Posts Tagged ‘US’

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Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media

 

But I thought “meddling” and disinformation were bad things?

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If U.S. television showed ‘Killing Gaza,’ support for Israel would start to shrink

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Threat of World War Three may be at its highest point yet.

 

Moscow Has Upped the Ante in Syria

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US Sanctions Shut Down ‘The Empire Files’ with Abby Martin

For immediate release – Aug 22, 2018

The Empire Files is temporarily appealing for donations on a one-time and monthly basis to continue production in the midst of US attacks on the TeleSUR Network.

As a result of US sanctions against Venezuela, The Empire Files has been forced to completely shut down operations.

The Empire Files, which airs on TeleSUR throughout Latin America and on Free Speech TV and The Real News Network in the United States, has been funded through a contract with the TeleSUR network. As Abby Martin’s primary broadcast, it has released over 100 documentaries, interviews and on-the-ground exposés from battlefields in Palestine, Venezuela and beyond.

As a result of financial attacks by the US government on the primary source of TeleSUR’s funding, production was halted before the completion of Empire Files Season Two.

Season Three, contracted for 26 episodes, was scheduled to begin on July 1. But with the US government blocking wire transfers that originate in Venezuela, the ability to receive funding has not been possible.

For over a year, funding has been sporadic and often delayed. The Empire Files has been operating by alternating between waiting for late payments and funding production out-of-pocket.

However, with US attacks and sanctions intensifying, the ability to receive funds appears to have been cut-off completely.

Contract TeleSUR journalists elsewhere, including at Empire Files, have had funding blocked by the US government for over 6 months. Even wire transfers not originating Venezuela, but ally countries which also fund TeleSUR, have been severed.

There appears to be no solution, and no end in sight, to this ongoing financial attack.

The Empire Files officially halted all production on May 27, and had to cut all staff prior to that. But we have been holding-off on an official announcement in hopes that the wall put in place by the Trump Administration would be overcome.

We are making this announcement now because, after numerous attempts and constant rejections of all types of fund transfers, we do not believe this barrier will be removed in the near future.

The depth of US attacks

The US State Department has been involved in regime-change projects in Venezuela since the election of the late President Hugo Chavez, first expressed by a violent coup in 2002. During that coup, Venezuela’s state media and pro-government media were shut-down by the US-backed junta. Yet economic sanctions on Venezuela were not implemented until the Obama Administration, in 2015.

The Trump Administration has taken these sanctions to new heights. The most recent escalation came on May 21, 2018, the day after President Maduro democratically won reelection—apparently to punish the Venezuelan people for electing the “wrong” candidate.

Today, the US sanctions on Venezuela are the worst sanctions on any country in the region since those against Nicaragua in the 1980s, according to Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research—a time when the Reagan Administration was waging a full-blown, bloody war against the Nicaraguan people. Similarly it is Venezuela’s poor and working class who are, by design, suffering most from the sanctions today.

These economic attacks cannot be viewed on their own, but part-in-parcel of a regime-change operation—while this is just one front in the US strategy, the sanctions are coupled with violent US-backed coup attempts in Venezuela, including the August 4 assassination attempt on President Maduro.

TeleSUR has always been included as a target for its association with the government. A thwarted US-backed coup plot in 2015 included plans to bomb the TeleSUR news building in Caracas. In 2017, a TeleSUR news team was ambushed by US-backed opposition forces and nearly lynched—one TeleSUR reporter was shot in the back during the assault.

Likewise, Abby Martin and Empire Files producer Mike Prysner were the target of pro-coup politicians and journalists based in Caracas and Miami, leading to hundreds of death threats and causing them to flee Venezuela where they were conducting on-the-ground reporting.

In addition, TeleSUR—along with the other main left-wing news source on Venezuela, Venezuela Analysis—were recently targets of online censorship. Already hit with “warnings” and “sensitive content” bans on YouTube and Twitter, their pages were recently deleted (although later reinstated) by Facebook. This was the second time the TeleSUR English page was removed without warning or explanation by Facebook. Facebook is currently collaborating with the Atlantic Council—stacked with CIA agents, Iraq war architects, Big Oil and the weapons industry—to decide which media outlets “sow discord.”

With only rhetoric of increased aggression coming from the Trump Administration, including threats of all-out US military bombing and invasion, there is no reason to think this multi-pronged attack will subside.

The future of The Empire Files

The entire Empire Files team—which has included a variety of dedicated videographers, editors, animators, graphic designers, composers, audio engineers, writers, researchers, interns and more—has spent nearly three years doing dedicated, rigorous, and sometimes life-threatening work to deliver a high-quality, politically important show once a week.

From the hidden casualties on the US-Mexico border, to environmental disasters in the endangered rainforest, to the most-viewed reporting on the crisis in Venezuela—interviews with President Rafael Correa, Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Ahed Tamimi, and other important figures—profiles of often-unheard voices of migrant domestic workers, young revolutionary activists, immigrant children, hurricane victims, third-party candidates and more—to in-depth educational documentaries on socialism, the crimes of the US Empire, and histories and crises hidden by the mainstream media—The Empire Files has been extremely proud to make this small contribution to a broader movement for change.

But we do not intend to stop this project as long as there are possibilities to continue.

We are prepared to resume production of weekly programs for TeleSUR as soon as blocks on funding are lifted, or circumvented—however, this could mean six months, a year, or never. We know our colleagues at TeleSUR have been fighting for a solution for us and other contractors, and will continue to do so.

In the meantime, we are appealing to our supporters for donations on a one-time basis or as monthly sustainers to restart production, rehire staff and release new episodes for as long as funding permits. Current expenses include $6000 for Empire Files journalists in Gaza.

Unreleased Empire Files content from Gaza and Colombia

In the immediate term, we hope to raise enough funds to complete post-production on our recent, unreleased footage.

Most importantly, our urgent footage and interviews captured by Empire Files journalists in Palestine’s besieged Gaza Strip. This includes never-before-seen footage of the Great March of Return, including new instances of brutality by Israeli forces against unarmed protesters at the border fence, interviews with the family of slain medic Razan Al-Najar and wounded medical workers, and much more.

In addition, we have hours of unreleased footage of Abby Martin on-the-ground in Colombia’s “peace zones,” featuring interviews with FARC leaders and members, and a rare first-hand look at the countries historic peace process as it hangs in the balance after the victory of the far right in the June 17 Presidential election.

If we raise enough money to cover the cost of releasing all of this important content over a span of several episodes, we can then dedicate funds to new filming and production that is not subject to attacks by the Pentagon. This includes documentaries on everything from Trump’s war machine, to the hidden repression of environmental activists.

We ask for your support to expose the crimes of the US Empire at this critical time, as well as your solidarity with TeleSUR and Venezuela’s right to self-determination.

Click here to make a one-time donation on GoFundMe
Click here to become a monthly sustainer on Patreon
We are now accepting Bitcoin donations here: 
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Share this statement here.

For media and interview requests, contact theempirefiles@gmail.com

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A symbol of America’s contempt for international law.

[Photo from the sleuthjournal.com]

By David William Pear

We’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”
-US General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Commander of NATO

 

Contemptuous of international law, the US makes no secret of its plots to overthrow the leaders of internationally recognized governments that reject the neoliberal New World Order. Iran is at the top of the US enemies list. The US has been at it since the 1979 Iran Revolution, when the Iranian people overthrew the US’s “our boy”, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Shah had become the US’s “our boy” as CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt referred to him in 1953, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower overthrew the popular democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Overthrowing governments is illegal according to US law and international law. It is also immoral if one believes in democracy, self-determination, and the sovereignty of nations, respect for human life, and the rule of law.

The Weaponization of Human Rights

The crushing economic sanctions now unilaterally imposed by the US on Iran are causing massive suffering and the deaths of thousands of Iranian civilians. The US response is glee that the sanctions are “working”. This is nothing short of barbaric siege warfare to starve the Iranians out. Under international law the Iran sanctions may be illegal, since they are not authorized by the United Nations. The collective punishment of economic warfare is immoral, economic terrorism and a weapon of mass destruction. Secondary sanctions that impose sanctions on non-US and non-Iranian financial institutions that transact business with Iran amounts to blackmail, especially since it is the US that violated the Iran Nuclear Deal, and not Iran.

Weaponizing human rights is a most cynical tool of US imperialism, especially since the US has a very poor record on human rights at home. While holding itself out in biblical terms as a “city on a hill” (Matthew 5:14-16), the US is not a model of John Winthrop’s Christian Charity, as politicians such as Ronald Reagan have opined. The US is the only developed country that does not consider healthcare a universal human right, and it has been steadily cutting FDR’s New Deal social benefits, while the rich get richer from tax cuts. In 2008 the US bailed out the banks, while millions of homeowners lost their homes. Over 20% of US children live in poverty. Basic human services that are the responsibility of government have been turned into cash machines by privatizing.

George H. W. Bush’s New World Order neoliberals and neocons despise any country that closes its doors to US corporate exploitation, and instead uses its own natural resources for the benefit of its own people. The US uses “human rights” to attack countries such as Venezuela, Libya, and Iran that consider economic freedom from need a human right.

One of the main reasons that Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani negotiated the Iran Nuclear Deal was so that the lifting of UN Security Council economic sanctions would give Iran the much needed ability to increase social spending for the Iranian people. Instead, the imposition of even harsher US unilateral sanctions by the Trump neocon stacked administration has dashed Rouhani’s hopes, and makes the economic situation direr for the Iranian people. The nefarious purpose of sanctions is to make the Iranian people suffer so that they will become disgruntled and rebellious.

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) is a right wing neocon funded and infested think thank that has been particular rapacious in attacking Iran. FDD executive director Mark Dubowitz has been previously hailed as “the architect of many of the Iran sanctions”, as reported by The Nation magazine, How the Anti-Iran Lobby Machine Dominates Capitol Hill.

As Robert Fantina has written in Counterpunch, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy is intensively lobbying for the US to sanction Iran’s “The Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order” (EIKO). One of EIKO’s subsidiaries is the Barakat Foundation, which is a charitable foundation that is concerned with social programs for the people. The Ayatollah Khomeini has described it by saying,

I’m concerned about solving problems of the deprived classes of the society. For instance, solve problems of 1000 villages completely. How good would it be if 1000 points of the country are solved or 1000 schools are built in the country.”… The Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order.

Targeting human rights organization to “promote human rights” is a cruel oxymoron. It is weaponizing human rights at its worst, and attacks the most vulnerable people in a society.

Liberals often consider economic sanctions an acceptable, even humane, alternative to force. Nothing could be further from the truth, and progressive people everywhere need to recognize it. Economic sanctions are violence. The Geneva Conventions recognize that siege warfare and collective punishment against civilians are war crimes. How could something that is illegal in wartime be legal in peacetime? The International Committee of the Red Cross has often raised concerns about economic sanctions, including UN authorized economic sanctions.

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The Western-made weapons surrendered by armed groups in Deraa are “material evidence of gross interference” in Syria, according to Russian Foreign ministry. The Syrian province was under militant control for years.
“Enormous number of Western-produced modern weapons and equipment was handed over by reconciled militants to the Syrian army,” spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, during her weekly news briefing on Thursday. “Different antitank missile systems, armored vehicles and small arms represent material evidence of gross interference in Syria.”

 

Stockpiles of surrendered Western arms in Syria a sign of ‘gross interference’ – Russia

 

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Russian doc on mopping up the rest of the terrorist-controlled areas:

 

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By David William Pear

 

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (i.e. North Korea) cannot trust the United States of America. The US does not keep its promises, honor its treaties and obey international laws. This is not opinion; it is the history of the US, beginning with the many broken promises and treaties with the Native Americans.

The US has broken promises and treaties in every corner of the globe. The US ignores the UN Charter, which is a treaty. It flouts international law, which is based on treaties. The US habitually starts asymmetrical wars, which is aggression and the worst of all war crimes. It destroys nations, leaving millions of people dead, dying, and in misery.

Libya was once a prosperous nation. Muammar Gaddafi was an eccentric dictator, but he had a love for Libya and its people. Under Gaddafi the people enjoyed a high standard of living, economic freedom, and gender equality. Education and medical care were free. Having a home and food was considered a human right. Libya’s oil wealth benefited the people.

Gaddafi was attacked and vilified by the US for decades. After the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001 Gaddafi cooperated with the US in the War on Terror. That is not to say that the War on Terror was a good thing, but Gaddafi was being US friendly. In further efforts to establish friendly relations with the US, Gaddafi denuclearized in 2003. President George W. Bush praised Libya for denuclearizing and suggested Libya as a model for North Korea. In 2011 President Obama wantonly destroyed Libya and conspired in Gaddafi’s assassination. Obama’s Secretary of State gloated afterwards “we came, we saw, he diedha,ha,ha”.

Even if North Korea completely and forever denuclearizes Kim Jong-un can never be assured that one day the US won’t try to do the same thing to North Korea that it did to Libya. North Korea can never put its trust in the US, because the US has proved itself untrustworthy over and over again.

Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program since the early 1990’s. After the First Gulf War in 1991, Saddam Hussein cooperated with the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors right up until the US invasion in 2003. The weapons inspectors advised against the invasion and recommended that the inspections be continued. President George W. Bush invaded anyway based on known lies that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapons program. After the invasion and destruction of Iraq, 1625 weapons inspectors spent the next 2 years searching Iraq and found no weapons of mass destruction.

The US continues to accuse Iran of having a nuclear weapons program even though the IAEA certifies that it doesn’t, and all 16 US intelligence agencies have said that Iran has not had an active nuclear weapons program since 2003. Facts do not matter to the US. It creates its own reality. Based on its own unreality, the US can invent any reason it wants to impose sanctions and invade asymmetrical countries.

Iraq denuclearized, Libya denuclearized and Iran denuclearized. The US invaded Iraq based on the unreality of the existence of nuclear weapons. Libya was invaded based on the invented unreality that the invasion was for human rights. The US has imposed sanctions on Venezuela because it does not consider it “democratic enough”. The US has imposed sanction against Russia because of its alleged invasion of Ukraine, after a US instigated putsch.

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