هل يقرأ مدَّعو الفهم برفض المقاطعة: أم هم خشبيون بادعاء رفض الخشبية؟

التطبيع يصل إلَى الإعلام العربي.. “معاريف” الصهيونية: صحفيون مصريون في ضيافة السفير “الإسرائيلي”

ناصر قنديل

– يكاد يشعر مَن يشارك بنقاش هادئ حول فكرة المقاطعة أنّه يقرّر دخول حلبة جنون لا مكان للعقل فيها، وأن مَن يخالفونه الرأي جاهزون للانقضاض بالسكاكين بادعاء معرفي كاذب، للردّ على ما كُتب، لأنهم يفهمون عليه من دون أن يقرأوه، أليس هو من المدافعين عن قرار مقاطعة فيلم أو كتاب، إذن هو من جماعة اللغة الخشبية التي جلبت لنا الهزائم، وكأن دعاة عدم المقاطعة يقدّمون لنا سجلاً حافلاً بالانتصارات، في رفع النفايات وتأمين الكهرباء، طالما هم منسحبون من ساحة القضايا الكبرى باعتبارها أقل قيمة من مستوى اهتماماتهم، وطالما صاروا متشاركين بالنظريات ذاتها من مسؤولين حاكمين ومستثقفين من معارضين، فليتشاركوا أيضاً في عرض سجل الفضائح – الإنجازات الذي به يتباهون، أو فلنهدأ ودعونا نتلاقى في منطقة وسط، نقرأ ثم نناقش، ولن نقول لكم إن المقاومة على الأقل باعتراف عدوّها حققت إنجازات وانتصارات، ونقبل التساوي في حفلة الفشل، فقط لنناقش بهدوء، فهل أنتم جاهزون؟

– يتشارك كل الرافضين لفكرة المقاطعة بثلاثة، الأولى أننا في زمن الانفتاح الإعلامي وثورة المعلوماتية وسهولة الوصول للممنوع، فما جدوى المقاطعة طالما أنها لن تمنع هذا الوصول، بل قد تثير ضجة تزيد من رغبة التعرّف بداعي الفضول، الثانية أن مبدأ الاطلاع على ما يقوله ويكتبه عدو، ليس فعلاً شائناً، فلماذا الخوف من الاطلاع وكأنه اعتراف بتفوق الموقف المعادي وخشية من التأثر به. والفكر حر وليتواجه فكر بفكر وإبداع بإبداع بلا منع ولا حجب ينتميان إلى مدرسة احتقار فكر الإنسان الحر، الثالثة أن المقاطعة لا تقدم ولا تؤخر بالذي تطاله المقاطعة، خصوصاً على الصعيد الاقتصادي، بل ربما تفيده في جعله موضوع إثارة وتحت الطلب بقوة حملة المقاطعة. وفوق هذه الثلاثة يأتي من يتبرع بحجج من نوع لماذا عرض لفلان فيلمان والآن استفاقوا على المقاطعة، ومن نوع، تبرّع فلان لمؤسسات إنسانية في كيان العدو ومثله تفعل شركات وأشخاص ودول فلم لا تقاطعونها… إلخ.

– في تصويب النقاش يجب تثبيت أن الحديث لا يجري عن قرار انتقائي او اختياري تتخذه نخبة في بلد، أو جهة مسؤولة في بلد. فالحديث عن تطبيق، مجرد تطبيق لقرار صادر عن جهة يشارك في تكوينها لبنان، هي هيئة مكتب المقاطعة العربية لـ»إسرائيل»، وتخضع قراراتها لمعادلات تتصل بتشكيلها فيها الخطأ والصواب، لكن متى قرّرت وهو جزء من قرارها يبادر لتنفيذ القرار، وهذه هي الحالة التي أمامنا، فهل نشارك أم لا، بناء على المبدأ الخاص بفكرة المقاطعة وليس على التفاصيل التي قد تتسع لنقاش من نوع دعوة الدكتور سمير جعجع الضمنية لمقاطعة أميركا، لأنها تدعم «إسرائيل» بثلاثة مليارات دولار سنوياً وليس بمليون دولار فقط كما فعل ستيفن سبيلبرغ ولسنة واحدة هي سنة حرب تموز 2006.

– الأمر الثاني هو أن أحداً لا يتطلّع للخلط بين المقاطعة الاقتصادية والمقاطعة الثقافية، أو بين المقاطعة لمنع التطبيع، والمقاطعة لمعاقبة دعم «إسرائيل»، وكل منها باب مختلف. فالمقاطعة الاقتصادية تطال شركات وتتصل بحرمانها من عقود وأسواق للتأثير على قراراتها الاقتصادية بحساب المصالح. وهذا لا يشبه الحديث عن المقاطعة الثقافية، والمقاطعة لمنع التطبيع تتّصل بمضمون منتج ثقافي أو رمز ثقافي، لأن المنتج أو صاحبه يروّجان للعدو، وهذا يستدعي حكماً مبدعاً ونجماً، وأن يكون مبدعاً ونجماً قد يراه البعض سبباً لرفض المقاطعة بحقه، بينما هو السبب الوجيه للمقاطعة بصفتها عقاباً اجتماعياً للمبدع والنجم في إصابة نجوميته، وتعرية ما يفترضه حقه في العبث بتوظيف مكانته في مجتمعه لتعريضه للارتباك في قضايا مصيرية. وهذا ما فعلته «إسرائيل» مع الشاعر «الإسرائيلي» يوناثان جيفين بمنع بث الأغاني العائدة لقصائده، لأنه كتب قصيدة تتضامن مع الطفلة الفلسطينية عهد التميمي، وهو ما يدعو بعض اللبنانيين لفعله مع المخرج زياد دويري.

– في قضية «الجلقان» اللبناني بترشيح فيلم الدويري للأوسكار، فقط لفت نظر أن الإبداع يأتي كما يعلم المتابعون في المرتبة الثانية بعد السياسة في الترشيح للجوائز العالمية، وكلّما كبر حجم الجائزة زادت السياسة، وهذا لا يُخفيه منظمو الجوائز، خصوصاً في باب الفيلم الأجنبي لجوائز الأوسكار، التي يعتبرونها تحية لقضايا وشعوب وأفكار، كما لا يُخفى على من تابعوا الترشيحات، حجم الاستبسال «الإسرائيلي» لشطب ترشيح فيلم «فوكستورت» العائد للمخرج «الإسرائيلي» اليساري شموليك معوز الذي يعرض للتفكك والانهيار الأخلاقي في المؤسسة العسكرية «الإسرائيلية» وكيف يقوم المجندون بحال هذيان بـ «التسلية» وقتل الملل بقتل المارة الفلسطينيين، وكيف قام «الإسرائيليون» بدعم ترشيح فيلم الدويري ليحل مكانه، والاعتبار عندهم هو ذاته نقل الأزمة الثقافية من الكيان «الإسرائيلي» إلى الكيان الذي يشكّل تحدياً ثقافياً مقابلاً بانتصارات مقاومته، وهو لبنان.

– بالعودة إلى سبيلبرغ، وما يعادله كحالة وليس كمستوى أو كمضمون طبعاً، في تاريخ الثقافة، حالة الفيلسوف الفرنسي روجيه غارودي، الذي لوحق بتهمة العداء للسامية وإنكار المحرقة النازية بحق اليهود، ولم يُسعفه في بلد الديمقراطية الأول فرنسا، أن يقبل بتوصيف إنكار المحرقة كجريمة، علماً أن ذلك حجر على الفكر الحر وحق المؤرخ بالتفكير، ولا أسعفه قوله، إنه يعتبر المبالغة «الإسرائيلية» في توصيف المحرقة توظيفاً لجريمة من أجل التغطية على جرائم مشابهة، فحُكم عليه بالمنع والمقاطعة،وتوقفت الصحف الفرنسية عن نشر مقالاته، منذ نشر في صحيفة اللوموند عام 1982 بعد مجازر صبرا وشاتيلا بياناً مشتركاً مع الأب ميشال لولون والقس ايتان ماتيو يدين المجزرة، وفلسفة المقاطعة هنا ليست أنها لبلد همجي أو معادٍ للانفتاح الثقافي، أو لا ديمقراطي، بل فلسفتها وقيمتها أنها في بلد الديمقراطية والانفتاح والحضارة، والفكر والفلسفة، لتقول إن هذه الدولة العريقة في الديمقراطية والانفتاح الثقافي لا يحرجها ولا يضيرها أن تُقدم على ما يناقض طبيعتها وتكوينها، في شأن تعتبره في مرتبة القدسية،  وهو ما تصفه بمحاربة العداء للسامية أو دعم الصهيونية عملياً، وتقول إن كل ميزات الانفتاح والديمقراطية ليست متاحة ليستفيد منها أعداء الصهيونية، وأن المقاطعة فعلٌ لا يراهن على المنع ولا على الحجب، فليقرأ لغارودي مَن يشاء وليلاحق كتاباته مَن يريد، وليجمع غارودي الملايين من القراء والملايين من الدولارات من هذه القراءات، لكن على غارودي والعالم أن يعلموا أن فرنسا تقاطعه بعدما تلقت رسالته بتحدّي قيمها، وهذه هي بالضبط فلسفة المقاطعة.

– سبيلبرغ بمليون دولار لن يجعل «إسرائيل» مرة أخرى قوة لا تُقهر وقد هزمتها مقاومتنا، ومقاطعتنا لن تحرمه ملايين سينالها فيلمه من شبابيك التذاكر، ومقاطعتنا لن تعني أن من بيننا كأفراد مَن سيُضطر مجبراً أن يمتنع عن مشاهدة فيلمه أو أفلامه، فليحضره على الشبكات من يريد وليحتفظ بنسخة عن فيلمه من يشاء، لكن سبيلبرغ أرادنا صندوقاً مجانياً لاسترضاء «الإسرائيليين» الذين غضبوا منه بعد فيلم ميونيخ، فاستعملنا باستحمار في تبرّعه في حرب تموز، ورسالتنا أننا شعب يغضب وتصله رسالة التحدّي، ومن استُغضب ولم يغضب فهو حمار. ونحن لسنا حميراً، وقد جاءتنا فرصة إدراج أفلامه ومقاطعتها على لائحة المقاطعة العربية فوجدناها فرصة لنقول له، لقد سمعت بلبنان من قبل يوم تبرّعت بمليون دولار للحرب علينا، ها نحن نُسمعك مجدداً، أننا سنحضر الجيد من أفلامك لكننا سنبصق بوجهك، فلا نجوميتك ولا إبداعك يجعلانك في مرتبة المقدّس،

لستَ عندنا ولا زياد الدويري أهمّ من روجيه غارودي عند الفرنسيين، قمتم بالعبث والتحدّي لمنظومة قيم كلفتنا دماء، فرددنا لكم الرسالة بما يناسب: البصقة في الوجه لا تبلل ولا تفسد الهندام ولا تسبّب الموت، لكنها رسالة مهمة، بدليل الضجة الدائرة.

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In the Occupied Territory, Two Kinds of Justice

Originally published in CounterPunch Magazine December 25, 2017

In the Occupied Territory, Two Kinds of Justice

Many take their liberty for granted even as they have endless time to rail on and on about how “they” are coming for us. Be it the “coup”, apparently now underway, or the spread of domestic McCarthyism that seeks to cower us into silence, or the baffling, sudden, corrupt reach of the Department of Justice, for most white men here we enjoy a privilege that says not us. Typically, it works.

A world away, liberty is less a race-based edge than it is the benefits you gain by the day of the week you celebrate your faith. For those who get directions from god on Saturdays, there appear to be no limits to the dispensation to which you are entitled; be it the execution of an unconscious prisoner, the mass arrest of a family with the temerity to fight for their land or a Prime Minister protected by legislative fiat empowered well beyond the reach of mere mortal law.

Israel has long preached justice and equality to the world. How often have we heard its mantra about democratic ideals and traditions as so much a unique historical tenet of its travel… a journey for the chosen that get to choose who the beneficiaries are… and are not.

For those of us in the US, either schooled in the classic process of the law or victimized by its aim, we’ve grown spoiled by its safeguards even though they remain but abstract and elusive for those many in the prisoner dock of  “wrong” color, with but coins in their pocket or militant politics in their gait.

Yet, despite the betrayal of equal hope for all, the march from investigation to arrest to trial and result knows no formal de jure distinction along the way. Of course, one would be so much a fool to argue that justice is blind, or little more than a commodity for purchase, or the skill of one’s advocate, or the luck of one’s judicial draw. Yet these damning imperfections leave hope along the way that justice may, on occasion, just slip and fall into ones lap despite a long and tarred drop.

That is not the case in Israel. Israel has two systems of justice… one for Jews and the other for Palestinians be they Muslim, Christian or atheist. Nowhere is that more apparent or destructive than it is in the Occupied Territory.

The Detention of Children

Several days ago, 16 year old Ahed Tamimi was arrested, by heavily armed Israeli soldiers, during a violent pre-dawn raid on her home. It followed a video, since gone viral, of her slapping a soldier on the face and arm and pushing another soldier, standing nearby, who she was ushering away from the family home… this, after her 14-year-old cousin, Mohammed,  had been shot by an Israeli rubber coated bullet that entered through his mouth and lodged in his brain.

For Ahed, it was not the first time that her challenge to the occupation received international attention and acclaim.  As an 11 year old, she was video recorded confronting soldiers with clenched fist. She did not back down.  At 13, she helped to wrestle her 11 year old brother, his arm in a cast, from the clutches of an Israeli soldier who was physically assaulting him during a standoff near her family home. For that, she was the recipient of the Handala Courage award in Turkey.

Not long after Ahed’s current arrest, Nariman Tamimi was seized when she went to the local police station to check on her daughter. After attending his daughter’s initial military court appearance, Bassem Tamimi, a prominent land defender and non-violent organizer in the village of Nabi Saleh, was also taken into custody. He has been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces. In 2012, he was termed a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International during one of his several detentions in an Israeli prison.

Later that night, soldiers seized a family cousin, Nour Tamimi, a 21 year old journalism student, from her own family home.

Mother, father, daughter, and cousin arrested after another cousin shot… all within a matter of a few days.  Welcome to Palestine. Welcome to the Occupation.

Liberty means more than the freedom to walk in and out of your home with the approval of those who occupy the streets that lead to it. 

Though the arrest of Ahed has captured the attention of many, it is as much the force of her charisma as it is the call of justice that has produced it. Since 2000, over 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military system devoid of any meaningful protection for the most vulnerable and traumatized among those that have known nothing but the bark of occupation their entire lives.  It is a military justice process notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.

The majority of these children have been seized in middle of the night raids by heavily armed Israeli soldiers. By now, military kidnappings have become so much the expected norm that Palestinian teens sleep with their clothes on to maintain their modesty when the doors to their bedroom are kicked in with the shouts of “get up get up” by heavily armed soldiers.

Dragged out the door to the screams of their powerless parents, for most, it will be the last they will hear from them without the watch and eavesdrop of prison guards for the many months of detention to follow.

Several hours after their arrest, children arrive at an interrogation and detention center alone, tired, and frightened.

All Interrogations, by their very nature, are inherently coercive no matter the age or experience of its target.  None are more so than for an often bruised and scared child forced to go through the process without the benefit of counsel or the presence of parents who are never permitted to participate.

Israeli law provides that all military interrogations must be undertaken in a prisoner’s native language and that any statement made by them must be reduced to writing in that language. Despite this prohibition, detainees are typically coerced into signing statements, through verbal abuse, threats, and physical violence, that are written by police in Hebrew… which most cannot understand. These statements usually provide the main evidence against these children in Israeli military courts.

By virtue of the military court process, as of the end of this past summer there were 331 Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 2 administrative detainees.

The Military Court Process

The military courts, themselves, are held inside military bases and closed to the public… and usually family members of the accused.  Within these courts, military orders supersede clear Israeli and international law.  The court proceedings reduce the prospect of any justice to little more than a military dress parade where soldiers exhibit their uniform without any independence or skill attached to it whatsoever.

In military courts, all parties to the proceeding… the judge, prosecutor and translators… are members of the Israeli armed forces. The judges are military officers with minimal judicial training and, by-in- large, served as military prosecutors before assuming the bench

The prosecutors are Israeli soldiers appointed to the position by the Area Commander.  Some of them are not yet certified as attorneys under the Israeli Bar Association.

Under the rules of occupation, all defendants in military courts are Palestinian… with the jurisdiction of the Israeli military court never extended to some eight hundred thousand Jewish settlers living in the West Bank.  They are accorded the full benefit and safeguard of Israeli civil law.

Under Israeli military orders, a Palestinian can be held without charge, for the purpose of interrogation, for a total period of 90 days during which he or she is denied the benefit of counsel. These detention periods can be extended without limit and require but an ex parte request of military prosecutors.  By comparison, an Israeli citizen accused of a security offense, within the Occupied Territory, can be held without indictment within the civil process for a period of 64 days during which time counsel is available at all times.

Though Palestinian detainees are entitled to trials in military proceedings which must be completed within eighteen months, if the trials have not concluded within that time frame, a judge from the Military Court of Appeals can extend the detention of a Palestinian by multiple six-month increments… indefinitely. It is this process which has left thousands of Palestinian political detainees imprisoned for years on end without the benefit of counsel, formal charges, or trial. The comparable time limit for detainees before Israeli civilian courts is nine months.

While criminal liability begins at age 12 for Palestinians and Israelis alike, under the military system Palestinians can be tried as adults at age 16. For Israelis, the age of majority for trial as an adult in a civilian court is 18.  This two year difference, without physical distinction of consequence, can mean the difference of many years in sentence should a conviction ensue.  In some cases, it can literally mean a variance between a few years in prison versus decades upon conviction.

For those Palestinian detainees who have been accorded a military trial in the Occupied Territory, the conviction rate is but a bit short of 100%. All military trials are undertaken by a judge and not a jury.

Although the United Nations has repeatedly held that the military justice system in the Occupied Territory violates international law, it has done nothing to ensure equal protection to hundreds of thousands denied justice by virtue of being Palestinian and nothing else.

Detention as a Political Weapon

For fifty years, the justice system in the Occupied Territory has been the exclusive domain of the Israeli army… completely removed from any oversight by civilian laws, courts, and safeguards. It’s been estimated that, during this time, several hundred thousand Palestinians have been sentenced for a wide range of “security violations” as defined by arbitrary military fiat on a case by case basis. It has been reported that 20% of the Palestinian population have been swept up and detained by the military during this time.

While Israel has tried to portray its exercise of judicial authority in the Occupied Territory as one largely concerned with traditional criminal offenses or serious acts of “violence”, in point of fact, most of those seized have been detained for little more than non-violent political activity.

Designated as “Hostile Terrorist Activity,” these offenses often target speech, association, cultural expression, “unauthorized” assembly and movement, non-violent protest, and political activity carried out by elected representatives of local Palestinian government entities.

Others have been detained for “incitement” or membership in “illegal associations” as determined by the local Israeli military commander… or for “leaving the area without permission.”

Journalists have been arrested because of their critical coverage of the military at demonstrations or for reporting about the occupation in general. One was arrested for making a Facebook comment on another arrested Palestinian’s mugshot: “your smile will end the occupation.”

Troops have raided and shut down several broadcast outlets for six months on the grounds of incitement including the Manbar al-Hurriya radio station and eight local outlets operated by PalMedia, Ram Sat and Trans Media.

Documentation of almost two dozen Palestinians, in the West Bank, detained by the Israeli military for nothing more than Facebook posts or exchanges is claimed by 7amleh, the Arab Centre for Social Media Advancement. Additionally, Israel’s security system handed over a list of 400 other Palestinians, having posted to Facebook, to the security of the Palestinian Authority, who arrested them.

Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) have been arrested and detained for carrying out a population census in occupied East Jerusalem which the military deemed as “illegal work” with the Palestinian Authority.

Although International law prohibits interference with the free exercise of one’s political opinions, the Israeli military has sought to suppress the Palestinian political process, as a whole, for decades. Palestinian political leaders and activists are routinely arrested and detained.

In July of 2014, a high of 38 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were detained for political activity. As of November 2017, the current number is 11 members.    Others have been prevented from travelling outside the Occupied Territories.  A number of Legislative Council members had their residencies in Jerusalem revoked and were forcibly deported to other parts of the Occupied West Bank.

70 lawmakers from the Palestinian Legislative Council have been arrested since 2002 for political activity and little else, including a number that have been detained on multiple occasions.

Among the current members of the PLC in Israeli detention is 55-year-old Khalida Jarrar, a female legislator and senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Head of the Prisoners’ Commission of the PLC and vice-chairperson of the board of directors of Palestinian Prisoners’ Rights Group, Jarrar, who was last released from Israeli detention a year ago, was accused of “promoting terror activities”.

For seventy years, Israel has held itself out as a nation under siege.  It has used this talisman to evade and avoid the clear mandate of international law. Nowhere is that more readily apparent and painful than in the Occupied Territory which, with the passage of time, has become illegally annexed and policed by military force of law.

Jails do not break the back of resistance. They firm it with the price expected for the cost of freedom. In Palestine, it is a price willingly embraced by both the young and those who have aged with the slam of the prison gate.

Perhaps one day, Israel will awaken to the truth that the siege it fights is the very one it promotes. Until then, neither the military nor its sham courts will quell the taste of freedom or the natural beckon for it.

I have never expected to agree with Dershowitz

By Gilad Atzmon

In this video, Alan Dershowitz, the ethnic cleansing enthusiast, speaks against  Antifa and AltLeft’s hooliganism. His argument is, indeed valid! It is worth watching.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b40Wlv8YvsQ  

However,  let us not forget that Dershowitz is far from being a supporter of freedom of speech or the 1st amendment. Dershowitz has worked hard to silence many intellectual careers. He obliterated  Norman Finkelstein’s academic career. He struggled  to stop both  my music  as well as  literary careers mounting pressure on America’s leading scholars, humanists and intellectual institutes.

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So you ask yourself why Dershowitz opposes the Antifa?

It is probably not because he cares for America. The Antifa is funded  by George Soros and Dershowitz regards Soros as an enemy of Israel and Zionism.  At the end of the day, every crucial political debate is always reduced into a Jewish internal dispute. I guess that Dershowitz believes that it is better to keep the fight within  the shtetl.

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To understand  Dershowitz and other ID political tactics read  Being In Time: A Post Political  Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and gilad.co.uk.   

Understanding the Geopolitics of Terrorism

By Bill Van Auken

June 08, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The latest in a long series of bloody terrorist attacks attributed to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) unfolded in Iran early Wednesday with coordinated armed assaults on the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) and the mausoleum of the late supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini. At least 12 people were killed and 43 wounded.

The reactions of the US government and the Western media to the attacks in Tehran stand in stark contrast to their response to the May 22 bombing that killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena and the London Bridge attacks that claimed nine lives last Saturday.

The Trump White House released a vicious statement that effectively justified the killings in Iran, declaring,

“We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote,” an attitude that found its reflection in the relative indifference of the media to the loss of Iranian lives.

It is clearly understood that terrorism against Iran serves definite political aims that are in sync with those of US imperialism and its regional allies.

For its part, Tehran’s reaction to the attacks was unambiguous. It laid the responsibility at the door of the US and its principal regional ally, Saudi Arabia. “This terrorist attack happened only a week after the meeting between the US president (Donald Trump) and the (Saudi) backward leaders who support terrorists,” Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said in a statement, published by Iranian media. The attack was understood in Tehran as a political act carried out in conjunction with identifiable state actors and aimed at furthering definite geostrategic objectives.

The same can be said of the earlier acts of terrorism carried out in Manchester and London, as well as those in Paris, Brussels and elsewhere before them.

The Western media routinely treats each of these atrocities as isolated manifestations of “evil” or religious hatred, irrational acts carried out by madmen. In reality, they are part of an internationally coordinated campaign in pursuit of definite political objectives.

Underlying the violence on the streets of Europe is the far greater violence inflicted upon the Middle East by US, British and French imperialism, working in conjunction with right-wing bourgeois regimes and the Islamist forces they promote, finance and arm.

ISIS is itself the direct product of a series of imperialist wars, emerging as a split-off from Al Qaeda, which got its start in the CIA-orchestrated war by Islamist fundamentalists against the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan. It was forged in the US war of aggression against Iraq that killed close to a million Iraqis, and then utilized in the 2011 war to topple Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi. Fighters and arms were then funneled with the aid of the CIA into the war for regime change in Syria.

The latest round of terror has its source in growing dissatisfaction among Washington’s Middle Eastern allies and its Islamist proxy forces over the slow pace of the US intervention in Syria and Washington’s failure to bring the six-year war for regime change to a victorious conclusion.

The people giving the orders for these attacks live in upper-class neighborhoods in London, Paris and elsewhere, enjoying close connections with intelligence agencies and government officials. Far from being unknown, they will be found among the top ministers and government officials in Damascus if the US-backed war in Syria achieves its objectives.

Those who carry out the terrorist atrocities are expendable assets, foot soldiers who are easily replaced from among the broad layers enraged by the slaughter carried out by imperialism in the Middle East.

The mass media always presents the failure to prevent these attacks as a matter of the security forces failing to “connect the dots,” a phrase that should by now be permanently banned. In virtually every case, those involved are well known to the authorities.

In the latest attacks in the UK, the connections are astonishing, even given the similar facts that have emerged in previous terrorist actions. One of the attackers in the London Bridge killings, Yousseff Zaghba, was stopped at an Italian airport while attempting to travel to Syria, freely admitting that he “wanted to be a terrorist” and carrying ISIS literature. Another was featured in a British television documentary that chronicled his confrontation with and detention by police after he unfurled an ISIS flag in Regent’s Park.

The Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was likewise well known to British authorities. His parents were members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), who were allowed to return to Libya in 2011 to participate in the US-NATO regime-change operation against Muammar Gaddafi. He himself met with Libyan Islamic State operatives in Libya, veterans of the Syrian civil war, and maintained close connections with them while in Manchester.

What has become clear after 16 years of the so-called “war on terrorism”—going all the way back to the hijackers of 9/11—is that these elements move in and out of the Middle East, Europe and the US itself not only without hindrance, but under what amounts to state protection.

When they arrive at passport control, their names come up with definite instructions that they are not to be stopped. “Welcome home, sir, enjoy your vacation in Libya?” “Bit of tourism in Syria?”

Why have they enjoyed this carte blanche? Because they are auxiliaries of US and European intelligence, necessary proxies in wars for regime change from Libya to Syria and beyond that are being waged to further imperialist interests.

If from time to time these elements turn against their sponsors, with innocent civilians paying with their lives, that is part of the price of doing business.

In the aftermath of terrorist actions, governments respond with stepped-up measures of repression and surveillance. Troops are deployed in the streets, democratic rights are suspended, and, as in France, a state of emergency is made the overriding law of the land. All of these measures are useless in terms of preventing future attacks, but serve very well to control the domestic population and suppress social unrest.

If the mass media refuses to state what has become obvious after more than a decade and a half of these incidents, it is a measure of how fully the linkage between terrorism, the Western intelligence agencies and the unending wars in the Middle East has become institutionalized.

Innocent men, women and children, whether in London, Manchester, Paris, Tehran, Baghdad or Kabul, are paying the terrible price for these imperialist operations, which leave a trail of blood and destruction everywhere.

Putting a stop to terrorist attacks begins with a fight to put an end to the so-called “war on terrorism,” the fraudulent pretext for predatory wars in which Al Qaeda and its offshoots are employed as proxy ground forces, operating in intimate collaboration with imperialist intelligence services and military commands.

This article was first published by WSWS

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The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.


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Chaos And Division

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 The escalating disagreement between Qatar on the one side, and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt on the other side, confirms the rampant chaos and divisions that dominate the  Arab region

tamim.jpg888

By Abdel Bari Atwan

We must admit that this disagreement came as no surprise. What did surprise us, however, are its intensity, the manner in which it was expressed, and the measures and steps that have and may still result from it. After all, four of the aforementioned states are supposedly members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and the Arab coalition that is fighting the Houthis and the General People’s Congress [Saleh] party in Yemen. In addition, the four states, or two of them at least, have pumped in billions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons to fan the flames of the bloody conflict raging in Syria, Libya, and Yemen – and are still doing so.

The GCC has previously witnessed many disagreements, and in fact, political and border wars between its members – especially, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. But what is happening today between the abovementioned states may open a wound that would be difficult to close, and create a rift that will be difficult to bridge, at least in the foreseeable future.

The explosive developments began when the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya and the Emirati-owned Arab Sky News broadcast statements attributed to the Emir of Qatar, Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during a graduation ceremony of a number of recruits.

The Emir allegedly protested against the escalation of the disagreement with Iran, adding that it was unwise to be hostile to it. He also allegedly denounced including Hizbollah and Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations, since both are resistance movements. And he accused Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain of inciting against Qatar and accusing it of sponsoring terrorism and its organizations. He also took a stab at Saudi Arabia by saying that ‘the states that claim to be fighting terrorism are those that are religiously most hardline and are providing pretexts for the terrorists.’ In fact, he went even further by criticizing the hundreds-of- billions of dollars spent on the purchase of weapons rather than on developmental projects, and when he speculated that Trump’s days in office were now numbered.

Al-Arabiya and Arab Sky News picked up these alleged statements and hosted many Egyptian and Saudi analysts who attacked Qatar mercilessly, accusing it of what they portray as terrorism and hosting terrorist organizations, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, al-Arabiya broadcasted an audiotape in which the father of Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, is allegedly heard in a phone conversation with late Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi attacking Saudi Arabia and predicting the collapse of the Al Saud regime. It also reported old statements by former Yemeni president Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh revealing that Qatar’s former Emir had asked him for help in waging sabotage campaigns deep inside Saudi Arabia.

Qatar’s giant media empire, of which Al-Jazeera television is the spearhead, was taken by surprise. It did not respond by issuing clarifications or retaliate in kind. Instead, it continued with its usual programs. This lent some credibility to the anti-Qatar campaign for some time. Then came the first clarification from a Qatari official after a number of hours, in the form of a very short statement claiming that the Qatari News Agency’s website had been hacked by unknown parties, and that the statements attributed to Prince Tamim were false.

But adding to the ‘lack of clarity’ was a ‘Breaking News’ item on al-Arabiya to the effect that Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin ‘Abderrahman has instructed the ambassadors of Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia to leave Doha within 24 hours. The Qatari foreign minister firmly denied this, and said that his statements had been taken out of context.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain took an immediate decision to impose a blackout on Al-Jazeera’s websites and all Qatari newspapers on the Internet. In fact, it is not unlikely for them to resort to jamming Al-Jazeera on the grounds that Qatar’s denial of the statements attributed to Prince Tamim and its insistence that the Qatari News Agency’s website had been hacked were not ‘convincing.’ They did not alleviate the crisis’ intensity or end the campaign on Qatar.

It is worth noting that this crisis in relations between Qatar on the one hand, and the UAE and Saudi Arabia on the other, follows two important developments:

– The first is U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh and his participation in three Saudi – Gulf, Arab, and Islamic – summits. These summits focused on the war on terrorism and on Iran’s role as the latter’s spearhead, accusing it of playing a major role in undermining the region’s stability. Moreover, the U.S. president held a somewhat tense meeting with the Qatari Emir on the summits’ margins.

– The second development was the appearance of a number of articles in U.S. and Western newspapers attacking Qatar. The latest was in Foreign Policy by John Hannah, a former official in the U.S. defense and state departments and one of former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney’s advisors. He accused Qatar of backing terrorism, inciting the killing of Americans in Iraq, using Al-Jazeera effectively to transform the Arab Spring into an extremist Islamic Winter, and of financing Islamist groups with money and weapons to fight in Syria. He also accuses Qatar of covering up the presence in Doha of Khaled Sheikh Mohammad, the architect of the 9/11 attacks, and facilitating his escape to Afghanistan before the CIA arrested him.

Furthermore, Hannah accuses Qatar of ‘double-dealing’: Of hosting the ‘Udeid Air Base from which U.S. warplanes that struck Iraq where launched, while also siding with Saddam Hussein’s regime and backing him in the media. Hannah also confirms that Cheney had discussed the possibility of moving ‘Udeid Air Base from Qatar, and says that Trump supports this option, while the UAE and Saudi Arabia are candidates for hosting it. He also demanded that Qatar should be punished for sponsoring terrorism.

Prince Tamim was given a ‘cold’ reception at the Riyadh summit. He only spoke with Mr. Fahd bin Mahmoud, the Deputy PM of the Sultanate of Oman and the head of its delegation. He also had a short word with Saudi Crown-Prince Mohammad bin Nayef. Sources inside the summit tell us that [Abu-Dhabi Crown-Prince] Mohammad bin Zayid did not speak to him or shake his hand at all; he bypassed Prince Tamim instead and stood next to President Trump in one of the official pictures.

The fact that the Qatari media empire in its various branches has confined itself to ‘clarifying’ the hacking of the Qatari News Agency’s website, denying the statements attributed to Prince Tamim, and ‘retracting’ the decision to expel the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain, suggests that Qatar has uncharacteristically decided to resort to calming down the situation in an attempt to contain the crisis.

However, we believe that the other side may continue to escalate until Qatar ends its support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its media tools, adopt a more hostile attitude towards Iran, and identifies totally and literally with the policies of the Saudi/Egyptian/Emirati triangle.

Gulf sources have leaked reports of a supposed ‘scenario’ that enjoys a U.S. green light for changing the top leadership in Qatar. They add that what is happening today is a prelude to this. However, there is nothing to confirm this scenario, even though it may not be totally unlikely. After all, a coup attempt did occur in 1996, aimed at toppling the former Emir of Qatar and restoring his father to power. It is ironic that the three states – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt – were participants in that failed coup attempt, supporting it with money, weapons, and soldiers.

Will history repeat itself? We have no answer. But the crisis is serious and the estrangement is worsening. And nothing can be excluded these days, in light of the Emirati/Saudi alliance that has not refrained from fighting the war in Yemen and has continued to do so for over two years, and is now beating the drums of another war against Iran, threatening to carry the battle deep inside it.

Here, another question seems legitimate: Who will rush to stand by Qatar’s side and defend it? Will it be Iran, which Qatar and the factions allied with it in Syria and to a lesser extent in Iraq have been fighting? Or will it be Turkey, which is now in a state of hostility with all of its neighbors, as well as with the U.S. and most of Europe’? Or will it be the U.S. ‘Udeid Air Base, which together with its soldiers and warplanes, wants to leave Qatar?

At present, we can do no more than raise questions, and admit that Qatar is in a critical and unprecedented position, facing fierce enemies and having a very small number of allies, at a time when reason and wisdom have been set aside.

But please feel free to correct us if we are wrong.

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Breaking: US- Led Coalition Airstrikes against ISIS Held Chemical Weapons Depot, Hundreds Killed

Global Research, April 13, 2017

According to the Syrian News Agency SANA, the US led Coalition has carried out targeted airstrikes against a chemical weapons depot in Hatla, east of Deir Ezzor. The depot is held by ISIS-Daesh  terrorists:  

 The  General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said that the aircrafts of the so-called “US-led International Alliance” on Wednesday between the hour 17:30 and 17:50 carried out an airstrike against a position of ISIS terrorists that includes a large number of foreign mercenaries in the village of Hatla to the east of Deir Ezzor, causing a white cloud that became yellow as a result of the explosion of a huge store that includes a large amount of toxic materials.

Several hundred deaths were recorded:

In a statement issued Thursday, the Army General Command  stressed that the airstrike of the “US-led International Alliance” killed hundreds, including large numbers of civilians, due to the suffocation resulted from inhaling toxic substances.

Sofar, the Western media has not reported this tragic incident, the details of which remain to be fully corroborated.

The report issued by the Syrian military confirms that the ISIS-Daesh “rebels” (who are supported covertly by the Western military alliance and its Middle East allies including Saudi Arabia and Qatar) are in possession of toxic chemical weapons.

Previous media reports (CNN) confirm that they Syrian opposition rebels were trained on contract to the Pentagon by Western specialists in the use of chemical weapons. A comprehensive 2013 UN report confirms that the opposition rebels used chemical weapons against SAA soldiers and civilians.

It is worth noting that a large number of foreign mercenaries were reported in the area targeted by US-led coalition airstrikes.

The Thursday attack followed Russia’s veto on Wednesday of a U.N. Security Council resolution regarding the April 4 chemical weapons  attack. The vote on the Security Council resolution drafted by Britain, France and the United States was 10 in favor, Russia and Bolivia against, with China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstaining.

It is worth noting that the casualties resulting from Thursday’s airstrikes are far more serious, according to the initial Syrian government report, than those pertaining to the April 4 CW attack.

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Open Letter Concerning Wikipedia Suppression of SouthFront Information

Attention (6)-1

February 27, 2017

A few days ago Wikipedia announced intention to remove its entry on SouthFront (more here), explaining an issue by the pro-Russian position of the project and, by way of issuing an official reason, that the information about the project mostly cites the SouthFront site.

Wikipedia’s entry on SouthFront on February 26, 2017

Click to see the full-size image

 

Click to see the full-size image

In this respect, the SouthFront wants to openly state the following.

  1. The SF team is independent, as it is not financed by anyone other than its audience. This gives the project the ability to promote its own views.

We also want to draw Wikipedia editors’ attention to the obvious fact that, even if the project were to be receiving money directly from the hands of Vladimir Putin himself, that would still require some proof rather than mere assertions. Particularly since the rather significant act of removing project information is being pursued on the basis of such assertions.

  1. Participants in the project have never denied their sympathies toward some steps of current foreign policies of the Russian Federation. It would be interesting what kind of independence Wikipedia itself can lay a claim to, if a point of view is being de-facto declared as unacceptable simply because it doesn’t comport to the MSM agenda or exhibits supposed “pro-Russian” bent.

The original version of Wikipedia’s entry on SouthFront:

Click to see the full-size image

 

Click to see the full-size image

 

  1. It has been claimed that all the links in the Wiki entry lead to SF site itself. That’s perfectly sensible, since the entry describes a fairly popular project and its complex relations with several other Internet platforms. The decision also implies that entries on CNN, Euronews, RT, Russia Insider, Belingcat and several other contemporary information activities ought to be removed. Which, incidentally, poses the following question: why the desire to suppress and conceal information about SouthFront? We’re not talking about a blog with maybe 3 entries a week, but rather an example of how new media formats function. If SF is not a new phenomenon or an irritant, why did this problem arise in the first place? Here are a few other examples of how significant information projects are described on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia_Insider;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Masdar_News,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellingcat,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_of_Russia,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moscow_Times

How is this different from the SF entry? What is more, many of Wikipedia entries cite SF articles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zunqul,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qirq_Maghar,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Zahraa,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nubl,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murak,_Syria,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Armed_Forces_casualties_in_Syria,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasen-class_submarine,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar-class_submarine,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmyra_offensive_(May_2015),

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Democratic_Forces,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mil_Mi-28,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poland,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard_2,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Russian_Sukhoi_Su-24_shootdown,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_M1_Abrams

Does this mean that Wikipedia is using double standards: editors acknowledge SF information invaluable, but want to censor the information on the project itself? Or did Wikipedia editors simply encounter aggressive information policies aimed at the SF which they couldn’t or didn’t want to resist?

  1. Wikipedia ought to be an independent base of information, a platform that makes available information about significant facts or events that have occurred or are occurring in the world. One of the instruments determining the format of the 21st Century informational environment. Ensuring access to information, but not becoming yet another tool of censorship.

SF has been in existence for almost 3 years already. Over that period, the project evolved through a number of phases, depending on the circumstances. As of today, SF has tens of thousands of readers and viewers, which means it has a presence. Politicized efforts to limit project information by Wikipedia hurt not so much our project but rather the idea of free access to knowledge from various points of view.

  1. The project is being accused of not releasing the personal information of its participants, volunteers, etc. Naturally, given that people are being persecuted for their views, for example in Germany, the US, Ukraine, Russia, it’s understandable why a project that offers an alternative point of view would adopt a position of not revealing the identity of its members. Otherwise should this Wikipedia entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(group) also be removed?
  2. From the very beginning, the project’s fundamental idea rested on allowing everyone to express their point of view and thus jointly create interesting content that provokes thoughts, rather than hundreds of millions of dollars from sponsors. Perhaps that’s the very cause of the problem. Could it be someone is truly worried something like that is possible in the contemporary informational environment?

SF team, its volunteers, friends, and partners, as well as the readers and viewers, demand that Wikipedia materials on the project be restored.

We also ask the editors to pay particular attention toward efforts to use Wikipedia as an instrument of information aggression.

Everyone concerned about the controversy surrounding SF is requested to write Wikipedia (info@wikimedia.org) and make this statement as widely available as possible.

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