Love it or hate it, The Hill can be a pretty useful source of information on the goings on around DC, but its latest article on Venezuela comes from some disturbing places.
In a recent article, titled “Meet Venezuela’s new VP, fan of Iran and Hezbollah”, The Hill’s Emanuele Ottolenghi profiled the South American country’s new second in command, Tareck El Aissami.
Although El Aissami was appointed vice-president just a few weeks ago, he’s hardly a new face to anyone who has followed Venezuelan politics for a while. He previously served as Aragua’s governor, and also had a stint as interior minister a few years back.
So what’s so special about El Aissami? A lot, according to Ottolenghi, whose piece reads much like the biography of a minor goon from a Schwarzenegger flick, replete with semi-comical claims with the credibility, sophistication and nuance of Ninja Terminator.
Here’s a few highlights:
“Despite the Baathist family background — his father headed the Venezuelan branch of the Iraqi Baath Party — and his Lebanese Druze origins, El Aissami seems to prefer the Islamist Shiite revolutionary Hezbollah and Iran over the Baath’s supposedly secular pan-Arabism.
Like his Islamic revolutionary role models, he used violence to advance his politics.
Opposition figures have accused both El Aissami and Nassereddine of recruiting young Arab-Venezuelan members of the ruling party to undergo paramilitary training in South Lebanon with Hezbollah.
As if this were not enough, El Aissami reportedly facilitated drug trafficking, a crime for which he is being investigated in the U.S.”
In other words, El Aissami is every boogyman and right-wing scapegoat wrapped up in one nice little package, at least based on Ottolenghi’s depiction. He’s a mish-mash of Baathism, Sunni radicalism and Shiite extremism; plus he smuggles coke.
The obvious question is whether any of this is true. For one, El Aissami is indeed one of many suspects in a US investigation into Venezuela’s narcotics trade. We could discuss the politics of this investigation until the cows come home, but what about the juicier claims? For instance, the claim that El Aissami has been accused of sending young Venezuelans to Lebanon to train with Hezbollah, and that he has colluded with “guerrilla movements”?
If we follow the hyperlinks provided by Ottolenghi, we find that these claims were sourced from the Centre for Security Policy (CSP). It sounds credible, but has been widely dismissed by journalists as basically a joke. According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, the Centre for Security Policy is “known for its accusations that a shadowy ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ has infiltrated all levels of government and warnings that ‘creeping Shariah,’ or Islamic religious law, is a threat to American democracy”.
“For the past decade, CSP’s main focus has been on demonising Islam and Muslims under the guise of national security,” the Southern Poverty Law Centre stated.
A cursory glance at the CSP’s homepage features ads for books with colourful titles like “CAIR is HAMAS”, “Civilisation Jihad”, “ObamaBomb” and “See No Sharia”. At the time of writing, some of their latest articles included one describing Islam as a “supremacist totalitarian ideology”, and another claiming Iran might already secretly have a “nuclear weapon” (which it doesn’t).
Well, that got weird fast.
So basically, Ottolenghi gets his best material from a website that is so far off the deep end, it has even been banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference.
As a side note, Donald Trump cited a report from the CSP back in 2015, when he falsely claimed one in four Muslims support violence against the US. At the time, the CSP’s claims were widely dismissed as junk.
But hey, that’s just one source – perhaps I’m not giving Ottolenghi’s narrative enough of a chance. Frustratingly though, Ottolenghi’s piece is very light on sources, and he provides no other references for his two most eyebrow raising claims.
Luckily, Ottolenghi is far from the first English language pundit to express this particular point of view on El Aissami. A few years ago, the Gatestone Institute published a piece that reads eerily similar to Ottolenghi’s more recent article. For example, the older piece details how El Aissami supposedly loved Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Ignoring the fact these two political figures espoused totally different and utterly incompatible political ideologies, the Gatestone article did a somewhat better job than Ottolenghi in terms of providing sources for their claims.
This is where things take a turn for the outright bizarre.
So, where did the Gatestone’s critical intelligence on El Aissami originate? According to the reference list they provided, the answer to that question is: Wikipedia and this obscure blog. Following the breadcrumbs, the blogger also provided a reference list for their sources. This list is extremely short for supposedly groundbreaking investigative reporting, and only features four different names: Al Arabiya, MEMRI, Jihad Watch and another blogspot blog called The Jungle Hut.
…. Okey-dokey then.
The trail runs dry over at The Jungle Hut, where there’s nothing more than a dead link and a nice photo of a waterfall. It’s not quite what I was expecting to find, so let’s look at the other two sources. Al Arabiya is Saudi Arabia’s state media outlet, though don’t let that bother you too much; they’ve actually produced some decent stuff in the past. Unfortunately, there’s no links to specific articles, so again, the trail runs dry. The same problem arises when we head to MERMI. Finally, we get to the El Dorado of anti-Islam trash: Jihad Watch, a blog created by the notorious Islamophobe Robert Spencer. For anyone who doesn’t know, Spencer is perhaps best known for co-founding two prominent anti-Muslim lobby groups, Stop Islamisation of America (SIOA) and the American Freedom Defence Initiative (AFDI). Both have been listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Spencer also garnered media attention in the wake of the 2011 Norwegian white supremacist terrorist attack carried out by Anders Behring Breivik. In his sprawling anti-Muslim manifesto, Breivik cited Spencer dozens of times.
This is where our journey down the rabbit hole ends; with an Islamophobe beloved by one of the worst white supremacist terrorists in recent years. I guess this is what I get for checking people’s sources: a browser history full of links to hate groups, anti-Islam garbage and one nice picture of a waterfall. I didn’t find much credible reporting, but I did learn that El Aissami is hated for one reason above all: he’s got a Muslim-ish sounding name.
You might think I’m being harsh on Ottolenghi.
And you’d be wrong.
Ottolenghi is a long time anti-Iran hardliner, and has authored books with names like “Under a Mushroom Cloud: Europe, Iran and the Bomb”. According to a review of this book over at The Jewish Chronicle, “Ottolenghi’s view that Iran, as an exceptional case, merits exceptional treatment, is perhaps unrealistically rigid. His argument is not helped by the absence from his text of source references by which the reader could cross-check the many, selective quotes he adduces in support of it.”
In other words, making far fetched claims based on no real evidence is something of a modus operandi for Ottolenghi.
Along with having an obvious disdain for the notion of providing sources, Ottolenghi seems like just another pundit with a bone to pick with Islam, and anyone who sounds like they might be Arab, Persian or any other ethnic group he doesn’t like. Ottolenghi’s writings seem better suited to publishers like Jihad Watch, and his presence at The Hill is surprising to say the least.
Unfortunately though, this whole saga is symptomatic of a deeper problem in the media. The fact that an article for The Hill can get away with featuring links to the Islamophobic fake news CSP is emblematic of the dismal state of international corporate media. Islamophobic rants are treated like credible political analysis, and conspiracy crackpots are put on pedestals. It’s a grim state of affairs, but the real question is: how much further will we slide?
Dutch secret services conducted an investigation into suspicions that Geert Wilders, head of the anti-Islam Party for Freedom, was strongly influenced by top Israeli military and political figures, according to reports in the Netherlands.
Wilders, the firebrand leader of the Dutch far-right Party for Freedom (PVV), was investigated by the country’s General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) between 2009 and 2010 over his “ties to Israel and their possible influence on his loyalty,” according to De Volkskrant newspaper, which conducted interviews with 37 public officials and former intelligence officers.
An investigation into an opposition leader is an exceptional case in the Netherlands, the newspaper noted, citing several former intelligence officers who said such inquiries are considered an “absolute no-go” due to political sensitivity.
Wilders was an MP at the time the AIVD probe was carried out, with his party supporting the center-right coalition government led by then Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, enabling it to remain in power.
The intelligence agency sanctioned the operation, citing concerns about “the possibility that Wilders is influenced by Israeli factors,” according to the newspaper.
Back in 2010, Wilders reportedly had close ties to influential people in Tel Aviv. At the time, he visited Major General Amos Gilad, former chief of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s intelligence division, and frequently met the Israeli ambassador in the Netherlands.
According to the De Volkskrant report, which cites sources from the Netherlands’ Jewish community, these contacts stalled as Wilders did not turn his agenda into policy.
The results of the AIVD investigation have never been disclosed. Both Gerard Bouman, who led the AIVD from 2007 to 2011, and Wilders himself declined to comment.
Wilders’ Israeli connections trace back to his youth, when he volunteered for a year at Moshav Tomer, a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, according to the Times of Israel. He also repeatedly referred to Jews as role models for Europe and urged a complete seizure of the West Bank. At one stage, his anti-Muslim slogans made him a star among Dutch Jewish constituencies and beyond.
According to a recent poll by Maurice de Hond, Wilders’ PVV would have won 33 seats in the 150-seat lower chamber of the Dutch parliament if elections had been held on November 29. In that case, Wilders would have become the Netherlands’ next prime minister as chairman of the biggest parliamentary party.
The far-right party has 15 seats in the current parliament, having gained about 10 percent of the vote at the 2012 general election. The next election is scheduled to take place in March 2017, leaving many to believe Wilders will triumph amid growing frustration with the Netherlands’ center-right coalition.
The 8-day visit by the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, which concluded on Monday, turned out to be a low-key affair. Gone are the days when high-level exchanges with Israel used to be sexy events. The novelty has worn off. There was no media hype about Rivlin’s visit. And the ‘demonetisation’ crisis alone cannot account for it.
The point is, an air of stagnation is appearing in the India-Israel relationship. Fundamentally, India has been rapidly transforming in the recent decade and its priorities have changed. Again, the regional and international environment has changed phenomenally.
The Bharatiya Janata Party used to be regarded as excessively ‘Israel-friendly’. Yet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still to pay a visit to Israel. Modi visited a few West Asian countries already but all of them belong to the so-called Muslim world – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and Iran. India’s priorities have been worked out.
Modi’s Iran visit was an eloquent statement in itself. India is undeterred by Israel’s animosities toward Iran. Curiously, while Rivlin was in India, media reports appeared that the ONGC Videsh’s protracted negotiations to strike a multi-billion dollar deal with Iran for the development of the Farzad-B gas field (with estimated reserves of 21.6 trillion cubic feet) have reached the home stretch.
Reuters reported separately that in the month of October, Iran surpassed Saudi Arabia as India’s number one supplier of crude oil – a whopping 789,000 barrels per day as against Saudi Arabia’s 697,000 bpd. India views the Chabahar project as a major geo-strategic initiative. Suffice it to say, Iran is becoming an indispensable partner and that is a geopolitical reality.
On the other hand, remittances from GCC countries to India’s budget work out to a handsome figure of $25 billion or so annually. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco recently had a rival offer to acquire Essar (which ultimately forced the Russian consortium to improve their bid and pay up $13 billion.) The Gulf region is also India’s number one export market.
In short, there is such a lot going for India in the West Asian region. The point is, what is it that Israel can offer? Drip irrigation, water management, recycling, conservation and desalination, dairy farming, polyhouse techniques, bee-keeping – these niches are surely interesting, each in its own way. But, what India desperately needs is massive investments to develop its manufacturing industry and infrastructure, which are crucial for job creation. It needs energy security. It needs to boost export earnings. What can Israel do for India? Ironically, Israel’s focus is exclusively on securing lucrative business for its companies.
Israel’s importance for India lies in defence cooperation. But here again, Israel may be incrementally losing its advantage as an interesting source of advanced military technology that was previously unavailable for India directly from the US. India is increasingly a big market for weaponry, with cut-throat competition setting in among the foreign vendors.
In political terms, too, Israel is of no relevance for India in handling the most consequential relationship in its foreign policy – namely, relations with China. As for the US-Indian relationship, it has matured to a point that India has no more need to leverage Jewish lobbyists. Arguably, Israel’s capacity to influence US policies also should not be exaggerated. Israel pulled all stops to scuttle the P5+1 and Iran negotiations but spectacularly failed to intimidate President Barack Obama.
Israel is palpably nervous about Donald Trump’s likely Middle East policies. Trump’s idea of working with Russia to resolve the Syrian conflict works against Israel’s regional agenda of fragmenting and weakening its neighbors. Continued Israeli support for the al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front in Syria will only invite Russian and Iranian retribution. Indeed, India and Israel are not on the same page in regard of the war against terrorist groups in Syria.
All in all, India-Israel relations are at a crossroads. Simply chanting old hackneyed mantras on terrorism, secularism, democracy, et al, won’t suffice. There is danger of stagnation setting in. An India-Israel reset is overdue. A relationship based on negative passions — paranoia, fear complex, insecurities, vanities and false identity — is inherently flawed and cannot have an enduring future in a rapidly changing regional and international environment, howsoever keen the two sides could be to remain relevant to each other.
An editorial in the Jerusalem Post newspaper on Rivlin’s visit calls attention to the stark realities confronting the future of India-Israel ties. No, Sir: we in India don’t have such fears over Kashmir, as you’d have over your occupied territories and illegal settlements.
True, we also have our share of ‘Rabbis’ but Indians are not addicted to Islamophobia; nor do we associate Islam with terrorism as a matter of state policy. No, India does not fancy itself as a ‘regional counterweight’ to Russia or China; we simply don’t suffer from such inferiority complex.
And, it is downright absurd to associate India’s ‘authentic national identity’ with Hindu religion. Worse still, it is an act of self-serving sophistry on the Israeli side to do so. We are an ancient civilization and not an artificial creation by western powers in this part of the world, and we do not need the crutch of religion to define our national identity. We’d prefer to be known by our IT industry and satellites and our eclectic culture.
A video has emerged showing an employee of Student Rights, a so-called ‘counter-extremism’ organisation linked to the Henry Jackson Society, shouting ‘Islamophobic’ abuse during a controversial event at University College London (UCL) on Thursday night.
Elliot Miller, national organiser for Student Rights who has previously worked with the Israeli foreign ministry, had already been captured on video shoving a member of the public. The new footage is expected to add to the pressure on Student Rights to take action.
In the clip, Miller is seen shouting “You treat them like shit! You don’t respect women, you don’t respect gays… you’re all… It’s a violent religion, a violent religion!”
The event, organized by the Friends of Israel society at UCL with support from Israel advocacy group CAMERA, saw a former Israeli army officer, Hen Mazzig, come to campus in order to speak in favour of the Israeli government’s policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
A protest organised by Palestine solidarity activists against Mazzig’s presence on campus has been widely smeared as “violent” and “aggressive” by the likes of Conservative Friends of Israel and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Miller himself claimed protesters were “aggressive and violent.”
UCL, however, in a statement published Friday, “stress[ed] that the protest was non-violent.”
The video footage of Miller and other Israel supporters, who abused the protesters as “vermin” and Nazis, will no doubt be important for the university’s inquiry into the events of Thursday evening, as well as the presence on campus of extremist pro-Israel groups and individuals.
France will build 32 new jails and one detention center to deal with overcrowding, largely fueled by mass arrests from counterterrorism operations.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls also said France would build 28 rehabilitation centers, reconstruct 12 prisons and build 16 more. The country’s prison population has soared to over 10,000 past capacity—at 140 percent overpopulation in some places—, disproportionately occupied by Muslims.
“In the 10 years to come, … you will see our prisons change,” said Valls. “You will see the carceral world evolve.”
Valls will spend about US$1.3 billion in the first phase to build nine prisons, using an elevated budget for the ministry of justice—up nine percent—allocated to counterterrorism. Once the ministry builds between 10,000 and 16,000 new cells, it will have spent up to US$3.5 billion.
Currently, prisoners sleep on floors and in cramped, rundown cells, drawing the attention of the European Union’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture to cite over a dozen institutions, including ones for “radicalized” prisoners, for the “deprivation of liberty.”
An EU report last year found, among other violations, “no complete compartmentalization of sanitary facilities, lack of heating, … mattresses on the ground, lack of privacy and risks of conflict within cells, greater shortage of access to work and activities; reduced possibilities of dialogue and care on the part of prison officers, reduced possibilities of relations (telephone, visiting room sessions) with the outside, deterioration of working conditions of staff, etc.”
While Valls said that “these conditions are not worthy for France,” he said nothing about slowing the pace of incarceration or expanding alternative forms of punishment.
A mayor of the French town of Évreux has come up with a radical suggestion to evict all the potentially dangerous individuals tracked by police out of town. The proposal comes after the official’s request to reveal the names on the watchlist had been rejected.
Guy Lefranc, the head of the town, located in Normandy, says he initially demanded information on all the people on the “Fiche S” list living in Évreux. The “Fiche S” is an indicator used by French police to mark people considered to be a threat to national security.
Lefranc contacted the local prefect, saying that the safety of the town’s residents was at stake and having such information at his disposal would help to tighten security. The mayor’s request, however, was turned down.
Shooting down mayor’s “perfectly legitimate request” led him to making his radical suggestion on the eviction of all dangerous individuals.
“I am furious,” the mayor told AFP on Thursday.
“Given that the state does not give us the means to protect the people of Evreux, I demand the state expels all those who are “Fiche S”. I feel compelled to ask for this expulsion because I am not entitled to a perfectly legitimate request to know all those who “Fiche S” are,” mayor Lefranc said.
The mayor even said that since he was deprived of this vital intelligence he could not really trust other public servants and officials.
“I ask myself a question about some of my staff, who work with the public. I don’t know if they are “Fiche S”, I don’t know if they are dangerous,” the mayor said.
Lefranc noted that due to the current state of emergency it was the prime minister’s responsibility to issue a decree giving local mayors access to “Fiche S” files.
Following the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated that there were some 20,000 people in France flagged “Fiche S.” Roughly half of them were connected to various Islamist movements.
Many, but not all of the jihadists, who have participated in numerous attacks in France had their names on the watchlist, so their potential threat was known to the intelligence services. Arrests of a “Fiche S” flagged woman allegedly planning an attack in Paris and a man allegedly connected to Brussels attacks in Belgium appear to somehow support Lefranc’s point.
The recent murder of a French priest in Normandy by two jihadists known to authorities also fertilized growing anger, fear and frustration in the French society, with some blaming security forces not taking action. Presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy said last year he would put anyone with a “Fiche S” file under house arrest and give them an electronic tag. Since then he has gone even further and proposed to simply put all suspected terrorists behind bars. Several calls for establishing a “French Guantanamo” to house all the terror suspects, however, have been shot down by the current government, since it would violate human rights.
The Kevin Barrett-Chomsky Dispute in Historical Perspective – Last part of the series titled “9/11 and the Zionist Question” – Read the twelfth part here
Amidst his litany of condemnations, Jonathan Kay reserves some of his most vicious and vitriolic attacks for Kevin Barrett. For instance Kay harshly criticizes Dr. Barrett’s published E-Mail exchange in 2008 with Prof. Chomsky. In that exchange Barrett castigates Chomsky for not going to the roots of the event that “doubled the military budget overnight, stripped Americans of their liberties and destroyed their Constitution.” The original misrepresentations of 9/11, argues Barrett, led to further “false flag attacks to trigger wars, authoritarianism and genocide.”
In Among The Truthers Kay tries to defend Chomsky against Barrett’s alleged “personal obsession” with “vilifying” the MIT academic. Kay objects particularly to Barrett’s “final salvo” in the published exchange where the Wisconsin public intellectual accuses Prof. Chomsky of having “done more to keep the 9/11 blood libel alive, and cause the murder of more than a million Muslims than any other single person.” (p. 315)
In a chapter subtitled The New Face of Anti-Semitic Conspiracism, Kay refers to Barrett as nebbish, as a “say-anything bad boy.” (p. 287) In Kay’s opinion Barrett’s adherence to the Muslim religion has helped transform him into a “militant, left-wing anti-Israeli obsessive” who has made “common cause” with his fellow “hatemongers in the Muslim Middle East.” (p. 292) As Kay sees it, Barrett’s record of research, publication and popular punditry directed at exposing the true nature of the 9/11 crimes is reprehensible because “It absolves Islam of a terrible crime.” (p. 167)
Kay should be held to account for this stunning characterization of 9/11 as a crime committed not by specific human beings but rather by a religion. The clear implication of Kay’s profanity is that 2,000,000,000 Muslims are collectively responsible for the 9/11 debacle. Me thinks Kay doth protest too much.
Putting aside for a moment, the significance of this statement as a part of the 9/11 cover up, such generalizing rhetoric is emblematic of the hate speech used to inflame the violent assaults of race wars. Kay’s blood libel comment is representative of the kind of language used to drive on genocide in, for instance, the US Indian wars or the Maori wars in New Zealand.
The Pied Piper
In the You Tube video entitled “Noam Chomsky discusses 9/11 Conspiracy Theories,” the famous professor argues that all the effort that has gone into exposing the lies and crimes of 9/11 “diverted a lot of energy from trying to stop the War on Iraq.” This single statement points to the irony of his tenure as the peace movement’s darling. Throughout the twenty-first century Chomsky retained his position at the center stage of the anti-war movement during a period of rampant and unbridled militarism.
Chomsky’s power-serving position on 9/11 discouraged progressive resistance to the ascendance of the neoconservative Right with all its covert operations, militaristic ambitions and neoliberal corporatist obsessions. During the period when he was treated like the Pope of the Left, Chomsky was instrumental in blocking the 9/11 Truth Movement from embracing its natural role near the animating heart of the anti-war movement.
Chomsky established the pattern adopted by many of his followers that the necessary critiques of war and repressions arising after 9/11 should not extend into any serious focus on the 9/11 event itself. This prohibition on drawing essential links between cause and effect has been instrumental in rendering the anti-war movement lame and bereft of significant political influence. There are obvious problems at the base of anti-war protests not rooted in sound analysis of the underlying dynamics of the conflicts at issue. Who did what to whom and why?
By keeping the window open to the possibility that the 9/11 debacle resulted from the independent actions of genuine Islamic jihadists acting alone, strategic high ground was sacrificed to the engineers of the most ambitious Black Op of all time. The harsh realities yet to be faced in our core institutions are that those who were supposed to protect us in fact facilitated many-faceted attacks against us that have dramatically undermined the quality of life for most human beings.
As long as officialdom can escape any reckoning with the pattern of violation that has rendered most of our core institutions of governance, communications, education and law enforcement as complicit partners in the 9/11 crimes, the same patterns of violation will continue. There is no decent future without assertive action by the citizenry, to hold accountable for their crimes the real culprits of 9/11 with all its related violations. This kind of understanding points to the aptness of the slogan that 9/11 Truth Ends 9/11 Wars.
Because of the aggressive interventions of Chomsky many peace activists were left ill-equipped, lacking the necessary orientation to counter effectively the neocons’ expert incitement and exploitation of public fears of radical jihadists. In the light of this experience, how are we to view the Left’s # 1 public intellectual during a period of heightened warfare and unprecedented loss of ground for the rights of workers and average citizens, but especially Muslim workers and citizens?
Drawing the Obvious Conclusions
At the Left Forum Kevin Barrett attempted to hold the Pope of the Left accountable for helping give cover to the perpetrators of the global coup d’etat that radically transformed geopolitics on September 11, 2001. As Barrett wrote on departing his family home in Lone Rock Wisconsin, “To criticize Chomsky at the Left Forum in New York is sort of like going to the Vatican to criticize the Pope. But the doctrine of Papal Infallibility does not apply to Chomsky, despite what some of his admirers seem to think. So I do not expect to be met by the left-wing version of the Spanish Inquisition.”
There was a kind of sadness that swept over Kevin Barrett near the end of his commentary on “Why Chomsky is Wrong on 9/11” at the left Forum in New York. Barrett has observed that so much of the dominant psychological operation since 9/11 has been engineered to influence people below the level of consciousness. This being the case, the impact of this contamination of the mental environment with the plague of Islamophobia cannot be addressed through rational argument alone.
Said Barrett, “No amount of conscious deliberation and argumentation is ever going to change the overall body of consciousness of the people. There’s a kind of momentum that’s been built up by inculcating people with this official picture of 9/11. It is like a boulder rolling down the mountain that crushes rational arguments as it goes.” Barrett then backtracked to reconsider in a slightly more optimistic vein. He reflected, “If the psychologically shocking truth of these events does emerge, that could actually change things….. the whole country rising up, which is what we need. That’s precisely what would have happened if, instead of giving us this line of bullshit in November of 2001, Chomsky had pushed the whole Left towards just looking at Building 7 and drawing the obvious conclusions.”
Dr. Hall is editor in chief of American Herald Tribune. He is currently Professor of Globalization Studies at University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada. He has been a teacher in the Canadian university system since 1982. Dr. Hall, has recently finished a big two-volume publishing project at McGill-Queen’s University Press entitled “The Bowl with One Spoon”.
The imam of Florence has posted a picture of habit-wearing nuns splashing along the seashore on Facebook, calling for dialogue about burqini bans… but got his account blocked instead.
The post by Izzedin Elzir got some 2,700 shares, and came in response to the French southern cities – like Cannes and Nice – prohibiting the wearing of burqinis on the beach.
The day after the imam published his post, he awoke to find his account blocked.
“It’s incomprehensible. I have to send them an ID document to reactivate it. They wanted to make sure it’s my account – it’s a very strange procedure,” the indignant imam told La Repubblica.
On Friday, his account was back in, and the imam said he hopes it wasn’t blocked because of the picture, as it urges dialogue, and “we live in a society of law and freedom.”
He also noted that the burqini had only come into fashion among Muslim women over the past few years, and he expressed regret that “some politicians in France, instead of responding to the political and economic needs of their citizens, are focusing on how Muslims dress.”
Many online commenters tended to agree with the imam, saying that “The sea is for everyone,” and describing the ban as “a psychological tool against Muslims.”
However, others disagreed, “Don’t confuse the two different situations: these are women who have CHOSEN to religious life with the rules that it imposes, the ‘others’ are FORCED to dress even on the beach,” a comment read.
It’s not the first burqini-linked scandal this week. On Thursday, Austrian politician Ahmet Demir caused uproar after publishing a photo of two nuns and joking that they were “oppressed women” in burqas. Later, he took the post down and apologized, but defended his post saying that he was attempting to convey the message that “every woman should be able to wear what they want as long as they chose the clothes themselves.”
On Tuesday, Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told Corriere Della Serra that Italy wouldn’t follow France’s suit and ban the burqini, but will step up regulations of imams and mosques.
Two days later, Italian authorities expelled the Tunisian imam Khairredine Romdhane Ben Chedli. The 35-year-old imam was lately absolved of terrorism-related charges, but still deemed unfit to remain in his post, the ANSA news agency said.
© assila_france / Instagram
The French women’s rights minister has defended the ‘burqini’ bans introduced in three French towns, saying the swimwear is “hostile to diversity.” She has previously been criticized for comparing veil-wearing Muslims to “American negroes” who supported slavery.
“The burqini is not some new line of swimwear, it is the beach version of the burqa and it has the same logic: hide women’s bodies in order to control them better,” French Minister for Women’s Rights Laurence Rossignol told French Le Parisien newspaper.
She added that burqinis represent a “deeply archaic vision of the place of women in society and, thus, the relationship between men and women.”
“There is an idea that women are … immoral and should hide their body… A hundred years passed, but [according to burqini inventors] a woman who reveals her ankles or hair is not a woman of virtue.”
According to Rossignol, the burqini topic sparked tensions because of its political dimension.
“It is not just the business of those women who wear it, because it is the symbol of a political project that is hostile to diversity and women’s emancipation,” she said.
Burqinis have recently been a hot topic in France after several towns banned the controversial swimwear worn by some Muslim women.
The first city to ban burqinis was Cannes, with Mayor David Lisnard ruling that: “Access to beaches and for swimming is banned to anyone who does not have [bathing apparel] that respects good customs and secularism.”
His moved was followed by the mayor of another French Riviera town, Villeneuve-Loubet. This time the Muslim swimwear was banned for “hygiene reasons,” according to the town’s mayor, Lionnel Luca.
A village on the French island of Corsica became the third place in France to ban burqinis after the female Muslim swimwear reportedly caused a violent brawl between locals and migrants of North African origin there.
Earlier in August, the Pennes-Mirabeau commune near Marseille canceled a controversial pool party that had been planned by a Muslim group. The organizers, the Smile 13 group, which describes itself on Facebook as a sports and social event group for women and children, said they had received death threats, with one person even claiming they received bullets in the mail.
© assila_france / Instagram
RT | August 16, 2016
The Corsican village of Sisco is the third French locality to announce a burkini ban on beaches, in the name of “gender equality,” but Muslim women who oppose such “misogynistic” measures are targeting “western feminists” for a lack of public support.
Following bans by the French Riviera towns of Cannes and Villeneuve-Loubet citing “hygienic reasons” and linking it to terrorism, Sisco’s mayor enacted the restriction after a major brawl this past weekend in his village over the controversial swimsuit.
The debate has gripped France with Islamophobes, socialists, and feminists, among others, seemingly placed on the same side on the issue.
“Since when did wearing a burkini, in most cases a loose fitting nylon version of a wetsuit, become an act of allegiance to terrorist movements?” Huda Jawad of the Independent asked.
“Do Marks & Spencer or House of Fraser know that their attempt to raise profits and exploit a gap in the over-saturated clothing market is selling and promoting allegiance to ISIS?” she added, referring to recent clothing brands selling the swimwear.
“These daily micro, and at times macro, aggressions indicate the extent to which misogynistic Islamophobia has become normalized in Western discourse and public debate,” Jawad noted. “What hurts the most is the silence of fellow mainstream and ‘western’ feminists whose voices would have a significant impact on how these issues are framed and articulated.”
In an interview with Le Parisien, Socialist Party Minister for Family, Children and Women’s Rights Laurence Rossignol, defended the ban and said the burkini’s purpose is “to hide women’s bodies in order to better control them.”
The same minister in April compared Muslim women who choose to wear the veil to “American negroes” who supported slavery.
While many white, Western feminists defend the rights of women to be free for what they wear or do to their bodies, there has been silence concerning Muslim women who are often marginalized.
On August 9, a ‘Burkini Day’ for women at a waterpark beside Marseilles was called off after organizers received death threats.
There were no protests from white feminists, nor did they don the burkini in solidarity with Muslim women who choose to wear the outfit. … Full article
The Kevin Barrett-Chomsky Dispute in Historical Perspective – Seventh part of the series titled “9/11 and the Zionist Question” – Read the sixth part here.
Understanding of the nature of the lies and crimes of 9/11 has moved quite far in the decade between the publication of Barrie Zwicker’s Towers of Deception in 2006 and Kevin Barrett’s 2016 presentation at the Left Forum. Where Zwicker emphasized Chomsky’s connection to the US deep state, Kevin Barrett views Chomsky as a Zionist with deep attachments to Israel where he lived and worked on a kibbutz in the early 1950s.
Chomsky’s relationship with Israel is outlined in flattering terms in a fluff piece in a publication entitled Tablet, a heavily pro-Zionist venue featuring other interviews with the likes of Elliot Abrams. Abrams was an influential member of the Project for the New American Century, the neocon lobby group that in 2000 notoriously signaled the forthcoming 9/11 strikes by calling for “something like a new Pearl Harbor.”
In the Tablet interview, Noam Chomsky explained the attachments and preoccupations of his Jewish orthodox parents. In his seminal years, Hebrew was the main language of the Chomsky family, a linguistic asset that the younger Chomsky would later call upon in his career as a student of linguistics.
Noam Chomsky’s father pointed his son towards the writings of Jewish philosopher Ahad Ha’am. Chomsky looked back fondly on his father’s account of Ha’am’s advocacy of “a Zionist revival in Israel, in Palestine.” The aim of this revival would be to create “a cultural center for the Jewish people.” Chomsky elaborates, explaining Ha’am’s view that “Jews as primarily a Diaspora community needed a cultural center that has a physical presence. Ha’am was said to be very sympathetic to the Palestinians.” Ha’am wanted kindly treatment of the Palestinians but he left no doubt that they should move aside to make room for what Chomsky refers to again and again as a “Jewish cultural center.”
In the Tablet article Chomsky’s orientation towards Israel is publicly portrayed as that of a loyalist calling for a kinder gentler form of Zionism. As Kevin Barrett sees it, however, Chomsky’s willingness to criticize the Israeli state, but especially its abuses and assaults directed at the Palestinian people, should not be allowed to take away from understanding that he is a committed Zionist intent on protecting and advancing Israel’s interests.
Chomsky’s position on 9/11 has been replicated throughout much of the Left where well-funded gatekeeping, sponsored by the likes of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, is indeed rife. There is a conspicuous absence of leading Jewish intellectuals that have publicly attempted to decipher what actually transpired in New York, Washington and the air lanes of the northeastern United States during the transformative day of September 11, 2001. Consider, for instance, the relationship of Miko Peled, Medea Benjamin, Michael Albert, David Corn, Amy Goodman, George Monbiot, Cy Gonick, Judy Rebick to the enterprise of exposing the lies and crimes of 9/11. Their evasiveness or outright hostility to the 9/11 skeptics is shared by many non-Jewish public intellectuals including Chris Hedges, John Pilger, and Tariq Ali.
Some, but especially Chomsky, have gone beyond maintaining a strategic silence to incite smear campaigns against those that have displayed skepticism towards the official narrative of 9/11. Chomsky sets the bar low in portraying the demeaned “truthers” as an undifferentiated collection of stupid, backward and decrepit souls. “Their lives are no good… Their lives are collapsing… They are people at a loss… Nothing makes any sense… They don’t understand what an explanation is… They think they are experts in physics and civil engineering on the basis of one hour on the Internet.”
These comments reflect the shockingly low level of Chomsky’s near hysterical effort to divert attention away from evidence of what really transpired on 9/11. This type of personalized attack, as if the 9/11 Truth Movement is collectively guilty of some sort of horrific thought crime, replicates on ideological grounds some of the worst attributes of racism and bigotry.
Unfortunately Chomsky’s interventions are fairly representative of the overall quality of many Zionist attacks on the 9/11 Truth Movement. As is especially clear in the writings of Jonathan Kay, for instance, Zionist smear tactics directed at 9/11 “truthers” extend many of the same themes of induced hatred directed at Muslims by the Zionist propagandists in charge of the Islamophobia Industry.
Chomsky’s critical orientation to the actions and power structure of the Israeli government is similar to his critical orientation to the actions and power structure of the United States. Chomsky’s bottom line, however, is his attachment to the Jewish state as the site of a Jewish cultural renaissance that he seeks to advance and protect.
Chomsky refuses to accept that US foreign policy and the foreign policies of the former dependencies of Anglo-American empire have become subordinate to the imperatives of Zionist lobbies as well as to the networks of media, banking and corporate power that serve them. These lobbies figure prominently in the formulation and execution of the Israeli government’s foreign policies. Organizations like the B’nai Brith or Abe Foxman’s thuggish Anti-Defamation League are in reality ideological and political proxy armies. Their role is to silence critics of the Israeli government, to brand as anti-semitic any efforts to identify fundamental disparities in access to power.
All these factors converge to expose Chomsky’s role in serving the dominant clique that emerged from the global coup d’état of September 11, 2001. Chomsky’s power-serving misrepresentations on this subject present an important window into the study of the relationship between 9/11 and the structuring of national and global hierarchies of power. What is the role of universities and the media in the connections linking 9/11 to the Zionist Question, a contemporary extension of what Karl Marx and others used to refer to frequently in European literature as the Jewish Question?
You will read “A Public Intellectual Outside the Protections of the Academy” in the next part.
There is a story about ISIS using some special metal instrument to clip or bite women’s breasts. In some version of the story, the women were breastfeeding in public. In other versions, it’s because of a failure to completely cover the body, I think one version is that the woman was not wearing gloves (!)
As you know, I’ve made it something of a life project to develop higher Bullshit Detection Quotient, and I immediately suspected, even assumed that the story was bullshit. In fact, I wrote a sarcastic comment (#8) after the story.
In that comment, I wondered whether anybody had a picture or drawing of this object called “the biter”, used to slice women’s tits. I forget when exactly, at most a month ago, I came across an article in the Daily Mail detailing the same story.
But this article actually contains a picture of the horrid instrument in question, the “biter”! It’s the second image on the page. Actually, let me embed it right here:
Now, in Google Chrome, you can right-click on an image and just do a google image search. Just right-click the above image and choose “Search google for image”. The top two results containing this photo are the wikipedia page for the “breast ripper”
and the next one is some page devoted to the most gruesome medieval torture instruments,
The “Breast Ripper” is number 2 actually, one above the rack!
So, this is the instrument used (currently!) by ISIS to cut up women’s titties in Mosul, Iraq, a museum piece of some instrument in Europe back in the time of the inquisition or something. Did they go off and break into some medieval torture museum in Germany to get their hands on one of these tit-slicing devices?
Even before finding this image and seeing what it was from the Google image search, I had very great doubts about the story. You see, I look at it this way. If they said that ISIS entered some town and raped every woman they came across, I could believe that pretty easily. Even then, it might not be true, but I am a man and can relate to it. A mass rape story, I don’t condone it or anything, but I understand it. This story of gouging women’s tits, just like the bayoneting Belgian babies story, has a strong feel of war propaganda about it. Like, if you think about it a bit, why would they do that? Obviously, any woman you do that to, that’s somebody’s sister or somebody’s mother, a childhood friend… any occupying army that did this would automatically be making enemies of so many people utterly gratuitously, no?
In any case, the story is obviously designed to rile people up. Like the bayoneting babies or whatever. Males are programmed to be protective of females and such a story is, of course, meant, quite crudely, to push our buttons, no?
I believe pretty strongly, at maybe the 98% level or so that you could go to Mosul, Iraq and ask as many people as you want about this “Breast Ripper” instrument and ISIS using it to tear up women’s tits, and nobody would know WTF you are talking about. This is a narrative constructed for a Western audience.
The “Breast Ripper” story is just part of a general narrative that exists to vilify Arabs and Muslims generally. What is striking about it is that, at least from the Daily Mail article, where they provide this photo, anybody can just right-click on the photo and do the Google image search and see that this is a medieval torture instrument. The people behind this wanted to include a picture, but of course there is none, because nobody is slicing women’s tits in Mosul, Iraq (almost certainly not…) and so they fished up the image of a medieval instrument that corresponds to that description, and then they say: “here’s your breast ripper device that ISIS is using…” Now, you might be inclined to think that they would never be so sloppy as to do something that is so easily exposed, but… they are!
It’s very problematic to be mirroring this kind of vile garbage. This is evil warmongering propaganda and spreading it would make one complicit morally.
Unsuspecting citizens are paying for a nexus of interlocking agencies that conspire to create terror, war, and police-state legislation in a War of Deception that serves to devastate humanity.
Without its arsenal of fabricated war pretexts, and its fabricated fear apparatus, the warmongering oligarchy would be denuded and reveal itself as the mass-murdering terrorist entity that it is.
Most recently, in Canada, Justice Catherine Bruce disclosed the true nature of an RCMP terror plot when she overturned terror convictions against two patsies – John Nuttal and Amanda Korody – who were set up by police operatives to commit a terrorist act for which they would otherwise be totally incapable of performing.
Bruce stated the obvious when she observed that,
“Simply put, the world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more out of marginalized people who have neither the capacity nor sufficient motivation to do it themselves.”
- create an atmosphere of fear (aimed at the general public as well as politicians),
- create Islamophobia
- create a false pretext for a War on Terror (translated: illegal imperial invasions using un-Islamic terrorists as proxy armies)
- create a pretext for unconstitutional, fascist, police state legislation (C-51 legislation)
Unsuspecting, otherwise peace-loving citizens, are also being duped into paying for Private Intelligence Contractors (PICS) who receive lucrative government contracts to engage in a full spectrum of activities designed to create and sustain war crimes.
The author writes in “Full Spectrum Dominance”, Private Intelligence Contractors and “Engineered Consent” that,
Science Application International Corporation (SAIC) is likely the largest (and least known) PIC, with a huge staff (about 40,000 in 2007, likely more now), and it is fully integrated into the War Machine.
Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele report in “Washington’s $ Billion Shadow”, that
‘SAIC’s friends in Washington are everywhere, and play on all sides; the connections are tightly interlocked. To cite just one example: Robert M. Gates, the new secretary of defense, whose confirmation hearings lasted all of a day, is a former member of SAIC’s board of directors …’
The U.S. government, through its incestuous relationship with SAIC, effectively created false intelligence – with impunity —as a fabricated pretext to wage the illegal war of aggression against Iraq.
Fake intelligence reports were also used to pin the East Ghouta (false flag) terror event on the Assad government, and to provoke a direct U.S/Coalition military invasion to depose Syria’s democratically-elected President.
A memo from “Veterans intelligence Professionals for Sanity” (VIPS) indicated that,
some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as ‘plausible denial.’
The CIA specializes in the commission of crimes beneath which the protective shield of “plausible deniability” can be invoked should suspicions of CIA complicity be aroused.
Professor Tim Anderson and others also demonstrate, with sustainable evidence, that the East Ghouta gas attack was false flag terrorism.
The Pentagon’s use of PICS to perpetrate war crimes is now becoming normalized. According to Kate Brannen in “Spies-for-Hire Now at War in Syria”, the Pentagon publicly disclosed the terms of a contract with a PIC called Six3 Intelligence Solutions to provide “intelligence analysis services” in a number of countries, but most notably, Syria. The public may not be aware that such an intervention in Syria is illegal, or that Six3 Intelligence Solutions has a proven track record as interrogators at the Abu Ghraib torture chambers, or that it will no doubt offer the CIA plenty of “plausible deniability” to perpetrate crimes with impunity.
Whereas the government and its agencies should be using our tax dollars to “create no harm”, and to further the cause of peace and prosperity, it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that governing agencies are creating much harm, through stealth and deception, thanks to the steady flow of tax dollars streaming into their coffers.