US "Boots" Turkey from F-35 Program

July 19, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - Turkey has been officially "booted" from the F-35 multirole combat aircraft program. 


The F-35 multirole combat aircraft, produced by US-based arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, is part of a massive weapons program exceeding $1 trillion. A single aircraft can cost over $100 million, or over twice the cost of Russia's new Su-57 and many times more expensive than other Russian, Chinese and European-made aircraft already in operation. 

The record-breaking costs however don't translate into record-breaking performance. The F-35 has already seen its fair share of development hiccups and even when they are all ironed out, nothing the F-35 is even advertised as being able to do justifies its growing price tag.

It is amazing then that anyone has lined up to buy it at all let alone the large number of nations that have lined up.

Reuters in an older article titled, "The 11 countries expected to buy F-35 fighter jet," would report:
Lockheed is developing three models of the plane for the U.S. military and eight partner countries that helped fund the plane’s development - Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada. 

South Korea, Japan and Israel have also placed orders for the jet.
Since then, however, there has been public backlash in nations like Canada which are shouldering development costs even if they end up buying no F-35s at all, CBC would explain.

Despite headlines like the BBC's, "US removes Turkey from F-35 fighter jet programme," Turkey itself has probably benefited most from being "removed." Other headlines across the corporate media have been using the term "booted," "kicked out," or "expelled," but a more apt term would be "dodged."

What would nations like Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Canada, South Korea, Japan and Israel do with F-35s anyway?

Israel already reportedly has the new aircraft. They've even reportedly used them in their attacks on neighboring Syria. However Israel has used the aircraft for mostly standoff attacks, fearing Syrian air defenses despite the F-35s supposedly stealthy profile.

While Britain is likewise prone to acts of illegal military aggression like its Israeli friends, the remaining nations hardly have any role for the F-35 their existing aircraft, or newer, cheaper aircraft could not easily fulfill.

So why did any of these nations line up to buy the F-35 in the first place? Is there any historical precedent that can help explain why Lockheed Martin's extraordinary expensive, but less-than-extraordinary performing combat aircraft has been so financially successful?

Yes, there is.

Lockheed's F-104 Starfighter: Flying on a Wing and a Bribe 


This historical precedent is exceptionally relevant. Not only is it about an astronomically expensive, underperforming and essentially unnecessary combat aircraft, it was also made by Lockheed and pushed on America's allies at the time, just like the F-35 is now.


It turns out that policymakers who chose the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter despite its many shortcomings were simply bought off, literally with crate fulls of money as was the case in Japan.


US "Downs" Legitimacy After Claims of Downing Iranian Drone

July 20, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The US boasted of downing an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz, admittedly in international waters, just miles off Iran's coast, and thousands of miles from Washington.

It claims the drone was "threatening" a US amphibious assault ship, the USS Boxer.


The Washington Post in its article, "Trump says the U.S. Navy downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz," would claim:
A U.S. naval ship downed an Iranian drone that flew too close and ignored multiple calls to turn away, President Trump said Thursday, as tensions between the United States and Iran appeared to be rising once again in the Persian Gulf region. 

Speaking at the White House, Trump said the drone came within 1,000 yards of the USS Boxer in the Strait of Hormuz before the crew “took defensive action” and “immediately destroyed” it.
An AP article titled, "US warship downs Iranian drone in Hormuz Strait," noted that (emphasis added):
The Pentagon said the incident happened at 10 am local time on Thursday in international waters while the Boxer was transiting the waterway to enter the Persian Gulf. The Boxer is one of several US naval ships in the area, including the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier that has been operating in the nearby North Arabian Sea for weeks.
The claims come nearly a month after Iran shot down a US drone - an RQ-4A Global Hawk - operating near Iranian shores, also in the Strait of Hormuz.

At the time, the US condemned Iran's move claiming it had downed the drone over international waters. Now - the US openly claims it has shot down an Iranian drone over international waters. The overt hypocrisy is intentional. The US has been attempting to goad Tehran into an armed conflict for years with US policy papers openly admitting as much.

A 2009 Brookings Institution paper titled, "Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran," would openly admit (emphasis added):
...it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it.  
Apparently, the US is no longer concerned about whether or not the world recognizes this game and is doing everything in its power to goad Iran into miscalculating and granting the US justification for a long-desired and much larger conflict with Tehran.

Did the Iranian Drone Really Threaten the USS Boxer? Was it Even an Iranian Drone? 

As with most deliberate provocations - the recent US claims of downing an Iranian drone came with minimum details and no evidence at all. Not even the type of drone was mentioned by the Washington Post or AP.

Claims that the drone came within 1,000 yards of the ship and was disabled through electronic jamming indicates it was most likely an off-the-shelf drone used for photography and in no way posed a threat to the USS Boxer.

Iranian media - for its part - claims the US most likely shot down their own drone, and denies Iran was operating any of its own drones in the area at the time. Iran's PressTV in an article titled, "US may have shot down own drone in Persian Gulf, Iran says of Trump’s claim," would claim:
Iran has rejected US President Donald Trump’s claim that a US warship had shot down an Iranian Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in the Strait of Hormuz. 

“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said in a tweet on Friday. 

“I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”
What is certain is that even if it were an Iranian drone, it couldn't have posed more of a threat to the USS Boxer than America's military presence in the Middle East poses to its inhabitants - a region where the US has repeatedly bombed, invaded, currently occupies or is waging war by proxy against multiple nations including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and indeed - Iran itself.


British Hijack Iranian Ship: Another Day, Another Provocation

July 17, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Had Iran openly hijacked a vessel of any nation, for any reason, plying through waters anywhere on Earth, the US and its allies would immediately cite it as a provocation toward war.


In fact, even without evidence, suspiciously timed attacks carried out last month on tankers passing through the Persian Gulf were cited by Washington and London as a pretext for increased pressure on Tehran despite the attacks appearing staged by the West itself.

Now in a display once again illustrating just who the actual menace is to global peace and stability, the British have openly - even proudly - hijacked a ship carrying Iranian oil allegedly bound for Syria.

The Guardian's article, "Iran fury as Royal Marines seize tanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria," would report:
Royal Marines have helped seize an Iranian supertanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria off the coast of Gibraltar, escalating tensions between the UK and Tehran as the agreement aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear programme unravels. 
A detachment of nearly 30 British troops working with the Gibraltarian police intercepted the vessel, believed to be carrying 2m barrels of oil, in a dramatic manoeuvre Spain said had been conducted at the request of the US.
The article would quote the British ambassador to Iran who claimed:
[The UK] welcomes this firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities.
 As to why the UK believed it was justified to hijack the Iranian tanker - the article would cite "sanctions against the regime of Bashar al-Assad" the UK and EU placed on Syria - which are in themselves illegal and an act of war.

Stealing Ships from Stolen Land to Enforce Illegal Sanctions 

The UK's presence in Gibraltar itself is a point of contention between London and Madrid.

Spain does not recognize British claims over the tiny piece of land located at the furthest tip of the Iberian Peninsula. The British presence is one of its many holdovers from its imperialist past. The British presence gives the UK a choke point over the Strait of Gibraltar and all shipping passing through it.

The fact that the British are using the disputed territory of Gibraltar to hijack ships or that the London Guardian is trying to depict it as an operation undertaken while "working with the Gibraltarian police" - when the "Gibraltarian police" are nothing more than functionaries representing London itself - provide a clear illustration of how foreign policy, media, and crimes against international law are being coordinated, justified, and sold to the public by Washington and London.

While Iran has regularly threatened to impede shipping through the Stait of Hormuz in retaliation to Western military aggression - it has never acted upon these threats - reserving them as a means of last resort.

The British and Americans - on the other hand - have literally implicated themselves in disrupting "freedom of navigation." 

The US and UK both pose as international arbiters and underwriters of what they call "the freedom of navigation" of the world's seas. They regularly accuse nations like China of impeding such "freedom" in the South China Sea - using these accusations as an excuse to build up a military presence off China's shores - thousands of miles from their own shores.

They have also regularly cited Iran's "threats" to shipping through the Strait of Hormuz as another reason Iran should be further pressured, sanctioned, and its government ultimately removed from power.

Yet by hijacking Iranian ships, or likewise intercepting North Korean vessels, or the ships of any nation based on sanctions unilaterally and illegally imposed by Washington, London, and Brussels implicates the West themselves as the primary threat to the very "freedom of navigation" of the world's seas they claim to uphold.

Provoking War 

From Western policy think tanks to policymakers and politicians themselves - the West has all but admitted it is trying to goad Iran into war.

Sanctions, Western-sponsored terrorism aimed at Iranian territory itself, and provocations - like the recent hijacking of an Iranian tanker - all aimed at Tehran - are moves seeking to trigger a response from Iran that will justify even wider Western economic sanctions and military aggression.

And if Iran fails to provide such a provocation, one might be staged and blamed on Iran anyway.

These are the actions of outlaw nations presiding over a fading international order - one fading specifically because it is so transparently unjust, lopsided, and disruptive toward global stability. It has persisted for so long solely through the maxim of "might makes right."

The British stealing ships from stolen land to enforce illegal sanctions is a vulgar display of "might makes right," but one that may possibility be reaching its expiration.

The countervailing multipolar order emerging across Eurasia has an opportunity to oppose this flagrant provocation - not merely on Iran's behalf - but to erode the impunity that will allow the US and UK to target the ships of other nations in a similar fashion if afforded impunity to do so to Iran now.

For Tehran, it will need to continue exhibiting "maximum patience" while enduring Washington and London's "maximum pressure" campaign - avoiding the traps both have laid out for Tehran as they attempt to bait the nation into war and change their failing fortunes in the Middle East and around the globe.

The British - still a thorn in the side of global peace and stability despite losing most of its empire - presents us with a preview of what to expect from America even long after it fades as sole global hegemon. Learning to put the UK's recent provocations in check now will help develop the tools necessary to put in check its future provocations - and those the US will find itself also depending on more and more often in the future.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

BBC Says China Building Schools is "Bad"

July 14, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - China's recent building-spree of schools in its underdeveloped and remote region of Xinjiang - in a saner world - would be good news. But for editors at the BBC it is being depicted as sinister and dystopian.


The BBC's article, "China Muslims: Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families," attempts to depict boarding schools - a concept popular in the UK itself - as a "form of interment" and "cultural re-engineering."

The BBC's article claims:
China is deliberately separating Muslim children from their families, faith and language in its far western region of Xinjiang, according to new research. At the same time as hundreds of thousands of adults are being detained in giant camps, a rapid, large-scale campaign to build boarding schools is under way.
The "new research" conducted by the BBC is admittedly not even being done in China itself. The BBC admits:
China's tight surveillance and control in Xinjiang, where foreign journalists are followed 24 hours a day, make it impossible to gather testimony there. But it can be found in Turkey.
"Testimony" gathered in Turkey - one of the nations abetting US efforts to fuel radicalism and separatism in Xinjiang in the first place - is accompanied by satellite photos taken from outer space of vacant lots in Xinjiang being transformed into newly built schools complete with football pitches and jogging tracks.

The images are only proof that China is building schools in Xinjiang. Not of any of the claims being made by the BBC of "internment" or "cultural re-engineering." The inclusion of the images is meant to serve as convincing stand-ins where actual evidence of the BBC's otherwise baseless accusations should be.

The BBC Omits the Real "Cultural Re-Engineering" in China's Xinjiang 

The BBC has been one of the leading voices promoting claims of Xinjiang "concentration camps," "one million Muslims" being detained, and now the "internment" of children in schools.

The BBC - however - has been relatively quiet for years over genuine cultural re-engineering taking place in Xinjiang - funded by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and abetted by nations like Turkey and even the UK itself through its propaganda and political support of such efforts.

The LA Times in a 2016 article titled, "In China, rise of Salafism fosters suspicion and division among Muslims," would reveal:
Salafism is an ultra-conservative school of thought within Sunni Islam, espousing a way of life and prayer that harks back to the 6th century, when Muhammad was alive. Islamic State militants are Salafi, many Saudi Arabian clerics are Salafi, and so are many Chinese Muslims living in Linxia. They pray at their own mosques and wear Saudi-style kaffiyehs.
The article also noted (emphasis added):
Experts say that in recent years, Chinese authorities have put Salafis under constant surveillance, closed several Salafi religious schools and detained a prominent Salafi cleric. A once close-knit relationship between Chinese Salafis and Saudi patrons has grown thorny and complex.
 And that:
...Saudi preachers and organizations began traveling to China. Some of them bore gifts: training programs for clerics, Korans for distribution, funding for new "Islamic institutes" and mosques.
This pervasive radicalism has translated directly into real violence - another fact omitted completely from the BBC and other Western media coverage of events in Xinjiang.

China's efforts to reverse the growing influence of Salafism - such as collecting deliberately mistranslated copies of the Koran published and distributed by Saudi Arabia to promote radicalism - have been depicted by the Western media as religious oppression with all context intentionally omitted.

That the BBC claims China building schools teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture in China is "cultural re-engineering" while overlooking Saudi Arabia building Salafist networks thousands of miles away from its borders fuelling very real extremism in western China to begin with - helps fully reveal recent BBC reports on Xinjiang and China's Muslim community as pure propaganda.

Salafism as a Geopolitical Tool 

Not only does the BBC intentionally omit mention of extremism and violence in regions like Xinjiang or how it came to be, the BBC is also omitting the fact that Salafism itself was admittedly spread worldwide by Saudi Arabia as a geopolitical tool.

In the pages of the Washington Post, the Saudi Crown Prince would recently admit:
Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.
Wahhabism is closely related to Salafism and the terms are often used interchangeably. The Crown Prince's admission refers specifically to the Cold War and the Soviet Union, but it is abundantly clear that these networks didn't simply vanish with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they evolved.

They are now used to help feed extremists into Washington's many proxy wars around the globe including in Libya and Syria. They are also being used to pressure nations across Asia and to create a pretext for a continued US military presence in Asia-Pacific.


Cambodia Warns of Foreign Regime Change "At Any Cost"

July 10, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - US and European-driven regime change efforts persist even in Asia where socioeconomic progress and stability have been on the rise. So persistent are these efforts that regional leaders have openly warned about them recently.


Reuters in its July 4th article, "Cambodian PM says those seeking 'regime change' risk return to war," would claim:
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose government is accused of suppressing human rights, said on Thursday that foreigners were risking returning his country to war through what he called stirring up turmoil and seeking regime change.
The article also stated (my emphasis):
Cambodia had risen from poverty to becoming a lower middle income country, and it aimed to graduate to the upper middle income by 2030 and high income by 2050, he said. But some groups and institutions maintained “a single political agenda of regime change at any cost”, Hun Sen added. 
Reuters would continue by reiterating claims that the current Cambodian government is guilty of a variety of abuses including "trying to silence dissent" according to "U.N. experts" and the European Union.

What Reuters omits from its article is that virtually every aspect of this "dissent" is funded and directed by Washington.

Cambodian Dissent is Made in America 

Just as Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen alluded to, many of the "dissidents silenced" are media platforms literally run by foreigners. This includes the US State Department-funded and directed Voice of America and Radio Free Asia as well as the previously American-owned and operated Cambodia Daily newspaper.

There are also political entities like the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) whose members regularly operate out of Washington D.C. itself.


CNRP leader Kem Sokha has openly admitted to Washington's role in propping up his party and its bid to seize power in Cambodia not through elections, but through the same sort of destructive colour revolutions that have swept through Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The Phnom Penh Post in its article, "Kem Sokha video producer closes Phnom Penh office in fear," would go over the many admissions made by Kem Sokha: 
“...the USA that has assisted me, they asked me to take the model from Yugoslavia, Serbia, where they can changed the dictator Slobodan Milosevic,” he continues, referring to the former Serbian and Yugoslavian leader who resigned amid popular protests following disputed elections, and died while on trial for war crimes.
“You know Milosevic had a huge numbers of tanks. But they changed things by using this strategy, and they take this experience for me to implement in Cambodia. But no one knew about this.”

“However, since we are now reaching at this stage, today I must tell you about this strategy. We will have more to continue and we will succeed.”
Kem Sokha would elaborate further, claiming:
“I do not do anything at my own will. Their experts, professors at universities in Washington, DC, Montreal, Canada, hired by the Americans in order to advise me on the strategy to change the dictator leader in Cambodia.”
Beyond US-funded media and a political party virtually run out of Washington D.C., there are so-called nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) entirely dependent on US and European financial assistance and who use (some might say, abuse) "human rights advocacy" in a one-sided effort to advance the opposition's political agenda.

These include Licadho funded by USAID and the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) funded by US National Endowment for Democracy-subsidiary the International Republican Institute, Open Society, the British and Australian embassies as well as Canada Fund.

Mentioning any of this would have given Cambodian PM Hun Sen's comments not only crucial context, but also obvious justification to both his government's concerns and the measures they've taken to combat this extensive foreign interference. Instead, Reuters elected to omit this information from their article.