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Bethlehem Mayor: Netanyahu Statement on Palestinian Christians is Another Attempt at Distorting the Reality of Occupation

IMEMC News & Agencies – October 16, 2018

Mayor of Bethlehem, advocate Anton Salman said, in response to Sunday’s statements by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Bethlehem and the situation of Palestinian Christians, that such a statement “is another Israeli attempt at distorting the reality of the Israeli occupation and particularly the effects that Israeli policies have had on the Palestinian Christian community since 1948.”

“If Mr. Netanyahu was concerned about the situation of Palestinian Christians, particularly in the Bethlehem area, he would return the 22,000 dunams of Bethlehem land illegally annexed to Israel for expansion of colonial settlements. He would dismantle the annexation wall that divides Bethlehem from Jerusalem, for the first time in 2000 years of Christianity, and would stop imposing restrictions to Palestinian movement, including the thousand of Palestinian Christians living in exile and whose return is impossible due to the Israeli control over the Palestinian population registry,” said the mayor in a statement issued by the Bethlehem municipality.

He continued, according to WAFA : “For example, in Jordan alone, a few kilometers away, there are at least 20,000 Palestinian Christians from the Bethlehem area that are denied family unification and even cannot enter the city, not even to celebrate Christmas, due to the Israeli military restrictions.

“We would like to remind Mr. Netanyahu that it was himself who supported the building of one of the most damaging colonial-settlements that surround Bethlehem, Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa), and that, in 2015, he declared that by doing so he is preventing the connection between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.”

There are over 100,000 Israeli settlers surrounding Bethlehem from all sides, reducing the area of Palestinian control over Bethlehem to less than 13% of the district, and making it impossible to plan for the future of our city, said the statement.

Furthermore, it was Mr. Netanyahu who voiced objection to declaring the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route as a World Heritage site and his policies of harassment were behind the decision of the churches to close the church of the Holy Sepulcher for three days in Jerusalem in objection to church taxation policy, added the statement.

“His comment was also full of historical inaccuracies. It is shameful that while calling himself a ‘protector of Christianity’, he would use Christians as a tool for his Islamophobic talking points. The decrease in percentage of Christians in Bethlehem, as well as in the rest of Palestine, was provoked with the Nakba of 1948 and ongoing due to Israel’s colonial plans and policies that started in 1967.”

He said that this was also the case in West Jerusalem, from where a large Palestinian Christian community was expelled by Israel from Ein Karem, Talbiya, Qatamon, and other places. From 31,000 Christians in 1948, Jerusalem only has around 12,000 Christians today.

“We would like to advise Mr. Netanyahu to stop using Christians as a tool to pinkwash the occupation. The best he could do for a future of peace and coexistence, where the Christian community would thrive again, it is to respect his obligations under international law, including Security council resolutions 478 on Jerusalem and 2334 on settlements, dismantling illegal colonial-settlements and the annexation wall surrounding Bethlehem, including in the Cremisan Valley, fully end the occupation of Palestine and allow for the return of our people to their city. It is not the Palestinian government that prevents their return Mr. Netanyahu; It is your government.”

He said: “I would like to use this occasion to call upon the heads of the churches in Jerusalem as well as to the Holy See to raise their voices against the use of religion for political purposes. It cannot be tolerated anymore that the bible is used wrongfully in order to justify crimes and violations that go against the teachings of values spread by our lord Jesus Christ.”

October 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

“Just Another Mother Murdered”

Palestinian children weep in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip (July 15, 2014)

A dozen years ago Alison Weir described how U.S. media ignored a Palestinian death… This pattern has persisted year after year after year… 

By Alison Weir – If Americans Knew October 6, 2006

Almost no one bothered to report it. A search of the nation’s largest newspapers turned up nothing in USA Today, the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Chicago Sun-Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Houston Chronicle, Tampa Tribune, etc.

There was nothing on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, NPR, Fox News. Nothing.

The LA Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Associated Press each had one sentence, at most, telling about her. All three left out the details, the LA Times had her age significantly off, and the Washington Post reported that she had been killed by an Israeli tank shell.

It hadn’t been a tank shell that had killer her, according to witnesses. It had been bullets, multiple ones, fired up close.

Neighbors report that Israeli soldiers had been beating her husband because he wasn’t answering their questions. Foolishly or valiantly, how is one to say, the 35-year-old woman had interfered. She tried to explain that her husband was deaf, screamed at the soldiers that her husband couldn’t hear them and attempted to stop them from hitting him. So they shot her. Several times.

Her name was Itemad Ismail Abu Mo’ammar.

She didn’t die, though. That took longer. It required her life to flow out of her in the form of blood for several hours, as Israeli soldiers refused to allow an ambulance to transport her to help. Her husband and children could do nothing to save her.

Finally, after approximately five hours, an ambulance was allowed to take her to a hospital, where physicians were able to render one service: pronounce her dead, a few days before the commencement of Ramadan, a season of family gatherings much like the Christmas season for Americans. She left 11 children. None of this was in the Washington Post story, which had reported her death in one half of one sentence.

Her husband’s brother, who lived in the same house, was also killed. He was a 28-year-old farmer.

Why did this all happen? The family lived behind a resistance fighter wanted by Israel. They were simply “collateral damage” in a failed Israeli assassination/kidnapping operation.

All together, five Palestinians were killed that day. The other three were young shepherds killed in another area, two 15 years old and one 14, who seem to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gaza.

None of this was reported in most of America’s news media, and so the American public never learned about a mother bleeding to death in front of her children, or young shepherds being blown to pieces. Apparently, it just wasn’t newsworthy.

A Case Study of “Good” News Coverage

The Washington Post at least mentioned these deaths, so perhaps those who care about journalistic standards should laud the Post for its coverage.

And yet, the Post in its short report got so much so wrong.

In addition to misreporting Itemad’s cause of death and omitting critical facts, the Post’s story portrayed the entire context incorrectly, telling readers that these five deaths had broken a period of “relative calm.”

The fact is that while it was true that in the previous six months not a single Israeli child had been killed by Palestinians, during this period Israelis had killed 75 Palestinian young people, including an 8-month-old and several three-year-olds.

I phoned the Post and spoke to a foreign editor about the need to run a correction, providing information on Itemad’s murder. The editor said that she would pass this on to their correspondent (who is based in Israel), but explained that it was “impossible for him to go to Gaza.” When I disagreed, she amended the “impossible” to “very difficult.” She neglected to mention that the Post has access to stringers in Gaza available to check out any incident the editors deem important.

Next, I wrote a letter to the paper containing the above information. Happily, the Post letters department apparently checked it out and decided it was a good letter. They sent an email informing me that they were considering my letter for publication and needed to confirm that I was the one who had written it, and that I had not sent the information elsewhere.

I replied in the affirmative, we exchanged a few more messages, and everything appeared on target. Normally, when publications contact you in this way, your letter is published shortly thereafter. I waited in anticipation. And waited.

It is now almost two weeks after their report, and I have just been informed that the paper has decided not to print my letter. The Post has apparently determined that there is no need to run a correction.

I think I understand.

Although the Washington Post’s statement of principles proclaims, “This newspaper is pledged to minimize the number of errors we make and to correct those that occur… Accuracy is our goal; candor is our defense,” the American Society of Newspaper Editors clarifies these ethical requirements: corrections need only be printed when the error of commission or omission is “significant.”

And, after all, these were only Palestinians, and it was just another mother dead.


Alison Weir is the founder and executive director of If Americans Knew. She is the author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel


Another Palestinian mother has just been killed. For a list of Palestinian and Israeli women killed see this Timeline.

October 15, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

United States Did It Again: Warplanes Use White Phosphorous Munitions in Syria

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 14.10.2018

The US-led coalition used white phosphorus (WP) munitions delivering air strikes in the Syrian province of Deir Ez-Zor on Oct.13. The attack resulted in casualties among civilians. Last month, WP munitions were also used by two US Air Force (USAF) F-15s in an attack on the town of Hajin, Deir-ez-Zor. The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the US-led coalition, which says the need to fight ISIS justifies its military actions while denying the fact it uses white phosphorous projectiles.

WP does not fall into the category of chemical weapons banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention but it is an incendiary weapon. As such, it cannot be used against non-combatants. Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons “prohibits the use of said incendiary weapons against civilians (already forbidden by the Geneva Conventions) or in civilian areas”. The substance ignites spontaneously upon contact with air, producing a dense white smoke. The heat could reach 800-900°C. No water will help. Severe injuries to internal organs could be caused when absorbed through skin, ingested, or inhaled. Burning particles of white phosphorus produce thermal and chemical burns if they come into contact with skin.

It’s not Syria only where the US used WP munitions. White phosphorous artillery shells were used in Iraq during the assault on Fallujah in 2004. The US admitted the fact. There have also been media reports about the WP use in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. Last year, the Washington Post published photographs of US Marines equipped with white phosphorus projectiles to be used in the battle for Raqqa. The source offered similar pictures showing WP munitions with US Army units outside Iraqi Mosul.

The Human Rights Watch has warned about dangers coming from the use of WP in urban areas. According to Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch, “No matter how white phosphorus is used, it poses a high risk of horrific and long-lasting harm in crowded cities like Raqqa and Mosul and any other areas with concentrations of civilians.”

In 2015, the United States used depleted uranium (DU) in Syria. DU is not banned by an international treaty but its use runs counter to the International Humanitarian Law (IHW). Article 36 of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions requires to ensure that “any new weapon means or method of warfare does not contravene existing rules of international law.” It says “General principles of the laws of war/IHL prohibit weapons and means or methods of warfare that cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, have indiscriminate effects or cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment.” In 2012, the UN General Assembly tried to adopt a resolution restricting the use of DU. The move was supported by 155 states, with 27 abstaining and four, including the United States, voting against.

The American military has used cluster bombs against civilians in Yemen. The US is not one of the 102 states parties to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the weapons that open in the air, dispersing multiple bomblets or submunitions over a wide area. Many submunitions fail to explode on initial impact, acting like landmines for years. The Pentagon refuses to give cluster munitions and American field commanders are authorized to use them at their discretion.

The US continues to run biological programs, operating more than 20 laboratories around the world in blatant violation of the UN Biological Weapons Convention. An opinion paper published on Oct. 4 in the journal Science, written by an international group of researchers claims the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is potentially developing insects as a means of delivering a “new class of biological weapon.”

In 2011, US police used tear gas and other chemical irritants against Occupy protesters. Tear gas is prohibited for use against enemy soldiers in battle by the Chemical Weapons Convention but it’s all right with America’s law enforcement agencies using the dangerous substance against their own people.

There is no justification for using WP at the time ISIS has been reduced to insignificance in Syria but Washington did it again. It violated international law after having unilaterally imposed sanctions on Russia without any evidence to support the relevant accusations. It should also be remembered that, unlike Russia, the US has so far failed to meet its obligations and destroy the chemical weapons stockpile. The use of substances to harm civilians is a serious matter that should be addressed at the ongoing 79th session on UN General Assembly. America’s non-compliance with generally accepted norms is the most acute problem on the international security agenda.

October 14, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Israeli historian thinks 1956 massacre was part of a secret plan to expel Palestinians

Issachar “Yiska” Shadmi, right, following his show trial.
If Americans Knew | October 13, 2018

Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reports that the highest Israeli officer tried for Israel’s 1956 Kafr Qasem massacre admitted before his death that his trial was staged to protect military and political elites.

Israeli historian Adam Raz believes that a secret plan to transfer Israel’s Arabs was behind the 1956 attack, in which Israeli soldiers shot dead 19 men, 6 women, and 23 children (some reports give the total killed as 51). They were allegedly killed because they had violated an Israeli imposed curfew, of which they were unaware.

Palestinian villagers killed by Israeli forces in Kafr Qasim, October 29, 1956

The Israelis who perpetrated the massacre were courtmartialed and convicted, but their sentences were soon commuted, they received presidential pardons and were released from jail. Some were awarded desirable jobs; Ben Gurion appointed the batallion commander head of security at the Dimona nuclear reactor.

The most senior defendant, Col. Issachar Shadmi, commander of the brigade in charge of the area, was fined 10 pennies for exceeding authority.

Issachar “Yiska” Shadmi, after his trial, holding the 10-prutot coin he had to pay as a fine.

Until his death last month at the age of 96, Shadmi lived in a spacious home in an upscale neighborhood of Tel Aviv.

Ha’aretz journalist Ofer Aderet interviewed Shadmi in 2017.

During the interview Shadmi said that the 1958 court case was “a show trial, staged in order to keep Israel’s security and political elite – including Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan, and GOC Central Command (and later chief of staff) Tzvi Tzur – from having to take responsibility for the massacre.”

The trial, Aderet reports, “was intended to mislead the international community with regard to Israel’s ostensible pursuit of justice.”

Shadmi said: “They explained to me that they needed to put me on trial, because if I had tried in my own country and convicted, even if I was fined only a penny, I wouldn’t go to The Hague…. If they didn’t prosecute me… I would be tried at The Hague. And that is something that neither I nor the country were interested in.”

Aderet writes that Shadmi said he was well compensated as a civilian for going along with the show trial: “I turned into a major Defense Ministry building contractor.”

Israeli historian Adam Raz has filed a lawsuit demanding that Israel declassify documents relating to the affair. He says: “Most of the material is still classified. I was surprised to discover that it’s easier to write about the history of Israel’s nuclear program than about Israel’s policies regarding its Arab citizens.”

Raz believes that another reason for the show trial was to hide a secret program called “Operation Mole.” The goal was to expel Palestinians from the area. He says: “The public is familiar with the ‘Mole’ program only as a rumor.” says Raz; much of the documentation remains classified in the IDF archive.

Aderet writes: “Raz thinks one must see the Kafr Qasem massacre in this context: ‘The massacre wasn’t perpetrated by a group of soldiers who were out of control, as has been argued until today. From their point of view they were following orders, which in essence would lead to the expulsion of the villagers,’ he says. Or, in other words, they were operating in line with the directives of Operation Mole, as they understood them.”

Raz has written a book about the massacre scheduled to be published this month, but it appears it will only be available in Hebrew.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

US Coalition Strikes Syrian Town Using Banned White Phosphorus – Reports

Sputnik – October 13, 2018

The reported strikes are not the first time that the US-led coalition has been accused of using the banned munitions in recent weeks. Last month, the Russian military reported that US strikes using white phosphorus had resulted in major fires and civilian casualties in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ez-Zor.

The strikes, taking place Saturday across multiple districts in the town of Hajin, Deir Ez-Zor province, included the use of white phosphorus, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) has reported, citing local sources.

The agency did not provide any immediate information about possible civilian casualties.

Syrian television station Ikhbariya later reported that several people had been killed and several others injured following separate coalition strikes in al-Soussa, Deir Ez-Zor in an attack which hit a local bakery.

SANA said the strikes involving the use of white phosphorus appeared to have been carried out “under the pretext of fighting Daesh (ISIS).”

The coalition has not yet made any official commentary regarding the alleged incident.

This week, the United Nations’ humanitarian watchdog expressed concern regarding the safety of an estimated 10,000 civilians believed to be trapped in the Hajin area amid reports of civilian deaths during ongoing SDF and coalition operations in the area against Daesh.

Saturday’s incident was not the first suspected use of white phosphorus by the US-led coalition. Last month, the coalition denied using the substance in Syria after the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation issued a report of airstrikes carried out using the internationally-prohibited weapons by US F-15 fighter jets on September 8. Damascus has repeatedly accused the coalition of using white phosphorus in its attacks, charging Western forces of using the agent in strikes which have led to the deaths of multiple civilians, including children, last year.

Under Geneva Conventions, white phosphorus munitions are prohibited for use against civilians or in civilian areas.

US-led coalition operations in Syria are not sanctioned by Syrian government, nor the UN.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

‘Evidence’ Saudi-led coalition aims to destroy food production in Houthi-controlled Yemen – report

RT | October 13, 2018

As the war in Yemen rages on, a new report says there is “strong evidence” that the Saudi-led coalition has aimed to destroy food production and distribution in areas of the country controlled by Houthi rebels.

The report, titled ‘Strategies of the Coalition in the Yemen War: Aerial Bombardment and Food War’, is a compilation of data from various sources on the impact of the coalition’s bombing campaign on the production and distribution of food in rural Yemen, and on fishing along the Red Sea coast.

“If one places the damage to the resources of food producers (farmers, herders, and fishers) alongside the targeting of food processing, storage and transport in urban areas and the wider economic war, there is strong evidence that Coalition strategy has aimed to destroy food production and distribution in the areas under the control of Sanaa,” the report, published earlier this week by the World Peace Foundation, says.

It goes on to explain that the deliberate destruction of “family farming and artisanal fishing” is a war crime.

The report includes data collected by several organizations within Yemen, including the Yemen Data Project, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, and the Ministry of Fish Wealth.
Read more
Yemenis grieve beside the grave of a child killed in last month’s coalition airstrike on a school bus © Naif Rahma Pompeo says Saudi coalition exercising caution in Yemen – facts show that’s not true

“Together, the data detail the overall levels of targeting civilian, military and unknown sites… the systematic targeting of agricultural areas including the character of the site, and the frequency and timeline of targeting.”

It goes on to document the killing of fishermen along Yemen’s Red Sea coast, and the destruction of boats and infrastructure required to support small-scale fishing which “otherwise could provide life-saving food for a civilian population on the brink of famine.”

The report cites data from the General Authority of Fishing in the Red Sea when it states that 146 fishermen have died as a result of coalition airstrikes from the beginning of the war until December 2017.

Yemen has seen major civilian loss and suffering since the country’s civil war broke out in 2015, with many on the brink of starvation. The country has also endured a major cholera outbreak and a severe lack of medical supplies which has led to many cancer patients having to forego treatment.

Over 16,000 civilians are believed to have perished since the start of the civil war. Meanwhile, the UN and rights groups have repeatedly accused the Saudi-led coalition of not sparing the lives of civilians during its aerial bombardment of Yemen. Up to 50 people were killed when a wedding was bombed in April, while an attack on a bus saw dozens, including many children, die in August.
FILE PHOTO A displaced Yemeni woman from Hodeida cooks food outside a shelter © AFP / Essa Ahmed

The coalition has denied allegations that it is targeting civilians. It did, however, express regret over the bus attack. Such an admission is rare for the coalition, particularly after it previously referred to the bus attack as being “legitimate.”

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the conflict in Yemen in 2015, in an effort to restore the internationally recognized government after it was driven out by Houthi rebels.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 3 Comments

The Two Brett Kavanaugh Stories

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 11.10.2018

There were two simultaneous Brett Kavanaugh stories. Together, as part of the confirmation process regarding his nomination as Supreme Court Justice, they revealed how political discourse in the United States has reached a new low, with debate over the man’s possible predilection to make judgments based on his own preferences rather than the US Constitution being ignored in favor of the politically motivated kabuki theater that was deliberately arranged to avoid that issue and instead go after his character.

Consider first of all, his flaws as a candidate. He was regularly framed as a “conservative,” but what did that mean in the context of his career? Some of the critics are referring to his time spent as a government lawyer, specifically for the George W. Bush Administration, where he was a supporter of wide executive authority in the context of the war against terror while others point to his decisions and writings during his time as a US Circuit judge from 2006 until the present. That meant essentially that Kavanaugh then supported and apparently continues to support what is now referred to as the John Yoo doctrine, named after the Department of Justice lawyer who penned the memo that made the case for the president to act unilaterally to do whatever is required in national security cases even if there be no direct or immediate threat. Yoo specifically argued that the president, by virtue of his office, is not bound by the War Crimes Act. This theory of government, also more broadly dubbed the unitary executive, was popularized by Yoo, fellow government lawyer Jay Bybee and Eric Posner of the University of Chicago.

For those who find Kavanaugh unacceptable in terms of his judicial philosophy, this repudiation of the constitutional principle of three branches of government that check each other was enough to disqualify him from a position on the Supreme Court, principally as it impacts on both the first and second articles of the constitution by granting to the president the authority to both begin and continue a war on his own recognizance. It also means that the president on his own authority can suspend first and fourth amendment rights to freedom of speech and association as well as freedom from illegal search. He supported, for example, the government’s “right” to conduct mass searches of private data such as was conducted by the NSA. Kavanaugh supports government authority to legitimize incarceration without trial and to order assassinations and torture. Kavanaugh is also on record as favoring limiting the public’s right to use the courts to redress government overreach.

But curiously enough, or perhaps not so curiously, Kavanaugh was treated with kid gloves on those critical issues, basically because both major parties are now supportive of the unitary executive concept even if they would not admit that to be the case. Bill Clinton launched cruise missiles attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan on his own authority and involved the US in a war in the Balkans. George W. Bush did the same in approving torture and expanding the war on terror to Iraq and also globally, while Barack Obama attacked both the Syrian and Libyan governments and assassinated US citizens abroad, all acts of war or war crimes carried out without a congressional declaration of war or without any real pushback by the judiciary.

The failure of Congress to carry out its duty to review Kavanaugh’s ability or lack thereof to interpret the constitution impartially was the more important story line in the confirmation process but it was ignored by the media. The other narrative that ran simultaneously, the purely political attempt made by the Democrats and some Republicans to destroy Kavanaugh as a person through the exploitation of random claims of sexual assault dating from more than thirty-five years ago, was an attempt to discredit the candidate that everyone knew right from the beginning could not be substantiated.

This all means that the important issue of Kavanaugh’s likely comportment as a judge was subjected to too little inquiry while his character as evidenced by tales from his past life received far too much attention. Ironically, the media, which has been frantically searching for an explanation for the breakdown of democracy in the United States, has been pillorying the Russians and more recently the Chinese for outside interference in the process, while ignoring the intense public dissatisfaction with the government it has been allowed to have by the Establishment, which is exemplified by the dystopic reality demonstrated by Kavanaugh. Some Americans would have rejected him based on his merits as a judge, but the case was not clearly made. Many instead came to view him as a victim of a vicious personal campaign and that was apparently enough to win confirmation, at least as reckoned by the calculus of those in Congress who cast the actual votes. In either case, the system failed to produce a good result and we only have our polarized and dysfunctional government to blame for that failure.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, War Crimes | , , | 5 Comments

“Good” Bombing: NATO Op Against Yugoslavia Was a War Crime – Lawyer

By Ekaterina Blinova – Sputnik – 10.10.2018

Jens Stoltenberg’s claim that NATO “protected” Yugoslavia from the government of Slobodan Milosevic is nothing but propaganda, Christopher C. Black, a Toronto-based international criminal lawyer told Sputnik, stressing that NATO had no legal reason to attack Yugoslavia and de facto committed a war crime against the sovereign nation.

“The NATO attack on Yugoslavia has nothing whatsoever to do with protecting anyone since the claims made by NATO against the government of Yugoslavia were false and were just a pretext for their aggression,” says Christopher C. Black, a Toronto-based international criminal lawyer with 20 years of experience in war crimes and international relations.

Black’s comment comes in response to a statement made by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who told Serbia’s RTS: “We are aware in NATO that many people in Serbia still have bad memories about the bombing, the airstrikes in 1999. I stress that we did this to protect civilians and stop the Milosevic regime,” the NATO chief said.

“NATO countries had no legal right to bomb anyone for any reason as that is a violation of international law, the UN Charter, Nuremberg Principles etc.,” the scholar underscored. “Their attack was aggression and therefore a war crime and they committed war crimes during the attack.”

The NATO military campaign against sovereign Yugoslavia codenamed Operation Allied Force kicked off amid the Kosovo war (February, 1998 — June, 1999) between the country’s government forces and Albanian separatists. The alliance’s 78-day air raids resulted in 5,700 civilian deaths, infrastructural damages and contamination of the part of the region with depleted uranium.

Rambouillet Diktat: The Trigger for War

“The real reason NATO attacked is set out in the Rambouillet diktat presented by [then Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright to [then President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan] Milosevic in early 1999 that Yugoslavia must surrender its sovereignty and allow its total occupation by NATO forces and give up its socialist system for a free enterprise one,” Black said. “If Yugoslavia refused NATO promised to attack. The Yugoslav government had to refuse such a diktat and so NATO attacked.”

Rambouillet Accords envisaged the creation of a de facto independent entity in Kosovo which violated Yugoslavia’s independence and sovereignty.While the refusal to accept the unacceptable accord was used by the alliance as a trigger for the attack, there were several reasons behind NATO’s invasion, the lawyer explained.

“NATO wanted to establish a base in the Balkans against Russia, to take over mineral resources at the Trepca Mine complex in Kosovo and to destroy the last socialist state in Europe,” the legal practitioner said. “To justify their aggression they concocted the same types of lies against the government as they are now doing against Russia.”

Almost two decades after the NATO bombing, the Trepca mining and metallurgical complex in Kosovo still remains a bone of contention between Pristina and Belgrade. The complex is split between ethnic lines, however, in October 2016 the parliament of the self-proclaimed state of Kosovo voted to take control over the complex despite Serbia’s protests.

When commemorating the enterprise’s 90th anniversary in December 2017 — Europe’s largest lead-zinc and silver ore mine — Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stressed that Belgrade would continue to fight for it, dubbing the complex “a part of family and national heritage, a part of tradition,” as quoted by Serbian news outlet RTV B92.

NATO’s Expansion in the Balkans

Besides claiming that NATO bombed Yugoslavia to “protect it,” Stoltenberg drew attention to the “close partnership” between NATO and Serbia. Although he noted that the alliance respected Belgrade’s neutrality, the question arises whether that the North Atlantic military bloc is seeking to absorb Serbia in the long run, after admitting Montenegro and signaling readiness to let Macedonia join.

Commenting on the issue, the lawyer recalled that “the Yugoslav and Serbian government was overthrown in 2000 in a putsch organized by NATO forces and their fascist agents in the group called OTPOR and the DOS organizations which were NATO assets.”

He said that “the president [was] arrested on false charges and the government [was] taken over by the Quislings of the DOS group.” According to Black, these groups are still powerful in Serbia. They do not represent aspirations of the Serbian people, he stressed.

Manipulating the Judgments

Black, who has long criticized the imprisonment of Slobodan Milosevic at the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, stressed that the tribunal “manipulated the judgments to put out different stories as it suits them.”

“As I said above the NATO claims were pure propaganda. It was NATO that used force and massive force to destroy a nation that resisted its diktats,” the lawyer highlighted, calling the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) “a NATO tribunal under UN guise.”

“The point is that the charges against Milosevic were bogus, he proved it in his trial,” Black said.

The former Yugoslav president died in his prison cell on March 11, 2006 while on trial for war crimes at the ICTY. Although it was officially stated that Milosevic died from a heart attack the lawyer does not rule out that the ex-Yugoslav leader could have been killed, since “they did not want to release him and could not convict him.”

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

France sued for crimes against humanity over nuclear tests

Press TV – October 10, 2018

France will be facing the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity over a series of nuclear tests it had been conducting in the South Pacific for some three decades.

A French Polynesian opposition leader said a complaint has already been filed to “hold all the living French presidents accountable for the nuclear tests against,” conducted against Polynesia – French oversees territory in the South Pacific.

“It’s with a great sense of duty and determination that we filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court on October 2 for crimes against humanity,” Oscar Temaru said at the United Nations.

“We owe it to all the people who died from the consequences of nuclear colonialism,” he added.

France carried out 193 out of 210 nuclear tests from 1960 to 1996 in Polynesia. For decades, it had claimed that the explosions were controlled and clean and denied its responsibility for the health and environmental impacts of the testing.

Back in 2013, declassified documents of the defense ministry however revealed that extent of plutonium fall-out from the tests was kept hidden.

According to the documents, plutonium fallout hit the whole of French Polynesia, a much broader area than France had previously admitted.

French daily Le Parisien wrote at the time that the documents “lifted the lid on one of the biggest secrets of the French army.”

French Polynesia with a population of about 290,000 people is best known nowadays for its tourist island of Tahiti, which was exposed to 500 times the maximum accepted levels of radiation.

“We see French nuclear tests as no less than the direct result of colonization,” Temaru said, adding the testing was imposed upon the islanders “with the direct threat of imposing military rule if we refused.”

Temaru said France has “ignored and shown contempt” for repeated offers since 2013 to come to the table under supervision of the United Nations.

Earlier this year, French Polynesia’s nuclear test veterans organization, Moruroa e tatou, said only if France increases its compensation efforts 100 times, it will become credible that it takes the problem seriously.

Marking the 52nd anniversary of the first of the weapons tests, the organization said in July that despite confessions from France it was working on compensation for victims of the weapons test, the process was not functioning as it should.

It said France has been considering only four cases this year, while 100 times more cases would have to be dealt with.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

US foreign military sales for 2018 total $55.66B, up 33 percent

Press TV – October 9, 2018

Sales of US military equipment to foreign governments have increased by 33 percent compared to the previous year’s total, a US administration official says.

Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told Reuters on Tuesday that the US foreign military sales hit 55.6 billion dollars in the fiscal year ending September 30.

According to Reuters, the increase in foreign military sales came in part because the Trump administration rolled out a new “Buy American” plan in April that relaxed restrictions on sales while encouraging US officials to take a bigger role in increasing business overseas for the US weapons industry.

Hooper said the $55.6 billion figure represented signed letters of agreement for foreign military sales between the United States and allies.

The United States sold over $40 billion worth of weapons last year, maintaining its position as the world’s dominant arms supplier.

A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) revealed in March that the US has increased its arms sales by 25 percent over the past five years.

It also said some half of US arms exports during that period have gone to the Middle East, and that Saudi Arabia registered a 225-percent rise in military purchases – almost all from the US and Europe.

Saudi Arabia was the first country US President Donald Trump visited after taking office last year. It was announced during his visit to Riyadh that Washington could sell $110 billion in military equipment to Saudi Arabia in a period of 10 years. The State Department said at the time that the deal could grow to $350 billion over a decade.

The massive arms sales come despite repeated international calls on the US to stop supporting the Saudis with modern weaponry, which the kingdom has, according to many reports, used in its devastating war on Yemen.

The White House has also been criticized by both human rights groups and US lawmakers in Congress from both political parties for allowing its Saudi ally to bomb Yemen.

Some 15,000 Yemenis have been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of the Saudi-led aggression in March 2015.

Washington has denied it is directly supplying the Saudis with weapons in the war but numerous reports have suggested that US arms have played a part in massive civilian casualties.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Russian Sappers Departing for Laos to Clear Country of US Bombs – Reports

Sputnik – 10.10.2018

MOSCOW – The bomb squad of the Russian Armed Forces’ International Mine Action Center will depart for Laos to help the country clear out remaining unexploded US bombs from the Vietnam War later on Wednesday, local media reported.

The squad consists of 36 people, according to the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper. The mission will last until March 2019, and will focus on clearing myriads of hard-to-find US bombs that pose a threat to local residents from the Laotian jungle, as chief of the engineer troops of the Russian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Yury Stavitsky said last week.

The United States dropped some 260 million bombs on Laos between 1964 and 1973, according to experts. The Vietnam war, which began in 1964 and ended in 1975, killed about 3 million Vietnamese and over 58,000 US nationals, as well as many people in adjacent countries, including Cambodia and Laos.

US Army investigators secretly confirmed over 300 war crimes committed by the US military, including murder, torture, rape, corpse mutilation and indiscriminate fire in civilian areas, according to the Crimes of War Education Project.

October 9, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Bombing to protect? RT documentary looks at reality of NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia

RT | October 8, 2018

NATO’s Secretary General has boldly defended the alliance’s 1999 bombing of former Yugoslavia as an act of humanitarianism, despite the dubious motives and devastating aftermath. RT took a more thorough look at the conflict.

Jens Stoltenberg told a group of students from Belgrade University that NATO bombed their country to “protect civilians and to stop the Milosevic regime,” adding that many Serbs have an incomplete picture of the bombing campaign.

But the truth may be a bit more complicated – and less flattering.

To mark the 15th anniversary of the bombing campaign, in 2014 two RT journalists – Anissa Naouai and Jelena Milincic – travelled across the former Yugoslavia and met with people who survived the 3-month bombing. In the process, they revealed the very different ways in which the war was portrayed – and perceived – in Serbia and abroad.

In contrast to Stoltenberg’s rosy description of the bombing campaign, Naouai and Milincic’s resulting documentary about their journey, ЗАШТО? (Why?), presents the unsettling truths about a 78-day bombardment that left hundreds of civilians dead.

October 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments