Saturday, June 02, 2018

Assange Sydney Seventeen

Demand freedom for Julian Assange! Join the demonstration in Sydney on June 17!

by James Cogan - WSWS

29 May 2018

The Socialist Equality Party has called a demonstration in Sydney on Sunday June 17 to demand that the Australian government act immediately to secure the freedom of WikiLeaks’ editor and Australian citizen Julian Assange. We call on all workers, students and organisations that defend freedom of speech, democratic rights and civil liberties to take part. The grave danger facing Assange requires the broadest mobilisation.

Assange’s situation stems directly from the Australian government’s refusal to protect one of its citizens from persecution by other governments. Canberra has instead trampled on Assange’s rights in the most reprehensible manner.

The American state accuses WikiLeaks and its personnel of “espionage” for publishing leaked data in 2010 that exposed the extent of its war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and its sinister intrigues around the world. Last year, WikiLeaks published further material that exposed CIA operations to hack and spy on Internet and other communications.

If Assange were put on a show trial in the US, he could face decades of imprisonment, or even the death penalty, for doing what a journalist should do: provide the world with the truth.

In late 2010, the Australian Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard took no action when a Swedish prosecutor initiated a politically-motivated investigation into allegations that Assange “may” have been involved in sexual assault. Under conditions of a furious campaign against WikiLeaks for the damning information it was publishing about US war crimes, the aim of the slander was to both discredit Assange and justify a warrant for his extradition to Sweden for “questioning.” If he were detained in Sweden, Assange and his lawyers rightly feared he could have faced rendition on to the US.

Instead of defending Assange, Gillard and her Labor ministers denounced WikiLeaks for “illegal” actions and declared they would assist the US to prosecute him.

Denied any protection by Australia, Assange was forced to seek political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19, 2012, after a British court rejected his last legal appeal against extradition to Sweden. For six years, he has been effectively imprisoned in the embassy by the insistence of the British government that if he leaves the building it will arrest him on a charge of absconding on bail. The British government, moreover, has refused to give any guarantee that it would not facilitate his extradition to the US.

This was despite the finding of a United Nations working group in February 2016 that Assange had been arbitrarily detained in contravention of his human rights, and should be allowed his freedom.

In May 2017, Swedish authorities, after finally agreeing to question Assange in Britain, dropped their investigation. No charges were ever laid against the WikiLeaks editor.

The Australian government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, however, refused to intervene and demand that Britain drop its pursuit of Assange over bail-related issues and allow him to leave the London embassy.

Instead, all evidence would suggest that Australia is part of the gang of major powers that has pressured the Ecuadorian government to turn against Assange. On March 28, the Ecuadorian embassy cut off his ability to communicate with the outside world or even receive personal visitors, apart from his lawyers.

After six years of confinement inside a small building, with no direct sunlight and deprived of necessary medical treatment, Assange’s health was already severely compromised before the immense pressure of almost total isolation was inflicted on him. Reports indicate that Assange is being pressured by Ecuador to leave the embassy, or that the Ecuadorian government may even renege on its grant of asylum and hand him over to waiting British police.

Under conditions in which the British government will not relent on its determination to charge Assange, or guarantee he will not be extradited to the US, the full culpability of the Australian government and the broader political and media establishment is evident.

The Australian state has undeniable means at its disposal to extricate an Australian citizen and journalist from persecution. It can act to return him to Australian territory and provide him with an unconditional guarantee that he will not be extradited.

There are obvious recent precedents.

Australian journalist Peter Greste was arrested by Egyptian authorities in December 2013, along with other Al Jazeera employees, on framed-up charges of “damaging national security.” He was subjected to a show trial and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

In response to immense public outrage in Australia, the government, backed by Washington and the United Nations, called for Greste’s release. Intense diplomatic pressure was applied on Egypt. On February 1, 2015, Greste was released and deported back to Australia.

Earlier, in 2007, under the pressure of widespread anger over the imprisonment of Australian citizen David Hicks in the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, the government entreated the Bush administration to release him.

If the British government continues to insist on railroading an Australian citizen into an American prison or worse, then there are a wide range of actions that the Australian government can take to secure his return to Australian jurisdiction.

It would only do so, however, under conditions of the greatest pressure produced by the mobilisation of the working class. Under both Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition governments, the Australian state has demonstrated its hostility to Assange and WikiLeaks.

Canberra’s priority is defending the US-Australia military alliance and its network of relations with the American and British political, military and intelligence establishment. Australian governments have supported or participated in every criminal US-led war in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and no less support the suppression of media organisations such as WikiLeaks.

The attack on Assange and WikiLeaks is a particularly sharp expression of the broader campaign to censor or outright silence all opposition to social inequality, repression, the militarist policies of the imperialist states and the ever-mounting danger of war between nuclear-armed great powers.

The fight to defend Assange is an essential part of the fight to defend all democratic rights against the lurch toward dictatorial forms of rule in country after country. It is part of the fight for the international unity of the working class in a common struggle for its mutual interests.

In stark contrast to the hatred of Assange and WikiLeaks in the establishment, millions of workers and youth internationally consider their actions to be courageous and noble efforts to expose the lies that surround US-led wars and political intrigues.

In 2010 and 2011, numerous organisations and thousands of individuals across Australia, reflecting this global sentiment, issued public statements of support for Assange and WikiLeaks as the US-led persecution developed.

The demonstration on June 17, called at this critical moment, provides such organisations and individuals with an opportunity to step forward again. We urge all defenders of democratic rights to add their voices to those of the SEP and WikiLeaks defenders such as journalist John Pilger, and join a fight to build the mass political campaign that would be necessary to compel the Turnbull government to secure Assange’s freedom.

Organisations that endorse and intend to participate in the June 17 demonstration should inform the SEP at

Free Julian Assange! Return him to Australia!

Sunday, June 17, 1:00pm

Sydney Town Hall Square 

The OAS Exposed: Right-Wing, Pro-US Biased Hypocrisy Masquarading As Diplomacy

Exposing the OAS’ Anti-Venezuela, Pro-US Bias and Right-Wing Hypocrisy


May 31, 2018

The Organization of American States is a Cold War era international body of countries in North and South America that claims to be independent and neutral, but in reality, frequently acts as a proxy for the United States government. The OAS is notorious for its extreme bias against left-wing governments in Latin America, particularly Cuba and Venezuela.

Western corporate media outlets frequently echo the OAS’s anti-Cuba and anti-Venezuela reports, without providing any further information as to what exactly the OAS is, and what interests it serves. In reality however, the OAS was formed at the behest of the U.S. government as a coalition of anti-communist governments at the beginning of the Cold War.

On May 29, an OAS panel released a report accusing Venezuela’s leftist government, led by elected President Nicolás Maduro, of supposedly committing crimes against humanity. The panel plans to present evidence for these alleged crimes to the International Criminal Court.

Journalist Max Blumenthal attended the OAS press conference on May 29 in Washington D.C. In the Q&A session, Max Blumenthal called out the OAS for its extreme bias and hypocrisy.

In 1948, the U.S. convened the International Conference of American States. At this meeting in Colombia, which was led by the U.S. Secretary of State an infamous cold warrior, George Marshall, the right-wing governments of Latin America joined the U.S. in signing a charter that established the Organization of American States with the explicit goal of fighting the spread of socialism and defending capitalism in North and South America. Although media outlets today cite the OAS as if it were supposedly an independent and impartial source, U.S. government bodies have openly admitted otherwise.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, which is an ostensible aid organization that serves as the soft power arm of the U.S. government, wrote very clearly in its 2008 Congressional Budget Justification, that the OAS, “promotes U.S. political and economic interests in the Western Hemisphere by countering the influence of anti-U.S. countries such as Venezuela.”

Last to Fall: Slain Paramedic Razan Al-Najjar

21 year old paramedic Razan Al-Najjar

by Mazin Qumsiyeh -

June 2, 2018

Israeli elites failed in their support of terrorists in Syria and were unable to bring down a resurgent Iran (just look at rising science citation index for Iran and compare it to Arab countries!). This failure was to be compensated with by massacres in Gaza: murdering 125 protestors at the borders; injuring thousands; testing new weapons on a captive population; bombing Gaza's remaining infrastructure; and attacking and seizing boats carrying students and injured people trying to leave Gaza to Cyprus, (what is the excuse here?).

The latest victim of this Israeli onslaught was a 21year old paramedic Razan Al-Najjar killed while aiding injured peaceful protesters.

Imagine this your family!

She was a beautiful inspiring girl. I am haunted by the side-by-side pictures one of her smiling in her white uniform next to it a picture of her grieving mother.

The Yemen and Gaza genocides thus continue while Trump and his administration play with the media on their on again off again meeting with the North Korean leader. A simple resolution at the UN Security Council to provide protection to the civilian population and initiate an independent investigation was vetoed by the Israeli occupied US government at the UN yesterday!

The weak international position and the US Zionist administration are both complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Israel continues to act in murderous ways with impunity and with support from the world Jewish organizations and all of Israel's elites. So the question is what are WE to do?

Muslims in this holy month of Ramadan have a responsibility to challenge the collaborative governments whether in the US or "Saudi" Arabia, or the United Arab Emirates. Prayers are not enough. ALL PEOPLE have to act!

Please contact all decision makers and media and ensure that you tweak their conscience (if there is any that is left). People are doing actions around the world. No one will be safe if we allow colonial settlers to act with impunity against civilians and against International norms and laws.

Colombian singer Shakira canceled her performance in Tel Aviv after appeals from fans and #BDS activists in the aftermath of the Israeli massacre against peaceful protesters.

Propaganda 101: How To Defend A Massacre. Current Affairs

Who killed Bobby Kennedy

[This article even though good in explaining position of Kennedy's family that there is a cover-up, the article does not delve into the well known facts of mind-control and hypnosis done by intelligence services]

At the U.N., Trudeau Opposes an Investigation into Israel’s Shooting of Unarmed Civilians – Including a Canadian Doctor. This week, courtesy of Justin Trudeau, the world witnessed one of the swiftest and most cowardly flip-flops in Canadian political history.

Our friend pays a price for acting on his conscience and exposing a violation of international law, changing character of occupied territory.

Israeli Left-wing Activist to Be Charged With Breaking Oslo Accord for Informing on Palestinian Land Sales. Ezra Nawi is charged for violating clause prohibiting Israeli citizens from cooperating with PA security.

Israeli generals: We’ll miss Abbas after he’s gone. Excerpt: Dichter, who is Israel’s former minister of internal security and head of the Public Security Apparatus – the Shabak, added:

"All parties are waiting to see what will happen the day after Abbas is gone. Every Israeli hopes that when he is gone that the authoritarian administrative system will be preserved; that the PA institutions will continue to perform; that security coordination will continue and that violence will remain at a minimum level."

Spying on Linda Sarsour: Israeli Firm Compiled BDS Dossier for Adelson-funded U.S. Group Battling Her Campus Appearances. Israel Cyber Shield (ICS) collected intelligence on the Palestinian-American activist and her family on behalf of a pro-Israel organization called Act.IL

The Israel-gate Side of Russia-gate.

Haaretz reports on Israel connections to Trump (FBI probe).

(Try to) 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
Join me on facebook
HumanRights newsletter

Friday, June 01, 2018

Nurse Murdered While Tending Injured in Gaza

Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najjar was shot in the chest and killed by Israeli snipers today


June 1, 2018

Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najjar was shot in the chest and killed by Israeli snipers today in the besieged Gaza Strip as she was providing medical aid to injured protesters.

Over 100 Palestinian protesters were 
injured by Israeli forces today in Gaza.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Anatomy of a Hoax: Why Was Babchenko "Assassinated?"

The Purpose Of The Babchenko Hoax 

by Moon of Alabama

May 31, 2018

The Ukrainian secret service SBU claims it plotted the fake murder of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko in Kiev to uncover a real murder plot by the Russian state. That makes no sense at all.

The hoax is one of several incidents which dangerously escalate the new cold war.

As former British ambassador Craig Murray comments on the SBU's explanation:

Craig Murray @CraigMurrayOrg - 19:24 UTC- 30 May 2018

If you believe that particular piece of Ukrainian propaganda you are even more stupid than I had already deduced. I wore a book on my head today to prevent Boris Johnson stealing my fridge. My fridge is so there, which is undoubted proof that my scheme worked and Johnson guilty.

Here is how the BBC presents the Ukrainian fairytale:

Ukrainian security chief Vasyl Hrytsak said a sting had been set up to catch hitmen paid by Russian forces.
Babchenko said he had been informed a month ago about an alleged Russian plot to kill him. He said he had agreed to co-operate with a counter-operation and had been in constant contact with Ukrainian security services over the course of the past month.

He added that he thought security services had been planning the operation for up to two months.

Mr Hrytsak said the operation had begun after Ukrainian security services were informed about a Russian plot to kill the journalist.

He alleged that Russian security forces had recruited a Ukrainian citizen to find hitmen within Ukraine. He said the citizen had approached several acquaintances, including war veterans, offering $30,000 (£22,600) for the contract killing, one of whom revealed the plot to the security services.

The story as the SBU tells it:

  • the Russian secret service FSB hired a Ukrainian citizen to find someone to kill Babchenko
  • the Ukrainian citizen hires a killer
  • the hired killer tells the SBU about it and cooperates
  • the SBU knew from him who the Ukrainian middleman of the plot was and has now arrested him

If that is the story why would the SBU stage the murder hoax? They cooperated with the hired killer and had contact or access to the man who allegedly hired him. What else was there to know to prevent the alleged plot? What is the evidence they gained?

The official reason for the murder hoax was:

... to detain those responsible and prove the direct involvement of the Russian special service in the preparation of attempted murder of Mr. Babchenko.

That first part was achievable without the hoax. What about the second one? Was that achieved?

Mascha Gessen writes in the New Yorker:

Ukrainian security services claim to have proof that the middleman was hired by their Russian counterpart, the F.S.B. Babchenko offered one piece of evidence: the ostensible assassin, he said, had been shown a photograph of Babchenko taken twenty-five years ago, when he obtained his first internal passport (at the time, the document, a sort of universal domestic I.D., was issued three times in a Russian citizen’s life: at sixteen, twenty-five, and forty-five). Babchenko claims that the photo could be obtained only from security-service files.

Babchenko is 41 years old. There were plenty of recent Babchenko pictures on Facebook and the Russian social network Vkontakte as well as in the media. Are we to believe that Russian security services would use a picture of the sixteen year Babchenko dug up from an old passport file when a three seconds search would have found them hundreds of more recent pictures? Even this 'Holy Babchenko' fake is more useful to identify him than a 25 year old passport picture. The claimed 'evidence' makes no sense.

Babchenko is by no means a holy man. There are reasons why he is despised in Russia: 
Дepлorabлe Russian @TeamTrumpRussia - 6:50 UTC - 31 May 2018
Russian opposition journalist who was "killed by Putin" Arcadiy #Babchenko mourning the death of 71 passengers of a small Russian airline domestic flight crash on February 11, 2018. 

While Babchenko was "dead" a staged photo circulated that allegedly showed him killed.


Where did it come from? Is it another "White Helmets" production?

The U.S. propaganda outlet RFL/RE, seemingly miffed about the Babchenko fake, points to a U.S. connection:

The photo was first published on the Facebook page of a former Ukrainian reporter who says he now works for a shadowy consultancy organization based in the Washington, D.C., area.
Yevhen Lauer, the reporter who published the photo along with a caption reading “Damn It, Bitches,” told RFE/RL late on May 29 that he received it from a law enforcement source, whom he declined to identify.

Lauer, who has worked for various Ukrainian media outlets in the past, has more recently been affiliated with Trident Group LLC. Based in the Washington suburb of Arlington, the company says it specializes “in law enforcement, investigations, intelligence gathering and analysis, conflict prevention and conflict resolution, international risk control, executive protection and special operations.”

The company’s president, Yuri Koshkin, confirmed to RFE/RL that Lauer had done work for Trident but said he knew nothing of Lauer’s involvement with the SBU sting operation to nab Babchenko’s would-be killers.

Trident Group is a small company of Washington 'beltway bandits' which consults U.S. companies who want to operate in the former USSR. It is run by two former Russian military officers. Does that make it "shadowy"? It says it has offices in Arlington, Moscow and Kiev. Is it involved in the hoax or does it get framed?

The story of the fake murder of Babchenko made a big wave in "western" media. In 2016 alone 14 journalists were killed in the Ukraine after their names were put on a public hit list maintained by some Ukrainian Nazi outlet. The series of murder received less attention than the recent hoax. What drives the extraordinary sensation?

On the John Batchelor Show Professor Stephen F. Cohen points (@8:00+ min) to the accumulation of defaming anti-Russian stories just before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He sees a parallel to the recent stories and the upcoming soccer Worldcup in Russia.

Russiagate, the deadly Skripal poisoning and their resurrection, the new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and functionaries, the reissuing of the old report accusing Russia for the downing of the MH17 flight over the Ukraine, the same false allegations of Russian hostility towards gays and now the Babchenko hoax all serve the same purpose. To "isolate" Russia in the global public opinion.

This is all part of the new cold war launched in 2014 by then President Obama after his failed attempt to nab the whole Ukraine out of Russia's sphere.

Another aspect of this cold war are the upcoming large NATO maneuvers near the Russian border just in time for the Worldcup start. I plan to detail those in a future post.

Russia is, as Prof. Cohen argues, far from being isolated. Since the launch of the U.S. campaign against it Russia gained more international standing. Despite U.S. sanctions the recent St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) was attended by some 15,000 business people and politicians from over 120 countries. Japan's Prime Minister Abe, France's President Macron and many other high ranking personalities took part. A week before the Indian President Modi and the German Chancellor Merkel visited Putin in Sochi.

It is the Ukraine and the U.S. who are losing international support. Even the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Reporters Without Borders condemned the Babchenko hoax. The new steel and aluminum tariffs against Europe will further split the U.S. from its core allies.

The new cold war propaganda and its various hoaxes have a dangerous aspect. They make it more difficult for the parties to talk. President Trump would be harshly condemned in the cold-war media if he would hold a summit with President Putin. Small incidents, which under normal circumstances would be solved by a phone call and in a peaceful manner, can escalate when the parties don't know and trust each other and no longer talk.

It is in everyone's interest to avoid that.

AIPAC: The Beltway Hydra

Under Trump, the Israel Lobby Is a Hydra with Many Heads

by Jonathan Cook - Middle East Eye

May 30, 2018

The Trump administration's recent steps in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should surely lay to rest any doubts about the enormous, and dangerous, power of the Israel lobby in Washington.

Under Trump, the lobby has shown it can wield unprecedented influence – even by its usual standards – in flagrant disregard for all apparent US interests.

First, there was the move this month of the US embassy to Jerusalem, not quietly but on the 70th anniversary of the most sensitive day in the Palestinian calendar, Nakba Day. That is when Palestinians commemorate their mass expulsion from their homeland in 1948.

It is not that these pro-Israel organisations control the Congress. It is that they have mastered the techniques of political intimidation

By relocating the embassy, Trump gave official US blessing to tearing up the 25-year-old peace process – and in choosing Nakba Day for the move, he rubbed the noses of Palestinians, and by extension the Arab world, in their defeat.

Then, the White House compounded the offence by lauding Israeli snipers who massacred dozens of unarmed Palestinians protesting at the perimeter fence around Gaza the same day. A series of statements issued by the White House could have been written by Israel’s far-right prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, himself.

At the United Nations, the US blocked a Security Council resolution calling for the massacre to be investigated, while Nikki Haley, Trump's UN envoy, observed to fellow delegates:

"No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has."

None of these moves served any obvious US national interest, nor did Trump's decision the previous week to tear up the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran that has long been reviled by the Israeli government.

In fact, quite the contrary: These actions risk inflaming tensions to the point of a regional war that could quickly drag in the major powers, or provoke terror attacks on US soil.

Wall of silence

It should be recalled that two decades ago, it was impossible even to mention the existence of an Israel lobby in Washington without being labelled an anti-Semite.

Paradoxically, Israel's supporters exercised the very power they denied existed, bullying critics into submission by insisting that any talk of an Israel lobby relied on anti-Semitic tropes of Jewish power.

The wall of silence was broken only with the publication in 2006 of a seminal essay – later turned into a book – by two prominent US academics, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

But in a sign of the immense weight of the lobby even as it was being dragged into the light, the pair were unable to find a publisher in the US. Instead, the essay found a home across the Atlantic in the prestigious, if obscure, London Review of Books. One of the pair, Stephen Walt, has publicly admitted that his career suffered as a result.

Since then, a little leeway has opened up on the subject. Even New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a staunch advocate for Israel, has conceded the lobby's existence.

In 2011, he explained a well-established, if astounding, ritual of US politics: that the Congress greets every visiting Israeli prime minister more rapturously than the American president himself.

Friedman observed: "I sure hope that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby." 

Intimidating Congress

Friedman was alluding to the network of Jewish leadership organisations and political action committees in the US, all of them hawkishly pro-Israel, that at election time can channel large sums of money for or against Congressional candidates.

It is not that these pro-Israel organisations control the Congress. It is that they have mastered the techniques of political intimidation. They understand and exploit a flawed American system that has allowed lobbies and their money to dictate the agendas of most US lawmakers. Congresspeople are vulnerable as individuals – not only to the loss of donations, but to a generously funded opponent.

In Trump's case, the follow-the-money principle could not have been clearer. In the early stages of his battle to become the Republican party candidate for president, when most assumed he stood no chance and he was funding the campaign himself, he was relatively critical of Israel.

Hard as it is to believe now, he promised to be "neutral" on the Israel-Palestine issue; expressed doubts about whether it made sense to hand Israel billions of dollars annually in military aid; backed a two-state solution; and refused to commit to recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

All of that got ditched the moment he needed big funders for his presidential bid. The kingmaker in the Republican party is Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire and champion of the kind of Israeli ultra-nationalist, anti-Arab politics in which Netanyahu excels. Adelson likes Netanyahu so much he even bought him a newspaper, Israel Hayom, which Adelson has grown into the largest-circulation daily in Israel.

In the end, Adelson backed Trump's election campaign to the tune of $35m. It was the need for Adelson's support that ensured Trump appointed David Friedman, a long-time benefactor of the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, in the supposedly non-partisan position of US ambassador to Israel. And it was Adelson who was among the honoured guests at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem last week.

The anti-Semitism canard

Those who accuse anyone raising the issue of the Israel lobby of anti-Semitism either misunderstand or intentionally misrepresent what is being claimed.

No one apart from easily identifiable Jew haters is updating the century-old Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious forgery by supporters of the Russian czar supposedly proving that "the Jews" sought world domination through control of the banks and the media.

For starters, the argument for the existence of an Israel lobby does not refer to Jews at all. It is about a country, Israel, and its outsize influence over the policies of the US.

If Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s supposed hidden hand in the US is such a threat, why isn’t Israel’s?

Other countries or groups of US citizens try to exercise such influence, either through similar lobbies or through subterfuge.

No one would deny there is a Cuba lobby that helped influence US policy in seeking to oust revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. And most US lawmakers are currently frothing at the mouth about what they see as covert Russian efforts to influence US politics to Moscow’s advantage.

Why would we expect Israel to be any different? The question isn't whether the lobby exists, but why the US political system is doing nothing to protect itself from its interference.

If Russian leader Vladimir Putin's supposed hidden hand in the US is such a threat, why isn't Israel's?

Five lobbies in one

Rather than exposing and confronting the Israel lobby, however, US presidents have more typically bent to its will. That was only too obvious, for example, when Barack Obama folded in his early battle with Netanyahu to limit the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But under Trump, the Israel lobby has come to exercise unrivaled power, because it is now far more than just one lobby. It is a five-headed Hydra worthy of Greek mythology, and only one of its heads relates directly to Israel or organised American Jewry.

In fact, the lobby’s power now derives not chiefly from Israel. Since Trump's election, the Israel lobby has managed to absorb and mobilise an additional four powerful lobbies – and to a degree not seen before. They are: the Christian evangelicals, the alt-right, the military-industrial complex, and the Saudi Arabia lobby.

Domestically, Trump's election victory depended on his ability to rally to his side two groups that are profoundly committed to Israel, even though they are largely indifferent, or actively hostile, to the Jews who live there.

Leaders of the US alt-right – a loose coalition of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups – are infatuated with Israel but typically dislike Jews. That sentiment has been encapsulated by alt-right leader Richard Spencer, who describes himself as a "white Zionist".

In short, the alt-right treasures Israel because it has preserved a long-discredited model of a fortress-like, belligerent racial homeland. They want the US reserved exclusively for an imagined "white" community, just as Israel defines itself as representing an exclusive Jewish community.

Trump's reliance on the alt-right vote was highlighted by the early appointment to his administration of several leading figures associated with the movement, including Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Michael Flynn, Julia Hahn and Sebastian Gorka.

Fulfilling God’s prophecy

But more significant still has been the role of evangelicals. That is why Mike Pence, a devout Christian, was chosen as Trump's running mate. Trump's team understood that the votes of tens of millions of Americans were assured if Trump pandered to their prejudices.

And happily for Netanyahu, their keenest prejudice is fanatical support for Israel – and not just for Israel inside its internationally recognised borders, but also for Greater Israel, which includes many dozens of illegal Jewish settlements built on Palestinian land.

The Christian Zionists believe that Jews must be corralled into their biblical homeland to fulfil divine prophecy and bring about the Second Coming of the Messiah.

It was primarily for the sake of these Christian Zionists that Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem. And it was why two evangelical pastors with a history of anti-Semitic remarks, John Hagee and Robert Jeffress, were called on to offer their blessings at the opening ceremony.

Trump's indebtedness to the evangelicals is one reason to be worried about his policies in the region. The Christian Zionists have no interest in fairness, justice or international law. Rather, they are prepared to inflame tensions in the Middle East – and even trigger Armageddon itself – if they think it might benefit Israel and further God’s prophecy.

Eisenhower’s warning

The military-industrial complex has enjoyed a much longer, if more veiled, influence on US politics. A former US army general who became president, Dwight Eisenhower, warned of the looming threat posed by an increasingly dominant corporate sector dependent on war profits back in 1961.

Since then, the power of these corporations has accreted and expanded in precisely the ways Eisenhower feared. And that has only helped Israel.

Israel's encouragement of the Middle East's destabilisation has raised new threats in the US – of protest, immigration and terrorism – for which Israel has then supplied readymade solutions

In the early 1980s, Noam Chomsky, the dissident US intellectual, observed in his book The Fateful Triangle that Israel and the US had different conceptions of the Middle East.

The US was then what Chomsky termed a "status quo power" that was mostly interested in preserving the existing regional order. Israel, on the other hand, was committed to destabilisation of the region – its Balkanisation – as a strategy to extend its hegemony over feuding, internally divided neighbouring states.

Today, it is not hard to see which vision of the Middle East prevailed. The US-headquartered war industries lobbied for – and have profited enormously from – an endless, global "war on terror" that needs their expensive killing toys. The West has even been able to market its wars of aggression against other sovereign states as "humanitarian" in nature.

The benefits to the military industries can be gauged by examining the ever-surging profits of large US arms manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon over the past decade.

Cultivation of fear

Israel has not only benefited from the sanctioning and dismemberment of regional rivals, such as Syria, Iraq and Iran, but it has exploited the opportunity to make itself indispensable to these war-profiting industries.

It has, for example, been the linchpin in developing and refining new ways to exploit the cultivation of fear – most significantly, the ever-expanding "homeland security" industry.

Using the occupied Palestinian territories for experimentation, Israel has specialised in developing surveillance and biometric technologies, lethal and non-lethal crowd control methods, complex incarceration systems, psychological profiling of subjugated populations, and highly dubious redefinitions of international law to lift existing restraints on war crimes and wars of aggression.

That has proved invaluable to the military industries that have sought to profit from new wars and occupations across the Middle East. But it has also meant Israel's expertise is much sought-after by US political and security elites who wish to pacify and control restless domestic populations.

Israel's encouragement of the Middle East's destabilisation has raised new threats in the US – of protest, immigration and terrorism – for which Israel has then supplied readymade solutions.

Israel has helped to rationalise the militarisation of police forces in the US and elsewhere, and provided the training. It has also gradually introduced to the US and other Western countries the kind of racial and political profiling that has long been standard in Israel.

That is the reason why Israeli academic Jeff Halper has warned of the danger that the "war on terror" could ultimately turn all of us into Palestinians.

Alliance with Saudi Arabia

But perhaps the most significant additional boost to Israel's power in Washington has been its newfound and barely concealed alliance with Saudi Arabia.

For decades, the oil lobby in the US was seen as a counterweight to the Israel lobby. That was why Israel's supporters traditionally reviled the US State Department, which was viewed as an Arabist outpost.

No longer. Trump, ever the businessman, has cultivated even stronger ties to the Saudis, hoping that arms and technology sales will revive the US economy and his political fortunes.

During a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to the US in March, Trump noted:

"Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation, and they’re going to give the United States some of that wealth hopefully, in the form of jobs, in the form of the purchase of the finest military equipment anywhere in the world."

But Washington's close ties to the Saudis are increasingly a boon to Israel rather than an impediment. The two have found common cause in their feverish opposition to Iran, and its Shia allies in Syria and Lebanon, and their determination to prevent them from gaining more power in the region.

Israel wants a military hegemony over the Middle East that Iran could undermine, while Riyadh needs an ideological and financial hegemony that Iran might be able to disrupt.

And the Palestinians – the only issue that continues formally to divide Israel and Saudi Arabia – are increasingly viewed by bin Salman as a chess piece he is ready to sacrifice in exchange for Iran's destruction.

Trump tore up the nuclear accord agreed by Obama with Iran with such incendiary abandon this month because his two Middle East allies jointly demanded he do so.

And the indications are that he may do worse – even attacking Iran – if the pressure from Israel and the Saudis reaches a critical mass.

Time for a little humility

All of these various lobbies have long wielded significant power in Washington, but remained largely separate. In recent years, their interests have come to overlap considerably, making Israel ever more unassailable in US politics.

Under Trump, their agendas have aligned so completely that this multi-headed lobby has as good as collectively captured the presidency on matters that concern it most.

Israel is getting its way at the moment. But hubris is a fault we have been warned about since the time of the ancient Greeks

That is not to say that the Israel lobby will not face future challenges. Other pressures are emerging in reaction to the unaccountable power of the Israel lobby, including progressive voices in US politics that are, for the first time, breaking with the long-standing bipartisan nature of the debate about Israel.

Bernie Sanders's unexpected surge in the Democratic nomination race for the presidency, the rise of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, the growing alienation of young US Jews from Israel, and the US public's ever-greater exposure on social media to Israel’s crimes are signs of trends it will be difficult for Israel to counter or reverse.

Israel is getting its way at the moment. But hubris is a fault we have been warned about since the time of the ancient Greeks. Israel may yet come to learn a little humility – the hard way.

Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism.
His website and blog can be found at:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"Canadian Dershowitz" Irwin Cotler Accuses Venezuela of "Crimes Against Humanity" at OAS

OAS Panel Accusing Venezuela of "Crimes Against Humanity" Is Grilled on Moral Hypocrisy and Open Bias

by Max Blumenthal - GrayZone Project

May 29, 2018

An OAS panel featured condemnations of Venezuela’s human rights violations by one of the world’s most prominent defenders of Israeli atrocities

On May 29, a panel of self-described independent experts convened a press conference at the Organization of American States in Washington DC. The panel presented a 400-page report accusing the Venezuelan government of crimes against humanity and demanding the prosecution of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the International Criminal Court.

In the video below, you can watch me question the panelists about their claims of independence and moral consistency:

(Video link of my questioning of the OAS panel.) 

The panel comprised a collection of aggressive advocates of regime change in Venezuela. I attended the event to question the self-proclaimed experts on their ulterior agenda and the absurd contradictions behind their claims to support universal human rights.

“With right-wing allies ruling Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Peru, the OAS has faded back into its history as an instrument of US domination of Latin America,” Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told the Grayzone Project.

Weisbrot added OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, “is obsessed with Venezuela, and determined to do whatever he can to achieve regime change there, by any means necessary.”

According to Weisbrot,

“Almagro has been campaigning to topple the government of Venezuela for years now, he supports the illegal financial embargo against Venezuela — which actually violates the OAS charter itself, among other international treaties and conventions.
 But he even goes a step further, proposing an embargo on Venezuela’s oil exports, which shows his complete indifference to the suffering of Venezuelans, or their deaths from shortages of medicines.”

Joining Almagro on the panel was Santiago Canton, an Argentinian lawyer who has leveraged his position in various international bodies to push regime change in Venezuela. In 2002, after a right-wing putsch briefly removed Hugo Chavez from power, Canton delivered a letter to the coup leaders on behalf of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights addressing the dictatorship as a legitimate government.

Canton previously led the Latin America Program of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), an arm of the US-backed National Endowment for Democracy, which has contributed large sums of money to pro-opposition organizations and parties in Venezuela. The NDI’s sister group, the International Republican Institute, vocally backed the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez. (At the time, the IRI was chaired by Sen. John McCain).

In introducing the OAS panel on Venezuela, Almagro declared that his organization was a “moral force” with a special mandate to mete out justice against Caracas.

Rounding out the panel was Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian parliamentarian and veteran Israel lobbyist who recently blamed Palestinians for Israel’s killing of 62 protesters in one day in the Gaza Strip. Like a Canadian version of Alan Dershowitz, Cotler reflexively rushes out in Israel’s defense whenever it is accused of committing atrocities against Palestinians.

Cotler has also served as a legal advocate for Leopoldo Lopez, the imprisoned right-wing coup leader and orchestrator of Venezuela’s violent guarimbas. Sparing no opportunity for hyperbole, he used his time on the panel to accuse Venezuela’s government of carrying out the worst humanitarian crisis in the history of Latin America.

The Grayzone Project is an online news website dedicated to original investigative journalism and opinion pieces, edited by award-winning journalist Max Blumenthal.

Grayzone Project

Keeping Yulia Quiet: Does She Just Want to Be Alone, or Is Skripal Being Held Incommunicado

London Police Commissioner Makes New Claim to Keep Yulia Skripal Incommunicado

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears

May 31, 2018

Moscow - The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, has announced that Yulia Skripal is not being held incommunicado, against her will, and in violation of her legal rights “if she consents to any assistance provided”.

Last week’s videotape of Skripal signing a paper and making a brief speech was arranged within four days of the Commissioner’s announcement in an attempt by British officials to remove the Commissioner’s “if”, and demonstrate publicly that Skripal “consents to any assistance provided”.

British human rights lawyers challenge the legality of the videotaped “consent”.

They say Skripal remains incommunicado, her whereabouts secret, prevented from access to her family and friends in Moscow, unrepresented by a lawyer, and unable to apply to a British court. Such restrictions, the lawyers believe a British judge would rule, amount to secret incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance in violation of her rights under the British Human Rights Act of 1998.

Skripal’s brief scripted references last week to “privacy”, “time to recover”, and “all the people who gave me support and help in this difficult period of my life” do not meet Commissioner Dick’s standard of consent, the lawyers believe.

Last Wednesday, May 23, the Reuters news agency recorded an appearance of Yulia Skripal at an undisclosed garden location reportedly near London. It was the first time she has appeared in full sight and in public since she arrived in Britain on March 3, and then suffered a poisoning attack the next day in Salisbury. For details of the videotape record, her speech of one minute 55 seconds, and the differences between the English-language script and the Russian spoken by Skripal, read this.

Left: Cressida Dick, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis since 
April 10, 2017. Right: Reuters publication of Yulia Skripal on May 23, 2018; 

Unknown to the press and to the British Government, between May 7 and May 19, a British citizen named Harry Law, retired from a career in Northern Irish politics, was corresponding with the Private Office of Commissioner Dick at New Scotland Yard. Law, who has published this report on Liverpool Labour Party politics, is not a lawyer. So in his emailed questions he began by citing Article 5 and Article 8 of the UK Human Rights Act of 1998. He requested the Commissioner identify under “what specific law Ms Skripal is being detained”.



That was on May 7. On May 9, Law received an emailed reply from Sally Meaden, who identified herself as a staff officer to Sir Craig Mackey, the Deputy Police Commissioner. The reply did not address the question asked, and had not been proofed before it was sent. “I refer you to the [sic] our previous statements on this matter, but you will understand that I cannot comment further on the investigation.”

As the latest Metropolitan Police organization chart shows, Dick is Commissioner and Mackey is her deputy.

On May 15 Law addressed Commissioner Dick once more, pointing out that “you refused to give a lawful reason why Ms Skripal was being detained”. He then cited Skripal’s circumstances at the time as an “enforced disappearance” subject to the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The convention was negotiated in 2006 and took effect internationally in 2010. It can be read in full here. The United Kingdom is one of the states which have not ratified it.

Law told Dick:

“[U]nless you tell me which specific Law of the UK you are holding/detaining [Skripal], or of any other form of deprivation of liberty and incommunicado [of] Ms Skripal and the proof that she is not being held against her will, the burden is on you, then I will have no other alternative than to assume you have no legal authority to hold her and will be forced to institute proceedings against you under the common law offence of Unlawful Detention using section 6[1] of the Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985.” 

It took Dick four days to reply to Law. At 8:41 pm on Saturday evening, May 19, Dick’s staff officer, who identified himself by his first name James, replied: “If [sic] Ms Skripal consents to any assistance provided then she could not be considered to be being detained against her will.”

At that point in time there had been no public appearance of Skripal, and no evidence of what, if anything, she was consenting to. Commissioner Dick’s conditional if was a big one; the convoluted phrasing in the subjunctive passive tense of “could not be considered to be being” revealed the police were struggling with Law’s application of the statute law.

Yulia Skripal then appeared on Reuters videotape not long after Dick’s statement. Exactly how much time had elapsed between the Saturday email and the Wednesday press event isn’t clear. Reuters did not start publishing until Wednesday evening, London time. Also, there is no date on the papers Skripal signed which were presented through Reuters to the press.

Whether the garden event took place before the May 23 broadcast is not known. To lawyers reviewing the Law dossier, it seems that Law’s persistent questioning of the police commissioner triggered the videotaping of Skripal so that, in the words of Dick’s spokesman, “she could not be considered to be being detained against her will.”

Law had warned Dick that “incommunicado detention of 15 days constitutes a violation… though shorter time periods may also be prohibited.” He was relying on this review from 2006 of the international laws and court judgements which apply to the conditions in which Yulia Skripal is being held, and in particular what international law defines as incommunicado, secret and unacknowledged detention.

Before the May 23 appearance, Skripal had made a furtive 97-second telephone call from Salisbury Hospital to her cousin in Moscow on April 5. She was then held incommunicado for seven weeks.

As this story goes to press, she has been incommunicado for another week.

Read the Law-Dick emails here, clicking on the images to enlarge them for ease of reading.


Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Alan MacLeod, Dan Kovalik, Janine Bandcroft May 31, 2018

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

May 31, 2018

Venezuelans returned President Nicolás Maduro to power May 20th in an election that, according to international observors, went off without a hitch.

The incumbent political heir to the late Hugo Chávez won decisively, garnering more than two-thirds of the popular vote; his next closest rival, former Chavista Henri Falcón, managing just less than 2 million votes, or about 21 per cent.

Despite the landslide victory and endorsement of the internationals, the United States and European Union still find fault with the electoral system former American president, Jimmy Carter has called “the best in the world.”

Listen. Hear.

The self-declared champions of global democracy called Maduro a "dictator" before the poll, vowing they would not recognize his legitimacy, and now that he's won, say they will make good on promises made to ratchet up already-crippling economic sanctions; a collective punishment for the people's temerity in returning a Bolivarian government.

Dr. Alan MacLeod is an educator, essayist, author, and proud member of Scotland's Glasgow University Media Group. A sociologist by training, MacLeod's research interests include media theory, propaganda, social media and South American politics. Alan's book, 'Bad News From Venezuela, 20 Years of Fake News and Misreporting' is freshly off the Routledge Press presses, and his articles appear at and, where I found his prescient piece, 'Writing Off Democracy in Venezuela, US Press and Politicians Dream of a Coup'.

Alan MacLeod in the first half.

And; it's a tale Dickens would not have told better: Two countries who could not be geographically nearer, and yet whose leadership are philosophically light years apart. Colombia held presidential elections in May too, but unlike neighbour Venezuela, Colombia has been captured by a ruling oligarchy who ruthlessly serve the same transnational interests currently marauding the World.

Daniel Kovalik is a human rights lawyer, essayist, and author who’s book, ‘The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin’ could add a new chapter by the week, even a year after publication. Dan was one of the hundreds of international observors to the Venezuelan election, and one of the many fewer to carry on from Caracas to also witness Colombia's vote last weekend.

Dan Kovalik and a tale of two democracies in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and CFUV Radio broadcaster-at large, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to get up to in and around our city in the coming week. But first, Alan MacLeod and first the verdict, then the vote: Writing Off Democracy in Venezuela.

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:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Long Awaited MH-17 Probe Delivers Promises Self-Fulfilled Narrative

MH-17 Probe Follows Frame-Up Process of Skripal Poisoning 

by Finian Cunningham - SCF

May 28, 2018

The latest report by a Dutch-led investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner in 2014 casting blame on Russia for the disaster follows the same reprehensible flouting of due process as the Skripal poison affair.

No credible evidence is ever presented. The charges leveled against Russia largely rely on assertion and innuendo. And despite the grave implications for the accused, Russia is not permitted to access the investigation file independently to form an adequate defense against the claims.

This is far from the standard of due legal process. Ironically, by Western governments that claim to be paragons of law and jurisprudence.

It is more akin to an inquisition where guilt is presumed from the outset, and where the prosecution is tilted heavily in favor of the accusers.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has released updated conclusions to its nearly-four-long probe into the airline disaster. On July 17, 2014, Malaysian MH-17 crashed while transiting airspace over eastern Ukraine on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. All 298 people onboard were killed. Most of the victims were Dutch, Malaysian and Australian nationals.

A plausible explanation for the downing is that the aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile. The big question is who fired the missile since the Ukrainian region was the scene of intense fighting between Western-backed Kiev regime forces and pro-Russian rebels.

Western news media and governments immediately sought to blame Russian-backed rebels for the carnage. By dubious extension, President Vladimir Putin was vilified in some media coverage as being personally responsible for the deaths.

Russia has vehemently denied having any involvement in the incident. Indeed, Moscow has said it believes Kiev’s armed forces may have fired the missile.

The rebels in the Donbas region again this week reiterated that they were not responsible since they did not possess any such high-altitude anti-aircraft weapon systems.

The JIT probe previously reported that the weapon was a Soviet-made Buk missile. This week, the investigators dramatically upped the ante by charging that the missile came from a Russian anti-aircraft brigade based in Kursk, southwest Russia. The Dutch-led team claim that the 53rd Brigade transported the Buk system over the border into Ukraine. They claim that the convoy returned to Russia shortly after the downing of the airliner. The Dutch team leave the possibility open that the weapon may have been fired by another party, but the implication is Russian culpability.

Like the Skripal affair involving the alleged poisoning of a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in England on March 4, the MH-17 case has been prejudiced from the outset by wild allegations of Russia’s guilt.

Within days of the purported poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury, the British government accused Russia of carrying out an assassination plot. There has never been any verifiable evidence presented by the British authorities to substantiate their sensational claims. The trick seems to be to railroad through a guilty verdict before any due process is allowed to take place.

Likewise in the case of the MH-17 disaster. Russia or Russia-backed militants have been labelled as guilty from the beginning. All proceedings thereafter seem to be solely for the purpose of “proving” the foregone conclusion.

A further similarity in this inquisitorial process is that Russian investigators have been excluded from multilateral fact-finding. The Dutch-led JIT is heavily reliant on NATO secret intelligence. More disturbing is that the Kiev regime, which should be treated as one of the suspect parties, has been allowed to contribute to the report findings. That is an incredible bias given the enormous incentive for Kiev and its NATO supporters to inculpate Russia or the pro-Russian rebels.

Responding to the report this week, President Putin quite correctly stated that Russia cannot acknowledge the charges because it has constantly been denied fair access to the investigation files. The Russian president said, however, that Russia was willing to participate in an open and transparent probe.

Again, this is analogous to the Skripal affair. Moscow has repeatedly offered to carry out a joint investigation and contribute to an elucidation of what really happened to the former spy and his adult daughter. But the British authorities have continually refused to include Russian investigators.

As for the lack of hard evidence, the British have based their tendentious allegations against Russia largely on the alleged detection of a Soviet-era chemical weapon. In the MH-17 case, the Dutch-led investigators are implicating Russia based on the alleged claim that the missile was a Soviet-made Buk system. That’s very elastic extrapolation.

The Kiev regime forces are in possession of Buk missiles dating back to when Ukraine was a Soviet Republic before 1991. It is entirely plausible that its forces could have fired the weapon that doomed the airliner.

Indeed, Russian military said this week that video images presented by the Dutch police of the alleged Buk missile’s casing indicate that the model is dated to the pre-1991 period. If that is the case, then one wonders why a top-notch, modern Russian defense brigade would be toting relatively old missiles if it were involved, as the JIT report claims.

Russia’s defense ministry said:

“One of the arguments the investigators used to back up their charges the Russian military might have been involved in the tragedy was a fragment of the Buk missile’s engine demonstrated at a news conference. The serial number unambiguously indicates that the engine was manufactured in the Soviet Union back in 1986.”

As well as the unprecedented exclusion of Russia’s participation into what was an international disaster on its border, the JIT also omitted potentially crucial data such as radar and air-traffic communications, according to Moscow. The JIT also did not investigate why the Kiev authorities who had operating control over the aviation routes allowed the ill-fated airline to traverse what was at the time a hot war zone.

The Washington Post reported:

“The investigators Thursday offered only open-source video and photographic evidence to support their conclusion that the missile came from a Russian military anti-aircraft system. Portions of the evidence already had been reported by the Bellingcat research group. But the international investigative team said that its findings stood independently and that it possessed additional information to buttress its conclusions that it would announce only in eventual courtroom proceedings.”

That is a startling admission. “Open-source videos” of an alleged Buk convoy hardly constitute credible evidence to support the severe claims being made against Russia.

The mention too of using Bellingcat as a source is also deeply troubling. This self-styled “expert group” of amateur sleuths based in England, run by Eliot Higgins, has been notoriously collaborating with Western military intelligence to frame-up Syrian state forces and Russia over alleged atrocities. It specializes in peddling fake videos as used by the terrorist affiliate, the White Helmets. Anything that Bellingcat puts its name to should be treated with derision, not deference as the Dutch prosecutors have done.

Note too how the JIT claims to have “additional information” that it says it will present in a future courtroom. That’s not acceptable. It is making very grave allegations and innuendo against Russia in the present based on flimsy videos.

Furthermore, the Dutch and Australian governments are leaping ahead with threats of bringing criminal charges against the Russian government and demanding Moscow pay financial compensation to the crash victims’ families.

Such reckless adversarial positions are setting up a new geopolitical conflict with Russia based on prejudice and hearsay. Following the 2014 air crash, the US and Europe imposed a raft of economic sanctions on Russia, without any substantiation. The precedent has been set for even more sanctions following this week’s JIT report.

Just like the Skripal affair which resulted in 150 Russian diplomats being expelled by dozens of countries merely on the back of British assertions, Western governments and media are again finding Moscow guilty over the MH-17 tragedy, without any evidence or due process.

The same can be said with regard to a whole host of anti-Russia media campaigns: alleged electoral interference in Western states; alleged Olympic sports doping, alleged cyberattacks; alleged aggression against Europe; alleged violations in Syria; and so on and so on.

There is no due process here. The only process taking place is one of extreme, unrelenting provocation towards Russia.

Finian Cunningham is a former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages.

Canada Sells Out Indigenous Rights and the Environment

With Pipeline Purchase, Canada Sells Out Indigenous Rights and the Environment

by Union of BC Indian Chiefs

May 29, 2018

Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – Indigenous leaders are standing firm in their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project after federal finance minister Bill Morneau announced this morning that Canada has reached an agreement in principle with Kinder Morgan to purchase the troubled project for $4.5 billion plus unspecified construction costs.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), stated,

“We are absolutely shocked and appalled that Canada is willingly investing taxpayers’ money in such a highly controversial fossil fuel expansion project so risky that a major resource company has walked away and there are no known buyers lined up.
No means no – the project does not have the consent it requires, and we will not stand down no matter who buys this ill-fated and exorbitantly priced pipeline. When the CEO says ‘it’s a great day’ after selling a project, the buyer should worry.”

Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the UBCIC, warned this morning that a federal government buyout will not succeed in forcing the pipeline and tanker project on the people of British Columbia. He stated,

“We have a new owner of the pipeline, but the fight, the opposition, and the risks, do not change. As climate chaos intensifies, Canada is doubling down on fossil fuels while the world moves on to renewables.
Trudeau and his Liberal government were elected on their commitments to protect the environment and to respect and uphold Indigenous rights. Choosing to buy the pipeline is a direct contradiction of these commitments and is not in the national interest – it is in the interest of oil producers.”

Chief Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the UBCIC, concluded,

“Our collective resolve to stop this project is strengthened. Canada is offering shiny trinkets of diluted bitumen, and we will not be bought off. No amount of money will change our mind.
Today at5:30 p.m. PST, we will be joining allies in a rally at Science World, Vancouver, to stop the Kinder Morgan bailout. We invite everyone opposed to this dinosaur of a project to join us.”


For immediate release

Media inquiries:

Chief Bob Chamberlin, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Chief Judy Wilson, Union of BC Indian Chiefs