Takfiri Fateh al-Sham terrorists move chemical agents to Syria’s Jisr al-Shughour: SANA

Sun Oct 21, 2018 04:16PM
This file picture shows members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, Takfiri terrorist group in an undisclosed location in Syria.

Members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, Takfiri terrorist group, have reportedly moved banned chlorine and sarin munitions to a strategically important city in Syria’s militant-held northwestern province of Idlib as government forces are preparing to retake the last major terrorist stronghold in the country.

Local sources, requesting not to be named, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that the extremists moved the ammunition from the small city of Ma’arrat Misrin, located 50 kilometers southwest of Aleppo, to the city of Jisr al-Shughour.

In this file picture, Syrian children and adults receive treatment for a suspected chemical attack at a makeshift clinic in the Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. (Photo by AFP)

The sources added that the munitions were transported inside a refrigerator truck used by the so-called civil defense group White Helmets, and under the supervision of the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria (TIP) militants.

Car bomb blast kills 4, injures nearly dozen in Idlib

Meanwhile, at least four people have lost their lives and eleven others sustained injuries when a car rigged with explosives went off in Idlib city.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the explosion ripped through the area mostly inhabited by Uzbek militants, noting that the death toll could rise as some of the injured are in a critical condition.

Under a deal reached following a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on September 17, all militants in a demilitarized zone, which surrounds Idlib and also parts of the adjacent provinces of Aleppo and Hama, were supposed to pull out heavy arms by October 17, and Takfiri groups had to withdraw by October 15.

The National Front for the Liberation of Syria is the main Turkish-backed militant alliance in the Idlib region, but the Takfiri Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group, which is a coalition of different factions of terror outfits, largely composed of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, holds a large part of the province and the zone.

In this file picture, Syrians gather at the site of a car bomb in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib. (Photo by AFP)

The HTS, which is said to be in control of some 60 percent of Idlib province, has yet to announce its stance on the buffer zone deal.

It is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 members of different factions of armed groups, which Syria, Russia and Turkey consider terrorists, are active in the volatile province, which is home to around three million inhabitants.

Russia believes that a buffer zone would help stop attacks from Idlib-based militants on Syrian army positions and Russia’s military bases in the flashpoint region.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

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The migrant caravan and the fight to unite the international working class

From: 

23 October 2018

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/10/23/pers-o23.html

“Migrants are not criminals, we are international workers!”

The massive caravan of immigrants that left San Pedro de Sula, Honduras, for the United States on October 13 has attracted widespread attention and support among tens of millions of workers and impoverished people across Latin America. What began as a small group of several hundred immigrants traveling together for security and safety has expanded into a 7,000-person transcontinental political demonstration for equality and democratic rights.

Each day, millions tune in as Mexican, Central American and US Spanish language news stations carry live reports from the caravan, tracking its path as it winds its way through southern Mexico, where local residents greet the migrants with delegations carrying food, water, clothing and other necessities.

The caravan participants view themselves not as downtrodden victims but as confident representatives of the working class. In the face of threats from US President Donald Trump and violent attacks by Mexican and Guatemalan police, their chants of “migrants are not criminals, we are international workers!” resonate in a region decimated by poverty, violence and corruption.

The conditions in Central America’s “Northern Triangle” from which these workers are fleeing are all, at their root, the product of the horrific crimes committed by American imperialism across the region for over a century.

In Guatemala, the US orchestrated a coup against democratically elected Jacobo Árbenz in 1954, installed the dictator Castillo Armas and set the stage for a 36-year civil war lasting from 1960 to 1996. In the early 1980s, the US-backed dictatorship of Efraín Ríos Montt carried out widespread mass murder of workers and poor villagers, including a calculated genocide against the Mayan indigenous population that left tens of thousands dead.

The residents of neighboring El Salvador endured the horrors of civil war from 1979 to 1992, which left nearly 100,000 dead. The US military, employing scorched earth tactics it had perfected in Vietnam, directed the El Salvadoran government as it murdered dissidents like Archbishop Óscar Romero and conducted atrocities like the massacre at Sumpul River, where troops killed 600 villagers wading across to escape into Honduras.

Honduras has historically served as the US launching pad for mass murder across the region. Throughout the 1980s, the US trained paramilitary “contra” forces in the country and deployed them to ransack Nicaragua after the revolution that overthrew the US-backed dictatorship of Somoza in 1979.

Imperialism has acted to secure the profits of American corporations like the United Fruit Company through the suppression of strikes and rebellions among workers and poor peasants across the region. The total casualties are in the millions. As former US military general Smedley Butler put it, “I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.”

Though the names of the corporations have changed, the domination of American imperialism has only intensified. The hated Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández is in power because his predecessor, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, was installed in the wake of a coup backed by the Obama administration that ousted democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

In 2014, Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres denounced then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her personal role in orchestrating the coup. The US-backed government murdered Cáceres in March 2016.

With this history, Central America remains the world’s most unequal region, and Honduras its most unequal country. Sixty-eight percent of Hondurans live in poverty and 44 percent live in extreme poverty.

US President Donald Trump has promised he will use the military to bar the demonstrating workers from entering the US, indicating his preparedness to massacre the immigrants should they attempt to walk across the border as they have done in both Guatemala and Mexico.

The Democratic Party has deliberately ignored these dangerous preparations. In a press release Saturday, Democratic congressional leaders Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said Trump was “desperate to change the subject from healthcare to immigration” and refused to respond to Trump’s fascistic threats.

Bernie Sanders did not even mention Trump’s pledge to seal the border and deploy the military in a 30-minute stump speech for Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin yesterday. Compared to the Democrats’ hysterical fury over allegations of sexual misconduct, the Democrats’ silence on the fate of impoverished immigrants—including many women escaping domestic violence, rape and sexual slavery—betrays the reactionary character of the #MeToo campaign.

This silence was compounded by the self-proclaimed socialist organizations that operate within the Democratic Party. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) have not mentioned Trump’s recent attack on immigrants on their web page, and neither the DSA-aligned Jacobin magazine nor the International Socialist Organization’s (ISO) Socialist Worker has any article on immigration on their front page. This is only the latest evidence that these nationalist, pro-capitalist organizations have nothing to do with socialism.

It is urgent that workers of all nationalities recognize in this caravan a friendly regiment of class allies.

Under capitalism, the lives of billions of workers are totally subordinated to the profits of the major banks and corporations. Like dirt in a gust of wind, wars, depressions or changes in wages and commodity prices thrust millions of workers from their homes, uprooting them from their families and their cultures and forcing them to seek safety in far flung corners of the world.

Despite the immense danger posed to immigrants, however, the process of mass immigration and the caravan in particular have revolutionary implications.

The working class is proving de facto by marching across national barriers that the de jure division of the world into nation states under capitalism is incompatible with the aspirations and material needs of billions of workers. By marching across borders, the caravan is proving that the laws making immigration “illegal” are as much a block on the progress of humanity as were the laws legalizing the purchase and sale of human beings as slaves.

In a 1913 essay titled “Capitalism and Workers’ Immigration,” Vladimir Lenin explained:

“There can be no doubt that dire poverty alone compels people to abandon their native land, and that the capitalists exploit the immigrant workers in the most shameless manner. But only reactionaries can shut their eyes to the progressive significance of this modern migration of nations… Capitalism is drawing the masses of the working people of the whole world [into the class struggle], breaking down the musty, fusty habits of local life, breaking down national barriers and prejudices, uniting workers from all countries in huge factories and mines in America, Germany and so forth…”

American workers must come to the defense of their brothers and sisters from the south. The Socialist Equality Party demands:

• Safe passage and legal entry for all caravan participants into the United States

• Abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and dismantling the militarized border region

• Immediate liberation of all immigrants detained in the United States

• The provision of jobs, homes, healthcare and educational opportunities to the caravan participants and all immigrants

• The expenditure of a multi-trillion dollar program to rebuild Central America, to be paid for by expropriating the wealth of American billionaires

• The right for all workers to safely travel across the world without fear of harassment

Eric London

The Earthquake in International Alliances

From:

https://off-guardian.org/2018/10/23/the-earthquake-in-international-alliances/

Eric Zuesse

America’s international alliances are transforming in fundamental ways. The likelihood of World War III is increasing, and has been increasing ever since 2012 when the U.S. first slapped Russia with the Magnitsky Act sanctions. In fact, one matter driving these changing alliances now toward unprecedented realignments is that some nations’ leaders want to do whatever they can to prevent WW III.

On October 17th, America’s Military Times bannered “Why today’s troops fear a new war is coming soon” and reported,

“About 46 percent of troops who responded to the anonymous survey of currently serving Military Times readers said they believe the U.S. will be drawn into a new war within the next year. That’s a jarring increase from only about 5 percent who said the same thing in a similar poll conducted in September 2017.” Their special fear is of war against Russia and/or China: “About 71 percent of troops said Russia was a significant threat, up 18 points from last year’s survey. And 69 percent of troops said China poses a significant threat, up 24 points from last year.”

The U.S. spends around half of the entire world’s military budget; and, after 9/11, has invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and perpetrated a bloody coup turning Ukraine into a rabidly anti-Russian government on Russia’s very doorstep and even an applicant for NATO membership though, in 2009, before Obama’s coup overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected Government, even U.S. media reported that “barely 25 percent of Ukrainians favor joining NATO.” After 1991 when Russia’s anti-American Warsaw Pact military alliance ended, America’s anti-Russian NATO military alliance expanded right up to Russia’s very borders.

Nonetheless, these troops aren’t afraid that the U.S. is posing a threat to Russia and maybe to China, but that Russia and China are both posing threats against America; they trust their Government; it’s what they’re taught to believe. But the reality is very different. And it involves all of the “great power” relationships — not only U.S., Russia, and China.

The precipitating event for the breakup that’s now occurring in international alliances, happened on October 2nd, when Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the leader of Saudi Arabia, went into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul Turkey, and disappeared.

Allegedly, the dictator of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, had Khashoggi murdered and chopped-up inside that Consulate, within no more than two hours of his entrance there. Russia announced exactly a week later, on October 9th, that Salman had just bought Russia’s world-leading S-400 anti-missile system, for $2 billion. U.S. President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress will thus now need to determine whether to slap sanctions against Saudi Arabia for that purchase of Russian weaponry, just like the U.S. has already been threatening to do to fellow-NATO-member Turkey after its leader, President Tayyip Erdogan, likewise, recently purchased S-400s. (Trump and Congress also threatened India’s Modi this way, for its purchase of several S-400s.)

But even without this Saudi S-400 purchase, some in Washington have been proposing cancellation of Saudi Arabia’s $404 billion purchase of U.S.-made weaponry, the largest armaments-sale in history, which Trump had negotiated with Salman in 2017 and which is the likeliest cause of today’s booming U.S. stock market. The news-media call it a $110 billion sale, but only the first-year of the ten-year commitment is $110 billion; the total deal is a 10-year commitment, at around $400 billion.

Though initially it had been 10 years at $350 billion, CNBC headlined nine months later, “Trump wants Saudi Arabia to buy more American-made weapons” and reported:

In the past nine months alone, the U.S. has secured $54 billion in foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia.”

So, without seeing the actual signed deal, to confirm with certainty, one can assume that the total now is $404 billion.) Low-balling the amount is done in order to hide the national embarrassment of the military-industrial-complex’s now being the actual basis of America’s booming stock market.

Salman’s purchase of that $2 billion Russian S-400 could place the vastly larger $404 billion U.S. arms-sale to Saudi Arabia (and America’s consequent stock-boom and full employment) even more in jeopardy than it already is. America’s two most-core Middle Eastern allies, Saudi Arabia and Turkey (and Israel is only a distant third, and has no other option than to do whatever the U.S. Government requires it to do), could soon become no longer U.S. allies. America’s most important international alliances have never before been in such jeopardy.

Turkey is likelier to re-align with Russia than Saudi Arabia is, but even if Turkey becomes the only one to switch, that would be an earthquake in international relations. If both Turkey and Saudi Arabia go, it would be an earthquake, not just in international relations, but in world history. It could happen; and, if it does, then the reality that we know today will be gone and will become replaced by arrangements that virtually no one today is even thinking about, at all.

Jamal Khashoggi, a member and champion of the Muslim Brotherhood (as is Tayyip Erdogan — which is another reason why Erdogan would be especially unlikely to relent on this matter), was a nephew of the recently deceased billionaire international-arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi; press adviser to the billionaire Saudi chief of intelligence and Ambassador to the United States Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saud; and, more recently, a protégé of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud (who also is a Muslim Brotherhood member). Of course, he was also a columnist for the Washington Post, which makes impossible his case being ignored in the U.S.

On 4 November 2017, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud, and many other Princes and billionaires, were seized by the forces of the billionaire Prince Salman, the heir-apparent to the thone of his father, King Salman al-Saud, who is the world’s only trillionaire. What’s essential to understand is that in order for any Saud Prince (such as this Crown Prince, Salman) to become King Saud (and thus to inherit his father’s trillion-dollar-plus fortune), he must first win the approval of the nation’s Wahhab clergy or “Ulema”, and so Saudi Arabia is both a monarchy and a theocracy.

There has long been a global competition between two fundamentalist-Sunni groups: the Saud-funded Al Qaeda versus the Thani-funded Muslim Brotherhood. Ever since the Saud family and the Wahhab clergy agreed in 1744 to take control of all Arabs and to convert or kill all Shia, the Sauds have been (and are) anti-Shia and insist upon fundamentalist Sunni rule.

Al Qaeda represents the Wahhabist and Saud view, which advocates elimination of Shiites and accepts hereditary monarchy as the power to impose Sunni Islamic law and rejects democracy; the Muslim Brotherhood represents instead the more tolerant Thani view, which accepts Shia and also accepts imposition of Islamic law by means of democracy, and not only by means of dynasty. Both Prince and King Salman hate the Shia-accepting Muslim Brotherhood, whose top funder is the competing Thani family, who own Qatar; the Thanis don’t hate democracy and Shiites and Iran enough to suit the Sauds and especially the Salmans. They’re not sufficiently anti-Iran and anti-Shiite and anti-democracy.

Khashoggi had explained why he shared the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideals:

We were hoping to establish an Islamic state anywhere. We believed that the first one would lead to another, and that would have a domino effect which could reverse the history of mankind.”

He was out to save the world by making it a fundamentalist Sunni world, somehow without using terrorism to do it. Like him, the Thanis and Erdogan don’t share such extreme extremism as the Sauds demand.

Furthermore, On October 16th, Gabriel Sherman at Vanity Fair bannered “HOW JAMAL KHASHOGGI FELL OUT WITH BIN SALMAN”, and he wrote that Khashoggi had told him, back in March, that the reason he had turned against Prince Salman, and why the Washington Post had hired him, was what had happened on 4 November 2017:

‘When the arrests started happening, I flipped. I decided it was time to speak,’ he told me. Khashoggi subsequently landed a column in The Washington Post.”

Furthermore, Khashoggi told Sherman:

The people M.B.S. arrested were not radicals. The majority were reformers for women’s rights and open society. He arrested them to spread fear. He is replacing religious intolerance with political closure.”

This was the difference between Al Qaeda versus the Muslim Brotherhood.

The competition between, on the one hand, the pro-Muslim-Brotherhood Thanis and Erdogan, versus the pro-Al-Qaeda Sauds, UAE and Kuwait, on the other; is forcing the U.S. to choose between those two sides, or else even possibly lose both of them and even to go instead with Shia Islam as America’s Muslim partners. The biggest U.S. Middle Eastern military bases in the Middle East are Al Udeid in the Thanis’ Qatar, and Incirlik in Turkey. Both of those are Muslim Brotherhood Sunni territory, not Al Qaeda Sunni territory. The U.S. under Trump has been more pro-Al-Qaeda (pro-Saud) than the U.S. had been under Obama, but doesn’t want to lose those bases.

President Obama had supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. But he also vetoed the congressional bill for investigating whether the Sauds had done 9/11. He wanted friends on both sides of the Sunni divide. But he killed Al Qaeda’s founding leader, bin Laden. And yet he continued being staunchly pro Al Qaeda against Russia.

Turkey has been a U.S. ally through its membership (since 1952) in the NATO anti-Russia alliance. Saudi Arabia has been a U.S. ally since a major 1938 Rockefeller oil-discovery there, and especially since U.S. President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s switched gold for oil as the physical basis for the dollar’s value in international commerce. But for both of these till-now US allies to be buying the world’s best anti-missile system from the very same country that the US aristocracy has secretly been trying ultimately to conquer even after the USSR and its Warsaw Pact military alliance and its communism all ended in 1991, is a shock, and an insult, to America’s aristocracy (the billionaires), coming from two of their most important former allies.

What is at stake now is not only the value-basis of the U.S. dollar and the continuance of America’s NATO alliance against Russia, but, more basically than either, is the full realization of the dream by Cecil Rhodes in 1877 and of George Soros today, for a unified and all-inclusive UK-U.S. empire to become ruler over the entire world — the first-ever all-encompassing global empire. Britain importantly bonded King Saud and his family to its Empire, at the time of World War I, against the Ottoman Empire. That was the Sauds’ alliance against Turkey’s empire.

After World War II, U.S. became the leader of this joint UK-US empire, as Rhodes had expected ultimately to happen. Ever since 2000, Erdogan has been scheming to restore Turkey’s role as the world’s primary Islamic empire, and so to squelch the Saud family’s aspirations to achieve dominance over global Islam. Ever since 1744, the Saud family has been trying to achieve that dominance as being the fundamentalist-Sunni champion against the fundamentalist-Shiite leadership since 1979 in Iran. But, now, the Sunni Sauds’ main competitor might no longer be Shiite Iran, but instead turn out to be Sunni Turkey, after all — which had been the Sauds’ main enemy at the very start of the 20th Century.

What will the U.S. do, as the collapse of its aristocracy’s dream of global conquest after the fall of communism, is now gathering force even to bring into question such key former allies of America’s aristocracy, as Turkey, and as the world’s richest family (by far), the Saud family (the owners of Saudi Arabia)?

Perhaps the Sauds are making this stunning weapons-purchase from Russia because the prominent critic of the Sauds, Saudi citizen (and nephew of the global arms-merchant Adnan Khashoggi) Jamal Khashoggi, was recorded by loads of hidden cameras and audio recording devices including the watch and cellphone of the victim Jamal Khashoggi himself, as he was being murdered and chopped-up inside the Saudi Embassy in Constantinople-Istanbul when seeking papers that were required in order for him to marry his Turkish fiancé — as the Turkish Government now claims. This is an incident that reverberates hugely against the more-than-a-century-long goal of the UK-U.S. aristocracies for those billionaires to take control over the entire world — including Russia.

Erdogan got shaken to resist the UK-U.S. alliance, when on 15 July 2016, there was a coup-attempt against Erdogan, which endangered his life. The UK-U.S.’s establishments kept the coup-attempt’s very existence almost hidden in their media for several days, because the attempt had failed and the ‘news’-media hadn’t received instructions on how to report what had just happened — the usual CIA-MI6 pipelines ‘informing’ them were probably silent, because those sources were prepared only for delivering the storyline for a successful coup, and it hadn’t been successful — it instead failed.

So, for example, UK’s Independent headlined on July 18th, “Turkey coup attempt: Rebel jets had Erdogan’s plane in their sights but did not fire, officials claim: ‘Why they didn’t fire is a mystery,’ former military officer says,” and they raised the question in their report, of whether this had actually been a coup-attempt or instead an event that had been planned by the Erdogan regime in order for him then to be enabled to impose martial law so as to eliminate his political opponents:

Conspiracy theorists are saying the attempted military coup was faked, comparing it to the Reichstag fire – the 1933 arson attack on the German parliament building used by Hitler as an excuse to suspend civil liberties and order mass arrests of his opponents.”

If you then click onto that “attempted military coup was faked”, you will come to this same newspaper’s report, dated July 16th, which was headlined “Turkey coup: Conspiracy theorists claim power grab attempt was faked by Erdogan”. It’s unusual for an Establishment news-medium to provide any sort of credence to the possibility that a false-flag event has occurred, but if the empire’s intelligence services were providing no information, then even an Establishment ‘news’-medium can do such a thing — anything in order to pretend to have news that’s worthy of publishing about an important event.

But also on July 18th, yet another Establishment ‘news’-medium, Newsweek, headlined “PUTIN CALLS ERDOGAN TO VOICE SUPPORT FOR ORDER IN TURKEY” and used this event as an opportunity to publicize a statement by an expelled Russian billionaire who had actually been expelled because he had cheated Russia on his tax-returns. Newsweek hid that fact. This supposed billionaire-champion of democracy was there approvingly quoted in a passage: “Many in Russia drew parallels between Erdogan and Putin, hinting Putin may fear mutiny in his own ranks. ‘Well done Turkey,’ Putin rival Mikhail Khodorkovsky tweeted as news of the coup broke on Friday.” (That’s “Putin rival,” instead of billionaire tax-crook. Brainwashing is done that way.) Every possible anti-Russian angle to this attempted coup was pursued: the angle here was, the failed coup had been attempted for the sake of ‘democracy’.

On July 21st, Al-Araby headlined “Russia ‘warned Erdogan about coup’ moments before assassination attempt”, and reported that:

Russian intelligence warned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that factions within the army were planning a coup – possibly saving the Turkish leader’s life – Iranian state media has alleged.

Moscow reportedly received “highly sensitive army exchanges and encoded radio messages showing that the Turkish army was readying to stage a coup”, Fars News Agency said, citing Arab sources.

An unnamed Turkish diplomatic source confirmed that intelligence services “received intel from its Russian counterpart that warned of an impending coup”.
Russian spies … informed Ankara that several military helicopters were dispatched to Erdogan’s hotel to “arrest or kill him”.

The CIA edits, and on some matters, even writes, Wikipedia articles; and their article on the “2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt” says nothing at all about this advance-notice by Putin — the key fact about the event, if it’s true.

They don’t even mention it as something that might have happened (and which would explain even much that Wikipedia’s article does report). Is this absence because the CIA thinks that it’s not true, or because the CIA knows that it is true and perhaps also that the CIA itself was involved in the coup-attempt and so wants to keep this fact out of their account and out of the public’s consciousness altogether?

Also on July 21st, Alexander Mercouris, who is deeply knowledgeable about international relations, headlined at his The Duran“Why Reports of the Russian Tip Off to Erdogan May Be True”, and he presented a stunning case, which could more accurately have been headlined “Why Reports of the Russian Tip Off to Erdogan Are Almost Certainly True.”

I further have documented its extreme likelihood, headlining at Strategic Culture Foundation on August 18th, “What Was Behind the Turkish Coup-Attempt?” But, of course, Wikipedia doesn’t link to sites such as The Duran, or Strategic Culture Foundation, because a controlled news-and-information system-environment is essential to the effective functioning of any dictatorship (and also see this and this, with yet further documentation that the U.S. is no democracy, at all).

So: ever since 15 July 2016, Turkey has been veering away from the U.S. and toward Russia, in its national-security policies.

But the only major prior indication that the Sauds might do likewise was when the Sauds’ intelligence-chief, head of the National Intelligence Council, and former U.S. Ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, secretly met with Putin in Moscow on 31 July 2013 in order to try to pry Russia away from protecting the Governments of both Syria and Iran — Bandar even told Putin:

I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the [upcoming Sochi Winter Olympic] games are controlled by us.”

Bandar also promised to buy up to $15 billion of Russian-made weapons, if Putin would abandon protection of the sovereignty of the Syrian and Iranian Governments. Putin said no. Bandar was the long-time friend of Israel who had donated heavily to Al Qaeda prior to the 9/11 attacks, even out of his personal account. He was especially close to both U.S. President Bushes.

The Trump arms-deal with Saudi Arabia is enormous — $404 billion over ten years — and it very much is at stake now because of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. America’s ‘news’-media hide this reality.

For example, the 16 October 2018 NPR “Morning Edition” program headlined “Trump Says He Won’t Scrap Arms Deal Over Missing Saudi Journalist” and host Steve Inskeep diminished the importance of Trump’s enormous arms-deal with Saudi Arabia. Inskeep interviewed a supposed expert on international arms-sales. He asked her about Saudi Arabia, whether they are “a really lucrative market for weapons” and she said “Arms sales aren’t this lucrative big deal for the United States,” because “arms sales are a pretty inefficient employment mechanism,” which wasn’t even relevant to answering the question that had been asked.

She went on to say they’re not lucrative because “sometimes weapons are given on grant or on favorable credit terms,” but that too was irrelevant but just pointed to the fact that the U.S. taxpayer is often subsidizing those extremely lucrative — for the weapons-firms — transactions. Her answer ignored that Lockheed Martin etc. benefit just the same; only taxpayers lose when it’s subsidized.

Inskeep: “You’re saying that there aren’t actually many jobs at stake?” She answered: “That’s what we’ve seen in the past.” But she again falsified, because what the econometric studies actually show is that armaments-expenditures produce less economic growth than non-‘defense’ spending does. (In fact, in the U.S., military spending actually decreases long-term GDP-growth.) Yet still, adding $404 billion to U.S. manufacturing sales in any field (‘defense’ or otherwise) is an enormous short-term boost. (Inskeep and his guest never even mentioned the amount, $404 billion in this deal; the program was geared to idiots and to keeping them such. It was geared to deceive.) Both the questioner and the ‘expert’ were geared toward hiding the basic reality, certainly not to explaining it.

Trump’s largest boost to U.S. GDP thus far has been that $404 billion arms-sale he made to Prince Salman in 2017. It caused stock-values of those armaments-firms to soar, and will (unless cancelled) produce an enormous number of new jobs in the U.S. making those weapons, once the specific contracts have become finalized. But the boosts to armaments-makers’ stock values are already evident. And yet not once in that segment was it mentioned that the Saudi deal was for $404 billion of U.S.-made weapons over a ten-year period. That sale dwarfs any previous weapons-sale in history.

NPR simply lied; they deceived their audience. One might say it’s instead because of incompetence on their part, but those program-hosts and producers and guests are hired and engaged and retained because they possess this kind of ‘incompetence’. It’s no mistake, and it is systematic throughout the mainstream Western ‘news’-media. It is lying ‘news’-media. So, as a result, the American public cannot understand U.S.-Saudi relations and other matters that are basic understandings by and for the aristocracy. These are propaganda-media, not news-media.

In fact, just the day earlier, on October 15th, NPR had even headlined “Fact Check: How Much Does Saudi Arabia Spend On Arms Deals With The U.S.?” The sub-head was “President Trump says he does not want to endanger what he describes as a $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. But the actual figure is considerably lower.” They reported that, “Since Donald Trump has been president, the United States and Saudi Arabia have concluded less than $4-billion-worth of arms agreements.”

No mention was made of the $350 billion figure, much less of the $404 billion one. It’s as if the agreements didn’t exist. (At the time of the signing of the ten-year arms-deal, the video, which starts with Trump signing some documents, shows that the Saud Government stated at 3:03 that the deal was for “an investment of more than $480 billion dollars” some of which was non-military, and at 3:15 it says that the deal will “provide hundreds of thousands of jobs” to the United States. Specific congratulations were given there as contracts were being handed to CEOs and Chairmen of Raytheon, General Electric, Dow Chemical, and other corporations.)

Of course, the U.S. Government could have been lying, and the deal could have been different from what the PR says. But that’s not the type of lie which NPR alleged here. Anyone nowadays who trusts what either the U.S. Government or its news-media say, is trusting demonstrably untrustworthy sources — and this too is not the type of lying (their own lying) that NPR says exists. They just lie.

Saudi Arabia’s purchase now of Russia’s S-400 does indicate that the U.S. aristocracy might lose their most important foreign ally, the Saud family, and that international relations could transform in transformative ways, not just superficially. It’s only a sign, but what it signals is enormously significant — and U.S. ‘news’-media are hiding it.

The General Manager of the Saud family’s Al Arabya international TV channel that was established in order to compete against the Thani family’s Al Jazeera international TV channel, issued stark warnings to the U.S., on Sunday, October 14th. Headlining “US sanctions on Riyadh would mean Washington is stabbing itself,” he closed:

If Washington imposes sanctions on Riyadh, it will stab its own economy to death, even though it thinks that it is stabbing only Riyadh!”

In between those were: The Kingdom is considering “more than 30 potential measures to be taken against the imposition of sanctions on Riyadh.” Included among them are: the price of oil “jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure.” Also “a Russian military base in Tabuk, northwest of Saudi Arabia.” More realistically, however, he threatened: “An oil barrel may be priced in a different currency, Chinese yuan, perhaps, instead of the dollar. And oil is the most important commodity traded by the dollar today.” And, he did not miss this one, either:

It will not be strange that Riyadh would stop buying weapons from the US. Riyadh is the most important customer of US companies, as Saudi Arabia buys 10 percent of the total weapons that these US companies produce, and buys 85 percent from the US army which means what’s left for the rest of the world is only five percent; [and that’s] in addition to the end of Riyadh’s investments in the US government which reaches $800 billion.

For the very first time publicly, a mouthpiece for the Saud family has now said publicly that the U.S. doesn’t control the Saudi Government; the Saudi Government controls the U.S.

If the relationship between the Saud family and the U.S. is the relationship between a dog and its tail, which is which? Perhaps Cecil Rhodes, were he to return, would be so shocked, he’d have a heart-attack and die a second time.

As this is being written, on October 19th, there has been speculation that the Saudi Government is planning to admit that individual(s) in it had made bad errors, which tragically ended in a botched interrogation of Khashoggi at the Consulate in Istanbul. This response would not be credible in any case, because of the long history, going back decades, of prominent potential opponents of the Saud family being inexplicably disappeared and never heard from (or about) again.

For one example, the headline from this past May 30th, six months ago, remains current news, as of even today: “NAWAF AL RASHEED, SON OF PRINCE TALAL BIN ABDULAZIZ AL RASHEED, DISAPPEARED SINCE MAY 12 DEPORTATION TO SAUDI ARABIA”. And, going back to before Crown Prince Salman, to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing ‘suspects’, all of them simply disappeared, never to be heard from (or about) again — no public trial, nothing at all. There are many such cases, of many different kinds. This is normal Saudi practice — not abnormal at all. What is abnormal is that Jamal Khashoggi had just been hired by perhaps the world’s second-wealthiest person, Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post, to write articles against the Crown-Prince son, and future heir, of overwhelmingly the world’s wealthiest person, King Salman. That’s what is different from those such prior instances.

Originally posted at strategic-culture.org

UK’s plastics recycling industry accused of widespread fraud & pollution

The Most Revolutionary Act

Source: RT

The Environment Agency (EA) is investigating suspected widespread abuse and fraud within Britain’s plastics recycling industry. It will deal with complaints that firms and organized crime are abusing the system.

Data from the EA showed that six UK exporters of plastic waste have had their licenses suspended or cancelled in the last three months over concerns of high contamination rates.

The EA said it was pursuing “several lines of enquiry,” including allegations that the waste was not recycled but was left to leak into rivers and oceans. The investigation will also look into UK firms accused of shipping contaminated waste when non-recyclable items are mixed in with recyclables items.

Britain sends about two-thirds of its plastic packaging waste abroad every year. It includes plastic bottles, yoghurt pots and other items. The export industry is reportedly worth £50 million ($65 million) per year.

“Waste crime damages lives, livelihoods and…

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On Anniversary of Cuba Blockade, History Repeats Itself as the U.S Imposes Naval Blockade on Russia

From:21st Century Wire

https://21stcenturywire.com/2018/10/22/on-anniversay-of-cuba-blockade-history-repeats-itself-as-the-u-s-imposes-naval-blockade-on-russia/

Christopher Black
NEO

On the 22nd of October 1962 the US 2nd Fleet began the blockade of Cuba, an action that immediately threatened the world with nuclear war and annihilation. Those of us old enough to remember President Kennedy’s statement on live television will never forget the fear we all felt as the images of mushroom clouds swept across the TV screens and air raid sirens began their haunting screams as we were told to “duck and cover.”

The blockade’s objective was to force the USSR to withdraw nuclear weapons from Cuba that it had placed there in order to guarantee Cuba’s security from American attack. Fortunately the crisis ended a few days later with the missiles being withdrawn in exchange for the US withdrawing similar missiles from bases in Turkey that threatened the USSR, and a US pledge not to invade Cuba. The blockade proved to be not only a dangerous provocation but also a humiliating fiasco for the US. A year later President Kennedy was assassinated.

But today the US leadership is threatening another blockade, this time of Russia, as well as threatening pre-emptive strikes to neutralise Russian cruise missiles, not located in Cuba, but in Russia itself. And the same fleet that conducted the Cuban blockade, that took part in the invasion of Grenada in 1983, the 2nd Fleet, has once again been reactivated with all the ships necessary to attempt just such a blockade.

The 2nd fleet was broken up in 2011 when the US thought it controlled the world and decided it was not needed. Today it has been reassembled to threaten Russia once again, a Russia that refuses to acknowledge US world hegemony and or permit US control of it or its allies sovereignty, economies and resources. Based in Norfolk, Virginia, the fleet’s declared mission is to “help protect the sea lanes between the United States and Europe, as well as to help allies deal with increased Russian military activity in the Greenland-Iceland-U.K. gap.”

It was agreed at the NATO Summit in Brussels that the 2nd Fleet will also become a NATO command should hostilities break out. It is so important to them that the NATO officer commanding the massive Trident Junction military exercises taking place in Norway this month is an American admiral, Admiral James Foggo, who also serves as NATO’s commander of Joint Force Command in Naples.

The Trident Junction war games posit an imaginary invasion of Norway by Russia. Since such an invasion is not conceivable it must be assumed by Russian military planners and neutral observers, by any intelligent person, that the exercise is meant to be major provocation against Russia, a threat, for to put 40,000 men, 70 major ships, including a nuclear aircraft carrier strike group, and hundreds of aircraft into Norway, a major effort in logistics and planning is not just to show Russia NATO’s capabilities. It’s a practice for the real thing.

As I wrote in an earlier article the threat of a naval blockade of Russia to stop its exports of energy, the threat made by the US Interior Minister, Ryan Zinke, seems absurd. Most of Russia’s energy exports are by pipeline but a significant amount of liquefied natural gas is now shipped from its new Yamal LNG plant in northern Russia on the Arctic Ocean to markets in Venezuela, India and China and large amounts of oil are shipped out of ports in the Baltic, the Black Sea and from Vladivostok. In fact Russia exports millions of barrels of oil to US west coast consumers which cannot obtain domestic US or Canadian oil as easily as in the past due to lack of pipelines from currently producing fields in the US and Canada.

This reliance on Russian oil is anathema to the American strategic planners, yet a blockade of that oil supply would raise oil prices to very high levels, hurting US consumers while helping Russia increase its revenue. Some US oil companies would benefit from higher prices, if there was no war, of course, but not as much as Russian companies in this scenario, so again, the threat seems as stupid as it is reckless, because it would not benefit the US and would lead to war. So why make it? And why make the threat shortly thereafter of a preemptive strike on Russia to “take out” Russian defence systems?

The US ambassador to NATO, Bailey Hutchinson stated on October 2nd that:

“The question was what would you do if this continues to a point where we know that they are capable of delivering the weapons in question. And at that point we would then be looking at a capability to take out a missile that could hit any of our countries in Europe and hit America in Alaska.”

US commentators tried to play down what she said and she later tried to tone down her remarks but the threat was not withdrawn and we have to consider that she spoke for senior NATO commanders as she has a long pedigree working with them and must know what they are thinking and what they are planning. She was a US senator from Texas from 1993 to 2013 and during her term in office was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and various other defence and military subcommittees. She has a pedigree and she has connections. Many have shrugged off her remarks as stupid or over the top, but to shrug her off as a joke is a mistake. The Russian government took what she said seriously and stated that she was engaging in dangerous aggressive rhetoric while the head of the Arms Control Association stated:

“If she is saying that if the diplomatic route doesn’t work we will destroy the missiles, that’s obviously dangerous and risks triggering a war that could go nuclear. I cannot recall anything like this in the post cold-war period.”

But then NATO has risked starting world war before, first with the Cuba Crisis, then when they attacked Yugoslavia in 1999 and, by trying to kill the Chinese Ambassador in the process, attacked China as well. They even brag about it. The Mr. Goebbels of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, in Belgrade a few days ago, told university students that they were bombed for their own good, so ipso facto any bombing NATO does of anyone is therefore for their own good, and therefore “necessary.” The megalomania is astounding.

And while the build-up and threats against Russia mount in the Baltic, in Ukraine, in Syria, and as threats against Iran mount, against North Korea, Venezuela, threats against China mount with rapidly increasing economic warfare, with new accusations that China is also trying to influence US elections, with over flights of Chinese waters by nuclear-capable bombers, incursions of US and allied military vessels in Chinese waters leading to direct confrontation, and threats of a blockade of the Malacca Straights cutting off China’s oil supplies from the middle east. The war in Syria continues, with the US, Israel and their various national and mercenary allies not willing to accept defeat. War or threats of war by the US and its allies against the powers resisting its hegemony is the constant theme of their leadership and their media. In whichever direction you look, you cannot escape the images of war or news of war.

So why would they take the risk of a naval blockade, the risk of a pre-emptive attack? It is clear that the economic warfare being conducted against Russia is not working and has only served to make Russia more independent and self-sustaining. Threats of further economic warfare in the form of punishment of its European allies if they buy Russian energy supplies, in tandem with the same measures against Iran, will mean the ruin of Europe for those countries really have no alternative except unreliable and very expensive US natural gas delivered by sea. So a naval blockade preventing Russian ships from delivering their cargoes is a logical step in their thinking, which is focused on destroying Russian economic and military power.

The other reason they would risk it is that the NATO leadership are in love with war. They worship war. It gives them, they think, what they desire; power and they want world power. They mean to take it and they mean to keep it. They enjoy frightening people. They enjoy the killing. It gives them a thrill talking about it when they sit down in their comfortable chairs and have their cocktails after a hard days war.

So it cannot be assumed that the statements they make, the threats of blockade, of pre-emptive strikes, of nuclear first strikes, are just so much chatter, so many stupidities. They are evidently a set of psychopaths, like Hitler and the Nazi leadership were. They think they are omnipotent and are willing to risk everything, as they did, because they have deluded themselves into thinking that it is possible to win, to survive, and to profit from the war they are preparing for. We can pretend it’s all just bluff and loose talk, or we can take it seriously and wake up to the reality of where they are taking us and try to stop them before it’s too late. But we haven’t too long. The 2nd Fleet is ready for action. Are we?

***

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

The Deceptive Promise of Free Trade

The Most Revolutionary Act

A Game of No Rules: The Deceptive Promise of Free Trade

DW (2018)

Film Review

Produced in response to the protective tariffs Trump has enacted, this documentary shows the negative side of globalization and free trade. It maintains that most free trade treaties are one sided and significantly increase inequality. According to the filmmakers, the primary purpose of free trade is to give wealthy countries cheap access to the resources of developing countries.

Most of the film focuses on the  protective (aka “punitive”) tariffs Europe has been using for years to protect their domestic industries from cheap imports. In contrast, most US politicians have rejected protective tariffs in favor of free trade. The result has been the failure of many domestic American industries unable to compete with cheap Asian imports.

The film starts with the example of Germany, which charges punitive tariffs (50%) on imported Chinese bicycle frames. In all…

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China & Japan dump US Treasuries

From: blog141212
China and Japan – the two main holders of the US Treasury securities – have trimmed their ownership of notes and bonds in August, according to the latest figures from the US Treasury Department, released on Tuesday.
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China’s holdings of US sovereign debt dropped to $1.165 trillion in August, from $1.171 trillion in July, marking the third consecutive month of declines as the world’s second-largest economy bolsters its national currency amid trade tensions with the US. China remains the biggest foreign holder of US Treasuries, followed by long-time US ally Japan.

© Getty Images

 

Tokyo cut its holdings of US securities to $1.029 trillion in August, the lowest since October 2011. In July, Japan’s holdings were at $1.035 trillion. According to the latest figures from the country’s Ministry of Finance, Japanese investors opted to buy British debt in August, selling US and German bonds. Japan reportedly liquidated a net $5.6 billion worth of debt.

Liquidating US Treasuries, one of the world’s most actively-traded financial assets, has recently become a trend among major holders. Russia dumped 84 percent of its holdings this year, with its remaining holdings as of June totaling just $14.9 billion. With relations between Moscow and Washington at their lowest point in decades, the Central Bank of Russia explained the decision was based on financial, economic and geopolitical risks.

Turkey and India have followed suit. Like Russia, Turkey has dropped out of the top-30 list of holders of American debt following a conflict with Washington over the attempted military coup in the country two years ago. While India remains among the top-30, the country has cut its US Treasury holdings for the fifth consecutive month, from $157 billion in March to $140 billion in August.

Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs said that US policy of sanctions and tariffs against major economies, including Russia, China and Iran, dragged down the dollar’s share of global central-bank reserves. Meanwhile, the data from the International Monetary Fund confirms that the US dollar’s share in the global central-bank reserves dropped to 62.3 percent from April to June, while holdings in the euro, yen and yuan gained as a share of allocated reserves.