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No, Dual Loyalty Isn’t Okay

Many in congress and the media won’t discuss loyalty to Israel

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • March 12, 2019

The Solons on Capitol Hill are terrified of the expression “dual loyalty.” They are afraid because dual loyalty means that one is not completely a loyal citizen of the country where one was born, raised and, presumably, prospered. It also suggests something more perverse, and that is dual citizenship, which in its present historic and social context particularly refers to the Jewish congressmen and women who just might be citizens of both the United States and Israel. There is particular concern over the issue at the moment because a freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar has let the proverbial cat out of the bag by alluding to American-Jewish money buying uncritical support for a foreign country which is Israel without any regard to broader U.S. interests, something that everyone in Washington knows is true and has been the case for decades but is afraid to discuss due to inevitable punishment by the Israel Lobby.

Certainly, the voting record in Congress would suggest that there are a lot of congress critters who embrace dual loyalty, with evidence that the loyalty is not so much dual as skewed in favor of Israel. Any bill relating to Israel or to Jewish collective interests, like the currently fashionable topic of anti-Semitism, is guaranteed a 90% plus approval rating no matter what it says or how much it damages actual U.S. interests. Thursday’s 407 to 23 vote in the House of Representatives on a meaningless and almost unreadable “anti-hate” resolution was primarily intended to punish Ilhan Omar and to demonstrate that the Democratic Party is indeed fully committed to sustaining the exclusive prerogatives of the domestic Jewish community and the Jewish state.

The voting on the resolution was far from unusual and would have been unanimous but for the fact that twenty-three Republicans voted “no” because they wanted a document that was only focused on anti-Semitism, without any references to Muslims or other groups that might be encountering hatred in America. That the congress should be wasting its time with such nonsense is little more than a manifestation of Jewish power in the United States, part of a long-sought goal of making any criticism of Israel a “hate” crime punishable by fining and imprisonment. And congress is always willing to play its part. Famously, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) official Steven Rosen once boasted that he could take a napkin and within 24 hours have the signatures of 70 Senators on it, reflective of the ability of the leading pro-Israel organization to impel the U.S. legislature to respond uncritically to its concerns.

Ilhan Omar has certainly been forced to apologize and explain her position as she is under sustained attack from the left, right and center as well as from the White House. One congressman told her that “Questioning support for the US-Israel relationship is unacceptable.” Another said “there are many reasons to support Israel, but there is no reason to oppose Israel” while yet another one declared that all in Congress are committed to insuring that the “United States and Israel stand as one.”

But Omar has defended herself without abandoning her core arguments and she has further established her bona fides as a credible critic of what passes for U.S. foreign policy by virtue of an astonishing attack on former President Barack Obama, whom she criticized obliquely in an interview Friday, saying “We can’t be only upset with Trump. His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was. That’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.” Presumably Omar was referring to Obama’s death by drone program and his destruction of Libya, among his other crimes. Everything she said about the smooth talking but feckless Obama is true and could be cast in even worse terms, but to hear the truth from out of the mouth of a liberal Democrat is something like a revelation that all progressives are not ideologically fossilized and fundamentally brain dead. One wonders what she thinks of the Clintons?

The Democrats are in a tricky situation that will only wind up hurting relationships with some of their core constituencies. If they come down too hard on Omar – a Muslim woman of color who wears a head covering – it will not look good to some key minority voters they have long courted. If they do not, the considerable Jewish political donations to the Democratic Party will certainly be diminished if not slowed to a trickle and much of the media will turn hostile. So they are trying to bluff their way through by uttering the usual bromides. Senator Kristin Gillibrand of New York characteristically tried to cover both ends by saying “Those with critical views of Israel, such as Congresswoman Omar, should be able to express their views without employing anti-Semitic tropes about money or influence.” Well, of course, it is all about Jews, money buying access and obtaining political power, with the additional element of supporting a foreign government that has few actual interests in common with the United States, isn’t it?

As Omar put it, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country…” She also tweeted to a congressional critic that “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.” Gilad Atzmon, a well known Jewish critic of Israel, observed drily that “How reassuring is it that the only American who upholds the core values of liberty, patriotism and freedom is a black Muslim and an immigrant…”

But such explicatory language about the values that Americans used to embrace before Israel-worship rendered irrelevant the Constitution clearly made some lightweights from the GOP side nervous. Megan McCain, daughter of thankfully deceased “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” Senator John McCain appears on a mind numbing talk-television program called The View where she cried as she described her great love for fellow Israel-firster warmonger former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman as “like family,” before launching into her own “informed” analysis: “I take the hate crimes rising in this country incredibly seriously and I think what’s happening in Europe is really scary. On both sides it should be called out. And just because I don’t technically have Jewish family that are blood-related to me doesn’t mean that I don’t take this seriously and it is very dangerous, very dangerous… what Ilhan Omar is saying is very scary to me.”

The New York Times also had a lot to say, covering the story on both its news and op-eds pages daily. Columnist Michelle Goldberg, who is usually sensible, criticizes Omar because of her “minimizing the legacy of the holocaust” and blames her because “she’s committed what might be called, in another context, a series of microaggressions — inadvertent slights that are painful because they echo whole histories of trauma.” In other words, if some Jews are indeed deliberately corrupting American politics on behalf of Israel and against actual U.S. interests using money to do so it is not a good idea to say anything about it because it might revive bad historical – or not so historical – memories. It is perpetual victimhood employed as an excuse for malfeasance on the part of Jewish groups and the Jewish state.

Another Times columnist Bret Stephens also takes up the task of defenestrating Omar with some relish, denying that “claims that Israel… uses money to bend others to its will, or that its American supporters ‘push for allegiance to a foreign country” are nothing more than the “repackage[ing] falsehoods commonly used against Jews for centuries.” He attributes to her “insidious cunning” and “anti-Jewish bigotry” observing how “she wraps herself in the flag, sounding almost like Pat Buchanan when he called Congress “Israeli-occupied” territory.” And it’s all “… how anti-Zionism has abruptly become an acceptable point of view in reputable circles. It’s why anti-Semitism is just outside the frame, bidding to get in.” He concludes by asking why the Democratic Party “has so much trouble calling out a naked anti-Semite in its own ranks.”

Stephens clearly does not accept that what Omar claims just might actually be true. Perhaps he is so irritated by her because he himself is a perfect example of someone who suffers from dual loyalty syndrome, or perhaps it would be better described as single loyalty to his tribe and to Israel. Review some of his recent columns in The Times if you do not believe that to be true. He has an obsession with rooting out people that he believes to be anti-Semites and believes all the nonsense about Israel as the “only democracy in the Middle East.” In his op-ed he claims that “Israel is the only country in its region that embraces the sorts of values the Democratic Party claims to champion.” Yes, a theocratic state’s summary execution of unarmed protesters and starving civilians while simultaneously carrying out ethnic cleansing are traditional Democratic Party programs, at least as Bret sees it.

People like Stephens are unfortunately possessors of a bully pulpit and are influential. As they are public figures, they should be called out regarding where their actual loyalties lie, but no one in power is prepared to do that. Stephens wears his Jewishness on his sleeve and is pro-Israel far beyond anyone else writing at The Times. He and other dual loyalists, to be generous in describing them, should be exposed for what they are, which is the epitome of the promoters of the too “passionate attachment” with a foreign state that President George Washington once warned against. If the United States of America is not their homeland by every measure, they should perhaps consider doing Aliyah and moving to Israel. We genuine Americans would be well rid of them.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Iran to US: Era of meddling in other countries over

Press TV | March 12, 2019

Tehran slams the US for sticking to its interventionist policies after an American official sought to cast doubt on the motives of the Iranian president’s trip to Iraq, saying the two neighbors have chosen to build strategic relations based on good neighborliness and seek permission from no one for their choices.

“Iran and Iraq are two independent countries, whose governments have been elected by the votes of the two countries’ people and undoubtedly these two nations…do not need a country with a black record of aggression and warmongering and destruction to make decisions on their behalf from thousands of kilometers away,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Tuesday.

He made the remarks in reaction to claims by US Special Representative Brian Hook about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s ongoing visit to Iraq.

In an interview with Alhurrha TV on Monday, Hook questioned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “motives” regarding Iraq and said when the Iranian government does “prioritize his own people so why on earth he would prioritize the welfare of the Iraqi people.”

“President Rouhani coming to Iraq is not in the interest of the Iraqi people”, Hook said, claiming that Iran wants to secure a “military highway” through Iraq to the Western parts of the Middle East to transfer missiles, weapons and fighters across the Middle East.

The Iranian spokesperson dismissed the allegations and said “this American official’s anger is not surprising because it seems that his country has failed to gain a proper position among regional nations despite spending billions of dollars in the Middle East.”

Qassemi emphasized that Washington’s aggressive policies, militarism and interventionism are the main reasons behind its lack of success.

He urged US officials to set aside their decades-long excessive demands and realize that the era of meddling in the affairs of other countries and making decisions for them has come to an end.

Rouhani arrived in Baghdad at the head of a high-ranking politico-economic delegation on Monday on his first visit to the country since 2013. The three-day trip is aimed at solidifying strategic ties despite US efforts to keep the two neighbors apart and curb Iran’s influence in the region.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, Iran and Iraq hailed the Iranian president’s historic visit to Iraq as a “turning point” in efforts to strengthen “strategic” cooperation between the two neighbors based on non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

During Rouhani’s visit, the two neighbors have inked several agreements on the expansion of bilateral cooperation in various economic and healthcare sectors.

See also:

In joint statement, Iran, Iraq hail ‘turning point’ in ‘strategic’ cooperation

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

Germany’s Über Hypocrisy over Venezuela

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 12.03.2019

Germany has taken the lead among European Union member states to back Washington’s regime-change agenda for Venezuela. Berlin’s hypocrisy and double-think is quite astounding.

Only a few weeks ago, German politicians and media were up in arms protesting to the Trump administration for interfering in Berlin’s internal affairs. There were even outraged complaints that Washington was seeking “regime change” against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

Those protests were sparked when Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, warned German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia that they could be hit with American economic sanctions if they go ahead with the Baltic seabed project.

Earlier, Grenell provoked fury among Berlin’s political establishment when he openly gave his backing to opposition party Alternative for Germany. That led to consternation and denunciations of Washington’s perceived backing for regime change in Berlin. They were public calls for Grenell to be expelled over his apparent breach of diplomatic protocols.

Now, however, Germany is shamelessly kowtowing to an even more outrageous American regime-change plot against Venezuela.

Last week, the government of President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of German ambassador Daniel Kriener after he greeted the US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido on a high-profile occasion. Guaido had just returned from a tour of Latin American countries during which he had openly called for the overthrow of the Maduro government. Arguably a legal case could be made for the arrest of Guaido by the Venezuelan authorities on charges of sedition.

When Guaido returned to Venezuela on March 4 he was greeted at the airport by several foreign diplomats. Among the receiving dignitaries was Germany’s envoy Daniel Kriener.

The opposition figure had declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela on January 23 and was immediately recognized by Washington and several European Union states. The EU has so far not issued an official endorsement of Guaido over incumbent President Maduro. Italy’s objection blocked the EU from adopting a unanimous position.

Nevertheless, as the strongest economy in the 28-member bloc, Germany can be seen as de facto leader of the EU. Its position on Venezuela therefore gives virtual EU gravitas to the geopolitical maneuvering led by Washington towards the South American country.

What’s more, the explicit backing of Juan Guaido by Germany’s envoy was carried out on the “express order” of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, according to Deutsche Welle.

“It was my express wish and request that Ambassador Kriener turn out with representatives of other European nations and Latin American ones to meet acting President Guaido at the airport,” said Maas. “We had information that he was supposed to be arrested there. I believe that the presence of various ambassadors helped prevent such an arrest.”

It’s staggering to comprehend the double-think involved here.

Guaido was hardly known among the vast majority of Venezuelans until he catapulted on to the global stage by declaring himself “interim president”. That move was clearly executed in a concerted plan with the Trump White House. European governments and Western media have complacently adopted the White House line that Guaido is the legitimate leader while socialist President Maduro is a “usurper”.

That is in spite of the fact that Maduro was re-elected last year in free and fair elections by a huge majority of votes. Guaido’s rightwing, pro-business party boycotted the elections. Yet he is anointed by Washington, Berlin and some 50 other states as the legitimate leader.

Russia, China, Turkey, Cuba and most other members of the United Nations have refused to adopt Washington’s decree of recognizing Guaido. Those nations (comprising 75 per cent of the UN assembly) continue to recognize President Maduro as the sovereign authority. Indeed, Russia has been highly critical of Washington’s blatant interference for regime change in oil-rich Venezuela. Moscow has warned it will not tolerate US military intervention.

Russia’s envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzia, at a Security Council session last month, excoriated the US for its gross violation of international law with regard to Venezuela. Moscow’s diplomat also directed a sharp rebuke at other nations “complicit” in Washington’s aggression, saying that one day “you will be next” for similar American subversion in their own affairs.

Germany’s hypocrisy and double-think is, to paraphrase that country’s national anthem, “über alles” (above all else).

German politicians, diplomats and media were apoplectic in their anger at perceived interference by the US ambassador in Berlin’s internal affairs. Yet the German political establishment has no qualms whatsoever about ganging up – only weeks later – with Washington to subvert the politics and constitution of Venezuela.

How can Germany be so utterly über servile to Washington and the latter’s brazen criminal aggression towards Venezuela?

It seems obvious that Berlin is trying to ingratiate itself with the Trump administration. But what for?

Trump has been pillorying Germany with allegations of “unfair trade” practices. In particular, Washington is recently stepping up its threats to slap punitive tariffs on German auto exports. Given that this is a key sector in the German export-driven economy, it may be gleaned that Berlin is keen to appease Trump. By backing his aggression towards Venezuela?

Perhaps this policy of appeasement is also motivated by Berlin’s concern to spare the Nord Stream 2 project from American sanctions. When NS2 is completed later this year, it is reckoned to double the capacity of natural gas consumption by Germany from Russia. That will be crucial for Germany’s economic growth.

Another factor is possible blackmail of Berlin by Washington. Recall the earth-shattering revelations made by American whistleblower Edward Snowden a few years back when he disclosed that US intelligence agencies were tapping the personal phone communications of Chancellor Merkel and other senior Berlin politicians. Recall, too, how the German state remarkably acquiesced over what should have been seen as a devastating infringement by Washington.

The weird lack of action by Berlin over that huge violation of its sovereignty by the Americans makes one wonder if the US spies uncovered a treasure trove of blackmail material on German politicians.

Berlin’s pathetic kowtowing to Washington’s interference in Venezuela begs an ulterior explanation. No self-respecting government could be so hypocritical and duplicitous.

Whatever Berlin may calculate to gain from its unscrupulous bending over for Washington, one thing seems clear, as Russian envoy Nebenzia warned: “One day you are next” for American hegemonic shafting.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 2 Comments

Cuba: Electric Sabotage Against Venezuela is Terrorism

teleSUR – March 11, 2019

The government of Cuba has described the attack on Venezuela’s electricity system which occurred last Thursday as a terrorist act.

In a statement, the government of the Cuban Revolution argues that the attack has been “aimed at damaging the defenseless population to use as a hostage in the unconventional war unleashed by the United States against the Venezuelan government.”

In this context, it argues that it is an escalation of violence that evokes the oil strike of 2002 and that arises after the interventionist failure of 23 February, when they tried to forcibly enter a supposed “humanitarian aid”.

The statement also denounces a campaign of lies coordinated by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton against Venezuela. One of those lies, says the statement, is that “Cuba has between 20 and 25 thousand military personnel in Venezuela who threaten the officers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces.”

“Cuba categorically rejects this lie, as it equally firmly rejects any suggestion that there is any degree of political subordination from Venezuela to Cuba or from Cuba to Venezuela,” the Cuban government asserts.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Lavrov: US Sanction Against Russian Company Violates Int’l Law

teleSUR | March 12, 2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is criminalizing Russian companies for doing business with the Venezuelan state, saying they are violating U.S. imposed sanctions by making transactions with Venezuela’s sanctioned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

In a Monday press conference Pompeo said that the assets of Evrofinance Mosnarbank, a Russia-Venezuela states-owned financial organization would be frozen and U.S. citizens would be prohibited from doing business with the joint venture, according to Reuters.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that Evrofinance was violating a Trump decree because it is a “foreign financial institution that materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of (PDVSA).”

Pompeo also accused the major Russian oil company, Rosneft, of defying U.S. sanctions by buying oil from PDVSA.

According to Sputnik News, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Pompeo’s “accusations … contradict international law.” ​​​​​​​

Lavrov said Pompeo’s “accusations that Russian oil company Rosneft bought Venezuelan oil in violation of Washington sanctions contradicts international law.” ​​​​​​​

Talking to reporters the secretary of state included not only accused Russia but Cuba of trying to undermine democracy in Venezuela.

“This story is not complete without acknowledging the central role Cuba and Russia have played and continue to play in undermining the democratic dreams of the Venezuelan people and their welfare,” Pompeo said.

“Moscow, like Havana, continues to provide political cover to the Maduro regime,” added the U.S. official.

Meanwhile, Trump’s right hand in Venezuela, Elliot Abrams, says he is persuading and urging India to stop buying oil from Venezuela, from who it purchases approximately 366,000 oil barrels per day.

The current U.S. government began a soft coup against Maduro shortly after entering office by placing a slew of sanctions against the Venezuelan government and individuals.

As the list grew and intensified, the U.S. administration sent in Guaido in late January to take over the democratically elected Venezuelan government under Maduro. Most recently, last weekend the White House supported, if not masterminded, the cyber attack on the South American country that caused a nationwide blackout in an effort to create chaos and influence the overthrow of Maduro.

According to the Venezuelan government as of February of this year the country has lost US$38 billion in direct losses from U.S. financial sanctions alone.

For his part, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton announced over Twitter that Venezuela’s National Assembly, still in operation despite being in contempt of the country’s Supreme Court, “decreed the suspension of oil exports to Cuba.” Bolton added, “insurance companies and flag bearers who facilitate these deliveries to Cuba are now on notice,” signaling potential sanctions for those doing business with either country.

The Cuban government quickly responded to Bolton’s proclamation saying he has “long-time credentials … (as) a liar.”

Cuba’s foreign ministry office said in a statement: “The honest and informed people know the bilateral relationship between Cuba and Venezuela is based on mutual respect, true solidarity, fidelism and chavism—independent and sovereign.”​​​​​​​

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

OPCW likely to hold Damascus responsible for Douma attack, says Russian envoy

TASS | March 11, 2019

THE HAGUE – The incident in Syria’s Douma on April 7 of last year may become the first case of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) using its new attributive functions, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin stated during a press conference on Monday.

“We have to state that [when preparing a report on Douma], the OPCW experts did not dare to contradict the US, France and the UK, who chose to take justice into their own hands and avoid any other version besides their own, on the involvement of the Syrian government in what took place in Douma on April 7, 2018,” the diplomat said. “The OPCW report is rather vague on this: allegedly, there is an assumption that chlorine was used as a chemical weapon. However, the fact speaks volumes: at that time, Douma was under the militants’ control, therefore, the part about chemical weapons being used definitely prepares the international community to hold the official Damascus responsible.”

“It is likely that this will be one of the first conclusions of the OPCW Attribution team (prosecution team), created in the depths of the OPCW Technical Secretariat under pressure from the USA and in direct violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” the envoy said. “It is clear that the US and its allies will use these biased conclusions again, as the guilty have already been assigned. They will use them to carry out unilateral forceful actions against lawful Syrian officials.”

A report consisting of over 100 pages was spread among member states of the Chemical Weapons Convention on March 1. The report claims that on April 7, 2018, a toxic chemical containing chlorine was used in Syria’s Douma as a weapon.

A number of non-governmental organizations, including the White Helmets, alleged that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta. According to a statement uploaded to the organization’s website on April 8, 2018, chlorine bombs had been dropped on the city, which caused dozens of fatalities. Many other civilians were rumored to have been taken to hospital.

The Russian Defense Ministry dismissed this as fake news.

On April 14, 2018, the US, the UK and France delivered massive missile strikes at targets in Syria without authorization of the UN Security Council. Missiles hit a research center in Damascus, the headquarters of the Republican Guard, an air defense base, several military airbases, and army depots. Washington, London and Paris claimed the strikes had come as a response to an alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Media is complicit in manufacturing consent for Venezuela regime change, but that’s nothing new

By Danielle Ryan | RT | March 12, 2019

It is a documented and indisputable fact that the US government lies to provoke wars – and the media’s continued refusal to accept and acknowledge this basic truth, in the case of Venezuela, makes them complicit once again.

Not once have we seen those Colin Powell vial moments as Washington’s warmongers use unbacked claims or events as a rallying cry to drum up support for whatever regime-change operation is next on their list. This has been the case in Iraq, Syria and Libya, among others but, amazingly, few lessons have been learned.

In Venezuela, the border bridge that was ‘closed’ by President Nicolas Maduro to prevent the entry of US ‘humanitarian aid’ and the Maduro “thugs” who torched aid trucks have each been used for these propaganda purposes in recent weeks. Of course, thanks to journalists who actually do their jobs, we know the bridge in question had never been open to traffic and that it was opposition protesters who set the aid trucks alight while throwing Molotov cocktails at the police.

In both cases however, the media dutifully amplified the false claims made by US officials without conducting basic fact-checks. One would imagine, having been repeatedly lied-to and made look utterly incompetent by war-hungry politicians, that journalists for mainstream outlets like CNN and MSNBC might have learned to show a modicum of skepticism or self-respect. Remarkably, however, they seem as keen and eager as ever to regurgitate pro-war propaganda – even when it’s coming from the Donald Trump administration, which, in all other circumstances, they claim to abhor.

Not only has the mainstream media happily worked in tandem with war hawks like John Bolton, Elliot Abrams and Mike Pompeo to promote regime change in Venezuela, it has also relentlessly bashed journalists who have displayed any hesitation to do the same.

When RT reported that it appeared to be opposition protesters who’d set the aid truck alight, that was just ‘Kremlin propaganda’. When independent journalists reported the same, ‘respectable’ mainstream journalists ridiculed them as Maduro “apologists” in exactly the same way they branded Iraq war skeptics as “apologists” for Saddam Hussein, or those who spoke out against US regime-change efforts in Syria as “apologists” for Bashar Assad.

But when the New York Times came out three weeks later and echoed what independent journalists had reported about the incident weeks before, then the truth was finally deemed acceptable to acknowledge.

After the NYT’s piece was published, CNN journalist Marshall Cohen described the event and confusion surrounding it, without a shred of self-awareness, as “a classic example of how misinformation spreads.” He was subsequently blasted by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who reminded him that his own network was instrumental in aggressively pushing misinformation on Venezuela and ignoring journalists who had debunked it.

The media’s collaboration with US governments to start wars is nothing new. Their complicity in selling the 2003 Iraq war is now legendary. When Powell held up that model vial of anthrax at the United Nations, he was selling the war to a media that hungrily ate it up and breathlessly spat the propaganda back out at its audiences. It is not just that journalists were slyly manipulated into believing that the Bush administration had the intelligence it needed to back up its claims about weapons of mass destruction, it is that they didn’t really care to check, either. Post-9/11 attacks, they were in the mood for war.

But this war-promoting alliance between the US government and its media lackeys goes back much further than that. In 1964, after a phantom second “unprovoked” attack on the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnamese torpedo boats, journalists echoed false government claims which eventually led to what became the most disastrous of US wars.

In 1990, the testimony to congress of a 15 year-old girl named as Nayirah galvanized support for the first Gulf War. Nayirah told the Congressional Human Rights Caucus that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and leaving them on the floor to die. It later turned out that she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and had been coached by a PR firm. How many similar tactics and lies need to be exposed before journalists show due skepticism?

Perhaps the worst part about all of this is that the war hawks don’t even need to be particularly clever or astute in the way they go about manufacturing consent for regime changes. Whether they outright fabricate an incident or skew perceptions of a real event to bolster a particular narrative does not matter. The media has shown time and time again that it has no interest in sorting fact from fiction when it comes to war or scheduled war.

Elliot Abrams’ involvement with Trump’s Venezuela policy is a perfect example of this, in and of itself. Abrams was convicted of lying to congress in the 1980s over his role in smuggling weapons to the Contras in Nicaragua using “humanitarian aid” shipments as the cover. He is now Trump’s point man on Venezuela, but CNN and the rest treat this curious fact as perfectly normal and not at all suspicious or problematic. Maduro’s reluctance to admit US aid is simply put down to his “evil” nature, rather than the fact that Washington has a history of using “aid” to arm opposition forces in Latin America. If Abrams’ involvement has not rung alarm bells for the media and invited serious distrust of the Trump administration’s motives and claims, then nothing will.

While the US has not yet intervened militarily in Venezuela, the White House has repeatedly said that “all options” remain on the table – and if Trump does eventually employ the military option to disastrous result, the media will again bear a significant portion of the responsibility.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Israelis ‘undergo Jewish DNA test before being allowed to marry’

MEMO | March 12, 2019

Israel’s rabbinate “has been performing genetic testing on Israelis from the former Soviet Union, to check if they are ‘genetically Jewish’ as a condition for marriage registration”, according to Ynet.

The new site reported that “at least 20 couples have come forward after having been asked to undergo the procedure in the past year.”

“Although the existence of such tests was initially denied by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau admitted to having requested that some couples prove their Jewish status,” Ynet added, noting that “Lau claimed those were isolated incidents and there was no coercion.”

Ynet’s investigation revealed that “the complicated procedure was undertaken not only by the couples themselves but also by their relatives.”

“In one instance, a young woman who went to the rabbinate before her wedding was asked to conduct a DNA test along with her mother and her aunt, in order to eliminate the possibility that her mother was adopted,” the article stated.

“The young woman was told that if she refused the request, her marriage application would be denied,” Ynet added. “The rabbinate has control over Jewish religious rites in Israel.”

“According to the evidence accumulated by Ynet, these instances are examples of what appears to be a growing phenomenon where those applying to register for marriage, are being asked to undergo genetic testing if they want to have their requests granted,” the paper stated.

“Unfortunately, there are immigrants who, despite their eligibility under the Law of Return, are not defined as Jews according to Halacha,” said Lau in response. “In a few cases, there are those who claim to be Jews, but don’t possess the necessary documents to confirm it…or we find contradictions between their statements and what we would uncover about them”.

“In these cases we suggest undergoing DNA tests that would strengthen their claims,” he said. “It’s never forced upon anyone and only used to assist applicants in the research process.”

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

Chasing Mirages: What Are Palestinians Doing to Combat the ‘Deal of the Century’?

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | March 12, 2019

More US measures have been taken in recent weeks to cement the Israeli position further and isolate the Palestinian Authority (PA), before the official unveiling of President Donald Trump’s so-called ‘deal of the century’. But while attention is focused on spiteful US actions, little time has been spent discussing the PA’s responses, options and strategies.

The last of Washington’s punitive measures came on March 3, when the US shut down its Consulate in Jerusalem, thus downgrading the status of its diplomatic mission in Palestine. The Consulate has long served as a de-facto American embassy to the Palestinians. Now, the Consulate’s staff will merge into the US embassy in Israel, which was officially moved to Jerusalem last May – in violation of international consensus regarding the status of the occupied city.

Robert Palladino, US State Department spokesperson, explained the move in a statement, saying that “this decision was driven by our global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic engagements and operations.”

Diplomatic hogwash aside, ‘efficiency and effectiveness’ have nothing to do with the shutting of the Consulate. The decision is but a continuation of successive US measures aimed at “taking Jerusalem off the table” – as per Trump’s own words – of any future negotiations.

International law, which recognises East Jerusalem as an occupied Palestinian city, is of no relevance to the Trump administration, which has fully shed any semblance of balance as it is now wholly embracing the Israeli position on Jerusalem.

To bring Palestinians into line, and to force their leadership to accept whatever bizarre version of ‘peace’ Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has in mind, the US has already taken several steps aimed at intimidating the PA. These steps include the cutting of $200 million in direct aid to Gaza and the West Bank and the freezing of another 300 million dollars that were provided annually to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

That, and the shutting down of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington DC, on September 10, were all the signs needed to fully fathom the nature of the US ultimatum to the Palestinian leadership: accept our terms or face the consequences.

It is no secret that various US governments have served as the financial and even political backers of the PA in Ramallah. While the PA has not always seen eye-to-eye with US foreign policy, its survival remained, until recently, a top American priority.

The PA has helped Washington sustain its claim to being an ‘honest peace broker’, thus enjoying a position of political leadership throughout the Middle East region.

Moreover, by agreeing to take part in assisting the Israeli military in policing the Occupied Territories through joint US-funded ‘security coordination’, the PA has proved its trustworthiness to its US benefactors.

While the PA remained committed to that arrangement, Washington reneged.

According to the far-right Israeli government coalition of Benjamin Netanyahu, PA leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is simply not doing enough.

‘Doing enough’, from an Israeli political perspective, is for Palestinians to drop any claims to occupied East Jerusalem as the future capital of Palestine, accept that illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank would have to remain in place regardless of the nature of the future ‘peace agreement’, and also to drop any legal or moral claims pertaining to Palestinian refugees right of return.

While the PA has demonstrated its political and moral flexibility in the past, there are certain red lines that even Abbas himself cannot cross.

It remains to be seen how the PA position will evolve in the future as far as the soon-to-be-announced ‘deal of the century’ is concerned.

Yet, considering that Trump’s blind support for Israel has been made quite clear throughout the last two years, one is bewildered by the fact that Abbas and his government have done little by way of counteracting Washington’s new aggressive strategy targeting the Palestinians.

Save for a few symbolic ‘victories’ at the United Nations and UN-related bodies; Abbas has done little by way of a concrete and unified Palestinian action.

Frankly, recognising a Palestinian state on paper is not a strategy, per se. The push for greater recognition has been in the making since the PLO Algiers conference in 1988 when the Palestine National Council declared a Palestinian state to the jubilation of millions around the world. Many countries, especially in the global south, quickly recognised the State of Palestine.

Instead of using such a symbolic declaration as a component of a broader strategy aimed at realising this independence on the ground, the PA simply saw the act of recognising Palestine as an end in itself. Now, there are 137 countries that recognise the State of Palestine. Sadly, however, much more Palestinian land has been stolen by Israel to expand on or build new Jewish-only colonies on the area designated to be part of that future state.

It should have been clear, by now, that placing a Palestinian flag on a table at some international conference, or even having a Palestine chair at the G77 UN coalition of developing countries, is not a substitute for a real strategy of national liberation.

The two main Palestinian factions, Abbas’ own Fatah party and Hamas, are still as diverged as ever. Abbas seems to focus more energy on weakening his political rivals in Palestine than on combating the Israeli Occupation. In recent weeks, Abbas has taken yet more punitive financial measures targeting various sectors of Gaza society. Collective punishment is even reaching families of prisoners and those killed by the Israeli army.

Without a united front, a true strategy or any form of tangible resistance, Abbas is now vulnerable to more US pressure and manipulation. Instead of moving quickly to solidify the Palestinian front, and to reach out to genuine allies in the Middle East and worldwide to counter the bitter US campaign, Abbas has done little.

Instead, the Palestinian leadership continues to chase political mirages, taking every opportunity to declare more symbolic victories that he needs to sustain his legitimacy among Palestinians for a while longer.

The painful truth, however, is this: it is not just US bullying that has pushed the PA into this unenviable position, but, sadly, the self-serving nature and political bankruptcy of the Palestinian leadership itself.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Who really is Nazanin Zaghari?

Press TV – March 12, 2019

Nazanin Zaghari is an Iranian citizen who is currently serving a five-year jail term in Tehran on charges of espionage for the UK. Iran’s intelligence authorities arrested Zaghari, who also holds a British passport, at Imam Khomeini International Airport in April 2016 as she was about to board a plane to London.

The 39-year-old mother-of-one was arrested after it became clear that she had run an illegal course to recruit and train people for the BBC Persian Television, a channel Iran deems is an extension of Britain’s anti-Iran propaganda machine.

Ever since Zaghari’s arrest, British officials have provided several opposing accounts into who she really is and what she was doing during her stay in Iran.

A mother and wife on vacation

London first insisted that the double citizen, who works for Thomson Reuters Foundation, was in Iran for holidays.

The British media tried to add an emotional aspect to her case by constantly running stories about Zaghari’s husband and their only child.

But the public was not convinced.

Teaching journalism

That claim was proven problematic after then British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson admitted in 2017 that she was indeed in Iran to train journalists for unspecified purposes.

“When I look at what Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing, she was simply teaching people journalism as I understand it,” Johnson told the Foreign Affairs Committee in November 2017.

London tried to pass off Johnson’s remark as a simple “slip of tongue.”

Aid worker

The gaffe prompted a statement from Thomson Reuters Foundation, denying Johnson’s description of Zaghari.

“Nazanin has been working at the Thomson Reuters Foundation for the past four years as a project coordinator in charge of grants applications and training, and had no dealing with Iran in her professional capacity,” the London-based organization, which operates independently of Reuters News, said at the time.

After Johnson’s remarks, which were widely viewed as an unintentional confession into Zaghari’s real mission in Tehran, the Western media have mostly referred to her as an aid worker.

This is while her employer, Thomson Reuters, has already made it clear that it is in no way involved in business with Iran.

“The Thomson Reuters Foundation has no dealings with Iran whatsoever, does not operate and does not plan to operate in the country,” the foundation said in an announcement.

This means any suggestion that she was in Iran on a humanitarian mission doesn’t hold value.

Diplomatic protection

London’s contradictory explanations about Zaghari’s mission took an unexpected turn this month, after British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that London had decided to give Zaghari diplomatic protection “as part of the Government’s continuing efforts to secure her release.”

Diplomatic protection is a rarely-used tool under international law, which gives a country the right to challenge another state over the treatment of one of its nationals or companies.

It is very different from diplomatic immunity, which applies to accredited diplomats and provides them with safe passage. It is also different from consular assistance, where a state offers assistance to its nationals in another country.

Iran has rejected the move by London as “illegal,” with Iranian Ambassador to Britain Hamid Baeidinejad arguing that the protection meant nothing as Iran does not recognize dual nationality.

Interestingly, Zaghari only had her Iranian passport with her when she was taken into custody.

London’s efforts ‘extremely unusual’: Ex-UK diplomat

Meanwhile, Craig John Murray, a British former diplomat who once served as the country’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, wrote in an article on Monday that if anything, the London’s “unusual” attention to Zaghari’s issue has given more credibility to Iran’s case against her.

The former diplomat writes that even without the diplomatic protection, the UK government’s interest in the case had been “extremely unusual.”

“That the UK has now ‘adopted’ the case, raising it to the level of a state dispute, is something not just unusual, but which I don’t think has happened since the First World War,” he said.

Murray noted that the British government usually avoids getting involved in cases about its dual national citizens simply because doing so would overwhelm its consulates around the world.

According to Sky TV, Britain has not afforded diplomatic protection to anyone in living memory prior to Zaghari.

The last time the UK government is known to have used this power is in 1951, in support of a British-Iranian oil company.

The move elevates the case of the Iranian citizen from a consular issue to a formal matter between Iran and the UK and also opens up a number of legal and diplomatic routes.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , | Leave a comment