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Faurisson risks jail for 60-word summary of his research during Tehran conference

By Alison Chabloz | June 26, 2016

A brief resumé of the hearing held last week in Paris, by Alison Chabloz.

In contrast to the Court of Appeal hearing given last March, this latest bout of Ziocon persecution of revisionist, Robert Faurisson, was held in the 17° Chambre Correctionelle of the High Court at the Palais de Justice in Paris, ensuring that numerous members of the public who’d gathered there to support the professor were able to witness the proceedings from the court room’s spacious gallery.

Starting an hour late owing to the morning session having overrun the allocated time-slot, magistrates initially dealt with several other cases, lasting for almost another hour, before it was the turn of the world’s foremost ‘Holocaust’ revisionist to defend himself against three separate charges. There was no apology forthcoming from the court for this delay which of course had the negative effect of reducing valuable debating time as well as causing magistrates to rush the proceedings.

Two charges for contesting a crime against humanity (one of which brought by former Justice Minister, Pascal Clément) and a third for racial defamation brought by the LICRA – Ligue contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme.

All three complaints targeted a speech made by the professor in 2006 at a conference on the ‘Holocaust’ in Tehran, Iran. A star witness in the person of Lady Michele Renouf who had travelled from London for the hearing would testify after the initial debates. For once, the number of lawyers on the accused benches seemed to outnumber those of the prosecution by five to two (five to three, if we include the state prosecutor). In reality, however, Robert Faurisson’s defence was assured by Maître Damien Viguer alone. Three immense dossiers were produced and placed on the judge’s desk almost completely hiding the magistrate himself. Cue: hushed, slightly amused tittering from the public benches.

The defence’s principle argument rested on the fact that Faurisson’s speech in Tehran had been delivered in English and had lasted only ten minutes. As his speech had been given outside French territory, French law would not apply. In this case, however, it was the professor’s written essay The Victories of Revisionism, published in Tehran then distributed on the Internet, that had led to the three charges. The article details the major successes of Robert Faurisson’s revisionist career and, in particular, confessions of his adversaries which substantiate the professor’s outright technical and moral victory over his detractors. It is this same article which Maître Viguer uses consistently in defence of his client during the many trials brought by a judicial system which is plainly rotten to the core.

The judge, a man in his forties with curly, dark ginger hair and a beard, began by reading Faurisson’s article (see Part 1 and Part 2). The longer the reading went on, the more the judge seemed to be taking in Faurisson’s words. Towards the end, the judge’s face had completely disappeared behind the hand-held, stapled bundle of A4 sheets.

Faurisson’s counsel, Maître Viguer, asked that the two complaints for contesting crimes against humanity be nullified because of legal non-compliance. After a short break for deliberation, the court reserved its ruling in relation to this matter until September 27. Thus, only the third charge of ‘racial defamation’ would be deliberated on this humid afternoon in the centre of the French capital.

The charge of defamation brought by LICRA concerned the following passages of Faurisson’s article:

“President Ahmadinejad (then head of the Islamic Republic of Iran) used the right word when he said that the alleged Holocaust of the Jews is a myth: that is to say, a belief maintained by credulity or ignorance.

“The alleged Hitlerite gas chambers and the alleged genocide of Jews form one and the same historical lie, which allowed a gigantic political and financial swindle whose main beneficiaries are the state of Israel and international Zionism and whose main victims are the German people – but not their leaders – and the Palestinian people in their entirety.”

The accusation’s charge of defamation lay solely on the ‘argument’ that, by these statements, Faurisson was clearly targeting the Jewish community. The judge asked Faurisson to explain.

Faurisson’s retorts were confident and unrelenting: citing Israel and international Zionism is not the same as citing “the Jews”. The public as well as the officers of the court present were then treated to an hour and a half’s exposé by the man himself. Unlike orthodox historians who merely repeat the given narrative, he would actually go out on the job, tape measure in hand. The 60-word phrase, he explained, is the summary of his lifetime’s work in the field of revisionism. As he advised his students, the key to success when researching any subject is the ability to resume this work in a phrase of approximately 60 words. The enormous body of work he carried out began in the 1950s when he first asked:

“Show me a photo, an architect’s plan or even a drawing of a gas chamber.”

Faurisson continued his testimony with an explanation of Rudolf Höss’ witness statement at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, gained via torture, in particular sleep deprivation. Then, a brief lesson on the explosive quality of Zyklon-B with analysis of actual execution chambers which employ this same gas (no longer used) in the USA. In the 187 pages of court transcripts from Nuremberg concerning Auschwitz, practically nothing is dedicated to the subject of gassing.

The professor went on to expose the lies of Elie Wiesel in his book Night as well as other fabrications concerning execution by boiling water at Treblinka which also feature in the Nuremberg transcript. So many false witnesses: only last week we learned of yet another in the news.

The judge, at this point, interjects with “You’ve therefore not modified your proposals after all this time..?” The female magistrate present appears to have fallen asleep! Such is the contempt for Faurisson’s indisputable strength of character, as apparent and all the more humbling here and now, at the grand old age of 87, as when he started his research more than six decades ago. Faurisson’s conclusions are based on fact, documented evidence, repeatable scientific experiment and, above all, are the fruit of a lifetime’s study and research. What reason other than insanity would make him change his proposals “after all this time”?

Faurisson elaborates on the magical six million number. In August, 1944, Wilhelm Hötll, friend of Eichman, gave a witness statement purporting that the sensational sum could be reached by adding the four million in Auschwitz ‘extermination camp’ to another two million slain Soviets. This was the first time the phrase extermination camp was used in place of concentration camp. However, Hötll was never called to testify at Nuremberg.

The prosecution declines the opportunity to grill Faurisson; Maître Viguer invites the professor to talk about the conference in Iran.

Contrary to media reports, the 2006 conference was inclusive of all opinions concerning the ‘Holocaust’. The professor remembers one adversary challenging him to go to the National Archives in Washington where he would see the evidence that his findings were erroneous. The poor fellow hadn’t bargained on the professor already having been to these very same archives where, amongst other clues, he uncovered documents relating to the 32 RAF sorties over Auschwitz, none of which had succeeded in showing smoke billowing out from the crematoria chimneys.

Maître Viguier questions the professor further on the origin of all these lies surrounding the “Holocaust”. Faurisson replies that it’s impossible to say; the rumour runs and runs. The CICR had also heard rumours of gas chambers at Auschwitz, yet their investigation team was unable to find anyone confirming these rumours. Even Eric Conan in French weekly, L’Express, said of the gas chamber exhibit at Auschwitz “Tout y est faux” – everything is false. 1.7 million people visit Auschwitz annually.

At this point, the judge decides to call Lady Renouf to hear her witness statement. As this will be in English, the court has arranged for an accredited translator to be present. After giving her name and details, Lady Renouf first congratulates Maître Viguier for his bravery in accepting to defend the professor. Her witness statement follows in short phrases which are immediately translated for the benefit of the court. We hear confirmation that Faurisson’s speech was an impromptu affair which lasted only ten minutes and Lady Renouf makes reference to the professor’s English-spoken heritage, owed to his mother being a Scot. She repeats Faurisson’s anecdote, often used to introduce himself to an English-speaking audience, that his French ear should not listen to his Scottish ear because, whereas Scottish law permits inquiry and research into the “Holocaust”, French law does not.

Linguistic confusion arises when Lady Renouf speaks of guidelines (in French, “les consignes”) on how the “Holocaust” should be taught in schools, published in Stockholm in 2000. The translator is unable to translate the word for guidelines, using “guides” instead. Whether or not the greffière recorded a corrected version is uncertain; perhaps the court thought that Lady Renouf was talking about “tour guides”, at Auschwitz or elsewhere?

The Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust where the ‘Holocaust’ education guidelines were first announced was also the site of two physical attacks on Faurisson by Jewish terrorist organisation LDJ (Ligue de Défence Juive or Jewish Defence League). These guidelines instruct all public and private schools worldwide not to give a platform to revisionists. Lady Renouf summarises, stating that historical debate and rational argument do not seem to be part of educational guidelines on this subject. There are no questions from the court.

Maître Viguier promptly urges the professor to talk about a case dating back to 1983 when he was accused of “falsifying history”. Faurisson explains that this was the catalyst which led to creation of the 1990 Fabius-Gayssot Act. He also recalls the work of British historian and semi-revisionist David Irving, along with the fact that neither Churchill nor de Gaulle ever mention any gas chambers. In fact, during WW1 already, UK national newspaper the Daily Express had written about enemy gas chambers as early as 1914. An investigation after the war ended in 1918 proved that the story was a propaganda lie. Again, in 1943, the same story about gas chambers appears in the Daily Express. This time, however, there was no similar post-war investigation. Another piece of vital evidence is the documented case of Marinka in Russia where the local mayor was shot dead by the German army for killing a Jewish woman. Many such examples exist yet are suppressed from public knowledge.

The professor then relates his victories over Raul Hilberg and Jean-Claude Pressac; cites Valerie Igounet’s book of smears Histoire du négationnisme en France and tells us that Ariane Chemin didn’t know who Hilberg was when she interviewed the professor in Vichy for Le Monde newspaper. Faurisson also names the director of Yad Vashem 1953-1959, Ben-Zion Dinur, who resigned after coming to the realisation there were far too many false witnesses.

Change of tone as Mâitre Christian Charrière-Bournazel representing LICRA comes to the bar. He’s clearly unhappy about having been forced to listen to Faurisson for two hours (in reality Faurisson had only spoken for an hour and a half), although it’s doubtful Charrière-Bournazel will be complaining quite so much when he receives his fat fee. The only accusation is restricted to the same, tired refrain: when Faurisson mentions the state of Israel and international Zionism, Faurisson means Jews. Faurisson is a racist. Faurisson has already been prosecuted and convicted, etc., etc.

The state prosecutor raises even more eyebrows as she tries to stabilise her microphone (no working mic and a dodgy translator suggest the French judiciary can’t afford to run their courts properly?). Diabolical smears regards Faurisson’s personality as well as the obligatory jibe about using the court room as a platform from which, according to Madame la Procureure, Faurisson would take immense gratification. Perhaps the most telling phrase amongst all the outright lies and smears (paid for by the French tax payer, of course) is when the prosecutor states Faurisson should no longer be given the possibility of further court appearances.

Maître Viguier once again stands to contest the accusation’s claims. That the professor’s words in Tehran constitute ‘defamation’ is a fraudulent lie. The professor’s work is that of an historian. Viguier protests his colleague’s conflation of Israel and Jews, defiantly and correctly stating that conflict in the Middle East could be seen as one direct result of the lies of the Shoah. Faurisson’s work, he insists, will last as long as does this mensonge (“lie”). Viguier deplores the moral order inflicted upon revisionists in the name of war and war crimes, and which effectively prevents revisionists from doing their job.

The judge invites Faurisson to have the last word. Faurisson is finally able to respond to Charrière-Bournazel’s earlier attacks by comparing the lawyer’s attitude and manner to that of an enflure (in the sense of over-exaggerated, self-important, turgid). This warrants an admonishment of Faurisson by the judge, who then fails to chastise Charrière-Bournazel for leaving the court in a show of brazen pomposity whilst Faurisson is still speaking.

Faurisson finishes with another couple of examples of dubious witness statements and mistranslations which have been used by propagandists to bolster the case for a presumed genocide of countless Jews. We’re told of the wildly varying death toll estimates and asked why those who revised the official Auschwitz death toll – down from four to one-and-a-half million – were not punished in the same atrocious manner which Faurisson has been subjected to throughout his career.

The prosecution is demanding a month’s prison sentence and a 3,000 euro fine in the event of a guilty verdict. We shall now have to wait to September 27 to hear the court’s ruling.

Further reading:

The revisionists’ total victory on the historical and scientific level

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Show Must Go On

A Night at the Theater

By Jonathan Revusky • Unz Review • June 27, 2016

One evening a gentleman decides to go to the theater. There is a play showing that is reputed to be a very funny comedy. It’s hilarious, people are raving about it.

At various points in the middle of the performance, hecklers disrupt the play, shouting disparaging insults at the actors on stage. At first, the actors on stage ignore this and carry on in their roles, but then, at some point, some of them lose patience with this, and respond to the hecklers. Let’s say it begins when an actress on the stage, who is portraying a very prim, proper lady in the play, goes completely out of character and responds to the hecklers with salty language worthy of a sailor. The audience bursts out laughing. Then other actors go out of character as well and there is hilarious repartee between actors on stage and the hecklers in the audience insulting one another.

Truth told, the whole thing is actually very entertaining, but our upstanding gentleman is kind of annoyed. He would very much like to the see the play as it is intended to be seen. But also, the whole thing is rather strange. He wonders: what is going on here? Why are these hecklers allowed to do this? Why aren’t they kicked out of the theater?

Well, this is known to be a very fine theatrical production with some superb actors and he would very much like to see it properly without any interruptions from hecklers. So, at a later date, he goes back to the theater. He buys his ticket, finds his seat…. Amazingly, at the same key moments in the play, the very same hecklers disrupt the performance, just like the first time. And there is the very same repartee between the actors and the hecklers in the audience.

Now, this man is completely perplexed. He cannot understand why the theater continually allows these hecklers to disrupt the performance. He is utterly confused. At this point, the lady sitting in the seat next to him leans over to him, smiles, and whispers: “I love this. It’s my favorite part of the show.”

The man smiles back sheepishly. He is feeling a little bit embarrassed that he was so slow to figure it out. But, of course it now dawns on him what is really going on. By jove, he’s got it!

This “Night at the Theater” story that I have outlined provides some framework for thinking about the pervasive propaganda matrix and we shall return to it. However, first, we need to go over some basics.

Shit happens. Organic versus synthetic events.

When you turn on the television and watch the news, there are, very broadly speaking, two types of news being reported: organic and synthetic events.

The concept of an organic event was perhaps best characterized by Forrest Gump, when he said: “Shit happens.” Indeed it does, a neverending flow of it. Just offhand, on the national and international levels, there is usually some sort of ongoing natural disaster somewhere: an earthquake, a hurricane, floods, forest fires… In these cases we get all the typical news reporting on the devastation and the ongoing humanitarian relief efforts… In the more local news, there are random accidents. In particular, traffic accidents happen continually. A truck collides with a bus and there are a number of fatalities. They dispatch a reporter to the scene who interviews various witnesses…

Such things make up your basic “shit happens” news. We could make the following two observations about organic events:

  1. It is not unreasonable to assume that the reporting of an organic event is broadly honest.
  2. The level of attention that an organic event receives is about commensurate with its scale.

I actually worded these points a bit carefully. For example, regarding point 1, I am quite aware that mainstream news reporting is pretty unreliable. They certainly get all kinds of things wrong continually. Still, one’s reasonable baseline assumption is that what they are telling you happened is pretty similar to what really happened. Or, in other words, the things they get wrong tend to be within the range of honest error — that is, in the case of an organic event.

As for point 2 above, just consider the fact that, on a typical day in the United States alone, about a hundred people die in traffic accidents, more or less. As such, unless it is something pretty spectacular or somebody famous is involved, a traffic accident will only be news locally. Moreover, it will only receive media attention for a short period of time. Soon, some other shit happens and then the focus shifts over to that.

Now, obviously, when it comes to understanding the propaganda matrix, it is not the organic events that we are interested in. It’s the other kind, the synthetic event. However, on occasion, it is easier to define things negatively, not by what they are, but rather, by what they are not. With a non-organic, or synthetic event, the above two observations do not apply. It is quite the opposite. Thus:

When it comes to synthetic events, the baseline assumption is that everything they are telling you and showing you is fake, at least in the absence of strong evidence. Moreover, it is utterly naive to assume that the reporting on a synthetic event is honest.

In other words, point 1 above definitely does not apply! Nor does point 2. Very typically, the first strong clue that something is a synthetic event will be that it receives a level of attention that is not at all in proportion to what one would expect. I suspect that this is an analytical tool that has been valid for a good while. For example, consider the break-in at the Watergate Hotel on 6/17/1972. This crime (though more the subsequent cover-up admittedly) is the event that led to the Watergate scandal that caused Richard Nixon to resign the presidency in disgrace. Look at the scale of the crime. Did it not receive an outrageous level of attention when compared to so many other cases of high-level criminality? Hmm…. Now, this actually works both ways. Sometimes an event receives far more attention than one would expect, but other times far less. For example, the perfectly symmetrical implosion of WTC Building 7 never being mentioned in the mainstream media is a perfect example of a key event that receives suspiciously little attention.

Let us now examine a more recent narrative that should elicit warning bells precisely due to how much attention it has received.

Is this shit for real? The case of Pastor Terry Jones

Consider the following video, a news segment from the year 2010.

I suppose most readers will remember this, at least vaguely. It is part of a saga that received an immense amount of attention over a number of years. The central character, one Terry Jones, was purportedly the spiritual leader of some 50 people in Gainesville, Florida — a dozen families more or less. (I suspect that this was a high-ball estimate of his following, since they have every reason to exaggerate this man’s importance. But certainly, he did not have more than 50 followers, most likely fewer. Like, zero maybe?) In any case, Mr. Jones would not figure in a Who’s Who of the Christian religion. He is not the Pope and he ain’t the Archbishop of Canterbury neither. As far as I can tell, the “evangelical” church that he was leading at the time is not a part of, nor is it recognized by, any major Christian denomination.

Nonetheless, as we see in the video, this man gained national and international attention via his threats to burn a Koran. Or Korans in the plural. Yes, the President of the United States was imploring this man not to burn any Korans. Hillary Clinton as well. Apparently, the Pope in Rome also pleaded with him not to do this. (I assume His Holiness did not call collect…)

The whole thing is really quite extraordinary. General David Petraeus later appears in this news segment claiming that this man’s burning of a Koran in Florida will “make his job very difficult” and will “endanger the lives of American servicemen”. It is hard to know even where to begin deconstructing the lunacy of this whole narrative. Just for starters, why does nobody ask the most obvious question about this?

How would the people in Afghanistan even know that this old geezer in Florida is burning any Korans?

Now, I have never been to Aghanistan and have no plans to visit. However, I think it is a very safe bet that the people in Afghanistan do not know about Pastor Terry Jones and his Burn-A-Koran day. I would venture the guess that you could travel the entire length and breadth of that country and ask people if they knew about this and none would. Of course not. This whole synthetic event is entirely constructed for a Western audience! The people in far off Afghanistan would know nothing about it.

Actually, I was intrigued to learn, a few years back, that the majority of people in Afghanistan do not even know about the attacks of 9/11. Consider this report or this one. Apparently, around 92% of the Afghan people have no idea about 9/11! You show them a photograph of the twin towers burning and they have no idea where or when this occurred. And they certainly make no connection between that and the U.S. invasion of their country. I found the whole thing really quite intriguing. What this really goes to show is that the whole purpose of the 9/11 synthetic event was to establish a narrative for a Western audience. The population of Afghanistan does not, by and large, even know the official pretext for the invasion of their country. No, nobody ever bothered to tell them! I have absolutely no idea how many Iraqis know what the official reason for the invasion of their country was. (Remember that? Saddam’s non-existent WMD?) I would not be surprised if it was similar to the Afghan case, where the majority of the people in Iraq do not know what the reasons for the invasion were. Or, more precisely, they may have no idea what reasons were given to the American people to justify the war.

In any case, if fewer than 10% of the Afghans even know about the towers going down on 9/11, then what percentage would know about Terry Jones burning a Koran in Gainesville, Florida? So what on earth is David Petraeus talking about? It’s as if he lives in a mental universe in which the people in Afghanistan all have cable and watch CNN and FOX News. Maybe some underling should inform him. Like so:

“Sir, these are very culturally deprived people we’re talking about, General Petraeus, Sir.”

“How bad is it? Tell me the worst.”

“Sir, this here is the veritable Heart of Darkness, Sir. Sir, most of them have never even seen Kim Kardashian’s ass, Sir.”

“My God! The Horror! The Horror…”

“Sir, yes, Sir.”

Now, to be clear, I do not believe that Petraeus really is such a fool. He knows this whole story is bullshit but is playing along. He pretends to be so concerned that the Florida pastor burning a Koran will put American troops in Afghanistan in extra danger. He understands that he is supposed to go along with this narrative. It is what is expected of him.

The way the story then developed was that Mr. Jones first relented and did not burn any Korans as planned, on 9/11/2010, but then he did burn a Koran (or maybe more than one Koran) on 3/20/2011. As we see, General Petraeus had warned of dire consequences if Pastor Jones went ahead and burned a Koran and it turns out he was right! We are then told in the various mainstream news sources that this led to riots in Afghanistan, in particular in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. There, on 4/1/2011 (is the April 1 date a coincidence?) the New York Times, America’s “newspaper of record” reports:

MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan — Stirred up by three angry mullahs who urged them to avenge the burning of a Koran at a Florida church, thousands of protesters on Friday overran the compound of the United Nations in this northern Afghan city, killing at least 12 people, Afghan and United Nations officials said.

The version of events in Wikipedia is:

A riot erupted in Mazar-i-Sharif on 1 April 2011 during the protest over the burning of the Qur’an in the US.[8] Estimates of the number of protesters ranged from “hundreds” to as many as 2,000.[8][9] The protest began near the city’s Blue Mosque shortly after Friday prayer,[9]with protesters chanting “Death to the USA, death to Israel.”[10] During the sermon, which is part of the Friday prayer, worshipers were told by three mullahs to begin protesting in favor of the arrest of Pastor Terry Jones, who led the Qur’an burning.[11]

So we are told that this riot in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan took place because Terry Jones finally burned a Koran. The Afghans are not rioting because their country has been invaded and occupied by foreign troops but rather, because some utterly insignificant individual on the other side of the world burned a Koran.

The saga does not end here. Over a year later, on 9/12/2012, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, called Pastor Terry Jones on the phone and asked him to withdraw his support for a film “whose portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad has sparked violent protests.” Now the focus of the narrative had shifted over to Libya. The Libyans are not angry, apparently, that their country has been “bombed back into the Stone Age” and tens of thousands of their people are dead and their country in a state of anarchy. No, they are angry about a film that “portrays Muhammad unfavorably”. And now, of course, the Koran-burning pastor who caused a deadly riot on the other side of the world the previous year is brought back into the story….

If a tree falls in the forest…

We could have a field day analyzing and ridiculing all of this synthetic narrative. Surely you understand the overall point. This whole Koran-burning saga already stands out as a synthetic news story simply by virtue of how much attention is devoted to this insignificant personage, Terry Jones. Unless you happen to be a very famous person reading these lines, I think it is safe to say that if you or I threatened to burn a Koran, it would not be an international news story, we would not receive phone calls from the President or the Pope. No, we would be ignored. In fact, in that video it is mentioned that various people sent Korans to Jones for him to burn. Think about that. The people who send him Korans to burn know perfectly well that if they themselves burn a Koran, it has no transcendence because nobody is paying any attention. So they send the Korans to him to burn. At least that’s what is claimed, that various people sent him Korans to burn, 200 of them…

The other funny thing about the whole story is that the entire media circus that they create around this individual pretty much obliges him to finally burn a Koran or two. After all, a sword swallower must eventually swallow a sword. He cannot just continually announce that he is going to do it, though he may wait until a sufficient crowd has gathered.

So, just as Evel Knievel must eventually do his announced motorcycle stunt, so the Koran-burning pastor must eventually burn a Koran. This man’s entire protracted “fifteen minutes of fame” is based on him burning the Koran, so he eventually does so. When you think about this whole story a bit, something occurs to you: if they really, really did not want this man to burn a Koran, wouldn’t they just stop devoting all this attention to him? If you did not want Evel Knievel to do his motorcycle stunt, you would just turn off the cameras and not film him and, presumably, he wouldn’t bother. The whole point of the stunt is to attract publicity so if you don’t give him the publicity…

Roger Rabbit Redux

In an earlier essay, I coined the term Roger Rabbit Narrative to refer to these kinds of synthetic news stories that have cartoonish elements. This is an allusion to the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in which human (i.e. real, organic) actors share the screen with cartoons, i.e. synthetic elements. So, an RRN is not a total fiction or a cartoon. Some of the elements in the story are perfectly real.

So, in this particular RRN, Mr. Jones finally burns a Koran, and 12 days later, there is a riot in northern Afghanistan in which a number of people are killed. Now, I have to assume that the riot in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan really took place. It was, I suppose, an organic event that happened for whatever local reasons and had no more to do with Pastor Jones burning a Koran than with the price of tea in China. However, news sources that so many people treat as reliable, such as the New York Times or Wikipedia, attribute this event to the Koran burning in Florida. In other words, they incorporate a real, organic event into an overall synthetic narrative. So, you see, not all the events in a synthetic story are fake. Not necessarily. However, the explanation for the event is frequently absurd, laughable. Cartoonish really. This happens because the organic event gets subsumed into the framework of the synthetic narrative. This is bound to have various glitches, which I have called RRA‘s, Roger Rabbit Artifacts.

The whole Terry Jones Koran-burning saga dates back six years and I was significantly less aware at that time. I looked at the whole thing again recently, and one of the first things I wondered was whether this Pastor Terry Jones is even a real person. It occurred to me that he might just be an actor playing the role, especially after it dawned on me that “Terry Jones” was also the name of one of the founding members of the Monty Python comedy troupe. That the Koran-burning pastor would have the same name as the director of The Life of Brian struck me as so exquisitely ironic that, initially, I thought this could not be a coincidence. Surely, I thought, this must be some kind of a little knowing wink from the people who created this narrative. Now, I am not so sure. I tend to think that it is a coincidence but, to be honest, I am hardly certain. (If another Koran-burning pastor shows up and his name “just happens to be” John Cleese or Eric Idle, then….)

Finally, what it comes down to is that, even if Pastor Terry Jones is not a completely fictitious personage played by an actor, he might as well be! I have no doubt that he was, somehow or other, recruited to play a role in a sort of Deep State Roger Rabbit production. The Koran-burning pastor doubtless has some cartoonish aspects, but the people most ludicrously caricatured in the story are surely the Muslims who run amok and kill people because they have heard that some insignificant person on the other side of the world is burning a Koran. It is as if one were to claim that Germans in 1945 were upset, not because their country had been bombed into rubble or that foreign armies were occupying their country, but rather, because somebody in Florida had burnt a copy of Mein Kampf! I don’t think that would fly. This led me to conclude that Muslims have, by now, been caricatured far more than even the Nazis have been. And that really is saying something!

So, of course the dominant narrative motif running through the story is just how batshit crazy Muslims supposedly are. Here it is their murderous reaction to the burning of a Koran. In another set of RRNs, mostly taking place in Europe, it is their reaction to offensive cartoons, culminating in the Charlie Hebdo false flag of 7/1/2015. The basic idea of the Muslims as being so irrational provides a general cover for all sorts of RRAs (Roger Rabbit Artifacts) that are visible. If the behavior of a character in the story is utterly implausible, the explanation is basically: “Waddya expect? We know dem Ay-Rabs are freakin’ crazy, so…” So, for example, in the event in San Bernardino of 12/2/2015, one of the alleged suicide attackers is a young wife with a newborn baby. This narrative is so extremely psychologically implausible that I have speculated that it must have been improvisational in nature. Probably they had planned a different story, but couldn’t use it and this was the best they could come up with under time pressure. In any case, all of these absurd plot lines are rendered plausible in the public’s mind if they can be convinced that Arabs, and Muslims generally, are just completely irrational lunatics. So, one could say that the whole “Dem Ay-Rabs are crazy” meme is sort of a general purpose prefiguration for a whole set of narratives.

All the world is a stage…

My suspicions about Pastor Jones being an actor may seem paranoid to some readers, but then again, once you study more of these synthetic events, you will come to see that such suspicions are actually well founded. You will see that, in many cases, indisputably actors really have been involved. Let us consider the case of Ms. Ginnie Watson, who was, it is claimed, present in the Bataclan Theater in Paris on 11/13/2015 when “Islamist terrorists” came in and murdered 89 people. This young lady is definitely an aspiring actress. Here is her IMDB page. Her acting career has not been terribly distinguished. For example, she had the role of “Bretonne #2″ in a French children’s film based on the popular Astérix comic book character. Consider this pastiche of some of Ms. Watson’s acting career:

Now, I would encourage everybody to watch this video and draw their own conclusions. In my view, it is an extreme understatement to say that Ms. Watson is a poor actress. It goes beyond that. When she was interviewed in the above video, she had supposedly witnessed very many people being brutally murdered only a short time before. I mean to say, it is not that she plays her part poorly; it is more like she does not even understand the role she is supposed to be playing, that of a poor girl who has just witnessed a horrific mass murder and just narrowly escaped herself. She should be completely traumatized, a total nervous wreck. No wonder her acting career never went anywhere.

If this is the first such case you have examined, you might think that Ms. Watson’s performance here is uniquely terrible. That, however, is not the case. These sorts of synthetic events are full of notorious cases of unconvincing crisis acting. In that same event in Paris, there was a girl from Australia, one Emma Parkinson, who supposedly received a bullet or two in the ass, who also gave an amazingly bizarre interview detailing her alleged experience. Just as in the case of Ginnie Watson, being trapped in a concert hall where 89 people were murdered, and herself being shot, did not seem to have much effect on her sunny disposition.

Terrible, unconvincing acting is par for the course. Consider these young people, whose mother was — so they say — gunned down by the racist white boy Dylann Roof about a year ago:

It’s part of the show!

I began this essay by telling a story about a man’s visit to the theater. For the life of him, he cannot figure out what is going on. Why are these “hecklers” allowed to disrupt the show?

In that story, the protagonist is definitely a bit on the slow side. He has to go back to the theater and see the show again to figure out what is going on. Surely most people catch on the first time round. Even so, we can be sure that people will vary quite a bit. Some will figure out that the “hecklers” are part of the show almost instantly, and the rest will take varying amounts of time.

You see, the show I described does break the normal model of how things work. Normally, there is a very clear-cut separation between two groups of people in the theater: the actors who are up there on the stage performing and the spectators who are in the audience watching the performance. Actually, there is a technical term for this in drama critique, the Fourth Wall. In this theater show, when an actor on stage directly responds to a heckler, the “fourth wall” has been breached. To realize fully what is really going on, however, the spectator must realize that this is deliberate, scripted; it’s part of the show! Until one makes that conceptual shift, one cannot really understand what is going on!

And, yes, some people will make that conceptual shift faster than others. Still, it is hard to imagine somebody going back to the theater again and again and simply never figuring it out. Yet, strangely, this is precisely what happens with Deep State theatrical productions. Most people simply never see through the various hoaxes and false narratives they are presented. In the terminology I introduced in an earlier essay, they never have their LPM, their Ludek Pachman moment.

Once you begin to perceive the propaganda matrix and perceive synthetic events and narratives, certain things that were incomprehensible become painfully obvious. For example, are you still wondering why Pastor Terry Jones receives such an inordinate level of attention over his pathetic Koran-burning stunt? Well, broadly speaking, it’s for the same reason that the “hecklers” are never thrown out of the theater in the above story. They are part of the show. If you or I go to that show and start heckling loudly, we likely will be thrown out of the theater, because we’re not part of the show!

Likewise, you or I can burn a stack of Korans and throw in some Talmuds and Bhagavad Gita’s to boot, and, most likely nobody will pay us any attention! We are not part of the show. That’s also why we can march down the street screaming “God hates fags!” at the top of our lungs and we will never receive any of the media attention that the Westboro Baptist Church does.

There are some notorious mosques in Britain that are reputed to be hotbeds of radical Islamism. One such place is the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London. Another is the Al Manaar Mosque in West London. There are in-depth journalistic exposés about this and they always ponder the question of why the imam who is preaching violent Jihad against the West is not shipped back to Saudi Arabia or wherever he came from. Well, surely it’s for the same reason that the “hecklers” aren’t thrown out of the theater. It’s all part of the show!

Exeunt Stage Right

Speaking of being part of the show, it looks like Pastor Terry Jones is no longer part of it. I did a bit of last-minute googling because I was wondering what that guy was up to, whether he was still at the church in Gainesville, whether he was still burning Korans. It turns out that, as of early 2015, Mr. Jones was running a fast-food concession in the food court of a shopping center in Bradenton, which is about 170 miles from the church in Gainesville. Yep, he leveraged his experience burning Korans to become one of the “Fry Guys” making “Gourmet Fries”.

The story was picked up by the Washington Post, which also reported that some Jihadist group had earlier put a 2.2 million dollar reward on Mr. Jones’s head. However, there was no mention of the shopping mall food court having any special security dispositions. (Maybe the reward was in Zimbabwe dollars.) The WP article actually has some fascinating tidbits. For example:

Notoriety has its benefits, he has learned, especially compared with obscurity, which he experienced in late summer when he set fire to hundreds of Korans at a protest rally and was largely ignored.

So, apparently, Jones, as recently as the summer of 2014, did set fire to a bunch of Korans. Hundreds of them. But he was ignored. (Poor fella, reminds me of when I invited everybody over for an orgy but nobody came…. Dontcha just hate that!?) Surprisingly (NOT) the article does not pose the obvious question: how come this person could merely threaten to burn a Koran in 2010 and receive national and international attention, yet four years later, in 2014, he actually does set fire to hundreds of Korans, and nobody bats an eyelid? He is kind of like a one-trick magician whose magic spell ceases to work. He sets fire to the books and thinks that he is going to get more phone calls from the President and the Pope. And then…. nothing happens… Did he just lose his mojo?

They don’t ask this question but I think there is a fairly simple answer: he is no longer part of the show! The Koran-burning schtick was getting old and the man had outlived his usefulness. (The “Muslims are nut-jobs” rhetoric is still going strong, but the “they really hate it when you burn a Koran” sub-plot seems to have given way to the “Muslims really, really hate homos” meme.) Anyway, the WP does not tell us that Pastor Jones is no longer in the show, because that would mean admitting that there is a show! The entire pretense of the mainstream media is that the show does not exist. The show is just a figment of the imagination of silly “conspiracy theorists” like myself.

Another fascinating thing was that the article casually mentions that Terry Jones does not himself eat any of the food items that he sells at “Fry Guys”. No, he himself apparently only eats organic food, does not drink soft drinks, but water and fresh fruit juice, though he does enjoy a glass of nice red wine now and then. This made me immediately wonder: if he does not himself eat the food he is selling at Fry Guys, maybe he also had no particular taste for the Islamophobic nonsense he was “selling” from his church back when he was part of the show. (Hey, I’m selling this shit to make a living, but I don’t eat the shit myself!)

“Show? What show?” The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.

I mentioned above the concept of the Fourth Wall in drama theory, this notion of an invisible wall that separates the actors on stage from the audience. In a conventional, straight-laced dramatic production, the fourth wall always remains intact. Thus, in a John Wayne western, John Wayne never turns to the audience and says sarcastically: “Now, moviegoers, to your great surprise (knowing wink) I’m gonna git on that horse and go chase the bad guys.” Of course not. No matter how cliché-ridden the script is, it is well understood that the actors must not betray any consciousness that the whole thing is pretend. However corny your lines are, you must take your role seriously (or pretend to…) and stay in character — whether you’re the star of the show or have a very small bit part.

The mainstream media coverage of synthetic events follows the same approximate principle. In a live performance, all the performers must stay “in character”. That means that, even if somebody else in the show is screwing up, you still stay in character. For example, I linked above the video of Ms. Ginnie Watson. Ms. Watson is an actress pretending that she just survived a mass shooting. What I declined to mention was that the person interviewing her is also an actor basically; he is an actor pretending to be a journalist. Ginnie is flubbing her lines and giving a very poor performance. The interviewer does not call her out. He simply continues in his allotted role.

You see, anybody who is part of this mainstream media world, or aspires to be part of it, absolutely must maintain the pretense that these synthetic events are real. To admit that the people in the above-linked videos are just actors is essentially tantamount to admitting that these events are synthetic. A real, organic event does not have crisis actors on the scene.

Guarding the Gates

In a previous essay, I coined the term Taboo Induced Tortuous Thinking, or TITT for short. Taboo Induced Tortuous Thinking leads to Taboo Induced Tortuous Theories, i.e. TITTs, which are far-fetched explanations of events that are necessary because the correct explanation is taboo. The biggest overarching taboo in the mainstream media propaganda matrix is that the propaganda matrix even exists. This is basically equivalent, in the terminology of this essay, to claiming that all events reported in the media are organic. Synthetic events do not exist. And that is largely what the whole weaponized “conspiracy theory” construct is about.

I referred to the “blowback theory of terrorism” as a TITT. The overall purpose of this TITT is to maintain the pretense that a series of synthetic events, such as 9/11 or 7/7 in London or the more recent things in Paris and Brussels, are real, organic events. Hey, they must be, since synthetic events, except in the minds of crazed “conspiracy theorists”, do not exist, right? Now, if you want to claim that something does not exist when it does, what you have to do is ignore, suppress, or somehow explain away all the evidence that this phenomenon really does exist. I wrote extensively about this, in the section which goes over a lot of the tactics they use — TMT‘s, TITT Monger Tactics.

The people whom I have called TITT mongers are more typically referred to, in the Truth community, as “controlled opposition” or “intellectual gatekeepers”. The term “gatekeeper” actually contains an interesting metaphor. Now, starting with first principles, somebody who guards a gate is there to keep you from going somewhere, right? In this case, they are very intent on preventing you from, as I put it earlier, escaping the Roger Rabbit Mental World.

Now, any metaphor or analogy is always imperfect. Still, even a very flawed analogy can be useful, because analyzing its flaws can be illuminating in itself. So let’s see…

If you really are in a prison and there is a front gate with one or more armed guards, you know you are in the prison and you know that you cannot leave — like, on account of the pesky little problem that the guards have guns and you don’t…. that kind of thing… In short, unlike the intellectual gatekeeper, these guys will prevent you from leaving the prison by physical force.

But also, the goals of the regular prison gatekeeper and the intellectual gatekeeper differ. Yes, both kinds of “gatekeeper” want to prevent you from leaving the prison. However, the intellectual gatekeeper has an additional goal: he wants you to believe that you are not imprisoned!

Or, in other words, he must, unlike an actual prison guard, maintain the pretense that the prison is not a prison. You know, I think this is more than a slight detail. It’s a very important difference here, where the analogy breaks down.

Finally, I was thinking about a different metaphor. Suppose you book a trip to an all-inclusive resort in some exotic foreign country, a Club Med sort of deal.

It’s a beautiful place with its own private beach, restaurants, bars, and all sorts of sports and recreational activities. Nonetheless, after a few days there, you are getting pretty bored. It’s starting to feel like a gilded cage. You think you will go out and experience the real country a bit. So you think you are going to go outside the resort complex and explore a bit. When you are about to go out the front gate, somebody engages you in conversation. They ask you what you want, what you need… It turns out that the whole point of the conversation is to tell you that you have everything you could conceivably want within the resort complex and have no reason to wander outside the gate. The person is also likely to tell you that there is nothing of any interest to see outside the resort anyway. Also, the world outside the resort is dangerous and crime-ridden. You suspect that he is exaggerating quite a bit, though you don’t know absolutely for sure.

It strikes me that this is much more like the intellectual gatekeeper than the prison guard. For starters, though they want you to stay in the complex, you actually are free to leave the place whenever you want. They have no legal means to stop you. There are really basically two ways they can get you to stay:

  1. They convince you that you have everything you need within the complex and there is no conceivable reason to leave.
  2. They convince you that something terrible will happen to you if you do leave. Only a silly, foolhardy person would ever want to walk outside the gate. In that vein, they work on you psychologically, insinuating that your interest in exploring the world outside the resort means there is something wrong with you.

As regards point 1, the intellectual gatekeepers must try to convince you that all the intellectual inquiry, debate, and critique that you need, or that is needed, is within the gates that they are “guarding”. Outside of that is just “crazy conspiracy theories”. And, yes, there is what seems to be an anti-Establishment discourse. Some of these gatekeepers mount a fierce critique of U.S. foreign policy, for example. However, what you should notice, eventually, is that the critique has very well defined limits. For example, you can question the entire “War on Terror” narrative, but you cannot question the synthetic events that make up the narrative! In fact, it is presumed that synthetic events do not exist. Things like 9/11 and 7/7 are organic events, and thus, the reporting on the events themselves is assumed to be broadly honest. This is ultimately quite self-defeating: how can you really oppose these synthetic narratives while assuming that their version of all these synthetic events is truthful?!

As for point 2 above, there is an acronym (not of my invention!) for this. FUD. Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt… You know, it’s a kind of emotional manipulation, where they try to create a sort of mental fog. For example, if you conclude that Ms. Ginnie Watson (speaking of TITTs…) is a false witness, it must be because you are a terrible, unfeeling person. This kind of thing. Well, the hell with that. Are you really going to let a bunch of neocon warmongers tell you that you are an unfeeling person?

Anyway, as I said, all metaphors are imperfect. I prefer this one, the Club Med gilded cage, because, unlike an actual prison, it is perfectly clear that you can walk out whenever you want to. So I say to you: just do it. Walk out the gate. There is a world out there to explore.

Oh, and I might add, though it is entirely optional… if you run into any “gatekeepers” on your way out, tell them to go f*** themselves!

Fan mail (as well as hate mail) can be directed to revusky at gmail.

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Islamophobia, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Neocon NGO Pressures Google, Facebook to Censor Content

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | June 27, 2016

Executives from Google and Facebook have faced enormous political pressure from forces as diverse as Pres. Obama himself to the Israel Lobby, to rid their sites of Islamist content. Over the years, videos portraying ISIS beheadings have outraged the public (though not on YouTube or Facebook, which immediately removes them). Now it appears that the Israel Lobby and their right-wing allies are demanding further action restricting access for videos they deem offensive.

The companies are discussing various methods to automate the removal of the videos, which would supposedly wipe the sites clean of Islamist extremism in a more thorough, speedy fashion.  Currently, they use an algorithm which help police videos which violate copyright. If someone uploads a video whose content has already been flagged, an algorithm prevents it being uploaded again by another user. They plan to use a similar process to flag offensive videos by detecting whether they’ve been previously censored.

However, there is a fly in the ointment regarding this process. The companies have invited into this discussion a neocon NGO which is a product of the Israel Lobby. The group, Counter-Extremism Network (CEN), hired a computer scientist from Dartmouth College who claims to have developed software with which it can successfully police these sites for offending content.  Microsoft has, somewhat alarmingly, agreed to fund and provide research support to develop the professor’s system for its websites.

The companies have rightly displayed some skepticism about the group’s “generous” offer. CEN is a neocon organization founded by a pro-Israel apparachik from the Bush administration, Mark Wallace. Wallace is a veteran GOP consultant, turned capitalist entrepreneur and anti-Iran warrior.  He also founded a sister-organization, United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI-Rightweb profile and my own profile of it), which targeted (often falsely) American companies it claimed were doing business with Iran and violating the sanctions regime.

The nadir of UANI’s vitriolic anti-Iran campaign was its targeting of international shipping magnate, Victor Restis. In these cases, Wallace and his cronies would approach a corporate target and demand a large donation in return for ceasing the embarrassing publicity UANI directed at the victims. Most preferred to pay up. Unlike the other corporate targets, Restis fought back and sued UANI for libel. The suit proceeded in federal court until the Justice Department intervened, claiming that moving forward would jeopardize U.S. national security. The judge then dismissed the case, refusing to permit Restis to clear his name.

Journalists speculated that UANI was using information supplied to it by foreign intelligence sources, specifically the Mossad or other Israeli outlets. The Justice Department intervention was reported to be a favor offered by the Obama administration to the Israeli government, so as not to reveal its covert intervention in American politics. The favor wasn’t repaid when Netanyahu became the foremost opponent of the Iran nuclear deal opposed also by UANI.

Now that the agreement is a done deal, Wallace appears to have moved on. Instead of Iran being the bogeyman, now it is ISIS. With the recent outcry over Islamist attacks in Paris, San Bernardino and Ft. Hood, Islamism has become the target of choice for the Israel Lobby and allies like Wallace.

neocon terror list

Counter Extremism Network’s “terror list”

The group’s name is a misnomer.  It doesn’t fight against “extremism.” It fights against Islam. There are countless violent extremists in the world who aren’t Muslim. But CEN has no interest in them. I’m attaching a screenshot of its list of targets. Only four non-Muslim groups: the Ku Klux Klan, Golden Dawn, Jobbik, and a German neo-Nazi party. As opposed to 25 Muslim terror organizations.

To give you a sense of how ridiculous these designations are: the Muslim Brotherhood is a group which participated in a democratic election and won the Egyptian presidency.  Only to have the democratic government violently overthrown in a military coup. If anyone is a terrorist, it is the putchist al-Sisi, who overthrew Mohammed Morsi. The “Nusra Front” is also on the list. This bona fide Islamist extremist group is Israel’s current ally in the war against the Assad regime.

Among prominent groups missing from this list are violent Israeli settler groups like Hilltop Youth and Jewish Underground, which have murdered many Palestinian civilians.

I’m also surprised the BDS movement isn’t on the list.  No doubt that’s an oversight that will be corrected.

Joining Wallace in founding CEN was ex-Sen. Joe Lieberman.  On its board are other Israel Lobby veterans, Dennis Ross and Irwin Cotler.  CEN’s name is a misnomer.  It is not anti-extremist, it is anti-Muslim.

It’s important to note a parallel campaign by the Israeli government to pressure these social media platforms to censor content it deems hate speech, by which it means critical of Israel and the Occupation. There can be no doubt that although CEN hasn’t formally joined with this initiative, the two are bound up with each other tighter than Siamese twins.

Which raises the critical point: who decides what is “extremist?” Clearly, a beheading is extremist. An imam’s sermon calling for the extermination of non-Muslims qualifies. Overtly advocating violence qualifies. But what about a Hamas video that advocates resistance against Israel’s illegal Occupation which has killed tens of thousands over the past 50 years? Or a Hamas video which depicts the devastation of Gaza in the aftermath of the 2014 war? Does a Hezbollah video depicting the destruction of wide swaths of southern Lebanon after the 2006 Israeli invasion quality as “extremist?” In other words, is all content published by these groups censored by virtue of their designation as terrorists? Is that really what we wish the internet to become? A restricted space policed by ideologically-suspect algorithms?

I would strongly urge these technology companies to develop their own solutions to this problem and not rely on far-right Islamophobic ideologues for methods to censor the internet.

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian student sentenced to 10 months in Israeli prison

baraa-amer

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – June 28, 2016

Palestinian student Baraa Amer, 19, a student at an-Najah University and a resident of Kafr Qalil in southern Nablus, was sentenced on Monday, 27 June to 10 months imprisonment and a fine of 3,000 shekels ($675 USD).

Ahmed Khader
Ahmed Khader

Arrested two months ago, Amer is involved with the student Islamic Bloc at the University, and was previously arrested along with 18 fellow students by Palestinian Authority forces in 2015.

Amer was arrested by Israeli occupation forces amid ongoing student elections at the university; active members of Palestinian student blocs are frequently targeted for arrest and persecution, especially at the height of election campaigning.

Baraa was arrested one day before his final exams in a 2:00 am raid on his home by armed Israeli occupation forces.

His father, Nawwaf, is a journalist and former political prisoner himself.

The arrests of Palestinian students continue. On Saturday, 25 June, Israeli occupation forces arrested Ahmed Hussam Khader, 19, as he traveled south of Nablus; Khader is the son of Fateh Palestinian Legislative Council member Hussam Khader and a student of political science at Bir Zeit University.

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Al-Qaeda’s Lebanese Affiliates Opening a Lebanese Front in the Syrian War?

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya | Global Research | June 23, 2016

The US and its allies are working inside Lebanon to open a new front in the Syrian conflict. Lebanon has been sedated into a state of limbo by the lack of a government and the postponing of its parliamentary elections. Complicating matters, many institutional figures and military commanders have gone into retirement and the caretaker government is unable to replace them.

Hezbollah’s intervention into the Syrian conflict has given a boost to the Syrian government against the anti-government forces trying to overrun Syria.

This has turned the attention of the US and its allies onto Lebanon as a new arena of battle. Rockets are also being launched by anti-government forces from Syria, and even from inside Lebanon, against Hezbollah’s political strongholds and against Shia Muslim villages. The goal is to ignite the flames of sedition between Shiites and Sunnis inside Lebanon.

Photo Below: Picture of the Hariris adorned with the Future Party’s flag and Al-Qaeda and anti-government Syrian flags by their followers on the way to Sidon. (Photo by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya)

MDN-Lebanon-300x217

Al-Qaeda in Lebanon

Al-Qaeda’s flag has been flying in Lebanon for years. Driving near the airport in Beirut or on the road to Sidon (Saida) you can see the Al-Qaeda flags flying in black. The same goes for Tripoli (Trablos) and some areas inside Beirut. Since the Syrian conflict you can see the Al-Qaeda flag flying next to the Syrian insurgent’s flag. The US and its allies have actually turned a blind eye to the support that the Future Party of Saad Hariri provides to Al-Qaeda. It is worth noting that the current head of the UN Secretariate’s Department of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, who was once the US ambassador to Lebanon before he was promoted in the US Department of State, also turned a blind eye to the support for Al-Qaeda by the Hariri family’s Future Party and its March 14 Alliance.

The Hariri family has had a long alliance with the takfiris and Al-Qaeda supporters. They have been political allies with groups in Lebanon that openly revere Osama bin Laden as a great leader. It was the Hariri family and members of their Future Party that also imported the fighters that would become Fatah Al-Islam into Lebanon. The exploitation of takfiri militias inside Lebanon by the Hariri family was intended to crush Hezbollah after Israel failed to do in 2006. Regionally, the same strategy involved the Hariri family’s Saudi patrons and George W. Bush’s administration, which were preparing and arming these militias as tools/weapons against Syria and Iran. The Hariris were furious when Seymour Hersh exposed them and had him publicly rebuked.

Months later Fatah Al-Islam would get out of control. Seymour Hersh would be vindicated. The Hariri-led March 14 Alliance would dishonestly try to blame Syria and the Palestinians for creating and supporting the group that they themselves had created. The fighting in Lebanon between the Lebanese military and Fatah Al-Islam foreshadowed the armies that were amassed for regime change in Libya and Syria by the US and its allies.

Tripoli and Sidon as Extensions of the Syrian Conflict

Lebanon’s second largest city, Tripoli, has seen intense fighting between the Alawite community of Lebanon, which is represented by the Arab Democratic Party, and the Hariri family’s takfiri allies. Hariri’s allies in Tripoli are open supporters of Al-Qaeda and the anti-government forces in Syria; they have smuggled weapons across the Lebanese-Syrian and sent large numbers of fighters into Syria to topple the government in Damascus. The Future Party has been involved in coordinating this also.

Lebanon’s third largest city, Sidon, has also been the scene of fighting and tensions between Ahmed Al-Assir, a Hariri ally, and Hezbollah’s supporters and allies. Al-Assir’s men have even tried to kill one of Sidon’s main Sunni Muslim clerics, Maher Hammoud, because he has constantly been working for Muslim and Lebanese unity and saying that there is an attempt to ignite a Shia-Sunni conflict in Lebanon and the broader region. A contingent from the Lebanese military has had stay in Sidon to keep the peace in the city.

Al-Assir’s men attacked and killed members of the Lebanese military in a village on the outskirts of Sidon for no apparent reason on June 23, 2013. This has ignited a battle in Sidon. Thick smoke from the city can be seen from a far distance. It has been reported that members of the anti-government forces from Syria have also joined them. The Lebanese military has deployed heavy weapons to fight Al-Assir’s group and to restore peace to the Lebanese city.

Photo Below: Lebanese Armed Forces checkpoint in Sidon. (Photo by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya)

MDN-Lebanon51-300x176

The Objective is to Force Hezbollah to Retreat in Syria by Targeting Lebanon

The Lebanese state is now being targeted. There have been an increasing number of attacks against the Lebanese military from the Syrian border since Hezbollah intervened in Syria. There were already attacks on Lebanon even before Hezbollah intervened in the Syrian conflict, but those were mostly intended to provoke Hezbollah.

Those targeting the Lebanese state are now taking advantage of the lack of a functioning government and the leaderless status of several national institutions to create a state of chaos in Lebanon. There have been attacks on both Shiite and Sunni villages in the Bekaa Valley and a cycle of violence has begun. It is clear that the objective is to turn Shiites and Sunnis against one another and the Lebanese military has understood this too. This is why Hezbollah has asked the Shiite clans in Bekaa to stay calm after they have been attacked. Protests have broken out in Lebanon too.

The violence in Sidon is part of a strategy. Al-Assir’s unprovoked attack against the Lebanese military is intended to mount pressure on the Lebanese state and exacerbate Shia-Sunni tensions.

Hezbollah refuses to get embroiled in a sectarian battle inside Lebanon. While the Amal Movement, the Shiite political party that is Hezbollah’s partner, has mobilized its militias and started manning the southern and eastern roads into Sidon, Hezbollah has kept calm. Amal’s media has also been reporting on the incident profusely and even in a sectarian fashion, but Hezbollah’s media have inversely been calm and said little.

Lebanon is being lit up with the aim of forcing Hezbollah to pullout from Syria by turning inwards to fight an internal battle. Essentially, Lebanon is now a second front in the Syrian conflict.

The US and Saudi Arabia have probably asked the Hariri family to prompt their Al-Qaeda affiliated clients to initiate violence in Lebanon and capitalize on the lack of a government and the weakened state of the Lebanese state.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a sociologist and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is currently working out of Lebanon. He was in Sidon during the fighting and the deployment of the Lebanese military.

See also:

Saudi Arabia obstructing election of Lebanon president: Hezbollah

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Turkey denies apology to Russia over downed jet

Press TV – June 28, 2016

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says Turkey has only expressed regrets to Russia over a downed jet in Syria, denying reports of an apology.

Yidirim also reversed an earlier offer of compensation to Russia for shooting down one of Moscow’s military jets in November, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.

“Compensating Russia is not on the table, we have only expressed our regrets,” CNN-Turk cited him as saying, hours after he said Ankara was ready to offer compensation for the incident.

The Kremlin said on Monday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had apologized to Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a letter.

Erdogan’s spokesman confirmed the letter, but said the Turkish president had only expressed regret and asked the family of the pilot killed after the downing to “excuse us.”

The denial came just as the Kremlin said on Tuesday that President Putin will hold a phone conversation with Erdogan on Wednesday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, told a conference call with journalists that Russia did not expect strained relations with Turkey would mend in a few days.

Putin has said an apology from Erdogan is the condition for repairing relations between the two countries, which were shattered when the Russian jet was shot down by Turkey at the Syrian border.

Ankara said it shot down the plane because it entered Turkish airspace, an allegation Moscow denies. The Russian pilot ejected from the plane but was killed by gunfire from militants on the ground in Syria as he parachuted down to earth.

Yildirim also told reporters in parliament that legal proceedings were underway against an individual allegedly responsible for the killing of the Russian pilot.

Moscow, which imposed economic sanctions on Ankara over the downed plane, had said that apart from official apologies it also wanted Turkey to pay compensation for the incident.

After writing to Putin to voice his regret over the incident, Erdogan said he now believed that Ankara would normalize relations with Moscow “rapidly” but the Kremlin advised caution on Tuesday.

“One should not think it possible to normalize everything within a few days, but work in this direction will continue,” Peskov said.

June 28, 2016 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Mavi Marmara Court Case to Continue – We Hope the Parliament doesn’t Forgive Israeli Murderers

IHH | June 27, 2016

Today following the ongoing diplomatic negotiations Israel and Turkey have officially announced normalized relations, which have been strained following the attack on Mavi Marmara on 31st May 2010. Netanyahu’s announcement on behalf of Israel came around the same time Turkey issued a statement about it. In the press conference, Netanyahu has declared in a victorious attitude that “It is a tremendous economic success for Israel. The blockade on Gaza by no means is lifted nor shall it ever be lifted. Turkey has agreed to our terms.” He has highlighted that Israel agreed not to pay compensation but to make a donation of 20 million dollars provided that the cases are withdrawn; that this move will prevent the case from establishing a precedent for other crimes of Israeli soldiers; that the agreement is a significant gain. Unfortunately the rapprochement agreement which is announced by Turkey means that blockade on Gaza is recognized by Turkey. Indeed Gaza is free according to the agreement signed in 2005 and is entitled to the right to travel and do business as it pleases without relying on anybody. The embargo means that Israel is recognized as a superior authority which has the final say on what and how much supplies can enter Gaza and this is the subject matter of the agreement announced.

The rapprochement agreement may be regarded as the easing of the blockade although many provisions are quite ambiguous. However it only constitutes a partial permission granted to Turkey. What kind of supplies and how much supplies will Israel allow Turkey to bring in to Gaza stands as a big question mark. Indeed supply entry and exit from Gaza should be free like in every other country. The issue is not entry of humanitarian relief supplies into Gaza but making sure that Gaza has its freedom of movement and transactions so that it does not have to rely on external aid. Palestine is deprived of this freedom and doomed to rely on external aid only while international law grants it to every land and government. It is simply unacceptable. Therefore, as IHH we would like to announce that we will keep up our efforts in all fronts including legal and physical arenas for the removal of the illegal and unjustifiable blockade on Gaza.

Meanwhile it is reported that the agreement has a provision stipulating that a donation will be made to the families of the victims provided that the court cases are withdrawn. These lawsuits are not filed only by victims’ families and Turkish citizens but international victims of the Mavi Marmara attack from 37 different countries. There is no withdrawal of the cases. The victims’ families remain adamant about refusing to give up their cause or withdraw their case until and unless the blockade is removed.

Israel’s arrogant attitude as if to say “I kill people and pay in cash whatever is the cost” is unacceptable. Who is going to protect Turkish citizens from Israel in international waters? Turkish government has acted this way and came to an agreement with the Israeli party. Just like what we have said since the beginning, as an international NGO we do not condone an agreement with Israel. We were never involved in the agreement nor did we partake as a party. To this day we have voiced our warnings and suggestions. From then onwards we will keep standing with Palestinian people through our court cases, our actions to break the blockade, our protests and various aids. The Mavi Marmara court cases are to continue. We hope that the parliament does not endorse this agreement which means that Israeli murderers are exonerated by Turkey. Mavi Marmara stood as a hope in the Islamic world and for the oppressed people of the world. It is our duty to keep this hope which stands for the common consciousness of humanity alive. We would like to rest our case with a Palestinian saying “Whoever covers up with Israel will remain naked.”

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Europeans Contest US Anti-Russian Hype

By Joe Lauria | Consortium News | June 27, 2016

A significant crack has been unexpectedly opened in the wall of Europe’s disciplined obedience to the United States. I’m not only referring to the possible long-term consequences for U.S.-European relations in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, but the unlikely blow against Washington’s information war on Moscow delivered by Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who a week ago shockingly accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of “war-mongering” against Russia.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

German FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Since the Bush administration’s twisting of events in the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, which the E.U. blamed on Georgia, Western populations have been subjected to the steady message that Russia is a “threat” to the West and is guilty of “aggression.” This reached a peak with the false narrative of events in Ukraine, in which blatant evidence of the West’s complicity in a violent coups d’état was omitted from corporate media accounts, while Russia’s assistance to eastern Ukrainians resisting the coup has been framed as a Russian “invasion.”

The disinformation campaign has reached the depths of popular culture, including the EuroVision song contest and sports doping scandals, to ensure widespread popular support for U.S. hostile intentions against Russia.

The Russian “aggression” narrative, based largely on lies of omission, has prepared the way for the U.S. to install a missile-shield in Romania with offensive capabilities and to stage significant NATO war games with 31,000 troops on Russia’s borders. For the first time in 75 years, German troops retraced the steps of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

U.S. Designs on Russia

The U.S. is eyeing a post-Putin Russia in which a Wall Street-friendly leader like Boris Yeltsin can be restored to reopen the country to Western exploitation. But Vladimir Putin is no Yeltsin and has proven a tough nut for the U.S. to crack. Washington’s modus operandi is to continually provoke and blame an opponent until it stands up for itself, as Putin’s Russia has done, then accuse it of “aggression” and attack in “self-defense.”

In this way, Washington builds popular support for its own version of events and resistance to the other side of the story. Unfortunately it is not a new trick in the U.S. playbook.

“The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception,” wrote Mark Twain.

So suddenly, after many years of an air-tight, anti-Russia campaign believed unquestioningly by hundreds of millions of Westerners, comes Steinmeier last week blurting out the most significant truth about Russia uttered by a Western official perhaps in decades.

“What we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation further through saber-rattling and warmongering,” Steinmeier stunningly told Bild am Sontag newspaper. “Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is mistaken.”

Instead Steinmeier called for dialogue with Moscow. “We are well-advised to not create pretexts to renew an old confrontation,” he said, saying it would be “fatal to search only for military solutions and a policy of deterrence.”

In keeping with the U.S. propaganda strategy, the U.S. corporate media virtually ignored the remarks, which should have been front-page news. The New York Times did not report Steinmeier’s statement, but two days later ran a Reuter’s story only online leading with the U.S. military’s rejection of his remarks.

NATO General: Russia is No Threat

Just a day after Steinmeier was quoted in Bild, General Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s military committee, dropped another bombshell. Pavel told a Brussels press conference flat out that Russia was not at a threat to the West.

“It is not the aim of NATO to create a military barrier against broad-scale Russian aggression, because such aggression is not on the agenda and no intelligence assessment suggests such a thing,” he said.

What? What happened to Russian “aggression” and the Russian “threat?” What is the meaning then of the fear of Russia pounded every day into the heads of Western citizens? Is it all a lie? Two extraordinary on-the-record admissions by two men, Steinmeier, the foreign minister of Europe’s most powerful nation, and an active NATO general in charge of the military committee, both revealing that what Western officials repeat every day is indeed a lie, a lie that may be acknowledged in private but would never before be mentioned in public.

Two years ago I was in a background briefing with a senior European ambassador at his country’s U.N. mission in New York and could hardly believe my ears when he said talk about Russia’s threat to Eastern Europe was “all hype” designed to give NATO “a reason to exist.” Yet this same ambassador in public Security Council meetings would viciously attack Russia.

But the hype is about more than just saving NATO. The fear campaign feeds the American and European military industries and most importantly puts pressure on the Russian government, which the U.S. wants overthrown.

Were these remarks made out of the exasperation of knowing all along that the Russian threat is hype? Were they made out of genuine concern that things could get out of hand under reckless and delusional leaders in Washington leading to a hot war with Russia?

Neither man has been disciplined for speaking out. Does this signal a change in official German thinking? Will German businessmen who deal with Russia and have opposed sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine, which were forced on Germany by the U.S., be listened to?

Were Steinmeier’s remarks a one-off act of rebellion, or is Germany indeed considering defying Washington on sanctions and regime change in Moscow? Is the German government finally going to act in Germany’s own interests? Such a move would spark a European defiance of the United States not seen since the days when Charles de Gaulle pulled France out of NATO in 1966 to preserve French independence.

The last time European governments broke with Washington on a major issue was the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Then France and Germany joined Russia on the U.N. Security Council in blocking the war’s authorization (although Britain supported it). But France and Germany then voted for a resolution several months later that essentially condoned the invasion.

It’s Up to the European Public

One has to ask whether a conditioned German public is ready to see through the lies about Russia. Last November, I flew from St. Petersburg to Berlin and discussed this very question with a number of well-educated Germans.

I had visited Russia for the first time since 1995, 20 years before to the month. Those were the days of the Yeltsin-Jeffery Sachs Russia, of the unbridled neoliberal capitalism of the Wall Street-oligarch alliance that plundered the country leaving millions of Russians destitute. Outside train stations I saw homeless encampments replete with campfires. Policemen were stopping motorists for bribes. I ran from two men intent on robbing me until I lost them in a Metro station. That’s the Russia the neocons in Washington and the knaves and buccaneers on Wall Street want to see again.

The Russia I saw in St. Petersburg and Moscow, 20 years later, was orderly and prosperous, as modern as any European city. It is a testament to Russia’s resistance to American attempts to restore its political and financial control. Russia is a capitalist country. But on its own terms. It is fully aware of American machinations to undermine it.

In Berlin I met several Germans, educated, liberal and completely aware, unlike most Americans, of how the United Sates has abused its post-World War II power. And yet when I asked them all why there are still U.S. military bases in Germany 70 years after the war and 25 years after the Cold War ended, and who the Americans were protecting them from, the universal answer was: Russia.

History shows European fears of Russia to be completely overblown. Germany and other Western powers have invaded Russia three times in the last two centuries: France in 1812, U.S., Britain and France in the 1918 Russian Civil War, and Germany again in 1941. Except for Imperial Russia’s incursion into East Prussia after war was declared on it in 1914, the reverse has never been true.

In his memoirs Harry Truman admitted that false fear of Russia was the “tragedy and shame of our time” during the Cold War that he had much to do with in part to revive the U.S. post-war economy with military spending. George Kennan, the State Department official who advised a non-military containment of the Soviet Union, conceded as early as 1947 that Soviet moves in Eastern Europe were defensive and constituted no threat. In the 1990s, Kennan also decried NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders.

With its vast natural resources, Russia has been the big prize for the West for centuries, and is still today in neocon-driven Washington. But Germany, especially, has benefited from trade with Russia and has no need to join the U.S. imperial project.

The British voters’ decision, days after Steinmeier’s extraordinary remark, could herald significant change in Europe, which may be approaching an historical junction in its relationship with the United States. Growing anti-E.U. sentiment has spread across the continent, including calls for similar referenda in several countries.

British voters evidently saw through the hype about the Russian “threat,” as a majority did not buy British Prime Minister David Cameron’s scare tactic ahead of the vote that Brexit would make it harder to “combat Russian aggression.”

Britain has been called Washington’s Trojan horse in the E.U. The thinking is that without Britain, the E.U. would be freer to chart its own course. But as Alexander Mercouris explained here, Obama bypasses London to call Merkel directly with his demands. Still, removing Britain’s voice from the E.U., though more crucially not from NATO, opens space for more independent voices in Europe to emerge.

“I worry that we will have less clout on our own,” former British Ambassador to the United States Peter Westmacott told The New York Times. “In the future, we won’t have as much influence on Europe’s response to Putin’s transgressions, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, or the E.U.’s foreign and security policy. … And we will be less able to ensure it is U.S.-friendly.”

But that could be a good thing. If German leaders conclude the United States is pushing Europe into a disastrous war with Russia, could we see a Charles de Gaulle moment in Berlin? Merkel doesn’t seem to have it in her. Three days after Steinmeier’s remarks, she told a news conference she favored increased German spending for NATO to counter Russian “threats.”

Instead it will require a revolt by an awakened citizenry against the E.U. and elected European governments that refuse to stand up to Washington, mostly because it benefits their own class interests, to the detriment of the majority.

The Future of the EU

European social democracy had been probably the best social and political system ever devised on earth, maybe the best that is humanly possible. Europe could have been a model for the world as a neutral power committed to social justice. As late as 1988, Jacques Delors, then president of the European Commission, promised the British Trades Union Congress that the E.U. would be a “social market.”

Instead the E.U. allowed itself to be sold out to unelected and unaccountable neoliberal technocrats now in charge in Brussels. European voters, perhaps not fully understanding the consequences, elected neoliberal national governments slavishly taking Washington’s foreign policy orders. But Brexit shows those voters are getting educated. Unity is a great ideal but E.U. leaders have refused to accept that it has to benefit all Europeans.

The E.U.’s Lisbon Treaty is the only constitution in the world that has neoliberal policies written into it. If it won’t reform — and the arrogance of the E.U.’s leaders tells us it won’t — it will be up to the people of Europe to diminish or dismantle the E.U. through additional referenda. That would give liberated European nations the chance to elect anti-neoliberal national governments, accountable to the voters, which can also chart foreign policies independent of Washington.

The danger is that the right-wing sentiment that has driven a large part of the anti-Establishment movements in Europe (and the U.S.) may elect governments that grow even closer to Washington and impose even harsher neoliberal policies.

That is a risk that may need to be taken in the hope that the anti-Establishment left and right can coalesce around shared interests to put an end to the elitist European project.


Joe Lauria is a veteran foreign-affairs journalist based at the U.N. since 1990. He has written for the Boston Globe, the London Daily Telegraph, the Johannesburg Star, the Montreal Gazette, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He can be reached atjoelauria@gmail.com  and followed on Twitter at @unjoe.

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi airstrikes leave 20 Yemeni civilians dead despite truce

Press TV – June 28, 2016

At least 20 civilians have been killed as Saudi warplanes bombed Yemen’s Ta’izz Province in violation of a UN-brokered ceasefire.

Saudi jets targeted a petrol bomb in Hayfan district of the southwestern province of Ta’izz early on Tuesday, leaving at least 20 civilians dead and 15 others injured, Yemen’s al-Masirah television reported.

Some Yemeni media outlets have put the number of those killed at 35.

The news comes hours after four terrorist bomb attacks hit military and security positions in Mukalla city of Hadhramaut Province, leaving 48 civilians dead and some 30 others injured.

Meanwhile, a Saudi air strike mistakenly hit a military convoy of pro-Riyadh militants in the strategic mountain of Hailan in Ma’rib Province on Monday night.

Five militants, including a commander, were killed and six others wounded in the air raid.

The Saudi attacks come despite UN-mediated talks in Kuwait between representatives of Yemen’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and a delegation comprising of the Houthi Ansarullah movement and allies. A ceasefire agreement had been announced before the peace talks.

The Houthi delegation has warned that such blatant cases of truce violation could lead to a full collapse of the peace talks.

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26, 2015, in a bid to bring Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, back to power and defeat the Ansarullah movement. More than 10,000 people have been killed since then.

Kuwait talks

Meanwhile, reports said Monday that Yemen’s warring parties plan to suspend the talks after failing to reach results.

Two negotiators representing Houthis and their allies, and one from the Hadi-delegation said the two sides on Monday were drafting a statement to declare that the negotiations will resume in mid-July following the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

“The return to the talks is meant to save face after reaching a deadlock,” said one of the negotiators, who is also one of Hadi’s ministers.

The main bone of contention in the talks is reportedly a demand by the Hadi delegation for the Houthis to start disarming and withdrawing from the areas they have under control.

The Houthis took over state matters when Hadi resigned back in January 2015.

Houthis have rejected the call, saying they will only accept a deal on military and security issues after consensus is reached on the next president and a unity government in Yemen.

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

US destroyer gets dangerously close to Russian patrol boat in Mediterranean

RT | June 28, 2016

The US guided-missile destroyer Gravely breached international navigation safety rules by coming within dangerous proximity of the Yaroslav Mudry, a Russian frigate, in the eastern Mediterranean, the Russian Defense Ministry has said.

The USS Gravely approached the Yaroslav Mudry, a Russian frigate, on June 17, passing across her course at a “dangerous” distance of 180 meters (550ft), the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The encounter occurred in international waters. The Yaroslav Mudry did not deviate from her course and refrained from engaging in dangerous maneuvering with the US warship, the ministry added.

According to the statement, the warship’s captain and crew violated the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), which govern the conduct of two or more vessels when they meet at sea in order to prevent dangerous situations.

“The US sailors, in particular, neglected Rule 13, which stipulates that an overtaking vessel must keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken,” the Defense Ministry said. It added that the USS Gravely had also violated Rule 15, which says that a vessel that has another vessel on the starboard side must yield and avoid crossing ahead of her.

The ministry also said the Pentagon should take note of such incidents rather than accuse the Russian Air Force and Navy of unprofessional conduct. “US sailors allow themselves to neglect key foundations of navigation safety without thinking of the consequences that dangerous maneuvering in a heavily trafficked maritime area might involve.”

The USS Gravely is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer capable of carrying an Aegis missile defense system. She was commissioned in 2010 and sent to her first overseas deployment in the eastern Mediterranean three years later.

Yaroslav Mudry, a Russian-made Neustrashimy-class frigate, has seen service with the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet. She was spotted near Malta Earlier in June, reportedly heading to the eastern part of the Mediterranean to join Russia’s maritime task force off Syrian shores.

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

The Magnitsky Hoax?

Who stole all the money?

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • June 28, 2016

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer hired by an Anglo-American investment fund operating in Moscow to investigate the apparent diversion of as much as $230 million in taxes due to the government. He became a whistleblower after discovering that the money had been stolen by the police, organized crime figures and other government officials. After he went to the authorities to complain he was unjustly imprisoned for eleven months. When he refused to recant he was both beaten and denied medical treatment to coerce him into cooperating, resulting in his death in jail at age 37 in November 2009. He has become something of a hero for those who have decried official corruption in Russia.

The Magnitsky case is of particular importance because both the European Union and the United States have initiated sanctions against the Russian officials who were allegedly involved. In the Magnitsky Act, sponsored by Russia-phobic Senator Ben Cardin and signed by President Barack Obama in 2012, the U.S. asserted its willingness to punish foreign governments for violations of human rights. Russia reacted angrily, noting that the actions taken by its government internally, notably the operation of its judiciary, were being subjected to outside interference. It reciprocated with sanctions against U.S. officials as well as by increasing pressure on foreign non-governmental pro-democracy groups operating in Russia. Tension between Moscow and Washington increased considerably as a result and Congress will likely soon approve a so-called Global Magnitsky Act as part of the current defense appropriation bill. It expands the use of sanctions and other punitive measures against regimes guilty of egregious human rights abuses though it is unlikely to be applied to U.S. friends like Saudi Arabia and Israel. It is also sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin and is clearly intended to intimidate Russia.

The tit-for-tat that has severely damaged relations with Russia is based on the standard narrative embraced by many regarding who Magnitsky was and what he did, but is it true? I had the privilege of attending the first by invitation only screening of a documentary “The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes,” produced by Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov. The documentary had been blocked in Europe through lawsuits filed by some of the parties linked to the prevailing narrative but the Newseum in Washington eventually proved willing to permit rental of a viewing room in spite of threats coming from the same individuals to sue to stop the showing.

Nekrasov by his own account had intended to do a documentary honoring Magnitsky and his employers as champions for human rights within an increasing fragile Russian democracy. He had previously produced documentaries highly critical of Russian actions in Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine, and also regarding the assassinations of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London as well as of journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow. He has been critical of Vladimir Putin personally and was not regarded as someone who was friendly to the regime, quite the contrary. Some of his work has been banned in Russia.

After his documentary was completed using actors to play the various real-life personalities involved and was being edited Nekrasov returned to some issues that had come up during the interviews made during the filming. The documentary records how he sought clarification of what he was reading and hearing but one question inevitably led to another.

The documentary began with the full participation of American born UK citizen William Browder, who virtually served as narrator for the first section that portrayed the widely accepted story on Magnitsky. Browder portrays himself as a human rights campaigner dedicated to promoting the legacy of Sergei Magnitsky, but he is inevitably much more complicated than that. The grandson of Earl Browder the former General Secretary of the American Communist Party, William Browder studied economics at the University of Chicago, and obtained an MBA from Stanford.

From the beginning, Browder concentrated on Eastern Europe, which was beginning to open up to the west. In 1989 he took a position at highly respected Boston Consulting Group dealing with reviving failing Polish socialist enterprises. He then worked as an Eastern Europe analyst for Robert Maxwell, the unsavory British press magnate and Mossad spy, before joining the Russia team at Wall Street’s Salomon Brothers in 1992.

He left Salomons in 1996 and partnered with the controversial Edmond Safra, the Lebanese-Brazilian-Jewish banker who died in a mysterious fire in 1999, to set up Hermitage Capital Management Fund. Hermitage is registered in tax havens Guernsey and the Cayman Islands. It is a hedge fund that was focused on “investing” in Russia, taking advantage initially of the loans-for-shares scheme under Boris Yeltsin, and then continuing to profit greatly during the early years of Vladimir Putin’s ascendancy. By 2005 Hermitage was the largest foreign investor in Russia.

Browder had renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1997 and became a British citizen apparently to avoid American taxes, which are levied on worldwide income. In his book Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man’s Fight for Justice he depicts himself as an honest and honorable Western businessman attempting to function in a corrupt Russian business world. That may or may not be true, but the loans-for-shares scheme that made him his initial fortune has been correctly characterized as the epitome of corruption, an arrangement whereby foreign investors worked with local oligarchs to strip the former Soviet economy of its assets paying pennies on each dollar of value. Along the way, Browder was reportedly involved in making false representations on official documents and bribery.

As a consequence of what came to be known as the Magnitsky scandal, Browder was eventually charged by the Russian authorities for fraud and tax evasion. He was banned from re-entering Russia in 2005, even before Magnitsky died, and began to withdraw his assets from the country. Three companies controlled by Hermitage were eventually seized by the authorities, though it is not clear if any assets remained in Russia. Browder himself was convicted of tax evasion in absentia in 2013 and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Browder has assiduously, and mostly successfully, made his case that he and Magnitsky have been the victims of Russian corruption both during and since that time, though there have been skeptics regarding many details of his personal narrative. He has been able to sell his tale to leading American politicians like Senators John McCain, Ben Cardin and ex-Senator Joe Lieberman, always receptive when criticizing Russia, as well as to a number of European parliamentarians and media outlets. But there is, inevitably, another side to the story, something quite different, which Andrei Nekrasov presents to the viewer.

Nekrasov has discovered what he believes to be holes in the narrative that has been carefully constructed and nurtured by Browder. He provides documents and also an interview with Magnitsky’s mother maintaining that there is no clear evidence that he was beaten or tortured and that he died instead due to the failure to provide him with medicine while in prison or treatment shortly after he had a heart attack. A subsequent investigation ordered by then Russian President Dimitri Medvedev in 2011 confirmed that Magnitsky had not received medical treatment, contributing to this death, but could not confirm that he had been beaten even though there was suspicion that that might have been the case.

Nekrasov also claims that much of the case against the Russian authorities is derived from English language translations of relevant documents provided by Browder himself. The actual documents sometimes say something quite different. Magnitsky is referred to as an accountant, not a lawyer, which would make sense as a document of his deposition is apparently part of a criminal investigation of possible tax fraud, meaning that he was no whistleblower and was instead a suspected criminal.

Other discrepancies cited by Nekrasov include documents demonstrating that Magnitsky did not file any complaint about police and other government officials who were subsequently cited by Browder as participants in the plot, that the documents allegedly stolen from Magnitsky to enable the plotters to transfer possession of three Hermitage controlled companies were irrelevant to how the companies eventually were transferred and that someone else employed by Hermitage other than Magnitsky actually initiated investigation of the fraud.

In conclusion, Nekrasov believes there was indeed a huge fraud related to Russian taxes but that it was not carried out by corrupt officials. Instead, it was deliberately ordered and engineered by Browder with Magnitsky, the accountant, personally developing and implementing the scheme used to carry out the deception.

To be sure, Browder and his international legal team have presented documents in the case that contradict much of what Nekrasov has presented in his film. But in my experience as an intelligence officer I have learned that documents are easily forged, altered, or destroyed so considerable care must be exercised in discovering the provenance and authenticity of the evidence being provided. It is not clear that that has been the case. It might be that Browder and Magnitsky have been the victims of a corrupt and venal state, but it just might be the other way around. In my experience perceived wisdom on any given subject usually turns out to be incorrect.

Given the adversarial positions staked out, either Browder or Nekrasov is essentially right, though one should not rule out a combination of greater or lesser malfeasance coming from both sides. But certainly Browder should be confronted more intensively on the nature of his business activities while in Russia and not given a free pass because he is saying things about Russia and Putin that fit neatly into a Washington establishment profile. As soon as folks named McCain, Cardin and Lieberman jump on a cause it should be time to step back a bit and reflect on what the consequences of proposed action might be.

One should ask why anyone who has a great deal to gain by having a certain narrative accepted should be completely and unquestionably trusted, the venerable Cui bono? standard. And then there is a certain evasiveness on the part of Browder. The film shows him huffing and puffing to explain himself at times and he has avoided being served with subpoenas on allegations connected to the Magnitsky fraud that are making their way through American courts. In one case he can be seen on YouTube running away from a server, somewhat unusual behavior if he has nothing to hide.

A number of Congressmen and staffers were invited to the showing of the Nekrasov documentary at the Newseum but it is not clear if any of them actually bothered to attend, demonstrating once again how America’s legislature operates inside a bubble of willful ignorance of its own making. Nor was the event reported in the local “newspaper of record” the Washington Post, which has been consistently hostile to Russia on its editorial and news pages.

A serious effort that a friend of mine described as “hell breaking loose” was also made to disrupt the question and answer session that followed the viewing of the film, with a handful of clearly coordinated hecklers interrupting and making it impossible for others to speak. The organized intruders, who may have gained entry using invitations that were sent to congressmen, suggested that someone at least considers this game being played out to have very high stakes.

The point is that neither Nekrasov nor Browder should be taken at their word. Either or both might be lying and the motivation to make mischief is very high if even a portion of the stolen $230 million is still floating around and available. And by the same measure, no Congressman or even the President should trust the established narrative, particularly if they persist in their hypocritical conceit that global human rights are best judged from Washington. They should in particular hesitate if they are considering tying policy towards Russia based on a presumption of guilt on the part of Moscow without really knowing what actually did occur. That could well be a decision that will bring with it tragic consequences.

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Film Review, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

US to deploy Israeli missile system on Russian borders: General

Press TV – June 28, 2016

The US military has tested an Israeli short-range missile for possible use in its European network of missile systems to deter Russia, says a US Army general.

Major General Glenn Bramhall of the US Army’s Air and Missile Defense Command made the comments on Monday, as he visited the occupied Palestinian territories.

Bramhall said his units needed a reliable system to counter less powerful missile threats as a third tier beside the Army’s array of midrange Patriot and THAAD missile systems.

“Patriot and THAAD are great systems that do what they were designed to do. But I don’t think we would want to waste a Patriot or a THAAD missile on something that can be affected by something that’s lower cost and is actually designed for that job itself,” the general told Reuters.

For that purpose, he said the US military has test-launched a variant of the Israeli “Tamir” rocket which is incorporated to the Tel Aviv regime’s so-called Iron Dome missile system.

Jointly manufactured by American and Israeli firms, each Tamir battery, consisting of a radar unit, missile control unit, and several launchers, is worth $50 million, with each missile costing about $100,000.

“I think we are looking at something that is similar to Iron Dome. We have looked at the Tamir as a possible missile,” Bramhall said. He was due to inspect an Iron Dome unit on Tuesday.

Russian deterrence

Elsewhere in his remarks, the American general noted that the Israeli missile system is being considered mainly as a deterrent against what he called Russia’s military buildup in Europe.

“With all that is happening in Europe, especially the fact that Russia has really awakened itself and has really decided to rebuild its military and is really posing a threat, we are looking at how we can do the multi-tiered defense,” Bramhall said.

Military tensions between Russia and the US further heightened in May, when American and NATO officials activated a land-based missile system in Romania, despite Russia’s warning against US-led arms deployments near its borders.

The missiles’ activation marked the penultimate step in the completion of a missile shield, which Washington proposed nearly a decade ago.

Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly criticized the system’s deployment, vowing to neutralize any threats against his country’s security.

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment