Aletho News


CrossTalk: Saudi’s World

January 6, 2016

Saudi Arabia’s foreign and domestic policies are becoming much more aggressive, even deadly.

What is driving Riyadh’s agendas? The Saudis appear to desire a greater and more independent role in the Middle East. Where does the Kingdom’s most powerful backer – Washington – stand? And what about fighting the Islamic State?

CrossTalking with Alex Vatanka, Pete Hoekstra, and Mohammad Marandi.

January 6, 2016 Posted by | Video, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Newly expanded Shuhada checkpoint is even more difficult to traverse

International Solidarity Movement | January 6, 2015

Al-Khalil, Occupied Palestine – At the end of December Israeli forces re-opened the newly expanded Shuhada checkpoint in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron). The checkpoint had been closed since December 7th, when Israeli forces had declared they would be conducting “renovations” for a then-unknown period of time.

Officially known as Checkpoint 56, Shuhada checkpoint separates Bab al-Zawiye, a Palestinian neighborhood in the H1 (nominally Palestinian-controlled and administered) part of al-Khalil and Tel Rumeida, part of Israeli military-controlled H2 and currently covered in part by a closed military zone order first issued on November 1st.

walking through wm

Palestinian family leaving Tel Rumeida, crossing toward Bab al-Zawiye

The checkpoint was rebuilt with a high fence blocking the entire street and additional turnstiles and metal detectors. The turnstiles make it very difficult for anyone carrying heavy, bulky luggage or even several bags of groceries to pass. Israeli authorities also added a completely closed off room in the center of the checkpoint, where Palestinians are questioned and searched entirely out of site of any onlookers, media, or human rights monitors.

As in previous versions of the checkpoint, there is no possibility for any car or truck – even an ambulance responding to an emergency – to pass; any vehicle larger than a baby carriage must take a time-consuming detour in order to enter or leave Tel Rumeida.

woman walking high view wm

Shuhada checkpoint as seen from a nearby window in Bab al-Zawiye, an imposing barrier Palestinian families living in Tel Rumeida must navigate

The new checkpoint has already become a flashpoint for Israeli military aggression against Palestinians, which includes the arrest of 38-year-old Wafa’ Sharabati on Monday afternoon by Israeli forces who first claimed she had a discrepancy in her ID then accused her of being a troublemaker and threatened to plant a knife on her. Wafa’s family and local activists staged a sit-in outside Shuhada checkpoint to protest her treatment and the continued humiliation and harassment faced by Palestinians forced to endure the checkpoint and the closed military zone.

family waiting for release copy

Wafa Sharabati’s family staged a sit-in awaiting her release

ppl in front of shuhada wm

A large group of local activists and residents gathered after Wafa’s arrest in front of the checkpoint, which has has been the site of countless demonstrations against the Israeli occupation of al-Khalil

rubber coated metal soldier wm

He never fired, but this Israeli soldier spent much of Monday afternoon on the roof of Shuhada checkpoint, prepared to attack nonviolent Palestinian demonstrators with potentially deadly rubber-coated metal bullets

A sign on the H1 side of the checkpoint explains the protocols for passing through: metal detector, bag search, no animals allowed through, checkpoint closed if there are any clashes. The 4th instruction reads “wait until the soldier will allow you to pass.” Sometimes people can pass in six minutes; sometimes they must wait for over an hour, outside and exposed to any weather, before being allowed to pass the few meters of turnstiles, metal detectors, fences and walls between them and the streets leading to their homes.

boy, guidelines wm

Lines on Monday evening left many, including young children, waiting for nearly half an hour in the cold night. Only Palestinians who are registered in the closed military zone can ever pass through the checkpoint; family members of residents, journalists, human rights defenders and internationals have all been barred. Even Palestinians who are registered have reported being forced to wait for over an hour only to be harassed and threatened by the soldiers inside the checkpoint.

gathered, waiting (w boys) wm

Activists have planned another protest for Thursday morning to continue the struggle against the closed military zone, the even harsher regime at the newly reopened checkpoint, and the continued closure and Israeli military occupation of al-Khalil.

January 6, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Canadian media is ignoring evidence of 1948 Israeli massacres


By Dan Freeman-Maloy | Rabble | January 6, 2016

The better part of a decade ago, I described the Toronto Star‘s Mitch Potter as “a canary in the mineshaft of liberal Canadian racism.” A piece on 1948 Palestine published in a recent edition of The Star shows the canary very close to asphyxiating.

Since Potter insists he was within his rights to describe Palestinian fighters in Gaza as “lemming-like,” he’ll surely forgive the metaphor.

The article, entitled “The Toronto man who saved Nazareth,” celebrates the heritage of Ben Dunkelman, the most prominent Canadian to travel to 1948 Palestine to support the Zionist war effort. In more than 2500 words spread across The Star‘s “Insight” section, Potter and his editors transform this Canadian’s role in occupying Palestinian communities into fodder for patriotism. “What he did was bring his hard-earned Canadian military professionalism to help organize a chaotic fighting force and help set down the rules of engagement,” the Star quotes one of a number of friendly sources as explaining. “And that included saying, ‘No, we will not expel civilians.'”

The record of this “gentle giant of a man,” as Potter introduces Dunkelman, is well documented. The son of the founder of Ontario retail giant Tip Top Tailors and a veteran of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, Dunkelman was not an obscure figure. In Canada, he was an eminent member of the country’s community of patriotic respectables. In Palestine, he was a participant in the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the Galilee, commanding troops who repeatedly massacred civilians.

Dunkelman’s record of Canadian patriotism and Zionist colonization has long made for a popular sell. He has been happily remembered as “a Canadian and Israeli war hero,” as The Globe and Mail once described him. His basic character should be apparent to anyone who picks up his autobiography, Dual Allegiance.

Potter’s article for The Star pines over lost pages of this book without conveying to readers its utterly thuggish tone. The first five pages, to give you a sense, move from a description of a fight Dunkelman picked with a Palestinian (“Kneeling astride him, I began hitting him again and again, until his body went limp”) to boyhood reminiscences that feature a young Dunkelman in Toronto, soon to enroll in Upper Canada College, “waving a little Union Jack.” A lovely patriotic tale.

In Palestine, Dunkelman did not stop at beating Palestinians with his fists. In the summer and autumn of 1948, he served as commander of the Seventh (Armoured) Brigade of the newly established Israel Defence Forces (IDF). This is a representative sample of how Potter now presents this history to The Star‘s readership: “Named to lead Israel’s 7th Brigade in the final phase of the 1948 war, Dunkelman pushed methodically — and almost bloodlessly — through the Galilee with a series of nighttime flanking movements, eventually ending at the Litani River in Lebanon. He quite literally shaped borders, delivering territory Israel might not otherwise hold today.”


One of the Seventh Brigade’s “nighttime flanking movements,” on October 29-30, 1948, brought the Palestinian village of Safsaf under Dunkelman’s command. A Palestinian woman from Safsaf, Umm Shahadah al-Salih, described what happened the next morning. Villagers were ordered to assemble in file around two houses to the north of the village.

“As we lined up, a few Jewish soldiers ordered four girls to accompany them to carry water for the soldiers. Instead, they took them to our empty houses and raped them. About 70 of our men were blindfolded and shot to death, one after the other, in front of us. The soldiers took their bodies and threw them on the cement covering of the village’s spring and dumped sand on them.”

If Potter’s editors can cough up subway fare to Yonge and Bloor, he can read this and other accounts for free at the local library, in Nafez Nazzal’s The Palestinian Exodus from Galilee, 1948. The Seventh Brigade’s trail of death, destruction and mass displacement of Palestinians from the Galilee into Lebanon is detailed authoritatively by Nazzal.

But right, this is a Canadian discussion of Palestine. Surely, Palestinians can’t be trusted! Unfortunately for Potter and The Star, more than mistrust of Palestinian testimony would be needed to make their whitewashing of these massacres halfway credible. In 1978, the year that Nazzal’s study was published, Israel began declassifying documents on these events. The Israeli record tells much the same story.

Israel Galili had been chief of staff of the Haganah, the main precursor to the IDF. In a declassified November 11, 1948 briefing cited by Israeli historian Benny Morris, Galili described the conduct of Dunkelman’s men in Safsaf. He spoke of the fate of “52 men tied with a rope and dropped into a well and shot,” and of three cases of rape, including of a 14-year-old girl. He also described large-scale killing of civilians by the Seventh Brigade in the villages of Saliha, Jish, and Sa’sa’. In Sa’sa’, Galili said, Dunkelman’s troops committed “mass murder” and then forced all remaining survivors out: “The whole village was expelled.”

Palestinian witnesses recount the most horrifying details. One survivor of the occupation of Safsaf recalled the stabbing of a pregnant woman with a bayonet. The witness lived out his life in the Ayn Al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon; his testimony was kept alive by his nephew and cited in Ilan Pappé’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. In his memoirs, Dunkelman admits to authorizing looting by his forces, but predictably does not discuss most abuses. He does, however, proudly relate how one of his units set a landmark in the summer of 1948 with “the first bayonet charge ever mounted by the Israeli Army.” Facing an Arab position in the central Galilee, the company commander “ordered his men to fix bayonets; then, yelling like banshees, they rushed the Arab positions. When the astonished Arabs saw what was coming up the hill at them, they kicked off their boots and fled in terror.”

We don’t know much about specific atrocities with bayonets. We do know that Operation Hiram, during which Dunkelman’s troops carried out severe atrocities, helped push Palestinians out of the Upper Galilee en masse. On October 31, Dunkelman received an order from the IDF’s northern command spelling out this objective: “The inhabitants should be assisted to leave the conquered areas,” Dunkelman was instructed.

Here massacres by Dunkelman’s troops played their part. “What happened at Safsaf and Jish no doubt reached the villagers of Ras al Ahmar, ‘Alma, Deishum and al Malikiya hours before the Seventh Brigade’s columns,” writes Morris. “These villages, apart from ‘Alma, seem to have been completely or largely empty when the IDF arrived.” A week and a half into November 1948, an IDF intelligence report observed that “more than 50,000 new refugees” had crossed the border into Lebanon as a result of Operation Hiram.

Dunkelman — cue Potter’s praise — did not order expulsions in every Palestinian community that his forces occupied. He specifically opposed the (widespread) expulsion of Palestinian Christians by Israeli forces. When in July 1948 his troops occupied one of the main Christian centres in Palestine, the city of Nazareth, he spared it the harsher treatment he accorded to predominantly Muslim villages in its vicinity.

Potter is effusive with praise! He laments to The Star‘s readership that Dunkelman “won no medals for refusing to molest civilians” in Nazareth, but takes the opportunity to trumpet Canadian civility: “Transpose that morality to the modern era and imagine how the U.S. military interrogations at Abu Ghraib might have played out with a Dunkelman in command.” If those held at gunpoint were Muslims? Should we really follow this thread? “In many of the Palestinian oral histories that have now come to the fore,” observes Ilan Pappé, “few brigade names appear. However, Brigade Seven is mentioned again and again, together with such adjectives as ‘terrorist’ and ‘barbarous.'”

Israel has not declassified enough documentation for us to know for certain whether Dunkelman ordered his troops to massacre Palestinian civilians in line with instructions from higher-level IDF officers, took the initiative himself, or left the details to lower levels of command. But there is no record of him taking any action to discipline the culprits. By all accepted standards, he is therefore among them. Only the best liberal patriots want to award war criminals prizes for each possible war crime they didn’t commit.

Introducing a co-edited volume entitled Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory, Lila Abu-Lughod and Ahmad Sa’di explore the challenges of asserting Palestinian memory “under the conditions of its silencing by the thundering story of Zionism.” Engaging with 1948 as a landmark of enduring trauma, both individual and collective, may not be simple. But one can imagine an alternate universe in which Canadian journalists made a respectable effort. In which some attempt was made to look to the kind of work assembled by Abu-Lughod and Sa’di, to consider the recorded memories of those who lives were uprooted by Dunkelman’s troops, to bring their experiences into this history.

Instead, The Star basks in patriotic self-satisfaction and ignores the evidence.

This is not just a question of professional standards, or of historical accuracy. As Abu-Lughod and Sa’di argue, “the Nakba is not over yet.” It was Israel’s current defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, who described Israel’s twenty-first-century assaults on Palestinians as “the second half of 1948.” How this war is represented abroad can affect its continuation into the present. I haven’t paid much attention to Potter’s work since his distortions of Israel’s 2006 assaults on Gaza and Lebanon. But it seems he’s decided to whitewash past and present attacks on the Palestinians in much the same spirit.

People in Canada need to demand better. In the coming period, we will have to face the fact that the end of the Harper years did not spell an end to Canadian support for Israel’s perpetual warfare against the Palestinian people. The liberal patriotic impulse is to bury this problem in comforting myths: to pretend that even in its support for Israel, Canadian liberalism shines. This requires nothing less than falsification of the record. An open discussion of the realities of Palestine will raise troubling questions about local burdens of responsibility. If this is what drives so many opinion-makers to avoid it, it is also what makes it urgent.

Dan Freeman-Maloy is an activist and writer based in Montreal. For a more detailed review of the record of Western recruits in 1948 Palestine, see this article of his from the Journal of Palestine Studies.

January 6, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘US politicians exploiting intl. tensions to shore up campaigns’

Press TV – January 6, 2016

The United States is the greatest threat to world peace, not North Korea, which only seeks to protect itself from the depredations of US imperialism, an American scholar and political analyst says.

Dennis Etler, professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday, after Republicans called North Korea’s surprise nuclear test yet another failure of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio argued that North Korea was playing off President Obama’s weakness. “Our enemies around the world are taking advantage of Obama’s weakness.”

Professor Etler said, “As the US presidential race heats up all the old, tired campaign saws of yesteryear are being recycled. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, with little of note in his political career to tout, seems to have little else to offer.”

“One tried and true political tactic is to accuse your opposition of being ‘soft’ on national defense or crime and proclaim that once elected more resources, that is money, will be thrown at the problem to ensure the country’s safety,” he added.

America’s bogeyman

“Generally speaking there has to be a bogeyman to give life to the charge. In this instance Rubio has chosen a villain who all can hate on, Kim Jong-un, perhaps the most vilified and ridiculed adversary in the US pantheon of enemies. Thus, in a statement issued Tuesday night Sen. Rubio says ‘We need new leadership that will stand up to people like Kim Jong-un and ensure our country has the capabilities necessary to keep America safe.’”

“Lost in the demagogic rhetoric is the fact that it is the US that has threatened the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, since its inception after WW2, not the other way around,” he noted.

N Korea never used nukes, US did

Professor Etler said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “never invaded the US, but the US did invade North Korea. In fact the DPRK has never invaded another country. Unlike the US it has never sent bombers to drop napalm on foreign villages in order to indiscriminately burn and maim their inhabitants, it has never sprayed toxic chemicals such as agent orange on other nation’s forests and crops, producing generations of deformed infants, it has never sent drones to assassinate its political enemies, killing innocent bystanders as collateral damage.”

“It has never used depleted uranium, white phosphorous or cluster bombs in combat on foreign soil and it has never dropped nuclear bombs on population centers, murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians,” he stated.

“The DPRK has however been invaded, sanctioned, embargoed and threatened for over 50 years by, and is still officially at war with, the United States which always portrays itself as above reproach and a bastion of peace and freedom.”

Why US politicians set-up straw dogs

Professor Etler said, “It is the US that has the largest nuclear weapons arsenal and is the greatest threat to peace and stability throughout the world not North Korea, which only seeks to protect itself from the depredations of US imperialism and Japanese militarism to which it has been subjected throughout the 20th century.”

“The US feels that it is its prerogative to do and say what it pleases. To threaten, bully, invade and destroy any nation it sees fit to. But any country that attempts to protect itself from the provocative actions of the US is deemed irrational and a threat to world peace and US security. Rubio’s rhetoric is just more of the same,” he pointed out.

“The same jaundiced diatribe that has been repeated time and again as US politicians set-up straw dogs to frighten the electorate into voting for them. In this instance North Korea serves as a convenient scapegoat and whipping boy to further Rubio’s political ambitions,” the analyst concluded.

January 6, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

DHS releases best practices for government drone use, says nothing about warrants

PrivacySOS | January 4, 2015

In late December 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its “Privacy, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Unmanned Aircraft Systems Working Group” best practices recommendations for government drone use. The 11 page document does not contain the word “warrant,” nor any recommendations to federal, state, or local law enforcement about getting judicial approval to use drones to monitor people.

The best practices DHS offers mostly concern basic data security issues, including recommendations to delete data when it’s not needed, to limit collection where possible, to be (a little—not too) transparent with the public about drone acquisitions and operations, to avoid mission creep, and to refrain from spying on people based on their political views or protected class alone.

Those are all good things, but these recommendations are just that—suggestions. The document isn’t legally binding. And it completely avoids tackling a very important issue: judicial oversight and approval of police drone use. There’s little chance that congress will pass legislation mandating that police get warrants to use drones any time soon, so the responsibility for filling in the gap falls to state legislatures and courts.

While at least 20 states have passed laws to regulate drones, many of them don’t put any restrictions on law enforcement. Maine and Virginia require police to acquire warrants before deploying drones in most circumstances. The Drone Privacy Act in Massachusetts would require that police get a warrant before spying on us with drones, and ban the use of weaponized drones among state and local law enforcement.

January 6, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi Game-Changing Head-Chopping

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | January 5, 2016

For generations, U.S. officials have averted their eyes from Saudi Arabia’s grotesque monarchy – which oppresses women, spreads jihadism and slaughters dissidents – in a crude trade-off of Saudi oil for American weapons and U.S. security guarantees. It is a deal with the devil that may finally be coming due.

The increasingly undeniable reality is that the Saudis along with other oil sheikhs are the biggest backers of Al Qaeda and various terrorist groups – helping these killers as long as they spread their mayhem in other countries and not bother the spoiled playboys of the Persian Gulf.

President George W. Bush – and then President Barack Obama – may have suppressed the 28 pages of the congressional 9/11 report describing Saudi support for Al Qaeda and its hijackers but the cat is thoroughly out of the bag. Mealy-mouthed comments from the State Department spokesmen can no longer hide the grim truth that U.S. “allies” are really civilization’s enemies.

The big question that remains, however, is: Will Official Washington’s dominant neocon/liberal-interventionist claque continue to protect the Saudis who have built a regional alliance of convenience with Israel over their shared hatred of Iran?

Inside Official Washington’s bubble – where the neocons and liberal hawks hold sway – there is a determination to make the “designated villains,” the Iranians, the Syrian government, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Russians. This list of “villains” matches up quite well with Israeli and Saudi interests and thus endless demonization of these “villains” remains the order of the day.

But the Saudis – and indeed the Israelis – are showing what they’re really made of. Israel has removed its humanistic mask as it ruthlessly suppresses Palestinians and mounts periodic “grass mowing” operations, using high-tech munitions to slaughter thousands of nearly defenseless people in Gaza and the West Bank while no longer even pretending to want a peaceful resolution of the long-simmering conflict. Israel’s choice now seems to be apartheid or genocide.

Meanwhile, the Saudis – though long-hailed in Official Washington as “moderates” – are showing what a farcical description that has always been as the royals now supply U.S.-made TOW missiles and other sophisticated weapons to Sunni jihadists in Syria, fighting alongside Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

Using advanced U.S.-supplied warplanes, the Saudis also have been pulverizing poverty-stricken Yemen after exaggerating the level of Iranian support to the Houthis, who have been fighting both a Saudi-backed regime and Al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate. Amid the Saudi-inflicted humanitarian crisis, Al Qaeda’s forces have expanded their territory.

And, at the start of the New Year, the Saudi monarchy butchered 47 prisoners, including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr for his offense of criticizing the royals, or as the Saudis like to say – without a touch of irony – supporting “terrorism.” By chopping off Nimr’s head – as well as shooting and decapitating the others – the Saudis demonstrated that there is very little qualitative difference between them and the head-choppers of the Islamic State.

The Usual Suspects

Yes, the usual suspects in Official Washington have sought to muddle the blood-soaked picture by condemning angry Iranian protesters for ransacking the Saudi embassy in Tehran before the government security forces intervened. And there will surely be an escalation of condemnations of anyone who suggests normalizing relations with Iran.

But the issue for the neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks is whether they can continue to spin obviously false narratives about the nobility of these Middle East “allies,” including Israel. Is there a limit to what they can put over on the American people? At some point, will they risk losing whatever shreds of credibility that they still have? Or perhaps the calculation will be that public credibility is irrelevant, power and control are everything.

A similar choice must be made by politicians, including those running for the White House.

Some Republican candidates, most notably Sen. Marco Rubio, have gone all-in with the neocons, hoping to secure largesse from casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and other staunch supporters of Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the other hand, real-estate magnate Donald Trump has distanced himself from neocon orthodoxy, even welcoming Russia’s entry into the Syrian conflict to fight the Islamic State, heresy in Official Washington.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the most closely associated with the neocons and the liberal hawks – and she has dug in on the issue of their beloved “regime change” strategy, which she insists must be applied to Syria.

She appears to have learned nothing from her misguided support for the Iraq War, nor from her participation in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi’s secular regime in Libya, both of which created vacuums that the Islamic State and other extremists filled. (British special forces are being deployed to Libya as part of an offensive to reclaim Libyan oil fields from the Islamic State.)

A Sanders Opportunity

The Saudi decision to chop off Sheikh Nimr’s head and slaughter 46 other people in one mass execution also puts Sen. Bernie Sanders on the spot over his glib call for the Saudis “to get their hands dirty” and intervene militarily across the region.

That may have been a clever talking point, calling on the rich Saudis to put some skin in the game, but it missed the point that – even before the Nimr execution – the Saudis’ hands were very dirty, indeed covered in blood.

For Sanders to see the Saudis as part of the solution to the Mideast chaos ignores the reality that they are a big part of the problem. Not only has Saudi Arabia funded the extreme, fundamentalist Wahhabi version of Sunni Islam – building mosques and schools around the Muslim world – but Al Qaeda and many other jihadist groups are, in essence, Saudi paramilitary forces dispatched to undermine governments on Riyadh’s hit list.

That has been the case since the 1980s when the Saudis – along with the Reagan administration – invested billions of dollars in support of the brutal mujahedeen in Afghanistan with the goal of overthrowing a secular, Soviet-backed government in Kabul.

Though the “regime change” worked – the secular leader Najibullah was castrated and his body hung from a light pole in Kabul – the eventual outcome was the emergence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, led by a Saudi scion, Osama bin Laden.

Though Sanders has resisted articulating a detailed foreign policy – instead seeking to turn questions back to his preferred topic of income inequality – the latest Saudi barbarism gives him a new chance to distinguish himself from front-runner Clinton. He could show courage and call for a realignment based on reality, not propaganda.

President Obama, too, has a final chance to refashion the outdated and counter-productive U.S. alliances in the Middle East. At least he could rebalance them to allow a pragmatic relationship with Iran and Russia to stabilize Syria and neutralize the Saudi-backed jihadists.

Standing Up, Not Bowing Down

Instead of being supplicants to Saudi riches and oil, the West could apply stern measures against the Saudi royals to compel their acquiescence to a real anti-terrorist coalition. If they don’t comply immediately, their assets could be frozen and seized; they could be barred from foreign travel; they could be isolated until they agreed to behave in a civilized manner, including setting aside ancient animosities between Sunni and Shiite Islam.

It seems the European public is beginning to move in this direction, in part, because the Saudi-led destabilization of Syria has dumped millions of desperate refugees on the European Union’s doorstep. If a new course isn’t taken, the E.U. itself might split apart.

But the power of the neocon/liberal-hawk establishment in Official Washington remains strong and has prevented the American people from achieving anything close to a full understanding of what is going on in the Middle East.

The ultimate barrier to an informed U.S. public may also be the enormous power of the Israel Lobby, which operates what amounts to a blacklist against anyone who dares criticize Israeli behavior and harbors hopes of ever holding a confirmable government position or – for that matter – a prominent job in the mainstream media.

It would be a test of true political courage and patriotism for some major politician or prominent pundit to finally take on these intimidating forces. That likely won’t happen, but Saudi Arabia’s latest head-choppings have created the possibility, finally, for a game-changing realignment.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

January 6, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Refuses to Accept Nuclear North Korea – State Department

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby holds a press conference in the Press Briefing Room at the Pentagon, Sept. 25, 2014. Kirby showed slides and videos highlighting U.S. airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and answered questions from reporters. DoD Photo by Glenn Fawcett (Released)

Sputnik – 06.01.2016

WASHINGTON — According to the US Department of State, Washington refuses to accept North Korea as a nuclear state.

The United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state and will respond to provocations, US Department of State spokesman John Kirby said in a statement as North Korea announced it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

”North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006 and, until today, has done so twice since, but we have consistently made clear that we will not accept it as a nuclear state,” Kirby said.

”We will continue to protect and defend our allies in the region, including the Republic of Korea, and will respond appropriately to any and all North Korean provocations,” he added.

In 2003, Pyongyang withdrew from the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a deal meant to prevent the making and use of nuclear weapons.

On December 10, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that North Korea had a hydrogen bomb and was ready to use it to protect its sovereignty.

January 6, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Israelis force Palestinians off plane in Greece

Press TV – January 6, 2016

Israeli passengers aboard a Greek plane have forced two Palestinians to leave the flight after demanding further security checks on them.

Aegean Airlines said in a statement on Tuesday that the incident occurred on a flight that was leaving the Athens International Airport to Tel Aviv on Sunday.

According to the airlines, a group of Israelis on the flight “very vocally and persistently” requested a security check on the two Palestinian passengers. When police checked the passengers’ passports and found nothing suspicious, Israelis then demanded a further check of the cabin.

“It started with 3-4 people, and by the end, there were 60-70 people standing up, demanding that the pair disembark,” a company spokesperson said, adding, “The pilot said anyone who does not feel safe to fly should disembark, and would not be compensated.”

The Palestinian passengers, however, left the plane themselves. They were compensated for the incident and took another flight to Tel Aviv on Monday.

Palestinian officials on Wednesday demanded that the Greek government act over the incident, saying the decision to remove the Palestinian passengers was “racist.”

“We are outraged by how two Palestinians were treated with discrimination and prejudice at the hands of the Aegean cabin crew prior to the departure of last Sunday’s flight,” said senior Palestinian official, Saeb Erekat, who added, “We call upon the Greek government to take strong action against this racist act, including compensation for the two Palestinian passengers.”

The incident occurred amid a wave of violence against the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian territories, where at least 144 Palestinians have been killed since the violence erupted in various towns of West Bank and Gaza. Some 25 Israelis have also died during the same period.

January 6, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment