Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ahed Tamimi and the Pathology of the Israeli Mind

Ahed Tamimi and the Pathology of the Israeli Mind and More

by Mazin Qumsiyeh

March 18, 2018

At several kilometers above earth as I travel in Europe and at airports one can catch up on lots of work to do but also have time to contemplate the beauty, fragility, and meaning of lives we make. Even have a chance to catch up on good readings (now reading a book about how to organize the mind to deal with overload of information!). I contemplate (like others) what has transpired in the past and what is to come.

As the human mind works, thoughts may scatter: some nice and some not so nice. In moments of sadness we think of suffering: memories of people like Rachel Corrie (murdered in Gaza 15 years ago), people in Gaza under siege (including friends who are going with lack of medical care or no food).

I think of my friend Munther sentenced to six months for simply speaking out and joining peaceful demonstrations against the colonial racist settler regime. I think of the many Tamimi family members in jail (including Ahed and her mother Nariman). So many friends paid a price simply for being decent conscientious human beings.

I also think of so many good people helping others, donating, giving of themselves (and also paying a price). I think of every person joining demonstrations. We do know of thousands of demonstration not just in Palestine but around the world and simple acts of bravery and of decency in the face of so much cruelty. There are so many candles in the darkness it is amazing.

Politicians and the media may chose to ignore that light and may even turn things onto their heads. They even sometimes describe those who are going about destroying lives and lights as if they are beacons of democracy. Like in other colonial ventures, they vilify natives and anyone who stands with them while claiming “shiny cities on the hills”, “manifest destiny”, “God’s Chosen” and more.

We look with dismay as governments and supranational entities like the Zionist movement continue to spread lies to set-up populations to support wars that only elites profit from. Nationalism (e.g. America first), fascism, racism, and Zionism are but a few of the epidemics sweeping across our world. But I do not let these bring me down. Life and humanity will triumph.

I lived six decades which is a lot more than many people and having traveled in over 40 countries and put myself in many unpleasant situations, I have seen so much and done so much already. I published over 150 scientific publications and several books (and I have two more on the way) and helped build institutions (the last of which is

My best model is my uncle Sana who died in 1970 when he was 27 years old (younger than my son now). He taught me much about service to others, dedication to knowledge (he was the first Palestinian Zoologist), being objective and not too encumbered with societal and religious beliefs and optimism that was infectious and leads to action. I learned from his writings and his work much more after his death than before.

I learned that what does not kill you makes you stronger. I learned to always be a student of knowledge and now I read a book every week or two. I learned that you do not need religion to be a good person. I learned humility and that death is not to be feared. Learned that we make heaven and hell with our own hands here on earth (plenty of examples of hell made by the US, my adopted country, in places from Korea to Vietnam to Syria to Yemen).

Ahed Tamimi and children like her, my uncle and so many others taught me that our choices are not between being safe and unsafe but between being relevant to our society and being a mediocre selfish person going with the flow. The former path is not the “easy” path but the one that gives meaning to our lives and it is where true happiness lies. The latter path of mediocrity is a sad path akin to being a “living dead” from a horror movie!!

There is only one earth and our fate is interconnected and is now threatened like never before. We all need to make choices.

Ahed Tamimi and the Pathology of the Israeli Mind

« Nous voyons l’espoir dans leurs yeux » Par Mazin Qumsiyeh

Lama Nachman (a Palestinian girl) kept Stephen Hawking Talking with Assistive Tech

When YouTube recently terminated our video channel for a period of time, I began researching how and why this may have happened. The result is my detailed report on how Israel and its partisans work to censor the

I discovered a disturbing reality. Numerous projects work to flood social media with pro-Israel propaganda, while blocking facts Israel dislikes. The projects utilize Israeli soldiers, students, American teens and others, and range from infiltrating Wikipedia to influencing YouTube.

Some work out of Jewish Community Centers in the U.S. – the IDF says it is scouring Jewish communities abroad for young computer prodigies to recruit

The force of decency awakens in the USA?

[But will it be enough to stop the mad men running the country and their puppet masters in Tel Aviv?]

Stay Human

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Founder, and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
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Chasing Phantoms: Did the Novichok Program Exist?

“We Don’t Even Know if a Novichok Program Existed!”

by John Pilger - RT via ICH

March 18, 2018

“Skripal case is a carefully-constructed drama”  

Poisoned Pool: Press Echoes Empty UK Allegations Against Russia in Skripal Mystery

Fact and Fantasy in Britain's Chemical Poisoning Allegations Against Russia

by Roger Annis - A Socialist In Canada

March 16, 2018 

Thomas Walkom’s March 16 column in the Toronto Star suggests a breath of fresh air amidst the torrent of anti-Russia propaganda being waged by British Prime Minister Theresa May and her NATO allies concerning the alleged chemical poisoning in England on March 4 of two former Russian nationals.

The column is headlined ‘No evidence Vladimir Putin was behind UK assassination’. Alas, while the headline suggests a factual and balanced account to follow, the column falls short.

(Update: See below the weblink to the new and revealing article by UK writer Craig Murray.)

Walkom writes,

“Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, one of the few British politicians who does not assume a deliberate Russian plot, has said the attack could have occurred because Moscow ‘negligently lost control’ of the toxin.” 

This is a polite interpretation of Corbyn’s statement.

British PM Theresa May accuses Russia in the UK Parliament
of chemical poisoning attack

In The Guardian on March 15, Corbyn writes,

“Theresa May was right on Monday to identify two possibilities for the source of the attack in Salisbury, given that the nerve agent used has been identified as of original Russian manufacture. Either this was a crime authored by the Russian state; or that state has allowed these deadly toxins to slip out of the control it has an obligation to exercise.”

So here we have the story being narrowly framed from the start. Is the May/Corbyn ‘either/or’ scenario the only plausible one? What evidence does May and Corbyn present that would lead us to rush into accepting the narrow parameters of their interpretations? None. We are to ‘trust them’, meaning to trust the police and military officials supposedly in charge of gathering evidence.

Corbyn writes that he supports the UK’s expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats. He goes on to repeat his call for a ‘Magnitsky Act’ to be introduced in Britain which, as already done in the U.S. and Canada, would give the British government greater powers to sanction “human rights abusers, along with a wider crackdown on money laundering and tax avoidance”.

But isn’t this the same government which is selling arms to Saudi Arabia and marching in lockstep with the United States in every single warlike initiative being taken against Russia? How can anyone with antiwar sentiments propose increasing the powers of such a government?

Such blind trust is all the more galling in light of the new study by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas Davies which makes a grim and catastrophic estimate that 2.4 million Iraqi people have died as a result of the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the U.S., with the full backing and participation, let us recall, of the British government and military. Where is the outrage and uproar over that finding? What kind of society ignores such numbers while simultaneously engaging in an uproar over the illnesses of three people in England on March 4?

The Real News Network and guest Stephen Cohen have argued a false interpretation of Corbyn’s remarks in an interview broadcast on March 16. Cohen argues,

[Corbyn] said Theresa May has no evidence, and yet she’s prepared to ratchet up already a bad relationship with Russia based on this.” 

But Corbyn does, indeed, say there is evidence:

“Either this was a crime authored by the Russian state; or that state has allowed these deadly toxins to slip out of the control it has an obligation to exercise.”

A reader of Corbyn’s statement in The Guardian was led to comment,

“British justice is the best in the world. It has no need of evidence. Just right wing hysteria.” 

Another reader commented,

“What an absolute crock of shit. These MPs are playing a very dangerous game. These constant warnings about a Russian threat to Britain only reveal their own resistance to a proper investigation and a rush to judge the situation before all the facts and evidence can be collected.”

A third commenter wrote frankly,

“Anyone who believes what the government and intelligence services are telling us is an idiot.”

Walkom writes, “Britain has wisely asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to investigate.” But that is misleading. Britain has precisely avoided the route of the OPCW until now.

According to OPCW protocols, Britain should have taken its evidence and accusations to the OPCW and requested an investigation. But as of March 15, no samples of the poison that allegedly sickened Sergei and Yulia Skripal and a policeman on March 4 have been delivered to the OPCW, still less to Russia. Instead, Britain and its closest allies have embarked upon an unprecedented propaganda barrage, issuing ultimatums to the Russian government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out some days ago already the discrepancies in Britain’s claimed interest in an OPCW investigation.

Right beside Thomas Walkom’s March 16 column on the op-ed page of the Toronto Star appears a pro-war rant against Russia by Marcus Kolga of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa. What an embarrassment for such a rant to appear in a newspaper laying claim to a liberal history and outlook.

Sadly, the Star op-ed editor’s choice is entirely in line with what the newspaper’s cross-town rival Globe and Mail has been publishing and the state-run CBC has been airing.

* Of a type developed by liars, by Craig Murray, published on his website, March 16, 2018

Johnson's Tragic Gymnastics Attempt to Somersault Salisbury Questions

Boris Johnson Attempt to Refute My Sources on Porton Down the Most Hilarious Fail  

by Craig Murray

18 Mar, 2018

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a statement to refute my report from well-placed FCO sources that the British government continually re-uses the phrase “of a type developed by Russia” because its own scientists refused government pressure to say the nerve agent was made by Russia.

And as getting even agreement to “of a type developed by” was bloody, the government has to stick to precisely that rather odd choice of phrase.

This is the official British Government statement:

“We have no idea what Mr Murray is referring to.
The Prime Minister told MP’s on Monday that world leading experts at Porton Down had positively identified this chemical agent. It is clear that it is a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. None of that is in any doubt”.

Which is perhaps the most hilarious fail in the history of refutation.

The BBC sprung that statement on me during a live interview on Radio 5 last night. They also sprung on me a statement by the Israeli Embassy and were attempting to lead me into accusing Israel of the attack. But even the BBC interviewer, Stephen Nolan, was flummoxed by the rubbish he had been given from the FCO. Here is an extract from that part of the interview:

Stephen Nolan: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have said to us tonight:
“We have no idea what Mr Murray is referring to. The Prime Minister told MP’s on Monday that world leading experts at Porton Down had positively identified this chemical agent. It is clear that it is a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. None of that is in any doubt”.
Well, you’ve already covered that Craig and you are zoning in on the fact that they are saying “developed by Russia”, they are unable to say whether it’s made – well they are not saying whether it was actually manufactured in Russia or the source of it or whether it was from Russia, right?”
Craig Murray: Yes, exactly. No-one doubts that the Russians had the idea of making these things first, and worked on developing the idea. It has always been doubted up till now that they really succeeded. The Iranians succeeded under OPCW supervision some time ago and the chemical formulae were published to the whole world twenty years ago. So many states could have done it. The “of a type developed by Russia” thing means nothing, undoubtedly.

You can hear the whole interview here beginning about 5 minutes in.

Camps and Colonies: Steps to Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Palestine: The Camps and the Colonies

by Tim Anderson - AHT

March 18, 2018

As Apartheid Israel proceeds with its ethnic cleansing of Palestine, financed and armed by the imperial powers, Palestine’s camps and Israel’s colonies (‘settlements’) remain the focus of much day to day colonial violence.

There is no need to waste too much time over the character of Israel. The Adalah group within Israel, for example, has documented more than 65 laws that make Israel a racist state (Adalah 2017).

The most recent authoritative report from the UN, by US lawyers Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley (2017), makes it clear that Israel is indeed an ‘apartheid state’ and, therefore, a crime against humanity.

They conclude that:

“the situation in Israel-Palestine constitutes an unmet obligation of the organized international community to resolve a conflict partially generated by its own actions”.

Meantime, people in the camps maintain a strong community spirit, which drives them to resist; while fanaticism and self-interest amongst the often immigrant new colonists encourages them to make regular forays, destroying Palestinian crops and trees, and participating seizures of nearby Palestinian lands.

The camps all date from the years after ‘The Catastrophe’ of 1948, when Jewish colonists got the green light to take over a large part of the ‘British Mandate’ of Palestine. Camp families are mostly those evicted from their lands by that violent event. The ‘colonies’, for their part, represent steady incursions into West Bank lands, after the 1967 war.

Israelis and Jewish populations today are encouraged to believe that, in the colonial manner, military conquest entitles Israel to Arab lands. The zionist state illegally occupies Lebanese and Syrian, as well as Palestinian lands.
On a recent visit to Palestine’s West Bank I had the opportunity to observe the camps and the colonies. First of all, it is obvious that the Israeli state pretends to own it all. At the border Israeli officials do not even want to acknowledge that outsiders might be entering ‘Palestine’; nor do they want to hear that anyone might want to visit Ramallah, Nablus or Hebron, the major Palestinian cities. The mere mention of these names incurs suspicion. The Palestinian Authority itself - established in 1994 and recognised by at least 40 governments as a fledgling state – so far only functions as a municipality under Israeli control.

Zionist storm troops make regular raids on any part of the Palestinian territory, but particularly the camps, most often to make arrests, mostly of young men. Raids are also signals of zionist power and are sometimes even used just as training exercises. Ali, a young man in Dehaisheh camp, now part of the southern suburbs of Bethlehem, told me the history of this camp.

Dehaisheh was created in 1950, to house the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by ‘1948 Israel’. They did not resettle, as they imagined they would be going back soon. They kept their house and land title deeds and keys. A UN agency later helped them build mostly 3 x 3 metre concrete box-dwellings. After the 1967 war, when Israeli troops took control of the West Bank, these camps were policed heavily. They were seen as hotbeds of resistance and were denied access to books (which they had to hide, and often bury) as well as to normal freedoms of movement and association.

The camp communities remain distinct to those of the municipality and the village. Ali says that for three generations they have had ‘no privacy and no property’. They had no individual titles to land. In their little box houses, which could only expand upwards, those next door could hear everything, from the bathroom to intimate moments.

Yet these conditions also meant that camp communities developed a strong collective spirit, with little crime and no voting, instead common consensus agreements. That spirit reinforced their resistance to the colonists. The presence of these strong values was confirmed to me by Naji and Amal, experienced Palestinian activists who do not live in the camps.

The camps contain various groups and political parties but, in Deheisheh, they kicked out religious sectarians, such as those of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Israelis were already skilfully fomenting divisions between Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bedouins.

Around 2016 a new Israeli commander (‘Captain Nidal’) began a wave of terror on the southern West Bank camps. He told them that instead of killing youth he would ‘teach them a lesson’ they would not forget. From there began a wave of ‘knee-capping’ (shooting in the knee, to cripple), which has been widely reported (Hamayel 2016; Hass 2016; Ashly 2017). ‘Ali’ told me that over 200 young men in the camps have been crippled in this way.

Dehaisheh youth began a library/reading group, but that came to an abrupt end, Ali says, when 22 year old Raed al Salhi was shot dead (Benoist 2017) and 9 others were imprisoned.

By contrast, there is a strange air of normality in Arab cities like Ramallah, in the middle of a countryside of fences, walls and storm troops. Unlike Jerusalem, which is a heavily policed ‘mixed’ zone, life in Ramallah goes on with little day to day Israeli presence. Yet they come at night. There has been widespread international coverage of the arrest of young Ahed Tamimi, and many of her family members in Ramallah; but such arrests are an everyday occurrence, affecting thousands of families.

Each major Palestinian city these days encompasses a few ‘camps’ and is surrounded by several colonies, mostly on the surrounding hill tops. The entire West Bank is fractured with these colonies and their no-go zones, roads and fences.

People hear a lot about the recent separation wall, which annexes all of what was supposed to be the ‘international city’ of Jerusalem to ‘1948 Israel’. Yet there are also dozens of walls throughout the West Bank, protecting the colonies, their associated army bases, linked lands and feeder roads. These colonies also line the Jordan River and indeed all perimeter areas of the West Bank. There are more kilometres of walls and fences protecting colonies throughout the West Bank than there are in the infamous separation wall.

An impressive sign on the outskirts of Ramallah declares, in Hebrew, Arabic and English: ‘This Road leads To Area ‘A’ Under the Palestinian Authority The Entrance For Israeli Citizens Is Forbidden, Dangerous To Your Lives And Is Against The Israeli Law’ [exact punctuation]. This is all a show of deference, of course.

Israeli troops make regular night-time raids on all Palestinian cities and towns. But special attention is paid to the camps. Troops raided Balata camp, just south of Nablus, the day before I visited Nablus. They killed a young local man in custody, the day I arrived in Jericho. Elsewhere the resistance sniped at Israeli troops, as the zionist government announced plans to criminalise criticism of the Israeli military.

Ali says heavily armed Israeli troops invade Dehaisheh about two times every week. Nevertheless this camp remains strong and cohesive. When Israeli lawyers offered Ali some money to buy his family land in ‘1948 israel’, he refused. It is not just the land, he said; it is about culture and identity.

Israel sometimes recognises historic Palestinian land title, but often does not. Land is seized in a variety of ways. It can be bought, compulsorily acquired for infrastructure such as separation walls and roads or simply taken without notice. Amal’s family land on the outskirts of Ramallah was seized without notice, for the perimeter land and fences of a new colony outside Ramallah. Land is also stolen through punitive demolitions. In a peculiarly colonial form of collective punishment, homes and lands are taken from the families of those convicted of resistance activities.

Ali wants international support, but resents western aid agencies which come to Palestine, pretending to help communities with their own ideas of ‘empowerment’. He recalls a young European woman preaching to experienced Palestinian mothers about ‘how to be a good mother’. Some of the women laughed, finding it hard to believe. ‘We are not helpless victims, we are people with a strong culture’, Ali said.

Ethnic cleansing has advanced substantially in recent decades, despite the withdrawal from Gaza and Israel’s 2006 defeat in south Lebanon at the hands of Hezbollah. To that extent some limits have been imposed, by the Resistance, on the expansion of ‘Greater Israel’. Israel would have annexed large parts of southern Lebanon by now, were it not for Hezbollah.

However the West Bank is under serious threat. In the late 1960s the plan of Yigal Allon called for annexation of 40% of the West Bank, and control of the Jordan River (Reinhart 2006: 51). Israel’s Labor Party broadly backed that idea, in contrast to the extreme right which has always wanted it all. Now Israel controls about 60% of the West Bank, choking it with walls and fences. The territory is almost cut in half. One consequence of this expanded ethnic cleansing has been to mark a definitive end to any ‘two state solution’.

Dr. Tim Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He researches and writes on development, human rights and self-determination in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East. He has published dozens of articles and chapters in academic journals and books, as well as essays in a range of online journals. His work includes the areas of agriculture and food security, health systems, regional integration and international cooperation.


Adalah (2017) ‘The Discriminatory Laws Database’, 25 September, online:

Ali (2018) interview with this writer at Dehaisheh camp (Bethlehem), Occupied Palestine, February [‘Ali’ is a pseudonym, to protect him from Israeli reprisals. The Israeli parliament is currently trying to pass a law which would criminalise criticism of the Zionist military. Already such criticism serves as grounds for interrogation and possible imprisonment.]

Amal (2018) interviews with this writer at Ramallah, Occupied Palestine, February

Ashly, Jacyln (2017) ‘How Israel is disabling Palestinian teenagers’, Al Jazeera, 21 September, online:

Benoist, Chloé (2017) ‘Raed al-Salhi, another Palestinian life of promise snuffed out by Israel’, Middle East Eye, 8 September, online:

Falk, Richard and Virginia Tilley (2017) Palestine - Israel Journal of Politics, Economics, and Culture; East Jerusalem Vol. 22, Issue 2/3, 191-196; also available here:

Hamayel, Mohammad (2016) ‘Israeli military practice kneecapping against Palestinians’, Press TV, 29 August, online:

Hass, Amira (2016) ‘Is the IDF Conducting a Kneecapping Campaign in the West Bank?’, Haaretz, 27 August, online:

Naji (2018) interview with this writer at Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine, February

Reinhart, Tania (2006) The Road Map to Nowhere, Verso, London

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Bard Weighs In on Russia

Shakespeare said it best

by William Blum - Anti-Empire Report

March 15, 2018

Much ado about nothing. That’s the “Russian interference” in the 2016 American election.

A group of Russians operating from a building in St. Petersburg, we are told in a February 16 US government indictment, sent out tweets, Facebook and YouTube postings, etc. to gain support for Trump and hurt Clinton even though most of these messages did not even mention Trump or Clinton; and many were sent out before Trump was even a candidate.

The Russian-interference indictment is predicated, apparently, on the idea that the United States is a backward, Third-World, Banana Republic, easily manipulated.

If the Democrats think it’s so easy and so effective to sway voters in the United States why didn’t the party do better?

At times the indictment tells us that the online advertising campaign, led by the shadowy Internet Research Agency of Russia, was meant to divide the American people, not influence the 2016 election. The Russians supposedly wished to cause “divisiveness” in the American people, particularly around controversial issues such as immigration, politics, energy policy, climate change, and race.

“The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” said Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the inquiry. “We must not allow them to succeed.”

Imagine that – the American people, whom we all know are living in blissful harmony and fraternity without any noticeable anger or hatred, would become divided! Damn those Russkis!

After the election of Trump as president in November 2016, the defendants “used false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies in support of then president-elect Trump, while simultaneously using other false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies protesting the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

The indictment also states that defendants in New York organized a demonstration designed to “show your support for President-Elect Donald Trump” held on or about November 12, 2016. At the same time, defendants and their co-conspirators, organized another rally in New York called “Trump is NOT my President”.

Much of the indictment and the news reports of the past year are replete with such contradictions, lending credence to the suggestion that what actually lay behind the events was a “click-bait” scheme wherein certain individuals earned money based on the number of times a particular website is accessed. The mastermind behind this scheme is reported to be a Russian named Yevgeny Prigozhin of the above-named Internet Research Agency, which is named in the indictment.

The Russian operation began four years ago, well before Trump entered the presidential race, a fact that he quickly seized on in his defense.

“Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President,” he wrote on Twitter

“The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

Point 95 of the Indictment summarizes the “click-bait” scheme as follows:

Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.

Although there’s no doubt that the Kremlin favored Trump over Clinton, the whole “Russian influence” storm may be based on a misunderstanding of commercial activities of a Russian marketing company in US social networks.

Here’s some Real interference in election campaigns

[Slightly abridged version of chapter 18 in William Blum’s Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower; see it for notes]

Philippines, 1950s:

Flagrant manipulation by the CIA of the nation’s political life, featuring stage-managed elections with extensive disinformation campaigns, heavy financing of candidates, writing their speeches, drugging the drinks of one of the opponents of the CIA-supported candidate so he would appear incoherent; plotting the assassination of another candidate. The oblivious New York Times declared that “It is not without reason that the Philippines has been called “democracy’s showcase in Asia”.

Italy, 1948-1970s:

Multifarious campaigns to repeatedly sabotage the electoral chances of the Communist Party and ensure the election of the Christian Democrats, long-favored by Washington.

Lebanon, 1950s:

The CIA provided funds to support the campaigns of President Camille Chamoun and selected parliamentary candidates; other funds were targeted against candidates who had shown less than total enchantment with US interference in Lebanese politics.

Indonesia, 1955:

A million dollars were dispensed by the CIA to a centrist coalition’s electoral campaign in a bid to cut into the support for President Sukarno’s party and the Indonesian Communist Party.

Vietnam, 1955:

The US was instrumental in South Vietnam canceling the elections scheduled to unify North and South because of the certainty that the North Vietnamese communist leader, Ho Chi Minh, would easily win.

British Guiana/Guyana, 1953-64:

For 11 years, two of the oldest democracies in the world, Great Britain and the United States, went to great lengths to prevent Cheddi Jagan – three times the democratically elected leader – from occupying his office. Using a wide variety of tactics – from general strikes and disinformation to terrorism and British legalisms – the US and Britain forced Jagan out of office twice during this period.

Japan, 1958-1970s:

The CIA emptied the US treasury of millions to finance the conservative Liberal Democratic Party in parliamentary elections, “on a seat-by-seat basis”, while doing what it could to weaken and undermine its opposition, the Japanese Socialist Party. The 1961-63 edition of the State Department’s annual Foreign Relations of the United States, published in 1996, includes an unprecedented disclaimer that, because of material left out, a committee of distinguished historians thinks “this published compilation does not constitute a ‘thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of major United States foreign policy decisions’” as required by law.

The deleted material involved US actions from 1958-1960 in Japan, according to the State Department’s historian.

Nepal, 1959:

By the CIA’s own admission, it carried out an unspecified “covert action” on behalf of B.P. Koirala to help his Nepali Congress Party win the national parliamentary election. It was Nepal’s first national election ever, and the CIA was there to initiate them into the wonderful workings of democracy.
Laos, 1960:

CIA agents stuffed ballot boxes to help a hand-picked strongman, Phoumi Nosavan, set up a pro-American government.

Brazil, 1962:

The CIA and the Agency for International Development expended millions of dollars in federal and state elections in support of candidates opposed to leftist President João Goulart, who won anyway.

Dominican Republic, 1962:

In October 1962, two months before election day, US Ambassador John Bartlow Martin got together with the candidates of the two major parties and handed them a written notice, in Spanish and English, which he had prepared. It read in part:

“The loser in the forthcoming election will, as soon as the election result is known, publicly congratulate the winner, publicly recognize him as the President of all the Dominican people, and publicly call upon his own supporters to so recognize him. … Before taking office, the winner will offer Cabinet seats to members of the loser’s party. (They may decline).”

As matters turned out, the winner, Juan Bosch, was ousted in a military coup seven months later, a slap in the face of democracy which neither Martin nor any other American official did anything about.

Guatemala, 1963:

The US overthrew the regime of General Miguel Ydigoras because he was planning to step down in 1964, leaving the door open to an election; an election that Washington feared would be won by the former president, liberal reformer and critic of US foreign policy, Juan José Arévalo. Ydigoras’s replacement made no mention of elections.

Bolivia, 1966:

The CIA bestowed $600,000 upon President René Barrientos and lesser sums to several right-wing parties in a successful effort to influence the outcome of national elections. Gulf Oil contributed two hundred thousand more to Barrientos.

Chile, 1964-70:

Major US interventions into national elections in 1964 and 1970, and congressional elections in the intervening years. Socialist Salvador Allende fell victim in 1964, but won in 1970 despite a multimillion-dollar CIA operation against him. The Agency then orchestrated his downfall in a 1973 military coup.

Portugal, 1974-5:

In the years following the coup in 1974 by military officers who talked like socialists, the CIA revved up its propaganda machine while funneling many millions of dollars to support “moderate” candidates, in particular Mario Soares and his (so-called) Socialist Party. At the same time, the Agency enlisted social-democratic parties of Western Europe to provide further funds and support to Soares. It worked. The Socialist Party became the dominant power.

Australia, 1974-75:

Despite providing considerable support for the opposition, the United States failed to defeat the Labor Party, which was strongly against the US war in Vietnam and CIA meddling in Australia. The CIA then used “legal” methods to unseat the man who won the election, Edward Gough Whitlam.

Jamaica, 1976:

A CIA campaign to defeat social democrat Michael Manley’s bid for reelection, featuring disinformation, arms shipments, labor unrest, economic destabilization, financial support for the opposition, and attempts upon Manley’s life. Despite it all, he was victorious.

Panama, 1984, 1989:

In 1984, the CIA helped finance a highly questionable presidential electoral victory for one of Manuel Noriega’s men. The opposition cried “fraud”, but the new president was welcomed at the White House. By 1989, Noriega was no longer a Washington favorite, so the CIA provided more than $10 million dollars to his electoral opponents.

Nicaragua, 1984, 1990:

In 1984, the United States, trying to discredit the legitimacy of the Sandinista government’s scheduled election, covertly persuaded the leading opposition coalition to not take part. A few days before election day, some other rightist parties on the ballot revealed that US diplomats had been pressing them to drop out of the race as well. The CIA also tried to split the Sandinista leadership by placing phoney full-page ads in neighboring countries. But the Sandinistas won handily in a very fair election monitored by hundreds of international observers.

Six years later, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Washington’s specially created stand-in for the CIA, poured in millions of dollars to defeat Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas in the February elections. NED helped organize the Nicaraguan opposition, UNO, building up the parties and organizations that formed and supported this coalition.

Perhaps most telling of all, the Nicaraguan people were made painfully aware that a victory by the Sandinistas would mean a continuation of the relentlessly devastating war being waged against them by Washington through their proxy army, the Contras.

Haiti, 1987-1988:

After the Duvalier dictatorship came to an end in 1986, the country prepared for its first free elections ever. However, Haiti’s main trade union leader declared that Washington was working to undermine the left. US aid organizations, he said, were encouraging people in the countryside to identify and reject the entire left as “communist”.

Meanwhile, the CIA was involved in a range of support for selected candidates until the US Senate Intelligence Committee ordered the Agency to cease its covert electoral action.

Bulgaria, 1990-1991 and Albania, 1991-1992:

With no regard for the fragility of these nascent democracies, the US interfered broadly in their elections and orchestrated the ousting of their elected socialist governments.

Russia, 1996:

For four months (March-June), a group of veteran American political consultants worked secretly in Moscow in support of Boris Yeltsin’s presidential campaign. Boris Yeltsin was being counted on to run with the globalized-free market ball and it was imperative that he cross the goal line. The Americans emphasized sophisticated methods of message development, polling, focus groups, crowd staging, direct-mailing, etc., and advised against public debates with the Communists.

Most of all they encouraged the Yeltsin campaign to “go negative” against the Communists, painting frightening pictures of what the Communists would do if they took power, including much civic upheaval and violence, and, of course, a return to the worst of Stalinism.

Before the Americans came on board, Yeltsin was favored by only six percent of the electorate. In the first round of voting, he edged the Communists 35 percent to 32, and was victorious in the second round 54 to 40 percent.

Mongolia, 1996:

The National Endowment for Democracy worked for several years with the opposition to the governing Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRR, the former Communists) who had won the 1992 election to achieve a very surprising electoral victory. In the six-year period leading up to the 1996 elections, NED spent close to a million dollars in a country with a population of some 2.5 million, the most significant result of which was to unite the opposition into a new coalition, the National Democratic Union. Borrowing from Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, the NED drafted a “Contract With the Mongolian Voter”, which called for private property rights, a free press and the encouragement of foreign investment.

The MPRR had already instituted Western-style economic reforms, which had led to widespread poverty and wiped out much of the communist social safety net. But the new government promised to accelerate the reforms, including the privatization of housing.

By 1998 it was reported that the US National Security Agency had set up electronic listening posts in Outer Mongolia to intercept Chinese army communications, and the Mongolian intelligence service was using nomads to gather intelligence in China itself.

Bosnia, 1998:

Effectively an American protectorate, with Carlos Westendorp – the Spanish diplomat appointed to enforce Washington’s offspring: the 1995 Dayton peace accords – as the colonial Governor-General. Before the September elections for a host of offices, Westendorp removed 14 Croatian candidates from the ballot because of alleged biased coverage aired in Bosnia by neighboring Croatia’s state television and politicking by ethnic Croat army soldiers.

After the election, Westendorp fired the elected president of the Bosnian Serb Republic, accusing him of creating instability. In this scenario those who appeared to support what the US and other Western powers wished were called “moderates”, and allowed to run for and remain in office. Those who had other thoughts were labeled “hard-liners”, and ran the risk of a different fate.

When Westendorp was chosen to assume this position of “high representative” in Bosnia in May 1997, The Guardian of London wrote that

“The US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, praised the choice. But some critics already fear that Mr. Westendorp will prove too lightweight and end up as a cipher in American hands.”

Nicaragua, 2001:

Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega was once again a marked man. US State Department officials tried their best to publicly associate him with terrorism, including just after September 11 had taken place, and to shamelessly accuse Sandinista leaders of all manner of violations of human rights, civil rights, and democracy. The US ambassador literally campaigned for Ortega’s opponent, Enrique Bolaños. A senior analyst in Nicaragua for Gallup, the international pollsters, was moved to declare:

“Never in my whole life have I seen a sitting ambassador get publicly involved in a sovereign country’s electoral process, nor have I ever heard of it.”

At the close of the campaign, Bolaños announced:

“If Ortega comes to power, that would provoke a closing of aid and investment, difficulties with exports, visas and family remittances. I’m not just saying this. The United States says this, too. We cannot close our eyes and risk our well-being and work. Say yes to Nicaragua, say no to terrorism.”

In the end, the Sandinistas lost the election by about ten percentage points after steadily leading in the polls during much of the campaign.

Bolivia, 2002:

The American bête noire here was Evo Morales, Amerindian, former member of Congress, socialist, running on an anti-neoliberal, anti-big business, and anti-coca eradication campaign. The US Ambassador declared: “The Bolivian electorate must consider the consequences of choosing leaders somehow connected with drug trafficking and terrorism.” Following September 11, painting Officially Designated Enemies with the terrorist brush was de rigueur US foreign policy rhetoric.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs warned that American aid to the country would be in danger if Mr. Morales was chosen. Then the ambassador and other US officials met with key figures from Bolivia’s main political parties in an effort to shore up support for Morales’s opponent, Sanchez de Lozada. Morales lost the vote.

Slovakia, 2002:

To defeat Vladimir Meciar, former prime minister, a man who did not share Washington’s weltanschauung about globalization, the US ambassador explicitly warned the Slovakian people that electing him would hurt their chances of entry into the European Union and NATO. The US ambassador to NATO then arrived and issued his own warning. The National Endowment for Democracy was also on hand to influence the election. Meciar lost.

El Salvador, 2004:

Washington’s target in this election was Schafik Handal, candidate of the FMLN, the leftist former guerrilla group. He said he would withdraw El Salvador’s 380 troops from Iraq as well as reviewing other pro-US policies; he would also take another look at the privatizations of Salvadoran industries, and would reinstate diplomatic relations with Cuba. His opponent was Tony Saca of the incumbent Arena Party, a pro-US, pro-free market organization of the extreme right, which in the bloody civil war days had featured death squads and the infamous assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

During a February visit to the country, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, met with all the presidential candidates except Handal. He warned of possible repercussions in US-Salvadoran relations if Handal were elected. Three Republican congressmen threatened to block the renewal of annual work visas for some 300,000 Salvadorans in the United States if El Salvador opted for the FMLN. And Congressman Thomas Tancredo of Colorado stated that if the FMLN won, “it could mean a radical change” in US policy on remittances to El Salvador.

Washington’s attitude was exploited by Arena and the generally conservative Salvadoran press, who mounted a scare campaign, and it became widely believed that a Handal victory could result in mass deportations of Salvadorans from the United States and a drop in remittances. Arena won the election with about 57 percent of the vote to some 36 percent for the FMLN.

After the election, the US ambassador declared that Washington’s policies concerning immigration and remittances had nothing to do with any election in El Salvador. There appears to be no record of such a statement being made in public before the election when it might have had a profound positive effect for the FMLN.

Afghanistan, 2004:

The US ambassador to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, went around putting great pressure on one candidate after another to withdraw from the presidential race so as to insure the victory for Washington’s man, the incumbent, Hamid Karzai in the October election. There was nothing particularly subtle about it. Khalilzad told each one what he wanted and then asked them what they needed. Karzai, a long-time resident in the United States, was described by the Washington Post as “a known and respected figure at the State Department and National Security Council and on Capitol Hill.”

“Our hearts have been broken because we thought we could have beaten Mr. Karzai if this had been a true election,” said Sayed Mustafa Sadat Ophyani, campaign manager for Younis Qanooni, Karzai’s leading rival. 
“But it is not. Mr. Khalilzad is putting a lot of pressure on us and does not allow us to fight a good election campaign.”.

None of the major candidates actually withdrew from the election, which Karzai won with about 56 percent of the votes.

The Cold War Forever

On March 7 British police said that a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, a city southwest of London. The police said that Skripal had been “targeted specifically” with a nerve agent. Skripal was jailed in Russia in 2006 for passing state secrets to Britain. He was released in 2010 as part of a spy swap.

Because nerve agents are complex to make, they are typically not made by individuals, but rather by states. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that the Skripal case had “echoes” of what happened to Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB Operative who British officials believe was poisoned in London by Russian agents in 2006, becoming the first victim of lethal polonium-210-induced acute radiation syndrome.

Before he died, he spoke about the misdeeds of the Russian secret service and delivered public deathbed accusations that Russian president Vladimir Putin was behind his unusual malady.

Because of this the Skripal poisoning looks like an open-and-shut case.

But hold on. Skripal was sent to Britain by the Russian government eight years ago in an exchange of spies. Why would they want to kill him now, and with Putin’s election coming up? And with the quadrennial football (soccer) World Cup coming up soon to be played in Russia. Moscow is very proud of this, publicizing it every day on their international television stations (RT in the US). A murder like this could surely put a serious damper on the Moscow festivities.

Boris Johnson has already dropped a threat:

“Thinking ahead to the World Cup this July, this summer, I think it would be very difficult to imagine that UK representation at that event could go ahead in the normal way and we would certainly have to consider that.”  

It was totally predictable.

Because political opposition is weak, and no obvious threat to the ruling United Russia Party, what would the government gain by an assassination of an opposition figure?

So if Russia is not responsible for Skripal’s poisoning, who is? Well I have an idea. I can’t give you the full name of the guilty party, but its initials are CIA.

US-Russian Cold Wars produce unmitigated animosity. As but one example, the United States boycotted the Olympics that were held in the Soviet Union in 1980, because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviet Union then boycotted the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Ideology and Evolution

New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet recently declared:

“I think we are pro-capitalism. The New York Times is in favor of capitalism because it has been the greatest engine of, it’s been the greatest anti-poverty program and engine of progress that we’ve seen.”  

The man is correct as far as he goes. But there are two historical factors that enter into this discussion that he fails to consider:

Socialism may well have surpassed capitalism as an anti-poverty program and engine of progress if the United States and other capitalist powers had not subverted, destabilized, invaded, and/or overthrown every halfway serious attempt at socialism in the world. Not one socialist-oriented government, from Cuba and Vietnam in the 1960s, to Nicaragua and Chile in the 1970s, to Bulgaria and Yugoslavia in the 1990s, to Haiti and Venezuela in the 2000s has been allowed to rise or fall based on its own merits or lack of same, or allowed to relax its guard against the ever-threatening capital imperialists.

Evolution: Social and economic systems have evolved along with human beings. Humankind has roughly gone from slavery to feudalism to capitalism. There’s no reason to assume that this evolution has come to a grinding halt, particularly given the deep-seated needs of the world in the face of one overwhelming problem after another, most caused by putting profit before people.

U.S. Grand Jury Indictment, February 16, 2018
New York Times, February 16, 2018
Mueller Indictment - The “Russian Influence” Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme,” Moon of Alabama, February 17, 2018
The Independent (London), March 6, 2018
Huffington Post, February 27, 2018

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to is provided.

← Issue #155

NATO's Midnight Move: Emptying Incirlik

NATO Relocates Middle East Airbase from Turkey to Jordan

by Andre Vltchek - 21C Wire (via NEO)

March 14, 2018

People in the Middle East are joking, cynically: “From Incirlik, Turkey to Al-Azraq, Jordan with love.”

That is, if they pay any attention to the movement of NATO troops in this part of the world.

They should.

At least one substantial part of an incredibly deadly and aggressive force has been gradually relocated, from an ‘uncertain’ and according to the West suddenly ‘unreliable’ country (Turkey), to the impoverished but obedient Kingdom of Jordan.

Incirlik NATO airbase in Turkey, close to border
with Syria (Photo: Andre Vltchek)

It is now clear that NATO is not sure, metaphorically speaking, which direction is Turkey going to fly in, and where it may eventually land. It is panicking and searching, ‘just in case’, for an exit strategy; almost for an escape plan from the most important regional power.

Entrance to Incirlik airbase, Turkey.

Is the West really losing Turkey? Nobody knows. Most likely, nobody in Ankara is sure, either, including Mr. Erdogan.

But what if … What if Erdogan moves closer to Russia, even to China? What if Turkey’s relationship with Iran improves? What if Ankara has finally gotten tired of being humiliated, for years and decades, by the European Union? And what if it does not want to follow Washington’s diktat, anymore?

These ‘nightmarish’ scenarios are most likely turning many apparatchiks in Brussels, Washington and London, into insomniacs.

NATO does not want to leave anything to chance. If not Turkey, then where? Where should all those nukes, fighter jets, bombers and ‘Western military advisors’ go?

Incirlik, a giant air base located right on the outskirts of the Turkish city of Adana used to just be the perfect place. Incirlik has been, for many years, the most important and lethal air force base in the Middle East, from which the West has been intimidating and directly attacking various targets in the region, and where, as many Turkish experts believe, numerous extremist jihadi cadres operating in Syria and elsewhere, have been receiving their training.

Anything the West wants to bomb, be it in Syria, Iraq, or potentially Iran, Lebanon, Yemen or even Afghanistan, Incirlik is there, with perfect infrastructure and a ‘fantastic’ geographical location. For NATO, a dream-come-true place, really! But only until recently; until Mr. Erdogan’s era, until the 2016 failed coup, and the consequent, incomprehensible, but real ‘Turkish rebellion’.

Suddenly, Turkey is ‘not trusted anymore’; at least not in the Western capitals.

That is perhaps very good for Turkey and its future, but definitely not for NATO.

So where to move Incirlik, really?

The Kingdom of Jordan seems to be the best candidate. Conveniently, it is greatly impoverished, and it has been historically submissive to its Western handlers. It is essentially dependent on foreign, mainly Western, aid and would do just about anything to please the rulers in Washington, London or Berlin.

Most importantly for the West, Amman is sufficiently oppressive, lacking any substantial opposition. If dissent gets too vocal, its members get kidnapped and tortured.

Therefore, it is natural that both Europeans and North Americans feel safe and at home here. In 2017, the German Wermacht moved its soldiers, pilots and Tornados, more than 200 people and dozens of airplanes in total, to Al-Azraq base, which is located only some 30 kilometers from the border with Saudi Arabia, and a similar distance from Syria. Iraq is just 200 kilometers away.

It is obvious that Angela Merkel and Recep Erdogan feel a certain (some would say ‘great’) distaste for each other. It is also a well-known fact that NATO countries like to work closely with oppressive, market-oriented and obedient countries.

But Jordan?

Even the official German television network, Deutsche Welle (DW), displayed clear cynicism towards the move, although it expressed, simultaneously, true understanding of the situation:

“King Abdullah II is a leader very much to the West’s liking. In contrast to the princes in the Arabian Peninsula, he is usually dressed in a dark suit. He received a military education in Britain and studied in Oxford and Washington. Under his leadership, Jordan has reliably positioned itself in line with Western politics in all major Middle East conflicts.

And this won’t change, according to Udo Steinbach, who was in charge of the Hamburg-based German Orient Institute for many years.

“He was a man of the West, he is a man of the West, and he has no alternative whatsoever to being a man of the West,” Steinbach said.
“Jordan is a poor country, and without Western aid, it wouldn’t be able to survive at all.” 

Azraq Airbase. (Andre Vltchek)

NATO has been already using Muwaffaq Salti airbase near Al-Azraq, for years, mainly to illegally bomb numerous targets located on the Syrian soil.

In Brussels, Al-Azraq is truly a ‘household name’, as it has been used by both NATO and the EU air forces, concretely by the Belgians (2014-2015), and now both Dutch and Germans. The US air forces were operating from here already for several years.

The base is situated in yet another gloomy part of the Middle East; economically depressed, with countless small businesses and factories that have been closing down and now rusting and rotting, and with the almost totally drained-out Azraq Wetlands Reserve – an oasis once renowned as a ‘migratory birds’ sanctuary’.

The oasis used to extend almost all the way to the border with Saudi Arabia. Now most of the territory of the ‘reserve’ is dry. Not many birds would fly here, anyway, as they’d be confronted with the deafening roar of airplane engines and the engine-testing facilities, not unlike those that I witnessed in Okinawa.

Azraq collapsing. (Photo: Andre Vltchek)

The people who come to this corner of Jordan are mostly ‘adventurous’ Western tourists, ready to ‘explore’ the nearby castle which was once used as a base by the glorified sinister British intelligence agent, Thomas Edward Lawrence, otherwise known as “Lawrence of Arabia”. They also come to visit ‘wildlife reserves’ and several smaller archeological sites.

Ms. Alia, who works at the artisan center of Al-Azraq Lodge, confessed:

“Sometimes we are very scared here… It is because our place is sitting right next to perimeter of the air force base, while it is also serving as a hotel for foreign tourists. There are many reasons why someone could consider attacking this place…”

But is this really a ‘tourist’ inn, I ask, after observing numerous hangars and military planes from the parking lot, at the back of the structure. She hesitates for a few moments, but then replies:

“Originally this used to be an eco-lodge, but now the bookings are mainly from the base. Both Americans and Germans are staying here; while couple of years ago it was Belgians. Officers sometimes live here for one entire month – you know: training, meetings… They work inside the base, but sleep at our place.”

There is a “US Aid” sign screwed into the wall near the entrance to the inn. And there are countless black and white historical photos of the area, decorating the walls, as well as a figurine of a soldier wearing an old British colonial uniform.

Azraq refugee camp. (Photo: Andre Vltchek)

Azraq town is dusty and half-empty. It is surrounded by the brutally dry desert. There are countless ruins of houses and services lining up along the main road. Some people live in misery, in torn up tents.

I stopped near a cluster of humble dwellings. An old woman wearing a black dress waved a cane at me, threateningly.

An old-looking man approached the car. He extended his hand towards me. It was wrinkled and hard. I shook it. I had no idea how old he was; most likely not too old, but he looked tired and dejected.

“Is this base,” I waved my hand, abstractly, towards the walls: “Is it helping the town, at least a little bit?”

The man stared at me for several seconds. Then he mumbled:

“Helping? Yes, perhaps… Perhaps not… I don’t really know.”

My driver and interpreter, who used to be a salesman only several years ago, before hitting hard times, commented, as we were slowly departing from Al-Azraq:

“It is very bad here! The situation is tragic. West Amman and this – as if two different universes would exist on a territory of one single country. Such a contrast! Well, you can see it yourself.”

I asked him, whether Jordanian people would mind having this deadly air force base expanding into their area, in their country? After all, the only purpose of it is to brutalize fellow Arab nations, while killing countless innocent human beings.

He shrugged his shoulders:

“They don’t care. Most of the people here don’t think about such things. They want to be able to eat, to get by. Government convinced them, that collaborating with the West could improve their standard of living. It’s all they think about. Our leaders, in the Gulf and here, are corrupt, and people are humiliated; they don’t see any bright future here, or any way out from the present situation…”

Around 70 kilometers towards the capital, Amman, we slow down, as we are passing several checkpoints and a concrete fence, which looks similar to those built by the West in Afghanistan. The driver wants me to know:

“Look, this is where they have been training the so-called Syrian opposition, for years.” 

Around Azraq base. (Photo: Andre Vltchek)

Back in Amman, I met several friends, mainly foreigners, who have been working here.

“There are already numerous Western air force bases operating in Jordan,” one of them said. “This topic is not discussed here, openly. Right or wrong, it does not matter. Nobody cares. The spine of this part of the world has been already broken.”

Al-Azraq is not only a large air force base. It is also a place synonymous with one of the major refugee camps in the Middle East. It is a new camp, built in the middle of the desert, designed to accommodate mainly Syrian people fleeing the war.

In 2016 and 2017 I worked here, or more precisely, I tried to work, before being chased away by aggressive local security forces.

Refugee crises, the Western military bases, foreign aid and tourism, these are the main sources of income for the Kingdom of Jordan.

In a sinister, surreal way, everything here comes around in a big circle, ‘makes perverse sense’: ‘Entire countries are being flattened from the military bases, which Jordan is willing to host on its territory; of course, for a hefty fee. Consequently, hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees would continue to flood to this ‘island of stability in the Middle East’, bringing further tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid into the coffers of Amman.’ No industry, production, or hard work is really needed.

Could this arrangement be defined as ‘immoral’? ‘And does it really matter?’ I was told on several occasions, during this as well as during my previous visits to the Kingdom of Jordan, that ‘nobody cares’. Almost all ideology, together with the spirit of solidarity and internationalism, has already been destroyed by the Western-sponsored education and media indoctrination programs and campaigns, camouflaged as ‘help’ and ‘aid’.

I say ‘almost’, because now, a flicker of hope is once again emerging. Not everything is lost, yet. A neighboring country – Syria – is still standing. It has fought and lost hundreds of thousands of its people, but it has almost managed to defeat the brutal Western intervention. This could be the most important moment in modern Arab history.

The people of the Middle East are watching. The people of Jordan are watching. Turkish people are watching. Apparently, the imperialists can be defeated. Apparently, collaboration is not the only way how to survive.

The huge NATO air force base is slowly moving from Turkey to Jordan.

The West has already lost Syria. It may be also losing Turkey. Who knows: one day even Jordan might wake up. Some say: the ‘Domino effect has begun.’


Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are his tribute to “The Great October Socialist Revolution” a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Corbyn Assailed for Requesting Evidence on May's "Russian Chemical Attack" Claims

Corbyn Smeared as 'Russian Stooge' for Requesting Evidence on Poisoned Spy 


March 16, 2018

While harshly condemning the Salisbury nerve agent attack, the Labour Party's leftist leader requested evidence that the Russian government carried it out. A deluge of smears followed. The leftist leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party is under attack, simply because he calmly called for an investigation in line with international law.

On March 4, a former Russian spy who had been a double agent for the British government was found unconscious in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia had reportedly been poisoned, and were hospitalized in critical condition.

A week later, the United Kingdom’s Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May claimed the Russian-made nerve agent Novichok had been used in the attack.

JEREMY CORBYN: The attack in Salisbury was an appalling act of violence. Nerve agents are abominable if used in any war. It is utterly reckless to use them in a civilian environment. 

Britain's Slow Killing of Journalist Julian Assange

The Truth About Julian Assange & Wikileaks w/ Suzie Dawson

by Redacted Tonight

March 15, 2018

Redacted Tonight is a comedy show written and performed by Americans, in America covering American news.

FREE TICKETS to our tapings (Thursday nights in Washington, DC) ~ Stand Up Comedy Tour - Weekly Podcast - 

Find Us On These Awesome New Decentralized Social Media Platforms: MEDIA REVOLT - MINDS - MASTODON -

Vial Lies: May's Pandora's Box

Of A Type Developed By Liars 

by Craig Murray

16 Mar, 2018   

I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so.

Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation.

The Russians were allegedly researching, in the “Novichok” programme a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilisers. This substance is a “novichok” in that sense.

It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China.

To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days. The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was used by Theresa May in parliament, used by the UK at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, “of a type developed by Russia” is the precise phrase used in the joint communique issued by the UK, USA, France and Germany yesterday:

"This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War."

When the same extremely careful phrasing is never deviated from, you know it is the result of a very delicate Whitehall compromise. My FCO source, like me, remembers the extreme pressure put on FCO staff and other civil servants to sign off the dirty dossier on Iraqi WMD, some of which pressure I recount in my memoir Murder in Samarkand. She volunteered the comparison to what is happening now, particularly at Porton Down, with no prompting from me.

Separately I have written to the media office at OPCW to ask them to confirm that there has never been any physical evidence of the existence of Russian Novichoks, and the programme of inspection and destruction of Russian chemical weapons was completed last year.

Did you know these interesting facts?

OPCW inspectors have had full access to all known Russian chemical weapons facilities for over a decade – including those identified by the “Novichok” alleged whistleblower Mirzayanov – and last year OPCW inspectors completed the destruction of the last of 40,000 tonnes of Russian chemical weapons

By contrast the programme of destruction of US chemical weapons stocks still has five years to run

Israel has extensive stocks of chemical weapons but has always refused to declare any of them to the OPCW. Israel is not a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention nor a member of the OPCW. Israel signed in 1993 but refused to ratify as this would mean inspection and destruction of its chemical weapons. Israel undoubtedly has as much technical capacity as any state to synthesise “Novichoks”.

Until this week, the near universal belief among chemical weapons experts, and the official position of the OPCW, was that “Novichoks” were at most a theoretical research programme which the Russians had never succeeded in actually synthesising and manufacturing. That is why they are not on the OPCW list of banned chemical weapons.

Porton Down is still not certain it is the Russians who have apparently synthesised a “Novichok”. Hence “Of a type developed by Russia”. Note developed, not made, produced or manufactured.

It is very carefully worded propaganda. Of a type developed by liars.


This post prompted another old colleague to get in touch. On the bright side, the FCO have persuaded Boris he has to let the OPCW investigate a sample. But not just yet. The expectation is the inquiry committee will be chaired by a Chinese delegate. The Boris plan is to get the OPCW also to sign up to the “as developed by Russia” formula, and diplomacy to this end is being undertaken in Beijing right now.

I don’t suppose there is any sign of the BBC doing any actual journalism on this?

Four Years After Maidan: Nadezhda Savchenko Accused of Ukraine 'Fawkes' Plot

Maidan icon Savchenko faces arrest after claiming top Ukraine official ‘led snipers to central Kiev’ 

by RT

March 15, 2018
Ukrainian MP Nadezhda Savchenko, who was lauded as a hero for her role in the Donbass military campaign and her prosecution in Russia, is now accused of plotting to blow up the national parliament in Kiev.

The General Prosecutor’s Office in Kiev has requested that the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, strip Savchenko of legal immunity and allow her arrest. MPs in Ukraine normally enjoy protection from prosecution. However, General Prosecutor Yury Lutsenko filed the request on Thursday after Savchenko failed to show up for a scheduled questioning.

Lutsenko threatened he would do so earlier this week while Savchenko was on a visit to Europe in her capacity as MP. Savchenko responded by accusing Lutsenko of covering up the involvement in the deadly 2014 Maidan shooting, which escalated mass protest into an armed coup and ultimately brought the current Ukrainian government into power.

“Lutsenko called to go on offensive from the podium. He promised weapons. I saw armed people arriving in a blue van. Those people are now in the parliament,” she said.

Adding that she saw “[current Rada Speaker Andriy] Parubiy leading the snipers to the hotel ‘Ukraine’,” from which shots were later fired.

She added that she gave her testimony on these events to people investigating the mass killings, but that led nowhere.

BBC airs Maidan fighter admitting he fired on police before Kiev massacre

Savchenko later corrected herself, saying that she meant another senior Ukrainian official, Sergey Pashinsky, rather than the parliament speaker. Parubiy was a self-proclaimed “commandant of Maidan” during the mass protests in Ukraine. He was named as a possible ringleader by some critics who allege that the mass killings were initiated by the protestor side.

Pashinsky, who was an MP at that time and remains one in the current parliament, was famously caught on camera helping a man with a hunting rifle escape from an angry crowd. Some people believe that Pashinsky was part of a conspiracy to escalate violence in Kiev and rushed to protect the man believing him to be one of the snipers responsible for the bloodbath.

The prosecutors want to question Savchenko over alleged links to a man named Vladimir Ruban, who was earlier arrested while trying to smuggle a large cache of weapons from the rebel-controlled part of eastern Ukraine into territory that remains under Kiev’s control. The Ukrainian authorities claim Ruban was planning an armed coup in central Kiev.

Lutsentko told the Rada that the MP was part of the “terrorist” plot:

“The prosecution has proof that Nadezhda Savchenko, a member of parliament, personally planned, recruited and directed a terrorist attack in this very hall. She wanted to destroy two balconies with grenades and make the dome collapse by mortar fire. The survivors would have been finished off with firearms.”

Responding to the accusation, Savchenko did not deny, but downplayed Lutsentko’s accusations.

“Ukrainians, just think about it. Who of you never thought about taking down that government just like they were calling on us to do at all the Maidan protests? Who didn’t think about blowing up [the president’s administration] or [the Parliament]?
Are we living in 1937, Stalin’s times, when thinking about such things is a crime? Talking about it in the street? Only a lazy person now does not say such things,” she told journalists.

Earlier Savchenko publicly supported Ruban, who has a long record of acting as an intermediary for prisoner swaps between the eastern Ukrainian rebels and forces loyal to Kiev. Savchenko, who was a military service member before rising to prominence in Ukraine, has been a vocal supporter of such exchanges.

Villain or hero? The many faces of Nadezhda Savchenko

She has also been advocating a reduction of violence in eastern Ukraine and direct talks between Kiev and the rebels, a measure that the Ukrainian government strongly rejects.

Savchenko became a public figure after being arrested in Russia, where she was accused of being an accessory to the murder of two Russian journalists, who were killed by mortar shelling while reporting on the Ukrainian conflict. Russian law enforcement said the shelling deliberately targeted the non-combatants and that Savchenko served as a target spotter for the mortar crew behind the killings.

She was tried and sentenced to 22 years in prison for the crime.

While in pre-trial detention in Russia, Savchenko was elevated to celebrity status in Ukraine and in the Western media, where she was depicted as a heroic figure persecuted by Moscow. She was elected as an MP in absentia, appointed a member of Ukraine’s delegation to PACE and made into a symbol of struggle against Russia.

Her portrait was featured on a giant banner in the Rada’s main hall along with the call to: “Free Nadya!”

Savchenko was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and returned to Ukraine in May 2016. There she proved to be an independent character and did not follow the mainstream narrative about the situation in Ukraine.

Within months she alienated the very politicians who had scored political points via her image and became a fierce critic of President Petro Poroshenko over his perceived corruption and lack of support for the Ukrainian Army.

Critics branded her a Kremlin plant, claiming she must have been recruited while in detention.

After shadows gathered over her head with the Ruban case, Savchenko was rumored to have fled to Moscow, which proved to be false. Responding to the plot allegations, she said she is cooperating with European authorities investigating allegations of the Ukrainian president’s corruption.