Ron Unz knows a lot about US censorship.
Since social media sites are often monopolies, if US courts were doing their job, they might evoke the anti-trust laws. For example, according to Investopedia
Refusal to Deal: Like any other company, monopolies can choose who they wish to conduct business with. However, if they use their market dominance to prevent competition, this can be considered a violation of antitrust laws.
By pulling the web site of a consumer, Facebook is refusing to deal with that person, and is using itrs market dominance to prevent competition of ideas. It doesn't matter that the consumer is paying or not because there is an assumption that all shall be treated equally and that is obviously not the case at all.
A court in a truly democratic country would accept Ron Unz's case and put a quick stop to this.
The trouble is, the courts are all part of the Establishment (I don't use the term "Deep State" because it has been co-opted by the Trump camp to mean only that part of the Establishment that opposes Trump, which is laughable) and it would be impossible in our hopelessly corrupt system to apply this law even though it is quite applicable to the case of internet users who dissent from the going narrative and are rudely and unceremoniously censored.
Ron was bound to run afoul of this cabal eventually because one of the forbidden ideas is that the US may have developed the COVID-19 strain in a military laboratory and introduced it into the population of both China and Iran. Even if this were an absurd idea, Ron finds many coincidences that are too unikely to be just coincidences and his arguments are cogent and air tight. All the more reason to cast him into outer darkness.
I have some experience with this kind of censorship as well. There are two third rails of opinion on social media that I have run afoul of on various occasions:
Criticism of Israel and defence of Palestinans
Theories of US involvement in the origin of COVID-19.
In most cases, where I have crossed these invisible red lines of the US dictatorship, I have had my opinion pieces removed, with no comment from the censor, no explanaton and of course, no apology. A Soviet dissident magically transported to our time in the US would demand to be returned to "freedom" in Russia.
As I have said on many occasions, anyone who thinks of America as a democracy or the US as the "Land of the Free" is terminally naive. And sadly, most Americans do think this way and they are very much part of the problem.
THE AMERICAN DEEP STATE STRIKES BACK
What Google and Facebook Are Hiding, by Ron Unz
The American Deep State Strikes Back
After several months of record-breaking traffic our alternative media webzine suffered a sharp blow when it was suddenly purged by Facebook at the end of April. Not only was our rudimentary Facebook page eliminated, but all subsequent attempts by readers to post our articles to the world’s largest social network produced an error message describing the content as “abusive.” Our entire website had been banned.
Facebook publishes a monthly report cataloging its actions to eliminate “improper content,” and although our publication was probably one of the largest and most popular ever so proscribed, the explanation provided was remarkably cursory, with our name mentioned in only two scattered sentences across the 47 page document.
Our investigation linked this network to VDARE, a website known for posting anti-immigration content, and individuals associated with a similar website The Unz Review.
Although the people behind this operation attempted to conceal their coordination, our investigation linked this network to VDARE, a website known for posting anti-immigration content, and to individuals associated with a similar website The Unz Review.
As I’ve previously discussed, characterizing our alternative media publication as an “anti-immigration” website “similar” to VDare seemed utterly bizarre considering that only about 0.2% of our 2020 content was republished from that source and many months had elapsed since we had last featured a piece on immigration. So I strongly suspected that the claim merely served as an excuse.
I don’t use Facebook or other social networks myself, and noticed little reduction in our daily traffic following that purge, which seemed to underscore our lack of reliance upon social media. But a week later, this abruptly changed, and our regular daily readership dropped by a significant 15-20%, hardly a crippling blow but quite distressing, setting us back many months of previous growth.
This puzzled me. Why would the Facebook ban have had such limited initial impact but then suddenly become so much more serious? Eventually I discovered that a second even more powerful Internet giant had also banned us, which explained the sharp drop. Our entire website and all its many millions of pages of serious content had been silently deranked by Google, thus eliminating nearly all our incoming traffic from search results. A few quick checks confirmed this unfortunate situation, best illustrated by a particularly striking example.
Just over a decade ago, I had published an important article entitled The Myth of Hispanic Crime, and for ten years it had always placed extremely high in Google searches, generally being ranked #2 across the 52,000,000 results for “Hispanic crime” and also #2 among the 139,000,000 results for “Latino crime.” The impact of my analysis on the heated public debate had also been quite considerable, and a few years ago a leading academic specialist even asked me to blurb his book on that subject. But my article had now vanished from all such Google searches.
Although Google holds an overwhelming monopoly for web searches across the Western world, comparable products using similar technology such as Bing and DuckDuckGo do exist, and these still list my article near the top of their results, with Bing ranking it at #2 for “Hispanic crime” and “Latino crime,” while DuckDuckGo places it #4 in each. But no one would ever find it using Google.
The other pages of our website have been similarly blacklisted, effectively eliminated from all web searches courtesy of Google’s information monopoly. This even included the periodical content library that I had built during the 2000s, containing the near-complete archives of hundreds of America’s most influential publications of the last 150 years. Millions of these important articles are available nowhere else, and their disappearance represents a tremendous loss to academic scholarship.
Google still does contains all these pages, and if the additional specifier “unz” is added to the search, the results come up, but for anyone not knowing where to look, our entire website and all its content has completely disappeared. This explained our sudden 15-20% reduction in regular traffic.
Internet law is obviously quite murky, but it seems a great shame if Google has decided to use its software monopoly to severely manipulate search results and deliberately hide important information. The notion of Google “disappearing” an entire website and all its material is surely fraught with peril. Should Google’s executives be allowed to “disappear” whichever politicians or candidates they dislike? Should wealthy individuals or powerful groups be able to pay or lobby Google to have their critics removed from all search results?
During 2018 Google employees themselves took a very strong public stance on exactly these issues, protesting their own company’s willingness to produce a “censored” version of their search engine for use in China, a controversy that reached the national headlines, and soon forced executives to abandon the project. But although Google censorship of content within China still remains an inflammatory topic, Google censorship of American content has now apparently become so routine and accepted that it took me more than a week to discover that our entire website had been thrown down the Orwellian “memory hole.”
I’d always taken great pride in having my Hispanic Crime article spend a decade ranked #2 among nearly 200,000,000 Google results for that important topic, and was dismayed that Google “disappeared” it. But in fairness, I’d have to admit that individuals who make themselves disagreeable to ruling political elites sometimes suffer far worse retaliation. For example, my Saturday morning newspapers carried the latest developments in the unfortunate story of Jamal Khashoggi, the dissenting Saudi journalist whose critical writings in the Washington Post so irritated his government that they had him killed and his body dismembered with a bone-saw. Compared to that, having my articles deranked by Google hardly seems a major complaint.
For years our website has published a great deal of extremely controversial material, and many readers are probably much more surprised that Google and Facebook took so long to purge us rather than they finally did so.
Consider, for example, my own American Pravda series, which together with related articles totals 280,000 words and has drawn about 3 million pageviews, while attracting over 25,000 comments containing another 3.5 million words. Many of these articles candidly address some of the most controversial aspects of the JFK Assassination, the 9/11 Attacks, and the history of World War II, topics so touchy that a couple of years ago the redoubtable Israel Shamir described me as the “Kamikazi from California,” and suggested along with numerous other observers that our website might soon be annihilated as a consequence. But aside from a rather lackluster rebuke from the usually ferocious ADL, absolutely nothing untoward happened.
Yet now we have been almost simultaneously banned by both Google and Facebook, America’s leading gatekeepers to the Internet, such concerted action hardly seems likely to have been coincidental, especially coming as it did after years of apparent equanimity. So what had prompted this sudden purge?
I think the obvious answer was my most recent American Pravda installment, which attracted more early readership and social media interest than anything I had previously written, and which appeared just eight days before Facebook’s ban.
My article noted some important facts that are less widely known that they should be, and are quite embarrassing both to our own government and its overly subservient mainstream journalists.
For decades, the American media has regularly denounced the Chinese government for its notorious 1989 slaughter of the student protesters at Tiananmen and shamed its leadership for continuing to flatly deny that historical reality, with China’s demands for censorship of the massacre being a leading source of conflict with Google. However, I pointed out that more than twenty years ago the former Beijing bureau chief of the Washington Post, who had personally covered the events, published a long article in our most prestigious journalism review admitting that the infamous “Tiananmen Square Massacre” had never actually happened, and was just a concoction of incompetent journalists and dishonest propagandists. Yet for decades the promotion of that debunked hoax by our elite media has continued unabated.
As another example, I noted that back in 1999 our warplanes had bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing or wounding dozens of Chinese diplomats. At the time, our media uniformly reported the attack as a tragic accident, while ridiculing China’s government for alleging otherwise. However, just a few months later, many of the leading newspapers in Britain and the rest of the world revealed that the bombing had indeed been deliberate, quoting numerous NATO intelligence sources to that effect. But since the American media completely boycotted this major international story, very few Americans have ever discovered that the Chinese had been telling the truth all along and our own government lying.
Although these historical items were noteworthy, they merely set the stage for a far more explosive analysis. The bulk of my 7,400 word article presented the very considerable circumstantial evidence that our current Coronavirus national disaster was entirely self-inflicted, being the unintended blowback from an extremely reckless American biowarfare attack against China (and Iran), presumably organized by the Deep State Neocons or other rogue elements in our national security establishment.
This ongoing disease epidemic has already killed 100,000 Americans and wrecked our economy, so we can easily understand why the guilty parties would do all they could to prevent this information from getting into general circulation, pressuring Google and Facebook to suppress the crucial evidence. Since my long article has now been banned by America’s Internet giants, I’ll repeat some of the most important excerpts:
As the coronavirus gradually began to spread beyond China’s own borders, another development occurred that greatly multiplied my suspicions. Most of these early cases had occurred exactly where one might expect, among the East Asian countries bordering China. But by late February Iran had become the second epicenter of the global outbreak. Even more surprisingly, its political elites had been especially hard-hit, with a full 10% of the entire Iranian parliament soon infected and at least a dozen of its officials and politicians dying of the disease, including some who were quite senior. Indeed, Neocon activists on Twitter began gleefully noting that their hatred Iranian enemies were now dropping like flies.
Let us consider the implications of these facts. Across the entire world the only political elites that have yet suffered any significant human losses have been those of Iran, and they died at a very early stage, before significant outbreaks had even occurred almost anywhere else in the world outside China. Thus, we have America assassinating Iran’s top military commander on Jan. 2nd and then just a few weeks later large portions of the Iranian ruling elites became infected by a mysterious and deadly new virus, with many of them soon dying as a consequence. Could any rational individual possibly regard this as a mere coincidence?
* * *
For obvious reasons, the Trump Administration has become very eager to emphasize the early missteps and delays in the Chinese reaction to the viral outbreak in Wuhan, and has presumably encouraged our media outlets to direct their focus in that direction.
As an example of this, the Associated Press Investigative Unit recently published a rather detailed analysis of those early events purportedly based upon confidential Chinese documents. Provocatively entitled “China Didn’t Warn Public of Likely Pandemic for 6 Key Days”, the piece was widely distributed, running in abridged formin the NYT and elsewhere. According to this reconstruction, the Chinese government first became aware of the seriousness of this public health crisis on Jan. 14th, but delayed taking any major action until Jan. 20th, a period of time during which the number of infections greatly multiplied.
Last month, a team of five WSJ reporters produced a very detailed and thorough 4,400 word analysis of the same period, and the NYT has published a helpful timeline of those early events as well. Although there may be some differences of emphasis or minor disagreements, all these American media sources agree that Chinese officials first became aware of the serious viral outbreak in Wuhan in early to mid-January, with the first known death occurring on Jan. 11th, and finally implemented major new public health measures later that same month. No one has apparently disputed these basic facts.
But with the horrific consequences of our own later governmental inaction being obvious, elements within our intelligence agencies have sought to demonstrate that they were not the ones asleep at the switch. Earlier this month, an ABC News story cited four separate government sources to reveal that as far back as late November, a special medical intelligence unit within our Defense Intelligence Agency had produced a report warning that an out-of-control disease epidemic was occurring in the Wuhan area of China, and widely distributed that document throughout the top ranks of our government, warning that steps should be taken to protect US forces based in Asia. After the story aired, a Pentagon spokesman officially denied the existence of that November report, while various other top level government and intelligence officials refused to comment. But a few days later, Israeli television mentioned that in November American intelligence had indeed shared such a report on the Wuhan disease outbreak with its NATO and Israeli allies, thus seeming to independently confirm the complete accuracy of the original ABC News story and its several government sources.
It therefore appears that elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency were aware of the deadly viral outbreak in Wuhan more than a month before any officials in the Chinese government itself. Unless our intelligence agencies have pioneered the technology of precognition, I think this may have happened for the same reason that arsonists have the earliest knowledge of future fires.
Although criticism of the mainstream media has been the central theme of my American Pravda series, I always spend at least a couple of hours every morning carefully reading our leading newspapers, which I regard as unmatched sources of important information so long as their articles are treated with proper caution and rigor. Consider that most of the crucial evidence suggesting an American biowarfare attack was hidden in plain sight in such eminently respectable news sources as the NYT, the WSJ, and ABC News.
As our global confrontation with China has grown hotter, my morning New York Times has continued to provide invaluable information for anyone willing to read it carefully.
For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo probably ranks as the most prominent Deep State Neocon in the Trump Administration, and is a leading architect of our confrontation with China. Last week he broke quarantine to take a trip to Israel and hold important talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as reported in a 1,600 word NYT article. Although the majority of their discussion concerned American support for the proposed annexation of the Palestinian West Bank, a serious disagreement arose concerning Israel’s growing economic ties with China, with the piece noting that the Jewish State had “antagonized” Washington by allowing Chinese companies to make major infrastructure investments, some of them in sensitive locations. According to the three Times journalists, Netanyahu firmly stood his ground, determined to “push back” against Pompeo’s repeated warnings and refused to reconsider his government’s China policy.
But just a couple of days later, the Times then reported that Du Wei, the Chinese ambassador to Israel, age 57, had been found dead at his home, having suddenly fallen victim to “unspecified health problems.” The piece emphasized that he had become a leading public critic of America’s current policies toward China, and the juxtaposition of these two consecutive NYT articles raised all sorts of obvious questions in my mind.
According to standard mortality tables, an American male age 57 has less than a 1% chance of dying in a particular year, and given the similarity in overall life expectancy, the same must surely true of Chinese males. Recently appointed Chinese ambassadors are likely to be in reasonably good health rather than suffering the last stages of terminal cancer, but such causes together with obvious, visible injuries account for more than half of all fatalities at around that age. Thus, the likelihood that the 57-year-old Chinese diplomat died naturally within that two day window was probably far less than 1 in 50,000. Lightning does sometimes strike under the most unlikely of circumstances, but not very often; and I think that the unexplained deaths of ambassadors during international confrontations probably fall into the same category.
Thus, it seems exceptionally unlikely that the sudden demise of Ambassador Du was not somehow directly connected with the heated dispute between Pompeo and Netanyahu over Israel’s China ties that had occurred just two days earlier. The exact details and circumstances are entirely obscure, and we can merely speculate. But since speculation has not yet been outlawed by government edict, an interesting possibility comes to mind.
In sharp contrast to the elected leaders of America’s vassal-states throughout Europe and Asia, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu hardly regards himself as beholden to the American government. He is a powerful, arrogant individual who remembers the endless standing ovations that he enjoyed when he addressed our own House and Senate, receiving the sort of bipartisan public adulation that would be unimaginable for a Donald Trump, who remains deeply unpopular with half our Congress and nation. So faced with demands by a Trump envoy that he sacrifice his own nation’s interests by cancelling important Chinese economic projects, he apparently disregarded Pompeo’s warnings and told him to get lost.
The classic 1972 film The Godfather ranks #2 in the IMDb Movie Database, and one of its most famous scenes concerns a conflict between a powerful and arrogant Hollywood film mogul and a visiting representative of the Corleone family. When the polite requests of the latter are casually disregarded, the movie tycoon awakens to discover the bloody head of his prized race-horse in his own bed, thereby demonstrating the serious nature of the warning he had received and indicating that it should not be disregarded. Pompeo had recently served as CIA Director, and I suspect he called in a few favors with elements of the Israeli Mossad and had them take lethal steps to convince Netanyahu that our demands that he reassess his ties with China were of a serious nature, not to be treated lightly. I strongly suspect that the controversial Chinese-Israeli economic ventures will soon be curtailed or abandoned.
I had never heard of the unfortunate Chinese ambassador prior to his sudden demise, and under normal circumstances any such notions of American foul play might be dismissed as absurd. But consider that just a few months earlier, we had publicly assassinated a top Iranian leader after he was lured to Baghdad for peace negotiations, an act vastly more weighty than the plausible deniability of a middle-aged diplomat being found dead in his own home of unknown causes.
A few days later, my Wall Street Journal carried an article entitled China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomats Are to Fight, beginning on the front page and running 2,200 words, by far the longest piece appearing in that day’s edition. Yet although the late Ambassador Du had been in the forefront of this ongoing Chinese campaign to challenge American influence, both in Israel and during his previous posting to Ukraine, and the sudden death of this particular “wolf warrior diplomat” was surely known to the journalists, his name appeared nowhere in the text, leading me to wonder whether it had been deliberately excised to avoid raising obvious suspicions in the WSJ readership.
For hundreds of years since the Treaty of Westphalia, the lives of diplomats have been almost always treated as sacrosanct, and a typical response to breaking such international conventions might be tit-for-tat retaliation. China’s leadership tends to be remarkably pragmatic, and recognizes that its national strength is rapidly growing even as our own society decays and declines, so perhaps they will forego any such reaction, at least for the time being. But if any American diplomats or other ranking officials begin to suffer strange fatalities, the explanation may be less than mysterious, though Google and Facebook will certainly do their best to keep it so.
Maybe you have heard the story, related in the press as Gospel truth, that the PRC is executing members of a religious cult known as the Falun Gong and harvesting their organs. The source of these stories in the press is a group calling itself the China Tribunal, which serves as a newsfeed service. The stories are invariably about how China mistreats its minorities, notably the Falun Gong, to which the group is linked.
The cult was founded by Li Hongzhi, who fancies himself the saviour of all mankind. An article in Pitt News quotes Li’s book as follows:
“Master [Li] has spread Dafa for ten years. Even in the human world, predestinations have changed. The comet catastrophe predestined in history is no more, the third world war has been averted, and the peril in 1999 from the cycle of formation-stasis-degeneration-destruction of Heaven and Earth will never recur … How wonderful. Wonderful. Truly Wonderful!”
In an interview with Time, Li claims he can levitate himself just like David Copperfield but will not do it, and that he can heal the sick but also will not do that. But read the interview in Time. It is instructional and entertaining.
Now, here is the question: why would news agencies all over the West believe a single word this obviously deranged fanatic says?
Oh, that’s right, it’s hate China season, as declared by Donald Trump, who wants to be re-elected in November no matter what it takes.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at a document from a Chinese embassy site that quotes from a US State Department letter of April 14, 2006, in the Bush era. Be careful not to get confused because this is a repost from Oct 24, 2012 but the official letter is from 2006. The letter contains notes [in brackets] from Vince Dhimos. Note that a photocopy of this State Department letter is posted by Scribd here: https://es.scribd.com/document/111072539/United-States-Department-of-State-refutes-rumor-of-Falun-Gong-organ-harvesting
Also note that Scribd is in this for the money, although they give you a preview with which you might be able to copy their photocopy by hand. Or you may pay the $8 plus fee for a one-month membership and download your own copy.
United States Department of State refutes rumor of Falun Gong "organ harvesting"
Kaiwind.com, Oct. 24, 2012 - On April 14, 2006, United States Department of State spokesman Sean McCormack claimed that, through field investigation, the United States has found no evidence to support the allegations of Falun Gong's "organ harvesting".
The article U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alleged Concentration Camp in China published on April 16, 2006 on Usinfo.state.gov, the website of US International Information Programs (IIP), said: "U.S. representatives have found no evidence to support allegations that a site in northeast China has been used as a concentration camp to jail Falun Gong practitioners and harvest their organs, according to the U.S. Department of State. Officers and staff from the U.S. embassy in Beijing and the U.S. consulate in Shenyang have visited the area and the specific site on two separate occasions. In these visits the officers were allowed to tour the entire facility and grounds and found no evidence that the site is being used for any function other than as a normal public hospital." [Now, ask yourself, given the description of Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi, should I not take things that he reports – including the alleged organ harvesting by the PRC—with a whole salt shaker full of salt? China’s economic results during the pandemic are surprisingly good, with GDP results in the positive range compared to the US’s deeply negative figures. The country also has increased its exports to its Asian partners in contrast to the US’s awful export data this this period. China will only lose perhaps 11% of its export sales if decoupled from the US. Trump apparently thinks the US is more important economically to China than it actually is and that the US can come out “winning” the economic war with a country that produces tens of times more than the US. In other words, the big time loser in the economic wars probably won’t be China. Decoupling will predictably hurt the US much more because China has the option to substitute energy and food products elsewhere. Australia, which is not much more than a sock puppet of Washington, tried getting tough with China to please the US and now faces a half-billion dollar loss of its barley exports. A similar fate awaits the US but re-election comes first I guess.]
Why did the United States Department of State send such a statement?
On March 9, 2006, Falun Gong website Epochtimes.com [rabidly anti-PRC] published the article titled Shenyang Concentration Camp Sets Cremator for Selling Falun Gong Practitioners' Organs, claiming that there was a secret camp in Sujiatun District, Shenyang City, the capital of Northeast China's Liaoning Province, over 6,000 Falun Gong members were arrested there and were cremated after "organ harvesting". After that, Falun Gong has been spreading rumors around "Sujiatun Concentration Camp", lobbying some politicians from certain countries, and holding some so-called protesting activities.
Since the rumor is too outrageous, it has drawn countless questions from the beginning.
Falun Gong changed tone immediately, and fabricated the so-called "concentration camp" to Liaoning Thrombus Treatment Center of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine (commonly known as Sujiatun Thrombus Hospital). Besides, Falun Gong also published the hospital's photos and the so-called cremator online.
The Falun Gong disinformation has been repeatedly rejected by Chinese authorities.
On March 31, 2006, the direct rumor victim Liaoning Thrombus Treatment Center of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine clarified the fact on Thrombusres-cn.net, the website of "Network of China Thrombus Disease Research". Locating in downtown, the hospital is classified as second-level first-class, with no ability of "removing human organs" in the aspects of medical instruments, equipment level, physicians permission etc. Moreover, the hospital cannot keep 6,000 people at all with only 300 beds, and the so-called cremator is just the general boiler of the hospital.
On April 4, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman refuted the rumors of Falun Gong in response to the reporter of AP.
On April 12, Sujiatun district government and Liaoning Thrombus Treatment Center of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine held a news conference held in the State Council, and condemned the despicable act of Falun Gong.
After the rumors appeared, many media in and out of China went to Sujiatun for on-the-spot interview. For example, China News Agency on March 24, Japan's NHK, Hongkong's Phoenix TV and Ta Kung Pao on March 31 visited Sujiatun and the Hospital respectively. Phoenix TV pointed out clearly in the report that the secret "concentration camp" of Falun Gong didn't exist at all.
On April 12, in the press conference held by Chinese State Council Information Office, CNN, Washington Post, Reuters, AP, Singapore United Morning Post, Phoenix TV of Hongkong and Japan's Asahi Shimbun, totally 11 domestic and foreign media conducted live interviews. They all reported that Sujiatun government and Liaoning Thrombus Treatment Center of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine refuted Falun Gong rumor with facts. The caption of Reuters was China Condemned Falun Gong of "Concentration Camp".
The United States embassy consulate officials visited Sujiatun twice. On March 22, a Shenyang-based official from the United States Consulate conducted a comprehensive visit on the Hospital. He favored the hospital's environment and medical conditions, and agreed to introduce the hospital to his friends.
Subsequently, the Associated Press interviewed the United States Embassy of Beijing. According to the report, a spokeswoman from the United States Embassy of Beijing said: "According to all the information we have been able to obtain thus far, the site is functioning only as a hospital."
On April 14, Consul General David Kombluth of US Consulate General in Shenyang and other two officials from US Embassy paid a thorough three-and-a-half-hour visit to the Hospital, including its lab of pharmacology, surgery room, canteen storage, garage, trash house, boiler room, chimney, archives as well as its neighborhood. On the same day, US Department of State released its report on the two investigations.
Photocopy of State Department letter mentioned above: https://es.scribd.com/document/111072539/United-States-Department-of-State-refutes-rumor-of-Falun-Gong-organ-harvesting
Egyptian Army kills 21 militants in 2 simultaneous attacks
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:40 P.M.) – On Saturday, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior announced that 21 militants were killed in two simultaneous attacks in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula.
The ministry said in a statement on Saturday that “information was available to the National Security Sector about the presence of a group of terrorist elements on a farm in North Sinai, which served as a headquarters for accommodation and training and planning for the implementation of hostilities and for them to pay a number of their elements to focus on a house in the Bir al-Abd area to carry out terrorist operations in conjunction with Eid al-Fitr.”
They added, “The two groups were targeted simultaneously and exchanges of fire with those elements resulted in the killing of 14 terrorists on a farm in the Bir al-Abd area, which the terrorists took for the purpose of accommodation, training and planning, in addition to killing 7 members of a house simultaneously, along with two officers wounded while dealing with terrorist elements.”
The North Sinai Governorate is witnessing a major military campaign launched by the Egyptian forces against terrorist groups in this region.
Most of these groups are factions under the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) terrorist wing, who continue to wreak havoc in areas across the North Sinai Governorate.
Source: Sputnik Arabic
Libyan special forces capture key city south of Tripoli
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:20 P.M.) – The special forces of the Libyan National Army, led by their commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, announced that they have tightened control over the city of Mazda in the western mountain region, south of the capital, Tripoli.
A spokesman for the special forces, also known as Al-Sa’iqah (Arabic for “thunderbolt”), in the the LNA, Miloud Zoui said on Friday that the 23rd Company of the 1st Battalion, after entering Mazda, is working to secure the eastern and western gates of the city after expelling the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) forces from it.
The Libyan National Army, supported by a local militia from the city of Zintan, began to deploy in Mazda and along the highway to the cities of Gharyan and Al-Asaba.
It is important to note that the Government of National Accord forces captured Al-Asaba on Friday after launching a heavy attack on the Libyan National Army’s positions.
Since capturing Al-Asaba, the Government of National Accord forces have shifted their attention to the strategic city of Tarhouna, which is where the Libyan National Army is preparing to make a big stand against these Turkish-backed troops.
On Monday, the GNA announced that they had captured the strategic Al-Watiyah Airbase after more than a month of intense clashes with the Libyan National Army.
Another question answered by Vince at Quora.
Should China be made to pay compensation?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Modified since posting at Quora
There is no precedent for any country being held accountable for an act of force majeure occurring in that country. In fact, in contract law, an act of force majeure, also called an act of God in legalese, is the only thing that can cause the legitimate dissolution of a valid contract between two parties through no fault of either party. For instance if a volcano covers a building site with ash and lava, a builder under contract to build a stadium on the site may be legally freed of his contractual obligations without penalty. Yet, today, absurdly, the US Establishment is turning the law on its head and pretending that such an act of God can be attributed to certain persons, who can be held liable for what God has wrought.
If it were legitimate to blame a country that spreads disease to other countries, then the US could easily have been blamed for the spread of polio and AIDS to the rest of the world — even though these diseases did not necessarily originate in the US. The main carriers were Americans and in the case of AIDS, the US for many years made no attempt whatsoever to find a cure or in any way to stop the spread of that disease. Reagan, in fact, thought the virus was God’s punishment for homosexual behaviour and refused to allot funds to find a cure.
But before the Trump administration came along, the world was at least in the hands of sensible individuals who knew that no one country could be held accountable for what was by all appearances a natural outbreak of a disease.
Today, however, the world is in the hands of powerful people whose only accomplishment is the ability to pull political levers and convince the unthinking masses that they are justified in doing absurd things and bringing absurd charges against others based on the most tenuous of rationales and arguments that have no precedent in law, international or other. For example, though Iran had no hand in the planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers—which were carried out by mostly Saudi citizens, US shysters in government and high courts managed to concoct a story that somehow, it was Iran, and not the Saudis, that caused the loss of life and damage to property in NY. This accusation was upheld by a crooked court and families were awarded billions of Iranian dollars for something that Iran clearly did not do! In fact, Iran would never cooperate with Saudi Arabia in anything remotely resembling this plot simply because the two countries are implacable enemies. Yet the US msm have trained their American subjects to ignore the obvious in favour of narratives that benefit the billionaires who control America and its satellites. And sadly, the grassroots happily comply with their own victimization.
The US Establishment is a master of deception and that is being evidenced now like never before.
The fact is, the Chinese and Russians both have their own suspicions about the true origin of the COVID-19 virus, but serious Western researchers and writers who delve into these suspicions and show that they are not at all unjustified have had their social media pages removed. Ron Unz, owner and operator of the respected Unz Review, is the latest victim. His entire collection of articles on serious subjects representing years of work was removed from a social media site without any attempt to explain why.
Anyone who thinks the US is a democratic country that allows freedom of speech is seriously deluded. The differences between today’s West — where Julian Assange sits in a UK prison for telling the unvarnished truth about US crimes — and the defunct Soviet Union are paper thin! But the grassroots, who claim to love freedom, are cheering Assange’s persecutors.
I have posted translations outlining the Chinese and Russian statements on the suspected origin of the pandemic:
Vince Dhimos's answer to How do you see COVID-19? Is it a pandemic or a biological weapon of mass destruction? How will you see globalization in the future in this context?
This is not to say that I necessarily subscribe to these theories but simply to let the reader know that the US does not have the only reason to blame a suspected perpetrator in this issue. The only reason the US has the ability to bring charges against China is that the US is the most powerful country in the world and has among its populace an amazingly high percentage of people who are willing to suspend disbelief on behalf of their political ideology and the politicians they worship without question (many even claim their president was chosen by God!).
This is the most dangerous situation the world has faced since the 30s. Much foolishness and mischief still lie ahead.
Iran, Venezuela challenging U.S. dominance, who is violating intl. law?
by Ebrahim Fallahi
May 19, 2020 - 14:30
TEHRAN – It has been few weeks since the rumors began spreading that Iran intended to ship several fuel consignments to Caracas to help alleviate Venezuela’s severe fuel problems.
The rumors got closer to reality when last week, news agencies around the world reported that five tankers carrying Iranian fuel have set sail for Venezuela.
Angry with Iran’s bold act of defiance, Washington is reportedly considering military measures in response to Iran’s fuel shipment to Caracas, and unconfirmed reports suggest that the U.S. intends to deploy its navy to the Caribbean.
Now, considering the fact that Venezuela and Iran are both independent states and the dollar-free trade exchange between the two nations which is taking place through international free waters is completely legal, the question is under which law the U.S. is trying to interfere with a transaction that is, in fact, a humanitarian support from Iran to the Venezuelan people who are suffering in a situation that is a direct result of U.S. interference in their country. Who is violating international law?
In an interview with the Tehran Times, International Energy Expert Mahmood Khaghani answers this question.
The Venezuelan oil industry is targeted by severe U.S. sanctions and the country’s refineries are mostly shut down due to maintenance problems.
Earlier this month, under the U.S. pressure, the Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft, which accounted for nearly two-thirds of the country’s oil and oil products trade and a significant share of crude production, announced that the firm was ending its operations in Venezuela and selling all of its assets in the country.
The Latin American country is currently in desperate need of gasoline and other refined products to keep the country afloat amid the economic collapse resulted from the U.S. sanctions.
According to Khaghani, in recent years, the U.S. has increased its pressures on Venezuela under the claims of democracy and diplomacy, however, the U.S. is, in fact, keeping Venezuela’s oil out of the market to shift the oil prices up.
Back in June 2017, Trump announced the U.S.’s energy dominance strategy, Khaghani said, adding the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, which has one of the biggest oil reserves in the world, is an indication that Washington is clearly imposing that policy on the global energy market.
Iran, for long, has been supporting Venezuela’s independence against the U.S. unilateralism and capitalism.
The cooperation between the two countries, both of which are under U.S sanctions, expanded even more in recent years.
Last month, Iran sent several consignments of refining materials via plane to Venezuela, in order to help the country overhaul its Cardon refinery.
Earlier this month, Argus Media reported that Iran, China, and Venezuela have reached a tripartite agreement to carry out a major overhaul program for several Venezuelan refineries, including CIA and Cardon, which together have the potential to refine 75 percent of Venezuela's state oil.
Iran’s supportive acts have clearly made the U.S. very angry and Washington is looking for ways of getting back to Iran through empty accusations.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly announced that Iran and Venezuela have had and will continue to have trade relations with each other according to international law and no country has the right to interfere with their legal trade transactions.
The U.S. interference
According to Khaghani, the U.S. is currently targeting Iran [and not Venezuela] because Iran is supporting Venezuela to keep its independence and stand against Washington interference.
“Iran is, in fact, sending humanitarian support to Venezuelan people and this is not a trade transaction but a humanitarian act.”
“The U.S. is not taking any actions against Venezuela because Washington does not want the world to see them as the “bad guy” who is blocking the help,” the expert said.
Despite the fact that, so far, there has been no evidence of violating international law by Iran and Venezuela, the U.S. president, who failed to fulfill his election obligations in 2016, is clearly trying to unleash a new conflict in open international waters, to impress the Senate before the November elections in the United States.
However, Trump should be aware that the slightest strategic mistake in dealing with Iran could end at the cost of his presidency, Khaghani said.
It is clear to everyone that Iran and Venezuela are not under United Nations (UN) sanctions and that there are no international resolutions against them, and they are only subject to the unilateral sanctions by the United States.
“Now, once again, I will ask the fundamental question of whether the legal movement of Iranian tankers in open waters is a violation of international law or the U.S. naval campaign in the Caribbean?!”
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora:
WHY DON’T ALL COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD UNITED TO SANCTION CHINA, CONTROL ITS ECONOMY AND SOVEREIGNTY SO THAT EVENTS LIKE THE COVID-19 WON’T BE COVERED UP?
The only reason so many millions of people have formed a lynch mob against China, demanding it pay compensation for damages it supposedly caused, is because of powerful US propaganda, backed up by billions of dollars, which is now intensified because the Republicans realize that Trump could lose the next election because of the current disastrous economic numbers, and they are working feverishly to fabricate at all costs a strong anti-China narrative for the purpose of winning the election in November, even though they know that no country can ever be justifiably blamed for the spread of a virus, and that indeed there is no precedent for such.
After all, if such were the case, the US could theoretically have been sued for spreading polio or AIDS throughout the world at times when these diseases were more heavily concentrated in the US than in any other country and Americans were spreading these infections around the globe. Indeed, if such blame were justifiable or made sense, then the US could be blamed for the spread of COVID-19 because the US is now the epicentre of the pandemic and Trump irresponsibly downplayed the outbreak for weeks, thoughtlessly claiming it would soon go away “like a miracle” and that it would all blow over by Easter. The delayed announcement of the outbreak by the PRC authorities pales by comparison with the demented statements by the US president downplaying the danger long after scientists had established the seriousness of the coming catastrophe. Yet now, this grossly irresponsible leader is trying to deflect the blame for his failure onto China.
Here is what many Americans and citizens of their satellite countries are forgetting.
The US et al. have virtually unlimited resources to spend on propaganda, and this includes not only statements by politicians but also, and primarily, subtle wording or even direct allegations in the msm suggesting or alleging that this or that national leader is misbehaving (cf. the weapons of mass destruction lie that sparked the Iraq war) and must be punished by the US gendarme. While the US government does not directly control journalists, most media slavishly follow the narrative of US politicians, and those media that stray beyond government-approved norms and contradict important US narratives are punished in different ways. Further, even the most serious and responsible independent researchers are seeing their posts on certain sensitive topics removed from various social media. For example, Ron Unz of the respectable site Unz Review had this entire Facebook page removed, including thousands of well-researched articles posted over years, and was banned from FB because he made the “mistake” of presenting the Chinese view of the origin of COVID-19. While not government-owned, Facebook is a social media monopoly that by rights should respect the rights of its users. Unz did not encourage his readers to commit a crime or do something immoral. In a democratic country, all opinions are allowed, and if the government or other powerful group disagrees, they are free to present their case against these opinions. And dare I add that no journalist such as Julian Assange would be jailed in a true democracy for blowing the whistle on powerful agents who exceed their authority? Yet we now have many cases of individuals censored because they disagree with the US Establishment’s narrative, and the narrative is typically a false or dubious one intended to harm another country or national leader or even to prepare the minds of citizens to approve a US military invasion or sanctions that impoverish ordinary people undeserving of punishment. The latest anti-China campaign, led by a mentally unstable megalomaniac desperate to be re-elected after making grave missteps, seeks to cause great harm to the second largest economy on earth on unprecedented grounds, ie, accusations that no nation has ever before brought in a court case, namely that a country supposedly maliciously spread a pandemic, and with no real proof whatsoever.
I have been posting at Quora about the COVID-19 issues ever since the outbreak and have several answers that refute the 24/7 US propaganda effort against China.
I have shown
1—that the world is not fully unanimous as to the origin of the virus, and yet dissenting viewpoints are heavily censored. We are seeing the reincarnation of the Soviet Union!
2—that China is a benevolent power compared to the US and is helping eradicate poverty, notably with its BRI, while US economic policies only widen the gap between rich and poor and have led to tent cities offering a last resort for survival of the US’s indigent.
3—that if the world were to demand fairness, then the US would have been sanctioned decades ago for its misdeeds, which had killed millions of people in unjustified homicidal wars all over the globe and killed thousands with sanctions that denied people the sustenance needed for life. China has never done anything remotely resembling this barbarity!
Below is a link to my answer relating to possible origins of COVID-19 that have been proposed by countries other than the world’s no. 1 bully.
Below is my link to a post showing that China is not the enemy but in fact is a country that seeks to eliminate poverty.
Below is a link to my post reminding the reader that the US is the enemy, not China.
I am certain that if the author of the present question had read these posts and taken them seriously, he or she would have asked instead:
Why don’t all countries in the world join together to sanction the US so that the countless tragic deaths, maimings, loss of limbs and wanton destruction of infrastructure due to events like the Korean War, the Vietnam War (including the destruction of rainforests and poisoning by Agent Orange), the Syrian conflict, the Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan, Panama, etc and all the US sanctions and US-engineered regime change coups won’t be covered up?
Before the US demands compensation for a virus whose origin is still hotly disputed by experts in microbiology, let the US pay compensation to all the victims of the above-mentioned events.
Then, once the origin of the latest pandemic is firmly established by the WHO, please come back and ask your question about the entity determined to be actually guilty.
You may be surprised who that is.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Why are African countries better off under the influence of the USA, the UK and France than under China?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
They’re not. Let me try to explain.
In the context of Trump’s upcoming visit to China in 2017, CNN posted an article on Chinese President Xi Jinping which declared that almost nothing is known about the man. Of course they said that not only because they are abysmally ignorant about the non-US-aligned East (which they despise), but also because if they had told the truth about Xi it would present an embarrassing contrast between an Easterner, a truly enlightened man who is challenging the zero-sum US economics with a deeply held belief in a win-win for everyone, and a West that seems not to comprehend this and in no way shares this sentiment. This simple idea is explained in Xi’s book “Up and Out of Poverty,” which no one in the West seems to have read and no one has meaningfully reviewed. (I read about this at a Chinese-language site). Which is perhaps why CNN thought nothing was known about Xi. The book, written in 1992 and later translated into English and French, tells of Xi’s experience as a social worker in Ningde in Shaanxi Province where he was sent as a youth by the government in a program along the lines of a domestic Peace Corps.
Xi, the son of a Chinese functionary from a relatively well-off city, was shocked at the grinding poverty he found in this town but immediately set about to change this situation. In short, thanks to his efforts, that town, which once had an annual average income of 198 USD, wound up with an average income of 8000 USD last year – virtually unheard of for rural China. Xi thinks he has reason to believe this miracle can be duplicated elsewhere.
Xi has stated in public that the poor concern him more than anything else. Therein lies the salient contrast between China and the West, where the elites, mostly billionaires and their lackeys, never say nice things about the poor, blaming them for not lifting themselves up by their own bootstrops using the levers of the wonderful capitalist system. While CNN admits it knows nothing about this, Xi’s dream is a nightmare to the West, where a Steve Bannon can get away with saying they want to “screw up” Xi’s dream to raise Africa out of poverty through his Belt and Road Initiative. Bannon was in essence saying to hell with the African poor, probably without even realizing it (the Western narrative is that the BRI is just a way of allowing China to rule the world like a despot, the way the US does now. There’s not a stick of evidence to support this, but when you have a multi-billion dollar propaganda machine at your service, who needs evidence?). Even worse, racist Bannon was admitting in this careless statement that he wants to destroy Xi’s chances of helping the African poor. Thoughtless statements like these stick around in history books. Let them eat cake?
But if the West ignores, wittingly or not, that Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative is aimed at raising Africa and other nations out of poverty, Africa is keenly aware of this and anxiously awaits its culmination.
In June of 2017, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi gave a keynote address to a meeting at the opening ceremony of the High-Level Dialogue on Poverty Reduction and Development held at the African Union Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, and said that China’s goal is to simultaneously lift the poor in both China and Africa out of poverty. Wang also delivered an inspiring talk about Xi’s book on his experiences working with the poor in Ningde. So unlike the shamefully ignorant US media and political class, the Africans are aware that much is known about President Xi and that Xi is a veteran in battling poverty, with success. Can you name an American president who has successfully lifted anyone out of poverty in the last half-century? Lyndon Johnson birthed welfare, but the ghettos grew in proportion to the money paid out because no attempt was made to allow the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. Xi, however, says that is what he did in Ningde and what he intends to do in the future. He also frequently uses the expression "win-win" in his speeches, as if to rebuke the West for its mean-spirited zero-sum nonsense.
The US is the leader of the World Bank and the IMF, organizations that have been involved in Africa for decades, issuing loans but not making a dent in African poverty. The reason for their failure is perhaps best summed up in the book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins, the former CEO for a CIA front company working for the World Bank whose trainer at the beginning of his career bluntly told him the goal of his company was to bankrupt Third World nations, making them dependent on these banks for more and more loans. Thus the West’s policy was self-defeating because — as Xi knows — banks make more money off of rich customers than poor ones. And this is the secret behind China’s policy, which could be summed up: I make you rich, you make me richer.
A brief explanation of how the IMF and World Bank keep Africans poor is found here.
By contrast, Xi’s China has lifted millions out of poverty from 2013 to 2016. The English-language Chinese site CGTN reports:
“A total of 55.64 million Chinese rural residents were lifted out of poverty from 2013 to 2016 and at least another 10 million will shake off poverty this year, which means the number of rural Chinese lifted out of poverty in five years will exceed 65 million – roughly the population of a major European country such as Britain, France or Italy.”
So when Trump went to Beijing, an arrogant and haughty man who boasted about his achievements met a humble man who, without a word of boasting, simply made China a much better place to live – and hopes to replicate that experience elsewhere.
And you know what’s funny? The Trump administration makes a big show of being “Christian,” while the CCP is avowedly atheist. Yet Xi’s behaviour and the love he shows toward his fellow humans is hundreds of times more Christ-like than Trump’s.
The first shall be last and the last shall be first.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora:
AFTER THE PANDEMIC IS OVER, WILL THE WORLD START A WAR WITH CHINA?
After the pandemic is over, will the world start a war with China?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
An international poll taken a few years back showed that the world didn’t trust the US. That same year, a poll taken in the US showed that, amazingly, Americans thought the world was pro-America and still trusted America.
This gap between the positive view Americans have of themselves and of how the world perceives them on the one hand and the way non-Americans really see the US is on display here at Quora, where questions such as the one above indicate that many Americans just assume, without any input to back them up, that the rest of the world is just as indoctrinated by US politicians and msm as most Americans are in terms of US bias and often raw racism regarding China, Iran, Russia, Syria, Venezuela and other countries hated and feared by the US Establishment and much of the grassroots alike. The subtlety of the 24/7 propaganda that is packaged as “news” and political views makes it very difficult for ordinary Americans to see that they are being severely brainwashed, making them think their views are normal and logical based on the one-sided arguments they find in the press and among the grassroots. In fact, this subtle indoctrination is designed by the sleazy Establishment (including both political parties) to seem normal, logical and righteous. The methodology used is simply to concoct narratives that support US machinations and to suppress any dissenting viewpoints. Social media is an example of how this is done. A few days ago, Ron Unz of the respected blog Unz Review posted a detailed analysis of the Chinese viewpoint on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. His analysis showed that the Chinese viewpoint is not at all illogical and has a strong basis in fact. Nonetheless, his main social media page was removed almost immediately as a result, including articles written over several years, and he was banned from a major social media platform. This is how censorship is done, folks, just as in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia, and this is why Americans rarely entertain viewpoints diverging much from the mainstream. Their minds are being micro-managed but they are hardly aware of this and believe they are enjoying intellectual freedom. The bipartisan nature of this deception is evidenced by the fact that both Biden and Trump are spewing anti-China rhetoric during this presidential campaign. This creates the illusion in Americans’ minds that the anti-China perceptions and policies must be correct since America is united behind them.
This is why American Quorans ask questions of the kind I am answering herewith. Because America is now saturated with an utterly racist anti-Chinese bias, it seems perfectly normal for them to assume that the rest of the world is just as biased and racist as the US Establishment in their disdain for China.
What I am trying to say is that the rest of the world does not think like Americans. The divergence in viewpoints is growing day by day. So no, the world is not preparing to go to war with China, far from it. Rational people everywhere understand that China has been doing essentially positive things in the world aimed at overcoming poverty and fighting inequality and Neo-colonialism. The BRI, for example, is aimed to a great extent at lifting the Third World out of poverty. Africa has given up on the West because all they saw in Western behaviour was exploitation and Neo-colonialism. They see China as the only alternative. The same can be said of the BRICS countries — which represent a large percentage of world GDP — as well as the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The Middle East is also looking to China for help with important infrastructure projects, such as the rebuilding of Syria once the terrorists and the US invaders are finally gone. Iraq is also looking to China, as well as to Russia, for real assistance once ISIS is eliminated. Of course, Iran is another country that is uniting with others in its acceptance of Chinese help. Even Europe is anxiously awaiting the end of sanctions on Iran to assume normal trading relations with that country.
In other words, much of the world is no longer following the siren song of Washington and is not about to turn against their old friend China.
Wars are raging in Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere but you’d never know it if all you read is US and US-approved news.
The most reliable sources are:
Russia grants Iran access to its air base, sternly warns Israel not to attack there
Russia gives Iran access to Syria’s Hmeimim Airbase in rare move
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:40 P.M.) – In a rare move, the Russian Federation gave Iran access to Syria’s Hmeimim Airbase in the western part of the country, a flight tracking app revealed this week.
According to the reports, a Syrian IL-76 cargo aircraft was tracked flying from Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport to the Hmeimim Airbase near the coastal city of Jableh in Syria’s Latakia Governorate.
The plane, which mostly travels from Tehran to Damascus, is under the watchful eye of the Israeli military, who has on several occasions attacked the cargo unloaded from the aircraft.
SyAAF IL-76 cargo plane [YK-ATA] from Tehran Mehrabad on approach to the Russian air base in Latakia (+ Mahan Air A310 en route to Beirut)
“Israel, with varying success, nevertheless destroyed several military facilities of the Iranian military forces on the territory of Syria and damaged the infrastructure of a number of military bases in order to prevent Iranian aircraft with weapons from landing here; however, Russia provided the Iranian military with the opportunity to use its military airfield in the province of Latakia, thereby challenging Netanyahu, who promised to strike at the Iranian military at any time,” the Russian publication Avia.Pro reported.
“By allowing Iran to use the Khmeimim (var. Hmeimim) airbase, Russia challenged Netanyahu, literally pointing out that just one attempt to attack the Russian military airbase in Syria, regardless of the circumstances, would lead not only to the destruction of Israeli aircraft, but also to strike in Israel itself,” an Avia.Pro expert said.
[We went to the avia.pro site and noted that the headline over the article in question was in fact a lot more menacing than what is reported by Al-Masdar. It reads, in our translation “One attempt and Israel will be gone.” This is not to say that this threat actually came from the RF ministry of defence, but at least Avia-pro was allowed to say this. So in addition to the “rare move” of allowing Iran to use the Russian air base, this is a diplomatic escalation as well, with Russia threatening that if Israel strikes Iranians at the Russian base, it could spell doom for Israel. Russia is clearly running out of patience and will take necessary measures to protect its ally Iran in Syria. That is big news!]
I had a bit of an exchange with an American on Quora who said he thought that electing Joe Biden would resolve the US-China conflict and put an end to the trade wars.
But anyone who has been listening to Biden’s speeches these days knows better than that. Analysts believe Joe is trying to outflank Trump on the China issue -- showing that he is tougher than Trump on China.
I keep trying to show that there is no actual two-party system in the US. Ron Paul has said that there is one party in Washington, namely, the War Party, and that is correct. They are invariably together on the main issues, ie, the systemic problems that are bringing down America, and they have obviously agreed never to mention these, namely
--the profligate spending and the issuance of unbacked dollars by the Fed to “fix” the debt;
--the US addiction to war, ie, the constant quest for an enemy du jour and the building of “legal” cases against said enemy, followed by threats of sanctions and war, and then typically by actual sanctions and wars.
--the lack of affordable health care and assistance to the sick too poor to afford this care. The problem has been magnified since the coronavirus pandemic was announced, with the Fed printing up trillions that were mostly apportioned among corporations and banktos.
--the increasingly yawning gap between rich and poor and a government that caters to its rich pals while throwing the poor onto the street. This was poignantly illustrated by the “coronavirus bailout” that gave billions to businesses that were shuttered and to investors foolish enough to sink their money in the inherently unprofitable shale, while providing not a red cent to poor people infected with the virus. After all, if the government is supposedly doing all it can to stop the pandemic, then wouldn’t it have to focus on preventing everyone from getting infected, not just the rich?
--The gifting of billions of dollars each year to a corrupt Israeli government, based on the absurdity that this money is needed to prevent another holocaust, perhaps unleashed by unarmed stone-throwing Palestinian youngsters – who need to be shot to maim or kill them because only terrorists throw stones at righteous IDF soldiers, the inheritors of the Holy Land.
But the gullible populaces is subliminally indoctrinated to believe that government assistance to anyone but a rich CEO or banker would lead to communism and soon everyone would be locked up in a gulag or jailed like Julian Assange – oops, I mean, like a Soviet dissident.
No US political party challenges this unacceptable state of affairs described above. And if you listen to the presidential debates during election years, you will never hear any moderator ask questions related to them. Yet these are the issues that impact Americans more than any other. Thus, the most important issues by far are ignored by the political class and media, and yet we call that system “democracy.”
Vince Dhimos answered a question on Quora.
With the collapse in the price of oil, will Iran’s leadership turn to additional armed conflict in the region to retain power and to boost the price of oil?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
You know, there ought to be an American Quora and a Quora for the rest of us.
Iran is not like the US, looking for an excuse for war 24/7, and it is not obsessed with retaining power. It is, however, interested in the welfare of its fellow Shiites and other victims of US bombings in Iraq. Syria, Lebanon and Libya. The US is one of the very few countries that obsesses over grabbing and retaining power, and the US media and politicians have indoctrinated many Americans to think other countries have the same agenda. It’s not true.
Further, Iran does not depend on oil for all of its income. It co-owns, with Qatar, the biggest gas deposit in the world:
Factbox: Qatar, Iran share world's biggest gas field
Iran’s main reason for using its military is to defend its sovereignty and the reason it must do that is that the US does not respect anyone’s sovereignty. It keeps thinking it owns Iran. After all, Iran sits on huge energy deposits and to the US way of thinking, that makes it American property (remember: Trump said US troops are in Syria to “keep the oil.” No other American leader of either party challenged him, saying “Syrian oil belongs to the Syrian people, Mr. President.” Because most US politicians would have said the same thing if they had had the courage).
Further, if Iran wants to sell its oil, it will. Already it has broken through the US blockade in the Gulf to sell a record amount of oil to Syria. Iran breaks through US-led blockade to deliver record amount of oil to Syria. (Reminder: the US does not own either Iran or Syria and has no right to deny Syria the acquisition of Iranian oil. This is a difficult concept for many readers of US media and listeners to US politicians).
In addition, Russia, China and others may be buying a lot of Iranian oil on the high seas where no one can monitor the trade (after all, neither China nor Russia read enough US news media to know that the US owns Iran). Europe also has set up the SWIFT work-around INSTEX that makes transactions with US-sanctioned countries like Iran invisible. It is a kind of stealth transfer platform for non-dollar currencies.
So Iran does not have to use its military to sell its oil. As for boosting the price, while it is true that military conflicts can help with that, such as the Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities a while back, the IRGC leaders know that they can’t afford to waste too many resources on war. After all, they don’t think like the US. They’re Iranians.
In the following you will find the first chapter of a book that explains in detail a chapter in world history that has been deleted by historians, msm, educators, politicians and other important people so as to cement in the minds of the world a fiction that today, few people actually doubt. We glibly talk about fake news, but this particular fake news item is the crown jewel of all fake news, and we intend to continue to include these chapters indefinitely until the whole book is in your possession. However, I recommend downloading the entire book and reading it on your own. The very topic is taboo. You can have your tweet deleted for bringing it up,
And consider this admonition from Leviticus 19:18, which is at the heart of the entire book: “...love your neighbour as yourself.” Remember this and where it came from.
To download the book free, click here.
An ‘Alleged’ Ethnic Cleansing?
It is the present writer’s view that ethnic cleansing is a well-defined policy of a particular group of persons to systematically eliminate another group from a given territory on the basis of religious, ethnic or national origin. Such a policy involves violence and is very often connected with military operations. It is to be achieved by all possible means, from discrimination to extermination, and entails violations of human rights and international humanitarian law . . . Most ethnic cleansing methods are grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and 1977 Additional Protocols.
Drazen Petrovic, ‘Ethnic Cleansing – An Attempt at
Methodology’, European Journal of International Law,
DEFINITIONS OF ETHNIC CLEANSING
Ethnic cleansing is today a well-defined concept. From an abstraction associated almost exclusively with the events in the former Yugoslavia, ‘ethnic cleansing’ has come to be defined as a crime against humanity, punishable by international law. The particular way some of the Serbian generals and politicians were using the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ reminded scholars they had heard it before. It was used in the Second World War by the Nazis and their allies, such as the Croat militias in Yugoslavia. The roots of collective dispossession are, of course, more ancient: foreign invaders have used the term (or its equivalents) and practised the concept regularly against indigenous populations, from Biblical times to the height of colonialism.
The Hutchinson encyclopedia defines ethnic cleansing as expulsion by force in order to homogenise the ethnically mixed population of a particular region or territory. The purpose of
expulsion is to cause the evacuation of as many residences as possible, by all means at the expeller’s disposal, including nonviolent ones, as happened with the Muslims in Croatia, expelled after the Dayton agreement of November 1995.
This definition is also accepted by the US State Department. Its experts add that part of the essence of ethnic cleansing is the eradication, by all means available, of a region’s history. The most common method is that of depopulation within ‘an atmosphere that
legitimises acts of retribution and revenge’. The end result of such acts is the creation of a refugee problem. The State Department looked in particular at what happened around May 1999 in the town of Peck in Western Kosovo. Peck was depopulated within twenty-four hours, a result that could only have been achieved through advance planning followed by systematic execution. There had also been sporadic massacres, intended to speed up the operation. What happened in Peck in 1999 took place in almost the same manner in hundreds of Palestinian villages in 1948.1
When we turn to the United Nations, we find it employs similar definitions. The organisation discussed the concept seriously in 1993. The UN’s Council for Human Rights (UNCHR) links a
state’s or a regime’s desire to impose ethnic rule on a mixed area – such as the making of Greater Serbia – with the use of acts of expulsion and other violent means. The report the UNCHR published defined acts of ethnic cleansing as including ‘separation of men from women, detention of men, explosion of houses’ and subsequently repopulating the remaining houses with another ethnic group. In certain places in Kosovo, the report noted, Muslim
militias had put up resistance: where this resistance had been stubborn, the expulsion entailed massacres.2
Israel’s 1948 Plan D, mentioned in the preface, contains a repertoire of cleansing methods that one by one fit the means the UN describes in its definition of ethnic cleansing, and sets the
background for the massacres that accompanied the massive expulsion.
Such references to ethnic cleansing are also the rule within the scholarly and academic worlds. Drazen Petrovic has published one of the most comprehensive studies on definitions of ethnic
cleansing. He associates ethnic cleansing with nationalism, the making of new nation states, and national struggle. From this perspective he exposes the close connection between politicians and the army in the perpetration of the crime and comments on the
place of massacres within it. That is, the political leadership delegates the implementation of the ethnic cleansing to the military level without necessarily furnishing any systematic plans or
providing explicit instructions, but with no doubt as to the overall objective.3
Thus, at one point – and this again mirrors exactly what happened in Palestine – the political leadership ceases to take an active part as the machinery of expulsion comes into action and
rolls on, like a huge bulldozer propelled by its own inertia, only to come to a halt when it has completed its task. The people it crushes underneath and kills are of no concern to the politicians who set it in motion. Petrovic and others draw our attention to the distinction between massacres that are part of genocide, where they are premeditated, and the ‘unplanned’ massacres that are a direct result of the hatred and vengeance whipped up against the background of a general directive from higher up to carry out an
Thus, the encyclopedia definition outlined above appears to be consonant with the more scholarly attempt to conceptualise the crime of ethnic cleansing. In both views, ethnic cleansing is an effort to render an ethnically mixed country homogenous by expelling a
particular group of people and turning them into refugees while demolishing the homes they were driven out from. There may well be a master plan, but most of the troops engaged in ethnic cleansing do not need direct orders: they know beforehand what is expected of them. Massacres accompany the operations, but where they occur they are not part of a genocidal plan: they are a key tactic to accelerate the flight of the population earmarked for expulsion. Later on, the expelled are then erased from thecountry’s official and popular history and excised from its collective memory. From planning stage to final execution, what occurred in
Palestine in 1948 forms a clear-cut case, according to these informed and scholarly definitions, of ethnic cleansing.
The electronic encyclopedia Wikipedia is an accessible reservoir of knowledge and information. Anyone can enter it and add to or change existing definitions, so that it reflects – by no means empirically but rather intuitively – a wide public perception of a certain idea or concept. Like the scholarly and encyclopedic definitions mentioned above, Wikipedia characterises ethnic cleansing as massive expulsion and also as a crime. I quote:
At the most general level, ethnic cleansing can be understood as the forced expulsion of an ‘undesirable’ population from a given territory as a result of religious or ethnic discrimination, political, strategic or ideological considerations, or a combination of these.4
The entry lists several cases of ethnic cleansing in the twentieth century, beginning with the expulsion of the Bulgarians from Turkey in 1913 all the way up to the Israeli pullout of Jewish settlers from Gaza in 2005. The list may strike us as a bit bizarre in the way it incorporates within the same category Nazi ethnic cleansing and the removal by a sovereign state of its own people after it declared them illegal settlers. But this becomes possible because of the rationale the editors – in this case, everyone with access to the site – adopted for their policy, which is that they make sure the adjective ‘alleged’ precedes each of the historical cases on their list.
Wikipedia also includes the Palestinian Nakba of 1948. But one cannot tell whether the editors regard the Nakba as a case of ethnic cleansing that leaves no room for ambivalence, as in the
examples of Nazi Germany or the former Yugoslavia, or whether they consider this a more doubtful case, perhaps similar to that of the Jewish settlers whom Israel removed from the Gaza Strip. One criterion this and other sources generally accept in order to gauge the seriousness of the allegation is whether anyone has been indicted before an international tribunal. In other words, where the perpetrators were brought to justice, i.e., were tried by an
international judicial system, all ambiguity is removed and the crime of ethnic cleansing is no longer ‘alleged’. But upon reflection, this criterion must also be extended to cases that should have been brought before such tribunals but never were. This is admittedly more open-ended, and some clear-cut crimes against humanity require a long struggle before the world recognises them as historical facts. The Armenians learned this in the case of their genocide: in 1915, the Ottoman government embarked on a systematic decimation of the Armenian people. An estimated one million perished by 1918, but no individual or group of individuals
has been brought to trial.
ETHNIC CLEANSING AS A CRIME
Ethnic cleansing is designated as a crime against humanity in international treaties, such as that which created the International Criminal Court (ICC), and whether ‘alleged’ or fully recognised, it is subject to adjudication under international law. A special International Criminal Tribunal was set up in The Hague in the case of the former Yugoslavia to prosecute the perpetrators and criminals and, similarly, in Arusha, Tanzania, in the case of Rwanda. In other instances, ethnic cleansing was defined as a war crime even when no legal process was instigated as such (for example, the actions committed by the Sudanese government in
This book is written with the deep conviction that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine must become rooted in our memory and consciousness as a crime against humanity and that it should be excluded from the list of alleged crimes. The perpetrators here are not obscure – they are a very specific group of people: the heroes of the Jewish war of independence, whose names will be quite familiar to most readers. The list begins with the indisputable leader
of the Zionist movement, David Ben-Gurion, in whose private home all early and later chapters in the ethnic cleansing story were discussed and finalised. He was aided by a small group of people I refer to in this book as the ‘Consultancy’, an ad-hoc cabal assembled solely for the purpose of plotting and designing the dispossession of the Palestinians.5 In one of the rare documents that records the meeting of the Consultancy, it is referred to as the
Consultant Committee – Haveadah Hamyeazet. In another document the eleven names of the committee members appear, although they are all erased by the censor (nonetheless, as will
transpire, I have managed to reconstruct all the names).6
This caucus prepared the plans for the ethnic cleansing and supervised its execution until the job of uprooting half of Palestine’s native population had been completed. It included first and
foremost the top-ranking officers of the future Jewish State’s army, such as the legendary Yigael Yadin and Moshe Dayan. They were joined by figures unknown outside Israel but well grounded in the local ethos, such as Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Sadeh. These military
men co-mingled with what nowadays we would call the ‘Orientalists’: experts on the Arab world at large and the Palestinians in particular, either because they themselves came from
Arab countries or because they were scholars in the field of Middle Eastern studies. We will encounter some of their names later on as well.
Both the officers and the experts were assisted by regional commanders, such as Moshe Kalman, who cleansed the Safad area, and Moshe Carmel, who uprooted most of the Galilee.
Yitzhak Rabin operated both in Lydd and Ramla as well as in the Greater Jerusalem area. Remember their names, but begin to think of them not just as Israeli war heroes. They did take part in founding a state for Jews, and many of their actions are understandably revered by their own people for helping to save them from outside attacks, seeing them through crises, and above all offering them a safe haven from religious persecution in different parts of the world. But history will judge how these achievements will ultimately weigh in the balance when the opposite scale holds the crimes they committed against the indigenous people of
Palestine. Other regional commanders included Shimon Avidan, who cleansed the south and of whom his colleague, Rehavam Zeevi, who fought with him, said many years later, Commanders
like Shimon Avidan, the commander of the Givati Brigade, cleansed his front from tens of villages and towns’.7 He was assisted by Yitzhak Pundak, who told Ha’aretz in 2004, ‘There
were two hundred villages [in the front] and these are gone. We had to destroy them, otherwise we would have had Arabs here [namely in the southern part of Palestine] as we have in Galilee. We would have had another million Palestinians’.8
And then there were the intelligence officers on the ground. Far from being mere collectors of data on the ‘enemy’, they not only played a major role in the cleansing but also took part in some of the worst atrocities that accompanied the systematic dispossession of the Palestinians. They were given the final authority to decide which villages would be destroyed and who among the villagers would be executed.9 In the memories of Palestinian survivors they were the ones who, after a village or neighbourhood had been occupied, decided the fate of its occupants, which could mean the difference between imprisonment and freedom, or life and death.
Their operations in 1948 were supervised by Issar Harel, later the first person to head the Mossad and the Shabak, Israel’s secret services. His image is familiar to many Israelis. A short bulky figure, Harel had the modest rank of colonel in 1948, but was nonetheless the most senior officer overseeing all the operations of interrogation, blacklisting and the other oppressive features of Palestinian life under the Israeli occupation.
Finally, it bears repeating that from whatever angle you look at it – the legal, the scholarly, and up to the most populist – ethnic cleansing is indisputably identified today as a crime against
humanity and as involving war crimes, with special international tribunals judging those indicted of having planned and executed acts of ethnic cleansing. However, I should now add that, in hindsight, we might think of applying – and, quite frankly, for peace to have a chance in Palestine we ought to apply – a rule of obsolescence in this case, but on one condition: that the one political solution normally regarded as essential for reconciliation by both the United States and the United Nations is enforced here too, namely the unconditional return of the refugees to their homes.
The US supported such a UN decision for Palestine, that of 11 December 1948 (Resolution 94), for a short – all too short –while. By the spring of 1949 American policy had already been
reoriented onto a conspicuously pro-Israeli track, turning Washington’s mediators into the opposite of honest brokers as they largely ignored the Palestinian point of view in general, and
disregarded in particular the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.
RECONSTRUCTING AN ETHNIC CLEANSING
By adhering to the definition of ethnic cleansing as given above, we absolve ourselves from the need to go deeply into the origins of Zionism as the ideological cause of the ethnic cleansing. Not that the subject is not important, but it has been dealt with successfully by a number of Palestinian and Israeli scholars such as Walid Khalidi, Nur Masalha, Gershon Shafir and Baruch Kimmerling, among others.10 Although I would like to focus on the immediate
background preceding the operations, it would be valuable for readers to recap the major arguments of these scholars.
A good book to begin with is Nur Masalha’s Expulsion of the Palestinians,11 which shows clearly how deeply rooted the concept of transfer was, and is, in Zionist political thought. From
the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, to the main leaders of the Zionist enterprise in Palestine, cleansing the land was a valid option. As one of the movement’s most liberal thinkers, Leo Motzkin, put it in 1917:
Our thought is that the colonization of Palestine has to go in two directions: Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel and the resettlement of the Arabs of Eretz Israel in areas outside the country. The transfer of so many Arabs may seem at first unacceptable economically, but is nonetheless practical. It does not require too much money to resettle a Palestinian village on another land.12
The fact that the expellers were newcomers to the country, and part of a colonization project, relates the case of Palestine to the colonialist history of ethnic cleansing in North and South America, Africa and Australia, where white settlers routinely committed such
crimes. This intriguing aspect of the historical instance Israel offers was the subject of several recent and excellent studies. Gershon Shafir and Baruch Kimmerling informed us about the connection between Zionism and Colonialism, a nexus that can bring us at first to exploitation rather than expulsion, but once the idea of an exclusive Jewish economy became a central part of the vision, there was no room for Arab workers or peasants.13 Walid Khalidi and Samih Farsoun connected the centrality of the transfer ideology more closely to the end of the mandate, and they ask why the UN entrusted the fate of so many Palestinians to a movement
that had clearly included transfer in its ideology.14
I will seek less to expose the ideological inclination of those involved than to highlight the systematic planning with which they turned an ethnically mixed area into a pure ethnic space. This is the purpose of my opening chapters. I will return to the ideological connection towards the end of the book when I analyze it as the only adequate explanation we have for the ethnic cleansing by Israel of the Palestinians that started in 1948 but continues, in a variety of means, to today.
A second, more unpleasant task will be to reconstruct the methods Israel used for executing its master plan of expulsion and destruction, and examine how and to what extent these were
typically affiliated with acts of ethnic cleansing. As I argued above, it seems to me that, had we never heard of the events in the former Yugoslavia but had been aware only of the case of Palestine, we would be forgiven for thinking that the US and UN definitions were inspired by the Nakba, down to almost their last minute detail.
Before we delve into the history of the ethnic cleansing in Palestine and try to contemplate the implications it has had up to the present day, we should pause for a moment and think about
relative numbers. The figure of three-quarters of a million uprooted Palestinians can seem to be ‘modest’ when set in the context of the transfer of millions of people in Europe that was an outcome of the Second World War, or the dispossessions occurring in Africa in the beginning of the twenty-first century. But sometimes one needs to relativise numbers and think in percentages to begin to understand the magnitude of a tragedy that engulfed the population
of an entire country. Half of the indigenous people living in Palestine were driven out, half of their villages and towns were destroyed, and only very few among them ever managed to return.
But beyond numbers, it is the deep chasm between reality and representation that is most bewildering in the case of Palestine. It is indeed hard to understand, and for that matter to explain, why a crime that was perpetrated in modern times and at a juncture in history that called for foreign reporters and UN observers to be present, should have been so totally ignored. And yet, there is no denying that the ethnic cleansing of 1948 has been eradicated
almost totally from the collective global memory and erased from the world’s conscience. magine that not so long ago, in any given country you are familiar with, half of the entire population had been forcibly expelled within a year, half of its villages and towns wiped out, leaving behind only rubble and stones. Imagine now the possibility that somehow this act will never make it into the history books and that all diplomatic efforts to solve the conflict that
erupted in that country will totally sideline, if not ignore, this catastrophic event. I, for one, have searched in vain through the history of the world as we know it in the aftermath of the Second World War for a case of this nature and a fate of this kind. There are other, earlier, cases that have fared similarly, such as the ethnic cleansing of the non-Hungarians at the end of the nineteenth century, the genocide of the Armenians, and the holocaust perpetrated by the Nazi occupation against travelling people (the Roma, also known as Sinti) in the 1940s. I hope in the future that Palestine will no longer be included in this list.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora. My last paragraph below is the most important part of this answer.
Why is Saudi Arabia lowering the price of crude oil?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Most Western msm analysts will provide only one simplistic answer to this question and that is, that Saudi wants to bring down US shale oil because it is tired of cutting production just to please its overseas partner and because it also wants to retaliate against Russia for backing out of the production cuts agreed with OPEC.
But this answer does not cover the most important part of the question, namely, why after years of cooperating with the US and cutting production to keep oil prices stable and artificially low would Saudi suddenly turn against this ally in such a hostile manner?
MBS recently had three of his family members arrested for allegedly plotting a palace coup against him. One of those detained was former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a favourite of US officials.
MBS let it be known that he suspected the alleged plot was supported by foreign nations including the US. Right after the arrests, I found on the web a report that MBS suspected the US of collusion but today this report seems to have been scrubbed from the English-language web, although I was able to find it at a Chinese-language site: 至少有20位王子被沙特王储大规模清除_湃客_澎湃新闻-The Paper. The following excerpt is my translation:
“According to a regional source quoted by Reuters, Salman ‘accused them (the princes) of engaging with foreign forces, including the United States and other countries, to launch a coup.’”
Why was this report of MBS’s suspicion no longer readily available in English, even though it had been disclosed by Reuters? Perhaps because the US authorities did not want the Western public and especially the Middle Eastern public, to think the US would interfere in the politics of a Middle Eastern country – something it has been doing for decades but under the radar.
Western support for a Saudi palace coup is nothing new. King Faisal was installed with the help of British intervention in 1964. (Faisal is the king who co-signed with President Nixon in 1974 the petrodollar agreement that is still in effect today).
The fact that the US prefers the original crown prince Prince Mohammed bin Nayef over MBS provides a plausible motive for the US to intervene. Addiction and intrigue: Inside the Saudi palace coup
According to To The Hill Multiple Saudi royal family members detained, accused of plotting coup
“MBN has been viewed by U.S. intelligence agencies as a trusted source of information for years, helping prevent terrorist attacks on the State Department and the CIA while he was head of the kingdom's counterterrorism program.”
Of course, US intel agencies have been busy for decades with attempts at regime change, as summed up here: American Covert Regime Change Operations: From the Cold War to the War on Terror
Another motive the US might have would be the fact that MBN was originally in line to succeed the current king, who, for some reason, named MBS as his successor, who was seen in the US as less stable and often impulsive.But the main US motive for replacing MBS would have been the murder of Jamal Kashoggi, a well known WaPo columnist, in a Saudi embassy in Turkey.
Despite Trump’s solid loyalty to MBS, US lawmakers issued a resolution blaming MBS for this killing. US senators introduce resolution blaming MBS for Khashoggi murder
That was a turning point in US relations with MBS.
This hostility of powerful US officials to MBS would be reason alone to help plot his ouster. After all, the US public has always been sceptical of the US’s exaggerated friendliness with the Saudi dictatorship and US msm have generally tried to highlight the positives of that country while papering over the obvious negatives. But with this murder, MBS clearly crossed the line.
A further, minor, motive might have been the fact that Putin was the only national leader who showed moral support for MBS amidst the furor over the Kashoggi murder. Putin made his warm feelings for MBS obvious at the G20 summit when he high-fived MBS as he entered the meeting room. Putin and Saudi crown prince high-five at G20 summit
Thus, Saudi had a motive in turn to hit back hard at the US. I suspect that, to some extent, Putin and MBS may have been in collusion over the oil war, at least tacitly. Russia may have ostensibly started the conflict by refusing to continue its production cuts initially agreed with OPEC, and then MBS — desiring to hide his true motives — pretended to be lashing out at Putin by charging even less than the Russians for Saudi oil, when in reality both countries were aiming to sabotage US shale oil. Putin’s motive is widely believed to have been the US sanctions that halted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, costing Russia billions of dollars in lost revenues.
The upshot of all this could possibly be an eventual rapprochement between Saudi and Iran. The US has worked very hard to keep this from happening. This would certainly do wonders to ease tensions in the Middle East and would make it more difficult for the US and Israel to keep up hostilities against Iran and the Shiite world in general, notably in Iraq and Syria.
While the US Establishment press ignores the efforts by the State Department to maintain tensions between Iran and Saudi, we do know that Iraqi Premier Mahdi claims General Soleimani was planning on sending a message of conciliation to Saudi before he was brutally murdered, and a few rare reports on US interference in the Saudi-Iran rapprochement have come out in the Arabic-language press. Example from Al Jazeera: Iran wants to mend ties with Saudi, UAE 'quickly': Top diplomat
The following excerpt is my translation:
“Iranian media warned that America adopts a policy of fear mongering about Tehran, as an approach to blackmailing some Gulf countries, explaining that the goal of the surprise visit of the US Secretary of Defense to Riyadh and Israel's participation in the Bahrain conference is to eliminate any possible Iran-Gulf rapprochement.”
Indeed, it is not implausible to conjecture that MBS is sick and tired of being told by the US not to negotiate with Iran, especially after the devastating missile attack on Saudi Aramco and the US non-response to it. This would have been another motive for his oil price war. Assuming he is still talking to Putin, the latter would definitely advised him to reconcile with Iran.
Solid evidence of Saudi’s willingness to talk to Iran and its allies is the report at the end of our “War News” section, indicating that Saudi will sit down with Iran-backed Houthis. This is a first. The US would not like this!
If MBS decides to break with the US over the possibility of reconciliation with the Shiite world, peace may break out in the Middle East, to the horror of the US Establishment.
Chinese-made high-end missile sees first export despite pandemic
By News Desk
© AFP 2020 / ANDY WONG
A leading Chinese arms firm has delivered a batch of advanced portable HJ-12E anti-tank missiles to an undisclosed foreign buyer amid the pandemic of novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) in the first export case of this type of high-end weaponry, prompting Chinese analysts to note on Sunday that this showcased the company’s reliability and its potential share of the market.
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak that had brought difficulties in personnel exchanges since the Spring Festival holidays in late January and early February, state-owned China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) was able to deliver containers carrying the missiles to foreign clients as of Wednesday, before the scheduled shipment date, according to a statement the company released Wednesday on its WeChat account.
It was the first time a third-generation anti-tank weapon system developed by the Chinese company has been exported, according to the statement.
As the client was in urgent need of the missiles, the successful delivery had significant meaning for establishing Norinco’s market position and further opening up the market, the company said.
Norinco did not disclose more details on the deal in the statement, including the name of the buyer, the quantity purchased and the value of the deal.
The delivery demonstrated the Chinese arms firm’s reliability and proved it can fulfill a contract even under seeming force majeure, overcoming difficulties and prioritizing the client’s interest, a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Sunday.
This would win trust not only from the buyer for this deal, but also other potential clients, the expert said, noting the product would also get a chance to shine on the international market.
ALSO READ China successfully launches military satellites into space: video
Often compared with the FGM-148 Javelin missile used by the US military, the HJ-12, or Red Arrow 12, is a portable, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile domestically developed by China, Weihutang, a column on military affairs affiliated with China Central Television, reported on Thursday.
It can hit targets including tanks, bunkers, ships and helicopters from above, where armor is likely the thinnest, with a penetration capability of 1,100 millimeters, Weihutang reported.
The HJ-12 enables soldiers to lock on target, fire and then move on without maintaining position to guide the missile to its target, providing many tactical advantages, the expert said.
The missile is capable of destroying even the most advanced tanks in the world, he noted.
It is expected to be a high-end weapon that not every military can afford in mass quantities, but it should be more cost-efficient than its competitors like the Javelin, the expert said.
China does not attach political premise to arms sales, he noted. China provides not only affordable and easy-to-use weapons, but also advanced and sophisticated ones.
Ansarallah forces confront enemy warplane with new air defense missile
By News Desk -2020-04-030
Footage of an earlier missile launch by Yemen's Ansarullah movement, August 2017
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:30 P.M.) – The Ansarallah-affiliated Yemeni Armed Forces announced this evening that they had confronted a warplane in the sky of Al-Hazm Directorate in the Al-Jawf Governorate.
The spokesperson for the Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier Yahya Sare’a, reported that the air defenses intercepted the aircraft using the newly-made Fater-1 defense system, and forced it to leave the airspace.
This latest confrontation comes a few days after the Saudi-led Coalition carried out a large-scale attack across northern Yemen in response to the Ansarallah strikes on several sites inside Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Muhammad Al Jaber, said earlier this week, “the kingdom is holding daily talks with the Houthis (var. Ansarallah), and it has invited the representatives of the Houthis and the internationally recognized Yemeni government to peace talks in Riyadh.”
The Wall Street Journal quoted the Saudi ambassador as saying that “the proposal to hold talks to end the five-year war is still on the table despite the escalation of violence a few days ago,” saying that “the Houthis have not yet responded to the offer.”
Jaber said, “Saudi officials spoke with their Houthi counterparts yesterday to confirm that the airstrikes on Sanaa were in response to the ballistic missile attacks that took place last Saturday, and not aimed at escalating the conflict.”
He added: “We are committed to reducing the escalation, and are ready for a ceasefire in all Yemeni lands if they accept that.”
[This supports my theory that Saudi is pivoting away from US policy, which insists on no de-escalation between Saudi and Iran, and that the oil price war is intended as part of its declaration of independance of the US. Could peace really be on the way?]
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
What do you think will be the downfall of USA?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
War is the key to the collapse but further down the cause-effect chain, a key item is the war financing from endless debt. Equally important is the disastrous decisions made to sustain the real economy, particuarly the focus on shale oil.
The Fed has been fighting a losing battle in its attempt to finance its profligate spending to buy back US Treasuries.
First, through its easy mortgage policy, it started a real estate bubble that led to a worldwide crisis in 2008–9. This mirrored its policy of easy credit for stock market trading that started the Great Depression in the 20s.
Then to deal with this recession, it issued trillions in new money under the euphemism “quantitative easing,” which contributed to a further weakening of Treasuries by making interest rates too low to attract investors in US debt, compounding the problem.
It was forced to do this several times but without ever solving the debt crisis because money “printing” can only ever be a stopgap measure, not a permanent solution.
Now, out of options, the Fed finds itself in a repo market crisis, and is left with only the same old option of issuing new unbacked money. The stopgap is now a permanent fixture.
Add to this the $2 trillion Trump "coronavirus" bailout, which led to another round of money issuance (“printing”). However, issuing new money always carries the risk of devaluing the currency, and, as mentioned above, can only be used as a stopgap measure.
In the case of the dollar, this constant issuance of new currency was not as critical is it would be for another country because the dollar is still the world reserve currency.
But there are threats to the dollar’s reserve status:
1—The states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS are increasingly using local currencies in their mutual trade, thereby undermining the dollar’s dominance. The value of a currency depends in large part on the volume of its use in world trade. This trend to use the dollar less will only escalate.
2—Europe is almost unanimous in its resistance to US bullying, and as a result, European states and the EU itself are refusing to bow to pressure from Washington. Examples: The UK resisted US pressure to not allow Huawei to participate in its 5G roll-out. Germany and EU leadership refused to back down from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to deliver Russian gas to Germany. When they stood up to the bully, Washington imposed third-party (extraterritorial) sanctions on Russia preventing companies, notably Swiss-Dutch Allseas, from continuing to lay the pipeline, which was almost completed by that time. This led to resentment and then retaliation on Russia's part, as we shall see below.
This bullying and the push-back it created led to the first use of Europe’s new INSTEX mechanism, a work-around to SWIFT that enables European countries to by-pass the US-controlled Belgian SWIFT messaging agency that facilitates international cash transfers but enables the US to monitor for “violations” of its sanctions. INSTEX was originally designed to circumvent third-party sanctions on Iran.
A few days ago, the UK, Germany and France used this system for the first time to make a cash transfer between them and Iran. This was a milestone in the international rejection of the US dollar.
Slowly but surely the US is losing its sanctions bludgeon and its dollar hegemony.
Once the dollar becomes just another currency, the US will lose most of its hegemony (dominance) and hence its ability to bully the rest of the world.
At the same time, Russia, seeing its chance to retaliate against the Nord Stream sanctions in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, unexpectedly refused to continue the OPEC+ policy of cutting oil production, thereby triggering a reaction by Saudi Arabia to undertake unbridled oil production. The combined impact of these actions led to an immediate crisis in US shale oil, which is already high-priced because of fracking and frequent re-drilling, leaving US oil drillers dangling in a crisis with no possible remedies. Unless the US can somehow persuade Saudi and Russia to resume the production cuts, the US will lose the key component of its real economy.
In a desperate attempt to revive its oil economy, the US is now focused on Venezuela. It has manufactured the novel narrative of President Maduro as an international “drug dealer” and is sending warships to the shores of his oil-rich country.
But Russia is there with its war planes. So far the US has restrained itself in provoking Russia militarily for fear of nuclear war. Will he do the unthinkable?
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora:
What should be the ideal step to keep the economy stable during the COVID-19 crisis?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Stop playing cock-of-the-rock and hold meetings with China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, the European Union and others who want to help.
If the US made conciliatory moves to Iran and Venezuela, dropping the sanctions and useless regime-change polices, the US could again cooperate with these countries in oil development, and the world could prevail on Saudi Arabia to undertake a rapprochement with Saudi that would ease the tension in that region. With all of these headwinds, Saudi would be forced to give up its oil war. If the US withdrew its sanctions on Allseas and allowed the Nord Stream pipeline to be completed, Russia would also give up its part of the oil price war. NATO would be shut down permanently, and the US would shut down its foreign bases and bring home the troops, saving trillions every year for both Europe and the US. This would bring the arms race to a screeching halt, saving trillions for Russia and China as well. At the same time, pressure could be applied to Israel to bring it into the global community and wean it of its old hard-line policies that hurt Palestine. It would save money by turning its swords into ploughshares so to speak.
Washington should then offer concessions to keep the economies going. For example, stop trying to block the progress of Huawei because this company is key to the success of US tech companies.
Of course, this is impossible so far because the US is too arrogant to make such concessions even at the expense of its own survival. Somehow, however, it simply needs to turn itself around and start over. And the only thing that could possible turn it around is a complete economic collapse, which will eventually happen as a result of Washington’s reckless economic and financial policies, as I explained in the previous answer (above).
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE OIL PRICE WAR
Vince on Quora. 4-2, 2020
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Which oil company will have the most benefit in the oil price war of Russia and Saudi Arabia?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
No Western company dedicated solely to extracting shale oil will benefit but it is predicted that a few companies with other forms of business could survive.
Here is an excerpt from Barrons:
7 Stocks That Could Ride Out the Turmoil in Energy Markets
“Cowen analyst Jason Gabelman likes Phillips 66 (PSX), which has a strong balance sheet and can profit by refining crude produced overseas, even if U.S. production slumps.”
In other words, the experts are saying that there is really no future in shale oil alone but there could be profit in refining crude produced overseas that is NOT from shale. Shale was a bad bet from the get-go for two fatal reasons:
1—Extraction requires fracking, a very expensive process, and
2—The wells have very short useful lives and once they are depleted, the producer must re-drill, which is also an expensive process.
Due to these insurmountable drawbacks inherent in shale oil, experts, for example, at Crude Oil Prices Today | OilPrice.com had been setting the break-even price per barrel at about $50, though lately, due to efficiency boosts, that has gone down to about $46/barrel. But even that lower price is way high for today’s market where prices are as low as $20. Even a price of $10 has been quoted! You don’t have to be a math whiz to know this shale business is not going anywhere soon.
Russia claims it can make money even at the bargain basement prices of today. Saudi also makes the same boast. We don’t know how much of this is pure bravura. but if Putin is taking this risk, then he knows Russia can bear the consequences.
It is hard to believe that even ONE Westerner would continue to read US-controlled Western news. I just now did a Google search and could not find a single mention of this US pullout described in the article just below. In fact, it was first reported not in English but in Arabic at the Russian Sputnik site.
I urge all readers who really want to know the truth and not the sanitized feel-good reports from Western sources, to go to Al Masdar and Southfront for this war and crisis news.
US military preparing to withdraw from oldest base in Iraq
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – The spokesman for the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, Major General Tahsin al-Khafaj, revealed in an interview on Wednesday that the U.S. military is preparing to withdraw from one of the oldest bases inside the country.
In an interview with Sputnik Arabic, Al-Khafaji said that the Iraqi forces will receive the Habbaniyah Airbase, located between the cities of Fallujah and Al-Ramadi in western Iraq, from the American forces and the International Coalition next week, according to an organized schedule.
A source told Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV the same thing on Wednesday, leading many to believe that this airbase will be fully under the Iraqi military’s control by the end of next week.
It is worth noting that the Habbaniyah Air Force Base is considered one of the oldest installations in Iraq; it was established by the British Royal Air Force back to 1936, and after the departure of the British, it was transferred to the Iraqi Air Force.
The Habbaniyah Airbase is located in a city with the same name, between the cities of Fallujah and Al-Ramadi.
Idlib ceasefire to end in 24 hours as militants refuse to leave M-4 Highway
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:20 A.M.) – The ceasefire that was established during the March 5th Moscow Agreement is nearing its end, as the militants refuse to leave the M-4 Highway (Aleppo-Latakia Highway).
According to a report from the Idlib front, the ceasefire that was established on March 5th will expire in the next 24 hours.
The Russian military had previously given their Turkish partners until March 12th to clear the militant-held areas along the M-4 Highway; however, this deadline was later extended to the end of March.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has already been building up their forces along the Jabal Al-Zawiya front, but they have refrained from attempting to advance their positions.
It is not clear if the deadline for the ceasefire will be extended further, but, as of now, the agreement has yet to be fulfilled.
US hypocrisy on display as Pentagon orders US bases to stop divulging number of COVID19 cases in the military after 1,000 cases reported.
Just think, China was condemned in the US for failing to report the epidemic in timely fashion, but then President Trump declared the epidemic story a hoax. So now what is the Pentagon doing? Hushing up its own cases so the families back home can’t know how their boys and girls are doing in a world threatened with a pandemic.
PENTAGON CONFIRMS OVER 1,000 COVID-19 CASES AMONG MILITARY, ORDERS BASES TO STOP PUBLIC REPORTING
Originally appeared at ZeroHedge
The Department of Defense (DoD) announced a grim milestone Monday — it’s total number of COVID-19 cases among US service members, civilian contractors, on-base civilian staff, and family dependents of troops has surpassed 1,000.
“Total DoD Cases (current, recovered and deaths) is 1,087,” according to DoD fact sheet released on Monday. The numbers are as follow:
Pentagon Confirms Over 1,000 COVID-19 Cases Among Military, Orders Bases To Stop Public Reporting.
The Pentagon said 569 service members have been infected, among these 26 hospitalizations, and 34 have recovered.
The remainder of total cases involve civilian contractors working on military bases and/or at the Pentagon, as well as dependents. This number is up significantly from Friday’s total DoD number of 600.
But it appears we are fast heading toward a near total reporting blockage in terms of DoD-wide cases, and specifically where they originate, and in what branches of the US armed services. As Stars & Stripes reports:
The Defense Department has ordered commanders at all of its installations worldwide to stop announcing publicly new coronavirus cases among their personnel, as the Pentagon said Monday that more than 1,000 U.S. military-linked people had been sickened by the virus.
The order issued by Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday is meant to protect operational security at the Defense Department’s global installations, Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said in a statement Monday. He said Defense Department leaders worried adversaries could exploit such information, especially if the data showed the outbreak impacted U.S. nuclear forces or other critical units.
This constitutes perhaps the clearest admission thus far throughout the crisis that the coronavirus pandemic is a serious threat to US defense readiness and national security.
Pentagon Confirms Over 1,000 COVID-19 Cases Among Military, Orders Bases To Stop Public Reporting
Currently at least two aircraft carriers are battling outbreaks in their midst – both are in the Pacific Ocean and likely have seen their operational readiness deeply compromised as commanders try to contain the spread, with the USS Theodore Roosevelt already being diverted to Guam days ago.
Nearly 500 Syrian mercenaries killed in Libya: LNA
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:20 P.M.) – The spokesperson for the Libyan National Army (LNA), Major-General Ahmad Al-Mismari, announced on Thursday that the death toll for the Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries had reached 500 after more than four months of fighting.
Over the past week alone, the Syrian mercenaries have suffered dozens of casualties at the hands of the Libyan National Army.
Many of these casualties in the ranks of the Syrian mercenaries came as a result of the Libyan National Army’s rapid advance through the southern outskirts of Tripoli, which has since come under the control of LNA.
While the LNA reports 500 Syrian mercenaries killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) contrasts these figures; instead, they claim approximately 150 of these militants have died in the past four months.
Despite the large deviation in numbers, it still remains that the deployment of Syrian mercenaries to Libya has been a major failure, as they have been unable to slow down the LNA’s large-scale advance across the northwestern region of the country.
The first Syrian mercenaries arrived in Libya at the end of December. Since then, Turkey has transported a large number of them to the North African country, despite territorial losses in Syria’s northwestern region.
Libyan Army shoots down enemy fighter jet near coastal city
By News Desk
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:00 P.M.) – The Libyan National Army (LNA) announced on Thursday that their air defense forces shot down an enemy aircraft belonging to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
According to the statement, the Libyan National Army air defenses shot down a fighter plane belonging to the forces of the GNA, resulting in the death of the air crew.
The spokesman for the Libyan Army Commander-in-Chief, Ahmed Al-Mismari, said in a statement:”The air defense forces shot down an L-39 fighter jet belonging to the Turkish-backed Misrata militia (Al-Wefaq government forces) at noon today, south of Abu Qurayn (var. Gurayn), and the pilot and his co-pilot were killed.”. Ancient Nay and Ibrahim Faraj. ”
On Wednesday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Libya renewed its call to the parties in the conflict in Libya to stop the fighting immediately and to allow medical services to perform their duties to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.
The office confirmed that after two new confirmed cases were registered in Libya, the total number has now risen to ten.
The UN stated that the ongoing fighting must stop immediately to allow health authorities and aid agencies to contain the further spread of the epidemic.
US deploys warships off Venezuelan coast
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States will deploy warships in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean as part of efforts to combat drug trafficking.
Trump indicated during a press conference with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Millie, that this measure is necessary given the “growing danger” posed by drug traffickers.
Trump considered that drug cartels might take advantage of the spread of the coronavirus, pointing out that the U.S. will not allow this.
Trump added that the U.S. Army’s southern command would intensify reconnaissance missions, and that the United States would double its capabilities in the region.
In turn, Mark Esper stressed that more must be done to prevent drugs from reaching the American coast.
The Reuters News Agency’s sources said that the aim of this step is to increase pressure on the Venezuelan government and its allies, but that is not in preparation for military action against Venezuela.
U.S. officials have indicated that despite President Donald Trump’s statements that all options are on the table regarding Venezuela, the United States does not want to use military force because that could lead to it entering a new conflict abroad.
The United States has recently accused Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro and some senior officials in Venezuela of involvement in the drug trade.
Venezuela rejected the accusations, considering them part of the American efforts to topple the regime in the country.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
What are the conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
The term “conspiracy theory” is generally used disparagingly to indicate a theory that is baseless or just plain false.
There are several theories about the origin of the virus, but let me be objective and just say they are theories. Who am I to judge?
The first theory that came out was that wild animals carrying the virus were sold to customers in ready-to-eat state in the Wuhan market. This is not a terribly far-fetched theory because many Chinese eat wild-caught game, which is a potential source of pathogens. I have visited a restaurant in Guilin where, in addition to more traditional food, wild game was served. There were animals in cages ready to kill and prepare. It was a weird experience. I dined on more mundane fare.
Part of this theory was that bats were served in soup at the Wuhan market. This was vehemently disputed by several observers who insisted that the Chinese do not eat bats – which coincides with my personal experience acquired over several years of living in the Chinese-speaking world. In fact, one of the photos posted on the internet in this context turned out to have been taken on the Malaysian island of Pulau. It was a malicious hoax.
But the other animals listed by the adherents to this theory were in fact species that some Chinese do consume, more as a kind of Chinese medicine with imaginary curative properties, than as food to satisfy the palate. (Dog is eaten, for example, to ward off colds in the winter. But really, how could they? How could they? Poor pooches! Though my vegan friends stoutly maintain that killing and eating any animal is barbaric and heartless. What can I say?).
There are also other theories about a foreign (non-Chinese) origin of the virus. These theories are not reported in detail in the Western press, merely alluded to dismissively and pejoratively to prevent Westerners from taking them too seriously, based on the proposition that
Westerners cannot be trusted to draw their own conclusions, which might risk sullying the tender sensitivities of the noble elites who herd and tend us Untermenschen. However, I have seen articles detailing these theories at a Russian site and a Chinese site, respectively, and unlike the Keepers of Narrative in the Magic Kingdom of North America, I am confident that Westerners can make up their own minds as long as they have the theories and the facts on which they are based. Hence my translations are presented at Quora: