Serious truth tellers engage with a taboo topic – By Kevin Barrett (VT)

FB_IMG_1516129679815.jpg 

 

Serious truth tellers engage with a taboo topic

0
244

You can now watch the entire Deep Truth Conference on YouTube. Above is the final session. You can read the text of former CIA officer Philip Giraldi’s presentation here.

Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today Editor

Sunday, June 10 , 2:30-5:30pm EST
Zionism: Deconstructing the Power Paradigm

Moderator: Kevin Barrett

Kevin Barrett – Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Judeophobia: Let’s Define Our Terms
1:30 – 24:25 (YouTube)
There is much confusion and (mis)use by Zionists around the concept of anti-Semitism. Dr. Kevin Barrett will demonstrate that the cluster of slurs—“anti-Semite,” “anti-Semitic,” and “anti-Semitism”—are routinely used to denigrate critics of Zionism. But do critics of Jewish power on both the left and right really hate an entire group of people? While the term “anti-Semitism” once had specific meaning, Dr. Barrett posits that “anti-Zionism” describes those who deny the legitimacy of the state of Israel versus “Judeophobia,” the term he says more accurately defines those who are prejudiced against Jews. Dispensing with the loaded term “anti-Semitism” frees us up to evaluate the cultural and historical reasons why anti-Zionists who oppose Israel are not synonymous with Judeophobes who harbor anti-Jewish prejudices.

Philip Giraldi – ​How Jewish Power Sustains the Israel Narrative
25:45 – 39:15 (YouTube)
Israel’s ability to manipulate the U.S. political culture and to escape accountability for its many crimes against humanity is enabled by a vast and interlocking domestic lobby. To be sure, Israel finds support from so-called Christian Zionists and other Americans, but its ability to control the media and politicians comes from the financial and institutional clout of American Jews. Liberal Jews, who often are privately appalled by Israel’s behavior, frequently choose to remain silent so as not to break ranks with their more hardline co-religionists who are promoting the interests of the Jewish state even when they are aware that doing so does and will continue to do grave damage to the United States and all its citizens.

Gilad Atzmon – Truth, Truthfulness, and Palestine
40:35 – 1:05:15(YouTube)
In a healthy society truth doesn’t need a “movement.” In a society with a prospect of a future, truth is explored and celebrated in the open. Gilad Atzmon will delve into the strategies that are set to deviate us from truth and truthfulness. Primarily through the lens of Palestine and Neocon Wars, he will further explore how false dichotomies are manufactured and the means by which detachment and alienation are sustained. By now we are all Palestinians—and like the Palestinians, we are not allowed to utter the name of our oppressor, nor can we discuss the means that facilitate this oppression. Truth is our first step towards emancipation.

Alan Sabrosky – The Impact of Zionist Influence in the U.S.
1:07:05 – 2:01:30(YouTube)
Alan Sabrosky examines the process by which Zionists acting on behalf of Israel have gained significant control of the United States and its government. Starting gradually in the 1950s, Zionist Jews now hold a commanding influence in such sectors as finance, business, media (online and offline), the academy, the arts, and most obviously, politics. Through funding and other tactics, they effectively control both houses of Congress, leverage the Executive branch, and exert strong influence in nearly two dozen state governments. Regardless of what one thinks of 9/11, neocons (overwhelmingly “Israel Firster” Zionist Jews) are the driving force behind the 9/11 Wars. Without their hidden hand, the wars against Iraq, Libya, and Syria would not have happened, nor the hostilities with Iran and Russia. Incessant charges of “antisemitism” and “Holocaust denial” coercively keep Jews and non-Jews alike from questioning or challenging the dominant narratives.

Jeremy Rothe-Kushel – Talpiot and Unit 8200: The Global Cyber Agenda for Kill-Switch Domination
2:03:15 – 2:53:50 (YouTube)
The Talpiot Program, a long-term Israeli Military Intelligence strategic initiative to give the Israeli War State a permanent technological edge, was rolled out in 1979. Coincidentally or not, this was the same year the modern “War on Terror” had its public-policy birth at the infamous 1979 Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism. While the SECURITY and INTELLIGENCE results of Talpiot heightened the effectiveness of Unit 8200 (Israel’s NSA, co-producers of the Stuxnet industrial virus), the deep corporatist ECONOMIC impact only got super-charged in the wake of the 9/11 false-flag. Now we face “Crime Minister” Netanyahu’s claims for a next-generation “Samson Option” of “kill-switch DIPLOMACY,” powered by Talpiot to hold the world’s databases, hardware backdoors, and critical infrastructure hostage.

Q&A – Zionism: Deconstructing the Power Paradigm – 2:54:01 – 3:40:30 (YouTube)

 

Hassan Nasrallah: Israel Strives to Conceal Defeat in Syria, Final War to Liberate Palestine is Coming – By The Saker ( Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on June 8, 2018, on the occasion of the International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem). Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan)

Hassan Nasrallah: Israel Strives to Conceal Defeat in Syria, Final War to Liberate Palestine is Coming

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on June 8, 2018, on the occasion of the International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan

Transcript:

 

[…] Today, Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Palestine, as Imam Khomeini wanted when he instituted the (International) Day of Al-Quds, became a cause of (Islamic) dogma, a cause of faith, outside the (opportunistic) area of ​​politics and the political bazaar, they became a cause of dogma, faith, humanity, truth, values…

Young Palestinians (in Gaza) go out (demonstrating) with bare hands against live bullets, and in Sanaa (tens of thousands of Yemeni) demonstrated under the bombs, just like in Al-Foua and Kafraya (Syria), the besieged and starving population demonstrated (for this International Day of Al-Quds). And combatants and Resistance are ready to shed their blood on all fronts for this (inevitable) day where Al-Quds and Palestine will be returned to their people, their owners and their (Muslim) community.

Today, this is our generation, these are our people, and this is a point of strength. Today, the power of the Resistance Axis lies firstly and fundamentally in his generations, one generation, a second, a third… Those who count on the fact that these (new) generations… Some refer to them as the generations of the Internet, Facebook, etc. Do not count on the fact that these generations in our Arab and Muslim world will stay silent, collapse, abandon or withdraw from the battle. And it’s the same for countries.

I have two words to say about the countries.

First, Iran. Since the first day of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, it announced a resolute, radical and decisive stance on the Israeli-Palestinian issue (“Israel is a cancerous tumor that must be wiped out”), and pays the price of this position. And I want to tell you quite simply that the Islamic Republic of Iran would never have seen any hostility from the United States, Israel and the Gulf if Imam Khomeini had said from the first day: “We, Iran, just overthrew a tyrannical regime, we have poverty in our country, needy, hunger, underdevelopment, unemployment, etc. What do we care about Palestine?” It was not necessary that he recognize Israel, it would have been enough for him to say that he did not care about Palestine, that it was a cause that didn’t concern them at all, and Imam Khomeini and Iran would not have suffered this hostility, this collusion and these huge plots.

But the Islamic Republic, with Imam Khomeini, Imam Khamenei and its noble people, for 39 years, confirmed its resolute, radical and decisive position, of the magnitude of (religious) dogma, at the side of Palestine and the Palestinian people, and its absolute position with regard to Israel and Israel’s existence (illegitimate entity doomed to extinction). And Iran suffers the consequences of that position. It is natural, my brothers and sisters, that all those who oppose Iran find themselves allies of Israel. Excuse me (to emphasize this truth), but it is a natural equation. The hostility to Iran leads to embrace Israel, and it is a service rendered to Israel.

Also today, our Arab and Islamic peoples have the responsibility not to allow the United States, Israel and some of their instruments in the region to turn Iran into an enemy. Israel must remain the enemy, Palestine must remain the cause and Iran must be regarded as the fundamental, powerful, honest and truthful support. And this is what was expressed by His Eminence Imam Khamenei in his last speech, despite all Trump’s intimidation and threats, his withdrawal from the nuclear deal, US sanctions. And the US Secretary of State said Iran will face sanctions unprecedented in history. But these sanctions and threats, have they led to hesitation in the position of His Eminence Imam Sayed the Leader (Khamenei), officials of the regime or the Iranian people? Absolutely not. Today’s demonstrations in the streets of Iran confirm it.

Therefore, in our (Resistance) Axis, we also have a State, a regime and a people… Iran is not only a State and a regime. Behind us in Iran, stand a leader, a plan, a State, a people, religious authorities and a major regional power who support the Resistance, support Al-Quds (Jerusalem), the Palestinian cause and Resistance movements, who persevered for 39 years and are determined to persevere (in this direction), refusing subservience, submission, surrender or abandonment of any of their rights. Therein lies (another) point of strength.

And to all those who, as it happened just a few months ago, are betting on the fall of the Islamic regime in Iran that would cause a substantial disruption of the strategic situation, I tell them that their hopes are illusions, mirages. These people do not follow the Iranian media. I want to give them proof, since yesterday was the last Night of Decree in Iran. If they had taken some time, or if they had asked their media to collect photos of the Night of Decree in Iran yesterday, in Mashhad, Qom, Tehran, in other cities, (they would have seen the fervor) of this people, who fasts during the day, and stays up all night until dawn, for three nights, and reads (for a long time). And listen to me, listen to me, they read the Quran in Arabic, while we Arabs read very little of the Quran. They read (long) invocations for hours in Arabic. We see it on television. They read for hours invocations in Arabic! And the father, mother, children and grandchildren (the whole family, all generations) go (to mosques) for these occasions. Can such a people abandon its religion? Can it abandon its Islam? Can it abandon its Imam? Can it abandon its Islamic regime that it established itself with the blood of hundreds of thousands of martyrs (during the Revolution and the Iran-Iraq war)? In what illusory world do you live? On what mirages do you base your hopes? This Iran, despite all the blockade that has been imposed, has become increasingly powerful, present and active, both inside and in the region. Even if people could manifest here and there (in Iran) because of such excuse or such problem, it was fixed and it will lead to nothing (this is not an uprising against the regime).

I declare to Palestine in the first place, and to all the Resistance movements in the Resistance Axis, and the (different) generations of our (Muslim) community, our Axis: this great regional country (Iran) is powerful, influential (and stands) with resolve and decisiveness (with you).

Second, the upheaval that took place in Iraq in recent years (is another point of strength for the Resistance). In 2016-2017, Iraq was in grave danger, under threat of ISIS, this ISIS created by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabi thought. But Iraqis have overcome it, and today in Al-Quds Day 2018, armed demonstrations and military parades are held in Baghdad for the International Day of Al-Quds, organized by those who participated in the victorious struggle against ISIS.

The Iraqi people elect their deputies, and we know the choice of the people. The position of religious authorities in the holy city of Najaf on Al-Quds and Palestine is very old, going back well before 1948, intangible, from Imam Sayed Mohsin al-Hakim, God have mercy on him, up to Imam Al-Sayed Khu’i, God have mercy on him, up to the highly active current authorities, (all denunced Israel as illegitimate and supported Armed Resistance). This is a well-known historical position followed by all (the successive authorities). The political forces in Iraq, the Iraqi people (are also on the same Resistance line). I do not want to attribute an official position to the Iraqi government, but I know well, thanks to my information, my contacts and my meetings, the true position of these people, and I know where they will be when the great battle (against Israel) will be triggered in this region. I will return to this point in conclusion.

This great upheaval in Iraq favors the Resistance Axis and the armed forces of the Resistance. Iraq, which the United States wanted to see busy and submitted, has not been submitted and never will be.

(As for) Syria, pillar of the Resistance Axis… Please bear (my speech for) a few more minutes for Al-Quds’ (Jerusalem) sake. Syria, this essential country of the Resistance Axis, was subjected in recent years to great trials, a total war, world war. This country belongs to this Axis (par excellence). Unlimited amounts of money have been poured there from all sides, as well as all types of weapons and all means, and all the red lines have been crossed. Today we are in 2018, and by the Grace of God the Most Noble and the Almighty, the largest and most important parts of Syria have regained peace and security, and the State has restored its control and presence, (including) in Damascus and the Damascus suburbs. And it is clear that the enemy Axis is now trying (desperately) to achieve if only a few (tokens of) victory.

Let me (explain) as regards Israel. Since the beginning of the events in Syria, Israel… I do not have time to read it (all), but our young (Hezbollah members) have compiled for me statements by Israeli officials since 2011 to date: from the President, then Shimon Peres, to the head of the government, Netanyahu, to successive ministers of Defense, chiefs of the intelligence services and some experts. Since 2011 and until recently, what did they say? I’ll just read you the headlines.

All options are preferable to Assad‘.

Israel’s interest lies in the departure of Assad‘.

Nobody in Israel prefer Assad to jihadists‘.

The fall of Assad would be a clear victory for Israel‘.

Assad will fall within a few weeks‘, said Barak in 2011.

The decisions of the Arab League against Assad are courageous and important‘.

We do not want the defeat…‘ said who? The chief of Israeli intelligence in 2016, and we inflicted a defeat on ISIS with our entire Axis in 2017-2018: in 2016 (he said) ‘We do not want the defeat of ISIS in Syria‘.

The weakening of Assad and his government’s expulsion is in the direct interest of Israel‘, said Ya’alon (Chief of Staff of the Israeli forces) in 2013.

We must defeat the regime of Bashar al-Assad‘. Etc., etc.

And after (all these Israel hopes were dashed), see how they called the (alleged) battle. Allow me (to speak) a few (more) minutes. Now they have (changed the aim of the battle, which was toppling Assad), and called it (‘Kicking Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria‘). Rather than conceding defeat in Syria, and recognizing that their hopes in Syria, pinned on terrorist takfiri organizations, collapsed, (these very groups that) Israel supported with its media, (direct) assistance, through its airstrikes, by providing weapons, ammunition, and everything (they could provide them). Absolutely everything. Instead of declaring their failure and defeat in Syria, and (recognize) that the State will remain, as well as the President and the (Syrian) Army, and that the organizations they have supported in recent years are about to disappear, Israel wants to falsify the (real) meaning of the battle, and now, Netanyahu, Lieberman and other are discoursing day and night (pretending) that the battle in Syria aims to kick out Iran and Hezbollah from Syria.

We accept this battle. We accept it. But before turning the page and opening this new chapter, you should first acknowledge, O Zionists, that you have been defeated in Syria, you have failed to bring down the pillar of the Resistance camp in the region, your hopes on terrorist groups were scattered to the four winds. Acknowledge that, and then, we could open a new page for the (alleged) battle you have entitled ‘Kicking out Iran and Hezbollah from Syria‘. And some Gulf countries also regard this battle as their own today, looking forward to make this new achievement, imagining that Russia will cooperate with them to get Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. And they have high hopes and (are) happy (at this perspective), and they are ready to celebrate their victory.

I also say to these Gulf countries and all this Axis which fought (against us) in Syria: if you acknowledge your defeat, good. If you want to start a new battle under a new title, we can talk about it. I do not have time to talk about it in detail now, but I want to say a word regarding Hezbollah, so nobody thinks that this (PR stunt) is a (true) battle they can win.

As for Hezbollah, my brothers and sisters, when we went to Syria, we went there for two reasons, or rather for a reason that has two aspects. The first is our vision, our understanding and faith in the fact that what is happening in Syria is a major plot targeting the Syrian people, the Syrian government and the Syrian entity, and the Resistance Axis, and that if Syria fell into the hands of its enemies, into the hands of takfiris, a catastrophe would ensue for Lebanon, for Palestine and for the Resistance. And that’s what we explained for the last 7 years. That’s the first aspect. And the second aspect (is that we did it) at the request and with the agreement of the Syrian leadership and the Syrian government. That’s what got us in Syria.

When we went to Syria, we had no particular project. (Some say) that Hezbollah went to fight in Syria in order to get a seat in the Syrian government, or the Syrian Assembly, or to interfere in Syrian internal affairs, politics, government, or whatnot, or to get a share of the Syrian economy, etc., etc., etc. Sincerely and honestly, we had no particular project in Syria, and now that we are in 2018, and that Syria celebrates its victories, I declare to the world, to enemies as well as friends, that Hezbollah has no particular project in Syria, absolutely not. We are present in Syria where we need to be, and where Syrian leaders have asked us to be based on developments on the ground. There is (no project) for Hezbollah – as for Iran, they can speak for themselves, I will not appoint me as their spokesperson, unless they ask me to translate their position in Arabic. I speak for Hezbollah. This battle is an imaginary battle.

Naturally, when the goal is achieved, we will consider that we have won, from the position of those who have contributed (to victory), on their scale – you know me well, I do not increase the actual proportions of things and I do not exaggerate. Anyone has the right to comment on numbers, but as for us, we are not divulging (in detail the extent of our presence in Syria). At our level, with our contribution, (we participated) to the great Syrian victory in the World War (which was imposed on it). When Syria will be safe, when the remnants of armed terrorist groups disappear, when those responsible for the project (of destruction of Syria) will despair of (their ability to achieve) their project, we will consider it as a great achievement. And what I say publicly now, we (clearly) told it before to President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian leadership. We have no problem. There is no problem.

At any time, anywhere, in any area where the Syrian leadership will consider, because of field data and national interests of Syria and the Syrian people, that Hezbollah should not be there, we will be grateful to them. We will not assume in any way that anyone inflicted a defeat us. O people, we will be glad and happy! Let Gulf countries know that. Let Israel know that. When we repatriate our youth (fighters), our people and our brothers to Lebanon, to their cities, to their homes and to their families, we will be happy and we will feel victorious, we will have the feeling of a mission accomplished. This is why we do not consider that there is any (real) battle in Syria aiming to have us stay or leave. What keeps us there is our duty and the Syrian leadership.

At the same time, I want to tell you something. At the same time, I want to tell you something. If the whole world formed a coalition… If the whole world formed a coalition to force us out of Syria, it would fail to make us leave. Even if the whole world gathered (against us). There is only one way (for us to leave), it is that the Syrian leadership tells us “Guys, God bless you, thank you…” They are grateful people and they thank us at every opportunity. “We are grateful and appreciate you, God bless you, the fighting has ended in this region and we won, you can go home.” How many fighters do we have (in order to) send troops to Syria (with no reason, our forces being limited)? Therefore, nobody should believe that there is a battle of this kind. Never. There is no battle here (these are lies of the enemy meant to allow him to save face). This whole issue concerns only the Syrian leadership, their estimate of the situation on the ground and their national security interests, and the current position of Syria against the great conspiracy which was hatched against it.

O my brothers and sisters! In Lebanon, we will bear all the pressure, (the designation as a) terrorist organization, etc. We have already talked a lot about the situation in Lebanon, the Israeli threats, I mentioned all these issues on May 25, and there is no need to evoke them again.

But on this International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), I want to say to the Israelis, to the Palestinians and to the peoples of the world: just like we believe firmly, decisively and irrevocably, that Al-Quds and Palestine are just causes, we firmly believe, basing ourselves on our faith, on the Koran, on our doctrine, on the lessons, experiences and principles of History, and on our prediction of the future, that Al-Quds will be returned to its rightful owners, and that Palestine will be (completely) liberated. And Netanyahu’s sophistry will be to no avail.

Yesterday, Netanyahu said that Imam Khamenei wants to enrich uranium again in order to make a nuclear weapon and kill 6 million Jews in occupied Palestine. These are lies. First, Iran does not seek the nuclear bomb, and secondly, no one wants to kill 6 million Jews in occupied Palestine.

 

What we say, what the Palestinian people and the Arab and Muslim peoples say, and even what Islam says — I can say that this is the view of Islam — and what the Resistance says is this: we do not want to kill, we do not want to destroy, we do not want to throw (or drown) anyone in the sea. We tell you in a very civilized manner: embark in your ships, embark on your planes, and return to the countries from which you came. Regarding the (minority of) indigenous Jews, who are from Palestine, they are people of Palestine and they can stay there. As for the (Zionist) invaders, occupiers and settlers who came from all around the world, let them pack up their things and leave. This is the message of Islam, and this is the message of the Resistance. This is the message of the peoples of the region.

Contrary to what Netanyahu says, nobody wants to perpetrate another Holocaust or anything like that. But if you insist on perpetuating the occupation, then I assure you that the Day of the Great War in this region, whatever triggers it, is coming (fast). That day is close on which we will all pray in Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

We are awaiting that day, with a positive (active) expectation, getting ready for it, truly and faithfully. Fare well, and God’s peace be upon you and His mercy and blessings.

European Security Landscape Reshaped with New Alliances Emerging – By Peter KORZUN ( Strategic Cultural Foundation)

European Security Landscape Reshaped with New Alliances Emerging
Peter KORZUN | 23.06.2018 | WORLD / Europe

The bonds between European allies are not as strong today as they used to be. The well-known divisions within the EU are also the divisions within NATO as most European nations belong to both.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire believes that the EU is falling apart because its members cannot find compromises while they urgently need to tackle the migrants’ crisis as well as a whole host of other pressing problems. Some predict the demise of NATO for the same reason – the bloc’s inability to handle the issues of fundamental importance. This is the time of reshaping the Western security landscape. With the giant entities, such as NATO and the EU, facing the threat of partition, new smaller alliances are gradually forming instead.

On June 22, EU tariffs on US goods came into force to make Americans and Europeans opponents rather than friends and allies. Sharing what they call common values does not prevent disputes over fundamental issues and trade battles. We may witness a NATO burial at its Brussels summit on July 11-12 right after the EU’s actual partition at its top-level event on June 28-29.

With Brexit drawing near, the UK is still to carve out a new role for itself in the new security configuration. Its anti-Russia stance is a guide. The relationship with the US will always be special even if there is no chemistry between the leaders. But the dependence on America has its limits and the relationship may go through fluctuations. To be a power pole it needs to diversify the security ties. Forming a new defense pact with the EU is one of foreign policy directions. It will allow London to remain part of European defense deterrent after separation from the alliance’s political and economic structures. With NATO weakened, it’ll play an important role of go-between to link North America and the Old Continent. Its influence would be boosted if it joined a security entity it could lead. Moscow’s “irreconcilable enemies” are the right partners for a start.

On June 21, UK Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary visited Warsaw within the format of annual Quadriga talks. The aim was to strengthen security, defence, and cyber ties with Poland, the unrecognized leader of Eastern Europe, which is on the outs with Brussels striving to hold its own. The text of the final communiqué shows the mission was accomplished. In December 2017, the parties signed the Treaty on Defense and Security Cooperation. At the meeting they said the UK-Poland Defence Action Plan encompassing a range of military areas was being prepared for signature.

The steps to enhance defense cooperation are to be added by joint propaganda efforts to counter Russia. The parties agreed to establish what they call “a strategic communications project to support independent media in countries in Eastern Europe, to ensure a wider range of voices in the media, in order to strengthen resilience against disinformation.”

It’s worth mentioning that the UK stands out refusing to join other EU members in their criticism of Poland’s slide into authoritarianism while it is implementing its judicial reforms. PM Theresa May believes that the constitutional reform is an internal matter. Warsaw can use its burgeoning relationship with London as a bargaining chip in the relationship with Germany. Having left the EU, Great Britain can make a substantial contribution into recognizing the Poland’s status as the leader of Eastern Europe.

The hostility toward Russia is what formally unites them. On June 20, British General Mark Carleton-Smith, the newly appointed head of the British army, issued a warning over Britain threatened by Russia and called on the military to be prepared to “fight and win”. Poland is playing the American card against Russia as well as the EU. The country is to acquire a first strike capability to counter what it believes to be the Russian threat and applies efforts to make the US station substantial forces on its soil. Poland is in the focus of NATO infrastructure efforts. It hosts large-scale exercises preparing forces to conduct offensive operations against Russia. The military activities are closely coordinated with the Baltic States, which are also asking for larger US military presence. NATO has deployed four battalion-sized battle groups to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. The UK is among the nations that comprise the backbone of this force. Roughly 150 British servicemen are stationed in Poland. London and Warsaw join together supporting the “European aspirations” of the Western Balkan states. The UK is hosting the Western Balkans summit in London on July 9 and 10.

It’s normal that countries set up alliances while jockeying for influence and looking for benefits to reap. But it’s also a sign of NATO and the EU teetering on the edge. The emergence of other alliances is looming at the horizon.

In his London speech on June 21, NATO Secretary General said the bonds between Europe and North America are under strain and there’s no guarantee the trans-Atlantic alliance will survive. But the bonds between European allies are also not as strong today as they used to be. The well-known divisions within the EU are also the divisions within NATO as most European nations belong to both. It’s all intertwined. There are groups pursuing their own interests within the EU to give birth to the concept of a “multi-speed Europe”. It’s only natural that alliances within the alliance also emerge inside NATO under the circumstances and it’s a sign of weakness, not strength. This is a trend to partition. Add to it the EU efforts to create a defense deterrent of its own independent from the US. There is each and every reason to believe that many more signs of NATO losing its relevance will come into the open at the much-anticipated July summit.

Photo: The First News

Tags: NATO  France  Poland  UK 

Welcome to Hadar: A Village Under Siege by Syrian “Rebels” and Israeli Forces Alike – By Eva Bartlett @EvaKBartlett (Mint Press)

A Hadar resident stands outside of his shrapnel damaged home. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

 

The village of Hadar, in Southern Syria, is buttressed on one side by Israeli watchtowers and walls – and endures deadly attacks from jihadist Syrian rebels from the other three.

 

 

HADAR, SYRIA — Situated in the northern part of Quneitra governorate, with the towering Jabal al-Sheikh (Mt. Hermon) overlooking it and the region, Hadar is in both a beautiful area of Syria and a dangerous one.

The roughly 10,000 defiant villagers of Hadar are isolated and under constant threat of attack. Until December 2017, Hadar was surrounded on three sides by terrorists and was attacked many times.

Positioned in a valley, with the al-Qaeda alliance until December 2017 occupying Beit Jinn and other villages to the east, Hadar also borders the ceasefire line of the occupied Syrian Golan, an area teeming with still more al-Qaeda terrorists. From their positions inside the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) zone of the occupied Syrian Golan, terrorists in Jubata al-Khashab (roughly 6 kilometers directly south of Hadar), Turunjah (roughly 5 kilometers south of Hadar), and Ufaniyah (further south than Jubata al-Khashab), have fired mortars, missiles, and other explosives on Hadar, something acknowledged even by the UN Secretary-General.

In his December 6, 2017 report, the Secretary-General noted that terrorist groups fighting in the UNDOF area of operation include “the listed terrorist group Jabhat Fath al-Sham (formerly the Nusra Front) and Jaysh Khalid Ibn al-Walid, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).”

The same report noted the attacks from the three villages towards Hadar were preceded by a “vehicle-borne improvised explosive device,” which killed nine people. In Hadar, I would learn that the car bomb didn’t just target “a pro-Syrian forces checkpoint in Hadar,” as per the UN report, but was headed towards the heart of the village when shot at by Hadar defenders. The vehicle exploded less than 100 meters from a school, at 9 a.m., according to Hadar resident Mahmoud Taweel. Had the village not been on alert, and families staying at home, the number killed would have surely been higher and included many children.

The road leading to the site of the deadly, Nov 2017 suicide car bomb. An Israeli observation post is visible atop in the mountain in the background. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

Most recently, on June 16, Syrian state media, SANA, reported that terrorists in Jubata al Khashab, “set fire once again to a large area of agricultural lands in the vicinity of Hadar village,” burning acres of fruit orchards south of the village. SANA further reported that firefighters were unable to reach the area to quell the fire, devastating the farmland and depriving landowners of their prime source of income.

The support of Hadar villagers for their army and president is unsurprising, given these are the two bodies that have protected them and supported them against attacks from al-Qaeda and Israel, next door to Hadar.

According to a report by Syrian journalist Alaa Ebrahim, the last attack on Hadar was on November 3, 2017, “… a ground offensive in three different directions, in an attempt to take the last few kilometers the government still controls along the border with Israel.” The Syrian army, Ebrahim noted, controls only five kilometers of the border with Israel and is limited in the number of military units it can move to the area, under the disengagement agreement reached following the 1973 war with Israel.

Mr. Taweel explained that people of his town view Jabal al-Sheikh as a symbol of blessings. On top of that same mountain, Israeli observation posts oversee all activity. Hadar residents and Syrian soldiers believe that Israel has been coordinating with terrorist groups in their attacks on the village. Given that UNDOF forces themselves have documented Israeli soldiers interacting with terrorists in the occupied Syrian Golan, and given that Israel has attacked Syria on numerous occasions, the belief that the Israelis are aiding al-Qaeda terrorists in attacks on Hadar is more than reasonable.

The corporate media silence on Hadar, in spite of what the villagers have endured and continue to face, would be surprising if it wasn’t already clear that corporate media isn’t interested in highlighting these kinds of Syrians. Just as they dismiss narratives of Syrians who do not support any of the terrorist factions, so have they corporate media dismissed narratives of Syrians who are proud supporters of the Syrian army and the democratically-elected president and Syrians whose experiences defy outside claims of a “civil war,” “revolution,” or “sectarian conflict.”

 

“Our farmers can’t reach their land”

On May 4, in a hired taxi and with a translator, I headed for Hadar to meet with Mahmoud Taweel, an English teacher, who would also introduce me to other Hadar residents, to hear from them on the attacks they’ve endured and the threats they’ve fought off, along with the Syrian army — largely to the silence of corporate media.

Along the way, our taxi was joined by a car of four Syrian soldiers, who accompanied us both to show us the safest route to Hadar and also to protect us should terrorists in surrounding areas attack.

We drove along a road flanking a heavily fortified UN base for a brief period, then followed another road cutting through open fields, Jabal al-Sheikh in the distance, finally descending along a narrow road winding its way through endless fruit-tree orchards before entering Hadar.

In the town square, I chatted with a woman and man in a small shop until Mr. Taweel arrived. After a five minute walk, we reached his stone house, surrounded by fruit and other trees and adorned with yellow rose bushes.

Watch | Hadar resident Mahmoud Taweel on life under threat from terrorism

<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>

I asked Mahmoud Taweel to speak about life in Hadar over the past years. He said, of the terrorists south of Hadar and those formerly east of the town:

They have been terrorizing us, by shelling, mortars. The most important thing is that they are depriving us of reaching our fertile farms. Ninety percent of our civilians depend on farming for their living. But our farmers can’t reach their land.”

I was struck by the similarity of the situation of Palestinian farmers and these Hadar villagers. In the case of Palestinians, it is Israeli illegal colonists and soldiers who violently prevent them from accessing their lands, whether in West Bank areas of occupied Palestine or in the tiny and all too familiar Gaza Strip.

According to Hadar resident, Mahmoud Taweel, farmers are prohibited from farming their land near Israel's 'security' fence. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

Having worked for years with farmers in Gaza and also in the West Bank,  with the violent Israeli tactics of shooting live ammunition to harass farmers off their land. This harassment has killed dozens of farmers and maimed many more. The situation in Hadar isn’t much different, except al-Qaeda and other terrorists do the attacking, bombing and burning of farmland and killing of villagers.

 

Many maimed, many martyrs

Hadar has a population of around 10,000, according to Mahmoud Taweel. I asked him about those injured and killed by terrorist attacks. He replied:

Too many people were killed. At least 130 martyrs, and around 400 injuries and casualties. Some of them are hopeless cases: they can’t walk, speak, talk, and they need a very intensive health care on a daily basis.”

So I asked him whether there is a hospital in the town to provide the needed health care to the injured:

No hospital in Hadar, just a small mobile clinic with insufficient equipment. Ambulances took injured to Damascus, always under the threat of sniping from terrorists on either side.”

Additionally, Hadar has suffered periods of no electricity. “Three months with no power at all,” Mr. Taweel said. “And the moment that the government restores power, the terrorists shell and destroy it…to make us live in darkness.”

Mr. Taweel said Hadar village has two high schools, two primary, two intermediate, and one kindergarten. We drove to one of the schools, the one near to the site of the November 3, 2017, suicide car bombing just at the northern edge of Hadar. Mr. Taweel pointed to a deep rut in the road, now filled in with gravel, saying that was where the suicide bomber had detonated the explosives. Some meters away, the ruins of a small shop.

Zooming in on the Israeli observatories overlooking Hadar, I asked whether they believed Israel had a role in the attacks that day.

One of the two Israeli observation posts overlooking the Hadar, Syria. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

“For sure,” Mr. Taweel replied, “The final battle on November 3 was schemed, planned, and supported by Israel.”  

In his November 5, 2017 report, Alaa Ebrahim interviewed a Syrian army official who said: “Militants and Israel prepared this assault for three months and were thwarted in two hours.”

By mid-December, Syrian army units recaptured areas to Hadar’s northeast that had been occupied by al-Nusra. By the end of December, following military operations by the Syrian army and local defenders, terrorists were evacuated from Beit Jinn (to Hadar’s east), part of a deal to restore peace to that area. By January 2018, families who had been displaced from Beit Jinn and surrounding areas were returning. The restoration of security to Beit Jinn and surrounding areas also, importantly, meant one less front from which terrorists could attack Hadar. Terrorists remain in areas south of the village, and continue their attacks.

 

Facing occupied land

Descending the winding road a few kilometers to the west of Hadar, the hills of Majdal Shams, in the occupied Syrian Golan, appeared. Between the hill I stood on and Majdal Shams, an Israeli road fortified by a fence sliced the two Syrian lands, securing the land Israel has stolen and illegally occupies.

The Syrian mission to the UN post on the occupied Syrian Golan reads:

…[T]he Golan was home to over 140,000 Syrians, most of whom were driven out of their homeland and into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) status. Till this day, almost 40 years later, the Syrian inhabitants of the Golan are still unable to return to their homes, towns and cities. Today these Syrians exceed 500,000 people. Some Syrians remained in the Occupied Syrian Golan and continue to live in small villages amounting to approximately 20,000 Syrians.

Most of the Syrian cities, towns and villages in the Golan were destroyed by Israeli occupation forces, who in turn have built over 40 illegal settlements despite all international condemnation. Israel continues not only to occupy the Syrian Golan but to also destroy its ancient ruins and geopolitical atmosphere for the sole purpose of cleansing the Golan of its Syrian people and their history.”

The hill I stood on, far lower than surrounding hills, was known as the Shouting Valley, because shouting by megaphones was for many years the sole means of communication between Syrians from Hadar and those in Israeli-occupied Majdal Shams.

As Israeli road, heavily fortified, cuts through Syrian land on both sides in the occupied Golan Heights. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

A February 2014 article in al-Akhbar by Firas Choufi noted:

After the 1973 War, residents of liberated Hadar and occupied Majdal Shams were separated into ‘two banks,’ and since then, they would meet, converse, and share news and concerns by shouting in megaphones, giving the area its name.

…The villages of Majdal Shams, Baqaatha, Masaada, Ain Qanya, and al-Ghajar are in truth the only villages in the Golan still inhabited by their native residents. In the 1967 War, the Israeli occupation ethnically cleansed two cities and more than 300 villages and farms in the Golan, using systematic massacres, bombardment, demolition of homes, and arrests, completely leveling existing villages.

Today, around 23,000 Syrians live in the Golan Heights, and reject Israeli citizenship. They inhabit an area that is no bigger that 7 percent of the total area of the Golan Heights, which represents the primary source of water for occupied Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee).

Meanwhile, 10,000 Jewish Israeli settlers live in 45 settlements built atop the ruins of Syrian villages, the largest of which is the settlement of Katzrin, which was built on the ruins of the Syrian town of Qisrin. Recently, the Israeli government officially declared the settlement an Israeli city.”

In the valley to my right, between Jabal al-Sheikh and the hill I stood on, lay farmland belonging to residents living in occupied Majdal Shams. Mahmoud Taweel explained that since the owners can’t cross from occupied Majdal Shams, relatives tend the land for them. He also noted that the lush land roughly two hundred meters from the fence is not workable; it is prohibited. Yet, on the side occupied by Israel, houses and worked farmland extend right up to the fence.

I was again reminded of Gaza, where farmers can’t access fertile land within up to a kilometer along the fence with Israeli-occupied Palestine. This land, the former breadbasket of Gaza, has been forcibly rendered dry and wasted. Israel has systematically destroyed wells and cisterns to ensure that those brave farmers who try to work their land regardless of Israel’s unilaterally and illegally imposed restrictions will find it nearly impossible to grow wheat and vegetables. On the Israeli-occupied side of that Gaza fence, the land is lushly green, irrigated with modern equipment. The same Israeli double-standards apply around the occupied Syrian Golan.

 

UN condemns then collaborates

The United Nations’ Security Council and General Assembly have long-condemned Israel’s many violations of international law with respect to its occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights, including Israel’s “failure to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981)…” That resolution included demanding that Israel rescind its “decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.”

The UN General Assembly declared:

Israel’s decision of 14 December, 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights constitutes an act of aggression under the provisions of Article 39 of the Charter of the United Nations and General Assembly resolution 3314 … Israel’s decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and has no legal validity and/or effect whatsoever.”

The UN rightly views Israel’s occupation and annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights as a “continuing threat to international peace and security.”

That Israel essentially has gotten a carte blanche from most Western nations to illegally annex further Palestinian land, occupy Syrian and Lebanese land, and continue murdering Palestinians and attacking Syria is not terribly surprising given the Israeli-UN collaboration in the occupied Syrian Golan, a collaboration notably including al-Qaeda terrorists.

A photo from the Israel, Syrian border along the Golan Heights showing IDF soldiers conversing with Jabhat al Nusra fighters.

On December 22, 2014 Al Akhbar reported:

Observers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) confirmed in a report cooperation and coordination between the Israeli army and militant groups in Syria.

The UNDOF report said that observers witnessed several meetings between rebel leaders and Israeli army forces between December 2013 and March 2014, in addition to witnessing the transportation of hundreds of injured militants to Israeli hospitals following confrontations between the militants and the Syrian army near the occupied Golan border.”

Regarding the November 3, 2017 terrorist attacks on Hadar and surrounding Syrian areas, a UNSC report noted:

Armed groups launched an attack involving heavy machine gun, small arms and indirect fire from the tri-village area of Jubbata al-Khashab, Turunjah and Ufaniyah in the area of separation against pro-Government forces in the vicinity of Hadar, which is largely inhabited by members of the Druze community.

…Preceding the attack, open sources reported that a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device targeted a pro-Syrian forces checkpoint in Hadar, killing nine people.”

Two men, not specified which group of rebels, ride a motorcycle towards an abandoned UN base at Syria's Quneitra border crossing between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

But the role of the UN regarding Israel’s interaction with, and support of, terrorists doesn’t end with merely reporting on these facts. The UN also whitewashes the Israeli-al-Qaeda coordination and puts the blame on Syria for defending itself.

As I wrote previously:

In a November 2014 report, the Secretary-General mentioned the presence of al-Nusra and other terrorists in the ceasefire area ‘unloading weapons from a truck,’ as well as a ‘vehicle with a mounted anti-aircraft gun’ and Israeli ‘interactions’ with ‘armed gangs.’ Nonetheless, he went on to condemn strongly the Syrian army’s presence, offering no alternative solution to how to fight against those who fire on Syrian army and civilians from within the UNDOF-deserted area.”

 

The Syrian Mandela

In April 2017, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, speaking on Israel’s occupation of Syrian territory, also said:

We have to call on Israel to free Sedqi al-Maqt—who we call the Syrian Mandela—and others who are in Israeli prisons for taking pictures, taking photos that prove that Israel is cooperating with the al-Nusra Front in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

Maqt is a Syrian in his early 50s from the occupied Syrian Golan who was imprisoned 27 years in Israeli prisons for his resistance to the Israeli occupation of Syrian land. He was released in 2012. Later, Maqt began filming the “joint cooperation between,” as he stated, Israeli soldiers and al-Qaeda terrorists near the Quneitra crossing. He was re-arrested by Israeli secret police in February 2015.

Maqt also reported seeing Israeli forces supplying terrorists with weapons and munitions, and conveyed his feeling that the crossing had been turned into an operations room and safe shelter for terrorists attacking Syria, with the support and knowledge of the Israelis and the UN.

Sedqi al-Maqt was arrested by Israel’s Shin Bet for exposing collaboration between Syrian rebels and Israel.

In one of his reports, Maqt noted that, “the terrorists would move with complete freedom,” from the areas they occupied in the Syrian Golan to areas where UN and Israeli forces were present. He noted that when the Syrian army shelled them, al-Qaeda and other terrorists took cover in areas where the Israeli and UN forces were present.  

Prior to his 2015 arrest, Maqt also reported on the Israeli field hospitals that are treating terrorists, and reported that residents of the occupied Syrian Golan daily see Israeli ambulances transporting terrorists, and Israeli forces interacting with terrorists:

There’s no way you could bring these terrorists to this field hospital if there wasn’t a joint operations room and daily communication and coordination..between Israeli forces and terrorist commanders.”

Ironically, when Sedqi al-Maqt was arrested, Israel charged him with “terrorism offences.”

When I visited the last couple hundred meters of Syrian land before occupied Majdal Shams, the sight of the vacated UN post, just to my left and before the illegally annexed Majdal Shams, was a visible reminder that Israel — with over 70 UN resolutions condemning it for its genocidal, land-thieving, war-criminal behavior against Palestinians, also including attacks on Syria and Lebanon — continues to evade facing any proper justice, making a farce of the UN and international law.

 

Hadar villagers speak through tears of terrorism they’ve faced  

Just before the main square in Hadar, I met Atef Nakkour, sitting in his small shop. He welcomed me and spoke of Hadar’s defiance:

You are very welcome in Hadar, this resistant village that has provided the invaluable to defend its dignity and freedom, and the dignity of the motherland. We are clinging to our land regardless of who agrees or disagrees.”

He too mentioned at least 130 martyrs from the village, and spoke of Hadar’s gratitude to the Syrian army:

We wholeheartedly endorse our army and our leadership.”

Hadar’s former mukthar (mayor), Jawdat al-Taweel, “Abu Abdu,” is a towering, charismatic man. He is still a popular figure in Hadar, and now runs a clothes shop in town.

He gave me a tour of the destruction from terrorist attacks. We stopped first at an internally-gutted, one-level shop that used to sell dairy and other food products. The shop, run by a family of women, was shelled and its equipment and goods destroyed in September 2017. The women now have no income.

Watch | Jawdat al-Taweel, Hadar’s former mayor, shows damage to homes after terrorist’ shelling

<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>

We continued, Abu Abdu pointing out scars of the shellings, in walls and roofs on either side. From around a corner, Atef Nakkour shouted for Abu Abdu to show me his own damaged home. We climbed onto a rooftop and walked to its edge. The former mayor pointed out more damage, the remnants of shelling, and called down to Nakkour, “Where were you standing when it happened?”

Nakkour, standing on the street below us, replied that he’d been standing in the same spot, that a shell landed on a car parked nearby, shrapnel exploding towards the second level, damaging his home. Largely repaired, pockets in the roof overhang evidence the shelling.

Walking down from the square and to a small home surrounded by a stone wall, bushes and flowers, an elderly man and his wife spoke of their murdered son and relative. Mr. Hassoun spoke slowly, and as he described losing his son, Minhal Ahmed Hassoun, both he and his wife next to him began to cry. Through tears, he began:

Yes we lost young men, but we invaded no one, and we had no intention to kill anyone. They came to us on our land, and wanted to kill us and to humiliate us, but our youth and our heroic men preferred martyrdom to humiliation.”

Mahmoud Taweel added that the village men had fought alongside the Syrian army, fighting the terrorists who attack Hadar.

Mr. Hassoun continued:

They [terrorists] came in large numbers, and Israel backed them with artillery, but our men refused to withdraw a meter from their trenches. When the hero Minhal was martyred, his brother was next to him. He closed Minhal’s eyes, and said to him: ‘Your blood is invaluable, and they will pay for what they did.’”

Minhal had been studying law at Damascus University, Mr. Hassoun said:

I told him, ‘My son, finish your studies and get your degree, these battles are long.’ He answered me, ‘My father, the degree dies the moment its holder dies, but martyrdom for the motherland never dies, it lasts for generations.’

He took his wife to Jaramana, to the hospital so that she could give birth. They told him that there were  still three or four days until it was her time, but he left his wife with his siblings, and said to her: ‘I  want to go, the elders [his parents] are there and I won’t leave them alone.’

He came back in the evening, left for the battle next morning, and was martyred at 8 a.m.”

The newborn baby was named after his martyred father, Minhal.

Watch | Abu Minhal speaks of his son, who was killed defending Hadar

Minhal’s mother, who had been quietly wiping away her tears, listed their losses:

My grandson was the first martyr, his name was Anas. Then after him my son was martyred, his name was Minhal. After him my nephew was martyred, his name was Ismaeel. After that two more nephews of mine were martyred: one was called Hamed and the other one Hasan.”

She finished with a stoic comment reflecting the resilience not only of Hadar but of Syrians in general:

Losing a feather wouldn’t make a bird nude. No matter how many we lose, it’s better than those dogs come here.”

Before leaving, Mr. Hassoun brought out his old rifle and said:

We are following our ancestors’ steps and will never give up our motherland as long as we are alive.”

The terrorist attacks on Hadar and its farmland continue to the shrugs of Western corporate media precisely because reporting on such devastation by what the same media sells us as “rebels” would once again shatter the myth of “moderates,” the myth of a “revolution,” and of a “civil war.”

In addition to Hadar’s strategic position, the people of Hadar are being attacked because they stand with their army and president. But after years of such attacks, and after over 130 martyrs, it is clear Hadar villagers have no intention of changing their stance, much like defiant Syrians throughout Syria.

Top Photo | A Hadar resident stands outside of his shrapnel damaged home. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine. She is a recipient of the International Journalism Award for International Reporting. Visit her personal blog, In Gaza, and support her work on Patreon.

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

US Leaves UNHRC: Big Step to Isolation – By Arkady SAVITSKY (Strategic Culture Foundation)

US Leaves UNHRC: Big Step to Isolation
Arkady SAVITSKY | 21.06.2018 | WORLD / Americas

So, the US is leaving the 47-member Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made the announcement on June 19. The move followed criticism of the US immigration policy, especially the forced separation of alleged undocumented migrant parents from their children.

Formally, the reason is the bias against Israel, the failure to hold human rights abusers accountable and US calls for reforms remaining unheeded. Strange logic! Being a member, the US could protect its Middle East ally and attract world attention to violations of human rights. The premier intergovernmental human rights body may not be as effective as it could be but it is a platform to address the burning problems and a dialogue bridge.

The ambassador added that the council could be rejoined in the future if reforms were made. That’s the essence of Washington’s approach. Either the US has it its way or it quits, there is nothing in between: no compromise, no discussions, and no diplomacy. More and more often, the US demonstrates its “it’s my way or no way” approach to international problems.

The opposition to the withdrawal is strong, including US lawmakers and well-known NGOs, such as the Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Campaign, Save the Children, Freedom House and many others but their arguments have been ignored. Washington came under strong criticism internationally.

The pullout is a very decisive step conforming to the trend of the US stepping back from multilateral accords, international bodies and forums. Under the current administration, America has pulled out from the Paris climate accord, the UN educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO) and the Iran nuclear deal. It also defied the world by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving its embassy there. Its participation in UN activities has been curtailed recently. For instance, in January, the US announced the decision to cut funds for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. In March, Ambassador Haley said that UN peacekeeping operations will be axed. The idea to withdraw from the United Nations Organization has been reinvigorated recently in the US.

There are other reasons the US officials prefer not to mention. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is pressing ahead with the investigation of mistreatment of Iraqi detainees by British forces in 2003-2008. This is a warning for America. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was headed by the US without the approval by the UN Security Council. Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has mentioned alleged US violations to be investigated. She says the United States may have abused human rights in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The US strongly opposes the ICC, so it’s only natural for it to be against the UNHRC and the UN in general. Washington has not ratified various international human rights related agreements. The country still has death penalty. It has failed to cope with police brutality and is known to have the world’s largest prison population (about two million people).

In 2014, the UN Committee Against Torture released a report that deeply criticized the US for racial discrimination and other human rights abuses, including electronic surveillance, CIA interrogations, immigrant detentions, the failure to shut down the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay etc. In 2015, a UN report slammed America for being the only country in the world to imprison children for life without parole. According to the recent Human Rights Watch paper, the US moved backward on human rights at home and abroad last year.

On many occasions, the legality of using armed drones by the US military and the CIA has been questioned by the international community. Last December, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution calling on the US to reverse its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Washington threatened those who backed the document with retaliation. The US sanctions policy has been criticized by UN officials saying it constitutes the violation of human rights. Actually, Russia or any other country under sanctions could launch a complaint with the UN Human Rights committee in accordance with Article 41 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Nobody’s perfect. So is the UN. Still the organization remains a vital instrument of international governance. It has managed many conflicts preventing abuses and saving lives. The UN Human Rights High Commissioner as well as a half dozen core human rights treaties have played an important role to protect human rights. An extensive international criminal justice system exists under the UN auspices. The attempts to free America from the burden of international law and global commitments in a high-tech era are hardly implementable. With the UN jettisoned, the US would return to pre-Second World War isolationism but will it make it richer, stronger, or more influential? How does the concept of the whole world marching out of step benefit the United States?

True, the council has serious drawbacks but the US leaves for another reason. While lecturing others on human rights, values and freedom, the US is far from being lily-white but it wants no curbs on what it does and no criticism, objections and discussions. Looks like “America First” and “America Isolated” have a lot in common. 

Fanatic barbarians: Israeli settlers celebrate burning Palestinian baby, chant “Ali is on the grill!” – By Jonathan Ofir (Mondoweiss) (SOTT)

Hussein Dawabshe

Hussein Dawabshe, with his grandson Ahmad, in 2016.

There’s something particularly disturbing about celebrating the burning alive of a baby.

This is precisely what Israeli Jewish settlers were doing yesterday, outside the court in Lod. “‘Ali was burned, where is Ali? Ali is on the grill!”, they chanted, in reference to the 18-month old baby Ali Dawbsheh, who was burnt alive by Jewish terrorists in the West Bank town of Duma in 2015. Ali’s mother Riham and father Saad died of their wounds a few weeks later. Of the family of four, only 5-year-old Ahmad survived the arson with severe burns.

The terror-supporters were actually taunting Ali’s grandfather, Hussein Dawabshe, who was attending a preliminary hearing at which the court decided to indict one adult suspect who confessed to the murders, as well as a minor who was an accomplice. Hussein was accompanied by Palestinian-Israeli lawmakers Ayman Odeh and Ahmed Tibi. Tibi posted the video of the chanting, with policemen standing by doing nothing, and wrote:

“Where’s Ali? There’s no Ali. Ali is burned. On the fire. Ali is on the grill” – all this was thrown at our face – including at the grandfather Dawbsheh concerning his 18-month-old grandson by the riff raff of ‘price tag’. In front of us stood policemen and officers and did nothing. No words…

The terror supporters also referred to the other family members: “Where is Ali? Where is Riham? Where is Saad? It’s too bad Ahmed didn’t burn as well.”

This is certainly not the first time that the burning of this baby was celebrated. In December 2015, a video showing dozens of wedding guests celebrating the arson went public via Channel 10. The guests are seen dancing with Molotov cocktails, knives and guns, and stabbing a photo of baby Ali Dawabsheh. The wedding couple was said to be “very well known in the radical right”. Following widespread public outrage, Netanyahu distanced himself from the event, saying that these were “shocking images” which “show the true face of a group that constitutes a danger”, but he also provided the “many sides” narrative:

“That is not the proud religious Zionism that contributes to the state, and whose sons serve in the elite units in the army… It is also impossible to compare the scope of that terror with Arab terror. In the last month they [Arabs] carried out hundreds of attacks against us, and we saw just a few Jewish terrorist attacks.”

Comment: In fact, Israeli terror is comparably worse in practically every way.

A year later, 13 people from what became known as the “murder wedding” were indicted for incitement to terrorism.

Meanwhile, last month, in what was probably much less noticed, the Dawabsheh family home was torched once again:

“A group of settlers attacked my home at dawn today, breaking a window and throwing a Molotov cocktail inside before fleeing the scene,” Yasser Dawabsheh said. “We were lucky that I was able to hear them when they attacked, so I was able to evacuate all my family,” he said. “Fire crews reacted quickly and put out the fire before the whole house burnt down…”

So yesterday was a hearing in the court case concerning the original arson/murders. And the defense opened a can of worms concerning torture.

The defendants made an issue of their interrogations by Shin Bet officers, saying that they were tortured. In fact, the settlers had held a press conference to this effect at the very same hall in which the “murder wedding” was held.

The court announced at yesterday’s preliminary hearing that confessions obtained under torture by the Shin Bet interrogators would not be admissible, but that later confessions would be admissible. Haaretz note:

“If the confessions had been declared admissible, they probably would have ended in a conviction of the two suspects, legal experts had said. The rejection is a blow to the State Prosecutor’s Office as it will now be more difficult to obtain a conviction.”

Of course, Israel and the court refer to torture with euphemisms such as “moderate physical pressure” and “special methods”. But it’s torture – and the Haaretz coverage is clear about that, and even charts out some of the torture methods. The thing is, that torture (under whatever euphemism) is legal in Israel under certain circumstances, known as the “ticking bomb” scenario – where there is knowledge of other network members at large, who are bound to perpetrate an attack. Haaretz:

“Law enforcement agencies said the interrogation was justified because the two suspects had knowledge about a group that sought to perpetrate similar attacks. In the event, there were two failed attempts to commit similar attacks.”

So is the court now saying that torture is not permissible under any circumstance?

In 2007, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that torture was permissible under those ‘special circumstances.’ The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) slammed it, saying the ruling was interpreted by the Shin Bet as a green light to torture almost every Palestinian detainee. “Today in Israel, there is no effective barrier – not legal and certainly not ethical – that stands in the way of using torture. A secret service organization such as the GSS (Shin Bet) decides independently to use torture and, afterwards, investigates itself as to whether the use of interrogation was justified,” the committee said.

Israel has effectively been permitting torture in various modes. In 1987 the Landau commission overtly legalized torture. This prompted the outspoken scientist Yeshayahu Leibowitz to call Supreme Court judge Moshe Landau a “Judeo-Nazi“. Israel has wandered back and forth with the legality and its more or less overt modes, but the practices have continued.

Comment: Only democracy in the Middle East? More like the Jewish Saudi Arabia.

Yet now the Lod court is effectively saying that confessions from such practices are simply inadmissible under any circumstances. Would this also apply to Palestinians? This is doubtfully the case. The court is only a District Court, and it is only relating to this particular case, which happens to involve Jewish – not Palestinian – terrorists.

Judge Ruth Lorach was particularly effusive in her appraisal of the “special methods.” She said, “These methods have hurt the basic rights of the defendants in a severe manner – rights concerning preservation of the wholeness of the body and soul, and they have hurt their dignity.”

(This quote is notably only to be found in the Hebrew version of the Haaretz coverage).

So how much “dignity” are Palestinians really going to get from all this?

The virulently hateful scenes outside the court yesterday did not bode well.

Ahmed Tibi told Ynet that he asked police officers to do something about those chanting and taunting, but that they responded with indifference.

“What would have happened had the situation been reversed?”, he asked. “If 20 Arab youths were shouting about a Jewish fatality ‘he’s on the grill, he’s burning’? How many of them would have gone home with broken legs? How many would have been arrested?” Tibi wondered. “Part of the reason it was horrifying was the police’s indifference, like nothing had happened,” he explained. “They (the police) could have at least removed them from the court. (No need) to break legs. Legs are only broken to Arabs in Haifa, not to Jews. But they could have at least removed them,” he added.

Comment: The evil of banality.

Tibi notes that there were expressions of disgust from across the political spectrum, but silence at its top:

“But lo and behold-not a single minister (said anything), not Miri Regev [minister of culture], not Yisrael Katz [minister of intelligence], not Ayelet Shaked [justice minister], not Naftali Bennett [education minister] and in particular not the prime minister, who knows how to retweet awful things. He remained quiet instead of condemning this sickening phenomenon”.

Comment: Because they’re just as sick in the head.


H/t Edith Breslauer

About Jonathan Ofir: Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

Comment: There’s a lot said about radical Muslims and their incompatibility with Western culture. Well, the same goes for these Jewish fanatics. Identity politics will do that.

State Dept says US wants rapprochement with Russia – Trump-Putin meeting in the works – By Paul Antonopoulos Fort Russ News (SOTT)

Trump i Putin

© SPUTNIK/AFP/File Mikhail KLIMENTYEV

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday that the US wants rapprochement with Russia.

“Overall, I can say that the United States government would certainly prefer to have a stronger relationship with the Russian government,” Nauert told reporters.

What’s more, on Friday, Trump said it is possible that he might meet with Russian President Putin this summer. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has confirmed this possibility.

On Monday, Russian congressman Konstantin Kosachev revealed to reporters that US Senators have requested a meeting with the Council of the Federation, Russia’s equivalent of the US Senate, and that such could be held in early July.

Since 2014, relations between Russia and the United States have deteriorated over the crisis in Ukraine. Washington imposed anti-Russian sanctions in response to Crimea’s reunification with Russia and alleged Russian involvement in the war in Donbass.

Russia has denied all these charges and has launched its own economic sanctions in retaliation.

Just recently, a new wave of sanctions followed Western allegations that Russia has been engaged in malicious cyber activity, which Moscow has called unfounded.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has remarked that the West could not possibly find a weaker argument, and that such unfounded allegations have been completely refuted.

Indeed, it is clear that Washington’s main gripe with Moscow is that Russia has successfully fended off aggressive NATO power projections against the Eurasian giant, particularly in South Ossetia, Ukraine and Syria. This is part of the larger context of Russia and China emerging as superpowers and championing a multipolar world which threatens to put an end to Washington’s unipolar dominance since the destruction of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The US consistently refused to accept the reality of growing multipolarity until Donald Trump rose to power in Washington. As Fort Russ News has argued, Donald Trump represents an attempt at reforming the US’ geopolitics in the wake of its unipolar empire’s decline.

One aspect of Trump’s ambitious reform project has been rapprochement with Moscow in order to re-adjust the focus of US imperialism towards Iran, China, and Latin America. It is in this context that Washington’s latest diplomatic pronouncements on Russia should be seen. The same goes for Trump’s major claim on June 8th that the G7 should accept Crimea as Russian.

Trump’s overtures towards Russia have been persistently opposed and even sabotaged by the deep state of Washington’s establishment and Trump’s political opponents who have fanned a massive media campaign to allege that Trump is in office thanks to Russian interference in the American elections.

Whether Trump’s diplomats’ expressed desires to improve relations with Moscow will be translated into reality remains an open question. A Trump-Putin meeting this summer would be a serious step in this direction. We might just be seeing the rhetorical warm-up for such now.

Comment: Trump campaigned on better relations with Russia. If his track record is anything to go buy, we may just see it happen.

Time to become enraged at what Western imperialists have done to Syria – -ByCaitlin Johnstone caitlinjohnstone.com (Sott)

GWBush

© Time Magazine
Former President George W. Bush

Rumors are again swirling of an impending false flag chemical weapons attack in Syria, just as they did shortly before the highly suspicious Douma case in April.

Warnings from Syrian and Russian intelligence, as well as US war ship movements and an uptick in US funding for the Al Qaeda propaganda firm known as the White Helmets, give these warnings a fair bit of weight.

Since the US war machine has both a known regime change agenda in Syria and an extensive history of using lies, propaganda and false flags to justify military interventionism, there’s no legitimate reason to give it the benefit of the doubt on this one. These warnings are worth taking seriously.

So some people are understandably nervous. The way things are set up now, it is technically possible for the jihadist factions inside Syria and their allied imperialist intelligence and defense agencies to keep targeting civilians with chemical weapons and blaming the Assad government for them until they pull one off that is so outrageous that it enables the mass media to manufacture public support for a full-scale assault on Damascus. This would benefit both the US-centralized empire which has been plotting regime change in Syria for decades and the violent Islamist extremists who seek control of the region. It also creates the very real probability of a direct military confrontation with Syria’s allies, including Russia.

But the appropriate response to the threat of a world war erupting in Syria is not really fear, if you think about it. The most appropriate response to this would be unmitigated, howling rage at the western sociopaths who created this situation in the first place.

The United States and its allies started the war in Syria. The narrative that it was an organic uprising brutally attacked by the Assad government is a lie. There is no reasonable doubt about this. The former Prime Minister of Qatar said on television that the US and its allies were involved in the Syrian conflict from the very beginning. A WikiLeaks cable and a declassified CIA memo both show the US government plotting to provoke an uprising in Syria exactly as it occurred, years before it happened. Former Foreign Minister of France Roland Dumas stated that he was informed that the UK was engineering an uprising in Syria two years before the violence erupted in 2011, and General Wesley Clark stated that there were Pentagon plans to take out the Syrian government in 2001. Shortly after the violence started President Obama secretly authorized the arming and training of violent extremist factions for the overthrow of Assad in a CIA program code named Timber Sycamore, which along with Saudi finances has wound up aiding some of the most evil terror groups ever to exist.

Six hundred thousand Syrians have lost their lives as a result of this regime change intervention, many of those lives ending in the most horrific ways imaginable at the hands of depraved jihadists. It was planned, and the people who planned it have names and addresses. They deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law for what they did. We should all be loudly demanding war crimes tribunals and life imprisonment for these vicious criminals.

We need a major adjustment of our emotional posture on this issue. We shouldn’t be sitting around nervously hoping Trump pulls US troops out and western-backed terror groups don’t stage another chemical attack, we should be screaming at these bastards to get their murderous tentacles out of that poor war-torn country immediately. We shouldn’t be meekly trying to justify our skepticism of the establishment Syria narrative while snide Guardian op-eds inform us that we are not permitted to think such things. We know that we are right. We know what these evil monsters did. We should be shouting the imperialists down, not the other way around.

The same depraved sociopaths who raped Iraq are presently raping Iraq’s next-door neighbor Syria for the exact same reasons. They were wrong then. They are wrong now. We should be much more angry and aggressive in pushing back on their pernicious pro-interventionism narratives. There is no excuse for any faction of the western empire to be anywhere inside of that nation’s borders. Out. Now.

Much like medicine, anger can do more harm than good when used improperly. Channeled in a wholesome, conscious direction, however, it can be an indispensable tool for driving out the toxic influence of manipulators and exploiters.

The social engineers who manufacture the narratives which are dispensed to the mass media and repeated as fact to unsuspecting audiences rely heavily on the tactic of generating sympathy. Sympathy opens people up and allows narratives to be imbued with the power of belief in a way that bypasses skepticism and critical thinking. This is why the users and abusers you have known in your personal life are always telling stories about how much wrong has been done to them, or even going out of their way to make themselves look helpless and pathetic; if they can suck you in with sympathy, they can get you to buy into the other stories they need you to believe about who they are, who you are, what your relationship to them is, and how much money/resources/affection/sex/forgiveness you should give them.

The propagandists understand this dynamic all too well. They used people’s emotional reaction to 9/11 to manufacture support for not one but two full-scale ground invasions. They circulate pictures of dead children whenever their deaths can be blamed on a longtime target of western imperialism, but never when their deaths are caused by western imperialism. Today the narratives most prolifically circulated by proponents of regime change interventionism in Syria are almost entirely emotional in nature, consisting of nothing more than constant repetition of nonsensical talking points about civilians being brutalized by a sadistic dictator in various ways for no apparent reason. This is all to generate sympathy in order to bypass people’s skepticism of pro-interventionist narratives.

Anger is sympathy poison. It kills the sympathy you are feeling toward the narratives being promoted by those you are angry with, thus allowing you to see things clearly and eject them like the parasites they are. This is a very useful tool for dealing with the manipulators and exploiters in your personal life, and it is equally useful for the manipulators and exploiters who control western society with money, media manipulation, intelligence agency operations and brute military force. Creating momentum for widespread rage at those who unleashed the horrors inflicted upon the Syrian people immunizes the public from toxic war propaganda narratives by that much.

Six hundred thousand human lives. The chaotic violence which ended them was planned, orchestrated and overseen by the same multinational power establishment whose media propaganda machine has been singing us a seven-year lullaby keeping us from questioning the ongoing military presence and interventionism in that nation and steering us away from seeking justice for those responsible for all that death. If anyone is deserving of our loud, lullaby-shattering howling rage, it is these people.

And of course we will be fought tooth and claw on this by the US-centralized power establishment; no one is going to give us permission to do this. They will do everything they can to maintain control of the narrative and the veil of government opacity which shrouds those responsible for their Syria atrocities. But we will be attacking, which means that they will be forced to defend against those attacks. Rather than playing defensive and trying to justify our right to be skeptical while praying that there isn’t a devastating false flag attack in the illegally-occupied nation of Syria, we should be putting them on the back foot with rage and loud demands for justice. Righteous anger can severely hobble the propaganda machine they intend to use for further interventionism in that nation.

You cannot argue with the rage of someone who is certain that an unforgivable evil has been perpetrated. You simply cannot manipulate and narrative-spin your way around that; it plants an unbreakable, immovable object in the gears of the propaganda machine. By getting unapologetically furious, loud and aggressive and letting the wisdom of our anger guide our response to the situation in Syria, we can shift the zeitgeist of anti-imperialist sentiment from a meek “Oh gosh darn I sure hope the people who decimated Iraq do the right thing in Syria” to a thunderous “F**K YOU. OUT. NOW.”

Which is where it should be.

A world in which war crimes tribunals are actually carried out for the imperialists responsible for the evils inflicted upon the Syrian people will look very different from the world that we are in now. But shoving angrily and aggressively against the establishment structures which made it possible and screaming for justice and vengeance is the first step toward creating that world.

Let’s not play defense and reaction anymore. Let’s stop waiting for something to go wrong and start forcing things to be right. It’s time to go on the offensive with this thing. Get angry and let it roar through you.

Caitlin Johnstone: Internet censorship is getting pretty bad, so best way to keep seeing the stuff I publish is to get on the mailing list for my website, so you’ll get an email notification for everything I publish. My articles and podcasts are entirely reader and listener-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, or buying my book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

MORE U.S. TREACHERY; SAA LIBERATES 2000 SQ.KMS IN DAYR EL-ZOR; TERRORISTS USE ZIONIST TACTICS TO BURN TREES IN QUNAYTRA; SAA REINFORCEMENTS DEVASTATE RATS IN SUWAYDAA’ – By Ziad Fadel

DAYR EL-ZOR: A large number of towns and villages were liberated the day before yesterday by the Syrian Army from ISIS residual elements.  It was the result of a swift and sudden attack aimed at areas southwest of Al-Mayaadeen in which a confirmed 61 rodents were either killed or wounded.  The numbers are based on an actual on-site assessment since the terrorists had no ability to remove their casualties.  Many of the wounded were taken prisoner and interrogated. All will be tried before a military court.

An area of 2000 square kilometers was completely deloused on the road between Al-Ward Field, Al-Mu’ayzila, Tammaah, and Faydhat Ibn Muwaynis along a 40 km axis.  As I write, the SAA is still dismantling a network of IEDs, mines and other booby-traps laid by the escaping terrorists.  It was interesting to note, that the remaining rodents sped away to the American-protected Al-Tanf area.

Al-Hirri:  For the umpteenth time, the United States was spotted attacking pro-government militias fighting ISIS and moving ever-closer to the Al-Tanf area.  This time, it occurred at Al-Hirri, a few kilometers southeast of Al-Bu-Kamaal close to the crossing at Al-Qaa’im.  The groups hit were Hizbollah of Iraq and Sayyid Al-Shuhadaa` Brigades.  The actual number of dead militiamen is not known, but, according to Monzer in Damascus, it exceeds 20.  The Iraqi government, a so-called ally of the U.S. in the fight against ISIS, first broke the news as American warplanes fired missiles at the military force right in front of Iraqi Army soldiers stationed on the eastern side of Al-Qaa`im.

As many of you have read, the U.S. has now made it clear that it is American policy to stay in the area so that Iran cannot build a passageway to Lebanon.  This was announced by an American State Department apparatchik before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  The U.S. does not care any longer about international law.

____________________________________________

QUNAYTRA: 

احباط محاولة تسلل ارهابيين من أطراف أم باطنة بريف القنيطرة باتجاه بلدة جبا وتل كروم جبا

Zionist and American-supported cockroaches of the Nusra criminal enterprise went on a rampage near the forests of Jubaathaa Al-Khashab by starting fires aimed at destroying orchards on tens of acres of cherries, figs and apples at Hadhar Village.  Many of the trees were 20 years old.  Strong winds and terrorists made it impossible to put out the fires. This is precisely the same policy practiced by the stinking Zionist cockroaches of Occupied Palestine who are known to attack and destroy olive trees which have been on Arab soil for more than one hundred years.

Umm Baatina:  In Central Qunaytra Province, the Syrian Army foiled an attempted infiltration by Nusra grubs in the direction of Jibba and Tal Kuroom.  The Syrian Army confirmed killing or wounding 12 rodents.  Many were seen heading to Zionist medical facilities for treatment.

________________________________________________

DER’AH:  Syria’s new Minister of Defense, former Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen.  ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Ayyoob, met with officers of the SAA just north of Der’ah and reviewed troop preparations before the anticipated frontal assault on Der’ah City which is expected to be relatively easy.  The population of Der’ah is no longer hostile to the government having learned how futile their so-called “revolution” was and how virulent the terrorist organizations had become.

_______________________________________________

SUWAYDAA’:  It should be obvious now to the American invaders at Al-Tanf that the Syrian Army is planning to uproot them much sooner than later.  At Al-Kiraa’, Al-Hassaa and Al-Safaa in the southern province of Suwaydaa’, the SAA has sent in huge reinforcements fighting ISIS elements in the area.  Once the area has been cleared, it is expected that the force will move eastward to Al-Tanf.  The reinforcements are, significantly, from units of the Syrian Army’s special forces and Division 62.  Hundreds of troops from the Popular Defense Committees are also a part of the force.

The force will start out at Tal Asfar and Al-‘Awra where the SAA has restructured its bases after 3 days of annihilating ISIS.  ISIS only controls a few pockets in the Suwaydaa’ Desert regions inside extremely rugged terrain, hence, the arrival of special operations units.  The SAA will be operating on three axes:

The first is Tal Asfar to Khirbat Al-Umbaashi to Suh Al-Majeedi (after the SAA liberated the Al-Ashrafiyya School and Al-Ruhba);

The second is at Al-Qassr to Al-Saaqiya to Khirbat Al-Umbaashi and then eastward about 7 kms.

The third is Al-Zuluf to Tulool Al-Safaa, about 10 kms to the north.

_____________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

John Esq. sent us this nice article about a ferocious new Russian weapon:

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russias-new-terminator-tank-might-be-able-kill-one-americas-26254

How the Last Superpower Was Unchained – By Tom ENGELHARDT – (Strategic Culture Foundation)

How the Last Superpower Was Unchained
EDITOR’S CHOICE | 18.06.2018

Tom ENGELHARDT

Think of it as the all-American version of the human comedy: a great power that eternally knows what the world needs and offers copious advice with a tone deafness that would be humorous, if it weren’t so grim.

If you look, you can find examples of this just about anywhere. Here, for instance, is a passage in The New York Times from a piece on the topsy-turvy Trumpian negotiations that preceded the Singapore summit. “The Americans and South Koreans,” wrote reporter Motoko Rich, “want to persuade the North that continuing to funnel most of the country’s resources into its military and nuclear programs shortchanges its citizens’ economic well-being. But the North does not see the two as mutually exclusive.”

Think about that for a moment. The US has, of course, embarked on a trillion-dollar-plus upgrade of its already massive nuclear arsenal (and that’s before the cost overruns even begin). Its Congress and president have for years proved eager to sink at least a trillion dollars annually into the budget of the national security state (a figure that’s still rising and outpaces by far that of any other power on the planet), while its own infrastructure sags and crumbles. And yet it finds the impoverished North Koreans puzzling when they, too, follow such an extreme path.

And when it comes to cluelessness, there’s another, far stranger path the United States has been following since at least the George W Bush moment that couldn’t be more consequential and yet somehow remains the least noticed of all. On this subject, Americans don’t have a clue. In fact, if you could put the United States on a psychiatrist’s couch, this might be the place to start.

America contained

In a way, it’s the oldest story on Earth: the rise and fall of empires. And note the plural there. It was never – not until recently at least – “empire,” always “empires.” Since the 15th century, when the fleets of the first European imperial powers broke into the larger world with subjugation in mind, it was invariably a contest of many. There were at least three or sometimes significantly more imperial powers rising and contesting for dominance or slowly falling from it.

This was, by definition, the history of great powers on this planet: the challenging rise, the challenged decline. Think of it for so many centuries as the essential narrative of history, the story of how it all happened until at least 1945, when just two “superpowers,” the United States and the Soviet Union, found themselves facing off on a global scale.

Of the two, the US was always stronger, more powerful, and far wealthier. It theoretically feared the Russian Bear, the Evil Empire, which it worked assiduously to “contain” behind that famed Iron Curtain and whose adherents in the US, always modest in number, were subjected to a mania of fear and suppression.

However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits.

This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn’t) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn’t have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, “contained.”

In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called “the shadows”).

The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels.

That was the situation until December 1991 when, at the end of a centuries-long imperial race for power (and the never-ending arms race that went with it), there was just one gigantic power left standing on Planet Earth. It told you something about the thinking then that, when the Soviet Union imploded, the initial reaction in Washington wasn’t triumphalism (though that came soon enough) but utter shock, a disbelieving sense that something no one had expected, predicted, or even imagined had nonetheless happened. To that very moment, Washington had continued to plan for a two-superpower world until the end of time.

America uncontained

Soon enough, though, the Washington elite came to see what happened as, in the phrase of the moment, “the end of history.” Given the wreckage of the Soviet Union, it seemed that an ultimate victory had been won by the very country its politicians would soon come to call “the last superpower,” the “indispensable” nation, the “exceptional” state, a land great beyond imagining (until, at least, Donald Trump hit the campaign trail with a slogan that implied greatness wasn’t all-American any more).

In reality, there were a variety of paths open to the “last superpower” at that moment. There was even, however briefly, talk of a “peace dividend” – of the possibility that, in a world without contesting superpowers, taxpayer dollars might once again be invested not in the sinews of war-making but of peacemaking (particularly in infrastructure and the well-being of the country’s citizens).

Such talk, however, lasted only a year or two and always in a minor key before being relegated to Washington’s attic. Instead, with only a few rickety “rogue” states left to deal with – like… gulp … North Korea, Iraq and Iran – that money never actually headed home, and neither did the thinking that went with it.

Consider it the good fortune of the geopolitical dreamers soon to take the reins in Washington that the first Gulf War of 1990-1991, which ended less than a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, prepared the way for quite a different style of thinking. That instant victory led to a new kind of militarized dreaming in which a highly tech-savvy military, like the one that had driven Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in such short order, would be capable of doing anything on a planet without serious opposition.

And yet, from the beginning, there were signs suggesting a far grimmer future. To take but one infamous example, Americans still remember the Black Hawk Down moment of 1993 when the world’s greatest military fell victim to a Somali warlord and local militias and found itself incapable of imposing its will on one of the least impressive not-quite-states on the planet (a place still frustrating that military a quarter-century later).

In that post-1991 world, however, few in Washington even considered that the 20th century had loosed another phenomenon on the world, that of insurgent national liberation movements, generally leftist rebellions, across what had been the colonial world – the very world of competing empires now being tucked into the history books – and it hadn’t gone away. In the 21st century, such insurgent movements, now largely religious, or terror-based, or both, would turn out to offer a grim new version of containment to the last superpower.

Unchaining the indispensable nation

On September 11, 2001, a canny global jihadist by the name of Osama bin Laden sent his air force (four hijacked US passenger jets) and his precision weaponry (19 suicidal, mainly Saudi followers) against three iconic targets in the American pantheon: the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and undoubtedly the Capitol or the White House (neither of which was hit because one of those jets crashed in a field in Pennsylvania). In doing so, in a sense bin Laden not only loosed a literal hell on Earth, but unchained the last superpower.

William Shakespeare would have had a word for what followed: hubris. But give the top officials of the Bush administration (and the neocons who supported them) a break. There had never been a moment like it: a moment of one. A single great power left alone, triumphant, on planet Earth. Just one superpower – wealthy beyond compare, its increasingly high-tech military unmatched, its only true rival in a state of collapse – had now been challenged by a small jihadist group.

To president Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, and the rest of their crew, it seemed like nothing short of a heaven-sent opportunity. As they came out of the shock of 9/11, of that “Pearl Harbor of the 21st century,” it was as if they had found a magic formula in the ruins of those iconic buildings for the ultimate control of the planet. As secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld would instruct an aide at the Pentagon that day, “Go massive. Sweep it up. Things related and not.”

Within days, things related and not were indeed being swept up. The country was almost instantly said to be “at war,” and soon that conflict even had a name, the Global War on Terror. Nor was that war to be against just al-Qaeda, or even one country, an Afghanistan largely ruled by the Taliban. More than 60 countries said to have “terror networks” of various sorts found themselves almost instantly in the administration’s potential gunsights. And that was just to be the beginning of it all.

In October 2001, the invasion of Afghanistan was launched. In the spring of 2003, the invasion of Iraq followed, and those were only the initial steps in what was increasingly envisioned as the imposition of a Pax Americana on the Greater Middle East.

There could be no doubt, for instance, that Iran and Syria, too, would soon go the way of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush’s top officials had been nursing just such dreams since, in 1997, many of them formed a think-tank (the first ever to enter the White House) called the Project for the New American Century and began to write out what were then the fantasies of figures nowhere near power. By 2003, they were power itself and their dreams, if anything, had grown even more grandiose.

In addition to imagining a political Pax Republicana in the United States, they truly dreamed of a future planetary Pax Americana in which, for the first time in history, a single power would, in some fashion, control the whole works, the Earth itself.

And this wasn’t to be a passing matter either. The Bush administration’s “unilateralism” rested on a conviction that it could actually create a future in which no country or even bloc of countries would ever come close to matching or challenging US military power. The administration’s National Security Strategy of 2002 put the matter bluntly: The US was to “build and maintain” a military, in the phrase of the moment, “beyond challenge.”

They had little doubt that, in the face of the most technologically advanced, bulked-up, destructive force on Earth, hostile states would be “shocked and awed” by a simple demonstration of its power, while friendly ones would have little choice but to come to heel as well. After all, as Bush said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in 2007, the US military was “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known.”

Though there was much talk at the time about the “liberation” of Afghanistan and then Iraq, at least in their imaginations the true country being liberated was the planet’s lone superpower. Although the Bush administration was officially considered a “conservative” one, its key officials were geopolitical dreamers of the first order and their vision of the world was the very opposite of conservative. It harkened back to nothing and looked forward to everything.

It was radical in ways that should have, but didn’t, take the American public’s breath away; radical in ways that had never been seen before.

Shock and awe for the last superpower

Think of what those officials did in the post-9/11 moment as the ultimate act of greed. They tried to swallow a whole planet. They were determined to make it a planet of one in a way that had never before been seriously imagined.

It was, to say the least, a vision of madness. Even in a moment when it truly did seem – to them at least – that all constraints had been taken off, an administration of genuine conservatives might have hesitated. Its top officials might, at least, have approached the post-Soviet situation with a modicum of caution and modesty.

But not George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and pals. In the face of what seemed like the ultimate in possibilities they proved clueless when it came to the possibility that anything on Earth might have a shot at containing them.

Even among their critics, who could have imagined then that, more than 16 years later, having faced only lightly armed enemies of various sorts, still wealthy beyond compare, still with a military funded in a way the next seven countries couldn’t cumulatively match, the United States would have won literally nothing?

Who could have imagined that, unlike so many preceding imperial powers (including the US of the earlier Cold War era), it would have been able to establish control over nothing at all; that, instead, from Afghanistan to Syria, Iraq deep into Africa, it would find itself in a state of “infinite war” and utter frustration on a planet filled with ever more failed statesdestroyed citiesdisplaced people, and right-wing “populist” governments, including the one in Washington?

Who could have imagined that, with a peace dividend no longer faintly conceivable, this country would have found itself not just in decline, but – a new term is needed to catch the essence of this curious moment – in what might be called self-decline?

Yes, a new power, China, is finally rising – and doing so on a planet that seems itself to be going down. Here, then, is a conclusion that might be drawn from the quarter-century-plus in which America was both unchained and largely alone.

The Earth is admittedly a small orb in a vast universe, but the history of this century so far suggests one reality about which America’s rulers proved utterly clueless: After so many hundreds of years of imperial struggle, this planet still remains too big, too disparate, too ornery to be controlled by a single power. What the Bush administration did was simply take one gulp too many and the result has been a kind of national (and planetary) indigestion.

Despite what it looked like in Washington once upon a time, the disappearance of the Soviet Union proved to be no gift at all, but a disaster of the first order. It removed all sense of limits from America’s political class and led to a tale of greed on a planetary scale. In the process, it also set the US on a path to self-decline.

The history of greed in our time has yet to be written, but what a story it will someday make. In it, the greed of those geopolitical dreamers will intersect with the greed of an ever wealthier, ever more gilded 1%, of the billionaires who were preparing to swallow whole the political system of that last superpower and grab so much of the wealth of the planet, leaving so little for others.

Whether you’re talking about the urge to control the planet militarily or financially, what took place in these years could, in the end, result in ruin of a historic kind. To use a favored phrase from the Bush years, one of these days we Americans may be facing little short of “regime change” on a planetary scale. And what a piece of shock and awe that’s likely to prove to be.

All of us, of course, now live on the planet Bush’s boys tried to swallow whole. They left us in a world of infinite war, infinite harm, and in Donald Trump’s America where cluelessness has been raised to a new power.

atimes.com

%d bloggers like this: