Understanding the Geopolitics of Terrorism

By Bill Van Auken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article was first published by WSWS

Copyright © 1998-2017 World Socialist Web Site – All rights reserved

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


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Chaos And Division

Source

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

tamim.jpg888

By Abdel Bari Atwan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Research, April 13, 2017

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

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

Several hundred deaths were recorded:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Artiles

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.

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