Pope Francis says ‘defenseless’ being killed in Holy Land after Gaza bloodshed #enoughisenough

Pope Francis says ‘defenseless’ being killed in Holy Land after Gaza bloodshed

emSource: Vatican Media/emSource: Vatican Media

Pope Francis, in his Easter address on Sunday, called for peace in the Holy Land two days after 15 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers on the Israeli-Gaza border, saying the conflict there “does not spare the defenseless”.

The pope made his appeal in his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to tens of thousands of people in the flower-bedecked square below where he earlier celebrated a Mass.

He also appealed for an end to the “carnage” in Syria, calling for humanitarian aid to be allowed to enter, and for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Francis appeared to refer directly to the Gaza violence last Friday, calling for “reconciliation for the Holy Land, also experiencing in these days the wounds of ongoing conflict that do not spare the defenseless.”

Israel’s defense minister has rejected calls for an inquiry into the killings by the military during a peaceful Palestinian demonstration.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, and other leaders have called for an independent investigation into the bloodshed.

The Pope also begged for peace for “the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria, whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war.”

“This Easter, may the light of the risen Christ illumine the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course … ” he said.

He spoke a day after the Assad regime command said it had regained most of the towns and villages in eastern Ghouta. Tens of thousands of people have now evacuated once-bustling towns in the suburbs east of the capital, which had nearly 2 million people before the start of the conflict and were major commercial and industrial hubs.

Francis called for international assistance for Venezuela, so that more people would not have to abandon their homeland because of the economic and political crisis.

He hoped the “fruits of dialogue” would advance peace and harmony on the Korean peninsula, where the two sides are set to hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearisation.

Francis, celebrating his sixth Easter as Roman Catholic leader since his election in 2013, urged his listeners to work for an end to the “so many acts of injustice” in the world.

He prayed the power of Jesus’ message “bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment, where there are migrants and refugees – so often rejected by today’s culture of waste – and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery”.


The battle was neither in Riyadh nor in Jerusalem…. It was in Tehran and has ended المعركة لم تكن في الرياض ولا في القدس … لقد كانت في طهران وانتهت

The battle was neither in Riyadh nor in Jerusalem…. It was in Tehran and has ended

يونيو 4, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Apparently it seemed that there were two battles in the region, their hero is Donald Trump, one in Riyadh to convince the leaders of the Arab and the Islamic countries of a barter, its basis on reconciliation, cooperation, and normalization the relation with Israel in exchange of an international front led by Washington under the cover of the Islamic world which was held under the slogan of Saudi Arabia to isolate Iran and besieging it. The second battle seemed in Jerusalem led by Trump to convince the leaders of the occupation entity to wage different more serious settlement by facilitating the formation of a Palestinian state with some modifications which take into consideration the Israeli security and similar modifications on the files of Jerusalem and the refugees.

Practically Trump ended his tour in Gulf and its three summits; he got what he wanted in addition to a lot of money which he wanted to revive his stagnant economy, to fix his confused rule, and to apply his slogan; linking the relationship with Saudi Arabia as a milking cow with the quantity of milk it produces. Practically Trump went to Jerusalem but he did not achieve any of his promises, he shared with Netanyahu idle talk that just includes the reassurances to subdue the Gulf and its acceptance to join to the alliance with Israel against Iran. As he postponed transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem he postponed the negotiating tripartite summit which combines him with Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, so this affected Abbas after he paid a humiliated bill for Hamas Movement for its political document which accepts the promised settlement, by announcing that it is terrorism from Riyadh’s platform.

Trump’s tour which passed by Vatican towards the summit of seven which led by Washington and culminated with the meeting of NATO was planned to emerge from these platforms according to Trump’s promises to each the Saudi King and the Head of the occupation government as besieging and isolating Iran as well as agitating the situations against Hezbollah. What has happened is that the actual battle which was a condition for the continuation of Trump of his mission was going on in Tehran. Iran has not timed its elections on the date of Trump’s visit, but the opposite has happened. All of what has happened before the elections and the announcement of the summits of Riyadh, the mobilization against Iran, and the indication to cancel the understanding on the nuclear program as well as increasing the sanctions on it on the eve of the elections were to urge it to re-choose the option of severity which is considered by the Americans and their allies a condition for the success of the mobilization against Iran and a cause of the internal division on its options and constants, taking into consideration its moderate politicians and investing the economic pressure to destabilize it. It seemed that the game is going on according to what the Americans want, because in the electoral competition there was one a most strict symbols Al Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi who was supported, and for his favor all those who are severe withdrew, the western mass media were prepared to consider him as the coming President of Iran according to the equation of Raisi versus Trump.

The question in Tehran was, when the winning of Raisi is announced and when the Riyadh summits formulate their final statements what would be the expected path? the answer is having the plea to question the credibility of Tehran commitment to the nuclear understandings and having the justification to expand the campaign of the political, media, legal, and the diplomatic escalation against it, moreover to address the Iranian interior in way that beholds the words of constants the responsibility of blockade, sanctions, and the economic decline just for its issuance by strict spokesman, then to divide the Iranians between two disputing or possibly quarreling halves, and the possession of the West of ways to seduce the frustrated half due to the results and the doubtful of their credibility. The reverse question in Tehran was what about if the President Hassan Rouhani won by the speech of the same Iranian constants by defending the choice of resistance and Hezbollah and in characterizing the Americans as responsible for the terrorism, and beholding the Gulf countries the responsibility of sabotaging the stability in the region. The answer was Iran will unite behind him and the Russians and the Chinese will support Iran strongly, while the Europeans will get confused in meeting the US demands.

It is not important who asked and who answered in Tehran, as the importance of that the Iranian democratic game has expanded and then was the result. We have heard the President Rouhani in the speech of constants after his winning, and we have heard the European and the international positions asking him not to drive Iran to escalation which was started by the Riyadh’s summits against Iran. Before the end of Riyadh summits Trump discovered that the mission has ended and that the plan has failed, so he has to accelerate to reserve the funds promised by the Saudis, and that he has to go to Jerusalem and Bethlehem on a religious tourist and political visit to share the congratulations with Netanyahu to celebrate the financial and the political spoils. Therefore the battle is neither in Riyadh nor in Jerusalem it was in Tehran and has ended.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

المعركة لم تكن في الرياض ولا في القدس … لقد كانت في طهران وانتهت

ناصر قنديل

مايو 23, 2017

– ظاهرياً بدا أن هناك معركتين شهدتهما المنطقة، بطلهما دونالد ترامب، واحدة في الرياض لإقناع زعماء الدول العربية والإسلامية بمقايضة قوامها التصالح والتعاون والتطبيع مع «إسرائيل»، مقابل جبهة دولية تقودها واشنطن بغطاء العالم الإسلامي المنعقد تحت لواء السعودية لعزل إيران وحصارها، والمعركة الثانية بدت في القدس يخوضها ترامب لإقناع قادة كيان الاحتلال بخوض غمار تسوية مختلفة وأكثر جدية بتسهيل قيام دولة فلسطينية مع بعض التعديلات التي تراعي الأمن «الإسرائيلي» وتعديلات مشابهة تناسبها على ملفي القدس واللاجئين.

– عمليا أنهى ترامب جولته الخليجية وقممها الثلاث بالحصول على ما طلب من المجتمعين وفوقه حصل على مال كثير يريده لتنشيط اقتصاده الراكد وتثبيت حكمه المرتبك، وتطبيق شعاره بربط العلاقة مع السعودية كبقرة حلوب بكمية الحليب التي تدرّها عليه. وعملياً ذهب ترامب إلى القدس فلم يحقق شيئاً من وعوده، وتقاسم مع نتنياهو كلاماً فارغاً ليس فيه إلا التطمينات لخضوع الخليج وقبوله الانضمام لحلف مع «إسرائيل» بوجه إيران، وبمثل ما أجّل نقل سفارته إلى القدس أجّل القمة الثلاثية التفاوضية التي تجمعه مع بنيامين نتنياهو ومحمود عباس فأصاب عباس في المقتل، بعدما سدّد لحركة حماس فاتورة مذلّة وهواناً على وثيقتها السياسية التي ترتضي التسوية الموعودة، بإعلانه لها إرهاباً من منبر الرياض.

– جولة ترامب التي تعبر بالفاتيكان وصولاً لقمة السبعة الذين تتزعمهم واشنطن وتتويجاً باجتماع حلف الناتو، كان مقدراً لها أن تخرج من هذه المنابر بما وعد ترامب كلاً من الملك السعودي ورئيس حكومة الاحتلال، من فرض الحصار والعزلة على إيران، والذهاب بعيداً في تعبئة مناخات العداء لحزب الله، لكن الذي جرى أن المعركة الفعلية التي كانت شرطاً لمواصلة ترامب المهمة كانت تجري في طهران، حيث لم تكن إيران قد وقّتت انتخاباتها على موعد زيارة ترامب، بل العكس هو الذي حصل، وكان كل ما جرى قبل الانتخابات والإعلان عن القمم التي شهدتها الرياض، والتعبئة ضد إيران وشيطنتها، والتلويح بإلغاء التفاهم حول الملف النووي وزيادة العقوبات عليها عشية الانتخابات، لدفعها دفعاً نحو إعادة خيار التشدد الذي يعتبره الأميركيون وحلفاؤهم شرطاً لنجاح التعبئة ضد إيران وللتسبّب بالانقسام الداخلي فيها حول خياراتها وثوابتها، واستيعاب الجناح المعتدل من سياسييها واستثمار الضغط الاقتصادي لزعزعة الاستقرار فيها، وبدا أن اللعبة تسير وفقاً لما يريد الأميركيون، فقد ظهر إلى الساحة الانتخابية رمز من أقوى رموز المتشددين هو السيد إبراهيم رئيسي، واحتشد خلفه وانسحب لصالحه كل المنتمين لخط التشدّد، وتهيأت وسائل الإعلام الغربية لاعتباره رئيس إيران القادم، وفقاً لمعادلة رئيسي مقابل ترامب.

– كان السؤال في طهران هو، عندما يعلن فوز رئيسي وقمم الرياض تصيغ بيانها الختامي ماذا سيكون المسار المتوقع، والجواب هو، امتلاك ذريعة التشكيك بصدقية التزام طهران بالتفاهمات النووية، وامتلاك المبرر لتوسيع نطاق حملة التصعيد السياسي والإعلامي والقانوني والدبلوماسي ضدها، ومخاطبة الداخل الإيراني بلغة تحمًل خطاب الثوابت لمجرد صدوره بلسان متشدّد مسؤولية الحصار والعقوبات والتراجع الاقتصادي، وتالياً قسمة الإيرانيين نصفين متخاصمين وربما متحاربين، وامتلاك الغرب جسوراً تراهن على استمالة بعض النصف المحبط من النتائج والطاعن بصدقيتها، وكان السؤال المعاكس في طهران ماذا لو فاز الرئيس حسن روحاني بخطاب الثوابت الإيرانية نفسها، بالدفاع عن خيار المقاومة وحزب الله وتوصيف الأميركيين كمسؤولين عن الإرهاب، وتحميل دول الخليج مسؤولية تخريب الاستقرار في المنطقة؟ وكان الجواب، ستتوحّد إيران خلفه، وسيقف الروس والصينيون مع إيران بقوة، وسيرتبك الأوروبيون في تلبية الطلبات الأميركية.

– ليس مهماً مَن سأل ومَن أجاب في طهران، بقدر أهمية ان اللعبة الديمقراطية الإيرانية اتسعت لتظهير هذه النتيجة، وقد سمعنا الرئيس روحاني في خطاب الثوابت بعد فوزه، وسمعنا المواقف الأوروبية والدولية تتمنى عليه عدم الانجرار لحفلة التصعيد التي بدأتها ضد إيران قمم الرياض، واكتشف ترامب قبل انتهاء قمم الرياض أن المهمة قد انتهت وأن الخطة قد فشلت، وأن عليه المسارعة لحجز الأموال التي وعده السعوديون بها، وأن عليه الذهاب إلى القدس وبيت لحم في زيارة سياحية دينية وسياسية يتقاسم التهنئة مع نتنياهو بما حصدا من غنائم مالية وسياسية، فالمعركة ليست في الرياض ولا في القدس، فقد كانت في طهران وانتهت.

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Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis

Photo by thierry ehrmann | CC BY 2.0

After two days lecturing a collection of head-choppers, dictators, torturers and land thieves, Donald Trump at last met a good guy on Wednesday. Pope Francis didn’t ask for a $100bn (£77.2bn) arms deal for the Vatican. He wouldn’t go to war with Iran. He didn’t take the Sunni Muslim side against the Shia Muslim side in the next Middle East conflict. He didn’t talk about Palestinian “terror”. And he looked, most of the time, grim, unsmiling, even suspicious.

So he should have been. Trump’s broad, inane smile on confronting the Holy Father might have been more appropriate for the first of the Borgias, Alexander VI, whose 15th century womanising, corruption and enthusiasm for war would match Trump’s curriculum vitae rather well. But the poor man’s pope, who last year suggested that Trump wasn’t much of a Christian because he wanted to build walls, didn’t seem to be very happy to see the man who called him “disgraceful” for questioning his faith. “One offers peace through dialogue, the other security of arms,” one of Francis’ advisers said of the visit. Which pretty much sums it up.

It was indeed an odd sight to see the head of the Catholic church – whose anti-war, anti-corruption, anti-violence and pro-environment beliefs must surely now represent the secular world – greeting the present if very temporary leader of the secular world, whose policies are most surely not those of the Western people he would claim to represent. For more and more, the Good Old Pope is coming to represent what the Trumps and Mays will not say: that the West has a moral duty to end its wars in the Middle East, to stop selling weapons to the killers of the Middle East and to treat the people of the Middle East with justice and dignity.

No wonder the 29 minutes which the insane president and the sane pope spent together – Francis himself suggesting that they both keep away from the microphones – remain secret. Until, I suppose, Trump starts twittering again. They supposedly chatted about climate change, immigration, even arms sales. O fly upon the wall, speak up. And they talked, we are told, about “interreligious dialogue” and the need to protect Christians in the Middle East. They shared, we were finally informed, “a commitment to life, and freedom of speech and conscience” – which is more than most of Trump’s other hosts would have approved of these past two days.

Trump duly handed over a bunch of books by Martin Luther King which he hoped Pope Francis would enjoy – whether he had read them himself remains a mystery – and the Pope gave Trump some of his own writings on the environment. “Well, I’ll be reading them,” said the US President. A likely story.

When the Pope emerged from his private meeting with Trump, he was smiling in a relieved, almost charming way – like a man who had just left the dentist’s chair – and his joke with the veiled Melania about Croatian cookies, if not quite understood, showed that even a distressed pontiff can retain a sense of humor amid spiritual darkness. Trump thought it all “a great honor”. Not for the Pope, one imagines.

And there was the inevitable send-off from Trump, the kind he probably gave to all the greedy kings and criminals of the Middle East. “I won’t forget what you said,” he told Pope Francis as he left. O but he will, reader, he will.

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

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Trump Visits Bethlehem Bearing Gifts to Child Killers

Finian Cunningham

May 20, 2017

US President Donald Trump makes his first overseas visit this weekend, beginning in the Middle East and continuing to Europe. His tour to the “holy land” is being presented with feel-good, messianic spin.

Trump touches down first in Saudi Arabia, then will go Israel and from there make a pilgrimage to Bethlehem in the Palestinian territories. After his stop at the reputed birthplace of Jesus, the American president will then fly to the Vatican, where he will be greeted by Roman Catholic Pope Francis. He will later meet NATO military leaders in Brussels.

resenting the president’s Middle East itinerary like a momentous religious event, Trump’s senior national security adviser General HR McMaster said:

“This trip is truly historic. No president has ever visited the homelands and holy sites of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths all on the same trip. And what President Trump is seeking is to unite peoples of all faiths around a common vision of peace, progress and prosperity.”

The White House, reported the Washington Post, described it as “an effort to unite three of the world’s leading religious faiths in the common cause of fighting terrorism, reining in Iran and unifying the world against intolerance.”

Hold it. Screech the brakes on this Hollywood-type script of Saint Donald saving the world. What utter claptrap.

The main purpose of his sojourn is to cut a record arms deal with Saudi Arabia and the other closely aligned Gulf Arab monarchies. While in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, addressing regional leaders about “world peace,” Trump is set to sign off weapons deals worth $350 billion. That’s more than double what his predecessor Barack Obama flogged to the Saudi rulers during his presidency.

According to Bloomberg, topping the list of US arms transfers are warships, helicopter gunships, anti-missile systems and tanks.

The THAAD anti-missile system, recently debuted in South Korea, is said to be among the inventory for the Saudis and other Gulf states to the tune of $10 billion. The crisis in Korea provides a convenient sales pitch to the Saudis. Maybe that’s partly why the Trump administration has dangerously provoked the tensions in Asia, precisely to push through their THAAD sales in the Middle East.

In addition to the weapons purchases, the Saudi rulers are also promising to invest $40 billion from their oil-rich sovereign wealth funds in American companies.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and personal adviser, has been instrumental in lining up the mega sales, in conjunction with the Saudi deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The 30-year-old son of King Salman, who is also the defense minister, has been courting the Trump presidency ever since the election last November.

The Saudi prince, known as MBS by the Trump inner circle, is the chief strategist behind the Saudi war on Yemen since March 2015. That war is a blatant aggression on Yemen carried out by Saudi forces supplied by the US and Britain. Thousands of children have been killed in Saudi air strikes, using internationally banned cluster bombs in indiscriminate attacks on civilian centers.

Just days before Trump’s departure to the Middle East, Saudi air strikes reportedly killed 23 civilians, including six children, near the southern Yemeni city of Taiz.

Millions of other Yemeni children are dying from starvation and preventable diseases like cholera because of a naval blockade imposed on the country by Saudi and American forces. No doubt the new warships that Trump is lining up for Saudi Arabia will add to the “efficacy” of the genocide that is underway in Yemen.

With staggering cynicism, the Trump administration is “justifying” this ramped-up military support for Saudi Arabia as an effort to “fight terrorism” and to “counter Iranian meddling” in the region.

It is alleged that Iran is sponsoring militia in Yemen, Syria and Iraq and this is posing a threat to regional stability. Such claims are an insult to common intelligence, when we know that it is the American CIA and their Saudi client regime who have bankrolled and directed terrorism across the entire Middle East over many years in order to serve hegemonic interests of regime change.

But what is disturbing is just how braindead the Trump administration is. Trump is recklessly promoting the ridiculous fantasy that Saudi Arabia and its despotic terror-sponsoring clients are somehow the custodians of law and order. He is also pumping up the surreal Saudi narrative that Iran is largely responsible for the Middle East’s conflicts.

When the American president addresses Saudi and other Muslim leaders in Riyadh this weekend supposedly on the challenges of finding regional peace, two nations are banned from the gathering – Iran and Syria.

Saudi rulers have recently threatened Iran with fomenting a Syria-style proxy war inside Iran. The record arsenal of weapons that Trump is bringing to Saudi Arabia will only embolden its House of Saud tinpot dictators to pursue even more confrontation with Iran. Much of the small-arms weaponry that the Americans supply to Saudi Arabia already ends up in the hands of terror groups like Jabhat al Nusra and Daesh (so-called Islamic State).

There are perplexing signs that the US under Trump is ratcheting up military aggression toward Iran and its ally Syria. This week, US warplanes reportedly attacked Syrian armed forces and Iranian allies Hezbollah in southern Syria. It was the second such direct assault on Syria after Trump ordered Tomahawk missile strikes on the Shayrat airbase in April.

Syrian sources claim that the latest US air strike was carried out to protect militants being trained by American special forces inside Syrian territory. Those militants, known as Maghaweer al Thawra, are part of the Al Qaeda terror network, according to independent journalist Vanessa Beeley in email correspondence with this author.

Seems more than coincidence that the latest US operation was timed with Trump’s departure for Saudi Arabia. This is the kind of military action that the Saudis were constantly pushing the Obama administration to carry out. The strike on Iranian interests too will no doubt endear the new US commander-in-chief even more to his Saudi clients.

Trump’s messianic zeal to visit the Middle East – his first foreign destination being the dubious human rights “haven” Saudi Arabia – is all about flogging ever more deadly weapons to the already explosively-charged region. So desperate is Trump to pimp billions of dollars that he is willing to fuel war with Iran and perhaps Syria’s other ally, Russia, in the pursuit of lucre.

And to add further insult to injury, the whole tour of the “holy land” is being sold by the American government and media as some kind of benevolent religious duty to mankind and world peace.

The only “gifts” that Trump is bringing to Bethlehem and the region are ever more monstrous ways to murder children.

If Pope Francis had any integrity, or even news savvy, he should cancel Trump’s call at the Vatican, and explain exactly that child-killing regimes are not welcome.

Source: Sputnik

Donald of Arabia: Trump in the Middle East

Not since Ibn Batuta, travelled the Middle East in the 14th century has anyone set out with higher ambitions that Donald Trump. Batuta, a Moroccan Muslim traveller and scholar, had a few things in common with Trump. He reached what is now Saudi Arabia. He went to Jerusalem. He even had a keen eye for nubile ladies – there were a few wives, not to mention a Greek slave girl to be groped. But there the parallels end. For Ibn Batuta was sane.

Yet now we know that Trump thinks he’s touching the three monotheistic religions because he’s going to Riyadh, Jerusalem and then the Vatican (not quite in the Middle East but what’s a hundred miles for a guy like Trump). A few problems, of course. He can’t go to Holy Mecca because Christians are banned and the old king of Saudi Arabia represents a head-chopping Wahabi autocracy some of whose citizens have paid for – and fought alongside – the dreaded Isis which Trump thinks he is fighting.

Then when he goes to Jerusalem, he will meet Benjamin Netanyahu who hardly represents world Jewry and plans to go on thieving Arab lands in the West Bank for Jews, and Jews only, whatever Trump thinks. Then he’ll turn up at the Vatican to confront a man who – great guy though he may be – only represents Roman Catholics and doesn’t much like Trump anyway. Ibn Batuta was away from home for around a quarter of a century. Thank heavens Trump’s cutting that back to three days.

Of course, he’s no more going to be talking to “Islam” in Saudi Arabia than he is “Judaism” in Jerusalem. The Sunni Saudis are going to talk about crushing the “snake” of Shia Iran – and we must remember that Trump is the crackpot who shed crocodile tears over the Sunni babies killed in Syria last month but none for the Shia babies killed in Syria a few days later – and hope they can re-establish real relations between their execution-happy kingdom with the execution-happy US. Trump might just try to read UN rapporteur Ben Emmerson’s latest report on the imprisonment of human rights defenders and the torture of “terror” suspects in Saudi Arabia. No. Forget it.

Anyway, the king is no imam. Any more than Netanyahu is a rabbi. But Jerusalem will be a great gig because Trump will be able to ask Netanyahu for help against Isis without – presumably – realising that Israel bombs only the Syrian army and the Shia Hezbollah in Syria but has never – ever – bombed Isis in Syria. In fact, the Israelis have given medical aid to fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, which is part of al-Qaeda which (maybe Trump has heard of this) attacked the United States on 9/11. So maybe the Vatican will be a relief.

Of course, Trump might have dropped by Lebanon to meet Patriarch Beshara Rai, a Christian prelate who at least lives in the Middle East and who might have been able to tell Trump a few home truths about Syria. Or, since Trump would be “honoured” to meet the Great Leader of North Korea, he might even have shocked the world by dropping by for a couple of hours with Bashar al-Assad. At least Ibn Batuta got to Damascus.

But no, Trump is searching for “friends and partners” to fight “terrorism” – something which has never, of course, been inflicted on Yemen by Saudi Arabia or on Lebanon and the Palestinians by Israel. Nor will it be mentioned by the boys and girls of CNN, ABC and all the US media titans who will – in the interest of promoting their importance by pretending that their President is not mad – grovellingly follow their crackpot President around the region with all the usual nonsense about “policies” and “key players” and “moderates” (as in “moderate Saudi Arabia”) and all the other fantastical creatures which they inject into their reports.

Oh yes, and Trump also wants to bring “peace” to the Holy Land. And so he will move from the king of head choppers to the thief of Palestinian lands and end up with the poor old Holy Father who is wisely giving the President only a few early-morning minutes before his weekly general audience. Since the Pope described Trump’s views as “not Christian” – an unsaintly thing for Pope Francis to say of a mentally ill man – and Trump called the Pope’s words “disgraceful”, this is not going to be a barrel of laughs.

But then again, the Pope shook the hand of the Sultan of Egypt only a week ago, the equally saintly Field Marshal President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, whose coup overthrew an elected president and who now “disappears” his enemies. Trump should be a piece of cake after that. Ibn Batuta, by the way, got as far as Beijing in his travels but was never “honoured” to meet the “smart cookie” who was ruling in Korea (which did actually exist in the 14th century).

But being a verbose chap, Ibn Batuta did record his homecoming in these words: “I have indeed … attained my desire in this world, which was to travel through the Earth, and I have attained this honour, which no ordinary person has attained.” That’s a real “honour” by the way. But you couldn’t fit Ibn Batuta into a tweet.

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

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Emmanuel Macron & the Friends He Made on the Way to Elysée Palace

Darko LazarThe politically correct Pope Francis recently offered his two cents on France’s presidential election. During his flight back to Rome earlier this month, he told reporters that he knew one of the candidates was an extreme far-right conservative, but that he didn’t even know who the other candidate was or “where he came from”.

French Presidential candidate Emanuel Macron

Shortly afterwards, posts started popping up on social media networks, suggesting that the famously astute Jesuit couldn’t possibly be in the dark about Emmanuel Macron.

Perhaps the modern and emancipated pope felt that it wasn’t in his best interest to claim that France’s presidential frontrunner came straight from hell, as details about Macron’s backers and associates continued to shock the public.

“En Marche” or “Move on”?

Macron’s team is a reflection of the politics that the centrist candidate propagates – progressive ideas about multicultural societies, globalism, open borders, welcoming more migrants [cheap labor], and of course, a stronger Brussels.

His right-hand man, Pierre Bergé, who was ‘married’ to the late fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent and inherited his business empire, finances many of the world’s ‘progressive’ battles, longing for the day when religious occasions like Christmas and Easter will simply be referred to as winter and spring ‘holidays’.

Moreover, if statements by Macron guru and Elysée Palace insider Jacques Attali are anything to go by, the French have a rather peculiar future to look forward to.

In a 2014 interview with Italy’s La Repubblica, the French economist, philosopher and sociologist painted a picture of a world in which “human reproduction will be the job of machines”, and where a “surrogate mother can be anyone, even a person in the same family”.

Meanwhile, the head of Macron’s campaign and media tycoon, Bernard Mourad, served as a virtual guarantee that his candidate would enjoy an unprecedented level of positive media coverage.

Mourad, who was born to a Lebanese father and a Moroccan mother of Jewish descent, previously chaired the Altice Media Group, which controls a number of radio and television stations, as well as 60 dailies and magazines, including leading publications like Libération.

With the latter in mind, there is nothing particularly groundbreaking about this candidate or his agenda. As a matter of fact, analysts have pointed to the striking similarities between Macron’s ‘political ideals’ and those outlined by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, including the name of his En Marche party, which appears to be little more than a translation of Soros’ Move On organization.

The Gulf Connection

Reports claiming that Macron’s campaign received some 30% of its revenue from Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf were quickly debunked.

The mainstream media could finally claim a victory in the “fake news” war, and justifiably ignore meetings between Macron and members of the Saudi and Qatari royal families.

A March 2016 private encounter between Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Nayef and Macron was deemed unworthy of coverage by the mainstream press.

Equally ‘uninteresting’ was the news that Macron’s signature during his stint as France’s Minister of Economy and Finance approved the sale of 10 billion euros’ worth of arms to Riyadh.

On his watch, in fact, Saudi Arabia became the biggest single destination for French weapons systems. In 2015 alone, French commercial contracts with the Saudis reached a whopping USD 11.5 billion.

Macron’s lucrative links to the Qataris were also ignored.

The favorite in the race for France’s top job also happens to be a member of a small, informal club of Franco-Qatari investors and patrons.

In April 2016, Doha’s envoy to Paris described the 39-year-old as “a friendly, creative and innovative personality… the future is therefore his and I wish to Minister Macron all the successes in the service of his country and the strengthening of the relations of France with the friendly countries.”

And judging by the perks that the Qatari royal family enjoys in France, the Gulf monarchy certainly falls into the category of “friendly countries”.

Aside from purchasing billions of euros worth of trophy assets, ranging from the Champs-Elysees shopping mall to the Lido cabaret, the Qataris have also secured tax breaks in France. The concessions provide the Qatari investors with exemption from taxes on profits made when they eventually put the properties they purchased up for sale.

Similar investments, coming from the chief financiers of Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”] and al-Qaeda, have helped to radicalize Muslim communities across France, whose young men were used to fill the ranks of militant groups fighting in Syria.

As such, one of En Marche’s co-founders, Mohamed Saou, who also enjoys close links to radicals in the Muslim Brotherhood, became an easy target for Le Pen’s campaign.

Macron responded in an interview with Beur FM radio, during which he said that Saou “did one or two things that were more… radical…. but he’s a good guy otherwise”.

Behind these good guys and slogans of a multicultural world without borders are very dangerous agendas and policies, laying bare the notion that when it comes to foreign policy, there is clearly little divergence between En Marche and the worldview of George Soros and his empire.

Source: Al-Ahed News

06-05-2017 | 10:14

Goodbye Fidel

The Saker

November 27, 2016

by Jimmie Moglia 

“He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.”

Hamlet, act 1, sc. 2

Goodbye FidelFor many across the world, the death of Fidel Castro strikes us with an obscure sensation, like that which would be felt from the sound of darkness. And though expected, there was an indistinct unuttered hope that this news could be postponed to a future yet undated and unnamed. But,

“… all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity”

In some European countries, newspaper articles written before the death of some important figure, are called “crocodiles”, lumping together those lamenting or rejoicing at that death, whenever it may occur.

And as we know, the European historical left has disappeared, replaced by an assembly of sycophants, buttock-lickers of transatlantic masters, muddled applauders of neo-liberal philosophy and regurgitators of grotesque distortions.

In one of which distortions, for example, the inimical, colonial role of the US towards Cuba is not even mentioned. Instead, Castro is labeled as a doctrinarian, bent on absolute dictatorship, who became a Marxist and eliminated all his opponents. Even clashing with the ideas of Che Guevara who was forced to try his luck at a revolution somewhere else.

Nor is it mentioned that in some fields Cuba is the most advanced country in Latin America, notably medicine. Including, for example, Cuba’s critical contribution to the defeat of the Ebola virus. And other unique pharmaceutical innovations, such as the only available treatment that prevents the amputation of the so-called “diabetic foot.” Medication until recently unavailable in the US due to the siege of Cuba, usually referred to as “embargo.”

Therefore, the European “crocodiles” reflect the crass negation of factual reality, or rather an Orwellian reality inspired by the tenets of post-democracy, post-truth, post-mathematics and even post-statistics, as the recent, uniform and unanimous Clinton-the-winner polls by mainstream media and academia demonstrate.

Yet, by an unexpected turn of history, the Cuban revolution has meanings as relevant today as in the late 1950s. For the revolution aimed both at social reforms and national independence. Nor the reforms could have been possible without independence. For the presence of “the few who had all” and “the all who had nought” was inherently linked to the neo-colonial (today re-baptized neo-liberal) policy of the effective, de-facto imperial ruler, 90 miles away.

Just as today, allowing for a change in times and circumstances, we can consider the so-called “European Union” as a kind of pre-Castro territory ruled by the United States, via its perennial proxies, much as Latin America had always been, barring recent exceptions. Meaning that there can be no reforms without returning to national independence.

The US elites assumed that Castro’s revolution would result in a minimal restructure of the Cuban administration, leaving untouched the massive inequalities, the immense private land-holdings, the state of servitude and the bordello-economy (even portrayed by Hollywood). In other words, an orange-revolution to strengthen a banana republic – a structure held together by American interests, and by the military, when necessary, as in all other Latin American countries.

But “in the reproof of chance lies the true proof of men.” (2) Incredulous, bewildered and amazed with wonder at the turn of Cuban events, the US leadership developed the thesis that the Cuban revolution would die if they killed Fidel. And following his death, the hated socialism would collapse like a house of cards. As a keen commentator noted, the thesis was also a way to exorcize the unthinkable idea that a socially-inspired government could exist at a short distance from the imperial coast, and in the conditions created and imposed by the embargo.

The US elite could not accept, let alone explain the popular consensus of the Cuban people for and towards Fidel Castro. Who can forget the images of Revolution Square in Havana, filled to the brim by people intently listening to Fidel’s extended, eloquent and at times even amusing oratory?

Unable to create an ISIS before its times, the US engaged into a series of assassination attempts, that would even be laughable, were it not for the many people who died in the process.

“That he should die is worthy policy;
But yet we want a colour for his death”

Or so they thought, when they staged the Bay of Pigs invasion, supposedly attempted by “revolutionaries” in the payroll of the CIA. Invasion that also showed, after the fact, the lengths to which the parties responsible for the fiasco went, to cover their asses.

Nor we should forget Operation Northwood, intended to sink an American ship, kill American citizens on the mainland, and accuse Castro of the crimes. As we know, Kennedy rejected the program and it may have contributed to his assassination. Which, by extension, should also tell us some something about who did 9/11 and about the elephant in the room, that apparently no one in charge can see.

Much has been made by the Western media and governments that Castro stifled dissent. I remember clearly the words of Castro on the subject. We do not mind – he said – do not condemn or regret people who complain about this or that aspect of the government, because it is their government after all. But we cannot accept those people who are paid and financed by our enemies to work against our government.

After the experience of Ukraine (“We spent 5 billion $ to turn Ukraine into a “democracy” – said Victoria, f…k-the-Europeans, Nuland), who could still criticize Castro for his position on the issue?

He was accused of being a communist and a Russian ally. He actually wasn’t until the empire tried the Bay of Pigs invasion. The missile crisis, as we know, was both a result of the Bay of Pigs attempted invasion and of the US installation in Turkey of nuclear missiles aimed at the USSR.

Besides, the most recent historical developments have amply proven that communism was a convenient flag under which to conceal an inherent US-Western Russophobia, as evident in the current posture, political and military towards Russia, by the US and its minions. For a review of this subject see http://thesaker.is/the-ancient-spiritual-roots-of-russophobia/

Against Castro the US cabal tried it all and all was unsuccessfull. Eventually, they hoped that the fall of the USSR would lead to the fall of Cuba. They even had Pope Woytila visiting Havana, hoping that he would create there another Poland. Instead, he almost obtained the opposite effect. Contrary to relentless propaganda, Castro did not repress religion. But, as he expressed publicly to the Pope, the Catholic hierarchy, notably at the onset of the revolution sided with the oppressors, with the bordello keepers and the casino holders. Opposition to certain religious leaders does not mean opposition to religion, said Castro. Woytila was forced to declare, however platonically, against the embargo.

Still unable to explain the success of the Cuban revolution, some mainstream media pundits have now produced another theory. It was the very embargo that kept alive the Cuban regime.

Yet, these late hour explanations, the pleasure displayed at Castro’s death or the reflections on his regime are anachronistic. The system that for 60 years lay siege on Cuba and tried to kill her leader, seems to be sinking in its own contradictions, after the millions it killed worldwide and the commission of seemingly endless unspeakable crimes. A system so much depraved that the best it could produce for the world was a Clinton and a Trump. Along with the promise of new brothels, new oligarchs, new monopolists of consumerism and new XXI century Batistas. Which should be sufficient evidence that “something is rotten in the state of imperialism and neo-liberal economics.” (4)

While in Europe, a massively parasitic European parliament wants to censure (read ‘block’) politically unpalatable Internet channels. Perhaps it has not yet sunk into the minds of these people that the official media is but a sewer of lies and deception. And that for one censored site, uncounted more are ready to take over.

It was historically only yesterday when there was, effectively, only one media, with one message and one ideology. Other voices were unheard, for they were inaudible. And criticism was confined to metaphorically saying, “It is not nor it cannot come to good: but break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.’ (5)

Nevertheless, it is still true that,

“…. Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to the strength of spirit”

… the spirit that now is heard at large through the miracle of expanded electronic communications.

I will close by citing verbatim the homage to Fidel by George Galloway.

“Fidel Castro did not die. He is not dead, he lives-on in all of us and in the lives of our children, even though as yet unborn. And that is why these gold-tooth, scar faces are dancing in Miami today, because they think that they will be going be back to business as it was before.
The greatest legacy of Fidel Castro is that Cuba will never ever again be anybody’s casino, anybody’s bordello. It is a free country, thanks to the Cuban revolution and its leader Fidel Castro, one of the greatest human beings who ever lived, who ever walked this earth.
We were privileged to live in his era. Some of us were privileged to be his comrade and friend and to spend many hours with him.
He is not gone. Hasta la victoria siempre, Comandante Fidel Castro! Presente!”

  1. Hamlet
  2. Troilus and Cressida
  3. King Henry VI, part 2
  4. after Hamlet
  5. Hamlet
  6. Julius Caesar

In the play (opening quote). Hamlet’s comment on his father, slain by Hamlet’s uncle Claudius.

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