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New video footage exposes US military helping ISIS fighters escape Syrian city of Raqqa

US military provides safe passage for ISIS forces out of Raqqa.

Alex Christoforou

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A post via The Anti Media written by , exposes what many following the Syria “civil war” narrative have known for some time now…that no civil war is really taking place, but rather a US-Saudi regime change invasion against the Assad government.

The proxy army being used to force an Assad regime change is the Islamic State (ISIS).

The following video, and accompanying post, shows the US military providing ISIS jihadists with a safe escape form the Syrian city of Raqqa.

Needless to say it would have been drop dead simple to have bombed the convoy of ISIS jihadists as seen in the video, but this was not the goal. The goal was safe passage out of Raqqa.

Where are the ISIS fighters escaping to?

We venture to guess that these ISIS fighters are being sent, by US and Saudi military commanders, to territory under the control of the legally recognized government of Syria, where they will continue to fight against Assad.


With numerous distractions unfolding on the newly released reality TV show that is “Keeping Up with the Trump Administration,” it may surprise readers to learn that the U.S. is using the terror group ISIS as a pawn in its depraved foreign policy.

Video footage obtained by Al-Masdar appears to show convoys of ISIS fighters fleeing the Syrian city of Raqqa untouched by the U.S. military, which is currently bombing that exact location. As Al-Masdar notes, despite having Kurdish and American drones hovering around the city of Raqqa, U.S. bombs are nowhere to be seen as hundreds of fighters pass safely. The release of this footage comes on the heels of accusations from both Russia and Iran that the U.S. is colluding with ISIS to allow the group’s safe passage into areas controlled by the Syrian government.

Iran claims to have direct proof but thus far has not released it. Even if Russia and Iran don’t have any secret documents that directly expose this collusion, the fact remains that we don’t necessarily need them.

After all, this is exactly how ISIS grew exponentially in Syria in the first instance – as a direct result of U.S. foreign policy strategy. In 2012, a classified Defense Intelligence Agency report predicted the rise of ISIS, something actively encouraged by the U.S. establishment. The report stated:

“If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria… and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

Further, leaked audio of former Secretary of State John Kerry shows he knew ISIS was gaining momentum in Syria, and that in turn, the U.S. hoped this would bring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the negotiating table.

In recent times, the safe passage of ISIS fighters to areas under the control of the Syrian government has been an unspoken but official strategy and has been the reality on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

Late last year, Anti-Media reported on an anonymous military-diplomatic official’s claims that the United States was allowing safe passage to Syria for ISIS fighters exiting Mosul, Iraq – even though the U.S. was supposedly waging an offensive to defeat ISIS in the area. As we noted, acknowledging the admittedly undesirable, questionable nature of the anonymous source:

An anonymous source claiming to a Russian newspaper something as conspiratorial as the U.S. directly aiding ISIS militants may seem a bit dubious, but since the offensive was launched on Monday of this week, this has been the reality on the ground.

According to Army Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati, as reported by anti-Russian newspaper, the Guardian, ISIS militants are already fleeing Mosul to Syria. This was further confirmed by the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, who said that if ISIS were forced out of Mosul, they would likely go on to Syria.”

Not long after, ISIS launched an offensive into a very strategic area in Syria called Deir ez-Zor, battling through Syrian government defenses. The most horrifying part of this offensive was the fact that, asnoted by the Guardian, the ISIS fighters who successfully broke through government defense lines in Syria were “primarily reinforcements coming over the border from Iraq’s Anbar province.”

Deir ez-Zor is not outside the U.S. military’s strike range capacity. This is the same city that was attacked by the American-led coalition in September of last year – an attack that targeted Syrian troops for over an hour, paving the way for a timely ISIS offensive. Yet when it comes to hundreds of reinforcements raging through the Iraqi border into Syria, the U.S. military is on a brief vacation.

We were told Raqqa was to be ISIS’ last stronghold in Syria, but this is clearly not true. In order for the U.S. to ultimately put pressure on the Syrian government, the real prize is not Raqqa but a combination of two very strategic locations that are very heavily interlinked.

As explained by Gulf News:

“There, a complex confrontation is unfolding, with far more geopolitical import and risk. Daesh [ISIS] is expected to make its last stand not in Raqqa but in an area that encompasses the borders with Iraq and Jordan and much of Syria’s modest oil reserves, making it important in stabilising Syria and influencing its neighbouring countries.

“Whoever lays claim to the sparsely populated area in this 21st-century version of the Great Game not only will take credit for seizing what is likely to be Daesh’s last patch of a territorial caliphate in Syria, but also will play an important role in determining Syria’s future and the post-war dynamics of the region.”

And this is ultimately the problem for the U.S.-led coalition of anti-Assad (and anti-Iranian) nations. The behind-closed-doors official rationale for targeting Syria’s government for regime change was to undermine Iranian influence in the region, according to Hillary Clinton’s email archive. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and the other Gulf States have long feared that a fully dominated Shia-led bloc of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon could completely overthrow the regional balance of power. They have opposed such a development at all costs.

As Gulf News explains, the Iranians are in the process of fully implementing this Shia bridge, known as the “Shia Crescent”:

“The contested area also includes desert regions farther south with several border crossings, among them the critical highway connecting Damascus and Baghdad — coveted by Iran as a land route to Lebanon and its ally, the Hezbollah militia.

This is why the U.S. military has set up a training base at the Aal-Tanf border crossing. If the Syrian government were to retake the area and open it up under its control, they would be able to directly link Iran to Syria and the rest of its allies, including Iraq and Lebanon.

This is also why the U.S. military has been engaging in illegal acts of aggression against Iranian-backed militias operating in the area — to defend this position.

Further, the Syrian government’s outpost in Deir ez-Zor is isolated, hence why these two offensives are running in tandem. They both rely on the liberation of the other to have any real value to the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies.

As fascinating as the Comey testimony spectacle has been (don’t forget to tune in for tomorrow’s scandal of anonymous leaks and misspelled tweets), the real scandal lies in the fact that the U.S. is nowopenly siding with ISIS while allowing the terrorists safe passage into parts of Syria so that these extremists can battle a secular government. The U.S. is moments away from an all-out confrontation with Iran (and Russia, a nuclear power).

Don’t expect the corporate media to report on these damning facts anytime soon, as the public continues to sleepwalk into a global powder keg of deceit, death, and destruction.

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Beijing Threatens “Severe” Retaliation Against Canada If Huawei CFO Is Not Released

China’s warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony.

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Via Zerohedge


Canada’s extraordinary arrest one week ago of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and billionaire executive Ren Zhengfei, and its decision to charge her with “multiple” counts of fraud – a preamble to her likely extradition to the US to face charges of knowingly violating US and EU sanctions on Iran – has elicited widespread anger in Beijing, which declared Meng’s detention a “violation of human rights” during a bail hearing for the jailed executive on Friday.

That anger has apparently only intensified after the hearing adjourned without a decision (it will resume on Monday, allowing Meng’s defense team to argue for why she should be released on bail, contrary to the wishes of government attorneys who are prosecuting the case).

And with Canada insisting that it will prosecute Meng to the full extent of the law over allegations that she mislead banks about the true relationship of a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom, angry Chinese officials have decided to issue an ultimatum directly to the Canadian ambassador, who was summoned to a meeting in Beijing on Saturday and told in no uncertain terms that Canada will face “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China’s foreign ministry publicized the warning in a statement (though Canadian officials have yet to comment):

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

“Otherwise there will be severe consequences, and Canada must bear the full responsibility,” said the statement, which was posted online late Saturday.

Phone calls to the Canadian Embassy rang unanswered while the Canadian government’s global affairs media office didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony. A federal judge issued a warrant for Meng’s arrest back in August. Though after she was made aware of the warrant, Meng avoided travel to the US. She was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday while traveling to Mexico.

Aside from breaking off trade talks, some are worried that Beijing could seek to retaliate in kind by arresting a notable US executive. While the threats of Chinese bureaucrats might not amount to much in the eyes of US prosecutors, threatening a US executive with long-term detention in a Chinese “reeducation camp” just might.

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The trials of Julian Assange

Eresh Omar Jamal interviews Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi in relation to the situation of Julian Assange.

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Authored by Eresh Omar Jamal for The Daily Star (Bangladesh):


Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

You recently had the chance to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. When was this and can you describe the state he is in?

I was able to visit him on November 19, after 8 months of failed attempts, because last March the Ecuadorian authorities cut off all his social and professional contacts, with the exception of his lawyers, and in the preceding 8 months, I had asked for permission to visit him nine times without success—the Ecuadorian authorities didn’t reply at all to my requests.

When I was finally granted permission to visit the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last November, I was literally shocked to see the huge impact his isolation has had on his health. Because I have worked as a media partner with him and his organisation, WikiLeaks, for the last nine years, I have met him many times and can tell when there are any changes in his body and mind. I wondered how his mind could keep working; but after talking to him in the embassy for two hours, I have no doubt that his mind is working fine. I still wonder how that’s possible after six and a half years of detention without even one hour of being outdoors. I would have had a physical and mental breakdown after just 6 months, not after 6 years.

Detention and isolation are killing him slowly, and no one is doing anything to stop it. The media reports, the commentators comment, but at the end of the day, he is still there; having spent the last six and a half years confined to a tiny building with no access to sunlight or to proper medical treatment. And this is happening in London, in the heart of Europe. He is not sitting in an embassy in Pyongyang. It is truly tragic and completely unacceptable. And I’m simply appalled at the way the UK authorities have contributed to his arbitrary detention, and have opposed any solution to this intractable legal and diplomatic quagmire.

Having bravely defended Assange for years, the Ecuadorian government in late March cut off almost all his communications with the outside world. What prompted this turnabout and what is its purpose?

Politics has completely changed in Ecuador, and more in general, in Latin America, since 2012, when Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. I have never had any interviews with the current Ecuadorian President, Mr Lenin Moreno, but based on his public declarations, it’s rather obvious to me that he does not approve of what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks do.

With all his problems, Rafael Correa (former president of Ecuador) protected Assange from the very beginning, whereas Lenin Moreno considers him a liability. Moreno is under pressure from the right-wing politicians in Ecuador, and also from very powerful governments, like the US and UK governments, who will leave no stones unturned to jail Assange and destroy WikiLeaks. I am not sure how long Lenin Moreno will hold out against this immense pressure, provided that he wants to hold out at all.

Assange was vindicated not so long ago as to why he cannot leave the embassy when the US Department of Justice “accidentally” revealed in November that the founder of WikiLeaks had been secretly charged in the US. What do you think those charges are for?

It’s hard to say unless the charges get declassified and I really appreciate how the US organisation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is fighting before the court in the Eastern District of Virginia, US, to have the charges declassified.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the US authorities have always wanted to charge him for WikiLeaks’ publications. They have wanted to do so from the very beginning, since 2010, when WikiLeaks released its bombshell publications like the US diplomatic cables.

But the US authorities have been unable to do so due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication activities enjoy constitutional protection thanks to the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see how they will get around this constitutional protection in order to be able to charge him and other WikiLeaks journalists and put them all in jail.

Why have some of the most powerful governments and intelligence agencies invested so much resources to attack Assange and WikiLeaks?

You have to realise what it meant for the US national security complex to witness the publication of 76,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, and then another 390,000 secret reports about the war in Iraq; followed by 251,287 US diplomatic cables and 779 secret files on the Guantanamo detainees; and to watch WikiLeaks save Edward Snowden, while the US was trying everything it could do, to show the world that there is no way of exposing the NSA’s secrets and keep your head attached to your neck having done so.

You have to realise what this means in an environment like that of the US, where even the most brilliant national security reporters didn’t dare to publish the name of the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Michael D’Andrea, even though his name and the abuses committed by his centre were open secrets within their inner circles. Although the New York Times finally did, later on. But this was and still is the reality in the US, and even though it may not be as bad in the UK, it’s still quite bad. Look at what happened with the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, at the Heathrow Airport during the publication of the Snowden Files. Look at what happened with The Guardian being forced to destroy its hard drives during the publication of those files.

There are different levels of power in our societies and generally in our western democracies, criticism against the low, medium and high levels of power via journalistic activities is tolerated. Journalists may get hit with libel cases, have troubles with their careers; however, exposing those levels is permitted. The problem is when journalists and media organisations touch the highest levels, the levels where states and intelligence agencies operate.

WikiLeaks is a media organisation that has published secret documents about these entities for years, and Julian Assange and his staff have done this consistently, not occasionally like all the other media organisations do. You can imagine the anger these powerful entities have towards WikiLeaks—they perceive WikiLeaks as an existential threat and they want to set an example that says, “Don’t you dare expose our secrets and crimes, because if you do, we will smash you.”

If Assange is prosecuted, what impact might it have on other publishers and journalists and on press freedom globally?

It will have a huge impact and that is why organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union are speaking out. Never before in the US has an editor and media organisation ended up in jail for publishing information in the public interest. If Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff end up in jail, it will be the first time in US history and will set a devastating precedent for attack on press freedom in the US, but actually, not only in the US. Because if a country like the US, in which the activities of the press enjoy constitutional protection, treats journalists this way, you can imagine how other countries where the press doesn’t enjoy such strong protection will react. It will send a clear message to them: “Your hands are free.”

At the end of the day, I think there are two sides to this Assange and WikiLeaks saga: the US-UK national security complex, but more in general, I would say, the people within the national security complex, who want to destroy Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to send a clear message to journalists: “Don’t mess with us if you don’t want your lives to be destroyed.” While on the other side, there are the freedom of the press guys, meaning journalists like me, who want to demonstrate the exact opposite: that we can expose power at the highest levels, we can expose the darkest corners of governments and come out alive and well. And actually, we must do this, because real power is invisible and hides in the darkest corners.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a journalist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh). You can find him on Twitter: @EreshOmarJamal and Stefania Maurizi: @SMaurizi

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Diplomacy a Waste of Time with Washington

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

The Duran

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Authored by Stephen Lendman:


The US is a serial lawbreaker, operating by its own rules, no others.

Time and again, it flagrantly breaches international treaties, Security Council resolutions, and other rule of law principles, including its own Constitution.

Diplomacy with Republicans and undemocratic Dems is an exercise in futility.

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s proposed US outreach to discuss INF Treaty bilateral differences is well intended – despite knowing nothing is accomplished when talks with Washington are held, so why bother.

It’s just a matter of time before the US breaches another promise. They’re hollow when made. Kremlin good intentions aren’t enough to overcome US duplicity and implacable hostility toward Russia.

“We are ready to continue the dialogue in appropriate formats on the entire range of problems related to this document on the basis of professionalism and mutual respect, without putting forward unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums. Our proposals are well known and remain on the negotiating table,” said Zakharova, adding:

“We have admitted (US) documents for further consideration. This text again includes accusations in the form of unfounded and unsubstantiated information about Russia’s alleged violations of this deal.

Comments to Washington like the above and similar remarks are like talking to a wall. The US demands all countries bend to its will, offering nothing in return but betrayal – especially in dealings with Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent governments it seeks to replace with pro-Western puppet ones.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia violated its INF Treaty obligations. The accusation is baseless like all others against the Kremlin.

“No one has officially or by any other means handed over to Russia any files or facts, confirming that Russia breaches or does not comply with this deal,” Zakharova stressed, adding:

“We again confirm our consistent position that the INF Treaty is one of the key pillars of strategic stability and international security.”

It’s why the Trump regime intends abolishing it by pulling out. Strategic stability and international security defeat its agenda. Endless wars and chaos serve it.

The US, UK, France, Israel, and their imperial partners get away with repeated international law breaches because the EU, UN, and rest of the world community lack backbone enough to challenge them.

It’s how it is no matter how egregious their actions, notably their endless wars of aggression, supporting the world’s worst tinpot pot despots, and failing to back the rights of persecuted Palestinians and other long-suffering people.

The only language Republicans and Dems understand is toughness. Putin pretends a Russian/US partnership exists to his discredit – a show of weakness, not strength and responsible leadership.

In response to the Trump regime’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty, he said Russia will “react accordingly” – precisely what, he didn’t say.

A few suggestions, Mr. President.

  • Recall your ambassador to Washington. Expel the Trump regime’s envoy from Moscow and other key embassy personnel.
  • Arrest US spies in Russia you long ago identified. Imprison them until the US releases all Russian political prisoners. Agree to swap US detainees for all of them, no exceptions.
  • Install enough S-400 air defense systems to cover all Syrian airspace. Warn Washington, Britain, France and Israel that their aircraft, missiles and other aerial activities in its airspace will be destroyed in flight unless permission from Damascus is gotten – clearly not forthcoming.
  • Publicly and repeatedly accuse the above countries of supporting the scourge of ISIS and likeminded terrorists they pretend to oppose.
  • Warn them in no uncertain terms that their aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic no longer will be tolerated. Tell them the same goes if they dare attack Iran.
  • Stop pretending Mohammad bin Salman didn’t order Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, along with ignoring the kingdom’s horrendous human rights abuses domestically and abroad – including support for ISIS and other terrorists.
  • Put observance of rule of law principles and honor above dirty business as usual with the kingdom and other despotic regimes for profits.
  • Do the right things at all times and damn the short-term consequences – including toughness on Washington, the UK, Israel, and their imperial partners in high crimes of war and against humanity.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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