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MH17 probe didn’t look for causes of tragedy, opted to impulsively blame Russia – Malaysian PM

RT | July 24, 2019

Malaysia can’t accept the conclusions of the Dutch-led probe into the downing of flight MH17, as the probe didn’t seem interested in establishing the truth about the tragedy, the country’s prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has said.

“They aren’t really looking at the causes of the crash and who was responsible, but already they have decided that it must be Russia. We can’t accept that kind of attitude,” Mohamad said in an interview for the “MH17 – Call for Justice” documentary made by Dutch journalist Max van der Werff.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down while flying over the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board. At the time, pro-Kiev government forces were fighting the rebel militias of the breakaway People’s Republic of Donetsk in the area.

Mohamad pointed out that it was “unfair and unusual” that Malaysia had only been included in the Dutch-led joint investigation team (JIT) six months after the crash.

“The plane is ours and there were Malaysians flying in the plane. They also died. It’s natural that Malaysia should be the first country that should be involved in the investigation, but… they just ignored us, took the black box and carried out the whole investigation,” he said.

Mohamad had said, while still an opposition figure in Malaysian politics, that attempts to pin blame on Russia for the tragedy were politically motivated, and he has maintained his views, even after becoming head of the government in 2018.

Moscow was also notably excluded from the JIT probe, which insists that flight MH17 was downed by a missile fired from a Russian BUK system that crossed into Ukraine and then returned to its base in western Russia.

The investigators have recently announced four names of suspects in the attack. Featuring three Russian nationals and one Ukrainian, they will all soon be put on an international wanted list. The trial in the MH17 case is scheduled to take place in the Netherlands in March 2020.

Russia has maintained that it had nothing to do with the aircraft’s downing. It has said that it couldn’t recognize the findings of an investigation that it wasn’t allowed to participate in, and blamed the JIT of being biased.

Moscow also supplied radar data and evidence from experiments to the Dutch-led experts proving that the missile that destroyed the Malaysian plane belonged to the Ukrainian military, but this data has been brushed aside.

The Russian defense ministry reported that all missiles of the class that the JIT insists was used in the attack were disposed of by Russia in 2011.

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

US passes bills against BDS and Hamas

MEMO | July 24, 2019

The US House of Representatives passed a resolution yesterday to sanction Hamas and another to oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

House Resolution 1850 entitled “Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2019” would impose sanctions upon individuals or agencies identified as supporting Hamas or its affiliates. Sponsored by Florida Republican Brian Mast, the bill requires the US President to submit a yearly report to Congress that identifies “each foreign or agency or instrumentality of a foreign state” that supports Hamas financially.

Mast, who volunteered for the Israeli army after his US army service, said in a statement, “Hamas is single-handedly responsible for the deaths of numerous Americans and Israelis. These sanctions send a strong message to anybody who supports these radicals preaching the destruction of Israel and death to everything we hold dear in the United States.”

The bill was passed by a motion to suspend the rules, a procedure generally used to pass resolutions quickly, and not by a roll call vote in which each representative gives their individual vote.

On the same day, the House passed a resolution opposing BDS in a roll call vote of 398 to 17. House Resolution 246 “opposes the BDS movement targeting Israel, including efforts to target US companies that are engaged in commercial activities that are legal under US law, and all efforts to delegitimise the State of Israel.”

This bill was met with strong opposition from some progressive members of the Democratic Party, including Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib and Somali-American Ilhan Omar. Tlaib gave an impassioned speech on the House floor arguing that the resolution would infringe upon freedom of speech: “I can’t stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government in the state of Israel.” She referred to historic boycotts in American history, such as the Boston Tea Party, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the United Farm Workers Grape Boycott, as examples of how “the right to boycott is deeply rooted in the fabric of our country.”

Though the House voted overwhelmingly to pass the anti-BDS resolution, notable representatives who voted “nay” include three quarters of the “squad”: Tlaib, Omar and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The other member of the “squad”, Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley, voted “yea” on the resolution.

The passing of this resolution drew much criticism on social media, with the BDS movement calling it a “McCarthyite, anti-Palestinian measure” and anti-occupation group IfNotNow criticising the Democratic Leadership for allowing this vote to happen only a day after Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in occupied Jerusalem.

Last week, Omar introduced House Resolution 496 affirming the American right to boycott. The resolution doesn’t specifically refer to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and is heralded by the BDS movement as a “ground-breaking resolution” that defends “freedom of expression and the right of oppressed communities… to peacefully fight for their rights.”

Omar’s bill is co-sponsored by nine other Democratic representatives, including Pressley, civil rights activist John Lewis and New Jersey Representative Donald Payne. However, these three voted for the anti-BDS bill yesterday, raising questions about their positions on the issue.


US Democrats remove ‘occupation’ from two-state solution resolution 

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

Palestinian capital in Jerusalem is ‘aspiration not a right’, US’ Greenblatt says

MEMO | July 24, 2019

US Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, has said that the creation of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem is an “aspiration not a right”.

Speaking at the United Nations Security Council yesterday, Greenblatt said that while “it is true that the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organisation] and the Palestinian Authority [PA] continue to assert that East Jerusalem must be a capital for the Palestinians, […] let’s remember, an aspiration is not a right.”

Greenblatt also shunned international law as the foundation of any future peace agreement: “We have all heard cogent arguments claiming international law says one thing or another about this or that aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some of those arguments are persuasive, at least to certain audiences. But none of them are conclusive.”

“There is no judge, jury, or court in the world [to which] that the parties involved have agreed to give jurisdiction in order to decide whose interpretations are correct,” he added.

International law considers East Jerusalem occupied territory after it was captured by Israel during the 1967 War; it likewise does not recognised Israel’s annexation of the city in 1980.

The top US envoy also appeared to rule out international consensus, which has long worked on the premise of dividing or sharing Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.

“If a so-called international consensus had been able to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it would have done so decades ago. It didn’t,” he quipped.

Greenblatt’s comments will be seen as yet more evidence that the administration of US President Donald Trump does not intend to fulfil Palestinian rights in Jerusalem.

Since President Trump announced his recognition of the Holy City as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and moved the US embassy there in May 2018, any such prospect has grown increasingly distant.

This was compounded by rumours surrounding the so-called “deal of the century”, which Greenblatt has spearheaded alongside Senior Advisor to the President and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Last month a senior Israeli source told Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon that under the “deal of the century” Abu Dis – a neighbourhood of Jerusalem located beyond Israel’s Separation Wall in the occupied West Bank – would be the Palestinian capital.

Other leaks have suggested that, under the deal, Jerusalem is to be shared by Israel and “New Palestine”, a new state created in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip (minus the vast swathes of land on which Israel’s illegal settlements now sit, which would become part of Israel). Under this alleged agreement, Israel would maintain general control of “shared” Jerusalem.

Exactly when the political elements of the “deal of the century” will be revealed is not yet clear. Though the economic aspects were unveiled at the “Peace to Prosperity” conference in Bahraini capital Manama last month, the second half of the deal has been repeatedly delayed; a number of excuses have been provided, including “political instability” in Israel as a result of repeat elections and religious holidays.

Questions have been raised as to whether the political part of the deal will be unveiled at all, given the proximity of the 2020 US elections in which President Trump will seek re-election. Greenblatt told the Security Council yesterday that the president has still not decided when to release the plans’ political portion, adding only that “we hope to make that decision soon”.

The broad rejection of the deal both by Palestinian factions and Israel, as well a lack of support from key figures in the US – most notably Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – is suspected to be a key factor behind the repeated delays.

See also:

US’ Greenblatt: ‘Israel is victim in conflict with Palestinians’

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Killing Tariq: Why We Must Rethink the Roots of Jewish Settlers Violence

Tariq Zebania, 7 years old, was killed early this morning in hit and run by settler near Hebron.
By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | July 24, 2019

Seven-year-old Tariq Zabania from Al-Khalil (Hebron) was killed on the spot when an Israeli Jewish settler ran his car over him on July 15. Little Tariq’s photograph, lying face down on the road, was circulated on social media. His untimely death is heartbreaking.

Tariq’s innocent blood must not go in vain. For this to happen, we are morally obliged to understand the nature of Jewish settler violence, which cannot be viewed in isolation from the inherent racism in Israeli society as a whole.

We are all often guilty of perpetuating the myth that militant Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories are a different and distinct category from other Israelis who live beyond the so-called “Green Line”.

Undoubtedly, the violent mentality that propels Israeli society, wherever it is located, is not governed by imaginary lines but by a racist ideology, of which disciples can be found everywhere in Israel, not just in the illegal Jewish colonies of the West Bank.

Israel is a sick society and its ailment is not confined to the 1967 Occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

While Palestinians are imprisoned behind walls, fences and enclosed regions, Israelis are a different kind of prisoners, too. “A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness,” wrote the late anti-Apartheid hero and long-time prisoner, Nelson Mandela.

It is this racism and bigotry that makes Tariq invisible to most Israelis. For most Israelis, Palestinian children do not exist as real human beings, deserving of a dignified life of freedom. This callousness is a defining quality, common among all sectors of Israeli society – right, left and center.

An example is the terrorist attack carried out by Jewish settlers against the Palestinian Dawabshe family in the village of Duma, in the northern West Bank in July 2015, resulting in the death of Riham and Sa’ed, along with their 18-months old son, Ali. The only member of the family spared that horrific death was Ahmad, 4, who was severely burned.

This cruelty was further accentuated in the episodes that followed this criminal incident. Later that year, Israeli wedding guests were caught on tape while dancing with knives, chanting in celebration of the death of the Palestinian baby.

Three years later, as the Dawabshe family members were leaving an Israeli court, accompanied by Arab parliamentarians, they were greeted by a crowd of Israelis chanting “Where is Ali? Ali’s dead” and “Ali’s on the grill”.

The passing of time only cemented Israelis’ hatred of a little child whose only crime was his Palestinian identity.

The only survivor, Ahmad, was punished thrice: when he lost his whole family; with his severe burns and when he was denied compensation. The then Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, simply resolved that the boy was not a “terror victim.” Case closed.

Although the Dawabshes were killed by Jewish settlers, the Israeli court, army, and political system all conspired to ensure the protection of the killers from any accountability.

This was no different in the case of Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, who, on March 24, 2016, killed an unconscious Palestinian man in Hebron. In his defense, Azaria insisted that he was following army manual instructions in dealing with alleged attackers, while top Israeli government officials came out in droves to support him.

When Azaria was triumphantly released following only nine months in jail, he was hailed by many Israelis as a hero. Possibly, he will have a successful career in politics should he decide to pursue that route. In fact, he was courted by Israeli politicians to help them garner more votes in April’s general elections.

Condemning solely Jewish settlers while sparing the rest of Israeli society is equivalent to political whitewashing, one that presents Israel as a healthy society prior to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. This view presents Jewish settlements as a cancerous disease that is eating up at the otherwise proud and noble achievements of early Zionists.

It is convenient to classify Jewish settlers as rightwing extremists and to link them with Israel’s ruling right-wing political parties. But history proves otherwise.

It was Israel’s Labor Party that created the settlement projects originally, soon after the colonization of the West Bank. Some of Israel’s largest, and most militant colonial enterprises, in occupied East Jerusalem – Ramat Eshkol, Gilo, Ramot, and Armon Hanatziv – are all the creation of the Labor Party, not the Likud.

Neither is the ‘settler’ a new phenomenon. Historically, the early settlers who preceded the establishment of Israel in 1948 were idealized as true Zionists, celebrated as “cultural heroes” – the Jewish redeemers, who eventually ethnically cleansed historic Palestine from its native inhabitants.

“The original Labor movement,” wrote Amotz Asa-El in The Jerusalem Post, “never thought settling beyond the Green Line was illegal, much less immoral.” If there was any debate in Israel regarding settlements, it was never truly concerned with the issue of legitimacy or legality, but practicality: whether these colonial projects can be sustained or defended.

Protecting the settlements is now the overriding task of the Israeli occupation army.  The Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, which monitors the conduct of the Israeli army and Jewish settlers in the West Bank, explained the nature of this relationship in a report published in November 2017.

“Israeli security forces not only allow settlers to harm Palestinians and their property as a matter of course – they often provide the perpetrators escort and back-up. In some cases, they even join in on the attack,” B’Tselem wrote.

Another Israeli organization, Yesh Din, concluded in a report published earlier that 85% of cases involving settler violence against Palestinians are never pursued by law. Of the remaining cases, only 1.9% led to conviction, which is likely to be inconsequential.

Jewish settler violence should not be analyzed separately from the violence meted out by the Israeli army, but seen within the larger context of the violent Zionist ideology that governs Israeli society entirely.

This violence can only end with the end of the racist ideology that rationalizes murder, like that of little Tariq Zabania.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His last book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press, London). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and was a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara.

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

EU food authority found hiding health risks of world’s top sweetener

RT | July 24, 2019

The world’s favorite artificial sweetener may pose severe health risks, University of Sussex researchers have found. They claim that the European food authority has been bottling up the alarming data for a while.

The study focused on aspartame, an artificial sweetener used worldwide in everything from diet soft drinks to chewing gum, and sold under brand names including NutraSweet, Candarel and Equal.

UK researchers analyzed the most recent report regarding the safety of the sweetener by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). They discovered that the panel dismissed the results of numerous studies detailing the harmful effects of the sweetener, while focusing their final assessment almost entirely on positive studies. For instance, out of the 73 papers that deemed aspartame dangerous, all 73 were thrown out by EFSA, while 84 percent of studies providing no evidence of its harm were found to be true.

Since 1974, when aspartame was approved for consumption in the United States, studies claimed that the sweetener caused a number of health problems, including liver and lung cancer, brain damage, and seizures.

However, the majority of health authorities worldwide claim the sweetener is safe. Sussex scholars believe that many of the studies deemed to be dubious by the EFSA panel provide far better empirical evidence on the harmful effects of the sweetener than those they relied on, so they see the entire assessment as false.

“This research adds weight to the argument that authorization to sell or use aspartame should be suspended throughout the EU, pending a thorough re-examination,” the study states.

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 2 Comments

Researchers Debunk Heart-Healthy Supplement Trend, Most Diets

teleSUR | July 23, 2019

After 277 randomized, clinical trials, researchers from the John Hopkins Institute determined that occasional dieting, or broad vitamin, mineral, and nutrient supplements do not ensure a longer life or protection from heart disease.

Through 24 different interventions, medical researchers discovered that although there was no harm in temporary dieting or using supplements that include a wide range of vitamins, the only real health benefit came from long-term low-salt diets, omega-3 fatty acid supplements, and— in certain cases—a folic acid supplement.

The study’s senior author, Erin D. Michos, M.D., M.H.S., said, “The panacea or magic bullet that people keep searching for in dietary supplements isn’t there.”

Researchers reviewed the following diets: the Mediterranean, the reduced saturated fat, the modified dietary fat intake, reduced fat, reduced salt diet (for the healthy and those with high blood pressure), and increased omega-6 fatty acid.

These vitamin supplements were also tested: vitamin A, vitamin B3/niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D alone, calcium alone, calcium and vitamin D together, folic acid, iron, omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil), antioxidants, ?-carotene, vitamin B-complex, multivitamins and selenium.

The results were rated by strength from high to very low risk impact. Although no real benefits could be traced, the analysis did show that combining calcium and vitamin D could increase the risk of a stroke. In the three studies of 3,518 people total on a low-salt diet, there was a 10 percent decrease in the risk of death, which the researchers classified as a moderate associated impact.

“People should focus on getting their nutrients from a heart-healthy diet, because the data increasingly show that the majority of healthy adults don’t need to take supplements,” Michos said, who also works as an associate professor of medicine at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine and as the associate director of preventive cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease.

Safi U. Khan, M.D., lead study author and an assistant professor of Medicine at West Virginia University, said, “Our analysis carries a simple message that although there may be some evidence that a few interventions have an impact on death and cardiovascular health, the vast majority of multivitamins, minerals and different types of diets had no measurable effect on survival or cardiovascular disease risk reduction.”

Over 50 percent of U.S. residents take a daily dose of either one vitamin or dietary/nutritional supplement, Center for Disease Control and Prevention surveys show. Patients there also spend a total of US$31 billion a year in over-the-counter products.

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment