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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

‘We did not expect the world to be silent’: US continuing to kill civilians with impunity

By Darius Shahtahmasebi | RT | April 4, 2019

The Trump administration, which made promises to rein in Washington’s unnecessary wars, has not only expanded the US’ covert and lethal drone program, but has taken the covering up of its civilian death toll to a whole new level.

Like most of the battlefields opened more widely under the Obama administration, Donald Trump ramped up airstrikes against the infamous Al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia approximately two years ago. And, like most drone wars expanded under Obama and dramatically widened under Trump, the details of this covert assault are continuously swept under the rug, particularly when it comes to civilian casualties.

The Pentagon has openly said that its airstrikes in Somalia have killed zero civilians.

Yet, recently, an Amnesty International investigation into just five of the strikes carried out since March 2017 by both manned and unmanned reaper aircraft found that the strikes resulted in at least 14 civilian deaths, with instances of eight civilian injuries as well. In total, the US has carried out more than 100 strikes in Somalia since 2017.

Amnesty has made it quite clear that the attacks have violated international humanitarian law, and may amount to war crimes (remember, they have only assessed five out of over 100 so far). Weirdly enough, the New York Times piece introducing this report failed to mention that last point, even when Amnesty mentioned it very early on in its release (though, that being said, the Times did slip a half-hearted attempt at adopting a moral and legal stance near the end of the article, noting that “critics have claimed” drone warfare “could also result in war crimes.”)

Not to worry though, when approached for comment by Amnesty International, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) repeated the claim that no civilians have died in American operations in Somalia. So, that’s that then.

The US military truly is an amazing, benevolent force for good in the world, isn’t it? It managed to ramp up its airstrikes in Somalia after the US president signed an executive order in March 2017 declaring southern Somalia an “area of active hostilities.” It conducted more airstrikes in Somalia than in Libya and Yemen combined. Just in the first few months of 2019 alone, it has already carried out 24 strikes on Somali territory, compared to only 14 in the whole of 2016, prior to Trump taking office. In 2018, US airstrikes killed 326 people. And yet, not a single civilian has died or been injured. Remarkable.

One such strike on the hamlet of Farah Waeys in Somalia allegedly killed members “or affiliates of Al-Shabaab,” according to AFRICOM. Those affiliates, however, were actually two civilian men, as well as five women and children who were injured. Another strike killed three local farmers in the early hours of a morning in November 2017, who were resting after working all night digging canals. AFRICOM even admitted it carried an airstrike in the region on that same morning.

If we thought that it was hard to monitor US-led covert wars in the Middle East and Africa before, it seems to have gotten even worse under Trump. Just recently, Trump allowed the CIA to keep secret how many civilians are killed in its airstrikes outside of war zones. As it transpires, a law passed by Congress making it compulsory for the Pentagon to publicly report civilians killed in its operations applies to the Pentagon only, and not the CIA drone program.

The law is pointless anyway, when one considers how the Pentagon assesses whether civilians have been killed or not. Donald Trump’s relaxation of the rules surrounding airstrikes are in and of themselves a pathway to a war crime tribunal. According to a retired US brigadier general who was consulted by Amnesty, Trump’s executive order widened the list of potential targets to include adult males living in villages sympathetic to Al-Shabaab who are located within range of known fighters. This was already a known tactic under the peace-prize-winning president Barack Obama, who counted all “military-age males” in the vicinity of a target as militants.

In other words, we cannot trust the Pentagon to be forthcoming with these statistics even when they are compelled to by law. Consider this gate-keeping paragraph by the New York Times, which for all of its empire-serving rhetoric, cannot resist but tell the truth:

“Yet, even under the previous rules, no matter how precise the weapons, how careful the planners and how skilled the fighters, mistakes, faulty intelligence, even calculated decisions often led to civilians being killed. The official data ranges from none to maddeningly vague, and the safeguards to mitigate civilian deaths are insufficient.”

Furthermore, defence officials have said under anonymity that the CIA and the Pentagon’s efforts in places like Somalia are heavily intertwined anyway, often “piggybacking” off American military posts or US-backed militias. The potential for the US to lie to us through its teeth due to this arrangement is astounding, to say the least.

As far back as 2015, four former US Air Force servicemen wrote an open letter to Barack Obama warning about the effects of drone warfare, calling it a “recruitment tool” for groups like ISIS. They advanced the crazy notion that the killing of innocent civilians has acted as one of the most “devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”

At a press briefing in New York, the servicemen also revealed that drone operators would refer to children as “fun-size terrorists,” and justify their killing with the phrase that they were “cutting the grass before it grows too long.” Some drone operators even flew their missions while impaired by drug and alcohol abuse.

“We kill four and create 10 [militants],” one serviceman said.

In the past, Somali officials also warned that the United States was being duped by rival clans who fed the US military bad intelligence while conducting its operations. When the US boasts, for example, that single bombardments have killed over 150 Al-Shabaab fighters, you can be pretty sure that we are not getting the full picture.

Despite all this, you can always count on the corporate media to somehow put a rotation on the whole issue that amazingly shifts the blame to other parties. Take, for example, this gem, again, from the New York Times:

“A lack of transparency and accountability for civilian deaths helps enemies spin false narratives, makes it harder for allies to defend American actions and sets a bad example for other countries that are rapidly adding drones to their arsenals.”

The American war machine killing civilians helps Washington’s enemies “spin false narratives?” If anything, I think America’s insistence on blowing up Muslim people, left right and center, with zero accountability or compensation of any kind, makes it very easy for its so-called enemies to spin narratives that are one hundred percent grounded in the truth. Why would they even need to lie?

And where will all this take us? As astutely noted by Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project:

“The Trump era has made clear just how vulnerable policy limits are and how dangerous it is when a president claims legal authority to kill in secret. In 2017, Trump lifted a key policy constraint limiting lethal strikes to ‘high-level militants’ who pose ‘a continuing and imminent threat to Americans.’ He also reportedly declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia were exempt from the meager remaining limits. The result? The United States is killing more low-level suspects, regardless of whether the government has reason to believe they pose a threat to the United States.”

The US is not even at war with Somalia, yet somehow there are at least 500 US troops stationed there, with a further 6,500 spread out over the African continent. The US has even hired private contractors to supply proxy forces in the country. Even the Guardian reported at the end of last year that the ramping up of US airstrikes were not really changing the situation on the ground in Somalia, as the terrorist group continued to strengthen its grip on the country.

As for the innocent civilians killed by American tax dollars, we would do well to bear these “statistics” (they’re people, after all) in mind the next time a horrific attack such as the one that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand, in mid-March this year occurs. We should bear in mind that those world leaders who expressed their outrage and support to New Zealand, at the end of the day, continue to be the leading perpetrators of anti-Muslim violence behind closed doors and under loosely swept rugs.

As one farmer from the Darusalaam village, Somalia told Amnesty: “We did not expect the world to be silent.”

April 5, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

To Ramp Up Fear of Russia in Africa, NYT Downplays Massive US Military Presence

By Adam Johnson – FAIR – April 4, 2019

The New York Times (3/31/19) added to its series of reports depicting Official Enemies surpassing the US in the race for global dominance. It seems that having taken control of the Arctic (FAIR.org9/15/15), the nuclear domain (FAIR.org3/7/18) and a whole host of other spaces the US is “behind” in, Russia is now gobbling up Africa—a threat the US, presumably, must counter with an even greater military build-up.

The report, “Russia’s Military Mission Creep Advances to a New Front: Africa,” by Eric Schmitt, asserting an uptick in Russian weapons contracts and military training exercises in Africa, is thin on context and hard numbers, but is artificially fortified with a series of anecdotes and frightening quotes. Since the obvious rejoinder to any discussion of increased Russian presence in Africa is, “OK, but what is the US’s current reach?” the Times hangs a lampshade on the inconvenience with this throwaway line:

The United States military has a relatively light footprint across Africa.

About 6,000 United States troops and 1,000 Defense Department civilians or contractors work on a variety of missions throughout Africa, mainly training and conducting exercises with local armies.

According to documents obtained by the Intercept’s Nick Turse (12/1/18), the US currently has 34 military bases in Africa; Russia has zero. The Times doesn’t tell us how many “contractors’ and “troops” Russia has in Africa, so it’s not clear what the so-called “light footprint” is “relative” to. Is it 10? 100? 10,000? If it’s a lot less than 6,000, then the story is a bit of a dud. Alas, we’re simply left guessing at the “relative” size of Russia’s Africa presence.

Also worth noting: “Light footprint” is the same Orwellian phrase the Pentagon has been using for years to obscure the growth of AFRICOM, as in this AFRICOM press release (6/13/12) :

AFRICOM Will Maintain Light Footprint in Africa — The United States has no plans to seek permanent bases in Africa, and, in the spirit of the new defense strategic guidance, will continue to maintain a “light footprint” on the continent, the top US Africa Command officer said.

AFRICOM map of Africa, published by The Intercept (12/1/18). Note that in the Pentagon’s doubletalk, the US does not have “permanent bases” in Africa—it has “enduring locations.”

It’s always reassuring when the paper of record adopts the US government’s preferred press release language. (See also New York Times1/25/12 , 3/1/19.)

Aside from quotes from US military brass, Schmitt’s report was primarily propped up with testimony from weapons contractor-funded think tanks, namely the Institute for the Study of War and the Center for International and Strategic Studies, which both provided urgent, stakes-raising narratives:

Russia is seeking more strategic bases for its troops, including at Libyan ports on the Mediterranean Sea and at naval logistics centers in Eritrea and Sudan on the Red Sea, according to an analysis by the Institute for the Study of War, a research organization in Washington….

“Moscow and its private military contractors are arming some of the region’s weakest governments and backing the continent’s autocratic rulers,” said Judd Devermont, director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “This engagement threatens to exacerbate current conflict zones.”

Panic over a creeping Russia menace in Africa is timed, not coincidentally, with congressional debate over the Defense budget, submitted by Trump two weeks ago. In addition, some congressional Democrats and Republicans are working to erode what little caps exist for the military budget, with a planned vote next week in the House for lifting limits on discretionary Defense spending.

Needless to say, the primary funders of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Institute for Study of War—the think tanks whose juicy quotes and studies bolster the primary arguments of the articles’ premise—stand to make tens of billions in profit from both of these legislative efforts. Having the New York Times provide marketing collateral for these efforts is no doubt useful in convincing an increasingly war-weary public, and accordingly, war-wary Congress, to rubberstamp yet another record-setting Pentagon budget.

For hawkish arms industry-funded groups like CSIS, the answer is always to build more weapons systems and to paint enemy states in the most sinister light possible. One 2017 study by FAIR (5/8/17) found that while commenting on Korea, CSIS’s experts either explicitly backed its funder Lockheed Martin’s THAAD weapons system, or its central value proposition that it would ward off a hostile North Korea, 30 out of 30 times. There were zero examples of a CSIS rep downplaying a threat or arguing against more military spending. When asked in email to provide an example of CSIS saying any threat was exaggerated or advising against any kind of military spending increase, the CSIS spokesperson declined to comment.

The primary purpose of organizations like CSIS and ISW is to push the weapons systems of the corporations that fund them. Any analysis of their reports, studies or media appearances will show that at least 99 percent of the time, they come down on the side of hyping threats and pushing for the shiny new publicly funded instruments that would counter those threats.

This glaring conflict of interest, as usual, isn’t disclosed by the New York Times. A particularly strange omission, since it was the Times itself in 2016 that, citing leaked emails, argued (8/7/16) that CSIS was acting as a thinly veiled lobbyist for its weapons-maker funder General Atomics, and was, according to its own report, “blurring the line between researchers and lobbyists.”

“As a think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies did not file a lobbying report,”  Eric Lipton and Brooke Williams reported, “but the goals of the effort were clear.”

They are clear indeed. Yet since that time, CSIS has continued to be the go-to source for analyzing global threats for the Times, without even a token disclosure.

Also as usual, the article went to no skeptical voices for any comment; the only sources sought were war makers and those funded by war makers. They all worked to paint a one-sided, cartoon picture of a Russian takeover of Africa, complete with the patented New York Times double standard of motives: Russia is said by Schmitt to be seeking “new economic markets and energy resources.” The United States? Simply there to provide “foreign aid” and “train and conduct exercises with local armies.” In the Times, the idea that the US would also be motivated by securing markets and resources would be tantamount to lizard people conspiracy theory talk. But for Russia, it’s simply taken for granted.

In the Times, Official Enemy threats are unquestionably bad and unquestionably sinister in nature. The only answer? Let the Pentagon gravy train run its course, year in and year out because invariably there will always be, with the help of the New York Times, the specter of an enemy threat “advancing on a new front.”

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Kremlin Urges No Foreign Interference in Algeria

Al-Manar | April 3, 2019

The Kremlin on Wednesday said it hoped for a transition of power in Algeria without foreign “interference” after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in the face of massive street protests.

“We expect that the internal processes that are happening in this country and are exclusively the internal affair of Algeria will take place without the interference of any third countries,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He added that Russia has “mutually beneficial, friendly relations” with Algeria and that the two countries share “many joint projects in the economic sphere.”

Bouteflika, 82, had ruled the former French colony for two decades and had long been accused of clinging to power.

The veteran leader faced mounting pressure to step down following his decision to seek a fifth term, despite rarely being seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

His decision to stand aside was announced on state television late Tuesday.

April 3, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian held in Ghana: ‘I was tortured for 35 days’

Mahran Baajour, Palestinian businessman who has disappared in Ghana [File photo]

Palestinian businessman Mahran Baajour
MEMO | April 1, 2019

The Ghanaian authorities must open an investigation into the kidnapping and torturing Palestinian Mahran Baajour and bring those responsible to justice, Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) said in a statement today.

Thirty-nine-year-old Baajour has been subjected to enforced disappearance and torture in Ghana by security agents, believed to be Mossad agents, since his arrest on 13 December 2018 until his release in March 2019.

Baajour arrived in Ghana on 13 December 2018 on a business trip. He was arrested after leaving the airport of Ghanaian capital Accra, without justification. He was arrested along with two other Ghanaian nationals who were at the airport to receive him; they were taken to an unknown location. The two Ghanaian men were later released and they informed Baajour’s family of his arrest.

“He was detained at the airport and when the family asked about his whereabouts, the reply was that he wasn’t in their custody,” his brother Jehad Baajour told reporters.

One of Mahran’s brothers who lives in Denmark subsequently flew to Ghana in a bid to locate him, but Ghanaian intelligence services again denied he was in the country.

AOHR UK confirmed that Baajour was “subjected to physical torture, beating all over his body, psychological torture, insult and verbal abuse by white-skinned officers speaking little Arabic”.

“Some officers’ clothes had Hebrew writings on it.”

In his statement to the organization, Baajour said:

“As soon as I left the airport in Accra, four cars surrounded the car I was in.

They arrested us without showing a legal warrant, without disclosing the agency they belong to and took us to another place, where they exchanged cars. They took me to an unknown place, I still do not know, and I was handcuffed the whole time.

White-skinned men, who knew little Arabic, started investigating me. They were 14 men from different nationalities as they told me. I noticed on a coat, which belongs to one of them, Hebrew badges, Hebrew written papers, and some of them used Hebrew words like ‘Shekel’.

I was interrogated about the situation of the refugees in Lebanon, the Lebanese and Palestinian political forces, some terrorist activities and operations that were not related to me and I told them so. They tortured me in various ways for 35 days.

They detained me in a narrow room, 1×1 meters, deprived me of sleep for up to three consecutive days, poured cold water on me and beat me on the head strongly, in addition to handcuffing my hands and feet all the time. They threatened me with kidnapping my 12-year-old daughter and killing her, while verbally abusing me.”

READ ALSO:

Ghana government attitude towards Mahran Baajour’s abduction repugnant – Minority

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Media & the WWF Torture Scandal

News organizations have turned their own journalists into WWF cheerleaders

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | March 20, 2019

Click for source

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed published a three-part exposé about violent goons, funded and equipped by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who persecute indigenous communities. In the words of the BuzzFeed journalists, the WWF

works directly with paramilitary forces that have been accused of beating, torturing, sexually assaulting, and murdering scores of people. As recently as 2017, forest rangers at a WWF-funded park in Cameroon tortured an 11-year-old boy in front of his parents…

UK politicians have called on the government to respond to these “appalling and deeply disturbing” allegations. US senator Patrick Leahy has likewise demanded an “immediate and thorough review” of the support the WWF receives from American authorities.

BuzzFeed reports that the UK Charity Commission will be asking the WWF “serious questions.” Also in the UK, explorer Ben Fogle has stepped away from his public relationship with this organization, due to these “very serious human rights allegations.”

Longtime WWF supporter, actress Susan Sarandon, says she expects an “in-depth investigation” to take place.

Likewise, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has called on the WWF to “provide the public with a full and transparent accounting of their findings.” (In 2016, DiCaprio – who sits on the WWF’s Board of Directors in the United States, symbolically ‘shared‘ his 2016 Golden Globe award “with all the First Nations peoples represented in this film and all the indigenous communities around the world.”)

Despite the celebrities, the prominence of the WWF brand, and the serious nature of these allegations, much of the media has chosen to ignore this story. Could that have anything to do with the fact that news organizations have spent the past decade turning their own journalists into WWF cheerleaders?

Here in Canada, our largest circulation newspaper, The Toronto Star, has served as an official sponsor of the WWF’s annual Earth Hour (see this 2008 discussion, and this from 2012).

Think about that cozy, inappropriate relationship – and then ask yourself why The Star has yet to tell its readers about the WWF torture scandal.

Since its Australian beginnings, Earth Hour was a deliberate media creation. Rather than reporting neutrally on current affairs, rather than applying an equally skeptical eye to all large multinational entities (WWF, come on down), news organizations instead promote certain events, certain entities, and certain environmental perspectives.

The flip side of that pathological arrangement is that these same news organizations also have the power to decide what isn’t news. Every single day, they decide what not to tell the public.

March 20, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment