Friday, December 1, 2017

ICC Prosecutor Requests Investigation Into U.S. Military, CIA for Alleged War Crimes in Afghanistan

ICC Prosecutor Requests Investigation Into U.S. Military, CIA for Alleged War Crimes in Afghanistan

Fatou Bensouda asked judges to authorize an investigation of reported human rights abuses in Afghanistan, including allegations of rape and torture by the U.S. military and CIA.

By Mike Corder
The Associated Press

November 21, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - NETHERLANDS -The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court asked judges Monday to authorize an investigation of reported human rights abuses in Afghanistan, including allegations of rape and torture by the U.S. military and CIA, crimes against humanity by the Taliban and war crimes by Afghan security forces.

The announcement marked the first time ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has gone after Americans for alleged war crimes and sets up a possible showdown with Washington. The United States is not a member state of the court, but its nationals can be charged with crimes committed in countries that are members.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that it was reviewing Bensouda’s authorization request, but opposes the International Criminal Court’s involvement in Afghanistan.

“Our view is clear: an ICC investigation with respect to U.S personnel would be wholly unwarranted and unjustified,” the State Department said.

“More broadly, our overall assessment is that commencement of an ICC investigation will not serve the interests of either peace or justice in Afghanistan.”

As well as alleged crimes by American troops in Afghanistan, Bensouda wants to investigate the activities of CIA operatives in secret detention facilities in Afghanistan and other countries that are court members.

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Bensouda said in a summary of her request that “information available provides a reasonable basis to believe” that U.S. military personnel and CIA operatives “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period.”

She added that the Taliban and its allies are suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes “as part of a widespread and systematic campaign of intimidation, targeted killings and abductions of civilians” perceived as supporting the government or opposing the Taliban rebels.

Afghan security forces are, in turn, suspected of involvement in “systematic patterns of torture and cruel treatment of conflict-related detainees in Afghan detention facilities, including acts of sexual violence,” Bensouda said.

This article was originally published by The Star -
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Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan: Dead On Arrival?

Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan: Dead On Arrival?

Trump's peace plan will be highly favourable to Israel and dismissive of the Palestinians

By Richard Silverstein
November 21, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - From almost the first day of his presidency, US President Donald Trump bragged that he would solve the Israel-Palestine conflict. Among his claims was that he could do what no US president had done. He called it "the ultimate deal".
By now, most of the world knows Trump is an empty braggart and that his boasts have almost no connection to reality.

A vague plan

But over the past week or so the New York Times and Israeli media have reported that a Trump peace plan is indeed taking shape. Sources have been vague about the exact contents of the plan though one common feature to every report is that the US will recognise a Palestinian state as part of the overall deal.
Beyond the recognition of a state, the deal would offer Palestinians almost nothing further
Last week, the Israeli news show Hadashot laid out the provisions of the peace plan that had been leaked to it. Beyond the recognition of a state, the deal would offer Palestinians almost nothing further. Jerusalem would not be accepted as Palestine's national capital. 
No settler would have to evacuate a single settlement, let alone an entire settlement. Israel would hit a payday in terms of getting almost all of what it's demanded and failed to get from previous US administrations.
The US would recognise most of Israel's stated security needs, including for the ongoing presence of Israeli forces along the Jordan border, the TV report added.
It said Netanyahu, for his part, was pushing for the retention of overall Israeli security control in all Palestinian territory. This is a position Netanyahu has publicly demanded, and which, if granted, would underline that the Palestinians would not be gaining full sovereignty.
The New York Times earlier reported that under the provisions of the agreement Israel would open trade with the Arab world and its airlines would be permitted to overfly Gulf airspace. Arab states, says the Times, particularly Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan "could add their own commitments, like overflights by Israeli passenger planes, visas for business people and telecommunications links."
There would be "land swaps", but considering that no settlements or settlers would be removed, it's unclear what land would be swapped and why. Or as the Times of Israel summarised the Hadashot report: "The borders, however, would 'not necessarily' be based on the pre-1967 lines."

False assumptions

Why, you might ask, would any Palestinian agree to such a deal? Well, apparently Trump and Netanyahu believe that Arabs are so venal that they will sell their birthright for a few billion Saudi petrodollars.
Sunni Arab states and others would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in economic assistance for the Palestinians under the plan, to help encourage Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the deal, the report said.
I would venture to say that if you asked any Palestinian whether, if offered a choice, he would prefer to be personally wealthy over his nation achieving full recognition and sovereignty, we would know what the answer would be.
Such a strategy follows a longstanding false assumption by Israel and the US that the Palestinian problem is an economic one at its root, and not political. Secretaries of state and Israeli prime ministers have touted improvements to the Palestinian economy as the way to resolve the overall conflict for many years. 
This is a false and insulting premise. But in case you're wondering how or why the plan was leaked now... remember that Netanyahu faces four separate corruption scandals. He's been interrogated for the sixth time by Israeli police this week.
Netanyahu is desperate to change the subject. What better way to do that than by leaking to the Israeli public that he might achieve what no other Israeli leader has ever achieved: lasting peace with Israel's Arab neighbours.
An op-ed published by Al Jazeera dismissed the offer to the Palestinians as not only demeaning, but also a repudiation of the Saudis' own 2002 peace plan:
…The Kushner deal will not do even minimum justice to the Palestinian national project. While the deal offers strategic gains to Israel, such as ending a Saudi Arab boycott, it offers only tactical gains for the Palestinians, such as financial assistance, prisoners' release, and a silent, partial freeze of settlement activities outside the large settlement blocs.
The Kushner deal will practically fragment the Saudi-sponsored 2002 Arab Peace Plan that offered Israel full normalisation in return for full withdrawal from Arab lands occupied in 1967. By pressuring Abbas to accept the deal, the Saudi leadership is undermining its own initiative, accepting to partially normalise relations with Israel in exchange for an alliance against Iran.

Saudi message to Abbas

Though the US has suggested that one way in which its approach is different than previous peace plans is that neither party will be pressured to agree. There will be no threats.
This claim has already been belied by two separate media reports of threats being made against the Palestinians if they reject the deal.
In the first instance, Israeli media reported that when King Salman summoned Abbas to Riyadh for talks last month, apparently the Palestinian leader pointed out that the deal being offered was less than any Palestinian could accept. The Saudis were having none of it and presumably told him that if he rejected the deal they would make his life a living hell. He should, in that event, resign.
Presumably, that would enable the Saudis to install a more quiescent figure like Mohammed Dahlan, now comfortably ensconced in Dubai, who would do their bidding. In fact, according to Al Jazeera's op-ed, none other than Dahlan himself "happened" to have been invited to Riyadh at the same time Abbas was there. The Saudi message to Abbas was clear: If we can't get you to do what we say, we'll find someone who will.
We've come to see the outlines of what a Trump deal would involve: The provisions would be highly favorable to Israel and dismissive of the Palestinians
Considering that they'd just successfully forced the Lebanese premier, Saad Hariri, to resign, the Saudis thought this would intimidate Abbas. But the leader of the Palestinian Authority realises if he sells out the Palestinian cause history will make a mockery of him.
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Last week, the State Department "miraculously" dusted off an obscure 1994 law declaring that, if the Palestinians call for the International Criminal Court to investigate Israeli war crimes, the US must close the PLO mission in Washington DC
The US has noted that Abbas' speech to the UN General Assembly last autumn did just that: It called for the ICC, which now included Palestine among its members, to hold Israel accountable for the massive loss of civilian life in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.

Trump's deal: A sham

Unspoken in these reports was the not so subtle threat that the US would close the mission if the PA rejected the Trump peace plan.
Though Abbas isn't known for having much political spine, the PLO's former chief negotiator Saeb Erekat didn't miss a beat in responding that if the US did close the Palestinian diplomatic facility, that the PA would cut off all communication with the US. That would certainly put a crimp into Trump's peace plan.
Creating a viable Palestinian state at this stage is impossible without enormous Israeli concessions and this Israeli government isn't going to do that
- Prof Stephen Walt, Harvard University 
Through all this we've come to see the outlines of what a Trump deal would involve: the provisions would be highly favourable to Israel and dismissive of the Palestinians. The urge of the latter to summarily reject the deal would be mitigated by overwhelming pressure from the Saudi royals to accept it.
Frankly, despite the near universal consensus from Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia that this deal is a good one; and despite the enormous pressure they can bring to bear on the Palestinians to accept it - I don't see how they can pull this off.
The US may be banking on the universal acclaim they expect from the world to finally see a serious peace plan accepted by almost all the parties to the conflict. But I'd bet that the world will see through the proposed agreement as a sham being perpetrated on the Palestinians. Stephen Walt, the Belfer Professor of international relations at Harvard University, told me:
"It is hard to believe that Kushner, Friedman and co. are going to come up with a deal that would work, because creating a viable Palestinian state at this stage is impossible without enormous Israeli concessions (reversing 40 years of policy) and this Israeli government isn't going to do that." 

Iran factor

Middle East observers have noted another long-term factor favouring an agreement: Iran. Both Israel and the Saudis see Iran as a far more formidable, intractable obstacle than the Palestinians are. They believe if they can solve the smaller problem (Palestine) the world will look far more favourably on their aggressive approach to confronting Iran and Hezbollah.
"The Arabs and the Israelis are facing two enemies, Iran and terrorism, and they must form an alliance to confront them," a western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "But this alliance cannot be established without resolving the Palestinian issue; Saudi Arabia cannot work openly with Israel in the face of Iran before solving the Palestinian issue, and having the Palestinians themselves involved directly in such an axis."
Though Trump's negotiators have declared they won't attempt to force the parties to adhere to a timeline or a deadline to resolve the matter, a Israeli media report indicates Trump has plans to introduce the plan publicly as early as January.
- Richard Silverstein writes the Tikun Olam blog, devoted to exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state. His work has appeared in Haaretz, the Forward, the Seattle Times and the Los Angeles Times. He contributed to the essay collection devoted to the 2006 Lebanon war, A Time to Speak Out (Verso) and has another essay in the upcoming collection, Israel and Palestine: Alternate Perspectives on Statehood (Rowman & Littlefield).
Palestinians 'freeze' meetings with US over office row: The Palestinians have frozen all meetings with the United States after it decided to close their representative office in Washington, officials said Tuesday.

Who Gets to Push the Nuclear Button?

Who Gets to Push the Nuclear Button?

Who Gets to Push the Nuclear Button?
Paul Craig Roberts
William Binney is the former National Security Agency (NSA) official who created NSA’s mass surveillance program for digital information. He says that if the Russian government had conspired with Trump, hacked the Democratic National Committee’s computer, or in any way influenced the outcome of the last US presidential election, the National Security Agency would have the digital evidence. The fact that we have been listening to the unsubstantiated charges that comprise “Russiagate” for more than one year without being presented with a scrap of evidence is complete proof that Russiagate is entirely fake news.
The fake news originated with CIA director John Brennan and FBI director Comey conspiring with the DNC in an effort to discredit and unseat President Trump and at a minimum prevent him from damaging the vast power and profit of the military/security complex by normalizing relations with Russia.
Consider what this means. The directors of the CIA and FBI made up a totally false story about a newly elected President and fed the lies to the presstitutes and Congress. The presstitutes never asked for a drop of evidence and enlarged the Brennan/Comey lie with a claim that all 17 US intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia had interfered. In actual fact, a handful of carefully selected people in three of the agencies had prepared, perhaps under duress, a conditional report that had no evidence behind it.
That it was fake news created to control President Trump was completely obvious, but corrupt security officials, corrupt senators and representatives, a corrupt DNC, and corrupt media used constant repetition to turn a lie into truth.
Here is Binney:
See also:
Having shoved Trump into the militarist camp, his enemies have turned on Trump as an unstable, volatile person who might push the button. Senator Bob Corker (R, TN) and Senator Chris Murphy (D,CT) are using the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to portray President Trump as a quixotic person who shouldn’t have his finger on the nuclear button. We have gone full circle, from Trump who wants to defuse nuclear tensions to Trump who might push the button.
If Senators Corker and Murphy were really concerned and not just orchestrating a new way to attack Trump, they would bring out the fact that Russiagate is a hoax that has made nuclear war more likely. As I have pointed out, Washington has convinced Moscow that Washington is planning a surprise nuclear attack on Russia and also collecting Russian DNA for a tailored Russian-specific bio-weapon. I cannot think of anything more likely to trigger nuclear war than the escalated tensions that Russiagate is preventing Trump from reducing. See:
For the record, contrary to the erroneous assertions of “nuclear experts,” the president cannot simply order a nuclear attack. The president either has to accept a Joint Chiefs war plan and order a launch when the military is ready or he has to accept the advice of his national security adviser to launch in retaliation for incoming enemy ICBMs. If a president simply ordered a nuclear strike, he would be ignored.
If it is not the president who must make the nuclear decision, who is it to be? The military? We should be thankful that that was not the case when the Joint Chiefs pressured President John F. Kennedy to approve a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union.
The question who should have launch authority is an easy one to answer. No one.
If nuclear missiles are incoming, launching does not protect you. You are already going to be destroyed. Why destroy the other side of the world in an act of revenge. It is pointless.
There is no such thing as a preemptive strike that prevents retaliation.
Nuclear war is an act of insanity. Nothing can justify it.
The purpose of diplomacy is to prevent war. However, ever since the Clinton regime attacked Serbia, US diplomacy has been used to cause wars. During the 16-years of George W. Bush and Obama the US destroyed in whole or part seven countries, killing and maiming millions of peoples and producing millions of refugees. Not a single one of these wars was justified. Everyone of these wars was based in lies. The last US government that showed any respect at all for truth was the George H. W. Bush administration.
Before launching each of these acts of unprovoked aggression, Washington demonized the leader of the country. To get rid of one person, Washington did not flinch at murdering large numbers of people and destroying the infrastructure of the country. This tells you that Washington has no morality. None. Zilch. Therefore, Washington is capable of launching a preemptive nuclear strike. Back when nuclear weapons were puny by today’s standards, Washington nuked two Japanese cities while Japan was trying to surrender. That was in 1945, a lifetime ago. Whatever bits of morality that still existed then are long gone.
Today a CNN editor-at-large named Chris Cillizza, published online an article titled, “There’s a massive moral vacuum in the country right now.” At last, I thought, a presstitute has realized that Washington’s constant nuclear threats against other countries shows a complete disrespect for the life of the planet and indicates a moral vacuum. But no, the presstitute is talking about sexual harassment, especially that of Roy Moore in the 1970s. And it is all Trump’s fault. How can he lead when he harasses women himself?
President Trump intended to normalize relations with the other major nuclear power. He has been prevented from doing so by the military/security complex, the DNC, and the presstitutes.
Cillizza says sexual harassment is a “very big” consequence of Trump’s election. I am left wondering if CNN’s editor-at-large considers nuclear war to be as serious as sexual harassment.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Presidents and the War Power

Presidents and the War Power

Bombs Over Libya

President Barack Obama's claim that he doesn't need congressional authorization for his current war in Iraq and Syria is troubling. The country's founders would pass out upon hearing his claim that the post-9/11 congressional approval of force in 2001 against the perpetrators of those attacks and their abettors and the congressional resolution approving George W. Bush's invasion of Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 2003 give him the current authority for a very different war against very different people. However, Obama is not the first president to believe that he has the rather imperial authority for war by executive fiat.

Up until 1950, for major conflicts, presidents followed the nation's founders' intent in the U.S. Constitution to obtain a declaration of war from Congress. For the Korean War, however, Harry Truman, really the first imperial president, decided that this vital constitutional requirement was optional. Unfortunately, as I note in my new book -- Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty -- once a bad precedent is set, meaning that the chief executive gets away with an unconstitutional act, future presidents will cite it in carrying out their own questionable actions.

Over American history, that process has thus resulted in an expansion of presidential power much past what the founders had envisioned when they wrote their constitutional blueprint. Thinking of the powerful European monarchs of the day, who took their countries to war on a whim and let the costs in blood and treasure fall to their unfortunate citizens, the founders wanted an executive with severely restricted powers. Congress was to be the dominant branch of government, and the executive's role merely was to narrowly execute and enforce laws passed by that body. Even the president's commander-in-chief role, much abused by modern chief executives, was to be restricted narrowly to commanding the U.S. military in battle. In fact, contrary to the conventional belief in Washington and among the American public, the Constitution gives most of the powers in defense and foreign affairs to the Congress, not to the president. The erroneous notion that the chief executive is the "sole organ of American foreign policy," derives from the non-binding part of a Supreme Court decision in the 1930s (that is, fairly recently).

In the Constitution, the founders signaled their intent for Congress to approve even minor uses of force by the United States. The document says that Congress will issue letters of marque and reprisal. At the time, letters of marque were issued to private ship captains to raid an enemy nation's commerce.

So it is curious from his past behavior that Obama, a constitutional lawyer, believes that if he avoids putting "combat troops" on the ground -- defining this narrowly to exclude Special Forces hunting terrorists and American military trainers of local forces -- and limits his attacks to air strikes, it's not a real war that would require congressional approval. His criterion seems to be that if no Americans would be killed, it's not a "war" that the Congress needs to bother with authorizing. Yet aircraft can get shot down or malfunction and pilots can be captured or killed. Also, the people being bombed would probably call it a war, and so the people's representatives in Congress might want to comment on whether the United States should be in a state of hostilities with them.

The people's representatives don't always make the right decision -- as they didn't in President James Madison's pointless War of 1812, James Polk's war of aggression against the weaker Mexico to steal its land, William McKinley's colonial Spanish-American War, or Woodrow Wilson's ruining of the twentieth century by American entry into World War I -- but they should at least get to vote, as the nation's founders intended and the Constitution states.

Dubious Osama bin Laden Documents: A Pretext for a War on Iran

Dubious Osama bin Laden Documents: A Pretext for a War on Iran


The CIA has given the Long War Journal exclusive access to the supposed Osama bin Laden files taken from his “compound” in Pakistan.

The Long War Journal is a project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) where its editors are senior fellows. The foundation is a refuge for neocons and a staunch supporters of Israel and its policies. It is also a vocal advocate of confronting Iran.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise the CIA “shared” a carefully selected portion of the documents — some 500,000 files — with the Long War Journal.

The released documents focus on Iran and its supposed relationship with al-Qaeda.

On November 1, NBC News reported:
The trove also provides new insight into the often adversarial relationship between al Qaeda and Iran — the Sunni Muslim terror group and the Shiite republic — in the form of a 19-page report described by the Long War Journal as “a senior jihadist’s assessment of the group’s relationship with Iran.”
Intelligence officials describe the report as “evidence of Iran’s support of al Qaeda’s war with the United States.”

It cites the escape of al-Qaeda members from Afghanistan to Iran after the US invaded Afghanistan. I have written about this previously. There is no evidence al-Qaeda worked with Iran. Iranian officials said they have held al-Qaeda members in detainment, although they will not release further information, including names.

Once again, the neocons are attempting to spread lies and fabrication as a pretext to step up hostilities against Iran, same as they did with Iraq.

The CIA and the neocons at FDD are counting on the ignorance of the American people to sell these lies. It’s safe to say most Americans are unaware of the fact Shiite (Iran) and Sunni Muslims (primarily the Saudi Wahhabi variety) are sworn enemies and it is extremely unlikely they would cooperate on anything.

Naturally, the establishment media grabbed this fairy tale and ran with it.

“Iran and al-Qaeda: Best of Frenemies,” headlines Bloomberg.

The alt-right aka New Right website Breitbart, once again home to former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon, writes that “[a]mong the most interesting revelations are details of Iran’s collusion with al-Qaeda and bin Laden’s citation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a formative influence on his political thought.”

Is this the same Muslim Brotherhood that collaborated with the CIA?

“According to CIA agent Miles Copeland, the Americans began looking for a Muslim Billy Graham around 1955… When finding or creating a Muslim Billy Graham proved elusive, the CIA began to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim mass organization founded in Egypt but with followers throughout the Arab Middle East,” writes Arab historian Said Aburish.

For more, see this interview with F. William Engdahl.

After Trump said he wants to designate both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as terrorist organizations, the CIA stepped in and said that wouldn’t be a good idea. The agency is currently headed up by Mike Pompeo, a rabid anti-Iran zealot.

“MB groups enjoy widespread support across the Near East-North Africa region and many Arabs and Muslims worldwide would view an MB designation as an affront to their core religious and societal values,” according to the CIA.

I’m curious what Arabs and Muslims think about the CIA’s killer drone program and Trump’s merciless bombing of Syria. Is this considered an affront to their core religious and societal values?

It seems the non-stop deluge of negative news — including this latest batch of fairy tales — has resulted in an unfavorable view of Iran by Americans. If Pew Research can be believed, only 14 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of Iran and nearly 70 percent disapprove of the Iran nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, thanks to endless propaganda, many Americans look favorably on Saudi Arabia, a country where 92 percent of citizens approve of the Islamic State.

“One might reasonably wonder, then: why do Americans hate and fear Iran, over and above even the nation — the royal family and their clerics — that were actually behind 9/11? Might it be, perhaps, because the Shia clerics of Iran are as fundamentalist as the Sunni ones in Saudi Arabia? Not at all; but, yet, Americans seem to assume that that’s the case,” writes Eric Zuesse.

I disagree with Zuesse on his belief that Saudi Arabia was the prime motivator behind the 9/11 attacks. It certainly participated, but the blame falls squarely on the United States and its intelligence agencies. If not for the CIA and Saudi partnership, there would be no al-Qaeda, no al-Nusra, no Islamic State, and other Wahhabi terrorist organizations.

Reprinted with author's permission from

Washington Corruption Is Unparalleled In History

Washington Corruption Is Unparalleled In History
By Paul Craig Roberts
November 07, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - Dr. George Szamuely, a distinguished member of the Global Policy Institute of London Metropolitan University, is a British citizen and not a partisan of US politics. He has carefully investigated the so-called Russian dossier and reports that it was entirely the work of the Hillary Democrats.
This fact was known at the beginning both to former CIA director John Brennan and to former FBI director James Comey. Yet both went along with the DNC-invented story of Russian election hacking and Christopher Steele’s fake “dossier” on Trump’s imagined relations with Russians.
The presstitute media told the lies that they were supposed to tell. The consequence of this plot has been to waste the first year of Trump’s presidency and to prevent President Trump from reducing the dangerously high tensions with nuclear power Russia. This is a disservice not only to President Trump but also to the American people and the planet itself.
Dr. Szamuely delivers the sordid details of the plot by a corrupt American establishment to destroy a president selected by the people and not by the ruling interest groups.
You can read the story here:
The arrest of Paul Manafort by former FBI director Robert Mueller is a further indication of the corrupt character of Washington and the “law” that it utilizes as a weapon. Mueller is supposed to be investigating “Russiagate.” His arrest of Manafort has nothing whatsoever to do with Russiagate. Mueller arrested Manafort on the basis of allegations that in 2006, a decade prior to “Russiagate,” Manafort did not report as income payments he received as an unregistered agent for the Ukrainian government.

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According to newspaper reports at the time, Zionist Neoconservative Richard Perle, a former member of the Defense Policy Board and an Assistant Secretary of Defense, served as an unregistered agent for Turkey and was not arrested for his violation of the registration act.
But Manafort is different. By arresting Manafort, who served for a time as Trump’s presidential campaign manager, Mueller can pile on false charges until Manafort buys his way out by providing Mueller with false charges against Trump.
In US federal courts today, charges no longer have to be proven, just asserted. If Trump’s surrender to the military/security complex and abandonment of his intention to normalize relations with Russia do not suffice to make Trump acceptable to the military/security complex, Mueller can squeeze Manafort until Manafort agrees to whatever story Mueller hands him. The last thing Manafort or Trump can count on is justice. There has been no justice in the US “Justice” system for decades.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.
See also -

Libya, Syria, Ukraine – Same Playbook, Same Puppet Masters

Libya, Syria, Ukraine – Same Playbook, Same Puppet Masters
By Chris Kanthan
November 07, 2017 "Information Clearing House" -  Geopolitics becomes a lot easier if we can discern repeating patterns. For example, the common thread through the crises in Ukraine, Libya and Syria is a clever but ruthless playbook of regime-change. This stratagem of toppling governments while appearing noble should perhaps be called the “geopolitics of crocodile tears.”
There were times in history when a powerful country would simply invade the weaker ones. Now the elites resort to elaborate Hollywood-style scripts brimming with inspiring heroes, sob stories and altruistic efforts.
Here are the simple facts: Libya and Syria were a tad bit too independent and successful, and thus have been targeted by globalists for a long time. Ukraine, which borders Russia, is a treasured piece on the geopolitical chessboard – get Ukraine and Crimea, you weaken Russia immensely.
The fundamental ploy in Libya, Syria and Ukraine was the same: rile up the population and then stage a coup in the midst of chaos, while claiming to liberate the people.
The coup is carried out in many stages.
Stage 1: Planned Protests
Stage 2: Protesters killed, leading to outrage and UN resolutions/sanctions
Stage 3: Armed mutiny and attempts to force the government out
Stage 4: If Stage 3 fails, sponsor a full-fledged civil war to overthrow the government
Simple enough? Let’s hop on the time machine back to 2011.
Act 1: “Peaceful” protests
While all three cases were portrayed as “peaceful protests,” the facts on the ground couldn’t be more antithetical. The beginning is always peaceful and this sets the tone of the narrative. But truly peaceful protests always fizzle out when there is no major crisis in a nation.
The art of protests and violence are not well understood by the public. There are many elites and groups who are experts in mass psychology. Just like a clever marketing person creating a viral ad, there are social engineering gurus who know how to create protests and riots. For example, with 10 provocateurs and 100 well-paid community leaders, one can easily create a protest of few thousand people and then turn it into a riot. Once chaos begins, mob mentality sets in, and then innocent protesters morph into dangerous elements.
With enough money and weapons, you can overthrow any government.
Libya was a stable and wealthy country under Gaddafi. Everyone had access to free school, free college and free healthcare; young married couples got a free apartment; and Libya had the highest HDI (Human Development Index) in Africa. Similarly, Syria was prosperous and safe. Under Assad, the GDP had tripled (in US dollars), inflation was low, and debt was cut in half. Millions of tourists visited Syria every year because it was beautiful, free and safe. In Ukraine, the economy wasn’t so great and people weren’t too happy with the politicians, but that’s normal for Ukraine.
So how do you organize protests in such situations? In Libya, the excuse was “Day of Rage,” which was the anniversary of clashes in 2006 when police killed a few protesters. For the first few days in 2011, the protests and the riots were limited to small, remote towns. Large cities such as Tripoli, the capital, were calm and seemed unaware of the protests.
In Syria, the first few attempts to organize protests in February failed miserably. Then with more money and propaganda through Saudi-funded mosques, the protests began in March in Daraa, a small border town (which is close to … ahem … the U.S. military base in Jordan). The famous Omari mosque in Daraa turned into a warehouse for weapons, ammunition and cash. Just like in Libya, large cities such as Damascus and Aleppo were quiet and normal.
In Ukraine, thanks to George Soros, USAID and NED, there was a well-established system of grassroots movement that could spring into action at a moment’s notice. Outside of Kiev, there were no protests, but the media made it seem like the whole country was behind the Euromaidan faux revolution.
At this point, the corporate media all over the world would show wonderful pictures and videos of peaceful protesters demanding freedom and justice. Who can be against that? The media always makes sure that these protests are labeled “spontaneous.” Of course, most people outside these countries believe the narrative.
Act 2 Scene 1: Provocateurs and Snipers
This is where peaceful protests turn violent and bloody. However, there is a twist in the plot that is hidden from the public: the use of provocateurs and snipers by the same people who organized the protests. These trained provocateurs would attack the police/military and burn down government buildings. Some of them are like Antifa, but others are professional militants armed with lethal weapons and trained to kill.
In Libya, on the third day of the protests, police stations and security headquarters were burned down. In Syria, even before the protests spread to other places, dozens of Syrian military soldiers were ambushed and shot to death. (I describe the events in Syria in details in my book, Syria – War of Deception). In Kiev, masked thugs threw Molotov cocktails and beat up the police with chains and iron rods.
Then, at the end of Act 2 Scene 1, snipers come in to radically alter the story. Carefully placed on rooftops and tall buildings, the snipers target the police and the protesters. When the police are shot at, they naturally assume that the bullets came from the protesters, and so the police fire back. Sometimes there are also provocateurs with guns on the ground among the protesters, and they shoot at the police as well.
In Libya, to add fuel to the fire, the snipers cruelly shot and killed 15 people in a funeral. In Ukraine, analysis of bullets and shells proved that the same snipers killed both the protesters and the police.
Ignoring all these, the global media and the politicians have only one narrative regarding all three countries: the government brutally attacked/murdered peaceful protesters. (Example: NPR’s article discussing in June 2011 an incident where 120 Syrian soldiers were massacred and mutilated by the “peaceful protesters.”)
Act 2, Scene 2: Political/Economic Attack
Regarding Libya, Merkel said right away that Gaddafi was waging war on his own people. Western media screamed that Gaddafi was firing on his own people. The White House condemned Gaddafi for using mass violence against his own people.
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A month later, the exact phrase was used against Assad. In Assad’s case, this propaganda would last for the next six years, and later expanded to “Assad kills and gases his own people.”
In Ukraine, after the president was ousted, he was charged with “mass killing of civilians.”
This technique is a well-known form of psychological warfare and is called atrocity propaganda.
With crocodile tears and faux outrage, the West came up with UN resolutions against Syria and Libya, which were probably written months before.
Act 3: Bloodless Coup
In Ukraine, the West used neo-Nazis rather than jihadists as the provocateurs. The CIA befriended pro-Nazi Ukrainians (who were thus anti-Russian) right after WW II and the relationship never went away.
Yanukovych was a democratically elected President of Ukraine who had also twice been the Prime Minister. In 2004, he won the Presidency, but George Soros organized a “color revolution” and clamored for a new election. Lo and behold, the pro-US candidate won with 51% of the vote in the new election.
Then six years later, Yanukovych ran again and won the presidency fair and square. Four years into his presidency, he was simply driven out of the country by the US/EU coalition.
This is the reality of U.S. spreading “democracy.” You are free to choose whoever you want, as long as it’s the right candidate.
In Libya and Syria, Gaddafi and Assad were tough and not so willing to give up easily. Within a month after the first protest in Libya and Syria, the UN had passed resolutions that authorized arming “civilians” (a.k.a jihadists), and also gave NATO the right to shoot down Libyan planes. The Orwellian term “No Fly Zones” meant that only Gaddafi couldn’t fly his planes, but NATO/US planes could. On March 19, one month after the protests started, the US started bombing Libya with Tomahawk missiles. Syria was saved from NATO attacks, thanks to Russia and China.
Act 4 – Civil War
In Libya and Syria, weapons and money poured from the outside to fuel the civil war. Libya fell within a year, since NATO acted as the air force for the terrorists and destroyed Gaddafi’s planes, tanks and arsenals.
In Syria, less than half of 1% of the population joined the armed militia. This is why the “revolution” faltered after a few months, and tens of thousands of foreign jihadists had to fly into Syria. Thanks to the billions of dollars of cash and weapons from benevolent Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others, the war went on for six years, destroying a prosperous country and ruining the lives of 20 million people.
Trail of Chaos
Six years later, Libya still doesn’t have a unified government; Al Qaeda and militias rule half the country; and there is even slavery now. More than a million Libyans have fled to Europe, creating new problems.
Syria’s GDP has fallen 65% since 2011, its debt has doubled, Al Qaeda holds a large province, and it may take twenty years to rebuild the country.
Ukraine is split in half, and people who have lived together for 1000 years are now at war with each other. Using Ukraine as an excuse, the US and NATO are now spending billions to counter “Russia’s threat.”
So this is the geopolitical strategy of protests, proxy wars, and propaganda. Americans need to wake up, understand geopolitics, and demand an end to these expensive and immoral wars of chaos, misery and destruction.
Chris Kanthan is the author of a new book, Syria – War of Deception. It’s available in a condensed as well as a longer version. Chris lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has traveled to 35 countries, and writes about world affairs, politics, economy and health. His other book is Deconstructing Monsanto.
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"Explosive" Leaked Secret Israeli Cable Confirms Israeli-Saudi Coordination To Provoke War

"Explosive" Leaked Secret Israeli Cable Confirms Israeli-Saudi Coordination To Provoke War

By Tyler Durden
November 07, 2017 "Information Clearing House" -  Early this morning, Israeli Channel 10 news published a leaked diplomatic cable which had been sent to all Israeli ambassadors throughout the world concerning the chaotic events that unfolded over the weekend in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, which began with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's unexpected resignation after he was summoned to Riyadh by his Saudi-backers, and led to the Saudis announcing that Lebanon had "declared war" against the kingdom. 
The classified embassy cable, written in Hebrew, constitutes the first formal evidence proving that the Saudis and Israelis are deliberately coordinating to escalate the situation in the Middle East. 
The explosive classified Israeli cable reveals the following:
  • On Sunday, just after Lebanese PM Hariri's shocking resignation, Israel sent a cable to all of its embassies with the request that its diplomats do everything possible to ramp up diplomatic pressure against Hezbollah and Iran.
  • The cable urged support for Saudi Arabia's war against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.
  • The cable stressed that Iran was engaged in "regional subversion". 
  • Israeli diplomats were urged to appeal to the "highest officials" within their host countries to attempt to expel Hezbollah from Lebanese government and politics. 
As is already well-known, the Saudi and Israeli common cause against perceived Iranian influence and expansion in places like Syria, Lebanon and Iraq of late has led the historic bitter enemies down a pragmatic path of unspoken cooperation as both seem to have placed the break up of the so-called "Shia crescent" as their primary policy goal in the region. For Israel, Hezbollah has long been its greatest foe, which Israeli leaders see as an extension of Iran's territorial presence right up against the Jewish state's northern border. 
The Israeli reporter who obtained the document is Barak Ravid, senior diplomatic correspondent for Channel 10 News. Ravid announced the following through Twitter yesterday:
  • I published on channel 10 a cable sent to Israeli diplomats asking to lobby for Saudis/Harir and against Hezbollah. The cable sent from the MFA in Jerusalem [Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs] to all Israeli embassies toes the Saudi line regarding the Hariri resignation.
  • The Israeli diplomats were instructed to demarch their host governments over the domestic political situation in Lebanon - a very rare move.
  • The cable said: "You need to stress that the Hariri resignation shows how dangerous Iran and Hezbollah are for Lebanon's security."
  • "Hariri's resignation proves wrong the argument that Hezbollah participation in the government stabilizes Lebanon," the cable added.
  • The cable instructed Israeli diplomats to support Saudi Arabia over its war with the Houthis in Yemen. The cable also stressed: "The missile launch by the Houthis towards Riyadh calls for applying more pressure on Iran & Hezbollah."
Watch today's Hebrew broadcast Channel 10 News report which features the Israeli diplomatic cable - the text of which is featured in Channel 10's screenshot (below) - here
Below is a rough translation of the classified Israeli embassy cable using Google Translate as released by Israel's Channel 10 News
"To the Director-General: you are requested to urgently contact the Foreign Ministry and other relevant government officials [of your host country] and emphasize that the resignation of Al-Hariri and his comments on the reasons that led him to resign illustrate once again the destructive nature of Iran and Hezbollah and their danger to the stability of Lebanon and the countries of the region.   
Al-Hariri's resignation proves that the international argument that Hezbollah's inclusion in the government is a recipe for stability is basically wrong. This artificial unity creates paralysis and the inability of local sovereign powers to make decisions that serve their national interest. It effectively turns them into hostages under physical threat and are forced to promote the interests of a foreign power - Iran - even if this may endanger the security of their country. 
The events in Lebanon and the launching of a ballistic missile by the signatories to the Riyadh agreement require increased pressure on Iran and Hezbollah on a range of issues from the production of ballistic missiles to regional subversion."
Thus, as things increasingly heat up in the Middle East, it appears the anti-Iran and anti-Shia alliance of convenience between the Saudis and Israelis appears to have placed Lebanon in the cross hairs of yet another looming Israeli-Hezbollah war. And the war in Yemen will also continue to escalate - perhaps now with increasingly overt Israeli political support. According to Channel 10's commentary (translation), "In the cable, Israeli ambassadors were also asked to convey an unusual message of support for Saudi Arabia in light of the war in which it is involved in Yemen against the Iranian-backed rebels."
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All of this this comes, perhaps not coincidentally, at the very moment ISIS is on the verge of complete annihilation (partly at the hands of Hezbollah), and as both Israel and Saudi Arabia have of late increasingly declared "red lines" concerning perceived Iranian influence across the region as well as broad Hezbollah acceptance and popularity within Lebanon.
What has both Israel and the Saudis worried is the fact that the Syrian war has strengthened Hezbollah, not weakened it. And now we have smoking gun internal evidence that Israel is quietly formalizing its unusual alliance with Saudi Arabia and its power-hungry and hawkish crown prince Mohammed bin Salman
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