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Bush, Blair plotted Iraq war 1 year before invasion had started: White House memo

Press TV – October 18, 2015

A damning White House memo has revealed details of the so-called “deal in blood” forged by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush over the Iraq war.

The document, titled “Secret… Memorandum for the President”, was sent by then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell to President Bush on March 28, 2002, a week before Bush’s summit with Blair at his Crawford ranch in Texas, Britain’s Daily Mail reported on Sunday.

The sensational memo revealed that Blair had agreed to support the war a year before the invasion even started, while publicly the British prime minister was working to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

The document also disclosed that Blair agreed to act as a spin doctor for Bush and convince a skeptical public that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction, which actually did not exist.

In response, Bush would flatter Blair and give the impression that London was not Washington’s poodle but an equal partner in the “special relationship.”

Powell told Bush that Blair “will be with us” on the Iraq war, and assured the president that “”the UK will follow our lead in the Middle East.”

Another sensational memo revealed how Bush used “spies” in the British Labour Party to help him to influence public opinion in the United Kingdom in favor of the Iraq war.

Both documents were obtained and published by The Mail on Sunday. They are part of a number of classified emails stored on the private server of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which courts have forced her to reveal.

Blair has always denied the claim that he and Bush signed a deal “in blood” at Crawford to launch a war against Iraq that began on March 20, 2003, that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The Powell memo, however, showed how Blair and Bush secretly prepared the Iraq war plot behind closed doors at Crawford.

Powell told Bush: “He will present to you the strategic, tactical and public affairs lines that he believes will strengthen global support for our common cause.”

The top US diplomatic official added that the UK premier has the presentational skills to “make a credible public case on current Iraqi threats to international peace.”

Powell wrote that Blair will “stick with us on the big issues” but he needs to show the British public that “Britain and America are truly equity partners in the special relationship.”

In March 2003, the US and Britain invaded Iraq in blatant violation of international law and under the pretext of finding WMDs. But no such weapons were ever discovered in Iraq.

More than one million Iraqis were killed as the result of the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of the country, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.

The US war in Iraq cost American taxpayers $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, according to a study called Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

October 17, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 4 Comments

What I Learned about Climate Change: The Science is not Settled

By David Siegel – October 16, 2015

What is your position on the climate-change debate? What would it take to change your mind?

If the answer is It would take a ton of evidence to change my mind, because my understanding is that the science is settled, and we need to get going on this important issue, that’s what I thought, too. This is my story.

More than thirty years ago, I became vegan because I believed it was healthier (it’s not), and I’ve stayed vegan because I believe it’s better for the environment (it is). I haven’t owned a car in ten years. I love animals; I’ll gladly fly halfway around the world to take photos of them in their natural habitats. I’m a Democrat: I think governments play a key role in helping preserve our environment for the future in the most cost-effective way possible. Over the years, I built a set of assumptions: that Al Gore was right about global warming, that he was the David going up against the industrial Goliath. In 1993, I even wrote a book about it.

Recently, a friend challenged those assumptions. At first, I was annoyed, because I thought the science really was settled. As I started to look at the data and read about climate science, I was surprised, then shocked. As I learned more, I changed my mind. I now think there probably is no climate crisis and that the focus on CO2 takes funding and attention from critical environmental problems. I’ll start by making ten short statements that should challenge your assumptions and then back them up with an essay.

The One Minute Climate Summary

1Weather is not climate. There are no studies showing a conclusive link between global warming and increased frequency or intensity of storms, droughts, floods, cold or heat waves.

2Natural variation in weather and climate is tremendous. Most of what people call “global warming” is natural. The earth is warming, but not quickly, not much, and not lately.

3There is tremendous uncertainty as to how the climate really works. Climate models are not yet skillful; predictions are unresolved.

4New research shows fluctuations in energy from the sun correlate very strongly with changes in earth’s temperature, better than CO2 levels.

5CO2 has very little to do with it. All the decarbonization we can do isn’t going to change the climate much.

6There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” Carbon dioxide is coming out of your nose right now; it is not a poisonous gas. CO2 concentrations in previous eras have been many times higher than they are today.

7Sea level will probably continue to rise, naturally and slowly. Researchers have found no link between CO2 and sea level.

8The Arctic experiences natural variation as well, with some years warmer earlier than others. Polar bear numbers are up, not down. They have more to do with hunting permits than CO2*.

9No one has shown any damage to reef or marine systems. Additional man-made CO2 will not likely harm oceans, reef systems, or marine life. Fish are mostly threatened by people, who eat them.

10The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others are pursuing a political agenda and a PR campaign, not scientific inquiry. There’s a tremendous amount of trickery going on under the surface*.

Could this possibly be right? Is it heresy, or critical thinking — or both? If I’ve upset or confused you, let me guide you through my journey. … continue reading

October 17, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

“ISRAELI ARMY BEGINS DEPLOYING IN JERUSALEM AGAINST ATTACKS” – Deconstructing AP bias

By Alison Weir | Associated Press Deconstructed | October 15, 2015

Once again, the Associated Press provides a blatantly slanted news report on Israel-Palestine. The problem is, AP’s slant is only blatant to those who know the full facts. This is the article that hundreds of newspaper wire editors around the US, most of whom have never visited the region and whose information comes largely from AP, are seeing. Below I will discuss AP’s October 14 news report. I will quote the AP report in full, commenting below each section about what it contains and does not contain.

By Aron Heller

As is typical, AP’s story is written by an individual with strong connections to Israel. Aron Heller grew up in Israel, graduated from Tel Aviv University, and may be an Israeli citizen. It is likely that he or members of his family have served in the Israeli military. None of this is disclosed to AP readers. [We’ve noticed that, hours after this appeared, the byline for this same basic story is now given as “Tia Goldenberg,” who is probably updating it.]

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military began deploying hundreds of troops in cities across the country on Wednesday to assist police forces in countering a wave of deadly Palestinian shooting and stabbing attacks that have created panic across the country.

According to what seem to be the figures at the time of the article, Israelis have killed 30 Palestinians and injured somewhere between 1,100 and 1,400 since the beginning of the current violence, while Palestinians have killed 7 or 8 Israelis and injured about 30. Yet, Heller’s focus is on Israelis.

 Israel was created in 1948 through violently pushing off their ancestral land hundreds of thousands of the Muslims and Christians who originally constituted the large majority of the population on the land (these are the Palestinians; the Palestinians who stayed within the borders of what is now Israel are called by Israelis and those who follow the Israeli line “Israeli Arabs”).

Since 1967 Israel has maintained an illegal and often brutal occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. The human rights of Palestinians both inside the Green Line (Israel) and in the Occupied Territories (the West Bank and Gaza) are frequently violated, and over the decades thousands have been rounded up and imprisoned, often with minimal if any judicial processes. None of this context is included in Heller’s story.

The military’s planned deployment of six companies marks the first implementation of measures by Israel’s security Cabinet to counter the attacks that have intensified dramatically in recent days.

Heller continues his focus on Israelis. In the past few days Israelis have killed eight Palestinians, including a three-year-old, a thirteen-year-old, a fifteen-year-old, and a 26-year-old pregnant woman. Yet, these appear of no concern to Heller.

The Cabinet met late into the night and announced steps early Wednesday that included allowing police to seal off points of friction or incitement.

Heller fails to report that the original incitement came from the Israeli government; see below.

Many of the recent attackers have come from Arab areas of Jerusalem, prompting calls to seal off those neighborhoods to contain potential attackers. In a new step, Israeli forces placed makeshift checkpoints in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem to monitor traffic leaving the areas.

As in most US media reports, readers are not told that Israel’s acquisition of Jerusalem was done through unlawful military actions. Nor are readers informed that the Palestinians in Jerusalem originally constituted the large majority of Jerusalem’s inhabitants, a population that Israel has attempted through the years to push out as it works to “Judaize” the area.

The Cabinet, which was meeting again Wednesday, also decided to strip residency rights and demolish homes of some attackers and draft hundreds more security guards to secure public transport.

Heller fails to note that destroying family homes – which in addition to containing the spouse and children of alleged attackers, also often contain grandparents, cousins etc – constitutes collective punishment, making large numbers of men, women and children who are innocent of any alleged crime homeless. Collective punishment is illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

Israeli police said 300 soldiers had already been incorporated into their deployment on the streets of east Jerusalem, where many of the assailants are from.

Heller neglects to mention that Israeli forces have assailed large numbers of Palestinian men, women, and children. Again, he focuses on Palestinian violence, not the greater amount of violence perpetrated by Israel.

In new violence Wednesday, Israeli police said they shot and killed an Arab man after he pulled out a knife and attempted to stab them. His identity was not immediately known.

Heller reports the Israeli version of this death without bothering to confirm it with eyewitnesses. He doesn’t even bother to learn the dead man’s age or anything about the human being that Israeli police just killed. He also uses Israel’s term “Arab,” rather than calling the man Palestinian, a more accurate terminology that also implies a history of the area that Israel has tried to erase.

In recent weeks, eight Israelis have died in a string of stabbings, shootings and the stoning of a car, while 30 Palestinians have been killed – 13 of them identified by Israel as attackers, the rest killed in stone-throwing clashes with Israeli forces.

Finally, in the eighth paragraph, Heller mentions that Israelis have killed 30 Palestinians. And it finally comes out – put another way, but certainly not the way Heller chooses – that Israeli forces have killed at least 17 people that even Israeli spokespeople don’t accuse of criminality.

Heller fails to note that crowd control in most civilized nations does not usually consist of live ammunition. Such a lethal method of crowd control is used by Israel only against non-Jews. When extremist Jewish Israelis riot and throw stones, Israeli forces do not have a policy of using live ammunition in which people are shot in the head. In some instances Israeli claims that those killed had stabbed or were about to stab Israelis have been refuted by video and eyewitness testimony.

In addition, Heller errs in saying that all the other Palestinians killed by Israel were killed in stone-throwing clashes. Some were killed at close range, for example; another was killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Much of this is documented by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. However, it appears that Heller relies entirely on Israeli military reports for his information and does not seek additional information.

Heller also fails to note that the term “clashes” largely denotes Israeli soldiers in full combat gear with the latest weaponry firing at unarmed protesters.

Israel’s internal security minister said Wednesday that the bodies of dead Palestinian attackers would not be returned to their families for burial.

Again, Heller takes Israeli officials’ word that these were all “attackers,” even though eyewitnesses and videos have refuted this claim in a number of cases.

Gilad Erdan said the funeral processions of Palestinians who killed Israelis often turn into “an exhibition of support for terror and incitement to murder.” He said Israel should not allow them to “enjoy respect and ceremonies” after their deaths.

Heller fails to report that to many Palestinians and others these are resistance fighters defending their population. Instead, Heller quotes the Israeli official view without interviewing Palestinians or others to report their viewpoint and information, which has been reported widely in the Palestinian media. Heller appears to only use official Israeli sources.

The funerals are a frequent flashpoint for clashes and often include calls for revenge. Erdan suggested the attackers be buried without fanfare in distant cemeteries where previous Palestinian killers have been buried.

Israel provides no proof that those it kills and buries in its sometimes secret cemeteries were actually attackers. Second, as discussed above, those who actually were combatants could validly be seen as members of a resistance movement fighting a far more powerful force illegally occupying their land. Yet, Heller calls them “Palestinian killers.” He never refers to Israelis who have killed Palestinians – in fact, far more – as “Israeli killers.”

The comments come after a particularly bloody day Tuesday in which a pair of Palestinian stabbing and shooting attacks in Jerusalem killed three Israelis and another two attacks took place in the normally quiet Israeli city of Raanana. Three Palestinians, including two attackers, were also killed.

A few days ago Israelis killed five Palestinians, including a 10-year-old; a few days before that Israelis killed six Palestinians; and not long before that they killed seven Palestinians in one day. However, for Heller It is only the day in which three Israelis are killed that is “particularly bloody.”

The government has been unable to stop the violence, carried out mostly by young Palestinians unaffiliated with known militant groups and apparently acting on their own. The violence erupted a month ago over the Jewish New Year, fueled by rumors that Israel was plotting to take over Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, sacred to both Muslims and Jews. Israel has adamantly denied the allegations.

Heller leaves out an event that took place five days before the Jewish New Year: Thousands of Palestinians gathered at a village in the occupied West Bank to mourn the excruciating death of a young mother burned in an arson attack by Israeli settlers. The attack had also killed her husband and infant son. Her four-year-old son, while burned on 60 percent of his body, has so far survived. Israel, worried that Palestinians would demonstrate at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, restricted access to the Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam.

This was just one of what the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports were a spate of “nationalist hate crimes, known as ‘price-tag’ attacks, by suspected Jewish settlers. Such groups have warned in the past there would be a price to pay for any action by Israeli authorities they regard as hostile to the Jewish settlement movement or to far-right religious beliefs.”

None of this makes it into Heller’s story.

Heller also leaves out many other incidents that took place in the days before the Jewish New Year, including:

  • The Israeli Tax Authority rejected a claim for compensation by officials of the Catholic Church demanding compensation for the burnt Church of Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, which was burnt in an Israeli terrorist arson attack, last June.
  • Dozens of Palestinians, including children, were injured on Friday evening and early night hours, in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem, during clashes that took place after Israeli fanatics assaulted an 8-year-old child, while Israeli soldiers invaded homes and fired gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets.
  • Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon confirmed, on Wednesday, that Israeli occupation authorities know who burned the house of the Dawabsha family, in July, but failed to identify them.
  • Palestinian medical sources reported, Friday, that four young men were wounded, one moderately, after Israeli soldiers assaulted the weekly protest in Kufur Qaddoum, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.
  • Israeli soldiers assaulted, on Friday, the weekly nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and colonies, in Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, leading to scores of injuries.
  • The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported, Thursday, that detainee Bilal Kayed is ongoing with the hunger strike he started on September 5, demanding his removal from solitary confinement.
  • The Israeli Prison Authority renewed, Thursday, the Administrative Detention order against a hunger striking Palestinian journalist, for three additional months, without charges or trial.
  • Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Thursday morning, five Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including a teenager walking to school in Jerusalem.
  • Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday morning, the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and clashed with scores of students as they were heading to school.
  • Several Palestinians fishing boats were attacked, on Thursday morning, by Israeli navy fire close to the shore in the Sudaniyya Sea, northwest of Gaza City.
  • Reporters from RT (Russia Today) traveled to Gaza to look into last year’s report that 90% of Gaza’s water is undrinkable. As they sampled water from different parts of the coastal Strip, they found that the report is accurate – the water throughout Gaza is dirty, salty and undrinkable.
  • Israeli forces, on Wednesday morning, threw teargas grenades on the Kharabtha Boys School, near Ramallah, causing tens of suffocation cases among students.
  • A group of Israeli extremists, living in illegal Israeli colonies in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, burnt on Wednesday at dawn, Palestinian olive orchards and farmlands.
  • About five Israeli military machines, Tuesday night, entered the town of Khuza’a near Khan Younis city, southern Gaza Strip, to raze agricultural lands.
  • Report on Israeli actions Sept 12-13.
  • etc.

Heller mentions Palestinian concerns about Israeli changes to the status quote at one of the holiest sites in Islam and reports they were denied by Israel, but fails to inform readers that Jordan, Egypt, the Arab League, and the UN also protested Israeli actions at the site. Heller also omitted information that Jewish extremists openly call for the destruction of the site. He also fails to mention “Israel’s numerous efforts to restrict Muslim prayer at the mosque and the increasing presence of Jewish worshippers, who are protected by troops when they visit the compound,” as journalist Barbara Erickson reports in an analysis on the New York Times‘ similar pattern of omissions. Erickson reports:

“In recent weeks, for instance, Israel has prevented women from entering the Al Aqsa area, retained the identify cards of worshippers, allowed Jewish extremists to enter the mosque compound for “tours,” restricted the entry of students attending schools in the Al Aqsa compound and confiscated land in an Islamic cemetery next to the mosque.

“After the latest incursion, the director of the mosque compound, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, said that Israel occupation authorities “have imposed their sovereignty over [the mosque compound] by power of force.” Israel controls who enters and exists, he said, and officials use force against anyone who challenges them.

“This is a cry of alarm from a site revered by millions of Muslims throughout the world, but it found no mention in the Times. Instead, we receive the Israeli spin on this tragic saga as the newspaper glosses over the expansionist aims of a Zionist state.”

None of this is in Heller’s story, which only reports, as usual, an Israeli official statement denying Israeli culpability, and suggests that Palestinian views are illusory. Heller omits the statement by the heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem expressing concern at Israel’s violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel says the violence has been fueled by what it says is rampant incitement against Jews and Israelis on social media spread by Islamic groups and the Palestinian leadership. In a briefing to foreign journalists Wednesday, Israeli Cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz said it had less to do with political differences and more with anti-Semitic incitement to create a religious war.

He showed Palestinian videos and animations that glorified the stabbings of Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem and the killing of a Jewish settler couple in the West Bank in front of their children.

He also quoted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent statement where he blessed “every drop of blood spilled for Allah” and that Jews desecrated a Jerusalem holy site with their “filthy feet.”

“This is not new. It is just a new wave of terrorism and violence and this time it’s totally clear that the main approach here is a religious approach,” Steinitz said. “It’s all about horrible, anti-Jewish, racist incitement.”

Heller reports, without question or context virulent accusations by an Israeli official, while failing to provide counter statements by Palestinian officials and others.

He fails to mention the Palestinian boy with head injuries and broken legs lying on the ground whom Israeli soldiers reportedly let bleed while Israeli spectators looked on, cursing him. (More details and video here.)

Also missing from Heller’s report are Israeli attacks on Palestinian hospitals and medics, a Palestinian woman who was shot dead by Israeli forces while her hands were up, the 10-year-old Palestinian boy kidnapped and blindfolded by Israeli soldiers, and the 13-year-old boy whose leg was scheduled to be amputated after he was shot by Israeli soldiers. There is virtually no mention of Palestinians injured and maimed by Israelis, even though there are over 1,400.

Palestinians say the violence, coming at a time when prospects for gaining independence appear nil, is the result of years of occupation and failed peace efforts.

Finally, in his 18th paragraph, Heller provides Palestinian information.

“Israel is an occupier in Jerusalem. It should end its occupation. This is the key to peace and stability,” said Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian official.

“Decisions such as the ones adopted by the Israeli Cabinet pour gasoline on the fire,” he added. ” Measures of collective punishment and killings and arrests and demolishing houses and confiscation of lands will only lead to the escalation of the situation.”

For the first and only time in his very long article, in the final quarter of his story, Heller quotes Palestinians.

The clashes erupted last month when young Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, hurling stones and firebombs at police.

Heller leaves out the dozens of Israeli soldiers and settlers who assaulted Al-Aqsa Mosque. He ignores the mother and infant burned to death the previous month, and the ongoing Israeli attacks, kidnappings and destruction that have taken place week after week, month after month, year after year against Palestinians.

Israeli attacks against Palestinian men, women, and children, it appears, simply don’t matter to AP on the same scale as attacks on Israelis.


For history on Israel-Palestine see The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict and Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

For a statistical study of AP coverage see: Deadly Distortion: Associated Press Coverage of Israeli and Palestinian Deaths


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew and president of the Council for the National Interest.


UPDATE:

The PLO Negotiations Affairs Department has issued a report on the violence from Sept 13-Oct 13 that shows that Israeli forces committed 29 confirmed killings, 1,100+ injuries, 398 raids, 607 detentions, 316 temporary detentions, 482 flying checkpoints, 735 Israeli gunfire attacks, 6 home demolitions, 81 destruction/confiscations of properties, 10 assaults on medical sector, 197 incidents of settler terrorism/violence.

The report states:

Over the past month, Israel has killed 29 Palestinians. According to Amnesty International some of the recorded cases amount to “extrajudicial killings.”

On September 22nd at 7:43 am, an Israeli soldier shot several bullets at Hadil Hashlamon and killed her for allegedly ‘holding a knife’ when she stopped to pass one of the many checkpoints inside Hebron’s old city. Israeli officials refuse to release the video footage that shows the entire sequence of events.

Marcel Leme, a Brazilian national and an International Human Rights Observer, was a few meters from the scene. He presented a written report with still photos of his testimony (published on Blog Sanaúd-Voltaremos). Leme said: “The woman remained froze on the other side of the metal barrier, behind her there was a wall. She did not move, speak, scream or react. She has never tried to attack any soldiers and did not even get closer to them. Then the Israeli soldiers started opening fire at her some five or six times. The soldiers were now about 3 meters away from her.”

Since the beginning of October, many Palestinians have been killed in cold blood for allegedly holding a knife. So far, not one investigation has been launched to determine the truth. Other Palestinians have been killed by “Israel’s indiscriminate an even deliberate” use of fire on demonstrators according to Human Rights Watch.

The report provides the names of the 29 Palestinians killed by Israel during the past month:

Hadeel Saleh Al-Hashlamoun 18 Hebron 22 September 2015 2 Ahmad Izat Khattatbah 26 Beit Foriek/ Nablus 24 September 2015 3 Muhanad Shafik Halabi 19 Jerusalem 3 October 2015 4 Fadi Samir Alloun 19 Jerusalem 4 October 2015 5 Hufaytha Othman Suliman 18 Tulkarm 4 October 2015 6 Abdel Rahman Shadi Obidulalah 11 Bethlehem 5 October 2015 7 Amjad hatim Al Jundi 17 Hebron 7 October 2015 8 Wisam Jamal Faraj 20 Jerusalem 8 October 2015 9 Thaer Abu Ghazaleh 19 Jerusalem 8 October 2015 10 Ahmad Jamal Salah 20 Jerusalem 9 October 2015 11 Mohammad Al-Ja’bari 19 Hebron 9 October 2015 12 Abdel-Majid Al-Waheedi 20 North Gaza 9 October 2015 13 Ahmad Al-Hirbawi 20 Central Gaza 9 October 2015 14 Shadi Husam Dolah 20 Gaza 9 October 2015 15 Zeiad Nabil Sharaf 20 Gaza 9 October 2015 16 Mohammad Hisham Al-Raqab 15 Khan Yunis 9 October 2015 17 Adnan Abu Aliyan 22 Khan yunis 9 October 2015

INJURIES

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, more than 1,100 Palestinians have been injured, including 200 children, since the beginning of October. Additionally 400 Palestinians have been shot with live ammunition and 700 with rubber-coated bullets. The following examples highlight incidents where the Israeli army fired on children: ๏ On September 15th at Al-Ram’s North junction, Israeli forces shot three persons, including two children, during a protest against the Israeli occupation and the continued storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound by extremist Jewish settlers. Israeli forces started by shooting rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at unarmed Palestinian civilians leading to the wounding of: Basil Ayoub Mohammed Al-Salaymeh (17 years old), Mahmoud Shaker (15 years old), and Qusai Mohammed Abed Rabbo. They were all sent to the hospital for treatment. ๏ On September 18th near Al-Jalazoun Refugee Camp the Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at Palestinian protestors. As a result Mohammad Safi (16 years old) was injured. ๏ On October 11h The Israeli military launched missiles (in 2 consecutive strikes) on Al –Zaytouneh neighbourhood located in southeast Gaza and in southwest Gaza. This resulted in the injury of four members of the same family including a child: Mohammad Hassan (5 years old). Israel claimed that it targeted a training area for Palestinian gunmen.

ISRAELI RAIDS AND ARRESTS OF PALESTINIANS

Israeli forces have carried out at least 400 raids in the State of Palestine over the past month. Additionally, more than 600 Palestinians have been arrested. This includes the detention of a security guard at Al-Aqsa mosque compound – and the assaulting of Sheik Omar Kiswani, the director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and another Security guard – to allow the Israeli Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel, accompanied by several Israeli settlers to enter the holy site.

NO. NAME AGE DISTRICT DATE

18 Jihad Zayed Obied 22 Central Gaza 9 October 2015 19 Ishaq Badran 16 Jerusalem 10 October 2015 20 Mohammad Saed Ali 19 Jerusalem 10 October 2015 21 Ibrahim Ahmad Awwad 28 Hebron 10 October 2015 22 Rahaf Yahia Hassan 2 Gaza 11 October 2015 23 Noor Rasmi Hassan (5months pregnant) 30 Gaza 11 October 2015 24 Marwan Hisham Barbahk 10 Khan Yunis 10 October 2015 25 Khalil Omar Othman 15 Khan Yunis 10 October 2015 26 Ahmad Abdallah Sabah Sharkah 15 Ramallah 11 October 2015 27 Mohammad Nathmi Shmasnah 23 Jerusalem 12 October 2015 28 Hasan Khaled Manasra 15 Jerusalem 12 October 2015 29 Mustafa Adel Khatib 17 Jerusalem 12 October 2015

See Full Report

October 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ruthless killing of Palestinian youths in al-Khalil (Hebron)

International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team | October 17, 2015

Hebron, occupied Palestine – Today, Israeli forces and Israeli settlers in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) murdered two Palestinian youth within three hours.

In the morning, Israeli settlers from the illegal settlements within al-Khalil, walked past the 18-year old Palestinian youth Fadel al-Qawasmeh in segregated Shuhada street, cursing him as an ‘Arab’ and then pulled a gun shooting him from point blank range. The settler fired four shots at the Palestinian youth with his pistol, one shot directly in the head. This execution was entirely unprovoked. Israeli soldiers rushed to the scene, but prevented a Palestinian ambulance from treating the critically injured Palestinian youth who was lying on the ground bleeding. Whereas the area around the execution was immediately closed for Palestinians and international observers by the Israeli forces, settlers at all times were allowed to freely stroll alongside the scene of the murder, with soldiers taking pictures with their private phones.

Israeli settlers standing right next to the scene of the execution
Israeli settlers standing right next to the scene of the execution

Later on, Israeli forces blocked all entrances to a Palestinian house nearby where activists where trying to document [events]. In the meantime, settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Beit Hadassah, watching from down on the street close by a checkpoint were enjoying tea and biscuits, brought from the settlement, with the soldiers and the police. After Israeli forces washed off the blood from the street, they broke into the house where Palestinians had been filming, with 11 children, the youngest only a year old, present. Heavily armed Israeli soldiers searched the house and confiscated all phones and cameras. Once they left the house, they checked all the photos and videos taken after the execution of Fadel, and showed them to the settlers nearby.

Israeli settlers and soldiers sharing tea at the scene of the execution of Fadel al-Qawasmeh
Israeli settlers and soldiers sharing tea at the scene of the execution of Fadel al-Qawasmeh
Israeli soldiers having tea brought by settlers
Israeli soldiers having tea brought by settlers

Palestinians and international human rights observers trying to document this violent attack on a family home were repeatedly forced by Israeli forces to move away from the incident, whereas the settlers were allowed to freely walk around and curse and hurl insults at them, even threatening them that they will be the next to be killed. One Palestinian man was forced by Israeli soldiers to pass through a checkpoint even though soldiers were throwing stun grenades right outside the checkpoint. 23-year old Abed al-Salaymeh was detained in Tel Rumeida for one and a half hours, after soldiers prevented him from going back to his home in segregated Shuhada Street. Different soldiers repeatedly ordered him and internationals to either move up the hill from the checkpoint, or when further up to move back down, all the time prohibiting him from going back to his house. Once up the hill, he was detained for one and a half hours, with soldiers freely admitting that this is because he ‘annoyed’ them before. Settlers passing by were threatening him and internationals that ‘tomorrow they would be the ones to be killed’.

Israeli forces blocking the entrances to a Palestinian house
Israeli forces blocking the entrances to a Palestinian house

Only three hours later, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year old Palestinian teenager Bayan Eiseleh at the Ibrahimi mosque. Her parents, rushing to the scene of her killing, were brutally attacked and beaten by Israeli forces. International human rights observers trying to document this senseless killing were detained by Israeli forces and then one of them was arrested for ‘taking pictures and posting them online’. She is still being held at the police station in the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba.

October 17, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Ecumenical Deal, 2.0

By Harry Clark | CounterPunch | October 16, 2015

In 1992, Marc Ellis wrote an important article for the time, “Beyond the Jewish-Christian Dialogue: Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” which appeared in The Link, published by Americans for Middle East Understanding.  Ellis found that “the Jewish progressive consensus position is a form of oppression vis-à-vis the Palestinian people.” The consensus of the time emphasized the “two rights of Jews and Palestinians to the land,” Israeli atrocities as “aberrations,” and the anguish of “the Jewish soul.”

Ellis instead recognized the genocidal import of Zionism and the state of Israel. “What if… the Jewish character of the state makes expendable, in a terrifying sense, makes logical, the end of indigenous Palestinian culture and community in historic Palestine?” He found that the “ecumenical dialogue” of liberal Christians and Jews had turned into “what one might call the ecumenical deal: eternal repentance for Christian anti-Jewishness unencumbered by any substantive criticism of Israel.”

The ecumenical deal has broken down somewhat as Christian churches have discussed Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians and sold investments in companies doing business with “the occupation,” often with great trepidation, against furious Jewish hostility. The interfaith outreach of Jewish Voice for Peace attempts to re-establish the ecumenical deal on more limited but defensible terms.

Rabbi Alissa Wise, of JVP’s rabbinical council, delivered a talk entitled “There for Each Other: On Anti-Semitism, Christian Privilege and Palestine Solidarity” to the Friends of Sabeel North America conference in Vancouver, BC in April 2015.

Sabeel arose in 1993, from the efforts of Reverend Naim Ateek and other Palestinian Christians “to interpret scripture in light of the Palestinian experience under occupation. As local Christians studied together, they forged a Palestinian version of liberation theology, which upholds the Gospel call for freedom from political, social and economic oppression.” (http://fosna.org/about/who-are-friends-sabeel) Sabeel is Arabic for “the way;” it has offices in Nazareth and Jerusalem and affiliates in Europe, North America and elsewhere. Outside Palestine its conferences, political travel and educational material promote awareness and activism on Palestine among Christians; it is the voice of the Christian left, experienced and committed.

For this audience Wise recounted her life of terror as a Jewish American. While traveling to Jewish day school on a Catholic school bus some children asked to see her horns. “I thought they were just being silly. Today I hope I know a bit more about the history of anti-Semitism in the Christian world.”

At her day school, “education about the Nazi Holocaust was a centerpiece of our learning.” In high school she visited Holocaust sites in Europe with her Jewish youth group. “We were told stories of how the Christian world was complicit in Nazism and their crimes. I sobbed and wailed at each visit to the camps, horrified and disturbed.”

In rabbinical school, she nonetheless “adopted as her spiritual mentor” Dietrich Bonhöffer, the Lutheran pastor and theologian whose opposition to Nazism cost him his life. She was also inspired by the White Rose German student resistance group, who were likewise executed. The example of “those who benefit from the systems of power and oppression actively opposing and resisting it with their lives continues to feed me in this work.”

This work begins with anti-anti-Semitism. “I see you all working hard to get out from underneath the history of Christian violence against Jews.” She emphasizes “that there is nothing anti-Semitic about criticizing Israel and there is nothing anti-Semitic in the BDS call by Palestinian civil society.”

That being said, when I get asked how to deflect accusations of anti-Semitism I do caution people to ask themselves if they are in fact anti-Semitic. While there is nothing inherently anti-Semitic in critiquing Israel, that does not mean you do not also harbor anti-Semitic sentiments toward Jews. This is something worth exploring personally and perhaps also in your congregations or organizations.

Wise continues: while “anti-Semitism certainly does still exist… it has largely lost its power in the US….  Jewish people are not impeded in any material way from pursuing the life of our choosing.” Yet Wise spends three pages of a six-page text on a tour d’horizon of anti-Semitism, before deciding that “anti-Semitism is still real, if not very potent,” and we must “fight how accusations of anti-Semitism are being used as an effective weapon to silence debate on Israel.”

Wise then discusses the actions in the California legislature and the University of California system, to define anti-Semitism in ways that limit free speech, and sharply curtail criticism of Israel. She states that “those of us who are Jewish… strongly feel the obligation—strategically and morally—to speak out when false charges of anti-Semitism are used to tar the movement.” The privilege and strategic choice of Jewish people is not opposing injustice in the name of “the Jews” but opposing it on general terms, as injustice for all.

After three-quarters of a page on the Jewish Zionist assault on free speech, Wise returns to anti-anti-Semitism, as if her empathy is exhausted. “What can you all do to confront and address Christian hegemony in the world, and in our work organizing for justice? I have frankly been surprised that I am often the person to raise this question, and hope to see organizations like Friends of Sabeel acknowledge, unpack and address Christian privilege, just as we at JVP… with Jewish privilege.” “Christian privilege” is not the force oppressing Palestine, rather Zionism is destroying Christianity in Palestine, and all else non-Jewish. The main sources of Islamophobia in the US today are Jewish, as a member of JVP’s board has attested in a book. (Elly Bulkin and Donna Nevel, Islamophobia and Israel)

Yet Wise calls for “study groups about the legacy of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Christianity.” Wise asks: “Have you ever been given a school vacation or paid holiday related to Christmas or Easter when school vacations or paid Holidays for Ramadan or the Jewish High Holidays were not observed?” Wise carries on for four paragraphs about holidays, the weekend, Christmas ornaments and calendars. This trivializes the threat to Muslims, who face discrimination, physical assault and legal persecution, not mainly problems observing their religion. Christians who support Palestine need no lectures about Christian Islamophobia.

Such gambits allow Wise to claim religious discrimination because public life isn’t based on the needs of the religious fraction of the Jewish 2% or so of the US population. “On top of these types of reflections, I can imagine your communities working to support and encourage each other to ensure that your work advocating for Palestinian human rights does not rely on anti-Semitic ideas.”

Wise offers examples that “help elucidate the differences between a clear criticism of Israeli policy and its backers and anti-Semitic ideas often repeated by activists with no anti-Jewish intentions and lines emerging from Neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic organizations.” Thus:

A clear criticism of Israel would be: “Israel has a repeated and ongoing record of human rights offenses.”

A way to say this same idea in a way that reflects anti-Semitic sentiment, even unwittingly, would be to say: “Israel is a worse human rights violator than most or all other countries.”

A way that anti-Semitic organizations or people say the same idea: “Israel is the root of the world’s problems.”

JVP tells Sabeel what is permissible to say, just like the Jewish commissars it opposed in California. JVP is somewhat more permissive, but equally intent on propaganda and manipulation. Israel does not merely have a “repeated and ongoing record of offenses.” It is the only state on earth that is constituted on a racialist basis; it is growing daily more fanatical and violent within historic Palestine. Israel has provoked increasingly destructive wars ever since its founding, directly and through its influence in the US. In 2003 an EU poll of 7500 Europeans found nearly 60% held Israel to be the leading danger to world peace. For JVP any argument about Israel’s radicalism and extreme menace (including to itself) is prima facie anti-Semitism.

Her final example is:

A clear criticism: “Many Israeli soldiers justify their actions toward Palestinians by saying they are just following orders.”

A way to say this same idea in a way that reflects anti-Semitic sentiment, even unwittingly, would be to say: “Israelis are just like Nazis.”

A way that anti-Semitic organizations or people say the same idea: “Israel is worse than the Nazis. This wouldn’t be happening if the Nazis were successful,” and so on.

In 1969 Yeshayahu Leibowitz, philosopher and scientist at the Hebrew University, “began to talk of the inevitable ‘Nazification’ of the Israeli nation and society. By the time of the [1982] Lebanon War he had become an international celebrity because of his use of the epithet ‘Judeo-Nazi’ to describe the Israeli army.”

In 1974 Israel Shahak, a faculty colleague of Leibowitz, and president of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, stated:

I am not afraid… of the comparison with ‘that which befell the German people between the two world wars.’ I am not afraid to say publicly that Israeli Jews, and with them most Jews throughout the world, are undergoing a process of Nazification. [Jewish silence] includes – exactly as it did in Germany – not only those among us who are in my opinion real Nazis, and there are a lot of those, but also those who do not protest against Jewish Nazism, so long as they think it serves Jewish interest… I am trying to act before it is too late.

Hajo Meyer, a survivor of Auschwitz and an outspoken critic of Zionism and Israel, who passed away recently, gave a final interview in August.

“If we want to stay really human beings, we must get up and call the Zionists what they are: Nazi criminals,” Meyer said. The hate of the Jews by the Germans “was less deeply rooted than the hate of the Palestinians by the Israeli Jews,” he observed. “The brainwashing of the Jewish Israeli populations is going on for over sixty years. They cannot see a Palestinian as a human being.”

An analysis of Zionism and the Jewish people as Jewish race doctrine could doubtless be developed with academic rigor, though not by the luminaries on JVP’s advisory board, even as Ellis’s prospect comes to ghastly fruition: “the Jewish character of the state makes expendable, in a terrifying sense, makes logical, the end of indigenous Palestinian culture and community in historic Palestine.” Christian churches are burned within Israel; Palestinians are burned alive in their homes in the West Bank; Palestinians under occupation and Israeli citizens alike are gunned down without provocation; Muslims are banned from prayer in the Islamic holy site in Jerusalem, while Jewish religious fanatics who want to raze the site and build a temple swagger about guarded by Israeli soldiers. Wise and JVP refuse to fight back, rule out deeper analyses of Zionism as prima facie anti-Semitism.

Hajo Meyer was a self-proclaimed Reform Jew in the classical, anti-Zionist mold, who rejected the idea of the Jewish people and its state ,and accepted the status of Jews as a religious minority (or secular citizens) in modern liberal terms. That outlook belongs to the legacy of the Enlightenment and Jewish emancipation, from pre-modern Jewish religious society, as well as from gentile restrictions.

In late July Jewish Voice for Peace rolled out a new web site. The substantive “frequently asked questions” were reduced from eight to five. One omitted question was: “Are you Zionist, anti-Zionist, post-Zionist or something else?” JVP requires gentiles to condemn anti-Semitism, but Zionism is, or was, merely a “FAQ,”, while Jewish moderns condemned it on principle.

Commenting on this now-vanished public, and internal JVP material, New York University law student Amith Gupta argued that “JVP has taken at least 4 different positions on Zionism, implying a lack of any principle regarding racism and colonialism against Palestine in particular and the Middle East as a whole.” “JVP’s statements imply a lack of principled positions regarding racism against Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims, while taking a staunch position against perceived racism toward the Jewish community. This is a racist double-standard.”

Yet Zionism is not only racism and settler colonialism in Palestine, but the Jewish people, eternally distinct, separate, unintegrable. As anti-Semitism has been driven to the margin, and all society opened to Jewish accomplishment, separatism has been deliberately cultivated. The Judaic scholar Jacob Neusner coined the term the “Zionism of Jewish peoplehood,” to describe Jewish attitudes in the United States. “The Jewish people is my homeland. Wherever Jews live, there I am at home.” Neusner described himself as “on the margins of the group,” and has few illusions about it. “I wonder if history can provide an example of a Jewish community more ethnocentric, and less religiously concerned, than our own.” (Stranger at Home, p. 31)

We who preach brotherhood so self-righteously to our fellow citizens preserve in our hearts the least edifying part of our heritage, the hostility to gentiles… One hears Jews speak frequently of all non-Jews as goyim… One sees the preservation of Jewish neighborhoods and social facilities as unwalled ghettoes in towns where Jews are freely accepted into the social life of the general community. (p. 32)

The “Zionism of Jewish peoplehood” is most crucially the “Israel lobby,” after the celebrated article and then book by Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, about the lobby’s decisive, detrimental influence. JVP vilifies the “Israel lobby” critics as anti-Semites. The first article in JVP’s 2004 collection Reframing Anti-Semitism warned that “the relative success of Jews in the United States and some parts of Europe has spawned some reactionary rekindling of late 19th/early 20th century Jewish conspiracy theories, harkening back to the infamous Russian forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The publication of The Israel Lobby checked such talk, and JVP introduced the term guardedly in its work, but it dislikes the argument and its proponents, as shown by its attack on Alison Weir.

Weir’s short book Against Our Better Judgment. The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel  has sold nearly 20,000 copies, extraordinary for a dry, factual, self-published work. Weir was denounced as an anti-Semite by JVP and the US Campaign to End the Occupation for granting interviews to far-right journalists whose work is full of anti-Semitic tropes. A petition in support of Weir gathered 2,000 signatures, including many prominent Palestine movement people, many Palestinians in Palestine, and many members of JVP and US Campaign member organizations.

As Weir pointed out, the same journalists had interviewed dozens of people in the Palestine movement, whom JVP and End the Occupation have not attacked. Clearly, the Israel lobby critique, in the form of Weir’s book and her public following, were the reasons for the attack, not anti-Semitism. The movement people interviewed by these journalists include many Jews, which suggests that the journalists’ anti-Semitism is a crude, ugly misapprehension of the real problem of the Israel lobby, not principled. In any case anti-Semitism has no more political prospects than Islamic religious law, is utterly marginal, as Wise admits.

Wise “personally, at least, finds [anti-Semitism] to be an extremely small problem, much smaller than the issues of Jewish privilege and Islamophobia issues.” But Wise devoted most of a talk to a Christian audience to this extremely small problem.

My work alongside Christians is an important challenge to those dangerous and disempowering messages I learned growing up. I no longer believe Jews are inevitably alone in the world, but in fact quite the opposite. I now see just how much we are there for each other.

Wise and JVP are “there” to impose the new ecumenical deal: no critique of Zionism, in Palestine or in the US Israel lobby, only of “the occupation;” and constant flagellation about Christian privilege and anti-Semitism.

For this Wise claims inspiration from Pastor Bonhöffer and the White Rose students, who gave their lives fighting Nazism. Such aggrandizement, extravagantly moralized, is a frank statement of Jewish superiority. Physicians, heal thyselves.

Harry Clark can be reached at his web site, http://questionofpalestine.net

October 17, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clinton supports Obama’s move to keep thousands of US troops in Afghanistan

Press TV – October 17, 2015

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has expressed support for President Barack Obama’s decision to keep thousands of American troops in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Obama announced plans to keep 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan through 2016 and 5,500 in 2017, reneging on his promise to end the war there and bring home most American forces from the Asian country before he leaves office.

Clinton on Friday called Obama’s move an example of “a leader who has strong convictions about what he would like to see happen but also pays attention to what’s going on in the real world.”

Obama had originally planned to withdraw almost all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year. He just wanted to keep a small, embassy-based military presence in Kabul.

But the Pentagon has been arguing for months that Kabul needed additional US military presence in order to defeat a resurgent Taliban movement.

Clinton, who served as Obama’s secretary of state during his first term, said Washington wants to bring American troops home and “we certainly don’t want them engaged in on-the-ground combat.”

“We want them to help support and train the Afghan army,” she added.

“So I can’t predict where things will be in January of 2017. But I support the president’s decision,” Clinton stated.

According to US officials, Washington would also maintain a large counterterrorism capability of terror drones and Special Operations forces to fight militants in Afghanistan.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after more than 14 years, the foreign troops have still not been able to establish security in the country.

“We have invested a lot of blood and a lot of treasure in trying to help that country and we can’t afford for it to become an outpost of the Taliban and ISIS [Daesh/ISIL] one more time, threatening us, threatening the larger world,” Clinton declared.

October 17, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Russia’s Fantasy “Stray Missiles”, America’s Real Ones

By Felicity Arbuthnot | Dissident Voice | October 16, 2015

Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terrorism.
— Barack Obama, February 15, 2013.

Even to those who do not watch closely it has to be apparent that Washington’s vast disinformation machine is finally out of control, seriously awry, or desperate.

The latest foray in apparent media manipulation was the claim by US “anonymous sources” that four Russian missiles targeting terrorist groups in Syria, landed in Iran.

US Administrations are serial repeaters of untruths. However, talking of stray missiles after bombing a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan under a week before – when coordinates of the buildings had been confirmed to US authorities again just prior to the attack – then changing the story as to how it happened four times in less days, is skating on wafer thin ice.

As Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of MSF and former French Foreign Minister wrote: “Targeting a red cross drawn on the roof of a hospital is … unacceptable … a line has again been crossed.” Demanding an independent investigation he stated: “It is a war crime.” (Guardian, October 9, 2015.)

Former US Senate candidate, Mark Dankof, speaking to Iran’s Press TV regarding US claims of stray missiles in Iran, believes a full-blown psychops operation towards Russia is underway.  President Putin’s Ministers stating that all terrorists terrorizing the people of Syria are targets – thus including the US backed ones – might be the reason.

Dankof points out: “ … two anonymous US officials (are) a basis for this claim, who in turn are quoting unspecified, uncorroborated, and unverified ‘military and intelligence information.’”

Moreover:

This is laughable … and underscores the blizzard of lies spun by the American government, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, and Turkey, about what has been going on in Syria, and who is clearly responsible for the 250,000 Syrian deaths, one million wounded, and 9.5 million displaced citizens of that country”, he added.

The blame is clearly on the aforementioned states, who have financed, supported, and introduced the … extremists and terrorists into the sovereign state of Syria in an illegitimate attempt to overthrow the legitimate and recognized government  … This is not simply evil, but illegal.

The lies being woven by Zionist corporate media in the West about Russia are an attempt to conceal the alliance of ISIL, al-Qaeda, and affiliates with American, Israeli, British, French, and Saudi intelligence, and to conceal the obvious fact that the Russian airstrikes are hurting these terrorist groups militarily, even as they take place legally because the sovereign government … of Syria has formally requested Russian assistance.

Dankov pointed out that on Thursday October 8, the “White Helmets” became CNN’s source for their reports on the stray missiles, the network citing them as “an independent medical team” in Syria. However:

The truth is that the White Helmets are an invention of state intelligence agencies and NGOs who seek the overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This organization has special links to the British government in particular, and (also) to the PR firm Purpose Inc., to lobby for military intervention against Assad.

They are closely linked to the Avaaz NGO which has the same agenda, and is linked to the Open Society Foundation of George Soros …

Australian born Jeremy Heimans, co-founder and CEO of Purpose Inc. (“We create new organizations and ventures to tackle issues where mass participation and collective action can unlock big change”; Purpose moves people to remake the world”) is also a co-founder of Avaaz.

However, back to “stray missiles”, a story speedily silent in the Western media. Russian General Musa Kamali told Sputnik News Agency on October 9, 2015: “We have no reports of any Russian missiles crashing in Iran … those media reports alleging that Russian missiles aiming at Syria hit Iran are blatant lies. If the people making those claims had any proof, they would have certainly presented it”, he said. Quite.

Of course, US expertise excels not alone in stray missiles, but in planned assaults on hospitals and other buildings protected under international laws. Hospitals are specifically protected under Article 20 of the Geneva Convention, amongst other binding international laws.

Intended indiscriminate destruction was demonstrated in 2003, when: “The scenes of downtown Baghdad in flames (made it) abundantly clear why US officials insisted on covering up a reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ at the UN Security Council during Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 5, 2003 presentation of the American case for war against Iraq.” Picasso’s painting commemorates a Basque town razed to the ground by a German aerial assault in April 1937 during the Spanish Civil War.

At the onset of their illegal invasion US aircraft were making bombing runs on Baghdad at the rate of 1,000 a day with many parts of the city described as “an inferno.” Holocaustal war crimes of enormity. (Holocaust: “Great destruction resulting in the extensive loss of life, especially by fire.”)

Further, the US is also no stranger to stray missiles. As Time Magazine reported in April 2003, just two weeks into America’s bombardment:

… in the past week, three U.S. Tomahawks have gone missing in the rocky plains of southeastern Turkey en route to Iraq, several hundred miles from the war zone. Five more went astray in Saudi Arabia, and a handful of others have broken up in Iran and reportedly, Syria.

Bombing in Iraq, as everywhere “liberated” by America was criminally indiscriminate. Edward S. Herman cites Fallujah as a chilling example and of war crimes of enormity:

According to Dr. Hafidd al-Dulzanni, head of the Commission for the Compensation of Fallujah Citizens, the U.S. assault (of 2004) destroyed some 7,000 houses, 840 stores, workshops and clinics, 65 mosques and religious sanctuaries, 59 schools, 13 government buildings, two electricity stations, three water purification plants, along with several railroad stations and sewage purification plants, among other things. Hospitals were an explicit target and weapons like white phosphorus and uranium-loaded projectiles were used, all adding up to massive violations of the laws of war. (Emphasis mine.)

Fallujah’s illegal destruction both targeted and indiscriminate was a metaphor for all Iraq.

On the day the US military entered Baghdad (April 8, 2003) they declared war on journalists, a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol 1 and a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

First US troops directed a missile at the Al Jazeera offices in Baghdad killing correspondent Tariq Ayoub and seriously wounding several others. It should be noted that: “The attacks came amid broadcasts showing some of the mounting slaughter being conducted by US troops throughout the Iraqi capital.”

The surviving Al Jazeera staff sought shelter in nearby Abu Dhabi TV which then also came under US attack. Abu Dhabi TV correspondent, Shaker Hamed, issued an on air call for help reporting: “Twenty-five journalists and technicians belonging to Abu Dhabi television and … Al-Jazeera are surrounded in the offices of Abu Dhabi TV in Baghdad.” Note the “surrounded”.  These were seemingly no “stray” airborne missiles. The tanks were firing from near point blank range. “Kill the messenger” comes to mind.

Hamed called for relevant agencies “to intervene quickly to pull us out of this zone where missiles and shells are striking in an unbelievable way.”

In a now chillingly familiar story, also reminiscent of the MSF hospital in Kundiz: “Al-Jazeera had written to US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on February 23 giving the precise location of its office so as to avoid being targeted.” Giving co-ordinates to the US military is, it appears, literally the kiss of death.

Al Jazeera was also attacked by the US troops in Afghanistan at the time of the US invasion, as Iraq, destroying their offices.

Having targeted Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV, the US troops turned their attention to the Palestine Hotel, where two hundred journalists and world wide media were based. They killed Reuters correspondent Taras Protsyuk and Jose Couso of Spanish Telecinco TV. Three other journalists were injured, and the hotel was extensively damaged. The US military had, of course, been informed that the Palestine was the media’s base.

The previous day in Basra, Al Jazeera offices were targeted by two US missiles which failed to explode and outside Baghdad on the highway both Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV cars, clearly marked as such on roof, sides and hood, were targeted.  Miraculously no one was hurt.

ITV journalist Terry Lloyd was murdered near Basra by the US within four days of the invasion – also in a clearly marked car. Cameraman Fred Nerac and their Lebanese assistant Hussein Osman in an accompanying car were also killed. French cameraman, Daniel Demoustier, injured in the attack said the US were firing on media vehicles: “to wipe out troublesome witnesses.” Given the examples above and the continuing litany of such attacks by US troops (and British) during the occupation, he seems to have hit the nail on the head.

When it comes to war crimes the US is a serial offender. In the 1991 assault on Iraq all water purification plants were deliberately destroyed on the orders of US Central Command, as were clinics, schools, separate Education Ministry stores. Media centres and radio stations were obliterated across the country. Over fifty percent of all livestock was destroyed, farms and herds, chicken farms a special target. Iraq was the world’s largest exporter of dates – the US clearly regarded date palms as an enemy and bombarded great ancient, majestic groves too.

The women and children who nightly went to the great, reinforced Ameriyah Shelter on the outskirts of Baghdad were also incinerated – the US had satellites over the Shelter which recorded the women and children entering as dusk fell and leaving at first light.

The factory that made baby milk powder was reduced to rubble and described as a “chemical weapons factory.” The machinery was provided, installed and maintained by a company in Birmingham, England – and could only have been used to provide baby milk.

Also destroyed were plants which produced basic medical supplies as syringes, pain killers, antibiotics, a well worn path followed in other US bombings as a civilian pharmaceutical factory, Al-Shifa (“The Cure”) Sudan in August 1998 when missiles also rained down on Afghanistan. Two US embassies in East Africa had been attacked, so as ever, proof-free Judge, jury and executioner, the US randomly bombed.

Barely noticed have been the numerous US attacks on ancient Yemen (population just 24.41 million) before their ongoing proxy attack by current Chair of the UN Human Rights Council, Saudi Arabia.

Ninety eight US missile and drone attacks struck Yemen between 2002 and 2015; 41 in 2012, 26 in 2013 and 14 in 2014, with other attacks in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The cost in human life is hidden and shaming. In May 2010 alone an “errant” US drone killed five people. In December 2009 a US Cruise missile killed 41 souls.

In 1999 former Yugoslavia was decimated – with stray US missiles landing in Macedonia, hitting Belgrade’s media centre, the Chinese Embassy, markets, obliterating train passengers, all “liberated” from life the American way.

2011 brought involvement in Libya’s destruction – another metaphor for the monstrosity of lawless might presented as benevolent saviour.

Let us hear no more phony allegations of stray missiles before the hell of the real ones have been accounted for.

• I am indebted to Nicolas J. Davies, author of the eye opening Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq for the reminder of stray US missiles.

October 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Uncivil Rites of the Corporate Neoliberal University: the Curious Case of Steven Salaita

By Fawzia Afzal-Khan | CounterPunch | October 16, 2015

Donna Nevell’s Oct 7th article about a new report called  “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the US” – released by Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights (See more here.) points to the rise in North American academia, of a phenomenon that I encountered head-on back in the late 1970s when I arrived as a grad student in Massachusetts from my native Pakistan, and which I’ve continued to witness (and experience the brunt of, throughout my 25 years of teaching, via demands for “civility” whenever I criticized Israeli policies in public settings, earning me the ire of Zionist colleagues, with those in power using that privilege on various committees to deny me academic awards, funding support, etc )–but which I thought was on the wane in recent years. This is the phenomenon of the facile canard of accusations of anti-semitism (a silencing tactic par excellence)–levelled against anyone and everyone who wants to approach the topic of Israel/Palestine with a critical eye, or who wishes to speak out against Israel’s use of disproportionate violence against Palestinian civilians year after year, or who wishes to raise legitimate questions about the illegitimacy of Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands which continue unabated to date, in contravention of countless UN resolutions against such occupation.[1]

In recent years, however, I’ve felt a shift in public opinion and discourse around issues of Israel/Palestine, as attested to by my students, who have become more aware of, and thus more critical of the imbalance of military and economic power between Israel and its disenfranchised Palestinian second-class citizens as well as the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories, which has led them to become more aware of the dominant media bias in favor Israel. Yet, the recent, ignominious case of Prof Steven Salaita’s “unhiring” by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne in the wake (ostensibly) of some tweets he wrote criticizing Israel during its 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” military blitzkrieg against Palestinian civilians of Gaza,[2] points to the desperate push-back occurring on US campuses against this perceived shift in public (and student) opinion. Opines Nevell:

As Israeli violence against the Palestinian people escalates, support across the globe for    justice in Palestine, and calls in this country for the US government and corporations to stop facilitating Israel’s gross violations of international law and human rights, are increasingly common-place. However, rather than engage substantively about those well-           documented violations, Israel’s defenders recklessly and baselessly smear Israel’s critics with charges of anti-Semitism, promoting terrorism, and seeking to “delegitimize” Israel.

What is particularly troubling about this propaganda tactic—a longstanding one as it is—is that because it enjoys the support of rich donors who can and do, influence the corporate culture of universities (those of us who’ve been around long enough have witnessed the acceleration of the corporatization of US academia over the past several decades), there are increasingly virulent attacks occurring against faculty and students alike who dare to speak out against Israeli state policies. Nevell tells us how:

These campaigns are largely directed at college campuses where consistent, bold, and creative organizing is ongoing against Israel actions and against university complicity in supporting Israeli crimes. Those whose views are considered unacceptable to Israel’s supporters have been targeted with personal and ad hominem attacks that include, but are not limited to, intimidation, campaigns to get professors fired, and ongoing harassment.     When speaking on college campuses, I was told story after story of students who were hesitant to speak out because of fear of reprisals. Further, accusations of “creating hostile environments” or being “uncivil”–ironic as they are—are yet another attempt to derail the call for equality, for accountability, and for fairness.

salaitauncivilAt a recent gathering of students and faculty of Columbia University and the general public, Professors Steven Salaita and Rashid Khalidi (the latter is Edward Said chair of Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia), while celebrating the publication of Salaita’s book which chronicles his year since he was unhired/fired by UIUC for an allegedly anti-semitic tweet during august of 2014, provided the standing-room-only audience also with a glimpse into the darkening atmosphere on university campuses which has arisen in the wake of a successful BDS movement (the campaign for Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights), as a means to curtail freedom of speech for those criticizing the Israeli state. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

What is truly inspiring and refreshing, however, about Salaita’s take on the current manifestation of this chronic disease afflicting academe, is that he rises above his personal predicament (no mean task, given loss of employment and livelihood for himself and his family, and the need to relocate abroad to earn a living: as he pointed out, while it’s wonderful that he was finally able to land a very prestigious position as the Edward Said Chair at AUB in Beirut, it is only a one-year appointment). Beyond his personal tribulations, then, he discusses the full ramifications of the “civility” argument that has become the official discourse of the corporate university, which he persuasively describes as simply the latest instance of a colonial mechanism aimed at “controlling”—i.e disempowering—those professors and students who represent marginalized/colonized groups, and whose scholarship challenges received wisdom or the “hegemony” of the “dominant discourse” that rules the roost. To be critical of the power apparatus, of the corporatization of academe which routinely silences opposing voices by depriving us of jobs, tenure, promotions, this evil corporatization that has led to the de-funding of departments and programs that challenge dominant knowledge paradigms and the (il)logic of profit over humanity and democratic education, which has led to the infantilizing and punishing of students who wish to organize for their rights—in short, to raise critical voices for justice and for an end to dehumanization, is to now stand accused of “uncivility.” This is precisely what happened to Salaita. As he puts it so pithily in his book, Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom :

In the hegemon, state violence is never violent. Expressions of the subaltern, however, are always said to be conducted violently. Indicting a lone tweeter allows those invested in the colonial apparatus to avoid confronting their own complicity in the cruelties of racism and war. Many folks wrung their hands—teeth gnashed into rugged nubs—about my tweets critical of Israel while saying nothing of Israel’s wanton slaughter in Gaza. If, in the imagination of the liberal state, racism is but an individual failing, then critique of structural violence is a collective evasion (14).

In other words, while Salaita was indicted as an “individual” for practicing “uncivil behavior” through his critical tweets of Israel, the hegemonic university and its administrators did not need to confront their complicity in supporting Israeli racism and its unremitting and unjust war against Palestinians. Here are some sobering statistics Salaita provides that highlight the injustice which disingenuous accusations of “uncivility” directed at the victims or those angry at the situation and wishing to expose it, like Salaita, cover over:

 Since 2000, Israelis have killed 2,060 Palestinian children while Palestinians have killed 130 Israeli children. The overall death count during this period is over 9,000 Palestinians and 1,190 Israelis….Israel has imposed hundreds of settlements on the West Bank [in direct violation of UN resolutions], while Palestinians inside Israel increasingly are squeezed and continue to be internally displaced. Israel has demolished nearly thirty thousand Palestinian homes as a matter of policy. Palestinians have demolished zero Israeli homes. (17)

But such techniques of silencing the “other” which today are directed with unrelenting and almost single-minded force against supporters of Palestinian human rights by the corporate university, have a long history aimed at other marginalized communities as well. Observes Salaita,

What happened to me has been happening to ethnic, sexual and cultural minorities in academe for decades, African Americans especially, and it continues to happen today. A shameful irony is that Jews were long marginalized in the academy because of their supposed dangers to Anglo civility, victims to rationalizations for their exclusion that, sadly, don’t look terribly different than the ones being used against supporters of Palestinian human rights. (49)

The supreme irony here, is that it is the victims of incivility who are being treated as its perpetrators! Plus ca change…. Indeed, blaming the victim is an age old strategy of the powerful. But, as Salaita notes, as Nevell recently observed, and which is where I began this piece, change is definitely in the air, and things will not remain the same, the French adage notwithstanding. Salaita notes, with some optimism

Israel is losing the PR battle, the proverbial hearts and minds. Its supporters, in turn, are lashing out with the sort of desperation endemic to any strong party in decline. They are punitive and belligerent in the absence of honest debate. This is about undemocratic power reasserting itself, refusing to cede a word to Palestinians in a severely compromised public discourse. It is, simply stated, colonial paranoia. (53)

As history has shown us, even the most entrenched colonial apparatuses come to an end, at times, seemingly suddenly (it seems this way especially to those who haven’t been paying attention to subaltern discourses!) A fairly recent case in point: South Africa. Injustice, apartheid, do not last forever. And neither will that other corporate hegemon: the neoliberal university. In the unjust, shameful, ludicrous and illegal case brought against Salaita by UIUC to deny him the position he was hired for, to teach in the Department of Native American Studies (yes, the ironies just multiply!)—it is the corporate university that has already lost in the court of public opinion.

Notes.

[1] The UN Human Rights Council formed in 2006 has issued 45 resolutions condemning Israeli actions; the UN’s Security Council has issued dozens of such resolutions, all of which Israel has, to date, flouted with impunity, thanks to blind support from its most powerful ally, the government of the USA. Between 1955 and 1992 alone, the UN issued 65 resolutions against Israel, but to date, Israel remains in contravention of most of them. Israel continues to be in violation of the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Conventions, laws of international terrorism, and other norms of international law.

[2] during its 2014 attacks on Gaza Between 8 July and 27 August, more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, along with 66 Israeli soldiers and seven civilians in Israel. The UN says the vast majority of Palestinian deaths are civilian.

Fawzia Afzal-Khan is a Professor of English, University Distinguished Scholar, Director of Women and Gender Studies at Montclair State University. She can be reached at: khanf@mail.montclair.edu

October 17, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties | , , , , , | Leave a comment