Aletho News


Jewish Americans sue Airbnb over West Bank listing ban

MEMO | November 29, 2018

A group of Jewish Americans sued Airbnb Inc on Wednesday in US federal court, accusing the home rental company of religious discrimination over its decision last week to remove listings for about 200 homes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Reuters reports.

The 18 plaintiffs, including Israeli-American families and individuals who said they own or wish to rent affected homes, accused Airbnb of “redlining” Jewish-owned properties while letting Muslims and Christians rent their homes.

They said this effectively left Airbnb taking sides in the dispute over the West Bank, where Palestinians hope to establish an independent state and which Israel captured in 1967, along with East Jerusalem.

“We don’t believe this lawsuit will succeed in court, but we know that people will disagree with our decision and appreciate their perspective,” Airbnb said in a statement.

The complaint was filed in federal court in Delaware, where Airbnb is incorporated, and which the plaintiffs said has jurisdiction over the San Francisco-based company’s alleged violation of US laws against housing discrimination.

“Airbnb has made a religion- and nationality-based decision about who can list,” Robert Tolchin, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an interview. “It decided in the United States, ‘We will not list for Jews in the West Bank.’ It should be equal access for all.”

The plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief and unspecified damages, including for lost rental income.

A separate lawsuit challenging Airbnb’s policy was filed in a Jerusalem court on Nov. 22.

The Delaware case differed by claiming that “Airbnb is violating Americans’ rights, and this can’t be argued in an Israeli court under Israeli law,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, another lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an interview.

Most world powers believe Israel’s settlements on occupied Palestinian land violate international law.

Roughly 500,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Airbnb’s delisting was announced on Nov. 19 and applies only in the West Bank, where Palestinians have limited self-rule under Israeli military occupation.

While concluding that “companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced,” Airbnb said it had “deep respect” for the “many strong views” about what to do with disputed lands.

Palestinians in the West Bank have welcomed Airbnb’s decision.

The case is Silber et al v Airbnb Inc, US District Court, District of Delaware, No. 18-01884.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hamas calls on UN to support Palestinians’ right to bear arms against Israel

Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh makes a speech during a conference on 18 September, 2018 in Gaza City, Gaza [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | November 29, 2018

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has called on the United Nations to recognise and support the Palestinian people’s right to bear arms against Israel in self-defence.

Haniyeh wrote to UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Maria Fernada Spinosa in advance of the organisation’s debate regarding Hamas rocket fire into Israel.

“We reiterate the right of our people to defend themselves and to resist the occupation, by all available means,” wrote Haniyeh, “including armed resistance, guaranteed by the international law.” He based the demand on international law drawn up and implemented by the UN, which gives states and peoples the right to defend themselves with arms if necessary, in the case of an external attack. “The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted dozens of resolutions that affirm the right of peoples to independence, self-determination and struggle by all available means, peaceful and non-peaceful, for that right. The UN singled out the Palestinian people for dozens of relevant resolutions, including 2621, 2649, 2787 and 3236,” he said.

After condemning the US for adopting Israel’s narrative of the conflict and justifying Israel’s aggression towards the Palestinians, Haniyeh insisted that “the last of these efforts is the attempt by the United States Ambassador to the United Nations… to submit a draft resolution condemning the Palestinian resistance and the right of our people to defend themselves against this racist and continuous occupation for more than seven decades.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, commented on Haniyeh’s letter, saying that Hamas “going to the UN for assistance is like a serial killer asking the police for assistance. Israel and the United States will continue to mobilize the countries of the world into a united front against the terrorism that Hamas engages in.”

The debate held in the UN today coincides with the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which is held every year on 29 November. It comes two weeks after the latest Israeli assault on Gaza, which broke out after an undercover Israeli special forces operation in the strip was botched and compromised by Hamas. Days later, a ceasefire was declared, which was again broken by Israel the following morning when Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza.

READ: US lobbies for vote against Hamas at UN General Assembly

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pushback Against Israel Is Beginning

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.11.2018

The Anglophone Israel Lobby benefits from its ability to mold the media narrative while at the same time using financial incentives to corrupt the political class. For those who do not succumb to the corruption, there is always the option of direct pressure, which in the United States and Britain consists of targeted interference in the political system to remove critics either through promotion of scandal or by supporting well-funded alternative candidates in the following election. In the United States, this has led to the removal of a number of congressmen who had dared to criticize the Jewish state, terrifying the remainder into silence. All of this goes on with little or no debate in the media or in congress itself.

There are signs, however, that the general tolerance of Israeli misbehavior might be ending. The election of at least three Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who might be willing to discuss Israel in something less than worshipful ways is a minuscule shift in the alignment of the Democratic party, where Jewish money dominates, but it reflects the views of the party’s grass roots where a recent poll demonstrates that surveyed Democrats favor Israel over Palestine by a margin of only 2%, twenty-seven per cent versus twenty-five per cent with the remainder of responders favoring neither side.

Much more significant is last week’s announcement by Senator Rand Paul that he intends to place a “hold” on the current package of $38 billion in military aid to Israel, which means he can filibuster the issue in the Senate to delay its passage. Paul, who, like his father, is a skeptic regarding foreign aid in general, did not cite any specific issues connected to the aid package, but critics have long noted that Israel is in fact ineligible for any foreign aid from the United States because it has an undeclared nuclear arsenal consisting of at least 200 weapons. For that reason, providing aid to Israel is illegal under the Symington Amendment of 1961 as well as due to the fact that Tel Aviv has rejected signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT.

Paul’s action is extremely courageous as he is the first Senator since William Fulbright to dare to say anything negative about the Jewish state. Fulbright was, of course, punished by the Israel Lobby, which committed major resources to defeating him when he next came up for reelection. Another U.S. Senator Charles Percy was so bold as to maintain that Palestinian Arabs might actually have “rights” also found himself confronted by an extremely well-funded opponent who defeated him for reelection, so Paul’s action is far from risk free. In fact, the Israel Lobby is already reacting hysterically to the “hold,” as is the Israeli government, and one can be sure that all their massive resources will be used to punish the senator.

Another area where one might have expected more pushback from Americans is the lack of any serious resistance from Christian groups to the process whereby the conservative Likud dominated Netanyahu government is seeking to turn Israel into a purely Jewish state. That too is changing due to Israeli behavior. Even though Israel boasts that it provides a safe haven for Christians to practice their religion, reports occasionally surface suggesting something quite different. Jewish Zealots spit on Christian clergy and curse them out in the streets without any fear of repercussions. Some clergy have been harassed and even assaulted by Jewish extremists. Churches and religious foundations are frequently vandalized or defaced with obscene graffiti and the Israeli government has also confiscated or destroyed church property.

America’s Presbyterian Church has led the charge in criticizing Israeli brutality. At its June General Assembly it passed a resolution condemning Israeli apartheid. Its Office of Public Witness has been in the forefront in calling on Israel to cease and desist. An Action Alert issued this summer entitled “Tell Congress: 70 years of suffering is enough! Stop the killing, hold Israel accountable, and support human rights for all” denounced the slaughter of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza by the Israeli Army.

Now it is the turn of the Quakers in Britain, who have banned any investment by the church in companies that exploit the “military occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli government.”, prompting a furious response from Jewish leaders. It is the first British Church to do so and leaders of the group have compared their action to taking steps against apartheid and the slave trade.

It is certainly a turnabout to see anyone taking on Israel and its all too often invincible lobby. What is significant is that Christian churches and even some congressmen have begun to speak out in spite of the knowledge that immense Jewish power in the United States and Britain will make them pay a price for doing so. May the realization that Israel’s interference in friendly countries damages their democracy finally reach a point where some people in Congress, the media and even in the White House will begin to listen.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

German Finance Ministry unaware that getting gold back from US is ‘becoming a hot topic’

RT | November 29, 2018

For decades, the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank and custodian of the country’s gold, has been storing over 1,200 tons of the precious metal worth nearly €50 billion in the New York vaults of the US Federal Reserve.

After a public outcry in Germany in 2013, authorities started the repatriation program, aimed at returning the country’s gold reserves, which have been stored outside of the country since the Cold War. Berlin intended to get at least half of the country’s gold from the US and France by 2020. The government had initially planned to complete the program within a five-year period, but the US Federal Reserve renegotiated the process to a seven-year timeline.

The country reportedly managed to ship only five tons of its gold in 2013 due to logistical difficulties. The following year, Germany repatriated 120 tons of the precious metal – 35 tons from Paris and 85 tons from New York. Some 110.5 tons were brought back from Paris and 99.5 tons from New York in 2015. Two years ago, the country repatriated total of 200 tons.

So far, the Fed has denied the German financial regulator access to the vast deposits that are literally being held hostage overseas. Thus, the Bundesbank has had no opportunity to audit the reserves that belong to Germany.

Various theories circulated about Germany’s foreign gold reserves, with some experts questioning whether it is still there or if it has been used by foreign central banks. However, the German government doesn’t seem very worried about the issue.

“I haven’t heard that it is now becoming a hot topic, but in case it is, you should contact the Bundesbank. They would give you information about the current state of affairs and plans on this issue,” German Finance Ministry spokesman Dennis Kolberg told RT Deutsch during the weekly news conference.

“The Bundesbank has already spoken on this issue, so I can only refer to them,” the official said, when asked if the government has any plans to address the matter of the country’s gold being kept abroad.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , | 3 Comments

To Rid the World of Antisemitism

By Gilad Atzmon | November 29, 2018

On Tuesday, CNN published a survey of anti-Semitism in Europe. The poll revealed that “more than a quarter of Europeans surveyed believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. One in five say they have too much influence in media and politics. In some countries the numbers are often higher: 42% of Hungarians think Jews have too much influence in finance and business across the world.”

In my recent book, Being in Time, I argue that Jewish power is the power to silence opposition to Jewish Power. CNN’s poll supports my thesis. That some Jews enjoy significant influence in politics, culture and finance is not a matter of ‘opinion,’ it is an established fact as reports in the Jewish and mainstream media reveal on a daily basis. Jewish prominence in certain areas is a frequent boast of renowned Jews such as Alan Dershowitz. Yet only one of five Europeans is brave enough to admit that in the open.

CNN’s poll suggests that 80% of those who dwell in Europe are either lying, blind or, most likely, terrified of the truth. They have good reason to be scared. They have seen the onslaught of revenge from Jewish institutions against artists, writers, comedians, politicians, activists and academics including: Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, Richard Falk, Alison Weir, Norman Finkelstein, David Icke, Jeremy Corbyn and yours truly. Telling the truth about Israel, Zionism or expressing any form of criticism of Jewish politics subjects the teller to an immediate and colossal smear campaign. The CNN poll suggests that 80% of Europeans seem to have accepted the present tyrannical and authoritarian conditions. But this isn’t exactly a stable situation. It is only a question of time before the genie pops out of the bottle as has happened far too many times in the past.

By now it has become clear that the more Jewish institutions  ‘fight’ anti-Semitism, the more the opposition is directed against Jewish politics and Israeli brutality.  The same applies to the holocaust; the caravans of Jewish youngsters visiting Poland didn’t kill anti-Semitism nor did it revive the memory of the holocaust. In Poland, according to the CNN poll, “50% of people think that Jews use the Holocaust to advance their position.”

 What can Jews do about anti-Semitism? Simple– look in the mirror– introspect.

If Jews want to be loved or simply just ignored, then:(1) maybe The European Jewish Congress should seriously consider the possible consequences of  its ‘demand’ that “the Bible and the Koran use ‘trigger warnings’ to highlight anti-Semitic passages,” (2) The French Jewish organisations might want to reconsider their relentless campaign to decimate the artistic career of France’s most popular comedian, or (3) It might not be a great idea for Britain’s Jewish institutions to interfere with British national politics by smearing Britain’s  number one anti racist.

If Jews want to rid the world of antisemitism, Jewish bodies should carefully self reflect and take responsibility for their own actions instead of blaming the Goyim…

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 9 Comments

Canadian woman continues to fight to obtain a passport

By Rick Sterling | Rabble | November 26, 2018

In the Fall of 2012, a young man from Calgary Alberta, Damian Clairmont, received a new Canadian passport. He received this despite the fact that Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had been secretly monitoring Damian and several others in Calgary and knew the young men were planning to join an armed extremist organization in Syria. At least five youth from Calgary did travel to Syria and Iraq where they all died with one becoming a suicide bomber reportedly killing 46 Iraqis.

In a bizarre contrast, in the spring of 2016, the Canadian government forced Damian’s mother, Christianne Boudreau, to surrender her Canadian passport. This article examines the strange circumstances and seeming irrationality.

Christianne Boudreau Countering Extremism

Unlike her son, who had been indoctrinated then recruited to join a terrorist group, Christianne Boudreau has worked with other parents internationally to create and promote educational programs to counter extremism. She converted her grief at the loss of Damian to help educate others how to prevent the same thing happening again.

Dr. Daniel Koehler, Director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies, described her role:

Christianne Boudreau was one of the first mothers to speak out publicly against violent radicalization with her own painful personal experience of losing her son Damian. Together with Christianne, I built up a network of affected parents around the world: the Mothers for Life Network, which currently includes about 150 families from 11 countries. It is the only international parental self-help group addressing the needs of those parents. I also trained Christianne to be a family counsellor to help other parents of children undergoing violent radicalization.

Mothers for Life works with the important goal of countering extremist ideology and violence which has exploded in the West as well as the Middle East. It uses human connections and sharing among families who have experienced radicalization, not just lectures and lofty seminars.

Christianne Boudreau has travelled and spoken at many places across Canada and internationally. She says the problem is not Islam or religion. A writer documented Chris’s visit to the Islamic Institute of Toronto in an article titled “Christianne Boudreau’s visit to Toronto left us inspired.” The writer reported:

Chris was asked, ‘Do you blame Islam and Muslims for the death of your son?’ Everyone held their breath. I couldn’t look her in the eyes. ‘No, I don’t blame Muslims or Islam for what happened to my son. I blame misguidance and bad choices. It is ideology similar to that of gangs and cults. It is the same. They prey on young impressionable adolescents and exploit them.

In addition to this organizational work, Chris Boudreau has been exceptional in another way: she has dared to criticize the intelligence security service of her native Canada. When CSIS agents first contacted her in January 2013 and told her they had been monitoring Damian for nearly two years, she asked why they had not warned her about his real intentions. Why did they not prevent him from getting a new Canadian passport?

CSIS “Research” 

After Damian’s death in January 2014, Chris Boudreau said she thought CSIS had some responsibility for his actions and death. In May 2014 she wrote a letter to CSIS politely expressing her questions and complaints. “We as a family have a right to know what has happened, and how our system has failed us.” She described her efforts to get answers over the previous year, how a CSIS agents had asked her to stop speaking out and asking questions. Finally, almost one half year later, CSIS Director Michel Coulombe responded to Chris’ inquiries. He did not answer her specific questions yet concluded that “the Service acted professionally and within its legislated mandate.” Regarding the warning of a CSIS agent, Director Coulombe evaded the issue by saying,“We have found no indication of an attempt to interfere in your relationship with other parties.” Regarding the disturbing consequences of radical indoctrination and violence, Coulombe said that CSIS “is conducting research to better understand this phenomenon in Canada.” This “research” is small comfort to a woman whose son was misled into joining a violent terrorist group, perhaps killing innocent Syrians and being killed himself.

Canada Takes Away Christianne Boudreau’s Passport

Fifteen months later, in February 2016, Citizenship and Immigration Canada acted in a way which definitely restricted and interfered with “her relationship with other parties”. While Chris and her son Lucas were visiting family in France, the Canadian government ordered her to surrender her Canadian passport. Christianne and her son were stuck in France, dependent on the generosity of family, for the next eighteen months. Chris was without income or ability to return home. Finally in November 2017, when Lucas’ father was dying of cancer, the Canadian embassy in France provided temporary emergency documentation so that Chris and her son could return home to Calgary.

The Official Reason Canada Took Away her Passport

Chris Boudreau has tried repeatedly to get her passport back. The official reason it was taken away and cannot be returned is that she provided “false or misleading information” in the passport application for her son Lucas. The “false and misleading” information was that she did not include the name of Lucas’ father on the passport application and did not disclose court orders from 2004-2007 which had defined the father’s visiting rights with baby Lucas (born in 2004).

In fact, Ms Boudreau was never married to the father, they did not live together when Lucas was born and Lucas’ birth certificate did not include the father’s name because the father wanted no responsibility. The applications for Lucas’ previous passports in 2007 and 2010 were filled out just the same way with no question or objection by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. In addition, there was a court order and signed agreement between Ms. Boudreau and the father in January 2016 which confirmed a summer visit with the father.

Ironically, Lucas was unable to visit the father as specified because CIC took away the passports of him and his mother in the spring of 2016. Ms. Boudreau and Lucas were unable to return to Canada until November 2017 when they received emergency travel documents as the biological father was in a terminal stage of cancer.

“Very few people have been denied passports”

Ray Boisvert, former head of CSIS counter-terrorism was previously asked why CSIS did not prevent Damian Clairmont from receiving a passport if CSIS knew about his radicalization and intentions. Boisvert responded that denying a passport to a Canadian citizen was an infringement on freedom of movement and required solid evidence. “There have been very few people who have been denied passports because the threshold is so high. And rightfully so.”

If Boisvert’s assertion is true, then why has CIC acted so harshly against Christianne Boudreau? The violation in the passport application caused little or no harm. The complaint by the biological father was resolved in the January 2016 court order and agreement. This was not an issue of parental joint custody because Christianne Boudreau had been the sole parental custodian for Lucas since his birth.

Christianne Boudreau’s Effectiveness in Countering Extremism

This extreme decision is not only harming Christianne Boudreau and her children. It is also hurting the international campaign against extremism and violent radicalism.

Dr. Koehler, Director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies says:

Christianne’s work depends on her ability to travel, meet with other parents, participate in workshops, educate about the threat of violent radicalization and help affected families around the world. She was a main driving force behind the Mothers for Life Network and her absence from these important activities have caused serious harm to global issue of helping families in need.

Dr. Amar Amarasingam, Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society at University of Waterloo has said:

Since the loss of her son Damian, Christianne Boudreau has been tirelessly working to try and prevent other young men and women from traveling abroad to fight. She traveled around the world to meet with other parents and families, gave talks and conducted workshops. Especially now, with ISIS fighters and families being captured by Kurdish forces and parents in Western countries trying to get in touch with them, Chris’s activism is much-needed. She is trusted by families the world over and would be an invaluable resource today. I’m not too familiar with the particulars of her case, but her ability to travel is fundamental to her work and I hope it gets sorted out soon.

In 2016, as Christianne Boudreau was having her Canadian passport revoked, CBC produced a documentary describing her good work. The producer Gail McIntyre and director/writer Eileen Thalenberg have recently written:

Christianne Boudreau was the focus of our film, A Jihadi in the Family, which was broadcast on CBC – TV in 2016. Over a period of two years, we covered her important work as founder and driving force behind the movement Mothers for Life. This organization was set up to support families and to inform educators, the public and policy makers about the early signs of radicalization and how to prevent it. Her work in this area was far-reaching – uniting mothers in North America and Europe…. Without her passport, she is unable to continue with her high profile work.  This not only impacts anti-radicalization efforts, it severely affects her ability to support her herself and her son.

Public Appeal to “Return Christianne Boudreau’s Passport!”

Chris Boudreau, born in Toronto, is still being denied a Canadian passport. She has the anguish of knowing her son died in a foreign land. She has the pain of not knowing what he might have done with others in the terrorist group. She has difficulty finding a job when employers easily see and identify her as the “jihadi’s mother”. She was punished and impoverished by being left in a foreign country without a passport for a year-and-a-half.

Why is Canada denying this woman her right to travel, guaranteed to all citizens under the Canadian Charter? Most importantly, why is Canada preventing this brave woman from continuing her effective work countering international extremism?

A petition to “Return Christianne Boudreau’s Canadian Passport!” has been launched and can be seen here.

Rick Sterling can be reached at

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

With Azov Sea Events Stealing Spotlight, US Gathers Huge Military Force in and Around Syria

By Arkady SAVITSKY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.11.2018

While the world attention is riveted to the situation in the Azov Sea and the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, US forces are getting prepared for a large-scale military operation in Syria.

US President Donald Trump announced this past March that the military personnel would be leaving Syria “very soon.” Looks like he has changed his mind since then. The five-ship strong Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group has recently entered the Mediterranean Sea. American, British, French and Israeli aircraft are conducting round the clock flights across Syria’s airspace under the pretext of holding an exercise. The US-led anti-ISIS coalition aircraft are constantly on patrol. French Dupuy de Lome intelligence gathering vessel is also there, coordinating its activities with the American ships.

The US Army has rushed another 500 Marines to the Al Tanf base straddling the borders of Syria, Jordan and Iraq. 1,700 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which operates under US command, have also moved to reinforce the garrison. There are over a dozen US military locations in northeastern Syria, including at least four air strips stretched from Manbij in the vicinity of the Turkish border to Al-Hasakeh, the hub of the pro-American Kurds-dominated SDF forces located in northern Syria.

US soldiers started to patrol the Syrian-Turkish border earlier this month. The move is seen as offering a kind of protection to Kurdish forces from Turkey, probably because their support would be crucial if shooting starts. Russia warned the US twice in September about possible consequences in case Syria starts an operation to free its territory from foreign troops but the warning fell on deaf ears.

According to the Washington Post, the US is preparing to strike Iran in Syria under the pretext of being a target of unprovoked attack.

There are other signs an operation is a possibility. “Russia has been permissive, in consultation with the Israelis, about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria. We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue,” James Jeffrey, Washington’s special representative to Syria said in early November. Back then, the ambassador noted that forcing Iran to leave Syria was an objective of Trump’s economic pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic. With the Islamic State reduced to insignificance and holding no territory to control, it would be a large order to find a legal pretext for a military action but the administration appears to be unfazed. With no threat to national security or strategic interests to justify getting embroiled in a conflict, it is adamant to stay.

The Arab nations, which are candidates for the “Arab NATO” membership, held a joint large-scale military exercise dubbed Arab Shield 1. It ended on Nov.16. The training event was seen as a preparation for a joint military operation. Tamer al-Shahawi, a member of the parliamentary National Defense and Security Committee and a former Egyptian military intelligence officer, said “There is close cooperation between the Gulf states, Egypt and Israel against Tehran. Arab countries are trying to benefit from any possible support against the Iranian influence.”

To increase the effect of sanctions, Iran should be separated from the Mediterranean Sea. The route across Iraq, Syria and Iran-friendly Lebanon should be made inaccessible. If Israel decides to strike what it calls Iranian targets, it would badly need US backing. Another reason to stay in Syria is making sure the nation would be divided in case the reconciliation and restoration process starts to gain momentum. Separating the SDF-controlled areas from the rest of the country is the only way to achieve it. Rebuilding rebel forces and controlling a vast chunk of land is the way to deny Syrian President Assad the international legitimacy he so desperately strives for. The ongoing American presence at Tanf and elsewhere demonstrates Washington has no intention to leave the Middle East as President Trump promised it would do. Neither would it pull out from Syria until a security situation in the region meets its goals.

The concentration of US military in the region is a worrisome sign. This huge force has gathered for something much more serious than just training. With the events in Europe grabbing public attention, the situation creep in Syria is staying under the radar. It shouldn’t be. Something is definitely being cooked up.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Turkey’s Hour of Reckoning in Syria

By Melkulangara BHADRAKUMAR | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.11.2018

During a Pentagon briefing last weekend, Secretary of Defence James Mattis dropped a bombshell by innocuously slipping in that the US military intends to set up a string of observation posts on the Syrian-Turkish border. Mattis implied that Turkey was on board and that the idea was for the two militaries to jointly prevent any terrorist threats to the US’ NATO ally emanating out of Syrian territories.

Turkish officials immediately tore into Mattis’ project. Defence Minister Hulusi Akar disclosed that he had warned US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford only a week ago that the observation posts would have a “negative impact” and create the impression that “US soldiers are somehow protecting terrorist YPG (Syrian Kurdish) members and shielding them.”

The move would make an already complex situation “much more complex,” Akar added. He said, “Nobody should doubt that the Turkish armed forces and the Republic of Turkey will take the necessary steps against all kinds of risks and threats from across its borders.”

On Tuesday, President Recep Erdogan lashed out against the US troop presence in eastern Syria, charging that plans to establish observation posts along the Turkish border are meant to aid terrorist elements. “Those who say they are countering (ISIS) in Syria are in fact allowing a small group of terrorists to exist in the country to justify their presence in the war-torn country,” he said.

Erdogan alleged that the US is actually showing a preference to “live and breathe with the terrorists.” “The only target of this terror organization (YPG)… is our country,” he said. “It’s not possible for us to remain idle against this threat.”

Clearly, what is unfolding is a US game plan to block the Turkish military’s future operations in northern Syria against the Kurdish militia. Pentagon regards the YPG to be its most effective Syrian partner. Simply put, what we see here is the Syrian equivalent of what Washington did in 1991 in Iraq by imposing a “no-fly zone” over the Kurdistan region in the north.

The US is playing the long game. It is exactly three years since President Obama deployed 50 commandos to advise the Syrian Kurdish militia in their fight against the ISIS. Obama insisted it was “just an extension” of “special ops” that the US was running already. But the the numbers steadily kept increasing – from 50 to 250, from 250 to 500, and from 500 to 2000. The true figure today is around 5000 – and growing.

Seth Harp at the New Yorker magazine noted after a recent visit to the US bases in Syria, “the mission has morphed into something more like a conventional ground war. The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

According to reports, there are presently 17 military bases in northeastern Syria. Yet, the US Congress has not authorized military action in Syria, nor has UN mandated the use of force. The Pentagon’s so-called Operation Inherent Resolve comes under the authority of the secretive Joint Special Operations Command, which means that “basic facts are kept classified, including the cost of the mission, the units involved, where they are located, and the number of wounded, which is believed to be substantial,” as Harp pointed out.

The intriguing part is about the US intentions. The stated purpose of the Operation Inherent Resolve is to defeat the ISIS, but lately it has shifted to countering Iranian presence in Syria. According to the US special representative for Syria engagement James F. Jeffrey, Trump has agreed to keep U.S. troops in Syria indefinitely. “We are not in a hurry,” he said.

Turkey’s worst fear may be coming true – a Syrian Kurdistan taking shape right along its border. Indeed, this becomes a template of the overall US strategy to encircle Turkey and Iran and to control Baghdad and Damascus – and eventually to make Russian presence in Syria untenable.

The US aims to put a knife into the heart of the Turkey-Russia-Iran axis in Syria by accentuating the contradictions in the region. The gloves have come off vis-à-vis Iran, Pentagon is now “defanging” Turkey and it remains to be seen how long the gloves will remain in place in the dealings with Russia.

In a candid interview with the Russia media on November 21, Special Representative for Syria Engagement Jeffrey sounded testy. He repeated that the deployment of S-300 missiles to Syria is a “dangerous escalation” – “we would urge the Russians to be very careful with this” – and assertively spoke of the new sanctions against Iran and Russia for oil shipments to Syria, while also rejecting offhand any talk of trade-offs with Russia over Iranian presence in Syria and debunking the Astana process. Jeffrey even reserved the US military’s right “to exercise our right of self-defense” if Russian forces on the ground came in the way. (Jeffrey disclosed that there have been military engagements with the Russians so far in “about a dozen times in one or another place in Syria.”)

Pentagon will press ahead with the establishment of observation posts on the Syrian-Turkish border despite Ankara’s objections. Turkey’s hour of reckoning is approaching. A few days ago, Turkish media reported that Saudi and UAE troops had deployed to northern Syria. In early November, the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus.

The US and Israel are pressing Saudi Arabia and the UAE to fund the Syrian Kurdish militia and help create proximity between the Kurdish and Arab tribes inhabiting northeastern Syria with a view to create a unified Kurdish-Arab militia that becomes a Syrian bulwark against the two non-Arab regional powers Turkey and Iran.

To quote from a prominent Saudi commentator in the establishment daily Asharq Al-Awsat, “The Americans are now establishing Syrian Kurdish militias as a striking force against several parties and this revives the hopes of the Syrian opposition that it has an opportunity to resume its fighting activities after it has lost most of what it gained of villages and territories during the civil war.”

Both Saudis and Emiratis are once again at the US’s bidding in Syria. These Gulf States no longer hide their association with Israel. They are reciprocating the US-Israeli help to shove the Khashoggi affair under the rug.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanese President Warns International Community of Continuing Wars in Region

Al-Manar | November 29, 2018

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, on Thursday condemned the fact that UN resolution #194, which affirmed the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland, remained mere ink on paper.

“This has deepened the feelings of oppression amongst the Palestinian people, all amid daily attempts to hide their identity and to destroy their legitimate rights,” Aoun said marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

“The declaration of Al-Quds as the capital of ‘Israel’, and the transfer of some embassies to it against the will of the international community, the passing of the ‘Jewish nation-state law’, and the blocking of UNRWA aid signify a collective effort to defeat resolution #194 and point to attempts to rid it of its content,” Aoun said.

The President also warned the international community of its failure to carry out its duties towards the Palestinian cause, and its adoption of a double standard policy.

“This would lead to the continuation of wars in the Middle East due to lack of justice,” Aoun said.

The President’s words came in a letter addressed to Cheikh Niang, the Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 2 Comments

“People hold opinions I don’t share, we should stop them.”

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | November 29, 2018

Sixty percent of us believe in “conspiracy theories”, and we shouldn’t. At least according to Hugo Drochon, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University.

He doesn’t raise the question of whether or not some “conspiracy theories” may be true, his blanket assumption is that all of them are not. His article is not about WHAT people think, WHY they think it, or IF they’re wrong. The article is about rationalizing social control – specifically steps the state can take to assert control over the political opinions of the electorate.

Indeed the entire premise of the article is right there in the headline:

Britons are swallowing conspiracy theories. Here’s how to stop the rot

British people think things they shouldn’t, and here’s how we can stop them. The flawed logic is aggressive. The patronising tone nauseating. It’s the terrifying smiling face of a Brave New World.

The article deals only in absolutes. There are “conspiracy theories”, and they are all wrong. Even such vague concepts as the idea the government might publish misleading statistics or that there could be unelected people running the country in spite of our notional democracy.

It’s a programmed response. A piece of hard code: If(Conspiracy).addClass(“false”)

No space is given over to the raft of historical “conspiracy theories” which turned out to be completely true. NSA mass surveillance. The “sexed up” dossier. Iran-Contra. The DNC rigging the primaries. The Gulf of Tonkin incident.

They are disregarded, ignored because they do not serve the narrative.

It is so blatantly dishonest it needs, and merits, no refutation. An alleged “academic” should know better, should be better.

Leaving aside the cod-psychological waffle, the frankly offensive assumptions, the frequent lies by omission and the constant conflation of all “conspiracy theories” as broadly the same thing, (People who believe aliens crashed at Roswell are filed alongside people who debate Global Warming, 9/11, and vaccination). What we’re presented with is a five-point plan to make sure we stop thinking things of which Professor Drochon does not approve. It’s just that simple.

1. Stage Interventions for your deluded loved ones

Although mistrust in politicians and other leaders is at an all-time high, trust among friends (87%) and family members (89%) remains rock solid. This can be a double-edged sword: if conspiracy theorists are friends with other conspiracy theorists, then that’s likely to be mutually reinforcing. But conspiracy theorists will also listen to their friends and family who are not. So if you have a friend who starts sayings things about how the CIA was behind 9/11, try talking to them. You never know, they might come round to thinking it was al-Qaida who hijacked the planes, after all.

Drochon doesn’t go into WHY people don’t trust politicians, of course, which may be connected to the “conspiracy theories” that turned out to be true. The lies about WMDs in Iraq, for example, would be held up as a “conspiracy theory” if hadn’t been conclusively proved.

Ignore history or facts or precedent or debate and remember – “conspiracy theorists” are ALWAYS wrong. It’s like a mental illness or a drug addiction. The important thing is you sit down any friends/family you have who believe things they shouldn’t believe, and you berate and/or shame them into changing their mind.

2. Argue from authority

Sadly journalists (77%) are no better trusted than government ministers or company bosses. Academics, however, fare better and retain the trust of 64% of the public. So academics should engage more with the public: Cas Mudde for instance, an expert on populism, has just launched a new series with the Guardian about “the new populism”. Consider this column my own attempt to do so, too.

Again, he doesn’t ask WHY journalists aren’t trusted (coughIraqcough), he just thinks it’s “sad”. Obviously, in a perfect world, we’d all trust journalists who are all great guys and just trying to help.

Anyway, we can’t be expected to learn, understand or debate issues amongst ourselves. We need to listen to academics*, who know what they’re talking about. Including, fortunately, Professor Drochon himself. Remember, someone with a PhD is not only smarter than you, but morally superior as well. They are also incapable of ever being mistaken or having an agenda.

*When he says “academics” he only means SOME academics, obviously the academics who research JFK, 9/11 or alternate theories of global warming don’t count. Disregard them entirely.

3. Indoctrinate Your Children

Studies show that those with higher educational achievements are less prone to believing conspiracy theories. The implication here is there should be more investment in education, which of course would be welcome. But compulsory courses on online education – learning to tell fake news from real for instance – should be considered, too.

Compulsory education courses for children. We need to teach our kids that anything they read on the internet which departs from the acknowledged government position is WRONG. This will help stamp out dissent conspiracy theories, and is not at all Stalinist.

4. Online Censorship Regulation

By asking questions about social media consumption, our latest poll confirms what has been suspected for a while: social media encourages conspiracy theories. Not all, mind you: Facebook encourages conspiracy theories, but Twitter mitigates against them. It turns out YouTube is the worst offender: those who get their news from the video platform are much more likely to believe conspiracy theories.

So far most of these new technologies have been left to regulate themselves, which has led to scandals surrounding the role Facebook might have played in recent elections. Politicians should take a more active role in regulating the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories. Falling that (sic), you’re welcome to delete your various accounts.

As mentioned above, “conspiracy theorists” talking to each other can be self-reinforcing. We need to stop that. The best way to do that is to regulate the internet. To make sure certain opinions don’t get shared and certain thoughts don’t get expressed.

It’s important to remember that this is NOT censorship. This is regulation. Bad people censor the truth. Good people “regulate” lies. The Government (who only 23% of people trust) can, of course, be trusted to carry out this task. There is no chance, at all, that they would use this to their own ends. After all, an academic suggested it… and they are not only smarter, but morally superior. I know, because an academic said that too.

5… wait, what?

Conspiracy theories spread among those who feel they are not being heard. Politicians have a responsibility to be more responsive to the demands of their citizens: it is true, for example, that the question of this country’s relation to the EU had long been off the table, and fears about immigration often fell on deaf ears. That is not to say they should follow Hillary Clinton in saying immigration into Europe should stop, but a coherent account of what type of immigration this country wants, and why, needs to be offered, alongside a clear vision of what its future relationship with the EU is going to be.

Conspiracy theories only spread as a result of people not being listened to, so we should stay in the EU and offer a more coherent immigration policy. Then people will stop believing in Aliens and won’t question 9/11 anymore?

Is he saying the government should make some token populist compromise or face a backlash? How does that relate to global warming? Is he saying anything even approaching that coherent?

Is it simply that every article in the Guardian needs to be related back to Brexit?

I’m struggling with this one, honestly. Does anyone have the faintest idea what he’s talking about?

Answers on a postcard, please.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he’s forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments