How the Pentagon sank the US-Russia deal in Syria – and the Ceasefire

Was the first ever US strike against Syrian government forces an intentional hit by the Pentagon to block military cooperation with Russia?

The Russians had a powerful incentive to ensure that the ceasefire would hold, especially around Aleppo.

In the new ceasefire agreement, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had negotiated an unusually detailed set of requirements for both sides to withdraw their forces from the Castello Road, the main artery for entry into Aleppo from the north.

It was understood that the “demilitarization” north of Aleppo was aimed at allowing humanitarian aid to reach the city and was, therefore, the central political focus of the ceasefire.

That crucial shift in US diplomatic position was a direct result of the aggressive opposition of the Pentagon to Obama’s intention to enter into military cooperation with Russia in Syria.

The Pentagon was motivated by an overriding interest in heading off such high-profile US-Russian cooperation at a time when it is pushing for much greater US military efforts to counter what it portrays as Russian aggression in a new Cold War.

Source: How the Pentagon sank the US-Russia deal in Syria – and the ceasefire | Middle East Eye

Handle with care: American System a co-worker of God – Op-Edge

US President Barack Obama made his eighth – and final – address to the United Nations General Assembly this week. What a relief, not to be subjected to any more florid speeches filled with vacuous, psychopathic lies.

In his address, Obama referred to a host of wars, flash-points and security problems. He mentioned Ukraine, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock, tensions in the South China Sea, North Korea’s nuclear weapons, alleged Iranian nuclear ambitions, Middle East instability, racism, sectarianism, fundamentalism and ISIL terrorism.

In front of the world, Obama had the audacity to blame Russia of attempting to recover lost glory through force by purportedly threatening Ukraine, the Baltic region and Europe.

“After all, the people of Ukraine did not take to the streets because of some plot imposed from abroad,” claimed Obama, in a breathtaking denial of how the US and European Union actually destabilized the country in 2013-2014, leading to a CIA-backed coup d’état and an ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.

In virtually every conflict cited by Obama it can be factually counter-posed that US intervention has played a critical role in unleashing hostilities and tensions with a death toll exceeding millions of victims. Yet all he would admit, with astounding understatement, was that the US has “made our share of mistakes” over the past 25 years since the end of the Cold War.

US spends Trillions on War rather than Infrastructure, Environment and Health. The world remembers and ask why: Vietnam, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria and 65 intrusions on other nations?

We don’t have space or patience to rebut every one of the falsehoods spouted by Obama at the UN. But let’s take a few.

Syria’s tragic civil war is not due to a sectarian regime abusing its power, as he makes out. The nearly six-year war is the result of US-led efforts to destabilize a pluralist Arab democracy for regime change towards a puppet willing to serve American hegemonic “core interests” in the region. This criminal US objective is in violation of international law, including Washington’s covert support for proxy terrorist insurgents.

Obama deplores fundamentalism and the rise of medieval ISIL terrorism without a hint of shame that seven decades of US strategic collusion with the medieval fundamentalist Saudi dictatorship has spawned ISIL and other Islamist terror networks.

(Finian Cunningham worked for 20 years as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV)

Read entire article: Source: Handle with care: American psycho system a ‘co-worker of God’ — RT Op-Edge

Why has NATO chosen Russia as its enemy instead of ISIS?

According to statements made at last weekend’s summit in Warsaw, NATO regards Russia as a bigger threat than ISIS. Of course, that’s ludicrous but when you scratch beneath the surface, the use of these falsehoods makes perverted sense.

Gleb is a Russian student in Dublin. Recently, at the request of a mutual friend, I’ve been helping him with his university thesis which focuses on the reasons Ireland is one of the few Western European countries that has resisted NATO membership. A distinction that most Irish people are extremely proud of.

As an Irishman myself, I’ve always been baffled by why so many members of the British and continental European elite see NATO as a good thing. After all, where’s the glory in being dictated to by an external power whose interests are often at marked variance with your own?

Like right this moment, when it’s plainly obvious the biggest threat to Western Europe is Islamic fundamentalism and the fallout from a destabilized Middle East. But the US remains somewhat impervious to these issues, which it largely helped to ferment, and instead continues to be, bizarrely, focused on Russia.

Let’s be clear here. You don’t require submarines or nuclear weapons to engage ISIL, but you would in a putative conflict with Russia. The fact that such a collision would probably, due to the atomic arsenals involved, mean the end of human civilization, is irrelevant to NATO because it doesn’t actually want a war with Russia.

Instead it desires to use Moscow as a convenient bogeyman in order to maintain US defense spending, which grew 9 percent annually from 2000-2009 during the war on terror.

My Note: (How did it happen that our rights and liberties were so easy taken from us? Declare a war on a word that has no army, no headquarters, a scattered unseen organization and call it Terrorism. Our home and all our possessions can be taken away by a banking system backed by corrupt governments, IMF and WTO. Phone calls are monitored and emails read without our knowledge. Presidents can be awarded the highest office by a Court rather than the people. We are told to take the lowest paying degrading job while the Corporations pollute our air, water and land daily. – Dennis Cambly)

Gore Vidal explains the War on Terror

The simple fact is that six of the top eight defense contractors in the world are American. Together, they directly employ close to 750,000 people and that’s in addition to millions of other service and supply roles that depend on their patronage. Any reduction in munitions outlay would jeopardize a lot of those jobs, creating unemployment black spots in many US towns and cities. And those would be primarily in blue collar areas which have already been hollowed out by decades of outsourcing, many of which happen to be situated in electoral swing states.

Every politician who would advocate this would be self-immolating their career.

Read the entire article, written by Bryan MacDonald, an Irish journalist based in Russia.

Source: Why has NATO chosen Russia as its enemy instead of ISIS? — RT Op-Edge

Architects of disastrous Iraq War still at large – Neil Clark

Bombs going off in Iraq? Well, it happens all the time – what’s there to see? Let’s all move along shall we?

The neocon war lobby, who, remember, couldn’t stop talking about Iraq in 2002-2003, and telling what a terrible threat the country’s WMDs posed to us, would of course like us to forget the country all together now. They’ve told us lots of times we need to move on from talking about the 2003 invasion and instead focus on more important things – like how we can topple a secular Syrian president who’s fighting the very same terrorists who are bombing Baghdad.

If Sir John does try and tell us that the war was all an honest mistake, he and his panel will be a laughing stock. Whatever Chilcot’s conclusions are, the important thing is that Iraq will be back in the news headlines, and this represents a great opportunity for those of us who opposed the 2003 invasion to ensure that justice is finally done.

It is clear to almost everyone now that we were lied into an illegal war, which not only destroyed an entire country, but which also led directly to the rise of IS and helped bring terrorism to Europe too.

We don’t need Sir John to tell us that Bush and Blair knew there were no WMDs in Iraq. Common sense and logic tells us that the deadly duo would never have invaded if they had genuinely believed the lurid claims contained in the decidedly dodgy dossiers.

Everything we were told by the neocons in the lead-up to war was false. To quote the title of a book by the antiwar British MP Peter Kilfoyle, there were Lies, Damned Lies and Iraq.

Disgustingly, obscenely, and outrageously, some of the most vociferous opponents of the Iraq war – the people who correctly predicted the disasters that would occur if Iraq was invaded – have seen their careers go into reverse because of the stance they took.

To deflect attention away from their crimes, the Iraq war clique- who have clearly read their Orwell – also encourage us to focus on the alleged crimes of Official Enemies. We’re supposed to feel outraged over a non-existent Russian invasion of the Ukraine, while forgetting about the all too real invasion of Iraq and its catastrophic consequences.

Cowardly Establishment friendly leftists, who would not retweet or cite with approval an article published by RT because of fear they’d be excommunicated from the Elite Journos Club, happily engage with unrepentant pro-Iraq war propagandists on social media.

In doing so these western faux-progressives are effectively saying that the deaths of up to 1 million Iraqis don’t matter. They’re sticking a big two fingers up at the people of the global south who have been the victims of neocon wars and destabilization campaigns.

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Read entire article: Architects of disastrous Iraq War still at large — RT Op-Edge

We perfected Mass Murder by Chris Hedges

The killings in Brussels or Paris and the killings in U.S. military strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria or Libya perpetuate the same dark lusts. The savage tit-for-tat game will not end until we rouse ourselves from our hypnotized state.

Revenge is the psychological engine of war. Victims are the blood currency. Their corpses are used to sanctify acts of indiscriminate murder. Those defined as the enemy and targeted for slaughter are rendered inhuman. They are not worthy of empathy or justice. Pity and grief are felt exclusively for our own. We vow to eradicate a dehumanized mass that embodies absolute evil. The maimed and dead in Brussels or Paris and the maimed and dead in Raqqa or Sirte perpetuate the same dark lusts. We are Islamic State.

“From violence only violence is born,” Primo Levi wrote, “following a pendular action that, as time goes by, rather than dying down, becomes more frenzied.”

The tit-for-tat game of killing will not end until exhaustion, until the culture of death breaks us emotionally and physically. We use our drones, warplanes, missiles and artillery to rip apart walls and ceilings, blow out windows and kill or wound those inside. Our enemies pack peroxide-based explosives in suitcases or suicide vests and walk into airport terminals, concert halls, cafes or subways and blow us up, often along with themselves. If they had our technology of death they would do it more efficiently.

The Christian religion embraces the concept of “holy war” as fanatically as Islam does. Our Crusades are matched by the concept of jihad. Once religion is used to sanctify murder there are no rules. It is a battle between light and dark, good and evil, Satan and God. Rational discourse is banished. And “the sleep of reason,” as Goya said, “brings forth monsters.”

Flags, patriotic songs, a deification of the warrior and sentimental drivel drown out reality. We communicate in empty clichés and mindless, patriotic absurdities. Mass culture is used to reinforce the lie that we are the true victims. It re-creates the past to conform to the national heroic myth. We alone are said to possess virtue and courage. We alone have the right to revenge. We are hypnotized into a communal somnolence, a state-induced blindness.

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We abolish civil liberties. We drive millions of families from their homes. Those who oppose us do the same. They torture and behead, replicating the execution style of the Christian Crusaders, with their own brand of savagery. They rule as despots. Pain for pain. Blood for blood. Horror for horror. There is a fearsome symmetry to the madness. It is justified by the same religious perversion. It is the same abandonment of what it means to be humane and just.

“In 2010 Gaddafi offered to invest $97 billion in Africa to free it from Western influence, on condition that African states rid themselves of corruption and nepotism. Gaddafi always dreamed of a Developed, United Africa and was about to make that dream come true – and nothing is more terrifying to the West than a Developed, United Africa.” Read More

Who are we to condemn the indiscriminate murder of civilians? Have we forgotten our bombing of German and Japanese cities in World War II that left 800,000 civilian women, children and men dead? What about those families we obliterated in Dresden (135,000 dead), Tokyo (97,000 dead), Hiroshima (80,000 dead) and Nagasaki (66,000 dead)? What about the 3 million civilian dead we left behind in Vietnam?

Have we forgotten the millions who died in our wars and proxy wars in the Philippines, Congo, Laos, Cambodia, Guatemala, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nicaragua? Have we forgotten the 1 million dead in Iraq and the 92,000 dead in Afghanistan? Have we forgotten the nearly 8 million people we have driven from their homes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and Syria?

How can we rise up in indignation over Islamic State’s destruction of cultural monuments such as Palmyra when we have left so many in ruins? As Frederick Taylor points out in his book “Dresden,” during the World War II bombing of Germany we destroyed countless “churches, palaces, historic buildings, libraries, museums,” including “Goethe’s house in Frankfurt” and “the bones of Charlemagne from Aechen cathedral” along with “the irreplaceable contents of the four-hundred-year-old State Library in Munich.”

Have we forgotten that our invasion of Iraq led to the burning of the National Library, the looting of the National Museum and the construction of a military base on the site of the ancient city of Babylon? Thousands of archaeological sites have been destroyed because of the wars we spawned in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya.

 

Read More from Source: Chris Hedges: We All Are Islamic State – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

A World War has Begun by John Pilger

In the last eighteen months, the greatest build-up of military forces since World War Two – led by the United States – is taking place along Russia’s western frontier. Not since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union have foreign troops presented such a demonstrable threat to Russia.

Ukraine – once part of the Soviet Union – has become a CIA theme park. Having orchestrated a coup in Kiev, Washington effectively controls a regime that is next door and hostile to Russia: a regime rotten with Nazis, literally. Prominent parliamentary figures in Ukraine are the political descendants of the notorious OUN and UPA fascists. They openly praise Hitler and call for the persecution and expulsion of the Russian speaking minority.

This is seldom news in the West, or it is inverted to suppress the truth.

In Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – next door to Russia – the US military is deploying combat troops, tanks, heavy weapons. This extreme provocation of the world’s second nuclear power is met with silence in the West.

What makes the prospect of nuclear war even more dangerous is a parallel campaign against China.

Seldom a day passes when China is not elevated to the status of a “threat.” According to Admiral Harry Harris, the US Pacific commander, China is “building a great wall of sand in the South China Sea.”

What he is referring to is China building airstrips in the Spratly Islands, which are the subject of a dispute with the Philippines – a dispute without priority until Washington pressured and bribed the government in Manila and the Pentagon launched a propaganda campaign called “freedom of navigation.”

What does this really mean? It means freedom for American warships to patrol and dominate the coastal waters of China. Try to imagine the American reaction if Chinese warships did the same off the coast of California.

The propaganda laying the ground for a war against Russia and/or China is no different in principle. To my knowledge, no journalist in the Western “mainstream” – a Dan Rather equivalent, say – asks why China is building airstrips in the South China Sea.

The answer ought to be glaringly obvious. The United States is encircling China with a network of bases, with ballistic missiles, battle groups, nuclear-armed bombers.

This lethal arc extends from Australia to the islands of the Pacific, the Marianas and the Marshalls and Guam, to the Philippines, Thailand, Okinawa, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India. America has hung a noose around the neck of China. This is not news. Silence by media; war by media.

In 2015, in high secrecy, the US and Australia staged the biggest single air-sea military exercise in recent history, known as Talisman Sabre. Its aim was to rehearse an Air-Sea Battle Plan, blocking sea lanes – such as the Straits of Malacca and the Lombok Straits – that cut off China’s access to oil, gas and other vital raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

In the circus known as the American presidential campaign, Donald Trump is being presented as a lunatic, a fascist. He is certainly odious; but he is also a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our skepticism.

Read More Source: A world war has begun. Break the silence – John Pilger — RT Op-Edge

Moroccan Youth on the Streets of Sweden

Despite the hardship, the cold and concrete streets of Stockholm have become home to many seeking a better life.

But when darkness falls and most office workers are making their way home, squares, tunnels and local McDonald’s restaurants are filled with homeless people; beggars and various groups of young men who are now the focal point of a fierce immigration debate. Sweden took in 163,000 asylum seekers and many more migrants during 2015, the highest per capita in Europe.

“This is where we come to relax after a busy day in the city,” says Said, a young Moroccan originally from Tangier who could easily be confused for any Stockholm teenager with his hip-hop clothes and fluent Swedish.

He and his friends approach the counter of a tiny kebab shop on the outskirts of Stockholm and order a couple of plates of food to share. The take-away, which sells a set menu of Arabic food, is crowded with young men, eating at the tables along the walls while they chat carelessly about life.

Ten more guys stand outside smoking cigarettes while talking to people who happen to pass them by, some of whom stay to investigate the take-away menu and, occasionally, step inside to join the crowd.

The issue of stateless migrants has become a diplomatic minefield between Sweden and Morocco. The youths are pawns in a bigger political picture and Sweden’s attitude to the occupied West Sahara plays a part in the impasse over their status.

As a result, diplomatic relationships between Sweden and Morocco have been put under pressure, to the point where the Swedish Foreign Minister Anders Ygerman put in an official request to the Moroccan government to urgently deal with the 80,000 young men living in the streets of Tangier.

Read Full Story: Living on the edge: Moroccan youth on the streets of Sweden | Middle East Eye

Anti-Russia Propaganda’s New Buzzword

When western media makes up stories about Russia, it’s no big deal. When Russian media get things wrong, it’s “hybrid war.”

Last week, British state-controlled TV created hysteria with a documentary about a putative Russian invasion of Latvia. As usual, while the Latvians were miffed, nobody west of Kaliningrad had any difficulty with it. They were more concerned with the segment that showed the UK being nuked.

Thus, we again discover that the Western establishment believes it has a monopoly on truth. That only its narrative is worthy and anything that challenges the consensus is disinformation.

If Evelyn Waugh were around today he wouldn’t need to invent William Boot. Too many living, breathing, equivalents have passed through Ukraine and Turkey (the base for Syria coverage) in the past two years.  By the same token, George Orwell’s Winston Smith seems tame compared to agitprop practitioners of today. A certain cabal in the pro-NATO realm has decided that cynicism is somehow unique to Russia. Bewilderingly, their exclusive focus on Russia invalidates much of this enterprise. They are blind to it in their own back yards.

For those of us who follow media, the last week has been truly instructive. An independent French journalist, Paul Moreira, decided to challenge the pro-Maidan group-think in the popular press. As it happens, not one fact in his documentary was noticeably erroneous.

The show was nicely timed as the British government is currently trying to force a £100 billion ($144 billion) upgrade of their Trident nuclear deterrent through parliament. The opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, contends that the money might be better spent elsewhere. This is hardly surprising, given that the UK is forecast to run a £69.5 billion budget deficit in the year to April 2016. In addition, over one million Brits currently rely on free food-banks to survive.

Entire article here: ‘Hybrid Warfare’: Anti-Russia propaganda finds a new buzzword — RT Op-Edge

Stop illegal Wars, don’t Blame the Victims

Europe is on a dangerous, slippery slope of increasing xenophobia and racism engendered by the influx of refugees. Denmark’s new confiscation law is a sign of the brooding, baleful climate.

We should be demanding legal sanctions and prosecution of government leaders over what are gross violations of international law.

European governments stand accused of war crimes, yet we allow them to get away with mass murder. Then when we incur secondary problems such as the massive displacement of refugees from wars and conflicts – that our governments have fomented – we illogically and cravenly focus on blaming the victims of our governments’ criminality.

Wars in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine, as well as drone assassinations in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, plus covert military operations in Mali, Niger and Ivory Coast have all involved complicity of European member states. Britain and France in particular have been most prominent in carrying out US-led NATO military interventions, both overt and covert, as in Libya and Syria, respectively.

The countless millions of people displaced across Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa are a direct result of European militarism in conjunction with that of Washington. Even the French intervention in Mali and Central Africa Republic are questionable under international law. Both were launched without United Nations Security Council resolutions.

More here: Source: EU migration crisis: Stop illegal wars, don’t blame the victims — RT Op-Edge

NATO’s Laurel & Hardy act in Libya not getting laughs

Washington and its NATO allies are stepping up more military involvement in this devastated North African country, now experiencing an uptick in terrorist activity, in some kind of macabre reprise of the classic comedy routine.

For the past several months, American, British and French special forces have reportedly been working clandestinely across Libya to try to establish which militias their governments might feasibly collaborate with.

But Libya has been plunged into such tribal anarchy over the past four years since the US-led NATO powers toppled the government of Muammar Gaddafi that it is nigh-impossible to disentangle the plethora of rival militia. Many of the militia and even some of the so-called political parties in the new unity government are integrated with the terror network.

What that snippet illustrates is the total shambles that Libya has descended into. US troops feel free to land in a country seemingly without any legal sanction and then proceed to a near-firefight with some unknown enemy holding the airport facility. This is precisely the state of ruins Gaddafi predicted would result from his demise, just before the NATO-assisted insurgents took his life in a barbaric street lynching in October 2011 and proceeded to take over the once-prosperous, stable country.

More: Source: Another fine mess: NATO’s ‘Laurel & Hardy act’ in Libya not getting laughs — RT Op-Edge