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Denmark announces increased military contributions and NATO support in Syria and beyond

By Sarah Abed | September 9, 2019

Denmark is recognized as one of the most socially and economically developed countries in the world, which enjoys a high standard of living as well as high metrics in national performance, protection of civil liberties, and the lowest perceived level of corruption in the world, has announced that it will be boosting military contributions to missions around the world, including joining the United States in its illegal and unauthorized deployment in northeastern Syria.

The sovereign and proud nation of Syria has neither invited nor does it accept any foreign invaders on its land and has repeatedly demanded that all foreign forces leave on their own before they are forced out. Syria is highly committed to liberating every inch of its land from terrorist control whether that be domestic or foreign, and protecting its territorial integrity.

On Friday, U.S. Department of Defense Chief Pentagon Spokesperson, Jonathan R. Hoffman provided the following statement on Denmark’s deployment to Syria:

“The United States welcomes the announcement by the Danish Government to make a military deployment to Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and to continue to share the burden and responsibilities of this important mission. As a founding member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, this deployment demonstrates Denmark’s continued commitment to working with our partners, to include the SDF, to ensure ISIS cannot re-emerge. Our Danish partners will work with the residual U.S. military force in northeast Syria to support stability and security. We look forward to working with our Danish ally to continue our shared mission of achieving ISIS’s enduring defeat-in Syria and wherever else the group may operate.”

The Nordic nation, along with its NATO allies; the United States, France, Britain, Turkey etc.  do not have authorization by the Syrian government nor the UN Security Council to even be in Syria, let alone carry out any military operations.

With the exception of Turkey, these foreign troops are seen as illegal invaders supporting a Kurdish-led separatist movement in northeastern Syria which is closely aligned with and supported by Israel and has even employed Daesh-like tactics during the war. The so called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is simply a rebranding by the US of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian offshoot of the Turkish based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and other NATO members, and has been in conflict with the Turkish government since 1984.

The US-led coalition has killed at least 1,319 civilians during its unauthorized operations in Syria and Iraq since 2014, by its own admission, although the actual number is most likely higher.

On Friday, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod stated that Denmark must lift its share of the burden as a member of NATO. Danish Minister of Defense Trine Bramsen said that she was proud that the country will be contributing to peace and stability in one of the world’s hotspots.

Ironically, Syria would not have become a “hotspot” if the US and their allies didn’t support terrorist factions and weren’t committed to “regime-change” for the past eight years.

In addition to sending support to the “Global Coalition against Islamic State” in northeast Syria, the Danish military will also be sending support to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, France’s mission in the Sahel, and a U.S. aircraft carrier group in the north Atlantic and Mediterranean seas, as well as increasing its contributions to NATO and as if that wasn’t enough there’s also talks of a possible deployment to an international maritime effort in the Strait of Hormuz. In response to calls from the U.K. and France for a “European-led maritime mission” in the Persian Gulf region which would probably be in addition to an increased U.S. presence.

“When we make new military contributions in the Sahel region and in Syria to the fight against ISIL, it is about more than immediate firefighting,” Danish Foreign Minister Kofod said Friday. Kofod also said, “We are working across several fronts to create security, stability, and – in the long term – a positive development in the immediate neighborhoods of Europe.”

The aforementioned “military contributions” including sending a “helicopter contribution of up to 70 people and one-to-two staff officers” to France’s Operation Barkhane in sub-Saharan Africa’s Sahel region, for the first time. As well as, sending a medical team consisting of fourteen members including doctors, nurses, therapists, and support staff to provide trauma care at a coalition base in northeastern Syria.

Denmark will also be sending a C-130J transport aircraft along with approximately 65 personnel as well as a staff contribution of up to 10 to MINUSMA, the United Nations stabilization mission in Mali.

Also, to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defense profile Denmark will be sending around 700 personnel to NATO missions, including a combat battalion, a “larger warship” and four fighter aircraft.

A frigate will be sent by Denmark to accompany a U.S. Navy carrier group for three months on an upcoming deployment in the Mediterranean and North America as well. It appears that building a closer and stronger cooperation with the U.S. is a priority for Denmark, maybe even more so than their supposed mission to strengthen maritime security.

Last December, U.S. President Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, stating we had won against ISIS and called on other nations to step in. His plans were derailed and currently there exists a fair amount of British and French troops in addition to U.S. Special Operations Forces who have trained and advised the SDF in the northeastern region. France and the U.K have stated during the past few months, that they will increase their presence.

Some are questioning whether Denmark’s surprise announcement to deploy troops to Syria is an attempt to make amends with President Donald Trump. After refusing to sell him Greenland, Trump canceled his trip to Denmark.

Sarah Abed is an independent journalist and analyst.

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Israel is sowing the seeds of war in South Sudan

MEMO | September 6, 2019

In 2015 – two years after a devastating civil war broke out in South Sudan that pushed millions to the brink of starvation – the South Sudan government launched a multi-million dollar agricultural project called Green Horizon. The aim of the project was to develop farms so that South Sudan could feed its people and produce surplus for export.

The tender for the much-needed project was awarded to Israel Ziv, a former Israeli army operations director who touted Israeli experience in agricultural development. It was Ziv’s sole such venture anywhere in the world.

Rather than fighting hunger, however, Green Horizon was instead used to fuel the deadly conflict between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy and fellow rebel leader, Riek Machar.

In July, Juba-based investigative journalist, Sam Mednick, reporting for the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), revealed how Ziv transferred at least $140 million to South Sudan’s central bank for the sale of Israeli weapons to the government. Ziv used his contacts within South Sudan’s Defence and Agricultural Ministries, the Israeli Ministry of Defence, and commodity trading firm, Trafigura. The weapons included rifles, grenade launchers and shoulder-fired rockets.

Israel Ziv, a former Israeli army operations director [Wikipedia]

Former Israeli army operations director Israel Ziv [Wikipedia]

Ziv’s dirty history

In 2016, Israeli media revealed that Ziv was helping President Kiir whitewash his reputation after the UN found his government permitted soldiers to use rape as a weapon of war.

Another investigation showed how Ziv’s company had been involved in security deals in South Sudan, as opposed to agricultural projects as he maintained.

In December 2018, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Ziv for his role in extending a conflict that has claimed 400,000 lives and left four million displaced.

Weapons as diplomacy

Ziv’s shady dealings and dirty history is representative of Israel’s approach to diplomacy in Africa. “For decades, Israel has invested very little in its formal diplomacy in the continent and has instead relied on various private entrepreneurs and intermediaries to sustain its relationships with African leaders,” says Yotam Gidron, whose forthcoming book, “Israel in Africa”, focuses on Israel’s relationships with African countries.

Arms exports to African countries are a fundamental component of Israel’s diplomacy on the continent and its attempt to counter criticism of its brutal occupation of Palestine, says Gidron. Ziv is the personification of the middle-man approach to diplomacy that Israel has employed on the continent.

Cultivating conflict

Israel has a long, bloody history in South Sudan.

Since South Sudan gained its independence in 2011, Israel has continuously sold it weapons, surveillance technology and provided military training and homeland security – most of which have ultimately been used to commit war crimes.

In 2015, the UN Security Council adopted a ban on weapons sales to the warring sides. A committee, established to monitor the implementation of the ban, found thatboth sides in the country’s civil war were managing to buy arms despite the weapons ban.

The damning report showed photographic evidence of Israel’s ACE assault rifles in the arsenal of South Sudan’s government and opposition forces.

Israel also sold wiretapping equipment to South Sudan after the civil war broke out. This equipment was used to identify and arrest opponents of the government and journalists. According to Israeli attorney and activist, Eitay Mack, Israel not only installed the listening equipment for the South Sudanese government, but also continued to operate it via Israeli technicians stationed in South Sudan.

Israeli officials assured the UN that Israel would suspend transfers of lethal equipment to any party in South Sudan. Yet, the Defence Export Control Agency (DECA) at the Israeli Ministry of Defence continued to grant export licenses to Israeli weapons companies to sell lethal weapons through Ziv and Green Horizon – in violation of EU, US and UN embargoes. In a throwback to its arming of apartheid South Africa, Israel showed that it had no problem arming a regime that had been universally shunned.

Israel’s secret arms industry

In 2017, Mack, along with 54 Israeli activists, filed a petition with the Israeli High Court seeking an investigation into Israel’s exporting of arms to South Sudan. Israeli courts imposed gag orders on the case, maintaining the secrecy and murkiness around Israel’s arms export licensing process. Several freedom of information requests filed with Israel’s Defence Ministry have also been denied.

Israel recognises the economic benefits and diplomatic importance of exporting arms (that have been field-tested on Palestinians) to African countries. This is why the Israeli government fiercely protects weapons exports to Africa by stonewalling activists’ efforts at achieving greater transparency and public oversight of Israel’s military exports.

Israel’s lethal aid to Africa

While Israel’s Africa-based diplomats widely market Tel Aviv’s offers of water and agricultural technology that promise to liberate the continent from drought and food scarcity, they carefully conceal another, more lethal, aspect to Israel’s assistance to Africa: Israel has armed the most murderous regimes on the continent.

In the 1990’s, Israel violated the international arms embargo, and supplied the Hutu-dominated Rwandan government forces, as well as the rebel army led by Paul Kagame, with bullets, rifles and grenades as genocide was under way in that country. Israel also trained the Rwandan military and paramilitary forces in the years leading up to the bloodbath.

Israel also trains units guarding oppressive presidential regimes in Cameroon, Togo and Equatorial Guinea.

UN forces seen in South Sudan on 1 May 2018 [UNMISS/Flickr]

UN forces seen in South Sudan on 1 May 2018 [UNMISS/Flickr]

Israel and South Sudan: a special relationship

Israel’s current involvement in South Sudan is “exceptional” in its history of military exports says Mack. “This goes way beyond greed. Israel is currently fighting over the viability of a project that it has invested much in over the years.”

Although South Sudan is less than a decade old, its friendly relationship with Israel goes back to the 1960’s, when Mossad first provided military support to southern Sudanese rebels fighting for independence, says Yotam Gidron. Mossad even produced propaganda materials on behalf of the southern Sudanese rebel group, Anya-Nya, between 1969 and 1971.

Israel recognised South Sudan just 24 hours after it declared independence in 2011.

“For Israel, ties with South Sudan represented an avenue for curbing Arab and Iranian influence in the Horn of Africa, particularly since Sudan used to be Iran’s most important ally in this region. For South Sudan, close ties with Israel helped secure and maintain American sympathy and support, which partly explains why it continues to have one of the most pro-Israeli voting records in the UN of all African nations,” explains Gidron.

According to Eitay Mack, Israel must completely halt all military and security-related exports to South Sudan to guarantee that it is not complicit in war-crimes and crimes against humanity in Africa.

Given Israel’s own long history of war-crimes against Palestinians and violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territories, it is unlikely that Israel will do the right thing and stop feeding South Sudan’s conflict.

As the weapons and military training flow, so too will the blood.

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September 6, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

Euro-Med urges Switzerland not to yield to Israeli pressure

Palestine Information Center – September 5, 2019

GENEVA – The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor called on the Swiss federal parliament not to bow to Israeli pressure to suspend Swiss criminal legislation authorizing the country’s courts to prosecute Israeli politicians and military figures involved in war crimes against Palestinians.

The Euro-Med said in a statement that it views the visit with a great concern the Israeli delegation’s visit to Switzerland, headed by Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz and accompanied by a legal team to pressure the authorities to suspend a criminal legislation allowing bringing lawsuits against Israeli commanders and soldiers involved in violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories.

According to the Monitor, Switzerland was one of the first countries to include in its domestic legislation legal provisions allowing for the prosecution of perpetrators of major crimes if they were not tried by the International Criminal Court.

The law, passed by the Swiss National Council in 2009, aims to strengthen the exercise of universal jurisdiction in the country by making the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court a national law. The step, by then, aimed to strengthen the fight against impunity of perpetrators of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

The Swiss law is based on the principle of universal jurisdiction, which is the most flexible of judicial principles, since it does not require the existence of a close link between the suspect and the state in order to initiate the investigation. If a person violates the legal rules of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, they will prosecuted.

The Swiss domestic law allows the arrest of any suspect once entering the Swiss territory even if this person is not a resident or does not own property there.

Mohammed Imad, a legal researcher at the Euro-Med Monitor, said the visit of the Israeli delegation aims to face the rising human voices within a number of European countries calling for including in their countries’ legislation legal provisions that allow domestic courts to prosecute leaders and soldiers of the Israeli army involved in violations that may amount to war crimes, which were committed during attacks in the Palestinian Territories.

Imad urged the Swiss authorities to uphold their humanitarian legal stance against the Israeli violations targeting Palestinians and to reject any pressure that would affect the principle of criminal prosecution applied in the country.

Euro-Med pointed to several examples initiated by the Swiss judiciary, on the basis of its law that is based on universal jurisdiction. For instance, several human rights organizations concerned with the rights of Palestinians in Switzerland filed a lawsuit against former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert for war crimes during the 2008-2009 Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip.

As a result, Olmert canceled his trip to Switzerland, which was scheduled in July after warnings received from the Israeli attorney general that he might be arrested because of lawsuits against him.

In another example, a federal criminal court decided to detain the former Gambian interior minister, Osman Sonko, who sought refuge in Switzerland in 2017. He was believed to have personally supervised the torture of citizens during his tenure as interior minister between 2006 and 2016. He was arrested on the pretext of a report by an international organization accusing him of forming a torture group in Gambia.

Sonko is still being held to this moment in the Swiss prisons after rejecting claims that he had no links to torture in the Gambia.

Euro-Med called on the Swiss authorities to uphold their position regarding the prosecution of Israeli war criminals and urged the legislative authorities in the country to not bow to Israeli pressure.

The Euro-Med called on all European countries to follow the footsteps of Switzerland and include in their domestic legislation provisions that allow the prosecution of those involved in violations in conflict areas in contravention of international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

US Air Force launches surveillance flights in newly-built airfield in Niger

Press TV – August 17, 2019

US Air Force has launched flying operations from a recently constructed remote air base in the West African country of Niger in efforts to carry out intelligence gathering missions over the impoverished region.

“This joint-use runway allows for a better response to regional security requirements and provides strategic access and flexibility,” said commander of US Air Forces in Europe-Air forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA), Gen. Jeff Harrigian in a statement as quoted Friday in a report by the US-based Stars and Stripes military news outlet.

“Air Base 201 gives Niger and the US incredible capability in a challenging region of the world,” Harrigian added, referring to the 6,200-foot runway built by American forces in the southern Sahara Desert in Niger.

The USAFE-AFAFRICA commander further praised the American troops for completing the largest-ever, airmen-led construction project in Air Force history.

According to the report, Niger’s government granted authority to the US military for conducting armed drone flights over the country back in 2018, shortly after the ambush killing of four American soldiers in the country by alleged ISIL-linked militants in October 2017.

Citing a USAFE-AFAFRICA spokesman, the report further noted that construction on Niger’s Air Base 201 is still continuing, with full flying operations expected to begin later this year.

Air Force C-130 cargo planes and other aircraft on resupply missions, in coordination with the Nigerien air force and the country’s civil aviation authorities, began flying limited Visual Flight Rule (VFR) operations into and out of the air base on August 1, added a USAFE-AFAFRICA statement as cited in the report.

It further noted that VFR operations are conducted without instruments to assess an airfield before full flight operations begin, including drone missions.

The report also cited the US Air Force as saying that the $110-million airfield in Niger “is the most austere location from which the Air Force has attempted to operate,” noting that it was finished earlier this summer following delays caused by the challenges of working in a remote desert, “including sandstorms, locust swarms and difficulties in transporting supplies to the base in central Niger.”

US Africa Command says several militant groups operate in the border area between Niger, Nigeria and Chad, including ISIL in West Africa, which has emerged as a priority for the American forces in the region.

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

“US Causes Instability Anywhere It Sets Foot”

Al-Manar | July 20, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Saturday that the United States causes instability and insecurity everywhere in the world it sets foot, including the Persian Gulf and South America.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in the Venezuelan capital early Saturday after a six-day stay in New York.

Speaking to reporters upon arriving in Caracas, Zarif said that “anywhere the United States sets foot in, it causes instability there.”

“At the moment, the US is causing insecurity with its presence in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, and also the South American region,” said Zarif.

He went on to add that, “I don’t know any place in the world where the US’s presence has brought stability.”

“Anywhere the US has set foot on, it led to pressure on the people and caused extremism and terrorism,” stressed the Iranian top diplomat.

While in Caracas, Zarif is slated to take part in the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Coordinating Bureau (CoB) on 20-21 July under the theme: “Promotion and Consolidation of Peace through Respect for International Law.” He will also meet with a host of Venezuelan officials before making a visit to Nicaragua and Bolivia.

July 20, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli security, peace cannot be built on injustice of Palestinians

By Ramzy Baroud | The Star | June 22, 2019

In 1948 my grandfather, along with 3000 other Badrasawis, was expelled by Israeli military forces from our ancestral village of Beit Daras in Palestine.

Like hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from over 500 other villages, my grandfather assumed he would be back home in a few weeks. “Why bother to haul the good blankets on the back of a donkey, exposing them to the dust of the journey, when we know that we will return to Beit Daras in a week or so?” he asked my bewildered grandmother, Zeinab.

Beit Daras was located 32 kilometres north-east of the Gaza Strip, perched between a large hill and a small river that seemed never to run dry. A massacre took place as people fled the village. Houses were blown up, and wells and granaries sabotaged.

A peaceful village, that had existed for millennia, was completely destroyed with the intention of erasing it from existence. In its place now stands the Israeli towns of Giv’ati, Azrikam, and Emunim. The life of those Israeli towns is based on the death of our village.

Seventy years later, we have still not returned. Not just the Badrasawis, but millions of Palestinians, who are scattered in refugee camps all across the Middle East and a growing diaspora globally. Our good blankets have been lost forever, replaced with endless exile and dispossession.

The occupation of Palestine is not a “conflict” – as the Israelis like to present it. Israel is a colonial power that is ethnically cleansing an entire indigenous population in order to legitimise and grow its colony.

And like all people, we Palestinians have the right to resist colonial domination and occupation. This is an inalienable right enshrined in international law. ]

It is this right that justified Africa’s anti-colonial struggles and wars of liberation in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the American Revolution and the Cuban Revolution. This right also legitimates Palestinian resistance – whether that resistance is through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, prosecution of Israeli war criminals at the International Criminal Court, or through armed struggle.

Dedan Kimathi is celebrated as a hero to Kenyans because of his resistance to – not because of his subservience to – colonialism and occupation. The Mau Mau rebellion is a source of inspiration – not just for Kenyans – but for all of humanity.

Israel will claim its occupation of Palestine is self-defense; that its demolition of Palestinian homes, detention without trial policies, construction of illegal settlements, theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, are necessary for ‘security’. Israeli security and peace cannot be built on injustice and occupation – at the expense of Palestinian security, justice, dignity and peace. The life of one group should not be based on the death of the other.

Israeli military strikes on Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip are always portrayed as a “response” to Palestinian fire. But Palestinian fire is never contextualised. It is never “in return” for the cruel, years-long Israeli siege that has systematically destroyed Gaza’s economy and subjected an entire generation of Palestinian children to malnutrition-related deficiencies.

It is never “in return” for decades of devastating military occupation of Palestinian land and life. Fire from Gaza is never “in return” for the continued dispossession of historic Palestine which made most of the population in Gaza refugees in the first place.

The Palestinian liberation struggle is simply dismissed as “terrorism”. The word “terrorism” is readily applied to Palestinian individuals or groups who use homemade bombs, but never to a nuclear-armed Israeli state that has used white phosphorous, DIME bombs, and other internationally-prohibited weapons against Palestinian civilians.

What is happening in occupied Palestine is incremental genocide – not self-defence. Israel is asking the Palestinian people to let their freedom die, so that the Israeli people can live.

Submit or fight. These were the two choices facing Kenyans during your anti-colonial struggle. Like you, we Palestinians have also chosen to fight for our dignity – for ourselves and our children. We will not let our dream of freedom die.

For me, Beit Daras is not just a piece of earth but a perpetual fight for justice that shall never cease, because the Badrasawis belong to Beit Daras and nowhere else.

Israel can no longer rationalise its oppression of Palestinians by blaming Palestinians who exercise their natural and internationally recognised right to resist occupation and colonialism.

We will continue to resist Israeli colonialism, armed with our rights and international law.

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian journalist, author and editor of the Palestine Chronicle newspaper. He is currently on a tour of Nairobi, discussing his latest book ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press, London).

June 26, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 3 Comments

Roméo Dallaire denies Canadian genocide and distorts Rwanda’s

By Yves Engler · June 6, 2019

QGHKMDUKFZEQ5KLGQQF2NZHKEY-1Is Roméo Dallaire a genocide denier?

After a (question free) talk at Concordia University this week I followed the famous Canadian general out of the room to ask why he still supports ruthless dictator Paul Kagame. Kagame is the individual most responsible for the mass slaughter in Rwanda in mid-1994 since his forces invaded the country, engaged in a great deal of killing and blew up the presidential plane that unleashed the genocidal violence.

In 1996 Kagame’s forces invaded the Congo to overthrow the government in Kinshasa and when their installed president kicked them out they reinvaded in 1998, causing an eight country war that left millions dead. According to a 600-page report by the UN high commissioner for human rights, Rwanda was responsible for “crimes against humanity, war crimes, or even genocide” in the Congo.

With Dallaire refusing to answer my question I asked a Radio Canada journalist seeking to interview the former general to ask why he supports Kagame. The reporter was there to question Dallaire about the use of the term “genocide” in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Dallaire said he had “a problem” with the use of the word “genocide” to describe what happened to First Nations. “Is that an act of genocide? Is it?” he said. “My definition of genocide, I read it very deliberately at the start of the Rwandan genocide, and it was a deliberate act of a government to exterminate deliberately, and by force and directly, an ethnicity or a group or an entity of human beings.”

Numerous media outlets picked up Dallaire’s comments. A La Presse headline read “Dallaire denounces the use of the term ‘genocide’” while Rebel Media’s The Ezra Levant Show reported on, “Rwandan genocide witness General Roméo Dallaire’s strong denouncement of Justin Trudeau’s agreement that the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women findings indeed constitute a ‘genocide.’”

While Dallaire is opposed to labeling Canada’s dispossession of First Nations a genocide, he has repeatedly employed the term to describe rights violations in enemy states. In recent years he’s compared the situation of Darfuris in Sudan and Baha’i in Iran, as well as Syria and Libya, to Rwanda. If Western interventionists are targeting a nation Dallaire is happy to employ the “G” word or “R” comparison.

Interestingly, Dallaire’s criteria for a genocide — “a deliberate act of a government to exterminate deliberately” — better applies to indigenous people in Canada than to the Tutsi in Rwanda. Dispossessed of 99% of their land, Indigenous people have faced state-backed efforts to starve and sterilize them. They’ve also been made wards of the state, had their movement restricted and religious/cultural ceremonies banned. Residential schools and other so-called child welfare initiatives sought to eradicate their ways, or in the infamous formulation of the deputy superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs from 1913 to 1932, Duncan Campbell Scott: “Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question.”

Prior to confederation, British forces conquered today’s Nova Scotia through terror, putting the heads of Mi’kmaq soldiers on spikes and offering bounties to kill women and children. Founder of the Halifax fort, Lieutenant General Edward Cornwallis led the charge and by the mid-1760s the Mi’kmaq had been largely wiped out in Nova Scotia.

After British forces conquered Quebec General Jeffery Amherst’s forces gave indigenous chiefs in the Great Lakes region blankets and a handkerchief from a smallpox hospital. Commander of British forces in North America, Amherst wrote: “You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.”

By the 1820s the Beothuk in Newfoundland were extinct. On the West Coast in 1862 colonial officials are accused of enabling the spread of smallpox among First Nations, which devastated the indigenous population.

Unlike the Tutsi in Rwanda, indigenous people in Canada didn’t end up in power after the “genocide”. Nor did Jews in Germany, the Herero in Namibia, Armenians in Turkey, Maya in Guatemala, etc. Rwanda is a peculiar case where the minority — 10% of the population — targeted for extermination ended up ruling after the bulk of the violence subsided.

That’s partly because the genocidal killings were not a long planned attempt to exterminate all Tutsi, which even the victors’ justice dispensed by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) effectively concluded. Instead, it was the outgrowth of a serious breakdown in social order that saw hundreds of thousands slaughtered by relatively disorganized local ‘militias’ fearful of the Kagame-led foreign invasion that eventually conquered Rwanda and drove a quarter of the population out of the country. Probably an equal — and possibly a greater — number of Hutu were killed.

Dallaire has propagated a wildly simplistic account of the tragedy that gripped Rwanda and Burundi in the mid-1990s. He has promoted the Kagame-inspired fairy tale used to justify a brutal dictatorship in Rwanda and its expansionism in the region (as well as Western liberal imperialism). According to the most outlandish aspect of this story, Hutu extremists murdered the Hutu presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and much of the Hutu-led Rwandan military command, weakening the Hutu government to its most frail point in three decades, and then decided to begin a long planned systematic extermination of Tutsi. In this depiction of Rwanda’s tragedy, the individual most responsible for unleashing the genocidal violence is the hero who ended “the Genocide”.

Dallaire is not innocent of Kagame’s violence. In his 2005 book Le Patron de Dallaire Parle (The Boss of Dallaire Speaks), Jacques-Roger Booh Booh, a former Cameroon foreign minister and overall head of mid-1990s UN mission in Rwanda, claims Dallaire had little interest in the violence unleashed by Kagame’s RPF despite reports of summary executions in areas controlled by them. Booh Booh says Dallaire turned a blind eye to RPF weapons coming across the border from Uganda and he believes the UN forces under Dallaire’s command may have even transported weapons directly to the RPF, “becoming an objective ally of one of the parties in the conflict.”

Dallaire’s criticism of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is consistent with his political interventions. He has long been a cheerleader for Canadian and Western domination of the world. As I detail in this article, the former general opposed calls to withdraw Canadian soldiers from Afghanistan, supported the overthrow of Haiti’s elected government in 2004 and bombing of Libya in 2011. He has also called for increased military spending and for Canada to join US ballistic missile “defence”. Now he appears to be denying a genocide perpetrated by a government he represented in the Senate and worked for in the military. Boil it all down and it simply becomes: ‘Our side is good and our enemies are bad.’

But, of course, this is what passes for foreign policy in Canada.

June 6, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Latest attempt to prosecute President Assad at the ICC is further criminalisation of “international justice”

Toby Cadman. Co-founder of Guernica Chambers 37, one of legal entities bringing latest case against President Assad at the ICC. (Photo: The ICC and our politics)
By Vanessa Beeley | 21st Century Wire | May 28, 2019

In March 2019 two law firms filed cases at the ICC against Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad and unnamed members of the Syrian government. Toby Cadman of Guernica Chambers and Rodney Dixon of Temple Garden Chambers were the protagonists in this latest attempt to criminalise the Syrian President and government.

These law firms are basing their case upon the testimony of 28 “refugees” from Syria who claim they were “forced” to flee to Jordan during the war that has been waged against Syria by a collective of interventionist mafia states that form the U.S coalition, determined to achieve regime change in Syria.

Syria is not a signatory to the ICC in the Hague but precedent was set by the ICC when a preliminary investigation was opened into military leaders of Myanmar for alleged crimes against humanity involving deportation of Rohingya people. Refugees fled to Bangladesh which is party to the Rome statute that established the ICC, as is Jordan where more than 1 million Syrian refugees now reside. Guernica Chambers and Rodney Dixon are clearly hoping that the Rohingya precedent will open up the legal avenue for their case.

Both legal firms are claiming the intended deportation of Syrian civillians by the Syrian government as part of their cases.

However, even some members of the legal profession, have already remarked upon possible holes in the case being presented by both legal entities. Kevin John Heller is Associate Professor of Public International Law at Amsterdam University. According to Heller, there is a vital element of the Syrian situation that distinguishes it from the Myanmar situation. Heller argues that in Myanmar, it is evident that the government “intended to drive the Rohingya into Bangladesh” while in Syria it is not evident that the Syrian government intended (in the legal sense) that their civilians end up in other countries. Heller points out that without sufficient evidence,  the Syrian government may only be accused of “forcible transfer” but not “deportation”. “Forcible transfer” falls outside the ICC’s jurisdiction because it takes place uniquely on Syrian territory.

“In other words: for the Court to investigate the forcible displacement of Syrian civilians proprio motu, it is deportation or bust.” ~ Kevin John Heller

This is not the first time that Guernica Chambers (GC) have attempted such a legal attack against the Syrian government. In March 2017, the Madrid offices of GC tried to bring a case against eight members of the Syrian security and intelligence services. The case was based upon the testimony of a Syrian national’s sister who had Spanish citizenship. Spain is party to the Rome Statute of the ICC. The woman allegedly identified the body of her brother among the photos that were “smuggled out of Syria” and formed part of the Caesar Report which I will discuss later in this article.

Who is really behind the legal war being waged against Syria? 

I asked Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador to Syria and outspoken critic of the UK government’s role in the eight year regime change campaign in Syria, to comment on the timing of this legal initiative. Ford told me:

Nothing could be more likely to bring the ICC into disrepute than this attempted action by actors transparently serving the political agenda of the British and Qatari governments. Having failed in attempted regime change via miltant proxies Syria’s enemies are now embarked on an enterprise to secure the same result by waging economic war which must be justified by constant demonizing of Assad. That is the game being played here.
Ford went on to tell me that:
“if the ICC goes along with it, that will provide more justification for those who accuse the ICC of being a tool of the rich and powerful, and an incentive to Assad to halt any move towards elections in Syria which might see him removed from power. This is just a cheap trick designed to make political capital out of the remaining credibility of the ICC, such as it is.”

Ford pinpointed the drivers behind these legal cases and the UK Government and intelligence services must be considered as primary players. The UK/US-led intervention alliance have seen their terrorist-proxy-military-campaign fail dismally after hitting the brick wall of the axis of resistance -Syria, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia with China offering diplomatic and technological support.

What will follow is perhaps an even more destructive economic warfare campaign that will capitalise upon the post war dissonance in Syria to pressurise the Syrian state and to further foment discontent among civilians now struggling to cope with life in a Syria that has been severely impacted by 8 years of terrorist occupation and destruction of infrastructure.

Academic and acclaimed author (A History of Political Trials), John Laughland, independently concurred with Ford’s conclusions. I asked Laughland why would this case receive prominence now, just as the Syrian/Russian/Iranian/Hezbollah arc of resistance is heading towards military success in Syria? He replied:

“I believe that the reason why this attempt is being made to circumvent the fact that the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction over Syria, is to remove Assad from power and to de-legitimise him as part of the future of Syria.  This has been the goal of the jihadists from the very beginning.”

Historian and analyst, Dr Marcus Papadopoulos, further expanded upon the timing of the legal case:

Well, talk of war crimes cases being brought against President Assad, at the International Criminal Court, has been in the air for some years now.  Indeed, I remember how such talk was emanating from Western capitals in 2012. However, there is no doubt that the today’s timing of lawyers, acting on behalf of Syrian refugees in Jordan, submitting lawsuits against the Syrian president at the ICC, is not coincidental.  Because today, the Syrian people have all but won the war against Western-backed terrorism and so by submitting cases now to the ICC is a way of Western governments subtly informing President Assad that whilst the military war against him has been lost, the legal, media and communications war against him will continue.

Furthermore, I suspect that by initiating ICC proceedings against the Syrian leader – which will only increase in volume and go on indefinitely – may be a way of the Americans and the British maintaining their military presence in Syria, as well as their sanctions on the Arab country, on the pretext that the region has a leader in power who ‘waged war against his own people, destabilising not just his country but the wider region’ hence the presence of American and British forces in Syria is a means to limiting any future ‘carnage’ that the Syrian ‘strongman’ (a favoured word from the West’s lexicon to describe leaders whom it disapproves of) can inflict on both Syria and the region.” (Emphasis added)

International criminal lawyer, Christopher C. Black, pointed out the importance of the NATO and UK government links of the legal firms:

“The answer is revealed in the lawyers who are behind this scheme to try to drag the ICC into the picture. Rodney Dixon and Toby Cadman, and, it seems, from your information, Geoffrey Nice. All of them have links to the British governent and NATO through acting for them in various capacities.”

Links to UK Foreign Office, NATO and the CIA

Guernica Chambers – offices  in London, Spain and Washington.

Toby Cadman. (Photo: Guernica 37 website)

Toby Cadman is the Co-founder and Head of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers in London. According to the International Forum for Democracy and Human Rights (IFDHR), Cadman was hired by the UK Foreign Office in 2012 to “head a team to investigate crimes committed in the Syrian Arab Republic“.

I would challenge Cadman to demonstrate any serious investigation by Guernica into the ongoing crimes committed by the terrorist/extremist groups in Syria, armed and financed by the U.S Coalition. The fact that Cadman is a hired legal hand of one of the central players in the international campaign to reduce Syria to another Libya-style failed state, should immediately raise the alarm.

Doctors Under Fire – cluster of anti-Syria medical, legal and chemical “experts”

Cadman is also on the board of directors of Doctors Under Fire (formerly Medics Under Fire). Alongside him are Hamish De Bretton Gordon, Dr David Nott (Nott Foundation) and Dr Saleyha Ahsan.

Dr David Nott. (Photo: Nott Foundation website)

Nott has run UK Government-endorsed training courses for Syrian doctors in Gaziantep, Turkey – the hub of UK intelligence training for Syrian “opposition”, with a reputation for being the centre of ISIS organ and human trafficking operations. The flight from Istanbul to Gaziantep was known as the Jihad Express. The town itself was reported to be the area where new ISIS recruits from around the world would gather before being transported into Syria. The UK FCO-midwived and financed White Helmet propaganda construct also have their base in Gaziantep, established in 2013 by former MI6-turned-private-security expert, James Le Mesurier.

In 2013, Nott was largely responsible for the rumours that Syrian Arab Army snipers were targeting pregnant women in East Aleppo, which was freshly under control of the armed extremist gangs that included Al Qaeda in Syria, Nusra Front. The photo of a bullet lodged in an alleged foetal brain was published by most mainstream media outlets in the West without any expert second opinion regarding the credibility of such an image. Nott has operated on ISIS fighters during his forays (exclusively) into terrorist held territory of Syria.

Nott also amplified the discredited narrative surrounding Omran Daqneesh during the final moments before liberations of East Aleppo from terrorist rule. This story is now known to be another of the fraudulent campaigns to criminalise the Syrian government. This article by journalist, Steven Sahiounie, goes into depth about the bias and misprepresentation of reality by Nott during his time in the terrorist-held enclaves of Aleppo and Idlib.

Dr Saleyha Ahsan’s contradictory accounts of alleged chemical attack, showcased in BBC Panorama’s Saving Syria’s Children – forensically investigated by researcher, Robert Stuart.

Dr Saleyha Ahsan’s role in the BBC Panorama documentary, Saving Syria’s Children, has been exposed as potentially fraudulent by independent researcher, Robert Stuart. Actor and director Keith Allen is fronting a new crowdfunding campaign for a documentary examining the 2013 BBC Panorama programme Saving Syria’s Children. The project is in collaboration with British film, TV and radio producer, Victor Lewis-Smith. In 2017 Lewis-Smith challenged the BBC Panorama office over the issue. Failing to get satisfactory answers, Victor tore up a contract for a forthcoming comedy pilot with BBC Radio 4.

Hamish de Bretton Gordon. The media establishment go-to expert on chemical weapons.

Hamish de Bretton Gordon has been the go-to expert for the majority of corporate media outlets, particularly with regard to the alleged chemical weapon attacks in Syria that BG invariably blames upon the Syrian government. David Miller, Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Bristol and a member of the Academic-established Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, stated very clearly in a recent interview that HBG:

“is an operative for MI6. He’s not a staff member of MI6 but he works very closely with MI6 in Syria trying to create evidence of chemical and biological weapons’ attacks.”

The full briefing note by the WGSPM can be found at this link: The alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018, and other alleged chlorine attacks in Syria since 2014. 

Doctors Under Fire appears to be another compromised organisation with a focus on misleading the British public into approving further military intervention in Syria under a familiar “humanitarian” pretext. Its ties to state media and intelligence services should be examined closely before their “expert” opinions be given serious consideration.

Toby Cadman – Ibrahim Olabi – White Helmets

Ibrahim Olabi. Joined Guernica Chambers in November 2018 as a pupil barrister. (Photo: Guernica Chambers website)

The Guernica inks to UK Government intellligence operations in Syria continue. Ibrahim Olabi joined Guernica Chambers in November 2018 as a pupil barrister. According to his bio on the GC website, Ibrahim Olabi “has worked extensively on international legal matters related to the Syrian conflict, including international humanitarian law, international criminal law and international human rights law” for the last five years.

Olabi is UK educated, having completed his LLB and LLM (Security and International Law) at the University of Manchester. Olabi is the director of the Syrian Legal Development Programme (SLDP). According to the GC website:

SLDP has provided legal expertise to Syrian NGOs, including training that Ibrahim delivered to more than 550 trainees on a range of complex legal surrounding forced displacement, torture, UN mechanisms, facilitation of humanitarian aid and other matters. He has trained both in Syria, near the front lines, and in neighbouring countries.

SLDP has received funding from the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Ministry. What seems extraordinary for a “pupil barrister” who only joined GC in November 2018, Olabi has an impressive track record of influencing major global institutions and state-linked think tanks on the Syrian conflict:

Ibrahim has also advocated in Geneva, Brussels, Washington and London on human rights issues relevant to Syria. He received personal invitations from the Heads of States such as Germany and The United Kingdom, and from the UN Secretary General. Ibrahim has spoken and chaired panels in forums such as Chatham House and Amnesty International, and delivered presentations at UK universities such as UCL, SOAS, Nottingham and Manchester amongst others. He also spoken on TV channels such as the CNN and the BBC.

Training the White Helmets. (Photo from SLDP website)

Among those trained by the SLDP are the primarily UK FCO-cultivated White Helmets who are exposed as terrorist group-auxiliaries and stand accused of committing crimes against the Syrian people that include child abduction and running organ trafficking operations from inside the terrorist-occupied territories.

The White Helmets have also been instrumental in producing the Syrian “chemical weapon” narratives supported by Cadman and his associate directors at Doctors Under Fire – designed to criminalise the Syrian government, often during the closing stages of military campaigns to liberate areas under control of the Western-sponsored armed groups.

The most recent White Helmet chemical attack narrative was in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, April 2018 – an alleged attack that precipitated the French, UK, US unlawful bombing of Syria before an investigation had been carried out by the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons).

Since this event, it has been demonstrated that the White Helmets had staged the hospital scenes that were widely published by western media to support the shaky narrative. Furthermore, a leaked engineers report, omitted from the OPCW final report, has raised alarming questions over OPCW’s impartiality and independence. The revelatory engineers report was sent to the aforementioned Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media who produced the briefing note which can be found here.

Guernica Chambers Advisory Board – Steve Rapp – CIA

Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp. (Photo: Guernica Chambers)

A look at the Guernica Chambers Advisory Board members reveals that Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp is listed as a board member. International criminal lawyer, Christopher Black, had clashed with Rapp during the Rwanda tribunal when Rapp was in charge of prosecutions:

“Stephen Rapp-well, there is your link to the CIA, US government. Rapp was at one time the guy in charge of prosecutions at the Rwanda tribunal. During his tenure, 2 of his henchmen-“investigators” began interviewing a former Rwandan cabinet minister in Lille, France. The investigators were two ex Montreal cops kicked off the force for corruption. There were rumours when I was there they had murdered witnesses.

Well at some point their interview of this guy became too heavy and he wrote a letter to the President of the tribunal stating that Rapp and his men were pressuring him to give false testimony against accused before the tribunal and that if he did not they were threatening to kill him and cut his body into pieces.

Two weeks later he disappeared after going to a final interview. We raised this letter in court. Two weeks after that his body was found in a canal in Brussels naked with his hands cut off. I asked that Rapp and his men be detained pending an investigation into that murder as they were the prime suspects.”  ~ Christopher Black

Stephen Rapp with Mouaz Moustafa of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) responsible for bringing John McCain into Syria illegally in 2013. (Photo: Zoom info)

Rapp is included in an index of contact profiles for the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) whose executive director is Mouaz Moustafa. Moustafa is probably best known for his role in bringing neocon warhawk, John McCain, into Syria illegally in 2013. McCain’s trip was dogged with controversy after he met with recognised militant kidnappers:

“US Senator John McCain was photographed with a known affiliate of the rebel group responsible for the kidnapping of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims one year ago, during a brief and highly publicized visit inside Syria this week.” ~ Daily Star

Salim Idris, chief of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army and Mouaz Moustafa on right with John McCain.

Rapp and Moustafa were both heavily involved in the promotion of the Caesar report – Caesar is a codename for an alleged Syrian police photographer who apparently smuggled 53,275 photographs out of Syria implicating the Syrian government in a campaign of torture. This story has been investigated and discredited by independent researcher and journalist, Rick Sterling, his findings can be read here. Prof. Tim Hayward also analysed the credibility of the Caesar report in his more recent article in April 2019.

Caesar with Mouaz Moustafa in Washington DC. (Photo: Syrian American Council)

Having taken into account the glaring anomalies in Caesar’s accounts and in the identification of the photographs of “tortured” corpses attributed exclusively and erroneously to alleged victims of the Syrian government – Hayward drew the following conclusions:

To put bluntly this contextualised concern about Operation Caesar: not only may it already have altered the historical record, and not only may its effects have served to alter somewhat the course of history to date, but in serving to influence decision makers, it may contribute more indelibly to shifting the baseline of normative consensus in a direction favourable to ousting non-compliant leaders of sovereign states. That is effectively to bestow legitimacy on imperialist regime change projects.”

The FBI conducted its investigations into the Caesar report at Rapp’s request. The FBI carried out standard authentification analysis of 27,000 of the photographs and concluded that it could not “definitively rule out the possibility of tampering“. The report emerged at a crucial juncture in the dirty war being waged against Syria – just as members of Congress were pushing for increased “aid” for “rebels” and the creation of No-Fly-Zones and safe-zones for the U.S terrorist proxies disguised as “moderates”. Those members — including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce and ranking minority member Rep. Eliot Engelwere sponsor and co-sponsor of the subsequent Caesar bill, introduced in March 2017.

The bill had previously hit obstacles within the Obama administration in October 2016, when it was perceived that Obama was effectively trying to weaken the bill in favour of maintaining the ceasefire agreement with Moscow that was still active at that time.

The Caesar bill – Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2017/2018 was a means of increasing economic sanctions against Syria – never anything more than collective punishment for the Syrian people who have resisted eight years of regime change war that has decimated their infrastructure and severely affected their ability to survive economically.

Rapp defended the Caesar bill:

“It’s important to send the signal that those who engage in war crimes and those who aid and abet them are held to account with tools that are effective, and in the short term the most effective is sanctions”

Historically, sanctions are never effective as leverage against a target government, they are always “effective” against the people of a nation that is struggling to resist the machinations of U.S neo-colonialism. Sanctions are economic terrorism, designed to increase the pressure on those most affected by war and the associated poverty and homelessness. They amount to abject cruelty, compounding an already desperate situation brought about by the military adventurism of globalist nations.

So, Rapp alongside Cadman, has a clear intention to criminalise the Syrian government and to weaken the Syrian nation in preparation for a U.S-friendly regime change operation.

As Peter Ford has remarked – the latest attempt to prosecute President Assad and members of the Syrian government in the ICC is another element in the long running and insidious economic war that has been waged alongside the (failed) miliary campaign to destabilise Syria:

“Having failed in attempted regime change via miltant proxies Syria’s enemies are now embarked on an enterprise to secure the same result by waging economic war which must be justified by constant demonizing of Assad. That is the game being played here.”

Rodney Dixon – Qatar – Rwanda – Former Yugoslavia

Rodney Dixon, lawyer acting for Temple Garden Chambers.

Rodney Dixon is lawyer acting for Temple Garden Chambers who have also submitted a case against President Assad and the Syrian government at the ICC. According to his biography at Legal 500, Dixon appears to have had a long career protecting NATO interests, including:

He has prosecuted and defended before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) including as defence counsel on behalf of the former Prime Minister of Kosovo in protracted trial, appellate and retrial proceedings. He acted on behalf of the government of Rwanda before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Christopher Black interpreted this career path as follows:

“So Dixon acted for mass muderer and KLA leader, Hashim Thaci, in a staged trial the ICTY, arranged so that Thaci could be charged but aquitted-a game to give the ICTY some credibility. Thaci is a NATO asset. Dixon also acted as agent for mass murderer Paul Kagame the dictator of Rwanda put in power by the US, UK, Canada etc. and was his agent at the Rwanda tribunal (ICTR) which framed all the accused there as scapegoats for the crimes of Kagame and his western allies.

So, Dixon has been used by the NATO powers to protect their interests and that is his role in the scheme regarding Syria. Looking back on events, if he was at the ICTR in 2007 then he may have been behind the Rwandan government’s demand to have me arrested during my defence of General Nindiliyimana (Chief of Staff, Rwanda Gendarmerie, acquitted on all counts in 2014) when I demanded Kagame be charged with war crimes.”

Dixon has a history of working for Qatari clients. In 2017 Dixon represented three prominent Qatari nationals – who were unlawfully detained and tortured in the UAE between 2013 and 2015 by UAE security officials. In 2018, Dixon chaired a panel of experts calling for an end to the blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE. The event was organised by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK and was held at University College, London.

Qatar has been one of the primary financiers of the terrorist forces that have invaded and occupied areas of Syria during the eight year conflict. The Caesar report was commissioned by London law firm, Carter-Ruck on contract to Qatar. Guy Martin, a specialist in sanctions in international law and partner at Carter Ruck Solicitors was also speaking on the panel protesting the sanctions against Qatar, chaired by Dixon.

According to French investigative journalist, Thierry Meyssan, Dixon had already declared an interest in pursuing the Syrian goverment for alleged war crimes, based upon the Carter Ruck-orchestrated Caesar Report:

“Mr. Dixon had already declared that he intended to pursue the Syrian leaders for « crimes against humanity ». He based his case on the Caesar Report; a document made public by Qatar, via the London cabinet Carter-Ruck, on 20 January 2014, two days before the peace negotiations of Geneva 2.”

The only conclusion to be drawn after examining the origins and motives of the cases being brought against President Assad at the ICC – is that the driver behind them is not international justice but regime change which is the ultimate goal of the U.S alliance in Syria. This renders any “humanitarian” outrage expressed by the legal entities involved nothing more than hollow rhetoric, a marketing ploy to elicit sympathy for the further persecution of a nation that has refused to submit to an unprecedented level of military pressure by terrorist proxy.

Expert opinions

I asked John Laughland how this case, if accepted by the ICC, reflects the nature and state of “international justice” in our world today. Laughland replied:

“International justice  is political justice. Typically, heads of state are judged by international courts for acts of state. They are never judged as actual perpetrators and therefore the acts adjudicated are state acts for which they have state responsibility. The trials are therefore not criminal trials in the proper sense of the word because state acts cannot be compared to private crimes, as they often are by the ideologues of international justice.  I have explained this at length in the final chapter of the second edition of my book, “A History of Political Trials from Charles I to Charles Taylor” (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2016).

Much of what I have been warning about for over a decade has now been proved true. For instance, Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Ivory Coast, was the subject of a political indictment in 2011, the same year as Gaddafi, and this indictment was used to get him out of his home country (just as Charles Taylor was removed from Liberia for explicitly political reasons – again, see my book).  Yet earlier this year, more than eight years later, he was found innocent and released. A court which imprisons and innocent man for eight years should be immediately closed down.”

Like Ford, Laughland argued that if the case is accepted “the re-integration of Syria into the international or regional system will be impeded. Some states will back off from building bridges with Damascus” – another example of the weaponisation of “international justice” to punish an independent nation for protecting its interests and refusing to comply with U.S demands for ultimate control over their internal and external affairs.

Laughland did not believe that Syria could succeed with a positive engagement with the ICC, he believes that Damascus should ignore any proceedings at the ICC, “especially as they would be clearly illegal under international law”. Laughland cited the case of President Al-Bashir of Sudan:

“Ignoring the ICC was what President Al-Bashir of Sudan has done, and it has worked very well. Other states have ignored the warrant against him too, notably South Africa, which refused to arrest him on a visit there. This is one of the reasons why the ICC is in such spectacular crisis.”

Christopher Black also referred to the case of Laurent Gbagbo:

“If the prosecutor accepted the case on clearly trumped up evidence as it did with regard to President Gbagbo of Ivory Coast then it would confirm once again that the ICC is not an organ of international justice but a propaganda organ of US and British and EU imperialism.”

Black also concurred that there would be negative implications for President Assad and the Syrian government should the case be accepted by the ICC:

“President Assad can expect that he will be labeled in the western mass media as a war criminal in a mass propaganda campaign, and that this propaganda will bombard the Syrian people to undermine the Syrian government. To try to overcome that I suggest the formation of an international committee for his defence as we formed for President Milosevic to include not only international lawyers who support Syria but also artists, intellectuals, poets, etc who can try to counter this propaganda because Syrian denials will just be dismissed.”

Dr Marcus Papadopoulos had a more optimistic viewpoint:

“From the time I began giving television interviews on Syria, beginning in 2011, I have said that most Syrians, either actively or passively, support President Assad. And I hold the view that even more Syrians support their leader today. There are numerous factors in accounting for the Syrian people’s support of their president, and a key one is that Mr Assad guarantees Syria’s traditional status as a secular, multi-confessional country.

In light of their support, together with how they repelled Western, Turkish, Israeli and Saudi aggression, I do not believe that the Syrian people will pay any notice to what happens at the ICC regarding President Assad.  Indeed, I know that Syrians are asking – demanding, in fact – for Barack Obama, Erdogan and Mohammad bin Salman to be tried for crimes against Syrian civilians and Syrian prisoners of war by Islamist terrorists, such as the so-called Free Syrian Army, who all three leaders were supporting in Syria.”

Papadopoulos drew parallels between the politically motivated case against former Yugoslav leader, President Slobadan Milosevic and the threat of an equally politically motivated case against President Assad and members of the Syrian government:

“There are most certainly precedents, most notably the unfounded and politically-motivated case against President Slobodan Milosevic. That case against the former Yugoslav leader laid the foundation for what may very well transpire at the ICC against President Assad. But, Mr Milosevic faced Western aggression on his own, at a time when Russia was incapable of finding fuel for its tanks so that they could parade on Red Square. Conversely, Mr Assad faced Western aggression with Russia by his side, with Moscow capable of finding fuel for its aircraft so that they could fly all the way to Syria and take part in the fight against Wahhabi terrorism there.

So if the ICC does indict the Syrian president, it will not alter the reality on the ground in Syria – namely, that the Syrian people have prevailed over the hordes of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Turning to whether the ICC will proceed to hear the case against President Assad, this probably will happen. But consider this: America, Britain, France, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are keen to start doing business with Syria again.  In light of that, dropping the case against President Assad might be in the interests of the aforementioned countries.”

Conclusions – the U.S is riding roughshod over international justice

In April 2019, President Trump and the U.S administration revoked the visa of the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. The U.S warned that they would take action against anyone from the ICC who dared to investigate allegations of war crimes levied against U.S personnel in Afghanistan.

Ironically the U.S claimed its citizens and military personnel are outside the ICC’s jurisdiction – the ICC claims that Afghanistan is within its purview because the country had ratified the Rome Statute which established the court in 2003. A prime example of the perversion of “international justice” to serve the powerful global hegemons.

Shortly after, Israeli media reported that Trump had decreed that Israel should be exempt from prosecution at the ICC. One exceptionalist nation protecting another while both are guilty of violations of international law, human rights law and have committed a catalogue of war crimes and violated UN resolutions throughout their history. The United States and Israel are effectively exploiting the ICC without any intention of recognising its jurisdiction in relation to their own transparent criminality.

So, while the U.S legal machinery is determined to crush the Syrian government under the weight of its global tyranny, the same entity will not entertain any investigation into its bloody record of military interference abroad nor will it permit any legal pursuance of its allies for the human rights crimes they are persistently committing. This renders the entire concept of “international justice” a travesty and nothing more than a rogue state protectionist racket.

The campaign to prosecute President Assad at the ICC is a misdirection away from the real criminals in the UK/U.S Coalition who have violated every related element of international law in their campaign to destabilise Syria and the region. Without international law we are living in a world of the utmost insecurity where the most powerful can denigrate human rights in their surge to dominance and resource plundering at will from weaker and less supported nations.

The case against Syria at the ICC is the weaponisation of “international justice” to pressurise a militarily undefeated nation into submitting to and complying with U.S geopolitical doctrine. This process will benefit those within the interventionist alliance whose goal is regime change in Syria, it will not benefit the more rational political players who do, perhaps, accept that working with President Assad is the only way to re-establish bilateral economic relations with Syria.

As always, this is all about propaganda and the mobilisation of bias and not about “justice”. It is a colossal act of misdirection. Those countries and individuals who have armed, financed and promoted the terrorist extremism and savagery that has ravaged Syria and her people for eight years should be in the dock.

While the ICC is effectively controlled by the US/UK criminal ruling classes, there will be no true “international justice” only the facade of justice meted out against nations that are deliberately deprived of the opportunity to defend themselves.

May 29, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Could Be More “Fun” than Covering the Pentagon and All Its “Toys”? Asks the New York Times

By Mark Crispin Miller | MintPress News | May 22, 2019

Every day, on page A2, the New York Times runs an excruciating feature called “Inside the Times,” wherein one of its reporters tells us (as the feature ought to be entitled) “What It’s Like to Be Me at the New York Times.” Such narcissistic burbling is so empty, and so much less enlightening than the news we should be getting from that skimpy propaganda rag, that this feature cannot possibly have been concocted in response to readership demand (unless those readers are the Times’ reporters’ mothers). What it’s really meant to do is take up space, along with all the other fluff used to fill out those first two pages of the Times : e.g., “Of Interest” (“noteworthy facts from today’s paper”), “The Conversation” (“four of the most read, shared and discussed posts from across the NYT” ), and “The Mini Crossword,” among other trifles.

But this is not to say that we learn nothing from the me-me-me blathering in that feature. Check out what the feature told us last month in “From Refugee to Pentagon Correspondent, Helene Cooper on Covering ‘the Best Beat in Washington,’” an interview with Times employee Cooper.

First, there’s this bit of background:

“I arrived in the United States from Liberia as a refugee at the age of 14. There had been a military coup in Liberia, and members of my family were attacked and shot. I hadn’t seen it coming, too consumed by my adolescent life to pay attention to what was going on around me.

Once we got to the United States, I became obsessed with the news. I devoured the local newspaper and read back copies of The New York Times. I watched ABC’s “World News Tonight” every day, wanting any glimmer of information on what was happening in Liberia and elsewhere around the world. This was in part because I never wanted to be surprised by something again, and in part because I felt isolated in Knoxville, Tenn., where we lived. I used the news as an escape.

Then I read “All the President’s Men” and was hooked. It was for A.P. American History in 11th grade. That was when I decided I wanted to be a reporter.”

Thus we learn that Helene Cooper is a woman of color (lest we miss that point, there’s a drawing of her face above the title) andas well, an immigrant to these United States (so take that, Donald Trump!) and, to boot, an immigrant of color who was forced to spend her teen years feeling “isolated” out among the nativist deplorables in Tennessee, where she “used the news as an escape,” hungrily absorbing what she could from “back copies of The New York Times” and “ABC’s ‘World News Tonight,’” until she “read ‘All the President’s Men’ and was hooked,” deciding she would go to work as “a reporter.”

Helene Cooper waxes poetic about the Pentagon’s latest ‘toys’

Checking out all the toys

Now read how this reporter feels about her daily beat:

“What do you enjoy most about being a Pentagon correspondent? What is most challenging about it?

The cool hardware! I love checking out all the toys the American military has. I’ve flown for hours in the co-pilot seat of a B-1 bomber, including during midair refuels. I’ve done the catapult takeoff and abrupt landing on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. I’ve been in Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters over Baghdad, Kabul and the DMZ, on the border of North and South Korea. I’ve been on an American naval destroyer in the South China Sea while it was being shadowed by the Chinese. That part of the job is just pure fun.

But covering the military also allows me to keep my hand in national security policy, about which I love writing. I think the Pentagon is the best beat in Washington.

The challenging part is the language. The military lives and dies by acronyms. Sometimes sources sound as if they don’t even want to speak English. I’m always stopping people mid-sentence to make them explain what they’re saying.”

Where to begin? As to the orgasmic thrill that this “reporter” gets from riding in those homicidal “toys,” one wonders how that would go down if Helene were H. Lane Cooper, a fat white guy with a buzz-cut, born in Knoxville as opposed to having fled there from Liberia. The fact is that such naked gushing over all that lethal hardware is perfectly okay from someone with her racial/gender/national profile, even as that hardware is now being inescapably deployed in 36 code-named military operations all over her home continent, and wherever else “our troops” are on the job (for a different take on the “pure fun” of riding high in an Apache helicopter, see “Collateral Murder”).

And now for some real challenges

And while it can’t be easy mastering all those acronyms, if that’s what Helene Cooper finds “most challenging” about her beat, she needs to check out what’s been written on the Pentagon, and/or its works, by journalists who haven’t had the time, desire or opportunity to go joy-riding in a B-1 bomber.

For example, Helene Cooper would find it “most challenging” to press her sources on the $21 trillion that the Pentagon could not account for when finally audited late last year. If Cooper were to look into that mind-boggling disappearance, and the Pentagon’s decades of stonewalling as to where their money (that is, our money) goes, it could be the “most challenging” investigation of her whole career, since the Times and all the rest of “our free press” have carefully refrained from such investigation, even as the Pentagon has, year after year, asked for still more funding by Congress (which gladly hands it over), as Dave Lindorff — who broke the news of that failed audit in The Nation — noted in an interview with FAIR:

“…[W]hat we’re learning is that one of the main reasons for these plugs in the budget is to allow the Pentagon to come into Congress and say, “Look, we spent all the money you gave us last year, and we need more.” When, in fact, they probably are not spending all the money they get each year, and then the money that doesn’t get spent, which by law is supposed to be returned to the Treasury, gets — they have a term for it — it gets “nippered” away from the category it was in, and moved to five-year money in other parts of the budget, where it gets hidden away, and becomes a slush fund that the Pentagon can use for black projects and other things that it wants to use it for without any observation.”

Or, now that the Pentagon has warned of China’s plans to “build a string of military bases” around the world (as The Guardian has dutifully reported), adding some unspecified number to the one that China operates today (in Djibouti), Cooper also might accept the “challenge” of pressing her sources to help determine just how many military bases the U.S. runs worldwide, since, as Nick Turse noted in Asia Times in 2011, “no American knows [that number]. Not the president. Not the Pentagon. Not the experts. No one.” [emphasis added]

In fact, there are more than a thousand U.S. military bases dotting the globe. To be specific, the most accurate count is 1,077. Unless it’s 1,088. Or, if you count differently, 1,169. Or even 1,180. Actually, the number might even be higher. Nobody knows for sure.

If even the Pentagon does not know (or claims not to know) how many military bases the U.S. runs worldwide, it is because some number of “our” bases — drone bases, for example — are maintained by the CIA (see below). Couldn’t Cooper team up with some other challenge-seeking Times reporter(s) to find out that number? They could, but only if they’d want to (and if their editors would let them).

As noted parenthetically above, the Pentagon is now running 36 code-named operations in Africa. “The code-named operations cover a variety of different military missions, ranging from psychological operations to counterterrorism,” Nick Turse and Sean D. Naylor reported on Yahoo News on May 1. The countries where U.S. special operations forces saw combat — according to Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who served at U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) from 2013 to 2105 — are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Tunisia. “[Bolduc] added that U.S. troops have been killed or wounded in action in at least six of them: Kenya, Libya, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Tunisia.”

How is this not big news? Although Turse and Naylor mention no such operation in Liberia, Cooper might find it “challenging” to ask her sources at the Pentagon to shed more light on those three dozen U.S. wars on her home continent.

It also would be very “challenging” for Cooper to investigate the scandal, noted very quietly by a few outlets since 2010, of the roughly 1,700 Pentagon employees — and an unknown number of defense contractors, some with high-level security clearances — seeking out and downloading child pornography on government computers.

The discovery of this apparent criminal network inside the Department of Defense arose from Operation Flicker, “a wider investigation conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” according to Voice of America. Since this scandal is unknown to most Americans, Cooper could perform a crucial public service by doing an in-depth report on it for the New York Times, if her editor would let her. In keeping with the Times’ obsessive #MeToo coverage — and its peculiar lack of interest in the scourge of pedophilia outside the Catholic Church — Cooper has reported on Sen. Martha McSally’s (R-AZ) claim that she was raped by her superior officer in the Air Force.

The Pentagon’s school system educates 47,000 students in this country on military bases in seven states, and 24,000 students on foreign bases in 11 countries. Sexual abuse among children there is common, if not epidemic, and the military tends to let it slide, according to an AP exposé published in March of 2018:

“A decade after the Pentagon began confronting rape in the ranks, the U.S. military frequently fails to protect or provide justice to the children of service members when they are sexually assaulted by other children on base, an Associated Press investigation has found.”

In between her jaunts on Black Hawks and Chinooks, Cooper might find it “most challenging” to follow up on that AP report, which seems to have run almost nowhere in the corporate press. (PBS NewsHour, to its credit, did a piece about it.) That the story made no splash makes it quite likely that the Pentagon has not done much, if anything, to make those children safe, so there’s probably a lot for Cooper to investigate. 

Diversity as propaganda’s passport

Thus Helene Cooper’s record on “the best beat in Washington” — like that of Eric Schmitt, her predecessor in that role — makes quite clear (as if it hadn’t been quite clear for decades) that the New York Times is wholly at the service of the U.S. war machine, no less so than Stars and Stripes; although that newspaper is explicitly a propaganda outlet for the Pentagon, while the Times pretends to serve the interests of the public, or at least its (Trump-bumped) readership of urban liberals.

Back before it shrank into a full-blown propaganda rag, the Times was highly critical of the Pentagon’s grotesquely bloated budgets. In pieces like “C-5A  Jet Repairs to Cost $1.5 Billion,” “Pentagon Discloses $2-Million Increase in Price of an F-14” (both 1975), and “How Pentagon Spending Is Wrecking the Economy” (1986), the Times offered tough reporting on the military industrial complex which is unthinkable today.

This is the same Times that just six weeks ago featured an opinion piece on “Why America Needs a Stronger Defense Industry” and that has Helene Cooper never questioning the U.S. military budget, or its ruinous effects on all the rest of us, but instead selling those obscenely costly “toys,” by pitching the “pure fun” of riding in them, blithely unaware of their atrocious impact down below.

That there has been no protest of that psychopathic rhapsody — no comment anywhere throughout the U.S. press throughout the weeks since that interview appeared — could mean one of two things. The more hopeful possibility is that nobody reads “Inside the Times” (or anything else on those two pages of the paper), and so nobody protested Cooper’s paean to the Pentagon’s “cool hardware” because nobody read it.

If, however, people did read Cooper’s interview, it may be her identity that’s keeping everybody mute. Just as Obama’s color (and Hillary Clinton’s gender) had liberals sitting quiet in the face of an unprecedented surge of U.S. wars, which would have been a harder sell from white-male-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bush (even with the background hue supplied by Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice), so Helene Cooper’s categorical identity — her status as a (female) refugee (of color) — has clearly let her get away with what some may call whoring for the U.S. war machine as eagerly as if she’d posed, all smiles, in full-page ads for Rockwell, Boeing, Sikorsky, Northrop Grumman or Raytheon.

Cooper’s propaganda function would explain the Times’ avid emphasis on her identity, rather than her expertise in military policy or practices. That campaign began on Jan. 31, 2017 with “A Washington Correspondent’s Own Refugee Experience,” Cooper’s harrowing account of what her family went through in post-coup Liberia, “where enlisted soldiers took over the government and launched an orgy of retribution against the old guard:

“My father was shot. My cousin was executed on the beach by firing squad. My mother was gang-raped by soldiers in the basement of our house after she volunteered to submit to them on the condition that they leave my sisters and me, ages 8 to 16, alone.”

Cooper then recounts her family’s flight from that anarchic nightmare to the United States: “The plane was a DC-10 … it was like we were already in America, with carpets and air conditioning and air freshener.” And then proclaims her stand against Trump’s xenohphic immigration policy:

“This country took me and my family in when we were at one of the lowest points of our lives and returned to me a feeling I had lost: that of being safe. I was so proud when I eventually took the oath of citizenship and posed for photos, waving anAmerican flag, in front of the courthouse where I was sworn in.”

The piece ends with good news about the gradual recovery of Liberia — that “it elected a female president — the first African country to do so” — and a reprise of the exhilarating moment when that DC-10 took off from Monrovia.

“I hadn’t seen my mom cry in the whole month after the coup. Not even the night she was raped. But when the plane’s engines revved and it accelerated down the runway [as] we left for the United States, her chest heaved with big racking sobs.”

So poignant is this story of deliverance (and diversity) that it could seem a little churlish to deplore the author’s hearty appetite for military rides — or to point out that the “military coup” that rocked Liberia in 1980 causing so much misery for Cooper’s family and forcing them to flee to the United States, had been covertly run by the United States.

During the presidency of William Tolbert (who was murdered in the coup), “both the CIA and the Pentagon were … prospecting for leadership change in Liberia,” according to the final report of that nation’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, founded in 2005 (the report has since disappeared online). That Cooper now reports so gently on the Pentagon responsible for her own family’s agony seems rather strange, to say the least.

The social justice war dance

But what all of this may tell us about Helene Cooper, and her beautiful career, matters far less than what it says about the U.S. war machine’s grand strategy — so far, a winning strategy — of using the clichés of “social justice” to sell war and coups — all over and forever.

This strategy explains Barack Obama’s rise from nowhere to front for an unprecedented seven wars at once (and maybe more), along with an unprecedented war on whistleblowers and total blackout on state operations — a record that is sure to be maintained, if not surpassed, by whichever  female, black, Hispanic and/or gay exemplar of “diversity” may be anointed, and “elected,” to deliver us from Trump (right now Pete Buttigieg appears to be that person).

And that ostensible deliverance will have millions of us dancing in the streets, as other millions of us weep, and gnash their teeth — and still the U.S. war machine will just keep rolling along, killing further millions (mostly brown), and driving us still deeper into inequality and poverty.

And so it will go on and on, until the United States of America collapses, or the planet burns, unless we all wake up — and work as one to put a stop to it at last.

May 24, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Israel firm meddled in Africa, Asia and Latin America elections

MEMO – May 16, 2019

An Israel-based campaign to meddle in the elections of several African, Asian and Latin American countries has been uncovered by social media giant Facebook.

Facebook announced today that it had deactivated dozens of accounts found to be spreading disinformation by posing as local journalists and influencers. The social media giant traced these accounts to Archimedes Group, a private company based near Tel Aviv which had engineered the campaign.

Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, told reporters that the platform had deleted 65 accounts, 161 pages and dozens of groups linked to the misinformation campaign, noting that this activity had garnered 2.8 million followers and hundreds of thousands of views. Gleicher also told reporters that Archimedes has now been banned from Facebook, Haaretz reported.

For its part, the Times of Israel quoted Gleicher as saying that “these are actors that were essentially facilitating deception, and they appear to be commercially engaged to do this”. He added: “That type of business does not have a place on our platforms so we are removing them from the platform and our teams will continue to investigate to look for other instances of this type of behaviour, [whether] for commercial or other strategic purposes.”

Archimedes’ operations are thought to have focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia, as well as a handful of Asian and Latin American countries. It is thought that the campaign has spent over $800,000 on Facebook adverts since 2012.

Relatively little is known about Archimedes Group. The Washington Post noted that the group presents itself as “a consulting firm involved in campaigns for presidential elections,” using the slogan “winning campaigns worldwide”. The website also features a vague description of the group’s “mass social media management” software, which it claims can enable the operation of an “unlimited” number of online accounts.

The Washington Post added that Archimedes is headed by Elinadav Heymann, citing Swiss negotiations consultancy Negotiations.CH. Heymann is also reported to have been Executive Director of the European Friends of Israel since 2012 and an “advisor to various parties [in] the Israeli Knesset for 3 terms”.

Facebook’s Gleicher said he could not speculate as to whether Archimedes’ motives were political, and as yet it is not known who solicited and paid for the group’s services. However, given the campaign’s focus on predominantly central and west African countries – a region in which the Israeli state has recently tried to increase its influence – questions to this effect are likely to be raised going forward.

In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Chad to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries, which were severed in 1972. Speaking at a press conference before his departure, Netanyahu said that the visit was “part of the revolution we are doing in the Arab and Muslim world,” claiming that such an initiative “greatly worries, even greatly angers” Palestinians and the wider Arab world.

Though Israel’s normalisation drive in Africa has material benefits – often including lucrative arms deals, memorandums for economic cooperation and the use of airspace which will significantly shorten flight paths for commercial Israeli airlines – the initiative is also pursued for its propaganda value. Netanyahu has long been keen to emphasise these diplomatic successes, particularly in the run up to Israel’s general election which took place last month.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Arab Spring returns home to uncertain welcome

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | April 12, 2019

The Arab Spring has returned to the Middle East after nearly six years in exile. It was in July 2013 that reversing the tide of democracy in Egypt that swept away the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi led a coalition with the backing of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to remove the elected President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, from power and suspended the the country’s constitution of 2012.

The Arab Spring never quite recovered from that trauma. There is a nifty aphorism of obscure origin that ‘History does not repeat itself but it often rhymes.’ The return of the Arab Spring to Algeria and Sudan in the recent weeks fits into that description. The similarity with the past lies in the undeniable fact that the Arab Spring is riding the wave of anti-regime protests in both Algeria and Sudan, triggered spontaneously by enormous public hatred of the regimes for their brutal repression, corruption, indifference to poverty and the intolerable conditions of day-to-day life.

In Sudan, the tipping point came four months ago over the government decision to triple the price of bread. In Algeria, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back came in February when then President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he would seek a fifth-term in office, whereupon tens of thousands took to the streets.

In the sheer spontaneity of the Arab Spring revolt in Sudan and Algeria, time seemed to stand still since 2013. First in Algeria, after some six weeks of protests, and in Sudan within days, after four months of protests, the dictators got ousted. But in reality, things are never quite the repetition of the past — protests this time around are on a significantly higher scale. Lessons may have been learnt from the tragic example of Egypt where a heroic popular struggle that brought the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammed Morsi to power ended in the blood-soaked 2013 coup led by General Sisi. The tragic saga of the Arab Spring in Egypt showed that entrenched ruling elites do not relinquish power simply because of militant mass protests.

Thus, both in Algeria and Sudan, there is popular resistance to the all-too-familiar pattern repeating — the army generals stepping in as the apparent saviours to remove the unpopular, detested dictators from power — Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir — but then, only to usurp power and establish military dictatorships, as had happened in Egypt. In Algeria, the protestors are openly shouting ‘No repeat of the Egyptian scenario.’ In Sudan, the exhortation to the protestors is: ‘Stay put and guard your revolution. To comply with the curfew (imposed by the generals) is to recognise the clone rescue government (led by the army.)’

However, the spectre that is haunting the masses in both Algeria and Sudan is the danger of bloody counterrevolution. Leadership is lacking among protestors and they lack the machinery or cadres to coordinate opposition to military-police repression. Meanwhile, the entrenched elite is co-opting the middle class and trying to lull protestors to sleep with (false) promises of a democratic capitalist future. The military junta in Algeria is promising to convene a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution, while the counterpart in Sudan has voiced its intention to hold democratic elections in two years.

In Sudan, there is also the added factor of foreign interference. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi openly said this week, “We cannot afford a leadership emerging in … Sudan that tolerates, or even worse condones, militant Islamic activity. This is why … we are keeping a close eye on any possible transition of power in Sudan.” The reference is to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Of course, it is a phoney argument, since the Brothers in Sudan have historically rejected union with the Egyptian branch (forming an alliance instead with the Sudanese Ansar-Ummah political bloc in support of Sudanese independence.) Sisi’s real worry is that if Sudan takes the democratic path, Muslim Brotherhood that has dominated Sudanese politics will surge to take the elected leadership, as had happened in Egypt in 2011, and that would rekindle the clamour for democracy in his country too.

Alex de Waal at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University writing for the BBC assesses that “the cabal (that usurped power in Sudan) is aligned with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, Qatar and Turkey have lost out. The new leadership dissolved the ruling National Congress Party and reportedly arrested many veteran Muslim Brothers.”

“They are busy telling Western countries that the Islamists had planned a coup, which needed to be forestalled by the army takeover, and that the protesters demanding democracy are also Muslim Brothers in disguise. It’s not a very convincing story, but it points to future tensions because the Islamists still have a strong following in Sudan.”

Sadly, in the emergent “multipolar world order”, there are hardly any takers for democracy or the Arab Spring — except, arguably, Turkey, Qatar and Iran — especially if it smacks of political Islam The big powers feel cozy with dictatorships. On Wednesday, the US and Britain issued a statement effectively backing the pre-emptive military coup in Sudan. At a meeting with Sisi on April 9 (who was on an official visit to the US at the invitation of President Trump), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked the dictator “for his leadership in advancing Egypt’s and the region’s security and stability, including through counterterrorism efforts and countering the Iranian regime’s malign influence.”

April 12, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , | Leave a comment