At least two members of the Syrian Armed Forces have been killed in an Israeli drone strike in a village in Syria’s strategic southwestern province of Quneitra, located on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, Lebanon’s al-Manar TV says.
The official television station of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah said on Wednesday that “two members of Syria’s National Defense Forces (a branch of Syrian Armed Forces) were killed when an Israeli drone targeted their car at the entrance of Hader, in Quneitra Province.”
However, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five people in total were killed in the airstrike.
The UK-based group said an Israeli plane had hit a car, killing two men from the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, and three men from pro-government popular committees in the Druze town.
The Israeli military has not yet commented on the attack.
Hader borders the line separating Syria’s side of the Golan Heights from the Israeli section, occupied since the war of 1967.
The Druze town has been witnessing clashes between militants and members of pro-Syrian government groups in recent weeks.
The attack in Syria on Wednesday is not the first to be carried out by Israel.
Back in January, an Israeli attack claimed the lives of six Hezbollah fighters near Quneitra.
The Tel Aviv regime has carried out at least five airstrikes against the region over the past year.
Along with Syrian forces, Hezbollah fighters are fighting ISIL and other foreign-backed militant groups, which have been operating in Syria against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011.
Comments from New York Times readers regarding Jonathan Pollard’s forthcoming release:
Pollard betrayed his country and the sacred trust it placed in him. He seems to be totally unrepentant. His crimes were motivated by allegiance to another nation. I don’t see why America should be releasing Pollard, and at the same time trying to imprison a man who leaked secrets to the American people, motivated by love of the Constitution and concern for our disappearing freedoms. I’m talking, of course, about Edward Snowden.
I DO NOT approve of this, and I have written the White House and my representatives to say so. A spy who spies for a ‘friend’ is far, far more dangerous in many ways than a spy who spies for a nation or entity that is clearly our adversary. He should of course be treated humanely, but he should die in prison. If Israel chooses to spy on the USA again, and I am certain that they have people trying to do so even today, it should be crystal clear that the price for that is very high.
The fact that he was not executed for treason and that relations with Israel were not permanently affected by his spying – those things constitute a dangerous degree of concession to a nation that is willing to undermine our security for their own gain. He should remain in prison, and entreaties by Israel to release him should be met with a cold shoulder.
Pollard is the worst kind of human being, a traitor to his country. If Israel gives him a hero’s welcome, it will be proof to the American people that Israel is not a true friend of the U.S., but is willing to sacrifice the safety and security of American families in pursuit of its own goals. May Pollard never be allowed to return to this country when he leaves.
Pollard stole the crown jewels of American intelligence (documents detailing the sources and methods utilized to safeguard American interests and agents throughout the world) and sold them to the Israelis, who proceeded to trade the material with a number of countries, including the Soviet Union. Pollard’s treasonous betrayal of his country has made him a hero in Israel. Pollard’s offenses are infinitely worse than any crime committed by Edward Snowden, who exposed classified information not to a foreign government or for money, but to inform the American people of the illegal activities directed by their government against them. Once again, the Obama Administration proves that justice lies not in what you do or its effects, but who you know and their influence. — David Eason, Denver, CO
How could he have been tried and convicted as a spy for selling secrets to Israel? Is not Israel just a distant 51st state? Albeit a very greedy,ungrateful and entitled state that has more influence in our Congress than the Koch brothers. A state that has no other friend in the world but us yet insults our president and threatens our Congress. — Ed Blau, Marshfield, WI
Let’s see, they spy on us, they undermine our democratically elected president, they cause us to loose face in the world for being on “their side”, they cost taxpayers billions, yes billions, every year in free money we give them and highly escalated military costs because of them, they kill innocent woman and children, and these are our dear friends? Yikes! No wonder no one likes us anymore.
The NSA investigate the corrosive effect of Israeli lobbying on American Security. When the Senate Minority leader (Democrat Charles Schumer-NY) puts Israel’s interests over that of his own country’s, or at least says he needs to weigh the Iran deal through the lens of Israel’s security needs, as opposed to those of his own country’s, and when the Israeli Ambassador (born American) has open doors to anybody’s office in the US Congress, this is an insidious relationship. Those who support Pollard’s release just on the basis of his Jewish faith (presumably coinciding with their own faith), really need to check their passports in.
A senior Iranian lawmaker has called on French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to officially apologize to the Iranian nation over his role in the export of infected blood.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who serves as the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, said Tuesday that Fabius must apologize over involvement in the selling of infected blood products to Iranian companies in the 1980s.
The controversial case dates back to 1984 and 1985, when Fabius served as the prime minister of France. He was, at the time, accused of having a hand in a French company’s deliberate selling of blood products contaminated with HIV to a number of countries, including Iran. The blood products were used for the treatment of haemophiliacs in the target countries. Fabius and two of his ministers were charged with manslaughter but the then French premier was later acquitted.
Boroujerdi said most of the countries that received the bloods were compensated by Paris over the years, but the French government has yet to pay redress to Iranians.
“The relevant bodies, especially the [Iranian] Foreign Ministry, should take action” to get reparations from the French government, Boroujerdi said.
Fabius is due in Tehran on Wednesday for talks with senior Iranian officials.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Saleh Jowkar, another member of the Iranian parliament (Majlis), highlighted the role of Fabius in the controversial case, saying the people of Iran cannot forget his antagonistic actions toward the Iranian nation.
Jowkar also criticized Fabius for adopting an “arrogant” stance toward Iran during the nuclear negotiations in Vienna.
“We will not forget his oppositions, distractions and his advocacy for the Zionist regime during the negotiations,” Jowkar said, adding that the Wednesday visit by Fabius to Tehran is in line with France’s business and economic objectives.
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, Britain, Russia, China, France, and Germany – finalized the text of an agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in Vienna on July 14 after 18 days of intense talks.
67.8% of respondents to a Google Consumer Survey said Israel should receive no compensation for the US finalizing a deal with Iran over its civilian nuclear program, which was begun at the behest of the US when Washington’s puppet, the Shah, one of the world’s worst human rights violators, ruled over Iran.
Obama is currently offering Israel increased aid to compensate for the agreement. Israel is the biggest recipient of US aid at over $3 billion per year, and Obama has increased aid to Israel after each of Israel’s major massacres in the Gaza refugee camp since Obama assumed power.
The major study of the issue of citizen impact on US government policy, conducted in 2014 by research teams out of Princeton and Northwestern universities, looked at nearly 2,000 policies and found that average-income US citizens have “near zero, statistically non-significant” impact on them, while the most affluent citizens essentially dictate policy. This dynamic has been illustrated by previous research, such as by Larry Bartels of Vanderbilt.
Another issue to watch for: the “world’s most influential” think tank, the Washington-based Brookings Institute, has suggested (among other options), as a way for the US to gain dominance over Iran, making it appear that Iran has rejected a “great” deal, then using Israel to attack Iran. (Note the above poll asks if Israel should be given long-range bombers and “bunker-buster” explosives.)
The US and Israel have both continued to make threats of force, criminal acts under the UN charter adopted by both countries, against Iran since the agreement, and Obama’s anti-democratic offering of increased aid to Israel could possibly signal that the “leave it to Bibi” strategy is still being entertained, along with any number of other goals.
Author is a US-based researcher focusing on force dynamics, national and global. @_DirtyTruths
Police brutality in the United States is directly linked to the training some American officers receive in Israel, says a political commentator in Kentucky.
John Miranda made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Tuesday when asked about the death of an African American woman while in police custody.
Sandra Bland was found dead in a prison cell at the Waller County jail in Texas on July 13.
Miranda pointed to the circumstances surrounding Bland’s arrest on July 10 by a Texas state trooper for failing to signal while changing lanes with her vehicle.
“That these people are being taken out of their cars is 100 percent illegal. The only reason a person should be taken out of their car is if the officer thinks some other crime or something illegal has happened, but obviously as we can all see from dashboard camera from Sandra Bland that this is not what happened,” he said.
Police said that an autopsy has confirmed an initial finding by a medical examiner that Bland’s death was a suicide.
However, Miranda said “the story that police gave to the press conference just does not add up.”
“As for the increase in police brutality within the United States,” Miranda said, “I think this definitely can be pointed towards the Israeli training that the Department of Homeland Security is giving all of American police officers.”
“This is not a myth, this is actually happening. I know this first-hand from friends of mine that are police officers,” he continued.
“Some police officers are actually being flown to Israel for the training, not all of them but some, and then those that are flown to Israel, they come back home and they train the head officers in the training that they’ve gotten in Israel,” he explained.
“All these incidents, it is not just happening to African Americans,” Miranda said. “Police are literally being brutal with all Americans.”
The deaths of Bland, as well as two others – Rexdale W. Henry and Kindra Chapman – who were both found dead in their prison cells a few days after they were arrested, are the latest in a series of suspicious police-involved incidents that have sparked protests in many cities across the US.
Listen to full interview: http://presstv.ir/Default/embed/422190
RAMALLAH – The number of Palestinian administrative detainees held in Israeli jails without charge or trial has doubled within a year, Haaretz (Hebrew) newspaper reported Monday.
Since the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli soldiers in al-Khalil last summer, Israeli authorities notably intensified the use of administrative detention policy against Palestinians “due to the Military Advocate General’s decision to lower the requirements in such cases for holding people involved in terrorism.”
Israeli administrative detention order, based on a secret file which neither the detainee nor his lawyer are allowed to see, can be renewed more than once.
More than 1,000 administrative detainees were documented in 2003. The number had fallen significantly to 134 in August 2013, only to rise again to reach 473 in 2014 after the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli soldiers.
There are currently 391 administrative detainees in Israeli jails … twice as many as were being held before the kidnapping process.
Do you believe that governments occasionally conspire to undermine the public good? Do you believe that governments manipulate people through fear to achieve nefarious ends such as war and intervention abroad? Do you believe that ‘elected’ officials serve rich and powerful special interests rather than the majority population?
If you answered yes to any of the above, and you are a British citizen, then you could be the target of a new ‘counter-extremism’ initiative spearheaded by that country’s perverse Prime Minister David Cameron. As part of his Orwellian ‘counter-extremism’ effort, Cameron has instituted a number of truly despotic measures intent on stifling free speech and extirpating ‘heretical’ viewpoints about false flag terrorism and the undue influence of Zionists on Western foreign policy.
While self-evident to most clear thinking people, the notion that the West is deliberately targeting Muslims and their countries in accordance with an intricately fashioned master plan of divide and conquer will now be a prohibited opinion that could put the British police state on your trail.
“Muslim conspiracy theorists,” Cameron proclaimed in a recent speech outlining his ‘five year strategy’ to combat extremism, who believe that “Jews exercise a ‘malevolent’ power, that [the] Israeli intelligence agency Mossad inspired 9/11 and that the UK allowed 7/7 because it wanted an anti-Muslim backlash” are to be singled out for suppression.
Cameron’s 1984-style designs will give parents the ability to revoke their children’s passports if suspected of holding ‘extremist’ beliefs. Police will be given new surveillance powers as well as the authority to vet what certain ‘extremists’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’ post on social media. Additionally, Ofcom – Britain’s communications regulatory body – will also be empowered to “crack down on television channels broadcasting extremist messages.” ‘Extremist messages’ appears to be a thinly disguised euphemism for anything not consonant with Western and Zionist propaganda.
Cameron’s aggressive moves against free expression were not unforeseen. During a speech at the United Nations last September, the British leader decried “conspiracy theorists” as “non-violent extremists” who should be confronted with the “full force” of the British state. The theory that Israel and Western intelligence agencies were involved in the fabrication of 9/11 and other false flag attacks was specifically mentioned by Cameron as one of those “dangerous ideas” that needs to be eliminated from public discourse. Inferences about Jewish-Zionist manipulation of Western foreign policy towards the Islamic world should also be combatted, said Cameron in the speech.
Distracting the Public from Western Sponsorship of ISIS
All of this disingenuous bluster rings hollow when one considers the fact that Western governments and their allies have supported, and many would argue created, ISIS to serve their duplicitous agenda in the Middle East.
The CIA, MI6 and Mossad, in conjunction with the oppressive autocrats of Saudi Arabia, have long worked with Wahhabi-Salafist extremist elements in the Middle East and North Africa to counter other more formidable, non-sectarian adversaries in the region such as Libya’s Gaddafi, Syria’s Assad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran. A re-run of the CIA’s “Operation Cyclone” which empowered Mujahideen forces in Afghanistan against the Soviets in the 1980s is currently unfolding in the Middle East under the auspices of many of the same players.
Award winning reporter Seymour Hersh revealed in a 2007 report titled “The Redirection” that the Bush administration launched a joint covert operation with Israel and Saudi Arabia to augment “Sunni extremist groups” and other fanatics to weaken the influence of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. Obama picked up where Bush left off, flooding Syrian and Libyan insurgent groups with untold largesse and arms, using the corrupted Arab Gulf kingdoms as conduits for weapons transfers for the sake of plausible deniability.
Hersh’s sources close to the US government told him that the Saudis assured Washington that they exercised control over the extremist Wahhabi and Salafist groups, and would steer their fanaticism towards the Shiites. “It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran,” Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s then-National Security Advisor, purportedly told his American counterparts in the Bush administration. “We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.”
Part of the arrangement, Hersh explained, was a guarantee from the Saudis that Israel’s security interests would be safeguarded, which clarifies why ISIS and its affiliates have not attacked Israel despite the country’s close proximity to the terrorists’ strongholds in Syria and Iraq. “Israel would be assured that its security was paramount and that Washington and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states shared its concern about Iran,” Hersh noted was the first point in a series of “informal understandings about their new strategic direction” to combat Shiite influence led by Iran.
ISIS themselves have mostly eschewed hostility towards Israel, posting an official statement on social media in July 2014 saying that they’re more interested in fighting “Muslim infidels” than the Zionist state. Israeli officials have expressed similar sentiments, with Israel’s former envoy to the US, Michael Oren, stating in a September 2013 interview that Tel Aviv “prefers” ISIS and al-Qaeda over the “bad guys backed by Iran,” namely Syria’s Assad and Hezbollah. Oren forthrightly conceded that Israel is committed to defeating through terrorist violence “the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut” with Assad in Syria functioning as the “keystone in that arc.” “That is a position we had well before the outbreak of hostilities in Syria,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post. “With the outbreak of hostilities we continued to want Assad to go.”
The unholy alliance between Israel and the Salafist jihadists came right out in the open in June 2015 when ISIS released a video threatening to topple Hamas in Gaza, promising to bring bloodshed and ruin to the Strip. Salafist elements tied to ISIS have in fact attacked Hamas havens in Gaza on multiple occasions over the past few months, showcasing their utility as pawns of Israel. There are also well-documented direct connections between ISIS-linked militants and Israel. A 2014 report compiled by United Nations observers stationed in the area revealed that the Israeli military has provided anti-Assad militants with sanctuary on the Israeli side of the Golan region, ostensibly treating wounded fighters in Israeli field hospitals and even giving them caches of weapons and other supplies. On top of material support for the terrorists that have besieged Syria, Israel has aided their onslaught through numerous air strikes against Syrian military targets since the turmoil began in earnest in 2012, effectively attempting to tip the tide of the war in the Takfiris’ favour. In January 2015 Israel conducted an airstrike that wiped out a brigade of Hezbollah fighters on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, once again highlighting the Takfiri-Tel Aviv nexus.
In light of such treachery against Arabs and Muslims trying to liberate themselves from oppression and domination, ISIS’s primary function as an acquiescent tool of US-Israeli imperialism cannot be overstated.
As Prime Minister Cameron feigns outrage and opposition to Islamic extremism, the British government under his watch has been an active and willing partner in the Machiavellian strategy of divide and rule in the Middle East spearheaded by the US and Israel.
The 2015 trial of Swedish national Bherlin Gildo – who fought for a militant group in Syria – confirmed London’s role in backing Takfiri insurgents battling Damascus. In his defense, Gildo’s lawyers introduced evidence that British intelligence agencies “were supporting the same Syrian opposition groups as he was, and were party to a secret operation providing weapons and non-lethal help to the groups, including the Free Syrian Army.” Confronted with this contradiction, the British court dropped all charges against Gildo, fearing more embarrassing evidence showcasing British complicity with Syrian rebels could surface during proceedings.
In 2013, Roland Dumas, France’s former foreign minister, told a French television station that during a visit to Britain two years before the Syrian crisis began in 2011, British officials informed him of a secret plan to spark a rebel invasion of Syria. “Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria,” Dumas said, pinpointing the origins of the scheme to Israel which, according to Dumas, sought to oust a neighbouring regime hostile to its imperial ambitions in the Levant. Dumas then recounted a conversation he had with an unnamed Israeli prime minister who allegedly told him that the countries in the Middle East that get in the way of Zionist objectives for the region would be swiftly eliminated.
In an April 2014 report entitled “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” journalist Seymour Hersh uncovered British involvement with a CIA-led covert operation in Benghazi, Libya, wherein the Agency was secretly channeling the looted weapons stockpiles of the fallen Gaddafi regime to Western-backed Syrian rebels through a “rat line.” Commenting on Hersh’s report, The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn described the CIA/MI6 “rat line” project in Benghazi as a “supply chain for the Syrian rebels overseen by the US in covert cooperation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.” He summarized Hersh’s findings in more detail as follows:
“The information about this comes from a highly classified and hitherto secret annex to the report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee on the attack by Libyan militiamen on the US consulate in Benghazi on 11 September 2012 in which US ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed. The annex deals with an operation in which the CIA, in cooperation with MI6, arranged the dispatch of arms from Mu’ammer Gaddafi’s arsenals to Turkey and then across the 500-mile long Turkish southern frontier with Syria. The annex refers to an agreement reached in early 2012 between Obama and Erdogan with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar supplying funding. Front companies, purporting to be Australian, were set up, employing former US soldiers who were in charge of obtaining and transporting the weapons. According to Hersh, the MI6 presence enabled the CIA to avoid reporting the operation to Congress, as required by law, since it could be presented as a liaison mission.”
In addition to conniving with the US and Israel to arm Takfiri rebel gangs that eventually overran Gaddafi and continue to menace Syria, the British government has also covertly collaborated with Wahhabi extremists in its own country who serve as cartoonish fodder for anti-Muslim war on terror propaganda. In a May 2013 report for the Asia Times, security scholar Nafeez Ahmed disclosed that the British-based Salafist group Al Muhajiroun has been secretly supported by the British intelligence services since its inception in 1996. That group has spawned nearly all of the supposed Islamic extremists implicated in (and perhaps framed for) various attacks in Britain, including the alleged ‘shoe bomber’ Richard Reid, the alleged Woolwich killers of British soldier Lee Rigby, the alleged 7/7 bombers and many others accused or convicted of terrorism-related offenses. Ahmed contends that various dubious personalities acting as leaders of Al Muhajiroun over the years – including Abu Hamza, Omar Bakri, Haroon Rashid Aswat and Anjem Choudary – have been clandestine agents of British intelligence fronting as ‘Islamic radicals.’
Despite his vocal support for al-Qaeda and ISIS, outwardly championing their grotesque bloodletting in Syria and Iraq today, Anjem Choudary (the current leader of Al Muhajiroun which has re-branded and re-named itself several times) is left untouched by British authorities and appears frequently on mainstream media. How can this impunity be explained if Choudary and his organization are operating independently without state protection? “Almost every major terrorist attack and plot in the UK has in some way been linked to Choudary’s extremist network,” noted Ahmed in the aforesaid piece, yet the radical preacher and his organization “[continues] to function with impunity in new incarnations.”
“[T]hrough Al Muhajiroun,” Ahmed explained, “MI5 is spawning many of the plots it lays claim to successfully foiling – as the FBI is also doing.” The MI5-controlled front group essentially serves a dual purpose: 1) it functions as a repository for Muslim patsies used in US-Israeli-British false flag operations, and 2) it acts as a recruiting hub for Wahhabi-Salafist mercenaries wielded as cannon fodder in various battle zones where Western/Zionist geopolitical and economic interests are at stake.
Unraveling the Web of Intrigue
Those not learned in the dark arts of black operations will likely be confused by all of this. “The West is fighting a war on Islamic extremism,” the indoctrinated lemmings will proclaim with confidence, completely unaware that they are being played for fools by professional spooks trained to employ artifices against the masses.
The surface rhetoric that politicians employ is merely a pack of daft lies intended to divert attention from the real agendas that drive policy. The public is fed a steady diet of cover stories and feel-good rationales – fanciful tales of good vs. evil – to pacify adverse reactions to and deflect unwanted attention from nefarious plots designed to benefit rich people and their interests.
David Cameron himself inadvertently identified whom some of these wealthy string-pullers are: Jewish Zionists committed to overturning every regime in the Middle East that is not yet subordinated to Tel Aviv. The other half of that equation includes an assortment of profiteering Anglos, Americans, Europeans, Arabs, Russians, Chinese and other money-mad opportunists. The Cameron’s, Obama’s, Harper’s, Hollande’s and Merkel’s of the world are mere screens or dummies for the real power behind the throne: the unscrupulous financiers, oligarchs and speculators who dominate Wall Street and the City of London, and to a lesser extent Shanghai and Moscow.
The Zionists, however, seem to be the most organized, the most aggressive and the most committed to living out their grandiose messianic dreams. Whether that vision entails a “New Middle East” in which “Greater Israel” rules the roost or a global government headquartered in Jerusalem remains to be seen. Either way it spells disaster for most of the world’s peoples.
 “Parents may cancel children’s passports in war on IS,” The Week, July 20, 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150724070333/http://www.theweek.co.uk/64449/cameron-attacks-ludicrous-extremist-conspiracy-theories
 Seymour Hersh, “The Redirection,” The New Yorker, March 5, 2007. https://web.archive.org/web/20150318015442/http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection
 Elad Benari, “ISIS: Fighting ‘Infidels’ Takes Precedence Over Fighting Israel,” Israel National News, July 8, 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20140831070443/http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/182632
 Herb Keinon, “’Israel wanted Assad gone since start of Syria civil war’,” Jerusalem Post, Sept. 17, 2013. https://web.archive.org/web/20150112102133/http://www.jpost.com/Syria-Crisis/Oren-Jerusalem-has-wanted-Assad-ousted-since-the-outbreak-of-the-Syrian-civil-war-326328
 “ISIS Threatens To Topple Hamas In Gaza,” Reuters, July 1, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/01/isis-hamas-gaza_n_7704360.html
 “Isis blamed for Gaza City bomb attacks,” The Independent, July 20, 2015. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-blamed-for-gaza-city-bomb-attacks-10400747.html
 “ISIS Allies Target Hamas and Energize Gaza Extremists,” New York Times, June 30, 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150713130805/http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/01/world/isis-allies-target-hamas-and-energize-gaza-extremists.html?_r=0
 “ISIS supporters claim attack on Hamas base in Gaza Strip,” Russia Today, May 8, 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150713195921/http://rt.com/news/256941-isis-attack-gaza-hamas/
 “UN details Israel helping Syrian rebels at Golan Heights,” Russia Today, Dec. 8, 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20150316140841/http://rt.com/news/212319-israel-helps-syrian-militants/
 “Head of Syrian army after alleged airstrikes: Israel working with ISIS and al-Qaida,” Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20150316154301/http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Head-of-Syrian-army-after-alleged-airstrikes-Israel-working-with-ISIS-and-al-Qaida-383907
 “’Israel strike’ kills Hezbollah men in Syria’s Golan Heights,” BBC News, Jan. 18, 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150316090443/http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30873402
 “Terror trial collapses after fears of deep embarrassment to security services,” The Guardian, June 1, 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150610080819/http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/01/trial-swedish-man-accused-terrorism-offences-collapse-bherlin-gildo
 Seymour Hersh, “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” London Review of Books, April 17, 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20150315050157/http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line
 Patrick Cockburn, “MI6, the CIA and Turkey’s rogue game in Syria,” The Independent, April 13, 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20150110040831/http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/mi6-the-cia-and-turkeys-rogue-game-in-syria-9256551.html
 Nafeez Ahmed, “UK pays price for MI5 courting terror,” Asia Times, May 30, 2013. https://web.archive.org/web/20130801060233/http://atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-300513.html
Copyright 2015 Brandon Martinez
Susiya, a West Bank village under threat of demolition, has now made it into the pages of The New York Times news section, and we are permitted a view of how Israel wants us to see this disturbing story: All the fuss about Susiya is little more than the result of clever marketing on the part of the villagers.
Thus we find a story today by Diaa Hadid titled (in the online version) “How a Palestinian Hamlet of 340 Drew Global Attention.” This primes readers from the start to expect a tale of simple villagers who devised a winning media strategy, and it distracts from the real issue, which is nothing less than ethnic cleansing: Susiya is to be destroyed to make way for Jewish settlers.
High in her story Hadid writes, in a telling phrase, that “the cause of [this] tiny village” has become “outsized,” in other words overblown, as if Susiya, with its population of 300 or so, is not worth the fuss.
The village first got notice when “sympathetic” foreigners visited Susiya some 20 years ago and took up its cause, Hadid states. By that time the residents had been forced out of their original homes and were living near the centuries-old site that had belonged to their ancestors.
Jewish settlers had taken over the original village in 1986, she writes, and Israeli forces made them move on again them in 1990 “for unknown reasons.” They were expelled once more in 2001, according to Hadid, “as collective punishment over the shooting death of a Jewish settler.”
Her story omits a crucial detail: The authorities knew that the villagers were innocent of the killing but used the incident as an excuse to harass the Susiya residents once more. The Times account leaves the impression that a Susiya resident was responsible for the settler’s death.
Hadid quotes a staff member of B’Tselem, an Israeli rights group, who notes that residents “have managed to place Susiya on the international agenda in ways that other villages have not managed to do,” and her story goes on to say that “years of advocacy appeared to pay off when Susiya’s residents began warning early this month that their village was under threat.”
As a result, the story reports, Susiya received visits from a European Union delegation, Israeli activists and American consular officials. Then, a week ago, the U.S. State Department mentioned Susiya in a press briefing and urged Israel to spare the village.
The Times story suggests that Susiya has received this backing because of its skill in winning attention, and by imposing this angle on the story, the newspaper is attempting to divert readers from the real issues at play: the fact that Israel’s treatment of the villagers is blatantly racist and defies the norms of international and humanitarian law.
Also missing is the context of occupation and dispossession that is crushing Susiya and other villages. Hadid fails to give any sense of this. She writes only that activists have used the village as a symbol of how Israel “has sought to maintain control over large parts of the occupied West Bank.”
We find the word “occupied” here, as usual in Times reporting, but it is devoid of meaning. Readers do not hear that the West Bank is Palestinian territory; that Israel is there as an invading military force; and that the settlements violate international law, which forbids an occupying power from transferring its own population into the foreign territory.
The Times story makes no reference to international law, but it does quote an Israeli military spokesman who says Susiya “was built illegally.” Thus Hadid emphasizes the pretext of legality Israel draws over its defiance of international norms while she ignores the flagrant breaches of the Geneva Convention and other standards.
Readers can pick up some revealing details in the story: the ousted villagers’ descriptions of sleeping outside “in the wild, in the rain,” the fact that they can no longer access two- thirds of their original land because of the settlers, the expectation that if Susiya goes, other vulnerable villages will also fall to Israel’s greed for Palestinian land.
But the story glosses over these details to present the Susiya’s case as above all a successful publicity effort. The Times would have us believe that the real story here is how the village became an “outsized” international cause, through “years of advocacy.”
Susiya is just one of many villages in Israel’s Negev and in the occupied West Bank where Israel is determined to ethnically cleanse certain areas of their indigenous inhabitants and install Jewish residents in their place. Times readers are finally learning about Susiya only because international attention has forced the newspaper to acknowledge the issue.
The village should have been known to readers long before now, just as they should also know of dozens more facing annihilation: Al Araqib, Umm Al Kher and Khirbet Yarza, to name just a few. In the South Hebron Hills alone, where Susiya is located, some 30 villages are faced with demolition.
But even now the Times can’t just tell the story of a village nearly helpless under the weight of Israeli might, a community faced with extinction after centuries of living on the land. Instead we find an effort to play down the tragedy, to present it as an overblown cause, not really worth our concern.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, acting like the coach of a football team, instructed congressional Republicans to “leave everything on the field” in the fight to defeat the international agreement with Iran over its nuclear energy program, a sign of how openly Israel now feels it controls the GOP.
Israel wants the Iran deal killed so it can keep open options for bombing Iran and imposing “regime change.” And, immediately after Dermer’s locker-room-style pep talk, Republican members of Congress began falling into line, lashing out at Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials who negotiated the agreement reached earlier this month between six world powers and Iran.
John Kerry and Benjamin Netanyahu. (State Department photo)
House Speaker John Boehner announced that he would “do everything possible to stop” the deal. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker told Kerry that he’d been “fleeced.” Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican candidate for president, said the next president – presumably meaning himself if he’s successful – could overturn the deal because it’s not a binding treaty.
All this was remarkable even to The New York Times, which usually looks the other way when Israel flexes its muscles in Official Washington. A Times article by Jonathan Weisman noted the extraordinary image of the Israeli ambassador using sports analogies to rile up Republican congressmen to overturn a key foreign policy initiative of the U.S. president.
“Mr. Dermer’s plea — which is widely expected to be followed by a mail, television and radio assault in Democratic districts during the August recess — demonstrates the power that the Israeli government and supportive interest groups in Washington maintain over congressional Republicans,” Weisman wrote.
Obviously, some of this Republican opposition is driven by a deep-seated animus toward President Barack Obama, but the confidence that Dermer, a onetime aide to former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, showed in rallying Republicans to Israel’s foreign policy priority of hostility toward Iran reveals the degree to which the GOP as a party now ties its agenda in the Mideast to Israel.
Connections between Republicans and right-wing Israelis have grown tighter since the presidency of George W. Bush who began implementing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy of “regime change” against countries on his enemies list, starting with Iraq in 2003. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]
Since then, wealthy Israeli backers, such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, have funneled huge sums of money into Republican campaigns. In 2012, Netanyahu virtually endorsed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And, on March 3, House Speaker Boehner invited Netanyahu to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress that was remarkable in its overt appeal to American lawmakers to embrace Israel’s foreign policy regarding Iran – over the head of the sitting U.S. president.
Clearing the Bench
In its current pull-out-all-the-stops to show who controls the U.S. political/media process, Israel also is throwing other key assets into this high-stakes fight. For instance, Steven Emerson, who has long posed as a professional journalist and then as a terrorism expert, was a featured speaker at a Times Square rally urging not only death to the nuclear deal but death to Iran.
“So now we have the situation that unless Congress acts, I believe ultimately, it’s going to be left up to a military strike to take out the Iranian capabilities to take out the world,” Emerson told a cheering crowd of a couple of thousand. “If we don’t take out Iran, they will take out us. … Because if you don’t your children will never forgive you – never forgive you for not protecting this country from a holocaust. For not protecting the state of Israel from a holocaust that will occur assuredly just as it did 70 years ago.
“Rarely in our lives do we have an opportunity to change history. Now is the time to do it, and it’s your responsibility all of ours, to go do it.”
Earlier this year, Emerson, who has longstanding close ties to right-wing Israeli officials, was caught in a blatant falsehood – and slur – about British Muslims. Appearing on Fox News as a “terrorism expert,” claimed that Birmingham, England, is now a “Muslim-only city” and that in parts of London “Muslim religious police … beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to religious Muslim attire.”
Emerson asserted that Muslim areas have become “no-go zones” for non-Muslims and cited as an example “actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” Yet, Birmingham, Great Britain’s second-largest city of more than one million people, is nearly half Christian, with the Muslim population less than one-quarter and with significant numbers of Sikhs, Hindus, Jews and non-religious.
As Emerson’s Muslim-bashing remarks drew criticism from the media watchdog group FAIR and ridicule across the United Kingdom, he acknowledged that his “comments about Birmingham were totally in error” and vowed not to blame someone else for his slander.
“I do not intend to justify or mitigate my mistake by stating that I had relied on other sources because I should have been much more careful,” Emerson said in an apparent attempt to do exactly that, shift the blame to some unnamed source for supposedly misleading him. [For more on Emerson’s history of distortion, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Sorry Record of a Muslim Basher.”]
The heated debate over the Iran nuclear deal is bringing out of the woodwork other longstanding alarmists about Iran’s nuclear program, which has not produced a single bomb, even as some of these same “experts” have studiously ignored the reality of Israel’s rogue nuclear arsenal.
For instance, David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security (with the now unfortunate acronym ISIS), is back in the pages of the mainstream media warning about possible gaps in the Iranian nuclear deal.
Albright was sought out for comment by the Times’ neocon national security writer Michael R. Gordon, who co-authored the infamous “aluminum tube” story in 2002 that was used to frighten Americans about “mushroom clouds” if they didn’t support an invasion of Iraq. On Thursday, Gordon’s latest story quoting Albright was entitled, online, “Verification Process in Iran Deal Is Questioned by Some Experts.”
An Iraq War Reunion
At times, this Israeli-driven battle to stop the Iran deal almost seems like a reunion of discredited journalists and “experts” who helped guide the United States into the disastrous Iraq War. In 2002, around the same time Gordon, along with Judith Miller, was penning his “aluminum tube” story, Albright and his ISIS were key figures in stoking the hysteria for invading Iraq around other false allegations of its WMD program.
At the end of summer 2002, as Bush was beginning his advertising roll-out for the Iraq invasion and dispatching his top aides to the Sunday talk shows to cite Gordon’s “aluminum tube” article and warn about “smoking guns” and “mushroom clouds,” Albright co-authored a Sept. 10, 2002, article – entitled “Is the Activity at Al Qaim Related to Nuclear Efforts?” – which declared:
“High-resolution commercial satellite imagery shows an apparently operational facility at the site of Iraq’s al Qaim phosphate plant and uranium extraction facility … This site was where Iraq extracted uranium for its nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. … This image raises questions about whether Iraq has rebuilt a uranium extraction facility at the site, possibly even underground. … The uranium could be used in a clandestine nuclear weapons effort.”
Albright’s alarming allegations fit neatly with Bush’s propaganda barrage, although as the months wore on – with Bush’s warnings about aluminum tubes and yellowcake from Africa growing more outlandish – Albright did display more skepticism about the existence of a revived Iraqi nuclear program. Still, he remained a “go-to” expert on other Iraqi purported WMD, such as chemical and biological weapons. In a typical quote on Oct. 5, 2002, Albright told CNN: “In terms of the chemical and biological weapons, Iraq has those now.”
After Bush launched the Iraq invasion in March 2003 and Iraq’s secret WMD caches didn’t materialize, Albright admitted that he had been conned, explaining to the Los Angeles Times : “If there are no weapons of mass destruction, I’ll be mad as hell. I certainly accepted the administration claims on chemical and biological weapons. I figured they were telling the truth. If there is no [unconventional weapons program], I will feel taken, because they asserted these things with such assurance.” [See FAIR’s “The Great WMD Hunt,”]
Albright may have been “mad as hell” for being “taken” but he suffered little, especially compared to the nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq and the hundreds of thousands of slain Iraqis, not to mention the millions of others who have suffered from the chaos that the likes of Emerson, Gordon and Albright helped unleash across the Middle East.
In recent years, Albright and his institute have adopted a similarly alarmist role regarding Iran and its purported pursuit of a nuclear weapon, even though U.S. intelligence agencies say Iran terminated that weapons project in 2003.
Nevertheless, Albright transformed his organization into a sparkplug for a new confrontation with Iran. Though Albright insists that he is an objective professional, his ISIS has published hundreds of articles about Iran, which has not produced a single nuclear bomb, while barely mentioning Israel’s hundreds of bombs.
An examination of the ISIS Web site reveals only a few technical articles relating to Israel’s nukes while Albright’s ISIS expanded its coverage of Iran’s nuclear program so much that it was moved onto a separate Web site. The articles have not only hyped developments in Iran but also have attacked U.S. media critics who questioned the fear-mongering about Iran.
A few years ago when a non-mainstream journalist confronted Albright about the disparity between his institute’s concentration on Iran and de minimis coverage of Israel, he angrily responded that he was working on a report about Israel’s nuclear program. But there is still no substantive assessment of Israel’s large nuclear arsenal on the ISIS Web site, which goes back to 1993.
Despite this evidence of bias, mainstream U.S. news outlets typically present Albright as a neutral analyst. They also ignore his checkered past, for instance, his prominent role in promoting President Bush’s pre-invasion case that Iraq possessed stockpiles of WMD.
However, since Albright and these other propagandists/operatives were never held accountable for the Iraq catastrophe, they are now rushing back into the game to try to block the Iran nuclear deal – and potentially turn the ball over in pursuit of another Mideast war. Netanyahu and his team appear to be clearing the bench for a goal-line stand.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
Occasionally, this writer will read an article from an Israel publication. Often, there is a survey which pops up when he clicks on the article, and the question often is this: ‘Do you believe Israel has the right to defend itself?’
The question is not a valid one. Any nation, one supposes, has such a right, but Israel has not had to defend itself for decades, if ever. Responding to ineffective ‘rocket’ fire from the Gaza Strip is not defense. An occupied nation has the internationally-recognized right to resist with violence the occupation. The occupier is not ‘defending’ itself; it is merely enforcing the occupation.
So why ask the question? Let’s look at the two possible answers that may shed light upon that reason.
A ‘yes’ response indicates that Israel is justified in its periodic carpet-bombing of the Palestinians. The publication issuing the survey can proclaim, therefore, that X% of its survey respondents support Israel.
A ‘no’ response, on the other hand, will be seen as anti-Semitic, denying Israel its basic right of existence. Why, the publication can ask, do Y% of respondents deny Israel its right to self-defense? People would only respond in this way if they hate Jews.
The question, in many ways, is reminiscent of the old political question, ‘Do you still beat your wife?’ ‘Yes,’ is wrong for obvious reasons. ‘No’, however, is still wrong, since it would indicate that spousal abuse was, at one time in the past, something the responder did, but no longer does. So a man who never beat his wife would have no right answer for that question.
So in answering the question about Israel’s right to defend itself, the thoughtful respondent has no right answer. ‘Yes’, gives Israel more ammunition to say that the world supports it, and ‘no’ is dismissed as the response of an anti-Semitic bigot, showing again, in Israel’s view, the great existential threat that it faces.
Israel and the people and publications that support it must resort to such deceitful tactics, since they are without a moral leg to stand on. Reviewing a few facts of international law relating to occupation, and Israel’s blatant and constant violations of them, may be helpful:
Law: An occupying power must not move its own citizens permanently onto the occupied nation’s land. Temporarily housing soldiers on a short-term basis there to maintain peace and the safety of the occupied people is allowed.
Israeli violations: Israel has moved over half a million Israelis into the West Bank, and Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu has stated categorically that not one of them will be removed.
Law: The people of the occupied lands must not be displaced permanently.
Israeli violations: Millions of Palestinians have been forced from their homes to make room for illegal Israeli settlers.
Law: The culture of the occupied land must be respected.
Israeli violations: Israel has done much to destroy and obliterate the culture of Palestine. The destruction of entire towns and villages, mosques and historical sites is ongoing. In one particularly egregious example, Israel bulldozed the ancient Ma’man Allah cemetery, dating at least to the 12th century and possibly earlier, and constructed a ‘Museum of Tolerance’ on the site.
Law: The occupying power must ensure the safety of the occupied peoples.
Israeli violations: Bombing the Gaza Strip, breaking into the homes of Palestinians in the West Bank at all hours of the day and night, arresting men, women and children without charge, shooting peaceful protesters in the back, cannot be seen as ensuring their safety, and protesting these atrocious crimes does not make one anti-Semitic.
The list is long; a short, representative sample is all that has been given here.
In addition to this, Israel refuses to cooperate with any investigation into its ‘alleged’ war crimes. If, as Israel continually proclaims, it has the most moral army in the world, why would it not welcome such investigations, to prove the falsehood of such allegations? Why not assist the United Nations, and the International Criminal Court, in thoroughly examining each charge, if Israel is confident that each is false?
Of course, Israel knows it is guilty of war crimes, and labors under the mistaken belief that it can continue to commit them, because the United States will always protect it.
Although it can’t be said that anyone has neglected to advise Israel that the rules of the game have changed, for some reason, the information has not been received. Transmission, obviously, does not equate to reception. Today, Israel continues to destroy entire Palestinian villages to make room for illegal settlements; IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) terrorists continue to shoot and kill innocent men, women and children in the West Bank, and arrest without charge men, women and children. None of this is new; what is new is that the world is now aware of it. The news media, which now actually gets paid by organizations and individuals to run ‘news’ stories that are written by lobbyists, corporations, and other major advertisers, has not seen fit to report this information. Massive demonstrations in support of Palestinians in major cities in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East are not seen on the evening news, but that is no longer the only venue for information. Social media gives everyone with a camera and an internet connection a worldwide audience, and that audience is seeing atrocities it never knew existed. As a result, the ostracization of the rogue state of Israel is ever growing, as more churches and businesses divest from Israeli companies, and performers and academics refuse to appear in that apartheid nation.
This writer always ignores the question, ‘Does Israel have a right to defend itself’, and will continue to do so. A ‘yes’ only gives Israeli atrocities a false veneer of legitimacy which is untenable.
Apartheid Israel is a world power in decline, and therefore very dangerous. Yet despite the mad behaviors it may still indulge it, its decline is snowballing, and cannot be stopped by anything but justice for the Palestinians, and the Arabs, Africans and other people living within its much-disputed borders. That day cannot come soon enough.
Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).
The New York Times has finally done the right thing and informed readers of Israel’s plan to destroy an entire village in the West Bank. This is good to see, but the move exposes a significant fault line in the newspaper: The foreign desk and Jerusalem bureau have been the gatekeepers here, avoiding their responsibilities in reporting the story.
The piece appears on the op-ed page under the byline of one of the threatened villagers—Nasser Nawaja, community organizer and a researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. It’s a good article, summarizing the sad history of Susiya and the resistance to Israel’s plan, which comes from local and international supporters.
Nawaja’s article includes a quote from U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby made during a press briefing last week. Kirby was clearly prepared to address the issue and ask Israel to back off. This in itself should have prompted the news section of the paper to address the story, but the Times remained silent. (See TimesWarp 7-20-15.)
Until today the only mention of Susiya’s plight came in a Reuters story that the Times published earlier this week without posting it on the Middle East or World pages. Readers had no way to find it unless they specifically searched for it, by typing in the key word “Susiya,” for instance.
The story of Susiya and its struggle to survive has been reported in news outlets since 2013. The United Nations and other groups, such as Rabbis for Human Rights, have issued statements and press releases on Susiya; the European Union, and now the State Department, have spoken out; but none of this prompted the Times to do what good journalism demands and assign a reporter to the story.
The Times’ treatment of Susiya is reminiscent of a similar story, which emerged during the attacks on Gaza in 2012: In one day Israel targeted and killed three journalists traveling in marked cars, but the Times article describing events that day simply said that “a bomb” had killed two men, even though an officer confirmed the army’s responsibility.
Times readers learned the full story only when columnist David Carr wrote of the journalists’ deaths days later in the Business section. He titled his piece “Using War As a Cover to Target Journalists,” and he did the reporting that was missing in the news section. (See TimesWarp 2-17-15.)
Carr gave the details of the killings, and quoted the lieutenant colonel who affirmed the attacks on the journalists. He then wrote, “So it has come to this: killing members of the media can be justified by a phrase as amorphous as ‘relevance to terror activity.’”
When Carr died earlier this year, the Times was filled with tributes to his work, but none of the articles mentioned this fine moment of his career. The story of the assassinated journalists never again emerged in the newspaper.
Susiya may have a different fate, however. Now that its name has appeared in the back pages of the newspaper, we may find that the story flickers to life in the news section as well. All things are possible, even in the Times.
On Thursday at dawn Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man who was in his own home, in Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, as he tried to help his son who was shot and injured by army fire, also in his family home.
Falah Hamdi Abu Mariya, 53 years of age, was shot dead in his home, while two of his sons, Mohammad and Ahmad, were injured by Israeli army fire, after dozens of soldiers surrounded their home, and stormed it.
The family said soldiers fired two live rounds at Mohammad, one of Abu Mariya’s sons, wounding him in the pelvis. The father then rushed to help his wounded son, before the soldiers fired two more rounds, striking Abu Mariya in the chest.
Mohammad Ayyad Awad, spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, reported that a group of Israeli soldiers, including an undercover unit, stormed Abu Mariya’s home, and fired at Mohammad, 22 years of age, wounding him with two live rounds in the pelvis.
He added that the distraught father tried to help his wounded son, but the soldiers fired three more rounds directly at him, seriously wounding him in the chest; he was moved to the al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, where he died of his serious injuries.
Medical sources also stated that Falah’s son, Ahmad, 25 years of age, was hit by bullet shrapnel in the chest, and was also moved to the al-Ahli Hospital suffering minor injuries.
During the invasion, the soldiers also kidnapped a former political prisoner, identified as Hammad Ahmad Abu Mariya, 23 years of age, and took him to an unknown destination.
On Wednesday at dawn, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian man in Burqin village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin.