Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani 1155


In one of the series of blatant lies the USA has told to justify the assassination of Soleimani, Mike Pompeo said that Soleimani was killed because he was planning “Imminent attacks” on US citizens. It is a careful choice of word. Pompeo is specifically referring to the Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self Defence.

Developed by Daniel Bethlehem when Legal Adviser to first Netanyahu’s government and then Blair’s, the Bethlehem Doctrine is that states have a right of “pre-emptive self-defence” against “imminent” attack. That is something most people, and most international law experts and judges, would accept. Including me.

What very few people, and almost no international lawyers, accept is the key to the Bethlehem Doctrine – that here “Imminent” – the word used so carefully by Pompeo – does not need to have its normal meanings of either “soon” or “about to happen”. An attack may be deemed “imminent”, according to the Bethlehem Doctrine, even if you know no details of it or when it might occur. So you may be assassinated by a drone or bomb strike – and the doctrine was specifically developed to justify such strikes – because of “intelligence” you are engaged in a plot, when that intelligence neither says what the plot is nor when it might occur. Or even more tenuous, because there is intelligence you have engaged in a plot before, so it is reasonable to kill you in case you do so again.

I am not inventing the Bethlehem Doctrine. It has been the formal legal justification for drone strikes and targeted assassinations by the Israeli, US and UK governments for a decade. Here it is in academic paper form, published by Bethlehem after he left government service (the form in which it is adopted by the US, UK and Israeli Governments is classified information).

So when Pompeo says attacks by Soleimani were “imminent” he is not using the word in the normal sense in the English language. It is no use asking him what, where or when these “imminent” attacks were planned to be. He is referencing the Bethlehem Doctrine under which you can kill people on the basis of a feeling that they may have been about to do something.

The idea that killing an individual who you have received information is going to attack you, but you do not know when, where or how, can be justified as self-defence, has not gained widespread acceptance – or indeed virtually any acceptance – in legal circles outside the ranks of the most extreme devoted neo-conservatives and zionists. Daniel Bethlehem became the FCO’s Chief Legal Adviser, brought in by Jack Straw, precisely because every single one of the FCO’s existing Legal Advisers believed the Iraq War to be illegal. In 2004, when the House of Commons was considering the legality of the war on Iraq, Bethlehem produced a remarkable paper for consideration which said that it was legal because the courts and existing law were wrong, a defence which has seldom succeeded in court.

(b)
following this line, I am also of the view that the wider principles of the law on self-defence also require closer scrutiny. I am not persuaded that the approach of doctrinal purity reflected in the Judgments of the International Court of Justice in this area provide a helpful edifice on which a coherent legal regime, able to address the exigencies of contemporary international life and discourage resort to unilateral action, is easily crafted;

The key was that the concept of “imminent” was to change:

The concept of what constitutes an “imminent” armed attack will develop to meet new circumstances and new threats

In the absence of a respectable international lawyer willing to argue this kind of tosh, Blair brought in Bethlehem as Chief Legal Adviser, the man who advised Netanyahu on Israel’s security wall and who was willing to say that attacking Iraq was legal on the basis of Saddam’s “imminent threat” to the UK, which proved to be non-existent. It says everything about Bethlehem’s eagerness for killing that the formulation of the Bethlehem Doctrine on extrajudicial execution by drone came after the Iraq War, and he still gave not one second’s thought to the fact that the intelligence on the “imminent threat” can be wrong. Assassinating people on the basis of faulty intelligence is not addressed by Bethlehem in setting out his doctrine. The bloodlust is strong in this one.

There are literally scores of academic articles, in every respected journal of international law, taking down the Bethlehem Doctrine for its obvious absurdities and revolting special pleading. My favourite is this one by Bethlehem’s predecessor as the FCO Chief Legal Adviser, Sir Michael Wood and his ex-Deputy Elizabeth Wilmshurst.

I addressed the Bethlehem Doctrine as part of my contribution to a book reflecting on Chomsky‘s essay “On the Responsibility of Intellectuals”

In the UK recently, the Attorney
General gave a speech in defence of the UK’s drone policy, the assassination
of people – including British nationals – abroad. This execution
without a hearing is based on several criteria, he reassured us. His
speech was repeated slavishly in the British media. In fact, the Guardian
newspaper simply republished the government press release absolutely
verbatim, and stuck a reporter’s byline at the top.
The media have no interest in a critical appraisal of the process
by which the British government regularly executes without trial. Yet
in fact it is extremely interesting. The genesis of the policy lay in the
appointment of Daniel Bethlehem as the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office’s Chief Legal Adviser. Jack Straw made the appointment, and for
the first time ever it was external, and not from the Foreign Office’s own
large team of world-renowned international lawyers. The reason for that
is not in dispute. Every single one of the FCO’s legal advisers had advised
that the invasion of Iraq was illegal, and Straw wished to find a new head
of the department more in tune with the neo-conservative world view.
Straw went to extremes. He appointed Daniel Bethlehem, the legal
‘expert’ who provided the legal advice to Benjamin Netanyahu on the
‘legality’ of building the great wall hemming in the Palestinians away
from their land and water resources. Bethlehem was an enthusiastic
proponent of the invasion of Iraq. He was also the most enthusiastic
proponent in the world of drone strikes.
Bethlehem provided an opinion on the legality of drone strikes
which is, to say the least, controversial. To give one example, Bethlehem
accepts that established principles of international law dictate that
lethal force may be used only to prevent an attack which is ‘imminent’.
Bethlehem argues that for an attack to be ‘imminent’ does not require it
to be ‘soon’. Indeed you can kill to avert an ‘imminent attack’ even if you
have no information on when and where it will be. You can instead rely
on your target’s ‘pattern of behaviour’; that is, if he has attacked before,
it is reasonable to assume he will attack again and that such an attack is
‘imminent’.
There is a much deeper problem: that the evidence against the
target is often extremely dubious. Yet even allowing the evidence to
be perfect, it is beyond me that the state can kill in such circumstances
without it being considered a death penalty imposed without trial for
past crimes, rather than to frustrate another ‘imminent’ one.
You would think that background would make an interesting
story. Yet the entire ‘serious’ British media published the government
line, without a single journalist, not one, writing about the fact that
Bethlehem’s proposed definition of ‘imminent’ has been widely rejected
by the international law community. The public knows none of this. They
just ‘know’ that drone strikes are keeping us safe from deadly attack by
terrorists, because the government says so, and nobody has attempted to
give them other information

Remember, this is not just academic argument, the Bethlehem Doctrine is the formal policy position on assassination of Israel, the US and UK governments. So that is lie one. When Pompeo says Soleimani was planning “imminent” attacks, he is using the Bethlehem definition under which “imminent” is a “concept” which means neither “soon” nor “definitely going to happen”. To twist a word that far from its normal English usage is to lie. To do so to justify killing people is obscene. That is why, if I finish up in the bottom-most pit of hell, the worst thing about the experience will be the company of Daniel Bethlehem.

Let us now move on to the next lie, which is being widely repeated, this time originated by Donald Trump, that Soleimani was responsible for the “deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans”. This lie has been parroted by everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Really? Who were they? When and where? While the Bethlehem Doctrine allows you to kill somebody because they might be going to attack someone, sometime, but you don’t know who or when, there is a reasonable expectation that if you are claiming people have already been killed you should be able to say who and when.

The truth of the matter is that if you take every American killed including and since 9/11, in the resultant Middle East related wars, conflicts and terrorist acts, well over 90% of them have been killed by Sunni Muslims financed and supported out of Saudi Arabia and its gulf satellites, and less than 10% of those Americans have been killed by Shia Muslims tied to Iran.

This is a horribly inconvenient fact for US administrations which, regardless of party, are beholden to Saudi Arabia and its money. It is, the USA affirms, the Sunnis who are the allies and the Shias who are the enemy. Yet every journalist or aid worker hostage who has been horribly beheaded or otherwise executed has been murdered by a Sunni, every jihadist terrorist attack in the USA itself, including 9/11, has been exclusively Sunni, the Benghazi attack was by Sunnis, Isil are Sunni, Al Nusra are Sunni, the Taliban are Sunni and the vast majority of US troops killed in the region are killed by Sunnis.

Precisely which are these hundreds of deaths for which the Shia forces of Soleimani were responsible? Is there a list? It is of course a simple lie. Its tenuous connection with truth relates to the Pentagon’s estimate – suspiciously upped repeatedly since Iran became the designated enemy – that back during the invasion of Iraq itself, 83% of US troop deaths were at the hands of Sunni resistance and 17% of of US troop deaths were at the hands of Shia resistance, that is 603 troops. All the latter are now lain at the door of Soleimani, remarkably.

Those were US troops killed in combat during an invasion. The Iraqi Shia militias – whether Iran backed or not – had every legal right to fight the US invasion. The idea that the killing of invading American troops was somehow illegal or illegitimate is risible. Plainly the US propaganda that Soleimani was “responsible for hundreds of American deaths” is intended, as part of the justification for his murder, to give the impression he was involved in terrorism, not legitimate combat against invading forces. The idea that the US has the right to execute those who fight it when it invades is an absolutely stinking abnegation of the laws of war.

As I understand it, there is very little evidence that Soleimani had active operational command of Shia militias during the invasion, and in any case to credit him personally with every American soldier killed is plainly a nonsense. But even if Soleimani had personally supervised every combat success, these were legitimate acts of war. You cannot simply assassinate opposing generals who fought you, years after you invade.

The final, and perhaps silliest lie, is Vice President Mike Pence’s attempt to link Soleimani to 9/11. There is absolutely no link between Soleimani and 9/11, and the most strenuous efforts by the Bush regime to find evidence that would link either Iran or Iraq to 9/11 (and thus take the heat off their pals the al-Saud who were actually responsible) failed. Yes, it is true that some of the hijackers at one point transited Iran to Afghanistan. But there is zero evidence, as the 9/11 report specifically stated, that the Iranians knew what they were planning, or that Soleimani personally was involved. This is total bullshit. 9/11 was Sunni and Saudi led, nothing to do with Iran.

Soleimani actually was involved in intelligence and logistical cooperation with the United States in Afghanistan post 9/11 (the Taliban were his enemies too, the shia Tajiks being a key part of the US aligned Northern Alliance). He was in Iraq to fight ISIL.

The final aggravating factor in the Soleimani murder is that he was an accredited combatant general of a foreign state which the world – including the USA – recognises. The Bethlehem Doctrine specifically applies to “non-state actors”. Unlike all of the foregoing, this next is speculation, but I suspect that the legal argument in the Pentagon ran that Soleimani is a non-state actor when in Iraq, where the Shia militias have a semi-official status.

But that does not wash. Soleimani is a high official in Iran who was present in Iraq as a guest of the Iraqi government, to which the US government is allied. This greatly exacerbates the illegality of his assassination still further.

The political world in the UK is so cowed by the power of the neo-conservative Establishment and media, that the assassination of Soleimani is not being called out for the act of blatant illegality that it is. It was an act of state terrorism by the USA, pure and simple.

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1,155 thoughts on “Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani

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  • SA

    7 million mourners in the streets of Tehran for the funeral of Soleimani and another million in Qom.
    Discussions in Al Mayadin from lebanon suggest that Trump miscalculated the importance of Soleimani and his popularity and that he will just get on and do it and there will be no reaction. After all there was no reaction from Arab rulers when he moved the embassy to Al Quds nor when he declared that the annexation of Golan heights was also legal.
    Another aspect was also highlighted. Trump does not believe in the sovereignty of all these Arab oil rich countries, they are just there for him to grab the oil. Same attitude he has to women grab them by the p****.

  • Buffalo_Ken

    Lets say one of the 52 targets was that of the tomb of Cyrus the Great.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Cyrus

    If that or any other place of cultural importance is targeted, then that changes everything and I will become a direct action Revolutionist in my own country and the tactics I’d use would not be the same as those used in the past by so many dead revolutionist.

    • Mrs Pau!

      Trump has threatened to bomb Iranian cultural sites. This is I suspect because western opinion would not let him.bomb sites where people live and he judges the Iranians are proud of their cultural heritage.

      • Courtenay Barnett

        Mrs. Pau,

        “bomb sites where people live and he judges the Iranians are proud of their cultural heritage.”

        Simple answer:-

        1. It is a violation of the 1954 Hague Convention to which the US subscribes; and
        2. Domestic US law of war does not permit such actions.

        Trump is professing illegality and criminality and a willing audience somehow accepts this.

      • SA

        And do you think these cultural sites are away from residential areas? Defending Trump or excusing him?

      • Herbie

        Maybe Trump should just bomb all the old cultural crap and create a new Las Vegas everywhere.

        As if that weren’t an ongoing program…

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      @Buffalo_Ken
      Interestingly in his post -murder speech to American evangelicals in Miami, Trump was lauded as ‘Cyrus’, a parallel to their efforts on behalf of a certain people.

      • Buffalo_Ken

        @KKC

        That makes me sick to my stomach, but thanks for the info. Honestly this all feels like deja vu to me and all the other times Iran never got attacked and so why should this time be different?

        God – what an embarrassment Trump is. And now it is even worse because he is basically an obvious murderer. Will justice be served? I know this – things are fixing to change. When you think you are the puppet master, as I believe that Iranian general was referred to…..what happens sometimes is the strings you think you are pulling pull back at YOU and suck you in. Same thing will happen to Trump. This is no rationalization of murder because assassination is an act of desperation and it is WRONG in all situations except the very moment when it truly is a matter of self defense. Hell, if it goes that way then usually it isn’t even called assassination.

    • Giyane

      Buffalo Ken

      I took ” cultural ” to mean Shi’ite, not Persian.
      I think the orangutan was taunting Iran about Kerbala where the Shi’a do strange things. Bearing in mind that his educators are from the Kushner/ Saudi spectrum of theocracy and he is assuming that sekf-violation is not very Protestant and modern.

      Nor is murdering your unarmed citizens with butterfly bullets or murdering your teenagers for thought crimes.
      But to orangutans zi suppose it’s just a matter of shouting for your team.

  • TomJoad

    Dear Mrs Pau

    Just take me through your logic of how the recent actions of Mr Trump (a definite supporter of feminism) have in any way helped the cause of women in Iran.

    His policies, including the reintroduction of sanctions, have put massive pressure on the moderate course of opening up the country, and the national insult to Iran of this murder has only managed to unite the conservative forces. Iran had a moment of hope some months ago to move towards a state of normality, international business and exchange, and being an economic vehicle for the 80 million inhabitants, and possibly another 80 million in neighbouring countries. This economic growth, combined with more liberal influence, could have meant a true development of human rights.

    But Mr Trump, in his wisdom, thought differently. While his support for KSA remains strong.

    Ps. The role of women in Iran is very complex to understand, and yet endlessly more advanced in terms of education and proffesion than most other countries in the ME

    • Buffalo_Ken

      This is why over the course of human history one hopes we have learned that assassination is a dead end road.

      So lets, set those who assassinate off to the side and be done with them. There are only a few of them left.

      Lately “feminism” has been nothing but trouble adding to the already overdone polarization.

      As for the ladies in Iran, I think I’m in love with them.

    • Herbie

      “The role of women in Iran is very complex to understand”

      Aye, it’s very complex to understand here too.

      “and yet endlessly more advanced in terms of education and proffesion than most other countries in the ME””

      Aye. We know.

      You’re not Saudi Arabia

      That’s your problem.

  • Derek Aitken

    Am I correct in thinking that “terrorists” can use the Bethlehem Doctrine against the US, UK and Israel for the same reason that they can expect imminent attacks from these warmongers?
    In which case any members of the armed forces and politicians can expect to be a target at any time.
    Does this explain why Boris appears to act oddly at times?

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Derek,
      ” Am I correct in thinking that “terrorists” can use the Bethlehem Doctrine against the US, UK and Israel for the same reason that they can expect imminent attacks from these warmongers?”

      Logical – but in the real world – might is right – ask Bush and Blair – why so.

      • Tom Welsh

        So the answer is, “Yes: ‘terrorists’ can use the Bethlehem Doctrine against the US, UK and Israel for the same reason that they can expect imminent attacks from these warmongers – as long as they can get away with it”.

        Might does mean right. To be more exact, the Melian Dialogue declares that “right” comes into question only between equals in power. In other words, power is decisive, and law or morality becomes relevant only in case of a military deadlock.

        In today’s world, the two mighty powers are the USA and Russia. Each can destroy the other, and everybody else. So they must negotiate, as they cannot fight. China may also have reached that level, although it’s a question of whether Washington recognizes it. In any case the Chinese are always more disposed to jaw jaw than to war war (in Churchill’s awkward but graphic words).

        Vis a vis other countries, the USA considers its superior military power decisive and expects them to drop their trousers and bend over.

        What is now happening is that the USA’s persistent efforts since 1945 have left only a handful of other countries resisting its will. Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea… All the others could be crushed, except that Russia and China have decided they cannot afford to let everyone else be absorbed into the borg – leaving them isolated and surrounded. So now they are helping the countries that the USA attacks.

        Incidentally, the American Revolution and Civil War illustrate the Melian Dialogue principle perfectly. The Confederate leaders in 1861 thought they had a perfectly good right to secede from the USA which was actually embodied in the words of the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln made it clear that what the Declaration of Independencereally lays down is that any people have the “right” to secede and set up their own government *if they have the power to do so*. The Civil War demonstrated that the Confederacy did not have enough power. Once again, might was right.

    • fedup

      Terror is a tactic! As in naval attack, night attack, air attack.

      Hence, those practitioners of these tactics cannot be a homogenous group. However, the almost infantile caricature drawn up by the corporate media assiduously following the directions of the various governmental agencies, has reduced the situation to black hat and white hat cowboys with a view to encourage the masses to cheer and hiss appropriately as and when the relevant cowboys make an appearance.

      Finally, the notion of pre-emptive strike is a dangerous concept because everyone has misgivings about the next pilgrim and the phobia thereof, so it will be a blood bath with last man standing result.

  • Tom74

    I don’t find it completely credible that Suleimani would have been so badly protected when visiting an old enemy, especially a nation that is little short of a warzone and which is effectively under US occupation. Nor does it seem likely that Suleimani’s movements would have been well enough known to the US to mount such a deadly and surgical strike.
    It seems more than possible that this was some kind of inside job, perhaps involving some Iraqis. There seem to be echoes of General Patton’s death, also in a car crash, towards the end of the Second World War, and, more recently, in the suspicious lapses of security in Benghazi.

    • fedup

      Tom mate read some comments before having a stab at it!

      Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission as an envoy on a civilian flight from Damascus to Baghdad to see the Iraqi prime minster about an ongoing negotiation with the Saudis (probably an end to Yemen war). He was also travelling in a civilian car with a minimal protection detail.

      In a civilised world diplomat are not attacked and killed. Also, heads of state are not threatened with death and destruction. However, don warleone is rewriting the rules and regressing to the level of savages and barbarians.

      • Courtenay Barnett

        fedup,

        Consider the historical reference from the Caribbean, when during the period of the Haitian revolution Toussaint Louverture went to France to parley and ended up spending the rest of his life in a French prison.

        History repeats itself – in our modern day – “civilised world”.

    • Buffalo_Ken

      Correct. It is crazy how the leaders of Israel have in a very sad way turned into what they were so tormented by. Crazy and sad and over. Over. It is sad how the citizens of America have totally forgotten what it means to be a Patriot!

      • Herbie

        “It is sad how the citizens of America have totally forgotten what it means to be a Patriot!”

        They haven’t forgotten.

        Just that now they do it vicariously through film, TV, newspapers.

        Not community.

  • MBC

    Well Craig, you’re sadly wrong about Trump not being a war monger. The man is off his head and out of control threatening to bomb 52 cultural sites. He needs removing and fast.

  • thewoodsbeyondthetrees

    Wikikettle @ 17.17 “I hope Putin flies to Iran after the funeral and saves the day with China’s backing”.

    I would rather President Putin stayed safely on his home territory: I have put a lot of faith in him keeping a modicum of stability in the World. Presumably there must be a secure channel of communication without him having to physically visit Iran? Would any emissary be safe from Trump’s drones?

  • Kam Eftekhar

    Just because you don’t like a country, you can’t label it as a terrorist state. You just have a different geopolitical or economic interest or competition with them. Otherwise: Russia, Germany during ww2, Vietnam were all terrorist.

    For that matter you can’t label Soleimani as a terrorist, because he killed Americans. After all many German generals like Rommel killed thousands of Americans; so did Vietnamese and others we fought against. Nor can we call Petraeus, Mattis and many of our generals terrorists. They gave orders that killed thousands around the world. So killing Soleimani is juvenile to get publicity for Trump, without thinking of the havoc it raises in the region. It could very well be a distraction to derail his impending impeachment.

    The Iranian revenge is not likely to be a childish tit for tat; like killing an American general. They will leverage the strong relationship they have with Iraq and the anger of their population to push the US out of Iraq. Gradually do same with Gulf states; telling them you can’t depend on the US to protect you. Look what happened with surgical drone strikes on Saudi oil production. The they also sold you billions in useless weapons for no good.
    This would be a huge strategic loss; depriving us of Middle East: oil, military bases and the umbrella protecting Israel. And this is exactly what the Russians and Iranians want.

    • Diego

      I expect the Iranians to be more astute and nuanced than Trump, to be honest. For starters, the US leaving Iraq (which is likely) would be a huge win for Iran strategically. Possibly the Americans and the Gulf States would have to throw a lot of money at Sunni militias in Iraq (or ISIS 2.0) to compensate, but they would still lose control as insiders. And well, they´d also lose access to the oil, which was the reason for it all…

      This is a very complex situation right now, and you can almost smell the confusion in Washington. Even if it´s supposedly Iran´s turn next, it is still the US who are losing ground apparently, which makes them unpredictable and why not, still pretty dangerous.

      • Diego

        On the other hand, the situation in Iraq is also incredibly volatile after the huge demonstrations against the government since this autumn, and the Iranians must be extremely smart if they want to keep a strong hand in Baghdad. In the end, you have to wonder if anyone wins with SO MUCH chaos and confusion. I don´t have any clue how all this will turn out but more anarchy, if not war, is definitely the most likely outcome in my humble opinion.

    • John Pretty

      “Just because you don’t like a country, you can’t label it as a terrorist state.”

      Unfortunately, the United States thinks it can do what it likes. I think the Iranians have also described (with some justification) the United States as “terrorist”.

      It’s just labelling for public consumption.

      They did something similar in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, as I recall. Armed Republican gangs were described as “terrorists”, while armed Unionist gangs were described as “paramilitaries”.

    • Los

      Trump is also blocking the proper functioning of the UN by denying delegates visas to attend.

      Perhaps the UN should decamp from NY and set up shop somewhere else that is prepared to adhere to the Rule of International Law.

      • Bramble

        It was always a mistake to put the HQ in New York. The US was staking its dominance over the UN and its refusal to accept its authority. That has been the case all along and has fatally flawed the organisation. (The UK and other Security Council members felt the same way about surrendering their sovereign right to do what they bloody well pleased in their own self interest, of course.) About the only benefit was to Alfred Hitchcock, who used it well in North By North West.

        • Laguerre

          From what I heard, in 1947 it was thought that the only way of getting the US to join was to agree to the location of the UN in New York. The absence of the US from the League of Nations was said to be one of the reasons for the failure to resist Nazism.

          Well, it worked for a while, but Trump is a classic US isolationist, much like those of the 1920s and 30s. It might be better to relocate to a neutral country, but in that case it is certain that the US would entirely lose interest in the UN.

          • N_

            The UN was always a bit of a dead letter in the sense of achieving world peace. Stalin wound up the Comintern, stopped having the Internationale as the Soviet anthem, and accepted that the law of value operated in the USSR (do we see where this is going?); there was a bit of haggling over how many members the USSR would have (in the end it was three), and Stalin was probably aiming to receive a large amount of what became known as Marshall aid (there were Soviet representatives at Bretton Woods), and then he recognised the State of Israel, and then, y’know, there was China and Korea and a fat lot of good the UN was.

            In fact one could go further than calling it a dead letter, given that its Charter basically gave members carte blanche to do what they wanted to win the war that was still going on against Japan…i.e. nobody was stopped from nuking hundreds of thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki or sanctioned afterwards. Talk about taking the piss. The UN was as much “a gang of imperialist robbers” as the League of Nations ever was. No problems with the US using germ warfare against North Korea soon after its creation either.

          • N_

            Here you go: Article 107 of the UN Charter (signed 26 June 1945):

            Nothing in the present Charter shall invalidate or preclude action, in relation to any state which during the Second World War has been an enemy of any signatory to the present Charter, taken or authorized as a result of that war by the Governments having responsibility for such action.”

            Six weeks later: 6 and 9 August 1945: the United States dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in a concentrated act of slaughter against civilians.

            There were no Nuremberg or Khabarovsk trials for THAT!

          • pretzelattack

            that’s what i’ve read, plus the u.s. found it easier to control. the whole setup was favorable to the u.s., from its privileged position on the security council to its control of other international bodies like the world bank. it developed some independence, but the u.s. can still block everything.

      • N_

        It is illegal for the US to deny Javad Zarif a visa to visit the UN in New York. I recall the US government broke the same law on a previous occasion, when they obeyed a click of Israeli fingers to deny Yasser Arafat a visa – and so the General Assembly met in Geneva instead and heard Arafat there.

    • Antonym

      That was a dumb tweet from president Trump: talking like ISIS (Palmyra) or theTaliban (Bamyan). Could all three be KSA suggested. They destroyed many monuments about Mo themselves in Mecca and Medina: potential sources of idolatry!

  • Mick McGowan

    Wasn’t the defensive initiative / pre-emptive strike strategy first deployed by Israeli Government in 1967, as the first act of hostility in the 6 Days War….?

    • Republicofscotland

      Listening to Chomsky on this particular matter, he said of it, that Egypt was not complying with what the US wanted it to do at the time. The US had stretched itself a bit thin over what was going on with regards to Indonesia.

      Israel stepped in and just about wiped out the entire Egyptian air force, I’d say it was definitely a pre-emptive strike Chomsky added that after that, US aid to Israel began to shoot up quite dramatically.

      • Curious

        I don’t think one can call the 1967 Israeli attack on Egypt (etc.) “pre-emptive” because that assumes that Egypt would have attacked Israel; evidence has contradicted that. Israel’s attacks on its neighbors should be called what it was: an aggressive attack.

  • pavlov's dog

    It’s increasingly evident that much effort goes into steering the world into accepting a state of permanent warfare.
    When will a peace initiative be initiated?
    Peace projects only seem to be permitted briefly after ruinous wars and are carried out by the victors – solely to consolidate power.

    Clearly the ‘political system’ is a farce kept in place to block the positions of ‘leadership’ in a hierarchical structure so that the status quo remains i.e. psychological domination through the creation of a false perception of reality. This falsity allows for the ‘arrangement’ or ordering of the natural ambient to suit particular sets of profiteers at a given time.
    The rest of the people are the prey whose energies are sucked dry. The so-called ‘People’ are never left in peace to their own creative and organisational resources – instead they are continually kept on their toes, usually through labour duties and engineered lack, always under pressure to accept or to react to all-pervasive ugly and destructive behaviour that is projected onto them from higher sources.

    The main information feed, (I.e. the ‘news’papers – theoretically bringing the latest information) – is a constant hour by hour drip of reaffirmation of the presence of unreasonable aggression and the impossibility of resolution. Repetition techniques play on and on and allows a slaughter of humans to go on all over the world on one sketchy pretense or another.

    It is known that the callous and deliberate use of violence easily creates hurt, trauma and anger. One of the easiest techniques for stirring trouble and disturbing emotion is the provocation of border skirmishes that tip non-ambitious rural communities completely off balance.

    The ugly minded are busy creating bewilderment and mischief everywhere but the western public is so used to it now it is more or less acceptable as inevitable. Apparently the whole world just wants more and more, regardless of ethical and moral considerations – so it too is compromised in a fight for survival and needs to export a culture of reasonableness and fair thinking!

    Proof of the mental illness we all suffer under is the profanation of outer space into a weaponized no-go zone. It’s green light all go for the weapons ‘industry and the business community – carried out in secret collaborations – no permissions required from the other ‘owners’ of the world i.e. planet Earth’s present generations of humans.

    What is the thinking behind the the western military’s role?
    Is there anything worthwhile there at all???

    Fact is that it is daily occupied in messing up the functioning of an ‘enemy’ world i.e. other cultures (rural tribes, slowly developing more remote areas), people with other perspectives, done under the delusion of bringing harmony. The armies trick young recruits into evil actions drawn in by the impressive technology and the feeling of power a unit of men gives.
    Advances in science get hi-jacked to abusive uses in secret labs, the rural countryside gets turned into a missiles park, inland areas of vast continents are targets for bombardment.
    Speech is useless against insanity – I’m using words in a kind of quiet desperation.
    People alive today would need to completely change the false picture we all see – through massive communal behaviour and habitual thinking changes – probably far more difficult than overcoming an addiction.

    The world of human beings needs to assert its quiet, negotiable and rational nature and defend its interests through loyalty and friendship.

    An initiative to bring the military heads into line would be desirable but they know and everybody knows that force will prevail and they will boot the non-violent into submission.
    Great that mankind got into this mess after all the centuries of ‘work’.

    • John Pretty

      Thank you for your thoughts on this.

      “the rural countryside gets turned into a missiles park”

      – well not in my part of England it isn’t !

      The problem as I see it is the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) in the United States. The “revolving door” where corrupt politicians set an unreasonably high military budget and then leave for executive positions on the boards of those same private arms manufacturers.

      I found this nice explanation of the MIC here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGmsnzjofv8
      [ “Foreign Policy Explained, Ep. 5: What is the Military Industrial Complex?” (3m58s) – Learn Liberty ]

    • Rose

      pavlov’s dog at 08.35 – well that was a heartfelt post and spot on. Thank you.
      And it’s tempting to think everything is lost and the mess is irretrievable after all the work of previous centuries. But take heart. The gains made by Mankind in evolutionary terms will never be lost as long as enough of us to form a critical mass, become aware of our situation and take action at a personal and local level to alert others.
      As you say, it goes against the grain of normal decent human beings to continue to accept the degraded environment – physical, spiritual and moral – being foisted on us by those powerful few with different agendas.
      But signs of change are all around. Unlike a generation ago, there is now the wonderful tool of the internet to communicate feelings and disseminate ideas.
      “Be not afeard. the isles is full of noises”. It may not be “imminent” (: but it is happening.

    • Diego

      “The main information feed, (I.e. the ‘news’papers – theoretically bringing the latest information) – is a constant hour by hour drip of reaffirmation of the presence of unreasonable aggression and the impossibility of resolution.”

      There is little one can do when many of the pundits who appeared on (American) national television or were quoted in major publications to praise the president’s actions have undisclosed ties to the defense industry — the only domestic industry that stands to gain from increased violence; Petraeus, Negroponte, Jeh Johnson, Jack Keane, Van Hipp, and the likes are all echoing the industry in Fox News, NBC, Foreign Policy, Public Radio and many more. What should be a scandal is the new normal.

    • Spencer Eagle

      Spot on, it’s a descent into utter madness and it all began in the spring of 1997 with formation of The Project for the New American Century. A ‘nonprofit, educational organization’ or ‘Think Tank’ whose goal was to promote ‘American global leadership’ and to expand militarily on the back of a “catastrophic and catalysing event”. It’s list of key members reads like the place settings around Dr Evil’s boardroom table: Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, John Bolton, to name but a few.

      John Pilger’s excellent piece from 2002 … https://www.newstatesman.com/node/192545

      The PNAC document …http://www.visibility911.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/rebuildingamericasdefenses.pdf

  • mike

    All Baghdad has to do now is invite Russia to take over the anti-ISIS/peacekeeping role that the US pretended to fulfil. If that happens, it’s checkmate to the resistance.

    • Tatyana

      Baghdad, and indeed any other country, should not invite another state to any role in their country. The problem is that the United Nations does not function properly. The fight against ISIS should initially be an operation of the authorized forces, not USA’s, not NATO’s, nor Russia’s.
      We just don’t know how to truly unite and do not learn from history.

    • John Pretty

      I completely agree, but the United Nations cannot function properly while the United States in particular and to a lesser extent it’s allies treats it with such contempt.

      International Law cannot be enforced and so the only way it will work is if enough powerful countries are willing to abide by it and use their power and influence to encourage it.

      Many people her and elsewhere think that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and George Bush should be indicted for war crimes. But who will arrest these men?

      • John Pretty

        To clarify, My comment was in response to the comment posted by Tatyana. My apologies for any misunderstanding here.

  • mike

    Indeed. The UN will never take over that role in Iraq, not while there are actual belligerents who might shoot at them! And not without US approval.

    • pretzelattack

      the u.n. doesn’t have force of its own, it’s just a paper tiger. like stalin said, how many divisions does the pope have?

      • Tatyana

        if the pope needed to call for warriors, you’d be surprised of the quantity of crusaders 🙂
        this is just a bureaucratic question, we could settle it if we wished to.

  • Tom

    This is fucking hilarious – a former ambassador has never heard of the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive warfare, and instead attributes it to an Israeli govt advisor with the surname Bethlehem.

    You guys are really doing that ‘what me? I’ve never even heard of anti-semitism’ act of the anti-war Left a lot of good with this coded racist horseshit.

        • Deb O'Nair

          You have conflated preemptive warfare (Bush doctrine) with the policy of assassinating people who may pose a future undefined threat (Bethlehem doctrine).

    • Anthony

      Tom, we now know warmongers like you will invent antisemitism out of thin air in order to thwart any questioning of your hunger to bomb brown people. It’s clear there are no moral depths to which you are not prepared to sink.

      • Tom

        Not out of thin air – based on the article’s misattributing something to a guy with a Jewish name and blaming Israel, while overlooking the earlier and much more significant articulation of this horrendous doctrine by the Bush White House.

        If you falsely blame the Jewish state for things and ignore the equivalent or greater crimes of non-Jewish states, it really doesn’t take an Albert Einstein to figure out your agenda…

        • Anthony

          You are simply projecting your own dark thoughts about Jewish people onto others, Tom. “The Jews” are not behind these repeated US assaults on the middle east. They are being instigated at the behest of big US capital.

    • Deb O'Nair

      an example of someone who hasn’t read the article to the point of understanding what it says and then decides to lable it ‘anti-semitic’ based purely on their own ignorance and/or misunderstanding.

      • Tom

        No, I read it, and explained my reasoning for thinking it is anti-semitic. But I am enjoying how EVERY response to my pointing out that blaming Jews for creating something evil that they didn’t create is anti-semitic is to pretend that anti-semitism doesn’t exist, and is only used by warmongers.

        i.e. the very phenomenon I identified in my initial post, of anti-war Leftists pretending that anti-semitism doesn’t exist and nothing they do (even blaming Jews for everything) could possibly be anti-semitic. Fucking hilarious.

        • .Geoffrey

          Tom, are you saying that you believe Craig is factually incorrect ? If so perhaps you could tell us in what way ?
          We do know that Blair was told that the invasion was illegal by government legal advisers, and presumably Blair would have been concerned that if he had made an illegal invasion he might end up like those Serbians. So it would be logical for them to find a compliant legal adviser, I am sure they could not care less where he came from in fact it is unfortunate for them that he was Israeli as Israel was a strong advocate of the invasion, it would have been much more convenient had he been a Froggie for instance as they opposed it.

    • Tatyana

      Well, here is an example of what I mentioned earlier – anti-anti-anti-semitism hysteria. A special conspiracy theory is that all around are latent anti-semites.
      Tom, what would you say if the name of the author of the doctrine was Russian? Would you then blame Mr. Murray of coded russophobia?

    • pretzelattack

      lofl you’re claiming craig’s article is antisemitic?? how many paid trolls infest this place anyway. you have the atlantic council/integrity initiative types, the hasbara brigade, and the fossil fuel shills.

      • Tom Welsh

        “…how many paid trolls infest this place anyway…”

        Well, we know that the US and UK governments pay actual regiments and brigades of armed forces members to do nothing but troll all day and all night.

        From time to time you notice evidence of their loyal activities. I am only surprised we don’t see more of them.

        Perhaps the really skilful ones slip under the radar…

      • Tom

        Yes, because he wrongly blamed the Bush doctrine on Jews.

        If I blamed Rodney King for being beaten up by the police, you’d recognise that for what it was. But the anti-war Left have become so kneejerk and reflexive towards accusations of anti-Jewish racism that they cannot recognise it even when it’s right in front of them.

        Speaks volumes about how widely spread this problem is among our segment of the political spectrum, and how far we have to go to only blame Jews for things Jews actually did (which in the case of the Israeli state is a whole lot of nasty shit).

    • J

      The racists are ethnically cleansing Palestine as we write. They’re working to ethnically cleanse the UK of Romany right now. They’re occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. They’re stealing Syria’s oil while you type. They’re bombing the history and culture of Yemen into dust. They’re flooding Europe with refugees. They’re setting fire to Africa today. They raped Indonesia. They destroyed generations in Chile and Guatemala. They toppled the socialist government of Mohammad Mosaddegh.

      And you my fine fellow of a racist scumbag are supporting them every step of the way.

      • Tatyana

        add defenders of Nazism to the list. It’s amazing that Poland is offended that Putin called Lipsky an anti-Semitic bastard and a pig! really offended, called our ambassador for an explanation, believe it or not.

      • Tom

        ‘Flooding Europe with refugees’ is now considered not racist?

        Wow, the hypocrisy really knows no bounds. Falsely blame Jews for things that had nothing to do with them? That’s fine. Hate refugees? That’s fine.

        But point out that the person who is wrongly blaming Jews for things that had nothing to do with them and you’re an Integrity Initiative warmongering troll bot.

        Like I said in the OP, the ‘what me, I’ve never even heard of anti-semitism’ approach of the Leftist anti-war crowd is so firmly entrenched no one even recognises it any more. Sad, but if you like what you’re getting then keep doing what you’re doing.

        • Tatyana

          Stop and look around, Tom. You’re the only one who drew attention to the ethnicity of Mr. Bethlehem. Before you came out with your statement, nobody cared about that. Even if the doctrine was falsely attributed to him, you should argue the fact, not imply dirty motives.

        • J

          0.06% Let’s begin with that fact. You’re a racist and an idiot, Tom. It’s not a crime. Just deal with it instead of using your time to accusse other people of these things (probably because you can’t bear to acknowledge them in you.)

    • pete

      You seem to have deliberately misunderstood Craig’s post. Bush was OK with the law as he saw it, his legal team would have told him he could get away with a pre-emptive strike, his only restrictions would have been the Us War Powers Act. If, for example Regan had been bothered by international laws he would have acknowledged American guilt for shooting down an Iranian civilian airliner in 1988, killing all 290 people on board. No one has been prosecuted for this act.
      It was Blair who needed legal justification for a pre-emptive hostile act, hence why Bethlehem was helicoptered in to deliver such an opinion. To style this as an anti-Semitic rant is an attempt to excuse the real villains responsible.

    • Giyane

      Tom if you had attended the Joint Committee on Human Rights next to parliament you would have heard an excellent summary of Bush’s exceptionalism policy by professor Sands.
      Craig gave evidence about torture which was heard politely but ignored by the establishment.

      Two new forms of torture have followed, proxy extreme terrorism and drone assassination. Craig was sacked for his opposition to torture. General Suleimani was murdered for fighting against proxy extreme terrorism. Both bear the scars of zionist exceptionalism. Where are your scars?

    • Dungroanin

      Carryon soldier -after this war ends when we set up the courts – the excuse of just following orders will definitely not be admissible for your generals or you.

    • cimarrón

      Oh, dear, this is going to be very worrying for all those US allies who only have the crap Patriot system to defend themselves.

      “Patriot and Aegis air defense systems, which the Americans advertise, do not correspond to their stated specifications. They have low combat efficiency when it comes to counteraction to small-sized air targets and cruise missiles. US-made air defense systems are simply not ready to repel enemy’s air attack in a real combat situation,” a Russian military official said.”

      Russia laughs at US MIM-104 Patriot systems. Saudi Arabia drone attack –
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amuJPXtXkOw

  • Fedup

    A quicky:

    Yesterday don warleone’s posse in the UNSC tabled a motion for the security council to; “condemn the funeral marches in Iran”. This was flatly vetoed by joint Russian and Chinese delegates. Evidently the latter may have noticed the fact that the US is now so unhinged to the extent that it wants to sanction eighty million Iranians for being Iranians.

    Today it transpires that Iranian Foreign Minister has not been given a visa by the US authorities to speak in the UNSC. Evidently capodecina Pompeo has called the UN secretary general to tell him they haven’t got time to issue a visa to the Iranian Foreign Secretary (yet another violation of the UN rules/conventions, but hey US commits war crimes, torture, murder, so this is small potato like speeding in the school zone).

    Further developments have been Iranian parliament as per “what is good for the goose” principle have extended the designate “terrorist organisation” that was initially pointed at centcom in Qatar, to include all the US bases, US army, Pentagon, and various shop fronts thereof as in Institute for bollocks, RAND, etc.

    This is the sort of stuff that the echo chamber media aka corporate media aren’t going to pay any attention to, now you have been informed.

    • Doghouse

      Well, if you google the definition of terrorism –

      “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims”

      And then consider some of Trump’s recent tweets about 52 targets locked in including civiliam cultural targets, and then coupled with a proven history of being more than capable of carrying out such threats over prolonged periods with civilian deaths resulting in the hundreds of thousands or millions over the years, then by very definition, Trump, commander in chief and top US honcho is unequivocally fulfilling that definition.

      I don’t think any of us can really begin to imagine the absolute heart shuddering fear that living under the totally obscene threat of massive bomb after massive bomb being rained down perpetually on your heads must be like – what the people of Iraq and Libya went through and what the people of Iran face.

      These are human beings, just like you and I, going about their daily business with littel interest other than raising their families, opening their shops, walking their dogs, doing their harmless hobbies and lving from one day to the next with a laugh and a smile and a degree of hapiness. And they have this. Certain elements of humanity are beyond condemnation, beneath fitting description.

      • Fedup

        Ditto Doghouse.

        The strange fact is fallout from the: “absolute heart shuddering fear that living under the totally obscene threat of massive bomb after massive bomb being rained down perpetually on your heads ” and plunder of the resources of the “lesser” nations, has resulted in an economic chaos that is resulting in many more latent deaths, and disintegration of these “lesser” nations through the migration of these populations under siege. This in turn is misinterpreted as “economic migrants” on the move (they come over here take our houses, get free mobile phones, …….) absolute bunkum and rubbish that discounts the cause of these migrations that lies in the invasion and destruction of these countries all in the way of propping up a failing ideology that has been foisted on us all as “capitalism” and as the only way. As in any decent fascist society, there can only be one permissible idea/model.way/creed!

        The highly organised massively funded terror networks aka the US forces included their bought mercenaries and the inducted mercenaries formally know as “ISIS/Daesh” a highly recidivist bunch of miscreants who verily believe they are the only Muslims on the planet Earth and the rest of the Muslim populations are misguided refusers who ought to be culled and put to death (funny how the ideologies of this bunch and the west are so coincident).

        Fact that the said group (ISIS/Daesh) have been carefully patched up in various Israeli Hospitals and relocated by the US helicopters from one location that has become a death trap for these to another safe haven to live another day to get on with the culling of the refusenik Muslims around the mid east somehow never seem to raise any interest in connecting the dots by any of the echo chamber media operatives (corporate media).

      • John Pretty

        I agree with everything you say in your point doghouse, but that definition of terrorism could reasonably apply to almost any war.

        “I don’t think any of us can really begin to imagine the absolute heart shuddering fear that living under the totally obscene threat of massive bomb after massive bomb being rained down perpetually on your heads must be like.”

        I would agree that few living in this country today would understand it, but those being bombed by the Nazis during the Blitz might have some understanding:

        http://www.memoriesofwar.org.uk/page_id__282.aspx?path=0p15p27p

        As would the Russians who were of course also heavily bombed by the Nazis. In the seige of Leningrad (St Petersburg) 75,000 bombs were dropped on the city:

        https://www.history.com/news/the-siege-of-leningrad

        Also in that war and prior to Hiroshima and Nagasaki American General Curtis LeMay (in my estimation the most evil and sadistic of American military commanders) ordered the napalming of Japanese cities:

        https://www.wired.com/2011/03/0309incendiary-bombs-kill-100000-tokyo/

        We of course were responsible for the bombing of German civilians in cities like Dresden.

        • Doghouse

          Whether or not it could reasonably be applied to any war is moot.

          The US is not *officially* at war with Iran. All the instances you quote fall into the same mind void, we cannot begin to imagine it unless one day we are filthily and mindlessly subjected to it. It defies all mental comprehension that the so called *free world* and the nation that is its self appointed master, has a man in charge that is making statements without any regard to their effect on the innocent civilians whose only crime is to be Iranian by birth. These threats are designed entirely to put abject terror in the hearts of Iranian people (and other nations). They lack any plausible cause and are made by an individual who is showing himself to be completely insensate – beyond any sense or reason.

        • Republicofscotland

          Lets not forget more recent events, President Obama described Laos as the most heavily bombed nation in history.

          Eight bombs a minute were dropped on average during the Vietnam war between 1964 and 1973 – more than the amount used during the whole of World War Two.

          Then there’s the coalition bombing of Libya where a huge amounts of ordnance was dropped, and of course even more recently in Syria and of course Iraq itself.

          https://www.cfr.org/blog/how-many-bombs-did-united-states-drop-2016

          Henry (Old Nick himself ) Kissinger won the the Nobel Peace prize in 1973, his co-recipient refused the award. Obama won the Nobel Peace prize in 2009.

          Both are confirmed warhawks.

          • John Pretty

            doghouse and republicofscotland, thank you, I agree with your analysis. I wasn’t ignoring Vietnam.

            The point I was making was that these atrocities are not new and not only the responsibility of imperialist America, though that country must undoubtedly be the worst offender.

            One of the few countries never to have been heavily bombed in war is the United States itself of course.

        • Tony

          And the atomic attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was about demonstrating U S power to the USSR.
          As General Le May and so many others pointed out, it had absolutely nothing to do with forcing Japan to surrender and thus ending the war. So many Japanese cities had already been destroyed that the destruction of two more would not, and was not expected, to make a difference.

          In 1967, thanks to LBJ’s reckless behavior, we almost added Cairo to the list of cities destroyed by nuclear weapons.

  • Carol

    https://thegrayzone.com/2020/01/06/soleimani-peace-mission-assassinated-trump-lie-imminent-attacks/

    “At a January 3 State Department briefing, where reporters finally got the chance to demand evidence for the claim of an “imminent” threat, one US official erupted in anger. “Jesus, do we have to explain why we do these things?” he barked at the press.

    Two days later, when Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi addressed his country’s parliament, Trump’s justification for killing Soleimani was exposed as a cynical lie. According to Abdul-Mahdi, he had planned to meet Soleimani on the morning the general was killed to discuss a diplomatic rapproachment that Iraq was brokering between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    Abdul-Mahdi said that ***** Trump personally thanked him for the efforts, even as he was planning the hit on Soleimani ***** – thus creating the impression that the Iranian general was safe to travel to Baghdad.”

    • cimarrón

      Nice one, Carol.

      I thought this a telling paragraph in that article, too: the devil’s in the last word –

      “Soleimani had arrived in Baghdad not to plan attacks on American targets, but to coordinate de-escalation with Saudi Arabia. Indeed, he was killed while on an actual peace mission that could have created political distance between the Gulf monarchy and members of the US-led anti-Iran axis like Israel.”

      • Carol

        Read this:

        https://twitter.com/rezamarashi/status/1214031169173348352

        “When did most of us find out about killing Soleimani? After it already happened. Since then, we’ve been trying to cobble together contingency planning on the fly, but these charlatans ignore most of it, and then Trump does more stupid shit that puts us back at square one.”

        “So many of Trump’s top advisors on Iran are military vets who served multiple tours of duty in our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. They believe to their core that Iran is the reason why they lost those wars, and they’re dead set on payback – no matter what it takes.”

        Scroll down to Trump’s tweets from 2011, 2012, 2013 all predicting that Obama will attack Iran to get re-elected!!!

        • cimarrón

          Yes, Carol, thanks, I had seen those Trump tweets; I also saw this one on that Twitter feed:

          “@LadyM97844504
          13h13 hours ago
          OF COURSE IT WAS INTENTIONAL! Not by trump, he’s an imbecile, a useful idiot for putin, mbs, kim, erdogan, etc. They r the masterminds behind this. Mostly putin tho i’m betting. The downfall of the U.S. is what their wet dreams are made of.”

          Here we go again. It’s not the fault of the rabid hawks in the US with their slavering obeisance to the Israel lobby; nor of daddy’s little girl’s manoeuvrings for her sneaky husband, or the Pentagon and the MIC: no, it’s Putin.

    • N_

      Have France and Germany, supposed members of the US-led “coalition”, grabbed their bags and skedaddled to Kuwait on US coat-tails? This is assuming they had more than about one person each at the HQ in the first place.

  • J

    Technically it’s not a conspiracy theory. The University of Alaska Fairbanks report was far more detailed than that by NIST and in fact demonstrates in detail how even NIST’s deliberate falsification of the model did not allow the building to collapse. UAF summarise their findings thus:

    “The principal conclusion of our study is that fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST and private engineering firms that studied the collapse. The secondary conclusion of our study is that the collapse of WTC 7 was a global failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.”

    In other words, the only mechanism capable of removing all of the major columns near simultaneouslyrequires many months of planning prior September 11th 2001. According to physics, that conclusion can not be avoided.

    The report can be found in full here: http://ine.uaf.edu/wtc7

    • Doghouse

      Technically and in reality it is not a conspiracy *theory*. When there is sufficient evidence to support the conspiracy it is no longer a theorem. Conspiracy in itself is a criminal offence under the law of England and Wales contrary to *common law* meaning its roots are ancient and long established. You can conspire to murder, rob defraud etc.

      When you appear before a criminal court and the charges are read out it is ….

      “On day date time place you did conspire to murder rob or whatever”. It is not –

      On day date time place….the theory is…. you did conspire to murder rob or whatever.

      Conspiracy is not a laughing matter as portrayed by those with an interest to do so, it is a fact in life and law. That there was a conspiracy on 9/11 would be a fact apparent to anyone with the wit to properly look.

      • Tony

        Yes. Lyndon Johnson definitely killed President Kennedy. There is simply too much evidence for it to be otherwise.

        But the idea that he ordered the assassination of Robert Kennedy remains a conspiracy theory. He certainly wanted him dead as is clear from the testimony of Jo Califano. He said that Johnson repeatedly asked him ‘Is he dead yet?’
        And the assassination has much in common with that of JFK. But it remains only a conspiracy theory that Johnson was behind it.

  • M.J.

    Elizabeth Warren’s tune seemed to have changed, from almost supporting the assassination to suggesting that it was an attempt by Trump to divert attention from his impeachment, and the reason was that Bernie Sanders immediately denounced the assassination, and got a lead over her in the opinion polls.
    I fear that, unless he really were engaged in an imminent plot to kill Americans, no good will come out of Suleimani’s assassination, and that it will be counter-productive – the Iraqis may throw the US out, giving the Iranians more inlfuence in the region. If as a result of future Iranian reprisals Trump gets drawn into further military involvement, he could end up worse off, for breaking his isolationist understanding with his base.

  • giyane

    President Trump has crossed many red lines by assassanating the Iranian general.
    But the most important red line is his bypassing of any legal process. He did it because he decided it was a good idea. That goes well beyond the remit of any president and to my mind indicates that the President is mad. The UK should refuse to have any diplomatic relations with him until he can prove that he has returned to sanity. We should definitely refuse to enter into any trade deal with this man.

    We can make excuses for senility because that can happen to anyone, We can make excuses for the intense pressure of the legal scrutiny of his every action, such as those around his impeachment. We can make excuses for his reliance on Kushner instead of a broader spectrum of advisors.

    But we cannot, as with Harvey Weinstien , condone gross criminal behaviour, whether genetically or socially caused. Whoever he is, and whatever he is, he must not be allowed to get away with murdering anyone.
    I believe, as Lysias indicated earlier , that this murder is a valid grounds for impeaching the President and it should be done. He should be remanded in custody and refused bail, then tried in the Hague for this terrible crime;

    • John Pretty

      giyane, Trump is not going to be impeached.

      The House of Representatives is majority Democrat. This is why the impeachment process got through that stage.

      The Senate is majority Republican and impeachment in the Senate requires a 2/3 majority. It also has more stringent requirements with regard to evidence. (This whistleblower nonsense would not pass.)

      The Democratic establishment has no problem with Trumps warmongering. They just cannot accept that Hillary lost to Trump.

      If it was up to me the UK would condemn Soleimani’s murder, but that is not going to happen.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Trump is not going to be impeached”.

        Certainly not now that he has committed impeachable high crimes and misemeanours in the full glare of global publicity.

        That has raised his stock considerably with the American public, the MSM, the chattering classes and particularly the Congress.

      • giyane

        John Pretty

        Would you trust a man who scuppers a peace deal on Yemen, flouts national sovereignty, abuses the rules of diplomacy, takes sides with head-choppers for money, stokes sectarian animosity, re-threatens a country with crazed terrorists after they have been defeated and expects to get away with murder with a nuclear bomb?

        Trump is bonkers. He should be in prison before he detonates a nuclear bomb.

        • John Pretty

          No I would not trust such a man.

          The world may well be a safer place with Trump out of office, but who will remove him?

    • lysias

      I don’t believe Epstein is dead. If Ghosn could be hidden in a container, Epstein’s Mossad bosses could certainly manage an extraction.

  • Wikikettle

    I have seen Professor Marandi appear on many programs, but he was never given enough time to articulate his experiences and views. The Grayzone hosted by Anya Parampil, has a lengthy interview with him on you tube ” Gen Solemani was a war hero – Iranian Professor”. If someone could post the link please..

  • Tony

    This article comes as something of a revelation to me.
    But there’s another point as well.
    When someone uses a word without telling the audience that the meaning has been redefined.
    If I remember correctly, the administration of George H.W. Bush secretly redefined the word ‘torture’ so that it only counted if the victim died!

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      The new(ish) US Secretary of Defence is Mark Esper. From his Wiki : “Before joining the Department of Defence, Esperanza was vice president of government relations at Raytheon”.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Esper

      Esper was in the same year at West Point as Pompeo. Some speculation that Trump was “tricked” into ordering the murder of General Soleimani by Pompeo and Esper.
      A ground war against Iran would be suicidal for American hegemony but firing tens of thousands of nice expensive, Raytheon missiles, that’s another matter entirely.

      • Tony

        Presidents are influenced by their advisors all the time.

        CIA Director Allen Dulles, a moral vacuum if ever there was one, urged President Eisenhower to overthrow the government of Iran. To his credit, Eisenhower refused. But then Dulles came back with a totally different set of arguments. Unfortunately, on this occasion, the president was gullible enough to swallow it.

        This is when hostility began between the USA and Iran, not in 1979 with the overthrow of the Shah, as the BBC Today Programme recently claimed.

  • Wikikettle

    The US supplied Stinger shoulder mounted surface to air missiles to the Afghans for use against the Soviets military machine. The IRA used Semtex explosives which were undetectable. The Yemenis or Iranians used drones to cripple oil refineries in KSA. My point is that big armies, big air forces, big aircraft carriers, tanks and six billion dollar attack budgets only serve the share holders now. The bullies have had their day. The bullies can now use the same weapons that were used against them a decade ago. KSA, all the Gulf States and even Isreal with all its might is now vulnerable and the assassination has put the Pentagon on the back foot. Withdrawing from Iraq and going to Kuwait won’t help. Sanctions against Russia and Iran have failed. The use of Wahhabi Jihadists in Iraq and Syria have failed. Yes, there has been a million lives lost and cities reduced to rubble. Yet there is no accounting for it yet. Blair, Campbell, Straw, Scarlet, Bush, Regev, BBC and all the other criminals carry on and can sleep at night.

    • Republicofscotland

      “the assassination has put the Pentagon on the back foot. ”

      I doubt that very much, infact the Pentagon is sending more troops to the region. Relations with the US might be at a low, however I don’t see them upping sticks in Iraq and allowing say Russia or China to move in to fill the void.

      • Fedup

        Don’t talk over the people of Iraq!

        Despite having been invaded, destroyed and occupied for the last sixteen years, they have a say in these matters; as to whether they wish to formally and legally ask the occupiers to leave their soil.

        • Republicofscotland

          “they have a say in these matters; as to whether they wish to formally and legally ask the occupiers to leave their soil.”

          David Hume said that force is on the side of the government (what forces controls it) Hume also said, the people also have the force, if they recognise it and use it.

          If the Iraqi people couldn’t kick out the US the first time around (After the US invasion). I don’t see the assassination of a foreign general surpassing that.

          It’s more than likely bribes and economic boosts from the US for Iraq will win the day.

          • fedup

            Iraqi people were duped into thinking that uncle sam was there to help liberate them and let them all have hamburgers, black jack tables, hookers, cars and freedoms! Furthermore, a rolling wave of heavy metal and getting carpet bombed by 52 somehow did not leave them with any other choice.

            After years of death, destruction, endless hopelessness, now they have realised they can no longer afford to sit on their hands. The earlier (October) demonstrations orchestrated by the US proxies in Iraq to topple the (Iran Friendly) government in Iraq has metamorphosed into concentrating the ire and anger at the perpetrators of the destruction of Iraq. The catalyst of killing of the Iraqi General along with his Iranian counterpart, leading to the united people of Iraq and the rest of the people in the mid east to begin getting ready for kicking out the US out of the area. Kind of inverse Lawrence syndrome if you will.

            All people on earth have an inalienable right to choose their own method of governance regardless of the wishes of the few billionaires and their tool of echo chamber media.

    • Jack

      Wikikettle

      “put them on the back foot”?

      Unfortunately. This is wishful thinking that the U.S. are failing – iraqis didnt even mange to throw them out – more troops are coming and nuclear armed B52 are adding up against Iran,
      “The U.S. military sent a squadron of B-52 bombers closer to Iran on Monday”
      https://www.defenseone.com/news/2020/01/the-d-brief-january-07-2020/162264/?oref=d-river

      Who say Trump would not assassinate more people coming days, weeks and thus prove U.S. have the upper hand vs Iran?

      • Tom Welsh

        Bring ’em on! B-52s were getting shot down in droves over Vietnam 50 years ago. By Soviet SAMs that were obsolescent even then.

        Which do you think has advanced more since Vietnam: the B-52 or Russian missiles?

          • Tom Welsh

            The Vietnamese used Soviet missiles to shoot down American aircraft. More than 10,000 of them as a matter of fact – although most of those were helicopters. And the Vietnamese AA guns did a lot of the damage.

            Andrew Cockburn has some revealing anecdotes in his book “Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins”. E.g.

            “Rex Rivolo, the fighter pilot whose high-tech navigation aid had led him to bomb the American base at Da Nang, was assigned to fly escort on the first raid, December 18, 1972.

            “’I wasn’t worried,’ he told me years later. ‘We were briefed that the B-52s would be using their most secret ‘war mode’ electronic countermeasures, previously reserved for WWIII with the Soviets, that would easily blind the Vietnamese SAM missiles. I knew the countermeasures in my plane didn’t work, but I believed the B-52s had secret, magic stuff that would make them invulnerable. So I thought everything would be OK. That was until three SAMs flew right by me and hit a B-52 high above. The magic boxes didn’t work’. Rivolo watched in amazement as the giant plane cracked open ‘like an egg’ and slowly turned over. Burning jet fuel streamed out in a wave that split into two and then four in vast cascading sheets of flame. ‘The sky,’ he told me, recalling the vivid scene in every detail after forty years, ‘was raining fire’. Fourteen more B-52s were to go down before the raids were called off eleven days later. By that time, Rivolo’s previously unquestioning faith in the promises of the technologists had disappeared forever. ‘I had really believed all that hype,’ he told me. ‘And then I realized it was all bullshit. None of it worked’. That searing moment of truth would cause a lot of trouble in Washington later on”.

          • Tom Welsh

            Oh, I just realised that you apparently don’t know that Iraq already has Russian air defence missile systems. And it seems they may be getting S-400s too, soon.

    • Tom Welsh

      “…six billion dollar attack budgets …”

      Er, $738 billion (with everything possible hidden to get the total under $1 trillion, which would look bad to pacifists).

    • Carol

      Plus the other war criminals David Cameron and Nick Clegg for Libya. Then there’s Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clegg and May all involved in Syria. So every single British PM since 1997, Tory, Labour and LibDem, are in fact, war criminals. They should face Nurengberg trials.

  • Fedup

    The rats are fleeing the sinking ship.

    Saudi princes with their families are taking off in their private jets out of dodge and heading for European destinations.

    • Ken Kenn

      That is not surprising.

      The ‘in’ for the Iranians in my opinion is to bolster the Houthis in Yemen and push forward to the US supplier of oil supplies – Saudi Arabia and it’s allies.

      The US depends on Saudi oil supplies.

      Cut that off and close down the Straits of Hormuz and it’s possible that the price of oil rockets in the world and the USA.

      Meanwhile the Great US Patriots continue to flog their fracking gas and oil to the Chinese for a better price than the ordinary Americans can pay.

      An interesting article I read was that the week before the Iranian General was assassinated the Chinese and the Russians were conducting naval manouvres in the Straits of Hormuz.

      Could be connected to the Iranian General but I don’t know.

      The main thing for Bozo and his Clowns is as John Pilger say’s – that the Middle east id full of ” Landmines ”

      The Landmine the US and others do not want to land on is a Russian one.

  • michael norton

    Here we go
    leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey has been branded the “continuity candidate” and the closest to Jeremy Corbyn in the race to replace the Labour leader. But the shadow business secretary broke rank with her boss on her stance on nuclear weapons.

    She is prepared to push the Nuclear Button.

    • michael norton

      So any candidate who declares they will not send us to Hell in a Hand Cart
      is probably out of the race.

      • Andyoldlabour

        michael norton

        It is a race to see which lunatic can take over the leader’s job.
        They already have an impressive lineup of lunatics in the US of A.
        I watched this last night and really wish I hadn’t given the current situation. Back in the sixties/seventies, the US was quite prepared to nuke the whole of Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe in a pre-emptive strike – they had over 12,000 nuclear weapons then. At any one time they had 12 B52’s in the sky, fully loaded with nuclear weapons, and they “lost” 32 of those in crashes – “Broken Arrow” events.
        Then you had the medical experiments on US civilians carried out without their knowledge or permission.

        https://www.smithsonianchannel.com/shows/atomic-age-declassified/born-with-the-bomb/1005852/3471673

    • SA

      This stupid discussion does not take into account:
      1. That a British PM would have to seek the permission of Trump (for now) to press the button.
      2.That the button can probably be pressed unilaterally by the POTUS without consultation with PM.
      3. That NATO obligations probably will also outweigh any U.K. national interest or action.
      It’s a game.

  • SA

    This isTrump at his most stupid. He managed to unite Iraq and Iran into one purpose by killing a military leader from each country in Baghdad. He then threatens both countries when Iraq wants us troops out and Iran threatens revenge.
    You can bet on it that US troops in Iraq are now like hostages, the best thing is to get them out fast. Even if they remain, they will be operationally limited to their barracks. How stupid is that?

    • Jack

      SA
      Where did you get the notion that Iran and Iraq become united? Qute different take if you read what the iraqis themselves have said the past days that seems to blame both Iran, U.S. for the assassinations/attack.
      Iraq did not even throw americans out. Are they unwilling? It clearly seems so..

      • SA

        Jack
        I do not get my information from the western propaganda machine, Are you for example aware that the coffins of Soleimany and Al Muhandis have toured around Iraq and Iran and this has caused their burials to be postponed, something unheard of in the Muslim world where a body has to be buried within 24 hours of death?
        Are you aware of the crowds of people in both countries that have greeted these coffins and of the feelings and euologies paid to the general in Iraq? No of course not, you don’t see it in the media you watch. Have you heard that the Iraqi Parliament has now asked the US and allies to withdraw their troops as they can no longer guarantee their safety?

        • Jack

          SA

          Iraq hasn’t demanded U.S. to leave. In fact the resolution you are talking about wasn’t even binding and wasn’t supported by multiple parties that boycotted the session to begin with.
          I am sorry to say but you are misinformed about the seriousness of the situation. Iraq is not uniting as it should with the iranians.

          • SA

            The action is certainly pushing the pro-Iranian factions in Iraq to become stronger and that has led to this vote. Boycotting a vote means nothing and in fact neither is the vote that important. De facto the US troops in many areas will now be treated as hostile occupation forces and probably confined to barracks or else face attrition.
            However as things have now moved on a bit, the Iranians have already retaliating by hitting the Al Assad base in Iraq. I am not sure this was a good response unless it was done in coordination with Iraq because it otherwise would also be seen as violation of Iraqi sovereignty especially by those opposing Iran in Iraq.
            The axis of resistance has been ongoing and includes Iraq. The presence of US troops and the necessity to skirt around this fact has been one of the careful balancing acts that any government in Baghdad had to deal with. This is now less so and the axis will be strengthened by the US action.

    • Tom Welsh

      Trump is really amazing. He is a living embodiment of Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity”.

      Or could it be the complementary rule, Nolnah’s Rozar? “Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by malice”.

      • SA

        Two other attributes should be added to this mix: impulsiveness and arrogance.
        This needs a new definition maybe Trump syndrome but I have to work it out.

  • michael norton

    In July 2018 Israel had flown a test mission of at least three F-35 jets to Iran’s capital Tehran and back from an airbase near Tel Aviv. While never confirmed publicly, a good number of military and political leaders in the region believed and still believe the story. According to the newspaper, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei fired Iran’s air force chief and commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps upon discovery of the mission.

    • Laguerre

      You mean some people in Israel believe their own propaganda. Which Israeli newspaper? You don’t say.

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