All posts filed under: empire watch

Afghanistan War Crimes Probe A Sham and Cover-up For US

by Finian Cunningham, via Information Clearing House When The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it was planning to investigate alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, the timing seemed appropriate. The announcement by the ICC on November 3 came within days of a deadly airstrike by US forces in northern Afghanistan, which UN officials say killed ten civilians. But the history of the intergovernmental court since it was set up some 15 years ago gives pause to hope that it might deliver justice in Afghanistan. For many critics, the ICC is a byword for self-serving Western political control, either whitewashing crimes or smearing designated opponents. A pertinent question is: why has it taken the ICC so long to investigate alleged crimes in Afghanistan’s war? The Pentagon claimed the air raid near the city of Kunduz on November 4 killed only Taliban militants. However, last week the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) provided a very different version of events. UNAMA said extensive interviews with local residents and medics show that at least ten civilians died …

Lithuania to militarize largest sea-port

by Adomas Abromaitis A NATO defense ministers meeting that took place in Brussels on November, 8-9 resulted in the new and very important decisions for the future of Europe. Speaking at a meeting, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it is vital that European roads, ports, bridges and rail networks are able to carry tanks and heavy military equipment. Stoltenberg also added that NATO countries have agreed to cooperate to improve civil infrastructure objects to make them usable for military needs. What does it mean in practice for Europe in general and for the Baltic States in particular? Lithuanian authorities, for example, will for sure try to attract NATO attention to the capabilities of its largest sea port – Klaipėda. As it is well known, that Klaipėda is one of the few ice-free ports in northernmost Europe, and the largest in Lithuania. It serves as a port of call for cruise ships as well as freight transport. The port was always an important gateway of trade between East and West. But times have changed. The gateway …

Why Robert Mueller Was Selected to Be the Special Prosecutor

by Eric Zuesse It all began with the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers apartment complex in the Saudi city of Khobar, which killed 19 U.S. military, who worked at the Dharan air base three miles away. That incident became the lynchpin of the accusation by the Saudi royal family, the U.S. State Department, and the CIA, that Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism. Both Robert Mueller and his longtime ally James Comey (the latter of whose firing as the FBI chief, by U.S. President Trump, had sparked the appointment of Mueller to become the Special Counsel investigating the U.S. President) performed crucial roles in establishing that the Khobar Towers bombing had been a Hezbollah operation run by the Iranian Government — and, starting upon this basis, in helping to develop the case that Iran “is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism.” However, as has been made clear by several great independent investigative journalists, on the basis of far more-solid documentation than the official account, the Khobar Towers bombing was instead entirely a …

Pentagon Think-Tank Praises Al Qaeda as ‘Moderate’ Islamists

by Eric Zuesse An October 24th article by Colin P. Clarke of the Rand Corporation — the main think-tank for the Pentagon — is headlined “The Moderate Face of Al Qaeda”, and a section of it is headed “A Moderate Alternative,” presenting Al Qaeda as the moderate alternative to ISIS. That article praises the 5 July 2005 decision, by Al Qaeda’s then #2 leader — who now is their #1 leader after the killing of Osama bin Laden — Ayman al-Zawahiri; Clarke’s article praises there Zawahiri’s decision to chastise the founder of ISIS, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was then in Iraq. Zawahiri chastised Zarqawi for slaughtering Shia Muslims. However, if one looks at the Zawahiri letter, Zawahiri actually says there that Shia ought to be slaughtered, but not now, because most Muslims won’t understand why Shia deserve death. The matter is presented by Zawahiri as a severe PR problem for jihadists at this stage of building the fundamentalist Sunni movement to establish a global Islamic Caliphate or theocracy, if they slaughter Shia Muslims (such as …

Why is the US Air Force collecting samples of Russian DNA?

The US Air Force recently put out a request for samples of DNA and RNA from Russians and people of Russian descent. Their reasons are unclear. This story, fairly predictably, has got very little coverage in the MSM…none, in fact. Vladimir Putin mentioned it in a speech, and there have been articles in the alternative media (The Duran and Zero Hedge have mentioned it, and some international networks such as RT, teleSur etc.)…but mainstream news? Totally silent. This is not some “crazy conspiracy theory”, the request (pictured above) is publicly available on US government websites. The lack of coverage of this issue in the MSM, while predictable, still serves to highlight how little objectivity our notionally free press really have. Can you imagine the headlines if Russia, China or Iran’s military had started doing research on British or American DNA samples? The hysteria would be deafening. So the question becomes…why? The memo states that the samples “must be Caucasian and Russian”, and that they will “not consider” samples from Ukraine. Why would that be the …

Trump’s Hate-Iran Campaign

by Eric Zuesse On October 19th, the far-right Foundation for Defense of Democracy (FDD) held a “National Security Summit” which featured as speakers both Donald Trump’s CIA chief Mike Pompeo and Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, both of them (as will be shown here by extensive excerpts from their speeches) whipping up hatred against Shia Iran and against Shia Muslims generally. They presented Shia Iran — not Sunni Saudi Arabia — as being the most dangerous source of radical Islamic terrorism. Donald Trump during his Presidential campaign had spoken frequently against ‘radical Islamic terrorism’, but everybody thought it pertained to the people who had perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, and those individuals were all fundamentalist Sunnis, not any Shias, and no one from Iran. But now, nine months into his Presidency, it’s clear that he was referring instead to Shia Muslims (and to Iran most of all), which Muslim category the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia hate, and call an “existential threat” to themselves, and so they even bomb Shia parts …

VIDEO: FBI Whistleblower Exposes Special Council Mueller’s Conflict of Interest

Video via Newsbud FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds exposes Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conflict of interest in pursuing General Michael Flynn’s case due to his direct involvement as former FBI Director and his role in covering up and protecting Gulen Networks’ criminal operations within the United States, and demands that he steps down.

The “European Values” think-tank and their list of “Useful Idiots”

Just when you think that the Russo-phobic hysteria of the Western world couldn’t possibly make itself any more ridiculous…something like this comes along. This is the europeanvalues.net list of “useful idiots”. The list is very long, over 2300 names, because it contains the name of every person to ever appear on either Sputnik or RT. Hosts or guests, hostile or friendly, it doesn’t matter. If you’re on the list, you are a useful idiot.

John Brennan’s Police State USA

by Mike Whitney, via Information Clearing House Did the United States warn Russia to stay out of Syria? Yes, they did. Did they tell the Russians that if they joined the war against ISIS and helped Bashar al Assad the US would make them pay a heavy price? Yes. Did US agents and diplomats warn their Russian counterparts that Russian troops would “come home in body bags” and that the western media would launch a propaganda campaign against them? Yes, again. Did US officials say the western media would concoct a phony story about “Russian hacking” that would be used to persuade the American people that Russia was a dangerous enemy that had to be reigned in with harsh economic sanctions, provocative military maneuvers, and threats of violence? No, but it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which the CIA would pursue such a strategy. After all, the Intel agencies, the media and the entire political establishment have been hammering on Russia for over two years now. Isn’t it possible that elements of these …

VIDEO: Echoes of WWI: China, the US, and the Next “Great” War

In the early 20th century, the world’s dominant superpower looked warily on the rise of a competitor to its supremacy. The machinations of the British to contain the rise of Germany led inexorably to the First World War. Once again in the early 21st century, the world’s dominant superpower is looking warily on the rise of a competitor. Will the American Empire’s machinations to contain the rise of China lead to the Third World War? Or is the American/Chinese conflict another engineered conflict for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many? Join James Corbett as he presents “Echoes of World War I” to the Open Mind Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Sources and show-notes can be found here.

Venezuela Regional Elections: chavismo in triumph, opposition in disarray and media in denial

As the President of the Venezuelan Electoral Commission (CNE) read the results from the regional elections that took place on Sunday, October 15, one could feel the agony in the editorial rooms of mainstream media outlets. Chavismo had just won 18 out of 23 [1] governorships, a result that, according to them, could not have happened. International observers praised the electoral process and opposition claims of fraud, while uncritically echoed by the media, do not have a leg to stand on.

MH17 Inquiry – Series 2, Episode 1. “What if it was a BUK?”

This is the first part in the second season of videos and articles covering the downing of MH17, produced by the MH17 Inquiry. The first season is available here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6. Series 1 covered and disputed the major “findings” of both the MH 17 official inquiries and those of the “citizen journalist” groups. Beginning with in-depth investigations into the sightings of a BUK convoy in Zugres, that mysterious Elderberry bush, BBC coverage, sightings of a MIG fighter and ending with the enigmatic “To Whose Benefit?” Not being a group to sit on their laurels, nor on a cosy armchair like a Bellingcat … the MH 17 Inquiry authors have begun production of series 2, continuing their tradition of investigating on location, where the evidence is. The opening episode begins with a recap of the MH17 disaster, asking which countries have ever “accidentally” shot down a commercial passenger jet and how is it possible that such disasters happened? The inquiry travels to Tuusula in Finland, …

Russian TV Says U.S. Breaks Peace Treaty

Eric Zuesse Headlining “‘More US troops at our borders’ – Russian Defense Ministry”, Russian Television (whose U.S. broadcasts the U.S. Government is considering to ban) reported, on Friday, October 13th, that “On Thursday, the U.S. announced the presence of a second [U.S.] regiment in the already very tense Baltic region, and Poland, and that’s a move which Moscow claims violates that fundamental peace treaty signed between Russia and NATO.” This report was referring to the NATO Founding Act, which had been signed in 1997 after Russian President Boris Yeltsin learned that the verbal promise which the agents of America’s President George H.W. Bush had made to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that NATO would not move “one inch to the east”, was soon going to be broken, and that Hungary, Czech Republic, and Poland would be the first former Warsaw Pact nations to be added to NATO. Yeltsin was furious to learn of this, and so there were negotiations; and, this time around, Russia got the West’s signatures upon what was to be the …

“Russia Interfered!” – By Purchasing Anti-Trump Ads?

from Moon of Alabama After the ludicrous “Russian hacking” claims have died down for lack of evidence, the attention was moved to even more ludicrous claims of “Russian ads influenced the elections”. Some readers are upset that continue to debunk the nonsense the media spreads around this. But lies should not stand without response. If only to blame the reporters and media who push this dreck. As evidence is also lacking for any “Russian interference” claims the media outlets have started to push deceiving headlines. These make claims that are not covered at all by the content of the related pieces. The headlines are effective because less than 20% of the viewers ever read beyond them. On the NYT Homepage today we find another one of these: Google Finds Russia Bought Ads to Interfere in Election. Google has found no ads that “Russia”, the state or nation, has bought. There is also no evidence that the ads in question interfered in any way with the election. There is evidence that any of the ads in …

Baltic States Sacrifice Economy on Altar of Politics

by Adomas Abromaitis Making negative statements concerning Russia, the Baltic States set Moscow against themselves and force it to respond. Especially they irritate it making unproven warlike statements for the sake of “common line” of the EU or NATO on the issue. But as John Steinbeck said “all war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.” After major information campaign in the Baltic States aimed to discredit Zapad 2017 military exercise, Russia tries to find the most vulnerable places to hurt the Baltic States. It is absolutely evident, that such sphere is economy. For a long time Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have been tightened to Russia and even remain to be dependent on it. Instead of finding points of contact (as Germany does) the Baltic leaders make their best to worsen the situation. The trouble is Russia responds not only with words but with real actions. The last example is the Moscow’s decision to develop the capacity and infrastructure at own ports in order to re-direct export cargos away from the ports …

Chris Hedges: The End of Empire

Chris Hedges in TruthDig: The American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts. The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to do its bidding. Add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too. The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence …

It Hurts When Empires Fall

This article by Pål Steigan was originally published here. Translated by Graham Healey. There is a genre of landscape painting from the 17th and 18th centuries that ought to give us cause for reflection. They are paintings of Italian landscapes where goatherds and their flocks wander amongst the ruins of Roman aqueducts, bridges and temples. The fascinating thing about them is that they depict a European society which, more than 1200 years after the fall of the Roman empire, still had not regained the level of production and infrastructure that the Roman empire had at it’s height. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution in the 18th century that the productivity and infrastructure in Europe managed to surpass the Roman empire in its heyday. The paintings of goatherds and farm animals amongst the ruins of infrastructure and temples from classical Rome are like pictures of people moving among the remains of a high-tech civilisation that they no longer have the ability to match. The city of Rome had at its height a population of a million …

The Rising of Britain’s ‘New Politics’

Delegates to the recent Labour Party conference in the English seaside town of Brighton seemed not to notice a video playing in the main entrance. The world’s third biggest arms manufacturer, BAe Systems, supplier to Saudi Arabia, was promoting its guns, bombs, missiles, naval ships and fighter aircraft.

It seemed a perfidious symbol of a party in which millions of Britons now invest their political hopes. Once the preserve of Tony Blair, it is now led by Jeremy Corbyn, whose career has been very different and is rare in British establishment politics.

Google’s New Search Engine Bias is No Accident

by Jonathan Cook, October 1, 2017, via Dissident Voice Alternet has gone public with concerns about the way Google and Facebook have limited traffic to its website and, more generally, undermined access to progressive and independent media. Its traffic from web searches has dropped precipitously – by 40 per cent – since Google introduced new algorithms in the summer. Other big progressive sites have reported similar, or worse, falls. More anecdotally, and less significantly, I have noticed on both my own website and Facebook page a sharp drop in views and shares in recent weeks. Alternet is appealing for financial help, justifiably afraid that the drop in traffic will impact its revenues and threaten its future. Nonetheless, there is something deeply misguided, even dangerous, about its description of what is happening. Here is how its executive editor, Don Hazen, describes Alternet’s problems: Little did we know that Google had decided, perhaps with bad advice or wrong-headed thinking, that media like AlterNet—dedicated to fighting white supremacy, misogyny, racism, Donald Trump, and fake news—would be clobbered by Google …