Sunday, February 26, 2017

Iran Holds Large-Scale Naval Exercises

Iran Holds Large Scale Naval Exercises

by Stephen Lendman

Iran is threatened by Israel and America’s regional military presence. In areas around the  Persian Gulf, it has bases in every country except Iran - plus numerous others in North Africa and Central Asia.

Its actions destabilized much of the Middle East. It supports the region’s worst despots.

The late Chalmers Johnson said “the United States has been inexorably acquiring permanent military enclaves whose sole purpose appears to be the domination of one of the most strategically important areas of the world.”

Since Jimmy Carter falsely claimed Soviet Russian forces in Afghanistan posed “a grave threat to the free movement of Middle East oil,” America spent trillions of dollars entrenching its military presence in the region.

Carter said “an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America,” adding “(s)uch an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

As they say, the rest is history. Endless US direct and proxy wars raged since the 1980s, following its North Korean and Southeast Asian aggression, an unparalleled reign of terror.

The business of America is endless wars of aggression, enemies created to wage them, all sovereign independent countries vulnerable.

Iran’s military preparedness is vital to protect against possible US and/or Israeli attacks, the gravest threats to its security.

Velayat 95 exercises began on Sunday, the final stage of large-scale drills, north of the Indian Ocean, Iranian naval commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, saying:

“The aim of the Velayat 95 drill is to upgrade the country’s defensive capabilities and send Iran’s message of peace and friendship to the regional countries.”

Exercises are ongoing over an area of about two million square km, spanning the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, and the Babel-Mandeb Strait.

It includes warships, submarines, helicopters and special forces, along with reconnaissance aircraft, drones and hovercraft. Various weapons and technological systems are being tested.

Nothing ongoing violates international law or Tehran’s nuclear deal with P5 countries plus Germany.

America appears undisturbed about its exercises. Fifth Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Kevin Stephens said they’ve had no effect on maritime traffic.

They’re being monitored but pose no threat to US regional forces. The Pentagon is “not concerned about this exercise.”

Iran’s Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani said “(w)ith attention to the situation in the region, we have noticeably expanded the defense budget of the armed forces to ensure the stable security of the region.”

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

White House Cautioned About Designating Iran's IRGC a Terrorist Organization

White House Cautioned Against Designating Iran’s IRGC a Terrorist Organization

by Stephen Lendman

In early February, unnamed US officials told Reuters the Trump administration might designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) a terrorist organization.

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment. Iran categorically denies involvement in terrorism. No evidence suggests it, just baseless allegations.

Reports now indicate the proposed action stalled, US defense, state, and intelligence officials warning it could backfire, undermining Trump’s pledge to combat ISIS, along with complicating enforcement of the Iran nuclear deal.

US NATO allies are against it. The designation was supposed to be announced this month. It’s unclear if it’s suspended or cancelled altogether.

IRGC involvement is important in combating regional terrorism in Syria, Iraq and perhaps Yemen.

The administration’s proposal was part of a broader scheme to get tougher on Iran - instead of responsibly working to end 38 years of US-instigated adversarial relations.

If implemented, it would be the first move of this kind under the 1996 Foreign Terrorist Organizations law against a foreign government - meant for al-Qaeda and likeminded groups.

It would likely initiate tougher sanctions on Iran, possibly undermining the nuclear deal, sabotaging what took years to agree on.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif praised the IRGC’s efforts in combating terrorism, saying:

The entire world admits that the IRGC has rendered the utmost support to (Iran’s) neighboring countries in the face of terrorism” - warning of adverse consequences if Trump orders more sanctions on Iran.

Reports indicate he intended to designate the ICRG and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization on Monday - during a visit to CENTCOM’s Tampa headquarters.

It’s believed Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states urged him to target Iran’s IRGC. It’s now on hold.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Trump to Skip White House Correspondents Dinner


Trump to Skip White House Correspondents Dinner

by Stephen Lendman

Founded in 1914 during the Woodrow Wilson era, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) is a organization of reporters covering POTUS.

It holds annual dinners presidents usually attend. Until 1962, women were excluded. Jack Kennedy changed things, refusing to come unless the ban was dropped.

In 1942, the dinner was cancelled at the onset of America’s involvement in WW II, in 1951 during Truman’s war on North Korea. Other dinners were cancelled for various reasons. In 1981, Reagan couldn’t attend because he was recuperating from an assassination attempt. He phoned in a message instead. 

Media scoundrels notoriously serve wealth, power and privileged interests exclusively - their credibility long ago lost.

Instead of holding POTUS and most other government officials accountable for their actions, they support them - including endless imperial wars and other US policies, harming millions at home and abroad.

Schmoozing with US officials at any level, especially presidents, shows up in press agent journalism, not the real thing - Trump the exception proving the rule. 

Some fourth estate members refuse to attend the annual dinner for this reason. Most are unprincipled, producing fake news, not what the public needs to know.

This year’s event is scheduled for April 29. On Friday, Trump called reporters “the enemy of the people.” Yesterday he tweeted he won’t be attending. Given how unfairly media scoundrels treat him, why should he!

On Saturday, a WHCA statement said it “takes note of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.”

Fact: Media scoundrels abuse First Amendment rights by sanitizing news and information, suppressing what’s most important to report.

Fact: Reliable alternative media are the only independent kind - real journalism the way it’s supposed to be.

Fact: Corporate-controlled print and electronic media are beholden to special interests, not ordinary people.

Bloomberg News, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair said they won’t host after-event parties this year, commonplace following WHCA dinners.

Leading Trump basher New York Times responded to his opting out of this year’s event, saying “(c)apping a week of extraordinary hostility toward the news media,” he tweeted he won’t be coming.

The Times failed to explain that deplorable media reporting, especially its own, is why Trump is staying away.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Democrats Choose Dirty Business As Usual Party Chairman


Democrats Choose Dirty Business As Usual Party Chairman

by Stephen Lendman

Email revelations showing Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz used her position as party chairman to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign in favor of Hillary’s got her ousted.

Rep. Keith Ellison and Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez were the leading candidates to replace her - neither representing responsible change.

Ellison is the first Muslim congressional member. He’s more regressive than progressive, a hawk like most other party members.

He backed Obama’s aggression on Libya and Syria, disgracefully called Gaddafi a dictator, lied saying “Assad is the heart of the problem” in his country.

He favors Washington declaring an illegal no-fly zone over areas in Syria held by US-supported terrorists.  

He endorses America’s right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries to further its imperial interests, saying “I don’t think the world’s greatest superpower, the United States, can stand by and do nothing.”

He’s part of the dirty system like most others in Congress, why he was a leading candidate for Democrat party chairman.

Perez was Obama’s labor secretary, earlier serving as a prosecutor in the GHW Bush and Clinton Justice Departments.

In 2009, he was Obama’s assistant attorney general for civil rights. Earlier, he taught law at the University of Maryland.

His nomination as labor secretary was criticized over a racial discrimination issue. He was involved in getting St. Paul, MN to drop a Supreme Court appeal. 

Fair lending advocates said it harmed a central enforcement tenet in housing discrimination cases.

The Justice Department declined to join two whistleblower lawsuits filed against St. Paul - in exchange for dropping the appeal.

Department officials claimed Perez’s involvement was appropriate. Senator Charles Grassley (R. IA) criticized his appointment, saying:

“If Mr. Perez is nominated, he should face a lot of tough questions about this quid pro quo deal he appears to have put together.”

“I shudder to think how whistleblowers will be treated in the Labor Department if this quid pro quo with St. Paul is any indication of Mr. Perez’s approach to this important area of law.”

On Saturday, he won in a second round of voting. Both candidates represent dirty business as usual. Neither will move the party in a new direction.

Ellison supported Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Both are progressives in name only. Perez backed Hillary. Obama loyalists supported him.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Saturday Homs, Syria Terrorist Attack

Saturday Homs, Syria Terrorist Attack

by Stephen Lendman

On Saturday, multiple suicide bombings killed dozens, injured many others in Homs, Syria during peace talks in Geneva with anti-government terrorist groups. Al-Nusra claimed responsibility, along with ISIS excluded from talks.

Head of Syria’s delegation in Geneva Bashar al-Jaafari said any Geneva participant failing to condemn Saturday’s attacks will be considered “accomplice(s) of terrorism, and we will deal with them accordingly.”

“(W)hat happened (was) a terrorist message…cast(ing) a shadow over Geneva…(not) just a military terrorist act, but also a political” one.”

“(T)his is the main reason that drives us to having the (issue) of fighting terrorism as a priority in our agenda for the Geneva talks.”

ISIS, Al-Nusra and their foreign sponsors want peace talks derailed, he stressed. The Homs bombings and similar incidents are “message(s) to Geneva from the patrons of terrorism.”

“We say to everybody ‘the message has been delivered,’ and that this crime will not go unnoticed.”

Geneva talks are in recess until Tuesday. It’s unclear if anything was accomplished since beginning on February 23. It’s doubtful any significant breakthroughs will be achieved.

So-called Saudi cobbled together High Negotiations Committee (HNC) members are terrorists, wanting Assad toppled, expressing hostility toward Iran.

Its delegation head Naser al-Hariri lied, claiming HNC delegates “condemn terrorism,” ignoring their support for imported death squads still actively committing gruesome atrocities.

Trump’s position on Syria is unclear. The State Department isn’t involved in Geneva talks, nor preceding ones in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Washington co-sponsored a Security Council Resolution on Syria, yet to be introduced, Russia promising a veto, falsely accusing Damascus of using chemical weapons, wanting tough new sanctions imposed.

Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley asked “(h)ow much longer is Russia going to continue to babysit and make excuses for the Syrian regime? People died because of this and the United States isn’t going to be quiet about it.”

Trump is letting hawks like Haley and other administration officials speak for him on foreign policy. 

It’s time for him to address it directly - on Syria, Ukraine, China, Iran, cooperation with Russia in combating terrorism or lack of it, along with other major geopolitical issues.

On February 28, he’ll deliver his first State of the Union address before a joint congressional session, attended by cabinet and diplomatic corp members, Supreme Court justices, the Joint Chiefs and invited guests.

Last August on the stump, he discussed foreign policy, vowing to “defeat radical Islamic terrorism” - without explaining its US creation and support at least since the 1980s in Afghanistan against Soviet Russia.

Will he use Tuesday’s SOTU address to explain where he stands as president on all key geopolitical issues?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Venezuelan VP Refutes Spurious US Charges Against Him

Venezuelan VP Refutes Spurious US Charges Against Him

by Stephen Lendman

A previous article discussed outrageous US sanctions imposed on Venezuelan Executive Vice President Tareck El Aissami over fabricated drugs trafficking allegations.

Assets, if any, held in America were frozen under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. 

A Treasury Department statement lied, saying Aissami allegedly “facilitated shipments of narcotics from Venezuela, to include control over planes that leave from a Venezuelan air base, as well as control of drug routes through the ports in Venezuela.”

Pure rubbish! A malicious Big Lie, part of Washington’s continued war on Venezuelan sovereign independence.

Aissami denounced US accusations against him, calling Washington’s action “miserable and vile aggression,” followed by an open letter to America’s Treasury Department in The New York Times, costing $100,000 or more.

He denounced US Treasury sanctions as part of a longstanding effort “to prevent that the United States and Venezuela (from) restor(ing) their political and diplomatic relations on the basis of mutual recognition and respect.”

It’s part of a scheme to replace Bolivarian fairness with predatory capitalist viciousness - to control its oil riches and exploit its people.

No evidence links Aissami to drugs trafficking. Just the opposite. Venezuela wages war on illicit drugs.

“You should be aware that when I headed the public security corps of my country, in 2008-2012, our fight against drug cartels achieved the greatest progress in our history and in the western hemisphere, both in terms of the transnational drug trafficking business and their logistics structures,” Aissami explained. 

“During those years, the Venezuelan anti-drug enforcement authorities under my leadership captured, arrested and brought 102 heads of criminal drug trafficking organizations not only to the Venezuelan justice but also to the justice of other countries where they were wanted.” 

“From these 102 captured drug lords, 21 were promptly deported to the USA and 36 to Colombia, in accordance with the requests made by the authorities of each country and in compliance with the international agreements on the fight against organized crime, facts formally acknowledged by the US and Colombian
authorities.”

Venezuela combats illicit drugs effectively. America has a long sordid history of working with drug cartels, notably through the CIA.

US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) operations in Venezuela were “connect(ed) with the criminal drug organizations,” Aissami explained, calling trafficking in illicit drugs a “cross-border crime against humanity.”

He called fabricated Treasury Department accusations against him “a serious violation of (his) human rights and seriously damages (his) dignity and honor.” They were illegally imposed by the world’s leading pariah state bully.

He has no assets in America or any other country outside Venezuela for US authorities to freeze.

America’s so-called war on drugs made international trafficking cartels stronger than ever. 

Aissami proudly calls himself “Venezuelan citizen…a Bolivarian…and a Latin American,” supporting “independence, justice and freedom for which our liberators gave their lives…”

America is the world’s leading scourge, waging endless wars on humanity, seeking control over planet earth, its resources and people.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Suspicious Killing of North Korean Leader's Half Brother

Suspicious Killing of North Korean Leader’s Half Brother

by Stephen Lendman

Kim Jong-nam was North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s paternal half brother.

On February 13, he was killed in Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur’s airport, the bizarre incident captured on security camera videotape for the whole world to see - an obvious red flag.

Malaysian authorities said he died from VX poisoning, a banned lethal nerve agent. At one time, he was considered heir apparent to his father, Kim Jong-il, later exiled in 2003 after falling out of favor with ruling authorities.

South Korea’s ruling party spokesperson called his killing a “naked example of Kim Jong-un’s reign of terror.” 

Media scoundrels blamed Pyongyang for his death. He’d been out of the country for around 14 years, posed no apparent threat to his half-brother or the government.

No information suggested he planned returning to challenge Kim Jong-un’s leadership. So why was he killed? 

Why an eruption of media reports about an obscure figure, away from the center of power in Pyongyang for years? Why now? Why publicly to be seen worldwide on videotape?

Who had motive and opportunity to kill him? If North Korean authorities wanted him eliminated, why did they wait so long? Why a public execution, making it easy for its detractors to automatically lay blame where it likely doesn’t belong.

Here’s what we know. North Korean senior representatives were preparing to come to New York to meet with former US officials, a chance for both sides to discuss differences diplomatically, hopefully leading to direct talks with Trump officials.

The State Department hadn’t yet approved visas, a positive development if arranged.

Reports indicate North Korea very much wanted the meeting to take place. Makes sense. It would indicate a modest thaw in hostile relations, a good thing if anything came of it.

So why would Pyongyang want to kill Kim Jong-nam at this potentially sensitive time, knowing it would be blamed for the incident, talks likely cancelled?

Sure enough, they’re off, Pyongyang accused of killing Kim, even though it seems implausible they planned and carried out the incident, using agents in Malaysia to act as proxies.

Reports indicate North Korea planned sending its Foreign Ministry director of US affairs Choe Son Hui to lead a delegation. On the US side, former Carter official/National Committee on American Foreign Policy senior vice president Donald Zagoria and former Clinton 1994 chief denunclearization deal negotiator Robert Gallucci were involved.

Pyongyang denied involvement in Kim Jong-nam’s death. It makes sense. Why sabotage talks it wanted held?

The Trump administration cancelled them anyway - an opportunity lost, likely undermined far from Pyongyang, maybe in Seoul with CIA help.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Trump at CPAC


Trump at CPAC

by Stephen Lendman

The Conservative Political Action Conference is an annual event, hosted by the American Conservative Union, featuring addresses by notable conservative figures.

In 2011, Trump addressed the conference, again on Friday, using the occasion to blast the dishonest media, saying “we are fighting fake news,” calling media scoundrels “the enemy of the people.”

They “didn’t think we would win,” he said. “The pundits didn’t think we’d win. The consultants that suck up all that money…didn’t think we would win.”

Neither did I and most others, given near one-sided scoundrel media support for Hillary.

Trump went on ad nauseam, blasting the dishonest media proliferating fake news, saying “we have to fight it…”

It’s not about challenging First Amendment rights, he said, “giv(ing) you the right and me the right to criticize fake news and criticize it strongly.”

His address was long on media criticism, standing up for America, defending its borders, wasted military spending while wanting greater budgeted amounts, wanting Obamacare replaced by Trumpcare, claiming he’ll deliver on his promises to the American people.

His remarks were long on red meat for conservatives, short on what America needs most:

  • governance serving everyone equitably, not just its privileged few like now;

  • ending imperial madness once and for all;

  • slashing America’s military budget, closing its global empire of bases, using US resources more for butter than guns at a time the nation’s only enemies are ones it invents;

  • rescinding police state laws;

  • releasing political prisoners and minor nonviolent offenders;

  • putting money power back in public hands where it belongs;

  • prosecuting corporate and government offenders to the highest levels, including CIA torturers;

  • making big business and high net worth individuals pay their fair share in taxes;

  • ending homelessness and hunger in the world’s richest nation;

  • providing universal healthcare, assuring everyone has adequate coverage;

  • transforming public education into a model for other nations to emulate;

  • replacing duopoly rule with real democracy, absent since the nation’s inception.

America needs leadership supporting these and other responsible policies - transforming the country from the world’s leading pariah state to a model for others to emulate.

It’s impossible as long as duopoly governance runs things, serving privileged interests exclusively, waging endless imperial wars, replacing fundamental freedoms with tyranny.

Humanity’s survival depends on revolutionary social, political, economic, military and environmental change. Without it, we’re all doomed.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

The Right Way to Challenge Fake News

The Right Way to Challenge Fake News

by Stephen Lendman

Trump is right challenging fake news. It’s about time someone in high office did it. He’s going about it the wrong way.

Without speech, media and academic freedoms, all other rights are threatened. 

Barring certain media outlets from attending Friday’s White House press briefing while letting others in was wrongheaded and counterproductive.

The NYT falsely called the move unprecedented, “something no administration of either party has ever done.” 

Not quite. In 2009, the Obama White House said it would no longer conduct interviews with Fox News as a member of the press pool, an unprecedented act at the time.

Other media outlets objected. The White House relented. It remained hostile to Fox News criticism of its policies.

On February 24, NYT editors blasted Trump’s move, absurdly calling it “a backhanded compliment to the reporters whose honest work provoked the president’s latest foot-stamping tantrum” - a gratuitous insult, falsely referring to barred news organizations as “trustworthy.”

Far from it! The Times and other media scoundrels feature fake news, suppressing what’s most important to report.

They’re largely anti-Trump, inventing reasons to bash him. Justifiable criticism is warranted. Biased reporting defiles what journalism is supposed to be.

On Friday, Trump called media “the opposition party…mak(ing) up stories and mak(ing) up sources.”

Candidate Trump said he wasn’t “running against crooked Hillary. I’m running against the crooked media,” he stressed - referring to the media as the “lowest form of humanity.”

Throughout the campaign, they went all out to get him, continuing post-inauguration. The power of scoundrel media manipulated public sentiment works.

Fiction substitutes for important facts. News is sanitized, dissent marginalized. Supporting wealth, power and privilege substitutes for full and accurate reporting.

Wars of aggression are called liberating ones. They’re glorified in the name of peace. Civil liberties are suppressed for our own good. Patriotism means supporting what harms the public welfare.

Might is justified as right. Raping nations is called democracy building. Looting them is considered economic development. Free societies are threatened. Tyranny stalks America.

Truth-telling is a vital disinfectant. The way to challenge media scoundrels isn’t by barring them from press briefings. It’s by exposing their fake news with hard, irrefutable facts.

Trump has bully pulpit power. He has over 25 million Twitter followers plus other ways to counter media lies if done responsibly.

On Friday, he tweeted “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn't tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!”

Most Americans distrust the media for good reason. Growing numbers rely on alternative sources to stay informed. It’s the only way!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Russia to Veto New SC Sanctions on Syria

Russia to Veto New SC Sanctions on Syria

by Stephen Lendman

Russia intends vetoing a draft US, UK, French Security Council resolution, imposing new sanctions on Syria - based on fabricated accusations of chemical weapons use.

No credible evidence proves Syria used toxic agents at any time throughout years of conflict. Plenty indicates use by US-supported terrorists.

They’ve used sarin and other toxic agents against civilians numerous times, trained in their use in Turkey and Jordan, supplied these weapons by Pentagon military contractors, Saudi Arabia and perhaps other regional countries - Syria wrongfully blamed for their criminal acts.

Russian Foreign Ministry’s director of non-proliferation and weapons control Mikhail Ulyanov blasted an Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) report, alleging Syria’s use of toxic agents, expressing dissatisfaction of its claim, saying:

“The OPCW fact-finding mission is basically working in the remote regime. As a rule, it doesn’t reach the sites of incidents. The mission speaks with witnesses but primarily those…oppos(ed) to Damascus.”

In response to the new draft resolution on Syria, Russia’s deputy UN envoy Vladimir Safronkov said “I clearly defined (Moscow’s) position…(W)e will veto the draft resolution,” calling it one-sided and “based on insufficient evidence,” adding:

OPCW investigators were heavily “pressure(d)” to falsely blame Syria for CW use. The draft resolution “contradicts the fundamental principle of presumption of innocence before the investigation is over” and shown to be reliably conducted.

The resolution seeks to blacklist 11 Syrian military commanders and officials, along with 10 government and related entities - based on fabricated claims of their involvement in developing and producing chemical weapons.

It calls for an asset freeze, as well as a travel ban on individuals and entities in all UN member states.

Deputy UK UN envoy Peter Wilson said the resolution will be voted on as soon as possible.  French permanent UN representative Francois Delattre ludicrously said “the credibility of the Security Council is at stake.”

Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley asked “(h)ow much longer is Russia going to continue to babysit and make excuses for the Syrian regime? People died because of this and the United States isn’t going to be quiet about it.”

America, NATO and Israel use banned chemical, biological and radiological weapons in all their wars - Nuremberg-level high crimes.

No evidence proves Syria used toxic agents at any time throughout six years of war. Claims otherwise were fabricated.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

America Not in Good Hands, Says Ruth Bader Ginsburg

America Not in Good Hands, Says Ruth Bader Ginsburg

by Stephen Lendman

Supreme Court Justices are free to express views publicly like all other Americans, other than on cases before the court or under consideration.

At the same time, expressing them about the president or congressional members oversteps. So did Trump’s criticism of federal judges rejecting his travel ban.

Last summer, Ginsburg tacitly endorsed Hillary, saying “I can’t imagine what this place would be - I can’t imagine what the country would be - with Donald Trump as our president.” 

“For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be - I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

She called Trump “a faker (with) no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego.”

At the time, National Constitution Center’s Lyle Denniston said he wasn’t “aware of any justice ever expressing views on the merits or demerits of a presidential candidate in the midst of the campaign.” 

At best, her comments were politically incorrect, at worst unethical. She was at it again on BBC’s Newsnight, saying she doesn’t think the country is in good hands.

“We’re not experiencing the best of times,” she said. Without mentioning Trump by name, she noted public resistance to his agenda, including last month’s Women’s March on Washington, in other US cities and elsewhere abroad.

It gave her “reason to hope that we will see a better day,” adding “(a) great man once said that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle.”

“It is the pendulum, and when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, it will go back.”

“Some terrible things have happened in the United States, but one can only hope that we learn from those bad things,” citing internment of Japanese Americans during WW II.

She ignored US fantasy democracy, endless imperial wars, corporate empowerment harming the general welfare, and repressive police state laws breaching constitutional rights.

She reads the Washington Post and NYT every day, she said, claiming their “reporters are trying to tell the public the way things are.”

“Think of what the press has done in the United States,” citing Watergate, ignoring the deplorable state of today’s media - featuring fake news instead of the real thing, WaPo and The NYT leading culprits.

At age 83, she hopes to “have a way to go” on the bench.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.