The reasons why confronting Israel is important – By Philip Giraldi The Unz Review – (SOTT)

NetanyahuCongress

© Unknown
Netanyahu and US Congress

The Jewish state is no friend.

I am often asked why I have this “thing” about Israel, with friends suggesting that I would be much more respected as a pundit if I were to instead concentrate on national security and political corruption. The problem with that formulation is that the so-called “special relationship” with Israel is itself the result of terrible national security and foreign policy choices that is sustained by pervasive political and media corruption, so any honest attempt to examine the one inevitably leads to the other. Most talking heads in the media avoid that dilemma by choosing to completely ignore the dark side of Israel.

Israel – not Russia – is the one foreign country that can interfere with impunity with the political processes in the United States yet it is immune from criticism. It is also the single most significant threat to genuine national security as it and its powerful domestic lobby have been major advocates for the continuation of America’s interventionist warfare state. The decision to go to war on false pretenses against Iraq, largely promoted by a cabal of prominent American Jews in the Pentagon and in the media, killed 4,424 Americans as well as hundreds of thousands Iraqis and will wind up costing the American taxpayer $7 trillion dollars when all the bills are paid. That same group of mostly Jewish neocons more-or-less is now agitating to go to war with Iran using a game plan for escalation prepared by Israel which will, if anything, prove even more catastrophic.

And I can go on from there. According to the FBI, Israel runs the most aggressive spying operations against the U.S. among ostensibly “friendly” nations, frequently stealing our military technology for resale by its own arms merchants. Its notable successes in espionage have included the most devastating spy in U.S. history Jonathan Pollard, while it has also penetrated American communications systems and illegally obtained both the fuel and the triggers for its own secret nuclear weapons arsenal.

Israel cares little for American sovereignty. It’s prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu have both boasted how they control the United States. In 2001, Israel was running a massive secret spying operation directed against Arabs in the U.S. Many in the intelligence and law enforcement communities suspect that it had considerable prior intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot but did not share it with Washington. There was the spectacle of the “dancing Shlomos,” Israeli “movers” from a company in New Jersey who apparently had advanced knowledge of the terrorist attack and danced and celebrated as they watched the Twin Towers go down.

Comment: 9/11 is the Israeli leverage on America that keeps on giving. It shares secrets being kept from the US public about this horrific event.

Jewish power, both in terms of money and of access to people and mechanisms that really matter, is what allows Israel to act with impunity, making the United States both poorer and more insecure. A well-funded massive lobbying effort involving hundreds of groups and thousands of individuals in the U.S. has worked to the detriment of actual American interests, in part by creating a permanent annual gift of billions of dollars to Israel for no other reason but that it is Israel and can get anything it wants from a servile Congress and White House without any objection from a controlled media.

Israel has also obtained carte blanche political protection from the U.S. in fora like the United Nations, which is damaging to America’s reputation and its actual interests. This protection now extends to the basing of U.S. troops in Israel to serve as a tripwire, guaranteeing that Washington will become involved if Israel is ever attacked or even if Israel itself starts a war. The current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is little more than a shill for Israel while America’s Ambassador in Israel David Friedman is an open supporter of Israel’s illegal settlements, which the U.S. opposes, who spends much of his time defending Israeli war crimes.

And here on the home front Israel is doing damage that might be viewed as even more grave in Senator Ben Cardin’s attempt to destroy First Amendment rights by making any criticism of Israel illegal. The non-violent Israel Boycott movement (BDS) has already been sanctioned in many states, the result of intensive and successful lobbying by the Israeli government and its powerful friends.

So if there is a real enemy of the United States in terms of the actual damage being inflicted by a foreign power, it is Israel. In the recent Russiagate investigations it was revealed that it was Israel, not Russia, that sought favors from Michael Flynn and the incoming Trump Administration yet Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidently not chosen to go down that road with his investigations, which should surprise no one.

Noam Chomsky, iconic progressive intellectual, has finally come around on the issue of Israel and what it means. He has always argued somewhat incoherently that Israeli misbehavior has been due to its role as a tool of American imperialism and capitalism. At age 89, he has finally figured out that it is actually all about what a parasitic Israel wants without any regard for its American host, observing on Democracy Now that

…take, say, the huge issue of interference in our pristine elections. Did the Russians interfere in our elections? An issue of overwhelming concern in the media. I mean, in most of the world, that’s almost a joke. First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support. Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done… I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies – what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015….

Politicians are terrified of crossing the Jewish lobby by saying anything negative about Israel, which means that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu always gets a pass from the American government, even when he starves civilians and bombs hospitals and schools. Netanyahu uses snipers to shoot dead scores of unarmed demonstrators and the snipers themselves joke about their kills without a peep from Washington, which styles itself the “leader of the free world.”

Just recently, Israel has declared itself a Jewish State with all that implies. To be sure, Israeli Christians and Muslims were already subject to a battery of laws and regulations that empowered Jews at their expense but now it is the guiding principle that Israel will be run for the benefit of Jews and Jews alone. And it still likes to call itself a “democracy.”

A recent television program illustrates just how far the subjugation of America’s elected leaders by Israel has gone. British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is featured on a new show called Who is America? in which he uses disguises and aliases to engage politicians and other luminaries in unscripted interviews that reveal just how ignorant or mendacious they actually are. Several recent episodes remind one of a February 2013 Saturday Night Live skit on the impending confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. A Senator asks Hagel. “It is vital to Israel’s security for you to go on national television and perform oral sex on a donkey… Would you do THAT for Israel?” A “yes” answer was, of course, expected from Hagel. The skit was never aired after objections from the usual suspects.

Baron Cohen, who confronted several GOP notables in the guise of Colonel Erran Morad, an Israeli security specialist, provided a number of clues that his interview was a sham but none of the victims were smart enough to pick up on them. Cohen, wearing an Israeli military uniform and calling himself a colonel, clearly displayed sergeant’s stripes. Hinting that he might actually be a Mossad agent, Cohen also sported a T-shirt on which the Hebrew text was printed backwards and he claimed that the Israeli spy agency’s motto was “if you want to win, show some skin.”

Cohen set up Dick Cheney by complimenting him on being the “the king of terrorist killers” before commenting that “my neighbor in Tel Aviv is in jail for murder, or, as we call it, enhanced tickling.” Morad went on to tell Cheney that he once waterboarded his wife to check for infidelity and then convinced the former Vice President to sign a “waterboarding kit” that “already had” the signatures of Benjamin Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon and Demi Lovato.

Another more spectacular sketch included a Georgia state senator Jason Spencer who was convinced to shout out the n-word as part of an alleged video being made to fight terrorism. After Cohen told Spencer that it was necessary to incite fear in homophobic jihadists, Spencer dropped his pants and underwear, before backing up with his exposed rear end while shouting “USA!” and “America!” Spencer also spoke with a phony Asian accent while simulating using a selfie-stick to secretly insert a camera phone inside a Muslim woman’s burqa.

In another series of encounters, Cohen as Morad managed to convince current and ex-Republican members of Congress – to include former Senate majority leader Trent Lott – to endorse a fictional Israeli program to arm grade school children for self-defense.

Cohen’s footage included a former Illinois congressman and talk radio host named Joe Walsh saying:

“The intensive three-week ‘Kinderguardian’ course introduces specially selected children from 12 to 4 years old to pistols, rifles, semiautomatics and a rudimentary knowledge of mortars. In less than a month – less than a month – a first-grader can become a first grenade-er.”

Both controversial Alabama judge Roy Moore and Walsh were fooled into meeting Cohen to attend a non-existent pro-Israel conference to accept an award for “significant contributions to the state of Israel.” Representative Dana Rohrabacher, meanwhile, also was interviewed and he commented that,

“Maybe having young people trained and understand how to defend themselves and their school might actually make us safer here.”

And Congressman Joe Wilson observed that

“A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a ‘Hello Kitty’ pencil case at it.”

Cohen’s performance is instructive. A man shows up in Israeli uniform, claims to be a terrorism expert or even a Mossad agent, and he gains access to powerful Americans who are willing to do anything he says. How Cohen did it says a lot about the reflexive and completely uncritical support for Israel that many American politicians – particularly Republicans – now embrace.

This, in a nutshell, is the damage that Israel and its Lobby have done to the United States. Israel is always right for many policymakers and even palpably phony Jews like Colonel Morad are instantly perceived as smarter than the rest of us so we’d better do what they say. That kind of thinking has brought us Iraq, Libya, Syria and the possibility of something far worse with Iran.

Israel routinely interferes in American politics and corrupts our institutions without any cost to itself and that is why I write and speak frequently regarding the danger to our Republic that it poses. It is past time to change the essentially phony narrative. Israel is nothing but trouble. It has the right to defend itself and protect its interests but that should not involve the United States. One can only hope that eventually a majority of my fellow American citizens will also figure things out. It might take a while, but the ruthless way Israel openly operates with no concern for anyone but itself provides a measure of optimism that that day is surely coming.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org.

Comment: With Congress, the president and intel agencies in its pocket, who is going to confront Israel?

See Also:

Edward Curtin: The satanic nature of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – by Edward Curtain (Off Guardian) (SOTT)

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

© Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

Ahab is forever Ahab, man. This whole act’s immutably decreed. ‘Twas rehearsed by thee and me billion years before this ocean rolled. Fool! I am the Fates’ lieutenant; I act under orders.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick

The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint…But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.”C. S. Lewis, author’s preface, 1962, The Screwtape Letters

American history can only accurately be described as the story of demonic possession, however you choose to understand that phrase. Maybe radical “evil” will suffice. But right from the start the American colonizers were involved in massive killing because they considered themselves divinely blessed and guided, a chosen people whose mission would come to be called “manifest destiny.” Nothing stood in the way of this divine calling, which involved the need to enslave and kill millions and millions of innocent people that continues down to today.

“Others” have always been expendable since they have stood in the way of the imperial march ordained by the American god. This includes all the wars waged based on lies and false flag operations. It is not a secret, although most Americans, if they are aware of it, prefer to see it as a series of aberrations carried out by “bad apples.” Or something from the past.

Our best writers and prophets have told us the truth: Thoreau, Twain, William James, MLK, Fr. Daniel Berrigan, et al.: we are a nation of killers of the innocent. We are conscienceless. We are brutal. We are in the grip of evil forces.

The English writer D. H. Lawrence said it perfectly in 1923, “The American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer. It has never yet melted.” It still hasn’t.

When on August 6 and 9, 1945 the United States killed 200-300 thousand innocent Japanese civilians with atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they did so intentionally. It was an act of sinister state terrorism, unprecedented by the nature of the weapons but not by the slaughter. The American terror bombings of Japanese cities that preceded the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – led by the infamous Major General Curtis LeMay – were also intentionally aimed at Japanese civilians and killed hundreds of thousands of them.

Is there an American artist’s painting of Tokyo destroyed by the firebombing to go next to Picasso’s Guernica, where estimates of the dead range between 800 and 1,600? In Tokyo alone more than 100,000 Japanese civilians were burnt to death by cluster bombs of napalm. All this killing was intentional. I repeat: Intentional. Is that not radical evil? Demonic? Only five Japanese cities were spared such bombing.

The atomic bombings were an intentional holocaust, not to end the war, as the historical record amply demonstrates, but to send a message to the Soviet Union that we could do to them what we did to the residents of Japan. President Truman made certain that the Japanese willingness to surrender in May 1945 was made unacceptable because he and his Secretary-of-State James Byrnes wanted to use the atomic bombs – “as quickly as possible to ‘show results'” in Byrnes’ words – to send a message to the Soviet Union. So “the Good War” was ended in the Pacific with the “good guys” killing hundreds of thousand Japanese civilians to make a point to the “bad guys,” who have been demonized ever since. Russia phobia is nothing new.

Satan always wears the other’s face.

Many Baby Boomers like to say they grew up with the bomb. They are lucky. They grew up. They got be scared. They got to hide under their desks and wax nostalgic about it. Do you remember dog tags? Those 1950s and 1960s? The scary movies?

The children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who died under our bombs on August 6 and 9, 1945 didn’t get to grow up. They couldn’t hide. They just went under. To be accurate: we put them under. Or they were left to smolder for decades in pain and then die. But that it was necessary to save American lives is the lie. It’s always about American lives, as if the owners of the country actually cared about them. But to tender hearts and innocent minds, it’s a magic incantation. Poor us!

Fat Man, Little Boy – how the words echo down the years to the now fat Americans who grew up in the 1950s and who think like little boys and girls about their country’s demonic nature. Innocence – it is wonderful! We are different now. “We are great because we are good,” that’s what Hillary Clinton told us. The Libyans can attest to that. We are exceptional, special. The next election will prove we can defeat Mr. Pumpkin Head and restore America to its “core values.”

Perhaps you think I am cynical. But understanding true evil is not child’s play. It seems beyond the grasp of most Americans who need their illusions. Evil is real. There is simply no way to understand the savage nature of American history without seeing its demonic nature. How else can we redeem ourselves at this late date, possessed as we are by delusions of our own God-blessed goodness?

But average Americans play at innocence. They excite themselves at the thought that with the next election the nation will be “restored” to the right course. Of course there never was a right course, unless might makes right, which has always been the way of America’s rulers. Today Trump is viewed by so many as an aberration. He is far from it. He’s straight out of a Twain short story. He’s Vaudeville. He’s Melville’s confidence man. He’s us.

Did it ever occur to those who are fixated on him that if those who own and run the country wanted him gone, he’d be gone in an instant? He can tweet and tweet idiotically, endlessly send out messages that he will contradict the next day, but as long as he protects the super-rich, accepts Israel’s control of him, and allows the CIA-military-industrial complex to do its world-wide killing and looting of the treasury, he will be allowed to entertain and excite the public – to get them worked up in a lather in pseudo-debates. And to make this more entertaining, he will be opposed by the “sane” Democratic opposition, whose intentions are as benign as an assassin’s smile.

Look back as far as you can to past U.S. presidents, the figureheads who “act under orders” (whose orders?), as did Ahab in his lust to kill the “evil” great white whale, and what do you see? You see servile killers in the grip of a sinister power. You see hyenas with polished faces. You see pasteboard masks. On the one occasion when one of these presidents dared to follow his conscience and rejected the devil’s pact that is the presidency’s killer-in-chief role, he – JFK – had his brains blown out in public view. An evil empire thrives on shedding blood, and it enforces its will through demonic messages. Resist and there will be blood on the streets, blood on the tracks, blood in your face.

Despite this, President Kennedy’s witness, his turn from cold warrior to an apostle of peace, remains to inspire a ray of hope in these dark days. As recounted by James Douglass in his masterful JFK and the Unspeakable, Kennedy agreed to a meeting in May 1962 with a group of Quakers who had been demonstrating outside the While House for total disarmament. They urged him to move in that direction.

Kennedy was sympathetic to their position. He said he wished it were easy to do so from the top down, but that he was being pressured by the Pentagon and others to never do that, although he had given a speech urging “a peace race” together with the Soviet Union. He told the Quakers it would have to come from below. According to the Quakers, JFK listened intently to their points, and before they left said with a smile, “You believe in redemption don’t you?” Soon Kennedy was shaken to his core by the Cuban missile crisis when the world teetered on the brink of extinction and his insane military and “intelligence” advisers urged him to wage a nuclear war. Not long after, he took a sharp top-down turn toward peace despite their fierce opposition, a turn so dramatic over the next year that it led to his martyrdom. And he knew it would. He knew it would.

So hope is not all lost. There are great souls like JFK to inspire us. Their examples flash here and there. But to even begin to hope to change the future, a confrontation with our demonic past (and present) is first necessary, a descent into the dark truth that is terrifying in its implications. False innocence must be abandoned. Carl Jung, in “On the Psychology of the Unconscious,” addressed this with the words:

It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses – and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself.

But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster; and each individual is only one tiny cell in the monster’s body, so that for better or worse he must accompany it on its bloody rampages and even assist it to the utmost. Having a dark suspicion of these grim possibilities, man turns a blind eye to the shadow-side of human nature. Blindly he strives against the salutary dogma of original sin, which is yet so prodigiously true.

Yes, he even hesitates to admit the conflict of which he is so painfully aware.

How can one describe men who would intentionally slaughter so many innocent people? American history is rife with such examples up to the present day. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc. – the list is very long. Savage wars carried out by men and women who own and run the country, and who try to buy the souls of regular people to join them in their pact with the devil, to acquiesce to their ongoing wicked deeds. Such monstrous evil was never more evident than on August 6 and 9, 1945.

Unless we enter into deep contemplation of the evil that was released into the world with those bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we are lost in a living hell without escape. And we will pay. Nemesis always demands retribution. We have gradually been accepting rule by those for whom the killing of innocents is child’s play, and we have been masquerading as innocent and good children for whom the truth is too much to bear.

“Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one,” Screwtape the devil tells his nephew, Wormwood, a devil in training, “the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” That’s the road we’ve been traveling.

The projection of evil onto others works only so long. We must reclaim our shadows and withdraw our projections. Only the fate of the world depends on it.

Comment:

Saudi Coalition Kidnappings and Deadly Airstrikes in Yemen Spark Mass Mobilization of Tribal Fighters – By Ahmed Abdulkareem (Mint PRESS)

Yemeni tribesmen hold their weapons and chant slogans during a tribal gathering showing support for the Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen, May 26, 2016. Hani Mohammed | AP

Recent Saudi-coalition airstrikes on civilian targets and allegations of kidnappings by coalition mercenaries have whipped up a hornet’s nest among Yemeni tribes.

HODEIDA, YEMEN — Thousands of people took to the streets of Yemen’s capital Sanaa and the port city of Hodeida in western Yemen on Sunday to denounce deadly airstrikes by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition following a pair of attacks on a fish market and hospital in Hodeida that killed scores of civilians. The protests also came in response to kidnappings targeting women in the district of Tuhaita south of Hodeida on July 29. The protests continued into Monday.

In Hodeida, thousands took to the city’s center, carrying placards and Yemen’s national flags and chanting slogans condemning the series of Saudi attacks that claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians just days before.

Defiant residents marched under the slogan “your crimes will not pass and our blood will prevail.” Demonstrators stressed that Hodeida would be a cemetery for Saudi fighters and their mercenaries, no matter how much they mobilize and regardless of the intensity of their crimes against the people of Yemen.

 

In Sana’a, Yemeni women took to the streets en masse to denounce the kidnapping of women by coalition-paid mercenaries. Some of the women wielded rifles — underlining the need for protection from the kidnappers — while chanting slogans calling for Yemeni tribes to protect them.

Women protest Saudi-coalition kidnappings in Yemen's capital, Sana'a. Photo | Twitter

Local radio personality and mother of two, Thekra Abbas, said she attended the protest to ”denounce the dirty acts committed by invading and occupying forces, the latest of which is the kidnapping of the eight women from Tuhaita.”

Last Friday thousands of residents staged a mass rally in the capital Sana’a to condemn the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive against Hodeida, expressing anger at what they called Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen.  Angered by heavy civilian losses as well as airstrikes on non-military targets, protesters vowed to defend their country by any means necessary.

The latest kidnapping incident is not the first time Saudi-led coalition forces have been accused of kidnapping women. On July 5, 35-year-old Sameera Mharish was kidnapped by Saudi soldiers after they captured the village of al Jawf in central Yemen, stirring up anger among local tribes that would later mobilize against the coalition. On July 1, a young girl was kidnapped from her home in Ta’ze by coalition forces.

 

Saudi coalition crosses a Redline 

By targeting women for kidnapping, the Saudi-led coalition and the mercenary forces it employs have not only committed war crimes, they crossed a red line in Yemeni society, which is heavily steeped in tribal tradition. The move has whipped up a hornet’s nest of Yemeni tribes, which staged over 20 vigils in Hodeida, Sana’a, Dhamar, and Hajjah — all major strongholds for Yemen’s largest tribes. The largest protest vigil was held in the district of Tahamh in western Yemen, where hundreds of tribesmen belonging to the Zaraniq tribe gathered to discuss potential responses to the abductions.

The head of the Yemeni Tribal Council, Dheif Allah Rasam, said:

The practices of Saudi Arabia in Yemen against our tribes have reached an extent that cannot be tolerated, and cannot be accepted by anyone with an atom of conscience or sense of responsibility and dignity.”

The Saudi-led coalition, unable to secure control of the strategic port city of Hodeida, has flooded cities and towns surrounding the contested city with foreign and indigenous mercenaries, who are often accused of kidnapping women from their homes.

Reports of the kidnappings, as well as the attack on Hodeida`s hospital and fish market, sparked a mass mobilization of tribal fighters in Yemen’s southwest.

Huge numbers of Yemeni residents have already responded by taking to the battlefield this week in the largest draw of tribal fighters since the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition began its offensive on the strategic port of Hodeida two months ago.

On Monday, Yemeni tribal fighters carried out an attack on several battalions of Saudi-led mercenaries, killing or injuring more than 80, including high-level mercenary commanders. Sixty mercenary fighters were also reportedly captured in the attack, which took place in the district of Dreihemi, 60 km from Hodeida.

 

UN peace efforts fail to stem violence

The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition says it supports UN-sponsored peace talks in Yemen but has, in fact, done little to reach a political solution to the conflict.

On Sunday, the Emirati Minister of State for International Cooperation, Reem al-Hashemi, told journalists in Abu Dhabi, “We have always been in support of the [UN] special envoy, we are going to continue to do so.” However — as Salim Meghles, a member of the political wing of the Houthi (Ansar Allah) movement, said in a recent statement — the coalition has not shown “any serious or real stance toward reaching a political solution.”

During Friday’s protest in Sana’a, the head of the Houthi Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, said Yemen’s army will target all member countries of the Saudi-led coalition, even if they were underground, in retaliation for the escalation of coalition attacks on Hodeida. He did not refer to the resumption of the retaliatory attacks against coalition vessels in the Red Sea.

On August 1, Yemen’s Houthis submitted an initiative to bring an end to the conflict in Yemen and unilaterally suspended retaliatory attacks against Saudi-led coalition forces in the Red Sea to support that effort. But as coalition attacks intensify, Houthi officials have signaled that the initiative may not reach its two-week limit.

On Tuesday, an unmanned Houthi long-range drone targeted a Saudi command center in Camp Ambrah on Yemen’s west coast, 20 km from Hodeida. A source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the drone had successfully bombed the camp, causing a “huge explosion.” The death toll and the extent of damage from the attack are still unknown.

In a separate incident, Yemen’s armed forces fired a short-range, Zelzal-1 missile at a Saudi military base in the kingdom’s southwest province if Jizan. Yemeni snipers also killed a Saudi soldier in Jabal al-Doud in the same Saudi province, and three Saudi soldiers were killed by Yemeni sharpshooters at Jizan’s al-Mash’al military base, according to a military source.

On Thursday, the UN envoy said that he was still trying to negotiate a deal to avoid a full-blown battle for Hodeida, expressing worries that Hodeida could be a flashpoint that could derail the push for talks in September.

The Saudi-led coalition has taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories with the aid of advanced U.S. weapons and military equipment, as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.

Top Photo | Yemeni tribesmen hold their weapons and chant slogans during a tribal gathering showing support for the Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen, May 26, 2016. Hani Mohammed | AP

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

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

The psychopaths celebrate: Israel ‘welcomes’ assassination of Syrian scientist – but deny any ‘involvement’ – By RT

netanyahu lieberman

© Menahem Kahana / Reuters
Pair of scum: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman (L).

Israel’s minister of intelligence says he “welcomes” news that a Syrian scientist was killed by a car bomb, even as Tel Aviv denies any part in the murder. The New York Times reported that Israel’s Mossad was behind the attack.

Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz weighed in on allegations that Israeli Mossad agents killed Dr. Aziz Asbar near the northwestern Syrian city of Masyaf, commenting that “assuming that [Asbar] was indeed involved in terrorist activity, I welcome his departure from the world.”

Asbar, the research director at Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, was believed to be developing a secret weapons manufacturing facility with the help of Iran, which was to be used to manufacture precision-guided missiles in Syria. He was killed on Saturday by an explosive device planted on his car.

Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz

Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz

Tel Aviv has remained tight-lipped about any involvement in Asbar’s murder. “Every day in the Middle East there are hundreds of explosions and settling of scores,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel’s Channel 2 News. “Every time, they try to place the blame on us. So we won’t take this too seriously.”

Citing an unnamed official from a Middle Eastern intelligence agency, the New York Times reported Monday that Israeli agents were behind Asbar’s murder, claiming that “the Mossad had been tracking Mr Asbar for a long time.” According to unnamed officials cited by the Times, Asbar was targeted by Israel because he was helping Syria to develop long-range missiles accurate enough to target Israeli cities hundreds of miles away.

Syria’s al-Watan daily newspaper said that Asbar was killed because of his “important” work on Syrian defense systems, writing in a commentary published on Tuesday that “yet again the Israeli enemy has assassinated one of the greatest Syrian minds.”

Comment: Does anyone actually believe Israel’s claim that it was not behind Asbar’s summary execution? Assassination is a Mossad speciality.

A STORM IS COMING TO IDLIB; ZIONIST JIHADISTS KILL LAURELED SYRIAN SCIENTIST; HAMA TERRORISTS BOMBED TO OBLIVION – By Ziad Fadel

MISYAAF, HAMA PROVINCE:   Dr. ‘Azeez Isbir, seen in this photo at a conference for scientists, was killed by an embedded MOSSAD agent with the Turkish-supported Free Syrian Army.  The Zionist cockroach ordered the IED which was placed in a car that was remotely triggered.  It is reported to SyrPer that the FSA officer insisted on detonating the IED himself in order to “kill a Christian”. Dr.  ‘Azeez will be remembered forever for his formidable contributions to Syrian missile technology as Director of the Center for Scientific Research, an institution which will enable our army to vanquish the Zionist grubs in the war to liberate all Palestine.  His missile designs are found not only in Syria, but, in Lebanon with Hizbollah and the Ansaar Allaah Movement in Yemen.  May he rest in peace.

Another photo of the martyred Dr. ‘Azeez Isbir courtesy of SANA.

______________________________________________

LATAKIA:

الجيش يحبط هجوما لـ

AL-SARRAAF:  The Nusra group of criminals launched an attack on a small Syrian Army fortified checkpoint this morning in the early hours close to Al-Rubay’ah on the Turk border.  The attack was a miserable failure.  Eyewitness accounts show that 17 rodents were dropped, either killed or wounded and that the rest crawled back to their lairs in Turk-Occupied Syria.

____________________________________________

HAMA-IDLIB:

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.319607&lon=36.653910&z=14&m=b

Syrian Army artillery savaged the bulldozer-built fortifications belonging to units of the Jaysh Al-‘Izza and the Turkestaan Party.  The revetments were completely destroyed, ironically, by the same kinds of rockets and bombs they were meant to prevent.  The area targeted was in the North of Hama at Lihaayaa and Al-Lataamina 35 kms north of Hama City, close to the Idlib Provincial border.  The SAA was positioned north of Hilfaayaa and Miharda.

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WILE E. COYOTE MOMENT: (Thanks, John Esq.)

https://twitter.com/Zionocracy/status/1026651167110127617/video/1

Press review: Russia’s ‘crushing response’ to US sanctions and Moscow’s offer on Syria – By TASS

August 06, 13:00 UTC+3

Top stories in the Russian press on Monday

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Russia preparing ‘crushing response’ to US sanctions ‘bill from hell’

Moscow is ready for the bill introduced by US senators on measures against the Kremlin elite and on banning transactions related to Russia’s new sovereign debt, Chairman of the Russian State Duma’s (lower house) Financial Markets Committee Anatoly Aksakov told Nezavisimaya Gazeta. The lawmaker noted the US sanctions’ impact on Russia’s financial system would be insignificant. “It is more symbolic and moral rather than important in material terms,” he said.

A source close to the Kremlin has not ruled out that Russia could retaliate with its “crushing” military and strategic measures and review some its international commitments.

“If the unproven meddling in US election gives them the right to cause economic damage and deal a blow to the nation’s welfare, it’s not surprising that Russia could draw up measures, including military and strategic ones, which can result in irreparable losses for the Americans’ economy and profits,” the source told the paper.

“I won’t be surprised if soon Russia reviewed some its international commitments given the changes in the international situation. One should always remember that particular commitments were made in a certain international and legal context. The United States is showing this to the entire world today by renouncing its international commitments every day, including in the sphere of control over non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (deal with Iran) and also in tariff and non-tariff protectionism in trade.”

The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018 (DASKAA), aimed at increasing economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Russia in response to Moscow’s alleged continuing interference in US elections was introduced last week by a bipartisan group of US senators.

The US “bill from hell” suggests sanctions against Russian political figures, oligarchs, family members and other individuals as well as restrictions against transactions related to investment in energy projects supported by Russian state-owned or parastatal entities. Another important measure of the initiative is the demand to ban transactions pertaining to the Russian sovereign debt, which has been discussed this year many times, the paper says.

The new package of measures was inspired by the Helsinki summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump. Moscow considers that Washington’s sanctions initiatives have been triggered by the domestic political struggle in the US.

 

Kommersant: North Korea, Russia accused of violating UN resolution

US media reports leaked a draft report of the United Nations’ Security Council on North Korea, which accused Pyongyang of violating the organization’s resolutions, Kommersant writes. The document says that Pyongyang has not stopped developing nuclear and missile weapons despite the June 12 agreements reached at the meeting with US President Donald Trump. North Korea is also blamed for going beyond the limit on buying oil products (500,000 barrels per year) envisaged by the UN Security Council’s resolutions. It also says that fuel is purchased through a ship-to-ship transfer in the open seas, which is a rude violation of the sanctions. Besides, Pyongyang is suspected of continuing its military cooperation with Syria and arming Houthi rebels in Yemen.

A diplomatic source told Kommersant the document was leaked to the media after Washington refused to take into account the stance of Moscow and Beijing, which disagree with certain resolution provisions. A consensus of all members of the UN 1718 sanctions committee is needed to endorse the document.

According to the source, the leaks of draft documents to the US media when Russia and China voice their disagreement have become common practice. “This is the violation of the rules of behavior in the UN Security Council,” he said. “It looks like blackmail and does not encourage a constructive solution to the problem.” The committee members need to settle their differences by September 3, otherwise the document is unlikely to be approved.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also accused Moscow of violating the UN Security Council’s resolution on North Korea. According to him, Russia continues issuing work permissions for migrants from North Korea. The Russian Foreign Ministry has rejected these allegations, insisting that the resolution bans signing new contracts rather than issuing permissions.

Russian government sources told the paper that until 2017 some 38,000 North Korean migrants could be officially employed in Russia. After the restrictions were introduced under the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2375, this quota was cut to 24,000 by the end of 2017.

 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Washington rejects Moscow’s offer to join Syria post-war rebuilding effort

The United States has once again rebuffed Moscow’s proposal to participate in Syria’s post-war reconstruction and repatriating refugees, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The offer was sent in a July 19 letter by Russia’s Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov to Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, Reuters reported, citing a US government memo.

The Russian initiative received an “icy reception” in Washington, the report said. The Russian Defense Ministry voiced disappointment over the US side’s inability to honor its agreements on unveiling details about bilateral contacts only based on mutual consent.

Russian military expert Col. Vladimir Popov told the paper: “The Americans are refusing to join humanitarian cooperation with Russia on Syria in order to place the burden of the country’s restoration on Moscow.” However, even in the occupied areas they are ready to share responsibility on the rebuilding effort with other countries – Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others, he said.

Meanwhile, Moscow and Damascus are likely to get a reliable ally in Idlib, namely China, the paper says. Chinese Ambassador to Syria Qi Qianjin told Al-Watan on Friday that the country’s military was ready to take part in an operation in Idlib’s southwest, where the Uyghur militants reside. According to Austria’s Contra Magazin, if China joins the military operations, Damascus will regain control over the entire Syrian territory, and this will be a “nightmare scenario” for the US and Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.

 

Kommersant: US sanctions bill may slow down foreign investors’ return to Russian market

Capital outflow from funds focusing on Russia’s stock market slowed down, reaching nearly $150 mln in July, compared with $900 mln in June, Kommersant writes citing the BofA Merrill Lynch report. Over the past four months, net capital outflow reached $2 bln. The highest capital outflow figures were recorded four and a half years ago, when the Russian stock market lost almost $4 bln in investment.

The sharp slowdown in the capital outflow is attributed to foreign investors’ hopes about a thaw in Russian-US relations after the Helsinki summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump, the paper writes. Although no joint statement was adopted, the sides brought their positions closer on some issues, and the two leaders positively assessed the outcome of talks hinting that new meetings could be held.

“Obviously, by July the echo of April sanctions subsided and high oil prices and hopes for a positive outcome of the meeting between the US and Russian heads of state served as an additional factor encouraging investors to take a break,” said Vladimir Vedeneyev, the head of Raiffeisen Bank Capital’s investment department.

The continuing talks with the US authorities on lifting sanctions against Rusal and En+ were positively perceived by the market, Director of Investment Department at the UFG Wealth Management Alexei Potapov said.

However, market participants doubt if the negative trend will be overcome soon. “The overall positive mood related to developing markets is gradually fading away and the sanctions risks for Russian assets are again growing, that’s why the outflow is expected to continue,” Potapov noted.

Amid the bill on new “crushing sanctions” against Russia introduced by US senators last week, investors will again adopt a wait-and-see attitude and are unlikely to boost their positions on Russian assets until the situation with new sanctions becomes clear, Head of the Assets Management Department at the General Invest Denis Gorev told the paper.

 

Izvestia: Syrian delegation to attend independence anniversary celebrations in South Ossetia

The Syrian delegation will take part in the celebrations on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of South Ossetia’s independence recognition, Chairman of the republic’s parliament Pyotr Gassiyev told Izvestia. Syrian President Bashar Assad also plans to pay a visit soon, he said. The invitation to the Syrian leader, who recognized South Ossetia’s independence this May, was given by the republic’s leader Anatoly Bibilov during his July visit to Damascus.

Syria became the fifth UN member-state, which established relations with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, after Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Russia.

Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said Damascus did not unveil details about the exact number of delegation members, but confirmed receiving South Ossetia’s invitation. “President Assad’s administration has not reported about the date of his visit due to the Syrian leader’s busy schedule. The issue is in the works,” the diplomat said.

Russia has confirmed its plans to participate in the celebrations. “We expect to see Speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper house Valentina Matviyenko and also State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin. The invitations have been sent to the representatives of more than 10 countries,” Gassiyev said.

Tskhinval will welcome guests from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Nagorny Karabakh and Abkhazia. The Syrian president’s visit may take place soon but it is unlikely to be held during the days of celebrations, he noted.

 

TASS is not responsible for the material quoted in the press review

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The Greek Disaster: State Inertia and the Market Economy – By Andreas ANDRIANOPOULOS (Strategic Culture Foundation)

The Greek Disaster: State Inertia and the Market Economy

The Greek Disaster: State Inertia and the Market Economy

What happened in Attica, close to Athens, is without precedent. An ordinary fire, like the ones that occur in this area almost every other summer, met up with a terrible, sudden wind that turned it into real galloping inferno. The tragic result was 87 dead Greek citizens and more than 20 still missing. Huge questions loom on the horizon and only very limited answers are forthcoming. Are some of the lessons from this tragedy related to the wider geopolitical and political-economic questions?

Public-sector clientelism is leading to disastrous inefficiency

Why do tragedies like these occur in social environments with firmly entrenched clientelist political systems and in political entities that operate on the periphery of major, bureaucratic, modern empires? Sweden saw huge uncontrolled fires this summer. However, there was no loss of life or major disasters that befell the urban centers. In Portugal last year — and very recently in Greece  —  scores of people died, mainly due to the inability of the state machinery to efficiently deal with the problem. The major difference between these examples is the quality of the civil service. In Greece and Portugal there is no real ethics in the public administration, which frequently fails to meet any vigorous efficiency test .

In public bureaucracies that sprout favoritism the way trees grow branches, it is very difficult to design long-term plans to handle critical and life-threatening situations. Likewise, the political system lacks the prerequisites to draw upon informed societies that are trained to be cooperative and disciplined when there is a need for coordination. When clientelism dictates and forms the essence of the political culture, this culminates in fractured societies that are infected with spreading islands of lawlessness and limited possibilities for administrative coherence.

In Greece in particular, the deep-rooted mentality of state favoritism produces whole sectors of uncoordinated urbanization, with no respect for the environment, chaotic borough formation, and a coastline that has been brutally violated by hasty real-estate developmental schemes,. In such a social context, thorough planning becomes almost impossible and the idea of applying administrative guidelines to deal with a crisis sounds like a joke. It is essentially the political system itself that invites disasters and not any sort of physical deluge that begets them.

The need for market solutions

Clientelism and heavy state intervention in the running of the economy and society are the basic causes of inefficiency and, henceforth, administrative chaos. It appears that the process of rational choice is the fatal enemy of the dominant mentality in such systems of government. This is represented by any model that relies on the market to deal with questions of economic policy and societal organization. A bloated public sector that is encouraged by the political authorities to constantly expand, irrespective of its ability to deliver on its promises, becomes the major problem. Instead of being the solution to emerging issues, the state actually becomes the cause of most troubles and difficulties.

Henceforth, without clear objectives or cost-benefit solutions, the state is unable to provide reliable outcomes or to cope with situations, especially emergencies. In the case of Greece in particular, the fire-fighting service had been financially starved, while its personnel had been recruiting new staff based on specific social criteria! In other words, firefighters entrusted with saving people from emergency situations were hired on the basis of their physical inability to deal with normal life situations, i.e., the physically handicapped, mentally unfit, generally unhealthy, or recruits who were simply from disadvantaged social backgrounds.

Relying on a market mentality means that choices are made based on measurable results, well structured plans to deal with crises, and thoroughly tested options. When none of these requirements are met, it is more than certain that achievements will be negligible and the consequences disastrous. Hence one must assume that societies that do not rely on rational-choice procedures and which pursue policies of heavy state intervention and patron-client favoritism are not likely to see successful results. This essentially means that societies built on capitalist principles pursue measurable results that further the welfare of their citizens.

Geopolitical repercussions

There is also a geopolitical angle to these observations. If a country cannot keep up with globally established administrative and financial trends, it will end up facing dead-end situations and find itself being marginalized. With the exception of its reliance on heavy state taxation, the EU always pursues policies of open social frontiers and market economics. Countries that deviate from this logic find themselves gradually lost in a political wilderness. They constantly creep along on the fringes of events and absent themselves from all contemporary processes. By acting as the exception instead of the rule, they will rapidly find themselves marginalized. They will become a stark anomaly and thus be excluded from every movement going forward. They will become the pariahs of the international system. Geopolitical events will pass them by, and they will be looked upon as the “black holes” of the international order.

Domestic events and major financial and/or economic choices cannot be limited any longer to national or regional occurrences. Notwithstanding the importance of events within a country, opting for heavy state intervention may lead a country into the international wilderness. What’s more, its international standing may also be impaired, contributing to the nation’s overall marginalization.

In Greece we witnessed this repulsive, internally-generated tragedy in all its horrifying glory. Unfortunately we may soon see more far-reaching consequences…

Russia Marks Navy Day: Credible Deterrent to Keep Enemies at Bay -By Andrei AKULOV (Strategic Culture Foundation)

Russia Marks Navy Day: Credible Deterrent to Keep Enemies at Bay
Andrei AKULOV | 30.07.2018 | SECURITY / DEFENSE

On July 29, Russia marked its Navy Day. After many years of neglect, the service is going through the period of resurgence to become a second to none blue water force equipped with state-of-the-art weapons. It’s a lot more operational today than it has been in many years. In some areas the Navy demonstrates technological lead. Pretty much anywhere in the world, one can see the “Saint Andrew Flag”, the naval ensign of the Russian Federation, a radical change in comparison with what it was like just ten years ago.

In 2017, Russian ships made 46 port calls to drop anchor at 28 ports of 27 countries worldwide. The list includes five Western or West-friendly states: Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Japan and South Korea, which account for 19% of the countries visited by Russian ships. Nine (33%) of the states on the list belong to the Asia-Pacific region, with other 13 (48%) situated in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The 81% vs.19% ratio illustrates Russia’s rebalancing from the West toward other countries and power poles. The Russian Navy also conducted six international exercises, demonstrating its global presence and power projection capability. The service has become strong enough to make the US re-establish the Second Fleet in the Atlantic.

A task force comprising three surface ships and three auxiliary vessels of the Baltic Fleet is on a voyage around the world. The route lies across the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Indian and Pacific Oceans. On May 16, President Vladimir Putin made a statement to say that Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea will be permanent. The standing force will include warships with long-range land attack cruise missiles.

With new ships and weapons coming in, the Navy is quite capable of defending Russia’s maritime approaches and coasts, long-range precision strike missions with conventional and nuclear weapons, power projection and defense of the sea-based nuclear deterrent. It has recently acquired the capability to conduct long-range attacks with conventional weapons against fixed infrastructure targets.

Russia’s shipbuilders offer corvette-frigate size surface ships, such as the Admiral Grigorovich-class and the new Admiral Gorshkov-class, packing a really potent punch to make them formidable warriors. Oniks anti-ship missiles, Kalibr long-range cruise missiles capable to strike land targets at great distances, Pantsir-M point defense weapons, Poliment Redut air defense systems and Paket-NK anti-torpedo systems are contained in vertical launch systems (VLS). Normally the armament suite includes seventy-six-millimeter gun or a one-hundred-millimeter gun and close-in weapon systems (CIWS) to enhance the versatility of the ship. Multi-mission frigates have become the backbone of the Russian Navy. Vasily Bykov, the first project 22160 corvette, started sea trials in April to join service this year. The Drive (War Zone) the “concept is innovative enough that it should be studied by western navies as a source of inspiration for their own future multi-role combat vessels.” The source believes that the ship has “a pretty genius design” with its relatively small frame providing great strike power.

Project 636.3 “Varshavyanka” conventional submarines are cheap, quiet and deadly with their Kalibr missiles. The newest Yasen-class nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine is to be armed with land-attack cruise missilesanti-ship missilesanti-submarine missiles, including several variants of Kalibr-PL designed for a wide range of missions. A single Yasen-class can carry thirty-two nuclear-tipped Kalibr missiles to strike deep into the enemy’s territory.

The Russian industry is capable of producing some of the most sophisticated platforms in the world. There are 11 nuclear powered submarines laid down. The shipbuilders can build a conventional submarine in just 18 months. 

Ivan Gren-class (Project 11711E), the first amphibious assault ship designed and built in Russia’s modern history, was commissioned on June 20 to join the Northern Fleet.

On June 25, The Russian Navy commissioned Ivan Khurs, the second Project 18280 intelligence-gathering ship. The ships of the class are called after Russia’s naval intelligence chiefs. The vessel can conduct electronic warfare, radio, and electronic intelligence.

It was reported this month that the Bulava (RSM-56) intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) had entered service with Russian Navy to become the backbone of the nuclear triad’s sea-based component until 2040. A salvo of four missiles launched in rapid succession within 20 seconds in late May confirmed the SLBM’s operational readiness. 

Modernized to M3M standard, the Air Force Tu-22 long-range bomber primarily designed for naval missions will take to the sky next month.

The Navy is testing the Poseidon (Status-6), a new unmanned underwater vehicle (a doomsday weapon) that can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads, which enables to engage various targets, including aircraft groups, coastal fortifications, and infrastructure.

According to Commander-in-Chief Admiral Vladimir Korolev, precision guided weapons and blue water ships are the priority for the future. The Navy also leads in superfast weapons. The Kalibr travelling over Mach 3 is a good example. A higher speed makes interception almost impossible and destruction is maximized by imparting more kinetic energy upon impact. Put on a wide range of ship and submarine classes, the weapon provides for a qualitative leap to drastically enhance the fire power of the Russian sea forces. The Kalibr allows the ships based in the Caspian and Black seas to cover the entire Caucasus and large parts of Central Asia and the Middle East – the areas where threats to Russia’s national security are most likely to emerge.

The 3M22 Zircon anti-ship missile going through final tests has a 500km strike. It will impact at a speed of Mach 6. As yet, the US Navy does not have a weapon to match it.

According to the State Armament Program for 2018-2027 adopted in late 2017, the naval component of the nuclear triad will consist of six Project 667 BRDM (Delta IV-class) and eight Project 955B (Borei-class) strategic ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), to be evenly divided between the Northern and Pacific Fleets. 12 submarines to be in service at given moment with two undergoing overhauls and modernization. The program envisages the construction of Super Gorshkov-class 8,000-ton frigate and six-seven Yasen-M nuclear attack submarines.

Russia’s 2017 Naval Doctrine set the goal of building a strong force to enable the country to achieve and hold the leading positions in the world until 2030. The Navy is on the way to accomplish this mission with balanced forces able to support the operations of strategic ballistic missile submarines and maintain a strong conventional component, carrying out a range of missions, including power projection, with its cutting-edge ships, naval aviationcoastal defense forces, and even ground effect vehicles. Russia has made a strong comeback as a sea power.

Joe Quinn on Sputnik: ‘They’re Not Really Fighting Against Russia, But Against Reality Itself’ – By SPUTNIK

putin trump summit

A Russian national has been charged in Washington accused of being an agent of the Russian Federation at the same time as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin were meeting in Helsinki, a summit that has angered American politicians.

Maria Butina was charged Monday by the US Department of Justice with conspiring to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States, a criminal allegation that may be designed to draw attention away from Monday’s meeting between the US and Russian heads of state.

The charges are not related to the Mueller probe that is examining alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. She allegedly worked at the direction of a high-level Kremlin official. Sputnik spoke to political commentator Joe Quinn about the fallout from the Putin/Trump summit.

Sputnik: What do you make of the arrest situation in Washington of Maria Butina, the accusations and the motivations behind it?

Joe Quinn: Well this is another nothing-burger, like CNN described the Russian hacking of the US election last year. Given the timing, it’s an attempt to push the supposed ‘reality’ of Russian interference in the US election in support of Trump. The story of this Butina woman are two-a-penny in Western politics. What she’s doing is called lobbying: getting access to politicians to push particular policies.

The accusations that she was working for the Kremlin appears to be baseless – it’s the silly idea that any lobbyist in any country, anyone working to influence politicians in any country, only ever work for foreign governments. That’s obvious nonsense.

There’s probably dozens of American citizens in Russia attempting to garner the same kind of influence in exactly the same way as she has done.

Sputnik: The US president has also come under scrutiny in America following the Helsinki summit, how could this impact the President and Washington’s interactions with Moscow?

Joe Quinn: To say he’s come under scrutiny – or that this summit yesterday has come under scrutiny – is a bit of an understatement! This brief meeting of two hours that he had with Putin yesterday has been met with such a level of screaming and baying at the moon, from the usual suspects, that you’d think we’re back in the heyday of the McCarthy days.

To give you an example, Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted yesterday – in all seriousness – that the football that Putin gave to Trump at the end of their meeting was probably carrying a listening device and should not be taken to the White House! I don’t know what to say to that kind of thing. You just roll your eyes…

I’m sorry to have to say that we can’t really expect the hysteria to diminish. Most of the Western media are now committed to this ridiculous campaign and have internalized the idea that Russia is a threat to the entire globe. Of course, the truth is that this situation has been deliberately provoked by elements of the ‘deep state’ as part of their ongoing war against Russia, who they see as an existential threat to their global power and control. They also seem to be quite happy to have as many people around the world – but particularly in US and Europe – believing complete lies.

Sputnik: The international accusations against Russia are mounting with the US elections, meddling and the Skripal case but with lack of evidence is the Western continuing anti-Russian rhetoric damaging any hope of improving international relations?

Joe Quinn: I don’t think that its damaging any hope – certainly it’s damaging them – but I don’t think it’s damaging any hope. Ultimately I think this campaign that’s been waged is not going to be successful. The problem for them is that history is NOT on their side. They’re not really fighting against Russia but against reality itself. The world has changed radically in the last 20 years – and it’s only just begun. The time is obviously ripe for a new global order based on multi-polarity rather than the sole dominance of a superpower, but the stewards of the empire are VERY reluctant, shall we say, to accept these necessary and inevitable changes, and unfortunately, we have to deal with chaos that they are causing as they try to forestall those changes.

OSCE 45 Years On: Time to Regain Prominence – By Arkady SAVITSKY (Strategic Culture Foundation)

OSCE 45 Years On: Time to Regain Prominence
Arkady SAVITSKY | 09.07.2018 | WORLD / Europe

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is holding its 27th Annual Session on 7-11 July 2018 in Berlin. This month the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe marks its 45-year anniversary. It was established as the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in July 1973 to be renamed Organization in 1995. The Helsinki Act adopted by the Conference remains the cornerstone of European security. The Russian and US lawmakers used the event for meeting each other on the sidelines before the upcoming Trump-Putin Helsinki summit scheduled for July 16. The Organization provides a forum for discussions and the opportunity should not be missed.

In the heat of the Cold War, the CSCE served as an inclusive, consensus-based platform for constructive dialogue no matter how adverse the weather was. It’s hard to overestimate the important role the 1975 Helsinki Act played in making Europe a safer place.

Since the 1990s, the OSCE has been declared obsolete numerous times but it is still unique and its raison d’être can hardly be questioned. Reviving the Helsinki spirit and restoring confidence that existed those days should be a top priority at the time the attempts to build a single security system in the Euro-Atlantic area have evidently led to nowhere. The common goal of creating a value-based security community from Vancouver to Vladivostok, envisioned in OSCE documents after the end of the Cold War, has never materialized. Today Europe is divided and unstable, balancing on the brink of slipping into anarchy and a new Cold War.

It has turned into a continent where double standards prevail, color revolutions are staged and sanctions wars are raging, while the idea of US exceptionalism is used to justify violations of international law. But sanctions and violations do not help build security architecture.

The ramifications of instability in the MENA region, triggered to large extent by US and NATO military interventions, pose a serious threat to Europe. The crisis in Ukraine, the Nagorno-Karabakh stand-off, the situation in Kosovo and the status of Transnistria remain unsolved problems.

The OSCE has to large extent lost its role as a security forum able to effectively handle problems. This has happened for a range of reasons, including the NATO eastward expansion, the erosion of treaty-based stability and inability to find solutions to regional conflicts.

The treaties concluded within the OSCE framework are either dead or about to take the final breath. The Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) has become a thing of the past. The Open Skies Treaty is facing an uncertain future.

The turbulent times dictate the need for the OSCE’s notable comeback to turn the tide and strengthen European security. In 2018, Italy chairs the OSCE and the country’s new government can play a positive role in making the Organization reappear on the radar and regain its relevance.

Practical steps can be taken. The 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs) could be updated. The discussions on “Steinmeier Initiative” in the area of conventional arms control could be a start of OSCE-brokered process. In 2008, Russia submitted for OSCE consideration the draft Treaty on European Security. It was largely ignored by Western nations and swept under the rug as time dragged by. Probably if the attitude had been different then, Europe would have been a much safer place today. Now the German initiative, which is in essence a repetition of what Moscow offered ten years ago, has been waiting to be put on the OSCE agenda since 2016. Is it the right moment for wasting time instead of starting talks?

The ongoing Structured Dialogue (SD) on security challenges is a good step towards the revival of multilateral security dialogue. The Organization can be used as an effective communication channel for more frequent military-to-military contacts to prevent escalation and enhance predictability and transparency. It is especially important in view of fruitless attempts to make the NATO-Russia Council an effective forum for addressing burning security problems. Finally, the OSCE could initiate a new negotiation process with the aim of having a “Helsinki Act II” document signed.

The OSCE needs reforms. Its decision-making process has proven to be ineffective. All decisions are taken by consensus. With so many members, it’s unrealistic. The most complex and important issues are supposed to be discussed at the level of heads of state. There has been no OSCE summit since 2010. The Organization has no Charter. Russia has proposed to prepare one numerous times but the initiative is left hanging in the air.

Not all is doom and gloom. Far from it. The newly formed Italian government led by PM Giuseppe Conte has the reputation of being able to adopt inventive approaches and see things in a new light. It’s full of desire to contribute into making the OSCE an effective multilateral forum able to enhance European security. Swiss diplomat Thomas Greminger, the new OSCE Secretary General, is resolute to get the Organization back to the days of glory. The 25th OSCE Ministerial Council will be held in Milan on 6 and 7 December 2018. There still time to work on new proposals to make the Organization regain its prominence.

Tags: OSCE
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