UK denying Maduro access to Venezuelan gold is not only THEFT, it’s MURDER of London’s reputation as trusted financial center

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George Galloway

George Gallowaywas a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years.

He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

The standards are poor at the Bank of England these days, I don’t know why anyone would want to do business with them. George Galloway gives British banking, and justice, a triple-fail rating.

It used to be “a thing” when I was growing up. “As safe as the Bank of England” was the acme of trustworthiness and security. But as Venezuela – and any other Global South country foolish enough to entrust the British with their sovereign wealth just found out in the High Court in London – the Bank of England isn’t any longer safe at all.

Almost a billion dollars worth of Venzuelan gold bullion has just been stolen by the British government, theft has just been legalized, and the thieves didn’t even bother to wear a mask.

The gold was deposited in London by the then internationally recognized government of Venezuela. But the now internationally recognized government of Nicolas Maduro has been refused permission to have its value transferred to the United Nations in New York for work they wish the UN Development Program to conduct against the coronavirus pandemic.

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Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Instead, a man off the street in Caracas by the name of Juan Guaido – who has not only never been elected to power in Venezuela, he’s no longer even elected as the leader of the opposition – is the legal owner of the gold, says Justice Alice-in-Wonderland. After all, words mean whatever the British government wants them to mean.

The elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is recognized by the great majority of countries in the world. More importantly, his government is recognized at the United Nations. It is not true, as the British government told the High Court, that they “do not recognize” the Maduro government – they recognize it every day at the UN, in discussions in the canteen as well as in the chamber.

Moreover, it is the principle of British diplomacy that they “recognize” whomsoever is in effective control of a territory – whether they like them or not. Though, come to think of it, they did breach that “principle” once before – when they continued to recognize the Cambodian genocidal murderer Pol Pot  and insist that Comrade Number 1 remains in his seat in New York long after he was actually overthrown and while the mountain of corpses in Cambodia were being counted.

By any standards, Maduro is in effective control of Venezuela and Juan Guaido is not. Maduro controls every square inch of Venezuela, is the elected president, is recognized by the United Nations and by most countries in the world. Guaido is not elected, is not recognized by the United Nations, nor by most countries in the world and doesn’t control one single inch of Venezuelan territory. But he is now the proud owner of the gold in the Bank of England. It makes the Great Train Robbery look like a mere bagatelle, Guaido makes the Thief of Baghdad look like an amateur. It is the greatest single act of theft ever to take place on British soil. And that’s saying something.

ALSO ON RT.COMMystery of the Venezuelan gold: Bank of England is independent of UK govt – but not of foreign govt

But away from the scene of the crime, away from Venezuela, British officials in their ivory tower should take note. It wasn’t just theft which took place in the Strand this week – it was murder. The murder of London’s reputation as a financial center you can trust.

Certainly, any sovereign government which has invested its sovereign wealth in London should examine their head if not the current state of their balance. This decision has given a green light to the Pirates of the Caribbean, and you could be next. Fall out with the British government and they can now hand all your country’s wealth they can grab, over to your opposition, however discredited.

Quite a day’s work in financial standards, a triple-A fail.

If I ever won the National Lottery (which I don’t enter) the last place on Earth that I would deposit my millions would be in London. Standards here just went down the rabbit-hole and will never re-emerge. The City of London has fallen.

When I was young I told my Irish grandfather that the teacher had told me that the British had an empire so vast that the Sun never set upon it. He answered “that’s because God would never trust the British in the dark.” I knew he was telling the truth. And now so does Venezuela.

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/493718-uk-maduro-venezuela-gold/

Meng, Huawei and Canadian Law: Soap, Rinse and Dry-Laundered

By Harry Glasbeek

Global Research, June 25, 2020

The Bullet

Prologue

One of the graver risks for big-time criminals is that investigators will be able to identify them and their deeds by ‘following the money’. The criminals have to hide the proceeds of their crimes. This is done by depositing their monies into legitimate finance houses and businesses. It often requires some fancy book-keeping tricks and intricate transactions. This is called layering by the afficionados of this dark art. Once it is done, the criminals can draw on the accounts created and mix the ill-gotten gains with legally garnered capital. The term for this is ‘integration’ and it makes the investigators’ tasks much harder. The rotten fruit of crime will have been laundered.,

Extradition

For some time now, Hong Kong has seen massive street protests as many people want more of a say for themselves in governance and less of a say for Beijing. In the midst of the chaos, Hong Kong’s legislators proposed to ink an extradition agreement to which China would be the other signatory.

Extradition treaties are arrangements whereby a nation state agrees to return to its partner-nation to the treaty people alleged to have committed criminal acts against that other nation’s laws. It is meant to prevent alleged criminals from avoiding the consequences for their misconduct by escaping to another jurisdiction. When a request for extradition by a signatory to a treaty is received, a court there is to determine whether the application should succeed. It is not its task to question whether the person actually committed a crime. It merely has to determine whether it is the kind of crime which could lead to prosecution if the conduct had occurred in its jurisdiction. This gives the process its legitimacy because it gives effect to legal values shared by both parties to the extradition treaty. The court considering the request has no interest in whether the conduct actually amounted to a crime, either in the applicant nation or in its own. It assumes the facts as alleged by the applicant nation and then determines whether that conduct would amount to a violation of its own laws if it occurred in its jurisdiction.

It is, then, a judicial exercise which is purely formal. It does not make any findings about the issues between the applicant for extradition and the person resisting extradition.

Although this was the essential nature of the Hong Kong Bill, it met with fierce resistance: huge marches, physical fights in the legislature. The protests added fuel to the already widely burning fires of dissent and the Hong Kong government withdrew the Bill. In addition to the upheaval and violence in the streets, the government was likely somewhat influenced by the great show of support for the anti-Extradition Bill movement in countries such as the UK, the US and Canada. This anti-extradition stance by these nations seemed to sit uneasily alongside the fact that they had signed on to many similar extradition treaties themselves. But, they bought into the argument made by the Hong Kong dissidents. This was that, even though an extradition request made by China would be vetted by Hong Kong courts steeped in the principles and values of English common law, the proposed treaty would allow China to use extradition requests for crass political purposes, to help it chase down political opponents and agitators. It would lead to attacks on precious freedoms. Even though the proposed treaty ‘looked’ much like any other, it was likely to be used for unacceptable purposes. This sort of thing would never occur in the UK the US or Canada because, unlike China, they respected and lived by the Rule of Law.

The Lore and Lure of the Rule of Law

Canada’s legal system presents itself as embodying society’s shared values and norms. They are embodied in principles and the instrumental rules devised to give these fundamental principles life. This presupposes that the basic principles can be found and defined and that the rules will be appropriately fashioned and applied. The conventional view is that the judiciary is an independent institution and can be trusted to go about the finding of principles and the interpretation and application of rules in a non-partisan, in a non-political, manner.

Courts will treat all private individuals, whatever their social or economic circumstances, as legal equals whose disputes must be settled by the application of known, rational criteria. Rationality, of the legal kind, is to replace political and economic power, that is, irrational power.

The courts abide by generalizing principles and specific rules. The rules have to be spelled out clearly; citizens are to know of the existence of those rules; new rules should not apply retroactively. The principles and rules are to be applied even-handedly, regardless of status and class. The access to this justice system should be equally available to one and all. These are some of the ingredients of what is so often termed the Rule of Law. It is an attractive system because it suggests that everyone is subject to the same laws and requirements, that political or economic power is not allowed to deny anyone their entitlements or rights established in law. The UK, US and Canadian view is that it, or any equivalent, regime does not exist in China. But, while the idea of it certainly exists in our rather self-satisfied Anglo-American settings, its implementation may leave something to be desired.

While our courts are punctilious about following the procedural safeguards which make up the Rule of Law, they have an enormous amount of leeway when determining how substantive principles and rules are to be interpreted and applied. They are in a position to launder otherwise politically troubling, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, policies and decisions. What happens is a mixing of the adherence to procedural formalities which abjure bias and prejudice with the manipulation of substantive laws which incorporate bias and prejudice. The integrated outcome is analogous to the consequence of the criminals’ mixing suspect monies with legally acquired assets. It makes it hard to see whether there was a political wrong in the first place. It is a form of laundering, legalized laundering.1

The recent proceedings in Canada dealing with the US demand that the Chief Financial officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, be extradited to the US brings some of this into the open. The Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that Meng’s argument that there was no legal basis for extradition was rejected. Canada’s talking heads and chattering class sighed with relief. The self-proclaimed liberal Toronto Star’s editors welcomed and characterized the virtue of the decision: “Beijing must understand: out courts don’t serve the government… It’s called ‘rule of law,’ a concept foreign to China’s Communist Party and its mouthpieces.” Apart from their evident cold war genre chauvinism, the editors undoubtedly were glad to have any doubts about the Trudeau government’s and Canada’s allegiance to the Rule of Law stilled.

The recent embarrassment caused by the tawdry behaviour of almost every cog in the ruling class’s legal engine room during the SNC-Lavalin scandal which involved the government forcing its own Minister of Justice to resign because she wanted to act independently and deny a flagrantly wrongdoing corporation any kind of soft landing, now could be pushed aside as an uncharacteristic violation of Canada’s basic principles. To them, the Meng ruling signified that, once again, Canada was entitled to be smug, to assert that it was to be envied because of its stout adherence to an unalloyed good, the Rule of Law.

The Ruling in the Meng Case

It all began with a warrant issued by a New York court for Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in August 2018. She was not there. On December 1, 2018, after an extradition request from the US, Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities when she landed in Vancouver. On 28 January 2019, formal charges were laid by the US Department of Justice, accusing Meng’s employer, Huawei, of misrepresentations about its corporate organization which had enabled it to circumvent laws that imposed economic sanctions on Iran. Huawei was also charged with stealing technology and trade secrets from T-Mobile USA. Meng, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, was charged with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Huawei pled not guilty to the charges of violating the Iran sanction provisions in a New York court and not guilty to the stealing charges in a Seattle court. After a number of preliminary legal skirmishes, the extradition hearings against Meng began in 2020. Associate Justice Holmes issued her ruling on 27 May, 2020. Law takes its time.

Meng had told HSBC officials who met with her in the back of a Hong Kong restaurant in 2013 that, despite the allegations in a newspaper article, Huawei had not made improper use of a closely associated firm, named Skycom Tech, to supply US materiel to Iran. The reason she had made this statement to HSBC, it was alleged, was that Huawei used HSBC as a banker when transacting business. If Huawei, as alleged, was implicated in violations of the Iran sanction laws, HSBC might well be held to be complicit in such crimes. The US alleged that Meng’s representations to HSBC constituted fraud under its law.

Meng Wanzhou argued that, for a case of fraud to be made out, in both the US and Canada, it was necessary for the prosecution to prove that the fraud materially contributed to a tangible loss. This could not be made out here. For Meng’s deception of HSBC to cause it a tangible loss in the US, it was necessary for US prosecutors to invoke the impact of another law, the Iranian sanction law. Without it there would not be any harm and, therefore, no fraud in the US. As Canada did not have any such sanction provisions in place, Meng’s deception would not have led to any tangible loss in Canada and there would have been no fraud committed in Canada. This argument that the basic requirement for extradition – mirroring laws – had not been met, was rejected by Associate Chief Justice Holmes.

She deployed standard legal reasoning that is, she looked for previous holdings and used the imprecisions she found in them and in the wording of the legislation she was interpreting. Holmes found that previous decisions had held that, in order to determine whether the conduct in the applicant jurisdiction created an offence, it was necessary to assess the essential nature of that conduct. That meant evaluating the foreign conduct in its context, in its legal environment. Meng argued that looking at the legal environment required taking a foreign law, one distinct from the laws being compared, into account, something which should not be done under the Extradition Law.

The presiding judge responded that only some aspects of the legal environment, constituted by that other law, had to be taken into account, not all of it. It was her job to say which aspects could be so used. Holmes admitted that she was going out on a limb because the distinction between looking at some aspects of a foreign law and taking the actual law into consideration is fraught, both as a matter of logic and of established law. She wrote that “the issue is at what level of abstraction… the essence … of the conduct is to be described… there is little authority or precisely what may be included in ‘imported legal environment’.”

Undeterred by the lack of any known criteria (remember the Rule of Law!), she used what she likely calls her common sense and what Meng’s supporters probably think was her unconscious bias. Associate Justice Holmes decided that, in this case, it was appropriate, when looking for the essential nature of the foreign conduct, to look at the effects of that US law, the Iran sanction law. As its effects made Meng’s deceiving conduct fraudulent in the US, and as deception is the core of fraud in Canada, the essential/contextualized nature of Meng’s conduct satisfied the essence of fraud as defined under Canada’s Criminal Code. Lawyers call this sort of finessing good lawyering; in the wider community it is seen as legal chicanery. Holmes ruled that Canada was free to extradite Meng.

Laundered

All that effort to put Wanzhou Meng’s fraud into legal context and not a scintilla of regard for the political, social and economic context of the case!

Everyone, literally everyone, knew what had led the US to charge Huawei and its CFO. It was to obtain bargaining chips in its fight with China. It was to persuade its citizens that it was right for the government to deny them access to cheaper goods and a better 5G system because China would abuse its growing economic influence and enhance its spying potential. It was to make China more pliable when the US demanded better trade terms and more protection for its intellectual property, etc. There was no attempt to hide any of this.

Did the Canadian government understand this? Of course. Did it feel it had to allow the US to use Canada’s supposedly neutral legal machinery to further its political project? Of course. Could the Canadian government have said “no” and simply turned a blind eye when Wanzhou Meng landed in Vancouver? Of course.

Was Associate Justice Holmes, at the very least, in a position to guess all of this? Of course.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia had the timelines of the saga before it. All the events that led to the fraud charges occurred years before the tug-of-war between the US and China turned into a full blown version of a new cold war. Meng’s alleged misrepresentations to HSBC occurred in August 2013, several months after Reuters had published its report on the links between Huawei and Skycom Tech. that supposedly led to Iran being supplied with US materiel.

It took five years for the US to charge Huawei and Meng. It took five years for its righteous indignation about Huawei’s and Meng’s violations to reach fever pitch. It took five years for the US to decide that a deception of one set of private entrepreneurs by other private entrepreneurs ( a garden variety event in an aggressive competitive milieu), a deception which took place in a far away jurisdiction, presented a danger to the integrity of the US justice system. That integrity had not been seen as severely threatened when the masters of the universe deceived millions of people during the subprime mortgage scandals, at least not sufficiently to charge any of the more senior perpetrators. None of this was of any concern to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The court was only concerned with the narrowest of decontextualized legal issues before it. Its certainty that its only responsibility was to the Rule of Law signified to it that it should not be troubled by the possibility that it might be used as a pawn, by either the US or the Canadian government or both.

Nor was this lack of concern shaken by President Trump’s highly publicized statement to Reuters (the outfit which had written the report which started the ball rolling), made just after Wanzhou Meng was released on bail. Trump said that he would certainly intervene in her case “if I thought it necessary” to help forge a trade deal with China. Undoubtedly some people (especially lawyers) might think it right and proper for a court to ignore a blatant admission by a craven politician that the supposedly independent system of law of both the US and Canada was being used for partisan political purposes. After all, the statement had been made extrajudicially and had not been put before the court. While the judge might have known about the Trump intervention, much as she knew that the US and China were having a political tug-of-war and that Canada had been drawn into it, the wilful blindness demanded by the Rule of Law demanded that she make no reference to any off this knowledge.

This reasoning makes no sense to anyone not held in rapture by the Rule of Law fantasy. Immediately after Trump made his provocative statement, Trudeau realized that the public might draw the inference that Canada was just bowing to its Big Brother ally and permitting it to abuse the Canadian justice system. It evoked the notion that the US and Canada were just one country with two systems. He was forced to respond.

Trudeau issued the following statement: “Regardless of what goes on in other countries, Canada is and will always remain a country of the rule of law.” The message was clear: we, the elected government and its executive have nothing to do with any of this; we rule an independent country; we have an independent legal system and it makes these kinds of decisions. We respect this and abide by the results. When it comes to the extradition of Meng, we, the politicians, like Pontius Pilate, wash our hands off the whole mess. It has nothing to do with us. It is not a political matter.

This is why the editors of the Toronto Star and all other opinion moulders greeted the ruling in the Meng case with such acclaim. By ignoring all the real facts underlying the dispute, the court had given support to the Canadian government’s pretence that the Meng case had not raised questions about its participation in a complex set of political, economic and ideological controversies. Their role had been laundered. If the outcome suited the US in its struggle with China, this was incidental; Canada’s government had not pushed for such an outcome because it believed in the Rule of Law. These cheerleaders pointed out that, if Canada had interfered with the judiciary’s operations, it would certainly have pushed for a different result.

As it was, the judicial ruling could only strain relations between Canada and China, a most undesirable state of affairs as Canada hoped to have China release two Canadians accused of committing serious offences in China; more Canada had no interest in imperilling important trade relations with China, as the judicial ruling might well do. That is, the result may be a political win for Trump, but a loss for Trudeau, two Canadian citizens and, likely, some farmers and manufacturers if China uses its economic clout to punish Canada.

So viewed, the judicial outcome gives the impression that the government had not played any part in the decision-making. It should, therefore, not be held politically responsible for the consequences. The government had acted righteously, it had been true to the Rule of Law. Its conduct had been sanitized, laundered.

Of course this argument is not as strong if the judicial outcome is not seen as inimical to the government. What did Canada actually want? We can only guess. But it is to be remembered that the government did detain Wanzhou Meng; if it had not done so, the worst that would have happened is that the US might have been annoyed. Assuming, as it makes sense to do, that Canadian officials understood full well what the US was up to, the detention suggests, although it does not prove, that the government was not opposed to the obvious political and economic goals of the US. More strongly, it indicated that it was willing to support those goals. After all, it knew the risks it was taking. The headline in the Ottawa Citizen on 15 December, 2018, read: “Abelev: In the Huawei case, Trump has enlisted in a game Canada can’t win.”

Another glimpse of the Canadian government’s thinking is provided by Prime Minister’s request that John McCallum resign from his post as Ambassador to China after he had made public statements which indicated that he thought the case against Meng was trumped up and, therefore, should lead the government to reject the extradition request. This would help Canada in its negotiations with China which, in apparent retaliation, had jailed two Canadian citizens.

Implicit in McCallum’s intervention was a reference to a legal power that Canada has reserved for itself over extradition processes. The Minister for Justice can, at any moment after a request for extradition is received, abort the process. In Trudeau’s angry reaction to McCallum, he made no reference to this, pretending political interference with the judicial system was to be eschewed.2 While to some people, then, Trudeau’s publicized disapproval of McCallum’s views (and of similar ones by former Prime Minister Jean Chretien a little later), did dovetail with the claim that the government should not take a position on matters to be determined by a judge, it also suggested that the government would not object too much if the ruling went against Meng, regardless of what it might mean for Huawei, Meng and the prisoners. After all, the justification for the hands-off the justice system proffered by Trudeau should not have been given too much credence.

At that time a full-blown scandal was raging over the SNC-Lavalin affair. Trudeau was brazenly trying to get rid of an independent Minister of Justice precisely because she was thwarting his enactment of a law which was to apply retroactively (remember the Rule of Law!) to save a serial wrongdoing corporation. A curious symmetry weirdly surfaces. The Trudeau government was trying to give its rogue actor, SNC-Lavalin, the kind of gentle treatment the US had given HSBC by giving it access to a deferred prosecution agreement of the kind that the US had given that deviant bank.

There were many polluting particles in the ambient air as the Meng case was processed in the supposedly politically unpolluted atmosphere of law. Undoubtedly, Associate Justice Holmes did her best to blow all these toxic particles out of her mind, as all judges claim to do. But this does not mean that they did not influence her mind-set. We will never know. That is how laundering works: if the dirt which soiled the cloth is rinsed out, all that one is left with is clean cloth. Just what the government needed.

Epilogue

The legal processes have not ended. Meng may appeal the ruling on double criminality handed down by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, arguing the Holmes’ reading of how the essential nature of conduct in a foreign state was to be found was erroneous. Her lawyers do have some plausible arguments to proffer on this issue. Before that will take place, a hearing will be held into Meng’s allegation that, when she was detained in Vancouver, prior to being turned over to the RCMP, the border official obtained Meng’s telephone numbers and passwords and then passed these on to the RCMP. She was detained and questioned for three hours before she was told of her arrest. She claims her constitutional rights were violated and that the RCMP and Canada’s Border Services Agency acted, improperly, as US agents.

This is a claim that procedural safeguards essential to the proper operation of the Rule of Law had been breached. If successful it would make the arrest wrongful and mean that the committal process which led to Holmes’ ruling should be voided. The result of the adjudication on this action by Meng can also be the basis for an appeal. If all of it, the denial of proper process and the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s ruling on double criminality, are settled in favour of Canada, the extradition process can continue, although, as seen, the Minister for Justice can always set the whole thing aside.

There are many other hurdles to clear. The Trump Administration may be replaced, the Trudeau government (in a minority position) may fall before all this is over. It is also difficult to know what steps China will take and how this will influence political minds in Washington and Ottawa. These unknowns highlight how artificial it is to pretend that a request for extradition is a legal, non-political, struggle based on rational aseptic criteria.

To underscore this point, note that, on 4 June, 2020, the US State Department issued a threat. It will reassess its sharing of intelligence with Canada (a member of the so-called Five Eye intelligence network) if Canada chooses to let Huawei market its 5G technology in Canada. This makes it clear that the extradition case was never about a fraudulent misrepresentation to a ‘vulnerable’ foreign bank, but about furthering US efforts to ward-off the danger of an economic and political threat posed by China.

Law and its Rule of Law are convenient tools, no more no less. They should not be granted too much respect. Certainly they should not permit our governments to present themselves as unsullied, as if they have come out of the washing machine, smelling fragrantly.

And, oh yes, after its agreement with the US Department of Justice, HSBC had made much of its new approach and had spent money on better systems to inhibit wrongdoing. On 8 April, 2020, it was reported that HSBC had admitted it had engaged in money laundering in Australia. Maybe it does not require Huawei or Meng to engage in fraud to get HSBC to participate in criminality.

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Harry Glasbeek is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. His latest books are Class Privilege: How law shelters shareholders and coddles capitalism (2017) and the follow-up, Capitalism: a crime story (2018) both published by Between the Lines, Toronto.

Notes

  1. ‘The legalization of politics’ is the name given by Harry Glasbeek and Michael Mandel, “The Legalization of Politics in Advanced Capitalism: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” (1984), Socialist Studies, 2:84, and by Michael Mandel, The Charter of Rights and the Legalization of Politics in Canada, rev. ed., Toronto; Thompson Educational, 1994, to a process which removes class and history from political discourse and consciousness.
  2. As well, there is a rarely used law on the books, the Foreign Extra Territorial Measures Act, that the Attorney-General can deploy to repulse measures of a foreign state that are likely to significantly affect Canadian interests. This is the legislation used to allow Canada not to comply with the US sanctions on Cuba. Arguably, but not certainly, it could be used to block the extradition of Meng.

Featured image is from The BulletThe original source of this article is The BulletCopyright © Harry GlasbeekThe Bullet, 2020

Palestine Bleeds: Execution of Autistic Man is Not an Exception but the Norm

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June 10, 2020

The mother of Iyad Hallaq, an autistic Palestinian man who was killed by Israeli forces in Jerusalem. (Photo: via Social Media)

By Ramzy Baroud

A 32-year-old man with the mental age of an 8-year-old child was executed by Israeli soldiers on May 30, while crouching behind his teacher near his special needs school in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The cold-blooded murder of Iyad Hallaq might not have received much attention if it were not for the fact that it took place five days following the similarly heartbreaking murder of a 46-year-old black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, at the hands of American police.

The two crimes converge, not only in their repugnancy and the moral decadence of their perpetrators but also because countless American police officers have been trained in Israel, by the very Israeli ‘security forces’ that killed Hallaq. The practice of killing civilians, with efficiency and callousness, is now a burgeoning market. Israel is the biggest contributor to this market; the US is the world’s largest client.

When thousands of people rushed to the streets in Palestine, including hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli Jewish activists in Jerusalem, chanting “Justice for Iyad, justice for George”, their cry for justice was a spontaneous and heartfelt reaction to injustice so great, so blatant.

Hallaq’s story might appear particularly unique, as the ‘suspected terrorist’ was killed while merely walking in King Faisal Street in Jerusalem, on his way to take out the trash. He was afraid of soldiers and terrified of blood.

“He was also afraid of the armed police officers who stood along the route to the special needs center he went to, where he participated in a vocational training program,” the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported.

Hallaq’s many fears, which may have appeared exaggerated by his family, turned out to be true. Even an autistic person in Palestine is not safe from the vengeance of soldiers.

But Iyad Hallaq did not need to die for Israel to maintain its pathological sense of ‘security’. The fact that he was already shot and wounded, and found bleeding in a roofless garbage room in Jerusalem’s Old City, was not enough to spare him that horrific fate. The fact that the man screamed in agony while hiding behind his caregiver, who pleaded with the soldiers, begging them to stop puncturing his already bleeding body with more bullets, was also not enough.

Still, the soldiers stepped forward, and from a very close range, fired three bullets into Hallaq’s midsection as he lay wounded on his back. Instantly, the young man, the ‘apple of the eyes of his parents’, ceased breathing.

“He was our mother’s love, her entire life,” Iyad’s sister, Diana said in an interview with +972 magazine., adding:

“She would hold his hand like he was a baby, and he would walk with her to the market, or the mosque or the clothing store. He was like her shadow. She worried about him and whether other kids would bother or hurt him.”

Caught off guard by the grisly nature of the murder and the mental state of the victim, Israel’s spin doctors moved quickly to contain the damage, initially spreading lies that Hallaq was carrying a toy gun at the time of the shooting, then backing off, promising an investigation.

But what is there to investigate? In recent years, the Israeli army has upgraded its code of conduct, adopting a shoot-to-kill policy of any Palestinian they suspect of attempting to harm Israeli occupation soldiers, even when the alleged Palestinian ‘attacker’ is no longer posing a threat.

In the case of Gaza, where protesters are separated from Israeli snipers by barbed wire and nearly a mile-long empty space, the Israeli military issued orders, as of June 2019, to shoot and kill ‘key instigators’ of the mass protests even while ‘at rest’. Hundreds of people have been killed in Gaza’s Great March of Return in this way, and the ‘key instigators’ included medics, journalists, young boys, and girls.

Indeed, the killing of Palestinian civilians is a regular occurrence. It is the devastating routine with which Palestinians have been forced to co-exist for many years and for which Israel was never ever held accountable.

Only one day before Hallaq was murdered, Fadi Samara Qaad, 37, was killed by Israeli occupation soldiers while driving his car near the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, west of Ramallah.

The Israeli military immediately claimed that Qaad “tried to ram his car into a group of soldiers” before they opened fire, killing him on the spot.

This is the go-to Israeli military pretense that is often offered when a Palestinian driver is shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. Otherwise, the Palestinian victim, whether a man, a woman, or a child, is often accused of carrying a ‘sharp object’.

Hallaq’s mental disability might have spared him, in the eyes of some, from being that archetypical ‘terrorist’, although the Israeli army immediately raided his house, looking for ‘evidence’ that would implicate him and be useful in their sinister propaganda.

In the case of Qaad, a Palestinian worker, on his way to join his wife in a nearby town to celebrate the Muslim Eid holiday, the Israeli army statement suffices, no questions asked.

This is the same stifling logic that has prevailed in Palestine for so many years, and counting. Children are killed for throwing stones at men with guns, who have invaded their homes and villages; pregnant women are gunned down at Israeli army checkpoints; men with amputated legs on wheelchairs shot by snipers while protesting and demanding their freedom.

All of this is taking place in the complete absence of any promising political horizon. Even the protracted and ultimately useless ‘peace process’ has been halted in favor of greater American backing of Israel and of the Israeli government’s mad rush to expand illegal Jewish settlements.

To secure his colonial accomplishments – read: land theft – Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is about to reveal the crown jewel of his legacy, as he prepares for the expansion of Israel’s borders through the annexation of yet more Palestinian land.

Inspired by the common struggle that ties them with their African-American brethren, Palestinians are now left only with their cries for justice: Palestinian lives matter, hoping, for once, the world may hear and echo their screams and, perhaps, do something.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

SCIENTIST BEHIND “LOCKDOWN” DOESN’T ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN, OR ABIDE BY, HIS OWN FEAR PORN ADVICE

Source

Eva Bartlett

Scientist who promoted the lockdown doesn’t actually believe in the need for physical distancing. Shocker

Alrighty. If lockdowns are soooo necessary to save the world from Covid, why did the man behind the UK lockdown hypocritically violate it (for sex, okay, urges, we get it)?For people who are unwillingly imprisoned in their homes, doesn’t this piss you right off?

Double-standards. And he isn’t the only one. Canada’s Trudeau violated his own “stay home” warning, saying “enough is enough! Go home and stay home!”

Justin Trudeau’s a ‘giant hypocrite’ for going to the cottage after saying physical-distancing rules are for everyone:

“Trudeau also crossed provincial boundaries. (Harrington Lake is in Quebec.) Another no-no.

And he brought with him his security detail and serving staff — an entire royal entourage — which means he brought with him more than a dozen potentially infected people.

Public health officials in Ottawa — Trudeau’s home base — are threatening to crack down on driveway parties and over-the-fence conversations while Trudeau galivants about having Easter egg hunts and posting charming photos to social media…”

Corbett:

“This is about the person–one of the key architects of this lockdown madness that has spread around much of the world–it shows by his actions, not what he says but by his actions, shows that this is nonsense, that he doesn’t believe these things that he is preaching. That is the important part of this.

It’s about the fact that they lied to you, this person is outright lying to you he shows by his actions that this is not necessary, but he’s telling you to do it now. You guys should do this I’m not gonna do it but you guys should do it because you guys it’s very important that you guys do it…

So he’s showing by his actions that this is a lie.

There are many many examples that are popping up of politicians and health experts and all of these people who are telling you to lock down who are not socially distancing and doing all the rules that they’re telling you to do…”

When is enough enough? What is your line in the sand, as people around the world actually starve, suffer, get depressed, have their immune systems suppressed…and much more under lockdowns? Further, as I’ve written a lot by now, Syria did not choose to lock down. Yes a partial curfew, 7:30 pm to 6 am, but otherwise, no enforced physical distancing, to the contrary, markets are crowded, people kissing cheeks in greeting, friends hugging…normality and healthy interactions.

My thoughts on Syria’s response to Covid19:–Syria is not under lockdown, is not the dystopian society of war propagandistsDamascus walks, April 26-28, Stores Re-Opened, Life in Streets

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Tucker Carlson interviews Roger Waters about Julian Assange

Roger Waters explains Julian Assange to Tucker Carlson and they AGREE!!!

The Gangster!

ST

 Sunday, 01 March 2020 07:58

President Erdogan of Turkey has indeed lost what remained of his brain! In a mafia and gang-like show, Erdogan called on Russia, which has been pioneering the fight against terrorism, to get out of his way and allow his occupying forces to invade the more of Syria!

Erdogan, the liar and butcher, claimed in his yesterday hallucinations that the Syrian people demanded him to send his occupying forces , if not thousands of multinational terrorists into Syria!

The Syrians have every legitimate right to defend their country; has Erdogan any right to invade Syria!? Erdogan’s occupation troops were mingled with terrorists, who were too dressed in Turkish military uniforms. Should the Syrian Army and its allies welcome by roses the invading terrorists!

Erdogan’s so-called observation posts, used merely to support and take part in the war of terrorists against Syrians, might be after his crazy threats, legitimate targets. Why should Erdogan take pride in killing many Syrians and  many of their anti-terrorism allies!!? Simply because he himself is a terrorist.

This Ottoman terrorist is but a threat to the entire world. Erdogan the criminal is trying to play the role of a victim! The majority of the Syrians abroad, left in fear of terrorism, want to return back to their country. This terrorist prevents them!

As the Sputnik accurately transmitted, Turkish soldiers invaded Northern Syria. Turkish soldiers were killed while being in Syria. Idlib is not under dispute. It is part of Syria. Turkey is the aggressor nation, not the victim. If we had a fair and balanced media we would all be informed of that salient fact, not set up to support further actions against Syria for the ‘crime’ of trying to repel invaders from its territory.

The classic George Orwell novel ‘1984’ was meant as a warning to society about the destructive and freedom sapping nature of oligarchs and tyrannical nation state, not a user manual for the powerful in the 21st century but recent events in Syria highlight yet again the incredible ability of the rulers of the world in the West to use their compliant and sycophant media to create narratives that belong in fairy tales, not news bulletins.

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. These are the three mottos inscribed on the Ministry of Truth building of the nation of Oceania in Orwell’s dystopian 1948 masterpiece which imagined a society of totalitarianism and perpetual war in 1984, thirty five years in the future as Orwell sat in a small farmhouse on the Scottish island of Jura to construct his warning to the world in the post WWII era. Totalitarianism may not be universal or at least recognized as such by all but perpetual war is certainly an underlying feature of the 21st century world. It used to be the case that arms companies were created to feed wars but nowadays wars are created to feed arms companies.

When a sovereign nation is attacked and/or invaded they have an inalienable right to defend themselves and repel invaders. Isn’t it pathetic to witness the brutal suppression of thousands of firefighters and other public service workers by heavily armed police in France for the ‘crime’ of protesting against damaging pension changes reported as legitimate ‘public order’ and ‘crowd control measures’ but actions by the Syrians against terrorists and foreign army invaders as being aggressive and tyrannical?

Our world is indeed more Orwellian by the day. In such an era of lies and distortions those who speak truth to power will be more brutally repressed.

Dr. Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

alibrahim56@hotmail.com   

If The US Is OK with Israeli Annexing the West Bank, Why Is It Sanctioning Russia for Annexing Crimea?

By David Morrison

Source

Trump at the Israeli American Council National Summit 8b64d

At a ceremony in the East Room in the White House on 28 January 2020, President Trump unveiled his 181-page “vision” for Israel/Palestine to an audience of enthusiastic cheerleaders, many flown in from Israel for the occasion. While he spoke, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood by his side and afterwards he welcomed the President’s “vision” ecstatically.

And well he might.  The “vision” was written for him, if not by him.  According to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, it is the “product of more than three years of close consultations” between Trump, Netanyahu and their senior staff.  Understandably, therefore, it gives Netanyahu almost everything he has ever wished for politically.  In essence, the document is an agreement between the US and Israel about the future of Israel/Palestine.

Trump’s favours to Netanyahu

Of course, this is not the first incidence of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Israel, receiving political favours from President Trump.  Already, under the Trump administration,

  • in December 2017, the US recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and, in May 2018, moved the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv
  • in August 2018, the US ended financial support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
  • in September 2018, the US cut $25 million of financial support for 6 hospitals for the care of Palestinians in East Jerusalem
  • in September 2018, the US closed the PLO office in Washington
  • in February 2019, the US ended financial support to the Palestinian Authority
  • in March 2019, the US recognised as Israeli sovereign territory the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (which Israel took over by force in 1967 and has subjected to military occupation ever since)
  • in November 2019, the US declared that the 130+ Jewish-only settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Golan Heights are “not per se inconsistent with international law” (in the words of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo)

Perhaps, the US flagrantly breaching the nuclear deal it signed with Iran (and other states) should be added to this list.  When he unveiled his “vision” on 28 January 2020, President Trump boasted:

“As everyone knows, I have done a lot for Israel: moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem; recognizing — (applause) –- recognizing the Golan Heights — (applause) — and, frankly, perhaps most importantly, getting out of the terrible Iran nuclear deal.  (applause)”

A much bigger favour to Netanyahu

Now, the President has done Netanyahu (and Israel) a much bigger favour – he has undertaken that the US will henceforth recognise a lot more Israeli-occupied territory as sovereign Israeli territory, this time territory East of the Green Line, that is, in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem).

In recent months, Netanyahu has said that he wanted to annex to Israel (a) the Jordan Valley and (b) areas surrounding the Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.  It is probably not a coincidence that annexations along these lines are at the heart of the President’s “vision” for Israel/Palestine – and there is no suggestion that Palestinians are to be consulted, let alone have a veto, about these annexations.

After the President unveiled his “vision”, Netanyahu responded ecstatically:

“This is a historic day.  And it recalls another historic day.  We remember May 14th, 1948, because on that day, President Truman became the first world leader to recognize the State of Israel after our first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared our independence.  That day charted a brilliant future.

“Mr. President, I believe that down the decades — and perhaps down the centuries — we will also remember January 28th, 2020, because on this day, you became the first world leader to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over areas in Judea and Samaria that are vital to our security and central to our heritage.  (Applause) …

“For too long — far too long — the very heart of the Land of Israel where our patriarchs prayed, our prophets preached, and our kings ruled, has been outrageously branded as illegally occupied territory.  Well, today, Mr. President, you are puncturing this big lie.  (Applause)

“You are recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, large and small alike.  (Applause)”

Israel seized the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) by military force in June 1967 and has colonised it relentlessly in the ensuing years transferring over 620,000 of its citizens across the Green Line into Jewish-only settlements.

If some or all of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) becomes sovereign Israeli territory on a permanent basis, then with the blessing of the US, Israel will have acquired territory by military force in flagrant violation of the first principle of international law.  The US can no longer complain about Russia annexing Crimea, not least because that was done with the consent of the people living there.

A false notion: Israel an occupier

This US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over first the Golan Heights and now parts of the West Bank was foreshadowed during the Trump presidential campaign by his advisory team on Israel.  This consisted of Jason Greenblatt, who was until recently his chief negotiator on Israel/Palestine (along with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner), and David Friedman, who is now US Ambassador to Israel.

A joint statement by Greenblatt and Friedmanjoint statement by Greenblatt and Friedman on 2 November 2016 contained the following short but very significant sentence:

“The false notion that Israel is an occupier should be rejected.”

That principle has been implemented in respect of the Golan Heights and now in respect of part of the West Bank.  In addition, it is reflected in US State Department documents, which no longer refer to the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza and the Golan Heights as “the occupied territories”.

The internationally agreed position

The Security Council has always regarded the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as Israeli occupied territory and never as territory belonging to the State of Israel.  Thus, Security Council Resolution 2334 passed on 23 December 2016 specifically called upon UN member states to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”.

The same is true of the International Court of Justice (“the principal judicial organ of the United Nations” in the words of the UN Charter).  In its July 2004 Advisory Opinion Legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory it left no doubt that Israel was the occupying power in  the West Bank under international law:

“The territories situated between the Green Line … and the former eastern boundary of Palestine under the Mandate were occupied by Israel in 1967 during the armed conflict between Israel and Jordan. … All these territories (including East Jerusalem) remain occupied territories and Israel has continued to have the status of occupying Power.” (Paragraph 78)

All, or nearly all, states in the world (apart from Israel and the US) accept this UN position that the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) is Israeli occupied territory.

Most states also accept the UN position that, along with Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) should form the territory of a Palestinian state, with its capital in East Jerusalem, existing alongside Israel in its pre-1967 borders – and that any adjustments to the pre-1967 borders by way of land swaps must be agreed between Israel and Palestine.  The EU has always been very firm on the latter point, saying:

“The EU will recognize changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, only when agreed by the parties.”

Of course, a “two-state solution” along these lines is not going to happen.  It’s not going to happen because Israel has no intention of reversing its aggression of June 1967 and withdrawing from the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) so that a Palestinian state can be established.  And there is no chance of sufficient external pressure being brought to bear on Israel to force it to withdraw – which is what should have been done in the wake of Israel’s aggression in June 1967.

A Palestinian “state”

Trump’s “vision” document does propose the creation of a Palestinian “state”, of a kind arrogantly dictated by the US and Israel.  They have decreed that its territory would consist of Gaza plus those parts of the West Bank (about 50% of it) not already selected by them for annexation to Israel – and that it would have a capital on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, not in Jerusalem itself.

Its West Bank territory would consist of a number of non-contiguous chunks, linked together by a network of roads, bridges and tunnels and surrounded by territory to be annexed to Israel – and therefore with no access to the outside world except through Israeli-controlled territory.

At Israel’s insistence, the Palestinian “state” would be demilitarised, and Israel would retain the right to make armed incursions into its territory to ensure that it remained demilitarised and, in Israel’s opinion, non-threatening to Israel.  Hamas and other paramilitary groups in Gaza would have to disarm, recognise the State of Israel (with its greatly expanded territory, presumably) and hand over control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority or “another national or international body acceptable to the State of Israel”, to quote from Trump’s “vision” document.

If this “state” were ever to come into existence, it would mean the continuation of Israeli occupation for Palestinians with Israel still in control of all the land between the Jordan and the Sea.

(For more on the US/Israel requirements for a Palestinian “state”, see the Endnote below)

Negotiations with Palestinians?

Responding to President Trump in the White House on 28 January, Netanyahu said:

“Mr. President, … because I believe your peace plan strikes the right balance where other plans have failed, I’ve agreed to negotiate peace with the Palestinians on the basis of your peace plan.  (Applause)”

Later he qualified this by saying that Palestinians had to “agree to abide by all the conditions” in the “peace plan” (see Endnote below) before Israel would be prepared to “negotiate peace” with them.

Trump had earlier said that the territory he had allocated to a Palestinian “state” would “remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years” during which Palestinians can “negotiate with Israel, achieve the criteria for statehood, and become a truly independent and wonderful state”.

None of this matters, of course, since the “peace plan” is completely unacceptable to Palestinian leaders and to the Palestinian public: an opinion poll carried out by Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 94% of Palestinians were opposed to it (despite President Trump’s judgment that: “It’s very good for them.  In fact, it’s overly good to them.”).

Are annexations going to happen?

Are the proposed annexations going to happen?  Almost certainly, they will, whether Netanyahu remains Prime Minister or is replaced by Benny Gantz.  Palestinian opposition will count for nothing.  Both Trump and Netanyahu made it clear on 28 January that the annexations are going ahead.  Trump said:

“We will form a joint committee with Israel to convert the conceptual map [pubin the “vision” document] into a more detailed and calibrated rendering so that recognition can be immediately achieved.”

In his response to Trump that day, Netanyahu said:

“Regardless of the Palestinian decision [to enter into negotiations], Israel will preserve the path of peace in the coming years.  … At the same time, Israel will apply its laws to the Jordan Valley, to all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and to other areas that your plan designates as part of Israel and which the United States has agreed to recognize as part of Israel.  (Applause)”

For obvious reasons, Netanyahu hoped that visible progress could be made on this prior to the Israeli General Election on 2 March.  However, the Trump administration vetoed that and insisted that the joint US/Israel mapping committee first complete its work of defining precisely what territory is to be annexed.  The committee has now been set up – it is headed by the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who explained that the US was anxious that the annexation process was completed properly in one go and the US didn’t have to recognise several incremental annexations.  Needless to say, there are no Palestinian representatives on this committee that is to divide up their land.

It is possible that, after the election on 2 March, Netanyahu will be replaced as Prime Minister by Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White party (who was formerly head of the Israeli military).  Will that delay or prevent the annexations going ahead?  That’s unlikely, since from the outset he has expressed support for Trump’s plan: on 27 January after he was briefed by Trump himself about it, he described it as “a significant and historic milestone” and said:

“Immediately after the elections, I will work toward implementing it from within a stable, functioning Israeli government, in tandem with the other countries in our region.”

The President himself is bound to be keen to complete the annexations before his re-election campaign, because that would please the Evangelical Christian voters who form a significant part of his electoral base – and it would ensure that, if he lost the election, his Democratic successor would be faced with a fait accompli.

Almost all the Democratic presidential candidates have expressed opposition to his plan: for example, Senator Elizabeth Warren said:

“Trump’s ‘peace plan’ is a rubber stamp for annexation and offers no chance for a real Palestinian state. Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn’t diplomacy, it’s a sham. I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form—and reverse any policy that supports it.”

But would a Democratic president attempt to reverse the annexations?  That’s very doubtful, since it would require at the very least the US to threaten to cut off military aid to Israel.

What is to be annexed

Under the Oslo Agreement, the Israeli-occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) was divided into three areas.  The largest, Area C, with around 61% of the land area is where Israel has built 130+ Jewish-only settlements.

Israel treats Area C as if its sole purpose is to serve Israeli needs, expanding settlements there relentlessly, their population having more than tripled since the Oslo Agreement was signed in 1993.  Israel doesn’t consider itself obligated in any way to the estimated 200,000 Palestinians living in Area A, banning virtually all construction and development by them.  When, having no other option, Palestinians build without permits, their buildings, including their living quarters, are liable to be demolished by Israel, with the residents themselves being billed for the demolition costs.

Most of the approximately 2.5 million Palestinian residents of the West Bank live in Areas A and B, which consist of 165 disconnected “islands” surrounded by land designated as part of Area C.

In total, Israel has transferred over 413,000 of its citizens into Area C.  A further 209,000 Israeli citizens now live in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.  Colonisation of occupied territory was and is contrary to international law – to be precise, it is war crime contrary to Article 8.2(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which states that “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” is a war crime.

Up to now, Israel has treated the settlements in Area C as extensions of its sovereign territory, applying most of its domestic laws there and allowing settlers to vote in Knesset elections.  Now, the settlements are to be annexed and treated as an integral party of Israel.  Here, we are talking about all the settlements and the land around them being annexed to Israel, not just a few of the settlements located close to the Green Line.  This avoids any political difficulties for an Israeli government from having to uproot Jews from outlying settlements and repatriate them to Israel.

The fact that the settlements are widely spread across the West Bank makes it difficult to construct a contiguous territory to be annexed to Israel.  Nevertheless, Trump’s “vision” document claims that “approximately 97% of Israelis in the West Bank will be incorporated into contiguous Israeli territory”.  But, 15 of the settlements are planned to be in enclaves within “Palestinian territory” with dedicated access routes connecting them to Israeli-controlled territory.  (By “Palestinian territory”, we mean the territory in the West Bank generously assigned to a Palestinian “state” by the US and Israel).

It is Trump’s “vision” that this territory with its attached enclaves become sovereign Israeli territory.  Conquest and a 50-year programme of colonisation is about to bear fruit for Israel.

Jordan Valley

The US has also agreed that the Jordan Valley be annexed to Israel.  Trump’s “vision” states bluntly:

“The Jordan Valley, which is critical for Israel’s national security, will be under Israeli sovereignty.” (p12)

East Jerusalem

When the US has recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, it didn’t formally recognise East Jerusalem as sovereign Israeli territory, even though Israel had long since treated it as such.

After capturing and occupying the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in June 1967, Israel greatly expanded the city by annexing West Bank land and applying Israeli law to the expanded city.  From then on, Israel regarded the expanded Jerusalem as an integral part of Israel.  This was not accepted by the Security Council, which has always regarded it (and the rest of the West Bank) as Israeli occupied territory, as did most states in the world, including the US, apart from Israel.

On Jerusalem, Trump’s “vision” states bluntly:

“Jerusalem will remain the sovereign capital of the State of Israel, and it should remain an undivided city.” (p17)

That would seem to be a statement that the US now recognises all of Jerusalem, including occupied East Jerusalem, as sovereign Israeli territory.

International reactions

The Ambassadors of three Gulf States – Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates – attended the ceremony in the East Room in the White House on 28 January, when President Trump unveiled his “vision” for Israel/Palestine, and were publicly thanked by him for their attendance.

Afterwards, it was suggested that they attended the event because they were given the false impression that his “vision” included a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, whereas in reality there is no Palestinian state and no capital in East Jerusalem.

A few days later representatives from the three states joined the other members of the Arab League in unanimously rejecting what they called the US-Israeli deal, saying that it “does not meet the minimum rights and aspirations of Palestinian people”.  However, no action was proposed that would impose a cost on Israel for annexing Palestinian territory.

The EU was unable to make an official statement criticising the US proposals because that required unanimity amongst the 27 member states.  The EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell couldn’t achieve unanimity because, as a result of lobbying by Israel, at least six states (including Italy, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic) objected.

Borrell issued a critical statement on his own, warning that “steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged”.  Those are empty words – on the Israel/Palestine issue the EU is now paralysed.

When the Security Council held a meeting on the US/Israel proposals on 11 February, the EU was not in a position to present an official policy on the proposals.  However, a joint statement issued by Belgium, France, Germany, Estonia and Poland at the Security Council had the merit of robustly restating EU policy:

“The annexation of any part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, constitutes a breach of international law, undermines the viability of the two-State solution and challenges the prospects for just, comprehensive and lasting peace. In line with international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, we do not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied since 1967.”

The UK, by contrast, limited itself to expressing “concern” at the about possible annexations.

A draft Security Council resolution critical of the US/Israel proposals was not pressed to a vote because it was not going to get the nine positive votes necessary to force the US to veto it.

The sad conclusion is that there is no pressure worthy of the name on the US/Israel that might persuade them not to go ahead with the proposed annexations.

Crimea

To say that, in the past, the US has applied double standards in its response to Russia’s takeover of Crimea compared with Israel’s takeover of Palestinian territories is a gross understatement.

In June 1967, Israel took over Palestinian territories whose populations were overwhelmingly opposed to being taken over by Israel.  But no economic sanctions have ever been imposed by the US to force Israel to withdraw.  Quite the contrary, Israel has been showered with US tax dollars over the years and today it receives more US aid (mostly military) than any other state in the world.  Before leaving office, President Obama promised that this largesse would continue, promising Israel $38 billion over the following 10 years.

By contrast, in 2014 Russia took over Crimea whose population was both overwhelmingly Russian and overwhelmingly in favour of being taken over by Russia (and was part of Ukraine in 2014 rather than Russia because of an arbitrary decision in 1954 by the USSR Supreme Soviet to transfer it without its consent from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR).  Nevertheless, Russia was immediately subjected to economic sanctions by the US, sanctions that are still in force today.

With the President’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and now great swathes of the West Bank, the divergence in standards has widened further.  To be consistent, the President should immediately recognise Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea and lift the economic sanctions imposed on Russia because of its takeover of Crimea.

Endnote: US/Israel requirements for a Palestinian “state”

The Palestinian “state” prescribed in President Trump’s “vision” for Israel/Palestine would mean the continuation of Israeli occupation in a not very different form: if the “state” ever came into existence, Israel would remain in control of all the land between the Jordan and the Sea, including the territory assigned to a Palestinian “state” by the US/Israel.

This territory includes Gaza and the West Bank, minus the areas in the West Bank which the US has approved for annexation by Israel in the “vision” document.  These areas consist of all the 130+ Jewish-only settlements built illegally by Israel since it took over the West Bank by force in 1967, along with large swathes of land around them, plus the Jordan Valley and East Jerusalem.

The West Bank territory of the “state” would consist of a number of non-contiguous chunks, linked together by a network of roads, bridges and tunnels and surrounded by territory to be annexed to Israel – and therefore with no access to the outside world except through Israeli-controlled territory.

Sovereignty

So much for the territory assigned by the US to the new Palestinian “state”.  As for the sovereignty, which the new “state” will be able to exercise, suffice to say the US has agreed that it will be highly restricted by Israel.  To quote from the “vision” document:

“Upon signing the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, the State of Israel will maintain overriding security responsibility for the State of Palestine” (p21)

“The State of Israel will continue to maintain control over the airspace and the electromagnetic spectrum west of the Jordan river.” (Appendix 2C)

“The State of Israel will retain sovereignty over territorial waters, which are vital to Israel’s security and which provides stability to the region.” (p13)

“The lack of ports has raised the costs of Palestinian economic activity. Though the State of Palestine will include Gaza, security challenges make the building of a port in Gaza problematic for the foreseeable future.” (p27)

“Five years following the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement and assuming the full satisfaction of the Gaza Criteria, the State of Palestine shall have the right, subject to the satisfaction of State of Israel’s security and environmental requirements, to create an artificial island off the coast of Gaza to develop a port to serve Gaza (the “GAZA PORT”), as well as an airport for small aircraft.” (p29)

“All persons and goods will cross the borders into the State of Palestine through regulated border crossings, which will be monitored by the State of Israel. Israeli border crossing officials, using state of the art scanning and imaging technology, shall have the right to confirm that no weapons, dual-use or other security-risk related items will be allowed to enter into the State of Palestine.” (p24)

A demilitarized “state”

The “vision” document is clear:

“The State of Palestine shall be fully demilitarized and remain so” (p22)

The document extols the virtue of this for Palestine, presenting military expenditure as a burden which Israel is generously prepared to carry on behalf of Palestinians:

“Every country spends a very significant sum of money on its defense from external threats. The State of Palestine will not be burdened with such costs, because it will be shouldered by the State of Israel. This is a significant benefit for the economy of the State of Palestine since funds that would otherwise be spent on defense can instead be directed towards healthcare, education, infrastructure and other matters to improve Palestinians’ well-being.” (p21)

“A demilitarized State of Palestine will be prohibited from possessing capabilities that can threaten the State of Israel including:  weapons systems such as combat aircraft (manned and unmanned); heavy armored vehicles; mines; missiles; rockets; heavy machine guns; laser/radiating weapons; anti-air; anti-armor; anti-ship; military intelligence; offensive cyber and electronic warfare capabilities; production facilities and procurement mechanisms for weapons systems; military infrastructure and training facilities; or any weapons of mass destruction.” (Appendix 2C)

The State of Palestine will not have the right to forge military, intelligence or security agreements with any state or organization that adversely affect the State of Israel’s security, as determined by the State of Israel. The State of Palestine will not be able to develop military or paramilitary capabilities inside or outside of the State of Palestine.” (Appendix 2C)

Israel will have a permanent veto over Palestinian security capabilities:

“[Palestinian security] capabilities (i) may not (A) violate the principle that the State of Palestine in all its territory, including Gaza, shall be, and shall remain, fully demilitarized or (B) derogate the State of Israel’s overriding security responsibility, and (ii) will be agreed upon by the State of Palestine and the State of Israel.

“Any expansion of Palestinian security capabilities beyond the capabilities existing on the date this Vision is released shall be subject to agreement with the State of Israel.” (Appendix 2C)

Israel will retain the right to make armed incursions into Palestinian territory:

“The State of Israel will maintain the right to dismantle and destroy any facility in the State of Palestine that is used for the production of prohibited weapons or for other hostile purposes. While the State of Israel will use its best efforts to minimize incursions into the State of Palestine, the State of Israel will retain the right to engage in necessary security measures to ensure that the State of Palestine remains demilitarized and non-threatening to the State of Israel, including from terrorist threats.” (Appendix 2C)

Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees in Israeli jails

The signing of a “peace agreement” is often accompanied by the release of prisoners and the granting of amnesty to individuals for actions prior to the signing of the agreement.

If this agreement ever came to pass, Palestinians would not even get their prisoners out.  Instead, the “vision” document sets out a very limited scheme for prisoner release and amnesty (p30): Israel will release Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees, but not “(i) those convicted of murder or attempted murder, (ii) those convicted of conspiracy to commit murder … and (iii) Israeli citizens”.

In the first phase of releases immediately after an agreement is signed, prisoners to be released must generally have served at least two-thirds of their sentence; in the second phase, at an unspecified future time, they must have served at least half their sentence.

Refugees

First and foremost, the “vision” document states:

“There shall be no right of return by, or absorption of, any Palestinian refugee into the State of Israel.” (p32)

Secondly, Israel will be able to restrict Palestinian immigration into the “state” of Palestine:

“The rights of Palestinian refugees to immigrate to the State of Palestine shall be limited in accordance with agreed security arrangements.” (p33)

The immigration rate “shall be agreed to by the parties and regulated by various factors”, for example, “security risks to the State of Israel” (p33).  Presumably, one of “parties” will be Israel.

The United Nations Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA) which was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949, provides education, health care and social services in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) to over 5 million Palestinians registered as refugees with the Agency.

The “vision” document boasts: “In the last 10 years alone, the US contributed approximately $2.99 billion ($3.16 billion in 2017 terms), which accounted for 28% of all contributions to UNRWA” (p31).  The document doesn’t mention that the US ceased making contributions to UNRWA in August 2018.

A couple of pages later the document declares:

“Upon the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, Palestinian refugee status will cease to exist, and UNWRA will be terminated and its responsibilities transitioned to the relevant governments.” (p33)

The document does not identify any “government” that has agreed to take over relevant UNRWA responsibilities, though it does say that the US “will endeavor to raise a fund to provide some compensation to Palestinian refugees” (p33).

Happily, UNRWA cannot be “terminated” by the US since it was established by the UN General Assembly and operates under its auspices.

Conduct During Negotiations

In Section 22 headed Conduct During Negotiations, the “vision” document instructs the PLO and the Palestinian Authority to

“Refrain from any attempt to join any international organization without the consent of the State of Israel;” (p39)

“Take no action, and shall dismiss all pending actions, against the State of Israel, the United States and any of their citizens before the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and all other tribunals” (p39)

It’s not clear if all these conditions continue to apply in the unlikely event of Palestinian statehood being achieved, for instance, would Israel have a veto over the State of Palestine being a party to the International Criminal Court?

The PLO and the Palestinian Authority is instructed to cease giving financial support to the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and

“Take all necessary actions to immediately terminate the paying of salaries to terrorists serving sentences in Israeli prisons, as well as to the families of deceased terrorists.  The latter must be done prior to the signing of an agreement.” (p39)

Conditions for Palestinian statehood

In Section 22, the “vision” document lays down an astonishing set of conditions which Palestinians must fulfil before they are deemed worthy of statehood by Israel and the US.  It says:

“The following criteria are a predicate to the formation of a Palestinian State and must be determined to have occurred by the State of Israel and the United States …

  • The Palestinians shall have implemented a governing system with a constitution or another system for establishing the rule of law that provides for freedom of press, free and fair elections, respect for human rights for its citizens, protections for religious freedom and for religious minorities to observe their faith, uniform and fair enforcement of law and contractual rights, due process under law, and an independent judiciary with appropriate legal consequences and punishment established for violations of the law.
  • The Palestinians shall have established transparent, independent, and credit-worthy financial institutions …
  • The Palestinians shall have achieved civilian and law enforcement control over all of its territory and demilitarized its population.
  • The Palestinians shall have complied with all the other terms and conditions of this Vision.”

Few states in this world satisfy these conditions, and none in the Middle East.

Not even Israel – because, according to the US, it discriminates against its Arab citizens.  In its 2016 Report on Human Rights Practices in Israel & the occupied territories (published on 3 March 2017), the US State Department asserts that one of “the most significant human rights problems in Israel” is “institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel, many of whom self-identify as Palestinian, in particular in access to equal education, housing, and employment opportunities”.

Clearly, Israel has some way to go before it is worthy of statehood.

 

Lavrov’s speech at the UN Security Council on September 25, 2019

September 26, 2019

Source

Lavrov’s speech at the UN Security Council on September 25, 2019Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the UN Security Council meeting on Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organisations in maintaining international peace and security: the contribution by the CSTO, CIS, and SCO in countering terrorist threats, New York, September 25, 2019

 

Mr Secretary General,

Members of the Security Council,

Colleagues,

Today, we are all faced with the problem of terrorism, which has grown more acute than ever. International terrorists, led by ISIS and al Qaeda, continue to sow terror and destruction around the world. As a result of their actions, the situation in the Middle East, including in Syria and Iraq, remains extremely alarming. The terrorist threat emanating from that region is spreading rapidly across the African continent, including through Libya. Central, South, and Southeast Asia are also becoming the scene of inhuman acts of terrorism. The problem of foreign terrorist fighters (as discussed by the Secretary General and our colleagues earlier today) who return to their homeland or their countries of residence, or move to third countries, is coming to the fore. An ever-smaller number of countries remain untouched by terrorism. In this regard, I would like to highlight the fact that several years ago, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation created an international database of terrorism, with about 50 states and several international organisations, including Interpol, involved in the project now. This database really helps track the movement of foreign terrorist fighters around the world. We invite everyone to join this important effort.

This state of affairs dictates the need to consolidate the efforts of the international community to counteract international terrorist networks. In 2015, President of Russia Vladimir Putin proposed an initiative here to form a broad international anti-terrorist front which would rely on the UN Charter, the norms and principles of international law, without political motivation or preconditions. This initiative is gaining an even greater relevance today. The double standards applied by some states are complicating the response to modern threats, including terrorism. Deviating from the principles of a consistent collective action against international terrorism is fraught with dire consequences.

It is unacceptable, I must emphasize this specifically, to use terrorist associations for selfish political goals. There can be no excuse for this.

The increasing cooperation with regional and sub-regional organisations as prescribed by Chapter VIII of the UN Charter is becoming more relevant today.

Our meeting today is devoted to the role of the CSTO, the CIS and the SCO in fighting terrorism in cooperation with the United Nations. These regional associations have a lot of experience in combating terrorist threats and are making serious contributions to strengthening stability on the vast expanse of the Eurasian continent. Their vigorous practical efforts are the key to ensuring the security of their member states. Their effective anti-terrorist efforts have contributed to a marked stabilisation in the Central Asian countries. The importance of these efforts has been confirmed this year in the unanimously adopted General Assembly resolutions on UN cooperation with the CSTO, the SCO and the CIS.

At the same time, we are concerned about the recurring attacks by foreign terrorists in the Central Asian countries, as well as by various terrorist groups’ recruitment campaigns in the region, including those associated with ISIS.

One CSTO priority is countering efforts to draw people into terrorist activities at all stages – from ideological indoctrination to returning from regions with higher terrorist activity after having received so called combat experience. Specific measures are taken to block the channels of recruitment by terrorist groups and to counter illegal migration. Much attention is paid to identifying threats on the internet, which has become a tool for disseminating extremist ideas.

Cooperation between the CSTO and the UN on the antiterrorist track is becoming more substantive. The memorandum of understanding between the CSTO and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism is being successfully carried out. A regular plan of collective actions by the CSTO member states on implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy for 2019-2020 will be discussed at the CSTO summit in November this year. The CSTO regularly makes a contribution to carrying out this strategy.

The SCO is a major factor in ensuring stability in Eurasia. Its indisputable priority is to enhance security in the region, in part, by countering extremism, terrorism and separatism. The defence departments of CSTO member countries regularly hold antiterrorist exercises on a scheduled basis.

In the years of its existence the SCO has formed a solid package of legal documents regulating the various aspects of national counter-terrorist activities of its members. The SCO Secretary-General spoke about this in detail today. I would like to point out the convention on combating extremism that was adopted at the highest level in 2017. It provides fixed fundamental principles of international cooperation in this area. Under the convention the participants play a decisive role and bear the main responsibility for its implementation. The convention is open to all interested parties. We invite them to join. I would also like to mention the effective operation of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), whose experience is much in demand in Eurasia. Last March the RATS signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Executive Directorate of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee.

The CSTO and the SCO focus on threats emanating from Afghanistan, including threats to Central Asia. The north of Afghanistan could become a new bridgehead of ISIS-led international terrorist organisations. Afghanistan certainly requires external assistance in overcoming these threats and challenges.

The experience of the past few years has made it clear that not a single plan on developing economic cooperation between Central Asia and Afghanistan can be carried out without an adequate response to threats coming from Afghanistan. I would like to note in this context that the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group proceeds from this reality in following the roadmap on developing cooperation between the SCO member countries and Afghanistan. The roadmap was approved this year.

The Counter-Terrorism Centre has been operating in the CIS since 2000. It ensures coordination between national security agencies, special services and law enforcement bodies in fighting international terrorism. The centre closely cooperates with counter-terrorism sanctions committees and the Executive Directorate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council as well as the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism. I hope these agencies will continue operating.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I was pleased to hear that the CSTO, the CIS and the SCO are willing to further promote antiterrorism cooperation with the UN to maintain regional and international peace and security. This was confirmed today in statements by the directors of their secretariats.

DONALD TRUMP: ‘FUTURE BELONGS TO PATRIOTS NOT GLOBALISTS’

Donald Trump: 'Future Belongs To Patriots Not Globalists'

South Front

On September 24, US President Donald Trump made his third address to the United Nations. Many said that the adress was ‘ordinary’ for Trump. Some parts of the adress are inspiring, while others raise concerns.

Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly (full transcript):

Madam President, Mr. Secretary General, world leaders, ambassadors, and distinguished delegates:

One year ago, I stood before you for the first time in this grand hall. I addressed the threats facing our world, and I presented a vision to achieve a brighter future for all of humanity. Today, I stand before the United Nations General Assembly to share the extraordinary progress we have made.

In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. America is so thrilled. [Laughter] I did not expect that reaction, but that’s okay. [Applause] America’s economy is booming like never before. Since my election, we have added $10 trillion in wealth. The stock market is at an all-time high in history, and jobless claims are at a 50-year low.

Comment: Mr. Trump is right and his ill-wishers cannot deny this. It is important to note that the successes of the US economy took place amid the decline of the global economy. The economic strategy of the Trump administration was designed to support the US national industry and demonstrated own effectiveness. The US nation is lucky that in the current condition the US leader is patriot Trump rather than some creature of the global capital.

African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American unemployment have all achieved their lowest levels ever recorded. We have added more than 4 million new jobs, including half a million manufacturing jobs. We have passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. We have started the construction of a major border wall, and we have greatly strengthened border security. We have secured record funding for our military, $700 billion this year and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before. In other words, the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago. We are standing up for America and the American people.

We are also standing up for the world. This is great news for our citizens and for peace-loving people everywhere. We believe that when nations respect the rights of their neighbors and defend the interests of their people, they can better work together to secure the blessings of safety, prosperity, and peace. Each of us here today is the emissary of a distinct culture, a rich history, and a people bound together by ties of memory, tradition, and the values that make our homelands like nowhere else on Earth. That is why America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination. I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return.

Comment: Since the very start of the presidency, Mr. Trump has demonstrated that for him such words are not just a colorful rhetoric needed to cover destructive US actions towards other states. However, the life is not rainbows and unicorns. Washington has been demonstrating double standards in its foreign policy for a very long time.

From Warsaw to Brussels to Tokyo to Singapore, it has been my highest honor to represent the United States abroad. I have forged close relationships and friendships and strong partnerships with the leaders of many nations in this room.

Our approach has always yielded incredible change. With support from many countries here today, we have engaged with North Korea to replace the specter of conflict with a bold and new push for peace. In June, I traveled to Singapore to meet face-to-face with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. We had highly productive conversations and meetings. We agreed that it was in both countries’ interest to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Since that meeting, we have seen a number of encouraging measures that few could have imagined a short time ago. The missiles and rockets are no longer flying in every direction. Nuclear testing has stopped. Some military facilities are already being dismantled. Our hostages have been released. And as promised, the remains of our fallen heroes are being returned home, to lay at rest in American soil. I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken, though much work remains to be done. The sanctions will stay in place until denuclearization occurs. I also want to thank the many member states who helped us reach this moment, a moment that is actually far greater than people would understand—far great. But for, also, their support and the critical support that we will all need going forward, a special thanks for President Moon of South Korea, the Prime Minister Abe of Japan, and President Xi of China.

In the Middle East, our new approach is yielding great strides and very historic change. Following my trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Gulf countries opened a new center to target terrorist financing. They are enforcing new sanctions, working with us to identify and track terrorist networks, and taking more responsibility for fighting terrorism and extremism in their own region. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have pledged billions of dollars to aid the people of Syria and Yemen, and they are pursuing multiple avenues to ending Yemen’s horrible, horrific civil war.

Ultimately, it is up to the nations of the region to decide what kind of future they want for themselves and their children. For that reason, the United States is working with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan, and Egypt to establish a regional strategic alliance so that Middle Eastern nations can advance prosperity, stability, and security across their home region.

Comment: These remarks once again demonstrate that the US president is supporter of the traditional system of the international relations. At the same time, the colorful phrase about the right of “the nations of the region to decide what kind of future they want for themselves and their children” is used to hide anti-Iranian intentions and efforts to create and strengthen an anti-Iranian coalition that would include Jordan and Egypt. The goal of this coalition would be to counter Iranian influence and in some cases even to meddle the Iranian internal political situation.

Thanks to the United States military, and our partnership with many of your nations, I am pleased to report that the bloodthirsty killers known as isis have been driven out from the territory they once held in Iraq and Syria. We will continue to work with friends and allies to deny radical Islamic terrorists funding, territory, or support or any means of infiltrating our borders.

The ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking. Our shared goals must be the de-escalation of military conflict along with a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. In this vein, we urge the United Nations–led peace process to be reinvigorated. But rest assured, the United States will respond if chemical weapons are deployed by the Assad regime.

Comment: Mr. Trump demonstrates a dramatic shift of the US position towards the conflict in Syria. He does not repeat the ‘Assad must go’ mantra and says that the conflict should be settled through “political solutions”. The President also avoids to mention the supposed US support to the Syrian opposition. Even, the cornerstone of the US public agenda in the Syrian conflict, “chemical weapons”, is used just as a warning in for the case if such weapons “are deployed”. This stance is in contrary to the stance of the Obama administration and the Trump administration during its first two years.

I commend the people of Jordan and other neighboring countries for hosting refugees from this very brutal civil war. As we see in Jordan, the most compassionate policy is to place refugees as close to their homes as possible, to ease their eventual return to be part of the rebuilding process. This approach also stretches finite resources to help far more people, increasing the impact of every dollar spent.

Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that is fueled and financed in the corrupt dictatorship in Iran. Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and disruption. They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond. The Iranian people are rightly outraged that their leaders have embezzled billions of dollars from Iran’s treasury, seized valuable portions of the economy, and looted the religious endowments, all to line their own pockets and send their proxies to wage war. Not good. Iran’s neighbors have paid a heavy toll for the regime’s agenda of aggression and expansion. That is why so many countries in the Middle East strongly supported my decision to withdraw the United States from the horrible 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose nuclear sanctions.

The Iran deal was a windfall for Iran’s leaders. In the year since the deal has been reached, the military budget grew nearly 40 percent. The dictatorship used the funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, increase internal repression, finance terrorism, and fund havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen. The United States has launched a campaign of economic pressure to deny the regime the funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda. Last month, we began reimposing hard-hitting nuclear sanctions that have been lifted under the Iran deal. Additional sanctions will resume November 5, and more will follow. We are working with countries that import Iranian crude oil to cut their purchases substantially. We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants “Death to America” and that threatens Israel with annihilation to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. We just cannot do it. We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues, and we ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.

This year, we took another significant step forward in the Middle East in recognition of every sovereign state to determine its own capital. I moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The United States is committed to a future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That aim is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the obvious facts. America’s policy of principled realism means that we will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies, and so-called experts who have been proven wrong, over the years, time and time again.

Comment: These remarks were expected. They were based on Trump’s vision of Israel as the key US ally in the Middle east. However, attempts to link the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem with the commitment to the “future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians” are surprising. It is unclear how the peace and stability could be achieved through these actions. Nonetheless, Trump once again demonstrated himself as the supporter of hard realpolitik principles and direct actions.

This is true, not only in matters of peace, but in matters of prosperity. We believe that trade must be fair and reciprocal. The United States will not be taken advantage of any longer. For decades, the United States opened its economy, the largest by far on Earth, with few conditions. We allowed foreign goods from all over the world to flow freely across our borders. Yet other countries did not grant us free and reciprocal access to their markets in return. Even worse, some countries abused their openness to dump their products, subsidize their goods, target our industries, and manipulate their currencies to gain unfair advantage over our country. As a result, our trade deficit ballooned to nearly $800 billion a year. For this reason, we are systematically renegotiating broken and bad trade deals. Last month, we announced a groundbreaking U.S.-Mexico trade agreement.

Comment: The strengthening of protectionism policies is generally consistent with Trump’s economic doctrine. Trump focuses on the revision of unfair, “broken and bad” trade deals. If Trump is re-elected, further protectionist measures in the field of the US foreign trade should be expected.

Just yesterday, I stood with President Moon to announce the successful completion of the brand-new U.S.-Korea trade deal. This is just the beginning. Many nations in this hall will agree that the world trading system is in dire need of change. For example, countries were admitted to the World Trade Organization that violate every single principle on which the organization is based.

Comment: The fact that the World Trade Organization does not work is an open secret. The organization de-facto does not pursues goals declared during its creation. Trump is right that the WTO violates “every single principle on which the organization is based.” It is important to note that the WTO gained its current form thanks to actions and policy of the previous US administrations, which were shaped by supporters of the globalists. These very powers were interested in the current state of the WTO. However, the US president that demonstrates different approaches, focusing on protectionism, the national economic development and the rationale nationalism, is not interested in such a state of the WTO.

While the United States and many other nations played by the rules, these countries use government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises to rig the system in their favor. They engaged in relentless product dumping, forced technology transfer, and the theft of intellectual property. The United States lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs, nearly a quarter of all steel jobs, and 60,000 factories after China joined the WTO. We have racked up $13 trillion in trade deficits over the last two decades.

But those days are over. We will no longer tolerate such abuse. We will no longer allow our workers to be victimized, our companies to be cheated, and our wealth to be plundered and transferred. America will never apologize for protecting its citizens. The United States has just announced tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese-made goods, for a total so far of $250 billion. I have great respect and affection for my friend President Xi, but I have made clear that our trade imbalance is just not acceptable. China’s market distortions and the way they deal cannot be tolerated.

As my administration has demonstrated, America will always act in our national interests. I spoke before this body last year and warned that the UN Human Rights Council had become a grave embarrassment to this institution, shielding egregious human-rights abusers while bashing America and its many friends. Our ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, laid out a clear agenda for reform, but despite reported and repeated warnings, no action at all was taken. So the United States took the only responsible course: We withdrew from the Human Rights Council and we will not return until real reform is enacted.

For similar reasons, the United States will provide no support and recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority. The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness, and due process.

Comment: Trump once again declares his vision of the United States as an independent sovereign state, which should be governed exclusively by the people of the United States through democratic procedures. He rejects the globalism and demonstrates that he is well aware of the nature and specifics of the processes that take place in a number of international bodies – for example, in the Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court. He names the forces that dominate these organizations – the global bureaucracy and the associated global capital – the globalists aiming to establish the so-called New World Order. Trump makes it clear that he is a fierce opponent of this concept.

WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER AMERICA’S SOVEREIGNTY TO AN UNELECTED, UNACCOUNTABLE GLOBAL BUREAUCRACY. AMERICA IS GOVERNED BY AMERICANS. WE REJECT THE IDEOLOGY OF GLOBALISM, AND WE EMBRACE THE DOCTRINE OF PATRIOTISM. AROUND THE WORLD, RESPONSIBLE NATIONS MUST DEFEND AGAINST THREATS TO SOVEREIGNTY NOT JUST FROM GLOBAL GOVERNANCE, BUT ALSO FROM NEW FORMS OF COERCION AND DOMINATION.

Comment: These words are the culmination and the very essence of the address. Globalists will not forgive this. The next US presidential race is expected to be even tenser than the previous one. Trump could be described as a controversial person. But in this very case, he seems to be an island of sanity and a clear vision surrounded by oligarchic clans advocating globalism and the New World Order.

In America, we believe in energy security for ourselves and for our allies. We have become the largest energy producer anywhere on the face of the Earth. The United States stands ready to export our abundant, affordable supply of oil, clean coal, and natural gas. OPEC and OPEC nations are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world, and I don’t like it. Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good. We want them to stop raising prices; we want them to start lowering prices. They must contribute substantially to military protection from now on. We are not going to put up with it, these horrible prices, much longer. Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave a nation vulnerable to extortion and intimidation. That is why we congratulate European states such as Poland for leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs. Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.

Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers. It has been the formal policy of our country since President Monroe that we reject the interference of foreign nations in this hemisphere and in our own affairs. The United States has recently strengthened our laws to better screen foreign investments in our country for national-security threats. We welcome cooperation with countries in this region and around the world that wish to do the same. You need to do it for your own protection.

The United States is also working with partners in Latin America to confront threats to sovereignty from uncontrolled migration. Tolerance for human struggling and human smuggling and trafficking is not humane. It is a horrible thing that is going on, at levels that nobody has ever seen before. It is very, very cruel. Illegal immigration funds criminal networks, ruthless gangs, and the flow of deadly drugs. Illegal immigration exploits vulnerable populations and hurts hardworking citizens and has produced a vicious cycle of crime, violence, and poverty. Only by upholding national borders, destroying criminal gangs can we break the cycle and establish a real foundation for prosperity.

We recognize the right of every nation in this room to set its own immigration policy in accordance with its national interests, just as we ask other countries to respect our own right to do the same, which we are doing. That is one reason the United States will not participate in the new Global Compact on Migration. Migration should not be governed by an international body, unaccountable to our own citizens. Ultimately, the only long-term solution to the migration crisis is to help people build more hopeful futures in their home countries. Make their countries great again.

Comment: Trump’s United States would continue demonstrate the rationale protectionism and isolationism and defend the right of the nation to decide what kind of future it wants for itself.

Currently, we are witnessing a human tragedy as an example in Venezuela. More than 2 million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the socialist Maduro regime and its Cuban sponsors. Not long ago, Venezuela was one of the richest countries on earth. Today, socialism has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty. Virtually everywhere, socialism or communism has been tried. It has produced suffering, corruption, and decay. Socialism’s thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion, and oppression. All nations of the world should resist socialism and the misery that it brings to everyone. In that spirit, we ask the nations gathered here to join us in calling for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. Today, we are announcing additional sanctions against the repressive regime, targeting Maduro’s inner circle and close advisers.

We are grateful for all of the work the United Nations does around the world to help people build better lives for themselves and their families. The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world by far of foreign aid. But few give anything to us. That is why we are taking a hard look at U.S. foreign assistance. That will be headed up by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. We will examine what is working, what is not working, and whether the countries who receive our dollars and our protection also have our interests at heart. Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends. We expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense.

The United States is committed to making the United Nations more effective and accountable. I have said many times that the United Nations has unlimited potential. As part of our reform effort, I have told our negotiators that the United States will not pay more than 25 percent of the UN peacekeeping budget.

Comment: The US president just mocked international bodies in his unique style. He declared support to their actions, but said that he would not give them money.

This will encourage other countries to step up, get involved, and also share in this very large burden. We are working to shift more of our funding from assessed contributions to voluntary so that we can target American resources to the programs with the best record of success. Only when we each of us does our part and contributes our share can we realize the United Nations’ highest aspirations. We must pursue peace without fear, hope without despair, and security without apology.

Looking around this hall, where so much history has transpired, we think of the many before us who have come here to address the challenges of their nations and of their times. Our thoughts turn to the same question that ran through all of their speeches and resolutions, through every word and every hope. It is the question of, what kind of world will we leave for our children and what kind of nations they will inherit. The dreams that fill this hall today are as diverse as the people who have stood at this podium, and as varied as the countries represented right here, in this body, are. It really is something. It really is great, great history.

There is India, a free society over a billion people, successfully lifting countless millions out of poverty and into the middle class. There is Saudi Arabia, where King Salman and the crown prince are pursuing bold new reforms. There is Israel, proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary as a thriving democracy in the Holy Land. In Poland, the great people are standing up for their independence, their security, and their sovereignty.

Comment: The list of ‘successful and democratic’ nations named by Mr. Trump is especially interesting and funny. He said that India is “a free society over a billion people, successfully lifting countless millions out of poverty and into the middle class”. But he somehow forgot to mention that India is the state with one of the highest levels of social inequality. In fact, India is in the list because it’s the main regional competitor of China, the US is draining brains from the Indian nation, and India is a prospective market for the US industry, mainly the military industrial complex.

Saudi Arabia and Israel are the united Middle Eastern family of the traditional US allies. Their economies are incorporated into the US economy.

As to Poland, this state is currently one of the main political and economic competitors of Germany within the EU and thus the US ally. At the same time, Washington sees Poland as a deterrent force against Russia. Besides this, Poland has been acting as an agent working in interests of the Anglo-Saxon world in Europe.

Many countries are pursuing their own unique visions, building their own hopeful futures, and chasing their own wonderful dreams of destiny, of legacy, and of a home. The whole world is richer. Humanity is better because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each very special, each very unique, each shining brightly in its part of the world. In each one, we see also promise of a people bound together by a shared past and working toward a common future.

As for Americans, we know what kind of future we want for ourselves. We know what kind of a nation America must always be. In America, we believe in the majesty of freedom and the dignity of the individual. We believe in self-government and the rule of law. We prize the culture that sustains our liberty, a culture built on strong families, deep faith, and fierce independence. We celebrate our heroes, we treasure our traditions, and, above all, we love our country. Inside everyone in this great chamber today, and everyone listening all around the globe, there is the heart of a patriot that feels the same powerful love for your nation, the same intense loyalty to your homeland, the passion that burns in the hearts of patriots and the souls of nations has inspired reform and revolution, sacrifice and selflessness, scientific breakthroughs and magnificent works of art.

Our task is not to erase it, but to embrace it—to build with it, to draw on its ancient wisdom, and to find within it the will to make our nations greater, our regions safer, and the world better. To unleash this incredible potential in our people, we must defend the foundations that make it all possible. Sovereign and independent nations are the only vehicle where freedom has ever survived, democracy has ever endured, or peace has ever prospered. And so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all. When we do, we will find new avenues for cooperation unfolding before us. We will find new passion for peacemaking rising within us. We will find new purpose, new resolve, and new spirit flourishing all around us, and making this a more beautiful world in which to live.

Together, let us choose a future of patriotism, prosperity, and pride. Let us choose peace and freedom over domination and defeat. Let us come here to this place to stand for our people and their nations.

Comment: These are great words. Nonetheless, we kindly ask Mr. Trump to reveal the list of nations that would have a right able to achieve this “future of patriotism, prosperity, and pride”, according to his vision.

Forever strong, forever sovereign, forever just. Forever thankful for the grace and the goodness and the glory of God. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the nations of the world. Thank you very much.

***

In the end, it is also interesting to note that Mr. Trump has almost fully ignored the so-called ‘Russian threat’ in his address. He mentioned Russia once when talked about the US interests in the European energy market and the German-Russian relations. However, there was no criticism aimed against Russia in general. Furthermore, the US President fully ignored the Ukraine question demonstrating his real stance towards the conflict.

Over the past days, the Trump administration has sent signals that it is not going to fund Ukraine just because it’s allegedly engaged in the “war with Russia”. Furthermore, Washington demonstrates that it is not interested in the further escalation of the situation in the region.

How pervasive is Saudi penetration of western political systems?

Padraig McGrath, political analyst

When the Royal Marines seized the Iranian-owned Grace 1 supertanker off Gibraltar on July 4th, then British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt hailed the seizure as a sign that Iran had “no place to hide.” On July 19th, when the Iranian government retaliated by authorizing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to seize the Swedish-owned, British-registered tanker Stena Impero in Hormuz, Hunt described it as an act of “state-piracy.”

Now, at first glance, this looks like just another tedious example of the blatant double-standards which we’ve come to expect from western politicians in relation to non-vassal states, and it is certainly that. This is not the first article in which I have drawn attention to Hunt’s tendency to practice blatant double-standards such as these. However, it has subsequently transpired that Jeremy Hunt’s recent campaign for the leadership of the British Conservative Party was largely financed by a close associate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. The South African banker and philanthropist Ken Costa has been described in some quarters as Bin Salman’s “point-man” in the UK.

Or bagman, if you prefer.

It is unsurprising, then, that Hunt publicly bats for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) at every available opportunity, for example in deflecting criticism regarding the Saudi role in the precipitation of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and also in consistently demonstrating hostility toward Iran.

On August 7th, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry met with Saudi Minister for Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih. They are reported to have discussed ways of countering what they see as Iranian attempts to “destabilize” world-oil markets, with Al-Falih indicating that KSA favours the policy of increasing oil-production to moderate any surges in the world-price of crude.

Well, when the US withdraws from the JCPOA as a pretext for unilaterally imposing new sanctions on Iranian oil, “destabilization” is inevitable, but there wouldn’t be any point in making that argument to someone to whom it was not already self-evident.

It turns out that Perry also has a lot of Saudi grit under his fingernails. The US Senate House Oversight Committee has just published a report which is extremely critical of Perry’s role in advocacy for the sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Attempts have been made by IP3, an energy-consulting firm, to persuade the US Department of Energy to facilitate the sale without requiring the Saudis to sign a Section 123 agreement, which would be a commitment regarding the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Can you imagine Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons?

Not that these dubious Saudi entanglements mark the Trump administration in particular, of course. Enormous Saudi funding for the Clinton Foundation prior to 2016 was well documented. During Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, US arms-sales to Saudi Arabia increased by 97%, including a $29.4 billion sale of over 80 F-15 fighters to KSA, and her 2016 campaign-manager John Podesta’s consulting firm was paid $140,000 per month to lobby on behalf of the KSA government. The Clinton Foundation itself also received about $10 billion in donations from the Saudi government while Clinton was Secretary of State.

And let’s not even talk about the Bush family’s history with the Saudis.

So we see, then, that the level of penetration which the Saudi government has achieved in the west’s political systems transcends both nationalities and ideological boundaries. British and American hostility toward the Islamic Republic of Iran is usually analyzed as being primarily ideologically driven. This interpretation is certainly valid on a number of levels.

The Iranian Islamic revolution has been one of the most stunningly resilient and successful anti-colonial movements in history, and therefore many imperial strategists see it as an imperative that the Islamic revolution must be crushed, not simply in order for Iran’s immense natural resources to be looted as they were before 1979, but also for the same strategic-ideological reasons that the western geo-strategic perspective has historically seen it as an imperative that all revolutionary societies be crushed.

Furthermore, we can discern a deeper ideological confluence between Saudi Wahhabism and liberal universalism, currently the Occident’s dominant (but rapidly decaying) ideological paradigm. Both are rooted in 18th century excessively transcendental thought, in an explicitly ahistorical, anti-historical or post-historical way of thinking. Both explicitly reject historical comparison or collective historical experience as a normative basis for the evaluation of social, political, ideological or ethical questions.

While the French philosophes of the 18th century sought to ground their worldview in something which they called “pure reason,” unburdened by any considerations of historical embeddedness or context (a form of philosophical naiveté thankfully not shared by any of the most notable figures in the German enlightenment), Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab sought to rediscover a “pure” version of Islam, unburdened by the allegorical Koranic hermeneutics of sophisticated Persian intellectuals.

In an Inforos column on August 1st, my colleague Sarah Abed argued that the United States’ ultimate objective in Iran remains regime-change, hence the willingness to use any spurious pretext whatsoever in order to re-impose sanctions. She argues that there is a strategy of continuing to economically pressure the Iranian state until it collapses in its current form.

I certainly agree with this analysis, but in breaking down the various motivating factors behind it, our broadly justified emphasis on ideological and geo-strategic issues sometimes blinds us to the role of straightforward corruption and influence-peddling in the process. Saudi financial power has led to a situation wherein KSA exerts very arguably more influence on the foreign policies of western governments than any other foreign entity.

Paranoid liberal fantasies about the Kremlin’s influence in subverting the internal political processes of western countries used to make us laugh, but by now they are simply tedious, and paranoid fantasies about pervasive Israeli influence are almost as tedious. We overlook the point that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has arguably more raw bribery-power than any other nation-state.

Source: InfoBrics

Defrauding Americans for a Living

 

defrauding.jpg

by Eve Mykytyn and Gilad Atzmon

Binary options fraud flourished in Israel for years before the industry was gradually outlawed by the Knesset which first made binary options illegal only for Israeli investors. Finally, in 2017 the Knesset managed to ban the sale of binary options altogether (with a three month grace period). The legislation followed superb  investigative reporting by The Times of Israel that began with a March 2016 article entitled “The Wolves of Tel Aviv.” At its peak, thousands of Israelis were employed by hundreds of Israeli companies engaged in the fraud.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls04sJh1e58

Despite the fact that an Israeli industry was defrauding Americans and Europeans, the American and European press have remained quiet about it. The US media has barely reported on the FBI ‘s arrest  or the trial of Lee Elbaz, CEO of Yukom Communications Ltd, an Israeli company accused of defrauding American investors out of millions of dollars. Maybe it is too much for the American MSM to advertise that a state that is pumped with billions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money gives little in return and ran an industry designed to separate Americans from their savings.

Apparently the Hebrew press also ignored the issue. Maybe this is because, after spring 2016, only  non Israelis were being defrauded. Perhaps the Israeli press was intimidated. After breaking the story, The Times of Israel was subjected to a ‘welter of legal and illegal threats’ and intimidation some of which were delivered by Israel’s most prestigious law firms no doubt paid for by the billions scammed.

The Times of Israel once again brought to our attention the trial of Lee Elbaz that is presently before a jury in Maryland.

The Times of Israel reports that In closing arguments on August 1, prosecutor L. Rush Atkinson described Elbaz as someone who lied to investors about their chances of making money and lied about their ability to withdraw money once they had deposited it. If an investor came to understand that he had been duped or wanted his money returned for whatever reason, his money was suddenly unavailable.

 A defense attorney said Elbaz did not condone the fraudulent tactics used by employees who worked under her supervision. Federal prosecutors alleged that far from being unaware of the fraud her employees were committing, Elbaz directed her sales agents to lie over the phone in addition to lying herself.

“In her own words, she was ‘a money-making machine.’ She was the center of a devastating fraud,” Atkinson said. “Her workers couldn’t remember a single client who withdrew the money they invested,” he added.

Elbaz’s defense attorney Barry Pollack displayed some pilpul* sophistry suggesting in his closing argument that being a “money-making machine” is not a crime.

Pollack is correct, some would even argue that making money is a mitzvah, yet making money by means of fraud is a crime even when the American press is too embarrassed to report about it.

Pollack argued that Elbaz had drawn that line at a place she thought was proper, based on a ‘legal opinion’ offered by David Bitton, lawyer for Yukom Communications. Bitton had opined that under Israeli law it is not illegal for a business to lie unless that lie is specifically about the product they are selling. Did Bitton affirm that lying for the cause is a kosher procedure, at least in Israel? You can sell products under fake name. You can fake your credential and even invent your past as long as you don’t lie about your  (non existent) product.

Asked by her attorney whether she thought it was wrong to use a fake name when interacting with investors, Elbaz replied: “No. I saw a legal opinion that it was allowed and I was asked by the broker to do it and also not to say we are from Israel; some people don’t like it [for anti-Semitic reasons].”

For those with short memories, this is the second time we’ve  learned this month that Jews should be allowed to lie about their identity and even fake their passports because of anti-Semitism. ‘Explaining’ the fake Passport found in Jeffrey Epstein’s house his defense lawyer Marc Fernich wrote: “Some Jewish-Americans were informally advised at the time to carry identification bearing a non-Jewish name when traveling internationally in case of hijacking.”

“Did you know your employees used fake names?” prosecuting attorney Henry Van Dyck asked. “We were asked by our broker not to expose Israeli names, and anti-Semitic-wise we are Jewish, working with people who don’t like it.”

“Some names are difficult to pronounce,” she added, offering this as another reason that employees used what she referred to as stage names.

“Why did Austin Smith need a fake name?” asked Van Dyck. “What about Oren Montgomery?”

“It’s hard to pronounce,” she replied.

“Harder to pronounce than Bill Shneizer?” he asked, referring to the pseudonym used by an employee named Oren Montgomery.

Prosecutor Caitlin Cottingham said that far from being harmless lies, the fake names and locations Elbaz and other used were essential to the alleged scheme, and used for a simple reason. “They used fake names because they didn’t want to get caught,” she said.

Or maybe the Israeli employees were asked to hide their Jewish names, not because their clients were potentially ‘anti-Semitic’ but because this entire operation evokes bad memories of the wolves of Wall Street.

* Pilpul – a method of Talmudic disputation among rabbinical scholars regarding the interpretation of notions, actions, rules, principles and  Scriptures.

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How is it possible that the Right Wing Fox News asks all the right questions?

The answer is devastatingly simple: truth often interferes with the Left and Progressive’s worldview. It is then suppressed so it fits with a vision of correctness.

I delved into this question at length in my latest book: Being in Time – a Post Political Manifesto:

Traditional Left Ideology sets out a vision of how the world ought to be. The ‘Left’ view can be summed up as the belief that social justice is the primary requirement for improving the world, and this better future entails the pursuit of equality in various forms. The Left ideologist believes that it is universally both ethical and moral to attempt to approach equality in terms of civil rights and material wealth.

But if the Left focuses on ‘what could be,’ the Right focuses on ‘what is.’ If the Left operates where people could be, the Right operates where people ‘are’ or at least, where they believe themselves to be. The Right does not aim to change human social reality but rather to celebrate, and to even maximize it. The Right is also concerned with rootedness that is often nostalgic and even romanticised.

The Left yearns for equality, but for the Right, the human landscape is diverse and multi-layered, with inequality not just tolerated but accepted as part of the human condition, a natural part of our social, spiritual and material world. Accordingly, Right ideology encompasses a certain degree of biological determination and even Social Darwinism. It is enthralled by the powerful, and cruel, evolutionary principle of the ‘survival of the fittest.’ For the Right ideologue, it is the ‘will to survive’ and even to attain power that makes social interactions exciting. It is that very struggle that brings humanity and humanism to life.

So, the traditional debate between Right and Left can loosely be summarized as the tension between equality and reality. The Right ideologue argues that, while the Left’s attempt to flatten the curve of human social reality in the name of equality may be ethically genuine and noble, it is nonetheless naive and erroneous.

Illusion vs Insomnia

Left ideology is like a dream. Aiming for what ‘ought to be’ rather than ‘what is’, it induces a level of utopian illusory detachment and depicts a phantasmal egalitarian world far removed from our abusive, oppressive and doomed reality. In this phantasmic future, people will just drift away from greed and gluttony, they will work less and learn to share, even to share that which they may not possess to start with.

This imaginary ‘dream’ helps explain why the (Western) Left ideology rarely appealed to the struggling classes, the masses who, consumed by the pursuit of bread and butter, were hardly going to be interested in utopian ‘dreams’ or futuristic social experiments. Bitten by the daily struggle and chased by existence, working people have never really subscribed to ‘the revolution’ usually because often they were just too busy working. This perhaps explains why so often it was the middle class agitators and bourgeois who became revolutionary icons. It was they who had access to that little bit extra to fund their revolutionary adventures.

The ‘Left dream’ is certainly appealing, perhaps a bit too appealing. Social justice, equality and even revolution may really be nothing but the addictive rush of effecting change and this is perhaps why hard-core Leftist agitators often find it impossible to wake from their social fantasy. They simply refuse to admit that reality has slipped from their grasp, preferring to remain in their cosy phantasmal universe, shielded by ghetto walls built of archaic terminology and political correctness.

In fact, the more appealing and convincing the revolutionary fantasy is, the less its supporters are willing to face reality, assuming they’re capable of doing so. This blindness helps explain why the Western ideological Left has failed on so many fronts. It was day-dreaming when the service economy was introduced, and it did not awaken when production and manufacturing were eviscerated. It yawned when it should have combatted corporate culture, big money and its worship, and it dozed when higher education became a luxury. The Left was certainly snoring noisily when, one after the other, its institutions were conquered by New Left Identitarian politics. So, rather than being a unifying force that could have made us all – workers, Black, women, Jews, gays etc. – into an unstoppable force in the battle against big capital, the Left became a divisionary factor, fighting amongst itself. But it wasn’t really the ideologues’ and activists’ fault; the failure to adapt to reality is a flaw tragically embedded in the Left’s very fantasised nature.

If I am right, it is these intrinsically idealistic and illusory characteristics that doom Left politics to failure. In short, that which makes the Left dream so appealing is also responsible for the Left being delusional and ineffectual. But how else could it be? How could such a utopian dream be sustained? I suspect that for Left politics to prevail, humanity would have to fly in the face of the human condition.

And what of the Right? If the Left appears doomed to failure, has the Right succeeded at all? As opposed to the ‘dreamy’ Left, the Right is consumed by reality and ‘concretisation.’ In the light of the globalized, brutal, hard capitalist world in which we live, traditionally conservative laissez-faire seems a naive, nostalgic, peaceful and even poetic thought.

While the Left sleeps, Right-wing insomnia has become a universal disease which has fuelled the new world order with its self-indulgence and greed. How can anyone sleep when there’s money to be made? This was well understood by Martin Scorsese who, in his The Wolf of Wall Street, depicts an abusive culture of sex, cocaine and amphetamine consumption at the very heart of the American capitalist engine. Maybe such persistent greed can be only maintained by addled, drug-induced and over-stimulated brains.

Rejection of fantasy, commitment to the concrete (or shall we say, the search for ‘being’ or ‘essence,’) positions the Right alongside German philosophy. The German idealists’ philosophical endeavour attempts to figure out the essence of things. From a German philosophical perspective, the question ‘what is (the essence of) beauty?’ is addressed by aesthetics. The question ‘what is (the essence of) being?’ is addressed by metaphysics. The questions: ‘what are people, what is their true nature, root and destiny?’ are often dealt with by Right-wing ideologists. It is possible that the deep affinity between Right ideology and German philosophy explains the spiritual and intellectual continuum between

German philosophy and German Fascism. It may also explain why Martin Heidegger, one of the most important philosophers in the last millennium, was, for a while at least, a National Socialist enthusiast.

The Right’s obsession with the true nature of things may explain its inclination towards nostalgia on one hand and Darwinist ideologies on the other. Right ideology can be used to support expansionism and imperialism at one time, and isolationism and pacifism at another. Right ideology is occasionally in favour of immigration as good for business, yet can also take the opposite position, calling for protection of its own interests by sealing the borders. The Right can provide war with logos and can give oppression a dialectical as well as ‘scientific’ foundation. Sometimes, a conflict may be justified by ‘growing demand’ and ‘expanding markets.’ Other times, one race is chosen to need living space at the expense of another.

The Right is sceptical about the prospects for social mobility. For the Right thinker, the slave* is a slave because his subservient nature is determined biologically, psychologically or culturally. In the eyes of the Left, such views are ‘anti-humanist’ and unacceptable. The Left would counter this essentialist determinism with a wide range of environmental, materialist, cultural criticism and post- colonial studies that produce evidence that slaves do liberate themselves eventually. And the Right would challenge this belief by asking ‘do they really?’ ( Being in Time – a Post Political Manifesto pg. 13-17)

* I refer here to the slave in an Hegelian metaphorical way rather than literally.

Venezuela Facing Western Hypocrisy

By Hussein Samawarchi

A few months after the brutal torture and execution of Imam Muhammad Baqir Al-Sadr, Saddam Hussein gave the order to attack Iran. Imam Al-Sadr represented a peaceful opposition wave against dictatorship. The popular cleric used literature as a way of mending what was wrong. For that, he was made to watch his own sister being tortured and killed while, according to witnesses, the political prisoner was beaten with metal cables until his body was covered with cuts everywhere. Then, the torturers dragged him through acid before hammering an iron nail into his head.

When Saddam invaded Iran, the western world rallied behind him. The butcher of opposition leaders received support from diplomats who published books about ethical politics as their countries shipped to him one load after another of weapons. No one who lived through that era could forget Iraq’s Exocet missiles.

If Saddam is old news now, if something more contemporary exposing western hypocrisy is favored, the event that took place in Turkey last October might do.

A team of sloppy assassins was dispatched to Istanbul. They waited for a public figure in his country’s consulate to which he was sent by none other than the brother of the current crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Jamal Khashoggi might have been a controversial personality due to his historical affiliations with fanatic movements, links with Taliban, and statements that don’t abide by journalistic objectivity norms. But he spoke through western media and therefore deserved western protection. The man was cut to pieces after being subdued and drugged. It is still not clear if the drug used rendered him unconscious during the horrific act or just paralyzed him so he could witness and feel his arms and legs being sawn-off.

The world heard a lot of condemnations and denouncements. Still, at the end of the day, not one ambassador took part in a public display of support to a journalist who was merely hinting to the need for reform in his country.

Juan Guaidó returned to Venezuela after 10 days of prancing around with his people’s enemies. He violated the constitution by declaring himself president, broke the law by traveling, instigated popular violence, cooperated with hostile foreign powers, and initiated a contraband operation on a large scale from Colombia. The renegade politician was neither dragged in acid nor dismembered. He was allowed to enter Venezuela with strict orders from President Maduro that no one would obstruct his way.

The sight of the all those foreign ambassadors welcoming the man that Mike Pence views as an American investment gives a sufficient idea of who are the stakeholders in the future distribution of Venezuelan petroleum shares should the coup being staged by Trump’s gang succeed. It’s an indication for the minority of Venezuelan people who think riches will pour in if the country is handed over to American puppets. Do they not realize that every entity which recognized Guaidó as interim president will become their partner in their national wealth?

This is the level of degradation that the western political scene has reached. Ambassadors did not react when public figures were mutilated to death but ran to the airport to welcome a man who says “A la orden jefe” to John Bolton.

There is nothing wrong in forming an opposition; actually, it’s a basic requirement for a sound democratic political system. The opposing politicians’ main duty is to act as performance auditors and highlight the ruling party’s shortcomings which, inevitably, leads to the improvement of the country and the standard of living. What they don’t do is collude with foreign powers to surrender the country’s wealth. What they don’t do is act as internal agents in a hunger campaign against their own people. And what they definitely don’t do is sell their integrity knowing that they are public servants and that integrity represents their constituency.

The topic of Venezuela is not a discussion of a mere Latin American country. Rather, a modern-day political epidemic suffered by many states. It has to do with the injection of malicious agents into a national body while this body is battered with sanctions preventing it from acquiring the necessary antibiotics and nutrition. Syria recovered, Yemen is recovering, and Venezuela is following suit. Patriotism is the remedy and it is abundant in this proud Bolivarian state.

What if al-Aqsa Mosque caught fire?

It is doubtful in today’s US-dominated world that anyone would rally to its cause, as they did for Notre Dame
Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in June 2018 (AFP)

On 15 April, a devastating fire broke out at France’s famous Notre Dame Cathedral.

In the course of the conflagration, the church’s distinctive 93-metre medieval spire and two thirds of its roof were destroyed. Had it not been for the tireless efforts of French firefighters, who fought day and night to extinguish the blaze, the damage would have been far more extensive.

For days, the story was front-page news in Western countries, and media outlets were saturated with expert analyses of the cathedral’s history, architecture and significance.

Symbol of national identity

There is no doubt that Notre Dame, dating from 1163, is a Gothic masterpiece and a Parisian landmark. It is a symbol of France and of Roman Catholicism, even though France is an officially secular state that prides itself on what it calls laicité. Church and state were formally separated in 1905.

But that did not stop crowds of people from singing hymns in a vigil near the stricken cathedral and marching in its honour. Paris’s deputy mayor of tourism and sports joined others in creating a human chain to save the ancient relics held inside the cathedral.

For Palestinians, al-Aqsa is their very own possession – a symbol of Arab historical continuity in a city claimed by non-Arabs

Notre Dame is today not just a religious monument, but a symbol of French national identity. For that reason, the French president quickly took on the responsibility of rebuilding the cathedral, and French billionaires and businesses have already pledged more than €700 million ($787m) towards that goal.

In recognition of that nationalist bond, many western states, from Australia to Europe, hastened to send their condolences to President Emmanuel Macron. Japan, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan did the same.

In the United States, the One World Trade Centre and the Empire State Building were lit up in the tricolour of the French flag, and the governor of New York pledged his city’s solidarity with the people of France.

Sacred character

What if a similar fate overtook al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem? This building is older than Notre Dame, built by the Umayyad caliphs in the eighth century, and has a long, rich history. The mosque was hit by earthquakes in 746 and 1033 and rebuilt each time; taken over by crusaders in 1099 and reclaimed by Saladin in 1187; then remained under Muslim rule until the war of 1967, when it came under Israel’s control.

Muslims everywhere revere this mosque. It is the third holiest place after the mosques of Mecca and Medina. Many associations bind al-Aqsa to Muslim religious sentiment.

Palestinians pray at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in May 2018 (AFP)
Palestinians pray at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in May 2018 (AFP)

Interpreted as the place referenced in the Isra verse in the Quran, al-Aqsa has taken on a sacred character, and is traditionally associated with the Prophet Muhammad’s miraculous night journey to Jerusalem. Its spiritual significance for Muslims is hard to overstate. Jerusalem was Islam’s first qibla, or direction of prayer, and it has been an important place of pilgrimage ever since.

For Palestinians, al-Aqsa is their very own possession – a symbol of Arab historical continuity in a city claimed by non-Arabs, and an affirmation of Arab identity in an anti-Arab environment. Though it stands beside what is claimed to be the site of the now-vanished Jewish Second Temple, it is the only concrete historical building in that place.

No assaults by religious Jewish groups claiming rights to the mosque can alter this reality, nor have Israel’s constant excavations to detect a trace of Jewish history at the site since 1967 produced that evidence.

The case of the 1969 fire

What if this unique building, so meaningful for the 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, succumbed to fire, or collapsed after Israel’s archaeological digs weakened its ancient foundations?

Would the Arab and Islamic world rise up as one? Would Israel, the de facto custodian of Jerusalem’s holy places, be made accountable? Would world leaders rush to rebuild the mosque or to help the Palestinian people?

The struggle for al-Aqsa: Palestinians have ‘no one but God to help them’

Read More »

We have a preliminary answer in the case of the fire that burned Saladin’s minbar inside al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969. Denis Michael Rohan, an evangelical Christian Australian, started a fire in the mosque to try to destroy it, aiming to clear the way for the Jewish Temple to be rebuilt in its place, thus hastening Christ’s second coming. The incident led to the establishment of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Jordan’s representative to the UN presented letters of protest over the fire at al-Aqsa. These came from just 17 states, and a further 58 letters came from NGOs, Muslim religious bodies, other Muslim groups and Muslim individuals around the world. They called on the UN to intervene to protect the holy site from Israel’s occupation.

An orphan without allies

The Western response to the fire at al-Aqsa was muted. None displayed solidarity with Palestinians or Muslims, and no effective action was taken by the UN.

In the 50 years since the fire at al-Aqsa, Israel has only increased its hold on Jerusalem’s holy places. In 2017, it illegally installed turnstiles and metal detectors at the entrances to al-Haram al-Sharif, although they were subsequently removed. Religious settlers are now regularly allowed to march through al-Aqsa compound, threaten Muslim worshippers, and perform Jewish religious ceremonies.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is no less a religious and nationalist symbol for Arabs and Muslims than Notre Dame is for the French

Al-Aqsa Mosque is no less a religious and nationalist symbol for Arabs and Muslims than Notre Dame is for the French. But if it burned down, it is doubtful in today’s US-dominated world – and given Arab and Islamic weakness – that anyone would rally to its cause. Only the Palestinians who live there would go on fighting to defend it.

Like them, this wonderful Islamic icon is an orphan in a world without allies.

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

Ghada Karmi
Ghada Karmi is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. She was born in Jerusalem and was forced to leave her home with her family as a result of Israel’s creation in 1948. The family moved to England in 1949, where she grew up and was educated. Karmi practised as a doctor for many years working as a specialist in the health of migrants and refugees. From 1999 to 2001 Karmi was an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where she led a major project on Israel-Palestinian reconciliation. In 2009, she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Is May Scared of Putin? British Showing Double Standards Over Russia

British Prime Minister Theresa May © Getty Images

Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone is an English politician, he served as the Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008. He is also a former MP and a former member of the Labour Party.
Although Saudi Arabia admitted weeks ago that its staff murdered Jamal Khashoggi, the UK hasn’t imposed sanctions on the Riyadh government. In stark contrast, when it comes to sanctioning Russia, London never lacks enthusiasm.

While no punishment has been inflicted on the Saudi government and no diplomats were expelled over the murder of the journalist in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, we have still got Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May demanding action against President Putin’s government because of recent conflict with Ukraine.

Even though it is now nine months since the attempted murder of the Skripals in Salisbury, there has still been no conclusive evidence that President Putin’s government was involved in any way. So why does Britain’s prime minister have such a double standard in how she handles events? She cannot really believe that Russia is going to go to war against the West, but there seems an absolute determination to see the removal of Putin’s government.

To understand this hysteria about Putin we need to look at the history of Russia since the disintegration of the Soviet Union back in 1991. Once Boris Yeltsin had seized power one of his first actions was to bring in a group of economists from the neo-liberal Institute of Economic Affairs which is based in London.

The result of Yeltsin adopting the neo-liberal economic agenda was effectively the looting of Russia’s economy with devastating effects on the Russian people. There was widespread support from the US government for Yeltsin’s policy with the so-called Wolfowitz Doctrine which spelt out that no nation must ever again be allowed to rise to the stature of the Soviet Union and there should now be a unipolar world under the domination of the United States.

The looting of Russia’s economy was finally stopped and the neo-liberalist economists thrown out when Vladimir Putin was elected president in 2000 and began the reversal of the destruction of Russia’s industries. Putin firmly rejected the Wolfowitz Doctrine which led to several insurgencies in Russia’s Caucasus which Moscow suspected had the backing and instigation of British intelligence.

Although President Trump seems uncertain about what his policy should be towards Russia and China, his vice-president Mike Pence has no doubts. On October 4, Pence made a speech at the Hudson Institute in which he strongly denounced China. The host was Mike Pillsbury, a consultant with the US Department of Defense, who has a long involvement in America’s policy towards China. He said that Pence’s speech represents a “significant influential minority around Trump, but not a government wide position. There is a rising influence in Trump’s administration, by those who wish to provoke conflict with both China and Russia with its members still committed to the neoconservative doctrine of America’s global predominance.

Similar views have been expressed by Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has constantly urged a hard line towards China and Russia. Bolton has opposed Trump’s policy towards North Korea and has been a key player in persuading Trump to get the USA to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which had been agreed between Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987.

READ MORE: Business as usual: US INF pullout will delight arms industry as it threatens to reignite Cold War

To build support for this hostility to Putin’s administration the Western media has been filled with lies about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Up until 2014 there was a good relationship between Putin and the directly-elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. That year Yanukovych announced a delay in reaching an economic agreement with the European Union because he wished to ensure it did not damage Ukraine’s economic relations with its biggest trading partner, Russia.

Almost immediately right-wing demonstrators started protesting in Kiev’s central square. These protests quickly evolved into violent clashes with radical nationalists and paramilitary groups echoing the fascist ideology of Stepan Bandera, chanting Nazi and racist slogans and demanding the ethnic cleansing of Russians from Ukraine.

No-one will be surprised that Britain, the US and EU officials supported the coup, and there is little doubt that Western intelligence agencies had been up to their necks in encouraging these far-right groups ever since the end of WWII.

Nowhere in the Western media do we see honest reporting about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. It is never mentioned that during the WWII, as Russian troops drove the Nazis out of Ukraine, many Ukrainians fought side-by-side with the Nazis against Stalin’s troops. This long-standing conflict has recently erupted following the Kerch Strait crisis.

The Western press constantly repeats the story that Russia has seized three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea and their crews and dismisses Russia’s claim that these ships had illegally entered Russian waters. President Putin pointed out that “it was without a doubt, a provocation. It was organised by the president ahead of the elections. The president is in fifth place ratings-wise and therefore had to do something. It was used as pretext to introduce martial law.”

The Russian newspaper Izvestia cited sources in Ukraine’s leadership saying that they have been trying to persuade the US (unsuccessfully) to open a military base in Ukraine. The report cannot be confirmed but could well be true.

I believe that Ukraine’s President Poroshenko is deliberately talking up the so-called threat from Russia because at the elections in March he seems doomed to lose. But his imposition of martial law in several parts of Ukraine could be used to rig the forthcoming election and he has warned of the risk of full-scale war, claiming to have detected a build up of Russian tanks on the border which overlooks the fact that Moscow moved army units closer to the border four years ago.

The hardliners in Trump’s administration want him to increase his support for NATO and Kiev, while Ukraine itself wishes to become a member of the organization which would mean the frontier of the military alliance coming right up to the border of Russia.

Poroshenko has also claimed that Putin is planning to annex Ukraine. On November 29, he told the German newspaper Bild “Don’t believe Putin’s lies. Putin wants the old Russian empire back. Crimea, Donbass, the whole country… He believes his empire cannot function without Ukraine. He sees us as his colony.

Poroshenko has been pushing for the West to increase economic sanctions against Russia and urged Germany’s Angela Merkel to drop a plan to cooperate with Russia on building a new gas pipeline. Poroshenko warned this would make the EU dependent on Russian energy and reduce Ukraine’s sales to the EU via its existing pipeline.

Given the enfeebled state of Ukraine’s economy it’s hard to see how Russia could benefit by taking it over. Back in August, in my first column for RT, I spelt out the truth about the history of tensions between Russia and Ukraine. From the beginning of the Soviet Union under Lenin, Crimea had never been a part of Ukraine and over ninety percent of its population were Russians. It was only in 1954 that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev changed the boundary to include Crimea in Ukraine.

After the overthrow of Ukraine’s government in 2014 the vast majority of Crimean residents decided to opt out of Ukraine and reunite with the Russia they had been part of for centuries before Khrushchev’s arbitrary decision. The whole of the Western media was screaming that Russia had gone to war to seize Crimea and this led to the US, UK and other European states imposing sanctions against Russia without recognising the right of Crimea’s people of to determine their own future.

Given the number of US satellites that circle the planet, spying around the world, it is surprising that America hasn’t been able to reveal the truth about whether or not Ukraine’s three ships deliberately crossed the boundary into Russian waters on November 25.

As Putin pointed out “Military vessels intruded into Russian territorial waters and did not answer [the border guards]… What were they supposed to do?” he said at a business forum in Moscow. “They would do the same in your country, this is absolutely obvious,” he told a foreign investor. “These territorial waters were always ours even before Crimea joined Russia.

As I wrote in my first article for RT, my generation was lied to all our lives about the so-called threat from the Soviet Union, so don’t be surprised if I don’t always believe what our prime ministers tell us.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Zionism, Judaism and the Jewish State of Israel

November 23, 2018

Zionism, Judaism and the Jewish State of Israel

Zionism, Judaism and the Jewish State of Israel: Separateness, ontological uniqueness and Jewish morality are its characteristics

by Lynda Burstein Brayer for The Saker Blog

Western thinking and intellectual endeavor is very much epitomized by formality, rationality and clear boundaries or limits. These qualities no doubt derive from the Aristotelian philosophical and analytical basis of Western Christendom, in which the Excluded Middle of Aristotelian logic reigns supreme when it comes to the formulation of a thesis or argument. Aristotelian logic posits an absolute binary division between opposites. Its basic formula is an either/or contrast. Truth and falsehood are opposites: there is no half-truth or half-falsehood. This binary division permeates all other fields of quantifiable intellectual endeavor and finds expression in such opposites as good/evil, right/wrong, friend/enemy, legal/illegal, etc. There are obvious benefits to such clarity of thought, and no doubt it is this methodology which has contributed to the scientific achievements of the West. While such sharp divisions cannot always be imposed upon contingent reality because it is situational and circumstantial, rather than absolute, when this principle is violated in the law, the outcome is not only, or merely egregious, it defies ordinary human understanding and contributes to an inaccurate, if not corrupt, view of reality.

The Jewish oxymoron as an instrument of overcoming the limits set by Aristotelian logic

One of the binary opposites of Aristotelian classification in modern times is the democracy/dictatorship opposition. Democracy is recognized and understood to be of whole cloth, such that there is no such animal as a “somewhat” democratic state, or a “nearly” democratic state. A political system is not democratic if all the citizens of the country cannot participate on an equal basis. Either a political system is, or is not, democratic. Jewish genius however, has overcome this opposition with a number of oxymoronic legal definitions. The Jewish state of Israel characterizes itself as a “Jewish and democratic” state, although the latest law of the Knesset wishes to raise “Jewishness” above “democracy”. However, it must be blindingly obvious to anyone not in thrall to the ruling narratives, that when a minority of a population is regarded as hostile, is unwelcome and therefore is never part of a governing coalition, democracy must be a casualty, especially when that minority has been singled out for discriminatory and dispossessory treatment, despite the legal somersaulting of the greatest of Jewish legal minds.

The designation of Israel as an apartheid state characterized by apartheid- style laws has been accepted by leading jurists and many international organizations. As a former South African I not only know the meaning of the term in its original language of Afrikaans– separateness- but saw its effects upon the non-White population. In political practice, separate means unequal. It was only many years after my coming to Israel on aliya as a young Jewish woman and subsequent to obtaining a law degree from the Hebrew University and engaging in legal work for Palestinians, that the resemblance of Israeli legal system to South African apartheid really struck me. In fact I was quoted on the front page of the Ha’aretz intellectual daily newspaper as making this comparison. The first person to invoke the comparison was Dr. Uri Davis, an Israeli sociologist, who wrote a book called Israel: An Apartheid State.

I would like to elaborate on those elements which contribute to making Israel not only an apartheid State, apartheidbeing confined to the law, but rather the wider sociological cultural phenomena of discrimination in which the legal system is placed. The matrix of the society is based on force, violence, and inhumanity which derive from “values” of the Jewish religion.

The basic values of the Jewish religion as the basis of Israeli culture and politics

It can be stated without any fear of contradiction, that the Jewish state of Israel is built upon the principle of separation, which is why the apartheid comparison holds. But it must be understood how and why this is the case as well as the limits of the comparison. It is not an accident, nor a choice based merely upon economic, political or cultural considerations. Rather the principle of separation is at the heart of the Jewish religion itself and Zionism is the political expression of the Jewish religion. Normative Judaism in Israel is Rabbinical Judaism or Talmudic Judaism, which, historically, has been normative for nearly two thousand years. This is the Judaism developed by the Rabbis following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, or who were then known as the Pharisees. This Judaism is not a biblical religion: rather it is a religion based upon the interpretation of the Torah – the relevant parts of the first five books of the Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy – by a succession of Torah interpreters known as rabbis. I would like to stress that the bible is not normative In Judaism, that is, it is not binding nor is it obligatory for Jews: only the Talmudic rulings are binding. It is for this reason that the politically-concocted “Judeo-Christian” heritage does not hold. Christianity sees the Bible, both Old and New Testaments its standard-setting texts. Not so for Judaism. Judaism and Christianity do not share a parent/child relationship nor an older sibling/younger sibling relationship, as per the politically correct Roman Catholic Church.

The first codification of these interpretations was made in 200 CE and consisted of the six-part Mishnah. To this was subsequently added further interpretations; the Gomorrah and later, the Responsa literature – all products of Jewish community-acknowledged rabbinical experts of the law. This Judaism held a monopoly which began to be challenged only in the mid-nineteenth century in Germany as a result of the influence of what is called the Enlightenment, the source of the secularism of the West and the secularism of a majority of Western Jews, most of whom, nonetheless, have not broken with Judaism’s basic rituals of circumcision, the bar-mitzvah, Jewish divorce and burial.

The late Professor of Biblical studies at the Hebrew University, Shemaryahu Talmon, explained in a lecture to Catholic Christian Zionists, that the basic value of Judaism is the principle of separation. He illustrated his point with the binary opposites of sacred and profane, holy and unholy, Shabbat and non-Shabbat or weekdays, and, of course, kashrut, the laws governing pure and impure food and clothing. All of these pairs are exemplars of the underlying opposition of purity and impurity with purity being the ideal state.

At that meeting He did not however explicate in detail the source and full effects no doubt in deference to his audience. He left out the most significant binary opposition of Rabbinical Judaism: the Jew/Gentile or Jewish/goy oppositionthe consequences of which have always been, and remain, central to Jewish life. Talmon did not explain that the principle of separation derives from kadosh – which is translated as holy, but its literal meaning is “set aside” or “separate from”. The separation that both exists and is demanded for Jews is the separation from the “impure”. God is kadosh and His people must be kadosh too. This is the significance of “chosenness” – chosen by God to have the existential quality of purity. The Jew is pure because he possesses a soul – – nefesh in Hebrew. The purpose of all Jewish ritual is to sustain the state of purity of the Jew. Jews are commanded to do all in their power to avoid being contaminated by what is considered impure. In contrast to Jews, goys or goyim, the latter having the same dictionary meaning as gentium, people, fall into the category of the impure because they are not born with souls and are therefore, existentially separated from God without any possibility of “closing the gap”. Hence in the Jewish lexicon the term goy has a pejorative meaning while gentium does not. This is the fundamental reason that the Jew is not required to the treat the goy as an equal because, according to Judaism, he is not equal. In fact, the goy is considered as chattel because chattel do not have souls. The goy is therefore not fully humanIn this essay I shall only use the term goy for this reason.

This existential distinction between the Jew and the goy is reflected in the absence of a Jewish universal moral code, an absence which is not found within either Christianity or Islam. Judaism’s moral code is characterized by its particularity: it only binds Jews vis-à-vis Jews, not Jews vis-à-vis goys. The most outstanding exemplar of this system is that a Jew is not bound to save the life of a goy if saving the life requires the use of electricity or travelling in a motor vehicle, such as an ambulance, because such activities are forbidden on the Sabbath as they are considered forms or work, and a Jew may not work on the Sabbath. a Jew may do so for another Jew according to the law known as pikuah nefesh which translates as saving a soul. A Jew not only may break the Sabbath to save a Jewish soul, he is obligated to do so. Pikuah may be translated as to take care of and to oversee, and nefesh means soul: because goys do not have souls, pikuah nefesh cannot be applied. In addition, another exceptional phenomena of the Jewish moral code is that it does also not make truth binding upon the Jew with respect to the goy. There are only two instances where it is recommended that a Jew ought to tell the truth to a goy: when there is a danger to his life, or if it is in the interests of the Jew or the Jewish community.

The question may now be asked as to why this information has been placed as a prolegomena to a description and analysis of the laws and practices of the Jewish state. The reason is quite straightforward: everything that I have described does not fall within the written laws passed by the legislative body of Israel, the Knesset, but serves, rather, as the matrix in which the laws are embedded and out of which the laws spring.

The Israeli legal system

It is this background that serves to explain why Aristotelian logic does not have an exclusive hold on the Israeli legal system and why a formal legal analysis cannot, by definition, grasp the entire experiential reality of the separateness/apartheid of the Jewish state. Once the lives of goys have no more value than chattel, the Jewish Israeli legal system cannot provide value to that which has no value to Jews. The minute a Jewish/goy conflict is encountered, that which is regarded as universal morality does not apply. A personal experience of this nature found expression during a hearing on a petition I submitted to the Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice (Court of Equity concerning Administrative law and practice) requesting the voiding of a sale of Palestinian land by the majority of its owners (the land was not parcellated and therefore owned jointly by all the owners). A Justice in the hearing asked me what was wrong with an affidavit containing a blatant lie concerning the “sale” of Palestinian land to a Jew in militarily occupied territory, which is forbidden in international law. My response was that the perjury occurred to make the sale “kosher” at least in Jewish eyes. So the Justice asked what would happen if we just removed the affidavit to which I answered that the “sale” could not go through. The “sale” was not voided by the Court.

The State of Israel does not recognize the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of Civilians and hors de combat as legally binding upon it, although it is recognized as conventional international law, and not just treaty law, and hence binding upon all states. It is not that the Jewish state denies its conventional status but rather because the preamble refers to “High Contracting Parties” and the Palestinians are not, or at least were not, a High Contracting Party. This is a perfect instance of Talmudic logic – catch on to an irrelevant point and avoid the substance and rationale of the Convention. Therefore the Jewish state denies Palestinians, who are both civilians and hors de combat legal protection whilst living under a brutal military occupation whilst the Jewish appellation of the nature of the military occupation is “a benign military occupation” – one of the many oxymorons of Jewish thinking. Therefore the High Court cannot evoke this Fourth Geneva Convention to protect Palestinians in the militarily occupied territories from the Israeli army and refers instead to “humanitarian” considerations with respect to Palestinians, but never ever spells them out. But how could “humanitarian” considerations apply to Palestinians? After all they are goys, and goys have no souls and are therefore like chattel. They don’t deserve humanitarian considerations. This term therefore, in this context, is no more than flatus vocis – empty air, having no corresponding reality.

It is more than interesting to note, in contrast, that while South African apartheid was motivated by cultural concerns, not to say economic and political ones, it was not based upon an understanding that blacks and whites constitute different species of mankind. In fact, the South African government had to legislate criminal laws to prevent “miscegenation” i.e. the marriage or sexual relationships between people of different races, yet despite the attempts at prohibition, the fact is that as a result of “miscegenation”, a whole new category of “race” or “color” grew up in South Africa numbering in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. The children of such unions were called “Coloreds”.

In contrast to that situation, the marriage ratio of Jew and Arab in Israel is infinitesimal and there are no laws against it. Instead, Israel has preserved the millet system from the Ottomans, millet meaning religious community, according to which people can only marry legally within their own religious group. Naturally this was not considered discriminatory at the time, because secularism had not yet set in. “Mixed marriages” involving Israeli Jews and goyshave to take place abroad or abroad by proxy. But any Jewish woman wanting to divorce a non-Jewish man and remarry a Jew, has to have a Jewish divorce. There are special types of divorces for these cases, when they are applicable. Otherwise if she remarries a Jew without obtaining a Jewish divorce, called a get, her children and their descendents will be Jewish bastards and forbidden to marry within the normal Jewish community for ten generations! The Rabbinate keeps a list of the names of bastards.

Amongst the most egregious discriminatory laws are those legislated soon after the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine. There is a full list of them with comments compiled on the Israeli Arab legal site Adalah and may be accessed by anyone interested. I shall not deal with all of them naturally, but will touch on the most outstanding of them. www.adalah.org/en/law/index?page=4

One of the first and most crucial of such laws for the Jewish state is the Law of Return 1950. This is another oxymoronic manifestation of Jewish genius. This law says that Jews, who were not born in the Jewish state, may return to it because it is their “land of birth”. The term in Hebrew is moledet the root of which means “to be born”. What the law does is ignore the fact of birth outside of Israel of a Jew, that is, the de facto status of a foreign-born Jew, while assigning to him a de iure legal right of birth in the Jewish state. The legal right overcomes the fact. This translates into a situation that a Jew not born in the Jewish state may return to his land of birth of Israel where he was not born.

An Arab Palestinian refugee, born in Palestine has no right of return to the country of his birth according to the Citizenship Law. One of the mechanisms for the application of this law is the ius sanguinis – the law of blood. That is to say, that if you are born to a Jew you have acquired birthrights in Palestine whether you were born there or not. This is what accounts for the free entrance of Diaspora Jews into Israel.

The Arabs acquire citizenship in Israel according to the ius soli, that is to say, because they were born in this territory – on the soil, so to speak. But these are not inheritable rights. In other words, if a Palestinian Israeli family with Israeli citizenship moves abroad for a few years, any child born abroad has no automatic right of return to Israel, particularly as an adult. This is the law that forbids the return of the 1948 refugees and their descendants. But it must be understood that this law is crucial in order to have a Jewish state in Palestine. You have to keep out Palestinians to keep Israel Jewish.

A second crucial law, also from 1950 is the Absentees Property Law concerned the dispossession of Arab private property within the Jewish State. The state invented a new category of persons, who, despite enjoying de iure property rights prior to the creation of the Jewish state, suddenly found themselves deprived of property rights, a status unheard of elsewhere in the world, seeing as the central significance of the scope of property rights is erga omnes – rights against anyone encroaching on these property rights. Jewish genius not only managed to by-pass this exclusionary factor but transformed the de iure right into a de facto issue with the wave of a pen contingent upon a factual situation. What the Jewish law created was a new status of a “present absentee” for the Arab property owner another somersault defying Aristotle’s Excluded Middle without any difficulty whatsoever. What is a “present absentee”? Well, first of all only an Arab can be an “absentee”, an Arab born in Palestine or in the Ottoman Empire before Palestine was extruded from Greater Syria. It never applies to a Jew born in Palestine nor to Jewish immigrant to Palestine nor to Jews who live abroad but who own property in Israel. The “absentee” of the law, through its labyrinthine twists refers to Arabs who own property in Palestine/Israel but who were absent from their homes, even if for only one day during a period beginning on the 29th November 1947 – even before the Jewish state existed. It refers to those people who fled from the war, who were in “enemy territory” in Palestine and those who were expelled from Palestine itself or were ordered to leave their homes by the Jewish forces. That is to say, even someone who was “absent” from his home since that date, continuing through the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel, but who managed to remain in the Jewish State of Israel, lost his property rights. The villages in Northern Galilee of Ikrit and Bir’in are examples of their populations being expelled by the Jewish forces and who were prevented from returning when the war was over. For the purposes of all other laws in Israel, a Palestinian Arab is “present” in the Jewish state. I estimate that Palestinians have lost more than 90 % of their privately owned land. Since then, the Town Planning Law has been eating away at the rest.

The latest laws which have caused stirs abroad concern the downgrading of the Arabic language from being an official language – in law – but never in practice. And the other law, the National Law posits that the Jewish state of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish nation leaving out all reference to the Palestinian Arab population but I am not sure how it is going to be applicable, particularly as there are other discriminatory pracises to do its business.

The Discriminatory administration of non-discriminatory Laws

What I would like to bring to the reader’s attention here is where the repugnant discrimination, humiliation and deprivation are felt on a daily basis. It must be understood that the outcomes of administrative decisions are deliberate and the destruction they wreak is foreseeable. Administrative law, that is to say, those norms governing the actual administration or laws, is based on equity. Included in equity is treating equals equally, justice, fairness, honesty, and using the law for the said purposes of the law itself. These values are included in what is called “discretionary power”. Discretion is one of the difficult or “hard” issues in laws because it is a power, yet a power which is exercised contingent upon circumstances and the judgment of the person or persons wielding that power. The greatest danger with discretionary power is that it may veer towards its opposite very quickly which is arbitrary power. It is at this juncture of the law and equity that one finds the intrusion of those norms characteristic of Judaism. Compared to the total number of laws on Israel’s law books, the actual number of discriminatory laws, or sections of laws, is not very large, although key with respect to certain subjects, such as land use, ownership, disposition and rights to family. Where the real, hard, anti-Arab forces kick in is in the discretionary or arbitrary application of laws which in themselves make no reference at all to either Jew or Arab.

The budget of the government is unashamedly discriminatory and funds are not distributed proportionately amongst Jews and Arabs. Naturally there has been an unbroken verbal against this situation, but the Arabs have no power at all to change anything. It is important to take cognizance of the fact that no Jewish government has ever gone into coalition with an Arab party in order to form a majority government. This is, or would be, considered treason, to put it mildly. Therefore they have no way of influencing governmental decisions. Although the Arabs constitute approximately one-fifth i.e. 20.9% of the population, their fraction of the national cake, so to speak, is nowhere near proportional to their numbers. See reliable figures from those compiled by the Adva non-profit organization and http://adva.org/en/ and http://din-online.info/pdf/ms2.pdf from the Mossawa non-profit organization – both of them highly reliable sources. An internet search for budgetary discrimination against Arabs in Israel will yield a rich treasure.

With the discrimination in the budget as the starting point, and keeping it in mind, I would like to concentrate on other areas where this administrative apartheid is not only apparent, but which has had, and continues to have, disastrous effects upon the Arab population in Israel, not to speak of the Occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Arab Land Use

Arab land ownership has been exponentially diminished in the Jewish State. The following is an excellent article on how this was achieved but it is not my intention to further explicate this subject. https://mondoweiss.net/2013/03/historical-israeli-planning/

What I shall only deal with the actual use of Arab-owned land because this remains the chief instrument of deprivation financially and socially as well as actual emotional suffering affecting a person’s well-being, under Israel’s apartheid. The prime weapon in this on-going war against Arab Israeli citizens is the Building and Planning Law of 1965. That it is old-fashioned and dates from the time of the British mandate in its approach, utterly undemocratic, top heavy with apparatchiks, has not prevented its usefulness to the Jewish population. Israel has set up new towns all over Israel proper as well as in the Occupied territories with modern, admirable infrastructure and public spaces. I believe that within the Jewish community women and Jewish institutions may have an input. The importance of this law lies in the fact that it is used as the main administrative tool of control over the Arab population. Town Planning is the central and main tool used for urbanization and therefore modernization, industrialization, socialization and economic development. It developed as a result of the industrial revolution, mass production and urbanization of the peasants and it plays a critical role in a country’s development. Israel has settled most nearly all of its Jewish population – most of which is of course an immigrant population in cities, towns and what are called development towns crucially located within the country according to perceived needs of Jewish society.

In contrast the Arab community has had no town planning in the modern meaning of the word and neither do Arabs have any planning rights. They are also not consulted as to the needs of the communities. The town planners are 90% Jewish with an occasional Arab brought in for appearances sake and their “planning” is devoted to the inhibition of growth Arab “towns” or overgrown villages. The Arab “towns” are actually “townships” equivalent to the South African black townships. I remember Alexandra township just north of Johannesburg way back when. A “township” lacks modern planning for modern facilities and modern land disposition: there is no proper infrastructure of any kind: sewage, drainage, electricity, road design, transportation facilities, and no proper land parcellation and zoning! Modern cadastral zoning takes into account current ownership and possibilities of parcellation, allocation of uses of land and can increase building space. As a striking example, on land taken from Arab owners in the Galilee to build a Jewish settlement as part of the “judaization of the Galilee” building rights on Jewish parcels can range well above 100% as a result of permission to build upwards, while on Arab land in the identical vicinity it was 20%. This is repeated in the entire country. Modern land use builds to height and creates separate private properties within single buildings called condominiums. In Hebrew it is called cooperative housing. Arab land has not been zoned to permit this multiplication of space within the “town” or village limits. In the township in which I live, the population of which is approximately 30,000, there are not more than five buildings taller than three storeys! No public housing has been erected in any of them, no public facilities have been developed and there are no parks, no proper sidewalks nor parking arrangements. It is all higgledy-piggledy. And this is not because the Arabs do not know how to plan or how to build. In contrast to the South African townships where the housing is often leanto’s, Arab private housing is built up to the most modern standards and can be exceptionally elaborate with attention to aesthetic details. But the building is at strangulation levels. The main intended effect of the lack of planning is that it is almost impossible to get a building license. So the vast majority of all homes are built without licenses: according to the law they can be destroyed by administrative decision. And many are. Many organizations have spoken up against house demolition but they have not questioned the basic cause of such demolitions. Jewish town planning is based on the principle, according to them, of “natural increase”. This principle is totally absent from the town planning for Arabs and one could say that its opposite governs town planning considerations: rather than expansion the aim is restriction and constriction.

Another outcome of this approach is that there is no distinction between industrial zones and city and residential uses of land. What this means, is that the infrastructure required for certain industries, such as the food canning industry, is absent where an Arab has managed to set up a factory. The lack of sewage facilities leads to land pollution with the intendant fines imposed by the government for “breaking the laws”.

The municipal courts are packed full of Arab “scoff law” cases about homes built without building permits. The list of cases in the Jerusalem municipal court hardly mentions Jews and when it does, it is for building a verandah without a license or something similarly negligible.

On the other hand, new Jewish towns and settlements have been planned and built on Arab land such as to not only dispossess Arab owners, but to literally trespass into actual housing. The land allocated to a Jewish settlement includes huge “border” land swathes of hundreds of meters which are not necessarily needed or used for building, but the purpose of which is to prevent Arab building. A visit to the town of Sakhnin illustrates this perfectly. The Jewish settlement is built at the top of the hill whilst its border went through the Arab home’s living room in which I sat at the bottom of the hill.

In another Arab “town plan” a line was drawn through a plot dividing it with no rhyme or reason. It imposed an almost unbearable burden on the owners of the land, because they could not use the land properly. After eight years there were murmurings of it having been a mistake, just like that, but no change was made to the plan.

In a word, every single decision concerning Arab town planning is based on an attempt to make life as difficult and as uncomfortable as possible for Arabs. It also completely arbitrary and therefore there are no logical or coherent arguments that one can use which are persuasive within the system. Outside the system their rationale is obvious, but not within it and there are no officials to whom they may turn for salvation. And this rationale cannot be used in the courts.

Another result is that there is no building inspectorate because if there is no town plan permitting building, why do you need inspectors? However a vacuum has not been left: in place of an inspectorate used to enhance living, there is a policing of illegal buildings – not for the purposes of safety, efficiency of use, functionality or aesthetics, but rather for the purpose of imposing fines to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars per building. The state sues the person who built illegally, and as a consequence, after a show trial, the owner finds himself having to pay a fine which is about ten or twenty times the size of his monthly earnings. Naturally this is deliberate. Not only shall an Arab man not have his castle, but he shall not have the means to even live comfortably, if not at all lavishly. After one has been present in many of these hearings, they are so transparently evil that it becomes unbearable.

I would like to interject my own personal experience in the municipal court of Jerusalem, in my attempt to prevent the demolition of a home built without a license. The judge was an American Jew who had come on aliya to Israel so he and I shared at least the same language barriers, if not the same language. In defense of my client I quoted a South African court decision, S v. Govender, 1982 of the Transvaal Supreme Court, reported as 1986 (3) SA 969 (T)concerning the Urban Areas Act, which determined which areas or towns or neighborhoods were reserved for which racial groups. Govender, an Indian, had moved into a White area in Johannesburg and the State wished to expel him from that area. Justice Goldstone argued that seeing that housing was a basic need of a human being, and that there was no housing available for Govender, it would be unjust to expel him from the only housing he could find. This case marked the beginning of the collapse of the Urban Areas Act. I used this case, mutatis mutandis, in favor of my client, arguing that there was no housing available for him and that as he owned the land upon which he had built, but which had been zoned as “open landscape area” – a designation absent in all Jewish town plans – he built his house under duress, which is a mitigating circumstance of the Israeli criminal code, in order to protect his family. If the state wanted to destroy this house, it would have to provide alternative dwelling for my client.

Nobody had ever argued this before, and I understand that this was taken up to the Supreme Court behind the scenes, where my argument being dismissed on the grounds that “it was not from Israel’s legal system”. Naturally the moral and existential values included in it played no rôle in the court’s decision rejecting my argument. But there was a quite unexpected outcome to this case. I was called into the Justice’s chambers a short while thereafter and he told me he was leaving the municipal court and going to the family court. When I asked him the reason for this move he looked at me and said “How long can a man sign demolition orders for family homes?”

I wanted to cry and still do, even while writing this. Why? I believe that this Jewish principle of separation, this principle that determines that Jews are not the same species as goys, enforces a psychopathy on its adherents. The justice could not bear what he was doing, so he just ran away. He did not stop and stand up and ask what the hell was going on? What the hell was a state destroying the housing of human beings? Yet he knew that it was wrong. He knew that it was evil.

It is for this reason that I believe that Zionism has wrought is the destruction of the Jewish heart. After all, what is touched when we see the suffering of others? Our hearts. And I discovered that this heartlessness was not confined to Arabs. In a labor case, I represented a man of about 63 who was the head of a government hospital kitchen accused of stealing food. The “food” stolen was the leftovers of chicken soup the bones of which had been through three preparations, together with leftover vegetables on his and others’ plates. He took this “food” home for the thirteen cats which his mentally ill wife looked after in her madness. He was a religious Jew and would not consider putting her in a mental home. The reason for the accusation was that someone wanted his job. After I clarified the nature of the food and provided his history, his having been through four camps during the war, and his wife having lived underground in hiding for a couple of years, I burst out into tears, pointing out how grotesque the entire process was in all its aspects. The prosecutor replied by telling me “not to be so emotional” and my reply to her was that as soon as I no longer felt emotional about human suffering, I would give up the profession of law. I did win the case however, and the judge in the trial always spoke to me fondly when we met in other venues.

This hardness of heart finds expression with respect to the marriage of Arabs – both Christian and Moslem. There is no overall protection of non-Jewish marriage either in the Jewish state or in the militarily occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel controls all ports and points of entry and exist into the Palestinian territory east of the River Jordan. The Jewish State treats some non-Jewish marriages as neither sacred nor as the basic building block of society. On the contrary. For twelve years now, marriage between Arabs with Israeli citizenship who live in Israel proper with spouses from either the militarily occupied West Bank and Gaza or even from abroad receive no conjugal rights in the Jewish State of Israel. Therefore an Israeli Arab has no rights to create a family in Israel if his spouse is from Palestinian territories or from abroad. West Bank Arabs are not allowed to bring in spouses from Jordan or elsewhere. In other words, Israel does its best to limit demographic growth of Arabs under its control. The hardships are unbearable in most cases: some couples have to split up, others lose their homes and/or their livelihood, are split off from families etc. etc. The barrier wall built on Palestinian land to protect Israel has split towns, village, families and homes to an egregious extent. It can take up to one or two hours for people to make a one-way trip to the other side of the wall.

It is clear therefore that there is a profound cruelty and inhumanity at the basis of the Israeli system and as the one example I gave demonstrated, it is not always confined to Arabs, except in 99% of the cases.

What can be observed from this overview of interlocking fields of endeavor, is that the Jewish regime in Palestine has done and continues to deprive Palestinians of many of their rights in law as well as their rights as human beings. Is it unreasonable to suspect that the Jewish regime has not let up in its efforts to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its non-Jewish residents, following the huge success of the Naqba or Catastrophe, as the Arabs call it, in 1948 when 90% of the Arab Palestinian population was expelled from Jewish-controlled Palestine?

I have been asked as to what I consider to be the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There will never be a freely-agreed upon political solution unless the Jews admit to their theft and destruction of Palestine which nobody can see happening. But I do see Israel “bleeding” its Ashkenazi or “white” population leaving behind a far weaker country with no proper ruling elite. In this case, I do not see how a Jewish State will survive, despite its being a creation of the international banking cartel.

The author is an Israeli lawyer who has represented Palestinians in the Israeli courts. She has lived in Israel/Palestine for over fifty years and considers herself political dissident and lives in an Arab township. She writes out of her own experiences.

بعد كلام السيّد: المعاملة بالمثل بين رئاسة الجمهورية ورئاسة الحكومة

نوفمبر 12, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– خلال الشهور التي أعقبت تسمية الرئيس المكلف بتشكيل الحكومة سعد الحريري تعطّل تشكيل الحكومة لشهور بسبب واضح تكشفه الحلحلة التي تمّت لعقدتي تمثيل كل من حزب القوات اللبنانية والحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي، حيث تراجع الاشتراكي عن مطلب غير محق ومضخّم بنيل ثلاثة مقاعد، وتراجعت القوات عن مطلب شديد المبالغة في التضخم نحو مكسب مضخم بدرجة نسبية لكن برضا شريك التمثيل في الطائفة الذي يمثله التيار الوطني الحر وبتنازل عن منصب نائب رئيس الحكومة من قبل رئيس الجمهورية، فبقيت القوات تحتل بـ15 نائباً 4 مقاعد وزارية وصار الاشتراكي ممثلاً بوزيرين. وهذا معناه عملياً تمثيل 24 نائباً بستة مقاعد وزارية، ومعيار التمثيل يكون هنا هو وزير لكل أربعة نواب، لكن رئيس الحكومة الذي قاتل بكل قواه لرفع نسبة تمثيل حلفائه وسعى لتحصيل مطالبهم الشديدة التضخم، لم يمتنع ولا منع حلفاءه من توجيه الاتهام مراراً خلال شهور التعطيل، لرئيس الجمهورية بالسعي للنيل من صلاحيات رئيس الحكومة، كما لم يمتنع ولا منع حلفاءه من رفع متاريس طائفية في قلب هذا الاتهام جامعاً رؤساء الحكومات السابقين ومستصدراً منهم بيانات داعمة لما أسماه معركة الصلاحيات، ومن دون التردد في إقحام دار الفتوى في هذه المعركة المفتعلة.

– بالمقابل بقي رئيس الجمهورية حريصاً على تأكيد احترامه لصلاحيات رئيس الحكومة كشريك كامل في تشكيل الحكومة، وكصاحب الحق الوحيد بعرض التشكيلة الحكومية مقابل حق رئيس الجمهورية بالاعتراض وطلب إدخال التعديلات عليها. وفي ذروة دفاع رئيس الجمهورية عن محاولات مكشوفة للنيل من صلاحياته وتحويله إلى مجرد بريد رسمي لإعلان تشكيلة رئيس الحكومة لحكومته، لم يستنفر رئيس الجمهورية حلفاءه ولا زجّ بالمرجعيات الدينية في معركة محقة هي الدفاع عن صلاحيات رئيس الجمهورية، كشريك كامل في تشكيل الحكومة وفقاً للدستور الذي خرج من اتفاق الطائف، وفي ذروة اندفاع رئيس الحكومة لتحصيل ما ليس محقاً لحلفائه، تعامل رئيس الجمهورية بلغة الاحتواء بدلاً من المواجهة، وأظهر حرصه على تدوير الزوايا فتولى حلحلة عقدة الحزب الاشتراكي، بما لم يكن رئيس الحكومة راضياً عن نتيجته، وتولى التنازل عن منصب نائب رئيس الحكومة لحساب القوات اللبنانية من حصته، ورئيس الحكومة يضغط خلال كل هذه الفترة على فريق رئيس الجمهورية لتقديم التنازلات لحساب حلفائه، بما لا تخوّلهم مقاعدهم النيابية بنيله.

– خلال الأيام القليلة الماضية ظهرت صعوبة ولادة الحكومة من دون تمثيل النواب السنة الذين يمثلون ثلث ناخبي طائفتهم ويحتلون ثلث مقاعدها النيابية، ويحق لهم ثلث مقاعدها الوزارية، ويرفض رئيس الحكومة منحهم مقعداً واحداً بدلاً من حقهم بمقعدين، ويشنّ عليهم حملة ظالمة ويطلق عليهم أوصافاً لا تليق برئاسة الحكومة، ولا بزعامة وطنية، يفترض أنها تحترم إرادة الشعب الذي يمنح النواب مقاعدهم في العملية الديمقراطية ومنه تستمدّ عبر مجلس النواب كل حكومة شرعيتها الدستورية، ومعها رئيسها، ورغم ذلك حاول رئيس الجمهورية أن يمون على حلفائه عبر ضغط نفسي ومعنوي وأدبي، بإعلان تضامنه مع رئيس الحكومة ورفض التسليم بحق النواب السنة، وتوصيف تمسك حزب الله بتمثيلهم خطأ تكتيكياً يصيب الاستراتيجية الوطنية.

– لأن رئيس الجمهورية فعل كل ما فعله في السابق لتسهيل ولادة الحكومة، وحاول أن يضغط للتسهيل، ولكنه وجد موقفاً لا مجال للتراجع فيه لدى حزب الله بعد كلام السيد حسن نصرالله، وصار أمام معادلة استعصاء فهو معنيّ من الموقع ذاته بالسعي لتذليل العقدة بغض النظر عن رغبته بكيفية تذليلها، وقد بات لذلك طريق واحد يعرف الرئيس أنه ليس السعي للضغط على حزب الله للتراجع عندما يكون مقتنعاً بأنه يقوم بعمل وطني، كما كان الحال يوم جمّد حزب الله تشكيل الحكومة الأولى للرئيس سعد الحريري شهوراً بانتظار توافق الحريري مع رئيس التيار الوطني الحر جبران باسيل عام 2009، وكما كان الحال يوم تحمّل حزب الله الاتهامات بتعطيل الانتخابات الرئاسية والتسبّب بالفراغ الرئاسي ليقينه بأحقية العماد ميشال عون بالرئاسة. وهو اليوم بلسان السيد نصرالله، يعلم أن الإجحاف السياسي بحق فريق الثامن من آذار في التشكيلة الحكومة بالمقارنة مع تمثيل الرابع عشر من آذار لا يمكن تبريره إلا بالضعف وليس بالتواضع. وحزب الله ليس ضعيفاً ليقبل بتمثيل فريقه بسبعة وزراء مقابل إثني عشر وزيراً لقوى الرابع عشر من آذار، وهما بحجم نيابي واحد، فإذا كان المعيار المعتمد وفقاً لتمثيل القوات والاشتراكي هو وزير لكل أربعة نواب، فلذلك نتيجة أولى أن يكون لتيار رئيس الحكومة خمسة وزراء فقط بدلاً من ستة، والفارق كافٍ لحل مشكلة تمثيل سنة الثامن من آذار، ونتيجة ثانية هي نيل فريق الثامن من آذار وفقاً للمعيار ذاته، لكن بالمقابل يرتضي فريق الثامن من آذار بتواضع، أن يطبق عليه معيار مزدوج بحيث يكون لكل 4 نواب من 14 آذار وزير ولكل ستة نواب من 8 آذار وزير، لأنه إذا طالب بالمعيار ذاته لتمثيل قوى الرابع عشر من آذار مقابل 45 نائباً يمثلهم فستكون حصته 11 عشر وزيراً كما هي حصة الرابع عشر من آذار، بينما هو يرتضي التمثيل بـ8 وزراء فقط إذا تم تحصيل مقعد وزاري للنواب السنة في اللقاء التشاوري.

– المعاملة بالمثل مع رئيس الحكومة تستدعي من رئيس الجمهورية مطالبته بالتنازل عن مقعد من طائفته ليحل المشكلة، علماً أن هذا المقعد حق ثابت، يريد رئيس الحكومة وضع اليد عليه بغير حق، بعدما لبّى رئيس الجمهورية طلب رئيس الحكومة بمنح مقعد غير مستحق من طائفته لحساب القوات اللبنانية وفوقه صفة نائب رئيس الحكومة، تحت عنوان التعاون لتسهيل ولادة الحكومة. وعسى ألا يقبل رئيس الحكومة بالتمني ليفتح باب تشكيل الحكومة من جديد، وفقاً لمعادلة التمثيل بمعيار واحد لأنه الأمثل والأكثر استقراراً وفقاً لكلام رئيس الجمهورية المتكرر، فإما حكومة بـ 36 وزير لتتسع لـ11 وزيراً لكل من 8 و14 آذار وتكون حصة التيار الوطني الحر وتكتله بـ 7 وزراء، وفقاً لمعيار وزير لكل 4 نواب، ووزير لكل من حزب الكتائب وتكتل الرئيس نجيب ميقاتي إذا رغبا وإلا تؤول حصتهما بوزير لكل من رئيس الجمهورية ورئيس الحكومة إضافة لـ 5 وزراء محسومين لرئيس الجمهورية. وهكذا تتمثل الأقليات ويتمثل العلويون، أو حكومة بـ 30 وزيراً وفقاً لمعيار وزير لكل خمسة نواب يكون فيها 9 وزراء لكل من 8 و14 آذار و6 وزراء للتيار الوطني الحر وتكتله و6 وزراء لرئيسي الجمهورية والحكومة 5 بـ 1 ، والنصيحة بلا جميلة وبلا جمل، لكن لا تضيّعوا وقتاً بغير هذا التفكير.

– اللهم اشهد أني بلغت.

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Khashoggi, Ben Barka & PressTV’s Serena Shim: A 4-part series

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

November 11, 2018

In October of 1965, 2014 and 2018 three journalists were prominently assassinated: Mehdi Ben Barka, Serena Shim and Jamal Khashoggi. Most readers likely don’t know the first two, while the entire world seems to know about the last one.

This is a 4-part series which explains what Jamal Khashoggi represented ideologically, the relevance of his ideology in the modern Islamic World, the perhaps-unexpected similarity of his ideology with the Western World, and why – even more unexpectedly – the world is still talking about Khashoggi six weeks after his death.

Why do so few remember Mehdi Ben Barka or care about Serena Shim even though they did far more for the People than Khashoggi ever did?

There is a quick answer to this question: Khashoggi remains in the spotlight because the House of Saud killed a Western journalist.

The location and details, or Khashoggi’s birthplace and background, are totally subservient to the fact that he worked for a top Western media and that he was blindly and foolishly loyal to their ideology. A Western journalist cannot be killed without media campaigns and even serious bilateral repercussions, but Khashoggi was no regular freelancer – he was a prominent editorialist at the United States’ 2nd-most important newspaper, the neoconservative The Washington Post.

Anyone familiar with American media knows that The New York Times and The Washington Post essentially set the agenda of discussion in the country. All of America’s other media – with such dwindled newsrooms and so much free, terrible content – have their low-wage 20-somethings essentially re-report what these two media put on their front pages. Television news, even at the very top channels, often starts with “The Washington Post reported that….”

So, forget everything else: kill a member of The Washington Post and it is certain to be huge news for a long time…because they will ensure that it stays in the national headlines.

Given that the US runs the Anglophone world, and add in that other Western nations (such as France) are constantly paying more attention to the US than their own backyards, and this all explains why the world is still talking about Khashoggi – if you think that the US isn’t the primary decider of what’s on the average screen, think again.

Why not Shim and Ben Barka? They believed in and reported from the ‘wrong’ view – class

However, kill a journalist who doesn’t work for the US and their interests and the Western media says,

“Who cares?”

That was the case with PressTV’s Serena Shim in 2014. She was born and raised in the US, half-Lebanese, a mother of two, and was doing ground-breaking, extremely brave reporting about Turkey’s collusion with Western NGOs to get terrorists across their border to Syria. She reported on PressTV about being threatened with assassination by the Turkish secret service two days before her suspicious death, and the West said…essentially nothing. Not their media, nor even the US government, even though Shim was a lifelong American citizen.

Or what about Morocco’s Mehdi Ben Barka? It’s no exaggeration to say that he was the most widely influential Muslim thinker and activist of the 1950s and 1960s. Ben Barka was the organiser of the Tricontinental Conference in Havana, an update of the famed Bandung Conference, and the last great gathering of international leftism. We are in desperate need of another anti-imperialist conference, and another Ben Barka: he was the man who truly did bridge the gap between African, Asian and Latin American leftists, but he also could have done the same for the Muslim and European worlds. Just as East Asia had China, and then Korea, and then Vietnam, Ben Barka would have taken what happened in Algeria to Morocco – one of the few fundamentally key Muslim nations, historically – but he was abducted off Paris streets just before the start of the Tricontinental. Who killed him, why won’t France open up their archives, what is his legacy, why doesn’t Western media do more reports on the annual October demonstrations in Paris (and who is wiping my annual reports from Google and YouTube?!) to keep his flame alive in the public mind? To all that the West says…nothing.

Both Shim and Ben Barka combine to disprove many unstated claims of the West: that they care about all journalists equally, that they care about Western journalists regardless of their political persuasion, that their presses are free, and that their leadership respects a free press more than in other nations.

Ben Barka was the son of the policeman and a math teacher before he got involved in politics. Serena Shim had chosen a career in journalism, but hardly a ladder-climbing one – working for Iranian government media would only land you a job in a top Western media if you then turned around and denounced Iran.

Khashoggi came from a totally different background: his grandfather made his family billionaires via the connections provided by his job – doctor to the king. Those billions helped future family members become prominent artists, journalists and intellectuals by purchasing gallery space, column space and bookshelf space. Jamal truly grew up among the political and cultural elite of Saudi life.

Khashoggi graduated from (the hardly prestigious, given his wealth and connections) Indiana State University, and did not even get trained as a journalist but got a degree in business administration. It is being widely misreported, even by places like Al-Jazeera, that he studied journalism, but Indiana State doesn’t even have a journalism program (top-notch work there, guys – score one for PressTV). “Business administration” says a lot about his intellectual orientation and his plans as a young man (to manage his millions).

But Khashoggi was so elite that he just had to ask to become king of the Saudi journalism sphere – he procured not one but two appointments to the newspaper Al Watan. After all, he had access to all the Saudis movers and shakers, was extremely close with Osama Bin Laden and was a high-level official at Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington for two years.

All this explains why reading Khashoggi is to read a guy who essentially says, “What I’m writing here is going to be made into public policy” – and he means it and is right! For a journalist – who could ask for more? Contrarily, Ben Barka was hounded out of Morocco and nobody picked up on Shim’s reporting that UN World Food Organisation trucks headed for Syria were filled with people who looked and dressed like Takfiri terrorists.

Despite his influence and responsibility, Khashoggi’s journalism did not attempt to voice the needs of the People of Saudi Arabia. In his journalism he admitted his social station divorced him from their common experience. What is far worse is that after such admissions he simply dropped the subject – he never questioned his privilege nor the system that maintained it.

Even more so than a guy like The New York Times’ unbearable Thomas L. Friedman, who married into billions and is similarly influential in shaping policy discussions in the US, Khashoggi’s writing combines an aristocrat’s air of unquestionable authority with the certainty that the sun could never and should never set on his totally unmerited entitlements.

Khashoggi is being portrayed as some sort of dissident, but it’s absolutely not the case: he spilled tankers of ink showing that he was 100% supportive of the Saudi (monarchical, and thus anti-democratic) system – the only question was “which monarch”? He ran afoul of the wrong one, but his proffered solution was only another monarch, and one who could have just as easily vivisected him in a Turkish embassy.

Just ask his kids – his sons recently told CNN“Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy that it is the thing that is keeping the country together.”

Like all far-right proponents – not just monarchists – Khashoggi’s proffered solutions only suggested looking backward and deeper into his own tiny tribe – the 1% of Saudi Arabia. But Arabia is not all Saudi…and that is what Khashoggi’s journalism explicitly fought against – reflecting the democratic will of the Arabian Peninsula.

The outrage in the West should be over their support for such an elitist, out-of-touch, anti-democratic reactionary…and yet HE is now the poster child for freedom of the press?

No. We have Serena Shim – too many Serena Shims – for that. We will have more Serena Shims.

I regret that even this series talks about Khashoggi and not Shim and Ben Barka from this point forward, because they certainly deserve it, and because the Mainstream Media never does that. They were the dissidents, the real reformers, the true martyrs.

Jamal Khashoggi was not a victim but a willing, favoured participant in a system of exploitation and repression which he desperately wanted to uphold – read some Khashoggi and that will be clear. So why does the West support such a person?

Khashoggi: Cultural colonist extraordinaire, but the Muslim World doesn’t want more Westernization

Khashoggi obviously represented something which The Post wanted to promote. That is hardly an epiphany, but Khashoggi gives us a chance to examine exactly what that was on an ideological level. Such understanding will grant us better understanding of Western policy and political culture; it also allows us to fully compare “Khashoggi-Thought” with the ideologies of previous decades and centuries, and also with other ideologies available and being promoted in 2018.

Certainly, these intellectual currents are what are the most important to grasp when discussing Khashoggi. The media prefers to focus on that which is not relevant to our daily lives and struggles – the sensational and gruesome details of the killing, and the soap opera of the House of Saud’s latest, never-ending, internecine power struggles.

It is very telling that there has been essentially no discussion of Khashoggi’s actual ideas, writings and morals. The unsaid implication in the West, then, is that he was “one of us” – i.e. he thought like a Westerner and supported Westernization.

And he certainly bent over backwards to show them how much he wanted Saudi Arabia to exactly emulate the West. Khashoggi only wrote about 20 columns for The Washington Post and three of them were literally titled, “What Saudi Arabia could learn from…”, concluded by “Queen Elizabeth II”, “South Korea”, and even the Hollywood movie the “Black Panther”. A fourth carried the same message: “Why Saudi Arabia’s crown prince should visit Detroit”. Not only is that lazy and unoriginal headline writing, but it’s basically advertising (for Westernization) instead of journalism.

In his work at Al-Arabiya (the Saudi answer to Al-Jazeera) which published his columns from 2012-16, the publication most often cited by Khashoggi seems to be The Economist, capitalist newsmagazine nonpareil.

The West is mourning Khashoggi because they knew what they had: a Westerner in sheik’s clothing.

But what did Jamal Khashoggi really believe, this journalist for whom we are spending so much time, energy and consideration, for whom column inches are devoted to instead of Shim and Ben Barka? Illuminating these great unsaids is the goal of this series, which analyzes and quotes from Khashoggi’s writings at The Washington Post and Al-Arabiya.

And here is the quick upshot: Khashoggi ticked the three main ideological boxes a Saudi Arabian (or any Muslim) needs in order to win a prominent place in Western media:

Firstly, he despised Iran, by far the Muslim country which has most successfully rebelled against the West’s dictates, and was also an anti-Shia sectarian of the highest and most disgusting order.

Secondly, he was the foremost promoter of what I accurately term “Liberal Democratic Salafism”. That’s an incredibly stupid ideology which combines 1%-focused West European/bourgeois democracy with (Islamic) monarchism, but that’s exactly what he promoted. For this he was hailed as a “reformer” because…the West is full of monarchy-loving, backwards-looking Liberal Democratic Salafists whose only difference is that their Salafism is of the Christian variety.

Thirdly and lastly, “Liberal Democratic Salafism” combined with neoliberal capitalism is what made Khashoggi the prototypical fake-leftist of the monarchical Muslim World. Western 1%ers adored Khashoggi because the extremely limited and bourgeois changes he advocated would inevitably lead to mass privatization, thus giving Western high finance control over the single most powerful economic tool in the world today – Saudi oil. Handing over your country to such interests in the name of “reform” is obviously catastrophic, anti-socialist, unpatriotic, and fake-leftism.

Why care about Khashoggi at all? It’s no revelation to find out that he was a reactionary tool of the West, but how many people appreciate that “reactionary” in the Western and Islamic Worlds are not worlds apart, but fundamentally identical?

Clarifying what Khashoggi truly represented allows us to identify, call attention to, and fight against these reactionary forces, and also to appreciate the truly modern, cooperative, socialist-inspired world that Mehdi Ben Barka, Serena Shim and countless unheralded others have worked and died for.

***********************************

This is the 1st article in a 4-part series which examines Jamal Khashoggi’s ideology and how it relates to the Islamic World, Westernization and Socialism. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Khashoggi, Ben Barka & PressTV’s Serena Shim: A 4-part series

Khashoggi Part 2: A ‘reformer’…who was also a hysterical anti-Iran warmonger?

Khashoggi Part 3: ‘Liberal Democratic Salafism’ is a sham, ‘Islamic Socialism’ isn’t

Khashoggi Part 4: fake-leftism identical in Saudi Arabian or Western form

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

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WHY IS ZIO-MSM IGNORING SERENA SHIM ON HER 4TH MARTYRDOM ANNIVERSARY? BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T SERVE THE EMPIRE LIKE JAMAL KHASHOGGI

WHY IS ZIO-MSM IGNORING SERENA SHIM ON HER 4TH MARTYRDOM ANNIVERSARY? BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T SERVE THE EMPIRE LIKE JAMAL KHASHOGGI

 

by Jonathan Azaziah

Serena Shim (R.A.) was a heroine. Not only in her field but in general. She laid her life on the line for the highest honor anyone could pursue: The truth. As a journalist for Press TV, she exposed Turkey’s premier intelligence agency, MIT, using UN WFP “humanitarian aid” trucks as cover to deliver heavy weaponry to ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other Takfiri terrorist groups in Syria. For her efforts, she was threatened, targeted and killed in a “mysterious” car accident that is such an obvious assassination coupled with a subsequent cover-up, it could’ve been a plot to one of those terrible low-budget spy movies from the 80s that Zionist Hollywood was pumping out every other week.

The culprits, undoubtedly, are Turkey and ‘Israel’–the neo-Ottoman regime in Ankara’s overlord and central partner in keeping the Syrian state destabilized. Verily, the usurping Zionist entity needed the weapons supply line from Turkey to Syria’s north to remain open and unbothered. Not just for arms but oil. Thus, Serena Shim was jeopardizing the entire ‘Israeli’-led regime change scheme. Yet, with her 4th martyrdom anniversary upon us on October 19th, how many American mainstream media outlets are covering the Lebanese-American daughter of Detroit’s murder, asking questions, highlighting her accomplishments, saluting her bravery and demanding justice?

NONE. ZILCH. NOT A ONE.

Meanwhile, how many American media outlets are, depending on the tone of the article, all up in arms or waxing lyrical (or both) about how much they love Jamal Khashoggi as well as how upset they are at his grizzly killing at the hands of a Saudi hit team and the laughable story concocted–a fight broke out and Khashoggi got murked outta the frame by accident, Al-Saud says–to bury what really took place?

ALL OF THEM. EVERY. SINGLE. LAST. ONE OF THEM.

If you needed an indictment of how the corporate press works in America, you won’t be able to find a more damning one. The lifelong Saudi regime apologist, Takfiri stenographer, Ikhwanji stalwart and US-UK-Zionist intelligence asset is praised and celebrated, mourned and cried about. The young Shi’a Muslim reporter who challenged the status quo and shined an all-beaming light on the criminality of an ‘Israeli’-aligned NATO regime which is arming terrorists that desecrate shrines, dig up bodies, burn churches, execute suicide bombings against civilians and enslave children is ignored–not partially but totally.

Which is why it is imperative to remember her. And her sacrifice. And her heroism. And her steadfastness under tremendous pressure–never wavering as she got down into the grime, the guck and the muck to dig out the truth no matter what rested deep within such immense filth; no matter the danger it put her very person in. And we should bow our heads in respect to everyone like her too.

Trailblazers like Gary Webb, assassinated by the CIA for exposing the Company’s role in cocaine trafficking in Central America as well as the crack epidemic that ravaged African-American communities all over the US, especially in the Los Angeles area; Danny Casolaro, murdered by a Mossad-CIA death squad for digging into what he called “the Octopus”, a Zionist-led international conspiracy tied in with the Inslaw-PROMIS affair, the collapse of BCCI and the Iran-Contra scandal; my dear brother Victor Thorn, murdered by Hillary Clinton’s (likely-Mossad-connected) goons for telling one truth too many about her family’s illicit history; Hamza Hajj Hassan (R.A.), Muhammad Mantash (R.A.) and Halim Allou (R.A.), reporters of Hizbullah’s Military Media Unit who were assassinated by ‘Israeli’-NATO-GCC-backed terrorists whilst covering the Hizbullah-Syrian Arab Army liberation of the ancient, Aramaic-speaking town of Maaloula…

… Robert Friedman, the gallant Jewish-American investigative reporter who took the veil off the Jewishness of the “Russian” mafia (aka Red Mafiya aka Organizatsiya) and also exposed the JDL-ADL-Mossad nexus in two groundbreaking books. He was murdered by the “chosenite” mobsters he unmasked; Khaled al-Khatib (R.A.), a Syrian RT journo murdered by ISIS in Homs; and too many Palestinian journalists to name here, dauntless souls who are routinely targeted by the Zionist enemy for exposing the evil of the ongoing Nakba that has raged since ‘Israel’ criminally came into existence. Ahmed Abou Hussein (R.A.) and Yasser Murtaja (R.A.) were slaughtered by the usurping Jewish entity this year alone. Dozens of others have been wounded, maimed and arrested. We salute them all in humbleness.

Serena Shim (R.A.), who now rests in Bourj al-Barajneh, a municipality of Dahiyeh that has endured and prevailed over both Zionism and Takfirism, is everything Jamal Khashoggi wasn’t–truthful and decent, righteous and principled, Anti-Imperialist and fearless. Because she was striving to expose the evils of the Zio-NATO Empire, instead of serving it like Khashoggi, the American media has rendered her persona non grata. Honestly though, what else do you expect from a bunch of careerist, orientalist hypocrites who work for some of the most powerful Zionist Jews on the planet? Needless to say, may they not only be shamed again and again but punished. For silence is complicity and their willing inability to speak up on her behalf makes them as guilty as the Mossad/MIT assassins who took her away from her husband, her children, her family and her friends. Serena was moved to become a reporter after the July War, which saw her homeland ravaged by an illegal, barbaric ‘Israeli’ aerial campaign. She was in Bourj el-Barajneh at the time and simply put, the savagery of the Zionists changed her life.

And in turn, through her tremendous reporting, she has changed the lives of us all–especially those in Syria–because she decided to report the truth amid the worst fog of lies that modern warfare has ever seen. During her funeral, thousands on top of thousands poured into the streets to greet the Shahida, chanting, “The hero’s here! The hero’s here! The hero’s here!” She still is too. Right here with us. The Martyrs are alive. Guiding us and inspiring us. As for Jamal Khashoggi and all the Zionist, Imperialist and Wahhabi miscreants shrieking about him across the Shlomo-controlled establishment press? They weren’t, aren’t and will never be good enough to even clean the dirt off the bottom of her shoes. Zio-MSM may continue to ignore Serena Shim (R.A.) four years on since her martyrdom. But Moustazafeen the world over recognize her unequivocal valor and will not be deterred from lionizing her forever. Rest deeply o’ truth-teller; o’ tyrant-breaker; o’ heroine. Rest in power and pristineness.

US “Investigates” Genocide in Myanmar, Commits Genocide in Yemen

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US “Investigates” Genocide in Myanmar, Commits Genocide in Yemen

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/10/us-investigates-genocide-in-myanmar.html?m=1

Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Rarely is US hypocrisy so cynical and overt as a recent US State Department investigation into ongoing violence in Myanmar, all while the US continues its full spectrum support of Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war on Yemen.

In addition to Washington’s role in Yemen, the US also occupies Afghanistan and Syria while carrying out drone strikes and covert military interventions in territory stretching from North Africa to Central Asia.

In Myanmar specifically, the US has openly and for decades funded and supported groups and individuals involved directly on both sides of ongoing ethnic violence. Now, it is leveraging that violence to single out obstacles to US influence in Southeast Asia and in Myanmar specifically. 

Reuters in their article titled, “U.S. accuses Myanmar military of ‘planned and coordinated’ Rohingya atrocities,” would claim:

A U.S. government investigation has found that Myanmar’s military waged a “well-planned and coordinated” campaign of mass killings, gang rapes and other atrocities against the Southeast Asian nation’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

Reuters admits the US State Department’s report, titled “Documentation of Atrocities in Northern Rakhine State,” was in fact merely interviews conducted with alleged witnesses in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Was it Really an Investigation? 

Imagine a fight breaks out between two groups of people. The police are called in. But instead of arriving at the crime scene, the police instead interview only one group, and do so at their home before drawing their final conclusions. Would anyone honestly call this an “investigation?” The US State Department apparently would, because this is precisely what the State Department has done in regards to ongoing ethnic violence in Myanmar.

The full report, found here on the US State Department’s website, would admit:

The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), with funding support from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), conducted a survey in spring 2018 of the firsthand experiences of 1,024 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh. The goal of the survey was to document atrocities committed against residents in Burma’s northern Rakhine State during the course of violence in the previous two years.

No physical evidence was collected or presented in the report, because investigators never stepped foot in Myanmar itself where the violence allegedly took place. The report also failed to interview other parties allegedly involved in the violence.

While the witness accounts in the US State Department’s investigation were shocking, had investigators gone to Rakhine state and interviewed locals there, they would have heard similar stories told of Rohingya attacks on Buddhists and Hindus.

Both accounts require further and impartial investigation, however the US State Department, by exclusively interviewing only one party amid multiparty ethnic violence all but ensures nothing resembling a real, impartial investigation ever takes place. This, of course, assumes that the United States has any authority as arbiter in Myanmar’s internal affairs in the first place.

The US State Department investigation follows a similar UN report which mirrored and admittedly used similar claims made by US and European funded fronts posing as “nongovernmental organisations” (NGOs).

Together, these efforts represent a cycle of one-sided propaganda cynically aimed at leveraging ethnic violence within and along Myanmar’s borders to pressure and coerce the government of Myanmar, particularly in regards to its growing ties with China. This is a fact that even Reuters in its article concedes to, albeit buried deep within the body of the text.

Reuters, after describing how the US could use the investigation’s alleged findings to pressure Myanmar, would admit:

Any stiffer measures against Myanmar authorities could be tempered, though, by U.S. concerns about complicating relations between civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and the powerful military which might push Myanmar closer to China.

Myanmar, which borders China, seeks like the rest of Southeast Asia, closer ties to Beijing as the region collectively rises economically and politically on the global stage. Attempts by Western capitals to reassert and expand their former colonial influence has manifested itself in political meddling, subversion, the use of ethnic tensions to divide and weaken national unity and even terrorism.

It should be noted that the US and UK’s leveraging of ethnic violence in modern day Myanmar is a continuation of ethnic divisions intentionally cultivated by the British Empire to divide and rule Myanmar when it was a British colony.

It is worth repeating that Channel 4, one of Britain’s own public service broadcasters, in an article titled, “A Brief History of Burma,” aptly described the very source of Myanmar’s current ethnic divisions:

Throughout their Empire the British used a policy called ‘divide and rule’ where they played upon ethnic differences to establish their authority. This policy was applied rigorously in Burma. More than a million Indian and Chinese migrants were brought in to run the country’s affairs and thousands of Indian troops were used to crush Burmese resistance. In addition, hill tribes which had no strong Burmese affiliation, such as the Karen in the south-east, were recruited into ethnic regiments of the colonial army.

The article also admitted:

The British ‘divide and rule’ policy left a legacy of problems for Burma when it regained independence.

Not only has the British “divide and rule” policy left a legacy of problems for Myanmar since gaining its independence, these are problems Washington is now cynically exploiting in its own interpretation of “divide and rule.”

Washington’s Own Role in the Violence Goes Unreported 

Oft omitted in US-European media reports, Aung San Suu Kyi, defacto leader of Myanmar’s government, is the product of decades of US and British political and financial backing. Virtually every aspect of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government including high-level ministers, are the result of US-European training, funding and support.

The government’s minister of information, for example, received US-funded training in neighbouring Thailand before working his way up Aung San Suu Kyi’s US-backed opposition party.

Another aspect omitted by the US-European media is the fact that the most prominent so-called “pro-democracy” leaders supported by Washington, London and Brussels, have openly been involved in calling for, promoting and defending ethnic violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, violence now being leveraged by Washington to place pressure on Myanmar and foil growing ties with China.

This includes NED Democracy Awardee Min Ko Naing who denied the Rohingya as an ethnic group in Myanmar, suggesting they were merely illegal immigrants. It also includes Ko Ko Gyi who openly vowed to take up arms against the Rohingya whom he called “foreign invaders.”

More telling of Washington’s lack of convictions in protecting the Rohingya and instead cynically exploiting Myanmar’s ethnic tensions is the fact that Ko Ko Gyi was invited to speak in Washington D.C. a year after pledging to take up arms against the Rohingya.

It should be pointed out that Ko Ko Gyi’s pro-genocide remarks were made in a US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded publication, The Irrawaddy, and it was the US NED who would invit him to speak in Washington a year later, meaning that those in Washington were well aware of exactly who and what Ko Ko Gyi really was.

Founding member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), U Win Tin, awarded “journalist of the year” by Reporters Without Borders in 2006, would suggest that the Rohingya be interned in camps.

It’s clear that at the very least, it is more than just Myanmar’s military involved in ethnic violence inside Myanmar. It is also clear that the US and its European partners and the virtual army of fronts posing as NGOs have selectively “investigated” and “reported” on Myanmar’s ethnic violence to single out and undermine the military alone, while providing impunity to others involved in the violence including extremists among the Rohingya population itself, as well as anti-Rohingya extremists backed for years by the US government.

The very fact that the US has backed those involved in ethnic violence in Myanmar, and that their role continuously goes unreported in various US government and US-funded NGO investigations illustrates an additional and major crisis of credibility regarding Washington’s self-appointed role as arbiter in Myanmar.

This US strategy of cultivating animosity on all sides, providing impunity to some while singling out others, ensures Myanmar remains divided and weak, while the US and its European partners can pick apart Myanmar’s military and any civilian politicians who refuse to tilt Myanmar away from Beijing, and back toward Anglo-American influence. It is another example of the American-dominated international human rights racket advancing Western interests merely behind pro-human rights rhetoric, often at the cost of undermining real human rights.

While supposed NGOs funded by the US, UK and European nations pose as dedicated to human rights in Myanmar, they are in fact foreign fronts meddling in Myanmar’s internal affairs, and because of the selective nature of their “investigations,” they are in fact enabling those involved in atrocities who are currently in Washington’s, London’s and Brussels’ good graces.

Genocidal Humanitarians? 

The final, and perhaps central reality that exposes the disingenuous and cynical nature of the US State Department’s “investigation” into Myanmar’s violence is the fact that concurrently, the United States is carrying out a war by proxy against the impoverished, war-torn Middle Eastern nation of Yemen.

There, the US has provided its partners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with weapons, intelligence and other forms of direct material support in carrying out the brutal and systematic destruction of the nation’s infrastructure, including the blockading and takeover of ports where essential food, medicine and other necessities are just barely trickling through.

The same UN the US has enlisted to coerce Myanmar’s military, has published far more substantiated claims regarding substantially worse human tolls amid the US proxy war in Yemen. A March 2018 report posted on the UN’s website titled, “UN renews push for political solution as Yemen marks three years of all-out conflict,” would admit that up to 22 million people were in dire need of humanitarian assistance. The report would also note the deaths of thousands of children along with the closure of some 2,500 schools.

Another report, by the UN high commission for human rights, noted that the US proxy war in Yemen has caused over 17,000 civilian casualties defining it in terms dwarfing accusations made by the US State Department regarding Myanmar. The US actively enables atrocities in Yemen while “investigating” atrocities in Myanmar based purely on US geopolitical objectives, not any sort of genuine or even semi-genuine concern for human life.

For the US-UK and European-funded fronts posing as NGOs and meddling in Myanmar under the pretence of defending human rights, the fact that they claim to fight for human rights while being funded by and working for the demonstrably worst human rights abusers on the planet eliminates whatever legitimacy remains after already taking into account their one-sided, bias investigations.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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