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Zionism’s Violent Legacy

By Donald Neff | INSTITUTE FOR HISTORICAL REVIEW

On January 4, 1948, Jewish terrorists drove a truck loaded with explosives into the center of the all Arab city of Jaffa and detonated it, killing 26 and wounding around 100 Palestinian men, women and children.[1] The attack was the work of the Irgun Zvai Leumi – the “National Military Organization,” also known by the Hebrew letters Etzel – the largest Jewish terrorist group in Palestine. The Irgun was headed by Revisionist Zionist Menachem Begin and had been killing and maiming Arabs, Britons and even Jews for the previous ten years in its efforts to establish a Jewish state.

This terror campaign meant that at the core of Revisionist Zionism there existed a philosophical embrace of violence. It was this legacy of violence that contributed to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995.

The Irgun was not the only Jewish terrorist group but it was the most active in causing indiscriminate terror in pre-Israel Palestine. Up to the time of the Jaffa attack, its most spectacular feat had been the July 22, 1946, blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, with the killing of 91 people – 41 Arabs, 28 Britons and 17 Jews.[2]

The other major Jewish terrorist group operating in Palestine in the 1940s was the Lohamei Herut Israel – “Fighters for the Freedom of Israel,” Lehi in the Hebrew acronym – also known as the Stern Gang after its fanatical founder Avraham Stern. Two of its more spectacular outrages included the assassination of British Colonial Secretary Lord Moyne in Cairo on November 6, 1944, and the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden in Jerusalem on September 17, 1948.[3]

Both groups collaborated in the massacre at Deir Yassin, in which some 254 Palestinian men, women and children were slain on April 9, 1948. Palestinian survivors were driven like ancient slaves through the streets of Jerusalem by the celebrating terrorists.[4]

Yitzhak Shamir was one of the three leaders of Lehi who made the decision to assassinate Moyne and Bernadotte. Both he and Begin later became prime ministers and ruled Israel for a total of 13 years between 1977 and 1992. They were both leaders of Revisionist Zionism, that messianic group of ultranationalists founded by Vladimir Zeev Jabotinsky in the 1920s. He prophesied that it would take an “iron wall of Jewish bayonets” to gain a homeland among the Arabs in Palestine.[5] His followers took his slogan literally.

Begin and the Revisionists were heartily hated by the mainline Zionists led by David Ben-Gurion. He routinely referred to Begin as a Nazi and compared him to Hitler. In a famous letter to The New York Times in 1948, Albert Einstein called the Irgun “a terrorist, rightwing, chauvinist organization” that stood for “ultranationalism, religious mysticism and racial superiority.”[6] He opposed Begin’s visit to the United States in 1949 because Begin and his movement amounted to “a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a ‘leader state’ is the goal,” adding:

The IZL [Irgun] and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window smashing, and widespread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.

Ben-Gurion considered the Revisionists so threatening that shortly after he proclaimed establishment of Israel on May 14, 1948, he demanded that the Jewish terrorist organizations disband. In defiance, Begin sought to import a huge shipment of weapons aboard a ship named Altalena, Jabotinsky’s nom de plume.[7]

The ship was a war surplus US tank landing craft and had been donated to the Irgun by Hillel Kook’s Hebrew Committee for National Liberation, an American organization made up of Jewish-American supporters of the Irgun.[8] Even in those days it was Jewish Americans who were the main source of funds for Zionism. While few of them emigrated to Israel, Jewish Americans were generous in financing the Zionist enterprise. As in Israel, they were split between mainstream Zionism and Revisionism. One of the best known Revisionists was Ben Hecht, the American newsman and playwright. After one of the Irgun’s terrorist acts, he wrote:[9]

The Jews of America are for you. You are their champions … Every time you blow up a British arsenal, or wreck a British jail, or send a British railroad train sky high, or rob a British bank, or let go with your guns and bombs at British betrayers and invaders of your homeland, the Jews of America make a little holiday in their hearts.

The Altalena was loaded with $5 million worth of arms, including 5,000 British Lee Enfield rifles, more than three million rounds of ammunition, 250 Bren guns, 250 Sten guns, 150 German Spandau machine guns, 50 mortars and 5,000 shells as well as 940 Jewish volunteers. Ben-Gurion reacted with fury, ordering the ship sunk in Tel Aviv harbor. Shell fire by the new nation’s armed forces set the Altalena afire, killing 14 Jews and wounding 69. Two regular army men were killed and six wounded during the fighting.[10] Begin had been aboard but escaped injury. Later that night he railed against Ben-Gurion as “a crazy dictator” and the cabinet as “a government of criminal tyrants, traitors and fratricides.”[11]

Ben-Gurion’s deputy commander in the Altalena affair was Yitzhak Rabin, the same man who as prime minister was assassinated by one of the spiritual heirs of Menachem Begin’s Irgun terrorist group. All his life, and especially in his last years, Rabin had opposed Jewish-Americans and their radical allies in Israel who continued to embrace the philosophy of the Irgun and who fought against the peace process, thereby earning their enduring hatred.

Thus at the heart of the Jewish state there has been a long and violent struggle between mainline Zionists and Revisionists that continues today. Despite cries after Rabin’s assassination that it was unknown for Jew to kill Jew, intramural hatred and occasional violence have marked relations between Zionism’s competing groups.

The core of that conflict, one that continues to divide Israel and its American supporters as well, lies in the different philosophies of David Ben-Gurion and Vladimir Jabotinsky. Both were from Eastern Europe, born in the 1880s, and both sought an exclusivist Jewish state. But while Ben-Gurion was pragmatic and secular, Jabotinsky was impatient and messianic, a leader who glorified in the heroic trappings of fascism. Ben-Gurion was usually willing to take less now to get more later, and thus he was content to accept partition of Palestine as a necessary stepping stone toward a larger Jewish state. Jabotinsky, on the other hand, impatiently preached the right of Jews not only to all of Palestine but to “both sides of the Jordan,” meaning the combined area of Jordan and Palestine, or as he called it, Eretz Yisrael, the ancient land of Israel.[12]

Ben-Gurion was a gruff realist who carefully calculated his moves with a wary eye toward the interests of the great European powers and the United States. Time magazine, in a profile of Ben-Gurion in August 1948, described him as “premier and defense minister, labor leader and philosopher, hardheaded, unsociable and abrupt politician, a prophet who carries a gun.[13] Wrote his biographer, Michael Bar-Zohar: “Obstinacy and total dedication to a single objective were the most characteristic traits of David Ben-Gurion.”[14]

Jabotinsky, by contrast, was flamboyant and a devoted admirer of Italy’s fascist leader Benito Mussolini. His disciple, Menachem Begin, described him as “a speaker, a writer, a philosopher, a statesman, a soldier, a linguist … But to those of us who were his pupils, he was not only their teacher, but also the bearer of their hope.” Begin’s biographer, Eric Silver, added: “There was a darker side to [Jabotinsky’s] philosophy: blood, fire and steel, the supremacy of the leader, discipline and ceremony, the manipulation of the masses, racial exclusivity as the heart of the nation.[15] One of Jabotinsky’s slogans was: “We shall create, with sweat and blood, a race of men, strong, brave and cruel.”[16]

Jabotinsky died in 1940, and it was Menachem Begin who refined his wild nationalism into practical political action. Begin concluded: “The world does not pity the slaughtered. It only respects those who fight.” He turned Descartes’ famous dictum around, saying: “We fight, therefore we exist.”[17] Central to Begin’s outlook was the concept of the “fighting Jew.” As he wrote:[18]

Out of blood and fire and tears and ashes, a new specimen of human being was born, a specimen completely unknown to the world for over 1,800 years, the “FIGHTING JEW.” It is axiomatic that those who fight have to hate …. We had to hate first and foremost, the horrifying, age-old, inexcusable utter defenselessness of our Jewish people, wandering through millennia, through a cruel world, to the majority of whose inhabitants the defenselessness of the Jews was a standing invitation to massacre them.

From these early leaders of Zionism (Ben-Gurion died in 1973 and Begin in 1992) have emerged their direct descendants in the Israeli political spectrum. Rabin and his successor, Shimon Peres, were both protégés of Ben-Gurion, and have carried on his mainstream secular Zionism. On Jabotinsky’s and Begin’s side, the followers have been Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon and, now, Benjamin Netanyahu, the current leader of the Likud.

Rabin’s Strategy

While the two major factions of Zionism disagree on tactics, their ultimate aim of maintaining a Jewish state free of non-Jews was the same. Rabin explained his strategy shortly before his death during an interview with Rowland Evans and Robert Novak:[19]

I believe that dreams of Jews for two thousand years to return to Zion were to build a Jewish state and not a binational state. Therefore I don’t want to annex the 2.2 million Palestinians who are a different entity from us – politically, religiously, nationally – against their will to become Israelis. Therefore I see peaceful coexistence between Israel as a Jewish state – not all over the land of Israel, on most of it, its capital the united Jerusalem, its security border the Jordan River – next to it a Palestinian entity, less than a state, that runs the life of the Palestinians. It is not ruled by Israel. It is ruled by the Palestinians. This is my goal not to return to the pre-Six-Day-War lines, but to create two entities. I want a separation between Israel and the Palestinians who reside in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and they will be a different entity that rules itself.

In the Revisionist’s vocabulary, the goal was the same, if more expansionist and expressed in more direct and pugnacious words. Former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, a leading spokesman of Zionism’s right wing, commented in 1993: “Our forefathers did not come here in order to build a democracy but to build a Jewish state.”[20]

The occupation of all of Palestine, including Jerusalem, in the 1967 war and the coming to power a decade later of Menachem Begin gave a profound boost to Revisionism and its radical philosophy. During this period there arose the firebrand Meir Kahane, a Brooklyn-born rabbi who openly espoused the removal of the Palestinians from all of Palestine. Under the influence of his fiery rhetoric, thousands of Orthodox Jewish Americans were encouraged to emigrate to Israel as settlers on occupied Palestinian land, adding to the radicalization of Israeli politics. After Kahane’s assassination in New York in 1990 by an Arab, New York Times correspondent John Kifner reported that Kahane had been successful in the sense that many of his ideas “had crept into the mainstream” in Israel.

Dr. Ehud Sprinzak, an Israeli expert on the far right in Israel, observed: “Where [Kahane] has succeeded is in changing the thinking of many Israelis toward anti-Arab feelings and violence. He forced the more respectable parties to change. In the 1970s Kahane was in the political wilderness, but in the 1980s the center had moved toward Kahane.” Observed the Jewish Telegraph Agency : “Rabbi Kahane could die satisfied that his message has impacted deeply and widely throughout Israeli society.”[21]

By the mid-1990s, even Kahane’s violent ideas seemed somewhat mild in the context of the radicalized politics of Israel. A new strain of religious extremism has been added to the Revisionist ranks. This became obvious on February 25, 1994, when Brooklyn-born Dr. Baruch Goldstein, a Kahane disciple, walked into the Ibrahim mosque, called the Cave of Machpela by Jews, in Hebron and killed 29 and wounded upwards of 150 Palestinian worshippers.[22] While Rabin and labor Zionists condemned him, Goldstein became a hero for Revisionist Zionists. A shrine was made of his grave and a group of Revisionists grew up called “Goldsteiners.” They are dedicated to the “sublime ideals of Goldstein” and urge “all true Jews to follow his footsteps.”[23]

Baruch Goldstein wore a yellow Star of David with the German word for “Jew” to show his ardent concern for the “lessons of the Holocaust” and its meaning for all Jews. Today many hardline Zionists revere this mass murderer of Palestinians as a Jewish hero and martyr.

While the Revisionists had always had an element of religious messianism, the most radical of their current heirs come from ultrareligious Orthodox Jews who are less consumed by politics than religion.[24] They believe they are God’s messengers. Thus Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir, cited the authority of God to explain the murder.

This is a sea change in the mindset – if not the violence – of the traditional Revisionists. For instance, in 1943 Yitzhak Shamir ordered the assassination of one of his closest Sternist friends, but offered an entirely different rationale that had nothing to do with God. Mainly the motive stemmed from political and tactical reasons. Shamir wrote in his memoirs, In the Final Analysis, that Stern commander Eliyahu Giladi had become “strange and wild” and had wanted to shoot at crowds of Jews and urged the assassination of David Ben-Gurion, acts that would have been highly unpopular. Wrote Shamir: “I was afraid that he had gone completely crazy. I knew that I had to take a fateful decision, and I didn’t evade it.”[25] Giladi was fatally shot in the back on a beach south of Tel Aviv and his killer was never found.[26]

The new Revisionists have now expanded the right to kill claimed by the early Revisionists in the name of nationalism to include a divine right. In the end, they are less interested in foreign and domestic affairs than in justifying man’s acts to God. It is a powerful and inflammatory mix of nationalism and religion that is almost certain to lead to more violence unless Israel is able to look into its own soul.


Recommended Reading

  • Bar-Zohar, Michael, Ben-Gurion: A Biography, New York: Delacorte, 1978. Begin, Menachem, The Revolt, Los Angeles: Nash, 1972. Bell, J. Bowyer, ‘/error Out of Zion, New York: St. Martin’s, 1977. Ben-Gurion, David, Israel: A Personal History, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, Inc., 1971.
  • Bethell, Nicholas, The Palestine Triangle: The Struggle for the Holy Land, 1935-48, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1979.
  • Brenner, Lenni, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, Westport, Conn.: Lawrence Hill, 1983.
  • Brenner, Lenni, The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir, London: Zed Books, 1984.
  • Halsell, Grace, Prophesy and Politics: Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War, Westport, Conn.: Lawrence Hill, 1986.
  • Khalidi, Walid (ed.), Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876-1948, Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1984.
  • Khalidi, Walid, From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem until 1948, Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, second printing, 1987.
  • Marion, Kati, A Death in Jerusalem, New York: Pantheon, 1994.
  • Nakhleh, Issa, Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem (2 vols.), New York: Intercontinental, 1991.
  • Palumbo, Michael, The Palestinian Catastrophe: The 1948 Expulsion of a People from their Homeland, Boston: Faber and Faber, 1987.
  • Rubinstein, Ammon, The Zionist Dream Revisited, New York: Schocken, 1984.
  • Sachar, Howard M., A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, Tel Aviv: Steimatzky’s Agency, 1976.
  • Silver, Eric, Begin: The Haunted Prophet, New York: Random House, 1984.
  • Tillman, Seth, The United States in the Middle East: Interests and Obstacles, Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1982.

Notes

[1] Sam Pope Brewer, New York Times, Jan. 5, 1948, and Khalidi, Before Their Diaspora, p. 316. Also see Palumbo, The Palestinian Catastrophe, pp. 83-4. Initial reports put the death toll at 34.
[2] Bethell, The Palestine Triangle, p. 263; Sachar, A History of Israel, p. 267. Details on the bombing and reaction of British officials are in Nakhleh, Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, pp. 269-70.
[3] Bethell, Palestine Triangle, pp. 181-87, 263; Sachar, A History of Israel, p. 267; Marion, A Death in Jerusalem, p. 208.
[4] Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest, pp. 761-78; Silver, Begin, pp. 88-96; Nakhleh, Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, pp. 271-72.
[5] Silver, Begin, p. 12.
[6] New York Times, Nov. 27, 1948.
[7] Bar-Zohar, Ben-Gurion, p. 175.
[8] Silver, Begin, p. 98.
[9] Bethell, The Palestine Triangle, pp. 308-9. An interview reflecting Hecht’s views appeared in The New York Times, May 28, 1947.
[10] Silver, Begin, p. 108.
[11] Silver, Begin, p. 108.
[12] In Hebrew, Eretz Yisrael means the “Land of Israel,” a phrase invested with strong nationalist feelings.
[13] Time, August 16, 1948.
[14] Bar-Zohar, Ben Gurian, pp. 77, xvii.
[15] Silver, Begin, p. 11.
[16] Elfi Pallis, “The Likud Party: A Primer,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Winter 1992, p. 45.
[17] Begin, The Revolt, pp. 36, 46. Also see Tillman, The United States in the Middle East, p. 20.
[18] Begin, The Revolt, pp. xi-xii. Also see Elfi Pallis, “The Likud Party: A Primer,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Winter 1992, p. 45.
[19] Evans and Novak, CNN, Oct. 1, 1995.
[20] Menachem Shalev, Forward, May 21, 1339.
[21] John Kifner, New York Times, Nov. 11, 1990.
[22] David Hoffman, Washington Post, Feb. 28, 1994.
[23] Khalid M. Amayreh, “Six Months On,” Middle East International, Sept. 9, 1994.
[24] Halsell, Prophecy and Politics, p. 75, provides an excellent analysis of the extremist beliefs of Jabotinsky and his followers and their alliance with American fundamentalist Christians such as Jerry Falwell, leader of the Moral Ml\iority.
[25] Clyde Haberman, New York Times, Jan. 15, 1994.
[26] Glenn Frankel, Washington Post, Nov. 6, 1995.


From The Journal of Historical Review, Jan.-Feb. 1996 (Vol. 16, No. 1), pages 42-45. This item is reprinted from the January 1996 issue of The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (Washington, DC).

About the Author

Donald Neff is an American journalist and author. For 16 years he worked for Time magazine, including a period as its Bureau Chief in Israel. He also worked for the Washington Star daily newspaper. He is the author of Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy Towards Palestine and Israel Since 1945 (1995), as well as of the 1988 trilogy, Warriors at Suez: Eisenhower Takes America Into the Middle East in 1956, Warriors for Jerusalem: The Six Days that Changed the Middle East, and Warriors Against Israel: America Comes to the Rescue.

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Company We Sadly Keep

By Geoff Dutton | Progressive Pilgrim Review | October 25, 2107

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” ~ Upton Sinclair

A triple-threat epidemic is sweeping the land—not just some deadly virus, water-born disease, or auto-immune reactions to toxins, although those too plague us—but of secrecy, unaccountability, and impunity, bypassing checks and balances, impervious to any outside scrutiny or supervision. This cancer on the Republic has metastasized throughout halls of power and workplaces almost everywhere.

In the private sector, when you sign on as an “exempt” employee (mostly meaning you get paid a fixed annual salary without union or overtime), you may be required to agree to:

  • Have your communications, even keystrokes, monitored
  • Company-arranged arbitration in the event of a dispute
  • Be dismissed for any violation of company policies
  • Possibly take a drug test and/or a personality test
  • Hold the company blameless for any grievance against a fellow employee
  • Not work for any company offering similar products or services for some period of time.

That is to say, we make the rules here, and what happens in the company stays in the company. It’s no one else’s business how or why they’re applied.

It gets worse. Let’s say you separate from the company on bad terms, having been harassed or blocked from advancing or doing your job, or because you were the wrong age, sex or race, or just weren’t sufficiently docile. If you take it upstairs, file a grievance, or hire a lawyer, eventually you may be offered a sum to settle the matter. In return, you must agree not to disclose terms of settlement or publicly allege abuse or misconduct. As we’ve been told, whatever Ailes, O’Reilly, and Weinstein affairs were “resolved” involved no admissions of culpability and gagging and binding the plaintiffs. Impervious to decency, justice, or shame, they have you by the gonads. Proving that you were wronged and then obtaining justice is a long, agonizing, and expensive process. Most people have better things to do with their time and money, something employers bank on.

Depending on where you work and what you do, it can get much, much worse. If you work for the federal government directly, as a contractor or an employee thereof, as a condition of employment you may be asked to sign a secrecy agreement, an offer you can’t refuse and an oath you cannot later renege. Such paper handcuffs first flowered in the idyllic 1950s, that post-war paradise of Leave-It-to-Beaver families in spanking new suburbs and lifetime jobs in unionized workplaces. To forestall leaks, spy agencies exacted them from employees who knew or might know state secrets. The higher the classification of content involved, the more draconian were the potential consequences for disclosure. The chances of leaks from today’s vast assemblages of classified materials in networked environments have multiplied manifold since then. Among other things, this implies a need to swear to secrecy any employee within two or three degrees of separation from someone who handles classified documents, such as the IT geeks and the receptionist.

Secrecy agreements are confidentiality agreements on steroids. Ironclad. Undoable. Not availing of congressional or judicial redress. And should you pester an I.G. with documentation of the organization’s illegal, harmful, or unconstitutional activities, any evidence you present on your behalf is likely to vanish from public scrutiny forever. It’s all set up so you can’t refuse and they can never lose. Item 8 of the standard Federal secrecy agreement (Standard Form 312; there are others) states “Unless and until I am released in writing by an authorized representative of the United States Government, I understand that all conditions and obligations imposed upon me by this Agreement apply during the time I am granted access to classified information, and at all times thereafter.” (emphasis added). It also advises “nothing in this Agreement constitutes a waiver by the United States of the right to prosecute me for any statutory violation.”

The statutes cited are sections 641, 793, 794, 798, 952 and 1924, title 18, United States Code; the provisions of section 783(b}, title 50, United States Code; and the provisions of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. Also noted is section 4(b) of the infamous Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950 (the McCarran Act), which has ruined many lives. After Harry Truman vetoed it (calling it “the greatest danger to freedom of speech, press, and assembly since the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798,” a “mockery of the Bill of Rights” and a “long step toward totalitarianism,”) Congress overrode the veto 286-48 and 57-10. Where were all the other lawmakers that fine September day, one might ask? Burning their ACLU membership cards?

* * *

By now, hundreds of thousands if not millions of workers have been coercively bound by secrecy agreements. Artfully, from Allen Dulles on, the capos and consiglieres of the security state insinuated their racket into military and civilian agencies and critical contractors, salting their ranks with spooks. Expanding their territory, of course, multiplied the number of workers privy to their operations. Given that any of these people might be inclined or induced to reveal mob activities, how to silence them? Simple; bind their lips as soon as they get involved with secrecy agreements. If any balk at that, use subtle means of persuasion like reassigning them to the boondocks, skipping them over for promotion, or threatening to have their heads examined.

Former high-ranking CIA analyst and covert operative Kevin Shipp came forward in 2010 with details on the shadow government of the deep state that intelligence agencies control, and how they manage to control Congress as well. A summary of Shipp’s recent presentation at a Geoengineering Watch assembly in ZeroHedge states:

… that there are “over 10,000 secret sites in the U.S.” that formed after 9/11. There are “1,271 secret government agencies, 1,931 large private corporations [involved with the spy agencies] and over 4,800,000 Americans that he knows of who have a secrecy clearance, and 854,000 who have Top Secret clearance, explaining they signed their lives away bound by an agreement.

The video of Shipp’s talk is an hour long, but worth watching.

What turned Shipp into a transparency activist, of all things, was toxic mold in a house the CIA put him and his family into while on assignment at Camp Stanley, an Army weapons depot near San Antonio. As detailed in a 2011 NYT story, the Shippses got sick and filed a wrongful harm lawsuit against the Agency that they predictably lost, and not long afterward he was drummed out after 25 years a spook. Shipp claims that his phone and house continue to be bugged and he is constantly followed when driving. (Incidentally, the only other NYT story to mention Mr. Shipp came in 2014. It identified Camp Stanley as a major CIA weapons depot that had supplied arms and ammunition for the Bay of Pigs and other CIA terrorist operations. More recently, it said, “the Army sought to purchase two million rounds of ammunition of the caliber that fits AK-47 rifles, which American soldiers do not use. The delivery address: Camp Stanley.”). The Times doesn’t seem interested in covering what Shipp has been saying about his former employer more recently. Some news is not fit to print.

* * *

One would think that out of all the ears and eyeballs privy to dicey classified programs more lips might loosen. But any insider bent on exposing misdeeds will soon find out that whistleblower protections are a farce; complaining about illegal activities to elected representatives or an I.G. can lead to harassment that can last for the rest of one’s life. In whistleblower lawsuits, the government can invoke the non-statutory State Secrets Privilege (I would call it the Secret State Privilege) to exclude evidence or dismiss the complaint entirely, and has done so about once a year since 1953. For more ugly details about how the Secret State silences whistleblowers, see Shipp’s communique to Geoengineering Watch two years ago.

As a further deterrent to truth-telling, Obama’s 2011 Executive order 13587 tasked all Federal agencies and associated contractors with implementing Insider Threat Programs (ITP) to identify, monitor, and profile potential leakers of secret information. TechDirt reported that when Senator Chuck Grassley asked the head of the ITP whether the program protects whistleblowers, he was assured that it does; to avoid being swept up, they simply need to “register” before blowing. I can hear it now: “Oh sure, Mr. Snowden, go right ahead. We’re sure you mean no harm.”

The Secret State (or as Shipp calls it, the Shadow Government) takes such extreme precautions because it needs its activities to remain invisible and deniable. Of course, this is what rulers and regimes have done since time immemorial. And to do this effectively requires a vast panopticon to oversee its minions and identify potential troublemakers; secret police, basically, such as the USSR’s KGB, East Germany’s Stasi, Turkey’s MIT, Syria’s GID, and so on. It’s simply the price of doing business as a cloaked agency. All this surveillance is costly, but the good news is you get more bang for your security buck nowadays. Thanks to the technology of illicit eavesdropping and cooperative agreements with the likes of AT&T and Google, the Internet and mobile networks make this ambitious task a piece of cake.

Aesop said “a man is known by the company he keeps.” CIA people call their agency The Company. Twelve US Presidents have not only kept it, they have allowed it to metastasize into a hideous monstrosity rampaging out of control. Of them, only John F. Kennedy threatened to dismantle it, and look what happened to him.

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 2 Comments

How Syrian-Nuke Evidence Was Faked

By Gareth Porter | Consortium News | November 19, 2017

When Yousry Abushady studied the highly unusual May 2008 CIA video on a Syrian nuclear reactor that was allegedly under construction when an Israeli jet destroyed it seven months earlier, the senior specialist on North Korean nuclear reactors on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s staff knew that something was very wrong.

Abushady quickly determined that the CIA had been seriously misled by Israeli intelligence and immediately informed the two highest officials of the Vienna-based IAEA, Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and Deputy Director for Safeguards, Olli Heinonen, that the CIA’s conclusions were not consistent with the most basic technical requirements for such a reactor.

But it did not take long for Abushady to realize that the top IAEA officials were not interested in drawing on his expertise in regard to the alleged Syrian reactor. In fact, the IAEA cited nonexistent evidence linking the site to a Syrian nuclear program while covering up real evidence that would have clearly refuted such a claim, according to Abushady and other former senior IAEA officials.

When Abudhsady met with Heinonen to discuss his analysis of the CIA’s case in May 2008, Abushady asked to be included on the team for the anticipated inspection of the al-Kibar site because of his unique knowledge of that type reactor.

But Heinonen refused his request, citing an unwritten IAEA rule that inspectors are not allowed to carry out inspections in their countries of origin. Abushady objected, pointing out that he is Egyptian, not Syrian, to which Heinonen responded, “But you are an Arab and a Muslim!” according to Abushady.

Heinonen has declined a request for his comment on Abushady’s account of the conversation.

A Curious Inspection

In June 2008, an IAEA team consisting of Heinonen and two other inspectors took environmental samples at the al-Kibar site. In November 2008, the IAEA issued a report saying that laboratory analysis of a number of natural uranium particles collected at the site “indicates that the uranium is anthropogenic,” meaning that it had been processed by humans.

The implication was clearly that this was a reason to believe that the site had been connected with a nuclear program. But former IAEA officials have raised serious questions about Heinonen’s handling of the physical evidence gathered from the Syrian site as well as his characterization of the evidence in that and other IAEA reports.

Tariq Rauf who headed the IAEA’s Verification and Security Policy Coordination Office until 2011, has pointed out that one of the IAEA protocols applicable to these environmental samples is that “the results from all three or four labs to have analyzed the sample must match to give a positive or negative finding on the presence and isotopics or uranium and/or plutonium.”

However, in the Syrian case the laboratories to which the samples had been sent had found no evidence of such man-made uranium in the samples they had tested. ElBaradei himself had announced in late September, three months after the samples had originally been taken but weeks before the report was issued, “So far, we have found no indication of any nuclear material.” So the November 2008 IAEA report claiming a positive finding was not consistent with its protocols.

But the samples had been sent to yet another laboratory, which had come up with a positive test result for a sample, which had then been touted as evidence that the site had held a nuclear reactor. That in itself is an indication that a fundamental IAEA protocol had been violated in the handling of the samples from Syria.

One of the inspectors involved in the IAEA inspection at al-Kibar later revealed to a fellow IAEA inspector what actually happened in the sample collection there. Former senior IAEA inspector Robert Kelley recalled in an interview that, after the last results of the samples from the al-Kibar inspection had come back from all the laboratories, the inspector, Mongolian national Orlokh Dorjkhaidav, came to see him because he was troubled by the results and wanted to tell someone he trusted.

Negative Results

Dorjkhaidav told Kelley that all the samples taken from the ground in the vicinity of the bombed building had tested negative for man-made uranium and that the only sample that had tested positive had been taken in the toilet of the support building.

Dorjkhaidav later left the IAEA and returned to Mongolia, where he died in December 2015. A video obituary for Dorjkhaidav confirmed his participation in the inspection in Syria. Kelley revealed the former inspector’s account to this writer only after Dorjkhaidav’s death.

In an e-mail response to a request for his comment on Kelley’s account of the Syrian environmental samples, Heinonen would neither confirm nor deny that the swipe sample described by Dorjkhaidav had been taken inside the support building. But in January 2013, David Albright, Director of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C., who has co-authored several articles with Heinonen, acknowledged in a commentary on his think tank’s website that the al-Kibar uranium particles had been “found in a changing room in a building associated with the reactor.”

Given the dispersal of any nuclear material around the site by the Israeli bombing, if man-made uranium was present at the site, it should not have shown up only inside the support facility but should have been present in the samples taken from the ground outside.

Former IAEA senior inspector Kelley said in an e-mail that a “very likely explanation” for this anomaly is that it was a case of “cross contamination’ from the inspector’s own clothing. Such cross contamination had occurred in IAEA inspections on a number of occasions, according to both Kelley and Rauf.

Kelley, who had been in charge of inspections in Iraq in the early 1990s, recalled that a set of environmental swipes taken from nuclear facilities that the United States had bombed in Iraq had appeared to show that that Iraq had enriched uranium to 90 percent. But it turned out that they had been taken with swipe paper that had been contaminated accidentally by particles from the IAEA laboratory.

But what bothered Abushady the most was that the IAEA report on Syria had remained silent on the crucial fact that none of the sample results had shown any trace of nuclear-grade graphite.

Abushady recalled that when he challenged Heinonen on the absence of any mention of the nuclear graphite issue in the draft report in a Nov. 13, 2008 meeting, Heinonen said the inspectors had found evidence of graphite but added, “We haven’t confirmed that it was nuclear-grade.”

Abushady retorted, “Do you know what nuclear-grade graphite is? If you found it you would know it immediately.”

Heinonen was invited to comment on Abushady’s account of that meeting for this article but declined to do so.

After learning that the report scheduled to be released in November would be silent on the absence of nuclear graphite, Abushady sent a letter to ElBaradei asking him not to release the report on Syria as it was currently written. Abushady protested the report’s presentation of the environmental sampling results, especially in regard to nuclear-grade graphite.

“In my technical view,” Abushady wrote, “these results are the basis to confirm the contrary, that the site cannot [have been] actually a nuclear reactor.”

But the report was published anyway, and a few days later, ElBaradei’s Special Assistant Graham Andrew responded to Abushady’s message by ordering him to “stop sending e-mails on this subject” and to “respect established lines of responsibility, management and communication.”

A Clear Message

The message was clear: the agency was not interested in his information despite the fact that he knew more about the issue than anyone else in the organization.

At a briefing for Member States on the Syria reactor issue on Feb. 26, 2009, the Egyptian representative to the IAEA confronted Heinonen on the absence of nuclear-grade graphite in the environmental samples. This time, Heinonen had a different explanation for the failure to find any such graphite. He responded that it was “not known whether the graphite was in the building at the time of the destruction,” according to the diplomatic cable reporting on the briefing that was later released by WikiLeaks.

But that response, too, was disingenuous, according to Abushady. “Graphite is a structural part of the reactor core in the gas-cooled reactor,” he explained. “It is not something you add at the end.”

The IAEA remained silent on the question of graphite in nine more reports issued over more than two years. When the IAEA finally mentioned the issue for the first time officially in a May 2011 report, it claimed that the graphite particles were “too small to permit an analysis of the purity compared to that normally required for use in a reactor.”

But American nuclear engineer Behrad Nakhai, who worked at Oak National Laboratories for many years, said in an interview that the laboratories definitely have the ability to determine whether the particles were nuclear grade or not, so the claim “doesn’t make sense.”

News outlets have never reported on the IAEA’s role in helping to cover up the false CIA claim of a North-Korean-style nuclear reactor in the desert by a misleading portrayal of the physical evidence collected in Syria and suppressing the evidence that would have made that role clear.

Heinonen, who was directly responsible for the IAEA’s role in the Syria cover-up, left the IAEA in August 2010 and within a month was given a position at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He has continued to take positions on the Iran nuclear negotiations that were indistinguishable from those of the Netanyahu government. And he is now senior adviser on science and non-proliferation at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think tank whose positions on the Iran nuclear issues have closely followed those of the Likud governments in Israel.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian on U.S. national security policy and the recipient of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. His most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, published in 2014.

[For a previous segment of this two-part series, see https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/18/israels-ploy-selling-a-syrian-nuke-strike/]

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s Ploy Selling a Syrian Nuke Strike

By Gareth Porter | Consortium News | November 18, 2017

In September 2007, Israeli warplanes bombed a building in eastern Syria that the Israelis claimed held a covert nuclear reactor that had been built with North Korean assistance. Seven months later, the CIA released an extraordinary 11-minute video and mounted press and Congressional briefings that supported that claim.

Supposed Syrian nuclear site before and after Israeli airstrike

But nothing about that alleged reactor in the Syrian desert turns out to be what it appeared at the time. The evidence now available shows that there was no such nuclear reactor, and that the Israelis had misled George W. Bush’s administration into believing that it was in order to draw the United States into bombing missile storage sites in Syria. Other evidence now suggests, moreover, that the Syrian government had led the Israelis to believe wrongly that it was a key storage site for Hezbollah missiles and rockets.

The International Atomic Agency’s top specialist on North Korean reactors, Egyptian national Yousry Abushady, warned top IAEA officials in 2008 that the published CIA claims about the alleged reactor in the Syrian desert could not possibly have been true. In a series of interviews in Vienna and by phone and e-mail exchanges over several months Abushady detailed the technical evidence that led him to issue that warning and to be even more confident about that judgment later on. And a retired nuclear engineer and research scientist with many years of experience at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has confirmed a crucial element of that technical evidence.

Published revelations by senior Bush administration officials show, moreover, that principal U.S. figures in the story all had their own political motives for supporting the Israeli claim of a Syrian reactor being built with North Korean help.

Vice President Dick Cheney hoped to use the alleged reactor to get President George W. Bush to initiate U.S. airstrikes in Syria in the hope of shaking the Syrian-Iranian alliance. And both Cheney and then CIA Director Michael Hayden also hoped to use the story of a North Korean-built nuclear reactor in Syria to kill a deal that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was negotiating with North Korea on its nuclear weapons program in 2007-08.

Mossad Chief’s Dramatic Evidence

In April 2007 the chief of Israel’s Mossad foreign intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, presented Cheney, Hayden and National Security Adviser Steven Hadley with evidence of what he said was a nuclear reactor being constructed in eastern Syria with the help of the North Koreans. Dagan showed them nearly a hundred hand-held photographs of the site revealing what he described as the preparation for the installation of a North Korean reactor and claimed that it was only a few months from being operational.

The Israelis made no secret of their desire to have a U.S. airstrike destroy the alleged nuclear facility. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called President Bush immediately after that briefing and said, “George, I’m asking you to bomb the compound,” according to the account in Bush’s memoirs.

Cheney, who was known to be a personal friend of Olmert, wanted to go further. At White House meetings in subsequent weeks, Cheney argued forcefully for a U.S. attack not only on the purported reactor building but on Hezbollah weapons storage depots in Syria. Then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who participated in those meetings, recalled in his own memoirs that Cheney, who was also looking for an opportunity to provoke a war with Iran, hoped to “rattle Assad sufficiently so as to end his close relationship with Iran” and “send a powerful warning to the Iranians to abandon their nuclear ambitions.”

CIA Director Hayden aligned the agency clearly with Cheney on the issue, not because of Syria or Iran but because of North Korea. In his book, Playing to the Edge, published last year, Hayden recalls that, at a White House meeting to brief President Bush the day after Dagan’s visit, he whispered in Cheney’s ear, “You were right, Mr. Vice-President.”

Hayden was referring to the fierce political struggle within the Bush administration over North Korea policy that had been underway ever since Condoleezza Rice had become Secretary of State in early 2005. Rice had argued that diplomacy was the only realistic way to get Pyongyang to retreat from its nuclear weapons program. But Cheney and his administration allies John Bolton and Robert Joseph (who succeeded Bolton as the key State Department policymaker on North Korea after Bolton became U.N. Ambassador in 2005) were determined to end the diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang.

Cheney was still maneuvering to find a way to prevent the successful completion of the negotiations, and he saw the story of a Syrian nuclear reactor built secretly in the desert with help from the North Koreans as bolstering his case. Cheney reveals in his own memoirs that in January 2008, he sought to sandbag Rice’s North Korea nuclear deal by getting her to agree that a failure by North Korea to “admit they’ve proliferating to the Syrians would be a deal killer.”

Three months later, the CIA released its unprecedented 11-minute video supporting the entire Israeli case for a North-Korean-style nuclear reactor that was nearly completed. Hayden recalls that his decision to release the video on the alleged Syrian nuclear reactor in April 2008 was “to avoid a North Korean nuclear deal being sold to a Congress and a public ignorant of this very pertinent and very recent episode.”

The video, complete with computer reconstructions of the building and photographs from the Israelis made a big splash in the news media. But one specialist on nuclear reactors who examined the video closely found abundant reason to conclude that the CIA’s case was not based on real evidence.

Technical Evidence against a Reactor

Egyptian national Yousry Abushady was a PhD in nuclear engineering and 23-year veteran of the IAEA who had been promoted to section head for Western Europe in the operations division of agency’s Safeguards Department, meaning that he was in charge of all inspections of nuclear facilities in the region. He had been a trusted adviser to Bruno Pellaud, IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards from 1993 to 1999, who told this writer in an interview that he had “relied on Abushady frequently.”

Abushady recalled in an interview that, after spending many hours reviewing the video released by the CIA in April 2008 frame by frame, he was certain that the CIA case for a nuclear reactor at al-Kibar in the desert in eastern Syria was not plausible for multiple technical reasons. The Israelis and the CIA had claimed the alleged reactor was modeled on the type of reactor the North Koreans had installed at Yongbyon called a gas-cooled graphite-moderated (GCGM) reactor.

But Abushady knew that kind of reactor better than anyone else at the IAEA. He had designed a GCGM reactor for his doctoral student in nuclear engineering, had begun evaluating the Yongbyon reactor in 1993, and from 1999 to 2003 had headed the Safeguards Department unit responsible for North Korea.

Abushady had traveled to North Korea 15 times and conducted extensive technical discussions with the North Korean nuclear engineers who had designed and operated the Yongbyon reactor. And the evidence he saw in the video convinced him that no such reactor could have been under construction at al-Kibar.

On April 26, 2008, Abushady sent a “preliminary technical assessment” of the video to IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards Olli Heinonen, with a copy to Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. Abushady observed in his memorandum that the person responsible for assembling the CIA video was obviously unfamiliar with either the North Korean reactor or with GCGM reactors in general.

The first thing that struck Abushady about the CIA’s claims was that the building was too short to hold a reactor like the one in Yongbyon, North Korea.

“It is obvious,” he wrote in his “technical assessment” memo to Heinonen, “that the Syrian building with no UG [underground] construction, can not hold a [reactor] similar [to] NK GCR [North Korean gas-cooled reactor].”
Abushady estimated the height of the North Korean reactor building in Yongbyon at a 50 meters (165 feet) and estimated that the building at al-Kibar at a little more than a third as tall.

Abushady also found the observable characteristics of the al-Kibar site inconsistent with the most basic technical requirements for a GCGM reactor. He pointed out that the Yongbyon reactor had no less than 20 supporting buildings on the site, whereas the satellite imagery shows that the Syrian site did not have a single significant supporting structure.

The most telling indication of all for Abushady that the building could not have been a GCGM reactor was the absence of a cooling tower to reduce the temperature of the carbon dioxide gas coolant in such a reactor.
“How can you work a gas-cooled reactor in a desert without a cooling tower?” Abushady asked in an interview.

IAEA Deputy Director Heinonen claimed in an IAEA report that the site had sufficient pumping power to get river water from a pump house on the nearby Euphrates River to the site. But Abushady recalls asking Heinonen, “How could this water be transferred for about 1,000 meters and continue to the heat exchangers for cooling with the same power?”

Robert Kelley, a former head of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Remote Sensing Laboratory and former senior IAEA inspector in Iraq, noticed another fundamental problem with Heinonen’s claim: the site had no facility for treating the river water before it reached the alleged reactor building.

“That river water would have been carrying debris and silt into the reactor heat exchangers,” Kelley said in an interview, making it highly questionable that a reactor could have operated there.

Yet another critical piece that Abushady found missing from the site was a cooling pond facility for spent fuel. The CIA had theorized that the reactor building itself contained a “spent fuel pond,” based on nothing more than an ambiguous shape in an aerial photograph of the bombed building.

But the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon and all 28 other GCGM reactors that had been built in the world all have the spent fuel pond in a separate building, Abushady said. The reason, he explained, was that the magnox cladding surrounding the fuel rods would react to any contact with moisture to produce hydrogen that could explode.

But the definitive and irrefutable proof that no GCGM reactor had been present at al-Kibar came from the environmental samples taken by the IAEA at the site in June 2008. Such a reactor would have contained nuclear-grade graphite, Abushady explained, and if the Israelis had actually bombed a GCGM reactor, it would have spread particles of nuclear-grade graphite all over the site.

Behrad Nakhai, a nuclear engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for many years, confirmed Abshuady’s observation in an interview. “You would have had hundreds of tons of nuclear-grade graphite scattered around the site,” he said, “and it would have been impossible to clean it up.”

IAEA reports remained silent for more than two years about what the samples showed about nuclear-grade graphite, then claimed in a May 2011 report that the graphite particles were “too small to permit an analysis of the purity compared to that normally required for use in a reactor.” But given the tools available to laboratories, the IAEA claim that they couldn’t determine whether the particles were nuclear grade or not “doesn’t make sense,” Nakhai said.

Hayden acknowledged in his 2016 account that “key components” of a nuclear reactor site for nuclear weapons were “still missing.” The CIA had tried to find evidence of a reprocessing facility in Syria that could be used to obtain the plutonium for a nuclear bomb but had been unable to find any trace of one.

The CIA also had found no evidence of a fuel fabrication facility, without which a reactor could not have gotten the fuel rods to be reprocessed. Syria could not have gotten them from North Korea, because the fuel fabrication plant at Yongbyon had produced no fuel rods since 1994 and was known to have fallen into serious disrepair after the regime had agreed to scrap its own plutonium reactor program.

Manipulated and Misleading Photographs

Hayden’s account shows that he was ready to give the CIA’s stamp of approval to the Israeli photographs even before the agency’s analysts had even begun analyzing them. He admits that when he met Dagan face-to-face he didn’t ask how and when Mossad had obtained the photographs, citing “espionage protocol” among cooperating intelligence partners. Such a protocol would hardly apply, however, to a government sharing intelligence in order to get the United States to carry out an act of war on its behalf.

The CIA video relied heavily on the photographs that Mossad had given to Bush administration in making its case. Hayden writes that it was “pretty convincing stuff, if we could be confident that the pictures hadn’t been altered.”

But by his own account Hayden knew Mossad had engaged in at least one deception. He writes that when CIA experts reviewed the photographs from Mossad, they found that one of them had been photo-shopped to remove the writing on the side of a truck.

Hayden professes to have had no concern about that photo-shopped picture. But after this writer asked how CIA analysts interpreted Mossad’s photo shopping of the picture as one of the questions his staff requested in advance of a possible interview with Hayden, he declined the interview.

Abushady points out that the main issues with the photographs the CIA released publicly are whether they were actually taken at the al-Kibar site and whether they were consistent with a GCGM reactor. One of the photographs showed what the CIA video called “the steel liner for the reinforced-concrete reactor vessel before it was installed.” Abushady noticed immediately, however, that nothing in the picture links the steel liner to the al-Kibar site.

Both the video and CIA’s press briefing explained that the network of small pipes on the outside of the structure was for “cooling water to protect the concrete against the reactor’s intense heat and radiation.”
But Abushady, who specializes in such technology, pointed out that the structure in the picture bore no resemblance to a Gas-Cooled Reactor vessel. “This vessel cannot be for a Gas-Cooled Reactor,” Abushady explained, “based on its dimensions, it thickness and the pipes shown on the side of the vessel.”

The CIA video’s explanation that the network of pipes was necessary for “cooling water” made no sense, Abushady said, because gas-cooled reactors use only carbon dioxide gas — not water — as a coolant. Any contact between water and the Magnox-cladding used in that type of reactor, Abushady explained, could cause an explosion.

A second Mossad photograph showed what the CIA said were the “exit points” for the reactor’s control rods and fuel rods. The CIA juxtaposed that photograph with a photograph of the tops of the control rods and fuel rods of the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon and claimed a “very close resemblance” between the two.

Abushady found major differences between the two pictures, however. The North Korean reactor had a total of 97 ports, but the picture allegedly taken at al-Kibar shows only 52 ports. Abushady was certain that the reactor shown in the photograph could not have been based on the Yongbyon reactor. He also noted that the picture had a pronounced sepia tone, suggesting that it was taken quite a few years earlier.
Abushady warned Heinonen and ElBaradei in his initial assessment that the photo presented as taken from inside the reactor building appeared to an old photo of a small gas-cooled reactor, most likely an early such reactor built in the U.K.

A Double Deception

Many observers have suggested that Syria’s failure to protest the strike in the desert loudly suggests that it was indeed a reactor. Information provided by a former Syrian air force major who defected to an anti-Assad military command in Aleppo and by the head of Syria’s atomic energy program helps unlock the mystery of what was really in the building at al-Kibar.

The Syrian major, “Abu Mohammed,” told The Guardian in February 2013 that he was serving in the air defense station at Deir Azzor, the city nearest to al-Kibar, when he got a phone call from a Brigadier General at the Strategic Air Command in Damascus just after midnight on Sept. 6, 2007. Enemy planes were approaching his area, the general said, but “you are to do nothing.”

The major was confused. He wondered why the Syrian command would want to let Israeli fighter planes approach Deir Azzor unhindered. The only logical reason for such an otherwise inexplicable order would be that, instead of wanting to keep the Israelis away from the building at al-Kibar, the Syrian government actually wanted the Israelis to attack it. In the aftermath of the strike, the Damascus issued only an opaque statement claiming that the Israeli jets had been driven away and remaining silent on the airstrike at al-Kibar.

Abushady told this writer he learned from meetings with Syrian officials during his final year at the IAEA that the Syrian government had indeed originally built the structure at al-Kibar for the storage of missiles as well as for a fixed firing position for them. And he said Ibrahim Othman, the head of Syria’s Atomic Energy Commission, had confirmed that point in a private meeting with him in Vienna in September 2015.

Othman also confirmed Abushady’s suspicion from viewing satellite photographs that the roof over the central room in the building had been made with two movable light plates that could be opened to allow the firing of a missile. And he told Abushady that he had been correct in believing that what had appeared in a satellite image immediately after the bombing to be two semi-circular shapes was what had remained of the original concrete launching silo for missiles.

In the wake of the Israel’s 2006 invasion of Southern Lebanon, the Israelis were searching intensively for Hezbollah missiles and rockets that could reach Israel and they believed many of those Hezbollah weapons were being stored in Syria. If they wished to draw the attention of the Israelis away from actual missile storage sites, the Syrians would have had good reason to want to convince the Israelis that this was one of their major storage sites.

Othman told Abushady that the building had been abandoned in 2002, after the construction had been completed. The Israelis had acquired ground-level pictures from 2001-02 showing the construction of outer walls that would hide the central hall of the building. The Israelis and the CIA both insisted in 2007-08 that this new construction indicated that it had to be a reactor building, but it is equally consistent with a building designed to hide missile storage and a missile-firing position.

Although Mossad went to great lengths to convince the Bush administration that the site was a nuclear reactor, what the Israelis really wanted was for the Bush administration to launch U.S. airstrikes against Hezbollah and Syrian missile storage sites. Senior officials of the Bush administration didn’t buy the Israeli bid to get the United States to do the bombing, but none of them ever raised questions about the Israeli ruse.

So both the Assad regime and the Israeli government appear to have succeeded in carrying out their own parts in a double deception in the Syrian desert.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian on U.S. national security policy and the recipient of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US threatens to shutter Palestinian office in Washington, DC

Press TV – November 18, 2017

The government of US President Donald Trump has threatened to close down the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, DC, if it supports a Palestinian bid to prosecute Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

According to a law passed by the US Congress, Palestinians would be stripped of the right to have a mission in the US capital if they support an ICC investigation of Israelis for committing crimes against them.

Apparently, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson now thinks that Palestinian leaders have ran afoul of that law but it is up to Trump to make the decision, the Associated Press reported Friday, citing a State Department official.

This means Trump has 90 days to consider whether the Palestinians are in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” the official said. If Trump determines they are, the Palestinian office stays open.

The official claimed that even if the office closes, Washington would not cut off relations with the Palestinians and continue to work towards “a comprehensive peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

Trump has tasked his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, with brokering a peace deal between the two sides. However, the president’s unclear stance on the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict has further pushed back expectations for an agreement.

The news came only two days after the US House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed legislation that would cut funding to the Palestinian Authority.

The committee approved the bill known as the Taylor Force Act on Wednesday. It stipulates a cut in funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it discontinues paying stipends to the families of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

Another piece of legislation, known as the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act, would slap sanctions on foreign governments, entities, and individuals for providing financial and material support to Palestinian resistance group Hamas.

The measures are set to be put to a vote at the full chamber of the House of Representatives.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Guardian, NYT Paint Power-Grabbing Saudi Dictator as Roguish, Visionary ‘Reformer’

By Adam Johnson | FAIR | November 17, 2017

Guardian: Saudi arrests show crown prince is a risk-taker with a zeal for reform

The Guardian (11/5/17)

Two weeks ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman carried out a brutal crackdown on his political opponents, arresting dozens of high-ranking relatives, kidnapping the prime minister of Lebanon, and seeing eight of his political rivals die in a convenient helicopter crash. The “consolidation of power” by the de facto Saudi ruler comes as his government ramps up its siege of Yemen and gets even closer to its US sponsor, thanks to a Trump’s dopey love affair with—and direct assistance of—the regime.

The cynical plan has been met, in some media quarters, with condemnation, but for many in the Western press, Mohammed’s self-serving power grab is the action of a bold “reformer,” a roguish bad boy doing the messy but essential work of “reforming” the kingdom—the “anti-corruption” pretext of the purge largely repeated without qualification. The most prominent sources for this spin were two major newspapers, the New York Times and Guardian:

  • Guardian (11/5/17): “Royal Purge Sends Shockwaves Through Saudi Arabia’s Elites: Move Consolidates Power of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as He Attempts to Reform Kingdom’s Economy and Society”
  • Guardian (11/5/17) : “Saudi Arrests Show Crown Prince Is a Risk-Taker With a Zeal for Reform: Mohammed Bin Salman Is Confronting Some of the Kingdom’s Richest and Most Powerful Men in His Anti-Corruption Drive—but Is He Taking on Too Much Too Fast?
  • Guardian (11/6/17): “Oil Price Rises to Two-Year High After Saudi Arabia Purge: Markets Push Price Up to $62 a Barrel After Anti-Corruption Purge by Billionaire Crown Prince Who Backs Prolonging Oil Production Curbs”
  • Guardian  (11/7/17): “‘This Is a Revolution’: Saudis Absorb Crown Prince’s Rush to Reform: Consolidation of Power in Mohammed Bin Salman’s Hands Has Upended All Aspects of Society, Including Previously Untouchable Ultra-Elite
  • New York Times (11/5/17): “Saudi Crown Prince’s Mass Purge Upends a Longstanding System”
  • New York Times (11/14/17): “The Upstart Saudi Prince Who’s Throwing Caution to the Wind”

While the text of the Times articles was far more skeptical about Mohammed’s motives, the Guardian’s (11/5/17) initial coverage of the bloody purge—not just the headlines—was written in breathless press release tones:

Saudi Arabia’s leadership has pulled off its boldest move yet to consolidate power around its young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, arresting 11 senior princes, one of the country’s richest men and scores of former ministers in what it billed as a corruption purge.

The move sidelined at least 20 senior figures, among them outspoken billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, sending shockwaves through the ranks of the kingdom’s elites, who had long viewed senior royals as immune.

Lots of glowing prose to unpack here. Longtime Mideast correspondent Martin Chulov began by referring to “Saudi Arabia’s leadership,” which is a nice, sterile way of referencing the country’s unelected hereditary king and crown prince. Then he pivoted into marketing pablum about “bold moves” and “consolidating power,” before unironically framing the purge as an “anti-corruption” gesture designed to stick it to the “kingdom’s elites.” One could come away from reading this lead with the impression that the billionaire aristocrat was a populist folk hero in the vein of Robin Hood or John Dillinger. The thrilling profile continued:

Prince Mohammed will oversee the corruption commission, adding to his already formidable list of responsibilities, including his role as Defense minister and champion of the economic transformation, dubbed Vision 2030, that aims to revolutionize most aspects of Saudi life within 12 years.

Prince Mohammed told the Guardian last month that the kingdom had been “not normal” for the past 30 years and pledged to return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam.

While the author had a “to be sure” paragraph, citing “others” calling it a “naked attempt to weed out dissent,” the overall thrust of the article was that a roguish billionaire Boy King was earnestly seeking “reform” and opposing “elites.”

A follow-up piece (11/7/17) took flattering coverage to new extremes. The dispatch, again by Chulov, cited nothing but anonymous Saudi court hanger-ons and a Gulf-funded talking head from the NATO-aligned Atlantic Council think tank. The article, “‘This Is a Revolution’: Saudis Absorb Crown Prince’s Rush to Reform,” was populated with blind quotes from such adversarial voices as a “senior minister,” “a senior Saudi official,” a “senior figure,” a “senior Saudi businessman” and “veteran business leaders.” (Evidently no junior officials or rookie business leaders were available for comment.)

The article painted the “consolidation of power” by Mohammed as an inevitability with broad support—using the dubious “reform” narrative without irony. With Guardian editors again painting Mohammed as a populist hero by insisting he “upended” “previously untouchable ultra-elite,” one is left to wonder why they don’t consider the absolute-monarch-in-waiting—who just bought a $590 million yacht—part of the “ultra elite.” It’s a curious framing that reeks more of PR than journalism.

NYT: The Young and Brash Saudi Crown Prince

The New York Times (6/23/17) 

This was a trope one could see emerging over the past few months. Similar “bold reformer” frames were used in New York Times editorials (“The Young and Brash Saudi Crown Prince,” 6/23/17) and straight reporting (“Saudi Arabia’s Grand Plan to Move Beyond Oil: Big Goals, Bigger Hurdles,” 10/24/17). Everything’s new and exciting. The brutal, routine functions of the Saudi state are seen as laws of nature—and those in charge of it are the reformers of the very oppression they initially authored.

A Guardian editorial on November 7 was critical of the government, calling it “regressive” and Mohammed “belligerent,” but ultimately rested on “both sides” framing of recent events. The only meaningfully critical coverage of Saudi Arabia coming from the Guardian since the purge has been in two articles (11/12/17, 11/16/17), both in the context of Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. Neither mentioned bin Salman, and both stressed how the Saudis are responding in earnest to international pleas to stop their mass-murdering blockade of the Arab world’s poorest country.

Per usual, the Guardian reserves the label “regime” for Official Enemies like Syria and North Korea; Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a regime, it has “leadership.” Unlike adversary governments, often seen in need of “regime change,” the Saudi government merely requires “reform”—and a bold new “reformer,” of the sort championed by the likes of the Guardian and New York Times.


You can send a message to the New York Times at letters@nytimes.com , and to the Guardian at guardian.letters@theguardian.com (Twitter@NYTimes, @Guardian). Please remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

War Crimes as Policy

By Mark Taliano | Global Research | November 17, 2017

Despite appearances and differing ideologies, both the Kurds’ SDF and ISIS are Western intelligence assets in Syria. Neither would exist in Syria without the West and its allies, and both serve to destroy the country.

The Empire’s anti-democratic SDF proxies are not defeating the U.S Daesh proxies. They are simply replacing them.

One might reasonably ask how two seemingly opposed terrorist groups could possibly share the same strategic purpose. The answer would likely escape the awareness of the fighters as well, and it certainly escapes the awareness of most Canadians, whose tax dollars are supporting the terrorists. But the answer isn’t that complicated.

Consider the similarities between the two groups:

  • Both groups seek to illegally “impose their will” on Syria, and are effectively destroying Syria, contrary to the wishes of the vast majority of Syrians[1]
  • Both groups seek to partition Syria
  • Both groups require and receive support from the same aggressor nations
  • Both groups engage in activities that are illegal under international law and punishable according to Nuremburg Principles

ISIS/Daesh serves the military strategy of “place-setter”[2], as outlined in an earlier article. Empire first infests an area with terrorists, then destroys the area, using the fake pretext of “going after terrorists”, subsequently, it channels the original terrorists elsewhere, and then replaces the former terrorists with new terrorist occupiers who are portrayed as “liberators”.

Syrian journalist Nasser Atta describes the following video as an ISIS convoy “carrying 4500 fighters and their families leaving Raqqa a month ago after an agreement with US-backed Kurdish forces”:

The West, their allies, and their proxies are not wanted in Syria. They are the problem, not the solution. Their foreign “interventions” in Syria amount to war crimes as policy.

Notes

[1] TESEV (2012) ‘The perception of Turkey in the Middle East 2011’, TürkiyeEkonomikveSosyalEtüdlerVakfi, Istanbul, February, online: http://tesev.org.tr/en/yayin/ the-perception-of-turkey-in- the-middle-east-2011/ Accessed 17 November, 2017

[2] Mark Taliano, “The Islamic State as “Place-Setter” for the American Empire. ISIS is the Product of the US Military-Intelligence Complex.” Global Research, 26 October, 2017.  (https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-islamic-state-as-place-setter-for-u-s-empire-isis-is-the-product-of-the-us-military-intelligence-complex/5606371). Accessed 11 November, 2017

Copyright © Mark Taliano, Global Research, 2017

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Pseudo-leftists Explain the Failure of the ‘Syrian Revolution’

By Tim Anderson | Global Research | November 16, 2017

Some western “Liberals” and “Leftists” pay homage to Yassin al-Haj Saleh, an intellectual leftist of the ‘Syrian Revolution’. In fact Saleh represented only a tiny part of Syria’s left. He was ‘persecuted’ because he aligned himself with the 1980 and 2011 bloody uprisings by the sectarian Muslim Brotherhood, and their international Salafist (al Qaeda) supporters. In the end he had to flee for his life from those same sectarian terrorists.

With popular forces in Syria and Iraq destroying the globalised sectarian jihadist mercenaries – sponsored principally by Washington and the Saudis – some ideologues in colonial cultures still keep alive the romantic idea of a ‘Syrian Revolution’, that somehow tragically failed. This is also a myth propagated by the Muslim Brotherhood and their western sponsors, to cover an otherwise naked aggression against Syria.

It is a myth that matters much less now, as such propaganda no longer has the capacity to fuel deeper NATO intervention in Syria. Yet it seems important for the self-image of small groups of western pseudo-leftists, who committed themselves to the cause of ‘red-washing’ Washington’s latest war of aggression, backed by the most reactionary forces in the region.

By pseudo-leftist I mean those fanatic ideologues who cling to their fantasies, showing little interest in what the masses of ordinary people want. Those ‘Syrian Revolution’ fans betrayed the Syrian people, just as they betrayed the people of Libya, Cuba and many other  small countries, when under attack from the big powers.

But imagine the western pseudo-leftist’s delight on meeting an apparently like-minded individual Syrian. Enter Yassin al-Haj Saleh, author and proud backer of what he imagined might be a socialist revolution in Syria. His aptly titled book ‘The Impossible Revolution’ (Haymarket Books September 2017) spells out his failed dream and angry disillusionment. He claims to have been caught between “the hammer of Bashar al Assad’s counter-revolution and the anvil of his reactionary Islamic fundamentalist opponents”. On closer examination, his personal dilemmas seem entirely of his own making.

Saleh was jailed for 16 years (1980-96) under Hafez al Assad, for what he and his fans and publisher call ‘activism’. Does this mean ‘dissident’ or ‘peaceful protestor? In fact his party had aligned itself to the bloody and sectarian Muslim Brotherhood insurrections of 1979-1982. In this article I will discuss the implications of that decision.

Conditions in prison were terrible he says, but adds that he read “hundreds of books [and] … I learned more there than at university”. Not all prisons allow for such study. He had been a member of the Syrian Communist Party (Political Bureau), and so boasts socialist credentials. In 2011 he joined the ‘revolution’, moving from East Ghouta to Raqqa. There, fearing DAESH in 2013 he left the country. He survived the ordeal and published his book in 2017.

His US publisher portrays Yassin Al-Haj Saleh as “the intellectual voice of the Syrian revolution”. In the book Saleh presents a bleak portrait – but one which will probably appeal to western cynicism – of “three monsters … treading on Syria’s corpse”:

(1) the Assad regime and its allies,

(2) DAESH/ISIS and the other jihadists, and

(3) the West (the USA, UK, France, etc).

In other words, a plague on all their houses. Such cynicism, if popular, is weak analysis.

We know from independent Turkish pollsters TESEV that, by the end of 2011, only 5% of Syrians supported ‘violent protest’, the lowest figure in the region (c.f. 33% in Tunisia and 31% in Palestine) (TESEV 2012: 15). The big influx of foreign jihadists in 2012 would have hardened views against jihadist violence. And we know that the Syrian Arab Army, after some relatively small defections in the first year, did not fracture on religious grounds, as the Salafists had hoped.

The key problems with promotion of a figure like Saleh, to keep afloat the romantic idea of a failed ‘revolution’, are these:

(a) the self-serving story hides who this new hero is and what forces in Syria he might represent;

(b) the idealistic narrative (for a ‘democratic and egalitarian Syria’, etc) hides the actual historical forces of the Syrian insurrections; and

(c) in particular, it whitewashes Saleh’s own foolish collaboration with sectarian Islamists.

Image result for Yassin Al-Haj Saleh

You don’t have to buy Saleh’s book, as most of his arguments appear in an extended interview with Ashley Smith, in the US journal International Socialist Review. Smith is a member of the US International Socialist Organization, a Trotskyist group drawing on the ideas of the late Tony Cliff.

Prominent among those ideas is Cliff’s theory of ‘state capitalism’, which suggests that there has never been a true ‘socialist’ revolution and that all capitalist and ‘state capitalist’ nation-states must be smashed and rebuilt. That line is quite consistent with support for attacks on any state, progressive or otherwise, as also with alliance with imperialism and reactionary forces to do so. To what extent that sort of Trotskyism is consistent with Saleh’s view is another matter.

However we know these things about Saleh. First, his Communist Party (Political Bureau) faction was a tiny ‘Maoist’ splinter from Syria’s main Communist Party, back in the late 1970s. The main reason for this split was that Saleh’s faction wanted to ‘form an alliance’ with the Muslim Brotherhood, as they engaged in a series of sectarian attacks on the Syrian state (Gambill 2001). Most Syrian communists sided with the Ba’ath socialist state. However Saleh and his former leader, Riyad al Turk, persisted in their subordinate ‘alliance’ with the al Qaeda linked Muslim Brotherhood, into the 2000s (Pace 2005).

What precisely was Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood doing, back in 1979? Let’s read it from the late British writer Patrick Seale:

“The artillery school massacre of June 1979 marked the start of full-scale urban warfare against Alawis [and] against Ba’ath party officials … when cornered they often blew themselves up with grenades … In Aleppo between 1979 and 1981 terrorists killed over 300 people, mainly Baathists and Alawis but including a dozen Islamic clergy who had denounced the murders” (Seale 1988: 324-325).

All the other opposition parties, including most communists, rejected the Muslim Brotherhood’s sectarian terror; but not Saleh’s sect. Collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists is why Saleh received a long jail term in 1980, not because he was simply an ‘activist’.

Muslim Brotherhood terror has been romanticised over the years. At the end of the 1979-1982 attacks a final Brotherhood insurrection at Hama city was put down by Hafez al Assad. Revisionist historians these days, including many western writers, claim there was a large ‘civilian massacre’ at Hama in May 1982. For example author Rafaël Lefèvre (2013: 77) credulously reports: “While initial reports suggested 10,000 civilians were killed, other reports put the number as high as 40,000”. This is poor revisionist history.

Seale (1988: 333-334) observes that Hama 1982 was a serious conflict, not a ‘civilian massacre’. The Hama insurrection “was a last ditch battle” for the Brotherhood and it “raged for three grim weeks … many civilians were slaughtered in the prolonged mopping up … in nearly a month of fighting about a third of the historic inner city was demolished”. On overall casualties he notes that “government forces too suffered heavy losses to snipers … and grenades”, while total losses of life were controversial even at the time, “with government sympathisers estimating a mere 3,000 and critics as many as 20,000”.

The ‘civilian massacre’ mythology tries to hide the Brotherhood’s hand in initiating the violence, as recurred in Daraa and Homs in 2011. US intelligence back in 1982 had no such illusions. Of course the US had quietly backed those who financed and armed the Brotherhood’s attacks on Syria (the Saudis, the King of Jordan, Saddam Hussein and others). But Washington’s intelligence was dry and pragmatic, in its final assessment of May 1982:

“the Islamic Revolution in Syria, the Nom de Guerre for the Muslim Brotherhood … [spoke of] the rebels’ seizure of the city and the execution of some 50 “spies and informers” … about 3,000 government forces had been killed, according to the communique … the total casualties for the Hama incident probably number about 2,000. This includes an estimated 300-400 members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s elite Special Apparatus … the Syrian Government defeated the fundamentalist[s] … most Syrians, regardless of their difference with the present government, do not want the Muslim Brotherhood in power … [but] their modus operandi will continue to be terrorism, particularly bombings and assassination” (DIA 1982: 6-7).

Even if Saleh was young in 1980, most of the political prisoners with whom he shared prison time would have been Muslim Brotherhood. He was certainly not unaware of their approach to ‘revolution’ when he joined their next major insurrection in 2011. Indeed he says,

“When the [2011] revolution broke out I went into hiding … [and] while I was writing I was directly involved in the struggle” (Smith 2017).

His greatest claim to fame was to be one of the founders of the ‘Local Coordinating Councils’ (LCCs), indeed he says he was “the main author of the first political statement LCCs issued in June 2011” (Smith 2017). This tells us that the apparently secular language of the LCCs masked the faces of Muslim Brotherhood collaborators.

In any case, we know that the LCCs were little more than a fig leaf on the thoroughly sectarian insurrection, dominated by Syrian Muslim Brotherhood groups until 2012. Then they were displaced from leadership by their international jihadist partners, in the form of Jabhat al Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria, set up as a support group for the Syrian Salafis) and DAESH / ISIS, an outreach of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). As I wrote in my book The Dirty War on Syria (Anderson 2016: 83-84), the LCCs were seen as having a mainly media or PR role in 2011 (Asi Abu Najm 2011) and, by 2013, they were embedded with the Islamist groups, mainly reporting on jihadist casualties (LCC 2013).

Yassin al-Haj Saleh says he fled from East Ghouta to Raqqa, before leaving the country. However his early presence in Douma (East Ghouta) demonstrates how reliant he had become on his Salafist partners. For many years Douma had been dominated by Jaysh al Islam, in alliance with Jabhat al Nusra. Although the civilian population there has been decimated, from many thousands fleeing the conflict, it remains one of the few areas in Syria with a social base for sectarian extremists. The same can be said about Raqqa. Both areas had a strong, reactionary culture, with women in burkas and families preferring to send their children to a Salafist-led mosque than to school.

The US certainly knew from early days that this ‘revolution’ (1) was being led by extremists and (2) wanted to create a sectarian Islamic state in eastern Syria. US intelligence in August 2012 observed that “Internally, events are taking a clear sectarian direction. The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria … there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality [i.e. Islamic State] in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor) and this is exactly what [the US and its allies] want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime” (DIA 2012 in Hoff 2015).

Washington knew it and most Syrians knew it. The head of the Syrian Brotherhood, Muhammad Riyad Al-Shaqfa, issued a statement on 28 March 2011, which left no doubt that the group’s aim was sectarian and their target was what they perceived as a secular state. The enemy was “the secular regime”, he said, and Brotherhood members “have to make sure that the revolution will be pure Islamic, and with that no other sect would have a share of the credit after its success” (Al-Shaqfa 2011).

International jihadists, in the form of Jabhat al Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria) appeared in Homs in early 2011, specifically to help the Farouq Brigade (then the largest ‘FSA’ group) with its infamous genocidal slogan ‘Alawis to the tomb, Christians to Beirut’ and genocidal practice: the sectarian murder of supposedly apostate Muslims and the ethnic cleaning of Christians. Those slogans and practice were reported as early as 5 April 2011 (Farrell 2011) and in the New York Times in May (Shadid and Kirkpatrick 2011).

Tens of thousands of Syrian Christians from Homs were indeed driven to Beirut (CNA 2012). Claims that the “Assad regime” was behind the sectarianism were simply dishonest. Whatever their views of the Ba’athist system, most Syrians, and particularly the minorities, swung behind the Syrian state and the Syrian army very quickly.

As international jihadists (mainly from the Arab world, North Africa, the Caucasus and Europe) joined the Syrian Salafis in large numbers in mid-2012, even the western media began reporting that these were fanatics, not revolutionaries.

Well before DAESH / ISIS came across from Iraq to Syria the ‘Free Army’ leaders were complaining that the Syrian President had at least “70 percent” support in Aleppo (Bayoumy 2013); that the local people,

“all of them, are loyal to the criminal Bashar, they inform on us” (Abouzeid 2012); and that the people are “all informers … they hate us. They blame us for the destruction” (Ghaith 2012).

But, they went on to say, they had God on their side. James Foley, himself subject to a theatrical style execution by DAESH in 2014, reported two years earlier that the FSA ‘rebels’ had little public support. Indeed one leader promised Aleppo ‘would burn’, because the people there did not support the ‘revolution’ (Foley 2012).

Unpopularity is fatal to a revolution; to a religious fanatic it is merely inconvenient.

It is impossible that Saleh – an ideological fanatic, but an educated fanatic – did not know all this. Even if he himself was not an sectarian Islamist, he knew that the extreme sectarians with whom he collaborated in 1979 and again in 2011 were leading his ‘revolution’.

Saleh maintains his own self-serving myths about the conflict: that the ‘Assad regime’ was the source of sectarian violence, that Sunni Muslims and Kurds were oppressed, and that the US and its minions really supported the Assad Government. Saleh claims that the Obama administration (despite its repetitive and imperious ‘Assad must go’ demands) really wanted “regime preservation not regime change” (Saleh in Smith 2017).

It is hard to see how any reasonable person can take this seriously. We even have admissions from senior US officials, including former Vice President Biden and former head of the US military Martin Dempsey, that the ‘Arab Allies’ of the US financed every jihadist group from the ‘Free Army’ to DAESH / ISIS, precisely to get rid of Assad. More recently, former Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad Bin Jassim admitted that his little petro-state coordinated with Saudis, Turkey and the US to support all anti-Government jihadist forces (Syriana Analysis 2017).

Saleh’s former mentor, Riyad al Turk (who “liked” Saudi-backed Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri), was calling for US military assistance in 2005 to help “the opposition” get rid of the Assad Government (Pace 2005). Of course he did not represent the Syrian Opposition. In the Damascus Declaration (2005), while making harsh criticisms of the Baathist system, most Syrian opposition groups specifically renounced violent attacks on the state and outside intervention. The Muslim Brotherhood and its hangers on, in contrast, always wanted violence with US and/or NATO assistance.

Saleh’s claim to fame as a secular communist against ‘the regime’ is undermined by how unrepresentative his small group was of Syria’s communists. He, like al Turk, criticises most other communists who “supported the regime” (Smith 2017). So how much support did his faction have? Al Turk maintained “we don’t announce how many members we have” (Pace 2005), but Gambill (2001) suggests it was “very little”.

Syria’s main Communist Party split in the mid-1980s (over Gorbachev’s policies), into two groups. Both stood candidates in the Peoples’ Congress (Majlis al Shaab) elections of 2007, 2012 and 2016, gaining 8, 11 and 4 MPs out of 250, respectively. That indicates that Syria’s main communist parties had electoral support of between 80,000 and 140,000 Syrian voters (IDEA 2017; Syrian Parliament 2017). We have no way of knowing how much support there ever was for the Communist Party (Political Bureau), or its successor the ‘Syrian Peoples Democratic Party’. But ask yourself, how many genuinely secular Marxists would collaborate with sectarian, al Qaeda styled Islamists?

The inescapable conclusion is that Saleh’s romanticised ideas failed and he was lucky to escape with his life. He certainly would have been in danger from both the Syrian Army and DAESH. But he and his tiny faction did not represent any significant part of the Syrian left. They were distinguished mainly by their collaboration with the Brotherhood groups and their al Qaeda allies, before they disappeared entirely from the scene.

After his successive failures Saleh blames everyone (Bashar al Assad, alQaeda/ISIS, the West) but himself. Yet it seems he has become a useful figure for western pseudo-leftists (who never could identify an actual Syrian armed group that they supported) to point at and say “Look, there really was a left revolution in Syria! Here he is!”

Pseudo-leftists in western countries – who for years held on to the Washington-promoted fiction of a ‘Syrian Revolution’ – are desperate for token Syrian ‘hero’ on which to hang their fantasies. That could be an ex-Islamist or an ex-communist; they don’t look too closely to see where these people come from. This desperation highlights their failure to confront actual history, and to care about the things that matter to ordinary people.

Sources

Abouzeid, Rania (2012) ‘Aleppo’s Deadly Stalemate: A Visit to Syria’s Divided Metropolis’, Time, 14 November, online: http://world.time.com/2012/11/ 14/aleppos-deadly-stalemate-a- visit-to-syrias-divided- metropolis/

Al-Shaqfa, Muhammad Riyad (2011) ‘Muslim Brotherhood Statement about the so-called ‘Syrian Revolution’’, General supervisor for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, statement of 28 March, online at: http://truthsyria.wordpress. com/2012/02/12/muslim- brotherhood-statement-about- the-so-called-syrian- revolution/

Amazon (2017) Promotion and reviews of Saleh’s book ‘The Impossible Revolution’, online: https://www.amazon.com/ Impossible-Revolution-Yassin- al-Haj-Saleh/dp/160846850X

Anderson, Tim (2016) The Dirty War on Syria, Global Research, Montreal

Asi Abu Najm (2011) ‘Syria’s Coordination Committees: a Brief History’, Al Akhbar, 1 October, online: http://english.al-akhbar.com/ node/764

Bayoumy, Yara (2013) ‘Insight: Aleppo misery eats at Syrian rebel support’, Reuters, 9 January, online: http://www.reuters.com/ article/2013/01/09/us-syria- crisis-rebels- idUSBRE9070VV20130109

CNA (2012) ‘Syrian violence drives 50,000 Christians from homes’, Catholic News Agency, online: http://www.catholicnewsagency. com/news/syrian-violence- drives-50000-christians-from- homes/

Damascus Declaration (2005) ‘The Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change’, English version in Joshua Landis blog Syria Comment, 1 November, online: http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/ Joshua.M.Landis-1/syriablog/ 2005/11/damascus-declaration- in-english.htm

DIA (1982) ‘Syria: Muslim Brotherhood pressure intensifies’, Syria360, May, online: https://syria360.files. wordpress.com/2013/11/dia- syria- muslimbrotherhoodpressureinten sifies-2.pdf

Farrell, Shane (2011) ‘Lebanese Christians react to regional instability’, Now Media, 5 April, online: https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/ reportsfeatures/lebanese_ christians_react_to_regional_ instability

Foley, James (2012) ‘Syria: Rebels losing support among civilians in Aleppo’, PRI, 16 October, online: https://www.pri.org/stories/ 2012-10-16/syria-rebels- losing-support-among- civilians-aleppo

Gambill, Gary C. (2001) ‘Dossier: Riyad al Turk’, Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, Middle East Forum, Vol 3 No 9, September, online: https://www.meforum.org/meib/ articles/0109_sd1.htm

Ghaith, Abdul-Ahad (2012) ‘The people of Aleppo needed someone to drag them into the revolution’, The Guardian, 28 December, online: http://www.theguardian.com/ world/2012/dec/28/aleppo- revolution-abu-ali-sulaibi 

Hoff, Brad (2015) ‘2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document: West will facilitate rise of Islamic State “in order to isolate the Syrian regime”’, Levant Report, 19 May, online: https://levantreport.com/2015/ 05/19/2012-defense- intelligence-agency-document- west-will-facilitate-rise-of- islamic-state-in-order-to- isolate-the-syrian-regime/

IDEA (2017) ‘Syrian Arab republic, Total vote, Parliamentary elections, 1994-2016, online: https://www.idea.int/data- tools/question-countries-view/ 437/274/ctr

LCC (2013) ‘Dignity Strike … We make our revolution by our own hands’, Local Coordination Committees of Syria, December, online: http://www.lccsyria.org/3528

Lefèvre, Rafaël (2013) Ashes of Hama: the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Hurst and Company, London

Pace, Joe (2005) ‘Riyad al Turk, interviewed by Joe Pace on Mehlis, the Opposition, Ghadry’, Joshua Landis Page, October 22, online: http://joshualandis.oucreate. com/syriablog/2005/10/riad-al- turk-interviewed-by-joe-pace. htm

Seale, Patrick (1988) Asad: the struggle for the Middle East, University of California Press, Berkeley

Shadid, Anthony and David D. Kirkpatrick (2011) ‘Promise of Arab Uprisings Is Threatened by Divisions’, New York Times, 21 May, online: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/ 05/22/world/middleeast/22arab. html?pagewanted=all

Smith, Ashley (2017) ‘Revolution, counterrevolution, and imperialism in Syria, Interview with Yassin al-Haj Saleh’, International Socialist Review, Issue #107 online: https://isreview.org/issue/ 107/revolution- counterrevolution-and- imperialism-syria

Syrian parliament (2017) Syrian Peoples’ Assembly, online: https://web.archive.org/web/ 20121008210031/http:// parliament.sy/forms/cms/ viewStatistics.php ; and Inter-Parliamentary Union (2016) ‘SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC: Majlis Al-Chaab (People’s Assembly)’, online: http://archive.ipu.org/ parline-e/reports/2307_E.htm; and as compiled in Wikipedia ‘Syrian parliamentary elections’ 2007 / 2012 / 2016, online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Syrian_parliamentary_election, _2007

Syriana Analysis (2017) ‘Hamad Bin Jassim: We Supported Al-Qaeda in Syria’, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=9f33l30kQxg

TESEV (2012) ‘The perception of Turkey in the Middle East 2011’, Türkiye Ekonomik ve Sosyal Etüdler Vakfi, Istanbul, February, online: http://tesev.org.tr/en/yayin/ the-perception-of-turkey-in- the-middle-east-2011/

Copyright © Prof. Tim Anderson, Global Research, 2017

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Anniversaries of major events promote political interests not the public spirit

By Greg Felton | November 18, 2017

To all intents and purposes, our political, economic and moral world begins with World War I, the seminal event of the 20th century. The carnage, devastation and psychological trauma of Europe’s first total war did to the old political order what a certain asteroid did to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago: it wiped out an existing hierarchy and forced the creation of another that would ultimately be dominated by the U.S., which emerged from that war as the world’s new apex predator.

Now, in the early stages of the 21st century, anniversaries of events that have defined our concept of modernity are going to come in profusion, events like the Russian revolutions, League of Nations, stock market crash, the Great Depression; World War II, atomic weapons, plastics, the United Nations, McCarthyism and the Cold War.

Which events we commemorate, how we commemorate them, and which ones we ignore or gloss over have less to do with their intrinsic importance than with their propaganda value in support of, if you’ll pardon the cliché, The New World Order. The selective use of history to prop up our post-war hierarchy can be seen in attitudes toward two events that have anniversaries this month.

The Balfour Declaration, Nov. 2, 1917

Defenders and detractors of the Declaration both made much of its centenary, yet neither side seemed to understand its general worthlessness. The document in question is simply a letter from British Foreign Secretary James Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild expressing the British government’s favourable view of “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It does not, as is widely believed, have anything to do with the creation of Israel. It amounted to nothing.

On its face, the Declaration is absurd as well as politically and legally indefensible. “National home” has no meaning in international law; Jews do not constitute “a people” and therefore not “a nation”; Palestinians were not consulted on the matter; and the Declaration betrayed the British government’s support for Arab independence as outlined in the Hussein–McMahon correspondence.

In one letter dated Oct. 25, 1915, the British High Commissioner to Egypt, Lt.–Col. Sir Henry McMahon, openly promised Palestine, inter alia, to the Sharif of Mecca. The Hussein–McMahon correspondence was a meaningful exchange between governments; the Balfour Declaration was merely a private letter addressed to a special-interest group, the Zionist Federation.

Regarding its contents, nothing in the Declaration was special or revelatory regarding British attitudes. Upper-class twits, er Brits, like Josiah Wedgwood had been lionizing zionism since at least Feb. 7, 1917. As Wedgwood would say a decade or so later, “Zionism is now doing for the Jews what the Labour Party seeks to do for the British working-class—creating self-confidence and corporate self-respect.”

For Wedgwood, Balfour and others, zionism was a benign illusion borne of ignorance and Western hubris. Wedgwood even praised Jewish colonization of Palestine as being wholly beneficial. Such a misguided understanding is also reflected in the Declaration’s naïve insistence that nothing in the zionist enterprise should be allowed to harm or prejudice the civil or religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities.

In truth, the Zionist Federation, to whom Balfour addressed the letter, had no intention of respecting Palestinian rights. In fact, such respect is anathema to zionism As anyone can see, the modern “state” of Israel is an abomination of the spirit of the Balfour Declaration. Therefore, the Declaration must be seen as either a conscious act of U.K. complicity in a genocide or an expression of sentimental Judeophilic nonsense. Either way, it does not deserve to be celebrated.

UNGA Resolution 181, (“The Partition Plan”) Nov. 29, 1947

The disconnect between zionist fantasy in the Balfour Declaration and zionist reality in Palestine would be proven 30 years later when the UN General Assembly caved in to blackmail to “create” Israel. The following account of how UNGA Resolution 181 came to pass is taken from my 2011 essay UN must again choose between capitulation and credibility.

By Nov. 25, 1947, the Zionist lobby realized that it did not have the requisite two-thirds majority in the General Assembly to support partition [Palestine]. Extraordinary measures had to be taken.

Vijayalakshmi Pandit, head of India’s UN delegation and sister of India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, received daily death threats warning her to change her vote. Nehru, though, refused to buckle in the face of threats or lucrative bribes. (Najma Heptulla, Indo-West Asian relations: the Nehru era, Allied Publishers, 1991, p. 158.)

Other, smaller, countries could not afford to stand on principle. In Palestine and Israel—A Challenge to Justice, Professor John Quigley recounts how Liberia, the Philippines, and Haiti—all financially dependent on the U.S.—were coerced into switching their votes:

“Liberia’s ambassador to the United Nations complained that the U.S. delegation threatened aid cuts to several countries. Some delegates charged U.S. officials with ‘diplomatic intimidation.’ Without terrific pressure from the United States on governments which cannot afford to risk American reprisals, said an anonymous editorial writer, the resolution would never have passed. The fact such pressure had been exerted became public knowledge, to the extent a State Department policy group was concerned that ‘the prestige of the UN’ would suffer because of ‘the notoriety and resentment attendant upon the activities of U.S. pressure groups, including members of Congress, who sought to impose U.S. views as to partition on foreign delegations.’” (p. 37)

On Nov. 29, the Partition Plan, known as UNGA Resolution 181 narrowly gained the required two thirds—33 in favor, 13 opposed, 10 abstaining and 1 absent—yet the resolution was a violation of the UN Charter since the UN has no authority to take land from one people and give it to another.

As a result, 726,000 Arabs were made refugees in their own land from November 29, 1947, until the end of 1948, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine. Walter Eytan, Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, referred to the UNRWA’s figure as “meticulous” and believed that the real number was closer to 800,000. Moshe Dayan would later admit: “There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” (Ha’aretz, April 4, 1969).…

Thomas Reid, British MP for Swindon, called Resolution 181 “an iniquitous scheme”: “Let us be frank about it. One of the chief motives is that the Jews have a controlling voice in the election for the President in the States of New York, Illinois, Ohio and elsewhere in America. I suggest that the chief reason for this evil proposal of U.N.O. is that the political parties in America, or their party machines, are partly at the electoral mercy of the Jews. That is public knowledge.” (Hansard, Dec. 11, 1947)

So much for the relevance of the Balfour Declaration and its pious concern for the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish groups! In fact, the cruelty of the invading Jews toward the native Palestinians was so great that U.S. President Harry Truman refused to let UNGA Resolution 181 go to the Security Council for ratification, and at one point was prepared to rescind U.S. support for partition. In a March 25, 1948 statement, Truman declared support for trusteeship, albeit temporarily, to stabilize the region and maintain law and order:

It has become clear that the partition plan cannot be carried out at this time by peaceful means. We could not undertake to impose this solution on the people of Palestine by the use of American troops, both on Charter grounds and as a matter of national policy.

The consequence of this admission, of course, is that without ratification UNGA Resolution 181 does not exist: GA resolutions are only recommendations and have no force of law unless accepted by all parties. Therefore, Israel has no legal, moral or political legitimacy. This illegitimacy is what celebrating the centenary of the Declaration amounted to.

There is, though, one irony to the Declaration that is worthy of note. There was one lone voice against the Declaration in David Lloyd-George’s government. It belonged to Edwin Samuel Lord Montagu, who wrote to the British Cabinet on Aug. 23, 1917, one day after the Balfour Declaration was drafted. Here is a short excerpt:

[A] religious test of citizenship seems to me to be only admitted by those who take a bigoted and narrow view of one particular epoch of the history of Palestine, and claim for the Jews a position to which they are not entitled.

If my memory serves me right, there are three times as many Jews in the world as could possible get into Palestine if you drove out all the population that remains there now. So that only one-third will get back at the most, and what will happen to the remainder?

… I feel that the Government are asked to be the instrument for carrying out the wishes of a Zionist organisation largely run, as my information goes, at any rate in the past, by men of enemy descent or birth, and by this means have dealt a severe blow to the liberties, position and opportunities of service of their Jewish fellow-countrymen.

Montagu was also the government’s only Jew.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law

By Ralph Nader | November 15, 2017

Me Too is producing some results. At long last. Victims of sexual assault by men in superior positions of power are speaking out. Big time figures in the entertainment, media, sports and political realms are losing their positions – resigning or being told to leave. A producer at 60 Minutes thinks Wall Street may be next.

Sexual assaults need stronger sanctions. Only a few of the reported assaulters are being civilly sued under the law of torts. Even fewer are subjects of criminal investigation so far.

Perhaps the daily overdue accounting, regarding past and present reports of sexual assaults will encourage those abused in other contexts to also blow the whistle on other abuses. Too often, there are not penalties, but instead rewards, for high government and corporate officials whose derelict and often illegal decisions directly produce millions of deaths and injuries.

A few weeks ago, former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice shared a stage at the George W. Bush Institute, reflecting on their careers to widespread admiration. What they neglected to mention were the devastated families, villages, cities and communities and nations plunged into violent chaos from the decisions they deliberately made in their careers.

In a 1996 interview, Madeleine Albright, then secretary of state under Bill Clinton, was asked by Lesley Stahl of CBS 60 Minutes about the tens of thousands of children in Iraq whose deaths were a direct result of Clinton-era sanctions designed to punish Baghdad and whether it was worth it (At that time, Ms. Stahl had just visited these wasting children and infants in a Baghdad hospital). Secretary Albright replied in the affirmative.

Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state under George W. Bush, pushed for the criminal and unconstitutional invasion of Iraq, which resulted in over one million Iraqi deaths, millions of refugees, a broken country and sectarian violence that continues to this day. She has said she often thinks about this mayhem and feels some responsibility. Yet one wonders, as she collects huge speech fees and book advances from her position at Stanford University, whether she might consider donating some of her considerable resources to charities that support those Iraqis whose lives were destroyed by the illegal interventions she advocated.

Then there is lawless Hillary Clinton, who, against the strong advice of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and without any Congressional authorization, persuaded Barack Obama to support a destabilizing regime overthrow in Libya– which has since devolved into a failed state spreading death, destruction and terror in Libya to its neighboring countries. Clinton, who is at large touting her new book and making millions of dollars in book royalties and speech fees to applauding partisan audiences, should also consider making donations to those who have been harmed by her actions.

Relaxing in affluent retirement are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the butchers of millions of innocent Iraqis and Afghans. They too are raking it in and receiving ovations from their partisans. No prosecutors are going after them for illegal wars of aggression that were never constitutionally declared and violated our federal laws, international treaties and the Geneva Conventions.

As these ex-officials bask in adulation, the American people are not being shown the burned corpses, charred villages, and poisoned water and soil created by their “public service.” Nor are they exposed to the immense suffering and broken hearts of survivors mourning their deceased family members. Americans never hear the dreaded 24/7 whine of the omnipresent drones flying over their homes, ready to strike at the push of a button by remote operators in Virginia or Nevada. Nor do they hear the screams and sobbing of the victims of unbridled military action, fueling ever-greater hatred against the US.

Corporate executives also get rewarded for the mayhem they unleash by selling dangerously defective cars (e.g. GM, Toyota and VW recently) or releasing deadly toxins into the air and water or presiding over preventable problems in hospitals that a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study reported is talking 5000 lives a week in this country.

What’s the difference? Because the cause and effect by officials pushing lethal politics, openly carried out with massive armed forces, do so at a distance in time and space (the Nuremberg principles after World War II, which included adherence by the US, addressed this problem). They lather their massive violent, unlawful actions with lies, cover-ups and deceptions, as was the case in 2002-2003 in Iraq. They wrap the flag around their dishonorable desecrations of what that flag stands for and the lives of US soldiers whom they sent there to kill or die.

These officials overpower the rule of law with the rule of raw power – political, economic and military.

For centuries patriarchal mayhem has exploited women in the workplace or the home. Raw power – physical, economic and cultural, regularly, overpower the legal safeguards against wrongful injury, rape and torture, both in the household and at work.

Sporadic assertions of a punishing public opinion will not be enough in either sphere of humans abusing humans. That is why the rule of law must be enforced by the state, and through private civil actions.

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How America’s Deep State Operates to Control the Message

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.11.2017

It is not possible to overstate the power of certain constituencies and corporate lobbies in the United States. These pressure groups, joined by powerful government agencies, many of which have secret agendas that focus on national security, constitute what is increasingly being recognized as “Deep State America.” Deep State is the widespread belief that there exists in many countries an entrenched and largely hidden infrastructure that really controls the national narrative and runs things. It explains why, for example, a country like the United States is perpetually at war even though the wars have been disastrous failures ever since Korea and have not made the nation more secure.

To be sure, certain constituencies have benefitted from global instability and conflict, to include defense industries, big government in general, and the national security state. They all work together and hand-in-hand with the corporate media to sustain the narrative that the United States is perpetually under threat, even though it is not.

The recent exchanges over the Russia-US relationship exhibit perfectly how the Deep State operates to control the message. American President Donald Trump briefly met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam. Putin reportedly told Trump that Russia “absolutely had not meddled” in the 2016 US election and Trump then told reporters that he believed the Russian leader meant what he said, “which is good.” As détente with Russia is not considered desirable by the Deep State, there was an immediate explosion of a contrary narrative, namely that Trump believes a Russian “enemy” and does not trust what his own intelligence agencies have told him about 2016 because he is being “played” by Putin. This story was repeated both on television news and in all the mainstream newspapers without exception, eventually forcing Trump to recant and say that he does believe in US intelligence.

Not a single major media outlet in the US reported that it just might be possible that Putin was telling the truth and that the intelligence community, which has been wrong many times over the past twenty years, might have to look again at what it considers to be evidence. No journalist had the courage to point out that the claims of the Washington national security team have been remarkably devoid of anything credible to support the conclusions about what the Russian government might or might not have been up to. That is what a good journalist is supposed to do and it has nothing to do with whether or not one admires or loathes either Putin or Trump.

That the relationship between Moscow and Washington should be regarded as important given the capability of either country to incinerate the planet would appear to be a given, but the Washington-New York Establishment, which is euphemism for Deep State, is actually more concerned with maintaining its own power by marginalizing Donald Trump and maintaining the perception that Vladimir Putin is the enemy head of state of a Russia that is out to cripple American democracy.

Beyond twisting narratives, Russiagate is also producing potentially dangerous collateral damage to free speech, as one of the objectives of those in the Deep State is to rein in the current internet driven relatively free access to information. In its most recent manifestations, an anonymous group produced a phony list of 200 websites that were “guilty” of serving up Russian propaganda, a George Soros funded think tank identified thousands of individuals who are alleged to be “useful idiots” for Moscow, and legitimate Russian media outlets will be required to register as foreign agents.

Driven by Russophobia over the 2016 election, a group of leading social media corporations including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have been experimenting with ways to self-censor their product to keep out foreign generated or “hate” content. They even have a label for it: “cyberhate“. Congress is also toying with legislation that will make certain viewpoints unacceptable or even illegal, including a so-called Anti-Semitism Awareness Act that would potentially penalize anyone who criticizes Israel and could serve as a model for banning other undesirable speech. “Defamatory speech” could even eventually include any criticism of the government or political leaders, as is now the case in Turkey, which is the country where the “Deep State” was invented.

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter – Book Review

Reviewed by Vacy Vlazna | Palestine Chronicle | November 9, 2017

(Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter, Zohra Drif, Just World Books, 2017)

“Colonialism creates the patriotism of the colonized. Kept at the level of a beast by an oppressive system, the natives are given no rights, not even the right to live. Their condition worsens daily. And when a people has no choice but how it will die; when a people has received from its oppressors only the gift of despair, what does it have to lose? A people’s misfortune will become its courage; it will make, of its endless rejection by colonialism, the absolute rejection of colonization.”  –  Albert Memmi

Stylishly dressed in a lavender blue summer dress with small stripes, Algerian student Zohra Drif, 22, in a state of surreal disassociation yet guided by ‘absolute necessity, the sacred duty to succeed in my mission so that my people would not despair’, planted a bomb concealed in a beach bag to be set off 6.25 pm in the Milk Bar cafe on the elegant Rue d’Isly, a 10 minute walk from the Muslim Casbah held captive under the oppressive French military siege.

Across town, on the same sunny afternoon of September 30, 1956, Zohra’s friends, Samia Lakhdari and her mother, Mama Zhor, successfully targeted the Cafeteria on Rue Michelet and Djamila Bouhired planted a faulty bomb in the Air France agency in the Mauritania building.

As an activist for Palestine, I was eager to understand the mind, soul and motive of a young freedom fighter. Zohra Drif’s profoundly personal and nationalistic autobiography is a precise holographic sliver of the whole 1954-1962 Algerian struggle for independence from 130 years of France’s brutal colonization; a struggle that claimed over 1,000,000 Algerian lives.

Daughter of Qadi Ahmed and Saadi Drif, Zohra’s destiny from childhood in rural Tiaret to schoolgirl and university law student in Algiers and her dogged determination to join the National Liberation Front (FLN) in the Algiers Autonomous Zone 5, to her stressful clandestine life, subsequent arrest and imprisonment is a compelling read.

Its power lies in a tense dramatic immediacy, intriguingly heightened by the voice of the young Zohra, not the 82-year-old Zohra, the author who splices Algeria’s tragic saga underscored by French colonial privileged racism with the idealism and valiant acts of young revolutionaries….

And herein lies the rationale and honor of the revolutionary identity:

“Perhaps the reader of today expects me to regret having placed bombs in public places frequented by European civilians. I do not. To do so would be to obscure the central problem of settler colonialism by trying to pass off the European civilians of the day for (at best) mere tourists visiting Algeria or (at worst) the ‘natural’ inheritors of our land in place of its legitimate children. I will not adopt this position because I hate lies and their corollary, revisionism, whatever they are and wherever they come from. Samia and I did not regret our actions in 1956 or 1957, nor do we today, nor will we ever. I speak here in my own name and on behalf of my friend and sister Samia Lakhdari, who died in the summer of 2012. What’s more, if today, God forbid, my country were to be attacked and occupied by a foreign force, I know that even at my advanced age, propped up on a cane, I would be with all those (and I know there are many of them, in Algeria and elsewhere) who would offer their lives to liberate our land and its people. In declaring this, I seek neither to boast nor to challenge anyone. I am simply trying to convey an idea, a simple conviction related to the concept of responsibility.

“As for the civilians who perished during the war of national liberation, if they are Algerian, I would propose that they go to the ALN fighters and ask them, “Why did we die?” I know that the ALN will reply, ‘You are dead because your lives were part of the price we had to pay for our country to be free and independent.’ And if they are French, I would propose that they go see the French authorities and ask, ‘Why did we die?’ I do not know what the French authorities would say, but I would propose to them the one real truth there is: ‘You died because you were among the hundreds of thousands of Europeans that we used to subjugate and occupy a foreign country, Algeria, so that we could make it our settler colony.’ In any case, this will not make me forget all the French who chose justice and the values of freedom and dignity (of which their own homeland boasted) and joined our camp.”

The rightness and justice bolted to Zohra’s vindication of her mission intensifies when you consider the barbarities that the French regime perpetrated against Algerians – whole scale massacres and napalm bombing in Setif, Kherrata, North Constantinos, the massacre of thousands of men in the Skikda stadium, collective punishment, humiliations, lynchings, impalings, collective rape, annihilation of villages and their occupants, mass arrests, disappearances, concentration camps, tens of thousands of summary executions, bombings of trade unions, terrible tortures in prisons and in homes in front of the family, curfews, checkpoints, rampant raids, looting, psychological warfare, blowing up homes, the relentless incitement fear and terror, military courts replaced civil courts, decapitation by guillotine, the Paris massacre of 300 Algerian protestors – all executed with merciless French arrogance and indifference to the humanity of the ‘natives’. An arrogance that masks the moral inferiority of the colonist.

French colonial sadism exists to this day thus explaining why since 1947, Presidents from Auriol to Macron ( with the exception of Pompidou and d’Estaing) have enthusiastically supported the savage colonialism of their Israeli frères d’armes:

Auriol: approved Partition Plan, voted for the Israel’s membership to the UN.

Coty: France and Israel cooperated “in research and production of nuclear weapons,” and build Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor.

de Gaulle: “I raise my glass to Israel, our friend and our ally.”

(Pompidou and d’Estaing)

Mitterrand: “Indeed, the French nation is a friend to the nation of Israel.”

Chirac: “France is determined to strengthen Israel and I say that it is important that the process move forward towards full development and assure full security for the people of Israel.”

Sarkozy: “On behalf of France, we would like to declare our love for Israel – we love you! “

Hollande “I will always remain a friend of Israel”

Macron – “French law prohibits … boycotting [Israel]. There is no question of changing that law and no question of acting indulgently on this. For me, these [BDS protests] are anti-Zionist moves, thus profoundly anti-Semitic … I condemn this approach both legally and politically.”

The timeless universality of Zohra’s insurrectionary call to dignity and freedom has invaluable resonance for Palestinian resistance. Reading Zohra’s memoir is Palestine’s story and the lessons are electrifying:

1. Maintain focus on the occupiers fault lines:

“First, France was not invincible. Not only had she not resisted the German occupation but, even worse, over 80 percent of the French parliament had voted for the armistice – France’s abdication to Germany – and what’s more, the majority of the French elite had even collaborated with the occupiers, supporting the Vichy regime and its Marshal Philippe Petain. We were well aware that without Britain and the United States, France would never have been liberated.” Also France had been defeated in WWI and later defeated in Franco-Thai War and the Indochina War.”

Israel, for all its army, navy, airforce, vast cache of nuclear and high tech military hardware ( France ties with Germany in arms exports to Israel) is not invincible. Its European Jewish immigrants, apart from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, like the French submitted to the Nazis. The 1973 Yom Kippur War resulted in the Israeli return of its Sinai gains to Egypt, and in the 2006 Lebanon War Israel failed to destroy Hezbollah. Israel’s three wars on Gaza, 2009/10, 2011 and 2014 have incrementally caused heavy losses to Israel’s credibility and fabricated victim reputation. In 2014, without an army, navy, airforce, Hamas inflicted 67 ZOF deaths and wounded 468.

2. Resistance is justice and a right.

“We are not killers. We are fighters for a just cause, moved by the most sacred of duties: to liberate our land and our people. It is the colonial regime that kills -torturing, oppressing, and repressing to perpetuate its system of occupation on our land and our people, trying to convince everyone that Algeria is French. That is why each of our attacks, each of our ambushes, each of our lives sacrificed must serve to unmask France before the world, to show that our people are at war against a foreign power occupying us by force.”

The Zionist occupier also tries to convince the world that Palestine is Israel via western media and lackey governments spreading its false propaganda: that its daily war crimes in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention are acts of defense, that its daily theft of Palestinian land, livelihood and dignity was decreed by a god, that Palestinian legitimate armed and BDS resistance to foreign domination is ‘terrorism’ and ‘antisemitic’.

In Algeria, all settlers had to “know that Algeria was at war and understand that they could no longer sit back and enjoy life while watching us die.”

In historic Palestine, according to Miko Peled, all Israelis are settlers. At arms length from their inflicted suffering on indigenous Palestinians, the settlers move freely on apartheid roads sans 500 plus checkpoints, many live in coersively vacated Palestinian homes, they enjoy cafes with views of beaches that the majority of Palestinians have never seen. In their illegal settlements, they bathe in private swimming pools while Palestinians are rationed water for necessities. Colonists enjoy first class medical care while at a stone’s throw away, desperately ill Gazans are denied access to dialysis and cancer treatment.

3. Against great odds, independence can be achieved.

“Knowing that ‘We all knew that each day we lived was a victory over a possible arrest or a probable death,’ the poorly armed Algerian guerrilla resistance movement was up against ‘an army of nearly half a million highly equipped men’ and despite lethal internal divisions between the FLN and the MNA and collaborators such as the Harkis and Bachagha Ait Ali who ‘was notorious for his public condemnation of our national liberation struggle and for his participation in France’s fierce repression against our people’, Algeria achieved independence in 1962 and many of its fighters went on to serve Algeria in government. Zohra became the Vice-President of the Algerian Senate.”

Palestine too has its Bachagha Ait Ali in Mahmoud Abbas and his Zionist PA/PLO band of traitors to Palestinian resistance who uphold, “The security relationship [with Israel]… security coordination is sacred, is sacred. And we’ll continue it whether we disagree or agree over policy.”

Zohra shares the upheaval of betrayal by a comrade:

“Safi’s obvious, devastating betrayal stood out for its violent clarity, like the flash of a bomb. I shuddered. A new pain that I had never experienced until then wracked my insides: the very unique pain of betrayal. Not only is its intensity particular, but also its extent and the way it destabilizes you and your whole world. Suffering a betrayal destroys your points of references, the certainties necessary for life and for trust in the human race, including in yourself.”

She realizes that betrayal as a tool of the oppressor is intended “to annihilate our humanity.” However, she states that judging a victim of torture as a traitor would exonerate “his torturers and the colonial system” and that “would be the true betrayal.” Self-serving betrayal was rabidly punished after independence.

Ultimately, France’s tactics of disproportionate violent repression, racism, lies, deception, defiant abuse of the rule of law and international law courted defeat by raising the bar of Algerian resistance.

And so it is with Israel. Every Israeli war augments international support for Palestine’s legitimate right to sovereignty and independence. Israel’s settlement expansion is ironically the wrecking ball destroying the Zionist dream of Eretz Israel, the occupation’s strangulation of Palestinian society has birthed the counterinsurgency of BDS worldwide.

Decades of Israeli cruel repression have never made a dent in Palestinian sumoud- the resilient soul of Palestine and her children:

This is my rendition of an anthem to be sung
I will rise and soar above your matrix of control
With the strength of my will your walls will fall
And this concrete that segregates us will be used to rebuild homes
Your bulldozers and tanks will dissolve into the earth
The sap will run in the olive trees
The gates will open wide for the refugees
We will be free
I will be your equal
And only then you will be mine
My other self
My fellow human being. (Samah Sabawi)

As with French colonialism, Israel is imploding under the violent pressure of Zionism. The death of Zionism will inevitably herald what Svirsky calls ‘the noble ‘one state’ of equal partnership.’

 – Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters and editor of a volume of Palestinian poetry, I remember my name. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was convenor of Australia East Timor Association and coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment