

Jeremy Hunt was referring to the case of Ivan Golunov, the Russian journalist who writes for the Meduza Project, and who was arrested on 7th June with charges of possessing illegal drugs; charges that were subsequently dropped due to a lack of evidence.

The case caused such a public outcry in Russia, where it was widely believed the charges were false, that undoubtedly impacted on the decision to end Golunov’s detention.


MEDIA FREEDOM: Golunov’s arrest dominated western media headlines and politicians’ feeds over this past week (Image Source: BBC News).

The same however cannot be said of former publisher Julian Assange. Despite the fact we are supposedly living in a liberal democracy, Assange, who is now being held in a maximum security prison in the UK where he is sitting out a 50-week prison sentence for skipping bail before being extradited to the US, has received mainly condemnation as opposed to support, from politicians and journalists alike. The Guardian, which of late could be mistaken for being the in-house newspaper of UK security services, despite traditionally promoting liberal viewpoints, has jumped on board the anti-Assange band wagon, labelling him as an ‘unattractive character’, and concluding he should be sent to Sweden to stand trial for rape charges. At this point I am reminded of the words of former UK ambassador Craig Murray who stated that of all the charges to lay at Assange’s feet, the CIA chose rape, as it is the one charge which could effectively undermine left-wing liberal support for him.  Indeed rather than painting Assange as a political dissident, he has been branded over the years more like a runaway rapist by left-wing and right-wing media alike. This is despite a proposal by his legal team that he travel to Sweden to face the charges, in exchange for an assurance that they would not extradite him to the US. Sweden, of course, was unwilling to give such a promise.

Thanks to the complicity of the current Ecuadorian and British governments in US plans to force Assange to stand trial, Assange is now to be extradited for his supposed role in the leaking of state documents. Documents, it is worth reminding the reader, that were supplied to Assange by US soldier Chelsea Manning and which exposed the dastardly nature of the US war in Iraq, and its indiscriminate killing of Iraqi civilians. Other important files revealed the slaughter of hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan, and the corruption at the heart of western-backed Tunisian dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali; evidence which undoubtedly escalated his downfall.  But far from being held up as a beacon of free speech amongst his fellow journalists for exposing the truth about state-sponsored crimes, the former Wikilieaks editor has already been ‘sentenced’ by those who one would expect to defend him, and the cause of journalistic freedom. With the exception of such eminent writers such as John Pilger, who said Assange’s case is mainly about ‘shutting down dissent and investigative journalism’ and Christopher Hedges who claims it could set a ‘terrifying legal precedent’, Assange has been accused of hiding from the truth and told he should have faced up to the charges long ago.

SEE ALSO: Assange US Extradition Hearing Set for February 2020

On the other hand, the same western media which derides Assange carries the torch for Russian journalists such as Ivan Golunov who are equally held up to be victims of freedom of speech. We are repeatedly learning about apparent breaches of journalistic freedoms in Russia, and yet the most stark attack on our democracy to date – the persecution of Julian Assange –  is packaged to the public in such a way that we are also persuaded to denounce this ‘traitor’ who ‘hid from justice’ in the Ecuadorian embassy.  The hypocrisy could not be more blatant.


Image: Elena Medvedeva © RT

Notably, even several Russian newspapers came out with the slogan “We are Golunov” on their front pages in support of the Russian activist, something which no doubt sent a strong message to the organs of state and which, it must be admitted, UK establishment newspapers would never do for Assange.

We have therefore approached a 1984 moment in the Anglophone world where we must ask ourselves if freedom of speech still exists, and possibly, if it ever did exist, or was it just an illusion of a well-oiled western propaganda machine. The case of Julian Assange, in the context of a society all to ready to highlight press freedom issues abroad, has really brought home the hypocrisy of western policies. How can we continue to lecture other nations on freedom and democracy if we do not implement it faithfully ourselves? And furthermore, which direction are we heading in? Through our pursuit of liberal values and democracy, are we at risk of becoming equally or even more authoritarian than the states we are accusing of muffling the press?

Assange therefore marks a critical juncture in our history, and should be seen as a much-needed wake-up call.

***
Author Johanna Ross is a freelance journalist and a special contributor to 21WIRE. She is based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

VENEZUELA: Richard Branson’s ‘Live Aid’ Cash Embezzled by Guaidó Camp for Luxury Sprees

Wed, 2019-06-19 18:40


It was all the rage back in February – Sir Richard Branson, the maverick billionaire entrepreneur of Virgin fame, proudly announced he was organizing a new “Live Aid” benefit concert in the Colombian city Cúcuta, all to help the ‘poor people’ of Venezuela who we’re told were being starved to death by the evil Maduro regime. The event was held on February 22, and attracted some 200,000 punters, with the goal of raising $100 million to buy food and medicine for Venezuelans teetering on the brink of a mass famine. ‘Feed the world’ rang once more. But the media fairy tale would be short-lived.

Four months later, the story has ended in tears, with associates of Washington’s own hand-picked “interim president” of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, implicated in the embezzlement of funds raised by Branson’s high-profile ‘charity event.’  According to reports, the Guaidó camp apparently siphoned off the cash which was meant for humanitarian aid, and instead spend it on lavish hotels, posh nightclubs and designer retail shopping sprees.

Guaido has been forced to sack some of his appointees who were allegedly running the cash embezzlement scheme.

At the time of the event, Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters came under fire by the western establishment for imploring his music industry colleagues, and indeed Branson himself, to “back off” and let the people of Venezuela handle their own affairs. Branson insisted he knew better, and duly marched ahead on a mainstream media platform of international praise for his great ‘humanitarian effort’, or so it seemed.

The Red Cross and the UN, unequivocally agree, don’t politicize aid. Leave the Venezuelan people alone to exercise their legal right to self determination. pic.twitter.com/I0yS3u75b6

— Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) February 18, 2019

As it turns out, 21WIRE editor Patrick Henningsen accurately predicted this result back in February, stating at the time that Virgin boss Branson’s first big foray into geopolitics would eventually end in disaster:

I predict that #RichardBranson's "Live Aid" junket event for #Venezuela & US puppet Juan Giado will be a major flop and will backfire in epic fashion – including on those "artists" taking part in this tawdry regime change folly.

— Patrick Henningsen (@21WIRE) February 20, 2019

Indeed, and backfire it did, and in truly epic fashion.

RT International reports…

Millions of dollars raised for “freedom and democracy” in Venezuela ended up spent in Colombia by the aides of US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, and were exposed by Colombian spies in yet another blow to his cause.

Guaido declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January and was recognized by the US and many of its Latin American allies, but has repeatedly failed to seize power from President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas.

Now he seems farther from that goal than ever, as several of his aides have been named by Colombian intelligence in a leak revealing the embezzlement of US funds intended for paying Venezuelan army defectors. The funds were raised by a Live Aid-style concert, organized by billionaire philanthropist Richard Branson in February, and intended to coincide with Guaido’s followers forcing open the border with Colombia to US “humanitarian aid.”

Rich moron @richardbranson agreed to help CIA/neocon coup in #Venezuela so he held giant rock concert on the border. Millions of dollars were to go to all those "starving Venezuelans" that @jguaido was going to liberate. Instead, @guaido's people just stole the money! Idiots! pic.twitter.com/g4wrVzc5n5

— Daniel McAdams (@DanielLMcAdams) June 18, 2019

The leaked documents – published by PanAm Post, an outlet sympathetic to Guaido – now reveal why that never happened. Regional coordinator for Guaido’s Popular Will Party, Kevin Rojas, and the “interim president’s” chief of staff Rossana Barrera were accused of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash on fancy hotels, expensive clothes, booze, car and other high-life items.

In one example, Rojas and Barrera claimed to have spent money on seven hotels to house over 1,400 defectors, but Colombian authorities counted only half that number crossing the border, and only two hotels were actually paid for. Instead, receipts reveal the duo blew over $125,000 on luxuries for themselves, including $40,000 in April alone. The following month, one of the hotels evicted 65 defectors and their families, over more than $20,000 in unpaid bills.

The publication forced Guaido into full damage control mode. On Monday, he finally acknowledged the existence of the allegations and vowed to “clarify the case of officials appointed to serve our military in Cúcuta,” appointing aid coordinator Lester Toledo to join the investigation in Colombia.

“Dictatorships cover [up] corruption,” he added. “We do not.”  

Exigimos cuentas y rendimos cuentas para combatir las prácticas corruptas del régimen.

Informamos y actuamos para esclarecer el caso de funcionarios designados para atender a nuestros militares en Cúcuta.

Las dictaduras son las que tapan la corrupción. Nosotros no.

— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) June 17, 2019

His envoy to Colombia, Humberto Calderón Berti, requested a “formal investigation related to the alleged irregularities” on Tuesday.

In addition to the embezzled funds, Guaido’s staff botched the distribution of aid sent by the US, with an estimated 60 percent rotting in the warehouses and having to be thrown away. The full extent of the scandal is yet to be revealed, as the PanAm Post has more unpublished documents in its possession….

Continue this story at RT International

READ MORE VENEZUELA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Venezuela Files

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Iran Claims to Have Busted Web-Based CIA ‘Spy Network’

Wed, 2019-06-19 17:28


According to recent mainstream reports, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence claims that the country has “dealt a heavy blow against America’s international spy network.”

Tehran announced that it had identified a network of spies who were using a proprietary online communications platform, presumably run by the CIA, used to operate a “big spy network”. Iranian authorities claim to have already “dismantled” the American agents’ cyber espionage network, according to reports this week by state-run IRNA news agency.

“We have intelligence allies and we exchange information with them. Currently we are engaged in the battle of intelligence with the United States. In this battle we should use ours and our allies capabilities.”

‘“The CIA in an expansive espionage system designed a website and a special space for each of the spies,” it added, citing the director of anti-espionage at the intelligence ministry.

Iranian National Security Secretary Ali Shamkhani mentioned the counter-espionage effort during a diplomatic trip to Russia, citing documents from Iran’s national security operations against the CIA, according IRNA.

US officials dismissed Iran’s claims of dealing a “heavy blow” to the CIA’s ongoing clandestine operations to destablize the government of Iran.

Earlier in April 2019, Iran made similar claims which were reported by Iranian news outlet Mehr News Agency.

This latest claim comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran over the oil tanker incidents in the Persian Gulf, and also Iran resuming pre-JCPOA uranium enrichment levels following Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the P5+1 international nuclear agreement last year.

Tensions may be set to rise even higher after the US also announced plans this week to deploy a carrier strike group and bombers, as well as plans to deploy 1,500 new troops to the Middle East.

READ MORE IRAN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Iran Files

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

INTERVIEW: Ecuadorian diplomat Fidel Navraez on Julian Assange extradition

Tue, 2019-06-18 17:33

Last Friday, the US extradition case for Julian Assange was officially opened at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, where formal proceedings  are expected to extend into late February or early March of 2020. 

The following interview was recorded after Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing in London on June 14, 2019, where SUNDAY WIRE host Patrick Henningsen met and spoke with diplomat and former Ecuadorian Consul for the UK, Fidel Navraez, who is also a close friend of Julian Assange and was with him throughout his application and asylum with Ecuador and during a six year  period in the Ecuadorian Embassy serving under the Correa government. This was a very informal and candid interview with Fidel who was able to give some key insights on the case and also on Assange as a person, his politics, his relationship with Ecuador, and also his commitment to WikiLeaks’ mission of transparency and speaking truth to power. Listen:

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Tanker Wars: Guilty or Not, Iran’s Fate is in the Hands of Trump

Tue, 2019-06-18 16:00

Tim Kirby
Strategic Culture

The USS Maine sank, someone shot something at somebody during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and many non-Iraqis triggered the invasion of Iraq by flying planes into skyscrapers. The media hyped attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman seem like another blatant attempt to pull the US into yet another war based on questionable pretenses. The information war regarding the incident is already very hot but ultimately the future of Iran is in Donald Trump’s hands.

The Mainstream Media has already come out in force to push the narrative that Iran was probably behind the attacks on the oil tankers even though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered no actual evidence whatsoever to support his claim that the Persians did it (since then grainy video has come out showing nondescript men trying to attach or detach something presumably to the tanker from what is supposedly an Iranian vessel).

From a legal or moral sense it would have been much more proper if Pompeo would have waited long enough to provide solid proof that the Iranians did it before making a public condemnation of them. But then again, if his objective was to simply plant the idea that the Iranians did it into the Mainstream Media (and thus into the minds of the masses) then he played it perfectly as evidence is not required to achieve this objective.

From the standpoint of Information Warfare, it is very critical when a new event happens to put forward one’s version of the “truth” first before any other possible competing theories can arise. This could be why Pompeo or someone like him would chose to immediately come out with accusations thrown around as facts with no evidence to support them and no respect for the great Western concepts of “innocence until proven guilty” or the “right to a fair trial”.

Pompeo’s objective here is not the truth but to take that virgin intellectual territory regarding the interpretation of this issue before anyone else can, because once a concept has become normalized in the minds of the masses it is very difficult to change it and many people in Washington cannot risk blowing the chance to waste thousands of American lives invading Iran based on an ultimately false but widely accepted/believed narrative.

Not surprisingly foreign and especially Russian media has quickly attempted to counter the “Iran obviously did it” narrative before it becomes an accepted fact. Shockingly Slavic infowarriors actually decided to speak to the captain of a tanker that was hit to get his opinion rather than simply assert that Iran didn’t do it because they are a long time buddy of Moscow. The captain’s testimony of what happened strongly contradicts the version of reality that Washington is pushing. And over all Russia as usual takes the reasonable position of “let’s gather the evidence and then see who did it”, which is good PR for itself as a nation beyond this single issue.

In terms of finding the actual guilty party the media on both sides has thus far ignored the simple fact that if Iran wanted to sink a tanker it would be sunk. No civilian vessel is going to withstand an attack from a 21st century navy by having a particularly thick hull and the idea that the Iranians need to physically attach bombs to boats is mental. Physically planting bombs is for goofball inept terrorists, not a professional military. After all, even the West acknowledges that the Iranians use the best Russian goodies that they can afford and Russian 21st century arms will sink civilian ship guaranteed. The Iranians have everything they need to smoke any civilian vessel on the planet guaranteed from much farther away than 3 feet.

If Iran’s goal was to scare or intimidate the tanker they could have just shot at it with rifles or done something else to spook the crew and get a media response. When looked at from the standpoint of military logic, these “attacks” seem baffling as Iran could have just destroyed the boats or directly tried to terrorize them to make a statement.

Then again perhaps the Iranians do want to provoke the US into a war with them, by “kind of but not really” attacking these ships. Maybe they do want to fight a war they will ultimately lose destroying everything they have built after the revolution, but this seems highly unlikely. The Iranians for decade after decade have taken a reactive stance to US aggression and encirclement, why would they change that policy right now in order to go on offense against an enemy they cannot defeat in direct confrontation?

What may be reassuring to some but terrifying to others is that the final result of what is to be done about these “attacks” lies in the hands of Donald Trump…

Continue this story at Strategic Culture

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

READ MORE IRAN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Iran Files

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Extra Time: ‘Cold War or Hot War?’ – Iran, Russia and Cyberspace

Tue, 2019-06-18 15:57

A special bonus segment for our Members at 21WIRE.TV…


The rhetoric in the West against supposed arch-foes Russia, China and especially Iran – has ramped up significantly in the last few months and weeks. However, Washington and its junior partners can’t sustain global war against all three simultaneously, so it needs to deploy some really physical threats and other virtual threats. We’ll try to look at which ones might be cold and which ones are likely to turn hot.

Patrick and Mike discuss the in’s and out’s of this multi-sided international impasse. Watch:   

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Extra Time: Off-Air Discussion with Patrick & Mike

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

UK COLUMN: New Tory Game Show, Target Iran, WikiLeaks, Cyber War on Russia and more

Mon, 2019-06-17 21:53

The UK’s Tory leadership race is fast descending into the political version of a US-style game show, in a series of vapid television debates designed to promote the individual careers of the candidates.  Meanwhile,  US politicians and UK ministers are setting their sights on Iran with a wave of aggressive comments, threats and war cries over this past week following an incident in the Gulf of Oman involving two oil tankers.  Also, US officials and John Bolton claim that the US has already launched its cyber war on Russia’s energy infrastructure. All this and much more.

Co-hosts Mike Robinson and Patrick Henningsen with the early week news round-up. Watch:

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21WIRE.TV
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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Episode #284 – ‘Talk of War’ with guest Fidel Navraez and more

Sun, 2019-06-16 21:04


Episode #284 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes on June 16, 2019 with host Patrick Henningsen, broadcasting LIVE on the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR)…

LISTEN LIVE ON THIS PAGE AT THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULED SHOW TIMES:

5pm-8pm UK Time | 12pm-3pm ET (US) | 9am-12pm PT (US)

This week the SUNDAY WIRE broadcasts LIVE on ACR with host Patrick Henningsen joined in-studio by co-host Mike Robinson from the UK Column covering all the top stories in the US, Europe and internationally. This week, we’ll cover the latest suspicious oil tanker incident in the Persian Gulf which has the US and its junior partner UK ready to declare war on Iran – before any investigation has taken place into the tanker incident. Later in the first hour, we’ll discuss last Friday’s US extradition hearing for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, and we’ll discuss this case with Ecuadorian diplomat and former Consul for Ecuador in the UK, Fidel Navraez, with some additional insights into Julian Assange’s current predicament as well as a profile of the the person; his unique character, convictions and his politics. Later in the final segment we’ll connect with the SUNDAY WIRE roving correspondent for culture & sport, Basil Valentine for a look at the latest Tory train wreck in Westminster. All this and much more. Enjoy the show…

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*NOTE: THIS EPISODE MAY CONTAIN STRONG LANGUAGE AND MATURE THEMES*

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

The All Too Convenient “Tanker Attacks” as US Seeks War with Iran

Sun, 2019-06-16 02:30

Tony Cartalucci
21st Century Wire

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it.  – Brookings Institution, “Which Path to Persia?” 2009 

For the second time since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal, Western reports of “suspected attacks” on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz have attempted to implicate Iran.

The London Guardian in an article titled, “Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman,” would claim:

Two oil tankers have been hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman and the crews evacuated, a month after a similar incident in which four tankers in the region were struck.

The article also claimed:

Gulf tensions have been close to boiling point for weeks as the US puts “maximum economic pressure” on Tehran in an attempt to force it to reopen talks about the 2015 nuclear deal, which the US pulled out of last year. 

Iran has repeatedly said it has no knowledge of the incidents and did not instruct any surrogate forces to attack Gulf shipping, or Saudi oil installations.

The Guardian would admit that “investigations” into the previous alleged attacks in May carried out by the UAE found “sophisticated mines” were used, but fell short of implicating Iran as a culprit.

The article would note US National Security Advisor John Bolton would – without evidence – claim that Iran “was almost certainly involved.”

All Too Convenient 

This news of “attacked” oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz blamed by the US on Iran – comes all too conveniently on the heels of additional steps taken by Washington to pressure Iran’s economy and further undermine the Iranian government.

The US just recently ended waivers for nations buying Iranian oil. Nations including Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China, and India will now face US sanctions if they continue importing Iranian oil.

Coincidentally, one of ships “attacked” this week was carrying “Japan-related cargo,” the Guardian would report.

Also convenient was the US’ recent designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) just ahead of this series of provocations attributed to Iran.

AP in a May 2019 article titled, “President Trump Warns Iran Over ‘Sabotaged’ Oil Tankers in Gulf,” would claim:

Four oil tankers anchored in the Mideast were damaged by what Gulf officials described as sabotage, though satellite images obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday showed no major visible damage to the vessels.

Two ships allegedly were Saudi, one Emirati, and one Norwegian. The article also claimed:

A U.S. official in Washington, without offering any evidence, told the AP that an American military team’s initial assessment indicated Iran or Iranian allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships.

And that:

The U.S. already had warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region. America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran. 

This more recent incident will likely be further exploited by the US to continue building up its military forces in the region, applying pressure on Iran, and moving the entire globe closer toward war with Iran.

The US has already arrayed its forces across the Middle East to aid in ongoing proxy wars against Iran and its allies as well as prepare for conventional war with Tehran itself.

All of this amounts to a renewed push toward a more direct conflict between the United States and Iran after years of proxy war in Syria Washington-backed forces have decisively lost.

It is also a continuation of long-standing US foreign policy regarding Iran put into motion over a decade ago and carried out by each respective presidency since.

Washington’s Long-Standing Plans 

Continued sanctions and the elimination of waivers are part of Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the “Iran Nuclear Deal.” The deal was signed in 2015 with the US withdrawing in 2018.

While the decision is portrayed as political differences between former US President Barack Obama and current US President Donald Trump – in reality – the plan’s proposal, signing, and then withdrawal from by the US was planned in detail as early as 2009 as a means of justifying long sought-after war with Iran.

In their 2009 paper, “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF), the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution would first admit the complications of US-led military aggression against Iran (emphasis added):

...any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. 

The paper then lays out how the US could appear to the world as a peacemaker and depict Iran’s betrayal of a “very good deal” as the pretext for an otherwise reluctant US military response (emphasis added):

The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offerone so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.

And from 2009 onward, this is precisely what the United States set out to achieve.

First with President Obama’s signing of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, up to and including President Trump’s attempts to backtrack from it based on fabricated claims Iran failed to honor the agreement.

The 2009 policy paper also discussed “goading” Iran into war, claiming (emphasis added):

With provocation, the international diplomatic and domestic political requirements of an invasion [of Iran] would be mitigated, and the more outrageous the Iranian provocation (and the less that the United States is seen to be goading Iran), the more these challenges would be diminished. In the absence of a sufficiently horrific provocation, meeting these requirements would be daunting.

Unmentioned directly, but also an obvious method for achieving Washington’s goal of provoking war with Iran would be the US simply staging an “Iranian provocation” itself.

As the US had done in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident, or US fabrications regardings “weapons of mass destruction” Washington claimed Iraq held in its possession, the US has a clear track record of not just simply provoking provocations, but staging them itself.
The Brookings paper even admits to the unlikelihood of Iran falling into Washington’s trap, lamenting (emphasis added):

…it is certainly the case that if Washington sought such a provocation, it could take actions that might make it more likely that Tehran would do so (although being too obvious about this could nullify the provocation). However, since it would be up to Iran to make the provocative move, which Iran has been wary of doing most times in the past, the United States would never know for sure when it would get the requisite Iranian provocation. In fact, it might never come at all.

The alleged sabotaging of oil tankers off the shore of the UAE in May and now additional “attacks” this month could be the beginning of a series of staged provocations aimed at leveraging the recent listing of the IRGC as a “terrorist organization” coupled with increased economic pressure as a result of US sanctions re-initiated after the US’ own withdrawal from the Iran Deal.

Synergies Toward War 

The US has already attempted to leverage allegations in May of “Iranian sabotage” to further build its case against Iran. Washington hopes that either war – or at least the impending threat of war – coupled with crippling economic sanctions, and continued support of political and armed sedition within Iran itself will create the synergies required for dividing and destroying Iran’s political order.

In a wider regional context, the US has seen political losses particularly in Iraq where Iranian influence has been on the rise. Militarily, US-backed proxy forces have been defeated in Syria with Iran and Russia both establishing permanent and significant footholds there.

Despite the setbacks, the success of Washington’s designs against Tehran still depends mainly on America’s ability to offer political and economic incentives coupled with equally effective threats to friend and foe alike – in order to isolate Iran.

How likely this is to succeed remains questionable – decades of US sanctions, covert and overt aggression, as well as proxy wars have left Iran resilient and with more influence across the region now than ever. Still, Washington’s capacity for sowing regional destruction or dividing and destroying Iran should not be underestimated.

The intentional creation of – then withdrawal from the Iran Deal, the US’ persistent military presence in the Middle East, and sanctions aimed at Iran all indicate that US policymakers remain dedicated isolating and undermining Iran. It will continue to do so until its geopolitical goals are met, or until a new international order creates conditions in the Middle East and throughout the global economy making US regime change against Iran impossible.

***
Author Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, is a special contributor to 21st Century Wire, and whose work can be found at a number of popular news and analysis outlets including the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Assange US Extradition Hearing Set for February 2020

Sat, 2019-06-15 07:07

Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire

Today the US extradition case for Julian Assange officially opened at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.  A rough schedule was laid out for formal proceedings which are expected to extend into late February and early March of 2020. 

This came after yesterday’s news that British Home Secretary Sanjid Javid signed the US extradition request, effectively certifying it for consideration of the courts, thus to stake the Tory government position on the matter.

The hearing was held in Court Room No. 3, an extremely small room with gallery seating on same level as the court with enough room for only 10 friends and family, ten journalists, and 10 members of the public. The defendant was not physically present, and appeared via video link from Belmarsh prison.

A number of issues are set to arise in the next few months, not the least of which is what happens after Assange serves out his custodial sentence for ‘bail-skipping’ imposed by the British government. I posted some of those key points on this Twitter thread:

I was in Court Room No.3 for #JulianAssange US extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London. The following are some of my observations from today's proceedings…#WiliLeaks #AssangeHearing pic.twitter.com/CwY4fkHveg

— Patrick Henningsen (@21WIRE) June 14, 2019

Inside the court room, Assange’s defense was led by Mark Summers QC, who implored the court to grant his team sufficient time to prepare for what was going to be a “complex case” touching a number of issues  with “profound implications,” including the “outrageous and full frontal assault on journalists’ rights.”

After the hearing, I spoke to reporter Shadia Edwards-Dashti from RT International News, and explained the advantages and disadvantages for both the prosecution and the defense in this historic case. Watch:

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STAY TUNED FOR FURTHER UPDATES ON THIS STORY

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

UK Home Secretary Sanjid Javid Signs Order to Extradite Assange to U.S.

Fri, 2019-06-14 06:25


This morning, UK Home Secretary has Sanjid Javid signed the extradition order that could send WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the Unite States to stand trial on 18 indictments including espionage.

Home Secretary Javid insists he is justified in his decision to render Assange to the US, still claiming that, “I want to see justice done.”

Running for Tory leadership: Sanjid Javid.

Taking what appears to be a ‘tough stance’ on award-winning journalist Assange, it should also be noted that Javid is also running for the Tory leadership, where MPs also voted on the next Prime Minister today.

Assange will face his the courts again tomorrow for an extradition hearing which has been moved from the courthouse at Belmarsh Prison to a hearing at 9am at London’s Westminster Magistrates Court in Central London. Javid’s signed order will be presented to the court tomorrow, sending a clear signal that the British government will not stand in the way of the courts should Assange losing his appeal to stay in detention in the UK where he is currently serving a 50 sentence for skipping bail in 2012, a UK charge which was predicated on a non-existent sex allegations case in Sweden.

Due to a deterioration in his health, the 47-year-old Assange may be forced to appear on video link for Friday’s court proceedings.

Just two nights previous on Tuesday June 11th at the first of two Imperialism on Trial events in London, 21WIRE editor Patrick Henningsen spoke with RT International live, and raising the critical point about how Assange’s fate may ultimately well rest in the hands of British Home Secretary Sanjid Javid. Watch:

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READ MORE ASSANGE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Assange/Wikileaks Files


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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

INTERVIEW: CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou discusses the Julian Assange case

Tue, 2019-06-11 16:29

This week, the US Justice Department delivered a formal extradition request for Julian Assange to UK officials, which means any additional US charges against him beyond the 18-count indictment filed last month may be unlikely now.

SUNDAY WIRE host Patrick Henningsen discussed the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with former CIA analyst and whistleblower, John Kiriakou, host of Loud and Clear on Sputnik Radio and columnist at Reader Supported News – for a deeper insight into Assange’s current situation and what fate may await him in the Eastern District of Virginia if the US are successful in their extradition efforts. A fascinating and provocative conversation. Listen:

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Extra Time: Will YouTube Decide the ‘Correct’ Version of History’?

Tue, 2019-06-11 16:12


As the Silicon Valley’s big tech monopoly firms continue to tighten the grip on what political speech is allowed on major platforms, their rules of Community Standards become more and more vague and arbitrary – allowing them to censor whatever speech they please. New regulations state that, “we will remove content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place,”…. which raise the question: how does YouTube decide what is the ‘correct’ version of any given historical event?

Patrick and Mike show how these seemingly unlikely persons and events all join together. Watch:

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Episode #283 – ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ with guest John Kiriakou and more

Sun, 2019-06-09 21:30


Episode #283 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes on June 9, 2019 with host Patrick Henningsen, broadcasting LIVE on the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR)…

LISTEN LIVE ON THIS PAGE AT THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULED SHOW TIMES:

5pm-8pm UK Time | 12pm-3pm ET (US) | 9am-12pm PT (US)

This week the SUNDAY WIRE broadcasts LIVE on ACR with host Patrick Henningsen joined in-studio by co-host Mike Robinson from the UK Column covering all the top stories in the US, Europe and internationally. We’ll discuss the surprise release of a video of Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison. Also, we’ll look at the bizarre retraction from the New York Times of claims of photos shown to Trump depicting dead ducks at the alleged Skripal crime scene in Salisbury.   Later in the first hour, we’ll discuss what possibly fate could be awaiting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange if the US government is successful in extraditing him with former CIA analyst and whistleblower, John Kiriakou, host of Loud and Clear on Sputnik Radio and columnist at Reader Supported News, about Assange’s current situation and what fate might await him in the Eastern District of Virginia. Later in the final segment we’ll connect with the SUNDAY WIRE roving correspondent for culture & sport, Basil Valentine for odd the Tory Party leadership race, as well Trump’s latest foreign policy train wreck. All this and much more. Enjoy the show…

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*NOTE: THIS EPISODE MAY CONTAIN STRONG LANGUAGE AND MATURE THEMES*

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

DHS Doxxing: US Wants Social Media Details of Foreign Visitors

Sun, 2019-06-09 18:31


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers screen international passengers arriving at the Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., November 29, 2016. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo by Glenn Fawcett (Source: WikiCommons)

INDUS SPECIAL host Meshal Malik discusses the new US Visa rules which require visitors to the US to provide their social media account details, and possibly email addresses, phone numbers. This is raising concerns from an international law and human rights perspective regarding a person’s right to privacy and freedom of expression. Will this trigger a wider chilling effect on global political speech, particularly those foreign nationals wanting to travel to the US? Will other countries copy this same program, and what are the ramifications of that? Panel of analysts, including Klaus Jurgens, Raphael Camisao, Patrick Henningsen, Ieva Miluna, Dr. David Lowe, and Adam Khaze. Watch: 

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Russo-Sino Multi-World Polarity vs Trump’s MAGA

Sun, 2019-06-09 01:00


By Stephen Lendman

MAGA is all about dominating other nations by brute force or other means, controlling their resources, and exploiting their populations. It features endless wars of aggression against sovereign independent nations, aiming to forcefully transform them into US client states.

It’s about expanding NATO into a US-controlled global military. It aims to create ruler-serf societies worldwide, the middle class eliminated everywhere.

It’s about a world unsafe and unfit to live in, totalitarianism over democratic rule, free and open societies replaced by police state control.

Putin has other ideas based on world peace and stability, not endless wars for dominance, mutual cooperation among nations, and multi-world polarity.

He and China’s Xi Jinping participated in the June 6 – 8 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). Putin slammed what he called “patterns (of US-led) Western…exclusiv(ity).”

“(W)e should be straight about this,” he said, citing key examples, based on “striving to preserve one’s domination at all costs (through) trade wars and sanctions” — as opposed to “the principles of free trade and honest and open competition” among world nations coexisting in peace.

Nord Stream II gas pipeline construction by Russia and its partners is one of many examples he discussed — aiming to deliver low-cost natural gas to European markets, EU nations and enterprises involved because  the project hugely benefits them.

Yet “endless attempts to torpedo this project are made” by the US without mentioning it by name, said Putin, calling what’s going on a “destructive practice.”

The situation with Chinese tech giant Huawei is another example of unacceptable hegemonic US policies. Putin called what’s going on “the first technological war” in the digital era.

One nation (the US) aims to “concentrat(e) revenue in the hands of (its enterprises and allied ones) at the expense of everyone else,” Putin explained.

“(A)n attempt is being made to build two worlds, the gap between which is constantly widening…A system based on ever-increasing injustice will never be stable or balanced.”

Ecocidal policies endanger the “well-being of all humankind,” he warned. Not mentioning the US by name, he stressed an agenda “where common international rules are replaced with the laws, administrative and judicial mechanisms of one country” and its allies at the expense of all others.

What’s going on “is the road to endless conflict, trade wars and maybe not just trade wars. Figuratively, this is the road to the ultimate fight of all against all.”

He slammed the dollar as a global reserve currency, calling it “an instrument of pressure exerted by the issuing country on the rest of the world,” an unacceptable situation that must change.

“Confidence in the dollar is plummeting,” he said, a positive development longer-term if continues in this direction. More on this below.

“Russia is ready” to address global “challenges and changes. We invite all of you to take part in this large-scale and equitable cooperation,” Putin said in his concluding remarks.

RT cited seven times he slammed Washington’s hegemonic agenda, with or without mentioning the US by name.

Putin opposes US hegemonic aims, ignoring the rule of law, operating by its own rules exclusively, supporting “the emerging multi-polar world.”

He called for shifting the international financial system away from dollar dominance, the most powerful tool the US uses to pursue its hegemonic agenda.

It facilitates US corporate takeovers and speculative excess – creating bubbles and global economic crises.

It finances US militarism, its global empire of bases, and endless wars of aggression – smashing nations to control them at the expense of democratic freedoms and social justice.

Large dollar inflows into US Treasuries finance the nation’s budget deficit.

As long as world central banks buy US dollars and they dominate international trade, its hegemony is preserved at the expense of world peace, stability, security, and fundamental freedoms fast eroding en route to disappearing altogether.

Nations trading more in their national currencies could be a game-changer longer-term. Weaponization of the dollar against allies and adversaries encourages de-dollarization. It’s an idea whose time has come…

Continue this article at Stephen Lendman’s blog

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Dodgy Dossier Author Christopher Steele to be Questioned by US Investigators

Fri, 2019-06-07 22:17


With the release of the Mueller Report showing nothing to back-up the phony ‘intelligence report,’ it may be that the media might finally come clean on one of the biggest fake news stories of the last decade. As a result, this week the corporate media are slowly beginning to revisit the infamous Steele Dossier, apparently written by former British spy Christopher Steele, a document littered with salacious and unverified claims about the president’s supposed ties to Russia. 

According to a report this week in Rupert Murdoch’s The Times of London, ‘sources close to Steele’ claim that the former MI6 agent will be interviewed by US investigators in London in a matter of weeks. The Times report did not specify who would be interviewing Steele, but it could be an investigator dispatched by either Congress, the US Department of  Justice, or possibly even the FBI.

Based on recent political and media chatter on Capitol Hill, this latest federal inquiry will be in relation to how the fake dossier, funded by the DNC and Clinton campaign, was used by James Comey’s FBI team to secure the fraudulent FISA surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign advisers in 2016, including Carter Page. Numerous Congressional committees have previously sought to hear testimony from Steele, who worked for political opposition research firm Fusion GPS, headed by former mainstream media journalist, Glenn Simpson.

US Attorney General Robert Barr appears to want answers, stating, “Like many other people who are familiar with intelligence activities, I had a lot of questions about what was going on,” said Barr to CBS News. “And I assumed I’d get answers when I went in, and I have not gotten answers that are at all satisfactory.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Adam Shaw cited a Politico report from earlier this year, where Steele is said to have “intended to rebut the IG’s characterizations in the form of a rare public statement, but had previously declined to be interviewed — citing the potential impropriety of his involvement in an internal Justice Department investigation as a foreign national. If he is speaking with the IG’s office now, it’s unclear what has changed.”

In addition to this, Congressional Republicans have questioned whether British officials supported intelligence-gathering operations targeting Trump associates, or if they coordinated with Steele in any way.

All indications point to a case of British meddling in the 2016 US Election, and not ‘Russian meddling’ as has been repeatedly claimed by US media and politicians over the last 3 years.

WATCH THIS SPACE.

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Syria and War Propaganda: Robert Stuart vs the BBC

Fri, 2019-06-07 20:59


The Living Dead: Still image from the BBC’s unbelievable ‘napalm attack’ scene in Panorama’s controversial documentary, “Saving Syria’s Children.”

Susan Dirgham and Rick Sterling
21st Century Wire

It’s a David vs Goliath story. A former local newspaper reporter, Robert Stuart, is taking on the British Broadcasting Corporation. Stuart believes that a sensational video story about an alleged atrocity in Syria “was largely, if not entirely, staged.”  The BBC would like it all to just go away. But like David, Stuart will not back down or let it go. 

It has been proposed that the BBC could settle the issue by releasing the raw footage from the event, but they refuse to do this. Why?

The Controversial Video

The video report in controversy is ‘Saving Syria’s Children‘. Scenes from it were first broadcast as a BBC news report on August 29, 2013 and again as a BBC Panorama special in September. ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was produced by BBC reporter Ian Pannell with Darren Conway as camera operator and director.

The news report footage was taken in a town north of Aleppo city in a region controlled by the armed opposition. It purports to show the aftermath of a Syrian aerial attack using incendiary weapons, perhaps napalm, killing and burning dozens of youth.  The video shows the youth arriving and being treated at a nearby hospital where the BBC film team was coincidentally filming two British medical volunteers from a British medical relief organization.

The video had a strong impact. The incident was on August 26. The video was shown on the BBC three days later as the British Parliament was debating whether to support military action by the US against Syria.  As it turned out, British parliament voted against supporting military action. But the video was effective in demonizing the Syrian government. After all, what kind of government attacks school children with napalm-like bombs?

The Context

‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was produced at a critical moment in the Syrian conflict. Just days before, on August 21,  there had been an alleged sarin gas attack against an opposition held area on the outskirts of Damascus. Western media was inundated with videos showing dead Syrian children amidst accusations the Syrian government had attacked civilians, killing up to 1400.  The Syrian government was assumed to be responsible and the attack said to be a clear violation of President Obama’s “red line” against chemical weapons.

This incident had the effect of increasing pressure for Western states or NATO to attack Syria. It would be for humanitarian reasons, rationalized by the “responsibility to protect”.

The assumption that ‘the regime’ did it has been challenged. Highly regarded American  journalists including the late Robert Parry and Seymour Hersh investigated and contradicted the mainstream media. They pointed to the crimes being committed by the armed opposition for political goals.  A report by two experts including a UN weapons inspector and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity also came to the conclusion that the Syrian government was not responsible and the attack was actually by an armed opposition group with the goal of forcing NATO intervention.

Why the Controversial Video is Suspicious

After seeing skeptical comments about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ on an online discussion board, Robert Stuart looked at the video for himself. Like others, he thought the hospital sequences looked artificial, almost like scenes from a badly acted horror movie.

But unlike others, he decided to find out. Thus began his quest to ascertain the truth. Was the video real or was it staged?  Was it authentic or contrived propaganda?

Over almost six years his research has revealed many curious elements about the video including:

• Youth in the hospital video appear to act on cue.

• There is a six hour discrepancy in reports about when the incident occurred.

• One of the supposed victims, shown writhing in pain on a stretcher, is seen earlier walking unaided into the ambulance.

• The incident happened in an area controlled by a terror group associated with ISIS.

• One of the British medics is a former UK soldier involved in simulated injury training.

• The other British medic is daughter of a prominent figure in the Syrian opposition.

• In 2016 a local rebel commander testified that the alleged attack never happened.

Support for Robert Stuart

Robert Stuart’s formal complaints to the BBC have been rebuffed. His challenges to those involved in the production have been ignored or stifled.  Yet his quest has won support from some major journalistic and political figures.

Former Guardian columnist Jonathan Cook has written several articles on the story. He says:

Stuart’s sustained research and questioning of the BBC, and the state broadcaster’s increasing evasions, have given rise to ever greater concerns about the footage. It looks suspiciously like one scene in particular, of people with horrific burns, was staged.

Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray has compared scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ with his own harrowing experience with burn victims. He says:

The alleged footage of burn victims in hospital following a napalm attack bears no resemblance whatsoever to how victims, doctors and relatives actually behave in these circumstances.

Film-maker Victor Lewis-Smith has done numerous projects for the BBC. When learning about Stuart’s research he asked for some explanations and suggested they could resolve the issue by releasing the raw video footage of the events. When they refused to do this, he publicly tore up his BBC contract.

Why it Matters

The BBC has a reputation for objectivity. If BBC management was deceived by the video, along with the public, they should have a strong interest in uncovering and correcting this.  If there was an error, they should want to clarify, correct and ensure it is not repeated.

The BBC could go a long way toward resolving this issue by releasing raw footage of the scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’.  Why have they refused to do this? In addition, they have actively removed YouTube copies of ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. If they are proud of that production, why are they removing public copies of it?

Has the BBC produced and broadcast contrived or fake video reports in support of British government foreign policy of aggression against Syria? It is important that this question be answered to either restore public trust (if the videos are authentic) or to expose and correct misdeeds (if the videos are largely or entirely staged).

The issue at stake is not only the BBC; it is the manipulation of media to deceive the public into supporting elite-driven foreign policy. ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ is an important case study.

The Future

Robert Stuart is not quitting.  He hopes the next step will be a documentary film dramatically showing what he has discovered and further investigating important yet unexplored angles.

The highly experienced film producer Victor Lewis-Smith, who tore up his BBC contract, has stepped forward to help make this happen.

But to produce a high quality documentary including some travel takes funding. After devoting almost six years to this effort, Robert Stuart’s resources are exhausted. The project needs support from concerned members of the public.

If you support Robert Stuart’s efforts, go to this crowdfunding website.  There you can learn more and contribute to this important effort to reveal whether the BBC video ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ showed true or staged events. Was the alleged “napalm” attack real or was it staged propaganda?  The project needs a large number of small donors and a few substantial ones to meet the June 7 deadline.

As actor and producer Keith Allen says,” Please help us to reach the target so that we can discover the facts, examine the evidence, and present the truth about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. I think it’s really important.”

Watch one of the versions of BBC Panorama’s 2013 notorious ‘news’ report here:

***
Susan Dirgham is editor of “Beloved Syria – Considering Syrian Perspectives” published in Australia. Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in northern California. He can be contacted via rsterling1@gmail.com Read other articles by Susan Dirgham and Rick Sterling.

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Tulsi’s ‘No More Regime Change Wars’ is Message That Corporate Media Doesn’t Want You to Hear

Fri, 2019-06-07 18:23


By Philip Giraldi

Voters looking ahead to 2020 are being bombarded with soundbites from the twenty plus Democratic would-be candidates. That Joe Biden is apparently leading the pack according to opinion polls should come as no surprise as he stands for nothing apart from being the Establishment favorite who will tirelessly work to support the status quo.

The most interesting candidate is undoubtedly Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is a fourth term Congresswoman from Hawaii, where she was born and raised. She is also the real deal on national security, having been-there and done-it through service as an officer with the Hawaiian National Guard on a combat deployment in Iraq. Though in Congress full time, she still performs her Guard duty.

Tulsi’s own military experience notwithstanding, she gives every indication of being honestly anti-war. In the speech announcing her candidacy she pledged “focus on the issue of war and peace” to “end the regime-change wars that have taken far too many lives and undermined our security by strengthening terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda.” She referred to the danger posed by blundering into a possible nuclear war and indicated her dismay over what appears to be a re-emergence of the Cold War.

In a recent interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, Gabbard doubled down on her anti-war credentials, telling the host that war with Iran would be “devastating,” adding that “I know where this path leads us and I’m concerned because the American people don’t seem to be prepared for how devastating and costly such a war would be… So, what we are facing is, essentially, a war that has no frontlines, total chaos, engulfs the whole region, is not contained within Iran or Iraq but would extend to Syria and Lebanon and Israel across the region, setting us up in a situation where, in Iraq, we lost over 4,000 of my brothers and sisters in uniform. A war with Iran would take far more American lives, it would cost more civilian lives across the region… Not to speak of the fact that this would cost trillions of taxpayer dollars coming out of our pockets to go and pay for this endless war that begs the question as a soldier, what are we fighting for? What does victory look like? What is the mission?”

Gabbard, and also Carlson, did not hesitate to name names among those pushing for war, one of which begins with B-O-L-T-O-N. She then asked “How does a war with Iran serve the best interest of the American people of the United States? And the fact is it does not,” Gabbard said. “It better serves the interest of people like [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Bibi Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia who are trying to push us into this war with Iran.”

Clearly not afraid to challenge the full gamut establishment politics, Tulsi Gabbard had previously called for an end to the “illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government,” also observing that “the war to overthrow Assad is counter-productive because it actually helps ISIS and other Islamic extremists achieve their goal of overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad and taking control of all of Syria – which will simply increase human suffering in the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis, and pose a greater threat to the world.” She then backed up her words with action by secretly arranging for a personal trip to Damascus in 2017 to meet with President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was important to meet adversaries “if you are serious about pursuing peace.” She made her own assessment of the situation in Syria and now favors pulling US troops out of the country as well as ending American interventions for “regime change” in the region.

In 2015, Gabbard supported President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran and in 2016 she backed Bernie Sanders’ antiwar candidacy. More recently, she has criticized President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. Last May, she criticized Israel for shooting “unarmed protesters” in Gaza, a very bold step indeed given the power of the Israel Lobby.

Tulsi Gabbard could well be the only genuine antiwar candidate that might truly be electable in the past fifty years, and that is why the war party is out to get her. Two weeks ago, the Daily Beast displayed a headline: “Tulsi Gabbard’s Campaign Is Being Boosted by Putin Apologists.” The article also had a sub-headline: “The Hawaii congresswoman is quickly becoming the top candidate for Democrats who think the Russian leader is misunderstood.”

The obvious smear job was picked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, television’s best known Hillary Clinton clone, who brought it up in an interview with Gabbard shortly thereafter. He asked whether Gabbard was “softer” on Putin than were some of the other candidates. Gabbard answered: “It’s unfortunate that you’re citing that article, George, because it’s a whole lot of fake news.” Politico the reported the exchange and wrote: “’Fake news’ is a favorite phrase of President Donald Trump…,” putting the ball back in Tulsi’s court rather than criticizing Stephanopoulos’s pointless question. Soon thereafter CNN produced its own version of Tulsi the Russophile, observing that Gabbard was using a Trump expression to “attack the credibility of negative coverage.”

Tulsi responded “Stephanopoulos shamelessly implied that because I oppose going to war with Russia, I’m not a loyal American, but a Putin puppet. It just shows what absurd lengths warmongers in the media will go, to try to destroy the reputation of anyone who dares oppose their warmongering.”

Tulsi Gabbard had attracted other enemies prior to the Stephanopoulos attack. Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept described how NBC news published a widely distributed story on February 1st, claiming that “experts who track websites and social media linked to Russia have seen stirrings of a possible campaign of support for Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard.”

But the expert cited by NBC turned out to be a firm New Knowledge, which was exposed by no less than The New York Times for falsifying Russian troll accounts for the Democratic Party in the Alabama Senate race to suggest that the Kremlin was interfering in that election. According to Greenwald, the group ultimately behind this attack on Gabbard is The Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), which sponsors a tool called Hamilton 68, a news “intelligence net checker” that claims to track Russian efforts to disseminate disinformation. The ASD website advises that “Securing Democracy is a Global Necessity.”

ASD was set up in 2017 by the usual neocon crowd with funding from The Atlanticist and anti-Russian German Marshall Fund. It is loaded with a full complement of Zionists and interventionists/globalists, to include Michael Chertoff, Michael McFaul, Michael Morell, Kori Schake and Bill Kristol. It claims, innocently, to be a bipartisan transatlantic national security advocacy group that seeks to identify and counter efforts by Russia to undermine democracies in the United States and Europe but it is actually itself a major source of disinformation.

No doubt stories headlined “Tulsi Gabbard Communist Stooge” are in the works somewhere in the mainstream media. The Establishment politicians and their media component have difficulty in understanding just how much they are despised for their mendacity and unwillingness to support policies that would truly benefit the American people but they are well able to dominate press coverage. Given the flood of contrived negativity towards her campaign, it is not clear if Tulsi Gabbard will ever be able to get her message across. But, for the moment, she seems to be the “real thing,” a genuine anti-war candidate who is determined to run on that platform. It might just resonate with the majority of Americans who have grown tired of perpetual warfare to “spread democracy” and other related frauds perpetrated by the band of oligarchs and traitors that run the United States.

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This article was originally published at Strategic Culture.

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

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