On Tuesday, July 24, Israeli television broadcast one of the first new advertisements that promote and call for the “construction of the alleged Jewish Temple” on the ruins of the al-Aqsa mosque which Israelis seek to destroy.
The new ad shows an Israeli family spending a day at the beach: the father is reading news about the new Egyptian president Mohammad Mursi, and his children are building the temple in the sand. The message conveyed the idea that children are completing what their parents couldn’t do.
Then the father notices the temple, throws the newspaper on the ground and the camera zooms onto the picture of Mursi. Israelis try to show with the ad that even after the election of Mursi as a President, Israel will not be halted or prevented from building the temple.
It’s worth mentioning that the Temple Israel Board of Trustees group expressed more than once their concerns about electing Mursi the President of Egypt. In their opinion it may hinder Israel’s rights to build the temple.
It appears obvious that the group has started a psychological war against President Mursi.
- Israeli Video Insults New President of Egypt (ashraf62.wordpress.com)
- New Egyptian President Ridiculed in Israeli Video (windowintopalestine.blogspot.com)
- Israel destroys Umayyad palaces next to Al-Aqsa Mosque (altahrir.wordpress.com)
The United States has finally made a token effort towards reining in its central African client state, Rwanda, whose destabilization of neighboring Congo has contributed to the deaths of six million people over the past 16 years. A United Nations panel charged that Rwanda has been supporting a Tutsi tribal rebel group in Congo. Rwanda and another U.S. puppet regime, Uganda, have profited enormously from stealing the mineral resources of eastern Congo, in collaboration with U.S. and European mining companies. At the end of last year, 1.7 million Congolese remained homeless, largely because of Rwanda’s continued interference in Congolese affairs.
Bowing ever so slightly to world opinion, Washington announced that it would cut military assistance to Rwanda. As it turns out, the only money the U.S. is withholding is for an academy for Rwandan non-commissioned officers – a measly $200,000 out of a total Rwandan aid package of $528 million. The gesture is an insult to the millions of Congolese who have been killed or displaced by the U.S. and its Rwandan and Ugandan mercenaries.
The United Nations Refugee Agency reports that the number of Somalis forced to leave their country has reached the one million mark. At root, this is also an American crime against humanity. Somalia ranks behind only Afghanistan, Iraq and Colombia in its number of displaced persons. And, like the other three countries, Somalia’s humanitarian crisis is the result of Washington’s imperial military strategies.
The U.S. dragged Somalia into hell in December of 2006, when it funded and armed an Ethiopia invasion of the country. Tens of thousands were killed outright, and Somalia was robbed of a chance to build peace under a moderately Islamist government. In the capital city, Mogadishu, alone, nearly two million people were forced from their homes, and soon the United Nations declared Somalia “the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa.”
In the ensuing five years, the United States methodically attempted to starve out the Somali Shabaab resistance forces, so that when the worst drought in 60 years struck the region, last year, mass deaths were inevitable. By now, the U.S. had ensnared most of Somalia’s neighbors in its war – Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, a whole region in flames – in order to facilitate an expansion of U.S. military influence in the region.
Far from playing a humanitarian role in Africa, the United States is the main vector of mass carnage and misery, from Somalia to Libya to Congo and so many points in between. American policy in Africa is to create chaos, and then to present itself as the cure. Economically, the U.S. offers nothing to Africa, except rigged deals and endless debt. Years ago, China eclipsed the U.S. as a trading partner, and now offers Africa more and better quality foreign aid than the Americans. Unable to compete on a level laying field, Washington exports death to Africa, in the form of weapons systems and Green Berets. There is nothing good that the United States can do for Africa, but leave.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
- Rwanda’s Paul Kagame warned he may be charged with aiding war crimes (guardian.co.uk)
- The end of the west’s humiliating affair with Paul Kagame (guardian.co.uk)
- U.S. Escalates Military Penetration of Africa (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Obama, Starving Africans and the Israel Lobby (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Iran’s main automobile company, Iran Khodro, says it is coping with a decision early this year by troubled French car maker Peugeot to halt exports of vehicle kits for assembly, according to reports on Wednesday.
“Iran Khodro has managed to become self-sufficient in producing 90 percent of the parts for the (popular Peugeot model) 206, and an effort is being made to use local suppliers for parts that were previously imported,” Hossein Najari, Deputy CEO for production was quoted as saying.
Peugeot’s parent company PSA Peugeot Citroen in February suspended its sales of car assembly kits to Iran, which had been its top export market in terms of trade volume up to then.
The decision appeared to be tied to Peugeot’s alliance with U.S. group General Motors, and U.S. sanctions pressure on Iran.
PSA Peugeot Citroen on Wednesday announced it will seek to cut 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion dollars) in costs over the next three years after declaring a 819-million-euro ($989-million) loss for the first half of 2012.
Its exports to Iran, where locally assembled versions of its 405 and 206 models are prevalent on the roads, represented up to 800 million euros in revenue per year before they were suspended, according to figures given in Tehran.
The maker of two-thirds of France’s cars is in a tailspin as a deepening recession in many markets in Europe takes its toll on its business — Europe is Peugeot’s main market. The company’s share price has more than halved since March.
The first-half loss contrasts starkly with a profit of €805 million in the same period last year and came on the back of a 5.1 percent fall in revenue to €29.6 billion.
The company doesn’t expect Europe to pick up anytime soon, saying Wednesday that it expects its European market to contract by 8 percent this year.
In response, Peugeot announced earlier this month that it would close a major factory in France and cut 8,000 jobs — part of a plan to save €2.5 billion by 2015. Those savings will also come from efficiencies gained by an alliance with General Motors. About half — €1 billion — of those savings will come this year alone.
“The group is facing a difficult time,” Chairman Philippe Varin said. “The depth and persistence of the crisis impacting our business in Europe requires the launch of the reorganization of our French production and a reduction in our structural costs.”
But the company’s cost-cutting plans have run afoul of President Francois Hollande’s Socialist administration, which has said the restructuring is unacceptable and that it will force Peugeot to save some of the jobs it wants to eliminate.
On Wednesday, the government will unveil a plan to support the auto industry — part of its carrot-and-stick strategy with Peugeot. It’s expected to give incentives to French consumers to buy French cars and to support the clean-energy vehicles that the company excels at.
But much of Peugeot’s problems stem from an over-supplied European car market, and it’s unclear how much the government can do for the company. France’s car industry was already given a bailout under former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
- Sanctions on Iran force French auto job losses (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Peugeot First-Half Profit Plunges on Europe Sales Decline – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
The United States wants to drag Africa into its drug wars – on top of Washington’s War on Terror. Since drugs always follow American “anti-narcotics” activity in the world, the inevitable result will be an explosion of drug networks in targeted African countries. “Liberia and Ghana will soon emerge as hubs of the African drug trade – just as happened in Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America.”
When a high U.S. government official says Africa is “the new frontier,” it’s time for everyone that cares about the continent to watch out, because something really dangerous is afoot. A top guy in the D.E.A. recently described Africa as the “new frontier” where Washington hopes to embed commando-style teams of specially vetted police for an American-run war on drugs, similar to U.S. operations in El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. And we all know how those U.S. so-called anti-drug operations turned out. We should add to the list Colombia and Afghanistan, the world capitals of cocaine and heroin, respectively.
According to mythology, everything King Midas touched turned to gold. It appears the United States has the Narcotics Touch; everything the Americans touch turns to dope. American allies in the developing world quickly become narco-states.
The pattern has not changed in 60 years, since the Italian and French mafias were rewarded with international drug franchises in return for their assistance against socialists and communists. Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle became the center of the global heroin trade during the Vietnam War – a project of the CIA. When the U.S. shifted its focus to suppressing leftist movements in Latin America, cocaine became the region’s biggest export. The United States has never waged war against drugs – quite the opposite. Washington rewards its political friends with drug franchises and monopolies, in return for service to American corporate interests. That’s why most of America’s friends in the developing world are criminal regimes.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is most proud of its work in Honduras, where a U.S.-backed coup overthrew a mildly leftist government during President Obama’s first year in office. The Americans now roam the country like they own it, in joint operations with the same soldiers and national police that continue to kill and brutalize peasant, student and worker organizations. The joint drug operations, which have succeeded in killing at least four innocent Mosquito Indians, including two pregnant women, will undoubtedly result in a march larger drug trade under the tight control of the military, police and wealthy landowners allied with the Americans. That’s how the American Narco Touch works. The endless phony War on Drugs is a tool of U.S. policy, designed to subvert foreign governments and societies. The drug trade never gets smaller.
Now it’s Africa’s turn. Washington has its eyes on Liberia and Ghana, where it plans to train elite police units after first “vetting” their personnel – a euphemism for making sure that the commandos are willing to act as de facto U.S. operatives. You can be sure that Liberia and Ghana will soon emerge as hubs of the African drug trade – just as happened in Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America. With Washington’s “vetted” operatives in charge of the African drug networks, the U.S. will vastly increase its ability to buy influence among the greedy classes all across the continent, both in and out of uniform. Just as in Colombia and Honduras and Panama and Guatemala, the Drug Wars become indistinguishable from the War on Terror, which used to be called the War on Communism. It’s really a war against the poor.
Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
- Our Perverse War on Drugs (alethonews.wordpress.com)
In June, the UN Committee Against Torture (the Committee) released a list of issues it would like the Government of Israel to address when the Committee reviews Israel’s compliance with the Convention Against Torture (CAT) in 2013. Specific issues raised by the Committee relevant to the continued prosecution of Palestinian children in military courts include:
- What steps has the Government of Israel taken to audio-visually record interrogations conducted by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) as a further means to prevent torture and ill-treatment? DCI-Palestine further recommends that this inquiry should be broadened to include interrogations conducted by the Israeli police, being the body most likely to interrogate Palestinian children from the West Bank.
- What steps has the Government of Israel taken to ensure that all detainees are promptly brought before a judge and have prompt access to a lawyer? Under military law, Palestinian children are not required to be brought before a judge for 8 days, and can be denied access to a lawyer for up to 90 days. By way of contrast, Israeli children, including those living in the settlements, must be brought before a judge within 24 hours and can be denied access to a lawyer for 48 hours.
- Please indicate how many Palestinian prisoners from the Occupied Palestinian Territory are held in detention facilities inside Israel? Transferring and detaining Palestinian prisoners out of occupied territory violates article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and attracts personal criminal liability under articles 146 and 147 of the same convention.
- Please indicate the measures taken to ensure that the detention or imprisonment of a child is used as a measure of last resort, that solitary confinement is never used as a means of coercion or punishment and that all children receive appropriate education.
- Please also explain the regime applied to children under military detention, in particular if their interrogations are recorded and if their parents or other legal representatives can have access to them. DCI-Palestine recommends that all interrogations of children must be audio-visually recorded and parents must be entitled to accompany their children at all times, as is the right generally afforded to Israeli children. Further, children must be entitled to consult with a lawyer of their choice prior to their interrogation.
The full list of issues released by the Committee is available here.
- UK Foreign Office agrees that imprisoning Palestinian children inside Israel violates international law – but what are they going to do? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli interrogators sexually harass Palestinian children in detention (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- World Psychiatric Association: Enabling Israeli Apartheid? (windowintopalestine.blogspot.com)
- A Seminar on Palestine’s Prisoners: A Lament on Injustice (alethonews.wordpress.com)
On Tuesday Israel announced plans to take full municipal control of a section of East Jerusalem that lies on the other side of its separation wall.
Israeli officials in Tel Aviv have been discussing taking full municipal control of the rest of East Jerusalem for several years. Their latest plan will bring portions of the city suburbs that lie east of the separation wall under Israeli jurisdiction, reports Ma’an News.
The decision to expand municipal services into this portion of East Jerusalem does carry some positive potential outcomes. As it currently stands the area under consideration has been cut off from the rest of the neighborhood by the Israeli wall. It is sectioned off from the rest of Jerusalem and receives no government services from Israel. At the same time the neighborhood also receives no administration from the Palestinian Authority. The expansion of municipal control for the Israeli authority in Jerusalem will at the very least bring some administration to the forgotten Palestinian district.
Unfortunately, the presence of some semblance of administration may be the only positive change many residents should expect. The portions of East Jerusalem that have already been formally annexed into Israel receive administration and pay taxes, but see virtually nothing in return in terms of developmental or social services. East Jerusalem contributes nearly half of the tax base for the city of Jerusalem, but receives less than one-tenth of the municipal funding. Schools are overcrowded, trash is infrequently collected, and job opportunities are hard to come by.
More than 90,000 Palestinians live on the eastern side of the separation wall and receive no administration from either the governments of Israel or Palestine.
- Israel plans military college in east Jerusalem (alethonews)
As marketers, PR specialists and psychologists have long known, people have a tendency to believe a claim is true, simply because it is repeated often. People confuse truth with familiarity. In fact, the less they pay attention to the claims, the more likely they are to believe them (This is why TV commercials are so repetitive – classic “low involvement learning“)
And much of what is “known” about Iran really consists of nothing more than bullshit that’s been repeated over and over, stripped of any nuance, and asserted as truth so often that it is simply assumed to be true.
There are too many examples to list but I’m having an interesting time tracking the latest of these illusory “facts” about Iran: that Iranian nuclear sites suffered a computer virus attack which caused their computers to suddenly start playing AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” song on high volume.
The whole thing apparently started from a single email, supposedly received by a computer security expert. The expert himself wrote about this: “I’m not sure what to think about this. We can’t confirm any of the details” but the media certainly wasn’t going to bother with any such nuances or questions. Within a matter of a couple of hours, the new articles had dropped any sort of hedging language — “may be” or “reportedly” etc. — and have started asserting this “fact” as an unquestionable truth. At best, the articles contain a single throw-away sentence about the unproven status of the claims, lost amongst the following 10 paragraphs promoting speculation which is based on nothing more than the assumption that the claim is true. This report will now be with us for years and years, even if there is never any sort of confirmation.
Another recent example of this sort of media-created hype: the claim that Iranian president Ahmadinejad “bragged” about the Bulgaria bombing. That story started out with a very poorly written article in the Times of Israel, and went viral.
We also see how refutations and debunking of these sorts of claims really have no effect. By the time Nima Shirazi had debunked the claim, and shamed the Times of Israel into “correcting” the report, it was far too late. The claim had assumed fact status, through nothing but media repetition. And the same marketers, PR specialists and psychologists know that once people make up their mind about something — particularly if they’re emotionally invested in it — they will resist any contradictory information. This is known as cognitive dissonance.
So now we see the pattern that emerges: everyday, someone cooks up some BS about Iran, and by the time the record is “corrected” (if ever) it is too late.
- Iranian bomb in Bulgaria: Cui Bono? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Russia accused the US on Wednesday of justifying terror in Syria, as it said that the West was spurring further bloodshed in the crisis-hit country.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that Washington’s failure to condemn the July 18 blast that killed top security officials meant it was justifying terror.
“This is quite an awful position, I cannot even find the words to make clear how we feel,” Lavrov said, adding: “This is directly justifying terrorism. How can this be understood?
Lavrov expressed bewilderment at calls on Russia to clarify its position on Syria, saying Moscow’s policy was crystal-clear and it was the West whose actions were contradictory.
He criticized the US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, saying she had argued that the attacks in Damascus meant the UN Security Council had to agree to a sanctions resolution against Syria last week that Russia later vetoed.
“In other words, to say it in plain Russian, this means ‘we (the United States) will continue to support such terrorist acts for as long as the UN Security Council has not done what we want’,” Lavrov said.
WEST SURRING BLOODSHED IN SYRIA
For his part, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said statements made by some Western leaders urging to end the conflict in Syria outside the UN Security Council framework were wrong and “a step aside from our common positions.”
During an interview with Itar-Tass news agency, Gatilov said: “We agreed that all foreign players will act in one direction – in the work with the government and with the opposition. We believe that viable decisions backing political settlement can be taken only in the UN Security Council.”
The international community would exert “proper influence” on both sides of the Syrian conflict only if it spoke with one voice and acted in coordination, Gatilov said, adding some Western partners’ intention to circumvent the UN would make no progress in the current difficult situation.
Meanwhile, Gatilov slammed those Western countries trying to spur “further bloodshed” from the opposition. “This upset us greatly, we take this as a step aside from the consensus obtained by the Geneva agreements,” the diplomat said.