Aletho News


Flynn Case Highlights Deep Political Corruption of US Security Services

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 07.12.2017

Former US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is cooperating with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller to determine whether Donald Trump’s associates colluded with Russian government officials during the 2016 electoral campaign and also in the two months before president-elect Trump assumed office on January 20th. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents regarding two late December telephone exchanges with former Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.

The first call was initiated at the request of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and related to Russia’s possible use of its United Nations Security Council veto to stop a resolution condemning Israel’s illegal settlements, as the Barack Obama Administration had decided to abstain to send a message of disapproval to Tel Aviv. If Russia had agreed, which it did not, it would have meant conniving with Moscow to do something sought by Israel and opposed by the elected government still in power in Washington.

The second call possibly was requested by Donald Trump himself and was made while Flynn was lying on a beach in the Dominican Republic. It sought Russian agreement not to escalate the tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats that had been set in motion by the outgoing Obama administration. Russia delayed any possible expulsions, eventually implementing them when the Trump administration proved unable to mitigate other sanctions put in place by Obama. Both phone calls took place after the American election. Neither had anything to do with possible collusion regarding the election.

Flynn’s admission that he was lying is believed to be part of an agreement with Mueller, presumably eliminating a possible jail sentence and reducing the actual penalty to payment of a fine. Mueller will undoubtedly seek Flynn’s evidence confirming that he and both Kushner and Trump were all acting in violation of the Logan Act of 1799, which they quite possibly had never heard of, that bars private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on behalf of the United States. At the time of the phone calls, neither Flynn nor Kushner nor Trump held any actual government office, but it should also be pointed out that no one has ever been convicted under the Logan Act and the de facto status of an incoming administration as a precedent for engaging with foreign powers has never been tested.

The Logan Act aside, the real purpose of the investigation is to “get” Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. If it were otherwise, Mueller would be looking hard at the Israeli connection since it is clear from the time line that Israel had approached Kushner who then asked Flynn to make the phone call. The New York Times described the sequence of events as “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel…” The Israeli overture is a clear example of actual foreign government interference in United States politics and foreign policy, but the interference was by Israel and not by Russia.

The Flynn case is also a prime example of how the American security services have been politically corrupted, but it is unlikely that Mueller will have any interest in that aspect of the case as the investigation itself has become little more than a political witch hunt in which the Washington-New York Establishment is seeking to explain why its candidate lost in November. Flynn was interviewed by the FBI regarding his two phone conversations on January 24th shortly after he assumed office as National Security Adviser. During his interview, he was not made aware that the Bureau already had recordings and transcripts of his phone conversations, so, in a manner of speaking, he was being set-up to fail. Mis-remembering, forgetting or attempting to avoid implication of others in the administration would inevitably all be plausibly construed as lying since the FBI knew exactly what was said.

The argument used to justify the possible Flynn entrapment by the FBI, i.e. that there was unauthorized contact with a foreign official, is in itself curious as such contact is not in itself illegal. And it also opens the door to the Bureau’s investigating other individuals who have committed no crime but who find that they cannot recall details of phone calls they were parties to that were being recorded by the government. That can easily be construed as “lying” or “perjury” with consequences that include possible prison time.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

John Lennon Was Right: The Government Is Run by Maniacs for Maniacal Means

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | December 07, 2017

Not much has changed in the 37 years since John Lennon was gunned down by an assassin’s bullet.

All of the many complaints we have about government today—surveillance, corruption, harassment, political persecution, spying, overcriminalization, etc.—were used against Lennon, who never refrained from speaking truth to power and calling for social justice, peace and a populist revolution.

Little wonder, then, that the U.S. government saw Lennon as enemy number one.

A prime example of the lengths to which the U.S. government will go to persecute those who dare to challenge its authority, Lennon was the subject of a four-year campaign of surveillance and harassment by the U.S. government (spearheaded by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover), in an attempt by President Richard Nixon to have him “neutralized” and deported. As Adam Cohen of the New York Times points out, “The F.B.I.’s surveillance of Lennon is a reminder of how easily domestic spying can become unmoored from any legitimate law enforcement purpose.”

Years after Lennon’s assassination, it would be revealed that the FBI had collected 281 pages of surveillance files on him. As the New York Times notes, “Critics of today’s domestic surveillance object largely on privacy grounds. They have focused far less on how easily government surveillance can become an instrument for the people in power to try to hold on to power. ‘The U.S. vs. John Lennon’ … is the story not only of one man being harassed, but of a democracy being undermined.”

Such government-directed harassment was nothing new.

The FBI has had a long history of persecuting, prosecuting and generally harassing activists, politicians, and cultural figures, including Martin Luther King Jr.

In Lennon’s case, the ex-Beatle saw that his music could mobilize the public and help to bring about change. Yet while Lennon believed in the power of the people, he also understood the danger of a power-hungry government. “The trouble with government as it is, is that it doesn’t represent the people,” observed Lennon. “It controls them.”

By March 1971, when his “Power to the People” single was released, it was clear that Lennon was ready to participate in political activism against the U. S. government, the “monster” that was financing the war in Vietnam.

The release of Lennon’s Sometime in New York City album, which contained a radical anti-government message in virtually every song, only fanned the flames of the government’s war on Lennon.

In 1972, Nixon had the ex-Beatle served with deportation orders “in an effort to silence him as a voice of the peace movement.” Despite the fact that Lennon was not plotting to bring down the Nixon Administration, as the government feared, the government persisted in its efforts to have him deported. Equally determined to resist, Lennon dug in and fought back. Finally, in 1976, Lennon won the battle to stay in the country. By 1980, the old radical was back and ready to cause trouble.

Unfortunately, Lennon’s time as a troublemaker was short-lived.

Mark David Chapman was waiting in the shadows on Dec. 8, 1980, just as Lennon was returning to his New York apartment building. As Lennon stepped outside the car to greet the fans congregating outside, Chapman dropped into a two-handed combat stance, emptied his .38-caliber pistol and pumped four hollow-point bullets into Lennon’s back and left arm.

John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

Much like Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy and others who have died attempting to challenge the powers-that-be, Lennon had finally been “neutralized.”

Yet Lennon’s legacy lives on in his words, his music and his efforts to speak truth to power.

Even so, his work to change the world for the better is far from done.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, peace remains out of reach. Activists and whistleblowers continue to be prosecuted for challenging the government’s authority. Militarism is on the rise, all the while the governmental war machine continues to wreak havoc on innocent lives. And those who do dare to speak up are labeled dissidents, troublemakers, terrorists, lunatics, or mentally ill and tagged for surveillance, censorship or, worse, involuntary detention.

As Lennon shared in a 1968 interview:

I think all our society is run by insane people for insane objectives… I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal means. If anybody can put on paper what our government and the American government and the Russian… Chinese… what they are actually trying to do, and what they think they’re doing, I’d be very pleased to know what they think they’re doing. I think they’re all insane. But I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

So what’s the answer?

Lennon had a multitude of suggestions.

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

“Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders….You have to do it yourself.”

“Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”

“War is over, if you want it.”

In other words, fighting the evil of the American police state can only come about by way of conscious thoughts that are put into action.

Do you want an end to war? Then stop supporting the government’s military campaigns. Do you want government violence against the citizenry to end? Then demand that your local police de-militarize. Do you want a restoration of your freedoms? You’ll have to get the government to recognize that “we the people” are the masters in this relationship and government employees are our public servants.

The choice is ours.

The power (if we want it), as Lennon recognized, is in our hands.

“The people have the power, all we have to do is awaken that power in the people,” concluded Lennon. “The people are unaware. They’re not educated to realize that they have power. The system is so geared that everyone believes the government will fix everything. We are the government.”

For the moment, the choice is still ours: slavery or freedom, war or peace, death or life.

The point at which we have no choice is the point at which the monsters—the maniacs, the powers-that-be, the Deep State—win.

As Lennon warned, “You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.”

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | 3 Comments


RT | December 7, 2017

In November 2017, RT Arabic’s website became the most visited online portal among all Arabic-language TV news broadcasters, including CNN Arabic, Sky News Arabia, and major regional channels Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.

“In the Arab-speaking world, competition among the news media is very high. RT Arabic’s leadership speaks to the fact that we not only found our niche, but are constantly growing as a result of the trust that our audience has in us,” said Maya Manna, head of RT Arabic.

According to analytics portal SimilarWeb, in November, the RT Arabic website was visited more than 23 million times—more than any other Arabic-language news channel, including Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, Al Mayadeen, CNN Arabic, and Sky News Arabia. The majority of visitors came from users in Egypt—about 20%. Around 8.7% of visitors came from both Saudi Arabia and Algeria, more than 6.2% from Tunisia, and 5.8% from Morocco.

On Facebook, RT Arabic has 13 million subscribers—more than the Arabic-language versions of other international news media such as CNN, BBC, Sky News, DW, France 24, and Euronews. RT Arabic also leads among its international competitors in the Arab region on YouTube, with more than 660 million views and more than 870,000 subscribers.

In September 2017, RT Arabic marked its 10th anniversary of broadcasting by launching its interactive news project – RT Online. Now social network users can participate in news broadcasts in real time and discuss on air the events they witness.

RT Arabic has been a multiple winner and finalist for various international awards, including New York Festivals, the AIB Awards, and Promax BDA, as well as the Iraqi Al-Ghadir Festival. In 2017, RT Arabic journalists were honored by the National Union of Journalists of Iraq, as well as the National Union of Journalists of Syria.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

Catholic University of Leuven announces it will not continue participation in LAW-TRAIN

Photo: Pour la Palestine, Facebook
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – December 7, 2017

Following a wide campaign by a faculty action group, student organizers and a variety of community organizations, the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium (KULeuven) announced that it will not continue future participation in the LAW-TRAIN project, a joint cooperation program with the Israeli police to study interrogation techniques, funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 program.

Newly elected KULeuven rector Luc Sels released a statement on Wednesday, 6 December stating that no follow-up projects will be pursued in the future, because “The Israeli Ministry of Public Security’s participation does indeed pose an ethical problem in view of the role played by this strong arm of the Israeli government in enforcing an unlawful occupation of the Palestinian territories and the associated repression of the Palestinian population.” While the statement commits to continue the current project until the end of April 2018, it also calls for the creation of a human rights charter to govern the assessment of future proposed projects to avoid such situations.

This is the latest achievement of the international campaign against LAW-TRAIN. The project seeks to develop software to simulate interrogations in a hypothetical international drug trafficking case. The involvement of the Israeli police, headquartered in occupied Jerusalem and including the Border Police that regularly enforce occupation against Palestinians, engage in mass arrests and killings of Palestinians, and are an integral part of the occupation security forces, has sparked resistance to the program in several countries, among activists, scholars and lawyers who note that the program produces a European license for Israeli torture and abuse.

The Israeli police are also known for the use of torture during interrogation as well as the arrest, interrogation and violation of the human rights of Palestinian children. The Israeli police and Tel Aviv University are partners in the project with the Belgian federal police and prosecutor’s office as well as KULeuven and the Spanish Guardia Civil.

Earlier, Portugal was also a partner in the project, but pulled out citing budgetary issues after an extensive and successful campaign by Portuguese and Palestinian organizations highlighting the project’s clear links to human rights violations and the torture and imprisonment of Palestinians. Over 40 Belgian organizations – including Samidoun – joined the campaign to stop LAW-TRAIN, working hand in hand with a campaign on the university’s campus to bring an end to the project and future such collaborations.

Thousands of Belgians signed a petition to stop LAW-TRAIN, while on the university’s campus, dozens of academics participated in protests and appeals, including an intervention in the annual opening academic procession by gowned professors who presented the rector with a cake and the petition signatures.  The Leuven academics’ working group on Palestine led campaigns within the University on scholarly and human rights grounds, and the LAW-TRAIN issue was made a significant one on campus, including leading up to the election of Sels as the university’s new rector earlier in 2017.

Students on campus joined with faculty to hold campus protests, including a street theater action highlighting the realities of interrogation and the human rights abuses of the Israeli police.  LAW-TRAIN was a major focus of Israeli Apartheid Week 2017 on Belgian campuses, which highlighted the situation of Palestinian prisoners and featured a number of talks and presentations by French-Palestinian lawyer and former political prisoner Salah Hamouri, currently jailed once more without charge or trial by the Israeli occupation.

Protests in Leuven, Charleroi and elsewhere highlighted LAW-TRAIN as human rights experts urged not only the university but also the Belgian Ministry of Justice to immediately pull out of the program. A delegation of Belgian lawyers and human rights scholars traveled to Palestine to investigate torture by the Israeli police and published an open letter upon their return, urging Belgium to withdraw from the project.  In addition, hundreds of Belgian academics and cultural workers joined an open letter organized by BACBI, the Belgian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, calling on the government to “withdraw the Belgian Ministry of Justice from this highly contentious project. Such a withdrawal would signal to the Israeli politicians that Europe, and especially Belgium, will no longer tolerate the misdemeanors of their order and security forces against the Palestinian population.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network congratulates the Leuven faculty and students and all organizations that have worked on this campaign in achieving this important step from KULeuven. We redouble our call upon the Belgian ministry of justice, federal prosecutor’s office, and police, as well as the Spanish Guardia Civil, to immediately withdraw from this project and to the European Union to end its funding of such programs in collaboration with the Israeli occupation and its security forces. Such programs are an attempt to legitimize the very forces that daily carry out repression, torture and colonization and maintain apartheid and occupation against the Palestinian people. Participation in or funding of LAW-TRAIN or similar programs means direct complicity in the torture and imprisonment of Palestinians. It is long past time to hold the Israeli state accountable and subject it to boycott, divestment and sanctions for its flagrant, decades-long violations of fundamental Palestinian rights, rather than provide it with funding and support that allows it to continue its deadly and devastating attacks on the Palestinian people and their rights with impunity.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tayseer Khaled Calls for Boycott of US Goods

IMEMC News & Agencies | December 7, 2017

Amid controversy over the US decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem, PLO Executive Committee member, Tayseer Khaled, published a press release calling for an international campaign in the Arab, Islamic and Friendly States to boycott US goods.

The press release stated the following, according to the PNN :

“Tayseer Khaled , the PLO Executive Committee member, Head of the Palestinian Expatriate Affairs Department called on the Political Organizations, Trade Unions, Youth and Women Organizations and other Civil Society Organizations in Arab, Islamic and friendly countries to launch an international campaign to boycott American goods in support for Jerusalem, a response to the American insulting against our people, and for every unwise political step taken by the American Administration aimed to change the Legal and political Status of East Jerusalem, as an integral part of the occupied Palestinian Territories in June 1967, whether through moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli Occupation State.”

Khaled added that US President Trump’s administration acts viciously with the Arab and Islamic countries, and it neither gives attention to the Arab public opinion, nor to international law and the legitimacy resolutions related to the Palestinian – Israeli conflict.

Moreover, he said, it neglects the UN Security Council resolutions on Jerusalem, of which begins with resolution 215, issued on May 2nd, 1968, that denounces the Israeli Military Parade in Jerusalem, through resolution no. 476, issued on June 30th, 1980, which nullifies the Israeli measures to change the features of Jerusalem, then resolution no. 478 of Aug. 29th, 1980, which calls for non-recognition of the Israeli law on Jerusalem and the withdrawal of all the diplomatic missions from the city, as well as resolution no. 2334 on Dec. 23rd 2016, which affirms that the construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories since June 4th, 1967, including East Jerusalem, is illegal, and demands it to ban all settlement activities. Furthermore, he stated that Israel doesn’t respect the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Apartheid Wall or its painful consequences on the occupied West Bank, the status quo in Jerusalem and its surroundings, and opposes the Israeli claims and annexation laws issued by the Knesset, and announced that East Jerusalem is, in fact, an occupied city, adding that Israel is obliged by international humanitarian law and international law, in general, to ensure free access to the holy sites under its control.

At the Palestinian level, Khaled called for uniting efforts to encounter any American step aimed at undermining the legal and political status of Jerusalem, and to stop dealing with the US administration as a qualified mediator to achieve a political settlement to the Palestinian – Israeli conflict. He insisted the US administration be informed that Palestinians are free of such obligations or understandings with, which propose discriminatory rules of conduct to the Palestinians that are restricting their right to go to the UN international bodies and agencies to apply for their membership, as is the case with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and others, or to apply to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights under occupation, and to investigate war crimes and settlement crimes, which Article (8) of the Rome Statute regards as a war crime.


December 7, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Their Jerusalem is our Ayodhya

Babri Masjid
By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | December 7, 2017

The cat is out of the bag – the Modi government will not condemn the US President Donald Trump’s announcement recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The European Union, Russia, China and the entire Muslim world are aghast. But India ducks by claiming it has “independent and consistent… views and interests” that are “not determined by any third country.” (here)

Why such cowardly prevarication? Either the Modi government should show the courage to acknowledge that India has a pro-Zionist West Asian policy or join the vehement international opinion. There’s nothing to hide, really. PM Modi after all went and paid homage at the tomb of the founder of Zionism in broad daylight when he visited Israel, accompanied by PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Zionism and India’s freedom struggle are antithetical to each other. Period. There is no other way to frame the moral dilemma. But, inevitably, for the Modi government, political expediency trumps morality. It simply cannot bring itself to annoy Trump. Also, Netanyahu expects Modi to stand by – after all, Israeli and Indian companies are entering into co-production of advanced drone aircraft, finally.

But then, there is more to this than an intense family affair. The Modi government has high stakes in Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem. The point is, the Modi government is also preparing for its Jerusalem announcement – construction of a Hindu temple in Ayodhya. (Both are, ironically, “campaign pledges”.)

Circumstances may vary, but the powerful symbolism is quintessentially the same – bludgeoning the “other” party into submission by creating a fait accompli. Both Jerusalem and Ayodhya are explosive issues. In a world, which is barely coping with tensions and challenges of various kinds, it is illogical to inject more poison. The toxic act is unwarranted and risky unless based on consensus within a broader framework of reconciliation.

But, on the other hand, it has become necessary to placate the ‘core constituency’ at home as well as to address compulsions that exist or are expected shortly. Certainly, Trump must shore up his Christian support base and counts on the Jewish lobby to rescue him if the Congress attempts to impeach him – that is, if Michael Flynn implicates Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner (a Jew, ironically) by telling FBI special prosecutor Mueller’s team that he had contacted the Russians during the campaign itself while acting on Trump’s instructions.

In India, too, the “core constituency” of the ruling elite is no longer euphoric. Dawood Ibrahim is still in Pakistan; Article 370 remains in the book. Equally, Make in India isn’t taking off. The best option is to follow Trump’s footfalls to shore up the support base and distract public opinion. By a strange coincidence, Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem and the 25th anniversary of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya overlapped on November 6. (Indian Express )

Of course, Trump is going to be pilloried by the international opinion and the US’ Middle East policies will run into headwinds. Hopefully, Trump will reciprocate India’s support. Two is company, as they say.

The bottom line is, China is the winner. Beijing probably anticipates it. This is what the foreign ministry spokesman said in Beijing on November 6 even before Trump made the announcement:

  • We have noted the report and are paying close attention to the relevant development. What we worry about is any potential flare-up of regional tensions. The status of Jerusalem is a complicated and sensitive issue. All parties shall bear in mind regional peace and tranquility, proceed with caution, and avoid impacting on the long-standing basis for the settlement of the Palestinian issue or triggering new rivalry in the region.
  • China firmly supports and advances the Middle East peace process. We support the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights and stand behind Palestine in building an independent, full sovereignty state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. We call on all parties to remain committed to resolving disputes through negotiations and promoting regional peace and stability in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions.

There is no daylight possible between China and the Muslim world. Whereas, from now onward, there is not only daylight but also moonlight possible between India and the Muslim world.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

An illegitimate capital for a state without legitimacy

By Ibrahim Hewitt | MEMO | December 7, 2017

It should come as no surprise that Donald Trump has declared that the US is recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For seasoned US-Israel watchers, it merely confirms what we have been saying for decades: Washington is no honest broker in negotiations to end the Palestine-Israel conflict. Quite the opposite, in fact; it has ensured that the odds have been stacked in Israel’s favour and turned a blind eye to its contempt for international law — which Trump clearly shares — even while its brutal military occupation has stolen ever more Palestinian land throughout the seven decades since 1948.

US recognition of Israel’s self-declared capital has no legal basis. The 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine, upon which Israel largely bases its international legitimacy, had three components: “Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem”. Only one of these has come into being, primarily because Israel and its backers haven’t allowed the others to happen. What’s more, although the borders of the “Arab and Jewish States” were set out clearly by the UN, Israel took possession of more than its allocation, including West Jerusalem. It took the rest of the city in 1967 along with the remaining land designated for the “Arab State”, and went on to annex the Holy City; this has never been recognised by the rest of the world and, legally, Jerusalem remains “occupied territory”, as do the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hence, if we are to be accurate, whenever we discuss the Israeli occupation, this should refer to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and other land now accepted to be part of Israel which it has occupied since the 1949 Armistice. While paying lip-service to the UN Partition Plan for its own legitimacy, Israel continues to ignore the terms of the resolution in almost every respect. A glance at the “Disappearing Palestine” maps confirms this unpleasant fact on the ground.

Ignoring the UN is the norm for Israel; it has violated 28 UN Security Council Resolutions — which are supposed to be binding on UN member states — and ignored at least 40 non-binding General Assembly Resolutions. There is a strong case for throwing Israel out of the UN, given such a record and the fact that its membership in the first place was dependent on allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. This has never been permitted by Israel, and the UN has been unable or unwilling to enforce the will of the international community.

In part, of course, this is because of the diplomatic protection given to Israel by the United States, which has used its veto in the Security Council to block resolutions critical of Israel at least 40 times since 1972. It also reflects the impotence of Europe in the face of whatever power the pro-Israel lobby has over its politicians. European guilt over the Holocaust, perhaps? Or something more mundane, such as electoral influence and donations? Or maybe a combination of the two.

Whatever it is, we can’t pin the blame entirely on Trump and the US; European complicity has also played a role in allowing Israel to act with impunity, as has the collaboration of the Palestinian Authority in what President Mahmoud Abbas has called its “sacred” security cooperation with the occupying state. Indeed, as is now becoming clear, it seems as if major Arab countries have been involved in their own, under the radar, collaboration with Israel by establishing now very open links with the Zionist state.

It is hard to know at the moment if Trump actually understands what impact his move on Jerusalem will have on the people in the region. None of us knows for certain, of course, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the prospects for a just peace are now even more remote. A peace of sorts could be imposed by brute force, no doubt, but it would never be based on justice; and it would never last.

Do the US President and his right-wing supporters care about this? Probably not. America’s Christian Zionists largely back him to the hilt, and they aren’t interested in peace; they see the establishment of the state of Israel and the “incoming of the exiles” (the Jews) as an essential prelude to the second coming of Jesus and “the rapture”; ultimately, in fact, the end of the world. The late Grace Halsell explained this thinking in her 1999 book “Forcing God’s Hand”. Israel exploits this through its lobby groups around the world to gain political, military and economic support.

What effect will Trump’s declaration have on the Palestinians for whom Jerusalem is home? Will Israel complete the ethnic cleansing of the city by forcing them out and bringing their complete ethnic cleansing a step closer? With the US watching its back, it is perfectly feasible that the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu will feel emboldened enough to do this.

Another option would be for the Jerusalemite Palestinians to be offered Israeli citizenship, but that would upset those who already see Israel’s 20 per cent non-Jewish citizens as a democratic threat to the “Jewish State”. The likelihood, therefore, is that Israeli Apartheid will simply be entrenched further and those Palestinians left in occupied Jerusalem will face yet more discrimination at the hands of an overtly racist government.

Pro-Israel lobbyists are forever bleating that the campaign for justice for and by the Palestinians seeks to “de-legitimise” the state, but they have yet to explain with any credibility the validity of its credentials; in truth, there is none. Israel’s latest poodle in Washington has now recognised an illegitimate capital for a state without legitimacy.

Moreover, Israel has become a rogue state par excellence; not only is its star rising— for now — but it has also been incredibly successful in convincing the major powers in the world that it is the innocent victim in all of this. However, it is no longer surrounded by hostile states; the “self-defence and security” excuse for its vile occupation and military offensives against Palestinian civilians is unravelling as Saudi Arabia and the UAE join Jordan and Egypt in tying their camels and putting their trust in Tel Aviv.

Israel is ticking the boxes on its wish list. The battle for Jerusalem appears to have been won. After incessant Jewish colonial-settler incursions into the Noble Sanctuary — which will be viewed in the future as its initial skirmishes — the battle for Al-Aqsa Mosque, the heart of the Palestinian and Muslim presence in the Holy Land, may well be about to start in earnest. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is just the beginning. The next target will be to occupy and demolish Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock Mosques and build a temple in their place. The blueprints for this are already prepared.

With the villain of the piece portrayed as the victim — poor little Israel — and those with international law and justice on their side demonised as wrongdoers, the days of the False Messiah may well be upon us. Anyone for Armageddon?


December 7, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

House passes bill about Taylor Force, ignores 34 other Americans who were killed by Israel

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | December 7, 2107

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Taylor Force Act (text here), a bill that reduces funding to the Palestinian Authority. The bill next goes to the full Senate, where it is expected to pass.

The Taylor Force Act is named for U.S. army veteran Taylor Force, who was killed by a Palestinian in Tel Aviv in March, 2016 while Force was visiting Israel as part of a Vanderbilt University MBA program.

The bill targets the PA’s so-called “pay-to-slay” policy which Israel believes incentivizes terrorism, and would strip the PA of much of its US aid if local officials can not certify that they have stopped making these payments.

Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, commented on the unanimous approval of the Taylor Force Act, calling it

a giant step toward ending the Palestinian Authority’s grotesque practice of ‘pay-for-slay.’ This system of encouraging and incentivizing terrorism has gone on for far too long, and the Taylor Force Act is a critical step toward ending this murderous scheme.

Diament’s statement is problematic.

First of all, the word “practice” implies that Palestinians are regularly killing Israelis and Americans. This is decidedly not the case.

In fact, since January of 2009, Palestinians have killed 168 Israelis, while Israelis have killed 18 times more Palestinians—a total of 3,143. In 2016, the year of Taylor Force’s untimely death, 16 Israelis died at the hands of Palestinians and 110 Palestinians—many posing no threat whatsoever—died at the hands of Israelis. If any group has a “grotesque practice” of killing, perhaps it is not the Palestinians.

Diament’s “pay-for-slay” phrase is also both inaccurate and offensive.

The family of Taylor Force’s killer did indeed receive a stipend after his death, as have the families of other terrorists. Such financial assistance is often crucial since Israeli forces demolish their family homes, even though the slayer’s children, wife, nieces and nephews (these homes are usually inhabited by extended families) had nothing to do with their violent action.

Most of the world has a practice of paying a “death gratuity” to the families of service members killed or injured in the line of duty. The US does; Israel does too. Both Israeli and U.S. forces have killed numerous civilians, yet families of fallen soldiers still receive funding.

The Palestinian Territories are forbidden from having armed forces: their resistance against the occupation is carried out by civilians. In the event of death, injury, or imprisonment, their families face the same financial struggles any service member’s family would face, and the Palestinian Authority provides for them.

Qadora Fares, who works with the system, explains, “This is a kind of social protection for the family. The children of the prisoners and martyrs and wounded have the right to go to schools, hospitals and get food.”

Moreover, the vast majority of recipients of payments in this program are made to families not of attackers, but of victims. Children injured by stray bullets while walking to school, young men detained while participating in a peaceful demonstration, husbands killed while sitting on their front porch – anyone killed, injured, or imprisoned as a result of Israel’s brutality.

“Straining out gnats, swallowing camels”

But the greatest problem with Diament’s statement—and many like it—is the hypocrisy behind it. It is absurd to suggest that the Palestinian Authority has a problem with violence and needs to be cut off financially from American aid, while Israel, which receives approximately one hundred times more aid ($3.1 billion/year vs. $363 million), is responsible for a significantly higher number of deaths (see above, and here, for example).

Israel and pro-Israel organizations say they care deeply about the death of American ex-serviceman Taylor Force at the hands of an outlaw Palestinian, but would rather not discuss the USS Liberty, in which 34 innocent American servicemen died and 174 were wounded by our “closest ally,” Israel.

Israel’s Arutz Sheva news organization reports “Jewish groups welcome Taylor Force Act,” noting that AIPAC (the American Israeli Public Affairs Council; the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU), “the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization;” and the American Jewish Congress all lauded the legislation. The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) also applauded the bill.

If Americans Knew contacted these organizations to ask whether they also supported USS Liberty survivors, but did not receive replies. The ADL opposed a billboard near New Haven, Connecticut billboard honoring Liberty veterans; a similar billboard honoring Liberty veterans in New Bedford was taken down when the company received complaints from Israel partisans. It would appear that only certain service members’ deaths matter to these organizations.

Hypocrisy is alive and well in the US Congress too.

Our lawmakers – the same ones who rallied behind the Taylor Force Act – were silent about other Americans who were killed and maimed in Israel and refused to investigate the USS Liberty incident. When a Palestinian is at fault, we punish; when Israel is guilty, there is no accountability. We look the other way.

Our Senators and Representatives know full well how much money they have approved to be sent to Israel – no strings attached – year after year. They know how much is spent on advanced weaponry for use on an essentially unarmed Palestinian population. Our Congressmen and Congresswomen should know that occupation is illegal, but resistance to occupation is a legal right according to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Consequently, Israel should cease and desist its occupation, rather than expecting the Palestinians to cease and desist from their resistance against the occupation.

Instead of bowing to AIPAC and punishing the Palestinians for the violent actions of a a rogue young man with no terrorist affiliation against a young American man, Congress should assess the actual damage in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and stop footing the bill for the ongoing murder of Palestinians.

Kathryn Shihadah is a staff writer for If Americans Knew

Related Reading:

The Legitimacy of Compensation for Family Members for Palestinians Killed, Injured, and Imprisoned

Instead of Taylor Force Act, Congress should consider Rachel Corrie Act, Orwah Hammad Act

The strange, sad saga of the Taylor Force Act

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Trump Team Didn’t Just Collude with Israel, Kushner was Acting as Foreign Agent for Tel Aviv

By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire | December 7, 2107

Much was made this week in the American media about Michael Flynn’s recent guilty plea to making false statements to the FBI, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s never-ending “Russia probe.”

Although court documents show Flynn has acknowledged to previously giving false statements in reference to reaching out to Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak – the mere act of reaching out to foreign officials is neither illegal, nor is it a violation of ethics. This is normal practice for members of any incoming US administration. Even if Flynn had promised to the Russian Ambassador, as claimed this week by Resistance leader Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, that a Trump government would “rip-up sanctions,” such a promise by Flynn would not be unlawful. Anyone can make a promise, we should point out here that neither Flynn, nor Donald Trump would be in any position to make good on such a promise without the blessing of the US Congress and Senate. Just look at what happened when Trump took office. Were any sanctions lifted?

That said, after 18 months of fabricating fake news about Russian hacking, Russian meddling and Russian collusion, it’s not surprising that the New York Times would get the Flynn story wrong too, and on an even bigger scale than many of their past made-up stories about Trump scandals. Here we have yet another hand-wringing Resistance writer, Harry Litman, claiming that Flynn’s testimony will go in down history next to Watergate and Iran-Contra:

“The repercussions of the plea will be months in the making, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that the events to which Mr. Flynn has agreed to testify will take their place in the history books alongside the Watergate and Iran-contra scandals.”

He might be right, if only the media coverage and the federal hearing would focus on the correct country with whom the Trump team was colluding, which unfortunately was not Russia. Funny how partisan writer Litman did not even mention the word Israel once in his report. In fact, we can now better see why certain persons in Washington like Adam Schiff and John McCain, along with their corrupt media counterparts like CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times have been incessantly pushing their fictional “Russia did it” narrative for the last 18 months – because Russiagate served as a convenient cover for Israelgate.

Mehdi Hassan from The Intercept writes:

“… Why aren’t more members of Congress or the media discussing the Trump transition team’s pretty brazen collusion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to undermine both U.S. government policy and international law? Shouldn’t that be treated as a major scandal? Thanks to Mueller’s ongoing investigation, we now know that prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, members of his inner circle went to bat on behalf of Israel, and specifically on behalf of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, behind the scenes and in opposition to official U.S. foreign policy. That’s the kind of collusion with a foreign state that has gotten a lot of attention with respect to the Kremlin – but colluding with Israel seems to be of far less interest, strangely.”

Yes, you heard that right. This was at minimum collusion with Israel. But it goes much deeper than that. If this story is accurate, and we every reason to believe it is (especially by the large silence in the American media, usually a positive indication of media avoidance), this would indicate that the then President-elect’s close advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was clearly acting as a foreign agent – on behalf of the state of Israel.

Granted, this is a very serious charge – which comes with some serious consequences if Kushner would ever be indicted, but the facts clearly demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt, that then President-elect’s son-in-law was using his proximity to the incoming Commander and Chief to execute a series of highly sensitive foreign policy maneuvers at the request of a foreign country.

The history of Israeli spying and outright meddling in US affairs is no secret to anyone willing to research it (unofficially a forbidden topic in US mainstream media), but this latest episode with Trump and Kushner is even more disturbing considering this week’s East Jerusalem announcement.

Beyond this, many will argue that the radical fundamentalist Zionist agenda which Kushner is aggressively pursuing on behalf of Tel Aviv is not in the interest of the wider Middle East, nor is it good for America’s European partners, and may even contribute to a further destablization of the region – as evidenced by recent violence which has erupted following Trump’s provocative move. That result is not necessarily in America’s interests, even if it is certainly in Israel’s interests.

Author Mehdi Hassan continues:

Here’s what we learned last week when Mueller’s team unveiled its plea deal with Trump’s former national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn. In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council was debating a draft resolution that condemned Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied territories as a “flagrant violation under international law” that was “dangerously imperiling the viability” of an independent Palestinian state.

The Obama administration had made it clear that the U.S. was planning to abstain on the resolution, while noting that “the settlements have no legal validity” and observing how “the settlement problem has gotten so much worse that it is now putting at risk the … two-state solution.” (Rhetorically, at least, U.S. opposition to Israeli settlements has been a long-standing and bipartisan position for decades: Ronald Reagan called for “a real settlement freeze” in 1982 while George H.W. Bush tried to curb Israeli settlement-building plans by briefly cutting off U.S. loan guarantees to the Jewish state in 1991.)

Everyone expected that the upcoming UN vote on illegal Israeli settlements was going to be a divisive issue, but with only weeks before Trump’s fast approaching inauguration, Israel had its trojan horse in position. Hassan goes on to explain Tel Aviv’s covert mechanism for manipulate the UN vote:

“On or about December 22, 2016, a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team directed Flynn to contact officials from foreign governments, including Russia, to learn where each government stood on the resolution and to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution,” reads the statement of offense against Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. “On or about December 22, 2016, Flynn contacted the Russian Ambassador about the pending vote. Flynn informed the Russian Ambassador about the incoming administration’s opposition to the resolution, and requested that Russia vote against or delay the resolution.”

So who was this very senior member of Trump’s team who sought to execute orders from the office of Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu? Hassan explains:

Who was the “very senior member” of the transition team who “directed” Flynn to do all this? Multiple news outlets have confirmed that it was Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and main point man on the Middle East peace process. “Jared called Flynn and told him you need to get on the phone to every member of the Security Council and tell them to delay the vote,” a Trump transition official revealed to BuzzFeed News on Friday, adding that Kushner told Flynn “this was a top priority for the president.”

According to BuzzFeed : “After hanging up, Flynn told the entire room [at the Trump transition team HQ] that they’d have to start pushing to lobby against the U.N. vote, saying ‘the president wants this done ASAP.’” Flynn’s guilty plea, BuzzFeed continued, revealed “for the first time how Trump transition officials solicited Russia’s help to head off the UN vote and undermine the Obama administration’s policy on Middle East peace before ever setting foot in the White House.”

Even during the height of the Neocon era, with multiple Israeli loyalists in the cabinet (including some dual passport holders) shaping White House Middle East policy – ultimately into a ditch with Iraq, the level of manipulation wasn’t this overt. Trump’s decision to reverse successive US administrations’ new policy on East Jerusalem is inconceivable, if not for some other x-factor which even the PNAC-dominated George W. Bush could not manage.

The facts of the case against Kushner have not been contested, and in fact Kushner has even been gloating out on the speaking circuit, with his doting wife Ivanka proudly advertizing her husband’s ‘accomplishment’ on behalf Israel.

None of this has been contested. In fact, on Sunday, Kushner made a rare public appearance at the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Trump administration’s plans for the Middle East and was welcomed by the forum’s sponsor, the Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban, who said he “personally wanted to thank” Kushner for “taking steps to try and get the United Nations Security Council to not go along with what ended up being an abstention by the U.S.” Kushner’s response? The first son-in-law smiled, nodded, and mouthed “thank you” to Saban.

Meanwhile, the Israelis have been pretty forthcoming about their own role in all of this, too. On Monday, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. and a close friend and ally of Netanyahu, told Politico’s Susan Glasser that, in December 2016, “obviously we reached out to [the Trump transition team] in the hope that they would help us,” and “we were hopeful that they would speak” to other governments “in order to prevent this vote from happening.”

According to these reports, Kushner was using his position in the transition team to act on Israel’s behalf – outside of any governmental framework of accountability. If Flynn is guilty of anything, it would be going also with Kushner’s Israel First scheme ahead of the United Nations vote. What is odd though, is why the entire US mainstream media is not interested in this part of the story. Even the Never Trump “Resistance” seem to be afraid of taking this narrative on. I guess even the Resistance has its limits. Rather than go for a case where the evidence is sitting right there on a silver Salva, instead they will go for the Russian conspiracy theory. Alas, old habits die hard.

This series of events is all the more pertinent when considering this week’s announcement by President Trump that the US is to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and with be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to East Jerusalem. Many are already calling this “the kiss of death” to the Israel-Palestine peace process. In a predictable succession of events, the Jerusalem provocation was a fait accompli after Trump had announced in October that the US would be withdrawing from support for UNESCO, the UN body which is meant to help maintain the neutrality of Jerusalem as an internationally protected area. The Trump administration justified its resignation from the key UN agency on the ground that is “biased against Israel.” But the neutrality of Jerusalem is an essential policy for maintaining peace in a less than ideal situation with Palestine still under a brutal military occupation by an illegitimate and illegal (by international law and successive UN Resolutions) Israeli jackboot.

In addition to all this, this past summer the United States announced the establishment of a permanent military installation inside of Israel. What’s scary is how many people do not know this has happened.

So Trump’s éminence grise, the wunderkind, who some people have called the President In-Law, is really Israel’s man inside the White House.

What is Jared Kushner’s experience in international affairs and diplomacy that he has been charged with negotiating Middle East affairs for the United States of America? His only visible qualification is that he’s married to the President’s daughter. That’s really it.

Credit where credit’s due though. Aside from marrying into the dynasty, Kushner is also the former owner of a mediocre website, The New York Observer, and has also managed to parlay his family status to help finance a number of high-profile New York City property deals (no doubt with the help of his father-in-law),

Isn’t that what Kushner is doing now – using his inherited clout to help “close friend” Benjamin Netanyahu secure a highly illegal property deal in the Middle East, with the United States as the guarantor? It certainly looks that way. The question is, will anyone in the US do anything about it?

When this latest episode of hubris by the White House and Israel eventually unravels, the public and the media might then turn on Kushner and Trump, but by then the damage will have already been done.

Until then, Netanyahu can feel safe in the knowledge that Israel, not Washington, is currently in control of US foreign policy.

One final note to brave Never Trump Resistance: if any foreign state actor is blackmailing this President or the White House, it’s probably not Russia.


Author Patrick Henningsen is an American writer and global affairs analyst and founder of independent news and analysis site 21st Century Wire, and is host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show broadcast globally over the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR). He has written for a number of international publications and has done extensive on-the-ground reporting of the conflict Syria, Iraq and the Middle East.

SEE ALSO: The Genealogy of Trump’s U-Turn on Palestine

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez Faces Pretrial Detention

Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
teleSUR | December 7, 2017

An Argentine judge has ordered that former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner be put in pretrial detention.

Federal judge Claudio Bonadio alleges that Fernandez committed crimes against the state in trying to “conceal” the possible involvement of five Iranian officials in Argentina in the bombing of the Israeli Argentine Mutualist Association, AMIA, building in Buenos Aires in 1994.

Eighty-six people were killed in the explosion. The bombing remains unsolved.

The judge claims that in signing a memorandum of understanding with Iranian officials in Argentina in 2013, Fernandez agreed to not investigate possible Iranian involvement in the attack, “aggravating” the inquiry and granting the alleged bombers impunity.

The 2013 memorandum was never legally enacted in Iran, but was by the Argentine Congress. However, an Argentine judge ruled the memorandum unconstitutional.

If convicted, Fernandez could face up to 10 to 25 years of jail time or even life in prison.

Fernandez, along with all other 23 newly-elected senators, are set to take up their congressional post this Sunday, Dec. 10. She and the other senators were sworn in last week.

Bonadio also ordered the arrest of former Argentine government official Hector Timerman. Already arrested for alleged involvement in the memorandum is former Secretary General Carlos Zannini, who served under Fernandez. He was questioned about the memorandum by Bonadio in October and denied any wrongdoing.

Also arrested today in the early morning were activists Luis D’Elia and Jorge “Yussuf” Khalil. As officials arrested D’Elía, he yelled “stop the Macri dictatorship!” alluding to current President Mauricio Macri.

Up to 12 other former government officials are suspected of playing a part in the so-called “cover up,” but are not being detained.

Fernandez says the memorandum attempted to advance the investigation and called for the creation of an international commission to investigate the bombing. She says the commission had orders of extradition pending for Interpol to deliver several accused who reside in Iran to Argentina. These extradition orders were never carried out.

An investigation into the memorandum was first ordered by a former attorney general in 2015, but was denied by a federal court in 2016.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

UN Expert: No Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela

By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas | Venezuelanalysis | December 6, 2017

An independent United Nations expert has publicly stated that Venezuela is not suffering from a humanitarian crisis following a recent trip to the country.

Alfred De Zayas, an independent expert on International Democratic and Equitable Order at the United Nations (UN), visited Venezuela in late November to assess its social and economic progress.

On arriving back in Geneva Tuesday, the UN official told press that he did not think the country’s current economic problems had given way to a humanitarian crisis.

“I agree with the FAO [UN Food and Agriculture Organization] and CEPAL [Economic Commission for Latin America & the Caribbean] that the so-called humanitarian crisis does not exist in Venezuela, although there are shortages, scarcity, and distribution delays, etc.” he said.

“What is important is to get to know the causes and take measures against contraband, monopolies, hoarding, corruption, manipulation of the currency and the distortions in the economy caused by an economic and financial war which includes [the effects of international] sanctions and pressure,” he added.

Venezuela’s opposition and private media have often alleged that the country is suffering from a humanitarian crisis in a bid to promote international intervention from foreign governments and agencies such as the UN. Opposition leaders have made the “opening of a humanitarian channel” to allow more food and medicine imports into the country one of their chief demands in negotiations with the national government, which began on December 1.

However, according to De Zayas, international solidarity is what is needed to help Venezuela overcome the current crisis. He also said that mainstream media coverage of the country is often “theatrical” and “does not help to resolve the problems” that the country faces.

During his visit, De Zayas met with government representatives, including Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, as well as with opposition leaders and civil society organizations. He also accompanied the initial talks held between the government and opposition in the Dominican Republic on December 1-2.

The UN expert said he would formulate a series of constructive recommendations to address Venezuela’s crisis and present them as a report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2018. He has now departed to Ecuador, where he will be carrying out a similar visit.

Venezuela’s economy has been severely hit by the decline in global oil prices since 2014, directly impacting on the state’s ability to import the same quantity of food and medicine as in previous years.

The Trump administration imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela in August, prohibiting US financial agencies from negotiating debt relief with the beleaguered country. Canada has also passed sanctions against individual government officials.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

OAS Finally Hints at ‘Irregularities’ in Honduran Elections Days After Vote

teleSUR | December 7, 2107

After almost two weeks since Honduran elections, the Organization of American States said it may urge for a new presidential vote if “irregularities” continue to undermine the credibility of the Nov. 26 results, which have not been officially announced.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said in a written statement the regional group would prefer to audit the existing ballots, rather than initiate a new vote, adding that Honduran citizen confidence in its electoral system cannot be restored “without an exhaustive and meticulous process of verification that determines the existence or not of an electoral fraud.”

The Opposition Alliance’s Salvador Nasralla and many national and international organizations have called the vote count fraudulent, as a wide lead was erased to right-wing incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez of the National Party.

With the electoral process in its second week Nasralla and his team began calling for a run off election if a full ballot recount under international scrutiny couldn’t be completed.

The Opposition Alliance first demanded an internationally audited recount of the ballots from over 1,000 polling stations. This was carried out. They later demanded that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal recount the disputed ballots from over 5,000 polling stations. TSE officials and Hernandez agreed to the ballots in questions late last night after regional pressure.

Alliance evidence of electoral irregularities on the part of the TSE and its Director David Matamoros has incited profound distrust of the TSE from the opposition camp, creating a virtual stalemate in the process. Nasralla said late last night, “you can’t present your demands to a tribunal that isn’t neutral.”

He said he no longer recognizes the TSE and demands that an international mediator oversees any recount. “If we hadn’t had international participation, we would truly be in the law of the jungle,” Nasralla commented.

Nasralla and his team had earlier sent the TSE its 11 demands for electoral transparency, which included the revision of ballot boxes they say arrived at TSE offices “opened” exposing “sensitive information,” but they haven’t been completed.

Luis Zelaya, of the Liberal Party and third runner-up in the elections, has thrown his support to Nasralla and agreed that a full recount under OAS and European Union observation should take place.

Meanwhile, Matamoros was vague Wednesday night as to whether a full recount or a new election will take place.

According to current TSE figures, Hernandez is ahead with 42.98 percent while Nasralla has 41.38 percent of votes. The TSE has counted, at least once, nearly 100 percent of all ballots. By law, the TSE has until Dec. 26 to declare a winner.

Other OAS requests were that the Honduran government restore all constitutional rights to citizens and lift the nighttime national curfew, both of which were put in place Dec. 1. After the statement was released the administration lifted the curfew in nearly half of the country’s departments, but it’s still in effect in most of the nation until Dec. 11.

The curfew was put in place to limit Opposition Alliance supporters from protesting what they say was a stolen election. Despite the curfew, however, thousands of opposition supporters continue to rally day and night on the streets and highways of Honduras.

The Honduran Committee for Families of the Detained and Disappeared said that 14 people have been killed, 51 injured and 844 detained so far during the post-election protests.

Hernandez supporters are reportedly marching today in Tegucigalpa to support their candidate.

The U.S. State Department released a statement yesterday advising U.S. citizens to delay or cancel travel to Honduras “due to ongoing political protests and the potential for violence.”

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment