Friday, 23 February 2018

Stop confusing Kurdistans! Syria’s leftists must turn home to Assad

February 22, 2018
by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog
Stop confusing Kurdistans! Syria’s leftists must turn home to Assad
As Assad-backed troops enter Afrin to fight Turkish invaders, the Syrian conflict has entered its decisive crossroads:
Will Northern Syria cooperate with Damascus, or not? This is the key to Syrian peace and territorial unity.
It’s also the question which will make or break claims that a Northern Syrian enclave which refuses to help expel uninvited Americans can somehow be a “leftist project”.
(I say it is a leftist project…IF they return to full cooperation with the Syrian government. I will detail my analysis of the political structure of “Rojava” in an upcoming article – this article only deals with immediate political concerns.)
No question can be answered, however, until I clarify some key facts about Northern Syria. Indeed, reporting about Northern Syria in the West is rife with the most fundamental errors, and the most egregiously false claims.
Firstly, the Kurds in Syria have only ever asked for autonomy, not independence.
People assume all Kurds are like Iraqi Kurds – separatists – but the Kurds in Syria want to stay within the Syrian state. This disavowal of independence is an undisputed, long-standing (if underreported) fact. Indeed, the arrival of pro-government forces in Afrin was met with celebrations – the “Arab Socialist Baath Party” is a nationalist one, it seems to have been forgotten. The fact that such celebrations could possibly raise some eyebrows only shows how terrible the West’s mainstream reporting is in Syria.
The second most important point is this: “Rojava”, “Syrian Kurdistan”, “Northern Syria” or the “Democratic Federation of Northern Syria” – whatever it is called – is among the most interesting (and newest) leftist projects in the world today.
For that reason alone, nobody is reporting on it honestly.
After all, the Western mainstream media has no governmental or private mandate to support the 99%…much less in a Muslim country…still less in an anti-Zionist country like Syria!
Rojava’s governmental culture is based around ethnic equality, collective unity, local emancipation and undoubtedly socialist-and-not-capitalist inspired democratic & economic ideals. Therefore…the capitalist-imperialist West totally ignores all of that and solely focuses on identity politics: thus, it’s always reported as just “the Kurds”.
That leads to the third important issue: foolishly lumping all the Kurds across Southwest Asia together, thereby assuming that there are no regional differences: For Western media it is as if Kurds walk around all day in a special “Kurdish daze”, so enamored with being Kurdish that the countries and local neighborhoods where they live have absolutely no effect on them or their worldview. Their “Kurdishness” is all-consuming, it seems! The theory underpinning this is identity politics: if you are Kurdish, then you must all think alike.
So it makes no difference if you grew up/lived in Saddam’s Iraq, modern Iran, Baathist Syria, or Istanbul: You are a Kurd and – as a Kurd – you can only possibly see things via the lens of your Kurdishness. But only the West proffers this absurd, one-dimensional view of the Kurds – not the Middle Easterners who live alongside them.
A fourth problem – an even larger one for those in Syria – is that the Kurds in Syria are not even “Kurds”!
What I mean is: Kurds are around ½ of the population of Northern Syria, but only compose around 1/3rd in some of the biggest areas of Rojava, such as Membij. There are Assyrians and Chaldeans – they are Christian. There are Sunni Arabs. There are Turkmen, who are not allied to Turkey and are Syrian patriots despite their name. There are Circassians, Armenians, Yazidis, Chechens and others. Hard as it is for non-Muslims to believe: All these people like each other, live & work together, intermarry and have done so for more than a millennia. You cannot even say that all the fighters in this area are Kurds, either, because the Syrian Democratic Forces forces – who helped rout ISIL – are majority non-Kurd.
But they are all Syrian – and they want it to stay that way.
This IS the case…even though Kurds in Iraq aimed for independence…and despite the Western anti-Assad propaganda.
Clearly, a major overhaul on the idea of “Kurd” is needed for many….
The Kurdish ‘Bad Century’ is relative to where they live
Anyone can have a bad century and finish as winners…look at the Chicago Cubs.
So in Northern Syria the “Kurds” are not even Kurdish nearly half the time, LOL, but let’s be like the West and look at the “Kurds” across their 4 main nations.
If we accept that “Kurdishness” is not all-consuming , we can see how the experiences of “Kurds” in Iraq (which also compose Assyrians, Chaldeans, Turkmen, etc.) – who lived under Saddam Hussein’s wars, were massacred by the anti-Iranian MKO homicidal cult, lived in a country forced to endure material shortages caused by US sanctions from 1990-2003, and who are enduring US invasion and occupation – are fundamentally different than the experiences of “Kurds” in Syria…where these things did not happen.
The experience of “Kurds” in Syria – which is bordered by the menacing, illegitimate state of Israel, which had a different political conception & practice of Baathism than Iraq (which provoked more enmity than cooperation between the two since 1966), which was invaded not by a “coalition of the willing” but radical terrorists, which is on the cusp of benefitting from the extraordinary national unity which can only be created by victoriously defeating foreign invaders – are fundamentally different than the experiences of “Kurds” in Iraq.
“Kurdishness” in Turkey is an vastly larger issue than Syria, because there are vastly more of them than in anywhere else.
“Kurdishness” in Iran is totally different than in any of the four primary Kurdish countries: they are more accepted there than any other country.
This is a result of the acceptance promoted by Iran’s modern, popular revolution of 1979 (by definition, you can’t have a “modern, popular revolution” based on racism/ethnic superiority). Indeed, Iran’s definitive cultural “female Iran-Iraq war experience” was the best-selling, award-winning story told by a Kurdish immigrant from Iraq to Iran – in the book“Da”, which means “mother” (not in Farsi). Such a thing could never happen in Turkey, obviously, nor Arab nationalist Syria and Iraq. This modern acceptance is why Iran is the only nation of the four where there is no chance of fomenting a Kurdish uprising in Iran: being Iranian and Kurdish is not any sort of contradiction – they are incorporated in the national self-conception about as much as any numeric minority can reasonably be, as the success of “Da” illustrates. And for this reason – which is called (Iranian Islamic socialist) “modern democracy” – there is no chance of any sort of a “Kurdish uprising” in Iran. Even amid this ongoing historical era of Kurdish militancy across the entire region, the PJAK Party (Iranian Kurdish separatists) gave up armed operations in Iran in 2011: it’s useless – Iran is different, and on the Kurdish question as well. Israel could spend a zillion usuriously-gained dollars on such a project and it would get nowhere…which is why they spend their time in the southeast (in Baluchestan with Jundallah).
And, to repeat, because this is so important: The people of Northern Syria have never, ever said they want anything but autonomy within Syria. This proves that Syrian “Kurds” are not Iraqi “Kurds”, where Barzani and their bid for independence have been neutralised…much to the dismay of the US & Israel.
An often ignored (or not known) point is that Iraqi “Kurds” had been wooed (or led astray) by the US for two decades via preferential economic, political, cultural and immigration policies. The US paid for a lot of goodwill over many years. In Syria – LOL, not at all. So, Syrian “Kurds” have not come into contact with the American ideology anywhere as much…and their ideology is necessarily different (despite the overpowering Kurdish daze they walk around in, LOL!)
Only by ignoring these realities can one assume the “Kurds” of both regions share the same political outlook in February 2018.
So, I hope we are bit less konfused on who the “Kurds” really are.
Now, because of the leftist nature of northern Syria, we must de-konfuse our notions of their political ideology.
But I’m going to postpone that to part two – let’s talk immediate politics.
A very interesting leftist political project…but not if they ally with the US
It was with great alarm that greeted the recent US declaration that they will keep 2,000 troops in Northern Syria – that news turned off many to the possibility that northern Syria could possibly be leftist.
And rightly so, but Washington’s plans are simply their desire – there has been no official political deal: Rojavan leaders insist their cooperation with the US is strictly military to fight ISIL. Indeed, they have grown up in Syria, which has been attacked by Israel…but now they are going to be allies?
Certainly, the downfall of Barzani in Iraq is a blow to US/Israeli imperialism – so…of course they are refocusing to Northern Syria. But that doesn’t mean they will get what they want!
Certainly, Northern Syria cannot allow a military base inside its borders. There can be no “Syrian Guantanamo” to permanently menace a newly-liberated Syria, like in Cuba.
Let’s keep a couple war realities in mind: It’s not as if Northern Syrians could have stopped the US from planting soldiers and using an airstrip – there has been a huge war, after all, with a well-heeled army called ISIL to stop.
Let’s also remember that the Northern Syrians work with everybody to fight ISIL in Northern Syria: Russia, the US, Damascus, Iran, Hezbollah – everyone but Turkey.(Obviously, the US both fights terrorism and supports it.)
Rojavans…it may be now or never to fight for Syrian unity
The invasion by Turkey means Northern Syrians have now reached the point of no return: to work with Turkey (and thus the US) is to betray the Syrian people which Rojavans have always claimed to want to be.
Therefore, Syria is on the verge of peace and total victory…or major civil war: It will be decided by inter-Syrian diplomacy. Negotiations have been ongoing between the two areas for years, of course, and they are no doubt in overdrive right now.
The fundamental problem is this:
Damascus has always rejected the idea of a federated state and autonomy for Northern Syria. Northern Syria has held their ground militarily, and Damascus has been too occupied with ISIL to demand cooperation…but it’s February 2018, and here we are.
So what will Damascus do, and what will Rojava do?
I am not a Syrian, and thus my opinion should be worth very little – the future of Syria is only for Syrians to decide – but to me it looks like this:
Rojavans may view siding with Damascus as a risk regarding the re-installation of some Arab Nationalist policies they dislike (Rojava has 3 official languages for a reason, for example)…but siding with the Americans is a guarantee of leftist betrayal, a guarantee of a failure and a guarantee of regional bloodshed for decades.
Maybe Rojava can expel ISIL on their own, but they cannot expel the US and Turkey without Damascus…and they must be expelled. How can these troops stay if Damascus and Rojavans cooperate? They cannot, whatever the Pentagon wants.
Therefore, at some point – a point quite soon – Rojavans will need to openly embrace Damascus, in the name of Syrian unity and in the realization of issues larger than their own interests and sacrifices.
On the other side, there is nothing stopping Damascus from making concessions to win over Rojava…and yet, one easily sees the government’s hesitance: Making major changes to Syria’s political structure seems to require the democratic approval of the entire nation via vote. The granting of wholesale structural changes for one-third of the country during wartime appears to lack democratic legitimacy.
Rojava is where most of Syria’s oil is located. Certainly, those funds cannot be made the complete “autonomous” property of Rojavans. One easily sees how “granting autonomy” is a major question that goes beyond just the decades-long elevation of Arab culture over the culture of Turkmen, Chaldeans, Kurds, etc.….
Of course, it should not be surprising that Assad’s view of Rojava never gets an airing…but given Rojava’s leftist bonafides, nobody ever talks about them at all either. “Keep ‘em konfused with just ‘Kurds’” is the media line….
To sum up my view of the immediate political situation: Unity requires faith – Northern Syrians need to trust their fellow citizens that their success has earned them good faith credit in Syria’s common future.
And, finally, what choice does Rojava have? Turkey will never accept them (this is the pretext for their invasion), nor Damascus, nor Iraq. The only ones who will are the US and Israel…and that is leftist?!?!
No…this is why I predict a reconciliation. The failure of Syrian-Syrian diplomacy at this juncture is…civil war.
And who wants that in Syria?
In an upcoming second article I will examine what is the “leftist ideology” of Rojava, and how these ideas might interact with Arab Socialist Baathism in a unified, free, victorious state of Syria.
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.
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What just happened in Korea and when will we ever learn?!

What just happened in Korea and when will we ever learn?!February 20, 2018
Okay, a quick summary first: one of the Russian athletes participating in the Winter Olympics has tested positive for Meldonium.  On two different probes.  There is no way to explain that away, Alexander Krushelnitsky did have Meldonium in his body.  But he was also tested for the same substance just before leaving Russia for Japan (where the athletes were training) and he was clean then.  So he must have ingested that during the past two weeks while already abroad.  Wait, it gets better!  The dosage detected is the equivalent of one dose only.  Not only that, but Meldonium increases blood-flow and helps athletes who engage is extremely high intensity sports.  Have you ever seen a curling match?  Finally, to be effective Meldonium needs to be taken regularly, not just once.
Now let’s sum it up.  A Russian athlete takes one singe dose of Meldonium even though he knows with absolute certainty that 1) this will detected (Meldonium is THE drug Russians athletes, including Maria Sharapova, have been accused of taking in the past) 2) that this will not help him at all 3) that no amount of Meldonium could help, even in theory, an athlete competing in curling (in fact, if anything, it could be harmful).
Needless to say, anybody and everybody involved in this issue in Russia understands: this is self-evidently a “provocation”.  Even British newspapers realize the enormity of the nonsense the US press is now feeding its zombified readers and listeners (you know, the kind of folks who believe that magic bullets can zigzag or that 2 aircraft can bring about the collapse of 3 buildings).
While, in theory, a jealous team-member or some other person hating either Krushelnitsky or Russia could have given him that one single dose of this drug (any non-clear liquid would do as would any food), this seems to well-timed to be just case of personal revenge or malfeasance.
The sad reality is that Russia stupidly waltzed into a trap and now there will be hell to pay: good luck finding and proving that Krushelnitsky was given that chemical without his knowledge!  In my opinion, it was a mistake to go Pyeonchang to begin with, but now the damage is done: Russia is the laughingstock of the AngloZionists who pulled of a very simple (all the Russian athletes drink the bottled drinks given to them the organizers, use the same dining halls, etc.) and very ugly (yes, Russians can be naive, very naive at times) trick.  One small bottle liquid in a room and, TADAH!!, there you got it: the evil Russians are cheating and lying again!  What else to expect for these semi-Mongolian orcs form Mordor?
When will we ever learn!?
In my many contacts with Russians I notice one recurrent feature: most of them simply do not understand that they are at war and that the war which is being waged against them has absolutely no rules.  Whoever put that Meldonium into Krushelnitsky’s room or bottle or snack took a tiny risk and yet that resulted in yet another major PR blow delivered against Russia’s image and the against the morale of the poor Russian athletes who are already competing with an (illegally) reduced team and in terrible conditions (Hats off to whoever came up with that plan: it was nothing short of brilliant, very low risk and very high yield)
Have you heard anything about the conclusion of the expertise on the engine of the SU-25 recently shot down over Syria?  I haven’t.  How about the investigation of the downing of the MH-17?  What about the bombing of the Russian airliner (Metrojet 9268) over Egypt?  Again, maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see anything.  So what about this drink, or toothpaste, of snack or whatever was used to give Krushelnitsky this one single dose of Meldonium, just enough to be detected – do you expect that we will find out who done it?
I don’t.
Yeah, I know.  The Russian hockey team beat the USA 4-0.  So what?! Was that really worth going to Pyeonchang?
I really don’t think so.  The Olympics are a stupid, useless, corrupt waste of money, a disgusting display of crude nationalistic fervor which has nothing to do with real sports and Russia ought to be the first country to leave them, slamming the door loudly, and organize her own, real, sportive events.  In fact, I believe that Russia is big, rich and diverse enough to pull out of all the zombifying and vulgar “entertainment” the West is so good at spreading worldwide (stuff like the Eurovision or mindless TV “talent” shows).  Alternatively, we can simply sit, do nothing and wait for the IOC simply expel Russia from the next Olympic games, or even the entire Olympic movement, and then whine and sob about how unfair this all is, how innocent we are all, how much we care for de Coubertin and his Olympic spirit.  Is that really the better choice?
Each time Russia participates in such AngloZionist controlled events she ends up getting slapped in the face (remember the last Eurovision?) and walks away in impotent shame.  How can the Russians makes fun of the Ukie’s “Ukraine is Europe” when they themselves are constantly trying to play in the very same events, with the very same rules, organized by the very same people who all viscerally hate Russia to begin with?
When will we ever learn!?
The reality is a simple as it is horrible: the AngloZionist elites have declared and are waging total, full-spectrum, war on Russia.  Oh no, not a military war (yet?), that’s the kind of war they lost so often that’s they don’t have the stomach for it, but an “everything else but military” kind of war: Russia is the Evil Empire, Mordor, and she must be either completely enslaved or completely destroyed.  Have you noticed how recent US movies are, once again, constantly showing evil Russkies (bandits, hackers, terrorists, etc.) again?  When all the European comprador elites got together in Munich, what was their unanimous message?  “Russia is Evil, Russia Is A Danger! We Will Fight Russia!”  It’s WWII,  the Crimean War, the Napoleonic invasion or the Northern Crusade all over again (all of the West pulling all of its forces together again), but fought with different means.
And the Russians really seriously believed that they could travel to Korea to enjoy an innocent and peaceful competition in this context?
When will we ever learn!?
There *is* and Evil Empire out there: the AngloZionist Empire.  And it wants to crush and subjugate Russia no less than the Nazis, the Masons or the Latins did in the past.  Same plan, different methods, that’s all.  Just because this time around they are militarily weak does not mean that their political ‘soft’ power is not still immense and that they cannot defeat Russia: they most definitely can unless the Russians finally wake up and start acting like adults who understand that they are, yet again, locked into a struggle for their survival.
When will we ever learn!?
The Saker

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

ساترفيلد جاسوس إسرائيلي


فبراير 23, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لسنا بصدد مناقشة الموقف الأميركي المعروف بانحيازه للمصالح الإسرائيلية، والعاجز عن لعب دور الوسيط النزيه في كلّ قضية تكون «إسرائيل» طرفها الثاني، كما هو حال ملف لبنان وثروته من النفط والغاز، الذي أثارت «إسرائيل» حول الحقوق اللبنانية في مياهه الإقليمية عاصفة لم تهدأ، ولا حول التاريخ الشخصي لدايفيد ساترفيلد كسفير أميركي سابق لدى كيان الاحتلال وقد عمل سفيراً في بيروت، وفي المهمّتين كان يعبّر بحماسة عن التزامه المصالح الإسرائيلية، ويتقن تحويل المكانة الدبلوماسية الأميركية إلى منصة لخدمة المصالح الأميركية.

– القضية هي في سؤال أمني عسكري حمله ساترفيلد للمسؤولين اللبنانيين، يتصف بوضوح بالطابع التجسّسي لحساب «إسرائيل»، ولم يتورّع فحمله بتكليف إسرائيلي بكلّ وقاحة ودار به على المسؤولين اللبنانيين، والسؤال هو:

هل سيطلب مجلس الدفاع الأعلى من حزب الله مباشرة أو بصورة غير مباشرة إيقاف منصات النفط والغاز الإسرائيلية إذا تعرّض العمل في البلوك التاسع لمعوقات أمنية وعسكرية إسرائيلية؟ وإنْ لم يطلب وقام حزب الله بالردّ هل سيقوم لبنان بتغطية هذا الردّ؟

وهو سؤال يشكل الجواب عليه هاجس القيادة العسكرية والاستخبارية في كيان الاحتلال وتحاول جمع المعلومات حول الجواب عليه، فتطوّع الجاسوس ساترفيلد لحملة والعودة بالجواب.

– من الطبيعي أن ينفتح لبنان على وساطات مثل الوساطة الأميركية في ملف النزاع النفطي المفتعل من جانب «إسرائيل» رغم الإدراك بحجم الانحياز الأميركي لـ«إسرائيل»، لكن من الطبيعي أيضاً أن يحذّر لبنان أيّ مسؤول دولي يلعب دور الوساطة من تحويل مهمّته لعمل تجسّسي لخدمة الحسابات العسكرية والأمنية الإسرائيلية، وصولاً لرفض مواصلته القيام بمهام الوسيط. ولا ينفع هنا الحديث عن نظريات من نوع التحسّب الأميركي لمخاطر التصعيد، وهو تحسّب يصبح مشروعاً لو كان عنوانه الجهة التي يمكن أن تبدأ بالعمل الأمني والعسكري، وهي قطعاً ليس لبنان، وليس الجهة التي تجزم بعزمها على الردّ فقط وهذا هو حال لبنان، والتحقق من صيغة وطبيعة الردّ لا وظيفة له في السياسة، والوساطة، بل هو سعي لجلب الاطمئنان الإسرائيلي في حال الإقدام على الاعتداء بماهية السيناريو الذي سيعتمده لبنان. وهو سيناريو عسكري أمني يُعتبر من أسرار الدولة ويشكل كشفه جريمة، عنوانها نقل أسرار الدولة لجهة عدوة.

– آن الأوان ليعلم ساترفيلد أنّ الموقف الذي لم يتوقعه من لبنان هو ورئيس الدبلوماسية الأميركية ليس صدفة، ولا موقفاً عابراً، بل هو تعبير عن خيارات استراتيجية ثابتة للدولة اللبنانية في الدفاع عن حقوقها السيادية، وله مندرجات تخصّ لبنان وحده في حال وقع العدوان، لأنّ مهمة الوساطة تنتهي مع أول طلقة إسرائيلية تستهدف لبنان براً وبحراً وجواً، ومهمة الوسيط التحقق من صدقية المنطلقات القانونية والتقنية التي يقدّمها كلّ فريق حول خلفيات موقفه والسعي للمواءمة بينها وبين معطيات القانون الدولي، وإبلاغ مَن يخرق هذا القانون بأنه لن يلقى أيّ تفهم في حال العدوان، وأنّ العالم سيقف مع المعتدى عليه، وأنّ الإصرار على رفض الحلول المنسجمة مع قواعد القانون الدولي سيعرّض المرتكب للعقاب الدولي، وإعلان وقف الوساطة. أما إذا وقع العدوان فكلّ وسيط ملزم بالوقوف في صف المعتدى عليه، وليس التجسّس على كيفية ردّه لينقلها للمعتدي كي يكمل خططه وحساباته قبل القيام بالعدوان.

– ساترفيلد ليس جاسوساً إسرائيلياً وحسب، بل وقح أيضاً.

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Russia and Syria Falsely Blamed for Civilian Deaths in Eastern Ghouta

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
The area is one of four de-escalation zones in Syria, brokered last May by Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Al-Nusra and other US-supported terrorists in the area, falsely called rebels, undermined it.
They’re responsible for civilian deaths and blocking humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in dire need, Russia and Syria falsely blamed for their high crimes.
Commenting on false US and media accusations, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called them “groundless.”
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert falsely accused Assad of siege and starvation tactics, ignoring atrocities committed by US-supported terrorists.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, UN Secretary-General Guterres shamefully urged restraint by all parties, reminding them of the de-escalation agreement, failing to lay blame where it belongs, fulfilling his role as a reliable US imperial agent – betraying UN Charter principles.
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said “(w)e are now working in New York on the draft of (a) relevant (Security Council) resolution,” adding:
“As regards the humanitarian ceasefire, I think this issue will also be resolved, depending on how the development of this draft resolution further goes.”
“Humanitarian issues, including humanitarian aid and humanitarian access, have become perhaps the most egregious example of the double standards of the United States and their adherents in approaching the entire Syrian dossier.”
“We see every day how not only selectively, but cynically, Washington separates issues that are beneficial to it from the point of view of political promotion and pressure on Damascus, from similar situations that create discomfort for the United States, to put it mildly, due to certain reasons. We point this out in all contacts and in all formats.”
Shelling by US-supported al-Nusra and other terrorists is responsible for civilian deaths and attacks on hospitals – using heavy weapons supplied by Washington and its rogue allies.
Al Jazeera is owned and operated by the despotic Qatari regime, allied with Washington, NATO, and their rogue partners against Syria – reporting daily disinformation about ongoing conflict.
On Wednesday, it lied, saying “Syrian forces backed by Russian warplanes have continued to hit the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, with at least 27 killed on Wednesday,” adding:
“This brings the number of civilian deaths to more than 270, including 60 children, over the past three days” – citing as sources the anti-Syria, Western-funded Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets, complicit in their atrocities.
Al Jazeera: “Eastern Ghouta is the last remaining rebel-held area east of Damascus and has been under siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces since 2013.”
Russian and Assad forces are trying to liberate the area, besieged by US-supported terrorists, holding thousands of Syrian civilians hostage.
Like Western media scoundrels, Al Jazeera reports daily disinformation on the conflict – irresponsibly blaming Russia and Syria for high crimes committed by US terror-bombing and support for terrorists used as imperial foot soldiers.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Failed Attempt to Smear Jeremy Corbyn Reveals Waning Power of British Tabloids

Source
By Robert Mackey
For decades, British politicians have cowered in fear at the power of the nation’s popular and largely unregulated tabloid newspapers, which are owned by a handful of billionaires, and skew heavily to the far-right.
The current Conservative government is no exception. Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly met with Rupert Murdoch, who owns The Sun, soon after she took power. The man May put in charge of negotiating Britain’s complex exit from the European Union, David Davis, left the first day of talks in Brussels after just an hour so that he could get back to London for a private dinner with Paul Dacre, the editor of The Daily Mail.
So the prime minister presumably thought it would be good politics to joke on Wednesday in the House of Commons about a smear campaign launched by the tabloids on Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour party. Referring to a recent barrage of poorly sourced stories in The Sun and The Mail accusing Corbyn of having helped Czechoslovakia spy on Britain during the Cold War, May introduced a tortured pun about the Labour leader wanting her to sign “a blank Czech.”
Corbyn’s response, a theatrical yawn, delighted his supporters.
A more potent sign that the attacks had failed was how quickly other members of May’s party retreated when the allegations about Corbyn were thoroughly debunked by former British spies and records available in the archives of the Czech secret service. Those records, an archivist told the BBC, showed only that a spy posing as a diplomat had spoken with Corbyn in the 1980s, but had not recruited him as a source.
The former spy, Jan Sarkocy, whose testimony against Corbyn is the only source for the slew of British newspaper stories branding the Labour leader a traitor, subsequently undermined his own credibility in an interview with a Czech newspaper, Novy Cas. Asked what kind of information Corbyn had provided to him, Sarkocy boasted that it was so detailed that he knew what then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ate for breakfast each day and what clothes she planned to wear one day in advance.
Sarkocy did not explain how Corbyn, who was then a marginal figure on the far-left of the opposition Labour Party, would have known such intimate details about the daily habits of the far-right, Conservative prime minister.
The former spy then boosted suspicions that he was a fabulist by also claiming to have secretly organized a huge pop concert at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s — apparently confusing the Live Aid concert in 1985 with a tribute to Nelson Mandela in 1988. “It was funded by Czechoslovakia,” Sarkocy told the Czech paper.

The absurdity of the former spy’s claims inspired even Andrew Neil, a former editor of the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times, to eviscerate a Conservative member of Parliament, Steve Baker, for refusing to admit that the story his colleagues had promoted was false. “Surely the real scandal,” Neil told Baker, “isn’t what Mr. Corbyn has supposedly done, or not done, it’s the outright lies and disinformation that your fellow Tories are spreading.”
Faced with the threat of legal action for having libeled Corbyn, another Conservative MP, Ben Bradley — previously best-known for having advocated the sterilization of the poor — deleted a tweet in which he falsely claimed that “Corbyn sold British secrets to communist spies.”
Corbyn’s lawyers have demanded that Bradley also tweet an apology for having made the accusation and make a donation to a charity of the Labour leader’s choice.
On Tuesday night, Corbyn replied to the smear campaign in a video statement which quickly racked up more than 1.5 million views on social networks, in which he called the former spy’s claims “increasingly wild and entirely false.”
Corbyn also signaled that he would not be following the example of Labour’s former leader, Tony Blair, who had courted Murdoch and other tabloid owners. Instead, Corbyn hinted, the newspapers should brace themselves for more regulation should he come to power.
It’s easy to laugh, but something more serious is happening. Publishing these ridiculous smears that have been refuted by Czech officials shows just how worried the media bosses are by the prospect of a Labour government.
A free press is essential for democracy and we don’t want to close it down, we want to open it up. At the moment, much of our press isn’t very free at all. In fact it’s controlled by billionaire tax exiles, who are determined to dodge paying their fair share for our vital public services.
The general election showed the media barons are losing their influence and social media means their bad old habits are becoming less and less relevant. But instead of learning these lessons they’re continuing to resort to lies and smears. Their readers — you, all of us — deserve so much better. Well, we’ve got news for them: change is coming.
Faced with overwhelming evidence that their effort to tie Corbyn to Czech intelligence had failed, reporters for the far-right tabloids moved on to loudly demanding that the Labour leader permit the release of a supposed file on him compiled by the East German secret service, the Stasi. That effort also fell flat when German officials who oversee the Stasi archive announced that they had found no documents at all on Corbyn.
This article was originally published by “The Intercept

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Unbelievable after what has happened in Iraq: US Pentagon confirms it used depleted uranium in Syria

Depleted uranium munitions have been criticised for posing health risks to soldiers who fire them and to civilian populations

Military spokesman says A-10 attack aircraft used depleted uranium rounds in 2015 attacks on tanker trucks carrying oil for IS (US Air Force)
The United States used depleted uranium anti-tank rounds in Syria on two occasions in 2015 amid devastating air strikes against convoys of Islamic State (IS) group tanker trucks, the Pentagon confirmed on Thursday.
Depleted uranium munitions have armour-piercing capabilities. They have been criticised for posing health risks to soldiers who fire them and to civilian populations. Some scientists and Iraqi physicians blame depleted uranium weapons used by US forces for a major increase in cancer cases and birth defects in Iraq.
The munitions are also suspected to be a possible cause of “Gulf War syndrome,” a name given to a collection of debilitating illnesses suffered by veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War.
“Given the international opprobrium associated with the use of depleted uranium, we had been pretty astonished to hear that it had been used in operations in Syria,” Doug Weir, the International Coordinator for the Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, told the Washington Post on Wednesday.
“The US consistently states that the weapons are for anti-armour use, although their record from Iraq…was further evidence that this doesn’t really bear close scrutiny.”
The United Nations Environment Program has described depleted uranium as a “chemically and radiologically toxic heavy metal”.
A by-product of uranium enrichment, depleted uranium “is mildly radioactive, with about 60 percent of the activity of natural uranium,” it says.
A military spokesman said A-10 attack aircraft used depleted uranium rounds on 16 and 22 November 2015 in attacks on tanker trucks carrying oil for IS.
The operations destroyed hundreds of trucks.
A total of 5,265 depleted uranium rounds were fired in combination with other incendiary rounds, US Central Command spokesman Major Josh Jacques said.
The combination of armour-penetrating and high explosive incendiary munitions was used “to ensure a higher probability of destruction of the truck fleet ISIS was using to transport its illicit oil,” he said, using a different acronym for IS.
“We will continue to look at all options during operational planning to defeat ISIS, this includes DU rounds.”

‘Disturbing’

The UN Environment Programme has conducted studies and clean-ups of areas affected by use of the munitions in conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq.
Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a researcher who has published several scholarly journals on the links between health issues and war pollution in Iraq, said depleted uranium damages DNA and creates mutations, which may cause birth defects and diseases in the offspring of people exposed to it.
Although the US military said it has only used DU twice only in 2015, Savabieasfahani said there is no telling that the Pentagon is not telling the whole truth.
“The credibility of the United States army is quite thin,” Savabieasfahan told Middle East Eye.
She said she finds the use of depleted uranium in war “disturbing”.
“It’s a very, very toxic material to be spreading around a civilian society, and it appears like they have been doing it,” Savabieasfahan said.
She added that even when DU is used against oil tankers in the desert, it remains for years in the environment without breaking into harmless compounds, and it can spread to populated areas.

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Palestine, israel, the US, and How the South Pacific Countries Are Selling Their Votes

Here it goes again! Several countries of Oceania (also known as South Pacific Nations), or however you want to call that vast, beautiful but thoroughly devastated part of the world, have voted “for Israel”, “for the United States’ proposed resolution at the United Nations”, and therefore, “against Palestine”.
As reported on December 22, 2017 by Al Jazeera:
“The United Nations General Assembly has voted by a huge majority to declare a unilateral US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void”.
At an emergency session of the General Assembly on Thursday, 128 countries voted in favour of a resolution rejecting US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision on December 6.
Nine countries voted against, while 35 abstained.
Trump had earlier threatened to cut aid to UN members who would vote against his decision.”
Did scarcely inhabited island-nations that are lost in the middle of a tremendous body of water, go crazy?
After all those horrific nuclear experiments committed there,against their people, by the United States, France and the UK; could local people sincerely believe that the truth as seen from Washington is the only legitimate truth on Earth?
After the naked modern-day colonialism, which is being implemented by Australia, New Zealand, and France, and, of course, by the United States, have the people of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia become blind?
After total dependency, after decades of humiliation and virtual slavery, do the inhabitants of Oceania believe that their fellow victims in Palestine do not have the right to live in their own state, without barbed wire; that they shouldn’t have their own historical capital?
The answer to all these question is, actually: “No”.
They do what they are doing simply and only because they have no choice.
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When working on my bookOceania, travelling all over the South Pacific, I visited a Jesuit priest and the region’s prominent intellectual, Francis X. Hezel. Our encounter took place in the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) – Pohnpei.
Father Hezel has been amassing important materials and documents in his private archive, proving beyond any doubts that the US occupation of Micronesia after WWII led to a dramatic decrease of life expectancy and the standard of living of the islanders. He explained:
“Life here became shorter, and much worse than under the Japanese imperial rule. And this was not some ‘Communist propaganda’. It is written right here, in the report produced during that period by the US Department of State.”
But back to ‘voting’, or what is often called “vote selling”. Father Hezel offered a very explicit story to illustrate the reality:
“One day I had an entire television crew from Israel parked at my office. I had no idea what they were doing here. Why would they travel so far, to such a small and insignificant country? Finally I understood: the Israeli public was fascinated with this place; they wanted to know who are those people who keep voting in the U.N. against most of Security Council resolutions, in this way supporting Israel and the United States against the entire world…”
In my book Oceania, I later wrote:
“Pacific Island votes at the UN are openly for sale, especially when peace in the Middle East is at stake. To illustrate the absurdity of the game: at a time when several countries in the region are becoming uninhabitable as a result of global warming, both Nauru and Kiribati, itself one of the sinking nations and therefore a victim, voted against the Kyoto Protocol.
But it is not only profit that propels tiny nations in Oceania to sell their votes; it is also the fear of retribution.
“In the late 90’s our government voted at the UN against the US on the issue of landmines, recalled the then Foreign Minister of Marshall Islands (RMI), Tony deBrum. “As a result, our party lost the elections.””
US Star Wars base on Kwajalein, Marshall Islands
In December 2017, out of the nine countries that voted against the UN resolution, one was the United States itself, while the other eight were: Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, FSM, Nauru, Palau, and Togo. Two were de facto US semi-colonies in Latin America, ruled by brutal pro-Washington cliques, one a tiny and dependent African nation, while four were the Micronesian and Polynesian nations and of course, Israel.
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The Pacific Island nations are selling their votes, for profit or out of fear.
The West is also using them in an attempt to isolate China.
Presently, six countries of Oceania, have fully established diplomatic relations with Taiwan, after being, as was described to me by the former Foreign Minister of RMI, Tony deBrum, “encouraged” by the West.
These countries are: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.
At least three of them – Tuvalu, Marshall Islands and Kiribati – are at the frontline of the climate change disaster: they are becoming uninhabitable due to the global warming and consequent rising of sea level.
Stumps of palm trees – Kiribati
China is the only country that has been willing to, altruistically, help the countries of Oceania: by building anti-tsunami walls, by planting mangroves, by elevating schools, hospitals and government buildings, or by building sports facilities in places where around 90% of adults is suffering from diabetes, often due to dumping there some of the most unhealthy food from the US, Australia and elsewhere.
The more successful China got in helping South Pacific nations, the more ‘encouragement’ Taiwan received from the West; an ‘encouragement’ to come, to corrupt local ‘elites’, and to push China away. Any country that recognizes Taiwan as an independent nation gets diplomatic relations with China (PRC) broken immediately. Everyone knows it. And there is not one Western country that would take such an insane step.
After China leaves, the countries of Oceania can only rely on the pathetic, cynical and hypocritical “foreign aid” offered by the West, while their corrupt leaders negotiate with New Zealand and Australia the final ‘evacuation project’. Entire countries like Tuvalu may soon be forced to move abroad.
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The selling of votes by South Pacific Island nations appears to be shameful, but in fact it is nothing else than an act of total desperation.
The Empire has reached great mastery in implementing the “divide and rule” strategy.
The victims, often defenseless and robbed of everything, are forced to vote against those who are suffering similar fate at the opposite side of the world.
Palestinians are involuntarily living in a cage.
People of Oceania, who used to be the greatest seamen, are surrounded by the vastest expanse of water on Earth, but in the same time they are confined to tiny specks of land, often scarred by Western military bases. Trash and decay are everywhere. Hopelessness rules.
Oceania knows almost nothing about ‘modern Palestine’. Palestinians know almost nothing about Oceania.
Empire looks dumb but it is not. It is ‘only’ evil. It knows everything about both parts of the world. And it is torturing them relentlessly and with perverse sadistic delight.
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Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are his tribute to “The Great October Socialist Revolution” a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.
This article was originally published by New Eastern Outlook.

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