A Canadian court has ruled that the government harmed thousands of indigenous children who were robbed of their cultural heritage when it took them from their families. Launched eight years ago, the lawsuit could cost the government US$1bn.
Ruling on the case on Tuesday, Justice Edward Belobaba said Canada breached its “duty of care” when the Ontario-led program forcibly removed 16,000 aboriginal children from their families and relocated them to non-indigenous homes between 1965 and 1984.
The federal initiative, which aimed to educate children on Euro-Canadian and Christian values, became known as the ‘Sixties Scoop’. An investigation into the program produced the Kimelman Report, which described it as “cultural genocide.”
“The uncontroverted evidence of the plaintiff’s experts is that the loss of their Aboriginal identity left the children fundamentally disoriented, with a reduced ability to lead healthy and fulfilling lives,” Belobaba said, as quoted by CBC.
“The loss of Aboriginal identity resulted in psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, unemployment, violence and numerous suicides.”
“There is … no dispute that great harm was done,” the judge added.
The case had stuttered for several years until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to power, fulfilling an election promise that it would be revived to better the country’s relationship with its indigenous population. Tuesday’s ruling is expected to have an impact on a number of similar cases across the country.
Damages have yet to be decided upon.
National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde welcomed the decision, telling Reuters: “Children have the right to speak their language and stay connected to their heritage. Today’s decision is a step towards reconciliation.”
Marcia Brown Martel, who was taken from her native family aged four, began the class-action lawsuit against the federal government when she began searching for her roots. No information had been provided to Martel’s adoptive family on her original home, leaving her to try tracing her past from her limited memories.
Reacting to the ruling, Colleen Cardinal, who was also taken as part of the program when she was just two years old, said she was surprised with the ruling but is now confident that similar lawsuits will go the same way.
“I think the rest of the country has been waiting for this class action to be resolved, and I’m pretty sure that the rest will follow suit,” she told CBC.
Cardinal said this was a “monetary victory” but that those taken still needed support to help them heal.
A number of children taken during the program were adopted by US families, including Sydney Dion, who was denied entry to Canada when he attempted to return home as he did not have a Canadian birth certificate. He was eventually allowed to enter the country after border patrol acknowledged he was a minor when taken to the US and did not consent to becoming a US citizen.
Hearts and Minds is a 1974 American documentary film about the Vietnam War directed by Peter Davis.
The film’s title is based on a quote from President Lyndon B. Johnson: “the ultimate victory will depend on the hearts and minds of the people who actually live out there”.
The movie was chosen as Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 47th Academy Awards presented in 1975.
In August 1951, inhabitants of the picturesque French village of Pont-Saint-Esprit were suddenly tormented by terrifying hallucinations. People imagined lions and tigers were coming to eat them. A man jumped out of a window thinking he was a dragonfly. At least seven people died, dozens were taken to the local asylum in strait jackets and hundreds were affected.
Almost immediately, wild theories started circulating to explain the this mysterious case of mass insanity. There were claims of poisoned flour, contaminated water and even witchcraft. But the truth was stranger than many of the theories: the CIA had spiked the local food with LSD as part of a mind control experiment at the height of the Cold War.
In this documentary, we reveal how for decades, the CIA has been using unconsenting people as guinea pigs in thousands of different experiments.
While people on both sides of the phoney left/right divide squabble over terrorist boogeymen and Trump’s CIA chief gives Saudi Arabia an award for “counter”terrorism, everyone has lost sight of the bigger picture: The blithering morons who are the face of international terror are aided, funded, controlled and handled by the intelligence agencies. It is all part of the con to get you scared of your own shadow so the terror-industrial complex can laugh all the way to the bank. Today James breaks down the latest chapter in this never-ending psy-op saga.
Feds admit they edited videos
In 2016, the Obama Administration was forced to admit that questions about the government’s secret discussions with Iran were deliberately edited.
Police caught editing videos
Police in New Mexico, Colorado, Chicago and North Carolina have been caught deleting and editing videos. A 2015 article in the Huffington Post warned everyone about the dangers of police releasing copies of dashcam/bodycam footage.
“If courts and news outlets can’t access the original recording and digital record, there’s no way to check that what you’re seeing is unaltered video.”
The Huffington Post warns, that none of the so-called high tech security protocols can prevent law enforcement from editing video footage.
“There are no national regulations that force departments to release the raw footage — or any trail of data — to the public or press.Neither body cam nor dashcam footage is accessible by the Freedom of Information Act, so the policies are left up to individual police departments.”
This is American policing in a nutshell, police and prosecutor immunity, secret Stingray cellphone surveillance agreements etc.
Police secrecy is more important than our Bill of Rights.
Future of policing: Video manipulation
‘Face2Face‘ video manipulation technology will make you doubt everything you see on TV and every video you watch. Users of ‘Face2Face’s video manipulation technology can make anyone say pretty much anything they want.
Imagine a future where police and the Feds use this technology to make anyone appear guilty.
If a technology can be abused, it will be abused, soon we won’t be able to trust anything we see or hear.
There are many shoes still to drop at Fukushima Daiichi, said Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste monitor at Beyond Nuclear. If something goes wrong with the radioactive waste storage pools, there could be a release of high-level radioactivity into the air, he added.
Radiation at Fukushima’s nuclear power plant is at its highest level since the tsunami-triggered meltdown nearly six years ago. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is reporting atmospheric readings inside Daiichi’s reactor No.2 are as high as 530 sieverts an hour, while a human exposed to a single dose of 10 sieverts would die in a couple of weeks.
RT: Can you explain what is likely going on here?
Kevin Kamps: This catastrophe that is ongoing is nearly six years old at this point. The fuel, the melted cores have been missing an action. TEPCO doesn’t know where they are; the Japanese government doesn’t know where they are; nobody knows where they are. What could have happened is these probes, these cameras, these robots, these radiation monitors that are being sent in by TEPCO to try to figure out what is going on, may have encountered the closest they have come yet to these melted cores. They may even have come upon melted fuel that is not under water, and water serves as a radiation shielding. So if this is an open area and there is no water – that could explain.
But what you’ve got are melted reactor cores. Of course, human beings can’t be in operating atomic reactors. They also can’t be in this area where there is a meltdown. There is also imagery – it looks like a melt through of a metal grade. It all stands to reason that the cores melted through the reactor pressure vessels and down into the containment structures right through that metal grating.
It is not unexpected, but we still don’t know where the cores are. There are claims that “it’s all contained, don’t worry about it.” It is indisputable that there is a daily flow of radioactively contaminated groundwater into the ocean. The figures something like 80,000 gallons per day of relatively low-level radioactive waste water. Then you’ve got those storage tanks – we’re talking 800,000 tons of highly radioactive water stored in tanks. Every day they pour a hundred tons of water on each of these three melted down cores. Sometimes they lose those tanks. They leak, they overflow – it is an ongoing catastrophe.
RT: So the contamination, in this case, could leak out, couldn’t it?
KK: There is some leakage on a daily basis. Then they try to capture as much as they can and contain it in the storage tanks, which they sometimes lose, whether during a typhoon or through human error – they have had overflows. So many shoes can still drop at Fukushima Daiichi. One of the ones is the high radioactive waste storage pools that aren’t even inside radiological containment. They don’t have all of that spent nuclear fuel transferred to a safer location in a couple of the units still. If something were to go wrong with that – those would be open air releases of very high-level radioactivity.
The prime minister at the time the catastrophe began, [Naoto] Kan, had a contingency plan to evacuate all of North-East Japan – up to 50 million people. It was predominantly because of those storage pools. We’re still in that predicament- if one of those pools were to go up in flames. As Tokyo plans to host the 2020 Olympics and bring in many millions of extra people into this already densely populated area -it is not a good idea.
RT: Going back to this specific leak: how does this complicate the cleanup efforts there? Is it possible even to get something in there right now to examine what is going on?
KK: State of the art robotic technology – Japan is a leader in robotics – can only last so long, because the electronics get fried by the gamma radiation, and probably neutron radiation that is in there. That is the situation deep in there. They are already saying it will take 40 years to so-called decommission this, but that may be optimistic.
RT: Also in December the government said it is going to take twice as much money – nearly twice as much as they originally thought – to decommission that. Does this make matters ever worse – this leak? Or is this just kind of the situation to expect at this point?
KK: It just shows how dire the situation is. The figures of $150 billion to decommission – I have seen figures from a think tank in Japan sided by Green Peace Japan up to $600 billion. If you do full cost accounting: where is this high-level radioactive waste going to go? It is going to need a deep geological depository. You have to build that and operate it. That costs a hundred billion or more. So when you do full cost accounting, this catastrophe could cost hundreds of billions of dollars to recover from. We’re just in the beginning.
Representative Maxine Waters has argued that US President Donald Trump will inevitably be impeached because of his alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin who she claimed is “advancing in Korea.”
Waters, a 13-term Democrat from Los Angeles, has called for Trump’s impeachment several times now, however she has yet to explicitly accuse the president of breaking the law.
Speaking to reporters with other House Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Waters sought to explain why she is pushing for Trump’s impeachment less than a month into his term in the White House.
“I am not calling for the impeachment yet. He’s doing it himself,” Waters claimed.
“How can a president, who is acting in the manner that he’s acting, whether he’s talking about the travel ban, the way that he’s talking to Muslims, or whether he’s talking about his relationship to Putin, and the Kremlin, and knowing that they have hacked our D-triple-C, DNC, and knowing that he is responsible for supplying the bombs that killed innocent children and families in, um… um… Aleppo.”
“And the fact that he is wrapping his arms around Putin while Putin is continuing to advance into Korea. I think that he is leading himself into that kind of position where folks will begin to ask, what are we going to do?”
“And the answer is going to be, eventually, we’ve got to do something about him. We cannot continue to have a president who’s acting in this manner. It’s dangerous to the United States of America.
“Aleppo” was suggested to Waters by members of the press corps when she couldn’t remember where she alleged that the Russian president supplied bombs.
Waters may argue that it was merely a slip of the tongue, and that she meant Crimea as opposed to Korea.
Pelosi quickly distanced herself from her colleague’s comments. “Many things the congresswoman said are grounds for displeasure and unease in the public about the performance of this president,” she said.
She explained that Trump has acted in a way that is “strategically incoherent, incompetent and that is reckless… that is not grounds for impeachment,” she stated.
RT | January 31, 2017
Supporters of Celtic FC, known as the Green Brigade, have donated £176,000 (US$220,000) to two Palestinian charities. The donation was crowdfunded in reaction to a UEFA fine over Celtic fans flying Palestinian flags at a match.
The activities of organizations funded by US billionaire investor George Soros in Hungary are “anti-democratic,” as they want to undermine the government in Budapest, the foreign minister of Hungary told RT.
Soros “would like this government to fail, he would like to kind of fire this government because he doesn’t like our approach, doesn’t like our policies,” Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze.
“We find it very anti-democratic if someone from abroad would like to influence Hungarian voters on whom to vote for,” he asserted.
Several days before the interview, the Hungarian parliament began to discuss a bill allowing authorities to audit NGO executives and request detailed reports on their foreign donations.
Earlier in January, chairman of the ruling Fidesz party Szilard Nemeth said that “these organizations must be pushed back with all available tools, and I think they must be swept out, and now I believe the international conditions are right for this with the election of the new president [Donald Trump].”
Last September, Nemeth, who is also the deputy chairman of Hungary’s National Security Committee, submitted a list of 22 NGOs “connected to the Soros network for the purpose of having these organizations screened.”
Foreign Minister Szijjarto said it is obviously the right of his country to be protected from foreign influence. “This is what we have heard a lot from the US for the last months – that external influence is so dangerous… So, it’s a good reason – if this is the American position, it can be our position as well.”
Hungary, which lies at the very heart of Europe, last year became a main passageway for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees eager to reach northern European countries. The government, led by right-wing President Viktor Orban, responded by erecting fences along Hungary’s borders and introducing strict border controls. Budapest has consistently refused EU-backed mandatory resettlement quotas, calling them a blow to member states’ sovereignty.
Szijjarto cited intelligence reports alleging that “there were organizations which helped illegal migrants find ways to Hungary, to find where they could violate our border, to find out how to apply for asylum status, and these reports have said that George Soros was in the background of these organizations.”
Countries to Hungary’s east and south are concerned about Soros’ operations, too. In Macedonia, an organization called Stop Operation Soros (SOS) has been launched. Its founder, Nikola Srbov, accused Soros of hijacking civil society, calling upon followers to “fight against one-mindedness in the civil sector, which is devised and led by Soros,” according to Vecer newspaper.
Russian prosecutors branded the Open Society Foundation (OSF), a major Soros asset, and Open Society Institute’s Assistance Foundation threats to the country’s constitutional order and national security in 2015, and banned them from providing grants to Russian partners.
Groups run by Soros have also been accused of meddling in Ukrainian affairs and supporting the 2013 Euromaidan protests that led to the ouster of democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovich.
Part 1: The Anti-Anti-War-Left
One could argue that for any serious student of the Middle East, using a range of sources, the approved narrative on the Syrian conflict should have been suspect from the outset: the precedents of Iraq and Libya and the accompanying lies, the well-reported lack of interest in revolution on the part of the Syrian people, the quickly developing violence in contrast with the ready accommodations of the government in terms of reform and release of political prisoners, the dominant role of brutal sectarian gangs in a traditionally tolerant and pluralist society. Those trying to find the truth of the Syrian war, however, found themselves opposed from an unexpected quarter.
There is a large body of commentators in the West who define themselves as ‘left’, ‘progressive’ and ‘anti-imperialist’ insofar as they condemn Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Their claimed support for the Palestinians is offset by virulently opposing anything that threatens Israel’s interests in other areas, such as investigation into the role of Mossad’s activities outside of Israel. Israel’s interests are likewise to the fore when it comes to drastic change in Syria (seen by Hillary Clinton as essential to Israel’s interests as far back as 2006) – the ‘soft Zionists’ have been promoting the externally created revolution in Syria from the outset.
Sharing most of these characteristics are a group of people who espouse a ‘third way’ whereby ostensible anti-imperialists criticise their governments’ interventionist policies but at the same time have promoted the revolution and been determined opponents of the Syrian government. While in theory they oppose external intervention, they at the same time facilitate such intervention by peddling propaganda to that end.
For five years, people like Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton and Rania Khalek have actively promoted forced regime change in Syria, insisting on the validity of the popular revolution, characterising the Syrian president as a butcher, and alternately vilifying and patronising those who were unconvinced by the NATO narrative.
At the same time there has been no attempt by proponents of the Syrian war to engage with the anti-war activists who have been carrying out and sharing research on the conflict – instead they have contented themselves with unfounded slurs on the intellect and integrity of supporters of Syria.
However, ripples have been going through social media in recent months as these seemingly diehard opponents to the Syrian government have moved to taking a more nuanced view of the conflict. This was quickly picked up by eagle-eyed users of twitter who have been following the war on Syria for years…
In order to consider the significance and extent of this shift in perspective, it is worth looking back at the views espoused by the thirdwayers over the years
The popular revolution
Long after the violent, sectarian and fundamentally un-Syrian nature of the uprising was revealed along with its external impetus, diehards were still promoting the idea of a popular revolution, with a sentimental attachment to the Free Syrian Army well after its use-by date. While atrocity stories to the disfavour of the ‘Assad thugs’ (Syrian Arab Army) were quickly shared, those which show the ‘revolutionaries’ in an unfavourable light were ignored or speedily forgotten: By 2012 there was abundant proof of FSA atrocities, including cannibalism, decapitation and sectarian massacres, but this did not stop Blumenthal tweeting approvingly in August ‘Protest in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights in support of the #Syrian revolution’.
Thus in August 2014, when most people were discarding the fiction of Syria’s moderate rebels, Ben Norton still had a rosy view of the ‘democratic’ revolutionaries: a spate of tweets in their favour on August 18 included such optimistic claims as, ‘Syrian revolutionaries have already liberated cities, and they ran them somewhat democratically’, and on 22 September, ‘Majority of the FSA consists of average Syrians & former SAA members who refused to slaughter civilians & defected’.
As late as February 2015 Ben Norton complained:
Blame Assad for brutally destroying the progressive and secular resistance against his murderous fascist regime […] not Syrians for standing up to bravely fight for not just food, justice, and dignity, but for their very lives.
In 2014 Khalek interviewed Molly Crabapple, artist, writer and fervent supporter of the ‘Syrian revolution’. Both Khalek and Crabapple assume a non-violent inception to the Syrian conflict, ruthlessly crushed by government forces.
Khalek: […] You addressed the fact that there was a segment of the anti-war left that still till now is very dismissive of the Syrian uprising and in some cases excuses Assad for the horrific crimes he’s committing and you got attacked for pointing this out.
Crabapple: […] Many people I deeply respect are anti-intervention for good reasons. Other ones were pro certain sorts of intervention. But I think what is absolutely wrong is to pretend the Syrian revolution didn’t exist, to pretend that these activists weren’t amazing people …
The ‘evil Assad’
Attacking any movement by demonising its leader is a tried and true tactic where there is no legitimate means to an end – one only needs to look at the treatment meted out to Alex Salmond who, in the run-up to the Scottish referendum, was variously compared to Hitler, Mugabe, Nero and Genghis Khan. Likewise vilification of Bashar al Assad has been a major plank of regime change advocates. For more than five years the anti-Syria movement has relentlessly vilified the Syrian president with an incontinent flow of accusations, making full use of language favoured by the most hard-line interventionists: Assad ‘the butcher’, ‘the brutal tyrant’ has been accused of deliberately conducting a reign of terror, of bombing, starving, raping, gassing his own people, deliberately targeting hospitals, blood-banks, schools, bakeries, children and even kittens.
The thirdwayers have been amongst the most determined proponents of the evil Assad narrative: ‘Assad slaughter continues’ BN8/8/14; Assad’s ‘brutal tyranny’ MB 4/10/11; ‘Assad slaughter’ MB22/2/13; ‘Assad’s atrocities’ MB 14/9/13; ‘Assad’s reign of terror’ MB 16/9/14; ‘Assad family’s ongoing legacy of criminal fascism’ MB 18/10/14; ‘Assad the butcher’ RK 15/8/14 ‘Assad’s butchery’ RK 29/7/14; Assad is a mass murdering criminal’ RK 19/7/16; ‘the criminal Assad regime’ RK 18/1/14; civilians are being intentionally starved by the Assad Regime’ RK 19/4/14; ‘Assad is starving, torturing, & killing not just Syrian but also Palestinians’, BN 26/8/14.
From very early in the war many allegations of atrocities and war crimes have been leveled at the Syrian government and then soon shown to be false. Furthermore, substantial research had been carried out revealing the extent of foreign intervention, the billions of dollars of aid to the ‘rebels’, the many thousands of mercenaries pouring in through Turkey. However even in February 21015 Norton was still undeterred. According to his article 56 dead in one day: a Glimpse of Assad’s brutality Assad was responsible both for the early violence:
Since Assad first tried to drown the nonviolent popular uprising against his fascist regime in blood in 2011 …
and its continuation:
… the Syrian regime has dropped thousands upon thousands of bombs on civilian areas—and has engaged in systematic campaigns of torture, starvation, and rape. […] If you want to see why horrible reactionary groups like Al-Nusra and even ISIS have support among some Syrians, try taking a look at the crimes the fascist Assad regime commits on a daily basis. […]
Norton is, therefore, offering a partial justification for joining ISIS.
No possible accusation has been overlooked. Specific claims of atrocities are seized on, never questioned and then, once debunked by others, forgotten. Although the thirdwayers, unlike the hard-line interventionists, may be prepared to discard discredited anti-Assad horror stories, this never seems to impact on the overall theme of Assad the monster. Thus massacres such as those that occurred at Houla, Ghouta and Banias were all immediately blamed on the Syrian government by both the corporate media and the third-wayers, even though subsequently found to have been carried out by insurgents, for either ethnic cleansing or ‘false flag’ purposes. (Blumenthal was still insisting that the Houla massacre was carried out by ‘shabiha’ (derogatory term for local defence forces) in February 2013, see video, below).
Assad is correlated with Israel, or ISIS, or is even worse than ISIS, according to both Rania Khalek
echoing the sentiments expressed by Josie Ensor of the Telegraph a few months earlier
The public knowledge that both the US and Israel are hell-bent on regime change in Syria was turned on its head with claims that the US and Israel supported Assad: ‘”Israel’s preference is for Bashar al Assad to remain in power…”‘, MB 11/12/2012.
US support for the ‘Assad regime was a favourite theme of Ben Norton, who explored this thesis in an article US Government Essentially Sides with Assad. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Norton supports the US administration in its blatant fiction that its priority is going after ISIS:
‘With the Syrian Civil War approaching its fourth whole year, the evidence increasingly suggests that the Obama administration has essentially sided with the Assad regime. […] In October 2014, Foreign Policy noted that “U.S. officials are beginning to see Assad as a vital, de facto ally in the fight against the Islamic State.”’
With the advent of foreign fighters from Central Asia, polio reappeared in Syria, after having been eradicated in 1995 (the strain in Syria is the same as that present in Pakistan, source and transit point for many jihadists fighting in Syria). Despite being engulfed in war the Syrian [government] acted quickly to set in place vaccination programmes (the latest campaign was announced on 16 October). Rania Khalek, however, laid a large part of the responsibility at the door of the ‘regime’, likewise ignoring evidence available at the time which showed that the Red Crescent is frequently blocked by groups such as the ‘Free Syrian Army’.
The insanely high toll [from chronic disease] is largely due to the Assad regime’s criminal use of food and medicine as weapons in his war against his own people.’
The discrediting of the 2011 lie that Gaddafi was giving black mercenaries viagra to encourage them to rape Arab women did not deter Ben Norton from seizing with alacrity on an obscure and short-lived rumour that the Deputy Mufti of the ‘Syrian regime’ advocated rape by the army.
In parallel with the demonisation of Bashar al Assad is the recurrent theme of contempt for Assad supporters.
Undermining one of NATO’s principle planks and justification for intervention, ie the demonisation of al Assad, is an enormous threat to the NATO narrative. For this reason a major focus of the anti-Syria left has been to undermine, not just the Syrian government, but also the credibility of pro-Syria activists who have questioned the atrocity narrative.
Critics of the anti-Assad narrative are deemed to be stupid and hypocritical. A spate of tweets about the pusillanimity of ‘Assad worshippers issued from Ben Norton in 2014, eg 24 August: ; I just can’t get over the ludicrous degrees Assad defenders are going to to try to defend the mass murderer… it’s almost unbelievable.’; ‘HAHAHAHAHAHA, these Assad-worshiping conspiracy theorists just get more and more absurd. They are completely deranged’. ‘The Western “anti-imperialists” who support (read: worship) Assad so fervently have never met a working-class Syrian’.
Max Blumenthal is equally contemptous of ‘Assad apologists”, informing writer Miri Wood: ‘when non Muslima say takfiri I cringe almost as much as when they defend Assad’s reign of terror 16/9/14. Even Syrians cannot escape Blumenthal’s derision:
Assad supporters have, we are told, a tendency to Islamophobia, ‘I noted a while ago that Islamophobia informed certain Assad apologists’ MB 12/4/13; or fascism and Stalinism, ‘when you see someone defend Assad, remind them that Fascists & far-rightests throughout europe support Assad’ 12/4/13.
In this tweet of March 2016, Norton is referring to the protester top right, who is holding a placard supporting Bashar al Assad. Not everyone was convinced by Norton:
In October 2013 Blumenthal tweeted:
Thus in an impressive use of twitter, he managed to impugn the integrity of an opponent to regime change, indicated that it was ‘Assad’ that was responsible for the Ghouta sarin attack, and played ‘in bed with Israel’ card.
In late 2012 Max Blumenthal noisily resigned from al-Akhbar News, complaining that the outlet was providing a forum for ‘Assad supporters’. As well as publishing a letter of resignation, Blumenthal’s departure from the newspaper was the subject of an interview with The Real News in which, on the basis of his visit to a refugee camp in Jordan, he presents himself as an expert on Syria. The video is 18 minutes and is an education.
In letter and interview Blumenthal reiterates his position on the Syrian war: ‘the Syrian army’s pornographically violent crackdowns on what by all accounts is still a mostly homegrown resistance’, the regime’s responsibility for massacres such as Houla; ‘the Assad regime’s campaign to delegitimise the Syrian opposition by casting it as a bunch of irrational jihadis’. According to Blumenthal, Assad ‘makes Israel look like a champion of human rights’.
There is an interesting attempt to correlate Hezbollah with al Qaeda and ISIS: ‘ironically [the Syrian regime] seem to have little problem with Hezbollah’s core Islamist values’. One wonders what the people of Maaloula, very thankful to be liberated from jihadists with the help of Hezbollah, would make of Blumenthal’s implication.
[Hezbollah fighter saluting the Virgin Mary after the Battle of Maaloula]
In 2014 Norton wrote a spiteful article termed Meet the Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theorists Who Are Assad’s Biggest Fans. The primary purpose appears to have been to wreak vengeance on a group of social media activists who found it hard to take Norton at his own evaluation:
Norton starts from the fundamental premise that all who oppose the war on Syria are, without exception, devoid of all moral sense.
Those of us with at least some kind of rudimentary moral compass are compelled to oppose draconian tyrants like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, whose regime regularly engages in brutal state terrorist campaigns of mass bombing, torture, starvation, and rape of civilians, including children.
The article is a fascinating exercise in dishonesty, damning the ‘antisemites’ by association with the anti-war movement and vice-versa, and conflating all members of the group on every point while ignoring all contrary evidence. (Norton’s piece was answered by one of the group.
Regime change the third way
The part played by the NATO countries, the Gulf States, Turkey and foreign mercenaries has been essentially ignored or denied by the thirdwayers, who have stayed with their narrative of a ‘civil war’. They have theoretically been opposed to proposals for open military intervention, or at least the idea of bombing campaigns, whether by the NATO states or Russia.
The narrative hasn’t been totally consistent: a lot of what is tweeted is ambiguous, even irresponsible, often indicating that intervention might actually be the humanitarian option.
Again, Blumenthal’s angry response in 2014 to an article by Bob Dreyfuss suggesting that Obama give up on regime change in Damascus hardly seems consist with an anti-interventionist viewpoint.
Max Blumenthal’s own credentials as a ‘reporter from the region’ lie in a visit to Jordan to interview refugees. The article chronicles the dire conditions in Zaatari camp, but Blumenthal chooses to end on a call for bombing Syria: ‘Either bomb the regime or you can bomb Zaatari and get it over with for us.’
The group’s principle plank is that the conflict in Syria is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolution’. While being opposed in principle to external intervention, they have facilitated that intervention by promoting NATO propaganda against the Syrian government and in favour of the ‘revolutionaries’, in effect the jihadist extremists who have controlled the insurgency from the beginning. They may not be responsible for the inception of the war, but they share culpability for its continuation.
I wrote a post about the killing of Musa Abu Qilyan in which I presented both the claim of the Border Police that he killed a policeman in a deliberate terror attack; and also presented video which, as I wrote, failed to support the police claims (though it didn’t refute them). Now, Ronnie Barkan has provided a close video analysis of two separate versions of the video, one distributed by the police and another slightly longer one which surfaced on Facebook. Ronnie shows (be patient in watching the various iterations of the video clips he presents) incontrovertibly that the Police video was subtly and slightly edited, both removing the first shot a Border Policeman fired at the car, and also speeding up the video to make the vehicle appear to be going faster than it was. You may read an alternate version, which essentially agrees with Ronnie’s work, at 972.
What does all this mean? First, that when Abu Alqilyan’s vehicle drove along the road it presented no threat whatsoever to the police personnel. It was driving slowly and deliberately. As it proceeds, a police officer runs toward it firing. Three or four shots are fired. The first shot is fired while the car is driving quite slowly and seemingly under the driver’s control. Only after those shots are fired does the vehicle speed up, lose control and hit another police officer standing near the road. Clearly, the driver had been fatally struck by these bullets before he killed the officer.
In other words, the police acted recklessly and with total disregard even for their own safety. They essentially murdered the Bedouin driver when he posed no threat. After he was incapacitated, his vehicle struck and killed the other officer. He was not intending to harm anyone. Ergo, he was not a terrorist. It’s certainly possible he was a supporter of the Islamic Movement, but certainly not of ISIS as Israeli Jewish politicians have claimed. Further, being an Islamist is not the same as being a terrorist.
The only possibility I can think of to support the police version is perhaps an officer had tried to stop him at some point before the drone footage began. He may have seemed to defy an order to stop and proceeded on his path, which led the officer to fire. But you can be sure that if such a thing happened, the drone footage authenticating it would’ve been released.
Further, how can a major police action at which physical altercations and protest is expected not secure the perimeter of vehicle and pedestrian traffic? How could the police have allowed any vehicles to approach them as this man did? Why weren’t there roadblocks preventing access? To me, this appears to be a botched Border Police operation for which they have only themselves to blame.
Finally, this is yet another example of fraud and mendacity on the part of the Israel’s most vicious, brutal and violent police authorities. Not only are Border Police the most racist, they are also the mostly likely to lie and cover up their errors, as they have here. It’s a shameful episode which should be met with skepticism and derision by the Israeli media and the Israeli public. However, Israeli Jews are all too quick to swallow the lies fed to them by authorities. Once they have drunk the Koolaid, counter-evidence like this threatens their equanimity and is usually ignored or dismissed.
In my earlier post I debated the meaning of “terrorism” in the Israeli context and argued that dispossessing the Bedouin as Israel is doing, along with deadly violence like this constitutes state terror. This new evidence confirms there was no terror on the part of the Bedouin at all. The only terror was that of the forces of the State. If I were Israeli, I would hang my head in shame.