Monday, January 20, 2020

Running Rings Around the Truth: BBC, MI6, Bellingcat Conspire on Skripal Poisoning Narrative

Skripal Scoop - BBC Passed MI6 Lies to Bellingcat and Then Reported Bellingcat Claims As Truth

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears


January 19, 2020

In September of 2018, BBC reporter Mark Urban (lead image, left) ended his book The Skripal Files with a report of the favour MI6 had arranged, so that he could visit Sergei Skripal’s house in Salisbury, and report that a souvenir of British country life which MI6 agent Pablo Miller had presented to Skripal after his recruitment as a double agent, was still on a shelf in the living-room. For a double agent, that was a bad slip – not Skripal’s, Urban’s.

Urban’s book is the only one published to date on the attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4, 2018.

A Tale of Two Countries: China in the First Person

My Trip to China Exposed the Shameless Lies Peddled by the American Empire

by Danny Haiphong - BAR

January 15, 2020

China is a land of bullet trains and rising standards of living, in contrast to the decay of the imperial center, the United States.

“Pollution and income and wealth inequality remains problems 
for ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics.’”

There is a broad consensus between the American ruling class and the so-called American Left about China. The consensus position is that China is a tyrannical, oppressive, and politically backward dictatorship. Fear of a globalized Yellow Peril often emerges whenever China becomes a topic of political conversation in America.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Close Guantánamo 2020 Rally Outside the White House

Reporting from the US, Including My Photos of the Close Guantánamo Rally Outside the White House, Jan. 11, 2020 

by Andy Worthington

January 16, 2020

Photos from the rally calling for the closure of Guantánamo outside the White House on January 11, 2020, the 18th anniversary of the prison’s opening. Photos by Andy Worthington, except the photo of Andy, which is by Witness Against Torture. 


See my photos of the rally on Flickr here.

It’s now five days since a sad occasion that I traveled to the US from the UK to mark — and to rail against: the 18th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, on January 11, when I took part in a rally outside the White House organized by numerous rights groups, including Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Witness Against Torture.

Skripal Loose Ends: Ridley Me This, Mr Coroner

New Thread: Questions for Mr Ridley

by Rob Slane - The Blogmire

January 19, 2020

There are still a number of people commenting on the piece I posted about the delay to the Inquest into Dawn Sturgess’s death, and because that comment section is now vast and barely navigable, and the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner’s court has just released a document relating to the scope of the Inquest (which you can download here), it seemed to be an opportune time to start a new thread so that comments do not get completely lost.

"What actual chemical substance caused the death of Dawn Sturgess?

I will just comment briefly on that coroner’s report. It is basically a response to the request of Dawn Sturgess’s family’s legal team for the coroner to consider Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states:

“Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.”

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Fourth and Long: Putin Punts Medvedev's Political Promise


by John Helmer - Dances with Bears 

January 16, 2020

In law courts, justice must not only be done but be seen to be done. In politics, too. The problem with what President Vladimir Putin (lead image, right) announced in his Federal Assembly address this week, and what he did immediately after, is that things don’t look the way he says they should.

Moscow - The difference was written on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s face. He thinks Putin has destroyed the political forces of the candidate with the best chance of winning the presidential election of 2024 — himself. The businessmen and government officials who have depended on Medvedev are acknowledging this realization on the telephone.

Heads or Tails, with Canadian National Media Truth Always Loses

The ‘Lying’ Mainstream Press and Media in Canada

by Robin Mathews - AHT

Part One

January 18, 2020

More and more… reasonably informed Canadians believe ‘the Main Stream Press and Media’ constitutes a ‘lie factory’, a ‘manipulator of public response’ in the service of real power in the country. Canada’s MSPM, that is, exists to help ‘the Deep State’. To help the Corporatocracy. To help the Imperial Master. To help the people Stephen Harper’s group governed for … and the same people the Justin Trudeau group governs for with, perhaps, a little more ‘panache’... and cover-up.

Image: Andrew Coyne, the Canadian columnist with the National Post. 

Germany Declines Iraqi Invitation to Leave

German government to continue military operations in the Middle East

by Johannes Stern - WSWS

18 January 2020

It is only appropriate that our defence minister is currently in Iraq to make our own assessment there, to hold talks and make it clear in Erbil and Baghdad: We stand by our commitments.”

The German grand coalition government, consisting of the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, intends to continue its military operations and participation in the US offensive in the Middle East in the aftermath of Washington’s January 3 drone missile assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, a clear violation of international law.

Back to Africa: Germany Hosts European Conference on Africa's Future

The Libya conference and the new scramble for Africa 

by Johannes Stern - WSWS

18 January 2020

A major international conference on Libya will convene in Berlin on Sunday. At the invitation of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, heads of state and top officials of the leading imperialist powers in Europe and the US will come together to determine the fate of the resource-rich country and ultimately the entire continent. 

Also in attendance will be representatives of Russia, China and the most important regional powers, including Egypt, Algeria and Turkey, together with the leaders of the opposing factions in Libya’s civil war, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Gen. Khalifa Haftar, and representatives of the African Union.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Breaking the Internet: Social Media Cracks Down on Free Flow of Info

After US killing of Iran’s Soleimani, narrative control on social media is getting worse

by Eva Bartlett - RT

January 17, 2020

Twitter has been on a narrative-control rampage, removing or censoring legitimate accounts that are critical of US-led wars, propaganda and lies. Facebook and Instagram have increased their Big Brother policing, too.

Attempts by American-based social media behemoths to silence or censor voices critical of the establishment-approved narrative is nothing new, but this trend seems to have intensified lately.

Dost They Protest Too Much? A Media Disappearing of France's Profoundly Disaffected Populace

In France’s Longest Protests Since 1968, Striking Workers Continue the Fight Against Neoliberalism

by Alan Macleod  - MintPress News

January 17th, 2020

From bus drivers to ballet dancers, workers from across France have taken to the streets in opposition to President Emmanual Macron’s attempts to reshape the country into a U.S.-style neoliberal state.

Nationwide protests against the government of Emanuel Macron entered their seventh continuous week today in France, as between 187,000 (a government estimate) and 250,000 people (the unions’ count) took to the streets to oppose Macron’s plans to radically alter the country’s pension plan, seen by many as the crown jewel in France’s substantial welfare state.

A China/Saudi Arabia Arrangement & the Continued Dominance of the American Petrodollar

The Worrisome Deal: China and Saudi Arabia 

by Matthew Hatfield  - Harvard Political Review

December 18, 2018

Since arriving at the Oval Office, the Trump administration has worked to tackle the United States’ massive trade deficit by pursuing aggressive tactics, especially towards China. Aimed at revising previously established trade deals and establishing tariffs, is tactics reinforce his pompous beat that “countries have been taking advantage of the United States for many years and this is the president that has stopped it.”

Image Credit: Milad Mosapoor/Wikimedia Commons

Amidst this trade turmoil, China has taken steps to negotiate a potential economic deal that could harm United States’ economic, social, and political supremacy. The deal regards increased Chinese influence over oil and the petrodollar, a term conceived in the 1970s to describe surplus US dollars oil importers receive, which are then used to invest in US markets and other developing nations.

Most importantly, the petrodollar creates a strong pillar for the United States’ economy as it ensures that nearly all barrels of oil sold on the world marketplace are bought using US dollars, a situation which keeps the U.S. dollar relevant in the world market. Recent conversations between Saudi Arabia and China have dealt with lifting the dollar off oil and replacing it with China’s national currency, the yuan. This motion directly threatens the petrodollar influence on the world and could lift the roof off steady inflation in the United States, create unsupported national deficits, and stir economic turmoil in the United States.

[For complete article, please see source at HPR here.]

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Burying the Lead: British Justice Sidelines Sergei Skripal Evidence from Poisoning Investigation


by John Helmer - Dances with Bears


January 16, 2020

In a ruling issued by the Wiltshire county coroner David Ridley (lead image) this week, the British Government allegations of a Russian assassination plot against Sergei Skripal by the nerve agent Novichok were repeated and accepted — without the qualification that they have not yet been tested and proven in the coroner’s court.

Moscow - Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were attacked in the centre of Salisbury on March 4, 2018. Without mentioning them as material witnesses in his investigation, Ridley has decided that the death of Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury, near Salisbury, four months later, was an “unpredictable misfortune”.

“On the face of the evidence I have seen,” Ridley said of Sturgess’s death in Salisbury District Hospital on July 8, 2018, 
[she] appears to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and her death may well have arisen as a result of ‘collateral damage’, a phrase that I apologise in using but I am unable to express it any other meaningful way.”

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

An Assassination More Premeditated Than Preemptive: Soleimani Killing Planned Months in Advance

Assassination of Iran’s General Suleimani planned months in advance

by Bill Van Auken - WSWS

14 January 2020

The assassination of General Qassem Suleimani, regarded as the second most powerful figure in the government of Iran, was planned more than six months before he and nine others were murdered in a January 3 US drone missile strike at Baghdad’s international airport, NBC News reported Monday.

 “... Democrats have been parroting Iranian talking points and almost 
taking the side of terrorists and those who were out to kill the Americans.
- White House Press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham 

The revelation of these longstanding plans to kill the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds force and a key architect of Iranian policy in the Middle East has exposed as deliberate lies the claims of the Trump administration that the assassination was carried out in response to some “imminent” threat to US lives and facilities in the region.

Something Left to See: Before Moving On, Disturbing Anomolies in Ukraine PS752 Shootdown Video Questioned

Iran Jet Disaster Setup

by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich/Finian Cunningham - Sputnik

January 13, 2020

The 19-second video published by the New York Times last week showing the moment an Iranian missile hit a passenger jet has prompted much social media skepticism. Questions arise about the improbable timing and circumstances of recording the precise moment when the plane was hit.

The newspaper ran the splash story on January 9, the day after a Ukrainian airliner was brought down near Tehran. It was headlined: ‘Video Shows Ukrainian Plane Being Hit Over Iran’. All 176 people on board were killed. Two days later, the Iranian military admitted that one of its air defense units had fired at the plane in the mistaken belief that it was an incoming enemy cruise missile.

A “smoking gun” was how NY Times’ journalist Christiaan Triebert described the video in a tweet. Triebert works in the visual investigations team at the paper.

In the same tweet, he thanked – “a very big shout out” – to an Iranian national by the name of Nariman Gharib “who provided it [the video] to the NY Times, and the videographer, who would like to remain anonymous”.

Cleric's Clarion Call for "Million Man March" Against US Occupation in Baghdad

Sadr Calls for “Million Man March’ as US Refuses to Leave Iraq

by 21wire 

January 15, 2020

Following the Trump Administration’s double-assassination of both Iraq’s and Iran’s leading military commanders, the US immediately faced calls from the Iraqi Parliament to remove its 5,000 troops and personnel from the country. 

Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraqis to hold unified demonstrations. 
Al Jazeera [File: Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters]

In typical colonial fashion, the Trump Administration then threatened Baghdad with economic sanctions for daring to act independently by asking US forces to leave their country – and finally freeing itself from a 17 year-long US military occupation. Of course, it wasn’t going to end there.

When the Storm Fades the Story Persists: Canadian Doc Rocks Cineplexes

Canadian climate change film sells out Cineplexes

by When the Storm Fades

January 15, 2020

Theatrical release of award-winning film is set to transform the life of one family.

When The Storm Fades is a microbudget film starring a cast of Canadian comedians and Filipinos who survived one of the strongest storms in history. On January 20th, 2020 it’s playing at Cineplex theatres in 15 cities across Canada - for one night only.

The screenings in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax and Nanaimo have already sold out, forcing Cineplex to move them to larger cinemas due to popular demand.

The Fogs of War: Separating the Political from the Military


by John Helmer - Dances with Bears 


January 14th, 2020

Political fog and the fog of war are different. The first is a way of believing first, seeing afterwards. The second is what happens when the weapons of camouflage and deception combine with confusion and fear to make seeing clearly impossible.

Follow last week’s events as they happened in Damascus, Istanbul and Tehran.

Free Fire: Israel's Rules of Engagement in Wild West Bank Shooting Gallery

Sealed Off and Forgotten: What You Should Know about Israel’s ‘Firing Zones’ in the West Bank

by Ramzy Baroud -

January 15, 2020

A seemingly ordinary news story, published in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, on January 7, shed light on a long-forgotten, yet crucial, subject: Israel’s so-called “firing zones” in the West Bank.

“Israel has impounded the only vehicle available to a medical team that provides assistance to 1,500 Palestinians living inside an Israeli military firing zone in the West Bank,” according to Haaretz.

The Palestinian community that was denied its only access to medical services is Masafer Yatta, a tiny Palestinian village located in the South Hebron hills.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Matthew J.L. Ehret, Christopher Black, Janine Bandcroft January 16, 2020

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

January 16, 2020

The New Year took up where the old decade left off, with American belligerence, bluster, and criminality leading to the death of innocents and the promise of its endless, burgeoning wars seeming even more intractable.

By now most have heard of the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, killed at an airport by a US drone missile attack in Iraq as he was met by Iraqi high officials. There were immediate repercussions of the unprovoked bombing: an Iranian missile attack against the airfield that launched the US drone, and the later collateral consequence of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, shot down moments after departing Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport January 7th with all aboard killed.

What further calamities come from the dragon's teeth Trump has sown in Iran we'll have to wait to see.

         Listen. Hear.

Matthew J. L. Ehret is a journalist, lecturer, author, and founder of the Canadian Patriot Review. His book titles include: ‘The Time Has Come for Canada to Join the New Silk Road: A Blueprint for the 21st Century’, ‘The British Roots of the Deep State Exposed: A New Trans Pacific Alliance May Now Take Shape’, and in three volumes, ‘The Untold History of Canada’. Ehret’s articles also appear at, among other places: Asia Times, The Duran, ZeroHedge, and Strategic Culture Foundation where his recent piece, 'Trump Steps Back from the Edge. Neocons Rage Accordingly' appears.

Matthew Ehret in the first half.

And; when asked if the United States bore any responsibility in the downing of Ukraine Flight 752, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters,

"This is something that happens when you have conflict and war. Innocents bear the brunt of it and it is a reminder why all of us need to work so hard on deescalation, moving forward to reduce tensions and find a pathway that doesn’t involve further conflict and killing." 

A surprising comment for both what it says about recent events in Iran, and the Prime Minister's understanding of the situation.

Christopher Black is a Toronto-based criminal lawyer specializing in international war crimes cases. He’s also an executive member of the Canadian Peace Congress. Black’s articles on international law, politics and World events appear at New Eastern Outlook among other places, and reveal the relentless chicanery of nations risking a third global war. His new novel, Beneath the Clouds is freshly out and is, "a story of how people, acting collectively, can defeat tyranny."

Christopher Black on international law and the unrestrained criminality of Empire in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Matthew Ehret and what Trump's tentative steps back from the brink of a new war against Iran may portend.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

The Assassin Republic: Soleimani Latest in Long Line of Political Murders

American Murder

by Paul Edwards - CounterPunch

January 15, 2020

Clausewitz said, “War is the continuation of politics by other means”, but American Presidents have modified his apothegm. No one knows when it was first judged–How to put it? Not legal, no; not moral, no, surely not. Conceiveable..? Permissible..?–politically safe, for a nation to assassinate a human being, a foreign enemy. There is no record of that meeting of our government’s most powerful men–only such a group could plan so radical an action–when one of them first dared to say, “Suppose we kill him?”

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Those souls shocked and wounded by our latest murder, need to know that meeting was not recent: didn’t happen under the Suppurating Pustule that infects the White House today, nor the charming Grand Bullshitter who preceded him, nor the aphasic buffoon before him. It was a century ago. There’s no dating it to a particular hit but it was certainly held before our deviously arranged murder of Sandino in Nicaragua in 1934.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

What Trump's Hit Squad Doctrine Means for Global Foreign Policy

The assassination of Qassem Suleimani and the criminalization of US state policy 

by Andre Damon - WSWS

13 January 2020

On Sunday, the New York Times published a detailed account, based on high-level sources within the US government, of the Trump administration’s decision to murder Iranian Gen. Qassem Suleimani on January 3, 2020.

Suleimani (right) more than a major military figure in Iran.

The Times report makes clear that, far from being a spur-of-the-minute decision by Trump, the murder of Suleimani had broad support within the executive branch and the intelligence agencies, which had planned this crime for the past 18 months. The account implicates former National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and CIA Director Gina Haspel in advocating and plotting the murder.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Killers by Remote Control: Drone Assassination and the Presidencies

How the President Became a Drone Operator: From Obama to Trump, the Escalation of Drone Warfare

by Allegra Harpootlian - TomDispatch

January 12, 2020

We’re only a few days into the new decade and it’s somehow already a bigger dumpster fire than the last. On January 2nd, President Trump decided to order what one expert called “the most important decapitation strike America has ever launched." This one took out not some nameless terrorist in a distant land or a group of civilians who happened to get in the way, but Major General Qassem Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the mastermind of its military operations across the Middle East.

Among the thousands of ignored American drone strikes since the 9/11 attacks, this was not one of them. In the wake of the assassination, we’ve seen: the Iraqi parliament vote to expel American forces from their country; all the Democratic presidential candidates make statements condemning the strike; thousands of protestors around the world take to the streets; and both chambers of Congress introduce resolutions aimed at curbing the president’s expanding war powers. Even though there is still so much we don’t know, one thing is for sure. Everything we thought we knew about drone warfare -- and America’s wars more broadly -- is about to be thrown out the window.

Making Peace Impossible in Ukraine

Peace For The Donbass: A Distant Hope

by Christopher Black - NEO

December 16, 2019

The Normandy Four talks held in Paris December 11 between Russia, Germany, France and the Kiev regime of Ukraine produced not much except more of the same: vague commitments to seek peace, agreements on prisoner exchange and gas supplies, but little else.

Ukraine's Zelensky caught in middle.

Russia remains committed to the Minsk Agreements of 2015 and the road to a peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in those agreements but faces weak support from Germany and France; which as parts of NATO have a deep interest in keeping the conflict boiling, to harass Russia and give NATO pretext for moving troops there. There is even weaker support from the new Kiev leader, Zelensky, (above) whose commitment to peace is doubtful in the first place and who, in the second place, faces difficulties in the face of strong opposition in Kiev and from the US whose officials met with him the day before; no doubt warning him not to agree to anything substantive the US does not like.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

ISIS Thanks Trump

Official ISIS Newspaper ‘Thanks God’ for Trump Killing Iran’s General Soleimani

by Patrick Henningsen - 21st Century Wire

January 11, 2019

It was only a matter of time before US President Donald Trump got the recognition he deserved for America’s military exploits these past two weeks. Yesterday, Trump received glowing praise from the official international ISIS newspaper, Al Naba, highlighting Washington’s assassination of Iranian IRGC’s General Qasem Soleimani on January 3rd.

In an ideal world, this latest endorsement by ISIS for Trump’s actions should really put to rest the well-worn Washington and Israeli propaganda talking point that Soleimani was an “evil and deadly terrorist.” Unfortunately, the current American political discourse is so thoroughly coated in layers of political fiction that this might take a while to sink in.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Going Off Half-Cocked: Canada's Trudeau Quick to Second Air Crash Conspiracy

Canadian PM Steps Into the Mud of Slander Blaming Iran For Boeing Crash 

by Matthew Ehret - Canadian Patriot

January 10, 2019

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent claim that Ukraine’s flight PS752 was shot down by Iranian rockets according to “secret intelligence” has provoked the Iranian government to respond by calling out the bluff which has spread like wildfire in the recent 48 hours.

On Wednesday, Trudeau stated: “We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional.” Canadians represented 63 of the 176 victims who died in the crash and so the words of the Canadian government obviously carries more emotional weight than other nations in this matter.