Hypocrisies About Refugees

July 05, 2019

Hypocrisies About Refugees

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

Here are two visuals from the latest annual U.N. report about the world’s refugee situation, “UNHCR Global Trends 2018”, and though these images don’t pack the emotional punch of a child’s corpse that has just been washed upon a beach after drowning when his family had attempted to escape from a country that the U.S. and its allies were ‘trying to make free’ by bombing it to hell, each of these two pictures below contains a much bigger and more important message than does any such tear-jerking image or anecdote, but each of these pictures requires a bit of intelligence in order to understand it:

The first picture shows the result of the U.S. regime’s regime-change wars under Obama and Trump, in Syria and Venezuela especially. (Syria by using Al Qaeda in Syria to lead jihadists to bring down the Government, and Venezuela by strangulating sanctions that have produced an economic blockade which prohibits food and medicine from being able to reach the population). The 9-year earlier “UNHCR Global Trends 2009”, which covered the end of the George W. Bush Presidency, had reported that “There were 43.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2009,” and that this was up from 42.0 million in 2008. The “UNHCR Global Trends 2007” said only that “available information suggests that a total of 67 million people had been forcibly displaced at the end of 2007”, and so there might have been a reduction during the later years of Bush’s Presidency. In any case, the number of “forcibly displaced people” was stable during the final years of Bush’s second term and the entirety of Barack Obama’s first term, until 2012. 2011 was the first year of the Arab Spring uprisings, which were a CIA production, as was documented by two books from Ahmed Bensada, each of which was well reviewed by Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, in her two articles, one on 18 January 2014, and the other on 25 October 2015. Of course, the impression that the American public was presented about the Arab Spring uprisings is that those were spontaneous. Actually, Obama came into office in 2009 hoping to overthrow Syria’s Government.

So, whereas the numbers had been stable for Obama’s first term of office, all hell broke loose throughout his second term, with his invasions of Libya and Syria, plus his continuation of George W. Bush’s occupations of both Afghanistan and Iraq. And, now, under Trump, the number is back again to GWB’s peak level and rising.

As I noted on June 30th under the headline “U.S. Government Tops All For Creating Refugees”, “the U.S. regime’s regime-change operations produce around half of the entire world’s refugee-problem.” That fact is shown in the second visual here. (Just look at Syria and Venezuela there.) What the first visual shows is that the U.S. regime’s attempts to overthrow the Governments of Syria and of Venezuela caused those global totals to soar. Those two nations alone accounted for nearly half of the global total, and part of the rest was from America’s prior invasions: Afghanistan, Iraq, the U.S.-backed coup in Honduras in 2009, etc. America’s invasions and attempted coups (such as in Venezuela) provided the dynamos that drove those rising numbers of refugees.

Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton at The Gray Zone headlined on June 19th, “This celebrated Western-funded nonprofit collaborated with al-Qaeda to wage lawfare on Syria” and documented how U.S.-and-allied billionaires and the U.S. Government fund “lawfare,” a war in international courts, and not only a huge international propaganda campaign to demonize Bashar al-Assad, in order to overthrow him. I had previously documented that “U.S. Protects Al Qaeda in Syria”. Actually, Obama bombed Syria’s army at the oil center city of Deir Ezzor on 17 September 2016 in order to enable both Al Qaeda and ISIS to take over that city. The U.S. team talk a storm against “terrorism” but quietly (along with the monarchs of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar) sponsor it as being “boots-on-the-ground” fighters — proxies there, instead of U.S. troops — to bring down leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad.

So, when the U.S. and its allies complain about the refugee crisis, and pontificate against “dictators,” and assert international law when they are the worst violators of international law, maybe they enjoy fooling their own public, but outside the U.S. alliance, their lying and evil are obvious. It even shows up clearly in the UNHCR’s statistics (such as those visuals). Obviously, China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and other nations that the U.S. regime labels as ‘enemies’, are not to blame for those tens of millions of refugees. The U.S. and its allies definitely are to blame for it. This isn’t a situation where the pot is calling the kettle black, but instead it’s one where the pot is calling the fresh-fallen snow black, and in which only propagandistic ’news’ media refuse to reveal this to their audiences. The snow is white, and the U.S. regime and its allies are red, covered with their tens of millions of victims’ blood and flaming misery.

International poll after international poll finds that the country which is considered to be “the greatest threat to peace in the world today” by the most people worldwide is the U.S., but that Americans don’t think it’s true. So: who is right? Americans? Or the rest of the world? Now, why would people outside the U.S. believe that way? Maybe it’s because of “communist propaganda”? The most important thing to recognize is that the U.S. is a dictatorship. That scientifically demonstrated fact explains a lot. None of these sanctions and coups and invasions against countries that had never invaded nor in any way endangered the U.S. could exist otherwise than this, because any dictatorship is based upon lies. Invading Iraq was based upon lies. Invading Afghanistan was based upon lies. Invading Syria was based upon lies. Invading Libya was based upon lies. The economic sanctions against Russia are based upon lies.American foreign policies are based upon lies. It’s no wonder, then, why Americans are so misinformed.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Much safer to be a protester in Hong Kong/China than in France

June 28, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The differences in handling the recent protests in Hong Kong and the weekly demonstrations in France illuminate an enormous democratic deficit between Western “liberal democratic” societies and non-Western “socialist democratic” ones.

It has been amazing to see how quickly the Hong Kong government – which under the “one country, two systems” system largely means the Chinese government (Hong Kong is officially a part of China) – acquiesced to public opinion after just two days of moderately-violent protests.

I am shocked. This is not because I falsely perceive Hong Kong or China as “anti-democratic”, but because every Saturday for months I have been dodging tear gas and rubber bullets in France. Hong Kong’s government backed down after barely more than a week of regular protests in the capital, whereas France has been unwilling to appease a protest movement which has lasted over seven months.

Almost immediately after protests turned violent, Hong Kong tabled the bill which proved so divisive, and their leader even apologised with the “utmost sincerity and humility”. What a contrast to French President Emmanuel Macron: Not only has Macron never apologised, but he did not even utter the words “Yellow Vests” in public until late April. His Interior Ministry can only be counted on to routinely remind Yellow Vests that they have “no regrets” about how the protests have been officially handled.

Hong Kong police reported that 150 tear gas canisters, several rounds of rubber bullets, and 20 beanbag shots were fired during the only day of serious violence. Conversely, a damning annual report this month from French police reported that 19,000 rubber bullets were fired in 2018 (up 200% from 2017), as were 5,400 shock grenades (up 300%).

Two things are appalling here: Firstly, the French government fired – at their own people, mostly for protesting neoliberal austerity – over 6,000 rubber bullets and 1,500 shock grenades in 2017. Shockingly violent protests were “normal” in France long before the Yellow Vests. Second: The Yellow Vests didn’t arrive until the final 6 weeks of 2018 – therefore, the increases and totals for 2019 will likely be 4-5 times than the already huge increases in 2018.

The latest tallies count 72 injuries and 30 arrests in Hong Kong – it was shock over this heavy-handed policing which led to the government’s intelligent move to restore order and democratic calm.

In France, the casualty figures are catastrophic: 850 serious injuries, 300 head injuries, 30 mutilations (loss of eye, hand or testicle). Someone passed out or vomiting is not counted as a “serious injury”, but if we included those hurt by tear gas, water cannons and police truncheons the number of injuries would undoubtedly approach six figures, as astronomical as that figure sounds. As far as arrests, France was at 9,000 on March 24, with nearly half receiving prison sentences. However, this count was announced before new, repressive orders were given to arrest democratic protesters even faster (more on this shortly). After interviewing for PressTV one of the rare lawyers courageous enough to openly criticise a French legal system which is obviously not “independent”, I estimate that over 2,000 Yellow Vests have already become political prisoners. More are obviously awaiting their trial, and more trials will obviously be convened.

Western mainstream media coverage of the two events is best described by a (modified) French saying: “one weight, two measures”. Hong Kongers are “freedom fighters” against a “tyrannical” and “totalitarian” Chinese system, whereas Yellow Vesters are routinely slurred in the West as thugs, anti-Semites and insensible anarchists.

Western media has no problem printing the turnout numbers of organisers… when it comes to Hong Kong. The Yellow Vests self-reported “Yellow Number”, and the turnout count of a courageous, openly anti-Macron police union were routinely ignored by the Mainstream Media until mid-April (here is Wikipedia’s tally of all three estimates, in French).

However, finally printing crowd counts from sources other than the (obviously self-interested) French Interior Ministry was clearly in keeping with the anti-Yellow Vest Mainstream Media: starting on March 23, France began deploying the military against French protesters, banning protests in urban centres nationwide (bans in rural areas began in early May), gave shocking orders for cops to “engage” (that is, “attack”) protesters, and also gave orders to make arrests more rapidly. Therefore, the outdated count of 9,000 could easily be vastly higher.

All the repression achieved what it was obviously intended to: scare French anti-government protesters away. Weekly protests averaged a quarter million people from January 1 until mid-March (cop union estimates), but after the harsh repression was announced until today protests averaged only 65,000 brave souls.

Western “independent” (and always-saintly) NGOs are no better than Western media: In a report released in late March, US-based Human Rights Watch had issued 131 articles, reports and statements on Venezuela – zero on France. The NGO is still totally silent on French repression.

Perhaps the most important question is: what are the protests about? On this issue there is also a huge difference: The protests in Hong Kong are over a law to extradite criminals, whereas in France the protests are over the criminal lack of public opinion in formulating public policy.

Those primarily threatened by Hong Kong’s law are financial criminals, as the island’s primary economic function is to serve as an England-dictated tax haven. This explains why exposed” tycoons are now rushing their wealth out of Hong Kong. Perhaps the primary initial complaint was that the law would damage Hong Kong’s “business climate”, which is undoubtedly why Western media – so supportive of neo-imperialism and rapacious neoliberal business practices – was so very opposed to the bill and so very supportive of the protesters.

Those primarily targeted by the Yellow Vests are also financial criminals – the anti-patriotic French bankers, politicians and journalists who have colluded to create a “Lost Decade” of economic growth even worse than either of Japan’s two examples. This decade of near-recession is being dramatically compounded by Francois Hollande’s and Macron’s executive decrees and socioeconomic “deforms” which are gutting France’s social safety net, working conditions and France’s tradition of being the only Western neo-imperialist nation which pursued relatively egalitarian economic policies (only domestically, of course).

So what can we learn from this comparison? We can fairly say that the differences are “cultural”, which is to say that they are linked to and produced by their political values.

On one hand we have Hong Kong’s Beijing-tied government – China operates on a “socialist democratic” model. The structure of their government, one easily finds from reading their constitution, has been deeply influenced by the early 20th century ideals of anti-imperialism and class struggle.

China has emphatically rejected the Western “liberal democratic” model, incarnated by France, which remains rooted in aristocratic, 18th century ideals, and which necessarily lacks the modern ideals of economic equality, gender and minority equality, democratic equality and the ability to prevent an oligarchic rule of the “1%”.

When it comes to China, Hong Kong and France, the numbers and data are so overwhelmingly one-sided that not much ink needs to be spilled in this column to draw the obvious conclusion: China’s socialist democratic system is obviously far, far more democratic than France’s.

The Chinese and Hong Kong model of democracy is far more responsive to the will of public opinion, and to the fundamental needs of their public, than France’s outdated, aristocratic, and fundamentally anti-democratic political system.

Perhaps this was not the case 100 years ago, but it is clearly the case in 2019.

However, much, much ink from other pens should be spilled to broadcast this conclusion, especially in hypocritical and deluded Western newsrooms.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of “I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China”.

Saudi Authorities Target Families of Activists: Deprived of Life!

By al-Ahed

Beirut – The Saudi authorities continue their escalatory policies to silence any voice demanding rights and justice. In the context of tightening the grip on peaceful activists, the Saudi regime continues its oppressive measures against their families. It is preventing the families of those “wanted” from basic services, punishing them for their rightful activism.

According to information obtained by al-Ahed news, the Saudi authorities are banning families of activists from the governmental services, as well as depriving them of traveling or obtaining any personal document such as a passport or an identity card.

The families are also deprived of issuing identity and health cards belonging to their children, making it impossible for them to receive any kind of medical treatment or even entering hospitals.

The measures are practiced against the mothers, fathers, siblings, wives and children of those “wanted”, and include the educational services, banning them even from registering them at schools.

Not to mention, they are also being targeted financially as they are not allowed to renew their bank cards once they are expired, leading eventually to close their entire bank accounts, and logically, stop their living and daily affairs…

New Multimedia Site Tells Story of US-Led Coalition’s Destruction of Syria’s Raqqa

ST

Created on Monday, 10 June 2019 14:02

Ruins of Liberation’ site gives rare behind-the-scenes look at Amnesty’s work amid the ruins of Raqqa.

June 6th marked the second anniversary of the so-called Washington-led “anti-ISIS operation” which killed at least 1,600 civilians

I witnessed a level of destruction not comparable to anything I’ve seen in decades of covering the impact of war’ – Donatella Rovera, Amnesty researcher.

Marking the second anniversary of the start of the US-led Coalition’s military offensive in Raqqa, Syria, Amnesty International has launched “The Ruins of Liberation” – a multimedia storytelling site giving a behind-the-scenes look at its investigations in the bombed-out city.

Panos photographer Andrea DiCenzo accompanied Amnesty’s Senior Crisis Response Advisor Donatella Rovera on a visit to Raqqa this February, documenting her investigation, according to the Amnesty International website.

Images by DiCenzo and Rovera are combined with audio commentary, with Rovera giving an intimate description of the people she met and the reality she exposed.

Rovera and her fellow researchers – including a team of specialists in remote sensing and open-source investigation – have investigated the Raqqa military campaign for over 18 months. They visited more than 200 strike sites, interviewed more than 400 survivors and witnesses, and released several reports, culminating in an unprecedented investigation in partnership with Airwars that documented the deaths of more than 1,600 civilians as a result of Coalition attacks – far more than the 180 deaths the Coalition has so far admitted.

Amnesty UK Director Kate Allen, who was in Raqqa recently, described the city – two years on from the start of the battle – as still “completely devastated”.

Donatella Rovera said in her report published by the Amnesty International website on Thursday, June 6th, 2019:

“On the ground in Raqqa, I witnessed a level of destruction not comparable to anything I’ve seen in decades of covering the impact of war.

“This site brings home the reality of the suffering I encountered and explains why I kept returning: to seek justice for civilians trying to piece together their lives.

“Two years on, the US-led Coalition must investigate the full scale of civilian casualties it caused, and ensure victims and their families receive full reparation and compensation.”

Amnesty UK Director Kate Allen, who was in Raqqa recently, described the city – two years on from the start of the battle – as still “completely devastated.”

The US-led Coalition’s campaign allegedly to oust the “Islamic State” armed [terror] group from Raqqa was among the most destructive in modern warfare. The offensive – lasting from 6 June to 17 October 2017 and led by US, UK and French forces – killed and injured thousands of residents, and reduced homes, businesses and infrastructure to rubble.

Civilians trapped by the fighting were prevented from fleeing by ISIS snipers and mines. Many were killed in their homes by the Coalition’s air bombardments and indiscriminate artillery strikes. Despite this, then Coalition commander Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend claimed the offensive had been “the most precise air campaign in history”.

H.M

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Qatar: Saudi-Led Bans Worsening Human Rights Situation

By Staff, Agencies

A high-ranking Qatari official says the continuation of a dispute initiated by a Saudi-led quartet of Arab states with her country would heighten the risk of human rights violations, and undermine the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC].

“Ever since the Gulf crisis started, the countries of embargo – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates [UAE] – have sought to put the status quo on a normal footing through a series of unfair measures against Qatari citizens, and in violation of humanitarian principles and international law. Among the objectives of normalization of the crisis by the countries of blockade was to damage the economy of state of Qatar. Nevertheless, these states have failed despite their diligent attempts. The continuation of the crisis will undermine the GCC and exacerbate violation of human rights,” the spokeswoman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry Lolwah Rashid al-Khater said in an exclusive interview with London-based and pan-Arab media outlet al-Araby al-Jadeed on Wednesday.

“When it comes to meetings at military and security levels within the framework of Arab, Islamic, international and even GCC summits, the State of Qatar is committed to cooperation,” Khater pointed out.

She went on to say that her country “follows the policy of open doors on dialogue and political understanding and convergence of views.”

“Qatar does not want to break up ties with anyone, because there are stronger ties in the Gulf region that cannot be cut despite the continuation of the crisis over the past two years,” the Qatari foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

“We are already evaluating our strategies and would not rely on the embargo countries, even if relations are restored,” she highlighted.

“We are aware that the continuation of the Gulf crisis will open up cracks in the GCC, which is supposed to be the first player concerning the treatment of crises and convergence of views among member states. We have always welcomed a constructive dialogue based on respect for sovereignty,” Khater said.

She stressed that Kuwait’s Emir Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah is still exerting intensive efforts to mediate between the disputing parties.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, after officially accusing it of “sponsoring terrorism”.

The administration of the Saudi-backed and former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Libya, the Maldives, Djibouti, Senegal and the Comoros later joined the camp in ending diplomatic ties with Doha. Jordan downgraded its diplomatic relations as well.

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry later announced that the decision to cut diplomatic ties was unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions.

On June 9, 2017, Qatar strongly dismissed allegations of supporting terrorism after the Saudi regime and its allies blacklisted dozens of individuals and entities purportedly associated with Doha.

Later that month, Saudi Arabia and its allies released a 13-point list of demands, including the closure of al-Jazeera television network and downgrade of relations with Iran, in return for the normalization of diplomatic relations with Doha.

The document also asked Qatar to sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement.

Qatar rejected the demands as “unreasonable.”

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Farage vs. Corbyn – Richie Allen and Gilad Atzmon delve into the post-political condition

May 24, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

Richie is joined by the musician, author and political commentator Gilad Atzmon. In a provocative and insightful article on gilad.co.uk this week, Gilad writes; “How it is that once again a right wing populist has won the minds and hearts of working people? How is it possible that Jeremy Corbyn, who was perceived by many of us as the greatest hope in Western politics, has managed, in less than three years, to make himself an irrelevant passing phase? How is it possible that the Right consistently wins when the conditions exist for a textbook socialist revolution? Nigel Farage, Britain’s Donald Trump character, is by far the most significant man in British politics. Farage stood up against the entire political establishment, including the media and the commercial elites and has promised to change British politics once and for all. So far, it seems he is winning on all fronts.” This is a must-listen interview.

Support The Richie Allen Show by donating at www.richieallen.co.uk Richie has been producing and presenting television and radio programs for the best part of twenty years. The Richie Allen Show airs Monday – Thursday at 5 PM GMT and at 11 AM UK Time each Sunday.


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War on Qatif: Demolishing Al-Thawra Neighborhood, The Cradle of Peaceful Protests…

By Latifa al-Husseini

The Saudi authorities are escalating their arbitrary measures against the people of al-Qatif eastern province and its towns. Random detentions, executions and raids in the eastern province contradict all humanitarian, ethical, rights and internationally-recognized legal standards.

The Saudi security apparatuses are implementing the royal orders they are receiving, imposing the rulings militarily and violently against safe civilians at their homes, those civilians who don’t enjoy the freedom of objecting to those tyrannical rulings.

The regime’s scheme goes beyond oppressing the opposition members or those trying to voice objection to the Al Saud’s family. The issue is way more dangerous as the information obtained from inside Saudi Arabia suggest a sectarian proposal the Saudi regime tends to apply in al-Qatif against its people’s will.

An insider source told al-Ahed News that the “security sources are on the brink of razing hundreds of houses inside Qatif, namely those located in al-Thawra Street to displace thousands of residents like the issue of razing the al-Mosawara neighborhood back in 2017.”

Apparently, the Saudi authorities claim implementing a developmental plan that includes charitable projects, in an attempt to gain some popular support, but what is hidden is worse. The source stresses to al-Ahed that in this context, “the Saudi regime seeks to change the Shia demographic formation in the region to weaken the biggest portion of the people; the original landowners, by nationalizing foreigners and intruders.”

The source further links the anticipated plan with the popular movement of 2012. What is meant here is to eliminate the symbolism it used to represent, especially that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman seeks to muzzle people and silence any voice of opposition by detaining or killing them afar from the judicial system.”

“The goal behind destroying houses and displacing their people is way beyond the Saudi media claims of chasing terrorist groups, according to them. The issue, as simple as it is, is that the Saudi regime is waging a sectarian war under the strategy of dominating people by dividing them, in which it is distracting the people with “reformative” religious instructions, although it is manipulating the governance as well as the people’s resources and wealth,” the source tells al-Ahed.

According to the source, the direct responsible for the scheme of razing the houses is the King and his heir. “The scheme is managed, under their order, by their affiliated spies and tradesmen in al-Qatif. They want to harm all walks of the people living inside those houses, including the youths who long for obtaining the simplest aspects of a dignified life Al Saud has stolen from them by force someday; the families of the activists who took to the al-Thawra street in 2011.”

While people were informed about the scheme, the source explains that “there were reports on those malicious intents, but the people refused to leave their houses for many reasons, including that the compensations supposed to be paid for them are not convenient with the inflation as well as hiking house prices. Hence, the family that leaves its home cannot buy another one with the amount of money it will receive in exchange of the razing; they can only rent a house.”

The source affirms that the “Saudi regime doesn’t care for those issues, it only continue its oppression by destroying and razing houses against their owners’ wills.”

The provided information signal a scheme similar to previous ones in other neighborhoods and streets. The historic al-Mosawara neighborhood is a good evidence to remember.

 

To read the Arabic version click here

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