Open Letter Concerning Wikipedia Suppression of SouthFront Information

Attention (6)-1

February 27, 2017

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

Wikipedia’s entry on SouthFront on February 26, 2017

Click to see the full-size image

 

Click to see the full-size image

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

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

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

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

The original version of Wikipedia’s entry on SouthFront:

Click to see the full-size image

 

Click to see the full-size image

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2nd Jewish Cemetery Vandalized; But Those Shedding Tears Seem to have Short Memories

mamilla

mtcarmelcem

Another Jewish cemetery has been vandalized. According to news reports, some 75-100 headstones were knocked over at the Mount Carmel cemetery in Philadelphia sometime either Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

It is the second vandalization of a Jewish cemetery in a week. The previous one took place at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, near St. Louis, an incident I reported on in a post several days ago.

“We are horrified by the desecration at Mount Carmel Cemetery,” said Nancy K. Baron-Baer, a regional director for the ADL, in commenting on the latest attack.

Other Jews seem to be equally horrified. The Anne Frank Center, headquartered in New York with an additional office just opened in Los Angeles, issued a statement similarly impassioned–if not more so.

“WE ARE SICKENED, SICKENED, SICKENED,” read read the group’s rather unrestrained outpouring posted on Twitter. “More Jewish gravestones were found vandalized today, this time in Philadelphia.”

Jewish graves in Philadelphia now vandalized. Stop this incubator of and other hate. WE BEG YOU @POTUS @realDonaldTrump

In its mission statement, the Anne Frank Center “calls out prejudice, counters discrimination and advocates for the kinder and fairer world of which Anne Frank dreamed.”

And as for the ADL,  so horrified and sickened are its officials by recent events they have even put up a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals.

“This act is cowardly and unconscionable, and is all the more despicable coming on the heels of a similar vandalism at another Jewish cemetery in St. Louis last week,” said Baron-Baer. “We urge anyone with information on this crime to report it immediately to the Philadelphia Police Department at 215-686-TIPS.”

“I’m so upset,” said Millard Braunstein, who went to the cemetery Monday morning and discovered his mother’s headstone is one of those that had been knocked down.”This is such a terrible thing.”

“It’s just very disheartening that such a thing would take place,” said Aaron Mallin, another man with a relative buried in the cemetery.

And a Philadelphia rabbi who has also visited the cemetery and seen the damaged grave sites seems particularly heavy of heart.

“After you start walking from row to row it quickly moves from a random act of vandalism to something with larger intentions and a systematic approach to things,” said Shawn Zevit, the rabbi at the Mishkan Shalom synagogue.

While desecration of a cemetery is a despicable act, one wonders if any of these people bothered to voice their concerns over the desecration and paving under of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. And if Zevit is concerned about the “systematic approach” taken by the vandals in Philadelphia (who damaged a mere 100 graves) he should stop and reflect that it doesn’t even begin to hold a candle to the “systematic approach” taken by the Israelis at the Mamilla Cemetery. Here is a bit from Wikipedia:

Mamilla Cemetery is a historic Muslim cemetery located just to the west of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel.[1][2]The cemetery, at the center of which lies the Mamilla Pool, contains the remains of figures from the early Islamic period,[3]several Sufi shrines and Mamluk-era tombs.[1] The cemetery grounds also contain the bodies of thousands of Christians killed in the pre-Islamic era, as well as several tombs from the time of the Crusades.

Its identity as an Islamic cemetery is noted by Arab and Persian writers as early as the 11th century.[4] It was used as a burial site up until 1927 when the Supreme Muslim Council decided to preserve it as a historic site.[1]

Following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the cemetery and other waqfproperties in West Jerusalem fell under the control of Israeligovernmental bodies.[5] A number of buildings, a road and other public facilities, such as a park, a parking lot and public lavatories have since been constructed on the cemetery grounds, destroying grave markers and tombs. A plan to build a Museum of Tolerance on part of the cemetery grounds, announced in 2004, aroused much controversy and faced several stop work orders before being given final approval in July 2011.

The “Musem of Tolerance” mentioned by Wikipedia is a facility the Simon Wiesenthal Center is seeking to build in Jerusalem as a companion to its museum of the same name in Los Angeles. Ironically the Simon Wiesenthal Center is among those now expressing concern over the vandalization of Jewish cemeteries in the US.

“Attacking a cemetery, especially one that is all-Jewish, all-Catholic, or whatever it is, is basically an attack on the culture, the identity of the people that cemetery represents,” Aaron Brietbart, a Simon Wiesenthal researcher, told the Washington Post following the attack on the Jewish cemetery in Missouri.

Compare Brietbart’s remarks to those of another Simon Wiesenthal official, Rabbi Marvin Hier, who insisted to the BBC in 2008 that construction of the Museum of Tolerance–on top of the Mamilla Cemetery–was an appropriate use of “derelict land.”

“Jerusalem is a city built on top of thousands of bones – Jewish and Muslim,” Hier said. “If we declared the whole of Jerusalem one huge cemetery, we’d never be able to build anything.”

The Museum of Tolerance seems to be rather aptly named–since what we are being ordered to show tolerance for in large part is the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s hypocrisy.

You’ll also note–in the tweet above–that the Anne Frank Center demands President Trump “deliver a prime-time nationally televised speech, live from the Oval Office, on how you intend to combat not only #Antisemitism and #Islamophobia and other rising forms of hate.”

All well and good perhaps, but why doesn’t the Anne Frank Center seem concerned about the Islamophobia running rampant in the state of Israel? Surely apartheid, walls, occupation, home demolitions, and cemetery desecrations are not part of the “kinder and fairer world of which Anne Frank dreamed.”

Perhaps instead of delivering a live speech from the Oval Office on anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, Trump should call his advisors together to develop a national strategy for dealing with the Jewish inability to self-reflect.

And finally, one other point before closing: the fact that Muslims in America have raised money to help pay for damage done by vandals at Jewish cemeteries is, in light of attacks upon the Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem, ironic to say the least. After the destruction at the cemetery in Missouri, US Muslims rallied with a very successful crowdfunding campaign. Now it seems they are doing it again. Here is what is being reported by CNN:

Once again, dozens of Jewish headstones have been vandalized, stoking fears of heightened anti-Semitism. And once again, members of the Muslim community are rallying to help.

The latest spate of destruction came over the weekend at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia, where 75 to 100 tombstones were toppled over. A week earlier, at least 170 headstones were damaged at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.

Muslim activist Tarek El-Messidi, who had started a fund-raising campaign to help clean up the St. Louis cemetery, sprung to action again after the Philadelphia attack.

“I want to ask all Muslims to reach out to your Jewish brothers and sisters and stand together against this bigotry,” he wrote on Facebook.

“Last week, our Muslim community raised money for the vandalized Jewish Cemetery in St Louis. Since we raised well above the goal, we can now use extra funds to help here in Philadelphia.”

As of Tuesday morning, the campaign had raised $138,000 — nearly seven times the original goal of $20,000.

El-Messidi said he immediately visited the Philadelphia Jewish cemetery and offered his support after hearing the news. After all, Muslims can relate to the feeling of racial intolerance.

And here is a little more from the Wikipedia article on Mamilla Cemetery:

At the time of Israel’s assertion of control over West Jerusalem in 1948, the cemetery, which contained thousands of grave markers, came under the administration of the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property and the Muslim Affairs Department of Israel’s Ministry of Religious Affairs.[1][5][28] By the end of the 1967 war that resulted in the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, only a handful of broken grave markers remained standing.[1] A large part of the cemetery was bulldozed and converted into a parking lot in 1964 and a public lavatory was also built on the cemetery grounds.[19][29][30]

In the 1950s, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sensitive to how the treatment of waqf properties would be viewed internationally, criticized government policy towards the cemetery.[28] A ministry representative described the vandalism to tombstones, including their use by the guard appointed by the Religious Ministry to build a henhouse beside his shelter in the cemetery, and the destruction of ancient tombs by bulldozers cleaning the Mamilla Pool.[28] Noting the site constituted waqf property and lay within sight of the American Consulate, the ministry said it viewed the situation, which included plans for new roads and the parceling out of portions to private landowners as compensation for other properties confiscated by the state, with deep regret.[28]

Israeli authorities bulldozed several tombs in the cemetery, including some of those identified as Frankish by Clermont-Ganneau, to establish Mamilla Park (or Independence Park) in 1955.[22] Two of the largest and finest tombs survived, though the lid of one was overturned when it moved from its original spot.[22] The other is the Mamluk era funerary chapel known as al-Kebekiyeh (or Zawiya Kubakiyya), now located in the eastern end of Independence Park.[22][23]

Besides Independence Park, other parts of downtown Jerusalem erected on the cemetery grounds include the Experimental School, Agron Street, Beit Agron, and Kikar Hahatulot (Cats’ Square), among others.[18] Government buildings on the cemetery grounds include the main headquarters of the Israeli Ministry of Trade and Industry,[1] and the Customs Department building, which is said to be located on what was once the site of the chapel dedicated to St. Mamilla.[31]

In 1992, the Custodian of Absentee Property sold the cemetery grounds to the Jerusalem Municipality, a sale the Mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, said they had no right to make.[32] The Israeli Electricity Company destroyed more tombs on 15 January 2005 in order to lay some cables.[1]

A major protest against attacks upon the cemetery took place in Jerusalem in 2008. Here is what the BBC reported:

Earlier this week hundreds of Muslims – young and old – marched through the centre of Jerusalem towards the city’s Mamilla cemetery.

Police helicopters flew overhead and security was tight. The focus of the march, and of increasing Muslim anger, was the Israeli Supreme Court decision to sanction a controversial new building on part of the Muslim cemetery.

And finally a bit more from Wikipedia:

On 9 August 2010, 300 Muslim gravestones in the cemetery were bulldozed by the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) in an area US Jewish human rights activists said was very close to the planned site for the Museum of Tolerance.[41][42] A reporter from Agence France Presse witnessed the destruction of 200 graves until the work was briefly suspended while the court heard a stop work petition it rejected, allowing demolitions to continue that same day.[41] The judge later issued an order prohibiting harm to ancient graves and mandating that the ILA coordinate work with the Israel Antiquities Authority and representatives of the Islamic Movement.[42]

The Jerusalem city council issued its first official response in a written statement on 12 August, saying that, “The municipality and the (Israel Lands) Authority destroyed around 300 dummy gravestones which were set up illegally in Independence Park on public land.” It said these “fake” gravestones were not erected over any human remains and were placed in the park in an effort to “illegally take over state land.”[41]

Mahmud Abu Atta, a spokesman for the Al-Aqsa Foundation, denied the city council’s claim that new tombs were added illegally. He said that between 500 and 600 tombs had been renovated in total “with the municipality’s agreement,” that “some of the tombs had to be totally rebuilt,” but that “all the tombs that we built or renovated contain bodies.”[41]

Twenty graves were completely destroyed or had their tombstones removed by vandals in January 2011.[43] On the night of 25–26 June 2011, about 100 gravestones in an intact part of the cemetery were destroyed by Israeli bulldozers.[19][44] Footage filmed by local media and activists appeared on Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera and showed the bulldozers pulling out quickly after realizing they were being filmed; Israeli officials made no comment on the incident.[45]

Later that same year, fifteen gravestones in the cemetery were spray painted red with racist slogans reading “Death to the Arabs”, as well as “price tag” and “Givat Asaf“, the name of an Israeli outpost slated for demolition.

mamillacem

The Mamilla graveyard (shown in the background) as it appeared in 1948

Though the statements from the Anne Frank Center and some of the other Jews quoted in this article are rather amazing, perhaps the Academy Award for hypocrisy goes to an Israeli official by the name of Emmanuel Nahshon. A spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Nahshon tweeted the following in response to the attack on the cemetery in Philadelphia:

Jewish cemetery desecration is shocking and a source of worry . Full confidence authorities catch and punish culprits .

Pence Consoles Jews in Missouri Over Vandalizing of Jewish Cemetery

Statue of Jesus vandalized at the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellow Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Statue of Jesus vandalized at the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellow Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Two heinous acts of religious desecration occurred last weekend at two separate sites in two separate states. In response to one of these events, the vice president of the United States personally involved himself, making a trip to the scene to denounce what had happened and to assist in the cleanup.

The other event he seems to have completely ignored.

At the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellowship Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, vandals targeted a statue of Jesus outside the church, severing the head from the body. The attack occurred sometime during the night of February 19/20.

On the same weekend vandals attacked a Jewish cemetery causing damage to approximately 150 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, Jewish cemetery located in University City, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.

 photo cemeterystlouis_zpsfo7bwizd.jpg

Vandalized gravestones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery

After the media raised an uproar over the attack on the cemetery, an uproar which included complaints that President Trump had not sufficiently condemned the attack or denounced anti-Semitism enough, Vice President Pence made a trip to St. Louis, where he spoke at the cemetery and even participated in the cleanup.

“I am so inspired by what the people of Missouri are doing, by the way you are handling this,” he is reported to have said.

I did an Internet search in an effort to determine if Pence had made any similar-type gestures on behalf of the Christians at the church in Indianapolis, but could find no indication he had, or even that he had bothered to issue a public comment on it–even though the attack occurred in Pence’s home state of Indiania and even though it was the second time in two weeks that the statue had been desecrated.

Here is a news report on what happened at the church…

And here is a video of Pence at the cemetery, participating in a prayer with a Jewish rabbi and helping with the cleanup…

I guess it’s nice to see a member of America’s political elite with a rake in his hand and doing some actual physical work, but the video would seem to provide us with ample evidence of what group of people he’s really working for.

Double Standards over ‘Russian Interference’ in Western Elections

Double Standards over ‘Russian Interference’ in Western Elections

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 23.02.2017 | OPINION

Double Standards over ‘Russian Interference’ in Western Elections

Just as polls show Marine Le Pen of the Front National taking a decisive lead over her two main rivals, Francois Fillon of the Republicans, and Emmanuel Macron of the newly formed En Marche, the latter gets a high-profile reception in Downing Street with British prime minister Theresa May.

Fillon has no plans to make a similar visit to Britain, while Downing Street officially announced that it would not be receiving Le Pen, reported the Independent.

With only weeks to go to the first round of the French presidential elections in April, the British government’s hosting of Macron this week can be seen as an extraordinary endorsement of his candidacy.

One could express it even more strongly and say that Britain is evidently interfering in the French democratic process by elevating one candidate over another.

A spokesman for premier May said that Macron had requested the meeting at Downing Street and «we were able to accommodate».

A smiling Macron photographed on the doorsteps of Number 10 clearly showed him relishing the singular honor bestowed by the British prime minister.

One can imagine the media hullabaloo if Marine Le Pen were greeted in Moscow by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Kremlin to then pointedly announce that her rival Macron would not be receiving a similar invitation. There would be howls of «Russian interference» in the French election.

Indeed, Russia is being accused of doing just that already on the basis of scant allegations. Emmanuel Macron has recently claimed that his campaign is being targeted by Russian hackers and «fake news». Macron’s campaign team is alleging – without providing any evidence – that its computers are being attacked by «Russian hackers».

The liberal pro-EU candidate is also claiming that «Kremlin-run news media» are mounting a fake news «influence campaign» to damage his credibility.

This follows the publication of a news article by the Sputnik outlet earlier this month which quoted French political rivals accusing Macron of being supported by global banking interests and a wealthy gay rights lobby.

Russian government-owned Sputnik has denied that it is trying to damage Macron’s candidacy, and that it was merely giving coverage to criticisms aired by French political rivals.

Based on such flimsy, partisan claims of political interference, the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault earlier this week issued a warning to Russia to «stop meddling in the French presidential election».

Thus, a one-sided overblown claim by one of the presidential candidates is raised to a state level as if it is an established fact of Russian subversion of French sovereignty.

This narrative of Russian interference in foreign elections has evidently become contagious. Ever since American intelligence agencies, amplified by US media, began accusing Russia of hacking into the presidential elections to favor Donald Trump, the narrative has become a staple in other Western states.

Last week, German news outlet Deutsche Welle published this headline: «Is Moscow meddling in everything?» The article goes on to ask with insinuating tone: «Does Putin decide who wins elections in the West? Many believe that he cost Clinton the US presidency; now Macron is next France, and then Merkel will be in the line of fire».

The Russian government is legitimately entitled, as are other governments, to hold views on the outcome of foreign elections. After all, many European governments, including those of Germany and France, were adamantly opposed to Trump winning the US election, instead preferring his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. But they weren’t subjected to criticism that they were interfering in the American election.

Regarding France, Russian state interests might be best served by Marine Le Pen taking the presidency. She has expressed a desire to restore friendlier relations with Moscow and to jettison the NATO agenda of hostility towards Russia. Her anti-EU views would also help to undermine the Washington-led atlanticist axis which has driven enmity between Europe and Russia.

The Kremlin has been careful to not make any public statements on the outcome of the French election, nor of any other foreign election, maintaining that it does not interfere. Nevertheless, Moscow is entitled to have its own private assessment on what would serve its own national interests. There’s nothing untoward about that. It seems almost bizarre to have to explain that.

But such is the fever-pitch and hysteria about alleged Russian malfeasance that the slightest sign, such as a random news article airing critical comments as in the Macron example, is taken as «proof» of Kremlin interference.

This is in spite of the fact that no evidence is presented. German state intelligence, for instance, recently concluded that there was no evidence to support allegations that Russia was running a Trump-like influence campaign against Chancellor Merkel ahead of her country’s elections being held in September.

Perhaps the most egregious expression to date of the Russian interference narrative were claims made this week by Britain’s Telegraph newspaper that the Kremlin had sponsored a coup attempt against the government of Montenegro last October.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov lambasted the evidence-free claims as «absurd». Lavrov said it «is just another one in a series of groundless assertions blaming our country for carrying out cyberattacks against the entire West, interfering in election campaigns in the bulk of Western countries as well as allegations pointing to the Trump administration’s ties with Russian secret services, among other things».

The height of absurdity is Britain this week hosting Emmanuel Macron at the Downing Street residence of Prime Minister Theresa May.

May’s intervention is a full-on endorsement of this one candidate at a crucial time in the French election which sees his main rival Marine Le Pen taking a decisive lead in the polls.

But where are the headlines denouncing «British interference» in French democracy?

Western media are too preoccupied digging up far-fetched stories claiming Russian interference based on the flimsiest speculation.

That double standard is clear evidence of the irrational Russophobia that is gripping Western governments and news media. Russophobia that has become a psychosis.

Double Standards: Where Were the Liberal Protestors During Obama’s Wars?

Source

Mike Whitney — CounterPunch Jan 26, 2017

President Obama addresses a press conference on August 1, over the abduction of Israeli 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin by Hamas

President Obama addresses a press conference on August 1, 2001. Click to enlarge

The election of Donald Trump has sent millions of people pouring out onto the streets to protest a man  they think is a racist, misogynist, xenophobic bully who will destroy US democracy in his quest to establish himself as supreme fascist ruler of the country.

Maybe they’re right. Maybe Trump is a fascist who will destroy America. But where were these people when Obama was bombing wedding parties in Kandahar, or training jihadist militants to fight in Syria, or abetting NATO’s destructive onslaught on Libya, or plunging Ukraine into fratricidal warfare, or collecting the phone records of innocent Americans, or deporting hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers, or force-feeding prisoners at Gitmo, or providing bombs and aircraft to the Saudis to continue their genocidal war against Yemen?

Where were they?

They were asleep, weren’t they? Because liberals always sleep when their man is in office,  particularly if their man is a smooth-talking cosmopolitan snake-charmer like Obama who croons about personal freedom and democracy while unleashing the most unspeakable violence on civilians across the Middle East and Central Asia.

The United States has been at war for eight straight years under Obama, and during that time, there hasn’t been one sizable antiwar march, demonstration or protest. Nothing. No one seems to care when an articulate bi-racial mandarin kills mostly people of color, but when a brash and outspoken real estate magnate takes over the reigns of power, then ‘watch out’ because here come the protestors, all three million of them!

Can we agree that there is at least the appearance of hypocrisy here?

Indeed. Analyst Jon Reynolds summed it up perfectly over at the Black Agenda Report. He said:

“If Hillary had won, the drone strikes would have continued. The wars would have continued. The spying would continue. Whistleblowers would continue being prosecuted and hunted down. And minorities would continue bearing the brunt of these policies, both in the US and across the world. The difference is that in such a scenario, Democrats, if the last eight years are any indication, would remain silent — as they did under Obama — offering bare minimum concern and vilifying anyone attacking their beloved president as some sort of hater. Cities across the US would remain free of protests, and for another 4-8 years, Democrats would continue doing absolutely nothing to end the same horrifying policies now promoted by a Republican.” (“Delusions Shattered“, Jon Reynolds, The Black Agenda Report)

He’s right, isn’t he? How many of the 800,000 protesters who marched on Sunday would have flown to Washington to express their contempt for would-be President Hillary Clinton?

Zero, I’d wager, and yet it’s Hillary who wanted to implement the no-fly zones in Syria that would have put Washington in direct confrontation with Moscow, just like it was Hillary who wanted to teach Putin a-thing-or-two in Ukraine.  But is that what the people want? Would people prefer to be led into World War 3 by a bonefide champion of liberal values than concede the post to a brassy billionaire who wants to find common ground on fighting ISIS with his Russian counterpart?

It seems like a no-brainer to me. And it’s not like we don’t know who is responsible for the killing in Syria either. We do.

Barack Obama and his coterie of bloodthirsty friends in the political establishment are entirely responsible. These are the people who funded, armed and trained the Salafist maniacs that have decimated the country and created millions of refugees that are now tearing apart the EU. That’s right, the spillover from America’s not-so-covert operation is ripping the EU to shreds. It’s just another unfortunate side-effect of Obama’s bloody Syrian debacle.  As journalist Margaret Kimberly says in a recent post at The Black Agenda Report: “All of the casualties, the sieges, the hunger and the frantic search for refuge can be placed at America’s feet.”

Amen, to that.  All the violence can be traced back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, home of Barack Hussein Obama, Nobel peace prize winner. What a joke. Here’s how analyst Solomon Comissiong sums it up in another article at the BAR:

“Supporters of Barack Obama, and liberals in general, are disingenuous frauds. They had no issues protesting the likes of the amoral warmongering George W. Bush or the racist xenophobe, Donald J. Trump, however when it comes to Barack Obama they can find no reason to protest his mass murdering escapades. Obama supporters were recently nostalgic and teary eyed after he gave his last major speech as president of the United States, yet can find little reason to shed tears over the masses of civilians who were destroyed directly as a result of Obama’s policies. Where were the emotions and tears when men, women and children were getting blown to bits by USA drone attacks, indiscriminate air strikes and bombs?…Those who protested the racist and xenophobic Trump, but not Obama or Clinton, are nothing more that disingenuous frauds and amoral cowards.”  (As Obama Exits the White House, Never Forget His Destructive Imperialist Legacy“, Solomon Comissiong, Black Agenda Report)

Let’s be honest, Obama got a pass from his supporters strictly because of appearances; because he looked and sounded like a thoroughly reasonable bloke who only acted on the loftiest of principles. Obama was hailed as a moral giant, a political rock star, a leader among leaders. But it was all fake, all make-up and glitz behind which operated the vicious national security state extending its tentacles around the world, toppling regimes wherever it went, and leaving anarchy and destruction in its wake. Isn’t this Obama’s real legacy when you strip away the sweeping hand gestures and pompous rhetoric?

Of course it is. But Trump won’t have that advantage, will he? Trump is not a public relations invention upon which heartsick liberals pin their highest hopes. Trump is Trump warts and all, the proverbial bull in the china shop. That’s not to say Trump won’t be a lousy president. Judging by the Wall Street cutthroats and hard-edged military men he’s surrounded himself with,  he probably will be. But the American people are no longer asleep, so there’s going to be limits to what he can hope to achieve.

So the question is: How should one approach the Trump presidency?  Should we denounce him as a fascist before he ever sets foot in the Oval Office?  Should we deny his “legitimacy” even though he was elected via a process we have honored for over 200 years?  Should we launch impeachment proceedings before he’s done anything that would warrant his removal from office?

Veteran journalist Robert Parry answers this question in a recent piece at Consortium News. Here’s what he said:

“The current danger for Democrats and progressives is that – by bashing everything that Trump says and does – they will further alienate the white working-class voters who became his base and will push away anti-war activists.

There is a risk that the Left will trade places with the Right on the question of war and peace, with Democrats and progressives associating themselves with Hillary Clinton’s support for “endless war” in the Middle East, the political machinations of the CIA, and a New Cold War with Russia, essentially moving into an alliance with the Military (and Intelligence) Industrial Complex.

Many populists already view the national Democrats as elitists disdainful of the working class, promoters of harmful “free trade” deals, and internationalists represented by the billionaires at the glitzy annual confab in Davos, Switzerland.

If — in a rush to demonize and impeach President Trump — Democrats and progressives solidify support for wars of choice in the Middle East, a New Cold War with Russia and a Davos-style elitism, they could further alienate many people who might otherwise be their allies.

In other words, selectivity in opposing and criticizing Trump – where he rightly deserves it – rather than opportunism in rejecting everything that Trump says might make more sense. A movement built entirely on destroying Trump could drop Democrats and progressives into some politically destructive traps.” (“Selectivity in Trashing Trump“, Robert Parry, Consortium News)

Right on, Bob. A very reasonable approach to a very thorny situation.

Bravo!

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com

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Donald Trump vs. Jackie Walker

January 30, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

The Guardian reports today that the White House has defended its omission of Jews and antisemitism from a statement remembering the Holocaust by saying that Donald Trump’s administration “took into account all of those who suffered”.

In practice the conservative ‘reactionary’ president has succeeded where ultra progressive Jackie Walker failed.  Walker was suspended from the Labour party a few months ago for pointing out that the Holocaust Memorial Day was not wide-ranging enough to include other genocides.

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day last Friday, the White House ‘failed’ to mention Jews, Judaism or antisemitism. The presidential statement, instead, universally referred to the suffering of all innocent people, a fact that upset many American Jewish leaders such as Jonathan Greenblatt,  the head of the Anti-Defamation League and Steven Goldstein, the executive director of the Anne Frank Centre.  Both Goldstein and Greenblatt believe that the Holocaust is a jews-only territory and the holocaust memorial must promote the primacy of Jewish suffering. 

But for the rest of humanity, it seems, it has become clear that the Jewish State is at the root of a regional disaster. The rest of humanity is also becoming aware that it is the Jewish lobby and Zio-cons that are pushing for more and more global conflicts whether it is a war against Libya, Syria, Iran or Iraq. Those who follow my writings are aware of Israeli writer Sever Plocker, who admitted a few years ago on the Zionist outlet Ynet that “We (the Jews) mustn’t forget that some of greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish.”  Plocker basically accepted that the Holodomor, the systematic starvation of Ukrainian peasants, was largely perpetrated  by a bunch of Jewish bolsheviks who were “Stalin’s willing executioners” (as Jewish historian Yuri Slezkine refers to them in his monumental The Jewish Century)

Jackie Walker was obviously spot on suggesting that the holocaust memorial day must address other people’s suffering. Walker is a Black woman, she would probably have liked to see the Holocaust memorial day commemorating the crimes of slavery.

Bizarrely enough, despite progressive Jackie Walker telling the truth,  she was expelled by her ‘progressive’ party yet it was the ‘reactionary’ Donald Trump who succeeded in making this day universal. This anomaly demands our attention, because it is far from being a coincidence. In the world in which we live, it is often the so-called ‘reactionaries’ who lead the push for universal thinking, while those who claim to be ‘progressives’ often subscribe to tribalism and the primacy of one people’s suffering.

Non-Muslims Carried Out More than 90% of All Terrorist Attacks in America

Global Research, January 28, 2017
religion

This article was first published May 1, 2013. 

Terrorism Is a Real Threat … But the Threat to the U.S. from Muslim Terrorists Has Been Exaggerated

An FBI report shows that only a small percentage of terrorist attacks carried out on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 were perpetrated by Muslims.

Princeton University’s Loon Watch compiled the following chart from the FBI’s data:

Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil by Group, From 1980 to 2005, According to FBI DatabaseTerrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil by Group, From 1980 to 2005, According to FBI Database

According to this data, there were more Jewish acts of terrorism within the United States than Islamic (7% vs 6%).  These radical Jews committed acts of terrorism in the name of their religion.  These were not terrorists who happened to be Jews; rather, they were extremist Jews who committed acts of terrorism based on their religious passions, just like Al-Qaeda and company.

(Loon Watch also notes that less than 1% of terror attacks in Europe were carried out by Muslims.)

U.S. News and World Report noted in February of this year:

Of the more than 300 American deaths from political violence and mass shootings since 9/11, only 33 have come at the hands of Muslim-Americans, according to the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. The Muslim-American suspects or perpetrators in these or other attempted attacks fit no demographic profile—only 51 of more than 200 are of Arabic ethnicity. In 2012, all but one of the nine Muslim-American terrorism plots uncovered were halted in early stages. That one, an attempted bombing of a Social Security office in Arizona, caused no casualties.

Wired reported the same month:

Since 9/11, [Charles Kurzman, Professor of Sociology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, writing for the Triangle Center on Terrorism and National Security] and his team tallies, 33 Americans have died as a result of terrorism launched by their Muslim neighbors. During that period, 180,000 Americans were murdered for reasons unrelated to terrorism. In just the past year, the mass shootings that have captivated America’s attention killed 66 Americans, “twice as many fatalities as from Muslim-American terrorism in all 11 years since 9/11,” notes Kurzman’s team.

Law enforcement, including “informants and undercover agents,” were involved in “almost all of the Muslim-American terrorism plots uncovered in 2012,” the Triangle team finds. That’s in keeping with the FBI’s recent practice of using undercover or double agents to encourage would-be terrorists to act on their violent desires and arresting them when they do — a practice critics say comes perilously close to entrapment. A difference in 2012 observed by Triangle: with the exception of the Arizona attack, all the alleged plots involving U.S. Muslims were “discovered and disrupted at an early stage,” while in the past three years, law enforcement often observed the incubating terror initiatives “after weapons or explosives had already been gathered.”

The sample of Muslim Americans turning to terror is “vanishingly small,” Kurzman tells Danger Room. Measuring the U.S. Muslim population is a famously inexact science, since census data don’t track religion, but rather “country of origin,” which researchers attempt to use as a proxy. There are somewhere between 1.7 million and seven million American Muslims, by most estimates, and Kurzman says he operates off a model that presumes the lower end, a bit over 2 million. That’s less a rate of involvement in terrorism of less than 10 per million, down from a 2003 high of 40 per million, as detailed in the chart above.

Yet the scrutiny by law enforcement and homeland security on American Muslims has not similarly abated. The FBI tracks “geomaps” of areas where Muslims live and work, regardless of their involvement in any crime. The Patriot Act and other post-9/11 restrictions on government surveillance remain in place. The Department of Homeland Security just celebrated its 10th anniversary. In 2011, President Obama ordered the entire federal national-security apparatus to get rid of counterterrorism training material that instructed agents to focus on Islam itself, rather than specific terrorist groups.

Kurzman doesn’t deny that law enforcement plays a role in disrupting and deterring homegrown U.S. Muslim terrorism. His research holds it out as a possible explanation for the decline. But he remains surprised by the disconnect between the scale of the terrorism problem and the scale — and expense — of the government’s response.

“Until public opinion starts to recognize the scale of the problem has been lower than we feared, my sense is that public officials are not going to change their policies,” Kurzman says. “Counterterrorism policies have involved surveillance — not just of Muslim-Americans, but of all Americans, and the fear of terrorism has justified intrusions on American privacy and civil liberties all over the internet and other aspects of our lives. I think the implications here are not just for how we treat a religious minority in the U.S., but also how we treat the rights & liberties of everyone.”

We agree. And so do most Americans. Indeed – as we’ve previously documented – you’re more likely to die from brain-eating parasites, alcoholism, obesity, medical errors, risky sexual behavior or just about anything other than terrorism.

Kurzman told the Young Turks in February that Islamic terrorism “doesn’t even count for 1 percent” of the 180,000 murders in the US since 9/11.

While the Boston marathon bombings were horrific, a top terrorism expert says that the Boston attack was more like Columbine than 9/11, and that the bombers are “murderers not terrorists”.  The overwhelming majority of mass shootings were by non-Muslims.  (This is true in Europe, as well as in the U.S.)

However you classify them – murder or terrorism – the Boston bombings occurred after all of the statistical analysis set forth above. Moreover, different groups have different agendas about how to classify the perpetrators  (For example, liberal Mother Jones and conservative Breitbart disagree on how many of the perpetrators of terror attacks can  properly be classified as right wing extremists.)

So we decided to look at the most current statistics for ourselves, to do an objective numerical count not driven by any agenda.

Specifically, we reviewed all of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil as documented by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2012). Global Terrorism Database, as retrieved from http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd.

The START Global Terrorism Database spans from 1970 through 2012 (and will be updated from year-to-year), and – as of this writing – includes 104,000 terrorist incidents.  As such, it is the most comprehensive open-source database open to the public.

We counted up the number of terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims.  We excluded attacks by groups which are obviously not Muslims, such as the Ku Klux Klan, Medellin Drug Cartel, Irish Republican Army, Anti-Castro Group, Mormon extremists, Vietnamese Organization to Exterminate Communists and Restore the Nation, Jewish Defense League, May 19 Communist Order, Chicano Liberation Front, Jewish Armed Resistance, American Indian Movement, Gay Liberation Front, Aryan Nation, Jewish Action Movement, National Front for the Liberation of Cuba, or Fourth Reich Skinheads.

We counted attacks by Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Black American Moslems, or anyone who even remotely sounded Muslim … for example anyone from Palestine, Lebanon or any other Arab or Muslim country, or any name including anything sounding remotely Arabic or Indonesian (like “Al” anything or “Jamaat” anything).

If we weren’t sure what the person’s affiliation was, we looked up the name of the group to determine whether it could in any way be connected to Muslims.

Based on our review of the approximately 2,400 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil contained within the START database, we determined that approximately 60 were carried out by Muslims.

In other words, approximately 2.5% of all terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1970 and 2012 were carried out by Muslims.*  This is a tiny proportion of all attacks.

(We determined that approximately 118 of the terror attacks – or 4.9% – were carried out by Jewish groups such as Jewish Armed Resistance, the Jewish Defense League, Jewish Action Movement, United Jewish Underground and Thunder of Zion. This is almost twice the percentage of Islamic attacks within the United States.  If we look at worldwide attacks – instead of just attacks on U.S. soil – Sunni Muslims are the main perpetrators of terrorism.  However: 1. Muslims are also the main victims of terror attacks worldwide; and 2. the U.S. backs the most radical types of Sunnis over more moderate Muslims and Arab secularists.)

Moreover, another study undertaken by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism – called ”Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States” – found:

Between 1970 and 2011, 32 percent of the perpetrator groups were motivated by ethnonationalist/separatist agendas, 28 percent were motivated by single issues, such as animal rights or opposition to war, and seven percent were motivated byreligious beliefs. In addition, 11 percent of the perpetrator groups were classified as extreme right-wing, and 22 percent were categorized as extreme left-wing.

Preliminary findings from PPT-US data between 1970 and 2011 also illustrate a distinct shift in the dominant ideologies of these terrorist groups over time, with the proportion of emerging ethnonationalist/separatist terrorist groups declining and the proportion of religious terrorist groups increasing. However, while terrorist groups with religious ideologies represent 40 percent of all emergent groups from 2000-2011 (two out of five), they only account for seven percent of groups over time.

Similarly, a third study by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism Religion found that religion alone is not a key factor in determining which terrorists want to use weapons of mass destruction:

The available empirical data show that there is not a significant relationship between terrorist organizations’ pursuit of CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear) weapons and the mere possession of a religious ideology, according to a new quantitative study by START researchers Victor Asal, Gary Ackerman and Karl Rethemeyer.

Therefore, Muslims are not more likely than other groups to want to use WMDs.

* The Boston marathon bombing was not included in this analysis, as START has not yet updated its database to include 2013 terrorist attacks.  3 people died in the Boston attack.  While tragic, we are confident that non-Musliims killed more than 3 during this same period.

We are not experts in terrorism analysis.  We would therefore defer to people like Kurzman on the exact number.  However, every quantitative analysis of terrorism in the U.S. we have read shows that the percent of terror attacks carried out by Muslims is far less than 10%.

Postscript: State-sponsored terrorism is beyond the scope of this discussion, and was not included in our statistical analysis.  Specifically, the following arguments are beyond the scope of this discussion, as we are focusing solely on non-state terrorism:

  • Arguments by  University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole that deaths from 20th century wars could be labeled Christian terrorism
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