Friday, November 28, 2014

Israeli Strike On Iran?, Russian Battleships In English Channel, Cold War Heats Up

In a surprising policy paper, the Center for American Progress, or CAP, the so-called idea factory of the White House, expressed support under certain circumstances for an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities if international negotiations eventually fail.

CAP was founded by John Podesta, who currently serves as President Obama’s senior adviser and White House counselor.
The think tank is known for its singular influence over the Obama administration, with many of its recommendations being utilized by the White House.
CAP’s visiting fellow, Shlomo Brom, authored a Nov. 17 CAP paperwith a list of recommendation seven days before the now-passed Nov. 24 deadline for the conclusion of a deal between the P5+1 and Iran on Tehran’s nuclear program.
The deadline passed Monday, with the world powers agreeing to extend nuclear talks for seven months after comprehensive talks failed to produce a deal.
CAP’s report issued a list of recommendations for how the Obama administration should respond to the three most likely scenarios regarding talks with Iran: if a final deal was reached, if the talks failed or if an extension had been agreed upon.
While the CAP paper was addressing the already-passed Nov. 24 deadline, it is instructive to note CAP’s support for Israeli military strikes on Tehran’s nuclear facilities if the talks had ended in failure.
CAP’s thinking on the issue could give a glimpse into the Obama administration’s attitudes and future planning if the nuclear talks collapse after the seven-month extension.
If the talks had failed, the CAP suggested the Obama administration should prepare “for the greater probability of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.”
The think tank posited the U.S. “should not necessarily oppose an Israeli strike under certain circumstances.”
Continued the CAP paper: “First, a successful Israeli attack may allow the United States to avoid difficult decisions about intervening in Iran’s nuclear program.”
“Second, the current regional situation diminishes the odds of an Israeli attack developing into a wider regional conflict.”
CAP explained the Iranian-backed Hezbollah would find it difficult to retaliate against Israel since it has been bogged down in Syria fighting the insurgency targeting Bashar al-Assad’s regime there.
CAP believes Assad himself is “unlikely to divert precious military resources away from his own survival, even to retaliate on behalf of his benefactors in Tehran.”

The paper concluded that most probably Iran would be left alone “with a very limited capability to retaliate.”

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges has told AFP that the United States Army plans to station up to 150 tanks and armored vehicles in the Baltic states as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The phone interview, conducted with AFP from Estonia saw the newly installed head of US Army forces in Europe confirm that extra personnel would be spending time in the area.

There are about 29,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Germany, Belgium and Italy but temporary deployment and training exercises are being stepped up. These deployments start mid-december when around 600 members of the 1st Calvalry Division arrive for a three month period of training in Eastern Europe. The deployments will go on throughout 2015 and 2016 at the very least according to Hodges.

Although the people of Eastern Europe may welcome the American support in their region, it’s highly unlikely that Vladimir Putin will view the move in the same way. The annexation by Russia of Crimea has made many of its close neighbors nervous that the same may happen to them. NATO is determined that will not be the case.

Russia’s Northern Fleet has been conducting naval training near Dover. Two battleships and two supply vessels worked on operations and communications in conditions of adverse weather and heavy marine traffic.
“Today a squadron of warships and support vessels of the Northern Fleet headed by a large anti-submarine ship, the Severomorsk, crossed the narrowest part of the English Channel and passed into the Bay of the Seine,” said Russia’s defense ministry.
The crews held a series of survival exercises in case of flooding or fire, as well as anti-submarine training.
After the training, in one of the world’s most crowded waterways, where the squadron was constantly shadowed by the British Navy’s HMS Tyne offshore patrol vessel, the task force went further and anchored in the international waters of the Seine Bay to wait out a storm.
Both Britain’s and France’s navies confirmed the location of the Russian ships, but denied that the Russians were doing any training.
“They are not holding exercises. They're just waiting in a zone where they are allowed to be several times a year," the French Navy's information service said as cited by Reuters.
The captains of the task force use every opportunity to test their crews should a situation arise.
While sailing in high latitudes, Russian sailors trained by providing assistance to a vessel in distress. They also did electronic communication training and cargo transfers from ship to ship.
When NATO patrol aircrafts approached the task force in North Sea waters, air raid alerts were sounded and crews trained air defense maneuvers.
Combat duty assignments of the large anti-submarine ship, the Severomorsk, specifically practiced the detection and elimination of waterborne targets.

In its war to create a caliphate across Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State is opening a front in North Africa, where affiliated militants are wreaking havoc in eastern Libya and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula — presenting a complex challenge for Washington and its allies in the region.
Through its savvy use of social media and slick production of recruitment videos, the Islamic State — also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL — is attracting a growing number of individual jihadis to its harsh interpretation of Islamic, or Shariah, law.
“ISIL’s stated goal of expanding its caliphate and its adherence to a strict form of Shariah has definitely resonated with a collection of extremists across North Africa, who appear to be mimicking ISIL’s rhetoric and brutality,” said a U.S. intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss security issues freely.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Islamic State is going to commit and claim responsibility for an increasing number of attacks in North Africa, both in Libya and in the Sinai during the year ahead,” said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.
“But it’s not yet clear how it’s going to play out,” Mr. Joscelyn said. “If they go in the direction of more horror killings the way the Islamic State is doing in Syria and Iraq, they may go after Christians and others, and that could end up triggering sectarian violence in Egypt. But that remains to be seen.”

It was a Malaysian jet, carrying Malaysian passengers, flown by Malaysian pilots, yet after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014, Malaysia has been systematically blocked from participating in the investigation, leaving an overwhelmingly pro-NATO bloc in charge of the evidence, investigation and outcome as well as the manner in which the investigation will be carried out.

Despite the integral role Malaysia has played during several pivotal moments in the aftermath of the disaster, it appears that the closer to the truth the investigation should be getting, the further Malaysia itself is being pushed from both the evidence and any influence it has on the likely conclusions of the investigation. With the downed aircraft in question being Malaysian, Malaysia as a partner in the investigation would seem a given. Its exclusion from the investigation appears to be an indication that the investigation’s objectivity has been compromised and that the conclusions it draws will likely be politically motivated

The Malaysian Insider cited Malaysian scholar Dr. Chandra Muzaffar who believes the decision to exclude his country from the investigation is politically motivated, aiming at excluding members that may urge caution and objectivity instead of draw conclusions first and bend the investigation’s results around those conclusions. In particular, Dr. Muzaffar believes that the investigations is intentionally being skewed to target Russia.

Ukraine’s involvement in the investigation is particularly troublesome. 

Had MH17 crashed in Ukraine under different circumstances, Ukraine’s role would be welcome. However, it was apparently shot down specifically in a conflict in which Kiev itself is a participant. With both sides of the conflict possessing anti-aircraft weapons and with Kiev itself confirmed to possess weapons capable of reaching the altitude MH17 was flying at when it was allegedly hit, Kiev becomes a possible suspect in the investigation. Kiev’s inclusion in JIT represents a monumental conflict of interest.

Imagine a potential suspect leading an investigation into a crime they may have committed. The possibilities to cover up, skew, spin, tamper with or otherwise distort both the evidence and the outcome of the investigation are endless.

And to compound this already glaring conflict of interest, it was revealed recently that an alleged “secret deal” was struck by JIT in which any member could bar the release of evidence. With all members of JIT being pro-NATO and decidedly arrayed against Moscow, such a “deal” could prevent crucial evidence from being revealed that would effect an otherwise distorted conclusion drawn by the investigators aimed specifically at advancing their greater political agenda in Eastern Europe. Had Malaysia been a member of JIT, the ability of other members to withhold evidence would have been greatly diminished and it is likely such a bizarre deal would not have been conceivable, real or imaged, in the first place

Malaysia is not generally perceived to be a stanch ally of Moscow, but it is neither a loyal client state of Washington, London or Brussels. On many issues, Malaysia has exhibited an independence in foreign policy that has perturbed the so-called international order maintained by the West. And Malaysia’s internal politics have long wrestled to stem inroads by Washington’s favorites including Anwar Ibrahim and his political faction, Pakatan Rakyat.
Its inclusion in the investigation would provide a much needed, impartial counterweight to an otherwise fully pro-NATO JIT membership.

To casual observers, the current investigation led by NATO members and Kiev, a possible suspect, would be no different than the Donetsk People’s Republic and Russia leading it. 
Few would consider a DPR or Russian led investigation impartial, and few should see a NATO-led investigation as impartial. Had Malaysia been included in the process, an argument could have been made that an actual investigation was taking place rather than a complex propaganda campaign.

Malaysia’s exclusion is a troubling sign for the victims of the MH17 disaster, meaning the true culprits will never be known. The overt politically motivated nature of the investigation will on one hand  help fuel NATO’s propaganda war, but on the other hand, fuel the doubts of millions worldwide over the true events that took place in the skies of eastern Ukraine that day. Like so many other events in human history that took place amid a high stake political struggle, the downing of MH17 will be shrouded in mystery, mystery draped over the truth by the irresponsible leadership of NATO, and those in Washington, London and Brussels egging on the conflict in Ukraine to this very day

Many mainstream media websites helped a fake video go viral this month. The video showing a young Syrian boy running through sniper fire to save a little girl, was exposed as a fake when the Norwegian producer Lars Klevberg made the fact public. One of the stated aims of the Norwegian film makers was to “see how the media would respond to a fake video.” This article examines how that experiment went.

The western press very quickly accepted the video as real and used it to support the US administration’s narrative on Syria. Many top US news sources began to spread the story. Even though the producer said he explicitly added big hints that the video was fake, like the children surviving multiple gun shots.

But it isn’t just the mainstream media that was easily duped by the convenient propaganda film. The video experts that were asked to scrutinise the video, failed to recognise that the video was a fraud. The Telegraph stated that upon enquiry ‘experts told them they had no reason to doubt that the video is real”. International Business Times went a step further spinning the statement to “experts told The Telegraph that they have no doubts on the authenticity of the footage.

This is very strange since both children in the film walk away after being directly and repeatedly hit by bullets. The creators of the film said he purposely scripted this as a big hint that the video is fake. The lack of scrutiny the media experts employed suggests incompetence or the same level of bias as the media that employs them

No comments: