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Rabat - The Altice Group, the parent company of French news channel BFMTV, has announced terminating the employment contract of French-Moroccan journalist Rachid M’Barki, they announced on Thursday.

“The BFMTV journalist had inserted information in his reporting without the approval of his hierarchy and without respecting the editorial rules,” the channel said in an official statement.

The channel added that it is also filing a legal complaint over “actions to which BFM TV fell victim,” although they did not specify who the complaint was against.

The channel said the investigations it conducted “made it possible to identify several occasions between 2021 and 2022 which were broadcast without respecting the validation process and editorial line.”

M’Barki was suspended in January, as the channel started conducting an investigation into the content broadcast by him. He was the most high-profile of the suspensions within the channel at the time.

M’Barki told Politico that while he used sources that did not “necessarily follow the usual editorial process,” he did not commit misconduct.

“They were all real and verified. I do my job,” he said. “I'm not ruling anything out, maybe I was tricked, I didn't feel like I was or that I was participating in an operation of I don't know what or I wouldn't have done it.”

One segment that was pointed to as a catalyst for the investigation was M’Barki reporting on the Morocco-Spain Investment Forum held in Dakhla. The journalist referred to the city as Moroccan and used the expression “Moroccan Sahara.”

The news comes as tensions between Rabat and Paris continue to simmer, with M’Barki, who is of Moroccan origin, also having maintained close ties to the country.

France has maintained an ambiguous position on the Western Sahara dispute over the years, fueling tensions during a time where Morocco seems set on gathering diplomatic support for the cause.

Source: Morocco World News.

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Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz has introduced a War Powers Resolution seeking to end US military action in Syria, arguing Congress had never authorized the nearly decade-long occupation. 

Unveiled on Wednesday, the legislation would direct President Joe Biden to remove all US forces from Syria no later than 15 days after the bill is adopted. Gaetz, the resolution’s sponsor, cited a recent raid in Syria which left several servicemen wounded, questioning why American troops are still in the country. 

“Congress has never authorized the use of military force in Syria. The United States is currently not in a war with or against Syria, so why are we conducting dangerous military operations there?” he said in a press release. “President Biden must remove all US Armed Forces from Syria. America First means actually putting the people of our country first – not the interests of the military industrial complex.”

Gaetz went on to state that the 80-year-old Biden “does not have a cognitive grasp on the Syrian conflict,” pointing to an August 2021 interview with ABC News in which the president appeared to suggest there were no US troops in Syria. Washington has kept around 900 soldiers there for several years, including at the time of the interview. 

Because War Powers Resolutions are privileged legislation, Congress will be forced to vote on the new measure within 18 days of its introduction. 

The US military has been active in Syria since as early as 2014, flying countless airstrikes against select militant groups and, at times, the Syrian government. Intermittent ground deployments began the same year.

Under President Barack Obama, Washington doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons to an array of jihadist rebel factions seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, though the effort later fizzled following Russian and Iranian military intervention at the request of Damascus. 

While American involvement in Syria slowed after Obama left office, in 2019, then-President Donald Trump said some US troops would remain in the country “for the oil,” openly suggesting Washington would simply “keep”the energy resources. Since then, Syrian officials have accused the Pentagon of making off with large amounts of oil taken from provinces in the northeast, where US forces have long embedded with Kurdish militia groups. 

A number of US troops also continue to occupy a base near Al-Tanf in southern Syria, stationed alongside militia fighters who previously aimed to oust the government in Damascus.

Source: rt.com

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FBI agents caught committing a broad array of felonies have not only escaped going to prison for their crimes, but in many cases kept their jobs, according to internal reports from the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility obtained by former special agent Steve Friend and published by Just the News on Thursday.

The disciplinary reports, dating from 2017 to the present, depict an increase in alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct, reflecting the“sense of entitlement that has seeped into the agency,” Friend, who resigned after blowing the whistle on civil liberties abuses in the FBI’s investigation of the January 6 Capitol riot, told the outlet. He believes today’s agents are coasting on the reputation of their predecessors.

According to his data, for failing to declare a romantic relationship with an incarcerated felon, an agent was suspended for just 15 days. Another agent arrested for stealing his girlfriend’s possessions after an acrimonious breakup got just 14 days. Numerous prohibited relationships between supervisors and underlings are mentioned, netting as little as one day of suspension as a penalty.

Of 23 drunk-driving cases, just five resulted in the agent being fired. One agent who hit a car while driving with a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit and multiple open bottles inside his vehicle was merely suspended for 50 days. Another got away with a 60-day suspension for drunk-driving his vehicle into a police car.

Another three dozen agents lost their guns, had them stolen, or otherwise handled them irresponsibly. One who shot a hole in the floor of his hotel room was suspended for 14 days.

An agent who hit his child, leaving bruises that were reported by the child’s teacher, was merely suspended for 40 days – despite the child apparently having “been coached to minimize what had happened.”

The FBI has its limits, however. Examples of agents whose conduct merited a “summary dismissal” listed in a 2017 report include an agent who admitted to sexually abusing his daughter and granddaughter for years, another who repeatedly stole drug evidence to feed their own addiction, and another who deliberately shot and killed two dogs belonging to neighbors.

The agency stopped disseminating the reports for seven months between 2021 and 2022, out of concern that “employees harmed by misconduct” would feel shamed, but ultimately resumed publication. In a statement to Just the News, it said the reports are actually proof that its disciplinary system works.

Source: rt.com

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Almost two thirds of Brits believe that Brexit has been detrimental to the economy, with almost half saying it has diminished the country’s global clout, a new poll has found.

According to a Savanta survey commissioned by the Independent and released on Sunday, 61% of respondents think that since the UK left the EU in late 2020 following the results of the landmark 2016 referendum, its economy has deteriorated. Only 13% think Brexit has made it better.

In addition, 55% of respondents said leaving the EU has made various goods less available, with only 14% claiming the opposite.

A total of 47% of those surveyed think that their financial status has gone downhill due to Brexit, while 13% feel they are now better off.

Almost half – 47% – believe Brexit has reduced the UK’s global influence, with 16% arguing that the nation’s global standing has strengthened. Another 53% say Brexit has soured ties between the UK and the EU, while 13% believe the reverse.

Commenting on the survey’s results, Savanta director Chris Hopkins noted that “there’s a strong perception that Brexit has not gone particularly well,” suggesting that there seems to be “little evidence in the perceptions of both Remainers and Leavers that Brexit has left the UK in a better state.”

Last week, a study by Jonathan Haskel, an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, found that the UK’s decision to leave the EU had cost it more than £29 billion ($34.9 billion) in lost business investment. Another analysis by Bloomberg earlier this month estimated that Britain’s economy was losing about £100 billion ($120 million) annually due to its split with the EU.

A January poll, also conducted by Savanta, found that 65% of Brits want to have another vote on Brexit, and potentially bring the UK back into the EU.

Source:rt.com

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Türkiye was struck by two earthquakes on Monday evening, local media have reported, citing emergency services. The disaster struck just two weeks after Türkiye and Syria were devastated by another set of powerful earthquakes.

The country’s Anadolu agency reported that several buildings collapsed as a result of the new quakes. The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) called on locals to avoid coastal areas, warning about a risk of a rising sea level on the Mediterranean coast. 

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said that at least eight people had been injured in Monday’s quakes. Two weeks ago, two major quakes with a magnitude of 7.7 and 7.6 respectively hit as many as ten Turkish provinces, claiming at least 41,000 lives and affecting more than 13 million people in total.

Monday’s quakes were also felt in Syria, which was also hit by the natural disaster two weeks ago, as well as in Jordan, Egypt and Israel.

Source:rt.com

 

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In his State of the Union address earlier this month, US President Joe Biden referenced Europe several times, and the underlying message was always the same: Captain America has swooped in to save his Western allies from a horrible fate. 

“Our nation is working for more freedom, more dignity, and more peace, not just in Europe, but everywhere,” Biden said. Woah, slow your roll there, big guy. The world can only handle so much “freedom” after recent debacles in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere. Europe was actually a pretty chill place as far as conflicts went, right up until Washington decided that it wanted to set up a flophouse for itself in Ukraine to better keep tabs on Russia, then managing to convince its European NATO allies to come help it move in and provide some weapons as housewarming gifts. 

The result for Ukraine? “A murderous assault evoking images of the death and destruction Europe suffered in World War II,” Biden described, conveniently ignoring the fact that this time around, it was Washington’s NATO allies that trained the Nazis. “Canada’s Joint Task Force Ukraine even produced a briefing on the Azov Battalion, acknowledging its links to Nazi ideology,” according to the Ottawa Citizen. 

When Russia finally drew the line and the conflict went red hot, Biden was quick to hightail it over to Brussels to take that dirty authoritarian Russian gas off Europe’s hands and replace it with molecules of freedom. Captain America was going to save the day, and European bureaucrats ignored the fact that US-branded freedom has a price tag. For starters, it has ended up costing Europe an amount several times the typical domestic market price paid for US liquified natural gas. American gas exports to Europe have spiked148% year on year. 

Biden also pushed Europe to go green as yet another reason not to ever again turn back to Russian gas. “Today we’ve agreed on a joint game plan toward that goal while accelerating our progress toward a secure clean energy future. This initiative focuses on two core issues: One, helping Europe reduce its dependency on Russian gas as quickly as possible. And, secondly, reducing Europe’s demand for gas overall,” Biden said last March during his EU visit. However, now the US President has changed his tune. “We’re still going to need oil and gas for a while,” Biden declared, going off script to say the quiet part aloud in his State of the Union address. “We’re going to need oil for another decade. And beyond that.” 

Oh wow, in that case, maybe Europe should be turning the Nord Stream pipeline of cheap Russian gas back on so that European governments can stop shoveling cash out the door in an attempt to keep their industry and economy – not to mention consumers – from being crushed by exorbitant energy costs. Whoops, the pipelines were mysteriously blown up. “If Russia invades – that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine – then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it,” Biden said last February.

A new report by Pulitzer and Polk Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh now attributes the terrorist act to a covert American operation in cooperation with Norway, whose sales of gas to Europe have risen from $27 billion in 2021 to $109 billion last year, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accusing Oslo of war profiteering. Both countries have denied the accusations. But even without cheap gas, as Biden sees it, Europe has a bright future. “Time and again, Democrats and Republicans came together…to defend a stronger and safer Europe,” he said in his annual address. Maybe share that with French and German economic ministers who were just in Washington to tell big bipartisan Team America to lay off Europe and to stop shutting out European imports under the new Inflation Reduction Act favoring “made in America” products – particularly green ones. Screwing over the EU because, hey, “business is business” is one of the very rare concepts on which both Democrats and Republicans seem to agree. 

Brussels could have at least stopped sanctioning its own natural resource supplies from Russia if it had realized, as Biden just admitted, that fossil fuels were here for the foreseeable future. But that would mean not being able to pretend to stick it to Russian President Vladimir Putin. If the EU’s commitment to its green energy fantasies to the detriment of its own economy has proven anything, it’s that blind ideology is the first and foremost criteria for decision making in the EU. So, the EU is staying the course while the US actively works to seduce its industry to relocate across the pond where energy is still plentiful because, unlike Europe, the US is not dumb enough to actually align reality with their lofty rhetoric if it’s going to be economically suicidal.  

There’s no doubt that Europe is doing better than ever as far as US interests are concerned. Washington planted the idea of a divorce from Russia in Brussel’s ear, and then rushed in to take Moscow’s place before the ink was even dry. Europe is hardly more free than it was when it at least had the option to play the field between the two geopolitical spheres. Now it’s totally dependent on Washington with European citizens subsidizing American greatness and freedom at the expense of their own.

Source: rt.com

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US high-altitude balloons have violated Chinese airspace more than 10 times since January 2022 alone, a Chinese diplomat has claimed. Washington recently accused Beijing of spying on nations on five continents with its aircraft.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, made the allegations against the US during a daily briefing on Monday. He was asked by Western journalists about Washington’s accusation that China flew “spy balloons” over other nations, including the US.

A Chinese balloon shot down by the US Air Force earlier this month, had strayed off course due to force majeure, Wang stated. The spokesman described the use of force by the US as an “overreaction,” before accusing the US of abusing advanced technologies in its possession to conduct indiscriminate surveillance and espionage operations around the world, including against its own allies.

Wang recalled Obama-era revelations about the NSA’s mass electronic surveillance program and the tapping of phones used by leaders of European nations, such as Germany, to argue the US should be considered the world’s “biggest spy and surveillance empire.”

US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson called the allegation “false”and reiterated Washington’s accusation that Beijing ran a system of global surveillance using high-altitude balloons.

The original “spy balloon” traversed the US for around eight days in early February, becoming a major news story, with political opponents of President Joe Biden accusing his administration of indecisiveness over its initial failure to take down the unmanned aircraft. Since then, the US and Canada have shot down at least three objects flying at high altitude, including the first one, which Beijing recognized as its own.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed during a press conference last Wednesday that China had “violated the sovereignty of countries across five continents.” An anonymous official in his department told the media that over 40 countries were affected.

The issue led to a heated exchange during the daily briefing at Foggy Bottom last Thursday, when spokesman Ned Price declined to explain what evidence the allegation was based on.

AP correspondent Matt Lee remarked that that lack of transparency made it look like “you guys are conducting exactly the same kind of surveillance over these countries that you’re accusing the Chinese of doing over yours.”Price rejected the assertion and replied that the US government could not “reveal sources and methods” or “weaken our defenses against a program like this” by doing so.

Source: rt.com

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The US has rejected allegations by the Chinese Foreign Ministry that it has flown surveillance craft in the country’s airspace on at least ten occasions since January of last year. The denial comes amid tensions over so-called ‘Chinese spy balloons’ being identified in US skies.

In its riposte to Beijing issued on Monday, Washington’s National Security Council (NSC) described the claim as “false” and said that it was an example of China attempting to pursue “damage control” after its own efforts to surveil US assets were discovered.

It is China that has a high-altitude surveillance balloon program for intelligence collection that it has used to violate the sovereignty of the US and over 40 countries across five continents,” NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said on Twitter.

The first ‘spy balloon’ caught the attention of the media as it traveled over the continental US in early February. It was subsequently shot down by the US Air Force after drifting off the coast of South Carolina. At least three other objects flying at high altitude have since been downed by the US and Canada.

China admitted ownership of the initial balloon, but insisted that it was a civilian weather device that had been blown off course. Beijing slammed the US response to the incident, describing the decision to shoot the object out of the sky as an “overreaction.”

Speaking at a press briefing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin branded the US “the biggest spy and surveillance empire” in the world. He added that Washington should “first reflect on itself and change course, rather than smear and instigate a confrontation.

Watson dismissed Wang’s comments as Beijing “scrambling to do damage control.” China has “repeatedly and wrongly claimed the surveillance balloon it sent over the US was a weather balloon and has failed to offer any credible explanations for its intrusion into our airspace, airspace of others,” she asserted.

The most recent downing of an object by American forces happened on Sunday. The US military said it was traveling at an altitude of 20,000ft and could have impacted the flight paths of commercial air traffic.

Source:rt.com

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The US military observed a number of alleged Chinese surveillance balloons over the Middle East in recent years, Air Forces Central Command chief Lt. Gen Alexus Grynkewich said on Monday. Washington and Beijing have thrown accusations of espionage at each other since the US shot down several high-altitude objects in recent days.

“Even though we have seen high altitude balloons in the region before, they have not been a threat, they have not been something of concern for us.” Grynkewich said at an event hosted by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a think tank funded by the US military and the weapons industry.

Across the US military’s Central Command, which encompasses the Middle East and parts of Central Asia, one “main incident” involving a balloon took place last fall, while “one or two others” took place in previous years, the general continued. These balloons, which Grynkewich identified as Chinese, “have not hung out over American bases or been any threat to our forces whatsoever,” he added.

“The level of concern that I have about them is extremely low,” he said. “It’s not something I lose sleep over.”

US warplanes shot down a “Chinese surveillance balloon” off the coast of South Carolina over a week ago, after the aircraft had crossed much of the country. The Pentagon said that the balloon carried equipment used to survey “strategic sites,”while Beijing insisted that it was a “civilian airship” that strayed from its course.

Three similar objects have since been shot down by American fighters over the US and Canada, although none of these craft have been labeled as Chinese by US officials. Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of US Northern Command, told reporters that the military is refusing to “categorize them as balloons,” and isn’t sure “how they stay aloft.”

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that “it is also common for US balloons to illegally enter the airspace of other countries.” Wang claimed that in the past year, “US high-altitude balloons have illegally flown over China’s airspace more than ten times.”

The White House denied Wang’s accusations, but Grynkewich said on Monday that balloon surveillance allows the user “to maintain your eye on a particular area of the planet for a while,” and that the US Air Force is “definitely interested in those technologies.”

Source: rt.com

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Following the devastating earthquakes that rocked Türkiye, Syria and their neighboring countries on February 6, leaving more than 20,000 dead, Damascus is struggling to deal with this unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe as it remains under brutal Western sanctions that have brought the country to its knees. 

The West’s war on Syria that began in early 2011 failed to topple its elected president, but the subsequent years of increasingly cruel sanctions – all in the name of ‘helping the Syrian people’ – have succeeded in rendering life miserable and near impossible, with most unable to afford to properly feed their families, much less heat their homes.  

Now, in a time of crisis, the Syrian people cannot even receive donations or emergency support from abroad. One supporter set up a GoFundMe campaign, only to have it taken down due to the sanctions. Type the word “Ukraine” into the search field on PayPal or GoFundMe and you’ll see countless appeals for sending money to Ukraine. But for Syrians, Western platforms like these are off-limits, and have been for years.

Adding to the destruction left by war

On February 6, southern Türkiye and northern Syria were hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, followed by dozens of aftershocks and then another earthquake. While the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq and others were affected, the worst of the damage was in Türkiye and Syria.

As of February 9, the official death toll in Syria was 1,347, with more than 2,300 injured. Nearly 300,000 Syrians have been displaced due to the earthquakes. The scenes initially coming out of Türkiye and Syria were heartbreaking and catastrophic, with buildings collapsing in front of people, and piles of rubble with the dead and the maimed trapped below.

In Syria, the earthquakes added to already extensive damage from the war. Aleppo, the country’s second-largest city, was tragically prone to building collapses because of the terrorist occupation that had lasted until 2016. The militants had frequently tunneled under buildings, in many cases in order to lay explosives and destroy them, as they did with the Chamber of Industry in April 2014. With the Syrian population already struggling to just survive prior to the earthquakes, now Aleppo and the coastal regions of Syria affected by the earthquakes face even more death, injury and displacement.

Sanctions were already killing Syrians

Even without the earthquakes, Syrians struggled to get medication, hospitals struggled to get or maintain critical machinery and equipment, and the population as a whole suffocated as the country’s economy steadily worsened, all by design.

Western leaders are adamant that the only ones to blame for the Syrians’ suffering before the earthquake were President Bashar Assad and his government (or “regime,” as Washington calls any undesirable foreign government it hasn’t yet toppled), whose “dictatorship” caused the people to rise up and start a civil war (actually a US-led proxy war against Syria to overthrow said government). The sanctions, ostensibly aimed at the “regime,” are, by this logic, intended to helpand protect the general population. In reality, they are strangling Syrian civilians.

Here’s what life is like for many Syrians now, according to British journalist Vanessa Beeley: “The US and its proxy Kurdish separatist forces are occupying Syrian resources in the northeast which includes their oil, which means of course that the bulk of Syria is reliant upon Iranian oil to keep any kind of electricity running. At the moment, we have basically about two or three hours of electricity per day. There is no heating in the majority of homes across Syria.”

As Beeley notes, earthquake-displaced Syrians – unless they receive emergency aid – face freezing and wet conditions, “without any alternative shelter, without any electricity, without any heating.” And thanks to the sanctions, desperately needed humanitarian aid and fundraising is difficult. International cargo planes can’t land in Syria, and crowdfunding services and even credit cards are unavailable. The virtue-signaling Western nations – the main cause of suffering in Syria since 2011 – have not only persisted in keeping the sanctions in place; most of them haven’t offered any meaningful help since the earthquake, just hollow words.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry blamed the sanctions for amplifying the miserable situation, and likewise pointed out that the US’ illegal presence in Syria and theft of Syrian resources was also exacerbating the economic situation.

“Frequent [US] military strikes and harsh economic sanctions have caused huge civilian casualties and taken away the means to subsistence of the Syrians. As we speak, the US troops continue to occupy Syria’s principal oil-producing regions. They have plundered more than 80% of Syria’s oil production and smuggled and burned Syria’s grain stock. All this has made Syria’s humanitarian crisis even worse.” 

A friend in need is a neighbor on the sanctions list

All of the above has left Syrians to rely mostly on the country’s friends for help. Incidentally, many of those nations and groups are among the most vilified by the West.

Following the earthquake, Russia’s Ministry of Defense dispatched “over 300 personnel, and 60 military and special vehicles” for rescue and aid efforts in Syria. The Russian Emergencies Ministry sent more than 100 rescue workers to Türkiye and Syria, including an airmobile hospital with 40 medics.

Iran sent a plane with 45 tons of medical, food and sanitary aid to Syria, and has pledged to send more.

Even battered Libya, itself largely destroyed by another Western regime-change project, senta plane with 40 tons of medical and humanitarian aid, as well as an ambulance, to Aleppo International Airport.

Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance movement, sent convoys of humanitarian aid to Syria. Lebanon’s army said it would send members of its Engineering Regiment to Syria, to contribute to the search and rescue operations.

Not everyone who offered their help to Syria are on Western sanctions list, of course. Algeria sent 115 tons of aid of food and medical supplies, tents and blankets, as well as 86 specialized civil protection personnel. The United Arab Emirates will apparently send $50 million to Syria for relief efforts, and Indian, Emirati and Jordanian planes carrying humanitarian and medical aid for Syrian victims arrived in the capital on Wednesday. Even New Zealand pledged to contribute NZ$500,000 “for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) to meet humanitarian needs.”

Meanwhile, Western corporate media stuck to the narrative of blaming the Assad government, with a New York Times article on the issue apparently saying initially that Western sanctions had hampered relief efforts to Syria – before quickly changing the line to say the government “tightly controls what aid it allows into opposition-held areas.” This is in-keeping with the old trope that the Syrian government denies aid to civilians in areas occupied by terrorists, which in most Western media are dubbed “rebels” and “opposition fighters.” This is something I and other journalists on the ground have repeatedly debunked, visiting liberated areas and hearing time and again that locals had been starving because terrorists had been hoarding humanitarian aid, denying it to civilians or selling it at massively inflated prices.

Western aid is not for everyone

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned about a looming “secondary disaster” in Syria, pointing to “major disruptions” to basic life supplies, but failing to highlight the role of Western sanctions or the terrorist presence in northwestern Syria as the underlying causes. Reports on UN aid reaching northern Syria via Türkiye also downplayed the presence of Al-Qaeda terrorists in the areas mentioned, as well as Türkiye’s years-long support for Syrian anti-government forces. Such reports likewise neglected to mention the need for emergency relief in government-controlled areas of Syria, and the government’s efforts to bring that relief in.

Some 12 years into the West’s proxy war on Syria, the continued denial of the very basics of emergency humanitarian relief to Syrians outside “rebel-controlled” areas, shows how little the West’s claim to care for Syrians really matter. The lack of concern by the UN, WHO, and affiliated aid agencies for the Syrians of Aleppo, among other government-controlled areas, is not at all surprising, given these bodies over the years systematically downplayed terrorism against Syrian civilians.

As the humanitarian disaster continues, it is also worth remembering that, over the decades, Syria has taken in refugees from numerous countries. Yet, in spite of the current emergency situation and the very dire need to lift the West’s sanctions, it is unlikely the “benevolent” West will change its crippling anti-Syria policies to allow Syrians to merely survive.

Source: rt.com

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Twenty years ago, former Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered his now-infamous address before the United Nations Security Council, making the case for war against Iraq.

The presentation would later be revealed as lies. Sadly, it would also turn out that no one seemed to care.On February 5, 2003, I watched it all with a sense of boiling anger. The day before, I had made the following prediction to Japanese media:

“He’s [Powell] going to present circumstantial evidence that packaged together and presented will make a compelling case that [UN weapons] inspections don’t work, inspections can’t work, that Iraq is actively conspiring against inspections, thereby, denigrating the efficacy of inspections, while the world waits for inspectors to do their job. The purpose of Colin Powell’s presentation tomorrow is to destroy international trust and confidence in weapons inspections and that is a darn shame.”

I was 100% correct in my assessment.

I was in Japan at the invitation of Japanese activists to generate political opposition to America’s looming war on Iraq. I addressed the Japanese parliament and spoke with several major Japanese media outlets. Shortly after Powell finished speaking, I gave an interview with Kyodo News, where I dismissed Powell’s assertions that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction as “unsubstantiated.”

“There’s nothing here that’s conclusive proof that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction,” I told Kyodo News. “Everything in here is circumstantial, everything in here mirrors the kind of allegations the US has made in the past in regard to Iraq’s weapons program,” I said. “He just hits you, hits you, hits you with circumstantial evidence, and he confuses people – and he lied, he lied to people, he misled people.”

Powell’s iconic moment was when he raised a vial of white powder – a proxy intended to simulate dry powder anthrax, a potent biological weapons agent, in an effort to link Iraq with the terrorist attacks in the US in October 2001 where dry powder anthrax was sent through the US postal system in envelopes. Ironically, the anthrax in question was actually produced by the US. Iraq is only known to have produced liquid bulk anthrax, which has a shelf life of only three years, and the last known batch of liquid bulk anthrax was produced in 1991 at a state-owned factory which was destroyed in 1996.

“Colin Powell holds up a vial of dry powder anthrax and he makes allusions to the attack in the United States through the letters. That was US government anthrax! It had nothing to do with Iraq,” I said. Powell, I explained, was engaging in “classic bait-and-switch” in his presentation. “Iraq, anthrax, vial, dry powder – what connection do they have? None!”

During my February 4 media event in Japan, I made the following prediction about the consequences of Powell’s UN presentation:

“The United States will seek to compel the Security Council into passing a new resolution, if the Security Council fails to do so the United States will go it alone with its narrow coalition and I see a massive aerial bombardment beginning by the end of February, I see ground troops in significant numbers crossing over into Iraq by early March, and I don’t see this war finishing anytime soon. While we may occupy Baghdad sometime in June, we’ll be occupying Iraq for months, if not years. It will be an occupation that will be carried out with the violent opposition of the Iraqi people, and I see an increase in the acts of anti-American terror abroad. I think an American invasion of Iraq is the best recruitment poster that Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda will ever have.”

I challenged Powell’s assertions until I was blue in the face, including at a public forum held at the University of Tokyo the day after Powell spoke, February 6.

It was to no avail.

“There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more,” Powell toldthe Security Council, “and he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction.”

All lies. But the US mainstream media repeated his words as gospel, and the American people ate it up as if it were Manna from heaven. My country went to war based upon a foundation of lies told by someone who, up until that moment, was seen as one of the most credible individuals in American public service ever.

The Powell presentation set a precedent of public lies which haunts the US and the world to this day. The United States, it seems, is incapable of telling the truth about anything, especially when it deals with national security and foreign policy.

The current manifestation of this precedent is playing out before the world when it comes to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. As was the case with Iraq and Anthrax, the US leads a coalition of compliant partners in spreading similar lies about Russia, whether to ignore history when labeling the Russian decision to intervene an “unprovoked act of aggression”, backing the Ukrainian version of the Bucha massacre, or misleading the Ukrainians and the world about the ability of US-led injections of military equipment to change the tide of battle against Russia – it won’t.

It is virtually impossible for Russia to even begin to contemplate negotiations when the party sitting at the other side of the table, the United States, incorporates lies into every aspect of its argument. The Powell Precedent is pure poison, and the world, especially Russia, would be foolish to accept any drink from a chalice offered by the United States.

Colin Powell may no longer be with us, but his legacy lives on in the bodyguard of lies he helped build around everything the US has said and done since that fateful day 20 years ago.
Source: rt.com

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Washington shouldn't expect the world to forget that it fabricated its justification for the 2003 Iraq invasion, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told RIA Novosti on Saturday.

The Russian diplomat made the remark on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the now-infamous speech by then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United Nations Security Council, during which he presented alleged evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, including biological ones.

To support his case, Powell exhibited a tiny vial of white powder, which was supposed to represent anthrax, and told the council that the US had no other choice but to go to war. However, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq.

Powell’s UN stunt “has long become the epitome of hypocrisy and the conviction of the US ruling elite in its own entitlement and its unchallenged right to arrogantly teach the rest of the world,” Ryabkov stated. He added that it was also emblematic of Washington’s willingness to “use force against an obviously weaker opponent in order to preserve its own global hegemony.”

However, the diplomat suggested that – unlike in the 2000s and during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia – Washington could not get away with “international banditry” under current conditions.

“In the rapidly changing geopolitical landscape, the US is now objectively unable to resort to a use-of-force scenario every time it feels like it, without facing serious consequences,” he noted, pointing to the “humiliating flight” of US troops from Afghanistan in 2021.

However, as Washington’s “meddling” in the Ukraine conflict has shown, this setback has not stopped the US from embracing its old ways, the diplomat continued.

“The Americans will have to adjust to the new rails and get rid of the entitlement syndrome that so clearly manifested itself during the [anthrax] vial scandal. The same applies to taking into account Russia and China, as well as other major international players that are shaping a more just multilateral world order,”Ryabkov said.

The US should not cherish any hope that “the memories of what happened 20 years ago would be buried in the shifting sands of modern history,” he concluded.

Source: rt.com