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German Parliament Greenlights Non-Binding Initiative to Ban Hezbollah

Sputnik – December 20, 2019

German lawmakers approved a non-binding initiative on Thursday calling on the government to ban from Germany the political and militant group Hezbollah, which forms part of the Lebanese government. The move, reportedly aimed at combating anti-Semitism, has been rejected multiple times by the parliament.

The Thursday resolution was approved by the opposition Free Democrats as well as the Social Democratic Party, which is allied to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party. The move seeks to ban the political arm of Hezbollah from Germany and to add the group to the European Union’s terrorist list.

“It is unacceptable that Hezbollah is waging a terrorist fight against Israel in the Middle East, which is being financed through worldwide criminal activities, among other things,” CDU spokesperson Mathias Middelberg said in a statement, according to AP. “In view of Germany’s special responsibility toward Israel, we call on the government to ban all activities for Hezbollah in Germany.”“The separation between a political and a military arm should be abandoned, and Hezbollah as a whole should be placed on the EU terrorist list,” Middelberg said. “This could freeze Hezbollah’s funds and assets in Europe more extensively than before.”

Germany last weighed the question of banning the political wing of Hezbollah, which has just over 1,000 members, in June. That bill, sponsored by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has repeatedly sponsored bills seeking to ban burqas and minarets, claiming “Islam is not a part of Germany,” according to Middle East Monitor, failed amid joint opposition by the same parties that sponsored the resolution passed Thursday.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised the move, calling it “an important step in the international struggle against terrorism, particularly against terrorist organization Hezbollah and its patron Iran,” AP noted. US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell also voiced his support.Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party and militant group whose primary basis of support is the country’s Shiite Muslim community, although it also enjoys the support of many Christians, Druze and even Sunni Muslims. It gained notoriety for fighting the Israel Defense Forces to a standstill in Lebanon’s south when Israel invaded in 2006. The group was formed as a self-defense force in the early 1980s, during a previous occupation by Israeli forces, against whom it waged a guerrilla campaign. It has also joined the fight in Syria against Daesh and other jihadist rebel groups.

Hezbollah has been accused of multiple acts of terrorism, such as a bus bombing in the Bulgarian city of Burgas in 2012 that killed seven people and injured 32, although no conclusive evidence tying Hezbollah to the attack has been found. It’s also been accused of being behind a slew of terrorist attacks in the early 1980s, including several deadly bombings in Beirut, but again with limited evidence behind the claims. However, 14 nations and several international organizations have declared Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization, while eight nations have declared it not to be one. Hezbollah is also accused of being a proxy of Iran.

Mustafa Ammar, a CDU candidate for the 2021 elections, told Asharq Al-Awsat late last month that secret talks had taken place during a congress held by the CDU in Leipzig about how best to limit anti-Semitism in Germany, especially in schools.“One of the measures included the total banning of Hezbollah and its activities,” Ammar told the London-based outlet. A Hamburg intelligence agency reported in July that Hezbollah had ties to about 30 mosques across Germany, where it raises funds and spreads its ideology, according to Fox News.

Hezbollah has long maintained it distinguishes between Judaism as a religion and Zionism as a political ideology, with leader Hassan Nasrallah saying in 2009: “Our problem with [the Israelis] is not that they are Jews, but that they are occupiers who are raping our land and holy places.” However, Nassrallah and other Hezbollah leaders have also been accused of anti-Semitic statements.

Last week, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that categorized anti-Israeli speech as anti-Semitism and hate speech under Article VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The move is widely interpreted as aimed at punishing anti-Israel initiatives like Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) by declaring them to be anti-Semitic, tying the nation of Israel to the worldwide Jewish community.

December 20, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Islamophobia | , , | 1 Comment

French vote one step closer to anti-Zionism ban

By Ramin Mazaheri – Press TV – December 3, 2019

Paris – France’s media has remained nearly silent ahead of a vote on a resolution which is one step away from criminalizing opposition to Zionism.

If the motion passes, in a vote on December 3rd, it will throw open the door to false accusations of anti-Semitism for anyone openly criticising Israeli crimes, war atrocities and its Apartheid policies.

The resolution purposely tries to confuse “Zionism”, which refers to the imperialist and segregationist political project upon which Israel is based, with “anti-Semitism” which is a bigotry against Jews and Judaism that has nothing to do with Israeli massacres and crimes against Palestinians and non-Jews.

The hypocritical irony is that the law arrives just as France is in the midst of its latest wave of Islamophobia. Last month many top, alleged leftist politicians refused to denounce Islamophobia because they said that doing so could mean they are not allowed to publicly criticise the tenets of Islam. Protesters in Paris asked: where are France’s many self-proclaimed defenders of free speech?

The resolution states that, “Criticizing the existence of a Jewish state is a way to express hate towards the entire Jewish community.” Not only is this logically false, but inaccurate: studies show the majority of Jews in Europe are also anti-Zionist. Such a view also unjustly and dangerously tries to hold all Jews responsible for the crimes committed by Israel.

Many believe that nowhere in the world is right and wrong clearer than in Palestine, and the inability to discuss the imperialist, segregationist and constantly murderous project of Zionism will surely lead to more funerals for innocent Palestinians.

December 3, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Islamophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

US terrorist watchlist ruled ‘unconstitutional’ with no remedy in sight

RT | September 6, 2019

The US government’s list of “known or suspected terrorists” violates the constitutional due process rights of the million-plus people on it, a judge has ruled, but the government insists the case doesn’t belong in court at all.

The watchlist, with no “ascertainable standard for inclusion and exclusion” – one need not have been convicted or even suspected of a crime in order to end up on it, and being acquitted of a crime does not necessarily result in removal – is too vague to risk depriving Americans of their “travel-related and reputational liberty interests,” Eastern District of Virginia Judge Anthony Trenga ruled this week. It violates the due process rights of the 23 plaintiffs represented by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, he declared, granting them summary judgment – but noting that the case “presents unsettled issues.”

Trenga stopped short of recommending a legal remedy, asking both CAIR and the Justice Department – which argued that the watchlist was a national security matter and didn’t belong in court at all – to make recommendations for “what kind of remedy can be fashioned to adequately protect a citizen’s constitutional rights while not unduly compromising public safety or national security” before he lays out the path forward.

“There is no evidence, or contention, that any of these plaintiffs satisfy the definition of a ‘known terrorist,’” Trenga wrote in his ruling, noting that immutable characteristics such as race and ethnicity, as well as constitutionally-protected activities including free speech, free exercise of religion, and freedom of assembly, could all be taken into consideration in determining whether a person was placed on the list. Travel history, business associations, and even study of Arabic could also be used to support a nomination – even in the absence of any hint of criminal activity.

Hailing the ruling as a “total victory,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Gadeir Abbas said he would ask the judge to “severely curtail” the use of the list, which CAIR executive director called “effectively a Muslim registry created in the wake of the widespread Islamophobia of the early 2000s.”

“Innocent people should be beyond the reach of the watchlist system. We think that’s what the Constitution requires.”

The Justice Department had no comment. During the case, its lawyers had insisted the court defer to the executive branch, since national security took precedence over all else.

The Terrorist Screening Database, as it is officially called, has exploded in size since the creation of a special FBI department to house it in 2003, numbering about 1.2 million people as of 2017. While it is maintained by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, other agencies can suggest people to add to the list without explaining why they belong there or providing intelligence to back up their nomination. Individuals on the list are not told of their inclusion, and may never find out unless they end up on the more-restrictive No Fly List and find they’re unable to board their flight.

Since CAIR’s suit was filed in 2016, a number of unsavory details about the list have emerged. The government shares it with over 500 private-sector entities which it describes as “law enforcement adjacent,” including organizations as diverse as university police forces and animal welfare groups. Beyond airport screenings and citizenship evaluations, the watchlist is used to run drivers’ licenses in traffic stops, to determine whether a municipal permit should be awarded, and to conduct background checks for firearm sales. At least 60 foreign governments also have access to the list.

September 6, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia | , | 3 Comments

Now It’s Official: US Visa Can Be Denied If You (Or Even Your Friends) Are Critical of American Policies

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | September 5, 2019

There have been several interesting developments in the United States government’s war on free speech and privacy. First of all, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), which is responsible for actual entry of travelers into the country, has now declared that it can legally access phones and computers at ports of entry to determine if there is any subversive content which might impact on national security. “Subversive content” is, of course, subjective, but those seeking entry can be turned back based on how a border control agent perceives what he is perusing on electronic media.

Unfortunately, the intrusive nature of the procedure is completely legal, particularly as it applies to foreign visitors, and is not likely to be overturned in court in spite of the Fourth Amendment’s constitutional guarantee that individuals should “… be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Someone at a port of entry is not legally inside the United States until he or she has been officially admitted. And if that someone is a foreigner, he or she has no right by virtue of citizenship even to enter the country until entry has been permitted by an authorized US Customs and Border Protection official. And that official can demand to see anything that might contribute to the decision whether or not to let the person enter.

And there’s more to it than just that. Following the Israeli model for blocking entry of anyone who can even be broadly construed as supporting a boycott, the United States now also believes it should deny admittance to anyone who is critical of US government policy, which is a reversal of previous policy that considered political opinions to be off-limits for visa denial. DHS, acting in response to pressure from the White House, now believes it can adequately determine hostile intent from the totality of what appears on one’s phone or laptop, even if the material in question was clearly not put on the device by the owner. In other words, if a traveler has an email sent to him or her by someone else that complains about behavior by the United States government, he or she is responsible for that content.

One interesting aspect of the new policy is that it undercuts the traditional authority of US Embassies and Consulates overseas to issue visas to foreigners. The State Department visa process is rigorous and can include employment and real property verification, criminal record checks, social media reviews and Google-type searches. If there is any doubt about the visa applicant, entry into the US is denied. With the new DHS measures in place, this thoroughly vetted system is now sometimes being overruled by a subjective judgment made by someone who is not necessarily familiar with the traveler’s country or even regarding the threat level that being a citizen of that country actually represents.

Given the new rules regarding entering the United States, it comes as no surprise that the story of an incoming Harvard freshman who was denied entry into the United States after his laptop and cellphone were searched at Boston’s Logan Airport has been making headlines. Ismail Ajjawi, a 17-year-old Palestinian resident of Lebanon, was due to begin classes as a freshman, but he had his student visa issued in by the US Embassy in Beirut rejected before being flown back to Lebanon several hours later.

Ajjawi was questioned by one immigration officer who asked him repeatedly about his religion before requiring him to turn over his laptop and cell phone. Some hours later, the questioning continued about Ajjawi’s friends and associates, particularly those on social media. At no point was Ajjawi accused of having himself written anything that was critical of the United States and the interrogation rather centered on the views expressed by his friends.

The decision to ban Ajjawi produced such an uproar worldwide that it was reversed a week later, apparently as a result of extreme pressure exerted by Harvard University. Nevertheless, the decisions to deny entry are often arbitrary or even based on bad information, but the traveler normally has no practical recourse to reverse the process. And the number of such searches is going up dramatically, numbering more than 30,000 in 2017, some of which have been directed against US residents. Even though permanent resident green card holders and citizens have a legal right to enter the United States, there are reports that they too are having their electronic media searched. That activity is the subject of an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security that is currently working its way through the courts. The ACLU is representing 10 American citizens and a legal permanent resident who had their media searched without a warrant as required by the Fourth Amendment.

It is believed that many of the arbitrary “enforcements” by the CBP are carried out by the little-known Tactical Response Team (TRT) that targets certain travelers that fit a profile. DHS officials confirmed in September 2017 that 1,400 visa holders had been denied entry due to TRT follow-up inspections. And there are also reports of harassment of American citizens by possible TRT officials. A friend of mine was returning from Portugal to a New York Area airport when he was literally pulled from the queue as he was departing the plane. A Customs agent at the jetway was repeatedly calling out his birth date and then also added his name. He was removed from the line and taken to an interrogation room where he was asked to identify himself and then queried regarding his pilot’s license. He was then allowed to proceed with no other questions, suggesting that it was all harassment of a citizen base on profiling pure and simple.

My friend is a native-born American who has a Master’s degree and an MBA, is an army veteran and has no criminal record, not even a parking ticket. He worked for an American bank in the Middle East more than thirty years ago, which, together with the pilot’s license, might be the issue these days with a completely paranoid federal government constantly on the lookout for more prey “to keep us safe.” Unfortunately, keeping us safe has also meant that freedom of speech and association as well as respect for individual privacy have all been sacrificed. As America’s Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once reportedly observed, “Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety will wind up with neither.”

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Islamophobia | , | 1 Comment

UN official blasts Nigeria’s use of ‘lethal force’ on Muslims

Press TV – September 3, 2019

A United Nations rapporteur strongly condemns Abuja’s application of deadly violence against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, made the remarks in a report in the country’s capital on Monday. She was presenting her findings after a 12-day-long investigation.

The official deplored the “arbitrary deprivation of life” and the excessive use of lethal force in the case of processions held by the IMN back in 2015, Reuters reported.

Nigeria’s military attacked the movement’s members that year as they were holding religious processions, with Abuja alleging that the Muslims had blocked a convoy of the country’s defense minister. The movement has categorically rejected the allegation, and said the convoy had intentionally crossed paths with the IMN’s members to whip up an excuse for attacking them.

The military also raided the house of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaki, the movement’s leader, at the time.

During the escalation, the 66-year-old was beaten and lost his left eye. His wife sustained serious wounds, and three of his sons and more than 300 of his followers were killed.

Callamard said a move by the government to ban the group appeared be based on what the authorities thought the IMN could become rather than its actions. She said she had not been presented with any evidence to suggest the group was weaponized and posed a threat to the country.

On a general note, the official cautioned that Nigeria’s multiple security problems had come to create a crisis that required urgent attention and could lead to instability in other African countries.

Callamard said the police and military had resorted to an excessive use of deadly force across the West African country which, combined with a lack of effective investigations and meaningful prosecution, had caused a lack of accountability.

“The overall situation I have found is one of extreme concern,” she said, and finally warned that the country had turned into a “pressure cooker of internal conflict.”

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia | , | Leave a comment

Palestinian Harvard freshman barred from entering US over Facebook posts his FRIENDS made

RT | August 28, 2019

An incoming Palestinian Harvard freshman was refused entry to the US and deported after immigration officials searched his phone and found Facebook posts – from his friends – containing allegedly anti-US political statements.

Ismail Ajjawi was deemed “inadmissible” by US Customs and Border Protection and sent back to Lebanon on Friday night, after CBP officials at Boston’s Logan International Airport confronted him with Facebook posts from his friends list containing “political points of view that oppose the US.”

An immigration official questioned the 17-year-old scholarship recipient for hours about his friends’ social media activity, after ordering him to unlock his phone and computer and spending five hours searching the devices. Ajjawi’s protestations – “I have no single post on my timeline discussing politics,” he told the Harvard Crimson on Tuesday – reportedly fell on deaf ears as the agent “screamed” at him.

“She said that she found people posting political points of view that oppose the US on my friend list,” Ajjawi said. “I responded that I have no business with [political] posts and that I didn’t like, share or comment on them and told her that I shouldn’t be held responsible for what others post.”

Nevertheless, the officer cancelled his visa and told him he would be deported. He had been detained for eight hours – first questioned with a group of international students, then held for further questioning about his religious practices while the others were allowed to leave, and ultimately kicked out of the country over his friends’ Facebook posts.

A CBP spokesperson (ironically named McCarthy) explained “applicants must demonstrate they are admissible into the US by overcoming ALL grounds of inadmissibility including health-related grounds, criminality, security reasons, public charge, labor certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds” and claimed “information discovered during the CBP inspection” had rendered Ajjawi “inadmissible” to the US.

“Thoughtcrime by friends on social media” would presumably fall under “miscellaneous.”

This is not an isolated incident involving Harvard, which employs a team of immigration lawyers to resolve visa-related issues. Four Iranian graduate students in 2017 spent weeks or months tied up in red tape after President Donald Trump’s travel ban – an executive order barring travel from seven countries, including several majority-Muslim ones – prevented them from attending school.

Ajjawi is also receiving legal assistance from AMIDEAST, the organization which awarded him the scholarship to attend Harvard in the first place. He still hopes to attend Harvard, and university spokesperson Jonathan Swain said the school is “working closely with the student’s family and appropriate authorities to resolve this matter so that he can join his classmates in the coming days.”

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Kashmir’s New Status: Why the West Turns a Blind Eye to Democracy Deficit in India

By Brian Cloughley | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 27, 2019

On August 23 the New York Times reported that the Indian Ministry of External Affairs “won’t say why foreign journalists continue to be blocked from setting foot in Kashmir” but managed to obtain a compelling first-hand account of one of the thousands of arrests by the authorities. In this instance “Asifa Mubeen was woken up by the sound of barking dogs as policemen began pouring into her yard. Her husband, Mubeen Shah, a wealthy Kashmiri merchant, stepped out onto their bedroom balcony in the night air. The police shouted that he was under arrest. When he asked to see a warrant, his wife said, the police told him there wouldn’t be one. ‘This is different,’ they said. ‘We have orders.’ It was the start of one of the biggest mass arrests of civilian leaders in decades carried out by India, a close American partner that bills itself as one of the world’s leading democracies…”

The appalling situation in Indian-administered Kashmir has been created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who announced on August 5 that he was annulling Article 370 of India’s Constitution, which since 1949 has given the territory (called a State by India) virtual self-government. It had its own Constitution and the most important thing was that the special status of the region allowed it to adhere to the ancient law prohibiting outsiders from buying land. The central government could not overrule the law — but with Modi’s repeal of Article 370 there is now direct rule by Delhi.

This means that the people of the territory have no say whatever in their own governance. It has also meant, thus far, the arrest and detention of some 4,000 people under the Public Safety Act which allows the authorities to jail anyone for up to two years without charge. That isn’t exactly democratic — and it is intriguing to think about how Donald Trump would regard such a law, were he aware of it.

Deficiency of democracy doesn’t stop there, because the Armed Forces Special Powers Act “grants the armed forces the power to shoot to kill in law enforcement situations, to arrest without warrant, and to detain people without time limits. The law forbids prosecution of soldiers without approval from the central government, which is rarely granted, giving them effective immunity for serious human rights abuses.”

The Public Safety and Special Powers Acts are in full swing in Indian-administered Kashmir, and the population is in effect under military occupation authorised by Modi’s ultra-right wing government in Delhi. It is, to all intents, occupied territory whose inhabitants have no say whatever in their own governance. (There were supposed to be elections this year, but with the invalidation of Article 370 these can no longer take place. It has all been carefully thought through.)

And the leaders of the US and Britain, these usually eloquent supporters of freedom for the peoples of the world, have made no critical statements about the mass arrests or cancellation of elections or total closure of means of communication, and they ignore the fact that India’s Constitution “explicitly declares that all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression [Article 19(1)(a)].”

The New York Times managed to ascertain that in Kashmir, the thousands of detainees “have not been able to communicate with their families or meet with lawyers. Their whereabouts remain unknown. Most were taken in the middle of the night, witnesses said.” This smacks of dictatorship, for it is undeniable that detention and incarceration without trial is totalitarian rather than democratic.

It is barely credible that “Among the people who were rounded up were Mian Qayoom, president of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association; Mohammed Yasin Khan, chairman of the Kashmir Economic Alliance; Raja Muzaffar Bhat, an anticorruption crusader; Fayaz Ahmed Mir, a tractor driver and Arabic scholar; and Mehbooba Mufti, the first woman elected as Kashmir’s chief minister. Shah Faesal, another politician, was arrested at New Delhi’s international airport, bags checked, boarding pass in hand, heading for a fellowship at Harvard. Several prominent state politicians have also been put under house arrest; they told Indian news outlets they had been ordered not to engage in any ‘political activity’.”

But there hasn’t been a peep of protest from Britain’s Boris Johnson, he who showed solidarity with the protestors in Hong Kong by declaring “I do support them and I will happily speak up for them and back them every inch of the way.”

There hasn’t been a squeak of remonstrance from Washington, either, where Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that the rule of President Maduro “is undemocratic to the core” and Trump committed his country to “stand with… all Venezuelans who seek to restore democracy and the rule of law.”

If Johnson and Trump are so supportive of democracy, why do they not protest about mass arrests and detentions and cancellation of democratic elections in Indian-administered Kashmir? Why do they not take Modi to task for his excesses? It was recorded on August 23 that in Indian-administered Kashmir, “Data obtained by Reuters showed 152 people reported to Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences and Shri Maharaj Hari Singh with injuries from pellet shots and tear gas fire between Aug 5 and Aug 21.” It is regrettable that Trump and Johnson ignored the fact that on August 22 “UN human rights experts today called on the Government of India to end the crackdown on freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful protests imposed in Indian-Administered Kashmir this month.” It was also stated by the UN experts, headed by Special Rapporteur David Kaye, that “The shutdown of the internet and telecommunication networks, without justification from the Government, are inconsistent with the fundamental norms of necessity and proportionality. The blackout is a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offence.”

The absence of any criticism by Trump and Johnson of the military rule excesses in Indian-administered Kashmir will encourage Modi and his far-right nationalist administration to extend their racist grip throughout India. Since Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014 there has been a most marked increase in officially-endorsed communal violence, mainly against Muslims but also involving other minority groups. These outbreaks of Hindu-supremacy barbarity are sponsored largely by a militant organisation called the Bajrang Dal which as noted in the New Yorker “has either been banned or has lurked at the margins of Indian society. But [since 2014] the militant group has been legitimized and grown exponentially more powerful. In the past seven years, according to Factchecker, an organization that tracks hate crimes, there have been a hundred and sixty-eight attacks by Hindu extremists, in the name of protecting cows, against Muslims and other religious minorities.”

Indian democracy is under grave threat from racist Hindu supremacists, and the New York Times rightly considers it disquieting that Modi “seems intent on digging in, and he has the Indian public firmly behind him. Many Indians see Kashmir as an integral part of India, and this move has stirred up jingoist feelings. Indian news channels have referred to the detainees being flown out of Kashmir as ‘Pakistani terrorists’ or ‘separatist leaders,’ toeing the government line.”

The most appalling thing is that Modi’s India appears intent on eradicating Muslims and that the vast majority of Hindus are right behind him. In order for him to succeed, there has to be destruction of democracy — and that’s exactly what is happening.

August 27, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Court overturns ruling to seize Iran-linked building in NY

650 Fifth Avenue, a New York City skyscraper that houses the headquarters of the Alavi Foundation.
Press TV – August 9, 2019

A US federal appeals court has overturned a 2017 verdict that allowed the seizure of an Iran-linked skyscraper in New York City.

In June, 2017, a US court verdict allowed the government to seize the midtown Manhattan office tower owned largely by a charity organization, the Alavi Foundation.

The jury then claimed that the charity was controlled by the Iranian government and the rent generated from the tower constituted a violation of US sanctions against Iran.

On Friday, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled 3-0 that there was “a troubling pattern of errors on relatively straightforward issues” in this case.

“Getting to any outcome requires a fair and procedurally adequate process, something that has been lacking in this case. There are no shortcuts in the rule of law,” said Circuit Judge Richard Wesley.

The decision is considered as a defeat for the US Department of Justice as the government had hoped to sell the building for nearly one billion dollars.

Also in 2014, US District Judge Katherine Forrest granted authority to federal prosecutors to confiscate the building. However, an appeals court reversed that ruling in 2016.

Established in 1978, the non-profit organization has been working to advance the Islamic and Persian culture in the US.

The assets of the Alavi Foundation includes the building in Manhattan, as well as Islamic centers consisting of schools and mosques in New York City, Maryland, California, Texas and Virginia.

Without rent from the office building, the Alavi Foundation would have almost no way to continue supporting the Islamic centers.

American legal scholars say they know of only a few cases in US history in which law enforcement authorities have seized a house of worship.

The organization has also given millions of dollars to American schools, universities and charitable organizations; among them Harvard, Columbia and Rutgers university.

August 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia | , | 2 Comments

Right On Cue, Indian Media Blames Pakistan For The Sri Lankan Terrorist Attacks

The Cheap Shot That The Whole World Saw Coming

By Andrew Korybko | EurasiaFuture | 2019-04-24

It was only a matter of time before Indian media predictably blamed Pakistan for the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks, which just happened earlier this week in a piece by Vicky Nanjappa for “Oneindia” about “How ISI radicalised Sri Lanka through the Pakistan High Commission“. The writer wasted no time in reminding the reader about a years-long scandal in Sri Lanka initiated by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) and claiming that a Pakistani diplomat on the island nation was responsible for plotting a Mumbai-style attack in South India, never mind the fact that the allegedly masterminded incident that this was being based on was actually a false flag. In fact, it can be argued that one of the consequences of the Mumbai attacks is that India capitalized on the manufactured notion that Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency was behind it in order to portray its rival as a regional bogeyman who all of South Asia had to be suspicious of from then on out, so it’s logical in hindsight why India’s RAW intelligence agency would also cook up a conspiracy about this in Sri Lanka in an attempt to weaken historically strong Pakistani-Sri Lankan relations.

Convoluted And Conspiratorial Claims

The enduring motivation to divide Pakistan from its regional partners and opportunistically misportray it as a “state sponsor of terrorism” is what’s also behind the latest attempt trying to connect it to the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks. Mr. Nanjappa reminds his reader about the fake news claims that the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Buddhist nationalist organization is supposedly being bankrolled by the ISI, which is more than likely another weaponized narrative that ultimately originated with RAW. According to Mr. Nanjappa’s far-reaching theory, the Pakistani diplomat supposedly responsible for organizing a Mumbai-style attack in South Asia also paid the BBS to incite anti-Muslim violence in order to improve the ISI’s recruitment prospects of local Muslims afterwards, with the clear innuendo being that this somehow makes Islamabad responsible for last weekend’s Easter suicide bombings. This convoluted narrative is understandably confusing for most people to follow, but for as much as it turns off readers from outside the region, it nevertheless is meant to be ultra-intriguing for its intended audience in South Asia, especially the Indian one.

Fearmongering For Votes

It can’t be forgotten that Prime Minister Modi is battling for his political life during his country’s ongoing month-long electoral process and that he’s hoping to win re-election on a platform that heavily emphasizes national security. India was just utterly humiliated, however, following the dogfight that it initiated with Pakistan in late February after the Bollywood-style “surgical strike”, which led to New Delhi’s rival capturing one of the downed pilots prior to releasing him as a gesture of peace and then Modi’s own Defense Minister later publicly contradicting her own government by admitting that not a single person was injured in the Balakot attack. For a political leader who prides himself on his notion of national security, these events were certainly embarrassing and reduced his dwindling credibility among the electorate, hence the need to distract voters with more fearmongering scandals in the meantime so that he can improve his re-election odds. Therein lays the relevance of the ridiculous claims that Pakistan is conspiring with Russia and China to wage Hybrid Wars against the entire world and specifically India, respectively.

The BJP’s Hybrid War On India

In reality, these public accusations by the state and civil society are actually a form of Hybrid War in and of themselves, one that’s being waged not only on the minds of the international audience that India intends to trick into thinking that Pakistan is a “state sponsor of terrorism” and therefore should be subject to unilateral US sanctions and multilateral UN ones, but also against its own citizens who these perception management practitioners want to imbue with a deep sense of fear that they can then exploit to mislead their targets into thinking that India can only be protected by re-electing Modi and continuing his “muscular” foreign policy. I predicted in my piece earlier this week about my “Initial Assessment Of The Terrorist Attacks In Sri Lanka” that “it’ll be tempting for some [international forces] to imply that their rivals’ intelligence agencies might have had a hand in the latest events, or at the very least present themselves as super tough on terrorism for domestic political reasons (e.g. Modi during the elections)” which is exactly what India is now doing.

Political Purposes

India’s “Hindi Heartland/Cow Belt”, the stronghold of the BJP’s support, has yet to go to the polls but is about to real shortly in the election’s upcoming phases, so spinning the narrative that Pakistan might have indirectly had a hand in the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks is meant to ensure that as many of Modi’s supporters come out to vote as possible in order to help him win this neck-and-neck election. As an added benefit, New Delhi would be delighted if the Sri Lankan media picked up on Mr. Nanjappa’s piece and provoked one of their pro-Indian politicians to publicly praise it and/or demand an investigation into what India is framing as “Pakistan’s Hybrid War” in the country. Even better, since his article was written in English, international media further abroad might republish it too, especially some of the forces that have an interest in sparking a so-called “Clash of Civilizations”. It would be a dream come true for Modi if these weaponized fake news claims eventually made it to the UN, too.

Concluding Thoughts

It’s unsurprising that an Indian writer decided to opportunistically spin a convoluted and conspiratorial story purporting to link Pakistan’s ISI to the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks since the fake news claims and attendant innuendo being put forth appeal to the preconceived notions of the BJP’s base and will probably succeed in improving voter turnout for this constituency during the next phases of the country’s ongoing month-long electoral process. The introduction of this weaponized narrative into the Internet’s information ecosystem also carries with it the chance that it’ll be picked up by Sri Lankan media and consequently provoke a pro-Indian politician there to publicly praise the piece in order to trigger a crisis in Pakistani-Sri Lankan relations. Moreover, it’s too early to rule out the possibility of other forces republishing it with the intent of intensifying the so-called “Clash of Civilizations”, which might have the horrifying effect of inspiring right-wing “reprisal” attacks against the Western-based Pakistani diaspora in an attempt to trigger more inter-civlizational violence that would superficially advance this false divide-and-rule narrative.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Islamophobia, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Oh, the Irony: Fake Watchers Make False Claim About Sputnik’s ‘Fake News’

Sputnik – April 19, 2019

PolitiFact, a non-profit fact-checking project, has apparently landed in hot water after it pounced upon an opportunity to debunk a “fake” photo related to the Notre-Dame de Paris blaze, which turned out to be real.

The object of their attention was a photo of the cathedral ablaze that was published by Sputnik France and features, among other things, two smiling men slipping under a police barricade.

PolitiFact claims, citing the head of National Center for Media Forensics at University Colorado Denver, that “the two front persons” were inserted into the photo, and that the allegedly altered image “has been used to support claims that the cathedral fire was a terrorist attack and fuelled anti-Muslim rhetoric”.

The picture was initially pulled from Sputnik France’s live web coverage of the Notre Dame fire and shared over social media. The controversy was sparked as the picture did not contain a company logo or a watermark at the time of its publication. Several users, including notorious bloggers such as Pamella Geller, claimed that the photo depicted ‘Muslims laughing as blaze destroys Notre Dame cathedral during Holy Week’.

Screenshot of Pamela Geller post on Facebook
© Photo: Pamela Geller/ Facebook
Screenshot of Pamela Geller post on Facebook

Meanwhile, some media outlets accused Sputnik of being the source of ‘hate speech’, prompting Sputnik France chief editor Natalia Novikova to lash out against the grievous allegations and the detractors’ unfair evaluation of the image.

When Sputnik France chief editor Natalia Novikova berated Aude Lorriaux for her comments about the image and Sputnik as a news agency, the latter deleted her tweet.

As Novikova pointed out, the picture in question was merely one of several photos snapped by a Sputnik correspondent covering the tragedy, and his attention wasn’t even focused on the “smiling men”:

“The picture was published without any comments about who these men were or what were they smiling about. They did not attract the attention of our correspondent neither during the photo shoot, nor when the photo was published”.

She also remarked that the news agency was quite surprised by the fact that some, apparently, see fit to “speculate about the religious beliefs of these two men based on their appearance only”.

“We’re saddened by the fact that some media used this photo for their questionable purposes, and that they spend time on sifting through a hundred of published photos to find an example of ‘Russian menace’”, she added.

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Islamophobia, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

Like America With Russiagate, India Is Now Obsessed With Pakistangate

By Andrew Korybko | EurasiaFuture | 2019-04-11

The Indo-American Strategic Partnership has rapidly progressed to such a point that the South Asian state is now copying some of the same conspiracy theories as its new patron, though instead of India being obsessed with suspected Russian interference in its elections like America was, its people can’t stop talking about its imaginary Pakistani variant.

Pakistangate

Pakistani Prime Minister Khan made global headlines earlier this week when he said that it might be easier for his country to clinch peace talks with India and resolve the Kashmir Conflict if Modi wins re-election after his country’s month-long electoral process concludes at the end of May. This took many Indians completely off guard who had hitherto been preconditioned by none other than the ruling BJP itself to think that Pakistan was “meddling” in their elections in order to support the opposition Congress party and their coalition allies. The Pakistani leader explained his initially surprising position by rationally noting how it would be less likely that right-wing forces would oppose any BJP-led peace talks unlike the spoiling effect they could have if left-leaning Congress attempted to initiate the same, which makes sense upon further contemplation and is actually a very wise observation.

From -Gate To -Gate

Instead of being interpreted as such, however, India’s “confirmation bias” on all sides caused it to continue cannibalizing itself over the entirely speculative issue of “who Pakistan really supports”, with practically all parties refusing to believe that their neighbor is just sitting on the sidelines watching in awe as the Indian political class tears itself apart over this issue and discredits their claim to being the self-professed “world’s largest democracy”. Interestingly, what’s unfolding in India at the moment with Pakistangate is very similar to what has been taking place in its military-strategic partner over the past couple of years with Russiagate. This suggests that the vassal state is copying some of the same conspiracy theories as its new patron, including the role that elements of its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) are playing in this process.

“Deep State” Meddling

Democratic-friendly elements of the American “deep state” essentially entrapped Carter Page, after which they consequently used this false flag as the pretext for “justifying” a far-reaching FISA surveillance operation against the entire Trump campaign which then sought to exploit its “six degrees of separation” from Russia to concoct a weaponized narrative that ultimately failed to prevent him from winning the election and then later getting him overthrown through a de-facto coup. Something along the same lines happened with the BJP-friendly elements of the Indian “deep state” that “passively facilitated” the Pulwama incident which was later blamed on Pakistan and used as the pretext for “justifying” a so-called “surgical strike” against it that also miserably failed in what it sought out to do, though it nevertheless succeeded in making Indians hysterical about anything to do with Pakistan.

Witch Hunts

The BJP has even gone as far as to imply that all dissidents who disagree with its official version of events are treasonous, which is reminiscent of how the then-ruling Democrats suggested that anyone supporting Trump was either under the influence of “Russian propaganda” or a “Russian bot” if they were expressing their views in cyberspace. Just as Russia became a convenient scapegoat for the pro-incumbent elements of the American “deep state” to centralize their power behind the scenes and meddle in their own country’s elections, so too has Pakistan been abused to serve the same purpose vis-a-vis the pro-incumbent elements of the Indian “deep state”, with both of their permanent bureaucracies presently in the process of merging their narratives into a geopolitically weaponized one ridiculously alleging that Russia and Pakistan are jointly waging “hybrid wars” across the world.

Concluding Thoughts

It therefore shouldn’t be surprising that India’s “deep state” is copying its American counterpart’s Russiagate conspiracy theory and remixing it with a national touch to produce Pakistangate in pursuit of the exact same purpose of remaining in power, though just like with its inspiration, this might ultimately end up backfiring against its practitioners since it’s impossible to control chaotic processes once Pandora’s Box has been opened. In any case and regardless of the eventual electoral outcome, the Indian and American “deep states” will continue to converge into a single unipolar shadow entity dedicated to the shared objective of stopping multipolarity, using the “bonding experience” of their respective manufactured -gate conspiracies to accelerate this ongoing process and ensure that the Indo-American Strategic Partnership is one of the Eastern Hemisphere’s most geopolitically disruptive developments this century.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Islamophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Brunei Has Never Executed Anyone And This is Unlikely to Change

By Adam Garrie | Eurasia Future | 2019-04-07

Since 2014, the small south east Asian Sultanate of Brunei has been amending its penal code to reflect letter and spirit of Islamic law. Crucially, the Islamic law that forms the basis of the revised penal code will only apply to instances involving Muslims. This means that non-Muslim tourists in Brunei will still be subject to the same British penal law that Brunei had erstwhile enforced throughout its territory since becoming an independent state in 1984.

Most notably, because the British penal laws of many post-colonial states were never amended to reflect contemporary developments in the UK itself, countries like Brunei prohibited homosexual relations not due to Islamic law but due to post-colonial British laws. It was only in 1967 that homosexual relations were made legal in England and Wales. In 1980, homosexual relationships were made legal in Scotland whilst in 1982 the same became law in Northern Ireland. Even today, the UK’s legal system is not monolithic when it comes to the issue of same-sex rights under the law. Most notably, whilst same-sex marriage is legal in Great Britain, it remains illegal in Northern Ireland.

It is against this context that one must view contemporary legislative developments in Brunei. It is likewise true that just as Brunei inherited Britain’s laws regarding homosexuality, the country also inherited British laws regarding capital punishment. In fact, the last time that someone was executed on the soil of Brunei it was whilst the Sultanate was under British rule. This hanging took place in 1957 and there has not been a single execution in Brunei since. This means that in the history of Brunei as a post-colonial independent state, the death penalty has never been used and there is no reason to believe this will change.

It is a further misnomer that Brunei revised its penal code to specifically target homosexuals. The year-by-year shift from a British corpus of criminal law to an Islamic one has been one that covers all areas of the law. It just so happens that the Islamic legal view on homosexual relations has caught the eye of the international media whilst other elements of Brunei’s revised penal code have not. That being said, the illegality of same-sex relations is not new in Brunei, the issue has simply gone from one that was governed by a largely Victorian British conception of justice to one governed by a strict Islamic conception of justice.

For all intents and purposes however, the situation on the ground in Brunei will not change. Just as technically homosexuality remains illegal in Singapore although the law is openly not enforced, in Brunei there will not be any acts of violence against homosexuals in the small Sultanate whose indigenous population is a mere 428,697 people.

These are the facts – facts which have been woefully misinterpreted by so-called responsible media outlets.

April 7, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment