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German election's message to Greece: looks like Grexit is coming

Election result calls into question prospect of future Greek bailouts paving way for Grexit.

Alexander Mercouris

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One little debated consequence of Sunday’s German election is that it significantly increases the prospect of Grexit, i.e. of Greece leaving the eurozone.
The last bailout of Greece in 2015 was not uncontroversial.  The IMF bureaucracy has never made any secret of its doubts about it.  Some of the other creditor states of the EU – for example Slovakia and Finland – are known to have been unhappy, whilst economists in the US and Britain were outspoken in their opposition.
However the bailout agreement was in the end railroaded through because it had the backing of Germany, by far the strongest state in the EU.
The bailout agreement was however also controversial in Germany itself.  The Finance Ministry and the Bundesbank are known to have had their doubts, as did many members of Chancellor Merkel’s CDU party.
The best known skeptic was however Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who proposed at the height of the bailout crisis that Greece leave the eurozone “temporarily” in return for a haircut of its debt.  Unofficially it is reported that he also proposed that Greece be given a 50 billion euro parting gift to tide it over the inevitable turbulence that would follow in the aftermath of its leaving the eurozone.
Chancellor Merkel is known to have given serious thought to Schäuble’s proposal, and he at least seems to have thought for a short time that it had her backing.
However in the end the proposal was ditched in favour of another bailout of Greece following strong objections to Schäuble’s proposal from France and Italy (who were worried for the future of the eurozone if one of its member states left) and above all from the US, which saw Greece’s continued membership of the eurozone and of the EU as vitally necessary for NATO’s continued presence in the eastern Mediterranean  It was in fact apparently a telephone call from US President Obama that finally persuaded Chancellor Merkel to drop Schäuble’s proposal and give instead the proposed bailout of Greece her backing.
Though there was some unhappiness in Germany that the country had again been pushed into bailing out Greece, in the absence of any parties in the Bundestag opposed to the bailout Merkel had no difficulty getting it through.
That position has however now changed.
The AfD was originally set up to oppose bailouts by Germany of the eurozone’s weakest states, and it is a certainty that if any further bailouts are ever proposed whether of Greece or of any other of the eurozone’s weaker states it will vehemently oppose them.  That means that unlike in 2015 if any further bailout of Greece is proposed in future, unlike in 2015 there will be a party in the Bundestag which is guaranteed to oppose it.
However of even greater importance than the opposition of the AfD is that the FDP – Merkel’s all but certain future coalition partner – has also clearly signalled its strong opposition to any future bailouts, whether of Greece or of anyone else.  In the words of the FDP’s leader Christian Lindner during the election campaign

If there was a debt cut for Greece, as the International Monetary Fund suggests, then we should be open-minded to finally solving the problem.  Greece gets a debt cut, the money is gone, but for that Greece has to leave the euro zone, gets a new currency of its own which it can devalue and increase its competitiveness in tourism

In other comments Lindner is also reported to have said that Greece should be given a payoff to help it through the expected turbulence it will suffer once it leaves the eurozone.
What Lindner is proposing is of course the same as what Wolfgang Schäuble proposed in 2015.  Moreover it appears that Lindner is angling to replace Schäuble as Finance Minister.
Here it is necessary to make a number of points.
Firstly, it is a certainty that sooner or later Greece will need a further bailout if it is to remain in the eurozone.
At the present time the official view in Greece is that the worst of the crisis has passed, and that the country is recovering.
I do not know anyone in Greece who shares that view.
What is for the moment sustaining Greece’s economy is a temporary revival of the eurozone economy caused by the European Central Bank’s bond buying and quantitative easing programme.
However it is debatable whether the European Central Bank will be able to continue with this programme for much longer.  Not only is opposition to the programme in Germany since the election certain to grow, but the general global tightening of monetary conditions as a result of the US Federal Reserve Board’s unwinding of its quantitative easing programme appears to make the European Central Bank’s own bond buying and quantitative easing programme unsustainable.
All it will take is a dip in the economy of the eurozone for Greece to fall back into crisis, and with the European Central Bank’s bond buying and quantitative easing programme certain to end before long I know scarcely anyone in Greece who is properly informed about the situation who doubts that sooner or later this is what will happen.
When it does Greece will need another bailout if it is to stay in the eurozone.
Secondly, though Lindner’s statements and those of the FDP could not be more emphatic, it is likely that if a further Greek bailout situation arises he and the FDP will come under strong pressure to reverse their stance.  The same economic and geopolitical factors that lay behind the 2015 Greek bailout will still be there, making it a certainty that Lindner and the FDP will face demands from the EU bureaucracy, from the European Central Bank, from the Atlanticist wing of the German establishment and from the US to soften their stance.
However it is doubtful they will do so.  The FDP lost its position in the Bundestag following the previous parliamentary elections of 2013 in part because as Chancellor Merkel’s junior coalition partner it went along with all her orthodoxies.  The FDP will not want to be put in the same position again.
Given the strong position against further a bailout that Lindner and the FDP have taken, and the likely popularity within Germany of that stance, there will be strong opposition within the FDP if Lindner shows any inclination to reverse it, and it must be unlikely he will do so.
The odds must therefore be that when the next demand from Greece for another bailout comes the FDP will oppose it, in which case Merkel will risk the future of her coalition if she insists on it.  Moreover she will do so in support of a policy which is unpopular, and which will be opposed in the Bundestag and in the country by the AfD, leading to a high probability that opposition to a further bailout within the CDU will also crystallise.
Indeed it is likely that as the crisis within Greece resumes – as sooner or later it will – the knowledge of the opposition to a further bailout in Germany will have a chilling effect, and will harden opposition to the bailout in other countries in the eurozone which would have to agree to it, like Slovakia and Finland.
In that case it becomes extremely difficult to see how a further bailout could take place, in which case despite the opposition of France, Italy, the EU bureaucracy, the US and the Greek elite, a Grexit (ie. Greece’s exit from the eurozone) will finally have to take place.
Whilst it is too soon at the moment to say that the German election has definitely paved the way for a Grexit, realistically that looks like the most likely outcome.
There is a commonly expressed view that if a Grexit takes place and Greece finally leaves the eurozone, the eurozone itself will unravel as it is exposed as nothing more than a currency union rather than a true single currency
I have never shared this view.  On the contrary I believe that the eurozone will continue better without Greece, which will remain in all other respects a member state of the EU.
Following the German election it now looks as if before long this opinion will be put to the test.

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Did Saudis, CIA Fear Khashoggi 9/11 Bombshell?

Jamal Khashoggi may have gleaned highly sensitive inside information on what actually happened on 9/11.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The macabre case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi raises the question: did Saudi rulers fear him revealing highly damaging information on their secret dealings? In particular, possible involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks on New York in 2001.

Even more intriguing are US media reports now emerging that American intelligence had snooped on and were aware of Saudi officials making plans to capture Khashoggi prior to his apparent disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. If the Americans knew the journalist’s life was in danger, why didn’t they tip him off to avoid his doom?

Jamal Khashoggi (59) had gone rogue, from the Saudi elite’s point of view. Formerly a senior editor in Saudi state media and an advisor to the royal court, he was imminently connected and versed in House of Saud affairs. As one commentator cryptically put it: “He knew where all the bodies were buried.”

For the past year, Khashoggi went into self-imposed exile, taking up residence in the US, where he began writing opinion columns for the Washington Post.

Khashoggi’s articles appeared to be taking on increasingly critical tone against the heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The 33-year-old Crown Prince, or MbS as he’s known, is de facto ruler of the oil-rich kingdom, in place of his aging father, King Salman.

While Western media and several leaders, such as Presidents Trump and Macron, have been indulging MbS as “a reformer”, Khashoggi was spoiling this Saudi public relations effort by criticizing the war in Yemen, the blockade on Qatar and the crackdown on Saudi critics back home.

However, what may have caused the Saudi royals more concern was what Khashoggi knew about darker, dirtier matters. And not just the Saudis, but American deep state actors as as well.

He was formerly a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal, who is an eminence gris figure in Saudi intelligence, with its systematic relations to American and British counterparts. Prince Turki’s father, Faisal, was formerly the king of Saudi Arabia until his assassination in 1975 by a family rival. Faisal was a half-brother of the present king, Salman, and therefore Prince Turki is a cousin of the Crown Prince – albeit at 73 more than twice his age.

For nearly 23 years, from 1977 to 2001, Prince Turki was the director of the Mukhabarat, the Saudi state intelligence apparatus. He was instrumental in Saudi, American and British organization of the mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan to combat Soviet forces. Those militants in Afghanistan later evolved into the al Qaeda terror network, which has served as a cat’s paw in various US proxy wars across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, including Russia’s backyard in the Caucasus.

Ten days before the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City, in which some 3,000 Americans died, Prince Turki retired from his post as head of Saudi intelligence. It was an abrupt departure, well before his tenure was due to expire.

There has previously been speculation in US media that this senior Saudi figure knew in advance that something major was going down on 9/11. At least 15 of the 19 Arabs who allegedly hijacked three commercial airplanes that day were Saudi nationals.

Prince Turki has subsequently been named in a 2002 lawsuit mounted by families of 9/11 victims. There is little suggestion he was wittingly involved in organizing the terror plot. Later public comments indicated that Prince Turki was horrified by the atrocity. But the question is: did he know of the impending incident, and did he alert US intelligence, which then did not take appropriate action to prevent it?

Jamal Khashoggi had long served as a trusted media advisor to Prince Turki, before the latter resigned from public office in 2007. Following 9/11, Turki was the Saudi ambassador to both the US and Britain.

A tentative idea here is that Khashoggi, in his close dealings with Prince Turki over the years, may have gleaned highly sensitive inside information on what actually happened on 9/11. Were the Arab hijackers mere patsies used by the American CIA to facilitate an event which has since been used by American military planners to launch a global “war on terror” as a cover for illegal wars overseas? There is a huge body of evidence that the 9/11 attacks were indeed a “false flag” event orchestrated by the US deep state as a pretext for its imperialist rampages.

The apparent abduction and murder last week of Jamal Khashoggi seems such an astoundingly desperate move by the Saudi rulers. More evidence is emerging from Turkish sources that the journalist was indeed lured to the consulate in Istanbul where he was killed by a 15-member hit squad. Reports are saying that the alleged assassination was ordered at the highest level of the Saudi royal court, which implicates Crown Prince MbS.

Why would the Saudi rulers order such a heinous act, which would inevitably lead to acute political problems, as we are seeing in the fallout from governments and media coverage around the world?

Over the past year, the House of Saud had been appealing to Khashoggi to return to Riyadh and resume his services as a media advisor to the royal court. He declined, fearing that something more sinister was afoot. When Khashoggi turned up in Istanbul to collect a divorce document from the Saudi consulate on September 28, it appears that the House of Saud decided to nab him. He was told to return to the consulate on October 2. On that same day, the 15-member group arrived from Riyadh on two private Gulfstream jets for the mission to kill him.

Official Saudi claims stretch credulity. They say Khashoggi left the consulate building unharmed by a backdoor, although they won’t provide CCTV images to prove that. The Turks say their own CCTV facilities monitoring the front and back of the Saudi consulate show that Khashoggi did not leave the premises. The Turks seem confident of their claim he was murdered inside the building, his remains dismembered and removed in diplomatic vehicles. The two private jets left the same day from Istanbul with the 15 Saudis onboard to return to Riyadh, via Cairo and Dubai.

To carry out such a reckless act, the Saudis must have been alarmed by Khashoggi’s critical commentaries appearing in the Washington Post. The columns appeared to be delivering more and more damaging insights into the regime under Crown Prince MbS.

The Washington Post this week is reporting that US intelligence sources knew from telecom intercepts that the Saudis were planning to abduct Khashoggi. That implicates the House of Saud in a dastardly premeditated act of murder.

But furthermore this same disclosure could also, unwittingly, implicate US intelligence. If the latter knew of a malicious intent towards Khashoggi, why didn’t US agents warn him about going to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul? Surely, he could have obtained the same personal documents from the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, a country where he was residing and would have been safer.

Jamal Khashoggi may have known too many dark secrets about US and Saudi intel collusion, primarily related to the 9/11 terror incidents. And with his increasing volubility as a critical journalist in a prominent American news outlet, it may have been time to silence him. The Saudis as hitmen, the American CIA as facilitators.

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Did U.S. and Allies Commit War Crime by Bombing Syria on April 14th?

The US Government and its allies alleged that there had been a chemical weapons attack which the Syrian Government had perpetrated in the town of Douma Syria on April 7th.

Eric Zuesse

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Originally posted at strategic-culture.org:


Bombardment (or other military invasion) of a country that has not invaded nor threatened to invade the attacking country(s) is “aggression” under international law, and is the chief crime that the Nazis were hanged for at Nuremberg after World War II.

The US and its allies have routinely committed aggression, in places such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. A particular instance of it, to be discussed here, could be especially prosecutable, because the alleged ‘cause’ for the invasion could turn out to have been a provable lie, an intentional fabrication which had been concocted by the perpetrators so as to ‘justify’ their invasion. This particular instance was the US-and-allied bombing of Syria, by over a hundred missiles, on April 14th.

The concept here is “War of Aggression” in Wikipedia, whose article makes clear that certain types of invasions, such as in boundary-dispute cases, do not constitute a war-crime. That article cites a statement from the Nuremberg Tribunal: “To initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Lying about the cause for invading is almost invariably an important part of that “accumulated evil.” Hitler was infamous for doing it. Did the US do this on April 14th?

That Wikipedia article refers to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as the standing body that possesses the authority to judge such cases. However, the US Government has refused to accept that Court’s authority, and prefers instead to be forced to a military surrender as the earlier fascist powers were, before it will yield to any such court’s authority. They know that that won’t happen, so are brazen in what they now are doing. The US Government rejects international law (except as applied to other countries — especially ones that the US aristocracy wants to conquer, such as Syria, Russia, Iran, and China). Because the US Government has not surrendered, as the earlier Axis powers did in WW II (when the US was a democracy, instead of a dictatorship as it now is), it maintains its freedom to do what the Germans and the Japanese and the Italians did in WW II — to do such things: aggressions. Like the earlier fascists, the US and allied aristocracies invade and expect to win and thus to possess immunity from prosecution for their crimes. Of course, thus far, they have succeeded, even after the blatant lying that had ‘justified’ the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

This does not mean, however, that the US Government will necessarily be free from the international ‘court’ of public opinion, if and when a demonstrable act of aggressive war by the US Government can be clearly and incontrovertibly presented to that ‘court’ (assuming, of course, that the news-media aren’t themselves likewise effectively controlled by the US Government and its allies — or by their aristocrats, who advertise in and own them).

For the international ‘court’ of public opinion to be applicable, a certain modicum of honesty on the press’s part will therefore be essential. The present article is consequently being submitted to all US-and-allied news-media for publication, broadcast, and public discussion, so as to enable the international ‘court’ of public opinion to function, on this matter (since the US Government blocks the ICC from having jurisdiction over it). The international ‘court’ of public opinion will be able to function only if these news-media publish the case that’s presented here. Otherwise, the public just won’t even have a chance. So, here is that case:

THE CASE

The US Government and its allies alleged that there had been a chemical weapons attack which the Syrian Government had perpetrated in the town of Douma Syria on April 7th. The US Government organized a bombardment of the Syrian Government, which occurred seven days later. The US Government did everything it could to prevent the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW, the internationally authorized body which investigates such matters) from inspecting the area, either before or after the US-and-allied bombing. The OPCW wanted to investigate in order to determine whether there had actually been the alleged chemical-weapons attack perpetrated by the Syrian Government, as the US regime and its allies had alleged in order to allegedly justify their April 14th invasion.

Some UN delegates were even afraid that the aggressive US might take “military action” in order to prevent an OPCW investigation there. Syria’s Government headlined on April 10th, “OPCW to send a fact-finding mission to Douma upon request of Syria and Russia”. Pamela Falk of CBS News reported on April 10th, that “Because the US and Russia draft resolutions are unlikely to pass the Security Council, the Russian mission to the UN is planning to introduce a resolution, obtained by CBS News, that supports an OPCW fact-finding mission to Douma.” But events were racing too fast for anything to issue from the UN The US and its allies were determined to invade, and quickly.

On the night of April 10th, RT bannered “Europe air traffic control issues alert over ‘possible air strikes on Syria within 72 hours’”. Infowars headlined on April 11th “REPORT: US SET TO TARGET 70 DIFFERENT SITES IN SYRIA” and reported that, “The United States is planning to target as many as 70 different sites in Syria, including some at which Russian soldiers are stationed, a source close to the Department of Defense has told Infowars. … According to the source, evidence provided by the controversial White Helmets group, which some have linked to jihadist groups in the region, will be used to justify the attack. The source added that Trump wasn’t supposed to tweet about the air strikes. Earlier today, Trump tweeted, ‘Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and smart! You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!’” He was international judge, jury, and executioner, like George W. Bush was regarding Iraq in 2003.

On April 12th, Breitbart News bannered “May Readies UK for Syria Strikes, Defies Strong Public Opposition” and reported: “Theresa May is clearing the way to launch attacks on the Syrian regime, despite multiple polls showing only one in five Brits support missile attacks.”

This would be an invasion by the aristocracies, not by the publics; these invading nations are dictatorships; their publics have no control over their nations’ international relations, none really at all. To call these nations ‘democracies’ is thus to insult democracy. These nations’ respective aristocracies make even such life-and-death decisions — invasions and other international war-crimes — regardless of the desires and interests of their subjects (called ‘citizens’). And they are doing it (like they did against Iraq in 2003, and against Libya in 2011) against a Government and nation that had never invaded nor even threatened to invade any of the invaders. It’s thus clearly “aggressive war.” Even if Syria’s Government had perpetrated a chemical attack in Douma, the invading nations have been invading without even having sought from the UN an authorization to do it. Back in 2003, when the same invaders destroyed Iraq, they at least tried to obtain a UN authorization to invade. When that effort failed, they simply ordered the UN’s weapons-inspectors out, so as not to kill them, too, in their war-crime. But Donald Trump and his allies didn’t even try to get a UN authorization. (And he has treated the OPCW’s investigators with just as much impatience and contempt as G.W. Bush had treated Hans Blix’s in 2003.)

Also on April 12thRussian Television reported, “The first four chemical weapons experts from the OPCW have arrived in Syria on a fact-finding mission (FFM) into the April 7 Douma incident.”

The US had barred at the Security Council any OPCW findings prior to any invasion; but on the day of the US-and-allied invasion, April 14th, the OPCW announced its determination to investigate Douma, notwithstanding the US regime’s opposition to that. The OPCW insisted upon doing their job, maybe even to expose that this invasion had been a war-crime, if that’s what it was. So, the OPCW simply took upon itself to act, to gather evidence.

This investigation had been wanted by Syria and Russia, but the US and its allies tried at the United Nations to block it. Now that the OPCW was in Syria, the US and its allies charged that the Syrian Government didn’t want any such investigation, and was delaying it so as to hide evidence; the Syrian Government responded that it needed some time in order to be able to make Douma safe enough to allow OPCW investigators to work there. Some armed anti-Government fighters still remained inside Douma. The OPCW were waiting for the Government’s go-ahead to enter Douma.

On Wednesday, April 18th, Reuters headlined “Head of chemical weapons watchdog: UN security team was shot at in Douma”, and reported that,

The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said on Wednesday that a UN security team doing reconnaissance in Douma, Syria came under gunfire a day earlier, sources told Reuters.

OPCW Director General Ahmet Üzümcü told a meeting at the organization’s headquarters in The Hague that the security team was forced to withdraw, delaying the arrival of chemical weapons inspectors due to visit the site.

America’s allegations that Syria was overstating the dangers to the OPCW investigators were now clearly lies. It was manifestly the case. The lies from the American side poured like a river, just as usually had been the case — most infamously during the lead-up to the 2003 invasion and destruction of Iraq, which likewise was rushed through on the basis of lies, by the US and its allies.

Also on April 18th, TruePublica bannered “Syrian ‘Rebels’ Used Sarin Nerve Gas Sold By Britain” and reported that the UK Government had “granted licences for the sale of chemical weapons ingredients and components to Syria ten months after the uprising began.” The poorly written text in that news-report failed to make unambiguously clear in its opening, whether these chemicals had been sold to Syria’s Government and/or to the US-UK-backed jihadists who were trying to overthrow it. But both seem to have been the case, and some of these were “donations” and not merely sales; so, at least some of them went to the jihadists whom UK was backing, and weren’t sales to the Syrian Government. (See bottom of page 50 in this document, saying “the revision of the Syria sanctions regime led to some licence revocations in July 2012 for the export of chemicals,” and “the Government is satisfied that no gifting package contravenes its policy,” but the TruePublica report failed to link to any documentation whatsoever, for its vaguely written allegation here, neither to this document nor to anything.) So: the chemical incidents that the US and UK regimes were blaming against Syria’s Government might actually all have been due instead to “chemical” “donations,” by the accusing countries, those foreign invader-regimes, donated to their jihadist allies now in Syria, working in conjunction to provide fake excuses for the US and its allies to invade. Britain might have supplied the terrorists chemical weapons, in this particular instance. Furthermore, on 8 September 2013, London’s Metro newspaper had headlined “British government confirms chemicals were sold to Syria between 2004 and 2010”. And on 7 October 2013, Christof Lehmann’s NSNBC news-site bannered “Top US and Saudi Officials responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria”. Those were alleged to have been donations of such chemicals to the jihadists. Furthermore, America’s two leading scientists on such matters, Theodore Postol and Richard Lloyd, issued the most-detailed investigation ever of the 21 August 2013 Ghouta chemical attack in Syria that US President Obama was trying to use as a ‘justification’ to invade that nation, and they concluded “the US Government’s Interpretation of the Technical Intelligence It Gathered Prior to and After the August 21 Attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT.” Furthermore Robert Parry at his Consortium News reported on 23 December 2013 that “Ake Sellstrom, the head of the United Nations mission investigating chemical weapons use in Syria, agrees that the vector analysis – at the heart of the New York Times’ indictment of the Syrian government for the deadly Aug. 21 Sarin gas attack – doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.” That fact explained why Gareth Porter at Inter Press Service had headlined on 27 August 2013, “In Rush to Strike Syria, US Tried to Derail UN Probe”. As Seymour Hersh reported in the London Review of Books on 19 December 2013, “The White House’s misrepresentation of what it knew about the attack, and when, was matched by its readiness to ignore intelligence that could undermine the narrative.” Obama continued in George W. Bush’s footsteps, though as a candidate he had condemned Bush’s international policies. Trump now was doing the same. The US regime (like in 2003) simply didn’t want the truth to become publicly known. America’s Republican Party aristocrats and their politicians and news-media had blamed Obama for being too soft against Assad for not bombing Syria, but actually Obama was merely less brazen than his successor Donald Trump (financed by Republican Party aristocrats who had financed Bush) has turned out to be. The US and its allies were clearly lying about the Ghouta incident, just like they had done about “Saddam’s WMD.” So, UK firms, and also “US and Saudi Officials,” might have given jihadists such chemicals. What’s especially damning is the “donations,” since those would have been to the jihadists, in order for them to set up “false-flag” attacks (such as they did in Ghouta), to be blamed against Assad. And still today in the US and allied countries the politicians and news-media refer to Obama as having been indecisive instead of a liar on the Ghouta incident, and Assad is unquestioningly presumed to have been to blame for the Ghouta chemical attack, just as the US-and-allied aristocracies want.

Finally, on April 21st of 2018, the Syrian Government announced that Douma was sufficiently safe for the OPCW inspectors to be able to investigate, and the OPCW entered there, and began its work.

On April 22nd, RT headlined “‘Whole story was staged’: Germany’s ZDF reporter says Douma incident was false flag attack” and reported that “‘People told us in a very convincing manner that this whole story was staged,’ Uli Gack, a reporter with the German ZDF public broadcaster, said (referring to the alleged Douma chemical attack) while he spoke live on ZDF Heute (‘Today’) show on Saturday.” He had entered along with the OPCW investigators.

The OPCW receives funding from the US Government and so has never yet made public their findings regarding Douma. On 5 November 2013, Reuters reported that “The United States has been the biggest contributor to the OPCW’s fund for the Syria mission, with Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland also contributing.” Obviously, if the OPCW findings indicate that this alleged event wasn’t really a chemical attack by the Syrian Government but instead was staged by the anti-Government fighters who are supported by the US Government, or otherwise was not planned by the Syrian Government, then the US and its allied Governments (UK, and France) who bombed Syrian Government facilities on April 14th are war-criminals, irrespective of whether they can be prosecuted for that, or for anything else. They’re then just international gangsters, but will be known to be that by an honest OPCW report. So, the US has done everything possible to block it.

Since the OPCW has refused, even as of this late date, to make public its findings, that ZDF Heute news-report, from their reporter who accompanied the OPCW investigators, is perhaps the only independent evidence yet available regarding whether the US-and-allied bombing-campaign on April 14th was a war-crime. (Of course, also, no US or British or French ‘news’ medium has done any follow-up report regarding whether their Government is a war-criminal on this.)

The journalist in that April 20th ZDF report speaks German very fast there, and no translation-option is provided in the video. Furthermore, the video will be gone entirely, after a year (“Video available until 20.04.2019, 19:00”) even in its spoken-only, German-only, version, and so my written news-report and translation here won’t merely make the ZDF report’s contents available to English-speaking audiences for the first time, but it will also provide these contents in a permanent form, which can be included in the various web archives, which that video is not. (Videos are often not archivable. They unfortunately have this severe problem, as historical evidence.)

It’s a two-minute and 29 second video. Here is the video (for as long as it’s still online).

In it, ZDF’s reporter Uli Gack said: “IS [Islamic State] had created the attack. The place was a commando post for the Islamists who had installed chlorine containers and were waiting that this place, highly interesting for the Syrian airforce, would be bombarded, which happened, and the chlorine containers were bombarded. People say that several provocations of this type had happened in Douma. During one of these so-called exercises by the IS, people had been exposed to the gas, which was filmed and then shown as proof for the April 7 attack. I cannot put my hand into the fire for this, but there seems truth in the stories.”

Interviewer (also from ZDF, which is a German Government channel, and Germany is allied with the US and therefore supports US propaganda against Syria’s Government) then asks: “So, why would Assad or the Russians hinder the examinations of the facts?”

Gack: “The terrain under places like Homs is like Swiss cheese, everywhere cells appear from the underground and it is dangerous for the examiners. At least, this could be true. The traces of the gas are disappearing slowly and it may be impossible to know who is responsible.”

On May 4th, the OPCW announced that their collection of evidence regarding the Douma incident was now over, the analysis of it would require “three to four weeks,” and “At this time, it is not possible to give a timeframe for when the Douma report will be issued to States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention,” meaning that they were struggling to find a way to present an honest report which wouldn’t hurt their employer, OPCW.

The OPCW reported on July 24th, that “The Secretariat has verified the destruction of all 27 chemical weapons production facilities (CWPFs) declared by the Syrian Arab Republic.”

On September 6th, the UN reported that, “IZUMI NAKAMITSU, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, updating the Council on the implementation of resolution 2118 (2013) on the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons programme, said that the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had verified the destruction of all 27 chemical weapons production facilities declared by that country.” This announcement was made at that time because the jihadists in Syria’s most-densely pro-jihadist province, Idlib, the American Government’s allies there, had been documented by the Syrian and Russian Governments to have prepared in Idlib yet another assembly of chemicals to be ready to be spread by a Syrian and Russian bombing campaign, which had been planned by Syria and its ally Russia, in order to exterminate the jihadists in Idlib. So, clearly, any further banned chemicals on Syrian territory would be from the US and its allies, not from Syria and its allies. This crucial fact has not been reported to the American people by American ‘news’ media. The US regime still harbors hopes of sparking a chemical release in Syria that they can blame against Syria’s Government as an excuse to bomb it further — to commit still more aggressions against Syria.

On September 24th, the OPCW reported that, “The FFM [Fact-Finding Mission] continues to collect and analyse information with regard to the alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Douma and will provide a final report on its findings in due course.” Presumably, the OPCW wants to find a way to phrase their report so that the US Government and its allies won’t discontinue funding the OPCW. Perhaps by the time it is finally issued, the ‘news’ media won’t need to give it more than a perfunctory and extremely brief ‘news’ report, with a dull headline. (If even that.) After all: On May 4th, the OPCW had announced that their collection of evidence regarding the Douma incident was over, and the analysis of it would require “three to four weeks,” so that the analysis was completed by around June 1st — and yet it hasn’t been made public.

This is like a repeat of what the US regime and its allies had done to Iraq in 2003, regarding “Saddam’s WMD” that didn’t exist — invasion on the basis of lies about “weapons of mass destruction” — as if the US regime isn’t itself the world’s worst producers of such things and users of them, too: “pots calling the kettle black” and then invading that kettle. The UN is terrifically exercised about eliminating chemical-and biological weapons stockpiles from weak countries such as Iraq and Syria, but what about eliminating them from the world’s most powerful countries, which are even storing ebola virus for military use (or at least the US and UK Governments are)? What about that? Nothing. There’s no International Criminal Court to judge these leaders, who really are international war-criminals, even if OPCW ends up saying that Assad had been a domestic war-criminal. To be an international war-criminal is vastly more heinous, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the leaders of the US alliance are that.

In the international court of public opinion, today’s fascist powers could yet be internationally responded-to by consumer boycotts of their mega-corporate brands (whose owners control those fascist governments), and by other means. Furthermore, there exists the possibility of international economic sanctions against such fascist regimes, which kill millions and endanger the whole world. And, also, why are politicians in the US-allied nations being re-elected by the publics there? Certainly those voters don’t want to be controlled by the US regime’s stooges, as now is the case there. An exposure of the US regime as being an international fascist dictatorship could produce real results, even if the US regime continues stiffing the International Criminal Court. Whether the OPCW will risk doing this — calling out the US alliance’s lie on this occasion — is the question. But, for the sake of world peace, they ought to do it, not cave to their funders. Otherwise, how much longer will this decades-long string, of invasions by the US and its allies (such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, and Syria and Yemen now), continue? If the ICC cannot prosecute America’s Presidents, then what use is it, really? So, all that is left here is an honest OPCW — if it is honest — and honest news-media (if they too will be honest).

What is at stake here could be whether fascist control of the world will be stopped, at all — ever.

A typical example of the depth of the enormously profitable corruption in the US, by which millions of Americans get routinely destroyed in order to expand yet further the wealth of America’s billionaires, the aristocrats, is summarily described here and here. This documentary, which is only summarized there, demonstrates that not only the people in the invaded countries are being destroyed by these aristocrats. Fascism is bad for everyone except the very few people who are enriched (enormously) by it, the super-rich who stand behind it, and who control it.

PS: 

What is the historical and ideological source of this fascism, which is now gripping the world? On 10 July 2018, I headlined at The Saker, “Vladimir Putin’s Basic Disagreement with The West” and attributed the source of the US-UK alliance to the UK magnate, Cecil Rhodes, late in the 1800s. He saw that in order for the British Empire to continue expanding, it would need to do so in alliance with the then-emerging US empire — a tight alliance between these two aristocracies — and that it should include also Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In 1877, he wrote: “I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. I contend that every acre added to our territory means the birth of more of the English race who otherwise would not be brought into existence. Added to this, the absorption of the greater portion of the world under our rule simply means the end of all wars.” He rationalized: further conquest by this ‘race’ would be the only path to permanent peace. The concept of ‘national security’, then, means, to them, expanding this particular empire, until it rules the entire planet. That’s their goal. That’s their ‘Paradise’. As I document also there, the American billionaire George Soros carries on today in Rhodes’s footsteps, to expand the US-UK empire. But the idea is not his; it is Rhodes’s. And today it has come to be based on two specific mechanisms. The US dollar as the world’s reserve currency is one bastion of this neo-Rhodes-ian system. The City of London’s constituting the bastion of the half of the world’s privately-owned wealth (most of the global aristocracy’s wealth) that’s hidden in offshore locations, where there is complete secrecy and non-accountability to any government, is the other half of this Rhodes-ian Paradise. It’s actually a global aristocratic gangland. That’s the reality of the Rhodes-ian system, which is today’s fascist Axis.

Here are three Snowden-released confidential documents that are typical as being Rhodes-ian:

One document, dated 12 November 2004, is headed “TOP SECRET” and to be sent “TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL” or to the entire core Rhodes empire, and it related that “From 4 – 6 October, Lt Gen Hayden and GCHQ [Government Communications Headquarters, in Cheltenham, England] Director David Pepper co-chaired the annual NSA-GCHQ Joint Management Review (JMR) at Chevening House. The fine Palladian house, the country residence of the UK Foreign Secretary, dates back to 1630. It is set in 27 acres of gardens, within an estate of 3,000 acres, and is located 23 miles south of London, in the Kent countryside.” It said “that NSA and GCHQ must work hard to keep one another apprised and well connected throughout (actually one of NSA’s Special US Liaison Officer, London’s key responsibilities); A validation of the common cause that joins our two nations.”

Another document, dated 19 November 2004, is likewise headed “TOP SECRET” and to be sent “TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL.” It’s headlined “Leaders Peer into the Future, See Global System.” It said: “Last week, SIGINT leaders flew in from around the world to attend the annual SIGINT Site Commanders Operational Review here at Fort Meade. This year’s SCOR conference focused on how we are to govern the global SIGINT network in the 21st century. It went very well.”

Another document, dated 24 November 2004, is likewise headed “TOP SECRET” and to be sent “TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL.” It’s headlined “Finding the Achilles’ Heel.” It said: “JWAC [Joint Warfare Analysis Center] provides the combatant commands, Joint Staff, and other customers with effects-based precision targeting options for selected networks and nodes in order to carry out the national security and military strategies of the United States during peace, crisis, and war.” It discussed “Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. As we continue the Global War on Terrorism, new opportunities are identified and analytic partnerships are formed.”

Tim Shorrock at Salon wrote on 10 June 2013:

“The largest concentration of cyber power on the planet is the intersection of the Baltimore Parkway and Maryland Route 32,” says Michael V. Hayden, who oversaw the privatization effort as NSA director from 1999 to 2005. He was referring not to the NSA itself but to the business park about a mile down the road from the giant black edifice that houses NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. There, all of NSA’s major contractors, from Booz to SAIC to Northrop Grumman, carry out their surveillance and intelligence work for the agency.

So: Lt. Gen. Hayden in London on 12 November was preparing what would be presented at Ft. Meade on 19 November to America’s SIGINT from around the world. Then, on 24 November, JWAC was discussing “effects-based precision targeting options” that the entire SIGINT would adopt, after that meeting which Hayden had had 12 days earlier at the luxurious and private country residence of the UK Foreign Secretary. This “TOP SECRET” meeting seems to have been an instance of close coordination between US and UK. No announcement was ever made regarding what was said or agreed-to at any of those top-secret meetings.

But, above all: Why were only the Rhodes circle of nations’ leaders (“TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL”) included in these “TOP SECRET” US Government communications? Why not also French? Why not also Israeli? Why not also Saudi? Why not also Japanese? Etc.? (In other words: why not all other aristocracies that are allied with America’s aristocracy.) None of those countries were allowed to participate in these crucial and secret meetings.

Is “the special relationship” the core of the US empire? Is that what it basically is? If so, it’s what Rhodes wanted. And it certainly isn’t democracy, not anywhere. It’s privatized government, in the hands of the US and UK aristocracies, which control the generals and the weapons-making firms whose boards the generals join after their ‘public’ service. This is an entity that’s independent of any treaty the US Government has. It stands above any of America’s treaties. And, yet, this alliance never faced the US Constitution’s requirements in order to be able to become a treaty obligation or right with any foreign nation. The US Government has — to put this matter in clear terms — been taken over by international gangsters, US and foreign, who work closely together, via agents everywhere, answerable ultimately only to the US and UK aristocracies, and beyond any laws at all, entirely unConstitutional.

It is fascist, and it is trying to expand — they’re more like Adolf Hitler, than like Francisco Franco. It’s aggressive war, to control the world. It’s clearly war-criminal.

That’s what the OPCW is now facing.

To understand it more fully, I recommend especially two videos:

——

The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire (Documentary)

Operation Gladio – Full 1992 documentary BBC

What they show is the basic history that all students, everywhere, should know before they head off to college, so that they can understand the broader context in which their professors are functioning. And that’s the context I described in my “Vladimir Putin’s Basic Disagreement with The West”.

Here is an operation by the Rhodes-ians, under the leadership of US President Barack Obama:

Here is an act of partisan resistance against those nazis, today.

These wars are on in many places. One shouldn’t have to be targets that the new nazis are trying to kill, before one becomes knowledgeable about whom they are, and what they really stand for. Any nation’s politicians who support the new nazism are enemies of the people whom they had promised to represent. For example, this is the real reason why America’s NSA actually isn’t recording just the metadata on every phone call to or from every phone in America, but is also recording every phone-conversation, in blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution; and not only Trump’s appointee to the US Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh lies to endorse it, but also his colleague on the US DC Circuit Appeals Court, Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland did. They actually don’t care about the US Constitution; they just pay “lip service” to it. This is how these gangsters-in-suits run the country. Obviously, there is bipartisan support, by America’s aristocrats, for establishing a total-surveillance government. Whereas Garland refused to say why he voted for it, Kavanaugh said his reason was that “national security” overrides the US Constitution. And, now, he is on the Supreme Court, which interprets the US Constitution. He’s normal there, not unusual. He’s not the basic problem; the aristocracy that he serves is the basic problem.

Will the OPCW stand up against it? Or will it instead serve its masters? Blaming the invaded Government is so much safer than blaming the invaded ones, especially for an authority that’s being paid by the invading ones.

But, if the OPCW won’t do it, who will? Who even can? And, what kind of world would that then leave us with?

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Trump ready to drop hammer on Saudi Prince if he murdered Jamal Khashoggi (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 134.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump went on 60 Minutes and vowed “severe punishment” on Saudi Arabia if it turns out that missing Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Trump told 60 Minutes that so far Saudi Arabia has denied playing a part in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, but says the case is being investigated.

Trump has sat down in an interview wit CBS News to discuss the missing journalist, issuing a serious and stern warning to the Saudi Kingdom.

In an interview excerpt released from the 60 Minutes” interview, the US President noted that “nobody knows” whether Saudi officials are involved although they “deny it vehemently.”

Trump said that the Saudis deny “in every way you can imagine” having anything to do with Khashoggi’s disappearance when his son-in-law Jared Kushner spoke with the Saudi crown prince.

Trump stressed that Saudi Arabia may still be responsible and an investigation is ongoing.

“Could it be them? Yes,” the president said.

“It’s being looked at very, very strongly. We would be very upset and angry if that was the case.”

“We’re going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment,”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the explosive story surrounding missing WaPo Jamal Khashoggi, and how this may be Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman undoing, should evidence surface that he ordered the killing of Khashoggi.

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Via Zerohedge

Khashoggi, a Saudi critic of the regime who wrote for the Washington Post, disappeared since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to pick up a document for his upcoming wedding. Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed and dismembered there.

On Saturday, the Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah daily reported that Turkey’s investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance revealed recordings made on his Apple Watch purportedly indicating he was tortured and killed. The report was published  after a delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Turkey for a joint investigation into his disappearance.

“The moments when Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and murdered were recorded in the Apple Watch’s memory,” the paper said, adding that the watch had synched with his iPhone, which his fiancée was carrying outside the consulate. The Turkish newspaper said Saudi intelligence agents had realized after he died that the watch was recording and they used his finger print to unlock it, deleting some files, but not all of them. The recordings were subsequently found on his phone, it said.

That said, considering that Turkey has all too often stretched reality to suit its various political goals and ambitions – the “failed” 2016 coup coming to mind – any official Turkish version of events, especially one based on “sources” and without factual backing should be taken with a grain of salt.

Perhaps that explains why despite the escalation in rhetoric, Trump was still hesitant. In Trump’s interview, the president said new actions should not jeopardize the Saudi military equipment contracts held by companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon which he said would put jobs at risk.

Using the economy as a straw man to avoid cracking down on Riyadh, Trump siad that “I don’t want to hurt jobs. I don’t want to lose an order like that,” he said. “There are other ways of punishing, to use a word that’s a pretty harsh word, but it’s true.”

“There’s a lot at stake,” Mr. Trump continued, “And, maybe especially so because this man was a reporter. There’s something, you’ll be surprised to hear me say that, there’s something really terrible and disgusting about that if that was the case.”

As Bloomberg notes, Trump’s hesitation to strike back at the kingdom reflects close ties the White House has nurtured with the nation’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and his administration’s acquiescence to other Saudi actions that have drawn international condemnation.

What is perhaps more bizarre is that the true Saudi transgression, its ongoing war against political and religious opponents in Yemen has failed to lead to any condemnation, by either the president or the suddenly all too vocal Congress. Under Trump, the U.S. has continued to back – and equip – a Saudi bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen that’s killed thousands of civilians, providing American logistical support and weapons.

Meanwhile, as senators push for sanctions against the Saudis if the murder allegations prove true, Trump has said only that he’d take unspecified action. “He went in and it doesn’t look like he came out,” the president observed in a Fox News interview.

Saudi Arabia insists Khashoggi left its consulate alive shortly, while Turkey claims it has proof, so far undisclosed, that the reporter was tortured and killed inside the consulate. What really happened has yet to be determined.

 

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