U.S. bill calls for inspections of Russian far East seaports

From Strategic Culture Foundation

By Alex Gorka

May 6, 2017

On May 4, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea targeting its shipping industry and slave labor among other things as tensions continued to mount over North Korea’s advancing nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act (H.R. 1644) is designed to undercut North Korea’s economy by cracking down on the network of banks and industries that help it avoid Western sanctions. In particular, it cracks down on North Korean shipping and use of international ports.

The bill bars ships owned by North Korea or by countries that refuse to comply with UN resolutions from operating in American waters or docking at US ports. The legislation also targets those who employ North Korean slave labor. Anyone who uses the slave labor that North Korea exports to other countries would be subject to sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

The Act also requires the Trump administration to determine within 90 days whether North Korea is a state sponsor of terrorism. Such a designation would trigger more sanctions, including restriction on US foreign assistance.

The bill includes «inspection authorities» over Chinese, Iranian, Syrian and Russian ports. The latter include the ports of Nakhodka, Vanino and Vladivostok.

No UN Security Council’s resolution delegated the authority to inspect foreign seaports to the United States. The inclusion of such measures is seen as a hostile act. The legislation is a flagrant violation of international law.

Perhaps, the US lawmakers have not been informed that inspections of ships in Asia-Pacific are regulated by the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control in the Asia-Pacific Region, known as the Tokyo MOU, which has been in force since April 1994. Its section 3 called Inspection Procedures, Rectification and Detention describes in detail the procedures of ships inspections. Under the document, the US has no special rights to inspect foreign ships.

Suppose Russia or China introduced a special legislation foreseeing «inspection authorities» regarding US merchant vessels and specific American seaports, would the Congress accept it? Would the US administration and lawmakers put up with it? Do the representatives not realize that the bill violates the concept of international security and will be met with an adequate response?

The text of the bill calls for compliance with the UN resolutions but no Security Council resolution ever mentioned Russian seaports. Do the lawmakers not understand that the idea of inspecting Russian seaports and ships is as realistic as dogs complying with barking ban? It’s surprising that the bill in question was approved by such overwhelming majority without much debate regarding the consequences if it becomes law.

The previous Congress went to any length to spoil the bilateral relations with Russia. The current Congress is doing the same thing. As soon as the prospects for improving the Russia-US relations open up, Congress steps in to create artificial hurdles on the way. Always the same song and dance.

Here is another example. On May 3, the House of Representatives passed the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Year 2017. The bill envisions the creation of a new powerful committee across the security to thwart «covert Russian political interference around the world». The new body would bring together the representatives of the FBI, State Department, Pentagon, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Justice Department, Treasury Department, the 16 intelligence agencies and any other agency, if the president deems it necessary.

Its activities can be broadened to include «such other duties as the president may designate» what constitutes a potentially expansive mandate. The bill requires the committee to prepare an annual report to key congressional panels on anti-Russian efforts. So, there will be a new committee created to duplicate the work of other agencies. This is a good example of what bloated bureaucracy means.

The bill would also restrict Russian diplomats from traveling more than 50 miles from official embassies and consulates without the effective permission of the FBI Director.

The Russian and US presidents talked on the phone on May 2, discussing the prospects for cooperation on such burning problems as North Korea and Syria. Neither can be solved without coordination of activities between the two great powers. The issues are hot on the world agenda and the interest is common. If the abovementioned bill becomes law, confrontation would be unavoidable. Nobody will win, everyone will lose. Hopefully, Senate and President Trump would be reasonable enough to prevent it from happening.

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/05/06/us-bill-calls-for-inspections-russian-far-east-seaports.html

Is North Korea a diversion for a US-Jordan invasion of Syria?

Interesting idea.
However, it is difficult to believe that U.S. Pacific Command (or any of the other Pentagon world regional commands) would allow one command to see action and receive the “glory”, especially with all the preparation, war exercises, and rhetoric against North Korea, The competition for funds, programs, and accolades must be intense, which requires self-justification and proven benefit. And now President Trump is allowing Pentagon commanders to make more of their own decisions. 
Education, outreach, and real peace-making projects are urgently needed.
Global Research, May 04, 2017
Counter Punch 3 May 2017
“Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said that his country has information that Jordan is planning to send its troops into southern Syria in cooperation with the United States….’Jordan is not an independent country. Whatever the United States wants, it will happen,’ said Assad.” — Middle East Monitor

“In the event of a de-facto partition of Syria, the US and its allies will get a strategically important region. It is through Deir Ezzor that the proposed gas pipeline from Qatar is supposed to run….The Deir Ezzor province is also home to Syria’s largest oil deposit, the Al-Omar. …the city and the province are of particular value since the deposits there contain the highly valuable light sweet crude usable in the production of gasoline and diesel fuel.” — South Front, “The Stronghold of Deir Ezzor; What You Need to Know”

The United States is not going to launch a preemptive attack on North Korea. The risks far outweigh the rewards and, besides, the US has no intention of getting bogged down in a conflict that doesn’t advance its geopolitical objectives. The saber-rattling is just an attempt to divert attention from the Syria-Jordan border where the US and Jordan are massing troops and equipment for an invasion of Syria. That’s what’s really going on. The Korean fiasco is a smokescreen.

True, the Trump administration is milking the situation for all its worth, but that doesn’t mean that they want a war with the North. That’s not it at all.  Washington wants to deploy its controversial THAAD anti-missile system to South Korea, but it needs a pretext to do so. Hence, the ominous threat of an “unstable, nuclear-armed North Korea”, that’s all the justification Washington needed to get its new weapons system deployed. Mission Accomplished.

But the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) isn’t aimed at North Korea, it’s aimed at China, and China knows it which is why it has protested its deployment repeatedly. The US wants to surround China and Russia with military bases and missile systems that are integrated into its broader nuclear weapons system. These lethal systems are a crucial part of Washington’s plan to pivot to Asia and rule the world into the next century. Here’s the rundown from Tass:

“Anti-missile elements that are being deployed around the world are part of a very dangerous global project aimed at securing US’ overall overwhelming superiority to the prejudice of security interests of other states….The US missile defense architecture is tilting the strategic balance of forces in the area of offensive weapons and creates more and more serious risks of global instability.” (“US anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe violate INF Treaty”)

And here’s how Russian President Vladimir Putin summed it up:

“The US is developing an anti-missile defense system which”….when it is operational… “there will be a moment in time when our entire nuclear capability will be neutralized, which means that the entire global balance of power will be overturned.. This means one of the powers will have absolute security and be able to do whatever it likes in regional conflicts. We’re talking about unrivaled power in global conflicts. ..This system forces us to create weapons that can nullify the system asymmetrically.” (Tass)

Is missile defense something the American people should want?

Heck no. Just think of the number of people that Uncle Sam has slaughtered in the last 16 years. Now try to imagine if all the constraints on Washington’s rampaging were removed allowing the US to conduct its bloody war on the world with complete impunity?

No one in their right mind would ever give the Washington crazies that kind of power. It’s a prescription for global annihilation. Besides, absolute security for one country means no security for everyone else.

But deploying the THAAD anti-missile system is just one part of Washington’s North Korea swindle. The fear-mongering is also being used to grease the wheels of the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). Here’s the scoop from The Hill:

Sen. John McCain

Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) push for a $7.5 billion fund to bulk up the U.S. military’s capabilities in the Asia-Pacific is gaining momentum as tensions with North Korea mount. The commander of U.S. forces in the region threw his support behind the idea this week, “This kind of money can help us bring together our allies and partners,” said Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. …The … proposal has gained more visibility amid the intensifying concerns over North Korea and its nuclear program.” (“McCain plan gains momentum amid North Korea threats”, The Hill)

So the MIC lackeys in Congress had already been pushing this latest boondoggle, but they needed a trumped up crisis in North Korea to put them over the finish line. Typically, the process is called “creative advertising”, which means scaring the shit out of the public so you can rip them off. Here’s more from the same article:

“I’d like to thank Chairman McCain and this committee for proposing and supporting the Asia-Pacific Stability Initiative,” Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said at Thursday’s hearing. “This effort will reassure our regional partners and send a strong signal to potential adversaries of our persistent commitment to the region.”

The weapons manufacturers love sugar-daddy McCain who’s always on-hand with gobs of moolah.

Here’s more:

“We can thank North Korea for one thing in this,” said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest”. “They’re amplifying the imbalance in the Asia-Pacific.” (The Hill)

Good idea, let’s thank North Korea for this latest windfall for the weapons makers. Why not? Let’s send Kim a nice big valentine from the American taxpayer with John McCain’s name writ large at the bottom.

In any event, Washington’s policy towards North Korea hasn’t changed. All the chest thumping and fireworks are just part of a circus sideshow designed to justify additional defense splurging and missile deployment. At the same time, the media is trying to divert attention from critical developments in the Middle East, particularly the Syria-Jordan border where Washington has rallied its proxy-fighters into a makeshift army that will (likely) invade southern Syria, charge northward to Deir Ezzor,  establish a no-fly zone over the occupied territory, and partition the area east of the Euphrates preventing loyalist forces from reestablishing Syria’s sovereign borders. That appears to be the basic game-plan. Check this out from the Middle East Monitor:

“The Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad said that his country has information that Jordan is planning to send its troops into southern Syria in cooperation with the United States…

“We have this information, not only from mass media, but from different sources”…
Speaking to The Washington Post, King Abdullah of Jordan reiterated that a planned joint operation could take place against terrorists. “It is a challenge, but we are ready to face it in cooperation with the US and Britain.” (“Assad accuses Jordan of planning Syria invasion”,  Middle East Monitor)

The pretext for the invasion will be to fight ISIS, but the real goal is to seize the eastern part of the country consistent with a plan that was concocted by the Brookings Institute two years ago. After 6 years of covert support for CIA-backed militants on the ground, the Trump administration appears to be leaning towards a more traditional military approach. Here’s more from the LA Times:

“Reports have also emerged of Jordanian and U.S. troops on the section of the Jordanian border opposite southwest Syria, a possible prelude to a campaign in which rebels, supported by Jordanian and coalition forces on the ground, would overrun Islamic State’s pocket in the Yarmouk basin, near southwestern Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan.” (“How long can Jordan keep walking the Middle East tightrope?”, LA Times)

Naturally, Moscow is concerned about the developments on the Jordanian border. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a statement saying,

“We will pay special attention to the issues most important for us which concern the situation on the Jordan-Syria border.”

Also worrisome, is the fact that US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis has been traveling across the Middle East rallying Washington’s allies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. Mattis sees the fighting in Syria as a proxy-war between the US and Iran for influence in the region. This same erroneous view is shared by all of the main powerbrokers in the Trump administration.

“Everywhere there’s trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Mr. Mattis said on a stop in Riyadh, adding that nations in the region are working to “checkmate Iran and the amount of disruption, the amount of instability they cause.”

These latest developments take place just days before the resumption of negotiations in Astana, Kazakhstan (May 3 and 4). Russia, Turkey, Iran and a number of the leaders from the rebel groups will gather to see if they can agree on the terms of a ceasefire and an eventual settlement to the 6 year-long war. The Trump administration’s cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase in early April has boosted the morale of many of the jihadists militias and is keeping them away from the bargaining table. In other words,  Trump’s unexpected escalation has sabotaged Putin’s efforts to resolve the crisis and end the hostilities. The last thing Washington wants in Syria is peace.

A number of reports have confirmed that Trump has handed control of his foreign policy to his Generals, Mattis and McMaster. And while Mattis has shown little interest in getting more deeply involved in the Syrian conflict, McMaster sees Russia as a “hostile revisionist power” that “intimidates our allies, develops nuclear weapons, and uses proxies under the cover of modernized conventional militaries.”

McMaster is a hard-boiled militarist with a driving animus towards Russia.  In a speech he delivered at The Center for Strategic and International Studies, McMaster offered this remedy for so called ‘Russian aggression’. He said:

“what is required to deter a strong nation that is waging limited war for limited objectives… is forward deterrence,  …(is) convincing your enemy that (he) is unable to accomplish his objectives at a reasonable cost.”

McMaster can be expected to use his  “forward deterrence” theory in Syria by trying to lure Putin into a confrontation with US forces east of the Euphrates. But there’s no reason to think that Putin will fall into the trap, in fact, it seems highly unlikely given the potential for a catastrophic face-off between the two nuclear-armed superpowers. Instead, Putin will probably take the high-road, present his case to the UN Security Council, and denounce  the US intervention as another example of Washington’s destabilizing and expansionistic foreign policy.

Putin’s worst mistake would be to base his strategy entirely on the situation on the battlefield. He doesn’t need to liberate every inch of Syrian soil to win the war. Let the US and its proxies seize the territory, establish their military bases and no-fly zones, throw up a DMZ along the Euphrates, and wade deeper into the Syrian morass. Putin has other fish to fry. He needs to focus on winning hearts and minds, strengthening alliances and building a broader coalition. He needs to look like the only adult in the room, the rational leader whose sole ambition is to end the dispute and restore security. He needs to establish a contrast between his behavior and that of his recklessly-violent and mentally-unstable rival, Washington, whose flagrant  disregard for international law and civilian lives has plunged the Middle East and Central Asia into chaos and carnage.

If Putin’s ultimate goal is to rebuild the system of global security based on the bedrock principles of national sovereignty and greater representation for all the countries in the world, he must lead by example. Restraint and maturity in Syria will move him closer to that goal.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

Neo-Nazi network in German army exposed

Global Research, May 06, 2017

The arrest of a German army officer suspected of plotting the assassination of leftist politicians and high-ranking state officials has exposed the operations of neo-Nazi forces at the highest levels of the German military (Bundeswehr).

The information that has emerged thus far indicates that the suspected officer-terrorist was part of a broader network of fascists within the Bundeswehr, and that his activities were known to his superiors and covered up by them.

Most astonishing is the official reaction to these alarming revelations. They have prompted an outpouring of anger in the German media and from the establishment parties directed not at the existence of this network and evidence of its toleration by high-level state forces, but at mild criticisms of the military by Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

Given the historic crimes of German imperialism in the 20th century and the current revival of militarism in Germany, it is remarkable how little attention has been paid to these developments in the American and international press.

Lieutenant Franco A., 28, was arrested last week after coming to the attention of Austrian police when he sought to retrieve a weapon hidden at the airport in Vienna. It quickly emerged that the officer had been leading a double life. In addition to his activities in the Bundeswehr, Franco A, who does not speak a word of Arabic, had registered as a Syrian refugee and been recognized as such.

He apparently intended to carry out a terror attack under a false flag. A police search of his home uncovered a list of possible targets, which included, together with leftist politicians and activists, Justice Minister Heiko Maas and former German President Joachim Gauck.

Franco A. did not operate alone. The police have recovered shells and handguns from a 24-year-old accomplice, who was also arrested. The Defence Ministry has informed the parliamentary defence committee that the arrested officer may be part of an ultra-right network within the Bundeswehr.

The reaction of the military leadership suggests that this network is far more extensive and reaches much higher than has thus far been revealed. Defence Minister von der Leyen cancelled a planned trip to the US and invited 100 high-ranking military officers to Berlin on Thursday “to discuss the implications and consequences of the accumulated cases in the Bundeswehr.”

It is now clear that, for some time, Franco A.’s superiors were aware of his fascistic views and shielded him. As far back as 2014, his graduate thesis at the French military university Saint-Cyr was rejected on the grounds that it was not a scholarly work, but rather “a radical nationalist, racist appeal,” calling for “existing conditions to be adapted to the alleged natural law of racial purity.” The responsible French general advised Franco A.’s German superiors to sack him, but the latter concluded that he was not a racist. They hushed up the case and promoted his military career.

The neo-Nazi views of the first lieutenant were an open secret in the French town of Illkirch, where he served in a Franco-German unit. Investigators from the Bundeswehr have found “indications of right-wing and racist ideas” in his room. In addition to a swastika carved on an assault rifle, they discovered pictures glorifying Hitler’s army, the Wehrmacht.

Racist and authoritarian views and the glorification of violence are not only widespread in the Bundeswehr, they are actively encouraged by its leaders. The military intelligence service is currently investigating 275 extreme right-wing suspects. These investigations are exercises in damage control. Charges were dropped against one soldier who placed a photo of a machine gun on the Internet with the caption:

“The fastest German asylum procedure: rejects up to 1,400 requests per minute.”

The tradition of Hitler’s Wehrmacht continues to be officially cultivated in the Bundeswehr. Many barracks bear the names of military officers who were implicated in the Nazis’ genocidal racial and war policies.

The universities of the Bundeswehr in Munich and Hamburg have repeatedly generated headlines by promoting right-wing extremism. In Munich, there was a controversy in 2011 surrounding the student magazine Campus when three of its editors expressed their support for the Conservative Revolutionary movement, one of the leading ideological forbears of the Nazis.

In Hamburg, the book Armee im Aufbruch (Army on the Move) was published in 2014 with contributions from sixteen officers who studied at the Bundeswehr University there and had combat experience in Afghanistan. The book is full of language typical of Nazi literature glorifying war.

The officers consider themselves to be an elite, opposed to a “hedonistic and individualistic” society focused on “self-gratification, consumption, pacifism and egoism,” a society that has no appreciation for the “striving for honour through great sacrifice,” for a “patriotic attitude to the people (Volk) and Fatherland” and for “courage, loyalty and honour.”

There was no protest against the book within the German political establishment. The right-wing, dictatorial standpoint it expressed is shared across the political spectrum.

When Defence Minister von der Leyen, a member of the ruling Christian Democratic Union, responded to the exposure of the Franco A. case by warning that

“the German army has an attitude problem and it apparently has weak leadership at different levels,” she provoked a storm of protest.

She may well lose her post, not because terror attacks on the former president and current ministers and members of parliament were planned from within the ranks of the Bundeswehr, but because she spoke out too sharply against it!

The Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Left Party are protesting the loudest against von der Leyen. SPD Chairman Martin Schulz accused the defence minister of lacking a sense of responsibility. SPD defence expert Rainer Arnold called on her to apologise to her troops. Former Deputy Juso (SPD Young Socialists) Chairman Lars Klingbeil accused von der Leyen of “stabbing hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the back.”

The Green Party defence expert Tobias Lindner declared,

“It is not the Bundeswehr’s fault if it is increasingly attractive to right-wing extremists.”

His colleague from the Left Party, Alexander Neu, proclaimed his opposition to placing all soldiers under general suspicion due to the case of Franco A.

These developments reveal the enormity of the swing to the right by the entire German ruling class and the advanced state of its campaign to again make Germany the hegemon of Europe and a world military as well as economic power. The deepening crisis of world capitalism and rising economic and geo-political tensions are tearing Europe apart and fracturing the Atlantic alliance, increasingly pitting Germany against the United States.

Under these conditions, German imperialism must seek to sanitize its criminal past and rewrite its history to rehabilitate fascism, as it transforms the Bundeswehr into a lethal force of professional killers, capable of waging war all over the world.

Claims that the German ruling class learned its lesson from the Holocaust and the crimes of the Nazis, and that the military had purged itself, are exposed as myths.

In a commentary on Tuesday, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung co-editor Berthold Kohler derided the “fantasy image” of the Bundeswehr “as a kind of missionary military that spreads the gospel of the German constitution so that the German spirit shall heal the world.” He wrote:

“Whoever sends soldiers into crises and wars must prepare themselves and the soldiers for the harshness and cruelty that awaits them.” Because the Bundeswehr has to teach its recruits “to fight and kill … it must be able to go to the limits of what is permissible in terms of hardship in training its fighting units.”

The spread of militarism into all spheres of society is an international phenomenon. In the US, Donald Trump, the most right-wing president in American history, has appointed generals to all the main security-related ministries, as American imperialism spearheads the drive to World War III. In France, heavily armed soldiers routinely patrol the streets since the imposition of a state of emergency a year and a half ago.

The general silence to date of the international media on the growth of fascistic forces within the German military is itself an expression of the turn by the ruling classes of the world toward war and dictatorship.

CIA’s eternal military occupation and crimes

From Space4Peace, Organizing Notes

By Bruce Gagnon
May 1, 2017

I recently bought this book and immediately began to read it.  Douglas Valentine has been writing about the CIA’s role in counterinsurgency for many years.  That word, to be properly understood though, needs much more definition.

Valentine undertook a detailed study and analysis of the CIA’s ‘Phoenix‘ program of counterinsurgency in Vietnam.  He interviewed many of the key players who created and directed Phoenix.  Then Valentine took what he learned from the Vietnam program and shows how it has been refined and implemented in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and more recently in Ukraine.  He illustrates how the mainstream media plays its role in furthering CIA lies and ensuring a docile American public.

Here are a few illustrative bits from the book:

This [American] ruling class within the National Security Establishment, represented most perfectly by Hillary Clinton, knows that its enemies, foreign and domestic, must be suppressed ideologically as well as militarily.  Thus they have embraced the Phoenix concept of employing implicit and explicit terror to control, organize and pacify societies.

The success of the Phoenix doctrine is most evident in the ability of its advocates in the ruling class to corrupt Congress and force it to divert massive amounts of public money into the militarization of foreign and domestic policy.

Now that the corrupt and corrupting Phoenix institutional structure is firmly in place in America, it is only a matter of time until we enter the next Phoenix phase of explicit terror here at home.

The CIA and the media are part of the same criminal conspiracy.

The CIA was protecting the major opium producers in the Golden Triangle [during the Vietnam War], just like they’ve been protecting the major drug dealers in Afghanistan for the last fifteen years. They were funneling heroin and opium to their warlords in South Vietnam as a payoff for advancing the US policies that were detrimental to their own country.

The truth about US wars is less about combating Islamic terrorism or ‘protecting the homeland’ than it is about the dark side of the American psyche, rooted in slavery and the genocidal conquest of a continent.  For American businessmen, the global War on Terror with its relentless bombing campaigns and extra-legal methods shrouded in official secrecy, translates into big profits.

The Afghan people hate the Americans more and more, year after year.  And that makes the CIA happy, in so far as it spells protracted war and increased profits for its sponsors in the arms industry.

Afghan anger means more resistance.  And more resistance provides a neat pretext for the eternal military occupation of a disposable nation strategically located near Russia, [Iran] and China.

But it also means spiritual defeat for America, as it descends ever further into the black hole of self-deception, militarism and covert operations.

Valentine names the names of those who developed this global counterinsurgency operation.  He also names some of the ‘progressive’ activists and alternative media that play ball with the ruling oligarchy here at home by taking money to run their operations.

The book is endorsed by highly respected figures like NSA whistleblower John Kiriakou, academic Peter Dale Scott who came up with the tag ‘deep state’ and the truth-telling Robert Parry at Consortium News (which happens to be one of my favorite sources for news and analysis).

If you want to see the big picture of US empire, understand how it works, understand who many of the insiders are (or have been), and get a glimpse into what is coming to America in the near future – then I highly recommend this book.

http://space4peace.blogspot.com/2017/05/cias-eternal-military-occupation-and.html

Former CIA agent Philip Agee: President Truman invented Soviet/Russian threat to justify militarizing economy

From Space4Peace Blogspot

By Bruce Gagnon
February 16, 2015

…I had the great fortune to meet Agee twice – the first time organizing a speaking event for him in Orlando in the 1990’s that drew folks from across Florida.  The second time I visited his home in Hamburg, Germany in 1995 while on a speaking tour against NASA’s Cassini plutonium launch.

Agee is one of my heroes – he was a man of true conscience who left the CIA after serving for about a dozen years in Latin America.  He was determined to publish a book exposing the wicked work of the CIA and after a difficult four-year period he was able in 1974 to release his book entitled Inside the Company.

From that day on, Agee was marked by the CIA as its enemy.  He was hunted, arrested, threatened, expelled from country after country (often illegally) and sometimes prosecuted.  He tells this riveting story in the 1987 book entitled On the Run.  This is the book Agee gave me when I visited him in 1995 and began rereading last night.

…When I visited Agee in Hamburg he took me on a walking tour of parts of the city…We had fascinating discussions about his life-long efforts to expose the crimes of the CIA. He was a very humble and ordinary guy and I really grew to admire him tremendously.

In his later years Agee moved to Cuba and started a travel business to help people make the trip to that ‘forbidden nation’.  He died there in 2008.

Agee was truly in the mold of Ellsberg, Snowden, Manning and other such remarkable whistle blowers.

In On the Run Agee wrote:

I would try to show how our [CIA] operations help sustain favorable operating conditions for US-based multi-national corporations.  These conditions, together with political hegemony, were our real goals.  So-called liberal democracy and pluralism were only means to those ends.  “Free elections” really meant freedom for us to intervene with secret funds for our candidates.  “Free trade unions” meant freedom for us to establish our unions.  “Freedom of the press” meant freedom for us to pay journalists to publish our material as if it were the journalists’ own.  When an elected government threatened US economic and political interests, it had to go.  Social and economic justice were fine concepts for public relations, but only for that.

http://space4peace.blogspot.com/2015/02/remembering-philip-agee.html

U.S. collects MiG 29s, puts out bids for mock-up T-72 tanks.

Training or preparation for false flag operations? And full-size mock-ups could appear on camera as the real thing.

May 3, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
TVZvezda, translated by Tom Winter –

Screen capture from video at site
The US Air Force, preparing for war with Russia, buys Soviet planes for training its pilots, writes The National Interest.

Thus, the US Army has already acquired three Soviet MiG-29 fighters for training, which were delivered “from the territory of the former Soviet Union.” It is noted that all aircraft are equipped with the original parts.

The publication emphasizes that there are a number of companies providing services for the supply of Russian military equipment, in particular Tactical Air Support and Draken International, which provide a full range of air equipment, from the latest versions of training aircraft to the MiG-21.

Meanwhile, even the Soviet multi-purpose fighter Su-27 has fallen into private hands: Pride Aircraft helped import two planes from Ukraine. According to the publication, one of the fighters was sent to Nellis Air Force base in Nevada, where it was used in training battles against the American F-16.

 In the US, they are preparing for war with “cardboard” Russian tanks

Earlier it was reported that the US Army Ministry posted an order on the state procurement portal for the creation of full-size mock-ups of the Russian T-72 tank. The announcement states that copies of the Russian tank are necessary for the US Army also for conducting military exercises.

Victory Day 2017: Expect more violence by Ukrainian Nationalists, but don’t expect to hear about it in Western mainstream news

May 3rd, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

Ukrainian nationalists, 1941, parading before the Nazi flag
While a repetition of “May 2nd” did not occur in Odessa, it may still occur in the Ukraine, on May 9th.
Three years ago, on May 2, 2014 the war in Ukraine began. Dozens of people were burnt alive in the House of Trade Unions in Odessa – local anti-fascists and people who happened to be in the building accidentally. Official data names 48 deaths. Residents say that among the dead were more than 200 people.
Even if the first figure is closer to the truth (we would like to think that this is so), burning people alive literally under the city center’s cameras, which calls itself Europe, is an event as horrible and as absurd in it is seemingly improbable. However, the whole history of Ukraine since EuroMaidan is a theater of the absurd, and a theater of horror.
Commenting on the events in Odessa three years ago, the ex-deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, Elena Bondarenko, stated that only Odessa alone is enough to remove President Poroshenko from power. After all, this courageous woman added, after Odessa, there were still Mariupol and Donbass.
This would be the case if Ukraine was a European country, but Ukraine belongs to Europe only geographically. Mentally and culturally, Ukraine and Ukrainians are mired in the “Asiatic” of Genghis Khan’s time. Therefore, events like Odessa can occur here with ease.
Relatives of the victims of May 2nd 2014 called for an impeachment to President Poroshenko. Deputies of the opposition block demanded an investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy. Of course, neither the latter nor the former will happen: the Ukrainian government was an accomplice in the terrorist attack, and the Ukrainian Nazis – only performers. The aim of the burning of Odessa is to frighten and shock millions of residents of the “Southeast” of Ukraine (they call this region the lands of historical Russia). This goal has been achieved. Only the Donbass found the strength to resist this, but the Donbass always differed from the rest of Ukraine, much like Sevastopol.
On May 2nd 2017, Odessa was relatively calm. About five thousand people gathered yesterday at the Kulikovo Field (the traditional site for the Odessa anti-fascist activists, according to local police data) who came to honor the memory of the deceased. Any collision with Neo-Nazis was avoided. The authorities prepared in advance. Two thousand policemen from other regions of Ukraine were brought to the city. Servicemen of the national guard arrived in the Kulikovo Field in full arms. This prevented the re-occurrence of the slaughterhouse. At the same time, the SBU reported on the detention of several local residents who were preparing a terrorist attack in Odessa using explosives. No details have yet been reported.
So, a repetition of the tragedy of May 2nd did not occur. Poroshenko’s regime is not interested in airing out dirty laundry, especially on the eve of the Eurovision contest, which will be held in Kiev. Preventing large-scale clashes, the authorities able to demonstrate that they were capable of preventing the tragedy of three years ago, given the burning down of the House of Trade Unions took place for several long hours. Therefore, at the future Nuremberg-2 court in the former Ukraine, not only will there be leaders of Nazi groups, but also the then leaders of the Ukrainian state, Turchinov and Avakov in particular, will be on the dock (if they survive until then).
But until this time, new tragedies may occur.
A few days ago, commenting on Sputnik radio, I said that the repetition of the tragedy in Odessa on May 2nd is possible, but it is unlikely (for the above reason – not to spoil the European image of Ukraine). But, unfortunately, the probability of large-scale collisions increases many times on May 9th. A number of Ukrainian Nazis are in power (for example, Shkiryak, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine; Abroskin, police chief of the Donetsk region) and in the opposition (the OUN – Organization of Ukrainian nationalists, an heir of the Bandera OUN, Kochanivsky, and the leader of Azov and the party if “National Corps” – Biletsky). These people have said that they will not allow such a “sabbath” to dominate Ukrainian streets. Kokhanivsky, for example, called on the “patriots”, that is, the Nazis, to take to the streets of Kiev and disrupt the procession of veterans of the Great Patriotic War.
In turn, the organizers of the Immortal Regiment stated that they will not be afraid to march along the streets of Kiev. A collision is virtually inevitable. The police, I believe, cannot prevent it – the scale and motive are completely different than in Odessa. Therefore, with great probability we will see bloodshed on the streets of Kiev on May 9th. It is my hope that the confrontation will be limited to a smaller number of anti-fascists – Neo-Nazis clearly will not come to the fight with bare hands. Our only hope is in the attention of journalists (especially foreign ones) and the professionalism of the Kiev policemen.

NATO begin training Ukraine fighters to “use force legally” [Video]

May 3rd, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

Canadian instructors have arrived in Lviv to begin training Ukrainian soldiers to “use force”, a course built on NATO principles.
“We conduct training that specializes in the use of force. The course includes a range of skills; how to carry out an arrest, how to use force proportionally and legally.” – said Canadian coach Matthew Hung.

The U.S. supplies weapons to al Qaeda in Syria, via Bulgaria

Global Research, May 03, 2017
Inside Syria Media Center
Investigation: Route of Bulgarian Weapon Deliveries to Syrian Islamists Exposed

Inside Syria Media Center has conducted an investigation to expose a U.S.-backed of weapon supplies to the al-Qaeda group in Syria.

The suppliers list starts with U.S. companies Chemring and its affiliate Chemring Ordinance which previous year signed a contract with the American government and received $47 million in accordance with the Non-Standard Equipment and Weapons Procurement Program. Orbital ATK, another U.S. company was granted $50 million within the program.

The Bulgarian newspaper Trud which initiated a journalistic investigation sent an official request to both companies to clarify what the received money was spent on. Chemring responded some ammunition for the U.S. and its allies’ armies was purchased from Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi (VMZ-Sopot). It included 122mm rockets for the Grad MLRS, 73mm anti-tank shells and 40mm ammo for rocket launchers. The other company, Orbital ATK, simply ignored the request.

Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi (VMZ-Sopot)

Ammo of these types is not in service in the U.S. army. The company refused to disclose which U.S. allies it was intended for referring to the confidentiality of the supply contract. To be mentioned is that earlier Inside Syria Media Center wrote a piece on military vehicle deliveries carried out by the Liberty Passion ship via the port of Aqaba in Jordan on the pretext of tackling ISIS. In this case, the Bulgarian weapon supplies to al-Qaeda are transported via the largest Saudi port of Jeddah.

First, the munitions produced by VMZ-Sopot and purchased by the U.S. are delivered to the Bulgarian port of Burgas to be loaded on the Marianne Danica contracting carrier. This carrier has already traded twice in the route from Burgas to Jeddah.

The munitions are loaded on the Marianne Danica contracting carrier. Source: Bernd Wüstneck

To be noted is that the carrier makes no calls at any ports while spending on average 8 hours in Burgas and Jeddah – a minimum time required for fueling and cargo-handling operations, according to the tracking website Marinetraffic.com.

Cargo ship’s tracking data, Source: Marinetraffic.com.

At the same time, Marianne Danica officially declares that it transports extremely dangerous cargo. According to automated Identification System (AIS) type, the cargo is Hazard A (Major) which is the class for explosives and weapons. However, this cargo is evidently not intended for Saudi Arabia as its army is equipped with the armament provided by Western states only.

Neither the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Bulgaria nor the owner of the ship H. Folmer & Co have officially provided the information on the transported cargo along the route Burgas-Jeddah and the Bulgarian weapons’ recipient country.

H. Folmer & Co-owned Marianne Danica carrier at a port. Source: Marinetraffic.com

Moreover, Amnesty International declares this company and carrier had already been involved into a scandal while carrying tear-gas and riot control weapons including arms to Egypt in 2011. Then, the US State Department spokesperson had to admit it pointing out that H. Folmer & Co had allegedly been granted a license to transport armaments.

Col. Malik al-Kurdi

The fact of Bulgarian weapons deliveries to terrorists is confirmed by the FSA deputy commander Col. Malik al-Kurdi. In an interview to the Trud newspaper, he claimed that

“an HQ has been set up in Turkey and Jordan to ensure cooperation between the special services of 15 states. We warned the U.S. and the EU that the weapons delivered in this HQ gets directly in the hands of the terror organizations.”

Bulgarian-made PK variant machine gun (left) and an RPG-7 launcher (right) used in Western Aleppo Province in Syria, according to a Syrian opposition commander who provided the pictures. Source: balkaninsight

It looks like a double game. I can say with certainty that these countries’ special services arm and finance al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, this is happening in Syria. They accuse anyone of terrorism pursuing the goals of their policies”.
As VMZ-Sopot announced its hiring and adopted continuous shift working, new American administration is up to conclude new contracts.

The recipient of the Bulgarian weapon purchased by the U.S. became evident in December 2016 when two million shells and four thousand rockets for the Grad were found at depos in the eastern districts of liberated Aleppo. The depos belonged to Jabhat al-Nusra.

Ammo for the U.S. army? Source: almasdarnews.com

In connection with this, it would be great to ask what ordinary American people, the relatives of 2,977 people killed in the 9/11 attack conducted by al-Qaeda, think about it.

In 16 years, the U.S. government has not avenged the victims nor eliminated al-Qaeda but instead keeps supplying it with the money of American tax payers.

Data related to investigation credit: Bulgarian Trud.

Sophie Mangal is a special investigative correspondent, Co-Editor at Inside Syria Media Center.

Pentagon once again hides the real number of civilian casualties in Syria and Iraq

Global Research, May 03, 2017
Inside Syria Media Center

he Combined Joint Task Force, in its monthly assessment of civilian casualties from the U.S. coalition’s operations against ISIS acknowledged at least 352 civilians had been killed in U.S.-led strikes in Iraq and Syria since the operation began in 2014.

According to The Guardian, however, the Pentagon put civilian deaths in strikes on ISIS way lower than outside groups. Such a conclusion was made due to the latest data published by Airwars monitoring group. Airwars estimated that 3,164 civilians had been killed by the US-led coalition’s indiscriminate air strikes since the beginning of the ‘counter-terrorism’ operation in Syria and Iraq. Earlier, Airwars reported that only in March this year, as a result of the numerous coalition’s attacks, the number of civilian casualties increased to 1,782.

According to Amnesty International, the likely civilian death toll in Syria from air strikes by Coalition forces between 23 September 2014 and August 2016 was in the range of 804 to 1,213. It was also reported that such an impressive number of victims was caused by inaccurate air strikes, erroneously carried out mainly not at the positions of terrorists, but at residential areas and civil infrastructure.

In this regard, it becomes clear why the command of the international coalition deliberately hides the real number of victims in Iraq and Syria. Having officially acknowledged the deaths of such an impressive number of civilians, Washington will be forced to acknowledge the low level of training of the U.S. Armed Forces in fighting terrorism.

The White House can’t allow this. Now all its efforts are directed to a show of force such as the previous strikes at the Syrian Shayrat airfield. Moreover, in order to maintain the image of a superpower, Washington is ready to neglect even the lives of helpless civilians.

There is no doubt that it is difficult for Washington to hide the real number of casualties among civilians during its military operation in Syria and Iraq. To try and mitigate the reaction of the world community, the Combined Joint Task Force can only dose the ‘new information’ about the victims and demonstratively express its deepest sympathies to the families and others affected by the coalition’s air strikes.

Anna Jaunger is a freelance journalist from Inside Syria Media Center.