RT | January 31, 2017
Supporters of Celtic FC, known as the Green Brigade, have donated £176,000 (US$220,000) to two Palestinian charities. The donation was crowdfunded in reaction to a UEFA fine over Celtic fans flying Palestinian flags at a match.
In a recent article, titled “Meet Venezuela’s new VP, fan of Iran and Hezbollah”, The Hill’s Emanuele Ottolenghi profiled the South American country’s new second in command, Tareck El Aissami.
Although El Aissami was appointed vice-president just a few weeks ago, he’s hardly a new face to anyone who has followed Venezuelan politics for a while. He previously served as Aragua’s governor, and also had a stint as interior minister a few years back.
So what’s so special about El Aissami? A lot, according to Ottolenghi, whose piece reads much like the biography of a minor goon from a Schwarzenegger flick, replete with semi-comical claims with the credibility, sophistication and nuance of Ninja Terminator.
Here’s a few highlights:
“Despite the Baathist family background — his father headed the Venezuelan branch of the Iraqi Baath Party — and his Lebanese Druze origins, El Aissami seems to prefer the Islamist Shiite revolutionary Hezbollah and Iran over the Baath’s supposedly secular pan-Arabism.
Like his Islamic revolutionary role models, he used violence to advance his politics.
Opposition figures have accused both El Aissami and Nassereddine of recruiting young Arab-Venezuelan members of the ruling party to undergo paramilitary training in South Lebanon with Hezbollah.
As if this were not enough, El Aissami reportedly facilitated drug trafficking, a crime for which he is being investigated in the U.S.”
In other words, El Aissami is every boogyman and right-wing scapegoat wrapped up in one nice little package, at least based on Ottolenghi’s depiction. He’s a mish-mash of Baathism, Sunni radicalism and Shiite extremism; plus he smuggles coke.
The obvious question is whether any of this is true. For one, El Aissami is indeed one of many suspects in a US investigation into Venezuela’s narcotics trade. We could discuss the politics of this investigation until the cows come home, but what about the juicier claims? For instance, the claim that El Aissami has been accused of sending young Venezuelans to Lebanon to train with Hezbollah, and that he has colluded with “guerrilla movements”?
If we follow the hyperlinks provided by Ottolenghi, we find that these claims were sourced from the Centre for Security Policy (CSP). It sounds credible, but has been widely dismissed by journalists as basically a joke. According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, the Centre for Security Policy is “known for its accusations that a shadowy ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ has infiltrated all levels of government and warnings that ‘creeping Shariah,’ or Islamic religious law, is a threat to American democracy”.
“For the past decade, CSP’s main focus has been on demonising Islam and Muslims under the guise of national security,” the Southern Poverty Law Centre stated.
A cursory glance at the CSP’s homepage features ads for books with colourful titles like “CAIR is HAMAS”, “Civilisation Jihad”, “ObamaBomb” and “See No Sharia”. At the time of writing, some of their latest articles included one describing Islam as a “supremacist totalitarian ideology”, and another claiming Iran might already secretly have a “nuclear weapon” (which it doesn’t).
Well, that got weird fast.
So basically, Ottolenghi gets his best material from a website that is so far off the deep end, it has even been banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference.
As a side note, Donald Trump cited a report from the CSP back in 2015, when he falsely claimed one in four Muslims support violence against the US. At the time, the CSP’s claims were widely dismissed as junk.
But hey, that’s just one source – perhaps I’m not giving Ottolenghi’s narrative enough of a chance. Frustratingly though, Ottolenghi’s piece is very light on sources, and he provides no other references for his two most eyebrow raising claims.
Luckily, Ottolenghi is far from the first English language pundit to express this particular point of view on El Aissami. A few years ago, the Gatestone Institute published a piece that reads eerily similar to Ottolenghi’s more recent article. For example, the older piece details how El Aissami supposedly loved Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Ignoring the fact these two political figures espoused totally different and utterly incompatible political ideologies, the Gatestone article did a somewhat better job than Ottolenghi in terms of providing sources for their claims.
This is where things take a turn for the outright bizarre.
So, where did the Gatestone’s critical intelligence on El Aissami originate? According to the reference list they provided, the answer to that question is: Wikipedia and this obscure blog. Following the breadcrumbs, the blogger also provided a reference list for their sources. This list is extremely short for supposedly groundbreaking investigative reporting, and only features four different names: Al Arabiya, MEMRI, Jihad Watch and another blogspot blog called The Jungle Hut.
…. Okey-dokey then.
The trail runs dry over at The Jungle Hut, where there’s nothing more than a dead link and a nice photo of a waterfall. It’s not quite what I was expecting to find, so let’s look at the other two sources. Al Arabiya is Saudi Arabia’s state media outlet, though don’t let that bother you too much; they’ve actually produced some decent stuff in the past. Unfortunately, there’s no links to specific articles, so again, the trail runs dry. The same problem arises when we head to MERMI. Finally, we get to the El Dorado of anti-Islam trash: Jihad Watch, a blog created by the notorious Islamophobe Robert Spencer. For anyone who doesn’t know, Spencer is perhaps best known for co-founding two prominent anti-Muslim lobby groups, Stop Islamisation of America (SIOA) and the American Freedom Defence Initiative (AFDI). Both have been listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Spencer also garnered media attention in the wake of the 2011 Norwegian white supremacist terrorist attack carried out by Anders Behring Breivik. In his sprawling anti-Muslim manifesto, Breivik cited Spencer dozens of times.
This is where our journey down the rabbit hole ends; with an Islamophobe beloved by one of the worst white supremacist terrorists in recent years. I guess this is what I get for checking people’s sources: a browser history full of links to hate groups, anti-Islam garbage and one nice picture of a waterfall. I didn’t find much credible reporting, but I did learn that El Aissami is hated for one reason above all: he’s got a Muslim-ish sounding name.
You might think I’m being harsh on Ottolenghi.
And you’d be wrong.
Ottolenghi is a long time anti-Iran hardliner, and has authored books with names like “Under a Mushroom Cloud: Europe, Iran and the Bomb”. According to a review of this book over at The Jewish Chronicle, “Ottolenghi’s view that Iran, as an exceptional case, merits exceptional treatment, is perhaps unrealistically rigid. His argument is not helped by the absence from his text of source references by which the reader could cross-check the many, selective quotes he adduces in support of it.”
In other words, making far fetched claims based on no real evidence is something of a modus operandi for Ottolenghi.
Along with having an obvious disdain for the notion of providing sources, Ottolenghi seems like just another pundit with a bone to pick with Islam, and anyone who sounds like they might be Arab, Persian or any other ethnic group he doesn’t like. Ottolenghi’s writings seem better suited to publishers like Jihad Watch, and his presence at The Hill is surprising to say the least.
Unfortunately though, this whole saga is symptomatic of a deeper problem in the media. The fact that an article for The Hill can get away with featuring links to the Islamophobic fake news CSP is emblematic of the dismal state of international corporate media. Islamophobic rants are treated like credible political analysis, and conspiracy crackpots are put on pedestals. It’s a grim state of affairs, but the real question is: how much further will we slide?
The most prominent neoconservative in Britain, Conservative MP Michael Gove, was once interviewed by the New Statesman. It contained one of the best analyses of his foreign policy views, formed not in the cauldron of distant battlefields or the misery of refugee camps, but at his untidy little desk at the Times. “In print, the well-mannered, self-ironising young fellow was transformed into a Churchillian warrior,” his profiler wrote. “A self-proclaimed neoconservative, he was an ardent supporter of the Iraq war and an implacable foe of Islamic terrorism, about which he wrote a book, Celsius 7/7.” The New Statesman did not mention that this book, amongst other things, had called in great part for a strengthening of Britain’s relationship with Israel. Instead, we were told that, “His columns were stylish, if shallow, displaying a debater’s grasp of foreign policy, in which abstract nouns such as freedom, appeasement and resolve carried all before them.”
A debater’s grasp of foreign policy is what sums up neoconservative naiveté better than any phrase I have yet come across. It is the kind of naiveté that sounds great on the debating floor of a posh university but less good when you’re in the real world. Gove published Celsius 7/7 in 2006. It was issued to all new members of Conservative Friends of Israel and became a kind of go-to resource for British Conservative MPs as they thought about the Palestine problem.
I now understand that, amazingly, Gove had never visited Israel when he wrote the book. In fact, according to a close Tory friend of his, he only visited for the first time in 2013, roughly seven years later. “The Israeli embassy was actually so nervous about Michael visiting,” the source told me in a hushed discussion in a Westminster coffee shop, “that the trip was put off a couple of times.” The story goes that the Israeli public relations officers were worried that their greatest advocate in Westminster might see something he didn’t like, so perhaps it wasn’t even worth him going. “In the end it snowed when he went,” the anecdotist concluded. “Michael loved it.” He now returns with his family to spend most Christmases there.
How could a neoconservative write a book about strengthening Britain’s support for Israel despite having never visited the country? It is because, as a neoconservative, Gove had the debater’s grasp of the issue. For him, it was all about the abstract nouns that carried all before them; freedom, appeasement and resolve. It was about the principle of supporting the idea of “Israel”, not what Israel really was, or is.
Ground zero for neoconservative thinking was Winston Churchill’s position of assertive violence against Adolf Hitler versus Neville Chamberlain’s nervous appeasement. It was that dynamic of aggression-appeasement that has come to define the neoconservative position on foreign policy in the decades since, notably in two areas: the appeasement of terrorism and appeasement of autocracy. The neoconservative argument goes — and, again, I am sure it sounds great in that plush debating club — that if you appease a terrorist or an autocrat only once, you will embolden not just him, but all other terrorists and autocrats at that time and in the future. Appeasement is therefore positioned as one of the great sins of foreign policy.
Gove applied this thinking to the Irish Republican Army in a fascinating paper he wrote about Northern Ireland called “The Price of Peace”. He positioned the Good Friday Peace agreement as an act of appeasement, which caused him some embarrassment last year when he attempted briefly to become prime minister. Gove closed his introduction to the paper with reference to World War Two, as neoconservatives often do: “Those who warned of the consequences of appeasement in the Thirties were derided as glamour boys, renegades and war-mongers.” Then he talked about the “flawed assumption” that “armed terrorists can be converted to democracy by re-shaping democracy to suit the terrorist.” He concluded with: “The Belfast Agreement has, at its heart, an even greater wickedness. It is a capitulation to violence, a validation of terrorism which has led to ‘demilitarisation’ – the removal of the British Army from our sovereign territory… The moral stain of such a process will prove hard to efface. It is a humiliation of our Army, Police and Parliament.”
What would Gove have made of the debates surrounding his beloved Israel in the middle of the twentieth century? It is a fact that the British Army was forced to withdraw from the area because Jewish-Zionist terrorists were blowing up our diplomats, civilians and soldiers with abandon. In leaving Palestine, did the British government of the day capitulate to Jewish-Zionist terrorism, providing its “validation”? And what would Gove say to the then future Prime Minister of Israel, Menachim Begin, who was placed on the “Most Wanted” terrorist list by the British government for his murderous activities with the Irgun terror organisation; would it be a “flawed assumption”, as he said of Sinn Fein and the IRA, to assume that “armed terrorists can never be converted to democracy”?
Gove himself was President of the Oxford Union, the premier debating club in Britain. The problem with neoconservatives isn’t that they’re necessarily stupid, but that they are certainly excellent at winning debates. They then think that they are clever enough to translate the universal principles which seem so clear and easy in a debating chamber to any particular situation at any particular time.
If it was wrong to appease the Irish Republican Army, why was it so right to appease the Irgun and associated Jewish-Zionist terrorist groups? Would Michael Gove and the neoconservatives in America — from where this ugly radical virus has infected the British right in recent years — have supported the killing of British troops in Mandate Palestine by Jewish terrorists? I generously suspect not, but how, then, can a neoconservative like him reconcile his supposedly universal principle that “you must never negotiate with terrorists” with support for what one expert in radical Islamist terrorism has called “the original terrorist state”, his beloved Israel?
If I was a potential terrorist contemplating the bombing of Western targets in the Middle East, I might look for examples of where terrorists have succeeded in achieving their political aims. This is the exact concern that neoconservatives like Gove have about appeasing terror; you appease one terrorist, you encourage the rest. If I was in such a position — and I must stress, of course, that I am not — then I would look no further than the terrorists who played such a crucial part in founding the state of Israel. There was, and remains, an awful lot of appeasement surrounding “the original terrorist state”, but perhaps for Gove and his neoconservative ilk, some appeasements are better than others. Their support for Israel makes no sense whatsoever.
Upon entering public service, the need to sell oneself to the highest donors has a way of morphing politicians into private-interest puppets; therefore, few sights are as inspiring as a politician rediscovering his testicular fortitude at the end of his political career, free to do what he dared not do while his political career still mattered. President Barack Obama, in this instance at least, was one such politician. With only weeks to go before he left the White House, he managed to get his balls out of hock in time to deliver a stinging uppercut to Benjamin Netanyahu’s imperial glass jaw.
UNSC Resolution 2334 (2016)
Adopted by the Security Council at its 7853rd meeting, on 23 December 2016 (excerpt)1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations ….
As I have shown, the United States has long been a client state of Israel, which means that the U.S. veto for Israel in the UN Security Council is taken for granted. In one of his last acts as Israel’s governor, though, Obama chose not to do his imperial duty. He abstained on UNSC Resolution 2334, which condemned Israel’s continued colonization of Palestine as illegal. Doing the right thing in a zionist-dominated world is risky, but even a satrap can get pissed off if pushed too far.
The main reason for Obama’s decision was Emperor Netanyahu, himself, because of two acts of imperial hubris. The first came in March 2015 when Netanyahu was invited by Israel-firsters in Congress to come to speak against Obama’s Iran policy. The sight of a foreign politician receiving ovation after ovation from U.S. lawmakers for attacking U.S. policy was virtually treasonous and proof that the U.S. is owned by Israel.
The second act came last September. After the U.S. government announced a record $38 billion military “aid” package for Israel, Netanyahu quickly announced the construction of new illegal Jewish colonies (“settlements”) and made no secret that the “aid” money was being used for that purpose. The U.S. was forced to watch as its “aid” was openly used to bankroll a criminal act—the dispossession of Palestinians. It also showed that Israel’s military “aid” is just imperial tribute. The U.S. was played for a chump. UNSC Resolution 2334 gave Obama a rare chance to get back at the emperor and the treasonous Israel-firsters for their hubristic anti-Americanism.
Obama’s imperial defiance also was directly related to the U.S. election. He could not have acted as he did while the campaign was going on because to have placed U.S. policy over Israeli imperialism would have split the Democratic Party into pro-U.S. and pro-Israel factions, thus making Hillary Clinton’s chances of victory even slimmer than they already were. Even if Clinton had defeated Trump, though, Obama would still likely have abstained since he no longer had any reason to fear imperial retribution.
Finally, Obama wanted to give a parting kick to Donald Trump, who selected rabid settler apologist David Friedman to be his ambassador to Israel. Now, with the UN on recorded as refusing to normalize Israel’s illegal settlements, Trump will not have a free hand to involve the U.S. further in Israel’s criminality.
Obama’s abstention should have been greeted with relief in the U.S. Since 1967, successive governments have had to pay at least lip service to the fiction of a two-state solution both to feign respect for Palestinian rights and to pretend to be in charge of foreign policy. Nevertheless, Israel-firsters inside and outside the U.S. government reached for their hysterical hasbara hymn books and intoned the ritualistic imprecations: Obama’s vote was a betrayal of the imperial homeland! The U.S. stabbed its friend in the back! Obama showed himself to be a Jew-hating anti-Semite! We must work to rebuild our alliance [sic!] with Israel!
Israel’s loyalists dutifully gave the anti-Obama/poor-wounded-Israel propaganda campaign wide dissemination, and leading the way has been Israel’s newly elected governor Donald Trump. It still has not dawned on His Donaldness that the UN vote was both consistent with U.S. policy and necessary under international law.
It would have been expedient, logical and patriotic for Trump, Congress and the media at least to feign respect for Obama’s abstention on Resolution 2334. Every time the U.S. runs interference for Israel in the UN Security Council—at least 41 times to date—it further isolates itself from civilization.
As a candidate who ran against the political establishment and its warmongering swamp critters, Trump sounded like a president who would finally put America’s interests first, but by regurgitating the stale “Israel is a friend and ally” schtick Trump is sending mixed signals:
Did he run a disingenuous campaign?
Was he forced to chug the Kosher Kool-Aid®?
Is his cheerleading for Israel a reflexive impulse that can be corrected?
Because Trump was never steeped in corporatist neo-fascism that permeates the political establishment he ran against, it is possible for him to be taught to distinguish right from Zionism. First, though, he has to be taught to act like a president. So far, the disconnect between Trump and reality is nearly total, and he acts less like a president than as the producer/writer/star of his own reality show in which reality is what he says it is.
Trump puts the ‘twit’ in Twitter
A president is supposed to make policy statements after proper consideration and analysis, especially in areas where he has little or no expertise. Trump the amateur, though, spouts whatever half-baked impulse crosses his mind on Twitter, essentially an unfiltered gossip medium. After the UN vote, he proceeded to put his impulsive vacuity on display for the whole world to see.
What did he mean, for example, when he tweeted: “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20”? The U.S. will go back to sabotaging the will of the international community? The U.S. will go back to being an accomplice in the Zionist genocide of Palestine after committing one act of decency? On what rational basis could Trump object to the U.S. abstention on a resolution that demands Israel cease building illegal “settlements” on Palestinian land?
The next day, on Dec. 24, Trump posted this gem: “The big loss for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we’ll get it done anyway.”
Trump apparently believes that peace would be easier to negotiate if the U.S. had vetoed UNSC Resolution 2334. In other words, he believes that Israel’s creeping, violent theft of Palestine is a benefit to peaceful negotiations. What Trump claims is a “big loss for Israel” is really a great victory for the law and Palestinian rights. By reflexively pandering to Israel, Trump has begun his presidency by disgracing his country and declaring himself to be an outlaw.
Bibi Goes Bughouse!
The star of the other half of this farcical double-bill is Benjamin Netanyahu. As the mad emperor of Isramerica and other subject nations, he does not handle disobedience well. Emperors seldom do. When the Security Council voted its conscience, such as it is, Netanyahu threw a tantrum—there is no other word for it. It was a spectacular blend of hubris, petulance and impotence.
After the vote, the emperor summoned ambassadors from the 14 “offending” countries for an official rebuke. These even included Malaysia and Venezuela, which don’t have diplomatic relations with Israel. Netanyahu also recalled its own ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal and even cut all aid to the African state. Despite the U.K.’s long history of abject Zionist subservience, Netanyahu cancelled a meeting with his governor in London, Theresa May, who reportedly was reduced to tears.
Writing in late December on mondoweiss, editor Phillip Weiss depicted how Netanyahu’s tantrum epitomized the waning influence and credibility of Israel:
[By abstaining on Resolution 2334, Obama] has nudged Israel, and the media, toward recognition of [Israel’s] new status, as a rogue state; he has split the Israel lobby right down the middle, or down the side anyway; and he has given huge impetus to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). That is why Israeli leaders are going crazy this weekend, flinging accusations against the president on the cable networks and national news too because what Obama did is so meaningful.
Israel’s supporters long claimed that Israel only makes progress if you embrace it and tell Israel you love it. (Dennis Ross says this all the time.) Obama heeded that advice for years and got nothing. Now he has made one gesture against Israel, and the progress in a few days is amazing.
The hysteria against the resolution from Israeli leaders is a reminder to even-moderately well-informed Americans of ideas that were once heresies but are now hardening into public attitudes here: We give these people tens of billions of dollars and they act like spoiled brats.
Asking for trouble
For a political entity built on a fraudulent history, drawing attention to the historical record is not recommended, but Isramerica’s hubris-intoxicated emperor was beyond thinking rationally. In the wake of the vote, he declared that Israel would re-evaluate its relationship with the UN. If he meant that as a threat, he was sorely mistaken.
Contrary to popular myth, Israel is not now, nor has it ever been, a legitimate member of the world body. It lied to gain conditional admission, but the world has lacked the courage to do anything about it. Now, Netanyahu has made Israel’s illegitimacy a topic political discussion. Nearly eight years ago on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s illegitimate admission, I ran “a speech” by former Secretary-General Ban Ki–Moon in which he called for Israel’s expulsion for this very reason:
Few people know that Israel is the only state to be given a conditional admission. Under General Assembly Resolution 273, Israel was admitted on the condition that it grant all Palestinians the right to return to their homes and receive compensation for lost or damaged property, according to General Assembly Resolution 194, paragraph 11. Suffice to say, Israel has never lived up to these terms, and never intended to. For 60 years Israel has violated its terms of admission, and for 60 years the UN has done nothing about it. It has watched as Israel heaped misery upon misery on Palestine, and violated international law with impunity.… Therefore, I will ask the General Assembly to meet in special session at the earliest possible time to strip Israel of its membership.
Regrettably, the Zionist interloper is still around, but now the world has the perfect opportunity to be rid of it, thanks to Netanyahu. As if his tantrum weren’t enough, he virtually asked to be expelled by spitting on the UN’s authority: “Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms.” Interestingly, this is not the first time a spokesman has declared Israel to be an outlaw nation. Within two weeks of the end of the 1967 War, Abba Eban said:
If the General Assembly were to vote by 121 votes to 1 in favor of ‘Israel’ returning to the armistice lines [pre June 1967 borders] ‘Israel’ would refuse to comply with the decision.” (New York Times, June 19, 1967.)
If only one state demands that the General Assembly enforce the terms of UNGA Resolution 273, Netanyahu won’t have a relationship to re-evaluate.
Those who see nothing but doom and gloom from Trumpian America can take solace in one historical analogy. When he was elected in 1980, Ronald Reagan was a moralistic loose cannon with a profound ignorance of foreign policy and government in general. He was a staunch Cold Warrior who called the Soviet Union “the focus of evil in the modern world” and declared that anyone who did not believe in God and the afterlife could not be trusted. For this former actor who built his own reality, the presidency was just another role, and accordingly he treated speeches as ends in themselves. By the end of his second term, Reagan had put aside his prejudices to work with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to put and end to the Cold War.
Despite Trump’s early bouts of stupidity, he may also be forced to grow into his position. His nominee for defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis (Ret.), has reaffirmed that the capital of Israel is Tel Aviv, thereby contradicting Trump’s amateurish and unnecessary ambition to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
The world has spoken in unison that it will no longer tacitly accept Israeli cruelty and criminality in the name of Zionist determinism. Trump can either accept reality and join the civilized world in asserting an honourable, non-Zionist Middle East policy, or he can continue to isolate the U.S. by acting as Israel’s bitch.
Reagan was an inept president who managed to rise above his limitations on one crucial issue. Let’s hope Trump can overcome his prejudices to recognize Israel as an existential threat to the U.S.
Israel conspires against the Mother of Parliaments
A quite incredible story out of England has not received much media coverage in the United States. It concerns how the Israeli Embassy in London connived with government officials to “take down” parliamentarians and government ministers who were considered to be critical of the Jewish State. It was also learned that the Israeli Embassy was secretly subsidizing and advising private groups promoting Israeli interests, including associations of Members of Parliament (MPs). The story is interesting on several levels, particularly given the recent furor in the U.S. over allegations that Russia has been interfering in American politics.
By way of comparison, though no evidence has been provided to support the claim, Russia allegedly arranged for a hack into the Democratic National Committee server to obtain factual information potentially embarrassing to the Hillary Clinton campaign. The information was then made public and may have influenced how some Americans voted.
Compare that to what has been going on meanwhile in Britain, where an Israeli Embassy diplomat named Shai Masot, “an officer in the Israel Defense Forces and… serving as a senior political officer at the London Embassy,” was meeting with Maria Strizzolo, a senior British civil servant who was formerly chief of staff to Conservative parliamentarian and ardent Zionist Robert Halfon. Masot is certainly an intelligence officer under diplomatic cover. Masot and Strizzolo’s candid discussion, which was secretly recorded by al-Jazeera, related specifically to getting rid of Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan, regarded as a supporter of an independent Palestinian state.
To Masot’s additional query “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you would take down?” Strizzolo suggested “… if you look hard enough, I’m sure there is something that they’re trying to hide… a little scandal maybe.” Another alleged pro-Arab member of Parliament Crispin Blunt was also identified, with Strizzolo confirming that he was on a “hit list.”
It was also learned that Masot had been secretly subsidizing and advising two ostensibly independent groups, the parliamentary Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) and the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI). Masot did, however, express concern that Israel’s control over incoming parliamentarians was not quite what it used to be: “For years, every MP that joined the parliament joined the LFI. They’re not doing that any more in the Labour Party. CFI, they’re doing it automatically. All the 14 new MPs who got elected in the last elections did it automatically.”
Shai Masot also was working with friendly young British Jews, providing them with jobs at his embassy and then seeding them into positions in advocacy organizations where they continued to be paid secretly by him while promoting positions that would protect Israel from any criticism. One such group is Britain’s National Union of Students (NUS). Recently there has been somewhat of a furor over Shakira Martin, a vice president in the group, who accepted an all-expenses paid trip to Israel organized by the Union of Jewish Students, a pro-Israel organization which is among those receiving funding and guidance from the Israeli embassy in London. The al-Jazeera tape has also revealed that Richard Brooks, another NUS vice president, had been plotting with pro-Israel activists to remove elected NUS president Malia Bouattia, a supporter of Palestinian rights and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
It does not require much in the way of imagination to realize that the Masot meetings probably occur every day right out in the open in Washington, including Israeli officials and Congressmen as well as heads of political advocacy organizations and lobbies. The list of prominent politicians “taken down” by Israel is lengthy, and includes Cynthia McKinney, Adlai Stevenson III, Paul Findley, Chuck Percy, William Fulbright, Roger Jepsen, and Pete McCloskey. And a similar situation prevails in the U.S. regarding human rights and politically liberal organizations that are ostensibly privately funded. As Jeff Blankfort has noted, they are frequently headed by American Jews who prove quite willing to criticize the United States but are generally reluctant to say anything bad about Israel. Whether they are actually directly or indirectly on the Israeli government payroll would be an interesting project for a good investigative journalist.
One might reasonably consider Israel’s interference in the democratic process in friendly countries like the U.K. and U.S. as much farther reaching and damaging than anything Moscow has done. Yet Russia is being excoriated by the U.S. and European media daily, investigated by Congress and sanctioned because of what are little more than unproven allegations. Israel has clearly done some things to interfere with local politics that are arguably much worse and the silence is deafening. So one should not be surprised by the toothless British reaction to the suggestion that its government officials might be removed by the clandestine activity of a foreign country: “The Israeli ambassador has apologized… the UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.”
Britain under its new Prime Minister Theresa May has also been rolling over in response to Israel’s perceived interests almost as obsequiously as the U.S. Congress. After Secretary of State John Kerry described Israel’s government as “extreme right wing” on December 28th, May sprang to Tel Aviv’s defense, saying “we do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally. We are also clear that the settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict. In particular, the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism, with which they have had to cope for too long.”
May’s rejoinder could have been written by Netanyahu, and maybe it was. Two weeks later, her government cited “reservations” over a French government sponsored mid-January Middle East peace conference and would not sign a joint statement calling for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after Netanyahu vociferously condemned the proceedings.
It all recalls Pat Buchanan’s description of the U.S. Congress as an Israeli occupied zone, which raised holy hell at the time even though Buchanan did not go far enough judging by what has been happening in Britain. Indeed, lobbying on behalf of Israel is a global phenomenon with organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) existing in various forms in a number of other countries. BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, is an AIPAC clone located in London. It is well funded and politically powerful, working through its various “Friends of Israel” proxies. Americans might be surprised to learn that in Britain Jewish organizations uniquely are allowed to patrol heavily Jewish London neighborhoods in police-like uniforms while driving police type vehicles and there have been reports of their threatening Muslims who enter the areas.
Indeed, wherever one goes – Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States – there is a well-organized and funded mechanism in place ready, willing and able to go to war to protect Israel. Most of the organizations involved take at least some direction from officials in Tel Aviv. Many of them even cooperate fully with the Israeli government, its parastatal organizations and faux-NGOs like the lawfare center Shurat HaDin. Their goal is to spread propaganda and influence the public in their respective countries of residence to either hew to the line coming out of Tel Aviv or to confuse the narrative and stifle debate when potential Israeli crimes are being discussed.
Israel’s diaspora allies are backed up by a formidable government organized machine that spews out disinformation and muddies the waters whenever critics surface. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has a corps of paid “volunteers” who monitor websites worldwide and take remedial action and there is a similar group working out of the Prime Minister’s office. That is why any negative story appearing in the U.S. or Britain about Israel is immediately inundated with pro-Israel comments, many of which make exactly the same coordinated points while exhibiting the same somewhat less than perfect English. On sites like Yahoo they are actually able to suppress unwelcome comments by flooding the site with “Dislike” responses. If a comment receives a large number of dislikes, it is automatically blocked or removed.
The sayanim, local Jews in their countries of residence, are essential to this process, having been alerted by emails from the Israeli Foreign Ministry about what to do and say. The reality is that Israel has lost the war of public opinion based on its own actions, which are becoming more and more repressive and even inhumane and so are difficult to explain. That means that the narrative has to be shifted by Israel’s friends through subterfuge and the corruption of the information and political processes in each country. In some places the key media and political players who are engaged in the process can simply be bought. In other places like England they can be intimidated or pressured into taking positions that are neither in their own countries’ interests nor morally acceptable. In large countries like the United States, Britain and France a combination of friendly suasion and coercive elements often come together.
In some extreme cases the game Israel plays is brutal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned New Zealand that backing a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements would be a “declaration of war.” In all cases, the objective is the same: to repress completely, discourage or misrepresent any criticism of Israel and to block any initiatives that might be taken that would do damage either to the Israeli economy or to the country’s perceived standing in the world. In some countries including the U.S. and Britain, Israel’s advocates work their subversion of local institutions right out in the open and are highly successful in implementing policies that often remain largely hidden but that can be discerned as long as one knows what to look for.
This file photo shows LGM-30 Minuteman nuclear missile being test fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
US intelligence agencies are working with the country’s military forces to update previous assessments about a possible nuclear attack against Russia and China.
Conducted by the Pentagon’s Strategic Command and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the study is trying to find out whether the Russian and Chinese leadership could survive a nuclear strike and keep operating, Stars and Stripes reported on Monday.
Championed by Republican Representative Michael Turner, the study drew bipartisan support in Congress and was passed before the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has expressed willingness to reshape ties with both China and Russia.
The findings of the study, which was one of the little-noticed provisions of the 2017 Pentagon budget, would provide a complete evaluation of Moscow and Beijing’s “leadership survivability, command and control and continuity of government programs” in case of an attack.
A US Air B-52 Stratofortress nuclear-capable bomber
The information is critical for the US Strategic Command, which is tasked with planning and carrying out such strikes.
The study is also aimed at finding “the location and description of above and underground facilities important to the political and military” leadership and the facilities that they use “to operate out of during crisis and wartime.”
Navy Captain Brook DeWalt, a spokesman for the Strategic Command, confirmed that the study was ongoing but said it was “premature” to release any details.
Trump says he would expand ties with Moscow and might even lift US sanctions against Russia if the country agrees to dramatically cut the size of its nuclear arsenal.
This is while the Republican head of state has also shown great interest in “rebuilding” the US military and upgrading the country’s vast nuclear arsenal.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he said in a tweet in December.
Unlike with Russia, the Trump administration has spared no effort in attacking China over a range of issues.
After talking to Taiwanese leaders and undermining the “One China” policy, the Trump administration further angered China by pledging to stop its “island-building” in the South China Sea.
The claim stirred much outrage, to the point that Chinese media said the only way Washington could achieve that objective was through war.
Washington has been planning a reported modernization of its nuclear weapons which is expected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars over 30 years.
Newly-released US documents show Trident nuclear missiles have a track record of failure. The revelations come weeks after it emerged a British test-fired missile malfunctioned in June 2016 and veered off course towards the US coast.
Documents seen by the Sunday Times reportedly show the Trident system has long been affected by navigational issues, leading to £1.4 billion (US$1.76 billion) being spent on repairs and modifications.
The paper published a section of the report which said: “The Trident II missile is completing its 26th year of deployment and has reached its original design life goal.
“Like any other ageing weapon system, increased maintenance and repair will be required to sustain a safe, reliable and accurate strategic weapons system.”
The UK leases its Trident D5 missiles from the US and they are drawn from the same pool of nukes used by the US Navy.
Despite UK ministers reaffirming their commitment to Trident following reports that missiles veered off course during a June 2016 test, the US document seem to show a long series of malfunctions.
The ageing missile system reportedly suffers consistent problems with its internal gyro guidance system due to the effects of age on the chemicals inside.
After the British government was accused of covering up of the June 2016 incident aboard a British submarine, RT spoke to former sailor and Trident safety whistleblower William McNeilly. He was drummed out of the Royal Navy in 2015 for publishing a dossier on nuclear safety and security failures.
“I warned about this exact event over a year before it happened. I was in the MCC / Missile Control Center during the end of patrol tests in early 2015 and I witnessed with my own eyes the Trident system fail its simulated missile launch tests,” McNeilly said.
The former submariner claims to have seen Trident “fail three out of three WP 186 Missile Compensating Tests” first-hand. He also says a “Battle Readiness Test (BRT) was not even attempted due to seawater in the hydraulic system.”
Following the latest revelations, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) called on the government to come clean on Trident failures.
The group said it isn’t enough for ministers to say they have confidence in the system, given “a catalogue of very serious failures that the government needs to address.”
“Last week we learnt that the government had covered up a misfired Trident missile, and today we found out about consistent reliability issues with the Trident II D5 missiles, as well as another misfired missile in 2011,” CND general secretary Kate Hudson said.
“In the Commons debate on Trident replacement in July 2016, MPs were told by the government they were voting on reliable and safe technology, but it [is] now clear that isn’t true. Trident is unreliable and the head-in-the-sand approach of the government could prove catastrophic if it continues. We are calling for a Trident Inquiry. The public have a right to know the details of these cover-ups and failures.”
If Dutch investigators couldn’t decipher data from Russia, they could have asked for help, says military expert Aleksandr Tazekhulakhov. The problem here is that the Dutch have attempted to keep Russian representatives out of the MH17 probe, he adds.
Dutch investigators reportedly said they can’t read the radar images received from Russia in October as part of the investigation into the crash of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
A spokesman for the Dutch prosecutor’s office claimed the format of the data was not up to international standards and further information is needed to understand the images.
“The Dutch prosecutor’s office requested information they needed for the investigations – and we gave it to them,” says Major General Aleksandr Tazekhulakhov, the former deputy head of the Russian Army Air Defense.
“Just let me remind you how it all happened. In July 2014, a few days after the tragedy, Russia sent the Netherlands the necessary video data. Why? Objective monitoring procedures stipulate that radar screens must be recorded on photo and video. But the Dutch prosecutor’s office told us back then that that kind of data can be tampered with and requested for information in another format. There is no other internationally acknowledged and officially accepted format. Russia then gave the data taken directly from the radar station computer, and it cannot be falsified, changed or altered in any way,” he told RT.
Now, Tazekhulakhov says, “all of a sudden we see that after we officially handed over the information in question,” investigators in the Netherlands say that they cannot read it.
“This is either a matter of professional incompetence or a desire to prolong the process of the investigation as much as possible because we understand very well that involving more officials at various levels means more money,” he said.
There could be a very simple solution, according to the military expert: “If they really cannot read a regular file in a regular format, they can ask for our experts and they’ll help.”
“However, here is another problem: the Netherlands is trying to do its best to keep representatives of the Russia Federation out of the investigation. I see only one reason for this – it’s yet another attempt to put the blame on Russia for something, though it’s not even clear what it is,” Tazekhulakhov said.
Dutch journalist Joost Niemoller, and author of MH17: the cover-up deal says it’s “suspicious” it took the investigators several months to realize they couldn’t decipher the data. They claim it’s in an “unusual” format, but, Niemoller says, this is something that could be seen at the very beginning – when one first attempts to open a file.
“Why did it take so long? This makes me very suspicious. These radar images are, or the radar data now, are very important, because the Dutch authorities claim it was a Buk missile shot by the rebels, more or less together with Russians. But the only information, the only so-called proof they have is from Ukrainian secret services and some pictures on the internet,” he told RT.
The activities of organizations funded by US billionaire investor George Soros in Hungary are “anti-democratic,” as they want to undermine the government in Budapest, the foreign minister of Hungary told RT.
Soros “would like this government to fail, he would like to kind of fire this government because he doesn’t like our approach, doesn’t like our policies,” Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze.
“We find it very anti-democratic if someone from abroad would like to influence Hungarian voters on whom to vote for,” he asserted.
Several days before the interview, the Hungarian parliament began to discuss a bill allowing authorities to audit NGO executives and request detailed reports on their foreign donations.
Earlier in January, chairman of the ruling Fidesz party Szilard Nemeth said that “these organizations must be pushed back with all available tools, and I think they must be swept out, and now I believe the international conditions are right for this with the election of the new president [Donald Trump].”
Last September, Nemeth, who is also the deputy chairman of Hungary’s National Security Committee, submitted a list of 22 NGOs “connected to the Soros network for the purpose of having these organizations screened.”
Foreign Minister Szijjarto said it is obviously the right of his country to be protected from foreign influence. “This is what we have heard a lot from the US for the last months – that external influence is so dangerous… So, it’s a good reason – if this is the American position, it can be our position as well.”
Hungary, which lies at the very heart of Europe, last year became a main passageway for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees eager to reach northern European countries. The government, led by right-wing President Viktor Orban, responded by erecting fences along Hungary’s borders and introducing strict border controls. Budapest has consistently refused EU-backed mandatory resettlement quotas, calling them a blow to member states’ sovereignty.
Szijjarto cited intelligence reports alleging that “there were organizations which helped illegal migrants find ways to Hungary, to find where they could violate our border, to find out how to apply for asylum status, and these reports have said that George Soros was in the background of these organizations.”
Countries to Hungary’s east and south are concerned about Soros’ operations, too. In Macedonia, an organization called Stop Operation Soros (SOS) has been launched. Its founder, Nikola Srbov, accused Soros of hijacking civil society, calling upon followers to “fight against one-mindedness in the civil sector, which is devised and led by Soros,” according to Vecer newspaper.
Russian prosecutors branded the Open Society Foundation (OSF), a major Soros asset, and Open Society Institute’s Assistance Foundation threats to the country’s constitutional order and national security in 2015, and banned them from providing grants to Russian partners.
Groups run by Soros have also been accused of meddling in Ukrainian affairs and supporting the 2013 Euromaidan protests that led to the ouster of democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovich.
I regularly hear or read arguments from agencies compromising our natural heritage that such and such studies support their management decisions. However, often the agencies overlook or ignore contrary science that does not support the policy or management decision.
To give them a break, the average district ranger or even specialists like wildlife biologists, fire managers, and others often do not have time to keep up with the latest science. So, recognize that they may not really know the “best” science.
Yet, the public, and often the media, naively accepts without question the assertions of public agencies as “unbiased” observers. One often hears agencies defend their statements and policies by suggesting if everyone is angry with their positions, they must be “doing something right.”
Well not everything is splitting the baby. The Earth is round, not flat or half way flat. Gravity exists whether you believe it or not—just try jumping off a cliff. There are some things that are more accurate than others.
Both proponents and opponents of various public policies rely upon scientific studies to give credibility to their positions and boost confidence in their assertions. So how does one determine whose science is reliable?
There are several ways that I decide the relative veracity of scientific research and whether to grant authority to agency representatives—I follow the money.
The Upton Sinclair quote that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it” often is a good starting point for determining the accuracy of statements.
I know few foresters, for instance, who are opposed to logging. If you are a forester, your job depends on cutting trees.
The first thing I do is look at the occupation and affiliation of the spokesperson. Obviously if you are reading a study about the safety of smoking cigarettes and the authors work for tobacco companies, this would raise a yellow flag of caution. But it is not always as obvious that there are conflicts.
For instance, one of the ideas we hear surrounding livestock grazing is that grazing can prevent large wildfires by targeted removal of the fuel—grasses—that sustains fires.
There have been several studies that purport to show that “targeted” grazing can halt large fires. So, the first thing I do is look at who the authors are and where they are employed. The studies that suggest that livestock grazing—at least the ones I’m aware of—are all done by people in range departments.
Why is this important? Because if you are a professor or graduate student in a range program, your entire budget and survival as a professor and department depends on maintaining livestock grazing on public lands. Hence you have a vested interested in promoting livestock “benefits” whether real or imagined, and minimizing any known negative effects.
Next I look at the journal where the research was published. Not all journals are equal. Some are much more discriminating in the papers accepted for publication. Some journals also have unspoken biases. For instance, the Journal of Rangeland Ecology and Management published by the Society for Range Management is biased towards promoting livestock production.
You will find few papers in this journal that recommends removal of livestock as the best management option, even when the authors may document significant resource damage from livestock. They almost always recommend “proper grazing management” as the solution to problems, whether proper management can work under field conditions.
Beyond the journal publication, one then must look at the funding source for the study. If you are doing range studies in the western United States, most of your funding will be coming from either livestock organizations, and/or federal/state money appropriated to demonstrate why livestock grazing is a beneficial use of the landscape.
In all instances of the above examples, money and jobs dictates the perspective of the individual, and woe to the person who steps over the line and does not promote the accepted policy positions.
So, in the case of targeted grazing, you must read crucially the study methods, and conclusions. Most scientists have integrity—even though who are advocates of grazing, logging, oil extraction or whatever. They do not out-right lie or distort their findings.
What they do instead is restrict the kinds of questions they ask, how they set up their experimental design, how they interpret their findings and what they propose for solutions.
For instance, I studied wildlife biology in college. There was not one professor of mine that questioned or even raised the question whether hunting wildlife was appropriate and perhaps harmful to the long-term survival of the animals. (And yes, there is evidence that even “regulated” hunting can negatively impact wildlife).
We simply never discussed this idea because almost all wildlife biology professors get a substantial amount of their research funding from Fish and Game agencies.
As an example of the unexamined assumptions, one of the papers widely referenced by the BLM in its management plans to save sage grouse champions “targeted grazing” to reduce western range fires.
The original study was based on the grazing of several small plots where the cattle were confined by fences and herding. While the grazed areas did have less fuels, the applicability of this management of confinement to large public lands allotments is questionable. The cost of such confinement would be prohibitive.
While the research might show that “targeted” grazing might reduce some wildfires, the practical application of this approach to wide-open public lands allotments is questionable.
Beyond the costs and the lack of landscape scale application, the study relied on “models” of fire behavior to conclude that grazing would reduce wildfires.
Models are notoriously imprecise. As the saying goes, what goes into the model affects what comes out.
One of the factors in their model was limiting the wind speed in the fire models.
Why is this important? Because nearly all large wildfires are driven by high winds. Under less than high winds, wildfires do not spread rapidly and are easy to control—whether grazed or not.
Models are better than nothing, but they are no substitute for empirical data. In other words, direct observation of how real wildfires interact with grazed landscapes.
Finally, in at least one of these studies, the authors admitted in the very final paragraph that their findings only applied to wildfires burning under low to moderate weather conditions.
One had to read the entire paper to find this one line which is a dead giveaway that targeted grazing is not likely to significantly influence the large wildfires burning across the West. These large wildfires all burn under extreme fire weather conditions.
The same caution applies to other science as well. Nearly all the science supporting thinning/logging to reduce high severity wildfire is done by forestry schools and/or researchers who work for federal or state forestry agencies like the US Forest Service.
For instance, the Oregon State University Forestry School gets 10% of its funding from a tax on logging, which alone would be enough incentive for the department to have a favorable perspective on logging issues, not to mention that timber industry dollars also directly fund some of the department’s research.
No one wants to bite the hand that feeds them.
I hasten to add that this does not mean all research done by forestry schools, nor are all professors in such departments minions for industry. Nevertheless, there are often unquestioned assumptions that permeates the science. A reasonable person would exercise caution in accepting all “peer reviewed” science as equally valid.
They’re calling it the “Muslim Ban”, that’s the headline attention-grabber. It has its own twitter hashtag too. Everyone, all around the progressive “free world” is coming together to denounce this barbarism with one voice. Actors are making speeches at the SAG awards, and earnest navel-gazing columnists are writing about how this travel ban clashes with “British values”. There’s a petition to ban Trump from entering the UK with over a million signatures already (only tree from the British Antarctic Territories this time). John Harris, in the Guardian, even manages to make this all about Brexit – how triggering Article 50 will push us closer to a Trump administration that is “ruining America’s reputation”. Not even Jeremy Corbyn was immune, his biggest weakness it seems, is that he cannot ever miss an opportunity to be “nice”.
So what does it all mean? I have no idea. Is it a catastrophe? Absolutely not. It’s not even a surprise. This is something Trump spoke about doing over and over again during his campaign. That we’ve got to the point where a politician actually doing something he said he was going to do is a shock, is perhaps the most revealing aspect of this whole situation.
- Some fact-checking:
- It’s NOT a Muslim ban. It applies to only seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. All in all less than 200 million of the world’s 1.6 BILLION Muslims are affected.
- It’s NOT permanent, or even long-term. It’s only 90 days long for everywhere but Syria.
- It’s NOT unprecedented, Jimmy Carter banned all immigrants from Iran during the Hostage Crisis, and Barack Obama put a six month delay on Iraqi refugees in 2011. Just two years ago, during the “ebola crisis”, America imposed a travel ban on people coming in from West Africa. It is an entirely sensible and pragmatic thing to do…. if you believe your country to be in some kind of danger.
NOTE: Somehow, in the last four years or so, the media has established a meme that protecting the borders of your country is akin to racism. (This is probably part of a corporate, globalist agenda to allow the free movement of cheap labour, to undermine workers rights).
Now – let’s look at the seven named countries.
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. These seven countries have all been bombed by America in the last 12 months, and regularly going back dozens of years.
Obama sent predator drones to attack weddings and markets in Somalia and Iraq, and Britain and US sell bombs to the Saudis, who drop them on Yemeni civilians without a thought of repercussion, or even rebuke, from their Western allies. These countries have been destroyed. Libya, Iraq and Somalia are husks of states, with barely infrastructure enough to supply water to everyone, let alone do background checks on all the mercenaries and militant zealots hopping over the borders between the various war-zones America has dotted the Middle-East with.
Interestingly, none of these cynical and murderous acts of war ever resulted in a petition to stop Bush, Clinton or Obama from entering the country. Creating a failed state, killing a million people, and rendering millions homeless is less of a black-mark on your character than a 90 day travel ban.
The idea it “damages America’s reputation”? That is hilarious. America’s reputation was in tatters decades ago, to anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention. If drone assassinations, or dropping Agent Orange on Vietnamese children, or cluster bombs on Baghdad, or torturing people in Gitmo doesn’t dint your belief in American values… then a 90 travel ban shouldn’t either. And if it does, you need to re-sort your priorities.
What those seven countries have in common is not Islam, but chaos, violence and (allegedly) terrorism.
IF you believe in the rise of al-Qaeda and ISIS, IF you still think that these organizations are anything but American constructs for proxy wars and regime change, IF you truly believe in the fear porn and staged-managed terror the media hydra constantly pumps out, IF you truly believe these people are a threat to ordinary innocent civilians all over “the West”… then you have to agree a travel ban is a practical and logical step to control that threat. Just as it was in the 1970s, just as it was in 2011, just as it was in 2014.
And if your response to this move, as the mainstream media response has been, is to talk as if this threat doesn’t exist? Well, then you are admitting that you don’t believe your own coverage, that all the hyped-up “terrorism” talk was at best ratings driven hysteria, and at worst agenda-pushing lies.
The political establishment’s rush to virtue signal and oppose this move simply confirms what so many of us in the alt-news have been saying for years – terrorism was never the threat they pretended it was.
The question becomes – why is the vast majority of the media, the establishment and their various media voices so against this move? Is it because it means nothing? It is essentially harmless, but allows “liberals” and “progressives” to add some virtuous notes to their CV though strident opposition.
Is it simply a case that Trump will be opposed and ridiculed no matter what he does? If so, why? What good does turning the POTUS into a figure of scorn and mockery do anyone?
Is Trump essentially the anti-Obama? Obama was a construct that allowed immediate good-by association. Supporting Obama meant you were a good-guy, perhaps in a change of tack we now have a president you have to hate. Perhaps it’s all just an elaborate social experiment. It’s impossible to tell anymore.
The first 10 days of Trump’s presidency has, so far, produced far more questions than answers.