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The Hugely Important OPCW Scandal Keeps Unfolding. Here’s Why No One’s Talking About It.

The Hugely Important OPCW Scandal Keeps Unfolding. Here’s Why No One’s Talking About It.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is now hemorrhaging evidence that the US and its allies deceived the world once again about yet another military intervention, which should be a front-page story all over the world. Yet if you looked at American news media headlines you’d think the only thing that matters right now is indulging the childish fantasy that Donald Trump might somehow magically be removed from office via supermajority consensus in a majority-Republican Senate.

CounterPunch has published an actual bombshell of a report by journalist Jonathan Steele containing many revelations about the OPCW scandal which were previously unknown to the public. Steele is an award-winning reporter who worked as a senior foreign correspondent for The Guardian back before that outlet was purged of all critical thinkers on western imperialism; he first waded into the OPCW controversy last month with a statement made on the BBC revealing the existence of a second whistleblower on the organisation’s investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.

If you haven’t been following this story you can click here for a timeline of events to fully appreciate the significance of these new revelations about the Douma incident, but just to quickly recap, in April of last year reports surfaced that dozens of civilians had been killed in that city by chemical weapons used by the Syrian government under President Bashar al-Assad. This immediately drew skepticism from people who’ve been paying attention to the narrative manipulation campaign against Syria, since Assad had already won the battle for Douma and had no strategic reason to employ banned weapons there knowing that there would be a military strike in retaliation from western powers. True to form, a few days later the US, France and the UK launched airstrikes on the Syrian government.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Venezuela Military Deploys S-300 Missiles Following Russian Troop Arrival

Venezuela Military Deploys S-300 Missiles Following Russian Troop Arrival

Following the major weekend development of Moscow unambiguously asserting its ‘red line’ concerning potential US military intervention in Venezuela, for which Russia sent a military transport plane filled with Russian troops which landed in Caracas Saturday, new satellite images reveal a major deployment of S-300 air defense missile systems to a key airbase south of Caracas.Image via AMN News

Crucially the Russian An-124 transport plane which touched down in Caracas on Saturday carried no less than Russian General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, identified as chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces and First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia, accompanied by 99 servicemen and 35 tons of cargo.

As we reported the flight came just days after a high-level meeting in Rome last week, during which Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied – thus it appears Russia is taking no chances with its South American ally.

One of those warnings delivered directly by Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov to US “special envoy” on Venezuelan affairs Elliot Abrams is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

And just a day following the contingency of Russia troops landing in Caracas, Maduro’s National Bolivarian Armed Forces have reportedly activated S-300 missiles after completing military drills that previously took place in February

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russian Troops, Aid Arrive In Venezuela After Delivering Red Line Warning To Trump

Russian Troops, Aid Arrive In Venezuela After Delivering Red Line Warning To Trump

Just days after a high-level meeting in Rome this week, during which Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied – it appears Russia is taking no chances with its South American ally.

After the Rome meeting, Ryabkov said bluntly:

“We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

One of those warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

For his part, Abrams sounded as if he had emerged from the meeting after having been given a severe reprimand.

“No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other’s views,” he told reporters.

“A better understanding of the other’s views,” means that the American side was given a red line to back off.

And now, according to journalist Javier I. Mayorca, Colonel General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces – First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia, arrived in Venezuela.

The Russian general arrived in the Bolivarian Republic accompanied by 99 servicemen. On board the An-124 delivered 35 tons of cargo.

“LAST MINUTE This afternoon a delegation of 99 Russian soldiers arrived at the Maiquetia airport, under the command of the defense minister of the largest country Vasilly Tonkoshkurov. They were received on the presidential ramp by the VA Marianny Mata, dir International Affairs and Integration (1/2)

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Cuba Accuses US Of Preparing For Military Action In Venezuela

Cuba Accuses US Of Preparing For Military Action In Venezuela 

At a Havana press conference Tuesday, the Cuban government accused the Trump administration of preparing a military operation against Venezuela, suggesting that humanitarian aid is a pretext for intervention.

“You’re starting to see American military transports that originate in U.S. military installations, where marine infantry and special forces operate and plan covert action,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said in Havana.

Rodriguez told journalists that the US military is quickly building up assets unbeknownst to Caribbean governments where their bases are located.

Journalists questioned what evidence Cuba has the US is preparing to stage a military operation to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Rodriguez told Local 10’s Cuba correspondent Hatzel Vela to examine the airports where he would uncover evidence of the buildup.

At a speech in Miami on Monday, President Trump called on the Venezuelan military to overthrow Maduro whose failed socialist policies have turned the oil-rich country into an economic hellhole. Trump’s speech came two weeks after Washington imposed new sanctions against Venezuela’s national oil company, a move that could topple the finances of the Maduro regime.

President Trump on Venezuela: “We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open” https://t.co/E9TewE5X6g pic.twitter.com/yh95ICvrOZ— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 18, 2019

Trump said the first US military transport plane carrying humanitarian aid for Venezuelans landed in the Colombian border city of Cucuta last week.

A US military plane with humanitarian aid for Venezuela has landed in Colombia amid political crisis. (A previous tweet incorrectly stated the plane landed in Venezuela. It has been removed).

CNN’s Nick Valencia reports from the Colombia-Venezuela border https://t.co/gcmOcnDAvXpic.twitter.com/Cvjz4fPnHd— CNN (@CNN) February 16, 2019

Rodriguez said large-scale efforts to deliver humanitarian aid with military transport aircraft are being used as a test run for a possible armed intervention.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Original ‘Fake News’? The BBC and the Information Research Department

Last month Ritula Shah presented a BBC World Service discussion programme entitled Is “Fake News” A Threat To Democracy?

Predictably the debate focused on Russian attempts to influence Western populations and political systems.

Asked whether the US has been involved in similar activities, Dr Kathleen Bailey, a senior figure in the US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research in the 1980s, was dismissive:

“We [the US] certainly do not have a budget, bureaucracy or intellectual commitment to doing that kind of thing.”

Carl Miller, the research director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos, also played down the West’s activities:

“I think Western countries do do less of this as a kind of tool of foreign policy than autocracies.”

“Read real journalism” — presumably BBC journalism — was one of the guest’s suggestions for countering Fake News.

Putting this self-serving and self-congratulatory narrative to one side, it is worth considering the BBC’s, and particularly the BBC World Service’s, own relationship to the British government’s own propaganda.

“Directly funded by government [the Foreign Office], rather than the licence fee” the World Service is “deeply embedded in the foreign policy, security and intelligence apparatus of the British state,” Dr Tom Mills notes in his must-read 2016 book The BBC: Myth of a Public Service.

In particular, the BBC had a very close relationship to the Information Research Department (IRD) — “a Foreign Office propaganda outfit which sought especially to foster anti-communist sentiments on the left,” explains Mills, a Lecturer in Sociology and Policy at Aston University.

Set up in 1948, the IRD “was one of the largest and best-funded sections of the Foreign Office until it was discreetly shut down in 1977 on the orders of [then foreign secretary] David Owen,” investigative journalist Ian Cobain reported in the Guardian in July 2018.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Et Tu, RT? Amplifying Western Disinformation on Rwanda

Et Tu, RT? Amplifying Western Disinformation on Rwanda

The great lie about the Rwandan bloodbath opened the door to a far larger genocide in Congo and helped justify U.S. military interventions in Libya and Syria, argues Ann Garrison.


During a recent campaign event, Florida Senator Bill Nelson said, “That story of Rwanda is very instructive to us because when a place gets so tribal that the two tribes won’t have anything to do with each other, and that jealousy turns into hate—we saw what happened to the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda, it turned into a genocide. A million people hacked to death within a few months. And we have got to watch what’s happening here.”

That got a lot of headlines even though U.S. ethnicity is binary only if seen as white vs. everybody else. Whatever Sen. Nelson meant, those who do see it that way have certainly gained prominence since Trump took the White House.

That was a newly minted reference to the Rwandan genocide in U.S. discourse, however. Rwanda is most often remembered in urgent calls for “humanitarian intervention,” a.k.a. war, to stop another genocide. We’re told that the U.S. failed to stop Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, so we’re now obliged to “intervene” anytime and anywhere another genocide is underway. That’s why, we’re falsely told, the U.S. and its NATO allies had to bomb Libya into ongoing chaos in 2011. That’s why Lockheed Martin had to step up production of cruise missiles to drop on Syria. That’s why Sens. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, both 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, became initial co-sponsors of an Orwellian bill to “enhance” our government’s ability to “prevent genocide and mass atrocities” with military force: Senate Bill 1158, the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018.

Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda. (Chatham House / CC BY 2.0)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Top Communist Party Official Threatens Military Intervention Over Pence’s Support For Taiwan

With the on-again-off-again trade war detente back in “off again” mode as China is once again refusing to bow to the US’s demands for concessions, and with military tensions simmering in the background as the US seriously considers withdrawing from the INF, the Communist Party’s top defense official demanded that the US end its aggressive policy toward China during a speech at the Xiangshan security forum in Beijing in front of a crowd of 500 foreign delegates from 74 countries (including the US).

According to the South China Morning Post, Wei Fenghe, the Chinese defense minister, criticized Washington for “seriously damaging the Sino-US relationship and mutual trust” by accusing China of interfering in the midterm elections and by characterizing China’s “debt diplomacy” as a neo-colonialist tool for acquiring foreign resources for its “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Without referencing Pence by name (the Vice President delivered one of the most sweeping condemnations of China’s foreign and economic policies during a speech earlier this month), Wei articulated China’s “anger and resolute opposition” and demanded that the Trump Administration drop its aggressive posture toward China. “We strongly call on the US to remedy the mistakes, stop damaging China’s interests and the Sino-US relationship.”

The remarks followed similarly hostile remarks directed at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who became embroiled in a dramatic confrontation with China’s foreign minister during a recent trip to Beijing.

China

In the latest sign that the Trump Administration’s friendly stance toward Taiwan has rattled China, Wei, reiterating a threat made by numerous senior Chinese officials, warned that the mainland wouldn’t hesitate to bring the full brunt of is military to bear against Taiwan – and any country aiding the Taiwanese – if its rogue province tries to formally break away from the mainland.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Four Reasons Why Interventionism In Syria Is Crazy And Stupid

Four Reasons Why Interventionism In Syria Is Crazy And Stupid

As tensions continue to mount around the Al-Qaeda-held province of Idlib in Syria, the New York Times has published an op-ed by virulent neoconservative war whore Bret Stephens explaining that the US should intervene militarily in order to thwart the geopolitical agendas of Iran. He argues that any movement to recapture Idlib should be met with a full-scale assault on the Syrian government, crippling its air force and attacking Bashar al-Assad’s presidential palaces. Stephens says this must be done to prevent Tehran from “consolidating a Shiite crescent stretching from Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.”

Sometimes all you can do is laugh. These propagandists keep giving us all these different, unrelated reasons why the US and its allies should definitely totally intervene in Syria and overthrow its government. It’s because the Syrian people want freedom and democracy. Wait, no, it’s because Assad is violating international law by using chemical weapons. Actually, it’s to thwart Putin’s agendas. Scratch that, it’s to stop Iran. We’re being given all these different stories about why a regime change intervention in Iraq’s next-door neighbor Syria is needed, and the only thing those stories seem to have in common is that they all require a large amount of expensive weaponry being discharged upon the human beings who back the Syrian government. Maybe, just maybe, taking out the Syrian government has always been the real goal, and they’re just making up different excuses to see what sticks?

They’re having a very hard time getting anything to stick with much conviction, though, so I figured I should give them a little assistance in seeing why that might be. Here are a few of the things which prevent interventionism in Syria from being a sane and appropriate thing for the US and its allies to do:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How America’s Wars Cut Down American Liberty

How America’s Wars Cut Down American Liberty

If we forswore military intervention in other countries, we could still affect the world in a positive way through free trade.

Professor Tucker argues in his Liberty Forum essay that a grand strategy, at least one that is dreamed of by experts, “is not a possibility for the United States,” and that if it were, we Americans would have fewer liberties. I agree. But I think he should have pursued that point much more aggressively. Partly because U.S. governments in this century and the last did pursue ambitious goals in other countries, we already have fewer liberties.

That does not mean that we, as Americans, should not have a grand strategy. I believe we should. Our strategy should be to maximize our liberty subject to the constraint that we should be relatively safe in the larger world. Fortunately, this strategy of maximizing our liberty would likely increase the liberty of many others in many other countries.

The Government Ratchet

Let me first explain why the previous grand strategy of intervening in other countries’ affairs has led to our having fewer liberties. I’ll start with the “ratchet” model of governmental spending and control that economic historian Robert Higgs identified in his 1987 book, Crisis and Leviathan.

Higgs pointed out that much of the growth in state spending, taxation, and regulation in the 20th century was a result of three crises: World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. To deal with these crises, Washington dramatically increased federal spending and regulation. Federal taxes went up, as well. When the crises ended, spending, taxation, and regulation did recede some; but they never returned to their pre-crisis levels. In each case, the federal government gained substantial power.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“The People Live In Terror” – Military Intervention Imposed In Rio As Unrest Worsens

Brazil’s Senate has overwhelmingly approved a military intervention in Rio de Janeiro that was first proposed by President Michel Temer last week – the latest step in the president’s crackdown on crime and social unrest ahead of a hotly contested local election coming later this year.

As we noted last week, Temer is ordering the military to restore order in the drug-ravaged streets of Rio in the largest intervention since Brazil’s return to Democracy in the mid-1980s. A collapse in public spending on social services has caused crime to reemerge in Brazil’s slums, spiking to levels unseen since 2009.

The decree, which was issued on Friday, had already passed the House, and the Senate vote was the final obstacle to a military takeover of the local police. However, per the AFP, while support for the crackdown is broad-based, it also has its critics: There is particular controversy over government calls for the army-led police to be able to serve mass search and arrest warrants in favelas.

In fact, the prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, who ran infamous anti-corruption operation car wash – which nearly ensnared Temer – said there’s no legal precedent or justification for such mass searches of favelas.

“The penal code does not authorize serving collective or generic search warrants. On the contrary, it demands the greatest possible precision in the homes being searched,” he tweeted.

Furthermore, there’s concern that the crackdown – which was inspired by a series of street robberies during Carnevale festivities in the city – will lead to abuse of the poorest most vulnerable citizens while doing little to address systemic problems like pervasive poverty and poor access to education.

However, the horrifying stories of the crime wave have helped rally popular support for the crackdown.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Getting Fooled on Iraq, Libya, Now Russia

Getting Fooled on Iraq, Libya, Now Russia

Exclusive: After the British report exposing falsehoods to justify invading Iraq in 2003, a new U.K. inquiry found similar misconduct in the 2011 attack on Libya, but no lessons are learned for the West’s new propaganda about Russia, writes Robert Parry.


A British parliamentary inquiry into the Libyan fiasco has reported what should have been apparent from the start in 2011 – and was to some of us – that the West’s military intervention to “protect” civilians in Benghazi was a cover for what became another disastrous “regime change” operation.

The report from the U.K.’s Foreign Affairs Committee confirms that the U.S. and other Western governments exaggerated the human rights threat posed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and then quickly morphed the “humanitarian” mission into a military invasion that overthrew and killed Gaddafi, leaving behind political and social chaos.

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The report’s significance is that it shows how little was learned from the Iraq War fiasco in which George W. Bush’s administration hyped and falsified intelligence to justify invading Iraq and killing its leader, Saddam Hussein. In both cases, U.K. leaders tagged along and the West’s mainstream news media mostly served as unprofessional propaganda conduits, not as diligent watchdogs for the public.

Today, we are seeing an even more dangerous repetition of this pattern: demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin, destabilizing the Russian economy and pressing for “regime change” in Moscow. Amid the latest propaganda orgy against Putin, virtually no one in the mainstream is exercising any restraint or finding any cautionary lessons from the Iraqi and Libyan examples.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russian Military Forces Arrive In Syria, Set Forward Operating Base Near Damascus

Russian Military Forces Arrive In Syria, Set Forward Operating Base Near Damascus

While military direct intervention by US, Turkish, and Gulf forces over Syrian soil escalates with every passing day, even as Islamic State forces capture increasingly more sovereign territory, in the central part of the country, the Nusra Front dominant in the northwestern region province of Idlib and the official “rebel” forces in close proximity to Damascus, the biggest question on everyone’s lips has been one: would Putin abandon his protege, Syria’s president Assad, to western “liberators” in the process ceding control over Syrian territory which for years had been a Russian national interest as it prevented the passage of regional pipelines from Qatar and Saudi Arabia into Europe, in the process eliminating Gazprom’s – and Russia’s – influence over the continent.

As recently as a month ago, the surprising answer appeared to be an unexpected “yes”, as we described in detail in “The End Draws Near For Syria’s Assad As Putin’s Patience “Wears Thin.” Which would make no sense: why would Putin abdicate a carefully cultivated relationship, one which served both sides (Russia exported weapons, provides military support, and in exchange got a right of first and only refusal on any traversing pipelines through Syria) for years, just to take a gamble on an unknown future when the only aggressor was a jihadist spinoff which had been created as byproduct of US intervention in the region with the specific intention of achieving precisely this outcome: overthrowing Assad (see “Secret Pentagon Report Reveals US “Created” ISIS As A “Tool” To Overthrow Syria’s President Assad“).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

Thousands Crowd Brazil’s Streets: Demand Military Intervention & Rousseff Resignation, Impeachment

Thousands Crowd Brazil’s Streets: Demand Military Intervention & Rousseff Resignation, Impeachment

It appears the ‘people’ are growing more and more dissatisfied with their corrupt and greedy leaders across the world. As we noted recently, Brazil’s economy is implodingconsumer sentiment is at record lows, and with the Petrobras scandal providing a glimpse at just how deep the corruption might go, Brazilians are revolting. Hundreds of thousands are crowding the streets in several regional Brazilian capitals, dominated ironically by the middle and upper classes. Demands for “Dilma Out” and “Impeach Dilma” are also interspersed with calls for a quasi-coup and “military intervention.

As 24 Horas reports,

Hundreds of thousands of people protested today against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff , in Rio de Janeiro, within a day of demonstrations in dozens of cities across the country.

The protest in Rio de Janeiro started at 9:30 local time (12:30 GMT) on the beach of Copacabana and far exceeded the expectations of the public of the organizers, which are groups of citizens without opposition political parties declared link.

The man ifestantes chanted slogans against Rousseff and the ruling Workers Party (PT) and rejection of corruption.

“Out PT”, “PT stole” and “PT anymore” were songs sung in repeatedly by the Cariocas protesters, who were dressed mostly in yellow and green colors of the Brazilian flag.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

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