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Britain’s Real Terror Apologists

By Finian Cunningham | Sputnik | June 11, 2017

Despite a vicious smear campaign to denigrate Britain’s Labour leader as a “terrorist sympathizer,” Jeremy Corbyn still pulled off an amazing achievement in the general election.

Hardly has a politician in any Western state been so vilified with character assassination, and yet he has proven to be most popular Labour leader in Britain since the Second World War.

After weeks of trailing his Conservative rival Theresa May in the polls, Corbyn’s socialist manifesto appealed to a record number of voters – closing the gap between the parties to only two percentage points behind the Tories.

This was in spite of a concerted media campaign to destroy Corbyn in the eyes of the British public as a “terrorist stooge.” The irony here is that the Conservative party is forming a governing coalition with a little-known Northern Ireland party whose history is steeped in British state terrorism. (More on that in a moment.)

For Corbyn, the election outcome was a stunning moral victory. For Prime Minister May it was a humiliating defeat. The Conservatives lost their overall majority in the British parliament and now they have to rely on this reactionary fringe party from Northern Ireland to form a government.

May called the snap election because she thought her party would increase its majority and also because she calculated that Corbyn’s socialist direction of Labour would be wiped out. Many Blairite naysayers in his own party thought so too.

The opposite happened. The British public largely rejected May and her neoliberal capitalist, pro-austerity, pro-NATO policies. They instead rallied behind Corbyn. Granted, the Tories still won the election – only narrowly – but the surge in support for Labour under Corbyn means that he has galvanized a party that stands a strong chance of winning if another election is called. And that could be soon, perhaps in the coming months owing May’s shaky ad hoc government collapsing.

Another riveting factor in all this is that Corbyn’s success came amid a torrential Tory and right-wing media campaign to denigrate him as a terrorist sympathizer. The propaganda onslaught was conducted for months since May called the election back in April. And it grew to a frenzy as election day approached last Thursday, especially when the opinion polls showed Labour steadily whittling away the earlier Conservative support.

The day before the public went to the polling booths, the Daily Mail ran the front page headline: “Apologist for terror,” with Jeremy Corbyn’s photo below. It looked like a “wanted poster” from the Wild West. The only thing missing was the subhead with the words: “Wanted dead or alive.”

The scurrilous allegation pounded over and over by the largely pro-Conservative British media that Corbyn is “soft on terrorism” stems from his otherwise principled history of campaigning on international justice and peace.

Over his 35 years as an MP, he has voiced consistent support for Palestinian rights under illegal Zionist occupation; he has supported Hezbollah resistance against Israeli and American aggression; and during the conflict in Northern Ireland, Corbyn gave a voice to Irish Republicans who were being assailed by British military violence.

Many other international causes could be mentioned, such as Corbyn opposing British government weapons dealing with the despotic Saudi regime which is propagating terrorism in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

He has also campaigned to abandon nuclear weapons and is critical of NATO’s reckless expansion in Europe, which have earned him the jingoistic pillorying by the British establishment of “being soft on Russia.”

Corbyn has never condoned terrorism. Rather he has always sought to properly put it in a wider context of other parties also, unaccountably, using terrorism and thus fueling conflict.

This brings us to so-called Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland whose 10 MPs Theresa May’s Tories are now relying on to form a government. This party was formed in the early 1970s by the firebrand Protestant preacher Ian Paisley. While Paisley mellowed in later years before his death in 2014, he spent most of his career preaching vile hatred against Catholics and Irish Republicans, whom he saw as a threat to the political union between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. In British-run Northern Ireland, it wasn’t acceptable to have a democratic aspiration for an independent Ireland. You were either a pro-British unionist or a “threat.” So much for British democracy.

Senior members of Paisley’s pro-British party played a crucial role in smuggling massive caches of weapons into Northern Ireland during the 1980s to illegally arm unionist paramilitaries. These paramilitaries went on to murder hundreds of innocent people simply because they were Catholics, who tended to be Republican. A favored tactic of these paramilitaries was to storm into pubs and homes and indiscriminately mow people down with assault rifles.

One notorious pro-British killer was Gusty Spence who belonged to the Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitary. He later expressed remorse and deplored Ian Paisley, the DUP founder, as the person who incited him to murder innocent Catholics due to his sectarian hate speech.

The paramilitary murder gangs were not just supported covertly by members of the DUP. The British government of Margaret Thatcher – Theresa May’s predecessor and political heroine – orchestrated these same death squads in a covert policy of “dirty war.”

British military intelligence colluded with the pro-unionist militants to assassinate Republican politicians and ordinary Catholics alike in a covert policy of state-sponsored terrorism. The objective was to terrorize people in submitting to British rule over Northern Ireland, rather than allowing the island country to become united and independent.

The British government provided intelligence and cover for the death squads and the unionist politicians had helped supply the AK-47 assault rifles and Browning handguns smuggled from Apartheid South Africa.

This secret dirty war policy of the British government and their unionist proxies in Northern Ireland has been uncovered by investigative journalists such as Paul Larkin (see his groundbreaking book “A Very British Jihad: Collusion, Conspiracy and Cover-up in Northern Ireland”); as well as human rights campaign groups like Belfast-based Relatives for Justice and Pat Finucane Centre.

Not even the present government of Theresa May can deny this murderous legacy in Ireland, although there is a determined silence now as she fights for her political survival in the wake of the British election disaster.

It is a proven fact that May’s Conservative party and the unionist politicians whom she is now partnering with to govern Britain were complicit in terrorism.

Northern Ireland has since gained a peace settlement in which unionist and republican politicians have been able to work together to form a local governing administration. The Irish peace process was possible partly because of the courageous and principled intervention by British politicians like Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn has never apologized for terrorism. He has sought to overcome it by making politics work. The same cannot be said for Theresa May’s Conservative party. It was an accomplice and an apologist for a covert policy of state-sponsored terrorism during Northern Ireland’s recent 30-year conflict.

The very party whom she is now allied with for governing Britain – the DUP – were also apologists for paramilitaries who routinely smashed their way into family homes and slaughtered victims in cold blood in front of their loved ones.

The ongoing muted policy of May’s government and her unionist proxies about their murderous legacy in Ireland is a testimony to who the real apologists for terror are.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia warns US against attacks on Syrian forces

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | June 12, 2017

Diplomats dissimulate, journalists exaggerate, politicians waffle, but an army general has no reason to obfuscate the stark ground reality. Therefore, the rare remarks by the commander of Russian forces in Syria, General Sergey Surovikin, merit great attention. Excerpts are reproduced below:

  • The US-led coalition lets militants of the Islamic State terrorist group leave Raqqa instead of killing them… The US-led coalition enters into collusion with ringleaders of the ISIS, who give up their settlements without fighting and head to the provinces where the Syrian government forces are active… The Russian force in Syria sees in the Raqqa area militants leaving the city and its suburbs unhindered. In early June, ISIS terrorists left the populated localities 19 kilometers southwest of Raqqa offering no resistance and headed toward Palmyra.
  • The Americans are using ISIS to robustly block the movement of government troops… The aviation of the US-led coalition is impeding the struggle of Syrian government forces against terrorists… They have blocked the way of government forces, who are eliminating ISIS militants and setting up border posts along the border with Iraq to the north-east of Al-Tanf.

The long and short of Gen. Surovikin’s chilling account is that although President Donald Trump vows to fight the ISIS with tooth and nail, Pentagon guys may have other ideas. They continue to use the ISIS with a hidden agenda where the Syrian government (and Iran) is the number one enemy. The US objective appears to be two-fold in Syria: a) create a buffer zone in southern Syrian regions bordering Israel and Jordan, which will be dominated by “good terrorists”; and, b) take control of the entire Syrian-Iraqi border on a North-South gradient so that Iran’s logistical capability to render help to the beleaguered Syrian government forces is sharply reduced.

Indeed, a ‘frozen conflict’ would effectively balkanize Syria. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank which is closely associated with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (a pro-Israel lobby group in Washington), featured a commentary recently, entitled Growing Risk of International Confrontation in the Syrian Desert. It implicitly warns Moscow of dire consequences if Russian forces intervene to disrupt the efforts by the US to prevent a Syrian government consolidation in the Al-Tanf / Deir Ezzur — Palmyra region.

However, no matter what the pro-Israeli think tankers in Washington pontificate, General Surovikin’s remarks underscored that Moscow is seized of the strategic importance of the Syrian government forces succeeding in re-establishing control over the country’s border with Iraq. Russia had earlier adopted a wary approach vis-a-vis the scramble for control of the Syrian desert regions bordering Iraq. But that seems to be changing — although Russian priority is to work with the Americans.

On Saturday, Russia has put the US on notice that the Syrian government forces intend to advance on Al-Tanf itself. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that US air strikes on the Syrian government forces are unacceptable. He called for “concrete measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

A Syrian army statement went a step further to announce on Saturday their intent to advance to the Iraqi border north of Al-Tanf. It warned the western forces in the area against interfering — “The general command of the army and armed forces warn of the risks of repeated attacks of the so-called ‘international coalition’ and their efforts to block the advances of the Syrian Arab Army and its allies in their war on terror.”

The planned Syrian operations north of Al-Tanf will scuttle the US plans to stage a ground operation with “good terrorists”, aimed at reaching Deir Ezzur city ahead of the government forces who are advancing in easterly direction from Palmyra. The Iranian reports suggest that Russian jets are actively backing the Syrian government operations in the region to the northeast of Palmyra.

Simply put, Iran is creating new facts on the ground in southeastern Syria, which the US (and Israel) will have to learn to live with. An Iranian war dispatch says thatthousands of (Syrian) army men and Hezbollah combatants entered the countryside of Palmyra city to resume a fresh phase of one of the army’s greatest operation in Homs (province) in recent years.”

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Congressman Praises ISIS Attack in Iran, Suggests US Should Support Terrorism

By Darius Shahtahmasebi – ANTIMEDIA – June 12, 2017

Following a recent ISIS attack in Iran in which at least 12 people were killed, a GOP lawmaker has suggested the attack could be a “good thing,” even indicating that the U.S. government should support ISIS in its attacks on other groups.

“As far as I’m concerned, I just want to make this point and see what you think; isn’t it a good thing for us to have the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us?”

“Isn’t that a good thing?” Rohrabacher said. “And if so, maybe this is a Trump — maybe it’s a Trump strategy of actually supporting one group against another, considering that you have two terrorist organizations.”

Thankfully, some sane voices emerged to express dissent. Matthew Levitt, the director of the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, stated the following in response:

“It’s never in our interest to support a terrorist group like the Islamic State… We should condemn the attacks in Tehran, as we would condemn any act of terrorism, even as we hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of terrorism.”

“So that’s like Joe Stalin was a horrible guy, we must never associate with horrible guys like that, even against Hitler,” Rohrabacher replied. “And so maybe it’s a good idea to have radical Muslim terrorists fighting each other. I’ll leave it at that.”

The United States security apparatus has made it abundantly clear that even voicing support for a known terrorist outfit is a very serious criminal offense – but apparently not if you are one of the nation’s lawmakers.

If Rohrabacher’s words are to be adopted into official policy, then Western countries should seriously consider accepting ISIS-inspired attacks on their own soil considering the U.S. continues to support the terror group in numerous ways. For example, a Russian general just accused the U.S. of colluding with ISIS to allow their fighters safe passage out of Raqqa, something that seemed to be the case in the Iraqi city of Mosul, as well. The U.S. also routinely attacks Syrian government-aligned fighters currently — and effectively — battling the Islamic State. America is cozying up to Saudi Arabia, providing the radical nation with billions of dollars in arms even though Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails show Saudi Arabia is one of the direct sponsors of ISIS.

As the Trump administration pushes harder in its fight to confront Iran, expect ISIS to grow even more as a useful tool of American foreign policy strategy – and expect this to be welcomed even further by the establishment.

Bear in mind, though, that if you or I issued statements like Rohrabacher’s, we would be arrested (in some cases, the FBI might even give us weapons first, just to make our impending arrest that much more grandiose).

June 12, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel blocks road to Bedouin village, preventing 100 children from going to school

Children in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev
Ma’an – June 12, 2017

BETHLEHEM – A recently installed guardrail on an Israeli highway has isolated a Bedouin community in southern Israel for days, preventing 100 Bedouin children from attending school, NGO Adalah reported on Sunday.

According to the group, which focuses on the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, Israeli authorities effectively sealed off Umm Bidoun, a Bedouin community in the Negev desert unrecognized by Israel, by blocking off the only dirt road connecting the village to Highway 31 with a guardrail.

The road surface markings on the highway near other passage out of Umm Bidoun have also recently been changed, making it illegal for vehicles to cross the road, Adalah added.

The recent changes have effectively prevented any vehicles, including school buses, from accessing the village, Adalah said.

As a result, the legal NGO stated that, due to the absence of schools in Umm Bidoun, 100 children who study in the village of al-Furaa 15 kilometers away have been unable to go to school for days.

Adalah said on Sunday it had contacted officials from the Israeli Education Ministry, the al-Qasoum regional council, and Netivei Israel, the national roads authority, to demand that the obstacles to freedom of movement for the residents of Umm Bidoun be lifted.

Adalah field researcher Marwan Abu Freih told Ma’an on Monday that Netivei had told the organization that it was examining the issue.

Spokespersons from the Ministry of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case on Monday.

“It is inconceivable that some 100 students can — in such a sudden and arbitrary manner — be prevented from attending school without any advance notice to or consultation with parents,” Abu Freih said on Sunday. “Adalah and the families demand that the Education Ministry act immediately to correct this situation.”

Abu Freih added on Monday that members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, had reached out to Adalah to offer their assistance in resolving the case.

Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel. Many of the Bedouins were forcibly transferred to the village sites during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel’s military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

Between 160,000 and 170,000 Bedouins are believed to reside in the Negev today, more than half of whom reside in unrecognized villages, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

The classification of their villages as “unrecognized” prevents Bedouins from developing or expanding their communities, while Israeli authorities have also refused to connect unrecognized Bedouin villages to the national water and electricity grids, and have excluded the communities from access to health and educational services.

A Knesset report on Bedouins in Israel noted that “(school) dropout rates are high, among various reasons due to lack of access and public transportation to their schools.”

Meanwhile, Jewish-Israeli communities in the Negev continuously expand, with five new Jewish plans approved last year. According to an investigation undertaken by Israeli rights groups ACRI and Bimkom, two of the approved communities are located in areas where unrecognized Bedouin villages already exist.

Rights groups have claimed that Israeli policies in Bedouin communities are specifically aimed at depopulating the Negev of its Bedouin residents to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia teams up with Israel in anti-Qatar lobbying in the US Congress

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali – Journal of America – June 10, 2017

US proposed  legislation – Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2017 – threatening to sanction Qatar for its support of the so-called “Palestinian terror” was sponsored by 10 lawmakers who received more than $1m over the last 18 months from lobbyists and groups linked to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, Al Jazeera reported Friday.

The HR 2712 bill was introduced to the US House of Representatives on May 25, but the text wasn’t available until Friday morning, hours after Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt put 59 people and 12 institutions linked to Qatar on a “terror list”, Al Jazeera said.

HR 2712’s sponsors received donations totaling $1,009,796 from pro-Israel individuals and groups for the 2016 election cycle alone, according data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent research group tracking money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy, and then compiled by Al Jazeera.

Sponsors of the bill are: Congressmen Brian Mast (FL-18), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (CA-39) and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (NY-16). The bill is co-sponsored by Congressmen Brad Sherman (CA-30), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Ted Poe (TX-2), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Thomas Suozzi (NY-3).

Al Jazeera reported that Royce received $242,143 from pro-Israel sources for the 2016 election cycle, $190,150 went to Engel. Mast, who volunteered with the Israeli military after he finished serving in the US Army, received $90,178.

“Following my service in the U.S. Army, I chose to volunteer alongside the Israeli Defense Forces because our countries share the common ideals of freedom, democracy and mutual respect for all people. Hamas preaches destruction to Israel and death to the values we hold dear in the United States. They have murdered more than 400 Israelis and at least 25 American citizens.” Rep. Mast was quoted as saying.

According to Trita Parsi, the founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a nonprofit that aims to strengthen the voice of US citizens of Iranian descent, there are similarities between the US-allied Arab nations’ “terror list” and HR 2712 show[ing] growing cooperation between Gulf Arab states and Israel.

“The coordination between hawkish pro-Israel groups and UAE and Saudi Arabia has been going on for quite some time,” Parsi told Al Jazeera. What is new, he continued, is pro-Israel groups such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies “coming out with pro-Saudi [articles] and lobbying for them on Capitol Hill”.

Parsi was quoted as saying that the sponsors of the bill are traditional pro-Saudi lawmakers, however they are in the pro-Likud camp. Likud  is the party of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

President is required

The Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act requires the President to submit to Congress an annual report for the next three years identifying foreign persons, agencies or instrumentalities of a foreign state who knowingly and materially assist Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or an affiliate or successor of one of those organizations.

After identifying the organizations, the President must impose two or more sanctions, including denying

a) Export-Import guarantees,
b) defense support under the Arms Export Control Act,
c) export of munitions to any agreement to which a person identified is a part,
d) export of goods or technology controlled for national security reasons,
e) loans more than $10 million, or
f) seizure of property held within the United States.

The bill also requires the President to report to Congress on each government that provides support for acts of terrorism and provides material support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate or successor organization, or the President determines to have engaged in a significant transaction to knowingly and materially provide support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or any affiliate or successor organization.

After identifying the governments, the President must suspend U.S. assistance to that government for one year, instruct the executive directors of each international finance institution to vote against any loan or technical assistance to that government and prohibit any munitions export to that government for one year.

Additionally, the President must prohibit that government’s transactions in foreign exchanges that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and prevent that government’s transfers of credits or payments between financial institutions subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Important Sections of the HR 2712 Bill

Section 2: Findings and Statement of Policy

Subsections (a)(3) and (4) state that “Hamas has received significant financial and military support” from Qatar and that the Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence confirmed that “Qatar, a longtime US ally has for many years openly financed Hamas.” The bill also finds that Qatar hosts a number of high-ranking Hamas officials, including Khaled Mashal.

Subsections (a)(5) through (7) outline Iran’s material and financial support and subsections (8) through (10) detail Iranian support to the PIJ.

Section 3: Imposition of Sanctions with Respect to Foreign Persons and Agencies and Instrumentalities of Foreign States Supporting Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Affiliate or Successor Group

No later than 120 days after H.R. 2712 is enacted—then once a year for no more than three years—the president must report to Congress the foreign persons, agencies, and instrumentalities of foreign states that provide support to the aforementioned groups. Two exceptions are reserved for the president, however. If the president notifies Congress 15 days prior to completing a “significant transaction” with a foreign entity or agency that is in the “national interest” of the United States, the foreign entity or agency may be exempt from sanctions. The other exception is reserved for the president to issue waivers that would exempt a foreign entity or agency from sanctions for 120 days, as long as Congress is notified seven days prior.

Set forth in this bill are sanctions on the following:

  • Banking and financing (e.g., extensions of credit, guarantees, insurance, etc.)
  • Defense-related sales (including munitions, defense services, and construction services)
  • Goods and technologies regulated through the Export Administration or included in the US Munitions List
  • Medical, agricultural, and humanitarian goods and services are not included among sanctioned items.

Section 4: Imposition of Sanctions with Respect to Foreign Governments That Provide Material Support to Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Affiliate or Successor Thereof

Much like Section 3, Section 4 sets a 120-day deadline after enactment for the president to report to Congress any governments the Secretary of State has determined “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” This report must be resubmitted, with relevant information, every 180 days.

The sanctions set forth in this section include the prohibition or suspension of the following for one year:

  • US aid to the foreign government
  • Extension of loans and financial or technical services
  • Export of items on the US Munitions List or Commerce Control List
  • Transactions in foreign exchanges in which the United States has jurisdiction
  • Transfers of credit or payments between one or more financial institutions subject to US jurisdiction
  • Should the president determine it is in US security interests and notify Congress seven days in advance, he can waive any foreign government sanctions for 180 days.

Section 5: Report on Activities of Foreign Countries to Disrupt Global Fundraising, Financing, and Money Laundering Activities of Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Successor or Affiliate Thereof

This bill outlines a reporting requirement for the president, no later than 180 days after the bill’s enactment. The president must report a list of foreign countries providing support for the aforementioned organizations and further assessments including:

  • Steps the foreign government is taking to freeze assets of these groups
  • Any reasons the government is not taking adequate steps to freeze assets
  • Measures taken by the United States to freeze assets
  • List of countries where the aforementioned groups fundraise and steps those countries are taking to disrupt the fundraising efforts
  • List of countries from which the groups receive surveillance equipment and what measures are being taken to disrupt the acquisition.

To borrow from Marcus Montgomery, an Analyst at the Washington DC-based Arab Center, the language of HR 2712 is interesting since it introduces sanctions for actions likely already covered under existing legislation. Hamas and the PIJ are both designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) and Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) by the State and Treasury Departments, respectively. With that in mind, it is already illegal for US entities or institutions to support such groups. Thus, the sanctions proposed in this bill that pertain to US jurisdiction are redundant.

Formally targeting Iran is redundant as well because Tehran has been declared a state sponsor of terror by the State Department and prohibitions against exports of arms, financial and technical services, and US aid to Iran are already in place.

For Marcus Montgomery, Qatar would be the truly new target under this legislation, but as an ally with which the United States has economic and military ties, it is tough to see many in the Senate agreeing to label Qatar a de facto state sponsor of terror.

Erdogan vows to stand by ‘Qatari brothers’

Interestingly, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Friday called for full removal of a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar after approving the deployment of Turkish troops there, saying Riyadh needed to put brotherhood ahead of animosity.

Erdogan said isolating Qatar would not resolve any regional problems and vowed to do everything in his power to help end the regional crisis. “We will not abandon our Qatari brothers,” Erdogan told members of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party at a fast-breaking meal on Friday in Istanbul during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“I also have a special request from the Saudi administration. You are the largest and most powerful state in the Gulf. We call you the Custodian of the Holy Places. You especially should work for brotherhood, not animosity. You have to work for bringing brothers together. This is what we expect from Saudi, the Custodian of the Holy Mosques,” Erdogan was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.

“I say it should be lifted completely,” Erdogan said of the embargo.

Turkey, which has maintained good relations with Qatar, as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbors, offered food and water supplies to stave off possible shortages. “There are those who are uncomfortable with us standing by our Qatari brothers, providing them with food. I’m sorry, we will continue to give Qatar every kind of support,” Erdogan said, adding that he had never witnessed Doha supporting “terrorism”.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s parliament ratified two deals on deploying troops to Qatar and training the Gulf nation’s security forces. The deal to send Turkish soldiers in Qatar, aimed at improving the country’s army and boosting military cooperation, was signed in April 2016 in Doha.

After an initial deployment of Turkish soldiers at a base in Doha, Turkish fighter jets and ships will also be sent, the mass-circulation Hurriyet newspaper said on its website on Friday.

“The number of Turkish warplanes and Turkish warships going to the base will become clear after the preparation of a report based on an initial assessment at the base,” Hurriyet said.

A Turkish delegation will go to Qatar in the coming days to assess the situation at the base, where about 90 Turkish soldiers are currently based, Hurriyet said adding: there were plans send some 200 to 250 soldiers within two months in the initial stage.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The US takes Syria’s Al-Qaeda off Terror Watch-lists

By Nauman Sadiq | OffGuardian | June 12, 2017

According to a recent report [1] by CBC Canada, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, which was formerly known as al-Nusra Front and then Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) since July 2016, has been removed from the terror watch-lists of the US and Canada after it merged with fighters from Zenki Brigade and hardline jihadists from Ahrar al-Sham and rebranded itself as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in January this year.

The US State Department is hesitant to label Tahrir al-Sham a terror group, despite the group’s link to al-Qaeda, as the US government has directly funded and armed the Zenki Brigade, one of the constituents of Tahrir al-Sham, with sophisticated weaponry including the US-made antitank TOW missiles.

The overall military commander of Tahrir al-Sham continues to be Abu Mohammad al-Julani, whom the US has branded a Specially Designated Global Terrorist with a $10 million bounty. But for the US to designate Tahrir al-Sham as a terrorist organization now would mean acknowledging that it supplied sophisticated weapons to terrorists, and draw attention to the fact that the US continues to arm Islamic jihadists in Syria.

In order to understand the bloody history of al-Nusra Front during the Syrian civil war, bear in mind that since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in August 2011 to April 2013, the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front were a single organization that chose the banner of “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Although al-Nusra Front has been led by Abu Mohammad al-Julani but he was appointed [2] as the emir of al-Nusra Front by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, in January 2012.

Thus, al-Julani’s al-Nusra Front is only a splinter group of the Islamic State, which split from its parent organization in April 2013 over a leadership dispute between the two organizations.

In March 2011, protests began in Syria against the government of Bashar al-Assad. In the following months, violence between demonstrators and security forces led to a gradual militarization of the conflict. In August 2011, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was based in Iraq, began sending Syrian and Iraqi jihadists experienced in guerilla warfare across the border into Syria to establish an organization inside the country.

Led by a Syrian known as Abu Mohammad al-Julani, the group began to recruit fighters and establish cells throughout the country. On 23 January 2012, the group announced its formation as Jabhat al-Nusra.

In April 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio statement in which he announced that al-Nusra Front had been established, financed and supported by the Islamic State of Iraq. Al-Baghdadi declared that the two groups were merging under the name “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.” The leader of al-Nusra Front, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, issued a statement denying the merger and complaining that neither he nor anyone else in al-Nusra’s leadership had been consulted about it.

Al-Qaeda Central’s leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, tried to mediate the dispute between al-Baghdadi and al-Julani but eventually, in October 2013, he endorsed al-Nusra Front as the official franchise of al-Qaeda Central in Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, however, defied the nominal authority of al-Qaeda Central and declared himself as the caliph of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Keeping this background in mind, it becomes amply clear that a single militant organization operated in Syria and Iraq under the leadership of al-Baghdadi until April 2013, which chose the banner of al-Nusra Front, and that the current emir of the subsequent breakaway faction of al-Nusra Front, al-Julani, was actually al-Baghdadi’s deputy in Syria.

Thus, the Islamic State operated in Syria since August 2011 under the designation of al-Nusra Front and it subsequently changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in April 2013, after which, it overran Raqqa in the summer of 2013, then it seized parts of Deir al-Zor and fought battles against the alliance of Kurds and the Syrian regime in al-Hasakah. And in January 2014 it overran Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in Iraq and reached the zenith of its power when it captured Mosul in June 2014.

Regarding the rebranding of al-Julani’s Nusra Front to “Jabhat Fateh al-Sham” in July 2016 and purported severing of ties with al-Qaeda Central, it was only a nominal difference because al-Nusra Front never had any organizational and operational ties with al-Qaeda Central and even their ideologies are poles apart.

Al-Qaeda Central is basically a transnational terrorist organization, while al-Nusra Front mainly has regional ambitions that are limited only to fighting the Assad regime in Syria and its ideology is anti-Shi’a and sectarian. In fact, al-Nusra Front has not only received medical aid and material support from Israel, but some of its operations against the Shi’a-dominated Assad regime in southern Syria were fully coordinated with Israel’s air force.

The purpose behind the rebranding of al-Nusra Front to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and purported severing of ties with al-Qaeda Central was to legitimize itself and to make it easier for its patrons to send money and arms. The US blacklisted al-Nusra Front in December 2012 and pressurized Saudi Arabia and Turkey to ban it too. Although al-Nusra Front’s name has been in the list of proscribed organizations of Saudi Arabia and Turkey since 2014, but it has kept receiving money and arms from the Gulf Arab States.

It should be remembered that in a May 2015 interview [3] with al-Jazeera, Abu Mohammad al-Julani took a public pledge on the behest of his Gulf-based patrons that his organization only has local ambitions limited to fighting the Assad regime in Syria and that it does not intends to strike targets in the Western countries.

Thus, this rebranding exercise has been going on for quite some time. Al-Julani announced the split from al-Qaeda in a video statement last year. But the persistent efforts of al-Julani’s Gulf-based patrons have only borne fruit in January this year, when al-Nusra Front once again rebranded itself from Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which also includes “moderate” jihadists from Zenki Brigade, Ahrar al-Sham and several other militant groups, and thus, the US State Department has finally given a clean chit to the jihadist conglomerate that goes by the name of Tahrir al-Sham to pursue its ambitions of toppling the Assad regime in Syria.

Sources and links:

[1] Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate escapes from terror list:
http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/terror-list-omission-1.4114621

[2] Al-Julani was appointed as the emir of al-Nusra Front by al-Baghdadi:
http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/16689

[3] Al-Julani’s interview to Al-Jazeera: “Our mission is to defeat the Syrian regime”:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/nusra-front-golani-assad-syria-hezbollah-isil-150528044857528.html

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Are We Attacking the Syrians Who Are Fighting ISIS?

By Ron Paul | June 12, 2017

Just when you thought our Syria policy could not get any worse, last week it did. The US military twice attacked Syrian government forces from a military base it illegally occupies inside Syria. According to the Pentagon, the attacks on Syrian government-backed forces were “defensive” because the Syrian fighters were approaching a US self-declared “de-confliction” zone inside Syria. The Syrian forces were pursuing ISIS in the area, but the US attacked anyway.

The US is training yet another rebel group fighting from that base, located near the border of Iraq at al-Tanf, and it claims that Syrian government forces pose a threat to the US military presence there. But the Pentagon has forgotten one thing: it has no authority to be in Syria in the first place! Neither the US Congress nor the UN Security Council has authorized a US military presence inside Syria.

So what gives the Trump Administration the right to set up military bases on foreign soil without the permission of that government? Why are we violating the sovereignty of Syria and attacking its military as they are fighting ISIS? Why does Washington claim that its primary mission in Syria is to defeat ISIS while taking military actions that benefit ISIS?

The Pentagon issued a statement saying its presence in Syria is necessary because the Syrian government is not strong enough to defeat ISIS on its own. But the “de-escalation zones” agreed upon by the Syrians, Russians, Iranians, and Turks have led to a reduction in fighting and a possible end to the six-year war. Even if true that the Syrian military is weakened, its weakness is due to six years of US-sponsored rebels fighting to overthrow it!

What is this really all about? Why does the US military occupy this base inside Syria? It’s partly about preventing the Syrians and Iraqis from working together to fight ISIS, but I think it’s mostly about Iran. If the Syrians and Iraqis join up to fight ISIS with the help of Iranian-allied Shia militia, the US believes it will strengthen Iran’s hand in the region. President Trump has recently returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia where he swore he would not allow that to happen.

But is this policy really in our interest, or are we just doing the bidding of our Middle East “allies,” who seem desperate for war with Iran? Saudi Arabia exports its radical form of Islam worldwide, including recently into moderate Asian Muslim countries like Indonesia. Iran does not. That is not to say that Iran is perfect, but does it make any sense to jump into the Sunni/Shia conflict on either side? The Syrians, along with their Russian and Iranian allies, are defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda. As candidate Trump said, what’s so bad about that?

We were told that if the Syrian government was allowed to liberate Aleppo from al-Qaeda, Assad would kill thousands who were trapped there. But the opposite has happened: life is returning to normal in Aleppo. The Christian minority there celebrated Easter for the first time in several years. They are rebuilding. Can’t we finally just leave the Syrians alone?

When you get to the point where your actions are actually helping ISIS, whether intended or not, perhaps it’s time to stop. It’s past time for the US to abandon its dangerous and counterproductive Syria policy and just bring the troops home.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Trudeau Ramps Up Military

It’s no wonder the Trudeau government has moved to ramp up military outlays. Even “left” commentators/politicians are calling for increased spending on Canada’s ecologically and socially destructive war machine.

Recently Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced a more than 70 per cent increase in military spending over the next decade. Canada’s new defence policy includes a significant increase in lethal fighter jets and secretive special forces, as well as enhancing offensive cyber-attack capabilities and purchasing armed drones.

A Globe and Mail story about the defence policy yesterday quoted David Perry, an analyst with the unabashedly militarist Canadian Global Affairs Institute, and UBC Professor Michael Byers, who has been described as the “angry academic voice of Canadian foreign policy” to denote his purportedly critical stance. In the story titled “Canada’s new defence spending must come quickly, experts say,” the paper reported:

Byers said the Forces are currently in a state of ‘extreme crisis,’ with the Royal Canadian Navy running out of functioning ships and the Royal Canadian Air Force still years away from getting its new fleet of fighter jets. ‘The government has inherited a badly broken Canadian Forces and it clearly has a monumental task ahead that is only beginning,’ he said.”

Despite his affiliation with a peace organization, Byers supports increased military spending. The Rideau Institute board member has repeatedly expressed support for Canada’s war machine.

In 2015 the UBC professor published “Smart Defence: A Plan for Rebuilding Canada’s Military” which begins:

“Canada is a significant country. With the world’s eleventh largest economy, second largest landmass and longest coastline, one could expect it to have a well-equipped and capable military. However, most of this country’s major military hardware is old, degraded, unreliable and often unavailable. When the Harper government came to power in 2006, it pledged to rebuild Canada’s military. But for nine long years, it has failed to deliver on most of its promises, from new armoured trucks and supply ships to fighter jets and search-and-rescue planes.”

The Rideau Institute/Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report was partly an attack against the Stephan Harper government’s supposed lack of military commitment. In “Smart Defence,” Byers writes, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has reduced defence spending to just 1.0 per cent of GDP — the lowest level in Canadian history.”

Byers has long called for increased military spending. In a chapter in Living with Uncle: Canada-U.S. relations in an age of Empire, edited by then CCPA leaders Bruce Campbell and Ed Finn, Byers notes that “the defence budget, roughly 1.2 per cent of GDP, is a bit low by comparable standards.” He describes writing a 2004 paper for NDP Defence Critic Bill Blakey that called for a $2- to 3-billion-per-year increase in military spending. “A defence budget increase,” it noted, “essentially repairs some of the damage that was done by a decade and a half of neglect.” But the military budget was about $15 billion and represented 10 per cent of federal government outlays at the time.

A former NDP candidate and adviser to Tom Mulcair, Byers’ position is similar to that of the social democratic party’s leadership. After the federal budget in March the NDP Leader criticized the Liberals for not spending enough on the military. “Canadians have every right to be concerned,” Mulcair said. “We are in desperate need of new ships for our Navy, we’re in desperate need of new fighter aircraft for our Air Force, and there’s no way that with the type of budget we’ve seen here that they’re going to be getting them.”

The NDP has staunchly defended Canadian militarism in recent years. During the 2011 and 2015 federal elections the party explicitly supported the Harper government’s large military budget. In 2011 party leader Jack Layton promised to “maintain the current planned levels of Defence spending commitments” and the 2015 NDP platform said the party would “meet our military commitments by maintaining Department of National Defence budget allocations.”

In addition to backing budget allocations, the NDP has criticized base closures and aggressively promoted the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, a $60-billion effort to expand the combat fleet over three decades (over its lifespan the cost is expected to top $100 billion).

I’ve yet to come across a formal party statement about yesterday’s announcement. What do those currently vying for NDP leadership think of the Trudeau’s new defence policy and how will they respond?

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Sanders’ “Barn-burning” Chicago Speech is for Recalcitrant Suckers

In response to Bernie Sanders alleged barn burning speech in Chicago.

By Phil Rockstroh | The Greanville Post | June 11, 2017

How can Bernie’s supporters still be marinating in toxic innocence about his true relationship with and his place within the Democratic Party? Still, despite all evidence to the contrary, they cling to the reality-bereft notion that he can and will act as a redeemer figure to the irredeemably corrupt Party as opposed to the Judas Goat he has proven himself to be.

Yep. You might have surmised. I don’t feel the burn. I’m burnt out on Comrade Bernie. I feel like a burnt offering placed before corrupt Democratic Party deities. Why? Not once did Bernie call out the Clinton Campaign and their toadies in the DNC for their election malfeasance thus he betrayed his credulous flock. Instead, he delivered them to a candidate who stood for everything he claims to stand against.

But it is not only his Judas Goat proclivities, he, in stark contrast to Jeremy Corbyn, is a drone murder apologist, a liberacrat imperialist who slags Russia, he urged the Saudis to bomb more countries, and he embodies all the genocide-enabling proclivities of a garden variety liberal Zionists. Moreover, history reveals, the Democratic Party is the reeking landfill of leftist, labouring class, and minority socio-economic movements. If Sanders was sincere, he would not act as an advocate for the irredeemably corrupt Democratic party — but be would break the news to his followers, they will only truly feel the burn by the act of burning down the infamous thing — so that a true leftist/socialist party could be seeded in its compost and ashes.

“Bernie did the best under the circumstance,” Berniecrats are prone to respond.

Demonstrably false. Sanders, had he made an honest effort, would have called out the Clintonites and their operatives in the DNC, all through the primaries season, and, in particular, after the Wikileaks revelations about their malfeasance. He even stood silent when his supporters were insulted and bullied at the Democratic convention. In short, he has revealed, by his actions, he is far from worthy of trust.

“So what is your solution? A two-party system is what we have.”

Easy enough. As Voltaire averred about the miseries inflicted by the dogma of The Church and its hold on the collective mind of the populace, the solution will be found in “Ecrassez l’infame!” i.e., “crush the infamous thing” i.e., the Democratic Party.

“But that risks too much chaos,” blubber Fainting Couch Liberals.

You haven’t seen anything yet. Capitalism lurches from bubble to bubble. An economic collapse comes to pass every seven or so years. We are a year overdue. And this time, there will not be trillions to funnel to the Wall Street crooks who caused the collapse, as their quisling Obama, AKA President Drone von Citigroup, did. Political duopoly, the enabler of capitalist despotism, is the problem, rotten root to noxious bloom. And Bernie Sanders is one of the system’s constant gardeners.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Such a “Surprise” in the UK!

By Thomas S. Harrington | CounterPunch | June 12, 2017

I just can’t believe what happened in the British elections.

I can’t get over the fact that that when a politician with real convictions honed over 40 years of political life—generous and forward-looking convictions rooted in an understanding of how social progress for the many has actually been engineered in previous times—speaks out unencumbered by corporate-minded, fraidy-cat image doctors, people actually respond enthusiastically.

It’s shocking, absolutely shocking.

Why am I so confused?

Well, for thirty years, the brilliant people at the NYT, NPR,  PBS,  the BBC and The Guardian  have told me again and again that candidates from Labor in the UK and the Democratic Party  in the US must always  be oh-so-careful careful to not veer too far left in their policy prescriptions,  to not appear too “populist” and, most of all, to not to go “too far outside the mainstream”.

The question of who defines what is the mainstream, or how lavishly-funded pro-business and pro-war think-tanks might actually be the people establishing its functional parameters by funding armies of think-tank “scholars” and “experts” were, of course, a complex hermeneutical problems that I never had the time  nor the energy to ponder or deconstruct.

If those smart Ivy and Oxbridge-type guys and gals in the prestige media were telling us time and again that our societies were all fundamentally center-right collectives with a deep suspicion of government action (except, that is, when it came to making unceasing war on a world-wide scale) who was I, an obscure analyst of Iberian nationalisms and other sundry issues, to say anything about it?

Can you imagine someone like me actually believing he had the right to question brilliant and connected people like David Brooks, Tom Friedman or Jonathan Freeland or Polly Toynbee?

It would have been the height of hubris on my part to do so. After all, unlike them, I don’t spend my time networking each day with ambitious like-minded people deeply enamored of power, nor do I have the option of knowing exactly what stories and messages will provoke society’s centers of financial and military power to pressure a media conglomerate to trim a pundit’s  paycheck or to convince well-heeled seekers of transcendent insight  to stop paying her fat speaking fees.

Because I lack this essential information, I have always assumed my rightful place as an uncritical consumer of their deeply though-out and always prescient nostrums.

True, today I am feeling a little confused and bereft. But I know that by the time the next news cycle comes around they’ll have it all figured out for me, providing explanations that will in no way contradict or vitiate all the brilliant things they’ve been saying over so many years.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s Lawless Presidency?

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 12.06.2017

Piling on the invective against Donald Trump, an op-ed in the New York Times this week castigated him as a «lawless president». The business tycoon-turned politician has already been roundly condemned in the US media as a traitor, stooge, buffoon and much more. Now the Times has marked him down as «lawless».

What is particularly galling about this latest anti-Trump tirade is the conceited notion that Trump is somehow singularly lawless as an American president. The cited op-ed piece by David Leonhardt laments that the principles of law and order have largely been respected by both Republican and Democrat occupants of the White House – but Trump is now bringing the office into disrepute with his alleged lawlessness.

It would no doubt come as a shock to the New York Times and its readers to consider that almost every American president – certainly every one since the Second World War – could be prosecuted as a war criminal owing to gross violation of international law.

Trump’s bullying personality and feckless ego are indeed grating. His clumsy self-aggrandizing boasting are doubly cringe-making. But the accusations thrown at him of lawlessness seem overblown. The New York Times, Washington Post and CNN are among the main US media outlets that have been running a non-stop campaign to discredit Trump since his surprise election last November against their favored candidate Hillary Clinton.

This president is accused of breaching the US constitution by undermining the judiciary and over-extending his executive power over other branches of government. True, this president has made plenty of uncouth remarks against judges and the judicial system. And he has pilloried the media and intelligence community with scathing language, referring to them as «enemy of the people» or likening them to «using Nazi practices».

Trump is also accused of obstructing justice by allegedly pressuring the former head of the FBI, James Comey, into dropping investigations into claims that his election team colluded with Russian state intelligence or cyber hackers to win the presidency. Trump has dismissed the Russian collusion claims in characteristically brusque fashion as «fake news» and a «total hoax».

The Russian government has also separately rejected the collusion claims as absurd speculation for which no credible evidence has ever been presented. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently remarked that US politicians and media seem to have «lost their minds» in persisting with making such outlandish claims.

There are also ethical concerns – probably valid – that Trump is abusing the office of the presidency to advance his family’s business empire. His daughter Ivanka is an unelected «special adviser» while also owning an international fashion conglomerate. Her husband Jared is too among Trump’s White House coterie of special advisers. Like Trump’s own sons, Jared has ongoing real estate business interests. When Trump is dealing with China and other foreign nations, there are plausible concerns of «conflict of interests».

However distasteful and potentially unethical all of this is it is nevertheless so far unproven to be lawless. For the New York Times to lambast Trump as a lawless president is a leap of hyperbole.

In the list of alleged lawlessness presented by the Times the one issue where a case of criminality could be solidly made is glaringly omitted. On April 7, Trump ordered the bombardment of Syria with over 50 cruise missiles. The attack was an act of aggression against a sovereign country. Trump’s claim of «retaliating» for an alleged chemical weapons massacre by the Syrian army of President Bashar al Assad are beside the point. The US has no legal mandate for any military action in Syria. And at any rate, no verifiable evidence has ever been presented to support the allegation of chemical weapons use.

As Russia pointed out the cruise missile barrage ordered by Trump was an illegal act of aggression. Trump should be prosecuted for war crimes on that instance alone. Moreover, the ongoing US air strikes on Syria, which have resulted in dozens of civilian deaths, are further grounds for Trump to be prosecuted for crimes against peace.

Other international issues where Trump stands accused of gross criminality is his support of Saudi aggression in Yemen and towards Iran. His reckless saber-rattling against North Korea is another prosecutable case of this president engaging in warmongering.

But none of this provable lawlessness in international relations warrants a mention in the New York Times’ condemnation of Trump. The so-called «newspaper of record» confines itself to delving into Trump’s alleged abuses of power in the realm of domestic politics, much of which seems exaggerated in order to serve the Times’ own dubious agenda of discrediting Trump.

This oversight of Trump’s provable international violations is hardly surprising (albeit unacceptable). For on that score, he is simply carrying on the ignoble tradition of all American presidents who have used aggression and war as an instrument of power against other nations.

His predecessors Obama, Bush Junior, Clinton, Bush Senior, Reagan and all the way back to Eisenhower and Truman have abused military power, invasion, subversion, proxy wars and assassination as a prerogative for American subjugation of other nations. Even Jimmy Carter and John F Kennedy, considered to be two of the more enlightened presidents, oversaw criminal programs to pursue regime change in Cuba and other Latin American states.

Not a single American president over the past seven decades since the Second World War can be counted as innocent when it comes to gross violation of international law in the pursuit of US power. All told, it is estimated that American state-sponsored criminality under the orders of any given president has been responsible for over 20 million deaths from wars and aggression in myriad forms against dozens of nations.

Donald J Trump is just the latest name in this sordid pantheon of lawless American leaders.

For the New York Times to single out Trump as somehow uniquely lawless is testimony to how much in denial the US media are about the truly rogue, criminal nature of their government.

Trump a lawless president? Yes, sure he is. Just like all the rest of them.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

Germany’s Die Linke Calls for Improvement in Russia Relations

Sputnik – June 12, 2017

Germany’s Die Linke party, which held its party conference in Hannover last weekend, is seeking to pursue a policy of “good neighborliness” and improve relations with Russia, the party’s leader in the Bundestag Sahra Wagenknecht told Sputnik.

The leftist Die Linke is the third-largest party in the German Bundestag, with 64 seats. On Friday, the party began its three-day conference in Hannover, where party members debated its manifesto ahead of federal elections to be held on September 24. On the sidelines of the conference, Sahra Wagenknecht, co-leader of Die Linke in the Bundestag, told Sputnik Deutschland that one of the party’s foreign policy ambitions is to improve relations with Russia.

“We want to improve the relationship with Russia, we want a new approach in the tradition of détente politics, a policy of good neighborliness. This means taking mutual interests seriously and mutually accepting legitimate interests. Europe and Russia have a history that can’t be erased, and Russia has always been the victim of raids and wars, not least, and worst of all, by Germany in the Second World War,” Wagenknecht said.

“That is why I can well understand that many people feel threatened when they see German soldiers on the Russian border again. We do not want that, we want peace in Europe and peace is only possible with Russia and not against Russia.”

Wagenknecht said her party rejects the unsubstantiated allegations made in the US that Russia influenced the result of last year’s presidential election, to the detriment of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Rather, Clinton’s failure to be elected President was a result of her shortcomings as a candidate from the establishment, at a time when voters are keen for something different.

“This debate is going on in all seriousness and it is really curious. I really have to say: Whoever ascribes to Russia the power to essentially decide who will lead the American nation and who will become President, is completely crazy.”

“Of course, there is no substance [to the allegations]. I think there has to be a serious discussion about why someone like Donald Trump was able to be elected. That is also where we are regarding social issues and social problems, there is an absence of perspective. Above all, the election in the USA was an anti-election. The people there did not want any ‘more of the same,’ they did not want Hillary Clinton. This is the truth and everything else is really ridiculous,” Wagenknecht said.

In her speech to the party conference, Wagenknecht called on the German left to provide an alternative to establishment politics and emulate the recent success of the UK’s Labour Party, which succeeded in last week’s general election with a socialist agenda. Against expectations, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn increased his party’s share of the vote by 9.6 per cent and gained an extra 30 seats in parliament.

Wagenknecht drew an unfavorable comparison between Corbyn and German Social Democrats (SPD) leader Martin Schulz.

“Die Linke would immediately elect a German Jeremy Corbyn as Chancellor; It is not, unfortunately, in our power to make Martin Schulz into a Jeremy Corbyn,” Wagenknecht told the conference.

In conversation with Sputnik, the party co-chair said that Corbyn had won by taking “classical Social-Democratic positions” such as renationalization of privatized public services and utilities as well as investment in education and healthcare.

“He was vilified as somebody who wants to return to the past. This is a reproach which we hear in Germany again and again: If someone wants to restore the welfare state, then one is supposedly backward. But Corbyn was not bothered at all by all the insults and defamations. He was treated very badly, also by the media, but he pulled through, he said clearly, ‘this is what I want.’ He also had credibility, which is probably the most decisive. It is not just about the promises which are made to voters but also about whether or not to believe him.”

“Martin Schulz doesn’t have any of that. He doesn’t have any credibility or [political] demands. Everything is to force a continuation of the grand coalition. So, you don’t win elections, but one is also out of the game when it comes to making a new coalition with left-wing participation. This is absurd, because we don’t want to continue the recent policy,” Wagenknecht said. The politician said that her party would consider entering into coalition only if it could find a suitable partner.

“Sure, we want to govern if we have an absolute majority. If we have partners with the same goals, we want to govern. But we do not want to go into a government in which, in the end, we have to do the opposite of what we have promised the voters. There are enough of those kinds of parties, which have no credibility, which can’t be trusted by their voters.  We won’t be like that,” Wagenknecht declared.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment