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The Daily Beast Takes the Bait on Anti-Iran Propaganda

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | May 1, 2013

Over at The Daily Beast‘s Cheat Sheet, which serves as a news aggregator, a post went up today with the eye-catching headline: “Iranian President Ahmadinejad Arrested.”

The blurb accompanying the post claims:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was arrested Monday while on a visit to a book fair in Tehran, where he was held for seven hours and questioned by the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence unit. According to a source within the guards’ unit, Ahmadinejad was intercepted while on his way to a meeting at the supreme leader’s office. His security team was stripped of communication devices and Ahmadinejad was questioned about documents that may be detrimental to the regime. He was warned, essentially, to keep his mouth shut about all matters that could harm the regime going into the upcoming presidential election.

How positively scandalous! The infamous Iranian bogeyman, along with his entourage, accosted, interrogated, threatened and silenced by the very security forces the hysterical Western media and political pundits would have you believe he himself commands and wields with an iron fist!

At the bottom of its short post, the Beast sources the information to The Guardian and links to the original article. But following the link, something doesn’t feel right. Or look right.

Because it isn’t right.

The link leads to a site called “The Guardian Express” at the URL guardianlv.com. ‘Hey, what’s the “lv” stand for?,’ one might ask if one cared about such things as accuracy. It stands for “Las Vegas,” because the website is actually a local community news forum in Nevada, not the prestigious British news outlet.

The article found on “The Guardian Express” site – posted by a forum member who goes by the moniker “randy77” – is a nearly completely plagiarized story stolen from the latest piece of nonsense published Tuesday by the pseudonymous neocon darling “Reza Kahlili,” a serial liar and propagandist beloved by the Bomb Iran crowd who wears a surgical mask in public for absolutely no reason. “Kahlili” claims he is a former CIA agent who infiltrated the highest echelons of the Iranian intelligence apparatus and apparently some people believe him. He may also be a San Francisco Giants fan, but that might actually be a clever ruse to throw the pursuing mullahs off his trail.

Yes, he does this.

“Kahlili” is a regime change enthusiast who wants Iran attacked by the United States and Israel yesterday. He consistently publishes scoops on the right-wing loony-toon website WorldNetDaily that contain no factual information, save that a country called Iran does actually exist.

A few years ago he insisted that there is “no doubt” the Iranian government is “going to commit the most horrendous suicide bombing in human history. They will attack Israel, European capitals and the Persian Gulf region at the same time, then they will hide in a bunker [until a religious prophecy is fulfilled]… and kill the rest of the nonbelievers.” He also said Iran had already enriched uranium to 90%, that is, weapons-grade, and that “they have missiles that they have not publicly shown, because that would verify their intention of carrying out nuclear warheads,” whatever that means.

He’s also warned of an “Iranian dominated worldwide terror network that now reaches the United States” and said that the Iranian government has planted sleeper cells in the U.S. that are ready to strike if Iran is attacked.  Impending terrorist acts carried out in the United States by Iranian agents is a recurring theme in his creative writing.

Wondering about “Kahlili”‘s bona fides and impressive associates? “I thought I knew a lot about Iran until meeting with him,” admitted racist Islamophobe Peter King, who is also somehow a U.S. Congressman.  He was a featured guest of the AIPAC-affiliated Washington Institute on Near East Policy in 2010.  This insane interview with leading lunatic Pam Geller might also be useful.

In 2011, “Kahlili” claimed both that Iran was planning an EMP attack on the United States and wrote, “Not only does the Islamic Republic already have nuclear weapons from the old Soviet Union, but it has enough enriched uranium for more. What’s worse, it has a delivery system,” because, hey why not?

He likes suggesting that the Iranian government is both messianic and genocidal, that it’s planning to “annihilate the Jews” and wage an apocalyptic war to hasten the end times. Last fall he declared that “a three-person delegation of the Obama administration led by a woman engaged in secret negotiations with a representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,” and cut a sanctions-alleviating deal before the 2012 presidential election.

Earlier this year, “Kahlili” repeated the claim that Iran had “successfully… built a nuclear bomb with the help of Russia and North Korea and has enough weapons-grade uranium and plutonium for more.” Soon thereafter, he pretended that there had been a massive explosion at the Iranian enrichment facility at Fordo, even though it wasn’t true.

Just a couple months later, however, he claimed his super secret sources revealed that “Iranian scientists are working on nuclear warheads – and trying to perfect them – at an underground site unknown to the West,” adding that Iran had, as yet, only “succeeded in enriching uranium to 20 percent, which is 80 percent of the way to weapons grade.”

Perhaps the most ridiculous allegation “Kahlili” has made in recent memory was when, on April 22, he stated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps was responsible for the bombings at the Boston Marathon a week earlier and that the Tsarnaev brothers were devoted followers of Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Needless to say, the claim that Ahmadinejad was arrested has not been corroborated by any other sources and should be taken with a grain of salt the size of Atlantis.

That The Daily Beast would promote such silliness, with false attribution that lends the tale the imprimatur of a real news story, no less, is a testament to both its own lack of fact-checking and willingness to believe whatever nonsensical stories pop up about Iran are floating around in cyberspace. A glimpse at the Beast‘s own “Xtra Insight” link on that same post, which brings the reader to an asinine article by shameless self-promoter, staunch Zionist and self-described “public intellectual” Bernard-Henri Lévy about regime change in Iran only drives the point home.

With “insight” like that, it’s no wonder The Daily Beast has troubling seeing clearly.

*****

UPDATE:

As a result of this post getting some attention, The Daily Beast has issued a correction on its Cheat Sheet post:

Still no reference to the “sourcing” being WorldNetDaily or “Kahlili”, but hey, it’s something, right?

Meanwhile, Britain’s Daily Mail has already picked up the story and run with it.

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Comments Off on The Daily Beast Takes the Bait on Anti-Iran Propaganda

Leaked ProSAVANA Master Plan confirms worst fears

Justiça Ambiental! et al | April 30, 2013

Civil society groups have finally seen a leaked copy of the most recent version of the Master Plan for the ProSAVANA programme, which is dated March 2013. The copy makes clear the project’s intentions and confirms that the governments of Japan, Brazil and Mozambique are secretly paving the way for a massive land grab in Northern Mozambique. Several organisations from Mozambique and their international partners are now making this plan publicly available, along with some of their initial reflections. (Download the Master Plan here: part 1, part 2, part 3.)

ProSAVANA is a programme between Japan, Brazil and Mozambique to support agricultural development in Northern Mozambique. According to the copy of the Master Plan leaked to civil society, the programme will cover an area of over 10 million hectares in 19 districts within 3 provinces of Northern Mozambique– Nampula, Niassa, and Zambézia. Over 4 million people live and farm in this area, which has been dubbed the Nacala Corridor.

The entire process of developing the ProSavana programme and its Master Plan has been characterised by a complete lack of transparency, public consultation and public participation. While agribusiness corporations have been part of government delegations to investigate business opportunities in the Nacala Corridor, the 4 million farmers living in the affected area have received no information about the intentions shown in the Master Plan. Three governments have refused to make this version or earlier versions of the Master Plan available to the public.

The Master Plan was produced by a team of foreign consultants with close linkages to multinational agribusiness corporations, some of which are already acquiring land in the ProSavana area.1 There were no meaningful consultations with local communities and the plan does not consider their needs, their histories and knowledge, or their aspirations for the future. Nor is there any appreciation of their local farming and food systems.

ProSAVANA is presented as a development/ aid programme but the leaked version of the Master Plan makes it clear that it is simply a business plan for the corporate takeover of agriculture in Mozambique.

What does this Master Plan mean for small farmers?

The proponents of the ProSAVANA programme have said repeatedly that this is a programme to support small farmers. But the Master Plan only considers how small farmers can support agribusiness. This boils down to two main directives:

1. Push farmers out of traditional shifting cultivation and land management practices into intensive cultivation practices based on commercial seeds, chemical inputs and private land titles.

Although zero analysis was made of the effectiveness of traditional farming practices in the area, the Master Plan says the “transition from shifting cultivation to settled farming is an urgent need” and says this is “the key strategy proposed in the Master Plan”. It even calls for actions “combating the practice of shifting agriculture.”

The plan acknowledges that farmers are likely to resist giving up their traditional forms of agriculture, so it proposes several means to encourage them to do so, such as the formation of “leading farmers” who can demonstrate the advantages of intensive agriculture, “a pump-priming subsidy system for chemical fertilizers”, and, most importantly, private land titles (DUATs) for those farmers that make the switch.

It is clear to us that the real objective behind these efforts to push farmers into intensive cultivation is to privatise the land and make it more available to outside investors. Relegating farmers to a fixed parcel is a way to mark off lands more clearly for investors and to make it possible for provincial governments to establish the land banks (state land earmarked for commercial use by private investors) that the plan calls for. It also allows investors to bypass negotiations with communities to access lands. The Land Registration of the Small Scale and Medium Scale Farmers component of the Master Plan clearly states that its objective is to “facilitate the identification of areas for the promotion of agriculture by large farmers, private companies and medium scale farmers.” It is also described as a means to “create an environment of cooperation and integration between the small scale farm and new investors.”

2. Push farmers into contract farming arrangements with corporate farms and processors.

The Master Plan divides the Nacala Corridor into zones, and defines which crops should be grown in these zones, where and how they should be grown, and by whom they should be grown (small farmers, medium farmers or corporations). Within these zones, the plan lays out several projects for the production of commodities, some of them based exclusively on large corporate farms, others based on a mix of large or medium farms and contract production arrangements with small farmers.

Contract farming will not improve the lives of small farmers in the area. It will instead make them dependent on a single corporation for everything from their seeds to the sale of their crops. One of the proposed contract farming projects in the plan envisions a return on investment of 30% per year for the company while farmers in the project will be forced to devote 5 out of the 5.5 ha they will be allocated to the production of cassava under contract production with the investor.

A paradise for corporations

The plan lays out several business opportunities that companies can invest in and get huge projected returns of between 20%-30% per year. Companies that invest will be able to tap a $2 billion Nacala Fund that is being financed by governments and investors in Japan and Brazil. Although details of this fund are still missing from the leaked version of the Master Plan, other sources indicate that the fund will be registered in the fiscal paradise of Luxembourg and called the Africa Opportunity Fund 1: Nacala.2

Some of the projects within the plan will provide large areas of land to investors. The Integrated Grain Cluster, which is planned for Majune District, Niassa Province, will be managed by one vertically integrated company that will operate nine 5,000 ha farms, within a 60,000 ha zone, to produce a rotation of maize, soybeans and sunflower, mainly for export. According to the plan, “the project has a high profitability and the internal rate of return was calculated at 20.3% and the payback is 9 years.” The Master Plan calls for projects such as this one to be expanded and reproduced throughout the Corridor.

Corporations will also benefit from several Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that are proposed in the plan. In these zones, companies will be free from paying taxes and customs duties and will be able to benefit from offshore financial arrangements. These SEZs will be located at the main sites that the project is planning for processing and trading facilities, which will cut deeply into any revenues that could accrue to the government through the planned development of agro-export industries.

Since the planning for ProSAVANA began in 2009, many foreign investors and their local partners have already acquired large parcels of land in the programme area, leading to numerous conflicts over land with local communities. The intention of the Master Plan is to bring even more investors to the area, which will make land conflicts even worse.

The main solution that the Master Plan proposes to these growing conflicts are the “ProSAVANA Guidelines on RAI” (Responsible Agricultural Investment). These guidelines are essentially a checklist based on the seven RAI principles that were developed by the World Bank and have been widely denounced by peasant organisations and civil society groups. The “ProSAVANA Guideline on RAI” will be included as an annex in the “Data Book for Private Investors” that will be released by August 2013 as part of efforts to promote agribusiness investment in the Nacala Corridor.

The guidelines are weak and only voluntary and the plan does not call for any new laws or regulations that could really defend communities against land grabs. The plan only says that “private investors interested in agricultural development in the Nacala Corridor will be requested to comply with these principles, in addition to their internal codes of conduct and voluntary self-regulations.”

What’s the end result of this plan?

The Master Plan, in its current form, would destroy peasant agriculture by wiping out farmer seed systems, local knowledge, local food cultures and traditional systems of land management. It will displace peasants from their lands or force them on to fixed parcels of land where they will be obliged to produce under contract production for corporations and to go into debt to pay for the seeds, fertilisers and pesticides required. The peasants that do get private land titles will be left at extreme risk of quickly losing their lands to corporations and big farmers.

It is telling that only one of the seven clusters in the Master Plan is aimed at small scale farmers and family food production. And this cluster only proposes the same old failed green revolution model of development. The Master Plan puts no real thought and energy into the needs and capacities of peasants in the Nacala Corridor.

Corporations are the big beneficiaries of this Master Plan. They will get control over land and production and they will control the trade of the foods produced, which will be exported along the roads, rail lines and Nacala port that other foreign corporations will be paid to construct with public funds from Mozambique and Japan. Foreign seed, pesticide and fertiliser companies will also make a killing from this massive expansion of industrial agriculture into Africa.

Some Mozambicans will profit from this. For example, Portugal’s richest family has set up a joint venture to acquire lands and produce soybeans in Northern Mozambique with a national company controlled by the friends and family of Mozambique’s President and in partnership with one of Brazil’s largest corporate farmers. But these profits will be made at the expense of regular Mozambicans.

Seeing the Master Plan only confirms our determination to stop the ProSAVANA programme and to support Mozambican peasants and people in their struggle for food sovereignty.

Signed by:

Justiça Ambiental, JA!/ FoE Mozambique (Mozambique)
Forum Mulher (Mozambique)
Livaningo (Mozambique)
LPM – Landless Peoples Mouvement (Member of Via Campesina . South Africa)
Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign (Member os Via Campesina – South Africa)
AFRA – Association for Rural Advancement (South Africa)
GRAIN
Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) (*The world’s largest grassroots international environmental federation with 74 national member groups and more than two million individual members.)
National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) / Friends of the Earth (FoE) Uganda
FoE Swaziland
Amigos da Terra Brasil / FoE Brazil
Movimiento Madre Tierra, Honduras
NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark
GroundWork (South Africa)
Amigos de la Tierra España / Friends of the Earth Spain
Environmental Rights Action / FoE Nigeria
Sahabat Alam Malaysia/ FOE Malaysia
SOBREVIVENCIA, Friends of the Earth Paraguay
CESTA, FOE El Salvador
Earth Harmony Innovators (South Africa)
Ukuvuna (South Africa)
FoE Africa
Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (Zambia)

(As of 29 April 2013)

Contact: Anabela Lemos and Vanessa Cabanelas
JA!Justiça Ambiental/FOEMozambique
anabela.ja.mz@gmail.com and vanessacabanelas@gamil.com
+258 21 496668

1The Master Plan was drawn up by a group of consultants from the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV). These consultants are also directors with Vigna Brasil, also known as Vigna Projetos, which provides agribusiness consultancy services to corporations such as Galp Energia, Vale, Syngenta, Petrobras, and ADM. Galp, owned by the Amorim family of Portugal, is already invested in a large-scale soybean farming operation in the ProSAVANA project area through a joint venture called AgroMoz with Intelec, a holding company partly controlled by the family of the Mozambican President. Vigna Brasil has the same contact address as the company 4I.Green, which is described as the technical manager for the Nacala Fund– the main financing vehicle for the big agribusiness projects in the Nacala Corridor.

2See: http://www.g15.org/Renewable_Energies/J2-06-11-2012%5CPRESENTATION_DAKAR-06-11-2012.pptx

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , , | Comments Off on Leaked ProSAVANA Master Plan confirms worst fears

THE EXILING OF MY FILM , “EXILE A MYTH UNEARTHED”, IN THE BBC

Link for film

By Ilan Ziv | April 28, 2013

As some of you know, my film EXILE, A MYTH UNEARTHED, which examines the myth of the Jewish EXILE and its political impact on both Israeli Jews and Palestinians in the Middle East, was going to be shown on the BBC Thursday April 25th. It was pulled out of the schedule only a few days earlier.

Since then I was flooded by dozens of emails of angry and concerned viewers asking what happened. To be honest I debated whether to tell the story of what I think had happened. I have worked with the BBC in the past on some programs that were deemed controversial and I never had any political censorship. On the contrary I was impressed by the integrity and fairness of the people I dealt with.

So based on my past experience, I was going to wait patiently until the BBC programming executives would solve the internal drama that apparently has begun to brew inside the BBC.  “The film is gorgeous, courageous and fresh, “ I was told several times by the programming executives. I was promised that the cancellation was temporary: “Given the short timescale and your workload, we have decided to delay transmission until we’ve had the chance you’ve had the chance to go through it in detail”.

I naively believed and decided to wait quietly. But things have their own momentum and as I learned more, I realized that the story of “EXILE” in the BBC is far more complex.

Among the dozens of emails I received one caught my attention. It included the official email response from the BBC to the inquiry/complaint sent to irate viewers who contacted the BBC asking why the program was pulled out of the schedule. This email contradicted a private email sent to me by the programming executives. I was intrigued.

I discovered after quick research that while I was contacted by the BBC barely a week before the broadcast asking for my comments about the cut, the BBC have had the film for almost 6 months. So why was this sudden rush which supposedly was the excuse given to me as to why the film was pulled out?  Why was I contacted so late in the game? And why was there a discrepancy between what was told to me and the “official” version . I started to dig a bit deeper and to put my findings in a blog, rather than answer the dozens of people who wrote to me privately.

This is not a personal issue.  This is ultimately a sad saga of what I believe is a mixture of incompetence, political naiveté, conscious or subconscious political pressure and ultimately, I believe, a lack of courage of broadcasters when they are faced with the complexity of the Middle East issue and the intense emotions, fears and aggression it generates. Once you indeed depersonalize this incident, you gain a fascinating insight into  how subtle and complex is the process by which our understanding of the  Israeli Palestinian conflict is being shaped and what happens when one dares to raise questions about issues deemed by some as taboos.  It is this insight that I think is worth sharing and detailing.

The story begins for me with the name. I discovered only 3 days before the broadcast that the BBC has been using a different name for the film: Jerusalem – An Archeological Mystery Story. It struck me as an odd choice that seems to camouflage the film’s real subject and repackages it as a neutral archeological mystery of sort- like the hundreds of hours one can see on cable and Satellite channels throughout the world.

“ Exile” of course is not about a mystery, neither it is limited to archeology or to Jerusalem. The name and the illusion that one can pretend that this film is just about archeology and its mysteries are at the core I believe of Thursday’s fiasco.

Digging deeper I also learned that this title was established back in November 2012 in the agreement between the National Film Board of Canada (one of the  film’s co producers and its int’l distributor) and the BBC.  I was approached  by the distributor to see if I would agree for the BBC to cut down the program.  I agreed to it on the condition that I would be  consulted  so the integrity of the longer version (104 min) would be preserved. I also said that if I was not  to be consulted  my name should be  removed  from the program and the cut down  will be listed as an “adaptation from a film by Ilan Ziv”. From my access to some internal documents, it is obvious now that the BBC was not genuinely interested in my getting involved.  As the documents suggest, they  already announced that the cut down version would be an adaptation.

So back in November 2012, everything seemed to be on track to produce a cut down of the film without having to deal with the director, broadcast the film under a neutral title and hopefully avoid any serious political debate. A perfect solution!  So what went wrong?

Fast forward to Saturday April 20th 2013 when I received an email from a friend in the UK who saw that “my” film Jerusalem; An Archeological Mystery Story was going to be broadcast on BBC 4. He even read a preview of it in the Guardian. The preview promised that the film “ will ruffle some feathers”.  Two days earlier I did receive from the editor who cut the film a copy of the cut for me to comment on, but there was no mention of an impeding broadcast date!

On Monday, 3 days before the broadcast, I fired an email to the BBC programming executives complaining that it is unfair to expect me to spend time reviewing the cut and coming up with suggestions of a re cut, when I was given only a few days before a broadcast date that no one bothered to inform me about. I pleaded for more time. It was only when one of the programming executives called me, I realized that there were much bigger issues for her than my complaint about being pushed into an impossible schedule.

The program executive seemed genuinely shocked that a freelance employee hired by the BBC to take part in the re-versioning process called the film “propaganda”. When I asked if this unnamed person had specific examples to support such a sweeping charge, I was told  that she claimed that , “Everything was propaganda”.  And there was more.

An “unnamed” BBC insider who I was told “liked the film,” claimed that the film props up the myth of Exile “ which we all know did not happen, in order to support his political analysis”. I learned that the cut I was given was now irrelevant, since some internal review deemed one scène with the Palestinians to be “too emotive” and they were asked to cut it down.  Realizing that a mini political storm was brewing around the film and attacks lodged against its integrity, I asked and was promised that I would be given at least a summary of the essential charges so I could answer them in length.  I am obviously very familiar with some of them and could easily and in detail refute them.  I told the programming executive that my reply would help them to defend the film in the Channel. After all, they professed to love the film and seemed genuinely interested to show it.  I told them it was very easy for me to prepare a detailed rebuttal with citation of sources for every word of the narration, the overall  analysis and for every scene. I told them that some of the academic participants in the program who  saw the cut and are reputable scholars in their field  did not find any factual errors or misrepresentations of facts or  of the historical narrative. In other words, I argued that such a detailed and substantial defense would convince any objective reader and observer of the editorial integrity of the film. I repeated the request several times yet I never got a reply. Instead, I received an email telling me that they decided to pull it out of the schedule, citing  the “ short  timetable and my work load “( !) A few days later I saw the “official” version that went to the public:

“We originally acquired ‘Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story’ to supplement BBC Four’s season exploring the history of archaeology. However, we have decided that it doesn’t fit editorially and are no longer planning to show it as part of the season.  Plans to broadcast  the program are currently under review”  So Exile, A myth unearthed  has begun its own exile within the BBC.

I do believe it is ultimately a sad saga. A saga of well meaning programming executives who acquired  the  “courageous “ film  they claim to love, believing that they can sneak it by with a “neutral title”. When they were “caught”, rather than face the criticism  and be helped by the mountains of documents and data I was ready to send them,  they panicked like deer in the headlights not knowing what to do and eventually raised  their hands in resignation.

The truth of the matter is that the reaction outside and inside the BBC surprised me too. The film by now has been shown in a Jewish Festival in Toronto, playing in a screening room there for a week. It was shown on Canadian TV with a second broadcast  planned for June.  Another version of the film is scheduled to be shown in France and  the original  version in Switzerland ,with  hopefully screenings in the US later in the year.  The response in all the public screenings, some of which I attended, was overall extremely positive. Nowhere did the film generate such a reaction as  that of the few individuals inside and outside the BBC.

The temporary success to “exile” the film might prove I believe to be a Pyrrhic victory.

EXILE does not deal with contemporary politics in the Middle East, rather, it proposes to examine their ideological and historical underpinnings.  EXILE has not contributed to the political stalemate in the region nor to the continued bloodshed, occupation and violence. It is a film born out of the continued violence. Rather than propose a simplistic solution or an aspirational political program , it tries to suggest a possible way out by re examining the historical narratives we all grew up on, suggesting that in this tormented land there are historical models of co existence and tolerance that could replace the dominant conventional nationalist ones. Silencing this film is silencing a possibility of discussion, debate and re examination not of the current political stalemate but of the intellectual stalemate that contributes to it.

I hope that somewhere in the BBC someone will rise above the hysteria and the attempts at self censorship to take a cooler look at the film and realize how it has been profoundly mis-characterized , -viewing it through partisan glasses instead of looking at it for what it is:  a film that can and has already in its  public screenings generated  dialogue and positive, thinking rather than perpetuating divisions  and polarization.

So for me this is not the end of EXILE in the UK but only the beginning.  I will show the film publicly throughout the UK and will challenge the BBC to either broadcast the film or relinquish its rights. I have offered to buy these rights so I could place the film elsewhere in the UK.

The saga of EXILE will continue. Stay tuned!

Exile – A Myth Unearthed (Trailer)

Update:

EXILE ON BBC4 , SUNDAY NIGHT NOVEMBER 3rd at 9PM TO BE FOLLOWED BY A DEBATE AT 10PM

Untitled1

EXILE , A MYTH UNEARTHED  has finally found a home on the BBC . The hour version of the film ( I  supervised and  authored the cut down)  is going to be broadcast under  a new title  SEARCHING FOR EXILE – TRUTH OR MYTH? on BBC 4   November 3rd, at 9pm . to be followed by a debate with my participation at 10pm

There  will be a press screening on   Thursday October 31st at 18.30 hrs. I will attend the Q&A  after the screening.  From what I understand  attendance is  restricted to a list of invitees.  Please get in touch with me  if you want to attend and I see what I can do.

As you all know it has been a long journey  which  many of you followed.  I am eternally grateful  for  your support!

I am happy that  the film finally found a home in the United Kingdom.!

As you remember I promised to hold screenings  of the long version of the film throughout  Britain( schedule permitted).  I will be in Manchester on Monday Nov.5 th.  Please write me for details.  Since this time  I can not stay in the UK any longer I will try to come again if there is interest in showing and discussing the film  in other cities.

Below is the billing for the press.

SEARCHING FOR EXILE – TRUTH OR MYTH?

This authored documentary by Ilan Ziv sets out to explore the historical and archaeological evidence for the Exile of the Jews after their defeat in Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman Empire, and its relevance to  today.

Tracing the story of Exile from the contemporary commentator Josephus, to 1960s Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin, to the modern city of  Rome and finally to the ruins of a Palestinian village, Ziv asks where the roots of this story lie and what evidence there is for it.

At the centre of the film is the ancient town of Sepphoris (on whose ruins stood the Palestinian village of Saffuriya until 1948)  and the lessons its multi-layered history may have to offer.

A film by Ilan Ziv

Produced by  Amit Breuer, Serge Gordey, Colette Louméde, Ilan Ziv

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on THE EXILING OF MY FILM , “EXILE A MYTH UNEARTHED”, IN THE BBC

Bolivia Expels USAID: Not Why, but Why Not Sooner

By Jake Johnston | CEPR | May 1, 2013

At a speech celebrating May Day in Bolivia today, President Evo Morales announced the expulsion of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from the country. According to the AP, Morales stated:

“The United States does not lack institutions that continue to conspire, and that’s why I am using this gathering to announce that we have decided to expel USAID from Bolivia.”

The role of USAID in Bolivia has been a primary point of contention between the U.S. and Bolivia dating back to at least 2006. State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell characterized Morales’ statement as “baseless allegations.” While State Department spokespeople and many commentators will characterize USAID’s work with oppositional groups as appropriate, a look at the agency’s work over the past decade paints a very different picture.

Documents obtained by investigative journalist Jeremy Bigwood show that as early as 2002, USAID funded a “Political Party Reform Project,” which sought to “serve as a counterweight to the radical MAS [Morales’ political party] or its successors.” Later USAID began a program “to provide support to fledgling regional governments,” some of which were pushing for regional autonomy and were involved in the September 2008 destabilization campaign that left some 20 indigenous Bolivians dead. Meanwhile, the U.S. has continually refused to disclose the recipients of aid funds. As a recent CEPR report on USAID activities in Haiti concluded, U.S. aid often goes into a “black box” where it becomes impossible to determine who the ultimate recipients actually are.

Some of these USAID programs were implemented by the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) from the period 2004-2007. A document obtained by CEPR through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveals the role OTI plays in U.S. foreign policy. The document notes that OTI “seeks to focus its resources where they will have the greatest impact on U.S. diplomatic and security interests,” adding that “OTI cannot create a transition or impose democracy, but it can identify and support key individuals and groups who are committed to peaceful, participatory reform. In short, OTI acts as a catalyst for change where there is sufficient indigenous political will.” It was through OTI that USAID was funding regional governments prior to the September 2008 events.

While USAID has since closed the OTI office in Bolivia, and overall funding levels have been greatly reduced, USAID has still channeled at least $200 million into the country since 2009.

Wikileaks Revelations

Wikileaks cables reveal that the U.S. has long taken an adversarial approach to the Morales government, while even acknowledging the clandestine and oppositional nature of U.S. aid.

In one cable written by Ambassador Greenlee from January 2006, just months after Morales’ election, he notes that “U.S. assistance, the largest of any bilateral donor by a factor of three, is often hidden by our use of third parties to dispense aid with U.S. funds.” In the same cable, Greenlee acknowledges that “[m]any USAID-administered economic programs run counter to the direction the GOB [Government of Bolivia] wishes to move the country.”

The cable goes on to outline a “carrot and sticks” approach to the new Bolivian government, outlining possible actions to be taken to pressure the government to take “positive policy actions.” Three areas where the U.S. would focus were on coca policy, the nationalization of hydrocarbons (which “would have a negative impact on U.S. investors”) and the forming of the constituent assembly to write a new constitution.  Possible sticks included; using veto authority within the Inter-American Development Bank to oppose loans to Bolivia, postponing debt cancellation and threatening to suspend trade benefits.

Another cable, also written by Greenlee, reporting on a meeting between U.S. officials and the Morales government notes that the Ambassador stated in the meeting, “When you think of the IDB, you should think of the U.S…. This is not blackmail, it is simple reality.”

Later cables, as reported by Green Left Weekly, show the U.S. role in fomenting dissent within indigenous groups and other social movements.

Not Why, But Why Not Sooner

The AP spoke with Kathryn Ledebur of the Andean Information Network, reporting that she “was not surprised by the expulsion itself but by the fact that Morales took so long to do it after repeated threats.” Given the amount of evidence in declassified documents that point to U.S. aid funds going to opposition groups and being used to bolster opposition to the Morales government, the expulsion indeed comes as little surprise. Further, as evidence continues to mount of the role of USAID in undermining governments, governments from across the region have become more openly critical of the U.S. aid agency.

As Brazilian investigative journalist Natalia Viana recently detailed in The Nation, USAID was funding groups in Paraguay that would eventually be involved in the ouster of President Lugo. Viana writes that through USAID’s largest program in Paraguay, they would end up supporting “some of the very institutions that would play a central role in impeaching Lugo six years later, including not just the police force but the Public Ministry and the Supreme Court.”

Additionally, the role of USAID in funding opposition groups in Venezuela has been well documented. A recently released Wikileaks cable reveals the U.S. government’s five point strategy for Venezuela, which the cable makes clear USAID worked to implement. The goals were; “1) Strengthening Democratic Institutions, 2) Penetrating Chavez’ Political Base, 3) Dividing Chavismo, 4) Protecting Vital US business, and 5) Isolating Chavez internationally.”

Last June, immediately following the Paraguay coup, the ALBA group of countries (of which Bolivia is a member) signed a declaration requesting that “the heads of state and the government of the states who are members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, immediately expel USAID and its delegates or representatives from their countries, due to the fact that we consider their presence and actions to constitute an interference which threatens the sovereignty and stability of our nations.”

At the time, President Correa of Ecuador stated that he was writing up new rules for USAID engagement in the country and that “If they don’t want to follow them, then ‘So long.’” While Bolivia may be the first of these countries to actually expel USAID, the question may not be why Bolivia is doing this, but rather why didn’t Bolivia do this sooner?

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Bolivia Expels USAID: Not Why, but Why Not Sooner

New survey shows most Americans oppose US intervention in Syria

Press TV – May 2, 2013

A new poll has revealed that most Americans oppose US intervention in Syria amid growing efforts by the Obama administration and pro-Israeli members of Congress to directly engage US troops in yet another Muslim nation.

While 61 percent of those polled expressed opposition to US meddling in the internal Syrian crisis, triggered and sustained by a massive foreign-sponsored armed insurgency, merely 10 percent of participants in the online survey were supportive of the American intervention, according to the results of a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll published on Wednesday.

The findings of the new survey confirm the results of an earlier poll conducted by US-based CBS News and The New York Times, which put the strength of American opposition to the potential US intervention in Syria at 62 percent.

Despite the obvious opposition of most Americans to yet another US military intervention in the Middle East, a number of fervently pro-Israel members of the US congress continue to press the Obama administration to expand its support of anti-Damascus militant gangs in Syria by supplying them with lethal weapons and even to deploy troops in a bid to “hasten” what many consider as a joint US-Israeli vision for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The development comes just a day after US-based press reports cited senior Obama administration officials as saying that Washington is preparing to deploy troops to Syria and supplying lethal weapons to foreign-backed militants in the country in an intensifying effort to force the ouster of Syrian president.

According to these reports, the decision to vastly expand American intervention measures against Damascus was prompted by the growing realization in Washington that that the US-sponsored Syrian opposition is unable to gather popular support in the Arab nation.

“We’re clearly on an upward trajectory; we’ve moved over to assistance that has a direct military purpose,” a senior Obama administration official was quoted as saying in a Washington Post report.

Further highlighting Washington’s actual aim of removing President Assad from power in Syria at any cost, the administration’s National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said, “We continue to consider all other possible options that would accomplish our objective of hastening a political transition,” which refers to regime change.

This is while openly pro-Israeli Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina recently cited the widely discounted Israeli claims of chemical weapons use in Syria, pressing for swift Washington action to “secure” chemical arms arsenals in the country.

The two lawmakers, however, did not explain how American forces would accomplish such a task.

Moreover, Graham called on the US military to “bomb Syrian air bases with cruise missiles in a bid to “neutralize” the government’s air advantage over the foreign-backed militant gangs and turn the “tide of battle pretty quickly” in favor of the anti-Damascus insurgents.

Senator McCain, meanwhile, said the US should move into Syria as part of an “international force” to secure the country’s chemical weapons, but did not elaborate on how such international military force would be established and which countries would be involved.

Syria has been faced with a foreign-sponsored armed insurgency since 2011. Thousands of people in the country, including a large number of security forces, have been killed in the unrest with many foreign nationals infiltrating the key Arab state in a bid to destabilize the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , | Comments Off on New survey shows most Americans oppose US intervention in Syria

International activist resists deportation from Israel in protest of arrests of children in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | May 2, 2013

Hebron: Two Palestinian children arrested in Hebron on April 28th by the Israeli authorities are the latest in a series of arrests which have increased rapidly since February of 2013. Swedish human rights activist, Gustav Karlsson, is currently in immigration detention in Givon prison after objecting to the arrest of the two children.

Gustav plans to resist deportation because he was arrested under false allegations of assaulting a soldier and given no chance to defend himself, despite clear video evidence that he committed no wrongdoing. The International Solidarity Movement has severe concerns about both the widespread arrests of children and the practice of deportation of peaceful human rights observers under false allegations of violence.

In the afternoon of April 28th several children from an illegal Hebron settlement attacked two Palestinian children, aged 11 and 12, who were walking home from school. The soldiers proceeded to arrest the Palestinian victims of the attack despite the fact that according to eyewitnesses, they never struck back.

Having witnessed the arrests of the children, Swedish human rights observer Gustav asked Israeli soldiers “why are you arresting these children?” only to be violently grabbed and also arrested. Following this, the children and Gustav were taken to a nearby military base. Gustav said, “I was blindfolded, but I could hear the children crying and screaming next to me. Twice, the soldiers pointed their guns at me, loaded them and pretended to pull the triggers”. As well as these mock-executions, soldiers violently shoved Gustav with their guns as they moved him and the children around.  

The children were released later the same day, while Gustav is currently in Givon prison accused of assaulting a soldier, despite clear video evidence to the contrary. Gustav plans to resist deportation in protest of the dramatic increase in child arrests, the fact that he has been falsely accused and has not received a trial. Gustav has been working with Palestinian communities in Hebron for several months and has witnessed child arrests nearly every day.

Occupied Childhoods, a report compiled of child arrests witnessed in Hebron since February 2013, when the rise in child arrests seemingly began, is available here. This rise in arrests of minors is very concerning – one chilling example from recent months is the random arrest of 27 children aged 7-15, while they were on their way to school.

The other theme made clear by this case is the Israeli practice of arresting international human rights observers under false accusations and deporting them without a chance to defend themselves. Eight non-violent activists have been arrested and deported, falsely accused of using violence in the last three months. Since the founding of ISM, Israel has never pressed charges against any human rights activist but they have deported hundreds under charges such as Gustav’s which are clearly false.

Video of Gustav’s arrest:

Video of child arrests:

Video credit Youth Against Settlements.

Gustav is available for comment by phone in Givon prison. For more information contact:

Gustav: +972 543 078 179

Lisa (ISM International coordinator): +972 592 295 627

Ben (ISM Hebron coordinator): +972 597 281 362

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | Comments Off on International activist resists deportation from Israel in protest of arrests of children in Hebron

Syrian guerillas watch Al Jazeera, believe most insane stories – captive journalist to RT

RT | May 01, 2013

The Syrian opposition is made up of young men with little education, brainwashed into fighting President Assad, journalist Anhar Kocheva told RT. Kocheva spoke about her time as a hostage, describing a ragtag group of men devoid of tangible ideals.

Anhar Kochneva, a Ukrainian citizen and Palestinian national, spent 153 days as a hostage in the custody of Syrian opposition guerilla fighters. She paints an altogether different picture of the rebel fighters to the one in Western media – young men in their twenties conned into fighting for the opposition by the farfetched stories of sheiks.

RT: Can you describe these rebel fighters? What kind of people are they?

Anhar Kochneva: The ones that held me captive were Syrians, Sunnis. There are no foreigners in that particular group. Most of them are former neighbors or relatives from a southern Homs district – Baba Amr. Their apartments and houses were destroyed a year ago, because they were fighting against the army there and, as they put it, they made a tactical decision to withdraw. The withdrawal basically meant crossing the Homs-Tartus highway, moving from its northern to its southern side. They moved into the empty houses in the village and paid some rent to the owners – $50-100. Rent is getting higher, because the demand for housing is growing, since there are more and more refugees. And it is impossible to live in summer houses. In some houses, there are over 30 refugees. Electricity is scarce; there is a schedule for when it comes on. Those who have a generator are considered very lucky. My kidnappers didn’t have a generator.

RT: What kind of guerilla activities are they involved in? Are they constantly attacked by the Army?

AK: The army didn’t really do anything to them. There were occasional shootings. These are just small groups in rural areas. So the army doesn’t really target their residences. They attacked the government forces and their checkpoints every once in a while, kidnapped people.

RT: What is the relationship between the guerilla fighters and the locals?

AK: They try to co-exist peacefully with the people who surround them and give them shelter.

They are mad at the Christian community of El Quseir though. Some time ago there were reports about kidnappings of Christians [in September 2012, almost 300 Catholics, half of them women and children, were kidnapped, when they were picking apples in Rehle, on the border with Lebanon – RT]. But it was not mentioned anywhere that by doing that the rebels tried to bring back four of their friends, who were captured by the Christian community – so it was the Christians who upset the peaceful co-existence.

According to many accounts, this is what happened. Four rebels were kidnapped by the Christians. I was told that these four people were kidnapped when they were not doing anything against this Christian community. They were just going about their business.

In order to set their people free, opposition fighters took almost 100 Christians hostage. The guerilla fighters returned all the hostages alive, whereas their people came back in body bags, cut into pieces.

They were offended by that, saying that these people didn’t harm the Christians in any way.

All this happened during my first days in captivity – and they kept talking about this. I overheard some things. They are mad, because their people were brutally killed, but nobody in the West is saying anything about it. They were ordered not to kill Christians, otherwise the West would stop helping them. These cases have to be brought to light and investigated. Maybe because these four people were killed, a chance to achieve a truce was missed… Now the residents of this Christian suburb don’t go anywhere, they don’t go to Sunni villages to buy groceries.

‘They believe most insane stories’

RT: Who are these people, these Syrian guerilla fighters?

AK: Most of them are in their early twenties. Some have served in the army. Twenty-seven-year-olds are considered very mature. Most of them are single. Some didn’t even graduate from high school. Their parents told them, “You know the alphabet, so go work now.”

They don’t have any clear ideology. They don’t really think about things, don’t discuss anything. At least, they didn’t have any such talks with me, they said right away – it’s impossible to argue with them.

Their logic really suffers – and you can see that in everyday life. They believe the most insane stories, if they hear them from some religious teachers.

My guard’s name was Ahmad, 27 years old, finished four grades in school. He told me that he had heard in a sermon that in 1990, Soviet scientists drilled a tunnel to the center of the Earth, saw fire there and recorded the screams of sinners in hell. He believes in that story, because it supports his worldview.

I tried to argue that in 1990 this was the last thing on Russia’s mind, that there is no recording device that can work in such temperature, that spirits don’t have voices – I couldn’t convince him. Most of them have never been outside the country, and didn’t travel around Syria much either. But they remember the blessed times of low prices, somebody even managed to go to the seashore, which is not far from there. But they cannot draw connections between the current situation and their actions.

They talk about how they used to go to restaurants, to cabaret.

RT: Does religion play any role in their life? Do they pray?

AK: They try, but not always succeed. They might fall asleep or fail to wake up. Some other excuses: “I am cold, I am hungry.” I did not see them pray together, they prayed individually. They don’t quote the Koran, don’t say Bismillah or Insha’Allah all the time. These are simple people, who were thrown into some new circumstances, but it didn’t change who they are.

RT: We read all the time that mercenaries are paid “huge money”. What can you say about that?

AK: They don’t consider themselves mercenaries. They are guerilla fighters, volunteers. They made a conscious decision to be part of the unit, to follow this commander, whom they respect. They are not paid salaries, they only get an allowance.

My captors got $100 per month – they spent 40-50 per cent of that on cigarettes.

Fighters in other units get twice as much, or even more. But those who held me didn’t mind staying on the allowance, as long as Ammar was their leader.

RT: Who is this commander? What sets him apart?

AK: He turned 40 recently. Before the war, he used to be a house painter in Homs. He’s single. His father was a well-known Sufi sheik who could talk to snakes. My guards knew and respected him.

‘Simple provincial folk’

RT: And how do these things go together – their respect for a Sufi sheik and brainwashing the public that this unrest is the Salafist doing?

AK: They are neither radical Muslims nor Salafists, they are simple provincial folk that have been told by sheiks about freedom and democracy.Ammar has been in the guerilla force for over a year.

RT: What made him join?

AK: He saw what he thought to be a major injustice taking place. Both the opposition and the army kept firing, and innocent people kept dying in the crossfire. In his circle, the perception was that it was army’s and the regime’s fault.

I asked him once, “What would you do if this civil war never happened and instead Israel attacked Syria?” He replied, “I would join the army and fight for Syria.”

But there’s no going back for him now.

RT: Any war ends in a truce.

AK: He’s gone way too far. He is the enemy of the state. He is a leader and head of the military council of the Farouq Brigades in Homs area. He supervises attacks on checkpoints, they have partly killed and expelled all the Shia, and all the Alawites. He led the resistance to the army taking over Homs from Bab-Amr. I believe this is the man it would be worth running negotiations with – that’s of course if he chose to resort to a dialogue. He is not beyond compassion and understanding. He can let people free. During my time there, he let two Sunni fighters, professors with Homs University free.

He is a very simple man, he doesn’t require much, and strives to deliver justice. He gave over his room and bed to me and slept on the floor. People often send him gifts of nice clothes and he gives them away to his fighters. He has no material ambition to get rich.

RT: Did he mention what goals the guerilla forces pursue?

AK: No. They thought it wouldn’t take long and hoped to get support from abroad. He believes they have been decoyed and used, as they didn’t receive the help they had been promised and now it’s obvious they are not going to receive it at all.

He is not a bigot or radical – he is a civilized person with that Syrian conception that everybody has the right to have its own idea of how to follow their religion. I was forced to put on a headscarf only for the time of filming [a video about the terms of release – RT].

People respect him as he is reasonable and has no material ambition to get rich.

The man who kidnapped me behaves differently and people notice such things. For instance, when they [people from the 1st detachment – RT] attacked the village of al Haidaria, not only did they steal people’s belongings from the abandoned houses, but they knocked down the walls, pulled out electrical boxes, removed windows and doors, plug sockets and switchers in order to sell them all.

Those who kept me hostage disapproved of that.

Many told me that if I had gotten in hands to some other field commander, I would have had a far harder time.

RT: The rebels’ hatred is focused on Bashar Assad – can you say why?

AK: They hold him responsible for everything. They even say the carrot crop failure is his fault. It’s a trend to hate him. And they get brainwashed to believe that the majority of people think the same. They don’t want to know that the majority actually does not support them.

The brainwashing techniques are quite primitive. For example, their fatigues have been manufactured in Turkey, with each set numbered, and the numbers they used exceed 11 million. But that’s nonsense. Syria doesn’t have that many men. Its entire population is 23 million people, and children account for more than a half of this number. This is the way they’re trying to support the myth that the FSA has the majority on its side. And you know what happens in those small areas they control? Many are forced to keep their real attitude secret.

RT: What about Hafez Assad? Did their parents hate him, too?

AK: They don’t talk about him. I never heard anything. They don’t even need that kind of logical argument.

RT: Do they hate Russia?

AK: They plan to celebrate their victory by blasts in Chechnya and Moscow – these are their exact words. My guards happily assured me this will happen. It’s possible they just said it to dispirit me, and use other words with other people.

RT: You said that the commander of the detachment would have joined the army if Israel had attacked Syria. What do rank-and-file guerrillas think about Israel?

AK: According to some rumors, the Qataris and Saudis became regular visitors to Israel, and their visits were quite friendly. That’s why the command of the opposition ordered to be kind to Israel. As for the Palestinian people, there is another directive – they should treat them with disdain. They say that the Palestinians were selling their own land, and the Jews, on the contrary, are good people. I heard several people saying such things, and it sounds like an echo of some programs, conversations and opinions someone had instilled in them. I repeat that there is no mindset there.

Speaking of the Palestinians, Kurds, coastal population and the population of the regions – they believe that they are all traitors, because they haven’t taken the side of the revolution.

Turkey is not respected either – they don’t get anything essential from them, although some useful small items come from Turkey from time to time. For example, there were book series dedicated to the “Blessed Syrian Revolution” published in Turkey, and they read them. These books include quotes from the Koran and say that God welcomes the events in Syria.

RT: Is hatred towards Alawites religious in character?

AK: No, there’s nothing about religion, although some statements about incorrect believing did take place. But this is not the key point. They have some way stronger emotions. For example, I heard them complaining that the houses of Alawite scum were the only ones that were heated. The thing is they were offered big multi-dwelling units with heating, but they refused saying they wanted to live in their private homes.

RT: And what do they think of the Christians?

AK: They are regarded as wayward, but they don’t dare mess with the Christians fearing Europe would turn away from them. Moreover, we shouldn’t forget there are a lot of Christians in Syria, as well as plenty of different communities and sects. They all live side-by-side with the Muslims and regard them as neighbors, without paying extra attention to what they believe in.

RT: How do they regard the Americans?

AK: They criticize them, claiming the Americans have decoyed them. The guerrillas are told that the Americans might be spies. There was an American man who had pretended to be a journalist and he had been caught before me. According to the guerrillas, he was leaking some information about locations, so he was caught and accused of espionage. I heard he was bartered – there was a grand operation.
‘They are hostile towards opposition groups abroad’

RT: Do they realize how the opposition can represent them abroad? Does anybody monitor and evaluate their activities?

AK: They don’t like the opposition members settled in Europe, Istanbul and Moscow, and have promised to slaughter them if they come back to Syria. Regular fighters say they have been shedding blood and those people just want to get everything for free. So they are quite hostile towards the opposition that settled down abroad.

RT: What arms do guerillas use?

AK: Russian hand grenades, Kalashnikov guns – both Russian and Chinese. As they said themselves, they have got lots of Belgian weapons.

RT: Did you see if they had money?

AK: Two bundles of $8,000. And they were speaking of such sums like pocket change. They were counting money before my own eyes. What’s more, after I had already been released, I ran into a video in which Ammar was counting a huge bundle of money. It is clear they don’t keep this money to themselves – they buy weapons with it.

RT: Did you see anybody get wounded?

AK: Lots of wounded people. I saw about nine people bandaged and loads of murdered. There is a field hospital, but I’d rather call it a regular clinic. The chief doctor is a pharmacist, who – according to my experience – doesn’t know what is what even in terms of pharmacy. There was some wounded man delivered from Homs – he begged to be handed over to the army, as he knew he wouldn’t get proper medical treatment and would die.

RT: What do the rebels think of volunteers from abroad?

AK: They are at odds with Jabhat al-Nusra. There is some killing list with the names of al-Faruk Brigades’ leaders on it, and about five people have already been killed – they try to eliminate the lead figures. Moreover, there are ongoing serious wrangles among the rebels themselves. There were no foreigners in the areas I have been to. To say the least, they are not welcomed and regarded as competitors.
‘People are exhausted’

RT: How do people feel over there?

AK: People are exhausted. Most of them have lost everything. Those who had wanted to take part in the revolution already joined – so human resources inside the country ran out. Still the Syrian people are not used to living in such conditions. They don’t leave their homes after 7pm: any noise and you may be shot.

They eat pigeons and sparrows that they shoot, pluck and roast, which is clearly caused by hunger and distress, but there are some unmotivated actions taking place, too. They can shoot a dog or a little puppy kids have been playing with. I have never seen the soldiers of the regular army turning their guns on living beings.

RT: Which mass media is popular?

AK: They watch Al Jazeera, Orient TV – all in all about eight opposition channels. They use the internet as well. There is an information center where correspondents of Al Jazeera Mohammad Arabi and Hale dabu Saleh worked.

 

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , | 1 Comment

Rep. Keith Ellison, the Personification of the Phony, Pro-War “Progressive”

keith_ellison

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | May 1, 2013

Keith Ellison, the Black U.S. House member from Minneapolis who is co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, says the U.S. should push for a no-fly zone over rebel-held areas in Syria. Ellison, who is also one of only two Muslim members of Congress, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, as did Republican Arizona Senator John McCain. It is a measure of how far to the right the Democratic Party has come under President Obama, that McCain, the war monger who likes to sing about bombing Iran, and Ellison, who claims to be a progressive, are in basic agreement over Syria. Both McCain and Ellison want no-fly zones, and both claim to prefer that there be no U.S. “boots on the ground” in country. Both are raving American imperialists who believe that the U.S. has not merely the right, but the obligation to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries. As Ellison, the phony progressive, puts it, “I don’t think the world’s greatest superpower, the United States, can stand by and do nothing” – which is, essentially, John McCain’s position.

Ellison has been advocating a no-fly zone for Syria for at least a year. Last May, he told U.S. News and World Report that so-called “safe zones” should be set up by the U.S. and its allies around the borders of Syria. Ellison made it quite clear that he sees such zones as a prelude to regime change. “I think the Libyan action was a good example of that,” he said.

On U.S. imperial policy, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between McCain, the hard-right Republican, and Ellison, who purports to be a progressive Democrat. Neither gives a damn about international law or the rights of smaller people’s to shape their own destinies. Ellison went to Saudi Arabia, the most socially backward rich country on the planet, and described the King as a “visionary leader.” He rejected George Bush’s troop “surge in 2007, by calling it “too little, too late.” Like Obama, he quibbles about whether U.S. wars are smart or dumb, too late or right on time, but never about the inherent right of the United States to wage war against the weaker nations of the world.

Ellison is part of the pro-war Left, which includes Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, whose primary mission is to make self-described liberals and leftists comfortable supporting imperial wars. McCain can’t do that, but Ellison can. Amnesty International is shameless enough to use women’s rights as an excuse to support continued occupation of Afghanistan.

Much of the pro-war left has been forced by events to recognize that the U.S. and its allies are backing jihadist Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in Syria – people they wouldn’t like to have brunch with. Therefore, they now demand that the U.S. intervene to make sure that the jihadists don’t get their hands on chemical weapons. Thus, the pro-war left starts off by advocating U.S. intervention to facilitate the coming to power of the rebels, but in the end winds up demanding that the U.S. do whatever it can to stop these guys from taking power. Either way, it ends with U.S. intervention. John McCain and Keith Ellison pretend to be on opposite ideological ends, but they are like Jack and Jill walking up the same hill when it comes to the obligations and privileges of U.S. imperialism.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment