Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Obama Regime Indicates Support for Fresh Sanctions Against Venezuela

By Cory Fischer-Hoffman | Venezuelanalysis | November 21, 2014

Caracas – On Wednesday at a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to consider Anthony Blinken’s nomination as deputy secretary of state, the Obama administration’s frontrunner indicated a willingness to support further sanctions against Venezuela.

The Obama administration had previously opposed taking punitive action against Venezuela for what the U.S. government says were “human rights abuses” committed during anti-government unrest this year, on the basis that this may lead to a diplomatic clash with Venezuela’s allies in the region.

However this week’s declarations by Blinken demonstrate a change in the executive’s stance towards the South American country. Blinken, who would be working directly under Secretary of State John Kerry, stated that “We would not oppose to moving forward with additional sanctions.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL.) has introduced legislation to the US Senate that would impose sanctions through freezing the financial assets of 27 Venezuelan government officials and would provide more funding to pro-opposition groups in Venezuela.

In response to Blinken’s statement to the Senate that “We would look forward to working with you to go further [to impose sanctions on Venezuela]” Rubio said, “I am encouraged that the Obama administration finally announced its support for legislation pending before the Senate that would impose visa and financial sanctions on individuals committing human rights abuses in Venezuela.”

Following the opposition-led political violence that left 43 people dead in Venezuela last February-May, the Obama administration placed a travel ban and visa freeze on a handful of high-ranking yet unidentified Venezuelan officials. These policy changes went into effect in July but until this week, the Obama presidency rejected imposing any further sanctions.

A video was recently released showing Venezuelan opposition leader Leopolodo López calling for “the exit”of President Maduro at a Foundation for Politically Persecuted Venezuelans Abroad (VEPPEX) in Florida in 2013. As Lopez still awaits trial for charges of instigation and perpetration of violent acts in February this year, and has refused to attend some court hearings, his imprisonment has attracted international attention.

The U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, called for the release of Lopez in late October and then earlier this month, the U.N. Committee Against Torture questioned Venezuela about the alleged abuses committed by security forces during the period of acute opposition protests.

For this period, there are currently 183 human rights violations and 166 cases of cruel treatment officially registered for investigation in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government has repeatedly stated that these cases are being investigated and that human rights are respected in Venezuela, and they therefore see these international accusations as an infringement on their sovereignty.

Meanwhile, U.S. Florida congressional representatives Joe Garcia and Debbie Wasserman Schultz have authored a letter to President Obama asking that Venezuelans be given special consideration for “delayed enforced departure” which the Miami Herald describes as “a protection similar to the one granted to people with Temporary Protected Status, or TPS.”

Both shifting the status of Venezuelan immigrants to a special category, generally reserved for individuals facing persecution, and freezing assets of Venezuelan officials would signify a significant policy shift for the Obama administration with respect to Venezuela.

The Venezuelan government considers U.S. attempts at applying sanctions as an act of foreign intervention which forms part of a wider local and international effort to attack and undermine the Bolivarian project.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

The Wall Street Journal’s Problematic Reporting on Protests in Ecuador

By Stephan Lefebvre | CEPR | November 21, 2014

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article covering Wednesday’s protests in Ecuador against President Rafael Correa, but key facts were missing and the article contained several misleading statements.

First, it is curious that the WSJ chose to focus on a protest of reportedly “around 3,000 protesters,” when a much larger demonstration took place on Saturday in favor of the government’s labor reform policy. The pro-government rally had participation from 100,000 people, according to organizers, and news outlets such as EFE reported participation of “tens of thousands of workers.” Perhaps an argument can be made that protests are more interesting than rallies supporting measures championed by the government, but the WSJ used the same word, “thousands,” to describe the number of attendees at both events.

The piece also includes a line that reads, “Mr. Correa took office in early 2007 and promptly engineered a new constitution that allowed for his re-election.” In reality, a constitutional convention (i.e. adopting a new constitution) was one of Rafael Correa’s campaign promises the year he was first elected (with 56.7 percent of the vote). Further, the old 1998 constitution allowed for indefinite re-election, though not consecutively, for the presidency, while the 2008 constitution set a limit of two-terms for the presidency, which could be served consecutively. Neither of these basic facts was mentioned in the article.

Finally, the motivations for the protest are selectively reported. Besides vague references to the government’s allegedly “authoritarian attitudes,” two issues are mentioned: “union leaders said the government is looking to divide them by creating new government-dependent organizations and undermine their rights, especially to strike” and “protesters are also rejecting proposed constitutional amendments that would open the door for indefinite re-election of Mr. Correa.” Regarding the first point, the author seems to be referencing the creation of a national workers’ united center (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores), a union federation similar to those in Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. No argument was given as to why this organization would undermine workers’ rights.

Second, the constitutional changes would allow the indefinite re-election of any office holder (as the WSJ has previously reported), not just Correa. Reasonable people may disagree with this reform, but unlimited re-election is not always seen as inherently anti-democratic. In the Western Hemisphere alone, Canada and Nicaragua allow unlimited re-election, and countries including Peru, Uruguay, Chile and Costa Rica allow indefinite re-election for non-consecutive term.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

A ‘Child’ Is Missing–From a New York Times Headline

palestinianboy

This is what a Palestinian boy looks like. (cc photo: Giles)
By Jim Naureckas | FAIR | November 18, 2014

Read this headline from the New York Times (11/16/14):

Palestinian Shot by Israeli Troops at Gaza Border

Think for a second about what kind of image that calls up. How much does that image change when you read the story’s second sentence?

A spokeswoman for the hospital said the Palestinian was a 10-year-old boy.

Now, very few people read the full text of every story in any newspaper, so as an editor you have to ask yourself what a headline conveys on its own. I expect that most people who only read that headline assumed that the Palestinian referenced was an adult–and likely had a different reaction to the story as a result.

They were probably also less likely to read the story–the opposite of the effect that you usually want to have with a headline–which makes you wonder why the Times would leave this key fact out. Space, maybe? But “Gazan Boy Shot by Israeli Troops at Border” would have fit just as easily.

Or “Child Shot by Israeli Troops at Gaza Border,” for that matter, since the shooting victim’s likely nationality would be clear from context; there aren’t too many Israeli children near the border with Gaza. In any case, the victim’s age  is arguably a more important fact than his ethnicity.

So–did the editors leave out of the headline the fact that it was a child who had been shot because they didn’t want readers to get too upset about Israel doing the shooting?

Surely they would say no–but recall that New York Times story (7/16/14; FAIR Blog, 7/17/14), accurately headlined “Four Young Boys Killed Playing on Gaza Beach,” that was rewritten for the print edition as “Boys Drawn to Gaza Beach, and Into Center of Mideast Strife.” Here the boys remained boys, but their deaths disappeared.

When Times public editor Margaret Sullivan (7/22/14) asked why the headline had been changed, executive editor Dean Baquet claimed that print headlines tend to be “a little poetic.” Keats it ain’t.

To take a quantitative look at this phenomenon, let’s move from the New York Times to an outlet that fancies itself to be the New York Times of the airwaves–NPR. FAIR’s Seth Ackerman (Extra!, 11/01) did a study of which deaths it reported in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict over a six-month period. He found that NPR reported 81 percent of the Israeli deaths during that time, and 89 percent of the deaths of Israeli children–but only 34 percent of the Palestinian deaths, and 26 percent of the deaths of Palestinian children.

So while NPR–understandably–thought that being a child made an Israeli victim’s death more newsworthy, if Palestinian victims were children that made NPR less likely to report their deaths.

That’s an odd sort of news judgment–unless what’s being aimed at is not maximizing human interest, but keeping it to a minimum.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia urges cutting off financial flows to Islamic State

The BRICS Post | November 22, 2014

Even as the US Central Command on Friday said the US and its allies have staged 30 air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq since Wednesday, Russia has insisted that major impact in the fight against the group would come from straining financial support for the group.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Friday financial support provided for the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) must be stopped through a campaign in strict accordance with international law.

“International financial flows to the ISIL must be cut off by approaches based on international law and with respect for the sovereignty of related countries,” Bogdanov said.

Earlier last month, the US and Russia announced an agreement to share intelligence on the armed rebel group.

The ISIL has become the most affluent terrorist organization ever, with financial support from outside and by amassing wealth through drug trafficking and oil proceeds from the sites it has seized, the Russian diplomat said.

The group’s assets are used to finance arms purchase and recruit mercenaries from around the world, Bogdanov said.

Meanwhile, he stressed that the UN Security Council must take the principal responsibility of fighting with extremist groups like the ISIL.

Bogdanov also accused the United States of not complying with international law in the fight against the ISIL.

“Actions of the US-led coalition do not comply with the international law and generally-accepted practice of countering terrorism,” charged Bogdanov.

The coalition does not coordinate its operations with the Syrian government, Bogdanov said, adding that ground operations to fight the militants should only be conducted by the armed forces of Iraq and Syria.

Earlier last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin had raised questions about the financing of ISIL.

“Where does all this come from? How did the notorious ISIL manage to become such a powerful group, essentially a real armed force?” asked Putin.

“The terrorists are getting money from selling oil too. Oil is produced in territory controlled by the terrorists, who sell it at dumping prices, produce it and transport it. But someone buys this oil, resells it, and makes a profit from it, not thinking about the fact that they are thus financing terrorists who could come sooner or later to their own soil and sow destruction in their own countries,” said the Russian President.

ISIL, an alternate acronym of the group Islamic State, has seized vast swaths of territory in northern Iraq since June and announced the establishment of a caliphate in areas under its control in Syria and Iraq.

TBP and Agencies

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

“Security” In the West’s Client States

By ANDRE VLTCHEK | CounterPunch | November 21, 2014

Perhaps you thought that the security at the Atlanta or Newark, or Dallas airports is bad, obnoxious, the worst in the world… Think twice… Of course it all began there, in the United States, from the first glory days of that hypocritical and deranged “War On Terror”: the humiliation of people, especially Arabs, especially Muslims, especially all those who are not white, but eventually everybody, at least to some degree.

But it did not just stay there. The allies joined in almost immediately, and then the ‘client’ states jumped on the bandwagon, competing in tactics and strategies of how most to humiliate those confused and helpless passengers, by censoring internet sites, digging into emails, monitoring mobile phone communications, and relentlessly spying on both citizens and foreigners.

I have travelled all over the world, to some of the most imaginable and unimaginable places. All the while being monitored and harassed, threatened and periodically attacked, even physically, I have also spread many counter-punches: I have observed, recorded, and published, who does what to whom, who is the most diligent, methodical, and ruthless bully?

Unsurprisingly, the toughest surveillance comes from Western allies and ‘client’ states, all over the world – from places that Washington, London and Paris routinely call ‘thriving democracies’.

Countries that have collapsed socially strive to impress their Western neo-colonial masters, by imposing increasingly harsh security and surveillance measures against their own people. At the same time, they are full-heartedly and enthusiastically signing up to the bizarre, ‘War on Terror’. It gives the local rulers many privileges. If they play it right, their gross human rights violations, and even their killing of the opposition, is not scrutinized.

***

When I recently worked in South Africa, I was told that the country is now one of the freest on earth. It has nothing to hide and it is not particularly afraid of scrutiny.

“You can photograph here, whatever you want, and nobody will tell you anything”, many of my South African friends explained to me, in Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg, as well as by those living abroad.

It is true. In fact, after few days there, you can easily forget that there are any restrictions, like a ban on filming or photographing police stations or navy ships. Nobody would ever stop you from taping, for instance, battleships at the Simon’s Town base.

South Africa is a proud BRICS country, a left-wing beacon on the African continent and, together with neighboring Zimbabwe, a target of an aggressive negative Western propaganda campaign.

Just as in South Africa, not once was I stopped from filming or photographing in Zimbabwe. And not once was I intimidated, harassed or humiliated by their immigration or customs at the airports.

That is in stark contrast with the West’s allies on the continent – Rwanda, Uganda, Djibouti, Kenya, Ivory Coast or Senegal, to name just a few.

It is not just that ‘everything is forbidden’ there, but ‘violators’ can easily be arrested, harassed, even ‘disappeared’.

When making my film, “Rwanda Gambit”, about Paul Kagame’s monstrous regime, and about the genocide it had been committing (on behalf of the Western powers) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I tried to film with a small Leica, at the border between Rwanda and DR Congo, at the Gisenyi/Goma crossing. Within a few seconds later, an enormous Congolese soldier grabbed me and began pulling me towards the border post. I have been arrested in Goma once before, and I knew what it amounts to – what it is to rot in the underground intelligence bunker cut off from the outside world.

I was almost certain that, that time, I would not make it out alive. And so I screamed for help in the direction of the Rwandese soldiers who were watching the scene from the other side of the borderline. It is not that they were really eager to help, but the disappearance of a US citizen, an investigative journalist at that, would be an extra, and unnecessary ‘annoyance’. And so they went to work, grabbing my free hand and pulling me back towards Rwanda. The enormous Congolese man in the end lost, and I survived.

All of this over just a few shots! Nobody would ever even think about preventing me from filming on, say the border between Argentina and Chile, or Vietnam and China!

In Rwanda itself, absolutely everything is forbidden, and everybody snitches on everybody. It is forbidden to photograph the streets, the hospitals, and museums, even the genocide memorial! It is strictly banned to photograph or to film their villages, In order to film military installations or prisons, I had to attach a Drift camera to the undercarriage of my car.

In Rwanda and Uganda, everything is under the surveillance. Walls have ears and eyes, so to speak. It is not like surveillance in London, done with high-tech cameras (although these are also beginning to appear); people simply spy on each other, at an unimaginable rate, and the security apparatus appears to be present absolutely everywhere, omnipresent.

But for the West, that is all fine. Both Rwanda and Uganda are plundering DR Congo of Coltan and uranium. The 10 million lives lost there, appears to be just a token price, and the horrors that are occurring in these countries are just some tiny inconvenient episodes not even worth mentioning in the mainstream press.

Security is ‘needed’, in order to maintain ‘order’ – our order.

The humiliation of travellers at Kigali, Kampala or Nairobi airports is indescribable. It is not about security at all, but about a power game, and plain sadism. In Kigali, there are at least 8 ‘security checks’, in Nairobi 6 to 7, depending on the ‘mood’ at the airport.

Three years ago, on behalf of the West (mainly US, UK and Israel), Kenya attacked the oil-rich part of Somalia, where it is now committing atrocities. Its state apparatus also perpetrated several attacks against its own civilian targets, blaming all of them on the al-Qaida linked movement, al-Shabaab. It was done in order to justify the ‘security measures’.

Now there are metal detectors in front of every department store, hotel or office-building in Nairobi. When I, earlier this year, photographed the entrance to a prison, I was literally kidnapped, thrown into the jail and informed: “We will treat you as a terrorist, as an al-Shabaab member, unless you prove that you are not.”

The slightest argument with the Kenyan military forces, or with the corrupt and outrageously arrogant police, leads to detention. And there are cases of people being harassed, sexually molested, even tortured and killed in detention.

The security forces in East Africa cooperate, as the security forces cooperated in the dark years of the fascist military dictatorships in South America.

As I was walking with my friends through Kampala, a huge lone figure slowly walked towards us.

“That is one of the butchers and he comes from Kenya”, I was told. “He tortures and kills people that pose a danger to this regime… He does things no local person would dare to do. Our countries exchange the most sadistic interrogators; ours go to Kenya, Kenyans come here.”

I recalled that even Paul Kagame, now the President of Rwanda, used to serve as the Chief of the Military Intelligence in Uganda.

Yes, the Newark and Houston airport security is bad, and the surveillance in the West is outrageous, but it is being taken to insane extremes in the ‘colonies’.

In Djibouti, which is basically a military enclave of the French Legionnaires, the US air force and other European armed forces (Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea and Ethiopia are all just a stone-throw away), I once complained at the airport that my passport was being checked twice within a distance of 10 feet. As a result, a huge soldier grabbed me, tore my shirt, threw me against the wall, and then smashed my professional camera against a concrete wall. All this happened in front of the horrified passengers of Kenya Airways. That, I found somehow intolerable. It pissed me off so much that I got up, ready to confront the soldier, no matter what. But the horrified voice of a Kenya Airways’ manager stopped me: “Sir, please leave it at this… They can just kill you, and nothing will happen to them. They can do anything they want!”

In Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire), which is yet another French military dependency, and generally a loyal servant to Western interests in West Africa, ‘security’ is the main excuse for keeping undesirable elements, like myself, away from the country. Earlier this year I embarked on a journey there to investigate the chocolate empire activities of the Ukrainian President Poroshenko. Ivory Coast is the biggest producer of cocoa in the world, and ‘the Chocolate King’ is apparently involved in many unsavory practices there.

The authorities were tipped off in advance that I was coming, and the charade began from the moment I landed. I was ordered to produce my yellow fever certificate, which was inside my bag. As I began searching for it, I was roughly ushered into a small room full of sick people quarantine – and informed that I was to be vaccinated again. I found the certificate just a few seconds later, and went out to present it to the authorities. “Back!” they shouted at me. Wait inside for your turn, and tell the doctor that you have found it. The wait turned out to be 2 hours long. Later, I was told that a visa on arrival is no longer available. For days I had to go to the immigration office, from morning to the evening. For days I was fingerprinted and photographed. I clearly saw that wires were disconnected from their computer, every time my turn came round. “Your fingers are not good for fingerprinting! Go to the hospital and bring a certificate that they are not good!” Going there costs US$100 a time, and another wasted day in Abidjan. The hospital said that my fingers were just fine. I had to bribe them to write that they were not.

French military camp in Ivory Coast

The US embassy was clearly aware of what was happening. They even sent an officer to ‘assist me’. I showed him that the wires had been pulled out from the computer. “We cannot interfere in other country’s internal affairs”, he explained.

Then, on the last day, when my visa was finally issued, a lady from the US embassy whispered into the phone: “Well, if you write what you do, you must be ready for the consequences”. ‘Honest person’, I thought.

I am almost ‘embarrassed’ to write this, but I have driven on many occasions, all over China (PRC), around at least 8,000 kilometers, but have never been prevented from photographing or filming anything. I have hours and hours of footage and thousands of photographs from many corners of the nation.

A stark, almost grotesque contrast is India, the ‘largest democracy on earth’, according to the Western assessment.

There, nothing is allowed. Forget about filming the battleships near Mumbai (even the Soviet Union does not care – they would put their battleships on the Neva river in Leningrad during celebrations, for everyone to admire and to photograph them, which I did, as a child, when visiting my grandmother). You cannot even photograph that idiot Clive, inside the Victoria Monument in Calcutta.

In India, surveillance is everywhere. It is the perfect police state.

You need a local SIM card in Beijing? Even in the middle of the night, you just go to any kiosk and buy one, no questions asked, no paperwork.

In India, to get a SIM card is one tremendous saga, monstrous bureaucracy, spiced by demands for all sorts of documents and information.

You want to use the internet at New Delhi airport? You have to provide your name, your telephone number, and your email address! I invent names, like Antonio Mierdez or Amorsita Lopez; sometimes it works, sometimes not. In China, you just stick the front page of a passport onto a scanner, and get password within ten seconds. In South Africa, there is not even need for that – the internet is open and free.

And then, those legendary, those epic security checks in India!

The Indian state appears to be thoroughly paranoid, scared of anyone trying to document the reality.

It has developed an allergy to writers, investigative journalists, film-makers and photographers, especially those that happen to be ‘independent’, therefore ‘unpredictable’ and potentially capable of challenging the clichés fabricated in Washington, London and New Delhi, that depict the country as the ‘largest democracy on earth’.

To fight against such threatening elements, the Indian regime, which consists of the moneyed elites, feudal lords, religious fanatics and the military brass, have become pathologically obsessed with security, with surveillance, with relentless checking on things, and people. I have never witnessed such security zeal, even in countries that are under a direct threat from the West: such as Cuba or China.

Even domestic flights in India, from smaller cities like Varanasi or Jaipur, require an entire chain of security steps. Your passport or ID is checked on at least 10 occasions. As you enter the airport, a few steps later, before you are allowed to check in, when you are checking in, as you are entering the departure area, when you are in the departure area (that one is grand – you are forced to step on a platform and everything is checked), when you are entering the departure gate and when you are leaving it for the plane door. Sometimes there are additional checks. It is all, mostly, very rude.

India - if not sure, call police or army

In Turkey, everything is censored. From my official website to ‘Sitemeter’, even the Hong Kong MTR and Beijing and Shenzhen subway maps (maybe just in case someone wants to compare those pathetic subway developments in Istanbul and Ankara, to those in China).

When I called the guest relations supervisor at the four star ‘Kalyon Hotel’ in Istanbul, where I was staying in November 2014, I was told that she “does not know what internet provider is used by the hotel”, but that censorship is actually part of a “security program”, which in turn is part of “the hotel policy”, or vice versa.

How honest!

She actually kindly suggested that I bring my Mac ‘downstairs’, so the IT manager could “do something with it”. I very politely, declined, remembering an experience two years earlier, at the Sheraton in Istanbul, where the ‘IT manager’ actually installed some spy wear, which totally and immediately corrupted my computer, my email addresses, turning my operating system into something that has since been insisting on functioning almost exclusively in the Turkish language. When I complained over the phone, he, the IT manager, went upstairs, kicked my door, rolled up his sleeves and he let me know that this matter could be settled most effectively, outside the hotel, most likely in the street.

***

It may sound bizarre, but in the countries literally besieged by hostility from the Empire, like Cuba or even North Korea, security appears to be much more lax than in the nations where the elites are terrified of their own poor majority.

I don’t remember going through any security, in order to enter a theatre or a hotel in Havana. In Pyongyang, North Korea, there are no metal detectors at entrances to shopping centers, or subway stations.

It goes without saying that one is monitored more closely by the security cameras and armies of cops in London or New York, than in Hanoi or Beijing.

The most common mode of modern communication – the mobile phone – is regulated much less or monitored in Vietnam, China or Venezuela, than in India, Japan, or Europe. In fact, Japan recently even discontinued the sale of pre-paid SIM cards; every number has to be meticulously registered and issued only after signing an elaborate contract.

As I keep reporting, the world is full of stereotypes and clichés. Countries are not judged by rational analyses and comparisons, but by chimeras created by commercial mass media, especially those in the West.

Three countries in Latin America are still living the nightmare of the ‘Monroe Doctrine’: Honduras, Paraguay and Colombia. In Paraguay and Honduras, the West basically managed to overthrow progressive governments and installed fascist regimes, not unlike those that reigned all over the continent during Ronald Reagan and Otto Reich’s days. Colombia has been, for decades, a US ‘client’ state.

Bogota, Colombia - dare not

Surveillance in all three countries is monstrous, and so are gangs and death-squads.

But you would not guess it. If you read Western reports, including those produced by Reporters Without Borders, you would think that the true villains are actually countries like Venezuela and Cuba. But then, you look closely, and see who organizations like Reporters Without Borders are playing with… And surprise-surprise: you will discover names like Otto Reich among them!

When Thailand, another staunch ally of the West and a shamelessly servile state, began photographing people at the airports and borders, I asked an immigration officer in Bangkok, where all the data goes. She answered, without any hesitation: “To your country!” That is, to the United States.

Borneo, Malasia - new wave of Surveilance

Malaysia and its immigration used to be quite different – relaxed and easy. But then, earlier this year, Obama came aboard his diplomatic tank. I landed in Kuala Lumpur just an hour after his Air Force One had touched town. What did I encounter? A fingerprinting machine at KLIA! Obama left, but the machines are still there. To spy on people, to fingerprint and photograph them, is apparently one of the conditions of being a good friend of the West. That would never have happened in the era of Dr. M!

Even Japan now photographs and fingerprints people arriving from abroad! Japan where one can even easily and freely photograph combat air force bases (some of them, including those in Okinawa, have viewing terraces for tourists, all around them) is now also spying on people! That is, obviously, one of the rules laid down by the gang that is ruling the world.

Of course the Western allies of the United States are not much better.

Do you still remember how Europeans were bitching about having to take of their shoes at US airports? What has happened now? They do it, without protesting, at their own airports, in London, Paris, Munich, everywhere.

In fact, the most repulsive security I have ever encountered in the West was at CDG, in Paris. I was taking a night flight on Asiana Airlines, from Paris to Seoul. The flight was full of Korean tourists in their seventies and eighties. The tables were set up, sadistically, far away from the X-ray machines, so the poor old people had to carry their bags and belongings quite a long distance. Security personnel were yelling at them, insulting them. I protested, on behalf of the Koreans. A tough French dude came up to me and began insulting me. I asked for his name. He turned around and mooned me, in public. He took down his pants and showed me his hairy ass. “My name is Nicolas Sarkozy”, he said. In a way he was right…

Once I arrived very early in the morning, in Darwin, Australia, after working in East Timor. My electronic travel authorization was for ‘tourism’. The unfriendly immigration officer was clearly on her power trip: “What are you going to do in Australia?” I told her I would be meeting some of my academic friends in Sydney.” “That is work, academic exchange!” she barked at me. “You requested a tourist permit.” I explained that we would just have dinner together, perhaps get pissed”. That was the typical Aussie-type of tourism, I thought. The interrogation began and went on for 2 hours. As the sun was rising, I had had enough: “Then deport me!” Of course she did not. Humiliating people was simply a form of entertainment, or how to kill a couple of boring hours. Or how to show people where they really belong!

How free and proud one should feel entering that great world of Western democracies!

One has to lie, of course. Once I was held for 4 hours by the Canadian immigration services, entering from the US by car. Why? I told the truth, that I was coming to interview Roma (Gypsy) people fleeing from persecution in the Czech Republic (a staunch ally of the West).

Leaving Israel is beyond anything that I have ever experienced elsewhere in the world. Especially once Mossad realized that I had come to trash Israel for its treatment of Palestinian people, and for its foreign policy.

We commonly end up discussing my grandparents, my books, and my films. I have already commented: no woman in my life, not even my own mother, wanted to know so much about all the details of my existence, as Mossad agents at the airport! And none of them has ever listened so attentively!

Golan Heights - Israel carved into Syria

I am totally exhausted from all that freedom given to me by the West and its allies.

My email addresses are corrupted and I don’t even know which publication or television network is actually receiving my stuff. There is absolutely no way to tell. I have no idea which immigration service will screw me next, and how.

I have already got buggered about by the security in Colombia, Canada, Indonesia, Kenya, Djibouti, Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Kenya, the US (entering from Mexico), Bahrain and Australia… I can hardly remember, there is much more…

It is all turning into a game of Russian roulette.

My African, Indian, Arab and Latin American friends and colleagues are, of course, going through much deeper shit.

The question that I keep asking myself is very simple: “What are they all so afraid of?” I don’t mean the US and Europe – those are control freaks and they simply don’t want to lose their control of the world… There, it is all transparent and clear.

But it is not as clear elsewhere: what about those regimes in India and Turkey, in Honduras and Kenya, in Indonesia (you have to show your passport or the national ID, even to board a long distance train!) and Bahrain?

What are they fighting for or against? Who is their enemy?

police state Egypt

They are fighting against their own people, aren’t they?

Their ‘War on Terror’ is their war against the majority. The majority are the terror. The West is the guarantee of the status quo.

They – the elites and their masters in the West – watch in panic that in many parts of the world, the people are actually winning.

That is why the security in the West’s ‘client’ states is on the increase. The war against the people goes on. This war is one of the last and brutal spasms of feudalism and imperialism.

Check everything and spy on everybody, so nothing changes, nothing moves. But things are moving, and fast! And all those lies, and surveillance cameras, fingerprints and the ‘disappearing’ of people will not be able to prevent progress. They will never manage to smash the people’s dreams of living in societies free of fear!

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Riyadh nips Hezbollah-Future Movement dialogue in the bud

Al-Akhbar | November 21, 2014

Riyadh has ‘red-lighted’ the planned dialogue between Hezbollah and the Future Movement before it even began. The Saudi call for Hezbollah to be put on the list of terrorist organizations made at the United Nations threatens to renew tension between the two sides, following an undeclared truce in the media that did not last for more than a few days.

Is there a fixed Saudi, and consequently Gulf policy, vis-à-vis Lebanon? Are these countries really keen on the stability of this country, as they claim, when they hardly spare any occasion to exacerbate its divisions? These questions and others are being asked after the new Saudi escalation against Hezbollah, which is likely to aggravate the already complex situation in Lebanon and the region.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Nations Abdallah al-Mouallimi called on the UN Security Council on Wednesday to place the Resistance Party on the list of terrorist organizations. In a special session on terrorism, Mouallimi called for punishing Hezbollah and other groups including the Abu al Fadl al Abbas Brigade, the League of the Righteous, and other “terrorist organizations fighting in Syria.”

Al-Akhbar learned that as a result of the new Saudi position, contacts will be made with Riyadh over the next few days to contain possible reactions. Well-placed sources warned against negative repercussions from the Saudi move over the ‘preliminary dialogue’ between Hezbollah and the Future Movement.

The sources expressed concern that this could put an end to the de-escalation that begun when Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, speaking during the Shia Muslim commemorations of Ashura, welcomed dialogue with the Future Movement. The sources told Al-Akhbar that the Saudi move, in addition to the sudden re-activation of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) after a long period of inactivity, by summoning political witnesses, will create tensions in the country, and are indicative of a Saudi veto on dialogue between the Future Movement and Hezbollah.

The sources asked, “How do the Saudis explain their position when barely two months have passed since their ambassador in Beirut Ali Awad Asiri celebrated his country’s National Day surrounded by deputies from Hezbollah? Why has Saudi Arabia made this call two days after the GCC summit, and as the UAE – which is influenced to a large extent by Riyadh’s position – placed a number of organizations on its terror list not including Hezbollah?”

The sources deduced that the Saudi policy is not yet ready to restore its balance in Lebanon and the region. The sources also had questions about Saudi-Israeli ‘intersection’ over trying to smear Hezbollah’s image as a resistance movement and link it to terrorism, something that Tel Aviv has sought for very long.

The sources described Mouallimi’s speech at the UN as a ‘sound bubble’ that will have no results, recalling Nasrallah’s declaration that Hezbollah will be where it has to be in Syria. They said the Saudi UN envoy’s move “demonstrates real disappointment in the ranks of the Saudi leadership over the failure of its project in Syria, with [Saudi]… making random accusations right and left.”

The sources pointed out that the Saudi envoy, in the course of justifying his call, cited the emergence of terror groups like ISIS and others, which he linked to the “practices of the Syrian regime” and the “sectarian policies of some countries,” rather than Saudi and Gulf support for these groups. The sources added, “Saudi Arabia is among the top supporters of terrorist Takfiri groups in Syria, which makes its talk about fighting terrorism lacking in any seriousness.”

The sources then linked the Saudi position to “growing concerns in the ranks of the Saudi leadership over the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and real fear from the possibility of the parties reaching an agreement that would undermine the Saudi leadership’s hopes to step up the siege on Iran.”

The sources ruled out any practical effect of the Saudi position in light of the current balance of power in the international organization, and in light of the responses the Saudi envoy heard regarding his proposal.

Iran’s envoy at the United Nations Gholam Hossein Dehghani had responded to Mouallimi’s call by emphasizing the need to make a distinction between legitimate resistance and terrorism, and the need to support the resistance. He also criticized regional countries for failing to match their words with deeds, and said that few governments in the region have taken the threat seriously, while the rest did not control their borders, did not stop ISIS from recruiting, and did not stop the flow of financial support to these “criminal organizations.”

For his part, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari accused Saudi Arabia of backing terrorism in the region, denouncing the inconsistencies in its diagnosis of the roots of terrorism. He said that al-Qaeda and its ilk had all grown thanks to Saudi patronage in Afghanistan. Jaafari also said that the carnage in Syria is supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, citing the call by 72 Saudi clerics for people to go for “jihad” in Syria, and wondered whether the Saudi government was serious about fighting terrorism.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Synagogue killings on the site of an Israeli massacre of Palestinians

On the Contrary | November 21, 2014

The moral lesson of the “Nazi Holocaust” is supposed to be that humanity must not forget what happened. Yet many of the beneficiaries of “Holocaust” sympathy and reparations have worked to make certain that  the world does not remember the mass murder of Arabs by Israelis. The 2100 Palestinians killed by the Israelis last summer are now all but forgotten in the US media; and the cruel irony of having this week’s synagogue attack in west Jerusalem occur on the site of the village of Deir Yassin, where the massacre of Palestinians by Israeli terrorists occurred, and where the village once stood, is completely lost on the oblivious US media. For this writer, as a student of the religion of Orthodox Judaism, the media’s indifference would appear to be the result of having drank too often at the trough of Talmudic mentality, in which the lives of Judaic persons are more valued and highly prized than those of their enemies and victims. Prof. McGowan elaborates in a note to Mr. Avnery:

In the wake of the recent events in the synagogue at Har Nof, Uri Avnery has written an article which you can read here. Like all his work, Avnery’s article is informative, original and beautifully written. But it has a glaring omission.

11/21/14

Dear Uri:

I know that you realize that the Har Nof neighborhood in West Jerusalem, where four rabbis and a police officer were recently murdered, is built on the lands of Deir Yassin, the Arab village which no longer exists, that was the site of the 1948 massacre, which according to Menachem Begin, was pivotal to the founding of the Jewish state. This was an early massacre in the Nakba (“catastrophe” i.e. the Israeli conquest of Palestine); there were many more to follow, but it struck fear among Palestinians, causing many to flee, also giving the Jews an angle for campaigns of terror, which they visited on other Palestinian villages, basically “Get out or we’ll do to you what we did in Deir Yassin.”


It is interesting to ask why the media, which has been all over this synagogue massacre, mentions nothing about what happened on this site on April 9, 1948?

Why does Wikipedia fail to even cite Deir Yassin in its history of Har Nof?

The picture (above) of Har Nof is taken from Yad Vashem, the most prestigous Holocaust memorial.  The water tower at the top right is next to the main buildings of Deir Yassin, which today serves as a mental hospital, mostly for those suffering with too much religion, an affliction also known as “The Jerusalem Syndrome.”

At Yad Vashem all visitors, and especially American politicians, are repeatedly told to “Never forget.”  At Deir Yassin the message is “Never mind.”  

There is not even a signpost among the old Arab buildings to indicate that it was once a prosperous Arab village of about 750 people.

In building the Har Nof settlement much of the Deir Yassin cemetery was destroyed.  The rest is now littered with trash and condoms.  Har Nof children have been seen digging up Arab graves.  (Imagine the outcry had they been desecrating Jewish graves.)  Apartment buildings of Har Nof are built on the old quarry where villagers were executed and their bodies dumped and burned on April 10, 1948.

The ironies are breathtaking.  But some of us still remember.

http://www.deiryassin.org

Daniel McGowan
Professor Emeritus, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Three shot with live ammunition during Nabi Saleh protest

International Solidarity Movement | November 22, 2014

Nabi Saleh, Occupied Palestine – Israeli forces shot and injured three Palestinians participating in a weekly Friday demonstration in the village of Nabi Saleh. Soldiers fired .22 caliber bullets, a form of live ammunition which has maimed and killed many Palestinians, even as Israel continues to claim it as a “less lethal” way of assaulting demonstrators.

Yesterday at noon between forty and fifty Palestinians, Israelis, international activists and journalists marched down from the center of Nabi Saleh towards a water spring stolen by a nearby illegal settlement. The Israeli forces awaited them down the road with two military jeeps and a police jeep. Some youths threw stones towards the military vehicles. Soldiers and police fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators as the group walked down the road.

10264252_10152342771751371_410670047206244918_o-600x468After a brief period of calm, a police jeep equipped with a tear gas dispenser drove up and down the road, firing tear gas at protesters. A few suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, including a boy under the age of ten.

In addition to continuing to fire rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas, soldiers also began to shoot .22 live ammunition. Two seventeen-year-old boys were shot while throwing stones, one in the thigh and one in both the hand and foot. One Israeli soldier fired at a child under the age of twelve as the boy was running away up the hill beside the road.

Nariman Tamimi, a thirty-eight-year-old woman from the village, was shot in the thigh at close range with a .22 bullet. Israeli soldiers shot her in front of her children and family, driving away and leaving her in the road. She was taken away for medical treatment, where she underwent surgery, and currently remains in hospital.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Rapper may face 25 years in prison over ‘gangsta rap’ album

By Robert Bridge | RT | November 22, 2014

Brandon Duncan has no criminal record, but could face a life sentence of 25 years in prison as prosecutors say his latest album lent artistic motivation for a recent string of gang-related shootings.

San Diego County prosecutors have charged Duncan, 33, with nine felonies connected to a wave of gang-related shootings in the California city. Although the musician has not been charged with discharging or providing firearms in the recent shootings, prosecutors say his musical lyrics encourage gang behavior.

Duncan’s latest album, entitled “No Safety,” features a photograph of a revolver with bullets on the cover.

The gangsta rapper, who is being held on $1 million bail, is scheduled to head to court in December. If found guilty of felony charges, Duncan could serve a life sentence of 25 years in prison, his lawyer said.

San Diego police say Duncan is a gang member, who goes by the name TD.

In 2000, California, faced with an increase in gang-related violence, passed Proposition 21, which takes aim at any individual “who actively participates in any criminal street gang with knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity.”

Prosecutors, citing a section of the law, argued that Duncan, through his music and gang affiliations “willfully promotes, furthers, or assists in any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang.”

“We’re not just talking about a CD of anything, of love songs. We’re talking about a CD (cover)… There is a revolver with bullets,” said Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

Duncan’s lawyer, Brian Watkins, disputes the claim, saying the prosecution’s use of an obscure California law is “absolutely unconstitutional” and impedes his client’s First Amendment right to the freedom of speech.

“It’s no different than Snoop Dogg or Tupac,” Watkins, naming other rappers known for their controversial lyrics, said. “It’s telling the story of street life.”

“If we are trying to criminalize artistic expression, what’s next, Brian De Palma and Al Pacino?” said Watkins, in reference to the 1983 movie “Scarface” directed by De Palma and starring Pacino.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama secretly extends US combat operation in Afghanistan

status_quobama

RT | November 22, 2014

President Barack Obama has secretly signed an order that expands the United States’ direct combat role in Afghanistan throughout 2015, the New York Times reported.

Signed over the last few weeks, the secret order permits American forces to continue to battle the Taliban and other militants that pose a threat to either the Afghan government or US personnel. According to the Times, US jets, bombers, and drones will be able to aid ground troops – be they Afghan or US forces – in whatever mission they undertake.

Under the order, ground troops could join Afghan troops on missions, and airstrikes could be carried out in their support.

If true, this marks a significant expansion of America’s role in Afghanistan in 2015. Previously, President Obama said US forces would not be involved in combat operations once the new year begins. He did say troops would continue training Afghan forces and track down remaining Al-Qaeda members.

Obama signed the secret order after tense debates within the administration. The military reportedly argued that it would allow the US to keep the pressure on the Taliban and other groups should details emerge that they are planning to attack American troops. Civilian aides, meanwhile, said the role of combat troops should be limited to counter-terror missions against Al-Qaeda.

The Times said an administration official painted the secret order’s authorization as a win for the military… Full article

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment