Trump Backs Sunni Takfiri “Wahabism” over Revolutionary Islam

Trump Backs Sunni Radical Islam over Moderate Shi’ism

WAYNE MADSEN | 23.05.2017 | OPINION

Trump Backs Sunni Radical Islam over Moderate Shi’ism

President Donald Trump signaled to the nations of the Middle East and Muslim world that he strongly backs radical Sunni Islam, mostly embodied by Saudi Arabia’s brand of Wahhabism, over the emerging moderate Shi’ism on display in Iran. Trump’s first visit to another country as president was Saudi Arabia. Trump was also the only president to make Saudi Arabia his first stop after taking office. The decision to honor Saudi Arabia with such U.S. presidential protocol was a calculated one.

Trump’s first official act after he landed in Riyadh was to ink a $300 billion arms package with Saudi Arabia. The United States agreed to supply the Saudis with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system, maritime littoral combat ships for close-in shore combat, and so-called «precision-guided munitions» responsible for so many civilian «collateral damage» deaths in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Pakistan.

Considering the Wahhabist kingdom’s past and current support for the very same radical jihadists who are committing acts of terrorism in Syria, Yemen, and other nations, it is hypocritical that Trump claimed the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are «jointly» battling against terrorism. It was as if, in the leadup to World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt traveled to Berlin to meet with Adolf Hitler and FDR proclaimed from the Reich Chancellery that he and Nazi Germany were jointly fighting against anti-Semitism.

Ironically, as Trump was praising Saudi Arabia’s «efforts» against jihadist terrorism, Iran overwhelmingly re-elected moderate President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani ran on a platform of bestowing more freedoms on the Iranian people and opening the country to the rest of the world. A day after Trump’s anti-Iran speech in Riyadh, reformists won all 21 seats in Tehran’s municipal election. Across the board, Iranians, particularly women and minority religious groups, enjoy many more rights than do the Saudi Arabs. Whereas in Iran, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians can worship openly and even enjoy representation in parliament, across the Persian Gulf, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists are banned from constructing churches or temples and displaying religious symbols. Donald Trump’s ignorance of Middle Eastern religions is a severe and dangerous handicap for an American president.

While the Saudi princelings are free to get drunk, use drugs, and heinously abuse women behind their palace walls, standing immune to the whims of the mutawa religious police, the rank and file of Saudi Arabia live in a country governed by centuries-old laws embracing misogyny, public beheadings, and religious persecution. While women are banned from driving vehicles and movie theaters are prohibited in Saudi Arabia, across the Persian Gulf in Iran, women drive freely and Iran has a vibrant movie industry and numerous theaters as attested to by that nation’s winning of several international film awards, including Hollywood’s Oscar.

Trump waxed on about moderate Islam in the capital city of the country that gave birth to Wahhabism. Saudi Arabia has nurtured with its financing, propaganda, government-subsidized clerics, and other support jihadist groups from Morocco to Indonesia and Fiji to Trinidad. Trump had the gall and audacity to accuse Iran of funding terrorists and promoting a «craven ideology,» i.e., Shi’ism.

Trump’s speech was largely written by Stephen Miller, a right-wing strongly pro-Israel creature of Santa Monica, California and an acolyte of the Islamophobe extremist David Horowitz. Trump’s speech in Riyadh did nothing to bridge the differences between Islam and his administration and everything to do with laying down a gauntlet to not only Shi’ism but the Alawite, Zaidi, Sufi, Alevi, Ibadi, Ahmadiyya, and Ismaili sects of Islam. Trump even managed to slip the phrase «Islamic extremism» into his speech rather than the less offensive «Islamist extremism». Even though a committed Islamophobe, Miller, wrote the speech, Trump’s spokespeople in Saudi Arabia insisted that the president was merely «exhausted» from his trip and that is why he said «Islamic extremism».

Trump called for the end of the Iranian and Syrian «regimes» and the international isolation of both. Trump’s speech, if it had not been written by Miller, could have easily been written by any Saudi or Israeli government propagandist.

Trump’s previous meeting in the White House with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave American sanction to the Ankara government’s war against secular Islam as envisaged by Kemal Ataturk. In a massive psychological warfare operation, Trump, who proclaimed his hostility to «radical Islamist terrorism» prior to his trip to Saudi Arabia and embrace of Erdogan, has, instead, embraced it.

Trump told his Saudi hosts and the Wahhabi potentates from Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait who gathered in Riyadh that «the path to peace begins right here». Riyadh was also the path crossed by many of the terrorists who have attacked the United States and other nations, including on September 11, 2001. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, whose nation was called a «promoter of terrorism» by Trump in Riyadh, issued a call for Trump to discuss with his Saudi friends ways to avoid them sponsoring another September 11th-like attack.

Trump’s rhetoric against Iran, Hezbollah, the Syrian government, the Yemeni Houthis, Hamas, and, given Trump’s strong support for the Bahraini Wahhabist regime, the majority Shi’as of Bahrain, could be taken as a call to arms for continued Saudi, Bahraini, Yemeni, Libyan, Syrian, Iraqi, Emirati, Qatari, Kuwaiti, Pakistani, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Sudanese repression of non-Sunnis within their countries. Trump signaled his support for continued Bahraini repression of its Shi’as by stating that the United States and Bahrain «have a wonderful relationship together, but there has been a little strain, but there won’t be strain with this administration».

Trump, in language befitting a religious fanatic, lumped together Shi’a Iran and Lebanese Shi’a members of Hezbollah with radical Sunni Al Qaeda and the Islamic State and exhorted the Arab and Muslim leaders gathered in Riyadh to «Drive them out! Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land. And drive them out of this Earth».

In a display of sheer hypocrisy, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged $100 million to Trump’s daughter’s «Women Entrepreneurs Fund». During the presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton, Trump tweeted biting criticism of the Clinton Fund, which received from Saudi Arabia and the UAE only about 25 percent of that received by the Ivanka Fund. Trump wrote, «Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all the money from such countries!» For Trump. It was only an outrage when the Clintons accepted donations from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Yet, when Ivanka Trump received three times as much money from the same countries, Trump was effusive in his praise of them. If Ivanka Trump wanted to help women entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia, she could have told old King Salman to let them drive cars first.

Trump actually referred to Iran as a «terrorist safe harbor». Trump and his speech writer Miller completely ignored the fact that it was Saudi, Qatari, and Emirati funding, military, and other support that permitted the creation of Islamic State and other jihadist «safe harbors» in Raqqa, Syria; Mosul, Iraq; Derna, Libya; and Mukalla, South Yemen. While standing before Saudi, Turkish, and Qatari officials, Trump called Syrian President Bashar al Assad a «war criminal,» ignoring the fact that the Saudis, Turks, Qataris, and their client jihadist groups committed countless war crimes in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya.

At the end of his speech, Trump slipped and called King Salman «King Solomon». Trump, whose command of Biblical history is wanting, may want to know that King Solomon was known for wisdom and fairness. There was nothing wise or fair in Trump’s speech in Riyadh.

Trump’s First Hundred Days of War Crimes

Photo by Mark Taylor | CC BY 2.0

MAY 19, 2017

President Donald J. Trump closed out his first hundred days in office on April 29.  Not marked by any notable achievements, Trump’s first hundred days did yield an impressive and ever-lengthening list of scandals.

And war crimes.  During his short time in office, Trump has racked up an impressive list of war crimes.  Congratulations, Mr. President!

Where to begin?  Nine days after Trump’s Inauguration, US Navy SEALs together with elite troops from the United Arab Emirates descended on the village of Yaklaa in the Yemeni governorate of Bayda.  At the time, the White House said that the mission’s objective was to enter a compound controlled by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and gather intelligence by grabbing computers and cell phones.  It was not until a week later that US military officials stated that the prime objective of the raid was to capture or kill AQAP emir Qassim al-Rimi.

The January 29 raid was executed with the same meticulous care President Trump brings to all facets of his administration.  What was conceived as a swift there-and-gone operation descended into an hour-long firefight with AQAP, bodies everywhere, and the loss of a $70 million MV-22 Osprey aircraft.

Two deaths stand out.  One was the Trump Administration’s first combat fatality: 36- year old Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens.

The second was an 8-year old American citizen, Nawar Al-Awlaki.  Nawar’s father was the US-born cleric and Al-Qaeda recruiter and propagandist, Anwar Al-Awlaki.  Al-Awlaki was assassinated in a US drone strike in Yemen on September 30, 2011.  Shortly afterwards, Nawar’s 16-year old brother Abdulrahman was also killed by a US drone, probably inadvertently.

Thanks to the US, the Awlakis—father, son, and daughter—are together again.  It’s too bad the Awlakis can’t thank the Pentagon themselves.

Civilian Fatalities

Trump has killed enormous numbers of civilians in drone strikes, attacks by manned aircraft, and ground assaults.  Many of these attacks have taken place far from any battlefield, in places such as Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia.  International humanitarian law (IHL), however, restricts the use of military force to areas of “armed conflict.”[1] Jeanne Mirer, President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and co-chair of the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, observes that the United States is not involved in an armed conflict with Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.[2]  Nor has any of these countries attacked the United States.  If any of them had, that would have triggered the United States’ right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

President George W. Bush maintained that the “armed conflict” against terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda extended over the entire world.  That would have allowed Bush to launch attacks anywhere he pleased.  The World Is a Battlefield, the subtitle of investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill’s 2013 book Dirty Wars, encapsulates this notion.[3]  Barack Obama and Donald Trump, have likewise believed that there are no limits to their power to project force anywhere in the world.

But even when an armed conflict does exist, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, other principles of IHL must be observed.

Under the principle of discernment, civilians are not to be deliberately targeted. (There is an exception for civilians who “directly participate in hostilities.”)  Precautions must be taken to minimize civilian casualties.

The principle of proportionality prohibits using excessive force in achieving a legitimate military objective.  To simplify greatly, you cannot kill one hundred innocents in order to kill one terrorist.

Large numbers of civilians have been killed in US attacks.  Fourteen militants died in Trump’s January 29 raid in Yemen, but US forces also killed twenty-five civilians, including women and nine children under the age of 13—these figures from the independent Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Not killed was AQAP leader Qassim al-Rimi, the object of the raid.  Al-Rimi got away, later mocking Trump on video as a “fool.”

Trump’s worst slaughter of civilians is the March 17, 2017 US airstrike on west Mosul in Iraq which killed 200+ civilians.  The Iraqi government had told the residents of Mosul, then under occupation by ISIS, to remain indoors.  The US knew or ought to have known west Mosul’s residents were in harm’s way.

War Crimes by Remote Control: Targeted Assassinations by Drone

President Barack Obama had launched ten times as many killer drone strikes as President George W. Bush.  Donald Trump looks set to top Obama’s record.

Micah Zenko is an expert on drone strikes at the Council on Foreign Relations.  In a March 2 tweet, Zenko calculated that Obama conducted a drone strike every 5.4 days; Trump has upped the rate to a drone strike every 1.6 days.

Again, apart from Iraq and Afghanistan, US drone strikes take place outside areas of armed conflict.  Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell, who teaches law and conflict resolution at the University of Notre Dame, writes:  “[T]he law absolutely prohibits … targeted killing beyond armed conflict zones.”

There are some differences between how Obama and Trump have used drones.  President Obama took most drone strikes out of the CIA’s hands.  Instead, Obama left most drone strikes to the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).  Trump has brought the CIA back into the picture.

Obama set certain restrictions on drone strikes outside war zones, such as requiring “near certainty” that civilians will not be injured or killed.  Trump’s National Security Council is considering abandoning the Obama era restrictions.

Still, Obama was not over-scrupulous in who qualified as a civilian.  Any military-age male in an area where terrorists were active was presumed to be a terrorist himself.  Many victims, under Obama as well as Trump, have been children: “fun-size terrorists” as some drone pilots call them. US drones have attacked weddings and funerals. “Double-tap” strikes fire on first responders hurrying to aid people wounded in a drone’s initial strike.

In a just world, Bush, Obama, and Trump would share a cell at The Hague.  Obama largely escaped criticism from the liberal left for his drone strikes because, as Mike Whitney observes:  “[L]iberals always sleep while their man is in office.”  Whitney might have added that liberals will go back to sleep once the Republicans are out of the White House.

Escalating the Illegal US War in Syria

On April 4, a suspected sarin gas attack killed more than 70 people in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun.  Who launched the attack—rebels or the Syrian government—still hasn’t been proven.  Does it matter?  Those 70 people are just as dead no matter who killed them.  All of the belligerents in Syria have committed war crimes, including the United States.  The antiwar movement holds firm to its demand that the US withdraw from Syria now.

Donald Trump, not a man plagued by doubt, was certain that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was the culprit.  On April 7, 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles pounded a government airfield in Syria while Trump was eating chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago with the President of China.  Whether the US attack accomplished anything is unclear; Syrian military aircraft were taking off from the field a few days later.  At nearly $1.59 million for each Tomahawk missile, Trump would have achieved the same end result if he had burned $93 million on the White House lawn.

It suddenly occurred to the American public that the US was at war in Syria.  It seems to have escaped Americans’ notice that the US has been bombing ISIS in Syria since September 23, 2014 and in Iraq since August 8, 2014.  According to Airwars.org, which monitors Coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, 3,530 civilians have been killed as of May 16.  Also overlooked was the fact that Obama had sent Special Operations Forces to both countries to fight ISIS.  So has Trump.  According to Professor Marjorie Cohn, as of April 5 there were close to a thousand US Special Ops forces, Marines, and Rangers in northern Syria.  The Trump Administration plans to up that number.

The Syrian government, needless to say, has refused consent to both US bombing and the presence of US troops within its borders.  (In sharp contrast, Russian military forces are in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government.)  US military involvement in Syria is, thus, prima facie a violation of international law.  Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter requires states to “refrain … from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”  Article 51 provides an exception for self-defense “if an armed attack occurs” (and then only “until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security”).  Syria has not attacked the United States.  Not even the Trump Administration has claimed that the April 7 attack was made defensively.  Instead, the Trump Administration said that the purpose of the US attack was to deter future uses of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.  That makes the April 7 attack a reprisal.  Reprisals are forbidden under international law.  Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell, one of the foremost authorities on the use of force under international law, quotes the 1970 UN Declaration on Friendly Relations which says: “States have a duty to refrain from acts of reprisal involving the use of force.”

In theory, US attacks on Syria expose Obama and Trump to prosecution for “waging aggressive war,” the principal charge against the Nazis at Nuremberg.  George W. Bush, of course, would face the same charge for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

I say “in theory” because what court would try them?  President George W. Bush “unsigned” the treaty that created the International Criminal Court.  (And we thought Bush was stupid.)  In the 1990s, the UN Security Council created ad hoc criminal tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia.  The US would veto any attempt to create an ad hoc tribunal empowered to try US leaders for war crimes in Syria.

There have been no prosecutions under the federal War Crimes Act which criminalizes “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions.  In fact, President Barack Obama expressly ruled out prosecuting officials from the George W. Bush Administration.

Trump’s actions are by no means a sharp break with the past.  War crimes are how the Pentagon rolls.  Noam Chomsky has stated that if the standards of the Nuremberg Trials were applied, every American president since World War Two would have been hanged as a war criminal.  Something to think about.

Notes.

[1]  IHL is the branch of international law which “prescribes rules for the conduct of war.”  The sources for IHL are primarily the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 together with their two Additional Protocols.  The central concern of IHL is protection of civilians.  Jeanne Mirer, US Policy of Targeted Killing with Drones:  Unsafe at Any Speed, in DRONES AND TARGETED KILLING: LEGAL, MORAL, AND GEOPOLITICAL ISSUES (Marjorie Cohn, ed. 2015) at pages 136, 138.

[2]  Mirer at pages 136, 139.

[3]  JEREMY SCAHILL, DIRTY WARS: THE WORLD IS A BATTLEFIELD (2013), at page 78.

Which “War Torn” Country? – U.S. Slaughter In Somalia, Yemen And Syria

Source


biggeroriginal tweet

When I saw the above tweet this morning I wondered which “war torn” country those Somalis were fleeing from when they were murdered. The tweet doesn’t say. Were they fleeing from the “war torn” Somalia? Or were the fleeing from “war torn” Yemen?

It is a sad world when has to ponder such.

It tuned out these people were fleeing from both wars:

Coast guard Mohammad Al Alay told Reuters the refugees, carrying official UNHCR documents, were on their way from Yemen to Sudan when they were attacked by an Apache helicopter near the Bab Al Mandeb strait.

An Apache attack helicopter shot up the refugees’ boat. There are Saudi, United Emirati and U.S. Apache helicopters in or around Yemen. It is unknown which of them ordered and which executed the strike. These helicopters, their ammunition and the service for them are a favored U.S. export to belligerent dictatorships like Saudi Arabia.

The UN warns that 5 million people in Yemen are only weeks away from starving. The Saudis, the U.S. and the Emirates block all land routes, air ports and the coast of Yemen and no food supplies come through. This is an ongoing huge war crime and literally a genocide. But “western” media seem totally unimpressed. Few, if any, reports on the war on Yemen get published. Never have they so openly displayed their hypocrisy.

Somalia is falling back into an all-out civil war fueled by the decades old unwillingness of the U.S. to condone an independent local unity government. The Islamic Court Union, a unity government created by the Somalis in 2006, was the last working instance of a real Somali state. It had no Jihadist agenda and held down local warlords. It was destroyed by the Bush administration:

A UN cable from June 2006, containing notes of a meeting with senior State Department and US military officials from the Horn of Africa task force, indicates that the United States was aware of the ICU’s diversity, but would “not allow” it to rule Somalia. The United States, according to the notes, intended to “rally with Ethiopia if the ‘Jihadist’ took over.” The cable concluded, “Any Ethiopian action in Somalia would have Washington’s blessing.” Some within the US intelligence community called for dialogue or reconciliation, but their voices were drowned out by hawks determined to overthrow the ICU.

During the last 10 years an on-and-off war is waged in Somalia with the U.S. military interfering whenever peace seems to gain ground. Currently a new round of war is building up. Weapons are streaming into Somalia from Yemen, where the Houthi plunder them from their Saudi invaders:

Jonah Leff, a weapons tracing expert with conflict Armament Research, said many [Somali] pirates had turned to smuggling. They take boatloads of people [from Somalia] to Yemen and return with weapons, he said.

The wars on Somalia and Yemen are the consequences of unscrupulous and incompetent(?) U.S. foreign policy. (Cutting down the size of the U.S. State Department, as the Trump administration now plans to do, is probably the best thing one can do for world peace.)

The U.S. military should be cut down too. It is equally unscrupulous and incompetent.

Last night the U.S. military hit a mosque in Al-Jīnah in Aleppo governate in Syria. It first claimed that the strike, allegedly targeting a large meeting of al-Qaeda, was in Idleb governate. But it turned out to be miles away west of Aleppo. Locals said a mosque was hit, the roof crashed in and more than 40 people were killed during the regular prayer service. More than 120 were injured. The U.S. military said it did not hit the local mosque but a building on the other side of the small plaza.

The U.S. maps and intelligence were not up-to-date. A new, bigger mosque had been build some years ago opposite of the old mosque. The old mosque was indeed not hit. The new one was destroyed while some 200 people were in attendance. Eight hellfire missiles launched from two Reaper drones were fired at it and a 500lb bomb was then dropped on top to make sure that no one escaped alive. Al-Qaeda fighters were indeed “meeting” at that place – five times a day and together with the locals they have pressed by force to attend the Quran proscribed prayers.

Had the Russian or Syrian army committed the strike the “western” outcry would have been great. For days the media would have provide gruesome photos and stories. The U.S. ambassador at the UN would have spewed fire and brimstone. But this intelligence screw-up happened on the U.S. side. There will now be some mealymouthed explanations and an official military investigation that will find no fault and will have no consequences.

Amid this sorry incident it was amusing to see the propaganda entities the U.S. had created to blame the Syrian government turning against itself. The MI6 operated SOHR was the first to come out with a high death count. The al-Qaeda aligned, U.S./UK financed “White Helmets” rescuers made a quick photo session pretending to dig out the dead. The sectarian al-Qaeda video propagandist Bilal Abdul Kareem, which the New York Times recently portrait in a positive light, provided damning video and accusing comments. The amateur NATO researchers at Bellingcat published what they had gleaned from maps, photos and videos other people created. The NATO think tank, which defended al-Qaeda’s invasion of Idleb, will shed crocodile tears.

Each new lie and obfuscation the U.S. Central Command in the Middle East put out throughout the day was immediately debunked by the horde of U.S. financed al-Qaeda propaganda supporters. This blowback from the “information operation” against Syria will likely have consequences for future U.S. operations.

In another operation last night the Israeli air force attacked Syrian forces near Palmyra which were operating against ISIS. The Israeli fighters were chased away when the Syrians fired air defense missiles. This was an Israeli attempt to stretch the “rules of operation” it had negotiated with the Russian military in Syria. The Russians, which control the Syrian air space, had allowed Israel to hit Hizbullah weapon transports on their way to Lebanon. Attacks on any force operating against Jihadis in Syria are taboo. The Russian government summoned the Israeli ambassador. Netanyahoo broke the rules. He will now have to bear the consequences.

Posted by b at 03:42 PM

UNICEF: 1.4 Million Children Could Die from Famine in Africa, Yemen

Yemeni child

Local Editor

Nearly 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death from hunger in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, the UN children’s agency warned.

Yemeni child

In Yemen, with war tearing the country apart for two years, some 462,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, UNICEF said.

The Saudi-led strikes on Yemen don’t make the situation any better: in January, the UN warned that over 7,000 people had died in the attacks and about two-thirds of the population is in need of humanitarian aid.

At the same time, 450,000 children are malnourished in northeast Nigeria, and the famine early warning group Fews Net expressed concern that some remote areas of the Nigerian state of Borno are already in famine.

Fews Net also warned that should the disaster go on, aid agencies wouldn’t be able to get to the remote area.

In Somalia, the drought saw 185,000 children malnourished, and these numbers look set to skyrocket to 270,000 over the next few months, according to UNICEF.

Some 270,000 children are currently malnourished in South Sudan and a famine has just been declared in the north of the country.

UNICEF urged the world for prompt response, with Executive Director Anthony Lake saying “we can still save many lives.”

“Time is running out for more than a million children,” Lake added. “The severe malnutrition and looming famine are largely man-made. Our common humanity demands faster action. We must not repeat the tragedy of the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by Website Team

22-02-2017 | 09:22

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Ship the Statue of Liberty Back to France

Ship the Statue of Liberty Back to France

ERIC ZUESSE | 04.02.2017 |

Ship the Statue of Liberty Back to France

Today’s America is a mockery of it. Lady Liberty weeps now. So, let’s ship her back from whence she came, and maybe Europeans will like the symbolism of it.  After all: we got it from Europe, just like we got the immigrants from there.

Donald Trump might not be able to get Mexicans to pay for his wall that the U.S. is building to keep Mexicans out, but would Europeans pay to receive back this symbolic statue, which France gave to an America that deserved it, but that no longer does?

This monument for compassion, and against bigotry, is now merely a metaphorical sore thumb here, but maybe France would be happy to receive her back, and perhaps millions of Europeans will proudly pay to see her, touch her, and stand at her base, to welcome her back to Europe, which ironically consists of the same countries from which almost all of America’s immigrants used to come, before France had gifted the U.S. with Lady Liberty, back on 28 October 1886.

America’s Department of Homeland Security reports that, for the latest available data-year, 2015, the U.S. granted asylum to 69,920 people. By law since 2012, an annual limit had been established for refugees into the U.S.: 70,000.

During that same year in Europe, there were 1,322,825 applicants for asylum, and 69% of them were granted asylum.

Eurostat’s asylum statistics display vastly bigger figures than America’s, for the vast majority of the vastly smaller countries of Europe, as Eurostat described:

For first instance decisions, some 75% of all positive decisions in the EU-28 in 2015 resulted in grants of refugee status, while for final decisions the share was somewhat lower, at 69%. …

The highest share of positive first instance asylum decisions in 2015 was recorded in Bulgaria (91%), followed by Malta, Denmark and the Netherlands. Conversely, Latvia, Hungary and Poland recorded first instance rejection rates above 80%. …

The highest shares of final rejections were recorded in Estonia, Lithuania and Portugal where all final decisions were negative…

The number of first time asylum applicants in Germany increased from 173 thousand in 2014 to 442 thousand in 2015… Hungary, Sweden and Austria also reported very large increases (all in excess of 50 thousand more first time asylum applicants) between 2014 and 2015. In relative terms, the largest increases in the number of first time applicants were recorded in Finland (over nine times as high), Hungary (over four times) and Austria (over three times), while Belgium, Spain, Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland and Sweden all reported that their number of first time asylum applicants more than doubled. By contrast, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Latvia reported fewer first time asylum applicants in 2015 than in 2014.

Germany’s share of the EU-28 total rose from 31% in 2014, to 35% in 2015, while other EU Member States that recorded a notable increase in their share of the EU-28 total included Hungary (up 6.6 percentage points to 13.9%), Austria (up 2.2 percentage points to 6.8%), and Finland (up 1.9 percentage points to 2.6%). Conversely, France and Italy’s shares of the EU-28 total each fell nearly 5 percentage points between 2014 and 2015, to 5.6% and 6.6% respectively. …

Syrians accounted for the largest number of applicants in 12 of the 28 EU Member States, including 159 thousand applicants in Germany (the highest number of applicants from a single country to one of the EU Member States in 2015), 64 thousand applicants in Hungary and 51 thousand in Sweden. Some 46 thousand Afghan applicants were recorded in Hungary, 41 thousand in Sweden and 31 thousand in Germany. A further 54 thousand Albanians, 33 thousand Kosovans and 30 thousand Iraqis also applied for asylum in Germany; no other EU Member State received 30 thousand or more asylum applicants in 2015 of a single citizenship. …

In 2015, there were 593 thousand first instance decisions in all EU Member States. By far the largest number of decisions was taken in Germany, … constituting more than 40% of the total first instance decisions in the EU-28 in 2015. In addition, there were 183 thousand final decisions, with again the far largest share (51%) in Germany.

The much larger country, United States, under its new President Donald Trump, is promising to cut sharply the number of annually admitted refugees, downward from its present meager 70,000.

On a per-capita basis, Europe is taking in seven times as many refugees as the U.S. does. Both America and Europe are widely expected to reduce, not to increase, the acceptance of refugees.

So: Does the Statue of Liberty still represent America — or does it instead represent only an America that once was, but no longer is?

When considering this question, one might also consider what precisely caused the refugees to become refugees. Syria was the largest source of 2015’s refugees into Europe. What have they been fleeing from? According to Western-sponsored polls of Syrians throughout that country, they have been fleeing mainly from U.S. bombs and bombers, which were supporting Al-Qaeda-backed jihadist groups that have been trying to take over their country. Of course, as was being reported in the Western press, they were fleeing mainly from Syrian government and its allied bombs and bombers that have been trying to kill ‘moderate rebels’ against that government.

Those were figures from 2015, when the U.S. was bombing throughout the year in Syria (where it was, in fact, an invader), and when Russia (which was no invader, but instead was invited in by Syria’s government, to help it prevent an overthrow by that U.S.-Saudi alliance) started bombing there only late, on September 30th of 2015. Mainly, Syrians were fleeing both from jihadists who were trying to take over their country, and from American bombs that were supporting those Saudi-financed jihadists. (And, overwhelmingly, the residents there were fleeing from what Obama euphemistically called ‘rebel controlled areas’, to the areas that were still under the Syrian government’s control.)

The second and third largest sources of refugees into Europe during that year were Iraq and Afghanistan, two countries that America started bombing in 2001 in retaliation for the Saudi royal family’s 9/11 attacks inside America. The new Trump Administration is retaliating against refugees from seven countries, on account of the 9/11, and also other, jihadist attacks, which likewise weren’t perpetrated by people from any of these seven: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. In fact, at the very moment of that U.S. announcement about those seven countries, the Saud family were not only supporting both Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, but were dropping American-made bombs onto Shiites in Yemen. And Trump was terminating refugees both from Syria and from Yemen, thus cutting off any escape to the U.S. for those victims of U.S. aggression against those two countries that the Saud family and the U.S. aristocracy want to conquer. Will Europe take these refugees in?

U.S. aggression combines now with a tightening closed-door policy, and neither reality fits the Western myth. So, might Lady Liberty be crying also because of Western lying? She has become alien to this country as a misfit here, as being both a refuge and a model for the world. She no longer belongs in this country, in spirit. She might as well be officially included on President Trump’s banned list, a resident alien that’s being returned to sender. Maybe if Trump sends her back to France, he’ll try to negotiate with France’s leaders, some sort of price that they will be billed — not, of course for creating the statue (since it was created by the French), but, like he plans to get Mexicans to pay for building his wall to keep them out.

How far will Trump go in his ‘politically incorrect’ new form of ‘Americanism’?

Paul Craig Roberts: ‘The Left is Self-Destructing’

Posted on January 30, 2017

[ Ed. note – The above video shows protestors at JFK Airport protesting Trump’s ban on travelers from certain countries. But of course one wonders: why weren’t these people out protesting when Obama was in the White House spending his days bombing Libya, supporting terrorists in Syria, carrying out drone strikes in Pakistan, or waging what seems to be an endless war in Afghanistan? What is worse, refusing to allow refugees from war-torn countries into the US–or starting the wars which turn them into refugees in the first place? This is the point Paul Craig Roberts makes, and it’s a rather good one.

Another good point, and one which Roberts fails to make, is why wasn’t Saudi Arabia included in Trump’s ban? But then Roberts seems to be rather reserved when it comes to voicing criticisms of the new president, or at least so far he’s been. But consider the list of countries to which the travel bans apply: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Conspicuously absent is Saudi Arabia. If you’re going to have such a list to begin with, would it not make sense to include the very country that is the epicenter of the takfiri religious ideology–an ideology which declares people of all other faiths, including other Muslims, as infidels–and which has been a major source of funding for terrorists in Syria? A country which, by the way, also has invaded Yemen, where it is waging war against the Houthi Ansurallah rebels, who, as in the case of Assad in Syria, have been one of the principle forces opposing Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in their region?

So what to make of all this? Well, perhaps it’s simply another case of “Trump the chameleon.” On the other hand, readers might be interested in an article published a few days ago by the Jerusalem Post under the headline “Meet the Top Jewish Officials in the Trump Administration.” The article names eleven in all. You can read about it here. One thing is for certain, though, as Roberts correctly points out: there is a great deal of “mindlessness” in the left today. ]

The Left is Self-Destructing

Paul Craig Roberts

The mindlessness is unbearable. Amnesty International tells us that we must “fight the Muslim ban” because Trump’s bigotry is wrecking lives. Anthony Dimaggio at CounterPunch says Trump should be impeached because his Islamophobia is a threat to the Constitution. This is not to single out these two as the mindlessness is everywhere among those whose worldview is defined by Identity Politics.

One might think that Amnesty International should be fighting against the Bush/Cheney/Obama regime wars that have produced the refugees by killing and displacing millions of Muslims. For example, the ongoing war that Obama inflicted on Yemen results in the death of one Yemeni child every 10 minutes, according to UNICEF. Where is Amnesty International?

Clearly America’s wars on Muslims wreck far more lives than Trump’s ban on immigrants. Why the focus on an immigration ban and not on wars that produce refugees? Is it because Obama is responsible for war and Trump for the ban? Is the liberal/progressive/left projecting Obama’s monstrous crimes onto Trump? Is it that we must hate Trump and not Obama?

Immigration is not a right protected by the US Constitution. Where was Dimaggio when in the name of “the war on terror” the Bush/Obama regime destroyed the civil liberties guaranteed by the US Constitution? If Dimaggio is an American citizen, he should try immigrating to the UK, Germany, or France and see how far he gets.

The easiest and surest way for the Trump administration to stop the refugee problem, not only for the US but also for Europe and the West in general, is to stop the wars against Muslim countries that his predecessors started. The enormous sums of money squandered on gratuitous wars could instead be given to the countries that the US and NATO have destroyed. The simplest way to end the refugee problem is to stop producing refugees. This should be the focus of Trump, Amnesty, and Dimaggio.

Is everyone too busy hating to do anything sensible?

It is very disturbing that the liberal/progressive/left prefers to oppose Trump than to oppose war. Indeed, they want a war on Trump. How does this differ from the Bush/Obama war on Muslims?

The liberal/progressive/left is demonstrating a mindless hatred of the American people and the President that the people chose. This mindless hatred can achieve nothing but the discrediting of an alternative voice and the opening of the future to the least attractive elements of the right-wing.

The liberal/progressive/left will end up discrediting all critics, thereby empowering those to whom the liberal/progressive/left are most opposed.

Trump’s Immigration Ban Doesn’t Include Country of 9/11 Hijackers!

31-01-2017 | 11:20

Trump’s Immigration Ban Doesn’t Include Country of 9/11 Hijackers!

Trump’s Immigration Ban Doesn’t Include Country of 9/11 Hijackers!

Pamela Engel

President Donald Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US doesn’t include Saudi Arabia, the country where most of the 9/11 attackers came from.

In fact, the executive order doesn’t apply to any of the countries where the 9/11 attackers were from. Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon were also left off the list.

The executive order temporarily bars citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from traveling to the US. Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said over the weekend that the order was “a ban on prospective travel from countries … that have a recent history of training and exporting and harboring terrorists.”

Trump also cited the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, directly several times in his executive order.

“The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States,” the order said.” Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans.”

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Fifteen of those 19 foreign nationals were from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia, and his family had strong connections to the Saudi royal family. The rest of the attackers were from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia in particular, however, has a long history of exporting Wahhabism… that has been blamed for fueling extremism around the world.

Farah Pandith, America’s first special representative to Muslim communities at the State Department, wrote for The New York Times that in each of the 80 countries she visited from 2009 to 2014, “the Wahhabi influence was an insidious presence, changing the local sense of identity; displacing historic, culturally vibrant forms of Islamic practice; and pulling along individuals who were either paid to follow their rules or who became on their own custodians of the Wahhabi world view.”

Pandith continued: “Funding all this was Saudi money, which paid for things like the textbooks, mosques, TV stations and the training of Imams.” She called on countries to “reject free Saudi textbooks and translations that are filled with hate” and “expose the Saudi financing of extremist groups masquerading as cultural exchanges and ‘charity’ organizations.”

Trump called Saudi Arabia the “world’s biggest funder of terrorism” in 2011.

On “Meet the Press” in 2015, Chuck Todd asked Trump why the US should have diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia if the country funded terrorism.
“The primary reason we are with Saudi Arabia is because we need the oil,” Trump said. “Now, we don’t need the oil so much.”

He continued: “Like it or don’t like it, people have backed Saudi Arabia. What I really mind though is we back it at tremendous expense. We get nothing for it.”

Saudi Arabia has been a major US ally for decades. From 2011 to 2015, Saudi Arabia has been the top destination for US arms exports.

Trump also has a personal financial link to Saudi Arabia, as The Times noted. The Trump Organization registered eight companies in Saudi Arabia in 2015.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer noted over the weekend that the seven countries included in Trump’s executive order were first flagged by the Obama administration as “countries of particular concern” for visa screening.

Source: Business Insider, Edited by website team

 

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