Here it goes again! The same old tired and predictable tune, the same recognizable chorus. Once again the world is told what to think and what to believe. The world is also given both rhythm and leitmotif, so the grotesque and crooked dance could begin.
Who could resist, really? The lyrics of the tune are recited in perfect English, and with that air of moral and cultural superiority, which is supposed to disperse all doubts.
On February 19, 2017, RT published the following:
The Telegraph, as a favored mouthpiece for British intelligence service disinformation, is a part of psychological warfare operation against Russia, said independent journalist Martin Summers. Another accusation is being thrown at Russia as a British newspaper published a story about Moscow being allegedly behind a plot to kill Montenegro’s Prime Minister last October… According to the article, Russia wanted to overthrow the country’s government to stop them joining NATO.
So now it is Montenegro. Yesterday it was Crimea, Donbas, and the US elections. Evil Russia again! Evil China, evil socialist Latin American countries, evil Syria, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, South Africa, North Korea, Philippines, evil all those who are laughing at the notion of Anglo-Saxon superiority.
This time I’m actually not intending to write some long, philosophical essay on the subject of “shamelessness of British propaganda”. I’m just taking a short break from my 10 thousand-word ‘paper’ for the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS); a paper analyzing the impact of the 1917 Soviet Revolution on the world.
I just want to state what I believe should be so obvious, but somehow isn’t, at least to billions of people all over the world: “Those British blokes running the mainstream media outlets and global propaganda network really cannot be trusted. For centuries, no other country brought more grief to the planet, destroyed more lives, ruined more nations and cultures, and stole more natural resources from the ‘natives’, than the United Kingdom.” All this was done with a straight face, all explained and justified by the most advanced propaganda apparatus on earth, all ‘morally defended’. The entire twisted concept of British-style ‘justice’ was first introduced at home, and then exported to many corners of the globe.
It went on for several long centuries, and it goes on until now: the rapists are introducing globally accepted moral codes. Mass murderers are running international courts of justice. Notorious liars and thieves are teaching the world about ‘objectivity’. Gurus of disinformation are even ‘educating’ their own children, as well as the children of elites from all parts of the world, in their ‘prestigious’ factories of indoctrination – schools and universities.
Of course there are some countries that have tried very hard to outdo the UK in terms of brutality, greed and tactics of deception. It is worth mentioning such candidates for genocidal world leadership like France, Germany, Spain and lately the United States. They really have been competing determinately and zealously, but despite all their efforts, they never truly managed to come close to the forerunner.
Please, just think about all this, if you haven’t already done it for years. Then wash your eyes thoroughly, and look anew at those tabloids and ‘serious publications’ that are printed in the UK. Look at the indoctrination television channels. If you are still able to retain at least some detachment and common sense, please compare what they are saying and writing and showing, with the reality outside your own window, wherever on this Planet you may be.
For many years I worked all over the world, on all continents, in some 160 countries. For many years, I was told stories, shown evidence, about the most monstrous and barbaric crimes that the Brits have been committing almost everywhere on this Planet.
To compile even some semi-complete list, one would need to compose at least a sizable brochure, if not an entire book. Let’s just mention a few of the most obvious horrors that ‘Great’ Britain is responsible for: Slave trade and destruction of entire huge parts of Africa with tens of millions people directly or indirectly killed. Monstrous occupation of the ‘Sub-continent’, with tens of millions of lives lost (including those in several artificially triggered famines). Ransacking of large parts of China, murdering and participating in breaking the most populous nation on earth. Brutal attacks against the young Soviet state. Horrid treatment of colonized peoples of the island nations, from Oceania (South Pacific) to the Caribbean. Gassing, bombing, literally exterminating people of the Middle East, from what is now Iraq and Kuwait, to Palestine. There were invasions of Afghanistan and the ‘reign of terror in Kabul’ in 1879. There were many other things, many nightmarish crimes, of course, but today I’m being brief…
In the “New World”, consisting of countries like the US, Canada and Australia, the most terrible massacres of the native people were committed by the first and second generation of Europeans, mainly the Brits.
Britain actually never ceased to commit crimes against humanity. Since WWII it has been tutoring the United States, strategically and ideologically, in the art of how to run the Empire and how to manufacture unanimity inside the West itself, and even among the population of the colonized nations (in the neo-colonialist context).
It has also been involved in some of the vilest acts in modern history, related to countries like Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo as well as entire areas of Asia Pacific and the African Great Lakes.
Again, that’s only a brief and incomplete summary.
Having experience with occupying huge parts of the world for centuries, knowing first-hand how to ‘pacify’ the natives, the Brits gradually developed and then passed on to the rest of the Western world their highly effective and successful indoctrination methods. These were eventually spread further – mainly among the elites of the colonized nations. As a result, fully standardized global perceptions evolved, and were implemented and upheld until this very moment. They included the general worldview, ‘principles’ and ‘moral standards’, law and justice (including such concepts as ‘human rights’), and even the set of overall values.
The English language (especially well articulated; spoken with certain recognizable and ‘acceptable’ accents) became the main linguistic tool embodying both truth and authority.
News presented in a certain ‘objective’ way and with a certain accent (or acceptable set of accents) became subconsciously, for the great majority of people, much more trustworthy than that which would be delivered by individuals whom a great Polish journalist, anthropologist and philosopher Ryszard Kapuscinski used to define as ‘the others’.
This ‘perfect’, seemingly bulletproof system produces intellectual laziness, submissiveness, even servitude. It is successfully upholding the status quo.
Lies are mounting on top of lies, and even the most obvious fabrications lately do not get challenged, except in some marginal and ‘extremist’ (defined by the Western regime) outlets.
The colonialist empire managed to survive. It is now fully in charge. It dominates the psyche of both the colonizers and the colonized. Advances that were made by liberation and independence struggles, by the anti-colonialism fighters during the post-WWII era, have been skillfully annulled. Then, it was officially declared, “colonialism is over”.
At some point, the Anglo-Saxon demagogues invented ‘political correctness’, one more highly effective tool designed to neutralize and ‘pacify’ any serious resistance. Political correctness claims that all nations and races are equal; it is even glorifying those ‘little people’ and almost all ‘cultures of the under-developed nations’, at least verbally, while in reality the Empire keeps plundering and manipulating the planet, as it has been doing for ages. In the colonies, the only individuals who are gaining are the elites; those morally corrupt rulers of the deprived and still enslaved world.
As in the past, the regime pragmatically chooses its enemies, and it then applies the most proven and spiteful tactics, launching defamation campaigns, dehumanizing citizens and leaders of adversary states, creating often phantasmagoric but highly effective conspiracy theories.
The British media, the British propagandists, in fact the entire British establishment, had reached absolute perfection in the field of mind-control and brainwashing.
How else, otherwise, would anyone in his or her sane mind trust the words of those who are responsible for tens of millions, perhaps for hundreds of millions of lost human lives in all corners of the world?
How could the primary architects of our insane global arrangement be taken seriously, unless they managed to fully indoctrinate their ‘subjects’?
Some would suggest that we are living in a world where the ‘normality’ could be found only in an insane asylum; where the only place for a decent man or a woman could be behind some barricade, or behind bars.
However, not many would have such thoughts, as even reflections are now almost fully standardized and controlled. So much glorified freedom has been reduced to just a handful of personal, very limited, often self-serving choices that one is still allowed to make while being generally fully locked within the existing system.
This British, European, in fact Western obsession with controlling, with ruling over everything in this world, has actually fully derailed natural human evolution. Instead of much higher aspirations, instead of optimistic attempts to build an egalitarian, compassionate and joyful society, our humanity is once again stuck in some master-slave morass, in something that appeared to be on its way out even during some periods of the 19th century, and definitely later, in the 20th century.
How to fight this nightmare? I wrote it many times before, and I have to repeat it again: To change things, one has to first understand reality. But it is not only about knowing the facts; it is mainly about how to analyze them, how to perceive the world and essential events.
We are being bombarded, in fact flooded with information, data and ‘facts’. What is missing is a totally new approach towards sorting and analyzing the reality within which we live.
The Empire is not withholding the facts. It is doing something much more sinister: it is depriving people of learning how to analyze them in the most logical ways.
Let us begin with absolute basics: “Mass murderer cannot be a judge”. “Indoctrinator and brainwasher cannot be a teacher”. “Those who are shackling, enslaving billions, should not be allowed to preach about freedom.”
The reality is: we have a handful of deranged, mentally disturbed nations and cultures that have been subjugating, raping and robbing entire nations and continents, still in charge of our beautiful but already terribly scarred Planet.
These morally defunct nations have no compassion left, and no real rationality. This fact they have proven again and again. One million victims, tens of millions of victims – it means nothing to them, as long as they can continue to rule. Ruined nature, disappearing islands, poisoned air, it matters nothing to them. People turning into indoctrinated, intellectually and emotionally uniformed cattle; good, who cares?
It is an extremely unsettling reality, but reality it is. The sooner we recognize it for what it is, the better.
‘Great’ Britain should sit down on its ass and cry in horror, recalling all crimes it has been committing, imagining the concentration camps it built in Africa and elsewhere, recalling the famines it triggered in India and elsewhere, remembering all those innocent people it murdered on each and every continent. It should be howling from shame, because of the nihilism it has been spreading, while ruining enthusiasm, beautiful dreams and hopes of our human kind.
It should stop and weep in horror, picturing instructions it provided to countries like South Africa, the United States or Rwanda – instructions that brought terrible bloodbaths, instead of harmony and progress to our world.
Why all this terror? Just so the UK and its cohorts could continue to rule! It is not about greed only, or natural resources, it is about control.
I don’t want their analyses, anymore. I don’t want their news, their films, their books, and their propaganda materials. Even in the dark solitude of some cave, one could understand the world much better than when reading their disinformation sheets, or when watching their indoctrination channels. All this is just designed to confuse people, to make them passive and submissive. Their announcers as well as their writers are like some sad lobotomized robots: there is no life, nothing new, nothing daring or revolutionary in their words. They function, somehow: they move, they eat, shit, repeat what they are expected to say, but they are not alive.
They only smear, but don’t inspire. If there is any optimism, it is always false, pre-approved, and mass-produced.
If you think about it, it all actually makes sense: A torturer cannot be a visionary, or an idealist.
Compared to China or Iran, the UK is a relatively young culture. But it feels old, tired, spent, and obsolete. Too many crimes and too many lies can exhaust and depress even a young person.
Were England a person, operating in a normal society, it would be either in prison or in a mental institution. The same could be said about the rest of the West.
We have nothing to learn from some murderous maniac, do we? The only concern should be: how to put a straightjacket on such an individual, how to prevent him from killing and harming others, and how to do it as quickly as possible.
I also highly doubt that with such a background and monstrous track record, our dangerous maniac should be allowed to interpret the world publicly, to teach people, and to even participate in the discussions touching the most essential issues facing our planet!
Relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian shot dead by counter-terrorism police in 2005, say the appointment of Cressida Dick as chief of the Metropolitan Police is ‘offensive,’ as she was responsible for the botched operation.
De Menezes was shot in the head 11 times on a train at Stockwell Underground Station, south London, after being mistaken for a terrorism suspect.
His bereaved family say Dick’s appointment proves that “police officers can act with impunity.”
Dick was appointed chief of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on Wednesday, making her the first woman in history to head the UK’s largest police force in its 188-year history.
Although many hailed Dick’s appointment, the de Menezes family hit out at the decision, saying they had “serious concerns” for London’s security under her leadership.
“We had to face a tragedy that no family should ever have to experience; the tragic death of a loved one at the hands of those we entrusted to serve us and protect us,” the family said in a statement.
“At the helm of the police on that fateful day when Jean was killed was Cressida Dick.
“The message of today’s appointment is that police officers can act with impunity.”
The family also pointed out the seriousness of the role.
“The commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is the most senior police officer in the country, a post that is expected to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, to command public confidence and be responsible for ensuring that the police act lawfully and are held to account.”
De Menezes, who worked as an electrician, was killed in 2005 at Stockwell tube station while on his way to work after police reportedly mistook his actions for those of terrorist suspect Hussain Ossman.
De Menezes, was seen entering the station, but then doubled back, one of the acts deemed suspicious by police. However, it was later revealed the station was in fact closed.
Dick said in 2007: “From the behaviors described to me – nervousness, agitation, sending text messages, [using] the telephone, getting on and off the bus – it all added to the picture of someone potentially intent on causing an explosion.”
Despite ordering officers to stop de Menezes, she claims she never ordered that they open fire on him.
While the Met was found guilty of failings when the incident was taken to trial, Dick was spared any personal blame.
The family wrote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday, warning him Dick would not “command public confidence” if she was given the job.
But Khan, a former human rights lawyer, was among those backing Dick’s candidacy, hailing her appointment as “historic.”
“This is a historic day for London and a proud day for me as mayor … it was absolutely essential that we found the best possible person to take the Met forward over the coming years and I am confident that we have succeeded.”
Prime Minister Theresa May also welcomed Dick’s appointment, saying she has an“outstanding record of public service.”
“[Dick’s skills and insight] will be crucial in shaping the Met as the job of police reform continues, coordinating the national response to the ongoing threat of terrorism and serious criminality as well as keeping Londoners safe,” May said.
The Tel Aviv regime has prevented five European parliamentarians from entering the Gaza Strip as the Palestinian enclave remains under an inhumane Israeli siege.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Neoklis Sylikiotis, a Cypriot Member of the European Parliament (MEP), denounced the Israeli obstruction of the lawmakers’ access to the Palestinian coastal sliver.
“The refusal of access to Gaza by the Israeli authorities to the European Parliament on arbitrary grounds is unacceptable,” the statement read.
However, Israel claimed that the MEPs were not among those allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.
Similar European delegations have been barred from Gaza since 2011 though a team led by the head of the European Parliament’s budget committee was allowed to visit once, the statement added.
“What is there to hide from us?” it further asked, condemning Israel’s “systematic” entry bans to Gaza.
It also called on the international community to pressure the Tel Aviv regime to lift the Gaza blockade that has been in place Since June 2007 and affected almost all the two million inhabitants of the enclave.
The World Bank and the United Nations say the Gaza siege has killed all exports and damaged the Palestinian territory’s economy.
Tel Aviv has waged three wars on Gaza since 2008, including the 2014 offensive that left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.
Israel’s demolition plan ‘unacceptable’
Separately on Wednesday, Robert Piper, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, visited the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank and voiced alarm over an Israeli plan to demolish structures there.
On Sunday, Israeli forces distributed demolition orders to 40 structures, including tents, huts and a school in the village.
According to Palestinian media outlets, Khan al-Ahmar residents were given until Thursday to vacate the village.
“Khan al-Ahmar is one of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank struggling to maintain a minimum standard of living in the face of intense pressure from the Israeli authorities to move,” Piper said in a statement. “This is unacceptable and it must stop.”
International bodies and rights groups say Israel’s sustained demolitions of Palestinian homes are aimed at uprooting Palestinians from their native territories, and expropriating more land for the expansion of settlements.
Tel Aviv is has accelerated its land grab and settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian lands after pro-Israel US President Donald Trump took office.
Israeli forces have demolished over 48,000 Palestinian homes and buildings since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
The film, “Istiyad Ashbah” (Ghost Hunting), was produced by Palestinian filmmaker Raed Andoni.
It was one of 18 finalists competing for the top honor at the Berlinale film festival this year. The ‘Golden Bear’ award was won by Hungarian filmmaker Ildiko Enyedi for the film “Testrol es lelekrol” (On Body and Soul).
Andoni’s film “Ghost Hunting” involves a powerful re-enactment of interrogation rooms and prison facilities in the infamous ‘Russian Compound’ prison run by Israel.
According to journalist Rene Windangel, who spoke with Andoni about the creation of the film, the director began by confronting his own ghosts, having been imprisoned during the first intifada in the late 1980s. He then “turned to newspaper ads as he set out to find a group of former inmates able to work as set designers and craftsmen in recreating a prison on the film set. He also sought out ex-detainees willing to play the roles of prison wardens and prisoners. And so this group of people, who had themselves experienced imprisonment, began to meticulously build their own prison.”
German commentator Rene Windangel wrote in the paper ‘Qantara’, in a review of the film, “By giving the actors and crew room to express themselves, Andoni’s film manages to avoid cliches. In no way is the film limited to the observation of suffering or the re-enactment of victimisation. Raed Andoni’s film functions as both trauma therapy and as an opportunity to discuss the political problem of prisoners. First and foremost, though, the film works as an impressive piece of cinematography dealing with the basic questions of the human condition.”
Currently there are around 7000 Palestinian men and women imprisoned by Israel. Over 750,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned since 1967 and the start of the Israeli occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Most were sentenced by military courts, while others were held without any charges in so-called “administrative detention”. There are practically no Palestinian families that have been spared the experience of prison.
The BBC appear enraptured by the apparent death of Ronald Fiddler in Mosul fighting for Islamic State forces. Fiddler was a former inmate of Guantanamo Bay, so this “vindicates” the War on Terror. The BBC are leading every news bulletin and giving us full spectrum security services propaganda. We have MI6 mouthpiece Frank Gardner, the discredited neo-con chancers of the Quilliam Foundation and the far right professional supporter of military attacks on the Middle East, Afzal Ashraf, all giving us their views every half hour on the BBC.
It has never been disputed that Ronald Fiddler was tortured in Guantanamo, which is partly why he was paid substantial compensation by the British government. It does not seem to have occurred to the BBC as worth any consideration that the fact Fiddler emerged from Guantanamo and apparently became a supporter of violent Islam, does not in any sense prove that he was a violent islamist before being tortured in Guantanamo. Yet that Guantanamo was the cause of his extreme alienation is on the surface highly probable.
The BBC did not interview Moazzam Begg or Clive Stafford Smith or anybody who might have something thoughtful to say on the subject. Instead they went solely for self-reinforcing voices of the right wing establishment, the most pro-invading the Middle East voices that could possibly be found.
750,000 civilians face the assault on Mosul in the next few days. The rebel forces being attacked have precisely the same religion, precisely the same philosophy, and in a significant number of cases belong to precisely the same organisations as the rebels who were driven out of Aleppo by Assad forces and the Russians. Yet the assault on Mosul is apparently a wonderful thing, to be cheered on by the propaganda of embedded journalists, while the precisely analogous assault on Aleppo was an appalling and irresponsible massacre. It must be very strange to stretch your conscience to work in the BBC; a peculiar and remarkable kind of talent.
The torture that detained Catholics in Northern Ireland allegedly endured at the hands of the British was on the scale of a “war crime” a Belfast Court has heard.
The case revolves around 14 men who were kidnapped by security forces in 1971 and subjected to so-called deep interrogation.
This included the “Five Techniques” that were to become standard practice for ‘War on Terror’-era interrogators.
The five methods were hooding, stress positions enforced through beating, sleep deprivation, food and water deprivation, and exposure to loud noise like radio static.
Legal action is being pursued in order to force a full inquiry into the allegations.
“It’s difficult to see how torture in the context one is talking about, people detained by the State in the circumstances they were, is any less serious than torture inflicted in a wartime situation,” the barrister representing some of the surviving victims told the court.
“Where one is looking at allegations of torture, which is an issue in this case, one is at the level of a war crime,” they said.
The internment was part of a mass arrest and detonation initiative conducted by the British Army dubbed Operation Demetrius.
Some of the victims were hooded, beaten, and even thrown out of an airborne helicopter, which, unbeknownst to the hooded men, was hovering only a short distance above the ground.
In 1976, the case went to the European Commission of Human Rights, which ruled that the British Army’s actions plainly constituted torture.
In 1978, however, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided that, although the treatment was degrading and inhumane, it could not be classified as torture.
It was later revealed that the UK had withheld information from the court, including the authorization of torture by the highest levels of government.
Government sometimes seems the employer of last resort
We live in a political environment where nothing is any longer real. Allegedly apolitical Amnesty International issues a 48 page report stating that 13,000 political prisoners have been hanged in Syrian government prisons “a crime against humanity” and then it is revealed that the document was fabricated in London based on unconfirmed rebel sources and that its graphics were computer generated simulations. The mainstream media is uncritically promoting the allegations and the author of the report has been marketing the claims as if they are factual while beating the drum for military intervention and regime change in Syria.
The American government similarly should be regarded as a terra incognita if one is in search of the truth. If there is one thing I learned from more than twenty years of moving in and around the vast federal bureaucracy it is that one should never believe anything appearing in the media regarding elected officials or senior managers. If one were to accept uncritically everything being said about people at or aspiring to be at the top of the government one would have to believe that our country is led either by geniuses or idiots depending on your political point of view. Washington is either completely bad or completely good depending on one’s perspective and you should always triple check the sources.
In reality, even Vice Presidents and Secretaries of Defense brush their teeth every morning just like everyone else and they are commonly no more or less ethical or intelligent than most people in the general run of the population. To be sure, we have had our share of completely incompetent and politically corrupted senior staff under President Barack Obama, to include Eric Holder, Ash Carter, Loretta Lynch, Samantha Power, Arne Duncan and Susan Rice while the list of President George W. Bush and Bill Clinton appointees is so dreadful that it is best not to even try to recall who did what and to whom, though I do feel compelled to drop two names – Sandy Berger, best known for stuffing national archive documents down his trousers and Madeleine Albright who thought killing 500,000 Iraqi children through sanctions was “worth it.”
And if any readers out there are concerned lest the high-minded patriots that make up successive cabinets have been in some way held accountable for the damage they did to the country I am pleased to report that not one of them has suffered in any way. Those who are still alive all occupy well remunerated sinecures and pop up occasionally at presidential libraries where they can share their days of glory with the slick willies who hired them in the first place.
That all means that Donald Trump is not exactly unique in his attempt to satisfy all the GOP and national constituencies who are seeking to be validated by having “one of theirs” in a prominent position. We are now entering into the final stages of the transition process to name the last few political appointees who will take senior positions in the new Administration. A number of layabouts and scallywags have surfaced during the process and some have even made it to the top levels. That those like John Bolton did not make the final cut, apparently due to his moustache and the principled opposition to his candidacy mounted by Senator Rand Paul, has the entire world breathing a sigh of relief. Others, to include Michael Flynn the National Security Advisor and Nikki Haley as U.N. Ambassador unfortunately did manage to squeak through and will presumably be well placed to wreak havoc over the next four years.
But truly the most ghastly candidate who almost made it through the screening process , in this case to become number two at the Department of State, had to be Elliot Abrams. Abrams had the support of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Principal Adviser Jared Kushner. Abrams was reportedly nixed by Trump himself due to his sharp criticism of the GOP candidate during the campaign against Hillary Clinton.
The American people and the rest of the world really dodged a bullet when Abrams was denied as he was the neoconservative candidate par excellence and might be regarded as the potential enabler of a neocon reentry into government. Predictably his buddies rallied around to praise him in defeat, with CNN quoting an unnamed “Republican source” who mourned “This is a loss for the State Department and the country and, for that matter, for the President.” Another said Abrams did not get the position because of “Donald Trump’s thin skin and nothing else,” which is manifestly a ridiculous comment as Rand Paul was clearly sending a signal that he would also work hard to block the appointment. Tillerson, however, reportedly pushed for Abrams “because he felt he needed his foreign policy experience…” Excuse me?
Abrams’ “foreign policy experience” is largely negative and some would even suggest criminal. He was an odd choice in any event, only explicable due to his still powerful neocon network pushing him forward. He had written an opinion piece in May in The Weekly Standard entitled “When You Can’t Stand Your Candidate” after Trump had obtained enough support to become the Republican nominee. The first line of the Abrams article reads “The party has nominated someone who cannot win and should not be president of the United States” in part because of his “complete ignorance of foreign policy” and it goes on to question Trump’s “character and fitness to be commander in chief.” He advocated purging the GOP of Trump supporters after the expected victory of Hillary Clinton. And this man actually expected to be appointed to high office by Donald Trump?
Abrams is a close associate of leading neocons Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan. He was a founding co-signer of their Project for a New American Century, led the charge to invade Iraq after calling for “regime change,” and has endorsed military interventions in Libya and Syria as well as Iran. He withheld information from Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal, was convicted, and later pardoned by George H. W. Bush.
Elliot Abrams has received considerable media coverage since his name surfaced as possible Deputy Secretary of State but none of it has focused on his close attachment to the state of Israel and his belief that Jews should not marry non-Jews. He is a regular speaker on the so-called “synagogue speaker circuit” and is cited frequently in the Jewish media both in the U.S. and in Israel. He called Chuck Hagel an “anti-Semite” when Hagel was up for confirmation as defense secretary because Hagel had been mildly critical of Israel and the Israeli Lobby while a Senator.
Abrams was and presumably still is opposed to U.S. pressuring the Netanyahu government to bring about a peace settlement with the Palestinians, telling Bill Kristol in an interview that “… tension… is growing between the U.S. and Israel over this. Because we are constantly asking in my view for Israeli concessions, to kind of oil this mechanism of peace. And the Israelis are getting tired of it. And they think, you know, this is not the way an ally should act.” His sagacious view is a clear misrepresentation of the actual facts to ignore real American interests and favor the Israeli point of view. It should have been a disqualifier for a senior post at State but for the established fact that only Israel Firsters need apply for any positions at Foggy Bottom that deal with the Middle East.
The other uninspiring appointee that unfortunately made it through the vetting process is Gina Haspel, who was named as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on February 2nd. She was reportedly involved in the rendition and torture programs ca. 2003-4 and actually was senior officer in charge of one of the overseas prisons located in Thailand, which was the epicenter of the “enhanced interrogation” program and the site where al-Qaeda prisoner Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times, “tortured so brutally that at one point he appeared to be dead.” In 2005 she also ordered the destruction of the video tapes made of the interrogations to avoid providing evidence to any congressional inquiry into what had gone on.
The appointment of Haspel is a sign that torturing people can be career enhancing if one works for the United States government. Her promotion was endorsed by the usual suspects including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who has recently advocated assassinating Iranians and Russians to send a message that the United States is “serious.”
If one needs more evidence that many in the United States government at senior levels should be locked away somewhere to protect the rest of the world I would point both to Haspel and also to last week’s reaction to what was an eminently sensible comment by Donald Trump. Trump was asked by interviewer Bill O’Reilly why he respected a “killer” like Vladimir Putin and responded “You got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?” He added that Putin “is a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not.”
For drawing what was described as a “moral equivalency” between Russia and the U.S., Trump was blasted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, a gaggle of Republican senators led by the lugubrious Mitch McConnell, sundry Democrats and late night television hosts. Yet Trump was, if anything, too nice. The United States has unleashed far more havoc on the world than Putin and yet it persists in describing itself as the “Leader of the Free World” and the planet’s greatest democracy. Abrams is intent on regime changing most of the Arab world to benefit Israel while Haspel does torture. Both are described as respected members of the foreign policy establishment and are lauded by the media and political chattering class for their service to their country.
Go figure. That people as morally repugnant as Haspel and Abrams should be considered for high level office in Washington is a travesty. All of the flag waving and boasting of American exceptionalism is a joke as the civilian death toll from drone and shadow warriors continues to mount in places like Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen. Yes, it is indisputably far “better to get along with Putin” and with everyone else, but that appears to be something that many people in Washington find hard to accept.
At least two Palestinians have sustained injuries when a young Israeli man carried out a stabbing attack in southern Israeli-occupied territories amid violent attacks by Israeli military forces against Palestinian protesters.
Israeli police spokeswoman, Luba al-Samri, said in a written Arabic statement that the assailant, thought to be in his twenties, was detained after committing the attack in the city of Beersheba, located 115 kilometers southeast of Tel Aviv, early on Sunday.
The two injured men were transported to a hospital in the area.
Samri identified the unnamed attacker as a local resident of Beersheba, adding that initial investigations point to a “criminal” motive behind the incident.
30 Israeli settlers break into al-Aqsa Mosque
Meanwhile, more than two dozen Israeli settlers have once again stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.
Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 30 settlers, escorted by several groups of Israeli troops and led by a number of guides and rabbis, entered the site through the Bab al-Maghariba on Sunday morning.
The settlers reportedly staged lengthy stopovers in various parts of the al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard during the incursion.
Israeli soldiers were heavily present at the entrance gates to the mosque and thoroughly checked the identity cards of arriving worshipers.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed tensions ever since Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.
Nearly 280 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of October that year.
NEGEV – In the latest instance of Israel’s demolition campaign in the Negev region of southern Israel, homes were demolished in two unrecognized Bedouin villages on Wednesday, while Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran.
Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police, demolished a house in the village of Wadi al-Naam in the western part of the Negev in southern Israel.
Locals told Ma’an that the demolished house was owned by an elderly woman and her daughter. A member of the local committee, Yousif Ziyadin, said that an emergency session would be held to discuss the Israeli demolition.
A relative of the elderly homeowner, Ahmad Zanoun, told Ma’an that 100-year-old Ghaytha Zanoun and her 60-year-old daughter Hilala were living in the house, both of whom suffer from various health issues.
Zanoun said that both Ghaytha and Hilala were unable to walk, and noted that the family had renovated the home in accordance with their doctor’s suggestions due to their health conditions.
He added that Ghaytha and her daughter now were homeless following the demolition.
The Wadi al-Naam village was established in the 1950s soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that established the state of Israel. Military officials forcibly transferred the Negev Bedouins to the site during the 17-year period when Palestinians inside Israel were governed under Israeli military law, which ended shortly before Israel’s military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.
In July, the Israeli government approved plans to build townships for Israel’s Bedouin community. The planned township is expected to be built just south of Shaqib al-Salam, another Bedouin township, and would transfer at least 7,000 Bedouins from the unrecognized village of Wadi al-Naam, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported last year.
The approved village would comprise of an area of approximately 9,000 dunams (2,224 acres), while providing housing to some 9,000 residents, The Times of Israel also reported.
The proposal to expand the area of Shaqib al-Salam was challenged in Israel’s Supreme Court in 2015, as the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), who assisted in the court proceedings, argued that any expansion of the town would be followed by the forcible removal of Bedouins from unrecognized villages, particularly from Wadi al-Naam.
Yaron Kelner, spokesperson for ACRI, confirmed to Ma’an on Wednesday that residents of Wadi al-Naam have continued to refuse the relocation deal.
Meanwhile, Israeli bulldozers also demolished a mobile home in the unrecognized village of al-Zarnouq in the Negev. However, no other details were provided about the demolition.
The Israeli government has plans to evacuate thousands of residents from al-Zarnouq to the recognized village of Rahat in order to build over the land for new housing for non-Bedouin Israeli citizens.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli government approved in 2011 plans to transfer tens of thousands of Bedouins in unrecognized villages, including al-Zarnouq, into officially recognized settlements.
The ongoing attempts at transferring the Bedouins originated from the Prawer Report, a document outlining expulsion plans for the unrecognized Bedouin community. It was officially adopted by the Israeli government in 2013.
According to Israeli human rights group Adalah, the plan would “result in the destruction of 35 ‘unrecognized’ Arab Bedouin villages, the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, and the dispossession of their historical lands in the Negev.”
In another incident in the Negev on Wednesday, the Yoav unit of the Israeli police surrounded the village of Umm al-Hiran. According to locals, residents have expressed fear that their presence could signal another demolition, the last of which erupted into deadly violence when Israeli police raided the village prior to demolishing homes. A local Bedouin teacher and an Israeli police officer were killed at the time.
Meanwhile, the Bedouin village of al-Araqib was demolished for the 109th time on Wednesday.
Bedouin communities in the Negev have been the target of a heightened demolition campaign in recent weeks, following Israeli leaders publicly expressing their commitment to demolish Palestinian structures lacking difficult to obtain Israeli-issued building permits across Israel and occupied East Jerusalem in response to the Israeli-court sanctioned evacuation of the illegal Amona settler outpost.
In December, Netanyahu released a video to address settlers of the Amona outpost, assuring them that he would commit to “enforcing laws” on “illegal construction” in Israel, referring primarily to Palestinian communities that are often forced to build without Israeli-issued building permits, due to what rights groups have attributed to discriminatory zoning policies in Israel which have excluded many Palestinian-Israeli communities from being included in the regional and municipal development plans.
According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages.
Rights groups have claimed that the demolitions in Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.
Reprieve | February 5, 2017
UK authorities trained Bahrain’s police how to gather intelligence on protestors, and then tried to cover up the scheme, international human rights group Reprieve has found. The project took place after protestors in the Gulf kingdom were rounded up and sentenced to death.
Britain’s Foreign Office paid for half a dozen Bahraini police officers to visit Belfast in August 2015, where the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) shared its expertise on gathering intelligence ahead of demonstrations.
Protestors in Bahrain, such as Mohammed Ramadan, have been targeted by police and tortured into falsely confessing to capital crimes. Mr Ramadan, a father of three young children, is now on death row and could be executed at any time.
The training, which also included sessions on water cannons, dog handling and public order tactics, was kept secret. The UK government has repeatedly denied providing public order training to Bahrain.
The Cabinet Office claimed that “The UK does not fund any programmes in Bahrain focused on public order”. However, documents obtained by Reprieve show that Bahrain’s police received an “Introduction to Combined Operational Training with a focus on Public Order.”
The training was prepared by Northern Irish police officers during a week-long “scoping visit” to Bahrain over April-May 2015, where they assessed Bahrain’s public order systems. The Stormont-owned company NI-CO played a key role in organising all the training.
It has also emerged that Bahrain’s Chief of Police and his deputies visited Belfast in June 2014. The itinerary included another session with the PSNI on “Community Intelligence”. The police chief attended a “demonstration of PSNI Public Order systems” and received a “Tour of North and West Belfast ‘Flashpoints’ with 2 or 3 PSNI Armoured Vehicles”.
Bahrain’s Chief of Police had to postpone a visit to Belfast earlier in 2014 because there was a “security emergency in Bahrain at the moment and it is felt that the Chief of Police and other senior officers cannot leave the country at this critical time.” This was a month after death-row prisoner Mohammed Ramadan was tortured. “The situation on the ground is becoming increasingly tense”, an email explained.
Bahrain’s Chief of Police has command level responsibility for violations carried out by lower ranking officers. Months after the police chief visited Belfast for training, teenager Ali al-Singace was arrested and tortured by Bahrain’s police with electric shocks, until he made a false confession to a capital crime. He was executed by firing squad in January 2017.
Commenting, Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said:
“It is outrageous that the government has covered up this project, which risks supporting the execution of protesters in Bahrain.
“Bahrain is notorious for arresting, torturing and sentencing to death people involved in protests – such as Mohammed Ramadan, a father of three who is held on death row and faces execution at any moment.
“By training Bahrain’s police how to gather intelligence on protesters, there is a serious risk that Britain is helping them arrest and execute people who are guilty of nothing more than calling for reform. It is scandalous that the Government has sought to sweep this under the carpet.”
Hundreds of Belgian Artists and Academics Urge Government to End Participation in EU Project Cooperating with Israeli National Police
In Belgium, 482 professors and researchers, and more than 190 artists, have written an open letter calling on their authorities to withdraw from participating in a European Union funded research project called LAW TRAIN, in which Belgium and Spain cooperate with the Israeli National Police.
The project, aimed at developing joint interrogation methods, is coordinated by an Israeli university with particularly deep ties to Israel’s army and notorious security services. The signatories of this open letter highlight that Israeli methods are tested on Palestinians. Israel’s illegal detention of Palestinian political prisoners, and the systematic abuse and torture perpetrated by Israeli security forces during interrogations, is well documented. And, in 2016 alone, Israelis interrogated at least 7,000 Palestinians, including over 400 children.
This open letter is part of broader efforts by the Belgian Coalition To Stop Law Train, and broader European-wide efforts against the participation of the Israeli military, homeland security and police sector in research and development funded by the European Union. Other forms of mobilizing have included direct actions, conferences, and lobbying.
Imprisoned Palestinian journalist and former long-term hunger striker Mohammed al-Qeeq will be brought before the Ofer military court today, 26 January, and may be ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial. Fayha Shalash, fellow journalist and al-Qeeq’s wife, said that the Israeli military court ordered his arrest extended for 72 hours on Monday, 23 January.
Shalash said to Wattan TV that occupation authorities have not garnered any confessions or charges against al-Qeeq since they seized him on 15 January as he returned from a protest in Bethlehem demanding the release of the detained bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. She emphasized that he will begin a hunger strike if he is ordered again to administrative detention.
Shalash herself was ordered to interrogation by Israeli intelligence on Wednesday, 25 January after al-Qeeq’s family home in al-Khalil and their apartment in Ramallah were raided by occupation forces in pre-dawn attacks ransacking the home and subjecting Shalash to a strip search. Al-Qeeq was transferred yesterday to the Petah Tikva interrogation center.
Al-Qeeq previously engaged in a 94-day hunger strike against his imprisonment without charge or trial, winning his release in May 2016 and drawing international attention to the persecution of Palestinian journalists and the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial under administrative detention.