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Netanyahu Backs Partitioning Iraq for Kurdish State

teleSUR | August 14, 2017

During a meeting with a U.S. delegation, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed interest in partitioning Iraq.

The Prime Minister told the group of 33 congressmen that he favored the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in the Arab country. Israel has a longstanding relationship with the Kurds, who remains one of its few non-Arab allies in the area.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a source who attended the meeting said Netanyahu referred to the Kurds as “brave, pro-Western people who share our values.”

Netanyahu previously spoke on the issue in 2014 when he said in a speech that Israel should “support the Kurdish aspiration for independence.”

Two months ago Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani warned about bids to break up Iraq, saying the partitioning of Arab countries serves the interests of Israel. “The Zionist regime seeks Iraq’s disintegration,” Larijani accused during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Tehran.

A report published in the New Yorker magazine in 2004 said Israeli military and intelligence operatives were active in Kurdish areas and providing training for commando units.

According to the report, Israel has been expanding its presence in Kurdistan and encouraging Kurds, its allies in the region, to create an independent state.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Wisconsin Library Wars

The village of Grafton, Wisconsin, chose to honor the USS Liberty by naming its new library after the ship. The complaints that followed filled the local newspapers and airwaves for months. This is the story of the USS Liberty Memorial Public Library and the controversy that followed.

By James M. Ennes, Jr. | USS Liberty Memorial

After a long pause to stop the flow of blood, 1988 marked the tenth year of the great Wisconsin library wars.

The first blows were struck in 1979 when supporters of Israel in Milwaukee decided to flex their political muscle. In a test of power (some would say to flaunt it), spokesmen for Israel renamed the library at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee after an Israeli political leader.

“Let this place be known forever as the Golda Meir Library,” they proclaimed.

To no surprise, a great hue and cry developed almost overnight as students, faculty, and local citizens recorded their outrage.

Golda Meir

Golda Meir, born Goldie Mabovitch in Poland in 1898, had lived in Milwaukee between her 8th and 21st year. She studied at the Milwaukee Teachers Seminary of Milwaukee, later taught school briefly in Milwaukee, and then moved to Palestine in 1919 to join the growing Jewish community there.

Golda Meir was respected by her fans, not for charm, tact, or diplomatic skill, but for her stubborn Israeli intransigence.

When she became prime minister in 1969, Time magazine said of her: “The essence of the woman is conviction, without compromise, and expressed with all the subtlety of a Centurion tank. She seldom loses an argument….”

Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, himself a Jew, described her as “a tough, obstinate, unintelligent woman, without discernment, wisdom or poise.”

Yet, among Arabs and many Americans, Golda Meir is best remembered and often despised for her hard line against the Palestinian population, and for her insistence that Israel had no “Palestinian problem” because, she said, “It was not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”

The First Great Library War

Opponents of the Golda Meir name argued that this was a public institution created with public money and should not be named by special interests or for a foreign leader. The existing name, “The University of Wisconsin Library,” was more suitable, they said, and should be kept. Otherwise it should be named for an American.

“The Golda Meir name should not be used because it is controversial and offensive to a large segment of the population,” they argued to deaf ears. “Golda Meir is a symbol of hate in the Arab-American community and to many Americans,” they said.

Others said privately that they were opposed to the name but were afraid to speak out because the Israeli partisans were “powerful in the community.”

Arab students complained that the partisans lack sensitivity, ignore Arab feelings, and regard Arabs as less than human.

Students picketed in protest. A meeting of Regents held to formalize the name was disrupted by student protesters, and at one point a Jewish professor attacked the pickets, beating them with a cane.

The pro-Israel faction, however, withered their opponents with their ultimate weapon. “All opposition to the name comes from anti-Semites,” they said. “Arabs and anti-Semites object to the name,” they said, “because of their hatred for Jews and Israel. We can never yield to anti-Semites.”

The argument was picked up and echoed everywhere. Soon everyone opposed to the name became increasingly seen as zealots, racists, Nazis, and unthinking radical extremists. The argument, though apparently without substance, was effective. It won the war. The name sticks.

Arab students report that they wince whenever they enter the building.

The Second War

Just 18 miles due north of the Milwaukee campus on the shore of Lake Michigan the town of Grafton, population 8,500, decided recently to replace the aging and overcrowded town library. Jim Grant was elected president of the town council on his pledge to work toward creating the new library.

Unlike the Golda Meir library, the Grafton library was to be built almost entirely with private donations. Soon the new library committee had pledges for well over half the $1-million cost, including an $83,000 federal contribution and a $250,000 pledge from the brothers Ted and Ben Grob, who own a Grafton machine tool business.

Since the Grob’s contribution was the largest single gift, the library board offered the Grob brothers the opportunity to name the new library–expecting them to name it “Grob.” But that didn’t happen.

The Grobs, who had recently read a book about the Liberty and a transcript of a speech by a survivor, surprised everyone.

“Name it The USS Liberty Memorial Library,” they said, “in honor of the 34 Americans who died when Israel attacked the USS Liberty in 1967.”

Surprised, the town council and the town library board considered the name. Members who hesitated were asked to read the book that the Grobs had read. And soon both the council and the board gave their unanimous approval to the new name.

Enter Israel

A few days later an angry letter arrived from one Gideon Goldenholz, rabbi of the Beth El Ner Tamid Synagogue in nearby Mequon.

Sharpening a weapon that had served well in the Golda Meir library skirmishes, Goldenholz called the proposal “a cynical act” which carries “a hint of anti-Semitism” and is therefore “insulting to Jews.”

“The USS Liberty incident has become a rallying point for anti- Israel and anti-Semetic (sic) people and groups,” wrote James Fromstein for the Milwaukee Jewish Council, an umbrella group that represents Goldenholz’s synagogue and 21 other Milwaukee Jewish organizations. “As such, it is… considered offensive… to Jewish people everywhere,” he said, raising a trusted bludgeon from previous wars.

A few days later Fromstein appeared at Grant’s door with two television trucks, three newsmen from Milwaukee, and an aide. Grant, however, would not be intimidated. “We are very comfortable with the name,” he said.

“The name caters to Arabs and anti-Semites,” Fromstein insisted. After all, his aide added, Arabs are “only nomads,” while anti-Semites must be opposed on principal. After an hour of fruitless argument, Fromstein departed amid promises of “further action” and some lightly veiled threats of economic and other sanctions. “We can never yield to anti-Semites,” he insisted.

“The name sticks,” Grant said.

A Combined Media Blitz

Soon Jim Grant discovered that someone was checking into his background, verifying his military record, and otherwise searching for some fodder for a scandal. Librarian Kathy Kafka learned that persons unknown were attempting to verify her academic record.

Almost immediately Grant learned that the $83,000 federal commitment had been “postponed” because of complaints about the “anti-Semitic” name.

Phone calls and letters from Israeli spokesmen in Milwaukee urged local donors to withdraw their contributions because of the “anti-Semitic” influence.

Next, a solid barrage of stories about the library appeared in five area newspapers and the Chicago Tribune, along with frequent and highly caustic mention on area television news and talk shows.

The Milwaukee Jewish Chronicle set the tone early with a headline that proclaimed, “Jews battle extremists on library name.” “Rename the library,” demanded a Chronicle editorial. “New Library divides Wisconsin town,” wrote the Tribune. Milwaukee Magazine complained editorially about “The Gift of Grob.”

“Library name rightly condemned,” editorialized the Milwaukee Journal. “Where is the outrage in Grafton? Why is there no outcry?” complained the Journal when the first editorial failed to spark an outcry. “The Grafton library has aligned itself with the bigots and hate-mongers,” the Journal complained, recycling another battered tool from the Golda Meir trenches.

“Why,” survivors asked, “is it OK to have memorials for USS Stark, Maine, Arizona, and a hundred other ships without protest from the countries that attacked them, while any mention of the USS Liberty brings an avalanche of organized protest from Israel?” No one could answer the question, but the protests continued without pause.

Journal reporter Michael Krenn, asked by town officials to interview a survivor of the attack, declined. “That is not my story,” Krenn insisted. Krenn was interested only in bashing devils.

Rarely did anything favoring the library become part of “Krenn’s story.” Supporting statements came in from Rabbi Elmer Berger, Reverend Humphrey Walz and Admiral Thomas Moorer, among others, but none of this ever made it into “Krenn’s story.” Articles about the Liberty by experts on the subject including Admiral Moorer were submitted for publication, but none were printed or acknowledged.

When survivors Joe Meadors and John Hrankowski visited Grafton with former congressman Pete McCloskey to answer townspeople’s questions, the Journal did not find the event worthy of coverage until forced to do so days later when readers complained. The well-attended event displayed nearly total support for the new library name, and it was covered by reporter Krenn, but this was “not his story” so he chose not to write about it.

And the reports that did appear typically failed to mention the most noteworthy details, such as public support for the library name by Grafton’s State Assemblywoman Susan Vergeront and McCloskey’s spirited denunciation of the “anti-Semite” charge.

“How can a memorial for American sailors who died in the service of their country possibly be anti-Semitic?” McCloskey demanded to know as the crowd roared its approval.

Even an account by the Journal’s ombudsman, while acknowledging that their coverage was badly done, continued to ignore Grafton’s viewpoint and reasserted the “anti-Semite” influence.

At last count the Journal was on record with nineteen heavily slanted “news” stories, five angry editorials and one incomplete ombudsman’s report, all suggesting that the library, the ship, the town council, and everyone involved is somehow allied with or unwitting stooges of anti-Semites and other loonies.

“This is the most outrageous, egregious, biased, and unprofessional reporting I have seen in 20 years in the business,” remarked a California editor of a major newspaper who was sufficiently moved to call Krenn and tell him so. But still the smears and innuendo continue.

When two spokesmen from Grafton responded to a request for a television interview in Milwaukee, they were unexpectedly confronted on camera by two spokesmen for Israel, prepared to debate. Although Grafton emerged victorious, it was a tense hour.

“You were set up,” whispered a sympathetic station employee, clearly pleased with the unexpected outcome. “This was to have been an ambush.”

When library board chairman Carol Schneider agreed to a television interview, she found herself confronted by a hostile interviewer who did his professional best to humiliate her on camera.

Complaints Come From Outside

Most of the blitz, however, comes from outside the town. For instance, one of the first shots fired was a paid advertisement in the Ozaukee County Guide signed by 17 clergymen, all from outside of Grafton, which appealed to the fair minded citizens to rise up against their leaders and demand a new name. The clergymen were concerned, they wrote, about “harassment of minorities, hate letters and phone calls to rabbis and desecration of synagogues” which, they said, “have once again raised their ugly heads.” “Neo Nazis and other hate groups use the symbol of the USS Liberty to promote their cause,” the clergymen wrote.

No matter that no harassment, hate letters, phone calls or desecration had occurred. No matter that no sign of anti-Semitism or “extremist” influence had been uncovered. No matter that none of the clergymen knew anything about the case except what they had been told by spokesmen for Israel who persuaded them to lend their names.

In another attack from the hinterlands, two churches in nearby Mequon circulated petitions in Grafton seeking opposition to the library name. After several days work, they collected 79 signatures, including only seven from Grafton. Library supporters easily collected 616 signatures in an afternoon, all from Grafton.

In a rare protest from within the town, the pastor of the Grafton Catholic Church issued a statement. A new name must be found, he said, because “the incident is used by extremists to further anti-Semitism. The USS Liberty has become a symbol of hate.”

Asked later for his source of information, the good father confessed that he knew only what he had read in the Journal and been told in a phone call from an out-of-town Rabbi. Without checking further, he urged his parish to oppose the library because he felt he should respond to the influence of “anti-Semites.”

“I may have been hasty,” he confessed later.

To the dismay of most Grafton schoolteachers, two teachers living outside Grafton attempted on their own to cancel a teachers’ commitment to raise money for the library. Two teachers then circulated questionnaires to their classes asking, “Should Nazis be allowed to name our new library?” No matter that no Nazis could be found.

“No, no, no,” chirped the cherubs.

Soon, prompted by guidance unknown, the Grafton High School Valedictorian publicly articulated the reasons Nazis and other weirdos should not be allowed to name the town’s temple of knowledge.

Phony Radicals, Phony Issues

These things are reported in all the area newspapers, usually in a way that suggests that a small band of extremists controls city hall in defiance of a majority who would, if they could, unseat the radicals. Despite their spirited search, however, no radical has ever been identified.

That does not deter the opponents, however. Anti-Semitism is the most effective weapon in their arsenal, and it must be continually dragged out and fired whether any proper targets can be seen or not.

In a frantic search for anti-Semites, one reporter learned that a magazine that the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith considers anti- Semitic sometimes writes about the USS Liberty. Worse, he learned that one of the Grob brothers has seen the magazine.

Proof at last! To the Milwaukee Jewish Council, the magazine’s interest in the Liberty is enough to justify their entire campaign. No matter that dozens of esteemed journalists, at least five Pulitzer prizewinners, scores of leading newspapers, and at least 30 book authors have also written sympathetically about the Liberty. No matter that Liberty survivors have no connection with the suspect magazine and actively shun its attentions. To spokesmen for Israel, the USS Liberty has become a “symbol of hate” and “must be opposed” because people they consider “anti-Semites” have written about it.

Suddenly what looked like a “genuine” anti-Semite appeared. A man driving a car with Illinois license plates spent a day marching at Grafton’s main intersection with a large sign reading, “Support the USS Liberty – Israel is America’s enemy.” That evening the man went from door to door spouting offensive anti-Jewish rhetoric and appealing to Grafton residents to support the name because they shouldn’t take any more guff “from the Jews.”

When Grafton citizens investigated, they found that the man was actually opposed to the library. The entire performance was a carefully orchestrated charade designed to make library supporters appear to be anti- Semitic radicals.

“They will never give up!”

The library now looks certain to go ahead on schedule.

“But they will never give up,” warns a war-weary veteran of the Golda Meir conflict. “A year or five years or ten years from now they will be back to try to change the name. Sooner or later they will win. And if Grafton is not careful they will probably change it to something like ‘Menachem Begin’ or ‘Ariel Sharon.'”

“They persist in throwing stones from their glass house,” he said, “so the best defense is a counter-attack. Start a drive to change the Golda Meir Library back to its original name.”


James M. Ennes was a lieutenant on the bridge of the USS Liberty when the ship was attacked. His book about the attack, Assault on the Liberty (Random House, 1980; Ballantine, 1987) has been called the most important book of the year by two leading reviewers, and was named “editor’s choice” when reviewed in the Washington Post. It is routinely removed from bookshelves, however, when area spokesmen for Israel complain to booksellers that they have stocked a book that is “anti-Israel” and “offensive to Jewish people everywhere.”

August 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lebanese Hezbollah leader says Israel not able to wage new war on Lebanon

Press TV – August 13, 2017

The Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement says Israel is not able to launch a new war on Lebanon, because it knows that Hezbollah is much more powerful than 2006 and any such war would cost Tel Aviv dearly.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks in a speech on the anniversary of Israel’s defeat in the 33-day military onslaught against Lebanon back in the summer of 2006.

During his speech, Nasrallah noted that the main reason behind the victory of Hezbollah fighters in the war with Israel was their patience, steadfastness, valor and faith.

Stressing the rise in Hezbollah’s power since the war in 2006, Nasrallah noted that the resistance group is ready to counter any further act of aggression, warning that in case of new Israeli aggression, Israel will face a 100 times tougher response than the one its forces saw during the 2006 war.

Nasrallah added that Israeli analysts were still analyzing the results of that war, because it destroyed their self-confidence and they have admitted to their defeat in the summer war in 2006.

Everything that Israelis say about the power of Hezbollah is because of their defeat in summer 2006 war, Nasrallah said.

The Hezbollah chief stated that Israelis wanted to destroy Hezbollah, but after 11 years, they say Hezbollah has become stronger and more powerful and this shows that they have failed to achieve the goals they pursued through 2006 war.

Elsewhere in his speech, Nasrallah explained that Hezbollah only fights outside the Lebanese borders and will not use force in domestic developments of the country.

He added that in return for its victories, Hezbollah does not seek personal, party, or tribal interests, noting that today, the resistance movement is more powerful than ever and the enemy has reached the conclusion that any new aggression against Lebanon will be very costly.

Rejecting any chance of a new Israeli aggression against Lebanon, Nasrallah noted that the time of toying with Lebanon is over and Israelis themselves have owned up to the high cost of such a war and have said that war with Lebanon should not take place.

They wanted to crush the resistance in 2006 war, but they failed to achieve this goal, Nasrallah said.

The Hezbollah chief added that not only Israel, but all those parties which seek to crush Hezbollah at the present time will fail to achieve this goal.

Nasrallah said that due to its inability to wage new war on Lebanon, Israel wants to collectively punish the entire Lebanese nation, and it is putting high pressure on the administration of US President Donald Trump, but they will fail to achieve anything as in the past.

About 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians, lost their lives during Israel’s 33-day war on Lebanon back in the summer of 2006.

According to the 629-page Winograd Report by the Israeli regime itself, Hezbollah fighters involved in defending Lebanon against the Israeli war defeated the enemy and Tel Aviv was compelled to withdraw without having achieved any of its objectives.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which brokered a ceasefire in the 2006 war, calls on Israel to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Manar television network on Jul 14, head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council Sayyed Hashem Safieddine stated that the resistance movement will “surprise” Israel in any future war, relying on its enhanced military capabilities.

Safieddine stressed that Hezbollah has been changing and developing new military capabilities, and Israeli reports on Hezbollah’s weaponry are “inaccurate as the enemy intelligence agencies can never reach veracious data in this context.”

August 13, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Balfour’s Shameful Legacy: UK Government must say sorry and protect Christian Churches in Palestine

To: Rt Hon David Mundell MP, Secretary of State for Scotland

Dear Mr Mundell,

It was a pleasure meeting you at the Dumfries Agricultural Show. If you recall, we talked briefly about Mrs May’s perverse plan to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration “with pride” and invite Israel’s PM Netanyahu to the jollifications.

The infamous Declaration was a pledge contrived by Zionists inside and outside the British Government. It was in effect a ‘promissory note’ to the Zionist movement for their help in bringing the US into WW1; and it was made with utter disregard to the consequences for the majority Arab population in Palestine. Worse, it amounted to a betrayal of our Arab allies, cutting across an earlier promise for their help against the Turks. There was strong opposition in Parliament even from Lord Montague, the only Jew in the Cabinet. Lord Sydenham remarked:

What we have done, by concessions not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, is to start a running sore in the East, and no-one can tell how far that sore will extend.

Well, we know now. And it’s high time the wound was healed.

The Declaration by Balfour, a Zionist convert, needs to be read in parallel with The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism, a joint statement by the heads of Palestinian Christian churches which rejects Christian Zionist doctrine as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States [they could have added the UK] that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine…. We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war.

Justice groups are urging the British Government to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in November by saying sorry instead of toasting the blunder in champagne. Mrs May could do some real good here. She could, at a stroke, help quell the destructive turmoil in the Middle East and begin repairing Britain’s tattered image. She could even open new trade routes into Islamic markets, vitally important as we leave the EU. By apologising on our behalf for 100 years of agony inflicted on lovely people in a lovely part of the world Mrs May could take a giant step for mankind on the world stage.

But no, she’s pressing ahead with the revelry. And her principal guest, the ruthless Israeli prime minister, is on many a wanted list for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He’s also under investigation in his own country for corruption. This is not just poor judgment on Mrs May’s part but insanely provocative when a UN report recently branded Israel an apartheid regime. It’s even more regrettable considering the desperate cry for help a few weeks ago  from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine in an open letter to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement, signed by over 30 organisations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. You can read this disturbing document here.

They issued a similar cry for help 10 years ago but the tyranny of the occupying forces has gone from very bad to much worse. Their latest message is frighteningly stark:

Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land.

“The name of the game: Erasing Palestine” (Miko Peled)

I was encouraged to hear you say that you visited Occupied Palestine independently rather than accept the usual propaganda tour organised by Conservative Friends of Israel and the Israeli government. Nevertheless, claims by the CFoI that 80 percent of Conservative MPs and MEPs are signed up members is alarming and puts us almost on a par with US Congress which is controlled by the Israel lobby through AIPAC. It is ludicrous that a foreign military power which has no respect for international law and rejects weapons conventions and safeguards can exert such influence on foreign policy in the US and UK. Pandering to Israel has been immensely costly in blood and treasure and damaging to our reputation.

Everyone outside the Westminster bubble knows perfectly well that there can be no peace in the Holy Land without justice. Everyone knows that international law and countless UN resolutions still wait to be enforced. Everyone knows that Israel won’t comply unless sanctions are imposed. Everyone knows that the siege on Gaza won’t be lifted until warships are sent.

Miko Peled, son of an Israeli general, former Israeli soldier and now a leading voice in the struggle for Palestinian freedom, tells us that “by 1993 the Israelis had achieved their mission to make the conquest of the West Bank irreversible [and] the Israeli government knew for certain that a Palestinian state could not be established in the West Bank”. What’s more, everyone now knows that the US is not an honest broker and peace won’t come from sham ‘negotiations’ between the weak and the all-powerful. Everyone knows who is the real threat to peace in the Middle East. And everyone knows that Her Majesty’s Government’s hand-wringing  and empty words serve no purpose except to prolong the daily misery and buy time for Israel to complete its criminal scheme to make the occupation permanent.

Mrs May praises Israel for being “a thriving democracy, a beacon of tolerance”, when it is obviously neither. She says our two countries share “common values” when we obviously don’t; and given the Israeli regime’s incessant crimes against humanity and cruelty to the indigenous people it terrorises such a remark is insulting to anyone who lives by Christian values. She even claims that Israel is a country where people of all religions “are free and equal in the eyes of the law” and “Israel guarantees the rights of people of all religions, races and sexualities, and it wants to enable everyone to flourish”. This is arrant nonsense. The lady needs to tone down her misguided adoration of the rogue regime.

She also needs to call off attempts to criminalise the successful BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign calling it wrong and warning that her government will “have no truck with those who subscribe to it”.  Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights bestows on everyone “the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.

As the Secretary of State for Scotland, the senior Central Government figure hereabouts and a member of the Cabinet, you have the ear of the PM on heavyweight matters of state — such as this. I hope you’ll allow me, please, to pursue the  through your goodself (keeping my MP Alister Jack informed).  I do not wish to receive the usual proforma reply from the Foreign Office about the UK’s adherence to the 2-state solution — a futile position, as anyone paying attention to the situation has known for years. What I do hope for is reasons why HMG is still exporting weaponry to Israel when it is used against the Palestinians to maintain the illegal occupation, why no move is made to break the 10-year blockade of Gaza which has brought nearly 2 million citizens to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, why HMG keeps rewarding Israel for its other never-ending crimes, its contempt for international law, its disregard for the provisions of the UN Charter, and its continued breaches of the EU-Israel Agreement. And why Mrs May seeks to appeal against the recent court decision defending our right to boycott Israel. Does she not realise that HMG’s inaction leaves civil society no choice but to resort to BDS?

In particular I’d like to know, please, Mrs May’s reaction to the desperate plea from the Christian churches in the Holy Land, and I hope you’ll bring to her notice that letter to the WCC if she hasn’t already seen it. She wears her Christianity on her sleeve, is seen regularly attending church etc, but her faith credentials will be in question if she ignores the contents of the letter.

Whether the questions raised here are tiresomely ducked as usual or given the consideration they deserve, the story will find wide circulation. This request is therefore sent as an open letter.

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel to occupy Africa

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets people during his arrival at James Spriggs Payne Airport in Monrovia, Liberia on 4 June 2017 [Prime Ministry of Israel/Anadolu Agency]
By Helmi Al-Asmar | Al-Araby Al-Jadeed* | August 10, 2017

With the exception of the popular efforts made by the Conference for Palestinians Abroad to hinder the rabid Israeli efforts to hold a major conference next October entitled the Israeli-African Summit in Togo, we have barely seen any official or popular Arab efforts in this direction. This is despite the great danger posed by convening such a summit, which Israel has been laying the foundations for for several years, in light of the almost complete absence of the Arabs, which is an unprecedented development in Israel’s tireless efforts to bypass the wide wall of isolation and moral rejection it faces in Africa. It aims to present itself as a trusted partner for the continent’s nations.

The Conference for Palestinians Abroad viewed this summit, rightly so, as an insult to the struggles of the African nations and a disregard for their generations’ fair fight for liberation from colonisation and racism. It is also an attempt on the occupation government’s part to portray itself as a trusted partner for the African countries in order to fabricate its reality. It is not coming to Africa in order to spread love and unity, but instead aims to make Africa a market for the lethal products it produces and a place to export its mercenaries to help the dictators of the continent.

This is despite the fact that the African nations’ true interests and their efforts towards sustainable development, prosperity and growth do not align with the colonial racist occupation government in Palestine, given its record of hostility and terrorism. This is documented by several international and independent reports, including the ESCWA report regarding the escalations of the Israeli apartheid policies issued this year.

In addition to this, Israel, which commits war crimes, mass killings, flagrant violations and intimidation methods, as well as confiscates the Palestinian people’s land and resources and sponsors illegal extremist settler gangs, does not have the right to be a partner to developing nations seeking advancement, prosperity and the combat of terrorism.

The efforts of the Conference for Palestinians Abroad are focused on mobilising governments, official and popular institutions, parties, civil society organisations, public figures, community leaders and the media across Africa and the entire world, in order to rally the efforts against the Israeli government’s actions. These actions are an attempt on Israel’s part to promote itself in the continent in a misleading manner, ignoring the principles of justice, the peoples’ rights and international laws and conventions. The conference summoned its efforts and began taking action, contacting concerned parties, especially the influential forces in the African nations in order to confront Israel’s attempts of exploitation and deception.

These are commendable efforts but of course they are not enough to stop this hateful and racist emergence in Africa. Putting an end to the conference is the duty of all African countries, organisations, committees, and people specifically, and generally the duty of the Arab and Muslim countries. This is because Israel’s presence in the continent will not be in the best interest of the African people, but rather in Israel’s interest as it exports death, mercenaries and tyranny to all the countries of the world. It also supports the totalitarian regimes that commit the ugliest forms of aggression, looting and pillage. Therefore, resisting this conference and sabotaging it by all means available is the duty of all nations on Earth.

It is worth mentioning in this regard that the only Arab action against the convention of this summit was by the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, during his visit to Khartoum in July 2016. In his meeting with Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, Abbas raised the issue of developing the Arab strategy in the African continent and cooperating in order to stop Israel’s attempts to achieve a breakthrough in Africa.

We do not expect Sudan or the PA to do anything now, as it is too late and their political/diplomatic capabilities are limited. Moreover, their problems and misfortunes are too many to count, according to the former Egyptian Ambassador to Angola, Sao Tome and Niger, Belal Al-Masry, who, in an important article published on the Democratic Arab Centre website, listed five reasons why the Israeli summit in Africa is dangerous. These points should be considered and reflected upon, the most important of which is the fact that the conference’s purpose is to restore and develop the African voting bloc in order to use it to support Israel’s international status.

Israel views the countries of the African continent as a voting bloc consisting of at least 50 votes. This was confirmed by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seven African leaders with whom he met in Rwanda in July 2016. He also reiterated this in his speech to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Summit in Monrovia in June 2017. Hence, his statement regarding Israel having a bright future in the UN during his speech before the UN General Assembly at its regular session in September 2016, wasn’t too far from the truth. He also stated that his main diplomatic goal was to stop the African states from automatically voting against Israel at the UN and that the day he would achieve this isn’t too far. Therefore, holding the Israeli summit in Africa will mark the end of the Egyptian and Arab role, in general, in Africa and Israel will join the international forces competing for influence in the African continent. These countries include China, the United States, France, India, Russia, Iran and recently, Turkey.

It is not an overstatement to say that the Israeli conference in Togo will pave the way for Israel to reoccupy Africa, or at least a large part of it, politically, economically and militarily. This will further strengthen Israel’s international and regional standing and increase the suffering of the Palestinian people, who are paying the price for the fragmentation of the Arab system and their preoccupation with resisting the effects of the Arab Spring revolutions.

*Translation by MEMO

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

OAS Chief Almagro Praises Israel, Condemns Venezuela

teleSur | August 10, 2017

Secretary-General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro used his one-day visit to Israel to condemn Venezuela’s leftist government while expressing “pride that Israel is a friend of the Americas,” praising what he called Tel Aviv’s record of respecting human rights and democracy.

The tour seemed less like the diplomacy of a “supra-president” representing the Western Hemisphere, and more like a roadshow for the OAS chief to reiterate Trump administration talking points.

“As friends, Israel and the Americas share key values such as democracy and human rights. We have opportunities to learn from each other,” he told a gathering of World Jewish Congress members in Jerusalem. Despite Tel Aviv’s globally unrecognized claims that the ancient city is its “national capital,” Jerusalem remains under illegal occupation.

The themes of democracy and human rights were repeated multiple times by the secretary-general during his time with Israeli officials, usually in such contexts as “Israeli … our essential partner in the Middle East — due to its commitment to democracy and to human rights.”

Israeli authorities face routine criticism from world legal bodies like the U.N. for their disregard of human rights standards, especially in their discriminatory treatment of the Palestinian population.

“Israel is a democratic state in which the institutions function,” Almagro told Haaretz. “The functionality of institutions and the balance of powers are fundamental for us and are the paradigm of the health of a democracy.”

Israeli institutions systematically deny the people of Palestine their right to self-determination, imposing stringent restrictions on their movement, travel, and trade. Israeli security forces have been criticized by rights organizations for resorting to excessive force, including extrajudicial killings, on a regular basis, while unarmed Palestinian demonstrators — adults and children — face imprisonment, torture, and abuse for taking part in protests against occupation activities. The construction of massive settlements deep in the occupied West Bank likewise is illegal under international law.

Almagro’s tone jars dramatically with his opinion five years ago as foreign minister of Uruguay, admitting in an interview that he voted on U.N. resolutions condemning Israeli settlements and human rights violations “with both hands” while arguing that the Israeli occupation’s crimes were irrefutable from a legal standpoint.

On the subject of Venezuela, Almagro struck an emphatic tone consistent with his prior calls to remove the country’s government through “regime change” efforts.

“It is a dictatorship, there’s no other definition for Venezuela today,” Almagro told Israeli daily Haaretz.

Seemingly oblivious to the irony in his words, he then condemned the left for having “flinched on democracy and human rights” in the South American nation.

Opining about U.S. unilateral sanctions on Venezuela, Almagro said, “no country feels comfortable in this situation … but that does not mean the sanctions don’t hit hard and hit those specific places that most affect the regime.”

Since becoming secretary-general of the OAS, Almagro has become a partisan of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, railing against alleged abuses by the “ruling regime” and issuing thousands of tweets against the Bolivarian government, accompanied by calls for foreign intervention in the country.

In contrast, Almagro has been relatively silent in respect to the Western Hemisphere’s most pressing human rights crises — such as the Mexican government’s crackdowns on social movements resisting neoliberal structural reforms, assassinations of social movement leaders and paramilitary attacks on rural and Indigenous communities throughout Latin America, and the parliamentary coup against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

The OAS chief’s contradictory messages underscore Bolivian President Evo Morales’ description of Almagro’s “submission to the North American empire.”

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Peru Forced Sterilizations Victims Oppose Fujimori Pardon

Protests against the Fujimoris.

Protests against the Fujimoris. | Photo: EFE
By Neil Giardino | teleSUR | August 10, 2017

Human rights activists and victims of forced sterilizations in Peru under former president Alberto Fujimori are expressing outrage over the possibility of his pardon by current Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

“They’d be mocking the people and mocking Peru, because (Fujimori) has committed crimes,” said Obdulia Guevara, Director of the Association of Women of Huancabamba, a group representing victims of forced sterilizations.

More than 200,000 mostly poor, Indigenous Quechua-speaking women in Peru are said to have been forcefully sterilized between 1996 and 2000 under Fujimori, who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for unrelated human rights violations.

During his 2016 campaign Kuczynski said he would oppose pardoning Fujimori, but in a recent radio interview, he indicated he’s now considering a medical pardon of the 78-year-old ex-president, who led from 1990–2000 and has been in prison since 2009.

Kuczynski’s reversal is widely seen as an attempt to appease the strong opposition party led by Fujimori’s daughter, Keiko Fujimori. Her party, Fuerza Popular, holds a solid majority in congress and lost the 2016 election by a narrow margin.

The political about-face by Kuczynski isn’t sitting well with Guevara and members of her organization representing women claiming to have been sterilized without consent in the late 90s.

“He isn’t representing Fujimori. He’s representing the Peruvian people, including these sterilized women,” said Guevara.

Kuczynski wouldn’t be the first recent Peruvian leader to open a national dialogue on pardoning Fujimori; his two predecessors also weighed the option.

“Every time they raise the issue of a pardon, it re-victimizes, because once again they publically debate the possibility of liberating someone responsible for such serious crimes,” said human rights activist Francisco Soberon, whose NGO Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) has advocated for victims of state violence in Peru since the 90s.

While Fujimori’s critics label him a dictator, supporters say his policies stabilized a reeling economy and helped put down a violent terror campaign that nearly brought the country to its knees in the 90s.

The sterilizations were part of a national reproductive health and family planning program meant to reduce rural poverty. But testimonies by victims said the sterilizations were performed under verbal and sometimes physical threat. At least 18 are said to have died as a result of the tubular litigation surgeries, many of which were performed in rustic clinics lacking proper medical equipment.

Fujimori has maintained the surgeries were voluntary.

But government documents unearthed in 2015 suggest the sterilizations were ordered to be carried out, that doctors were made to keep sterilization quotas, and that Fujimori himself was briefed monthly on the progress of the program.

Investigations into the sterilizations have been opened several times since 2003, but were each rejected by the courts, which decided the sterilizations were not performed under official state policy or carried out in a systematic fashion.

The government has not issued an official apology or offered reparations to victims.

For now, Guevara said her organization of victims of forced sterilizations are waiting for the current president to keep a promise he made during his campaign.

“He’s not shouldering his role as president. He’s looking for consensus, and consensus for what?” she said.

A July 2017 poll suggested that 60 percent of Peruvians support a pardon of Fujimori.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Canada’s NDP backs American Empire

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | August 10, 2017

Does the NDP consistently support a foreign policy that benefits ordinary people around the world? Or does the social democratic party often simply fall in line with whatever the American Empire demands?

Hélène Laverdière certainly seems to support the US-led geopolitical order. While the NDP foreign critic has called for stronger arms control measures and regulations on Canada’s international mining industry, she’s aligned with the Empire on issues ranging from Venezuela to Palestine, Ukraine to Syria.

Echoing Washington and Ottawa, Laverdière recently attacked the Venezuelan government. “On the heels of Sunday’s illegitimate constituent assembly vote, it’s more important than ever for Canada to work with our allies and through multilateral groups like the OAS to secure a lasting resolution to the crisis,” she told the CBC.

But, the constituent assembly vote wasn’t “illegitimate”. Venezuela’s current constitution empowers the president to call a constituent assembly to draft a new one. If the population endorses the revised constitution in a referendum, the president – and all other governmental bodies – are legally required to follow the new constitutional framework.

Additionally, calling on Ottawa to “work with our allies” through the OAS may sound reasonable, but in practice it means backing Trudeau’s efforts to weaken Venezuela through that body. Previously, Laverdière promoted that Washington-led policy. In a June 2016 press release bemoaning “the erosion of democracy” and the need for Ottawa to “defend democracy in Venezuela”, Laverdière said “the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter regarding Venezuela, and Canada, as a member of the OAS, should support his efforts.” But, the former Uruguayan Foreign Minister’s actions as head of the OAS have been highly controversial. They even prompted Almagro’s past boss, former Uruguayan president José Mujica, to condemn his bias against the Venezuelan government.

Laverdière has also cozied up to pro-Israel groups. Last year she spoke to the notorious anti-Palestinian lobby organization American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Months after AIPAC paid for her to speak at their conference in Washington, Laverdière visited Israel with Canada’s governor general, even participating in a ceremony put on by the explicitly racist Jewish National Fund.

The only Quebec MP to endorse Jagmeet Singh as next party leader, Laverdière has attended other events put on by groups aligned with Washington. She publicized and spoke to the weirdly themed “Demonstration for human and democratic rights in Venezuela, in solidarity with Ukraine and Syria.”

Laverdière supports deploying troops to the Russian border and repeatedly called for more sanctions on that country. She said the plan to send military trainers to the Ukraine “sounds good in principle” and only called for a debate in Parliament about sending 450 Canadians to head up a 1,000-strong NATO force in Latvia.

Since 2014 Laverdière has repeatedly called for stronger sanctions on Russia. In 2014 Laverdière told the Ottawa Citizen that “for sanctions to work, it’s not about the number of people but it’s about actually sanctioning the right people. They have to be comprehensive. And they have to target mainly the people who are very close to Putin. Our sanctions, the Canadian sanctions, still fail to do that.”

In May Laverdière applauded a bill modeled after the US Magnitsky Act that will further strain relations between Ottawa and Moscow by sanctioning Russian officials. “Several countries have adopted similar legislation and we are encouraged that the Liberals are finally taking this important step to support the Global Magnitsky movement,” she said.

In another region where the US and Russia were in conflict Laverdière aligned with the Washington-Riyadh position. In the midst of growing calls for the US to impose a “no-fly zone” on Syria last year, the NDP’s foreign critic recommended Canada nominate the White Helmets for the Nobel Peace Prize. A letter Laverdière co-wrote to foreign minister Stéphane Dion noted: Canada has a proud and long-standing commitment to human rights, humanitarianism and international peacekeeping. It is surely our place to recognize the selflessness, bravery, and fundamental commitment to human dignity of these brave women and men.”

Also known as the Syrian Civil Defence, the White Helmets were credited with rescuing many people from bombed out buildings. But, they also fostered opposition to the Bashar al-Assad regime. The White Helmets operated almost entirely in areas of Syria occupied by the Saudi Arabia–Washington backed Al Nusra/Al Qaeda rebels. They criticized the Syrian government and disseminated images of its violence, but largely ignored those people targeted by the opposition and reportedly enabled some of their executions.

The White Helmets are closely associated with the Syria Campaign, which was set up by Ayman Asfari, a British billionaire of Syrian descent actively opposed to Assad. The White Helmets also received at least $23 million from USAID and Global Affairs Canada sponsored a five-city White Helmets tour of Canada in late 2016.

Early in the Syrian conflict Laverdière condemned the Harper government for failing to take stronger action against Assad. She urged Harper to raise the Syrian conflict with China, recall Canada’s ambassador to Syria and complained that energy giant Suncor was exempted from sanctions, calling on Canada to “put our money where our mouth is.”

Prior to running in the 2011 federal election Laverdière worked for Foreign Affairs. She held a number of Foreign Affairs positions over a decade, even winning the Foreign Minister’s Award for her contribution to Canadian foreign policy.

Laverdière was chummy with Harper’s foreign minister. John Baird said, “I’m getting to know Hélène Laverdière and I’m off to a good start with her” and when Baird retired CBC reported that she was “among the first to line up in the House on Tuesday to hug the departing minister.”

On a number of issues the former Canadian diplomat has aligned with the US Empire. Whoever takes charge of the NDP in October should think about whether Laverdière is the right person to keep Canadian foreign policy decision makers accountable.


Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli settlers torch cars, vandalize property during attack on Ramallah-area village

Ma’an – August 9, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Israeli settlers set fire to two Palestinian-owned vehicles on Wednesday in the village of Umm Safa in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah in an alleged revenge attack for three Israeli settlers who were killed by a Palestinian in the nearby Halamish settlement last month.

Palestinian news agency Wafa received testimony from Marwan Sabah, the village council head, who said that Israeli settlers had set fire to the vehicles around 2:30 a.m.

While Israeli soldiers were reportedly stationed at the entrance of the village at night, the settlers attacked homes on the outskirts of the village after the soldiers had left, Sabah said.

However, Israeli soldiers are rarely able to control Israeli settlers, and reports often emerge of Israeli soldiers watching settler attacks on Palestinians without intervening. If any action is taken by Israeli soldiers, it is typically in the form of shooting “crowd control measures,” such as tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and often live ammunition, at Palestinians.

The settlers had also reportedly graffitied hate slogans on walls in the village, calling for revenge attacks on Palestinians in response to a deadly attack last month when a Palestinian from the Ramallah-area village of Kobar entered the Halamish settlement and stabbed three Israeli settlers to death.

According to the Israeli army, the incident would be under the jurisdiction of the Israeli police. However, an Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

According to Sabah, Israeli forces arrived in the village in the morning following the attack “to examine the area.” An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into any follow-up reports on the incident.

Israeli forces raided Kobar village in the predawn hours of Wednesday, detaining the father and uncle of the Halamish attacker, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed. Three others from the village were also detained during clashes that left 15 injured, some with live fire.

Last week, some 200 settlers from the Halamish settlement attacked the Kobar village. Israeli forces responded by violently suppressing clashes that had broken out between the settlers and Palestinian locals, which resulted in one Palestinian being injured by live ammunition shot by the Israeli army.

An upwards of some 600,000 Israeli settlers reside in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law. The international community has repeatedly called their presence and rising population the main impediment to potential peace in the region.

The UN reported on Saturday that after a three-year decline of settler attacks on Palestinians, the first half of 2017 showed a major increase in such attacks, with 89 incidents being documented so far this year.

“On a monthly average, this represents an increase of 88 percent compared with 2016,” the UN said. The attacks during this time period have led to the deaths of three Palestinians.

Israeli media has reported that the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, has also warned the Israeli government over the alarming trend and has “called on the government to adopt urgent measures to prevent further deterioration,” according to the UN.

Palestinian activists and rights groups have long accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years, according to Israeli NGO Yesh Din.

Meanwhile, Palestinians allegedly or actually committing any attacks on Israelis are often shot dead at the scene, in what rights groups have deemed “extrajudicial executions,” or face long prison sentences.

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s secret attempt to buy-out North Korea’s missile export program

Sputnik – 10.08.2017

In an exceptional episode, little-known and never acknowledged in the Western mainstream media, Israel secretly negotiated a billion dollar buy-out of North Korea’s missile export program to the Middle East. […]

Supporters of the effort believe Israel could have forged ties with North Korea and aided the “rogue” nation’s rapprochement with the West — detractors dismiss the idea as foolish fantasy.

While Israel recognized China in 1950, it had never established relations with North Korea. Perhaps as a result, perhaps unrelatedly, the latter provided Libya, Iran, Syria and other countries in the region hostile to Israel with advanced missile technology.

Tensions between the two countries remained frosty at best, and outright hostile at worst, until the early 1990s.

The severe economic crisis that befell North Korea at that time, and the terminal illness of founder and President Kim Il-sung, opened up doors on both sides for potential conciliation.

Efforts began in earnest September 1992, when Eytan Bentsur, the then-Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general, proposed to Pyongyang that Israel would purchase a defunct gold mine in North Korea in exchange for the country freezing or limiting its arms deals with Iran.

The offer was top secret — not even the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Asia department was informed.

On November 1, 1992, five Israelis, including Bentsur, and two geologists flew to Pyongyang to assess the mine. They received a fairly warm welcome upon arrival, staying for several days in the government’s official guesthouse, being flown around the country in Il-sung’s private helicopter and entertained grandly. A meeting with Kim’s son-in-law, responsible for the country’s arms exports, was set up.

What Bentsur et al didn’t know was they weren’t the only Israelis in Pyongyang at that time. A second delegation, headed by Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, was also visiting the capital.

Perhaps predictably, it’s unknown what Mossad’s representatives did during their trip — conversely, the Foreign Ministry contingent was taken to the Unsan gold mine. Bentsur and colleagues were certain North Korea was genuinely open to rapprochement at the time, a view he holds to this day — and government representatives did express a willingness to allow Israel to open a diplomatic mission in Pyongyang, and host an official visit from President Shimon Peres.

For their part, Israeli representatives made clear any relationship between the two was contingent on arms exports to the Middle East ceasing.

In the initial weeks after the trip, there was much optimism that a deal could be struck, and Pyongyang seemed genuinely interested in warming relations with the US and other Western powers.

However, Mossad chief Halevy quickly concluded the regime was going to continue selling missiles to Israel’s enemies, a deal was improbable, and it would be advisable to jettison their ambitions.

Nonetheless, in January 1993, North Korea invited Peres and Bentsur to Pyongyang, but Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin, who agreed with Havely, refused.

Those who believe a deal could’ve been struck are adamant Mossad played the key role in derailing negotiations. Bentsur suggests the agency lobbied the CIA into pressuring US Secretary of State Warren Christopher to call for a halt to all talks.

Others are more circumspect. In an interview with local media, Moshe Yegar, the then-Foreign Ministry’s Asia chief, said the “ugly” episode was a “fiasco from every angle” and “nonsense of the first order.” He believes there was “absolutely no way” Israel could have ever gotten Pyongyang to play ball. … Full article

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Free trade’ has come to mean powerful interests get whatever they want

By Yves Engler · August 8, 2017

“Free trade” has become a euphemism for “whatever power wants,” no matter how tangentially tied to transferring goods across international borders.

In an extreme example, Ottawa recently said its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Israel trumps Canada’s Food and Drugs Act since accurately labelling two wines might undermine a half-century long, illegal, military occupation.

Of little connection to international trade, the North American Free Trade Agreement — and subsequent FTAs — has granted foreign corporations the ability to bypass domestic courts and sue governments in secret tribunals for pursuing policies that interfere with their profit making. Over 75 cases have been brought before the Investor State Dispute Settlement section of NAFTA, which has resulted in tens of millions of dollars paid to companies impacted by Ottawa banning the export of toxic PCB wastes or the import of suspected neurotoxin gasoline additive MMT.

Strengthening this dynamic, Canada’s “free trade” deal with the European Union (CETA) empowers companies to sue municipalities if they expand public services. For instance, a municipality unhappy with private water delivery could face a suit if they tried to remunicipalize (or de-privatize) this service.

CETA, TPP, WTO and other self-described “free trade” agreements also extend patent and copyright protections (monopolies), which stifle competition, a pillar of free trade ideology. CETA’s increased patent protections are expected to drive up already high Canadian pharmaceutical drug costs by between $850 million and $1.65 billion a year. Negotiations to “modernize NAFTA” could end up granting big pharma perks that would effectively block Canada’s ability to set up universal pharmacare. Similarly, the yet to be signed TPP strengthens patents and would increase the length of copyright in Canada from 50 to 70 years after the death of an author.

It is little exaggeration to say politicians have come to employ the term “free trade” to mean “whatever powerful corporations want.” But, the Trudeau Liberals recently broadened the term’s definition even further. In a move to make “free trade” mean “whatever powerful interests want,” they announced that Canada’s FTA with Israel supercedes this country’s Food and Drugs Act.

After David Kattenburg repeatedly complained about inaccurate labels on two wines sold in Ontario, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) notified the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) that it “would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading” to declare Israel as the country of origin for wines produced in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Quoting from official Canadian policy, CFIA noted that “the government of Canada does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967.”

In response to pressure from the Israeli embassy, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai Brith, CFIA quickly reversed its decision. “We did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement,” a terse CFIA statement explained. “These wines adhere to the Agreement and therefore we can confirm that the products in question can be sold as currently labelled.”

In other words, the government is publicly proclaiming that the FTA trumps Canada’s consumer protections. But, this is little more than a pretext to avoid a conflict with B’nai B’rith, CIJA and Israeli officials, according to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Trade and Investment Research Project director Scott Sinclair. “This trade-related rationale does not stand up to scrutiny,” Sinclair writes. “The Canadian government, the CFIA and the LCBO are well within their legal and trade treaty rights to insist that products from the occupied territories be clearly labelled as such. There is nothing in the CIFTA [Canada–Israel FTA] that prevents this. The decision to reverse the CFIA’s ruling was political. The whole trade argument is a red herring, simply an excuse to provide cover for the CFIA to backtrack under pressure.”

In another commentary on the government “backtracking under pressure,” Peter Larson points out that CIFTA grants Israel an important concession that seeks to sidestep Canada’s commitments under international law. The agreement says, “unless otherwise specified, ‘territory’ means with respect to Israel the territory where its customs laws are applied,” but omits “in accordance with international law,” which is in many of Canada’s other free trade agreements. This omission seeks to allow goods produced on land occupied in contravention of the 4th Geneva Convention and Statute of Rome to benefit from CIFTA.

David Kattenburg and his lawyer Dmitri Lascaris will be challenging CFIA’s decision in court. On Monday they filed an appeal of the wine labelling and released a statement to the media.

The Council of Canadians and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives have recently added their voices to those criticizing CFIA’s decision. The NDP’s trade critic has yet to comment.

Kattenburg and Lascaris’ court challenge offers NDP leadership candidates Niki Ashton, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron and Jagmeet Singh a good opportunity to express their opposition to defining “free trade” as “whatever power wants.”

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Brazil’s Slave-Descended Quilombos Shaken by String of Murders

teleSUR – August 8, 2017

Brazilian authorities have revealed that six rural workers were mysteriously murdered in their homes in the lush rural state of Bahia in Brazil Sunday.

The crime, which was only announced Tuesday, is the latest in a wave of killings targeting residents in the disputed Iuna Quilombola Territory that lies in the city of Lencois. The murders bring to eight the number of those killed in disputed lands in Bahia within less than a month.

According to authorities, the victims lived in two neighboring homes — four in one house and two in the other — and were killed by men in an unidentified black vehicle. Each victim was shot four to six times. All were quilombolas — the descendants of Afro-Indigenous Brazilians who escaped from slavery to hinterland settlements known as Quilombos.

The victims have been identified as Adeilton Brito de Souza, Gildasio Bispo das Neves, Amauri Pereira Silva, Valdir Pereira Silva, Marcos Pereira Silva and Cosme Rosario da Conceicao

While state security forces are investigating possible links between the victims and drug traffickers, the crimes have shed light on an ongoing dispute between quilombolas and farmers who want the quilombolas expelled from the region.

In 2010, the Quilombola Territory of Iuna began the process of gaining legal recognition and titles to the land. The roughly 3,500-acre territory is home to 1,400 residents and is in the city of Lencois, a major eco-tourist destination and the starting point for treks into Chapada Diamantina National Park. The park spans a highland region of canyons and waterfalls known for its hiking trails, which were opened by miners searching for diamonds, gold and other precious minerals.

While in theory, Brazil’s 1988 Constitution assures quilombos titles to lands they historically are located on, very few quilombos actually enjoy legal recognition. According to recent data, 303 quilombo territories in Bahia state alone are seeking regularization, but only 34 are in an advanced state of regularization. The state still has no legally-recognized quilombola territories, while 19 territories have been identified as disputed land claimed by third parties.

On July 16, quilombola Lindomar Fernandes Martins was fatally shot six times on a road leading into Iuna. No one was arrested for the crime. The next day — also in Bahia — Jose Raimundo Mota de Souza, Jr., the president of the Association of Rural Workers in the Jiboia Quilombola Community, was shot dead while working in the fields with his brothers and family members.

The Association of Rural Workers’ Advocates and Catholic Church-linked Pastoral Land Commission, as well as the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform — the government agency charged with processing quilombo land claims — have issued messages of solidarity with the victims’ families and urged authorities to investigate and prosecute those involved in Sunday’s killings.

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment