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Disturbing images emerge of torture in ‘liberated’ Iraq

Iraqi and US crimes against humanity in and around Mosul threaten the fragile unity of the broken Iraqi nation.

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Contrary to Iraqi state propaganda and the statements of those hoping against hope that Iraq might at some point recover from decades of war and chaos, the sectarianism unleashed by George W. Bush and Tony Blair’s war on Iraq in 2003 continues to dictate events in the ravaged nation.

In February of 1963, the Ramadan Revolution brought the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party to power in Iraq for the first time. The next month, the March 8 Revolution in neighbouring Syria brought the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party to power in Damascus.

In November of 1963, Iraq experienced a military coup where Ba’athists were removed from power in favour of more overtly pro-Egypt figures.

The chaos of Iraq’s ten years of political transition between 1958 and 1968 were finally resolved during the 17 July Revolution of 1968, which brought the Arab Socialist Ba’ath party back to power under the leadership of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr.

Between 1968 and 1979, al-Bakr governed as Iraq’s President witnessing an unparalleled expansion in wealth, GDP, modernisation, women’s rights and social cohesion.

Iraq was never without problems due to its precarious political geography as originally drafted in the secret Sykes-Picot agreement agreed upon between Britain and France during the Arab Revolt which formally began in 1916 when Britain got involved in the region, most famously under the leadership of T.E. Lawrence ‘of Arabia’.

Iraq’s borders are essentially the cobbled together vestiges of three Ottoman Vilayets (provinces) of Shi’a Arab Basra in the south, a broadly demographically mixed Baghdad in the centre, and Sunni/Kurdish Mosul in the north.

Because of this, modern Iraq has always had predominately Sunni Muslim, Shi’a Muslim and Kurdish regions. To say such a nation was difficult to unite would be an understatement, but this is what the Ba’ath party managed to do.

Under Ba’athist rule, Iraq’s government, military and civil service was staffed by Sunni and Shi’a alike as well as Christians.

When Saddam Hussein came to power in 1979, he maintained this balance of power, even though the western encouraged and totally misguided war that Saddam Hussein waged on Iran helped to drive some Shi’a Muslims away from the more overtly anti-Iranian Sunni population.

Nevertheless, in spite of the pressures from the 1990 war on Iraq and a crippling western imposed sanctions regime in the 1990s, Iraq still managed to hold together against tremendous odds.

Today, that is no longer the case. The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq which started in 2003 has left its scars on the country. Iraq’s Shi’a majority who now dominate the government and armed forces blame Iraqi Sunnis for the entirety of the ISIS and al-Qaeda war against Iraqis. Likewise, many Sunnis feel caught between the hard-place of a distrusting central government and the Salafist terrorists who have conquered broadly Sunni regions of the country. The distrust now runs incredibly deep. Iraq’s once thriving Christian population has either been killed or fled, in many cases to Syria where they have sought and received the protection of the Syrian Arab Republic.

This has come to a head around Mosul where Iraqi troops along with their US coalition allies have begun to finally make gains in what had been a war of attrition against ISIS.

While any defeat of ISIS is to be welcomed, sadly, much of Mosul has descended from the rule of the barbarians to the rule of the jungle.

Iraqi soldiers and volunteers have been widely reported to engage in torture of everyone they come across whether they be innocent Sunni civilians or anyone else. Because many high-ranking ISIS leaders have long ago escaped Mosul, it is fair to say that a large number, perhaps even a majority of the victims are civilians who have traded one group of torturers for another.

RT has released an exclusive report showing just some of the torture that has taken place in and around Mosul. The western mainstream media will not touch this subject as it does not fit the simplistic narrative that America is in charge of a sane and methodical operation in Mosul.

The reality is that the US has engaged in airstrikes which have claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and which have totally destroyed the infrastructure of northern Iraq which the Ba’athist government constructed.

Mohammed Serkal, UN coordinator of the organisation SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights spoke with RT about the horrors he witnessed in Mosul. He stated,

“This kind of torture, we’ve seen this kind of torture before. We’ve seen, (that) it is similar to Abu Ghraib”.

He continud,

“At the moment we see the United States getting involved in Mosul with other countries, which is not allowing other countries to get involved and oversee how the fight is taken place, how the Mosul is getting freed”.

This is a stark contrast to the war in Syria wherein Russia and Iran acting as partners with the Syrian government, are closely coordinating airstrikes with highly professional troops on the ground. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s amnesty programme has allowed most terrorists who give up their weapons to be processed and evacuated from towns, cities and regions liberated by the Syrian Arab Army and its partners.

In Iraq, America has not taken this surgical approach, opting instead for what the Bush administration famously called ‘shock and awe’ tactics. The Iraqi Army, is vastly more sectarian and less professional than the Syrian Arab Army which counts Sunnis, Shi’as, Christians and even non-Arabs and women among its ranks.

America is quick to spread outlandish lies about unsubstantiated ‘crimes’ committed by Syria, most famously the alleged chemical attack in Idlib Governorate from early April 2017. Yet America has been totally nontransparent in even allowing reporters to gather information about what is really going on in Northern Iraq.

Those such as RT who were brave enough to see for themselves just what is going on, witnessed unimaginable carnage, torture and lawlessness.

One doesn’t need to have any view on Syria, Iraq, President al-Assad or the United States to understand that objectively, Syria and her partners are waging a war for the life of their secular, tolerant Republic, whilst Iraq is torturing its way through regions of a country where the centre simply cannot hold.

America and Britain authored the destruction of a once united and prosperous Iraq. The US coalition is currently putting the finishing touches on Iraq’s epitaph as a civilised and united nation.

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European Court of Justice rules Britain free to revoke Brexit unilaterally

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Britain can reverse Article 50.

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The UK is free to unilaterally revoke a notification to depart from the EU, the European Court has ruled. The judicial body said this could be done without changing the terms of London’s membership in the bloc.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) opined in a document issued on Monday that Britain can reverse Article 50, which stipulates the way a member state leaves the bloc. The potentially important ruling comes only one day before the House of Commons votes on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU.

“When a Member State has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, as the UK has done, that Member State is free to revoke unilaterally that notification,” the court’s decision reads.

By doing so, the respective state “reflects a sovereign decision to retain its status as a Member State of the European Union.”

That said, this possibility remains in place “as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that Member State has not entered into force.” Another condition is: “If no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two-year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU.”

The case was opened when a cross-party group of British politicians asked the court whether an EU member such as the UK can decide on its own to revoke the withdrawal process. It included Labour MEPs Catherine Stihler and David Martin, Scottish MPs Joanna Cherry Alyn Smith, along with Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer.

They argued that unilateral revocation is possible and believe it could provide an opening to an alternative to Brexit, namely holding another popular vote to allow the UK to remain in the EU.

“If the UK chooses to change their minds on Brexit, then revoking Article 50 is an option and the European side should make every effort to welcome the UK back with open arms,” Smith, the SNP member, was quoted by Reuters.

However, May’s environment minister, Michael Gove, a staunch Brexit supporter, denounced the ECJ ruling, insisting the cabinet will not reverse its decision to leave. “We will leave on March 29, [2019]” he said, referring to the date set out in the UK-EU Brexit deal.

In the wake of the landmark vote on the Brexit deal, a group of senior ministers threatened to step down en masse if May does not try to negotiate a better deal in Brussels, according to the Telegraph. The ministers demanded that an alternative deal does not leave the UK trapped within the EU customs union indefinitely.

On Sunday, Will Quince resigned as parliamentary private secretary in the Ministry of Defense, saying in a Telegraph editorial that “I do not want to be explaining to my constituents why Brexit is still not over and we are still obeying EU rules in the early 2020s or beyond.”

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Seven Days of Failures for the American Empire

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


On November 25, two artillery boats of the Gyurza-M class, the Berdiansk and Nikopol, one tugboat, the Yany Kapu, as well as 24 crew members of the Ukrainian Navy, including two SBU counterintelligence officers, were detained by Russian border forces. In the incident, the Russian Federation employed Sobol-class patrol boats Izumrud and Don, as  well as two Ka-52, two Su-25 and one Su-30 aircraft.

Ukraine’s provocation follows the advice of several American think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, which have been calling for NATO involvement in the Sea of Azov for months. The area is strategically important for Moscow, which views its southern borders, above all the Sea of Azov, as a potential flash point for conflict due to the Kiev’s NATO-backed provocations.

To deter such adventurism, Moscow has deployed to the Kerch Strait and the surrounding coastal area S-400 batteries, modernized S-300s, anti-ship Bal missile systems, as well as numerous electronic-warfare systems, not to mention the Russian assets and personnel arrayed in the military districts abutting Ukraine. Such provocations, egged on by NATO and American policy makers, are meant to provide a pretext for further sanctions against Moscow and further sabotage Russia’s relations with European countries like Germany, France and Italy, as well as, quite naturally, to frustrate any personal interaction between Trump and Putin.

This last objective seems to have been achieved, with the planned meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 in Buenos Aires being cancelled. As to the the other objectives, they seem to have failed miserably, with Berlin, Paris and Rome showing no intention of imposing additional sanctions against Russia, recognizing the Ukrainian provocation fow what it is. The intention to further isolate Moscow by the neocons, neoliberals and most of the Anglo-Saxon establishment seems to have failed, demonstrated in Buenos Aires with the meeting between the BRICS countries on the sidelines and the bilateral meetings between Putin and Merkel.

On November 30, following almost two-and-a-half months of silence, the Israeli air force bombed Syria with three waves of cruise missiles. The first and second waves were repulsed over southern Syria, and the third, composed of surface-to-surface missiles, were also downed. At the same time, a loud explosion was heard in al-Kiswah, resulting in the blackout of Israeli positions in the area.

The Israeli attack was fully repulsed, with possibly two IDF drones being downed as well. This effectiveness of Syria’s air defenses corresponds with Russia’s integration of Syria’s air defenses with its own systems, manifestly improving the Syrians’ kill ratios even without employing the new S-300 systems delivered to Damascus, let alone Russia’s own S-400s. The Pantsirs and S-200s are enough for the moment, confirming my hypothesis more than two months ago that the modernized S-300 in the hands of the Syrian army is a potentially lethal weapon even for the F-35, forbidding the Israelis from employing their F-35s.

With the failed Israeli attack testifying to effectiveness of Russian air-defense measures recently deployed to the country, even the United States is finding it difficult to operate in the country. As the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War confirms:

“Russia has finished an advanced anti-access/area denial (A2AD) network in Syria that combines its own air defense and electronic warfare systems with modernized equipment. Russia can use these capabilities to mount the long-term strategic challenge of the US and NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, significantly widen the geographic reach of Russia’s air defense network. Russia stands to gain a long-term strategic advantage over NATO through its new capabilities in Syria. The US and NATO must now account for the risk of a dangerous escalation in the Middle East amidst any confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe.”

The final blow in a decidedly negative week for Washington’s ambitions came in Buenos Aires during the G20, where Xi Jinping was clearly the most awaited guest, bringing in his wake investments and opportunities for cooperation and mutual benefit, as opposed to Washington’s sanctions and tariffs for its own benefit to the detriment of others. The key event of the summit was the dinner between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump that signalled Washington’s defeat in the trade war with Beijing. Donald Trump fired the first shot of the economic war, only to succumb just 12 months later with GM closing five plants and leaving 14,000 unemployed at home as Trump tweeted about his economic achievements.

Trump was forced to suspend any new tariffs for a period of ninety days, with his Chinese counterpart intent on demonstrating how an economic war between the two greatest commercial powers had always been a pointless propagandistic exercise. Trump’s backtracking highlights Washington’s vulnerability to de-dollarization, the Achilles’ heel of US hegemony.

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn. The struggle between the Western elites seems to be reaching a boil, with Frau Merkel ever more isolated and seeing her 14-year political dominance as chancellor petering out. Macron seems to be vying for the honor of being the most unpopular French leader in history, provoking violent protests that have lasted now for weeks, involving every sector of the population. Macron will probably be able to survive this political storm, but his political future looks dire.

The neocons/neoliberals have played one of the last cards available to them using the Ukrainian provocation, with Kiev only useful as the West’s cannon fodder against Russia. In Syria, with the conflict coming to a close and Turkey only able to look on even as it maintains a strong foothold in Idlib, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States are similarly unable to affect the course of the conflict. The latest Israeli aggression proved to be a humiliation for Tel Aviv and may have signalled a clear, possibly definitive warning from Moscow, Tehran and Damascus to all the forces in the region. The message seems to be that there is no longer any possibility of changing the course of the conflict in Syria, and every provocation from here on will be decisively slapped down. Idlib is going to be liberated and America’s illegal presence in the north of Syria will have to be dealt with at the right time.

Ukraine’s provocation has only strengthened Russia’s military footprint in Crimea and reinforced Russia’s sovereign control over the region. Israel’s recent failure in Syria only highlights how the various interventions of the US, the UK, France and Turkey over the years have only obliged the imposition of an almost unparalleled A2AD space that severely limits the range of options available to Damascus’s opponents.

The G20 also served to confirm Washington’s economic diminution commensurate with its military one in the face of an encroaching multipolar environment. The constant attempts to delegitimize the Trump administration by America’s elites, also declared an enemy by the European establishment, creates a picture of confusion in the West that benefits capitals like New Delhi, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran who offer instead stability, cooperation and dialogue.

As stated in previous articles, the confusion reigning amongst the Western elites only accelerates the transition to a multipolar world, progressively eroding the military and economic power of the US.

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Is Silicon Valley Morphing Into The Morality Police?

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

The Duran

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Authored by Adrian Cohen via Creators.com:


Silicon Valley used to be technology companies. But it has become the “morality police,” controlling free speech on its platforms.

What could go wrong?

In a speech Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:

“Hate tries to make its headquarters in the digital world. At Apple, we believe that technology needs to have a clear point of view on this challenge. There is no time to get tied up in knots. That’s why we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence: You have no place on our platforms.”

Here’s the goliath problem:

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

Will Christians who don’t support abortion rights or having their tax dollars go toward Planned Parenthood be considered purveyors of hate for denying women the right to choose? Will millions of Americans who support legal immigration, as opposed to illegal immigration, be labeled xenophobes or racists and be banned from the digital world?

Yes and yes. How do we know? It’s already happening, as scores of conservatives nationwide are being shadow banned and/or censored on social media, YouTube, Google and beyond.

Their crime?

Running afoul of leftist Silicon Valley executives who demand conformity of thought and simply won’t tolerate any viewpoint that strays from their rigid political orthodoxy.

For context, consider that in oppressive Islamist regimes throughout the Middle East, the “morality police” take it upon themselves to judge women’s appearance, and if a woman doesn’t conform with their mandatory and highly restrictive dress code — e.g., wearing an identity-cloaking burqa — she could be publicly shamed, arrested or even stoned in the town square.

In modern-day America, powerful technology companies are actively taking the role of the de facto morality police — not when it comes to dress but when it comes to speech — affecting millions. Yes, to date, those affected are not getting stoned, but they are being blocked in the digital town square, where billions around the globe do their business, cultivate their livelihoods, connect with others and get news.

That is a powerful cudgel to levy against individuals and groups of people. Wouldn’t you say?

Right now, unelected tech billionaires living in a bubble in Palo Alto — when they’re not flying private to cushy climate summits in Davos — are deciding who gets to enjoy the freedom of speech enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and who does not based on whether they agree with people’s political views and opinions or not.

You see how dangerous this can get — real fast — as partisan liberal elites running Twitter, Facebook, Google (including YouTube), Apple and the like are now dictating to Americans what they can and cannot say online.

In communist regimes, these types of folks are known as central planners.

The election of Donald Trump was supposed to safeguard our freedoms, especially regarding speech — a foundational pillar of a democracy. It’s disappointing that hasn’t happened, as the censorship of conservative thought online has gotten so extreme and out of control many are simply logging off for good.

A failure to address this mammoth issue could cost Trump in 2020. If his supporters are blocked online — where most voters get their news — he’ll be a one-term president.

It’s time for Congress to act before the morality police use political correctness as a Trojan horse to decide our next election.

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