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Support Our Troops – Indict Their Leaders

By Michael Smith | Legalalienate | November 11, 2013

As usual on Veteran’s Day, we are urged to honor our “heroes” and salute their martial courage, while ignoring the murderous imperial role they play in “fighting for their country.”

This really cannot be done. A professional army is by definition an organized band that kills on command. This can only be justified on the grounds that its mission is purely defensive, designed to repel invasion of the national territory the troops are sworn to protect and defend.

But this is hardly the role of the U.S. armed forces today, when Washington maintains hundreds of major military bases around the world, and thousands of smaller military installations, all of them dedicated to maintaining an economic and political status quo increasingly protested by popular majorities seeking a freer, more democratic world. In short, in spite of its multicultural and bi-gender facade, the U.S. military is an anti-democratic force. And there is nothing heroic about suppressing democracy.

Yes, our troops often display spectacular physical courage under fire. But so did soldiers defending Nazism and Communism, Japanese soldiers defending a brutal empire, and Confederate soldiers fighting to preserve chattel slavery. We do not ordinarily consider these soldiers heroes, no matter how great their martial courage, because we rate the missions they were sent on as illegitimate or evil.

We cannot have it both ways. If military service is value neutral, then it does not matter what cause soldiers fight for, we must salute their courage under fire. But if the value of physical courage is inextricably bound up with the legitimacy of the mission a soldier is sent on, then we must withhold hero status from imperial soldiers who fight – not to defend us from evil – but merely to preserve and extend the hegemony of empire. In the latter case, their bravery is stained and diminished by the ignoble cause they have been commanded to serve.

Actually, these days a soldier does not even have to demonstrate physical courage to be designated a hero. Cheap praise is heaped on our soldiers merely for being in the military, quite apart from anything they may do on a field of battle. This is directly related to a steady decline in public support for imperial military missions, which the architects of empire resist by equating anti-war sentiment with hostility to soldiers. “Support our troops” actually means “support the mission,” no matter how illegitimate.

This we must not do. The grotesque barbarity displayed at Abu Ghraib – hardly ancient history – was neither heroic, nor accidental. In fact, it was deliberately sanctioned policy, extensively pre-tested by Israel, to associate all resistance to foreign invasion with sexual humiliation. In short, it was an attempt to make legitimate heroism impossible for Iraqis, to stain public memory of resistance with images of utter disgrace. To invoke “support our troops” in this context is to embrace complete moral degeneracy.

A better option would be to widely publicize and critique the civilian leaders who craft such policies, and degrade our troops in the name of honoring them. “Support our troops – dispatch Donald Rumsfeld to jail,” should have been a national slogan years ago. Today, we have just as much reason to call for the same for Barack Obama – our first African-American president, who overthrew a Libyan government with the highest standard of living in Africa, leaving the country to the mercy of murderous and plundering gangs.

Service? Honor? Respect? What have any of these words to do with the role of the U.S. military in the world today? What is honorable about occupying Afghanistan in the service of a government so corrupt it makes the Taliban seem preferable? How is respect cultivated by mass murder of civilians by drones? What kind of “service” is involved in establishing an international network of torture centers in defiance of international law and basic morality?

Yes, let’s honor our troops, not by continuing the atrocities that degrade them, but by abolishing the imperial military and developing a real national defense policy to replace it.

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What an Al-Monitor Analyst Gets Wrong about Arak

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | November 11, 2013

In a new piece over at Al-Monitor, Iranian-born Israeli analyst Meir Javedanfar commends the blocking of a preliminary nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius over the issue of Iran’s continuing construction of the Qatran Complex, a heavy water facility near Arak, a city southwest of Tehran.

But it is riddled with the factual errors and decontextualized conjecture that have long been a hallmark of Mr. Javedanfar’s analysis.

This time around, it appears Mr. Javedanfar is a bit confused as to the difference between Iran’s two facilities at Arak. One is the IR-40 heavy water research reactor, the other is a heavy water production plant. The half-built reactor is under IAEA safeguards and is visited regularly by inspectors; the production plant is not under safeguards and thus not legally subject to inspections.

When Mr. Javedanfar, writing clearly about the IR-40 reactor and not the production plant, claims that “the Iranian regime has not allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the site since 2011” and that the “IAEA has since had to rely on satellite images to assess developments regarding the site,” he is simply wrong. That he then states that this “reinforces concern and urgency” demonstrates a distinct lack of clarity on his part as to what risks actually exist or do not exist.

Here’s why:

What Mr. Javedanfar is actually referring to (though he doesn’t seem to know it) is the production plant at Arak, not the reactor. Iran voluntarily allowed IAEA access to the production plant in 2011.  According to the most recent safeguards report, the Arak reactor however was visited by IAEA monitors on August 7, 2013. Another report will be issued soon, which means inspectors have also been there since.

The reactor, which Mr. Javedanfar never mentions is not operational and may not be for another year, is not in itself a proliferation risk. Plutonium is produced as a byproduct of running the reactor, and must be separated out from irradiated fuel and reprocessed to weapons-grade material before it poses any actual danger.

Still, Mr. Javedanfar writes that the “Arak heavy water reactor… could produce plutonium to make a bomb while the talks continue,” which is misleading and wholly speculative at best, intimating as he does that once the Arak reactor is switched on, weapons-grade plutonium pops out.

First, talks are not expected to continue for years to come. With the reactor not yet up and running (it’s projected to come online in mid-2014, but will most likely be delayed as it has in the past), the timeframe on Arak is an important factor in determining the potential (and, at this stage, totally hypothetical) risk it poses.

As Daryl G. Kimball and Kelsey Davenport of the Arms Control Association explained this past summer:

[T]he reactor at Arak would need to be operational for perhaps up to a year before the plutonium could be extracted. Even then, Iran does not have a reprocessing facility for separating the plutonium to produce weapons-usable material, having revised its declaration to the IAEA regarding the Arak site in 2004. The revision eliminated plans for a reprocessing facility at the site. Tehran maintains that it does not intend to build a plant to separate plutonium from the irradiated fuel that the reactor will produce.

By this measure, taken with Mr. Javedanfar’s claim, talks would need to continue without progress for at least another year and half, perhaps two years, for Iran to even begin extracting plutonium from spent fuel. That’s mid-2015 at the earliest.

Plus, Iran can’t even reprocess that extracted plutonium into weapons-grade material because it doesn’t have the facilities to do so.

This past weekend, Kimball told The Guardian that, if anything, “Arak represents a long-term proliferation risk not a near-term risk and it can be addressed in the final phase of negotiations,” adding, “France and the other… powers would be making a mistake if they hold up an interim deal that addresses more urgent proliferation risks over the final arrangements regarding Arak.”

Yet Mr. Javedanfar calls the blocking of a preliminary deal by the French “fair and logical.”

Perhaps if he had a better grasp on the facts about Arak, he would come to a different conclusion. Then again, maybe not. After all, a TIME magazine headline from last month says it all: “If Iran Can Get This Reactor Online, Israel May Not Be Able to Bomb It“.

That, it would appear, is the real risk for Israel and its analysts.



Following a meeting in Tehran between IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, it was agreed that Iran would provide “relevant information and managed access to the Heavy Water Production Plant” at Arak.

This is a voluntary, confidence-building measure taken by Iran in an effort “to strengthen their cooperation and dialogue aimed at ensuring the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme through the resolution of all outstanding issues that have not already been resolved by the IAEA.”

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Desert … My Home الصحراء بيتي


Alhaqhr · November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | Comments Off on The Desert … My Home الصحراء بيتي

Copyright Extension Goes Into Effect In The UK: More Works Stolen From The Public Domain

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | November 11, 2013

Even as there have been indications around the globe that perhaps we’ve had enough copyright term extension and it’s time to move back in the other direction, over in the UK, they just put in place a big new copyright extension which increases the term from 50 years to 70 years for sound recordings and performers’ rights. We had discussed the EU decision two years ago to seize the public domain by retroactively pulling works out of the public domain, and now it’s officially gone into effect.

While we’ve pointed out for years that when people claim that infringing works are “stolen,” they’re using the wrong word, since nothing is missing, that is not the case here. Here, things are absolutely missing. The entire purpose of copyright law is to provide the incentives to have the work created in the first place. As such, it’s a deal, where the public grants the creators an exclusive right for a number of years, in return for getting the work (in a limited fashion) for a period of time and then having that work become public domain at the end. Retroactive copyright extension is a unilateral change in that deal — directly taking the work away from the public domain without any recompense to the public the work has been stolen from. This makes absolutely no sense. Clearly, since the work was created, the incentive was good enough at the time of creation. Adding on more years that the public doesn’t get it at the end does nothing to incentivize the work that was already created fifty years ago.

There is simply no reason to have done this, and to have taken these works out of the public domain. Scholars have pointed out that there is no legitimate reason to do this, no evidence that it does anything useful at all. Instead, there’s plenty of evidence that the cost to the public is tremendous — somewhere around a billion euros. The cost to culture in general is even worse, because the longer copyright terms are, the more works disappear entirely, and the more it harms the dissemination of knowledge. It’s basically a disaster all the way around — except for some old record labels that still have the copyrights.

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Copyright Extension Goes Into Effect In The UK: More Works Stolen From The Public Domain

The Moshe Dayan Method of Intimidation

By Notsilvia Night | July 24, 2009

Have you ever gotten death-threats?

Well, I have… and so have a million or so other people.

It’s not unusual for political activists, writers or even humble bloggers, who even become a bit visible to be the target of threats, if they attack the interests of corrupt people.

But there is one area of political opposition, where you can be absolutely certain to be on the receiving end of all kinds of threats – from losing your job, your livelihood to being sued, physically harmed or even killed – and this area is everything connected to the state of Israel.

Human Rights activists in Palestine, either Palestinian or Internationals receive death-threats on a daily basis, of course, mainly by settlers: “Nazi, I’ll kill you.”

Threatening is part of the Moshe-Dayan-Method. The former Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan once said: “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”

The Jewish settlers in the West-bank are one side of this “mad-dog” appearance, the Israeli army in Gaza is another side, the Israeli prison and torture system is the third and Mossad covered operations abroad the forth side of this “game”.

The settlers are not independent of the Israeli state. They act as the forefront in the land robbing operations. They are like the ugly war paint used in earlier ages by invading tribes to scare the native population to surrender or leave the area.

The recklessness of the soldiers in Gaza, who first commit horrible war crimes, and then make t-shirts portraying a pregnant Palestinian woman as a target, saying “one shot, two kills”, is another example.

Israelis are telling the world with this seemingly insane behavior, they do not have to care what others think about their country:

“International law does not apply to the state of Israel. And nobody can do anything about it. Since this nation is too dangerous for anybody else to bother.”

Fanatical supporters of the state of Israel and influential Zionists have been threatening people for a long time.

Edwin M.Wright, who had worked as an assistant and expert of the Middle East in the State Department for two decades, describes in an oral history of the Truman Library, how Washington’s career politicians from the early 1940′s on were brought under control on the subject of Israel, by using threats and intimidation:

One day I was sitting next to Mr. Henderson, he had his notes out and was dictating to me some letters when the telephone rang. It was Mr. Niles of the White House, and Mr. Niles told him (I got the story later on) that the night before some member of the State Department had been at a dinner party and had criticized President Truman’s statement on a Jewish state.

Mr. Niles said,
“We are not going to tolerate any criticism of the President on this issue, and you let your staff know that if this happens again they must be disciplined.”

Mr. Henderson called a meeting of the staff and told them of the message of Mr. Niles.

He said,
“None of you people are to speak in public about this issue, because if you do we’ll have to send you off to some Siberia if any of you, publicly express your private opinions, even to private groups, and it gets to the White House, you will be purged.”

There were a number of these people that were purged. I can mention them, Stuart Rockwell, Robert Munn. They tried to purge me in every way.

I can’t understand why I survived, and this is one of the strange things in my history, for they had me on their list as an anti-Semitic force operating in the State Department. The American Zionist, which is the paper of the American Zionist organization, came out with a full page attacking me, claiming that I was a source of anti-Semitism. I was called in frequently and told I must not speak on this subject because it was so controversial and I was too indiscrete.

One day George McGhee, who later on was Assistant Secretary of State, called me in. Jacob Blanstein, president of AMOCO had just come in to see him, and somehow or another had picked up the story I was anti-Semitic. He told George McGhee,

“Why do you keep this fellow here?”

There were influences to get rid of anyone who was called “pro-Arab.”

They were not pro-Arab, I must insist upon this, they were acting in accordance with America’s larger interests in the Middle East. The Zionists gave them the title “pro-Arab” and that was enough to destroy them. You had to be pro-Zionist or keep quiet in order to stay in the State Department, and the net result was a whole generation of officers who are simply “Uncle Toms.” They don’t dare to speak or publish things. They are afraid that they will be sent off to Africa, or who knows to some other part of the world, and will stay there the rest of their lives.

After the State-Department, the American Congress was “purged ” of everyone who tried to be fair-minded in regard to the Middle East, mainly through the influence of Israel-friends in campaign financing offices of the two major parties.

Paul Findley, while discussing the book “The Israel Lobby” by Havard Scholars Mearsheimer and Walt, describes it like this:

I know what it is like to be targeted in this way. In the last years of my long service in Congress, I spoke out, making many of the points now presented in the Mearsheimer-Walt book. In 1980, my opponent charged me with anti-Semitism, and money poured into his campaign fund from every state in the Union. I prevailed that year but two years later lost by a narrow margin. In 1984, Sen. Charles Percy, then chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and an occasional critic of Israel, was defeated. Leaders of the Israel lobby claimed credit for defeating both Percy and me, claims that strengthened lobby influence in the years that followed.

The latest victim of this kind of political influence are Democratic Representatives Earl Hilliard and, of course, Cynthia McKinney.

But the political realm isn’t the only one, where careers are threatened. John Pilger, an Australian, and Alan Heart, a British journalist, discuss how Zionist pressure works on the mainline media.

Journalists critical of Israel face a quite real threat for their careers. Only few will take the risk, and even fewer will survive with their journalistic career intact.

Politicians and journalists aren’t the only ones vulnerable to those threats. Everyone working in professional positions in corporations or in public services can be threatened by loss of job and reputation by being called an “Anti-Semite”.

As seen in the case of John Pilger in the above Alan-Hart-program, life, health and families can be threatened as well.

While threats against people’s livelihoods are often followed up by actions, are death threats also to be taken seriously?

Well, it depends.

In Palestine people are getting killed on a daily basis. It is the risk people face for being a Palestinian living on his or her own land, and occasionally for being an international supporter for Palestinian human rights, like Rachel Corrie or Tom Hurndall.

Another group who has to take death-threats very seriously are Revisionists, people who question certain aspects of the “Holocaust”, people like Professor Faurisson and many others.

While Faurisson survived the attacks on his life by Zionist fanatics others did not.

And still, every attack on somebody’s life carries the risk of death. Thousands of people all over the world have been threatened, only few threats can actually be followed through.

Revisionists become easy targets, since they have already been maligned so badly, that some media outlet or other can say “he deserved it”, when a revisionist is being attacked and seriously hurt the reporter will get away with blaming the victim.

In most cases, however, a possible Israeli sponsored assassination is a difficult business, like when the Swedish foreign minister Anna Lind was killed.

She had attempted to get her European counterparts to cut European Union ties to Israel until it would finally agree to a just settlement with the Palestinian people.

Anna Lind also had stated publicly how frustrated she was about Israel’s crimes against Palestine:

“Sometimes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes me so angry that I kick the wastepaper bin in my office or throw things around,”

She had described Sharon as a “maniac” and said on Swedish television that she would not buy Israeli goods and fruits sold in Swedish markets.

Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian professor and negotiator, wrote after the murder:

“Sweden’s effect on the Middle East has been consistently constructive, positive, and human with a deep-seated tradition of fairness, justice, and peaceful intervention.

Unfortunately, three such Swedish champions had met with violent and untimely deaths, each a tragedy unto itself, but a national and global loss in the larger scheme of things.”

When Anna Lind was murdered in a Stockholm shopping-center, it would have been a well-planned assassination. The real assassin had to be given a good escape plan while a patsy was being prepared to take the fall.

The planners would have to gain close access to the police investigation, to have the patsies DNA transferred to the murder-weapon. They must have had insiders in the Swedish legal system to get the trial shortened and all the eye-witness testimonies, but a single one, to be dismissed. (All other eye-witnesses refuted the claim that the chosen patsy looked actually like the real assassin, and the he had been coming from the direction the prosecution claimed the murderer had come from.)

They must have had a very skilled defense councilor at hand, who was able to persuade the patsy to confess to the crime.

Although the suspect had refused to confess during many weeks of police interrogation, his own defense attorney got the confession out of him. How he did that, isn’t quite clear. He might have promised his client to get him off on an insanity plea, or might have planted even false memories.

Creating false memories is actually not very hard, when you know how memory is normally created and manipulated in the brain. It’s even easier, if you have a psychological vulnerable individual, who might even have been under the influence of mind-altering psychiatric drugs.

The defense attorney was working at the time for the law firm, which just had done the defended the defendant in a case of military espionage against Sweden. The espionage was done on behalf of the Russian Mafia.

In my opinion, Anna Lind was killed, because the Israeli power-elite saw her as a threat to Israeli interests, and because she was indeed an influential politician.

Her death surely scared other European politicians, the Moshe Dayan method worked…. temporarily.

The plotters got away with it in 2002 and in the subsequent trial.
I doubt, they would have such an easy time in 2009.

The fact, that a vast corruption scandal in New Jersey involving Jewish rabbis and an Israel link is being investigated and publicly revealed in the media means, that even in New York and New Jersey in the USA, Israel is losing it’s influence on law enforcement and the judiciary.

Intimidation works to a point on many people, but eventually the true “spirit of humanity” will break through in some of us. And this spirit is more catching than fear ever was.

Whenever I receive threats, I tell enough people about them, even on the risk of seeming paranoid to friends and acquaintances. In this way, it will become riskier for those who consider following up on their threats.

Apart from that, I tell myself to see it logically:

On my own I actually have no influence whatsoever, which means going after me would neither be worth the risk nor the effort. Threatening people, especially with veiled threats, is relatively risk-free, just another form of hasbara (Israeli propaganda).

But I have become part of an ever-growing movement of people in the hundreds of millions, who oppose Israel’s crimes against her neighbors. This is what will indeed threaten the criminal, warmongering project of Zionism.

And no matter how they try Moshe Dayan’s “mad-dog” game, they just can’t kill us all.

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments

Territorial Domination in the West Bank

Sam Mayfield | October 2, 2009

Settlement expansion in the Occupied Territories of Palestine is about more than constructing houses for Jewish settlers. Palestinian farmland is being turned into industrial space. Illegal outposts on Palestinian land are protected by Israeli military. Roads, if Palestinians are allowed to drive on them, are often blocked without warning.

I toured Illegal settlements and outposts in the West Bank with Dror Etkes.

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , | Comments Off on Territorial Domination in the West Bank

EU-US historic trade deal: ‘Putting the corporation above the nation’

RT | November 11, 2013

The successful adoption of the EU-US trade agreement promises both parties massive gains of up to $159 billion, but the profits could come at the expense of the everyday consumer, who could see the quality of their products diminish as a result.

Over 50 US officials are in Brussels to negotiate the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which, if signed, will create the world’s largest free-trade area, which has also been dubbed an “economic NATO”. Officials meeting in Brussels this week will hammer out details to reduce trade limiting regulations.

The new round of talks will focus on reducing trade barriers on investment, energy, services, and raw materials, and key agreements will be announced Friday.

‘Non-tariff barriers’ increase the cost of business, whether it’s adjusting the voltage on an electronic device, changing a car’s exhaust system to comply with local environmental regulations or a difference in opinion of which chemicals are “harmful” or “hazardous” in the respective territories.

By limiting health, safety and environmental regulations in order to boost trade, the US and EU are “putting the corporation above the nation,” Glyn Moody, journalist and author, told RT in an on-air interview.

“That’s a very big assumption. People may not want to have their food less safe or environment polluted for the sake of more money,” Moody told RT.

Moody also warns the trade agreement could behoove giant corporations like Monsanto, who could use the new ‘de-regulation’ to sue the EU for billions of dollars if they refuse to import GMO products

The EU says the TTIP could bring annual benefits of $159 billion (€119 billion) to its 28 member states. This breaks down to an extra $730 (€545) in disposable income for a family of four in Europe and an extra $875 (€655) per family in the US, according to a March 2013 study on “Reducing Transatlantic Barriers to Trade and Investment”.

There would be fewer constraints and companies will benefit, but “the public will pay in terms of regulation reduced protection and that is never calculated in these trade agreements, it’s always about the bottom lines of the big companies,” Moody said.

The week-long round of negotiations were originally scheduled for October but postponed due to the US government shutdown.

On December 16-20 officials will meet in Washington DC for another round of talks. The first round was held in Washington in July after the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland.

The Perks

The trade flow of goods and services between the two blocs reached about $2.7 billion per day in 2012, according to the US Office of Trade and Commerce. Total trade in 2012 was $647 billion.

The agreement could boost employment on both sides of “the pond”, as increasing exports usually creates more jobs.

The European Commission has brazenly promised the deal could boost gross domestic product in the dilapidated EU by 1 percent.

Auto trade will especially benefit from jettisoning regulations. Turnover between the US and Germany could double if the trade agreement makes more umbrella standards- for example, if  a car is crash-tested in America, it need not be again tested in Europe.

North America is an important destination for Foreign Direct investment, and is home to about one third of European foreign direct investment. Investment activity between the EU and US suffered after the financial crisis in 2008, and both sides will also try to find a balance on trade regulation to save big bucks.

Broken trust

Limited trust over the fall out of the NSA spying scandal may also put a hamper on negotiations between the trade giants.

The feasibility of the deal came under question after  NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked information showing the extent of espionage on allies abroad. France announced the wanted to temporarily postpone the talks over snooping, but they proceeded as planned.

The spying row shouldn’t affect US-EU trade talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry said as the trade partnership is “really separate from any other issues”. The US hasn’t provided any guarantees it will curb spying on its allies.

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on EU-US historic trade deal: ‘Putting the corporation above the nation’

Sen. Graham: Israel ‘apoplectic’ about US approach on Iran

Press TV – November 11, 2013

US Senator Lindsey Graham has warned about a possible easing of economic sanctions against Iran, saying Israel is “apoplectic” about the Obama administration’s approach.

Graham, a hawkish Republican from South Carolina who has repeatedly called for military strikes on Iran, said Sunday that lifting sanctions would send the wrong message to Israel and other US allies in the region.

“The Israelis are apoplectic about what we’re doing,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I’ve never been more worried about the Obama administration’s approach to the Middle East than I am now.”

The White House offered a “very modest sanctions relief” as Iran and the six major world powers– the US, Britain France, China, Russia and Germany– engaged in talks over Iran’s nuclear energy program in Geneva, Switzerland over the weekend.

The talks ended inconclusively on Sunday when France rejected a list of demands on Iran, saying they were too generous to result in an easing of sanctions. More negotiating sessions are scheduled for November 20.

Sen. Graham said the sanctions should be kept in place, and coupled with the threat of military force, to compel Iran to stop its uranium enrichment activities.

“If it ends with anything less, the world will regret this,” Graham said. “My fear is that we’re going to end up creating a North Korea kind of situation in the Middle East.”

Senate leaders showed bipartisan support Sunday for tougher sanctions on Iran.

Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a key architect of anti-Iran sanctions, called on Congress to consider new economic sanctions against Iran.

“I think that the possibility of moving ahead with new sanctions, including wording it in such a way that if there is a deal that is acceptable that those sanctions could cease upon such a deal, is possible,” Menendez said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

The US lawmakers’ outburst happened after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced a possible agreement with Iran as a “historic blunder.”

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

There is no Palestinian issue for Syrian rebels

By Nadezhda Kevorkova | RT | November 10, 2013

The Palestinian issue has been uniting all Muslims for 65 years. Syrian rebels succeeded in their mission – they made the world forget about the Palestinian issue.

The militants pulled Palestinians out of refugee camps; they are killing them or using these people as human shields. And the media are silent about it, while the Syrian opposition keeps screaming about the “oppressive Assad regime.”

It’s been a year since Syrian rebels raided the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria – Yarmouk, near Damascus. Up until recently it was the duty of Israeli soldiers to persecute Palestinians, now this is done by Syrian rebels with their Muslim slogans. The media are not saying anything about it.

What is the life of Palestinians like, now that the Syrian conflict made them refugees again?

‘Nobody is helping us – neither Europe, nor the UN’

Abu-Badr, head of Beirut’s Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp People’s Committee, gathered representatives of all Palestinian parties. They all keep regular contacts with camps in Syria.

A year after Palestinian camps and Palestinians were attacked, the heads of these organizations are saying that the Syrian war is a staged conflict, and its goal is to distract everybody from the Palestinian problem.

A total of 760,000 Palestinian refugees lived in Syria before the war, and about 550,000 in Lebanon. Palestinians had equal rights in Syria, and virtually no rights in Lebanon. For example, they were not allowed to work in 72 professional capacities.

Abu-Badr says, “There are over 1,000 Palestinian families from Syria in our camp. Nobody is helping us – not Europe, not the UN. The Red Cross came twice. The refugees are renting housing on their own.”

To rent a place to live is a big problem for a Palestinian, especially at the camp. And to pay rent, they have to find a job, which is extremely difficult in Lebanon.

He says that according to the authorities, there are about 120,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria living south of Tripoli. So every tenth refugee is a Palestinian.

Turkey and Jordan don’t accept Palestinians.

Kafar is a young mother of two. She used to live in Syria’s Yarmouk with her family. Now she is struggling to survive in Bourj al-Barajneh in Lebanon.

She fled Yarmouk at the end of 2012, when the rebels took over the camp and made it their foothold to carry out attacks on Damascus.

Yarmouk is one of the largest Palestinian camps in Syria. Before the war it had 150,000 residents, which was almost one-quarter of all Palestinian refugees in Syria. The camp is very close to the Damascus city limits, and there were subdivisions where regular Syrians lived.

Refugee camps are extraterritorial places. Police and army are not allowed there, the residents don’t have citizenship, they don’t vote and don’t serve in the army. Camps are self-governed by representatives of all Palestinian political parties. Unlike all other countries, Syria allowed refugees to leave camps and enjoy all rights and freedoms.

A Syrian family named Lakud brought the fighters to Yarmouk. Palestinians didn’t support the rebels then, and they are not supporting them now. Some parts of the camp are still controlled by the opposition.

A human shield for militants

Kafar recalls: “The entire camp left in a snap back then, when armed militants entered it. They were inside, shooting bullets into the air – they always act the same way. They ordered the residents to leave having placed their orders on different websites and having sent emails. Nobody stayed there.”

In December 2012, some started trying to come back. There are even a few families that decided to stay in the camp, hoping it would get better soon. Kafar says all the houses have been looted – they have taken everything, including electrical wires.

She says the militants were shooting those Palestinians who went out to take part in demonstrations. They wouldn’t let people return to their homes, but in case they did come back home, they couldn’t leave their houses again.

“If the militants went away, we would come back. Sometimes we can contact those inside the camp. They tell us about the blockade – they feel like they live in a cage, they lack food. There is no escape – they are kept as a human shield for the militants,” Kafar says.

She tells us about her relative who went to find her children, but ended up as a hostage in the camp.

“The militants won’t let you come in, but if one has entered – he would be kept there by force. They have established checkpoints. They deprive the people of food and beat the women who try to sneak inside, bringing something to their relatives to eat,” Kafar says.

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on May 15, 2013, shows protestors crying after unidentified armed groups opened fire on demonstrators as they marched in the Syrian capital Damascus in support of the right to return of Palestinian refugees who fled their homes or were expelled during various conflicts. (AFP/SANA)

Hitting a woman in public is considered absolutely unlawful among Muslims. But Kafar says that the militants in Yarmouk have their own vision of everything.

“We are not afraid of war, but they won’t even feed the people. The al-Nusra militants are tall, wear long beards and look like foreigners. Probably, there are Syrians among them but none of my relatives have ever seen one,” Kafar says.

One blanket for five

Palestinians from Syria in Lebanon are in even more dire straits.

“They humiliate us – we are constantly being insulted,” the woman tells us.

She is showing us around her tiny apartment with two rooms and a kitchen. The ceiling leaks when it rains.

“The rent is $300. If I don’t find money by Sunday, we’ll have to leave for Syria.”

Apart from the rent, they pay $70 for water.

Her father-in-law was killed. Her mother-in-law returned to Syria and now lives with their relatives there.

“I’ll go to Syria and wait there until I can come back home. Staying here is humiliating,” Kafar says.

Her husband takes up any job he can, be it a laborer, carrier or loader.

They have no warm clothes – all their belongings were stolen in Yarmouk. This family doesn’t belong to any group. They got help from different organizations such as Hamas, the Popular Front or some voluntary organizations. But it can hardly be called help – it is more like a mere pittance.

“They gave us one blanket for five people. But we are living creatures,” Kafar says, showing us a thin grey synthetic blanket. She thinks it looks like a cloth that is used to wrap a dead body when burying it.

The family has no money to buy food. They sometimes receive help from neighbors, who share their food with them. I saw them bring some bread and crisps.

‘In Syria, Palestinians are treated better than brothers’

Kafar complains about how the refugee work is organized.

“They distribute some humanitarian aid, but the process is humiliating to us every step of the way. There is fighting in Syria, but Palestinians are respected there. And here they call us Syrian dogs.”

“We had a good life under Assad, not lacking anything. We will go back and live in Syria, even if we have to live in tents. Syrians treat us as equal, they help us,” says Kafar.

In the last year they received help twice – from Hamas and from people from Qatar – about $300 per family, which is less than one dollar a day. But not everybody gets even these payments. There are lists of those who suffer the most in these camps.

She tells us how the process of distributing this aid works.

“A family gets a check for $150 from Qatar. But there wasn’t enough for everybody on the list. So people are humiliated even more. The place where these checks are given is near Beirut, you have to take a taxi to get there and spend half of the money on the ride. They give food stamps for certain food items, which can only be bought in one supermarket. And this store is also far away.”

“You can’t buy meat with these food stamps. Do they think children can go for a year without meat?” the woman asks.

“We are convinced that Syria will welcome us back. They loved us there, treated us like brothers, even better than brothers. We lived better than Syrians themselves,” Kafar says.

She knows that the Lebanese have closed the border for Palestinian refugees. So they can’t go anywhere.

“They accepted us in Syria. When we lost everything, they took care of us. They asked us what we needed. Six blankets? Food? They gave us everything. They didn’t blame us, even though life was difficult for everyone.”

She thinks her family made a mistake when it moved to Lebanon. “We were told life would be good here. Now we regret the decision.”

Her husband came six months earlier, he thought they would be safe here while there is fighting.

‘There is no Palestinian issue for Syrian rebels’

“We Palestinians have played no part in Syria’s distress. We didn’t participate in street protests, and our people did not join the rebels,” says Kafar. She admits to having heard that some Palestinians have, in fact, taken up arms against the Syrian government. But she is certain that is a rare exception.

“Those people must have been seduced by money, or befuddled with drugs, and with false promises. Only the poorest and the most destitute of the Palestinians have gone to fight for money, and it took them 18 months to get that desperate.

“Such people have nothing to eat, so they join the rebels hoping to make some money to sustain their families, and then desert at the first opportunity.”

“We cannot admit to supporting the regime, for fear of being killed on the spot. Those rebels do not consider the Palestinian issue to be of primary importance. There is no Palestinian issue for the rebels at all,” says Kafar.

Every night, the inhabitants of Bourj al-Barajneh go to sleep fearing that al-Nusra militants may descend on the Palestinian refugee camp and start asserting their rule, the way they did at Yarmouk. There is talk that al-Nusra men were spotted recently inside Nahr al-Barrid, another Palestinian camp. Since then, the People’s Committee instituted vigilante patrols across the entire camp.

“Our people control every in and out,” Kafar tells us. “They keep watch at night to make sure no strangers come upon us as we sleep. That’s how it happened in Yarmouk.”

The Syrian army has also set up checkpoints guarding the entrance to each camp.

‘They butchered a family to make the others serve as a human shield’

Yarmouk was not the only Palestinian camp captured and cleared of refugees by insurgents. Moreover, no one can assess the number of Palestinians killed in the process.

A Palestinian woman named Gusun was forced to flee camp Duma near Damascus on September 23, 2012, together with her husband, their three kids, and her husband’s brother.

“There were plenty of olive groves next to our camp. We lived in peace for a long time, until the fighting drew close to our camp. Then, rebels started taking shelter in our camp, hiding in our houses during firefights, and shooting through our windows. And we found ourselves between the hammer and the anvil. So one day, we slipped out at five in the morning and ran away through the olive grove,” Gursun tells me.

“The rebels had killed many people in our camp unflinchingly. They butchered a married couple who were my husband’s kin – they cut their throats, so that the other Palestinians would stay in the camp and serve as their human shield, while the government was commanding us to flee.”

Gusun went back to check on Duma some four months ago.

“I found my home thoroughly looted, its roof smashed,” she recalls. “And the FSA and al-Nusra are still entrenched in the camp.”

“Once their men spotted me at Duma, they came up and questioned me to make sure I was from that camp. They let me go, but they kept watching me. Later, when I went out to a grocery store, I noticed a car tailing me. Then I got scared and ran away from the camp,” says Gusun.

“The rebels I saw were tall and fair-skinned. There are some who don’t speak Arabic, and there are some who do. People have also told me there are black rebels, but I have never seen one. Some rebels wear black vests, some wear masks, some wear short pants, and others wear normal trousers. There are many fair-skinned men among them, those are foreigners.

“When we walked around the camp, we would try not to look them in the face, for fear that they might do us harm,” Gusun says.

‘Palestinians, get out of Syria’

The world’s mainstream media, who have closely followed the insurgency and its war on Assad, have proven squeamish when it comes to covering the way rebels treat Palestinians. In the spring of 2011, they would refute news reports that opposition activists wave Israeli flags and chant anti-Palestinian slogans at their rallies.

This stands to reason: two years ago, the Palestinian issue was still the No. 1 concern for the Muslim world, and an anti-Palestinian stance would have done serious harm to the rebels’ reputation. All the more so as Egyptian revolutionaries at Tahrir Square had been pronouncedly pro-Palestinian, despising Hosni Mubarak for his support for the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The women at Bourj al-Barajneh are perplexed at the world’s ignorance of how Syrian insurgents really feel about Palestinians.

“At the onset of the revolution, slogans were like, ‘Carrots belong with carrots and cabbage with cabbage, and this is no land for Palestinians’,” says Gusun, who is shocked that no media have ever reported that the Syrian rebels had initially been against the Palestinians.

“Under these slogans, the armed rebels marched along the streets, angered by the local Palestinians’ reluctance to turn against the regime,” says Gusun.

“In about a year and a half, some Palestinians were in this way or another made to join the rebels. But that didn’t change much the rebels’ opinion of the Palestinians,” remarks Gusun, adding that even now the Palestinians on the side of the rebels are few and far between.

She can’t understand the reason why the Lebanese are treating Palestinians like that. After all, Syria did give shelter to 1 million Lebanese and Palestinian refugees after the 2006 Israeli attack.

“During the 2006 war we welcomed the Palestinians like family. But now we are being treated as outsiders.”

At that time, all the refugees from Lebanon found home, food and clothes straight on arrival.

Gusun was lucky to have found a job, and so was her husband. “I had to work as a cleaning lady. I’d never done anything like that before. But we had to survive somehow. The UN gives only $30 once every four months.’

It was crucial for the sponsors of the anti-Syrian campaign to shift the focus of one and a half billion Muslims from Palestine to the war against Assad. And their mission almost succeeded.

The issue of Palestine used to bring everyone together: Communists and atheists, the Sunni and the Shia, Christians and Muslims, left- and right-wingers, anti-globalists and nationalists. Now the war in Syria has torn them all apart.

Fast forward two years, there are no more rallies against the occupation of Jerusalem, no ships trying to break through the Gaza Strip and the West Bank blockade. In the meantime, this blockade has grown even tougher after the military coup in Egypt, with the abuse of Palestinians in the West Bank escalating into ethnic cleansing.

The sponsors of the war repeatedly tried to get Palestinians to back intervention into Syria. But their efforts failed: from Hamas to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad to the Popular Front to Fatah, not a single Palestinian organization has ever supported the campaign.

Nadezhda Kevorkova is a war correspondent who has covered the events of the Arab Spring, military and religious conflicts around the world, and the anti-globalization movement.

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Greece intercepts mystery ship with 20,000 Kalashnikovs on board

RT | November 10, 2013

The Greek Coastguard has intercepted a Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship with around 20,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles on board. The intended destination of the vessel, halted near the Imia islets in the eastern Aegean, remains unknown.

The cargo ship Nour M, intercepted on Thursday night, was taken to the island of Symi the following morning under the escort of Coastguard vessels, where it was soon thereafter led to the island of Rhodes.

The vessel’s Turkish captain and seven crew members, two of whom were Turkish and five of whom were Indian, were placed under arrest, coastguard sources told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA).

The cargo was both larger than that declared on the ship’s manifest, and the ship did not have the proper UN documents to deliver cargo to a conflict zone. The Greek Coastguard issued a statement saying attempts to catalogue the firearms and munitions on board were ongoing.

“The exact destination of the arms and ammunition has yet to be verified,” the coastguard statement read. Apart from the large quantity of firearms, the ship was also allegedly carrying a “large” quantity of explosives. A probe determined the ship had previously been used for drug trafficking.

Sources told ANA-MPA that the vessel had set sail from Ukraine, although the ship’s final destination remains unclear. Although the ports of Tartus in Syria and Tripoli in Libya had both been declared as destination ports to marine traffic systems, the Turkish Mediterranean port city of Iskenderun was declared as the destination port by the ship’s captain.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said they are attempting to determine if the Nour departed from the country.

Maritime expert Mikhail Voitenko told Ukraine’s Vesti that the ship likely picked up its cargo in Istanbul.

“I think it was there for no other purpose than to get the weapons. It is also strange that it took the ship two weeks to get from Nikolaev [Ukraine] to Greece when the trip takes a maximum of five days. What it was doing and where it was doing it at the time: that is the question.”

Voitenko said the vessel was likely detained as the result of a tip-off.

“That we have this ship sailing through the Black Sea is strange, but through Greek [territorial] waters it went in a straight line, so police had no reason to detain the ship,” he said.

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment