Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Getting the Gulf of Tonkin Wrong

Are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Telling Stories” About the Central Events Used to Legitimize the US Attack Against Vietnam?

By James M. Williamson | CounterPunch | September 19, 2017

This past spring I attended an advance screening of excerpts of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary about the US War against Vietnam at Harvard, with these two in attendance, along with some Kennedy School “national security” types, who had evidently been recruited as “consultants.” (I was happy to see Peter Davis, the director of the truly commendable “Hearts and Minds” in the audience, and had a chance to say “hello.” Peter is himself a Harvard grad, is now writing novels and, happily, was acknowledged by Mr. Burns.)

I was astonished to hear the Narrator in one of these excerpts refer to “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin.” I was doubly astonished when I heard Burns use the exact same phrasing — “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin” — during a discussion and Q&A which followed the screening (and even in a somewhat different context. [It must have been on his mind.])

What could he possibly mean?

“Retaliation” for Gulf of Tonkin?

Sut Jhally has done remarkable work with the Media Education Foundation (MEF) in Western Mass on the uses of the term “retaliation.” MEF have produced at least one excellent DVD where they analyze how every attack by Israel on Palestinians is invariably framed as “retaliation.” Of course, this is often, in fact, NOT the case. But if you “believe” that some entity (a person; a government; a “nation”; a “people…”) are “retaliating” (for an alleged attack) — rather than initiating attacks — then almost anything the “retaliator” does is justified, no?

Framing the US attack on North Vietnam as “retaliation” in this PBS documentary purporting to tell truths about this horrific war is a fundamental and very serious flaw, one which must raise the question of why, after all these years, and when the truth about the Gulf of Tonkin “incidents” has also been known for years, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick would engage in this kind of (albeit strangely belated) pro-war propaganda?

Burns and Novick are noted for specializing in the delivery of emotion-laden “stories.” Are they to be allowed to turn actually important, fundamental facts about the US war into a “story,” as well? The emotional stories in this PBS series are tied together with a NARRATIVE of the History of the War in Vietnam. It is in this NARRATIVE that we should discern and judge whether Burns and Novick and PBS are actually revealing helpful truths for facing “our” history — and the history of this war —or not.

Three days after the “second” of two supposed “incidents” in the Gulf of Tonkin, the LBJ administration secured an overwhelming rubber stamp in Congress for the infamous “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,” which would be used forever more as the fig-leaf for justifying continued US military intervention in Vietnam, as supposedly constitutionally and politically “legitimate,” with all the attendant violence, massive destruction, and death.

Isn’t this little bit of “history” rather important? Isn’t it rather important to get this right?

Just three weeks after these alleged “incidents,” I. F. Stone had already reported much of the real story in his famous I. F. Stone’s Weekly, based seemingly entirely on just the well-informed remarks of Senator Wayne Morse on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Wayne Morse, of Oregon, was one of only two senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution;  the other was, of course, Ernest Gruening, of Alaska.

The US Central Intelligence Agency had been coordinating “covert” attacks against the shoreline of North Vietnam for months (OPLAN 34-A). Finally, in early August of 1964, a mid-level NV naval officer may have been responsible for ordering NV patrol boats to chase the USS Maddox out into international waters, as a result of it’s believed role in supporting these attacks (which was actually the case; the Maddox had an unusual and special NSA surveillance unit on board, and was also engaged in what were labeled “DeSoto Patrols,” moving into and out of territorial waters claimed by the Government of North Vietnam.) Among other things, these US attacks were designed to test and gain information about North Vietnamese radar and air defenses.

Because of the advanced surveillance by the NSA unit aboard the Maddox, they knew the patrol boats were approaching “at high speed” well ahead of time. The three PT boats were almost entirely destroyed, and the Maddox may have sustained “one bullet hole” during the incident. [Extensive National Security Archive materials may be found here.]

Two days later, a “second attack” supposedly occurred, this time including the USS Turner Joy, as well.

However, there was no second “attack.” 

A relatively recent article published by the US Naval Institute reported the following:

Analysis of the Evidence

Historians have long suspected that the second attack in the Gulf of Tonkin never occurred and that the resolution was based on faulty evidence. But no declassified information had suggested that McNamara, Johnson, or anyone else in the decision-making process had intentionally misinterpreted the intelligence concerning the 4 August incident. More than 40 years after the events, that all changed with the release of the nearly 200 documents related to the Gulf of Tonkin incident and transcripts from the Johnson Library.

These new documents and tapes reveal what historians could not prove: There was not a second attack on U.S. Navy ships in the Tonkin Gulf in early August 1964. Furthermore, the evidence suggests a disturbing and deliberate attempt by Secretary of Defense McNamara to distort the evidence and mislead Congress.

[See: https://www.usni.org ]

I.F. Stone was actually onto this story years before some historians were able to use belatedly and reluctantly released classified documents to confirm the lies, deceptions and misrepresentations.  [See: I. F. Stone’s Weekly, following further “testimony” from McNamara in 1968.]

Turbulent water may have been either misinterpreted — or misconstrued — as a North Vienamese PT boat torpedo launch. Among others, James Stockade, later an Admiral and eventually Ross Perot’s running mate for President, was flying missions over the Maddox and reported seeing no evidence of any alleged “attack.” [See an oft-sited NSA study by Robert J. Hanyok.]

Finally, John Prados produced a useful article on the 40th Anniversary of The Gulf of Tonkin “incidents” for the National Security Archive in 2004.

Naturally, if you’re interested in telling “stories,” you may not focus too carefully on the facts of the history and the context in which these “stories” are situated.

But shouldn’t you want to get something as important as what did or didn’t happen in The Gulf of Tonkin right?

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

Argentina Sentences 6 to Life in Prison for Crimes Against Humanity During US-Backed Dirty War

teleSUR | September 16, 2017

In a landmark ruling, Argentina’s Court of Tucuman sentenced 17 people with crimes against humanity — including issuing 6 life terms— for their role in ‘Operation Independence’ during the U.S.-backed Dirty War in Argentina in the 1970’s and 80’s.

The six given life sentences include Roberto “El Tuerto” Albornoz, Luis De Candido, Ricardo Oscar Sánchez, Miguel Moreno, Enrique del Pino and Jorge Omar Lazarte, all were top officials during the period.

The court charged the rest of the defendants with prison sentences ranging from 4 to 18 years, based on the crimes of torture, abduction, forced disappearances, and rape, in addition to issuing seven acquittals.

The 1975 operation was the first large-scale military operation of the Dirty War, launched to crush the People’s Revolutionary Army, known by their Spanish acronym, ERP, and other left-wing forces in the country. Authorized by Italo Argentino Luder, who served as acting President when the incumbent Isabel Peron fell ill, it was continued under the military dictatorship of General Jorge Rafael Videla.

The court’s ruling came after 16 months of debate and testimonies from nearly 409 witnesses, according to the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, a group of Argentine women whose children disappeared during the Dirty War.

There were 20 defendants at the beginning of the trial, three had died during the hearings.

Prior the ruling, hundreds of activists and the relatives of the victims gathered outside the court, demonstrating with personal items and photos of their family members who were kidnapped, tortured, killed or disappeared.

September 17, 2017 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Guardian Plugs War Criminal’s Book

This insane liar just wrote his sixth book, all about how great he is. Wanna buy it for £20? Yeah, me neither.
OffGuardian | September 16, 2107

Nobody should be surprised to learn that Alistair Campbell, the former Blair PR guru, suffers from psychological problems. Obviously, lacking empathy to the extent that you can start an illegal war with a peaceful country, for the lone purpose of enriching corporate interests, would be a red flag to any psychiatrist worth his salt. Even supposing you weren’t entirely psychopathic beforehand, the associated guilt-rotting of the soul, after the fact, would surely be enough to drive one mad.

Just look at Blair. Look at his mummified, rictus grin and tell me that’s not a man whose evil has stained his face.

No, no one is surprised that Alistair Campbell has mental problems. And, sadly, no one is surprised that the Guardian gives him column inches – not just to whine about the stress involved in coordinating (among other things) mass-murder – but also to plug his book. I will not name it or link to it here, it doesn’t deserve the clicks.

In any right-thinking society, this man would be in prison for war crimes, or at least banished from the public eye in disgrace. That he is not shows us that the ruling class of this country have no moral center, and that the press – for all their faux outrage on certain topics – no longer possess a facility for judging right from wrong.

Instead of rotting away in a dank cell, or testifying in chains from the Hague, he as allowed to air his (very predictable and rather dull) views on Brexit, Blair, Brown, Trump and Corbyn (against, for, for, against, against… just in case you were wondering).

We hear all about how his marriage nearly broke apart in 2006, and how his post-politics career is not as exciting as it sounds. They also go into the apparent “homoerotic love triangle” of Blair-Brown-Campbell, and how that is reflected in Campbell’s psychiatrist and GP fighting over his attention. If you can read it without gagging, or at least curling a lip in disgust, you are made of sterner stuff than I.

The article mentions Campbell’s “preference for madness over mediocrity”, without seeming to realise that it’s perfectly possible to be both. Or indeed that “The Mad Mediocrity” would be a smashing title for Campbell’s next book.

The words “Iraq” and “war” do not appear anywhere within the story. Though they do make several spirited and emotional cameos in the comment section. Which was closed after only three hours.

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Militarism, War Crimes | , | 5 Comments

Ignore the spin, the siege of Gaza endangers everyone, Israelis included, so end it now

By Alastair Sloan | MEMO | September 16, 2017

Save the Children reckons that the Israelis have delivered a major project in record time, with the Gaza Strip described in the NGO’s latest report as “unliveable.” The United Nations made its own prediction in 2012, giving the territory until 2020 before it would be at that inhospitable stage.

As autumn wears on and some three years ahead of the UN deadline, the Israeli government has turned basic essentials such as food, water, hospital access, education and shelter into luxury items in an enclave that the state and its supporters still claim somewhat disingenuously to have “withdrawn” from in 2005.

Of course, Save the Children and the UN aren’t to be trusted; it you pay heed to the pro-Israel lobby you will know this. The lobby has a convenient conspiracy theory that the UN is engaged in “anti-Semitism” rather than reasonable criticism of the Israeli state and its policies. Much of this lobby nonsense comes from mysterious pro-Israel organisations like “UN Watch”, which routinely derides UN predictions and announcements the moment that they are made public.

Another such group is “NGO Monitor”; it has already dismissed the Save the Children report as a “renewed anti-Israel campaign.” Which, of course, it is, and rightly so. This group condemns the respected NGO for daring to publicise the suffering of children, and suggests that Save the Children “should return to a policy of providing aid without adopting the Palestinian political narrative.”

Telling NGOs what they can and cannot do and say is in vogue in Israel, much as it is in autocratic Turkey or Hungary, but the illogical positions of NGO Monitor are still worth exposing. Consider this: “[Save the Children] also called on Israel to blindly ‘lift the Gaza blockade’ without acknowledging the rationale behind it.” NGO Monitor claims that the siege is in place, “to prevent weapon smuggling into Hamas-controlled Gaza.”

We should test this thesis that it is all the fault of Hamas, and the Israeli-led blockade of Gaza is simply the state acting in self-defence.

Fifteen year old Ali suffers from cerebral palsy, and is an example of the kind of problems engulfing a Palestinian youngster which NGO Monitor cannot have missed because his story was included in the press release which accompanied the charity’s report. Ali’s mother Yara told Save the Children:

“My son is dying in front of my eyes. He can’t sleep most nights, and suffers from continuous pain. We don’t have enough power to get his electric wheelchair and mattress fully charged. If his wheelchair doesn’t get charged, he suffers psychologically, as he sees people around him move and walk but he can’t. He feels depressed and often fights with other children. When the wheelchair runs out of battery, Ali becomes totally paralysed. He also needs constant showers as he is wearing diapers, but there is no water. We don’t get water unless there is electricity. If I don’t change his diapers and wash him regularly he will suffer from skin rashes and other problems. We have not had any tap water for two days. I feel suffocated.”

The problem here then, as with so many of the problems outlined in the report, is primarily one of electricity, or the lack thereof. This is why Ali is growing up soaked by his urine and faeces, is unnecessarily paralysed and is suffering psychologically as he grapples with one of the world’s most cruel medical conditions.

In April, Gaza’s sole power plant was forced to shut down after completely exhausting its fuel reserves; the company which runs the plant was unable to obtain fuel due to a shortage of funds. How this makes Israel any safer is unclear, but its government claims that the blockade is all about security. Having 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza in darkness surely doesn’t make Israelis more secure, does it?

Likewise the contamination of Gaza’s water supply. The Palestinian Water Authority and the UN have now warned that the territory’s fresh water aquifer, shared by Israel and Egypt, may be “completely contaminated” by the end of this year. Israel says it won’t let in more aid or spare parts to repair the water treatment plants that it destroyed in its 2008/9 military offensive. Why? Because of Hamas. That, though, doesn’t explain why Israel has repeatedly refused to allow UN Environment Programme inspectors to assess the water situation and try to improve it.

As yet another curious pro-Israel lobby organisation – the American-Israeli Co-operative Enterprise (AICE) – puts it, “There is indeed a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but it is not to be blamed on Israel.” Thus does the lobby acknowledge the pain that is being caused, and yet it denies that its favoured state, Israel, has anything to do with it, despite controlling everything that goes into or comes out of the Gaza Strip. “Israel has consistently sent aid in many forms through the border,” claims AICE, “and the blockade will be lifted once the violent Hamas government is ousted and the people of the Gaza Strip are ready to live in peace with Israel as their neighbour.”

There is no suggestion by the lobby that Israel, which is the relative newcomer in the neighbourhood, might decide to live in peace with the Palestinians. It is, after all, Israel which has repeatedly broken ceasefires, before telling the world that Hamas started firing rockets. It is also a fact that Hamas can be remarkably quiet when given the choice. Every few years, however, the Israelis re-invade Gaza unnecessarily, launching massive military offensives with accompanying death and destruction, and then withdraw, killing, maiming or traumatising a million children in the process.

The reality is that the siege of Gaza is a manifestation of Israeli military weakness. There is no chance that Israel will re-take Gaza from Hamas by force; the resistance movement not only enjoys general popular support amongst Palestinians but, more importantly, is also expert in the kind of guerrilla warfare that the founders of Israel used to such devastating effect themselves not so many years ago. Conventional armies of the kind that Israel deploys never, ever, win against Middle Eastern militias, particularly those with a religious mindset faced with a Western-backed enemy.

The siege tactic is the only option that the Israeli government can resort to. Ten years on, it appears to be working. As making somewhere “unliveable” is essentially a form of ethnic cleansing by what claims to be a democracy, a coterie of propaganda organisations and lots of media-spin groups are required to defend Israel and gloss over that very distasteful fact.

Perhaps these spin doctors should be asking their government why it can’t defend its citizens, who all pay for the Israel Defence Forces. The answer – or their own conclusion – might then be, because the increasingly right-wing governments of Israel which control the military are stubborn and stupid. They alone are endangering the people of Israel every day through their thankless and pointless siege. So ignore the spin, the siege needs to end now, not in 2020; that will be too late for all concerned.

Read also:

Poverty rate hits 80% in Gaza

Oslo: 24 years of Palestinian losses

WHO: Israel hinders 40% of Gaza patients’ access to health care abroad

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Italy Ramps Up Weapons Supplies to Saudi Arabia in Spite of EU Calls for Embargo

Sputnik – September 16, 2017

European countries such as Italy continue to increase arms exports to Saudi Arabia in spite of European Parliament resolutions calling for an embargo on sales to Riyadh in light of violations of human rights and international law in Yemen.

A recent European Parliament resolution which calls for an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia is no deterrent to Italy, which continues to increase its arms sales to the Middle East despite concerns that the flow of weapons is contributing to instability there.

Enrico Piovesana, an Italian journalist and director of the Center for Monitoring of Arms Expenditures (MILEX), told Sputnik Italia that Italy’s exports have risen dramatically.

“According to the most recent data, for 2016, income from arms exports doubled in comparison with the previous year, from €7.9 billion ($9.4 billion) to €14.16 billion. This figure is even more impressive if we compare it with data for 2014: €2.6 billion.”

“This is significant growth, and the Italian foreign ministry considers it a triumph: in its last report, it said that this sector has finally emerged from the [economic] crisis thanks to the flexibility of its supply.”

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Italy was the world’s eighth largest arms exporter in 2016.

Italy is also third on the global ranking of arms exporters by number of countries to which it exports, Piovesana said.

“Saudi Arabia is the sixth largest client for Italian weapons producers,” he explained.

The non-binding resolution passed by the European Parliament on Wednesday is the third call in two years by EU parliamentarians to enforce EU Council rules on the arms export control and impose an embargo on exports to Saudi Arabia.

On September 5, the UN Human Rights Office issued a report recording violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law which occurred in the two-and-a-half years since Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners launched a bombing campaign in Yemen to overthrow the Houthi rebels who ousted former President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Between March 2015 and 30 August 2017, at least 5,144 civilians have been documented as killed and more than 8,749 injured, according to the UN figures. Some 3,233 of the civilians killed were reportedly killed by Coalition forces, whose airstrikes continued to be the leading cause of civilian casualties.

Giorgio Beretta, an analyst from the Union of Italian Disarmament Associations, told Sputnik that Italian-made bombs are known to have been used in airstrikes on civilians.

“The UN report talks about documentation confirming the use of Italian bombs in civilian areas in Yemen. These are bombs manufactured by the Italian company RWM, which were produced and exported with the permission of the Italian government. Both the Gentiloni government and the previous Renzi government gave permission for the export of these bombs.”

“Some EU countries, such as Sweden and the Netherlands, have suspended the supply of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. Other countries, such as Germany, decided to suspend the supply of weapons that could be used by Saudi Arabia in the conflict with Yemen. The UK, France and Italy continue to deliver supplies. In 2016, Italy delivered nearly 20,000 aerial bombs worth more than €411 million, which is the country’s largest supply of bombs since the end of World War II. It is absolutely clear that this is a political decision,” Beretta said.

Saudi Arabia has become the world’s second largest arms importer after India, with an 8.2% share in the market. While Italy has increased its supplies, they are still dwarfed by the US, which exports 52% of Riyadh’s imports, and the UK, which exports 27%, according to the SIPRI.

“It should be noted that that Italy is not the largest supplier to Riyadh. Trump signed a contract to sell $110 billion million of weapons to the Saudis. But nevertheless, supplies from the EU are important since there are European components in many military systems that Saudi Arabia buys.”

Beretta said that the European Parliament’s resolution and the EU Council’s Common Policy on arms exports are rather toothless in the face of lobbying from arms producers.

“International norms, as well as EU norms, don’t provide for sanctions for those who violate the International Arms Trade Treaty, as well as for those who contradict EU position. This is a big mistake, but it’s not surprising [because] these same countries exerted strong pressure to prevent the introduction of sanctions measures. At the international level, the only competent authority that can actually impose or remove sanctions is the UN Security Council. At the EU level, this is the EU Council.”

“However, there is another way: in the case of Riyadh, if one of the member countries violates the embargo, another country may legally refuse to sell arms to them. For example, if the UK violates this possible embargo, Italy could stop supplying arms to London. It can break the vicious circle. But let’s not forget that lobbyists and large arms corporations will exert pressure and try to prevent sanctions measures for violators of the embargo,” Beretta warned.

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

US drone attack kills 3 in Pakistan’s tribal region

Press TV – September 15, 2017

A US drone strike has killed three people in the tribal area of Pakistan near the Afghanistan border.

“Two missiles were dropped on the home of Maulvi Mohib and three people have been killed,” said Baseer Khan Wazir on Friday. Wazir is the political agent and the most senior administrator in the Kurram Agency region in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.

Afghan Taliban sources said the attack targeted Pakistan-based Haqqani militants who are allied to the Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

Two sources said Mohib was affiliated with Haqqani. “He remained associated with the Haqqani network but wasn’t a prominent figure,” said one senior Taliban member.

Another Taliban member, whose name was not mentioned in the report either, said Mohib was part of the Afghan Taliban. “We don’t differentiate the Haqqani network and Taliban. This is just a propaganda of the Western media.”

The US-led international forces in Afghanistan had no immediate information on the strike.

The United States carries out internationally-condemned extrajudicial drone strikes in several Islamic countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya.

If confirmed, it would be the first US drone strike inside Pakistan since President Donald Trump outlined his new Afghanistan strategy.

The US president unveiled his administration’s new strategy in Afghanistan last month. He said he would prolong US military intervention in Afghanistan, ordering added forces in the region.

US officials have urged the neighboring Pakistani government to crack down on Haqqani militants operating in Pakistan. Islamabad, however, denies there are any militants on its side.

Observers predicted an increase in US drone attacks inside Pakistan when Trump came into power, but since January there have only been a few.

Another option being weighed by Washington, according to US officials, is targeted sanctions against Pakistani officials with links to extremist groups such as Haqqani.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, however, told Reuters on Monday that such a move would be counterproductive.

Trump, who had initially called for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, argued that his “original instinct was to pull out,” but that he was convinced by his national security team to take on the militants there.

The United States, under the presidency of Republican George W. Bush, and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. Insecurity remains in the country despite the presence of foreign troops.

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

On the 35th Anniversary of Sabra and Shatila: The Forgotten Refugees

By Dr. Swee Chai Ang | Arab America | September 13, 2017

This September will be the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Sabra-Shatila Massacre in West Beirut. Three thousand unarmed refugees were killed from 15-18 September 1982.

I was then a young orthopedic trainee who had resigned from St Thomas Hospital to join the Christian Aid Lebanon medical team to help those wounded by Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. That invasion, named “Peace for Galilee”, and launched on 6 June 1982, mercilessly bombarded Lebanon by air, sea, and land. Water, food, electricity, and medicines were blockaded. This resulted in untold wounded and deaths, with 100,000 made suddenly homeless.

I was summoned to the Palestine Red Crescent Society to take charge of the orthopedic department in Gaza Hospital in Sabra- Shatila Palestinian refugee camp, West Beirut. I met Palestinian refugees in their bombed out homes and learned how they became refugees in one of the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Before this encounter, I had never heard of Palestinians.

They recounted stories of being driven out of their homes in Palestine in 1948, often fleeing massacres at gunpoint. They fled with whatever possessions they could carry and found themselves in neighboring Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

The United Nations put them in tents while the world promised they would return home soon. That expectation never materialized. Since then the 750,000 refugees, comprising half of the population of Palestine in 1948, continued to live in refugee camps in the neighboring countries. It was 69 years ago that this refugee crisis started. The initial 750,000 has since grown to 5 million. Palestine was erased from the map of the world and is now called Israel.

Soon after my arrival, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) evacuated. It was the price demanded by Israel to stop the further relentless bombardment of Lebanon and to lift the ten-week military blockade. Fourteen thousand able-bodied men and women from the PLO evacuated with the guarantee by Western powers that their families left behind would be protected by a multinational peacekeeping force.

Those leaving were soldiers, civil servants, doctors, nurses, lecturers, unionists, journalists, engineers, and technicians. The PLO was the Palestinians’ government in exile and the largest employer. Through evacuation, fourteen thousand Palestinian families lost their breadwinner, often the father or the eldest brother, in addition to those killed by the bombs.

That ceasefire lasted only three weeks. The multinational peacekeeping force, entrusted by the ceasefire agreement to protect the civilians left behind, abruptly withdrew. On September 15, several hundred Israeli tanks drove into West Beirut. Some of them ringed and sealed off Sabra-Shatila to prevent the inhabitants from fleeing. The Israelis sent their allies; a group of Christian militiamen trained and armed by them, into the camp. When the tanks withdrew from the perimeter of the camp on the 18 September, they left behind 3,000 dead civilians. Another seventeen thousand were abducted and disappeared.

On the 35th Anniversary of Sabra and Shatila: The Forgotten Refugees

Our hospital team, who had worked non-stop for 72 hours, was ordered to leave our patients at machine-gun point and marched out of the camp. As I emerged from the basement operating theatre, I learned the painful truth. While we were struggling to save a few dozen lives, people were being butchered by the thousands. Some of the bodies were already rotting in the hot Beirut sun. The images of the massacre are deeply seared into my memory: dead and mutilated bodies lining the camp alleys.

Only a few days before, they were human beings full of hope and life, rebuilding their homes, talking to me, trusting that they would be left in peace to raise their young ones after the evacuation of the PLO. These were people who welcomed me into their broken homes. They served me Arabic coffee and whatever food they found; simple fare but given with warmth and generosity. They shared their lives with me. They showed me faded photographs of their homes and families in Palestine before 1948 and the large house keys they still kept with them. The women showed me their beautiful embroidery, each with motifs of the villages they left behind. Many of these villages were destroyed after they left.

Some of these people became patients we failed to save. Others died on arrival. They left behind orphans and widows. A wounded mother begged us to take down the hospital’s last unit of blood from her to give to her child. She died shortly afterward. Children witnessed their mothers and sisters being raped and killed.

The terrified faces of families rounded up by gunmen while awaiting death; the desperate young mother who tried to give me her baby to take to safety; the stench of decaying bodies as mass graves continued to be uncovered will never leave me. The piercing cries of women who discovered the remains of their loved ones from bits of clothes, refugee identity cards, as more bodies were found continue to haunt me.

The people of Sabra Shatila returned to live in those very homes where their families and neighbors were massacred. They are a courageous people and there was nowhere else to go. Afterwards, other refugee camps were also blockaded, attacked and more people were killed. Today, Palestinian refugees are denied work permits in 30 professions and 40 artisan trades outside their camps. They have no passports. They are prohibited from owning and inheriting property. Denied the right of return to their homes in Palestine, they are not only born refugees, they will also die refugees and so will their children.

But for me, painful questions need to be answered. Not why they died, but why were they massacred as refugees? After 69 years, has the world already forgotten? How can we allow a situation where a person’s only claim to humanity is a refugee identity card? These questions have haunted me and they have yet to receive answers.

Dr. Swee Chai Ang is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and founder of Medical Aid for Palestinians. She is the author of: “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” published by The Other Press.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time for All Palestinians and Their Supporters to Join the Resistance against Israel’s Cultural Offensives

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | September 14, 2017

Before the launching of the war on Syria in 2011 by agents of the US and its Middle Eastern allies, the focus of my political activism was almost exclusively Palestine. “Self-radicalised” is a suitable descriptor for the slow awakening of my awareness of the way things were in the Israeli-occupied territory and the Arab and Islamic world around it.

As with many of my contemporaries, the 2003 attack on Iraq was a springboard in this radicalisation, not out of sympathy and understanding of Iraq but rather from antagonism to the US neo-con regime with its UK and Australian allies. Israel’s central role in orchestrating the attack on Iraq, as well as the pretext for it eighteen months earlier didn’t become clear – to me at least – until sometime later, when my antagonism began to concentrate on the Zionist State.

“Antagonism” doesn’t begin to describe the feelings that developed during Israel’s 26-day massacre of innocents of Gaza in 2009 however, nor the absolute disdain and disgust at Western leaders’ failure to condemn it. Notably too, the failure of Western media organisations to report the daily atrocities being committed by the IDF in Gaza revealed the extent of networks of propaganda support for the Zionist entity.

In the controversy that followed “Operation Cast Lead”, which finally came to an end just after Obama’s inauguration, it also became clear who was prepared to stand up for the people of Gaza and for Palestine and who was not. Many organisations we may have thought to be “impartial” turned out to be compromised when it came to Palestine, including the UN and NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Their failure to react and respond appropriately to the terrible injustices and atrocities inflicted on the civilian population of Gaza, in the false name of fighting “Hamas terrorism”, gave huge impetus to the BDS movement. In the absence of any real condemnation of Israel’s barbarity, leave alone sanctions, or enforcement of outstanding UN resolutions, boycott and divestment became the only means to support Palestinians’ rights.

One could never say that the BDS campaign against Israel’s occupation was a success, though there were successes. In countries with a strong Israel lobby like the US, UK, Australia and France, the lobby’s fightback with both propaganda and legal instruments began almost before any real action could be taken, while Zionist infiltration and influence on government members made sure Israeli interests were protected. The associated academic and cultural boycott – PACBI – had more success in influencing public opinion, with the help of some great artists like Roger Waters and Ken Loach, but the fightback against them was even more intense, and continues to this day.

In an attempt to convince ourselves that something has been achieved over the last ten years, we may consider this reaction to the boycott campaigns as a recognition of their effectiveness – or at least potential effectiveness; the opinion of one influential celebrity can sometimes change the minds of millions.

But doesn’t Israel know this!

The truth is that the state of Israel is founded on something like the antithesis of a boycott campaign – as a state of mind cultivated with centuries of sectarian propaganda. How else could you create a whole society in which individuals believe themselves to be “exceptional” and racially superior to the native inhabitants of the land they are occupying by force? A society for which militant racism is the sine qua non of its nationhood and identity.

Not only have Israel’s leaders and educators achieved this “state of denial” amongst the Jewish citizens and the diaspora – with some important exceptions – but they have managed to maintain credibility as a “democratic” state with Western nations against all odds. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times one points out that a state defined as “Jewish” cannot also be democratic if some of its citizens are not Jewish.

The immediate and current context of this discussion is the fiesta of Zionist propaganda that just took place in London’s Roundhouse centre, called “TLV in LDN”, and the protest campaign against it by a group of artists, including those venerable veterans named above. But the context is rather different from that of ten years ago when the siege of Gaza began, following Hamas’ victory in Palestinian elections.

In fact it begins to look a little desperate, and the defence of this opinion-twisting offensive a bit hysterical. The “facts on the ground” created in what was once Palestine by the Zionist regime in those ten years now mean that Israel’s legitimacy can only be defended with increasingly shrill accusations and violence against Palestinians and their true supporters in the West.

But there may be another reason for the creators and defenders of “The Israel Project” to have a feeling of panic – such as that shown by Netanyahu on his recent visit to Sochi. As Sharmine Narwani has described, things are changing rapidly on Israel’s borders, with Jordan and Lebanon moving to restore relations with Damascus, and other sometime allies like Turkey and Egypt, and even the US seeking to cooperate with Russia and Iran.

There is also something happening within Palestine, as the new Hamas leadership seeks reconciliation with Syria and Iran – effectively returning to the position of ten years earlier, when Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal lived in Damascus, and Iran was a key mediator for the democratically elected Hamas government.

Most ironic however is the situation for so many supporters of the Palestinian struggle, who tragically had followed Hamas’ lead and deserted Syria in 2011. One can hardly understate the devastating effect on the Syrian conflict, and on Western perceptions of it from this historic rift in the Resistance. That section of Western society that showed most concern for Palestinians, including many solidarity groups as well as human rights NGOs was effectively duped into siding with Israel against Syria.

While this “kidnapping” of the most influential anti-war and anti-Zionist activist populations was achieved primarily thanks to propaganda from Al Jazeera and its Western media partners like the Guardian, the contribution from groups like Avaaz and Amnesty suggests another partner in the propaganda war on Syria.

Given the IDF’s vital support role for Al Qaeda groups in Southern Syria, we might safely assume that Israel’s misinformation industry has also been working overtime in pursuit of the state’s cynical and criminal objectives. One key event in the propaganda war on Syria supports that assumption – the “siege” of the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk – whose reality was so twisted by “humanitarian” NGOs and even by the UNRWA as to portray Al Qaeda as defending innocent civilians against the Syrian Army. The object of that propaganda campaign was creating a pretext for “humanitarian intervention” to save starving Palestinians from the Syrian Government, when it was actually protecting them.

As Palestinians in the occupied territories and in Gaza increasingly now look to Syria and its allies for defence against the malevolence and lies of their oppressive occupier, it’s past time for their many genuine supporters and allies in the West to get on the right side of history and join the Resistance! And that resistance includes fighting off Israel’s ingeniously engineered “cultural offensives”.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Accelerates Afghanistan Bombing Campaign With Questionable Effectiveness

Sputnik – 14.09.2017

The US Air Force dropped an average of 16 bombs per day in August in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s plan to attack “America’s enemies” in the country, according to the most recent Pentagon data on munitions delivered in the country.

US Air Force warplanes including the F-16 “Viper,” the MQ-9 Reaper drone, and the B-52 Stratofortress bomber deployed 1,984 bombs from January to July of this year, according to US Air Force Central Command data published August 31.

Sputnik News therefore calculates that in the first seven months of the year, US jets dropped an average of 227 bombs per month. In August, more than twice as many bombs struck Afghani soil than an average month, at 503 munitions.

Increasing the frequency of bombing raids hasn’t required mobilizing extra aircraft assets to Afghanistan because “we’ve never come back” after arriving so many years ago, US Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told Military.com, noting he doesn’t envision a “significant plus-up” in the number of US warplanes stationed there.

In a May 20, 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed, retired US Army general and former CIA director David Petraeus and Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael E. O’Hanlon wrote: “We have a real fight on our hands in Afghanistan, but not a hopeless one … Even a modest US and NATO military contributions have the potential to make a considerable difference … Some might reasonably ask, after 15 years of war in Afghanistan, why do we need to keep at it? The answer is simple – because Afghanistan, effectively the eastern bulwark in our broader Middle East fight against extremist forces, still matters.”

The duo went on to say “air power in particular represents an asymmetric Western advantage, relatively safe to apply, and very effective against massed (or even individual) enemy forces and assets.”

Since O’Hanlon and Petraeus wrote the column, the US has consistently delivered more and more payloads each month to target insurgents in Afghanistan, Pentagon data shows.

The most recent publicly available report on the status of the fight in Afghanistan was released July 30 by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) and sheds light as to just how effective the bombs have been. It turns out the situation has given policymakers few reasons for optimism.

“The [US Intelligence Community] assesses that the political and security situation in Afghanistan will almost certainly deteriorate through 2018 even with a modest increase in military assistance by the United States and its partners,” Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence, is quoted as saying in the SIGAR report.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

The Myth of Canada’s “Benevolent” Foreign Policy

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | September 13, 2017

A house built on an imaginary foundation may be a “dream home” but it can never be lived in. The same holds true in politics.

One need not mythologize Canadian foreign policy history to oppose the Trudeau government’s egregious position on nuclear arms. In fact, ‘benevolent Canada’ dogma weakens the critical consciousness needed to reject the policies of our foreign policy establishment.

In “Canada abandons proud history as ‘nuclear nag’ when most needed” prominent leftist author Linda McQuaig writes:

There have been impressive moments in our history when Canada, under previous Liberal governments, asserted itself as a feisty middle power by supporting, even occasionally leading, the push to get nuclear disarmament onto the global agenda.

Nonsense! If one were to rank the world’s 200 countries in order of their contribution to the nuclear arms race Canada would fall just behind the nine nuclear armed states.

Uranium from Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories was used in the only two nuclear bombs ever dropped on a human population. In Northern approaches: Canada and the search for peace James Eayrs notes, “the maiming of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a byproduct of Canadian uranium.”

Canada spent millions of dollars (tens of millions in today’s money) to help research the bombs’ development. Immediately after successfully developing the technology, the US submitted its proposal to drop the bomb on Japan to the tri-state World War II Combined Policy Committee meeting, which included powerful Canadian minister C.D. Howe and a British official. Though there is no record of his comments at the July 4, 1945 meeting, apparently Howe supported the US proposal. Reflecting the racism in Canadian governing circles, in his (uncensored) diary King wrote:

It is fortunate that the use of the bomb should have been upon the Japanese rather than upon the white races of Europe.

Only a few years after the first one was built Ottawa allowed the US to station nuclear weapons in Canada. According to John Clearwater in Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story of Canada’s Cold War Arsenal, the first “nuclear weapons came to Canada as early as September 1950, when the USAF [US Air Force] temporarily stationed eleven ‘Fat Man’- style atomic bombs at Goose Bay Newfoundland.”

Canadian territory has also been used to test US nuclear weapons. Beginning in 1952 Ottawa agreed to let the US Strategic Air Command use Canadian air space for training flights of nuclear-armed aircraft. At the same time, reports Ron Finch in Exporting Danger: a history of the Canadian nuclear energy export programme, the US Atomic Energy Commission conducted military tests in Canada to circumvent oversight by American “watchdog committees.” As part of the agreement Ottawa committed to prevent any investigation into the military aspects of nuclear research in Canada.

Canadian Forces also carried nukes on foreign-stationed aircraft. At the height of Canadian nuclear deployments in the late 1960s the government had between 250 and 450 atomic bombs at its disposal in Europe. Based in Germany, the CF-104 Starfighter, for instance, operated without a gun and carried nothing but a thermal nuclear weapon.

During the past 70 years Canada has often been the world’s largest producer of uranium. According to Finch, by 1959 Canada had sold $1.5 billion worth of uranium to the US bomb program (uranium was then Canada’s fourth biggest export). Ottawa has sold at least 29 nuclear reactors to foreign countries, which have often been financed with aid dollars. In the 1950s, for instance, Atomic Energy Canada Limited received large sums of money through the Colombo Aid Plan to help India set up a nuclear reactor.

Canada provided the reactor (called Cyrus) that India used to develop the bomb. Canada proceeded with its nuclear commitment to India despite signals from New Delhi that it was going to detonate a nuclear device. In The Politics of CANDU Exports Duane Bratt writes, “the Indians chose to use Cyrus for their supply of plutonium and not one of their other reactors, because Cyrus was not governed by any nuclear safeguards.”

On the diplomatic front, Ottawa has long supported its allies’ nuclear weapons. In August 1948 Canada voted against a UN call to ban nuclear weapons and in December 1954 voted to allow NATO forces to accept tactical nuclear weapons through the alliance’s policy called MC 48, The Most Effective Pattern of NATO Military Strength for the Next Few Years. According to Canada and UN Peacekeeping: Cold War by Other Means, 1945-1970, external minister Lester Pearson “was integral to the process by which MC 48 was accepted by NATO.”

In his 2006 book Just Dummies“: Cruise Missile Testing in Canada Clearwater writes, “the record clearly shows that Canada refuses to support any resolution that specifies immediate action on a comprehensive approach to ridding the world of nuclear weapons.” Since then the Harper/Trudeau regimes’ have not changed direction. The Harper government opposed a variety of initiatives to curtail nuclear weapons and, as McQuaig points out, the Trudeau government recently boycotted a UN effort to sign a treaty, supported by two thirds of 192 member states, to rid the world of nuclear weapons and prohibit the creation of new ones.

But, it’s not only nuclear policy. The Trudeau government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, attacks on Venezuela’s elected government, support for Rwanda’s brutal dictatorship, empowerment of international investors, indifference to mining companies abuses, military deployment on Russia’s border, support for Israel’s illegal occupation etc. reflect this country’s longstanding corporate-military-Western centric foreign policy. While Harper’s foreign policy was disastrous on many fronts, it was a previous Liberal government that instigated violence in Afghanistan and the most flagrant Canadian crime of this century by planning, executing and consolidating the overthrow of democracy in Haiti.

Leftists need to stop seeking to ingratiate themselves with the liberal end of the foreign policy establishment by exaggerating rare historical moments when Ottawa apparently did right. Power relations — not morality — determine international policy and the ‘benevolent Canada’ myth obscures the corporate and geostrategic interests that overwhelmingly drive policy. Progressive writers should focus on developing the critical consciousness needed to reign in the foreign policy establishment.

Only the truth will set us free to make this country a force for good in the world.


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

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes, Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Book Review | , , | 1 Comment

BDS – Expressing Solidarity while Conducting Trade with Israel Is Hypocrisy

By Miko Peled | American Herald Tribune | September 11, 2017

Israel is all geared up for war against all for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and the de-legitimization of the Zionist state. The ministry of strategic affairs headed by Gil’ad Erdan – which is charged with this task – is now equipped with a budget, a former Israeli army general, retired Brig. General Sima Vakini-Gil who acts as the ministry’s General Director and a new assistant to the General Director, Tsahi Gavrieli who has brought a new wind to the sails of the anti-BDS ship. Gavrieli brought in a team that includes legal experts, economists and media people and according to a story recently published in Hebrew on Ynet they call on the Israeli public to take part in the campaign. According to the story, some parts of the campaign are overt and some covert, and the ministry will no longer be on the defensive but take an active, offensive position. Israelis are now encouraged to join this campaign with apps like ACT.IL which shows how to take the fight on social media and combat the “slurs” against Israel.

According to Gavrieli the BDS movement is losing ground in the US, and he brings as examples recent laws passed by over twenty states that criminalize the call to boycott Israel. Among those states are California, New York and New Jersey, to name a few. Currently there is a bill being proposed in the United States Senate that proposed to make the call to boycott Israel a federal offense that will carry a twenty-year prison sentence and a one million dollar fine. This bill was opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU in a letter that was sent to members of the United States Senate. Gavrieli also claims that the BDS call is a “masked attempt to de-legitimize Israel by calling for Palestinian rights.” He said that the claim made by the BDS movement that Israel is an apartheid regime “is insulting to South Africans” and that it is “baseless.” “I call on every Israeli,” says Gavrieli “to take part in this.”

The aims of the BDS movement could not be more clearly stated, and all one needs to do is read them to see that the lies being spread by the State of Israel and its supporters, are unfounded. The call for BDS calls to impose Boycott, divestment and sanctions on the state of Israel until such time that the military occupation is ended, Palestinian citizens of Israel enjoy equal rights, and Palestinian refugees are permitted to return to their homes and their land. There is no racism, no hate and no discrimination of any kind is suggested or implied. It is an unequivocal demand to bring the Zionist State to do what is needed to achieve these goals. We must remember that negotiations with consecutive Israeli governments have all have failed and Israel has made it clear that it has no intention to end its policies of occupation, killing, dispossession and racist discrimination and its demand that the Palestinians capitulate.

It is worth reviewing and replying to remarks made by Senator Chuck Schumer regarding BDS at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum on June 5, 2017. “Sometimes anti-Semitism is cloaked, hidden by certain movements that profess no bias but suspiciously hold Israel—and, by extension, the Jewish people—to a different standard than others.” This is in fact a very dangerous statement that could very well be misconstrued. Is the Senator implying that that all Jews should be held accountable for the acts of the government of Israel?

“There is no greater example than this insidious effort to harm the Jewish state than through the boycotts, divestment and sanctions” Schumer continued, and the question that begs to be asked here is, was South Africa harmed by the call to boycott the Apartheid regime? Certainly not the Black South Africans. “The global BDS movement is a deeply biased campaign aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish state,” Schumer says, yet nothing in the demands of the BDS call or the actions of the BDS movement speak of destroying or getting rid of the Jewish State. Rather, the demands call to improve the conditions in which Palestinians live, conditions that were created by Israel and for which Israel is responsible. The demands of the BDS call seek to repair the inequities within which Palestinians live, like the military occupation and lack of rights. “And” Schumer adds, “its supporters, sometimes wittingly, sometimes unwittingly, but all of them practice a modern form of anti-Semitism.” Indeed, is it wise to refer to calls for justice and equality anti-Semitism. What modern form of anti-Semitism is it which does not incite against Jews, does not call for the killing of or discrimination against Jews but rather demands inclusion of all people so that they all may enjoy the same privileges. Is Senator Schumer saying that the call for justice and freedom is antithetical to Judaism?

Tsahi Gavrieli says that there is something even more serious than the BDS movement, it is the de-legitimization of the Jewish state particularly within Jewish communities. He is right, this is a serious issue because from its very inception there was no way in which the state of Israel could be legitimized except by fraud and deception. It is a state that was established by a settler colonial movement, which means that like all settler colonial movements, it was founded on racism and the use of violence against indigenous people. Israel has been engaged in genocide, a claim easily proven by reading the Geneva Convention on the crime of Genocide: particularly article 2, a, b, and c and article 3. Furthermore, the state of Israel has been engaged in ethnic cleansing and has a legal system in which Palestinians are denied rights that are provided to Jews. Legitimizing such a state is indeed a serious if not an impossible task.

The Jerusalem Post recently published an article by Adnan Oktar who claims that BDS “serves the continuity if not the escalation of the conflict.” Indeed all resistance movements may be accused of “escalating” conflicts. According to this argument the French should not have fought the Germans during WW-2; the Algerians should not have fought the French; the Vietnamese should not have insisted on fighting the French and then the Americans. Certainly the Lebanese should not have fought the Israelis to end the Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon. Indeed, an entire movement that we know today as Hezbollah was created by the Lebanese for that purpose and it was successful. According to Mr. Oktar’s argument had all oppressed people been willing to die in silence the world would be a peaceful place. But would it indeed? The oppressed are always to blame for their unwillingness to remain oppressed – but resistance is a response to violence, it is never the cause of violence.

What is clear from the many articles written, conferences held, strategies contrived and laws passed regarding BDS is the following: there is nothing in this world that can stop the Palestinian struggle for justice. The call for BDS and the movement which was created because of it cannot be defeated. Boycotting Israel is the right thing to do, indeed the demands listed by the BDS call are just, reasonable and measured and every person of conscience and every government must heed this call. One would want to remind governments that claim to support the Palestinian cause, that expressing solidarity while conducting trade with Israel is hypocrisy.

September 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Report reveals UK exploiting Qatar crisis for own profit through arms exports

Press TV – September 10, 2017

Britain is exploiting a rift between several Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and Qatar through designating both sides as the “priority markets” for its arms sales, a report suggests.

The Middle East Eye (MEE) report cited a list of 46 states highlighted by the UK Department for International Trade Defense and Security Organization as potentially lucrative markets for weapons exports.

The list included Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, which cut ties with Doha three months ago.

This is while many of the countries identified as key targets for the British arms sales are included in the government’s own “human rights priority registers.”

The list comes ahead of the Defense & Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair scheduled to be held in London on September 12-15.

“The fact that, despite current tensions, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both on the list tells us everything we need to know,” Andrew Smith, spokesperson of the UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade organization, told the MEE.

Britain, he said, has “made clear that it will pull out all stops to sell arms to” both sides of the Qatar crisis.

Back in June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

They presented Qatar with a list of 13 wide-ranging demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face unspecified consequences.

Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and said that they were meant to force the country to surrender its sovereignty.

UK arms fair hosts despots

In a relevant development, the UK government published its official guest list for DSEI, comprising 56 countries, among them Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar.

Smith said the list included “a roll call of despots, dictatorships and human rights abusers. They will be greeted by civil servants and government ministers who are there for one reason only: to promote weapons.”

MP Caroline Lucas, UK Green Party co-leader, also called for the closure of the London arms fair.

“DSEI is a dark stain on our country’s already tarnished reputation. It’s time that this festival of violence was shut down for good – and for the UK to engage in peace-building rather

September 10, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment