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UK psyops bigwig pushed plan to ‘mine Sevastopol Bay’ during 2014 Crimea crisis – leaked documents

RT | December 17, 2018

In the midst of the Crimean crisis, a special adviser to the UK House of Commons Defence Committee had a suggestion for Kiev – to lay mines in Sevastopol Bay, leaked documents have revealed.

“I am trying to get this message across” to Kiev, reads a leaked document purporting to show the strategy that Christopher Donnelly, who was a Special Adviser to the UK House of Commons Defence Committee, recommends.

The documents, leaked by a group which claims to be associated with the Anonymous hackers, purport to indicate that Donnelly had drafted “military measures” that he would implement if he, personally was “in charge.” The documents are allegedly dated March 01, 2014, when the Crimean crisis was in full swing.

A print screen of the leaked document with alleged “military measures” which Christopher Donnelly wanted to communicate to Kiev. ©

Donnelly noted that “at the moment the new ‘Government’ in Kyiv is unable to think in terms of military reality,” since it was not sure if its “orders will be obeyed or not.”

“They are like a rabbit in the car’s headlights,” he said, according to the documents.

The measures which the official would supposedly implement, include “mining of Sevastopol harbor,” setting up a “cordon sanitaire” across the Crimean Isthmus with “troops and mines,” and trying to “inspire” their own troops, endeavoring to explain to them what exactly they had to fight for.

Donnelly allegedly writes that he would have used “some seriously important weapons” Ukraine “used to have,” namely some sort of “big microwave anti-satellite weapon.”

Apart from that, the text says all the air forces in the region should have been scrambled and anti-aircraft defenses activated. If the aviation in Crimea proved to be not airworthy, it should have been destroyed “as a gesture that they are serious.”

While all the “measures” appear to be designed to incite an open armed conflict, the last one was also about making profit by the West: “They should ask the west now to start supplying oil and gas. There is plenty available due to the mild winter.”

Donnelly has a rich background that ties him to top military officials. Between 1989 and 2003, as special adviser to four NATO Secretaries General, he was closely involved with NATO. From 2003 to 2010 he ran the UK Defence Academy’s Advanced Research and Assessment Group. He has been a specialist adviser to three UK Defence Secretaries (both Labour and Conservative) and was a member of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Soviet advisory team. Since 2010 he has been the Co-director of The Institute for Statecraft – a shady think tank that provides “decision takers & policy makers with reliable, alternative solutions.”

This is the third of a number of leaks, which began on November 5. The leaks claim that the UK government-funded group “Integrity Initiative” (II), which was founded by the Institute of Statecraft, has a network of journalists, analysts and former politicians who make up a Europe-wide chain of “clusters” that help London meddle in other state’s affairs.

Commenting on the previous leak, the II neither confirmed nor denied that the documents were genuine, saying that it didn’t have time to validate them.

However, II did confirm that the organization has, indeed, been receiving funding from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for the past two years, but insisted that private donors were its primary source of money. Meanwhile, in response to a question by Labour MP Chris Williamson last week, Minister for Defence, People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood admitted that the Institute for Statecraft had also received funding from the British Army and the Ministry of Defence. The FCO money came from the department’s ‘Conflict Fund’ which investigative journalist Mark Curtis exposed last year as a “secretive slush fund” which had backed “some of the world’s worst security forces.”

RT has reached out to Mr. Donnelly for comment over the contents of the “military measures” list, as well as over allegations that his organization targeted Jeremy Corbyn in an anti-smear campaign which are now being investigated by the Foreign Office. He declined to comment.

“Thank you very much for your enquiry but as RT is a state-sponsored propaganda organization and not a legitimate news channel, we have no comment to make,” Donnelly said in a mailed statement.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Israeli politician calls for PA President to be killed

MEMO | December 17, 2018

A member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, called on Sunday for the President of the Palestinian Authority to have his head “chopped off”. Oren Hazzan MK made the comment about Mahmoud Abbas, as well as his Deputy, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, during a march held by illegal settlers in Jerusalem, Maan News Agency has reported.

Dozens of settlers gathered in and around Jerusalem’s Old City chanting racist slogans against Abbas and calling for him to be killed. In the evening, they gathered outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s house and burnt pictures of Abbas. Banners held by the settlers called for the PA leader’s assassination.

“We call for the complete approval of the settlements in Ofra and Amona,” Hazzan declared. Addressing his remarks to government ministers, he added, “We want to go back to Givaat. Stop evading your responsibility. We want to have the head of Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and his deputy chopped off. The life of one of our soldiers is equal to the life of 100 terrorists. We want all the terrorists to be executed.”

Many Israeli officials refer to the Palestinians as “terrorists” whether or not they are involved in legitimate resistance activities.

Last week, Israeli settlers carried out attacks and instigated clashes with Palestinians in different areas across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. On most occasions, the heavily armed settlers are protected by Israeli soldiers and police officers when they gather for demonstrations and terrorist attacks on Palestinians and their homes.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Yair Netanyahu, Son of Israeli PM, Gets Brief Ban on Facebook

Palestine Chronicle | December 17, 2018

Facebook has briefly blocked the page of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s son, Yair after he shared previously banned content calling for “all Muslims [to] leave” Israel.

In a message posted Thursday on his Facebook page, after the latest flare-up in violence saw at least five Palestinians and three Israelis, including two soldiers, killed in recent days, Yair Netanyahu had called for the expulsion of Palestinians.

The prime minister’s son wrote: “Do you know where there are no attacks? In Iceland and in Japan where coincidentally there are no Muslims.”

In another post, he wrote that there were only two possible solutions for peace, either “all Jews leave [Israel] or all Muslims leave”.

“I prefer the second option,” added the 27-year-old, who has faced criticism of being a grown man living in the prime minister’s residence despite having no official role and benefitting from a bodyguard, a driver, and other perks.

Facebook deleted Yair Netanyahu’s posts, in which he called for “avenging the deaths” of the two Israeli soldiers.

Yair Netanyahu, who shared a screenshot of the earlier post in violation of Facebook’s community rules, took to Twitter to criticize the social networking giant, calling it a “dictatorship of thought”.

Facebook blocked his account for 24 hours.

Palestinian journalists and activists have long accused social media platforms such as Facebook of double standards regarding the enforcement of their policies, as well as an imbalance in how they deal with censorship in the Israeli-Palestinian context.

Last year, a damning report by The Intercept said that Facebook is deleting content and blocking users at the orders of the Israeli and the US governments.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

What Does Israel ‘Occupy’?

By Blake Alcott | Palestine Chronicle | December 17, 2018

In what is written and said about Israel and Palestine the word ‘occupation’ is ubiquitous. But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying? Is it just the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, or all of Palestine?

Everybody agrees that the territories Israel took over in 1967 are occupied. However, both pro-Palestinians and liberal Zionists routinely write of ‘the Occupation’ or ‘occupied Palestine’ to refer to these territories only. The demeaning acronym ‘OPT’ means only the West Bank and Gaza Strip only. But if those territories are ‘occupied’, then by the same token so is the 80% of historic Palestine called ‘Israel’. All of Palestine has been taken over.

When we demand freedom ‘from the river to the sea’ what are we demanding other than an end to rule, control, and occupation by a non-indigenous Power? When Palestinians use the term ihtilal they always distinguish between the ‘1948 occupation’ and the ‘1967 occupation’. Why, then, does the international discourse in Western languages ignore the 1948 occupation, in denial of the fact that Israel in 1948 merely took over from the British-Mandate occupation of 1917-1948?

Palestine was a British colony, and all colonies by definition are occupied by the colonial Power. And indeed, when we correctly and routinely call Britain’s successor Israel a ‘settler-colony’ we are not just referring to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Especially since it is thoroughly supported by pro-Zionist forces outside of historic Palestine, all of Palestine is now a settler-colony and thus occupied from the river to the sea. And if the settler-colonialist paradigm is accurate, all non-indigenous Israelis are ‘settlers’, not just those in the West Bank. If we talk of boycotting ‘settlement goods’, that should mean all Israeli goods.

Does this matter? Yes: If it is only the West Bank and Gaza Strip that are occupied, then the rest of Palestine ‘within the Green Line’, is not occupied, and if it is not occupied, what is it then? It can then only be rightfully controlled by Israel, for if you are not ‘occupying’ a territory, it must be yours. Using the term limited to the 1967 occupation thus implies that the Europeans who colonized Palestine under British protection for thirty years are the rightful owners of the land of Palestine. The basic premise of Zionism is conceded.

That is, withholding the epithet ‘occupation’ from today’s Israel normalizes the Zionist Entity’s presence; it pulls the rug out from underneath Palestinian claims to political rights in Palestine. As Colonial Minister Churchill and High Commissioner Samuel wrote in their pathbreaking 1922 White Paper on the Palestine question, one worldwide outside ethno-religious group is in Palestine “by right and not on sufferance” and thus cannot be an Occupier.

Which Narrative?

Denying implicitly in this way that Israel occupies the lands taken over in 1948 is thus a key part of the Zionist narrative that Jews own Palestine, while the diametrically opposing Palestinian narrative claims that rightful ownership lies with the indigenous inhabitants (whatever their ethnicity or religion). It insists that this is the territorial and historical ‘self’ entitled to realize self-determination in non-partitioned Palestine. If moreover, this political ‘self’ consists of all Palestinians, they are all ‘occupied’, and the logic in calling only West Bank or Gazan land ‘stolen’ undermines the unity of all Palestinians.

We similarly identify Israel as an ‘apartheid’ state, exercising and enacting discriminatory separation not only on the Palestinians in ‘Israel proper’ and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but as well on the 6 or 7 million Palestinians residing outside of Palestine – as Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley argued in their UNESCWA report in 2017. The Green Line upon which the restricted use of the concepts ‘occupation’ and ‘apartheid’ would rely is historically, ethically and emotionally irrelevant.

A third, ‘liberal-Zionist’ narrative also contends that Israel is occupying only what it took over from the Egyptian and Jordanian occupiers in 1967. This diverges from the Jewish-Israeli mainstream in at least admitting it, but it leaves Israel intact – although, sadly, bereft of ‘Judea and Samaria’. This soft Zionism certainly takes comfort in seeing that some Palestinians and many of their supporters join them in granting that the Jewish state is not guilty of occupying the 1948 territories.

The fatal consequence of this limited use of ‘the Occupation’, in whichever camp, is the implication that once Israel quits doing its occupying of 20% of Palestine (and a part of Syria), as far as its relations with its neighbors goes it reverts to a normal, well-behaved state. The use of this central term is thus a litmus test. If limited to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel is normalized.

A common-language Definition

In common parlance, a state is ‘occupying’ territory if, first, a force or a state has come in from outside the territory in question. Second, that force has established military and political hegemony in that territory. Third, this happens against the will of the indigenous inhabitants.

The second and third conditions obtain in the entirety of Palestine. Disputed is only whether Israel was a force that moved into ‘1948’ Palestine from the outside. Or was it somehow already there? Was it by 1948 somehow also ‘indigenous’, in which case the situation should be described not as an ‘occupation’ but as a victory in a civil war – as the Israeli narrative indeed describes it? Even though the European-Jewish community was obviously vastly ‘less indigenous’ than the Palestinians in terms of length and unbrokenness of habitation, perhaps on 15 May 1948 it suddenly became legitimate.

However, left to their own devices after freed from the Ottoman occupation in 1918, the Palestinians would, by the early 1920s, certainly have constituted their state covering all of Palestine – or perhaps a single sovereign Greater Syria would have emerged covering al-sham, i.e. historic Palestine plus today’s Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. But instead, outsiders from and in Britain occupied it.

But were the Jewish Agency and its military arm the Haganah, together renamed ‘Israel’ in May 1948, any different from Britain in terms of coming from the outside? The overwhelming majority of Jews in Palestine as of that date was, after all, very recent European immigrants, and given near-unanimous indigenous opposition based on justified fear of political takeover, a necessary condition for their implantation was thirty years of support by colonial Power Britain. ‘British bayonets’ both fostered Jewish military strength and, especially during the years of the 1936-39 Revolt, crushed Arab military as well as political potential. Without this enablement by Britain and its fellow Powers, the self-described Jewish entity would not have had a shred of a plausible claim to statehood in any part of Palestine at the time of the decisive debates of 1947 leading to the Partition Resolution of the UN General Assembly (Resolution 181).

In other words, the most realistic picture of the forces taking over Palestine is of a British/European-Jewish amalgam functioning during three entire decades. It is one occupation, an overlapping transfer of power from protector to protected.

By the way, even the usurped 55% of Palestine recommended for the “Jewish State” by the General Assembly majority had a slight indigenous non-Jewish majority of 509,780 to 499,020 if the 105,000 Bedouins living there were counted, a fact that strengthens the notion of an outside occupier rejected by a majority.

What about the territory conquered during 1948 over and above that 55% granted by the outsiders at the UN, amounting to about half the area it granted to the “Arab State”? Certainly, by any criterion, it is ‘occupied’ – taken by force without even a pretense of legitimacy. It is thus especially egregious to exclude it from the term OPT, the more so as it included the almost-totally indigenous Galilee.

To be consistent and coherent, there is thus no way around terming the whole territory ‘within’ the 1949 armistice line ‘occupied’. As Uri Davis wrote in 1972 in the Journal of Palestine Studies, he “first had to come to grips with the fact that, essentially, the right-wing Zionist contention that there was no essential difference between the colonization of Tel Aviv and Jaffa prior to and immediately after 1948, and the colonization of Hebron in 1967, was correct.”

Examples of the Problem

The Quakers in Britain recently decided to quit supporting the “occupation… now in its 51st year”, thus dating this “illegal occupation” from 1967 only. The other 80% is thus not occupied and of necessity ‘legal’, under legitimate Israeli control. In consequence, since it is this 51-year occupation that motivates the Quakers, they will cease boycotting Israeli goods when the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is ended, whatever the fate of the other Palestinians. This results from distinguishing between a boycott of ‘settlement-complicit’ goods and the blanket boycott of Israel that would target the source of the problem and be a true successor to the blanket boycott of South Africa which brought down Apartheid.

Another example is the discourse of the large US-based organization which starting in 2001 called itself the “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation”. It fought for most Palestinian rights, but as its name suggested most strongly against the occupation of the 1967-occupied areas. Perhaps aware that having ‘Israeli Occupation’ in its title lent implicit recognition to Israel’s permanency, in 2016 it changed its name to “US Campaign for Palestinian Rights”. However, its “common principles” and “Factsheet” still make it clear that the term “military occupation” refers only to what Israel took over in 1967, for conceptually it treats the refugees and the “Palestinian citizens of Israel” separately. Its use of “settlements” refers likewise consistently only to the West Bank.

Part and parcel of this narrative, moreover, is this US Campaign’s support for “all relevant UN resolutions”. This must include the soft-Zionist position of Security Council Resolution 242 which cements the Green Line and the Jewish state on one side of it. The group is also careful to criticize only “Israel’s policies and practices”, not its right to be in Palestine in the first place. Finally, its reference to the “illegal West Bank colonies” implies that the earlier Jewish Agency/Israeli colonization of the bulk of Palestine was legal.

A final example of an ‘occupation’ narrative leaving room for an Israel legitimately present in Palestine is an article in Haaretz on 29 November 2018 by Gideon Levy entitled “Why I am obsessed with Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians”. Said occupation is again that of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Its main victims, to be sure, are “the Palestinians”, but it also “harms” an Israel worth saving because of its “crucial impact on our daily lives and on the image of this country.”

Referring to Israel’s culture-loyalty, nation-state, nakba, citizenship, and anti-BDS laws Levy even claims that “In the absence of the occupation, all these laws would be redundant.” I interpret this to mean that for him Israel’s worst crime is its treatment of the West Bank and Gaza Strip – a view certain to disappoint the roughly three-quarters of Palestinians living in Israel or outside of Palestine.


I have challenged various speakers on their restricted use of the term. The most common answer is that one can’t apply it to all of Palestine because by that logic California – or all of North America, or Australia – would be ‘occupied’.

My first reaction was ‘So what? So be it. If it’s true, deal with it.’ But more deeply, or unconsciously, this answer takes the indigenous conquered less seriously than they deserve, for how could any Native American say anything but Yes, Europeans moved in, took over and occupied their lands? If meant as an assertion that the world’s settler-colonies are somehow legitimate, this is not post-Zionism but simply Zionism.

Another answer is that ‘occupation’ is a specific term in international law and should not be watered down by broader use. But to the extent the term is defined at all in international law, it is not useful for a political discussion; it is only a backdrop for humanitarian rules for treating occupied people in armed conflicts between states.

And in general, terms such as ‘occupation’ which function perfectly well in common and historical language should not be co-opted for specialist purposes. In fact, routinely using the term ‘illegal’ to characterize the 1967 occupation and the ‘settlements’ there – as does even the BDS Movement – doesn’t just imply that the rest is legal, but detracts from more important ethical and political dimensions.

A third answer is that we should not use our terms in ways that regard Palestinians as one polity because this erases the Green Line. The division of Palestine gives (a limited number of) Palestinians leverage at international institutions and courts to plead within the mainstream narrative as political, if not military, equals. The danger of this ‘parity pitfall’ cannot be covered here, but it definitely belongs to the liberal-Zionist narrative that the Israeli state of the two-state solution is rightful.

Israel’s Illegitimacy

The basic, fatal effect of co-opting the Arabic term ‘occupation’ for the 1967 territories only is its implication that a non-occupying, non-Palestinian ethnic state is in legitimate, or at least acceptable, ownership of the rest. This is not compatible with Palestinian self-determination, liberation of the Land, right of return, or anti-Zionism.

In terms of the fashionable ‘rights-based approach’, it is likewise not compatible with all the rights of all the Palestinians because it normalizes the Zionist premise that, ethically, at least in part of Palestine indigenous wishes can be ignored. If this premise is rejected, on the other hand, the Zionist Entity is occupying all of Palestine.

We often advise ourselves to watch our words carefully. Israel spends millions to tailor certain words to serve its goals – ‘right to exist’, ‘return’, ‘democratic and Jewish’, and ‘anti-semitism’ being a few examples – and those in solidarity with Palestine should take a page out of that approach and ask whether the word ‘occupation’ is not worth utmost care.

Both logically and in the context of actively arguing for Palestinian self-determination, joining the Zionist narrative or even just indulging in ambiguity serve no purpose. The time is ripe to say that, if Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, it is not right that Israel occupies it.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Truth is stranger than fiction: 3 days in the West Bank

A protester holds a placard as she stands next to Israeli soldiers during a protest against Israeli settlements in West Bank city on December 27, 2014. (Reuters)
By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | December 17, 2018

Elderly women, families, children, and of course young men in the occupied Palestinian territories are regularly treated with brutality by Israeli forces. International laws are in place to protect vulnerable populations, but Israel ignores such laws – and gets away with it. Simple, common decency ought to elicit restraint on the part of the occupier, but does not.

These very brief stories are snapshots of Israeli cruelty between December 15 and 17, 3 days out of the 50+ years of violent occupation which the United States endorses and supports to the tune of over $10 million a day.

Israeli forces detained a groom and about 20 wedding guests, and summoned others for interrogation. The charge: “taking part in a wedding during which flags of the Hamas movement were waved and terrorists were hailed.”

This incident violated the universal human rights to privacy and self-expression.

Israeli forces with military bulldozers raided the Amari refugee camp near Ramallah in the middle of the night on Saturday. They took over the Abu Hmeid home, claiming that the family’s son had killed an Israeli soldier during a raid of the camp last June. Islam Abu Hmeid is in prison awaiting trial. Hundreds of soldiers forcefully evacuated sleeping neighbors before wiring the building and demolishing it as a “deterrent” to Palestinians who may be tempted to resist the oppressive occupation.

This incident broke the international law against collective punishment and bypassed the right to a fair trial for the accused. (The Geneva Conventions use the words “the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”)

An 86-year-old Palestinian woman died of a heart attack on Saturday evening after Israeli forces prevented an ambulance from reaching her. They reportedly delayed the ambulance for around 8 minutes, for no apparent reason.

This incident involved a breach of international law which states that an occupying force must ensure the provision of medical care for the occupied population.

A group of illegal Israeli settlers infiltrated a Palestinian town Saturday evening. Palestinians guarding the town stopped them. Dozens of Israeli soldiers then appeared, firing live and rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades at the Palestinians who were defending their town, wounding 23. During the clash, the settlers were able to escape.

This incident contravened the universal human right to security of person and the laws of occupation regarding maintenance of public order and safety and the ban on transfer of civilian population into occupied territory.

In Hebron, Israeli soldiers fired 21 tear gas rounds outside 3 schools and into 2 schoolyards during school hours. International observers report that there was no provocation at the time. Last month 238 tear gas rounds and 51 concussion grenades were fired in this neighborhood.

This incident was a breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and several of the laws of occupation.

An 80-year-old, chronically ill woman was arrested as she waited outside an Israeli prison to visit her son. She was taken to an unknown destination. No reason was given for the arrest.

This incident violated international humanitarian law, in which the elderly should “enjoy protection from abusive behavior” during conflict.

On Sunday, an Israeli court sentenced the mother of a Palestinian, who was killed by the army last year, to 11 months in prison for “incitement on social media.” She has been in prison since last August. Her son was shot in 2017 during a protest and bled to death while the Israeli army prevented Palestinian medics from approaching him.

These incidents infringed on the universal human rights to self-expression, protection of the right to life, liberty and security of person in peaceful assemblies, and the right of an occupied population to medical care.

And on and on it goes. Here are headlines from just a few other incidents reported between December 15th and 17th:

Israeli Naval Forces Wound Fisherman, Arrest 4 Others and Detain Fishing Boats

Israeli Soldiers Ram Two Palestinians With Jeep, Abduct One, Near Ramallah

Israeli Soldiers Shoot A Palestinian While Driving Near Ramallah

Illegal Israeli Colonists Attack School Near Nablus

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Thirteen Palestinians In West Bank

Army Abducts Seven Palestinians, Including A Blind Man, In Ramallah

Soldiers Abduct Three Children, 13-16 years old, In Hebron

The world – especially America – needs to wake up to this ongoing travesty.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites

Photo Source Flisadam Pointer | CC BY 2.0
By Susan Abulhawa | CounterPunch | December 17, 2018

Temple University’s administration announced the unsurprising news that it has found no grounds to punish or investigate Professor Marc Lamont Hill for his speech at the United Nations on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Yet, the university’s Board of Trustees felt compelled, nonetheless, to issue a statement further maligning Dr Hill, albeit indirectly this time, by quoting the slanderous language of others against him.

Remarkably, the Board’s statement implicitly acknowledges there was nothing inherently offensive in Dr Hill’s speech. Rather, the university’s objection lies in the way “many regard[ed]” it and how it was “widely perceived” or “broadly criticized.” In essence, the university was unable to reasonably rebuke what was ultimately a call for justice and freedom for the Palestinian people, the colonized indigenous nation that has continuously inhabited the land between the River Jordan and Mediterranean Sea for millennia. It is therefore stunning and unprecedented that a university would hold its professor responsible not for his words, but for the ways in which others interpret them.

It is also worth noting that no such statement was issued by the Board of Trustees following the exposure of Temple journalism professor Francesca Viola, who admitted to posting conspiracy theories against Muslims and immigrants. Among other things, her anonymous account posted the word “scum” under a photo of Muslims praying and called to “get rid of them.”

It beggars the imagination to consider why Temple’s Board of Trustees would ignore the abhorrent and overtly racists posts in the account of one professor, while exceeding its mandate in order to rebuke an avowedly anti-racist professor, not for the content of his speech, but for the ways in which that speech was received.

In the second paragraph of the statement, Temple’s Board attempts to divest Dr. Hill from his professional position and identity as a scholar and intellectual using wording crafted to deny his right to academic freedom. The claim that Dr. Hill was speaking as a private citizen and therefore his words simply fall under the purview of the First Amendment belies the reality that his speech as a Temple faculty member is fully protected under the principles of academic freedom. In fact, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is explicit that “freedom of extramural utterance is a constitutive part of the American conception of academic freedom, and the AAUP has investigated and censured many institutions for dismissing faculty members over their extramural utterances.”

The unprincipled way in which members of Temple’s Board have berated and threatened an African American professor for criticizing Israel’s Jim Crow apartheid, while turning a blind eye to the egregious oppression faced by Palestinian students and scholars every day, a reality Dr. Hill described in his U.N. speech, is reprehensible. Comments by individuals on the Board of Trustees, the collective statement by the Board and their failure to defend academic freedom are a testament to the alarmingly corrosive power that defenders of Israeli settler-colonialism and apartheid exert on the academy.

In a Philadelphia oped, Stephen Cozen, a member of Temple’s Board, proclaimed himself an authority on anti-Semitism before describing Hill’s words as “hate speech.” For good measure, he cast that disparaging net onto TAUP (Temple Association of University Professors), describing them “an association of folks who promote intersectionality, a practice which has fostered anti-Semitism from the left as well as the right.”

Ironically, the true anti-Semitism lies in conflating a 6000-year old faith with a contemporary settler-colonial nation-state that explicitly apportions human rights based on one’s religion. Indeed, it is anti-Semitic, and patently false, to assume that all Jews are of one mind that reflexively takes offense at criticism of Israel.

Marc Lamont Hill’s call for Palestinian freedom from the river to the sea upholds the the noble tenets of justice relevant to all monotheistic religions. It is also an acknowledgement of the basic historic truth that we Palestinians are not merely some miscellaneous Arabs clustered in the West Bank and Gaza, but a native and ancient nation that also comes from Akka, Haifa, Yafa, Nazareth, Jerusalem, the Galilee and all parts of Historic Palestine. This fact, which Israel has long sought to erase, is what Israel’s defenders find objectionable. But it is a fact nonetheless.

Susan Abulhawa is a bestselling novelist and essayist. Her new novel, The Blue Between Sky and Water, was released this year and simultaneously published in multiple languages, including German.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Texas school pathologist files lawsuit after being denied work for refusing to sign pro-Israel oath

RT | December 17, 2018

A Texas elementary school speech pathologist has filed a federal lawsuit after her school district refused to renew her contract unless she signed a pro-Israel oath.

Bahia Amawi has worked for the Pflugerville Independent School District since 2009 on a contract basis. Each year when it came to the time to renew her contract, the school district did so. Amawi always signed the correct documents, and had another year of guaranteed employment.

But this year, in August, there was a new addition to the contract papers. That addition was an oath which Amawi was being asked to sign, promising that she “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract” and will refrain from any action “that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israel-controlled territory.”

That was a problem for Amawi, who, along with her family, refrains from buying goods from Israeli companies in support of the global boycott to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

But aside from that, Amawi noted that the very fact that this was the only oath she was being asked to sign – and it was to do with Israel – was extremely strange.

“It’s baffling that they can throw this down our throats, and decide to protect another country’s economy versus protecting our constitutional rights,” Amawi, who was born in Austria and is of Palestinian descent, told The Intercept.

She said it was entirely out of the question to sign such an oath, as it would not only be doing Palestinians a disservice, but also Americans.

“I couldn’t in good conscience do that. If I did, I would not only be betraying Palestinians suffering under an occupation that I believe is unjust…but I’d also be betraying my fellow Americans by enabling violations of our constitutional rights to free speech and to protest peacefully,” said Amawi, who has lived in America for the last 30 years and is a US citizen.

Additionally, the disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired students of Pflugerville Independent School District are also losing out. Those who speak Arabic are at a particular disadvantage, as Amawi says she is the only certified child’s speech pathologist in the district that speaks the language.

Amawi’s attorney has filed a lawsuit, alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.

The oath was produced under a pro-Israel Texas state law enacted on May 2, 2017, which bans state agencies from working with contractors who boycott Israel. When the bill was signed into law by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, he said that “any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy.”

The law is incredibly far-reaching, and meant that some Hurricane Harvey victims were told they could only receive state disaster relief if they signed the same kind of pro-Israel oath. The author of the bill, State Rep. Phil King, later said that its application to hurricane assistance was a “misunderstanding.”

However, Texas isn’t alone in requiring its contractors not to boycott Israel. A total of 26 states have enacted such laws, and similar bills are pending in 13 other states.

The state laws come as the Trump administration has repeatedly expressed its steadfast support for Israel, opting to recognize Jerusalem as the country’s capital last year. The move led to global protests and condemnation from other UN member states.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Americans are waking up to Israel’s brutal and discriminatory tactics

With opinion now evenly split between those who favour a one or two-state solution, many in the US are turning their attention to the systemic inequities faced by Palestinians

By Jonathon Cook | The National | December 17, 2018

Two years of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu as a Middle East peacemaking team appear to be having a transformative effect – and in ways that will please neither of them.

The American public is now evenly split between those who want a two-state solution and those who prefer a single state, shared by Israelis and Palestinians, according to a survey published last week by the University of Maryland.

And if a Palestinian state is off the table – as a growing number of analysts of the region conclude, given Israel’s intransigence and the endless postponement of Mr Trump’s peace plan – then support for one state rises steeply, to nearly two-thirds of Americans.

But Mr Netanyahu cannot take comfort from the thought that ordinary Americans share his vision of a single state of Greater Israel. Respondents demand a one-state solution guaranteeing Israelis and Palestinians equal rights.

By contrast, only 17 per cent of Americans expressing a view – presumably Christian evangelicals and hardline Jewish advocates for Israel – prefer the approach of Israel’s governing parties: either to continue the occupation or annex Palestinian areas without offering the inhabitants citizenship.

All of this is occurring even though US politicians and the media express no support for a one-state solution. In fact, quite the reverse.

The movement to boycott Israel, known as BDS, is growing on US campuses, but vilified by Washington officials, who claim its goal is to end Israel as a Jewish state by bringing about a single state, in which all inhabitants would be equal. The US Congress is even considering legislation to outlaw boycott activism.

And last month CNN sacked its commentator Marc Lamont Hill for using a speech at the United Nations to advocate a one-state solution – a position endorsed by 35 per cent of the US public.

There is every reason to assume that, over time, these figures will swing even more sharply against Mr Netanyahu’s Greater Israel plans and against Washington’s claims to be an honest broker.

Among younger Americans, support for one state climbs to 42 per cent. That makes it easily the most popular outcome among this age group for a Middle East peace deal.

In another sign of how far removed Washington is from the American public, 40 per cent of respondents want the US to impose sanctions to stop Israel expanding its settlements on Palestinian territory. In short, they support the most severe penalty on the BDS platform.

And who is chiefly to blame for Washington’s unresponsiveness? Some 38 per cent say that Israel has “too much influence” on US politics.

That is a view almost reflexively cited by Israel lobbyists as evidence of anti-semitism. And yet a similar proportion of US Jews share concerns about Israel’s meddling.

In part, the survey’s findings should be understood as a logical reaction to the Oslo peace process. Backed by the US for the past quarter-century, it has failed to produce any benefits for the Palestinians.

But the findings signify more. Oslo’s interminable talks over two states have provided Israel with an alibi to seize more Palestinian land for its illegal settlements.

Under cover of an Oslo “consensus”, Israel has transferred ever-larger numbers of Jews into the occupied territories, thereby making a peaceful resolution of the conflict near impossible. According to the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, that is a war crime.

Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the court in The Hague, warned this month that she was close to finishing a preliminary inquiry needed before she can decide whether to investigate Israel for war crimes, including the settlements.

The reality, however, is that the ICC has been dragging out the inquiry to avoid arriving at a decision that would inevitably provoke a backlash from the White House. Nonetheless, the facts are staring the court in the face.

Israel’s logic – and proof that it is in gross violation of international law – were fully on display this week. The Israeli army locked down the Ramallah, the effective and supposedly self-governing capital of occupied Palestine, as “punishment” after two Israeli soldiers were shot dead outside the city.

The Netanyahu government also approved yet another splurge of settlement-building, again supposedly in “retaliation” for a recent upsurge in Palestinian attacks.

But Israel and its western allies know only too well that settlements and Palestinian violence are intrinsically linked. One leads to the other.

Palestinians directly experience the settlements’ land grabs as Israeli state-sanctioned violence. Their communities are ever more tightly ghettoised, their movements more narrowly policed to maintain the settlers’ privileges.

If Palestinians resist such restrictions or their own displacement, if they assert their rights and their dignity, clashes with soldiers or settlers are inescapable. Violence is inbuilt into Israel’s settlement project.

Israel has constructed a perfect, self-rationalising system in the occupied territories. It inflicts war crimes on Palestinians, who then weakly lash out, justifying yet more Israeli war crimes as Israel flaunts its victimhood, all to a soundtrack of western consolation.

The hypocrisy is becoming ever harder to hide, and the cognitive dissonance ever harder for western publics to stomach.

In Israel itself, institutionalised racism against the country’s large minority of Palestinian citizens – a fifth of the population – is being entrenched in full view.

Last week Natalie Portman, an American-Israeli actor, voiced her disgust at what she termed the “racist” nation-state basic law, legislation passed in the summer that formally classifies Israel’s Palestinian population as inferior.

Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s grown-up son, voiced a sentiment widely popular in Israel last week when he wrote on Facebook that he wished “All the Muslims [sic] leave the land of Israel”. He was referring to Greater Israel – a territorial area that does not distinguish between Israel and the occupied territories.

In fact, Israel’s Jim Crow-style policies – segregation of the type once inflicted on African-Americans in the US – is becoming ever more overt.

Last month the Jewish city of Afula banned Palestinian citizens from entering its main public park while vowing it wanted to “preserve its Jewish character”. A court case last week showed that a major Israeli construction firm has systematically blocked Palestinian citizens from buying houses near Jews. And the parliament is expanding a law to prevent Palestinian citizens from living on most of Israel’s land.

A bill to reverse this trend, committing Israel instead to “equal political rights amongst all its citizens”, was drummed out of the parliament last week by an overwhelming majority of legislators.

Americans, like other westerners, are waking up to this ugly reality. A growing number understand that it is time for a new, single state model, one that ends Israel’s treatment of Jews as separate from and superior to Palestinians, and instead offers freedom and equality for all.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

British minister ‘misled Parliament’ over state-funded NGO ‘smearing’ Corbyn, Labour MP says

RT | December 17, 2018

A Labour MP has said that Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan chose to ‘bury his head in the sand’ as he denied allegations that state funds granted to a shadowy ‘disinformation-fighting charity’ were used to attack Jeremy Corbyn.

“There is a real concern” that Duncan “was misleading Parliament whether that was wittingly or unwittingly,” Chris Williamson said on Sunday.

He was commenting on the official’s response to a question posed earlier by another Labour MP, Emily Thornberry, about government funding for the controversial Scotland-based ‘charitable body,’ the Institute for Statecraft (IfS).

Labour politicians demanded an official probe into the organization, insisting it participated in a campaign to “smear” the party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Duncan, who serves as Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, said he had “established the facts” concerning the NGO and was “satisfied that our money does not go towards funding any kind of UK domestic activity.”

The Institute for Statecraft came under fire when Sunday Mail reported that the think tank used its ‘Integrity Initiative’ project to promote newspaper articles denouncing Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn as a “useful idiot” whose views “helped the Kremlin cause.” The project styles its mission as “revealing and combating propaganda and disinformation.”

In practice, nearly all materials published on its website are focused on fighting so-called ‘Russian propaganda.’

Citing the organization’s leaked documents, the Sunday Mail said that IfS received £2 million from the Foreign Office. The paper also reported that the charity itself is, in fact, registered at a derelict rural mill.

Faced with the Labour backlash, Duncan admitted that the government funded IfS’ Integrity Initiative with £296,500 in financial year 2017-2018 and is giving it £1,961,000 for the year 2018-2019. He refused, however, to publish the government’s correspondence on grant agreements with the project, saying that such information could be used by Moscow “to actively attempt to disrupt and undermine” its effectiveness.

Duncan’s claim that no state funds were used for an alleged campaign against Corbyn did little to quell the anger coming from Labour MPs. Williamson suggested that the minister “needs to realize that this isn’t going to go away and he must come up with some real answers rather than burying his head in the sand.”

His colleague Emily Thornberry told the Sunday Mail that Duncan’s words “just didn’t make sense.”

I found it genuinely confusing. I have never heard a minister say with such confidence that he is telling the truth.

Thornberry suggested that Duncan was simply reading the answers prepared by other government officials and “they just don’t stack up.”

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Afghan Taliban say will hold fresh talks with US officials in UAE on Monday

Press TV – December 17, 2018

The Afghan Taliban militant group says it is set to hold a fresh round of talks with US officials this time in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), despite earlier reports that suggested the meeting would take place in neighboring Pakistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a Twitter post that delegates from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE will also attend Monday’s discussions.

The militant group has already held two meetings with US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar.

The latest round was held last month at the Taliban’s political headquarters in the country, where the Taliban said they failed to reach any agreement with the United States, citing dissatisfaction with a deadline set by Khalilzad to end the war.

The militant outfit issued a statement last month, demanding the lifting of sanctions against its leaders, the release of prisoners and the recognition of its office in Qatar.

The Taliban, however, have so far refused to deal directly with the government in Kabul, which they consider as “illegitimate.”

The militants also view the presence of foreign forces, including those of the US, in Afghanistan as the main obstacle to peace. They have said they are open to negotiations on issues such as mutual recognition with the Afghan government, constitutional changes and women’s rights.

Kabul, on the other hand, is strongly opposed to any recognition of the Qatar office, which was established at the request of Washington in 2013 to “facilitate peace talks.”

The Taliban’s latest announcement came despite earlier reports that the new round of talks could take place in Pakistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had said Saturday that Islamabad facilitated the new round of discussions at Washington’s request.

Khan’s announcement prompted a reaction from the Afghan government, with its Foreign Ministry hailing the move as Islamabad’s first practical step towards the peace process in Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an end in the wake of a US-led invasion in 2001, but 17 years on, the militant group continues to flex its muscles against the government and the foreign troops remaining on Afghan soil.

Since the onset of the US-led invasion, Afghanistan has never been as insecure as it currently is.

The Taliban have strengthened their grip over the past three years, with the government in Kabul controlling just 56 percent of the country, down from 72 percent in 2015, a recent US government report showed.

Taking advantage of the chaos, the Takfiri Daesh terror group has also established a foothold in the war-torn country.

Having failed to end the militancy campaign, Washington has over the past months stepped up its political efforts to secure a truce with Taliban.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | Leave a comment

US Scrapped Arctic Drills Fearing Only Russia Can Save Its Icebreaker – Official

Sputnik – 17.12.2018

While Russia possesses dozens of icebreakers, including heavy types for polar duty in the Arctic and Antarctica, the US has only two such ships, among them only one heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star, with an ever-dwindling service life.

The US Coast Guard at one point decided not to conduct exercises in the Arctic due to fears that the Polar Star, the US’ only heavy icebreaker, could break down and the American side would have to seek help from Russia, according to former Coast Guard commandant Paul Zukunft.

He was cited by Business Insider as saying that when he was the commandant, the National Security Council notified him of their plans to send the Polar Star through the Northern Sea Route and carry out a freedom of navigation drill.

“I said, ‘Au contraire, it’s a 40-year-old ship. We’re cannibalizing parts off its sister ship just to keep this thing running, and I can’t guarantee you that it won’t have a catastrophic engineering casualty as it’s doing a freedom of navigation exercise, and now I’ve got to call on Russia to pull me out of harm’s way. So this is not the time to do it”, Zukunft pointed out.

He did not elaborate on when the drills were due to be conducted.

Additionally, Zukunft underscored the importance of creating dual-use infrastructure in the Artic in order to support US national defence.

“But the immediate need right now is for commercial [operations], and that was driven home when we didn’t get the fuel delivery into [the Alaskan city of] Nome. At that point in time we were able to call upon Russia to provide an ice-capable tanker escorted by the Coast Guard cutter Healy to resupply Nome”, he said, apparently referring to an incident in 2012, when Nome was iced-in and on the verge of running out of fuel.

Unlike Russia, which has dozens of icebreakers, including some designed for operating in severe weather conditions in the Arctic, the US is in possession of just two such vessels. The country’s only operational heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star, was commissioned in 1976 and refurbished in 2012 to extend its service life.

Earlier, the US Department of Homeland Security said that at least $750 million should be allocated for the construction of a new heavy polar icebreaker in the new fiscal year, which kicked off on 1 October.

Coast Guard commandant Karl Schultz, for his part, said that he remains “guardedly optimistic” about funding being available for a new polar icebreaker, as US lawmakers grapple with other spending priorities, including a wall on the US-Mexico border.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Underwater VIDEO Reveals HUGE Damage to ‘Torn Apart’ Norwegian Frigate

Sputnik – December 17, 2018

The inexplicable collision involving the frigate KNM Helge Ingstad returning from NATO naval drills has set the Norwegian Navy back billions of kronor, while the Maltese-flagged and Greek-owned oil tanker is expected to return to service by the end of December.

Norway’s Defence Ministry has released underwater footage showing, for the first time, the extent of the damage to its frigate KNM Helge Ingstad, which sank after colliding with an oil tanker erroneously taken for an immobile object.

The footage, uploaded to Dropbox due to temporary website failures, was taken by a marine diving unit (MDK) normally used for planting and disarming underwater mines, ammunition and bombs. Its members have been diving around the mostly sunken wreckage of the frigate for weeks, removing ammunition, weapons and other hazardous material.

Previously, the damage to the hull of the frigate was believed to be a long gash in the starboard side. The footage taken from the depth of the Hjelte Fjord, where the vessel lies half-submerged, indicated that the damage is much worse than thought. The gash was estimated at around 45 metres long and eight metres high. By contrast, the tanker only suffered minor damage and is expected to become operative again by the end of December.

The video shows cabins and rooms smashed, flooring torn up and ventilation fans hanging from what’s left of ceilings. The footage also shows what used to be the vessel’s accommodation area, sleeping quarters, machine rooms and a generator room.

“It’s really something to see one of our frigates lying under water”, Commander Bengt Berdal, the leader of MDK, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “When we see the hull torn apart in this way, you can only imagine what it was like for those on board”.

Berdal called it “sheer luck” that all 137 people on board the frigate survived the collision, with only a few sustaining minor injuries before successfully being evacuated in the early hours of 8 November.

Meanwhile, Rolf Ole Eriksen, former accident preparedness official for oil company Norske Shell and now a maritime security consultant, has penned a searing commentary in the newspaper Aftenposten. In Eriksen’s own words, “only a miracle averted a gigantic catastrophe that had potential for large loss of life, fire, explosions and extensive pollution”. The frigate was returning to its home port at Haakonsvern in Bergen after participating in NATO’s huge drill Trident Juncture around Trondheim and was carrying weapons, ammunition, missiles and helicopter oil in addition to its fuel.

Eriksen was highly critical of the preliminary report released by Norway’s accident investigation commission, venturing that the investigators were downplaying the severity of the collision between a fixture of the Norwegian Navy and fully loaded oil tanker, and clouding the responsibility. According to Eriksen, the responsibility lies with the crew on the bridge of the KNM Helge Ingstad, which the report was “under-communicating”, he claimed. The frigate was sailing at a high speed of 17-18 knots, with its crew oblivious of their own whereabouts or the appearance of the tanker, which was sailing out of the Sture terminal in Øygarden northwest of Bergen.

“With its top modern radar and navigational equipment on board, the frigate was capable of following every movement of all vessels in the area”, Eriksen wrote.

A more detailed and conclusive report may take months to be released. Meanwhile, the frigate lies mostly underwater. Around 350 people are now working every day in connection with the salvage of the frigate.

Commander Berdal calls the divers’ work “challenging” and dependent on good weather. So far, the salvaging mission has been delayed several times by storms. The vessel won’t be raised until 25 December at the earliest. The collision has cost the Norwegian Navy billions of kronor and resulted in the nation’s maritime defence being greatly reduced.


Ex-Norwegian Official Slams Sunken Frigate Probe as ‘Smokescreen’ Hiding Facts

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism | , | Leave a comment