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Aletho News

Denying the Demonic


By Edward Curtin | April 16, 2021

… I am interested in asking why so many people can't accept that radical evil is real. Is that a right-wing question? Of course not. It's a human question that has been asked down through the ages.

I do think we are today in the grip of radical evil, demonic forces. The refusal to see and accept this is not new. As the eminent theologian, David Ray Griffin, has argued, the American Empire, with its quest for world domination and its long and ongoing slaughters at home and abroad, is clearly demonic; it is driven by the forces of death symbolized by Satan.

I have spent many years trying to understand why so many good people have refused to see and accept this and have needed to ply a middle course over many decades. The safe path. Believing in the benevolence of their rulers. When I say radical evil, I mean it in the deepest spiritual sense. A religious sense, if you prefer. But by religious I don't mean institutional religions since so many of the institutional religions are complicit in the evil.

It has long been easy for Americans to accept the demonic nature of foreign leaders such as Hitler, Stalin, or Mao. Easy, also, to accept the government's attribution of such names as the "new Hitler" to any foreign leader it wishes to kill and overthrow.  But to consider their own political leaders as demonic is near impossible.

So let me begin with a few reminders.

The U.S. destruction of Iraq and the mass killings of Iraqis under George W. Bush beginning in 2003. Many will say it was illegal, unjust, carried out under false pretenses, etc. But who will say it was pure evil?

Who will say that Barack Obama's annihilation of Libya was radical evil?

Who will say the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo and so many Japanese cities that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians was radical evil?

Who will say the U.S. war against Syria is demonic evil?

Who will say the killing of millions of Vietnamese was radical evil?

Who will say the insider attacks of September 11, 2001 were demonic evil?

Who will say slavery, the genocide of native people, the secret medical experiments on the vulnerable, the CIA mind control experiments, the coups engineered throughout the world resulting in the mass murder of millions – who will say these are evil in the deepest sense?

Who will say the U.S. security state's assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Fred Hampton, et al. were radical evil?

Who will say the trillions spent on nuclear weapons and the willingness to use them to annihilate the human race is not the ultimate in radical evil?

This list could extend down the page endlessly. Only someone devoid of all historical sense could conclude that the U.S. has not been in the grip of demonic forces for a long time.

If you can do addition, you will find the totals staggering. They are overwhelming in their implications.

But to accept this history as radically evil in intent and not just in its consequences are two different things. I think so many find it so hard to admit that their leaders have intentionally done and do demonic deeds for two reasons.  First, to do so implicates those who have supported these people or have not opposed them. It means they have accepted such radical evil and bear responsibility. It elicits feelings of guilt. Secondly, to believe that one's own leaders are evil is next to impossible for many to accept because it suggests that the rational façade of society is a cover for sinister forces and that they live in a society of lies so vast they the best option is to make believe it just isn't so. Even when one can accept that evil deeds were committed in the past, even some perhaps intentionally, the tendency is to say "that was then, but things are different now." Grasping the present when you are in it is not only difficult but often disturbing for it involves us.

So if I am correct and most Americans cannot accept that their leaders have intentionally done radically evil things, then it follows that to even consider questioning the intentions of the authorities regarding the current corona crisis needs to be self-censored. Additionally, as we all know, the authorities have undertaken a vast censorship operation so people cannot hear dissenting voices of those who have now been officially branded as domestic terrorists. The self-censorship and the official work in tandem.

There is so much information available that shows that the authorities at the World Health Organization, the CDC, The World Economic Forum, Big Pharma, governments throughout the world, etc. have gamed this crisis beforehand, have manipulated the numbers, lied, have conducted a massive fear propaganda campaign via their media mouthpieces, have imposed devastating lockdowns that have further enriched the wealthiest and economically and psychologically devasted vast numbers, etc. Little research is needed to see this, to understand that Big Pharma is, as Dr. Peter Gøtzsche documented eight years ago in Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare, a world-wide criminal enterprise. It takes but a few minutes to see that the pharmaceutical companies who have been given emergency authorization for these untested experimental non-vaccine "vaccines" have paid out billions of dollars to settle criminal and civil allegations.

It is an open secret that the WHO, the Gates Foundation, the WEF led by Klaus Schwab, and an interlocking international group of conspirators have plans for what they call The Great Reset, a strategy to use  the COVID-19 crisis to push their agenda to create a world of cyborgs living in cyberspace where artificial intelligence replaces people and human biology is wedded to technology under the control of the elites. They have made it very clear that there are too many people on this planet and billions must die. Details are readily available of this open conspiracy to create a transhuman world.

Is this not radical evil? Demonic?

Let me end with an analogy. There is another organized crime outfit that can only be called demonic – The Central Intelligence Agency. One of its legendary officers was James Jesus Angleton, chief of Counterintelligence from 1954 until 1975.  He was a close associate of Allen Dulles, the longest serving director of the CIA. Both men were deeply involved in many evil deeds, including bringing Nazi doctors and scientists into the U.S. to do the CIA's dirty work, including mind control, bioweapons research, etc. The stuff they did for Hitler. As reported by David Talbot in The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government, when the staunch Catholic Angleton was on his deathbed, he gave an interviews to visiting journalists, including Joseph Trento. He confessed:

He had not been serving God, after all, when he followed Allen Dulles. He had been on a satanic quest….'Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars,' he told Trento in an emotionless voice. 'The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted…. Outside this duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, looking back on my life, I regret. But I was part of it and loved being in it.' He invoked the names of the high eminences who had run the CIA in his day – Dulles, Helms, Wisner. These men were 'the grand masters,' he said. 'If you were in a room with them, you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.' Angleton took another slow sip from his steaming cup. 'I guess I will see them there soon.'

Until we recognize the demonic nature of the hell we are now in, we too will be lost. We are fighting for our lives and the spiritual salvation of the world. Do not succumb to the siren songs of these fathers of lies.

Resist.

Full article

translate | 17 Apr 2021 | 2:04 am

UK Councils Bring Back ‘COVID Marshals’ to Report People For Not Social Distancing


By Paul Joseph Watson | Summit News | April 15, 2021

UK council authorities are putting more 'COVID marshals' onto the streets to report people to the police for not properly social distancing.

After the government lifted some lockdown restrictions on Monday, bars and restaurants were allowed to open outside.

This prompted the media to once again hysterically point to footage of people daring to enjoy themselves in order to whip up another contrived panic over a '4th wave' of the virus returning despite Britain having one of the lowest case rates in the world amongst major countries.

Local government immediately responded by vowing to put more state spies on the streets.

"Councils across England have boosted the number of Covid-19 marshals patrolling city centres after scenes of overcrowding since outdoor drinking and dining resumed on Monday," reports the Times.

The marshals have no enforcement power, so their role almost entirely depends on lecturing people about their behavior and then snitching on them to police if they fail to comply.

As we previously highlighted, when the second lockdown was implemented in the UK last autumn, COVID marshals were dispatched to ensure pubs and clubs were closed.

Photographs from the patrols showed marshals peering into windows and letterboxes to ensure gatherings or private parties were not taking place.

Images from London on Monday also showed masked security guards with attack dogs waiting to deal with any trouble caused by overcrowding as shops re-opened.

This is all apparently part of the process of regaining our freedom!

translate | 17 Apr 2021 | 12:27 am

Bipartisan Murder


By Richard Medhurst | April 11, 2021

Syria is the key to the Middle East. Bordering Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine, and with access to the Mediterranean Sea, for millennia Syria has held unique geopolitical and strategic importance in the region. The war taking place there since 2011 has been sold by virtually every news outlet in the West as being strictly a civil war, part of the popular uprisings of the 'Arab Spring'. The reality couldn't be more different.

As General Wesley Clarke points out in 2007 there had been an agenda to take out "seven countries in five years" among them Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran; to replace their governments with ones favorable to Washington DC.

Five years already before the "Arab Spring", a 2006 cable from the United States embassy in Damascus published by WikiLeaks shows how the US was looking at various threats, both real and exaggerated, that it could exploit in order to destabilize the Syrian government.

The US and its allies Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar began funding and arming various militias inside Syria, funneling weapons and supplies to them in order to overthrow the Syrian government. Efraim Halevy, former head of israel's intelligence service the Mossad, even admitted in an interview that Israel had provided aid to Al Qaeda fighters just because it was advantageous for Israel to see the Syrian government fall.

PBS recently did an interview with Abu Mohammad al Jolani, a terrorist leader in Syria's north-western Idlib during which he expressed no intent to fight with the US, despite having a $10 million bounty on his head. The article goes on to mention how former Ambassador James Jeffrey, the US' former Special Envoy to Syria, confirms that al Jolani's organization Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a rebrand of Al Qaeda, was a "an asset" to America's strategy in Idlib.

To cover up the undeniable role played by foreign governments, to this day the mainstream media portrays the war on Syria as a grassroots uprising by "moderate rebels"— the overwhelming majority of whom just so happen to be rebrands or affiliated with Al Qaeda and other jihadist elements.

Despite the efforts of the entire Western propaganda machine and a dozen nations ganging up against Syria, their gamble for regime change has failed thus far: Syria has taken back most of its territory from ISIS and other foreign-backed terrorists, and now boasts even stronger ties with its allies than before. Take for example Russia's naval port in Tartus, established in Syria in 1971 as part of an accord with the Syrian government, providing it access to the Mediterranean Sea. A decade ago, at the start of the war, the port was practically crumbling, Ten years later in 2021, it's been completely renovated, upgraded and fitted with state of the art ships.

While some argue the main goal behind the war in Syria was to build the Qatar-Turkey pipeline which would deliver gas through Syria to Europe, undercutting Russia's market share, I think the larger objective for the United States has mostly been regime change and to remove the "thorn" in israel's side. Syria refuses to recognize israel and has no official ties with the Zionist occupation. The two have been at odds with each other for the last 73 years; not just since the start of the occupation of Palestine in 1948, but also the capture of the Syrian Golan Heights in 1967 and consequent illegal annexation. Syria is also allied with Russia, Iran and supports the various liberation movements of its neighbors including the Palestinian resistance, Hezbollah and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, collectively dubbed the "Axis of Resistance"– a twist on George Bush's "Axis of Evil".

Seeing how the regime change strategy through various terrorist and armed groups has failed in Syria, the United States is now occupying Syria's vital breadbasket region, where most of its crops are grown, as well as the oil fields in Deir Ezzor and Hassakeh provinces in East and North-Eastern Syria.

After Trump openly admitted "we're keeping the oil", we also saw in August, 2020 then Secretary of State Pompeo admit to Senator Lindsay Graham during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that a US firm would be "modernizing Syria's oil fields", which is a nice way to say "plundering".

Graham can be heard gloating about the brutal Caesar Act sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. Indeed, in addition to stealing Syria's resources, the United States is also starving the Syrian population with siege warfare. These Caesar sanctions announced by Trump and kept by Biden serve no purpose other than to tighten the noose on the Syria's population. Syria's economy has collapsed, its currency in free-fall and nearly 60 percent of the population is now food insecure in a country which used to be self-sufficient and a net exporter of wheat. The US shamelessly states that its goal is to deprive the Syrian government, and by extension the Syrian people, of one of their most valuable resources (oil accounts for around 25% of government revenue) desperately needed to fund public infrastructure and social programs, with 90% of Syrians now living in poverty. They pretend that sanctions only affect the politicians but it's the civilians who are suffering.

The West doesn't care if Syrians die. This scorched-earth policy is advantageous to US and Western interests because it keeps Syria in a constant state of chaos and helps israel create a buffer beyond just the occupied Golan Heights, but also more generally as Syria is now unable to defend itself, defend its neighbors, and subject to regular airstrikes which the world lets israel carry out with impunity.

While Secretary of State Blinken uses his own kids in some deranged comparison to pretend he cares about Syrian children he and Biden are completely fine keeping Donald Trump's "Maximum Pressure Campaign" of sanctions going. According to Syria's oil minister around 90% of Syria's crude is now under control of the US. Syrians wait in massive queues as they experience fuel shortages and are lining up for bread. Sanctions are a modern adaptation of siege warfare, just as ruthless and deadly.

Both Democrats and Republicans are on the same page when it comes to imperialism and their fealty to corporations. There is no difference among them in that regard except in decorum. After Trump bombed Syria in April 2018, over an alleged chemical gas attack in Douma later revealed to have been staged, then Senator Kamala Harris questioned the "legal rationale" behind the strikes. Some Democrats criticized Trump saying it was a breach of constitutional powers– but none of them fundamentally questioned whether these alleged chemical attacks had even taken place to begin with. The team of scientists sent by the Organization for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons hadn't even arrived in Syria yet to determine what had happened. Democrats only issued mild statements of rebuke while simultaneously cheering on Assad was being "punished"– which goes to show their objectives fundamentally remain the same, no matter who is in power.

Biden's bombing of Syria

After Joe Biden became president his first military action was to bomb Syria. Naturally, bombings takes priority over campaign promises like the $15 minimum wage or $2,000 checks he lied about. Biden's supposed "justification" for bombing Syria on February 25th, 2021 was that he was acting in self-defense to protect the United States. This is of course an absurdity; Syria is not a threat to the United States nor has it attacked the United States– if anything it's the other way around. Nevertheless, it doesn't matter that Biden blatantly lies in his letter to Congress, everyone knows this is merely a cover story in order to comply with the War Powers Resolution (notifying Congress of military action and citing defensive measures if no prior Authorization for Use of Military Force exists).

When Biden bombed Syria he claimed to have targeted "Iranian backed militias"- the same excuse that Israel gives when illegally bombing Syria almost on a weekly basis. When I spoke to Professor Max Abrahms on my television The Communiqué he said the bombing was likely more about sending a message to Israel rather than Iran; a show of support from Biden that the Zionist occupation could still count on the new administration's support.

When corporate media and Western politicians say "Iranian backed militias" they're referring to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF / PMU) or Hashed al Shaabi in Arabic. The PMU is made up mostly of various Iraqi brigades, consisting of different religious and ethnic groups, despite claims that they're exclusively Shiah– although even then I struggle to understand how that would give the US or Israel the right to kill them. The popular forces are united under one banner to fight terrorism and occupation. Of course the United States can't have you realizing they're a resistance movement because then people would rightfully ask "resisting what?" and that's of course the United States, illegally occupying Iraq since 2003. The PMU also celebrated major victories in defeated ISIS and Al Qaeda, taking back the major city of Mosul in 2016. Although the US and its illegal occupation like to take credit for that (so they can justify their presence) that victory is not theirs. As a matter of fact, the United States not only helped create Al Qaeda and ISIS but Trump's assassination of General Soleimani and PMU commander Abu Mahdi was celebrated by the very terrorists who had come to fear them. While the US claims to fight terrorism it's actively helping terrorists by killing their biggest enemies. And now of course Biden follows in Trump's footsteps, proceeding to bomb the PMU. I wonder how many will break the situation down like that for you on the evening nows? Let's be clear on something: I don't care if the target was an empty barn in Syria – he has no right to bomb anything there nor in any other country.

Shortly after Biden's bombing of Syria, Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced legislation calling for the repeal of the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. Note that the 2001 AUMF is missing – unsurprising as it's the template Congress has used for two decades to invade, bomb and ransack the planet in the name of "the War on Terror". Of course they wouldn't repeal that AUMF. Biden is now on track to violate the Afghanistan peace deal signed under Trump, after drawing down the number of US troops in Afghanistan to 2,500, with a complete withdrawal set for a deadline of May 1st. Right on cue, the US claims that the Taliban aren't holding up their end of the deal- hence why the US can't leave just yet, continuing to impose conditions on their departure as if Afghanistan belongs to them. Naturally, the media provides cover for the longest war in US history, repeating without question or scrutiny Biden's claims that a withdrawal "can't be rushed" after occupying Afghanistan for almost 20 years. CNN also made the case that this is now about women's rights– as if the United States cared about women when it displaced millions of them in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria. We're now made to believe that occupation is emancipation. The poor white man's burden, freeing the world through bombs, sanctions and occupation.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats have largely chosen to side with him on the issue while others, including so called "progressives" like Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez have remained completely silent despite criticizing Trump for bombing Syria in 2018, calling him a 'mad king'. This really shows you where their allegiances lie and how far their "progressivism" extends. The so called "left-wing" of the Democratic Party is about as "progressive" as you can get when you stay silent about Biden bombing Syria, ballooning the war machine to an outrageous $753 billion, and violating the Afghan peace deal in order to maintain a 20-year occupation. War pigs. All of them.

A template for war

The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) of 2001 and 2002 passed by Congress formed the legal basis with which Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Specifically, the AUMF of 2001 broadly authorizes force against those who "planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.". This ambiguous language essentially gives the president a blank check to conduct military strikes anywhere and has been distorted and manipulated by every president since in order to expand the "War on Terror" into 19 countries. Trump in his usual absurdity even cited the 2002 AUMF to try and justify his assassination of General Soleimani in January, 2020. Of course, Congress won't ever go after him for that, despite all this talk of how Trump posed a unique danger to US democracy, let alone any other sitting or former president. Never forget, Nancy Pelosi refused to impeach George W. Bush and admits as late as 2019 that she knew George Bush had lied about weapons of mass destruction and still chose to ignore calls to impeach him over a war that displaced and killed millions of Iraqis.

The constitution clearly says that the president is the commander-in-chief of the United States' Armed Forces, however, that the power to declare war resides with Congress. Although the president can respond to imminent threats, the War Powers Resolution of 1973 stipulates that the president must notify Congress in absence of a declaration of war or prior statutory authorization. Consultation and follow ups with the Legislative branch are a must and the entire point of the resolution is to limit the Executive's reach in matters of war.

If Congress has already issued an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), presidents will operate within that framework and cite it to justify any action they take. What presidents have often done is to abuse this and distort its legal interpretation e.g. Bush's crimes in Iraq, Obama's drone strikes in Pakistan, Trump's assassination of General Soleimani. On the other hand, if Congress hasn't issued an AUMF, like in the case of Biden's bombing of Syria, then the president will simply cite self-defense as the justification– which is exactly what Biden did– even if it isn't true. In either case, whether an AUMF has been issued or not, it seems Congress allows presidents to proceed unchecked– because Congress agrees with their imperialist agenda.

One mustn't forget that even in the case when Congress issues an AUMF and agrees with the president's military action: US law does not supersede international law. For example, just because the US Congress voted to invade Iraq does not mean that this invasion was morally or legally justifiable.

While Biden cites Article 51 under the United Nations as the United States' right to self-defense, one has to wonder how Article 51 would even begin to apply in this context. Syria has not attacked the United States, nor are the two nations (at least officially) at war. Moreover, if the targets were so called "Iranian-backed militias", the same rationale still applies. These bombings also violate Article 2.4 of the United Nations Charter which asserts Syria's sovereignty and prohibits use of force against other member states. Some legal scholars might go on to argue that self-defense under Article 51 only applies against other states, not "militias". Some might also question how the United States can argue self-defense when its very presence in Iraq is illegal to begin with; the result of an illegal invasion in 2003? At best Biden's pretext for bombing Syria is dubious, and at worst downright illegal and outrageous. I think most rational people can clearly see it's the latter.

Indeed, no matter who is in charge, the warmongering remains the same. Obama, Trump, Biden have all maintained George Bush's neoconservative wars, his creation and expansion of the electronic surveillance start, his Department of Homeland Security and the post-9/11 world crafted by the Bush-Cheney regime. You won't see many Democrats or Republicans voicing support to repeal the AUMF anytime soon. War is a racket, and the United States excels at it. It's no accident you have a revolving door between Washington D.C. and the private sector, and that the new Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is a former board member of the weapons manufacturer Raytheon. At least there's diversity right? Now that the Treasury and Office of Foreign Assets Control, whose sanctions kill millions, is being run by Janet Yellen, its first woman ever, everything is fine. That's what counts, right? Or that Alejandro Mayaorkas, the first Latino man to head the Department of Homeland Security, continuing to separate children, placing them in the same camps and appalling conditions as Trump and maintaining construction on Trump's racist border wall (which all of a sudden Democrats have no issue with). What a diverse brand of imperialism: Uncle Joe's Rainbow Coalition Death Cult®.

translate | 16 Apr 2021 | 9:05 pm

The Big Whopper on Afghanistan


By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | April 15, 2021

In December 2019, the Washington Post published an article detailing many of the lies that U.S. officials have issued throughout their entire war on Afghanistan. The article was based on "a confidential trove of government documents."

Perhaps the biggest whopper though was the one emitted by President George W. Bush and that is now being repeated by President Biden — that the reason that Bush launched his war on Afghanistan was because the Taliban regime had knowingly "harbored" Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

That was a lie, a flagrant lie. Neither Bush nor any other U.S. official ever provided even a scintilla of evidence that the Taliban regime was somehow complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

The real reason that Bush launched his war was over the concept of extradition. Bush demanded that the Taliban regime deliver bin Laden into the custody of U.S. officials. However, Afghanistan and the U.S. did not have an extradition treaty. Therefore, the Afghan government was under no legal obligation to accede to Bush's demand.

Nonetheless, the Taliban regime announced its willingness to deliver bin Laden to a neutral third party nation for trial. That's because it feared, with some justification, that bin Laden would end up in the clutches of the U.S. national-security establishment, where he would be subjected to torture, indefinite detention, assassination, extra-judicial execution, or a kangaroo military tribunal.

The only condition that the Taliban imposed for doing this was that the U.S. provide evidence of bin Laden's guilt, much as it would be required to do in a regular extradition proceeding.

Bush declined to do that. He made it clear that his extradition demand for bin Laden was unconditional. Afghanistan needed to comply with his extradition demand or else be invaded and regime-changed.

If U.S. officials had had evidence that the Taliban regime was complicit in the 9/11 attacks, does anyone think for a moment that they would have been jacking around with an extradition demand? Not on your life. They would have gone on the attack immediately. Moreover, it is clear that if the Taliban had complied with Bush's unconditional extradition demand, there never would have been a U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, which means that Afghanistan wasn't guilty of anything except failing to accede to Bush's extradition demand.

Thus, today, when Biden says that the decades-long war on Afghanistan has ensured that Afghanistan will never again serve as a "haven" for anti-American terrorists, he is being disingenuous because there was never any evidence that the Taliban regime was complicit in the 9/11 attacks in the first place.

translate | 16 Apr 2021 | 8:49 pm

Spain allows Israeli agent to interrogate Palestinian journalist in Madrid


MEMO | April 15, 2021

The Spanish security services have allowed an Israeli agent from the Mossad spy agency to interrogate a Palestinian journalist seeking asylum, Wafa news agency has reported. The incident at the Civil Guard building in the capital has been condemned by the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate.

The syndicate called on the Spanish government to assume its responsibilities by ensuring the security of Muath Hamid and his family. It also called for the Spanish authorities to open an investigation into what happened during the interrogation.

Spain's Civil Guard is the oldest law enforcement agency in the country and "military in nature". The journalists' union said that it is suspected of being "complicit" with Mossad in allowing the Israeli agent to interrogate Hamid in its building. "This was a gross violation of international law, a violation of Spanish sovereignty and a threat to the journalist's security and safety," the syndicate insisted.

It added that the case is being followed closely in conjunction with the Union of Spanish Journalists, the Palestinian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry, and the Spanish political and security authorities to ensure that Hamid is not subject to any harm or torture. The reporter for Al Araby TV and freelance contributor to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed is currently a refugee in Spain, where he lives with his wife and two children.

According to popular Spanish online newspaper Público last Friday, on 9 December Hamid received a telephone call from "Nicolás", an officer on duty at the Civil Guard's Spanish Information Services "Nicolás wanted to discuss Hamid's work as a journalist, his past and his current life in Spain. This is a regular procedure for refugees and migrants."

When the journalist went to meet "Nicolás" in Bilbao, he met another officer, Javier. "Hamid answered all the questions, explaining why he applied for asylum in Spain and describing his journey from Palestine to Europe through Turkey," reported Público. "In early February, the young Palestinian journalist was summoned again by Nicolás… this time in the Spanish capital, Madrid."

This time there was also another man in the room, allegedly named Omar, "who was introduced to him as a Palestinian. Hamid, however, immediately noticed his strong Israeli accent… and he decided to answer his questions in Hebrew." Omar acknowledged that he was an Israeli, at which point Javier "left the room, leaving Muath in the hands of the supposed Mossad agent… who threatened the Palestinian journalist and his family, saying that they will never be allowed to go back to Palestine due to one of his journalistic investigations" related to the work of the Israeli spy agency.

Público sought comments and clarifications from the Israeli Embassy and the Civil Guard, as well as Spain's Interior Ministry. It has received no replies.

translate | 16 Apr 2021 | 7:18 pm

How a US-led Unholy Alliance is Preventing Syria’s Normalisation


By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 14.04.2021

If there is major stumbling block to Syrian unification and normalisation back to the pre-war years, it is the continuing presence of foreign forces inside Syria and the support they continue to provide to jihadi elements and militias that continue to seek to overthrow Assad's government. Their presence, therefore, not only dovetails pretty closely with the underlying logic of the US and Turkish military interventions in Syria, but they continue to be the main instruments of a geo-political game the interventionist force, being led by the US, are playing in Syria against Syria and its principal allies, Iran and Russia. This was recently confirmed by a former US ambassador and special representative for Syria engagement, James Jeffrey, in an interview given to the US government's Public Service Broadcasting (PBS) channel, where he was quoted to have said that militant and jihadi outfits like Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham remain an "asset" for America's overall Syria strategy, currently territorially focused on Idlib, against Iran and Russia.

"They are the least bad option of the various options on Idlib, and Idlib is one of the most important places in Syria, which is one of the most important places right now in the Middle East," Jeffrey said in an interview on March 8.

It is also a well known fact that Turkey has been supporting such elements in Syria with the sole objective of denying Assad regaining complete control of his country.

Nicholas Heras, Senior Analyst and Program Head for Authoritarianism at the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy recently said in an interview that "HTS cannot survive without Turkish support, it's that simple," adding that "Turkey's significant military investment to protect Idlib is the key factor that protects that region from collapsing back into the control of Assad and his allies." Accordingly, were Idlib to fall back to Assad, this will fundamentally shake Turkish position in Syria, and further curtail the US ability to use its military forces to control parts of Syrian territory.

To avoid this eventuality, the US continues to send reinforcements and fully loaded trucks with weapons to the Syrian region of Jazirah in northeast. That these weapons could be used to strengthen jihadi outfits is entirely possible, given that the US continues, as mentioned above, to treat groups like HTS as "assets."

In a separate interview given to the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the head of HTS, Abu Mohammad Jolani, confirmed how the group continues to work to overthrow Assad, and how it repeatedly engages the Syrian and the Russian forces. Jolani confirmed that his group poses no threat to the US.

The PBS report also noted that that for the last couple of years, Idlib has come under attack from Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces, with Turkey backing opposition groups, including, sometimes, Jolani's.

Turkey's support for HTS explains why it has so far refrained from targeting the group in a region that has been under its control for quite some time. The US calculations are crude & simple: benefits that emerge from a direct support for groups like HTS outweigh the benefits that more regular and non-radical militias like the Syrian Democratic Forces/Kurdish militias can yield. Maintaining strong ties with groups like the HTS also prevents the US-Turkey alliance from falling into hot water, since Turkey has its own reservations with respect to the presence of Kurdish militias closer to its border regions.

In addition, given the fact that the US-Turkey alliance aims to turn Syrian into a quagmire for Iran and Russia, support for such radical groups remains the key.

In other words, it remains that the Biden administration intends to stick to the erstwhile policy of weakening Damascus in favour of its "assets" based in Idlib. This is evident from the sudden flurry of US establishment media interest in the HTS and Abu Mohammed al-Jolani and the way he and his outfit are not only been appropriated, but also being presented as a "non-threatening" entity that could actually serve the US interests better than other available options.

Controlling the Economy

Whereas the US is using these "assets" to prevent Syria's territorial unification and its return to normalisation, it also continues to control about 90 per cent of Syria's oil and other economic resources to hurt its economic recovery as well.

The Syrian oil minister recently said that "The oil sector has been targeted chiefly because it is the main source of income for the Syrian economy."

Continuing economic crisis, as it stands, makes it easier for outfits like the HTS to find fresh recruits from within the rank and file.

As irony would have it, Syria's oil that was previously stolen by Daesh is now being stolen under the aegis of an occupying power, causing the Syrian state to lose billions of dollars in revenue.

By controlling 90 per cent of Syria's oil production, the US not only aims to keep the war-torn country impoverished, but also prevent Russia from stepping into the oil exploration industry in Syria and thus establish itself firmly in the Middle East. Last year in September 2020, Syria's parliament approved contracts for oil exploration with two Russian companies in an effort to boost production hit industry and generate revenue for post war reconstruction.

However, the fact that the US forces in combination with Kurdish militias continue to control most of the oil means that Syria's post war recovery through locally generated, albeit scant, resources cannot be possible.

In many ways, therefore, the US & its allies continue to play the same sinister "regime change" game that had actually caused the war to start in Syria in 2011.

Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan's foreign and domestic affairs.

translate | 16 Apr 2021 | 6:14 pm

EU Parliament session gets chaotic as MEP accused of ‘fake news’ for daring to question OPCW on whistleblower scandal


RT | April 16, 2021

Despite whistleblower leaks casting doubts on the OPCW's findings, the EU Parliament is determined to enforce the organization's anti-Assad line on Syria. MEP Mick Wallace was accused of spreading "fake news" when he spoke out.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has taken an intense interest in Syria's civil war, and has accused President Bashar Assad of deploying chemical weapons against his own people on several occasions. Its conclusions have twice been used to justify US military action against Syria, and a new OPCW report on Monday found "reasonable grounds" to suspect that a Syrian Army helicopter dropped chemical weapons on the town of Saraqib in 2018.

The OPCW's reports are good news for Western interventionists, but the organization is not without its critics.

Mick Wallace, an Irish MEP, is among them. When OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias addressed the European Parliament Subcommittee of Security and Defence on Thursday, Wallace accused the OPCW of squashing evidence that Assad may not have been behind one particularly heinous 2018 attack in Douma, near Damascus.

"Why will you not heed calls from renowned international figures…to meet with all the investigators?" Wallace asked Arias. "This problem is not going away. Are you going to investigate all aspects in a transparent manner?"

He is far from a lone crank. Whistleblower testimony and internal documents suggest that the OPCW suppressed "key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies" relating to the Douma attack, in order to "favor a preordained conclusion," in the words of one panel of skeptics. A scientific paper challenging the OPCW's conclusion was shelved following an outcry from Bellingcat, and one director within the OPCW worried that were the truth to get out, it could aid Russia, an ally of Assad. Furthermore, while multiple whistleblowers have come forward to dispute the OPCW's findings, more have been "frightened into silence," one claimed last year.

Wallace also accused Arias of ignoring a "false leak," made to the BBC and the NATO-affiliated Bellingcat, which he claimed was used to discredit former OPCW Director-General José Bustani, who disagrees with Arias' blaming of Assad for the Douma attack.

Yet before Arias could respond, subcommittee chairwoman Nathalie Loiseau stepped in to do his job for him. Loiseau apologized to Arias for Wallace's tough questioning, and accused the Ireland South MEP of peddling "fake news."

"I cannot accept that you can call into question the work of an international organization, and that you would call into question the word of the victims in the way you have just done," she scolded Wallace.

"Is there no freedom of speech being allowed in the European Parliament any more," Wallace shot back, "today you're denying me my opinion!"

Wallace's microphone was then cut, and Arias allowed to speak. However, the OPCW chief did not directly address his questions. Instead he thanked the other MEPs present for their "words of support," and reiterated his claims that Assad's government is responsible for "a humanitarian catastrophe of massive proportions."

Though Loiseau apparently wanted to shield Arias from Wallace's uncomfortable questions, skepticism within the OPCW goes all the way to the top. Former Director-General Bustani has accused the organization of "potentially fraudulent conduct in the investigative process," a position that saw him banned from addressing the UN Security Council on the issue last year.

The whistleblower scandal has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media, with only a handful of alternative outlets picking up the story.

From Loiseau's position though, dissent within the parliament is undesirable ahead of the OPCW's 'Conference of the States Parties' in The Hague next week. Ahead of Wallace's questioning, Loiseau reminded MEPs that a vote will likely be taken at the conference to suspend Syria's voting rights within the organization, likely accompanied by other "punitive measures."

translate | 16 Apr 2021 | 5:56 pm

The CIA Used To Infiltrate The Media. Now The CIA Is The Media.


By Caitlin Johnstone | April 16, 2021

Back in the good old days, when things were more innocent and simple, the psychopathic Central Intelligence Agency had to covertly infiltrate the news media to manipulate the information Americans were consuming about their nation and the world. Nowadays, there is no meaningful separation between the news media and the CIA at all.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald just highlighted an interesting point about the reporting by The New York Times on the so-called  "Bountygate" story the outlet broke in June of last year about the Russian government trying to pay Taliban-linked fighters to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan.

"One of the NYT reporters who originally broke the Russia bounty story (originally attributed to unnamed 'intelligence officials') say today that it was a CIA claim," Greenwald tweeted. "So media outlets – again – repeated CIA stories with no questioning: congrats to all."

Indeed, NYT's original story made no mention of CIA involvement in the narrative, citing only "officials," yet this latest article speaks as though it had been informing its readers of the story's roots in the lying, torturingdrug-runningwarmongering Central Intelligence Agency from the very beginning. The author even writes "The New York Times first reported last summer the existence of the C.I.A.'s assessment," with the hyperlink leading to the initial article which made no mention of the CIA. It wasn't until later that The New York Times began reporting that the CIA was looking into the Russian bounties allegations at all.

This would be the same "Russian bounties" narrative which was discredited all the way back in September when the top US military official in Afghanistan said no satisfactory evidence had surfaced for the allegations, which was further discredited today with a new article by The Daily Beast titled "U.S. Intel Walks Back Claim Russians Put Bounties on American Troops".

The Daily Beast, which has itself uncritically published many articles promoting the CIA "Bountygate" narrative, reports the following:

It was a blockbuster story about Russia's return to the imperial "Great Game" in Afghanistan. The Kremlin had spread money around the longtime central Asian battlefield for militants to kill remaining U.S. forces. It sparked a massive outcry from Democrats and their #resistance amplifiers about the treasonous Russian puppet in the White House whose admiration for Vladimir Putin had endangered American troops.

But on Thursday, the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had "low to moderate" confidence in the story after all. Translated from the jargon of spyworld, that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.

So the mass media aggressively promoted a CIA narrative that none of them ever saw proof of, because there was no proof, because it was an entirely unfounded claim from the very beginning. They quite literally ran a CIA press release and disguised it as a news story.

This allowed the CIA to throw shade and inertia on Trump's proposed troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Germany, and to continue ramping up anti-Russia sentiments on the world stage, and may well have contributed to the fact that the agency will officially be among those who are exempt from Biden's performative Afghanistan "withdrawal".

In totalitarian dictatorships, the government spy agency tells the news media what stories to run, and the news media unquestioningly publish it. In free democracies, the government spy agency says "Hoo buddy, have I got a scoop for you!" and the news media unquestioningly publish it.

In 1977 Carl Bernstein published an article titled "The CIA and the Media" reporting that the CIA had covertly infiltrated America's most influential news outlets and had over 400 reporters who it considered assets in a program known as Operation Mockingbird. It was a major scandal, and rightly so. The news media is meant to report truthfully about what happens in the world, not manipulate public perception to suit the agendas of spooks and warmongers.

Nowadays the CIA collaboration happens right out in the open, and people are too propagandized to even recognize this as scandalous. Immensely influential outlets like The New York Times uncritically pass on CIA disinfo which is then spun as fact by cable news pundits. The sole owner of The Washington Post is a CIA contractor, and WaPo has never once disclosed this conflict of interest when reporting on US intelligence agencies per standard journalistic protocol. Mass media outlets now openly employ intelligence agency veterans like John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price and Rick Francona, as are known CIA assets like NBC's Ken Dilanian, as are CIA interns like Anderson Cooper and CIA applicants like Tucker Carlson.

This isn't Operation Mockingbird. It's so much worse. Operation Mockingbird was the CIA doing something to the media. What we are seeing now is the CIA openly acting as the media. Any separation between the CIA and the news media, indeed even any pretence of separation, has been dropped.

This is bad. This is very, very bad. Democracy has no meaningful existence if people's votes aren't being cast with a clear understanding of what's happening in their nation and their world, and if their understanding is being shaped to suit the agendas of the very government they're meant to be influencing with their votes, what you have is the most powerful military and economic force in the history of civilization with no accountability to the electorate whatsoever. It's just an immense globe-spanning power structure, doing whatever it wants to whoever it wants. A totalitarian dictatorship in disguise.

And the CIA is the very worst institution that could possibly be spearheading the movements of that dictatorship. A little research into the many, many horrific things the CIA has done over the years will quickly show you that this is true; hell, just a glance at what the CIA was up to with the Phoenix Program in Vietnam will.

There's a common delusion in our society that depraved government agencies who are known to have done evil things in the past have simply stopped doing evil things for some reason. This belief is backed by zero evidence, and is contradicted by mountains of evidence to the contrary. It's believed because it is comfortable, and for literally no other reason.

The CIA should not exist at all, let alone control the news media, much less the movements of the US empire. May we one day know a humanity that is entirely free from the rule of psychopaths, from our total planetary behavior as a collective, all the way down to the thoughts we think in our own heads.

May we extract their horrible fingers from every aspect of our being.

translate | 16 Apr 2021 | 5:45 pm

‘US, allies have turned OPCW into a tool to pursue anti-Syria objectives’


Press TV – April 16, 2021

Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Faisal Mekdad has categorically dismissed the new report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), stating that the United States and its allies have turned the international watchdog into a tool to pursue their political goals against Damascus.

"Despite the difficult situation that Syria is going through, we have stood committed to our membership in the Chemical Weapons Convention," Syria's official news agency SANA quoted Mekdad as saying in a meeting with ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions in Damascus on Thursday evening.

He added, "Syria and many other countries have acknowledged that the states which supported and funded armed terrorist groups in Syria, particularly the United States, France, Germany and Britain, will use the Syrian chemical file and the OPCW to achieve their hostile goals against Syria."

Mekdad noted that Syrian government forces continue to score remarkable victories in their battles against the Takfiri terrorist groups, emphasizing that the troops have never used chemical warfare even in toughest operations against the foreign-sponsored militants.

He went on to say that certain Western countries have established the OPCW's so-called Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) in order to produce reports, which best suit their anti-Syria agenda.

"The French-Western draft resolution, which is to be presented at the 25th meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons later this year, is a new chapter in the series of conspiracies against Syria," Mekdad pointed out.

The top Syrian diplomat finally called on the OPCW member states to support Damascus and counter the politicization of the organization's activities by some Western countries.

A report by the OPCW's so-called investigative arm claimed on Monday that Syria's air force had dropped a chlorine bomb on a residential neighborhood in the terrorist-controlled Idlib region.

The report further asserted no one was killed when the cylinder of chlorine gas, delivered in a barrel bomb, hit the al-Talil neighborhood in the city of Saraqib in February 2018.

The Syrian foreign ministry, in a statement published on Wednesday, said the OPCW's "misleading report," written by "an illegitimate and incredible team," fabricates "facts" to incriminate the Damascus government.

"This report has included false and fabricated conclusion which represents another scandal for the OPCW and the inquiry teams that will be added to the scandal of the reports of Douma incident in 2018, and Ltamenah in 2017," it said.

Moscow and Damascus have on many occasions said members of the so-called White Helmets civil defense group stage gas attacks in a bid to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by the US-led military coalition.

The group claims to be a humanitarian NGO but has long been accused of collaborating with anti-Damascus militants.

On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, a charge the Syrian government rejected.

Western governments and their allies have never stopped pointing the finger at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack takes place.

This is while Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has consistently denied using chemical weapons.

translate | 16 Apr 2021 | 5:27 pm

Fake news all along: Confidence game with ‘Russian bounties’ story shows one shouldn’t trust spies & self-serving media


By Nebojsa Malic | RT | April 16, 2021

Even when admitting a lie, the US establishment seeks to weaponize it further. Saying that US spies now have "low to moderate" confidence the infamous 'Russian bounties' story may be true is a perfect example.

So convoluted was the phrasing of the not-quite-admission of wrongdoing on Thursday, that some media outlets – looking at you, The Hill – actually took it as proof the claim Russia had offered Taliban money to kill US troops was true!

"The US intelligence community assesses with low to moderate confidence that Russian intelligence officers sought to encourage Taliban attacks against US coalition personnel in Afghanistan in 2019, including through financial incentives and compensation," is how an anonymous official put it on a background call with the press.

From the White House podium, Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted Russia still had to explain itself, and dodged questions about congressional Democrats and their presidential candidate acting as if the claim had been 100% proven fact, back during the 2020 campaign.

Yet even the most hyper-partisan press had to concede that Thursday's revelation amounted to "walking back" the original claim, used incessantly to accuse former President Donald Trump of insufficient patriotism or inappropriate ties to Moscow.

Biden used it repeatedly to accuse Trump of "betraying" the troops. This was later amplified by the unsourced Atlantic story accusing Trump of insulting the fallen, just to be 100% sure. The "bounties" claim also gave the neocons and hawks within the GOP a pretext to side with Democrats and block Trump's efforts to withdraw from Afghanistan.

It didn't matter than the director of national intelligence himself told Congress the allegation was unconfirmed, or that the top US general in Afghanistan said the military had found nothing to corroborate it. The claim was politically useful, so the corporate media intended on seeing Trump ousted from the White House went all in on it.

Yet one didn't have to be especially clever to realize the original story was nonsense – merely sufficiently observant. First of all, it cited no sources, only phantom "officials briefed on the matter." Secondly, it relied on an all-too-familiar set of weasel words and phrases, such as "linked to," or "closely associated with" or "believed to have." Buried deep inside the story was the admission that the whole thing was based on US-backed Afghan police interrogation of criminals, who spun a tale of Taliban and Russians under torture.

Like a shawarma, the whole thing was then wrapped in the already established body of lies – that Russia was conducting a "hybrid war" against the US through fake news, hacking attacks and secret spy operations, even bringing in the "highly likely" alleged poisoning of ex-spy Sergey Skripal in Salisbury with a chemical agent – for which no evidence has been presented to this day.

A "spy fantasy," I called it at the time. Except it was something worse: a literal con game, perpetrated upon the American public by con artists in the intelligence community, the media and political establishment circles. No doubt for the purpose of "fortifying" the election, we may find out some day.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," famous American astronomer Carl Sagan used to say. So what is one to make of the "party of science" – as Democrats have styled themselves – offering no evidence whatsoever for any of their outlandish claims, and treating the assertions as proof enough? Perhaps that one ought to be far more skeptical of spies, politicians and the media peddling such self-serving accusations going forward.

Thing is, they believe their lies have worked – for them, and in the short run, at least – so that's not highly likely to happen, is it?

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Telegram @TheNebulator

translate | 16 Apr 2021 | 4:58 pm
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