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Remembering the U.S.S. Liberty

The 50 year cover-up of a mass murder of U.S. servicemen orchestrated by Israel and its friends

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • June 6, 2017

There has been a lot of media coverage mostly written by Israelis or American Jews regarding Israel’s “victory” fifty years ago during the so-called Six Days War directed against its Arab neighbors but I have yet to see an account that mentions the fate of the U.S.S. Liberty. Nevertheless, the Liberty is not forgotten. This Thursday at noon at Arlington National Cemetery there will be a small gathering for the annual coming together with the survivors and friends of the most decorated ship in the history of the U.S. Navy, a victim of a particularly brutal and unprovoked attack by Israel that has been covered up for half a century by the powers that be in Washington. The moving service will include reminiscences by surviving crew members plus the ringing of a ship’s bell for each one of the thirty-four American sailors, Marines and civilians that were killed in the deliberate Israeli air and sea onslaught that sought to sink the intelligence gathering ship and kill all its crew. Present will be a number of veterans like myself and other Americans who are committed to ensuring that the story of the Liberty will not die in hopes that someday the United States government will have the courage to acknowledge what actually happened on that fateful day.

The Liberty survivors who will be present in Arlington on Thursday will be fewer than usual because the crew is having its own 50th anniversary commemoration in Norfolk, Virginia, home of the U.S. Atlantic fleet. In truth the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats on June 8, 1967, has almost faded from memory, with a younger generation completely unaware that a United States naval vessel was once deliberately targeted and nearly sunk by America’s “greatest friend and ally” Israel. The attack was followed by a cover-up that demonstrated clearly that at least one president of the United States even back nearly fifty years ago valued his relationship with the state of Israel above his loyalty to his own country.

It was in truth the worst attack ever carried out on a U.S. Naval vessel in peace time. In addition to the death toll, 171 more of the crew were wounded in the two-hour assault, which was clearly intended to destroy the intelligence gathering vessel operating in international waters collecting information on the ongoing fighting between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The Israelis, whose planes had their Star of David markings covered up so Egypt could be blamed, attacked the ship repeatedly from the air and with gunboats from the sea. When one Israeli pilot hesitated, refusing to attack what was clearly an American ship, he was instructed to proceed anyway.

The most disgusting part of the tale relates to how U.S. warplanes sent to the Liberty’s aid from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean were called back by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara acting under orders from President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who declared that he would rather see the ship go to the bottom of the sea than embarrass his good friend Israel. Ironically, the first ship to reach the Liberty and offer assistance was from the Soviet Union, an offer that was declined.

Johnson was reportedly feared Jewish influence over Congress and in the media, which might work together to block his “Great Society” legislative initiatives, not to mention his expected reelection bid in 1968. It was an early manifestation of the power of the Jewish lobby in American politics and foreign relations. One has to hope that both LBJ and McNamara are currently burning in hell.

The incredible courage and determination of the surviving crew was the only thing that kept the Liberty from sinking. The ship’s commanding officer Captain William McGonagle was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic role in keeping the ship afloat, though President Lyndon Baines Johnson broke with tradition and refused to hold the medal ceremony in the White House, also declining to award it personally, delegating that task to the Secretary of the Navy in a closed to the public presentation made at the Washington Navy Yard. The additional medals given to other crew members in the aftermath of the attack made the U.S.S. Liberty the most decorated ship based on a single engagement with hostile forces in the history of the United States Navy.

The cover-up of the attack began immediately. The Liberty crew was sworn to secrecy over the incident, as were the Naval dockyard workers in Malta, and even the men of the U.S.S. Davis, which had assisted the badly damaged Liberty to port were ordered to be silent. A hastily convened and conducted court of inquiry headed by Admiral John McCain acted under orders from Washington to declare the attack a case of mistaken identity. The inquiry’s senior legal counsel Captain Ward Boston, who subsequently declared the attack to be a “deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew,” also described how “President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.” The court’s findings were rewritten and sections relating to Israeli war crimes, to include the machine gunning of life rafts, were excised. Following in his father’s footsteps, Senator John McCain of Arizona has used his position on the Senate Armed Services Committee to effectively block any reconvening of a board of inquiry to reexamine the evidence. Most of the documents relating to the Liberty incident have never been released to the public in spite of the 50 years that have passed since the attack took place.

The faux court of inquiry and the medals awarded in secret were only the first steps in the cover-up, which has persisted to this day, orchestrated by politicians and a media that seem to place Israel’s interests ahead of those of the United States. Liberty survivors have been finding it difficult even to make their case in public. In April 2016 a billboard that read “Help the USS Liberty Survivors – Attacked by Israel” was taken down in New Bedford Massachusetts. The billboard had been placed by the Honor Liberty Vets Organization and, as is normal practice, was paid for through a contractual arrangement that would require the billboard company to post the image for a fixed length of time. It was one of a number of billboards placed in different states. Inevitably, Israel’s well connected friends began to complain. One Jewish businessman threatened to take his business elsewhere, so the advertising company obligingly removed the billboard two weeks early.

After fifty years, the dwindling number of survivors of the Liberty are not looking for punishment or revenge. When asked, they will tell you that they only ask for accountability, that an impartial inquiry into the attack be convened and that the true story of what took place finally be revealed to the public.

That Congress is deaf to the pleas of the Liberty crew should surprise no one as the nation’s legislative body has been for years, as Pat Buchanan once put it, “Israeli occupied territory.” The Lobby’s ability to force Congress and even the presidency to submit to its will has been spelled out in some detail by critics, first by Paul Findley in They Dare to Speak Out, later by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in The Israel Lobby, in Alison Weir’s Against Our Better Judgment, and most recently in Kirk Beattie’s excellent Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East.

Government willingness at all levels to protect Israel even when it is killing Americans is remarkable, but it is symptom of the deep corruption that has generated a tendency to go to bat for Israel reflexively, even when it is damaging to U.S. interests and to the rights that American citizens are supposed to enjoy. I note particularly legislation currently working its way through Congress and numerous statehouses make it illegal for any federal or state funding to go to any entity that supports the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement, better known as BDS. BDS is a way to put pressure on the Israeli government over its human rights abuses that is both non-violent and potentially effective. Israel’s supporters have labeled BDS as anti-Semitic and have had some success in making any criticism of Israel labeled a “hate crime.”

So the treatment of the U.S.S. Liberty should surprise no one in a country whose governing class has been for decades doing the bidding of the powerful lobby of a tiny client state that has been nothing but trouble and expense for the United States of America. Will it ever end? As the Israel Lobby currently controls the relevant parts of the federal government and much of the media, change is not likely to happen overnight, but there are some positive signs. The BDS movement is growing in spite of the pressure it is experiencing and will not go away. And opinion polls suggest that the American people are finally waking up to realize that they are sick and tired of the entire farce playing out in the Middle East under Israeli direction. Israel, which aggressively spies on us, kills our citizens and takes billions of dollars of our tax money which could be better spent here, is no friend of the United States and never has been. Just ask anyone who served on the U.S.S. Liberty.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

‘The BBC Has Betrayed Its Own Rules Of Impartiality’: Yemen, Saudi Arabia And The General Election

Media Lens – June 5, 2017

A key function of BBC propaganda is to present the perspective of ‘the West’ on the wars and conflicts of the world. Thus, in a recent online report, BBC News once again gave prominence to the Pentagon propaganda version of yet more US killings in Yemen. The headline stated:

US forces kill seven al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, says Pentagon

Seven ‘militants’ killed is the stark message. A veneer of ‘impartiality’ is provided by the weasel words, ‘says Pentagon’. BBC News then notes blandly, and without quotation marks:

The primary objective of the operation was to gather intelligence.

Nowhere in the short article was there any attempt to provide an alternative view of who had been killed and why. Were they really all ‘militants’? How is a ‘militant’ distinguished from a ‘civilian’, or from a soldier defending his country against foreign invaders? There was not even a cautious statement to the effect that the Pentagon’s claims could not be verified, as one might expect of responsible journalism.

Instead, we have to turn to Reprieve, an international human rights organisation founded in 1999 by the British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. The group reports that five of the ‘militants’ were civilians, including a partially blind 70-year-old man who was shot when he tried to greet the US Navy Seals, mistaking them for guests arriving in his village.

But their civilians are mere ‘collateral damage’ in war. Since January 2017, the US has launched 90 or more drone strikes in Yemen, killing around 100 people, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. This death toll includes 25 civilians, among whom were 10 children, killed in the village of al Ghayil in the Yemeni highlands during a US raid that was described by President Trump as ‘highly successful’.

Mentions of such atrocities were notable by their absence in ‘mainstream’ media coverage of Trump’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia where he signed trade deals worth around $350 billion. This included an arms deal of $110 billion which the White House described as ‘the single biggest in US history.’ It would not do for the corporate media, including BBC News, to dwell on the implications for Yemen where at least 10,000 people have been killed since the start of the Saudi-led bombing campaign in 2015. 14 million Yemenis, more than half the population, are facing hunger with the Saudis deliberately targeting food production.

The World Health Organisation recently warned of the rising numbers of deaths in Yemen due to cholera, saying that it was ‘unprecedented’. Save the Children says that at the current rate, more than 65,000 cases of cholera are expected by the end of June. The cholera outbreak could well become ‘a full blown-epidemic’. Moreover:

The upsurge comes as the health system, sanitation facilities and civil infrastructure have reached breaking point because of the ongoing war.

As US investigative journalist Gareth Porter observes via Twitter:

World leaders are silent as #Yemen faces horrible cholera epidemic linked to #Saudi War & famine. Politics as usual.

Iona Craig, formerly a Yemen-based correspondent for The Times, notes that ‘more than 58 hospitals now have been bombed by the coalition airstrikes, and people just do not have access to medical care in a way that they did before the war.’ As if the bombing was not already brutal, Saudi Arabia has imposed a cruel blockade on Yemen that is delaying, or even preventing, vital commodities from getting into the country. Grant Pritchard, interim country director for Save the Children in Yemen, says:

These delays are killing children. Our teams are dealing with outbreaks of cholera, and children suffering from diarrhoea, measles, malaria and malnutrition.

With the right medicines these are all completely treatable — but the Saudi-led coalition is stopping them getting in. They are turning aid and commercial supplies into weapons of war.

As one doctor at the Republic teaching hospital in Sanaa commented:

We are unable to get medical supplies. Anaesthetics. Medicines for kidneys. There are babies dying in incubators because we can’t get supplies to treat them.

The doctor estimated that 25 people were dying every day at the hospital because of the blockade. He continued:

They call it natural death. But it’s not. If we had the medicines they wouldn’t be dead.

I consider them killed as if they were killed by an air strike, because if we had the medicines they would still be alive.

None of this grim reality was deemed relevant to Trump’s signing of the massive new arms deal with Saudi Arabia. BBC News focused instead on inanities such as Trump ‘to soften his rhetoric’, ‘joins Saudi sword dance’ and ‘no scarf for Melania’. But then, it is standard practice for the BBC to absolve the West of any blame for the Yemen war and humanitarian disaster.

British historian Mark Curtis poses a vital question that journalists fear to raise, not least those at the BBC: is there, in effect, collusion between the BBC and UK arms manufacturer BAE Systems not to report on UK support for the Saudi bombing of Yemen, and not to make it an election issue? Curtis also notes that the BBC has not published any online article about UK arms being sold to the Saudis for use in Yemen since as far back as January. This, he says, is ‘misinforming the public, a disgrace’. He also rightly points out that the BAE Systems Chairman, Sir Roger Carr, was also Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust until April 2017 (when the Trust was wound up at the end of its 10-year tenure). The BBC Trust’s role was to ensure the BBC lived up to its statutory obligations to the public, including news ‘balance’ and ‘impartiality’. How could Sir Roger’s dual role not suggest a major potential conflict of interest?

On the wider issue of ‘mainstream’ media coverage of foreign policy, the political journalist Peter Oborne notes that:

Needless to say, the British media (and in particular the BBC, which has a constitutional duty to ensure fair play during general elections) has practically ignored Corbyn’s foreign policy manifesto.

Oborne writes that the manifesto:

is radical and morally courageous.

He explains that, pre-Corbyn:

Foreign policy on both sides was literally identical. The leadership of both Labour and the Conservatives backed the wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, the alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Sunni states in the Gulf.

London did what it was told by Washington. […] This cross-party consensus has been smashed, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn, the current Labour leader. Whatever one thinks of Corbyn’s political views (and I disagree with many of them), British democracy owes him a colossal debt of gratitude for restoring genuine political debate to Britain.

And of course his extremely brave and radical decision to break with the foreign policy analysis of Blair and his successors explains why he is viewed with such hatred and contempt across so much of the media and within the Westminster political establishment.

But, as Oborne notes, this important change has not been fairly represented in media coverage. In particular, on Yemen and Saudi Arabia:

It is deeply upsetting that the BBC has betrayed its own rules of impartiality and ignored Corbyn’s brave stand on this issue.

We challenged Andrew Roy, the BBC News Foreign Editor, to respond to Oborne’s observations. He ignored us (here and here). Roy’s silence is especially noteworthy given that he had once promised:

If there is a considered detailed complaint to something we’ve done, I will always respond to it personally.

Perhaps Oborne’s challenge to the BBC was not deemed sufficiently ‘considered’ or ‘detailed’ by the senior BBC News editor. Likewise, our own challenges over many years in numerous media alerts addressing BBC foreign coverage have been ignored or, at best, brushed away.

It was noteworthy that Corbyn’s considered response to the most recent terrorist attack in London was selectively reported, arguably censored, by BBC News. Corbyn said:

We need to have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology.

It is no good Theresa May suppressing a report into the foreign funding of terrorist groups. We have to get serious about cutting off the funding to these terror networks, including Isis here and in the Middle East.

Sky News broadcast Corbyn’s comments, but they do not appear to have been covered by BBC News. Certainly, as far as we can see, there is no mention of them in their ‘Live’ blog on the London attack or in Laura Kuenssberg’s analysis, ‘Election 2017: Impact of London terror attack on campaign’. And nothing about the Saudi link with terrorism appears in the BBC’s online report on Corbyn’s speech, focusing instead on the issue of May’s cuts to police numbers while Home Secretary. Even this issue alone, if properly and fully addressed by the media, should be a resigning matter for May as Prime Minister. Responding to the London attacks, Peter Kirkham, a former Senior Investigating Officer with the Metropolitan police, accused the government of lying over police numbers on UK streets. And a serving firearms officer says that:

The Government is wrong to claim police cuts have nothing to do with recent attacks.

Despite her denials, Theresa May’s cuts to police numbers have made attacks like London and Manchester much more likely.

Kuenssberg’s piece included passing mention of ‘the Tories’ record on squeezing money for the police’. But she gave no figures showing a reduction in the number of armed police; crucial statistics which she could have easily found from the Home Office.

Mark Curtis gives a damning assessment of BBC reporting on foreign affairs, particularly during the general election campaign. Noting first that:

One aspect of a free and fair election is “nonpartisan” coverage by state media.

He continues:

Yet BBC reporting on Britain’s foreign policy is simply amplifying state priorities and burying its complicity in human rights abuses. The BBC is unable to report even that Britain is at war – in Yemen, where the UK is arming the Saudis to conduct mass bombing, having supplied them with aircraft and £1 billion worth of bombs, while training their pilots.

Curtis then provides some telling statistics:

From 4 April to 15 May, the BBC website carried only 10 articles on Yemen but 97 on Syria: focusing on the crimes of an official enemy rather than our own. Almost no BBC articles on Yemen mention British arms exports. Theresa May’s government is complicit in mass civilian deaths in Yemen and pushing millions of people to the brink of starvation; that this is not an election issue is a stupendous propaganda achievement.

Indeed, our newspaper database searches reveal that, since the election was called on April 18, there has been no significant journalistic scrutiny of May’s support of Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen. The subject was even deemed radioactive during a public meeting in Rye, Sussex, when Amber Rudd, standing for re-election, appeared to shut down discussion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Electoral candidate Nicholas Wilson explains what happened:

At a hustings in Rye on 3 June, where I am standing as an independent anti-corruption parliamentary candidate, a question was asked about law & order. Home Secretary Amber Rudd, in answering it referred to the Manchester terrorist attack. I took up the theme and referred to UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia & HSBC business there. She spoke to and handed a note to the chairman who removed the mic from me.

The footage of this shameful censorship deserves to be widely seen. If a similar event had happened in Russia or North Korea, it would have received intensive media scrutiny here. Once again, we note the arms connection with the BBC through BAE Systems Chairman, Sir Roger Carr. Wilson has also pointed out a potential conflict of interest between HSBC and the BBC through Rona Fairhead who was a non-executive director of HSBC while serving as Chair of the BBC Trust.

These links, and Theresa May’s support for the Saudi regime, have gone essentially unexamined by the BBC. And yet, when BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg responded to Corbyn’s manifesto launch, her subtle use of insidious language betrayed an inherent bias against Corbyn and his policies on foreign affairs. She wrote: ‘rather than scramble to cover up his past views for fear they would be unpopular’, he would ‘double down… proudly’. Kuenssberg’s use of pejorative language – ‘scramble’, ‘cover up’, ‘unpopular’ – delivered a powerful negative spin against Corbyn policies that, in fact, as Oborne argues, are hugely to his credit.

When has Kuenssberg ever pressed May over her appalling voting record on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen? In fact, there is no need for May to ‘scramble’ to ‘cover up’ her past views. Why not? Because the ‘mainstream’ media rarely, if ever, seriously challenge her about being consistently and disastrously wrong in her foreign policy choices; not least, on decisions to go to war.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Mulls Sanctioning Venezuelan Oil as ‘Economic War’ Continues

teleSUR | June 4, 2017

The Trump administration is debating imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector, while Washington has raised “concerns” about U.S. firms giving a “financial lifeline” to the South American nation.

Reuters reported Sunday that the White House could hit Venezuela’s vital oil and energy sector, including state-run oil company PDVSA, with a number of different sanctions, including the possibility of a blanket ban on Venezuelan oil imports — imports that the United States heavily relies on.

Since President Donald Trump took office in January, he has stepped up targeted sanctions against Venezuela, including against the vice president, the chief judge and seven other Supreme Court justices.

While Trump officials hem and haw over the move that would further incapacitate the Venezuela’s economy, other senior officials are raising concern about U.S. firms’ Venezuela investments.

After Goldman Sachs Group Inc. came under fire for purchasing US$2.8 billion of state oil company bonds, one official told Reuters, “We’re concerned by anything that provides a lifeline for the status quo.”

Last week, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition-controlled National Assembly threatened not to pay the PDVSA bonds purchased by Goldman Sachs through a third party broker.

The National Assembly’s head, Julio Borges, one of the most prominent opposition leaders in the country, claimed that in purchasing the bonds, Goldman Sachs was “extending a lifeline” to a “dictatorship” and funding “human-rights abuses.”

In response, Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami announced on Thursday that the government would be launching a lawsuit against him, condemning Borges’ attempt to cut off Venezuela from legal and transparent international investments.

“The deal with Goldman provides a desperately needed boost to Venezuela’s shrinking international reserves, which had fallen to US$10 billion amid stagnant global crude prices,” Venezuela Analysis reported.

Borges’ threats against Goldman Sachs are the latest in what the government has dubbed an “economic war” waged by international financial institutions and the right-wing opposition.

Last month, the National Assembly president sent over a dozen letters to various international banks requesting that they cut off all transactions with the Venezuelan government and state enterprises. The letters threatened that doing business in Venezuela “would be engaging in crimes, and that such contracts would be legally and morally unacceptable.”

This isn’t the first time the United States has pushed for sanctions against PDVSA. In 2011, the Obama administration punished the company for doing business with Iran, a country toward which the United States and its allies have long been hostile.

PDVSA and government officials have accused international financial institutions in the past of working in favor of right-wing groups to destabilize the country and its key economic driver, the oil sector.

What the Venezuelan government has called an “economic war” on the country parallels the financial destabilization targeting the socialist government of President Salvador Allende in Chile in the early 1970s ahead of the CIA-backed military coup that ousted him from office in 1973. The U.S.-backed economic warfare sought to weaken Chile by “making the economy scream,” as then-President Richard Nixon put it in orders to the CIA, in order to topple the Allende government.

Since taking office, Trump has continued a policy of U.S. hostility toward Caracas, including by meeting with opposition figure Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, in the White House in February.

The U.S. has also backed a campaign in the Organization of American States that President Nicolas Maduro’s government has slammed as attempted intervention. Top Venezuelan officials have accused the body of violating Venezuela’s sovereignty and have therefore initiated the process to withdraw from it.

After the most recent OAS meeting last week, Bolivian President Evo Morales strongly condemned the regional body and specifically OAS secretary general, Luis Almagro, warning that, “If not physically, he wants to politically eliminate the anti-imperialist presidents and governments” of Latin America.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Chile Judge Jails 106 Ex-Agents of Pinochet Dictatorship

teleSUR | June 3, 2017

Over 100 former members of the secretive National Intelligence Directorate, DINA, under Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet are facing jail time for the kidnapping and murder of 16 people belonging to dissident left-wing movements.

The sentence was issued early Friday against 106 secret police officers belong to “Operation Colombo” during the years that followed the 1973 overthrow of democratically-elected President Salvador Allende, when Pinochet was consolidating his U.S.-backed military government.

Judge Hernan Cristoso ruled that the 16 killed belonged either to the socialist party or leftist groups like the Revolutionary Left Movement, MIR. Those killed had been abducted before being transferred to torture centers in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

The 16 are among over 3,000 people who faced enforced disappearances and murder by the Pinochet government, which acted in league with neighboring governments in Argentina, Brazil and other South American nations through Operation Condor, a Cold War-era campaign across Latin America that resulted in tens of thousands of activist deaths.

The United States supported the right-wing governments during its competition with the Soviet Union, which it feared was undermining U.S. interests in the region through its own support for left-wing groups.

Chile has been attempting to grapple with its authoritarian past as judges and government figures increase convictions of Pinochet-era officials found to have committed human rights violations.

The 106 former agents have been sentenced to between 541 days and 20 years in jail, where they will be joining other former state security personnel that are serving time for other cases.

The Chilean government has also been ordered to pay the equivalent of US$7.5 million to the families of the deceased activists.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Venezuelan Youth Burned for ‘Being Chavista’ Dies from Injuries

By Lucas Koerner – Venezuelanalysis – June 5, 2017

Caracas – A Venezuelan man burned alive by opposition protesters has died of his injuries as anti-government unrest claimed two more lives over the weekend.

Afro-Venezuelan Orlando Figuera died in the hospital on Saturday evening after suffering six knife wounds as well as first and second-degree burns on 54 percent of his body.

On May 20, the 21-year-old was passing through the opposition stronghold of Chacao when he was accused of being a government supporter by masked protesters, who brutally beat him before dousing him in gasoline and setting him on fire.

The death was made public by the national ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, who called for the “maximum sentence against the lynchers”.

“Orlando Figuera, beaten, stabbed, and burned alive by “protesters”, is the symbol of hate crimes in Venezuela,” the top human rights official declared via Twitter.

In an interview with state broadcaster VTV, Figuera’s mother, Ines Esparragoza blamed opposition leaders for the murder.

“Why does [National Assembly President] Julio Borges allow this? Why does [Miranda Governor] Henrique Capriles allow it? Who do I blame? The opposition, because they are the ones who doused my son in gasoline like an animal,” she stated.

Esparragoza has reported being fired from her job as a domestic worker in a private residence, which she has denounced as a reprisal over the VTV interview.

For its part, the Public Prosecutor’s office (MP) has indicated that investigations into the murder continue and that the alleged perpetrators have been identified.

In addition to Figuera, two more people have died of injures linked to violent protests that have rocked the country for the past two months.

On Friday, Luis Miguel Gutierrez Molina (20) died of a bullet wound he suffered during a protest on May 17 in Merida state. El Universal has reported that the incident took place during clashes between demonstrators and authorities.

The MP has dispatched a state prosecutor to investigate the homicide.

Meanwhile in Lara, another man died in the hospital on Saturday after being shot in the vicinity of a protest on April 11.

According to the preliminary MP report, Yoiner Peña (28) was shot in the back near a protest in Barquismeto by unknown assailants in a pickup truck who reportedly opened fire on those present.

However, the national ombudsman’s office has issued a conflicting account, suggesting that Peña was “mortally wounded in an [anti-government] barricade”.

According to Saab, Peña was the ninth person killed at opposition barricades since the violent protests began on April 4.

Seventy-three people have lost their lives as a result of the unrest, including at least 11 people killed by authorities and 22 deaths caused by demonstrators.

Opposition leaders have announced a fresh round of protests for this week, vowing to remain in the streets until the government meets their various demands, including holding presidential elections one year ahead of schedule.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

Daughters of Argentine Dirty War Perpetrators March for Justice

teleSUR | June 4, 2017

Argentine women whose fathers were condemned for human rights abuses during the Dirty War (1974-1983) marched for the first time in the country’s history to defend “memory, truth and justice,” along with the national march against gender violence Saturday.

“Histories of disobedience. 30,000 reasons. Sons and daughters of people responsible for genocide support memory, truth and justice,” read a banner held by a group of seven women in the middle of the crowd.

The women, between 40 and 60 years old, decided to take part in the massive march against femicides known as #NiUnaMenos as the first public appearance of their recently-created organization.

“They are very brave. As much for their personal history than their awareness of the genocide,” Martina Mirabelles, a teacher, who applauded the women according to AFP.

Patricia Isasa, who was tortured and raped in three concentration camps when she was 16 years old, called the “huge efforts” of daughters of torturers against their fathers and the patriarchal society,“historical”. “They are all victims of these cruel men,” she said.

Erika Lederer is the daughter of Ricardo, an obstetrician who participated in the coup against Salvador Allende and headed the illegal maternity unit of a military hospital at Campo de Mayo, stealing the prisoners’ babies. He killed himself when an investigation was opened against him.

His daughter said she suspected what her father was doing since she was a child, asking him “uneasy questions.” She became a lawyer because her father prohibited her from studying philosophy as she wanted, arguing it was for “lefties.”

“At home, there was a lot of domestic violence, to the point that I’d think: if he can do this to me, he can do even worse to unknown people,” she recalled, mentioning her “solitude” as well as the “shame” she could not share with anyone else.

She used to ask her father if he regretted anything, but he never admitted any wrongdoing, she added.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

The West’s War on Free Speech

By Tony Cartalucci – New Eastern Outlook – 05.06.2017

With a name like the “National Democratic Institute” (NDI) one might expect the US State Department-funded, corporate-financier chaired front to be the premier proponent of freedom and democracy worldwide. And although it poses as such, it does precisely the opposite. It uses principles like free speech, democracy, press freedom, and human rights as a facade behind which it carries out a politically motivated agenda on behalf of the special interests that fund and direct its activities.

In a recent Tweet, NDI linked to a New York Times article titled, “In Europe’s Election Season, Tech Vies to Fight Fake News.” It claimed in the Tweet that the article featured:

A look at some of the projects aiming to use automated algorithms to identify and combat fake news.

The article itself though, reveals nothing short of a global effort by US tech-giants Google and Facebook, in collaboration with the Western media, to censor any and all media that fails to align with Western-dominated narratives.

The article itself claims:

The French electorate heads to the polls in the second round of presidential elections on May 7, followed by votes in Britain and Germany in the coming months. Computer scientists, tech giants and start-ups are using sophisticated algorithms and reams of online data to quickly — and automatically — spot fake news faster than traditional fact-checking groups can.

The goal, experts say, is to expand these digital tools across Europe, so the region can counter the fake news that caused so much confusion and anger during the United States presidential election in November, when outright false reports routinely spread like wildfire on Facebook and Twitter.

The article then explains that once “fake news” is spotted, it is expunged from the Internet. It reports that:

After criticism of its role in spreading false reports during the United States elections, Facebook introduced a fact-checking tool ahead of the Dutch elections in March and the first round of the French presidential election on April 23. It also removed 30,000 accounts in France that had shared fake news, a small fraction of the approximately 33 million Facebook users in the country.

Were foreign government-linked tech companies purging tens of thousands of accounts ahead of elections in say, Thailand or Russia, it is very likely organizations like NDI and media platforms like the New York Times would cry foul, depicting it as censorship.

In determining what is and isn’t “fake news,” the New York Times offers some clues (emphasis added):

Using a database of verified articles and their artificial intelligence expertise, rival groups — a combination of college teams, independent programmers and groups from existing tech companies — already have been able to accurately predict the veracity of certain claims almost 90 percent of the time, Mr. Pomerleau said. He hopes that figure will rise to the mid-90s before his challenge ends in June.

In other words, “fake news” is determined by comparing it directly to narratives presented by establishment media platforms like the New York Times, the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and others who have notorious track records of serial deception, false reporting, and even war propagandizing.

Nowhere does the New York Times explain how these “verified articles” have been determined to be factually accurate, and instead, it appears that all these algorithms are doing is ensuring all media falls in line with Western narratives.

If media in question coincides with Western-dominated media platforms, it is given a pass – if not, it is slated for expunging as described elsewhere in the New York Times’ piece.

Thus, the National Democratic Institute, who claims on its website to “support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government,” finds itself promoting what is essentially a worldwide agenda of malicious censorship, manipulating the perception of the globe’s citizenry, not supporting or strengthening it’s participation in any sort of honest political process.

To answer the question as to what the NDI is referring to when it claims other nations are “censoring” free speech and press freedoms, it involves defending local fronts funded by the NDI and its parent organization, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) who merely repeat Western propaganda in local languages and with local spins. When foreign nations attempt to deal with these instances of “fake news,” US fronts like NDI and NED depict it as censorship.

While the West poses as the premier champion of free speech, citizen participation, openness, and accountability, the New York Times article reveals an unfolding plan to utterly crush any narrative that deviates from Western media talking points, thus controlling citizen perception, not encouraging “participation,” and ensuring that the West alone determines what is “opened” and held “accountable.”

No worse scenario can be referenced in human history or even among human fiction than plans to determine for the world through automatic algorithms and artificial intelligence almost in real time what is heard and read and what isn’t. It is even beyond the scope and scale of George Orwell’s cautionary dystopian “1984” novel.

In a truly free society, an educated citizenry is capable of deciding for itself what is “fake news” and what isn’t. Because of the rise of alternatives to the West’s monopoly over global information, many people are doing just that – determining that Western narratives are in fact deceptions. At no other point in modern history has the Western media faced as many alternatives, and as much skepticism on this scale, as well as an ebbing of trust domestically and abroad. It is no surprise then, to find the West resorting to outright censorship, even if it cushions mention of it with terms like “fake news.”

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Question Deleted

By Rima Najjar | CounterPunch | June 5, 2017

For some time now, the discourse on Israel has been shifting from a place where Israeli “hasbara” disinformation had the upper hand no matter where one turned, to a place where Israeli criminal policies are more frankly discussed and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), is now championed by some academic associations, church groups and labor unions in the United States and elsewhere.

Jewish Voice for Peace and other activist groups have come out with statements not only advocating BDS, but also criticizing Zionism and its definition of Jewish nationalism as practiced by the Jewish state. In a letter protesting the cancellation of a hiring search for the ‘Edward Said Professor of Middle East Studies’ professorship at CSU Fresno, Jewish Voice for Peace states: “The Jewish people are not a monolith on this or any other issue.”

In response to these advances in the struggle for Palestinian liberation, one area remains taboo and that is to question (and thereby delegitimize) Israel by opposing its heart of darkness – i.e., its “right to exist” as a Jewish state (a partition of Mandate Palestine) belonging, not to its indigenous population, but to the “Jewish people” worldwide. This right to exist as a Zionist entity presupposes that Jewish communities around the world are a monolith Zionist “nation” in the way Israel defines Jewish identity, which in its corollary, denies the self-determination of Palestinian Arabs in their own homeland.

What’s appalling is that not only is it taboo to discuss the legality and legitimacy of Jewish self-determination, it is also taboo to even ask the question. The following is my answer to a question asked on the social media Q/A service called Quora, which was promptly thrown into the trash bin along with my answer and that of others posted there.

Because Israel’s creation is based on force of arms, Zionist terror and pre-planned ethnic cleansing, that is to say, the near-eradication of Arab Palestine, as well as violations of international law and is therefore an easy target of delegitimazation, it has relied heavily on the Balfour Declaration (1917), which supports the establishment in Palestine of a “Jewish national home” for the “Jewish people” to legitimize itself.

The Balfour Declaration was incorporated by the League of Nations in 1922 into the British Mandate of Palestine (with the caveat that the rights of the absurdly-phrased “non-Jewish communities,” then 90% of Palestine’s population, would be maintained). That document, however, does not translate into “self determination in the form of a Jewish state,” nor was it meant as such, despite its deceptive language .

Jewish identity politics and literature are rife with contradiction, controversy and confusion. But Israel, while denying the legal existence of Palestinian Arabs as “a people,” defines Jewishness through descent – supposedly unbroken bloodlines from antiquity to the present.

The following is quoted from the UNESCO document on Israel and Apartheid found here.

“The State of Israel enshrined the central importance of descent in its Law of Return of 1950 (amended in 1970), which states that: ‘For the purposes of this Law, ‘Jew’ means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion.”

Descent is crucial to Jewish identity discourse in Israel because direct lineal descent from antiquity is the main reason given by political-Zionist philosophers for why Jews today hold the right to self-determination in the land of Palestine. In this view, all Jews retain a special relationship and rights to the land of Palestine, granted by covenant with God: some schools of Zionism hold that Israel is the successor State to the Jewish kingdoms of Saul, David and Solomon. That claim is expressed, inter alia, in the Declaration of Independence of Israel, which affirms that Jews today trace their ancestry to an earlier national life in the geography of Palestine and therefore have an inalienable right to “return”, which is given precedence over positive law…. That claim to unbroken lineal descent from antiquity attributes collective rights to the “land of Israel” to an entire group on the basis of its (supposed) bloodlines. The incompatible claim that Jewishness is multiracial, by virtue of its character as a religion to which others have converted, is simply absent from this formula.

So where does that leave the Palestinians, the indigenous people of Palestine? Keep in mind that indigeneity is defined as:

… populations composed of the existing descendants of the peoples who inhabited the present territory of a country wholly or partially at the time when persons of a different culture or ethnic origin arrived there from other parts of the world, overcame them, by conquest, settlement or other means, reduced them to a non-dominant or colonial condition; who today live more in conformity with their particular social, economic and cultural customs and traditions than with the institutions of the country of which they now form part, under a state structure which incorporates mainly national, social and cultural characteristics of other segments of the population which are predominant.

(a) they are the descendants of groups, which were in the territory at the time when other groups of different cultures or ethnic origin arrived there;

(b) precisely because of their isolation from other segments of the country’s population they have almost preserved intact the customs and traditions of their ancestors which are similar to those characterised as indigenous;

(c) they are, even if only formally, placed under a state structure which incorporates national, social and cultural characteristics alien to their own.

In 1986, the following rather important line was added;

any individual who identified himself or herself as indigenous and was accepted by the group or the community as one of its members was to be regarded as an indigenous person.

Today, Israel pursues its claim to legitimacy primarily through discrediting Palestinians, the indigenous people, in a relentless, public relations, diplomatic and lawfare campaign, so successful, it has rendered the international community impotent in upholding international law as it applies to the Palestinian people, including the right of self-determination. Lawfare efforts, for example, are currently focused on criminalizing Boycott (BDS) activism.

The European Union Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism has accordingly included in its working definition of anti-Semitism as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour”.

In 2016, the United States passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, in which the definition of anti-Semitism is that set forth by the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism of the Department of State in a fact sheet of June 8, 2010. Examples of anti-Semitism listed therein include: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist”.

In my opinion, Israel will be legitimized only when it stops obstructing the exercise of Palestinian right to self-determination, a right “authoritatively” recognized by international law:

“The status of the Palestinians as a people entitled to exercise the right of self-determination has been legally settled, most authoritatively by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its 2004 advisory opinion on Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”.

The counterarguments advanced by Israel and supporters to rationalize and legitimize policies that deny Palestinian rights and affirm the rights of “the Jewish people” include claims that the determination of Israel to remain a Jewish State is consistent with practices of other States, such as France; Israel does not owe Palestinian non-citizens equal treatment with Jews precisely because they are not citizens; and Israeli treatment of the Palestinians reflects no “purpose” or “intent” to dominate, but rather is a temporary state of affairs imposed on Israel by the realities of ongoing conflict and security requirements. … A further claim that Israel cannot be considered culpable for crimes of apartheid because Palestinian citizens of Israel have voting rights rests on two errors of legal interpretation: an overly literal comparison with South African apartheid policy and detachment of the question of voting rights from other laws, especially provisions of the Basic Law that prohibit political parties from challenging the Jewish, and hence racial, character of the State.

Yes, Palestine does exist and will continue to exist, because of Palestinians’ incredible steadfastness.

As Rabbi Brant Rosen expressed it:

“The choice we ultimately face is one between a Jewish state vs. international law, justice and human rights for all.”

Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem.  She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank. 

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 3 Comments

Remembering the Naksa

Image of Israeli soldiers interrogating Palestinians during the 1967 Gaza war [Miren Edurne/facebook]
By Nasim Ahmed | MEMO | June 5, 2017

Fifty years ago this month, Israel launched a war against its neighbours and took control of the parts of Palestine which it had failed to capture during its 1948 “War of Independence”.

What: The Palestinian Naksa (“Setback”)

When: 5 June 1967

Where: Palestine

What Happened?

On 5 June 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike against Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria. After knocking out the air defences of these countries, it occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Thus, it had taken control of the final 22 per cent of historic Palestine that it wasn’t able to occupy in 1948.

Nearly 400,000 Palestinians were added to the hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced in 1948 and their homes and villages were razed to the ground by the Israelis. Around half were being displaced for the second time in less than 20 years. Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine was ongoing (as it is to this day).

The number of Palestinian refugees in the camps operated by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon grew.

The Naksa commemorates this tragic setback in the Palestinian struggle for freedom and self-determination.

What Happened Next?

The outcome of the war launched by Israel was, for many of its citizens and supporters, the fulfilment of God’s promise. Adding 44 per cent of the territory allocated by the 1947 UN Partition Plan for a Palestinian state, to the 56 per cent set aside for a Jewish state, marked a new beginning for both Israel and stateless Palestinians.

Within 20 years of being recognised as an independent state, Israel began an occupation that would become the longest in modern history, at 50 years and counting. Palestinians in the “occupied Palestinian territories” were subjected to a brutal Israeli military occupation as well as the activities of armed, right-wing Jewish settlers, for whom Israel’s victory was God’s handiwork and a licence to colonise the land which they believed was promised to them and them alone.

Israel’s already repressive military rule over Palestinians living within its undeclared borders was transferred to the West Bank and Gaza. Very soon, a matrix of control and domination, that included checkpoints, permits and home demolitions, was imposed on the lives of millions of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

For the Palestinians, the combination of the Arab defeat during the “Six-Day War”, the repeated failure of the international community to protect their human rights, and Israel’s total colonisation of Palestine, prompted a serious re-evaluation of their situation. Having witnessed the futility of relying on others to end the indignity from which they had suffered for decades, they began to organise politically in an attempt to reverse the losses of 1948 and end their misery and statelessness.

In the years following the Naksa, Palestinian communities in the refugee camps and diaspora began to organise themselves politically and socially. A number of setbacks against the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) did not deter them. Such civil society activities led to the formation of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the late eighties; the popular uprising now known as the First Intifada; and the PLO under the control of the secular Fatah movement gaining recognition by Israel and its allies as the “sole representative of the Palestinian people”. This phase of the political process ended with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1994, providing the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with “interim self-governing arrangements”.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas leader in Egypt for rare talks after spat

Press TV – June 5, 2017

A delegation from the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, headed by the newly chosen leader in Gaza Yehiya Sinwar, has arrived in Cairo to hold the first high-level meeting with the country’s security officials after months of tensions.

Salah Bardaweel, an official within Hamas, said the three-member delegation crossed into Egypt on Sunday via the Rafah border crossing, the only passageway to the outside world for the besieged Gaza Strip which is mostly closed as part of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade.

Israel has been blockading Gaza since 2007 as a way of punishing its residents who voted for a Hamas administration. The blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty in the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Bardaweel said the Palestinian and Egyptian officials will discuss the humanitarian situation in the besieged Gaza Strip, Egypt’s role in making conditions better and the need to open Rafah crossing for Palestinian travelers.

Sinwar, a senior commander of Hamas’ military wing, was elected to head the movement’s political office in Gaza on February 13. He is second in rank only to the new chairman of Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, who is also based in Gaza.

Ties between Hamas and Egypt have been tense in recent years as Cairo accuses the Palestinian resistance group of backing militants in Sinai Peninsula, an allegation strongly rejected by the movement.

Last month, Hamas dispatched forces to the Gaza Strip’s frontier with Egypt in a confidence-building measure aimed at boosting security in the border area. The deployment came as part of an agreement reached between the two sides in March.

Abbas cuts stipends for Hamas ex-prisoners

In the Palestinian territories, however, a Gaza-based official said the Palestinian Authority had cut this month’s support payments for dozens of Hamas activists once imprisoned by Israel.

“The prisoners went to the banks today and found no salaries in their accounts,” Abdelrahman Shadid, who runs a Hamas-linked prisoner advocacy group in Gaza, said.

He said that those affected had been freed along with over 1,000 other Palestinian inmates in a 2011 prison swap deal with Israel.

The development comes nearly two weeks after a visit by US President Donald Trump to the occupied territories.

The US and Israel are exerting pressure on Abbas to halt the monthly payments to thousands of current and former detainees who were jailed for actions linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, 536 of them arbitrarily, according to figures provided by the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer in January. Palestinian inmates complain that they have been subjected to assault and torture at Israeli prisons.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt cut ties with Qatar

Press TV – June 5, 2017

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties and all land, sea and air contacts with Qatar, accusing the Persian Gulf country of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs.

Riyadh took the lead on Monday to sever relations and other countries fell in line after an official source said the kingdom “urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.”

A Saudi official cited by SPA said the country decided to “sever diplomatic and consular ties with Qatar, and to close all land, sea and aviation ports” in order to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”

The “decisive” measure, the Saudi statement said, was due to “gross violations committed by authorities in Qatar over the past years.”

The United Arab Emirates gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the country, citing their “support, funding and embrace of terrorist, extremist and sectarian organizations,” state news agency WAM reported.

Bahrain News Agency said the tiny kingdom was cutting ties with Doha over its insistence on “shaking the security and stability of Bahrain and meddling in its affairs.”

Egypt accused Qatar of supporting “terrorist” organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood which it has been cracking down on since the 2013 coup against the country’s first ever democratically-elected leader, Mohamed Morsi.

Meanwhile, a Saudi “coalition” waging a war in Yemen said it was ending Qatar’s membership. The measure, it said, was due to Doha’s “practices that strengthen terrorism, and its support to organizations in Yemen, including al-Qaeda and Daesh, as well as dealing with the rebel militias.”

Qatar regretted the decision, saying “the measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact.” Doha-based Al Jazeera TV quoted Foreign Ministry as saying that the decisions would “not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents.”

“The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its (Qatar’s) sovereignty as a state,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to the severance of ties as an “incitement campaign based on fabrications, which reflects an intention to harm Qatar.”

Pakistan, another member of the “coalition” which has recently tried to distance itself from the Saudi group’s anti-Iran agenda, made it clear that the country had no plans to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

UAE carriers Etihad, Emirates and flydubai said they would suspend flights to and from Doha from Tuesday. Qatar Airways said it has suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia with immediate affect.

Trump factor

The crisis follows US President Donald Trump’s visit to the region last month, marked by the signing of a record $110-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the visit was aimed at getting Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations in the region to stand in “unity” with Israel and confront Iran.

After Trump’s visit, tensions escalated between Riyadh and Doha because of an article in Qatar’s state-run news agency in which the emir was quoted as criticizing the US, Saudi Arabia, and their client states for attempting to stir up tensions with “Islamic power” Iran.

The Qatari government quickly deleted the comments, saying the state agency had been hacked but the official denial failed to stop the rift between the Persian Gulf Arab countries from widening.

Saudi media then viciously attacked Qatar, accusing it of having “betrayed” the other Arab countries particularly at a time when they had attempted to stage a show of “unity” against Iran in a much-publicized and extravagant series of events in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also blocked Qatari websites and broadcasters. Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani later said the country was being targeted in a “hostile media campaign, which we will confront.”

Prelude to invasion?

Qatar, home to the forward headquarters of the US military’s Central Command and some 10,000 American troops, long has faced criticism from its Arab neighbors over its support of the Muslim Brotherhood which has another admirer in Turkey.

Western officials have also accused Qatar of allowing or even encouraging funding of Takfiri extremists like al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front. Saudi Arabia and the UAE similarly stand accused of supporting other Takfiri groups and the escalation exposes an underlying bitter rivalry among the neighbors for influence.

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh was quoted as saying that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is rooted in “accumulated differences from the past even though both countries are followers of the Wahhabi school.”

Wahhabism is the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia, which is freely preached by government-backed clerics there and inspiring terrorist groups such as Daesh and al-Qaeda.

Prominent Palestinian journalist Abdel Bari Atwan said in a Twitter post that the diplomatic rupture is a “prelude” to a military action against Qatar.

“The next move may be a military offensive to change the regime in Qatar. It’s a war planned months ago,” wrote the editor-in-chief of the Rai al-Youm news website.

Saudi Arabia, UAE falling out over Yemen?

Recent reports have suggested Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were divided over their role in Yemen on which they have been waging a deadly war for more than two years now.

In a recent interview with Middle East Eye online news portal, Saudi-backed former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi accused the UAE of acting “like an occupation power in Yemen rather than a force of liberation.”

Yemeni sources have revealed that the United Arab Emirates was trying to establish control over the strategic island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea, which Hadi had rented out to the country for nearly a century.

Tensions have taken a turn for worse under Saudi Arabia’s new rulers who have adopted an aggressive policy, waging a destructive war on Yemen, severing relations with Iran and assisting militants in Iraq and Syria to topple their governments.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment