Recent protests held across North America and Europe staged by supporters of armed militants in Syria have staged scenes in Western streets eerily similar to those featured in the photos and videos of the US-European funded “Syrian Civil Defence” also known as the “White Helmets.”
This is not Aleppo, Syria, but rather the streets of Europe where a recent “save Aleppo” protest was staged. Actors posing in fake dust and blood proved just how easy it is for anyone to create “war victims” anytime, anywhere.
Saudi state media, Al Arabiya English would report in an October 1, 2016 article titled, “Worldwide protest against Assad, Russia to ‘save Aleppo’,” that:
The stalling talks between international powers on Syria – with Russia ramping up its air raid campaign – has ignited worldwide protests calling for an end to the horror in Aleppo.
Protestors in Turkey, France, Netherlands, America and Canada took to the streets opposing Bashar al-Assad’s and Russia’s crimes in Aleppo, carrying posters that read “Stop bombing Aleppo” and “Save Aleppo”.
Al Arabiya’s ironic hand-wringing over Syria as Riyadh devastates Yemen with its own aerial bombardment and ground incursion, attempts to portray eastern Aleppo as a horrific cauldron where “where more than 250,000 civilians are trapped without food or clean water.”
And while undoubtedly war is raging in eastern Aleppo, it should be noted that the vast majority of Aleppo’s population – 1.75 million in fact – live in the government-controlled majority of Aleppo. But despite this reality, the West and its allies – including Saudi Arabia – have attempted to use their sway over international public opinion to exaggerate Syrian security operations and fabricate a “humanitarian catastrophe” to serve as yet another pretext for wider Western intervention.
Central to this appeal to public opinion has been the so-called “White Helmets,” also referred to as the “Syrian Civil Defence” despite the nation of Syria already having a legitimate, professional civil defense force.
Posing as an impartial rescue force, the “White Helmets” are transparently auxiliaries serving exclusively side-by-side armed militants including US State Department, UN, and EU designated foreign terrorist organizations. Their primary function is not “rescuing” anyone, but to manage a public relations campaign aimed at swaying public and political opinion, leveraging “humanitarian” sympathy worldwide.
Their primary means of doing this is publishing photos and videos of their members – wearing elaborate, matching uniforms and driving brand new ambulances – pulling dust and blood covered victims from rubble allegedly brought down upon them by Syrian and Russian airstrikes.
The veracity of their photos, videos, and many claims have never been independently verified, and in many cases, evidence suggests that much of what they present to the public across their extensive, well-funded social media presence has been fabricated.
The recent coordinated “save Aleppo” protests held across Europe and North America, perhaps revealed just how transparently fabricated and fictional the “White Helmet’s” work really is. During one protest, photos retweeted by the official “White Helmet’s” Twitter account showed actors dressed up as “war victims,” covered in fake dust and blood, appearing almost indistinguishable from the alleged “victims” the “White Helmets” regularly “save” in Syria.
The protest, staged in European streets far from the Syrian conflict, even included children – likewise covered in fake dust and blood – cradled in the arms of adults, posing with despondent looks upon their faces. Also part of the staged scene were actors dressed like the “White Helmets” themselves.
The only difference between admittedly staged scenes in European streets during a recent “save Aleppo” protest, and the daily output of the Western created and funded “White Helmets” acting troupe in Syria is that in Syria, the devastation of war provides a much more convincing “set” for the actors to perform on.
While the acting troupe that organized this protest may have thought they were cleverly “bringing the conflict to the streets of Europe” to invoke global sympathy for their cause, what they really proved was just how easy it really is for the “White Helmets” to create “war victims” anytime, anywhere.
In Syria, where years of US-backed violence has left many parts of the country devastated, such staged scenes playing out with the devastation of war as a backdrop become all the much more convincing. With “White Helmet” videos heavily edited before reaching the public, they are able to create tragic scenes of war, anytime, anywhere – even in the streets of Europe thousands of miles away from where Syrian and Russian warplanes are operating.
Their primary goal and that of the special interests funding them tens of millions of dollars, is to manipulate the hearts and minds of the global public in support of Western-backed armed militants – not “save lives” nor bring peace to Syria.
On 29 April, 2016, Syria Solidarity Movement member Vanesa Beeley placed the following petition on Change.org. On or about 27 September, Change.org removed the petition, citing “violation of community standards”. What community standards? Judge for yourself.
DO NOT GIVE THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2016 TO THE SYRIAN WHITE HELMETS
To do so would prolong the suffering of the Syrian people and reward the White Helmets for being US and UK Government funded and trained agents of “regime change” in Syria.
The White Helmets have received over $ 40 million in funding from the US Government [USAID] and the UK Foreign Office despite their claims of being “fiercely independent and accepts no money from governments, corporations or anyone directly involved in the Syrian conflict”
The UK and US governments are involved in the illegal war against Syria and are intent upon “regime change” in Syria, therefore they are “directly involved in the conflict”.
The White Helmets claim to be “unarmed and neutral” while embedded in areas occupied solely by Al Nusra [Al Qaeda] and ISIS.
They are armed.
They have been photographed and filmed supporting Al Nusra/Al Qaeda who are foreign mercenaries massacring the Syrian people.
The White Helmets foment sectarianism in Syria, calling for the “burning of Kafarya and Foua”, Shia villages in the Idlib area besieged for 5 years by US NATO backed terrorist mercenaries, Ahrar al Sham and Al Nusra.
The White Helmets have assisted in Al Nusra/Al Qaeda executions of civilians in Aleppo [please see evidence in the video]
The White Helmets have been responsible for the majority of anti Syrian Army and Government propaganda, calling for the familiar “No Fly Zone” which, if it had succeeded, would have reduced Syria to the same failed state scenario as we have seen in Libya.
The White Helmets leader, Raed Saleh has just been deported from the US where White Helmet backers USAID [US Government] were about to present him with an award. The US State Department have stated possible connections to “extremist organisations” as the reason.
However the US State Department have made the extraordinary statement that although the White Helmet leader and chief spokesperson to UN and White House is linked with terrorism, the White Helmet Group is miraculously unaffected.
Please bear in mind that George Bush destroyed Iraq and Libya on the pretext of nothing more than their “connections to Al Qaeda”
The White Helmets are Al Qaeda “with a facelift”. They are terrorism and neocolonialism under the umbrella of Humanitarianism.
For the sake of Syria, please do NOT give the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Qaeda aka the Syrian White Helmets.
With Steve Ezzedine’s video:
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – Israeli forces put up a CCTV observation tower in the Ibrahimi mosque area, further increasing not only their all-encompassing surveillance of Palestinians, but also their slow but steady illegal annexation of more and more Palestinian land in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron).
At the end of last week, Israeli forces in a ‘secret’ over-night action put up the observation tower, surrounded by dozens of cement blocks and barbed-wire. Located in a corner between Palestinian houses, the observation post with a container and all the surrounding paraphernalia is just another step in the illegal annexation of yet more land. In recent weeks, Israeli forces have increased their illegal annexations of the tiny strip of Shuhada Street still accessible to Palestinian pedestrians and stepped up the game of creating a coercive environment directly leading to forced displacement of Palestinians in the Tel Rumeida area.
CCTV surveillance tower newly put up in Palestinian neighborhood
This observation tower is fitted with a camera that reaches high above the houses in the neighborhood, thus watching Palestinians constantly. This feeling of permanently being watched for Palestinians is combined with the ever present controls and humiliations at the more-and-more militarized checkpoints. Palestinians are watched, humiliated, numbered, deprived of their most basic human rights – occupied not only physically by the Israeli occupation forces, but also mentally. They can never tell whether they’ll be allowed through a checkpoint (something that solely depends on the respective soldiers whim), whether their children will be tear-gassed on their way to school or arrested, or even whether they’ll be gunned down by Israeli forces at a checkpoint and left to bleed to death. Any and all of these forms of collective punishment are enforced by the Israeli occupying forces on the entire population of civilians in complete disregard of any care for international law or humane treatment of the occupied indigenous Palestinian population.
The Tel Rumeida neighborhood, Shuhada Street, and the area around the Ibrahimi Mosque are already linked by a settler-only street that has been ethnically cleansed of Palestinians in the aftermath of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre. Restrictions in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood (declared a ‘closed military zone’ solely enforced on Palestinian residents for almost a year now) and around the Ibrahimi Mosque (where Palestinians are often prevented from passing checkpoints on a age-limit between 15-30) have escalated in a very short amount of time, making life for the Palstinians as hard – or rather impossible – as possible, leaving them with no choice than to leave. The only and clear aim is the forcible transfer of all Palestinians in this area, thus geographically linking the illegal settlements in an area ethnically cleansed of any Palestinian presence.
CCTV camero on top of the surveillance tower
By Richard Hugus | Aletho News | October 3, 2016
When it comes to Syria, the supposedly “alternative” media outlet, “Democracy Now!” promotes a line no different from the US State Department. In its September 29, 2016 broadcast, “Democracy Now!” co-host Narmine Shaikh describes a “devastating bombing campaign by the Syrian government and Russia in the city of Aleppo” three days earlier, saying that “the two largest hospitals in Aleppo were forced to close after being hit by airstrikes.”
The broadcast implies that, for no reason, public hospitals in Aleppo were intentionally bombed by Syria and Russia. There is no explanation of why they would do this. No proof is given that the hospitals were operational, whether they were in fact bombed, who bombed them, or who controlled them. Instead, in the background, we see videos of blasted buildings and innocent people, including a small child, apparently being rescued from the rubble of collapsed buildings. The video implies that this was done by the Syrian government and Russia, but the time and place of the footage is not provided. The footage of the rescue of the small child carries the logo of the western propaganda NGO, the White Helmets, and has no credibility. Amy Goodman describes this group as “Syria civil defense forces” but Vanessa Beeley has reported that Syria has a real civil defense organization, which the White Helmets are not a part of; the White Helmets are USAID-funded impostors making propaganda videos to demonize Russia and Assad. Beeley also reports:
“Western media infers that those being targeted are civilians, not members of the Nusra Front and other foreign-funded terrorist brigades, and that all these “civilians” are being mercilessly bombed by Russian and Syrian air strikes.
All three main hospitals are fully occupied by the various armed insurgencies led by the Nusra Front, according to Dr. Hayak [a doctor in non-occupied Aleppo], who said they use the top floors as sniper towers.”
Without comment, “Democracy Now!” plays a clip in which President Obama says, “the key in Syria now is that, unless we can get the parties involved to realize they are just burning their country to the ground . . . there’s going to be a limit to what we can do.” Obama promotes the idea that Syria is in the midst of a terrible civil war and that the most the US can do there is “to mitigate the pain and suffering those folks are undergoing.” How generous of the US! Why doesn’t it just end its massive support for the killers that are attacking and occupying Syria? The question would not be raised by “Democracy Now!”.
By showing dramatic footage of bombed buildings and injured civilians and blaming it on the Syrian government and Russia, “Democracy Now!” is providing everything the US needs to finally claim that it must carry out another “humanitarian war,” this time against Syria. A key promoter of this Orwellian concept is Samantha Power, who, as US ambassador to the UN, barely conceals the contempt she and her fellow neocons have for the rest of the world. In an insulting an officious tone, this instigator of war called Russia “barbaric” for its alleged bombing of Aleppo. “Democracy Now!” airs a clip showing Ban Ki Moon saying the same thing. Though he does not name Russia or Syria, we are led to believe that Russia and the Syrian government were the perpetrators of killing worse than what takes place in “a slaughterhouse.” Of course, when the US kills people, it is always done humanely. Humanitarian killing has been Samantha Power’s specialty since the war on Yugoslavia, where the US and NATO dropped humanitarian bombs on Serbia for 79 straight days.
Two guests appear on the September 29 program, both introduced as grassroots Syrian human rights activists. The first, Osama Nasser, seems to be stumbling over a script he was given to read while Amy Goodman struggles not to look annoyed. Nasser says that Aleppo is being attacked by Russia and Syrian regime forces and that the US is doing nothing to help, as if the US were not already there in any other capacity. For instance, he does not mention the ongoing occupation of Aleppo by US forces cloned from al-Qaeda, and the “Democracy Now!” hosts do nothing to raise this obvious point. Al-Qaeda foreign mercenaries are supposed to be the arch-enemy of the US, so mentioning them would only confuse people. Thanks to other news sources, we know that the Syrian army and Russia are fighting to force al-Qaeda out of Aleppo.
When Osama Nasser gets through his talking points, on comes the more polished Yasser Munif, speaking from Emerson College in Boston. Munif pushes an idea designed to appeal to western leftists, that since 2011 Syria has been experiencing a domestic grassroots revolution, the main enemy of which is President Assad, who came down on the revolution with brutal repression. Munif does not mention that the 2011 protests were likely orchestrated by Israel and the West in the first place to destabilize Syria. But one would think, if they didn’t get this in 2011, that when they saw their cause being taken over by thousands of mercenaries from other countries, these grassroots revolutionaries would perhaps take a break from the “revolution” to get rid of the invaders. But Munif and other proponents of the so-called grassroots movement insist that all along there has been only one problem – the Syrian government. The US State Department and the Syrian Revolution are, conveniently, in full agreement: Bashar al-Assad is the root of all evil. “Assad must go” is at the top of the list of propaganda points.
In his commentary, Munif says that the Syrian government has used the media “to create a parallel reality” – a phrase taken from whoever creates buzzwords for John Kerry, who said in the same week that Russian-Syrian assertions of the US responsibility for sabotaging a ceasefire made him feel like he was living in “a parallel world.” The world that most other people live in could see that the US was clearly guilty of sabotage.
The propaganda we are seeing in the world today relies on a full 180º overturning of reality. The horrendous crimes being committed by the US, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and others in Syria, as they are carried out, are immediately blamed on the victims of those crimes – the people of Syria — and on Russia, the one nation which has stood up in Syria’s defense. “Democracy Now!” is doing its part in this subterfuge by making sure that liberals and leftists who follow the show are properly misled. It does this by devoting a lot of its program space to good causes, like exposing the epidemic (surely a policy by now) of police murders of blacks on US streets. Indeed, most of the September 29 program was devoted to the then latest murder of Ugandan refugee, Alfred Olango.
But “Democracy Now!” is no different than any of the mainstream media news programs – it omits any analysis of Israel’s role in instigating a war against Arab and Muslim nations, it omits any critique of the power of the Israel lobby, it omits any examination of the neocons and their agenda for Israel, and it omits any coverage of the fact that the September 11, 2001 attacks were planned and carried out by the neocons and others in order to begin the succession of wars that followed. This is by no means a complete list of the services rendered by “Democracy Now!”. The program would not be on the air, getting generous funding and wide exposure, if it were not doing some heavy lifting. The self-righteousness coming off the screen of this supposedly radical left news program makes it even more offensive than Fox News.
More articles by Richard Hugus
Israeli authorities have decided to close the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the heart of the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), to Palestinians, Muslim worshipers and non-Jewish visitors for seven non-consecutive days.
Yousif Ideis, the Palestinian minister of endowment and religious affairs, said on Sunday that the sacred site will be closed to Palestinians and non-Jews on October 3, 4, 9, 12, 18, 19 and 26.
Israeli officials have said the shutdown is aimed at maintaining security in the wake of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), Sukkot (Feast of Booths) and Simchat Torah holidays.
Ideis added that dozens of illegal Israeli settlers broke into the mosque courtyard on Saturday night amid protection by Israeli troopers.
In the meantime, Israeli authorities are closing all passageways between the blockaded Gaza Strip and Israel, as well as between the occupied West Bank and Israel for Rosh Hashanah.
Israeli officials regularly impose stringent restrictions for Palestinians during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes.
The constraints include denied access to the Ibrahimi Mosque, which is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims and has been the site of violent tensions between Israelis and Palestinians for decades.
On February 25, 1994, at least 29 Palestinians were killed and 125 others wounded when American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein opened fire on a large number of Palestinian Muslims, who had gathered inside the Ibrahimi Mosque to say prayers during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
The occupied territories have already been the scene of increased tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.
Nearly 250 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.
One of Europe’s poorest nations could be about to see a major political upheaval. In a few weeks, Moldova will hold its first direct presidential election in 20 years. It’s being driven by a ground-swell of public discontent, as Ilya Petrenko explains.
The following is a translation of the report issued monthly by Palestinian organizations working on prisoners’ issues: Prisoners Affairs Committee; Palestinian Prisoners; Society; Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights and Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. The report was issued on Monday, 3 October and translated by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. Photo for illustration purposes.
Israeli occupation forces arrested 436 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in September 2016, including 73 children and 11 women (including 3 minor girls.)
151 of those arrests took place in the Jerusalem Governorate, 81 in Al-Khalil, 40 in Bethlehem, 40 in Nablus, 35 in Jenin, 32 in Ramallah and El-Bireh, 23 in Tulkarem, eight in Qalqilya, six in Tubas, six in Salfit, five from Jericho and nine from the Gaza Strip.
There are approximately 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 59 women, 12 of them minor girls. There are a total of approximately 350 children in Megiddo and Ofer prisons. There are 700 Palestinians held in administrative detention without charge or trial. 122 administrative detention orders were issued in September, including 44 new orders.
Battle of the empty stomachs in September
Palestinian prisoners Mohammed and Mahmoud al-Balboul and Malik al-Qadi carried out hunger strikes of 79, 76 and 68 days against the administrative detention orders against them. They ended their strikes on 22 September after reaching an agreement for their release without renewal of their administrative detention, with the immediate release of al-Qadi to a Palestinian hospital and the release of the Balboul brothers on 8 December 2016, which came after popular, legal and political efforts for their release.
Palestinian prisoners Ahmad Abu Fara and Anas Shadid launched their hunger strike on 25 September against administrative detention while Jawad Jawarish and Maher Abayat announced their strike against arbitrary transfer and isolation.
A year on the popular intifada: the issue of prisoners
The popular uprising which began on 1 October 2015 has had a clear impact on the issue of prisoners. The number of daily arrests has increased over the past year and has included the arrests of different ages and social groups, children, women and men. At least 7955 Palestinians were arrested, including 1963 children, 229 women and girls, 41 journalists and five members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The highest number of arrested Palestinians were from Jerusalem; 2355 Palestinians from Jerusalem have been detained since last October, including 842 children and 128 women, including 24 minor girls.
There has been an increase in the number of administrative detention orders throught the year. For the first time since 2008, occupation authorities have issued 1436 administrative detention orders in 2016, including 546 new orders issued without charge or trial under the so-called “secret file.” It is worth noting that many administrative detention orders were issued against young people and students who are not affiliated with the Palestinian political factions.
The Israeli occupation authorities have pursued since last October systematic and deliberate policies against Palestinian prisoners at all stages from arrest through transfer to imprisonment, to a dangerous extent that threatens Palestinian lives. Prominent among these grave violations are the use of excessive force and the execution and extrajudicial killing of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, including the killing of dozens of Palestinians instantly, noting that these practices of shooting to kill Palestinians violate international law.
Human rights organizations also monitored the number of violations against Palestinian detainees, including an escalation on the use of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment, such as beating and assault during arrest and interrogation, as well as increased frequency and violence of raids and invasion of prison rooms and sections and the conduct of humiliating inspections. Prisoners have been arrested after being shot and did not receive necessary medical care and were subject to interrogation before and during medical treatment in hospitals, in addition to the abduction of wounded Palestinians from hospitals and ambulances.
The occupying power also enacted legislation and proposed draft laws against Palestinians, including laws that escalate prison sentences against “stone throwers,” often children and youth, and expansion of the scope of administrative detention, in an effort to impose collective punishment against Palestinians. In addition, new charges were used to arrest hundreds of Palestinians related to publishing on social media, with sentences up to one year in prison; the year also saw an expansion by occupation forces of the policy of deportation and forcible transfer from the Jerusalem.
Shimon Peres is being eulogized around the world as Israel’s philosopher-king, its elegant worldly face to the world, the last of the Founding Fathers. The NY Times has published a news story, an op-ed by Tzipi Livni, and a Roger Cohen column, all of which amount to little more than hagiography. But there is a sizable number of critical appraisals like this one which have been published presenting Peres’ darker side and which are very important reading.
What follows is a newly published note which Peres sent to Israel’s leading nuclear historian, Avner Cohen. In 1999, Cohen had sent the Israeli leader a copy of his first book, Israel and the Bomb. In the book, Cohen offered an inscription portraying Peres’ unique role in the creation of Israel nuclear weapons arsenal. Because Cohen hadn’t used Peres as a source for this authoritative history of Israel’s first nuclear weapon (he hadn’t thought an individual who had so many nuclear secrets would be able or willing to speak candidly), he didn’t think Peres would respond. But he did and wrote the following:
To: Avner Cohen:
Thank you for your book, Israel and the Bomb, and for your fine dedication. I’ve gone through the first half of your book and find it interesting and absorbing. I believe you’ve done some fundamental research in which, as with other historical research–the narrative depends on the willingness of various individuals [sources] to reveal things. According to what was said to you, the proportions may not be quite exact. However, this is not your fault.
Essentially, I do not find fault with this because until now I have not felt able to reveal the full story.
But one thing I must say: we didn’t build Dimona [Israel’s nuclear weapons production facility] to make a Hiroshima, but rather to achieve Oslo [the note was written six years after the Oslo Accords were signed]: in Oslo I felt the full justification of this effort [to create The Bomb].
This represents yet another part of the Peres effort to project a civilized, liberal Israeli face to the world. We didn’t build the bomb for destruction. We built it to enable us to be strong enough to compromise for peace. Whatever Peres may’ve really believed about why he built the Bomb, the result wasn’t at all what he portrayed above. Israel’s 200 nuclear weapons have served as a bulwark against compromise. In a phone conversation, Cohen told me that they “promoted Occupation.” Instead of relying on peace or compromise, the nuclear arsenal has forced Israel to live (and die) “by the sword.” The whole enterprise, Cohen told me, is built on “arrogance.”
In parsing the original intent of Ben Gurion, who first set forth the race for nuclear weapons, Cohen believes Israelis needed a forceful tool to force the Arab states to admit that Israel could never be wiped off the map. A nuclear weapon would, so Israel’s founder believed, would persuade his enemies that his country was “here to stay.” It would be the ultimate “persuader.” But it turned out to be much more than that.
Cohen believes that Israel’s first nuclear weapon, hastily put together just before the 1967 War, directly led to that conflict. Having it, offered the Israelis a heady tonic that persuaded them they would be invincible; that regardless of what happened on the field of battle, they had a Doomsday weapon that would ultimately ensure victory.
Since no other regional power had or has WMD, Israel can never be forced to compromise against its will. Every front-line state, including Israel’s allies like the U.S., know that if its back was up against the wall it could reject any solution that didn’t accord with its perceived interests, because it possessed the ultimate weapon. This is a good deal of what lies behind the rejectionism of almost all previous Israeli prime ministers, all of whom have turned away from multiple opportunities to reach a final accord.
Dimona Succeeded, but Oslo Failed
Further, Oslo failed (though Peres couldn’t have known that in 1999, when he wrote that note). It failed because Israeli leaders, including those in his own Labor Party, refused to honor the terms of the deal. Later, they refused to offer enough to the Palestinians at the second Camp David. They refused to make the necessary compromises to satisfy their peace partner. They knew they could get away with this, because they had a card in their back pocket that no one else in the region had. They knew they could walk away from the table and that there would be no meaningful consequences for doing so.
Those who support Israel’s nuclear weapons may argue that the above claim is false because Israel never threatened or used nuclear weapons, as the U.S. did against Japan. But this argument rings hollow because in 1973, at the outset of the October War, Israeli forces were being overrun in the Golan and Sinai. Defense minister Moshe Dayan went to Golda Meir with a plan to detonate a nuclear weapon in the desert to warn the Arabs that if they overran Israel, it would use The Bomb. Thankfully, Meir and her other advisors rejected Dayan’s advice as that of a man under severe stress and a possible mental breakdown. But had Meir been a different person, Israel may very well have detonated at least one of its nukes.
There is absolutely no guarantee that in the future, should it face a similar threat, Israel would not use a nuclear weapon. After all, as distinguished an Israeli historian as Benny Morris advocated just such a prospect against Iran in the pages of none other than the New York Times.
After Peres’, recent stroke, which eventually led to his death, I published this appraisal, which reveals another little-known element of Peres’ pursuit of the Bomb with the connivance of the French during the run-up to the 1956 Suez War, of which Peres, Ben Gurion and Israel were eager partners.
Peres and the Theft of the Yemenite Children
An equally little-known darker side to the Peres legacy involved a scandal which has tainted Israel for decades. In the early 1950s, Israel airlifted 50,000 Yemenite Jews to the new state under the Orientalist rubric, Operation Magic Carpet. It did so in order to buttress its Jewish population, as Israel’s leadership sought to balance the large numbers of Palestinians who remained in Israel after the 1948 Nakba.
Though Israel heralded the airlift to the world as its heroic effort to save an ancient Jewish community, in truth it treated the new immigrants shabbily. It sent them to camps little better than the DP camps to which Holocaust survivors were consigned after WWII. Later, it sent them to development towns which consisted of little more than tents and basic services. Over time, the Yemenites became part of the Israeli Mizrahi minority which faced severe discrimination at the hands of the Ashkenazi (European) majority.
But Israeli authorities committed a far worse crime against these immigrants. It systematically stole Yemenite children from their families and offered them to Ashkenazi couples who were unable to conceive or sought to adopt babies. Some of these children (estimates range as high as 1,000 were stolen) were even sent abroad (one was tracked to Belgium). Authorities at the time believed the Yemenite were primitive people who would not integrate into a superior “western” society. Israel wanted them to assimilate quickly and believed if the newborn were given to Ashkenazi families they would have a proper, civilized upbringing that would bring them into the modern, advanced world.
The racism of this project is now clear. Projects with similar tragic consequences were played out in other countries in that era, including Native American and Aboriginal children taken from families to be raised in government schools. The difference is that Israel has consistently refused to make an accounting of what happened leaving an open, weeping sore where there should be healing, repentance and restitution.
Israel has investigated this scandal several times but has never fully exposed the reason for the kidnapping, who orchestrated the plan, or who were the victims. So historians do not know precisely how many children were stolen. This has left an indelible stain on the Israeli Yemenite community and a severe breach between it and the State. Mothers who were told lies that their babies died after childbirth, have never had a proper accounting of what happened. They know they have children in the world, but they don’t know who or where they are.
Shimon Peres, when he was prime minister, refused to appoint a commission with full powers to investigate the child theft. Instead, he hand-picked three mid-level bureaucrats in 1985, who were given extremely limited resources, to investigate. One of them was a senior police officer, Amon Navot. Sampson Giat, then president of the Yemenite Jewish Federation, wrote a 1993 book about the scandal in which he said:
In 1985, Arnon Navot, a high-ranking policeman, was the head of the country’s missing persons’ bureau. There was increased pressure on Prime Minister Shimon Peres to have another committee investigation after the lack of results of the former Bahalul Minkovsky Committee came up with only 342 missing children. Afterwards, 600 more children’s names were added.
Peres, rather than forming another government committee instructed Arnon Navot to head a task force with two others. Since Peres had no intention of creating a public committee, he did not give Navot the tools necessary to investigate.
Navot claims that his superiors put hurdles in front of him. He was not allowed to store information on his computer; his official car was taken from him so that he had to carry loads of documents on public transportation.
Navot found evidence that a child, whose parents were told he had died, had been illegally adopted by a family in Belgium. His superiors would not allow him to follow up on his findings.
Navot was convinced that Shimon Peres, like most politicians, was afraid of the political fallout resulting from any discoveries. The cover up started.
When you read glowing encomium’s like those in the NY Times, remember the darker side of Shimon Peres. Whatever good he may’ve done is more than outweighed by his profound lapses in judgment and morality.
The “Doctrine of Discovery” of 1493, also known as the Papal Bull “Inter Caetera”, was issued by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493. It is arguably the most damaging policy ever enacted in human history. In fact, the 1493 Papal Bull stated that land that was not inhabited by Christians could be claimed and exploited in order to expand and instill the Christian faith. Without doubt this was the justification for European/western expansion that resulted in pain, suffering, exploitation and mass extermination. The effects of this dreadful doctrine are felt to this day.
As a descendent of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, I am one who can affirm the negativity of this Papal Bull being felt even until this present moment. Your Holiness, I am asking you in the name of Jesus Christ, that you repudiate this doctrine immediately to stop the hemorrhaging of people worldwide. In fact, “Peter opened (his) mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34 – KJV) and therefore stating that God is not biased of individuals or of one group of people over another.
Your Holiness, over the past year I have visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) three times. In 1921, Jesus Christ visited a deacon by the name of Simon Kimbangu in Nkamba, Congo. Deacon Kimbangu was commissioned by God into His service to renew their strength because they had fallen into apostasy. Consequently, Deacon Kimbangu was accused of inciting riots and convincing the people not to pay taxes. As a result, he was placed in prison and later on given a death sentence, which was commuted to life. After serving 30 years, he died in a Belgian controlled prison.
After the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, the Papal Bull of 1493 helped further to enable King Leopold II to legitimize his claim of ownership of the DRC and unrepentantly to treat those in the Congo with devastating atrocities almost directed toward extermination – except that he wanted some of them as oppressed workers. Over the next 23 years, up to 10 million citizens of the DRC were murdered!
This edict, or doctrine, Your Holiness, declared by the Roman Catholic Church more than 600 years ago, was infiltrated and adopted into European Christian nations solely for the purpose of having a legal basis to confiscate properties that would be in their best interest at any time, and, according to its language, served to devalue and dehumanize peoples and societies of color. Non-compliance to this doctrine would result in various forms of persecution, including slavery and death.
In fact, the 1493 “The Doctrine of Discovery” Papal Bull was part of an on-going justification of this oppression as stated by Thomas Aquinas in 1271: “Unbelievers deserve not only to be separated from the church, but also to be exterminated from the world by death.”
Your Holiness, this position as expressed in the Papal Bull has led to several ills in this world, namely Slavery, Unjust Treatment, Poverty, Discrimination, Apartheid, Separate But Equal Laws, Jim Crow, Financial Ruin, Massacres and much more. To justify the cruelty of slavery and subjugation of Africans, the slaveholders, for one, claimed that Africans were not human and therefore could be used and abused in any way the slaveholders so desired. This cruelty was for, as you know, the financial gain of slaveholders at the expense of others and the slaveholders very own humanity. Many of the slaveholders also claimed to be Christian and obvisouly chose to accept the ongoing concepts of major doctrines, such as the Papal Bull of 1493, as a rationale for their behavior.
As mentioned, people of color throughout the world still suffer from these ills. Historically, and in the 20th and 21rst centuries alone, all of this has been importantly coupled with countless reactions to this oppression such as Sit-ins, Marches, Occupy Movements and many other collective actions in the United States and internationally. Yet, the oppression continues.
In 1776, the “Declaration of Independence” of the United States forthrightly declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Your repudiation of the “The Doctrine of Discovery” would also help us in America to further enforce and enshrine the “Declaration of Independence” and to then help spread this compelling statement and sentiment throughout the world.
Your Holiness, in the name of Jesus Christ, I ask that you consider going to Nkamba in the Congo and address the Kimbanguist Church that numbers some 22 million adherents worldwide. The poverty that exists in that Nation is due directly and solely to this unjust “doctrine”, and, in my opinion, pains the very heart of God!
Upon repudiating the Bull of 1493, therefore, I pray you will also consider going to Belgium and entreat that government, including King Philippe Leopold Louis Marie, to begin the healing process for the people of the DRC.
You have declared 2016 as a year of Jubilee. Luke 4:18-19 states, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted to preach deliverance to the captive, and the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” I cannot think of a better way to honor this declaration of 2016 as a year of Jubilee than by a Papal repudiation of the “Doctrine of Discovery.”
Your Holiness, the above concerns and issues are worldwide precepts, and we cannot be satisfied until we let “justice roll on like many waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing river” (Amos 5:24).
I also respectively request to meet with you, along with a delegation of like-minded people, to discuss with you this significant matter.
With every good wish to your Holiness, I am,
Deacon Joe Beasley
Antioch Baptist Church North
Atlanta Georgia, USA
404 218 3997
Google: Joe Beasley
Additional contact: Heather Gray
Rio Hacha, Colombia – The mood in this improvised Colombian town on the Caribbean coast is somber tonight. The national peace plebiscite was just defeated by a mere 0.43% or 60,000 votes.
The government of Colombia and the FARC insurgents signed peace accords six days ago to much public jubilation. Today the peace accords were put to a public vote. Polls predicted a landslide approval of 60%.
The public airwaves had been saturated with advertisements for “si” to approve the accords. Practically every wall that I passed here on the coast and earlier this week in the capital of Bogota was plastered with “si” posters.
The “no” side appeared absent except for a fringe represented by former president Uribe and his right-wing cohorts. The Catholic Church, the current Santos government, and the entirety of progressive civil society – unions, Indigenous, Afro-descendants, campesinos – were campaigning for “si.” The outcome seemed preordained.
Yet when the polls opened today, the usual long lines were absent. Turnout was low, allowing an upset victory for “no.”
The right-wing had been threatening activists – many had already been assassinated – to disrupt the peace process. Hence our delegation of North Americans to accompany targeted Colombian activists to provide them some protection by raising their international visibility. The Alliance for Global Justice along with the National Lawyers Guild came to Colombia at the invitation of FENSUAGRO, an agrarian workers federation, Marcha Patriotica, a large progressive coalition, and Lazos de Dignidad, a human rights organization.
The accords would have ended the 52-year civil war – the longest in modern history. The FARC’s position during the intense four years of negotiations in Havana with the Colombian government was there could be no peace without justice. That it makes no sense to end the armed conflict if the conditions that generated that conflict were not addressed. The accords accordingly had provisions for agrarian reform, political participation for the insurgents, transitions from an illicit drug economy, and reparations for victims of the conflict.
Campesino leaders in the rough and rundown frontier town of Maicau on the Venezuelan border, where drug running and sales of contraband are mainstays of the local economy, spoke about the agrarian struggle. The “oligarchs,” they explained, want to “clean” the countryside of small farmers to make way for transnational agribusiness. Yesterday they spoke of the great hope they had for a “si” vote to defeat the oligarchy.
Today Colombia voted against peace and against that hope.
The Obama administration, while giving lip service in support of the peace process, has massively increased lethal aid and transfer of the latest military technology to the Colombian government under the rubric of Plan Colombia. Presumptive president-elect Hillary Clinton has been on the campaign trail stomping for Plan Colombia as the world model for the military subjugation of those who oppose the extension of the US neoliberal empire.
The October 2nd “no” vote on peace in Colombia will have repercussions around the world.
Roger D. Harris is on the State Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party, the only ballot-qualified socialist party in California.
Russia is prepared to join efforts aimed at resolving Venezuela’s internal political standoff if necessary, Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Vladimir Zaemsky told Sputnik.
“We welcome efforts of various politicians to help reach a mutual understanding between the various political groups in Venezuela and we hope that such steps eventually would lead to a positive result. We are ready to join this if it is deemed necessary,” Zaemsky said.
Venezuela has been embroiled in a political crisis with opposition staging regular protests and launching a campaign to remove President Nicolas Maduro, blaming him for an economic crisis in Venezuela, a country suffering from shrinking GDP, shortages of goods and rising inflation. According to the ambassador, the political crisis cannot be settled without preventing the attempts of some of Venezuela’s neighbors, the West, global media and non-governmental organizations to interfere in the internal affairs of the country.
“Russia believes that the political resolution of Venezuela’s problems should be found by the Venezuelan people itself… It must meet constitutional norms and national laws. Destructive meddling from abroad is unacceptable, no one can impose ‘color [revolution] scenarios’ based on notorious radical tactics to destabilize the situation,” Zaemsky said.
Venezuela has been in a state of an economic emergency since January. Up to 96 percent of Venezuela’s budget depends on oil revenues amid the ongoing slump in oil prices. Venezuela’s opposition hopes to hold a recall referendum to remove Maduro from power.
In August, Maduro pledged to act much tougher than his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in case of the coup attempt in the country.
A group of ex-U.S. intelligence officials is warning President Obama to defuse growing tensions with Russia over Syria by reining in the demonization of President Putin and asserting White House civilian control over the Pentagon.
ALERT MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
SUBJECT: PREVENTING STILL WORSE IN SYRIA
We write to alert you, as we did President George W. Bush, six weeks before the attack on Iraq, that the consequences of limiting your circle of advisers to a small, relatively inexperienced coterie with a dubious record for wisdom can prove disastrous.* Our concern this time regards Syria.
We are hoping that your President’s Daily Brief tomorrow will give appropriate attention to Saturday’s warning by Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova: “If the US launches a direct aggression against Damascus and the Syrian Army, it would cause a terrible, tectonic shift not only in the country, but in the entire region.”
Speaking on Russian TV, she warned of those whose “logic is ‘why do we need diplomacy’ … when there is power … and methods of resolving a problem by power. We already know this logic; there is nothing new about it. It usually ends with one thing – full-scale war.”
We are also hoping that this is not the first you have heard of this – no doubt officially approved – statement. If on Sundays you rely on the “mainstream” press, you may well have missed it. In the Washington Post, an abridged report of Zakharova’s remarks (nothing about “full-scare war”) was buried in the last paragraph of an 11-paragraph article titled “Hospital in Aleppo is hit again by bombs.” Sunday’s New York Times totally ignored the Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s statements.
In our view, it would be a huge mistake to allow your national security advisers to follow the example of the Post and Times in minimizing the importance of Zakharova’s remarks.
Events over the past several weeks have led Russian officials to distrust Secretary of State John Kerry. Indeed, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who parses his words carefully, has publicly expressed that distrust. Some Russian officials suspect that Kerry has been playing a double game; others believe that, however much he may strive for progress through diplomacy, he cannot deliver on his commitments because the Pentagon undercuts him every time. We believe that this lack of trust is a challenge that must be overcome and that, at this point, only you can accomplish this.
It should not be attributed to paranoia on the Russians’ part that they suspect the Sept. 17 U.S. and Australian air attacks on Syrian army troops that killed 62 and wounded 100 was no “mistake,” but rather a deliberate attempt to scuttle the partial cease-fire Kerry and Lavrov had agreed on – with your approval and that of President Putin – that took effect just five days earlier.
In public remarks bordering on the insubordinate, senior Pentagon officials showed unusually open skepticism regarding key aspects of the Kerry-Lavrov deal. We can assume that what Lavrov has told his boss in private is close to his uncharacteristically blunt words on Russian NTV on Sept. 26:
“My good friend John Kerry … is under fierce criticism from the US military machine. Despite the fact that, as always, [they] made assurances that the US Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, supported him in his contacts with Russia (he confirmed that during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin), apparently the military does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.”
Lavrov’s words are not mere rhetoric. He also criticized JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford for telling Congress that he opposed sharing intelligence with Russia, “after the agreements concluded on direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama stipulated that they would share intelligence. … It is difficult to work with such partners. …”
Policy differences between the White House and the Pentagon are rarely as openly expressed as they are now over policy on Syria. We suggest you get hold of a new book to be released this week titled The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War by master historian H. W. Brands. It includes testimony, earlier redacted, that sheds light on why President Truman dismissed WWII hero Gen. Douglas MacArthur from command of U.N. forces in Korea in April 1951. One early reviewer notes that “Brands’s narrative makes us wonder about challenges of military versus civilian leadership we still face today.” You may find this new book more relevant at this point in time than the Team of Rivals.
The door to further negotiations remains ajar. In recent days, officials of the Russian foreign and defense ministries, as well as President Putin’s spokesman, have carefully avoided shutting that door, and we find it a good sign that Secretary Kerry has been on the phone with Foreign Minister Lavrov. And the Russians have also emphasized Moscow’s continued willingness to honor previous agreements on Syria.
In the Kremlin’s view, Russia has far more skin in the game than the U.S. does. Thousands of Russian dissident terrorists have found their way to Syria, where they obtain weapons, funding, and practical experience in waging violent insurgency. There is understandable worry on Moscow’s part over the threat they will pose when they come back home. In addition, President Putin can be assumed to be under the same kind of pressure you face from the military to order it to try to clean out the mess in Syria “once and for all,” regardless how dim the prospects for a military solution are for either side in Syria.
We are aware that many in Congress and the “mainstream” media are now calling on you to up the ante and respond – overtly or covertly or both – with more violence in Syria. Shades of the “Washington Playbook,” about which you spoke derisively in interviews with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg earlier this year. We take some encouragement in your acknowledgment to Goldberg that the “playbook” can be “a trap that can lead to bad decisions” – not to mention doing “stupid stuff.”
Goldberg wrote that you felt the Pentagon had “jammed” you on the troop surge for Afghanistan seven years ago and that the same thing almost happened three years ago on Syria, before President Putin persuaded Syria to surrender its chemical weapons for destruction. It seems that the kind of approach that worked then should be tried now, as well – particularly if you are starting to feel jammed once again.
Incidentally, it would be helpful toward that end if you had one of your staffers tell the “mainstream” media to tone down it puerile, nasty – and for the most part unjustified and certainly unhelpful – personal vilification of President Putin.
Renewing direct dialogue with President Putin might well offer the best chance to ensure an end, finally, to unwanted “jamming.” We believe John Kerry is correct in emphasizing how frightfully complicated the disarray in Syria is amid the various vying interests and factions. At the same time, he has already done much of the necessary spadework and has found Lavrov for the most part, a helpful partner.
Still, in view of lingering Russian – and not only Russian – skepticism regarding the strength of your support for your secretary of state, we believe that discussions at the highest level would be the best way to prevent hotheads on either side from risking the kind of armed confrontation that nobody should want.
Therefore, we strongly recommend that you invite President Putin to meet with you in a mutually convenient place, in order to try to sort things out and prevent still worse for the people of Syria.
In the wake of the carnage of World War II, Winston Churchill made an observation that is equally applicable to our 21st Century: “To jaw, jaw, jaw, is better than to war, war, war.”
* In a Memorandum to President Bush criticizing Colin Powell’s address to the UN earlier on February 5, 2003, VIPS ended with these words: “After watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”
For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
Fred Costello, Former Russian Linguist, USAF
Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator
Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)
Larry C. Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)
John Kiriakou, former CIA counterterrorism officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS)
Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)
Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA (ret.)
Todd Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)
Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA, (ret.)
Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer
Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat