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“Propaganda organization”: White Helmets “engage in anti-Assad activities”

Although some members of the Western-supported White Helmets may be in the business of saving lives, the group is also a “propaganda organization,” author Sy Hersh (Reporter: A Memoir) has told RT’s Going Underground.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist also spoke about reporting in the United States and how it changed under the Obama administration, as well as the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, UK.

Assad to Ban Foreign Money from Syria Reconstruction

Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks to Russian NTV channel © Reuters

Syria will not allow Western investors to step into the rebuilding of war-damaged country as they only come to “take” from foreign economies, Syria’s Bashar Assad told Russian media, adding he will seek friendly aid instead.

The US and its Western allies have been actively engaged in the seven-year long war in Syria, including the illegal stationing of troops in the country and backing anti-government militants such as Free Syrian Army (FSA) and “moderate” Islamist groups. The war has dealt billions in damage to the country, but President Assad is determined to rebuild without a single penny from the “dishonest” West.

“They [the West] won’t be part of reconstruction in Syria, because very simply we won’t allow them to be part of it… we don’t need the West. The West is not honest at all, they don’t give, they only take,” the Syrian leader told Russian NTV channel on Sunday.

US tells rebels not to count on its help as Syrian army advances into country’s southwest – report

The country was historically built without external help, the Syrian president stressed, adding that any loans would be allowed only from “friends.” On the other hand, European investors, who have been privately contacting the Syrian authorities on the matter, will be banned from Syrian markets. Assad says that Europe has eyes for Syria just to save its own “dire” economies.

“They need this market, they are in a very dire situation economically since 2008, most of the European countries. They need many markets, Syria is one of them, and we are not going to allow them to be part of this market, very simply,” he said.

During the interview, Assad lashed out at Western powers, which he believes are controlled by Washington and only have “the substitute of statesmen” and “fake politics.” He said this approach needed “fake stories,” including the alleged use of chemical weapons, which Assad was repeatedly accused of despite Damascus destroying the stockpile in 2013.

The Syrian leader also said that negotiating with US President Donald Trump would be fruitless as Washington always comes up short on its promises and things only get worse when it’s involved.

“The problem with the American presidents is that they are hostages to their lobbies, to the mainstream media, to the huge corporations, financial, oil, armaments, etc.,” Assad said. He described President Trump as a “very stark example” of the American approach in politics – always saying “what you want to hear,” but doing the opposite, things get “worse and worse.”

“So, talking and discussing with the Americans now for no reason, without achieving anything, is just a waste of time,” the Syrian leader said, adding that Damascus is ready for productive dialogue, but it is unlikely to have it with Washington “in the foreseeable future.”

Saudi-led Coalition Strikes Newly Built Doctors Without Borders Facility in Yemen

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A newly built cholera care center, run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the town of Abs, has been hit by Saudi-led coalition planes in yet another airstrike on the medical charity’s facilities in war-ravaged Yemen.

The attack has rendered the center “non-functional,” MSF said in a statement, with photos from the scene showing that the building’s roof and some of the walls were completely destroyed in the airstrike. Luckily, the bombing in the Hajjah governorate did not result in deaths or injuries, because the “facility had not yet received any cholera patients and was empty,” the statement read.

Doctors Without Borders stressed that the cholera treatment center (CTC) was hit despite “markings on the roof of the compound clearly identifying the CTC as a healthcare facility.” According to MSF, the coordinates of the facility had also been declared to the Saudi-led coalition by the organization.

“Whether intentional or a result of negligence, it is totally unacceptable,” Joao Martins, the head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Yemen, said. “MSF has temporarily frozen its activities in Abs until the safety of its staff and patients is guaranteed.”

“CTC had been built to save lives,” Martins pointed out, as the country is bracing itself for another outbreak of cholera. The fight with the disease is “far from over,” the World Health Organization warned last week, adding that over a million people are currently at risk.

During the three years of violence since the Saudi-led military intervention in the country, Yemen has suffered the worst cholera epidemic in modern history, with over a million people affected, nearly half of them children, and more than 2,200 deaths, according to the UN.

In August last year, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit an MSF hospital, also located in Abs; that attack, in which 19 people were killed and 24 injured, became the deadliest among several such incidents during the conflict.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched their first airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen in March 2015, in an attempt to help reinstate ousted President Mansour Hadi to power. Since then more than 5,500 civilians have been killed and over 9,000 injured as of the end of 2017, according to the UN.

The majority of civilian casualties were the result of airstrikes, with the Saudi-led coalition being blamed by international human rights groups for indiscriminate bombings in Yemen. The US and UK have also faced harsh criticism for selling weapons to the coalition, which are then used against civilians.

Reprinted with permission from RT.

Saudi-led Coalition Strikes Newly Built Doctors Without Borders Facility in Yemen

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A newly built cholera care center, run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the town of Abs, has been hit by Saudi-led coalition planes in yet another airstrike on the medical charity’s facilities in war-ravaged Yemen.

The attack has rendered the center “non-functional,” MSF said in a statement, with photos from the scene showing that the building’s roof and some of the walls were completely destroyed in the airstrike. Luckily, the bombing in the Hajjah governorate did not result in deaths or injuries, because the “facility had not yet received any cholera patients and was empty,” the statement read.

Doctors Without Borders stressed that the cholera treatment center (CTC) was hit despite “markings on the roof of the compound clearly identifying the CTC as a healthcare facility.” According to MSF, the coordinates of the facility had also been declared to the Saudi-led coalition by the organization.

“Whether intentional or a result of negligence, it is totally unacceptable,” Joao Martins, the head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Yemen, said. “MSF has temporarily frozen its activities in Abs until the safety of its staff and patients is guaranteed.”

“CTC had been built to save lives,” Martins pointed out, as the country is bracing itself for another outbreak of cholera. The fight with the disease is “far from over,” the World Health Organization warned last week, adding that over a million people are currently at risk.

During the three years of violence since the Saudi-led military intervention in the country, Yemen has suffered the worst cholera epidemic in modern history, with over a million people affected, nearly half of them children, and more than 2,200 deaths, according to the UN.

In August last year, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit an MSF hospital, also located in Abs; that attack, in which 19 people were killed and 24 injured, became the deadliest among several such incidents during the conflict.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched their first airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen in March 2015, in an attempt to help reinstate ousted President Mansour Hadi to power. Since then more than 5,500 civilians have been killed and over 9,000 injured as of the end of 2017, according to the UN.

The majority of civilian casualties were the result of airstrikes, with the Saudi-led coalition being blamed by international human rights groups for indiscriminate bombings in Yemen. The US and UK have also faced harsh criticism for selling weapons to the coalition, which are then used against civilians.

Reprinted with permission from RT.

US Using “ethnic cleansing” to Set up Compliant State in Syria

The US is trying to ethnically cleanse Syria in order to kill off Syrian nationalism and create an obedient state, journalist Vanessa Beeley told RT following a damning report on the US coalition’s military activities in Raqqa.

“They bombed trapped civilians”.  Amnesty’s damning report on US,UK, and France destruction in Raqqa

Beeley, an independent journalist who has covered the war in Syria extensively, told RT that the US, UK and French coalition is using proxy forces to cleanse certain areas of land in the war-torn country in an effort “to replace them with a proxy that will essentially create a US controlled state.”

She was responding to a new Amnesty International report that strongly criticizes the actions of the US-led coalition in its campaign to liberate the previously Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL)-controlled city of Raqqa.

A woman stands on rubble of damaged buildings in Raqqa © Aboud Hamam / Reuters

The Amnesty report accused the coalition and its Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) proxies of creating “a level of destruction comparable to anything we’ve seen in decades of covering the impact of wars,” and it says that the coalition’s claims that the bombings were “precise” and caused few civilian casualties do not stand up to scrutiny.

Beeley said that the Amnesty report put “meat on the bones” of previous analysis from on-the-ground journalists and some Russian analysts and commentators. She said that despite the US-led campaign ostensibly being about ridding the area of IS terrorists, it was the terrorists “who were evacuated as priority over the civilians.”

“Civilian property and infrastructure, essential infrastructure like water taps, like water supply units that were keeping civilians alive during the campaign were also being targeted,” she said, adding that it was the SDF forces designating the targets for the US coalition.

“So there’s a degree of collusion here between the US coalition and its proxies forces on the ground,” she said.

Beeley also criticized the reluctance of the British government, in particular, to admit to causing civilian deaths during its military campaign. The UK Ministry of Defense, she said, “did not even admit one civilian death as a result of their “precision” bombing — and then they only reluctantly admitted that they believe one civilian was killed by one of their drone strikes.”

Comparing the American-led military campaign in Raqqa to the Russian and Syrian-led military campaign to liberate east Aleppo, Beeley said that there were different standards set and attempts were made to protect Aleppo civilians.

“What we saw there were the provision of humanitarian corridors for civilians to be able to leave under the cover of the Syrian Arab Army and with the help of the Russian reconciliation teams negotiating with the terrorist and militant extremist factions to allow civilians to leave,” Beeley said. “What we’ve seen in Raqqa is civilians paying smugglers to try and leave during the military campaign, having to cross minefields, being unable to afford the cost of those smuggling groups.”

Beeley also said that Syrian civilians were being forced to return to buildings and areas of Raqqa that had not yet been cleared of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), booby traps and mines left by IS militants.

In contrast, the journalist said that Russian forces “cleared thousands of hectares of those IEDs and booby traps” following their campaigns to liberate Aleppo and Ghouta from IS.

“What we’re seeing here is a disgusting despicable disregard for human life both during the military campaign and even more importantly after the military campaign by the US coalition,” Beeley said.

Watch Vanessa Beeley’s full interview with RT below:

‘The Best Interests of the People’: Ex-US Top Spy Clapper Justifies Election Interference

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Fret not, people of the over 80 countries where the US has interfered in elections – it was done in your “best interests,” according to former head of US Intelligence James Clapper.

Clapper, who famously lied about the NSA mass surveillance program before it was revealed by Edward Snowden, is back in the media spotlight, promoting his new book, Facts and Fears.

The tome promises readers "Hard truths from a life in intelligence." However, perhaps the more interesting insights are on Clapper’s reflections on the so-called Russiagate scandal and investigations into the alleged hacking of the US presidential election. 

In an interview with Bloomberg’s Tobin Harshaw, Clapper is asked about the US’ own history of election interference:
‘I guess the way I think about that is that through our history, when we tried to manipulate or influence elections or even overturned governments, it was done with the best interests of the people in that country in mind,’ he answers, noting that 'traditional reverence for human rights.'
US actions of overthrowing foreign powers has long been the subject of academic discussions and debate, with over 80 instances of it between 1946 and 2000 documented in Dov Levin’s report "When the Great Power Gets a Vote" alone.

Clapper claims he’s not simply jumping on the book-writing bandwagon, but that the loss of what he calls the “beacon of truth” is what inspired him to put pen to paper.

He says US President Donald Trump is not the problem with America, he’s just a symbol of the wider issue, “where now it’s fashionable to have alternative facts or where ‘truth is relative,’ to quote Rudy Giuliani.” 

Truth also seems to be a “relative” term for Clapper, who was caught out by Edward Snowden’s uncovering of a mass surveillance program at the NSA, something the former intelligence chief had denied to the US Select Committee on Intelligence.

The now-retired Clapper has some high hopes for his publication, saying he hopes it can in some way inform the public about the threats the US faces, “both internal and external.”

On the regrets front, there’s no surprise as to what he feels the biggest issue yet to be solved is, and that’s the “intractable problem” of Syria.

His comments come just days after President Bashar Assad told RT that Washington and its “puppets” tried, and failed, to destroy Syria – and the US military will eventually be forced out of the country.

Reprinted with permission from RT.

N. Korea Conundrum: ‘Washington Confuses Concept of Negotiation With Surrender’

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The US is essentially irrelevant to the solution of the Korean problem and, if a deal is made between the North and South, the US will be asked to leave, says Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Peace Institute.

Donald Trump said during a meeting with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the US capital on Tuesday that his much-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 might not happen.

Both Washington and Pyongyang have previously suggested they may not be willing to hold talks unless certain conditions are met.

RT discussed the situation with McAdams, from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Daniel McAdams: It is interesting to see how Trump and his top advisers seem to be at odds with each other. I don’t know if his management style is to create chaos and see if some order comes from it or what in fact may be his style, but a few days ago you saw John Bolton bringing up the issue of the Libya scenario. I don’t believe this was an accident. This is the same Bolton who just before he was confirmed as the president’s national security adviser wrote an article encouraging the US to have a first strike against North Korea. I don’t believe that he has changed his tune in just a couple of months. Here you have him basically talking about Libya as a model for North Korea. We know what happened to Libya: Libya voluntarily gave up its weapons and was overthrown nonetheless. If that is not the red flag to the North Koreans, I don’t know what is. And they did take it as a red flag: they said: “John Bolton is not welcome here. We don’t even want to talk to the South as long as this kind of nonsense is going on.”  

RT: Where does the confusion come from?

DA: The problem is that Washington confuses the idea of negotiation with the idea of surrender. The meeting for Trump and Kim in Singapore should have been the beginning of a dialogue, of a process. Instead John Bolton and others have laid down the law: Here what you got to do. I think Bolton said: “Tell us where we should send our planes, pick up your stuff and take it away.” So, the whole idea is that you immediately surrender and we give you vague promises in the future making you very rich. If I were North Korea, particularly watching how the US tore up the Iran agreement, if you have any mind at all, you would be very skeptical…

RT: Do you think North Korea is taking the talk as seriously as they should knowing how the Trump administration behaves?

DA: I don’t think that is the case because I think the US is essentially irrelevant to the solution of the Korean problem. And that may be one of the silver linings – the fact that the Trump administration seems to have no clue what it is doing. The North and South are clearly moving ahead. We saw the historic meeting on the border. We saw the talks progress. Moon was elected to do exactly what he is trying to do. And I think it’s actually the US interventionist neoconservatives who are isolating the US and making us irrelevant which, from the libertarian perspective, is actually very good thing. I think this will go ahead.

RT: Is the US ever going to pull out of South Korea? It’s not on the cards, is it?

DA: Things happened very quickly. Who would have thought just before December 1989 that the Wall would come down. These things do happen. Historic events do happen.…I think that the ball is in play with North and South Korea and the US is irrelevant. At some point if the deal is made between the North and South, eventually, the US will have to be asked to leave.

Reprinted with permission from RT.