Friday 21st of September 2018

still pushing crap...

shah

still on the US list for regime change...

Just a reminder of Wes Clark’s claim the US planned back in 2002 to “take out 7 countries in 5 years”. Six of those countries – Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon & Syria – have now had “revolutions” or “civil wars” or conflict. – Iran is the seventh.

read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2017/12/31/iran-the-seventh-country-on-the-alle...

as long as we bomb sumpthin'...

 

meanwhile in august 2017...

 

According to Amnesty International, Iraqi and coalition forces “failed to take adequate measures to protect civilians, instead subjecting them to a terrifying barrage of fire from weapons that should never be used in densely populated civilian areas.”

The new spike in civilian casualties was reported in June as US-backed forces began the assault on Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria, Raqqa.

At least 173 civilians were killed in the city last month by air and ground strikes, according to UN estimates.

The US-led coalition has said that despite the fact that it takes “extraordinary” efforts to avoid collateral damage, “in some incidents casualties are unavoidable.”

The operation against Islamic State is highly politicized in the US and it’s “no surprise that the Coalition is going to want to underplay the casualty numbers for civilians,” Patrick Henningsen, Geopolitical Analyst for 21st Century Wire.com, told RT.

“If you’re in the US, it’s all about the theatre of what the US is achieving, whether it’s under president Obama or president Trump. And everything is viewed through that weird kaleidoscope in the US and it has nothing to do with what’s going on the ground,” he said.

The military is also using special politically correct language in its reporting on civilian casualties in an attempt to mislead the US public, the analyst pointed out.

“We’re talking about ‘friendly fire’ or ‘collateral damage.’ And what Americans don’t understand because they haven’t had to face it on their own territory is that one man’s ‘collateral damage’ is another man’s wife and children,” he explained.

Henningsen pressed home that the US “no legal basis to be there (in Syria) and so every single person, who has died – whether it's 1, 600 or 4,300, as the highest estimates are – any life is an illegal, unlawful killing on behalf of the US Coalition.”

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/398647-us-civilian-casualties-iraq-syria/

 

Meanwhile:

A number of Iraqi security forces have been killed in an airstrike carried out by US-led coalition forces near a US airbase, Iraqi officials say, adding that the victims were mistaken for militants.

TrendsIraq carnage

The incident took place in the town of al-Baghdadi, 170km north-west of Baghdad. The town hosts Al Asad Airbase, operated by US and Iraqi forces.

There have been conflicting report about the exact number of Iraqi fatalities in the airstrike. Reuters cited Iraqi officials who spoke of at least 11 dead, including 10 members of the Iraqi security forces and a local official. 

AFP, however, cited an anonymous provincial official who confirmed 8 casualties. “Eight people — a senior intelligence official, five policemen and a woman — were killed by a US strike on the center of Al Baghdadi,” the official said, adding that at least 20 people, including the town’s police chief, were injured.

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/417182-iraqis-killed-friendly-us-fire/

 

“It does look like Erdogan is determined to go all the way.  And it really does highlight the dangers of the Anglo-American strategy in Syria for the last seven years, which has been to basically turn Syria into a complete free-for-all: all the states in the region to sponsor their own proxy militias and get involved and carry out airstrikes – Israel, Turkey, the US, anyone else. It is a really dangerous situation,” he said.

Last week, the US announced its plans to create a new armed force with the Kurds close to the Turkish border. After Turkey reacted with outrage to US plans, the Pentagon said it was not creating “a new ‘army’ or conventional ‘border guard’ force.” 

Glazebrook noted it is amazing that the US in the past week has managed to “completely betray both its rival allies in this conflict.”

“First, betrayal of Turkey – announcing this Border Security Force, made up primarily of Kurds, without any consultation with Turkey. And then, as soon as Turkey makes an issue of it, immediately drop the Kurds altogether, saying ‘we have nothing to do with them’ and basically give Turkey a free hand to slaughter them. Betrayals left, right and center,” he added.

“I hope that the rest of the world really is paying attention that there is absolutely nothing to be gained from offering yourself up to carry out the bidding of empire, as Turkey is learning a very hard way right now and so are the Kurds, actually,” Glazebrook pointed out.

read more: 

https://www.rt.com/news/416571-turkey-syria-afrin-us/


US expert crap looking like US expert crap...

The most notorious among them was regime change aficionado Charles Lister, a "senior fellow” (read lobbyist) at the Middle East Institute, an influential DC think tank that receives tens of millions of dollars from the United Arab Emirates, a country whose leadership is committed to regime change in Iran. Before he was an "Iran expert," Lister rose to prominence agitating for regime change in Syria. He is perhaps best known for cheerleading Salafi jihadist Syrian rebel groups like Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki, which Lister insisted were moderate despite their explicitly stated intention to wipe out minorities in Syria and their open alliance with Syria’s Al-Qaeda affiliate. Anyone who dared to criticize such groups or highlight their genocidal agendas quickly became targets of Lister over the years – he would brand them dictator lovers and Assadists.

It’s unclear whether Lister speaks any Arabic or whether he’s ever spent any significant amount of time in Syria or the Middle East more generally. But he says what the foreign policy establishment wants to hear, and for that, he is quoted extensively in the mainstream press on everything from Syria to Iran to even Egypt, with the New Yorker’s Robin Wright labelling him “an expert on Jihadism.”

During the Hudson panel, Lister argued against the US participating in locally negotiated ceasefires in Syria that have played a major role in de-escalating the violence that tore apart the country. Ceasefires benefit Hezbollah and Iran, warned Lister, who would apparently rather the bloodshed continue if it helps the US and its jihadist proxies. Lister also painted Israel as the ultimate victim of Iran in Syria and suggested the CIA assassinate Major General Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Soleimani heads Iran's elite Quds Force, which conducts operations outside of Iran in both Iraq and Syria. He has been credited with helping to turn the tide in both countries against Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) which has led to American fears that he threatens US hegemony in the region.

Blind Eye

Hudson’s in-house counterterrorism expert Michael Pregent, who previously accused Iran of refusing to fight IS while arguing that the sometimes IS-allied Free Syrian Army was the only force capable of defeating the terrorist group, also agitated for the assassination of Soleimani, but he called for Israel to do the dirty work rather than the CIA.

Omri Ceren from the right-wing Likud-aligned Israel Project was also on the panel. Echoing Israeli government talking points, he called for the US to spread a “freedom agenda” in Iran – which is code for regime change.

Another speaker was Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank that also receives funding from the UAE. Katulis employed empty slogans about supporting “freedom and justice” in Iran. Almost everything he said was forgettable. The UAE funding might explain why these experts continually blasted Iran for supposedly destabilizing Yemen without mentioning a word about the punishing Saudi-imposed siege which has led to famine and a cholera outbreak of epic proportions that kills a Yemeni child every 10 minutes.

The Hudson panel perfectly encapsulates how these establishment experts have no actual expertise, just fancy titles and shady funding that gives them a veneer of scholarly seriousness. They shift from one country to the next and are considered authoritative without any real credentials other than being white men who provide the intellectual backbone to Washington’s permanent war agenda, which all the panelists have a history of supporting. The fact that their policy prescriptions have ended in disaster for the people of the region doesn’t slow them down.

Death Toll  

The war in Iraq killed over a million people and catapulted the region into violent sectarian warfare from which it has yet to recover. The Western intervention in Libya threw that country into chaos, transforming what was once the richest nation in Africa, with the highest literacy rates, into an ungovernable gang-run state home to IS slave markets. And then there’s Syria, where the US poured billions into funding Al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups to overthrow the government, creating the worst refugee crisis since World War Two.  

The men who made up the Hudson panel supported all of these disastrous wars, which goes to show that being wrong gets you places in Washington. In fact, being wrong seems to be a prerequisite for promotion in Beltway circles.

No one epitomizes this dynamic more than Peter Bergen, a national security analyst at CNN. Two decades ago Bergen produced a rare interview with Osama bin Laden and he’s been capitalizing on it for 20 years. Since then he has fallen up to expert status on any and all issues pertaining to national security, counterterrorism and the Middle East, no matter how wrong he is. He supported the conflicts in Iraq and Libya. And here he is debating an actual expert, journalist Nir Rosen, and like always, Bergen argues for more war.

Another example is Ken Pollack from the Brookings Institute. He pushed hard for the war in Iraq and US interference in Libya and Syria. Despite the disastrous consequences of these policies, he is still described as an “expert" and recently penned a report for the Atlantic Council on countering Iran.

Destabilizing Iran has long been a policy goal of the US and its Israeli and Saudi allies. But the reality is that Iran is the most stable country in the Middle East and it played a crucial role in protecting the region from IS and Al-Qaeda. Whatever one thinks of the government in Iran, and there are of course many legitimate critiques as is true of any government, Iran’s only crime is that it acts independently of American interests and for that, it must be strong-armed into submission. So, let’s hope the experts don’t have their way.

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/418132-iran-protests-syria-experts-warmonger/

the US empire is lacking diplomatic decorum...

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia on Wednesday called on his US counterpart Nikki Haley and the US delegation at the United Nations to observe diplomatic decorum and not refer to the Russian authorities as a regime of President Vladimir Putin.

During a session devoted to the UN Charter, Haley called Russia a destabilizing force in the situation in eastern Ukraine. The US diplomat added that what she called regimes of Putin, Syrian President Bashar Assad, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were acting unpunished on the international arena.

"I would like to remind permanent representative Haley – there is no "regime" in Russia, but a legally elected president and appointed government. I would like to ask the US delegation to observe at least basic diplomatic decorum in the future. By the way, there is also a legitimate government in Syria, whether you like it or not," Nebenzya said at a United Nations Security Council session.

This is not the first time the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations comes under fire over professionalism issues. Last year, her tweet on North Korea caused quite a stir online.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/us/201802221061882391-russia-schools-us-un-haley...

handcuffed and driven to a hotel...

 

He was walking home from his consulting job at Iran’s United Nations mission in New York, his adopted city of many years, when the F.B.I. agents approached. He was arrested, handcuffed and driven to a hotel.

The life of the consultant, Ahmad Sheikhzadeh, a naturalized American citizen of Iranian descent with a doctorate from Columbia University and a network of prominent Iran contacts including its foreign minister, was altered on that day in March 2016.

In the hotel room where he was kept overnight, Dr. Sheikhzadeh recalled, the agents told him he could be imprisoned for decades on tax and sanctions violations if he did not become an informant. He had worked at the Iranian mission since 1990, preparing analyses of published articles on Iran and discussing them at weekly meetings.

Dr. Sheikhzadeh, a 62-year-old bachelor, migrated to the United States before Iran’s 1979 revolution and became a citizen in 2000. He surrounds himself with books in his Greenwich Village apartment, takes yoga classes and checks on older neighbors.

Friends and colleagues laugh at the idea that he could be a spy. But that is the image federal prosecutors sought to portray, describing his actions in court documents as having undermined “important economic controls that were put in place to protect the national security of the United States.”

His story offers a glimpse into how the estrangement between Tehran and Washington can upend the lives of Iranian-Americans, who are often mistrusted by one side or the other, or both, in relations that have become increasingly politicized.

Federal law enforcement officials had been monitoring Dr. Sheikhzadeh for years, eavesdropping on his emails and phone calls at least in part through warrants obtained from a Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act court.

They knew the Iranian mission had paid him cash for his consulting work, and that he had not reported at least some of the payments on his federal income taxes. They also knew that he had helped transfer thousands of dollars to friends and relatives in Iran without a Treasury Department license, violating American sanctions.

Dr. Sheikhzadeh admitted those offenses to the agents, he and his lawyer, Steve Zissou, said in an interview, describing them as benign mistakes. But Dr. Sheikhzadeh refused to become an informant in exchange for lenient treatment.

“He made it unequivocally clear,” Mr. Zissou said. “His famous statement I’ll never forget was, ‘I’d rather spend the rest of my life in jail than cooperate with them, and spy against anyone else, spy against Americans, spy against Iran. It’s just not my way of doing things.’ ”

Dr. Sheikhzadeh agreed to plead guilty to two charges of tax and sanctions violations, and to pay more than $147,000 in fines and restitution. But prosecutors were not through with him, and suggested while he awaited sentencing that he was more of a threat than they could publicly disclose.

Their strategy ultimately failed, but not before Dr. Sheikhzadeh would undergo what he, his lawyer and his friends depicted as a Kafkaesque ordeal.

 

read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/world/middleeast/ahmad-sheikhzadeh-iranian-prosecution.html