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Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation

By M. Reza Behnam | CounterPunch | May 26, 2017

Some ideas take on a character akin to sacred texts whose validity is rarely questioned. One such belief is that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the biggest threat to the Middle East and the United States. The threat narrative has become required foreign policy catechism in Washington, D.C.

Menacing stereotypes and bellicose rhetoric are the standards by which Iran has come to be judged. It has continually been in the crosshairs of American administrations since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The process by which a country is determined to be a terrorist state is highly subjective and politicized. The United States has assumed the singular role of terrorism arbiter.

After only weeks in office, the Trump administration “officially put Iran on notice” for a ballistic missile test, and imposed new sanctions. It was only a matter of time before the Trump administration would resurrect the “Iran the terrorist state” mantra to deflect attention from its internal chaos.

The unpredictability of the Trump White House and volatility of the Middle East make it vital to understand the nature of Washington’s anti-Iran bias, how and why Iran has come to be cast as an international sponsor of terrorism, and most importantly, examine why the characterization is false.

The 1979 revolution and overthrow of the shah freed the country from its obsequious relationship to Washington. Iran’s regional influence spread not in terms of conquered territory; instead, its revolutionary ideology gave voice to Shi’ites living in oppressive Sunni majority-ruled countries.

The Islamic Republic presented a dilemma for Washington, accustomed to dealing with the ruling families and autocrats of the Middle East. To curtail the revolution’s influence, Washington manufactured a narrative depicting Iran’s leaders as irrational religious fanatics in charge of a dangerous state that acted contrary to traditional state behavior. America’s attitude was hardened with the takeover of the U.S. embassy in 1979, shaping the negative lens through which Iran’s policies and actions would be viewed thereafter.

The trauma inflicted by the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) deepened Iran’s distrust of Washington. From Tehran’s perspective, America’s support for Saddam’s aggression was Washington’s attempt to restore the monarchy and to destabilize the government. The post-revolution 1980s were filled with uncertainties and excesses as Tehran struggled to survive its war with Iraq—a war largely subsidized by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States.

In the 1990s, Iran’s foreign policy shifted toward integrating into the international community and shedding its hard-line image. Tehran attempted to develop closer relations with Saudi Arabia and build constructive ties to the West. Although Iran opposed the 2001 U.S. attack on Afghanistan, the goal of fighting terrorism and toppling the Taliban regime—-driven from power in November 2001—united the two countries in perhaps the most constructive period of U.S.-Iranian diplomacy.

At a December 2001 meeting in Bonn, Germany, Secretary of State Colin Powell credited Iran with being particularly helpful in establishing an interim Afghan government, following the American invasion. It was Javad Zarif, then Iran’s U.N. ambassador and current foreign minister, who mediated a compromise over the composition of Afghanistan’s post-Taliban government, ultimately leading to an agreement. And it was Iran that insisted that the agreement include a commitment to hold democratic elections in Afghanistan.

A burst of diplomatic talks between Iranian and American officials took place from 2001 through May 2003. Topics included cooperative activities against their mutual enemies: Saddam, the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Meetings resumed even after President George W. Bush listed Iran among the “axis of evil” countries in his 2002 State of the Union address.

Tehran’s final attempt to normalize relations came in May of 2003 in what became known as the “grand bargain.” Calling for broad dialogue “in mutual respect,” Iran suggested that everything was on the table, including full cooperation on Iran’s nuclear program, ending material support to Palestinian opposition groups and assistance in helping stabilize Iraq.

Convinced that the Iranian government was on the brink of collapse, and emboldened by its perceived victory in Iraq in March 2003, Bush administration officials belittled the initiative. The administration’s imperious posture and failure to build on Iran’s cooperation in Afghanistan, led senior officials in Tehran to conclude that Washington’s goal was regime change.

Bush strategists had another objective in ousting Saddam—-to isolate and increase the military and political pressure on Iran, and to a lesser extent, on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Repeated often by administration officials was the refrain, “Today Baghdad, tomorrow Damascus, and then on to Tehran.”

To curb Tehran’s growing influence in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, Bush launched an unprecedented financial war against Iran. A list of strategies developed in 2006 by Stuart Levy—-the first under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury Department—-were implemented to drive Iran out of the global economy.

Where Washington sees terrorism, the Iranian government sees itself combating a power structure in the Middle East that benefits the United States, Israel and Sunni Arab regimes.

Congress defines an international sponsor of terrorism as a country whose government supports acts of international terrorism. Tehran does not support “international” terrorism, but it does provide material support to regional movements that it calls the oppressed, whose battle is directed toward the state of Israel—Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. These groups have used violence against Israel to end the brutal occupation of their land.

Tehran regards as legitimate its support for national liberation movements that fight against Israeli occupation and aggression, insisting it is not terrorism. Iran’s leaders believe that Israel’s long-term goal is to weaken the Islamic world, eliminating all resistance, in order to carry out its expansionist designs.

From the perspective of the people of the region, Israel has a long history of occupation, invasion and state terrorism. Interestingly, the Arab media has accused Washington of sponsoring terrorism because of its support for Israel.

The Israeli government has relentlessly pushed the perception that Iran, specifically a nuclear-armed Iran, is the greatest threat to peace and stability in the region and world, and has successfully sold this provocative idea in the United States. Senior Israeli security officials have refuted the assertion that an Iranian nuclear weapon would threaten Israel. Their claims are poignant considering the fact that Israel enjoys a huge military and technical advantage in the region, and possesses an arsenal capable of deterring any nuclear aggression.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s motives for vilifying Iran are many, but primarily it serves to distract international attention as Israel continues settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Syrian Golan Heights.

Saudi Arabia, like Israel, is doing everything in its power to make sure the United States remains engaged in the Middle East. Riyadh relies on Washington to do its heavy lifting, and anti-Iran propaganda helps in its campaign. Saudi rulers believe that the Assad government is pivotal to Iranian influence in the region, and have been encouraging Washington to get rid of him for years. They were buoyed by Trump’s missile attack on Syria and recent state visit as a sign that Washington is pivoting away from Obama’s policy of rapprochement with Iran, and renewing its ties to the kingdom.

The intense focus on Iran as a menace does not correspond to its capabilities, intent or danger. A 2017 Congressional Research Service report stated that Iran’s national security policy involves protecting itself from American or others’ efforts to intimidate or change the regime. According to the 2014 U.S. Defense Department Annual Review of Iran, “Iran’s military doctrine is defensive. It is designed to deter an attack….”

Forty-five U.S. military bases encircle Iran, with over 125,000 troops in close proximity. The Congressional Research Service asserted that Tehran allocates about 3 percent of GDP to military spending, far less than what its Persian Gulf neighbors spend.

Iran’s nuclear program has cultivated scientific innovation and national pride. It required pragmatic leadership to accept the constraints of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The agreement subjects Iran to greater restrictions and more intrusive monitoring than any state with nuclear programs, while its neighbors possess unlimited nuclear programs and, in the case of Pakistan and Israel, nuclear weapons.

Intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency agree that Iran has not been attempting to develop nuclear weapons. According to the IAEA and the U.S. State Department, Iran has been fulfilling its obligations under the JCPOA.

Toughness on Iran has become a litmus test for American politicians to demonstrate their support for Israel. Congress overwhelmingly passed a ten-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, which was set to expire on December 31, 2016. The renewal makes it easier for the Trump administration to reimpose sanctions that Obama lifted under the JCPOA.

Unlike other countries in the Middle East that have integrated missiles into their conventional armed forces, Iran has been singled out for the same behavior. Iran’s recent missile test did not violate the JCPOA. It has no long-range missiles, no nuclear warheads for its missiles, and has not threatened their use. Without nuclear weapons, missiles are of negligible importance. Unlike the Saudis and Israelis, Iran does not have a large or modern air force.

A February 26, 2015, report by the director of national intelligence, titled “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Communities,” stated that Iran is not the chief sponsor of terrorism, and removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats. The report asserted Tehran’s intentions are to “dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia…, and combat Sunni extremists, including the Islamic State.”

Yet there are countless examples of aggression against Iran.

The Saudi government has sought for decades to motivate Sunnis to fear and resist Iran. To that end, it has spent billions on a campaign to expand Salafism (an ultra-conservative, austere form of Islam) as a major counterforce in the Muslim world.

In 2007, Congress agreed to a Bush administration request of $400 million to escalate covert operations to destabilize Iran’s government, with regime change the ultimate goal. The funding request came at the same time that a National Intelligence Estimate—-the collective work of America’s sixteen spy agencies—concluded that Iran had ceased its efforts to develop nuclear weapons in 2003.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations employed some of the most draconian financial methods ever used against a state, including crippling sanctions on Iran’s entire banking, transportation and energy sectors.

The first known use of cyber warfare against a sovereign state was launched against Iran by the United States and Israel in 2009. The Stuxnet virus crippled Iranian centrifuges used to produce nuclear fuel.

Beginning in 2008, four of Iran’s nuclear scientists were assassinated on the streets of Tehran; the evidence pointed to Israeli agents. In 2011, a military arms depot was blown up, killing 17 people. The incident was similar to a blast in October 2010 at an Iranian

Revolutionary Guard Corps missile base in Khorrambad. Both acts of sabotage were attributed to Israel.

American organizations such as the jingoistic United Against a Nuclear Iran, chaired by former Senator Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., have called for attacks on Iranian ships in the

Persian Gulf and on Iranian military forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, and are pressuring the Trump administration to increase sanctions and to cancel the JCPOA.

These acts of aggression are justified in Washington and elsewhere by the standard rhetoric of the Iranian terrorism myth, but there is scant intelligence to support the claim. In a 2011 poll conducted in twelve Arab countries by The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (based on face-to-face interviews of 16,731 individuals), 73 percent of those surveyed saw Israel and the United States as the most threatening countries, with 5 percent seeing Iran as such.

Most U.S. officials quietly acknowledge that Saudi Arabia and the Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchies are the major supporters of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, not Shi’ite Iran. Vice President Joseph Biden concluded just that during a foreign policy speech at Harvard in October of 2014. A recently released classified State Department cable dated December 30, 2009, stated, “…donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

It is Iran that is helping to fight the Islamic State in Iraq. Its offensive in the Syrian war was at the request of the country’s sovereign government. Iran lives in the neighborhood and relies on regional allies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Assad in Syria, to bolster its security if attacked. Syria was the only country to support Iran during the Iraq war. Tehran is keenly aware that the outcome of the Syrian war may have major consequences for the region’s Shi’ites, and could reshape the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia and Israel have made Iran their major regional adversary, and to that end have built a formidable alliance. Syria has become the theater for competing regional interests. Both the Saudis and Israelis are aiding al-Qaeda affiliated forces in Syria. Washington has partnered with Saudi Arabia in the war to achieve its long-established goal of regime change, while Riyadh seeks to end what the Saudis see as the power emerging from the Shi’ite Crescent—Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

Israel, for example, has been pressuring the United States and Russia to restrict and ultimately expel Iranian-backed militias from Syria, and has continued to attack pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria. From Israel’s perspective, Syria—ally of Iran and supporter of Hezbollah—has been one of the few remaining Arab states capable of standing in the way of its regional ambitions. Israel would like to see Syria fractured into small, sectarian enclaves, so weakened as to be no threat.

Israel has partnered with al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra (also called the al-Nusra Front). Al-Nusra’s goal, like the Islamic State, is to overthrow Assad’s secular government and establish a radical Salafist regime. United Nations observers have documented the delivery of material aid and ongoing coordination between Israeli military personnel and al-Nusra armed groups. Al-Nusra terrorists are being cared for in Israeli hospitals.

By supporting al-Nusra, Israel has effectively sided with America’s enemy and has, therefore, emerged as a state sponsor of terrorism.

In the wake of the 9-11 attacks, President Bush, in his September 20, 2001, speech to Congress declared, “Every nation now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists….From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

Iran has been fighting terrorism since 9-11. Its national security depends on stable borders and a stable region. To that end, it is fighting in Syria and aiding the Iraqi government to recapture territories held by the Islamic State, at great cost to its military.

Iranians know all too well the egregious effects of terrorism. For decades, U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies have covertly financed, equipped and trained opposition groups that have fomented and carried out terrorist attacks inside Iran. Thousands of civilians and political figures, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, have suffered injury at the hands of terrorists. U.S. intelligence agencies have supported the acts of violence committed by the Mujahedin-e Khalq—listed by the State Department as a terrorist group (now delisted) that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic—as well as the Baluchi militant Salafi group Jundullah. An Iranian ethnic minority, Jundullah is a Sunni group aligned with the thinking of al-Qaeda.

Terrorism is a cudgel used to engender fear. And fear, grounded in erroneous information, can result in destructive government policies, and in the worst case, war. This is especially true of the U.S.-Iran relationship. After almost four decades, Iran and the Middle East have substantially changed, while American policy has not. Iran’s evolving and nuanced political system does not fit into Washington’s outdated, hegemonic good guy-bad guy worldview.

American, Israeli and Saudi regional objectives depend on the existence of an enemy; and to that aim, Iran’s terrorism designation has proven a potent rhetorical weapon.

Washington’s hardline rhetoric and policies toward Iran merely strengthens the power of the country’s hardliners . Given the circumstances, Tehran will continue its defensive, cautious strategy, cooperating with the West on issues such as the fight against the Islamic State, while asserting what it sees as its historical role in the region.

M. Reza Behnam, Ph.D., of Eugene is a political scientist specializing in the governments and politics of the Middle East, and American foreign policy in the region.

May 26, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hamas rejects US president’s description of terror group

Press TV – May 21, 2017

Hamas has roundly dismissed US President Donald Trump’s allegations against the Palestinian resistance movement, stating his description of the anti-Israel group exhibits his “complete bias” in favor of the Israel regime.

“The statements describing Hamas as a terror group are rejected. They are a distortion of the image of our popular resistance and cause, and show full bias towards the Israeli Occupation,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement posted on his Facebook page on Sunday, Arabic-language Safa news agency reported.

He added, “Hamas is a national liberation movement that is legitimately defending the rights of the Palestinian nation and fighting against terrorism.”

“It is the Zionist entity that is practicing mass murder against our people and committing crimes against humanity, particularly the siege of the Gaza Strip, through the support of US officials,” Barhoum pointed out.

The statement came hours after Trump addressed the leaders of 55 Muslim countries in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh, and described Hamas as a terror organization.

The Israeli military frequently targets the Gaza Strip, which Hamas controls, with civilians being the main victims of such attacks.

Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The 50-day military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – were also wounded in the war.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty in the coastal enclave.

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Hamas outlines its vision for Palestine in the 21st century

By Dr Daud Abdullah | MEMO | May 1, 2017

One hundred years of oppression have not diminished or erased the Palestinian hope for freedom. Throughout this year, 2017, they are marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which started their tragedy. The occasion is about the past, as well as the future. And, it is in this context that the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas has launched its new General Policies and Principles Document.

When Hamas issued its founding Charter in August 1988, the occupied territories were in the grip of the First Intifada (uprising). Both the content and tone of its message was then largely one for its followers and the “stone-throwing generation” who had risen up against the occupation. Thirty years on, things have changed drastically. The occupation has become more inhumane while transforming itself into a system of apartheid rule. A new political framework is, therefore, needed to give not just hope, but direction to the Palestinian people as well.

Politics aside, Hamas is plainly positioning itself to occupy the moral high-ground left vacant by other national forces. The leadership which brokered the ill-fated Oslo Accords two decades ago still remains in power; albeit now discredited and mistrusted by large sections of Palestinian society. Despite their best efforts, they seem incapable of shaking off the image of a self-serving and corrupt elite.

Rightfully, Palestinians yearn for an all embracing and inclusive leadership; one that honours their sacrifices, respects their will and pursues their legitimate rights. With this in mind Hamas has carefully framed its General Policies Document in a language that resonates with Palestinians of all political and religious persuasions. While affirming a willingness to recognise a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, Hamas, nonetheless, remains committed to its declared objective of a free Palestine, from Naqurra in the north to Rashrash in the south, and from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.

No doubt, some may argue that this new document has been long overdue. The truth, however, is that Hamas has over the years shown a capacity to critique its political positions and explore options that were not mentioned in its founding Charter as long as they did not compromise national interests. Hence, while still in prison Sheikh Ahmad Yassin proposed a long-term cessation of hostilities (hudnah) with Israel for the first time in 1994. In 1997 he told the Associated Press that Hamas would accept a ten-year truce if Israel would withdraw its troops and settlers from all of the West Bank and Gaza.

Similarly, Dr Abdel Aziz Rantissi, another founding leader of the movement, told Reuters on 27 January 2004: “We accept a state in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. We propose a 10-year truce in return for [Israeli] withdrawal and the establishment of a state.” Two years later, in May 2006, these very ideas were adopted in the document that came to be known as the National Conciliation Document of the Palestinian prisoners. It was signed by representatives of the four largest Palestinian factions: Marwan Barghouthi of Fatah, Sheikh Abdel Khaliq Al-Natsche of Hamas, Sheikh Bassam Al-Saadi of Islamic Jihad and Abdel Rahim Malouh of the PFLP.

Many of the points embodied in the Prisoners Document such as the acceptance of a state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, the right of return and the right to resist are all now asserted in Hamas’ new General Policies Document. Having signed up to the Prisoners Document Hamas has, furthermore, demonstrated a willingness to be part of a national project that secures the rights of all Palestinians and not only its supporters.

Since the Lebanese-based Al-Mayadeen TV station published a leaked draft copy of the new document cynics have wasted no time searching for contradictions and compromises. Apart from the issue of a state within the 1967 borders, they point to the fact that whereas the founding Charter identified the movement as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood this new General Policies Document makes no such mention. Nor does it deny its ideological links with the Brotherhood. As for any supposed organisational connection and the co-ordination of political strategies within a unified leadership, that was never the case. Indeed, what Hamas does in its new General Policies Document is to identify itself as a national liberation movement.

Hamas of 2017 is a significantly different body from what existed in the late 20th century. Today, for better or worse, it finds itself in a position where it has to administer the Gaza Strip and provide jobs and social services for its two million people. Its regional and international standing has also changed. Hence it has to respond to all the challenges that these entail. Foremost among these is to maintain adherence to its strategic political positions such as the right to resist, non-recognition of Israel and adherence to the liberation of Mandatory Palestine. At the same time, it has to avoid being crippled by ideological dogma.

The new General Policies Document is an attempt to do just this. Its completion shows an honesty to acknowledge and correct errors. For example, in 1988 the founding Charter framed the conflict in these words;  “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious.” This is manifestly wrong. The conflict has always been one between the Palestinian people and the Zionist colonisers who conquered Palestine and now occupy it.

Hamas’ founding Charter was written in the last quarter of the 20th century. Politics is never static anywhere; and it certainly is not in Palestine. Conditions change rapidly. The wider region is itself in a state of continuous flux where alliances are formed and broken. By taking this audacious step to write this new General Policies and Principles Document Hamas is laying out its vision for Palestine in the 21st century. One that would guide and enable the Palestinian people to liberate their land and enjoy the security and freedom from oppression and discrimination that they richly deserve. It is a vision and framework to create opportunities that would ultimately lead to the control and development of their natural resources, as well as realise their full human potential.

Is there any justification to deny them these fundamental human rights?

May 1, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas: Lieberman’s statements prove Israel’s terrorist nature

Spokesman for Hamas Movement Sami Abu Zuhri
Palestine Information Center – March 27, 2017

GAZA – Spokesman for Hamas Movement Sami Abu Zuhri said Monday that Israel’s Army Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s recent threats to assassinate senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyyah prove his government’s “terrorist nature”.

Abu Zuhri called in his Twitter account on all the free people around the world to unite their efforts in the face of “Israeli terrorism” and in support of the Palestinian people.

Earlier on Sunday, Lieberman renewed his earlier threats to assassinate Haniyyah before he leaves office.

In a live chat, Lieberman was asked about his promise before he was appointed Army Minister to eliminate senior Hamas leader Ismail Haneyyah. “It is wise to progress responsibly,” he answered.

“Speak with me about Haneyyah at the end of my term as Defense Minister,” he proclaimed.

Lieberman’s statements came only few days after the assassination of al-Qassam commander Mazen Fuqaha outside his house in Gaza city by six bullets to the head.

March 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Australia finds no funds diverted in World Vision probe, further debunking Israeli claims against al-Halabi

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – March 22, 2017

In yet another blow to the propaganda-driven case against Palestinian aid worker Mohammed al-Halabi, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reported on Tuesday, 21 March that “an internal review into World Vision funding in Gaza has uncovered nothing to suggest any diversion of government aid funding to Hamas.”

Al-Halabi was seized by Israeli occupation forces at the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing and in August 2016, Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, went on a propaganda offensive, claiming that Halabi had redirected World Vision funds to the Palestinian resistance organization, Hamas. Israeli occupation officials declared that he had diverted $43 million in charitable funds to the Palestinian resistance, including a video from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing Palestinians of not caring about their people.  The amounts cited dwarfed the actual budget to which al-Halabi had access, by all accounts.  These seemingly impossible claims were made after nearly a month of interrogation, during which Halabi was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment.

The claims against Halabi were accompanied by similarly touted claims against civil engineer Waheed Bursh, a contractor with the UN Development Program, also accused of redirecting resources to the Palestinian resistance – in his case, rubble from the Israeli bombing of Gaza. However, despite the large-scale publicity surrounding Borsh’s arrest, he was released seven months later, indicating that no serious charges were ever made. He was cited as a “witness” againat al-Halabi, and later confirmed that he completely denied any allegations against the aid worker.

“The news DFAT found no evidence of the misuse of World Vison funds comes as Mr Halabi’s trial continues in Israel. He has rejected a plea deal offered by Israeli authorities and has pleaded not guilty, claiming he is innocent of all charges,” reported the Australian Brodcasting Corporation. The plea agreement he rejected would have seen him imprisoned for three years, a short sentence which again indicates a lack of serious charges or evidence in the case.

Indeed, rather than presenting any evidence to back up the widely-publicized public claims against World Vision and Halabi, Israeli occupation officials have instead submitted additional, lesser charges against Halabi that have no relation to diverting funds or his work with World Vision; two such charges are those of  “passing information to the enemy” and of “aiding and abetting the enemy in a time of war,” with the enemy in question being Palestinians in Gaza. Al-Halabi is, himself, of course, a Palestinian living under occupation and siege in Gaza.

He is also charged with giving small donations of his own money, rather than redirecting World Vision funds, to charities and mosques in Gaza.  ABC notes that “One incident detailed accuses El Halabi of allegedly giving ‘300 Israeli shekels on a monthly base to a charity managed by Hamas’…Another says the defendant transferred ‘hundreds of shekels during 2015-2016 to a mosque managed by Hamas’… No details are given of the ‘millions’ of dollars Israeli intelligence officials initially accused El Halabi of diverting.” 100 NIS is approximately $26 USD.

“So far, our own ongoing forensic audit has not uncovered any money subverted and to hear DFAT say their investigation hasn’t either is consistent and is very good news,” said Tim Costello of World Vision.

Despite the severe lack of evidence or credibility for Israeli claims in this case, World Vision’s work in Gaza – and government funding from the Australian and German governments – have been shut down. Over 100 Palestinian workers for World Vision have lost their jobs in Gaza in an area already suffering from massive unemployment and poverty.

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Palestinian legislator Mohammed al-Tal seized by Israeli forces; Samira Halaiqa indicted by military court

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – March 22, 2017

The number of imprisoned Palestinian Legislative Council members climbed to 11 on Tuesday, 21 March after a pre-dawn raid by Israeli occupation forces seized PLC member Mohammed al-Tal from al-Khalil, along with 19 more Palestinians. Al-Tal has previously spent 11 years in Israeli prisons, half of those in administrative detention without charge or trial.

Also on Tuesday, 21 March, an Israeli occupation military court at Ofer submitted an indictment against PLC member Samira Halaiqa, 53, from al-Khalil, accusing her of participating in political and social activities and engaging in “incitement” for making political posts on Facebook.  Halaiqa was seized on 9 March by occupation forces who invaded her home. She, along with her husband Mohammed Halaiqa, had previously been imprisoned for one year in 2006 under administrative detention, following her election to the PLC.

Both Halaiqa and al-Tal are part of the Change and Reform bloc, the PLC bloc associated with Hamas.

The 11 detained PLC members include: Khaled Tafesh and Anwar Zboun, both from the Bethlehem area, members of the Change and Reform bloc, seized on Monday, 6 March. Zboun spent over six years in Israeli prison, including several months in administrative detention in 2014. Tafesh, a former deportee to Marj al-Zohour, was also previously held in administrative detention in 2014. Tafesh, Zboun, Halaiqa and al-Tal were all arrested in the month of March.

Other detained PLC members include Hassan Yousef and Ahmad Mubarak of Ramallah and Azzam Salhab and Mohammed Jamal Natsheh of al-Khalil. All members of the Change and Reform bloc, they are held in administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat, is serving a 30-year sentence in Israeli prison, while Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi is serving several life sentences. Jerusalemite PLC member of the Change and Reform bloc, Mohammed Abu Teir, was subject to expulsion from his home city of Jerusalem and is now serving a 17-month sentence in Israeli prison.

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fake News about Venezuela: A Simple Recipe

President Hugo Chavez
By Ricardo Vaz | Investig’Action | March 7, 2017

“Journalists” who want to write fake news about Venezuela, or about any other country or group that dares to stand up to US imperialism, only need to follow this simple recipe:

  1. Choose one or more countries/groups opposed to US imperialism
  2. If available, have a former official, now being paid by the US government, make the accusations
  3. Season well with doses of “war on terror” and/or “war on drugs”
  4. Sprinkle with opinions of “experts” who work in DC think tanks or US-funded NGOs

While this looks like a very unsavoury mix, the results last very long and can be reheated with no problems.

This recipe has been used and re-used plenty of times, either by US officials to justify policies or by media outlets. But given how the media critically accepts everything when it comes to foreign policy, there is hardly a distinction to be made here.

A classical example were the fabricated connections made between Chávez/Venezuela and al-Qaeda. Other variants involve dealings with the FARC1, Mexican cartels, and the favourite dance partner is Hezbollah. On one hand, the US’ relation with al-Qaeda is now a bit more complicated, as extremists may get bombed if they are in Iraq but supported if they cross into Syria. On the other, Hezbollah is the biggest obstacle to Israeli hegemony and the colonisation of Palestine. This kind of propaganda is reminiscent of the effort to fabricate connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. Some outlets would even have us believe North Korea was supplying arms to Hamas!

The most recent story involves the newly-appointed vice-president, Tareck El Aissami, who is a perfect ingredient because of his Middle Eastern ancestry. Even though he was born and lived all his life in Venezuela, his parents are Druze immigrants from Lebanon. The storm started with a CNN “story” about the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq selling passports to dangerous people, including members of Hezbollah, who would then use them to attack the US or its allies. This operation was claimed to be directed by El Aissami. This story was directly quoted by Marco Rubio during a renewed push by US lawmakers for more sanctions against Venezuela. These came later from the Department of the Treasury, this time linking El Aissami to Mexican cartels. With a little more effort even the North Koreans might have been added to the party.

Tareck El Aissami with an incriminating Palestinian scarf

All in all, there are many things that do not add up. First of all, there is the issue of Hezbollah plotting terror attacks in the US, but we will not go into detail here. It suffices to say that the evidence of Hezbollah involvement in terror attacks abroad is, at best, very thin. Then there is the sectarian issue. Western media, at the behest of western allies in the Middle East, keep stirring up this supposedly grave Shia threat, with Iran and Hezbollah even conspiring to reshape demographics and create an all-Shia corridor in the Middle East. And yet their man in Venezuela is a Druze. Equally ludicrous are claims that there are Venezuelan training camps in Lebanon and vice-versa. Hezbollah’s main foe is right next door, but somehow it would need training camps halfway around the world! The links to the drug trade presented by the Treasury are equally flimsy, and were picked apart masterfully by Larissa Costas.

The “star witness” of CNN’s expose, Misael López, has since been revealed to be a close associate of Ana Argotti, who is in turn very close to Lilian Tintori and Leopoldo López, the hard-right politician jailed for his role in the violent activities during the 2014 guarimbas that resulted in over 40 deaths. Argotti has defended several members of the opposition charged with violent crimes during this period. As for Misael López, he is also under investigation for alleged sexual harassment and attempting to withdraw funds from the Venezuelan embassy in Baghdad.

Elusive cartels and double standards

Another high-profile fake story, followed by sanctions, involved Diosdado Cabello, an important figure in the ruling PSUV and head of the National Assembly at the time. Based on the account of a former bodyguard turned star-witness, now living comfortably in the US, Cabello was accused of being the boss of the elusive Cartel de los Soles. This is supposedly a very important Latin American drug cartel run by the Venezuelan military. The problem is that, unlike the stories we hear of cartels violently making themselves known and marking territory, here we have a drug cartel run from the highest levels of the Venezuelan state operating without anyone really noticing it. It is like the Illuminati version of drug cartels.

Diosdado Cabello next to President Nicolás Maduro

Venezuela is often presented as an obstacle in the war on drugs, but the truth is that the main actor in the cocaine trade is neighbouring Colombia, the empire’s best friend and largest recipient of aid in the hemisphere. Any list of officials connected to the drug trade has to start with (former Colombian president) Álvaro Uribe if it is to be taken seriously. We are talking about the country where the para-politics scandal broke, revealing that dozens of elected officials had links to paramilitary groups, the heart and soul of the drug trade. And yet we never hear stories of Colombian politicians or military officials, who cooperate closely with the US military, being involved in illegal activities, nor have sanctions ever been imposed on them.

This double standard is only outrageous if we believe that the war on drugs is actually designed to eradicate the drug trade. Rather, it is supposed to manage it. In fact, drugs have been very useful for US agencies, for instance, to pacify black communities and derail the black liberation movement in the 1970s. Coupled with draconian legislation and harsh sentences, today they serve to feed the very lucrative prison industry. In any case, large amounts of cocaine are consumed in the very place where the drug money is laundered – Wall Street. Even when a massive drug money laundering scheme is uncovered at a major US bank, a mild slap on the wrist and a fine worth a few days’ profit is all that can be expected.

Fake news as background

None of this is intended as an endorsement or an exoneration of El Aissami, Cabello, or anyone else. But these news stories and unproven accusations, as well as others targeting lower-profile officials such as Néstor Reverol, are not meant to prove anything or to lead to any judicial prosecution. They are simply thrown out there and blindly echoed by an uncritical media. They are meant to create background. From now on, whenever Tareck El Aissami appears in the news we will read that he has links to terrorism and the drug trade, and thus whatever he says or does will build on this background.

For the past two decades, Venezuela has been the biggest thorn in the US’ side, a real nuisance in Washington’s “backyard”, striving for an independent course (a “second independence”) and leading the efforts for a regional integration which is not subjected to the interests of the Northern empire. The US responded with its traditional regime-change operation, destabilizing at every turn, funding opposition groups, imposing a de-facto financial blockade on Venezuela, even working to lower oil prices. Their natural allies, the Venezuelan elites, have also been outraged that the country they used to own has been taken away from them, and coup-plotting has become their way of life.

And therefore these fake news stories are pre-emptive justification for a future coup or foreign intervention. Should one of these take place, the media will be ready with plenty of hyperlinks to these fake stories that present Venezuela as a failed, rogue state, connected to terrorism and the drug trade. The coup/foreign intervention would then look like the benign empire saving the world from this threat.

What the empire, the local elites and the media keep underestimating is the power of the masses that were awakened by this project, chavismo, that for the first time sees them placed front and centre. There is now a political conscience, a firm belief that the people should write their own history, and it will take a lot more than fake stories from propaganda outlets to restore Venezuela’s former neo-colonial status. In the words of Chávez:

“Aquí nadie se rinde, carajo!”

Note:

(1) While the FARC have been involved in the drug trade, it has mostly been at the lowest levels of the chain, levying a tax on sales of coca crops. Associating them, and only them, to the Colombian drug trade, is incredibly dishonest and exonerates those who profit the most out of it.

March 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Undercover Israeli forces detain 2 students from Birzeit University

Ma’an – February 2, 2017

undercover_abduct-e1486045796143RAMALLAH – Israeli special forces disguised themselves as Palestinians and “kidnapped” two Palestinian students at the entrance of Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Thursday afternoon, according to a statement released by the university.

The two students were identified as Tawfiq Abu Arqub, a coordinator for the Hamas-affiliated Islamic student bloc at the university, and Basel Falaneh, the secretary of specialities committee of the student council. They were studying computer science and business, respectively.

Birzeit University released a statement after the incident, saying that the two students were detained at the western gate of the university by “a number of [Israeli] soldiers.” Locals also told Ma’an that the students were forced into a vehicle “at gunpoint,” while also pointing guns at other students in the area.

The head of the university’s security, Muhammad Rimawi, stated that Israeli forces had “intercepted” a car that Abu Arqub and Falaneh were riding in, according to the statement, when “a number of undercover occupying forces took the students out of the car and kidnapped them.”

“This is neither new nor unprecedented given the ongoing colonial aggression against the people and institutions of Palestine,” the statement said.

The statement called the incident an “outrageous act of violence,” and part of a larger Israeli campaign resulting in the “rapid arrests” of students.

“This violation of our students’ right to learn is a part of a systematic attack on the right of education and freedom of expression,” the statement added.

The university’s Dean of Student Affairs Muhammad al-Ahmad also said in the statement that Israel’s “repressive measures” against all Palestinians and specifically students “shall only strengthen international efforts in support of an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.”

“The University condemns these outrageous acts in the strongest possible terms and calls upon all international and human rights organizations to speak this truth loudly in the face of these violations immediately and without reserve and to stand in solidarity with our struggle,” the statement concluded.

Birzeit University, ranked the top university in Palestine and among the highest-ranking universities in the Arab world, has been the focus of an Israeli military crackdown in recent months, which increased after the Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc won student elections at Birzeit last year for the second consecutive year.

In December, more than 20 Israeli military vehicles raided the campus before dawn, forced campus security guards to stand against walls, and proceeded to raid several buildings, including the university’s administration building, the student council’s headquarters, Kamal Nasir Hall, and the Faculty of Science.

Another incident occurred in July, when at least 11 Palestinian youths were injured after Israeli undercover forces and soldiers opened live fire on the campus amid clashes sparked by an Israeli raid to detain a former member of the Islamic bloc.

At the start of 2016, Israeli military forces also raided Birzeit, destroying and confiscating university equipment. It was reported at the time that Israeli forces had detained more than 80 students between Oct. 2015 and the start of 2016.

Rights groups have widely condemned the concerted detention of Islamic bloc members at the university since their initial victory in 2015.

The Hamas movement is deemed illegal by the Israeli government — along with the majority of Palestinian political factions and movements — making students involved with the Islamic bloc vulnerable to raids and arbitrary detentions. Members have also been targeted by Palestinian security forces.

February 2, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hamas and Al-Sisi: A new page?

Al-Araby Al-Jadid | January 30, 2017

Spokespersons for the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement — Hamas — have given the impression that their movement’s relationship with Egypt is on the verge of dramatic shifts that will put an end to the tense relations between the two since the coup that deposed President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Hamas has indicated that the recent visit to Cairo by the Deputy Head of the movement’s political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, has paved the way to turning a new page in these relations. Hamas officials have attributed this “radical” change to a “strategic” shift in the position of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s government towards the movement. They believe that this shift will manifest itself in the improvement of the economic and living conditions in the Gaza Strip.

However, what the Hamas officials are promising contradicts with the voices in Cairo, as media mouthpieces linked to Al-Sisi’s government have attributed the rapprochement between Egypt and Hamas to a deal which stipulates that Hamas should take measures on the border that the Egyptian government view as necessary to improve its ability to deal with the growing security challenges in northern Sinai. This will be in exchange for Egypt reducing the impact of the blockade on the Gaza Strip as well as taking measures to improve the economic and living situation in the besieged territory.

It is clear that if the purpose of these measures is to restrict the ability of members of Salafist jihadi groups to move across the border separating Gaza and Sinai, then this would also serve Hamas’s interests, as it is the target of hostility from these groups, a number of which have “excommunicated” the movement. In addition, Hamas is facing the consequences of what was a catastrophic mistake in trying to combine government of the enclave with resistance to the occupation, which gave Israel, as well as regional and international parties, another justification for imposing the suffocating siege on Gaza. The Islamic movement is concerned about improving the economic situation in Gaza, which has deteriorated so much that there could be an explosion of public anger against it.

However, in the event that a positive change does occur in the Egyptian government’s position towards Gaza, the rationale for this transformation will go beyond all considerations regarding the security situation in Sinai. Important circles in the Egyptian security institution have acknowledged the failed strategy adopted by Cairo towards Hamas in the form of the siege, security measures aiming to dry out the sources of its military strength, political boycott, demonisation in the media, and delegitimising the movement by means of pushing the Egyptian judiciary to consider its military wing to be a terrorist entity. According to Palestinian figures who have visited Cairo recently, some officials from the security institution in Cairo are pushing for a new approach to be adopted that aims to contain Hamas by alleviating the siege and improving the economic situation, while using the shift in Egypt’s position to influence the balances of power within the movement. This is especially due to the fact that Hamas is on the verge of holding critical internal elections, and therefore Egypt may influence one side over the other.

We can’t imagine that Al-Sisi’s government would make any change in their policies towards Gaza without coordinating with Israel, since it relies on the extremist, right-wing Israeli government in Tel Aviv to continue to provide it with international legitimacy. The Israeli position on Hamas is also subject to its own interests, and it seems apparent from the recent internal discussions that Tel Aviv’s interests currently lie in improving the economic situation in Gaza out of fear that Hamas might engage in a military confrontation as a means of preventing a popular outburst due to the deteriorating economic situation. Such fears were clearly evident in the last meeting of the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs, during which Intelligence Minster Yisrael Katz once again proposed the idea of establishing a floating harbour off the coast of Gaza.

Another motivation for the shift in Cairo’s position towards Gaza is Egypt’s angry reaction to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection of the pressure from Al-Sisi to restore Mohammed Dahlan to Fatah’s ranks and allow him to play a leading role in Palestinian affairs.

In any case, contrary to what some Hamas officials believe, the promised shift in the Al-Sisi government’s position on Hamas and Gaza will be tactical and not strategic. This is due to the fact that working on accumulating international legitimacy by getting involved in the war on “Islamic terrorism” is at the top of the list of strategic constants for the current regime in Cairo. Al-Sisi’s delight at his recent phone call with US President Donald Trump and his boast that they are both on the same page in terms of the war on “terrorism” reflects the rooting of this strategy within the government as a means of security legitimacy.

As such, regardless of Hamas’s behaviour towards Egypt, Al-Sisi can turn against the movement very easily if he believes that the new resident of the White House would welcome such a move. If we take into account the general agreement between the Trump administration and the Israeli government, then we can understand that Al-Sisi’s sensitivity to the Israeli considerations, including those regarding Hamas, will grow. If Israel believes at some time in the future that it is in its best interest to wage a war on Gaza, then Al-Sisi would most likely adopt the same position that he did during the 2014 military offensive.

Gaza is eager to get rid of the unlawful blockade imposed on it, and so any shift in the Egyptian position that reduces the effects of the siege will be considered as a positive and important development. However, it is important to be aware of the environment surrounding this expected shift in Egypt’s position and not to rely too much upon it, just in case there is a painful disappointment.

Translated by MEMO

January 30, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

The deceitful words of Ambassador Regev

By Stuart Littlewood | Veterans Today | January 24, 2017

Revelations that a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London, Shai Masot, had been plotting with stooges among British MPs and other maggots in the political woodwork to “take down” senior government figures including Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan, should have resulted in the ambassador himself also being kicked out. But he was let off the hook.

That ambassador is the vile Mark Regev, ace propagandist, master of disinformation, whitewasher extraordinaire and personal spokesman for the Zionist regime’s prime minister Netanyahu.

Regev (real name Freiberg) took up his appointment here last April so presumably knew about, if not supervised, Masot’s activities.

“The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed,” said the British government. The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, who is Jewish, also declined to investigate.

Masot’s hostile scheming was captured and revealed by an Al Jazeera undercover investigation and not, regrettably, by Britain’s own security services and press.

Regev is quoted several times by the Israel Project’s ‘Global Language Dictionary’, a strange title for a sinister propaganda handbook written specially for those “on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.

This manual teaches how to justify Israel’s slaughter, ethnic cleansing, land-grabbing, cruelty and blatant disregard for international law and UN resolutions, and make it all smell sweeter with a liberal squirt of persuasive language. It also incites hatred particularly towards Hamas and Iran and is designed to hoodwink us ignorant and gullible Americans and Europeans into believing we actually share values with the racist regime in Israel, and therefore ought to support its abominable behaviour.

Readers are instructed to “clearly differentiate between the Palestinian people and Hamas” and drive a wedge between them. “Peace can only be made with adversaries who want to make peace with you. Terrorist organizations like Iran-backed Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad are, by definition, opposed to peaceful co-existence, and determined to prevent reconciliation. I ask you, how do you negotiate with those who want you dead?”

The manual features “Words that work” – that is to say, carefully constructed language to deflect criticism and reframe all issues and arguments in Israel’s favour. A statement at the very beginning sets the tone: “Remember, it’s not what you say that counts. It’s what people hear.”

Here’s an example of “words that work”: Israel made painful sacrifices and took a risk to give peace a chance. They voluntarily removed over 9,000 settlers from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, abandoning homes, schools, businesses, and places of worship in the hopes of renewing the peace process. 

“Despite making an overture for peace by withdrawing from Gaza, Israel continues to face terrorist attacks, including rocket attacks and drive-by shootings of innocent Israelis. Israel knows that for a lasting peace, they must be free from terrorism and live with defensible borders.”

Of course, Israel made no sacrifices at all – Gaza wasn’t theirs to keep and staying there was unsustainable. But although they removed their settlers and troops they have continued to occupy Gaza’s airspace and coastal waters and control all entrances and exits, thus keeping the population bottled up and provoking acts of resistance that give Israel a bogus excuse to turn Gaza into a prison. International law regards Israel as still the occupier.

The manual serves as a communications primer for the army of cyber-scribblers that Israel’s Ministry of Dirty Tricks recruited to spread Zionism’s poison across the internet. It uses some of Regev’s words to provide disinformation essential to this hasbara work.

We’re told, for example, that the most effective way to build support for Israel is to talk about “working toward a lasting peace” that “respects the rights of everyone in the region”. Regev is quoted: We welcome and we support international efforts to help the Palestinians. So, once again, the Palestinian people are not our enemy. On the contrary, we want peace with the Palestinians. 

“We’re interested in a historical reconciliation. Enough violence. Enough war. And we support international efforts to help the Palestinians both on the humanitarian level and to build a more successful democratic society. That’s in everyone’s interest.”

The central lie, of course, is that Israel wants peace. It doesn’t. It never has. Peace does not suit Israel’s purpose, which is endless expansion and control. That is why Israel has never declared its borders, maintains its brutal military occupation and continues its programme of illegal squats or so-called “settlements” deep inside Palestinian territory, intending to create sufficient ‘facts on the ground’ to ensure permanent occupation and annexation.

Regev is quoted again here:

  • “It was the former U.N. secretary general Kofi Anan that put four benchmarks on the And he said, speaking for the international community that

If Hamas reforms itself …

If Hamas recognizes my country’s right to live in freedom …

If Hamas renounces terrorism against innocent civilians …

If Hamas supports international agreements that are being signed and agreed to concerning the peace process … then the door is open. 

“But unfortunately – tragically – Hamas has failed to meet even one of those four benchmarks. And that’s why today Hamas is isolated internationally. Even the United Nations refuses to speak to Hamas.”

Which of those benchmarks has Israel met, Mr Regev? 

In a further effort to demonise Hamas, Regev is quoted again:

  • “It’s not just Israel who refuses to speak to Hamas. It’s the whole international

community… Most of the democratic world refuses to have a relationship with Hamas because Hamas has refused to meet the most minimal benchmarks of international behavior.”

Isn’t that a little cheeky, Mr Regev, coming from a regime widely condemned for war crimes, piracy and mega-lawlessness? And let’s remember that Hamas and Hezbollah were created to resist Israeli aggression.

Iran must be demonised too, so Regev’s twisted wisdom is used again: 

  • “Israel is very concerned about the Iranian nuclear program. And for good reason.

Iran’s President openly talks about wiping Israel off the map. We see them racing ahead on nuclear enrichment so they can have enough fissile material to build a bomb. We see them working on their ballistic missiles. We only saw, last week, shooting a rocket to launch a so-called satellite into outer space and so forth. The Iranian nuclear program is a threat, not just to my country, but to the entire region. And it’s incumbent upon us all to do what needs to be done to keep from proliferating.”

In the meantime how safe is the region under the threat of Israel’s nukes? Why is Israel the only state in the region not to have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Mr Regev? Are we all supposed to believe that Israel’s 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheads pose no threat? Would you also like to comment on why Israel hasn’t signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and why it has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, similarly the Chemical Weapons Convention? What proof do you have of Iran’s nuclear weapons plans?

As for “wiping Israel off the map”, accurate translations of that remark by Ahmadjinadad are “This regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” (The Guardian), or “This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history (Middle East Media Research Institute). Ahmadjinadad was actually repeating a statement once made by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Why, Mr Regev, do you persist in misquoting Mr Ahmadjinadad?

Of course, we know why. It’s the good old Mossad motto: “By deception we shall do war”, ingrained in the Israeli mindset. If it was up to me, Mr Regev, you wouldn’t be allowed to set foot in the UK – even with your cute Australian accent.

Watch Jon Snow annihilate Regev.

January 26, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 5 Comments

US Court Illegally Fines Iran and Syria for Death of an Israeli Infant

By Stephen Lendman | January 12, 2017

The anti-Iran, anti-Syria US Washington, DC district court of the absurd illegally ordered both countries to pay $178.5 million in damages to the family of an Israeli infant killed in a 2014 vehicular incident.

Israel calls wars of aggression, lethal shootings of Palestinians, and other barbarous acts self-defense. It considers legitimate resistance against brutal occupation harshness terrorism – a knee-jerk response to all incidents, Palestinians automatically guilty by accusation.

The family in question has dual Israeli-American citizenship. Their three-month-old infant was killed when Palestinian Abdel Rahman Shaludi’s vehicle struck people at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill light-rail station in October 2014.

Israel accused him of ties with Hamas, illegally called a terrorist organization. It’s Palestine’s legally elected government.

Parents of the deceased child sued in the US district court, awarded a default judgment, the entire procedure a sham, a scheme to denigrate and punish Iran and Syria illegally.

Attorneys for the plaintiff claimed both countries support Hamas, their legal right if true. Based on this flawed judgment, the court ruled against them – an unjust decision Tehran and Damascus denounced, intending to pay nothing, now now, not ever, nor should they.

In March 2016, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari denounced a US court ruling against the Islamic Republic for the US state-sponsored false flag 9/11 attack, assessing it $10.5 billion in damages to family members of individuals killed, as well as to insurers for costs incurred.

At the time, Ansari minced no words calling the ruling “ridiculous and absurd to the point that it makes a mockery of the principle of justice while further tarnishes the US judiciary’s reputation.”

The new ruling against Iran and Syria is just as spurious, offensive, and illegal. Neither country has had anything to do with incidents in Israel or America. Claiming otherwise is a despicable fabrication.


Stephen Lendman can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.

January 12, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hamas lauds cessation of hostilities in war-torn Syria

Palestine Information Center – December 30, 2016

GAZA – Hamas on Friday lauded the ceasefire accord struck between the warring parties in embattled Syria, calling for boosting political solutions to the conflict.

“We’ve been keeping tabs with deep satisfaction on agreements to cease fire in Syria,” said Hamas.

“Hamas welcomes the ceasefire and calls for a political solution to the Syrian crisis,” a statement by the group read.

“The Syrians can well avoid more bloodshed, uphold territorial integrity, and preserve their rights and sovereignty over the land. Such a bloody page should be turned once and for all,” Hamas added.

“The Palestinian people is looking forward to reaching a long-term agreement and to healing all the differences plaguing the nation’s body. The Palestinians are longing for an end to bloodshed,” Hamas further stated.

“The Palestinians hope that our ill nation would get well soon, restore its strength and unity, and stand up for the Palestinian cause,” the group concluded.

War-ravaged Syria was living Friday through the first day of a nationwide ceasefire as the Syrian government battalions and opposition outfits have agreed to terms for a truce brokered by Turkey and Russia in the country’s long-running hostilities.

Military operations by the regime army were reportedly halted at midnight, except against ISIS and other terror groups, state-run news agency SANA reported.

December 31, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment