John Bolton: Warmonger… and Now, Kingmaker? – By Jefferson Morley / AlterNet

The new national security adviser has doled out $14 million to Republican candidates in the last five years.
 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

For John Bolton, warmongering abroad and partisan politics at home go hand in hand. As Bolton has advocated waging war on Iran and North Korea in recent years, he has built an empire of political influence with two political action committees that spread his hawkish views and support like-minded Republican candidates.

Since 2013 the Bolton PAC and Super PAC have raised more than $23 million and spent more than $14.1 million on Republican candidates and causes, according to FEC records. While previous national security advisers such as Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger have become political stars in the Republican Party, none has played the role of kingmaker that Bolton aspires to.

 

Such partisanship breaks with the tradition of the national security adviser as an honest broker of policy proposals coming from the military, the foreign service and the intelligence agencies. The job requires reconciling conflicting views before issues require the president to intervene.

“The obvious question is whether John Bolton has the temperament and the judgment for the job,” tweeted Richard Haass, former NSC official and head of the Council on Foreign Relations. Former president Jimmy Carter says Bolton’s appointment is a “disaster for our country.”

Another question is whether his donors will have outsized influence over U.S. policy. Bolton’s biggest backer is Robert Mercer, the New York financier and Trump supporter. Mercer has given Bolton $5 million, including $1 million in two $500,000 payments in late 2017.

Another big Bolton booster is the Falic family of Florida, which donated $175,000 since 2013. The Falics, who own a chain of duty-free shops in airports around the world, are also one of the biggest funders of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, according to the UK Independent. In 2012, Falic family members donated $45,000 to Netanyahu, according to the British daily, which cited Israeli public records.

If nothing else, Bolton is now in a position to generate political support for the wars he favors.

The Bolton PAC has donated to more than two-dozen Republican congressional and Senate candidates running in the 2018 midterm elections, according to FEC records. He gave $5,000 to Republican candidate Rick Saccone in the much-watched 18th congressional district race in Pennsylvania.

Bolton’s favorite candidate at the moment is Kevin Nicholson, Republican candidate for Senate in Wisconsin. In the first three months of 2018, the Bolton Super PAC has doled out $475,000 in independent expenditures to support Nicholson’s candidacy.

The website for Bolton’s Super PAC says it “will not make contributions to candidates, parties or PACs, but will aim to make America’s defense and foreign policy a significant factor in federal elections.”

Legally speaking, Bolton can continue fundraising in his new job. While the Hatch Act states that federal employees (excepting the president and vice president) may not “knowingly solicit, accept or receive a political contribution from any person,” the law exempts solicitations “for a multicandidate political committee.” Both of Bolton’s PACs are categorized by the FEC as multicandidate committees.

But three experts in election ethics said that Bolton should cease his PAC activities in his new job.

“Being responsible for soliciting checks for a political committee—especially unlimited super PAC donations—gives rise to the risk that a policy maker will do what’s best for big donors rather than the nation as a whole,” Ian Vandewalker, senior counsel at the Brennan Center in New York, wrote in an email. “Our national security is no place for divided loyalties.”

“It violates our democratic norms,” Stephen Spaulding, an attorney for Common Cause, said in a phone interview. “We should not have a national security adviser raising money in unlimited amounts to influence our election.”

Susan Lagon, senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute, wrote in an email, “My guess is that since Bolton’s PAC qualified as a multicandidate committee (FEC-speak for PAC) before he assumed his current role, he would not have to resign. That said, it would certainly be unseemly to continue his PAC activities, but this administration revels in doing the unseemly.”

If Bolton were to “advocate a candidate’s election or defeat on the basis of national security, that would be a clear violation” of the Hatch Act, Lagon added.

Bolton has used the PACs to promote himself as well as fellow Republicans. In 2014, he appeared in at least 20 TV advertisements aired on behalf of Republican candidates.

 

Jefferson Morley is AlterNet’s Washington correspondent. He is the author of The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (St. Martin’s Press).

First group of militants surrender arms & leave East Ghouta after Russia-brokered talks – By RT

 
The first group of militants have surrendered their arms and left East Ghouta as an increasing number of rebel fighters in Syria seek to disassociate themselves from Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists, the Russian military has announced.

“Certain representatives of illegal armed groups have intensified attempts to get in touch with the Syrian government forces and the Russian Center for Reconciliation with the aim of discussing their separation from the banned terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra,” Major General Yury Yevtushenko, the head of the Reconciliation Center in Syria, said in a statement on Friday.

Efforts to separate the so-called moderate opposition fighters from jihadists continue in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. The Syrian government established a humanitarian corridor which remains open to both civilians and militants who are willing to lay down their arms.

The first group of 13 militants used the gateway to leave the rebel-controlled Damascus suburb via Muhayam al-Wafideen corridor overnight. Video of the exodus under government watch shows fighters carrying their belongings and boarding vehicles to head to Idlib. Yevtushenko attributed the militant surrender to the “lengthy talks” held by the reconciliation center’s officers and jihadist groups.

No provocations followed the exit of militants, the general said, adding that those who have surrendered will be transported to Idlib, while negotiations continue regarding the surrender of other militants. The news of militants’ surrender coincided with a statement by the Jaysh Al-Islam group, which allegedly agreed to release Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) fighters from their prisons and send them towards Idlib as well. 

The situation in East Ghouta remains tense, Yevtushenko said, stressing that terrorists continue shelling civilian areas of Damascus and targeting those who are trying to flee the terrorist enclave. “The attacks are carried out even during the humanitarian pauses,” the general said, noting that none of the civilians managed to safely exit the terrorist-controlled areas in the past day.

The situation is getting so dire that people are prepared to flee by bypassing the corridors which are targeted by the militants, Yevtushenko said, citing reports received through the Russian Centre’s hotline.

Despite tensions in East Ghouta, the Russian Centre for Reconciliation has ensured “safe and unimpeded delivery” of the United Nations-Syrian Arab Red Crescent humanitarian convoy on Friday. The convoy of 13 trucks delivered 74 tons of food and medical supplies to East Ghouta’s Douma, which lies just 10 km north-east of the center of Damascus.

“Teams from ICRC, Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and UN in Eastern Ghouta delivered 2,400 food parcels that can sustain 12,000 people for one month, as well as 3,248 wheat flour bags,” the aid agency told RT in a statement. “The 13-truck delivery was part of a convoy that could not be fully unloaded on 5 March due to the security situation.”

“The needs of people remains massive,” Ralph El Hage, a representative from the Red Cross told RT. “You have medical needs, you need access to a good source of food, you also need to have access to clean water.”

Currently, the priority remains the delivery of medical supplies and food aid to the militant-controlled areas. SARC is currently waiting for “security guarantees” from the warring sides to deliver more supplies to the civilian population, El Hage added.

A Russia-backed ceasefire came into effect in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta late last month, following the UN Security Council resolution which called for a 30-day ceasefire across Syria. It envisions mutually agreed humanitarian pauses for aid deliveries and evacuation of civilians, through the specially established humanitarian corridor. However, the militants ignored the agreement and continue shelling Damascus and firing at those trying to leave the area even during those pauses. An estimated 400,000 people remain trapped in besieged Eastern Ghouta since 2013.

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Russia and China Challenge Dollar Domination – By F. William Engdahl

Author: F. William Engdahl

 

 

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The Russian government has recently announced it will issue nearly $1 billion equivalent in state bonds, but denominated not in US dollars as is mostly the case. Rather it will be the first sale of Russian bonds in China’s yuan. While $1 billion may not sound like much when compared with the Peoples’ Bank of China total holdings of US Government debt of more than $1 trillion or to the US Federal debt today of over $20 trillion, it’s significance lies beyond the nominal amount. It’s a test run by both governments of the potential for state financing of infrastructure and other projects independent of dollar risk from such events as US Treasury financial sanctions.

Russian Debt and China Yuan

Since the August 1998 sovereign default triggered by the West, Russian state finances have been prudent to almost a fault. The size of the national government debt is the lowest of any major industrial country, a mere 10.6% of GDP for the current year. This has enabled Russia to withstand the US financial warfare sanctions imposed since 2014, and forced the country to turn elsewhere for their financial stability. That “elsewhere” is increasingly called the Peoples’ Republic of China.

Now the Russian Ministry of Finance is reportedly planning the first sale of Russian debt in the form of bonds denominated in Chinese yuan currency. The size of the first offering, a testing of the market, will be 6 billion yuan or just under $1 billion. The sale is being organized by the state-owned Russian Gazprombank, the Bank of China Ltd., and China’s largest state bank, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China. The move is being accelerated by reports that the US Treasury is examining potential consequences of extending penalties, until now concentrated on Russian oil and gas projects, to include Russian sovereign debt in its sanctions warfare. The new yuan bond will be traded on the Moscow Exchange and will aim to sell to mainland Chinese investors as well as international and Russian borrowers at attractive interest rates.

Western sanctions or threats of sanctions are forcing Russia and China to cooperate more strategically on what is becoming the seed of a genuine alternative to the dollar system. The Russian yuan debt offerings will also give a significant boost to China’s desire to build the yuan as an accepted international currency.

China Petro-Yuan

The steps to begin issuing Russian state debt in yuan are paralleled by another major development towards broader international yuan acceptance vis a vis the US dollar. On December 13, Chinese regulators completed final testing in preparation for launch of not a dollar-backed, but rather, a yuan-backed oil futures contract to be traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. The implications are potentially large.

China is the world’s largest oil importing country. Control of financial oil futures markets until now has been the tightly-guarded province of Wall Street banks and the New York, London and other futures exchanges they control. Emergence of Shanghai as a major yuan-based oil futures center could significantly weaken dollar domination of oil trade.

Since the 1970’s oil shock and the 400% rise in the oil price from OPEC countries, Washington has maintained a strict regime in which the world’s most valuable commodity, oil, would be traded in US dollars alone. In December 1974, the US Treasury signed a secret agreement in Riyadh with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, “to establish a new relationship through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with the US Treasury borrowing operation” to buy US government debt with surplus petrodollars.

The Saudis agreed to enforce OPEC dollar-only oil sales in return for US sales of advanced military equipment (purchased for dollars of course) and a guarantee of protection from possible Israeli attack. This was the beginning of what then-US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger called recycling the petro-dollar. To the present, only two oil export country leaders, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Qaddafi, have tried to change the system and sell oil for euros or gold dinars. Now China is challenging the petro-dollar system in a different way with the petro-yuan.

The difference between Saddam Hussein or Qaddafi is that far more influential countries, Russia and now Iran, with China’s implicit support, are cooperating to avoid the dollar out of necessity forced by US pressure. That is a far stronger challenge to the US dollar than Iraq or Libya could ever manage.

The China yuan oil futures contract now will allow China’s trading partners to pay with gold or to convert yuan into gold without the necessity to keep money in Chinese assets or turn it into US dollars. Oil exporters such as Russia or Iran or Venezuela—all targets of US sanctions—can avoid those US sanctions by avoiding oil trades in dollars now. This past September Venezuela responded to US sanctions by ordering the state oil company and traders to make oil sale contracts into euro and not to pay or be paid in US dollars any longer.

Gold for oil?

The Shanghai International Energy Exchange will soon launch their crude-oil futures contract denominated in yuan. The Shanghai International Energy Exchange futures contract will streamline and solidify the process of selling oil to China for yuan that Russia began after sanctions in 2014. This will also allow other oil producers around the world to sell their oil for yuan instead of dollars. The crude oil futures contract will be the first commodity contract in China open to foreign investment funds, trading houses, and oil firms. The circumvention of US dollar trade could allow oil exporters such as Russia and Iran, for example, to bypass US sanctions.

To make the offer more attractive, China has linked the crude-oil futures contract with the option to efficiently convert yuan into physical gold through gold exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong. According to Wang Zhimin, director of the Center for Globalization and Modernization at China’s Institute of Foreign Economy and Trade, the possibility of converting the yuan oil futures into gold will give the Chinese futures a competitive advantage over Brent and West Texas Intermediate benchmarks.

Now Russia or Iran or other oil producers are in a position to sell oil to China for yuan or rubles, bypassing the dollar entirely. The shift is about to take place in the coming weeks as the yuan oil futures contract is officially launched. Further in October China and Russia launched what is called a payment versus payment (PVP) system for Chinese yuan and Russian ruble transactions that will reduce settlement risk for oil and other trades.

Already reportedly Russian oil and gas sales to China are being conducted in Ruble and Yuan and since the foolish US effort to isolate Qatar in the Persian Gulf, Qatar, a major LNG gas supplier to China has switched to pricing in yuan. Pressure is growing that at some point Saudi Arabia breaks its 1974 pact with Washington and sells its oil to China also for yuan.

Iran to Join EEU

A new element is about to be added to the growing cooperation across Eurasia centered around China and Russia, namely Iran. According to Behrouz Hassanolfat of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization, in a statement carried on Iranian state-owned Press-TV, as early as February, 2018 Iran is set to become a member of Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Presently the EEU, created in 2015, includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan to create a large zone for free transit of goods, services, capital and workers among member states. Presently the EEU is a market of 183 million people. Addition of Iran with its more than 80 million citizens would give a major boost to the economies of the EEU and to its economic importance, creating a common market of more than 263 million, with skilled labor, engineers, scientists and industrial know-how.

Iran has already announced, in face of escalating threats from Washington, that it seeks ways to sell its oil for non-dollar currencies. Integration into the EEU could bring a solution to this as Iran, Russia and China inevitably draw closer in face of relentless US pressures on all three.

Increasingly in proportion to the pressure from the West the nations of Eurasia are developing modes of growing their economies independent of US Treasury financial sanctions. In retrospect, it’s likely that those US sanctions will be seen as one of the more stupid attempts of Washington to dominate the economies of Eurasia.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
https://journal-neo.org/2017/12/20/russia-and-china-challenge-dollar-domination/

No ‘Red Lines’ After US-Backed Terrorists Massacre Idlib’s Foua Civilians – By Eva Bartlett [Sott.net]

© U-News
Photo of US-backed terrorist bus bombing against civilians in Syria

There are apparently no ‘red lines’ when it comes to the documented terrorism of death squads in Syria, be they the Free Syrian Army (FSA, who committed some of the most heinous massacres of Syrian civilians in 2011, in 2012, in 2013…), Nour al-Din al-Zenki child-beheaders, or Jaysh al-Islam (with their love of caging civilians to use as human shields and firing mortars on civilian areas of Damascus and outskirts).

On the afternoon of April 15, terrorist factions attacked buses carrying civilians from the long-besieged western Syria villages of Kafraya and Foua. Thus far, the death toll is reported to be at least 100, with some estimating a much higher number. Earlier Sputnik reported:

“The number of victims [in the explosion] is at least 70; over 130 are injured. It is difficult to say as there are many burnt bodies and body parts around the damaged buses,” noting that “hit the Rashidin area on Aleppo’s outskirts. The bus was waiting for entering the city of Aleppo.”

“The blast supposedly was caused by a suicide attacker who detonated an explosive device. The car with the attacker approached the buses disguised as a vehicle transporting food.”

Al Ikhbaria, Syrian TV, has multiple updates on the carnage wrought by the terrorist attack on these buses that carried civilians, including scenes of the injured civilians in hospital.

“A witness to the massacre told a Syrian journalist (shared by journalist Maytham al-Ashkar):

“”The ‘rebels’ brought a bus full of crisps. They tried to gather as many kids as possible around the vehicle. Then we heard a really loud explosion. A lot of children were killed, many were injured.”

“Our Blood is Cheap”: Why Foua and Kafraya Don’t Merit Fair Media Coverage

A journalist with U-News who sent photos and videos of the massacre of civilians asked the anguished rhetorical question one asks in such repeated situations: “Where are the mainstream media? Why don’t they report the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack on Foua and Kafraya?”

The answer is that the genuine torment these civilians have endured for years will never be fairly reported, it does not serve the agenda of demonizing the leader of Syria and the national army in order to win western public opinion for yet another ‘humanitarian’ intervention which destroys the Syrian nation and installs chaos in the place of the legitimate government.

None of the people terrorized by these mercenaries of the NATO/Zionist/Gulf/Turkish alliance over the years will be respected or recognized by the Western press, be they women and children victims of rocket attacks, sniping and mortar terrorism in and around Damascus; Syrian and allied journalists assassinated by the ‘moderates’; civilians of Aleppo for years bombed, sniped at and besieged by terrorist factions; or especially liberated civilians from eastern areas of Aleppo whose horrific testimonies directly negate the myth of ‘rebels’, ‘moderates’, or the falsity of Assad as the problem and the Syrian Arab Army as the ‘aggressor’.

As with civilian victims of suicide bombs in Beirut and Homs, Jableh and Tartous, (which I visited in July 2016) the civilians of Foua and Kafraya are rendered by the Western corporate media as either invisible or a sect not worthy of human consideration. Ironically, while Foua and Kafraya may contain a predominate number of Shia Muslims, residents of the villages have told me how they intermarried with their neighbouring Sunni Syrians, and shared the celebrations of other faiths’, as is common in secular Syria.

In August 2015, I began to write about the villages, gaining awareness of their very serious plight via a friend from Foua and journalists and civilians I came to know from both villages.

The villages, less than 10 km northeast of Idlib, had already been suffering an over 4 year long siege by US-backed al-Nusra and affiliates.

“Until late March, residents—although surrounded by militant factions—still had an access road, thus supplies for their survival. With the militants’ occupation of Idlib at the end of March, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had to withdraw forces from bases in the province. Foua and Kafarya became utterly isolated.”

The fact that the people in these villages are fully besieged and near-daily bombed and deprived of critical medicines and essential life needs has been met with the utter silence and disregard of not only the corporate media but also the human rights bodies purporting to care about Syrian civilians.

In January 2016, when the Western media began talking about the village of Madaya (one of the villages from where ‘rebels’ were recently safely evacuated with the full aid and protection of the Syrian government), they pointedly ignored the dire situation of residents of Foua and Kafraya because both of those villages were under siege by al-Nusra, Jaysh al-Fattah (the so-called “Army of Conquest”) and Ahrar al-Sham (Liberation of the Levant Movement) along with other “moderates” of the umbrella organization Jabhat al-Islamiyah (the Islamic Front).

While the Syrian government was accused of mass starvation in Madaya, this was exposed as false in December 2016, when the terrorist factions were exposed as the real culprits, hoarding food (and medicines) and holding civilians hostage. This also occurred in the Old City of Homs, which I visited repeatedly, including one month after the Syrian government enabled safe evacuation of the terrorists who had been occupying the Old City and starving the remaining civilians within.

Parts one and two of my initial reports on the villages of Foua and Kafraya outline the full, debilitating siege that the approximately 20,000 civilians have endured since March 2015 (although the villages were on-off besieged since 2013) and the deliberately sectarian slant of Western media reports in their scant reporting of the situation there. In contrast, as my Kafraya friend told me:

“In that area of Syria there are minorities living together, from about 1,000 years ago. In Kafraya and Foua there are Shia. Before this war, the people of Foua and neighbouring Binnish were very close, they intermarried, celebrated festivals together.

At the time that this all started in Syria, I was home, still a student. We studied at a school in Ma’rat Mesreen, which was a mostly Sunni city—many of them pro-government, by the way—and some Shia. Like with Binnish, our people were friends with those in Ma’rat Mesreen, intermarried with them.

My uncle was working in al-Raqqa, but when the militants took over, he and others went back to Kafraya. The original population of Kafraya was around 10,000. Now, it’s much much more, with IDPs from various areas, like Ma’rat Mesreen, and including many Sunni pro-government Syrians from other villages, but also Shia from surrounding areas.”

Syrian journalist Iyad Khuder told me of the traditional unity of the villages and surrounding area.

“People from these two villages have always had good relations with their neighbors—they used to share the Islamic feasts together. No one used to ask about religion, or even to mention the words ‘Sunni, Shia’. But the extremist minority who controlled northern Syria are indoctrinated by Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi ideology. So, they asked Kafraya and Foua (as a test) to join the ‘revolution’ against the ‘regime’. The people replied, ‘You are free to revolt, it’s your choice. But we also have our choice and we believe it’s a plot targeting the whole country.’ So, the ‘rebels’ consider them targets, have tried to conquer their villages, and have kidnapped many of them.”

© Eva Bartlett
Gas canister bombs, terrorist-fired by Hell Cannons, litter the roads leading to Aleppo. Terrorist factions have for years fired these deadly bombs on civilian areas of Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, to complicit media silence. Aleppo head of Forensics Dr. Zaher Hajo reports 11, 000 civilians dead from such terrorist bombings, snipings, missiles, mortars and more.

Completely surrounded by terrorist factions that have been regularly attacking the villages with mortars, Hell Cannon-fired gas canister bombs and snipings of the sort that left 4 and 6 year old boys (deprived of medical care by the terrorists’ siege) on death’s doorstep, the siege has meant civilians with critical, but treatable, illnesses are not able to get appropriate medical care, with families deprived of sustenance, clean water, heating in winter and the essential needs of life.

MSM Reporting on Terrorists Murder of Civilians: ‘Bus Bombing’

The Western corporate media’s reporting on massacres like the recent suicide bombings of several buses full of civilians in Syria deserves some scathing critique. Consider these lines from an article by Lizzie Dearden for the UK Independent:

“A car bomb has hit a convoy of buses carrying civilians evacuated from besieged towns in Syria, killing at least 24 people.

The blast hit the Rashidin area on the outskirts of Aleppo, where dozens of buses carrying mostly Shia Muslim families from pro-government villages were waiting to enter the city.

Photos that were too graphic to publish showed a huge fire raging next to bodies scattered on the ground next to charred buses with blown-out windows, including those of children.”

If the area in question were a terrorist-occupied area, Dearden’s report would read something like this:

“A regime-dropped barrel bomb has killed a convoy of buses carrying innocent civilians, mostly women and children, who were being evacuated from rebel areas of Syria. The deadly 8.0 magntitude Hiroshima barrel bomb hit Sunni Muslim families from freedom-loving rebel areas…” etc. etc.

Do note in the reporting of ‘journalists’ like Dearden and other presstitutes, the downplaying of actual documented Syrian civilian deaths at the hands of terrorists dubbed ‘rebels’. Do note the sectarian language (rejected by most Syrians). Do note the implication that acts of terrorism on Syrians in government secured areas of the country must be considered as not credible (but physics-defying alleged school-bombings or alleged chemical weapons attacks should be believed). Also note the kind of reporting on this attack that was produced by CNN. While stating that “no group has claimed responsibility”, CNN felt the need to get a word from that paragon of immorality, Abdul Rahman of the utterly discredited ‘Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’:

“During a televised interview, Rami Abdul Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said a suicide bomber claimed he was carrying food items and blew himself up in a fuel station. Abdul Rahman said he doesn’t believe the Syrian regime is behind the attack. He said the regime kills scores of people daily using all types of weaponry and doesn’t need to kill its own sympathizers.”

Yes indeed, just in case you were distracted by the US-backed terrorist bombing of buses full of civilians, CNN used the pathetic quisling Rahman to remind you of the ‘evils of the regime’ and to admit that, despite the ‘evil’ of Assad, he has not yet found a need to kill his own sympathiziers.

Regarding the “photos that were too graphic to publish” by the Independent; please explain to the families of these mutilated Syrians why their graphic murders were too distasteful to Western sensitivities when graphic images of dead and injured children are splashed across Western media broadsheets when the alleged author of such attacks is the Syrian or Russian military.

Britain’s state-owned BBC, no stranger to the propagation war porn when it serves the NATO agenda, headlined rather blandly: “Syria war: Huge bomb kills dozens of evacuees in Syria“.

Had the bombing in question been attributed to the Syrian army, or Russians, you can bet the headline would have read something like:

“Murderous Regime Bombs Innocent Civilians in Rebel-held Area Just Days After Worst Chemical Attack in the History of the World”.

Of course, I do not believe for a moment that the allegations of the western-propagated Idlib chemical incident are true, but this is the sort of headline the Western corporate media runs, irrespective of actual evidence, of which they have none as regards the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun.

Please recall that just days after the US-led coalition murdered anywhere between 60 and 80 Syrian soldiers in Deir ez-Zor, Western governments, their jihadi proxies and the Western press deflected attention by attacking a UN humanitarian convoy and blaming Syria and/or Russia.

A BBC report on the bus bombing states:

“A huge car bomb has blasted a convoy of coaches carrying evacuees from besieged government-held towns in Syria, killing at least 39 people.”

The actual names of the towns Foua and Kafraya aren’t mentioned until paragraph 5, after the BBC had ominously warned of “revenge attacks on a convoy of evacuees from rebel-held towns, being moved under a deal,” implying the big bag Syrian ‘regime’ cannot be trusted.

Despite the BBC’s deliberate anti-Syrian propaganda here, compare how the Syria government and the so-called ‘opposition’ have behaved so far in similar exchange deals.

– December 2016: Civilians and terrorists, including al-Qaeda in Syria (Jabhat al-Nusra…and their re-branded incarnation Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham ) were bused safely (from the eastern areas they terrorized) to Idlib. Sick and wounded residents of Foua and Kafraya were meant to be bused out in exchange but terrorists attacked and burned five or six buses, pledging to ” burn anyone who comes to transport them”.

“4 months ago “rebels” burned evacuation buses meant for Foua/Kafraya and can be heard saying “We will burn anyone who comes to transport them”

– April 2017: Syrian media, SANA, reported on April 14: “60 buses transport more than 2300 gunmen and some of their families from al-Zabadani and Madaya. The link on SANA’s website contains a video showing numerous moving buses, the Syrian Red Crescent, and civilians presumably families of militants also present in the video.

In August 2016, Vanessa Beeley and I met with a number of Foua/Kafraya residents who had been evacuated in a then rather-rare evacuation, December 2015. The horrors they spoke of will never be fairly reported in corporate media.

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Eva Bartlett

Eva Bartlett is an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013),accompanying Palestinian fishers and farmers as they came under intensive fire from the Israeli army. She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals. From June-August 2016, she visited Syria for her fifth time. Her writings can be found on her blog, In Gaza

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Paul Craig Roberts: A government of morons – By Paul Craig Roberts [Institute for Political Economy]

It has become embarrassing to be an American. Our country has had four war criminal presidents in succession. Clinton twice launched military attacks on Serbia, ordering NATO to bomb the former Yugoslavia twice, both in 1995 and in 1999, so that gives Bill two war crimes. George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and attacked provinces of Pakistan and Yemen from the air. That comes to four war crimes for Bush. Obama used NATO to destroy Libya and sent mercenaries to destroy Syria, thereby commiting two war crimes. Trump attacked Syria with US forces, thereby becoming a war criminal early in his regime.

To the extent that the UN participated in these war crimes along with Washington’s European, Canadian and Australian vassals, all are guilty of war crimes. Perhaps the UN itself should be arraigned before the War Crimes Tribunal along with the EU, US, Australia and Canada.

Quite a record. Western Civilization, if civilization it is, is the greatest committer of war crimes in human history.

And there are other crimes—Somalia, and Obama’s coups against Honduras and Ukraine and Washington’s ongoing attempts to overthrow the governments of Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Washington wants to overthrow Ecuador in order to grab and torture Julian Assange, the world’s leading democrat.

These war crimes committed by four US presidents caused millions of civilian deaths and injuries and dispossessed and dislocated millions of peoples, who have now arrived as refugees in Europe, UK, US, Canada, and Australia, bringing their problems with them, some of which become problerms for Europeans, such as gang rapes.

What is the reason for all the death and destruction and the flooding of the West with refugees from the West’s naked violence? We don’t know. We are told lies: Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” which the US government knew for an absolute fact did not exist. “Assad’s use of chemical weapons,” an obvious, blatant lie. “Iranian nukes,” another blatant lie. The lies about Gaddafi in Libya are so absurd that it is pointless to repeat them.

What were the lies used to justify bombing tribesmen in Pakistan, to bomb a new government in Yemen? No American knows or cares. Why the US violence against Somalia? Again, no Americans knows or cares.
Or the morons saw a movie.

Violence for its own sake. That is what America has become.

Indeed, violence is what America is. There is nothing else there. Violence is the heart of America.

Consider not only the bombings and destruction of countries, but also the endless gratuitous, outrageous police violence against US citizens. If anyone should be disarmed, it is the US police. The police commit more “gun violence” than anyone else, and unlike drug gangs fighting one another for territory, police violence has no other reason than the love of committing violence against other humans. The American police even shoot down 12-year old American kids prior to asking any question, especially if they are black.

Violence is America. America is violence. The moronic liberals blame it on gun owners, but it is always the government that is the source of violence. That is the reason our Founding Fathers gave us the Second Amendment. It is not gun owners who have destroyed in whole or part eight countries. It is the armed-at-taxpayer-expense US government that commits the violence.

America’s lust for violence is now bringing the Washington morons up against people who can commit violence back: the Russians and Chinese, Iran and North Korea.

Beginning with the Clinton moron every US government has broken or withdrawn from agreements with Russia, agreements that were made in order to reduce tensions and the risk of thermo-nuclear war. Washington initially covered its aggressive steps toward Russia with lies, such as ABM missile sites on Russia’s border are there to protect Europe from (non-existent) Iranian nuclear ICBMs.

The Obama regime still told lies but escalated to false charges against Russia and Russia’s president in order to build tensions between nuclear powers, the antithesis of Ronald Reagan’s policy. Yet moronic liberals love Obama and hate Reagan.

Did you know that Russia is so powerful and the NSA and CIA so weak and helpless that Russia can determine the outcome of US elections? You must know this, because this is all you have heard from the utterly corrupt Democratic Party, the CIA, the FBI, the Amerian whore media, and the morons who listen to CNN, MSNBC, NPR or read the New York Times and Washington Post.

Surely you have heard at least one thousand times that Russia invaded Ukraine; yet Washington’s puppet still sits in Kiev. One doesn’t have to have an IQ above 90 to understand that if Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukraine would not still be there.

Did you know that the president of Russia, which world polls show is the most respected leader in the world, is, according to Hillary Clinton “the new Hitler”?

Did you know that the most respected leader in the world, Vladimir Putin, is a Mafia don, a thug, a tarantula at the center of a spy web, according to members of the US government who are so stupid that they cannot even spell their own names?

Did you know that Putin, who has refrained from responding aggressively to US provocations, not out of fear, but out of respect for human life, is said to be hellbent on reconstructing the Soviet Empire? Yet, when Putin sent a Russian force against the US and Israeli trained and supplied Georgian army that Washington sent to attack South Ossetia, the Russian Army conquered Georgia in five hours; yet withdrew after teaching the morons the lesson. If Putin wanted to reconstruct the Russian Empire, why didn’t he keep Georgia, a Russian province for 300 years prior to Washington’s breakup of the Russian Empire when the Soviet Union collapsed? Washington was powerless to do anything had Putin declared Georgia to be again part of Russia.

And now we have the embarrassment of Trump’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, possibly the most stupid person in America. Here we have a moron of the lowest grade. I am not sure there is any IQ there at all. Possibly it reads zero.

This moron, if he qualifies to that level, which I doubt, has accused Julian Assange, the world’s Premier Journalist, the person who more than anyone represents the First Amendment of the US Constitution, of being a demon who sides with dictators and endangers the security of American hegemony with the help of Russia. All because Wilileaks publishes material from official sources revealing the criminal behavior of the US government. Wikileaks doesn’t steal the documents. The documents are leaked to Wikileaks by whistleblowers who cannot tolerate the immorality and lies of the US government.

Anyone who tells the truth is by definition against the United States of America. And the moron Pompeo intends to get them.

When I first read Pompeo’s accusation against Assange, I thought it had to be a joke. The CIA director wants to revoke the First Amendment. But the moron Pompeo actually said it.https://www.rt.com/usa/384667-cia-assange-wikileaks-critisize/

What are we to do, what is the world to do, when we have utter morons as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as President of the US, as National Security Adviser, as Secretary of Defense, as Secretary of State, as US Ambassador to the UN, as editors of the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NPR, MSNBC? How can there be any intelligence when only morons are in charge?

Stupid is as stupid does. The Chinese government has said that the moronic Americans could attack North Korea at any moment. A large US fleet is heading to North Korea. North Korea apparently now has nuclear weapons. One North Korean nuclear weapon can wipe out the entirety of the US fleet. Why is Washington inviting this outcome? The only possible answer is moronic stupidity.

North Korea is not bothering anyone. Why is Washington picking on North Korea? Does Washington want war with China? In which case, is Washinton kissing off the West Coast of the US? Why does the West Coast support policies that imply the demise of the West Coast of the US? Do the morons on the West Coast think that the US can initiate war with China, or North Korea, without any consequesnces to the West Coast? Are even Amerians this utterly stupid?

China or Russia individually can wipe out the US. Together they can make North America uninhabitalbe until the end of time. Why are the Washington morons provoking powerful nuclear powers? Do the Washington morons think Russia and China will submit to threats?

The answer is: Washington is a collection of morons, people stupid below the meaning of stupid. People so far outside of reality that they imagine that their hubris and arrogance elevates them above reality.

When the first Satan 2 hits Washington, the greatest collection of morons in the world will cease to exist.

The world will breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Bring it on! Come on morons, eliminate yourselves! The rest of us cannot wait.
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HOMUNCULUS TRUMP: A GULLIVER IN BROBDINGNAB; A BLITHERING LIAR AND IDIOT – By Ziad Fadel

SYRIAN PERSPECTIVE DELIVERS THE EXCLUSIVE TRUTH ABOUT THE AGGRESSION IN SHU’AYRAAT AND TRUMP’S EPIPHANY; 75 ALQAEDA VULTURES KILLED IN DER’AH

 

While campaigning for the presidency, Tweedle-Dum, a/k/a Donald Trump, railed against the millions of illegal, undocumented aliens in the United States, describing them as “rapists”, “killers” and other things consistent with his perception of greasy, wet-backed weasels crawling like vermin over and under his beloved United States’ border; to steal its resources, to tax its wealth, to have early retirement at the expense of the American taxpayer, to exploit America’s schools and hospitals; to pollute America’s morals and interbreed with his country’s comely white women. Oh, God! Their presence was an insult. They were trespassers. They violated recognized laws established in his country requiring the acquisition of legal status before entering the United States. He vowed revenge by proposing a vast wall no different from the Great Wall of China which was erected to stanch the flow of barbarians into the Chinese heartland. He assailed Mexico and promised that the Southern neighbor would pay itself for the construction of the wall. Grandiose?……….. Indeed.

All throughout his campaign he vowed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) because it was bad for the American people. He had a better plan although he never hinted at what it might be boasting that it would be something “wonderful” and really great. And, when, only 60 days into his term, he received the plan from his minions, he could not get his own party sufficiently behind him to replace the Obama plan. He was miffed. Vexed. Perplexed. He sought to assuage his hurt feelings by lashing out at something, anything. And when his proposed immigration ban was roundly scorned by a series of federal judges, he huffed and puffed, modifying this and amending that, and, still, the judges rained failure down upon him.

But, with such high regard for the illegality of trespass, he authorized an attack on a sovereign nation 7,000 miles away. Did that sovereign nation invite him to attack its airbase? No. Did it even imply that he might encroach upon Syrian air space? No. He did it anyways. He violated international law because he saw a picture of a child suffering from exposure to some chemical weapon released into the atmosphere by canisters of possibly Sarin gas or chlorine gas. With characteristic American gullibility, he proclaimed his transformation from tolerator of Assad to enemy of Assad. Rex Tillerson, the clumsy-looking U.S. Secretary of State whose only diplomatic credentials were that he ran a large multi-national petroleum corporation called Exxon/Mobil, repeated the same folderol. Instead of sticking to his president’s promise of no more foreign entanglements, Tillerson started to regurgitate the self-same Euro-trash we started to hear from Hollande and Cameron from the beginning of the Syrian uprising. “Assad has no future in Syria”. “Assad must go”. “Assad cannot remain in office”. “Assad cannot be allowed to run again for the presidency”. Ad nauseam. Yawn.

Trump’s transformation into Assad-hater was sudden and unexpected. A man not known for his ability to empathize, but, instead for his bullying tendencies, started to speak of God, even though he has never read the Bible and is unable to identify one single psalm. He changed his tone from rough-hewn Queenie to soft-spoken Weenie – borrowing the tone and timbre of genuine humanitarians like Billy Graham, Albert Schweizer and even, Tiny Tim. He pontificated about America defending the weak and standing for right: even if he hadn’t waited for an investigation into what happened that fateful day in Khaan Shaykhoon.

Nothing happened that fateful day. Nothing other than an ordinary aerial attack on a warehouse operated by Alqaeda.

The entire episode was staged by British con-men. It was produced by Saudi Arabian monkeys with help from Turkish set designers. Impossible? Let’s think back on “Syrian Danny” (Danny ‘Abdul-Daa`im) who became the poster-child for Syrian civilians suffering at the hands of the Abominable Assad. Remember him? Remember his staged scenes of horror as he nestled in the arms of kerchiefed Syrian women (really Albanians) who nursed his wounds after a barbaric pounding from the imaginary Syrian Army artillery in Homs. Remember the solemn voice of that corrupt sodomite, Anderson Cooper, as he reveled in the tales narrated by Danny in the privileged accent of a Cantabrigian-British-Syrian goon trained by MI6? In fact, just like the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the fraud-laden propaganda organ of terrorism, Danny was created by MI6 for the British Foreign Office. I even doubt he was ever been in Homs, his productions having been filmed “on location” at the Shepperton Studios outside London.

Boo hoo hoo. Danny was caught setting up his scenes of war in a studio.

Anybody remember Zaynab Al-Husni who was the subject of a hundred alarms from HRW and Amnesty International? She was detained by Syrian government thugs and raped repeatedly – or that’s what the propaganda groups like AI claimed. Anybody remember the gal from Homs? You see, she was skinned alive by pro-Assad barbarians and her limbs amputated. Jeez’o’Pete! Wow. What incredible cruelty! Well, she turned up alive and, well, claiming she ran away from home because her brothers were buggiing her. Nobody apologized to the Syrian government for that disaster. The propaganda organs of HRW and AI continued to manufacture lie after lie.

But, what about the White Helmets being caught staging a rescue of a man under rubble caused by the evil Syrian Army who earlier was talking with the would-be heroes about how the scene would be filmed? Once the film and pictures were revealed, the terrorist group had to apologize to a disbelieving public. Remember our coverage of that SNAFU? I sure do. The liars of the White Helmets apologized for the embarrassing revelation calling it “poor judgment”. Really?

http://www.globalresearch.ca/fake-news-alert-cnn-finally-admits-white-helmets-staged-fake-video/5559164

And there are the beheading scenes produced by ISIS in which high-tech equipment and techniques were used. In fact, ISIS had gotten so good at producing images, they were receiving glowing reviews from the same Western MSM which promoted them in the first place.

So, what am I getting at? What I’m getting at is that, as a lawyer, I am not bound to believe any version proposed by the prosecution. I have to see something other than a manufactured event – certainly an event that is well within the power of the prosecution to manufacture. What do we know about the victims other than what the various opposition groups say? Well, nothing. The victims are all in Idlib Province under the control of the Alqaeda terrorist group. If any are being treated, they are treated in a terrorist clinic or a Turk hospital or a Zionist slaughterhouse. Why should I give credence to a criminal enterprise which has been lying and fabricating events for the last 6 years?

Why should I not question the integrity of all the reporters from the West who, in a seemingly choreographed paroxysm of thespian rectitude, promoted a story which is strangely similar to others involving Chemical Weapons. Seymour Hersh already exposed this technique in his superbly documented article on use of CW in the Ghouta. He proved that it was not the Syrian Army which used the poison gas, but, instead, Alqaeda, under orders from Saudi Arabia and with the supply provided by Turkish gangsters. Isn’t it amazing how Trump is awakened in the night and told of the CW event and how, in one blink of an eye, he turns around and abandons everything he said during his campaign? Is it possible that CIA terrorists studied Trump’s personality deciding he was the excitable type who read almost nothing and studied precious few things? With Trump entering the White House with a history of bad-mouthing the CIA, is it possible the new director was persuaded to try this script on him to continue the CIA’s constant pursuit of Dr. Assad’s ouster?

I am fascinated by the absence of anything in this case. The U.S. is already laying the groundwork for rejection of a U.N. investigation by alleging that Russia might have had a role in it. The U.S. is promoting another lie: the Russians and Syrians have bombed the same town in the same place where the CW was used in order to cover up evidence. It is the most blatant of lies and, yet, there are those who will swallow it lock, stock and barrel. What did P.T. Barnum say? “There’s a sucker born every minute”. What did H.L. Mencken say? “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

The evidence existing today points to another staged atrocity. We have no access to any forensic evidence. We never will. Alqaeda will not allow a team of experts to enter the area. Better yet, only an expert with suicidal tendencies would place his life in jeopardy just to be beheaded in front of a camera clad in those very chic orange jump suits. And, of course, Turkey cannot arrange the investigation lest it reveal how totally in control Ankara is of all those cannibal terrorists it claims to be fighting. What a mess!

Trump actually knows what’s going on and is up to his neck in war crimes already. Not only has he given permission to exterminate over 70 Syrian civilians to engineer this malicious event, he has suborned it by giving lip service to his natural disgust with Assad and his army. We are lucky to have rational voices in Washington from Tulsi Gabbard, Richard Black and Rand Paul. We even have conservative supporters of Trump now expressing consternation with his backtracking on campaign promises to concentrate on internal affairs. But, failed tyrants always look to foreign affairs when they can’t get what they want domestically. It’s a diversion. A distraction. It’s a Wag the Dog scenario.

The speed with which Trump reacted to news of the staged bombing in Khaan Shaykhoon and the coordinated wave of vilification emanating from London, Paris and Berlin point to only one thing: another NATO-style false flag operation. Amazingly, I was seated in a bar yesterday talking to some regular Americans who asked me what I thought about the event. All of them expressed disbelief that Assad would do such a thing and blamed it on what one called a “compromised media”.

Don’t believe anything in the corporate media. Watch RT, Al-Mayaadeen and old episodes of the Honeymooners. Ziad

_________________________________________

DER’AH: 75+ NUSRA/ALQAEDA VULTURES EXTERMINATED IN AL-MANSHIYYA QUARTER

This is the day, April 8, 2017, when it became clear that the Syrian Army was on the verge of eliminating the terrorists of Alqaeda in Der’ah City. That’s why the U.S. has been sending out hints of a new campaign to separate Der’ah from the rest of Syria as part of the plan to dismember the country. In response to this and the attack on the Shu’ayraat AB, Russia has sent the cruise missile carrying warship, Admiral Grigorovitch, to the Syrian coastline. Iran has been reportedly readying units of its IRGC for deployment to Syria.

Al-Manshiyya Quarter: The SAA killed over 75 Nusra/Alqaeda rodents here on April 8, 2017. Most of these vermin were Saudis and Jordanians. It started with an attack on 5 SAA strong-points in the area of Al-Manshiyya. The usual suicide drivers and explosive belts were used to break into defense lines. None of that happened. None of the suicidal psychos even made it to within detonation range of the SAA’s perimeters. Instead, weaponized drones and cleverly positioned rangers blasted the crazed numbskulls before they could even get within sight of our army. Here are some of the identified carcasses:

Abu Al-Qa’qaa’ Al-Tawheedi (Jordanian fruit fly)

Abu Al-Haarith Al-Jazraawi (Saudi grub)

Muhammad Abaazeed (Leader of Kateebat Majd Al-IslaaKhaalid Mu’tazz Al-Mahaameedm or Brigade of Islam’s Glory, yawn)

Khaalid Mu’tazz Al-Mahaameed (Leader of Liwaa` Tawheed Al-Janoob or Unification of the South Battalion)

In the areas of Al-Bahhaar Quarter, Al-Arba’een Park and Dam Road, 2 command/control centers, 3 rocket launchers, mortar base and a 14.5mm cannon were destroyed.

________________________________________

HAMA:

Al-Lataamina: A Nusra/Alqaeda C&C was completely obliterated when the SAA’s artillery units opened fire on fortifications built up by the rats.

Ahmad Talaal

Muhammad Sameeh Al-‘Annaab

Abdul-Muhsin Al-Shoomaani

Sameer Al-Mahmoud

Firaas Ahmad

Scores were wounded.

_________________________________________

NOTE TO READERS:

It appears that the 36 Tomahawks which did not reach the airbase were both destroyed by SAA air defenses or toppled over the Mediterranean by Russian air defense. We will have more on this.

__________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Watch for censorship in this article about Fox News professional lying about the so-called CW at Idlib:

http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/04/09/breaking-fox-news-tries-to-censor-truth-on-idlib-chemical-weapon-attacks-from-ray-mcgovern/

_________________________________________

PHOTO OF THE DAY: (From Hamza Sulayman):

HOMUNCULUS TRUMP: A GULLIVER IN BROBDINGNAB; A BLITHERING LIAR AND IDIOT; SYRIAN PERSPECTIVE DELIVERS THE EXCLUSIVE TRUTH ABOUT THE AGGRESSION IN SHU’AYRAAT AND TRUMP’S EPIPHANY; 75 ALQAEDA VULTURES KILLED IN DER’AH by Ziad Fadel

Read more at https://syrianperspective.com/2017/04/homunculus-trump-a-gulliver-in-brobdingnab-a-blithering-liar-and-idiot-syrian-perspective-delivers-the-exclusive-truth-about-the-aggression-in-shuayraat-and-trumps-epiphany-75-al.html#FFSv7V6gEscl9Yry.99

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Terrorists leave Homs as the Syrian Army regains control – By SPUTNIK

© Sputnik/ Michael Alaeddin

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on the organized withdrawal of more than 400 terrorists and members of their families from the northwestern suburb of Syrian Homs. The al-Wyer district remains, in fact, the last stronghold of the armed opposition in this administrative center of the country’s largest province.

Withdrawal was preceded by almost a month of tense negotiations because the terrorists put forward their conditions while the Reconciliation Center and Syrian side put forward others,” said Lieutenant General Aleksey Kim, head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria.

He added that it was necessary to come to a common denominator so that both sides were satisfied with the fulfillment of these requirements. The negotiation process was very difficult.

According to the center, the terrorists who have not yet left al-Wayer are also preparing to lay down their arms. Many of them will go to militia or replenish the ranks of the Syrian police in the framework of amnesty announced by the Syrian president.

The military experts have said that total control by Damascus over this city is a major strategic success for Bashar al-Assad and diplomatic for the Russian negotiators.

Importance of Homs

Only a glance on the map is enough to understand the geographical importance of Homs, the third largest city in Syria with a pre-war population of 900,000 people.

It occupies a strategically important intersection at the crossing of major highways. These traffic routes connect Damascus (in the south), the Hama province, Idlib and Aleppo (in the north), the Tartus and Latakia provinces (in the west), and Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor (in the east).

“Full control over Homs will significantly protect the movement of humanitarian and military convoys all along the Damascus-Aleppo road which is more than 350 kilometers from north to south,” Anatoly Tsyganok, the head of Center for Military Forecasting told Sputnik.

The militants present in al-Wayer had an opportunity to conduct sabotage activities against government troops both in the city and on the highway. The Syrian military forces going north repeatedly moved through this site and were killed in an ambush because of such improvised explosive devices.

Homs has great value not only as an important transportation hub. This city is a large industrial center. It houses an oil refinery and several oil storage facilities. From Homs to Damascus and from Aleppo to Latakia there are pipelines.

In addition, before the war the city was one of the largest agricultural centers of Syria. Corn, cotton, wheat, vegetables and fruits were grown here. Right now most of the infrastructure is destroyed but its restoration is the key to economic, food and fuel-energy security of the whole country.

City of revolution

Homs also has strong political significance. It was one of the first cities where in July 2011 clashes with government forces broke out and therefore the city received a nickname: “capital of the revolution.”

The terrorists had planned to use Homs as a main platform for attacking Damascus from the north. Full-scale fighting in this city did not cease for years and became one of the most violent during the Syrian civil war.

The city lies in ruins as the majority of its residents escaped the war zone. In particular, Christian communities left the city with more than 138,000 people. Government forces managed to take Homs under control only in May 2014 but in a number of areas (including al-Wayer) the terrorists continued to be active in the years to come.

Anatoly Tsyganok said that fighting in Homs with varying degrees of intensity has been going on for six years now and the fact that the remaining members of the armed opposition in the city voluntarily left is a great success for the negotiating group which consists of Russian officers.

“This is an achievement for our diplomats as well and it became known right after the third round of talks on the Syrian settlement in Astana in mid-March regarding the withdrawal of 400 militants from Homs. Although there was no opposition it is obvious that they reached a number of agreements with them,” Tsyganok said.

According to the head, the general situation in Syria gives cautious optimism. As the expert stressed, in recent years support of the so-called “moderate opposition” from European states has noticeably weakened.

In turn, interaction on the Syrian issue between Russia, Turkey and Iran is strengthening. The government troops that took Aleppo and regained control over Palmyra received a break and were able to free up considerable forces and resources for possible actions in other directions.

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Amnesty International to President Trump: ‘Arming Saudi Arabia & Bahrain risks complicity with war crimes’- By RT

© Anees Mahyoub / Reuters
A view of destruction in a street in the southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen March 16, 2017

US President Donald Trump should cancel impending weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, since this could put civilians in even greater danger and implicate the US in war crimes, Amnesty International said in a letter sent to the president.

“The deals would arm members of a military coalition that has attacked thousands of civilians in Yemen and violated international humanitarian law,” the human rights group said in a press release published on Tuesday.

The organization noted that its experts found unexploded US bombs and “identifiable fragments of exploded US bombs” among the destroyed civilian buildings in Yemen.

If the US approves the deals while banning Yemenis from coming to the US, it would be like “throwing gasoline on a house fire and locking the door on [the] way out,” according to Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA executive director.

“The US should not continue to arm governments that violate international human rights and humanitarian law and simultaneously shut its doors to those fleeing the violence it escalates,” she said.

“Arming the Saudi Arabia and Bahrain governments risks complicity with war crimes, and doing so while simultaneously banning travel to the US from Yemen would be even more unconscionable. President Trump must not approve this arms deal,” she said.

On Wednesday, President Trump held a meeting with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi delegation hailed the meeting as a “historical turning point” in US-Saudi relations, “which had passed through a period of divergence of views on many issues.”

Speaking to RT last week, Ahmed Benchemsi, communications and advocacy director at Human Rights Watch’s Middle East & North Africa division, said that the US, UK, and France should stop selling weapons to Riyadh.

The humanitarian situation in Yemen is “increasingly unsustainable” and urgent action must be taken by both sides in the conflict, he said, adding that the situation is turning into a “deep humanitarian catastrophe.”

Saudi Arabia’s coalition, which also includes Bahrain, began the military operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to bring the ousted government back to power.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the impoverished country, the UN reported in late February, while seven million people are close to starvation.

Comment: Further reading:

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Exposing the Real Deep State – By Tony Cartalucci

 

563234234Many both within and beyond America’s borders labor under the delusion that US policy is determined by the nation’s elected representatives amid a careful balancing act between the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government. In reality, the inner workings of US policy resemble nothing of the sort.

In reality, an unelected deep state controls the United States, its resources, government, and people. However, the term “deep state” has been overused and intentionally abused, particularly since the election of US President Donald Trump in an effort to continue concealing the real deep state and divert public attention away from what is becoming an increasingly obvious continuity of agenda from one presidency to the next.

Uncovering and understanding the nature of the real deep state is in fact elementary, but essential in understanding the genesis and perpetuation of US policy. It is also essential in formulating solutions aimed at reining in the unwarranted power and influence wielded by this seemingly nebulous entity.

Identifying the Real Deep State is Easy

Despite the myth of “democracy,” real power is held by those who control the essentials of any given state, province, district, or community. Essentials include control over monetary instruments, essential infrastructure such as water, power, communication, and transportation, control over manufacturing, healthcare, and basic public services, as well as more obvious forms of power such as control over police and military forces.

In rare instances, such vital essentials are controlled by decentralized, grassroots organizations – and in these instances deep states are either weak or virtually nonexistent. However, more often than not, this is not the case – at least not yet.

Ordinarily, regardless of apparent, ongoing political processes, those who actually, truly control these essentials often exist well beyond but not out of reach of politics. They include large corporations and financial institutions. Organizations, lobbyists, media platforms, think tanks, and political parties are set up and controlled by these special interests to then project their power and influence into or entirely driving any given political process.

The concept of a “deep state” is not unique to only the US. Virtually every nation and throughout all of human history, regardless of a nation’s alleged political proclivities, has been ruled by wealthy and influential special interests either directly or by proxy.

Ignoring political rhetoric and charades, and focusing on where money, power, and influence truly resides, reveals the real deep state.

Unraveling the “Trump Vs Deep State” Narrative 

A cursory examination of President Trump’s administration reveals that he is but one of many extensions of the real deep state. Allegedly “alternative” Breitbart News mogul Stephen Bannon who functions as President Trump’s chief strategist is in fact a former Goldman Sachs banker. US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, is also a former Goldman Sachs banker. Additionally, he managed funds for alleged “Trump archenemy,” George Soros, and had invested in the presidential campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is a long-time ExxonMobil executive, and the list goes on.

If one were to map the flow of US power and influence globally, tracing it back to its source, they would find themselves on Wall Street and in the boardrooms of financial institutions and corporations like Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil. They would also find, leading out from these boardrooms, proxy news platforms like Breitbart News aimed at manipulating, distracting, and preying on the emotions of the American public.

In other words, in reality, the Trump administration, like those of previous presidencies, is the embodiment of the deep state.

However, a narrative has emerged alleging that President Trump is actually at war with a shadowy “deep state” consisting of everything from the US intelligence community to career bureaucrats “resisting” the Trump administration and “its” policies from within the system.

To explain this contrived narrative to the American public, another one of the real deep state’s propaganda functionaries, TIME Magazine, punished an article titled, “President Trump’s Allies Keep Talking About the ‘Deep State.’ What’s That?

In it, it claims:

To allies of Trump in the conservative media and on Capitol Hill, it is an organized resistance within the government, working to subvert his presidency. They blame career bureaucrats, many of whom they see as loyal to former President Barack Obama, for leaking damaging information to the news media.

TIME also cites Freedom House, a US government-funded organization dedicated to regime change worldwide and chaired by the very same special interested centered upon Wall Street – again, the actual, real deep state – in an effort to downplay and dismiss the notion that the United States is actually run by just such an entity.

It claims:

“[The White House] is taking a sexy term that means something very real in an environment in which there has been a lot of violence associated with this term and we’re applying it to stuff that’s pretty normal in terms of a large bureaucracy,” said Schenkaan, the Freedom House project director. “These are state employees and they have been implementing their jobs faithfully for a long time.”

Back in reality, the American public is beginning to suspect in much larger numbers than ever before, that the US government is simply carrying out a singular agenda – regardless of election results and political affiliations – of  a permanent, deeply rooted conglomeration of special interests that transcend political parties, ideologies, presidential terms, as well as both domestic and international law.

The creation of an attractive, provocative, almost irresistible strategy of tension between various functionaries within the real deep state is intentionally designed to draw in and trap political discourse long before it reaches and reveals the true nature of both the real deep state and the solutions required to dismantle it.

America’s Deep State is the World’s Problem 

It is beyond obvious that America’s real deep state represents not only the usurpation of American sovereignty, but also a threat to global peace and stability. The wielding of America’s unwarranted power and influence manifests itself as regional wars, subsequent waves of refugees, socioeconomic exploitation and catastrophe within targeted states and across entire regions, as well as a general global malaise  resulting from a minute handful of special interests abusing and egregiously wasting the planet’s human and natural resources for its own petty, self-serving pursuits.

It is not, then, an American problem, because the consequences of America’s unchecked deep state stretch out across the entire globe.

Confronting this deep state, and all others like it regardless of size and reach, requires a careful transition pursued by lesser states – and more importantly – by modern, decentralized institutions and alternatives driven by individuals.

Confronting the real deep state at the very source of its power – its corporate and financial activities and the profits reaped from billions of people across the planet paying into them – is fundamental.

The effectiveness of doing so is already evident in such realms as information space where decentralized networks of genuine alternative news platforms have countered and overcome the real deep state’s information war capabilities. Adding leverage to this process are competing centers of global power in Eurasia who have created competing media platforms that have further diluted the US deep state’s grip on information.

A similar process – enabled by technology – is unfolding across all aspects of manufacturing and infrastructure. The emergence of aerospace industries across the developing world is beginning to challenge the US-European monopoly over both air and space. Chinese corporations building trains and aircraft – on the largest end of the spectrum – are diluting monopolies enjoyed for decades by corporations like Boeing and Airbus.

On the smaller end of the spectrum, localized manufacturing of simpler goods carried out by individuals or small businesses, both within formal and informal economies and markets, are chipping away at centralized manufacturing and retail monopolies.

Alternative energy such as solar power lends itself well to decentralized power production both for individuals and members of networks known as microgrids. As these microgrids proliferate, energy monopolies will inevitably whither.

And the organic food movement – a mesh network that continues to expand by leaps and bound in both size and capabilities – has challenged and in some instances, entirely replaced centralized agricultural and processing monopolies who also constitute the membership of the US deep state.

Solving the Deep State Problem 

Despite this, the deep state still poses a formidable and dangerous threat to both global and individual peace and prosperity.

The natural human inclination to create alternatives to compete with such a threat – but which simply resemble a mirrored version of the threat – means that a “Chinese” or “Russian” dominated deep state leading any given unipolar global order will simply replace America’s immense deep state and continue carrying on the abuses and destructive role Wall Street and Washington currently fulfill.

Talk of a multipolar world order in which nations balance themselves against one another rather than fall under a single, unipolar order dominated by a single deep state and the handful of interests that constitute it, forms a bridge between today’s current global order and a decentralized, balanced future.

A multipolar world order in which nations are balanced globally, then leads to an internal process of decentralization and balance, all of which is driven by technology and the opportunities in business and sociopolitical pursuits opened up by it which allow each individual to take a more proportional share of a nation’s or community’s resources.

While it may seem counterintiutive for nations like Russia, India, or China, or even smaller players like Iran, Thailand, or Brazil to invest in decentralization, national and local self-sufficiency, and even informal economies, currencies, and markets, by doing so, they help chip away at the current, dominate global deep state which through its media and consumerism still reaches into, threatens, and influences virtually every society on Earth.

Ultimately, sidestepping the crass, unsophisticated but highly provocative and alluring strategy of tension created around the Trump administration and the alleged “deep state” it is supposedly fighting, is essential in identifying and confronting the real deep state that is orchestrating both sides of this charade.

Placing stock in political functionaries of the deep state to solve the deep state problem is beyond futile – it is a rouse intentionally engineered to preserve and perpetuate the deep state. By identifying the true source of the real deep state’s power and influence – the wealth it derives from its corporate-financier monopolies, its control over national and international infrastructure, and its media – we can begin devising practical alternatives to dilute these monopolies and thus the power and influence they grant those who control them.

It requires a period of transition involving both state and individual efforts pursued by all who stand threatened by the deep state – and all those who are threatened by the deep state consist of anyone who resides outside the boardrooms from within which its agenda is devised and implemented.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.”   
http://journal-neo.org/2017/03/13/exposing-the-real-deep-state/

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Syria: US intervention is ‘violation of international law, an ‘act of war’ – By Catherine Shakdam RT

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USA deployment Syria

Why is the US deploying its troops now, when the Syrian army is close to winning its war against radicalism, asks Middle-East expert Catherine Shakdam, while noting that US interventions have never been successful in fighting terrorism in any way.

Damascus has not given the US troops permission to be in Syria, President Bashar Assad said. “Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one,” he said in an interview with Chinese PHOENIX TV, as cited by the Syria’s state-run news agency, SANA.

The Pentagon confirmed earlier that it has sent a small number of US troops to the Aleppo governorate’s city of Manbij, saying they are there to deter conflict between US-backed Kurdish forces and rebels backed by Turkey.

According to Middle-East expert Catherine Shakdam, the deployment is “a violation of international law.”

“Whenever a country infringes on another’s national and territorial sovereignty, then you have a problem. I would argue that having foreign military presence in Syria without consultation with Damascus and an expressed approval of President Bashar Assad, who remains the legitimate source of power in Syria, [is] an act of war,” she told RT. “You can’t have those situations where the likes of Washington continue to intervene against the wishes of nations just because they feel that they can,” she added.

The US had repeatedly insisted it would put no boots on the ground in Syria, but has now reneged on that promise, Shakdam said, noting that “this is what they do.” The timing of Washington’s decision to deploy additional troops raises a few questions that need to be asked, she says.

“Why now, why this military presence in Syria when the Syrian army is just about getting rid of ISIS [Islamic State, formerly ISIL] permanently, when the Syrian Arab Army with its partners – Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia – is just about winning this war against radicalism? Why does the US need to intervene right now when the Syrians can do it by themselves, thank you very much, if it’s not to actually muddy the water and actually offer some kind of a cover by creating a vacuum to the likes of ISIS and other militants on the ground?”

It also remains to be seen whether the relatively small number of American troops in Syria, which currently amount to about 900, is going to help in the fight against Islamic State, the expert said. “I don’t think that anywhere the US has intervened, it has helped in any way, shape, or form in terms of fighting terrorism,” Shakdam added.

Shakdam also drew a parallel between the US intervention in Syria and the Saudi-led war in Yemen. “It’s very strange how the architecture of the new intervention in Syria is shaping up in a way which reminds me of the Saudi coalition against Yemen,” she said.

The analyst argues that, by “running into this war theatre,” the US is playing into the hands of Riyadh, which doesn’t want Assad to remain in power “and would like to impose its reality on the ground in the Levant in general.”

Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others. Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising – Under The Banner Of The First Imam

Comment: US only pays attention to US Rules, which can change at any time, for any self-serving purpose. However, it is too soon to tell what Trump’s modus operandi will settle down to be and whether the US military ‘interventions’ are just more of the same. The issues between Turkey and the Kurds are a legitimate cause for concern and any mortal combat between the two would be a devastating and unfortunate turn of events, potentially derailing the fledgling peace process. While the intervention protection supplied by the US may be warranted, there is no excuse to not seek permission from the Assad government.

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