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Finian Cunningham

Korea Solution Needs US to Sign a Peace Treaty

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Germany and France have backed the stance of Russia and China for negotiations to avert the Korea crisis. South Korea and Japan also seem to be amenable to recent calls by Russian President Vladimir Putin for exclusively diplomatic efforts. Any other option in the alarming standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program portends disaster. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has endorsed the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran as a model for possible negotiations.

That puts the United States on the margin of international consensus, with its repeated threats to use military force as an option against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Last week, following another North Korean ballistic missile test that overflew Japan, US President Donald Trump’s top national security adviser reiterated Washington’s self-declared right to use pre-emptive military force, tacitly including the deployment of nuclear weapons.

"For those who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option," said General HR McMaster to reporters in Washington.

While McMaster and President Trump, as well as Pentagon chief James Mattis, have said on other occasions that the US would prefer to seek a diplomatic solution to the Korea crisis, such purported preferences do not inspire confidence.
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American Jackboot Diplomacy

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The latest extraordinary roughshod violation of Russian diplomatic rights by the American authorities shows that the US doesn’t want to restore normal bilateral relations. Indeed, it has now resorted publicly to jackboot diplomacy.

The rapid ordering of Russia to vacate three of its diplomatic properties – in a matter of hours – amid reported threats from the American authorities that they would smash down entrance doors if the orders were not complied with, shows a reckless disregard for Russia’s sovereign rights. Not just Russia’s sovereign rights, but the rights of all nations, as far as America is concerned.

There were also reports that US secret service agents conducted inspections of the properties while Russian officials were deprived access to the building. Such conduct marks not only provocative contempt for Russian authorities, it also raises concerns that US agents were attempting to plant incriminating evidence which might be subsequently "uncovered" by the ongoing probes into alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election last year.
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Self-Defense Is No Defense for US Acts of War in Syria

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The shooting down of a Syrian fighter jet by US forces this week comes on the back of several aggressive actions by American military on the ground. Taken together the US actions mark an alarming escalation of intervention in the Syrian war – to the point where the Americans can be said to be now openly at war against Syria.

The American military actions also come despite repeated warnings from Russia against such unilateral deployment of force. Following the shoot-down of the Syrian SU-22 fighter bomber this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced the American violence as an act of "flagrant aggression" against a sovereign state. Some Russian lawmakers such as Duma foreign affairs chief Alexei Pushkov went further and condemned it as an act of war by the Americans.

Of course, Washington’s logic is riddled with absurdity. To claim that its forces are acting in self-defense overlooks the glaring reality that the US-led military coalition has no legal mandate whatsoever to be in Syria in the first place. Its forces are in breach of international law by operating on Syrian territory without the consent of the government in Damascus and without a mandate from the UN Security Council.

Another absurdity is the claim that the US forces are "protecting" militants whom they are supposedly training to "fight" the Islamic State terror group (ISIS). On at least three occasions over the past month, American military have carried out air strikes on Syrian government forces and their allies near a strategically important border crossing between Syria and Iraq.
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The Real WMD in Syria – West’s Weapon of Mass Disorientation

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A senior Rand analyst, inadvertently, gave the game away in a recent article inculpating Syrian President Bashar al Assad over the alleged toxic massacre of civilians on April 4. The Rand Corporation, a longtime conduit for CIA propaganda, wrote: "The use of chemical weapons today provokes international condemnation… Those who order their deployment risk being charged with war crimes."

The Western objective, as tacitly admitted above, is therefore to brand the Syrian leader and his government as depraved war criminals, deserving pariah status and excommunication by the "international community."

The alleged use of chemical weapons, a particularly odious weapon of mass destruction (WMD), serves as an effective prop to channel Western public outrage against Assad. Allegedly killing civilians with bullets and bombs just doesn’t have the same psychological power to incite public disgust. Poisoning little children with lethal chemicals is a more effective label with which to demonize the alleged perpetrator.

But the more pertinent WMD issue here is Weapon of Mass Disorientation. And in particular how Western governments, their servile corporate-controlled media, like theRand Corp, New York Times, CNN, BBC, Guardian and France 24, and so on, and local proxy mercenaries inside Syria are covertly deploying deadly chemicals in a series of propaganda stunts. Not only deploying deadly chemicals against civilians in a most cynical and callous way, but getting away with their crimes of murder through an audacious distortion of reality. All made possible because of the West’s media weapon of mass disorientation.
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Trump’s 'Obsolete NATO' Means Europe Paying for US Militarism

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When US President Donald Trump dismisses the NATO alliance as “obsolete” what he really means is not withdrawing from the military pact, but rather offloading running costs onto European nations.

Several times during his election campaign, Trump sounded contemptuous about the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization. His comments about it being “obsolete” raised hopes in certain quarters that the 45th president would scale back American military participation in NATO as part of a wider move to reduce US belligerence.

When Trump gave his inauguration speech on January 20, the thrust of his “America First” theme appeared to be a new focus on building US society and infrastructure, as opposed to squandering resources by intervening militarily around the world as under previous administrations.

Trump’s oft-stated desire to restore friendly relations with Russia also seemed in keeping with his apparently jaundiced view of NATO. The eastward expansion of the military alliance since the 1990s has been a continual provocation to Moscow. When Trump called the pact “obsolete” that suggested willingness for a new US-Russia detente.
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Western Doublethink on Aleppo & Mosul Obscures Terror Complicity

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The Syrian and Iraqi cities of Aleppo and Mosul have strikingly similar situations – yet the Western media perform a complete mental flip over the respective conflicts.

Consecutive reports in news broadcasts set new standards of doublethink by presenting the battles underway in each city as diametrically opposite, when in fact they’re the same. Both are crucial sites for the defeat of illegally armed insurgents. 

Aleppo and Mosul, each located far north in neighboring Arab countries, are the second major cities after their respective capitals of Damascus and Baghdad. Both were important industrial hubs before being seized by internationally blacklisted terror groups.

Islamic State (IS or Daesh) grabbed Mosul in 2014 from where it declared a Wahhabi caliphate encompassing Iraq and Syria. Whereas Aleppo has been under siege since 2012 from the ideologically-related terror group known as Jabhat al Nusra (renamed Jabhat al Fatah al Sham).
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West is Gunning for Russian Media Ban

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It would be monumental, but Western states seem to be moving, ineluctably, towards banning Russian news media channels from satellite platforms and the internet. That outcome – albeit with enormous ethical and political implications – seems to be a logical conclusion of the increasingly frenzied transatlantic campaign to demonize Russia.

Washington, London and Paris appear to be coordinating an unprecedented media onslaught that is vilifying Russia for almost every conceivable malfeasance, from alleged war crimes in Syria to threatening the security of Europe, to shooting down civilian airliners, to subverting American presidential elections. And that’s only a sample.

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson declared this week that Russia is in danger of becoming a “pariah state.” Ironically, that fate has less to do with Russia’s actual conduct and more to do with the desired objective driving Western policy towards Moscow – to isolate and portray Russia as an international reprobate.

If Russia can be sufficiently demonized in the eyes of the Western public by their governments, then the political context is created for drastic measures, which would otherwise be seen as unacceptable infringements of democratic rights. Measures that go way beyond economic sanctions and into the realm of media censorship. How weird is that? The “free world” which deplores “Russian authoritarianism” moving towards media censorship and policing what it deems as “thought-crime.”
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US in Denial Over Sponsoring Terrorism is Why Syrian War Rages On

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Marathon 10-hour talks this weekend between the US and Russia in Geneva failed to produce a comprehensive plan to end the brutal Syrian war.

Cutting through diplomatic jargon, the fundamental problem is that the US remains in denial about its criminal role in fueling the war.

It is this role by the US and various foreign allies in supporting illegally armed groups that ensures the continuance of the conflict, which has been running for nearly six years with hundreds of thousands killed.

Washington and its allies – in particular this week Turkey – claim to be fighting terrorism. But the myriad global networks of weapons, cash, oil smuggling and military intelligence all testify to systematic state sponsorship of terrorism in Syria – in spite of random apparent anti-terror operations by these same sponsor-states.
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Pentagon, CIA Form Praetorian Guard for Clinton as Warmonger President

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Former director of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael J Morell is the latest in a phalanx of senior US military-intelligence figures who are shedding any pretense of political neutrality and giving their full-throated endorsement to Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

In a New York Times opinion piece, Morell starkly backed Clinton as the most ”highly qualified to be commander-in-chief… keeping our nation safe.”

The ex-CIA chief’s op-ed piece also served as a blunt hatchet job on Republican presidential rival Donald J Trump. Morell said the New York billionaire-turned politician is ”not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.”

The hoary, old scare-theme of “national security” is being rehabilitated as the criterion for electing Clinton. It also has the disturbing connotation of an increasingly militarized totalitarian regime that the United States is becoming.
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Saudis Push Washington Revolt Against Obama on Syria

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That 51 US diplomats reproached President Obama’s Syria policy by calling for greater American military force deployed against the Damascus government was itself a remarkable sign of official dissent within Washington. But the president’s authority was further brazenly undermined when a few days later the Saudi rulers endorsed the dissenting US diplomats – while being received at the White House. 

Several things can be discerned here. For one, the US policy on Syria is reeling from failure. The objective of regime change – which has impelled the whole war in that country for the past five years – seems to be fading as an obtainable goal. Russia’s military intervention beginning last October to stabilize the Syrian state put paid to that. Reports that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the top commander of the so-called Islamic State (IS or Daesh), has been killed in a Syrian/Russian air strike in the group’s eastern stronghold of Raqqa suggests that the foreign-backed terrorist insurgency is indeed facing final defeat. 

The US covert tactic of using a dual-track political process of supposed peace negotiations to allow for mercenary proxies to regroup has also come unstuck. Syria and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies have not relented in targeting terrorist militia, even those whom Washington disingenuously refers to as “moderates” and “on ceasefire.” The cessation in hostilities called for by Russia and the US back in February is sundered because it never was a bona fide ceasefire in the first place, as far as Washington was really concerned. It was only a side-way maneuver to facilitate regime change by political means.
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