TEN CHINESE SUSPICIONS ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF COVID-19
I translated a long list of Chinese suspicions http://bbs.tianya.cn/post-333-1501920-1.shtml that the COVID-19 is a product of the now-closed Fort Detrick bio lab. Below is my translation with my notes [in brackets]. Note that many of the details included in this article are well known, while a few other details have been later shown to be hoaxes generated in the US – though certainly not enough to invalidate the entire article:
1. People who have not been to China are being infected with novel coronavirus in the United States. [this article was written shortly after the outbreak, so this was hard to explain] A diagnosed patient in the United States has neither been to China nor contacted a person who has just returned from China, nor has he been involved with the "Diamond Princess". The results show that this patient was infected with the novel coronavirus in the United States.
[Apparently refers to this report: https://www.livescience.com/northern-california-coronavirus-case-community-spread.html A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in a Northern California resident who had no travel history to an affected area and no known contact with a person previously diagnosed with COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today (Feb. 26).
[This Italian site says none of the infected Italians had any contact with China and it was unknown where or how they had contracted the disease: https://www.fanpage.it/attualita/coronavirus-nessun-paziente-ha-contatti-con-la-cina-si-sono-tutti-infettati-in-italia/]
A Japanese citizen travelled to Hawaii and was diagnosed with new coronary pneumonia not long after returning home. Australian Prime Minister Morrison said in an interview on March 20 that about 80% of novel coronavirus pneumonia diagnosed in Australia were imported from overseas or had direct contact with people returning from overseas. In the United States. "
Moreover, the H1N1, swine fever, and the Reston strain of Ebola viruses that have been widespread in the United States in recent years can be described as notorious. Some countries affected by this virus have long suspected that it was caused by the United States. US intelligence officials issued multiple warnings as early as January this year, saying that the novel coronavirus may cause a global crisis.
2. The CDC has confirmed that there was a case of novel coronavirus pneumonia in the United States last November. On March 11, the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee held a novel coronavirus pneumonia hearing, and Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, publicly admitted that the U.S. flu season that began in September 2019 has infected more than 30 million U.S. people and caused deaths. More than 20,000 people, of which some cases of influenza deaths were actually infected with new coronary pneumonia. The testimony of the director of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that some Americans who appeared to have died of influenza last year were autopsied post-mortem and tested positive for the novel coronavirus was positive. A medical doctor at Harvard University revealed (supported by internal data from the Center for Disease Control) that new cases of coronary pneumonia occurred in the United States around November last year. [Actually, this doctor, Michael Gibson, did not say this. He only said it was possible – but not likely – that some cases diagnosed as flu in the fall of 2019 were in fact COVID-19]
3. The United States artificially transformed a new type of SARS virus. From April to September 2008, the US NGO ECO Ecological Health Alliance PREDICT project collected a total of 388 batches of coronaviruses in China, including 8680 virus samples from bats, mice and humans (including bat viruses collected by Shi Zhengli's team) At least tens of thousands of animal and human viruses were shipped to US laboratories. Based on this project, the Ralph Baric team obtained the SHC014 virus S protein gene sequence of bat SARS. In 2015, after artificially remodeling the new SARS virus in the North Carolina laboratory in the United States, after chimeric SARS-CoV MA15 virus, creating the SHC014-MA15 virus, which can make humans sick. Since then, in what form did unpredicted viruses regroup in the US laboratory? [This shows that the US has been in the business of creating pathogens in its laboratories and no one should be surprised if the US is suspected of being involved in the creation of COVID-19]
The laboratory of Dr. Pekova, the leading Czech molecular biologist, is the first laboratory in the Czech Republic to detect the first cases of novel coronavirus infections. In an interview with the Slovak TA3 news channel on March 30, she explained in detail why she believed that the novel coronavirus originated in American laboratories [I was unable to find this mention of American labs in any of her writings or interviews] rather than natural mutations in infected animals, not even from Chinese laboratories. She also refuted the claims in the Journal of Natural Medicine that the viruses evolved from natural mutations. She pointed out that the US government has ordered American scientists to deny this information. [In the interview I listened to, I did not hear her mention this US censorship, but the below linked article does say she mentioned this US censorship to a journalist https://www.dimsumdaily.hk/czech-molecular-biologist-dr-sona-pekova-explains-in-layman-terms-that-covid-19-virus-originates-from-a-lab/. BTW, an article I translated from Spanish-language Quora, giving evidence that the US may have been behind the outbreak in China was in fact removed. Further, the respected web site Unz Review had its entire Facebook account, which had been built up over many years, taken down when Ron Unz posted an article convincingly arguing the plausibility of a US origin of COVID-19. We definitely are dealing with censorship in this topic. This goes hand in hand with the firing of Captain Brett Crozier for telling the truth about a COVID-19 outbreak on his aircraft carrier]
This interview with Dr, Peková was translated and published at a web site, but some forum users at the site disputed the translation. I therefore took the trouble to search for this interview in Czech. Below is my translation of the disputed part:
“The coronavirus has genetic characteristics that do not occur in common isolates. It will probably not be a natural isolate,” says leading Czech biologist Soňa Peková, who had the novel coronavirus under a microscope.
Here is the interview on video with English subtitles:
At min 14:20, the interviewer quotes Peskova writing that the novel coronavirus “contains genetic characteristics and sequences that you think are not of natural origin. Do you stand by this?” She says yes, she does.]
4. Why was the largest biochemical weapon research and development centre closed suddenly? Fort Detrick, Maryland, is the largest biochemical weapon research and development centre of the US military. Since 1943, it has undertaken the development of the US biological weapons program. [In 1969, the US was forced to stop using the name “bio weapons” to describe its work at Fort Detrick, but the work went on under a different label, with research being done supposedly only to devise cures and vaccines, although new pathogens were still created, supposedly for the purpose of creating vaccines – although I have to wonder why a vaccine would be needed against a pathogen that has not yet been developed], in epidemics, etc. From July to August 2019, the P4 Biological Laboratory internally reported two leaks. In July 2019, the United States [CDC] shut it down abruptly. The reason for the shutdown was that there was no “sufficiently complete system to purify the wastewater from its highest safety level laboratory.” This reason is ridiculously short on detail.
Someone posted a petition on the White House website asking the US government to announce the real reason for closing the Fort Detrick base. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokespersons Hua Chunying and Zhao Lijian also asked this question. But America’s refusal to make it public has made it a mystery what exactly Fort Detrick had leaked. [Critics claimed the web site only got a few hundred hits, but when I went in shortly after it went up, I was unable to open the page. When I tried later, I was unable to get into the site at all! This hypersensitivity to criticism goes hand in hand with the firing of Captain Brett Crozier for telling the truth about his virus-ridden ship, and also with the jailing of Julian Assange. Millions of Americans defend the US Establishment’s viewpoint blaming the Chinese, but very few Americans have any idea that the main reason they believe the mainstream viewpoint is that other viewpoints are heavily censored in the msm and the social media, creating the illusion that the Establishment version is the only one that an intelligent and sane person could accept]
5. The coincidence of a series of events is suspicious. At the same time that Fort Detrick was closed, a series of H1N1 flu outbreaks occurred in the United States, with a series of similar pneumonia cases; then in October [Oct 18] 2019, the United States organized a global epidemic exercise codenamed "Event 201"; [In this fictional simulation] A patient infected with a novel corona pneumonia appeared; in February 2020, the novel coronavirus epidemic occurred in many places around the world. [Here is a video shown at the event https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoLw-Q8X174. Keep in mind that this is all a product of the imaginations of the people who organized the event, shortly before the covid-19 outbreak occurred. Thus they are not talking about the real pandemic we are experiencing now. Is this really a coincidence or was their skulduggery going on that they were privy to?]
On March 25, Fort Detrick Biological Laboratory, Maryland, tested 382 suspected patients, and 288 were positive, with a positive rate of 75%. In Delaware, close to Maryland, 104 people were tested and 68 were positive, with a positive rate of 65%. New Jersey, not far from Maryland, tested 3297 people, and 2844 were positive, with a positive rate of 86%. The positive rate in these states is far higher than the US average. [Again, this is fiction but very close to the reality today. Do coincidences like this really happen?]
6. Why did the U.S. military special plane pick up 5 athletes with fever? [I was unable to find mention of this on the internet in either an English language or a Chinese language search] At the World Military Games in Wuhan in late October 2019 (the address of the Military Games is close to the South China Seafood Market, Wuhan ’s first novel coronavirus case appeared near the seafood market in November); the United States team performed extremely weird, shooting 0 points for sharp shooting, winning zero gold medals (133 gold medals for the Chinese team), ranking 35th in total. 5 US military athletes had a fever. At that time, the military games were over. If they were suffering from common diseases, why not wait 2 days and have them join the more than 360 other soldiers back to America? If they really wanted to go home, why didn’t they take an ordinary civil airliner at the Wuhan International Airport! Why did the United States spend a lot of money to send a special plane to pick up five sick athletes from Wuhan. These five sick athletes have since disappeared. The AB family is a virus of the parents' generation, the C family is their son, D and E are the sons of C. Can no parents have a son? The 80,000 cases in mainland China only have the C family, while the ABCDE cases are all in the United States. As soon as the United States surrenders the special soldiers picked up by special planes and lets WHO determine whether they have ever had the same C family virus as the patients in Wuhan, the truth will become clear! [But this will likely never happen because the US is intent on squeezing over a trillion dollars from China and is treating any suggestion of a US origin as a crime]
7. A relative of a sick athlete in the US military served in the US military biological experiment base [Ft. Detrick]. Three US journalists and one Canadian journalist traced the patient with the No. 0 novel coronavirus infection in the world. All the evidence points to Maatje Benassi, a relative of a researcher at the US Biological Experiment Base in Fort Detrick [She has since denied she had the virus. The story appears to be a hoax]. She is a cyclist and a US military officer who participated in the Wuhan Military Games. A relative of hers was also the first patient diagnosed in the Netherlands. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian directly tweeted recently and asked point blank: Is it that the US soldiers brought the virus to Wuhan, and the United States should give Wuhan a statement that triggers a strong response from the international community.
Someone asked: If the five American soldiers were patients with novel coronary virus pneumonia, why did the medical care staff not get infected? Due to the 30-day countdown to the Military Games, a port emergency response drill was held to improve the port’s ability to respond to public health incidents and nuclear radiation violations. [the reference here is to a port on the Yangtze River, which flows through Wuhan] Wuhan also treated the five soldiers as infectious viruses. Influenza broke out in the United States in September, and how many virus carriers were there among the American athletes who participated in the Wuhan Military Games in October?
8. Where does the novel coronavirus infection of the US Navy aircraft carrier come from? On March 27, the US Navy's "Roosevelt" aircraft carrier had 36 sailors who tested positive for novel coronavirus. The aircraft carrier "Roosevelt" left the San Diego home port in January this year, arrived in Guam in mid-February, and has been sailing at sea. How can it be infected with the novel coronavirus? On March 27, on the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan that was undergoing mid-term maintenance in Japan, two sailors were also tested for infection with the novel coronavirus. In addition, on a 40,000-ton amphibious assault ship of the US Navy, a sailor was also found to be positive during the virus detection process, confirming infection with the novel coronavirus.
9. Only the United States has five sources of novel coronavirus. On February 12th, the Chinese Academy of Sciences team collected 93 novel coronavirus samples from 12 countries. The analysis of the whole genome data showed that the haplotypes of the relevant patient samples in the South China seafood market are H1 and derived haplotypes H2, H8-H12, while a Wuhan sample haplotype H3 has nothing to do with the South China seafood market. In Australia, France, Japan, and the United States, where there are many samples, patients have at least two sources of infection, while the United States includes five sources. In particular, the H56 haplotype is a source of infection for patients in Australia, France, the United States, and Taiwan. Thus we see that the novel coronavirus from the South China seafood market was introduced from other places. In addition, according to the time of onset of patients and the time of population expansion, the seafood market in South China is also not a source of virus. The study also showed that no recombination events occurred in the novel coronavirus genome.
10. Why did the United States reject the WHO investigation? It's a very unlikely time coincidence. In December 2019, the verification protocol of the Biological Weapons Convention was exclusively blocked by the United States. The WHO expert team's investigation in the United States is absolutely beneficial to the United States' epidemic prevention actions. Including the origin, development, the situation in key regions, a brief introduction to the basic policies of the White House, the storage of medical supplies in the United States, the number of medical teams, etc.
After discovering the outbreak, China actively cooperated with international organizations. The WHO Director-General came to Beijing on January 28, and then WHO sent an international expert team to China for inspection. A team also went to Wuhan. Bruce Elward, senior adviser to the WHO Director-General, said at a press conference on February 24: "The Chinese method is the only method that has proved to be successful." China has nothing to hide in terms of fighting the epidemic. The virus is afraid of upright behaviour and likes sneakiness. The more the United States refuses, the more it shows that it has unspeakable secrets about the virus.
Currently, tracing the source of the virus is a major international struggle. It is related to the changes in the international environment and the international space of the Chinese nation. It is related to whether it can get rid of the American rogue style and the insistence that China must use U.S. Treasury bonds for compensation, and whether the living environment of overseas Chinese deteriorates. Such a major principle question of right and wrong requires a clear statement; the virus must be traced back to its source, and it must be fully exposed!
(Editor in charge: Du Pengfei)
HOW COME EVEN COUNTRIES UNDER US ECONOMIC SANCTIONS ARE HANDLING CORONAVIRUS BETTER THAN THE US?
How countries handle the pandemic seems to have little to do with sanctions, although there are some cause-effect relationships. Iran, for example, would definitely have suffered less from the pandemic if the US had not imposed such barbaric and inhumane sanctions on it – although friendly countries like Russia, China and the EU have been heroically defying these sanctions to send aid. Further, Venezuela is not harder hit by the virus than most other countries, despite the harsh sanctions imposed on it, but that is due in part to the early quarantine of Caracas and 6 Venezuelan states by President Maduro (https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-51902733) and to the fact that there is little immigration to that country. Russia, which is hammered hard with sanctions, has a relatively low incidence of the infection, mostly because it is more isolated than the rest but also due in part to proper handling of the crisis by the government. In particular, immigrants cannot easily enter its borders and there are few illegal immigrants there – in contrast with the EU, which in fact pays people and provides housing for immigrants from war torn countries. Europe has been called the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic. Italy and Spain, the hardest hit by the pandemic, have very liberal immigration policies. Spain is the main entry port for illegal immigrants in Europe (Meeting Spain's new migrants) and Italy is also a key point of entry, notably via the island of Lampedusa (Lampedusa immigrant reception center - Wikipedia). The immigrants come because of Europe’s open door policy.
The irony is that Europe originally wholeheartedly supported the Arab Spring, which gave rise to uprisings all over the Middle East and saw thousands of armed radicals invade Syria, while France and the UK participated actively in the barbaric air war over Libya that ousted Ghadaffi and led to Libya becoming the second-biggest source of illegal immigrants to Italy. Significantly, Italy provided logistic support to NATO during that conflict. It is amazing that no one mentions these facts in connection with the migration waves that occurred as a result of these Western-backed uprisings and military actions. Perhaps it is just too painful to admit that Europe and the US enthusiastically supported the movements that caused the migration crisis, but that is what happened, as I showed here at Quora: https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-sources-for-American-involvement-in-the-Middle-East-since-9-11-It-s-for-a-paper/answer/Vince-Dhimos
The archived document linked below shows just how dangerously naive and Pollyanna the EU’s attitude was in 2011:
If the West’s contribution had been limited to just this, the results still would have been disastrous, producing conditions conducive to mass immigration. But it did not stop there. The rigid policies vis-à-vis Syria of European states demanded a “political solution” by which was implied that the democratically elected Assad must finally step down and yield much of his power to the unelected opposition – even though it was largely extremist and Islamist, counter to the desires of most Syrians – as a prerequisite to receiving loans and aid for reconstruction. Thus, after foisting hordes of foreign militants on Syria to the extent of destroying much of its infrastructure and impoverishing millions, Europe – along with the US, which to a large extent imposed these policies on Europe, refused to help the war-torn country get back on its feet without demanding unpalatable concessions of it. Now they groan under the colossal migrant crisis they have created and partly as a result of this, are losing the war against a pandemic. Thanks in large part to their uninvited wars on Middle Easterners under “humanitarian” pretexts.
And as if that were not enough, the Europeans, as veritable vassals of their US ally, refused to relax the heavy-handed sanctions that denied Syrians the God-given rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that Americans were promised in their founding documents. In fact, the EU, along with the UNSC, imposed sanctions on Iraq that targeted vital projects in irrigation and electricity and in all vital industries – obviously with the aim of denying the Iraqis the right to make a living. Started in the 1990s, the UN and EU waited until as late as 2020 to lift some of these sanctions. A sanctioned economy means less jobs and less food to eat. Naturally, Iraqis were and are leaving for Europe. Even in the midst of a pandemic.
And as if that were not enough, Europe acquiesced to the US’s criminal seizure of Syrian resources that Syrians needed to maintain a living income, and to the illegal US occupation of large swaths of Syrian territory. All of these are powerful factors driving immigration toward Europe. And immigration is a major factor in the spread of COVID-19.
Thus the creation of subhuman conditions in the Middle East by Western countries is precisely the crux of the problem at hand. Europe – along with the US – chose this path. And now many Westerners blame China!
And to make matters even worse for Europe, the EU foolishly concluded with the notoriously unreliable Turkish government a deal to host exiles from Syria and other countries and this has created a further crisis because, for one thing, Turkey is allied with Islamist militants whom it now sends as mercenaries to fight Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army that seeks to defeat terror and injustice in Libya. Turkey, like the US, sympathizes with Islamist militants in its bid to overthrow stable, secular governments like Syria and military groups like the Libyan National Army. In fact, should Erdoğan’s pro-Islamist adventures in Libya fail, there is nothing stopping Erdoğan from sending these dangerous misfits to Europe. Recently, by way of blackmail, he reportedly released over 76,300 undocumented immigrants toward Europe, which is a further contribution to the social instability that fosters the spread of COVID-19. https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/03/01/76300-illegal-migrants-exited-turkey-towards-europe/?amp
In the broadest of terms, we can say in conclusion that the reckless decisions of European nations and the EU at large since about 2011 and before were the underlying cause of the conditions conducive to a spread of COVID-19 far in excess of the rate of spread in countries that take better care of their borders. The political recklessness that created these conditions is still manifested in Europe today. For example, the EU insisted that its member states respect the Schengen Agreement that essentially abolishes all borders between EU states, allowing free passage of people and goods at all times. This rigid adherence to Schengen in times of the pandemic, despite the enormous risk involved, is threatening the further survival of the Union, and if the results turn out to be as cataclysmic as they may, this rigidity on the part of the EU leadership could be its death knell as member states rebel against policies that endanger them.
As for the US, which has the highest number of cases in the world, the federal government also suffers from a rigid adhesion to an ideology that threatens the security of the nation, and that is, the idea that it is improper for the national government to impose tight controls on a threatened population because such controls are the domain of the states. Thus some states may impose a lockdown while others choose not to, deeming individual freedom more important than the survival of the community as a whole. And the administration has so far remained aloof to this critical problem.
OIL IS SOMETIMES WORTHLESS
Will oil always have value?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Actually this particular moment is seeing valueless oil. The reason for this is that there is not enough storage to put the oil but capping wells is expensive. Therefore, there are some producers who are paying people to take their oil.
Oil producers paying consumers to take crude? Yes, in a corner of US market
If oil has a problem, gas producers are in worse shape because the solution gas that used to be torched off before environmental regs tightened is more plentiful now and there is nowhere to store it either. It too is sometimes sold at negative prices.
West Texas Oil Companies Will Pay Customers to Take Their Natural Gas
CAN RUSSIA SANCTION THE US?
Why can't Russia sanction the United States?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Russia already has put the US under sanctions, but in a creative way, and no one calls them sanctions. A few months ago, the Trump administration imposed tough 3rd-party sanctions on the Russian pipeline project Nord Stream 2 and effectively shut down the project, costing Russia billions.
As a countermeasure Russia waited until the latest OPEC+ meeting and politely told the Saudis “we’re done with production cuts.” Saudi followed suit and oil prices plummeted. I think both countries were, de facto, imposing sanctions on the bully that likes to throw its weight around.
It was the perfect payback.
More than that, it was a shot over the bow.
What will happen now to the new Silk Road project deal between China and Italy?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The West does brash and stupid things without considering the consequences, such as the murder of Gen. Soleimani, which resulted in a colossal backfire, with Iraq demanding the pull-out of US troops. They are now abandoning one base after the other under the pretext of coronavirus but in fact, they are afraid of rocket attacks, which they cannot defend against.
The same principle is at work in the EU, whose foolish leaders criticized China and Russia for giving aid to individual countries, notably Italy, instead of giving it via the EU. This was a reckless criticism because it highlighted the inaction of the central EU government, which was helpless to aid Italy effectively.
As a result, the EU looks foolish and petty. The correct strategy would be to thank China for its aid to an EU member. This rudeness on the part of Brussels will garner sympathy for Italy, which has already agreed to join the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative, previously, New Silk Road). It is now more likely that other countries will follow suit and join the BRI. This bullying on the part of Big Brother EU will only hasten the demise of the Union.
How can China convince the world that their Coronavirus numbers are indeed verified and accurate?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
China is not responsible for debunking US propaganda any more than a defendant in court is responsible for proving this innocence. The US is working 24/7 to smear China, and China does not need to do anything to prove its innocence. It is the Western side that must prove its allegations.
The Western public is also responsible for dealing with this vicious propaganda. If it chooses to believe it and support the US Establishment in its self-destruction of its economy due to a senseless trade war and bans on Chinese goods and services, then it will have to live with the consequences, ie, much higher prices for necessities, possibly to the extent of hyperinflation.
The government can lie all it wants, but it is up to you whether to swallow the lies.
Are NATO countries planning big sanctions against China?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
I was unable to find any mention of actual sanctions. While the EU seems to be bowing deeply to openly racist Washington’s demands to sanction China, it has not yet imposed any that I know of. On the other hand, the EU is pressuring Germany to be less friendly with China, but that goes against the grain of German business people who have lucrative business partnerships with Chinese businesses and sell merchandise to them. France is also refusing to be cowed into sanctioning China.
Sweden is one of the standouts. A rift with China started there when a family of Chinese tourists entered a hotel on allegedly the wrong date and were unable to secure lodging. They then put on a show and shouted that they were victims of discrimination. This incident blossomed into a full-fledged international row. Further, a Swedish organization that rewards apparent human rights victims awarded a Hong Kong publisher a prize after he was jailed for dissent, for sullying the Chinese state. (Like Julian Assange in the West).
Even so, I was unable to determine that Sweden had directly sanctioned China. In fact, it went the other way with Sweden being sanctioned by the PRC.
As for the UK, the leadership there tried to make concessions with Washington without losing out too much on trade. Pressured to sever all ties with the very competent tech company Huwei, on the US flimsy pretext that the company was supposedly going to install spyware, the UK simply cut back on the Huawei components they would install in their 5G system.
We all need to step back and realize that the anti-China craze we are witnessing is the result of a new phenomenon of rudeness and unproven allegations by the current Washington regime.
The allegations of unfair treatment to the Xinjiang Uighurs are unproven and in fact, there are many Uighur terrorists in Syria, showing that there are many extremists among this group which are seen as a threat to the Chinese. I had an untoward encounter with an Uighur in China who was trafficking in illegal wares and when I mentioned this to a cop he admitted that these people are hard to control and that it was best just to keep one’s distance.
They don’t know what to do with them.
As for the Hong Kong uprising, photos of the organizers with US embassy officials suggest that these are just more regime change shenanigans led by Washington, in an effort to bring down Beijing.
Thus, it does not seem likely that the Europeans will bow too deeply to the trouble makers in Washington. Meanwhile, in the scramble to bully Europeans into curtailing their China trade, the US has made itself a nuisance that many European officials and business people are quietly hoping will blow away in next November’s elections.
In the following is our translation of an Arabic-language article from Al Jazeera with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos. The international relations in the Middle East are dauntingly complex, and this is one reason most Westerners are hard put to unravel events and decipher the reasons for them. Another reason is that US commentaries almost never provide enough of the details needed to make sense of them. It is my hope that this translation and my notes and commentary will take you a step closer to understanding this part of the world and the seemingly mysterious approach that the US has taken to the countries in question. Many Europeans, for example, wonder why US policy is so fiercely anti-Iran, but Americans wonder less because many have fallen victim to the racist and warlike ideology of “Christian” Zionism and their thinking is muddled by a widely accepted misreading of the scriptures that is lightyears removed from Christ’s teachings on the subject. I explained this here.
Does the American interest eliminate any Gulf rapprochement with Iran?
10- 24, 2019
Iranian media warned that America adopts a policy of intimidation from [warning 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 Iranian Gulf rapprochement.
[Now why would the US and Israel not want a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi? Remember that the Western narrative is that the reason for the wars in the ME is the inability of the Arabs to get along with each other and with Israel (attributed to “anti-Semitism”). So if you think this is so, wouldn’t you be pleased if there could be a rapprochement between the two main sides of the conflict? Well, you would be pleased if peace were your goal. But we are talking about the US and Israel (recall Yinon Plan, described here)! Not only do they make no efforts toward peace but in fact they are deathly afraid that Iran (Shiite) and Saudi (Sunni Wahhabist/Salafist) might make amends. Israel’s biggest fear is Middle East unification. They would lose their justification and ability to bomb Syria and Palestine and to hold onto Arab land. There is only one thing standing in the way of peace in the Middle East and that is the US, which acts as a lapdog of israel]
Ten days after the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran [Khan] to Tehran, where he took a special initiative to defuse the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the US administration rushed last Monday to send its new defense secretary, Mark Esper, to Riyadh, to hold meetings with the Saudis amidst increased tension between Washington and Tehran.
[If Sunni Pakistan is pressuring Saudi to relieve tensions with Iran, how long will Saudi continue to toe the US line?]
[Now if the US went so far as to murder Gen. Soleimani when he was embarking on a mission to promote a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi – ie, a peace mission (see my commentary TRUMP’S ASSASSINATION AVERTED PEACE JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME), we might suppose that Pakistani PM Imran Khan could be the next target for a propaganda hit or a real military attack. Is Imran’s inclination to promote peace between Iran and Saudi perhaps part of the reason why the US takes India’s side in the war with Pakistan? Is India the US proxy here and is this why the US is being so lenient with India regarding its purchase of Russian arms? (Aside from the fact that it has also recently purchased some US arms?)].
Saudi Arabia has acted on its discussions with the American envoy, by dismissing former Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and appointing Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah Al Saud – who is one of the officials most responsible for making anti-Iran statements – as his successor.
[This gives us a glimpse into how the US interferes with the peace process in the Gulf. Under pressure from the US (acting as an Israeli agent), the Saudis fire a more reasonable foreign minister and appoint an Iran-hating hawk. This suggests that Saudi really fears the US but without US pressure, might be open to a rapprochement with Iran. But nota bene: Saudi’s recent assault on US oil may signal a quiet rebellion against US bullying in the area of foreign policy, giving Saudi more leeway to act independently of Washington.]
After the Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco's facilities, the Saudi media quoted the new Saudi foreign minister as saying that all options were on the table to respond to Tehran.
Iranian observers believe that the Saudis started assuming a hostile posture toward the Islamic Republic following the visit of the American secretary [Pompei] to Riyadh, which came after an Iranian welcome for any initiative that would reduce tension in the region. [This contradicts Israeli-US narrative that Iran refuses to negotiate with Saudi]
The former Iranian Chargé d'Affairs to Saudi Arabia Ahmad Dastmaljian believes that America is a stumbling block in the way of improving relations between Tehran and Riyadh, despite Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif’s announcement that he is ready to go to the Two Holy Mosques [a title adopted by certain Saudi kings. It implies that the Saudi king is the keeper of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina]. [This too gives the lie to the narrative that Iran is the one that refuses to reconcile with Saudi].
Destemaljian criticized the policy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the region, toward Iran in particular, explaining that the administration of US President Donald Trump seeks to sell weapons [and please Israel] by spreading division between the countries of the region, and that Washington sees its interest in destabilizing our region in order to fish in troubled waters. [Actually, though, US policy is forged around Israeli demands, as I showed here]
In this context, Heshmatullah Bishah, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament, pointed out that America is the main factor in straining relations between Tehran and Riyadh, and the interest of the Israeli entity in fabricating the dispute between them cannot be ignored.
[but now that Saudi has rebelled against the US with its unbridled oil production, will it continue to be manipulated in its Iran policy?]
The Iranian parliamentarian stated that there is a current led by the Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, who is influenced by the Zionist-American policies to keep the Iranian-Saudi relations tense. [The Iranians’ use of the word “Zionist” in their political commentary is invariably labelled in the West as “anti-Semitic” but here’s is the problem with that cheap shot: There are many Jewish activists who oppose Zionism, including pro-Palestine activist Gideon Levy, editor-in-chief of Israeli news outlet Haaretz, and Ilan Pappé, author of books exposing the misdeeds and crimes of Jewish extremists during the Nakba. These men are Jews and therefore, by definition, cannot be described as “anti-Semitic.” In fact, Levy often writes empathetically about the suffering of Jews in the Holocaust and is a fierce opponent of anti-Semitism. Thus the politically motivated attempt to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is easily dismissed as pure malicious propaganda.]
[Jubeir is indoctrinated in American policy! He obtained a B.A. summa cum laude in political science and economics from the University of North Texas in 1982, and an M.A. in international relations from Georgetown University in 1984.]
In his last public statement – in an interview with the French newspaper Liberation – Al-Jubeir expressed his belief that détente will not work with Iran, and that the only way to push Tehran to sit at the negotiating table is to exert maximum pressure on it. [He is regurgitating the US Establishment line. However, the rapprochement of Qatar and UAE to Iran give the lie to this absurd supposiiton. Further, Anyone familiar with the Iranian MO knows that the leaders and many of the people – particularly after the senseless murder of war hero Soleimani – will not be cowed by “maximum pressure” and would rather die than surrender to a foreign power that sanctions them to the point of starvation and has threatened them with genocide, so the logical end of this US-Israeli narrative wouls be war. And that is what Israel wants, as we showed here, though the US has hesitated to wage war on Iran for reasons of self-preservation].
Regarding the international conference on maritime security recently hosted by Bahrain, Iranian political researcher Ali Bikdali indicated that the conference, whose agenda focused on confronting Iran, was held to dispel the concerns of the United States and Israel about the possibility of rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran.
[Clearly the US and Israel are scared to death of conciliation between Gulf Arabs and Iran! Just like a lawyer afraid that his client in a divorce case may reconcile with his wife and stop paying his fee. This is also a clear indication that the petrodollar agreement between Nixon and Saudi was likely all about manipulating Saudi to support US-Israel-waged war in the ME. The narrative that the Saudi role was support for the dollar is questionable in this light.
He considered that the participation of the Israeli delegation in the Manama conference was aimed at normalization following the news that the American President's son-in-law Jared Kushner would mediate to open communication channels between Riyadh and Tel Aviv, stressing that the main goal of the Manama conference was to eliminate any possible Saudi-Iranian rapprochement.
[Which would lead to the thing that Israel-US dreaded most: peace! In other words, without US-Israel interference, there might long have been peace between the Shiite world – notably Iran – and the Gulf States. Yet the pro-US-Israel narrative is always that Middle Easterners simply can’t get along with each other, suggesting this is perhaps a genetic flaw – a racist position – rather than that the US and Israel are working 24/7 to prevent peace]
Bahman: Regional security cannot be established without Iran's participation (Al-Jazeera)
UAE and Iran
Contrarty to Riyadh’s approach to Tehran, former Iranian diplomat Amir Mousavi sees the recent Emirati trend as insistence on rapprochement with Tehran because of what he called "the impasse in Abu Dhabi because of its failure in the wars in Yemen and Libya," as well as the economic crisis that it suffered as a result of those wars.
In his statement to Al-Jazeera Net, he explained that the dispute that occurred in the UAE's cooperation with Saudi Arabia in Yemen speeded up the process of Emirati normalization with Iran, explaining that the Abu Dhabi dispute with Tehran exacerbated the deterioration of tourism, real estate trade and the banking sector in the Emirate of Dubai, which caused resentment against its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktum.
He pointed out that the Iranian threat to the UAE shortly after the Revolutionary Guards shot down the American Global Hawk plane that took off from near Abu Dhabi airport, "posed a serious risk to Emirati security," explaining that the Iranians will not tolerate those who want to disturb their national security, and this is something the UAE side knows well.
Further, a number of Iranian analysts say that the UAE has taken a much softer approach to Tehran after oil tankers were attacked off its coast earlier this year, according to Shuaib Bahman, head of the "Rahbard Johann Jahan Contemporary Jahan" Foundation for Strategic Studies.
Bahman added in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net that the attack on Saudi Aramco's facilities and oil tankers in the Gulf waters showed that security is not established in the region without Iran's participation, and that the UAE is well aware that it will be affected by any war that might be launched against Iran, especially if the UAE territory includes interests of the aggressor. [Bahman is no doubt referring to the roughly 5,000 US troops stationed in the UAE, including many at the Al Dhafra airbase at Abu Dabi].
He concluded by saying that the Emirati side realized soon after the recent events in the Gulf waters that America will not confront Iran for the sake of its allies, especially after Washington avoided the confrontation with Iran shortly after its plane was shot down as it entered Iranian airspace. [The fact that the US has not directly confronted Iran is a sign that the US fears a military confrontation with that country, which it realizes might also draw in Russia.]
WAR AND CRISIS NEWS
Turkey’s Syrian militants suffer heavy losses around Libya in 72 hours
Note by Vince Dhimos: These Syrian militants, being Turkish-backed, are probably the militants called moderates by the US but called terrorists by Russia. Although the Government of National Accord (GNA) is recognized by the UN and the US, it has tolerated terrorists. The LNA, Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Haftar, opposes this government, which has been hand-picked by the same Western leaders who illegally invaded Libya and murdered Ghadaffi.
By News Desk -2020-03-260
Members of the so-called Free Syrian Army near the town of Bizaah, northeast of the city of al-Bab, some 30 kilometres from the Syrian city of Aleppo, on February 4, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 P.M.) – The Turkish-backed Syrian militants have suffered a large number of casualties over the last 72 hours in Libya, as their forces continue to fight alongside the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
According to the latest field report from the northwestern front of Libya, the GNA and their Syrian militant allies have suffered dozens of losses in a span of three days.
The report said the Libyan National Army (LNA) has managed to advance within a few kilometers of the last GNA-held port along the Tunisian border after capturing several sites from the latter.
In addition to their advance near the Tunisian border, the LNA forces have also managed to capture several areas around the capital city, Tripoli, after launching a counter-offensive against the GNA troops.
Earlier this week, the United Nations called for a nationwide ceasefire while the country deals with a potential coronavirus outbreak; however, the hostilities have yet to stop, despite both sides agreeing to an open-ended ceasefire.
Kidnapping and Killing by "moderate" rebels in Libya
The Wefaq militia is the militia backed by the UN-recognized Government of National Accord. Wefaq means accord in Arabic. Though supported by the US-led West, this militia behaves like a terrorist organization and is opposed by the National Libyan Army led by Khalifa Haftar. Russia is sympathetic to Haftar but does not directly fight on his behalf.
Note by Vince Dhimos: The Doha [Qatar]-Ankara [Erdoğan’s Turkey]-backed Al-Wefaq militia continues to commit humanitarian crimes against civilians, as the Libyan National Commission for Human Rights announced an escalation of killings and arrests, arbitrary detention, kidnapping, and enforced disappearance, in Sirte, Qarat Bulli, Tarhuna, and Tripoli.
Libyan Army scores big advance around Tripoli as Turkish-backed forces suffer tremendous losses
By News Desk -2020-03-27
Libyan forces ride a military vehicle as they prepare for next advance against Islamic State holdouts in Sirte, Libya August 29, 2016. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 A.M.) – The Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, announced this morning that their forces managed to capture several sites across northern Libya, including several towns near the capital city, Tripoli.
According to a statement from the LNA’s spokesperson, Major General Ahmad Al-Mismari, their forces captured several areas in northwestern Libya, including the cities and towns of Jemayel, Riqdalin, and Zalzin.
“We announce to you that the valiant Libyan National Army forces have been able, through the grace of God, to clear the areas of Al-Asa, Al-Jameel, Riqdalin and Zalatan from the control of the Al-Wefaq militia and its Syrian mercenaries who fled before the advancement of our valiant forces,” Mismari said.
“These areas enjoy freedom, security and safety today after expelling terrorist and criminal militias from them,” noting that “field progress came after the failure of the attack by the so-called Al-Wefaq militia and mercenaries of foreign terrorists on the Uqba bin Nafi Airbase in the Al-Wattiyah area in the west of the country.”
The losses suffered by the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord forces have been tremendous, as dozens of the latter’s fighters and their Syrian allies have been killed in battle.
KURDISH MILITIAS START NEW DANGEROUS GAME IN NORTHERN SYRIA
An armed group named the Islamic Revenge Movement (IRM), hostile towards both Turkish forces and the Syrian Army announced its existence in northern Syria. In a video message released on March 20, the IRM claimed that in 2019 its members conducted 118 attacks killing 13 Turkish officers, 187 Turkish-backed militants and 24 pro-government fighters. The IRM also vowed to continue its fight against the “tyrant state” of Turkey and the “Assad regime” in 2020. The claims of the IRM are very questionable, as the group provided no evidence with which to confirm them.
Furthermore, pro-Kurdish sources were first to release the IRM video arguing that the group consisted of former al-Qaeda members. They also released the name of the supposed group leader: “Abu Osama al-Shami.” Syrian opposition and pro-al-Qaeda sources called the group fake. According to them, the video is just a coverup for actions by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Both groups prefer to distance themselves from acts of direct aggression against the Syrian military and the Turkish Army in northern Syria. In the public sphere, the YPG plays a victim oppressed by the bloody Assad regime and Erdogan the Invader. In reality, it already has a special brand created to distance the group from attacks on Turkish troops and proxies in Afrin – the Afrin Liberation Forces. The Turkish-rooted PKK pretends that it has no bases and fighters in the region despite the fact that a large part of YPG commanders and members is linked with the PKK.
Iran reportedly increased its military presence in southern Damascus. According to pro-opposition sources, the Shiite-majority area of Set Zaynab was turned into a stronghold of pro-Iranian forces. Syrian government sources deny these reports.
On the evening of March 26, Israel shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of Hezbollah, which allegedly violated “Israeli airspace”. The photo released by the Israeli military allows to identify the UAV as a modified variant of the commercially-available Skywalker X8. Armed groups across the entire Middle East modify such drones for combat purposes installing on them submunitions as well as use such UAVs for reconnaissance.
In Iraq, the United States withdrew its forces from the al-Qayyarah Air Base and handed it over to the Iraqi military. A spokesman for the US-led coalition, Col. Myles B. Caggins III, said hundreds of coalition troops will “temporarily” evacuate the base as a protective measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus. About 800 troops of the U.S.-led coalition were deployed at the airbase, which hosted approximately $1,7 million dollars worth of coalition equipment. The al-Qayyarah Air Base became the 2nd important military facility abandoned by US forces in March. The withdrawal of US troops from the previous one – al-Qaim – took place last week. These developments are being carried out under the pretext of the COVID-19 outbreak and the defeat of ISIS, but local sources link them with the increasing number of attacks on US forces across the country that the Pentagon cannot contain successfully without a large-scale military escalation.
Russia demands Turkey not hide jihadists in Idlib by renaming them
BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:40 P.M.) – Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on Friday that Russia hopes that Turkey will continue working to separate the militants from the opposition in Idlib, and stressed that renaming the groups is unacceptable.
“We hope that the Turkish partners will continue their efforts to separate the moderates from the extremists, and take measures to neutralize them. It must be emphasized that renaming the groups, so to speak, changing the slogan does not mean a change in substance, because they are terrorist [groups],” she said.
Some groups continue violating the ceasefire regime at a time when disagreements between the factions have turned violent.
The Center for Reconciliation between the Warring Parties in Syria announced the operation of the second joint Russian-Turkish patrol on Monday along the M-4 Highway between Aleppo and Latakia in the Idlib region.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that Russia and Turkey will establish a safe corridor of 6 km to the north and south of the M-4 Highway in Syria, pointing out that an agreement has been reached to stop all hostilities along the seam starting on March 5th.
Turkish-backed fighters kill each other in northern Aleppo
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 P.M.) – The Turkish-backed militants in northern Aleppo have once again clashed with one another, resulting in heavy losses for all parties involved.
According to opposition activists in northern Aleppo, the Turkish-backed 51st Brigade and Al-Shamiyah Front faction clashed in the city of Afrin on Friday, killing and wounding six fighters in the process.
The clashes would intensify later in the day, as reports of medium weapons used began to surface after RPGs, machine gun fire, and artillery shells were heard around the city of Afrin.
The reason for the clashes was unknown; however, the Al-Shamiyah Front has been known to clash with other militant factions in Afrin in the past.
In particular, the Al-Shamiyah Front has been accused of mass looting in Afrin, often resulting in clashes with rival factions over stolen items.
Infighting was also reported in the Al-Raqqa Governorate on Friday morning after Ahrar Al-Sharqiyah and another militant faction clashed near the city of Tal Abyad.
US military ordered to plan for major escalation with Iran in Iraq: report
By News Desk 2020-03-28
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:45 A.M.) – The Pentagon has ordered the U.S. military to remain on high alert for a major escalation in Iraq, the New York Times (NYT) reported on Friday.
According to the NYT article, the Pentagon ordered U.S. military commanders to plan for an escalation and prepare for campaign to destroy the “Iranian-backed militia group that has threatened more attacks against American troops.”
However, while some Pentagon officials are bracing for a confrontation, others are not so sure that the U.S. should commit to such a campaign at this time.
“But the United States’ top commander in Iraq has warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive and risks war with Iran,” the NYT reported. ” In a blunt memo last week, the commander, Lt. Gen. Robert P. White, wrote that a new military campaign would also require thousands more American troops be sent to Iraq and divert resources from what has been the primary American military mission there: training Iraqi troops to combat the Islamic State.”
The primary culprits behind this potential military escalation are top officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser.
Both O’Brien and Pompeo have sought to intensify the U.S.’ campaign against the Iranian government, despite the coronavirus pandemic that has killed thousands of people worldwide, including nearly 3,000 people in Iran.
While U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has been wary of such a campaign, it appears he has approved this new campaign in Iraq.
“Still, American officials said Mr. Esper authorized planning for a new campaign inside Iraq — even as the military reduces its counterterrorism presence there — to provide options for Mr. Trump in the event that Iranian-backed militia groups escalate their own attacks against American troops,” two U.S. officials told the NYT.
It is not clear what this new campaign will entail; however, under the Trump administration, the U.S. has been far more aggressive in their approach to Iran.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
CHINA IS CLAIMING THAT COVID-19 IS A BIOLOGICAL WEAPON OF AMERICA. IS IT?
No one will ever know. However, the US government and its obedient media partners are calling this Chinese theory a “conspiracy theory” (a term with a consistently negative connotation) while Pompeo has called it “outrageous,” and government lapdog Breitbart wrote a hit piece on the Chinese who disseminated the theory, peppering the article with negative emotional terms aimed at an audience that likes to say “thinking makes my head hurt.”
As usual, no one in government or msm even made the least attempt to disprove this theory. And in all my searches, no mainstream US media quoted the entire Chinese argument, which is powerful and raises questions that the US refuses to answer. However, I did find the complete set of Chinese arguments in several foreign sites, almost all in countries not aligned with the US.
Thus, the US government and its partners in msm have closed the case before trying it. You aren’t supposed to know.
The Chinese and Russians made valid arguments, notably the fact that it is overly coincidental that the outbreak occurred in Wuhan, the epicentre of China during Chinese New Year, the ideal time to spread a disease because most Chinese return to their parental homes at that time.
The White House petition web site no longer allows access to the petition demanding an explanation of the sudden urgent shutdown of the US Army’s bio weapons research base Fort Detrick, although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which ordered the shutdown, claimed the order was motivated in part because the site lacked adequate facilities for waste water treatment and disposal of dangerous bio waste. In fact, since this is true (as reported in this near-mainstream publication before the outbreak: US army's weapons lab shut down after inspection finds deadly viruses could escape), then that is a big clue that some waste from the site may have infected humans, drawing the CDC’s attention to the problem and prompting them to close the base. The big question is whether Fort Detrick was involved in coronavirus research. But for the pro-Trump Breitbart site and the US government, asking this question is “outrageous” or ridiculous.
Breitbart claims the petition in question got only 400 signatures, but here is the problem: When I went to the petition site yesterday to check on that and tried to do an on-site search using the search word “Detrick,” I was only able to type as far as “Detr...” when it would no longer allow any further letters to be entered. When I tried again, I got an error message. Today it was worse: I was unable to reach the page’s on-site search at all, so I tried to create an account but was unable to complete that. I was blocked (I guess there was a record of my having searched trying to use “Detrick” as the search word). Now, in response to Mike Pompeo’s sneering dismissal of the Chinese theory as “outrageous,” I would ask Mike which is more outrageous: presenting a theory based on suspicious known facts about a US army facility that tests dangerous viruses or preventing Americans (or others), curious about the possible contamination issuing from said site, from using a White House petition site that is supposed to be open to all on any topic? Shouldn’t Americans be allowed to know about a risk to their health? Of course, this is the era when Julian Assange is sitting in jail, so it’s naive -- and perhaps risky? -- to ask.
I did a Chinese-language search and found an article in Chinese at Sohu (美军传染病研究所刚关闭，新冠肺炎爆发，民众质问：是否泄漏病毒_美国政府).
My translation of that article appears below with my comments in [brackets].
U.S. Army Infectious Diseases Institute closed just as novel coronavirus respiratory disease breaks out
March 13, 2020
With the spread of the novel coronavirus epidemic worldwide, finding the source of the virus has become a top priority. The United States government failed to prevent the outbreak of the epidemic under the guidelines of "predictability." Trump was optimistic because 46 states and two special districts in the United States were completely unaffected. However, on March 11, [Robert] Redfield, director of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, acknowledged for the first time that deaths from novel coronary virus respiratory disease in the United States had been misdiagnosed as influenza deaths. It is fully proved that the novel coronary virus has already entered the community transmission stage in the United States. Among the 20,000 people who died of the flu this year include patients with novel coronavirus disease. Some Americans believe that the novel coronavirus [COVID-19] may also come from the United States. The U.S. government’s large-scale deletion of content related to the largest biological and chemical weapons base in the United States [Fort Detrick. This base is not officially for developing offensive bio weapons but purports to seek vaccines and cures of potential bio weapons], which claims to maintain “free speech,” has heightened public doubts. On the White House petition website, the Americans asked the U.S. government to clarify whether the base is a new coronavirus “COVID19” Development unit. [The White House has closed this petition since the Chinese allegation emerged. This administration clearly cannot bear scrutiny or deal with dialogue]
White House Petition
According to the New York Times report on the 12th, Fort Detrick military base is the largest biochemical weapon base in the United States [in fact, it was repurposed from “offensive” to “defensive” in 1969 but still researched deadly viruses until August 2019 US army's weapons lab shut down after inspection finds deadly viruses could escape], and the base has a subsidiary of the US Army's Top Secret Institute for Infectious Disease Medicine. In August 2019, the U.S. government suddenly decided to urgently close Fort Detrick.
A statement issued by the U.S. Army's Institute of Infectious Diseases Medicine at the base states that the shutdown order was issued by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, requesting that all research be stopped on the grounds that the base has no critical system for wastewater treatment and purification. The institute was tasked with studying bacteria and toxins that could threaten the U.S. military, with more than 900 employees at the time.
I cannot stress enough the importance of teaching Russian and Chinese (but also Arabic and Farsi) to aspiring young professionals in the West. This is rarely or unconscientiously done and this major gap in Western education suggests that Westerners are not supposed to have the tools needed to sort out the facts from the fiction regarding key regions of the world. As things stand today, Western academe is a big deep black hole in the universe of knowledge.
Breaking news from Al Masdar
Breaking: New attack reported on large Iraqi base hosting US troops
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:10 P.M.) – A new attack has been reported north of Baghdad this evening after a number of rockets targeted a military base.
According to preliminary reports, as many as three rockets struck the Taji Base north of Baghdad, marking the second time in the last four days that it has been targeted.
No further details have been released at this time.
This report comes just a day after the U.S. Coalition announced their withdrawal from several small bases inside Iraq.
COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US
By Larry Romanoff
Global Research, March 11, 2020
It would be useful to read this prior article for background:
China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US?
By Larry Romanoff, March 04, 2020
As readers will recall from the earlier article (above), Japanese and Taiwanese epidemiologists and pharmacologists have determined that the new coronavirus could have originated in the US since that country is the only one known to have all five types – from which all others must have descended. Wuhan in China has only one of those types, rendering it in analogy as a kind of “branch” which cannot exist by itself but must have grown from a “tree”.
The Taiwanese physician noted that in August of 2019 the US had a flurry of lung pneumonias or similar, which the Americans blamed on ‘vaping’ from e-cigarettes, but which, according to the scientist, the symptoms and conditions could not be explained by e-cigarettes. He said he wrote to the US officials telling them he suspected those deaths were likely due to the coronavirus. He claims his warnings were ignored.
Immediately prior to that, the CDC totally shut down the US Military’s main bio-lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, due to an absence of safeguards against pathogen leakages, issuing a complete “cease and desist” order to the military. It was immediately after this event that the ‘e-cigarette’ epidemic arose.
Screenshot from The New York Times August 08, 2019
We also had the Japanese citizens infected in September of 2019, in Hawaii, people who had never been to China, these infections occurring on US soil long before the outbreak in Wuhan but only shortly after the locking down of Fort Detrick.
Then, on Chinese social media, another article appeared, aware of the above but presenting further details. It stated in part that five “foreign” athletes or other personnel visiting Wuhan for the World Military Games (October 18-27, 2019) were hospitalised in Wuhan for an undetermined infection.
The article explains more clearly that the Wuhan version of the virus could have come only from the US because it is what they call a “branch” which could not have been created first because it would have no ‘seed’. It would have to have been a new variety spun off the original ‘trunk’, and that trunk exists only in the US. (1)
There has been much public speculation that the coronavirus had been deliberately transmitted to China but, according to the Chinese article, a less sinister alternative is possible.
If some members of the US team at the World Military Games (18-27 October) had become infected by the virus from an accidental outbreak at Fort Detrick it is possible that, with a long initial incubation period, their symptoms might have been minor, and those individuals could easily have ‘toured’ the city of Wuhan during their stay, infecting potentially thousands of local residents in various locations, many of whom would later travel to the seafood market from which the virus would spread like wildfire (as it did).
That would account also for the practical impossibility of locating the legendary “patient zero” – which in this case has never been found since there would have been many of them.
Next, Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease expert at Georgetown University in Washington, said in an article in Science magazine that the first human infection has been confirmed as occurring in November 2019, (not in Wuhan), suggesting the virus originated elsewhere and then spread to the seafood markets. “One group put the origin of the outbreak as early as 18 September 2019.” (2) (3)
China’s New Coronavirus: An Examination of the Facts
Wuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally.
Description of earliest cases suggests the outbreak began elsewhere.
The article states:
“As confirmed cases of a novel virus surge around the world with worrisome speed, all eyes have so far focused on a seafood market in Wuhan, China, as the origin of the outbreak. But a description of the first clinical cases published in The Lancet on Friday challenges that hypothesis.” (4) (5)
The paper, written by a group of Chinese researchers from several institutions, offers details about the first 41 hospitalized patients who had confirmed infections with what has been dubbed 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
In the earliest case, the patient became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases”, they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace. “That’s a big number, 13, with no link”, says Daniel Lucey . . . (6)
Earlier reports from Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization had said the first patient had onset of symptoms on 8 December 2019 – and those reports simply said “most” cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on 1 January. (7)
“Lucey says if the new data are accurate, the first human infections must have occurred in November 2019 – if not earlier – because there is an incubation time between infection and symptoms surfacing. If so, the virus possibly spread silently between people in Wuhan – and perhaps elsewhere – before the cluster of cases from the city’s now-infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was discovered in late December. “The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace”, Lucey asserts.
“China must have realized the epidemic did not originate in that Wuhan Huanan seafood market”, Lucey told Science Insider. (8)
Kristian Andersen is an evolutionary biologist at the Scripps Research Institute who has analyzed sequences of 2019-nCoV to try to clarify its origin. He said the scenario was “entirely plausible” of infected persons bringing the virus into the seafood market from somewhere outside. According to the Science article,
“Andersen posted his analysis of 27 available genomes of 2019-nCoV on 25 January on a virology research website. It suggests they had a “most recent common ancestor” – meaning a common source – as early as 1 October 2019.” (9)
It was interesting that Lucey also noted that MERS was originally believed to have come from a patient in Saudi Arabia in June of 2012, but later and more thorough studies traced it back to an earlier hospital outbreak of unexplained pneumonia in Jordan in April of that year. Lucey said that from stored samples from people who died in Jordan, medical authorities confirmed they had been infected with the MERS virus. (10)
This would provide impetus for caution among the public in accepting the “official standard narrative” that the Western media are always so eager to provide – as they did with SARS, MERS, and ZIKA, all of which ‘official narratives’ were later proven to have been wrong.
In this case, the Western media flooded their pages for months about the COVID-19 virus originating in the Wuhan seafood market, caused by people eating bats and wild animals. All of this has been proven wrong.
Not only did the virus not originate at the seafood market, it did not originate in Wuhan at all, and it has now been proven that it did not originate in China but was brought to China from another country. Part of the proof of this assertion is that the genome varieties of the virus in Iran and Italy have been sequenced and declared to have no part of the variety that infected China and must, by definition, have originated elsewhere.
It would seem the only possibility for origination would be the US because only that country has the “tree trunk” of all the varieties. And it may therefore be true that the original source of the COVID-19 virus was the US military bio-warfare lab at Fort Detrick. This would not be a surprise, given that the CDC completely shut down Fort Detrick, but also because, as I related in an earlier article, between 2005 and 2012 the US had experienced 1,059 events where pathogens had been either stolen or escaped from American bio-labs during the prior ten years.
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Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He can be contacted at: email@example.com. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
(3) Science; Jon Cohen; Jan. 26, 2020
Featured image is from Health.mil
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Larry Romanoff, Global Research, 2020
Vince Dhimos commented on an answer to the question “Why is Israel attacking on the Syrian ground when it claims that Arab countries are the evil ones?”
The answer on which I commented is typical of the Israeli Establishment’s arguments. They point, for example, to the Six Day War, which started with a pre-emptive strike by Israel on the air forces of Egypt and Syria, both of which were destroyed on the ground. Yet they shamelessly claim the Arabs started the war.
The Israeli narrative was that the Arabs, notably Jordan, Egypt and Syria, had been plotting to destroy Israel, but this story has been debunked. Israeli officials later themselves admitted that narrative was a lie. (The allegation that someone is “going to” harm Israel is commonplace. Israel has been saying for over a decade that Iran “has the bomb and is about to annihilate us.” It is their standard excuse to attack Iran or talk the US into doing so).
According to The Intercept,
“The thesis according to which the danger of genocide hung over us in June 1967, and according to which Israel was fighting for her very physical survival, was nothing but a bluff which was born and bred after the war,” declared Gen. Matituahu Peled, chief of logistical command during the war and one of 12 members of Israel’s General Staff, in March 1972.
“A year earlier, Mordechai Bentov, a member of the wartime government and one of 37 people to sign Israel’s Declaration of Independence, had made a similar admission. “This whole story about the threat of extermination was totally contrived, and then elaborated upon, a posteriori, to justify the annexation of new Arab territories,” he said in April 1971.”
My interlocutor at Quora wrote:
“Incapable of defeating Israel together with five other Arab armies in 1948, unable to defeat Israel together with two other Arab armies in 1967 and with another Arab army in 1973, the Syrian government has returned to its cowardly tactic of 1949–1967, acting as a staging area for terrorist organizations to operate against Israel.“
He also excused Israeli actions based on his interpretation of "international law."
These “terrorist” organizations were in fact Arabs who had either lost their homes or were sympathetic to those who lost their homes as a result of Israeli ethnic cleansing – a topic practically forbidden even today in the US-controlled Western media. This ethnic cleansing is described in detail by Israeli historian Ilan Pappé in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, available as a free download. We had described a heart-breaking grisly scene from the massacre at Deir Yassin, where early Jewish settlers – with memories of the Holocaust still fresh in their minds – burst into Arab homes and killed men, women and children in the most blood-chilling manner possible. How was it possible that they, whose people had suffered unspeakable atrocities, would not sympathize with the suffering of their Semite brothers? How was it possible that the people who had given the world the Ten Commandments could behave so unrighteously?
The greatest irony in the Israeli narrative is that, while the Israeli Establishment is willing to accept the widespread belief in Israel and among “Christian” Zionists, that “God gave the land to the Jews,“ they are uncomfortable with the fact that, according to their own Torah, God also gave them commandments (not just the ten), notably the commandment in Leviticus 19:18 “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Reading in Ezekiel 37 the prophesy of the resurrected Israel, on which Evangelicals base their “Christian” Zionism, I was struck by verse 24 declaring that this resurrected Israel would be “obedient to God’s decrees.” and I became convinced that modern Israel was not Ezekiel’s prophesied Israel! Upon further investigation I discovered the WIN/Gallup poll showing that 65% of Israelis had no religion at all! Yet, the Israeli Establishment relies on US “Christian” Zionists to support the idea that God gave modern Israel the land and was therefore happy to see the IDF murder unarmed protesters in Palestine with guns donated thanks to US taxpayers.
In response I wrote to the Israeli interlocutor:
Israel’s policies toward Syria and Iran defy the commandments in the Torah, which ought to be your law-book. If you need the UN to tell you that the atrocities committed by the early settlers in Deir Ezzor were atrocities and not acceptable to the international community, then therein lies your problem. Morality is inborn in humans. We know right from wrong as babes and children. Only strong Satanic propaganda can root out this important inborn human trait. Israel needs to start cultivating the innate recognition of morality and the Judaic scriptures instead of using sophist arguments to defeat it. Ezekiel prophesied a resurrected Israel that would be “obedient to God’s decrees.” For some reason unknown to me, Christian Zionists believe that is your Israel. If you want that to be true, then live up to that prophesy and start loving your neighbour as yourself. John Lennon was right. All you need is love. When was the last time Israel attempted to reconcile with the Palestinians, Syria or Iran? You can start by returning the Golan Heights to its rightful owner.
When I went back to that page, my comment had been deleted.
By the people who believed that God had given them the land but not that He had given them instructions on how to live righteously.
Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart... Acts 2:37
Our thanks to Ron Paul for being one of the less than 1% of American officials (sadly, now retired) to uphold the Constitution and international law. I agree 100% with Ron’s assessment of the despicable US hypocrisy described in this article below.
I differ on only one minor point. The Deep State, referred to hereinbelow, has been effectively redefined by the Trump administration and Trump’s followers to mean only the part of the US Establishment that opposes Trump and seeks to overthrow his administration. For this reason, I no longer use the term Deep State, instead referring to the US Establishment. That term is less likely to suggest that Trump is not part of it. It is confusing to speak of the Deep State now because for millions of loyal Trump fans, this Deep State is only the sector of the Establishment that opposes Trump, and as Ron points out, Trump is very much a part of this body. So like the term “fake news,” the Trump people have rewritten a definition. Fake news was once understood as news that was either concocted in whole or distorted to support a false narrative, generally a government narrative. It could have been Russian propaganda, Chinese propaganda, US propaganda or whatever. But according to the new Trumpian definition, the term “fake news” has come to mean only news as disseminated in the liberal media. But nowadays false news is also to be found abundantly in so-called “conservative” media (“conservative” has also be redefined beyond recognition) and in Trump’s own speeches, for example, when he maintains that a surge in stock prices – known to economists nowadays as a dangerous stock bubble – is a sign of a healthy economy.
We Westerners must be ever vigilant and must learn (or relearn) how to think for ourselves, particularly now that millions of us have come to believe in the current administration as a gift of the Almighty and not a phenomenon created by fallible mortals. I strongly recommend avoiding consumption of US and Western msm completely (they are toxic) or at least just taking them with a grain of salt, and instead focussing on foreign media outside the realm of US influence, such as Russian RT, TASS and Sputnik, Chinese media such as Xinhua, Global Times, Iranian media such as Tehran Times, and even Israeli media such as Haaretz (pay to read but many articles are free of charge). For news on the Syrian war, I recommend Al Masdar and Southfront.
TRUMP’S BETRAYAL OF JULIAN ASSANGE
written by ron paul
february 24, 2020
One thing we’ve learned from the Trump Presidency is that the “deep state” is not just some crazy conspiracy theory. For the past three years we’ve seen that deep state launch plot after plot to overturn the election.
It all started with former CIA director John Brennan’s phony “Intelligence Assessment” of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. It was claimed that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed that Putin put Trump in office, but we found out later that the report was cooked up by a handful of Brennan’s hand-picked agents.
Donald Trump upset the Washington apple cart as presidential candidate and in so doing he set elements of the deep state in motion against him.
One of the things candidate Donald Trump did to paint a deep state target on his back was his repeated praise of Wikileaks, the pro-transparency media organization headed up by Australian journalist Julian Assange. More than 100 times candidate Trump said “I love Wikileaks” on the campaign trail.
Trump loved it when Wikileaks exposed the criminality of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, as it cheated to deprive Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party nomination. Wikileaks’ release of the DNC emails exposed the deep corruption at the heart of US politics, and as a candidate Trump loved the transparency.
Then Trump got elected.
The real tragedy of the Trump presidency is nowhere better demonstrated than in Trump’s 180 degree turn away from Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. “I know nothing about Wikileaks,” he said as president. “It’s really not my thing.”
US pressure and bribes to the Ecuadorian government ended Assange’s asylum and his seven years in a room at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. After his dramatic arrest by London's Metropolitan Police last April, he has been effectively tortured in British jails at the behest of the US deep state.
Today, Monday the 24th of February, Assange faces an extradition hearing in a UK courthouse. The Trump Administration – led by a man who praised Assange’s work – seeks a show trial of Assange worthy of the worst of the Soviet era. The US is seeking a 175 year prison sentence.
The Trump Administration argues that the Australian Assange should be tried and convicted of espionage against a country of which he is not a citizen. At the same time the Trump Administration argues that the First Amendment does not apply to Assange because he is not an American citizen! So Assange is subject to US law when it comes to publishing information embarrassing to the US deep state but he is not subject to the law of the land – the US Constitution – which protects all journalists and is the backbone of our system of government.
It is ironic that a President Trump who has been victim of so much deep state meddling has done the deep state’s bidding when it comes to Assange and Wikileaks. President Trump should pre-empt the inevitable US show trial of Assange by granting the journalist blanket pardon under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The deep state Trump is serving by persecuting Assange is the same deep state that continues to plot Trump’s own ouster. Free Assange!
Syrian war news
Al Masdar reports:
Russia uses electronic warfare against Turkish drones in Syria: media
By News Desk -2020-03-032
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 P.M.) – The Russian military is using electronic warfare to disrupt Turkey’s drone strikes on the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions in the northwestern part of the country, the Russian publication Avia.Pro reported on Tuesday.
According to Avia.Pro, at least two Turkish shock drones were lost in Syria after the Russian military activated its electronic warfare systems.
“Over the past 72 hours, Turkey has lost at least two attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in Syrian airspace that attempted to strike at the positions of the Syrian Army,” Avia.Pro said.
“As it became known, when entering the airspace of Syria, the drones were subjected to powerful electronic impact from the south-west direction, which resulted in Turkey losing control over them – one drone crashed in the Turkish province of Hatay, and the second in the vicinity of the city of Saraqib,” they continued.
The Avia.Pro report presented images showing where the Turkish drone’s lost their GPS signal, resulting in their interception by the Russian military.
“At the moment, it remains unknown whether deliberate action was carried out on drones or exclusively jamming the GPS signal, but Turkey was forced to reduce the use of its drones to a minimum, which had already led to the restoration of at least 7 settlements, including the large and strategically important city of Saraqib,” they added.
Al Masdar news:
Syrian Army shoots down 3rd Turkish drone in northwest Syria
By News Desk
The Syrian Arab Army has now shot down two Turkish drones in Idlib and one in the [Idlib] Governorate
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:40 P.M.) – For the third time in the last 12 hours, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has shot down a Turkish armed drone over the northwestern region of Syria.
According to the latest report from the Idlib Governorate, the Syrian air defenses identified a Turkish drone approaching their positions, resulting in the downing of the unmanned aerial vehicle UAV).
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: IF IT IS TRUE THE EU WAS FULFILLING ITS ECONOMIC COMMITMENTS TO TURKEY, WHY DID TURKEY OPEN ITS BORDERS FOR REFUGEES TO CROSS?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Turkey is desperate to get the support of the EU and the US in its attempt to control Syrian land that it has entered illegally and improperly (but with tacit acquiescence of the West). In response, trying to at least pretend to support this wayward NATO ally, the US has resorted to its usual bluster and bluffing, making demands on Syria and Russia but remaining impotent to back up these demands with anything concrete, as usual. They are calling the Russian and Syrian air attacks on terrorists “despicable,” but who is really despicable here? The Russians and Syrians did not support terrorists. And unlike the US president, who admits he is in Syria (without an invitation and hence illegally) to “keep the oil,” Russia has not taken anything illegally or improperly.
Turkey had stupidly counted on NATO to back up its land grab efforts in Syria with air support. But the entire West knows that this would pit them against Russia and could easily lead to a war with a country that has hypersonic weapons. So no, Turkey must downsize its extravagantly unrealistic expectations. Recently, after Erdoğan held consultations with Russia, he toned down his rhetoric toward Russia and Syria but is taking his frustrations out on the EU using the only lever left in his arsenal — his control over the refugee camps, which he is being paid to maintain and to keep closed until Europe signals that it is ready for more refugees. Now if Europe had effective leadership it would simply withhold payment for Turkish services until such time as Turkey ceased this improper release of refugees, but it probably will not do this because the Western leadership only knows how to bully the weak and Turkey is not weak. If you think this is cowardly and despicable, I will not attempt to disabuse you of that sentiment.
But remember, the US-led West is fully responsible for all this chaos because the US and Europe supported the Arab Spring, which saw Western-backed terrorists arrive in Syria as early as 2011 from over 80 countries — heralded as carriers of freedom and democracy by the Western powers. That gave rise to a decade of hell for hapless Syrians and all but destroyed their country— until that naughty Russia intervened in September 2015 and started attcking the terrorists, to the horror of Western leaders who, as became evident, had only been pretending to wage a “War on Terror” (after all, the US keeps bragging about how powerful it is, so how did the less-powerful Russia suddenly steal the show and rout the terrorists?). Now Europe is reaping what it has sown. And the poor things are crying. But yet they didn’t mind a bit that the Syrians were dying, starving, being displaced, watching their country disintegrate for over a decade. In fact, the West has imposed sanctions on the downtrodden Syrians preventing them from acquiring food and medicine (yes, under international law, that is illegal, but look, when you deny people money, they can hardly buy medicine, right?). It never seems to occur to anyone that if the West lifted these sanctions and allowed the Syrians to acquire funds to rebuild, the refugee flood would slow down.
What went around came around, as it always does, and the shoe is now on the other foot.
For readers unaware of the Western role in promoting terror and chaos in the Middle East, here is a detailed analysis: https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-sources-for-American-involvement-in-the-Middle-East-since-9-11-It-s-for-a-paper/answer/Vince-Dhimos
You may find the above account incompatible with what you have been reading in the daily press releases of the Establishment media. We assume no responsibility for this discrepancy.
In today’s news, from Al Masdar
Syrian Army shoots down another Turkish drone, air defenses target F-16
By News Desk -2020-03-030
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has shot down another Turkish armed drone over northwestern Syria, today, after targeting the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with its air defense missiles.
According to a report from the Idlib Governorate, the Syrian Arab Army shot down the Turkish drone as it was approaching their positions near the strategic city of Saraqib.
This is the second drone to be shot down by the Syrian Army in the last two hours and the seventh drone to be shot down in the last two days.
In relevant development, the Syrian Arab Army was reported to have targeted a Turkish Air Force F-16 jet with its S-200 system in northwestern Syria.
According to Yusha Yuseef of Muraselon News, there was no confirmation on whether or not the missile hit its target.
Given the absence of information about the incident, it is very likely that the Turkish Air Force F-16 jet evaded the missile and returned safely to its airspace.
More from Al Masdar: Russia uses electronic warfare against intruding aircraft in Syria. Oops! GPS got lost.
God help Julian Assange!
I feel so sorry for this poor man I can hardly bring myself to read the details of the inhuman kangaroo trial he faces daily at the hands of an unaccountable judge who revels in bringing untold pain to an innocent man whose only crime was telling the truth in a world of lies ruled by liars with unlimited power. The wheels of “justice” are crushing him, trying to destroy his very soul. There is no better evidence that the person called Satan is headquartered in Washington DC and has tentacles that reach into all its satellites, notably the UK.
When I was a student of German literature, Franz Kafka was actually my favourite author. I saw in his descriptions of absurd dreams the only language capable of conveying the unspeakable horrors unleashed by the people who imagine themselves the masters of the universe.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
This Assange “Trial” Is A Self-Contradictory Kafkaesque Nightmare
By Caitlin Johnstone
February 28, 2020 - The first week of the Julian Assange extradition trial has concluded, to be resumed on May 18th. If you haven’t been following the proceedings closely, let me sum up what you missed:
The prosecution is working to extradite Assange to the US under a US-UK extradition treaty, a treaty whose contents the prosecution now says we should ignore because they explicitly forbid political extraditions. The prosecution says it doesn’t matter anyway because Assange is not a political actor, yet in 2010 the US government that’s trying to extradite him labeled him a political actor in those exact words. Assange’s trial is taking place in a maximum security prison for dangerous violent offenders because that’s where he’s being jailed for no stated reason and despite having no history of violence, which means he’s kept separate from the courtroom in a sound-resistant safety enclosure where he can’t hear or participate in his own trial. The magistrate judging the case says he can’t be allowed out of the enclosure since he’s considered dangerous, because he’s been arbitrarily placed in a prison for dangerous violent offenders. The magistrate keeps telling Assange to stop speaking up during his trial and to speak through his lawyers, yet he’s being actively prevented from communicating with his lawyers.
Not even a tiny bit?
Oh. Okay. Let me explain.
Caitlin Johnstone @caitoz
A British human rights and law reform organisation found that keeping a defendant locked in a sound-resistant glass cage apart from the courtroom, as they're doing to Assange currently, necessarily breaches their right to a fair trial. https://twitter.com/JUSTICEhq/status/1232964630932226049 …
JUSTICE report concluded that the dock breaches the right to a fair trial in all cases https://justice.org.uk/in-the-dock/ Julian Assange asks to sit with lawyers for extradition case https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/feb/26/julian-assange-lawyers-argue-us-charges-are-purely-political?CMP=share_btn_tw …
10:32 PM - Feb 27, 2020
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It’s common in British courtrooms to have something called a “dock”, a place where defendants sit separately from court proceedings. Not all UK courtrooms have docks, and not all docks are the “secure” glass cabinet type which Assange is kept in; they can also be open wooden enclosures. Because Assange is being kept without explanation in a maximum security prison normally reserved the most dangerous violent offenders and terrorism convicts, his trial is taking place in a cage that is very much the “secure” type (so much so that he’s been complaining that he can’t hear the proceedings in his own trial through the bulletproof glass), and there is an expectation that he remain there. The magistrate has ruled that this nonviolent offender shall be kept in his sound-resistant enclosure throughout the duration of his trial, bizarrely asserting that Assange poses a danger to the public. Former UK ambassador and longtime Assange supporter Craig Murray was at court all four days of the trial, and he described the situation as follows (Edward Fitzgerald is Assange’s defense attorney, Vanessa Baraitser is the magistrate)
On return, Edward Fitzgerald made a formal application for Julian to be allowed to sit beside his lawyers in the court. Julian was “a gentle, intellectual man” and not a terrorist. Baraitser replied that releasing Assange from the dock into the body of the court would mean he was released from custody. To achieve that would require an application for bail.
Again, the prosecution counsel James Lewis intervened on the side of the defence to try to make Julian’s treatment less extreme. He was not, he suggested diffidently, quite sure that it was correct that it required bail for Julian to be in the body of the court, or that being in the body of the court accompanied by security officers meant that a prisoner was no longer in custody. Prisoners, even the most dangerous of terrorists, gave evidence from the witness box in the body of the court nest to the lawyers and magistrate. In the High Court prisoners frequently sat with their lawyers in extradition hearings, in extreme cases of violent criminals handcuffed to a security officer.
Baraitser replied that Assange might pose a danger to the public. It was a question of health and safety.
Ah yes, yes I’m sure everyone at the courtroom is very concerned that the emaciated computer nerd might at any moment go full beast mode and start throwing them all across the room. Sure thing, Vanessa.
So to recap, Assange has been placed in a prison for dangerous offenders for no reason, and he’s designated too dangerous to participate in his own trial because he’s in a prison for dangerous offenders. Both the defense and the prosecution agree that this is absurd, yet the supposedly impartial judge ruled against them both.
Does that make sense to you?
Good. Means you’re sane.
Your Man in the Public Gallery – The Assange Hearing Day 3 - In yesterday's proceedings in court, the prosecution adopted arguments so stark and apparently unreasonable I have been fretting on how to write them up in a way that does not seem like http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-the-assange-hearing-day-3/ …
Your Man in the Public Gallery – The Assange Hearing Day 3
In yesterday's proceedings in court, the prosecution adopted arguments so stark and apparently unreasonable I have been fretting on how to write them up in a way that does not seem like caricature or
8:34 PM - Feb 27, 2020
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In the same report Murray also says Assange was forbidden from passing notes to his lawyers, yet when he tried to speak up during his trial to get someone’s attention Baraitser told him he may only speak through his lawyers. Even when they let him, Shadowproof‘s Kevin Gosztola also reports that the defense has complained that they can’t even see when he wishes to communicate something with them, because his dock is behind them in the courtroom.
Bridges for Media Freedom reports the following:
Assange then stood up in the dock and said, “The problem is I’m not able to get representation.” Judge Baraitser then told him to “keep quiet and speak through his lawyers.” He replied, “That’s the problem, I can’t.”
Assange has also complained that even when he is both able and permitted to speak to his lawyers during the trial, he’s unable to do so in private, saying, “I cannot communicate with my lawyers or ask them for clarifications without the other side seeing” and “The other side has about 100 times more contact with their lawyers per day.”
“I am as much a participant in these proceedings as a spectator at Wimbledon,” a frustrated Assange complained at one point.
So Assange may only speak through his lawyers, but also he’s been presented with many obstacles to speaking with his lawyers. Perfectly normal stuff in a perfectly normal trial being treated in a perfectly normal way by a perfectly normal empire.
It’s pretty clear by the way Baraitser is even more biased against Assange than the actual prosecutors that she made up her mind how she’s going to rule long before the trial even began. This is made all the more shady by the fact that there are apparently no photographs of this public official anywhere online, and indeed no documentation of her existence outside of the court.
“Ms Baraitser is not fond of photography – she appears to be the only public figure in Western Europe with no photo on the internet,” wrote Murray after noting her anger at someone photographing the courtroom. “Indeed the average proprietor of a rural car wash has left more evidence of their existence and life history on the internet than Vanessa Baraitser. Which is no crime on her part, but I suspect the expunging is not achieved without considerable effort. Somebody suggested to me she might be a hologram, but I think not. Holograms have more empathy.”
This by itself is weird. How is someone with no public face ruling on an extradition trial of such immense historical significance? How is a public official allowed to make a decision which will affect every member of the public in one way or another, yet the public is not allowed to know anything about her or what she even looks like? That, in my opinion, is weird and creepy.
It’s interesting. I have done some research. Baraister does not exist outside of court. Nothing. https://twitter.com/caitoz/status/1232974578588106753 …
Caitlin Johnstone @caitoz
Replying to @caitoz
Ah @CraigMurrayOrg says this too:
"Baraitser is not fond of photography – she appears to be the only public figure in Western Europe with no photo on the internet. Indeed the average proprietor of a rural car wash has left more evidence of their existence"https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-the-assange-hearing-day-3/ …
10:46 PM - Feb 27, 2020
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Then there’s the prosecution. They’re trying to argue that the US-UK extradition treaty which expressly forbids extradition for political offenses is void and inapplicable to this case because of another law called the Extradition Act which is written differently, despite the fact that the extradition treaty formed the basis for Assange’s extradition request in the first place.
“We’re in a pretty strange Alice in Wonderland world where the treaty that controls and gives rise to the request, supposedly has nothing to do with the legality of it, it’s very strange,” Fitzgerald said at one point, adding: “it is generally accepted worldwide that people should not be extradited for a non-violent offense of a political nature.”
The prosecution also attempted to argue that even if the exemptions in the extradition treaty did apply, it wouldn’t matter because Assange is not accused of anything that could be called a political offense. They said the defense must “equate what Mr Assange is alleged to have done against whether or not the only purpose was to change the government in America or induce America to change its policy, both of which we say it’s not.”
The defense correctly countered that not only was WikiLeaks trying to affect US government behavior, but that they actually succeeded in doing so. Not only that, but the US government has itself accused Assange of being a political actor who is trying to change America’s behavior.
“He’s not a journalist. He’s not a whistleblower. He is a political actor. He has a political agenda,” State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said of Assange in 2010 after WikiLeaks began exposing US war crimes. “He is trying to undermine the international system that enables us to cooperate and collaborate with other governments and to work in in multilateral settings and on a bilateral basis to help solve regional and international issues.”
In other words, Assange is a political actor who is deliberately trying to interfere with the US government agenda of world domination.
Defence counsel notes "We're in a pretty strange Alice in Wonderland world where the treaty that controls & gives rise to request supposedly has nothing to do with the legality of it, its very strange."#AssangeHearing #NoExtradition #FreeAssange
1:44 AM - Feb 28, 2020
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The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word Kafkaesque as “of, relating to, or suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings, especially: having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality.”
“Kafka’s work is characterized by nightmarish settings in which characters are crushed by nonsensical, blind authority,” says Merriam-Webster. “Thus, the word Kafkaesque is often applied to bizarre and impersonal administrative situations where the individual feels powerless to understand or control what is happening.”
I generally try to avoid words that not everyone will understand in my writings, especially in my headlines, but, you know, damn. That’s the most perfect definition of this ridiculous bootlicking bureaucratic nightmare maze that you could possibly come up with.
We can expect more of this when the trial resumes in May, and, to be clear, this is the more just and equitable half of the fight. If Assange is successfully extradited to the United States as the mysterious Vanessa Baraitser seems primed to allow, he will face a rigged trial after he and his legal team were spied on by US intelligence agencies when preparing his defense. He and his legal team will be completely silenced from commentary on the trial, and he’ll disappear into a black hole of “Special Administrative Measures” where he won’t be heard from again.
The time to speak up for Assange and the future of press freedoms is now. Not when he’s extradited. Not after his fake trial and draconian sentencing. Now.
Caitlin's articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast, throwing some money into her hat on Patreon or Paypal, or buying her book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. https://caitlinjohnstone.com
A lot hinges on Julian Assange’s fate. If he can be thrown into a dark hostile prison for telling the truth about the US establishment’s crimes, then you can too, eventually. Donald Trump would probably not have won the election in 2016 if it had not been for the Wikileaks revelations about Hillary and the Democrats and the dirty tricks they played to shut Bernie Sanders out of the race. So how does Donald thank Assange for that?
Trump never mentions Assange. However, he and his fan club do not stand for the Constitution and they do not stand for human rights anywhere on the planet. They have traded in traditional Christianity and the Judaic “love your neighbour as yourself” for legalistic pre-Christian, pre-Judaic Zionism. Trump’s unprecedented admission that he intends to “keep the oil” in Syria is the expression of a colonialist mind. His virulent anti-China statements betray a frank racism that no other president has ever expressed. He and the rest of the Establishment – which some call the Deep State – believe in their hearts that the world’s resources all belong to the US and Washington has the right to plunder them.
My prison visit with Julian Assange
by Andrew Wilkie
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie writes about his alarming visit with Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison.
ANDREW WILKIE FEB 19, 2020
“Today’s 90 minute visit to Julian Assange in London’s Belmarsh Prison was an alarming experience. The place is everything you’d expect of a supermax jail and the process of entering and departing was security on steroids. Just the place for a supervillain.
Once inside we waited. And waited. And waited.
Despite the half hour it took us to be processed on entry, and me being ejected temporarily because I had a small hole in the bottom of one of my suit pockets, and the fact that all the other prisoners had already been allowed into the cavernous visitors area, Julian Assange was nowhere to be seen.
But then, finally, there he was, the last prisoner to see any visitor.
Clearly the special one. No wonder he looked tired, a man under enormous pressure, not just from years of incarceration, but also for the chilling prospect of being sent to a US federal prison for the rest of his life.
The injustice in all this is profound.
Sure, people have all sorts of views about Julian Assange. But when push comes to shove none of that is relevant. The substantive matter is that Julian Assange publicised US misconduct and presented hard evidence of their war crimes.
Because at the end of the day no one should be punished for doing the right thing.”
The man we left behind
The Australian media this week launched a vociferous public campaign decrying attacks on journalists and whistleblowers. But what about Julian Assange?
CHARLIE LEWIS OCT 23, 2019
He worked with a military whistleblower to uncover and publish a video from the gun sights of an American Apache helicopter in Iraq that opened fire on a group of men and then a van that stopped to help them. The driver of the van was killed and his two children were wounded.
He published revelations that exposed drone strikes, corruption and extrajudicial executions by governments across the world.
His website partnered with internationally-recognised outlets such as The New York Times, Le Monde and The Guardian. [Yes, and isn’t it amazing that these Establishment newspapers could publish with impunity the information that Assange uncovered, supposedly illegally, but Assange and only Assange is deemed a criminal? Why not criminalize the entire world population that read the Wikileaks revelations? Three is a total lack of logic in the charges against him – Vince Dhimos]
He won a Walkley Award for “most outstanding contribution to journalism”. By this time, he was also the target of an ”unprecedented” US government criminal investigation.
His cause was clouded by a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual assault and molestation. The charges were later dropped.
He sought asylum in a foreign embassy in London. He did not leave the building for seven years. A UN working group described his situation as a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Meanwhile, virtually every move that the US government made against him has since been used against mainstream journalists.
He was arrested after being expelled from the embassy and charged with multiple counts of espionage and related crimes under the US Espionage Act. He is facing up to 170 years in prison. [Yes, but legislation related to whistle-blowers exonerates Assange because he only uncovered government crimes and misconduct. BTW, the same goes for Chelsea Manning. Vince]
His lawyer told the press his arrest set a “dangerous precedent for all media and journalists in Europe and around the world.” The two biggest employers of journalists in Australia responded by publishing pieces which insisted the man is “not a journalist.”
His health deteriorated. At a court hearing to try and delay his extradition to the US, he appeared querulous and confused, struggling to recall his name and age. His application was dismissed.
That same week, the Australian media united to launch a public campaign decrying attacks on journalists and whistle-blowers. The name of the campaign: “Right To Know”.
He has received no assistance from his government.
The following text is from a rabbi friend of ours. As far as we know, the foreword is not available on the internet, which is why there is no link to that part.
It may seem counterintuitive that Israel would abuse its own. If anyone else treated Israeli girls with such disrespect for their religious views, it would be called anti-Semitism. So how can Israel get away with such blatant and open abuse?
Simple. The US supports and covers up all Israeli abuses and crimes, no matter how heinous. A major factor here is "Christian" Zionism, which essentially teaches that Isreal is a godly and infalible state because the Hebrews are God's chosen people. The Bible teaches just the opposite, showing in numerous passages that God was constantly punishing the Israelites for their disobedience. Nowhere does the Old Testament say that the Israelites had become obedient again. This is strictly an American Evangelical concept with no scriptural backing but lots of support from mega- and mini-pastors, but it is now a guiding concept of the current administration's Middle East policies, which are a disaster to say the least.
O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
After months of religious and traditional girls "on the periphery" suffering escalating harassment from the Army Draft Office, the Israeli paper "Mevaser" just published a story (on Jan. 29, '20) on the intensifying assault by the Army, in collaboration with the Israeli Supreme Court. For example, girls from smaller, "mixed," and outlying communities are increasingly being targeted for a "Rayon Dat," a Religiosity Test. They're also facing intimidation, harassment, and worse if they refuse. However, even appearing for such a Religiosity Interview is strictly prohibited according to Jewish Law. These "interviews" are specifically designed to convince, dupe, pressure, and even blackmail as many girls into the Army as possible. Enlisting in the Army is prohibited according to Jewish Law, due, in part, to the immoral exploitation of females that is part of the very fabric of the Army milieu.
Additionally, the Rayon Dat interview/interrogation is laden with particularly grave danger for girls with weaker religious backgrounds. Their vulnerabilities to drafting methods are assiduously exploited by the experienced military officers perpetrating those interrogations. Moreover, girls, often summoned at age 17, are prohibited from even bringing an attorney or a parent to a Rayon Dat. That very fact itself should be a cause for open rebellion of every religious and rightwing politician against the systemic corruption that has been enabling this antireligious policy.
The effect and goal of this policy and its escalating application in practice is to enlist more and more religious girls into the exploitative, immoral military. This advances the goal of the government to render females serving in the Army as if it were something compatible with religious observance.
Breaking News from Behind the Israeli Iron Curtain
4 Shvat, 5780 °° Jan. 30, '20 (v.2)
By Binyomin Feinberg,
To check for updates, on first view of this article, as well as throughout the week, please visit https://saveHischildren.blogspot.com -
or/and see updates for month of Teves '80:
1. Lital bas Miriam (https://daattorah.blogspot.com/2020/01/when-criminal-justice-is-truly-crimina.html), now languishing in Israeli Military Prison Four for about 17 days (since her arrest on Jan.13), had her hearing scheduled for yesterday (Wed., Jan. 29) delayed yet again, until next Tuesday, Feb. 4. That is essentially one more way of keeping an innocent religious young lady in military jail, under often brutal conditions (see above link) - without Due Process.
2. Moreover, the government is reportedly seeking to hit her with an outrageous 81 day prison sentence.
3. One would think the government would want to dispatch with this courageous Refusenik quickly. However, that will apparently only occur if concerned people continue to pressure the Israeli government, by exposing their ongoing abuse of this and other Refusenik girls (like Tal-Yah bas Rus and Yehudis Noah, see below).
4. To remind the readers, Lital's abuse by the Army was triggered by her agreement to submit to a Religiosity Interview (apparently in the absence of any warning about the prohibition and dangers involved) - NINE years ago.
5. In the wake of that meeting, the Army refused to honor her legal entitlement to an automatic religious exemption, on the pretext that she didn't answer a particular question pertaining to "Kriyas HaTorah," the ritual reading of the Torah (in the synagogue, with a quorum of ten adult males).
6. "Krias HaTorah" is an obligation incumbent on men, from which women are exempt, under Jewish Law (perhaps Maitav is more stringent that our Sages on this matter).
7. Thus, a girl seeking to secure her religious exemption should not be asked questions on that topic, period. Moreover, failure to answer such questions means precisely nothing, especially when it comes to questioning her religiosity.
8. The rank absurdity of this charade is somewhat ironic - in light of the fact that the primary exception to the exemption of women from the ritual reading of the Torah is the obligation to hear "Parshas Zachor" (D'varim 25:17-19, at the end of Kee-Saitzai). That brief section exhorts us about the obligation incumbent on all Jews to safeguard our timeless enmity towards Amalek, the embodiment of Evil for the sake of Evil, the ageless paradigm of Rebellion against G-d Himself. To be fair, the Draft Office (Maitav) should mandate asking questions about one of the most foundational texts on the subject of Amalek, being Rav Elchonon Wasserman, in his "Kovetz He'Oros" on Yevamos, Aggadah section, ch. 10, #1-6. A perusal of that essay will clarify precisely why Maitav would opt to recuse themselves from that "uncomfortable" topic, out of conflict of interest.
9. Recently, information on other incarcerated girls has trickled out, out of what has assumed the contours of the Iron Curtain, i.e. the Israeli military prison system, from which information is often very difficult to extract.
Yehudis Noah, a religious immigrant from France, has just recently been discovered to have been languishing in Prison Six, in the North -- for over TWO MONTHS! There, prisoners often suffer exposure to the cold over the winter months. Our current information is that, for some reason, her religious exemption was denied, and she was compelled to enlist. Within days, she was struck with the realization that it's impossible to remain faithful to Judaism in the Army, and therefore fled. Subsequently, she was apparently imprisoned for abandoning the very environment that compelled her to flee for her [spiritual] life.
10. Additionally, Tal-Yah bas Rus continues to be held in Prison Four, apparently for fleeing the Army. Reportedly, she's already been held for over a month and a half, and about 15 days ago she was sentenced to 35 days in military prison.
11. Outrages like this may, G-d forbid, continue - unless even more concerned Jews increase the pressure against the government (e.g., http://firstamendmentactivist.blogspot.com/2020/01/righteous-outrage-goes-international.html). Specifically, female demonstrations against the Israeli government drafting, harassment, incarceration, and persecution of female Refuseniks must be held at Israeli offices and events internationally, emphasizing the immoral nature of the female military draft. Their anti-exploitation message would resonate globally.
Please stay tuned for updates.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: WAS THE INTERNATIONAL OIL CRISIS OF 1973 THE BEGINNING OF THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL OF OUR SOCIETIES SINCE THAT PERIOD?
Where anything starts is a philosophical question without a clear answer.
But to keep things simple, there were several major events in the 70s that put the US on the track it is on today, with its endless wars and unayable debt and the responses to them all involved President Richard Nixon.
Firstly, in 1969, US oil production could no longer keep pace with demand and the US became dependent on Middle East oil. This caused reverberations that persist to the present day. For instance, in Trump’s precipitous rush to make the US energy-independent for fear of another oil crisis like the one in the 70s, in a gamble that, while making the US apparently energy independent, heavy investments in the inherently unprofitable shale energy (which requires expensive fracking) have led to the bankruptcy of investors in shale oil (and gas). The shale rush is thus a Pyrrhic victory in a sense. It would have been infinitely wiser to wait several years until oil became scarce enough to raise world oil prices to a profitable level. By rushing into the shale oil extraction early, the reserves are being depleted now at a time of cheap oil and low profits. Thus efforts are being squandered to artificially “make America great” for political purposes instead of judiciously waiting for a time of scarcity when the shale energy would be urgently needed. This is hurting the US economy by encouraging unprofitable investment and creating jobs that probably won’t last. I wrote about this before at NSS.
Secondly, in 1971, in an unrelated event, Nixon took the US off the gold standard. He more or less was obliged to do this because the US was running low on gold and it was no longer possible to hand out gold like candy — at the bargain basement price of $35/ oz. – to parties with large amounts of “gold certificates” (US dollars).
Thirdly, very unfortunately, as though by a devilish conspiracy, since the US had taken the Israeli side in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the Arab countries who lost that war decided to get revenge, and they undertook to make oil scarce and hence expensive for the US and its allies by launching an oil embargo. This embargo had repercussions throughout the 70s, causing severe inflation.
Fourthly, in a desperate attempt to put an end to this crisis, President Nixon sent a delegation led by his secretary of state Henry Kissinger to Saudi Arabia in 1973 to negotiate an end to the oil embargo with King Faisal. The New York Times gave insight into these talks. Eventually, an agreement was reached (in 1974) that seriously affected US foreign and military policy. The Saudis were given an attractive offer that did in fact end the oil crisis, but it gradually led to destabilization of the Middle East. In return for the Saudis’ agreeing to charge only US dollars in the settlement of their oil sales and to keep all their reserves in US dollars as well, the US side agreed to a risky offer: to use the US armed forces to defend and protect the Saudi royal family and their oil fields. There were major problems with this deal which is why it was not mentioned frequently in the media (it was not until Bloomfield used a freedom of information suit that the text of the agreement became public decades later). One problem was that according to the Constitution, the US armed forces were to be used to “provide for the common defence,” ie, to “suppress insurrections” and “repel invasions.” The petrodollar agreement, however, assigned an unconstitutional role to the US military, making it a de facto mercenary force.
Thus a second problem was the risk of potential blackmail on the part of the Saudis. I explained the risks and consequences of this arrangement here at Quora. Long story short, the Saudis did indeed seem to exert an untoward influence on the US, whether overtly or through overzealousness of US officials, to the extent that every war waged in the Middle East and Afghanistan was clearly in the interests of the Saudis (but also of Israel) and could arguably be attributed in part to an over-fulfilment of the petrodollar agreement. The upshot of these wars was chaos in the Middle East, including hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries, a major increase in US debt, and a gradual loss of trust in the US among the people of the region. The current Iran crisis is due in part to this agreement because the Sunni Wahhabist Saudis are bitterly opposed to all Shiite influences (in Syria, headed by the Shiite-Alawite Basher al-Assad; in Shiite-majority Iraq, in Lebanon with its strong Iran-backed Hezbollah influence, and in Shiite-majority Iran). To claim that the Iraq War, the Syrian conflict – involving Wahhabist Saudi-backed ISIS and Al-Qaeda, which the US only pretended to fight, were unrelated to the US commitment to support Saudi under the petrodollar agreement, is to naively suspend disbelief. But not to forget that the Israeli influence was symbiotic with this.
Thus, from the above brief synopsis, it is clear that the oil crisis did indeed spawn, if only indirectly, a series of deleterious influences that caused attrition of the US economy and power in various ways.
It also led to a rise in Russian influence in the Middle East thanks to the entry of Russia in the Syrian war. But the Russian influence may be the only thing that saves the US from itself in the long run.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: IS IT POSSIBLE TO BRING PEACE BY THE NEW MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROPOSAL?
The famous “Deal of the Century” was presented to the world by a Trump-Netanyahu duo on January 2. This was the first time in history that an Israel-Palestine peace plan was hatched with zero input from the Palestinians and presented with no Arab presence on the platform. Yet, this offer of absolutely nothing at all to Palestine is supposed to be taken seriously and debated by the two sides.
We are also now witnessing a historic first, ie, a US administration fully guided by the cult of “Christian” Zionism, in a manner that puts paid to the old First Amendment concept of a government showing no favouritism to any one religion. Trump has killed that principle and Americans claiming to be conservative are fine with having their Constitution flushed down the toilet. Jesus said from the cross Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. But the people who are happy to trash the cherished principles of their Constitution are Americans who have had over 2 centuries to contemplate the importance of its provisions. How can they not know? And if they know, how can they be forgiven?
Other presidents were guided by this religious cult but none had actual Zionist true believers in their administration. Trump has two, Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo. Where is America headed?
The irony is that the religion that is receiving the favouritism is not the religion founded by the early Christians and based on Christ’s teachings but a hybrid between Old Testament legalism – which Jesus abhorred – with a thin veneer of Christianity on top for show, like on TV. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ask his followers to support a new secular state called Israel that brings together the diaspora that God created when He banished the Hebrews – on several occasions spread out over millennia – from their land as a punishment for their disobedience. And nowhere in the Old or New Testament does God even hint that Israel has become obedient again and hence deserving of returning to their land. It was Zionists who pushed that non-Biblical narrative, and it was Americans who bought into it.
There are a few Christians alive today who still derive their principles from the words of Jesus, and for this remnant, “Christian” Zionism is heresy. But for most Evangelicals, it is a well-established cult that goes back about 200 years and has acquired the patina of age, making it seem like something divinely inspired – even though it departs radically from the scriptures (details here).
No matter that it legitimizes a state that got its start by massacring innocent men, women and children – a heinous crime that is almost completely papered over by historians, msm, politicians and, of course, pastors whose outward appearance and demeanour slyly suggests piety and righteousness. Jesus called this type of religious leader “whitewashed sepulchres,” clean and white on the outside but corrupt and stinking on the inside. Let me first note that the standard excuse repeated ad nauseam by Israeli apologists is that the massacres by the Jews are justified by the Hebron massacres of Jews by Arabs almost 2 decades prior to the killing perpetrated by these Arabs in 1948 (and later).
But here again, nowhere do the scriptures say that a massacre of innocents justifies the massacre of other innocents. But the “Christian” US and “Judaic” Israel no longer accept the moral concepts we normally associate with Judeo-Christianity. If a white man kills a black child to avenge a murder by a black person, nothing is accomplished except one senseless murder after another.
The Ten Commandments were handed down to prevent this sort of injustice.
But thousands of years of stabilizing common-sense tradition are being trashed by the US and Israel and the world, fearing the unbalanced US president, can only applaud. In horror.
The following passage and quote from an eye witness of the massacre should illustrate what it is these pious “Christian” Zionists support – generally unwittingly:
"On April 9, 1948, the armed groups Irgun and Stern (whose leaders included two future prime ministers of Israel, Menahem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir) carried out the massacre of the inhabitants of Deir Yassin. [https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/MAGAZINE-testimonies-from-the-censored-massacre-at-deir-yassin-1.5494094 Testimonies From the Censored Deir Yassin Massacre: 'They Piled Bodies and Burned Them'
A young fellow tied to a tree and set on fire. A woman and an old man shot in back. Girls lined up against a wall and shot with a submachine gun. The testimonies collected by filmmaker Neta Shoshani about the massacre in Deir Yassin are difficult to process even 70 years after the fact]
The delegate of the Red Cross in the area, Jacques de Reynier, was the first person to arrive at the place while the Irgun militias were still present: "Among the troops there were some very young people, almost adolescents, all in military clothing and helmets, men and women armed to the teeth with pistols, machine guns, grenades and also big knives, most of them still bloodied. A very beautiful young woman showed me her blood still dripping like a trophy [from her knife]...
I made my way between them and entered a house. The first room was dark with everything in disarray but nobody could be seen. In the next room I found, under the furniture and the busted mattresses, several corpses, aIready cold.
The cleansing operation had been done first with machine guns, then with grenades and finally with the long knives, without any worries that it would be discovered. The same scene we found in the next room but as I was about to leave I heard what I thought was a sigh.
I removed the corpses until I touched a small foot that was still warm. She was a ten-year-old girl, badly injured by a grenade but still alive. I picked her up and one of the officers tried to block me at the door, I pushed him away and left with my precious body ...
We check the other houses and in all of them we find the same spooky scene. We only found two other people alive, two women, one of them an old woman huddled in the kitchen, who had been hiding there for hours ...
The village had four hundred inhabitants, some fifty managed to flee, three had survived, the rest had been thoroughly massacred, following the orders of their leaders, as they are admirably disciplined troops ... "
Jacques de Reynier gives the figure of 347 dead in the killing of Deir Yassin; other sources speak of 250. In any case, it is not about the number of victims – because in those months of 1948 there were similar massacres in many other villages of Palestine – but about the echo that the killing had, the panic movement it provoked, which made Deir Yassin one of the keys to the exodus of the Palestinian peasants. [In my debates with Israelis and their apologists at Quora, they invariably tell me the Arabs left of their own accord and were not in any way coerced. Vince]
“Christian” Zionism, which fully supports (probably unwittingly) all the Israeli actions like the one described above, is a mixture of both guileful deceit and naiveté. But whatever its origin or motivation may be, it is the guiding light of US foreign policy in the Middle East and has been at the root of millions of deaths, untold destruction and the silent suffering of the poor under economic sanctions (this is generally due to an indirect influence since US wars in the region are energetically promoted by Israel. Because part and parcel of “Christian” Zionism is the Israeli narrative that Islam is evil and is the origin of all the wars in the Middle East, even though it is the Israelis themselves who promote these wars (for example, constantly firing missiles at military installations in Syria and egging the US on to attack Iran, as reported here). Netanyahu spoke for 2 hours before the US congress urging the US to declare war on Iraq. All with the blessings of millions of US Evangelicals who pray God’s blessings on the US and the Israeli presidents as these atrocities are carried out and as Washington helps Israel grab more and more land from the hapless Arabs, who, you might have thought, have suffered enough these past 70 years.
There have been two branches of Islam involved on both the giving and the receiving sides of US wars and sanctions, and one of them, ie, Wahhabism, the religion of ISIS and Al-Qaeda, has been the favourite of US presidents for decades. It is the religion that opposes Shiism, the more tolerant branch that is hated and feared by Israel because Shiite Iranian fighters oppose ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq while Iran also criticises and resists Israel’s abuse of Palestinians and other Arab neighbours. In turn, Israel threatens to annihilate Iran while Iran warns Israel to stay away, and this warning is taken by the US and Israel as a “threat.” Both Israel and the US are hard put to explain why fighting ISIS is bad. Instead of trying to explain, they go pro-active and accuse Iran and its proxy Hezbollah of being “terrorists,” but again, without explaining why they call them that. So far, there is no need to explain because the doctrine that Iran is evil is an integral part of the cult of “Christian” Zionism.
But as long as the cult of death prevails in the American church and in Washington, expect the wars to go on and the bottomless US debt and the accompanying inflation to keep growing.
After all, why would God bless a bunch of heretics?
I was recently asked on Quora a question about Tulsi Gabbard and why she is getting no traction.
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
“The problem with Tulsi is that she seems to be guided by this notion of “morality,” or a vision of “right vs wrong,” which are Christian values of a century ago (ya, I know she is technically a Hindu but like Ghandi, she is a universalist at heart. Her ideas are acceptable to people of all races and religions, as they should be in a country with a First Amendment). US foreign policy is guided by a vision that is considered “amoral” by policy makers and most of the public, but frankly “immoral” by traditionalists like myself who still cling to the Christian teaching “love thy neighbour as thyself” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The official cardinal “Western value” is “might makes right,” and it is perfectly illustrated by the Deal of the Century, which is based on the principle that “the US is overwhelmingly strong and can do whatever it damn well pleases, and whad’re ya gonna do aboudit, sucker?”
Unfortunately, in the land dominated by “Christian” Zionists, who think God is on their side because they worship Israel, Tulsi cannot win an election.”
END QUORA POST
The “Deal of the Century” has now been presented in a joint presentation between Donald Trump and Israeli President Netanyahu, with no Arabs on the platform. It is a deal that annexes the West Bank, which had been designated by the UN as Palestinian territory.
US PEACE PLAN SHOWS “MIGHT MAKES RIGHT” IS THE AMERICAN GUIDING PRINCIPLE. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOLDEN RULE?
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: IS IT POSSIBLE TO BRING PEACE BY THE NEW MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROPOSAL?
The famous “Deal of the Century” was presented to the world by a Trump-Netanyahu duo on January 2. This was the first time in history that an Israel-Palestine peace plan was hatched with zero input from the Palestinians and presented with no Arab presence on the platform. The proposed "peace" plan finalizes the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank leaving the Arabs with no alternatives. Yet, this offer of absolutely nothing at all to Palestine is supposed to be taken seriously and debated by the two sides. After all, Jared Kushner read 25 books on the subject so he is an expert, the US is the strongest world power and and we don't need no stinkin' justice for the Muslims.
We are also now witnessing a historic first, ie, a US administration fully guided by the cult of “Christian” Zionism, in a manner that puts paid to the old First Amendment concept of a government showing no favouritism to any one religion. Trump has killed that principle and Americans claiming to be conservative are somehow fine with having their cherished Constitution flushed down the toilet. Jesus said from the cross Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. But the people who are happy to trash the cherished principles of their Constitution are Americans who have had over 2 centuries to contemplate the importance of its provisions. How can they not know? And if they know, how can they be forgiven?
Other presidents had been guided by this religious cult but none had actual Zionist true believers in their administration. Trump has two, Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo. Where is America headed?
The irony is that the religion that is receiving the favouritism is not the religion founded by the early Christians and based on Christ’s teachings but a hybrid between Old Testament legalism – which Jesus abhorred – with a thin veneer of Christianity on top for show, like on reality TV. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ask his followers to support a new secular state called Israel that brings together the diaspora that God created when He banished the ancient Hebrews from their land – on several occasions spread out over millennia – as a punishment for their disobedience. And nowhere in the Old or New Testament does God even hint that Israel has become obedient again and hence deserving of returning to their land. It was Zionists who pushed that non-Biblical narrative, and it was Americans who bought into it.
There are a few Christians alive today who still derive their principles from the words of Jesus, and for this remnant, “Christian” Zionism is heresy. But for most Evangelicals, it is a well-established cult that goes back about 200 years and has acquired the patina of age, making it seem like something divinely inspired – even though it departs radically from the scriptures (details here).
No matter that it legitimizes a state that got its start by massacring innocent men, women and children – a heinous crime that is almost completely papered over by historians, msm, politicians and, of course, pastors whose outward appearance and demeanour slyly suggests piety and righteousness. Jesus called this type of religious leader “whitewashed sepulchres,” clean and white on the outside but corrupt and stinking on the inside. Let me first note that the standard excuse repeated ad nauseam by Israeli apologists is that the massacres by the Jews are justified by the Hebron massacres of Jews by Arabs almost 2 decades prior to the killing perpetrated by these Israeli settlers in 1948 (and later).
But here again, nowhere do the scriptures say that a massacre of innocents justifies the massacre of other innocents. But the “Christian” US and “Judaic” Israel no longer accept the moral precepts we normally associate with Judeo-Christianity. If a white man kills a black child to avenge a murder by a black person, nothing is accomplished except one senseless murder after another.
This is the kind of injustice the Ten Commandments were written to remedy.
But thousands of years of stabilizing common-sense scriptural tradition are being trashed by the US and Israel.
Yet the whole world fears an unbalanced US president, and can only stand by and applaud. In horror.
THE ART OF THE DIRTY DEAL: TRUMP ASKED IRAQ FOR HELP NEGOTIATING, THEN MURDERED ITS CHIEF NEGOTIATOR!
Below is an excerpt from a news item from Daily Mail that originated in an interview of Iraqi MP mahdi with NPR.
First let me state unequivocally: Soleimani was not a terrorist. There was not a stitch of evidence to support that tall tale from the State Deprtment that he planned to kill Americans. He had led battles against ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The real terrorist in the Middle East is the US, as I explained here, and that is why they wanted him dead.
Also let me state that any American who believes any war propaganda or excuses about a US foreign intervention is a big part of the problem, as I discussed here, especially if they believe US aggression is supported by God. Trump promised to keep us out of foreign wars, then soon started getting involved and even brazenly admitting he was in Syria to “take the oil.” As soon as he said that, all of his former followers should have stopped supported him because he was then admitting he is just another Clinton/Bush clone. He is no different from any other president of recent decades and he was elected by Americans, not by God Almighty!
QUOTE from Daily Mail:
Soon after Trump made his request to Abdul Mahdi for mediation, US forces launched their drone strike on Friday killing Soleimani, the Iraqi leader was quoted as saying by National Public Radio.
Abdul Mahdi slammed the Americans on Sunday for what he called a ‘political assassination’ in targeting Soleimani.
Abdul Mahdi suggested that the Iranian military leader was in Baghdad as part of Iraqi-mediated negotiations with Iran’s main regional rival, Saudi Arabia.
He said that Soleimani was going to meet him on the same day that he was killed.
‘He came to deliver me a message from Iran, responding to the message we delivered from Saudi Arabia to Iran,’ Abdul Mahdi told The Washington Post.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
IS THE US ATTACK [that killed General Soleimani] GOOD OR BAD FOR WORLD PEACE?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Anyone who thinks there is a snowball’s chance in hell that the US murder of General Soleimani will be good for peace is a terminally addled victim of the current administration’s state-run propaganda machine. The US narrative that Iran’s top general was about to do something horrible to start a war was fed to the public without a stitch of evidence to back it up and, more importantly, without positing a motive. People and nations rarely ever do anything without a motive. Why would Iran seek to kill or harm a bunch of Americans in the Middle East without a compelling reason? Actually, if Iran had wanted to retaliate against an entity, it would be Israel because Israel has been routinely firing missiles into Syria and killing Iranian fighters who are there to fight ISIS. Thus, Iran had no compelling motive to harm Americans but Israel did have a motive to smear Iran and provide the US with a phony pretext to strike at Iran, as I showed here.
Readers of US media, which gives Israeli misdeeds short to no shrift, will probably never have heard of the Israeli attacks on Iranians in Syria, but let me quote from a BBC report (Wave of Israeli strikes hit Iran's forces in Syria):
“Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria since the civil war broke out in 2011.
It has been trying to thwart what it calls Iran's "military entrenchment" there and block shipments of Iranian weapons to Lebanon's Hezbollah movement.” [No Western commentator would dare to mention that it was Hezbollah that saved Lebanon from total destruction and seizure by Israel in 2006.]
A news item from Axios, a notoriously pro-Establishment site, provides some insight into how the US (John Bolton in this case) makes decisions on “security”. In this case, the linked article describes how Bolton came up with the idea to send an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. These are obsolete tubs often described as floating coffins, which can be destroyed by missiles in a matter of minutes.
“An Israeli official told me [the author of the article] Mossad drew several scenarios for what the Iranians might be planning...”
This report that something might be happening is so typical of the propaganda fed to gullible US officials by Mossad. Listing a series of actions Iran might take is just guesswork. A 7 year old could have done the same. Yet the US Establishment considers such reports “intelligence.” Since the US administration does not state the source of its “intelligence” that Soleimani was supposedly plotting to harm Americans, this suggests it may have come from the dubious Mossad.
The old worn out Israeli excuse for murdering Iranians in Syria is that “an Iranian strike on Israel is imminent” and we therefore have the “right to defend ourselves.”
Now, honestly folks, if a strike had been “imminent,” as Israel has repeatedly claimed over the years, how is it that Israel has not been hit? And of course, since Israel is said to “have the right to defend itself,” how is it that the eminently more vulnerable unarmed Gazans and West Bankians are not allowed to defend themselves? And how is it that Lebanon’s defence forces (whether Hezbollah or official forces) does not have the right to defend their country? US media sci-fi stories swirling all around us have thoroughly disoriented most Western news consumers.
Now let me clarify those claims of “attacks on Israel”: Israel has stated on several occasions that small rockets were fired into the Golan Heights, part of which Israel claims as its own (using the old “spoils of war” saw), but claiming something doesn’t make it so. And seizing territory during a war that you yourself started does not make it yours even if you insist it is “spoils of war.” The UN does not agree. Further, the fact that the US, Israel’s sock puppet, has declared the Golan to be Israeli territory does not make it Israeli either. Golan is Syrian and the UN and most countries acknowledge it as such. The US, while pretending to be the authority on all things Middle Eastern, has the least competence of all countries to warn of things that “might happen” because most of these reports are concocted to achieve a given sinister purpose (often to harm Iran) and much of this malarkey comes from Mossad, a spy agency know for wholesale illegal assassinations (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Israeli_assassinations). Only America, home to millions of “Christian” Zionists, praises Israel for these crimes and deems Mossad a legitimate source of information.
Despite Israeli claims, rockets hitting anywhere in the Golan Heights are not hitting Israel and that country therefore has no excuse to fire missiles at the Iranians in retaliation for something that never happened!
For those inclined to believe a sourceless claim without supporting evidence by the US of an “imminent” strike on US forces by Soleimani, remember that Israel had been predicting since the early 2000s that Iran was about to develop a nuclear bomb, without ever citing any supporting evidence.
A report from a 2011 article by Reuters illustrates this:
“Israel, <...> predicted last January that Iran could have its first nuclear device in two years.”
That was 9 years ago and no evidence has surfaced of a nuclear device being developed by Iran. Now tell me why an Israeli prediction of an imminent event should be taken seriously.
But what about the US claim that Soleimani was behind the attacks on US bases that served as pretexts for the US murder?
There was no indication that Soleimani was involved in these attacks. The US led victims of its msm to believe that it was only a small group of Iranians who wanted the US out of Iraq. However, the fact that so many Iraqis participated in demonstrations that breached and badly damaged the supposedly impregnable US embassy in Baghdad and the fact that the Iraqi parliament recently voted to oust the American troops from their country is vivid proof that the desire to rid the Middle East of US influence is shared by millions, including Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese and Iranians alike.
American analysts are taking stock of their country now at year’s end, in hopes that the mistakes of 2019 can be somehow rectified in 2020.
But is there any remedy for the cumulative effects of decades-long missteps that brought on a ballooning debt, a Treasury that no longer finds buyers and is forced to simply print dollars in exponentially increasing amounts, and a military that, as I showed yesterday, is now reduced to mere bluffing in a vain attempt to convince voters that America is becoming great again? And desperate measures in msm, social media and even search engine policies and SEO to keep the public from seeing the obvious? (Russian web sites are now invariably marked as “unsafe” by anti-virus programs, despite the fact that Russia has no motive whatsoever to attack the sites of Russia-friendly Westerners who read their news stories).
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Is the US really such a bad country?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Good vs bad is a bit broad.
Let’s look at various aspects of the US, using 7 answers that I have posted at Quora plus an outside article:
Morality and ethics, US and Western support for ISIS since the start of the Arab Spring:
Can the US defeat Russia?:
Vince Dhimos's answer to Is Putin correct in saying that the West is trying to catch up with Russia’s deployment of a new generation of strategic nuclear weapons?
The US as the leader of NATO:
Economics. Is living on debt as opposed the real sector, viable?
Vince Dhimos's answer to How can monetary policy instruments and fiscal policy instruments be used to increase country production?
Comparison with China: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/economics-and-finance/an-unbiased-look-at-us-vs-chinese-economic-growth
The trade war: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/economics-and-finance/michael-snyder-breakdown-of-relations-with-china-could-throw-world-into-turmoil
Foreign policy. Is it focused on security of its own people? Or something else?
Freedom of expression
(not my own article here):
We are all Julian Assange
Democracy. Is the US really of the people, by the people and for the people? Or by a shadow government?
Vince Dhimos's answer to Is China a bigger threat to the western democracy than Russia?
It is hard to believe that a Westerner would specifically distrust Russian news when we are bombarded with false news 24-7 from our own Establishment and Russian news is the best remedy to this toxic input that poisons our minds.
After all, if Americans, for example, want to check on RT news reports, why would they need to ask Quorum? All they have to do is do a Google search to see if the news reported at RT can be found in the respected Western press.
This naive question is just a little sampling of the dismal state of the Western mind thanks to the tendentious reporting of media and the political class. The sad thing is that most Westerners haven't an inkling of the extent to which they are lied to and to which they in turn spread the lies. They are like slaves who defend their master rather than seeking to get free.
Below is one of the naive questions and my common-sense answer.
Is RT (Russia Today), Russian international television network, a reliable source of news, given Russia's history of spreading disinformation?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Russia’s history of spreading disinformation? What history? The rumour that Russia just goes around spreading lies is a myth generated by the Western Establishment, which itself spreads fake news all the time. (Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?)
If you have doubts about RT but are also one of those Westerners who thinks for himself, do yourself a favour. Read a few reports in RT for a few weeks. Check the reports for veracity by doing Google searches. Almost everything reported in RT is easily verifiable in the Western press.
I just now checked on today’s stories in RT. Each one was verifiable in the Western press.
For example, there is a report in RT today that German magazine Der Spiegel has shown that Bill Brownder’s story of the death of Magnistsky in Russia is riddled with inconsistencies. I found that report in Spiegel. Below is my translation of the introduction:
Russland: Der Fall Magnitski - Story ohne Held
With his statements on the death of a whistleblower, Bill Browder turned the Americans against Putin. But his story is full of inconsistencies.
German original: Mit seinen Aussagen zum Tod eines Whistleblowers brachte Bill Browder die Amerikaner gegen Putin auf. Doch seine Darstellung ist voller Widersprüche.
Now what is it about the RT report that could be doubted?
Could anyone doubt that Spiegel published this piece? Well, heck no. The Spiegel piece is on line.
Could anyone doubt what Spiegel reported? Maybe, but after all, the inconsistencies they speak of are just that, inconsistencies in what Bowder said. If Spiegel provided a report of news that contradicts Boweder, then that would be subject to scrutiny. But finding inconsistencies in what he said is hardly controversial. Would Spiegel falsify the report of Bowder's statements? Well, such a falsification would tarnish Spiegel's reputation forever and they do care about their reputation. By the way, Spiegel usually hews to the Washingon narrative on just about everything and can be considered US-aligned. So what else is there to doubt?
At any rate, I recommend anyone with doubts check RT against the Western press. You will find they are not making it up.
Western people generally make a major error when attempting to compare the US-led West with Russia and China. That is, the Western person assumes that both the East and the West have the same kind of flaws and that ultimately, both regions are essentially the same because “people are the same everywhere.”
They also reject the idea that there is a “Western” way of thinking and an “Eastern” way of thinking in relation to geopolitics. Many Westerers believe there are an infinite number of nuances in the media and that one should pay attention to all of them.
Sadly, the US and European media in reality do not contain an open discussion precisely of the most vital issues, ie, the cancerously growing public and private debt, the perennial wars and US-inspired and promoted regime change interventions like the Maidan coup in Ukraine, the Venezuelan uprising and more recently the Bolivian uprising that are unabashedly and openly supported by the US Establishment.
The best illustration of the West’s repression of the public discussion of these issues is that in all the televised US presidential debates of the past few decades, no moderator has asked the candidates how they would deal with the ballooning debt bubble or how they would end the constant US military and soft regime change attacks on Third World countries or what the candidates thought about the Israeli intervention in US politics via AIPAC (despite the fact that discussion of so-called “Russian meddling” in US politics is encouraged) and the murder of unarmed Palestinian protesters and the bombing of residential areas in Gaza. Any moderator touching any of these taboo topics would have lost his or her job and fallen into permanent obscurity. So where are the nuances? Nuance is quashed in the Western public debate. It’s all about supporting the official narrative and most of the victims of state propaganda are happy to defend their persecutors.
This belief among Westerners that one can obtain an accurate picture of the world by reading all the viewpoints in the media is understandable, however, because, although the Westerner sees their governments approving wars against countries that have done Western citizens no harm whatsoever, the media on both the Left and the Right assure them that these wars are justified based on very tenuous and superficial arguments that are never adequately explained and not subject to questioning. Further, all news outlets throughout the West repeat this narrative and Westerners believe that, of course, it would be impossible for all their news outlets to be wrong. The pretext for these wars is generally the postulate that if the US and its European allies do not invade certain poor Third World countries, these countries will threaten our security. Western people are willing to accept this postulate even though they don’t understand, or ask, why this is so and how or in what way these countries actually threaten our security. In other words, they accept it not because they are convinced intellectually on the basis of logic, reason and facts but because their “leaders” assured them that it is so. These citizens reason that it would be impossible for all the new outlets to make the same mistake. They believe it would be absurd to think that all major media are following the same erroneous political line. And yet, the Western media unanimously reported, for example, that Saddam Hussein was using weapons of mass destruction when in fact, no such weapons were ever found after the US invaded Iraq. And the Western media reported in unison that Serbia was abusing the human rights of Kosovars but that the Kosovars were their innocent victims, although UN special prosecutor Carla De Ponte found, after the Kosovo conflict in which NATO killed an estimated 13,500 mostly civilians, that there were war criminals on both the Kosovar (ethnic Albanian) and the Serbian side and that even after the war, Kosovar leaders were behind the murder of Serbian citizens and trafficked in their organs.
Pointedly ignoring vital facts, the media repeat this postulate of a supposed threat from certain national actors over and over again and somehow, the people eventually wind up believing them even though no sufficiently logical arguments or facts are employed by the journalists who support the narrative of a threat.
Nor does the American or European citizen question the postulate, put forth by Western politicians and journalists, that Bashar el-Assad is a cruel and barbaric dictator even though he, unlike the unelected Saudi dictator kings, was elected democratically and there is no actual proof that he is cruel and barbaric. In fact, the media and political class almost all agree that Assad – and not the hordes of terrorists who had taken over most of Syria by 2014 – is solely responsible for the numerous deaths in the Syrian war. This really challenges the credulity of the Western people because the man who has been fighting terrorists since 2011 is said to be more dangerous and ruthless than the terrorists who are known to decapitate innocent civilians! If we accept this narrative, we are assuming that the terrorists have never harmed anyone and that Assad is the only terrorist leader in Syria, who has ruthlessly slaughtered his own people for no reason at all, simply because he hates his own people, including the ones who elected him, despite the fact that Assad’s popularity is higher than that of any US president in the US. How did he manage to convince the people he tortured and killed that he was their friend? The average Western citizen never thinks about this obvious discrepancy. He simply accepts as fact that Assad is evil but somehow, the Saudi kings are useful allies of the West, even though these allies were the source of most of the terrorists’ funding and weapons in Syria. Further, it is known that the US has funded so-called “rebels” who murder the troops of the legitimately elected Syrian government. In other words, we are asked to believe that the terrorists are harmless but the leader who fights the terrorists is cruel and barbaric and is responsible for all the war casualties.
Note that Russia has not supported the terrorists in any way and has fought them so effectively that, whereas the Syrian army was about to be driven into the sea by 2015, the Russian air force immediately turned the tide of the war in September of that year by providing air support for the Syrians, even though the US had claimed it was fighting the “war against terror” long before the Russians arrived.
In addition, the US does not comply with international law and does not respect the sovereignty of other nations. It invaded many countries without a UN mandate or even a clear purpose and created disasters in these countries, killing civilians in the hundreds of thousands from North Korea to Iraq to Yugoslavia to Libya and in many cases, reducing once-prosperous countries like Iraq and Libya to grinding poverty.
Further, while the West has managed its economy irresponsibly, accruing a debt of $23 trillion dollars that threatens the US and the world with recession, Russia has a debt that is so small that it is roughly equal to its reserves in gold and bonds [As explained at New Silk Strategies].
These differences between Russia and the US are not trivial and we cannot justifiably equate Russia with the US-led West.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Does the European Union impact state sovereignty and legitimacy?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Answered 6h ago
The EU has evolved from earlier forms of integration, including the very first European supranational organization, ie, the European Coal and Steel Comunity of 1951, which was strictly an economic organization that eased tariffs on goods traded between states. It was mutually beneficial.
This segued into the European Economic Community, which went a bit further and had the power to regulate patents of invention. This was still mutually beneficial.
The EEC later was replaced by the European Community. What happened to the “economic”? No one seemed to notice.
This group no longer pretended to be solely about the economy and it wasn’t. It was starting to make and enforce laws that were of a civil nature but not related to economics. This was the point at which alert citizens would have started to seriously question the motives of the leaders. But where were the alert citizens?
By the time the group started calling itself the European Union, there was no longer the former pretence of an economic focus. It was a power grab but no one dared to say that. Further, the EU’s cheering squad on the national levels used chicanery to recruit unsuspecting nations. Edward Heath claimed the UK would not lose any sovereignty at all, an outright lie, and that became one of the talking points of the Brexiteers. Laws were initiated by the unelected European Commission.
Some of the new guidelines caused industries to be shut down out of ecological concerns. Europe was becoming poorer but the people were also becoming increasingly indoctrinated to accept all the changes.
After the West encouraged the Arab Spring, which foreseeably led to war in the Middle East, the EU began insisting that the member states accept increasingly large numbers of the refugees that this meddling in the ME had created, and there was little investigation into the backgrounds of these refugees. Of course, Assad was blamed for all the trouble that the West had caused. Fraud was rampant and some of the refugees who claimed to be Syrians turned out to be, for example, Afghans, and some migrants proved sympathetic to terror groups. At this point, several countries began to push back and refused to go along with this demand to accept migrants as news arrived of misbehaviour. Some of them formed enclaves in major cities where, to put it mildly, police hesitated to enter. France experienced massive riots around New Year’s each year where thousands of cars were burned. The media reported the offenders as “youth” to avoid identifying them as migrants – which may have hurt their feelings.
The taxes became quite high because even the lowest level employees of the EU received salaries significantly higher than the averages on the national levels. As mentioned above, the Commission was unelected and as a result there was no input or oversight from the European peoples and nations. Normally, such a situation would be called an autocracy, but people, including journalists, were afraid by now to criticise this juggernaut. Only a few daring rebels like Nigel Farage dared to hit back.
The Brexit push was therefore legitimate. The problem with the Brexit UK today is that, while they rightly pushed back against the excesses of the EU, they generally accept US interference and have made no attempt to distance themselves from a group that in some ways is even more autocratic, ie, NATO, which holds massive drills at the borders of Russia and refers to Russia as “the enemy,” threatening the general security in a general push for military conflict that seems suspiciously like an attempt to start WW III. Thus the Brexiteers had jumped from the frying pan into the fire without noticing it.
I had written about this at Quora: https://www.quora.com/Why-hasn-t...
Which ones are the most interesting facts about dictatorships, and why is that?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
The most interesting fact about the people who are routinely called dictators in the Western media is that some of them are not dictators, while others who really are dictators are never called dictators.
Putin and Assad were elected democratically and are more popular than any US president. Yet the US press routinely smears them as “dictators.” Rouhani was also elected democratically, but Israel insists that US journalists call him a dictator to set the tone for a military assault on Iran. Maduro was also elected democratically, while Juan Guaidó is named president of Venezuela by almost the entire West even though he was never elected president!
Further, none of the Saudi leaders have even been elected and are dictators by the standard definition. Yet they are called “rulers,” “kings,” “leaders,” “royals,” and other misleading names but never dictators. The world of Western journalism is like Alice in Wonderland where everything is turned on its head and nothing makes sense. Yet the average denizen of this dark underworld accept the utter absurdity as truth.
Thus the most interesting thing about the people called dictators in the West is that many of them they aren’t. The West needs to go back to school and learn the true definition of the word dictator.
AL-MASDAR: VETERAN JOURNALIST EXPOSES OPCW'S ANTI-ASSAD BIAS THAT LED TO UNJUSTIFIED BOMBING RAID ON DAMASCUS
Since posting this, Vince Dhimos posted a similar article on Quora: https://www.quora.com/Is-Assad-a-fascist/answer/Vince-Dhimos
October 10, 2019
On 23rd October, The Courage Foundation released the landmark findings of its investigation into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) suppression of vital evidence in its investigation of the alleged 7th April 2018 chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.
The Foundation’s expert panel met with a member of the OPCW’s Douma fact-finding mission, who provided the an “extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports” – in its resultant report, the team were unanimous in expressing alarm “over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma”, and concluded each of the key evidentiary pillars of the investigation (including chemical analysis, toxicology, ballistics and witness testimonies) were flawed and bear little relation to the facts”.
“We became convinced key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favour a preordained conclusion. We’ve learned of disquieting efforts to exclude some inspectors from the investigation whilst thwarting their attempts to raise legitimate concerns, highlight irregular practices or even to express their differing observations and assessments —a right explicitly conferred on inspectors in the Chemical Weapons Convention, evidently with the intention of ensuring the independence and authoritativeness of inspection reports,” the panel said in an official statement.
The bombshell findings went entirely unreported in the mainstream media, however – until award-winning veteran journalist Jonathan Steele managed to slip a reference past the BBC censors five days later.
Steele was invited onto the World Service’s Weekend programme to discuss the elimination of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – but partway through, he made a startling intervention, noting he’d attended the briefing given to the Foundation by the OPCW whistleblower, one of the inspectors sent to Douma in April 2018 “to check into the allegations by the rebels that Syrian aeroplanes had dropped two canisters of chlorine gas, killing up to 43 people”, who “claims he was in charge of picking up the samples in the affected areas, and in neutral areas, to check whether there were chlorine derivatives there”.
Amazingly, host Paul Henley didn’t change the subject or terminate the conversation, instead asking Steele for more information.
“[The investigator] found there was no difference. So it rather suggested there was no chemical gas attack, because in the buildings where the people allegedly died there was no extra chlorinated organic chemicals than in the normal streets elsewhere. And I put this to the OPCW for comment, and they haven’t yet replied. But it rather suggests a lot of this was propaganda,” Steele said.
“Propaganda led by?” Henley probed.
“By the rebel side to try and bring in American planes, which did happen. American, British and French planes bombed Damascus a few days after these reports. This is the second whistleblower to come forward. A few months ago there was a leaked report by the person who looked into the ballistics, as to whether these cylinders had been dropped by planes, looking at the damage of the building and the damage on the side of the cylinders. And he concluded the higher probability was these cylinders were placed on the ground, rather than from planes,” Steele explained.
“This would be a major revelation…Given the number of people rubbishing the idea these could have been fake videos at the time,” Henley noted.
“Well, these two scientists, I think they’re non-political — they wouldn’t have been sent to Douma if they’d had strong political views by the OPCW. They want to speak to the Conference of the Member States in November, next month, and give their views, and be allowed to come forward publicly with their concerns. Because they’ve tried to raise them internally and been — they say they’ve been — suppressed, their views have been suppressed,” Steele concluded.
It would be wrongheaded to assign too much significance to the broadcast – after all, Steele’s comments were made unbidden over the course of a minute or so on an hour-long programme listened to by an unknown number of people (although BBC World Service does boast an audience of 319 million globally overall).
However, it notably marks the first time the whistleblowing of internally-silenced OPCW investigators has ever been mentioned in the mainstream media – and a small but growing number of journalists, including the British Mail on Sunday’s Peter Hitchens, and Italian La Repubblica’s Stefania Maurizi, have begun questioning the organisation on how and why these dissenting views came to be suppressed, albeit to little avail as yet.
With more people enquiring, the OPCW will become ever-more unble be to avoid commenting on the scandalous suppression of evidence contrary to what was increasingly clearly a preordained conclusion of the Assad government’s culpability for the apparent chemical weapons attack.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Answered 12m ago
This question obviously arises from the Western media and political class constantly calling Russia an aggressor and from the Democrat party’s witch hunt that masquerades as an election campaign. I recently checked out the platforms of each of the Democratic candidates – that is all of those that the Democrats are allowing to gain publicity – and found that they all think the US should support Ukraine in order to “contain Russia.” Of course, need I mention that sites listing Democrat candidates generally omit any reference to Tulsi Gabbard, who is an embarrassment to the US Establishment because she has the cheek to state that US wars are unjustified and are waged for “regime change.” She has the strongest statement against US wars while Bernie, who sometimes also pretends to oppose war, gingerly dances around the issue.
Unlike the US government, which has been almost constantly at war since WWII, the Russian Federation has never been the aggressor in any standard, acceptable sense of the word.
In the Georgian war, for example, Russia was named a peace keeper and its intent was to protect its neighbours S. Ossetia and Abkhazia, who were being abused by Georgia under the mentally unstable Saakashvili, acting on behalf of the US-dominated West.
In retrospect it appears as if Georgian president Saakashvili was baiting Russia by invading these small provinces. At any rate, reacting to the murder of civilians, Russia attacked the invaders and drove them deep into Georgian territory. Although some Western analysts accuse Russia of aggression for not stopping closer to the border, it is generally acknowledged even among Western scholars, that Georgia was the aggressor.
In Ukraine, the instigators the Maidan coup were not Russian, they were the US and allies, who entered via State Department reps, members of European governments and agencies (eg, the German NGO Konrad Adenauer Stiftung) and NGOs such as a Soros Open Society foundation, the NED and USAID to start and actively participate in an illegal and violent coup. These were the real violators of international law, acting in the open, but virtually the entire Western media still insist that Russia “invaded” Ukraine. It did no such thing. What really happened was that the new US-installed Kiev government made laws outlawing the official use of Russian, even though Russia was until then one of the official languages, and BTW, before the coup, most Ukrainians spoke Russian at least as a second language, though many deemed it their mother tongue. It was and is the lingua franca in ex Soviet Bloc countries, who would be hard put to communicate with each other without it. It is vastly easier to learn than English for a Ukrainian because it is a very closely related Slavic language. In fact it makes no sense to artificially ram English down the throats of the countries at Russia’s border, though this is what Washington wants to do.
This draconian law triggered a backlash particularly in the Donbass where Russian was the mother tongue of most residents, and in Crimea, where almost everyone considered himself Russian. Recall for background that Russian author Anton Chekhov had written the short story The Lady with the Little Dog (Дама с собачкой), which was set in Crimean Yalta, then considered a Russian resort area, and all the characters in the story spoke their native Russian (when I visited Yalta in the early 70s, everyone I spoke with spoke perfect Russian). Recall also that Yalta was the site of the signing of the peace accord by Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt at the close of WW II. Stalin chose this town because it was a Russian site comfortably accessible to Europe and was an attractive tourist site that he no doubt wanted to promote.
So when the government not of Russia but of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (you see it was never a regular Ukrainian province) held a referendum and over 90% of the voters said they wanted to accede to the Russian Federation, it was no surprise to knowledgeable folks. But alas, there are precious few knowledgeable folks in the Western world, so the majority just swallow the media’s swill and dutifully parrot the line that Russia is a dangerous aggressor that must be held in check by NATO (after all, what would the alliance’s overpaid bureaucrats do if they hadn't invented an enemy? They’ have to find real jobs, poor things!).
The decision of Crimea to accede to Russia was made by ordinary Crimeans, not the Russians. How is that “Russian aggression”? Only Western politicians and media reps “know” that. They already called presidential candidate and Iraq veteran Tulsi Gabbard a Kremlin stooge for suggesting the US should work with Russia instead of treating it like a pariah.
As long as the Western grassroots keep believing that Russia is the enemy, the Democratic Party leaders, certain Republican politicians, the Pentagon and NATO will high on the hog, even as the little guy gets poorer.
Vince Dhimos has answered a question at Quora.
Is RationalWiki a trustworthy source?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Answered just now
I have read the RationalWiki article on Michel Chossudovsky and his Global Research site.
RationalWiki is annoyed with Chossudovsky in part because of his conspiracy theories. And it is true that Chossudovsky gets heavily into such theories, generally providing facts and arguments to back them up. I have no opinion on most of them and they are of little importance compared to his expert analyses of geopolitics. Of course, RationalWiki does not make any effort to debunk these theories, just assumes that the reader has a low opinion of them and will dismiss that author’s writings on that basis. But Chossudovsky is by no means easy to dismiss.
I have read the other answers to this question and agree with most, although almost all seem to think of RationalWiki as left-wing.
Here is the problem. The old left was anti-war. For example, a left winger was targeted by Nixon for his anti-war activity in the run-up to the Watergate scandal.
However, today’s Democrats have done an about-face and are no longer anti-war. In fact, they have driven the West to a dangerous confrontation with Russia and China that is reminiscent of the old right wing. For its part, the right has become more like the old left, with many conservatives opposing war and the confrontation with Russia and China.
So where does RationalWiki stand on this?
In their article on Global Research (Globalresearch - RationalWiki), RationalWiki lambastes that site for being “anti-West” and “anti-NATO”. Yet NATO is the most warlike organization in the world and has committed what the Old Left would call war crimes, eg, in Libya and Serbia.
I wrote about NATO before at Quora: https://www.quora.com/Why-hasn-t... (reposted at New Silk Strategies).
Further, the Left had always been more anti-American than the right. Yet another grievance of RationalWiki against Chossudovsky is that the latter is “anti-West” or in other words, anti-American.
So rather than call RationalWiki leftwing, I think we should say that they are pro-US Establishment and promote the US war machine.
As for Chossudovsky, here are his credentialls:
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research. He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America's Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have read several articles on geopolitics by Chossudovsky and find him to be one of the most erudite and best-read authorites, esp on the Middle East.
As the Western political class continues to degenerate into near-total illiteracy regarding world affairs (Pompeo is emblematic of this trend), Western scholars and news consumers need real experts like we never have before. Forget about the conspiracy theories. There is no one more qualified to discuss geopolitics than Michel Chossudovsky. I have often been amazed at his mastery of historical detail.