What is Net Neutrality? In one meme:
According to the International Organization for Migration, refugees are returning to Syria en masse, coincidentally, as the US stops arming ISIS.
Aug 16, 2017
The Trump administration’s decision to halt the covert CIA program of arming ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria was lambasted in the mainstream press, but for those paying attention, this was an intelligent move — namely, because those ‘moderate rebels’ are actually terrorists.
Now, new information reveals that Syrians displaced by the ongoing US-sponsored regime change operation are now returning home in large numbers, according to a Switzerland-based migration agency.
On Friday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that nearly 603,000 Syrian refugees displaced by the war began to return to their cities and villages in the first seven months of this year.
Ironically, the number of Syrian refugees returning home nearly matched the 685,662 people who returned during the whole of 2016, according to IOM spokesperson Olivia Headon.
According to a report by Al Jazeera:
The returning Syrians were motivated by the desire to protect their homes and possessions; an improved economic and security situation in their areas of origin; as well as problems with integration in their host countries, according to the IOM.
About 67 percent of the returns this year have been to Syria’s Aleppo province, where the opposition-held eastern part of the city was retaken by President Bashar al-Assad’s government in December, the IOM said.
And while Trump’s decision to stop a covert CIA program to funnel weapons to groups that record themselves beheading children should be praised by the media, it was instead labeled as a pro-Russian move by the mass media propagandists.
In reality, much of the opposition forces fighting against the Syrian government are aligned with al-Qaeda and ISIS factions. Thus, the move to stop the flow of arms to terrorist affiliates should have been applauded as part of the larger struggle against Islamic extremism.
In fact, this move by Trump was actually proposed in legislation by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in the House and Senator Rand Paul in the Senate.
“For years, our government has been providing both direct and indirect support to these armed militant groups, who are working directly with or under the command of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, all in their effort and fight to overthrow the Syrian government,” Gabbard said earlier this year.
As the Free Thought Project reported in April, the US knew al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri called on Muslims in Turkey and the Middle East to aid the rebels in the Free Syrian Army. From this day forward, the lines between who Al-Qaeda or the ‘rebels’ actually were — became heavily blurred. But, according to a State Department email, the United States did not care as they knew Al-Qaeda was on their side.
As the email states:
UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05789138 Date: 10/30/2015 AL-ZAWAHIRI URGES MUSLIM SUPPORT FOR OPPOSITION (U) Al-Qaida leader al-Zawahiri called on Muslims in Turkey and the Middle East to aid rebel forces in their fight against supporters of Syrian President Asad in an interne video recording. Al-Zawahiri also urged the Syrian people not to rely on the AL, Turkey, or the United States for assistance.
Once this wire went out to multiple departments in the form of an Ops Alert, apparently there was originally some concern about Al-Qaeda joining the ranks of the US-supported rebels — who are being used by the American Deep State to destabilize Syria on behalf of special interests.
Tellingly, in a reply to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Jake Sullivan let her know that Al-Qaeda “is on our side in Syria.”
Without question, the covert CIA program precipitated the rise of the “moderate rebel” factions that led to the massive refugee crisis seen in Syria. Syrians who remain internally displaced number at about 800,000, many of whom have fled violence and strife for the second or third time, according to the IOM. An estimated 808,661 people have been newly displaced this year, “many for the second or third time,” Headon said.
According to journalist Vanessa Beeley, reporting from Syria:
The estimated 6.4 million IDPs in Syria have almost invariably, fled to Syrian government controlled areas for refuge from the US Coalition extremist factions who have driven them from their hometowns and villages across Syria.
This area had historically been Druze and Christian populated. Now it has been crowded with Syrians from all walks of life, backgrounds and regions. All spoke to me of their hardship under the US Coalition armed & funded extremist & terrorist factions. Many had been driven from their homes by the armed mercenary forces, suffering hideous wounds in the process.
The mass of returning Syrian refugees was largely due to military losses by ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates after Syrian government forces recently removed the terrorist forces from their last stronghold in the central province of Homs, recapturing the strategically important town of al-Sukhna after the group took hold of it in May 2015.
Syria’s civil war, now in its seventh year, has devastated the country, claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced about half of the pre-war population of 22 million, according to Al Jazeera.
When analyzing the massive refugee crisis precipitated by the Syrian conflict, it becomes clear that U.S. moves in support of terrorists in Syria have little to do with the welfare of the Syrian people, and everything to do with a regime change operation intent on installing a US-backed puppet government.
America’s chronic trade deficit with the rest of the world is testimony to a failed US economy. In reality, the US has no-one else to blame but itself for such an historic failure.
But in typical chauvinist fashion, the Trump administration has found a handy scapegoat by blaming China — its top bilateral trading partner. President Donald Trump this week ordered a probe into alleged trade malpractices by China, including claims of intellectual property theft and unfair subsidies.
These supposed grievances against China formed a major part of his election campaign last year, when the tycoon-turned-politician would whip up supporters in rustbelt states with emotive claims about how China was “raping our economy”.
Now Trump says he is making good on his electoral promises to “get tough on China”. On announcing the trade crackdown this week, the president said: “We will uphold our values, we will defend our workers, and we will protect the innovations, creations and inventions that power our magnificent country.”
China has warned that if Trump follows through on threats to impose trade tariffs on Chinese exports the move will ignite a trade war, which will inflict serious damage on both economies and the rest of the world.Trump’s nationalistic depiction of trade problems with China is also feeding into the rise of xenophobic and racist politics in the US. The president has come under pressure to disavow white supremacist groups, like the KKK, after deadly protests in Virginia last weekend.
However, his jingoistic rhetoric of blaming foreigners for America’s social and economic woes is a toxic embrace of demagoguery that will fuel reactionary rightwing sentiments.
Trump has an odious habit of blaming everyone else for America’s contemporary problems. In his nasty transactional worldview, all other nations are taking advantage of “virtuous America”.
Thus, Mexico is stampeding “our border”; the Iranian nuclear deal is “the worst ever”; the Trans-Pacific Partnership was “ripping America off”; the Paris Climate Accord was another “bad deal” harming American enterprise; the Europeans need to cough up for NATO; the Germans are flooding US car markets; and so on and so on.
The New York former real estate mogul fancies himself as a business genius. (One wonders how he would have fared if he hadn’t inherited a million dollars from his rich daddy to get him started.)
In any case, Trump sounds more like a spoilt brat than an ingenious entrepreneur. His penchant is to blame everyone for failure and to offer quack solutions.
On the alleged China trade disputes, it may sound good to some people among Trump’s voter base to harangue China over alleged intellectual property infringements and technology theft. But vilifying China for America’s economic and social decline is a dangerous deception.
Trump castigates China for somehow being responsible for the US trade deficit with that country — about $350 billion in 2016. He asserts that the surplus of Chinese exports into the US is because China is stealing American technology and copyrights and flooding the market with fake goods.But what Trump conveniently omits to say is that the US had a total trade deficit with the rest of the world in 2016 amounting to $740 billion, according to its own government figures. After China, the US trade arrears with the European Union was nearly $150 billion.
Does that mean that the Europeans are also stealing American intellectual property and cheating the US economy with unfair practices?
No. It just means that the US economy has withered away to the point where it depends on the rest of the world for imports. The American manufacturing base has been wiped out. This import dependency and chronic trade imbalance in the US has been going on since at the least the late 1980s. For the past three decades, the US trade deficit has been relentlessly expanding, up from about $100 billion in 1990 to the present figure of $740 billion.
For Donald Trump to try to blame China for America’s abysmal decline is the kind of trick pulled by a con artist. It may play well with people who have prejudices about foreigners and delusional notions of American “exceptionalism” — but such a depiction is nonetheless downright false.The truth is that it’s not foreign nations who are to blame for America’s social and economic malaise, it is Americans themselves. Specifically, we are talking about corporate America and oligarchs like Trump who shut down American factories wholesale and ruthlessly downsized workforces in order to set up businesses in cheap-labor countries like China.
Trump and his daughter Ivanka are owners of global retail businesses whose cosmetics and clothing are manufactured in China and exported to the US, thereby contributing to their country’s trade deficit.
The historic failure of the American economy is the story of how capitalism is eventually bound to fail. The insatiable pursuit of financial profit as the sole objective leads inevitably to the gutting of one’s own country and compatriots if it means that profits can be maximized elsewhere.
For over 30 years, American workers and communities have been decimated by capitalists like Trump and other oligarchs who had no conscience about betraying their compatriots to make big bucks somewhere overseas.
The predatory process of offshoring American jobs to places like China is why the US economy and society has been bled dry. For Trump to blame China for this predation of Americans by corporate America is bitterly ironic.
Here’s the doubly odious thing too. In his quack remedy for American economic ills, Trump seems now willing to ignite a trade war with China.
At a time when the world is already convulsed with security tensions between the US and China, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine, among other nations, it really is the height of recklessness by the Trump White House to escalate tensions even further with a spurious trade war.Already recriminations between Beijing and Washington are fraught over military jousting over disputed territory in the South China Sea. A trade war will only exacerbate hostilities further.
China has given notice that if Trump goes down the perilous path of a trade war, it will not sit idly by. If China were to redirect its exports to other parts of the globe in retaliation, or dump its huge American dollar holdings, the impact on the US economy will be severe. Inflation of consumer goods would soar, thereby hurting millions of low-income Americans even further.
How reprehensible is that? Trump and his family fortune are the embodiment of how American workers ended up being impoverished under decades of rapacious corporate America. Now selling the American workers a fraudulent explanation for their poverty — by scapegoating China and starting a trade war — Trump is only adding to their misery.
In real-estate scams, it’s known as “fleecing the customer twice”. Something that Donald J Trump would know all about.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
“The U.S. has shown that it is neither a good partner nor a trustable negotiator,” Rouhani added. “Those who are trying to go back to the language of threats and sanctions are prisoners of their past hallucinations. They deprive themselves of the advantages of peace.”
Amid Americans’ concerns that North Korea threatened to launch a missile at Guam, Iran is planning on building up a flotilla of warships in the Atlantic Ocean, while Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani has threatened to revitalize the country’s nuclear program if the U.S. continues “threats and sanctions.”
If Washington continues with “threats and sanctions” against Iran, Tehran could easily ramp up its nuclear activities Rouhani said in Iranian Parliament, AP reported.
In an hour and a day, Iran could return to a more advanced (nuclear) level than at the beginning of the negotiations.
“The U.S. has shown that it is neither a good partner nor a trustable negotiator,” Rouhani added. “Those who are trying to go back to the language of threats and sanctions are prisoners of their past hallucinations. They deprive themselves of the advantages of peace.”
Iranian lawmakers reportedly shouted “death to America” as they passed the bill to increase military spending.
The legislation also imposes sanctions on U.S. military officials who are in the region.
Meanwhile, after the announcement of a massive $500 million investment in war spending, Iran has planned to send flotilla of warships to the Atlantic Ocean in response to the U.S. proposed sanctions against the country.
“No military official in the world thought that we can go around Africa to the Atlantic Ocean through the Suez Canal but we did it as we had declared that we would go to the Atlantic and its Western waters,” Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said.
This comes amid previous weeks of several tense interplays where Iranian military ships have carried out a series of dangerous drills near U.S. ships.
Just last Monday U.S. military officials reported another “unsafe” encounter with an Iranian drone that was following a U.S. carrier in the Persian Gulf that allegedly came close enough to an American F-18 jet to risk the pilot’s life.
In early August, U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law new sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea passed by the U.S. Congress.
Iran has maintained the new U.S. sanctions amount to a “hostile” breach of the 2015 nuclear deal.
U.S. President Donald Trump has stated several times that the Iran deal was a “bad deal” and continues looking into ways to repeal the deal.
Meanwhile, Iran has just threatened Trump saying they will “abandon its nuclear agreement with world powers within hours” if the United States imposes any more new sanctions, Reuters reported.
“If America wants to go back to the experience (of imposing sanctions), Iran would certainly return in a short time — not a week or a month but within hours — to conditions more advanced than before the start of negotiations,” Rouhani told a session of parliament broadcast live on state television.
“The world has clearly seen that under Trump, America has ignored international agreements and, in addition to undermining the (nuclear deal), has broken its word on the Paris agreement and the Cuba accord…and that the United States is not a good partner or a reliable negotiator,” Rouhani added.
Another U.S. president and just more geopolitical wars mounting up. Nothing ever seems to change even though all presidents seem to campaign on ending wars.
A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), suggests the US war in Afghanistan has been fueling America’s drug crisis.
RT: Do you think there are any links between the record production of opium in Afghanistan and America’s heroin crisis?
Jim Dean: It is a connection in that before we went into Afghanistan there was almost no heroin production there. And then after we went in it miraculously began to skyrocket, because the northern warlords went back into growing opium to fund the war and also enrich themselves. What also happened is, we found out much later that US contractors – particularly not only the military but the ex-military people who were involved in doing a lot of the flights in and out of the country began shipping drugs out.
We did not know whether they were just doing it on the side. But later we found out a lot of the increase in heroin production was being officially done and the money … eventually ending up in political campaigns in the US, and also to fund black projects for intelligence operations that they didn’t want anyone in Congress to know.
So yes, the big increase in production did come as a result of the US invasion of Afghanistan. But the story gets a little more complicated because once you have opium, it has to be turned into heroin. That is a long story that evolved over what’s been many years now.
RT: There has been a warning that heroin has been smuggled from Afghanistan into the US through Canada. How is it possible?
JD: Canada has a lot of their heroin coming in from Afghanistan. The Canadian border is the most porous because it has the least number of border enforcement people. In terms of carrying things in, they can’t have people stationed every 100 yards.
‘It’s US baby, and I’m not proud of it – Afghanistan is world’s biggest drug dealer’ (Op-Ed) https://on.rt.com/8jd2
We hear in the US that heroin production in Mexico has also greatly increased and officials here, although there is disagreement on this, say most of the heroin currently coming into the US is coming from Canada, but that the amounts coming in from Afghanistan are increasing. The question is: how are they getting in after all of those long fights. The danger of shipping it for a long distance.
Our information is that a lot of it is being brought in are government operations that are being secret, they don’t go through normal customs, because their operations are classified, and they have their own air transport. This is how a lot of this drug trafficking is going into political campaigns, and big wigs are moving around through the defense and intelligence contractors that are being widely used now by the US.
Americans putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan deserve better from their commander-in-chief” –
RT: What is the main cause of opium production increase in Afghanistan?
JD: The US campaign just made it completely wide open. The country was devastated economically – there was no real economy. So growing drugs, and particularly poppies, no other crop could really compete with it. And the Taliban was no longer there to stop drug production because they knew what the long-term consequences would be.
It is a little bit more complicated because a lot of that heroin and opium was traveling not only into the former Soviet Union states but also into Russia. They have their own growing epidemic because they were being flooded with cheap heroin coming out of Afghanistan. We see now that was part of the destabilization process that the West and NATO was beginning with Russia; to increase the problem that they have with drug addiction, and Putin spoke out about this very early on.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
The only thing the owner did wrong was to call Israelis “Jews”. Long ago I used to work at the famous Empress Hotel here in Victoria, BC, Canada, as a porter. I remember we used to bicker among ourselves (porters) on who would not have to serve Israelis, as they were brash, loud, rude, smelly, bigoted, and never tipped. Lou
“To our Jewish guests…please take a shower before you go swimming and although after swimming. If you break the rules, I’m forced to cloes (sic) the swimming pool for you…,” wrote Ruth Thomann, owner of the Paradies Apartment House in Arosa, Switzerland.
The sign was covered by Israeli media after a man staying at the hotel told Channel 2 that he and his family were “shocked” when they read it.
However, the pool warning wasn’t the only offensive sign aimed at Jews.
“For our Jewish guests: You are allowed to access the refrigerator only in the following hours: 10:00-11:00 and 16:30-17:30,” a second note read. “I hope you understand that our team does not like being harassed every time.”
Thormann told the Algemeiner that she had her reasons for addressing the signs to “Jewish guests.”
The hotel owner said the pool note was addressed to Jews because “some of these guests went swimming with clothes on, with T-shirts, and didn’t take a shower.”
The refrigerator note was, according to Thomann, written because use of the fridges in the hotel’s kitchen is granted only to Jewish guests traveling with kosher food.
“The refrigerators in the rooms are small, so I told them, ‘you can store some small things with our stuff, but don’t go in every time,’” she said, adding that the policy was necessary to ensure that hotel staff were able to carry out their other duties.
However, Thomann has admitted that she used the “wrong words” in the notes.
“On Saturday, I made a note and I used the wrong words,” she told the Algemeiner. “I wrote ‘for our Jewish guests,’ and one of them wrote me an email asking me to take it down.”
Thomann said the signs were removed on Sunday.
The notes have been condemned by Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, who called them “an anti-Semitic act of the worst and ugliest kind.”
Hotovely said Thomann should face criminal charges for writing them.
“[W]e must make sure that the punishment for incidents such as these will serve as deterrents for those who still harbor the germ of anti-Semitism,” she said.
Thomann has denied accusations that she is anti-Semitic.
“We have lots of Jewish guests, and they have been coming here for 40 years,” she said. “I would not take Jewish guests if I had a problem with them.”
Meanwhile, an online petition has been launched against the hotel, gathering more than 500 signatures by the time this story was published.
“Please sign this petition for Aparthaus Paradies in Arosa (Switzerland) to stop their shameful anti-Semitism as displayed in their billboard, and furthermore to close the Aparthaus Paradies in Aros if Mrs. Ruth Thomann and the hotel staff don’t change their attitude in respect to their Jewish guests who have to be treated like every other guest,” the petition reads.
The incident isn’t the first time Jewish guests have been treated in a less-than-hospitable way by European hotels.
In October 2016, a hotel in southern Germany faced a backlash on social media after an Israeli tourist claimed the facility canceled his booking over his nationality.
The guest shared a message from the hotel online, which clearly stated that it didn’t want “guests from Israel.” However, the hotel claims the message was simply a mistranslation.
Tehran, Moscow and Ankara might be finding chemistry for an alliance of sorts which explains their first ever joint venture.
Turkey’s Unit International which signed a drilling deal last week with Russia’s state-owned Zarubezhneft and Iran’s Ghadir Investment Holding says the contract is worth $7 billion.
The drilling in Iran will take place at three oil fields estimated to hold 10 billion barrels of reserves and produce 100,000 barrels per day and a large natural gas field with a production capacity of 75 billion cubic meters per day, the company said on Tuesday.
Unit did not name the field but said its reserves are enough to meet Turkey’s gas demands for the next 150 years, with the production equal to 1.5 times the 50 billion cubic meters of gas which Turkey imports annually.
Ghadir has already signed a cooperation agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for the study of the third phase of the Darkhovin (Darquin) as well as Sepehr and Jufair oil fields and Kish gas field.
According to the Unit’s statement, the consortium will also be able to drill in other parts of Iran.
Iran is Turkey’s second-biggest supplier of natural gas after Russia and sells about 10 billion cubic meters a year of gas under a 25-year supply deal to Turkey which it uses for electricity generation.
The deal is the first tripartite agreement of partnership and investment between Iranian and foreign companies. Ghadir will lead the consortium, but all three companies are equal partners where they will allocate equal investment shares in the jointly-financed projects.
Unit International is no stranger to Iran. Since 1982, the company has built five power plants with a total capacity of 3,200 megawatts in the country which owns the world’s largest gas reserves.
In March, South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction (SK E&C) signed an agreement with the Turkish company to build and operate five gas-fired power plants in Iran with $4.2 billion of investment.
The power stations would have a combined generation capacity of 5,000 megawatts, making them Iran’s largest privately developed power plants, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted SK E&C officials as saying at the time.
Chemistry for alliance
The drilling agreement marks a new dawn in cooperation between Iranian, Russian and Turkish companies, reflecting on the rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics in the region.
Over the past two years, Turkey and Russia have climbed down from a collision course over the former’s downing of a Russian bomber in Syria to cooperate on implementing a ceasefire in the Arab country with the help of Iran.
Russia has lifted a trade ban on Turkey, while keeping sanctions on imports of most Western food and drink in place in retaliation for wide-ranging Western sanctions.
Moreover, the fallout in diplomatic relations is widening from the West’s support of Turkish dissidents and Washington’s backing for Kurdish militants in Syria which Ankara views as a security threat.
And with Iran also being under US sanctions, Tehran, Ankara and Moscow might be finding chemistry for an alliance of sorts which explains their first ever joint venture signed in Moscow last Tuesday.
Pro-government Daily Sabah paper said on Tuesday that a Turkish delegation from the National Intelligence Organization (MiT), the Turkish armed forces and the foreign ministry held talks in Tehran in mid-July with Iranian and Russian authorities.
Iran’s Chief of Staff General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri is currently in Ankara, with Daily Sabah quoting diplomatic sources as saying that the visit was a “milestone” and would not have been possible unless both sides were willing to draw to each other.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour said Tuesday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Tehran “soon”, Mehr news agency reported.
Rahimpour touched on the two countries’ vision to boost trade to $30 billion, expressing hope that the two sides would take effective steps to achieve their goals by allocating appropriate facilities.