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Compliance 101: Gun-Toting Cops Endanger Students and Turn the Schools into Prisons

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute | February 18, 2020

Just when you thought the government couldn’t get any more tone-deaf about civil liberties and the growing need to protect “we the people” against an overreaching, overbearing police state, the Trump Administration ushers in even more strident zero tolerance policies that treat children like suspects and criminals, greater numbers of school cops, and all the trappings of a prison complex (unsurmountable fences, entrapment areas, no windows or trees, etc.).

The fallout has been what you’d expect, with the nation’s young people treated like hardened criminals: handcuffed, arrested, tasered, tackled and taught the painful lesson that the Constitution (especially the Fourth Amendment) doesn’t mean much in the American police state.

For example, in Florida, a cop assigned to River Ridge High School as a school resource officer, threatened to shoot a student attempting to leave school for a morning orthodontist appointment.

In Pennsylvania, school officials called in the cops after a 6-year-old with Down syndrome pointed a finger gun at her teacher.

In Kentucky, a school resource officer with the sheriff’s office handcuffed two elementary school children with disabilities, ages 8 and 9. A federal judge made the sheriff’s office pay more than $300,000 (of taxpayer money) to the families, ruling that the handcuffing of  the students “was an unconstitutional seizure and excessive force.”

Welcome to Compliance 101: the police state’s primer in how to churn out compliant citizens and transform the nation’s school’s into quasi-prisons through the use of surveillance cameras, metal detectors, police patrols, zero tolerance policies, lock downs, drug sniffing dogs, strip searches and active shooter drills.

If you were wondering, these police state tactics have not made the schools any safer.

Rather, they’ve turned the schools into authoritarian microcosms of the police state, containing almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, overcriminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the “outside.”

Two years after President Trump announced his intention to “harden” the schools, our nation’s children are reaping the ill effects of gun-toting, taser-wielding cops in government-run schools that bear an uncomfortable resemblance to prisons.

America’s schools are about as authoritarian as they come.

Young people in America are now first in line to be searched, surveilled, spied on, threatened, tied up, locked down, treated like criminals for non-criminal behavior, tasered and in some cases shot.

In my day, if you talked back to a teacher, or played a prank on a classmate, or just failed to do your homework, you might find yourself in detention or doing an extra writing assignment after school.

That is no longer the case.

Nowadays, students are not only punished for minor transgressions such as playing cops and robbers on the playground, bringing LEGOs to school, or having a food fight, but the punishments have become far more severe, shifting from detention and visits to the principal’s office into misdemeanor tickets, juvenile court, handcuffs, tasers and even prison terms.

Increasing the number of cops in the schools only adds to the problem.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, these school resource officers (SRO) have become de facto wardens in elementary, middle and high schools, doling out their own brand of justice to the so-called “criminals” in their midst with the help of tasers, pepper spray, batons and brute force.

The horror stories are legion.

One SRO was accused of punching a 13-year-old student in the face for cutting the cafeteria line.

That same cop put another student in a chokehold a week later, allegedly knocking the student unconscious and causing a brain injury.

In Pennsylvania, a student was tasered after ignoring an order to put his cell phone away.

When 13-year-old Kevens Jean Baptiste failed to follow a school bus driver’s direction to keep the bus windows closed (Kevens, who suffers from asthma, opened the window after a fellow student sprayed perfume, causing him to cough and wheeze), he was handcuffed by police, removed from the bus, and while still handcuffed, had his legs swept out from under him by an officer, causing him to crash to the ground.

Not even the younger, elementary school-aged kids are being spared these “hardening” tactics.

On any given day when school is in session, kids who “act up” in class are pinned facedown on the floor, locked in dark closets, tied up with straps, bungee cords and duct tape, handcuffed, leg shackled, tasered or otherwise restrained, immobilized or placed in solitary confinement in order to bring them under “control.”

Very rarely do the kids pose any credible danger to themselves or others.

Unbelievably, these tactics are all legal, at least when employed by school officials or school resource officers in the nation’s public schools.

This is what happens when you introduce police and police tactics into the schools.

Paradoxically, by the time you add in the lockdowns and active shooter drills, instead of making the schools safer, school officials have succeeded in creating an environment in which children are so traumatized that they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, anxiety, mistrust of adults in authority, as well as feelings of anger, depression, humiliation, despair and delusion.

So what’s the answer, not only for the here-and-now—the children growing up in these quasi-prisons—but for the future of this country?

How do you convince a child who has been routinely handcuffed, shackled, tied down, locked up, and immobilized by government officials—all before he reaches the age of adulthood—that he has any rights at all, let alone the right to challenge wrongdoing, resist oppression and defend himself against injustice?

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, any significant reforms will have to start locally and trickle upwards.

For starters, parents need to be vocal, visible and organized and demand that school officials 1) adopt a policy of positive reinforcement in dealing with behavior issues; 2) minimize the presence in the schools of police officers and cease involving them in student discipline; and 3) insist that all behavioral issues be addressed first and foremost with a child’s parents, before any other disciplinary tactics are attempted.

If you want to raise up a generation of freedom fighters who will actually operate with justice, fairness, accountability and equality towards each other and their government, then remove the metal detectors and surveillance cameras, re-assign the cops elsewhere, and start treating our nation’s young people like citizens of a republic and not inmates in a police state penitentiary.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | 1 Comment

Leaked Docs Point to No Buk Missile Systems Around MH17 Crash Area, Dutch Journo Reveals

Sputnik – February 18, 2020

Leaked papers pertaining to the finalised JIT investigation that the source has bona fide reason to believe are authentic do not corroborate the study’s findings. They cite witness testimonies as well as a number of discrepancies in the probe that suggest the Boeing was downed by an air-to-air missile, rather than a surface-to-air rocket.

According to new data from unpublished MH17 Joint Investigation Team documents obtained and analysed by Bonanza Media investigative journalist Max van der Werff, there were no Buk missile systems in the vicinity of where the Malaysian Airlines Boeing crashed in eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014.

The journalist concludes, citing a letter from Dutch Military Intelligence, that it “becomes apparent that flight MH17 was flying beyond the range of all identified and operational Ukrainian and Russian locations where 9K37M1 Buk M1 systems were deployed.”

The letter, dated 21 September 2016, which is exactly one week before JIT held a press-conference on 28 September, proves the Dutch team obtained evidence that no Russian Buk system had crossed into Ukraine from Russia only days before the presser, der Werff wrote.

Fighter Jets ‘Audible’

Another leak studied by the journalist is the text of an interview conducted by a Dutch police officer on 28 July 2015 with a male witness from Ukraine, as well as the man’s in-depth email where he described the timeline of events.

He reportedly recalled two fighter jets in the sky circling over the town a few minutes before the Boeing 777 went down following a loud bang over his head and a horizontal white trail penetrating the sky.

“Two airplanes were audible, not the big one, the Boeing, but fighter jets were audible since these were constantly flying overhead, the noise had already become familiar”, he is quoted by der Werff as saying.

According to the resident of the Torez suburbs, roughly 20 kilometres from Hrabove, where the Boeing crashed, no missiles were fired from the ground in the immediate vicinity.

Separately, he assumed the earlier circulated photos of the incident contain inconsistencies.

“This photograph that served as evidence of the missile is erroneous, since the photograph showed different weather conditions”,  the man explained, adding:

“Because at that time the sky was rather heavily overcast. The position of the Sun in that photograph is unlike the Sun you see at 17:00 hrs”.

Image Metadata Altered?

Then there is another leak suggesting that roughly a year after the crash, between 22 April 2015 and 2 July 2015, imagery specialist Shaun Ellis and geospatial analyst Tim Johns from Australia were still examining the circulated non-primary images dated around the time of the crash and first published by Paris Match.

As part of the so-dubbed Operation AVENELLA, they reportedly concluded that the metadata from these files “appears to have been manipulated. For example, the date modified is prior to the date the file was created”, something that the pros believe is not accidental.

Three of the four analysed images were found to have been antedated: so that the day of creation fell after, not before the modification date.

“Various reasons could explain why this is so, none can be proved without additional information”, Max van der Werff concludes, adding separately that the image dimensions vary, suggesting the images could have been cropped, or intentionally resaved in a smaller format.

More Witness Data

The last but not least leak is a “Record Of Interview” (ROI) between an officer from the Australian Federal Police and German journalist Billy Six. In the shorthand report, Six talks among other things, about those witnesses that saw Ukrainian fighter jets in the sky on the day of the MH17’s demise. Max van der Werff asserted he knows his colleague Six personally.

“The latter confirmed to me he was interviewed a day before the Dutch Safety Board held a press conference on 13 October 2015″, der Werff wrote noting this information matches the transcript mentioning 12 October 2015 as the date of the ROI. The journalist said this is “a strong indication that the batch of JIT documents leaked to us is authentic”. He, however, refused to specify the source who had provided him with the JIT documents.

Dutch-Led Five-Year MH17 Probe

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was downed over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014 as the region was mired in a conflict with the new Ukrainian government set up after a coup in Kiev earlier that year. As a result, all 298 passengers – largely Dutch – and crew on board were killed in the crash.

Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in the east of the country blamed each other for the downing, with the republics contending that the military equipment they had at their disposal would not allow them to shoot down an aircraft at that altitude. The US and a number of European nations blamed the incident on Russia, a claim that was made even before an official investigation was launched, with the West repeatedly citing Russia being at odds with Ukraine over Crimea and Donbass.

A Joint Investigative Team (JIT) consisting of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine was set up to probe the MH17 case, but Russia was left out of the process despite the latter’s offers of assistance and readiness to help investigate the incident.

The JIT probe concluded last year that the aircraft was downed by a Buk missile, purportedly launched from a Russian anti-aircraft missile brigade stationed in the city of Kursk, not far from the Ukrainian border.

However, no concrete evidence has hitherto been provided as proof, with the Russian side dissatisfied by the Netherlands’ unwillingness to make use of Russia’s domestic investigation results.

Three Russian nationals were charged with murder – Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky, and Oleg Pulato. One Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko has also been charged, with a trial scheduled for 9 March.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Sanders tells New York Times he would consider a preemptive strike against Iran or North Korea

By Jacob Crosse and Barry Grey | WSWS | February 14, 2020

Bernie Sanders has won the popular vote in both the New Hampshire and Iowa presidential primary contests in considerable part by presenting himself as an opponent of war. Following the criminal assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani last month, Sanders was the most vocal of the Democratic presidential aspirants in criticizing Trump’s action. His poll numbers have risen in tandem with his stepped-up anti-war rhetoric.

He has repeatedly stressed his vote against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, reminding voters in the Iowa presidential debate last month, “I not only voted against that war, I helped lead the effort against that war.”

However, when speaking to the foremost newspaper of the American ruling class, the New York Times, the Sanders campaign adopts a very different tone than that employed by the candidate when addressing the public in campaign stump speeches or TV interviews.

The answers provided by Sanders’ campaign to a foreign policy survey of the Democratic presidential candidates published this month by the Times provide a very different picture of the attitude of the self-styled “democratic socialist” to American imperialism and war. In the course of the survey, the Sanders campaign is at pains to reassure the military/intelligence establishment and the financial elite of the senator’s loyalty to US imperialism and his readiness to deploy its military machine.

Perhaps most significant and chilling is the response to the third question in the Times’ survey.

Question: Would you consider military force to pre-empt an Iranian or North Korean nuclear or missile test?

Answer: Yes.

A Sanders White House, according to his campaign, would be open to launching a military strike against Iran or nuclear-armed North Korea to prevent (not respond to) not even a threatened missile or nuclear strike against the United States, but a mere weapons test. This is a breathtakingly reckless position no less incendiary than those advanced by the Trump administration.

Sanders would risk a war that could easily involve the major powers and lead to a nuclear Armageddon in order to block a weapons test by countries that have been subjected to devastating US sanctions and diplomatic, economic and military provocations for decades.

Moreover, as Sanders’ response to the Times makes clear, the so-called progressive, anti-war candidate fully subscribes to the doctrine of “preemptive war” declared to be official US policy in 2002 by the administration of George W. Bush. An illegal assertion of aggressive war as an instrument of foreign policy, this doctrine violates the principles laid down at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi officials after World War II, the United Nations charter and other international laws and conventions on war. Sanders’ embrace of the doctrine, following in the footsteps of the Obama administration, shows that his opposition to the Iraq war was purely a question of tactics, not a principled opposition to imperialist war.

The above question is preceded by another that evokes a response fully in line with the war policies of the Obama administration, the first two-term administration in US history to preside over uninterrupted war.

Question: Would you consider military force for a humanitarian intervention?

Answer: Yes.

Among the criminal wars carried out by the United States in the name of defending “human rights” are the war in Bosnia and the bombing of Serbia in the 1990s, the 2011 air war against Libya that ended with the lynching of deposed ruler Muammar Gaddafi, and the civil war in Syria that was fomented by Washington and conducted by its Al Qaeda-linked proxy militias.

The fraudulent humanitarian pretexts for US aggression were no more legitimate than the lie of “weapons of mass destruction” used in the neo-colonial invasion of Iraq. The result of these war crimes has been the destruction of entire societies, the death of millions and dislocation of tens of millions more, along with the transformation of the Middle East into a cauldron of great power intervention and intrigue that threatens to erupt into a new world war.

Sanders fully subscribes to this doctrine of “humanitarian war” that has been particularly associated with Democratic administrations.

In response to a question from the Times on the assassination of Suleimani, the Sanders campaign calls Trump’s action illegal, but refuses to take a principled stand against targeted assassinations in general and associates itself with the attacks on Suleimani as a terrorist.

The reply states:

Clearly there is evidence that Suleimani was involved in acts of terror. He also supported attacks on US troops in Iraq. But the right question isn’t ‘was this a bad guy,’ but rather ‘does assassinating him make Americans safer?’ The answer is clearly no.

In other words, the extra-judicial killing of people by the US government is justified if it makes Americans “safer.” This is a tacit endorsement of the policy of drone assassinations that was vastly expanded under the Obama administration—a policy that included the murder of US citizens.

At another point, the Times asks:

Would you agree to begin withdrawing American troops from the Korean peninsula?

The reply is:

No, not immediately. We would work closely with our South Korean partners to move toward peace on the Korean peninsula, which is the only way we will ultimately deal with the North Korean nuclear issue.

Sanders thus supports the continued presence of tens of thousands of US troops on the Korean peninsula, just as he supports the deployment of US forces more generally to assert the global interests of the American ruling class.

On Israel, Sanders calls for a continuation of the current level of US military and civilian aid and opposes the immediate return of the US embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

On Russia, he entirely supports the Democratic Party’s McCarthyite anti-Russia campaign and lines up behind the right-wing basis of the Democrats’ failed impeachment drive against Trump:

Question: If Russia continues on its current course in Ukraine and other former Soviet states, should the United States regard it as an adversary, or even an enemy?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Should Russia be required to return Crimea to Ukraine before it is allowed back into the G-7?

Answer: Yes.

Finally, the Times asks the Sanders campaign its position on the National Security Strategy announced by the Trump administration at the beginning of 2018. The new doctrine declares that the focus of American foreign and military strategy has shifted from the “war on terror” to the preparation for war against its major rivals, naming in particular Russia and China.

In the following exchange, Sanders tacitly accepts the great power conflict framework of the National Security Strategy, attacking Trump from the right for failing to aggressively prosecute the conflict with Russia and China:

Question: President Trump’s national security strategy calls for shifting the focus of American foreign policy away from the Middle East and Afghanistan, and back to what it refers to as the ‘revisionist’ superpowers, Russia and China. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Answer: Despite its stated strategy, the Trump administration has never followed a coherent national security strategy. In fact, Trump has escalated tensions in the Middle East and put us on the brink of war with Iran, refused to hold Russia accountable for its interference in our elections and human rights abuses, has done nothing to address our unfair trade agreement with China that only benefits wealthy corporations, and has ignored China’s mass internment of Uighurs and its brutal repression of protesters in Hong Kong. Clearly, Trump is not a president we should be taking notes from. [Emphasis added].

In a recent interview Ro Khanna, a Democratic congressman and national co-chair of the Sanders campaign, assured Atlantic writer Uri Friedman that Sanders would continue provocative “freedom of the seas” navigation operations in the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea, while committing a Sanders administration to “maintain some [troop] presence” on the multitude of bases dotting “allied” countries from Japan to Germany.

Millions of workers, students and young people are presently attracted to Sanders because they have come to despise and oppose the vast social inequality, brutality and militarism of American society and correctly associate these evils with capitalism. However, they will soon learn through bitter experience that Sanders’s opposition to the “billionaire class” is no more real than his supposed opposition to war. His foreign policy is imperialist through and through, in line with the aggressive and militaristic policy of the Democratic Party and the Obama administration.

The Democrats’ differences with Trump on foreign policy, though bitter, are tactical. Both parties share the strategic orientation of asserting US global hegemony above all through force of arms.

No matter how much Sanders blusters about inequality, it is impossible to oppose the depredations of the ruling class at home while supporting its plunder and oppression abroad.

Sanders is no more an apostle of peace than he is a representative of the working class. Both in foreign and domestic policy, he is an instrument of the ruling class for channeling the growing movement of the working class and opposition to capitalism back behind the Democratic Party and the two-party system of capitalist rule in America.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, War Crimes | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Israeli court orders Facebook to unblock account of NSO Group employee

MEMO | February 18, 2020

A Tel Aviv court ordered Facebook Inc to unblock the private account of a worker at Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, and similar rulings are expected for other employees in the coming days, an NSO spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

A group of NSO employees filed suit against Facebook in November, saying the social media giant had unfairly blocked their private accounts when it sued NSO in October.

Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp accused the Israeli firm of helping government spies break into the phones of about 1,400 users in a hacking spree targeting diplomats, political dissidents, journalists and senior government officials across the globe.

The NSO employees said their Facebook and Instagram accounts, and also those of former workers and family members, had been blocked.

Ruling on their complaint, Tel Aviv District Court ordered the account of one employee to be restored by Wednesday afternoon.

“We are certain that following the court’s unequivocal statements, Facebook will reverse the action it took against other employees,” the NSO spokeswoman said.

Facebook officials could not immediately comment.

The company said in November it had disabled “relevant accounts” after attributing a “sophisticated cyber attack” to the NSO Group and its employees, saying the measure was necessary for security reasons.

Read also:

UK to help controversial Israel spyware firm to sell product  

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

EU delaying tactics bring it closer to Trump’s deal

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | February 18, 2020

For all its purported peace-building efforts and support for Palestinian rights, the EU is committed to supporting Israel’s colonial-settler expansionism. Its feeble response to US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” was accentuated in the recent decision to refuse to pass any official resolutions until after next month’s Israeli General Election.

Palestine is never a priority in foreign policy anywhere. Yet the Palestinian Authority persists in pursuing non-existent international support, notably that of the EU, ostensibly to navigate the labyrinth of dispossession which the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan forced upon the people of Palestine. The truth is that the PA is scrambling to retain its bequeathed diplomatic standing and the funding that allows it to function as the “sole representative” of the Palestinians.

In return, the PA facilitates the waiting game for the international community, while Palestinians suffer statements such as the latest by EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell. “We briefly discussed how best to relaunch a political process that is acceptable to both parties and how best to defend the internationally agreed parameters, equal rights and international law,” he declared on Monday. Defending internationally agreed parameters has nothing to do with protecting Palestinian rights, and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is aware of this discrepancy.

Meanwhile, Israel is lobbying EU countries to refrain from taking a stance against Trump’s plan. Israeli media highlights the fact that recognition of the State of Palestine by several European countries has “little, if any, diplomatic effect.” While in previous years, recognition of Palestine raised Israel’s ire, it is now being touted as a futile PA effort in comparison with the US-Israeli partnership to colonise Palestine, as well as the EU’s increasingly non-committal stance towards Palestinians and their legitimate political rights.

Nevertheless, Israel will not take any risk that the EU might voice a unified condemnation of Trump’s plan. The delay communicated by the EU with regard to its response over US-Israeli scheming indicates diplomatic activity that favours Israel. The latter allegedly “fears” the EU playing a major role in any future negotiations. Netanyahu has pledged to carry out the annexation of the occupied West Bank if re-elected, and the EU has done nothing other than issue the usual bland condemnation. If the EU does indeed take on a more influential role in negotiations, whether these are based on the defunct two-state compromise or Trump’s proposal, it will clearly adopt a pro-Israel stance.

Behind the scenes, Israel is lobbying for such a scenario and there is nothing to impede the EU from continuing with its track record of marginalising Palestinians. Before Trump’s deal was revealed, EU diplomats attempted to differentiate between the allegedly law-abiding EU and the international law-abusing US. The illusion of a political struggle between both entities was the focus of analysis, which suited Israel as it shifted attention away from the Palestinians.

The final step in this process will matter little to Israel as long as the EU does not depart from its decades-long policy of pretending to support Palestinian rights while actively pursuing stronger ties with Israel. One point, however, must be clarified. If the EU is seeking additional delays before issuing a statement regarding the deal of the century, the words of former EU representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini must be recalled: the EU would consider working with the US plan if the two-state paradigm is included. One obsolete imposition has now been replaced by another that offers fragments of a state, which the EU and its backing for Israeli expansionism has supported tacitly all along.

 

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Profiting from Loss: How Business in Illegal Israeli Settlements Continues Unchecked

UN efforts to protect Palestinian land from economic exploitation are failing, and exposing the hypocrisy of western states 

By Jonathan Cook – The National – February 18, 2020

After lengthy delays, the United Nations finally published a database last week of businesses that have been profiting from Israel’s illegal annexation and settlement activity in the West Bank.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, announced that 112 major companies had been identified as operating in Israeli settlements in ways that violate human rights.

Aside from major Israeli banks, transport services, cafes, supermarkets, and energy, building and telecoms firms, prominent international businesses include Airbnb, booking.com, Motorola, Trip Advisor, JCB, Expedia and General Mills.

Human Rights Watch, a global watchdog, noted in response to the list’s publication that the settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. It argued that the firms’ activities mean they have aided “in the commission of war crimes”.

The companies’ presence in the settlements has helped to blur the distinction between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. That in turn has normalised the erosion of international law and subverted a long-held international consensus on establishing a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Work on compiling the database began four years ago. But both Israel and the United States put strong pressure on the UN in the hope of preventing the list from ever seeing the light of day.

The UN body’s belated assertiveness looks suspiciously like a rebuke to the Trump administration for releasing this month its Middle East “peace” plan. It green-lights Israel’s annexation of the settlements and the most fertile and water-rich areas of the West Bank.

In response to the database, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to intensify his country’s interference in US politics. He noted that his officials had already “promoted laws in most US states, which determine that strong action is to be taken against whoever tries to boycott Israel.”

He was backed by all Israel’s main Jewish parties. Amir Peretz, leader of the centre-left Labour party, vowed to “work in every forum to repeal this decision”. And Yair Lapid, a leader of Blue and White, the main rival to Netanyahu, called Bachelet the “commissioner for terrorists’ rights”.

Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, accused the UN of “unrelenting anti-Israel bias” and of aiding the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

In fact, the UN is not taking any meaningful action against the 112 companies, nor is it encouraging others to do so. The list is intended as a shaming tool – highlighting that these firms have condoned, through their commercial activities, Israel’s land and resource theft from Palestinians.

The UN has even taken an extremely narrow view of what constitutes involvement with the settlements. For example, it excluded organisations like FIFA, the international football association, whose Israeli subsidiary includes six settlement teams.

One of the identified companies, Airbnb, announced in late 2018 that it would remove from its accommodation bookings website all settlement properties – presumably to avoid being publicly embarrassed.

But a short time later Airbnb backed down. It is hard to imagine the decision was taken on strictly commercial grounds: the firm has only 200 settlement properties on its site.

A more realistic conclusion is that Airbnb feared the backlash from Washington and was intimidated by a barrage of accusations from pro-Israel groups that its new policy was anti-semitic.

In fact, the UN’s timing could not be more tragic. The list looks more like the last gasp of those who – through their negligence over nearly three decades – have enabled the two-state solution to wither to nothing.

Trump’s so-called peace plan could afford to be so one-sided only because western powers had already allowed Israel to void any hope of Palestinian statehood through decades of unremitting settlement expansion. Today, nearly 700,000 Israeli Jews are housed on occupied Palestinian territory.

On Monday European Union foreign ministers were due to meet to discuss their response to the plan. Tepid criticism was the most that could be expected.

The actions of several European states continue to speak much louder than any words.

On Friday, Germany followed the Czech Republic in filing a petition to the International Criminal Court at The Hague siding with Israel as the court deliberates whether to prosecute Israeli officials for war crimes, including over the establishment of settlements.

Germany does not appear to deny that the settlements are war crimes. Instead, it hopes to block the case on dubious technical grounds: that despite Palestine signing up to the Rome Statute, which established the Hague court, it is not yet a fully fledged state.

So far Austria, Hungary, Australia and Brazil appear to be following suit.

But if Palestine lacks the proper attributes of statehood, it is because the US and Europe, including Germany, have consistently broken promises to the Palestinians.

They not only refused to intervene to save the two-state solution, but rewarded Israel with trade deals and diplomatic and financial incentives, even as Israel eroded the institutional and territorial integrity necessary for Palestinian self-rule.

Germany’s stance, like that of the rest of Europe, is hypocritical. They have claimed opposition to Israel’s endless settlement expansion, and now to Trump’s plan, but their actions have paved the way to the annexation of the West Bank the plan condones.

Back in November the European Court of Justice finally ruled that products made in West Bank settlements – using illegally seized Palestinian resources on illegally seized Palestinian land – should not be labelled deceptively as “Made in Israel”.

And yet European countries are still postponing implementation of the decision. Instead, some of them are legislating against their citizens’ right to express support for a settlement boycott.

Similarly, Europe and North America continue to afford the Jewish National Fund, an entity that finances settlement-building, “charitable status”, giving it tax breaks as it raises funds inside their jurisdictions.

The Israeli media is full of stories of how the JNF actively assists extremist settler groups in evicting Palestinians from homes in East Jerusalem. But Britain and other states are blocking legal efforts to challenge the JNF’s special status.

Soon, it seems, Europe will no longer have to worry about its hypocrisy being so visible. Once the settlements have been annexed, as the Trump administration intends, the EU can set aside its ineffectual agonising and treat the settlements as irrevocably Israeli – just as it has done in practice with the Israeli “neighbourhoods” of occupied East Jerusalem.

Then, the UN’s list of shame can join decades’ worth of condemnatory resolutions that have been quietly gathering dust.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seeing Through the Lies – US Edition

By Craig Murray | February 18, 2020

The Guardian newspaper has taken the art of obfuscation, false implication and the subtler forms of journalistic lying to new heights in its very extensive coverage of the Roger Stone sentencing saga. It has now devoted fourteen articles in the last fortnight to this rather obscure episode of American political history. Yet in not one of those articles – nor in more than a dozen articles about the Stone case that preceded it over the last few months – has the Guardian informed its readers what Stone was actually convicted of doing.

Stone was convicted of giving false testimony and misleading the FBI, because he claimed to be a conduit between Wikileaks and Trump when he was not. There was no conduit between Wikileaks and Trump. Stone was also convicted of witness intimidation, because once his fantasies got him into trouble he tried to browbeat my friend Randy Credico into backing up his tale.

The Guardian has, in a feat of some skill, contrived to give its readers the impression that Stone has been convicted for Trump/Wikileaks links, when that is in fact the precise opposite of the truth.

Stone has been convicted for fabricating the existence of Trump/Wikileaks links, of which there were none.

The Guardian has hung its entire corporate personality on Clinton identity politics and its entire financial survival on building a new online customer base among the Clinton electorate in the USA. When even the New York Times had to admit the Mueller report utterly failed to substantiate Clinton’s inane claims that the Russians had caused Clinton’s election defeat, even when a judge dismissed the DNC’s lawsuit against said Russians as being supported by no viable evidence whatsoever, even when the entire world derided the Guardian’s massive front page lie about Paul Manafort visiting Assange in the Embassy, the Guardian has persisted in reporting as fact the preposterous conspiracy theory that its heroine was thwarted from attaining supreme power by the evil machinations of Vladimir Putin.

To maintain this stance in the face of all factual evidence requires great skill and dexterity from Guardian journalists. Fortunately for the Guardian it does not lack for fantasist Russophobe fabricators like Luke Harding or for more subtly corrupt spinners like David Smith, who last week wrote of Stone that “He was the sixth former Trump aide to be convicted in cases arising from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

The oleaginous David Smith omitted to note what any half honest human being would consider a very pertinent fact – that not one of those convictions had anything at all to do with Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, being either entirely unrelated tax and corruption matters turned up while trawling, or as with Stone being questions of process. Stone’s case is unique in that not only did his conviction not relate to any Russian interference, it was for promoting precisely the same ludicrous fantasy that the Guardian is promoting. It was illegal for Stone to persist in telling his lies on oath; there is no legal bar to the Guardian promoting the same Trump/Wikileaks/Russia fantasy ad nauseam.

Yet we have the spectacle of Julian Assange standing before a judge facing extradition to the United States and up to 175 years in jail for “espionage”, when everything Wikileaks has ever published has a 100% record for truth and accuracy.

To finish with Stone, the ludicrous vindictiveness of the prosecutors in pushing for a seven to nine year jail sentence for an offence that was really no more than wasting investigators’ time with his fanatasies, was rightly called out by Donald Trump. The notion that Roger Stone threatened witnesses is problematical. Randy Credico, the only person Stone was convicted of threatening, has written to the judge asking for Stone not to be jailed and making plain he did not feel threatened. He had known Stone for years and was used to his blustering talk, which Randy never took as intended to be a serious threat.

To consider those DNC leaks published by Wikileaks in which Roger Stone claimed falsely to have a part. What the leaks did reveal was the foul play and machinations of the DNC machinery in cheating Bernie Sanders out of the nomination – including jiggling the ordering of primaries specifically to give Hillary “momentum”, and giving Hillary debate questions in advance. Nobody should be surprised to see the same tactics being deployed against Bernie Sanders – whom I should be clear I support strongly – yet again.

The “muddle” that led to CIA-linked Pete Buttigieg being able to claim victory in Iowa, for a crucial five days before the official tallies showed Bernie had in fact won was, I strongly suspect, merely a portent of what is to come. The fact the app that “misfired” was designed by four ex-Clinton staffers working for a company chaired by a Buttigieg team member is indicative of what we can expect over the next few months. The right have yet to decide on their champion to thwart Bernie. Buttigieg and Klobuchar are enjoying moments in the sun of media approval, and the DNC have now changed the rules to allow Bloomberg into future debates. That the Clintonites who have been deriding Sanders as not a Democrat, will actually switch to support Republican billionaire Bloomberg against Sanders, is something I expect to see play out over the next month as it becomes clear that neither Buttigieg nor Klobuchar can stop Bernie.

Here in the UK, I predict Bloomberg supporting Guardian editorials by April.

Still more sinister, the Zionist propaganda machine has started to ramp up its attacks on Bernie. In Iowa the AIPAC linked Democrats pressure group Democratic Majority for Israel sprayed money on TV ads attacking Bernie. It is a sign of the times that Bernie Sanders, bidding to become the first Jewish President of the United States, is attacked and undermined by extreme Zionists because of his entirely reasonable views on Israel/Palestine.

Despite all of which, opinion polls show Bernie with a clear lead heading towards the Nevada primary. I remain cautiously hopeful that the degree of cheating required to stop Bernie gaining the nomination would simply be too much to hide, and that the Wikileaks DNC revelations may ultimately, by showing up the dirty tricks last time, help Bernie to power this time. We should, however, never underestimate the resources of the financiers and the security state which will be deployed against Bernie in the next few months. It is going to be a fascinating year in US politics. Either the Democrats will pick a right wing standard bearer and lose to Trump, or Bernie will become President. I do not share the general fatalism on the left which deems the latter impossible.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Antarctica’s ‘Hottest Day’? Not So Fast

By Michael Pile | Quadrant | February 18, 2020

Have you ever wondered how to play the Climate Game, or game the climate? If so, look no further than a remote research station on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, a submarine-shaped office tower on Geneva’s Avenue de la Paix and an international media pack determined to ramp a single yet-to-be-confirmed measurement into another bogus climate scare.

The research station is the Argentine base, Esperanza, coordinates: 63°23′51″S 56°59′52″W. It claimed to have set a new record temperature of 18.3°C on February 6 this year, beating the previous record of 17.5°C on March 24, 2015, according to a tweet (below) from Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN), Argentina’s national meteorological service.

It was déjà vu all over again for the alarmist MSM.

BBC Scientists warn that global warming is causing so much melting at the South Pole, it will eventually disintegrate – causing the global sea level to rise by at least three metres (10ft) over centuries.

NY Times Antarctica, the coldest, windiest and driest continent on Earth, set a record high temperature on Thursday, underscoring global warming”. It went on to claim: “the high temperature is in keeping with the earth’s overall warming trend, which is in large part caused by emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Guardian Antarctica is “one of the fastest warming places on earth, heating by almost 3°C [5.4°F] over the past 50 years”

The Guardian makes that claim despite recent research suggesting a cooling trend since the year 2000, contradicting the carbon dioxide-driven global warming scare. (Media’s horribly dishonest Antarctica warming propaganda, WUWT, February 9, 2020) Five years earlier, on April 1, 2015, it reported on the previous record under the headline: “Antarctica records unprecedented high temperatures – two temperature readings register ominous new potential measurements of accelerating climate change.” “What was incontestable,” the paper’s journalist concluded, “were the unprecedentedly high temperature readings on the Antarctic ice mass.”

Jack Weatherall: Warmists are feeling a polar chill

Yet mean monthly temperatures at Esperanza range from −10.5 °C (13.1 °F) in July, the coldest month, to 1.4 °C (34.5 °F) in January, the warmest month. During summer (December–February), the average high is between 3.7 and 4.3 °C (38.7 and 39.7 °F) while the average low is between −2.0 and −1.2 °C (28.4 and 29.8 °F). In winter, mean temperatures are around −6.0 °C (21.2 °F). So what is going on here?

ClimateChangeDispatch.com’s Thomas Richard ridiculed the Pavlovian alarmism:

To put this in perspective, it would be the equivalent of taking a temperature measurement in Reykjavík, Iceland, and proclaiming that this measurement is indicative of the temperature of the Arctic region, or worse, Tasiilaq (Ammassalik), Greenland. It’s a ridiculous statement and utterly useless. It is well known that West Antarctica is heavily influenced by underground volcanic activity, and hidden beneath its icy exterior is a myriad of active rift systems.

The glass, steel and aluminium tower adjacent Geneva’s Jardin Botaniques is the global headquarters of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) According to a local travel agency, Geneva Live Tourism, the building is “respectful of the environment,” and its “grandiose allure with the double façade seeming to dominate the surrounding space”. WMO is the beating heart of Big Climate. It is the UN’s “expert agency and voice regarding the state and behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, its climate and the resulting distribution of water resources.” WMO issued a media release on the Esperanza result on February 7. It was a qualified announcement – New record for Antarctic continent reported – for the “likely legitimate record” was subject to formal verification.

A committee for WMO’s World Weather and Climate Extremes Archive (WWCEA) will now verify whether this indeed is a new record for the Antarctic continent, which is defined as the main continental landmass.

Dr Randall Cerveny, a professor of geographical sciences at Arizona State University, has been the WWCEA rapporteur – or gatekeeper – since its formation 14 years ago. “Everything we have seen thus far indicates a likely legitimate record but we will of course begin a formal evaluation of the record once we have full data from SMN and on the meteorological conditions surrounding the event.” Crucially, he also made this comment:

the record appears to be likely associated (in the short term) with what we call a regional “foehn” event over the area:  a rapid warming of air coming down a slope/mountain.

What is a foehn event? According to WUWT blogger Jim Steele,

… foehn events cause rapid extreme temperature jumps simply due to changes in the air pressure as winds descend from a mountain top. During the 2015 foehn event, Esperanza’s daily temperature jumped from 0°C [32°F] 2 days before, to a record setting 17.5°C [63.5°F]. Elsewhere, Antarctic foehn winds are common and have been extensively studied, often raising maximum temperatures by 10+°C [18+°F] above normal.

In other words, it was just local weather, not a consequence of so-called dangerous anthropogenic global warming, aka “climate change”.  “Verification was important”, Cerveny said. “It helps to build up a picture of the weather and climate in one of Earth’s final frontiers.”

The WMO media release noted that: “the Antarctic, like the Arctic, is poorly covered in terms of weather observations and forecasts, even though both play an important role in driving climate and ocean patterns and in sea level rise.”

Despite a lack of data, WMO could not resist the opportunity to trumpet a warming warning. Included in the release were ominous comments on the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers. The latter, allegedly, is “one of the largest contributors to global sea level rise from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet”. There was no mention of its precise “contribution”. That, dear reader, is another story, one about why the BBC failed to mention the many active volcanoes underneath this region, yet found space to jest about “snotsicles”.  Spending £38 million of US/UK government funding to “prove” we are in a “climate emergency” has never been such fun.

Scientists fear the Thwaites Glacier could be beginning a process of catastrophic collapse. There is more than three metres of potential sea level rise in the ice of West Antarctica, enough to swamp many of the great cities of the world and drive hundreds of millions of people from their homes.

In any case, speculating about the threat of global sea-level rise, despite the region’s prevailing temperature profiles, is surely a fool’s game.

The Antarctic Peninsula (the northwest tip near to South America) is among the fastest warming regions of the planet, almost 3°C over the last 50 years.  The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017. Most of the ice loss takes place by melting of the ice shelves from below, due to incursions of relatively warm ocean water, especially in west Antarctica and to a lesser extent along the peninsula and in east Antarctica.

We will need more than the IPCC’s brave 2C warming guesstimate to melt the massive southern polar ice block.

Spanning 14 million km2 (roughly twice the size of Australia), the Antarctic’s average annual temperature ranges from about −10°C on the Antarctic coast to −60°C at the highest parts of the interior. Its immense ice sheet is up to 4.8km thick and contains 90% of the world’s fresh water, enough to raise sea level by around 60 metres were it all to melt. 

There is another important issue here too: geographical semantics. The WMO release conflates the Antarctic Peninsula with the continental Antarctic ice sheet. Little surprise, then, most of the MSM missed the fact that the Antarctic Peninsula is not the Antarctic continent or “region”. The former refers to the narrow northwest tip nearest to South America. As for the latter, the WMO – controversially – defines it as “everywhere south of 60 degrees latitude”. (See Antarctica map)

The Esperanza base is actually outside the Antarctic Circle, which runs 66°33′48.0″ south of the Equator. It is misleading – some might say mischievous – to imply that “record” temperature measurements on the Antarctic Peninsula – less than 5 per cent of the continent and especially those taken on islands at its northern extremity, are meaningful for Antarctica itself, as the WMO does here by including this sentence in its February 7 media release: “The record for the Antarctic region – that is, everywhere south of 60 degrees latitude – is 19.8C, taken on Signy Island in January 1982.”

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Signy Research Station at Factory Cove, Borge Bay, Signy Island, is also outside the Antarctic Circle. Located at Lat. 60°43’0″S, Long. 45°36’0″W in the South Orkney Islands group, it is 1300 km from the Falkland Islands, 900 km from South Georgia, 600 km from the Antarctic Peninsula, and 3250 km  from the South Pole. According to the BAS website, meteorological records at this summer-only site “were kept by professional meteorologists from 1947 to 1969 and by station volunteers from 1969 to 1995.” How much confidence can we have, then, in the 19.8C reading of January 30, 1982 — a record maximum for any station south of 60°S — especially when the month is prone to significant variation, including “sudden falls in temperature”, down to -7°C?

Whatever the case, a recent detailed analysis of meteorological conditions prevailing at the time – prompted by Dr Cerveny and the WMO Committee on Antarctic Temperature Extremes — confirms that it, too, was due to foehn (or fohn) warming:

At the time of the record temperature exceptionally warm air was being advected southwards towards the South Orkney Islands from the subtropical South Atlantic…. Since conditions conducive to föhn occur relatively frequently, föhn warming may have a significant influence on the local climate and ecology of Signy Island.

As mentioned, WMO’s WWCEA committee rightly is not prepared to declare a new record for Esperanza without further investigation, at this stage referring only to a potential new Antarctic (continent) high temperature:

The Argentine research base, Esperanza, on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, set a new record temperature of 18.3°C on 6 February 2020, potentially beating the former record of 17.5°C on 24 March 2015.

WWCEAC would “now verify whether this indeed is a new record for the Antarctic continent, which is defined as the main continental landmass.” It has not done so yet, so we await the rapporteur’s “decision and relevant documentation” to be posted on this site (here).

Dr. Cerveny, incidentally, proposed creating WMO’s global archive for verifying, certifying and storing world weather extremes in 2006. As Rapporteur he has called an “ad hoc extremes committee” to “provide an expert and unbiased recommendation” on whether the new extreme qualifies for the archive. This process is easier said than done, for if “the truth be told, world record extremes are mistakenly created all the time.”

For example a “fat finger” error such as hand digitizing a 28.0°C as 82.0 would create a world record observation that every quality control system would say was invalid. Additionally, instrumentation problems can generate a report far in excess of the meteorological conditions. But sometimes a combination of fairly extreme meteorological conditions with minor instrumentation problems, such as calibration errors, can necessitate considerable detective work to determine whether a new world record observation was indeed valid or not. Since weather records are often used as indicators that the Earth’s climate is changing and/or becoming more extreme, confirmation of new weather extreme records should be recognized as a high priority in the meteorology community.

An alert blogger, Nicholas McGinley, made the following post at WUWT :

I am having a hard time verifying this report from Esperanza station.
The thermometer data from the last five days did not show anything close to what is being reported, when I looked earlier this evening. But now I checked again, and the numbers have changed completely. Here is a Tweet I posted with the two graphs side by side:

It has become nearly impossible to trust anything these days.
Besides for all of that … when a short term blip is announced as if it is a representation of the entire state of the planet, while in Alaska a two month trend of temps is showing the coldest period ever recorded in that entire state, something is not at all right.

Dr Cerveny and WMO’s WWCEA committee presumably will sort it all out soon. After all, it did so when a Czech Republic automatic weather station on Davies Dome in the northern part of Ulu Peninsula, James Ross Island, recorded a temperature of 17.9°C (64.2°F) on 23 March 2015, “a day before the current WMO accepted record of 17.5°C (63.5°F) was observed at Esperanza Base (Argentina) in the same general location in the Antarctic Region”.

The committee adjusted the Davies Dome observation down to 17.0°C ± 0.2°C (62.6°F ± 0.4°F) and declared it to be “the second-highest temperature recorded in the Antarctic Region (continent only).”

The recommendation follows a detailed discussion by the committee of the probability that the station experienced solar radiation bias on the temperature-recording instrument at the time of the record observation. In simple terms, the committee suggested that the temperature sensor at Davies Dome was heated to around 0.9°C (1.6°F) above the true air temperature by a combination of high solar radiation (coming both directly from the sun and also reflected from the underlying ice surface) and low wind speed.

Establishing a “true air temperature” in Antarctica, however the continent is defined, clearly can be a challenge. If one automatic weather station reading can be reduced (“adjusted downwards”) after a “detailed discussion” due to the probability of “solar radiation bias”, then what is the reliability of other station readings?

One item that ought to be on the committee’s agenda is a ten-minute video uploaded on February 9, 2020:  Climate Alarmists fleeing to Antarctica. As author Tony Heller demonstrates, with winter and the (temporary) collapse of Arctic melting hysteria, climate alarmists have flown south to the other pole. Let’s hope none of them ended up at Esperanza Base and the Thwaites Glacier.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Explaining Syria

It’s everyone’s fault except the U.S. and Israel

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • February 18, 2020

The first week in February was memorable for the failed impeachment of President Donald Trump, the “re-elect me” State of the Union address and the marketing of a new line of underwear by Kim Kardashian. Given all of the excitement, it was easy to miss a special State Department press briefing by Ambassador James Jeffrey held on February 5th regarding the current situation in Syria.

Jeffrey is the United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL. Jeffrey has had a distinguished career in government service, attaining senior level State Department positions under both Democratic and Republican presidents. He has served as U.S. Ambassador to both Turkey and Iraq. He is, generally speaking, a hardliner politically, closely aligned with Israel and regarding Iran as a hostile destabilizing force in the Middle East region. He was between 2013 and 2018 Philip Solondz distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank that is a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He is currently a WINEP “Outside Author” and go-to “expert.”

Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt, academic dean at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, describe WINEP as “part of the core” of the Israel Lobby in the U.S. They examined the group on pages 175-6 in their groundbreaking book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy and concluded as follows:

“Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel and claims that it provides a ‘balanced and realistic’ perspective on Middle East issues, this is not the case. In fact, WINEP is funded and run by individuals who are deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda … Many of its personnel are genuine scholars or experienced former officials, but they are hardly neutral observers on most Middle East issues and there is little diversity of views within WINEP’s ranks.”

In early 2018 Jeffrey co-authored a WINEP special report on Syria which urged “…the Trump administration [to] couple a no-fly/no-drive zone and a small residual ground presence in the northeast with intensified sanctions against the Assad regime’s Iranian patron. In doing so, Washington can support local efforts to stabilize the area, encourage Gulf partners to ‘put skin in the game, drive a wedge between Moscow and Tehran, and help Israel avoid all-out war.”

Note the focus on Iran and Russia as threats and the referral to Assad and his government as a “regime.” And the U.S. presence is to “help Israel.” So we have Ambassador James Jeffrey leading the charge on Syria, from an Israeli perspective that is no doubt compatible with the White House view, which explains why he has become Special Representative for Syria Engagement.

Jeffrey set the tone for his term of office shortly after being appointed by President Trump back in August 2018 when he argued that the Syrian terrorists were “. . . not terrorists, but people fighting a civil war against a brutal dictator.” Jeffrey, who must have somehow missed a lot of the head chopping and rape going on, subsequently traveled to the Middle East and stopped off in Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It has been suggested that Jeffrey received his marching orders during the visit.

Two months later James Jeffrey declared that he would like to see Russia maintain a “permissive approach” to allow the Israelis to attack Iranian targets inside Syria. Regarding Iran’s possible future role in Syria he observed that “Iranians are part of the problem not part of the solution.”

What Jeffrey meant was that because Israel had been “allowed” to carry out hundreds of air attacks in Syria ostensibly directed against Iran-linked targets, the practice should be permitted to continue. Israel had suspended nearly all of its airstrikes in the wake of the shoot down of a Russian aircraft in September 2018, an incident which was caused by a deliberate Israeli maneuver that brought down the plane even though the missile that struck the aircraft was fired by Syria. Fifteen Russian servicemen were killed. Israel reportedly was deliberately using the Russian plane to mask the presence of its own attacking aircraft.

Russia responded to the incident by deploying advanced S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Syria, which can cover most of the more heavily developed areas of the country. Jeffrey was unhappy with that decision, saying “We are concerned very much about the S-300 system being deployed to Syria. The issue is at the detail level. Who will control it? what role will it play?” And he defended his own patently absurd urging that Russia, Syria’s ally, permit Israel to continue its air attacks by saying “We understand the existential interest and we support Israel” because the Israeli government has an “existential interest in blocking Iran from deploying long-range power projection systems such as surface-to-surface missiles.”

Later in November 2018 James Jeffrey was at it again, declaring that U.S. troops will not leave Syria before guaranteeing the “enduring defeated” of ISIS, but he perversely put the onus on Syria and Iran, saying that “We also think that you cannot have an enduring defeat of ISIS until you have fundamental change in the Syrian regime and fundamental change in Iran’s role in Syria, which contributed greatly to the rise of ISIS in the first place in 2013, 2014.”

As virtually no one but Jeffrey and the Israeli government actually believes that Damascus and Tehran were responsible for creating ISIS, the ambassador elaborated, blaming President Bashar al-Assad for the cycle of violence in Syria that, he claimed, allowed the development of the terrorist group in both Syria and neighboring Iraq.

He said “The Syrian regime produced ISIS. The elements of ISIS in the hundreds, probably, saw an opportunity in the total breakdown of civil society and of the upsurge of violence as the population rose up against the Assad regime, and the Assad regime, rather than try to negotiate or try to find any kind of solution, unleashed massive violence against its own population.”

Jeffrey’s formula is just another recycling of the myth that the Syrian opposition consisted of good folks who wanted to establish democracy in the country. In reality, it incorporated terrorist elements right from the beginning and groups like ISIS and the al-Qaeda affiliates rapidly assumed control of the violence. That Jeffrey should be so ignorant or blinded by his own presumptions to be unaware of that is astonishing. It is also interesting to note that he makes no mention of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, kneejerk support for Israel and the unrelenting pressure on Syria starting with the Syrian Accountability Act of 2003 and continuing with embrace of the so-called Arab Spring. Most observers believe that those actions were major contributors to the rise of ISIS.

Jeffrey’s unflinching embrace of the Israeli and hardline Washington assessment of the Syrian crisis comes as no surprise given his pedigree, but in the same interview where he pounded Iran and Syria he asserted oddly that “We’re not about regime change. We’re about a change in the behavior of a government and of a state.”

Some of James Jeffrey’s comments at last week’s press conference are similarly illuminating. Much of what he said concerned the mechanics of relationships with the Russians and Turks, but he also discussed some core issues relating to Washington’s perspective on the conflict. Many of his comments were very similar to what he said when he was appointed in 2018.

Jeffrey expressed concern over the thousands of al-Nusra terrorists holed up in besieged Idlib province, saying “We’re very, very worried about this. First of all, the significance of Idlib – that’s where we’ve had chemical weapons attacks in the past… And we’re seeing not just the Russians but the Iranians and Hizballah actively involved in supporting the Syrian offensive… You see the problems right now in Idlib. This is a dangerous conflict. It needs to be brought to an end. Russia needs to change its policies.”

He elaborated, “We’re not asking for regime change per se, we’re not asking for the Russians to leave, we’re asking…Syria to behave as a normal, decent country that doesn’t force half its population to flee, doesn’t use chemical weapons dozens of times against its own civilians, doesn’t drop barrel bombs, doesn’t create a refugee crisis that almost toppled governments in Europe, does not allow terrorists such as HTS and particularly Daesh/ISIS emerge and flourish in much of Syria. Those are the things that that regime has done, and the international community cannot accept that.”

Well, one has to conclude that James Jeffrey is possibly completely delusional. The core issue that the United States is in Syria illegally as a proxy for Israel and Saudi Arabia is not touched on, nor the criminal role in “protecting the oil fields” and stealing their production, which he mentions but does not explain. Nor the issue of the legitimate Syrian government seeking to recover its territory against groups that most everyone admits to be terrorists.

Virtually every bit of “evidence” that Jeffrey cites is either false or inflated, to include the claim of use of chemical weapons and the responsibility for the refugees. As for who actually created the terrorists, that honor goes to the United States, which accomplished that when it invaded Iraq and destroyed its government before following up by undermining Syria. And, by the way, someone should point out to Jeffrey that Russia and Iran are in Syria as allies of its legitimate government.

Ambassador James Jeffrey maintains that “Russia needs to change its policies.” That is not correct. It is the United States that must change its policies by getting out of Syria and Iraq for starters while also stopping the deference to feckless “allies” Israel and Saudi Arabia that has produced a debilitating cold war against both Iran and Russia. Another good first step to make the U.S. a “normal, decent country” would be to get rid of the advice of people like James Jeffrey.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 3 Comments