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NATO Reaffirms Its Bogus Russia Narrative

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | July 11, 2016

It’s unnerving to realize that the NATO alliance – bristling with an unprecedented array of weapons including a vast nuclear arsenal – has lost its collective mind. Perhaps it’s more reassuring to think that NATO simply feels compelled to publicly embrace its deceptive “strategic communications” so gullible Western citizens will be kept believing its lies are truth.

But here were the leaders of major Western “democracies” lining up to endorse a Warsaw Summit Communiqué condemning “Russia’s aggressive actions” while knowing that these claims were unsupported by their own intelligence agencies.

The leaders – at least the key ones – know that there is no credible intelligence that Russian President Vladimir Putin provoked the Ukraine crisis in 2014 or that he has any plans to invade the Baltic states, despite the fact that nearly every “important person” in Official Washington and other Western capitals declares the opposite of this to be reality.

But there have been a few moments when the truth has surfaced. For instance, in the days leading up to the just-completed NATO summit in Warsaw, General Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, divulged that the deployment of NATO military battalions in the Baltic states was a political, rather than military, act.

“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,” Pavel told a news conference.

What Pavel blurted out was what I have been told by intelligence sources over the past two-plus years – that the endless drumbeat of Western media reports about “Russian aggression” results from a clever demonization campaign against Putin and a classic Washington “group think” rather than from a careful intelligence analysis.

Ironically, however, just days after the release of the British Chilcot report documenting how a similar propaganda campaign led the world into the disastrous Iraq War – with its deadly consequences still reverberating through a destabilized Mideast and into an unnerved Europe – NATO reenacts the basic failure of that earlier catastrophe, except now upping the ante into a confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.

The Warsaw communiqué – signed by leaders including President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron – ignores the reality of what happened in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014 and thus generates an inside-out narrative.

Instead of reprising the West’s vacuous propaganda themes, Obama and the other leaders could have done something novel and told the truth, but that apparently is outside their operating capabilities. So they all signed on to the dangerous lie.

What Really Happened

The real narrative based on actual facts would have acknowledged that it was the West, not Russia, that instigated the Ukraine crisis by engineering the violent overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych and the imposition of a new Western-oriented regime hostile to Moscow and Ukraine’s ethnic Russians.

In late 2013, it was the European Union that was pushing an economic association agreement with Ukraine, which included the International Monetary Fund’s demands for imposing harsh austerity on Ukraine’s already suffering population. Political and propaganda support for the E.U. plan was financed, in part, by the U.S. government through such agencies as the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

When Yanukovych recoiled at the IMF’s terms and opted for a more generous $15 billion aid package from Putin, the U.S. government threw its public support behind mass demonstrations aimed at overthrowing Yanukovych and replacing him with a new regime that would sign the E.U. agreement and accept the IMF’s demands.

As the crisis deepened in early 2014, Putin was focused on the Sochi Winter Olympics, particularly the threat of terrorist attacks on the games. No evidence has been presented that Putin was secretly trying to foment the Ukraine crisis. Indeed, all the evidence is that Putin was trying to protect the status quo, support the elected president and avert a worse crisis.

It would be insane to suggest that Putin somehow orchestrated the E.U.’s destabilizing attempt to pull Ukraine into the association agreement, that he then stage-managed the anti-Yanukovych violence of the Maidan protests, that he collaborated with neo-Nazi and other ultra-nationalist militias to kill Ukrainian police and chase Yanukovych from Kiev, and that he then arranged for Yanukovych to be replaced by a wildly anti-Russian regime – all while pretending to do the opposite of all these things.

In the real world, the narrative was quite different: Moscow supported Yanukovych’s efforts to reach a political compromise, including a European-brokered agreement for early elections and reduced presidential powers. Yet, despite those concessions, neo-Nazi militias surged to the front of the U.S.-backed protests on Feb. 22, 2014, forcing Yanukovych and many of his officials to run for their lives. The U.S. State Department quickly recognized the coup regime as “legitimate” as did other NATO allies.

On a personal note, I am sometimes criticized by conspiracy theorists for not accepting their fact-free claims about nefarious schemes supposedly dreamed up by U.S. officials, but frankly as baseless as some of those wacky stories can be, they sound sensible when compared with the West’s loony conspiracy theory about Putin choreographing the Ukraine coup.

Yet, that baseless conspiracy theory roped in supposedly serious thinkers, such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who conjured up the notion that Putin stirred up this trouble so he could pull off a land grab and/or distract Russians from their economic problems.

“Delusions of easy winnings still happen,” Krugman wrote in a 2014 column. “It’s only a guess, but it seems likely that Vladimir Putin thought that he could overthrow Ukraine’s government, or at least seize a large chunk of its territory, on the cheap, a bit of deniable aid to the rebels, and it would fall into his lap. …

“Recently Justin Fox of the Harvard Business Review suggested that the roots of the Ukraine crisis may lie in the faltering performance of the Russian economy. As he noted, Mr. Putin’s hold on power partly reflects a long run of rapid economic growth. But Russian growth has been sputtering, and you could argue that the Putin regime needed a distraction.”

Midwifing This Thing

Or, rather than “a guess,” Krugman could have looked at the actual facts, such as the work of neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland conspiring to organize a coup that would put her hand-picked Ukrainians in charge of Russia’s neighbor. Several weeks before the putsch, Nuland was caught plotting the “regime change” in an intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.

Regarding who should replace Yanukovych, Nuland’s choice was Arseniy “Yats is the guy” Yatsenyuk. The phone call went on to muse about how they could “glue this thing” and “midwife this thing.” After the coup was glued or midwifed on Feb. 22, 2014, Yatsenyuk emerged as the new prime minister and then shepherded through the IMF austerity plan.

Since the coup regime in Kiev also took provocative steps against the ethnic Russians, such as the parliament voting to ban Russian as an official language and allowing neo-Nazi extremists to slaughter anti-coup protesters, ethnic Russian resistance arose in the east and south. That shouldn’t have been much of a surprise since eastern Ukraine had been Yanukovych’s political base and stood to lose the most from Ukraine’s economic orientation toward Europe and reduced economic ties to Russia.

Yet, instead of recognizing the understandable concerns of the eastern Ukrainians, the Western media portrayed the ethnic Russians as simply Putin’s pawns with no minds of their own. The U.S.-backed regime in Kiev launched what was called an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” against them, spearheaded by the neo-Nazi militias.

In Crimea – another area heavily populated with ethnic Russians and with a long history of association with Russia – voters opted by 96 percent in a referendum to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, a process supported by Russian troops stationed in Crimea under a prior agreement with Ukraine’s government.

There was no Russian “invasion,” as The New York Times and other mainstream U.S. news outlets claimed. The Russian troops were already in Crimea assigned to Russia’s historic Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol. Putin agreed to Crimea’s annexation partly out of fear that the naval base would otherwise fall into NATO’s hands and pose a strategic threat to Russia.

But the key point regarding the crazy Western conspiracy theory about Putin provoking the crisis so he could seize territory or distract Russians from economic troubles is that Putin only annexed Crimea because of the ouster of Yanukovych and the installation of a Russia-hating regime in Kiev. If Yanukovych had not been overthrown, there is no reason to think that Putin would have done anything regarding Crimea or Ukraine.

Yet, once the false narrative got rolling, there was no stopping it. The New York Times, The Washington Post and other leading Western publications played the same role that they did during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, accepting the U.S. government’s propaganda as fact and marginalizing the few independent journalists who dared go against the grain.

Though Obama, Merkel and other key leaders know how deceptive the Western propaganda has been, they have become captives to their governments’ own lies. For them to deviate substantially from the Official Story would open them to harsh criticism from the powerful neoconservatives and their allied media outlets.

Even a slight contradiction to NATO’s “strategic communications” brought down harsh criticism on German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier after he said: “What we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation further through saber-rattling and warmongering. … Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is mistaken.”

Excoriating Russia

So, at the Warsaw conference, the false NATO narrative had to be reaffirmed — and it was. The communiqué declared, “Russia’s aggressive actions, including provocative military activities in the periphery of NATO territory and its demonstrated willingness to attain political goals by the threat and use of force, are a source of regional instability, fundamentally challenge the Alliance, have damaged Euro-Atlantic security, and threaten our long-standing goal of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. …

“Russia’s destabilising actions and policies include: the ongoing illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, which we do not and will not recognise and which we call on Russia to reverse; the violation of sovereign borders by force; the deliberate destabilisation of eastern Ukraine; large-scale snap exercises contrary to the spirit of the Vienna Document, and provocative military activities near NATO borders, including in the Baltic and Black Sea regions and the Eastern Mediterranean; its irresponsible and aggressive nuclear rhetoric, military concept and underlying posture; and its repeated violations of NATO Allied airspace.

“In addition, Russia’s military intervention, significant military presence and support for the regime in Syria, and its use of its military presence in the Black Sea to project power into the Eastern Mediterranean have posed further risks and challenges for the security of Allies and others.”

In the up-is-down world that NATO and other Western agencies now inhabit, Russia’s military maneuvers within it own borders in reaction to NATO maneuvers along Russia’s borders are “provocative.” So, too, is Russia’s support for the internationally recognized government of Syria, which is under attack from Islamic terrorists and other armed rebels supported by the West’s Mideast allies, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and NATO member Turkey.

In other words, it is entirely all right for NATO and its members to invade countries at will, including Iraq, Libya and Syria, and subvert others as happened in Ukraine and is still happening in Syria. But it is impermissible for any government outside of NATO to respond or even defend itself. To do so amounts to a provocation against NATO – and such hypocrisy is accepted by the West’s mainstream news media as the way that the world was meant to be.

And those of us who dare point out the lies and double standards must be “Moscow stooges,” just as those of us who dared question the Iraq WMD tales were dismissed as “Saddam apologists” in 2003.


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

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lieberman Appoints IDF Chief Rabbi Who Endorses Rape to Improve Troop Morale

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | July 11, 2016

eran krim rape

Yediot Achronot: “New Army Chief Rabbi: Rape in Wartime is Permitted”

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s new defense minister, has announced a series of military promotions. The most glaring one is the religious figure elevated to be the army’s new chief rabbi. He is Eyal Krim. His main claim to infamy is that in a religious publication (Hebrew), he was asked if the Book of Deuteronomy permits an Israelite to rape women of an enemy tribe, how does this correspond to modern military policy.

He told readers that it would be permissible for Jewish soldiers to rape attractive Arab women (Krim’s statement is translated into English here) among the enemy because it would improve military morale and redound to the greater good of the nation in pursuing its military objectives:

It is permitted to break the bounds of modesty [a series of halachic injunctions governing prohibited sexual relations] and training. So it’s permissible to eat treif and to satisfy evil [sexual] urges through having sexual relations with attractive non-Jewish women against their will, out of consideration for the hardships of war and for the good of the whole [army’s objectives].

In comparing treif to rape, it seems the holy rabbi struck a nice balance between consuming treif and “consuming” women (sarcasm intended).

eran krim rape

IDF chief rabbi Krim, advocate of rape as tool of war (Nir Arieli)

The key to Krim’s reasoning is that most nations fight wars of choice whereas Israel’s wars are always wars of “obligation.” In other words, wars in which the entire life of the Jewish people is at stake (his thinking, not mine). Because the survival of the whole is paramount, then traditional religious commands concerning sexual relations may be abrogated to encourage the troops to fight their best. It goes without saying that the holy rabbi has no consideration for the woman involved as she is not Jewish and hence of no value or significance except as an object to satisfy the Jewish soldier’s “evil urge.”

Krim denounced the enlistment of “girls” (his word, not mine) in the IDF and said it was “absolutely forbidden,” because the harm done to the modesty of the woman and to the nation (as a result of women fighting) is the deciding factor.

Haaretz also reports that Krim told his Orthodox audience that wounded Palestinian attackers were not human, but rather animals who should be summarily executed. This is a criminal act for which Elor Azarya is now being prosecuted.

He also said homosexuals should be treated mercifully as if they were “sick or deformed.” Jews should hope that gays can redeem themselves from their unnatural behavior and return to a natural approach to sexuaity, meaning a relationship between man and woman. Homosexuality, he found, “destroyed” the natural order.  Man, he believed, had free choice to behave according to nature and should choose to do so.

The ruling that women could not testify in court was intended to protect them, since their “sentimental” nature would not permit them to withstand the rigorous nature of cross examination.

When asked his views about the “Jewish jobs” movement which attempts to force businesses to employ Jews only, he responded that it was not racist since it’s intent was to help Jews.

If a Jew found a copy of the New Testament he should burn it. treating it with “extreme brutality.” Doing so was right and just since Christian doctrine was considered “idolatry” and harmed the world.

He was asked whether Druze or Bedouin should serve in the IDF. He replied that those who serve loyally were permissible, but that the lives of Jewish soldiers always “came first.”

The IDF Responds

When Haaretz asked the IDF public affairs office whether these statements represented the policies and values of the army, it refused to respond.

It’s worth nothing that when Yossi Gurvitz wrote his 972 post on the rabbi’s earlier statements and sought a response from the IDF public affairs unit, the response was that Krim made these statements when he was not in military service. Therefore they do not reflect on the army at all. Given the response below, that strategy seems to have changed. Now, they simply claim he didn’t mean what he said.

The official army response was that the rabbi’s statements were “taken out of context.” Krim doesn’t support the rape of women on the field of battle and affirms that the Torah does not sanction such an act. Anyone who says otherwise is mistaken. But there is the wee small problem of what he actually wrote on the printed page and what an army spokesperson now says second-hand in his name. Who’re you gonna believe? the IDF or your lyin’ eyes?

The IDF’s typical posture above is simply to lie and claim, against the evidence, that Krim doesn’t believe what he actually said. It’s been able to get away with such cynical obtuseness for decades and seems to be prepared to continue in this fashion indefinitely.

The army also notes in Krim’s favor that he’s ruled that male soldiers do not have to abandon military ceremonies at which women’s voices would be heard singing (a ruling proposed by other Orthodox rabbis), as long as the male soldiers don’t see the singers. But this distorts what he actually said: that IDF choirs performing at public ceremonies should be male and not female in order to respect the feelings of (male) Orthodox soldiers. He added that if such an arrangement was not practical, that male soldiers should be permitted to listen to a female choir.

His predecessor, Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, authorized war crimes including the murder of civilians in pursuit of IDF objectives.  Rontzki was his rabbinic teacher and they both attended the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva. It appears Krim is in excellent company. One of Ateret Cohanim’s goals is to restore the sacred priestly rite of animal sacrifice and rebuild the Holy Temple, a project which would require demolition of the Muslim holy sites of Haram al-Sharif.

One way that the far-right Orthodox transform the army into an ideological-theocratic tool to advance their political interests is by founding military preparatory schools which feed directly into the officer corps. In this way, rabbis like Krim produce thousands of hard-right future officers who fill the ranks and determine the future strategy and orientation of the military. So it is no accident that IDF soldiers refuse to protect Palestinian civilians from the pogroms of settlers.

As far as I’m concerned, Meir Kahane in death has succeeded far beyond his wildest dreams. The Kahanist slogan: “Kahane was right” is wrong. The new slogan should be: “Kahane won.” He commands the IDF. The State is his. His followers have triumphed and they are positioned in almost every position of power and influence. They are turning Israel into a monstrous parody of a Jewish state. In which Kahanist racialism and ethnic cleansing are state policy. This isn’t a Jewish state. It’s a Judean state–of, by and for the settlers. It’s a form of idolatory where, instead of worshipping traditional Biblical prophetic values of tolerance, justice, and equality, it worships land and power.

While appointing a rabbi who endorses battlefield rape, Lieberman has made even more important appointments in the vital sector of Israeli defense industries. He just appointed a Yisrael Beitenu Party hack, Uzi Landau, as CEO of Rafael Industries. This will be a huge gravy train for the Party and its machine. Imagine the jobs the Party can dole out to the faithful, the contracts it can also distribute to businesses allied with the Party! This is the way business is conducted in a corrupt garrison state like Israel. If any of you are so naïve as to doubt this will happen, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Police Robot Killing?

By Mike Holmes | LewRockwell | July 11, 2016

Three days after the Dallas police sniper attack I have not yet encountered any thoughtful discussion of the recent Dallas sniper robot murder.

The suspect (though undoubtedly guilty of mass murder) was trapped in a garage and surrounded by what were likely dozens of Dallas police. All very personally angry and vengeful.

We are told (indirectly by murky police “sources”) that after negotiations “failed” the suspect was given an ultimatum: surrender or be killed.

I wonder what the legal rationale for that demand actually is?

“Surrender or die!”

This suspect wasn’t going anywhere. Had he made some attempt at escape or a suicidal charge, he would have been cut down by dozens of police rifle and pistol bullets. The Dallas police are a professional organization and as such, should not have been in any danger from further attack or even a suicidal charge by the suspect trapped in a parking garage.

Why not simply wait him out? He needed food, water and sleep. Those requirements mean that surrender or suicide would be inevitable.

Why not use CS or tear gas? I’m sure the Dallas police had plenty of that available. This suspect had no protection from that.

Yes, the police were hot, tired, angry and vengeful (especially that). But those circumstances don’t preclude non-lethal efforts at capture.

As it stands the only motives we have are what the Dallas PD says they were, via conversations with the suspect. Were these recorded? Why have we not heard the details by now? Surely there was lots of recorded radio chatter and perhaps even cell phone texting/calls. Did the Dallas police legitimately want a peaceful outcome? Did someone higher up order this suspect’s death to keep him from talking about his motives or possible accomplices?

While this suspect would have inevitably been killed by the State (in Texas, killing law enforcement guarantees you the needle), why wasn’t he captured and given a trial? Summary execution of suspects isn’t legal, is it?

What little I’ve read are brief news interviews with legal professors, most of whom parrot the police claim that this killing was for the “protection” of the officers. This isn’t credible since barricaded suspects who are surrounded can do no harm to anyone but themselves. He didn’t have explosives.

Instead, they sent in a robot with a bomb and detonated it. Unprecedented, even in militarized police America.

What will happen the next time police send in a robot to “talk” to a suspect? Might this now trigger a suspect to attack, kill hostages, or set off hidden explosives? Who will trust a police robot now?

“Well, we waited two hours, and that was enough” is hardly a legal doctrine for murder by law enforcement. Not when the public or police are not in danger.

Since robots may not always be available, will police in America start using grenades, bazookas, or small artillery to dispatch recalcitrant suspects in the future?

If a civilian family traps a red-handed murderer of family members in their garage, in a remote rural area where the police are hours away at night, does the family have the legal authority (post facto) to simply demand the suspect surrender or be killed? And then kill the suspect if they don’t give up after an hour or two? At the very least the grand jury would be empaneled for this.

What this appears to be is the classic (but oft-denied) double standard regarding law enforcement. If you hurt or kill them, you are literally “outlaw” and subject to immediate and fatal retaliation (by law enforcement) regardless. You have no rights. No surrender (unless granted) or trial. You are subject to police execution because they think you are guilty and your victim is one of “them”, not a “citizen.” In fact, this doesn’t happen often since few law enforcement personnel are willing to rely on this double standard themselves. But it is widely acknowledged to exist.

Is mere inconvenience to police, or accommodating the news cycle, a valid excuse for law enforcement murder of suspects? Even at the Waco massacre, the FBI waited over a week before their military assault, which killed dozens of children and women non-combatants. In Dallas, the wait was only a few hours.

The despicable James Holmes, who murdered 20 people in a Denver-area movie theater, was also trapped by police but was allowed to surrender. They didn’t rush in and shoot him to pieces or blow him up. He was given a trial and found guilty. Of course, his victims were not law enforcement officers.

In our current legal system, convicted killers on death row are given multiple appeals, trials and numerous procedural details to use in avoiding execution by the State. Many sit for decades in prison and are eventually given the benefit of the doubt about receiving their ultimate punishment. But the Dallas police sniper received what can only be described as “cruel and usual punishment” without any legal due process whatsoever. Has any cornered suspect ever been bombed by law enforcement like this in America? Due process is a guaranteed Constitutional right in the United States irrespective of obvious guilt or innocence.

Will a Dallas grand jury even be called to review the legality of this police murder? Has “failing to surrender to police” now been mysteriously added to the list of capital crimes?

I have no sympathy with the now dead sniper. But isn’t the reason for this tragedy the fact that too many times the police act as judge, jury and executioner, claiming self-defense as a rationale? (And as in Dallas, the suspects are often black.) Isn’t that behavior the problem, not the solution?

Does America solve this problem by ignoring legal due process? We are about to find out.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

Chilcot: UK refusing to help clean up Iraq after raining down radioactive shells

RT | July 12, 2016

Britain has no intention of cleaning up its deadly radioactive legacy in Iraq or even monitoring the terrifying impact depleted uranium (DU) shells will have on the population in the future, it has been claimed.

Writing in the Ecologist on Tuesday, Doug Weir, who is coordinator of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW), says that hidden within the Chilcot report is a previously classified military document setting out the UK’s rejection of any duty to cleanse Iraq of DU of unexploded ordnance (UXO).

“In it, the clearance of unexploded ordnance and DU is considered and the Ministry of Defence [MoD] argues that it has: “… no long-term legal responsibility to clean up DU from Iraq” Weir writes.

“Instead it proposes that surface lying fragments of DU only be removed on ‘an opportunity basis’ – i.e. if they come across them in the course of other operations.”

This indicates, according to Weir, that the UK has effectively swerved any obligation to clear up after itself in Iraq.

“In other words, the UK’s stance is that chemically toxic and radioactive DU ‘ash’ from spent munitions is strictly the problem of the country in which the munitions were used – in this case Iraq – and that the UK, which fired the DU shells, has no formal responsibility of cleaning up the mess.”

DU ammunition is used in only two UK weapons systems – the Royal Navy’s PHALANX Close-In Weapon System and in the Charm 3 ammunition fired by the Challenger 2 main battle tank.

However, the route to shirking responsibility may not be as easy as the UK government seems to hope. In October, the UN will meet to debate a sixth resolution on DU weapons. It’s a move which will give succor to the government of Iraq, which in 2014 called for the international community to help clean up DU.

Weir remains hopeful that the UN meeting may be able to encourage governments to take responsibility for the use and fallout of the weapons.

“When the United Nations last discussed DU two years ago, 150 governments recognised the need for states to provide assistance to countries like Iraq,” he wrote.

“This October, our Coalition will add our voice to those of the states affected by DU weapons in calling for an end to the use of DU weapons and for the users to finally accept responsibility for their legacy,” he added.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian youth activist and former prisoner arrested by Israeli occupation forces

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – July 12, 2016

karajah

Palestinian youth activist and former prisoner Hassan Karajah was arrested this evening, 12 July, by Israeli occupation forces at Beit Ur checkpoint west of Ramallah, reported family sources to Samidoun. They are concerned about his situation, especially because he spent 22 months in Israeli prisons after being targeted for his work as a human rights defender.

He was arrested on 23 January 2013 and freed on 19 October 2014, facing an Israeli military court on allegations of participation in a prohibited organization (all Palestinian political parties are prohibited organizations) and contact with an enemy state (frequently used to target Palestinians who travel to Lebanon for conferences and other events.)

Karajah, well known for his work in a number of civil society organizations, including the Stop the Wall Campaign and the Partnership for Development Project, and his advocacy for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, was the subject of an international campaign for his release, which highlighted the Israeli targeting of Palestinian human rights defenders.

A letter Karajah wrote from prison was widely distributed: “Here, we draw our energy to continue from you. We, the newly detained prisoners, our hearts are full of happiness when, while being transported from prisons to court, we meet prisoners we have heard about for decades, whose photos and posters we have carried in the streets, prisoners from whom we learned our readiness to struggle since childhood.

In conclusion, I affirm to you that they will never be able to bring about our end. We are stronger than they are able to weaken us. We are higher than they are able to lower us. We are deeper than they are able to reach us. We continue.

I say to you at the end of this message – I will see you soon. I will come out as you have known me and better, and I will greet you with the single word, ‘Freedom.’”

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Colonel dogged by allegations of justifying rape in wartime to become IDF’s new chief rabbi

RT | July 12, 2016

Rabbi Colonel Eyal Karim, a former special forces commander who once landed in hot water over a “mistinterpreted” statement implying that Israeli soldiers could commit rape in wartime “for the sake of joint success,” is set to become IDF’s new chief rabbi.

Answering a question from one reader who asked whether IDF soldiers were permitted “to rape girls during a fight, or is such a thing forbidden?” according to +972 web magazine, Rabbi Karim responded, “Since, essentially, a war is not an individual matter, but rather nations wage war as a whole, there are cases in which the personality of the individual is ‘erased’ for the benefit of the whole. And vice versa: sometimes you risk a large unit for the saving of an individual, when it is essential for purposes of morale. One of the important and critical values during war is maintaining the army’s fighting ability […]

“War removes some of the prohibitions on sexual relations, and even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge, under the conditions mentioned, for the purpose of the success of the whole,” he added.

The quote caused a furor when it emerged ten years later in 2012, and Rabbi Karim was pushed to publish a clarification stating that his comments had been taken out of context, The Times of Israel reported.

“Colonel Karim wishes to clarify that his words were only uttered in response to a theoretical hermeneutical question, certainly not to a practical halachic question,” the army said in a new statement on Monday. “Rabbi Karim never wrote, said, or even thought that an IDF soldier is permitted to sexually harm a woman during wartime.”

Karim’s “moral approach is evidenced by his years of activity in command, fighting and rabbinical posts, in which he displayed utter loyalty to the values and spirit of the IDF, and especially as regards peoples’ dignity, no matter who they are.”

Karim was drafted into the IDF back in 1975 and volunteered for the paratroopers before becoming an officer in the 202 Battalion, the Arutz Sheva reported. He later took an unpaid leave to study in a yeshiva in Jerusalem, but agreed to return to the paratroopers in 1981 to take part in operations in Lebanon, and later as a commander in the first Lebanon war. His new position as the IDF’s chief rabbi will come with a promotion to Brigadier-General.

In the past, he has also been one of the leaders of a religious-Zionist struggle against the recruitment of women for combat roles in the army, the Haaretz reported.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Bob Kerrey and Fulbright University – What were they thinking?

By Mark Ashwill | University World News | July 8, 2016

“One simply cannot engage in barbarous action without becoming a barbarian… one cannot defend human values by calculated and unprovoked violence without doing mortal damage to the values one is trying to defend.” – J William Fulbright, The Arrogance of Power.

Imagine, for a moment, what would happen if a foreign university in the United States appointed an individual who had killed US civilians – or anyone, for that matter – to serve as chair of its board of trustees?

Or this post-World War II European example from David Marr, a US American historian of modern Viet Nam and Australian National University professor emeritus: “If the post-war West German government had selected a former German army officer who had killed (or ordered the killing of) unarmed French civilians to head the Goethe Institute in Paris, do you think the French government would have accepted this? Going back one step, would Bonn ever have selected such a person in the first place?”

Would the reaction be ‘forgive and forget’, or outrage that the university or government and its supporters could be so blind, so insensitive, so short-sighted as to select someone with such a dark past to assume such a key position?

What about a former Navy SEAL who admitted to being involved in the cold-blooded murder of a score of Vietnamese civilians in early 1969 in the Mekong Delta?

During President Barack Obama’s visit to Viet Nam in May, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Bob Kerrey’s appointment as chair of the Fulbright University Vietnam, or FUV, board of trustees, igniting an international media firestorm.

There were headlines such as “Ex-US senator’s role in Vietnam university opens wartime wounds” in the Financial Times on 31 May 2016; “Bob Kerrey’s war record fuels debate in Vietnam on his role at new university” in The New York Times on 2 June; “War record of Vietnam university’s US chairman angers some” by Associated Press on 14 June; and “Vietnam’s Kerrey dilemma: Fulbright U appointment is lightning rod for US ties” in Asia Times on 21 June.

Mutual respect

Fulbright University Vietnam has been billed by the Trust for University Innovation in Vietnam, a non-profit organisation based in Massachusetts, as “the first private, non-profit Vietnamese university founded on the principles of accountability, meritocracy, transparency, self-governance, mutual respect and open inquiry”. The trust plays a leadership role in the development of the university.

One of the most outspoken opponents of Bob Kerrey’s appointment has been Ton Nu Thi Ninh, Viet Nam’s former ambassador to the European Union, who has called for his resignation.

Referring to his appointment as an act that “shows insensitivity to the feelings of the Vietnamese and, may I say, disregard for our opinions, our sense of self-respect and our dignity,” Ninh wrote in a statement that has been widely distributed in both Vietnamese and English that:

“If the US side insists on holding to its decision, then, in my view, FUV can no longer be considered a joint education project as averred by the founding team.

“A happy marriage is one where both parties listen to each other, have consideration for one another’s opinions and respect each other’s emotions. Otherwise, Fulbright University will be an American university project in Viet Nam conceived and decided upon by Americans, in which the opinions and contributions of the Vietnamese are secondary.”

What Bob Kerrey and his unit did to those civilians with automatic weapons and knives, resulting in the deaths of 21 men, women and children, is between him and his Maker. He has had to live with the psychological and emotional fallout of that long ago night in Thanh Phong, saying he once flirted with the idea of suicide.

This is how Kerrey recalled that tragedy in his memoir, When I Was a Young Man (Harcourt Books 2002):

“I saw women and children in front of us being hit and cut to pieces. I heard their cries and other voices in the darkness as we made our retreat to the canal.

“… The young, innocent man who went to Vietnam died that night. After that night, I no longer had illusions or objectivity about the war. I had become someone I did not recognise.”

What most accounts do not mention is that Kerrey and his men were not just on a routine ‘takeout mission’ to assassinate ‘Viet Cong’ leaders in what was classified as a free-fire zone, but were reportedly on a CIA mission under the auspices of the Phoenix Program, which routinely included the murder of civilians.

The objective of Contre Coup – counter terror – as the strategy was known, was to seek out and terrorise not only individual Viet Cong but also their families, friends and neighbours, according to Douglas Valentine, author of The Phoenix Program, the only comprehensive account of the CIA’s torture and assassination operation in Viet Nam.

Shamefully, Kerrey was awarded and accepted a Bronze Star for ‘heroic achievement’ in that raid. The citation, reflecting body count as a metric of success, reads as follows: “The net result of his patrol was 21 Viet Cong killed, two hooches destroyed and two enemy weapons captured.”

The record is crystal clear. When Bob Kerrey was confronted in 2001 with declassified documents about his role in the Thanh Phong massacre, he admitted his culpability. That makes him a war criminal, albeit one who has never been charged and tried in a court of law.

According to Section 18 of the US Code 2441, a war crime is “any conduct defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed in Geneva on 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party”.

The consequences of a guilty conviction, according to US law, are as follows: “Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.”

Thus, if Bob Kerrey were convicted in a US court of law, he could very well receive the same sentence as his victims with the state as executioner.

Instead, he’s been a free man who has enjoyed success as a businessman, a political leader and a university president while his victims – from the baby, one of his unit’s last victims, to a 65-year-old grandfather whom he reportedly held down as a knife was slid across his throat – have mouldered in their graves for the last 47 years.

Has he apologised directly to the victims’ relatives and the survivors? Has he taken any concrete steps to make amends?

Indeed, one could argue that Kerrey has parlayed his status as a ‘war hero’ into success in the worlds of business and politics.

A glowing 2008 profile on the US government-funded Voice of America, entitled “Bob Kerrey, war hero, politician, educator”, referred to Kerrey’s induction into “the elite Navy SEALs special forces unit” and glossed over his role in the Thanh Phong killings by stating that he “earned the Bronze Star for combat action that would later prove controversial because it involved civilian casualties”.

The Harvard connection

While I understand Kerrey’s motivation to do penance and while I recognise his contributions to US-Viet Nam relations, there are surely better qualified individuals without his deadweight baggage.

So why was he selected? In a phrase, ‘the Harvard connection’. What were they thinking?

One of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Fulbright University Vietnam is Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and, in particular, Tommy Vallely, its senior advisor for Mainland Southeast Asia.

Vallely founded the Harvard Vietnam Program in 1989, which led to the establishment of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program in 1994 in Ho Chi Minh City – a partnership between the University of Economics, HCMC, and the Harvard Kennedy School.

Himself a veteran of the American War in Viet Nam, Vallely also happens to be a close friend and confidant of John Kerry, who in turn is a friend of his long-time US Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey.

Perhaps Kerrey’s appointment was in part the result of this perfect storm of friendship and loyalty, in addition to his desire to give back. The distressing fact is that he was viewed as a viable choice for chair of the FUV board of trustees, bloodstained past notwithstanding.

Mark Bowyer, a long-time expat with extensive Viet Nam experience, wrote a spot-on piece about the Kerrey affair in which he expressed doubt that “reminding the world of previously unpunished US atrocities in Viet Nam is a judicious use of the political capital accumulated during Barack Obama’s recent successful visit”.

While the focus should be on the FUV and the challenges ahead, including fundraising, the spotlight is squarely on the controversial selection of Kerrey and that tragic night in Thanh Phong.

That’s really the heart of the matter. Bob Kerrey, a self-confessed war criminal, as chair of the board of trustees of a US university in Viet Nam named after Senator J William Fulbright?

What parallel universe do his supporters inhabit? They either do not comprehend the implications of selecting such a polarising figure for such an important position, or do not care. Could it be that sense of superiority and exceptionalism that distinguishes nationalists from patriots, what Fulbright wrote about so eloquently and passionately in The Arrogance of Power?

For his part, Kerrey should have had the good sense to gracefully decline the offer. There are other less visible roles for him to play and still have a positive impact.

Instead of acknowledging the misjudgement of his Harvard friends and following an honourable course of action by resigning, however, Kerrey has chosen to dig in his heels. A case of pride goes before a fall, or ego over prudence with a measure of wartime guilt thrown into the mix?

To say that the reaction to Kerrey’s appointment has been mixed is an understatement. Many in the pro-Kerrey camp have a lack of knowledge about his background and the status of the Fulbright University Vietnam as a private initiative with bi-national support.

I even received a Facebook message from a Vietnamese mid-career professional urging me to support Bob Kerrey, after reading some of my critical comments in the media.

He later posted this simple yet sincere statement on my Facebook page: “I am with Bob”. I countered with this heartfelt reply: “I’m with the victims of Bob’s (Thanh Phong) slaughter and for someone who will not taint the reputation of this fledgling university.”

Dr Mark Ashwill is managing director of Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company with offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Ashwill blogs at An International Educator in Vietnam.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Louisiana Governor: “Follow the Directions of Law Enforcement;” Or else.

By Robert Fantina | Aletho News | July 12, 2016

As United States police officers continue their policy of shooting Americans for such heinous violations of the law as having a burned-out bulb in the taillight of their car, the nation seems to have decided that enough is enough. Thousands have protested across the country since the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling last week in response to those crimes, and, also in response, a U.S. army veteran used his training to kill five police officers in Dallas, Texas.

As political leaders of all stripes call for calm, which is standard procedure after any white officers assassinate an unarmed black man, occasionally one of them states what is really at the core of the issue. This week, it was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who uttered one sentence that seems to sum up government policy:

“It is critically important that you follow the directions of law enforcement.”

One wonders if this was a statement, or a thinly-veiled threat. It appears that, in the view of Mr. Edwards, the ‘directions of law enforcement’ must be followed to the letter, with the violation of that being capital punishment, administered instantly by the police.

In Baton Rouge, police officers at various protests, there to ‘serve and protect’, were armed with military equipment, and a widely published photograph showed one officer aiming her machine gun at protesters. It seems that ‘law enforcement’ in Louisiana will be accomplished, regardless of the means required to do so.

Now, perhaps we can look for a moment at the First Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits government interference with the right to peaceful assembly. One must suppose that ‘peaceful’ would need to be further defined, but it appears that the police in Baton Rouge would have all protestors marching slowly in lockstep down the street, chanting softly, and behaving in a way as to attract very little attention. Being loud, boisterous, slightly disorganized and even obnoxious will simply not do. Such behavior, or the shocking action of the press to document it, will cause the protestors to look down the barrel of a police-officer wielded machine gun. Huffington Post Senior Crime Reporter David Lohr found himself in just that position.

In another iconic picture, Leshia Evans, a 28-year-old, unarmed black woman wearing a flowing dress, stands calmly as two white police officers in full riot gear arrest her. Behind them are dozens of additional police officers, also arrayed in full riot gear. She obviously did not heed Mr. Edwards injunction to ‘follow the directions of law enforcement’. Her crime, apparently, was to stand in the street, looking at the police.

Fortunately for the citizens of Baton Rouge, there were numerous police officers there with tear gas, automatic weapons, and all the hardware required in any war zone to deal with Ms. Evans. The good residents of that city can rest easy tonight, knowing that the threat of an unarmed woman standing in the street has been eliminated.

On Friday, as news of the deaths of five police officers in Dallas screamed across computer and television screens, statements from political pundits and government officials indicated their shock, horror and revulsion at such a crime. Corporate-owned entertainment media, generally referred to as news programs, highlighted the crime, reported on each of the victims, and interviewed family and friends. Their alleged heroism, service to the city and the nation, and all their saintly qualities as husbands, fathers and citizens were presented to a citizenry that is instructed in who it must grieve for; whom it must be angry with; whom it must condemn and with whom it must sympathize. Philando Castile and Alton Sterling? Ho-hum. Five Dallas police officers? Shock, sorrow, grief, sympathy, anger at the perpetrator(s), fear of a coming race war, etc., etc.

Now, this writer does not condone the killing of these police officers, and sympathizes with their families. Neither does he condone the killing of Messrs. Castile and Sterling, or of Michael Brown, Eric Garner or the hundreds of other unarmed, innocent and disproportionately black men routinely killed by mostly white police officers in the U.S., usually with complete impunity, and he sympathizes with their families. Yet he recognizes a basic fact that seems to escape the media, and those who, for inexplicable reasons, take their cue on how to react from it. And that is simply this: An authority figure has no more or less intrinsic value as a human being than a common citizen.

There; it has been said. Shocking? Possibly, but it is what this writer believes. When an police officer shoots an unarmed, innocent and defenseless member of the public, this writer believes the officer should be charged with murder. This, of course, goes against the conventional wisdom that police officers can do no wrong, and that people must ‘follow the directions of law enforcement’, but there you have it.

But why is there so much violence and brutality demonstrated by the U.S. police? One commentator, John Miranda, suggests a reason:

“As for the increase in police brutality within the United States, I think this definitely can be pointed towards the Israeli training that the Department of Homeland Security is giving all of American police officers.”

Journalist Rania Khalek, in December of 2015, said that “U.S. police officers are being tutored by Israel on how to employ the tactics that have brought death and serious injury to huge numbers of Palestinians in the past few months.”

This writer has suggested that all people are equal. He will go even further: an Israeli terrorist is not innocent of killing defenseless Palestinians, simply because he or she is Israeli, and his/her victim is Palestinian.

What? Can this writer actually believe these things? Are not Israeli’s God’s chosen people? Some naive people may say that the Bible is a scriptural record, written for the spiritual guidance of individuals and religions that choose to so use it. But enlightened people know it is actually a document to be used to govern nations. Yes, that is why we stone adulterers and non-believers, and shun any and all who tell lies.

Oh, wait. We don’t actually do those things. This writer will get it right yet. Passages in the Bible are to be cherry-picked to support the arguments of the people in power, who represent the 1% and have the money. There, now he thinks he understands.

As of this writing, several hundred people have been arrested in protests against the latest police murders of two innocent black men. Increased resistance to state crimes will bring increased repression; this is yet another model used by Israel that the U.S. follows.

Where will it end? At what point in the future will young black men be able to wear hoodies without the police seeing them as instant targets? When will all Americans be able to drive their cars through any city street, or stroll along any city boulevard, without fearing for their lives? This writer is not optimistic that it will be any time soon.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Theresa May’s Skewed Priorities

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | 3 Comments

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot: Afghanistan is FUBAR

By Eric Walberg | Dissident Voice | July 11, 2016

Afghanistan keeps dropping out of the headlines. Despite its endless bleeding, its Enduring Freedom torment, caused by America’s anti-communist obsession, and perpetrated by its imperialist instinct for world control at all costs, it’s just not interesting for the thrill-seeking msm, and is embarrassing to its lame-duck Nobel laureate president.

It doesn’t get much help from Hollywood, either. No Bob Hopes, who was once the bedrock of WWII-era United Service Organizations (USO), exhorting idealistic troops to fight a very real fascism, a genuine threat. He refashioned his skits to fit Vietnam, to exhort depressed, doped, reluctant troops to fight a nebulous communism that it turns out wasn’t a threat at all.

Steve Colbert went to Iraq in 2008, though he was no fan of Bush II or the war, more out of pity for the thousands of young Americans marooned there. He had Obama order Commanding General Odierno to shave him bald, and joked about how the troops must love Iraq as they kept coming back, earning enough air miles for a free trip to Afghanistan.

Most entertainers stuck to the safe Kuwaiti backwater. Not many takers to entertain in Kabul or Helman, the only vaguely safe spots in Afghanistan anymore. Robin Williams went to Kandahar airfield (“Good Morning, Afghanistan!”), the last time to the safer Kuwait in 2013, just months before he committed suicide.

In 2007, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly sharply criticized the USO for not sending more celebrities to Afghanistan. “As far as I know, the only famous people in the past year were (country music singer) Toby Keith and me.“ On a 2012 trip to Camp Leatherneck, the best USO could come up with were the likes of Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders Allyson Traylor, Brittany Evans and Kelsi Reich; and former American Idol contestants Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young.

It’s hard to blame even those entertainers who are Islamophobic bigots and actually ‘support the troops’, as helicopter is the preferred way to get from the Kabul embassy to the airport, an uncomfortable reminder of another recent US war.

Airbrushing the ‘Sacred War’

Canadian Bruce Cockburn’s peacenik fans disowned him and burnt his dvds after he went to Kabul in 2009 to visit his brother, Captain John Cockburn, a medical doctor, and to play a concert for Canadian troops. He performed his 1984 song “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” and was temporarily awarded an actual rocket launcher by the military.

Cockburn has always gone his own way, a Christian mystic, and stated that, while unsure of the original Invasion of Afghanistan, he supported Canada’s role there. Given Canada’s role as nursemaid vs drone dropper, and Cockburn’s sense of family over politics, his position makes some sense (though the rocket launcher business is at best self-parody, at worst, obscene).

There have been almost no films to entertain us about what the western troops in Afghanistan are up to. Last year’s Rock the Kasbah was not really about the war or US presence, and fell flat, despite Bill Murray. The most talked-about is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, a 2016 comedy-drama film about a second-rate TV reporter, Kim Baker, based on the memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan (2011) by Kim Barker, starring Tina Fey.

Barker, formerly South Asia bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune, told Vanity Fair in May that her intent was to write a dark comedy “people would actually read.” She refers to Kurt  Vonnegut and Stephen Heller as her models.

Sounds good. She knows Afghanistan is a disaster, falling apart, crumbling “chunk by chunk”. The US lost Afghanistan twice: once in the 1990s, and then again in 2003. The initial supporters felt betrayed.  “The Americans lost in Afghanistan as soon as they left for Iraq,” wails one Afghan to Barker. The lack of “benchmarks … without really articulating what you are trying to do—it makes it very difficult to achieve anything remotely resembling stability there.” Uh, hu.

Her book is hardly incisive, with only the faintest echoes of her heroes Vonnegut and Heller:

“Is she scared of me?” asks a warlord to her translator Farouq.

“What’s going on?” asks Baker.

“He wants to know if you are scared of him.”

“Oh, no. He seems like a perfectly nice guy. Totally harmless. Perfectly kind.”

Translator to warlord: “Of course she is scared of you. You are a big and terrifying man. But I told her you are a friend of the Chicago Tribune and I guaranteed her safety.”

But they didn’t make it to the silver screen, where the humour is all bathroom. Barker has but faint praise for the film version of her experience: She was thrilled to be played by Fey. “Friends of mine have said Tina Fey really captured my wry expressions.”

“The Taleban Shuffle”, which at least identifies something relevant, was discarded, along with any critical content, for “Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot” (WTF), a military euphemism for ‘what the fuck’. Frighteningly apt for this “forgotten war”.

Another slang term that fits is FUBAR (fucked up beyond all recognition/ repair), which is accurate not only for the film, but, as I realized, squirming through the film, for the whole US effort in Afghanistan. It’s Vietnam all over again in spades.

While it is now okay to pan the Iraq invasion (until Hillary takes over), Afghanistan is still America’s ‘sacred war’. No room even for Cockburn’s “unsure of the original invasion” caveat.

But the invasion of Afghanistan was every bit as illegal and fraught with disaster as Iraq.

The UN extended only a limited endorsement of the US invasion in resolution 56/1 calling “for international cooperation to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers, and sponsors of the outrages”. In other words, assuming Osama bin Laden was the perpetrator, capture him, withdraw, and then provide aid to Afghanistan. Nothing about occupation, building a pipeline, bases, Guantanamo, torture prisons, etc.

Faux epiphany

Gone is the brave defiance of the antiwar movement of yesteryear. The Animal House orgies among journalists and military in WTF are creepy, given the context. Kim relates to sleazebag BBC correspondent Tanya her epiphany which made her decide to come: “I noticed the dent in the gym carpet after my stationary bicycle had been moved. I was moving backwards.”

My own epiphany was watching one of the many tasteless drunken orgies (alcohol is, of course, strictly forbidden). FUBAR. After 15 years, America is still moving backwards, drunk driving in the mountains of the Hindu Kush.

Another epiphany was when the heroine triumphs over the Taliban foe, in the guise of a mild-mannered ‘government’ warlord, Ali Massoud Sadiq, who “knows everything”. She had used her ‘feminine wiles’ to extract information from him. He had honourably fallen in love and invited her many times to his office couch.

She kept demuring, but kept coming back for information, finally desperately needing to find her new (Scottish) lover, who had been kidnapped. When asked what she would do for Sadiq, she pulled out a smart phone and showed him a video of him dancing in the street with her. “I will erase this.”

So, instead of coughing up, she becomes a virginal Joan of Arc by blackmailing a besotted lover. Who, along with the other Afghan character, is played by a gringo. I suspect no Afghan-American actor would stoop so low.

That says it all. The morally bankrupt West, the shallow, corrupt media, an aimless, violent military, wreaking havoc on a broken country halfway across the world.

A soldier who had no idea what he was doing, is interviewed by Kim (and as a result targeted by the military brass), showing up at the end of the film on prosthetic legs on a farm in Kentucky where Kim went for ‘closure’. What can I say but “FUBAR”.

If you still harbour any hope for what the US is doing in Afghanistan (the US military has no idea), please see this film. It is even more convincing than Slaughterhouse-Five. But bring a barf bag. And start writing letters to the Taliban, urging restraint when they take power again.


Eric Walberg is a journalist who worked in Uzbekistan and is now writing for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo. He is the author of From Postmodernism to Postsecularism and Postmodern Imperialism. His most recent book is Islamic Resistance to Imperialism.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment