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Monday, November 27, 2017

Chicago Tribune fingers Houthi war crimes, overlooks US' cluster munitions, civilian targeting

The US lapdog media is doing its best to cover for US war crimes in Yemen, directing attention to the "Iranian Markings" on a defensive missile fired at Riyadh on Nov. 4.

Despite three years pummeling by the "Saudi Coalition partners" - principally the Saudis and the US - including unconstitutional US support for the campaign in mid-air refueling, targeting and munitions supply.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs declared last April that “Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world with the largest Cholera outbreak in history affecting some 100,000, some in Congress are taking notice.
Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, and Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, are members of the House Armed Services Committee. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat in the House, is a co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have introduced legislation to withdraw US support. 
With Trump bragging about record arms sales to the Saudi kingdom and it's increased concentration of power behind a 30-something Prince convinced allowing women to drive will cover sufficiently for regional terrorism, the article seems intent on laying blame squarely where it is due:
Yes, at the feet of the Saudis.
That's right. A better analogy for tail wagging dog would be scarce to find. 
And if the ulterior motive were not evident enough, the Chicago Tribune puts a finer point on it:
"U.S. officials say they are convinced that Iran can be linked to the Nov. 4 missile strike, which Saudi Arabia claims it intercepted on approach to the King Khalid International Airport near the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Less than a week after the November airport attack, the U.S. Air Force's top officer at Central Command, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, said the missile bore "Iranian markings."
Never mind that missile - and a previous attack on an oil refinery - are clearly targeted at civilians and hence, war crimes, no mention of who is supplying munitions, intelligence and bombs themselves to the Saudis. No mention of the world's remaining superpower with the most powerful military the world has ever known.

That would be the one supplying the requisite diplomatic cover and the bombs with clear "Made in the USA" markings. Including on internationally banned cluster munitions (see above photo) which have killed and maimed tens of thousands, the majority of whom are civilians.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Under the microscope: Why was a US military drone flying over Crimea and Donbas?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sam Power: Silence in the face of Atrocity

"It is clear that the United States must come up with some very serious actions. What actions, I can not say now, but what I saw today, unfortunately, was very concerning, as my American colleague Samantha Power behaved very strange at the least," - said Russia's permanent representative to the UN Churkin on the results of the consultations of Security Council in connection with Western coalition air strike on Syrian government forces in Deir ez-Zor, which broke the ceasefire and emboldened ISIL forces.

The move was in keeping with the State Department's obsession with ousting Bashar Assad, despite administration comments to the contrary.

According to Churkin, when he began to share with the audience his concerns over Syria (a US strike in Deir ez-Zor on SAR troops), Samantha Power did not listen. Instead, she walked out to talk to the press, where she began to spit out nonsense about Russian-bombed hospitals and a breach of agreements - saying the moderates are bombed. Clearly, the woman had a hangover, had nothing to say, but did not have the energy to listen to criticism. So she exploded."

Power: War crimes okay in Yemen, Gaza, not Syria

Supreme arrogance.

These are some of the descriptors social media used to describe US Ambassador Samantha Power's breathtaking performance at the UN Saturday evening in a Russian-called emergency session of the UN Security Council to mull a US airstrike on Syrian Army positions killing 80 near Deir Ezzor airport Saturday.

The strike shattered a 'cessation of hostilities' agreement struck up by the US, Russia and Syria last week and violated another key component of ongoing cooperation, that is, the US would abandon it's regime change strategy and refrain from targeting the Syrian Army, instead focusing on the shared objective of destroying ISIS.

"The United States promised the Syrian government that the airstrikes would not affect the position of the Syrian armed forces," said Russian Federation Envoy Vitaly Churkin in a tense presser after the special called session adjourned.

Calling the strikes highly suspicious, both in timing and tactics, Churkin adding, "That did not put the US fully in line with international law because the Syrian government did not grant permission...but the fact the US committed not to strike the position of the Syrian government created certain conditions for cooperation."

Conditions allowing the US, Syria and Russia to focus on a shared enemy: Daesh, or ISIS.

While lamenting a lack of transparency and resistance to fully cooperating with Russia, Churkin noted the US failure to delineate between "moderate" forces it alleges to support and those associated with terrorism such as Jabhat al nusra.

The inability of the US to control these numerous"moderate" militia forces was also a point of concern for Churkin, who noted at least 20 of these groups had declared they would not honor the ceasefire.
"The big question is, who is in charge? Is it the White House or the Pentagon? Because we have heard statements from the Pentagon that simply fly in the face statements we've heard from President Obama and Sec. Kerry.  This is not accidental...the genie is out of the bottle, it appears they (Americans) have lost control of the situation."
Particularly noteworthy was Sam Power's chastisement of Russia, which dominated all but the first 60 seconds of her 13 minutes of comments.

Absolutely non-plussed and flippant at the Russian temerity to call attention to the US' unilateral ceasefire violation and return to attacking Syria - which emboldened ISIS to seize back the territory - Power was incorrigible, coming off as more of an inconvenienced mall rat than a global dignitary.

"Seriously? And they're calling this emergency meeting. Really?" Powers flung her hair back in disdain at the very thought of Russia's "stunt".

Powers was convinced the press conference was called as a distraction to what she termed "what's really going on", in other words, the press conference, not the "errant" bombing, was the item most worthy of  outrage.

A notorious neocon - she supported Hillary Clinton's interest in regime change in Libya - Power went on to embarrass herself further, chastising the Russian Federation for being overly-concerned with US war crimes and insufficiently concerned with those of the Syrian regime, wading into a mire of hypocrisy Ambassador Churkin said he had not seen in his 40 years of dealing with the Americans.

"Some of the most systematic atrocities we have seen in a generation yet, in the face of none of these atrocities has Russia expressed outrage, much less called for an emergency Saturday night consultation in the security council on any of these practices."

Power elucidated: "Not only are they not interested in seeing these crimes investigated, they have used their veto on the security council to block meaningful action...have self-adopted some of the regimes worst practices. Hitting hospitals, hitting refuge camps, hitting markets. Seriously…they’re calling this emergency meeting?"

Curious to mention the UNSC veto, a favorite tool of the US to shield investigation and sanction of Israeli war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza.

But Power would not be deterred Indicating Russia would do better looking after its barbaric proxy in Syria, rather than calling attention to US breaking agreements and bombing the wrong side.

But her next quip did her in.
Imagine how often this council would be meeting if we were to gather every time the regime or Russia struck a hospital or a school or a bread line...
Goodness, lets see, if we include the US and the Saudi regimes' bloodbath in Yemen, the council had better clear its calendar.

Perhaps inconveniently for Power, the Guardian detailed the ongoing US-backed Saudi assault quite thoroughly just the day before the US bombed the Syrian Army, blanketing deaf ears with what may soon rival Syria for scale of civilian targeting and displacement.

  • More than one-third of all Saudi-led air raids on Yemen have hit civilian sites, such as school buildings, hospitals, markets, mosques and economic infrastructure, according to the most comprehensive survey of the conflict.
  • The independent and non-partisan survey, based on open-source data, including research on the ground, records more than 8,600 air attacks between March 2015, when the Saudi-led campaign began, and the end of August this year. 
  • Over the course of the war, the survey lists 942 attacks on residential areas, 114 on markets, 34 on mosques, 147 on school buildings, 26 on universities and 378 on transport.
  • Saudi Arabia intervened in March 2015 to support the Yemeni government against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in control of the capital, Sana’a. The UN has put the death toll of the 18-month war at more than 10,000, with 3,799 of them being civilians.
And the commensurate outrage and influence Power proposes Russia exert over Syria is wholly missing from the US/Saudi joint effort in Yemen. Indeed, nothing much has changed since Obama blew off a Saudi strike that took out a wedding party of 70 civilians last year.
In almost every case (of civilian targeting), the Saudi coalition has either denied responsibility for the killings or blamed Houthi militants. Saudi Arabia has also sought to head off a mission to Yemen by human rights investigators with the United Nations who would look into violations by all the warring parties.”
The Obama administration, which has supported the Saudi war effort by providing intelligence and logistical support, has avoided any direct public rebuke of the Saudis, while calling on coalition planners to investigate reports of civilian casualties.

As much as Power rightly cast shade Assad's way, it appears the US made a habit of breaking the promise of "precision strikes" massacring at least eight wedding parties from 2001 through 2013, according to this Nation piece reporting on what was believed to be the first wedding attack in Yemen.
...this is at least the eighth wedding party reported wiped out, totally or in part, since the Afghan War began, and it extends the extermination of wedding celebrants from the air to a third country—six destroyed in Afghanistan, one in Iraq, and now the first in Yemen. And in all those years, reporters covering these “incidents” never seem to notice that similar events had occurred previously.  
Sometimes whole wedding parties were slaughtered, sometimes just the bride or groom’s parties were hit. Estimated total dead from the eight incidents: almost 300 Afghans, Iraqis and Yemenis. And keep in mind that, in these years, weddings haven’t been the only rites hit. US air power has struck gatherings ranging from funerals to a baby-naming ceremony.
Power is no stranger to getting bloody herself. This April her speeding motorcade made quick work of a 7-Year old child in Mokolo, Camaroon. Power offered the equivalent of $1,700, flour, soap, and two cows as compensation: a show of  "deep regret" that had many of us echoing the ambassador's refrain,  "Really?"

While the good Ambassador Power may delight in her juvenile disdain for the Russian's and their proxy slaughters, she seems to have a gift for pulling it off with remarkable hubris in keeping with the State's broad reliance on the "memory hole" of history.

The rest of us may resist the urge to weep. Or vomit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

KSA and Israel; US Client States Have Their Priveleges

"The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen has launched the country into a humanitarian crisis. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia has imposed a strict blockade on Yemen, which previously imported 90 percent of its food and medicine. According to UNICEF in May, the conflict has left 21 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, and more than 300,000 children under 5 at risk of severe malnutrition."

Amid continuous bipartisan hand-wringing regurgitation of Putin's international sin of annexing Crimea in 2014 and increased presence in Ukraine, increased bombing runs in Syria. All for the heinous act of supporting an ally who the US is actively trying to overthrow.

Still, few care to contrast the infinitely more brutal US supported civilian massacre in Yemen. 

The primary reason of course is to fight terrorism though ISIS and Al Queda of the Arabian Peninsula were non existent in the region in any real sense prior to US drone strikes beginning in earnest 2009-2010.

A New York Times Editorial lamenting America's 'complicity' in the Saudi onslaught of civilians in Yemen, and calling for suspension of weapons sales to the House of Saud, has got the pundits yapping and that's good. But where was this sane rational chorus call for 'control via withdrawal of support', during the 2014 Gaza invasion and civilian slaughter by Israel?

In that conflict, the NYT preferred to manufacture consent for Israel; Effectively, supporting and justifying the regime dropping the bombs. On a people under military occupation. Imagine the Nazis opening an air campaign on the Polish Resistance. 

When it comes to Israel's transgressions, zero shits are typically given about Palestinian civilian casualties.

Through this lens we can begin to see both the hypocrisy of the US media regarding "necessary wars" in Gaza and Yemen as two accounts of regional aggression by US allies and how this type of aggression wether Israeli or Saudi, is treated differently than Russian or Iranian "aggression".

In Yemen, the Saudis are our "imperfect" Arab allies. They are good because, with the help of American indifference (HRC weapons deals, UN Veto power, unified against a rising Iran), the Saudis  are probably the most obvious representation of  those "Muslim partners" politicians like to invoke as the solution to fighting ISIS.

Saudis get more opportunities to advance regional hegemony (see Yemen), the US gets a foothold in the radical Wahabee


 rest of the crazy and unpredictable (desiring self-determination); In Gaza, the Israelis. What makes the difference is the luxury to which we grant allowances for crimes against humanity to our 'western' allies, of which the House of Saud, is not. We are tight with the Saudis, but not so close as to have the US Congress cheering them on. 

Though similar in many ways, Gaza and Yemen are not alike. 

But the real reason, beyond even concerns of alleged Iranian influence via the Houthis is to thwart and undermine any authentic moves toward Arab Nationalism.

It is instructive to note the concern over Arab Nationalism is equally opposed by Saudi Arabia as it is by Israel.

Neither the House of Saud nor Likud Israeli regime is interested in neighboring with a regime dedicated the rights and concerns of its Arab non-Jewish population, but rather, the sublimation of those interests to Western concerns and business interests.

It is here then, that an overlapping of interests occurs between the three: Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States with the US continuing to tighten its grip over the Middle East.

Israel and KSI provide convenient sledgehammers on either end of the "Arab Israeli" ideological spectrum.

Military dictatorships have been the preferred option in the post-coup environment. In Argentina and Chile and Guatemala and most of Latin America, US backed death squads and authoritarian governments were the "go to" setup after the overthrow of the legitimate democratically elected government.

Turkey has reverted to this, as has Egypt. Client state governments can exist in any form so long as they perform their useful function to punish Arab resistance before it becomes another 'Arab Spring' and thereby "threatening" it's stability for the US and Western domination abroad.

KSI's slaughter of the Yemeni civilian population - an struggle pitting the region's most wealthy nation against its most vulnerable and impoverished - reminded me of another, another blockade, another humanitarian crisis, another chance for the United States to take a different road.

Gaza is to Israel what Yemen is to the Saudis - an isolated poor population carrying out violence in direct response to the violence carried out against them.

Recall Gaza the summer of 2014 during Israel's assault on the strip. The difference being Hama' mostly symbolic and strategically useless rocket attacks into Israel, adding another empty "threat" to which Israel could respond with disproportionate force behind the charade of self-defense.

With Israel demonstrating record levels of impunity across the two Obama terms, especially in Gaza - Operation/s Caste Lead, Pillar of Defense, the Mavri Mamara Flotilla Massacre, Netanyahu's public opposition to Iran nuclear deal, bicameral address of US Congress, efforts to sabotage deal behind the scenes. 

Caping it all off will likely be a $4-5 bn 10 year guaranteed weapons aid package for Israel, a state with free health care. This will put this aid beyond reach, a move Israel will not misinterpret.

Yet we must look to our ever more brazen "ally" to the west to see where all this impunity is likely to go. 

It is becoming clear, specifically with the latest Saudi Bombing of a Doctors Without Borders Hospital yesterday, a bombing, the Saudi Arabia is not left behind in regional brutality. The Doctors without borders strike killed 15 civilians. The shells, Made in the USA.

The fourth Doctors without Borders Hospital to be hit in 17-month conflict. Yet the US remains silent.

The Saudis recently elbowed their way onto the UN Human Rights Commission, instantly rendering it irrelevant. KSI also blatantly coerced the UN into removing Saudi Arabia - a move similar to what the US Congress did when Israel was threatened inclusion on the same report.

And with a looming Clinton presidency - HRC saw through historic arms sales to the Saudis and accepted 10's of millions from the House of Saud on behalf of The Clinton Foundation - it does' t take the mind of Seuss to imagine even more "special treatment" for our Saudi friend.

We are likely to see a newly emboldened KSI, patterned on Israeli impunity that has characterized the region for decades.

All with a stern condemnation followed by a wink and a nod from the State Department.

Monday, July 18, 2016



The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states. 
Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States

In the months that followed, Israel continued to reject the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. Speaking to the Assembly on February 7, 1949, Moshe Shertok was adamant in reiterating Israel's position that the subject of Arab refugees must be excluded from any discussions on a peace agreement. The refugees should forget about returning to their homes, he suggested, and just resettle elsewhere.[xiii]The Chairman of the Conciliation Commission, Claude de Boisanger of France, adopted the Zionists' position, urging a solution requiring the refugees to give up the hope of ever returning home. He favored a solution that could be "worked out practically and not by adhering to rigid law and principle."[xiv]

Saturday, June 11, 2016

"A Stone and A Sling"...Soundgarden for Palestine?

Released exactly one day prior (Nov.13, 2012) to Israel's devastating operation "Pillar of Defense" (Nov. 14, 2012) in Gaza after assassinating a democratically elected Hamas leader, calling the response aggression and "reacting" according to the Dahiya Doctrine - Soundgarden released its 6th studio album: King Animal.
Operation Pillar of Defense (Hebrewעַמּוּד עָנָןʿAmúd ʿAnán, literally: "Pillar of Cloud")[22] was an eight-day Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, which began on 14 November 2012 with the killing of Ahmed Jabari, chief of the Gaza military wing of Hamas.[23][24][25][26]
I am no stranger to philosophical interpretations of Chris Cornell's lyrics.

From Cornell's manic/paranoid delusions of young love/lust :

"Pretty noose is pretty hate"

or tales of it's slow, suffocating decline:

"Close the door and pull the shades and climb the walls".

Jesus Christ Pose
Hunting Down
Black Hole Sun
Non-State Actor
Louder than Love

Cornell is a master of the obscure and opaque. However, I feel his verses on Non-State Actor -  second track on King Animal - are particularly compelling. Especially given the onslaught that will initiate the day after.

Pillar of Defense

Without further ado, Non State Actor, Soundgarden. Emphasis added. Enjoy.
Coin in every pocket
More mouths to fill
So weak in the land
Strong in the will (need)
I'll be your beast of burden
I'll be the seed
I bring you the healer
Feel your disease
I bring dirty water
And make it clean (young)
And you are the cure
I am the drug
And we settle for
A little bit more than everything
We're not elected, But we will speak
We're not the chosen, But we believe
And we settle for a little bit more than everything
Bullets, guns and missiles
A stone and a sling
A motherless country
Of thee I sing (song)
You are the tank and rockets
I am the bomb
I teach you a lesson
Sword for a pen
Reading turn the pages
A history of man (look)
You are tabula rasa
I am the book
And we settle for a little bit more than everything
We're not elected, But we will speak
We're…Watch Soundgarden perform Non State Actor...

What do you think??