The Rule of Law Over Fraud: Biden Election May Be Illegal, as Four Basic Legal Principles Ignored

The Rule of Law Over Fraud: Biden Election May Be Illegal, as Four Basic Legal Principles Ignored

January 18, 2021

A Citizen Against Fraudulent Elections for the Saker Blog

Biden Election May Be Illegal, as Four Basic Legal Principles Ignored

1, The People’s Right to Fair Elections.

2, The Law and the State Cannot Condone Fraud.
3, Civil vs. Criminal law.

4, Checks and Balances, Due Process.

5, Difficulties and Solutions. General Discussion. Highlights Discussion. Conclusions and Proposals. Pence’s Letter.

by Citizens Against Fraudulent Elections, 2020-21

Highlights

1. The Right to Fair Elections.

– The People have an inalienable right to a fair and true election, and this right overrides legal formalities.

– If this right is denied them in the first instance, they have the right to demand it in a repeat election.

– Scientific certainty is based on repeatable results, not on opinion and hearsay back and forth.

– Runoffs with anti-fraud safeguards are the only clear way to eliminate fraud beyond a reasonable doubt.

– Allegations of major irregularities and counter-arguments are conjectures without conclusive proof either way.

– A disputed election, resolved by a runoff, is similar to a mistrial, which is remedied by a retrial.

– The decisions on January 6th to certify doubtful results are likewise to be viewed as mistakes to be corrected.

– When a thing is broken, the remedy is to fix it, not just discuss it or let it be.

– The Trump campaign should have done more to emphasize the need for repeat elections, to show their good faith, confidence in the mandate of the people, and support for citizen democracy.

– Runoff elections are the only constitutionally valid solution; see 4, Checks and Balances below.

2, It is an impossibility for the law, and an offense for an individual or an institution, to condone fraud.

– Neither civil nor criminal law may give protection for crimes, such as fraud.

– Every citizen who has knowledge of crimes has the right and the duty to expose and oppose them.

– By assenting to or facilitating fraud, one becomes an accomplice thereto.

– Vice President Pence clearly stated to Congress his concerns about irregularities, illegalities and integrity of the election.

– Yet he then gave the election into the hands of Congress, which is controlled by the party suspected of fraud.

– Thus — if there was indeed fraud — Pence knowingly facilitated its completion.

– This self-contradiction cannot have the color of law.

– His proper course was an estoppel — to refuse to move forward until the disputed electoral results were cleared, and brought from the realm of suspected criminal matters to bona fide civil ones.

3, The Distinction between Civil and Criminal Law.

– A fraudulent matter must first be made whole before it can be the subject of the normal civil procedure.

– Civil laws apply to bona fide matters. Crimes such as fraud fall outside this scope.

– Civil laws, such as the Constitution, are not expected to specify procedures for criminal matters, much as in a contract for payment for goods in cash, it is understood that the notes may not be counterfeit.

– The Supreme Court improperly dismissed the fraud complaint by the State of Texas; standing is a principle in civil matters, while fraud is a criminal matter which it is everyone’s duty to report. By its dismissal, the Court failed in its fundamental duty to oppose fraud on a constitutional scale.

4, Checks and Balances, Due Process

– The two-party system has no place in the Constitution; “faction” was seen as a great evil by the Framers.

– Because of the party system, the Constitutional rules for handling objections to electoral votes tend to result in a violation of due process:

– The decision to accept the vote was given to the Democratic party that controls Congress, while it was also the object of the fraud allegations – making it judge, jury and defendant all in one.

– With the Republicans as plaintiffs and the Democrats as defendants, Congress was cast in the multiple roles of plaintiff, defendant, judge and jury, and could not justly be an arbiter for the people. It had to recuse itself.

– Such gross violations of due process are the antithesis of the Constitutional principle of checks and balances, and cannot be the intent of the framers of the Constitution.

– Amendment IX states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This certainly includes the people’s right to due process and fair elections!

– Moreover, as noted in (2), no law can be legitimately applied to facilitate fraud. The written law cannot override natural law, nor be applied in contradiction to the intent of the law, nor to perpetrate an injustice.

– Congressional approval of the electoral results on January 6th was invalidated by these violations of due process and of Constitutional checks and balances.

– For VP Pence to reject the disputed votes and throw the election to the 12th Amendment would have also been invalid, by making the Republicans both plaintiff and judge.

– The appointment of the President of the Senate (the Vice President) to count the electoral college votes is not a mere formality, but is a check or brake against fraud. To count or to halt the count is essential to his function. To hold the count in abeyance pending verification is his legitimate duty.

– If it is argued that the Vice President of the Senate should have little power, then should he have the power to allow a violation of due process?

– In a fraudulent or disputed election, the system breaks down at the state and county level, yet this threatens the integrity of the highest federal office, the Presidency. The party system is embedded at all levels.

– The 12th Amendment provides a check against a faction within individual states overriding the will of the majority of states.

5, Difficulties to Overcome and Possible Solutions.

– Fraud Allegations Far in Excess of the Reported Margin of Victory

– Practical and Political Difficulties of Post-election Forensics: Where are the Impartial Experts and Judges?

– The Evils of Faction: Partisanship at all Levels of Government, and in the Media

– Powers of the Supreme Court: SCOTUS Frequently Rules on State Electoral Procedures

– Mandate Hand Ballot Runoffs in Districts with Improbably High Voter Participation before Proceeding to Statewide Runoffs.

– Looking Ahead: Self Auditing Tallies, an Effective Remedy against Electoral Fraud

General Discussion

When there are serious allegations of fraud, there need to be repeat elections, and until then, there is a duty not to certify doubtful results.

Efforts to question the count in court were inconclusive, and could be viewed as an end-run. It needed to go back to the people first.

The 12th Amendment provides for checks and balances between the power of the States and of Congress in selecting the President.

It’s an awful feeling for a team to lose. It’s also a time to review what mistakes were made.

What the Republicans had to do starting in November was to campaign strongly for a rerun of the presidential race in the contested states. Popular opinion could have supported that, because it’s only fair play and the fair way to handle any disputed contest.

If the states refused, then the House would have the necessary justification to invoke the 12th Amendment, where the Vice President rejects the tally of the Electoral College and the House decides the outcome, by each state delegation casting one vote. This provision is one of the checks and balances in the Constitution. The Republic is a confederation of sovereign states, which elect a President, and the 12th Amendment is a protection against a faction gaining control of the vote in a few large states, overriding the will of a majority of the states. As America splits into urban and rural regions, we may need to start taking this Amendment seriously.

Nonetheless, the VP and the Republican state delegations found it difficult to invoke the 12th, because it would look too much like a coup — one fraud against another. It needed to be underpinned by showing eagerness to buttress the fraud allegations by putting the vote to the test again. It is also politically risky to depend on seldom-used provisions. A winning strategy needs to be robust and popularly seen to be rightful.

Trump and Pence had to persistently ask for a new vote with anti-fraud provisions, one without mail-in ballots, also due to time constraints. Too great a delay affects our national security — can we afford a prolonged constitutional crisis? The President and can’t force states to hold runoff elections, of course, the states should do it themselves. It’s all about political legitimacy.

There was a lot of speculation about what the Constitution says, but even the highest laws only apply to bona fide results, not to protect fraud. And there is no way one could prove the true result beyond a reasonable doubt by audits or investigations or lawsuits, especially with voting machines. It was too close, the allegations too great. The only way to ascertain the will of the people in those States is to let them vote again, with proper safeguards, such as proposed by the Carter-Baker Commission and by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. With millions of votes to audit, fraud is not easy to prove or punish after the fact. Ordinary auditing methods are not at all suited to discovering fraud.

On January 6, VP Pence said it should be decided by the people’s representatives (of which he is one), instead of asking it to be put first to a fair and fraud-free vote by the people themselves.

Here is what he could have announced to Congress instead:

1. The protection of the laws does not apply to fraud. Underlying every law there is a presumption of bona fides — a basic legal principle.

2. That he as VP cannot accept those electoral votes in dispute until there are secure and trustworthy run-off elections, because this is the only way to prove the validity of the outcomes beyond a reasonable doubt.

3. The presidential election result is postponed until action is taken by a sufficient number of states to verify 270 indisputable electoral votes.

4. The runoff should be with hand ballots only, on presentation of official photo identification. No voting machines and no mail-ins. Because any significant variance between hand ballots and mail ballots will again be suspect, mail-in ballots can only confuse the effort to confirm the true will of the people.

5. Pence could have suggested forming a bipartisan Electoral Commission to organize the runoff elections. Runoff elections were the only way. You can’t discover the truth of the matter when you start from bad data.

This option was little discussed. Michael Flynn called for it, in overly military style, when he suggested that Trump could declare martial law, and force a rerun of elections in swing states, but this was seen as undemocratic and unconstitutional. More diplomatically, by insistently calling for runoffs, Trump would be seen as the defender of democracy and the Constitution, forcing the states to show that they feared the outcome, while he was confident of victory. Thus the Republicans might have acquired the moral authority to invoke the 12th Amendment, or at the very least, postpone the certification of the electors, until the runoff issue was decided.

This is not the last time we’ll see attempts to steal elections in our Republic. Let this be a lesson for learning how to eliminate electoral fraud.

Discussion of Highlights

1, The People’s Right to Fair Elections.

In the 2005 report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, Chairmen Jimmy Carter and James Baker called for safeguards to make sure every real vote counts — and only every real vote. Strict voter ID requirements, restrictions on mail-in voting, maintaining accurate voter registration lists, allowing election observers to monitor the count, and ensuring the accuracy of voting machines were among the 87 recommendations.

According to FrontPageMag.com, “Beginning more than a year ago, Democrats filed nearly 300 lawsuits in dozens of states[7] — most notably all of the key battleground states — in an effort to change election laws and regulations in ways that would benefit Democrat candidates. For example, they sought to: (a) extend the statutory deadlines by which mail-in ballots could be submitted, postmarked, or received by election authorities; (b) permit people to vote earlier than ever before, in some cases as many as 50 days prior to Election Day; (c) eliminate signature, signature-verification, and witness requirements for mail-in ballots; (d) void state laws that disallowed ballot harvesting by third parties; (e) terminate photo-ID requirements for in-person voting; (f) introduce provisions that would allow for the “curing” of mail-in ballots that contained errors or omissions; and (g) require state election officials to send unsolicited mail-in ballots to every person listed as a registered voter, even though such lists have long been notoriously inaccurate.[8] … Though the Democrats did not get everything that they wanted, they got most of it.”

The article, “Yes, It Was a Stolen Election — You’d have to be blind not to see it,” also lists many of the fraud allegations, and statistical indicators that raise doubts about the results. Have these claims been debunked? Reuters tackled the report on vote spikes that switched the vote on election night, for example, it notes that this happened in Wisconsin when Milwaukee County “reported its 170,000 absentee votes, which were overwhelmingly Democrat” – not too reassuring. Their verdict is inconclusive and speculative. FactCheck.org published “Nine Election Fraud Claims, None Credible,” saying the alleged anomalies in counting practices are normal. They also refuted a report that Dominion voting machines are designed to allow fraud.

Yet the evidence on ballot-harvesting and paid vote-buying is irrefutable. How widespread was it? A Texan named Raquel Rodriguez was just arrested for vote-buying after she told Project Veritas all about it on video. And according to Judicial Watch, “In 378 U.S. counties, voter registration rates exceed 100% of the adult population.”

We do not have the hard numbers we need to confirm such close results. Scientific knowledge relies on empirical, observable evidence from repeatable experiments or trials, and this is what we propose.

What to do if there are unfounded claims of fraud? There is skepticism in many quarters about the allegations of fraud made in the 2020 election. Certainly there needs to be a check against frivolous claims of fraud, and this should not be hard to do. First of all runoff elections are already required in many states when the vote is close, although not usually with added fraud safeguards. Secondly, it is possible to focus high-integrity runoff voting tests first on one or more counties, districts or precincts that display the greatest irregularities, to assess the likelihood that fraud may have tipped the statewide outcome. More on this in (5) below.

2, The Law and the State Cannot Condone Fraud.

In his January 6th opinion on his constitutional duty, Pence did note serious concerns about election fraud, but seemed to have no idea what to do about it, or was afraid to tackle it.

It is the duty of every official, indeed every citizen, to assist in exposing fraud, and not to aid and abet it. The law does not give protection to fraud, nor can it be used to do so.

These are basic and fundamental principles, which need not be repeated explicitly in each piece of legislation.

Some legal scholars might overlook the fact that all laws, including the Constitution, are written to govern normal, bona fide matters, and do not digress upon the special case of fraud. There is no need to try and tease out any special provision for fraud from the Constitution, as it is a charter of civil law. One must simply apply common law and common sense principles to fill the “gap” which is no gap in the law: it is a space for us to take action needed to restore the matter to a bona fide basis.

According to theconversation.com, Pence faced “a choice between fidelity to the Constitution and fidelity to Trump.” Stating a problem as a dilemma is a perfect way to exclude other, better choices. There is also fidelity to truth, and fidelity to the people. There is a third way between rejecting and accepting the doubtful electoral votes. It is finding the truth about the real will of the voters.

Pence should have delayed certification until such time as the Supreme Court or the States took action to ensure the election was fair. The 12th Amendment foresees the process of certification lasting as long as March 4th.

Having noted fraud concerns, Pence mistakenly excused himself from any right or duty to do anything about them. He acted improperly by abdicating responsibility and turning over the count to the Congress, which was certain to reject all objections, since it requires a majority of both houses to sustain them, and the Democrats could and did vote them down.

Pence’s references to the election of 1876 cited a very bad precedent, one that showed the need for run-off elections, and the fact that Congress and even Supreme Court justices will vote on party lines. (See the Endnote on the Election of 1876, and the Appendix, Pence’s Letter to Congress of January 6th, 2021.)

3, The Distinction between Civil and Criminal Law.

In the civil law of contracts, for instance, there is no need to state that when payment is in cash, counterfeit bills are not honored. This is understood. Counterfeiting is a crime governed by the criminal code, which is separate from the civil code. The Constitution is essentially a civil code. We cannot expect it to provide procedures for dealing with fraud. This rests with the citizens, representatives and officers who have a fundamental responsibility to take the necessary measures to prevent the success of a fraudulent election. Yet when the representatives are themselves suspected beneficiaries of fraud, they are not competent to rule on the matter.

The Supreme Court improperly dismissed the electoral fraud complaint by the state of Texas. The Court ruled that Texas had no standing, but standing is a criterion of civil litigation. Fraud is a crime, and in criminal law, to report wrongdoing to the authorities is not only a universal right, it is every citizen’s duty. To condone the cover-up of a crime is to facilitate it, making one effectively an accessory. The Supreme Court should reverse its decision on the Texas complaint and consider it together with that of President Trump.

4, Checks and Balances, Due Process.

Since one party controls both houses of Congress, and many statehouses as well, there needs to be certainty, or at least bipartisan agreement, that the vote was fair before Congress can exercise its prerogative of denying objections and approving electoral results. The framers of the Constitution regarded “Faction” as an evil, and were opposed to any role at all for political parties, which tend to be corrupt cartels for the control of political power.

Is Trump being punished as an outsider to a corrupt two-in-one party system? He supposedly lost while increasing his total vote over 2016, yet the Republican Party did quite well. “May the best cheater win” — is that the motto?

In the fraud allegations, the plaintiff was the Republican Donald Trump, and the defendant or suspected perpetrator was in essence the Democratic Party. Since the Democrats controlled the House, letting them dismiss the accusations against themselves was a gross violation of due process. For Pence merely to decertify state results would likewise have violated due process, because it would go to a Republican judge (the House delegations with one vote per state) finding for the Republican plaintiff. This lack of due process would violate the principle of checks and balances. It would allow any party that controlled the office of Vice-President and a majority of house delegations to overturn elections, even by unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.

If, however, the contested states refused to remove the cause for complaint in good faith and beyond a reasonable doubt, by holding repeat elections with anti-fraud safeguards — this would be akin to contempt of court. The Vice President would then be justified in rejecting their votes, or the Supreme Court could order compliance.

5, Difficulties to Overcome and Possible Solutions.

Although the conduct of elections at the state level is a power reserved to the states, the Supreme Court has frequently ruled on these matters, and might order the states in dispute to guarantee fair repeat elections, along the lines recommended by the Commission on Federal Election Reform. In the past, SCOTUS rulings on state conduct of elections have mostly expanded the vote. This has gone too far, when ghosts can outvote the citizenry. For a fair election, one must consider quality and accuracy, as well as quantity.

There is a fairly simple way to ensure that votes are not switched during the count. Each ballot is numbered and the voter receives a stub with the number on it. Text files of all the ballot numbers and the way each ballot was voted can be posted online, with totals by precinct and district. Anyone will be able to check online that their ballot was counted as cast: a simple, open-source, self-auditing vote tally system. This system can be combined with Tulsi Gabbard’s bill H.R.1946 requiring paper receipts for voting machines.

An open-source tally by ballot number will protect against authentic votes being changed, but not against ghost voting. The only way to ensure voters exist is for them to physically present and identify themselves at the poll station. Because of Covid19, the Carter Center suggested in 2020 that “where safeguards for ballot integrity are in place,” such as prohibitions on ballot harvesting, mail-in votes could be relatively fraud-free, but we need a higher degree of probity now. https://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/2020/united-states-050620.html

We can anticipate that a mandate for a runoff election with hand ballots only will be attacked, among other things, as a risk of spreading Covid 19. Yet essential services and stores are open, and what could be more essential than electoral integrity? The risk can be mitigated in various ways, such as appointment scheduling, social distancing for walk ins, and staying open more than one day if needed.

The fake vote question can be addressed by sampling: hand-ballot runoffs in a few areas with the abnormally highest ratio of votes to the number of registered voters. If the new results under these controlled conditions are very close to the original tally, both in total numbers and the voting preference, then fraud is unlikely — especially if the percentage spread between candidates in the sample does not change much, or not enough to reverse the margin of victory in the original vote.

Was there significant fraud? It depends who you ask, and the opinions follow party lines. Pence thought there was. Trey Trainor, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, thought so too. The mainstream media and social media giants ridicule the idea.

There are practical problems with a remedy in the courts. The volume of data involved — millions of votes — makes it difficult to apply forensic methods, and also to convince people of the outcome. The best remedy for a botched performance is to do it right the second time. If the new, fraud-proof tally still gives Biden victory, then the fears of fraud will be unsubstantiated. We will also have established an important new precedent for reliably testing electoral integrity. If the new tally changes the outcome, then it may be time to overturn the election result, and to investigate and press charges against those responsible for fraud, even treason.

Conclusions and Proposals.

The certification of the election on January 6th was unconstitutional, because it followed procedures that apply only to bona fide election results. The protections of the laws do not extend to fraud. There must first be reasonable assurance that the results are free of any significant fraud.

The certification also violated due process, since it gave the decision into the hands of the party suspected of fraud.

Thus the election certification was a mistrial. If fraud took place on the scale alleged, then the election was also a mistrial. The remedy in both cases is a retrial.

The Ninth Amendment is an escape clause stipulating that the provisions of the Constitution shall not be construed to deny the rights retained by the people — such as the right to due process and fair elections.

The people and the federal government are principals, who have delegated the election of their officials to the states, who are their agents. The principal always has the right to have the work done to the standards of probity. What must prevail is the realization that if work has been done wrong, it must be put right.

Three branches of government have evidently failed to ensure our right to fair elections: the Congress, certain states, and even the Executive, in the person of the Vice-President.

The branch that can repair the loss now is the Supreme Court judiciary. It can mandate new elections in cases where there are major allegations of fraud and a narrow apparent margin of victory.

It may do this on its own, or by a number of its justices joining a bipartisan Electoral Commission together with Congress, as was done in 1876, but with one major difference. Rather than trying to adjudicate the outcome itself, the Commission should identify precincts or states that are most in need of repeat voting.

For this purpose, the Federal Election Commission should publish a tabulation by precinct for the contested swing states, comparing the results between 2016 and 2020, giving percentages of voter turnout, and of votes for each party and presidential candidate, broken down by in-person, mail-in and absentee ballots, in order to confirm or allay the suspicions raised, and to identify which precincts are most in need of repeat voting.

To expedite matters, it is best to use hand ballots only. Extra measures are needed against vote buying and for monitoring and secrecy of voting, especially in the trial precincts.

Going forward, Congress should pass the anti-fraud measures recommended by Tulsi Gabbard, the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, and for the open-source, self-auditing vote tally system proposed here.

Endnote on 1876

It is hard to imagine a worse precedent than the election of 1876 to support Pence’s plea for the primacy of “the people’s representatives” in interpreting the will of the people themselves, without any delay for fraud investigations. In 1876, Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote with a lead of 3%, but with allegations of fraud on both sides, it was impossible to tell who had really won in the Electoral College. The two parties made a backroom deal, giving the Presidency to the Republican Rutherford Hayes, in exchange for concessions like removing the last remaining Federal troops from the South.

A 15-member bipartisan Electoral Commission of 10 members of Congress and 5 Supreme Court Justices was set up to adjudicate the returns from the four contested states. In a series of 8-7 decisions, voting strictly on party lines, they gave all four states to Hayes, handing him a one-vote margin in the Electoral College. The Republican Justice Bradley on the Commission cast the deciding votes. His opinion on the matter is thus hardly impartial. Pence quotes Bradley as saying the role of President of the Senate is only “ministerial.” A minister is an important office, certainly enough for a duty which every citizen has, that is to prevent fraud. Indeed, the President pro tempore of the Senate presided over the Electoral Commission that Bradley sat on in 1876. By precedent, Pence could have presided over a commission working to resolve the disputes of the election of 2020.

As a precedent also, the election debacle of 1876 supports our thesis here: that Congress cannot be entrusted with the adjudication of an election under a two-party system; that attempts to correct the count through investigations into fraud generally prove frustrating and futile; and that runoffs in states with a very close vote should have been instituted as the solution then and there. We can do it now.

Appendix. Text of VP Pence’s Statement to Congress, January 6th, 2021

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THE VICE PRESIDENT WASHINGTON

January 6, 2021

Dear Colleague:

Today, for the 59th time in our Nation’s history, Congress will convene in Joint Session to count the electoral votes for President of the United States. Under our Constitution, it will be my duty as Vice President and as President of the Senate to serve as the presiding officer.

After an election with significant allegations of voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of this election. The American people choose the American President, and have every right under the law to demand free and fair elections and a full investigation of electoral misconduct. As presiding officer, I will do my duty to ensure that these concerns receive a fair and open hearing in the Congress of the United States. Objections will be heard, evidence will be presented, and the elected representatives of the American people will make their decision.

Our Founders created the Electoral College in 1787, and it first convened in 1789. With the advent of political parties, the Electoral College was amended in 1804 to provide that Electors vote separately for President and Vice President. Following a contentious election in 1876, with widespread allegations of fraud and malfeasance, Congress spent a decade establishing rules and procedures to govern the counting of electoral votes and the resolution of any objections.

During the 130 years since the Electoral Count Act was passed, Congress has, without exception, used these formal procedures to count the electoral votes every four years.

Given the controversy surrounding this year’s election, some approach this year’s quadrennial tradition with great expectation, and others with dismissive disdain. Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally. Others believe that electoral votes should never be challenged in a Joint Session of Congress.

After a careful study of our Constitution, our laws, and our history, I believe neither view is correct.

The President is the chief executive officer of the Federal Government under our Constitution, possessing immense power to impact the lives of the American people. The Presidency belongs to the American people, and to them alone. When disputes concerning a presidential election arise, under Federal law, it is the people’s representatives who review the evidence and resolve disputes through a democratic process.

Our Founders were deeply skeptical of concentrations of power and created a Republic based on separation of powers and checks and balances under the Constitution of the United States.

Vesting the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide presidential contests would be entirely antithetical to that design. As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority. Instead, Vice Presidents presiding over Joint Sessions have uniformly followed the Electoral Count Act, conducting the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy.

As Supreme Court Justice Joseph Bradley wrote following the contentious election of 1876, “the powers of the President of the Senate are merely ministerial… He is not invested with any authority for making any investigation outside of the Joint Meeting of the two Houses… [I]f any examination at all is to be gone into, or any judgment exercised in relation to the votes received, it must be performed and exercised by the two Houses.” More recently, as the former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge J. Michael Luttig observed, “[t]he only responsibility and power of the Vice President under the Constitution is to faithfully count the Electoral College votes as they have been cast,” adding “[t]he Constitution does not empower the Vice President to alter in any way the votes that have been cast, either by rejecting certain votes or otherwise.”

It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.

While my role as presiding officer is largely ceremonial, the role of the Congress is much different, and the Electoral Count Act of 1887 establishes a clear procedure to address election controversies when they arise during the count of the vote of the Electoral College. Given the voting irregularities that took place in our November elections and the disregard of state election statutes by some officials, I welcome the efforts of Senate and House members who have stepped forward to use their authority under the law to raise objections and present evidence.

As presiding officer, I will ensure that any objections that are sponsored by both a Representative and a Senator are given proper consideration, and that all facts supporting those objections are brought before the Congress and the American people. Those who suggest that raising objections under the Electoral Count Act is improper or undemocratic ignore more than 130 years of history, and fail to acknowledge that Democrats raised objections in Congress each of the last three times that a Republican candidate for President prevailed.

Today it will be my duty to preside when the Congress convenes in Joint Session to count the votes of the Electoral College, and I will do so to the best of my ability. I ask only that Representatives and Senators who will assemble before me approach this moment with the same sense of duty and an open mind, setting politics and personal interests aside, and do our part to faithfully discharge our duties under the Constitution. I also pray that we will do so with humility and faith, remembering the words of John Quincy Adams, who said, “Duty is ours; results are God’s.”

الفرصة الذهبيّة لوليد جنبلاط

ناصر قنديل

لم يفاجئ وليد جنبلاط أحداً من اللبنانيين برسمه معادلة جديدة لتخيير حزب الله بين اثنتين، فهو دائم الحركة على هذا الخط ذهاباً وإياباً، ويملك قدرة الاستدارة التي لا ينافسه عليها أحد، ويفسّرها بالتأقلم مع المتغيرات، او بالقفز من المراكب الغارقة، كما وصف انقلابه على سورية عشية الحرب الأميركيّة على العراق، ثم عاد فوصف بالتعبير ذاته نعيَه للحركة التي قادها وأسماها بثورة الأرز، متجاوزاً حساسيته المفرطة ضد الرموز التي تختصر لبنان بعناوين يعتبرها خاصة بالمسيحيين، قبل أن يسارع إلى شرعنة محميّة أرز الباروك مانحاً الأرز صفة العبور بين الطوائف والرمزيّة الجامعة، لكن جنبلاط شديد الانتباه الى أنه تهرّب من استعمال معادلته السابقة التي كان يعرضها على حزب الله بدلاً من معادلة اليوم «الحياد أو قاعدة الصواريخ»، فهو لا يريد لأحد أن ينتبه أنه خلع معادلته السابقة «هانوي أم هونغ كونغ»، لأن فضيحة نموذج هونغ كونغ التي كان من دعاتها وروّادها والمبشّرين بها تتجسّد بصورة مأساويّة في يوميات اللبنانيين الذين سرقت مصارف «هونغ كونغ» ودائعَهم، ونهبت الفوائد المرتفعة لفلسفة هونغ كونغ مقدراتهم تحت شعار تثبيت سعر الليرة، التي صارت اليوم بلا سعر، وطارت معها مداخيل اللبنانيون الذين دعاهم جنبلاط لتجنّب نموذج الإفقار الذي تمثله هانوي ووعدهم إن فعلوا وسمعوا نصيحته بالحصول على نموذج هونغ كونغ، وهو يريد أن ينسحب خلسة من نموذجه المتداعي الذي لم يسقط لأن اللبنانيين خالفوا جنبلاط وساروا وراء نموذج هانوي، واقتصاد المقاومة والتوجّه شرقاً، بل لأن اللبنانيين صدّقوا وصفة جنبلاط بنبوءة هونغ كونغ وسلّموا أمرهم لعرّابيها في المال والسياسة والمصارف، فقرّر التسلل هرباً من الذاكرة، والقفز مجدداً من مركب غارق جديد.

يعود جنبلاط لدعوة الحياد، لأن ليس فيها شبهة هونغ كونغ، متمنياً أن يُصيب اللبنانيين نسيان آخر وفقد ذاكرة ثانٍ ،غير نسيانهم لترويجه لكذبة هونغ كونغ، بأن لا ينتبهوا إلى أنه صاحب معادلة أخرى، بعد الخروج السوري من لبنان وليس قبله، وبعد انقسام 14 و8 آذار وليس قبله، والمعادلة كانت الإصرار ثم الإصرار على صناعة تفاهم وطني مع حزب الله يقوم على حفظ السلاح كمصدر قوة لا بديل عنه في مواجهة خطر العدوان، ويضيف محذراً من دعوات الحياد التي كان يرفعها بعض حلفائه في 14 آذار، ويقول من موقع المختلف مع حزب الله محذراً من خطورة وصفة الحياد، «يحيد لبنان ولاحقاً كما أراكم وكما ترونني يطلب من لبنان مجدداً الالتحاق بحلف مشابه للسابع عشر من أيار»، وجنبلاط يعلم أكثر من سواه أن المناخ العربي الذي يدعو الى التلاقي معه اليوم من موقع دعوته المستجدّة للحياد هو الفلك السائر في مسارات أقل ما ستطلبه من لبنان هو نموذج مشابه لاتفاق 17 أيار.

يعرف جنبلاط أن الحياد كذبة لا تقلّ آثامها عن كذبة هونغ كونغ، والكذبة الجديدة كالقديمة لا تملك أجوبة عن أسئلة اللبنانيين، ماذا عن مصير اللاجئين الفلسطينيين ومشروع التوطين؟ وماذا عن دور لبنان الاقتصادي في ظل التطبيع الخليجي الإسرائيلي، والتفاهمات التي تطال المرافئ والمصارف؟ ولبنان كما وصفه ميشال شيحا مرفأ ومصارف، كما يعلم جنبلاط علم اليقين بأن وصفة الحياد هذه لن تتحقق كما لم تتحقق وصفة هونغ كونغ فلكلتيهما مهمة واحدة هي ذرّ الرماد في عيون اللبنانيين لاستعدائهم على سلاح المقاومة، لكن لا إمكانات واقعية لأصحاب هذه النماذج الوهمية على خلق معادلات تحاصر السلاح، وقد زاد جنبلاط علماً بذلك بعد التطورات التي قالت إنه فقد دور بيضة القبان المستندة الى إمساكه بموقع الجبل الجغرافي في ربط بيروت بالبقاع والبقاع بالجنوب وبيروت بالجنوب، والممسك بخيوط منع أو تمرير الفتنة بين السنة والشيعة، وهذه كلها قد اختبرت وتبخّرت، لذلك قرر ذات يوم ان يخفض سقف طموحاته ويرتضي رسم سياساته على خطوط نقل وتسويق الترابة الى سورية، ولما اصطدم بأن حزب الله لا يتاجر، نام واستيقظ على حملة منظمة قادها ضد مؤسسة القرض الحسن ليقول متوهماً لحزب الله لقد ضبطتك متلبساً بالجرم المشهود، قبل أن يخرج السيد حسن نصرالله، ويطمئنه أن لا مرابحة في مؤسسة القرض الحسن، وبالتالي لا مصلحة للباحثين عن مرابح بالدخول على خطها، وجنبلاط يعلم أيضاً أن الأيام المقبلة حبلى بالكثير من التطورات، وها هم الذين يثق براداراتهم يبشرونه بالانشغال الأميركي عن المواجهة مع إيران وحزب الله، بل من بينهم اليوم كثر هم الذين يحذرونه من أن رفع العقوبات الأميركية عن إيران قد لا يكون بعيداً، كما بشّروه قبل خمسة أعوام بقرب توقيع الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، فلماذا يجازف جنبلاط وهو لاعب على حافة الهاوية محاولاً تقليد نموذجها الأصلي في سورية، وفقاً لوصف هنري كيسنجر للسياسة السورية، لكن جنبلاط عندما يلعبها يفعل من دون مجازفة، فلماذا تغيير العادات السليمة في الزمن الخطأ؟

الناصحون يقولون، إن هذا الأسلوب في التخاطب مع حزب الله لا يُجدي، وإن من يقدم أوراق اعتماده للخليج في زمن تخبط حاكم الخليج في ظل الشعور بوحشة التخلي الأميركي، يصحّ فيه القول «يطعمو الحج والناس راجعة»، ويقول هؤلاء ربما يكون سوق المشتقات النفطية الذي يملك فيه جنبلاط خبرة لا تقلّ عن خبرته في سوق الترابة، هو الفرصة الذهبيّة لجنبلاط، فالعرض الإيراني ببيع لبنان المشتقات النفطية بالليرة اللبنانية لا يزال قائماً، والخشية من العقوبات الأميركية يجب الا تخيف جنبلاط، وهي في طريق الزوال، وربما «تنقش معه» ويستطيع إضافة لتجارة المشتقات في لبنان أن يشرعن بيع المشتقات الى سورية بدلاً من التنديد بالتهريب، فهل يفاوض جنبلاط على الوكالة الحصرية للمشتقات النفطية الإيرانية؟ ولكن هل ينبّهه المستشارون الى انه لا يحتاج في هذه الحالة لرفع السقوف، ويمكن له دقّ الباب ليسمع الجواب؟

البعض يظنّ أن رقصة جنبلاط الأخيرة ليست تجارية بل أمنية، وتتصل بمشاغباته حول التحقيقات في تفجير مرفأ بيروت، وحملته الهوائية التي لم يهتم لها أحد بتوجيه الاتهامات لسورية بالوقوف وراء صفقة النترات الى لبنان، فهل يعلم جنبلاط ما لا يعلمه الآخرون عن أدوار لبنانية متورطة في شراء النترات وتخزينها لحساب الجماعات المسلحة في سورية التي سماها ذات يوم بالممثل الشرعيّ الوحيد للشعب السوري داعياً لشرعنة سيطرة جبهة النصرة على جرود عرسال، متحدثاً عن نصرة لاند اسوة بفتح لاند التي قامت في منطقة العرقوب أواخر الستينيات من القرن الماضي؟ وهل كان طريق النترات هو من نصرة لاند إلى الداخل السوري؟

80 Million Kremlin Agents In United States

South Front

January 18, 2021

It took less than two weeks for the FBI, and other American intelligence agencies, to come to the usual (and expected) conclusion that Russia was somehow involved in the storming of the Capitol building in Washington on January 6th.

Compared to previous developments, it took relatively long for the MSM and various “anonymous” and named officials to point the finger at Russia. Usually, the timeline is much shorter.

The initial discovery that supposedly points to Russia is that an individual in France carried out the biggest ever bitcoin payment in history, transferring $500,000 of the virtual currency to several “protest leaders” in the United States.

One of those that received payments is Nick Fuentes, and there is no evidence at all that he was present inside Capitol building, and he vehemently denies that he was. He was present in the demonstration in front, before the chaos. Other entities and individuals that received payments are the anti-immigration organization VDARE, alt-right streamer Ethan Ralph, and other several addresses who are unknown, but will likely be tied to “known far-right individuals or organizations”.

One should also be wise to remember how color revolutions take place in other countries, and that in many of them the touch of Washington is often found. Still, the FBI concluded that Russia (and China and Iran) allegedly used the chance to further their agendas, by pushing for political interests amidst the Presidential transition chaos in the United States.

As such, the Russian threat is as real as it usually gets in the United States, and that means not very. The situation is such, that the Russian threat is used as a justification that was produced following weeks of preparation for the war-like scenario that Washington will resemble on January 20th.

The justification, this time, was provided post-factum. They are accompanied by detentions that do strongly resemble a witch hunt, but that’s something only the Republicans can do. It is understandable, as if the Russia narrative holds any water, that means “Evil Overlord Vladimir Putin” has about 80 million Kremlin agents in the United States, since they voted for the outgoing US President Donald Trump. There is much to worry about.

On the side of the Democrats, they wish to avoid any sort of escalation when they’re stepping into power, and as such have deployed approximately 25,000 National Guard troops to Washington. In comparison, Trump’s inauguration saw 8,000 Guardsmen deployed, even though his victory was “guaranteed by the Russians.”

The Republicans, however, much more to worry about, since the witch hunt is just gaining traction, but it is accompanied by an end of the adhering to democratic principles.

The neo-liberal agenda appears to be in full bloom and the democratic victory in a legitimate presidential election strongly resembles a demonstration of the triumph of the elite. And it is an elite class that seems to have distanced itself quite far from society. The good news for the neo-liberal supporters is that the RussiaGate 2.0 scandal is just beginning, and it would provide ample opportunity for censorship.

No doubts, soon, Moscow will once again take its “rightful position” as enemy Number 1 of the Western World, and the necessary sanctions and destabilization attempts are all but guaranteed. On the internal playing field of the United States, any conservative voice, or even what the neo-liberals consider “far left” will now be silenced, and dubbed a Putin agent, as the new administration must reign supreme.

Related

أوروبا تطالب لبنان بالتحقيق حول رياض سلامة

مراسلة رسمية في عهدة النيابة العامة للتدقيق في مبلغ 400 مليون دولار

الأخبار 

مراسلة رسمية في عهدة النيابة العامة للتدقيق في مبلغ 400 مليون دولار
(مروان طحطح)

الثلاثاء 19 كانون الثاني 2021

في تطور مفاجئ على الصعيد القضائي، تبلغ لبنان رسمياً طلباً من جهات عليا في الاتحاد الأوروبي وسويسرا لتقديم مساعدة قضائية في تحقيق جار حول ملف تحويلات مالية تخص حاكم مصرف لبنان رياض سلامة.

وعلمت «الأخبار» أن النائب العام التمييزي القاضي غسان عويدات وصلته مراسلة مباشرة (لم تُعرف بعد الطريقة الدبلوماسية، وإذا ما تمت عبر وزارة الخارجية أو عبر السفارة السويسرية في بيروت أو عبر القضاء السويسري) تطلب منه العمل مع الجهات القضائية المعنية، ولا سيما النائب العام المالي، من أجل الحصول على تفاصيل معلومات حول حوالات مصرفية تخص الحاكم وشقيقه رجا سلامة ومساعدته ماريان حويك، يصل مجموعها الى نحو 400 مليون دولار.


وبحسب المعلومات، فإن التحقيق الجاري له طابع جنائيّ ولا يخص سلامة وحده، بل سيكون له متعلقات بمصرف لبنان والمؤسسات التابعة له، ولا سيما بنك التمويل وشركة طيران الشرق الأوسط «ميدل إيست»، وبنك انترا وكازينو لبنان.

وقالت المعلومات إن الجهات الرسمية العليا في البلاد، ولا سيما الرئيسين ميشال عون وحسان دياب، وُضعت في أجواء الملف، ولكن لم يتضح بعد سبب عدم التفاعل والتجاوب مع الطلب، مع الإشارة الى أن مسؤولاً قضائياً بارزاً قال إن المسألة قد تكون مرتبطة بالإغلاق الناجم عن مواجهة جائحة كورونا. لكنّ مسؤولاً آخر قال إن السلطات اللبنانية تحاول التدقيق في إذا ما كان الطلب الأوروبي صحيحاً.

وأوضحت المصادر أن السلطات الاوروبية تدرس ملف سلامة من ضمن ملف يشمل عدداً كبيراً من الشخصيات اللبنانية وفق «لائحة شبهة» أعدت بالتعاون بين فرنسا وبريطانيا والولايات المتحدة التي طلبت من الاتحاد الأوروبي المشاركة في متابعة الملف وعدم حصر العقوبات بوزارة الخزانة الاميركية، وأن لا يبقى الأمر مرتبطاً فقط بما تسمّيه واشنطن «مكافحة تمويل الإرهاب».

مسؤول فرنسي لـ«الأخبار»: باريس لم تُخفِ رغبتها في تغييرات كبيرة تشمل مصرف لبنان بعد التدقيق في أعماله


وبحسب المصادر، فإن فرنسا وبريطانيا قررتا بشكل منفرد التحقيق في الأمر، وتم البحث خلال الاسبوع الأخير من شهر كانون الاول من العام الماضي، في ترتيب اجتماعات غير رسمية تشتمل على تحقيق مع سلامة، أو الاستماع اليه، وقد سافر الحاكم أكثر من مرة الى باريس من دون أن تتوضح الصورة، خصوصاً أن الجانب الفرنسي يمتلك ملفاً خاصاً يستند الى تحقيقات أجرتها مؤسسة فرنسية تعمل على تقصّي الملفات المالية للشخصيات العاملة في الحقل العام أو لمؤسسات رسمية كبيرة، منها المصارف.

وأفادت المصادر أن الاتصالات الجانبية التي جرت مع الجهات الفرنسية المعنية حول ملف مصرف لبنان، اشتملت في فترة معينة على فكرة التسوية التي تقضي باستقالة سلامة من منصبه ضمن صفقة تمنع ملاحقته قضائياً. وقال مسؤول فرنسي لـ«الأخبار» إن باريس لم تُخفِ رغبتها في تغييرات كبيرة تشمل مصرف لبنان بعد التدقيق في أعماله، لكنها لم تقدم أي ضمانات. وأضاف أن فرنسا «لا يمكنها تقديم ضمانات لأحد، لا في بلاده ولا في الخارج، وأن أوروبا شهدت عدة قضايا جرت خلالها ملاحقة رؤساء سابقين وقادة دول وأحزاب، ولم تنفع كل الضغوط لوقف الملاحقة».

من جهة أخرى، لفتت المصادر الى أن جهات لبنانية سألت عن سبب عدم صدور لائحة عقوبات كانت منتظرة من العاصمة الاميركية مطلع هذه السنة. وقالت إن أحداً لم يقدم توضيحات في هذا الشأن. لكن الأميركيين قالوا إن ملف العقوبات بذريعة الفساد يجب أن لا يقتصر على ما يصدر عن وزارة الخزانة فيها، وإن فرنسا وعدت بأن أوروبا ستقوم بدورها في هذا السياق. ولكن هناك تعقيدات في الآلية القضائية الأوروبية لا تشبه ما يجري في الولايات المتحدة.

‘Times are a Changing’: Launch of Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace & Justice Project

British politician Jeremy Corbyn. (Photo: File)

By Ronnie Kasrils

I salute Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace & Justice initiative which could not be more timely, and I am proud to be part of it.

We live in troubled times: the raging pandemic, rise of neo-fascist forces; the rapacious neoliberal global system.

For so many, survival against war, police brutality, starvation, disease, collapsing economies, refugee camps, is the stark reality.

All of this is compounded by the climate crisis; environmental pollution; collapse of food and water security.

The pandemic has exposed to the light of day too often hidden or denied chasms of inequality both within and between nations and peoples around the world — both in the disproportionate impact on the poorest, most vulnerable, people of color, in getting the virus, and especially in the inequities of access to the vaccine.

The rich grow obscenely richer, the poor grow poorer. Less than one percent owning more than half the world’s population.

Yet “the times are a changing”; Bob Dylan sang at the time of the civil rights and anti-colonial liberation struggles; and the melody continues to rhyme with history – reflected to this day by the pressure of billions across the planet demanding a better life.

Two centuries ago the poet Shelley wrote in the wake of the Peterloo massacre you are the many they are the few”.

Not long after, Marx and Engels pointed to the consequences of the increasing concentration of the means of production and wealth in fewer and fewer hands. Then, as now, the challenge was to understand the world in order to change it.

To do that we must not ignore the repercussions of colonial conquest as a prelude to the rise of the capitalist era.

The hangover of that colonial past exists: in power relations between peoples and nations; between global north and south; in the neo-colonial masquerade of the Bolsonaro’s, Modi’s and El Sisi’s trying to subvert progress.

Progress such as the Black Lives Matter movement, which is energized not only by revolt against police crimes but to overturn the weight and consequence of centuries of slavery, white supremacy and inequality.

Struggle for change, as ever, requires an understanding of the material conditions of political and economic life, to avoid reductionism into identity politics and racial or gender essentialism, at the expense of class-conscious clarity.

Likewise, loser Trump’s rage and the mob that attacked the Capitol building are a consequence of America’s past, and symptomatic of the frustration of white supremacists whose psychosis, as in the 1930s, is stoked by demagogues.

Enormous irony is seen in the double standards of the “Free World”. On the one hand: unbelievable shock that the USA’s seat of democracy has been assaulted. On the other: the sanguine promotion of military intervention, neo-colonial coups, punitive sanctions abroad in the name of that democracy.

To control the Middle East, Israel – a colonizing project – receives massive US military and financial aid. Disregard for Palestinian rights is reflected in Trump’s Deal of the Century and the so-called “normalization” between Israel and corrupt Arab fiefdoms.

If Biden is to commit to democracy, he must quit the double standards of previous administrations and apply the visions of a Franklin D Roosevelt and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Biden needs to apply and significantly extend a “New Deal” project which in FDR’s day cut black Americans short; he must commit to world peace in recognition of the national and human rights of all peoples; uphold international law under the writ of the United Nations – an institution whose authority the US has systematically undermined.

And as King’s birthday is commemorated this weekend, Biden needs to note King’s most important speech – “Beyond Vietnam” which described the US government as the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world”, and crucially identified the three interlocking evils that must be challenged – systemic racism, poverty, and militarism.

For the Corbyn Project to succeed it must become an international champion, furthering both FDR and King’s visions – and connect with movements for peace and justice throughout the world.

From the multitude that filled the streets opposing the invasion of Iraq, to the Arab Spring and BLM rebellion; waves of protest are signaling a new dawn. In India alone, over 250 million participated in strikes and protests last year. We must spare no effort in making this rising tsunami unstoppable.

And if we wish to talk about courage under fire, note the men, women and children of Palestine, facing the bombs and bullets of the Israeli Defense Force in their peaceful protests, refusing to submit.

Like others around the world, we South Africans have developed a vibrant civil society, with grassroots movements, encouraging our and all governments to act decisively in tackling the fault lines of the 21st Century, as we did in the struggle against Apartheid in the previous century:

For people’s involvement in the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine and global vaccine equality;

For the protection of the eco-system and food security through a Climate Justice Charter and Global Food Sovereignty Agenda;

For a global anti-racist, anti-war, pro-peace platform. Together we must defeat a second coming of fascism – for in Berthold Brecht’s words (referring a system, not the gender) – “The beast is on heat again.”

No Pasaran! They shall not pass. This is a time when, in Seamus Heaney’s words, “hope and history rhyme.” Through people’s power, in unity, action, and international solidarity, we will win. For people and the planet. For the many, not the few!

– Ronnie Kasrils, veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, and South Africa’s former Minister for Intelligence Services, activist and author. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

إدارة بايدن… فلسطينياً

سعاده مصطفى أرشيد

استطاع بن يامين نتنياهو اعتصار الأيام الأخيرة من رئاسة ترامب، ساعة بساعة ودقيقة بدقيقة، في سباق لاهث مع موعد العشرين من هذا الشهر، وها هو قد حقق على أرض الواقع مجموعة من النقاط والمكاسب الشخصية والانتخابية له، ولجمهوره المتطرّف، ثم لمجموع «الإسرائيليين»، وهي مكاسب من النوع الذي يفرض واقعاً ويكون من الصعب تجاوزه أو العودة عنه لأيّ رئيس وزراء قادم في (إسرائيل) حتى ولو كان ببعض المقاييس معتدلاً، وكذلك على الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة إنْ رغبت – وهي لن ترغب، إذ إنها مرتاحة جداً بما حققت سياسات ترامب – نتنياهو، فما تلك السياسات إلا تعبير عن رغباتها وأمانيها المضمرة ومنسجمة مع قناعاتها، وهي وإنْ كانت تحسب لتنفيذها أكثر من حساب، فإنّ ترامب قد رفع الحرج عنها، سواء في موضوع ضمّ الجولان أو نقل السفارة الأميركية للقدس، أو في صفقته الشهيرة التي منح بها نتنياهو الأغوار والمستوطنات وشمال البحر الميت وبرية الخليل، ويسارع نتنياهو الزمن لتنفيذها خلال الأيام المتبقية، بصمت أو بصوت مرتفع، وكان آخرها إعلان حكومته عن قرارها ببناء مئات الوحدات السكنية الاستيطانية الاثنين الماضي.

أما وقد زال الحرج، ورفع العتب عن الإدارة المقبلة، فإنّ بإمكان بايدن أن يبدو بمظهر المعتدل الحكيم الذي سيحاول معالجة وترميم ما أحدث ترامب من فوضى ودمار، بإعادة إطلاق مسيرة التسوية من جديد، ثم بفتح حوار مباشر مع السلطة في رام الله، وغير مباشر مع غزة. إلى رام الله ستأتي وفود أميركية لعقد لقاءات والتعرّف على عقد ومفاصل الصراع باعتبارهم طارئين عليها، كما يحدث مع كلّ إدارة أميركية جديدة، وستذهب وفود فلسطينية إلى واشنطن، ويزدهر موسم السفر والطيران غرباً برغم عراقيل الوباء. نصيب السلطة من المساعدات المالية سيتسم بالسخاء وتعود وكالة التنمية الأميركية إلى سابق نشاطها في دعم مشاريع ذات شكل يراه الناس، ولكن على أن لا تكون مفيدة، سيُعاد فتح مكتب منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية في واشنطن، كلّ ذلك سيتمّ تسويقه باعتباره انتصاراً للدبلوماسية الفلسطينية، التي سبق لها أن ادّعت محاصرتها للدبلوماسيتين الأميركية و»الإسرائيلية» قبل أيام من الكشف عن مسلسل التطبيع، وقد أعلنت القاهرة الثلاثاء الماضي عن بدء التحضير لاجتماعات رباعية ميونخ لدعم مسار السلام، وذلك بعد عام كامل من الدعوة للاجتماع في مطلع العام الماضي. أما في غزة فسيتولى القطريون إدارة الحوار وينوبون عن الأميركان في تقديم الدعم المالي بحقائب الدولارات الذي ستزيد وزناً وانتفاخاً كلما سارت أمور غزة كما يشتهي ويريد القطري باعتباره الممثل الأول وربما الحصري لسياسات الإدارة الديمقراطية، وبقدر ما تستجيب حركة حماس لخيارات القطري في تركيب وتراتبية قيادتها في المرحلة المقبلة، في الانتخابات الداخلية المقبلة.

ما تقدّم لن يغيّر من حقيقة أنّ الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة لا تقلّ صهيونية ودعماً (لإسرائيل)، وعدوانيّة علينا عن سابقتها الجمهورية في الجوهر، (فإسرائيل) هي ذراعها القوية والضاربة عسكرياً، وقاعدتها المتقدّمة، والنموذج المشابه لها والابن المباشر في السلوك لأبيه، في ادّعاء الديمقراطية والليبرالية وتطبيق نظم الرفاه والرعاية الصحية والاجتماعية، كما يماثله في صفات العدوان والتوحّش وادّعاء التفوّق، ستقوم الإدارة الديمقراطية بدعم وتغطية كامل النشاطات العدوانية والاستيطانية سواء في القدس أو في ما تبقى من الضفة الغربية، فقد أزالت الإدارة السابقة الحَرَج عنها كما ورد آنفاً، وهي تتعامل مع حقائق فاعلة وثابتة على أرض الواقع، هذا فيما يعدّد الفلسطيني انتصاراته وإنجازات دبلوماسيّته، ويحتفي بالضيوف الكرام الوافدين من واشنطن، وإعداد القوائم الطويلة لأعضاء الوفد – الوفود التي ستردّ الزيارة.

العودة إلى مسار التسوية لن يكون فورياً، وقد يستنفذ العام 2021 بأكمله فمن ناحية تجد الإدارة الأميركية أنّ لديها من الملفات الملحّة ما يتفوّق بأولوية على هذا الملف الذي قد لا يكون فيه ما يستدعي الاستعجال، فالعرب يهرولون بتسارع نحو التطبيع، والاهتمام بفلسطين يتآكل بتسارع عربياً وإسلامياً ودولياً، ولا دماء تسيل، ولا اشتباكات تثير فضائيات الأخبار وتشغلها، وسياسات بناء الفلسطيني الجديد وإعادة ترتيب أولوياتة واهتماماته قد آتت أُكُلها، فأمام الرئيس قائمة من العناوين الداخلية المستعجلة وعلى رأسها ملفات وباء الكورونا والانكماش الاقتصادي، وتفكك المجتمع عرقياً وثقافياً، ثم الحالة الشعبوية التي أوجدها ترامب وتجلت في غزوة دهماء على مبنى الكونغرس في الأسبوع الماضي، وملفات خارجية ملحة كالعلاقة مع روسيا والتوتر في بحر الصين ومعها، والملف النووي الإيراني وغير ذلك كثير، ثم أنّ (إسرائيل) ستكون على موعد مع انتخاباتها الرابعة في آذار المقبل، ولا أحد يستطيع الجزم بنتائجها، ولكن مؤشرات عديدة تشير إلى أنّ نتنياهو قد لا يغيب عن مسرح السياسة، والاستطلاعات تعطيه إمكانية الحصول على مقاعد أكثر مما حصل عليه في المرات السابقة، وهو وإنْ غاب عن مسرح السياسة، فإنّ مَن سيرثه في زعامة اليمين، لن يختلف كثيراً عنه إلا في حالة أن يكون أكثر تطرفاً، وأقلّ دبلوماسية ومهارة وخطابة، نتائج الانتخابات بكلّ حال لن تكون حاسمة باتجاه فريق قادر على تشكيل حكومة بسهولة، الأمر الذي سيجعل من مشاورات تشكيلها طويلة، وقد تستمرّ إلى أواخر الصيف فيما يبقى نتنياهو خلال كلّ تلك الفترة رئيساً لحكومة تصريف أعمال، التي قد تنتهي بتشكيل حكومة أو الذهاب إلى انتخابات خامسة، ومن الطبيعي أن ينتظره الأميركي غير المتعجّل الذي سيفضل إطلاق عملية التسوية مع حكومة «إسرائيلية» مستقرة.

هكذا سيمرّ العام 2021، عام انتظار جديد، ولا ندري إنْ كان الأخير، بإمكان الفلسطيني قضاءه في حوارات الوحدة والحديث عن ضرورتها، وعن الانقسام ومخاطره، ثم انتظار فراغ بايدن من معالجة الملفات المزدحمة والملحة على مكتبه، وانتظار مآلات تشكيل حكومة في (إسرائيل) إنْ تشكلت، وقد يجري انتخابات المجلس التشريعي الثالث، بعد عقد ونصف العقد من موعد استحقاقها، بالطبع إنْ وافقت (إسرائيل) على ذلك، مع أو بدون القدس ومناطق (ج) والأغوار، هكذا يحترف الفلسطيني الحزن والانتظار…

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة.

On Democracy

On Democracy


January 14, 2021

A large crowd of people holding flagsDescription automatically generated with low confidence
“It’s untidy, and freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things,” Rumsfeld said. “They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things, and that’s what’s going to happen here.”

I suspect most people, and the majority of Trumpists, would agree Trump is an imperfect political vehicle and that Trumpism, as political movement, is under-defined, inconclusive, and inchoate. The best that can be said about Trumpism is that it does not represent the tenets of contemporary Republicanism, or Democratic Bidenism. Trumpism is a startling new ism. That America, a staid state known to reject all forms of novelty and innovation, should seek to exorcise an unknown cancerous ism making sudden appearance within the body politic is perfectly understandable. But what exactly is being rejected, cast out, exorcized? What is the modus operandi of Trumpism? How do we know it?

As best as can be determined, there has been no clear articulation of Trumpism apart from the fact it includes the wearing of a red baseball cap. Donning such an accoutrement today will likely result in the wearer being placed on a no-fly list, suspected of political crimes, disciplined by loss of employment, denied the protections of the First Amendment, refused counsel, labelled as a deplorable, racist, riotous, misogynist, insurrectionist, white supremacist, fascist, terrorist, being actively shunned as one among 78 million other outcasts, publicly derided before being immediately convicted in advance of indictment and then punished to the full extent of the law. America will never tolerate mob rule.

During the entirety of the January 6th, 2021 two- and one-half hour “seizure” of the Capitol no reported fires were set. Unlike the Washington events of June 2020, neither the Capitol, nor the capital, were so much as singed. There was no declaration of independence, no assertion of the Capitol as a satellite province of CHAZ, no manifesto calling for the abolition of the police, the armed forces, and prisons, no demand for full legal immunity, no spray painting of slogans, epithets, or any other attempt at violent redecoration, no attempt to raise a foreign flag, or to alter existing accepted forms governance. There was no degree of looting apart from one lectern. The participants, apart from a half-naked vegetarian dressed in furs and horns and carrying a spear adorned with the stars and stripes, looked much like your average deplorable. There were no signs of rebellion derived from a Monty Python sketch; Monty Python was entirely absent. There were no reports of a dead parrot.

On June 23rd, 2020 President Trump declared “There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try, they will be met with serious force!” This declaration was deleted by Twitter on the grounds it violated the company’s policy against abusive behavior: “specifically the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group.” Twitter did not identify this group and Trump did not elaborate.

I am no lawyer. But I think there exists an outside chance the 70 odd Trumpists presently facing criminal sanction for their conduct between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on January 6th, 2021 may eventually have their day in court. Before they are shipped to the Gulag for re-education, their counsel may wish to plead the following:

That in the months preceding January 6th, 2021 America experienced an outburst of mob violence, a destructive pyromania which levelled entire city blocks. This was coupled with extensive looting, multiple shootings and unlawful deaths, the destruction of $1 to 2 billion in insured property nationally—the highest recorded damage from civil disorder in U.S. history—and clear evidence of insurrection as is to be found in declarations of political independence and demands to abolish the police, the armed forces, and the prisons.

Counsel will likely seek to demonstrate that despite this violent unrest occurring in a number of major cities, minimal legal action was taken, and that the violence, intimidation, insurrection, looting, burning, and associated billions in property damage, was publicly reported as being a benign “peaceful demonstration.” Counsel will then ask how their clients can now be found guilty of what Biden labelled as “Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists” when on January 6th, 2021 there was no looting (the lectern excepted), no arson, no use of lethal weapons, no coherent political demand or manifesto, and no attempt to subvert or replace the existing political order. Evidence to be presented will show the defendants walked into a public building known as the “people’s house,” (both the Rotunda and Statuary Hall are acknowledged public spaces), entered through open doors, that the police removed barricades and ushered them forward, that the defendants took selfies with obliging police officers, and that defendants were standing in the company of police officers when an unidentified agent of the state executed one of their number with a single shot to the head, with no form of warning, for the misdemeanor of trespass. When at 4 p.m. everyone began to get an emergency text message from D.C. Mayor Bowser saying a curfew would be in effect from 6:00pm, the crowd proceeded to vacate the premises.

At this point in the proceedings, Counsel will state that his clients were present in the Capitol for the sole express purpose of affirming the Constitution of the United States of America.

Counsel will then draw the attention of the jury to Article II Section 1 clause 2 of the Constitution which states as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Counsel will demonstrate that this Constitutional document was formally ratified and therefore has present application to each state in the union without limit or exception to include the states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia.

That the public record demonstrates that in each of these states the executive bypassed the legislature and, over the objections of the legislature, did unilaterally act to usurp the legislature’s sole prerogative to “direct” the manner in which the state shall appoint its allotted electors and in so doing did act in express violation of the provisions found in Article II Section 1 clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Each of the enumerated states therefore acted without lawful authority with the express intent to manipulate and ignore statute law duly enacted by the state legislature which statutes explicitly directed the manner of voting required to lawfully appoint that states electors.

In each of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia, the executive acted in defiance of the will of the elected representatives of the citizens. In plain language, the executive violated both state law and the Federal constitution. They acted out of arbitrary self-interest. Such conduct may represent an element “of the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”

That the state executive was under Democratic control, and the objecting state legislature was under Republican control, does not excuse such abridgement of the Constitutional rights afforded the citizens. You have either a written constitution and an applied, well respected body of law, or you have mob rule. When it comes to the law you cannot be half pregnant.

Further, Counsel for the defense is likely to produce for the jury the protections found in the First Amendment notably the right to assembly and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.

Counsel will then suggest that any citizen of a federation bound by the Constitution who gains knowledge that members of that same federation have knowingly acted in violation of the law to further their own political ends, that such knowledge constitutes significant ground for public grievance. The citizen is potentially disenfranchised by such Constitutional violations.

This public grievance is exacerbated by the fact Biden arranged for a “massive ‘election protection program,’ which includes former Attorney General Eric Holder and hundreds of other lawyers” One wants to think a former Attorney General has some understanding of the Constitution and its various provisions. (FOX News October 25th, 2020).

On October 29th, 2020 the organization factcheck.org spoke with T.J. Ducklo, the National Press Secretary, Biden for President, who stated “The President of the United States has already demonstrated he’s willing to lie and manipulate our country’s democratic process to help himself politically, which is why we have assembled the most robust and sophisticated team in presidential campaign history to confront voter suppression and fight voter fraud however it may present itself. The American people will decide the outcome of this election on November 3rd through a free and fair election, as they always have” (factcheck.org October 29th, 2020)

Given a demonstrated concern over the manipulation of the democratic process leading to the creation of the “most robust and sophisticated team in presidential campaign history to confront voter suppression and fight voter fraud however it may present itself,” it seems reasonable to assume that this “robust and sophisticated team” would be sensitive to the enumerated violations of the Constitution. If you choose to believe FOX News and T.J. Ducklo, Biden had the assistance of a former A.G. and “hundreds of other lawyers” to achieve this worthy goal. With that amount of legal horsepower, it is difficult to understand how they overlooked such egregious violations of Constitutional law “however it may present itself.”

It will be argued the persons attending the Mall and the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, participated in an assembly joined for the express right to petition the Government for a redress of grievance. This assertion is proved by the fact that immediately before entering upon the grounds of the Capitol the grievers did attend a rally convened by the 45th President of the United States. That the President of the United States is bound by an oath which demands:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That the President of the United States, one Donald J. Trump was, on January 6th, 2021, lawfully executing his responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend, the U.S. Constitution.

That the President has been regularly described in the media as a traitor and ass-clown, as a bombastic narcissistic psychopathic tool of Putin, and as a bedwetter. Regardless of this concerted public disrespect, on January 6th, 2021 the President was faithfully executing his duty to the best of his ability despite public scorn and rejection by the nation, the vicious slander and disapprobation of the press, abandonment by the courts, the repellent attacks of the Bidenists, and the cowardice of elected members of the Republican party.

The orange ass-clown was, on January 6th, 2021, the sole office holder of the US government acting to protect, and defend, the Constitution of the United States of America.

Counsel will then seek to introduce Title 18 U.S. Code § 2385 – Advocating overthrow of Government which states that:

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

Counsel will then seek to address the definition of “force” and raise the question “Does the unlawful sanction and persecution of citizens of the United States of America for the lawful attempt to seek redress for grievance constitute the use of “force?” Does the denial of First Amendment rights by corporate entities domiciled in the United States of America constitute “force?” Does the termination of employment, or the threat of termination of employment for political speech, or the exercise of First Amendment rights, constitute “force?” Does placing persons on a no-fly list and denying them common carrier services for the fact of their political views constitute “force?” Does the conduct of the Speaker of the House acting to impeach a sitting President of the United States of America for the lawful exercise of his duties to the best of his ability constitute “force?” Does incitement on the part of the President elect to sanction citizens for their political speech, or views, constitute “force?” Does the summary execution of a U.S. citizen veteran by an anonymous agent of the state, without notice or warning, for the exercise of her First Amendment rights constitute “force?” The jury will be asked to render a decision on these questions.

Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character

Israel’s separation wall is pictured on 11 February 2020 (AFP)
Jonathan Cook
Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

14 January 2021 11:31 UTC

New report by rights group B’Tselem will make it harder to smear Israel’s critics as antisemites for arguing that Israel is a racist state


For more than a decade, a handful of former Israeli politicians and US diplomats identified with what might be termed the “peace process industry” have intermittently warned that, without a two-state solution, Israel is in danger of becoming an “apartheid state”. 

The most notable among them include Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, two former Israeli prime ministers, and John Kerry, who served as former US President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Time is rapidly running out, they have all declared in the past. 

Their chief concern, it seems, was that without the alibi of some kind of Palestinian state – however circumscribed and feeble – the legitimacy of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” will increasingly come under scrutiny. Apartheid will arrive, the argument goes, when a minority of Israeli Jews rule over a majority of Palestinians in the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan controlled by Israel. 

Demographic threshold

The apartheid threat has been wielded by the so-called “peace camp” in hopes of mobilising international pressure on the Israeli right, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The goal has been to force it into making sufficient concessions that the Palestinian leadership agrees to a demilitarised statelet, or statelets, on fragments on the original Palestinian homeland. 

Meanwhile, demographic trends have continued apace, and the Israeli right has ignored all warnings, preferring to pursue their Greater Israel ambitions instead. But strangely, the apartheid moment never arrived for the Israeli peace camp. Instead, its expressions of concern about apartheid fizzled into silence, as did its once-vocal worries about a Palestinian demographic majority.

How much sense would it have made in the former South Africa to claim that apartheid existed only in the Bantustans or black townships, while exempting white areas?

This entirely cynical approach to Palestinian statehood was very belatedly blown apart this week with the publication of a report by B’Tselem, Israel’s most prominent and respected human rights group. It broke ranks to declare what has been obvious for many, many years. Israel has created a permanent reality in which there are two peoples, Jews and Palestinians, sharing the same territorial space, but “a regime of Jewish supremacy” has been imposed by the stronger side. This unequivocally qualifies as apartheid, B’Tselem said. 

It dismisses the sophistry that apartheid relates to some self-serving demographic deadline – one that never materialises – rather than the explicitly segregationist practices and policies Israel has enforced throughout the territories it rules. It also dismisses arguments made by Israel’s partisans abroad that Israel cannot be an apartheid state because there are no South African-style “whites only” signs on park benches. 

Hagai El-Ad, B’Tselem’s executive director, notes that Israel’s version – “apartheid 2.0, if you will – avoids certain kinds of ugliness … That Israel’s definitions do not depend on skin colour make no material difference: it is the supremacist reality which is the heart of the matter.” The report concludes that the bar for apartheid was met after considering “the accumulation of policies and laws that Israel devised to entrench its control over Palestinians”.

Daring analysis

What is perhaps most daring about B’Tselem’s analysis is its admission that apartheid exists not just in the occupied territories, as has been observed before, including by former US President Jimmy Carter. It describes the entire region between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River – which encompasses both Israel and the Palestinian territories – as an apartheid regime. It thereby denies Israel’s claims to be a democratic state even inside its internationally recognised borders.

B’Tselem has abandoned the pretence that apartheid can be limited to the occupied territories, as though Israel – the state that rules Palestinians – is somehow exempt from being classified as integral to the apartheid enterprise it institutes and oversees.

That was always obvious. How much sense would it have made in the former South Africa to claim that apartheid existed only in the Bantustans or black townships, while exempting white areas? None at all. And yet, Israel has been getting away with precisely this clearcut casuistry for decades – largely aided by the peace camp, including B’Tselem.

Palestinian workers cross the Nilin checkpoint on 18 March 2020 (MEE/Mohammad Abu Zaid)
Palestinian workers cross the Nilin checkpoint on 18 March 2020 (MEE/Mohammad Abu Zaid)

Now, B’Tselem observes: “Jews go about their lives in a single, contiguous space where they enjoy full rights and self-determination. In contrast, Palestinians live in a space that is fragmented into several units, each with a different set of rights – given or denied by Israel, but always inferior to the rights accorded to Jews.”

Israel’s “Jewish supremacist ideology” is revealed in its obsession with “Judaising” land, in its bifurcated citizenship laws and policies that privilege Jews alone, in its regulations that restrict movement for Palestinians only, and in its denial of political participation to Palestinians. These discriminatory policies, B’Tselem notes, apply also to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian and have nominal Israeli citizenship. 

El-Ad concludes: “There is not a single square inch in the territory Israel controls where a Palestinian and a Jew are equal. The only first-class people here are Jewish citizens such as myself.”

Permanent occupation

What B’Tselem has done is echo the arguments long made by academics and Palestinian civil society, including the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, that Israel is a settler-colonial society. 

In an emailed response to the report, Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement, said it helped to put an end to “the vicious and deeply racist lies about the not-so-perfect Israeli democracy that has a problem called ‘the occupation’”. Why acknowledging Israeli apartheid is not enough

The B’Tselem report observes that, while “occupation” must be a temporary situation, Israel has no intention of ending its military rule over Palestinians, even after more than five decades. A Palestinian state is not conceivably on the agenda of any Israeli party in sight of power, and no one in the international community with any influence is demanding one. The two-state solution has been smothered into oblivion.

For that reason, it argues, all of Israel and the Palestinian territories under occupation are organised “under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians”.

There are good reasons why B’Tselem is biting the bullet now, after decades of equivocation from it and the rest of the Israeli peace camp. Firstly, no one really believes that Israel will be pressured from outside into conceding a Palestinian state. Trump’s so-called “peace plan”, unveiled a year ago, gave Netanyahu everything he wanted, including support for annexing swaths of the West Bank on which illegal settlements have been built. 

Four years of Trump, and the recruitment of much of the Gulf to Netanyahu’s side, has shifted the conversation a long way from efforts to secure Palestinian statehood. Now, the focus is on how best to delay Israel’s move towards formal annexation. US president-elect Joe Biden will at best try to push things back to the dismal state they were in before Donald Trump took office. At worst, he will quietly assent to all or most of the damage Trump has inflicted on the Palestinian national cause.

Deeply isolated

Secondly, B’Tselem and other human rights groups are more deeply isolated at home than ever before. There is simply no political constituency in Israel for their research into the systematic abuses of Palestinians by the Israeli army and settlers. That means B’Tselem no longer needs to worry about messaging that could antagonise the sensibilities of Israel’s so-called “Zionist left” – because there is no meaningful peace camp left to alienate. 

The disappearance of this peace camp, unreliable as it was, has only been underscored by the Israeli general election due in late March. The battle for power this time is being waged between three or four far-right parties that all support annexation to varying degrees. 

Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work

The Israeli left has ceased to exist at the political level. It comprises a handful of human and legal rights groups, mostly seen by the public as traitors supposedly meddling in Israel’s affairs on behalf of “European” interests. At this stage, B’Tselem has little to lose. It is almost entirely irrelevant inside Israel.

Thirdly, and as a result, the only audience for B’Tselem’s careful research exposing Israeli abuses is overseas. This new report seeks to liberate a conversation about Israel, partly among Palestinian solidarity activists abroad. Their campaigns have been stymied by the failure of the Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas to signal where they should direct their efforts, now that prospects for Palestinian statehood have vanished.

Activists have also been browbeaten into silence by smears from Israel’s partisans in the US and Europe, decrying any trenchant criticism of Israel as antisemitic. These slurs were relentlessly deployed against the UK’s Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn because of his support for the Palestinian cause.

Breaking a taboo

By calling Israel an apartheid state and a “regime of Jewish supremacy”, B’Tselem has given the lie to the Israel lobby’s claim – bolstered by a new definition promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – that it is antisemitic to suggest Israel is a “racist endeavour”. 

B’Tselem, a veteran Israeli Jewish organisation with deep expertise in human rights and international law, has now explicitly declared that Israel is a racist state. Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work.

Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank on 29 January 2020 (AFP)
Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a protest in the occupied West Bank on 29 January 2020 (AFP)

The report is also intended to reach out to young American Jews, who are more willing than their parents to foreground the mistreatment of Palestinians and to forgo the Zionist idea that Israel is their bolthole in times of trouble. 

Significantly, the B’Tselem report has been published in the wake of two groundbreaking essays this past summer by influential American Jewish journalist Peter Beinart. In them, he broke a taboo in the US Jewish mainstream by declaring the two-state solution dead and calling for a single democratic state for Israelis and Palestinians.

It doubtless served as a wakeup call to Israeli groups such as B’Tselem that the conversation about Israel is moving on in the US and becoming much more polarised. Israeli human rights groups need to engage with this debate, not shy away from it.

Battle for equality

There is one possible lacuna in B’Tselem’s position. The report suggests a reticence to focus on outcomes. Nowhere is the two-state solution ruled out. Rather, the report notes: “There are various political paths to a just future.” Statements by El-Ad to Middle East Eye indicate that his organisation may still support a framework of international pressure for incremental, piecemeal change in Israeli policies that violate Palestinian human rights.Israeli settlers’ racism is not an aberration. It’s part of an apartheid systemRead More »

That is very much what western states, particularly Europe, have been paying lipservice to for decades, while Israeli apartheid has entrenched.

Does B’Tselem hope its apartheid criticisms will prove more effective than Barak and Olmert’s apartheid warnings, finally galvanising the international community into action to push for a Palestinian state? If so, Biden’s performance in office should soon dispel any such illusions. El-Ad observes that the goal now is “a rejection of supremacy, built on a commitment to justice and our shared humanity.” 

That cannot happen within the two-state framework, even on the untenable assumption that the international community ever seriously rallies behind Palestinian statehood, against Israel’s wishes. So why not say so explicitly? The best-case two-state scenarios on the table are for a tiny, divided, demilitarised, pseudo-Palestinian state with no control over its borders, airspace or electromagnetic frequencies.

That would not offer “justice” to Palestinians or recognise their “shared humanity” with Israeli Jews.

As welcome as the new report is, it is time for B’Tselem – as well as Palestinian solidarity activists who look to the organisation – to explicitly reject any reversion to a “peace process” premised on ending the occupation. The logic of an apartheid analysis needs to be followed to the very end. That requires unequivocally embracing a democratic single state guaranteeing equality and dignity for all.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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Democrats Launch Their Assault on Red State America – Civil War Heats Up

Paul Craig Roberts - Official Homepage

January 12, 2021

Paul Craig Roberts

The opening salvo against red state America is the article of impeachment against President Trump introduced on January 11 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Representatives David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, and Jamie Raskin.  So much for Biden’s promise to “unify the country.”  

What is the intent of this article of impeachment?  It cannot possibly be to remove Trump from office.  Trump will have left office before the Senate could vote on impeachment. There is no such thing as impeaching a person who is not in office. Clearly impeachment has nothing to do with getting Trump out of office.

How does it unify the country to follow up an election believed by half of the US voting population to have been stolen with impeaching the president who is regarded as the victim of a stolen election? Adding insult to injury will only further enrage 75 million or more Trump voters,  and many honest Democrats, who regard the election as stolen.  If the Establishment and its Democrat, Republican, and media allies truly believe the election not to have been stolen, why wasn’t the evidence permitted to be examined so that the controversy could be settled instead of ignored?  Ignoring the evidence deepens the suspicion as does labeling those who challenged the election “enemies of democracy.”  Democrats are now trying to censure Republican members of the House and Senate who supported having the evidence presented to Congress.  Why censure someone who wants evidence to be examined?

What many Americans and people abroad do not comprehend is that in the 2020 election Trump  officially got 74,222,958 votes.  This is the official number, which is understated by the 10 million vote suppression used against him.  In “losing,”  Trump’s 74,222,958 official votes are more votes than any elected president has ever received with the exception of Biden whose vote count was raised by 10 million fraudulent ballots. How is the country unified by demonizing half of it?  Are the Democrats’ threats and reprisals against Trump and his supporters unifying?  

I watched the presentations by independent experts to three state legislatures of the detailed evidence showing evidence that the election was stolen in the swing states. Some of the experts explaining the election’s theft were people of color as were many of those who signed affidavits under penalty of perjury of the electoral fraud that they witnessed.  This information has never been presened by the media to the public, nor has any media, election officials, Department of Justice, or Congress examined the evidence.  It is overwhelming evidence ignored.

Whether of not you believe that Biden—the most uninspiring presidential candidate in American history—got 81 million votes (the largest in American history), why do Pelosi and the Democrats want to make themselves even more hated and distrusted by half of the country by impeaching the president whose reelection they stole?  

This is rubbing salt in the wound.  Half of the country already regards Biden as an illegitimate president and regards the Democrats as power-mad totalitarians hostile to democracy.  What does Pelosi achieve by furthering this image of Democrats? She is damning her party and herself. Why?

The answer is to generate fear in Republicans and Trump supporters.  

The Democrats are using open unabashed retribution to scare Republicans and Trump supporters into compliance. Everywhere you look Republican members of Congress both House and Senate, Trump’s present and former cabinet members, and present and former members of the White House staff are denouncing Trump and putting distance between Trump and themselves. The latest is Fiona Hill, formerly of Trump’s National Security Council. She denounces Trump for having “put us on the brink of civil war.” Note that for Republican Fiona Hill, it is not a stolen election that puts “us on the brink of civil war,” but the protest against the election theft. This is the position of the Republican Party.  In other words, the Republicans have surrendered.  They are useless to the people.

As a large number of videos made available online by people who attended the rally show, the Capitol police allowed protestors into the Capitol.  The Trump supporters were not smart enough not to take the bait. Once inside, the Democrats had their “insurrection” and “storming of the Capitol.”  

It achieved its purpose. It stopped presentation of the evidence showing Congress a stolen election. Scared by the presstitutes one voice proclamation of an attempted coup, the Republicans wilted and ran for their political lives knowing that they would be blamed for “aiding and abetting Trump’s insurrection.” 

The Democrats intend to keep them running, and that is what the impeachment is about.

Trump supporters are in for it as well.  The FBI, which has been hand-in-hand with Democrats throughout the Russiagate and impeachment hoaxes, is now hunting down those who attended the Trump rally.  Those for whom the FBI cannot invent grounds for arrest have their names turned over to the presstitutes who agitate for their firing from their jobs. Already policemen, corporate employees and executives, including a chief financial officer, have been fired for attending the Trump rally, and recording artists dropped because they attended the rally. Dumbshit indoctrinated school children have impoverished their own families by ratting out their parents for attending the rally and causing them to be fired.

Children squealing on their parents to the media is the worst part of the Democrats’ assault on America, because it shows that the liberal propaganda that passes for education in the schools has destroyed solidarity and loyalty in the family.  Without the family, there is no society.  Essentially, without family there is no country.

In so many ways Americans are now people without a country. 

As the blatently public theft of a presidential election shows, democracy is a dead value among elites and institutions in the United States.  The word will continue to be used as cover for oligarchic rule in the interest of the few. All who find the courage to challenge rule by the few will be demonized as “enemies of democracy.”  We are already seeing it.  President Trump and his “deplorables” are already declared “enemies of democracy.”

Whether or not Americans believe Trump and his supporters are enemies of democracy, many will be caused by fear to go along with it.  Otherwise, they will be the next to be outed, fired, and prosecuted.

I am not optimistic.  One reason for my lack of optimism is the age of disinformation in which we live. Disinformation is used by the Establishment to conform the public to its agendas. Disinformation is used to reconstruct white society. Disinformation is even used by Trump supporters in efforts to keep alive hope that the stolen election will be overturned or that Trump will win reelection in four years.

Another reason I am not optimistic is that I read comment sections of websites that host courageous and insightful commentators in hope of encountering intelligence and a rising awareness that could result in effective resistance.  But what do I find?  Inability to comprehend what they have read. Narcissists  hiding behind fake names. Nit-picking in place of weighing a well-stated presentation. And the ever-present trolls demeaning the authors with ad hominum accusations that are spread into social media.  

I am also not optimistic when I see that Trump, who has experienced the evil power of the Establishment, has not come to the realization that the last blow he can strike against the Establishment is the pardon of Assange and Snowden, two who are persecuted for telling the truth. Perhaps the reason is that many of Trump’s patriotic supporters have fallen for the Establishment’s line that Assange and Snowden are Russian agents who acted against America.

In the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, and all of Western Europe, telling the truth is being criminalized.  The result will be the destruction of the truth-teller. This is true as well within the universities.  Identity politics and Establishment agendas rule.  If you cross them, you are out.

Objective truth has been redefined as a “white construct” that serves “systemic racism” and misogynists. White people, especially heterosexual white males, have been assigned the role that Karl Marx gave capitalists. They are hateful, exploitative creatures that must be destroyed by demonization and indoctrination. The process has been going on for some time in the schools and in work place “sensitivity training” sessions.

This is the ideology of the Democrat Party. Imposed ideologies wear down facts. 

As the Native American tells the elderly woman in the Clint Eastwood film, The Outlaw Josey Wales, “Hell is coming to breakfast.” White people can expect hell.  To see this, all you have to do is to look at Biden’s Department of Justice appointments.

Americans are only now beginning to realize that the expensive educations they have paid for their children have resulted in their children being stolen from them. A friend told me recently that his son and son’s girlfriend had left their brutally lockdowned Democrat state to come to him in a Republican state where life still went on not too far from normal.  Having heard their conversations with him and among themselves, he has concluded that they regret that they were born white.  

To his dismay, he understands that their regret at having white skin is not because of employment and promotion quotas that limit their success as white people, or the demeaning racial training sessions they have to endue as “systemic white racists.” Their regret is due to their successful indoctrination that, as white racists, they are responsible for the lack of success of black Americans.  Perplexed, he asked me, “how can we resist the tyranny that is being imposed on us when the younger generation believes we are quilty and cannot be trusted with our freedoms.

Yes, good question.  How?

Note that the outpouring of support for Trump in the Washington Rally, which Democrats easily turned into a liability for Trump, consists largely of older adults.  Where were the young people?  They stayed home and ratted out their parents.

America’s young were not born into a free society. They have never experienced a free society. They are not socialized into a free society. They have no idea what one is beyond access to the Internet. 

It was two decades ago that the Bush regime orchestrated  the PATRIOT Act.  It was two decades ago that the Republican President of the United States threw habeas corpus out the window and claimed executive authority to detain American citizens indefinitely without presenting evidence before a court.  No bar association, no university law faculty, no court, no Congress, and certainly no presstitute media demanded Bush’s impeachment for unilaterally exercising unconstitutional executive authority.

During the subsequent Obama regime, America’s First Black President, who got less votes than Trump did in 2020, executed American citizens without due process of law.  No one demanded Obama’s impeachment for his unconstitutional and illegal murder of American citizens.

If cancelling the Bill of Rights isn’t insurrection, what is?

In contrast, President Trump who challenged the media monopoly for its censorship, who challenged the military/security complex for its orchestration of Russia as an enemy, who challenged various “trade agreements” for sending Americans’ middle class jobs abroad—in other words, a rare president who represented the American people—this President was destroyed by the Establishment and its media and intellectual whores.

The  corrupt and evil Establishment, acting through the Democrat Party with the backing of the monopoly over all communications and the monetary and power interests of the military/security complex and Wall Street, and strengthened by the Identity Politics hatreds, which extend into the universities, public schools, bar associations, corporations, and judiciary, and the indoctrination seminars that white males are forced to undergo, has achieved more power than Stalin and Hitler could imagine.  

Today the United States is not only a threat to its citizens but also a threat to the world.  The American Establishment’s belief in its hegemony makes the United States  the greatest threat that the world has ever experienced.  

The forces in control of the United States deny the existence of objective truth. As the Establishment defines truth, truth is what serves the agendas of the ruling elite.  

There is no other truth.  

Among other terrors, this means that an accused person can mount no defense.  As the trial of the surviving brother of the alleged Boston Marathon Bombing demonstrated, the proof of his innocence according to the FBI’s own evidence was not allowed to be introduced into the trial, only the fabricated “evidence” of his guilt.  When this happened, it was clear that the United States government regarded the rule of law as dispensable whenever it interferred with its agenda.

As journalist Ekaterina Blinova instantly recognized, the effect of the stolen election is to create one-party rule in the United States. Of course, the Democrats won’t rule. Rule will be by the interest groups for whom the Democrats will front. As the Republcans abandoned the American people and joined in the denunciation of the “insurrectionist Trump,” there are few voters left who will vote Republican. By its cowardice, the Republican Party has destroyed itself.

What can be done.  I am open to answers.  If you think about it, you wonder if Americans have the intelligence and awareness to survive.  Consider Parler, a social media alternative that does not censor.  Why did Parler think it could be independent when it was dependent on Apple, Amazon, and Google?  It must be a new high water mark of American insouciance that Parler executives thought the ruling Establishment would allow them free speech. https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/09/tech/parler-suspended-apple-app-store/index.html 

America is in collapse on all fronts—morally, economically, socially, politically, and militarily.  Every American institution is corrupted. America’s collapse will be a large collapse, and it will affect the entire world.

9/11 Was the Prelude. 1/6 Is the Holy Grail

9/11 Was the Prelude. 1/6 Is the Holy Grail - TheAltWorld
9/11 Was the Prelude. 1/6 Is the Holy Grail

January 13, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and cross-posted with Strategic Culture Foundation. 

Whether civil war is coming will depend on the degree of stoicism prevalent among the Deplorable multitudes.

I hear the sons of the city and dispossessed
Get down, get undressed
Get pretty but you and me
We got the kingdom, we got the key
We got the empire, now as then
We don’t doubt, we don’t take direction
Lucretia, my reflection, dance the ghost with me

Sisters of Mercy, Lucretia my Reflection

9/11 was the prelude. 1/6 is the Holy Grail.

9/11 opened the gates to the Global War on Terror (GWOT), later softened by Team Obama to the status of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) even as it was suavely expanded to the bombing, overt or covert, of seven nations.

9/11 opened the gates to the Patriot Act, whose core had already been written way back in 1994 by one Joe Biden.

1/6 opens the gate to the War on Domestic Terror and the Patriot Act from Hell, 2.0, on steroids (here is the 2019 draft ), the full 20,000 pages casually springing up from the sea like Venus, the day after, immediately ready to roll.

And as the inevitable companion to Patriot Act 2.0, there will be war overseas, with the return in full force, unencumbered, of what former CIA analyst Ray McGovern memorably christened the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank) complex.

And when MICIMATT starts the next war, every single protest will be branded as domestic terrorism.© [Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

The faux coup

Whatever really happened on 1/6 in the militarized Valhalla of a superpower that spent untold trillions of dollars on security since the start of the millennium, the elaborate psy op/photo-op circus – complete with a strategically photogenic MAGA Viking actor – could never had happened if it was not allowed to happen. Debate will rage till Kingdom Come on whether the break in was organic – an initiative by a few hundred among at least 10,000 peaceful protestors surrounding the Capitol – or rather a playbook color revolution false flag instigated by an infiltrated, professional Fifth Column of agent provocateurs.What matters is the end result: the manufactured product – “Trump insurrection” – for all practical purposes buried the presentation, already in progress, of evidence of electoral fraud to the Capitol, and reduced the massive preceding rally of half a million people to “domestic terrorism”. That was certainly not a “coup”. Top military strategist Edward Luttwak, now advising the Pentagon on cyber-war, tweeted, “nobody pulls a coup during the day”. That was just “a show, people expressing emotions”, an actually faux coup that did not involve arson or widespread looting, and relatively little violence (compare it to Maidan 2014): talk about “insurrectionists” walking inside the Capitol respecting the velvet ropes.

A week before 1/6, a dissident but still very connected Deep State intel op offered this cold, dispassionate view of the Big Picture:

“Tel Aviv betrayed Trump with a new deal with Biden and so they threw him to the dogs. Sheldon Adelson and the Mafia have no trouble switching sides for the winner by hook or crook. Pence and McConnell also betrayed Trump. It was as though Trump walked as Julius Caesar into the Roman Senate to be stabbed to death. Any deal Trump makes with the system or Deep State will not be kept and they are secretly talking about ending him forever. Trump has the trump card. Martial law. Military tribunals. The Insurrection Act. The question is whether he will play it. Civil war is coming irrespective of what happens to him, sooner or later.”

Whether civil war is coming will depend on the degree of stoicism prevalent among the Deplorable multitudes.

Alastair Crooke has brilliantly outlined the Top Three main issues that shape Red America’s “Epiphany”: stolen elections; lockdown as a premeditated strategy for the destruction of small and mid-size businesses; and the dire prospect of ‘cancellation’ by an incoming woke ‘soft totalitarianism’ orchestrated by Big Tech.

Cue to a Corpse Reading a Teleprompter, also known as The President-Elect, and his own ominous words after 1/6: “Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob. Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists.” Some things never change. George W. Bush, immediately after 9/11: “Either you’re with us, or with the terrorists”.

That’s the hegemonic, set in stone, narrative now being implemented with an iron fist by Big Tech. First they come for POTUS. Then they come for you. Anyone, anywhere, not following Big Tech’s Techno-Feudalist diktat WILL be cancelled.

Bye bye Miss American Pie

And that’s why the drama is way, way, bigger than a mere discombobulated POTUS.

Every single institution controlled by the ruling class – from schools to mass media to the way workplaces are regulated – will go after the Deplorables with no mercy.

Professional CIA killer and liar John Breenan, key conceptualizer of totally debunked Russiagate, tweeted about the necessity of, in practice, setting up re-education camps. Media honchos called for “cleansing the movement”.

Politically, the Deplorables only have Trumpism. And that’s why Trumpism, with a possible avenue to become an established third party, must be smashed. As much as the 0.0001% is more terrified by the possibility of secession or armed revolt, they need urgent pre-emptive action against what is, for now, a nationalist mass movement, however inchoate its political proposals.

The “unknown unknown”, to evoke notorious neo-con Donald Rumsfeld, is whether the exasperated plebs will eventually reach for the pitchforks – and make the 0.0001% feudal hacienda ungovernable. And then there’s a literally smokin’ element – those half a billion guns out there.

The 0.0001% knows for sure that Trump, after all, was never a radical revolutionary change agent. Inchoately, he channeled Red America’s hopes and fears. But instead of the promised glitzy palace adorned with gold, what he delivered was a shack in the desert.

Meanwhile, Red America, intuitively, understood that Trump at least was a useful conduit. He lay bare how the corrupt swamp actually moves. How these “institutions” are mere corporate puppets – and completely ignore the common man. How the Judiciary is utterly corrupt – when even POTUS cannot get a hearing. How Pharma and Tech actually expanded the MICIMATT (MICIMAPTT?) And most of all, how the two party paradigm is a monstrous lie.

So where will 75 million disenfranchised voters – or 88 million Twitter followers – go?

As it stands, we’re deep into Hardcore Class War. The Top of the Scam Gang are in full control. The remains of “Democracy” have gelled into Mediacracy. Ahead, there’s nothing but ruthless purge, protracted crackdown, censorship, blanket surveillance, smashing of civil liberties, a single narrative, overarching cancel (in)culture. It gets worse: next week, this paranoid apparatus merges with the awesome machinery of the United States Government (USG).

So welcome to Full Spectrum Domestic Dominance. Germany 1933 on steroids. 1984 redux: no wonder the hashtag #1984 was banned by Twitter.

Cui bono? Techno-Feudalism, of course – and the interlocking tentacles of the trans-humanist Great Reset. Defy it, and you will be cancelled.

Bye bye Miss American Pie. That’s the legacy of 1/6.

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine 31 December 2020 – 06 January 2021

Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine
31 December 2020 – 06 January 2021
  • Palestinian man killed near “Gush Etzion” Junction, southern Bethlehem, in an alleged stab attack
  • IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem: 30 Palestinians wounded, including 4 children and a paramedic
  • 9 IOF shootings reported at Palestinians and agricultural lands, and 3 times at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip
  • In 79 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 58 civilians arrested, including 11 children
  • Wide-scale land razing in the West Bank and 4050 trees uprooted; Bethlehem lands’ confiscation decision ratified
  • Occupied East Jerusalem: one house received evacuation order; 6 walls, a water well and a barracks demolished
  • Settler-attacks in the West Bank: 300 trees uprooted; civilians and their properties assaulted
  • IOF established 56 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 2 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints




Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians that are mostly conducted after midnight and in the early morning hours. This week witnessed an escalation in settler attacks, mainly stone throwing at civilian houses and vehicles in the West Bank. Additionally, IOF demolitions of Palestinian homes and properties continued as part of Israel’s de facto annexation and under various pretexts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

This week, PCHR documented 189 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information contained in this report are only part of the continued IOF violations.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

IOF killed one Palestinian and wounded 30 civilians, including 4 children and a paramedic in excessive use of force in the West Bank: ‘Ahed ‘Abed al-Rahman Mahmoud Qawqas Ekhlayl (25) from Hebron was killed on 05 January 2021 near “Gush Etzion” Junction in the southern parts of Bethlehem. IOF alleged the victim attempted to stab Israeli soldiers. Moreover, IOF wounded 14 Palestinians, including a child and a paramedic, in its oppression of a peaceful protest in Deir Jarir – Ramallah; 8 others sustained wounds in IOF attack on Kafr Qaddum weekly protest in Qalqilya; another child was injured in IOF attack on another protest in northern Qalqilya; and three sustained wounds, including a father and son, near the Annexation Wall in Jenin. Also, another Palestinian from Hebron was shot from a close distance by Israeli soldiers without any threat to their security; his injury resulted in complete paralysis.

In the Gaza Strip, 9 IOF shootings were reported at agricultural lands, and three times at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 79 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 58 Palestinians were arrested, including 11 children.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted a limited incursion into eastern Khan Younis.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 9 incidents, including:

  • Occupied East Jerusalem: house floor self-demolished; evacuation decision issued against a house in Silwan; 6 walls, a well and a barracks were demolished in Anata.
  • Nablus: construction vehicle detained in Rujeib.
  • Salfit: 550 trees razed in Biddya; 300 dunums razed and 3500 trees uprooted in Deir Ballut.
  • Bethlehem: Israel ratifies land confiscation for settlement expansion; agricultural room demolished in al-Khader.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 16 settler-violence incidents:

  • Salfit: 300 trees uprooted, and a notice of land confiscation placed; sand and blocks put in a land in Deit Ballut.
  • Nablus: attacks on the streets and stones thrown at vehicles passing by the entrance of “Homesh” settlement; assaults with stones on civilian houses in Huwara where a Palestinian woman sustained wounds; attacks on Ramallah – Nablus road damaging a journalist’s vehicle; al-Khan area assaulted and an attempted confiscation of the area.
  • Qalqilya: attacks and stone throwing on the main street near Kafr Qaddum.
  • Hebron: civilians and farmers assaulted in southern Yatta.
  • Bethlehem: sewage water flooded lands in Husan village on wide-scale.

 Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

      I. Shootings and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity
  • At approximately 13:45 on Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Abu Safiyia area, northeast of Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the border area; no causalities or material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 15:45, IOF stationed in the memorial site, southeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at the border area, causing fear among Palestinian farmers; no causalities or material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 01:40 on Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron. Meanwhile, a group of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stoned and empty bottles at Israeli vehicles. Israeli soldiers stepped out of the military vehicles, stationed between residential houses and fired teargas canisters and sound bombs at stone-throwers. As a result, many of Palestinian young men suffocated due to teargas inhalation. Clashes continued until 03:00 and IOF withdrew later; no raids to houses were reported.
  • At approximately 11:00, a peaceful protest took off in front of Beit Dajan village council, east of Nablus, north of the West Bank, at the call of the villagers and with the participation of the National Action Factions in Nablus, towards lands under the threat of confiscation, east of the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers, annexation wall and deal of the century. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. The protestors chanted slogans again against the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, many protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 11:30, a peaceful protest took off in front of Deir Jarir village council, northeast of Ramallah, in the center of the West Bank, at the call of the villagers and with the participation of the National Action Factions in the area, towards lands under the threat of confiscation and in protest to the establishment of new settlement outposts in al-Shurfa area, where Israeli settlers set up a tent and conducted excavation works on the village’s agricultural lands. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers, annexation wall and deal of the century. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. The protestors performed the Friday prayer on the lands under the threat of confiscation while Israeli soldiers surrounding them. Following the Friday prayer, the protestors chanted slogans again against the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 14 protestors, including a paramedic and a child, were wounded; 2 were shot with rubber bullets, while the rest sustained teargas canisters shrapnel wounds and received treatment on the spot. The wounded were:
  • The paramedic Ahmed Mohammed ‘Alawi (25), shot with a rubber bullet in his foot;
  • A 20-year-olf male, shot with a rubber bullet in his head.

Both of them were taken to Silwad Medical Center for treatment. Also, dozens of protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.

  • Around the same time, a group of Palestinian young men gathered in the eastern outskirts of Kafr Malik village, near ‘Ein al-Samiyia area, northeast of Ramallah. The Palestinian young men threw stones at IOF stationed at the entrance to ‘Ein al-Samiyia area, which is closed with sand berms. IOF fired heavy sound bombs and teargas canister at the stone-throwers and chased them between agricultural fields. As a result, many stone-throwers suffocated due to teargas inhalation; no arrests among them were reported.
  • At approximately 12:30, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased Palestinian young men gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 8 protestors, including 2 children, were shot with rubber bullets and another protestor was shot with a teargas canister.
  • At approximately 13:30, Haroun Rasmi Yousef Abu ‘Arram (23), was shot with a live bullet in his neck from the left side by an Israeli soldier when he attempted to prevent IOF from confiscating an electric generator in Kherbet al-Rakiz, east of Yatta city, south of Hebron. According to investigations conducted by PCHR’s fieldworker, at approximately 13:00 on Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers moved into Kherbet al-Rakiz, east of Yatta City, south of Hebron, and stationed near Ashraf Khalil Abu ‘Arram’s (39) house. The Israeli Civil Administration officers raided and a searched a cave, where Abu ‘Arram lives, in addition to a tin-plate barrack used for breeding livestock.

The Israeli Civil Administration officers confiscated an electric generator and other tools. When Abu ‘Arram attempted to stop them, an Israeli Civil Administration officer beat him with a gun butt in the left side of his head , pushed him to the ground and kicked him in his back and abdomen. In the meantime, Rasmi Yousef Abu ‘Arram, who lives 150 meters away, arrived at the area and intervened to prevent the Civil Administration officers from confiscated the electric generator, but they assaulted him and pushed him to the ground. Meanwhile, Haroun’s brother also arrived at the area on the same time and attempted to help his father and withdraw the generator. The hand-to-hand combat continued for 3 minutes, during which, an Israeli soldier fired 2 live bullets from 2 meters distance; a live bullet wounded Haroun in his neck, so he fell on the ground. Haroun’s mother and father started to scream, meanwhile, Ashraf quickly drove his relative vehicle in order to take Haroun to a medical center in Yatta city. In the meantime, an Israeli soldier opened fire at the vehicle and punctured its rear tires. Al-Tawana villagers arrived at the area and IOF fired live bullets at them, forcing them to flee. The al-Tawana villagers managed to take Haroun via a vehicle which passed on al-Tawana village road. When they arrived at al-Karmil village intersection, Israeli soldiers attempted to stop them, but the vehicle’s driver did not obey the soldiers’ orders. Haroun arrived at a medical center in al-Karmil village, where he received first aid. After that, Haroun was transferred via an ambulance to Abu al-Hasan al-Qasem Hospital in Yatta city and was admitted to the emergency department at 15:30. The doctors stopped the bleeding and referred him to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). According to medical sources at al-Ahli Hospital, Haroun was shot with a live bullet in the left side of his neck, causing fractures and laceration in his backbone. Haroun’s four limbs are paralyzed.

  • At approximately 14:25, IOF stationed at “Eyal Crossing”, which is established in northern Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased the young men, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canister at them; a 15-year-old child was shot with a rubber bullet in his right foot.
  • At approximately 20:10, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Islamic Shuhada Cemetery, and off Abu Safiyia area in eastern and northeastern Jabalia refugee camp, opened sporadic fire at the border area and fired flare bombs in the sky; no causalities or material damage were reported.
  • At approximately 06:00 on Sunday, 03 January 2021, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Khuzaʽa village; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF moved into Sinjil village, north of Ramallah, and stationed in the western neighborhood. IOF pushed Maher Ahmed ‘Awashrah (10) while he was on his way to the market. As a result, he sustained bruises in his back and neck and received treatment in a medical center in Turmus Ayya village.
  • At approximately 20:25, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, and off al-SudaniyiaShore, west of Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them and fired flare bombs in the sky, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 03:00 on Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Tulkarm, chased stone-throwers and fired sound bombs at them. IOF also raided Dr. Thabet Hospital at 03:10 and fired sound bombs in the hospital, under the pretext that the stone-throwers were hiding there, causing fear among patients, their companions and medical staff. The Palestinian Ministry of Health stated that IOF raided the mentioned hospital and fired 4 sound bombs inside it; a sound bomb in the reception and 3 others in the emergency yard, causing fear and panic among the patients, especially children and elderlies. The ministry emphasized that 81 patients are receiving treatment at the hospital, including 10 premature babies in the nursery department, 5 children in the pediatrics department, 7 patients in the ICU, 13 patients in the obstetrics department, in addition to 39 medical and health staff.
  • At approximately 03:20, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, southwest of Jericho. IOF were deployed in the camp and patrolled its streets. During which, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at IOF, who fired sound bombs, teargas canisters, rubber bullets at the protestors and clashed with them. As a result, a 19-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his leg, and a 23-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his thigh. Both of them were taken to Jericho Governmental Hospital.
  • At approximately 06:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Maghazi and Bureij refugee camps, in the center of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 10:50, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF stationed near the annexation wall, near al-Mariha and Daher al-‘Abed villages, west of Ya’bad village, southwest of Jenin, opened fire at Palestinian workers who attempted to enter Israel via the annexation wall halls. As a result, 3 civilians, including a father and his son, were wounded and taken to Dr. Khalil Suliman Governmental Hospital in Jenin.
  • Around the same time, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into al-Dawara area, east of Sa’ir village, north of Hebron. IOF were deployed between residential houses. After that, they indiscriminately fired sound bombs at Palestinians’ houses, under the pretext that they were exposed to stone-throwing. As a result, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation. At 20:30, IOF withdrew from the village.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF indiscriminately fired teargas canisters at Palestinians’ houses in al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, under the pretext that a military watchtower established adjacent to the camp’s entrance was exposed to stone-throwing. As a result, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 23:45, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, southeast of Beit Hanoun, east and northeast of Jabalia refugee camp, opened heavy fire at border area; no causalities or damage were reported.
  • At approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 05 January 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched ‘Abed al-Rahman Mohammed Jawabra’s (62) house in ‘Ereq al-Latoun area and withdrew later. No arrests were reported. During IOF withdrawal from the village, a group of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at IOF vehicles. A number of Israeli soldiers stepped out of the vehicles and fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at the stone-throwers. At approximately 03:00, IOF withdrew from the village.
  • At approximately 11:00, dozens of Palestinians and foreigner activists organized a peaceful protest in lands under the threat of confiscation in al-Jomjoma area, east of Halhul city, north of Hebron. The activists brought olive seedlings and planted them. Meanwhile, IOF arrived at the area and fired teargas canisters and sound bombs at the protestors. As a result, many protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation. IOF also uprooted the olive seedlings, declared the area as a closed military zone and threatened to arrest anyone present in the area. It should be noted that the protest was organized after an Israeli settler set up a tent in al-Jomjoma area a week ago.
  • At approximately 14:30, IOF stationed near “Gush Etzion” intersection, south of Bethlehem, killed ‘Ahed ‘Abed al-Rahman Mahmoud Qawqas Ekhlayl (25), from Hebron, with several live bullets under the pretext that he attempted to carry out a stabbing attack. IOF stated that Ekhlayl approached a checkpoint, where a number of Israeli soldiers stationed, in front of “Gush Etzion” petrol station, and carried an ax. IOF also claimed that when they ordered him to stop, he refused, so IOF opened fire at him. IOF in its statement stated that: “ there was an attempt to carry out a stabbing attack near “Gush Etzion” intersection, and the suspect was neutralized.” In addition, Israeli media claimed that another young man was accompanied Ekhlayl, but he managed to escape. It should be noted that Israeli authorities did not publish any video to prove their claims or to show the threat that Ekhlayl posed to the soldiers, especially that “Gush Etzion” intersection is a fortified area, full of advanced surveillance cameras and military watchtowers, and settlement guards are heavily deployed in it. Israel Hayom Newspaper published that the settlement guard opened fire at Ekhlayl. PCHR’s staff continue to investigate the incident, as no Palestinian eyewitnesses were available so far.
  • PCHR also notes that the soldiers could use less lethal force against Ekhlayl such as wounding or arresting him instead of killing him, because he was walking on his feet and did not have a firearm. Following the incident, IOF closed the main street (367), which connects between Bethlehem and Hebron, and established many checkpoints in “Gush Etzion” intersection, causing jam traffic. It should be noted that Ekhlayl was a resident of Safa area in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, and he had opened a sweets shop in the village less than a month ago. IOF summoned his father and uncles to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service “Shin Bet” for investigation.
  • At approximately 14:35 on Tuesday, 05 January 2021, IOF stationed in (16) military site, northeast of Beit Hanoun village, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds who approached the fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee; no causalities or damage were reported.
  • At approximately 23:00 on Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Bureij refugee camp, in the center of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 04:00 on Wednesday, 06 January 2021, IOF moved into Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, southwest of Ramallah. They were deployed between residential houses. In the meantime, a group of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at IOF, who chased the stone-throwers and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, a 20-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his foot and was treated on the spot. Also, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 14:35, IOF stationed in a military site (16), northeast of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at Palestinian shepherds who approached the fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. No casualties of material damage were reported.




       II. Incursions and arrests:

Thursday, 31 December 2020:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Qalqilya and Kafr Thulth, east of Qalqilya, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Fo’ad Na’eem Jitawi (22), and Omar Ayman Shawahna (19).
  • At approximately 02:55, IOF moved into Nur Shams refugee camp and Anabta village, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Oday Samer Jaber (23), who is a former prisoner, Sa’eed Izzat Jaber (22), and Ahmed Tareq al-Nimri (20).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Dheesha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians after beaten them. The arrestees are: Ibrahim Munir Arafa (26), Haidar Izzat Abu Dayya (23), and Ahmed Tawfiq Tayeh (33).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Saf street in Bethlehem. They raided and searched Ahmed Rebhi al-Haremi’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Kobar village, north of Ramallah, and stationed at al-Iskan street. They deployed between civilians’ houses, while dozens of soldiers stormed a 4-storey building, included 6 apartments, and stormed and searched Omar Abdul Raheem al-Barghouthi’s (29) apartment, which is in the ground floor, and arrested him. IOF also raided and searched the houses of Ali al-Ka’ba and Mohannad al-Rayyan.

Haya al-Barghouthi, Omar’s cousin, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

My husband and I woke up to loud noise in our building; we went out of our apartment to see a number of the Israeli soldiers and border guards in the third floor with the building owner, Shadi. They were shouting loudly “where is al-Barghouthi”, and asked Shadi about Omar’s apartment, and headed there, immediately detonating the front door. Omar lived alone, as his wife was travelling abroad. I asked the soldiers to go and wake Omar up, but they refused and stormed his apartment and started beating him and insulting him, then they handcuffed him and took him to their military vehicle. At approximately 08:00, Saif, Omar’s brother, received a phone call from an Israeli Intelligence Services’ officer, and told him that Omar is in a critical health condition and he was taken to Hadassah Medical Center in Israel, and that the soldiers hit him on his head and all over his body, which caused wounds, bruises, and loss of consciousness”.

  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Beit Ummar, Hebron, Sa’eer, and al-Shuyukh villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 01 January 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Yatta, south of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Eyad Hasan Abu Obaid’s (29) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF stationed at Za’tara military checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, arrested Khalil Mo’een Fawzi Mousa (27), from Qaryut village, southeast of Nablus. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 11:30, IOF arrested Eyad Mohammed al-Jo’ba (27), while present near al-Silsila gate, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s Gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • In the evening hours, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Deir Istiya, north of Salfit. They took the measures of the location and withdrew.
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Tarqumiyah and al-Shuyukh in Hebron governorate; Haris village, north of Salfit; Kafr Laqif, Sir and Qalqilya. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 02 January 2021:

  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Zububa village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Suliman Amarna (19).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron, and stationed at al-Harayiq area. They raided and searched Tareq Anwar Da’eis’s (41) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF stationed at “Eyal” military checkpoint, established in the north of Qalqilya, arrested Ahmed Mahmoud Ayyash (16) and Anis Mohammed Abu Tayba (17).
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF moved into the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Yousef Alaa al-Haddad’s (11) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to ‘Ammar Mahmoud Thawabta (15) and Ahmed Jamal Taqateqa (16) and arrested them.
  • IOF carried out (3) incursions in Halhul, Beit Kahil, and Nuba villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 03 January 2021:

  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Jaba’ village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ahmed Mohammed Alawna (21).
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Diya’ Mohammed Obaid’s (15) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:30, IOF reinforced with dozens of military vehicles moved into Deir Nidham village, northwest of Ramallah governorate, after throwing stones at an Israeli settler’s car in the street adjacent to “Halamish” settlement, where the settler suffered serious wounds, according to the Israeli media. However, the Israeli vehicles, IOF, the border guards and the Israeli infantry units surrounded the village and closed the main and western entrances of the village. IOF fired sound bombs and teargas canisters, causing fear and panic among civilians. Meanwhile, they raided and searched dozens of houses and arrested (20) civilians including two children in the main street and detain them for 3 consecutive hours under the investigation. Lately, IOF released 17 civilians while kept the two children and the young man under arrest and took them to an unknown destination. The arrestees are: Sajed Abdul Ghani al-Khateeb (17), Mohammed Kheir al-Tamimi (17), and Osama Firas al-Tamimi (18), who is a student at Birzeit University. IOF established a tent near the main entrance and confiscated all the surveillances cameras of the houses and stores.
  • At approximately 18:00, the Israeli bulldozer combed al-Ein land, near “Wad Rayya”, adjacent to the village, they raided and searched several houses and continued closing the entrances and some streets, then stormed the village and the houses again until Monday’s evening, 04 January 2021.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Yazan (25), and his brother, Islam Kamel Abu Shamla (18).
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Sanniriya and Azun, east of Qalqilya; Sa’ir, Bani Na’im, Samu and Dura, in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 04 January 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Surif, west of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses and arrested Hadi Mahmoud Ghunaimat (30), and Fadi Mousa Ghunaimat (29).
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Hebron. They raided and searched four houses and arrested (4) civilians; Hussam Hasan Abu Hussain (32), Miqdad Abdullah al-Qawasmah (38), Abdul Aziz Abu Sunaina (34), and Mohammed Hamed al-Rajabi (29).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Nablus, from its southern side, Jabal al-Tur, north of the West Bank, and stationed at Nablus’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Alaa Nidal Abu Shamla (25).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Jannata village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Abdul Rahman Sa’eed al-‘Arouj’s (31) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:20, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Jericho. They raided and searched Hasan Shaker Ballou’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians including a child; Abdul Rahman al-Bashiti (16), Zakariya al-Bakry (19), and Mustafa Abu Sunaina (18).
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians, including a child; Hamza Abu Ghannam (19), Fadi Abu Ghannam (17), and Mohammed Abu Sbaitan (22).
  • IOF carried out (1) incursion in Ein al-Sultan refugee camp, in the western side of Jericho. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 05 January 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Eyas Hussain Obaid’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Nablus, entering it from the northern side by checkpoint (17), and stationed in Baker street and Kallet al-Amud neighborhood, northeast of the village. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Yaser al-Madmouj (28), and took him to Millennium Technology Company, where he works. It should be noted that the company’s owner was arrested on 21 December 2020.
  • At approximately 01:40, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Tulkarm refugee camp. They raided and searched Ra’ed Mohammed Qawzah’s (50) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Zeita Jamma’in village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Zakariya Ahmed Rayyan (51) and Jom’a Mahmoud Ramadan (53).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Batin al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Harbi Abdul Samea’ Abu Subaih (43) and his brother, Wajdi (39), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 14:30, IOF stationed on the main entrance to Nabi Saleh village arrested Ahmed al-Rimawy (32) and took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Tubas, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses, only 3 of the houses were identified; Oday al-Shahrouri, Munir and his brother Omar Foqaha, and interrogated the civilians, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF moved into al-Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Sami al-Fakhouri’s (17) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF signed to guard the annexation wall west of Rummanah village, west of Jenin, arrested Kareem Ahmed al-‘Ammour (28), while present near the wall. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into ‘Anin village, west of Jenin. They threatened to destroy and set fire to street carts that were previously served removal notices.
  • IOF carried out 2 incursions in Deir Ballut and Sarta in western Salfit. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 06 January 2021:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Nablus, from its eastern entrance. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Subhi Tabanja (38), from Khallat al-‘Amud, southeast of Nablus; and Omar Eyad Staitiya (26), from Zawata village, west of Nablus.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beita, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Yousef Musbah Abu Mazen (23), a water technician employee in Beita municipality.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Beit Kahil in northern Hebron and raided Mohammed Assafra’s (30) house. They searched and ransacked through the house before arresting Assafra and taking him with them.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-‘Alqa al Fawqa, southern Hebron and raided Ahmed Dodeen’s (40) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Deir Nidham village, northwest of Ramallah. They deployed between civilians houses, raided and searched Ragheb Mohammed al-Tamimi’s (18) house, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF reinforced with several military and construction vehicles moved 100 meters into Al Fukhkhari, eastern Khan Younis. They razed the area for hours and then withdrew.
III. Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • At approximately 08:00 on Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF accompanied with military bulldozers moved into Khelet ‘Elian in Biddya village, west of Salfit. IOF started leveling 550 fruitful trees and retaining walls as well as the fence wires surrounding the land belonging to the heirs of Yousef Salim, ‘Abdel Rahim Salim and Mohammed Salim.

The landowners said that land razing had wiped off the agricultural field that was funded by the International Relief, inflecting a loss of ILS 300,000.  It should be noted that that was the second time the project was destroyed, and the trees uprooted.

Youssef Kamel Youssef Salamah said that:

“IOF moved into the area and closed the entrances, denying citizens and journalists’ access to it.  IOF leveled all the olive, almond, grape and fig trees my cousins and I had planted in a joint project funded by the International Relief.  The uprooted  trees included around 250 olive trees, 100 grapevines, 100 almond trees and 100 fig trees.  We also bought huge amount of sand and brought workers and vehicles to work in the land.”

  • On Saturday morning, 02 January 2021, Amjad Ja’abees self-demolished a concrete slab he built on his land in Jabel Mukaber village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and removed the steel-wired fence surrounding the land, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Ja’abees said that last October, he established a concrete slab as a prelude to build a small house on a plot of land he inherited from his family in Jabel Mukaber village.  Ja’abees added that the Israeli Municipality instantly warned him to self-demolish the slab and remove the fence surrounding his land.  However, when he did not obey, the Municipality handed him an administrative decision signed by the Israeli Ministry of Interior regarding the slab and gave him only 7 days to implement the decision; otherwise, the Municipality crews will carry out the demolition and fine him with the costs.  Ja’abees said that the Israeli Municipality previously reject his request for the land use regulation and to have construction license, and this applies to all the surrounding plots of land in the area.

  • On Sunday morning, 03 January 2021, the High Planning Council (HPC) ratified confiscation of Land plots in different areas of Bethlehem to allocate them to settlements.

Hasan Breijiyah, Head of the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission in Bethlehem said that the Israeli authorities had ratified the allocation of the following land plots for settlement expansion: Land plot no. (8) in al-Shefa and Wad al-Hendi areas in al-Khader village; Land plot no. (1) in Artas village; Land plot no. (4) in ‘Arab Ta’amra and Land plot no. (5) in al-Morouj area.  Breijiyah added that in the morning IOF handed ‘Ali Salim Mousa from al-Khader village a notice to stop construction works in Jabel Abu Sodah area allegedly for being located in an archaeological area.

  • In the afternoon, IOF handed Nizam Abu Romouz a decision to vacate his family house in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, in favor of settlers.

Abu Romouz Family said that the evacuation decision was issued in absentee in 2016 when court hearings were held in absentee to deliberate the status of the estate without notifying or summoning the family to attend the court or even handing them any judicial notices in this regard.  The family added that the court fined them ILS 7,000 for the court and the settlers’ lawyer fees.  The family also said that they will file an urgent appeal to the District Court’s evacuation decision, denying receiving any judicial notice to seize the land where the estate is established.  It should be noted that the family estate is comprised of 3 floors and shelters 3 families.  The estate is within the “Ateret Cohanim” settlement organization’s plans to seize 5 dunums and 200 sqm from the Central quarter in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood under the pretext of being a Jewish ownership since 1881 as ruled by the Israeli Supreme Court.  It is also noteworthy that 87 families live in the plot of land under the threat of confiscation and evacuation.

  • On Monday morning, 04 January 2021, IOF demolished 6 fences, a water well and an agricultural barrack in ‘Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Mayor of ‘Anata village, Taha al-Refa’ie, stated that the Israeli Municipality’s vehicles started demolishing a fence belonging to Mohammed al-Bayaa’ and another fence as well as a 40 sqm agricultural barrack and a water well belonging to Jamal ‘Alqam in al-Nejmah neighborhood in eastern ‘Anata near the industrial area.  The demolition came after a week of handing both civilians  demolition notices allegedly for unlicensed construction. Al-Refa’ie added that the Municipality crews demolished 3 more fences in al-Rahinah area belonging to Isma’il Shihah, ‘Othman Abu ‘Omer, Rami Hamdan, and Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim and another belonging to Mohammed Helwah in al-Thaher area.  Al-Refa’ie said that the Municipality crews distributed many demolition notices in the nearby area and withdrew.

  • In the same morning, IOF demolished an agricultural room belonging to Lutfi Salah in al-Khader village, west of Bethlehem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Salah said that an Israeli military force raided his land and demolished the room and confiscated its contents, including chairs and water tanks used for irrigation.  Salah added that the demolition was carried out without any prior notification, noting that such tin-roofed rooms do not need a license as it is used for agricultural and storing purposes.

  • At approximately 11:30 on Tuesday, 05 January 2020, IOF accompanied with a Civil Administration SUV moved into Rujeib village, southeast of Nablus, northern West Bank.  They confiscated a bulldozer belonging to Majed Ibrahim ‘Abed Dweikat while working in an under-construction house in Khelet Rajeh area, northeast of Rujeib village, and arrested the driver.  IOF took the driver and the bulldozer to “Huwara” military camp, southeast of Nablus, and later released the driver but kept the bulldozer under custody allegedly for illegal construction work in Area C.
  • At approximately 12:00 on Wednesday, 06 January 2021, IOF backed by 8 bulldozers and tens of SUVs and trucks moved into  Khalet al-‘Abhar Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit, where part of the annexation wall is established on its lands.  IOF leveled a vacant area; around 200 dunums and 3400 olive and olive trees and grapevines planted 5-10 years ago.  IOF also seized a large number of trees after uprooting them.  These leveled lands belong to ‘Ezat Mousa, heirs of Husni ‘Issa Mousa and ‘Abdullah Mousa. 

IOF also handed 5 new notices to the nearby lands’ owners to vacate them as a prelude to confiscate them in favor of settlement expansion.

While land-razing, IOF attacked and beat up the owners of the leveled lands, including Mohammed Husni Mousa and ‘Aisha ‘Abdullah Mousa.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • On Thursday morning, 31 December 2020, a group of settlers from “Rafafa”  attacked a plot of land belonging to the head of the village council, ‘Omer Samarah,  in al-Ta’erat area in Haris village, north of Salfit.  The settlers uprooted around 300 olive trees planted on an area of 14 dunums 14 years ago, without any prior warning.  They also left a notice in a plot of land belonging to Khaled Mohammed ‘Ali Shamlawi in the same area, saying that this land is owned by the state and giving the owners 45 days to appeal.
  • At approximately 20:00 on Thursday, 31 December 2020, settlers rioted at the entrance of “Homish” settlement that was vacated in 2005 and established on the lands of Burqa and Silat ad-Dhahr villages, northwest of Nablus.  They also threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles traveling on Nablus-Jenin Street, but no damage was reported.
  • At approximately 21:55 on the same day, a group of settlers from “Yitsahar” settlement established on Nablus lands threw stones at civilian houses in Huwara village, southeast of Nablus.  As a result, Mo’ataz ‘Ezat Qasrawi’s house windows were broken and his wife, Lina Hasan ‘Awad ‘Odah (34) was injured with a stone in her right leg when she was in her bedroom in the first floor of the 2-storey house while her 4 children and husband were in the second floor of the house. 
  • At approximately 22:00, settlers from ” Shiloh” and “Eli” settlement established on the villages of Qaryout and al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, southeast of Nablus, threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles traveling on Nablus-Ramallah Street.  As a result, a car belonging to Salim ‘Abdel ‘Aziz Salim Bsharat, Palestine TV photojournalist in Tubas, sustained damage; the right door window and mirror were broken while the front and right side sustained damage.
  • On Friday morning, 01 January 2021, settlers from “Leshem” settlement attacked a plot of land belonging to Ya’qoub Hadrous in Khelet Mathar area in Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit.  The settler added tons of sand piles on the land, burying the olive trees there, without any prior notice or warning.

‘Omer Ya’qoub Hadrous said that:

“On Friday morning, we found settlers from Leshem settlement transferring piles of sand into my land in Khelet Mathar area, east of Deir Ballut village. We informed the Liaison, and the settlement guardian came after we refused what was going on.  He told the workers who were transferring the piles, “wait until I make a phone call to know if this land belongs to the state or what.”  He made the phone call and immediately ordered them to stop the transfer into this land because it belongs to ‘Omer and not a state property. This talk occurred after they completely covered the land with around 1.5 meter sand and construction remnants, and even if I cleaned it, the land won’t return as it was because it was all ruined.  This means that all the olives were damaged and the land as well.”

  • At approximately 16:55 on Friday, 01 January 2021, a group of settlers from “Shvut Rachel” settlement established on the lands of southeastern al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village  attacked and tried to seize al-Khan area.  A number of citizens immediately gathered and throw stones at the settlers to force them to go back.  It should be noted that al-Khan is an ottoman site which IOF has been trying to seize for a while.
  • At approximately 18:30, a group of settlers from “Kedumim” settlement gathered on the main street near Kafr Qaddum village in Qalqilya.  They threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles traveling in the area and closed the main street connecting Qalqilya with Nablus to perform religious rituals in the area.
  • At approximately 21:00 on Saturday, 02 January 2021, a group of settlers from ” Beit Yatir” and “Susya” settlements attacked members of al-Nawaj’ah family while plowing their land in Um Lakhous area, south of Yatta, southern Hebron.  The settlers attempted to stop the tractors despite the Israeli court’s decision to prevent settlers from entering that land.  Clashes occurred between the settlers and citizens while IOF patrols and Israeli Civil Administration crews arrived to force settlers leaving the land.
  • At approximately 19:00 on Sunday, 03 January 2021, a group of settlers from the Israeli “Hilltop Youth” group called for protests at the intersections of the main streets  used by the Palestinians.  An hour later, large groups of settlers gathered at the intersections of Adam, northeastern Jerusalem; “Yitsahar” and “Ma’ale Efrayim”, southwestern Nablus; Bypass 60 Ofra; “Pisgat Yahuda” Street on Ramallah-Nablus Street, “Nof Hasharon” settlement; Jit Sarra, southwestern Nablus; and “Shiloh” and “Eli” settlements, southeastern Nablus.  The settler rioted at the intersections and threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles traveling there.
  • At approximately 03:00 on Monday, 04 January 2021, a group of settlers from “Brukhin” settlement moved into Sarta village, west of Salfit.  They threw stones at the Palestinian vehicles and houses, breaking windows of cars belonging to Sa’id Sarsour, Mukhtar ‘Abdullah Sarsour, Mustafa Ibrahim al-Khatib, Mohammed Hisham Sarsour and Ma’zouz Sarsour.  Moreover, wheels belonging of a bulldozer belonging to Youssef Mohammed al-Khatib were punctured.
  • In the morning, settlers from “Beitar Illit” settlement established on the Palestinian lands of Husan, Nahalin and Wadi Fukin villages, southwest Bethlehem, flooded sewage into vacant areas of lands in Husan village, west of the city. 

Husan Village Council stated that settlers flooded sewage into vacant areas of lands planted with grapevines and olive trees, inflecting huge losses and damage in these lands.  The Council added that such attacks are constant as settlers often pump wastewater into Palestinian-owned lands in the villages of Husan, Jab’a, Nahalin and Wadi Fukin.

  • At approximately 19:00, dozens of Israeli settlers gathered on Street no. (1) in central occupied East Jerusalem and closed it, starting to attack Palestinian vehicles and passers-by.

Eyewitnesses said that settlers closed the abovementioned street and nearby Musrara Street and set fire to tires.  They then threw stones at passers-by and Palestinian vehicles, causing damage to them.

  • At approximately 20:00, settlers from “Hilltop Youth” group rioted the streets and threw stones at different intersections, particularly Soliman al-Faresi “Yitzhar” intersection in Huwara village, southeast of Nablus (the entrance to Yitzhar); Beit El Camp Road; Route 60 between Hizma and Jaba’ on Ramallah-Nablus Highway; and al-Nabi Younis intersection in Hebron.
  • At approximately 22:00, dozens of Israeli settlers on Jerusalem-Hebron Street protested near Gush Etzion settlement intersection for the third week consecutively.

Eyewitnesses said that settlers under IOF protection raised slogans calling for Arabs to leave and closed the main streets before Palestinian vehicles.  The settlers threw stones at the vehicles, causing severe damage to them.

  • At approximately 19:00 on Tuesday, 05 January 2021, a group of settlers from “Hilltop Youth” group rioted and threw stones at different intersections, particularly at the entrance to Homish settlement on Jenin-Nablus Road, northwest of Nablus; Soliman al-Faresi “Yitzhar” intersection in Huwara village, southeast of Nablus (the entrance to Yitzhar); Za’atara checkpoint intersection; at the entrance to “Shilo” settlement, southeast of Nablus; Kedumim intersection and completely closed it, southeast of Qalqiliya; and at the entrance to Jurat ash-Sham’a village between “Efrat” settlement and Teqoa on Hebron Road. However, no injuries were reported.
  • On Wednesday morning, 06 January 2021, settlers from “Amihai” settlement established on Jalud village, southeast of Nablus, uprooted and stole 150 olive seedlings from Mahmoud Fawzi Haj Mohammed’s land in Ma’aser Ghzayel area, 100 meters away from the abovementioned settlement.
 IV. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

The West Bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals 56 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Jerusalem:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.

Ramallah:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint near the entrance to Ofra settlement, which is established in northeast of Ramallah.
  • On Saturday, 02 January 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of Taybeh village.
  • On Sunday, 03 January 2021, IOF closed Wadi al-Dalb road, which leads to Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah. IOF also established a checkpoint at the main entrance to the village. They also closed the metal detector gate established at the entrance to Aboud village and established a military checkpoint at the entrance to Nabi Salih village, northwest of the city.
  • On Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of Shuqba village and at the entrance to Nabi Salih village, northwest of the city.
  • IOF established three military checkpoints on the northern and southern Jericho entrances, and on al-Mo’arajat road intersection.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint near Um al-Nashnash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Beit Jala village, at the western entrance to Tuqu village and in ‘Aqabet Hassnah area, leading to Bethlehem’s western villages.
  • On Saturday, 02 January 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the western entrance to Tuqu village, in Kermizan area in Beit Jala village and near Um al-Nashnash intersection, south of the city.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho for 5 consecutive hours.
  • On Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances to Jericho.
  • On Saturday, 02 January 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the southern and northern entrances to Jericho, at the entrance to Al-Auja village, and on al-Mo’arajat road (connecting between Jericho and Ramallah).
  • On Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern and northern entrances to Jericho and at the entrance to Ein ad-Duyuk village, north of the city.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement and at the entrance to Beita village, southeast of Nablus.
  • On Sunday, 03 January 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement and at al-Moraba’a intersection.

Tubas:

  • On Saturday, 02 January 2021, IOF established a checkpoint in al-Me’yar area, east of ‘Atouf village, southeast of Tubas.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Yatta city and at the entrance to as-Samu village.
  • On Saturday, 02 January 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Awwa and Idhna villages, at the northern entrance to Halhul city, and at the southern and western entrances to Hebron.
  • On Sunday, 03 January 2021. IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Halhul city and at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp.
  • On Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Ummar, Sa’ir and Jalajel villages, at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp, and at the southern entrance to Halhul city.
  • On Tuesday, 05 January 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances to Hebron and at the entrances to as-Samu and Beit Ummar villages.
  • On Wednesday, 06 January 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp, and at the entrances to ad-Dhahiriya and Beit Kahil villages.

Qalqilya:

  • On Thursday, 31 December 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Kafr Laqif and Azzun villages, at the eastern entrance to Qalqilya, and at the entrance to Izbat al-Tabib village, east of Qalqilya.
  • On Friday, 01 January 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqilya.
  • On Sunday, 03 January 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Azzun and to Izbat al-Tabib villages, east of Qalqilya.

Salfit:

  • On Monday, 04 January 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Kafr ad-Dik, Kifl_Haris, Rafat amd Qarawat_Bani_Hassan villages.

Pentagon’s Sinister Role in Trump’s Coup Bid

Pentagon's Sinister Role in Trump's Coup Bid - TheAltWorld

Finian Cunningham

January 11, 2021

With the likes of Miller and other far-rightists in charge at the Pentagon, there is no guarantee on whose side the military will be, Finian Cunningham writes.

The extraordinary breach of security at the US Congressional building wasn’t just a “failure of planning” which allowed thousands of Trump supporters to trash the seat of government and to interrupt the electoral certification of Joe Biden as the next president. It was a coup attempt.

What’s more, Trump’s acting Pentagon chief Christopher C Miller is implicated in aiding and abetting the coup bid on January 6.

Trump appointed Miller, a former Green Beret and political loyalist, to head the Pentagon as acting Secretary of Defense following the November 3 election. He was among several other Trump loyalists rushed into senior positions at the Department of Defense prompting concerns back then that Trump was planning to overturn the election result which had cast Biden as winner but which Trump and his supporters have relentlessly disputed.

Several media reports have focused attention on the Pentagon to explain how the siege on the Capitol last Wednesday turned into a four-hour ordeal during which over 500 lawmakers, including Vice President Mike Pence, were forced to shelter in secure bunkers fearing for their lives. But media outlets like the New York Times are reporting the fiasco in anodyne terms as a result of “poor planning” or “failure” to coordinate security.

Calls were put out at around 2pm by the Capitol Police that they needed assistance after crowds broke through security fencing. But it was not until 6pm that members of the National Guard arrived to vacate the government buildings of protesters.

Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser reportedly made phone calls to the Pentagon appealing for troopers to be deployed. So too did lawmakers trapped inside the Capitol, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Those calls went strangely unheeded.

Since Washington DC is not a state it does not have authority over its National Guard. That authority lies with the Pentagon. But the DC troops had been stood down in the days before January 6 or deployed away from the Capitol building on traffic duty, even though there were abundant signals across social media that far-right Trump supporters were planning to rally at the Capitol to block the scheduled certification of Biden’s election by lawmakers in a joint session of Congress.

Mayor Bowser then appealed to the governors in neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia to deploy their National Guards to assist the Capitol. The governors were also receiving frantic calls from those politicians besieged within the chambers of Congress.

However, these state authorities were still obliged to get clearance from the Pentagon in order to deploy their troopers across state lines.

Maryland governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, has said that his requests to deploy the National Guard were repeatedly denied by Pentagon officials. It is not clear who these officials were. But the finger of suspicion points to Christopher Miller and the cohort of Trump-appointed loyalists at the Department of Defense.

This indicates that the events on January 6 were much more sinister than has been reported thus far. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died on the day Trump protesters stormed the Congressional building.

President Donald Trump has been condemned for inciting the crowds to attack the Capitol. He made an incendiary speech at a rally hours before Congress convened to certify the election, instructing the throngs to “take back their country”.

The storming of the Congress halls has also been widely condemned as an act of “insurrection” and “an assault on democracy”. But the media coverage tends to portray the event as a chaotic breach of security by rag-tag pro-Trump supporters. Belying those reports are more sinister accounts of armed far-right militia among the melee. There were cadres of Neo-fascists who were armed, equipped with zip-ties and nooses. They were even chanting for Republican Vice President Mike Pence’s head after Trump had earlier denounced him for being weak in not backing his effort to overturn the electoral process.

But what if the Capitol was deliberately left undefended? Questions have to be asked of the chiefs of Capitol Police and Washington DC metropolitan force who reportedly declined security back up purportedly offered by the Pentagon in the days before the “stop the steal” rally which Trump had been promoting for weeks. Was that Pentagon offer genuine or part of a charade?

Capitol Police chief Steven Sund told lawmakers before January 6 that everything was under control for all contingencies. They weren’t. He has since resigned. The Capitol was remarkably vulnerable from only a thin line of cops deployed on the day. Former security officials have expressed amazement at the lack of security. And there is video evidence of officers letting protesters through fences, even waving them on, and guiding them to key areas within the cavernous chambers.

But it is the apparent sinister role of the Pentagon that is most disturbing. Four hours to deploy the National Guard while armed men were marauding the seat of government suggests that this was an opportunity afforded to them to kill members of Congress and to block the electoral process of electing Democrat Joe Biden.

Only three days before January 6, an unprecedented oped piece was published in the Washington Post signed by 10 former Pentagon chiefs, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, Leon Panetta and James Mattis. In the oped, they warned Christopher Miller to not use the military to overturn the election result otherwise there would be dire consequences for America’s democracy. It was a phenomenal intervention and warning, which shows how degenerated US politics has become.

It looks like Miller and all the President’s Men at the Pentagon ignored the advice. They went ahead to aid and abet a coup. The coup fizzled out. But there is still explosive elements remaining until Biden is inaugurated on January 20.

When far-right groups target the inauguration ceremony fully armed as they are declaring to do, what will the Pentagon’s response be then? With the likes of Miller and other far-rightists in charge at the Pentagon, there is no guarantee on whose side the military will be.

How the Left is being Manipulated into Colluding in its own Character Assassination

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.  He is a frequent contributor to Global Research

By Jonathan Cook

Global Research, January 09, 2021

There was a fascinating online panel discussion on Wednesday night on the Julian Assange case that I recommend everyone watch. The video is at the bottom of the page.  

But from all the outstanding contributions, I want to highlight a very important point made by Yanis Varoufakis that has significance for understanding current events well beyond the Assange case. 

Varoufakis is an academic who was savaged by the western political and media establishments when he served as Greece’s finance minister. Back in 2015 a popular leftwing Greek government was trying to oppose the imposition of severe loan conditions on Greece by European and international financial institutions that risked tipping the Greek economy into deeper bankruptcy and seemed chiefly intended to upend its socialist programme. The government Varoufakis served was effectively crushed into obedience through a campaign of economic intimidation by these institutions.

 Varoufakis describes here the way that leftwing dissidents who challenge or disrupt western establishment narratives – whether it be himself, Assange or Jeremy Corbyn – end up not only being subjected to character assassination, as was always the case, but nowadays find themselves being manipulated into colluding in their own character assassination.

 Here is a short transcript of Varoufakis’ much fuller comments – about 48 minutes in – highlighting his point about co-option:

 “The establishment, the Deep State, call it whatever you want, the oligarchy, they’ve become much, much better at it [character assassination] than they used to be. Because back in the 1960s and 1970s, you know, they would accuse you of being a Communist. They would accuse me of being a Marxist. Well, I am a Marxist. I’m really not going to suffer that much if you accuse me of being a left-winger. I am a left-winger!

 “Now what they do is something far worse. They accuse you of something that really hurts you. Calling somebody like us a racist, a bigot, an antisemite, a rapist. This is what really hurts because if anybody calls me a rapist today, right, even if it’s complete baloney, I feel as a feminist I have the need to give the woman, implied or involved somehow in this accusation, the opportunity to speak against me. Because that is what we left-wingers do.”

Varoufakis’ point is that when Assange was accused of being a rapist, as he was before the US made clear the real case against him – by trying to extradite him from the UK for exposing its war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan – he could not defend himself without alienating a significant constituency of his natural supporters, those on the left who identify as feminists. Which is exactly what happened.

 Similarly, as Varoufakis notes from earlier conversations he had with Assange, the Wikileaks founder was in no position to properly defend himself against accusations that he colluded with Russia and Donald Trump to help Trump win the 2016 US presidential election against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

 At the time, Assange’s supporters were able to point out that the leaked emails were true and that they were in the public interest because they showed deep corruption in the Democratic party establishment. But those arguments were drowned out by a narrative confected by the US media and security establishments that Wikileaks’ publication of the emails was political interference because the emails had supposedly been hacked by Russia to sway the election result.

 Because Assange was absolutely committed to the principle of non-disclosure of sources, he refused to defend himself in public by confirming that the emails had been leaked to him by a Democratic party insider, not the “Russians”. His silence allowed his vilification to go largely unchallenged. Having already been stripped of support from much of the feminist left, particularly in Europe, Assange now lost the support of a sizeable chunk of the left in the US too.

In these cases, the one who stands accused has to defend themselves with one hand tied behind their back. They cannot hit back without further antagonising a substantial section of their supporters, deepening divisions within the left’s ranks. The victim of this kind of character assassination is caught in the equivalent of reputational quicksand. The more they fight, the deeper they sink.

Which is, of course, exactly what happened to the UK’s former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when he was accused of being a racist. If he or his supporters tried to challenge the claim that the party had become antisemitic overnight under his leadership – even if only by citing statistics that showed the party hadn’t – they were immediately denounced for supposed “antisemitism denial”, posited as the modern equivalent of Holocaust denial.

Notice Ken Loach, who was also on the panel, nodding in agreement as Varoufakis speaks. Because Loach, the noted leftwing, anti-racist film-maker who came to Corbyn’s defence against the confected media campaign smearing him as an antisemite, soon found himself similarly accused.

Jonathan Freedland, a senior columnist at the liberal Guardian, was among those using precisely the tactic described by Varoufakis. He tried to discredit Loach by accusing him of denying Jews the right to define their own experience of antisemitism.   

Freedland sought to manipulate Loach’s anti-racist credentials against him. Either agree with us that Corbyn is an antisemite, and that most of his supporters are too, or you are a hypocrite, disowning your own anti-racist principles – and solely in the case of antisemitism. And that, QED, would prove you too are motivated by antisemitism.

Loach found himself with a terrible binary choice: either he must collude with Freedland and the corporate media in smearing Corbyn, a long-standing political ally, or else he would be forced to collude in his own smearing as an antisemite.

It’s a deeply ugly, deeply illiberal, deeply manipulative, deeply dishonest tactic. But it is also brilliantly effective. Which is why nowadays rightists and centrists use it at every opportunity. The left, given its principles, rarely resorts to this kind of deceit. Which means it can only bring a peashooter to a gun fight.

https://twitter.com/Jonathan_K_Cook/status/131348440736224870

This is the left’s dilemma. It’s why we struggle to win the argument in a corporate media environment that not only denies us a hearing but also promotes the voices of those like Freedland trying to destroy us from the centre and those supposedly on the left like George Monbiot and Owen Jones who are too often destroying us from within.

As Varoufakis also says, the left needs urgently to go on the offensive.

We need to find ways to turn the tables on the war criminals who have been gaslighting us in demanding that Assange, who exposed their crimes, is the one who needs to be locked up.

We need to make clear that it is those who are so ready to smear anti-racists as antisemites – as Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer, has done to swaths of Labour party members – who are the real racists.

And we need to unmask as war hawks those who accuse the anti-war left of serving as apologists for dictators when we try to stop western states conducting more illegal, resource-grab wars with such devastating results for local populations.

We must get much more sophisticated in our thinking and our strategies. There is no time to lose.

This essay first appeared on Jonathan Cook’s blog: https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/ 

For Years, Journalists Cheered Assange’s Abuse. Now They’ve Paved His Path to a US Gulag

السيرة الذاتيّة لأمين الجميّل: عندما يصبح الارتهان للخارج «مقاومة» [١]

الأخبار

 أسعد أبو خليل السبت 9 كانون الثاني 2021

السيرة الذاتيّة لأمين الجميّل: عندما يصبح الارتهان للخارج «مقاومة»  [١]
(هيثم الموسوي)

يبدو أنّ السيرة الذاتية باتت موضة متّبعة عند الكثير من سياسيّي لبنان، والبعض يستعين بكتّاب – لكن من دون تسميتهم على الغلاف أو في مقدمة الكتاب (يُسمّونهم هنا “الكتّاب الأشباح”، لكنهم يحظون بتنويه في الكتاب، على الغلاف، أو في المقدمة، وذلك اعترافاً بجهودهم). لا ندري إذا كان أمين الجميّل قد كتبَ الكتاب (أمين الجميّل، “الرئاسة المقاوِمة، مذكرات”) بنفسه، أم انه كتبه بالفرنسيّة واستعان بمترجم، لأنّ الكتاب يبدو أنه مُوجّه للقارئ الغربي أكثر من العربي (هو يشرح لنا مثلاً أنّ رفيق الحريري كان رئيساً لحكومة لبنان أو أنّ “ياسر عرفات المعروف بـ”أبو عمّار”، ص، ٣٠). لكن إذا كان الجميّل يظنّ أنّ كتابه سيلقى صدًى في دول الغرب، فهذا يعني أنّ أمين الجميّل لم يتعلّم بعد من دروس تجربته الرئاسيّة الفاشلة والكارثيّة، والتي كلّفت شعب لبنان الآلاف من الضحايا، وفي زمن لم يعد هناك من مجال لتحميل الشعب الفلسطيني ومقاومته المسؤوليّة عن الحرب الأهليّة. إذا كان الجميّل يظنّ أنه سيكون لكتابه تأثير في الغرب، فهذا يعني أنه لم يفقْ بعد من سكرة تنصيبه رئيساً من قبل جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي (لا تعنيني موافقة نواب الرشوة، باستثناء نجاح واكيم وزاهر الخطيب). وأمين الجميّل مملٌّ جداً كمتحدّث، ومملّ أيضاً ككاتب. وهو ينقل أحياناً في سيرته مقاطع من مدوّنته الخاصة، والمقاطع كفيلة بعلاج مرض الأرق. كان عناء القراءة سيقلّ لو أنه لم يستشهد من مدوّناته (المكتوبة بالفرنسيّة).

الكتاب لم يعدّه مؤلّفه وناشره للقراءة. هذا كتاب علاقات عامّة. لا يمكن للمؤلّف الذي وافق على هذا الحجم الكبير للكتاب ووزنه (وهو يُصنَّف هنا بأنه «كتاب طاولة القهوة»، أي الكتب التي يعرضها الناس على طاولة كبيرة في الصالون بغرض الزهو وتكون عادة عن تاريخ الفنون أو الهندسة المعمارية) أن يتوقّع قراءة الكتاب. ووجدتني أجد صعوبة وأنا أحمل الكتاب مستلقياً على الأريكة، لأنّ وزن وحجم الكتاب كانا مزعجيْن جداً، وتقليب الصفحات لم يكن مريحاً البتّة. أراده الجميّل كتاباً يوزّعه على الأمراء والشيوخ والسفراء الذين يزهو بمعرفتهم في متن الكتاب.

المشكلة في الكتاب أننا نتعامل مع كاتب له تاريخ طويل في العمل السياسي وله سمعة غير عطرة في الحقل العام. ومن الصفات التي ارتبطت بالجميّل صفة انعدام المصداقيّة والتحايل والكذب. وبناءً عليه، فإنّ الكثير ممّا جاء في الكتاب يسهل دحضه وتكذيبه وتفنيده. أعطي مثالاً شخصيّاً: يستفيض المؤلّف في كتابه بالاستعانة بشفيق الوزّان للتدليل على أنّ قراراته لم تكن فرديّة أو صادرة فقط عن رئيس الجمهوريّة، كأنّ رئيس الجمهوريّة قبل «الطائف» لم يكن حاكماً مستبدّاً يفعل ما يشاء ولم يكن رئيس الوزراء – خصوصاً في حالة شفيق الوزان – إلا ديكوراً فقط. قابلتُ أمين الجميّل عندما كان رئيساً، في منتصف الثمانينيات، بمبادرة من والدي الذي كان على معرفة به (المحرّر: والد الزميل أسعد هو إحسان أبو خليل الذي شغل منصب الأمين العام لمجلس النواب سابقاً). وكنتُ أجري مقابلات مع سياسيّين في معرض كتابة الأطروحة، واقترح والدي أن أقابل شخصاً اعتبره عدوّاً، واصطحبني إلى قصر بعبدا لهذا الغرض. والذي علّقَ بذهني من مقابلته والحوار الذي جرى (واحتدّ) أنه كان يشيدُ بشفيق الوزان ويزعم أنه يُشركه في كلّ قراراته. وبعد اللقاء، قابلت الوزّان كي أسأله عن ذلك، فما كان من الأخير إلّا أن نفى ذلك بانكسار، وأذكر لهجته الحزينة وهو يقول لي: لم أكن أعلم بما يُدار ولم يتم إشراكي بأيّ من القرارات. طبعاً، الوزان لم يكن رجلاً نزيهاً أو بريئاً، لأنّ فريق الجميّل استماله بطرق لا تختلف عن طرق استمالة رفيق الحريري لأفراد الطبقة الحاكمة في لبنان. كما أذكر من هذا اللقاء لهجة الجميّل عن خصومه عندما قال لي: لا نبيه برّي ولا وليد جنبلاط «يغبّر على صباطي». وعندما تجادلتُ معه كان يقول لوالدي متبرّماً إنني متأثّر بالدعاية الأميركيّة ضدّه.

الكتاب يعتمد على محاضر ووثائق يصنّفها المؤلّف بـ«المحفوظات الشخصيّة»، وبعض هذه هي «مدوّنات خاصّة في سجل اليوميّات». لكنّ هذا التوثيق لا يكفي أو لا يُعوَّل عليه – خصوصاً في حالة الجميّل – إلا إذا فتح الجميّل أرشيفه أمام الباحثين وجعل هذه المحفوظات الشخصيّة متاحة للعموم كي يتسنّى لنا مقارنة الأصل (مثل محاضر اجتماعات) بالفرع، الذي يرد في الكتاب والذي يخضع حكماً لتفسيرات الجميّل المؤاتية له. وهذا ضروري في حالة الجميّل، لأنّه شخص يفتقر إلى الحدّ الأدنى من «التأمّل الداخلي» كي لا نقول إلى نقد الذات الذي هو أبعد ما يكون عنه. هذا رجل عمل في السياسة، أو ورثها مع منزل العائلة في بكفيا، من دون أن يعترف بخطأ واحد له، أو حتى هفوة. هذا رجل مُصاب بعقدة لوم العالم كلّه على أخطائه والكوارث التي تسبّبَ بها. لم يكن يمكن أن يرتكب رئيس جمهوريّة وأن يتسبّب بإراقة دماء كما ارتكب وتسبّب أمين الجميّل (الاستثناء الوحيد قد يكون أخاه بشير لو تسنّى له الحكم). العالم كلّه خذله، في الغرب والشرق، وكلّ الأطراف في لبنان خذلته، في المقلبَيْن، وهو وحده المحق. خذوا شعاره المُضحك: «أعطونا السلام وخذوا ما يدهش العالم» (والشعار وُضع بالإنكليزيّة – هناك تكملة للشعار وهي «مرّة أخرى»، أي أنّ لبنان أدهش العالم من قبل. والشعار هو ببساطة طلب الجميّل من دول الغرب أن تسلّم له لبنان على طبق من فضّة (أو ذهب إذ أنه يفضّل الأنفس)).

يبدأ نسج الأساطير في الكتاب مبكراً، فتصبح هجرة العائلة من لبنان إلى مصر مجرّد طلب للحريّة (المضرّجة، على قول أحمد شوقي). هذه كما يحب الأميركيّون أن يردّدوا مقولة إنّ الهجرة إلى أميركا هي دائماً طلبٌ للحريّة. أي أنّ الفقراء اللبنانيّين الذين توافدوا، قبل وبعد المجاعة، إلى «العالم الجديد» كانوا ينشدون الحريّة. تقرأ ذلك وتظنّ أنّ كلّ مهاجر لبناني وأفراد عائلة الجميّل، هم أمثال هادي العلوي أو غسان كنفاني أو جورج حجّار، كتّاب راديكاليون ثوريّون لا تتّسع البلدان لهم بسبب ثوريّتهم ومجاهرتهم بطلب التغيير الجذري. الهجرة اللبنانية هي بهدف تحسين الوضع المادي وطلب الرزق. يقول إنّ هجرة جدّه كانت بسبب مطالبته بالاستقلال، لكن ليس هناك من مصدر أو دليل على أنّ هجرة جدّ أمين وشقيق جدّه كانت بسبب نشاطات نضاليّة لهما (ص. ١٩). ثم إنّ سبب مطاردة السلطات العثمانيّة لبعض اللبنانيّين كانت أحياناً لأنّ هؤلاء كانوا من دعاة الاستعمار الأوروبي وليسوا من دعاة الحرّية والاستقلال الناجز.

يبدأ نسج الأساطير في الكتاب مبكراً فتصبح هجرة العائلة من لبنان إلى مصر مجرّد طلب للحريّة


ويبلغ الطموح بأمين حدّاً يجعله يحاول أن يُقنع القارئ أنّه أديب ومفكّر. لكن، يا أمين: أنتَ في العمل السياسي منذ السبعينيّات، والناس يعرفونك ويسمعونك وقد خبِروك عن كثب في النيابة وفي قصر بعبدا. فيقول لنا إنّه تأثّر بشيشرون قبل أن ينتقل إلى جبران وتيار دو شاردان (استشهاد كمال جنبلاط بالأخير جعله مُحبَّذاً من من متصنّعي الثقافة في لبنان). ويزيد أمين أنّه تأثّر بالأدب العربي من ابن الرومي إلى الجاحظ إلى وليّ الدين يكن. لكنّ الجميّل يسمّي الأخير – الذي أحبَّ فيه تمرّده وشجاعته – «نور الدين يكن» (ص. ٢٠). هذا كأن يقول المرء إنّه تأثّر بكتابات جبران سمير جبران. ويحشو الكاتب في نصّه استشهادات لمفكّرين بمناسبة وغير مناسبة: واضح أنّ المؤلّف اقتنى مجلّداً من مجلّدات «كتاب الاستشهادات»، وهو الكتاب الذي يستعمله رجال أعمال وسياسيون من أجل حشو خطبهم باستشهادات لمشاهير الكتاب والمفكّرين، لإضفاء طابعٍ عميق على أنفسهم. ثمّ، إذا كان أمين قد تأثّر بالأدب العربي وبالفلاسفة، فلماذا ليس هناك من أثر لذلك، لا في خطبه ولا في أحاديثه، وحتماً ليس في هذا الكتاب.
وفي روايته عن علاقة رياض الصلح بوالده، تخال أنّ المثياق الوطني – على شناعته كتركيبة نفاق وطني – لم يكن بين الصلح وبشارة الخوري، بقدر ما كان بين الصلح وبيار الجميّل، وهذا يتناقض مع المعروف عن الظروف التي أحاطت بالميثاق (راجع كتاب باسم الجسر عن الميثاق، مثلاً). يدخل تعظيم شأن بيار الجميّل في نطاق المبالغات التي يتّصف بها الكتاب. ويشيد بكميل وزلفا شمعون، لأنّهما «كأنهما ينتميان إلى طبقة النبلاء، وأنّهما خير من يمثّل بلدنا» ويعتزّ بـ«المظهر البريطاني» الذي ورثته زلفا عن جدّتها (ص. ٢٣). هذه معايير أمين. ويزعم في روايته الموجزة عن حرب ١٩٥٨ الأهليّة في لبنان، أنّ عبد الناصر كان يريد إلحاق لبنان بالجمهوريّة العربيّة المتحدة (ص. ٢٣). الحقيقة أنّه كان هناك قطاع كبير في لبنان يريد الوحدة مع الجمهورية الواعدة، لكنّ عبد الناصر رفض حتى مناقشة الموضوع وكان دائماً يصدّ الوحدويّين اللبنانيّين بالقول إنّ للبنان «وضعه الخاص». وهو يعترف في ما بعد في الكتاب بأنّ عبد الناصر رأى أنّه من ««الحكمة» إبعاد لبنان عن النزاع المسلّح» (ص. ٣٠)، وفي الحقيقة أنّ عبد الناصر كان يعلم أنّ نصف لبنان على الأقل (كما اليوم) أقرب إلى إسرائيل منه إلى أعداء إسرائيل، وكان يخشى أن تؤدّي مشاركة لبنان إلى تفجيره.

أطرف ما يمكن أن يمرّ على القارئ في هذا الكتاب هو هذا المقطع: «تضاعفت اتصالاتي ولا سيّما مع جامعة هارفرد التي أصبحت «مربط خيلي»، وما زلتُ أحتفظ معها بعلاقات ودّية» (ص. ٢٥). دعني أوضّح للقارئ: طبعاً، يحقّ للقارئ أن يتساءل عن سبب إقامة جامعة هارفرد علاقة مع أمين الجميّل، غير المعروف بالعلم والمعرفة والفكر. هناك في جامعة هارفرد، كما في بعض الجامعات، أقسام غير أكاديميّة: مثل «كليّة كنيدي» للسياسة أو «مركز العلاقات الدوليّة». و«كليّة كنيدي» مثلاً، تمنح وريقات (سيرتفيكيت) وليس شهادات أكاديميّة يُعتدّ بها، ويستطيع الذي يريد أن يدفع أقساطاً باهظة مقابل شهر أو فترة دراسيّة صيفيّة (كما فعل نجيب ميقاتي أو سامي الجميّل) أن يحصل على هذه الورقة كي يضعها على سيرته الذاتيّة ويوهم الناس أنه يحمل شهادة أكاديميّة من جامعة هارفرد وهذا تزوير طبعاً. أما «مركز العلاقات الدولية» الذي تحدّث عنه أمين هنا، فهو يستضيف دوريّاً مجرمي حرب وزعماء ميليشيات وحكّاماً بصفة «مسؤولين رفيعين» من العالم. وأذكر أنني في عام ١٩٨٩، عندما كنتُ أعمل في التدريس في مدينة بوسطن كنتَ أرى مجرم الحرب الإسرائيلي، أميرام ميتزنا (وكان الحاكم العسكري في الضفة زمن الانتفاضة الأولى) في مترو محطة جامعة هارفرد، وقد يكون أمين تزامن معه هناك. أما أن يقول إنّ جامعة هارفرد هي «مربط خيله»، فهذا يعطيكم فكرة عن عقليّة هذا الرجل. لا، ويزهو أنه تعرّف إلى الأكاديمي العنصري، صامويل هانتغتون، والذي أصبح اسمه منبوذاً في الأكاديميا الأميركيّة والعالميّة. لكن أمين صافحه، كما صافح ألان ديلون وخوليو إيغليسياس عندما زارا لبنان أثناء رئاسته عندما بشّرنا بنهاية الحرب الأهليّة.

سرديّة أمين عن الحرب الأهليّة هي النمط الكلاسيكي للرواية الانعزاليّة بحذافيرها. يُقال لنا إنّ الشعب اللبناني كان يعيش بوئام ومحبّة مع الشعب الفلسطيني، قبل أن تنطلق ثورته (ص. ٣٠). طبعاً، الحقيقة هي مغايرة لما يقوله آل الجميل عن تاريخ لبنان (المعاصر أو السحيق، لا فرق). التاريخ عند هؤلاء هو أسطورة لا تمتّ بصلة للعلم، كما أنّ إيمانهم بالسيادة لا يتعارض عندهم مع التحالف مع إسرائيل. الشعب الفلسطيني كان يعيش سجيناً في مخيّمات تحت وطأة النعل العكسري لـ«المكتب الثاني» الذي لم يمانع في تطبيق عقيدة فؤاد شهاب، والتي كان مفادها أن يتآمر لبنان سرّاً مع إسرائيل ضدّ عبد الناصر وضدّ المقاومة الفلسطينيّة في ما بعد. والشعب اللبناني لم يكن يكنّ التعاطف مع الشعب الفلسطيني لأنّ السخرية من المعاناة الفلسطينيّة والتشكيك في وجع النكبة كانا سائديْن (كانت البرامج الكوميدية التلفزيونيّة تسخر من البرنامج الإذاعي الذي كان يتبادل فيه أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني في مخيّمات لبنان مع الأقارب تحت الاحتلال التحيّات والتطمينات) وبين كلّ الدول العربيّة، كان لبنان هو الأقسى من دون استثناء في تعاطيه مع اللاجئين الفلسطينيّين (يمكن مراجعة كتاب لوري برند «الفلسطينيّون في العالم العربي»). بوقاحة شديدة، يقول عضو الحزب الذي كان منذ الخمسينيّات (على الأقل) يتلقّى الدفوعات من إسرائيل لتمويل حملاته الانتخابيّة إنّ الشعب اللبناني كان يشاطر الفلسطينيّين «أحلامهم باستعادة وطنهم السليب». هل كان الجميّل وصحبه يشاطرون شعب فلسطين هذه الأحلام وهم يتلقّون التمويل من العدوّ؟

ويستشهد أمين الجميّل بمقاله لجدّه أمين الجميّل في مجلّة «البشير»، في عام ١٩٣٠، كأنّ ذلك يشفع للتحالف الذي عقده حزب «الكتائب» مع العدو بعد سنوات. وفي غياب النص الكامل للمقالة لا يمكن إلّا التعليق على الاستشهاد الذي نشره أمين في الكتاب، وفيه يظهر حرصٌ على المستوطنين اليهود إذ يقول أمين (الجد) إنّ وعد بلفور يمكن أن يكون عثرة أمام «راحة اليهود وهناء جيرانهم العرب»، ويضيف: «لم نكتم اليهود خوفنا على مستقبلهم» (ص. ٣١). لكن يجب تعليق الحكم بانتظار قراءة النص الكامل. ويقول أمين (المؤلّف): «عندما بدأت المخيّمات الفلسطينيّة بالغليان، اعترانا الذهول والحيرة» (ص. ٣١). لماذا؟ لم يكن غليان المخيّمات متوقّعاً، على ضوء القمع الذي كان يتعرّض له شعب فلسطين والاعتداءات على نسوة المخيّمات من قبل زعران المكتب الثاني، أو التنكيل والاعتقال والتعذيب التي كان يتعرّض لها الشعب الفلسطيني عندما يتظاهر دعماً لحقوقه؟ ولا يخفي أمين نزعة الاستعلاء الطبقي على أهالي المخيّمات فيعبّر عن استفظاعه قائلاً: «إذا بمستخدم أو عامل فلسطيني عادي كنا نعرفه منذ فترة طويلة يتحوّل فجأة تحت أنظارنا إلى مغوار متغطرس يتقلّد رشاش كلاشينكوف» (ص. ٣١). كان يريد من الشعب الفلسطيني في المخيّمات أن يبقى عاملاً وأن تبقى النسوة عاملات في المنازل وأن يقبل اللاجئون بتواطؤ السلطة اللبنانية مع عدوّهم.

وتبلغ الوقاحة بالجميّل في تزويره لتاريخ الحرب الأهليّة حدّ اتهام ضحايا اعتداءات «الكتائب» بما كان أوغاده يقومون به على «كوع الكحّالة». ومن المعروف أنّ ميليشيا «الكتائب» كانت ظاهرة الوجود في الكحّالة ولها مآثر طويلة في التجاوزات والجرائم ضدّ المارّين في الطريق الذي لا مفرّ منه بين لبنان وسوريا. وتعرّضت قوافل وسيّارات فلسطينيّة إلى اعتداءات دوريّة كما تعرّضت شاحنة تحمل نسخاً من القرآن إلى الحرق. كان الكوع هو المنبر الذي أراد حزب «الكتائب» أن يُعلن فيه خروج ميليشياه السرّية إلى العلن. والحزب تخصّص في تاريخه في تجنّب مواجهة الفدائيّين وجهاً لوجه، وفي التركيز على الكمائن وعلى المجازر ضدّ المخيّمات الفلسطينيّة. لا، يزعم الجميّل في كذبة صفيقة بأنّ الفدائيّين كانوا يتوجّهون إلى الكحّالة – التي هي معقل أوغاد «الكتائب» – وذلك فقط من أجل استفزازهم (ص. ٣٤). هل يُعقل أن يصدِّق المرء ذلك؟ قد تسري هذه الكذبة على القارئ الفرنسي الفاشي من أصدقاء الجميّل عندما يقرأ الكتاب بنسخته الفرنسية، لكن أيّ قارئ عربي يمكن أن يصدّقه؟ هذه الكذبة لا تختلف عن الكذبة الانعزاليّة المألوفة التي يكرّرها الجميّل عن أن مخيّم تل الزعتر المُحاصر (من كلّ الجهات من قبل مناطق ذات نفوذ كتائبي وشمعوني) كان يقوم باستفزاز محيطه، لا العكس. والأكيد أنّ هذه الصيغة من البروباغندا كان العدوّ الإسرائيلي يزوّد «الكتائب» بها كي يستعين بها للتحضير للمجازر التي توالت ضدّ المخيّمات الفلسطينيّة – وكانت هذه المجازر تتزامن مع مجازر لسلاح الطيران الإسرائيلي الذي أحرق في مطلع الحرب الأهليّة مخيّم النبطيّة عن بكرة أبيه – لم يعد لهذا المخيم من وجود اليوم.

وعندما يتطرّق الجميّل إلى الحملة الوحشيّة التي شنّها الجيش اللبناني ضدّ المخيّمات الفلسطينيّة في أيّار / مايو ١٩٧٣ (وكان ذلك بالتأكيد بالتنسيق مع سلطات العدو وكانت رئاسة الجمهوريّة تنسّق مع العدو في حينه، كما اكتشفنا من وثائق أميركيّة أُفرجَ عنها – ثم إنّ الحملة أتت بعد أسابيع فقط من إنزال قوات العدو في قلب الرملة البيضاء والتوجّه نحو فردان من أجل اغتيال قادة في المقاومة، ثم المغادرة عن طريق البحر ومن دون إطلاق رصاصة واحدة من قبل الجيش اللبناني الذي كان يقوده إسكندر غانم، الذي كان قائد منطقة بيروت في عام ١٩٦٨ عندما أحرق العدو طائرات لبنانية مدنيّة بالرغم من ورود تحذيرات إلى لبنان حول هذا العدوان قبل حدوثه). وتلك الحملة (في عام ١٩٧٣) كانت محاولة لتكرار أيلول الأسود في لبنان، لكن الذي منع ذلك – بالإضافة إلى الكفاءة القتاليّة للمقاومة – هو الانشطار الطائفي اللبناني بالإضافة إلى تأييد واسع للمقاومة من قبل قطاعات كبيرة للشعب اللبناني (وليس المسلمون فقط كما توحي دعاية الفرق الانعزاليّة). ويهتم الجميّل في هذا الصدد بإيراد عدد «ضحايا» الجيش اللبناني (كيف يكون الجيش ضحيّة وهو كان المعتدي؟) من دون إيراد عدد ضحايا، ليس فقط المقاومة الفلسطينيّة، بل أيضاً المدنيّين العزّل في المخيّمات (ص. ٣٩). ويؤيّد الجميّل خيار الاستعانة بطيران الجيش اللبناني الذي لم يُستعمل يوماً ضدّ العدو الإسرائيلي. ويحرص (على عادة الفكر الطائفي للحزب الذي يمثّله) على ذكر اسم عزيز الأحدب في تلك الحملة ضدّ المخيّمات، فقط لأنّه سنّي وهو يريد أن يقول إنّ هذا المسلم السنّي كان مشاركاً. طبعاً، لم يكن الأحدب (ذو الفكر الانعزالي الفينيقي) يصنع القرار في ذلك الحين، ولكنّه كان حليفاً لليمين الانعزالي، لكن ذلك لم يمنعه في عام ١٩٧٦ من التعاون مع حركة «فتح» عندما أعلن انقلابه (التلفزيوني) الشهير.
(يتبع)

* كاتب عربي (حسابه على «تويتر» asadabukhalil@)

“Forbidden Weapons” Used Against Gaza Strip Palestinians. Israel Deliberately Targets Palestinian Civilians

By Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh

Global Research, January 08, 2021

The following research article will explore three forbidden weapons that were and are still being used against the Palestinian civilians of the besieged Gaza Strip. These weapons are the DIME, the Flechette Shells and the Vacuum Bomb. Furthermore, this research article will attempt to answer an important question: Why does Israel deliberately target Palestinian civilians?

The DIME Components

DIME shell stands for Dense Inert Metal Explosives, is supposedly a “low collateral damage” weapon that was developed by the US Air Force.[1] Already in 2006, the DIME weapon has been used by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip. It has been dropped by Israeli drone aircraft.[2]

It should be pointed out that the chemical components of the DIME shell could not have become known to Palestinian physicians because Israel had destroyed Gaza’s only criminal laboratory on June 27, 2006, the first day of the siege.[3] This is indicative of the Zionist sinister future plans to use forbidden weapons against the Palestinian civilians and to keep the world in the dark including the Palestinians. However, after acquiring help from a group of Italian scientists and investigators, Palestinian physicians became aware of the chemical structure of the DIME shell whose extreme dangerous toxicity Israel was trying to conceal.

On October 19, 2006, a group of

“… Italian investigators had tissue samples from the victims in Gaza analyzed by Dr. Carmela Vaccaio at University Parma. Dr. Vaccaio reportedly found “a very high concentration of carbon and the presence of unusual materials, such as copper, aluminum and tungsten.” The doctor concluded that her “findings could be in line with the hypothesis that the weapon in question is DIME.”[4]

According to the spectrometry analyses of biopsies taken from amputation injuries of Palestinian patients from the Gaza Strip, and carried out by a group of Italian scientists affiliated with the New Weapons Research Committee (NWRC), the DIME shell included a combination of the following seventeen metals: “…aluminum, titanium, copper, strontium, barium, cobalt, mercury, vanadium, caesium, tin, arsenic, manganese, rubidium, cadmium, chromium, zinc and nickel…”[5] The combination of that many metals, including heavy metals, makes the DIME shell an extremely toxic chemical weapon and a highly dangerous one.

It should be pointed out that the “DIME weapons consist of a carbon fiber casing filled with a mixture of explosives and very dense microshrapnel, consisting of very small particles (1–2 mm) or powder of a heavy metal…”[6] When it explodes, DIME bombs blast a superheated “micro-shrapnel” of powdered heavy metal tungsten alloy.[7]

The DIME Health Hazards

The initial reports on the health hazards of the DIME bomb came out few months after Israel began to use it in the summer of 2006.  Dr. Jom’a Al-Saqqa, chief of the emergency unit at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, observed that the DIME was “a new ‘chemical’ weapon” and Israeli siege was “a live exercise on a new ammunition that, so far, has resulted in killing 50 Palestinians and injuring 200.” He added that, “despite the damage in internal soft tissue in the bodies of injured people, the fragments were not detected by X-ray. In other words, they had disappeared or dissolved inside the body.”[8]

Dr. Al-Saqqa, a surgeon by profession, continued his observation by adding that “There were usually entry and exit wounds. When the wounds were explored no foreign material was found. There was tissue death, the extent of which was difficult to determine. … A higher deep infection rate resulted with subsequent amputation. In spite of amputation there was a higher mortality.”[9]

Moreover, Dr. Al-Saqqa, added the following observation on the death-causing health impact of the DIME weapon.

“When the shrapnel hit[s] the body, it causes very strong burns that destroy the tissues around the bones…it burns and destroys internal organs, like the liver, kidneys, and the spleen and other organs and makes saving the wounded almost impossible. As a surgeon, I have seen thousands of wounds during the Intifada, but nothing was like this weapon.”[10]

Dr Joma Al-Saqqa, chief of the emergency unit at Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa added that, “despite the damage in internal soft tissue in the bodies of injured people, the fragments were not detected by X-ray. In other words, they had disappeared or dissolved inside the body.”[11]

Another witnessing surgeon is Dr. Habas al-Wahid, the Palestinian head of the Emergency Unit at Gaza’s Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital. He made the following shocking observation. “Israel’s new weapon “slices” off its victims’ legs, leaving “signs of heat and burns near the point of the amputation”. It’s “as if a saw was used to cut through the bone…”[12]

Due to the penetration of the body by a number of heavy metals, this situation produces “[m]ultiple syndromes of heavy metal poisoning …” in addition it produces “…polycythemia, which can be induced by cobalt overdose.”[13] Polycythemia is “… a type of blood cancer that causes the bone marrow to make too many red blood cells, a health case that thickens the blood, slowing its flow, and a development which may cause serious problems, such as blood clots. Furthermore, Polycythemia produces cancer of the blood and bone marrow, namely acute leukemia.[14]

It should be pointed out that “[t]he whole Gaza population and their environment, including generations yet to be conceived, have been put at risk of serious long-term injury from heavy metal pollution of the air, soil and groundwater (and possibly the seawater too), while the causal pollution is likely to cross state borders into Egypt and even into Israel…”[15]

As a direct result of use by Israel of forbidden chemical weapons, all sorts of cancer cases have increased in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Ministry of Health has revealed that in the beginning of 2019, there were 8,515 cancer patients inside the Gaza Strip, including 4,705 women and 608 children. Cancer “Patients’ in the Gaza Strip suffer from the permanent shortage of equipment, drugs and medical supplies as a result of Israel’s stifling 12-year siege of  the enclave.”[16] They also suffer from denial of exit permits to children cancer patients and their companions for treatment abroad.[17] Other cancer patients are denied any medical treatment. According to the World Health Organization “Getting a permit to access the health care needed outside can be a stressful and unpredictable process, and many apply multiple times before being able to exit. Even then, some patients are never able to secure the permits they need to access care”[18]

These health hazards caused by the use of DIME shells by Israel constitute war crimes. The Israeli generals who were responsible for them are among others, Beni Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi, the leaders of the Blue White Israeli party. Ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, his defense minister are also war criminals. Due to the fact that these war crimes have continued to take place also under the present Israeli government, Benyamin Netanyahu and his defense minister Beni Gantz are also war criminals.

The Flechette Shell Components

The Flechette shell is “…made out of steel and had a very sharp pointy end… For increased aerodynamics, they featured fins on their other end – most likely to increase the speed of descent.”[19] It explodes in the air and releasesapproximately 2,200 flechettes.[20] The metal darts disperse in a conical arch three hundred meters long and about ninety meters wide. It is considered an anti-personnel weapon that is generally fired from a tank.[21] On impact, the Flechette darts are “… capable of penetrating a combatant from head to foot and creating an instantly incapacitating wound…”[22]

One of the hazardous developments that take place is that the “… head of the dart is designed to break away. Having penetrated inside a person, this breakage inflicts a second wound per single dart entry, multiplying the amount of internal damage done by the razor-like darts…”[23]

The Health Hazards of the Flechette Shell

Israel has, numerously, used the Flechette shells in the Gaza Strip. During the war of 2008-2009, Israeli tanks assaulted Palestinian civilians with Flechette shells. There were a number of Palestinian victims of the Flechette shells. The following is the story of two Palestinian medics who were victims of the Flechette shell.

… In the initial shelling that day, Hammad lost his foot when Israeli tanks fired at, according to Hammad, a region filled with terrified civilians fleeing Israeli bombing. His friend Ali was shot in the head while trying to evacuate Hammad. The medics then arrived. Abd al-Dayem and Sarhan had loaded Hammad into the ambulance and were going to retrieve Ali’s body when the flechette shell was fired at the medics and fleeing civilians. Ali was decapitated…[24]

According to Palestinian traditions, parents and relatives of a deceased person usually hold two mourning houses, one for men and another for women. These mourning ceremonies are held outside the house so they can accommodate the largest possible gathering of mourners.

The Palestinian medic Jamal Abd al-Dayem explained what happened at the mourning ceremonies that were held for his late cousin Arafa Abd al-Dayem, the 35-year-old paramedic who died as a result “… of slashes to his lungs, limbs and internal organs.”[25]

After my cousin Arafa was martyred on 4 January, we immediately opened mourning houses, with separate areas for men and women. The next day, at 9:30am the Israelis struck the mourning area where the men were. It was clearly a mourning house, on the road, open and visible. Immediately after the first strike, the Israelis hit the women’s mourning area.” Two strikes within 1.5 minutes, he reported.[26]

The former four Flechette shelling incidents clearly show that the Israeli army is systematically and deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians. They cannot be dismissed as misguided targeting or mistakes. These are repetitive similar shellings of Flechettes that targeted civilians. We should pose the following question. If the Israeli army have on numerous occasions, deliberately targeted civilians, there should be reasons for that.

According to Dr. Bassam al-Masari, a surgeon at Beit Lahiya’s Kamal Adwan hospital, Flechette darts have caused “… more injuries than other bombs precisely because they spread in a larger area. And while the darts appear innocuously small, their velocity and design enable them to bore through cement and bones and “cut everything internal…”[27] Al-Masri added that “… their velocity and design enable them to bore through cement and bones and “cut everything internal…” Accordingly, the prime cause of death is severe internal bleeding from slashed organs, particularly the heart, liver and brain. Brain injuries are the most fatal…[28]

They Target Schools, don’t they?

It is noticeable that, during the past twelve years, Israeli air raids and shelling have targeted a number of civilian facilities inside the Gaza Strip. These facilities included schools, universities, hospitals, medical clinics, mosques, markets, shopping centers, factories, farms, banks, mourning cites, warehouses, a power station, and other essential civilian infrastructure. The following is a partial review of actual incidents.

Hundreds of Palestinian civilians who were forced out from their apartments and houses by the Zionist army, sought refuge inside UNRWA schools thinking that they would be in a safe haven. Nevertheless, Zionist criminal generals thought otherwise.

Author Mike Head reported that, “At least 20 Palestinians were killed and about 90 injured early on Wednesday, including UN workers, when Jabalia Elementary Girls School in Gaza City, which was sheltering 3,300 families, was hit by three artillery shells.”[29] Was it a mistake?

What happened to one UNRWA school was revealed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who reported that “… the exact location of this elementary school has been communicated to the Israeli military authorities 17 times…”[30] yet the Israeli army attacked the school and a number of Palestinians were killed and wounded.

Despite this evidence and during the 2014 war, US President Barak Obama claimed to be “extremely concerned” about the killing of people in UN designated shelters. At the same time Obama accused Hamas of hiding weapons in UN facilities.[31] By accusing Hamas of “hiding weapons in UN facilities” he reiterated Zionist lies and provided a justification for Zionist criminal bombing of UNRWA schools.Israel Killed and Injured More Civilians with Explosive Weapons than Any Other State in 2014

Author Vincent Di Stefano reported that until Dec 2010, “Seven schools in Gaza were totally destroyed, and 135 were substantially damaged. The Al-Azhar University of Gaza was reduced to rubble. Hospitals, medical clinics and Red Crescent warehouses were all targeted…”[32]

The author added that

“It was the second attack, and the sixth strike, on a UN school since Israel’s military offensive in Gaza began on July 8. Last week, 15 people died and about 200 were wounded when another UN school, in Beit Hanoun, was hit as the playground was filled with families awaiting evacuation.”[33]

Author Vincent Di Stefano concluded that “…By deliberately targeting UN schools, [Israel] is sending a chilling message: no one in Gaza is safe from ‘Operation Protective Edge.’…”[34]

In another criminal incident, “… three air strikes killed 15 people and injured 150 in a market area on the outskirts of Shujaiyah. As smoke billowed from the initial air strike, witnesses said emergency services and civilians rushed to help the victims, only to be hit by a further two air strikes minutes later.[35] Was this incident a mistake?

In another criminal assault that was reported by the British Guardian, we quote the following.

During the 2009 war, Mounir a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip reported the following story. While he was sitting around with his family drinking tea in their small courtyard, he heard the loud buzzing of an Israeli drone, clearly visible in the sky above. “He went inside for a moment and, as he returned, he saw a ball of light hurtling down toward him. There was a loud explosion and he was thrown backward. He gathered himself and stumbled out into the courtyard, where he saw the scene he says will never leave him.”[36] In his own words, Mounir described what happened to members of his family by saying: “We found Mohammed lying there, cut in half. Ahmed was in three pieces; Wahid was totally burnt – his eyes were gone. Wahid’s father was dead. Nour had been decapitated. We couldn’t see her head anywhere.”[37] Mounir continued by relating. “You cannot imagine the scene: a family all sitting around together and then, in a matter of seconds, they were cut to pieces. Even the next day we found limbs and body parts on the roof, feet and hands,” Mounir says.[38] Was this incident a mistake?

Despite these deliberate criminal incidents, the Israeli colonial army, as well as, Israeli colonial politicians claim that “… the IDF … intensively trained its personnel on the requirements of the Law of Armed Conflict. It delayed, diverted, or refrained from attacks to spare civilian life. It provided numerous and varied types of concrete warnings before launching attacks.”[39] As reported earlier, concrete evidence points to the contrary.

In addition to schools, Israeli military strikes targeted residential and public structures thus producing utter destruction. Author, Patrick O’Conner reported that “…At least 5,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 20,000 damaged, with many urban centers reduced to nothing more than rubble…”[40]

Moreover, Israeli military assaults targeted public structures. “… The parliament and cabinet buildings in Gaza City were destroyed, as was the city’s police headquarters, the Bank of Palestine building, the main university, several mosques…”[41], and six major water wells were damaged or destroyed.[42] In addition, Gaza’s water and electricity networks were destroyed by the Israeli army.[43]

Israeli war crimes that took place in the Gaza Strip during the last three wars was an election issue adopted by former Israeli army chief, Benny Gantz. He produced an election video for his party in which he bragged about killing 1,364 Palestinians and returning parts of the Gaza Strip to the stone ages.[44] Gantz admits responsibility for these war crimes but is ready to use his crimes as means to win the votes of racist Israelis.

Moreover, on Thursday, August 9, 2018 the Said al-Mishal Centre, a cultural center in Gaza housing the region’s second-largest theater, was bombed by Israeli military forces. The five-floor edifice housed a library, an Egyptian community center, offices for cultural associations, and a theater for arts and dabkeh.[45]

As usual, the Zionist army claimed that the center “… was being used by “the Hamas terror organization for military purposes”[46], an evidence that has never been proved.

Moreover, during the war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Zionist President Shimon Peres met with a delegation from AIPAC, the American Zionist lobby. In his speech to the delegation, Peres admitted that “… Israel’s aim, … was to provide a strong blow to the people of Gaza so that they would lose their appetite for shooting at Israel…”[47] That was a clear admission that the Zionist army deliberately and systematically targets Palestinian civilians.

One here should pause and ask the following question: Why the Israeli military, target Palestinian civilians in its aggressive wars? This is an attempted answer.

In the last three Israeli wars against the Gaza Strip, Israeli shelling deliberately targeted schools including UNRWA schools, market places, mourning houses and packed houses. This policy has been also implemented in Lebanon, and in Egypt during the Israeli bombardments in the seventies. The Israeli sinister logic behind this criminal policy is this: if you maximize civilian losses, civilians will stop backing Hamas or Hizballah. This faulty logic produced a systematic and deliberate policy of “mini” Zionist massacres. The shelling of civilian structures that are fully packed with people cannot be dismissed as mistakes nor as acted out in self-defense. So, the final aim of the Zionist aggressive colonial policy of choosing these targets, is to maximize civilian killings and terrorize the civilian population in order to force civilians to submit to Zionist colonial policies.

Components of the Vacuum Bomb

The Vacuum Bomb, named also the fuel–air explosive (FAE) is a type of explosive that depends on the use of two highly toxic fuels ethylene oxide and propylene oxide.[48] Once they detonate, they use the oxygen from the “… surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion. In practice, the blast wave typically produced by such a weapon is of a significantly longer duration than that produced by a conventional condensed explosive…”[49]

Once the Vacuum Bomb explodes,

“… the area around the explosion becomes overpressurized, resulting in highly compressed air particles that travel faster than the speed of sound. This wave will dissipate over time and distance and will exist only for a matter of milliseconds. This initial blast wave inflicts the most damage…”[50]

After explosion,

“… the bomb casing, as well as any additional shrapnel (nails, screws or other items included in the bomb), will be violently thrown outward and away from the explosion. When these fragments strike buildings, concrete, masonry, glass and even people, they may fragment even further — and cause even more damage…”[51]

The developments that immediately take place after the explosion are extremely dangerous because of the intensity in the creation of the vacuum and its immediate refill by the surrounding atmosphere. They were described by the author Tom Scheve in the following manner:

At the explosion site, a vacuum is created by the rapid outward movement of the blast. This vacuum will almost immediately refill itself with the surrounding atmosphere. This creates a very strong pull on any nearby person or structural surface after the initial push effect of the blast has been delivered. As this void is refilled, it creates a high-intensity wind that causes fragmented objects, glass and debris to be drawn back in toward the source of the explosion.[52]

It should be pointed out that chemical structure, the explosions, the consumption of the surrounding oxygen, and the vacuum creation, all lead to a number of health hazards.

Health Hazards of Vacuum Bombs

When it explodes, the Vacuum Bomb, “… predominantly affects the pulmonary, cardiovascular, auditory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems…”[53]

Moreover, there are a number of internal injuries that are caused by the health hazards of the vacuum bomb explosion. They could be showed as follows:

…”the effect of an FAE explosion within confined spaces is immense. Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness.”[54]

In short, Vacuum Bombs are highly dangerous weapons that should be treated as forbidden weapons that should not be dropped on highly populated localities like the Gaza Strip. Despite this, the consecutive Israeli governments have been using these dangerous weapons against the Palestinian civilians since 2006.

Could It Be Genocide?

Al-Dameer, a Palestinian human rights organization, had published on 20 December 2009  “… another paper in Arabic on the increase in the number of babies born in Gaza with birth defects, thought to be the result of radioactive and toxic materials from Operation Cast Lead.The birth defects included incomplete hearts and malformations of the brain…”[55]

The conglomeration of Zionist war crimes caused by the use of forbidden weapons, the colonial siege of the Gaza Strip, the deliberate undernourishment of the Gazan Palestinians to the point of severe hunger, the criminal colonial Israeli policy of denying medical permits and restricting the importation of medicines to Gaza, the policy of shoot to kill at Gaza’s borders with the Zionist entity – all these policies and war crimes might very likely lead to genocide. But what is genocide according to International Law?

Article II of the Genocide Convention contains a narrow definition of the crime of genocide, which includes two main elements[56]:

    1. A mental element: the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”; and
    2. A physical element, which includes the following five acts, enumerated exhaustively:
  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Throughout this research article, we have clearly encountered evidence of war crimes in the first four categories. However, the fifth category has not been so far committed by Israel. So, based on this evidence, the Palestinian civilian authorities can submit a demand to the United Nations relevant bodies to force Israel to become accountable for committing these war crimes.

Israel has violated a number of international laws and has violated a number of UN conventions, and resolutions. Due to American hegemony on the Security Council and the use of the veto power Israel was not held accountable for its violations. The Israelis actually admit these violations but they have a criminal way of looking at them. According to the Israeli violators:

If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries. … International law progresses through violations. We invented the targeted assassination thesis and we had to push it. At first there were protrusions that made it hard to insert easily into the legal molds. Eight years later, it is in the center of the bounds of legitimacy.[57]

This is the sick logic of settler colonialists that are armed and supported by Western imperialism. The American imperialists not only do that but they obstruct the work of the Security Council to prevent it from holding Israel accountable for its war crimes. However, this misconduct does not make Israel innocent because its war crimes cannot be hidden, forgotten, permitted or deleted. Israeli war crimes are strongly imprinted in the black annals of human history.

*

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Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh teaches sociology at Birzeit University in the colonized West Bank. He is a resident of Nazareth, Palestine. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Manchester and is author of a number of books and research articles.

Notes

[1] As quoted by Brooks, James “Starve Them; Shoot Them; then Give Them Cancer: An Inquiry into Israel’s use of DIME weaponry in of the Gaza Strip”, Vermonters for a Just Peace, https://vtjp.org, 22-1-2009

[2] Ma’an News, “Palestinian injuries suggest Israel is using chemical weapons in Gaza”, http://www.maannews.net 7-10-2006 and Shaoul, Jean, “Israel used chemical weapons in Lebanon and Gaza”, Centre for Research on Globalization, http://wsws.org, 24-110-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[3] Centre for Research on Globalization/Gulf News, “Israel ’is using chemical ammunition’ in Gaza”, http://www.globalresearch.ca, 13-6-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[4] Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[5] Halpin, David, “Are New weapons Being Used in Gaza and Lebanon”, Electronic Intifada, http://electronicintifada.net, 14-8-2006. As quoted by Lightbown, Richard,  “Israel’s Weapons: A Crime on Humanity”, https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, 1-5-2011.

[6] Wikipedia,” Dense Inert Metal Explosive”, https://en.wikipedia.org. Accessed 5-12-2020

[7] Brooks, James, op. cit.

[8] Al Baik, Duraid, “Israel ’is using chemical ammunition’ in Gaza”Centre for Research on Globalization/Gulf News, http://www.globalresearch.ca, 13-6-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[9] Halpin, David, Are New Weapons Being Used In Gaza and Lebanon, Electronic Intifada, http://electronicintifada.net, 14-8-2006 and Palestine News Network, Ministry of Health report on toxic Israeli weapons confirmed by Gaza City medical sources, http://www.pnn.ps, 13-7-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[10] “Doctors Report Unusual Weapon Used in Gaza”, Pacifica/Free Speech Radio News,  http://www.pacifica.org, 11-7-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[11] Ibid.

[12] “Italian TV: Israel used new weapon prototype in Gaza Strip”, Israeli daily Ha’aretz, 10/19/2006 http://www.haaretz.com, 19-10-2006. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[13] Kalinich et al, “Embedded Weapons-Grade Tungsten Alloy Shrapnel Rapidly Induces Metastatic High-Grade Rhabdomyosarcomas in F344 Rats”, Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 113, Number 6, June 2005, http://www.ehponline.org. As quoted by Brooks, James, “US and Israel targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon”, Media Monitors Network, http://cosmos.ucc.ie, 4-12-2006

[14] Mayo Clinic Staff, “Polycythemia vera”, https://www.mayoclinic.org. Accessed on: 1-1-2021

[15] Lightbown, Richard,  “Israel’s Weapons: A Crime on Humanity”, https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, 1-5-2011

[16] Middle East Monitor, “8,515 cancer patients in Gaza “https://www.middleeastmonitor.com, 5-2-2019

[17] Nedaa Alabadla, King-Hadduck, and Kevin, Edward, TEAM FUNDRAISER, “Cancer Patients in the Gaza”, https://www.gofundme.com. ACCESSED 12-12-2020

[18] WHO, “Palestinian cancer patients in Gaza wait months for Israel permits”,  https://www.middleeastmonitor.com, 6-2-2019

[19] Chambers, Jay, “Meet the Flechette – the Deadliest Weapon of World War I?”, https://www.historyandheadlines.com, 22-1-2020

[20] Centaurs in Vietnam, “Rockets”, http://centaursinvietnam.org. Accessed 8-12-2020

[21] Btselem, “Firing of Flechette shell that killed Reuters cameraman violates laws of war”, https://www.btselem.org, 17-4-2008

[22] Sabot Designs LLC, “Flechette Shotgun Amunition”, http://www.sabotdesigns.com. Accessed 8-12-2020

[23] Bartlett, Eva, “Ensuring maximum casualties in Gaza”, The Electronic Intifadahttp://electronicintifada.net, 16-3-2009

[24] Bartlett, Eva, “Ensuring maximum casualties in Gaza”, The Electronic Intifadahttp://electronicintifada.net, 16-3-2009

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Head, Mike, “US rearms Israel as its war crimes mount in Gaza”, https://www.wsws.org, 31-7-2014

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Di Stefano, Vincent, “And What Rough Beast Slouches Towards Gaza”, https://www.commondreams.org, 25-12-2010

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Chassay, Clancy, “Cut to pieces: the Palestinian family drinking tea in their courtyard”, https://www.theguardian.com, 23-3-2009

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Cook, William A., Now Israel Is Free to Declare Its Innocence before the International Court of Justice”, http://salem-news.com, 15-4-2011

[40] O’Connor, Patrick , “Reports reveal devastation wreaked by Israeli military in Gaza”, https://www.wsws.org, 20-1-2009

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Abunimah, Ali, “Israeli election ad boasts Gaza bombed back to stone ages”, https://electronicintifada.net, 21-1-2019

[45] Weber, Jasmine,  “Palestinian Cultural Center Destroyed by Israeli Military in Recent Attacks”, https://hyperallergic.com, 10-8-2018.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Fay Cashman, Greer, “’Solidarity during war is Israel’s finest hour’”, https://www.jpost.com, 14-1-2009

[48] Wikipedia, “Thermobaric weapon”,  https://en.wikipedia.org. Accessed 9-12-2020

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Andr, David, “MUNITIONS – Thermobaric Munitions and their Medical Effects”, https://jmvh.org. Accessed 4-1-2021

[54] Wikipedia, “Thermobaric weapon”,  https://en.wikipedia.org. Accessed 9-12-2020

[55] Salam, Kawther, “Abortions, Cancer, Diseases and…in Gaza”,  http://www.intifada-palestine.com, 29 December 2009. As quoted by Lightbown, Richard,  “Israel’s Weapons: A Crime on Humanity”, https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, 1-5-2011

[56] United Nations, “Genocide”, https://www.un.org, 2-1-2021

[57] “Israel: Transforming International Law by Violating It”, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/4/09. As quoted by Di Stefano, Vincent, “And What Rough Beast Slouches Towards Gaza”, https://www.commondreams.org, 25-12-2010

Related

America’s Color Revolution

America’s Color Revolution

January 07, 2021

by Paul Craig Roberts reposted on the Saker by permission
source:

The Establishment has imposed a color revolution on the American people.  Ekaterina Blinova is a journalist who reognized that a color revolution has occurred in America under the guise of a presidential election. https://sputniknews.com/us/202011221081242712-politburo-are-dems-striving-to-win-it-all–turn-us-political-landscape-into-one-party-system/

The Establishment used the Democrats for their purpose, because Trump was in office under the Republican banner.  Trump, of course, is a populist, but there is no party that represents the people, so Trump ran as a Republican.

The leftwing, or the fraud that passes for one, thinks it is now in the money.  This is a naive expectation.  The Establishment is in charge, and there will be no leftist agendas unless they serve the Establishment.  If Antifa and BLM cut up, their funding will be cut off, and the presstitutes will be sicced on them.

Biden and Kamala are mere figureheads put in office by a stolen election.  Any agenda they think that they have is irrelevant.  Here is the Establishment’s agenda:

First: Prevent any political organization of the “Trump Deplorables.”  Any who attempt to form a real opposition party will be made an example of.  In America it is child’s play to frame up anyone.  We saw the show in Russiagate, and Trump will now be exhausted with endless frameups as the Establishment pursues him into oblivion.  If the President of the United States can be so easily framed up, an unknown political organizer in the red states can be disposed of at will.

Second: Increase the demonization of white people and the destruction of their confidence.  White Americans are still a majority and, therefore, a potential political force.  Their demonization is already institutionalized in the educational system, in the New York Times’  propagandistic “1619 Project,” and in the “racial sensitivity” training that all white employes of US corporations, governments, and US military have to take.  Trump ordered a halt to the anti-white indoctrination sessions in the Federal government and US military, but the new regime will quickly reinstate the required indoctrinated as a sop to deluded blacks, feminists, and leftwingers.

Third: The Second Amendment will be overturned or bypassed.  Trump supporters will be disarmed in order to more easily terrorize them and prevent them from protecting  their property and persons if the Establishment believes it is efficacious to unleash armed anti-white militias on them in order to bring them into line. White self-defense will be more or less criminalized.

Fourth: The Establishment will increase its fomenting of racial and gender conflict in order to keep Americans too divided to resist its increasingly odious control measures, whether they be the use of Covid to suppress freedom of movement and association, charges of being a  foreign agent in order to suppress free speech as in the Assange case, or round up and  internment of Trump Americans trying to organize a political party that represents the people instead of the Establishment.

Fifth: Citizenship for the millions of illegal aliens and open borders in order to reduce the white  population to an isolated minority.

These measures will suffice for the Establishment to complete the transformation of the United States from a democracy accountable to the people to an oligarchy of entrenched vested interests.

By the time insouciant white people wake up to their fate, violent revolution will be impossible. Modern weapons in the hands of the state are devastating.  Mass spying and control techniques that exist today go beyond those in dystopian novels such as Orwell’s 1984. Free speech is a thing of the past.  Free speech no longer even exists in universities.  As I write Twitter, Facebook and the presstitutes are suppressing the free speech of the President of the United States, and the President of the United States is powerless to do anything about it.  https://thehill.com/policy/technology/533027-twitter-locks-trumps-account-for-at-least-12-hours?rnd=1609978506

The Establishment’s control over the media means that no charge against President Trump is too extreme to cause a protest.  The enormous support shown for Trump in Washington on January 6 with estimates of participants ranging from 200,000 to 2,000,000 was easy for the Establishment to turn into a liability by infiltrating the rally.

It was naive for President Trump and his supporters not to realize that infiltration was guaranteed as it was necessary for the Establishment to turn massive support into a massive liability.  This would achieve two purposes.  One purpose was to terminate the challenge to the electors in the Senate, and it succeeded.  Here, for example, is Republican Senator Mike Braun from Indiana dropping his intent to object to the electors from the swing states where the election was stolen: “I think … that today change things drastically. Yeah, whatever point you made before that should suffice. Get this ugly day behind us,” he said. Even Rand Paul was intimidated:  “I just don’t think there’s going to be another objection. I think it’s over at that point.”  https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/533033-gop-senators-hopeful-theyve-quashed-additional-election-challenges?rnd=1609980353  Here is Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler whose reelection to the Senate was stolen from her acquiescing in Trump’s and her own stolen elections:  “When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes. However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now, in good conscience, object,” Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.).  https://thehill.com/homenews/house/533052-congress-affirms-biden-win-after-rioters-terrorize-capitol

The other purpose served was to insure that Trump would not go out as a president whose reelection was stolen but as an insurrectionist.  And it has succeeded.

Internationally Trump was denounced by NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg for not respecting democracy. “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected,” declared Stoltenberg. Stolen or not it is democracy to be rid of Trump.  https://www.rt.com/usa/511743-uk-france-nato-condemn-capitol/

British prime minister Boris Johnson declared that the US is the world symbol of Democracy and that it is vital there is a peaceful and ordered transfer of power, as if there was an actual insurrection taking place and an election not stolen.

The French President Macron declared: “What happened today in Washington, DC today is not American, definitely.”  In other words, it is unamerican to protest a stolen election that the Establishment refuses to address. [I watched presentations by independent experts to the Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan legislatures that proved beyond all doubt the presidential election was stolen. Half of the professional presenters were people of color.]

The German Chancellor Merkel blamed Trump for creating an atmosphere that led to a challenge to democracy in the US Capitol.  https://www.rt.com/news/511778-germany-merkel-america-trump-capitol/

Republican senators themselves, former members of Trump’s cabinet,  and a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff jumped on Trump with both feet. The no longer Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Trump’s “unhinged thugs” “tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed. This failed insurrection underscores how crucial the task before us is” to restore Establishment control.  https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/533039-mcconnell-after-rioters-storm-capitol-they-tried-to-disrupt-our-democracy

Republican Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina said: “The President bears responsibility for today’s events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point.”

Republican Senator Mitt Romney from Utah said: the violence was “an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States.” https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/533034-richard-burr-says-trump-bears-responsibility-for-riot

“There is no question that the president formed the mob, the president incited the mob, the president addressed the mob,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican. “He lit the flame.” https://thehill.com/homenews/house/533052-congress-affirms-biden-win-after-rioters-terrorize-capitol

Trump’s Secretary of Defense James Mattis told the presstitutes that “Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump.  His use of the presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice.”

General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Trump administration said Republicans “who have continued to undermine a peaceful transition in accordance with our Constitution have set the conditions for today’s violence.”

The presstitutes had a field day with misleading and lying headlines. One of the worst offenders was The Hill, formerly a source of real news on what was going on in Congress, but today a highly partisan Trump-hating source of Establishment propaganda.

With the American Establishment’s foreign puppets, Republicans, Trump’s own cabinet members, military leaders, and the presstitutes speaking with one voice setting up President Trump as an insurrectionist threat to democracy, the Democrats’ wild charges seemed credible.

Democrat Senator Schumer from New York, the new Senate Majority Leader, Democrat House Speaker Pelosi, and a large number of Democrat members of Congress, together with the New York Times, have called for Trump’s impeachment or his removal from office by invoking the 25th Amendment.  Here is the new Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) making the case:

“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,” Schumer said in a statement.

“The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” he added. https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/533124-schumer-calls-for-25th-amendment-to-be-invoked-after-capitol-riots

Here is Pelosi:  https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/07/lawmakers-trump-25th-amendment-455832

Here is Adam Smith, Democrat from Washington state and chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services, calling for Trump’s removal from office:  “President Trump incited & encouraged this riot. He & his enablers are responsible for the despicable attack at the Capitol. VP Pence and the Cabinet should invoke the 25th amendment to remove Trump, otherwise Senate Republicans must work with the House to impeach & remove him.  https://thehill.com/policy/defense/533136-house-armed-services-chair-calls-for-removing-trump-from-office

For the New York Times, it doesn’t not suffice to remove Trump from office. He must be prosecuted as well.

To understand the extraordinary hatred of President Trump by the Establishment, listen to his inaugural address.  He described the Establishment accurately as a force arraigned against the American people, a force that he intended to dismantle and restore America to the American people.  This was a revolutionary challenge, a reckless one as Trump is a populist, not a revolutionary leading a determined movement.  Moreover, Trump was so uninformed about Washington that he never succeeded in appointing anyone to his government, other than General Flynn (an immediate casualty of the Estatlishment) who agreed with his agenda of normalizing relations with Russia, bringing the troops home from the Middle East, ending NATO, and bringing the jobs home that American corporations had exported to China.  Here was Trump unarmed taking on the American Establishment.  This was an act of suicide as it has turned out to be.

People who think in terms of party politics have no likelihood of understanding the situation. The struggle is not Democrats vs. Republicans. or red states vs. blue states.  It is the Establishment against the people.  If you have any doubt about this, note that the US National Association of Manufacturers, always a throughly Republican organization, agrees with Schumer and Pelosi that Trump must be removed from office.  Here is the organization’s statement: “Vice President Pence, who was evacuated from the Capitol, should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.” https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/532988-democratic-lawmakers-call-for-pence-to-invoke-25th-amendment-remove The National Association of Manufacturers want Trump out because they are the ones responsible for China’s rise, the US trade deficit and the destruction of half of the US middle class. All the goods and services imported from offshored production count as imports.  It is the offshored production that is responsible for America’s trade deficit, not China.

The presstitutes throughout the Western world have intentionally misrepresented the January 6 rally in Washington in support of Trump.  The rally had to be misrepresented, because no one in politics today anywhere in the Western World can demonstrate such massive support other than Donald Trump.  No one turned out for Biden or Kamala during the presidential campaign.  Their events, soon cancelled, had no attendees.  Yet, they won the election?  What saps people are. Who turns out for Merkel, Macron, Boris Johnson.  No one even knows who the leaders are in the rest of the Western World.

Trump could not be permitted to leave office with such a massive showing of support—a terrible embarrassment to the corrupt scum who “speak for the people.”  So the support had to be discredited by turning it into an insurrection ordered by Trump against Democracy, a holy word that is observed nowhere in the Western World.

The people who entered the Capitol were a tiny minority of those who attended the rally which was entirely peaceful and well behaved. It was so peaceful and well behaved that Facebook will ban and delete all photos and videos of Wednesday protests: https://thefederalist.com/2021/01/06/facebook-will-ban-and-delete-all-photos-and-videos-of-any-aspect-of-wednesday-protests/  The facts are not consistent with the presstitute narrative and must be suppressed.

Here is a description of agitators who suddenly appeared and provoked the entrance into the Capitol by a few Trump supporters who, unlike the rioters in Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta and elsewhere, did not behave as rioters and did no damage.  The report is from a person present not as a Trump supporter but as a person to film the event. The report was sent to NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller.  I have left the person’s name off so that he doesn’t get investigated by the FBI:

“I was in Washington, D.C. today filming the Trump rally and related events.  I also ran across your post concerning the Capitol demonstration tonight.  Perhaps this short account will help you assess what others are saying in a small way.

“I was also at the Capitol before the crowd appeared setting-up my camera on a stone wall around the perimeter of the back of the capitol (the rear facing Constitution Avenue).  Then I waited for President Trump’s speech to end and for supporters to walk-up Constitution Avenue to the Capitol.  I was located at the precise location where supporters first rushed up the slope towards the back of the Capitol after casting aside a section of the first Capitol perimeter barrier.  Supporters gathered roughly at the center of the back of the capitol, but a circle began to grow around the perimeter as the crowd grew larger.  I had no sense that the growing crowd intended to rush the Capitol.

“After a large crowd emerged at the perimeter a man in perhaps his late 30’s or early 40’s showed-up, pacing quickly to his left then to his right before the crowd, and essentially began hurling insults at the crowd challenging their political wisdom.  He excoriated the crowd for thinking that their attendance would be taken seriously by members of congress.  (Hard to say that he was wrong about that, whoever he was).  I cannot recall his precise words, but for a very short period he engaged in a shouting exchange with supporters, and suddenly supporters pushed aside the first barrier and rushed towards the back of the Capitol.  Others on the northern edge of the perimeter followed suit.  But the first rush was right at the center of the back of the Capitol.  I followed the rush to the bottom of the Capitol back steps, and began filming again from atop an inner perimeter stone wall.

“The police, so it appeared, were a little surprised by the rush, and this gave supporters an opportunity to race up the steps.  One or two men even made it as far as the steps leading up to the scaffolds on the south side of the Capitol before police arrested them.  By this time, five or ten men had climbed to the top of the tall steel tower structure facing the Capitol.  Then the police erected and lined-up behind a new barrier perimeter at the foot of the Capitol steps.  Police at the top of the Capitol steps aimed rifles down on the crowd (perhaps rubber bullet rifles, I could not tell).  The crowd began arguing with police and pressing hard against the new barrier.  The police sprayed men pressing directly against the barrier with tear gas from time to time causing them to retreat.  “Meanwhile, the men at the top of the tower began rallying the crowd to challenge the new barrier (over bull horns) by filling any gaps between the barrier and the stone wall that I was using as a filming vantage point.  Another man worked the crowd with a bull horn immediately in front of me and also encouraged supporters to climb over the inner perimeter stone wall (my filming vantage point) and create a wall of pressure on the new barrier at the bottom of the Capitol back steps.

“After about 30 minutes to an hour I dropped to the bottom of the stone wall to reload my camera when suddenly the barrier gave way and police attempted to fortify it by blasting tear gas into the area between the stone wall and the barrier.   I was hit by the gas myself and struggled back over the stone wall in order to breathe.  The gas threw many crowd members into a panic. And I was nearly trampled as I struggled to lift my camera and heavy gear bag over the wall after two women began pulling desperately on the back of my coat to pull themselves up and over the moderately high wall in retreat.

“After the second perimeter barrier gave way, the men with the bull horns began working the crowd very hard to fill-up with Trump supporters the steps of the Capitol and the scaffolding on both sides of it.  At this point one of the calls, which the men with bull horns repeated from time to time in order to encourage people to climb the Capitol steps was “this is not a rally; it’s the real thing.”  Another frequent call was “its now or never.” After about a two hour effort peppered with bull horn calls of this nature the entire back of the Capitol was filled with Trump supporters and the entire face of the Capitol was covered with brilliant small and very large Trump banners, American flags, and various other types of flags and banners.

“Sometime after the rush on the back of the Capitol, people were apparently able to enter the Capitol itself through the front. But I was not witness to anything at the front or inside the Capitol.

“One clearly bona fide Trump supporter who had apparently entered the Capitol himself was telling others emotionally and angrily (including press representatives of some sort, even a foreign newsman) that he witnessed someone inside the Capitol encouraging violence whom he strongly suspected was not a legitimate Trump supporter (apparently on the basis that the man showed no signs at all of Trump support on his apparel).  I did not pay that close attention to his claims (for example the precise claim of the violence encouraged) because, naturally, I had not yet read your post and it had not occurred to me that professional outsiders might play a role in instigating particular violent acts in order to discredit the event.

“I overheard one Trump supporter (who followed the rush on the Capitol himself) say aloud, “I brought many others to this rally, but we did not sign on for this” as he watched matters escalate.

“Still, from my seat, I would say that large numbers of very legitimate Trump supporters felt that it was their patriotic duty to occupy the Capitol in light of their unshakable beliefs that (1) the 2020 election was a fraud, (2) that the vast majority of the members of congress are corrupt and compromised, and (3) that the country is in the throes of what they consider a “communist” takeover (although many use the expression “communism” as a synonym for “totalitarianism”).   They are also convinced that the virus narrative is a fraud and an essential part of an effort to undermine the Constitution –in particular the Bill of Rights.  They have a very real fear that the country and the very conception of any culture of liberty is on the verge of an irreparable collapse.  For most (if not a very large majority) rushing the Capitol was a desperate eleventh hour act of partiotism –even of the order of the revolution that created our nation.  Some Trump supporters sang the Star Spangled Banner and other patriotic songs as others climbed the Capitol steps.  They also demonstrated a measure of respect for the Capitol itself.  I saw no attempt by anyone to deface the Capitol simply for the sake of defacing it.

“The incontrovertibly compromised press has called this event a riot.  But from what I saw and heard this would indeed be a gross and intentionally misleading oversimplification at best.  At least from the standpoint of supporters, if their Capitol event was a riot, then so was the Boston Tea Party.  It also seems to me that some professional help (very aware of deep sentiments) might have come from somewhere to make sure that the party happened.”

See also: https://www.unz.com/isteve/alternative-timeline-nyt-mostly-peaceful-protesters-call-for-electoral-accountability-inside-capitol/

When I was on the Stanford University faculty, I remember rich and pampered Stanford students occupying the university president’s office in a protest either against the Vietnam war or the name of the Stanford Football Team (Stanford Indians) and destroying the papers in the president’s files of his life’s work.  Despite the liberalism of the university president, the presstitutes regarded the protest justified and well intentioned.

The rioters and looters who rampaged through many of America’s major cities suffered no media condemnation, only support and encouragement.  This is because, unlike Trump, Antifa and Black Lives Matter are financed by and controlled by the Establishment and thus represent no threat.There is no FBI investigation or intended prosecution of any of the rioters who destroyed billions of dollars of property in America’s cities.

But the Trump supporters provoked into entering the Capitol are in for it says the Establishment figure Trump, in yet another of his mistakes, put in charge of the FBI.

It is difficult to defend Trump when he consistently puts in charge of his security agencies and Department of Justice members of the Establishment who hate his guts.

The FBI did nothing about the real rioters that did billions of dollars of damage to private businesses, but FBI Director Christopher Wray vowed Thursday to “hold accountable those who participated in yesterday’s siege of the Capitol after a pro-Trump mob overtook the building, forcing evacuations.” As these may have been FBI instigators, Wray might be talking about his own employees.  https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/533165-fbi-director-we-will-hold-accountable-those-who-participated-in

Here is Trump’s FBI appointee describing the people who elected the man who appointed him:

“The violence and destruction of property at the U.S. Capitol building yesterday showed a blatant and appalling disregard for our institutions of government and the orderly administration of the democratic process,” Wray said in a statement.

“As we’ve said consistently, we do not tolerate violent agitators and extremists who use the guise of First Amendment-protected activity to incite violence and wreak havoc,” he continued. “Such behavior betrays the values of our democracy. Make no mistake: With our partners, we will hold accountable those who participated in yesterday’s siege of the Capitol.”

Wray announced that the bureau “has deployed our full investigative resources” and is working with law enforcement partners “to aggressively pursue those involved in criminal activity” on Wednesday.

“Our agents and analysts have been hard at work through the night gathering evidence, sharing intelligence, and working with federal prosecutors to bring charges,” he said.

He requested the public send in any information about Wednesday’s events to the FBI, noting “We are determined to find those responsible and ensure justice is served.”

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/533165-fbi-director-we-will-hold-accountable-those-who-participated-in

Notice that Wray, the Establishment’s servant, not the servant of the rule of law, aligns the First Amendment with “violent agitators and extremists” and thus discredits the First Amendment as a tool of insurrection.

Everyone who was not at the US Capitol building on January 6, which is the entire world except the Trump supporters, has been brainwashed, by a corrupt, despicable collection of media whores serving an Establishment of Oligarchs, that Donald Trump intended an insurrection, but it was defeated.  By Whom?

It was Trump who called out the National Guard and who told his supporters to leave the Capitol and to go home.

What kind of people can present this as an insurrection that requires Trump’s removal from office and prosecution?  The answer is totally evil people who have not only the United States but the entire Western World in their clutches.

The Western World is dead.  It is now Mordor.

Trump appointees realize that, unless they add to his orchestrated embarrassment and setup for demonization and prosecution by themselves resigning, they are targeted for reprisals. Seeing permanent unemployment facing him, US Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger has resigned in response to Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis on Capitol Hill. “Other people named as likely to abandon the sinking Trump ship are National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Liddell.” https://www.rt.com/usa/511769-white-house-officials-resign/

Everyone everywhere is participating in Trump’s destruction.  The English language Russian press loves embarrassing America.  The fun and games leaves the world in ignorance of the extraordinary consequences of what the stolen election and demonization of Trump and his supporters means.  The end of the Western World is a big event, and it will affect everyone.

عام التحوّل العظيم…

باريس – نضال حمادة

يواجه الغرب عاصفة كاملة. لقد فشل في مواجهة الوباء وفشل نظاميّ للديمقراطية الليبرالية. وأيضاً فشل اقتصاداتها الغارقة في ركود عميق، بينما تتقدّم الصين في السباق. والآن، كما نرى، تواجه الولايات المتحدة أسوأ أزمة سياسية لها منذ الحرب الأهلية.

لقد جادلت بأنّ عام 2020 سيُنظر إليه على أنه عام التحوّل العظيم، عندما ترى غالبية سكان العالم الصين كقائد عالمي جديد. سيؤدّي انهيار النظام السياسي الأميركي إلى تسريع تكريس هذه الزعامة بشكل كبير.

لقد تمّ التقليل من شأن طبيعة الأزمة السياسية الأميركية إلى حدّ كبير، وأسبابها عميقة للغاية. فالبلاد منقسمة إلى نصفين، مستقطبة بشكل ميؤوس منه ونظام حكومتها مشلول. السؤال الأساسي هو: ما هي الأسباب الكامنة وراء هذا الوضع؟

تشهد أميركا حالة من التدهور منذ الثمانينيات، وبشكل كبير منذ عام 2008. على مدى أربعة عقود، عانى نصف السكان من هبوط أو ركود في مستويات المعيشة. لقد وصل عدم المساواة إلى مستويات الثلاثينيات من القرن الماضي إنْ لم يكن قبل ذلك. انتهى الحلم الأميركي.

طوال تاريخها تقريباً، كانت أميركا في صعود. لم يعرف عنها أيّ شيء مختلف. لقد انتهى هذا العصر. من المتوقع أن تصبح أميركا أقلّ أهمية بكثير. يتمّ استبدالها بسرعة باعتبارها القوة الأولى في العالم من قبل الصين.

المؤسّسة الغربية غير قادرة على قبول ما لا يمكن وصفه إلا بنهاية الغرب كما عرفناه. إنّهم يتشبّثون بالماضي وينكرون الحاضر ويعيشون في خوف من مستقبل مختلف تمامًا. نحن نشهد نقلة نوعية عميقة.

كان من الممكن أن يكون التراجع أسرع لو لم تلجأ أميركا إلى تحويل الدولار إلى دولار بترودولار، والذي بدوره أبقى المطابع مستمرة وتمويل النزعة العسكرية وكلّ شيء بينهما من دون هذا النوع من التضخم الذي من شأنه أن يشلّ أيّ بلد آخر.

The Assange saga: Practicing real journalism is criminally insane

The Assange saga: Practicing real journalism is criminally insane

January 07, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Synchronicity is definitely fond of mirror wonderwalls. The Julian Assange saga seemed to have entered a new chapter as he was, in thesis, on his way to – conditional – freedom this past Monday, only one day after the first anniversary of the start of the Raging Twenties: the assassination of Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani.

The fate of the journalist the Empire seeks to terminate was just juxtaposed to the fate of the warrior/diplomat the empire already terminated.

Two days later, Julian Assange was de facto re-incarcerated exactly as the Empire was hit by an “insurrection” which, whenever instigated in that distant “Third World”, is celebrated in Exceptionalistan as “people power”.

The invaluable Craig Murray, from inside Westminster Magistrates Court No. 1 in London, meticulously presented the full contours  of the insanity this Wednesday.

Read it in conjunction with the positively terrifying judgment delivered on Monday in the United States government case against Julian Assange.

The defining issue, for all those who practice real journalism all across the world, is that the judgment affirms, conclusively, that any journalist can be prosecuted under the US Espionage Act. Since a 1961 amendment, the Espionage Act carries universal jurisdiction.

The great John Pilger memorably describes “judge” Vanessa Baraitser as “that Gothic woman”. She is in fact an obscure public servant, not a jurist. Her judgment walks and talks like it was written by a mediocre rookie hack. Or, better yet, entirely lifted from the US Department of Justice indictment.

Julian Assange was – at the last minute – discharged on theoretically humanitarian grounds. So the case had, in effect, ended. Not really. Two days later, he was sent back to Belmarsh, a squalid maximum security prison rife with Covid-19. So the case is ongoing.

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnnson correctly noted, “It is unjust and unfair and illogical when you consider her ruling of two days ago about Julian’s health in large part because he is in Belmarsh prison (…) To send him back there doesn’t make any sense.”

It does when one considers the real role of Baraitser – at a loss to juggle between the imperatives of the imperial agenda and the necessity of saving the face of British justice.

Baraitser is a mere, lowly foot soldier punching way above her weight. The real power in the Assange case is Lady Emma Arbuthnot, forced out of a visible role because of very compromising, direct ties she and her husband Lord Arbuthnot maintain with British intelligence and military, first revealed by – who else – WikiLeaks.

It was Arbuthnot who picked up obscure Baraitser – who dutifully follows her road map. In court, as Murray has detailed in a series of searing reports, Baraitser essentially covers her incompetence with glaring vindictiveness.

Baraitser discharged Julian Assange, according to her own reasoning, because she was not convinced the appalling American gulag would prevent him from committing suicide.

But the key issue is that before reaching this conclusion, she agreed and reinforced virtually every point of the US indictment.

So at this point, on Monday, the “Gothic woman” was performing a contortion to save the US from the profound global embarrassment of prosecuting a de facto journalist and publisher for revealing imperial war crimes, not United States government secrets.

Two days later, the full picture became crystal clear. There was nothing “humanitarian” about that judgment. Political dissent was equaled with mental illness. Julian Assange was branded as criminally insane. Once again, practicing journalism was criminalized.

There are reasons to believe though, that a United States government appeal may fail. A British High Court would be reluctant to overturn a judgment where Baraitser actually established findings of fact: a direct correlation between the state of the American gulag, and the extreme danger to Assange’s health if he’s thrown inside this system.

As it stands, it didn’t even matter that Assange’s defense offered a full package to obtain bail, from home arrest to the use of an ankle bracelet. Baraitser’s notion that the British security state would not be able to prevent his “escape” wearing an ankle bracelet in the middle of a total, police state-style lockdown does not even qualify as a joke.

So Julian Assange is back to suffering a perverse, interminable rewrite of Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum.

The US government’s legal strategy before the High Court convenes in April is basically to try to prove its American gulag is competent enough to prevent a suicide – even though the ultimate aim of this post-truth Inquisition seems to be the termination of Julian Assange inside the penal system. That goal doesn’t even require a supermax prison in Colorado. Belmarsh will do.

Insolent Lebanese Boast about Beirut Streets Named after French Conquerors, Reject Raising Altruistic General Suleimani’s Statue

Beyrouth: la ville où les rues portent encore les noms d'hommes d'État  français | Arabnews fr

Source: Al-Manar English Website

 January 8, 2021

Mohammad Salami

How insolent the Lebanese political parties and figures who boast about Beirut streets, named after French conquerors, yet reject raising the statue of the martyr General Qassem Suleimani despite all his support to Lebanon in the capital.

If you wander through some Beirut streets, you may feel, at first glance, that you are in Paris. However, the fact says that certain Lebanese political parties approved naming several streets in the capital after French Conquerors. Thus, you move from Rue Gouraud (General) to Wegand (General) Street before reaching Rue Clemenceau (Prime Minister).

These are few instances of the streets in Beirut which were named after French commanders who occupied Lebanon and confiscated its sovereignty.

Certain Lebanese parties, figures and media outlets voice their satisfaction with those names; however, they themselves reject completely raising portraits and statues of IRGC’s Quds Force Commander, General Qassem Suleimani.

General Suleimani did not undermine Lebanon’s sovereignty, nor did he lead Iranian troops to occupy the Lebanese towns and cities. On the other hand, the martyr provided all kinds of support to Lebanese Resistance which has protected the nation from the Israeli and the takfiri enemies.

Consequently, those who boast naming streets in their capital after its occupiers may never welcome raising statues for anyone who support its resistance against the occupation forces.

A statue of martyred Iranian commander Lt. General Qassem Suleimani was unveiled in Beirut’s southern suburb (Dahiyeh) on Tuesday.

The statue was unveiled during a ceremony held by Ghoubeiry municipality on the first martyrdom anniversary of Gen. Suleimani.

On January 3, 2020, a US drone attack claimed General Suleimani after targeting his convoy near Baghdad airport. The attack also killed the former head of Iraq’s Hashd Shaabi, Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.

Beirut: The city where streets still have French statesmen’s names

Beirut: The city where streets still have French statesmen's names
Rue Georges Catroux is located in Beirut’s Badaro residential area
  • After the creation of Greater Lebanon in 1920, the French reconfigured the capital to conform to the new political order
  • The French mandate authorities changed the names of Beirut streets after modifying the city’s architecture

BEIRUT: After the French entered Lebanon in 1920 after the declaration of the State of Greater Lebanon, they reconfigured the capital Beirut to conform to the new political order.

Among the most visible transformations was the introduction of identity cards for residents, a move that sought to establish a Lebanese entity separated from other Arab states.

In 1921, the French mandate authorities conducted the first census of the Lebanese population, and on the basis of this the Lebanese were granted a new identity card in place of Ottoman tickets. The census was boycotted by those who refused to separate from Syria and recognize the new state.

The streets of Beirut, which were under Ottoman rule for more than four centuries, were referred to as haraat (alleyways).

Beirut: The city where streets still have French statesmen's names | Arab  News PK

The alleys were named after the families that inhabited them, leaders and princes, or even sects. The city’s markets were named after the professions found in them, according to the records of the Sharia court in Beirut.

The French mandate authorities, however, changed the names after modifying the city’s architecture. Twenty-meter streets were paved to connect the capital’s neighborhoods and make life easier. And while the neighborhoods preserved the names of the families that lived in them, such as Al-Barbir, Al-Bashoura, Karm Al-Zaitoun, Zaroub Saba and Zaroub Al-Arawi, the mandate left its mark on modern streets by naming them after French generals and high commissioners who ruled Lebanon after the fall of Ottoman rule.

Although Lebanon won its independence in 1943, some prominent streets in Beirut still have the names of French generals who became famous during the two world wars.

Rue Gouraud is a residential and commercial street in Gemmayzeh in the Achrafieh district of Beirut. It is one of the trendiest thoroughfares, full of fine restaurants, French cafes and jazz bars.

Beirut: The city where streets still have French statesmen's names

General Henri Gouraud was the French high commissioner in Syria and Lebanon and army commander on the eastern side. Gouraud declared the State of Greater Lebanon from the porch of the Pine Residence in Beirut, and adopted the French military strategy known as “battle of annihilation.”

General Gouraud, who led the French forces in the famous Battle of Maysalun, lived on this street in Beirut.

A parallel street, Rue Pasteur, was named after the famous French scientist Louis Pasteur. It is also a commercial street and features shops of Lebanese innovators. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French chemist and one of the most important founders of medical microbiology. His medical discoveries contributed to reducing the fatality rate of puerperal fever, and he prepared vaccines against rabies and anthrax. He was known to the general public for inventing a method for pasteurizing milk.

Beyrouth: la ville où les rues portent encore les noms d'hommes d'État  français | Arabnews fr

The street adjacent to Beirut Municipality, Rue Weygand, bears the name of Maxime Weygand, a high-ranking officer in the Mandate-era French Army. He was the second high military commissioner appointed by France to rule Syria and Lebanon, from April 1923 to Nov. 29, 1924. Weygand, who saw action in both the world wars, died in 1965.

Rue Georges Catroux is located in Beirut’s Badaro residential area. Catroux was a general in the French Army (1877-1969), a diplomat who served in World War I and II, and an adviser in the Legion of Honor.

Rue Clemenceau, located in Ras Beirut, is named after the French prime minister Georges Benjamin Clemenceau (1841-1929). He was a statesman, doctor and journalist who was elected twice to head the French government.

His first term was between 1906 and 1909, while his second was during the critical period 1917-1920 during World War I. One of the leading architects of the Treaty of Versailles, he was nicknamed Father of Victory and the Tiger.

Beirut: The city where streets still have French statesmen's names | Arab  News PK

Avenue General de Gaulle (1890-1970) is the waterfront road of Beirut and named after the most prominent French figure during the Second World War. Charles de Gaulle lived in Lebanon for two years (1929-1931) when he was a major in the French army. He went on to serve as president of France.

Rue Verdun is one of the most high-end lively residential streets in Beirut. It has luxury retail stores, beauty and hair salons, and several cafes. In the center of the street is the Lycée Franco-Libanais school. The French St. Joseph School was situated on this street before it moved to a new location outside the capital. Although this street has been renamed after former Prime Minister Rashid Karami following his assassination in 1987, the name Verdun has remained popular.

Rue Verdun was so named in honor of the victims of the Battle of Verdun, which took place during World War I.

Beyrouth: la ville où les rues portent encore les noms d'hommes d'État  français | Arabnews fr

Foch Street, or Marshal Ferdinand Foch Street, is in the commercial heart of Beirut. Foch was a supreme Allied general in the World War I. One of Beirut’s streets was named after him following the Allies’ victory over the Germans.

Monnot Street, located on the eastern side of Beirut’s central district, is full of restaurants, bars and libraries. It hosts painters and creative events and holds concerts and plays in its famous theater, which is named after Father Ambroise Monnot, the head of the Jesuit mission to Lebanon in the late 19th century.

Father Monnot contributed to the establishment of schools and printing presses so that Lebanon could become a cultural and intellectual center in the Near East.

Twitter: @najiahoussari

This week in the US: The ‘model nation’ for no nation anymore

Thursday, 07 January 2021 7:57 AM  [ Last Update: Thursday, 07 January 2021 8:07 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Supporters of US President Donald Trump walk on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, the US, on January 5, 2021, one day ahead of a joint session of the US Congress to certify the Electoral College vote that confirmed Joe Biden as the presidential winner. (Photo by AFP)
This week in the US: The ‘model nation’ for no nation anymore
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US election. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea, and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China,’ which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with The Saker

As this article is on the verge of publication, the United States Capitol has been occupied by protesters on the day of Electoral College’s presidential vote. It’s very exciting stuff, certainly, but an insatiable craving for excitement seems to have long been a major flaw of Western culture.

Few people are as guilty of greedily loving the short-term sugar high of daily news as I am — being a longtime hack reporter — but whether the immediate outcomes of this historic election week in the United States give you rushes or drops, it’s important to remember that what’s really historic is just how far the US has truly fallen and will keep falling.

We all agree America on January 6, 2020 is certainly not at an apex, but it’s only via constant spin, rationalization, and deflection that one cannot see that the US has so very far to go — this is not the nadir.

No matter what happens, this is not even really over.

In my reporting from here, it turns out the wisest and most pleasant of the “never Trumpers” — normally a very disagreeable lot — were right to say that they are not assuming anything about Joe Biden’s projected victory until after inauguration day, January 20. Maybe the Proud Boys are going to blow up the Washington Monument next week — who really knows what will happen over here?

I have to add a last-minute modification to that hyperbolic exaggeration: Maybe a peaceful “Occupy Capitol Hill” is a real thing?

If you want to read more Trump-obsessed hysteria, you can always go to Politico’s “Trumpology” section, where everything before 2016 never was, but this column is trying to establish exactly where America as a whole really is: What should the globe’s global assessment be of the country which in 1991 seemed poised for a century of global superiority?

There is no doubt that there was a time when the US was really at the forefront of global political thought; when they were successfully enjoining many people to do good and forbidding a lot of bad — I am referring to 1776, the birth year of modern anti-imperialism.

The calendar has just turned to 2021. You would have to be so jacked up on Western Mainstream Media sugar spin to believe that — whatever happens this week — the US is somehow doing well, or looking well, or acting well, or was anything else but a society in decline, dispute, degradation, and maybe even dissolution.

I think the latter goes too far, but I include it to point out: this is not a country like France or Iran or China in that it’s still debatable whether the US has enough years under its belt to really consider that they have a unified sense of nationhood/culture given that this was never really a country but a unity of separate, self-involved, self-serving states inside America (which used to be the term used for the entire Western Hemisphere). This is the United States of America, after all, and Scotland is awfully close to breaking up the United Kingdom — so why couldn’t their over-the-sea brethren go in the same direction?

A short but exciting list of things US media would like you to ignore this week.

Their United Kingdom brethren/clients finally admitted they cannot hand over Julian Assange, the greatest journalist of my generation, not because the US will execute him but because they essentially fear that American prisons are so atrocious that he won’t be killed but that he will be tortured without end.

(Things like this are, of course, why the US and UK are the unquestionable arbiters of what “human rights” and “political prisoners” are.)

Have money, join the duopoly, you will get elected: The Georgia elections were the most expensive congressional seats in history — they spent an estimated 900 million dollars, say the early returns. The only presidential candidate who ever exceeded that in their campaign was brand change golden boy Barack Obama, in a testament to what a huge role the rich, the 1% and corporations play in manipulating American elections.

(You have to have rocks in your head the size of Gibraltar if you are an average American and you give a single greenback to either of the duopoly — just so people Kamala Harris and the Clintons can fund their lavish lifestyles.)

The Electoral College emphatically does not have majority democratic support, as years of polls have shown that 60% of the US wants it abolished. Is it so shocking that as I type this, the voting of this body has been stopped by upset Americans?

Pro-Trump protesters breach US Capitol as Congress holds session to certify Biden victory
Pro-Trump protesters breach US Capitol as Congress holds session to certify Biden victoryProtesters supporting
US President Donald Trump have stormed the US Capitol where the lawmakers were engaged in the process to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden.

The American intelligentsia is so unpersuasive, so ineffective, so overpaid and so distrusted that even if Democrats do capture both Georgia Senate seats — and thus the Senate — the anti-Trump “Blue Wave” they almost universally rammed down American throats for four years merely goes from a total failure to a major failure: In this decentralized country local states control local matters and conservatives captured the local legislative, executive, and judicial branches. In a redistricting year, no less. The reason it was rejected, of course: the “Blue Wave” was fake-leftism and not real leftism — why would American lower classes get excited about that?

(And how many Congressional Democrats are so right-leaning and so desirous only of winning their own re-election that Republicans won’t be able to swing this very definition of “tenuous majority” by buying Democrat Congressmen off on countless key votes via things like promising to build more B-2 bombers in their home state?)

The (apparent) demise of Trump actually does not totally destroy Trumpism, even though the chattering classes promised that voting him out for president is all it would take to end what they insisted was merely a Russian-orchestrated cult of personality.

(Four years ago, the US chattering classes certainly didn’t have to accept Trumpism, but they could have at least taken Trumpism seriously. By refusing to have that honest and open conversation, the US has wasted four years. The US has not progressed in this sense since 2016’s inauguration day — and now Capitol Hill is occupied by angry citizens who likely feel they have been unfairly ignored and demonized.)

It was just announced that the cops who shockingly shot Jacob Blake in Wisconsin in the back seven times will not even face a trial. Last night, protests in Kenosha were calm, but what about tonight?

(My bosses have a tough decision to make soon, perhaps: Do I cover the political rebellion in Washington or the possible racial rebellions if they break out again?)

A short, healthy conclusion to balance out this sugar high.

That was not a difficult list to compile, nor an exhaustive one. I’m sure everyone wants to read about Capitol Hill but the short-term question (how much violence will they use to clear out this protest?) is not as vital as the long-term questions (how did we get here, how does the US heal from this), nor is it as vital for the world as the global question of America’s longstanding claim to global leadership.

Both sides of America have disgraced themselves in the eyes of the world since 2016, with their only-low-blows cultural civil war, and it’s not as if the world wasn’t already quite, quite appalled at American behavior since 2003.

2020 was indeed a woeful and unfortunate low point, but the consequences of 2020 are so very, very bad that who can say that it is over? Things were so bad a brand change or calendar change can’t fix things.

Who would say that America’s political cultural civil war is over? Who can say the dispute over electoral integrity is over? Who can say that 1%-rewarding, inequality-creating Quantitive Easing/Austerity is over? Who can say the endless foreign wars are over? Who can say the healthcare crisis is over? Or the unemployment crisis, or the famine crisis, or the housing crisis, etc., etc.?

Who is the nation which is modeling themselves on the United States and why on earth are they doing that?

Gerald Ford famously said as Richard Nixon left that, “America’s long national nightmare is over.” Less than a week into 2021 it should be dawning on the world that the American model produces an endless bad dream not only for their colonies and their clients but even for their own people. That makes sense because that is precisely the goal of Western neo-imperialism and neo-liberalism.

Whoever is the accepted winner of the Electoral College — assuming they ever meet again — is not likely to change that trajectory because American problems were not caused, and cannot be fixed, by just one man.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


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