Arbaeen Walk: A Life-changing Journey of Love

September 27, 2021

Arbaeen Walk: A Life-changing Journey of Love

By Syed Zafar Mehdi – Press TV

Millions of ardent lovers, in a demonstration of unfathomable love and devotion for their beloved, walk seamlessly and untiringly from one sacred city to another, day and night, braving inclement weather and ominous security threats.

Men and women, young and old, they come from different corners of the world and converge at one place. They call it heaven.

It is not an excerpt from a gripping page-turner, laced with figments of imagination. It is a beautiful miracle I saw unfold before my eyes two years ago. A miracle that repeats every year.

If you haven’t guessed already, I am talking about the largest and the greatest rally against terrorism and extremism that takes place in the second lunar month, forty days from Ashura, which marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussain [AS] and his followers in the desert plains of Karbala 14 centuries ago.

It’s not merely a walk. It is a mark of protest against all forms and manifestations of terrorism, fascism, imperialism, despotism, and oppression perpetuated by state and non-state actors.

It is a rallying cry in support of the oppressed, weak and powerless. It is a reaffirmation of pledge to uphold the principles exemplified by the ‘master of challengers’ in Karbala.

The journey of a lifetime

Arbaeen walk takes place from Najaf to Karbala – from the final resting place of the ‘commander of the faithful’ to that of the ‘master of the martyrs’. It is a journey of love.

Two years ago, I was blessed with an opportunity to embark on this life-changing journey. It was the fulfillment of a long-cherished dream.

For years, I had heard fascinating stories from those who traveled there before me. I also watched video documentaries and read articles and travelogues about it. Now it was time to live the dream. The feeling was surreal.

As a journalist, my work requires me to travel extensively. It has taken me to many amazing places past several years. But this time it was not work, but love that was taking me to Iraq.

Exactly a week before Arbaeen, I grabbed my backpack and boarded a bus at south Tehran’s bus terminal for Shalamcheh, a border town in western Khuzestan province. The bus reached the border in the wee hours of morning. As we de-boarded the bus, the scenes were spectacular.

Tens of thousands of people were jostling for space to enter Iraq by foot. I had never seen such scenes in my life. Everyone was visibly excited for the journey ahead. The chants of ‘Ya Hussain’ filled the air, as the sun peeked slowly over the misty desert horizon.

It was a long wait at the border terminal, but nobody seemed to grumble. I stood in a serpentine queue for about three hours before I could cross over. The moment I stepped on the soil of Iraq, I was reminded of Neil Armstrong’s words when he touched down on the lunar surface. It was a small step but a giant leap. The feeling was overwhelming. I had made it.

After a walk of few kilometers in ‘no-man’s land’ that divides the two countries, I boarded another bus on the Iraqi side of border to Najaf. It was a long and arduous journey in a bus teeming with pilgrims but the excitement and eagerness to reach the destination overshadowed everything. All minds and eyes were glued to the golden dome of Imam Ali’s [AS] mausoleum in Najaf. Despite weariness, no one slept on the way. When the bus finally halted at the terminal in Najaf, it was unreal. We were in the city of the ‘commander of the faithful.’

Prelude to the walk

In Najaf, streets were teeming with pilgrims who had flocked from different parts of the world. Local people had set up stalls, serving visitors sweetened drinks, fruits and snacks. I had heard about the hospitality of Iraqis and here I was experiencing it. As I made my way through the crowd, two young boys who sensed that I was a foreigner offered to host me in Najaf.

It was a beautiful and kind gesture from complete strangers with whom the only relation I had was love for Ahlulbayt. We happened to be the devotees of the man who was known in the city of Kufa as the ‘father of orphans’ for his nobility and large-heartedness.

I politely turned down their offer as one of my school-time friends in India, now a student at the Najaf seminary, was waiting for me. The food stalls were all around me, and food was being served with love and warmth, but somehow my hunger had fizzled out. I just wanted to reach the shrine of Imam Ali [AS].

It was walking distance from the terminal and I took steps as briskly as I possibly could. The crowd kept swelling around me and my marathonesque speed diminished. It seemed the whole world had converged there.

There are many small, winding lanes around the shrine and all of them were crammed with people. After much labor, I reached a point from where I could see the beautiful golden dome of the shrine giving out its radiance. I momentarily stood still and had a long, sharp look at it. This was a moment I had waited for so long.

The walk continued uninterrupted until I reached close to the shrine. The next challenge was to go inside the shrine. I stood at the imposing gates, with barely any space to put my foot down. A few moments later, a tsunami of people pushed me toward the main hall of the magnificent shrine. Tears yelled from my eyes irrepressibly.

Here I was, in the city of my Imam, inside his shrine, beneath his dome, right in front of his grave. I wanted to believe what I was seeing, feeling and experiencing. I wanted to believe that it was real, not a dream.

Inside the shrine, I saw people of different nationalities, different languages, different skin colors, different age groups crying, screaming, smiling, beaming – a whole range of pure human emotions. ‘Ya Ali’ was reverberating from all corners, a chant that has a universal appeal, a slogan you associate with the campaigners of truth and justice everywhere.

My two days in Najaf gave me a lifetime of memories to cherish. I stayed at my friend’s house, close to the shrine, but my host was Amiral Momineen [AS] himself. I felt at home. I never felt that way anywhere else, until I reached Karbala.

The walk to heaven

It was finally time to head toward the land that I had heard about, read about, and thought about. The land soaked in the blood of 72 martyrs, including the grandson of the apostle of God. Whenever the talk veers to Karbala, our eyes turn moist. With these tears, as Imam Khomeini once said, we have razed to ground powerful empires.

Karbala is an idea, a concept and a movement that will always have significance and relevance. Imam’s uprising in those desert plains should strengthen our resolve to speak truth to power, to be the voice of voiceless, to campaign for truth and justice.

As Dr. Ali Shariati says, martyrs gave their blood, now survivors have to carry the message of that blood to future generations. Imam Hussain [AS] gave blood and Hazrat Zainab [SA] became an eloquent tongue of that blood.

Arbaeen walk is an endeavor that seeks to keep alive the movement of Karbala, to convey the message of blood to future generations. It is a movement against terrorism, fascism and despotism. It is a movement that seeks to safeguard and promote human values of love and compassion and condemn bigotry, tyranny and exploitation of powerful elites. It is a movement for humanity and its appeal cuts across the barriers of religion, caste, color and creed, which is precisely why non-Shias or for that matter even non-Muslims join this greatest march on earth.

For one week prior to Arbaeen, every day tens of thousands start the walk towards Karbala from Najaf. We began our walk three days before Arbaeen from the compound of Imam Ali [AS]’s shrine. The streets were swarming with people wearing black dresses, holding flags, banners and placards, and chanting ‘Labbaik Ya Hussain’. It was not a dream anymore. I believed what I was seeing.

The whole journey of around 80 km [50 miles] from Najaf to Karbala is marked with 1400 poles, corresponding with the number of years that have passed since the tragic event of Karbala. It takes about two days and two nights to cover this stretch depending on the pace of walk and stoppages in between. When we started the walk, it was drizzling with a gentle breeze. There were men, women, children and elderly all around me, walking towards the same destination.

For the love of Hussain [AS]

Along the way from Najaf to Karbala, stalls were set up by local residents, charities, mosques and foreign aid groups to ensure no pilgrim goes hungry or thirsty. Cooks prepared massive quantities of stewed lamb, grilled fish, beans, fresh bread and rice. There were small makeshift tents lined with foam mattresses and woolen blankets for people to rest or sleep. For those tired, there were masseurs to give them quick and revitalizing massage. For shoes covered with dust, there were volunteers to polish them. There were also mobile bathrooms to have a quick shower and mobile ambulances in case of a medical emergency.

And they charged absolutely nothing. Just for the love of Ahlulbayt.

In recent years, before the pandemic struck, the rush of pilgrims on Arbaeen went up tremendously. The year I went, the figure touched the staggering 15 million, even though the official figure was different. The year before that was the first Arbaeen pilgrimage since the Iraqi government declared thumping victory over Daesh.

All these years, people have been going on this pilgrimage despite the Daesh presence in the country, which is quite remarkable. Only those with unflinching faith and unshakable conviction are capable of taking such huge risks. It is safe to suggest that this greatest protest against terrorism was a key factor in the elimination of the dreaded terrorist group from Iraq.

Security concerns, however, did not play on my mind. Before Iran, I spent a few years in Afghanistan, reporting on the daily incidents of violence. And I grew up in Kashmir, the world’s largest militarized zone. It was normal for me.

On the way I grabbed a flag with ‘Ya Abal Fazl’ in one hand and a placard related to my own bruised and bleeding homeland – Kashmir – in the other hand. I felt like a soldier dressed up for the war. It was overwhelming with a sea of people walking, running, scampering, crawling towards the abode of Aba Abdillah [AS].

On the way, I witnessed many incredible scenes. I saw a young man carrying his elderly mother on his shoulders. I saw a father pushing a wheelchair with his physically impaired son perched on it. I saw a 3-year old girl standing on a bench in the middle of night offering sweets to the travelers. I saw families walking together, a grandfather holding the hand of his granddaughter, singing soul-stirring elegies in the memory of the martyrs of Karbala.

Millions of people walking towards Karbala had different nationalities, came from different cultures, spoke different languages, but what united them was their love for Ahlulbayt and commitment to honor their memory. It was like small tributaries merging into a gigantic sea. They proudly held aloft flags of their respective countries and marched in unison. Majority of them were Iranians, but many of them also came from Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Turkey, Syria, Indonesia, and some European countries.

I met two university students from Australia who had come all the way from Sydney to witness the spectacle. They had heard about it from friends which prompted them to embark on the awe-inspiring journey.

“This is spectacular. I have never seen anything like this, such massive crowd and yet so well-organized,” one of them told me in our ‘walk the talk’. “Saudi authorities should learn from Iraqis how to manage such a big religious gathering.”

I bumped across people from different nationalities and we instantly hit it off. The conversations ranged from Iraq’s successful fight against Daesh, America’s war crimes in the region, the secret dalliance of Arab states with the Zionist regime, situation of religious minorities in South Asia, and the relevance of Karbala in our times. We walked and talked and discovered that we agreed on many things. We became friends and companions in the walk.

This is how Arbaeen can be a stimulating intellectual exercise and a cultural exchange between people of various nationalities and cultures that come together for a common cause.

Hospitality and kindness redefined

On day one of the walk, I met some friends along the way. Days were relatively hot and nights were extremely cold. At every step along the way, there were friendly hosts urging walkers to sit for a sweetened black Iraqi tea and snacks.

We stopped at one small stall where a 30-something husband and wife were serving tea and fresh dates to travelers. They belonged to a local village and worked in farms to earn money for livelihood. Serving the guests of Imam Hussain [AS], the man told me, was a privilege for him.

“I save money every month from my meager earnings and accumulate all the savings to spend them on Aba Abdillah’s [AS] guests on Arbaeen. I can starve myself to make sure pilgrims have no reason to complain.” His words touched me deeply.

We continued on the journey until the night fell and then halted to sleep for a few hours before resuming the walk. All tents were packed and there was hardly any space to lie down. The night was dark and cold as we looked for shelter. Some young boys came from nowhere and offered us some woolen blankets, which saved us from the potential cold stroke.

A few meters away, an elderly man said something to us in Arabic that we didn’t understand. Then he gestured towards a small roadside tent and led us inside. Luckily there was still some space left. It’s amazing the way complete strangers show such kindness and compassion there.

At the break of dawn, we woke up for prayers and then resumed the walk until afternoon prayers, with few hurried tea breaks in between. On the way, the buzz was electrifying as we inched closer to our destination. Iranian pilgrims recited Farsi elegies, Indians and Pakistanis recited Urdu dirges, pilgrims from Lebanon and Syria joined the chorus with Arabic latmiyas. All melodies combined to create a heartwarming ambience.

Following the afternoon prayers, we walked briskly, perhaps out of excitement. We started counting the number of poles we left behind until a big billboard appeared on the way: ‘Welcome to Karbala’ written in Arabic. My heart skipped a beat. The moment had arrived.

I was in Karbala but the shrines were still a few miles away. It was an unbelievable crowd, barely a space to breathe. But who wants to breathe in Karbala, I told myself. I would proudly breathe my last in Bainul Haramian, in between the shrines of two brothers. Slowly, very slowly, the crowd moved forward until the shrine of Aba Abdillah [AS] appeared before my eyes.

Welcome to Karbala

I was officially in heaven. Every thought disappeared from my mind. All I could think of was that fateful day 14 centuries ago when a small group of holy warriors confronted the army of a mighty empire. The scenes started appearing before my eyes. An infant child being taken to the battlefield, a young man fighting like a seasoned warrior, a standard bearer going to fetch water from a nearby stream and never coming back, little children crying of thirst and the beloved grandson of the apostle of God crying out loud: ‘Is there anyone to help me.’

The question was not directed at the soldiers of Yazid ibn Muawiya. Imam Hussain [AS] expected no mercy from them. It was directed at his followers. It was directed at us. This march of the millions from Najaf to Karbala every year is in response to that call, which still echoes in the hearts and minds of believers.

As I stood in front of the shrine of the master of martyrs [AS], time came to a grinding halt. There were people from all sides trying to get closer to the shrine. In the crowd I lost my fellow companions. But it hardly mattered now. I was standing next to Hussain ibn Ali [AS]. Everything else lost the meaning. I felt like a mighty warrior who had conquered the world.

With much difficulty, I made my way through the crowd into Bainul Haramian, a small stretch between the shrines of brothers – Imam Hussain [AS] and Abol Fazl Abbas [AS]. This is an epicenter of universe for the lovers of Ahlulbayt [AS]. I looked at Hussain [AS] and then I looked at Abol Fazl [AS], I felt as if they were sitting together and watching us. I had never felt so emotional in my life.

It was my first visit to Karbala and here I was standing between the two brothers who changed the course of history with their unflinching faith and indomitable valor.

I walked inside the shrine of Imam Hussain [AS], with a tornado of people, and saw it jam-packed. In one corner of the hall, I found a little space to stand and recite Ziyarat e Arbaeen. I didn’t want to leave that hall. I wanted to make it my home.

Then I went to the shrine of Abol Fazl Abbas [AS], the standard bearer of Karbala, whose name was enough to leave enemies in disarray. As I slowly walked inside his shrine, I could see he still had the same aura. People screamed and cried ‘Ya Abol Fazl’. There was hardly any eye that was not moist.

One Iranian group recited the beautiful elegy inside the hall – Alamdar nayamad [The flagbearer did not return]. As children, we are often told to chant ‘Ya Abol Fazl’ if we are afraid of anything or if we sense any danger. Here I was, inside the shrine of Abol Fazl, calling him, sharing my secrets, telling him about my ordeals. I know he listened.

The two days in Karbala were life-changing for me. I did not sleep at night. I sat in Bainul Haramain and gazed at the two shrines all night.

After two unforgettable days in Karbala, I left for Baghdad to see visit Imam Moosa Kazim [AS], my great-grandfather. The crowd was comparatively less here. The next day I left for Samarra to visit Imam Askari [AS], which brought back memories of the 2006 terrorist attack. Those terrorists, like Yazid, have no trace anymore. From Samarra I took a bus to Mehran border, and returned to Iran.

The pilgrimage came to an end. The most beautiful 10 days of my life. I made a solemn pledge to return every year. That, however, didn’t happen as Covid-19 pandemic disrupted everything. But the pledge remains in place, the pledge of allegiance to the beloved, the meaning of which can be understood only by true lovers.

WATCH: Ramzy Baroud & Ghada Karmi on ‘One Democratic State’

September 23, 2021

Ghada Karmi and Ramzy Baroud speak about the One Democratic State with Blake Alcott. (Photo: Video Grab)

Palestinian authors and activists Ghada Karmi and Ramzy Baroud tell about their support for One Democratic State (ODS) in Palestine.

Also, the video gives the ABCs of what exactly ODS is. Posted by One Democratic State in Palestine (UK), a non-profit founded in 2013 in England. Its purpose is to make the idea of one democratic state, or ODS, better-known, mainly in Western Europe, as part of an effort to get European governments to change course.

Ghada Karmi was born in Jerusalem and fled with her family, via Damascus, to London, where her father worked with the BBC Arabic Service. She received her degree as a medical doctor from the University of Bristol and became increasingly active in working for Palestinian liberation. In 1997, she wrote a seminal article on one democratic state for Chatham House, and in 2007 she published her book explicitly on the ODS solution – titled ‘Married to Another Man’. In 2009, she and Ilan Pappe founded the European Centre for Palestine Studies at Exeter University. Her two autobiographical books are the 2002 ‘In Search of Fatima’ and the 2015 ‘Return’. She writes for The Guardian, Middle East Eye, the London Review of Books, and other media.

Ramzy Baroud was born in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, where his family landed after being expelled from Beit Daras, a town about 30 kilometers from Gaza, in 1948. He started at a young age working as a journalist, in 1999 founding the Palestine Chronicle, now going strong in its 22nd year. He has often worked for the Middle East Eye and Al-Jazeera and has written 5 books. One appeared in 2010, the semi-autobiographical ‘My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story’. Another is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story ‘which came out in 2018. His latest is ‘These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons’. He is now editing with Ilan Pappe a collection of essays with the title ‘Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out’. Baroud received his Ph.D. from Exeter University in 2015.

(ODS, Palestine Chronicle)

Another Look at 9/11: Ask Not ‘What Happened?’ but ‘Who Did It?’

See the source image

Philip Giraldi

September 16, 202

The evidence of Israeli involvement is substantial, based on the level of the Jewish state’s espionage operations in the U.S., Phil Giraldi writes.

The twentieth anniversary of 9/11 last Saturday has raised many of the usual issues about what actually happened on that day. Were hijacked airliners actually crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or was the damage in New York City attributable to explosives or even some kind of nuclear device? These are fundamental questions and the so-called “Truthers” who raise them have been inspired by their reading of the 585 page 9/11 Report, which is most charitably described as incomplete, though many would reasonably call it a government cover-up.

I have long believed that unless one actually sees or experiences something first hand the description of any event is no better than hearsay. The closest I came to “seeing” 9/11 was the panicked evacuation of a CIA office building, where I was working at the time. Another related bit of 9/11 narrative also came from two close friends who were driving into work at the Pentagon when they each independently observed what appeared to be a large plane passing over their cars and striking the building. I consider the sources credible but was it an airplane or a missile? And I was not there to see it with my own eyes, so I am reluctant to claim that my friends actually saw something that in retrospect might have been misconstrued.

Critics of the physical and engineering aspects of the accepted narrative certainly have a great deal of expert evidence that supports their case. The way the towers fell as well as the collapse of Building 7 nearby are suggestive of something other than the impact of an airliner near the top of the structure, but I am no expert in the science of the matter and have avoided expressing a view regarding it.

Apart from what happened, I have always been more intrigued by “Who done it?” I found the 9/11 Report to be conspicuously lacking in its failure to cover possible foreign involvement, to include the Saudis, Pakistanis and the Israelis. Indeed, President Joe Biden has taken steps that have resulted in the declassification and release of 16 pages of the notorious 28-page redaction of documents relating to any possible Saudi role. The document consists of interviews with Saudi student Omar al-Bayoumi, who reportedly helped support several hijackers.

The Saudis are being sued by 9/11 survivors, but it is unlikely that anything really sensitive will ever be exposed, as explained by investigative journalist Jim Bovard. Indeed, the documents released last Saturday did not demonstrate that the Saudi government itself played any direct role in 9/11, though it is clear that wealthy Saudis and even members of the Royal Family had been supporting and funding al-Qaeda. It is also known that that Saudi Embassy and Consulate employees in the U.S. had funded the alleged hijackers.

Friends who were in CIA’s Counterterrorism Center at the time of 9/11 tend to believe that the Saudis were indeed supporting their fellow citizens while in the U.S. but were likely not knowledgeable regarding any terrorist plot. They observed, however, that there was considerable evidence that Israel knew in advance about what was impending and may have even been instrumental in making sure that it succeeded.

The evidence of Israeli involvement is substantial, based on the level of the Jewish state’s espionage operations in the U.S. and also its track record on so-called covert actions simulating terrorist attacks designed to influence political decision making in foreign countries. But, of course, in reporting on the 9/11 tragedy no one in the mainstream media did pick up on the connection, inhibited no doubt by the understanding that there are some things that one just does not write about Israel if one hopes to remain employed. That is true in spite of the fact that the Israeli angle to 9/11 is without a doubt a good story, consigned to the alternative media, where it can be marginalized by critics as a conspiracy theory or the product of anti-Semitism.

In the year 2001 Israel was running a massive spying operation directed against Muslims either resident or traveling in the United States. The operation included the creation of a number of cover companies in New Jersey, Florida and also on the west coast that served as spying mechanisms for Mossad officers. The effort was supported by the Mossad Station in Washington DC and included a large number of volunteers, the so-called “art students” who traveled around the U.S. selling various products at malls and outdoor markets. The FBI was aware of the numerous Israeli students who were routinely overstaying their visas but they were regarded as a minor nuisance and were normally left to the tender mercies of the inspectors at the Bureau of Customs and Immigration.

The Israelis were also running more sophisticated intelligence operations inside the United States, many of which were focused on Washington’s military capabilities and intentions. Some specialized intelligence units concentrated on obtaining military and dual use technology. It was also known that Israeli spies had penetrated the phone systems of the U.S. government, to include those at the White House.

All of that came into focus on September 11, 2001, when a New Jersey housewife saw something from the window of her apartment building, which overlooked the World Trade Center. She watched as the buildings burned and crumbled but also noted something strange. Three young men were kneeling on the roof of a white transit van parked by the water’s edge, making a movie in which they featured themselves high fiving and laughing in front of the catastrophic scene unfolding behind them. The woman wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police, who responded quickly and soon both the local force and the FBI began looking for the vehicle, which was subsequently seen by other witnesses in various locations along the New Jersey waterfront, its occupants “celebrating and filming.”

The license plate number revealed that the van belonged to a New Jersey registered company called Urban Moving Systems. The van was identified and pulled over. Five men between the ages of 22 and 27 years old emerged to be detained at gunpoint and handcuffed. They were all Israelis. One of them had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock and another had two foreign passports. Bomb sniffing dogs reacted to the smell of explosives in the van.

According to the initial police report, the driver identified as Sivan Kurzberg, stated “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The five men were detained at the Bergen County jail in New Jersey before being transferred the FBI’s Foreign Counterintelligence Section, which handles allegations of spying.

After the arrest, the FBI obtained a warrant to search Urban Moving System’s Weehawken, NJ, offices. Papers and computers were seized. The company owner Dominick Suter, also an Israeli, answered FBI questions but when a follow-up interview was set up a few days later it was learned that he had fled the country for Israel, putting both his business and home up for sale. It was later learned that Suter has been associated with at least fourteen businesses in the United States, mostly in New Jersey and New York but also in Florida.

The five Israelis were held in Brooklyn, initially on charges relating to visa fraud. FBI interrogators questioned them for more than two months. Several were held in solitary confinement so they could not communicate with each other and two of them were given repeated polygraph exams, which they failed when claiming that they were nothing more than students working summer jobs. The two men that the FBI focused on most intensively were believed to be Mossad staff officers and the other three were volunteers helping with surveillance. Interestingly, photo evidence demonstrated that they had been seen “casing” the area where they were seen celebrating on the day before, indicating that they had prior knowledge of the attack.

The Israelis were not exactly cooperative, but the FBI concluded from documents obtained at their office in Weehawken that they had been targeting Arabs in New York and New Jersey. The FBI concluded that there was a distinct possibility that the Israelis had actually monitored the activities of at least two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers while the cover companies and intelligence personnel often intersected with locations frequented by the Saudis.

The dots were apparently never connected by investigators. Police records in New Jersey and New York where the men were held have disappeared and FBI interrogation reports are inaccessible. Media coverage of the case also died, though the five were referred to in the press as the “dancing Israelis” and by some, more disparagingly, as the “dancing Shlomos.”

Inevitably, the George W. Bush White House intervened. After 71 days in detention, the five Israelis were inexplicably released from prison, put on a plane, and deported. One should also recall that when the news of 9/11 reached Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pleased, saying that “It’s very good. Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” It will “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.” And, of course, it was conveniently attributable to Israel’s enemies.

The possible role of Israel in 9/11 was first explored in book form in 2003 by Antiwar.com editorial director Justin Raimondo in his The Terror Enigma, a short book focusing on Israeli spying and inconsistencies in the narrative that bore the provocative subtitle “9/11 and the Israeli Connection.”

Currently, the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 has inspired some others to take another look at the possible Israeli role. Ron Unz has recently completed an exhaustive examination of the evidence. He observes that 9/11 and its aftermath have shaped “the last two decades, greatly changing the daily lives and liberties of most ordinary Americans.” He asks “What organized group would have been sufficiently powerful and daring to carry off an attack of such vast scale against the central heart of the world’s sole superpower? And how were they possibly able to orchestrate such a massively effective media and political cover-up, even enlisting the participation of the U.S. government itself?”

Ron Unz answers his question, concluding that there is “a strong, perhaps even overwhelming case that the Israeli Mossad together with its American collaborators played the central role” in the attack. His argument is based on the noted inconsistencies in the standard narrative, plus an examination of the history of Israeli false flag and mass terrorism attacks. It also includes new information gleaned from Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman’s recent book Rise and Kill First: the Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.

To a certain extent, Unz relies on a detailed investigative article written by French journalist Laurent Guyenot in 2018 as well as on an argument made by an ex-Marine and former instructor at the U.S. Army War College Alan Sabrosky in an article where he records how “Many years ago I read a fascinating discussion of the ‘tactics of mistake.’ This essentially entailed using a target’s prejudices and preconceptions to mislead them as to the origin and intent of the attack, entrapping them in a tactical situation that later worked to the attacker’s strategic advantage. This is what unfolded in the 9/11 attacks that led us into the matrix of wars and conflicts, present (Afghanistan and Iraq), planned (Iran and Syria) and projected (Jordan and Egypt), that benefit Israel and no other country — although I concede that many private contractors and politicians are doing very well for themselves out of the death and misery of others. I am also absolutely certain as a strategic analyst that 9/11 itself, from which all else flows, was a classic Mossad-orchestrated operation. But Mossad did not do it alone. They needed local help within America (and perhaps elsewhere) and they had it, principally from some alumni of PNAC (the misnamed Project for a New American Century) and their affiliates within and outside of the U.S. Government (USG), who in the 9/11 attacks got the ‘catalytic event’ they needed and craved to take the U.S. to war on Israel’s behalf…”

Economist and author Paul Craig Roberts has also been motivated by the anniversary to review the evidence and concludes “Circumstantial evidence suggests that 9/11 was a scheme of George W. Bush regime neoconservative officials allied with vice president Dick Cheney and Israel to create a ‘new Pearl Harbor’ that would generate support on the part of the American people and Washington’s European allies for a Middle Eastern ‘war on terror’ whose real purpose was to destroy Israel’s enemies in the interest of Greater Israel… This is the most plausible explanation, but, if true, it is not one that the U.S. and Israeli governments would ever acknowledge. Consequently, we are stuck with an official explanation long championed by the presstitutes that no one believes.”

Yes, an implausible explanation that no one really believes for the greatest national security disaster in America’s twenty-first century. And Israel gets yet another pass.

The ‘Pegasus’ Saga: All iPhone Devises Were Exploited by Israeli Spy Tech Firm, Report Indicates

September 13, 2021

Israeli malware Pegasus has been used to spy on journalists, activists. (Photo: via Wikimedia Commons)

The digital rights group CitizenLab has discovered a vulnerability that allowed Israeli spyware company NSO Group to implant its Pegasus malware onto virtually every iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch device.

CitizenLab revealed the vulnerability on Monday, a week after discovering it by analyzing the phone of a Saudi activist that had been infected with the malware. The discovery was announced to the public shortly after Apple rolled out an update to patch the vulnerability.

The vulnerability allowed the NSO Group’s clients to send malicious files disguised as .gif files to a target’s phone, which would then exploit “an integer overflow vulnerability in Apple’s image rendering library” and leave the phone open to the installation of NSO Group’s now-infamous ‘Pegasus’ malware.

The exploit is what’s known as a ‘zero-click’ vulnerability, meaning that the target user would not have to click a suspicious link or file to allow the malware onto their device.

While most Apple devices were vulnerable, according to the researchers, not all of those afflicted by the spyware were breached in this way. Instead, NSO Group sold the use of its malware to clients around the world, who used the tool to spy on the phones of rival politicians, journalists, activists, and business leaders.

News of the malware’s existence was first broken earlier this summer by Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories, a French investigative outlet, and reported by a collection of partner news outlets. Among those accused of using the Israeli malware are the governments of Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, India, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

A leaked list suggested that as many as 52,000 names were marked as possible targets for surveillance by NSO Group’s customers, and roughly a tenth of these targets were reportedly surveilled. Pegasus granted users access to calls, messages, photos and files, and allowed them to secretly turn on the target phones’ cameras and microphones.

CitizenLab pinned the latest exploit on NSO Group after discovering a so-called ‘digital artifact’ left behind that matched calling cards left by the company’s other exploits, and similarly-named processes in its code.

The NSO Group has not commented on CitizenLab’s latest research, which comes just one day before Apple’s anticipated unveiling of the iPhone 13 ahead of its launch later this month.

(RT.com, PC, Social Media)

UNSC Goebbels Gang Holds Monthly Syria Chemical Hoax Fetish Meeting

 MIRI WOOD 

UNSC Goebbels gang held its monthly anti-Syria chemical meeting on 2 September. Referred to as ‘the Syria files’ — though better described as the chemical hoax fetish –these painfully repetitive, filled with lies meetings are supposed to somehow fulfill the mandate of UNSCR 2118 (2013) which was fulfilled in June 2014.

As August’s anti-Syria fête fell two days before the anniversary of the US nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima, Japan, we used the occasion to remind the NATO clique of the UNSC of their countries many war crimes, uses of weapons of mass destruction, and point out the many domestic atrocities perpetrated by these liars, against their own population — Waco, MOVE, Edmund Pettis, DAPL — for which none has ever been held accountable (because a tenet of fascism is that might makes right).

The cloud from the atomic bomb dropped by the USA on Hiroshima, Japan 1945 - US Army Archive

Chemical hoax fetish is an accurate title, as the Syrian Arab Republic acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in September 2013, and turned over its arsenal in such record time that a couple of diplomats hinted at the expectation of a Nobel. In one of his final statements to the UNSC, Dr. Jaafari called for the closure of the phony Syria files, during its 90th meeting.

Please note the extensive ADDENDUM which details evidence of murder by poisoning of kidnapped Syrian children in Khan Sheikhoun, which the NATO junta at the UNSC continues to lie was a chemical weapons attack by Syria, against Syria.

Geir O. Pedersen usually keeps track of the meeting number, but he is busy in Rome, Italy (despite the challenges of COVID), meeting with the Foreign Ministry, there, and with various NATO think tanks, some of which used to be called banksters, to discuss the situation in Syria.

We provide a short geopolitical checklist, which is consistently ignored by the Goebbels gang, aka the NATO junta, aka the unindicted axis of evil.

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Kingdom of Blood Thirsty Rulers: Another Saudi Detainee from Qatif Executed

September 6, 2021

Kingdom of Blood Thirsty Rulers: Another Saudi Detainee from Qatif Executed

By Staff

The Saudi regime committed yet another crime against opinion prisoners from Qatif eastern province as Adnan Mostafa al-Sharfa was pronounced executed upon a decree by the kingdom’s bloodthirsty rulers.

In allegations to justify the crime, the Saudi interior ministry claimed that al-Sharfa was smuggling weapons and attacking the security forces.

The ministry’s statement mentioned that the execution was carried out upon a royal decree.

The Saudi regime authorities seldom carries out the executions in an attempt to disguise its criminality, especially in the eyes of the western public opinion. saudi arabia executionsSaudiArabiaHumanRights

UK Defense Secretary Says US Is No Longer a Superpower

 September 1, 2021

Source: The Guardian

By Al Mayadeen

British Defense Minister Ben Wallace says that a superpower that is not ready to commit to something may as well not be a superpower, referring to the United States, according to sources close to him.

UK Defense Secretary

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace considered that the United States could no longer be considered a superpower. 

He said, “A superpower that is also not prepared to stick at something isn’t probably a superpower either. It is certainly not a global force, it’s just a big power.”

When asked if the exit from Afghanistan showed the limits of British power on the world stage, Wallace said: “Britain is clearly not a superpower… but a superpower that is also unwilling to commit to something may as well not be a superpower as well,” making a reference, according to those close to him, to the United States of America. 

Wallace also contrasted the Ministry of Defense’s handling of the evacuation crisis with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). Over the weekend, it emerged that officials from Dominic Raab’s department had failed to read thousands of emails from MPs and charities tackling urgent cases of Afghans trying to flee from Kabul. 

“All of us have big email inboxes, we have already analyzed ours, we’ve sent defense intelligence analysts around Whitehall to help deal with that,” Wallace said.

The final withdrawal was authorized in April by Joe Biden; a decision that disappointed the UK. 

Protests across Bahrain against Normalization

 September 3, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen

Protests broke out across Bahrain rejecting normalization with “Israel” and denouncing the appointment of the Bahraini Ambassador to the occupation entity.

Protesters hold signs in support of the Palestinian cause

Protests took place in various regions across Bahrain, rejecting normalization with “Israel” and denouncing the appointment of the Bahraini Ambassador to the occupation entity.

The demonstration in the Abu Saiba area, which chanted “together we stand against normalization,” witnessed protesters burning the Israeli flag and affirming their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Similar protests were witnessed in the regions of Al Markh, Sanabis, and Samaheej.

The media’s addiction to Covid-19 ‘fear porn’ is perpetuating an ever-worsening cycle of societal damage across the world

 

Eva Bartlett

Aug 28, 2021, RT.com

moi

-by Eva K Bartlett

Over the past year and a half, hysterical media reporting on matters Covid-19 has reduced some people to a fearful state of unquestioning compliance – including a great number of otherwise critically-thinking journalists.

With screaming headlines in bold and large font such as, ‘Will this nightmare ever end?’ and ‘Mutant virus skyrockets…’ and ‘Fear grows across the country: VIRUS PANIC’, and ‘Coronavirus horror: Social media footage shows infected Wuhan residents ‘act like zombies’, it is no wonder many people are in a state of panic.

In times when many are suffering mentally and physically under unnecessary and prolonged lockdowns, the incessant fear porn is causing excessive anxiety, which in turn will affect the health & mental well-being of some, if not many. 

In government documents from the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) dated from March 2020 advice was given saying: “The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging… This could potentially be done by trained community support volunteers, by targeted media campaigns, social media” 

I’d say the UK media campaigns certainly did the job, and other Western nations got similar directives. The UK government also became the nation’s biggest advertiser in 2020, make what you will of the potential ramifications that could have on cash-strapped newspapers and their supposed ‘independence’.

Having myself been deeply focused on exposing war propaganda and other media lies around Syria, Palestine, Venezuela, and elsewhere over the years, my default position has become one of deep cynicism on mass media reporting. Yes, you can find nuggets of truth, or even excellent journalists in mainstream publications, honestly challenging the narratives.

But those are few and far between, generally you find copy-paste propaganda emanating largely from the bowels of the USA and the UK.

A study by Swiss Propaganda Research (SPR) noted“most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London and Paris.” 

Those agencies are AP, Reuters, and AFP. SPR notes:

“The key role played by these agencies means Western media often report on the same topics, even using the same wording. In addition, governments, military and intelligence services use these global news agencies as multipliers to spread their messages around the world.”

Given all of this, I’ve come to believe that with regard to media reporting on Covid-19, my cynicism is well-deserved.

Covid-19 reporting has increasingly been utterly absurd, with stories of people dropping dead in the streets, ice rink morgues to cope with the mountains of bodies, footage of an overcrowded New York hospital (that just happened to be of an Italian hospital), claims of animals testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, and more recently reports of people dying post-jab but we are told ‘it could have been worse!’

This campaign of fear caused the public to massively overestimate the lethality of Covid-19, which as un-alarmist voices note has a survival rate of over 99%. 

When months into the outbreak it became apparent that SARS-CoV-2 was far less lethal than first predicted, the media and talking heads moved from talking about ‘Covid deaths’ to ‘positive cases’. 

Although relatively early on a goat and pawpaw tested positive for Covid-19, instead of then scrutinizing the accuracy of the PCR test as a means of ‘detecting Covid-19’, the media continued to hype the rise in Covid ‘cases’. 

In lockstep, ‘Covid testing’ was increased dramatically using the PCR test (recently revoked by the CDC). This inevitably pumped up the number of ‘cases’, which mass media have in turn promoted non-stop, this in turn gave ammunition to those enforcing lockdowns and vaccines.

By now hundreds of vocal doctors, nurses, virologists, immunologists, and other professionals actually worth listening to, whose data and experience counter the hype pumped out in media have very quickly disappeared from social media, or otherwise deemed quacks, and are thus largely silenced. This leaves the general public mainly getting their information via hyped-up media. 

Alongside this, there have been relentless ad hominem attacks on journalists who pose legitimate questions and uncomfortable truths about the official narratives around Covid-19. 

For offering perspectives which contradict the standard narratives around Covid-19, journalists have been deemed conspiracy theorists, pandemic-deniers, right-wingers, selfish… I’m sure I’ve missed quite a few slurs. 

When it comes to matters Covid-19, it is suddenly unacceptable to question ‘The Science’, question the authorities, or question the same media that sold us WMDs in Iraq and chemical attacks in Syria.

Media are the drivers of Covid hysteria, and it is the daily bombardment of fear porn that confuses average people and enables tyrannical powers to be brought in, largely unchallenged. 

As it is the responsibility of journalists to expose lies around wars of aggression, it is also the duty of journalists to do so around Covid-19. For some journalists who have stubbornly refused to hold power to account, instead toeing the line on all things Covid, it appears their fear is of losing an audience and not of a virus.

Whether or not you agree with dissenting voices’ questions and criticisms, we have the right to ask and make them. We do so, knowing that remaining silent in the face of the brutal Covid measures is a guaranteed path to tyranny.

Poland & Ukraine, Not Afghanistan, Were the First US Allies to be Abandoned by Biden

August 26, 2021

By Andrew Korybko
Source: OneWorld

The writing was on the wall this entire time that Biden was actually implementing a fair share of Trump’s foreign policy vision related to trading away his “allies” interests in pursuit of the “greater good” connected to more actively “containing” China in the Asia-Pacific.

The world is talking about the next US allies to be abandoned by President Biden after he shamefully hung his Afghan ones out to dry during America’s panicked retreat from the country. Some commentators believe that Ukraine might be next, but in reality, it and Poland were actually the first US allies whose interests were betrayed in pursuit of the so-called “greater good” despite Biden’s promises that he wouldn’t conduct his country’s foreign policy in the Machiavellian way that Trump did. I’ve been chronicling this for some time, but for those who haven’t closely followed my work over the past few months, here are my most relevant analyses accompanied by a concise summary of each:

* 8 April: “Why Does Ukraine Want War?

Ukraine provoked hostilities in Donbass in a desperate attempt to remain relevant to the new US administration at the behest of some of the anti-Russian members of its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) who wanted to sabotage Biden’s behind-the-scenes outreaches to Russia.

* 14 April: “Poland Must Wake Up To The Threat Of German Hybrid War

Germany has been actively working as America’s “Lead From Behind” proxy for overthrowing the conservative-nationalist Polish government through Hybrid War means connected to Berlin’s backing of its neighbor’s Color Revolution movement.

* 24 April: “What Explains The Latest De-Escalation In Donbass?

Russia didn’t fall for the trap laid out for it by hostile elements in the American “deep state”, though considerable credit for this somewhat surprising de-escalation also goes to Biden since he didn’t make matters worse like many predicted that he would at the time.

* 2 June: “Poland’s Counterproductive Foreign Policy Is Responsible For Its Present Predicament

Poland was shocked by Biden’s decision to waive most of the US’ Nord Stream II sanctions, but it should have seen this coming since the moment he stepped into office and actively begun diversifying its foreign policy instead of remaining entirely dependent on America’s “good graces”.

* 11 June: “Towards Increasingly Complex Multipolarity: Scenarios For The Future

I predicted that the US would “compromise” on the interests of some of its allies like Poland and Ukraine in pursuit of the “greater good” of pragmatically repairing relations with Russia so as to focus more of its efforts on actively “containing” China in the Asia-Pacific.

* 15 June: “How Serious Are Poland’s Grand Strategic Disagreements With The US?

It then became increasingly obvious that Poland and the US have some irreconcilable grand strategic differences that far surpass their common military interests vis-a-vis Russia, but the aspiring Central European hegemon had yet to make any decisive moves to recalibrate its foreign policy in response.

* 24 June: “Polish-US Missile Defense Co-Op Is A Strategic Smokescreen

To preemptively thwart Poland from doing anything dramatic that could bolster its strategic independence, the US went ahead with their prior “missile defense” plans, which served the purpose of keeping Poland in its clutches and also misleading that country’s leadership into thinking that the US was still their “trusted” ally.

* 12 July: “Former Polish PM Tusk Ridiculously Alleged A Kaczysnski-Putin Conspiracy

Germany proxy Donald Tusk escalated the Hybrid War on Poland by claiming that the country’s viciously Russophobic grey cardinal was secretly Russian President Putin’s puppet, which preemptively thwarted his target’s plans to claim the same about him following his return to the country to lead the Color Revolution.

* 15 July: “It’s Time For A Polish-Russian ‘Non-Aggression’ Pact In Belarus & Ukraine

In the face of such increased Hybrid War pressure against it, the most pragmatic thing that Poland could do is clinch a so-called “non-aggression” pact with Russia in their overlapping “spheres of influence” in order to focus more of its security services’ efforts on defending itself from the joint US-German regime change campaign.

* 19 July: “Poland Should Follow Ukraine’s Lead By Using China To Balance The US

As unexpected as it was for most observers to acknowledge, Ukraine’s US-controlled puppet government actually began making serious moves to use China as a “balancing” force against America, which should have inspired Poland to follow suit as a means of showing the US how dissatisfied it is with the ongoing Hybrid War.

* 26 July: “The US-German Hybrid War Against Poland Is Intensifying

Poland’s lack of resolve in defending itself from the joint US-German Hybrid War only served to embolden its nominal “allies” to intensify their regime change campaign, which threatened to make matters much worse for its beleaguered conservative-nationalist government.

* 29 July: “The West Is Pressuring Poland & Russia Due To Their Conservative-Nationalist Values

Poland and Russia are interestingly in the same boat vis-a-vis the West since the latter is pressuring both of them due to their conservative-nationalist values, which Warsaw has yet to realize and thus explains why it’s still in a state of shock after its so-called “allies” so decisively turned against it.

* 13 August: “Ukrainian Ethno-Fascism vs. Russian Multiculturalism

Ukraine’s response to America’s strategic betrayal of its interests hasn’t been to pragmatically explore a possible rapprochement with Russia like it should have done if its leadership had any wisdom but to counterproductively double down on its Russophobic policies.

* 12 August: “Unexpected Trouble In The Three Seas States Might Cause Them To Rethink Their Policies

The combination of US-German Hybrid War pressure and the unexpected migrant crisis coming from Belarus might finally cause Poland to rethink its self-defeating regional policy of functioning as America’s anti-Russian puppet after receiving literally no rewards for this role nor relief from the regime change pressure upon it.

———-

Having indisputably established that Poland and Ukraine were the first US allies to be abandoned under Biden, it’s now time to talk a little bit more about the latter’s predicament. President Zelensky plans to finally meet his American counterpart at the end of the month, but many observers are wondering why it’s even taken so long. One possible reason other than the US leader’s deliberate mistreatment of his country’s ally is that he’s simply embarrassed because of the slew of scandals connecting him to that country such as the Burisma one with his son Hunter and Biden’s bargain with Poroshenko to fire former General Prosecutor Shokin who was investigating the first-mentioned scandal.

Biden also wanted Zelensky to bend over and accept that America was “compromising” on Ukraine’s interests as part of the “greater good” related to repairing relations with Russia in order to more actively refocus the US’ efforts on “containing” China. The Ukrainian leader understandably felt betrayed by Biden and began to lose faith in America’s reliability as an ally, which explains why his country started reaching out more to China lately. Even so, nothing that Kiev might do can fully protect its interests if Washington cuts a deal with Moscow over Eastern Ukraine like some commentators now speculate might be in the cards as part of their gradual rapprochement.

As for Poland, it too has been caught with its pants down by Biden’s pragmatic deal-making with Russia and also doesn’t have any realistic means to defend its interests in response to them being “traded away” by the American leader. Unlike Ukraine whose conservative-nationalist values are supported by the US because they take the extreme form of ethno-fascism that can be weaponized to keep Russian influence there at bay, the Polish government’s comparatively more mild values are seen as a threat to the entire Western project because of the possibility that they can influence other EU members and thus undermine the US’ plans to have Germany’s liberal-globalist ideology dominate the continent in order to control its countries by proxy.

Poland and Ukraine are therefore at America’s mercy. Their interests were betrayed by their “ally” even before Biden abandoned his country’s Afghan “allies”. Observers should become more aware of this fact since it shows that nobody should have been surprised by what just happened in that South Asian country. The writing was on the wall this entire time that Biden was actually implementing a fair share of Trump’s foreign policy vision related to trading away his “allies” interests in pursuit of the “greater good” connected to more actively “containing” China in the Asia-Pacific. It remains to be seen how much more “collateral damage” the US’ “allies” will suffer as a result of this policy, but there’s no longer any denying that such a Machiavellian policy exists.

Another One Bites the Dust… Geopolitical Fallout from U.S.-Afghan Failure

August 26, 2021

OPINION

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

The American empire and its lackeys are going down, as we have mentioned many times before. Afghanistan is another nail in the coffin.

Every day can be said to be history-making. But this week saw a watershed event with huge historical ramifications: the final collapse of the United States’ and NATO’s military occupation of Afghanistan.

America’s longest war has come to a close after 20 years of futile fighting, destruction and suffering. The Taliban militants whom the U.S. ousted in an invasion back in October 2001 are now back as the governing power in Afghanistan. And a regime that Washington propped up with billions of dollars folded like a house of cards as the Taliban took control of the capital, Kabul, on August 15.

This week the new rulers declared the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. America’s avowed starry-eyed project of “nation-building” and “Western-style democracy” lies in ruins. Fittingly, this week also marks the centennial anniversary of the liberation of Afghanistan from British colonial rule in 1919. Another one bites the dust.

The desperate, chaotic scenes of the U.S. and its NATO allies evacuating from Afghanistan speak volumes. The pretensions of Washington and its Western partners have fallen to Earth with a crash – like the bodies of poor Afghans who clung to U.S. military cargo planes as they took off from Kabul airport. What the world witnessed was the shameful, diabolical end to a two-decade criminal occupation of Afghanistan that has wrought nothing but destruction and grief. And the Afghan people have been abandoned to their fate.

This was never about the alleged 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 or the so-called “global war on terror”. Just weeks before the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Biden administration is pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan in what can only be described as an ignominious retreat. It is grotesque to “justify” the two-decade-old war in the Central Asian country as somehow a kind of retribution for the murky events of 9/11 which involved no Afghans.

America’s war in Afghanistan was just one chapter in a period of presumed unipolar dominance. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Washington moved quickly to demonstrate geopolitical power with a litany of illegal wars and military interventions. It became known in Neoconservative parlance as “full-spectrum dominance”. We also saw Neoliberal narratives for imperial power under the rubric of “humanitarian wars”. But basically, the underlying rationale was the same: unilateral military force to assert U.S. global hegemony.

The first Gulf War against Iraq came in 1991 followed by the U.S. invasion of Somalia – Operation Restore Hope with its Orwellian rhetoric that set the pattern for many subsequent military escapades. The U.S.-NATO blitzkrieg against former Yugoslavia in 1999, and then other wars for natural resources and regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and ongoing in Syria, among other places.

This is the proper context for the U.S. and NATO occupation of Afghanistan. It is more accurately explained in terms of Washington trying to impose imperial might aided and abetted by Western lackeys. The 20-year war in Afghanistan fits into a 30-year period of presumed American hegemony in the absence of perceived geopolitical rivalry. But the lawlessness of that period has left the world shattered and more insecure than ever. However, the rise of China and the resurgence of Russia, along with a multipolar vision of international relations, has served to check the roguery of Washington and its NATO satraps.

There are indications that is why U.S. policymakers realized the need to finally get out of the Afghan quagmire. As President Joe Biden hinted in an interview, the calculation to get out was driven by the U.S. being more able to confront “true competitors” China and Russia, as well as to free up American power for other imperialist challenges in the Middle East and Africa. U.S. prestige has been ravaged by the Afghan debacle but there is no sign that Washington is going to curb its foreign interventions. Things could get a lot hotter in “big power” stakes. American corporate capitalism is an economy based on militarism which, in turn, is dependent on aggression, confrontation and war. Unfortunately, the Afghanistan debacle – no matter how shameful – doesn’t change that fundamental dynamic.

The fallout between the U.S. and its NATO accomplices has been bitter and intense. European leaders denounced the way in which the Biden administration left them in the lurch without any consultation over the sudden pullout from Afghanistan. European embassies have quickly emptied of diplomats rushing for airlifts. There have been sharp recriminations over citizens and Afghan aides left behind in unknown circumstances amid reports of Taliban groups taking revenge on collaborators.

Uncharacteristically, British and other European politicians and media have been vociferous in condemnation of the United States. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s top diplomat, said it was a “catastrophe”. A German party leader said it was the worst event in the history of NATO since it was formed in 1949 – 72 years ago. A British lawmaker claimed it was the most shameful episode for Britain since the 1956 Suez Crisis and for America since the Fall of Saigon in 1975.

One thing seems clear. Western powers and their “rules-based order” of imperialist intervention have nothing to offer Afghanistan – or any other nation for that matter.

It will be up to the Afghan nation to resolve their internal differences and salvage the failed state bequeathed to them by the U.S. and its NATO accomplices. China, Russia and other neighboring nations are best placed to help the Afghan people chart a new direction of independence. Both Beijing and Moscow have established good communications with the Taliban and other Afghan parties over the past several years. The non-interference policy of China and Russia gives them credibility as regional partners.

Amusingly, the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell remarked that NATO’s failure in Afghanistan must not become an opportunity for China or Russia. Is that all he cares about amid the disaster?

Eurasian co-development and partnership as promulgated by China and Russia make sense for Afghanistan’s future. The Taliban’s Islamist form of government is not unfeasible. If it can be inclusive and uphold a national consensus, not based on repression, and excluding extremism while maintaining regional stability, then there are grounds for a better future.

The ultimate losers are not the Afghan people. The ultimate losers are the charlatans and war criminals of the U.S. and NATO who stand exposed more than ever in the eyes of the world as a threat to international security and peace.

The American empire and its lackeys are going down, as we have mentioned many times before. Afghanistan is another nail in the coffin.


RECENT UAE PORT EXPLOSION TARGETED ISRAELI SQUAD, THREE WERE KILLED: LEAKED DOCUMENT

11.08.2021

Recent UAE Port Explosion Targeted Israeli Squad, Three Were Killed: Leaked Document

The July 7 explosion at Jebel Ali Port in the United Arab Emiratis (UAE) targeted an “Israeli squad” of six members, the al-Mayadeen TV reported on August 11, citing a document by Dubai Police.

According to the official document, that was recently leaked to the Beirut-based channel, the massive explosion, which unleashed a shock wave through the skyscraper-studded city of Dubai, was not the result of an accident. The explosion was in fact caused by a “bomb” that was hidden inside one of the containers at Jebel Ali port.

This claim is in line with early footage from the explosion site, which revealed that the explosion erupted aboard the Comoros-flagged OCEAN TRADER cargo ship that was at the time loaded with dozens of containers and anchored at the port.

In the leaked document, Dubai Police reports the death of three of the Israeli quad’s members and the injury of two others.

“Some of the bodies were buried and others were transferred to their countries under the supervision of the police due to the sensitivity of the situation,” the document reads.

The document, which is yet to be verified, didn’t provide any details on the Israeli squad or the nature of its work in Jebel Ali Port. The UAE stepped up its security cooperation with Israel and allowed trade with Israeli companies in the wake of the 2020 peace accord.

The information revealed by the al-Mayadin will not likely get verified any time soon. However, the available information from open sources indeed indicate that the explosion at Jebel Ali was not simply an “accident”.

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“No Zionists Welcome in My Country” Campaign Launched by Thousands in Morocco

July 30, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen

“Zionists not welcome in my country” campaign explodes in Morocco, in refusal of Zionist delegations visiting the country.

Thousands of Moroccans Launch the
Thousands of Moroccans Launch the “No Zionists Welcome in My Country” Campaign

Thousands of Moroccans have launched a campaign on social media under the slogan “No_Zionists_Welcome_In_My_Country,” to express their disapproval at receiving Morocco’s first tourist delegation from “Israel”, describing those arriving as “war criminals.”

The “Moroccan Front for Supporting Palestine and Rejecting Normalization” is urging Moroccan citizens to campaign electronically and express disapproval of the Israeli delegations in Morocco, which include Israeli settlers of Moroccan origin. 

In their publications, they highlighted the importance of supporting the Palestinian cause and rejecting all forms of normalization.

This comes following the launching of direct flights from Tel Aviv to Marrakesh by the Israeli El Al airline.

One activist wrote “I watched videos of receiving groups of tourists coming from the state that has usurped the land, usurped the lives of Palestinians, and desecrated the sanctities of the nation. Those who were pleased with this exaggerated celebration: How do you feel in front of hundreds of victims of women and children and the destruction of trees and stones?” 

Dancing with child murderers to our music & raising an apartheid state flag in our country, is DISGUSTING.
When people who come from other countries do they get to raise their flags? Have some integrity.
A reminder, Moroccans stand with Palestine #لا_مرحبا_بالصهاينة_في_بلدي https://t.co/KnGATm7wJX— #SaveSilwan (@LurkingMist) July 26, 2021

Idriss Bougrain Amrani asked: “Have you ever seen Moroccans in diaspora carrying the flags of the countries from which they came instead of carrying the flag of their country, Morocco, to which they belong?”

Amrani added, “This is a provocation to honorable Moroccans.” Amrani attached a picture with a sentence expressing the position of Moroccan Jewish activist Sion Asedon against “Israel.” 

Zionists are not welcome. #لا_مرحبا_بالصهاينة_في_بلدي https://t.co/LQIZpkNTGJ— MOURADI Soufyane (@MouradiSoufyane) July 26, 2021

Morocco and “Israel” signed a tripartite agreement sponsored by the US last year, which included several memoranda of understanding to establish relations between Morocco and “Israel”. It was described by Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita as “a roadmap that the three parties will work on during the next stage.”

Assad: Iran Is Key Partner to Syria, Coordination in War against Terrorism Gave Positive Results

 July 28, 2021

Visual search query image

President Bashar al-Assad received on Wednesday Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Speaker of the Islamic Shura Council and the accompanying delegation.

Talks during the meeting dealt with the close bilateral relations between the two countries and the standing constructive cooperation between them at various levels.

The two sides stressed the essential role played by the parliamentary institutions in Syria and Iran to open new horizons for bilateral cooperation, particularly in the economic field, not only in the government sector, but also activating cooperation between the private sector in both countries in a way that helps the two friendly peoples confront the economic war and the policy of blockade and sanctions imposed on them.

President al-Assad affirmed that Iran is a key partner for Syria and has stood by the Syrian people in the face of the terrorist war and provided them with support in all fields, pointing out that the coordination between the two countries in combating terrorism has given positive results on the ground and will continue until the liberation of all lands and the defeat of terrorist organizations.

In turn, Qalibaf considered that the recent election entitlements in Syria and Iran and the determination of the Syrian and Iranian peoples in fulfilling these entitlements prove the failure of the pressure policies that are being exerted against them, and stresses that no one can stand in against the people’s will.

SourceSANA

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Data Leak Raises New Questions over Capture of Princess Latifa

July 22, 2021

Data Leak Raises New Questions over Capture of Princess Latifa

By Staff, The Guardian

For a few days Princess Latifa had dared to think she could relax. An extraordinary plan to escape from a father she said had once ordered her “constant torture” was looking as if it might work, as she sat on a 30-metre yacht on the Indian Ocean, her home city of Dubai further and further away.

Yet the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of the glittering Emirati city, still wanted to connect with home, to tell family and friends something of her new-found freedom, sending emails, WhatsApp messages and posting on Instagram from what she thought were two secure, brand new “burner” pay-as-you-go mobile phones.

It was a decision that may have had fateful consequences, according to analysis by the Pegasus project.

At the height of the escape drama, it can now be revealed, the mobile numbers for Latifa and some of her friends back home appeared on a database at the heart of the investigation.

It raises the possibility that a government client of the NSO Group was drawing up possible candidates for some sort of surveillance.

It was late February 2018, and Princess Latifa, then 32, had been desperate to flee her father’s emirate for many years. She had made a “very, very naive” first attempt in 2002, arranging to be driven across the border to neighbouring Oman, but was easily recaptured. This time she hoped it was different, but had prepared for the worst.

When planning her second escape, Latifa had prepared a video to be released online if the latest effort was foiled, explaining why she wanted to quit home. In it, Latifa described how she was beaten and tortured between 2002 and 2005, during which time she was also forcibly injected with sedatives, and once told by her captors: “Your father told us to beat you until we kill you.”

They were extraordinary claims of abuse that were accepted as truthful in a fact-finding judgment from an English judge, part of a custody battle between Sheikh Mohammed and his sixth and former wife, Princess Haya, over their two young children. Part of that continuing case turns on how Dubai’s ruler treated some of his other children, although after the fact-finding ruling, Sheikh Mohammed insisted it had only told “one side of the story”.

Alongside Latifa on the Nostromo was her best friend and confidant, a Finn with a taste for adventure, Tiina Jauhiainen. She had first met the princess at the end of 2010, when she was asked to become her fitness instructor, and had become so close that the princess asked for her help to get out of the country, in an elaborate scheme worthy of a film.

Also on board was Herve Jaubert, a former French spy, who was captaining the vessel. It was Jaubert who had devised the yacht end of the escape plan after Latifa recruited him – Jauhiainen later told a London court he was paid €350,000 – after she had come across a book he had written about escaping from Dubai, after a business deal he was involved in ran into trouble nearly a decade before.

Latifa and Jauhiainen believed their communications, via the yacht’s satellite uplink, were secure.

They had taken some precautions: Jaubert had turned the ship’s tracking device off and their phones were new, with brand new sim cards.

Latifa and Jauhiainen began their escape at 7am on 24 February from downtown Dubai. The princess’s driver had dropped her off to meet her friend for breakfast, then Latifa changed clothes in the cafe’s bathroom, where she ditched her normal mobile phone, leaving it on silent in the bathroom and went on the run.

Likening themselves to the ill-fated Thelma and Louise, the duo drove six hours to Muscat in neighboring Oman. There with the help of Christian Elombo, a former French soldier and a friend of both women, they made a difficult journey by dinghy and jetski, 13 miles out into the ocean to international waters, where Jaubert and the Nostromo were waiting.

Meanwhile, back in Dubai the hunt for the missing princess had started. A day later, on 25 February, Latifa’s phone appeared in the leaked data list, by Dubai’s doing, it is thought, although not much may have been gleaned, given that it had been left behind in the cafe.

Elombo and his friend, who were supposed to leave Oman, were picked up a day later and questioned by the authorities on behalf of the neighboring state. Realizing contact with Elombo had been lost, and becoming a little more nervous, Latifa and Jauhiainen revised their plan. They had intended to go to Sri Lanka, from where Latifa would fly to the US to claim asylum, but instead they opted to land in India.

Yet, it did not appear to matter much, because for the first four days at sea, until 28 February, there was nobody on their tail. Latifa and Jauhiainen were thrilled to have made it, although conditions were not luxurious: there was an ever-expanding number of cockroaches onboard and, apart from watching a few bad movies, there was not much to do. Inevitably they ended up spending time on their phones.

On the same day, 28 February, the numbers of some of her friends began appearing on the list that is determined to have come from Dubai.

At home, one of Latifa’s few freedoms had been skydiving; she had jumped frequently with Jauhiainen among others. But it was other members of the daredevil club whose numbers were being added to the list in the days that followed, including Juan Mayer, a photographer who regularly took pictures of the princess mid-air, which formed the basis of a short magazine feature.

The data indicates other numbers began to appear too: those of Lynda Bouchiki, an events manager, and, more significantly, Sioned Taylor, a Briton who lived in Dubai, working as a maths teacher in a girls’ school. Taylor, too had been a member of the skydiving club.

Both Bouchiki and Taylor had known Latifa from acting as chaperones prior to her flight. After she had been released from prison, the princess was never allowed out of home unsupervised; friends of the princess say that Taylor, in particular, had also become a close friend.

On the Nostromo, Jauhiainen, who spoke to the Guardian in April, remembers Latifa messaging both Taylor and Bouchiki. The latter did not reply, but she clearly remembers that the princess was chatting with Taylor while they were onboard. At one point Latifa even became suspicious, saying: “I’m not sure this is Sioned,” but the communications continued.

What that signified precisely is unclear, but what the database shows is that Taylor’s mobile phone was listed repeatedly – on 1 and 2 March and again on the day Latifa was to be captured, 4 March. Bouchiki’s number appeared again, on 2 March.

Without forensic examination of phones, it is not possible to say whether any attempt was made to infect the devices, or whether any infection attempt was successful.

But at sea, the situation had changed, ominously. Jaubert says it was on 1 March, a day after Latifa’s friends and family were first targeted that he first noticed the first ship following the Nostromo, curiously taking the same route and following at the same speed. Spotter planes followed soon after that.

It was clear they had been picked up by the Indian coastguard. The captain became increasingly nervous, also emailing a campaign group, Detained in Dubai, worrying that he might run out of fuel as he chose to head towards the Indian port city of Goa, and seeking their help. But they were never to arrive.

After 10pm on 4 March, about 30 miles offshore, in an operation authorized by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, at the request of Dubai, around 15 Indian commandos in “full military gear” stormed the yacht, firing stun grenades to incapacitate those onboard.

Latifa and Jauhiainen panicked, running below deck and locking themselves in the bathroom in a desperate attempt not to be seized. Latifa frantically rang Radha Stirling from Detained in Dubai, who said the princess was “frightened, hiding, that there were men outside and that she heard gunfire” on the emergency call.

But the two women had to give themselves up, as smoke poured in through the bathroom vents. They were captured and dragged to the deck, and according to Jauhiainen, Latifa was screaming, in English: “Shoot me here, don’t take me back” as she was dragged off, handed over to waiting Emirati forces, tranquillized and returned to Dubai.

Dubai did not respond to a request for comment. Sheikh Mohammed did not respond, although it is understood he denies having attempted to hack the phones of Latifa or her friends or associates, or ordering others to do so. He has also previously said he feared Latifa was a victim of a kidnapping and that he had conducted “a rescue mission”.

NSO denies the leaked list of numbers is that of “Pegasus targets or potential targets” and says the numbers are not related to the company in any way. Claiming that a name on the list is “is necessarily related to a Pegasus target or potential target is erroneous and false”.

Jauhiainen and Jaubert were released after a short period of detention, with the Finn relocating to London. Latifa was held under house arrest back home, and after a while managed to smuggle out fresh videos to Jauhiainen to tell more about her plight. “I’m a hostage. I am not free. I’m enslaved in this jail,” she angrily said.

But in the past three months there has been a notable change, involving two of the women Latifa tried to message from the boat. In May, Taylor posted a picture on Instagram of Latifa, sitting in a Dubai shopping mall, with her and Bouchiki, to show she was enjoying a degree of freedom at home.

Then, in June a picture followed of Latifa inside Madrid’s main airport, indicating she had been able to travel abroad. “I hope now that I can live my life in peace without further media scrutiny,” the princess said in a statement released by her lawyers, suggesting after the years of conflict some sort of accommodation with her father had been reached.

With the passage of time, it may never be possible to establish definitively how Latifa was recaptured at gunpoint.

NSO said that the fact that a number appeared on the list was in no way indicative of whether that number was selected for surveillance using Pegasus.

President Bashar Assad Takes the Oath for a New Presidential Term

 ARABI SOURI 

Syrian President Bashar Assad taking the oath

President Bashar Assad took the constitutional oath for a new presidential term yesterday, 17 July 2021, at the Syrian People’s Palace – the Presidential Palace in a highly ceremonial style and delivered one of his most direct speeches yet leaving no room for ambiguity in regards to the complete liberation of the country from NATO powers, Israel, and their proxies of Al Qaeda and the Kurdish SDF terrorists.

Syrian President Bashar Assad took the oath in attendance of dignitaries of the Syrian people, top state officials, army officers, members of the parliament, tribal notables, prominent artists of all arts, and intellectuals.

The ceremony started with the arrival of the president’s humble motorcade to the Presidential Palace to be received by the Guards of Honor walking him to the gates of the palace where he was received by the Syrian orchestra and then into the large hall with attendees jumping on their feet cheering their leader of victory over the most vicious and longest war of terror and war of attrition spearheaded by the world’s superpowers and super-rich countries resorting to all sorts of unthinkable massacres, genocide, displacement, and terrorism carried out directly by tens of thousands of terrorists on the ground and both directly and indirectly by the sponsors of the terror, the NATO member states.

For the full speech in Arabic visit SANA page.

Syrian President Bashar Assad taking the oath

President Assad was received at the podium by the Speaker of the Parliament who invited him to take the oath and declared the beginning of the new presidential term, the Syrian presidential term is for 7 years, after which, President Assad delivered his inaugural speech.

In his one hour speech, which was interrupted several times by the enthusiastic audiences delivering short poems, praises, and blessings to their leader, President Bashar Assad outlined his new term’s strategy in all fields starting with continuing to liberate all of Syria and maintain its unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, the liberation of all of the recognized Syrian territories including Idlib province, the last stronghold of Al Qaeda in Syria, Hasakah, Deir Ezzor, and Raqqa provinces where US troops and their Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists occupy parts of those provinces, and of course, the Golan.

President Assad emphasized on the unity of the Syrian people of their rich ethnicities, religions, sects, and cultures, he stated that Arabism does not eliminate other cultures rather unites them under the leading culture on the one united land of Syria, in the oath itself, the President swore to work for the unity of all the Arab nation, that means all the Arab world who share the same language, lifestyle, culture, tradition, history, and have shared aspirations and future.

The Syrian President stressed on economic challenges due to the regions that remain under occupation especially in the northeast of the country where Syria’s main food and oil comes from, the western blockade against the country, and the inaccessibility of the foreign currencies held by the Lebanese banks with an estimate of 40 to 60 billion dollars owned by Syrian businessmen who moved most of it into the neighboring country during the early days of the war on Syria for protection and to facilitate trade with the world.

President Assad highlighted the achievements of the Syrian industrialists who remained in the country during the difficult years of the war and continued to work, those who resumed working after their cities were liberated from the terrorists, and those who founded new businesses with thousands of new factories and tens of thousands of workshops all over the country. The need to solve the electrical power shortages was also mentioned by the Syrian president where he called on more investments in alternative energy sources even when the main Syrian oil and gas fields are liberated and restored, he mentioned a recent solar power project that was started in the past week in the Industrial City of Adra as a PPP (public-private partnership) with the initiative from the state and with the contribution of several private investors, the project will be generating 100 Megawatts enough to cover the industrial city’s needs which will allow the now used electrical power to be available back to the grid in order to lessen the hours of the power rationing.

The Syrian president called on those who chose to fight against their own state to drop their weapons and join the reconciliation and return to their normal lives and help rebuild their country offering amnesty and reminding that the most generous were the families of the martyrs who forgave the killers of their loved ones in order to turn a page on this ruthless war, there’s no future for those fighting the state except more bloodshed and inevitable victory of the people over terrorism and the international sponsors of terrorism. He called on the displaced abroad to return to their country which needs them and they need it.

President Bashar Assad thanked Russia, China, Iran, and other countries and parties who stood beside Syria politically, militarily, and economically which helped the Syrian people in their fight and victory.

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Five Palestinian Detainees on Open-ended Hunger Strike as Last-ditch Protest Bid

17/07/2021

Five Palestinian Detainees on Open-ended Hunger Strike as Last-ditch Protest Bid

By Staff, Agencies

Five Palestinian detainees went on indefinite hunger strike at the Zionist occupation regime’s jails as their last resort to protest their similarly indefinite and unexplained imprisonment at the hands of the regime.

Palestinian Maan news agency reported the development on Thursday, citing the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Authority.

“Four of them are languishing at Rimon prison” in the north of the occupied territories, while another is being held at the regime’s prison in the Negev desert, the agency wrote.

The inmates are protesting their “administrative detention.” The ‘Israeli’ regime has been applying the term to its rampant detainment of Palestinians without providing them with any reason for their arrest or informing them about the likely date of their release.

The prisoners’ body called the method “a violation of human rights, based on which captives are entitled to know about the circumstances surrounding their detention.”

“The occupying regime is, however, against letting the prisoners exercise their right,” it added.

The number of the Palestinians, who are suffering in such detention conditions across the Zionist occupation jails, currently stands at around 540.

Hunger strike has established itself as one of the most agonizing protest measures that are available to Palestinian prisoners, but one that has, at times, proven effective and raised international outcry over the regime’s inhumane practices.

According to official Palestinian sources, right now, a whopping 4,650 Palestinians are being kept in Zionist jails, 180 of whom are youngsters.

The Palestinian Authority, an organization with limited jurisdiction in the ‘Israeli’-occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank, has constantly failed to take any action to secure their release.

Jerusalem Conflict: Identity Theft on top of Everything Else

By VT Editors -July 11, 2021

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2021/07/11/jerusalem-conflict-identity-theft-on-top-of-everything-else/

by Seth Ferris, for VT and New Eastern Outlook

As many previous colleagues have discovered, writing about Israel is a thankless task best avoided, especially by a self-hating Jew. Before people even read a given article, they have made up their own minds about Israel and cross-checked their views against others they hold to see if they are ideologically sound, i.e., politically correct.

Then the information presented is processed to fit whatever views people already hold, and it is well-nigh impossible to convey what might actually be happening in the real world.

In many places, readers also have to look over their shoulders. What is the Israeli lobby in a certain place going to think or say if they take any notice of your opinion, as they surely will? If you knew who your friends were before you thought this or that, will you have the same friends afterwards, and will they want you?

However the recent Jerusalem protests, still on-going but beneath the global news radar, have raised a general issue which cuts across nationality and statehood. Few will be surprised by how they have been presented. But why do we accept such a presentation as the norm?

Israel was founded to give a homeland to people who had a certain identity, even if their actual nationalities or backgrounds were widely different. It endures because that identity has a right to exist, to live in peace and to make its own decision on its own development.

This identity is recognised by all, whatever their views on the State of Israel or whether it should be there or take the form it does. So why is it that everyone is queuing up to deny Israelis the very thing – identity – which forms the basis of their proffered nation state, or opposition to their so called state?

Israel is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t, and must always live with this fact. But is there any point in continuing to deny its residents basic humanity, using the same old tricks which led to Israel being established in the first place?

Flags in False Colours

In any conflict situation, such as that Israel lives in perpetually, everyone tries to categorise the sides. Not simply those involved do this, but outsiders who want to know who to cheer for and who to oppose – or simply want to help, and therefore want an understanding of the people they are dealing with.

Sometimes these categorisations are merely ethnic or national – all Serbs or Cubans are supposed to believe this, and all Croats or Americans must believe that. But very often political opinion is used as a means of drawing distinction – these are the “right”, those are the “left”, or variations thereon.

Those who identify themselves as Israeli, or Jewish, or Friends of Israel, come from all shades of opinion. They have demonstrated this throughout the history of the country, where government has swung between left and right wing blocs comprised of parties of widely differing persuasions – for example, Israel once had two Liberal parties, whose views were closer to one another than to those of any other party, but one was part of the Likud bloc and the other part of the Labour Alignment.

Yet the protestors in Jerusalem—and by extension those who are closer to their side than to those they are protesting against, are routinely described as “right-wing”. Yes, some of them are, and yes, such actions attract, and are often organised by, political groups who are comfortable with that label. But is everyone on that side of the argument “right-wing”? Really?

Arab media outlets are predictably fond of using this term. Many of these outlets are highly professional, often more so than their mainstream media counterparts in the Western world. Yet even the rightly respected Aljazeera is jumping on this bandwagon to express its own position rather than tell us what is happening.

It is common for newly independent countries, however they obtained their independence, hook or crook, to descend into civil war soon afterwards. This because people who were part of the independence movement, bound together by a common cause, find that with that cause gone, the differences in their opinions become more important, but dissent means dissent with the new system, not between partners in the same political system.

This process demonstrates what is going on in Jerusalem. Israelis are not hitching themselves to the star of far right groups they are unlikely to vote for. They are simply expressing their identity – and whether we like it or not, and agree with it or not, this is always going to happen in a place founded to encourage just that.

The US has fought many wars, and started many others, to protect us all from Communism, which it would have eradicated long before if it had directed those same energies at Communist states. What they were actually fighting against wasn’t Communism, but localism – people who felt they belonged to a particular group of the population wanted better lives, a very American thing to want, and this merely happened to coincide with the Communist aim of overthrowing a US-supported government, even though the Communist solution was not one most of the population wanted.

Ho Chi Minh was held up as a repressive Communist when the US was engaged in the Vietnam War. In many respects this view was justified. But Ho also fought against colonial rule by the Japanese and French, and famously paraphrased the US Declaration of Independence as the basis of his reasons for opposing Imperial Japan. Ho may have thought independent Vietnam should be Communist, but independence was the point, and most of his countrymen, of all political persuasions, agreed with him.

So why does everyone who recognises a national or ethnic identity have to be right-wing, left-wing or anything else? Why can’t identity be enough? Because if you have a certain persuasion, you can only have certain friends – and therefore can only be listened to for as long as those friends are tolerated by those with the most power.

Embraced to Death

Whether someone is right-wing, left-wing, moderate or radical is decided by who the speaker thinks their friends are, or should be. Aljazeera is more likely to call the Jerusalem protestors “right-wing” than an Israeli outlet for its own political and commercial reasons. But while they are doing this, Israeli outlets are using the same terminology to describe opponents of the same new Israeli government which authorised the nationalist march.

If you are described as right- or left-wing it means you have particular friends who the speaker doesn’t like. These will be politicians, governments and whole races of people who the speaker feels are “other”. Within the speaker’s own spectrum, everyone is different and has an individual voice. Those on the other side are all the same, and all have something wrong with them which means like can always be compared with like.

During the Cold War the West was very fond of lumping all Communist countries together in one joke bag. China and the Soviet Union were never on the same side, and Yugoslavia broke with the Warsaw pact to pursue its own path. Yet whether a given country was allied with, or even talking to, either China or the Soviet Union they were all the same, whereas the United States always had a different identity to Western Europe, and each individual Western country was distinct from the other.

This is one purpose of claiming that identity has to have a political slant – giving you an excuse to attack particular people with any weapon. The other is the opposite – to develop a coalition of fellow travellers, until such time as it is no longer useful.

A number of Arab countries have had, or still have, governments of a supposedly socialist character – Syria, Egypt, Iraq. When seeking friends, they call upon those of the same political persuasion first of all, rather than other members of the Arab League, or any other international organisation they may belong to, where governments of a different complexion often hold sway.

Even today, this is used as a means of justifying alliances with greater powers of the same political slant – “we have to go running to Big Brother in Moscow/Beijing/Havana because they have the means to help their own, and there are many of us. Greater powers then use the same arguments in reverse – “We have to help our brethren to succeed in our own struggles, and they are natural allies, and therefore natural takers of our rules, because we say so”.

Consequently an expectation forms that if you see yourself a certain way, you have to support a particular set of friends and oppose a particular set of enemies. Yanukovych’s Ukraine again provides a good example of this – though Russia could understand it having relations with the EU, the same didn’t apply in reverse, because if Ukraine wanted to work with both sides it couldn’t be a democracy, in the Western understanding.

Many of these new friends would be natural rivals in any other time or context. A right-wing government in India is expected to be more anti-Pakistani than a left-wing one, and the same is true in reverse in Pakistan. Nevertheless, they can all serve a purpose for a particular time, and exploit the assumptions made about them for their own benefit until the international wind changes – an art which China, invited to buy up every Western country whilst remaining Communist.

But all of this is done at the expense of national identity, even if it is meant to enhance it. Who loses when that happens? Every country which needed to do this so to make friends, which can be easily discarded for not being right-wing, left-wing or moderate or radical enough when a new game comes to town.

There is an old saying, “Show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are”. The next step of course is, “If you want to change your friends, this is what it makes you”. A leading politician can associate with kings and with crooks without anyone caring. But those beneath them have to be in one category or the other, exclusively – because they are somehow expected to earn the identity they already have by existing, and to jump through the required hoops to do so.

Only a Person Can Win

There will never be peace in the Middle East until identity is allowed to have its own face. Neither individuals nor states have to be always one collection of things and never another collection of things, and to wear the label which goes with that. If they could be what they are and talk about what was bothering them, we would all get somewhere.

Israel should be leading the way in this, as it is only there because its people share a deep common identity, not politics or friends or even religion, per se. With a new coalition now in power there, including Arab parties, and an imperative to heal the wounds created by the previous administration and its more exclusive composition, it can create a blueprint which will help its diverse neighbours solve their own problems, which are largely caused by being told they have to be this or that to be true believers in someone else’s view of Israel.

Herding people and countries into this and that camp, and then into others when the need arises, only debases those people and countries and empowers those who are herding them. The Jews have not torn off their yellow stars – quite the contrary, they wear them as red badges of pride, courage. whilst those who pinned them on reap the benefits of not having this identification.

When a politician gets into trouble, their supporters insist that they can be many things, and that there will always be those who call them every name under the sun. Some think they are too hard, some too soft, some too extreme, some not extreme enough. The higher you rise, the more it goes with the territory. But should only the biggest and best have the right to be seen this way?

Taking away identity throws people into the arms of modern day Pol Pots who want to dehumanise everyone so that only they can rule. Israel is the last place where such behaviour should be accepted. If only it actually did its job, even its greatest enemies would have much more to gain than lose by merely living.

Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff

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Russian Navy Does 1st Exercises in the Pacific Ocean Since Cold War (Ruslan Ostashko)

Russian Navy Does 1st Exercises in the Pacific Ocean Since Cold War (Ruslan Ostashko)

July 07, 2021

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leo.

The Russian Navy organized training exercises in the center of the Pacific Ocean for the first time in recent history. On June 21, our Pacific Fleet deployed up to 20 vessels and the same amount of aircraft for the training. By the way, take note of the maneuvers’ date, on the eve of the Memory and Mourning Day when our people remember all those who perished as a result of the treacherous attack by the Western ‘partners’ on the USSR.

Russia has long made itself into a ship distributor, strenuously modernizing its navy and upsetting its geopolitical adversaries with that. Navy ships don’t get launched in order to rust at the pier, as is customary in the ‘independent’ Euro-Ukria. The Russian sailors keep training constantly in the near combat conditions, in order to be able to repel the aggressor, in case of an attack on our country, regardless of whether such an aggressor attacks from the de-facto occupied by the US European Union or from another Eastern direction.

Source: RIA News – “Combat vessels of the Pacific Fleet, together with the navy aircraft, are conducting naval exercises in the central part of the Pacific Ocean for the first time in recent history. The exercises take place in an area situated 2.5 thousand miles (approx. 4.6 thousand kilometers east of the Kuril Islands.”

As our fellow countrymen joke, 2.5 thousand miles east of the Kuril Islands is almost Hawaii. It is obvious that the ocean regions in question are those that the USA has been regarding for a long time as the exclusive zone of their interest. Now Russian missiles and aircraft are flying there. Naval vessels are also sailing over there.

Source: RIA News – “The exercises brought into play up to 20 surface vessels, submarines and support ships. The Flag Ship of the Pacific Fleet Missile Cruiser ‘Varyag’, the Frigate ‘Marshal Shaposhnikov’, the Corvettes ‘Aldar Tsydenzhapov’, ‘Sovershenny’ and ‘Gromky’, as well as a submarine are taking part. Additionally, the exercises involved a number of the Naval Aviation Tu-142M3 anti-submarine aircraft that undertook a 14-hour flight to the overall distance of 10,000 km. Overall 12 aircraft are involved in the exercises. Apart from the Tupolevs, these are Il-38 anti-submarine aircraft, MiG-31BM fighter-interceptors, an IL-78 refueling aircraft and deck helicopters Ka-27.”

The program for the training is also worth a note. Our Defence Ministry is not trying to conceal whom the sailors are training to sink.

Source: RIA News – “The vessels and aircraft have already worked through a few tasks, namely, destruction of an aircraft carrier strike group of a mock enemy, as well as a mock cruise missile strike on the enemy’s onshore targets.”

Which openly hostile towards Russian state cuts the waves of the Pacific Ocean with its aircraft carrier strike groups? There’s only one – the USA. Other aircraft carrier groups exist in possession of the British sworn ‘partner’s and of the French ones. But those don’t poke their heads into the Pacific Ocean. And we are not in conflict with the Chinese who build aircraft carriers at a higher rate. It is very significant that the training began on 21 June, on the eve of the most tragic date in our country’s history when we remember everyone who gave their lives in fight with Hitlerism. Now Hitlerism has been de facto rehabilitated in the territories of the independent limitrophe states that diligently serve the USA. The SS veterans march in the Baltic states. Recently in Kiev, the presidential guard regiment took part in a funeral service for an SS member.

“In the Ukraine, the former member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the SS Division “Galicia” (both organizations illegal in Russia) Orest Vaskula was buried with presidential honors. This is not a figure of speech. The regiment of the presidential guard named under Bogdan Khmelnitsky took part in the ceremony.”

With the background of the blunt resurrection of Nazism under the patronage of the State Department, the exercises of the Pacific Fleet in the zone of American geopolitical interests hints, as it were, to the Washington hawks who lost the last sense of reality: Russia will not allow the tragedy of 22 June 1941 to be repeated. The means for that are available. Late in May, the media wrote about the alarm in the USA caused by a discovery of a foreign drone, presumably the Russian device ‘Poseidon’ capable of causing a tsunami by an underwater nuclear explosion and washing away the American coastal cities.

In a word, welcome into the multipolar world, America, who is used to moving its troops to the borders of others but who is not used to military exercises of other countries near her own border. Russia has returned to the great geopolitical game and continues increasing its weight. And the dollar printing press turned to max power is not helping the Americans to reduce their arrears in armament, despite the fact that their military spending is comparable to the Russian and Chinese spending combined.

Source: RIA FAN – “The combined defense spendings of Russia and China have increased the military budgets of the USA, stated the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Senator Jim Inhofe cited this reason for the need of greater military spending in the United States. According to him, the buying power of currencies must be taken into account during drafting the budgets. As a result, it turns out that the CPR spends $604 billion dollars and Russia spends around $200 billion.”

Where is the limit of increase? The USA have already spent $780 billion dollars on defense in 2020. It didn’t help. The Americans still could not design a breakthrough weapon. While Russia did it. The hypersonic missiles can be deployed next time during the exercises somewhere near Hawaii. On which occasion I congratulate us all, dear fellow countrymen. The Pacific Ocean is ours.

First we take Tel Aviv…

July 5, 2021 – 21:17

Iran remains unmoved as Israel resorts to military threats

TEHRAN – With the Vienna nuclear talks hitting a deadlock after the sixth round, Israel finds itself more isolated on Iran and is unable to influence the talks, something that prompted it to try out a new military stunt in order to get the talks moving in line with Israel’s interests.

During his recent trip to Washington, Chief of Staff of Israeli Armed Forces Aviv Kochavi reportedly conveyed clear messages to the U.S. administration regarding the possibility of the U.S. returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. These messages included threats of an Israeli military attack inside Iran. The Israeli general held behind-closed-doors meetings with several high-ranking American officials including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CIA Director William Burns, and DIA Deputy Director Suzanne White.

In these meetings, Kochavi claimed that Israel had made a decision to dismantle the alleged Iranian military nuclear program a year before the U.S. 2020 presidential election and the start of the buzz over a return to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). According to Israeli reports, Kochavi also told his American interlocutors that the Israeli army has devised at least three military plans in order to thwart the Iranian nuclear program, and that the previous Israeli government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, put aside funds for these plans, and that the current government, led by Naftali Bennett, pledged to add large sums in order to fill gaps related to readiness as soon as possible.

This saber-rattling came against a backdrop of a diplomatic war of words between Iran and the U.S. after the sixth round of the Vienna talks which resulted in little progress compared to previous rounds. The U.S. demanded a commitment from Iran to discuss other thorny, non-nuclear issues such as Iran’s missile program and its regional influence while rejecting Iranian demands regarding the lifting of all Trump-era sanctions and the provision of a guarantee that Washington would not withdraw from the deal again once it is revived. In fact, disagreements between the two are so deep that the mere resumption of the talks now hangs in the balance, with Russia is now insinuating that the talks may not be resumed any time soon.

This charged atmosphere has led Israel to remarkably increase diplomatic contacts with the U.S. in the hope that these communications would affect the U.S. stance toward the Vienna talks. But the Israelis themselves have acknowledged that they are unable to influence the U.S. Iran policy. 
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Monday that Tel Aviv can no longer influence the new deal that the Biden administration seeks, one that would be “longer and stronger” than the existing one that is the JCPOA. 

But the Israelis seem not to be giving up on their anti-JCPOA crusade. They appear to have reverted to the decades-long dream of getting the U.S. to do their own job with American blood and treasure: an American military strike against Iran. Haaretz reported that Israeli officials are trying to convince the U.S. into bringing up the military option against Iran if it continued its nuclear activities, hoping that making hostile announcements would create deterrence against Iran. 

But one diplomat predicted that the Biden administration was less likely to attack Iran if it violated the terms of the agreement, Haaretz said, adding, Americans do not currently want the potential for a military conflict in terms of their priorities.

In doing so, the Israelis signal their assessment that threats of military strikes work with Iran, something that belies the most recent bouts of escalation during the Trump administration. Over the course of the Trump presidency, the U.S. issued a whole range of stark threats against Iran from attacking cultural sites to starving the Iranian people but none worked with Tehran. In addition, the Israelis themselves launched what they call the “campaign between wars,” a military doctrine mostly aimed to confront Iran’s spheres of influence in the region while keeping the confrontation below the threshold of an all-out war, to eliminate its regional influence and undermine its nuclear program. But they failed to achieve their goal as Iran’s nuclear program continues to advance and the country’s sway continues to expand.

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