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US Defeat in Syria Leaves Only a Campaign of Spite

Sun, 2019-04-21 17:30


After the long war for Homs, Syria (Photo: Patrick Henningsen 2017)

Tony Cartalucci
21st Century Wire

The US-engineered proxy war against Syria, beginning in 2011 and the crescendo of the so-called “Arab Spring,” has ended in all but absolute defeat for Washington.

Its primary goal of overthrowing the Syrian government and/or rendering the nation divided and destroyed as it has done to Libya has not only failed – but triggered a robust Russian and Iranian response giving both nations an unprecedented foothold in Syria and unprecedented influence throughout the rest of the region.

Lamenting America’s defeat in Syria in the pages of Foreign Affairs is Brett McGurk – a career legal and diplomatic official in Washington whose most recent title was, “Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” He resigned in protest over alleged plans for a US withdrawal from its illegal occupation of eastern Syria.

McGurk’s lengthy complaints are full of paragraph-to-paragraph contradictions – illustrating the lack of legitimate unified purpose underpinning US policy in Syria.

In his article titled, “Hard Truths in Syria: America Can’t Do More With Less, and It Shouldn’t Try,” McGurk would claim (emphasis added):

Over the last four years, I helped lead the global response to the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS)—an effort that succeeded in destroying an ISIS “caliphate” in the heart of the Middle East that had served as a magnet for foreign jihadists and a base for launching terrorist attacks around the world.

McGurk would also claim (emphasis added):

Following a phone call with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump gave a surprise order to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, apparently without considering the consequences. Trump has since modified that order—his plan, as of the writing of this essay, is for approximately 200 U.S. troops to stay in northeastern Syria and for another 200 to remain at al-Tanf, an isolated base in the country’s southeast. (The administration also hopes, likely in vain, that other members of the coalition will replace the withdrawn U.S. forces with forces of their own.)


Washington’s nation-building point man in Syria, Brett McGurk (Image: CNBC)

Yet if anything McGurk says is true, then ISIS is undoubtedly a threat not only to the United States, but to all of its coalition partners – mainly Western European nations. Why wouldn’t they eagerly commit troops to the coalition if ISIS truly represented a threat to their security back home? And why would the US withdraw any troops in the first place if this were true?

The answer is very simple – ISIS was a creation of the West – a tool explicitly designed to help “isolate” the Syrian government and carry out military and terrorist operations the US and its partners were unable to do openly.

It was in a leaked 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo (PDF) that revealed the US and its allies’ intent to create what it called a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria. The memo would explicitly state that (emphasis added):

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

On clarifying who these supporting powers were, the DIA memo would clarify:

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

This “Salafist”[Islamic] “principality” [State] would show up on cue, placing additional pressure on an already besieged government in Damascus and eventually creating a pretext for direct Western military intervention in Syria.

Only through Russia’s own intervention in 2015 were US plans overturned and its overt war against Syria frozen in limbo.

McGurk and others throughout the Western establishment have attempted to compartmentalize what is essentially their own collective failures by linking them exclusively to both former-US President Barack Obama and current US President Donald Trump.

Whether President Trump maintains troops in eastern Syria or not, nothing will change or reverse the significant strategic and geopolitical defeat Washington has suffered.

Instead, troops levels and deployments in not only Syria, but also neighboring Iraq, serve to contribute to the next phase of US interference in the Middle East – spoiling reconciliation and reconstruction.


Al Nusra fighters were among the evacuees from al-Waer in Homs in April 2017 (Photo: Patrick Henningsen @21WIRE)

Washington’s War of Terror

This most recent episode of US military intervention in the Middle East – fighting terrorists it itself created and deliberately deployed specifically to serve as a pretext – is an example of US “slash and burn” foreign policy.

Just as farmers burn to the ground forest that serves them no purpose so that they can plant what they desire in its place – the US deliberately overturned an emerging political and economic order in the Middle East that served them no purpose in a bid to replace it with one that did.

McGurk all but admits this in his article, claiming – as he gave his version of ISIS’ defeat – that (emphasis added):

Over the next four years, ISIS lost nearly all the territory it once controlled. Most of its leaders were killed. In Iraq, four million civilians have returned to areas once held by ISIS, a rate of return unmatched after any other recent violent conflict. Last year, Iraq held national elections and inaugurated a new government led by capable, pro-Western leaders focused on further uniting the country. In Syria, the SDF fully cleared ISIS out of its territorial havens in the country’s northeast, and U.S.-led stabilization programs helped Syrians return to their homes.

He also claimed:

Iraqis and Syrians, not Americans, are doing most of the fighting. The coalition, not just Washington, is footing the bill. And unlike the United States’ 2003 invasion of Iraq, this campaign enjoys widespread domestic and international support.

In other words, it was a redesigned regime-change campaign spanning both Syria and Iraq, designed to attract domestic and international support by using an appalling – but artificially engineered – enemy to destroy both nations and allow the US and its “coalition partners” to rebuild the region as it desired.

And while McGurk enumerates the accomplishments of his US-led coalition – what he omits is the existence of a vastly more effective and powerful coalition in the region led by Russia and Iran.

While McGurk boasts of taking back empty desert in eastern Syria, it was the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah allies who took back Syria’s most important, pivotal, and most populated cities.

In Iraq – Iranian sponsored Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) carried out a large percentage of the fighting against ISIS there – and in the process have created a permanent nationwide network of militias that will better underwrite Iraqi security than compromising US defense partnerships and expensive US arms contracts, and the hordes of terrorists sponsored by the US itself to justify both.

McGurk eventually admits further into his article that the US presence in Syria has little to do with ISIS – and more to do with “great power diplomacy.”

He talks about the “US zone of influence” in Syria and brags about America’s ability to “enforce” it by killing Iranians and Russians who entered it in pursuit of terrorists the US was all but openly harboring.

McGurk also repeatedly decries “Iranian military entrenchment” in Syria, a geopolitical development made possible only by America’s many categorical failures amid its proxy war in Syria.

ISIS was eradicated first and foremost in areas under the control of the sovereign governments of Syria and Iraq in cooperation with Russia and Iran.

ISIS remnants have clung – without coincidence – to territory within the “US zone of influence.”

The US continues citing “ISIS” as its pretext to remain in Syria – while simultaneously admitting its presence in the region aims at reasserting Western domination over it and containing Russian and Iranian influence – Russia which was invited by Damascus to assist in counter-terrorism operations – and Iran – a nation that actually resides within the Middle East.


Family mourning the loss of a loved one in the West and Gulf’s long war against the people of Syria (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

This incoherent, conflicting narrative contrasts with Russia and Iran’s clear-cut agenda of eliminating terrorists and preserving the territorial integrity of Syria, and their decisive, clear-cut actions to implement this agenda. Russia and Iran are also offering all shareholders in the region amble incentives to get behind this agenda – including the economic and political benefits that normally accompany national and regional peace and stability.

Washington’s War on Peace

Washington’s illogical and contradicting narratives undermine any notion of unified purpose in the Middle East. Even if its goal is regional hegemony, its multitude of failures and lack of incentives for allies undermine any chance of success.

In the absence of a sensible, unified purpose, attractive incentives, or a coherent strategic plan, the US has instead turned to spoiling reconciliation and reconstruction through attempts to divide the region along ethnic lines, preserve what few terrorists remain by shuffling them between Iraq and Syria through territory US forces occupy, and by targeting nations and their allies with sanctions to hinder reconstruction efforts.

Sanctions on Iran directly impact Tehran’s efforts to assist Syria and Iraq in reconstruction and the rehabilitation of their respective economies. So do US sanctions on Moscow.

RELATED: The Astana Process: A Possible Solution to An Impossible Situation in Syria

The US is also targeting fuel shipments attempting to reach Syria – with Syria’s own oil production hamstrung by the ongoing illegal US occupation of Syria’s east where much of its oil resides.

AP in an article titled, “Syria fuel shortages, worsened by US sanctions, spark anger,” would report that:

Syrians in government-controlled areas who have survived eight years of war now face a new scourge: widespread fuel shortages that have brought life to a halt in major cities.

The article also reported that:

The shortages are largely the result of Western sanctions on Syria and renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran, a key ally. But they have sparked rare and widespread public criticism of President Bashar Assad’s government just as he has largely succeeded in quashing the eight-year rebellion against his rule.

The combination of sanctions and deliberate attempts to prolong the proxy war in Syria illustrate Washington’s true attitude toward any notion of “responsibility to protect.”

Fuel will still reach Syria’s government and military where it is needed most – but will cause extraordinary suffering among Syria’s civilian population – as Washington explicitly intends.

Washington is not attempting to remove the government in Damascus to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people – it is causing immense suffering among the Syrian people to remove the government in Damascus.

While Washington has lost its war against Syria, it continues its war on peace. It will spoil attempts by Syria to move forward – and by doing so – and more than anything else – illustrating to the world that its own malign interests and agenda wrecked the region – not “ISIS” and not “Iranians” or “Russians.”

The US campaign of spite will continue onward both in Syria and across the rest of the region until an alternative regional and global order can be established that allows nations to sufficiently defend against US aggression and interference and enables the world to move on without those special interests on Wall Street and in Washington driving America’s current battle for hegemony.

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

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Why Julian Assange’s War is Our War Too

Sun, 2019-04-21 16:50


Paul Mansfield
21st Century Wire

The sickening sight of Julian Assange being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy was an affront to human decency, a shameful contempt for democracy and total disdain for long honored refugee rights.

The new troika of tyranny; the sell-out regime of Lenin Moreno, the long gone empire that still maintains illusions of grandeur in the guise of the May regime, and the thundering Trump regime that terrifies any state that gets in its way, together conspiring to drag a sick and ailing man out of his sanctuary of the last 7 years, blinded by one of his few glimpses of light from the outside world since he entered the Ecuadorian embassy back in 2012.

The Abuse of Assange by Moreno

Lenin Moreno was anointed the successor to Rafael Correa as President of Ecuador on 24 May 2017, with the promise of carrying on the policies of Correa, not least the resistance to US dominance in the western hemisphere.

How quickly those hopes were dashed, Correa branding Moreno as “The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history,” after shamefully and illegally stripping Assange of his citizenship and revoking his asylum.

The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange.
Moreno is a corrupt man, but what he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget. https://t.co/XhT51MA6c6

— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) April 11, 2019

Rafael Correa Retweeted Barnaby Nerberka:

“The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange. Moreno is a corrupt man, but what he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget.”

The US indictment on the federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password (not successfully broken from all appearances) to a classified U.S. government computer against Assange was filed on 6 March 2018, around the same time Assange had his internet access cut off for allegedly interfering in the affairs of friendly states such as Spain and the US. This move alerted all that something was afoot. Was this when the dirty deal was done between Ecuador the UK and the US to deliver Assange into the hands of tyranny, tormented by hell on earth for the rest of his life?

The train was set in motion with these events. Like a bolt from the blue, it was a surprise to many to see such a harsh measures by Ecuador. It was a portent of things to come, the screws gradually tightened to justify Assange’s eventual expulsion from the embassy, which may have been agreed to in March 2018, when the Trump administration rehashed the investigation that Obama refused to indict on. Trump’s regime, infested with fanatical war hawks and law breakers like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, decided to go ahead with an indictment on investigative journalism, parading it as conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, or as the Department Of Justice misleadingly titled it in their press release, “Computer Hacking Conspiracy”.


Mike Pompeo continues to struggle with the US Constitution (Image Source: Dept of State)

“We have to recognize that we can no longer allow … free speech values against us. To give them the space to crush us … is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”

That quote really says it all. Free speech is great, unless you criticize the United States.

Like much abuse by rogue nations, goals are set first, and “reality” is invented to justify pre-ordained actions. Moreno adopted the motto, by ‘any means necessary,’ as Assange was subjected to intense surveillance, harassment and a relentless campaign of demonization.

How low will those who fear truth go in order to defame a man with a flawless record in truth-telling and revealing government corruption, dishonesty and, not least of all, war crimes?

The final straw, at least according to the story spun by Moreno was after Wikileaks reported on the INA Papers scandal, a scandal linking a Panamanian investment company with Moreno and his family. It is important to emphasize WikiLeaks reported on the scandal, it did not publish material, and its reporting came after news of the scandal had already broken. At a Poroshenko-level approval rating of 17%, Moreno desperately needed to prop-up his ailing regime. He will be acutely aware of the corruption scandals, real and concocted that have bought down more than one Latin American leader, to the point of imprisonment in the case of former Brazilian president Lula.

Moreno saw his opportunity and accused WikiLeaks and Assange of trying to harm the reputation of Ecuador, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia saying it was “an absurd lie to harm the dignity of our country.”

An ominous threat hung over Assange’s continued asylum, the government distorting WikiLeaks reporting to make it appear it was publishing material, and actively seeking to damage the government and tarnish its reputation in countering corruption. US debt relief and an IMF loan were at stake, and the stench of corruption could railroad Moreno’s plans to simultaneously sell-out his country, and betray Assange.

For example, on April 2nd, President Moreno claimed that Assange “violated the ‘conditions’ of his asylum” and that he will “take a decision” “in the short term.” He said, “In WikiLeaks there is proof of espionage, of hacking, of the fact that phones have been intercepted and private conversations, there are even pictures of my bedroom.” Ecuador’s Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner echoed this misconception in an interview the previous week, stating, “What WikiLeaks and other political actors have done, to publish private photos of the President of the Republic, of his family, is a despicable, repugnant, and odious act.”

At this stage, the specter of the dodgy Moreno ‘Daily Protocol‘ hung over Assange like the sword of Damocles. The protocol came with “explicit threats to revoke Mr. Assange’s asylum if Mr. Assange, or any of his guests, breached or were perceived to have breached, any of the 28 “rules” in the protocol.”

The protocol was like a glorified rental tenancy, but unlike any tenancy, came with gross violation of the privacy of Assange and his visitors, intense scrutiny and surveillance and denied Assange from doing his job as a journalist, even stifling his ability to express an opinion. Cutting off internet access, spying on and denying Assange from practicing his profession, were part of a relentless psychological war against him. Without the ability to set foot into the outside world, the cruel Moreno regime was seeking to make life as uncomfortable and intolerable as possible for Assange. The decision to expel Assange had already been made. Moreno was trying to break Assange, to force reckless and aggressive actions from him, so he could throw his hands up and say, ‘we have no choice, we have to expel this ungrateful and destructive man who is betraying the country who gave him asylum.’  Unfortunately for turncoat Moreno, Assange is an extremely resilient man, and all we were left with was baseless accusations.

On 10 April, Wikileaks Editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, along with human rights lawyer and barrister Jennifer Robinson and former Consul of Ecuador to London, Fidel Narvaez, held a press briefing which revealed intensive surveillance of Assange within the Ecuadorian embassy which constituted a violation of his right to privacy. Individuals allegedly from Spain attempted to extort millions of Euros under threat of releasing the footage. The extortionists certainly likely are Spanish speakers, but are they from Spain, or operatives of Ecuador intelligence agencies? Subsequently, footage has been released of Assange on a skateboard in his room, along with some dirty dishes in the kitchen.

Fleet Street rag, The Daily Mail, always excelling in disgracing itself and the field of journalism, did its bit by pushing the fiction of Assange as a dirty, aggressive and ungrateful guest. Bizarrely, it published footage of Assange being spied on by the Ecuadorian embassy, while spinning it as proof that Assange spied on the embassy. The lack of logic and depravity knows no depths among the MI6 loyalists that fester in the UK gutter press.

The footage includes private medical examinations, legal meetings and documents which are a gross violation of privacy, medical records and client lawyer confidentiality. No doubt this intense spying on Assange has been shared with US and UK authorities and will have been vital in developing their plan to forcibly remove him from the embassy and extradite him to the US. But all this was not enough for the Moreno regime, aided and abetted in this dastardly plan by Washington and London. Ecuadorian authorities acted amateurish, trotting out these scurrilous accusations:

  • Late-night skateboarding
  • The physical and verbal harassment of his caretakers
  • The stench from going weeks without a shower and dental problems born of poor hygiene,
  • Left dirty underwear in the lavatory
  • Failed to clean his dishes
  • Left a cooker on
  • Smearing feces on the walls

These claims are so imbecilic and should rightly be ignored and discarded as defamatory talking points made-to-order for tabloid readers. However they serve a purpose; to demonize and humiliate Assange to the point where the public come to despise him and applaud extradition into the hands of the US where he potentially faces torture and years in solitary confinement.

Assange after his arrest in London.

The MI6/CIA loyalist pundits have taken the baton of Assange the “pig” and run with it at full pace. During an RT segment, journalist Max Blumenthal debated an establishment pundit on why Assange had his asylum revoked and was by forcible removal by UK police. Blumenthal gave a cogent response. The establishment pundit demeaned himself by trotting out the Assange as ‘feces smearer’ slander which has become a popular mainstream media talking point in recent days.

The savage attacks on Assange are not confined to an increasingly rabid and duplicitous mainstream media, who act as little more than PR agents for the governments they serve. Moreno called Assange a ‘spoiled brat’ and ‘miserable hacker’. British Judge Michael Snow who found him guilty of breaching bail from 2012, also resorted to personal insults calling him a “narcissist.”

President Donald Trump, who famously said “I love WikiLeaks” over and over on the 2016 campaign trail, now claims he doesn’t know who they are, disingenuously saying last week following Assange’s arrest, “I know nothing about WikiLeaks … It’s not my thing. I know nothing really about it — it’s not my deal in life,” he said.

Will his language degenerate to the level of the miserable rogues determined to see Assange punished for telling the truth about US war crimes? It’s probably far too much to expect a neocon surrounded Trump to honor his pre-election pledge to withdraw the US from wars abroad, thank Assange wholeheartedly for his contribution to the anti-war movement, and wish him good luck in his career as head of WikiLeaks. In a more perfect world, maybe.

How Moreno Tore up the Ecuador Constitution

Lenin Moreno, who great faith was placed in to continue the turn away from the US Empire, has fast become a think skinned autocrat, propped up by the US for persecuting Assange.

Moreno’s dodgy protocol was on shaky foundations, unlike his shredding of the Ecuadorian constitution in revoking Assange’s asylum and citizenship in one fell swoop.

On April 11, the Ombudsman of Ecuador declared the expulsion of Assange illegal and unconstitutional. Specifically, it sighted the violation of the following articles of the constitution:

With this decision, in the opinion of the Ombudsman’s Office, the rights to nationality (art.6), asylum (Article 41), the principle of non-refoulement (Article 66.14), and guarantees of due process have been limited (Article 77) provided for in the Constitution of the Republic, the Human Mobility Law and in international human rights instruments.

It is necessary to remember that the Ecuadorian State granted a naturalization letter to Julian Assange, which can only be annulled by observing the provisions of art. 81 of the Organic Law of Human Mobility, which provides that: 

“Without prejudice to the corresponding criminal sanction, prior to lesividad action, the human mobility authority will declare void the naturalization of a person when it has been granted on the basis of concealment of relevant facts, false documents or the commission of fraud to the law in the granting procedure. The decision must be motivated; for its declaration, due process must be followed and it will be notified to the corresponding authorities. “In the present case, it has not been clearly determined if this procedure was complied with, and if within it effective due process was guaranteed.

If the Ecuadorian State fails to comply with these guarantees, and Julian Assange has been handed over to the police authorities in the United Kingdom, a de facto extradition would have been committed, which contradicts Article 79 of the Constitution, which prohibits the extradition of Ecuadorian people.

Reflect on the last point for a moment. The constitution of Ecuador prohibits the extradition of Ecuadorian people. Can you imagine the US having such blatant disregard for its constitution, a document long-held as sacrosanct?

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights has determined that any procedure that may have an impact on the rights to nationality or legal personality must observe the guarantees of due process. Moreno failed to abide by due process, showing a complete lack of respect for the principle of non-refoulement in the face of obvious risks to life, liberty or integrity, which justifies Assange’s prolonged stay in the Ecuadorian embassy, and the Ecuadorian state has not proven that such risks have ceased.

While Moreno abandoned due process, the Ombudsman stated Assange continues to face persecution if extradited to the US, thus justifying his prolonged stay at the embassy, not out of choice, but of fear of abuse and facing injustice in the US. The Ombudsman is making objective statements about the actions of sovereign states. They are not tailoring the statement toward the attitude and actions of the US government – probably not appropriate in a legal statement bearing on the constitution. If it did take into account the particular motivations and proclivities of the neocon infested Trump administration, it would no doubt have cast very grave fears for Assange, given the contempt of the US for international law, its brazen actions and hostile attitude toward any international institutions it believes impedes its ability to act on the misguided principle of ‘might makes right’.

The staggering hubris and aggression of the US was most recently seen in the threats to the International Criminal Court over investigations into US war crimes in Afghanistan, blocking the chief prosecutor from even entering the US. If the US makes such an assault on a major international body, it will have no qualms in steamrolling over every right Julian Assange has as an individual and journalist.

Former Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, Guillaume Long also tweeted about how Moreno has violated international law, saying “it is a national disgrace and a historical mistake that will leave a deep footprint in Ecuador for a long time.”

1. La entrega de Julian Assange, arrastrado por la policía británica luego de ingresar a nuestra misión diplomática para poder removerlo, es una vergüenza nacional y un error histórico que dejará una profunda huella en el Ecuador por mucho tiempo.https://t.co/V6HWaYZwy8

— Guillaume Long (@GuillaumeLong) April 11, 2019

The delivery of Julian Assange, dragged by the British police after entering our diplomatic mission to remove it, is a national disgrace and a historical mistake that will leave a deep footprint in Ecuador for a long time…..Ecuador has just violated the principle of “non-refoulement” …Ecuador has just violated opinion 54/2015 of the Working Group on Arbitrary detention of the United Nations….Ecuador has just violated the Opinion OC-25/2019 of the Inter-American Court of HUMAN RIGHTS and the Resolution MC-54-19 of the IACHR of March 2019 that obliges the Equator to “not deport, to return, expel, extradite or otherwise remove” Assange from our embassy….it will be remembered by the future generations of Ecuadorian and Ecuadorian people as an act of servility, vileness and ethical degradation of political power in our country. 

WikiLeaks made a compelling case for the continued political asylum of Assange on their defend WikiLeaks web page:  “given an extradition to the United States, Mr. Assange would not have a fair trial, he could be judged by a special or military court, and it is not unlikely that he would receive cruel and demeaning treatment and he would be condemned to a life sentence or the death penalty, which would not respect his human rights.”

You can rest assured that Julian Assange will be tortured by the Trump regime if it gets his hands on him. They’ll want sources, methods, passwords, codes, location of servers etc. Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and CIA torturer in Chief, Gina Haspel, will all ensure that happens. Therefore, it must be fought tooth-and-nail to ensure Assange is not extradited to the US.

As another great Australian John Pilger said on RT, Assange exposed the US kill them all mentality, as seen in the Iraq helicopter gunship video. The US deep state is infuriated and seeking blood vengeance.

If men like John Bolton re-imagined the notorious the helicopter massacre known as “Collateral Murder” leaked by Manning and WikiLeaks, there can be no doubt who the intended target would be now. It’s Julian Assange, but more broadly, the whole idea of a free press.

This war on Assange is everyone’s war now.

***

READ MORE WIKILEAKS NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire WikiLeaks Files

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

US ‘Applauds’ Malta for Refusing Russian Planes in Airspace to Supply ‘Brutal Regime’ in Venezuela

Sat, 2019-04-20 19:39


This week, the Maltese government issued a new policy refusing to allow Russian aircraft to use its airspace to send supplies to the Venezuela.

The Russian government has recently delivered hundreds of tons of aid to Venezuela at the request of the Maduro administration, and in full compliance with World Health Organization’s (WHO) regulations. However, these legal humanitarian deliveries are being cast by Washington as somehow wrong and in support of the ‘evil regime’ in Caracas.

US officials were celebrating Malta’s move this week, claiming it as a victory against ‘the Maduro regime’ it seeks to depose.

Russian authorities took the rebuff in stride though, stating that they will simply fly around the Mediterranean island nation instead, viewing the diplomatic maneuver as another vestigial ‘victory’ by Washington in its relentless war on Venezuelan democracy.

South Front reports…

On April 19, US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus came with a statement supporting the decision of the government of Malta that had refused “to allow Russian planes to use its airspace to supply the brutal former regime in Venezuela.”

We applaud the government of #Malta for refusing to allow Russian planes to use its airspace to supply the brutal former regime in #Venezuela. We call on all countries to follow Malta’s example to stop the Kremlin’s support for the dictator Maduro. #EstamosUnidosVE @MFAMalta

— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) April 19, 2019

On April 18, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that Malta refused a Russian request to use its airspace to fly military aircraft from Syria to Venezuela on April 4. The diplomat said that Malta did not provide a reason for their decision.

We are trying hard to keep your hands away from trigger. So keep applauding – at least it’s harmless.

— MFA Russia

Categories: Foreign Policy, World

The Dawn of Ze Ukraine: Twisting, Turning Poroshenko Continues to Lose Ground in Polls

Sat, 2019-04-20 01:46


Challenger Volodymyr Zelensky and the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, preparing for battle.

Sergey Belous, Helga Green & Alexandra Renard
21st Century Wire

Everybody knows the saying that politics makes strange bedfellows, but politics also sometimes turns the public   figures that happened to be in the same boat and rowing towards their common goal into enemies. Exactly this happened to Vladimir Zelensky, Ukrainian comedian, who leads the large field in the Ukraine’s presidential election with close to one-third of the vote after the first round, and the runner-up, Petro Poroshenko.

In the spring of 2015 Zelensky’s company produced an animated cartoon, in which then newly-elected President Poroshenko was portrayed as “Porro,” a superman-style leader of the besieged country in the mould of Zorro, who efficiently and effectively defeated evil Putin. The cartoon was a great success with the wide Ukrainian audiences, who had great expectations and believed every word of Poroshenko’s lavish promises of imminent peace and prosperity for the war-worn and corruption-weary country.

However, today Zelensky and Poroshenko are on the opposite sides of the barricades, and the prospects of the incumbent President seem to be quite gloomy. That is in spite of tremendous efforts – his personally, along with his team that includes (besides the obvious state structures) a vast claque of NGOs and devout media outlets and bloggers – to rig the elections in favour of the incumbent Poroshenko.

Whenever anyone tries to describe the ongoing Ukrainian Presidential elections as rigged, there is a loud outcry from the mainstream media and official circles of the West, condemning such opinions as “pro-Kremlin disinformation” and dismissing any evidence which goes against their tidy picture of Ukraine as “the onslaught of democracy in the post-Soviet space”.  We will take the liberty of illustrating this message with a large quote from “EU vs Disinfo” website:

Summary of disinformation: During the Ukrainian presidential elections, electoral fraud is inevitable, because planned networks and various pyramids, voter fraud, purchase of votes by various foundations, funds and so on, have already been worked out. The Ukrainian government always has the most opportunities for election fraud. Disproof: According to the recognised Ukrainian Watchdog-Civil Network “OPORA” and the preliminary observation results, the presidential election in Ukraine on March 31, 2019 “took place in a competitive environment and in compliance with basic standards of genuine elections, whereas cases of breaking national law failed to present any constraints for citizens to exercise their right to vote and be elected.”

The preliminary assessment of the freedom and accountability of the elections by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe is also positive».

 Oh, well! Of course, we must believe Opora, the organization sponsored and supported by USAID and the Council of Europe (as the NGO proudly claims on its website), and we should not believe the facts reported by dozens independent observers and journalists! To spite of the MSM, we will try to expose the seamy side of Ukrainian presidential election.

According to GALLUP, only 9 per cent of Ukrainian citizens trust the authorities, which represents the world record for ‘mistrust’ in any national government registered for the second year in the row! Even ex-president Yanukovich, ousted in February of 2014, had a trust level of 24 per cent in the very twilight of his career. And, as the research data of the reputable Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KMIS), publicized in the fall of 2018, states that 78 percent of Ukrainians consider that their country is moving in the wrong direction. In addition, in a poll conducted by Rating Group in summer of 2018, showed that financial conditions of some 60 per cent of Ukrainian citizens worsened. These figures testify to the fact that Ukrainian society is yearning for change.

Taking into account such sentiments, it is not surprising that personal ‘anti-rating’ of President Poroshenko (the rate of distrust) is at 69 per cent, according to the Rating agency poll conducted in March of 2019. That said, it remains an enigma as to how, in spite of all the mistrust and weariness of the population, he did manage to make it to the second round of the general election. Lots of sociological data analyses predicted him in third place. Ukrainian journalists even suggested that with the use of administrative resource the President had “driven up” the figure by 5 per cent (although it was possible to reach a better result, but Poroshenko decided to save it for the second round).

Let us review the facts and technologies that the journalists and analysts succeeded in detecting, as this is really a burning issue now, on the eve of the second round. Considering Poroshenko’s desperate situation – and, in accordance with the latest research, his opponent, showman Zelensky, will have 71 per cent of the votes, and Poroshenko – only 29 per cent (Rating, April), then one might expect that all possible electoral fraud technologies will be used in order to shorten the gap. There is no scoop here, as the preparation work was done practically openly. Ukrainian journalists have thoroughly investigated all potential rigging plots and analyzed the election results using various mathematical methods, and based on the most likely possible scenarios, have made the following conclusions as to what could possibly happen:

1. Mysterious ballots. The Gaussian curve of the diagram reflecting the turnout was anomalous in certain constituencies: it consisted of peaks and valleys, testifying to the occasions of staffing of sham ballots. At that, the percentage of votes in favour of Poroshenko was much lower at the precincts with lower turnout, than at those with higher turnout. For example, the part of voters in favour of Poroshenko was 5,7 per cent within the range of 20-55 per cent turnout, and at the constituencies with 60-65 per cent turnout 8,1 per cent of the voters voted for Poroshenko.

2. Electoral pyramids. This is a kind of Ukrainian tradition. Votes have been bought in Ukraine for as long as elections were held. Nevertheless, Poroshenko’s team has developed an unprecedented system of votes purchase by way of the electoral pyramid. It is headed by the central headquarters, the second tier consists of constituency fixers, who, as a rule, are MPs. Each constituency is divided into 10-15 sectors. Each sector is headed by a person in charge: the local council president, an employee of the district administration, the head surgeon of the hospital, or the headmaster of the local school. The sector heads, in their turn, should pick 10-15 people for each polling station: teachers, doctors, social workers. And finally, those in charge of the polling stations choose 10-20 people, one for each block of apartments or a dozen of houses in a settlement. They are also mostly budget sphere workers, but also those, who had been earmarked in the course of sociological polls as potentially ready to sell their votes. Each of them provides for the consent of at least five more voters. Purchase of votes is carried out by way of “the agreement with an adherer”. “The adherer” receives a plastic card by post containing a QR code. Having activated the card, the voter acquires the initial payment – about 20 €. He is promised the same amount after he verifies his vote with the help of the same QR code. According to Ukrainian journalists, the network is active in about 150 constituencies and is able to bring Poroshenko nearly two million votes. It is symptomatic that after the failure of the electoral pyramid in Odessa Region, Poroshenko sacked the Governor, Maxim Stepanov, and the official later claimed that the cause of his dismissal was the unsatisfying result of the first round.

3. Bribery of voters by funds taken from the state budget.
We will give only one, but a very convincing example (in fact, this technology was widely used, and could be used at full-capacity in the course of the second round). Police conducted a full-scale search on the premises of the Town Council in Vasylkiv of Kiev Region, where the officials are suspected of buying votes in favour of Poroshenko. The investigation found out that the Town Council had allotted subsidies to the amount of 4,5 mln UAH to 4879 persons within the framework of “Turbota” (“Care”) social aid project in the course of three months, although in 2018 the number of the needy was three times lower. What a strange coincidence: the difference in the number of votes for Poroshenko and Tymoshenko in the 1-st round was exactly 4879 in favour of the incumbent President! The aid was received predominantly by the retired people; they were given sums of 30-150 €, although, as the inspection found out, a big part of them did not have the documents necessary for receiving the subsidy, and hundreds of applications, filed allegedly by various persons, were in one and the same handwriting!

4. Elections under the SBU surveillance. SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) agents kept vigil by the “Election” electronic system in constituency electoral committees, in the rooms, where the data of the protocols were entered into the main database. The access to these rooms is limited. Observers, even the international ones, are kept out. The system administrator is working in the presence of 5-7 SBU agents! This is the first such incidence in the history of Ukrainian elections.

5. “Tunnel” technology. It is carried out with the help of a proxy server that allows interference into the program already at the stage in between the entrance of the data that arrived to the district electoral commission as a protocol with a wet stamp, and delivery of the figures to the Central Electoral Committee. The technology is called “TunnelIPsec.”  This coded channel for the transference of data “from point A to point B” can be used for the swap of figures. CEC receives the corrected data and “honestly” announces falsified results. This way the stuffing of the so called “dead souls” ballots was legalized in the course of the first round (the “dead souls” are the deceased persons, whose names are still on the voters lists).

These are only some of the methods which could be used by Ukrainian officials in order to retain power.  Nevertheless, Western leaders preferred to hypocritically close their eyes to any such “mischief”.

Thus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “In the eyes of the OSCE these elections were honest and transparent, and this is a great step on the road of reforms. Of cause, there was certain amount of criticism, expressed by the OSCE, and it should be taken seriously, especially in view of the second round and the forthcoming parliamentary election”. She added that the EU and the OSCE expect transparent electoral process during the second round.

In spite of Zelensky’s 2.5 times rating lead over Poroshenko, the latter persists in his efforts which many believe is to try and win by hook or by crook, and all the while carry on claiming that he “has all the grounds to hope for the victory”.

This makes us wonder, what other sleazy deals will this incumbent president enact in order not to turn into a lame duck on April 21st? Hopefully none, but in the event there are any irregularities, you’ll know who should be questioned first.

READ MORE UKRAINE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Ukraine Files

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Why Has the Guardian Declared War on Assange and WikiLeaks?

Sat, 2019-04-20 00:23


You hear it all the time these days. People are constantly asking, ‘What happened to the Guardian’?

It’s no secret that once respected UK newspaper, The Guardian, has been going rapidly down hill for years. It really hit rock bottom this past November 2018, when it published a bona fide fake news article which featured a false conspiracy theory crafted by the ‘news’ organisation’s serial fabricator and resident Russiaphobe, Luke Harding. The plot claimed that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange multiple times in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Despite the fact that the story was known to be fake, The Guardian’s editors were painted into a corner and rather than do the honourable thing and own-up to their mistake, and maybe fire a reckless Harding – instead they doubled-down a stood by their spectacular propaganda piece and its creator.


All of this is rather ironic, considering how the The Guardian had milked Assange and WikiLeaks in order to sell papers and re-establish its own ‘street cred’ amongst the liberal intelligensia only a few years earlier when Assange, WikiLeaks and Ed Snowden were the cause célèbre and the toast of Islington and the Frontline Club crowd. Back then, the paper was regarded as the vanguard of brave journalism speaking truth to power. Oh, how times have changed.

It’s clear by surveying their coverage over the last three years, that the brain trust at The Guardian decided to humour the official conspiracy theory commonly known as Russiagate, which surmises that the Kremlin somehow colluded with the 2016 Trump campaign in order to help get Trump elected. This has been proven to be a work of fiction, particularly after the release the highly underwhelming Mueller Report this month, but it still colours all of the Guardian’s editorial lines which also means they are blaming Assange and WikiLeaks for colluding with the Russians to hack and publish the DNC and Podesta Emails in the summer and fall of 2016. This is another official conspiracy theory which is not actually grounded in any forensic finding, but rather ‘intelligence’ and claims made by various US officials and dutifully parroted by the mainstream press, including the Guardian. In fact, the most compelling forensic evidence to date indicates that the DNC emails were leaked, and not ‘hacked’ by the “GRU” (supposedly Russian military intelligence agency).

None of these realities register with the editors at The Guardian though, leaving onlookers to wonder whether or not their political editors’ desks have been wholly taken over by the intelligence services. How else can you explain their slavish adherence to the CIA and MI5 official line on this and every other major international story, especially those featuring Russia at the antagonist? Perhaps the government’s clandestine network of mainstream journalists involved in the Integrity Initiative has something to do with it. It may be part of the puzzle, but that still doesn’t explain everything.

Five Filters explains the wider context here…

The Guardian has profited a lot from Julian Assange’s work, but over the years has become increasingly hostile towards him. Journalist John Pilger writes:

The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called “the greatest scoop of the last 30 years”. The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

Julian Assange, now held in Britain’s maximum security facility, Belmarsh Prison.

On 27th November 2018, the Guardian published a story by Luke Harding headlined “Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy”. It has since been shared over 162,000 times on Facebook alone. The Guardian has not provided any evidence for it, and has refused to retract it. In an interview with the Observer, journalist Glenn Greenwald, who used to work for the Guardian, said:

The Guardian’s happy to be used …if you publish something like a totally fake story, there are so many benefits to it and almost no consequences. …If you look at Luke Harding’s traffic metrics, they went through the roof. That’s an incentive scheme to continue to do shitty journalism.

In their excellent alert on the Assange arrest, Media Lens write of the claimed meeting:

No shred of evidence has ever been produced for this claim, which WikiLeaks and Manafort have both vehemently denied, and the story has been widely regarded as fake from virtually the hour of its publication. Luke Harding, the lead journalist on the story, and his editors Paul Johnson and Katharine Viner, have never apologised or retracted the story; nor have they responded to the many challenges about it. As we have previously noted, the Guardian has a disreputable record in publishing nasty, abusive and derogatory pieces about Assange.

More recently Greenwald commented:

..I’ve come to peace with the fact that this story will never be retracted even though everyone – including at the @Guardian, I am sure – knows it is utter bullshit – a joke – but it’s still worth noting because it shows how unmoored the media is to any notions of accountability

Below, we’ve compiled a list of 44 Guardian articles to show you how the Guardian has treated Julian Assange and Wikileaks. We’ve also put together suggested actions for you to consider and a list of articles analysing this output.

If you haven’t already, it really is time to Dump the Guardian and support independent media instead…

Continue this story here at Five Filters

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Extra Time: Why is the ‘Truth Movement’ Struggling with the Truth?

Thu, 2019-04-18 21:25


While the Establishment and mainstream media’s ‘fake news’ crisis in the wake of the 2016 US Elections wasn’t real (the biggest purveyors of fake news have always been governments and the mainstream corporate media), there is now a daily barrage of fake news and online cults like Q Anon, Pizzagate and Flat Earth, as well as continuous and highly coordinated anti-Muslim campaigns – all incubating in an increasingly fractured alternative media constellation. This brings up some serious social and ethical issues, as well as political ones. Like the nature of information itself, this problem is becoming increasingly complex, and with no real solution in site.

Patrick and Mike discuss some fundamental problems facing the ‘truth movement’ in 2019. Watch:

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Russia Halts Exports of Oil, Petroleum Products to Ukraine

Thu, 2019-04-18 17:45


IMAGE: Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

The Russian government has banned exports of Russian oil and petroleum products to Ukraine, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a cabinet meeting on April 18, according to TASS.

“[The Russian government] bans exports of Russian oil and petroleum products to Ukraine,” the prime minister said.

Medvedev added that the ban on imports of certain Ukrainian goods is extended.

“We are forced to protect our interests and strike back,” he commented on the Ukrainian restrictions against Russia.

“I have signed a government decree on that. We are expanding the ban on imports of certain types of goods to Russia, which will be applied to Ukrainian engineering products, consumer goods, metal products, the cost of which totaled almost $250 mln last year,” he said.

SOURCE: SOUTH FRONT

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Rouhani: US Should Suspend Sanctions Because of Iran Flooding Disaster

Thu, 2019-04-18 12:37

Undoubtedly, this latest flooding crisis in Iran reveals the highly vicious nature of the current U.S. Administration with regards to the application of collective punishment of a target nation.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has lashed out at the US sanctions regime, stating how punitive economic sanctions have hampered the international flood relief effort meant to bolster humanitarian relief operations in his country.


Antiwar.com says…

Speaking on Iranian state TV on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the US ought to have suspended sanctions against Iran for a year because of the humanitarian crisis that severe flooding has caused in the country.

Rouhani said it was “inhumane and filthy” for the US to block cash support to the Iranian Red Crescent. US sanctions are reported to have prevented considerable international aid to save flood victims.

Estimates are that around 80 people have been killed by the flooding, which hit the majority of Iranian provinces. The estimate is also that it did around $2.5 billion in property damage across the country.

It is highly unlikely that the US will make any changes to the sanctions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously denied that the sanctions would impact humanitarian aid. US sanctions are intended not to cover such remittances, but the US is so aggressive and arbitrary with enforcement that anything remotely Iran related scares banks off from financing it.

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

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

US Elites Vilifying Assange Are The Same Elites Wikileaks Exposed

Thu, 2019-04-18 04:16

Among the gang of US elites actively vilifying Julian Assange right now are actually the same elites that his publication, Wikileaks, exposed in some of its biggest document dumps to date. Do you see the connection?

Watch as host Jimmy Dore of “The Jimmy Dore Show” passionately lays out his case:


To recap, here’s a list of 6 of Wikileaks’ biggest ever document dumps with direct links below to their publication at Wikileaks.org:


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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

UK COLUMN: Trump Duped by CIA-MI5 on Skripal, Notre Dame Fake News, Assange Imprisoned

Thu, 2019-04-18 02:19

This week: a new article in NYT reveals how Trump may have been duped by dodgy photos of dead ducks and children fabricated by his MI5 and CIA handlers – luring the President into believing the Official Skripal fairy tale which led to expelling Russia diplomats. Also, the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris coincides with other fires of religious sites, as well as inspiring a spate of viral fake news spun-up by popular online Right-wing pundits claiming “The Muslims!” were somehow behind the fire. We also look at this past weekend’s protest in support of Julian Assange at Belmarsh prison, and a bizarre move by ‘Extinction Rebellion‘ protesters targeting public transport in London. All this and much more. 

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

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Stranahan on Assange: ‘This is a Fight We Can’t Lose’

Wed, 2019-04-17 21:21


American Journalist Lee Stranahan addresses supporters of Julian Assange outside HM Prison Belmarsh in southeast London on Sunday (Photo: Patrick Henningsen@21WIRE).

Lee Stranahan
21st Century Wire

About twelve hours after Julian Assange was ripped from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, I was on plane in Washington D.C. and heading to the UK to cover the story for Radio Sputnik.

The occasion was grim, but I was glad to go. For the last two years, we’ve talked about the plight of Julian Assange and journalism on my show *Fault Lines with Nixon and Stranahan* and I’ve taken part in a number of the #Unity4J events that have taken place over the last year that Julian Assange has been silenced.

The anti-war movement was decimated during the Obama administration, but I’ve seen it live on in the #Unity4J events that have cut across traditional left/right labels and brought a clear focus on who is fighting the real battle of our era; the people vs. the warmongering elites.

Let’s define that term clearly: the elites I’m talking about are the loose affiliations of millionaires and billionaires and their organizations that are trying to maintain their grip on power and ill-begotten wealth through warfare. This warfare includes not just the “traditional” warfare pushed by the global arms industry—although that’s a big profit center for many of these elitists and their organizations—but also through economic sanctions and most importantly, information warfare.

The organizations at the center of this fight include NATO, their PR organization the Atlantic Council, the “deep state” in the US and the UK, including the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, MI6, Round Table groups including Chatham House and the Council on Foreign Relations, connective groups like the recently exposed Integrity Initiative in the UK, funding mechanisms like the IMF and World Bank, the big banks like HSBC who launder the money which makes black ops possible, as well as the vast-constellation of think-tanks and NGOs can pump out white papers, press releases, and opinion pieces to back the establishment, and of course the network of co-opted media organizations and tech companies that function as the arteries of that deliver the poison propaganda.

This is a conspiracy but it isn’t a theory, nor is it all theoretical how they got Assange.

Assange taken into UK custody on April 11, 2019.

The steady pressure on Ecuador to betray Assange and turn him over the British authorities culminated in the $4.2 billion dollar IMF loan deal back in February that kicked the Assange grab into gear. While the United States secret grand jury in Virginia had been no-so secret for months, the Mueller Investigation that kept President Trump on the defensive for over a year while neocon operatives like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo worked their way into positions of power, and the relentless anti-Russia media narrative had been used to demonize Assange to the point that taking him in broad daylight didn’t cause the torches and pitchforks to come out immediately.

This is a complex and well-funded information warfare operation but there’s one big hitch: it’s a pack of lies, and a growing number of people understand that, thanks in no small part to the work of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

When I went to Her Majesty’s Prison at Belmarsh on Sunday, I’d been talking about this stuff for a couple of years but to BE THERE—yards from where Julian Assange, the human being who was being held—it all hit me on a deep level. Journalism itself was behind bars.

This is a fight we can’t lose. The elites know it and so we’ve seen their desperate power grabs lately in Syria, in Ukraine, in Venezuela. However, we’ve also seen those operations exposed in near-real time.

The next few weeks are crucial. Every day, we need to be active, strategic and fearless. We need to be Julian’s voice.

Our enemies are more powerful and have more resources, but there are more of us. And we have the truth.

Let’s act like it and #FreeAssange.

***

Author Lee Stranahan is an American investigative reporter and veteran broadcaster and is currently the host of Fault Lines with Sputnik Radio, and has reported for Breitbart News, Huffington Post, Daily Kos and others.

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

EXTRADITION: ‘The Railroad That Awaits Julian Assange’

Tue, 2019-04-16 18:41


By John Kiriakou

The Justice Department said Thursday that it was charging Julian Assange with one felony count of conspiring to hack into a computer. In the greater scheme of things, that’s a nonsensical charge. There are probably 10,000 fat, lonely guys, living in their parents’ basements who the government could charge with that crime on any given day.  

Assange’s attorneys in the UK say the extradition process might last five years because it will likely end up in the European Court of Justice. If true, conceivably Assange could be detained for five years awaiting extradition, or roughly the same amount of time he might be sentenced to if convicted on the computer hacking charge.

Justice Department policy defines time in detention under almost any circumstance as time served. So if there ever were a trial in the US for the computer hacking charge it would likely be nothing more than a show trial.

Additional charges after the application for extradition has been filed are unlikely, due to limitations in extradition treaties requiring full disclosure of all charges prior to an extradition being considered. But that’s not the issue here.

No matter what happens, no matter what the charges, Julian cannot and will not get a fair trial in the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Eastern District of Virginia is known as the “Espionage Court” for a reason. No national security defendant has ever won a case there. Never. And Judge Leonie Brinkema reserves all national security cases for herself. She has Julian’s case, she judged my case, as well as the case of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, and we know that she has also reserved what will be the Ed Snowden case for herself.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll tell you about what I went through in Judge Brinkema’s courtroom. None of it was good. And Julian should expect exactly the same.

When I was arrested after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program, I was charged with five felonies – three counts of espionage, one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1981, and one count of making a false statement. Of course, I hadn’t committed espionage, nor had I made any false statement. (I’m still not exactly sure what the false statement was supposed to have been.) But those charges were used as leverage to eventually force me to take a plea. When I said that I wasn’t interested in a plea and that I wanted to go to trial, the prosecutors threatened to add a second false statements charge and a charge of obstruction of justice – two throwaway felonies that could be used as additional leverage. I told them to bring it on, but they never did add those charges.

The government will invoke something in Julian’s case called CIPA – the Classified Information Protection Act. That means that the court must do everything possible to “protect” classified information from being revealed, even to the jury. The first thing that’s done in a CIPA trial is that the courtroom is sealed. The only people allowed inside are the defendant and the defendant’s attorneys, the prosecutors, the bailiff, the clerk, and the judge. The jury also would be there in the event of a jury trial, but it gets a little more complicated in that case. The bailiff will lock the courtroom doors and put tape around them, and he’ll cover the windows with plastic or canvas, all so that nobody outside can hear anything.

If there’s a jury trial, the judge will insist that “classified” words or phrases not be uttered, but instead must be replaced by unclassified words. For example, “Did you hack into NSA’s computers and download documents from Operation Widget?” becomes “Did you hack into Castle’s computers and download documents from Operation Pilates?” It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Well, it is ridiculous. More importantly, it’s very confusing for jurors, many of whom may conclude, “Wow, there are so many classified words that are being discussed! He must be guilty!”

Julian’s attorneys also will make a number of motions, both for discovery and for the declassification of documents necessary for his defense. Judge Brinkema is unlikely to approve any of them. Again, in my case, my attorneys made 70 motions to declassify 70 separate classified documents necessary for my defense. We blocked off two full days for the hearings, as did the prosecutors. But when we got to the courtroom, Judge Brinkema began by saying, “I’m going to make this easy for everyone. I’m going to deny all 70 of these motions.” Her thinking was that I either did it (committed a crime) or I didn’t. There was no reason to “jeopardize national security” if she was going to eventually convict me anyway. So my attorneys had literally nothing to present in my defense.

We didn’t roll over, of course. My attorneys objected and were overruled. The prosecution then asked for an in-camera conversation with the judge. That’s a private conversation between the judge and the prosecutors without my attorneys present. My attorneys objected strenuously. The judge overruled them again and she went into chambers with prosecutors. As crazily unconstitutional as this may sound, it is permitted in a national security case. To this day I have no idea what was said in that room. But when she came out, the judge looked at my attorneys and reiterated her decision to overrule the objection. And then, much to my shock, she looked at me and said, “This case better not go to trial.” The hearing ended. It had begun only 15 minutes earlier.

As we walked out of the courtroom, I asked my attorneys, “What just happened in there?” “We just lost the case,” was the response. “What do we do now?” I asked. “Now we take a plea.” A week later I changed my plea to “guilty.” The government had come down from an offer of 10 years to one of two-and-a-half. I would do 23 months. My attorneys thought that if I had gone to trial, I would have lost and I would have realistically gotten 12-18 years. I had no choice.

At sentencing, the judge said that she was glad the case hadn’t gone to trial. She didn’t want “more classified information out there in the public domain.” But then she said, “I don’t like this deal. I don’t like it at all. If I could, Mr. Kiriakou, I would give you 10 years. But my hands are tied.” I left for federal prison six weeks later.

Julian is likely in for the same kind of treatment. There no justice to be found at the Justice Department. There’s only punishment for unpopular opinions and actions. Julian has a great soapbox now. The stakes are high, but he has to defend his actions and talk about the freedoms of speech and the press that are so basic and important to the survival of our country. The Justice Department may have finally bitten off more than it can chew. We can only hope.

Author John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act – a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

This article is reprinted with permission and was originally published at Reader Supported News.

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Is Ilhan Omar More Loyal To The US Than Trump?

Tue, 2019-04-16 01:24

Following the smear campaign pursued against US congresswoman Ilhan Omar for questioning the influence of Israeli Lobby groups over US foreign policy and now the Islamophobic attacks upon her, it’s important to contextualize why and how pro-Israel Lobby groups can/have caused damage to the United States.

Former US President Jimmy Carter once said that the US “have a special relationship with Israel”, a sentiment echoed by US Presidents ever since, but how close is this special relationship and to what extent can it go on unchallenged when US national security interests are put at risk?

An important, yet rarely touched on subject, is the selling of US weapons technology, by Israel, to China. In both the 1980’s and 1990’s, this issue was touched on extensively in US press, however this topic had dropped out of public view beginning in the early 2000’s.

To lay out some context before going further into this issue, the United States of America has strictly forbidden US and US allied nations companies from selling advanced offensive weapons systems, such as fire control radars and aerofoil design secrets, to China since 1989. The reasoning behind prohibiting the sale of such technology, according to the United States, is security related.

China, in the eyes of many analysts, poses a potential military threat to the United States. The US is also obligated to protect Taiwan, in the event of possible hostilities.

Regardless of whether you agree with it or not, it is completely against the interests of the United States for its own weapons technology to end up in the hands of China. That is why it is a big issue if Israel is to pass that weapons technology on, as they have been accused of doing.

As part of the Israel-US alliance, Israel have been entitled to gifts and exemptions that no other ally has received. Not only does the US sell Israel advanced military technology, it even subsidizes most of the purchases.

In addition to this, Israel often reverse engineers the weapons technology it receives from the United States and is exempt from having to pay for much of the licensing regularly required to do so.

After reverse engineering US advanced weapons technology, which is again often paid for by the US, Israel has been confirmed to have sold this technology to China. This is evidently something that an ally should not be able to get away with doing.

In September of 2018, US President, Donald Trump decided to invoke his power under Section 231 of the CAATSA act, and sanction China for its purchase of weapons technology from Russia. But if these such measures are taken and Israel is still selling to China, what is the point in the US behaving like this? If anything, it only aggravates the Chinese un-necessarily.

Today, we have little confirmed knowledge on exactly what weapons technology the Israelis are selling to China, however we can confirm what they did sell in the past.

For example, in the 1980’s, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) developed a 4th generation fighter jet, named the ‘Lavi’. The Lavi’s design was a virtual copy of Lockhead Martin’s F-16, the advanced avionics and fire control radar, as well as the engine were all borrowed products of US industry, the fighter jets most identifiable feature was its canard wings (which is not from the F-16).

Israel’s ‘Lavi’ (Note the Canard Wings).

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The ‘Lavi’ project eventually failed and the warplane was scrapped, however the technology was not wasted. Israel sold that technology to China, which then came out with its own 4th generation fighter jet, the J-10, a fighter jet so similar to the Israeli ‘Lavi’ that it even included the distinct canard wings.

China’s J-10 (Also note the canard wings).

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China managed to get its hand on other technologies, such as Israel’s ELM 20-20 radar and Israel’s Python 3 air to air missile, which originated in the United States.

On October 12, 1993, the NYT reported written statements from the, at the time, Director of Central Intelligence, R. James Woolsey, who explained that Israel had sold advanced military technology to China. The CIA also claimed that China had been acquiring advanced military technology from Israel, for over a decade, on air to air missiles, tanks and fighter jets.

In 1997 US Naval intelligence stated that Israel was selling US technologies to China, referring to the sale of technology from the Lavi Project. David Larry, former general director for Israel’s ministry of defense, also admitted in an interview with the associated press that Israel had sold “some technology on aircraft to china” and that some weapons manufacturers may not have “clean hands”.

Without going into much further detail on the topic, this sort of questionable activity on behalf of Israel demonstrates why dissident voices, such as that of Ilhan Omar and others, are essential for healthy relationships between allied nations.

If you don’t question the power and activity of Lobby groups as well as foreign allies, those Lobby groups and allies will have a free pass to take advantage of your country. The reason why Israel is able to get away with its violations of international law and act in a way which endangers its allies interests is because they face no consequence for doing so.

Now, saying this, why is it that Mr. America First, Donald Trump, hasn’t questioned this one-way relationship and has instead chosen to attack a first year Congresswoman Ilhan Omar who is in fact taking a stand for her country – by actually putting America First?

Could it in fact be, that Ilhan Omar is more loyal to the United States than President Trump?

***
Author Robert Inlakesh is a special contributor to 21WIRE and European correspondent for Press TV. He has reported from on the ground in occupied Palestine. See more of his work here

READ MORE PALESTINE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Palestine Files

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Trump’s Mideast Peace Plan Will Likely Give Israel All It Wants, Palestinians Nothing

Mon, 2019-04-15 21:21

Antiwar.com reports…

The final version of President Trump’s long-anticipated Middle East peace plan has not been reached, according to officials, but all indications are that it will give Israel all they want and then some, and the Palestinians will get effectively nothing.

Saying that the peace plan is going to “stop short of Palestinian statehood” is putting it mildly. With the administration having endorsed Netanyahu’s talk of annexation and disavowal of the Palestinians ever having self-determination, the “deal of the century” now hinges on the Palestinians accepting some variation of the ever-worsening status quo.

While early talk was that Trump intended to give the Palestinians something at some point, more recently the administration has said the plan will be deliberately biased against the Palestinians, just to prove that the US is supportive of Israel.

Israeli officials say they are being “open-minded” to the deal now that it’s clearly skewed entirely in their favor. Even then, it’s unclear if Israel’s incoming far-right coalition will accept anything that formalizes any sort of status quo, as their government seems set to redefine the Palestinians into an even more remote corner of society.

As with past plans, the idea at this point seems to be for the Palestinians to reject it, which they of course will since they’re not being offered anything. Then Israel can use this to try to sell the idea internationally that they don’t have a partner willing to negotiate with them.

READ MORE PALESTINE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Palestine Files

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

SUNDAY SCREENING: ‘United States of Secrets’ (2014)

Sun, 2019-04-14 17:53

Our weekly documentary film curated by the editorial team at 21WIRE.

Following 9/11, the US government used the crisis to roll-out a massive domestic surveillance operation. This award-winning documentary film chronicles some of the broader aspects of this ‘new reality’ in America, starting with the hack of Glenn Greenwald’s email account, this is how the The Guardian established contact with Ed Snowden and was able to put his story together for publication. The film looks at how the NSA ramped-up its big brother-style domestic surveillance program, done in secret, and where everything became “fair game” – all in the interest of national security. It starting with collecting internet data, before expanding to capture every facet of domestic life in the United States. Later, the Obama adminstration declared an unofficial ‘war on whistleblowers’ – a repressive regime designed to intimidate and to silence any dissent within the government ranks. Watch:

PART 1:

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PART 2:

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Run time: 3 hours 52 mins
Production: PBS Frontline (2014)

SEE MORE SUNDAY SCREENING HERE

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Episode #276 – ‘No Extradition’ with Patrick Henningsen, Lee Stranahan & more

Sun, 2019-04-14 15:21


Episode #276 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes on April 14, 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:

SPECIAL BROADCAST TIME THIS WEEK: 4pm-7pm UK Time | 11am-2pm ET (US) | 8am-11am PT (US)

This week the SUNDAY WIRE broadcasts LIVE on ACR as Patrick Henningsen is reporting on the ground in London and joined by ACR’s Hesher as our in-studio anchor this week, along with co-hosts Mike Robinson from the UK Column and Basil Valentine. Patrick is reporting from outside of the notorious Belmarsh Prison in southeast London where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being held by the British government in preparation for extradition  – possibly to the US, and also now with a possibility of extradition to Sweden first – to face a previously dismissed case of sexual assault filed in 2010.  We’ll connect with a number of other special guests on the ground at today’s protest in support of Assange including Lee Stranahan co-host of Fault Lines Radio show in Washington DC, and others. 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

Assange Arrest: How Does British Corporate Media See its Future?

Sat, 2019-04-13 20:39

Nina Cross
21st Century Wire

On Thursday I joined the supporters of Julian Assange outside Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London following his arrest by British police at the Ecuadorian Embassy just hours before.  The events of the 11th April and the background to Assange’s case are now well-documented.  Inside the court Assange was found guilty of skipping bail in 2012, when he sought asylum in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.  There are also conspiracy charges against him by the United States government which is requesting his extradition. These relate to the 2010 publication of classified military documents leaked by US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, which exposed war crimes. Outside the court  corporate media did not seem to realise its future freedom is hanging in the balance.


The scene outside of Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London (Photos by Nina Cross)

As we called for his release outside the court, in the House of Commons the Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott  challenged the grounds given by the US for Assange’s extradition, warning he is wanted not because he is a threat to US national security, but because he has exposed US corruption and war crimes.

Also in support of Assange on Thursday, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted a video released by Wikileaks in 2010 showing war crimes committed by US military in Iraq, leaked by Chelsea Manning, and echoed Abbots calls that the UK government should oppose extradition to the US.

The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government.pic.twitter.com/CxTUrOfkHt

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) April 11, 2019

In contrast, the much of the British government celebrated the arrest of Assange, achieved through its conspiring with the Ecuadorian government, while the collaboration between the UK and the US to silence Assange is flagrant.  But the British mainstream media is not only failing to address the British government’s complicity in Assange’s persecution, it is legitimising it.

Interestingly, I was asked by several media outlets why would I support Julian Assange on this issue.  I had the feeling that was about killing time while they waited for the appearance of Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, and Wikileaks co-editor, Kristinn Hrafnsson to deliver an update.  It was very cold if you weren’t properly dressed and were hanging about.  Questions from mainstream media included:

Why are you here?

What do you think of the fact embassy staff claimed Assange was rude to them?

What do you think about the sex charges against Assange? (these were allegations)

What do you think of the argument that Assange is not a real journalist?

These are the narratives that divert public attention from the threat hanging over us, not just over journalists, if we want them to hold the powerful to account.  Had the British media engaged in the last six to seven years in the real reason Assange has been arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian Embassy, the British public would understand by now that their government is weak and subservient to US foreign policy.

Undoubtedly, Theresa May’s government has demonstrated this week that it will enable the Trump government to extradite a journalist receiving leaks of information from the US, a journalist that was not even in the US during the leaks.  Should Assange’s case set an extradition precedent and the next journalist receiving a leak from the US is British, who will protect them, a point raised by John Pilger?  The question is what will the British courts do now?  Will they kneel to US foreign policy in the same way the British government has?

Where were these questions on Thursday?  The British corporate media is continuing to protect the establishment, and is capitulating in its own destruction.  We called on the media to join us and hold banners and demand press freedom.


Not all media there was mainstream.  Some alternate media outlets were also there, and kept diversion narratives out of the questions, because they have less or no government agenda and are not afraid to challenge it – but they simply do not have the reach, resources and power of  corporate mainstream media.

When Robinson and Hrafnsson appeared, on two occasions, to update us on the proceedings, the press swarmed around them.   The moment corporate media journalists surrounded Hrafnsson while he instructed them on what their fate might be if Assange is extradited, is a moment they should remember.  They cannot say in the future that nobody warned them, should they find themselves one day stitched up and handed over to US authorities for exposing crime and corruption, their own government betraying them, supine and deferential to US foreign policy.

“There’s only one condition: No extradition!”
“US -UK hands off Assange!”
“Free Free Free Assange!”

https://21stcenturywire.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/vid_assange_protest_Trim.mp4

 

There is a campaign by Wikileaks to raise funds for Assange’s legal defence.  It can be found at:

https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/

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

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

THE ASSANGE ARREST IS A WARNING FROM HISTORY – John Pilger

Sat, 2019-04-13 16:09

John Pilger

The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in  almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair’s “paramount crime” is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange’s crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “sew the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilisation”. The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to the founder and editor of WikiLeaks can happen to you on a newspaper, you in a TV studio, you on radio, you running a podcast.

Assange’s principal media tormentor, the Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called “the greatest scoop of the last 30 years”. The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding joined the police outside and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh”. The Guardian has since published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.

But the tone has now changed. “The Assange case is a morally tangled web,” the paper opined. “He (Assange) believes in publishing things that should not be published…. But he has always shone a light on things that should never have been hidden.”

These “things” are the truth about the homicidal way America conducts its colonial wars, the lies of the British Foreign Office in its denial of rights to vulnerable people, such as the Chagos Islanders, the expose of Hillary Clinton as a backer and beneficiary of jihadism in the Middle East, the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown, and much more. It all available on the WikiLeaks site.

The Guardian is understandably nervous. Secret policemen have already visited the newspaper and demanded and got the ritual destruction of a hard drive.  On this, the paper has form. In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian was showered with praise.

When a court order demanded to know the source, instead of the editor going to prison on a fundamental principle of protecting a source, Tisdall was betrayed, prosecuted and served six months.

If Assange is extradited to America for publishing what the Guardian calls truthful “things”, what is to stop the current editor, Katherine Viner, following him, or the previous editor, Alan Rusbridger, or the prolific propagandist Luke Harding?

What is to stop the editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post, who also published morsels of the truth that originated with WikiLeaks, and the editor of El Pais in Spain, and Der Spiegel in Germany and the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The list is long.

David McCraw, lead lawyer of the New York Times, wrote: “I think the prosecution [of Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers… from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and the law would have a very hard time distinguishing between the New York Times and WilLeaks.”

Even if journalists who published WikiLeaks’ leaks are not summoned by an American grand jury, the intimidation of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be enough. Real journalism is being criminalised by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

In Australia, the current America-besotted government is prosecuting two whistle-blowers who revealed that Canberra’s spooks bugged the cabinet meetings of the new government of East Timor for the express purpose of cheating the tiny, impoverished nation out of its proper share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Their trial will be held in secret. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is infamous for his part in setting up concentration camps for refugees on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, where children self harm and suicide. In 2014, Morrison proposed mass detention camps for 30,000 people.

Real journalism is the enemy of these disgraces. A decade ago, the Ministry of Defence in London produced a secret document which described the “principal threats” to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.

The document was duly leaked to WikiLeaks, which published it. “We had no choice,” Assange told me. “It’s very simple. People have a right to know and a right to question and challenge power. That’s true democracy.”

What if Assange and Manning and others in their wake – if there are others – are silenced and “the right to know and question and challenge” is taken away?

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany.

She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the public.

“Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked her.

“Of course,” she said, “especially the intelligentsia…. When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen.”

And did.

The rest, she might have added, is history.

***

READ MORE WIKILEAKS NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire WikiLeaks Files

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Battlefield Libya and the Fruits of US-NATO Regime Change

Sat, 2019-04-13 03:46

Tony Cartalucci
21st Century Wire

Libya is back in the news, as fighting escalates around the capital, Tripoli.

Forces under the control of Khalifa Haftar – a former Libyan general under the government of Muammar Qaddafi – turned opposition during the 2011 US-led NATO intervention – turned “opposition” again against the UN-backed “Government of National Accord” (GNA) seated in Tripoli – have most recently reached Tripoli’s airport.

The confusing chaos that has continually engulfed Libya since 2011 should come as no surprise. It is the predictable outcome that follows any US-led political or military intervention. Other examples showcasing US-led regime change “success” include Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine.

And just like in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine – the Western corporate media has regularly omitted mention of Libya from headlines specifically to mask the very predictable consequences of US-led regime change as additional interventions against nations like Venezuela, Syria, and Iran are engineered and pursued.

Battlefield Libya

In 2011, the North African nation of Libya was transformed from a prosperous, developing nation, into a divided, perpetual battlefield where local warlords backed by a milieu of opposing foreign sponsors and interests have vied for power since.

Libya’s current status as a failed, warring state is owed entirely to the US-led NATO intervention in 2011.

Predicated on lies promoted by Western-funded “human rights” organizations and fought under the pretext of R2P (responsibility to protect) – the US and its NATO allies dismembered Libya leading to predictable and perpetual chaos that has affected not only Libya itself, but North Africa, Southern Europe, and even the Middle East.

The war immediately triggered not only a wave of refugees fleeing the war itself, but the redirection of refugees from across Africa seeking shelter and work in Libya, across the Mediterranean and into Europe instead.

Militants fighting as proxies for the US-led war in 2011 would be armed and redeployed to Turkey where they entered Syria and played a key role in taking the cities of Idlib and Aleppo during the early stages of that US-led proxy war.

Currently, Libya is divided between the UN-backed government based in Tripoli, eastern-based forces loyal to Haftar, and a mix of other forces operating across the country, holding various degrees of control over Libya’s other major cities, and equally varying degrees of loyalty to the UN-backed government, Haftar’s forces, or other factions.

Fighting around Tripoli has even allegedly prompted US military forces stationed in Libya to temporarily evacuate. CNBC in its article, “US pulls forces from Libya as fighting approaches capital,” would report:

The United States has temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya due to “security conditions on the ground,” a top military official said Sunday as a Libyan commander’s forces advanced toward the capital of Tripoli and clashed with rival militias.

A small contingent of American troops has been in Libya in recent years, helping local forces combat Islamic State and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities.

The presence of US forces in Libya might be news to some – and was certainly only a dream within the Pentagon until after the 2011 US-led NATO intervention finally toppled the Libyan government.

America’s foreign policy of arsonist-fireman has endowed it with a large and still growing military footprint in Africa – one it uses to project power and affect geopolitics well beyond the continent.

America’s Growing Footprint in Africa

The ongoing Libyan conflict – flush with weapons pouring in from foreign sponsors – has also fuelled regional terrorism impacting neighboring Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, and Chad, as far west as Mali and Nigeria, and southeast as far as Kenya. The war has been a boon for US Africa Command (AFRICOM) which has used the resulting chaos as a pretext to expand Washington’s military footprint on the continent.

In a 2018 Intercept article titled, “U.S. Military Says it has a “Light Footprint” in Africa. These Documents Show a Vast Network of Bases,” it was reported that:

According to a 2018 briefing by AFRICOM science adviser Peter E. Teil, the military’s constellation of bases includes 34 sites scattered across the continent, with high concentrations in the north and west as well as the Horn of Africa. These regions, not surprisingly, have also seen numerous U.S. drone attacks and low-profile commando raids in recent years.

The article notes that much of AFRICOM’s expansion in Africa has occurred over the past decade.

While the pretext for US military expansion in Africa has been “counter-terrorism,” it is clear US military forces are there to protect US interests and project US power with “terrorism” a manufactured pretext to justify Washington’s militarization of the continent.

Much of the terrorism the US claims it is fighting was only possible in the first place through the flood of weapons, equipment, and support provided to militants by the US and its partners amid regime change operations targeting nations like Libya.

The US-led NATO war in Libya is a perfect example of the US deliberately arming terrorist organizations – including those listed as foreign terrorist organizations by the US State Department itself – overthrowing a nation, predictably destabilizing the entire region, and using the resulting instability as a pretext to massively expand America’s military footprint there.

The wider agenda at play is Washington’s desire to displace current Russian and Chinese interests on the continent, granting the US free reign.

Fruits of US-NATO Regime Change

As NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg would claim:

Over seven decades, NATO has stepped up time and again to keep our people safe, and we will continue to stand together to prevent conflict and preserve peace.

This “peace” includes 8 years of heavy fighting in Libya following NATO’s intervention there.

NATO’s Secretary General proclaims NATO’s mission as one to “prevent conflict and preserve peace,” yet it paradoxically and very intentionally engineered the war in Libya, overthrew the government in Tripoli, and triggered regional chaos that not only plagues North Africa to this day – but also inundated Europe with refugees fleeing the conflict.

Europe is one of the few places NATO could conceivably claim any mandate to protect or operate in – yet its own wars of aggression abroad directly compromised European safety and security.

The media blackout that has shrouded the true impact of NATO’s intervention in Libya for the past 8 years helps enable the US and its NATO partners to perpetrate additional proxy wars and political interventions elsewhere.

As the US openly pursues aggressive regime change in Venezuela and meddles in the internal politics of nations across Southeast Asia, the “fruits” of US intervention in places like Libya should always be kept in mind.

What is most alarming of all is considering that the US-led intervention in Libya may not necessarily be a failure. It is only a failure if one believed the US truly sought a better future for the nation. However, if the fruits of perpetual chaos and an equally perpetual pretext for the US militarization of Africa were intentionally set out for from the beginning – then in many ways – Libya was a resounding success.

Depending on how the current fighting around Tripoli unfolds, whether or not a unified Libya emerges, and whose foreign military presence and economic interests are allowed to persist on Libyan soil thereafter – will help determine just how successful Washington’s true agenda in Libya – and in Africa – has been.

***
21WIRE contributor Tony Cartalucci is an independent writer, researcher and global affairs analyst, and editor and founder of the blog site Land Destroyer. A previous version of this article was published at New Eastern Outlook.

READ MORE LIBYA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Libya Files

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Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Crash and Burn: Israel’s Moon Shot Ends in Disaster.

Sat, 2019-04-13 00:42


With the settler state more divided than ever, and tensions between the native Palestinians as high as ever, this event was meant to be Israel’s “unifying moment” that would bring all Israelis (but not its Arab residents) and globally Jewry together with a shared purpose for one glorious moment. 

The attempted moon landing by the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet was broadcast live last night, on the side of the spacecraft read the slogan, “Small country, big dreams.”

However, the Jewish state’s lunar dream crashed and burned, in spectacular fashion, as one of the craft’s main engines blew up on its final descent, crashing into the Moon.

The explosion is said to have marked the end of Israel’s fledgling satellite industry, effectively denying the Jewish state a seat in the elite global club of countries who’ve executed successful lunar landings.

The timing of this grand process – culminating at the exact moment when the Israeli election results were announced – was perhaps too much a coincidence for even the most ardent non-skeptic. Somewhat poetically, Israel’s shallow 2019 election campaign ended as it deserved: A farce.

Noa Landau from Haaretz summed the irony up as follows:

“This is why the loss of communications with the spacecraft, just a moment before the anticipated landing, and just a moment before the announcement of the final election vote results, which at the very last moment went awry – exactly like the landing – felt like one big metaphor. Like the country that could have been, but we have missed out on. In the high-tech superpower filled with traffic jams and embarassing trains, where it’s impossible to receive a package in the mail, and votes can’t be correctly counted, everything is so close, but not quite.” 

RT International reports…

Beresheet’s engine stopped working around 10 kilometers from the surface, with the vehicle crashing into the Moon at a speed of over 130 meters per second.

It looks like the #beresheet lander (the first private lander trying to land on the moon) hit the surface going 134 m/s (wayyyyyy too fast) after its main engine cut out around 10 km in altitude

Categories: Foreign Policy, World

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