Reza Zarrab: The Upside-Down Deal in the Iran Sanction-Busting Scandal!

Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, who is also involved in Special Counsel Mueller's investigation, has been released from federal prison and given immunity, and will be the star witness at a trial over a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran. Federal prosecutors in New York will have Zarrab on the stand on Wednesday to testify against his former co-defendant, Turkish bank executive Mehmet Atilla.

In this episode of Probable Cause Sibel Edmonds presents two main factors driving the direction of the Zarrab case- both of which are absent from the agenda-driven mainstream and pseudo-alternative media outlets. Edmonds discusses Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s role and targets in the case, and delves into the backward deal- aka an upside-down deal, the US prosecutors have given Zarrab-the Kingpin, in the Gold-for-Gas case, in return for his testimony against the low-level accomplices.

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Notes

The Coming Two Coups: The Mysterious Zarrab Case, Mueller, Trump & Erdogan

Turkish businessman's Iran sanctions guilty plea opens door to cooperation in Robert Mueller's Michael Flynn investigation

Feds Flip Turkish Crook; Did He Rat on Michael Flynn?

A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, and Rudy Giuliani

Signs of Possible Guilty Plea in Turkish Gold Trader Case

Did the Feds Flip Turkish Businessman Reza Zarrab—and Could He Bring Down Michael

The Link Between a U.S. District Attorney Fired by Trump and the President of Turkey

The Coming Two Coups: The Mysterious Zarrab Case, Mueller, Trump & Erdogan

Join Sibel Edmonds in this Newsbud exclusive for the most comprehensive analysis in the case of Reza Zarrab, the high-profile people closely involved- from President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Mukasey and Robert Mueller, to President Erdogan and major Turkish bankers, and the likely manipulation of the case with serious implications for two presidents. Anticipation is building from Turkey to the US about potential explosive revelations in this Zarrab case, which has been shrouded in mystery and filled with surprises.

Newsbud is in a unique position to provide full-spectrum coverage unlike any other news site - with its in-house language and analysis expertise, and national and international sources. Our work is only made possible by your support. Currently we have our end-of-year fundraiser. We are counting on your donations. Please support this amazing news organization where media integrity matters. Thank You All, For Newsbud,  I am Sibel Edmonds.

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Show Notes

A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, and Rudy Giuliani

Reza Zarrab: Erdogan’s Ticking Bomb

'Stealth' Turkish Businessman a No-Show for Trial This Month

Signs of Possible Guilty Plea in Turkish Gold Trader Case

Gold Trader Case Threatens Economic Fallout for Turkey

Erdogan Links Alleged in U.S. Documents Before Iran Trial

Turkey: Friend or Frenemy? A Tangled Relationship Keeps Getting Worse

Are US and Turkey Heading for a Divorce?

Turkey Issues Diplomatic Note to US Over Gold Trader Zarrab's Relocation without Notification

Messy Web of Ties, Some to Trump, in Turkish Mogul's Case

The Link Between a U.S. District Attorney Fired by Trump and the President of Turkey

Schumer, Bharara Being Probed for Alleged Ties to Failed Turkey Coup Cleric

Did the Feds Flip Turkish Businessman Reza Zarrab—and Could He Bring Down Michael

What Mueller's Org Chart Reveals About his Russia Probe

Turkey had to issue 2nd diplomatic note over jailed businessman Zarrab's whereabouts: minister

Newsbud Roundtable- “A Turning Point in the Middle East & the Fall of an Empire!”

Newsbud Founder-Editor Sibel Edmonds joins foremost Middle East expert and analyst Prof. William Engdahl and top Russia-Balkans expert Professor Filip Kovacevic in a one-of-a-kind roundtable discussion on a Turning Point in the Middle East and the fall of the US Empire. Our distinguished panelists discuss Turkey’s major shift away from NATO and into further alliance with Russia, Iran and the rest of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the contentious coming Kurdish referendum, the recent Turkey-Germany spat, the CIA’s Fethullah Gulen’s infiltration of the German government, and much more.

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Show Notes

Turkey’s Shift from NATO Is Redrawing the Map

Turkey Urges Iraqi Kurds to Abandon Independence Vote

U.S. Urges Kurdistan to Delay Independence Referendum

Germany’s Juncker Says Erdogan’s Turkey Taking Giant Steps Away From EU

According to Germany’s Gabriel, “Turkey will never be EU member under Erdogan”

Berlin has been Intensifying Agitation against Turkey

Kurds Drive a Wedge between US and Turkey

US-Rebels Clash in Syria Becomes Attempt to 'Prevent Turkey from Entering Afrin'

The Deep State Plan to Attack Iran

The Deep State—the merchants of death, the bankers, the national security apparatus and its think tanks—will eventually have its next war. President Donald Trump is setting the stage, despite his promise to rollback interventionism and illegal and unconstitutional wars. On this edition of The Geopolitical Report, we examine the effort to nullify the Iran nuke deal and move toward confrontation. The Deep State—the shadow government, the global elite, the money masters behind the curtain, take your pick—can only sustain itself through war and the conquest of natural resources, primarily oil. Unlike Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Iran isn’t part of the club. The neocon faction of the Deep State has long advocated overthrowing the Iranian government, either covertly or through direct military intervention. Trashing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the first step in an escalation between the United States and Iran that very well may result in open military conflict.

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Show Notes

Trump Seeks Way to Declare Iran in Violation of Nuclear Deal

The Mask Is Off: Trump Is Seeking War with Iran

Iran: Missile tests not in violation of nuclear deal

CFR President Richard Haass: Obama Admin Hoping To "Lock Congress In" To Iran Deal By Holding UN Vote First

Obama’s Nuclear Iran Deal: CFR Globalists vs. Sovereignty & Constitution

Trilateral Commission sees room for Iran dialogue

Are the Iranian Protests Another US Orchestrated "Color Revolution?"

Neocons Still Demanding Regime Change in Iran

Neocons Urge War on Iran

U.S. Navy chopper fires flares in encounter with Iranian forces in Persian Gulf

Iran's IRGC reports 2nd US naval provocation in Persian Gulf in less than a week

White House demands release of US prisoners in Iran or face 'serious consequences'

Neocons Point Housebroken Trump at Iran

How Trump can help cripple the Iranian regime

Has the U.S. Played a Role in Fomenting Unrest During Iran’s Election?

Iranian military blames Saudis after 12 killed in Tehran terrorist attack

Neocons Are Still Writing The Script

Trump is assembling all the pieces he needs to go after Iran

Qatar – Russia’s Newest Ally in the Arab World?

In the thirty-sixth edition of the Russian Newspapers Monitor, Professor Filip Kovacevic discusses the articles from three Russian newspapers: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Izvestia, and Kommersant. He discusses the Russian response to NATO military exercises near the Russian borders, the escalation of internal political tensions in Moldova, the reasons why Qatar might be the newest Russian ally in the Arab world, and how the Russian Parliament plans to deal with the alleged U.S./NATO interference in the Russian domestic politics.

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Show Notes

Nezavisimaya Gazeta – June 2, 2017

Nezavisimaya Gazeta – June 6, 2017

Izvestia – June 2, 2017

Kommersant – June 6, 2017

Sibel Edmonds: The Future of Newsbud & Important Updates

Beginning this month Newsbud will be offering exclusive content only available at newsbud.com. The content will be available only to the Newsbud Community Members(Subscribers). Your subscription will provide you with full community access to exclusive content, Including videos and articles from Newsbud’s team of experts and analysts. As members you will also receive monthly newsletters from Newsbud Founder Sibel Edmonds.

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Show Notes

Become a Newsbud Community Member

Support Independent Media

Phase One Kickstarter

Phase Two Kickstarter

Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins- Offshore Perspectives of Loony Tunes America

Peter B. Collins Presents Journalist Pepe Escobar

Inspired by the theme to Looney Toons, globetrotting reporter Pepe Escobar comments on the twin distractions from Donald Trump—America’s Berlusconi—and the Israeli-driven fight in Congress to scuttle the Iran nuclear agreement. Escobar was in Vienna for the talks, and reports that Russia is demanding that the US scuttle its plans for missile defense in Poland, since the imaginary threat from Iran has been deferred by the deal. And he notes that while those talks were winding up, Russia outflanked the US at a conference in Ufa, Bashkortostan where a new alliance was solidified between Russia, China and their BRICS allies.

*Pepe Escobar writes for Asia Times, Sputnik & RT.

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The New Great Game Round-Up: June 23, 2015

Latest ISIS Defection Spells the End for Caucasus Emirate, Taliban Gaining Ground in Afghanistan & More!

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Every few days, Afghanistan is making headlines due to the deteriorating security situation in the country, the most recent example being the Taliban attack on the Afghan parliament on Monday. As Afghan lawmakers were trying to confirm a defense minister, a large explosion rocked the parliament building in Kabul. The attack by a suicide bomber was the signal for fellow Taliban fighters, who had taken positions in a nearby building, to open fire. After an intense firefight, security forces managed to kill all six gunmen but the latest Taliban attack, which left two civilians dead and 40 injured, raises again questions over the government's ability to maintain security. Statements by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid suggest that the purpose of the attack was to embarrass the "puppet administration" in Kabul "at a time which they were casting confidence vote for the minister of defense." It is safe to say that the Taliban achieved their goal. The Kabul government is looking increasingly shaky:

Taliban and Afghan Government Dispute Status of Kunduz After Taliban insurgents said Sunday that they were on the verge of taking their first city, Kunduz in the far north of Afghanistan, officials there expressed alarm as residents began to flee the area. But the central government in Kabul said there was no cause for concern. The Afghan government also announced Sunday that it had retaken the administrative center of Yamgan District, in northern Badakhshan Province, from the Taliban. But that only deepened the government’s credibility problem because just a week earlier officials in Kabul had claimed that they had already retaken Yamgan.

For months now, several districts in both Kunduz and Badakhshan Provinces in the north have gone back and forth between government and Taliban control, as the insurgents have intensified their fighting in parts of northern Afghanistan where they traditionally had been weak.

Taliban Gain Ground in Afghanistan, Call For Jihad Under One Flag

While the central government tried to downplay the situation in Kunduz province, local officials confirmed that Taliban and Central Asian fighters are advancing on the provincial capital after capturing Char Dara District. A few hours later, Kabul's statement looked even more absurd when it became clear that the insurgents had seized another district bordering the city of Kunduz. Afghanistan's fifth largest city is on the verge of falling to the Taliban and Mohammad Omar Safi, the governor of Kunduz, doesn't want to take any chances. Kunduz province is already facing a humanitarian crisis and if the Taliban conquer the capital, it won't get any better. The Afghan government is now under increasing pressure to act. One of the few good news coming from northern Afghanistan in recent weeks was Kabul's recapture of Badakhshan's Yamgan District but if the government forces don't manage to repeat this success in Kunduz, Tajikistan's fears of an Afghan spillover might come true:

About 1,500 militants mass in Afghan areas near the border with Tajikistan Commander of Tajik Border Troops Rajabali Rahmonali has warned of about 1,500 militants, including members of the Islamic State (IS) group, concentrating in the Dahsti Archi and Imam Sahib districts of Afghan Kunduz province along the Tajik border.  In a statement released at the 73rd meeting of the Council of Border Troops Commanders of the CIS member nations in Dushanbe, Rahmonali noted on June 18 that that there members of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Ansarullah among the militants concentrating along the Tajik border in northern Afghanistan.  “They are fighting against the Afghan government forces in the immediate vicinity of the border with Tajikistan,” Rahmonali noted. He expressed concern about a tense situation in the Afghan provinces of Takhar, Kunduz and Badakhshan, which directly border Tajikistan.

The possibility of a spillover of violence from Afghanistan was high on the agenda during the CIS meeting in Dushanbe. Sherali Khairulloyev, national security advisor to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, complained that many CIS members states had not lived up to their promise to support Tajikistan in strengthening its border defense and he called on the other border services "to actively cooperate with Tajik border troops in strengthening the CIS southern border." Khairulloyev emphasized that one of the main tasks of the Commonwealth of Independent States is to prevent the region from becoming a center of geopolitical confrontation between the major world powers, pointing out that "if the countries and secret services that have keen interest in the Islamic Caliphate project try and implement it through Afghanistan, the zone of political instability will then protrude to the CIS and China." While the U.S. doesn't seem to be worried about ISIS's expansion into Afghanistan, countries in the region and the Taliban would prefer al-Baghdadi & Co. to stay out of Afghanistan:

Taliban Warns IS Leader To Stay Out Of Afghanistan The Taliban has warned the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group against waging a parallel insurgency in Afghanistan, following several defections and reported clashes with militants loyal to IS. In a June 16 letter addressed to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Taliban insisted that "jihad (holy war) against the Americans and their allies must be conducted under one flag and one leadership." "The Islamic Emirate (Taliban) does not consider the multiplicity of jihadi ranks beneficial either for jihad or for Muslims," said the letter signed by the Taliban deputy leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor.

Mansoor argues that the Taliban movement is the only rightful representative of jihadist activities in Afghanistan, noting that the group has been endorsed by great jihadist leaders such as Osama bin Laden. Moreover, he criticizes the Islamic State's actions in other countries and warns ISIS against dividing jihadists in other Muslim nations into two camps. Considering that al-Baghdadi doesn't respect Taliban leader Mullah Omar and doesn't care much for other terrorist groups, Mansoor's words will probably fall on deaf ears. The Taliban are now waiting for al-Baghdadi's response before they will "chalk out a strategy on how to deal with those who are using the name of the Islamic State to create disunity among the Mujahideen." This spells more trouble. Clashes between the Taliban and ISIS have been escalating in recent weeks, with the eastern province of Nangarhar turning into the epicenter of the conflict. Hundreds of families have already been displaced due to the fighting and recent developments suggest that the two groups won't settle their differences anytime soon:

Islamic State’s Khorasan province beheads former shura member who defected back to the Taliban The Islamic State’s Khorasan province is said to have brutally executed one of its former shura members, purportedly for defecting back to the Taliban last month. The execution, as well as the assassination of the Taliban’s shadow governor for Nangarhar province, likely by the Islamic State, preceded a warning by the Taliban’s deputy emir to the leader of the Islamic State to end discord between the jihadist groups in Afghanistan. The Islamic State released a video purpoting to showing the execution of Sa’ad Emarati, a senior commander as well as a member of the “Khorasan Shura,” the province’s executive council. Emarati’s head was placed on his back after it was removed.

Latest ISIS Defection Spells the End for Caucasus Emirate

Former Taliban fighters will now think twice before defecting back to the Taliban. Al-Baghdadi & Co. have shown time and again that they know how to deal with traitors and nasty rivals. The Taliban will have to be on their guard if they don't want to suffer the same fate as other prominent terrorist groups which have been sidelined by ISIS. One of the latest victims is the Caucasus Emirate (IK), formerly the most powerful terrorist organization in Russia. Ever since Russian security forces eliminated Emirate leader Doku Umarov and then a few months later his successor Aliaskhab Kebekov, the continued existence of the Imarat Kavkaz has been in question. Many Chechen and Daghestani commanders had already retracted their oath of obedience to IK leader Kebekov and defected to ISIS. This trend continued after Kebekov's killing and the latest defection may very well spell the end for the Caucasus Emirate:

ISIS opens a new front on Europe's doorstep: Chechan jihadi group with 'up to 15,000' fighters pledge allegiance to terror horde ISIS has spread its tentacles further around Europe after a major terrorist group which commands 'as many as 15,000' in the Caucuses region of southern Russia pledged its allegiance to it. The leader of the Caucuses Emirate, which has carried out over 900 terrorist attacks on Russian soil since its formation in 2007, personally declared his loyalty to ISIS commander-in-chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. 'We need to hurry up and unite so we can cut off the heads of the infidels,' Aslan Byutukayev says in a new propaganda video allegedly filmed inside the predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya.

Although the Caucasus Emirate doesn't command 15,000 fighters and is not headed by Aslan Byutukayev, the Daily Mail was right to highlight Byutukayev's bay'ah to wannabe Caliph al-Baghdadi. Byutukayev is the leader of the Caucasus Emirate's Chechen wing and one of the most powerful insurgent commanders in the North Caucasus. As Chechen analyst Mairbek Vatchagaev noted, his defection to ISIS "buried the Caucasus Emirate once and for all." ISIS has accepted the bay'ah and lost no time in claiming a "Wilayat Qawqaz," which includes Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and "Kabika." Russian officials have been hyping the ISIS threat at home and abroad for quite some time, most recently at a meeting of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center. Now they have finally a good reason to do so, which means that Russia's imams can look forward to more lessons on fighting ISIS recruiters:

Moscow's Muslim Leaders Get Lessons on Fighting ISIL Recruiters More than 300 imams from across Russia are taking part in an educational program to counter the influence of recruiters to militant Islamic organizations such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Russian imams are taking courses to help them counter the influence of recruiters to radical Islam, with classes covering topics such as methods to communicate with young people, aspects of Islamic history, Islamic theology and secular subjects like politics and geography.

"In the course of the program we touch on difficult topics, which cause people to be attracted to radical movements," deputy head of the Moscow Islamic Institute, Rais Izmailov, told the Izvestiya newspaper.

After the recent scandal surrounding a 19-year-old Russian student who tried to join ISIS, Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the government's Investigative Committee, downplayed the issue of ISIS recruitment in Russia, saying that there have been only few cases. Many experts share this assessment and Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolkoltsev emphasized that the law enforcement agencies are in control of the situation. In the end, the rise of ISIS in the North Caucasus comes down to a few defections from the Caucasus Emirate and doesn't pose a real threat but the Russian authorities will nevertheless use this opportunity to clamp down on terrorist recruitment and introduce harsher anti-terrorism measures. One wonders what Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov will say when he hears of ISIS's new "Wilayat Qawqaz." Kadyrov is usually quick to comment on these things but lately he has been busy trying to steer the Nemtsov murder investigation "in the right direction":

Kadyrov: One should look for Nemtsov murder trail in Ukraine and U.S. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov believes that Ukrainian special services could stand behind the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. "In my opinion, one ought to look for the trail of this crime not in Chechnya, but in Ukraine, SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) and subsequently in the U.S.," Kadyrov told Interfax on June 18. When asked whether or not he knows the whereabouts of Ruslan Geremeyev, whom the media call a possible organizer of Nemtsov's murder, Kadyrov said: "I know Ruslan Geremeyev very well. We fought against terrorists together. I know him as a patriot of Russia, and, in my opinion, it is a mistake to accuse him of these actions."

Not Everyone Escapes Georgia's Lax Criminal Prosecution

Kadyrov pretended that he had nothing to do with Geremeyev's escape via Chechnya and tried to pin the Nemtsov assassination on Chechen terrorist Adam Osmayev, who became famous for trying to kill Russian President Putin and is now fighting for the Kiev regime in eastern Ukraine. But in contrast to Kadyrov's close associate Geremeyev, Osmayev is not a prime suspect in the Nemtsov murder. Aside from the fact that he is hardly capable of organizing any assassinaton, Osmayev hailed Nemtsov as a "true hero" for condemning Russia's second war in Chechnya and "Russian aggression" in Ukraine. The new leader of the Dudayev battalion should be prosecuted for a number of crimes but the killing of Boris Nemtsov isn't one of them. If it were not for the coup d'état in Kiev, Osmayev would still be sitting in jail. Fortunately, the "new Ukraine" offers endless opportunities for every criminal who hates Russia:

New head of Odessa Police escapes prosecution in Georgia Georgia does not continue criminal proceedings against Giya Lortkipanidze, who on June 16 was appointed the head of the Odessa Police. This was stated by experts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot". The Georgian Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) have no claims against Giya Lortkipanidze, the "United National Movement" (UNM) Party reports.

As previously discussed, former Georgian Deputy Interior Minister Gia Lortkipanidze has joined his old boss Mikheil Saakashvili in Odessa. While Saakashvili is clearly in his element, Lortkipanidze seems to be less convinced of his new job but at least he won't have to worry about prosecution anymore. The two former Georgian officials can now pick up where they left off in Georgia: provoking conflict with Russia. During Saakashvili's rule in Georgia, Lortkipanidze was responsible for coordinating the recruitment and training of Chechen jihadists. The current government claims to have ended these terror operations but the increasing number of Georgian jihadists traveling to Syria has put pressure on Tbilisi. Critics were not impressed with the government's attempt to solve the problem by making a few adjustments to the anti-terrorism legislation and the recent special operation in Georgia's notorious Pankisi Gorge was not much better either:

Cousin of ISIS leader released from detention in Georgia The Georgian police have released four of the five Kistis (Georgian Chechens) who were earlier detained in the Pankisi Gorge (Kakhetia region, Eastern Georgia). According to Georgian media reports, among the released people is Merab Tsatiashvili, a cousin of Tarkhan Batirashvili, one of the leaders of the terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS). The only person the police did not release is Ayuf Borchashvilia, imam of the village of Jokolo.

Borchashvili denied any involvement in terrorist recruitment in Pankisi. The special operation led to some tensions in the valley region. Borchashvili's family and friends staged a protest against his arrest but some Pankisi residents welcomed the operation, saying that the raid "was long overdue." Moreover, Georgian police also arrested three young men at Tbilisi airport as they tried to leave the country for Syria. The prosecution claims that the three were heading to Syria to join ISIS after they had been recruited by Borchashvili. This all begs the question of why it took the Georgian authorities so long to take some action against terrorist recruitment in the country. Perhaps they didn't want to ruin Georgia's chances of hosting a training camp for "moderate Syrian rebels" or they were just too busy buying weapons from NATO allies in order to demonstrate their commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration:

Georgia Finalizes Controversial Air Defense Deal With France Georgia and France have finalized a blockbuster air defense deal that was the source of a major political crisis in Tbilisi last year, though many of the details of the deal and the crisis remain shrouded in mystery. Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli on June 15 signed an agreement with the company ThalesRaytheonSystems in Paris on the purchase of “advanced” air defense systems that will “guarantee country’s air defense,” Khidasheli said, according to Georgian news website Civil.ge.

# # # #

Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

The New Great Game Round-Up: June 16, 2015

Poroshenko-Saakashvili Open Another Front in Ukrainian, Iran Backs Taliban to Counter U.S.-ISIS in Afghanistan

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Ukrainian oligarch-turned-President Petro Poroshenko is not very popular among his people but at least his equally criminal friends continue to support him and that is what really matters. Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was so thrilled about Poroshenko's first year in power that he wrote an op-ed for Newsweek lauding Poroshenko's reform program, better known as the "4-Ds"- de-regulation, de-bureaucratization, de-centralization and de-oligarchization(!). According to Saakashvili, his buddy Poroshenko "has succeeded in nation-building, at a rapid pace." Never mind that most Ukrainians think that Poroshenko and the current regime are to blame for Ukraine's economic problems and that they are not doing enough to stop the war in the country. One wonders what they will say when they realize that Poroshenko and Saakashvili are trying to open another front in this war:

Saakashvili announces plans to reinforce border with Transdniestria Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region Mikhail Saakashvili said on Tuesday he plans to reinforce Ukraine’s border with the unrecognized republic of Transdniestria. "We have two major tasks - to reinforce the border and curb corruption. Drug and weapons trafficking across this border mean nothing good," he told a news conference in Odessa.

Engineering works aiming to block movement of military hardware and contraband started at the Transdniestrian section of the Ukrainian-Moldovan border.

Poroshenko & Saakashvili Open Another Front in Ukrainian Conflict

As discussed two weeks ago, there is some evidence to suggest that the United States and its client regime in Ukraine want to provoke a conflict with Russia by squeezing Transnistria. Saakashvili is clearly not telling the whole story when he talks about reinforcing the border and curbing corruption. Transnistria's Foreign Minister Nina Shtanski recently pointed out that Ukrainian toops are massing at the border, causing panic in the pro-Russian breakaway state. A coalition of Transnistrian activist groups immediately sent an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking him to protect the people in Transnistria and recognize the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. Moscow's worst fears appear to be coming true. One ominous development cited by the Transnistrian activists was the deployment of S-300 air defense missile systems on the border, which would raise the stakes significantly:

Ukraine to place S-300 antiaircraft missiles on border with Transdniestria

Ukrainian authorities will deploy S-300 antiaircraft missile complexes on the border with Transdniestria - a mostly Slavic-populated breakaway region of Moldova that has existed as an unrecognized Dniester Republic since the early 1990. A report published by Odessa-based Taimer newspaper quoted the Ukrainian Defence Ministry officials as saying the missile complexes will be deployed in the Bolgrad district of the Odessa region. "Officials at the war ministry said the S-300 missiles will ensure defence of the country in the south of the Odessa region on the border with the Dniester Republic," Taimer said.

Reports of Ukraine deploying S-300 systems in the Odessa region have sent shockwaves through Transnistria and Russia. It is seen as "an ultimatum upsetting the possibility of an air bridge" between Russia and the pro-Russian breakaway state in Moldova. Even the guys from Stratfor noticed the significance of this development: "Although the potential cost of interdicting Russian flights would be incredibly high and would essentially constitute a declaration of war against Russia, the deployment of these systems establishes the capability to do so." Only few people in Ukraine are crazy enough to shoot down Russian planes but it is probably worth mentioning that the new governor of Odessa is one of them. To make matters worse, Saakashvili is bringing in his old crew from Georgia. Media reports saying that former Georgian Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili will get a job in Odessa haven't been confirmed so far but former Deputy Interior Minister Gia Lortkipanidze is about to join his old boss:

The dark past of Saakashvili’s appointee in Odessa Gia Lortkipanidze served under President Mikheil Saakashvili when he was in power in Georgia. A Ukrainian media outlet now reports that Lortkipanidze will head the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s Odessa department, the city where Saakashvili is now the governor. His appointment is controversial, as there are questions asked about his background not only by the public in Georgia, but also by UNM members. For years, he was the deputy of Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili (now in jail in Tbilisi), but he never received media attention until the so-called Lapankuri special operation on August 28, 2012. He was one of the leading figures in this operation. After the police operation, relations between him and Saakashvili, and with Data Akhalaia, became strained.

Saakashvili praised Lortkipanidze as "a man of absolute honesty" when he talked about his appointment during a news conference in Odessa. Georgian media seems to have a different take on the former Deputy Interior Minister. As regular readers of the New Great Game Round-Up may recall, the Lapankuri special operation refers to a shootout between Georgian special forces and Chechen militants in the Caucasus gorge of Lopota near the Russian border. An investigation by Georgia's Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili showed that the Saakashvili government "recruited, trained and equipped Chechens living in exile in Europe to join the North Caucasus insurgency." Nanuashvili’s report names Lortkipanidze as having coordinated the recruitment and training. So he is definitely the right man for the job in Odessa. Although the current government maintains that terrorist recruitment and training in Georgia ended with Saakashvili's rule, the country is still exporting a lot of jihadists:

Police in Georgia conduct special operation in Pankisi

Georgian police on Sunday carried out a special operation in Pankisi, a valley in the northeast of the country mostly inhabited by Kists, who are ethnic Chechens. Omar Al-Shishani, or Tarkhan Batirashvili, one of the field commanders of ISIS, was born and raised in Pankisi. He left for Syria a few years ago to join the war. His father and relatives still live in Pankisi. According to the most recent information, the special operation aimed at detaining those who allegedly have helped Georgians go to Syria, also because of suspected ties to ISIS.

Iran Backs Taliban to Counter U.S., ISIS in Afghanistan

It is remarkable that Georgia is now cracking down on terrorist recruitment considering that only a few months ago, the country was making headlines with an alleged offer to host a training center for NATO's "moderate Syrian rebels." The Georgian government would do anything to join the U.S.-led military alliance but more and more people in Georgia are beginning to question their NATO ambitions. Especially the country's huge contribution to the mission in Afghanistan, which has claimed the lives of 30 Georgian soldiers, is a contentious issue. About 880 Georgian soldiers are currently serving in NATO's Operation Resolute Support, meaning that the country is making the second-largest contribution after the United States. New Georgian Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli visited the soldiers in Afghanistan on her first foreign trip late last month to boost the troops' morale but it is becoming increasingly difficult to sell the mission in Afghanistan as a success:

Taliban seize villages in Sar-i-Pul Taliban militants have seized several villages in the Sayad District of northern Sar-i-Pul province. Officials say That Taliban captured these village after a clash with security forces that also left a policeman martyred and a militant killed. A security official said that Taliban launched the attack while security forces were offering Friday prayers.

After Badakhshan, Kunduz, Faryab and Badghis, the northern province of Sar-e Pol is now also in the grip of violence. The fighting in northern Afghanistan is intensifying day by day, the Afghan security forces are a mess and the government in Kabul is nothing but a "show." Not exactly the best conditions for ending the violence. Moreover, the insurgents are also fighting among themselves. Ever since ISIS gained a foothold in the war-torn country, the group has been trying to outstrip the Taliban. Former Guantanamo inmate Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, who is now leading ISIS in Afghanistan, told BBC Persian in an interview that ISIS "found other ways to wage jihad after realizing Taliban are receiving instructions from Pakistani intelligence." Given the fact that neither ISIS's rise in the Middle East nor its rise in Afghanistan would have been possible without the support of foreign intelligence agencies, Dost and his fellow jihadists should probably avoid this topic:

ISIS rise in Afghanistan would threaten Russia and China: Karzai

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Afghanistan would not be possible without the foreign backing.

“So, if you hear ever in the coming days, or months, or years that Daesh is on the rise in Afghanistan, and is strong and expanding militarily, it will mean that it is a foreign-backed force intending to destabilize the region, particularly Central Asia, China and Russia,” he added. Karzai put the blame for the rapid expansion of IS on “foreign interference” in Iraq and Syria saying that it was all “the result of events” there.

It is not difficult to guess which "foreign interference" Karzai was referring to. After sidelining its competitors in Syria, ISIS is now looking to expand in Afghanistan, much to the dismay of the Taliban. At the end of last month, ISIS's Afghan chapter released a video threatening the Taliban and in particular its camera-shy leader Mullah Omar. ISIS also vowed to take revenge for the fighters who had been killed by the Taliban in Nangarhar province in the middle of May. Shortly after the video was released, the group followed up its words with actions. ISIS captured and then beheaded 10 Taliban members in Nangarhar and used this for another propaganda video. While the U.S. is "taking time" to assess ISIS's expansion in Afghanistan, Iran has apparently seen enough and decided to take action. If anonymous officials and the Wall Street Journal are to be believed, Iran has begun to support the Taliban with cash and weapons in order to counter U.S. influence in the region and stop the rise of ISIS:

Iran Backs Taliban With Cash and Arms

When Abdullah, a Taliban commander in central Afghanistan, needs more rifles and ammunition, he turns to the same people who pay his $580-a-month salary: his Iranian sponsors. “Iran supplies us with whatever we need,” he said. Afghan and Western officials say Tehran has quietly increased its supply of weapons, ammunition and funding to the Taliban, and is now recruiting and training their fighters, posing a new threat to Afghanistan’s fragile security. Iran’s strategy in backing the Taliban is twofold, these officials say: countering U.S. influence in the region and providing a counterweight to Islamic State’s move into the Taliban’s territory in Afghanistan.

New Pipeline Projects Leave "Land Of Fire" Out in the Cold

Betting on the re-emergence of the Taliban is probably not the worst idea but the Israel lobby in the U.S. will certainly use this information to torpedo the Iran nuclear talks, which have "virtually stalled." A diplomatic source told Russian news agency TASS that the June 30 deadline may have to be postponed again. Europe is desperate for Iranian gas but as long as the sanctions remain in place, European countries will have to make do with gas from neighboring Azerbaijan. This has led some people in Baku to believe that Azerbaijan has major leverage over Europe and can pressure European leaders into endorsing the European Games in Baku. The absence of European leaders at the lavish opening ceremony of the Games didn't go down well in the energy-rich country and Trend News Agency's Aynur Gasimova lost no time in warning the Europeans that they might regret this:

Europe, it is time to stop playing with the Land of Fire. You can get burned Azerbaijan is known worldwide as the Land of Fire, and today Europe is playing with that fire. The result of playing with fire is for Europe itself to decide. But all the recent actions taken by the European countries’ leaders suggest that they aren’t complying with the “don’t play with fire!” rule. The entire world’s attention was focused on the opening of the European Games in Baku. But at the same time, this same place witnessed another important event. The heads of states, which today decide the fate of Europe’s security, gathered in Baku, however, Europe itself, because of its own stupidity, was not represented.

As Gasimova points out, the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Turkmenistan used the opportunity to discuss major energy projects in Baku but the notion that Europen leaders missed out on important deals and are "sacrificing their citizens' energy security" is absurd. Most energy projects discussed in Baku are spearheaded by Brussels and are aimed at bringing gas from the Caspain Sea to Europe, bypassing Russia, except for Russia's Turkish Stream pipeline. After Russian President Putin let his Turkish counterpart Erdogan wait for a couple of minutes, as usual, the two leaders held "constructive" talks on the Turkish Stream project behind closed doors in Baku. Gazprom has sent the coordinates of the onshore section of the pipeline to Turkey and is doing its best to start the construction as soon as possible. Turkish Stream's progress has not gone unnoticed in Austria, where OMV is now looking for a new project after recovering from the loss of Nabucco and South Stream:

Die Presse: OMV May Be Planning 'Russian Nabucco' Gas Pipeline The future head of Austria’s OMV Rainer Seele appears to be planning a new route for Russian gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine jointly with Gazprom, according to Austrian newspaper Die Presse. According to the Austrian newspaper, the new route appears to resurrecting the closed gas pipeline project Nabucco – with one major difference: instead of carrying Caspian gas to Europe it will transport Russian and possibly Iranian natural gas via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to Austria.

The original Nabucco pipeline project, officially buried in 2013, was designed to bring Caspian gas via Turkey and the Balkans to a central European hub in Baumgarten near Vienna in order to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. Two years later there are signs that OMV is considering a 'Russian Nabucco pipeline', according to Die Presse.

Some people in Washington and Brussels will probably fall off their chairs when they hear of OMV's plans. The pipeline which was supposed to bypass Russia and Iran could celebrate an unlikely comeback by bringing Russian and Iranian gas to Europe. Reinhard Mitschek, the former managing director of the Nabucco consortium, will promote the new project. Mitschek had already tried to win Russia and Iran as suppliers for the old Nabucco project despite strong opposition from the United States. So he knows what he is getting himself into. Although Washington and Brussels spared no effort to build Nabucco, they had to settle for the smaller and less expensive Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will eventually bring gas from Azerbaijan to customers in the EU. One wonders what the "Land of Fire" thinks of OMV's new Nabucco plans considering that Azerbaijan hasn't been mentioned as a gas supplier but the Aliyev regime is apparently too busy "promoting" the European Games:

Azeri government behind foreign media ban, say European Games officials A decision to ban some foreign media from attending the inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan this month rested with the government and was not taken by the event’s organisers, officials said on Saturday. Journalists, including the Guardian’s chief sports correspondent Owen Gibson, have been refused entry visas but organisers of the event in Baku said it was the government who was clearing individuals to enter the country based on their own set of criteria. Apart from media, several representatives from international human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also been blocked from entering the country, ruled by the Aliyev family since 1993.

# # # #

Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

                                                       

BFP Roundtable Video- Graham’s So-Called Smoking Gun, Saudi Arabia & Yemen

In this introductory episode Sibel Edmonds, Guillermo Jimenez and Pearse Redmond introduce the new BFP Roundtable Season and discuss new ideas and possibilities for coming shows. From there the panel quickly moves on to its first topic: Senator Graham’s so-called smoking gun (The infamous redacted 28-pages), the possible reasons for and timing of this old pickled issue’s circulation, in conjunction with the Saudi Arabia-Yemen angle and connections. The panel heatedly debunks more than one widespread spin used by mainstream and pseudo-alternative media outlets in reporting Saudi Arabia’s assault on Yemen with the carefully-designed Iran element. And finally, the panel invites BFP activist community members to join and expand this discussion and provide their ideas for coming roundtable discussion topics.

*This is our introductory episode for the new BFP Roundtable season. The coming episodes will be here at Boiling Frogs Post, and will be available only to BFP activist members. You can subscribe and join our community here.

Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Saudi Strikes Killed Yemen Peace Deal

Peter B. Collins Presents Journalist Joe Lauria

Adding important context and dimensions to the war in Yemen, Joe Lauria reports that a UN-led effort was very close to completing a cease-fire agreement and power sharing deal in Yemen that sould’ve included the recently-deposed president, Hadi. But when Saudi Arabia started its aggressive bombing raids at the end of March, it killed the deal. Lauria’s sources indicate that the Saudis would not permit a secular, democratic government that included women in the leadership to emerge on their border; he also thinks the Saudis were sending the US a message of disapproval of the Iran talks and Obama’s bluff about Syria in 2013. He offers many interesting insights, like Egypt’s reluctance to send ground troops because Egypt lost thousands of soldiers in its Vietnam-style quagmire in Yemen in the 1970’s. And he agrees with Gareth Porter’s recent report that the Houthi rebels are not getting guns and ammo from Iran, despite the inferences in American media.

*Joe Lauria is an independent reporter who publishes in the Wall Street Journal and other outlets. His recent story on Yemen is here

Listen to the Preview Clip Here

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An American Neo-Orientalist in Tehran

“Demonizing and otherizing the easterners serve as effective tools in the hands of Imperialism.”

Sadly, Orientalism has not yet run its course. On the contrary, it has assumed different forms and has gained momentum in recent years.

No doubt, this love child of Imperialism which has helped create an inconceivable chasm between the East and the West has naturally done away with any possibly constructive interfaith and intercultural interaction in the world.

In fact, the emergence of extremist groups such as Daesh or ISIL in the name of Islam is a byproduct of this systematic effort by the West. By way of cementing its misrepresentation of the East in general and Islam in particular, Imperialism proceeds with its long-pursued agenda of creating stereotypes in the world and portraying the easterners as ‘despotic and clannish’ when they are placed in positions of power and conniving and sycophantic when in subservient positions. No wonder, extremism is generously funded and promoted by the West.

Lending an absurd quality of strangeness to the easterners, Imperialism generally depicts women as the beleaguered class and the dissidents as victims of the most monstrous forms of human rights violations while it itself masquerades as champion of truth and freedom.

As Edward Said encapsulates this notion in his seminal work Orientalism (1978), this attitude reflects a political vision of reality whose structure promotes the difference between the familiar (Europe, West, us) and the strange (the Orient, the East, “them”).

Thus, demonizing and otherizing the easterners serve as effective tools in the hands of Imperialism. After all, the ulterior motive behind Orientalism is the intellectual colonization of public opinion on the one hand and on the other, a ravenous desire to seek a safety-valve to the colonization of the natural resources of a certain country.

To Demonize or not to Demonize; that is the Question

Demonizing operates on two levels: they demonize you because they simply wish to colonize you; 2. they demonize you because they dread your increasing power, i.e. they are afraid of your emerging power which they fear to confront or/and which they find impossible to subjugate.

As part of this pernicious practice, Islamophobia can be defined as any concerted effort to demonize the glorious faith as monolithically bad, to consequently fabricate a fear of it and all that is considered Islamic and to ultimately dispel the mounting spread of the faith in the world.

In a similar vein, Iranophobia can be viewed as an extension of the demonization process by the West and as a new form of neo-Orientalism.

The new harbingers of neo-Orientalism sometimes infiltrate the Muslim communities under the guise of scholars, philosophers and intellectuals. Some of them are either well paid by Imperialism or they may be following their own fiendish agenda which may spring from their inveterate fear of or loathing to the Muslims or the easterners.

In modern times, these self-styled intellectuals infiltrate the eastern communities through modern means such as seminars, conferences and symposiums in order to avail themselves of a double pleasure, that is, to visit the country and subsequently deliver a ‘believably’ twisted account of their observations in the first place and to quench their voyeuristic quest for adventurism for the Orient which has long been on their wish list in the second.

Something Wicked this Way Comes

In November 2014, Harvard scholar Stephen Greenblatt readily accepted an offer to serve as the keynote speaker to the First International Shakespeare Conference in Iran at the University of Tehran without asking for any honorarium or travel costs as is the wont especially for someone of his fame and in view of his “busy schedule”.

“In April 2014 I received a letter from the University of Tehran, inviting me to deliver the keynote address to the first Iranian Shakespeare Congress.”

This came rather as a big surprise to one of the organizers who initially broke the matter to him as a shot in the dark, for his earlier efforts to invite other celebrated scholars to lecture at the Shakespeare Conference had failed like water off a duck’s back due to the lack of financial support.

So, Greenblatt was more than available and he was a well-known scholar in the field to boot. Besides, he had made some name in New Historicism School which made him even a far better candidate for the job. Given that, the organizers took the bait and decided to go on with necessary arrangements without thinking even for a moment that the Harvard scholar might be pursuing other than anything academic. Parenthetically, the professor had in his first email expressed his insatiable passion to visit the land of his dreams and how he was fascinated as a child by the photos he had seen of Isfahan and Persepolis.

That was how he had shrewdly obliterated any room for mistrust. Of course, once by way of dismissing any gaping suspicion, he had briefly asked who would pay for him or if any of his costs would be covered by the conference only after all arrangements had been made.  And he secretly gloated over his easy triumph in outsmarting the organizers.

Eventually the promised day arrived and he deplaned at one in the morning at Imam Khomeini International Airport while the first organizer against whom he later spewed out his spiteful diatribe in an unmanly essay received him warmly at the airport.

“And there, waiting for me when I deplaned at 1:00 AM, was none other than the author of the articles denouncing the secret Zionist investors who controlled the world. He was smiling, gregarious, urbane.”

Eventually, the next morning, Greenblatt delivered a rather incoherent keynote speech at the conference as though he had not even spent a reasonable amount of time in preparing himself to deliver a decent lecture and later paid a two-day luxury visit to Isfahan and Shiraz to fulfill his dreams which inflicted an exorbitant cost on the University of Tehran.

Once back home, Greenblatt declined to convey even a word of gratitude to the first organizer who had spent two sleepless nights because of him through email or through any means of communication hitherto invented by human beings. That was extremely odd especially for a man who made a display of etiquette and gentlemanly manners to be so precociously unappreciative.

Et tu, Brute?

A few weeks later, the professor wrote an essay titled ‘Shakespeare in Tehran’ in the New York Review of Books and made a relentless attack on the first organizer and censured him to extremity, exhausting all his linguistic competence to this end. Unlike the established code of conduct by critics, Greenblatt numerously quoted him out of context from the different articles he had written in condemnation of Israeli atrocities. In the attitude of traditional Orientalists, he had cherry-picked some anti-Zionist rhetoric which seemed to have enormously pained the professor.

To everyone’s chagrin, Greenblatt implicitly voiced his support for Israel and Zionism.

“Did my prospective host—someone who had presumably grappled with the humane complexity of Shakespeare’s tragedies—actually believe these fantasies reminiscent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? A simple check online showed me that one of the scholars who signed my letter of invitation had written, in addition to essays on “The Contradictory Nature of the Ghost in Hamlet” and “The Aesthetic Response: The Reader in Macbeth,” many articles about the “gory diabolical adventurism” of international Zionism. “The tentacles of Zionist imperialism,” he wrote, “are by slow gradation spread over [the world].” “A precocious smile of satisfaction breaks upon the ugly face of Zionism.” “The Zionist labyrinthine corridors are so numerous that their footprints and their agents are scattered everywhere.”

Of course, that was the beginning of Greenblatt’s invasion on the organizer’s personality which can be interpreted as an egregious instance of character assassination.

There was a time when I transiently presumed that the age of stereotyping and otherizing is over but unfortunately, Greenblatt's essay proves that the Orientalist viewpoint still prevails, that there is a cosmic gap between the West and the East and that this trend of stereotyping is painfully promoted by some western scholars.

One May Smile, and Smile, and be a Villain

Now it tragically transpired to everyone that the scholar who seemed so politically naïve, never expressed a political word and persistently presented himself as an agreeably smiling man with intellectual resources suddenly proved to a be a covert pro-Zionist who may even garner a medal of honor from Mr. Netanyahu.

Unfortunately, his superficial account did not end here.

Apparently overwhelmed by paranoid fear and ‘New Historical’ conspiracy theories, he saw himself surrounded by spies and intelligence agents at the faculty site.

“I also noticed among the men a few who stood apart and did not seem to be either students or faculty. It was not difficult to imagine who these might be.”

At the dinner table, when I asked him about Shakespeare’s anti-Semiticism (without consciously trying to hurt his delicacy as he was a Jew; besides, Greenblatt seemed affable and somehow likeable), he felt extremely agitated, saying that “Shakespeare was just curious about the Jews.” It was then when I came to understand the multilayered meanings of curiosity which was until then to me a naked word.

However, another instance of Greenblatt’s brazenly distorted representation of Iran is about Bagh-e Fin in Kashan:

“I wanted to see the late-sixteenth-century Baghe Fin, one of the walled enclosures that in old Persian were called “paradises.” (Other English borrowings from Persian include the words peach, lemon, and orange, along with cummerbund, kaftan, and pajama.)”

Here, the professor ridicules this paradise which was to him “a relatively small, dusty, square garden with very old cedar trees lined up in rows along very straight paths. A twinge of disappointment is built into the fulfillment of any desire that has been deferred for too long, so it is not surprising that my experience of paradise, in the form of the Bagh-e Fin, was a slight letdown.”

To deliver Greenblatt from his cocoon of ignorance as to the wonders of Iran, it should be noted that Bagh-e Fin is a garden in the midst of the desert. Iranians are noted and praised for their exceptional talent in building paradisal gardens in the heart of the desert such as Bagh-e Fin in Kashan and Bagh-e Shazd-e in Kerman.

But how can a man evidently endowed with critical intelligence fail to understand this simple fact?

What, Can the Devil Speak True?

In his depiction of Iran, Greenblatt is judgmentally biased and even before coming to the country, he had carried with him his baggage of pride and prejudice but what he observed in Iran fiercely challenged his entrenched expectations and dealt a heavy blow to his hidebound beliefs as well as to the hatred he had so keenly harbored in his heart in years about the Islamic Republic of Iran.

To his bewilderment just before him stood women and men who spoke courageously, intelligently, and boldly.  Before his very eyes, he beheld women and men whom he had surreptitiously denigrated.

“… and there began a question period, a flood of inquiries and challenges stretching out for the better part of another hour. Most of the questions were from students, the majority of them women, whose boldness, critical intelligence, and articulateness startled me.”

But now his eyes reeled and his head swam when he found himself incapacitated to imbibe all that grandeur of a great nation where he had come with an agenda pushed under his arm by the Zionists before coming to Iran. In fact, the illusion of ‘American Exceptionalism’ which was clearly discernible in his condescending attitude towards the Iranian scholars and students as well as the conference organizers was shattered to smithereens.

That is how the scholar’s neo-Orientalist mission failed altogether. There are serious responses to his illogical and biased essay in Iran and abroad. Even Iranian runaway malcontents like Hamid Dabashi have blasted him for his essay.

The similitude of Greenblatt is as the similitude of a non-practicing scholar whom the Persian poet Sa’di compares to “a bee without honey. Tell that harsh and ungenerous hornet/As thou yield no honey, wound not with thy sting.”

The Rest Is Silence

In Literary Theory Course for PhD program which I am teaching this semester, my students vehemently refused to cover any of Greenblatt’s theories, insisting that I skip him as a critic in our course which I welcomed as I perceived their wounded pride and their monumental mistrust of New Historical theories and other lies represented by Greenblatt.

This commendable display of resilience and patriotism on the part of Iranian students evinced an unbreakable bond between them and their country as well as an overpowering repugnance to the enemies of Iran and those who wish to tarnish the image of the nation.

I can’t say for sure if I for one regard any respect for Stephen Greenblatt as a scholar not because he has made craven efforts to assassinate my character in his cabalistically dictated essay but because he has unforgivably insulted my nation. As William Shakespeare rightly put it, “To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.”

# # # #

Dr. Ismail Salami is an internationally published author, literary scholar, Quranologist, political commentator, and lexicographer. He writes extensively on the US and Middle East issues and his writings have been translated into a number of languages. Salami is a former editor-in-chief of the Tehran Times International Daily. He currently teaches English literature at the University of Tehran.

NarcoNews: CIA Veteran Sees Big Hole in Sterling Espionage Conviction

Retired Counterintelligence Officer Claims Intelligence Agency’s Office of Security Dropped the Ball

By Bill Conroy

A former CIA spy manager is raising a serious question about the way the intelligence agency handled the national-security risk raised in the case of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer who was recently convicted on espionage charges for leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen.

Leutrell Osborne is a 27-year veteran of the CIA who as a case officer oversaw spies and assets in 30 countries. He said he befriended Sterling, who like Osborne is African American, during the course of a discrimination lawsuit Sterling initiated against the CIA in 2000. That litigation was ultimately dismissed by the courts in early 2006 due to the government’s national security claims.

“I decided to assist Jeffrey [Sterling] in his discrimination case because I had respect for him because he was a black man, an attorney and a spy manager, and part of the reason I worked at the CIA was so people like him could follow me,” said Osborne, a CIA employee from 1957-1984. [Video: Leutrell Osborne: Black Man in the CIA]

Osborne, who now runs a business-consulting firm, had numerous interactions and conversations with Sterling, which he said should have been of interest to the CIA’s Office of Security in the course of any internal agency investigation of potential classified-information leaks.

However, Osborne said the CIA never contacted him about Sterling, prior to or during the course of the criminal investigation targeting Sterling. That criminal investigation, which led to Sterling’s indictment in 2010, was initiated by at least 2008 — when reporter Risen was first subpoenaed in the case. Osborne also said that, to date, the CIA has not returned a call he made to the agency shortly after Sterling’s conviction in late January.

If the CIA was truly concerned that Sterling was leaking classified information, then the agency should have vetted anyone who had his confidence, particularly current and former CIA personnel, to determine the extent of his alleged espionage activities, Osborne contends.

“The CIA investigated Sterling, and they knew I knew him, or should have known, yet they did not talk to me,” Osborne said. “Is the CIA that incompetent in security? The CIA is supposedly the best security organization in the world, and yet they didn’t care that there were holes in their investigation? That raises a red flag for me.”

A federal court jury in Virginia found Sterling guilty earlier this year on nine criminal counts related to charges that he provided classified documents to Risen sometime between 2001 and 2005 that were made public in a book that the journalist published in early 2006. Risen’s tome, “State of War,” included a chapter detailing a CIA covert plan to derail Iran’s nuclear-weapons development capabilities.  Sterling, now 47, was assigned from 1998 to mid-2000 as an operational officer in the unit overseeing that Iran program, dubbed Operation Merlin in court records.

The government’s case against Sterling was made with circumstantial evidence — primarily records of phone calls and emails exchanged between Sterling and Risen between 2003 and 2005, none of which contained a smoking gun proving conclusively that Sterling leaked classified information. Sterling’s lawyers argued that the trail of emails and phone calls dovetailed in time with his discrimination lawsuit against the CIA and dealt with that matter, which Risen had written about in the New York Times previously. In addition, the defense argued that there were a number of other potential sources for Risen’s book, including Senate Select Intelligence Committee staffers, given Sterling in 2003 provided information to them legally as a whistleblower on what he deemed flaws in the covert Iran program.

The Department of Justice engaged in a controversial battle across the Bush and Obama administrations to force Risen to reveal his sources on Operation Merlin. Ultimately, though, the Department of Justice backed down as Sterling’s trial got underway in mid-January and did not call Risen to testify. Government attorneys argue that Sterling was a disgruntled former CIA employee motivated to strike back at the agency and that convictions based on strong circumstantial evidence are not out of the ordinary in the judicial system.

But Osborne’s criticism has more to do with CIA internal procedures than Sterling’s criminal case itself, though he argues that there is some pause for concern that the agency may have pushed the criminal case against Sterling in retaliation for his whistleblowing and discrimination lawsuit against the agency.

Attorney Mark Zaid, who represented Sterling in the discrimination case, said Osborne “gave media interviews” during the course of Sterling’s discrimination litigation, including for national outlets such as CNN, “and was very supportive of Jeff [Sterling],” though he never testified in the case. Osborne said the CIA certainly was aware of his relationship with Sterling, or at least should have been as the world’s premier intelligence agency. In addition, Osborne said he placed a call to the CIA in early February, shortly after Sterling’s conviction, but still has not been contacted by the agency.

Osborne points out that CIA attorneys do not try criminal cases and the CIA itself has no arrest powers. Once a suspect in a classified-information leak is identified, he said, the case is normally turned over to the FBI and Department of Justice attorney’s to pursue via the criminal justice system.

However, that does not absolve the CIA, he said, of conducting its own thorough internal investigation to determine the extent of the leak and how extensive the problem is and what other agency operations might have been affected or compromised. Because he had a relationship with Sterling, the CIA should have had an interest in determining what information was exchanged between them, Osborne said.

The CIA unit responsible for protecting classified information from disclosure, and for investigating such breaches, is the Office of Security.

“That unit [the Office of Security] should have been on the job. I was a potential hole in the security, and yet no one from CIA contacted me,” Osborne stressed. “The Office of Security’s job is to look for the dirty laundry, and possibly share what they find with the FBI. I should have been contacted.”

Osborne said the fact that CIA investigators did not question him prompts a suspicion that Sterling was not the national-security threat the agency portrayed him to be and that some individuals at the CIA may have “manipulated” the Department of Justice into pursuing an espionage case against him. Alternatively, another possible implication of the agency’s failure to vet Osborne is equally troubling. That lapse, he said, points to a potential serious weakness in the CIA’s internal “security protocols” for containing espionage threats.

Dean Boyd, director of the CIA Office of Public Affairs, when asked about Osborne’s allegations, provided the following response via email:

“The criminal investigation of Jeffrey Sterling and his unauthorized disclosure of classified information was conducted by the FBI. The criminal prosecution was handled by the Department of Justice. As you may know, determinations on potential witnesses or interviews to be conducted in connection with a criminal investigation and prosecution are the purview of the FBI and Department of Justice.”

When asked in a follow-up email to address the specific concern Osborne raised about the failure of CIA investigators to contact him as part of the agency’s internal security protocols, Boyd replied: “We have no further information for you.”

“There are valleys between DOJ, FBI and the CIA,” Osborne said. “CIA uses DOJ attorneys for criminal cases, but it doesn’t’ make sense that CIA did not contact me or that DOJ should have handled that,” given any compromise of classified information potentially threatens broader CIA operations possibly not even known to DOJ. Osborne added that neither the DOJ or FBI contacted him about Sterling — nor did he reach out to them.

“This discussion just accentuates how stupid this situation is,” Osborne added.

For the record, Osborne said Sterling never shared any classified information with him.

“I did not inquire about what he did for the CIA,” Osborne said. “And he had too much respect for me to involve me in his garbage. Sterling never shared with me anything he did clandestinely for the CIA.”

Past Deceptions

This isn’t the first time the CIA Office of Security has been called out for failing to do its job properly.

In March of last year, US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, then chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), lashed out publicly at the CIA, accusing the agency and its top lawyer of illegally spying on the Senate staff charged with investigating the George W. Bush-era terrorism practices. She accused the CIA of seeking to intimidate the Senate committee by asking the Justice Department to investigate those same staffers based on what she described as “inaccurate information” provided to the Justice Department.

Although Feinstein did not then publicly identify the CIA lawyer she accused of helping to orchestrate the alleged attack on the Senate staff — via his referral of charges to DOJ — White House spokesman Jay Carney subsequently confirmed that it was then-Acting CIA General Counsel Robert Eatinger.

The Senate staff was utilizing secure computers set up by the CIA that allowed them to examine millions of documents to prepare a 6,000-page report on the terrorism-detention and interrogation program. An abbreviated version of that report, some 500 pages long and released in December of last year, determined the CIA’s use of torture to obtain information from suspects held in secret prisons didn’t work, yet the agency lied repeatedly in claiming it was effective.

In the course of preparing their report for Feinstein’s committee, the CIA alleges the Senate staffers illegally hacked into the agency’s computers to obtain information — creating the basis for Eatinger’s request for a DOJ criminal investigation. Senate staffers maintain the information in question was contained in trove of records made available to them by CIA for examination.

A five-member CIA Accountability Board, which included three CIA officials, was assembled to investigate the matter and determined in findings issued this past January that CIA personnel did nothing illegal, that it was all essentially an honest misunderstanding.

However, Feinstein took issue with the findings of the board and issued a blistering critique.

“Regardless of the extent of the violation or intent of those involved, someone should be held accountable,” she said in a press release published on Jan. 27. “…The CIA IG [Inspector General, in a separate report] found the CIA criminal referral against SSCI staff was based on inaccurate information provided to Acting General Counsel Bob Eatinger by personnel in CIA’s Office of Security. The actions of these individuals were ignored by the CIA Accountability Board, which is shocking and unacceptable.” [Emphasis added.]

So, essentially, a US senator claims the CIA’s Office of Security lied to the Department of Justice as part of an effort to launch a criminal investigation into Senate staffers

…………………………………………………

You can read the complete investigative report here @ NarcoNews

Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds- Project AJAX, CIA, False Flag Ops & the Illusion of Home-front Sanctity

From the 1953 Iranian Coup to toppling Guatemala’s Guzmán, Turkey’s 1980 Military Coup, Operations Condor & Northwoods … and the list goes on

Welcome to our thirteenth episode of Probable Cause. Today we are continuing with our previous subtopic- deep state coups via synthetic terrorism, false flag operations and propaganda. For this episode I am going to continue this sub-topic and provide you with a different context and examples in order to illustrate some common themes, similarities and parallels. We are going to revisit Iran. I say revisit because I have presented to you an entire episode on the 1979 Revolution in Iran based on my own direct experiences. For this episode we are revisiting Iran, but we are going back 62 years. We are going back to 1953: The 1953 Iranian coup d'état.

After our brief presentation of the 1953 Coup in Iran and discussing the common threads, uncanny similarities and parallels between the Iranian coup and the 1980 Military Coup in Turkey, and after a brief overview of other similar coups and operations (Operations PBSUCCESS, CONDOR, Northwoods, Gladio), we will delve into our macro questions such as: How can we recognize our government and deep state powers as murderers, who have in the last half century murdered millions of people, hundreds of thousands of innocent children, hundreds of thousands of innocent elderlies, through overt wars, covert wars, declared wars, undeclared wars, false flag operations, synthetically created terror plots, chemical weapons and atomic bombs … yet, believe that this monstrous and murderous entity would recognize some sanctities?

As always, our next episode will be based on your reaction, critique, responses and questions posed in the comments section below.

*To listen to our previous episodes on this topic click here

Listen to the full episode here:

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Show Notes

The 1953 Coup D'etat in Iran

From Anglo-Persian Oil to BP Amoco

History of Iran: Oil Nationalization

History Used and Abused

The 50th Anniversary of the CIA Coup in Iran: The Day Democracy Died

CIA admits role in 1953 Iranian coup

C.I.A. Destroyed Files on 1953 Iran Coup

"CIA document mentions who ordered the 1953 coup" (PDF)

"Overthrow of Premier Mossadeq of Iran, November 1952-August 1953," March 1954, by Dr. Donald Wilber.

How a Plot Convulsed Iran in '53 (and in '79)

The Iranian Accord

MKO-Mossad Mortifying Ignominy in Iran

“That the MKO and the ISIL cults are pursing the selfsame path of perversion is no coincidence at all”

In their abortive effort to assassinate another Iranian nuclear scientist, Israeli officials only sustained desperation and disgrace in their dastardly elimination campaign against Iran which was apparently in sync with ISIL inhumane brutalities inside Iraq and Syria.

More alert than ever, security forces are diligently tasked with protecting the lives of the Iranian scientists wherever they are.

A top Iranian military official said on Saturday that in the last two years, “the Zionist entity has been making clandestine efforts to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but the timely presence of the IRGC security forces thwarted the terrorist operation.”

It is now common knowledge that Tel Aviv has been carrying out covert ops inside the Iranian soil for a couple of years, assassinating Iranian nuclear officials and scientists although Israel has constantly declined to admit to its unjustified iniquity against the Iranian nation.

Translating suspicion into conviction, a report carried by CBS News in March 2014 revealed that Obama has pressured Israeli espionage apparatuses to put an end to their assassinations inside Iran against the country’s nuclear scientists.

The terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization AKA MKO or MEK seems to be a ubiquitous agent any time there is an assassination in Iran. A shadowy cult with myriad of financial, military and intelligence connections to Tel Aviv and Washington, the MKO works in league with Kidon, the assassination unit within the Mossad. There are solid reports which indicate that the MKO members have received military and intelligence training both from the US forces as well as from the Mossad.

In 2012, Seymour M. Hersh revealed that at a secret site in Nevada, the US Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, “a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K.” According to the report, the training ended sometime before President Obama took office. A retired four-star general says, “They got the standard training, in commo, crypto [cryptography], small-unit tactics, and weaponry—that went on for six months…. They were kept in little pods.”

Within the US government, the cult enjoys a rather immense support for their sabotage activities against the Islamic Republic. Among their shills are former top Bush officials and other Republicans (Michael Mukasey, Fran Townsend, Andy Card, Tom Ridge, Rudy Giuliani) as well as prominent Democrats (Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark).

A revealing report by NBC News report by Richard Engel and Robert Windrem cites two anonymous senior US officials with two interesting claims: 1) that it was MEK which perpetrated the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and 2) the terrorist group “is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service.” So the report testifies to the veracity of what Iranian officials have asserted about the involvement of MEK and Israel in murdering nuclear scientists on the Iranian soil.

Interestingly, a few weeks ago, I received a threatening email from Ali Safavi, the notorious MKO spokesman (through a western publisher of mine) in which he had pontificated about the virtues of the MKO terrorists and the so-called ‘vices’ of the Islamic Republic, accusing me of serving as a mouthpiece for the Islamic Republic. I strongly believe that revealing the murky realities of a terrorist group responsible for the deaths of 17000 innocent Iranians is only my ethical obligation. Besides, Ali Safavi and the likes of him should come to their senses and realize that their efforts to whitewash their crimes will eventually prove pointless and that there is no way at all for them to lend a cloak of legitimacy to their unnamable crimes against the Iranian nation.

During the Iraq-Iran war, the MKO joined hands with Saddam Hussein, the tyrannical ruler of Iraq in attacking and killing Iranian combatants. However, a bloodier chapter in the history of the cult can be traced in their collusion with Saddam in crushing the popular uprisings in 1991. No doubt, their tanks took an inconceivable reprisal on thousands of innocent civilians. The callous command of Maryam Rajavi is still gnawing and tearing at the hearts and minds of the Iraqis: “Take the Kurds under your tanks, and save your bullets for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.”

Unfortunately, the MKO, long considered a terrorist organization, was delisted thanks to the unflagging endeavors of former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In 2011, Mohamed Ali Lobnani, a Lebanese national, who was arrested on charges of spying for Mossad confessed that he had spied for Israel under the cover of a Shiite cleric in Lebanon.

In a court hearing session, Lobnani said he had phone contacts with Mohammad Alizadeh, an MKO ringleader, claiming that had no idea that the number was a Mossad contact number.

Asked about the link between MKO and Mossad, he noted, “As far as I know, the group (MKO) has been collaborating with Israel for several years and has massive interactions with Mossad.”

The MKO is the artifact of a corrupt ideology which is in many respects comparable to that of the ISIL cult. No wonder they are fighting shoulder to shoulder with the ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

The fact that these two curious cults are thriving rigorously, that the West caters – either publicly or secretly – to their cravings, that they are being bigheartedly financed by the puppet regional regimes and that they receive sophisticated military and intelligence training from Mossad and CIA evinces a believable bond between the two.

That the MKO and the ISIL cults are pursing the selfsame path of perversion is no coincidence at all. The reason is simple: they are cut from the same cloth. And that Mossad is dispatching assassins into Iran to liquidate Iranian scientists is only meant to strike fear and beyond that, to secretly make up for what the ISIL and MKO terrorists feel emasculated to do in Iran.

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Dr. Ismail Salami is an internationally published author, literary scholar, Quranologist, political commentator, and lexicographer. He writes extensively on the US and Middle East issues and his writings have been translated into a number of languages. Salami is a former editor-in-chief of the Tehran Times International Daily. He currently teaches English literature at the University of Tehran.