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Twenty Years Since NATO Massacred 16 Employees of Serbian State Television

By Grey Carter | Big ‘N’ Mighty Nose | April 23, 2019

Today marks 16 years since US-led NATO coalition struck Serbian state television  – Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS), murdering 16 of its employees.  There was 16 employees and staff who were brutally massacred one night. Someone somewhere decided that those people had to die. Nineteen more were wounded.

In mid-April, NATO Air Commander, David Wilby, announced that NATO was sick of the Serb ‘propaganda’ televised to every household and warned that unless Serb Television broadcast three hours of US programming in the daytime and another three hours in the evening, the TV station would be blown-up. Even pro-war TV reporters phrased the announcement as an outlandish question. The idea didn’t go over. When Belgrade offered to accept the six hours in exchange for six minutes of Yugoslav news on Western networks, NATO backtracked, saying it had only meant it would bomb transmitters also used for military communications. NATO also explicitly assured the International Federation of Journalists it would not target media workers.5 Even so, against the wishes of other NATO leaders, General Wesley Clark gave orders to bomb.

NATO attack on Serbian Radio-television which took 16 lives.

In the early morning hours of April 23, as RTS was airing a taped American interview with President Milosevic and former Pentagon official turned KHOU-TV defence analysts, Ron Hatchett, there was a thunderous explosion as cruise missiles slammed into the building causing a mile-high cloud of dust.

What had been the four-story headquarters of Serbian TV was turned into a 15-foot pile of cement, plastic, iron, and the dead and wounded. Among the dead were two men hanging upside-down from the wreckage. A young woman technician was burned alive in the make-up room.

A young man could only be extracted from the tons of wreckage by amputating both of his legs. He died.

Thirteen other technicians and secretaries working the night shift were killed in their studios and taping rooms, or died in the hospital. At dawn, a group of several hundred Yugoslav citizens stood silently bearing witness in front of the smouldering wreckage, at a loss for words.

Six hours later the U.K. Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short, said RTS was a “legitimate target” a “propaganda machine” and “causing untold suffering to the people of Kosovo”. In England Tony Blair said the attack was “entirely justified,” ( Serb TV station was a legitimate target, Guardian, 24 April 1999 issue),  and went on to assert that television is part of the apparatus which keeps a political leader in power, so camera operators, make-up ladies and janitors are therefore legitimate targets.

NATO  terrorist attack on Radio-television of Serbia, April 1999.

RTS broadcasts had included a patriotic programme, showing Yugoslav soldiers defending their country, President Milosevic meeting Russian envoys and the Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova, and others.

For artistic expression, they showed computer animations of the NATO cross logo turning into a swastika, and Madeleine Albright growing Dracula teeth in front of a burning building.

But the station also broadcast to the world dramatic images of destruction caused by the NATO bombing and gave credible estimates of civilian casualties. RTS scooped the world press when it disclosed that a NATO aircraft had killed scores of Albanian refugees in a bombing attack.

After RTS broadcast the scenes of the civilian carnage, NATO flip-flopped through the next 24-hour news cycle. NATO’s first response was: “We didn’t do it, the Serbs did it.” That changed to “we did bomb the column, but the Serbs killed the refugees.” Again lies.  

Finally, NATO accepted fault and apologized. Still, NATO’s glib cockney spokesman, Jamie Sheapushed the edges of Orwellian doublespeak when he declared that the pilot had “dropped his bombs (on the Albanian column) in good faith.”

Later, NATO played an audio-tape supposedly of the pilot in question. But it turned out that the recorded pilot was involved in a completely different operation. The real tape was withheld.

Contrary to Pentagon reports, NATO programming could be seen on 21st UHF channel throughout the northern Serbia and Belgrade area. Other radio and TV stations which had carried some NATO broadcasts were housed in the Business Centre USCE, which NATO destroyed on April 22.

The content of RTS broadcasts also was more complicated than NATO has asserted.

It’s important to stress that RTS was a center of cultural identity for the Serb nation. With the destruction of RTS headquarters, thousands of tapes and films have now been crushed to rubble, videos that once helped tell the Serbs and their children who they are — and provide some small comfort in their difficult lives.

On April 23, 1999, with permission of World leaders, Jelica Munitlak (28) make-up artist, Ksenija Bankovic (28) video mixer, Darko Stiomenovski (26) Technician in exchange, Nebojsa Stojanovic (27) and Branislav Jovanovic (50) TV technicians, Dragorad Dragojevic (27)Dejan Markovic (39) and Milan Joksimovic (47) security guards, Dragan Tasic (31) electricianAleksandar Deletic (31) cameraman, Slavisa Stevanovic (32) and Ivan Stukalo (34) technicians, Sinisa Medic (32) Programme designer, Milan Jankovic (59) technician, Tomislav Mitrovic (61)Programme Director and Slobodan Jontic (54) technician have been killed,  at 2:06 a.m.

Memory eternal.


April 25, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

UK cinemas urged to boycott Israeli film festival

Press TV – April 25, 2019

Twenty filmmakers, screenwriters, actors, and film critics have urged film theaters in the United Kingdom to boycott the Israeli film festival Seret, co-organized by the Tel Aviv government, in protest at the Zionist regime’s atrocities against Palestinians.

“We’re shocked and dismayed to see how many mainstream cinemas … are hosting this year’s Israeli film festival, Seret, whose funders and supporters include the Israeli government and a clutch of pro-Israel advocacy organizations,” the cinema professionals said in a letter published by The Guardian on Thursday.

“Two months ago, a commission set up by the UN human rights council concluded that the actions of Israeli soldiers against Palestinian participants in the Great March of Return in Gaza may constitute ‘war crimes or crimes against humanity’. ‘Particularly alarming,’ said a member of the commission, was ‘the targeting of children and persons with disabilities’,” reads the letter.

“This UN report is the latest in 70 years of reports of mass expulsions, killings, house demolitions, detention without trial, torture, military occupation and military onslaught against the indigenous population, the Palestinians. But none of this appears to disturb the cinemas involved in the festival,” the letter added, protesting at the UK cinemas’ indifference to the Israeli atrocities.

“We cannot understand why cultural institutions continue to behave as if Israel is an ordinary democracy. It is not. Palestinians deserve better than this. UK cinemas should not be hosting Seret,” it reads.

Prominent British filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh are among the artists who have written the letter.

Other signatories include Amir Amirani (director, producer), Roy Battersby (director), Haim Bresheeth (writer, filmmaker), David Calder (actor), Prof Ian Christie (film writer, broadcaster), Dror Dayan (filmmaker), Helen de Witt (film programmer), Saeed Taji Farouky (filmmaker), Deborah Golt DJ (broadcaster), Ashley Inglis (screenwriter), Paul Laverty (screenwriter), Sophie Mayer (film critic, curator), Rebecca O’Brien (producer), Pratibha Parmar (writer, director), William Raban (filmmaker), Leila Sansour (director), John Smith (artist, filmmaker), and Penny Woolcock (filmmaker).

Earlier, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) had also called on all participants to withdraw from the Seret festival taking place in London, Brighton and Edinburgh, from May 6 – 17.

The Seret festival tries to falsely project Israel as “a melting pot of cultures, religions and social backgrounds,” rather than as an apartheid and colonial regime that has more than 65 racist laws discriminating against its indigenous Palestinian citizens, the Campaign said.

“In addition to Israeli ministries and diplomatic missions, the festival is also sponsored by racist, anti-Palestinian, Israeli government-backed agencies, including the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency,” the Campaign added, in a statement published by the BDS Movement’s website.

Last year, a wave of cancellations and boycotts hit a film festival in Tel Aviv over Israeli government sponsorship, with a total of 14 filmmakers, actors and other artists withdrawing or, if unable to do so, declaring support for the boycott.

Also in 2018, the Oscar-winning star, Natalie Portman, boycotted a ceremony in Israel that would have honored her.

“PACBI, as part of the growing Nobel Prize-nominated Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, calls on filmmakers participating in SERET to withdraw from this blatant propaganda festival and urges people of conscience to boycott it in its entirety,” the statement added.

The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

‘We are at war’ with Russia: DNC Chair Perez says Trump ‘compromised’

RT | April 26, 2019

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez went on CNN to declare a cyber war on Russia, and slammed President Donald Trump for being ‘compromised.’

“The federal government is asleep at the switch,” Perez told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on her show New Day, adding that the president had been disloyal to the country for “weaponizing” hacked material.

“When the Russians called Donald Trump and said ‘I got dirt on Hillary Clinton,’ they should have called the authorities,” Perez said, apparently referring to the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. “Instead they said ‘tell us what you got.’ That’s not right.”

Back in 2016, however, the DNC had no qualms about relying on a foreign intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump from various informants and ‘weaponize’ it in preparation for the presidential election. Steele later admitted sourcing his info from unverified internet sources – but not before it catalyzed two years of ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy and a costly Special Counsel investigation that ultimately found no collusion between Trump and Russia.

Veselnitskaya, interestingly, met with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson on both the days before and after the lawyer’s meeting with Donald Trump Jr. Fusion GPS is the research firm that paid for Christopher Steele’s kompromat job on Trump.

When asked if his party would accept leaked information on President Trump’s tax returns, Perez gave a non-answer.

“Well, again, we are entitled to that,” he said. “If you look at the law that chairman Neil of the House Ways and Means Committee is using. It’s clear. It doesn’t say you are entitled to [release your tax returns] except for the taxes of the president of the United States.”

Although the Mueller probe did not find any link between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, to the utter disappointment of some liberal media pundits, the collusion narrative survived. Media continues to speculate whether Trump was somehow compromised by Russia and is on Putin’s short leash. Democrats, including certain presidential hopefuls, have not given up on the hopes to oust Trump from office through impeachment proceedings, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris among the latest to join the rallying cry.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

N. Korea warns of ‘corresponding response’ as Washington & Seoul stage joint war games

RT | April 25, 2019

North Korea has warned of a “corresponding response” as it vented anger at the ongoing military drills between the US and South Korea. Pyongyang says such steps simply hamper the reconciliation process.

In a strongly-worded statement issued by the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country on Thursday, Pyongyang blasted the joint air force exercises as “acts of perfidy.”

It added that the maneuvers go against the “trend toward the reconciliation on the peninsula” and threatened the “valuable spark of peace, reconciliation and cooperation” between the two Koreas.

The committee, which oversees inter-Korean affairs, also warned the South Korean authorities “to behave with discretion,” and said the exercises risked north-south bilateral ties.

It finished by saying that such a “military provocation” would garner a “corresponding response,” noting that authorities in Seoul “can never make a complaint” over whatever actions Pyongyang eventually undertakes.

The two-week joint air force exercises, which kicked off on Monday, had been organized as a more low-key alternative to the annual Max Thunder drills usually conducted by the US and South Korea.

It follows a call made by Trump following his first summit with Kim Jong-un last June to suspend the “very provocative” war games after an agreement was reached by both parties to back “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.

Since then, several military exercises have been either canceled or scaled-back.

However, the negotiations floundered following a second meeting between the two leaders in Vietnam in late February. Back then, both heads of state walked away without securing a deal amid disagreements over the lifting of sanctions on Pyongyang.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment


By CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | April 25, 2019

I owe the corporate media an apology. For the last few years, I’ve been writing all these essays explaining how they were perpetrating an enormous psyop on the American public … a psyop designed to convince the public that Donald Trump “colluded” with Russia to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton. Up until a few days ago, I would have sworn that they had published literally thousands of articles and editorials, and broadcast countless TV segments, more or less accusing him of treason, and being a “Russian intelligence asset,” and other ridiculous stuff like that. Also, and I’m still not sure how this happened, I somehow got the idea in my head that the investigation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was meticulously conducting had something to do with Donald Trump conspiring or “colluding” with Russia, or being some kind of “Manchurian president,” or being blackmailed by Putin with a pee-tape, or something.

In any event, the publication of the Mueller report has cleared things up for me. I get it now. The investigation was never about Trump colluding with Russia. It was always about Trump obstructing the investigation of the collusion with Russia that the investigation was not about. Mueller was never looking for collusion. It was not his job to look for collusion. His job was to look for obstruction of his investigation of alleged obstruction of his investigation of non-collusion, which he found, and detailed at length in his report, and which qualifies as an impeachable offense.

Not that he proved that there was no collusion! On the contrary, as professional hermeneuticists have been repeatedly pointing out on Twitter, given that Mueller wasn’t looking for collusion, and that collusion could never have been legally established, and isn’t even a legal term, Mueller’s failure to find any actual evidence of collusion is evidence of collusion, notwithstanding the fact that he couldn’t prove it, and wasn’t even looking for it, except to the extent it allowed him to establish a case for the obstruction he was actually investigating.

In other words, his investigation was launched in order to investigate the obstruction of his investigation. And, on those terms, it was a huge success. The fact that it didn’t prove “collusion” means nothing — that’s just a straw man argument that Trump and his Russian handlers make. The goal all along was to prove that Trump obstructed an investigation of his obstruction of that investigation, not that he was “colluding” with Putin, or any of the other paranoid nonsense that the corporate media were forced to report on, once an investigation into his obstruction of the investigation was launched.

See, and this is why I owe the media an apology. All those thousands of hysterical articles, editorials, and TV segments accusing Donald Trump of treason, and of literally being a Russian agent, and probably Putin’s homosexual lover, were not just ridiculous propaganda. The corporate media were not engaged in a concerted campaign to convince the public that Trump conspired with a foreign adversary to brainwash millions of African Americans into refusing to vote for Hillary Clinton with some emails and a handful of Facebook posts. No, the media were simply covering the story of his obstruction of the investigation of the made-up facts the intelligence agencies got them to relentlessly disseminate to generate the appearance of a story, which, once it was out there, had to be reported on, regardless of how it came into being, or whose nefarious purposes it served.

Moreover, regardless of whether Mueller did or did not establish obstruction (or attempted obstruction, which is just as impeachable) of his non-investigation of collusion, he absolutely established that Russia attacked us by brainwashing all those African Americans who were definitely going to vote for Clinton until they saw those divisive Facebook ads and those DNC emails that Putin personally ordered Trump to order Paul Manafort to personally deliver to Julian Assange, who was hunkered down in the Ecuadorean embassy poking holes in King-size condoms, abusing his cat, and smearing invisible poo all over the walls of his kitchen.

Now, these are all indisputable facts, which Mueller establishes in his report by referencing the repeated assertions of a consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies, and the corporate media’s relentless repetition of those agencies’ assertions, and the feeling a lot of people have that they must be factual to some extent, given how often they have been repeated, and referenced, and authoritatively asserted, and how familiar they sound when they hear them, again. The fact that there exists no evidence whatsoever of any “Russian attack,” and that all we’re actually talking about is the publication of a bunch of emails that DNC members actually wrote, and some ridiculous social media posts, should not in any way detract from the fact that the Russians launched a totally devastating, virtually Pearl Harbor-scale attack on the fabric of American democracy, which Trump obstructed an investigation of, or attempted to obstruct an investigation of, or conspired to attempt to obstruct an investigation of obstruction of.

Or whatever. The point is, now they’ve got him! His justice obstructing days are numbered! Break out the pussyhats and vuvuzelas, because next stop is Impeachment City! So what if he’s not a Russian agent and didn’t conspire or collude with anyone? He got elected without permission, and insulted a lot of powerful people, and … well, who cares what they impeach him for, as long as they impeach him for something!

They kind of have to, at this point, don’t they? They just spent most of the last three years rolling out an official narrative in which the Russians are running around attacking democracy, poisoning ducks with Novichok perfume, fomenting populist uprisings in France, and just generally being the evil enemies that the Islamic terrorists used to be, before they turned into freedom fighters and helped us try to take over Syria.

If the Democrats don’t impeach Donald Trump, that official narrative might fall apart. Liberals might have to face the fact that Americans elected Donald Trump president, not because they were brainwashed by Russians, or had any illusions about what a thuggish, self-aggrandizing buffoon he is, but because they were so disgusted with the neoliberal Washington establishment, and the global capitalist elites that own it, that they leapt at the chance to vote against it, and probably would have elected anyone who promised to even marginally disrupt it … but there I go drifting off into my crazy conspiracist thinking again.

Anyway … I’m really sorry about all that stuff I wrote about the corporate media. Rest assured, that won’t happen again. Admittedly, I blew the Russiagate thing, but I promise to do better with Obstructiongate, or Tax-Returngate, or Whatevergate. It doesn’t really matter what we call it, right? The important thing is to teach the masses what happens when they vote for unauthorized candidates. We’re only halfway through that lesson. Stay tuned … there’s much, much more to come!


April 25, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 3 Comments

Jared Kushner, Not Maria Butina, Is America’s Real Foreign Agent

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | April 25, 2019

Maria Butina is in jail for doing nothing while Jared Kushner, who needed a godfathered security clearance due to his close Israeli ties, struts through the White House as senior advisor to the president.

The Mueller Special Counsel inquiry is far from over even though a final report on its findings has been issued. Although the investigation had a mandate to explore all aspects of the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election, from the start the focus was on the possibility that some members of the Trump campaign had colluded with the Kremlin to influence the outcome of the election to favor the GOP candidate. Even though that could not be demonstrated, many prominent Trump critics, to include Laurence Tribe of the Harvard Law School, are demanding that the investigation continue until Congress has discovered “the full facts of Russia’s interference [to include] the ways in which that interference is continuing in anticipation of 2020, and the full story of how the president and his team welcomed, benefited from, repaid, and obstructed lawful investigation into that interference and the president’s cooperation with it.”

Tribe should perhaps read the report more carefully. While it does indeed confirm some Russian meddling, it does not demonstrate that anyone in the Trump circle benefited from it or cooperated with it. The objective currently being promoted by dedicated Trump critics like Tribe is to make a case to impeach the president based on the alleged enormity of the Russian activity, which is not borne out by the facts: the Russian role was intermittent, small scale and basically ineffective.

One interesting aspect of the Mueller inquiry and the ongoing Russophobia that it has generated is the essential hypocrisy of the Washington Establishment. It is generally agreed that whatever Russia actually did, it did not affect the outcome of the election. That the Kremlin was using intelligence resources to act against Hillary Clinton should surprise no one as she described Russian President Vladimir Putin as Hitler and also made clear that she would be taking a very hard line against Moscow.

The anti-Russia frenzy in Washington generated by the vengeful Democrats and an Establishment fearful of a loss of privilege and entitlement claimed a number of victims. Among them was Russian citizen Maria Butina, who has a court date and will very likely be sentenced tomorrow.

Regarding Butina, the United States Department of Justice would apparently have you believe that the Kremlin sought to subvert the five-million-member strong National Rifle Association (NRA) by having a Russian citizen take out a life membership in the organization with the intention of corrupting it and turning it into an instrument for subverting American democracy. Maria Butina has, by the way, a long and well documented history as an advocate for gun ownership and was a co-founder in Russia of Right to Bear Arms, which is not an intelligence front organization of some kind. It is rather a genuine lobbying group with an active membership and agenda. Contrary to what has been reported in the mainstream media, Russians can own guns but the licensing and registration procedures are long and complicated, which Right to Bear Arms, modeling itself on the NRA, is seeking to change.

Butina, a graduate student at American University, is now in a federal prison, having been charged with collusion and failure to register as an agent of the Russian Federation. She was arrested on July 15, 2018. It is decidedly unusual to arrest and confine someone who has failed to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA), but she has not been granted bail because, as a Russian citizen, she is considered to be a “flight risk,” likely to try to flee the US and return home.

FARA requires all individuals and organizations acting on behalf of foreign governments to be registered with the Department of Justice and to report their sources of income and contacts. Federal prosecutors have claimed that Butina was reporting back to a Russian official while deliberately cultivating influential figures in the United States as potential resources to advance Russian interests, a process that is described in intelligence circles as “spotting and assessing.”

Maria eventually pleaded guilty of not registering under FARA to mitigate any punishment, hoping that she would be allowed to return to Russia after a few months in prison on top of the nine months she has already served. She has reportedly fully cooperated the US authorities, turning over documents, answering questions and undergoing hours of interrogation by federal investigators before and after her guilty plea.

Maria Butina basically did nothing that damaged US security and it is difficult to see where her behavior was even criminal, but the prosecution is asking for 18 months in prison for her in addition to the time served. She would be, in fact, one of only a handful of individuals ever to be imprisoned over FARA, and they all come from countries that Washington considers to be unfriendly, to include Cuba, Saddam’s Iraq and Russia. Normally the failure to comply with FARA is handled with a fine and compulsory registration.

Butina was essentially convicted of the crime of being Russian at the wrong time and in the wrong place and she is paying for it with prison. Selective enforcement of FARA was, ironically, revealed through evidence collected and included in the Mueller Report relating to the only foreign country that actually sought to obtain favors from the incoming Trump Administration. That country was Israel and the individual who drove the process and should have been fined and required to register with FARA was President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. As Kushner also had considerable “flight risk” to Israel, which has no extradition treaty with the United States, he should also have been imprisoned.

Kushner reportedly aggressively pressured members of the Trump transition team to contact foreign ambassadors at the United Nations to convince them to vote against or abstain from voting on the December 2016 United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 condemning Israeli settlements. The resolution passed when the US, acting under direction of President Barack Obama, abstained, but incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn did indeed contact the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice and asked for Moscow’s cooperation, which was refused. Kushner, who is so close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the latter has slept at the Kushner apartment in New York City, was clearly acting in response to direction coming from the Israeli government.

Another interesting tidbit revealed by Mueller relates to Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos’s ties to Israel over an oil development scheme. Mueller “ultimately determined that the evidence was not sufficient to obtain or sustain a conviction” that Papadopoulos “committed a crime or crimes by acting as an unregistered agent of the Israeli government.” Mueller went looking for a Russian connection but found only Israel and decided to do nothing about it.

As so often is the case, inquiries that begin by looking for foreign interference in American politics start by focusing on Washington’s adversaries but then come up with Israel. Noam Chomsky described it best “First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support. Netanyahu goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies—what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015. Did Putin come to give an address to the joint sessions of Congress trying to—calling on them to reverse US policy, without even informing the president? And that’s just a tiny bit of this overwhelming influence.”

Maria Butina is in jail for doing nothing while Jared Kushner, who needed a godfathered security clearance due to his close Israeli ties, struts through the White House as senior advisor to the president in spite of the fact that he used his nepotistically obtained access to openly promote the interests of a foreign government. Mueller knows all about it but recommended nothing, as if it didn’t happen. The media is silent. Congress will do nothing. As Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi put it “We in Congress stand by Israel. In Congress, we speak with one voice on the subject of Israel.” Indeed.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Iranian FM: Trump Doesn’t Want War, But Could Be ‘Lured Into One’

Sputnik – 25.04.2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif says that Iran is confident in its ability to evade US sanctions, noting that the country has a “Ph.D in that area.”

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Zarif went on to say that he believes US President Donald Trump doesn’t want to go to war with Iran, but that he could be “lured into one.” In such an event, he noted that Iran would be ready to defend itself.

As for who might goad Trump into a conflict, Zarif named US National Security Adviser John Bolton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others. He warned that certain individuals could try to “plot an accident” that would ultimately cause a broader crisis, Reuters reported.

The official also indicated that US Navy ships will be allowed to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, as the Iranian government is committed to allowing freedom of navigation operations in the area.

Earlier this month, the US formally designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. In turn, Iran designated the US military a terrorist organization. Zarif told the outlet that the US’ declaration was “absurd,” but that Iran would exercise “prudence.”

Regarding the Strait of Hormuz, Zarif previously stated that “it is our vital national security interest to keep the Persian Gulf open … We have done that in the past, and we will continue to do that in the future. But the United States should know that when they enter the Strait of Hormuz, they have to talk to those protecting the Strait of Hormuz — and that is the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.”

This week, the Trump administration announced that it would not be renewing sanctions exemptions on Iranian oil exports that were provided to various countries, including China, Japan and Turkey, among others. Tehran has stated that it will continue to export however much oil that it needs to.

The US in May 2018 withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, reimposing a series of sanctions on Tehran that had been lifted by the Obama-era deal.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | 2 Comments

Baseline of a Desecrated Land VIII: Desecrated Farmlands

By Dick Callahan – 10.18.2018

“It was not as if there was a Palestinian people in Palestine and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.” Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.

“The mountainsides were cut in terraces, many of them but a few yards wide, bearing olive, fig, and apricot trees, and numerous extensive vineyards… The whole face of the country, since leaving Jerusalem, bore evidence of a high state of cultivation… immense fields of ripened grain, the thick clustering stems bending to the breeze, their golden surfaces chequered with the shadows of passing clouds. Behind us were the rugged mountains, before us the lovely plain dotted with villages, and covered with a whole population gathering the harvest… Long before sunrise, the next day, the industrious fellahin [Palestinians] were at work in the fields.” W.F. Lynch, Commander US Navy Jordan River and Dead Sea expedition, March, 1848.

The Land

Sixty-five years ago, arable soil on the Siren Plateau was 100 cm thick. During the first fifty-years of Jewish domination the soil depth dropped by a quarter. That is a breathtaking loss in a place where it can take 2,000 years to add 10 centimeters of soil to the landscape. It is a man-made loss brought about by modern technology.

Starting well before World War I, Zionists and their antecedents had determined to replace ‘primitive’ Palestinian farming methods with the latest agricultural developments on the largest possible scale. Thanks to generous financial support from world Jewry, imports of well-boring machinery, tractors irrigation pipes, fertilizers, trucks, lumber, etc. poured into Jewish communities in Palestine. “Indeed, in the period between 1929 and 1940 Palestine’s important industrial machinery was valued at $29,500,000 [$540,090,000 in today’s dollars]. A still larger sum for transport vehicles, and agricultural machinery.” (Lowdermilk: Palestine Land of Promise).

A few, short decades of Israeli technology, intensive agriculture, and environmental contempt has left the soil so damaged that Israel’s Soil Conservation and Drainage Department of the Agricultural Ministry estimates that nearly half of country’s farm lands are at risk. Erosion from wind and water, exacerbated by intensive cultivation, salt buildup, and heavy farm equipment compacting the soil are making ‘primitive’ Palestinian methods look pretty good.

When Golda Meir first immigrated to Palestine in 1921 she had to have been met with agriculture built up and tended as a labor and love of the land by Palestinians she would later claim didn’t exist. Otherwise, what had happened to the lush terraced agriculture and fertile plains Captain Lynch described in 1848 Palestine? According to The Times special correspondent Phillip Graves writing in 1923, they were still there. He describes driving from the “… sandy steppe of Egypt … into the rich soil of Philistia and the Sharon Plain (a swath roughly from lower Gaza to Tel Aviv), a belt of flat prosperous tilth.” Graves also notes, “From Lydda, you have time to take car and drive to the outskirts of Jaffa to see the great orange groves, rich deep green leafage jeweled with golden fruit against the bright tawny dunes of the coast.” (the Jaffa groves were planted by Arabs in the 1800’s before Zionism was founded.)

Amnon Neumann, who took part in ethnic cleansing on the Jewish side, testified that in 1951 Arabs who had been pushed off their lands into Gaza would sneak back to their villages at night. “There was a special kind of agriculture in the dunes north of Gaza where the grape vines needed to be tended. So they would go there at night, they did not know they would never return. And we waited for them there… And we would shoot and kill them.”

Even today, it’s a long running complaint of Palestinian farmers in the occupied territories, that Jewish colonists not only take over their land but will, under protection of the Israeli army, drive front end loaders onto Palestinian farms, scrape up the top soil, load it onto dump trucks, and drive it back to Jewish farms. If Palestinian soil were really sub-par, as Israelis claim, why would they do that? And how did the concept of making the desert bloom take root in a place that was already populated and  cultivated?

The Jewish National Fund

The Jewish National Fund (JNF), formed in 1901 in Switzerland to buy Palestinian lands for European Zionism, has always been a key player in shifting Palestine’s baseline to the Israel we know today. This organization is intimately connected with the present regime and they are among the largest landowners in Israel, holding a reported 13 percent of the land. Diaspora Jews make donations large and small to Israel from all over the world through the JNF. Many Jews recall a distinctive box kept in their parent’s kitchens where the family would accrue money to donate. The Jewish National Fund seems to mean well, as far as Jewish interests go, but for Arab interests, not so. As far as the land’s interest, JNF is an example of the old saw, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Draining the Huleh Valley Lake and marsh in the 1950’s was a JNF project. Re-flooding a segment of Huleh Valley after the crops tanked, pesticides contaminated Lake Kinneret, the lake species were annihilated, and the peat started to burn was also a JNF project. Funding equipment to drill Jewish wells all over Palestine was JNF. When springs that had been around for millennia dried up as a consequence—that was also JNF. A series of reservoirs in the Negev was JNF. When the intercepted ground water no longer flowed to Gaza’s Coastal Aquifer—JNF. Planting 240 million trees—JNF. When thousands of acres of the trees burn like gasoline because so many of them are pines planted too close together—JNF. Expanding forests—JNF. Kicking Arab families off their land to do so—JNF.

Salt and suspended solids buildup in the soil

“Water transport still contributes an estimated 170,000 metric tons of chlorides to the soils and ground water in the center of the country.” Alon Tal. Seeking sustainability: Israel’s evolving water management strategy.” – Science Magazine. 08.25.2006

“The fact that rain isn’t falling is big trouble. The expenses are crazy. We’re irrigating in November and December, which we haven’t done before. Irrigation costs a lot of money. Secondly, we’re irrigating with treated waste water, and the rain purifies the land from salt. When there’s no rain, surplus salt accumulates in the land, and that damages the trees… In addition to all that, we don’t know what will happen to the ground water reservoirs we need for next year. We’re hanging by a thread with the reservoirs, and we don’t know what’s ahead. The water quotas for both waste water and potable water have been used up, and we’re paying a heavy toll in fines.” – Johnny Aganmia, Kibbutz Matzura farmer, Western Galilee, on why the kibbutz was ripping out its fruit orchards.

Lake Kinneret becoming more salty is not just a problem for drinking water. Salty water pumped to the dry south via Israel’s National Water Carrier for irrigation is bad for the land. Kinneret water was saltier in 2017 than it has been in fifty years, including 2006 when Alon Tal wrote that 170,000 metric tons of chlorides were being dumped on the soil in the middle of the country.

Farmers can only use the soil as a coffee filter for so long. Over time salts and suspended solids deposited by irrigation water build up in the soil to the point where crops can no longer grow there. This includes deposits from wastewater Israel uses to water crops. Whatever is in that water making it unfit for human consumption is leaching out into the ground and also being taken up into the plants. In his superb book, Cadillac Desert Marc Reisner describes in a compact and digestible way how salt builds up in soil and proposes that the great, ancient desert civilizations may have collapsed due to salt buildup rather than drought.

Israeli Forestry: Foreign pines replace ancient olive trees that had provided shade and a living for centuries

You sometimes see claims that the Jewish state is one of the few countries, or even the only country, to have more trees now than they did a hundred years ago. That’s not the case. The U.S. has more trees than it had a hundred years ago. Most of Europe has more trees—Ireland, for example, was under 1% forested when it achieved independence in 1929. Today Ireland is about 11% forested. France, Sweden, Finland, the UK and others all have more trees than they did a hundred years ago. We don’t have many of the ancient ‘big pumpkins’ that used to make up old growth forests, and we have severe problems with invasive insect species killing trees, but for the time being, and such as it is, we’ve got more forest than we did a hundred years ago.

Even if the Israeli forest statement were correct, Palestine a hundred years ago was a fairly low bar, having been relentlessly logged by Europeans and Ottomans for centuries. Compared with a country like Bhutan, with its 86% tree cover, Palestine in the early 1900’s wasn’t Longfellow’s ‘forest primeval.’ What they did have going for them in trees was orchards; the Jaffa orange groves and olives—especially olives.

a. olives are among the world’s oldest living trees. There are olive trees in the Mediterranean estimated to be over 3,000 years old and they still produce fruit.

b. Olive trees are well adapted to the region and can resist drought, disease and fire.

c. Olive trees are to Palestinians what buffalo were to Native Americans on the Great Plains. The olive harvest has long been the most important agricultural and social event in the Palestinian year. Tens of thousands of Palestinian households depended, and still depend, on olives for their livelihoods. Some families have tended the same trees for centuries.

d. Between 1967 and 2012 the Jewish state destroyed over 800,000 Palestinian olive trees. That would be the same as ripping out all the trees in New York’s City’s Central Park—33 times.

e. Jewish religious law prohibits destroying fruit bearing trees and yet Jews destroy thousands of Palestinian olive trees per year to this day.

f. If Israel had left them alone, the ghost trees of Palestinian olive orchards would be the largest forest in Israel.

g. Even the 1,800 acres of ghost olive trees Israel bulldozed and killed along the‘buffer zone’ Jewish troops have razed on the Gaza side of the segregation fence would make one of the larger forests in Israel.

American soil proponent and Zionist propagandist Walter C. Lowdermilk, who we will meet again in section 11, gave no credit to Arab agriculture for anything and so he had little to say about Palestinian olives. Still, a plank in his platform to rehabilitate soils was reforestation. Trees, he pointed out, hold soil in place which minimizes erosion. The Jewish National Fund adopted reforestation with a vengeance. It became a symbolic gesture for American Jews to plant a tree in Israel as a manifestation of their support for the Jewish State. Most of what they were planting a few decades ago was Aleppo pine. Those seemed like a good choice for an arid region because they’re drought resistant, grow quickly, store substantial carbon dioxide, and can replenish themselves quickly from cones that germinate after a fire.

Diaspora Jews visiting Israel would pay ten bucks, be handed a sapling and a shovel, and go out to plant on a hillside near Jerusalem. The Diaspora was shocked in 2000 when an Israeli newspaper published an expose’ about JNF workers ripping the saplings out as soon as the tourists were gone so the site would be clear before the next crowd showed up to climb the hill and plant trees in the Homeland. JNF responded to the scandal by threatening to sue the paper for libel. They also claimed it was an isolated incident, promised an investigation, and said that 60 percent of the trees planted there died anyhow.

The bad news with Aleppo pines is: they’re not great shade trees, their wood’s not worth much, and they’re resinous so they burn faster than a natural forest with species diversity. Trees in many areas were planted too close together. When such a forest goes months without rain, with strong easterly winds blowing, all it takes is a careless campfire or cigarette for the whole place to ignite explosively as sparks fly tree to tree on the wind.

Fire Season

A terrible fire roared through Mt. Carmel’s Forest in 2010 killing 44 people and burning thousands of acres. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government was entirely unprepared and had to plead for help from other countries, including the Turks who Israel had been loudly accusing of helping terrorists in the weeks before.

Israel’s approach to fire season is different than Americans and Canadians in the Western regions. For us, when haze tints the sun blood red a hundred miles away from the fires; communities, states, and provinces call out their firefighting equipment and mutual aid agreements bring in hot-shot crews from all over. Local people plan their evacuation routes. In the interior you see signs like, ‘Extreme Fire Hazard! Don’t Even Fart in the Forest!’

When it’s fire season in Israel, government officials, still inadequate to the challenge, go on TV and blame the Arabs. 2015, 2016, and 2017 saw big fires with 2016 burning almost as much acreage as the 2010 Carmel fires. More than 60,000 people had to be evacuated from Haifa.

Netanyahu’s government, with no evidence, blamed the fires on ‘arson terrorism’, and promised perpetrators would be caught and punished. They arrested about two dozen Palestinians, interrogated them for weeks, then quietly let the last of them go without prosecuting.

In 2018, as Gaza Palestinians participated in civil disobedience during the “Great March of Return” at the Gaza border, groups of young people actually did start hundreds of fires in southern Israel by lighting wicks doused with  combustibles on the Gaza side of the fence and sending them into Israeli territory on kites and balloons. The American media ran the ‘kite terror’ story in an endless loop.

At first most of the incendiaries did nothing or started small fires that were easily put out. As months went by without rain and the heat went  over 100 degrees F, Israeli snipers escalated shooting and killing Palestinians. (by fall over 200 Palestinians were dead/20,000 injured by shooting, tear gas etc.), the burning kite campaign escalated, too. By October Israel claimed thousands of acres had been burned or partially burned and was threatening to invade Gaza again.

Some things Americans might keep in mind about Israeli claims of extent of fire damage from Gaza kites. 1) During the heat wave in July, 2018 there were forest and brush fires burning all over Israel that had nothing to do with Gaza or Arabs. Those fires were virtually ignored in the American press. 2) Israeli government officials have a history of falsely accusing Palestinians of starting fires and inflating the extent of them. 3) Israel pays Jewish citizens compensation for damage by terrorist attacks. After the 2016 fires, Israeli politicians accusing Arabs of ‘pyro-terrorism’ sputtered into silence when hundreds of Israelis began lining up to be compensated by Israel’s national tax authority. 4) Every year Jewish colonists and the Israeli military burn Palestinian crops, usually just before harvest when things are driest. Arabs are not compensated for Jewish terrorism. 5) forest is a relative term. Israeli ‘forests’ around Gaza are mostly planted and have large tracts with few or no trees on them. So acreage estimates are open to scrutiny. 6) The Israeli government appears incapable of facing its role in the country’s failure-proven agricultural and forestry practices during fire season.

Burning tires and changing albedo

Albedo (litearlly whiteness) is something glaciologists talk about where I live. It’s a scale of light reflectability between zero and one. White reflects heat away. Black absorbs heat. Ground temperatures over 150 degrees Fahrenheit have been recorded in burned-over forest floors on a sunny day. Charcoal then, has an albedo of almost zero. Fresh snow’s albedo is almost one. When atmospheric dust lands on a glacier it lowers the albedo. You might not notice it walking on big ice in summer but a faint layer of dust and pollen is absorbing more heat and making the glacier melt faster. When we get multiple low snow years, dust layers collect on top of each other until the surface ice can be almost black in places.

I imagine the Middle East as a pure white ice field. Then I imagine what it would look like after all the smoke from all the fires and burning tires-fires great and small-starting in 1991 when Saddam Hussein torched 700 oil wells in Kuwait. Imagine the albedo change in 2006 when Israel bombed Lebanon’s Jiyeh Power Plant’s oil tanks darkening a hundred miles of coast with an oil slick and darkening hundreds of square miles of land as soot from tens of thousands of tons of burned oil settled out.  Imagine the settling soot from those gigantic, deliberate 2016 oil field fires in northern Iraq torched by IS, then add all the smoke from oil tankers, refineries, cars, trucks and industry. Then, add hundreds of square miles of dark roads and parking lots, the blackened earth from Israel’s annual fires in their planted pine forests, and then watch tire fires from protests in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen… Protesters burning tires to screen themselves from government drones and snipers that are targeting them has become a norm.  I get why they do it but the soot plumes they create are changing the land’s albedo, increasing heat, increasing evaporation until farming without intensive irrigation and other expensive infrastructure becomes impossible.

As Middle East land gets darker, the Middle East gets hotter.

Smashed soil

In America’s Mojave Desert you can still see tank tracks General Patton’s army left when they practiced there in 1942. Driving vehicles, even small ones, in a desert leaves lasting evidence. It’s easy to see how Israeli troops blasting across the countryside in sixty-ton Merkava IV tanks and even heavier Made in America, armored D-9 Caterpillar bulldozers, ruin crops. Not so obvious is how crushing the earth compromises soil respiration, its ability to absorb and retain water and how compacted soil makes it hard or impossible for young roots to penetrate.

On the face of things it would seem the people could plow up the land and carry on but, in speaking with soils biologists, it appears that heavy vehicles can compress soil lying meters below the surface, in some conditions creating hardpan that will never be the same.

In 2008 Israel damaged or destroyed thousands of acres of Palestinian cropland in Gaza during the, ‘Cast Lead’ invasion. Humanitarian news and analysis NGO IRIN reported UN figures that the Israelis destroyed 929 hectares (2,299 acres) of orchards and 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of vegetables. Initial monetary loss was estimated at $268 million but loss of food security and land is harder to measure.

Six years later, in 2014 Israel damaged or destroyed 85 percent of Gaza’s agricultural lands during the ‘Protective Edge’ invasion. The United Nations FAO estimated 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres) of cropland “as well as much of its agricultural infrastructure, including greenhouses, irrigation systems, animal farms, fodder stocks and fishing boats.” Much of that was done intentionally by grinding track vehicles back and forth, back and forth, back and forth over Palestinian farmland. What’s less well-known, and flat stupid, is that on that same military enterprise the Israeli army caused $350 million in damage to agriculture on the Israeli side. They wrecked 10,000 hectares of Israeli farm land, killed Israeli livestock, and generally made a mess of the place just driving around to hit civilian Gaza villages from different directions. According to the USDA, “In addition to direct damage to [Israeli] crops caused by heavy Israeli Defense Force vehicles, there has also been indirect long-lasting damage caused by these vehicles to the soil structure. Experts believe this damage will take approximately 10 years to remediate, the cost of which could total between $800 to $14,000 per hectare.”

Pesticides and herbicides

Israel has the highest pesticide use of any member country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In 2012 the Central Bureau of Statistics issued a report, “Survey of Pesticides in Agriculture 2008-2010” that revealed Israeli farmers averaged a staggering 3.5 tons of pesticides per 1,000 cultivated dunhams, (247 acres). That’s more that twice as much as the next highest, Japan, which uses 1.55 tons. Sweden used the least pesticides of all countries at just 40 kg for the same size area. As a result of Israel’s dousing poisons on its crops, some Israeli water sources carry as many as twenty different pesticides. Israel still permits pesticides posing serious human health risks that are banned in the U.S. and Europe. As erosion blocks creeks and drainages it spreads agricultural pesticides all over the landscape.

In addition to deliberately contaminating its own crops and people, Israel routinely sprays massive amounts of herbicides on the Gaza side of the border to destroy Palestinian crops and ruin land for agriculture. An estimated 3,500 acres of Gaza cropland and 2,000 acres of pasture and irrigation ponds have been compromised since 2014. Red Cross analysis shows contamination from Israeli spraying is so extensive the stuff has leached into the soil more than 1.3 miles inside the Gaza segregation barrier. Haaretz journalist Amira Haas’ July 2018 article, “Farm Warfare: How Israel uses chemicals to kill crops in Gaza” reports that among the poisons are glysophate, oxyflourfen, and diuron. Spraying kills bees/secondary pollinators and “exceptional damage was caused to shepherds, many of whom are women for whom shepherding is their way to add to the family income.”

Haas notes that Israel doesn’t like to talk about this tactic and that an Israeli court judge upon being allowed to see the evidence in secret ruled that, “information about areas being sprayed should not be revealed.” One Israeli spokesman claimed Israel coordinates spraying with officials with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza. Red Cross officials denied that. Furthermore an ICRC spokesperson said, “We have clearly and repeatedly expressed our concerns to the Israeli authorities about the economical and environmental damage the spraying is causing, and the potential consequences for public health.”

In 2015 Israel messed up and sprayed a kibbutz near Gaza killing 12 acres of Jewish wheat and contaminating the land so badly that the kibbutz couldn’t plant the next crop rotation. The government paid the kibbutz $16,000 for damages. Israel doesn’t pay the Palestinians for damages. Instead, the Zionists turn more and more rich farmland—land Peter Graves called ‘prosperous tilth’ in the 1920’s—into a parched and blasted Mideast equivalent of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Dead Marshes.

Cloud seeding

When it comes to diving headlong into big, expensive water projects we Americans are like black-out drunks at last call. We forget all the environmentally ruinous, dried-up, silted-up, pointless pork-barrel projects clogging this country’s rivers from sea to shining sea, and turn to some new technology the way a forlorn alcoholic looks around the bar for love.

Cloud seeding was one of those forlorn hopes. Cloud seeding is the practice of shooting some chemical compound, usually silver iodine, into clouds to make water crystals form around the compound and precipitate out as rain or snow. Israelis were big into that starting in the 1970’s. They were especially diligent about seeding clouds over Lake Kinneret so the rain (and chemicals) would fall into the water supply. The claim was that rain increased by an average 13 percent adding 60 million cubic meters of water to Israel’s water budget. Concerns that seeding clouds in one area would deprive other areas of rain seemed unfounded. Somehow rain in areas adjacent to cloud seeding areas also got more rain. With that kind of success other countries were soon inviting Mekorot workers to help them start cloud seeding programs, too. Then, in 2010, three Israeli scientists published a paper revealing that the initial studies in the 70’s had been done in years of higher rain due to offshore weather patterns in the eastern Mediterranean so it rained more whether clouds were seeded or not.

Drip Irrigation

If rain occurs at long intervals, crops suffer unless they are planted in soil deep enough to store moisture.” Walter C. Lowdermilk: U.S. water consultant for Zionism, Palestine Land of Promise. 1944

What we have found is that as a consequence of putting water on the crops more precisely—actual water consumption can go up.” Frank Ward, New Mexico State University, Department of Agriculture.

There’s a claim that the concept of precise irrigation with little water loss came about when an Israeli farmer noticed one day that a tree grew larger than its neighbors after receiving more water through a leak in the hose. If you think about it, a desert tree growing larger if it gets more water is hardly breaking news.

With drip irrigation water goes directly to the plants giving higher yields per acre. To non-farmers, or corporate farmers looking for short-term gain, it might seem like love at first sight but before getting carried away, its worth considering the advice of some of our own agriculture experts who are skeptical that drip irrigation is an agricultural savior. It may turn out that drip irrigation is a land based equivalent to desalination, or cloud seeding, where aspects that don’t fit the narrative are being swept under the rug until the consequences become so pronounced that denial is no longer an option. Some recognitions:

Traditional irrigation allows water to sink into the ground where, as Zionist consultant Lowdermilk pointed out, in good soil, the land traditionally could carry crops to harvest with no irrigation at all. The notion that water going into the ground is ‘wasted’ is an outdated one. Water going into the ground replenishes springs and aquifers. What farmer A calls wasted water can be vital to farmers B and C and to the land in ways people don’t understand, such as percolating through underground corridors to water centuries old trees on a desert oasis and thereby sustaining the last remnants of an ecosystem.

In addition, if you drip irrigate with waste water the soil still has to be flushed with fresh, clean water, otherwise whatever scuzz in the waste water that makes it undrinkable clogs the little drip holes in your hoses and/or will build up in the soil until it kills your plants. On a small level, homesteaders Mark Hamilton and Anna Hess who tried it say drip didn’t work for them because it’s expensive, is meant for rows rather than raised beds, the hoses have to be rotated with crops if you’re moving to another field, it uses a lot of plastic, and the whole thing has to be set up just right and maintained continuously or it can actually use more water than traditional irrigation.

Plants transpire (exhale moisture) less when the plant has some environmental stress from lower than optimal water. Without that stress the plant grows at its peak rate, the farmer has a higher yield, makes more money and is happy but uses more water to do it. And finally, there is the matter of scale. Everyone recognizes drip irrigation works in some venues but you could lose agriculture in some counties of American farm states.

Recognition 8: Desecrated Farm Land: Sources

05.03.2015 Israel’s iron lady unfiltered: 17 Golda Meir quotes on her 117th birthday Haaretz by Jud Yadid.

03.01.1850 Narrative of the United States expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea, by W.F. Lynch, USN, Commander of the Expedition, 386 pp. Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia.

1922 Palestine, land of three faiths by Peter Graves George H. Doran Company, New York.


04.25. 2016 Nearly half of Israel’s farmland threatened by over processing, climate change Haaretz by Zafrif Rinat.

12.27.2011 Testimony of Amnon Neumann YouTube 13:52 min (43,526 views as of October, 2018) An old man confesses atrocities he and other Jewish soldiers committed taking over Palestinian farms during the Nakba. Hebrew with English sub-titles.

08.25.2006 Seeking sustainability: Israel’s evolving water management strategy. Science Magazine. by Alon Tal.

10.11.2012 West Bank Settlers stealing tons of soil from West Bank Palestinian land HaaretzI by Chaim Levinson.

1.20.2016 Israeli farmers uprooting fruit trees as rains fail. Globes: Israel’s business arena. by Ilanit Hayut.


7.04.2000 Israeli tree planting group aghast after scandal unearthed Los Angeles Times by Tracy Wilkinson.

October 2013 800,000 Olive trees uprooted, 33 Central Parks—Visualizing Palestine

October 2012 Olive Harvest Factsheet United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory.

Size of the olive ghost tree forest is my estimate based upon the area it would take to plant those more than 800,000 dead olive trees the Israeli’s killed, spaced according to dry land farming of olive trees described in ‘Plants Per Acre’ by the Olive Oil Source website. (that 800 K figure is more than 5 years old. I haven’t found a more recent estimate but the number of dead trees is a lot higher now).

olives: from Israelis stealing Palestinian olive harvests, to killing trees, to uprooting whole groves there are too many stories to count. It happens all the time and tt’s been going on for decades. Look ’em up. Here are a few.

08.05.2018 Settlers destroy 2000+ Palestinian-owned trees and vines backed by Israeli authorities B’Tselem The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

9.25.18 Settlers uproot fruiting olive trees near Hebron International Middle East Media Center.

10.04.18 In video – settlers steal olive harvest in Nablus. Maan News

10.15.18 Settlers uproot olive trees in Bethlehem. Middle East Monitor

10.18.2015 Hundreds of trees destroyed in West Bank Palestinian villages, Israeli rights group reports Haaretz by Amira Haas. Move olive trees destroyed by Israeli terrorists.


date? After the fire: indirect effects on the forest soil.

05.18.2015 Fires sweep through Israel, West Bank amid heat wave Ma’an News Agency

07.24.2015 Massive forest fire rages in Jerusalem area Haartez by Nir Hasson.

1.25.2016 Haifa residents cleared to go back home after fires; 600-700 damaged Times of Israel, TOI staff. Over 60,000 residents evacuated from Haifa.

11.26.2016 Israeli leader calls for demolition of homes belonging to Palestinian ‘arsonists’ Maan News. Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, with nothing else to offer.

11.30.2016 Forest fires in Israel will only get worse in coming years, experts warn Haaretz by Nir Hasson.

12.05.2016 Why planting more trees in Israel is a bad idea right now Jewish Telegraph Service by Jay Shofet.

12.07.2016 Were the Israeli fires arson terror claims premature and exaggerated? The Jerusalem Post via JTA. “Instead of calming the [Israeli] population, which is the task of leaders, Israeli politicians did the reverse and claimed an ‘arson intifada.’ That’s just not wise, to put it very mildly.” Yoram Schweitzer, Israeli terrorism consultant.

01.22.2017 Despite Netanyahu’s claim, still no evidence of ‘Terrorist Arson’ in Israeli fires. Haaretz by Nir Hasson.

01.25.2017 What happened to claims of ‘Arson Terror Attacks’? YNet News by Roi Yanovsky. One of the fires this year was caused by an Israeli occupation trooper shooting a flare bomb at Arabs.

10.28.2017 Hundreds of acres burned in Jerusalem forest fire Jerusalem Post by Uri Shaham. 500 acres up in flames over a weekend.

06.15.2018 Hundreds of fires broke out in Israel due to burning kites from Gaza Haaretz by Jonathan Lis.

06.05.2018 Minister calls for targeted killing of kite bombers, Hamas leaders Times of Israel by TOI staff. Gilad Erdan again.  This time calling for assassination of Palestinian kids flying burning kites towards Israel.

07.20.2018 Lieberman says Israel planning assault on Gaza bigger than 2014 invasion in which 2100 Palestinians killed International Middle East Media. Israel’s Defense Minister’s response to burning kites.

07.25.2018 Israel hit by record-breaking heatwave;fires rage throughout the country Times of Israel by TOI staff. “Several large fires broke out in the afternoon at the Horshim Forest in Central Israel, and the Ahihud Forest in the North, as well as at the Churchill Forest near Nazareth Illit.” Article notes that these were not started by incendiary kites or balloons from the Gaza protests.

06.26.2018 Israeli settlers burn 300 olive trees in Nablus Maan News

03.21.2017 Small farmers struggle worldwide but Palestinian farmers have it really rough Washington Post by Anne-Marie O’Conner.

05.14.2015 Burning Gold: Israel’s destruction of Jordan Valley harvests The New Arab by Alice Gray. from the article this vignette about the Israeli army setting Palestinian crops afire:  “They came at six in the morning and told us to get out,” he told al-Araby al-Jadeed. “We couldn’t return to our home until six in the evening, and we couldn’t send our children to school. We spent the whole day on the mountain by al-Hadidiya, in the sun and the wind. When we returned, our neighbour’s land had been burned.”
The sounds of explosions and the rattle of gunfire can be heard throughout the area, while helicopters whir overhead and heavy lorries rattle by, delivering tanks to Israeli military bases. The Israeli army spokesperson says the families were evacuated for their own safety – and that the army has enlisted a special fire extinguishing squad to participate in the drill. Yet the hillsides around Herbaiet al-Homra are scorched black where both crops and scrub have burned.

“It’s not just the crops that are important,” says Rashed Sawaftah. “If the scrublands burn, the farmers will have nowhere to graze their animals.”

11.30.2016 Israel fire: police deny claims that fires were caused by ‘Terrorism’ Haaretz by Yaniv Kubovich and Gili Cohen. Describes government backing off on arson claims as Israelis line up for compensation of ‘terrrorism’.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center has a nice description of albedo in their ‘all about sea ice’ section.
1999 Fire effects on below ground sustainability: a review and synthesis Forest Ecology and Management vol 122 51-71. by Daniel Neary et al.

Smashed Soil

10.15.2009 Farmers struggle with damaged agricultural land IRIN Report on impacts to agriculture from 2008/9 Gaza invasion.

08.14.2014 Gaza: Damage to agriculture will have long-lasting effects United Naitons FAO

11.20.2014 Exporter Guide USDA Foreign Agricultural Service—GAIN Report. Prepared by Gilad Shachar, Approved by Orestes Vasquez, Sr. Agricultural Attaché’. “In addition to direct damage to crops caused by heavy Israeli Defense Force vehicles, there has also been indirect long-lasting damage caused by these vehicles to the soil structure…”etc


11.01.2012 ‘Israel uses more pesticides than any OECD country’ The Jerusalem Post by Sharon Udasin
01.24.17 Israeli forces spray weed killers near Gaza, burn Palestinian crops Maan News. 03.19.2018 Israel is intensifying its war on Gaza farmers The New Arab by Ali Adam. Israeli crop dusters spraying poisons on Gaza crops.
07.09.2018 Farm Warfare: how Israel uses chemicals to kill crops in Gaza  Haaretz by Amira Haas.
cloud seeding
2009 Cloud seeding seen as blessed solution for Israel’s dry winter Aruz Sheva by Abraham Zuroff.
09.2010 Reassessment of rain enhancement experiments and operations in Israel including synoptic considerations Atmospheric Research vol 97 Issue 4, pg 513-525. by Zev Levin, Noam Halfon, Pinhas Alpert.

Drip Irrigation

(date?) disadvantages of drip irrigation, The Walden Effect Blog by Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton.

10.17.2018 ‘Efficient’ Irrigation tool may deplete more water Worldwatch Institute by Ben Block
09.23.2008 Water Conservation in Irrigation can increase water use Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Frank A. Ward and Manuel Pulido-Velazquez

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

As US Government Strangles Iran’s Economy, Google ‘Suffocates’ Iranian Media

Sputnik – April 25, 2019

The recent shutdown of PressTV and HispanTV’s YouTube and Gmail accounts are more examples of the continued effort by the US government to silence Iranian media outlets, Alex Rubinstein, a journalist for MintPress News, told Sputnik.

“I think that this is part of a larger trend of cracking down on Iranian media,” Rubinstein told Radio Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary on Wednesday. “Just as this was happening, the United States was saying that we want to bring down Iranian oil exports to zero. Well, it seems like they’re also trying to bring down Iranian expression down to zero through these kinds of moves.”

“It’s a message which both strangles their economy and also suffocates their voice,” he added.

​Google barred PressTV and HispanTV, an Iranian Spanish-language outlet, from accessing their respective YouTube and Gmail accounts without notice and without an explanation detailing what Google policies were violated, the outlets recently reported.

Although content from both outlets is still viewable, the organizations are unable to upload new content.

Israeli media outlets have speculated that the order was handed down by Google after HispanTV issued a report claiming imprisoned Palestinians were being used for medical experiments.

“On its face, that sounds like that could be questionable,” Rubinstein said of the speculation. “But there have been a number of other outlets to carry this report, and it wasn’t like they were pulling this information out of thin air — it came from a Palestinian politician in Israel… he made this allegation, and they were citing him properly.”

The journalist told hosts Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon that while it’s unclear what initiated Google’s action, it seems in line with the behavior of tech companies vying to “stifle Iranian media” at the behest of the US government.

“These tech companies are basically extensions of the US empire. You look at all that’s going on with NATO and the US government trying to push back on Chinese 5G — well, the point of that is that [the US] can’t spy so well if [the 5G grid is] Chinese,” Rubinstein said.

“The American government has a dominance over these companies, and we see that with the ban on PressTV, and we see that with the other countries that have been targeted, which are primarily Russia and Venezuela.”

“It’s hard to imagine that this is just a coincidence,” he added.

Earlier this month, after the US formally designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, popular photo and video-sharing platform Instagram began banning pages belonging to various Iranian military officials. The site later explained that the move was in line with the US’ designation.

“I understand to have a policy against spreading terrorist messages on a social media platform… but we didn’t see these crackdowns for terrorist organizations like the Free Syrian Army, or any of the other supposedly moderate rebels in Syria,” Rubinstein told Blackmon.

“We see them [crackdowns] for the supposed terrorist that are enemies of the United States… It seems like the tech companies are all too happy to follow in lockstep.”

See also:

Google’s Campaign Against Iranian Media Outlets Sets ‘Dangerous Precedent’

Facebook Takes Down Iranian Media Pages in Continued War on Alternative News

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 1 Comment

France seeks source of damaging leak on Yemen war

Press TV – April 25, 2019

French authorities have been searching for a government employee who they believe has leaked damaging information about France’s role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen to the media, a report says.

In mid-April, the new investigative media outlet Disclose published a report that contained a classified 15-page note from the French military intelligence service (DRM) revealing that the two Arab countries had deployed French weaponry in their aggression against Yemeni.

The leaked note, which was provided to the government in October 2018, contained lists of French-manufactured tanks, armored vehicles, fighter jets, helicopters, howitzers, ammunition, and radar systems sold to both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The use of French weapons in Yemen contradicts previous public statements from Paris, which has repeatedly asserted that these weapons are used only in a limited manner and in “defensive” operations only. Back in January, French Armed Forces Minister Francoise Parly said during an interview on the France Inter radio station that she was “not aware that any (French) arms are being used in this conflict.”

Citing unnamed informed sources on Wednesday, AFP reported that an investigation into the “compromise of national defense secrecy” had been opened by prosecutors on December 13 last year after a complaint by the ministry of the armed forces.

The AFP report did not say when the note was leaked.

The sources also said that France’s domestic intelligence agency, the DGSI, was leading the probe, which concerned the compromise of information involving a government employee and a third party.

Disclose disagrees

Disclose argued that the note was “of major public interest.”

“The confidential documents revealed by Disclose and its partners are of major public interest, that bring to the attention of citizens and their representatives what the government wanted to conceal,” AFP quoted an editorial for Disclose and its partners as saying.

Additionally, Geoffrey Livolsi, the founder of Disclose, said at least three journalists who had taken part in the preparation of the website’s investigative report had been called in for a hearing to be conducted by the DGSI in May.

“This judicial investigation has only one objective: to know the sources that allowed us to do our job. It is an attack on the freedom of the press and the protection of the sources of journalists,” he said.

The French weapons in action

The report revealed that Leclerc tanks, a main battle tank built by the Nexter, and Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets sold in the 1990s to the UAE were being used in the war on Yemen.

Furthermore, 48 CAESAR artillery guns, manufactured by the Nexter group, were being used along the Saudi-Yemen border by the Saudi-led coalition.

Nexter Systems is a French state-owned manufacturer of weapons, based in Roanne, Loire.

According to the DRM document, French-made Cougar transport helicopters and the A330 MRTT refueling plane have been seen in action, and two French ships are serving in the crippling blockade of Yemeni ports which has led to unprecedented food and medical shortages in impoverished Yemen.

The classified note also contained a map estimating that over 430,000 Yemenis live within the range of French artillery weapons on the Saudi-Yemeni border. It further estimated that French weapons have resulted in civilian casualties.

France, the third-biggest arms exporter in the world, is a large provider of various kinds of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The French government has so far resisted pressure from rights groups to stop the lucrative arms trade with the two Persian Gulf countries, denying that the weapons were being used against the Yemenis.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies, most notably the UAE, launched the devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the war has so far claimed the lives of about 56,000 Yemenis.

Apart from France, the United States, Britain, and other Western countries have faced criticism over arms sales to the Saudi regime and its partners.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

Lebanon ‘willing’ to set maritime border with Israel under UN supervision

MEMO | April 25, 2019

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said his country is prepared to demarcate its maritime border with Israel through the same mechanism used to draw the Blue Line under the supervision of the United Nations, the Anadolu Agency reported.

“We are ready to draw Lebanon’s maritime borders and those of the Exclusive Economic Zone using the same procedure that was used to draw the Blue Line under the supervision of the United Nations,” Berri said during a meeting with Major General, Stefano Del Col, head of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

General Del Col said the UN could use the same mechanism to demarcate the maritime border.

The Blue Line refers to the land border between Lebanon and Israel which was drawn under the UN supervision to facilitate Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.

Lebanon and Israel have an unresolved dispute over the ownership of a nearly 860 square kilometre zone which extends along the edge of three of Lebanon’s energy blocks in the Mediterranean Sea.

Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and Syria sit on the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean where a number of big gas fields have been discovered since 2009.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 1 Comment