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Things Will Get Worse Until U.S. Stops Lying About Crimea

Source: Things Will Get Worse Until U.S. Stops Lying About Crimea

Things Will Get Worse Until U.S. Stops Lying About Crimea

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

SUMMARY

Unless the U.S. government’s lies about Crimea — the ‘Russia seized Crimea’ narratives — become acknowledged to be lies, war between the U.S. and Russia can only continue to become increasingly likely, because the world is sliding toward World War III based upon these lies, and will therefore inevitably continue that slide until these lies are publicly repudiated by the U.S. government, which is their sole source. The liar on this is clearly the U.S. and not Russia: the U.S. is the entire source for the alleged cause for war between the U.S. and Russia.

The preparations for war between the U.S. and Russia continue naturally apace until the United States publicly acknowledges that Russia had not ‘seized’ Crimea — acknowledges that the cause for all of these war-preparations by the U.S. and its NATO and other allies against Russia is fake, a U.S. lie, and that Russia is purely America’s victim in this entire matter and acting in a 100% defensive way against America’s aggressions in this matter.

Anyone who is closed-minded to the possibility that the U.S. is lying and that Russia is telling the truth about the relationship between the two countries, would therefore be simply wasting time to read here, because the solid documentation that will be provided here will prove that that’s not only a possibility; it is the fact, and those widespread false beliefs will, indeed, be disproven here. Proving that, is the purpose of this article. Therefore, a warning is needed beforehand, for any reader who is closed-minded about that possibility — any such person would be wasting time to read this article. Here it is:

(WARNING: The following article asserts many things that are propagandized almost universally in The West to be false, and in each such instance the documentation of the assertion’s being true is provided in a link, so that any reader who doesn’t already know its truth can easily come to know that he/she had previously been deceived about that particular matter — the reader can come to know this just by clicking onto the link. This article depends upon its links, which are rooted in the most-reliable evidence on the given topic — far more reliable than any of the ‘evidence’ that’s cited by defenders of The West’s position, lies on these matters. The links are provided so that a reader can easily connect to the actual evidence, and decide on one’s own, whom the liars are, and are not. It all depends upon the evidence. Any reader who doesn’t want to know the evidence, would be just wasting time to read here.)

PRESENTATION OF THE CASE

Obama-Trump economic sanctions against Russia are based upon the lies that are to be exposed as lies, in the links here. So too are the NATO movements of U.S. troops and missiles right up to Russia’s very borders — ready to invade Russiabased especially upon the lie of ‘Russian aggression in Crimea’. All of the thrust for WW III is based upon U.S. President Barack Obama’s vicious lie against Russia: his saying that the transfer of Crimea from Ukraine to Russia was not (which it actually was) an example of the U.N.-and-U.S. universally recognized right of self-determination of peoples (such as the U.S. recognizes to apply both in Catalonia and in Scotland, but not in Crimea) but was instead an alleged ‘conquest’ of Crimea by Russia. (As that link there documents, Obama’s allegation that it was ‘Putin’s conquest’ of Crimea is false, and he knew it to be false; he was well informed that the people of Crimea overwhelmingly wanted their land to be restored to Russia, and to be protected by Russia, so as not to be invaded by the Ukrainian government’s troops and weapons, after a bloody U.S. coup by Obama had — less than a month earlier — overthrown the democratically elected President of Ukraine, for whom 75% of Crimeans had voted. Obama’s own agents were behind that coup; they were doing his bidding. The aggressor here is entirely the U.S., not Russia, despite Obama’s lies.)

All U.S.-government-sponsored and other Western polling of Crimeans, both prior to the 16 March 2014 plebiscite in Crimea, and after it, showed that far more Crimeans wanted Crimea to be again a part of Russia as it had been until the Soviet dictator in 1954 arbitrarily transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine. U.S. President Barack Obama was actually insisting that Nikita Khrushchev’s dictat on this matter must stand permanently — that the people of Crimea should never be able to choose their own government, but must become ruled by Obama’s coup-installed regime in Ukraine, no matter about that new government’s intense hostility toward those people. And Obama instituted the economic sanctions against Russia on this basis — U.S. as the aggressor, calling Russia the ‘aggressor’, Obama’s lying basis for ‘the new Cold War’. It’s a serious lie — no mere ‘fib’.

In other words: the renewal of the Cold War (and an increasingly hot war by the U.S. against Russia’s ally Syria, and elsewhere) this time against Russia (no longer against the Soviet Union and its communism and its Warsaw Pact military alliance, none of which even existed after 1991) is based upon Barack Obama’s refusal to allow democracy for the people of Crimea. The build-up toward WW III is that simple — a vicious U.S. lie, directed against Russia.

And that’s not the only instance where the U.S. government blocks democracy in order to conquer Russia by grabbing Russian-allied nations (first Ukraine, and then, increasingly, Syria). Twice in one day, U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon said that Obama’s demand that Syria’s current President, the Russia-friendly Bashar al-Assad, must be prevented from being even on the ballot in Syria’s next election for President, is unacceptable, and that (as Ban said) “The future of Assad must be determined by the Syrian people.”

Why is the West allowed to dictate to Crimeans, and to Syrians, that they cannot choose their own government?

This is the new, anti-democratic, United States government. This is the reality.

Lawrence J. Korb, who was U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense during 1981-1985, quit the Cold War against Russia when the Soviet Union and its communism and Warsaw Pact all ended in 1991, and he wrote on 26 February 2016, headlining “Don’t Fall for Obama’s $3 Billion Arms Buildup at Russia’s Door”. He was on the correct side about this, against the Obama-initiated thrust toward WW III, but he understated the evilness, by saying:

There is no Russian resurgence. Washington is playing on your Cold War fears to get you to pay for something the U.S. does not need and can’t afford. In one of the key justifications for the new $600 billion defense spending request, the Department of Defense has fallen back on a tried-and-true Cold War boogeyman: the threat of Russian aggression against allies in Europe. While there is no ignoring the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the Russo-Georgian war in 2008, to interpret these events as some kind of Russian ‘resurgence’ is to grossly inflate the danger Russia poses to NATO and the United States.

Neither in Ukraine nor in Georgia was the U.S. guiltless — to the exact contrary: the U.S. had sparked both of those conflicts on Russia’s borders. And Russia is not grabbing territory on America’s borders; the U.S. is grabbing territory on Russia’s. (Is Russia trying to overturn and replace U.S.-allied governments on America’s borders — Mexico and Canada? Of course not. But the U.S. tries to do it to Russia — and then blames Russia for what are actually appropriate responses to such U.S. aggressions.) Korb went on to say:

Though Crimea has been a historic lynchpin of Russian grand strategy for centuries, its open use of military force and political manipulation there in the midst of the Ukrainian Revolution drew an immediate response in the form of sanctions from the West. Russia is paying a massive economic and diplomatic cost for its aggression against Ukraine.

He ignored there that it was no ‘Revolution’; it was instead a U.S. coup in Ukraine, which overthrew the democratically elected government there and installed an illegal one, which was composed of fascists, who went on to do fascist things.

These euphemisms — the lies calling a coup a ‘Revolution’, and pretending that the breakaway of Crimea from Ukraine wasn’t a direct consequence of that bloody and illegal U.S. coup on Russia’s border — are what the buildup toward WW III is built upon; and, so, it must end now, or else civilization will.

Furthermore, Korb’s implicit assumption there, that post-Soviet (post-Empire) Russia, is no different from the USSR, but all just the same “Russian grand strategy for centuries,” is no conclusion that he supports with any evidence, but is instead his purely unsupported assumption, which would severely weaken his case if it were true. It happens to be a false assumption. A person doesn’t become influential in governing circles in The West without buying into certain historical and cultural falsehoods; and Korb would not be cited at all here if he had not been such an influential person.

Similarly, his reference there to Russia’s ‘aggression against Ukraine’ is also a falsehood, which fits into the narrative that ‘Russia seized Crimea’, but repeating such lies is the price of admission into, or retention in, such governing circles. Whether the inclusion of such falsehoods is consciously intended or not, it increases the chances that an article in The West will be published. It’s part of the cultural mythology (such as produces almost all wars).

And, similarly, the rest of America’s Establishment trumpet such dangerous lies to the world. That too must stop, but since the U.S. press are mere stenographers for the U.S. government, the only way that it will stop, is if the U.S. government’s lies stop first.

Donald Trump, now as America’s new President, continues Obama’s lies. He was different back on 1 August 2016 when Politico headlined “Trump: Taking back Crimea would trigger World War III”, and they showed video of him campaigning in Columbus Ohio saying (at 57:50-59:00 in this video) that as President he would drop the Crimea matter, because “I mean, do you want to go back? Do you want to have World War Three to get it back?” So, he was elected on the basis of his conveying to voters that as President he would simply end Obama’s anti-Russia sanctions and NATO threats, not continue those punishments and invasion-dangers against Russians unless and until the Russian government forces Crimeans to become ruled again by Ukraine’s government (now even worse than before — Obama’s government). But once ensconced into office, Trump promptly changed his tune, in his actual follow-through, as the now-President: His agent at the U.N., America’s U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, said at the U.N. on February 2nd:

I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. … The United States stands with the people of Ukraine, who have suffered for nearly three years under Russian occupation and military intervention. Until Russia and the separatists it supports respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, this crisis will continue. … The United States continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea. Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine.

In other words: Trump’s answer to “Do you want to have World War Three to get it back?” is: Yes. He actually does. (Unless he quickly renounces what she said.)

Trump’s commitment there to continue Obama’s vicious lies against Russia, instead of acknowledging that they were and are lies (which acknowledgment must be done if WW III is to be avoided), is extraordinarily dangerous. It is a commitment to WW III, because Russia is in the right here, and will never knuckle under to America’s attempts to coerce Russia to do something shameful, just because the U.S. government demands it.

A matter of fundamental principle is involved here, and the U.S. government is on the evil side of it —  even under the new President, who had promised otherwise. That’s a fact, just as much as such a statement as that “Genocide is evil” is a statement of fact, not merely an assertion of ‘opinion’. The U.S. government is on the evil side of the most important matter imaginable — potentially, WW III. (That’s what it will be unless Trump reverses himself yet again, this time with finality, by publicly acknowledging that Obama’s allegations that Russia stole Crimea were lies. That Obama’s whole basis for ‘the new Cold War’ was actually bogus. That the real aggressor in the entire matter was America.)

Anyone who seeks further background on the historical roots of this evil, is invited here to see the following three terrific documentaries that present the essential origins of it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGHXjO8wHsA

https://vimeo.com/136182100

https://vimeo.com/136182101

Those three documentaries provide the fundamental, the most crucial, history behind Obama’s escalation toward war against Russia. However, one of the essential elements of that historical background is absent from those documentaries, and it’s filled in by this article, which covers the post-1991 history — the portion of the operation that Obama was working so hard to culminate. (Another aspect that’s missing from the three documentaries is the connection to ‘terrorism’ or jihadism, and that’s covered in the links to this — and especially to this, which latter focuses on the royal Sauds’ funding of Al Qaeda.)

The basic excuse for this evil is — as the fake-compassionate (and fake-democratic, and fake anti-invasion) Obama phrased it — “There’s no formula in which this ends up being good for Russia. The annexation of Crimea is a cost, not a benefit, to Russia. The days in which conquest of land somehow was a formula for great nation status is over.” He had imposed these costs upon Russia, and then he possessed the nerve there to blame Russia for doing what it needed to do, and was ethically required to do, to respond to Obama’s aggression against Russia (by way of Obama’s prior seizure of Ukraine).

If Donald Trump continues Obama’s course on this, instead of publicly acknowledges that it was founded upon the lies that Crimea’s becoming again a part of Russia constituted ‘conquest of land’, then we’re still heading toward World War III, and doing it on the basis of American lies.

The only way to put a stop to it — other than putting a stop to civilization if not to perhaps all animate life on Earth — is for the U.S. government to acknowledge Obama’s lies about Crimea and Russia, as having been Obama’s lies. It means separation from the prior Administration, on the most important issue of all; and this will require Trump to say publicly that Obama was lying about Ukraine and Crimea and Russia.

Trump thus faces a stark choice here. Either he will declare that Obama was lying about these matters, or else there will be war between the U.S. and Russia. It’s his choice.

If he allows even just one country to be added to the membership of NATO (which should have ended in 1991 like the Warsaw Pact did), then he is irrevocably committing himself to the lie that Russia and not the U.S. and its allies have been ‘the aggressor’, and that Crimeans therefore must be forced again to be Ukrainians — even now under Obama’s fascist Ukrainian regime which was imposed in 2014, which hates them. That would be a commitment to WW III — unforgivable.

He’s no longer just a lying and prevaricating candidate, like he was before. He is now the actual President. If he continues imposing the policy of his predecessor, it will be the end of us all. It’s his choice to make; none of his advisors can make it for him.

—————

Mark Ames on Post-Soviet Russia, Made in the U.S.A. | MEDIA ROOTS – Reporting From Outside Party Lines

Media Roots is a citizen journalism project that reports the news from outside of party lines while providing a collaborative forum for conscious citizens, artists and activists to unite.

Source: Mark Ames on Post-Soviet Russia, Made in the U.S.A. | MEDIA ROOTS – Reporting From Outside Party Lines

Mark Ames on Post-Soviet Russia, Made in the U.S.A.

January 27, 2017

Anti-Russian hysteria has hit a new peak, with the political establishment and corporate media jointly accusing Russia of interfering in the recent US election.

While some politicians have gone so far as to treat the alleged hack as an act of war, this fear-mongering doesn’t engage with the actual history of US-Russia relations. Beyond just influencing elections in Russia, the US––along with Western capitalist institutions––set the stage for the entire system they now condemn.

To learn more about US interference in Russia’s political and economic affairs, I spoke with American journalist Mark Ames, who reported for nearly a decade in Boris Yeltsin’s Moscow.

Ames co-founded The Exile in 1998, an english-language newspaper critical of the Russian state. Putin’s government shut it down in 2008. Ames remains a prominent author, journalist, and eminent voice on Russian politics.

 

Post-Soviet Russia, Made in the U.S.A.

**

ABBY MARTIN: So you said that you don’t necessarily rule out Russia’s role in the hack of Podesta and the DNC, but every time the establishment presents evidence, it feels like we’re just being conned.

MARK AMES: It’s certainly plausible. Russia has motive, which is everything we’ve done to that country since the late 1980. Meddling in their democracy is putting it very mildly. We basically restructured their entire political economy, and then left it in a complete shambles. And then we’ve meddled in other ways since then, funding opposition groups and so on and so forth, so they certainly have the motive. Putin and the Kremlin are not Quakers. There’s no reason why they wouldn’t. They have the means. The reasons they wouldn’t do it would be for practical reasons, right? Practically, it would create these kinds of problems if they got caught, and so on and so forth. What has really been strange to me has been the awful reporting, and the atrocious intelligence reports. You can’t really describe them as anything but a sort of disinformation campaign on us, on the domestic public. And the other thing is that Obama, and the Democrats, and the centrist Republicans who are pushing this story also have motive, which is to indemnify themselves from the fact that they have been completely rejected by the public. They lost the elections, and they have the means, which is friends in the CIA and all these intelligence agencies, to create these reports, as we’re seeing. It’s a really dark joke—the whole thing so far.

AM: But of course the most absurd point of this whole thing is how much the US has interfered in every country’s election and government in the last century, as you mentioned, and I want you to go more into this: interference in what you call the 1996 stolen election where Yeltsin took power. Talk about what the US did in that election.

MA: Yeah, so I actually interviewed… I did the reporting on this. I interviewed, with Alex Zaitchik, the head of the OSCE mission, which is the election observer mission, which is basically a Western European-led body. He was a British MP, and he straight up said the election was stolen. It was fraudulent and “the OSCE did everything to wash my report,” and so it was officially known as free and fair. There was fraud in every single Russian election. I mean it was fairly significant fraud by our standards, not hugely significant, let’s say, by some hardcore dictatorial standards, but certainly three, four, five percent was often stolen and the template was really set in the 1996 elections that got Boris Yeltsin from about a 3% [approval] rating.

Boris Yeltsin in his five years in office dragged Russia into a war in which about 100,000 people were killed, and they lost. The average life expectancy of a Russian male plummeted from 68 years to 56 years. It had a death to birth ratio perhaps never seen in the 20th century, even during war times. People were just dying like flies everywhere. There was no state support, just pure banditry starting with Yeltsin at the top, all the way down. So he had actually… unlike Putin—say what you will about him—but I think even his enemies agree he is very popular. They might blame it on the propaganda, but he is popular. His ratings are still in the 80th percentile range, and he’s always been popular. With Yeltsin you had to perform a miracle. This guy was absolutely hated and is still one of the probably two or three most hated Russians in modern history for what he did to the country. And so it was a tough job, and Clinton was also running for re-election that year [1996], and Clinton did not want to be known as the president who “lost Russia” if Yeltsin’s communist opponent won.

Among other things there were American advisers, of course, advising them, but the Treasury Department—we found out about this when we were reporting on this— the Treasury Department was actually drafting decrees on the creation of capital markets, on the legal structure of the economy. 1996 also was the year that we introduced the new 100-dollar bill for the first time and Yeltsin’s two top campaign managers were caught by police during the campaign, about a month or two before the election, carrying giant boxes, Xerox boxes full of new hundred-dollar bill notes when we were flying them in, and the Russian media was reporting it at the time. And the top journalists, liberal journalists, were reporting that. We knew that stacks and stacks of hundred-dollar bills would be flown in, brought to the US Embassy, and then presumably from there to the central bank, but this was during the election. Anyway, the Russians believe, and that’s what matters the most, even the liberal Russians believe that we financed covertly in that way. We financed very overtly by approving more World Bank and IMF loans for Russia than any country in history at that time. We bankrolled the whole thing and then in the end they still had to steal the election. In Chechnya where—again between 50 and a 100 thousand people were killed there—villages which had been wiped out voted 90, voted actually probably 150% for Yeltsin. This was in Chechnya and no one wanted to hear it. No one reported it. There was some election theft in 1999-2000 when Putin won, but Putin again was Yeltsin’s appointed successor. The people who he was running against were more overtly nationalist, more virulently anti-Western, and then when Putin started… Basically, the first big sin that Putin committed was he didn’t support the invasion of Iraq, and suddenly that’s when we started to notice election fraud is a problem there.

AM: Before 1996 there was 1993 when you mentioned that The New York Times, as well as Bill Clinton, actually helped subvert the first democratically elected parliament.

MA: There were basically two rival bodies that were both elected democratically in Soviet times. This is Yeltsin in the executive branch and the Supreme Soviet which was the Parliament which was very powerful up until October 1993. Yeltsin had his idea of how they wanted to do privatization which was like shock therapy, mass privatization. Yeltsin’s people were directly funded by, trained by and advised by USAID [United States Agency for International Development] and by Harvard. Harvard basically ran Russia’s privatization program, and then it turned out that the top Harvard people under Andrei Shleifer and Jonathan Hay who ran the whole [project] setting up their capital markets, setting up their privatization programs, both of them wound up eventually being prosecuted by the Department of Justice for insider dealing. They would set up rules for the mutual fund market and then they would give no-bid tenders to their wives to start up a fund that would get all this Russian state money, and they did all kinds of insider dealing. Again, all this stuff we’ve forgotten because it didn’t hurt us, but none of these people have forgotten—people that are in power in Russia now—what we did.

So Yeltsin and the young reformers, as they were called, that were backed by Americans, had their ideas and the Supreme Soviet had its ideas, which were probably more egalitarian. They all kind of agreed that they needed to bring in some market forces and some privatization, and break up the state monopolies, but they weren’t sure how. Yeltsin then decided that he didn’t want to fight it out with the Parliament anymore, so he just unilaterally and illegally abolished the Parliament, and eventually sent in tanks and helicopters, and about 500 to 1,000 people were killed. We completely backed it up —the New York Times editorials and Clinton openly backed him up, immediately sent him 10 billion dollars more of IMF aid when they did this. That was right when I moved to Russia. I moved a couple weeks before into the same district. Bullets were flying everywhere, and it was pretty crazy. I watched tanks fire into the Parliament building and saw a huge explosion go out and Americans cheered it on, and in fact, a couple Americans were killed watching that. They were shooting everybody, and after Yeltsin succeeded in that, his forces succeeded in subduing the Parliament. Again, we backed them up, and then he had an election a couple months later. They created a new constitution, and—this is also really important—created a new constitution which vested really all power in the presidency, which is what allowed for Putin to become as powerful as he is today. Again, we backed that up, and USAID paid PR agencies like Burson-Marsteller to help promote these referendums on that, and on the privatization vouchers. We were behind everything. It was essentially a colony. There is no other way to put it. It was like a colony, a defeated power, and we screwed it up hugely.

AM: Let’s talk more about the economic structure. You lived under Yeltsin for years, since right after the fall of the Soviet Union. You describe these years as a neo-liberal fire sale when Russia was essentially colonized by foreign capital. Talk specifically about what that means.

MA: In one specific way you had all these very valuable assets as we now know, state oil companies, some of the largest in the world. Russia has the number one or two largest oil reserves in the world, a third of the world’s natural gas, 70% of the world’s palladium, I think. 1/3 of the world’s nickel—all this stuff. And all of these industries were auctioned off in rigged auctions which were advised by and backed by the US Treasury Department, so this is one way all of these state enterprises, which employed a lot of people, were sold to a handful of oligarchs. Sometimes they didn’t really even pay for them. The way they paid for them was these oligarchs owned banks which became Finance Ministry or treasury vehicles, so if you needed to pay teachers and doctors, the treasury didn’t have a way of disseminating it, so they disseminated it through an oligarch’s bank network. The oligarchs would take the money and hold up paying teachers. There were teachers and workers who weren’t paid for 2 or 3 years at a time while the oligarchs took the money, and spun it around, and our advice always while this was happening was Russia needs to tighten its belt more. It can’t pay its teachers because it needs tighten its belt more. Well, in fact we were creating a class of international capitalists in the belief that if we could restructure the economy along the kind of oligarchical lines we would bring them into our system. They would be subordinate to us and their natural resources would become basically an appendage of the Western economy. That was the hope, and it did kind of go that way for a while, but it was devastating. It was absolutely devastating, and we may want to roll our eyes at the 90s because, again, we didn’t suffer, but Russians suffered enormously then, and honestly I’m surprised they’re not more angry with us about that.

I didn’t see the anger really explode until we bombed Kosovo in 1999. Then suddenly all these Russians turned against us, and it all kind of started make sense to them, but before then you had the most equal society where the privileged people had a somewhat nicer dacha or the really privileged ones maybe had a car, or the super, super privileged had a car and a driver, but no one was a billionaire, and there certainly weren’t millions and millions of people starving in the streets or half starving in the streets. So you went from the world’s most equal society to the world’s most unequal society in a very short period of time. It was incredibly traumatic, and so Putin was brought in. When he first appeared there was this great relief, I think, for a lot of Russians because he was a guy who a) didn’t drink, and b) seemed serious, and he seemed like somebody who was more seriously interested in not doing any more experiments on the country. The Russians kept saying, “We don’t want to be experimented on anymore,” and the American attitude was: “OK we experimented on you, and you died on the operating table. Clearly it’s your fault. We need a better patient than you.” Certainly by the end of the 1990s democracy was a bad word in Russia. It was just equated with stealing from everybody.

AM: Paint the picture for us at the end of the 90s. What did life look like then?

MA: Yeah, so at the end of the 90s, look, you had the Americans and the international credit institutions like the World Bank and IMF running everything. All the newspapers, all the Western media constantly cheering on Russia: It’s doing great. It’s doing great. It’s going do better. It’s going to overcome all of its problems, and it was clearly not. The Russian press kind of knew it wasn’t, and then at the end of 1998 the entire house of cards collapsed. It was at the time the greatest financial collapse, financial markets collapse in history. The stock market fell 95%-98%—something like that. The ruble completely collapsed. Nobody could even get money anymore. There was talk about food shortages. I think there was a time in 98-99 when something like one third of the country lived on subsistence farming. Now this is a northern country where there’s not much farmland. What it means is in their dachas they grew food and they needed it to supplement whatever diets they had to live. This was the end result of 10 years of us influencing, guiding, advising, and manipulating the Russian political economy. So they were looking for something else, and then, as I said, in 1999 we unilaterally went ahead to bomb Kosovo in Yugoslavia. I guess you could say the emerging pro-Western middle-class types even sort of said, “Wow. Maybe those cranky old communist and nationalists were actually right about you guys all along. We’re next, aren’t we?” They got very freaked out by that. It was coming out that IMF money was going directly into secret bank accounts and then being kicked back to even Michel Camdessus who was the head of the IMF. He was implicated in getting kickbacks of money he approved to Yeltsin. It was the craziest time. Everything was stolen.

AM: I wanted to briefly talk about why Yeltsin chose Putin. What did he do to protect the oligarchy?

MA: Yeltsin was desperate. He was sick. He’d been pretty sick since probably 1995-96. He was surrounded by what they called the Yeltsin family clan, which were a lot of oligarchs, and even his own family members, actually. And they were all worried that should Yeltsin die, somebody that they couldn’t rely on may come and take power, and prosecute them, so this was the atmosphere that Yeltsin was in in 1999. There was also going to be an election in 1999, and they were starting to worry that if they were to lose the election, or they didn’t have a strong successor to Yeltsin, or even prime minister, that they were all going to go down, and it was a legitimate worry. The mayor of Moscow was turned against them. Parts of the of the deep state we’re turning against Yeltsin, and Yeltsin had named Vladimir Putin as his head of the FSB, the Intelligence Agency, in late 1998. I think it was in mid-1998, and he was proving very trustworthy and loyal. As head of the FSB he was starting to do what he could to protect Yeltsin, and when the general prosecutor started opening up cases against Yeltsin family clan members for theft of state property, Putin arranged filming of the general prosecutor—he would be like our attorney general—having sex with two prostitutes. He put it on television. Yeltsin saw that and said, “This is my man, and he’s going to protect me.”

AM: During the Yeltsin era there were countless assassinations of journalists, of political dissidents. This was going on in conjunction with this horrific time of inequality and joblessness, and everything like that. Why didn’t the US care about press freedoms in Russia then, like it does now?

MA: Again, because it was a vassal state. It wasn’t a threat. It was a vassal state and what we really cared about was keeping Russia as weak as possible and getting access to the resources, and enormous resources, not just in Russia but in the Caspian Sea countries: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. We wanted those resources, so we could give him a free pass as long as we could get ahold of the loot there.

It’s a good point. Look, when I got there, shortly after I got there, one of the most popular young Russian journalists, Dmitry Kholodov—this was 1994—and he was investigating Yeltsin’s really powerful defense minister for one of the big Russian dailies, Moscow Komsomolets, and he was publishing some pretty sensational stuff about really appalling corruption that was going on that the defense minister was responsible for. Yeltsin knew about it, and so they set him up. They said there’s a briefcase full of sensational documents and with this you’re going to be an even bigger star. They had a very, very vibrant, open, wild press at this time, way freer than ours in terms of the range and the aggressiveness of the media towards power. Kholodov got the briefcase, opened it up, and it killed him, blew him up. Everybody in the media called out Yeltsin: “How could you not fire your defense minister?” Everybody knew what happened, but again this is a question of heating rods. We kept saying, “Well, if we weaken Yeltsin in any way, the Communists could come to power, so we’ve got to keep our criticism quiet.” And we did this over and over and over—journalist after journalist, opposition figure after opposition figure—people being killed left and right. We just said, “No, to talk about it is to destabilize Yeltsin. To destabilize Yeltsin means bringing back the Communists. And so we have to keep our mouths shut.”

By the time I started The Exile in 1997 with Matt Taibbi, the Russian media had been through its first consolidation. Basically, it was all pretty free before, and very wild and unruly. During the election that was stolen by Yeltsin 1996, the American advisers advised Yeltsin to consolidate all the television media under his own wing so that it became one state media, including what people thought was the independent media, and to hand out favors to these people and advise them to lie. So they created this reality during the 1996 campaign creating fear of a Communists win. It was propaganda nonstop on television showing people hanging from lamp posts and people in gulags. And then after Yeltsin won, the complete oligarch-ization of Russia meant that the entire media after that was one of the favors handed out. So this oligarch had this newspaper, this television network and this whatever, and then all journalists at that point suddenly worked for oligarchs, and again, remember Russia at this time was the focus of the empire. It was our number one colony, and it was the project of the century for the American empire.

AM: Right, it’s like the Red Scare, except there are no Reds. Russia is capitalist. It’s an oligarchy. We collaborated on that front. What is the threat today that Russia poses to the US Empire that is causing this insane hysteria and aggression?

MA: We got very used, after the end of the Cold War, to being able to do whatever we wanted wherever we wanted, and the only thing holding us back was our own amazing sense of justice or whatever, but there was no countervailing power. We’ve seen in Syria where Russia went in and succeeded with actually a much more strategically coherent objective, which was to back the government and their forces. And just that alone is very deeply threatening to people who are used to having their own way. It’s a threat to full spectrum dominance, so I guess it’s a threat on that level.

AM: Mark, you have many contacts still on the ground in Russia. What is their reaction to this?

MA: Yeah, I’m noticing not only my contacts, but regular people, and Russian opposition to Putin are all very weirded out by this. At first I think they were sort of amused, and as it has gone on and on, they’re realizing we’re trying to expel [diplomats]. We’re not releasing any intelligence, and there’s clearly so much BS around this whole Russia scare. They’re going more silent now. They’re genuinely weirded out. There was schadenfreude there for a while, but I think the schadenfreude is kind of turning into a dread of what this really means. How crazy are we, and how far are we going to go? Trump’s coming to power. I think people have a far too rosy, hopeful view of how much things might change under him. I would imagine relations are not going to be as hostile for at least six months, but God knows after that.

AM: Let’s talk about Trump because everyone paints Trump as best friends with Putin, right? But given Trump’s fragile ego and the people he’s surrounding himself with that all want war with Iran, how quickly could this change?

MA: It could change easily, and I would like to add too that I think if you look at it, Trump is Trump. I’m sure he probably does like some things about Putin. He’s a mensch, whatever, a tough guy. But let’s not assume he’s a complete loony idiot. Let’s assume that he actually is fairly smart and won the presidency, and he knew what he was doing by baiting the Hillary Democrats, and baiting journalists by playing around with how much of a friend he might have been with Putin because what did that do during the election? It got everybody chasing Kremlin phantoms into a cul-de-sac when you know this guy has more skeletons in his closet than anybody in history. I mean he’s a mobster… the bigotry… With everything that Trump has on his record, everybody decided “let’s run against Putin.”

So I think, again, the danger is really on our side, and I can easily imagine a lot of dangers—for example, not just if Putin does something that crosses Trump, and crosses Trump’s ego, but more like since Trump has kind of populist instincts, and his instincts also go towards what’s going to make him more powerful, and what’s going to make him popular, and if he realizes, working in that [Washington] DC bubble, that actually being the guy who used to be… So imagine the credibility in the PR world: “I was the guy who was most friendly with him [Putin], and he still turned against me.” Imagine what a mouthpiece he could be for a new Cold War. It’s very easy to imagine things getting hostile again between the Trump administration and the Kremlin, and heating up in crazy ways that we probably don’t want to think about.

German Intel Clears Russia on Interference

Source: German Intel Clears Russia on Interference

German Intel Clears Russia on Interference

By Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials. McGovern is co-founder of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Originally published at Consortium News.

After a multi-month, politically charged investigation, German intelligence agencies could find no good evidence of Moscow-directed cyber-attacks or a disinformation campaign aimed at subverting the democratic process in Germany. Undaunted, Chancellor Angela Merkel has commissioned a new investigation.

Last year, Berlin’s two main intelligence agencies, the BND and BfV (counterparts of the CIA and FBI) launched a joint investigation to substantiate allegations that Russia was meddling in German political affairs and attempting to shape the outcome of Germany’s elections next September.

Like the vast majority of Americans malnourished on “mainstream media,” most Germans have been led to believe that, by hacking and “propaganda,” the Kremlin interfered in the recent U.S. election and helped Donald Trump become president.

German intelligence agencies rarely bite the hand that feeds them and realize that the most bountiful part of the trough is at the CIA station in Berlin with ultimate guidance coming from CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. But this time, in an unusual departure from past practice, analysts at the BND and BfV decided to act like responsible adults.

Whereas former CIA Director John Brennan prevailed on his analysts to resort to anemic, evidence-light reasoning “assessing” that Russia tried to tip the U.S. election to Donald Trump, Berlin’s intelligence agencies found the evidence lacking and have now completed their investigation.

Better still, the conclusions have been reported in a mainstream German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, apparently because a patriotic insider thought the German people should also know.

Lemmings No Longer?

If BND President Bruno Kahl thought that his own analysts could be depended upon to follow their American counterparts lemming-like and find evidence – Curveball-style – to support the U.S. allegations, he now has had a rude awakening.

When the joint investigation was under way with his analysts doing their best to come up with reliable evidence of Russian perfidy, Kahl had behaved like his BND predecessors, parroting the charges made by his CIA counterpart, that the Russians were fomenting uncertainty and instability in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

In a rare interview with the mainstream newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, on Nov. 28, 2016, Kahl went out on what he probably thought was a safe limb, denouncing subversive “interference” by the Russians (“as they did in the U.S.”). He was just a few months into his job and may have been naïve enough to consider what John Brennan said as gospel truth. (If he really is that gullible, Kahl is in the wrong profession.)

In the interview, Kahl played the puppet-doll Charlie McCarthy with Brennan in the role of Charlie’s ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Kahl told the Sueddeutsche that he agreed with the U.S. intelligence “assessment” that the Kremlin was behind the cyber attacks aimed at influencing the U.S. election.

He added: “We know that cyber attacks are taking place and that they have no purpose other than to produce political instability. … Not only that. The perpetrators are interested in delegitimizing the democratic process itself. … I have the impression that the outcome of the American election has evoked no sadness in Russia so far. …

“Europe is [now] the focus of these disruption experiments, and Germany especially. … The pressure on the public discourse and on democracy is unacceptable.” Sound familiar?

Still, one might excuse the novice BND president for assuming his analysts would remember which side their bread is buttered on and follow past precedent in coming up with conclusions known to be desired by their masters in Berlin and the CIA.

So it must have come as an unwelcome surprise to Kahl when he found out that, this time, BND analysts would stand on principle and refuse to be as malleable as their Washington counterparts. His analysts could find no proof that the Kremlin was working hard to undermine the democratic process in Germany, and said so.

Worse still from the U.S. point of view, the two German intelligence agencies resisted the usual pressure from some senior leaders in Berlin (perhaps including Kahl himself) to jam whatever innocuous information they could find into the anti-Russian mosaic that Washington was constructing, a kind of Cubist version of distorted reality.

And So, a Do-Over

So, what do powerful officials do when the bureaucracy comes up with “incorrect” conclusions? They send the analysts and investigators back to work until they come up with “correct” answers. This turned out to be no exception. Absent evidence of hacking directed by the Kremlin, the Germans now have opted for an approach by which information can be fudged more easily.

According to the Sueddeutsche, “Chancellor Merkel’s office has now ordered a new inquiry. Notably, a ‘psychological operations group’ jointly run by the BND and BfV will specifically look at Russian news agencies’ coverage in Germany.” We can expect that any articles that don’t portray Vladimir Putin in a devil’s costume will be judged “Russian propaganda.”

For guidance, Merkel may well give the new “investigators” a copy of the evidence-free CIA/FBI/NSA “Assessment: Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election.” Released on Jan. 6, the report was an eyesore and embarrassment to serious intelligence professionals. The lame “evidence” presented, together with all the “assessing” indulged in by U.S. analysts, was unable to fill five pages; filler was needed – preferably filler that could be made to look like analysis.

And so, seven more pages were tacked onto the CIA/FBI/NSA Assessment, even though the information presented in them had nothing to do with the cause celebre of Russian hacking. No problem: The additional seven pages bore the ominous title: “Annex A: Russia – Kremlin’s TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US.”

The extra pages, in turn, were then used to support the following indictment: “Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.”

Did an Insider Leak?

It is not clear how the German daily Sueddeutsche acquired the conclusions of the joint investigation or even whether it has the full 50-page copy of the final report. The newspaper did make it clear, though, that it now realizes it was played by Kahl with his unsupported accusations last November.

From what the newspaper was told, the analysts seemed willing to give the boss what he had already declared to be his desired conclusion, but the evidence simply wasn’t there. The article quotes one security expert saying, “We would have been happy to give Russia a yellow card,” a soccer metaphor referring to improper conduct. A cabinet source lamented, “We found no smoking gun.”

Initially, the BND and BfV planned to release excerpts of their still classified inquiry, the Sueddeutsche reported, but it’s now not clear when, if ever, the full report will be released.

The day after the Sueddeutsche story appeared, some other media outlets reported on it – briefly. Newsweek and Politico gave the scoop all of three sentences each. Not fitting with the preferred “Russia-is-guilty-of-everything” narrative, it then died a quick death. I have been unable to find the story mentioned at all in major U.S. “mainstream media” outlets.

If Americans became aware of the story, it was probably via RT – the bête noire of the abovementioned CIA/FBI/NSA report condemning Russian “propaganda.” Can it become any clearer why RT America and RT International are despised by the U.S. government and the “mainstream media?” Many Americans are slowly realizing they cannot count on American network and cable TV for accurate news and are tuning in to RT at least for the other side of these important stories.

It was from a early morning call from RT International that I first learned of the Feb. 7 Sueddeutsche Zeitung report on Germany’s failed hunt for evidence of Russian electoral interference.

Nine young children killed: The full details of botched US raid in Yemen – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Working with a journalist who visited the targeted village of al Yakla five days after the raid and talked to nine of the survivors, we have collected the names and ages of all 25 civilians killed as reported by those who live there. Nine children under the age of 13 were among the victims.

Source: Nine young children killed: The full details of botched US raid in Yemen – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: Drone strikes in Yemen

Nine young children killed: The full details of botched US raid in Yemen

Child relatives of people who died in botched US counterterrorism raid in Yemen on January 29, 2017.
Relatives of people killed in the raid gather in one of the decimated houses. Photo by Nasser al Sane

Planned for months, it was decided over dinner.

The raid on a village in rural Yemen reportedly aimed to capture or kill one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists and deliver a stinging blow to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a militant network the US had been trying to dismantle for more than a decade.

The collection of small brick houses in Yemen’s dusty central region was home to civilian families as well as militants and was heavily-guarded, meaning a precise, well-practiced operation was paramount.

Intense surveillance was carried out for weeks, rehearsals took place in Djibouti, and Navy SEALS awaited the go-ahead from their commander-in-chief. It came just five days after President Donald Trump took office.

But as the elite team descended under the cover of darkness, what could have been the first major victory for the new administration in its renewed mission to defeat radical Islam quickly went dreadfully wrong.

As cover was blown, enemy fire returned and contingency plans failed, tragedy unfolded on all sides.

It is already known that 8-year-old Nawar al Awlaki, the daughter of al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al Awlaki was among those who died in the attack. But following a field investigation, the Bureau can today reveal that nine children under the age of 13 were killed and five were wounded in the raid in al Bayda province on January 29.

Details emerged piecemeal last week regarding civilian and military deaths, the disputed value of the targets and deficiencies in planning – some of the information coming from military sources in unprecedented briefings against its own administration. Insiders told CNN and NBC that the ultimate target was AQAP leader Qasim al Raymi. If the soldiers didn’t find him in the village they hoped they would find clues as to his location.

But despite the growing reports of failure – and despite the death of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William Owens and the destruction of a $70 million Osprey aircraft – Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer has continued to insist that the mission was a “successful operation by all standards.”

Evidence gathered by the Bureau must surely challenge that assessment. A fierce gunfight turned into an intense aerial bombardment, and the outcome “turned out to be as bad as one can imagine it being,” said former US ambassador to Yemen Stephen Seche.

Working with a journalist who visited the targeted village of al Yakla five days after the raid and talked to nine of the survivors, we have collected the names and ages of all 25 civilians killed as reported by those who live there. The Bureau also has photos of the families hit and the homes destroyed as helicopter gunship fire rained down.

AQAP say 14 “of its men” were killed in the clash, including six villagers. The youngest was 17, the oldest 80.

The villagers say 25 civilians died alongside a group of militants, including nine children under the age of 13.  They deny that any of the dead villagers were AQAP members. Of the nine young children who died, the smallest was only three months old. Eight women were killed, including one who was heavily pregnant. Seven more women and children were injured.

List of child victims aged under 13 as given by villagers
Name
Age
1. Asma Fahad Ali al Ameri 3 months
2. Aisha Mohammed Abdallah al Ameri 4 years
3. Halima Hussein al Aifa al Ameri 5 years old
4. Hussein Mohammed Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri 5 years old
5. Mursil Abedraboh Masad al Ameri 6 years old
6. Khadija Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri 7 years old
7. Nawar Anwar al Awlaqi 8 years old
8. Ahmed Abdelilah Ahmed al Dahab 11 years old
9. Nasser Abdallah Ahmed al Dahab 12 years old

Notes on the data: an older boy, 17-year-old Abdallah Ahmed Abad al Zouba is also reported by villagers to have died

There is fury at the US for what the villagers say was yet another example of disregard for civilian life in the pursuit of terror.

“It is true they were targeting al Qaeda but why did they have to kill children and women and elderly people?” said Zabnallah Saif al Ameri, who lost nine members of his extended family, five of whom were children. “If such slaughter happened in their country, there would be a lot of shouting about human rights. When our children are killed, they are quiet.”

Villagers described chaos, with people shot as they attempted to flee the gun battle before helicopters opened fire.

“They killed men, children and women and destroyed houses,” said Mohsina Mabkhout al Ameri, who lost her brother, nephew and three of her nephew’s children. “We are normal people and have nothing to do with al Qaeda or [Yemeni rebel movement] the Houthis or anyone. The men came from America, got off the planes and the planes bombed us.”

Civilian deaths can provide ‘recruitment tool’ for terrorists

This is by no means the first US counter-terror operation in Yemen which has killed civilians. Each one has stoked more resentment among the population. Yemeni foreign minister, Abdul Malik al Mekhlafi, said on his official Twitter account that the deaths amounted to “extrajudicial killings.”

A campaign statement by Donald Trump suggests the new leader of the free world may view such civilian casualties as inevitable, or even necessary. “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” he said in December. “When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.”

Trump’s statement led to speculation that women and children might be deliberately targeted by the US. But Stephen Seche, who was US ambassador to Yemen from 2007-10, told the Bureau he did not believe America had changed its attitude towards protecting civilians. However “the enormous cost in human life” from this particular raid would damage the legitimacy of American intervention in Yemen, he told the Bureau. “It’s a horrific calculation to have to make and the outcome in this case turned out to be as bad as one can imagine it being.”

Far from delivering a blow to AQAP, the raid may have strengthened it. “Groups like AQAP will contend [this attack] shows Trump is making good on his campaign pledge,” said Letta Tayler, Terrorism and Counterterrorism Researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Even if Trump wasn’t serious, armed extremists are likely to jump on every photo of a Yemeni child killed in a US strike as a recruitment tool.”

“The use of US soldiers, high civilian casualties and disregard for local tribal and political dynamics… plays into AQAP’s narrative of defending Muslims against the West and could increase anti-US sentiment and with it AQAP’s pool of recruits,” said International Crisis Group in a report released three days after the attack.

The alleged target of the raid certainly appeared to think it had helped AQAP’s cause, releasing a message  on February 5 mocking the US. “The fool of the White House got slapped,” said al Raymi in an audio recording which military sources said was authentic, reported NBC.

A nightmare unfolds

As Abdallah al Ameri and his neighbour Sheikh Abdallah al Taisi prepared for bed on January 28, they could be forgiven for thinking they had suffered enough bad luck for a lifetime. Both men, subsistence farmers now too old to work their land, had already survived a US drone attack which hit Abdallah’s wedding party in December 2013. They both lost their eldest sons in that attack, which killed 12 people but which the US has never formally acknowledged.

Their home region of al Bayda had been battered since late 2014, as the Yemeni government led by President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi began its slow-motion collapse. In its place, a three-way battle erupted between tribes allied to the government, the Houthi rebel movement and al Qaeda militants. An international coalition led by Saudi Arabia would join the fray the following year.

Yemen’s hinterland, Yakla included, faced Houthi shelling, incursions by AQAP and bombing by US drones – all on top of severe food and fuel shortages wreaked by a Saudi-led blockade. Yemen now stands on the brink of famine.

The day leading up to the strike, rebel Houthis encamped in the nearby Qaifa mountains fired Katyusha rockets at tribal militiamen in Yakla. The militiamen were allied to the internationally-recognised government led by President Hadi. It was a familiar exchange in an ongoing battle for control of the region since the start of the rebellion.

But the ominous sign of things to come was subtler. Sadiq al Jawfi, a member of a local cross-party ceasefire committee which monitors violations at the request of the UN Security Council envoy to Yemen, told the Bureau that mobile phone coverage providing Yakla with its only line to the outside world had been cut. Yemen’s National Security Bureau (NSB), historically allied to former President Ali Abdallah Saleh and now his Houthi allies, had a history of restricting coverage prior to military operations.

It was a moonless night and the calm in Yakla was punctured only by the familiar sound of drones buzzing overhead.

In the middle of the night US special forces flew from the aircraft carrier USS Makin Island in Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and landed a few kilometres from the village. Things started to go wrong right from the start. One of the Ospreys crash-landed, injuring three of the troops.

“The operation began when the soldiers landed next to the graveyard which lies about 2km away from our town, north of Yakla”, Sheikh Abdelilah Ahmed al Dahab said. The soldiers then proceeded on foot, flanked by military dogs, in the direction of the village. Villagers say there were about 50 soldiers.

An 11-year-old is the first hit

His son Ahmed was the first casualty. According to al Dahab the 11-year-old was woken by the commotion outside and went to see what was going on. “When my son Ahmed saw them, he couldn’t tell that they were soldiers because it was dark,” he said. “He asked them ‘Who are you?’ but the men shot him. He was the first killed. No one thought that marines would descend on our homes to kill us, kill our children and kill our women.”

Tribal leaders Abdelraouf al Dahab and his brother came out to confront the soldiers and were shot dead, committee member Sadiq al Jawfi said. Local sources say they were AQAP members, and press reports released in the initial aftermath of the raid suggested that Abdelraouf and Sultan were among the primary targets of the operation. 80-year-old Saif al Jawfi, who also had al Qaeda connections according to AQAP, came out to see the commotion. He too was killed.

Relatives of those who died, including the seven children of Fatim Saleh Mohson al Ameri.
Relatives of those who died, including the seven children of Fatim Saleh Mohson al Ameri. Photo by Nasser al Sane

SEAL Team 6 attacked the home of 65-year-old Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri, surrounding it and opened fire indiscriminately, Abdelilah al Dahab and other witnesses claimed. “When people heard the gunshots and missiles, local men rushed out of their homes to find out what was going on,” he said.

Three witnesses said the commandos shot at everyone who left their homes. In these lawless parts of Yemen every home has a Kalashnikov and the residents reached for their guns “to defend their homes and their honour,” Abdelilah al Dahab said.

The villagers say 38-year-old mother of seven, Fatim Saleh al Ameri was fatally shot by special operators while trying to flee with her two-year-old son Mohammed. “We pulled him out from his mother’s lap. He was covered in her blood,” said 11-year-old Basil Ahmed Abad al­ Zouba, whose 17-year-old brother was killed.

Abdallah Mabkhut al Amiri, one of the dead, had previously survived a US strike on his wedding party.
Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri, one of the dead, had previously survived a US strike on his wedding party. Photo via Reprieve

The al Ameri family was particularly badly hit. Abdallah, 65, who had survived the attack on his wedding party three years earlier, was killed alongside his 25-year-old daughter Fatima and 38-year-old son Mohammed. Three of Mohammed’s four children also died – Aisha, 4, Khadija, 7, and Hussein, 5. A further nine members of the extended family were killed.

As the firefight ensued, helicopter gunships appeared and “shot at everything”, including at homes and people fleeing, Sadiq al Jawfi and other witnesses said. Fahad Ali al Ameri woke up to the gunfire. “I was woken up after midnight by the bombing of the helicopters. There were soldiers on the ground shooting at us. They started shooting at us with machine gun fire.” He says a missile fired at his home, killing his three-month-old daughter as she lay asleep in her crib.

At some stage, al Qaeda militants who had encamped in the nearby Masharif and Sharia mountains descended to engage the US commandos in a fight which would last over two hours. AQAP say 14 of its men died in total: six villagers and eight others.

The eight-year-old daughter of the late radical American preacher Anwar al Awlaqi, who was visiting her uncle Abdelilah al Dahab, was hiding in a room when it was attacked by the gunships, her uncle said. “Some of the gunfire went through the windows and Nawar was injured in her neck,” he said.

The girl would not survive. “We tried to save her but we couldn’t do anything for her,” said Abdelilah al Dahab. “She was injured around 2.30am and bled until she died at around dawn prayers.”

Eight-year-old Nawar Anwar Al-Awlaqi is said to have bled to death over two hours.
Eight-year-old Nawar Anwar Al-Awlaqi is said to have bled to death over two hours.

US special operatives made an exit from the village at around the same time, say villagers, but some air attacks continued.

In the days that followed, conflicting narratives emerged. At first, the Department of Defense’s Central Command (Centcom) was bullish, describing the raid as “one in a series of aggressive moves against terrorist planners in Yemen.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis gave a statement honouring the soldier who died. Chief Petty Officer Owens, 36, “gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” he said.

As details about civilian casualties emerged – most notably that of eight-year-old Nawar al Awlaqi, whose photograph was circulated – the tone was softened. It was “concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed in the midst of a firefight during a raid in Yemen Jan. 29,” said a statement released on February 1. “Casualties may include children.”

Two days later the Pentagon released a video showing a man building bombs which it said had been discovered in the raid. Within hours it was removed from the Pentagon’s website’s after people pointed out the same video had been published online in 2007.

Yemeni government reassesses US relationship

The raid has caused anger in the Yemeni government as well as among civilians. A senior official told Reuters on Wednesday that concerns had been expressed to the US government and in future “there needs to be more coordination with Yemeni authorities before any operation and that there needs to be consideration for our sovereignty.”

The White House, however, continues to insist that the raid was “highly successful.”

“It achieved the purpose it was going to get – save the loss of life that we suffered and the injuries that occurred,” Spicer said in a press briefing on February 7. “The goal of the raid was intelligence-gathering. And that’s what we received, and that’s what we got.”

Centcom did not respond to a request for comment from the Bureau.

US counterterrorism ops in Yemen

The last time US special forces launched a ground operation like this one was in November 2014. It was a rescue mission, trying to spring an American and a South African taken hostage by al Qaeda. Tragically the mission failed and the hostages were killed.

Though US boots have been on the ground in Yemen off and on since 2002, drones and manned jets lead the hunt for AQAP.

More than 162 strikes have left 815 people dead, including 134 civilians (in the last three years of Obama’s presidency civilian deaths in drone attacks dropped considerably). Hundreds of al Qaeda fighters have been reported killed, including a succession of men chosen as the group’s emir.

In 2011, when the Arab Spring reached Yemen and unseated its dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, al Qaeda took full advantage. It turned from a small terrorist group, focussed on blowing up airliners over the US, to an insurgent group governing a chunk of southern Yemen.

With this transition to insurgency, AQAP became the only group in Yemen to actually profit from the 2011 uprising, according to the recent International Crisis Group report.

In May 2016 US soldiers were deployed to an airbase in the south-western province of Lahj  alongside Yemeni troops, coordinating US air strikes and Yemeni ground forces against AQAP.

Together Yemeni soldiers and US air power unseated AQAP from its stronghold but only succeeded in driving the terrorists into the mountains. It has become embedded in the ongoing civil war in Yemen, setting itself up as a Sunni bulwark against the Shia Houthi militias which have occupied the capital since 2014.

List of dead as provided by villagers
Names
Age Status
1. Asma Fahad Ali al Ameri 3 months Child – Female
2. Aisha Mohammed Abdallah al Ameri 4 Child – Female
3. Halima Hussein al-Aifa al Ameri 5 Child – Female
4. Hussein Mohammed Abdallah Mabkhout al-Ameri 5 Child – Male
5. Mursil Abedraboh Masad al Ameri 6 Child – Male
6. Khajija Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri 7 Child – Female
7. Nawar Anwar al Awlaqi 8 Child – Female
8. Ahmed Abdelilah Ahmed al Dahab 11 Child -Male
9. Nasser Abdallah Ahmed al Dahab 12 Child -Male
10. Abdallah Ahmed Abad al Zouba 17 Child -Male
11. Fatima Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri 25 Civilian – Female
12. Lima Mohammed Hussein al Ameri 30 Civilian – Female
13. Fatim Saleh Mohsin al Ameri 38 Civilian – Female
14. Thabiya Ali Abdallah al Ameri 40 Civilian – Female
15. Salima Ali Ahmed al Ameri Unknown Civilian – Female
16. Fatim Abdallah Saleh al Ameri Unknown Civilian – Female
17. Arwa al Baghdadi Unknown Civilian – Female
18. Sheikh Sultan Ahmed Nasser al Dahab 32 Civilian – Male
19. Zabnallah Ahmed Nasser Othman al Arbaji 35 Civilian – Male
20. Khalid Ali Muqbel al Ameri 37 Civilian – Male
21. Sheikh Abdelraouf Ahmed Nasser al Dahab 37 Civilian – Male
22. Mohammed Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri 38 Civilian – Male
23. Zabnallah Nasser al Arbaji 55 Civilian – Male
24. Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri 65 Civilian – Male
25. Saif Mohammed al Jawfi 80 Civilian – Male

 

List of dead published by AQAP
Names
Age Status
1. Asma Fahad Ali al-Ameri 3 months Child
2. Mursil Abedraboh Masad al-Ameri 6 Child
3. Nawar Anwar al Awlaqi 8 Child
4. Ahmed Abdelilah Ahmed al Dahab 11 Child
5. Nasser Abdallah Ahmed al-Dahab 12 Child
6. Child 1 of Abu Abdelilah al-Hadrami Unknown Child
7. Child 2 of Abu Abdelilah al-Hadrami Unknown Child
8. Child 3 of Abu Abdelilah al-Hadrami Unknown Child
9. Usama al-Sharif Unknown Child
10. Fatim Saleh Mohsin al-Ameri 38 Female
11. Arwa al-Baghdadi Unknown Female
12. Wife of “Abi Walid al-Hadrami” Unknown Female
13. Abdallah Ahmed Abad al-Zouba 17 Listed as AQAP member
14. Sheikh Sultan Ahmed Nasser al-Dahab 32 Listed as AQAP member
15. Sheikh Abdelraouf Ahmed Nasser al-Dahab 37 Listed as AQAP member
16. Mohammed Abdallah Mabkhout al-Ameri 38 Listed as AQAP member
17. Abdallah Mabkhout al-Ameri 65 Listed as AQAP member
18. Saif Mohammed al-Jawfi 80 Listed as AQAP member
19. “Abu al-Nouh al-Qaifi” Unknown Listed as AQAP member
20. Uncle of “Abu al-Nouh al-Qaifi” Unknown Listed as AQAP member
21. Hamza al-Soudani Unknown Listed as AQAP member
22. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Not Isis Baghdadi) Unknown Listed as AQAP member
23. Mikdad al-Dumti Unknown Listed as AQAP member
24. Hunaym al-Sanani Unknown Listed as AQAP member
25. Abu Abdallah al-Sanani Unknown Listed as AQAP member
26. Abu al-Laith al-Sanani Unknown Listed as AQAP member

Namir Shabibi reported from London and Nasser al Sane from Yakla, Yemen.

Follow Namir Shabibi on Twitter: @nshabibi

Follow Nasser al Sane on Twitter: @nasir2alsana

Additional reporting by Jack Serle and Jessica Purkiss.

Follow Jack Serle on Twitter: @jackserle

Israel interferes in our politics all the time, and it’s never a scandal

From Mondoweiss,  on February 15, 2017:

Russia surely interfered in U.S. politics and may have affected last year’s election; and that scandal could bring Trump down. But Israel interferes in our politics all the time, with a negative effect; and it’s never a scandal.

Source: Israel interferes in our politics all the time, and it’s never a scandal

Maybe it will bring the liar in chief down some day and end this short national nightmare. I certainly hope so.

But there are two large exceptions to the Russian conspiracy. The first is that it is good policy for the United States to be talking to Russia. If Clinton were president today, there might be dogfights over Damascus. Her gang was all for regime change in Syria, and for confrontation over the Ukraine. That’s bad policy. I’m glad they’re not running the show– though they are certainly running this story. Before you get too upset about Russia winking at the sanctions, the scandal that brought down Michael Flynn, please recall that in 2012, President Obama sent secret signals to Iran to ignore congressional sanctions, we’ll be talking to you once I’m reelected. Obama got reelected; and his deal with Iran is one of the greatest achievements of a very good presidency. Again, this is how the world works.

Which brings up the second exception. Israel tried to interfere in that 2012 election, as Chris Matthews sensibly reminded his audience recently: Benjamin Netanyahu tried to help Mitt Romney beat Obama. Sheldon Adelson held a fundraiser in Jerusalem for Romney.

Netanyahu didn’t stop there. After Romney lost, Netanyahu came to Congress to tell the Congress to reject President Obama’s nuclear deal. That was an unprecedented interference of a foreign leader in our policy-making, enabled by the Israel lobby; but there were never any investigations about that. Subsequently Chuck Schumer said he was torn between a Jewish interest and the American interest, before voting against the president, and he paid no political/reputational price for it; while President Obama said that it would be an “abrogation” of his constitutional duty if he considered Israel’s interest ahead of the U.S.; for which Obama was called an anti-semite.

Throughout those negotiations, Obama could never address the fact that Israel has nukes. This lie is honored by the press, in a way that it would never honor Trump’s lies. And the manner in which Israel got nukes, including thefts from an American company with the complicity of the White House, is only investigated by peripheral figures.

The Israeli interference in our politics is the conspiracy in plain sight that no one in the media talks about because they’re too implicated themselves. The two top executives at the largest media company, Comcast, are pro-Israel; one of them, David Cohen, raised money for the Israeli army. Netanyahu’s speeches to Congress were written by Gary Ginsberg, an executive at another media company, Time Warner, but hey, that’s not an issue. Four New York Times reporters have had children serve in the Israeli army. One of them is columnist David Brooks, who says that he gets gooey-eyed when he visits Israel. He is one of several Zionists with columns at the Times. Tom Friedman justified the Iraq War because suicide bombers were going into Tel Aviv pizza parlors. (Huh?) Yesterday Martin Indyk said on National Public Radio that Jared Kushner’s strong Jewish background was an asset for his being a Middle East mediator, a job that Aaron David Miller, who also has a strong Jewish background, defined as being Israel’s lawyer. Indyk, himself a mediator, started a pro-Israel thinktank with Haim Saban, an Israeli-American who was Clinton’s biggest funder and who lately smeared Keith Ellison at a giant gathering at Brookings, which he also helps fund, as “clearly an anti-semite” and “anti-Israel;” and Jake Tapper of CNN moved on to the next question, presumably because smearing a public official in that manner is not news. Saban is also chummy with Jeffrey Goldberg, one of whose qualifications for being the best journalist in his generation, according to the Atlantic’s publisher, is that he served in the Israeli Defense Forces, because he felt that America was unsafe for Jews. One of Goldberg’s first hires as editor at the Atlantic is Julia Ioffe, who hates Russia, and who told a synagogue audience last year after she was attacked as a Jew by Trump supporters: “Personally I was kind of glad to see the outpouring of antisemitism” because people had forgotten that Jews and Israel are the “underdog.” At another NY synagogue, believing that he was speaking off the record, Dennis Ross, the longtime White House “mediator” of the peace process, said that American Jews must be “advocates” for Israel, not for Palestinians. Again, not a scandal. But when Rashid Khalidi, who wrote a book about the U.S. being imbalanced in the peace process, warned that neoconservatives would “infest” the Trump administration, he was smeared up and down as an anti-semite.

I could go on and on. I can’t because Netanyahu is in the White House today, and I need to get on the news. Netanyahu who President Obama met with countless times, Netanyahu who John Kerry talked to as secretary of state four times as often as he spoke to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Which is hardly surprising, because as Kerry complained to Jeffrey Goldberg, we give Israel more military aid than we give the rest of the world combined, and meantime they ignore our warnings. They can ignore us because of the Israel lobby, including AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which doesn’t have to register as a foreign agent because of sleight-of-hand they pulled back in the 60s, defying Senator Fulbright.  AIPAC never gets called for this because the two countries are viewed to have completely congruent interests– when we don’t. So Phil Gordon leaves the State Department and goes to a conference in Israel just like Super Bowl winners going to Disneyland; all the Israeli ambassadors grew up in the States; and Benjamin Netanyahu came of age here, a subject that is never considered problematic; because we have a political discourse in which a leading liberal journalist, Eric Alterman, brags: “I was raised dually loyal my whole life.”

Alterman told a Jewish audience in New York he was alright with that because the U.S. can take a hit but Israel can’t. He then conceded that “bin Laden and 9/11 were to some degree inspired by U.S. support of Israel,” and so are the “pool of potential terrorists who want to attack the United States.” Though: “Dammit, if that’s the price we have to pay, then I’m willing to pay it.”

Other Americans may make a different calculation of U.S. interests. But let’s talk about Russia.

Thanks to Annie Robbins for guidance on this story, particularly the 2012 Iran/Obama detail.

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/02/interferes-politics-scandal/#sthash.SjeD0fbz.dpuf

Images of Militarized Police in Baton Rouge Draw Global Attention

Ieshia Evans, a nurse from Brooklyn, was arrested on Saturday outside the Baton Rouge Police Department during a protest against the killing of Alton Sterling. Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

From The Intercept

Source: Images of Militarized Police in Baton Rouge Draw Global Attention

PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEO of heavily armed police officers wearing body armor and helmets arresting protesters in Baton Rouge over the weekend reverberated on social networks and in the world’s media, focusing new attention on the militarization of police forces across the United States.

The image that drew the most comment, taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters, showed a young woman in a dress standing serenely on a road outside the Baton Rouge police headquarters as two Louisiana State Police officers dressed for battle rushed to arrest her…… 

Evans, who was released on Sunday, wrote on Facebook that she had no desire to speak to the media until she could get home to her young son. “I appreciate the well wishes and love, but this is the work of God,” she added. “I am a vessel!”

Another photograph taken by Bachman, showing a police officer’s knee pinning an African-American protester’s head to the pavement, struck a chord with photo editors in Iran and Russia, where the crackdown on peaceful protesters made complaints from the United States government about repression of dissent in those countries seem hypocritical….. 

Read More

NATO Marches Toward Destruction – Consortiumnews

Source: NATO Marches Toward Destruction – Consortiumnes

John Walsh writes:

NATO Marches Toward Destruction

As the West’s elites growl about “Russian aggression” – as they once did about Iraq’s WMD – NATO leaders meet in Poland to plan a costly and dangerous new Cold War, while shunning the few voices of dissent, John V. Walsh warns.

By John V. Walsh

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s cry of distress is that of a man watching a tidal wave of destruction gathering force, similar to ones that have engulfed his country twice in the Twentieth Century.

Commenting on NATO’s recent military exercises in Poland and the Baltics, Steinmeier said,

“What we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation further through saber-rattling and warmongering. … Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is mistaken. … We are well-advised to not create pretexts to renew an old confrontation. .. [It would be] fatal to search only for military solutions and a policy of deterrence.”


Under the euphemism of “containment,” the U.S. is relentlessly advancing its new Cold War on Russia and China. Its instrument in the West is NATO and in the East, Japan and whatever other worthies can be sharked up.
His dread is not to be dismissed since it comes from a man who is in a position to know what the U.S. is up to. His words reflect the fears of ever more people across all of Eurasia from France in the West to Japan in the East. Read More

The Iraq war, Tony Blair and the Chilcot report – video explainer | UK news | The Guardian

We look back at the events that led to an invasion widely regarded to be Britain’s biggest foreign policy mistake since the 1950s Suez crisis

Source: The Iraq war, Tony Blair and the Chilcot report – video explainer | UK news | The Guardian

 

US Congress members question Israel’s abuse of Palestinian children – Middle East Monitor

Israeli security forces arrest Palestinian child. [File photo]

Source: US Congress members question Israel’s abuse of Palestinian children – Middle East Monitor

Nasim Ahmed June 23, 2016

 

Members of the US Congress made an unprecedented move by calling for the appointment of “a special envoy for Palestinian youth”. In a letter to Barack Obama, US lawmakers petitioned the President to address the abuse of Palestinian children.

Twenty members of the US Congress signed the letter urging the “Department of the State to elevate the human rights of Palestinian children to a priority status” and warned of the dangers in “ignoring the trauma being inflicted on millions of Palestinian children”. Read More

The Greanville Post: Can Russia Survive Washington’s Attack?

The outbreak of nuclear war within a year between the West and Putin is ‘entirely plausible’, says former NATO chief (while promoting his novel about a 2017 war with Russia)

Source: The Greanville Post • Vol. X | Can Russia Survive Washington’s Attack?

Paul Craig Roberts May 21 2016

It is not only American generals who are irresponsible and declare on the basis of no evidence whatsoever that “Russia is an existential threat to the United States” and also to the Baltic states, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine, and all of Europe. British generals also participate in the warmongering.  UK retired general and former NATO commander Sir Richard Shirreff, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe until 2014, has just declared that nuclear war with Russia is “entirely possible” within the year. 

My loyal readers know that I, myself, have been warning for some time about the likelihood of nuclear war.  However, there is a vast difference between me and the Western generals.  I see the war as theconsequence of the neoconservative drive for US world hegemony.  The neoconservative drive for world hegemony is acknowledged by the neoconservatives themselves in their public position papers, and it has a 15 year record of being implemented in America’s many and ongoing wars in the Middle East and Africa.  Although the Presstitute media does its best to keep our focus away from the known facts, the facts remain known.

Read More

The current American mindset, together with seven decades of USGovt foreign policy, now present an existential threat to mankind. This blog attempts to expose the depravity of the latter in the hope of influencing the former.

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