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:

The Deal: Smelling a Rat, Arabs Sense a Coming Humiliation – By Alastair CROOKE (Strategic Culture Foundation)

 

 

The Deal: Smelling a Rat, Arabs Sense a Coming Humiliation

“The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!”

What on earth does this tweet from President Trump – “I am asking for World Peace” – mean? It does not at all gel with NY businessman pragmatism: that he wants to diss Obama; or, that he wants to implode Iran in order to recover US energy dominance; or, that with Iran’s implosion, the hitherto obstructed path, would thus be cleared for all Sunni Arab states desirous of normalising and trading with Israel – so to do.

But the extravagant capitalisation of WORLD PEACE implies that Trump has some wider vision, behind this new American ‘war of choice’ on Iran. ‘WORLD PEACE’: It strongly suggests Trump leading us toward a definite destiny: not just for America, but for all humanity (‘no less’). It is an apocalyptic vision. (i.e. an event that implies something not bad, but rather that the implosion of Revolutionary Iran, somehow will bring human Salvation). 

The conviction that the crimes and follies of the past can be left behind in some all-encompassing transformation of human life is a secular reincarnation of early Christian beliefs. The very idea of ‘an event’ which transforms humanity and leads to ‘Salvation’ owes to religious conviction – in this case the Jewish apocalyptic current (of which Jesus was an adherent) that was assimilated into early Christianity.

Is this religious eruption Trump’s own? Or, did he absorb it from Ivanka’s conversion to Orthodox Judaism; or, has it emerged out from Trump and Pence’s Evangelical base?

We do not know. But once we move into the domain of human salvation, we need to re-calibrate our understanding of what is afoot here. We may need – when we try to understand Trump and Israel, in particular – to set aside the standard image of a hard-nosed, real-estate negotiator, and instead at least consider if there is religious impulse lurking here. Here, we must go to US [Evangelical] Pastor Robert Jeffress, who was specifically tasked by Trump and his family to travel to Jerusalem in order to Preside at the ceremony marking the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem for clues to what may lie behind Trump’s exotic tweet. Jeffress states:

“Jerusalem has been the object of the affection of both Jews and Christians down through history and [constitutes] the touchstone of prophecy [that God gave the Holy Land to the Jews in eternity];

Let us unpack and be a little clearer about the religiosity that lies behind Jeffress’ quite strong language: Dating from Exodus, Israel formed a separate, chosen people. In this way, through choosing his people, and with his Covenant, Yahweh constitutes them as a people. This boils down to saying that Israel will exist as people for only so long as it recognises Yahwey as its God. What is true for the people is true also for the land, for it is only in Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) that the Torah can be perfectly fulfilled – and conversely, Eretz Israel only has (religious) ‘meaning’ as long as the Torah is observed there. Hence the particularity of the Land – as of the people.

As we said, this was the voice elected by the Trump family to officiate at the Jerusalem ceremony. This choice signifies something, perhaps. Otherwise, as John Limbert, a retired professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the US Naval Academy and former deputy secretary for Iran (and an veteran of the US Embassy siege in Tehran) writes: nothing makes sense:

“What has President Trump done? Obsessed with Obama and a sucker for Israeli and Saudi flattery, he has rejected the idea that diplomacy might accomplish more with the Islamic Republic, than forty years of futile, mutual chest-beating.

He has chosen an approach that combines bullying, threats, accusations, and unrealistic demands, with an offer to talk. In doing so, Trump has led with his chin and given the Iranians a gift: the opportunity to say “no”, and defy a strong and threatening foreign power.

In Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s words of three decades ago still resonate. Asked about negotiating with the United States, he famously said, “Why should the sheep negotiate with the wolf?” In other words, the Americans have no interest in reaching an agreement with us: They want to eat us.

Trump has filled his administration with shills for the widely-hated Iranian dissident group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a Jonestown-like cult with a dubious past and a more dubious present … Iranians know that, as bad as the present regime is, MEK rule will be much worse—an Iranian version of the Khmer Rouge.

Trump has threatened to punish any country or company doing business with Iran and to stop Tehran from selling its crude oil. These tactics repeat those of the British during1951 – 1953 before they joined the CIA to stage a coup d’état to remove the nationalist Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Trump has issued an all-caps threat to annihilate millions of Iranians followed by an offer to talk with anyone, anywhere, anytime, without preconditions.

In the meantime, Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has further muddled the message—whatever it is. In his recent speech to an Iranian-American audience in Los Angeles, Pompeo referred to Iran as “that country” and denounced the entire Islamic revolution, thus denigrating the sacrifices of millions of Iranians who fought and died to overthrow the monarchy and defend their country against Iraqi invaders. With such statements, his professions of respect for individual Iranians and for the country’s ancient culture lack any shred of sincerity”.”

Plainly a deeply frustrated and confused US Iran expert. (Perhaps that is in part owing to reading events from the standard secular, US foreign policy perspective.)

Professor Elizabeth Oldmixon however explains that for a subset of the US [Christian] evangelical community, “the status of Israel is really, really important because of the way they understand the end of time “. She continues: “When we talk about the Holy Land, God’s promise of the Holy Land, we’re talking about real estate on both sides of the Jordan River. So the sense of Greater Israel, and expansionism, is really important to this community. Jerusalem is just central to that. It’s viewed as a historical and biblical capital… These are the folks who believe that there will be a millennium in the future, a golden age, where Christ reigns on Earth, [and] they believe that before Christ will return, there will be a tribulation where Christ defeats evil.”

And how big is that subset? “Roughly a third of the American evangelical population, which is something like 15 million people.”

So, we have a triumvirate of US religious Orthodox envoys (all Trump family members, or former family retainers) – who are charged with the mission of ‘WORLD PEACE’. What can this possibly mean – when said so emphatically (all capitals) by Trump, and included within the context of his imposing ‘crushing’ sanctions on Iran – other than a desire finally to instantiate “the promised Holy Land, for the Jews” – and thus bring to a close the long running Middle East conflict? The theology also suggests that with Salvation, ‘peace’ will be established.

“There’s something that these Christians have in common with religious Zionists in Israel” Prof. Oldmixon adds, as something of a footnote – though it is crucial: “The founding generation in Israel was fairly secular. Their support for a Jewish state wasn’t about biblical prophecy. Religious Jews were always unhappy that the founding generation wasn’t really motivated by a religious understanding of the Jewish people in the world. That’s something that evangelicals in this country share. They support Israel for religious reasons.”

Well let’s look what’s actually happening? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a “defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the annals of the state of Israel”, when the Knesset enacted last month, a basic law [named – tellingly – ‘the nation-state law’], which specifies that “Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people – in which it realizes its natural, cultural, religious and historic right to self-determination.”

The law further enshrined religiously based differentiation, including a clause that points to priority for Jewish-only communities by declaring “the development of Jewish settlement as a national value” and promising “to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”

The law has been a subject of controversy in Israel. It passed the Knesset by the narrow margin of 62 to 55. Opponents argue that it constitutes a step away from democracy and from equality of citizenship. However, just to be clear, the new basic law changes nothing – for now.

Differentiated political and legal rights already exists in Israel, and legal ways to create segregated communities in Israel also exist. There is no ‘right’ to equality, and Israel is not a state of all its citizens.

The point here is not so much the issue of discrimination which is occupying the media, but rather the shift from a secular state, as the original Zionists conceived it, to a state operating to a religious impulse. In a sense, Israel moves towards a constitution based on the first books of the Old Testament, which constitute the Torah. (Much in the way that Saudi Arabia simply asserts the Qur’an to be its constitution.)

So, in what way has the Trump family been acting? What does that tell us? Well, firstly, Trump has ‘gifted’ Jerusalem to Israel – the other prophetically mandatory element (apart from occupying all Eretz Israel), for the instantiation of a Jewish Holy Land. Kushner, meanwhile, has been working away to take the refugee status of 1948 Palestinians and their descendants, ‘off-the-table’, by proposing to subsidize recipient states to assimilate their Palestinian refugees, in loco. And Trump too has now committed to ‘undoing’ Iran, the ‘demon’ threatening the Jewish project, and has committed to publishing his Deal of the Century.

Of course we do not know what is in the ‘deal’, but Netanyahu has just slipped into place the legal framework (the Nation-State law) that might facilitate the present Israeli state becoming a ‘unitary’, religiously Jewish state. It cannot be a coincidence that this comes after the IDF recently informed the Knesset that the populations of Jews and non-Jews, between the River (Jordan) and the Sea (the Mediterranean) are now equal – at 6.5 million, each. The nation-state law effectively forecloses on the risk of political pluralism and equality of political rights.

Reports suggest that in Trump’s plan, the US acting alone might acknowledge a Palestinian state by declaration, but without specifying where situate, and with effectively no attributes of a state. A state ‘in name only’, in other words. No Jerusalem as its capital, and plainly no right of return for refugees – and no refugee status for the 1948 Palestinians (so-called because of their dispossession of homes in 1948); and likely no mention of settlements. (We understand that the Deal is currently in limbo, as religious parties in Netanyahu’s coalition want no mention of any Palestinian state at all – not even ‘in name only’).

White House officials say furthermore that if the Palestinians continue to refuse to engage with the plan, that the US will publish it anyway – which, effectively will be an invitation for the Israeli Religious Right to impose those parts that if favours (annexation of land in the West Bank, and further expansion under the rubric of consolidating Jewish communities – as per the Nation-State Act).

Well, it seems that the Arab world is waking up. It is dawning on them that The Deal of the Century will be as humiliating to their prestige – as was the outcome to the Six Day War. Has this been Trump’s objective all along: to instantiate a State of the Jews? Perhaps Limbert has it back to front? Rather than that the Saudis suckering Trump, Trump has been playing to the flaws in MbS’ character: drawing the Arabs into a project whose theological foundation and import they never grasped?

In any event, the wind is now blowing in another direction: King Salman has yanked the Palestinian file from out of the hands of MbS – and, after a year of secrecy surrounding the Deal, disquiet amongst Arab leaders is growing. Their acquiescence is no longer assured. They smell a rat.

The bottom line? Iran will not be crippled by sanctions, and whatever becomes of Trump’s Deal, an introverted, fortress Israel will find itself in a region in which the locus of politics is slowly, but surely, drifting towards the alliance of forces who prevailed in the epic struggle over Syria. Today it is Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey who are turning their face to the East. Tomorrow, when the Iran siege turns out to be a flop, and the Deal stands naked, it may be that parts of the Gulf (Dubai, Kuwait and Oman) will be drifting, together with Qatar, towards the Russia-China axis.

The ‘Magnitsky Trio’ Pushes For War With Russia By Pressing For New ‘Crushing’ Sanctions – By Tom Luongo(Gold, Goats ‘N Guns) (SOTT)

From left, Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

From left, Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

If half of what I have come to understand about the Curious Case of Bill Browder is true, then the “Magnitsky Trio” of Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Ben Cardin are guilty of espionage, at a minimum.

Why? Because they know that Browder’s story about Sergei Magnitsky is a lie. And that means that when you tie in the Trump Dossier, Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS, the Skripal poisoning and the rest of this mess, these men are consorting with foreign governments and agencies against the sitting President.

As Lee Stranahan pointed out recently on Fault Lines, Cardin invited Browder to testify to Congress in 2017 to push through last year’s sanctions bill, a more stringent version of the expiring Magnitsky Act of 2011, which has since been used to ratchet up pressure on Russia.

Cardin knew there were problems with Browder’s story about Magnitsky’s death and yet brought him into Congress to testify to secure the vote.

That’s suborning perjury, as Lee points out.

Just the holes in Browder’s story about Magnitsky’s death are alone enough to warrant a perjury charge on him. If you haven’t read Luck Komisar’s detailed breakdown of Browder’s dealings then you owe it to yourself to do so.

I’d read it a few times, because it’s about as murky as The Swamp gets. And, still my eyes glaze over.

The Magnitsky Act and its sequel have been used to support aggressive policy actions by the U.S. against Russia and destroy the relationship between the world’s most prominent militaries and nuclear powers.

The new bill is said to want to put ‘crushing sanctions’ on Russia to make ‘Putin feel the heat.’ In effect, what this bill wants to do is force President Trump to enforce sanctions against the entire Russian state for attempting to do business anywhere in the world.

The new financial penalties would target political figures, oligarchs, family members and others that “facilitate illicit and corrupt activities” on behalf of Putin.

It would also impose new sanctions on transactions tied to investments in state-owned energy projects, transactions tied to new Russian debt, and people with the capacity or ability to support or carry out a “malicious” cyber act.

In addition, if it wasn’t clear enough already, that he’s no friend of the President, Graham is trying to tie the President’s hands on NATO withdrawal, requiring a two-thirds majority.

Now, why would Graham be worried about that, unless it was something the President was seriously considering? This is similar to last year’s sanctions bill requiring a similar majority for the President to end the original sanctions placed on Russia in 2014 over the reunification with Crimea.

And behind it all stands Bill Browder.

Because it has been Browder’s one-man campaign to influence members of Congress, the EU and public opinion the world over against Putin and Russia for the past 10 years over Magnitsky’s death.

Browder’s story is the only one we see in the news. And it’s never questioned, even though it has. He continually moves to block films and articles critical of him from seeing distribution.

Browder is the epicenter around which the insane push for war with Russia revolves as everyone involved in the attempt to take over Russia in 1999 continues to try and cover their collective posteriors posterities.

And it is Browder, along with Republic National Bank chief Edmond Safra, who were involved together in the pillaging of Russia in the 1990’s. Browder’s firm hired Magintsky as an accountant (because that’s what he was) to assist in the money laundering Heritage Capital was involved in.

The attempted take over of Russia failed because Yeltsin saw the setup which led him to appoint Putin as his Deputy Prime Minister.

Martin Armstrong talked about this recently and it is featured prominently in the film about him, The Forecaster, which I also recommend you watch.

There was $7 billion that was wired through Bank of New York which involved money stolen from the IMF loans to Russia. The attempt to takeover Russia by blackmail was set in motion. As soon as that wire was done, that is when Republic National Bank ran to the Department of Justice to say it was money-laundering. I believe this started the crisis and Yeltsin was blackmailed to step down and appoint Boris A. Berezovsky as the head of Russia.

Clearly, Republic National Bank was involved with the US government for they were sending also skids of $100 bills to Russia. It was written up and called the Money Plane. Yeltsin then turned to Putin realizing that he had been set up. This is how Putin became the First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia on August 9th, 1999 until August 16th, 1999 when he became the 33rd Prime Minister and heir apparent of Yeltsin.

So, now why, all of a sudden, do we need even stronger sanctions on Russia, ones that would create untold dislocation in financial markets around the world?

Comment: A must watch video:

Look at the timeline today and see what’s happening.

  1. Earlier this year Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicts 13 people associated with Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian troll farm, for influencing the 2016 election.
  2. Then Mueller indicts twelve members of Russian intelligence to sabotage the upcoming summit between Trump and Putin while the Russia Hacked Muh Election narrative was flagging.
  3. Three days later President Trump met with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. There a Putin let the world know that he would assist Robert Mueller’s investigation if in return the U.S. would assist Russia in returning Bill Browder, who was tried and convicted in absentia for tax evasion.
  4. All of a sudden Browder’s story is all over the alternative press. Browder is all over U.S. television.
  5. Earlier this week Facebook comes out, after horrific earnings, to tell everyone that IRA was still at it, though being ever so sneaky, trying to influence the mid-terms by engaging Democrats and anti-Trumpers to organize.
    1. In that release, Facebook let it be known it was working with the political arm of NATO, The Atlantic Council, to ferret out these dastardly Russian agents.

And now we have a brand-new shiny sanctions bill intended to keep any rapprochement between the U.S. and Russia from occurring.

Why is that? What’s got them so scared of relations with Russia improving?

Maybe, just maybe, because Putin has all of these people dead to rights and he’s informed Trump of what the real story behind all of this is.

That at its core is a group of very bad people who attempted to steal trillions but only got away with billions and still have their sights set on destroying Russia for their own needs.

And Lindsay Graham is their mouthpiece. (all puns intended)

That all of U.S. foreign policy is built on a lie.

That our relationship with Russia was purposefully trashed for the most venal of reasons, for people like Bill Browder to not only steal billions but then have the chutzpah to steal the $230 million he would have paid in taxes on those stolen billions.

And the only way to ensure none of those lies are exposed is for Trump to be unable to change any of it by forcing him to openly side with the Russian President over members of his own political party.

The proposed sanctions by the Graham bill are so insane that even the Treasury department thinks they are a bad idea. But, at this point there is nothing Graham won’t do for his owners.

Because they are desperate they will push for open warfare with Russia to push Putin from power, which is not possible. All of this is nothing more than a sad attempt to hold onto power long enough to oust Trump from the White House and keep things as horrible as they currently are.

Because no one gives up power willingly. And the more they are proven to be frauds the more they will scream for war.

Comment: See also:

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.

______________________________________________

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

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

Israel’s policies in Gaza are genocidal – By Haidar Eid. (MONDOWEISS)

The 1948 Genocide Convention clearly states that one instance of genocide is “the deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a people in whole or in part.” No matter whether this happens at a fast rate, or in “slow motion.” That is what has been done to Gaza since the imposition of the blockade by Israel, and the subsequent massacres which led to the death of more than 4000 Palestinians in three successive genocidal wars.

Palestinians of Gaza live an ongoing, illegal, crippling Israeli siege that has shattered all spheres of life, prompting the former UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Richard Falk, to describe it as “a prelude to genocide”. In 2009, the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by the highly respected South African judge, Richard Goldstone, found Israel guilty of “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity,” as did major international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The Goldstone report, for example, concludes that Israel’s war on Gaza was “designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”

The same scenario was repeated in 2012, and a worse one in 2014 only because Israel feels that it can carry on its war crimes with full impunity. And last week Israel has decided to tighten the siege by closing the only commercial crossing, even to increase its attacks by targeting peaceful protesters demanding the implementation of UN resolutions, and an end to this deadly, hermetic siege.

In her visit to Gaza, Professor Sara Roy, an expert on Gaza, describes the Strip as “a land ripped apart and scarred, the lives of its people blighted. Gaza is decaying under the weight of continued devastation, unable to function normally…” Professor Roy concludes that “[T]he decline and disablement of Gaza’s economy and society have been deliberate, the result of state policy–consciously planned, implemented and enforced… And just as Gaza’s demise has been consciously orchestrated, so have the obstacles preventing its recovery.” In addition to Israel’s daily attacks and air strikes, Gazans also suffer from the contamination of water, air and soil, since the sewage system is unable to function due to power cuts necessitated by lack of fuel to the main generators of the Gaza power grid. Medical conditions due to injuries from internationally prohibited butterfly bullets and other illegal Israeli weapons as well as from water contamination cannot be treated because of the siege. In addition to the ban on building materials, Israel also prevents many other necessities from being imported: lights bulbs, candles, matches, books, refrigerators, shoes, clothing, mattresses, sheets, blankets, tea, coffee, sausages, flour, cows, pasta, cigarettes, fuel, pencils, pens, paper… etc. In Gaza, people are wondering whether the current Israeli government, the most fascist in the county’s history, might even discuss a ban on Oxygen! Add to this the punitive measure taken by the PA, and the drastic cuts endorsed by UNRWA, not to mention the constant closure of the Rafah crossing–the only exit Gaza has to the external world– leading to one of the highest unemployment rates and poverty on the face of earth.

In fact, the conclusion Gazans have reached is that Israel is intent on destroying Gaza because world official bodies and leaders choose to say and do absolutely nothing. The brazen refusal of Israel to cooperate with the decision of the International Community to re-construct Gaza, for which several billions of dollars were pledged in Sharm El-Sheikh, should not be tolerated. Israel’s attacks have damaged or completely destroyed many public buildings and have according to the UN’s own Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports severely damaged or completely destroyed some thousands of family dwellings, schools, universities and factories. Many other Palestinians who have spent the past several winters and summers in tents and caravans have also been promised the means to rebuild homes and schools, though to date nothing has been done to alleviate their suffering.

The practice of wanton willful killing of civilians exemplified in the extra-judicial sniping of non-violent protesters at the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip is not an isolated incident. It is part and parcel of an ongoing, comprehensive policy targeting the civilian Palestinians of the Gaza strip and systematically denying them their rights to movement, work, medical care, study, livelihood and increasingly life itself. But it is also a reflection of the nature of the state of Israel.i. e., a settler-colony. Israel’s leading, anti-Zionist historian, Ilan Pappe,  sheds light  on the driving ideology behind this genocidal policy:

Zionism is, in essence, a settler colonial movement, which was interested in having as much of the land of Palestine with as few Palestinians on it as possible. As the late scholar of settler colonialism, Patrick Wolfe, has put it; the encounter between the settlers and the indigenous population triggered ‘the logic of the elimination of the native’. In some places, such as North America, annihilation was literally a genocide of the native; in Palestine it was a different kind of elimination, obtained through segregation, ethnic cleansing and enclavement

In spite of Israel’s alleged unilateral withdrawal from the Strip in 2005, it still maintains a permanent military presence in Gaza’s territorial waters and controls the movement of people and goods onto the strip by land and water in addition to movement within the strip through targeting anyone entering the “no go” zone designated by the Israeli military. Israel also continues to control Gaza’s population registry. Yet, Israel claims that it is no longer the occupying power in the Gaza strip and uses this excuse, in addition to the results of 2006 democratic elections, to intensify its policy of siege and lethal attacks on Gaza’s civilians.

And now, Israel has decided to become openly an apartheid state by legalizing racial discrimination. I have tried very hard to find out whether there are constitutions or laws in the world similar to Israel’s “new” Nation-State Basic Law which aims to establish a legal basis for Jewish supremacy and racism against indigenous Palestinians, including those living in what has become the largest open-air prison on earth; only South Africa under apartheid and America in the eras of slavery and segregation.

So, what to do?!

In a piece published in MEE, Gideon Levy asks “Israel, where is your outrage at the legislation of Apartheid?” Actually, we are not expecting a settler-colonial community to act against its own racism. The outside world has to intervene. Hence our call for #BDS. But, in Palestine, we are in urgent need of serious discussions about a program of radical political transformation, what with the disastrous failure of the existing programs, right and left, a program that divorces itself from the racist two-state solution, one that endorses a more inclusive program that guarantees the rights of all segments of the Palestinian people.

About Haidar Eid

Haidar Eid is Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University. He has written widely on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including articles published at Znet, Electronic Intifada, Palestine Chronicle, and Open Democracy. He has published papers on cultural Studies and literature in a number of journals, including Nebula, Journal of American Studies in Turkey, Cultural Logic, and the Journal of Comparative Literature.

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AngloZionist attack options against Iran – By THE SAKER – [This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

 

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

In the past few days, the Internet has been flooded with a frankly silly rumor about the US soliciting Australia’s assistance in preparing an attack on Iran.  Needless to say, that report does not explain what capabilities Australia would possess which the USA would lack, but never-mind that.  Still, the report was picked up in too many places (see here, here and here ) to be ignored.  In one of these reports, Eric Margolis has described what such a US attack could look like.  It is worth quoting him in full:

Outline of a possible AngloZionist attack on Iran

The US and Israel will surely avoid a massive, costly land campaign again Iran, a vast, mountainous nation that was willing to suffer a million battle casualties in its eight-year war with Iraq that started in 1980. This gruesome war was instigated by the US, Britain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to overthrow Iran’s new popular Islamic government.

The Pentagon has planned a high-intensity air war against Iran that Israel and the Saudis might very well join. The plan calls for over 2,300 air strikes against Iranian strategic targets: airfields and naval bases, arms and petroleum, oil and lubricant depots, telecommunication nodes, radar, factories, military headquarters, ports, waterworks, airports, missile bases and units of the Revolutionary Guards.

Iran’s air defenses range from feeble to non-existent. Decades of US-led military and commercial embargos against Iran have left it as decrepit and enfeebled as was Iraq when the US invaded in 2003. The gun barrels of Iran’s 70’s vintage tanks are warped and can’t shoot straight, its old British and Soviet AA missiles are mostly unusable, and its ancient MiG and Chinese fighters ready for the museum, notably its antique US-built F-14 Tomcats, Chinese copies of obsolete MiG-21’s, and a handful of barely working F-4 Phantoms of Vietnam War vintage.

Air combat command is no better. Everything electronic that Iran has will be fried or blown up in the first hours of a US attack. Iran’s little navy will be sunk in the opening attacks. Its oil industry may be destroyed or partially preserved depending on US post-war plans for Iran.

The only way Tehran can riposte is by staging isolated commando attacks on US installations in the Mideast of no decisive value, and, of course, blocking the narrow Strait of Hormuz that carries two-thirds of Mideast oil exports. The US Navy, based nearby in Bahrain, has been practicing for decades to combat this threat.

There is a lot of interesting material in this description and I think that it is worth looking into it segment by segment.

First, I can only agree with Margolis that neither the USA nor Israel want a ground war against Iran: the country is too big, the Iranians too well prepared and the size of the force needed for such a campaign way beyond what the Empire can currently muster.

Second, Margolis is absolutely correct when he says that Iran does not have the means to stop a determined AngloZionist (missiles and aircraft) attack. Iran does have some modern air-defense capabilities, and the attackers will sustain a number of losses, but at this point, the size disparity is so huge that the AngloZionists will achieve air superiority fairly soon and that will give them an opportunity to bomb whatever they want to bomb (more about that later).

[Sidebar: assessing Iranian air defenses is not just a matter of counting missiles and launchers, however, and there is much more to this.  According to one Russian source Iran has 4 long range anti-aircraft missile S-300PMU-2 systems (with 48Н6Е2 Mach 6,6 interceptor missiles), 29 military anti-aircraft self-propelled missile complexes Tor-M1, some fairly advanced anti-aircraft missile complexes like the Bavar-373, a passive electronically scanned array radar (whose illumination and guidance system almost certainly includes modern Chinese electronics) and an impressive number of radar systems early warning radar of the Russian, Chinese and Iranian manufacture.   This category includes systems like the high-potential long-range radar detection and target designation Najm-802 radar (has 5120 receiving and transmitting modules, operates in the decimeter S-range and is designed to detect ballistic targets and small elements of high-precision weapons), the Russian meter radar “Nebo-SVU” advanced early warning and control system with a fixed-array radar, as well as a meter range early warning radar of the type “Ghadir” .  Most importantly, these radars are all integrated into the network-centric missile defense system of Iran. For example, the “Ghadir” radar is able to detect not only the tactical fighters of the USAF, the KSA and Israel, but also ballistic missiles immediately after launch (at a distance of about 1100 km). As a result, the presence of Iranian radio engineering units of multi-band radar detection facilities in the Western direction (the Persian Gulf) will allow the Iranians to prepare a flexible echeloned air defense to defend against high-intensity missile strikes.  And yet, no matter how much the Iranians have improved their air defenses, the sheer number of of missiles (including the new advanced AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) low observable standoff air-launched cruise missile delivered by B-1B bombers) means that the Iranian defenses will inevitably be overwhelmed by any massive attack.]

I therefore also agree with Margolis that the Iranian oil industry cannot be protected from a determined US/Israeli attack.  In fact, the entire Iranian infrastructure is vulnerable to attack.

Margolis’ final paragraph, however, makes it sound like Iran does not have credible retaliatory options and that I very much disagree with.

Example one: Iranian capabilities in the Strait of Hormuz

For one thing, the issue of the Strait of Hormuz is much more complicated than just “the US Navy has practiced for years to combat this threat“.  The reality is that Iran has a very wide range of options to make shipping through this strait practically impossible.  These options range from underwater mines, to fast craft attacks, to anti-shipping missiles, to coastal artillery strikes, etc.

[Sidebar: Therein also lies a big danger: the Israelis and or the US could very easily organize a false flag attack on any ship in the Strait of Hormuz, then accuse Iran, there would be the usual “highly likely” buzzword from all the AngloZionst intelligence agencies and, voilà, the Empire would have a pretext to attack Iran.]

In fact, the mere fact of issuing a threat to shipping through this narrow body of water might well deter insurances from providing coverage to any ships and that might stop the shipping all by itself.  Should that not be enough, Iran can always lay even a limited amount of mines, and that will be enough (please keep in mind that while the USN could try to engage in mineclearing operations, to do so right off the coast of Iran would expose USN minesweepers to an extreme danger of attack).

Margolis does mention this issue when he writes:

While Iran may be able to interdict some oil exports from the Arab states and cause maritime insurance rates to skyrocket, it’s unlikely to be able to block the bulk of oil exports unless it attacks the main oil terminals in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf with ground troops. During the Iran-Iraq war, neither side was able to fully interdict the other’s oil exports.

However, I believe that grossly under-estimates the Iranian capabilities in this context.  Let’s take one example, the Iranian submarine force.

The Iranian submarine force is a highly specialized one.  According to the 2018 Edition of the IISS’s Military Balance, the Iranians currently have 21 submarines deployed:

  • 3 Taregh-class diesel-electric submarine  (Russian Kilo-class Project-877EKM)
  • 1 Fateh-class coastal submarine
  • 16 Ghadir-class midget submarines
  • 1 Nahand-class midget submarine

When most people hear “diesel-electric,” they think of old diesel trucks, and are not impressed, especially when these are contrasted with putatively “advanced” nuclear attack submarines. This is, however, a very mistaken opinion because submarines can only to be assessed in the environment they are designed to operate in. Naval geography is typically roughly divided into three types: blue water (open ocean), green water (continental shelves) and brown water (coastal regions). Nuclear attack submarines are only superior in the blue water environment where autonomy, speed, diving depth, weapon storage capacity, advanced sonars, etc. are crucial. In comparison, while diesel-electric submarines are slower, need to resurface to recharge their batteries and are typically smaller and with fewer weapons onboard, they are also much better suited for green water operations. In shallow brown water, midget submarines reign, if only because nuclear attack submarines were never designed to operate in such an environment. Now take a quick look at the kind of environment the Strait of Hormuz constitutes:

 

Notice the interesting combination of very shallow and shallow depth typical of brown water and then the green water type of environment when going further into the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.  With this in mind, let’s see what kind of submarine force Iran has acquired/developed:

For brown water operations (Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz) Iran has a relatively large and capable fleet of midget submarines. For green water operations (the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea), Iran has three formidable Taregh/Kilo-class submarines (which are even capable of limited blue water operations, though with much less autonomy, speed, armament or sonar than a nuclear attack submarine).  Just like “diesel-electric”, the term “midget” submarine makes it sound that we are talking about a toy or, at best, some primitive third world hack which, at best, could be used to smuggle drugs. In reality, however, the Iranian “midgets” can carry the same heavyweight torpedoes (533 mm) as the Kilos, only in smaller quantities. This also means that they can carry the same missiles and mines. In fact, I would argue that Iranian Ghadir-class “midget” submarines represent a much more formidable threat in the Persian Gulf than even the most advanced nuclear attack submarines could.

[Sidebar: the USA has stopped producing diesel-electric submarines many years ago because it believed that being a hegemonic power with a typical (aircraft carrier-centric) blue water navy it had no need for green or brown water capabilities. Other countries (such as Russia, Germany, Sweden and others) actively pursued a diesel-electric submarine program (including so-called “air-independent propulsion” – AIP – ones) because they correctly understood that these submarines are much cheaper while being also much better suited for coastal defensive operations.  Ditching diesel-electric submarines was yet another major mistake by US force planners; see this article on this topic.  The new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer were supposed to partially palliate to this lack of green and brown capabilities, but both turned out to be a disaster]

The Russian Kilo-class submarines are some of the most silent yet heavily armed submarines ever built, and they could potentially represent a major threat to any US naval operations against Iran.  However, we can be pretty sure that the USN tracks them 24/7 and that the Kilos would become a prime target (whether in port or at sea) at the very beginning of any AngloZionist attack. But would the USN also be capable of keeping track of the much smaller (and numerous) Iranian midget submarines? Your guess is as good as mine, but I personally very much doubt that, if only because these relatively small subs are very easy to hide. Just take a look at this photo of a Ghadir-class submarine and imagine how easy it would be to hide them or, alternatively, create decoy looking just like the real thing. Yet this midget submarine’s torpedoes could sink any vessel in the Persian Gulf with a single torpedo.

While the US definitely has a lot of very capable reconnaissance and intelligence capabilities available to try to locate and then destroy these threats, we also know that the Iranians have had decades to prepare for this scenario and that they are truly masters at what is called maskirovka in Russian military terminology: a combination of camouflage, concealment, deception, and misdirection. In fact, the Iranians are the ones who trained Hezbollah in Lebanon in this art and we all know what happened to the Israelis when they confidently waltzed into southern Lebanon only to find out that for all their reconnaissance/intelligence capabilities they were unable to deal with even a relatively primitive (technologically speaking) Hezbollah missile capability. For all the patriotic flag-waving, the truth is that if the Iranians decide to block the Strait of Hormuz the only option left for the US will be to land a force on the Iranian shore and engage in a limited but still extremely dangerous offensive land-attack operation. At this point, whether this counter-attack is successful or not will be irrelevant, as there will be so much combat activity in this narrow bottleneck that nobody will even consider to bring ships through it.

I also believe that Margolis is wrong when he writes that all Iran could do would be to stage “isolated commando attacks on US installations in the Mideast of no decisive value“.  One very real Iranian option would be to strike US targets (of which there are plenty in the Middle-East) with various missiles.  Furthermore, Iran can also launch missiles at US allies (Israel or the KSA) and interests (Saudi oil fields).

Example two: Iranian missile capabilities

I would not trust everything the CSIS writes (they are a very biased source, to put it mildly), but on this page, they posted a pretty good summary of the current Iranian missile capability:

On the same page, CSIS also offers a more detailed list of current and developed Iranian missiles:

(You can also check on this Wikipedia page to compare with the CSIS info on Iranian missiles)

The big question is not whether Iran has capable missiles, but how many exactly are deployed.  Nobody really knows this because the Iranians are deliberately being very vague, and for obvious and very good reasons.  However, judging by the example of Hezbollah, we can be pretty sure that the Iranians also have these missiles in large enough numbers to represent a very credible deterrent capability.  I would even argue that such a missile force not only represents a capable deterrent capability, but also a very useful war-fighting one.  Can you imagine what would happen if US bases (especially airbases and naval facilities) in the region came under periodic Iranian missile attacks?  Judging by the Israeli experience during the First Gulf War or, for that matter, the recent Saudi experience with the Houthi missiles, we can be pretty sure that the US Patriots will be useless to defend against Iranian missiles.

Oh sure, just like the US did during the First Gulf War, and the Israelis did in 2006, the AngloZionists will start a massive hunt for Iranian missile sites, but judging by all the recent wars, these hunts will not be successful enough and the Iranians will be able to sustain missile strikes for quite a long time.   Just imagine what one missile strike, say, every 2-3 days on a US base in the region would do to operations or morale!

Reality check: the US is vulnerable throughout the entire Middle-East

Above I only listed two specific capabilities (subs and missiles), but the same type of analysis could be made with Iranian small speedboat swarms, electronic warfare capabilities or even cyber-warfare.  But the most formidable asset the Iranians have is a very sophisticated and educated population which has had decades to prepare for an attack by the “Great Satan” and which have clearly developed an array of asymmetrical options to defend themselves and their country against the (probably inevitable) AngloZionist attack.

You have probably seen at least one map showing US military installations in the Middle-East (if not, see here, here or here).  Truth be told, the fact that Iran is surrounded by US forces and bases presents a major threat to Iran.  But the opposite is also true. All these US military facilities are targets, often very vulnerable ones.  Furthermore, Iran can also use proxies/allies in the region to attack any of these targets.  I highly recommend that you download this factsheet and read it while thinking of the potential of each listed facility to become the target of an Iranian attack.

The usual answer which I often hear to these arguments is that if the Iranians actually dared to use missiles or strike at the US bases in the region, the retaliation by the USA would be absolutely terrible.  However, according to Eric Margolis, the initial and main goal of a US-Israeli attack on Iran would be to “totally destroy Iran’s infrastructure, communications and transport (including oil) crippling this important nation of 80 million and taking it back to the pre-revolutionary era“.  Now let me ask you this simple question: if Margolis is correct – and I personally believe that he is – then how would that outcome be different from the “absolutely terrible” retaliation supposedly planned by the USA in case of Iranian counterattack?  Put differently – if the Iranians realize that the AngloZionists want to lay waste to their country (say, like what the Israelis did to Lebanon in 2006), what further possible escalation would further deter them from counter-attacking with the means available to them?

To answer this question we need to look again at the real nature of the “Iranian problem” for the AngloZionists.

Real AngloZionist objectives for an attack on Iran

First and foremost, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Iran has any kind of military nuclear program.  The fact that the Israelis have for years been screaming about this urbi et orbi does not make it true.  I would also add that common sense strongly suggests that the Iranians would have absolutely no logical reason to develop any kind of nuclear weapons.  I don’t have the time and space to argue this point again (I have done so many times in the past), so I will simply refer to the US National Intelligence Estimate’s conclusion that Iran had “halted its nuclear weapons program” and leave it at that.

[Sidebar: I don’t believe that the Iranians ever had a nuclear weapons program either, but that is irrelevant: even if they once had one, that would put them on par with many other countries which took some initial steps in the development of such a capability and then gave it up.  The only point is that it is the official US position that there is no current military nuclear program in Iran.]

The real problem of Iran is very simple.  Iran is the only country in the world which is:

  1. Islamic and leads the struggle against the Saudi/Daesh/ISIS/al-Qaeda/etc. ideology of takfirism and the terrorism they promote
  2. Openly anti-Zionist and anti-Imperialist and combines conservative religious values with progressive social policies
  3. Successful politically, economically and militarily and thereby threatens the monopoly of power of Israel in the region

Any one of those features by itself would already constitute a grievous case of crimethink from the point of view of the Empire and would fully deserve a reaction of absolute hatred, fear and a grim determination to eliminate the government and people which dare to support it.  No wonder that by combining all three Iran is so hated by the AngloZionists.

This entire canard about some Iranian nuclear a program is just a pretext for a hate campaign and a possible attack on Iran.  But in reality, the goals of the AngloZionists is not to disarm Iran, but exactly as Margolis says: to bomb this “disobedient” country and people “back to the pre-revolutionary era”.

Here is the key thing: the Iranians perfectly understand that. The obvious conclusion is this: if the purpose of an AngloZionist attack will be to bomb Iran back into the pre-revolutionary era, then why would the Iranians hold back and not offer the maximal resistance possible?

Because of the threat of a US nuclear retaliation?

US nuclear attack options – not much of an option in reality

Here again, we need to look at the context, not just assume that the use of nuclear weapons is some kind of magical panacea which immediately forces the enemy to give up the fight and to unconditionally surrender. This is far from being the truth.

First, nuclear weapons are only effective when used against a lucrative target.  Just murdering civilians like what the USA did in Japan does absolutely no good if your goal is to defeat your opponent’s armed forces.  If anything, nuking your opponents “value” targets will might only increase his determination to fight to the end.  I have no doubt that, just as during the first Gulf War, the USA has already made a typical list of targets it would want to strike in Iran: a mix of key government buildings and installations and a number of military units and facilities.  However, in most cases, those could also be destroyed by conventional (non-nuclear) weapons.  Furthermore, since the Iranians have had decades to prepare for this scenario (the USA has always had Iran in its sights since the 1979 Revolution), you can be quite sure that all the peacetime facilities have been duplicated for wartime situations. Thus while many high-visibility targets will be destroyed, their wartime counterparts will immediately take over.  One might think that nukes could be used to destroy deeply buried targets, and this is partially true, but some targets are buried too deep to be destroyed (even by a nuclear blast) while others are duplicated several times (say, for 1 peacetime military headquarters there would be 4, 5 or even 6 concealed and deeply buried ones).  To go after each one of them would require using even more nukes and that begs the question of the political costs of such a campaign of nuclear strikes.

In political terms, the day the USA uses a nuclear weapon against any enemy it will have committed a political suicide from which the Hegemony will never recover. While a majority of US Americans might consider that “might makes right” and “screw the UN”, for the rest of the world the first use of nuclear weapons (as opposed to a retaliatory counter-strike) is an unthinkable abomination and crime, especially for an illegal act of aggression (there is no way the UNSC will authorize a US attack on Iran). Even if the White House declares that it “had to” use nukes to “protect the world” against the “nuclear armed Ayatollah”, the vast majority of the planet will react with total outrage (especially after the Iraqi WMD canard!). Furthermore, any US nuclear strike will instantly turn the Iranians from villains into victims. Why would the US decide to pay such an exorbitant political price just to use nuclear weapons on targets which would not yield any substantial advantage for the US? Under normal circumstances, I would think that this kind of unprovoked use of nuclear weapons would be quite unthinkable and illogical. However, in the current political context in the USA, there is one possibility which really frightens me.

Trump as the “disposable President” for the Neocons?

The Neocons hate Trump, but they also own him.  The best example of this kind of “ownership” is the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem which was an incredibly stupid act, but one which the Israel Lobby demanded.  The same goes for the US reneging on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or, for that matter, the current stream of threats against Iran.  It appears that the Neocons have a basic strategy which goes like this: “we hate Trump and everything he represents, but we also control him; let’s use him to do all the crazy stuff no sane US President would ever do, and then let’s use the fallout of these crazy decisions and blame it all on Trump; this way we get all that we want and we get to destroy Trump in the process only to replace him with one of “our guys” when the time is right“.   Again, the real goal of an attack on Iran would be to bomb Iran back into a pre-revolutionary era and to punish the Iranian people for supporting the “wrong” regime thus daring to defy the AngloZionist Empire.  The Neocons could use Trump as a “disposable President” who could be blamed for the ensuing chaos and political disaster while accomplishing one of the most important political objectives of Israel: laying waste to Iran.  For the Neocons, this is a win-win situation: if things go well (however unlikely that is), they can take all the credit and still control Trump like a puppet, and if things don’t go well, Iran is in ruins, Trump is blamed for  a stupid and crazy war, and the Clinton gang will be poised to come back to power.

The biggest loser in such a scenario would, of course, be the people of Iran. But the US military will not fare well either. For one thing, a plan to just “lay waste” to Iran has no viable exit strategy, especially not a short-term one, while the US military has no stomach for long conflicts (Afghanistan and Iraq are bad enough). Furthermore, once the USA destroys most of what can be destroyed the initiative will be in the Iranians’ hands and time will be on their side. In 2006 the Israelis had to fold after 33 days only, how much time will the US need before having to declare victory and leave? If the war spreads to, say, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria, then will the US even have the option to just leave? What about the Israelis – what options will they have once missiles start hitting them (not only Iranian missiles but probably also Hezbollah missiles from Lebanon!)?

Former Mossad head Meir Dagan was fully correct when he stated that a military attack on Iran was “the stupidest thing I have ever heard”.  Alas, the Neocons have never been too bright, and stupid stuff is what they mostly do.  All we can hope for is that somebody in the USA will find a way to stop them and avert another immoral, bloody, useless and potentially very dangerous war.

The Saker

LA GUERRE EST FINIE; ISIS ANNIHILATED IN SYRIA AS TERRORISTS SEEK TO RETURN TO EUROPE – By ZIAD FADEL

With the war in Syria now a vanishing memory, the Syrian Army turns its attention to the north where rodents have recently formed a new front excluding Hay’at Tahreer Al-Shaam (HTS).  Needless to say, Jaysh Al-Islam, the Saudi funded terrorist group that fancied itself some kind of conventional army has been eradicated.  Muhammad ‘Alloosh is reportedly in Turkey or Saudi Arabia wolfing down Alka Seltzer tablets.  He has already been condemned to death and faces a noose the instant he tries to enter Syria.  This new front is primarily made up of the Noor-Al-Deen Al-Zangi group some (which is renowned for its “moderate character” as it beheaded a 12 year-old Palestinian boy in front of cameras) along with a mish-mash of other criminals.  I am told that the individual rodent who beheaded the boy is wanted by the PFLP-GC dead or alive, preferably the former.  If he is taken alive, as the great British director, Ken Russell, once wrote:  “Hell will hold no surprises for him”.

As I reported before, the Kurds are deeply suspicious of American intentions and do not have the desire to repeat historic disasters.  Ghassan Kadi’s article, listed below, is in basic agreement with this proposition.  It is fair to say that even the Kurd issue has been resolved through negotiation – a much more civilized way to resolve conflict.  However, the Syrian government is insisting on Kurdish disarmament, an issue that may encounter some stumbling blocks.

At Al-Qaseer in the Golan, ISIS has been routed from its last stronghold by the Syrian Army.  ISIS terrorists have been monitored looking for ways out of the Middle East, most heading back to Europe or, even, Bangla Desh.  With Angela Merkel in office, we can expect Germany to turn into another Afghanistan if she is given the authority to open European doors to the fleeing rodents.

I have a close relative in Syria who tells me everything is returning to normal.  While there is some fear that the terrorists holed up in Idlib might target Latakia, the Russians have relayed Turk assurances that such a scenario is not going to take place.  Of course, Erdoghan is treacherous and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.  We cannot sit rest assured he won’t renege on his promises.

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are returning home.  The news is that the amnesty program is working and is taken seriously by the government.  That is, unless you have a known history of killing Syrian soldiers or security men who were taken hostage.  Those individuals, their hands bloodied, are winding up in European capitals, Canada or the United States.  Applications for refugee status are indicators of an unwillingness to return to Syria out of fear of arrest and trial.  Individuals, such as those in Lebanon are returning without any fear.

Since the Russians have taken a negative attitude toward the liberation of Idlib, we will start to concentrate on that particular issue in future posts.  I will not be reporting on SAA assaults in the East for the reason that these pockets of cockroaches are doomed either because of the elements or their own psychological depression.  The terrorists at Al-Tanf are expected to surrender the moment the U.S. pulls out before the end of the year.  Some may try to move to Jordan, but, the majority will probably melt into the general population – or so they think.  There is a suggestion by some that Jordan will pick up where the U.S. left off at Al-Tanf with Saudis picking up the tab.

NEWS AND COMMENT:

The Western tune has changed indeed.  Read how the liars lick their collective wounds:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/23/the-syrian-war-is-over-and-america-lost/

Note how articles like this one are winding up in the public domain.  This makes the NYT grimace:

http://thefederalist.com/2018/08/01/trump-ignore-failed-dc-establishment-get-u-s-troops-syria/

Ghassan Kadi discusses the Kurdish situation with Sputnik:  Thanks, Intibah:

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201808031066917418-syria-kurds-thaw/

How Mossad became the world leader in assassinations with over 800 ‘operations’ in the last decade – By Dominic Sandbrook ( The Daily Mail) (SOTT)

Mossad logo

Forty years ago, Wadie Haddad was one of the world’s most wanted men. Bold, determined, ruthless, Haddad was the founder of the far-Left Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

He trained notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal and masterminded the hijack of an Air France plane that was flown to Entebbe in Uganda and later rescued by Israeli commandos.

Not surprisingly, the Israeli secret service, Mossad, wanted him dead. But six years after they first put out a ‘kill order’, Haddad was still very much alive, living in apparent comfort in Baghdad.

What happened next was worthy of a James Bond thriller. On January 10, 1978, a Mossad agent inside Haddad’s inner circle, known only as Sadness, switched his toothpaste for an identical tube laced with a deadly toxin, developed in a secret laboratory near Tel Aviv.

Wadie Haddad

Forty years ago, Wadie Haddad was one of the world’s most wanted men. Bold, determined, ruthless, Haddad was the founder of the far-Left Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Every time Haddad brushed his teeth, a tiny quantity of the toxin worked its way through his gums into his bloodstream.

Little by little, he began to die. His Palestinian friends contacted the East German secret police, who flew him to a hospital in East Berlin. Ten days later, bleeding from every orifice, Haddad died in agony.

The doctors were baffled. But back in Israel, Mossad congratulated itself on a job well done.

What happened to Haddad, argues Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman in a riveting new book, was merely the most melodramatic example of what is now an enduring pattern.

Israel, a country born in bloodshed, has become the world leader in assassinations.

The numbers alone are extraordinary. Not only have Mossad’s secret agents killed more people than the agents of any other state since World War II, but the pace has rapidly increased, with some 800 operations in the past decade.

The number of deaths will never be known for sure, but they are in the thousands.

There is, of course, something irresistibly fascinating about the idea of the globe-trotting secret agent, moving through the murky world of Middle Eastern politics with a licence to kill. And some of Bergman’s stories do have the flavour of a Hollywood spy blockbuster.

One operation in 1968 was directly inspired by the film The Manchurian Candidate, with Mossad hiring a Swedish-born psychologist to brainwash a Palestinian prisoner into murdering Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

The psychologist picked a suitable prisoner and spent three months hypnotising him with the simple message: ‘Arafat bad. He must be removed’.

The prisoner, known only as Fatkhi, was trained to shoot at pictures of Arafat, hidden in a specially prepared room.

On December 19, 1968, a Mossad team smuggled Fatkhi across the River Jordan, from where he was supposed to infiltrate Arafat’s headquarters.

Then they waited. Five hours later, news came. Fatkhi had wasted no time. He had gone straight to a police station and accused Mossad of trying to brainwash him. The operation was an abject failure.

In recent years, however, Mossad has lived up to its reputation as the most efficient secret killing machine in the world. One operation in Dubai proves the point. In January 2010, a team of several dozen Mossad agents flew to the oil-rich emirate on false passports, wearing wigs and false moustaches.

Disguised as tourists and tennis players – some of them even carried racquets – they broke into a room at the luxurious Al-Bustan Hotel.

There they waited for their quarry, top Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. As soon as al-Mabhouh let himself into his room, they grabbed him and used a high-tech ultrasound instrument to inject poison into his neck without even breaking the skin.

He died within moments. Four hours later, most of the team had already flown out of Dubai. Job done.

killed in a Mossad bombing

Revenge: Ali Hassan Salameh, whose group murdered 11 Israeli athletes, was killed in a Mossad bombing, pictured

All this might sound swashbuckling or heroic. In reality, there is nothing glamorous about Bergman’s story.

Indeed, the first man to die in his book is not some Palestinian terrorist or Left-wing extremist. It is a British policeman: Detective Superintendent Tom Wilkin, from Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast.

In the autumn of 1944, Wilkin was in Jerusalem, where he was in charge of cracking down on Zionist guerillas.

At the time, Jerusalem was part of British-governed Palestine, where the authorities were struggling to keep a lid on the tensions between Zionists – who wanted an independent Jewish state – and their Palestinian neighbours.

To the Jewish militants in the terrorist Stern Gang, Wilkin was not a man. He was a target. In September, 1944, as he was strolling down a street, a boy sitting outside a grocery store threw down his hat – a sign the target was in range.

Moments later, two young Jewish men opened fire with revolvers. Wilkin ‘managed to turn around and draw his pistol,’ one assailant, David Shomron, recalled, ‘but then he fell face first. A spurt of blood came out of his forehead, like a fountain.’

Shomron did not feel the slightest remorse. ‘Not even a little twinge of guilt,’ he said later. ‘We believed the more coffins that reached London, the closer the day of freedom would be.’

The Manchurian Candidate

One operation in 1968 was directly inspired by the film The Manchurian Candidate

That terrible phrase – ‘the more coffins that reached London’ – captures the mood of Bergman’s book. For, as cold-blooded as this sounds, Shomron was proved right.

Faced with a wave of killings, including the infamous 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, in which 91 mostly British officials were killed, Clement Attlee’s government decided to get out. The Zionists got what they wanted.

But the blood that gushed from poor Tom Wilkin’s head would soon become a torrent.

The state of Israel was born amid brutal ethnic cleansing, with Jewish and Palestinian neighbours slaughtering one another in their thousands, while the new country’s Arab neighbours tried to strangle it at birth. It is hardly surprising that, ever since, Israel’s leaders have been driven by insecurity. After all, Israel has always been surrounded by hostile states, most of which deny that it even has the right to exist.

Comment: The author would seem to be putting Palestinian self defense on par with Israel’s acts of ethic cleansing. And then justifies whatever culpability he does give Israel with ‘because the holocaust’ – which, if anything, should make Israelis more sensitized to racial and religious injustice and genocide – not less.

On top of that, no Israeli can ever forget the awful shadow of the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis.

Even today, hatred of Jews remains a monstrous feature of Europe’s political landscape – as evidenced by the appalling goings – on inside the Labour Party, where leader Jeremy Corbyn and his friends have turned a blind eye to the resurgence of the most poisonous anti-Semitism. No wonder, then, that in the struggle for survival, Israel’s leaders have reached so often for the bomb and bullet.

‘If someone comes to kill you,’ says the sacred Jewish text, the Talmud, ‘rise up and kill him first.’

As Bergman argues, that has been the principle guiding Mossad, as well as Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet and the army intelligence agency Aman, since the state’s foundation 70 years ago.

Former Mossad director Meir Dagan, who ordered hundreds of assassinations between 2002 and 2011, kept a picture of his Polish-born grandfather, on his knees and surrounded by German soldiers, moments before he was shot and thrown into a mass grave.

Meir Dagan

Former Mossad director Meir Dagan (pictured) who ordered hundreds of assassinations between 2002 and 2011, kept a picture of his Polish-born grandfather, on his knees and surrounded by German soldiers, moments before he was shot and thrown into a mass grave

The lesson, Dagan told Bergman before his death in 2016, was that ‘most of the Jews in the Holocaust died without fighting. We must never reach that situation again, kneeling, without the ability to fight for our lives.’

Comment: And yet this same sentiment cannot be afforded to Palestinians who must be labelled terrorists – when they have the legal right to resist an occupation that is killing them a bit at a time, a bit at a time, a bit at a time…

Bergman’s own story, by the way, is fascinating. Although this book has earned him a reputation as a whistle-blower, he is the very antithesis of a simplistic, bleeding-hearted activist.

Born in 1972 to parents who were both Holocaust survivors, he did his national service in the intelligence unit of Israel’s Military Police Corps, has a PhD from Cambridge and is now a senior correspondent for Israel’s largest newspaper.

Based on 1,000 interviews and vast numbers of leaked documents, his book often reads like a John le Carre novel. But it took considerable courage for him to publish it.

While he was working on it, the chief of the Israel Defense Forces accused him of ‘aggravated espionage’ and even asked the security services to take action against him.

Why? The reason is that Bergman sheds an unsparing light on the human cost of Israel’s targeted killings policy. He shows, for example, that when operations have taken place overseas, Israel’s agents were, and probably still are, unforgivably casual about civilian victims.

Comment: Wow, a little objectivity finally!

Perhaps the most chilling section of his book concerns an operation in 1973 – and which was about as far from the glamour and romance of a James Bond thriller as you could possibly imagine.

That summer, Mossad was on the hunt for Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the most wanted men in the world. Salameh was chief of operations for Black September, the Palestinian terrorist group that murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.

Mossad wanted him dead, but the trail had gone cold. Then came a miracle. In Lillehammer, Norway, an Israeli secret agent spotted Salameh in a cafe. Word went back to Tel Aviv and a hit squad was assembled. On July 21, as Salameh and his girlfriend got off a bus on their way home from the cinema, the assassins were waiting in a rented Volvo. They leaped out of the car, fired eight shots, jumped back in their car and screeched away, leaving their target in a pool of blood.

It was almost the perfect hit, but for just one problem. They had killed the wrong man.

It was not Salameh, but Ahmed Bouchikhi, a Moroccan waiter with a heavily pregnant wife.

In the aftermath, Norwegian police arrested six Israeli agents. Five served time in Norway, though all were released quickly under a secret deal. When the five returned to Israel, they were greeted as heroes. Few questioned the basic morality of the operation; it was just a shame, they thought, that Mossad had got the wrong man.

But they did get him eventually. On January 22, 1979, Salameh had just left his Beirut apartment when a female Israeli agent, watching from her balcony, pressed a button and a gigantic car bomb ripped through the street.

Eight bystanders were also killed, including a German nun and a British student, but nobody at Mossad cared. ‘You get used to killing,’ explains former security chief Ami Ayalon. ‘Human life becomes easy to dispose of. You spend a quarter of an hour, 20 minutes, on who to kill.’

In a chillingly familiar phrase, Ayalon even calls this the ‘banality of evil’ – words borrowed from the German philosopher Hannah Arendt, who used it to describe the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. That tells its own story.

And although Bergman shows why decent people can feel they have no choice but to take terrible decisions, he also shows the consequences of crossing the line between good and evil.

In the early Eighties, for example, Israeli defence minister, and later prime minister, Ariel Sharon’s obsession with killing Yasser Arafat led him into one of the darkest chapters in Israel’s modern history. At the time, Israel was embroiled in a horrific civil war in Lebanon, which killed at least 120,000 people.

There, on Sharon’s orders, his army colluded with the local Christian Phalange, a militia who murdered hundreds, if not thousands, of Muslims in a Beirut slaughterhouse, cut off their ears as souvenirs and buried their bodies in lime pits. Almost incredibly, Sharon did not stop there.

Some of Bergman’s interviewees told him that on five occasions in 1982, Sharon seriously contemplated shooting down an ordinary civilian airliner when he heard that Arafat might be aboard.

On each occasion the Israeli military refused to obey, sometimes deliberately dithering until it was too late. Had they not done so, hundreds of ordinary passengers would have died in what Bergman calls ‘an intentional war crime’.

No doubt all this will be grist to the mill of Israel’s critics. On the Left, in particular, criticism of Israel has become an automatic reflex, often tinged with more than a hint of anti-Semitism.

There are, of course, good reasons to be critical of Israel. I find it impossible to justify its harsh treatment of the defeated Palestinians, or its callous, cynical policy of expanding Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

Comment: Sounds about right, but then…

Yet after all the Jews have suffered – pogroms, persecution and the unspeakable obscenity of the Holocaust – what reasonable person would begrudge them a homeland of their own?

And who can blame them for fighting to defend that homeland from those who would destroy it?

Comment: Defending one’s homeland is one thing – instigating wars of aggression (both overt and covert) in order to create Israel’s version of lebensraum – is quite another: From Yinon to Ya’alon: Israel’s strategy to balkanize the Middle East at any cost

Ever since 1948, as Bergman himself points out, the threats to Israel’s existence have been only too real. One of his book’s most powerful images is a picture of an Israeli woman, drenched in her own blood, being carried away after a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

Sharon used to show it to foreign diplomats whenever they questioned Israel’s targeted assassination programme. Given Israel’s bloody history and dangerous present, I understand why its agents feel they must act as they do.

The question, though, is whether the killings are working. For the past 70 years, the deaths have piled up, yet still there is no peace. The blood flows, but still Israel is not safe.

Its enemies, of course, deserve a large share of the blame. But perhaps killing has become so easy that Israel’s leaders have stopped looking for other solutions. Either way, the end is nowhere in sight – and so Mossad’s killings go on. Because of their secretive nature, they rarely make the headlines.

But even as you are reading these words, someone, somewhere, is planning the next hit.

Rise And Kill First: The Secret History Of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, by Ronen Bergman, is published by John Murray, price £20.

Comment: And this is just what we know:

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