The US Senate is set to consider new economic sanctions against Iran that would include the blacklisting and blocking the assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
The new sanctions, among other economic features, would blacklist the IRIB and its president, block all the IRIB assets and prevent others from doing business with it.
The proposed sanction that would hit the IRIB is another attempt by the West to silence Iranian media. In a flagrant violation of the freedom of speech, two satellite providers Eutelsat SA and Intelsat SA stopped the broadcast of several Iranian satellite channels in October, citing pressure by the European Union.
Earlier this month, the Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) also took all Iranian channels off air in East Asia under pressure from the US.
The new sanctions to be considered by the US Senate could also target transactions for goods and services with Iran’s energy, oil, port, shipping and ship-building sectors. They would also target trade with Iran in graphite and precious metals.
The bans would also ban insurance or reinsurance providers from trading with Iran in energy, shipping and ship-building sectors, as well as with designated persons and entities.
Foreign banks that handle transactions for Iranian persons that have been designated by the United States could also be targeted by the proposed embargoes.
US lawmakers say the fresh move is part of measures aimed at pressuring Iran to halt its nuclear energy program.
The proposal could be put into vote by the Senate as early as Thursday. It would be included in the annual defense policy bill and must be approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives before it could become law.
US President Barack Obama will finally sign the sanctions into law after they are approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Over the false allegation, Washington and the European Union have imposed illegal unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran refutes the allegations and argues that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
- U.S. Senate Approves New Sanctions On Iran (rferl.org)
- Senate Approves Amendment That Would Add More Iran Sanctions – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
Barack Obama, former president of the Harvard Law Review and a constitutional law lecturer, should go back and review his coursework. He seems to have declined to comport his presidency to the rule of law.
Let’s focus here on his major expansion of drone warfare in defiance of international law, statutory law and the Constitution. Obama’s drones roam over multiple nations of Asia and Africa and target suspects, both known and unknown, whom the president, in his unbridled discretion, wants to evaporate for the cause of national security.
More than 2,500 people have been killed by Obama’s drones, many of them civilians and bystanders, including American citizens, irrespective of the absence of any “imminent threat” to the United States.
As Justin Elliott of ProPublica wrote: “Under Obama…only 13 percent (of those killed) could be considered militant leaders – either of the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, or Al Qaeda.” The remaining fatalities, apart from many innocent civilians, including children, were people oppressed by their own harsh regimes or dominated by U.S. occupation of their country. Aside from human rights and the laws of war, this distinction between civilian and combatant matters because it shows that Obama’s drones are becoming what Elliott calls “a counterinsurgency air force” for our collaborative regimes.
The “kill lists” are the work of Obama and his advisors, led by John O. Brennan, and come straight from the White House, according to The New York Times. Apparently, the president spends a good deal of time being prosecutor, judge, jury, executioner and concealer. But he does so quietly; this is no dramatic “thumbs-down” emperor.
Mr. Brennan spoke at Harvard Law School about a year ago and told a remarkably blasé audience that what he and the president were doing was perfectly legal under the law of self-defense. Self-defense that is defined, of course, by the president.
It appears from recent statements on The Daily Show that President Obama does not share the certitude boldly displayed by Mr. Brennan. On October 18, President Obama told John Stewart, and his audience, that “one of the things we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president is reined in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making.”
So in the absence of “a legal architecture” of accountability, do presidents knock off whomever they want to target (along with bystanders or family members), whether or not the targeted person is actually plotting an attack against the United States? It seems that way, in spite of what is already in place legally, called the Constitution, separation of powers and due process of law. What more legal architecture does Mr. Obama need?
Obviously what he wants is a self-contained, permanent “Office of Presidential Predator Drone Assassinations” in the White House, to use, author, scholar and litigator Bruce Fein’s nomenclature. According to The New York Times, President Obama wants “ explicit rules for targeted killing…. So that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures.” Mr. Fein notes that “clear standards and procedures without accountability to the judiciary, Congress, or the American people” undermine the rule of law and our democracy.
Indeed, the whole deliberation process inside the Obama administration has been kept secret, a continuing process of morbid over-classification that even today contains secret internal legal opinions on targeted killings. The government refuses even to acknowledge that a drone air force operates over Pakistan – a fact that everybody knows including the hundreds of injured and displaced Pakistanis. This drone air force uses, what The New York Times called, “signature strikes against groups of suspected, unknown militants.”
Predictably, these strikes are constantly terrorizing thousands of families who fear a strike anytime day or night, and are causing a blow-back that is expanding the number of Al Qaeda sympathizers and affiliates from Pakistan to Yemen. “Signature strikes,” according to the Times, “have prompted the greatest conflict inside the Obama administration.” Former CIA director under George W. Bush, Michael V. Hayden has publicly questioned whether the expansion in the use of drones is counterproductive and creating more enemies and the desire for more revenge against the U.S.
Critics point out how many times in the past that departments and agencies have put forth misleading or false intelligence, from the Vietnam War to the arguments for invading Iraq, or have missed what they should have predicted such as the fall of the Soviet Union. This legacy of errors and duplicity should restrain presidents who execute, by ordering drone operators to push buttons that target people thousands of miles away, based on secret, so-called intelligence.
Mr. Obama wants, in Mr. Fein’s view, to have “his secret and unaccountable predator drone assassinations become permanent fixtures of the nation’s national security complex.” Were Obama to remember his constitutional law, such actions would have to be constitutionally authorized by Congress and subject to judicial review.
With his Attorney General Eric Holder maintaining that there is sufficient due process entirely inside the Executive Branch and without Congressional oversight or judicial review, don’t bet on anything more than a more secret, violent, imperial presidency that shreds the Constitution’s separation of powers and checks and balances.
And don’t bet that other countries of similar invasive bent won’t remember this green-light on illegal unilateralism when they catch up with our drone capabilities.
In the machinations of Empire, religious and ethnic differences are often used to justify wars and repression. Historical examples abound. Animosity between nations’ ruling elites are framed in religious terms to rile up the populace and convince them the antagonisms between rulers over land and money are actually between the common people over religion. From there, the antagonism disintegrates into hatred and then war. Despite the conclusion of many religious adherents and teachers that all religions are merely different paths to the same godhead, people continue to cave into the fears propagated by other clerics and institutions that only their religion is the one true one. All others, therefore, are false and their followers are infidels. Once the flames of religious hatred are lit, it becomes very difficult to extinguish them. History has proven this over and over again.
Most recently, the world has seen this manipulation of faith take place against Muslims. This is not the first time Islam has been the focus of hate. Various Christian faiths have considered it a demonic religion over the centuries, from the Catholic Church to the small sect run by Terry Jones in Florida in the US. It was Islam, after all, that bore the brunt of the Catholic Crusades in the middle ages. It was also the Catholic Church that ravaged the lands of Spain during the Reconquista; and it was the Catholic Church that forced Jews and Muslims alike to renounce their faith or face death during that same period.
Like most prejudices that the ruling classes and their politicians stir up for their own ends, much religious hatred is based on ignorance and misunderstanding. This is certainly the case when it comes to Islam and its perception among many Christian churches. Despite the fact (or perhaps because of it) that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are all derived from the legacy of Abraham, the level of ignorance about this among believers is astounding. Indeed, it would leave one to think that perhaps that ignorance was intentional.
This is one of the points argued in Deepa Kumar’s latest title, Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire. Kumar traces the history of anti-Islamic imagery in the Christian west: its equation of the religion with Satan and sorcery, mysterious sexual practices and perversions. From this beginning, Kumar draws a line to the development of Orientalist scholarship and its use by colonialist nations to justify their domination and exploitation of what they termed “the Muslim World.” Orientalism is best described by the author of the best book on the subject, Edward Said. “Orientalism,” he wrote, “is a style of thought based upon ontological and epistemological distinction made between “the Orient” and (most of the time) “the Occident Thus a very large mass of writers, among who are poet, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists, and imperial administrators, have accepted the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, “mind,” destiny, and so on. . . . The phenomenon of Orientalism as I study it here deals principally, not with a correspondence between Orientalism and Orient, but with the internal consistency of Orientalism and its ideas about the Orient . . despite or beyond any correspondence, or lack thereof, with a “real” Orient.”
In other words, Orientalism is a framework developed by the West to define the non-European part of the world that emphasizes the differences between these two artifices. It often has little to do with the reality of life and thought in the non-European world and is a methodology used to justify the occupation of those lands, the subjugation of their peoples, and the use of whatever means it takes to do so. In addition, it ignores essential facts that do not fit its framework that assumes the superiority of the West. Kumar discusses five myths Orientalism bases itself on and, in doing so, effectively dismantles those myths. While reading this particular chapter it felt like I was reading any number of news articles from the past fifty years explaining how Washington’s enemies were less civilized, less worldly than Americans. Medievalist, sexist, less value placed on human life, incapable of democracy or rational thought; the rationales for opposing Islam are not much different than those given for slaughtering over a million Vietnamese. Kumar looks at these phenomena historically and provides a perspective rarely if ever considered by most Western commentators.
Much of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire is an examination of the relationship between the ruling elites in Washington DC and the various elements of Islam, especially during the last twenty or thirty years. The text takes a look at Washington’s relationships with state and non-state entities. This includes Washington’s self-serving support of the Saud family in Saudi Arabia to the CIA coup in Iran that led to the tyranny of the Shah; from the arming of the Afghan mujahedin against the Soviet army to the endless war on the Afghan people and its expansion into Pakistan via armed drones. Kumar explains the economic, political and military reasons for the skullduggery and death waged in Americans’ name in countries Kumar terms “Muslim majority.” She never lets the reader forget that underlying the entire Islamophobia project is the desire for hegemonic control of the world by Washington.
After exploring the reasons for and the results of the Islamophobic project in the Empire’s outposts, Kumar turns her eye inward to the United States. She chronicles the legal attacks on mosques and Islamic social service foundations under the guise of their “support” of terrorism and discusses the growth of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment stirred up by various right wing and Zionist individuals. Citing the example of the so-called “Ground Zero” mosque, she exposes the politics of the individuals and organizations behind the campaign to prevent the building of that structure. Although many readers identify Islamophobia with Zionists, the neocons and their Christian fundamentalist supporters (Kumar spends a fair amount of tine elucidating on this), the book makes it clear that this phobia is not limited to that particular mindset. In fact, Kumar labels the liberal version of this phobia and the policies it informs “liberal Islamophobia.” This latter incarnation is one that pretends to understand Islam, while simultaneously accepting many of the same myths about the religion maintained by the aforementioned groups.
There’s a lot in this book. Deepa Kumar takes a subject that is often intentionally misconstrued and brings a clarity that incorporates the multiple facets involved. Politics and religion are notoriously dangerous bedfellows, yet they have tended to define human history for as long as there has been such a thing. This phenomenon has only become truer as history moves on. While other books may explain the religion of Islam and its relationship to Christianity better, Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire stands alone in its exploration of the relationship between western imperialism and the Muslim-majority world, especially as regards recent history. If recent events in the Middle East and other Muslim majority regions are an indicator, this relationship may be on the verge of a substantial change. This makes reading and understanding Kumar’s text even more essential.
Ron Jacobs can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Brazilian government and private sector are collaborating with Japan to push a large-scale agribusiness project in Northern Mozambique. The project, called ProSavana, will make 14 million hectares of land available to Brazilian agribusiness companies for the production of soybeans, maize and other commodity crops that will be exported by Japanese multinationals. This area of Mozambique, known as the Nacala Corridor, is home to millions of farming families who are at risk of losing their lands in the process.
The Nacala Corridor stretches along a rail line that runs from the port of Nacala, in Nampula Province, into the two northern districts of Zambézia Province and ends in Lichinga, in Niassa Province. It is the most densely populated region of the country. With its fertile soils and its consistent and generous rainfall, millions of small farmers work these lands to produce food for their families and for local and regional markets.
But now ProSavana proposes to make these same lands available to Japanese and Brazilian companies to establish large industrial farms and produce low cost commodity crops for export. Through ProSavana, they intend to transform the Nacala Corridor into an African version of the Brazilian cerrado, where savannah lands were converted to vast soybean and sugar cane plantations.
Large numbers of Brazilian investors have already been surveying lands in northern Mozambique under the ProSavana project. They are being offered massive areas of land on a long-term lease basis for about US$1/ha per year.
GV Agro, a subsidiary of Brazil’s Fundação Getulio Vargas directed by the former minister of agriculture, Roberto Rodriguez, is coordinating the Brazilian investors.
Charles Hefner of GV Agro dismisses the idea that the project will displace Mozambican peasants. He says ProSavana is targeting “abandoned areas” where “there is no agriculture being practiced”.
“Mozambique has a tremendous area available for agriculture,” says Hefner. “There is room for mega projects of 30-40,000 ha without major social impacts.”
But land surveys by Mozambique’s national research institute clearly show that nearly all the agricultural land in the area is being used by local communities.
“It is not true that there is abandoned land in the Nacala Corridor,” says Jacinto Mafalacusser, a researcher at the Instituto de Investigação Agrária de Moçambique (IIAM).
Peasants in the area also say there is no room for large-scale farms. On October 11, 2012, local leaders from the National Peasants’ Union (UNAC) met in Nampula City to discuss ProSavana. In a declaration from the meeting, the local UNAC leaders say they “are extremely concerned that ProSavana requires millions of hectares of land along the Nacala Corridor, when the local reality shows that such vast areas of land are not available and are currently used by peasants practicing shifting cultivation.”
The declaration condemns “any initiative which aims to resettle communities and expropriate the land of peasants to give way to mega farming projects for monocrop production”, as well as “the arrival of masses of Brazilian farmers seeking to establish agribusinesses that will transform Mozambican peasant farmers into their employees and rural labourers.”
This was the first time the peasant leaders from the areas affected by the ProSavana project had met to discuss it, and for many, it was the first time that they had received any information about what is involved.
“The government invited us to participate in a couple of meetings, but all we were presented was a power point presentation, with no chance to raise questions,” says Gregorio A. Abudo, the President of the União Provincial das Cooperativas de Nampula. “We want transparency. We want to know the details.”
The governments of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan are now ploughing ahead behind closed doors with a Master Plan for the ProSavana project that they intend to finalise by July 2013. Japan will be funding the construction of infrastructure in the Nacala Corridor while a representative of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) says that GV Agro has secured “lots and lots of money” for a fund that it is managing that will invest in large-scale farms in the area. The ABC representative also says there is a second fund of similar size being managed by others who he would not name. Brazil’s national research institute, Embrapa, is building up the capacities of the national research stations in Nampula and Lichinga and bringing in varieties of soybeans, maize and cotton from Brazil to test their adaptability to conditions in the Nacala Corridor.
UNAC says ProSavana is the result of a top-down policy that does not take into consideration the demands, dreams and basic concerns of peasants. UNAC warns that the project will generate landlessness, social upheaval, poverty, corruption and environmental destruction.
For UNAC, if there is to be investment in the Nacala Corridor, or in Mozambique in general, it must be made in developing peasant farming and the peasant economy. This is the only kind of farming capable of creating dignified and lasting livelihoods, of stemming rural exodus, and of producing high-quality foods in sufficient quantities for the entire Mozambican nation.
This article was originally published in Portuguese in Brasil de Fato newspaper on 29 November, 2012. Published in English by GRAIN
Can law enforcement enter your house and use a secret video camera to record the intimate details inside? On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unfortunately answered that question with “yes.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents suspected Ricky Wahchumwah of selling bald and gold eagle feathers and pelts in violation of federal law. Equipped with a small hidden video camera on his clothes, a Wildlife agent went to Wahchumwah’s house and feigned interest in buying feathers and pelts. Unsurprisingly, the agent did not have a search warrant. Wahchumwah moved to suppress the video as an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, but the trial court denied his motion. On appeal before the Ninth Circuit, we filed an amicus brief in support of Wahchumwah. We highlighted the Supreme Court’s January 2012 decision in United States v. Jones — which held that law enforcement’s installation of a GPS device onto a car was a “search” under the Fourth Amendment — and specifically focused on the concurring opinions of Justices Alito and Sotomayor, who were worried about the power of technology to eradicate privacy.
In our brief we argued that although a person may reveal small bits of information publicly or to a house guest, technology that allows the government to aggregate that data in ways that were impractical in the past means that greater judicial supervision and oversight is necessary. After all, a video camera can capture far more detail than the human eye and is specifically designed to allow the government to record, save and review details for another day, bypassing the human mind’s tendency to forget. That means police need a search warrant to engage in the type of invasive surveillance they did in Wahchumwah’s house.
Unconvinced, the Ninth Circuit instead relied on a case from 1966, Hoffa v. United States, ruling that Wahchumwah forfeited his privacy interest when he “voluntarily” revealed the interior of his home to the undercover agent. But its conclusion contradicts not only the Supreme Court’s decision in Jones, but also earlier Ninth Circuit caselaw as well.
In Jones, the Supreme Court made clear that a law enforcement trespass onto private property for the purpose of obtaining information was a “search” under the Fourth Amendment. Under common law, a defendant was not liable for trespass if their entry was authorized. But the Ninth Circuit previously made clear in Theofel v. Farey-Jones that a person’s consent to a trespass is ineffective if they’re “mistaken as to the nature and quality of the invasion intended.” In fact, Theofel cited another Ninth Circuit case where the court found a “police officer who, invited into a home, conceals a recording device for the media” to be a trespasser.
What that means here is that when the undercover agent concealed his identity and purpose, making Wahchumwah “mistaken as to the nature and quality” of the home visit, the government trespassed onto Wahchumwah’s property. Since that trespass was done for the purpose of obtaining information — to get evidence of bald and gold eagle feather and pelt sales — the government “searched” Wahchumwah’s home. And it needed a warrant to do that; without one, the search was unconstitutional.
Its troubling that the Ninth Circuit did not see it this way (nor are they the only one). Because the sad truth is that as technology continues to advance, surveillance becomes “voluntary” only by virtue of the fact we live in a modern society where technology is becoming cheaper, easier and more invasive. The Wahchumwah case exemplifies this: on suspicion of nothing more than the benign misdemeanor of selling eagle feathers, the government got to intrude inside the home and record every intimate detail it could: books on a shelf, letters on a coffee table, pictures on a wall. And we’re entering an age where criminal suspicions is no longer even necessary. Whether you’re calling a friend’s stolen cell phone and landing on the NYPD massive database of call logs, driving into one of the increasing number of cities using license plate scanners to record who comes in or out, or walking somewhere close to hovering drones, innocent people are running the risk of having their personal details stored in criminal databases for years to come.
The only way to avoid pervasive law enforcement monitoring shouldn’t be to make the choice to live under a rock in the wilderness somewhere. Instead, the Fourth Amendment means today what it meant in 1787: that the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” shouldn’t be violated unless the government comes back with a warrant.
For the past forty-five years the state of Israel has been dispossessing millions of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories, confiscating their lands, destroying homes, bulldozing orchards and setting-up ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements serviced by highways, electrical systems and water works for the exclusive use of the settlers and occupying soldiers.
The process of Israeli territorial expansion throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem has greatly accelerated in recent years, converting Palestinian-held territory into non-viable isolated enclaves – like South Africa’s Bantustans – surrounded by the Israeli soldiers who protect violent settler-vigilantes as they assault and harass Palestinian farmers at work in their fields, beat Arab children on their way to school, pelt Palestinian housewives as they hang their laundry and then invade and defecate in Palestinian mosques and churches.
The Rage and Rape of Gaza and its Apologists
Israel’s strategic goal is to impose ‘Greater Israel’ on the region: to take over all of historical Palestine, expel the entire non-Jewish population and subsidize ‘Jews-only’ settlements (for settler-immigrants, often from the US and former USSR). While bulldozers and tanks have dispossessed Palestinians in the West Bank for decades, the launching of thousands of missiles and bombs have become the ‘weapons of choice’ for uprooting and eliminating the Palestinians in Gaza. In just eight days, Israel’s latest blitzkrieg resulted in the killing of 168 Palestinians (42 children and 100 civilians), the wounding of 1,235, the destruction of over 1,350 buildings and the further traumatizing of over 1.7 million children, women and men fenced in the world’s largest concentration camp. According to the Israeli Defense Minister, the Jewish State dropped “a thousand times more bombs onto Gaza” than the Palestinians fired back into Israel.
The current Israeli offensive began with the gruesome assassination of a prominent Hamas leader, Ahmed Jabari, and immediately escalated into an assault on the entire Palestinian population of Gaza. Secure in the knowledge that the Palestinians had no capacity to retaliate with similar weaponry, the Israeli High Command ordered the systematic destruction of civilian life, workplaces and densely populated neighborhoods. Over 75% of the casualties have been non-combatants; almost half are children, women and elders.
The Israeli propaganda machine and its ‘Fifth Column’ in the US fabricated and repeated the Big Lie: that the Jewish state was ‘defending itself’… Right… with only six (mostly military) deaths and 280 wounded versus the nearly 200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, slaughtered. The US Zionist power configuration (ZPC), embedded in the policy centers of the US Executive, the Congress and both political parties, parroted this line. All the major US TV networks and print media reproduced verbatim Israeli Foreign Office press handouts about Israel’s ‘defensive’ … genocide … while entire Palestinian families were being buried under the rubble of their bombed apartments.
Death and destruction, planned and executed with the unanimous support of all the major Israeli political parties and leaders, enthralled the mass of its Jewish citizens: Indeed, over 80% of Israeli Jews supported the terror blitz against Gaza. As the Russian media outlet (RT) reported: “A new wave of hatred towards Palestinians is sweeping through Israel from public figures to the man (person) in the street”. The Israeli Interior Minister declared that “Gaza should be bombed into the Middle Ages”. Israeli demonstrators in Tel Aviv shouted; “they (the Palestinians) don’t deserve to live, they must die”, “may your children die” and “now we must go back there (to Gaza) and kick out all Arabs”. The prominent Israeli Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the son of a former chief rabbi, made a speech in the Cave of the Patriarchs in occupied Hebron where he blessed the Israeli soldiers and urged them “to slaughter their enemy”.
Even more to the point, Israel Katz, Israel’s Transport Minister, demanded “Gaza be bombed so hard the population will have to flee into Egypt (the Sinai desert)”. Avi Dichter, the Minister of Home Front Defense, incited the Israeli military to “re-format” Gaza – that is to erase its population with bombs.
Almost half of Israeli Jews considered Netanyahu’s terror bombing of Gaza insufficient: According to the independent Israeli Maagar Mohot poll, half of Israelis opposed the cease fire and demanded the bloody assault against the Palestinian population of Gaza continue. The same poll reported that almost a third of Israeli Jews though their government should have sent ground forces into Gaza, an invasion which would have led to tens of thousands of Palestinian casualties and total destruction of their vital infrastructural life-lines. Netanyahu and his allies in power now confront a new, totalitarian mass opposition that openly embraces a genocidal ‘Final Solution’ to the Palestinian problem.
Genocide at the Service of Greater Israel
The parallels between the pronouncements and actions of Nazi Germany and Zionist Israel are overwhelming. The blood lust in Israel goes far beyond psychopathic raving of a few deranged rabbis and marginal politicians: it extends from the top Cabinet members to the average citizen.
In Israel, almost an entire people – over 80% of Jews – support, with varying degrees of intensity, the terror bombing and slaughter of the people of Gaza. Setting aside the profound sociopathic disorders of the raging and racist multitude in Israel, what is politically more significant are the totalitarian rants of leading Israeli public figures, published as editorials, in such newspapers as the respectable Jerusalem Post: “We need to flatten all of Gaza. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing,” writes Gilad Sharon and the statements of prominent Knesset members, like Michael Ben-Ari , “There are no innocents in Gaza … mow them (all) down”. These outbursts reveal Israel’s strategic goal: Genocide at the service of Greater Israel – the bloody purge of 5 million Palestinians, the creation of a 100 percent ‘pure’ Jewish State. Overseas (mostly US) Zionist-Jewish media moguls, Ivy League university academics, billionaires, US Congress people and government officials finance, underwrite, propagandize for and promote with single-minded perseverance the defense of Israel’s most heinous war crimes, its violations of international law and its ongoing crimes against humanity.
During the entire period of the recent Israeli blitzkrieg, Israel’s Fifth column, the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations, the New York Times and the rest of the major US press rose to the dirty task of giving unconditional support for Israel’s war crimes. Vocal support from the US White House and by extension the leaders of the European Union echoed Netanyahu’s lies. In order to grasp the media white wash of these ongoing crimes against humanity one could compare the US press reports on Israel’s bombing of Gaza to those which would have appeared in the leading fascist newspapers at the time of Hitler’s ‘defensive’ attacks on Poland and Belgium and the bombing blitz of civilians in London.
The true purpose of Israel’s terror bombing raids and assassinations in Gaza and the cutting up of the West Bank is to make these territories uninhabitable for the Palestinians. The daily humiliation and destruction of the basic conditions for normal life are designed to force young, educated, ambitious Palestinians to abandon their land, homes and families for less grotesquely barbaric sites, where they might achieve a normal civilized existence, free from foul-mouthed Jewish settlers, unending military incursions, Israeli soldiers pistol-whipping their fathers or breaking the legs and arms of stone-throwing Arab schoolkids.
The Logic of Public Flogging
This obscene Israeli-Jewish behavior is intentionally open and flagrant: Flaunting Jewish military superiority over the defenseless Arab is a vital part of the psychological war reinforcing the idea of Arab inferiority and of Palestinians as aliens in their own country. Israel’s underlying slogan “Arab Raus!” (Arabs Get Out!) echoes the Nazi screed, “Juden Raus!” (Jews Get Out!). The message is clear: “If you are not a Jew then you do not exist! Your very alien presence is an abomination in the eyes of the Zionist God. So if you won’t leave politely we will hasten your departure with a few thousand bombs, missiles and a rain of white phosphorous.” That is the deeper meaning of Israel’s rape of Gaza.
The Impact of Israel’s Genocide on US Society
Leading journalists in the most politically influential US newspapers, academics from the most prestigious universities and ‘experts’ from the leading research institutes have systematically defended each and every Israeli war-crime, including the rape of Gaza, the demolition of Palestinian civil society and the cruel blockade of 1.7 million Palestinians in the biggest ‘open air concentration’ camp in the world.
As usual, the Uber-Zionist Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz and his acolytes provide a legal gloss on the savage bombing of essential public services and private communication and media centers. Not to be outdone by the loudmouths in Harvard Square, Yale and Princeton professors, with tribal loyalties to the Jewish state, describe the Israeli killing machine as a righteous citizen army defending its eternally victimized people. “Experts” at the Brookings Institute, Hudson Institute and dozens of other ‘research’ (read propaganda) centers provide ‘scientific’ explanations regarding Israel’s unique right to dispossess millions of Palestinians. The experts’ justifications of Israeli war crimes permeate the mass media, penetrate the homes of millions of Americans and fill the heads of elected officials. Meanwhile they ‘convince’ and/or browbeat thousands of non-tribal school teachers and educators into complicity or silence, thus perverting and hollowing out what residual humane and democratic values remain embedded in the citizenry. It is precisely the much-vaunted ‘high achievements’ of so many Israel-Firsters that has led to their rise to the most influential positions in US society and state and makes their support of terror bombings, ethnic cleansing and genocide so deeply destructive to the US political culture. In spite of this, some of the same expert-academic apologists for Israel’s terror against the Arab civilians are the most vociferous defenders of human rights everywhere else in the world – including the US (piously condemning US war crimes whenever and wherever they are not explicitly aligned with the interest of the Jewish State). These ‘experts’ have perverted the concept of universal human rights in the minds of the US public.
As the US mass audience and political class watches the smoke, debris and wreckage of Gaza – and even catch glimpses of a child’s dismembered small body – they are told by the tribal loyalists that this destruction is morally justified, that the target is really “Hamas” – even over the piercing cries of Palestinian mothers for their slaughtered children. US citizens are told that Israel’s aggressive aerial bombing and mass shelling from warships off-shore is really a “defensive” maneuver against a “terrorist” regime – one which just happens to lack a single airplane, warship, tank or missile capable of hitting a single major Israeli military or civilian installation.
The Zionist Academic –Journalist Propaganda Complex
The Israeli academic-journalist propaganda complex in the US has pushed the entire US political narrative even further to the fascist right. It has perverted our political vocabulary, equating mass slaughter with national defense; equating the ‘anxiety’ of Israeli Jewish civilians with the homeless, jobless and traumatized widows and children emerging from their devastated densely-populated urban neighborhoods.
The tribal scholars and mass media pundits excel in transforming executioners into victims and victims into executioners. The Liberal-Zionists, peace-time critics of Israel, remove their peace buttons and pick up scripts defending ‘just wars’, as soon as Israel starts bombing another Arab population or adversary. For the liberal (human-rights-spouting) Zionists, bombing civilians is always illegal – except when it is Israel launching the missiles. Propaganda zealots for Israel saturate the media attacking any human rights activist critical of Israel with charges of “anti-Semitism”. They smear, threaten and blackmail each and every dissenting voice daring to oppose their narrative.
The entire mass media and the most prestigious universities censor any mention of Israeli crimes against humanity. As bombs rained on Gaza not one single Congressional voice denounced the odious American President Obama when he defended Israel’s eight-day “Guernica” against a defenseless population. Unlike the citizens in Nazi Germany, we, in the US and Western Europe, cannot claim that we did not know about Israeli war crimes as they were happening. On the other hand, how can the mass of semi-literate TV viewers in the US really ‘know’ what is going on when Israel-Firsters have so thoroughly ‘framed the context’ – claiming it’s all defensive, that only Hamas “terrorists” are targeted … despite the images of children being frantically pulled from the wreckage of their homes. However, the educated classes in the US do know about Israel’s tradition and practice of mass civilian bombings; they do remember Lebanon 2006 as well as Gaza 2008-2009 (and countless Israeli massacres in the late 20th century). At the same time, they also “remember” the vicious reprisals and vitriolic attacks the Zionist ideological attack-dogs launched against the critics. Having ‘learned their lessons’ from the Zionist ‘thought-cops’ they conveniently remember … to forget and walk away… from the whole ‘Middle East mess’. Worse still, they sanctimoniously blame the Palestinians for their efforts to retaliate in the face of Israel’s blatant murders of their most prestigious leaders as well as their stubborn refusal to surrender.
There are a few Left-Zionists who actually praise the ‘resilience’ of the Palestinians and their refusal to surrender to the dictates of Israel and its occupying army. They note how the Gazans ‘celebrate’ their ‘victory’ amidst the rubble after having secured a very tenuous cease fire. Any reasonable observer could reply to this sentimental nonsense: Is survival in an open air concentration camp for another day, the daily prospect of Israeli drone flights overhead and a brutal land and sea blockade any “victory”? There is no cause for celebration: Transforming Israeli war crimes into Palestinian virtues is a cheap liberal Zionist sideshow. An eight-day Israeli assault, which had successfully destroyed every major and minor public office responsible for providing the people of Gaza with essential services, and the savaging of the water and sewage systems, power and electrical grids and media offices (not to mention perishable food and medicine) is nothing to celebrate. In fact the underlying strategic goal of the Jewish state – to make the remains of historical Palestine uninhabitable (a modern ‘howling wilderness’) for its people – has been advanced by leaps and bounds. Surviving another day in order to bury loved ones and scrounging among the burnt ruins of a home for a birth certificate or photograph is hardly the noble “Hamas victory” proclaimed by Norman Finkelstein and Uri Avneri.
Why NATO/Washington Support Israel’s Genocidal War
Unlike in the past, where some international organizations and European states raised tepid objections to Israel’s military assaults against Palestine or Lebanon, this time around nothing took place. The White House immediately embraced Israel’s terror bombing as did the governments of Western Europe. Meanwhile, Turkey, the Gulf States, the Arab League and the pan-Islamic organizations did nothing concrete, offering no arms, no boycotts, no oil embargoes – only shallow symbolic gestures.
Netanyahu timed his assault to take advantage of the western imperial offensive against independent countries and leaders who had historically supported the Palestinian liberation struggle for decades. Since NATO states had invaded and bombed the sovereign nation of Libya back into the Stone Age, Netanyahu’s Cabinet Ministers must have reasoned, “Why can’t we send the Gazans back to the Middle Ages with our bombs”? When NATO and the Gulf States now arm, finance and support a prolonged terrorist-led assault against the secular regime, people and infrastructure of Syria, Netanyahu reasons, “Why don’t we do the same to the Palestinians”?
With the EU, Washington and the Gulf States engaged in covert and overt wars against all of Palestine’s staunchest allies (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran and the Sudan) and against the people’s movements in Yemen, Bahrain and Pakistan, Netanyahu’s plan to ethnically purge Palestine has advanced with total impunity – indeed with overt Western approval and without concern for any international ‘humanitarian’ sanctions or even protest.
Netanyahu’s murderous war on Gaza, with full US complicity, has unmasked the collaborationist-nature of Egypt’s Islamist President Morsi. Morsi, together with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, secured a cease fire only after Netanyahu had accomplished his immediate goal of destroying the public institutions of civil society and undermining the vital public functions of the Hamas government.
Against the protests of the blood-thirsty Israeli public, who wanted their bombers and army to ‘finish the job’, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu negotiated and signed an agreement overseen by Morsi on a cease fire where Israel will pay no indemnity to the devastated civilians of Gaza while confirming the Mubarak-era Israeli– Egyptian treaty and starvation blockade of Gaza. Right after the ‘cease-fire’, President Morsi assumed dictatorial powers over the Egyptian state. With the shameful terms of the cease fire and Morsi’s assumption of dictatorial powers the ‘Arab Spring’ has come to a tragic end.
The people of the Middle East, especially the Palestinians, are in their worst position ever. Palestinians have lost the political, financial and military support of the independent, secular regimes of Libya, Syria and Iraq. And Iran, the principle source of arms for the Palestinians, faces a US Naval armada off its coast. Israel is accelerating its naked land grabs in the West Bank. The PLO continues to be Israel’s front-line ‘cop on the block’ – jailing resistance fighters and dissidents by the hundreds. Israel’s Fifth Column in the US ensures unconditional support for Israel’s ethnic cleansing of its non-Jewish population. Above all, as the terror bombing of Gaza reveals, Israel, as a state and as a people, is free to bomb and destroy Gaza in order to force a mass exodus of the Palestinians so that they may establish a ‘pure’ and unadulterated Jewish state on historical Palestine.
Less than 24 hours after the so-called “cease fire” Israeli soldiers murdered an unarmed Palestinian protestor and wounded dozens with live ammunition on the Gazan side of the border. Israeli storm troopers raided West Bank homes and arrested 55 Palestinians accused of supporting Hamas. Scores more Palestinians in the Beit Lahia area of the West Bank were summarily arrested and jailed as suspected Hamas members. Jewish vigilante settlers near occupied Hebron uprooted 400 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers from the village of Hawara. As the missile murderers take their break, the bulldozers rev up their engines: Israel’s leaders pursue their strategic objective of a “pure” Jewish state with their inexorable and destructive juggernaut. The ‘cease fire’ merely changed the methods and the terrain of dispossession for the time being.
Israel’s assault on Gaza has totally demolished its vibrant recovery and growth since the previous war of destruction. In 2011 the economy of Gaza grew by 20%; after the recent Israeli attack who would dare consider Gaza as a place to live and invest?
- Refusing to Acquiesce in Gaza (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Origins of Israel’s Anti-Arab Racism (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- stories from the border, where donkeys and carts are potential threats to Zionist security (ingaza.wordpress.com)
- 15th Violation of truce by #Israel | Israeli gunfire injures 2 in Gaza (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
In life, some phenomena cannot be explained by ordinary logic or technical language, let alone official discourses. How did Gaza manage to fight back with such ferocity and undying vigor in quelling the latest Israeli war despite years of a bloody siege and one-sided war in 2008-9? It simply cannot be explained by the outmoded language of today’s media analysts. Notwithstanding, a new reality is about to emerge.
During the 2008-09 ‘Operation Cast Lead,’ Israel killed over 1,400 Palestinians and wounded over 5,000 others. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Most victims were civilians as is always the case in such wars of ‘self-defense’. A United Nations investigation published in September 2009 concluded there is “evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.”
Back then there was no shortage of indictments and condemnations, as will surely emerge from its latest 8-day war on Gaza. Many spoke of how the tide of public opinion is turning against Israel, how the self-declared Jewish State was losing its command over an ever-skewed narrative of David vs. Goliath, of how the US will no longer be able to shield Israel against the profound anguish of millions of besieged people imploring the world for help and solidarity.
Much of this was in fact true, but equally true was that Israel succeeded in dragging Gaza and the rest of Palestine back to the same status quo – despite the heinous crimes committed four years ago -that preceded the war. Former Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, told journalists on January 12, 2009 that her country was deliberately ‘going wild’ in Gaza to “restore … Israel’s deterrence. Hamas now understands that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.”
It certainly was good enough for the United States, but also for many European powers who giddily wined and dined with Livni in Brussels, shortly after the war, as if thousands of people had not been killed and wounded or that whole families hadn’t just perished for no fault of their own and as if a whole nation was not still in mourning for its lost children, men and women.
It is not that Israel was particularly crafty in restoring its standing among official western circles in the last four years, thus giving it the needed confidence to assault Gaza once more. The fact is that Israel never lost that standing to begin with. These very powers (starting with Washington and London) never ceased backing Israel with the latest killing technology, bolstering Israel’s economy despite their own economic woes and of course, supporting Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ at every available opportunity.
The 22-day war on Gaza of 2008-09 was in actuality a continuation of another long war, which is difficult to demarcate by specific dates and times. Palestinians in Gaza (as in the rest of the occupied territories) have been dying at rates that decelerate and accelerate depending on the political mood in Tel Aviv. In 2008, embattled Kadima party officials sought war to boost their rating among a war and security-obsessed public. In 2012, national elections in Israel are upon us once more. In both cases, Palestinian blood had to be exacted in that same bloody game of Israeli politics. And all rising stars in Israeli politics needed to be there to impress the ever-approving public.
When “more than 90 percent of Israeli Jews support Gaza war” (Haaretz, Nov 19), it becomes less shocking to read Gilad Sharon (son of former Israeli Prime Minister and repeatedly accused war criminal Ariel Sharon) writing in the Jerusalem Post: “There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire … We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”
Yet what was thought of as another hunting season of Gaza’s civilians and fighters alike didn’t turn out as desired. ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’ was meant to present Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak with ample opportunities so that they may wave their fingers in threatening gestures and score as many political points as they could before international pressure mount. Instead, it ended up being a political debacle of historic proportions.
Israel’s trial balloons were downed by hundreds of Palestinian rockets that reached as far as northern Tel Aviv and even west Jerusalem. What was meant to break the resistance, so that Palestinians may never dare complain of occupation, of Israel-imposed political isolation and suffocating siege, along with Israel’s ‘deterrence’ wars, resulted in a new strange reality that sent Israelis everywhere seeking shelter. When sirens blared, Israel came to a halt as Israelis experienced bloody glimpses of what Palestinians experience too often. 167 Palestinians were killed and over a thousand wounded. 6 Israelis were killed, including a soldier who died from his wounds after a ceasefire was achieved through Egypt on Nov 21. But it was not the amount of spilled blood that made this war different, for the ratio of horrific deaths remains tilted. It was different because of the nature of the message that Hamas and other resistance factions delivered. Even starved and besieged Gazans are capable of fighting back after six long years of a hermetic blockade that forced them to dig hundreds of tunnels seeking salvation through neighboring Egypt.
In Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority, with little credibility to begin with, became more irrelevant than ever before. Mahmoud Abbas tried to impose himself as a party in the conflict by speaking of a popular but peaceful resistance in a televised speech. He conveniently explained the Israeli war as an attempt to coerce him not to seek the UN vote on a non-member state status for Palestine. And as Israeli leaders struggled to understand the new variable in their unfair war equation with the Palestinians, Arab officials poured into Gaza signaling that this time around things would be different. The Americans took notice too. Just as the US media spoke of a shift in US foreign policy focus to East and Southeast Asia, the alarming nature of the new war forced Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to rush to Israel to offer its support and solidarity. European leaders did the same. The lines were being demarcated once more. This time Gaza was a dividing point of regional and international politics, its resistance being the main factor behind a seismic shift.
Many in Israel tried to distort the facts by explaining that a ceasefire for Hamas would be good for Israel as it would bring “quiet” to border communities. Thus the Israeli objectives were achieved in a roundabout sort of way. Haaretz military correspondent Amos Harel labored to soften the blow by saying “The art of measuring the level of deterrence power is far from an exact science. Nobody expected that failed actions against Hezbollah in 2006 would lead to six-and-a-half years of quiet (which for the time being persists) on the Lebanon border”.
However, Israel’s intentions were not exactly about achieving peace and tranquility. For decades, Israel’s sought to have complete monopoly over violence, thus the right to punish, deter, intervene, occupy and ‘teach lessons’ to whomever it wanted, whenever it wanted. Its recent targeting of Sudan, its past strikes against Iraq, Tunisia, Syria, appalling wars in Lebanon, and constant threats against Iran are all cases in point.
Certainly, something big has changed. Not that Palestinians managed to narrow the imbalance of power, but that they succeeded in imposing their resistance as a factor in Israel’s ‘security’ equation that was exclusively determined by Israel.
Despite their heavy losses, thousands of Palestinians danced with joy throughout the Gaza Strip. They knelt and prayed among the rebels, thanking God for their ‘victory’. Masked armed men were crowded by jubilant Gazans cheering for resistance. Israel and its benefactors began assigning blame by pointing the finger mostly at Iran. But their words drowned in the echoes of Palestinian chants. All parties know that something fundamental has been altered, although the battle is anything but over. A war of a different kind is about to begin.
The US defense chief has vowed to continue enhancing the Israeli regime’s so-called Iron Dome missile shield which proved ineffective in face of Palestinians’ retaliatory rocket in the recent war on the Gaza Strip.
In a Pentagon press conference with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak on Thursday, American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, however, praised the system, adding, “Today, I assured the minister (Barak) that our strong commitment to Iron Dome will continue into the future.”
Despite Panetta’s repeated insistence during the press event about Iron Dome’s “success rate,” some American experts have questioned such claims by top US and Israeli officials, pointing to many Hamas-launched missiles that made it through the system, mounting intense pressure on the regime’s authorities to quickly agree to a ceasefire.
“We will obviously continue to work together to seek additional funding to enable Israel to boost Iron Dome’s capacity further and to help prevent the kind of escalation and violence that we’ve seen,” Panetta emphasized.
He added, according to the report, that the US granted USD70 million in fiscal year 2012 to fund the system, in addition to another USD205 million previously given to the Tel Aviv regime to develop the shield.
Barak, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude over the American pledge of total support while further insisting that “the needs are much larger than what we have right now, and we are determined to complete the system, besides the operational offensive capacities of the Israeli armed forces.”
Also at the event, Panetta pinned the Defense Department’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service on Barak, who declared on Monday that he plans to quit politics following national elections planned by the Israeli regime in January 2013.
“What do they want from Jaramana? The town brings together people from all over Syria and welcomes everybody.” These were the anguished words of one distraught resident in the Syrian town of Jaramana that was devastated by multiple deadly explosions this week.
The death toll has yet to be confirmed. Early reports on the blasts said 34 were killed. Later, the toll was put at more than 50, with over 120 injured, many critical. All of the victims were civilian.
Over the past 20 months, Syria has witnessed dozens of massacres and horrific car bombings in its capital Damascus and in other cities and countless villages across the country. But the latest atrocity in Jaramana, located close to the capital, is distinguishable perhaps because it most clearly shows the vile Machiavellian mentality of the perpetrators in their broader strategy towards the Middle Eastern country.
As the words of the shell-shocked resident above indicate, Jaramana can be seen as an exemplar of the pluralist nature of the Syrian society, “welcoming everybody”. The town is particularly known for its Christian and Druze Muslim communities, who by all accounts have coexisted peacefully for centuries. The populace is also largely supportive of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.
This Wednesday morning, as workers, mothers and school children were going about their usual daily routine, two massive no-warning explosions ripped through the heart of Jaramana. The second blast was detonated minutes after the first one when bystanders were rushing to the scene to aid the wounded. The heinous calculation of the perpetrators was to maximise the killing and suffering.
“What do they want from Jaramana?” The answer is revealed in the resident’s subsequent words: “The town brings together people from all over Syria and welcomes everybody.”
The terrorist war on Syria, which the Western media trumpet as a “pro-democracy uprising”, is aimed at precisely the opposite of pluralist coexistence. What the terrorists want is to tear the tolerant soul out of the country and plunge its people into an internecine, hate-filled sectarian bloodbath.
The targeting of Jaramana is a deliberate, brutal calculation to precipitate such a bloodbath. The town has been inflicted with several similar, although less deadly, bombings in recent months. On 29 October, a car bomb killed 11 people.
There are no military or state security installations in Jaramana. As noted, it is a urban district known for its tolerance towards mixed religions and cultural heritage. But, for the terrorists and their fiendish mentality, that civic virtue made Jaramana a prime target.
The armed militants in Syria are driven by Sunni extremists of Wahhabist or Salafist tendencies, who see pluralist coexistence of Sunni, Shia, Alawite, Druze, Christian, Jews and non-believers as anathema to their demented puritanical ideology.
Other elements within the Syrian armed militant groups would appear to be simply “soldiers of fortune” – mercenaries and criminal opportunists who have no particular religious affiliation.
However, taken together, these various militant factions are united by one criminal goal: to smash Syria, ruthlessly and recklessly.
The Syrian society, as it currently exists with its emphasis on secular pluralism, must be destroyed at all costs by these extremists and criminal opportunists. The most effective way to sabotage Syria is to unleash a sectarian bloodbath and to pit communities at each other’s throats. That will ensure the collapse of the central government and the splintering of society into sects. In this intended milieu of violence, chaos and fear, Syria will then be at the mercy of those who want to dominate this proud, historic country.
The enemies are well known. Western governments have had their knives out for Syria over many years, seeing it as a strategic obstacle of popular resistance to Western imperialism and Zionism in the Middle East. The Sunni regimes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and latterly Egypt under Mohammed Morsi want to see Syria roped into their camp, with the added appeal of undermining Iran’s regional influence.
Saudi Arabia’s autocrats are particularly obsessed with defeating what they perceive jealously as the Shia Crescent represented by Iran, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Both of these agenda converge on the objective of isolating Iran and setting up the Islamic Republic for an all-out military assault.
Syria is therefore a crucial geopolitical prize for the West and its regional allies. The supposed advocacy of democratic reforms by Western governments and their corporate media mouthpieces is of course a cynical cover for their criminal imperialist agenda. That particular ridiculous lie is exposed by the West’s collusion with the most repressive dictatorial regimes on the planet – the Persian Gulf monarchies – in “liberating” Syria.
Also, if Saudi Arabia and Qatar are so concerned about the welfare of their Arab Muslim brothers in Syria, why aren’t these supposedly chivalrous monarchs sending weapons and fighters to help the besieged Palestinian people of Gaza?
A measure of the Syrian prize is the criminal lengths to which the enemies of Syria are willing to go in order to vanquish the country and install their self-styled regime.
The massacres of families and children in villages like Houla and Qubair; the cold-blooded execution of civilians forced to kneel before their killers; and the callous bombing of civilians as seen this week in Jaramana are techniques of terror that the Western governments and their allies have perfected elsewhere over several decades. The Americans used such demonic scientific terrorism in Central America; the French in North Africa; and the British in East Africa and more recently in Northern Ireland.
Syria is witnessing the worst of all possible criminal assaults – the evolution and amalgamation of Western state terrorism fueled with the petrodollars of mindless Arab despots.
Adding to the abomination, many of the crimes in Syria have been filmed by the perpetrators and subsequently released claiming that they were the action of government forces. One incident was the explosive demolition of a mosque by the mercenaries in Aleppo, who were filmed laughing at their war crime. Western media claimed it was the Syrian national army, only for it to emerge that it was actually the members of the so-called Free Syrian Army.
Recent claims that the Syrian armed forces are using cluster bombs to kill children have been given the usual Western media prominence. But given the track record of the Western-backed mercenaries and the Western propaganda machine, the weight of suspicion surely lies on them.
Within hours of the mass murder of the innocents in Jaramana, the United Nations General Assembly in New York adopted a draft resolution condemning the Syrian government for what it called “widespread human rights abuses”.
The condemnation was co-sponsored by the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – the very sponsors of Western state terrorism plunging the Syrian people into a bloodbath. The UN stands as an institution that is not just a debased propaganda tool, it is a propaganda tool splattered with the blood of innocents.
Originally from Belfast, Ireland, Finian Cunningham (born 1963) is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. For many years, he worked as an editor and writer in the mainstream news media, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. He is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring. He co-hosts a weekly current affairs programme, Sunday at 3pm GMT on Bandung Radio.
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas hailed the UN General Assembly’s vote to grant the Palestinians an upgraded status of non-member observer state, calling it a “victory.”
“This is a new victory on the road to the liberation of Palestine and return and we congratulate ourselves,” said a senior Hamas official, Ahmed Yussef, on Friday.
“We in Hamas consider this a shared achievement that casts joy on our people,” he added.
On November 26, Hamas Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshaal voiced support for acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas in his bid for an upgraded status at the United Nations.
On Thursday, the 193-member General Assembly voted 138-9 with 41 abstentions at the United Nations for a resolution approving the upgrade. Nine countries, including Canada, ‘Israel’, and the United States, voted against it.
Hundreds of Palestinians streamed out into the streets of the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank to celebrate the upgrade.
Acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas also said that, “Indeed today is a historic day. Today we have really taken a step on the path to Palestinian independence.”
“We have a long road and difficult road ahead of us. I don’t want to spoil our victory tonight but the road ahead is still difficult,” he said, adding, “Tomorrow we begin the real war.”
The UN General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to make Palestine a non-member observer state, inflicting a major diplomatic defeat on the United States and the Zionist entity.
Palestinian Authority Chief Abbas considered the move at the UN a “birth certificate” for a Palestinian state and got the backing of 138 countries in the 193-member assembly. Nine voted against and 41 abstained, while five did not participate.
A Palestinian flag was unfurled in the General Assembly as the victory was pronounced.
The vote lifts the Palestinian Authority from an observer entity to a non-member observer state”on a par with the Vatican.
Palestine has no vote in the General Assembly but can now join UN agencies and potentially the International Criminal Court (ICC), where it could ask for a probe of Israeli actions, including during the recent offensive against Gaza.
Abbas said he hoped to use the status upgrade as a launch pad for renewed direct talks with the Zionist entity — frozen for more than two years — calling the resolution “the last chance to save the two-state solution.”
In a 22-minute speech Abbas said time for an accord is running out. “The rope of patience is shortening and hope is withering.”
Afterwards, he said the vote had been “historic.”
“Tomorrow we begin the real war,” Abbas said at a celebration reception. “We have a long road and difficult road ahead of us. I don’t want to spoil our victory tonight, but the road ahead is still difficult.”
WASHINGTON, TEL AVIV CONDEMN
The United States and the Zionist entity immediately condemned the vote, which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called “counterproductive.”
US Ambassador Susan Rice sternly told the General Assembly that the resolution would be “an obstacle to peace” because it would not lead to a return to direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
“Today’s grand pronouncements will soon fade. And the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded,” she said.
The United States blocked a Palestinian application for full UN membership — made by Abbas in September 2011 — at the Security Council.
For his part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Abbas’s address. “The world watched a defamatory and venomous speech that was full of mendacious propaganda,” his office said.
Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor said recognizing Palestine “will place further obstacles and preconditions to negotiations and peace,” and could even lead to further violence.
View country by country recorded votes here.
In the course of his much-ridiculed albeit deadly serious ACME bomb speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asserted that “the medieval forces of radical Islam” stand in the way of Israel’s desire for “a Middle East of progress and peace.” As evidence of these freedom-hating, anti-modern forces supposedly “bent on world conquest,” Netanyahu cited the Sept. 11 besieging of U.S. embassies throughout the region.
The Israeli prime minister was repeating a theme he had been given the opportunity to develop earlier in an interview on prime-time American television. Addressed by NBC’s “Meet the Press” host David Gregory as “the leader of the Jewish people” (Gregory himself is Jewish), Netanyahu was asked whether he thought a “containment strategy” would work on Iran, as it had with the Soviet Union. Iran was different, Netanyahu responded, because its “rationality” could not be relied upon since it is “guided by a leadership with an unbelievable fanaticism.” To emphasize the purported threat of nuclear-armed mullahs in Tehran, the Israeli leader drew a terrifying mental picture for his American audience: “It’s the same fanaticism that you see storming your embassies today. You want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”
While there is much controversy about the reasons for the assaults on U.S. diplomatic missions on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, widespread Muslim outrage over a YouTube video insulting the Prophet Muhammad was clearly a factor in triggering at least some of the ensuing anti-American riots. In light of Netanyahu’s subsequent emphasis on these vivid examples of “fanaticism” to advance the narrative of an Iranian “nuclear threat” in an increasingly unstable region in which Tel Aviv remains Washington’s “one reliable ally,” it’s certainly worth exploring whether the deliberately offensive anti-Islam video may have been the work of pro-Israel provocateurs. As former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said on NBC’s “Morning Joe” regarding what position America should take toward the Muslim world, “If there are evil forces at work trying to provoke violence between us and you, we have the obligation to investigate and to crack down.”
In what appears to have been an artfully contrived red herring, initial reports did indeed point to an Israeli source of the provocative video. The Wall Street Journal and Associated Press—two media outlets often accused of pro-Israel bias—were suspiciously credulous of someone claiming to be an Israeli-American real estate developer who said he was the writer and director of “Innocence of Muslims.” This “Sam Bacile” gratuitously added that the production had been funded by “about 100 Jewish donors.” Almost immediately, the dubious story was debunked by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg—a former prison guard in the Israel Defense Forces whose reporting has at key junctures served to advance Tel Aviv’s interests—when a self-described “militant Christian activist” named Steve Klein assured him that “the State of Israel is not involved.” Absolving the Jewish state of any culpability, Klein eagerly pointed the finger at Egyptian Copts and American evangelicals. A self-satisfied Goldberg summed up the story in a tweet: “A group of Christians smearing Muslims libels Jews.”
Notwithstanding Goldberg’s terse dismissal of an Israeli connection, the Jew-libeling Christians actually turned out to have close ties to the pro-Israel Islamophobia network led by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Spencer’s Jihad Watch group has been indirectly funded by Aubrey Chernick, a Los Angeles-based software security entrepreneur and former trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the influential think tank created in 1985 by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Spencer’s provocative writings on Islam are also publicized by The Gatestone Institute, whose founder and director Nina Rosenwald has held leadership positions in AIPAC and other mainstream pro-Israel organizations. In a July 2012 profile in The Nation magazine, Max Blumenthal dubbed the heiress to the Sears Roebuck fortune “The Sugar Mama of Anti-Islam Hate.”
This past February, in a post on her Atlas Shrugs blog entitled “A Movie about Muhammad: An Idea whose Time Has Come,” Geller solicited funds for a film that would show “Muhammad’s raids, plunders, massacres, rapes, assassinations and other crimes.” According to the controversial pro-Israel provocateur, it was “a brilliant idea” by Ali Sina, whom she introduced as a “renowned ex-Muslim author, founder of FaithFreedom.org and SION Board member.” SION, whose similarity to Zion is hardly coincidental, stands for “Stop Islamization of Nations,” a group co-founded by Geller and Spencer which held its inaugural International World Freedom Congress in New York on Sept. 11 “to combat the Islamic supremacist war against free speech.” Ali Sina’s solicitation for funds assured readers of Geller’s blog that “given the subject matter” it could become “one of the most seen motion pictures ever.” Revealingly, he asked them, “Recall Danish cartoons?”—an earlier media-catalyzed provocation in which pro-Israel, anti-Islam propagandists such as Daniel Pipes cited freedom of speech as they incited Muslim outrage against the West.
Two years earlier, on the ninth anniversary of 9/11, Geller and her partners-in-provocation held a rally to protest the construction of an Islamic community center a few blocks from the site of the demolished World Trade Center. Among those who took part were a couple of extremist Coptic Christian activists who would later be involved in the making and distribution of “Innocence of Muslims.” Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, another Egyptian-American named Morris Sadek was filmed with a crucifix in one hand and in the other a Bible with the American flag sticking out of it, shouting “Islam is evil!”
As McClatchey reported on Sept. 15, it was Sadek who had triggered the anti-American outrage in the Muslim world with a timely phone call to an Egyptian reporter. On Sept. 4, the Washington, DC-based provocateur phoned Gamel Girgis, who covers Christian emigrants for the al Youm al Sabaa daily newspaper, to tell him about a movie he had produced. According to Girgis, Sadek wanted to screen it on Sept. 11 “to reveal what was behind the terrorists’ actions that day—Islam.”
As with most of the mainstream media’s coverage of the post-Bacile story, the McClatchey report made no mention of Morris Sadek’s ties to the Geller-Spencer Islamophobia network or his extreme pro-Israel views. On his blog dedicated to the “National American Coptic Assembly”—of which he describes himself as “a president”—Sadek provides an erratically punctuated outline of what he claims should be “The Coptic Position on Israel”:
We recognize the sacred right of the state of Israel and the Israeli people to the land of historic Israel.
“The right of Return” of the Jewish people to the land of their foremothers and forefathers is a sacred right. It has no statute of limitation. The return must continue to enrich the Middle East.
We recognize Jerusalem as simply a Jewish city, It must never be divided. She is, and shall always be, the united capital of Israel.
The future of the Palestinians lies with the Arab states. A Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria constitute an imminent danger to world peace.
The Chantilly, Virginia-based National American Coptic Assembly, Inc., a private company with a staff of two, has an estimated annual revenue of $97,000. Considering the fawning pro-Israel statements of its principal—not to mention his priceless contribution to Netanyahu’s relentless campaign to induce a U.S. attack on the “fanatics” in Tehran—it’s not too difficult to speculate as to the most likely source of that income.
Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship.