BBC HARDtalk with Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran

“If Iran wanted to build the bomb, we would have built it long time ago.
But if the Europeans are serious about a nuclear deal in the Middle East, there’s somewhere else that they need to be looking, and that’s Israel where they have at least two hundred nuclear warheads.”

HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi is in New York for a rare interview with Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif who is attending high level talks at the UN. Hostilities between Iran and the US are at a historic high; recently, President Trump said he was ‘ten minutes away from war with Tehran’. Could the two countries stumble into a war? And is Iran raising the stakes in the Persian Gulf after Washington tore up the nuclear deal last year?

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Why These Three Countries Are the Real Troika of Evil

By Philip Giraldi

There are monsters among us. Every day I read about an American “plan” to either invade some place new or to otherwise inflict pain to convince a “non-compliant” foreign government how to behave. Last week it was Iran but next week it could just as easily again be Lebanon, Syria or Venezuela. Or even Russia or China, both of whom are seen as “threats” even though American soldiers, sailors and marines sit on their borders and not vice versa. The United States is perhaps unique in the history of the world in that it sees threats everywhere even though it is not, in fact, threatened by anyone.

Just as often, one learns about a new atrocity by Israelis inflicted on the defenseless Arabs just because they have the power to do so. Last Friday in Gaza the Israeli army shot and killed four unarmed demonstrators and injured 300 more while the Jewish state’s police invaded a Palestinian orphanage school in occupied Jerusalem and shut it down because the students were celebrating a “Yes to peace, no to war” poetry festival. Peace is not in the Israeli authorized curriculum.

And then there are the Saudis, publicly chopping the heads off of 37 “dissidents” in a mass display of barbarity, and also murdering and dismembering a hapless journalist. And let’s not forget the bombing and deliberate starving of hundreds of thousands innocent civilians in Yemen.

It is truly a troika of evil, an expression favored by US National Security Advisor John Bolton, though he was applying it to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, all “socialist” nations currently on Washington’s “hit list.” Americans, Saudis and Israelis have become monsters in the eyes of the rest of the world even if in their own minds they are endowed with special privilege due to their being “Exceptional,” “Chosen by God” or “Guardians of Mecca and Medina.” All three countries share a dishonest sense of entitlement that supports the fiction that their oppressive and often illegal behavior is somehow perfectly legitimate.

Read the full article at Information Clearing House

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Shadow World: The Global Arms Trade Network

Investigating the billion-dollar global arms industry that counts its profits in billions and its losses in human lives..

Today, total international trade in arms is worth about $100bn a year, according to Pieter Wezemen, senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

With military power as the backbone of foreign policy and the central strategy for economic gains, the volume of international transfers of major weapons has been growing steadily over the past 15 years.

Based on Andrew Feinstein’s book, The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, this film reveals some of the largest and most corrupt arms deals in history.

The UK is the largest arms producer in Western Europe and it’s also a top exporter of arms to Saudi Arabia. The most notable deal between the UK and Saudi Arabia is the Al-Yamamah arms deal in which the British Weapons Manufacturer BAE Systems was the main contractor. The first sales took place in September 1985.

Through the deal, Saudi Arabia wanted $54bn (or 43 billion pounds) worth of weaponry. Massive bribery secured the deal in favour of BAE. The UK Serious Fraud Office and police identified $7.6bn (or six billion pounds) in corrupt payments.

In order to smooth the way with Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Al Saud, Saudi Ambassador to the US (1983-2005), BAE gifted him a huge commercial airliner all of his very own and a total of one billion pounds over the years.

Investigative Editor for The Guardian, David Leigh says there is evidence that Mark Thatcher, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s son, got 12 million pounds ($15.2m) in cash for acting as an intermediary for the Al-Yamamah deal.

Today, Saudi Arabia continues its blockade and military intervention in Yemen, which has resulted in what the UN has declared the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. This, however, has not stopped the UK from continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia saying that their strategic relationship with Riyadh needs to be protected.

The US, of course, remains the world’s largest arms exporter and is the number one supplier of arms to the Middle East. The largest recipient of US arms in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia. Employed as a political and economic tool, the international arms trade has pushed the world into a perpetual state of war.

Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired colonel of the US Army and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell says that the ultimate manifestation of the national-security state will go to all ends to create this perpetual state of war. “The national-security elite today is mostly composed of people who hit the revolving door multiple times during their lives,” says Wilkerson.

Dick Cheney, former secretary of defense and vice president of the United States, is a prime example. From 1989-1993, Cheney served as secretary of defense during the presidency of George HW Bush. He then moved on to become the chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995-2000. The American multinational corporation is one of the world’s largest oilfield service companies. Halliburton was hired during the US invasion of Iraq when Cheney came back into power as vice president under President Geroge W Bush.

Wilkerson explains that this revolving door between the private industry and government “keeps the national security elite very small and very wealthy”.

This wealth is generated at the cost of human life. The US is also the biggest supplier of military aid to Israel. Israeli weapons manufacturing companies are becoming an increasingly important and significant part of the Israeli economy, which means that war is a depending factor.

“Every two years or so the Israeli military attacks the Gaza Strip and right after there is a trade show in which Israeli weapon companies show their technologies … The first thing they say when they try to market is, ‘We’ve already used that on actual human beings.’ By making that claim, they are able to compete with other weapon manufacturers from other countries … it’s also a trade show for the US arms industry,” says Israeli Economist Shir Hever.

Through the global arms trade, democracy continues to be undermined and any real chance of working towards global security and peace is diminishing.

Uruguayan journalist and novelist Eduardo Galeano writes, “The 20th century, born proclaiming peace and justice, died bathed in blood. It passed on a world much more unjust than the one it inherited. The 21st century, which also arrived heralding peace and justice, is following in its predecessor’s footsteps.”

Source: Al Jazeera

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Israel’s War Criminals in Their Own Words

By Philip Giraldi

Israel’s public face, sustained and propagated by a wealthy and powerful diaspora that has significant control over the media, insists that the country is the Middle East’s only true democracy, that is operates under a rule of law for all its citizens and that its army is the “most moral in the world.” All of those assertions are false. Israel’s government favors its Jewish citizens through laws and regulations that are defined by religion. It in fact now identifies itself legally as a Jewish state with Christians and Muslim citizens having second class status. Israel’s army, meanwhile, has committed numerous war crimes against largely unarmed civilian populations in the past seventy years, both in Lebanon and directed against the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza.

In response to the past year’s Great March of Return protests staged by Gazans along the fence line that separates them from Israel, Israeli army snipers have shot dead 293 Palestinians and wounded seven thousand more. Twenty-thousand other Gazans have been harmed by other weapons used by the Israelis, to include canisters from the volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets. The numbers include hundreds of children and medical personnel trying to help the wounded, which reportedly have been particularly targeted.

The United Nations has reported that many of the wounded have been shot in their legs, which the Israeli army regards as “restraint” on its part. Many of those injured will likely need to have limbs amputated because Gaza lacks the medical facilities required to properly treat their wounds. Israel has bombed hospitals and blocked the importation of medical supplies into Gaza while also not allowing Gazans to leave the enclave for medical treatment elsewhere in the Middle East.

One hundred and twenty amputations have already been performed this year. Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Territories explained “You’ve got 1,700 people who are in need of serious, complicated surgeries for them to be able to walk again…[requiring] very, very serious and complex bone reconstruction surgery over a two-year period before they start to rehabilitate themselves.”

The U.N. would like to provide $20 million in assistance to enable medical treatment rather than amputations but the United States has refused to support emergency funding for the Palestinians through the Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), a step presumably taken to benefit Israel by punishing the Palestinian people.

Read the full article at The Unz Review

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Roger Waters on Palestine: “You Have to Stand Up for People’s Human Rights All Over the World”

After a judge ruled a panel can move forward Saturday at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on “Israel, Free Speech, and the Battle for Palestinian Human Rights,” we speak with one of the event’s scheduled participants: Roger Waters, co-founder of Pink Floyd, one of the most popular rock bands of all time. He says he welcomes the lawsuit that challenged the event, because “what it does is it serves to shine a light on the predicament of the Palestinian people.”

See also: Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, and the Battle for Palestinian Human Rights

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WikiLeaks Revelations: War Crimes, Mass Surveillance and Corruption

Exposing ‘collateral murder’ & mass surveillance: Why the world should be grateful to Julian Assange.

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Honest Government Ad | Julian Assange

The British, Australian, Ecuadorian and US Governments have made an ad about Julian Assange’s arrest and it’s surprisingly honest and informative!

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CrossTalk: Assange in Custody

It has finally happened – WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange was arrested within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. It is widely expected he will be extradited to the US to stand trial. The expected charges are espionage. This is truly a dark day for journalists and journalism.

CrossTalking with Joe Lauria, Ray McGovern, and Sara Flounders.

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Zionism, Crypto-Judaism, and the Biblical Hoax

By Laurent Guyénot

“What’s a neocon?” clueless George W. Bush once asked his father in 2003. “Do you want names, or a description?” answered Bush 41. “Description.” “Well,” said 41, “I’ll give it to you in one word: Israel.” True or not, that exchange quoted by Andrew Cockburn sums it up: the neoconservatives are crypto-Israelis. Their true loyalty goes to Israel — Israel as defined by their mentor Leo Strauss in his 1962 lecture “Why We Remain Jews,” that is, including an indispensable Diaspora.
The neocons’ U.S. foreign policy has always coincided with the best interest of Israel as they see it. Before 1967, Israel’s interest rested heavily on Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe. From 1967, when Moscow closed Jewish emigration to protest Israel’s annexation of Arab territories, Israel’s interest included the U.S. winning the Cold War. That is when the editorial board of Commentary, the monthly magazine of the American Jewish Committee, experienced their conversion to “neoconservatism,” and Commentary became, in the words of Benjamin Balint, “the contentious magazine that transformed the Jewish left into the neoconservative right.” Irving Kristol explained to the American Jewish Congress in 1973 why anti-war activism was no longer good for Israel: “it is now an interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States. […] American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say, no, we don’t want to cut the military budget, it is important to keep that military budget big, so that we can defend Israel.” This tells us what “reality” Kristol was referring to, when he famously defined a neoconservative as “a liberal who has been mugged by reality” (Neoconservatism: the Autobiography of an Idea, 1995).

With the end of the Cold War, the national interest of Israel changed once again. The primary objective became the destruction of Israel’s enemies in the Middle East by dragging the U.S. into a third world war. The neoconservatives underwent their second conversion, from anti-communist Cold Warriors to Islamophobic “Clashers of Civilizations” and crusaders in the “War on Terror.”

Read the full article at The Unz Review

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Israeli Settlers are Victims of Occupation Just as We Are

Israelis, who get enrolled into their government’s oppression of the Palestinian people are victims just like those they oppress, iconic Palestinian activist and former prisoner Ahed Tamimi told RT’s Going Underground.

“I pity [the Israelis] because they are dehumanized. They are only filled with hatred. It is not about occupying the land, it is about occupying the minds,” she said.

Tamimi, who got international fame after being arrested by Israel for slapping a soldier, made the argument about Israelis being victimized by the policies of their government after being released from an Israeli jail.

The young activist spoke to program host Afshin Rattansi ahead of the first anniversary of the Great Return March, the ongoing mass protest by Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip staged near Israel’s border wall. Israel justifies its heavy-handed response to the protest, which resulted in at least 183 people being killed and over 9,000 injured, by saying the movement is just a cover for the militant movement Hamas to launch its attacks against Israel.

Source: RT International

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