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US-Russia Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty lapsing: Cui bono?

RT | July 30, 2014

The US has accused Moscow of violating a 1987 INF Treaty banning short and medium range ballistic and cruise missiles. Experts speculate whether Washington is nudging Moscow to pull out of a treaty to create a new ‘nuke bogey’ and offer aegis to the EU.

Washington says Russia has tested a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile thus breaching the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by the US and the Soviet Union nearly 30 years ago, banning all ground-based nuclear-capable missiles with range from 500 to 5,500 kilometers, the New York Times cited.

READ MORE: US claims on nuclear missiles treaty unfounded, Russia has questions too

Though no Western media outlet has mentioned the name of the missile, there are probably only two candidates for the role of the “peace breaker.”

The first is Russia’s RS-26 Rubezh (Frontier) ICBN “ABM-killer” complex. According to a top military official, it was tested several times at distances ranging from 2,000 km to 5,700 km, RBC Daily reports.

However, Rubezh is technically out of suspicion, according to member of the Academy of Sciences, Aleksey Arbatov, as under the treaty the ballistic missile’s range is estimated as the maximum range it was tested at.

The second candidate for the role is the R-500, a cruise missile which can be used with ground-based 9K720 Iskander launcher. Its range is a delicate issue, said Arbatov as cited by RBC Daily. Though it has an officially announced range below 500 kilometers, its exact characteristics remain top-secret and could be argued.

According to military experts, the R-500 is a modification of the old Soviet 3M10 Granat with an estimated range of 2,600 km that was initially designed for submarine launch. All land-based Granat missiles were destroyed under the INP Treaty. However, the treaty did not apply to naval missiles.

Earlier the US already complained about suspected Russian treaty violations, presumably about the R-500 and its land-based tests that reportedly had to be conducted due to lack of funding. Moscow’s explanations did not satisfy Washington, noted Arbatov adding that such decisions and arguments are usually discussed during the meeting of working groups – while now the issue has reached the presidential level.

At the same time Russian Air Force possesses a unique X-101 cruise missile – that could be adopted for surface launch – with some reports indicating its maximum range to be over 5,500 kilometers, in which case this missile would not fall under conditions of the INF Treaty either.

Timing is everything?

The situation in the world has greatly changed over the years and today Moscow and Washington remain the world’s only capitals that imposed restrictions on themselves in this regard. In the meantime Russia has several nuclear states in proximity to its borders that already have such medium-range missiles (China, India, Pakistan and probably Iran and North Korea) that can potentially strike Russian territory, whereas the US has no such neighbors.

The New York Times broke to the world on Monday that President Barack Obama sent a letter to Vladimir Putin, in which Russia is accused of testing a surface-to-surface cruise missile with an excessive range.

The first tests of those missiles were conducted back in 2008, the report suggests, and it took the Obama administration 3 years to conclude that they were a compliance concern. But the question of possible treaty violation was raised by the State Department’s arms control officials only in 2013.

When reports of Russia’s ground-based tests re-emerged in January 2014, the US administration wasn’t ready to comment on the issue or draw any conclusions and media attention to the issue at that particular time.

The US is obviously trying to force Russia out of the INF Treaty to have a pretext for further augmentation of its military presence in Europe, expert of the Institute of International Security Problems, Valery Fenenko shared with RIA news agency.

“A lukewarm conflict between Russia and the US has been drawing on since 2007. In my opinion, Americans are pushing Russia to step out of the treaty,” Fenenko opined.

He believes that the accusations of the INF Treaty violation is a part of American strategy of spreading anti-ballistic missile defense shield in Europe.

“Some American and Russian analysts expected Russia to respond to the imposed sanctions with threatening rhetoric towards the EU, and an obvious and harsh step of quitting the INF Treaty but that never happened,” explained Fenenko, adding that now Washington wants to fulfill the aim in a different manner.

“If Russia re-deploys medium and short range missiles that would be a direct threat to EU member states, both Eastern and Western European countries,” the expert concluded.

Fenenko specifically stressed that both Russia and the US never stopped development of such missiles because the INF Treaty does not prohibit this.

“Americans are in a much easier situation in this regard. They have allies France and the UK that haven’t signed the INF Treaty. These countries have cruise missile projects of their own that could be easily be transformed into surface-to-surface missiles,” Fenenko said.

Russia could try to impose a moratorium on the Treaty until France and UK sign the document, “but there is no chance they would sign, so that would be the end of the treaty,” Fenenko concluded.

Washington uses the alleged INF Treaty violation to boost global tensions in the background of the Ukrainian crisis and sanctions imposed on Russia, Andrey Koshkin told RT, military political analyst at Plekhanov Academy in Moscow.

“This is interconnected with the crisis situation being created by the Americans themselves,” estimated Koshkin, adding that Washington is launching a political assault on Moscow from every direction “to hype up the tensions.”

“They try to blame Russia every morning, every evening, every night – this is a salvo of accusations. They try to get western public accustomed to blaming Russia,” Willy Wimmer, the former State Secretary of the German Ministry of Defense, told RT.

July 31, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Zionism’s Prior Condition: Propaganda

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | July 29, 2014

“Propaganda by its very nature is an enterprise for perverting the significance of events and of insinuating false intentions…The propagandist will not accuse the enemy of just any misdeed; he will accuse him of the very intention that he himself has and of trying to commit the very crime that he himself is about to commit. He who wants to provoke a war not only proclaims his own peaceful intentions but also accuses the other party of provocation.” – Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, 1965

As Israeli war crimes continue unabated – at the time of this writing, nearly 1100 human beings in the besieged Gaza Strip, the vast majority of whom are civilians, have already been slaughtered by their occupiers; over 6,200 have been wounded – Israeli lies too keep piling up.

Despite what Israeli spokespeople and their dutiful, compliant, and prostrate puppets in the media continue to claim, Hamas was not responsible for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers last month. Hamas did not break the 2012 ceasefire, Israel did. Hamas is not forcing Palestinians to act as “human shields.” Israel is not acting in self-defense when it bombs hospitals, schools, ambulances, mosques, homes, refugee camps, parks, or a zoo. The “terror tunnels” which Israel apparently needs to murder hundreds and hundreds of men, women, and children in order to destroy pose essentially no threat whatsoever to Israeli civilians. The list goes on and on.

Israel’s ongoing massacre cannot continue without a steady barrage of hasbara – what Zionists, in their Orwellian glory, refer to as “public diplomacy,” but which is merely propaganda to justify the indefensible, inexcusable, and unspeakable. That is, the promotion of a 19th century, colonial European ideology of ethnic, religious, and racial superiority, imposed upon an indigenous population through military conquest and a campaign of ethnic cleansing, displacement, dispossession, disenfranchisement, and discrimination.

And yet, though mainstream media outlets are suffused with pro-Israel bias and Israel has legions of willing propagandists trolling the internet to spread Netanyahu’s latest talking points, we have heard – especially as the Palestinian death toll keeps rising – that Israel and its advocates are “losing the media war.” Politico, Mashable, New York Magazine, analyst Juan Cole, and Britain’s Channel 4 have all noted this.

Even the Telegraph‘s detestable, neoconservative “Defence Editor” Con Coughlin is worried for Israel’s image, writing that, “with so much focus on the Palestinian victims of this dreadful conflict, it is hard to see how Israel can turn the propaganda war around in its favour.” Coughlin laments, “I fear the answer is that it cannot.”

Similarly, in a conversation via Twitter with a spokesman at the Israeli Embassy, Washington Post White House correspondent Scott Wilson was fretful that the Israeli slaughter in Gaza might not be “good for Israel – strategically.” For Wilson, as for so many others, Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity are simply image problems, a matter of PR.

Without its propaganda, Israel cannot sustain the support of its benefactors, whether in the war chests of Congress or the war cries of brainwashed and bloodthirsty communities. Without its lies, Israel can’t survive. This fact is known not only to professional hasbarists like Michael Oren, Dore Gold, and Mark Regev, but – more importantly – is a vital feature of Zionism, inseparable from the ideology itself.

Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland, 1897.

In a little known and rarely-referenced letter written in early 1897, Theodor Herzl, the ostensible founder of political Zionism, made this perfectly clear. During the planning stages of the First Zionist Congress – initially to take place in Munich but eventually held in Basel, Switzerland in late August 1897 – Herzl contacted Willy Bambus, leader of the Berlin Hovevei Zion society (an early Zionist organization committed to Jewish immigration and agricultural settlement in Palestine), for support.

“I want to reach an understanding with the Berlin Zionists,” Herzl wrote from Vienna on January 26, 1897. “[I]n the general Zionist conference that I am planning for next summer, we will grow closer to each other.” The letter is written in German, Herzl’s first language.

Herzl’s dream was big and he knew what he needed to achieve it:

But a project of this sort… has one prior condition: propaganda. First we must have propaganda and afterward establish economic projects… [T]ry to win influence at a Berlin daily newspaper… There is no necessity to immediately give the newspaper a Zionist imprint. On the contrary, because of the cowardly suspicions (to my sorrow, of most of the Jews) of Zionism, it would be wiser to keep things innocent… Perhaps you can… purchase a Zionist paper in Berlin, that will not be outwardly noticed as such.

Friendly media coverage? Feigned innocence and impartiality? Sounds familiar.

“Until now Zionism has been silent,” Herzl wrote Bambus. “We must free its tongue. This is the first order of business.”

Those tongues of Zionism have since wrought over a century of pain and suffering, in name the entitlement and privilege, to the people of Palestine. It is time to drown out the propaganda with truth.

The final page of Theodor Herzl’s handwritten letter to Willy Bambus, January 26, 1897

July 30, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Shooting and crying over lost moral army

By Jonathon Cook | The Blog from Nazareth | July 29, 2014

I really wonder what it says about the Guardian or its readers that it publishes an article like this one by Yuli Novak, a former Israeli air force officer. The discourse, even on the left, is still so degraded on the issue of Israel-Palestine that this seems to pass for progressive thought.

I am also appalled that I almost find myself pleased that this former soldier, an insider, is telling us that Israel is acting immorally in its current attack on Gaza. But in doing so she bolsters a patently ridiculous mythology that, for most of its history, Israel had a moral army – the most moral in the world, no less – and that only a decade ago the army agonised over every Palestinian death.

As someone who lived and reported through those years, at the start of the second intifada, I can say with certainty that that is utter nonsense. This was a time when the Israeli chief of staff, Moshe Yaalon, the current defence minister, spoke of “searing” defeat into the Palestinian consciousness.

Let’s not forget that the Israeli army, far from once being driven by moral ideals, began life with an act of mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, in 1948. It has been maintaining and expanding the cleansed zone ever since.

What’s so dangerous about these “shooting and crying” articles – I remember an equally silly one a few years back in the Observer by Will Hutton about the “once noble ideal” of the kibbutzim, the racially pure communities Israel built over the ruins of Palestine – is that they lay claim to a golden era, one that, of course, never existed, when Israel’s mission was truly wholesome.

Writers like Novak want Israel to return to an imaginary recent past, ignoring the fact that the present is simply a logical extension of everything that went before. The seeds of the current rampage in Gaza were laid in the decades of Israel’s dispossession of the native population, culminating in the Nakba of 1948. Most of the population of Gaza are refugees from that period – their grievances and rights unaddressed all these many years later.

It is some consolation that people like Novak are waking up to the ugliness of Israel’s national mission: to subdue and displace the native Palestinian people. This is evidence of the self-destructive course Israel is set on. But Novak’s moral high ground is undermined entirely if she wants to claim it was all much prettier a few years ago.

July 29, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

The Consistency of Official Iranian Commentary, Part III: On Khamenei’s Referendum Rhetoric, Reuters is Wrong

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | July 27, 2014

Last week, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed a meeting of Iranian university students and, in his first public comments on the ongoing assault on Gaza, spoke of his belief in the necessity of continued Palestinian resistance to Israel aggression, oppression, and occupation.

“Don’t the Palestinians have the right to defend their lives and security?” he asked rhetorically, and condemned Western nations like the United States and Great Britain for openly supporting Israel’s assault and justifying “crimes that no ordinary person would.”

In the right-wing Daily Caller, notorious neocon darling Reza Kahlili noted that Khamenei reiterated the call by his predecessor, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, that “Israel must be destroyed,” adding that “until that time with the help of God for this cruel and murderous regime to be destroyed, strong confrontation with steadfast armed resistance is the only solution against this destructive regime.”

Yet the Caller omitted a crucial aspect of Khamenei’s speech – deliberately replaced by an ellipsis linking the the paraphrased Khomeini quote with Khamenei’s endorsement of Palestinian armed struggle – in which the Iranian leader stated that the ideal solution to the current impasse was a democratic vote.

The missing piece, however, was reported by other outlets. “There are logical and practical means to this end, which is for people who live and belong there to pick the government of their choice through a referendum. That would be the end of a usurping fake regime,” Khamenei said, according to a translation by Reuters. Until that time, he continued, “while waiting for an end to this cold-blooded murderous regime, mighty armed resistance is the only way to deal with it.”

Only through a vote by the indigenous population, Khamenei said, will “the usurper and forged regime” of Israel “be practically annihilated.”

Kahlili’s report predictably expunged all mention of a referendum, focusing instead on Iranian military capabilities and nuclear negotiations. More troubling, perhaps, is that “The Young Turks,” a liberal (some might even say, progressive) news and commentary outlet led by host Cenk Uygur, promoted the Daily Caller line in their own round table discussion of the matter. After hearing a portion of the Kahlili article read aloud verbatim, co-host Ana Kasparian described Khamenei’s comments as “extremely violent” and “crazy,” while John Iadarola called such statements “depressing.”

Reuters also quoted Khamenei as saying, “Israel’s annihilation is the only real cure, but that doesn’t mean destroying Jews in this region,” a statement also ignored by the Daily Caller. With this comment, Reuters editorialized, “Khamenei made clear for the first time that he was talking about the dismantling of the state of Israel, not the death of Jews.”

While such clarification is important, the characterization of that distinction as being a new addition to Khamenei’s rhetoric is curious. In fact, this is a distinction made often by Iranian officials when discussing this very topic – and Iran’s official position toward Israel/Palestine. Cursory research into past statements quickly reveals the consistency of such statements and proves the Reuters claim to be, not only sloppy, but ludicrous.

A similar presumption was made last year in the wake of then-newly-inaugurated Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s insistence that, “when it comes to the settlement and resolution of regional issues,” including the colonization and occupation of Palestine, “we believe that the only path is through the ballot box, through democracy.” International news media declared this to be a breakthrough moment, despite the clear fact that Rouhani’s immediate predecessor, the much-maligned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had made identical statements throughout his eight-year tenure as president.

“We are opposed to the idea that the people who live there should be thrown into the sea or be burnt,” Ahmadinejad said in comments reported by the New York Times in September 2008. “We believe that all the people who live there, the Jews, Muslims and Christians, should take part in a free referendum and choose their government.”

More to the point, however, Khamenei himself has remained remarkably consistent on this issue, and Iran’s official prescription, for over two decades.  In an extensive analysis of Khamenei’s speeches since 1990, published in the Boston Review in November 2013, well-known Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji – no fan of the Iran’s theocratic leadership – revealed the truth: Khamenei has long called for a new, inclusive Palestinian government to supersede the current Zionist one, thereby dismantling what is currently known as “Israel” politically, not violently.

For instance, Ganji notes, on April 17, 1991, Khamenei discussed “his solution for the Palestinian problem and said, ‘The Islamic Republic’s solution is to disband the usurping Zionist regime, forming a government of the Palestinians, and [guaranteeing] peaceful co-existence of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in all of Palestine.'” Four months later, on August 19, 1991, Ganji adds, Khamenei stated, “Solving the Palestinian problem entails destroying and eliminating the illegitimate government there, so that the true owners [of the land] can form a new government; Muslims, Christians, and Jews can live side by side… Our view regarding the Palestine issue is clear. We believe the solution is destroying the Israeli regime.”

Nearly a decade later, Khamenei’s position had not shifted. In a speech to the Basij militia on October 21, 2000, Ganji tells us that Khamenei again laid out his vision for the indigenous people of Palestine to choose their own political path forward. “The solution is for the millions of the Palestinians to return to Palestine, the several millions that live away from home to return to Palestine. The indigenous people of Palestine—Jews, Christians, and Muslims—should hold a referendum to decide what kind of a regime they want. The vast majority are Muslims. There are also Jews and Christians that belong there, as their parents also lived there. They can decide the political system that they favor,” he opined.

In March 2002, Khamenei again stated, “Holding a referendum in Palestine among the Palestinians, and all those that became refugees—if, of course, they want to return to Palestine—is a rational solution.” In June 2002, he repeated, “The only solution for the Palestine problem is that the true Palestinians, not the usurping and occupying immigrants, those who live in Palestine and those who became refugees, decide the type of government that they want. If asking for the vote of the people of a nation is a solution for those who claim to be democracy advocates, [then] Palestine is also a nation and must decide [its fate].”

On August 19, 2005, Ganji explains, Khamenei held the same line:

The Palestinian problem has only one solution, and that is what we proposed several years ago. Hold a referendum among the indigenous Palestinians, those who live there, or are in refugee camps, or live elsewhere, regardless of whether they are Muslim, Christian, or Jew, and ask them to decide the government that they want. Regardless of whether that government is run by the Muslims, Jews, or Christians, as long as it is the result of people’s direct votes, is acceptable, and will solve the problem. Without it [the referendum] the problem will never be solved.

That Reuters would now claim Khamenei’s recent comments about Gaza mark a stark break from the past is absurd. In his Friday prayer sermon on June 20, 2008, Khamenei declared, “No, we have no problems with Jews. We have no problems with Christians, and with adherents of other religions in the world. The usurper is just the Zionist regime. This is the position of our state, and that of our revolution and our people.”

Similarly, on September 30, 2011, Khamenei spoke at a conference in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and self-determination, and said, “We neither advocate a classic war between Israel and the Islamic countries, nor throwing the Jewish people into the sea, and neither do we accept mediation by the United Nations or any other international organization. We propose a referendum among the Palestinian people. Similar to any other nation, the Palestinians also have the right to decide their fate and pick the type of government they want.”

Addressing the opening assembly of the Non-Aligned Movement on August 30, 2012 in Tehran, Khamenei once again reiterated Iran’s “just and entirely democratic solution” to the conflict:

All the Palestinians – both the current citizens of Palestine and those who have been forced to immigrate to other countries but have preserved their Palestinian identity, including Muslims, Christians and Jews – should take part in a carefully supervised and confidence-building referendum and chose the political system of their country, and all the Palestinians who have suffered from years of exile should return to their country and take part in this referendum and then help draft a Constitution and hold elections. Peace will then be established.

Regardless of whether Khamenei’s proposals are realistic, idealistic, inevitable or impossible, is irrelevant. That he has consistently called for a referendum to alter the exclusivist and discriminatory political system that controls Palestinian lives and has routinely made distinctions between the Zionist government in Israel specifically and Jewish people in general, is indisputable.

Reuters should get their facts straight.

July 28, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Detained Diplomat Hugo Carvajal Arrives in Venezuela

TeleSUR | July 28, 2014

General Hugo Carvajal arrived Sunday evening in Venezuela after being released from a jail in Aruba, where he had been arbitrarily detained since July 24, and immediately headed to Caracas to be received by President Nicolas Maduro at the Third Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Elias Jaua received Carvajal and the deputy Minister of Foreign Relations to Europe, Calixto Ortega, at the Maiquetia International Airport, some 18 miles from the capital’s city of Caracas.

Ortega told teleSUR that, “The government of the Netherlands — which recognized that the arrest of the official had been illegal and in violation of international treaties on diplomats — accepted the criteria of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry in regards to the fact that the Major General is a diplomatic official.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he was satisfied with the release of the general consul Hugo Carvajal, who he said was falsely accused of drug trafficking by the United States.

“Hugo Carvajal broke world records by arresting over 75 heads of drug trafficking organizations,” said Maduro during the second day of the Third National Congress of the PSUV. Carvajal was standing next to Maduro in the presence of the 985 delegates of the ruling party participating in the political event.

Maduro said Carvajal was an innocent victim of “lies fabricated” against him by Western media.

Carvajal was released this Sunday evening by the Dutch autorities in Aruba, after they admitted they had illlegaly arrested him on July 24.

Special Correspondent for teleSUR, Madelein Garcia, reported that Carvajal exited the prison in Aruba, accompanied by deputy Minister of Foreign Relations to Europe, Calixto Ortega, and his lawyers.

The government of Netherlands said on Sunday that General Hugo Carvajal would be released. The Venezuelan official was arrested by Aruban authorities in violation of international law, in particular the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The announcement of Carvajal´s release was made on Sunday by Jaua, in the framework of the III National Congress.

​Jaua read a statement sent by the Netherlands to the Venezuelan government, in which it recognized that the arrest occurred “outside international treaties for diplomatic personnel.”

“Comrade Hugo Carvajal at this time is in a prison and probably still does not know this news,” Jaua said. He stressed that the Netherlands rectified and complied with international law.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Thursday rejecting the arrest and said the Venezuelan government will provide all support to Carvajal.

July 28, 2014 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Deception | , | Leave a comment

The Shame of David Gregory

By Greg Mitchell | Pressing Issues | July 28, 2014

It’s been a tough week for NBC’s David Gregory.

First were reports that his “Meet the Press” was sinking under even weaker ratings and that he would soon be replaced. Then as we noted here yesterday: Gregory, after a weak interview with Prime Minister Netanyahu,  committed one of the worst journalistic ethical lapses of recent vintage. After letting Netanyahu claim, again, that Israel may be blameless in the school massacre, despite all the evidence and logic to the contrary, he brought on UNWRA spokesman Chris Gunness–and blindsided him by showing a 10-second, hazy, tape just released within the hour by Israel allegedly showing a Hamas rocket being fired from the grounds of a UN school. Yet Gregory said NBC had not “verified” that it’s accurate–and admitted that Gunness could not view  it and had never seen it before. Yet then asked Gunness to respond!  Gunness naturally protested the unfairness–and then the segment quickly ended.

Gregory has now issued this statement: “An end note in a discussion about Gaza we asked a spokesman about this video which Israel claims showed rockets being fired by Hamas from a U.N. school in Gaza,” Gregory said. “This is shot by the Israeli government, and that’s their claim. The U.N. has reviewed it, tells us they have confirmed, in their view, the video does not show rockets being fired from U.N. administrative school in Gaza. So this is a back and forth we are not able to settle at this point.” No apology or recognition of his severe ethical lapse. Shameful. And leaves it at the usual “he said/she said”–rather than NBC attempting to verify tape or prove Israeli propaganda. Which it should have done before airing it.

Meanwhile, the NYT has not updated its report last night, that focused on a different Israeli video, to add the UN statement–which Gregory cited 17 hours ago–debunking the one that allegedly shows rockets fired from the school grounds. Surely it’s worth noting that Israel’s videos may be nothing but propaganda. This is what I wrote about it last night:

Will surprise no one that when the NYT tonight reports on Israel’s claim it killed no one at the school–it’s the same old refusal to take on the absurd IDF claims head-on. You’d never know that Israel lied to them for three days [claiming] that none of their bombs even hit the school. It’s as if the reporters say, “More propaganda, please.” As from the beginning, they ultimately rely on “different versions can’t be reconciled now”–even though all evidence and testimony point to Israel being guilty of this slaughter. It’s a false “balance.”

They give their point of view away by not even referring to Israel completely changing its story after three days. That’s more revealing than the totally unverified 10-second video. Most of those who have gone to the site, such as Peter Beaumont of The Guardian, have all pointed their finger at Israel as no doubt the guilty party.  Another one here. Not the Times.

And see the IDF spokesman’s “scenario” (below) that maybe the hundreds of wounded and dead were not hit there but brought to the site from elsewhere. The Times now dutifully uses the phrase that 16 were “reportedly killed”  at the site. This is the same Israeli official the NYT  reporters give the benefit of the doubt to re: the grainy video with no time stamp.  See my earlier report on the shameful NYT coverage on this (as with much else on the conflict).

July 28, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Blaming Russia as ‘Flat Fact’

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | July 27, 2014

As nuclear-armed America hurtles into a completely avoidable crash with nuclear-armed Russia over Ukraine, you can now see the dangers of “information warfare” when facts give way to propaganda and the press fails to act as an impartial arbiter.

In this sorry affair, one of the worst offenders of journalistic principles has been the New York Times, generally regarded as America’s premier newspaper. During the Ukraine crisis, the Times has been little more than a propaganda conveyor belt delivering what the U.S. government wants out via shoddy and biased reporting from the likes of Michael R. Gordon and David Herszenhorn.

The Times reached what was arguably a new low on Sunday when it accepted as flat fact the still unproven point of how Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down. The Times dropped all attribution despite what appear to be growing – rather than diminishing – doubts about Official Washington’s narrative that Ukrainian rebels shot down the plane by using a powerful Russian-supplied Buk missile battery.

U.S. and Ukrainian government officials began pushing this narrative immediately after the plane went down on July 17 killing 298 people onboard. But the only evidence has been citations of “social media” and the snippet of an intercepted phone call containing possibly confused comments by Ukrainian rebels after the crash, suggesting that some rebels initially believed they had shot the plane down but later reversed that judgment.

A major problem with this evidence is that it assumes the rebels – or for that matter the Ukrainian armed forces – operate with precise command and control when the reality is that the soldiers on both sides are not very professional and function in even a deeper fog of war than might exist in other circumstances.

Missing Images

But an even bigger core problem for the U.S. narrative is that it is virtually inconceivable that American intelligence did not have satellite and other surveillance on eastern Ukraine at the time of the shoot-down. Yet the U.S. government has been unable (or unwilling) to supply a single piece of imagery showing the Russians supplying a Buk anti-aircraft missile battery to the rebels; the rebels transporting the missiles around eastern Ukraine; the rebels firing the fateful missile that allegedly brought down the Malaysian airliner; or the rebels then returning the missiles to Russia.

To accept Official Washington’s certainty about what it “knows” happened, you would have to believe that American spy satellites – considered the best in the world – could not detect 16-feet-tall missiles during their odyssey around Russia and eastern Ukraine. If that is indeed the case, the U.S. taxpayers should demand their billions upon billions of dollars back.

However, the failure of U.S. intelligence to release its satellite images of Buk missile batteries in eastern Ukraine is the “dog-not-barking” evidence that this crucial evidence to support the U.S. government’s allegations doesn’t exist. Can anyone believe that if U.S. satellite images showed the missiles crossing the border, being deployed by the rebels and then returning to Russia, that those images would not have been immediately declassified and shown to the world? In this case, the absence of evidence is evidence of absence – absence of U.S. evidence.

The U.S. government’s case also must overcome public remarks by senior U.S. military personnel at variance with the Obama administration’s claims of certainty. For instance, the Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock reported last Saturday that Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, U.S. commander of NATO forces in Europe, said last month that “We have not seen any of the [Russian] air-defense vehicles across the border yet.”

Whitlock also reported that “Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said defense officials could not point to specific evidence that an SA-11 [Buk] surface-to-air missile system had been transported from Russia into eastern Ukraine.”

There’s also the possibility that a Ukrainian government missile – either from its own Buk missile batteries fired from the ground or from a warplane in the sky – brought down the Malaysian plane. I was told by one source who had been briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts that some satellite images suggest that the missile battery was under the control of Ukrainian government troops but that the conclusion was not definitive.

Plus, there were reports from eyewitnesses in the area of the crash that at least one Ukrainian jet fighter closed on the civilian plane shortly before it went down. The Russian government also has cited radar data supposedly showing Ukrainian fighters in the vicinity.

Need for a Real Inquiry

What all this means is that a serious and impartial investigation is needed to determine who was at fault and to apportion accountability. But that inquiry is still underway with no formal conclusions.

So, in terms of journalistic professionalism, a news organization should treat the mystery of who shot down Flight 17 with doubt. Surely, no serious journalist would jump to the conclusion based on the dubious claims made by one side in a dispute while the other side is adamant in its denials, especially with the stakes so high in a tense confrontation between two nuclear powers.

But that is exactly what the Times did in describing new U.S. plans to escalate the confrontation by possibly supplying tactical intelligence to the Ukrainian army so it can more effectively wage war against eastern Ukrainian rebels.

On Sunday, the Times wrote: “At the core of the debate, said several [U.S.] officials — who, like others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the policy deliberations are still in progress — is whether the American goal should be simply to shore up a Ukrainian government reeling from the separatist attacks, or to send a stern message to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin by aggressively helping Ukraine target the missiles Russia has provided. Those missiles have taken down at least five aircraft in the past 10 days, including Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.” [Emphasis added.]

The link provided by the Times’ online version of the story connects to an earlier Times’ story that attributed the accusations blaming Russia to U.S. “officials.” But this new story drops that attribution and simply accepts the claims as flat fact.

The danger of American “information warfare” that treats every development in the Ukraine crisis as an opportunity to blame Putin and ratchet up tensions with Russia has been apparent since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis – as has been the clear anti-Russian bias of the Times and virtually every other outlet of the mainstream U.S. news media. [See Consortiumnews.com’sWill Ukraine Be NYT’s Waterloo?”]

Since the start of the crisis last year, U.S. officials and American-funded non-governmental organizations have not only pushed a one-sided story but have been pushing a dangerous agenda, seeking to create a collision between the United States and Russia and, more personally, between President Barack Obama and President Putin.

The vehicle for this head-on collision between Russia and the United States was the internal political disagreement in Ukraine over whether elected President Viktor Yanukovych should have accepted harsh International Monetary Fund austerity demands as the price for associating with the European Union or agree to a more generous offer from Russia.

Angered last September when Putin helped Obama avert a planned U.S. bombing campaign against Syria, American neocons were at the forefront of this strategy. Their principal need was to destroy the Putin-Obama collaboration, which also was instrumental in achieving a breakthrough on the Iran nuclear dispute (while the neocons were hoping that the U.S. military might bomb Iran, too).

So, on Sept. 26, 2013, Carl Gershman, a leading neocon and longtime president of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, took to the op-ed page of the neocon-flagship Washington Post to urge the U.S. government to push European “free trade” agreements on Ukraine and other former Soviet states and thus counter Moscow’s efforts to maintain close relations with those countries.

The ultimate goal, according to Gershman, was isolating and possibly toppling Putin in Russia with Ukraine the key piece on this global chessboard. “Ukraine is the biggest prize,” Gershman wrote. “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

To give the United States more leverage inside Ukraine, Gershman’s NED paid for scores of projects, including training “activists” and supporting “journalists.” Rather than let the Ukrainian political process sort out this disagreement, U.S. officials, such as neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and neocon Sen. John McCain, also intervened to encourage increasingly disruptive demonstrations seeking to overthrow Yanukovych when he opted for the Russian deal over the EU-IMF offer.

Though much of the ensuing violence was instigated by neo-Nazi militias that had moved to the front of the anti-Yanukovych protests, the U.S. government and its complicit news media blamed every act of violence on Yanukovych and the police, including a still mysterious sniper attack that left both protesters and police dead.

On Feb. 21, Yanukovych denied ordering any shootings and tried to stem the violence by signing an agreement brokered by three European nations to reduce his powers and hold early elections so he could be voted out of office. He also complied with a demand from Vice President Joe Biden to pull back Ukrainian police. Then, the trap sprang shut.

Neo-Nazi militias overran government buildings and forced Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives. The State Department quickly endorsed the coup regime – hastily formed by the remnants of the parliament – as “legitimate.” Besides passing bills offensive to ethnic Russians in the east, one of the parliament’s top priorities was to enact the IMF austerity plan.

White Hats/Black Hats

Though the major U.S. news media was aware of these facts – and indeed you could sometimes detect the reality by reading between the lines of dispatches from the field – the overriding U.S. narrative was that the coup-makers were the “white hats” and Yanukovych along with Putin were the “black hats.” Across the U.S. media, Putin was mocked for riding on a horse shirtless and other indiscretions. For the U.S. media, it was all lots of fun, as was the idea of reprising the Cold War with Moscow.

When the people of Crimea – many of whom were ethnic Russians – voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, the U.S. media declared the move a Russian “invasion” although the Russian troops were already in Ukraine as part of an agreement with previous Ukrainian governments.

Every development that could be hyped was hyped. There was virtually no nuance in the news reporting, a lack of professionalism led by the New York Times. Yet, the solution to the crisis was always relatively obvious: a federalized system that would allow the ethnic Russians in the east a measure of self-governance and permit Ukraine to have cordial economic relations with both the EU and Russia.

But replacement President Petro Poroshenko – elected when a secession fight was already underway in the east – refused to negotiate with the ethnic Russian rebels who had rejected the ouster of Yanukovych. Sensing enough political support inside the U.S. government, Poroshenko opted for a military solution.

It was in that context of a massive Ukrainian government assault on the east that Russia stepped up its military assistance to the beleaguered rebels, including the apparent provision of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to fend off Kiev’s air superiority. The rebels did succeed in shooting down some Ukrainian warplanes flying at altitudes far below the 33,000 feet of the Malaysia Airlines plane.

For a plane at that height to be shot down required a more powerful system, like the Buk anti-aircraft batteries or an air-to-air missile fired by a fighter jet. Which brings us to the mystery of what happened on the afternoon of July 17 and why it is so important to let a serious investigation evaluate all the available evidence and not to have a rush to judgment.

But the idea of doing an investigation first and drawing conclusions second is a concept that, apparently, neither the U.S. government nor the New York Times accepts. They would prefer to start with the conclusion and then make a serious investigation irrelevant, one more casualty of information warfare.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

July 27, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

A few questions for the New York Times

By Alison Weir | July 26, 2014

Following are a few short questions for the New York Times in regard to a recent news report:

1. When are you going to cover the killing of Palestinians the same way you cover the killing of Israelis?

Israel’s killing of at least 8 civilians in one day was relegated to the second half of the story and not mentioned in the headline.

The murder of a father of three children, a staff member for Defense for Children International, got two sentences in the 17th paragraph. Israeli forces’ killing of a 17-year-old got one sentence in the 25th paragraph. The killing of a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old got a half sentence – between them – in the 27th paragraph.

2. When are you going to stop calling Palestinians who are fighting to protect their homeland “militants” and start calling them resistance fighters?

3. When are you going to stop framing this as “Israel against Hamas” rather than Israel against Gazans? Or Israel against Palestinians?

The vast majority of the over 800 people Israeli forces have killed in the last 19 days are civilians, many of them children. The vast majority of the over 5,000 injured are civilians, many of them children.  Israel is, once again, destroying large amounts of civilian infrastructurehospitals, schools, roads, family homes, etc.

4. When are you going to include crucial context on the American connection – that hard-pressed American taxpayers give Israel $8.5 million per day?

When are you going to mention that we have given tiny Israel far more of our tax money than to any other country – In total, over $233.7 billion (corrected for inflation). Currently, on average, 7,000 times more per capita than to others around the world.

5. When are you going to tell your readers that senior “objective” reporter Isabel Kershner was a British citizen who went to Israel to become an Israeli citizen? When are you going to divulge her family ties to the Israeli military?

6. When are you going to include the true context of the violence:

  • Gaza is basically an open-air prison that Israel has been starving for over seven years (an Israeli official called it putting Palestinians “on a diet“),
  • Rockets from Gaza began in April 2001 AFTER Israeli invasions and shelling of Gaza, that the vast majority of these rockets are small, home-made projects that cause no damage (and that this was the case long before the Iron Dome system was deployed),
  • During the entire time the rockets have been used they have killed a total of approximately 30 Israelis, while during this same period Israeli forces have killed over 4,700 Gazans?
  • The Jewish state was created through a war of ethnic cleansing, and that the allegedly “only democracy in the Middle East” has no constitution and has never declared its borders,
  • Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are living on approximately 15 percent of their original land.

7. When are you going to give readers the facts without Israeli spin?


Alison Weir is president of the Council for the National Interest, executive director of If Americans Knew, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: How the US was used to create Israel.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Statistical Report on New York Times coverage of Israel-Palestine

Blog analyzing New York Times coverage of Israel-Palestine

July 27, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where’s BBC scoop on Netanyahu’s big lie?

By Jonathon Cook | The Blog from Nazareth | July 26, 2014

Here’s a hugely significant story that I suspect will get almost no play outside Palestinian solidarity sites. Mickey Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, has told BBC reporter Jon Donnison that there are no grounds for believing Hamas ordered the abduction of three Israeli teens on June 12. Rather, the police say, it was carried out by a rogue cell from Hebron with a loose political affiliation to Hamas.

351947_Israel-Benjamin-NetanyahuIt was those abductions, and Israel’s response in blaming Hamas and rounding up and jailing hundreds of its activists in the West Bank, that triggered Hamas rocket fire that in turn was used by Israel to justify its attack on Gaza, which is currently killing hundreds of civilians.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated at the time that he had cast-iron evidence that Hamas was behind the abductions and the movement would pay a “heavy price”. He never produced that evidence. But now Israel’s police force itself concedes that Hamas was not involved.

Many of us, of course, suspected that Netanyahu was using the abductions as a pretext to destroy the unity government Hamas and Fatah had recently set up after years of conflict. Now we have official confirmation.

I wonder why, given the great scoop he has, Donnison appears only to have tweeted about this. It’s now more than 24 hours since he went public with the information. Is he waiting for another news outlets to beat him to the story? Or is he tweeting it because he knows the BBC isn’t interested in running a story so embarrassing to Israel?

Anyway, kudos to him for getting the scoop, even if no one seems interested in it. Another one down the memory hole.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

The New York Times amplifies Israeli propaganda

Interventions Watch | July 24, 2014

And what The Goldstone Report found the last time Israel fired on hospitals in Gaza, and then accused Hamas of using them as military bases:

‘The Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations that hospital facilities were used by the Gaza authorities or by Palestinian armed groups to shield military activities and that ambulances were used to transport combatants or for other military purposes. On the basis of its own investigations and the statements by UN officials, the Mission excludes that Palestinian armed groups engaged in combat activities from UN facilities that were used as shelters during the military operations’.

The Israeli government are proven liars in this regard, and no-one should be surprised if they are lying this time around as well.

That they are proven liars in this regard apparently isn’t enough to stop The Times taking the Israeli government at their word, and then publishing cartoons which can only have the effect of helping to justify war crimes.

July 25, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Zionist censors enabling war crimes

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By Kevin Barrett | Press TV | July 25, 2014

During the past two weeks, a horrified world has witnessed accelerating Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Those crimes are enabled by the United States, Israel’s biggest backer on the world stage.

Why does the US support Israel? Because Americans have been robbed of the freedom to think and speak freely about Zionism.

The United States of America is supposed to be a bastion of free expression. The courts have ruled that even the most lurid and depraved words and pictures are entitled to Constitutional protection.

Yet in the self-styled Land of the Free, an “apartheid wall of censorship” blocks the free expression of anti-Zionist arguments.

This censorship is not directly imposed by the government. The real enemy of free speech is the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC).

In his book The Power of Israel in the United States, professor James Petras identified the ZPC as the source of that power. The ZPC is led by AIPAC, the most powerful lobby in America. It includes the 51 Major American Jewish Organizations, which are backed by only about one half million of America’s six million Jews. That is less than 10% of the total. But as Petras says, “what a half million!” He adds that “the 51′s hundreds of thousands of activists are strategically placed in institutions, as well as geographically, with a centralized command capable of mobilizing money, media attention and political leverage in any priority, political, cultural or social arena.”

This extremely well-financed mob of 500,000 pro-Israel fanatics can be counted on to make life miserable for anyone guilty of expressing an anti-Zionist opinion, or allowing one to be expressed. I know this from repeated personal experience.

For example, I recently gave an interview on WWUH, a radio station based at the University of Hartford, Connecticut. (You can listen by conducting an internet search for “WWUH 9/11 Wake-Up Call.”)

During the interview, I expressed the same views, and cited the same facts, that are featured in my opinion columns at Press TV. I presented empirical evidence that Israel and its American supporters orchestrated 9/11 in order to trick the USA into destroying or destabilizing “seven countries in five years” – as General Wesley Clark revealed. Those seven countries were the ones blocking Israel’s quest for regional domination.

I also explained why Zionism is morally indefensible and ultimately doomed, but persists by controlling the USA’s Middle East policy.

Predictably, a backlash from the ZPC ensued. A complaint was lodged against WWUH and copied to the University. According to the complaint, I had delivered “an anti-Zionist sermon” and my words were “biased.”

The implication: Americans must never hear anything but the pro-Zionist sermons the mainstream media continually inflicts on them. Alternative views are forbidden.

The University of Connecticut knows that the ZPC is tightly organized and financed by hundreds of millionaires and a considerable number of billionaires. Zionist complaints like the one targeting my interview come with an implied threat to withhold funding from the University if it continues to allow the free expression of anti-Zionist views.

Such Zionist censorship is a pervasive feature of American university life. While teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison I was twice attacked by the legions of the ZPC. The second time, in 2006, after I appeared on Fox News arguing that 9/11 was an inside job, the University lost more than $500,000 in canceled contributions in less than 24 hours. I am currently unemployable in the American academy because any university that hired me would face this kind of financial attack from the Zionists.

It isn’t just the universities that are terrorized by Zionist censorship. The American media, too, is punished on the rare occasions that it diverges even slightly from the pro-Israel party line. A newspaper, magazine, or broadcast outlet that allows an anti-Zionist voice to be heard will be slammed with a barrage of complaints, and perhaps be hit in the pocketbook with an advertising boycott, from the ZPC.

Politicians are censored even more tightly. Whenever an American statesman stands up for the US rather than Israel – as in the cases of William Fulbright, Paul Findley, James Abourezk, Cynthia McKinney, James Trafficant, and many others – they are hounded out of office by the ZPC.

Even presidents are vulnerable. Many analysts believe that Jimmy Carter was made a one-term president by the ZPC due to his attempts to force peace on Israel. Some even argue that John F. Kennedy was removed from office in part because he had staked his life on an attempt to prevent Israel from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Even gatherings of American Muslims are subject to Zionist censorship. Last week when Obama hosted a White House Ramadan iftar (fast-breaking dinner) for Muslims he also invited Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, a notorious racist who recently said the child-killing Israeli military should get the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama stubbornly intoned the Orwellian mantra “Israel has the right to defend itself” and clearly was not prepared to listen to the views of his Muslim guests.

Shortly after the Ron Dermer fiasco at the White House, I myself was viciously attacked by a Zionist Jew at a Ramadan iftar in Madison, Wisconsin. The Zionist started a conversation about “Israel’s right to defend itself” and proclaimed that Hamas was a terrorist group. When I responded by gently explaining some of the facts about the conflict, the Zionist iftar-infiltrator had a fit and repeatedly called me a Nazi. Then he lodged a complaint with the organizer of the iftar.

Apparently the Muslim-majority perspective cannot be voiced anywhere in America – not even at a Muslim celebration! It seems that every group in America – every civic group, church group, NGO, nonprofit, and even the Muslim groups – are infiltrated by the Zionist thought police, who are dedicated to preventing the American people from hearing any version of events except their own.

Why are the Zionists so desperate to suppress free thought and free debate about the Middle East? The answer is obvious: The Zionist position is indefensible. If Americans knew the horrors that the Zionists have inflicted not only on Palestine, but also on the United States – including the cold-blooded murder of almost 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001 – the bloody Zionist experiment would face its final reckoning.

July 25, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Why Did Bernie Sanders Get Gaza So Wrong?

Senators Sanders & Leahy Join in Deeply Flawed Resolution Supporting Israel

By James Marc Leas | CounterPunch | July 24, 2014

All 100 Senators, including Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, joined in passing a Senate resolution on July 17, 2014 supporting “the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.”

However, the facts differ.

A report issued by the authoritative “Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center” (ITIC), a private Israeli think tank that “has close ties with the country’s military leadership,” unintentionally debunked the Senate resolution more than a week before its unanimous consent vote in the Senate. The weekly ITIC reports regarding rocket fire are frequently quoted on the Israeli government’s own web site.

The ITIC July 8, 2014 report,“News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 2 – 8, 2014),” states: “For the first time since Operation Pillar of Defense [November 2012], Hamas participated in and claimed responsibility for rocket fire [on July 7, 2014].”

Thus, Hamas rocket fire only re-started on July 7 after a 19 month cease-fire. As we will see, this was nearly a month after Israeli forces launched massive military operations in the West Bank and Gaza starting on June 12. But those Israeli military operations were not the only provocation.

First, about the cease fire that was in place: Operation Pillar of Defense was an 8 day aerial assault on Gaza in November 2012 that ended with a ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt. Graphs presented on the ITIC website show that the cease-fire was effective. In the weeks and months following that agreement, the ITIC consistently reported the absence of Hamas rocket fire. In addition, a May 2013 article in the Jerusalem Post, “IDF source: Hamas working to stop Gaza rockets,” reported that Hamas was policing other groups to prevent rocket fire.

The July 8 ITIC report also divulged why Hamas launched its first rocket fire at Israel in more than 19 months on July 7: On that night Israeli forces had bombed and killed 6 Hamas members in Gaza. The ITIC report includes a picture of the six Hamas members. Thus, a report from an authoritative Israeli source described the provocation for the resumption of rocket fire: Hamas rocket fire began only after Israeli forces had engaged in nearly a month of military operations in violation of the ceasefire agreement and had killed 6 Hamas members in Gaza.

The Palestine Center for Human Rights (PCHR) also issues weekly reports, these reports focus on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied territories, including the West Bank and Gaza. In its July 10 weekly report, PCHR gave further details of the events that immediately preceded the July 7 Hamas rocket launchings: PCHR reports:

Between 01:00 and 16:00, the bodies of 5 members of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) were recovered from a tunnel dug near Gaza International Airport in the southeast of the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.  They were identified as: Ibrahim Dawod al-Bal’awi, 24; ‘Abdul Rahman Kamal al-Zamli, 22; Jum’a ‘Atiya Shallouf, 26; and Khaled ‘Abdul Hadi Abu Mur, 21, and his twin brother, Mustafa.  Another three members were recovered alive, but one was in a serious condition.  It should be noted that the tunnel was repeatedly bombarded by Israeli warplanes and tanks.  According to medical sources, the deceased inhaled toxic gases. The ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades declared in an online statement that 5 of its members were killed as a result of airstrikes that targeted places of resistance activities.

The facts show that Israeli forces had to work quite hard to get Hamas to end its cease-fire. The killing of the six Hamas members was not an isolated event. Israeli forces and settlers had gone wild on the West Bank starting on June 12 after the kidnapping of three Israeli teens. Israeli forces had also attacked 60 targets in Gaza during those three weeks of June. Then, on the night of July 7, 2014, the Israeli Air Force had attacked approximately 50 more “terrorist targets” in the Gaza Strip, as described in the ITIC report.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on July 3:

Israel’s military operations in the West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers have amounted to collective punishment. The military operations included unlawful use of force, arbitrary arrests, and illegal home demolitions.

The HRW report also states that:

Israeli forces have arrested about 700 Palestinians since June 12, 2014, and are currently detaining at least 450, some during the large-scale military incursions and others who are known supporters or leaders of the Hamas Reform and Change Party, which won Palestinian elections in 2006, according to Addameer, a Palestinian prisoner’s rights group.

Giving more details, several of the weekly reports from the Palestine Center for Human Rights (PCHR) indicate that Israeli forces and settlers killed 11 Palestinians and wounded 51 during 369 incursions into the West Bank between June 12 and July 2 and that Israeli forces raided hundreds of houses on the West Bank each week. Israeli forces also launched the 60 bombing attacks on Gaza and one ground incursion, wounding 27 people in Gaza during those three weeks.

While all these attacks in the West Bank and Gaza did produce rocket fire from other groups in Gaza during June–which the ITIC reports had been almost zero during the previous month–the attacks did not provoke Hamas itself to fire rockets. To predictably accomplish that feat, Israeli forces had to go further and kill the 6 Hamas members on July 7.

The Senate resolution names Hamas in nearly every one of its deeply flawed paragraphs. Yet it fails to mention any of the facts about Israel’s military operations in the West Bank and Gaza.

Let’s turn this around for a moment: Had the Israeli public been subjected to a massive military crackdown including 369 military incursions into Israel and 110 bombing attacks on Israel during which 11 Israelis had been killed, 78 wounded, and 700 arrested, and then had six Israeli soldiers been killed in a single air and ground military operation, would the Senate have omitted mention of all such facts and voted by unanimous consent that responding Israeli forces were “unprovoked?” Would the Senate have voted that the one attacking Israel was defending itself and that Israeli forces were the ones engaging in “belligerent actions?”

Why did the Senate get this so wrong? Why did Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy allow their names to be used for pro-war propaganda so at variance with the facts?

James Marc Leas is a Vermont attorney and is a past co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Free Palestine Subcommittee. He collected evidence in the Gaza Strip from November 27 to December 3, 2012 as part of a 20 member delegation from the US and Europe and co-authored several articles describing findings. He also participated in the National Lawyers Guild delegation to Gaza after Operation Cast Lead in February 2009 and contributed to its report, Onslaught: Israel’s Attack on Gaza and the Rule of Law.

 

July 24, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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