Freedom of Expression: Good for the Western Goose, Forbidden for the Muslim Gander

By Kim Petersen

Source

Aussie soldier gulping beer 43f4f

When French President Emmanuel Macron was pilloried in some quarters for defending freedom of expression as a French value, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison backed his European counterpart: “We share values. We stand for the same things.” This professed French/Australian value for freedom of expression has now come back to bite the backside of the Australian prime minister.

When it comes to publication of inflammatory western depictions of the prophet Mohammed that raise the ire of many Muslims worldwide, many western voices will step forth to defend freedom of expression. However, this fidelity to the freedom of expression will often change when what is being expressed casts the West in a negative light; a case in point being an image of an Australian soldier slitting a Muslim child’s throat.

News.com.au featured a 60 Minutes Australia report about “disturbing allegations of the murder of children and a ‘killing as a sport’ culture” among Australian fighters deployed in Afghanistan.

A sociologist, Samantha Crompvoets, spent months interviewing Special Forces soldiers about alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. Among the insouciant acts noted were soldiers tallying their kills on wall boards — kills that included civilians and prisoners.

60 Minutes described the killers as a “rogue band” of special forces soldiers. One especially “disturbing allegation” described how Australian Special Forces soldiers mercilessly slit the throats of 14-year-old boys, bagged their bodies, and tossed them in a river.

Guardian exclusive exposed depravity with a photo of an Australian soldier drinking beer from a Taliban fighter’s prosthetic leg.

The findings by Crompvoets and the 60 Minutes report were corroborated by the Australian government’s redacted Brereton Report of “possibly the most disgraceful episode in Australia’s military history”:

… 39 unlawful killings by or involving ADF members. The Report also discloses separate allegations that ADF members cruelly treated persons under their control. None of these alleged crimes was committed during the heat of battle. The alleged victims were non-combatants or no longer combatants.

What particularly stuck in the craw of political Australia was a tweet by a Chinese official, Zhao Lijian, of a gruesome throat-slitting image.

Australian prime minister Morrison was apoplectic, calling the post “repugnant,” “deeply offensive to every Australian, every Australian who has served in that uniform,” “utterly outrageous,” and unjustifiable noting that it was a “false image.” Morrison demanded an apology from the Chinese government, the firing of Zhao Lijian, and for Twitter to remove the post.

“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever, the Chinese Government should be totally ashamed of this post,” Morrison said.

First, calling the image false is deflection because anyone who gives more than a cursory glance to the image will right away realize that it is has been photo-shopped and does not purport in any way to be an untouched photograph.

Second, the Australian prime minister obviously has backward moral priorities. I submit that what should be deeply offensive to Morrison and every human being — not just Australians — and especially offensive for every Australian who has served in the Australian military are the egregious war crimes committed by those wearing the same uniform. The starting and focal point for condemnation must be the war crimes. Logically, if the spate of gruesome war crimes had not been committed by Australians in uniform, then outcry at the crimes would not have been filliped.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did address the outrage by Morrison in a TV address.

“These cruel crimes have been condemned by the international community,” said Hua.

“The Australian government should do some soul searching and bring the culprits to justice, and offer an official apology to the Afghan people and make the solemn pledge that they will never repeat such crimes. Earlier, they said the Chinese government should feel ashamed but it is Australian soldiers who committed such cruel crimes.”

“Shouldn’t the Australian government feel ashamed? Shouldn’t they feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians?”

According to Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani, Morrison did express — not a full-fledged apology — but “his deepest sorrow over the misconduct by some Australian troops.” Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne also wrote to her Afghan counterpart to extend “apologies for the misconduct identified by the inquiry, by some Australian military personnel in Afghanistan.” The wording would seem to diminish the atrocities as “misconduct.” There is also a overarching emphasis that the crimes were committed by some troops, seeking to exculpate the bulk of the troops from bad apples among them.

It would seem Australia is trying to distract from its horrendous war crimes. Colloquially put, Australia’s political honcho is trying to cover the military’s bare ass.

World Socialist Web Site was scathing in denouncing the Australian Establishment’s response,

The tweet by a mid-ranking Chinese official, condemning Australian war crimes in Afghanistan, has been met with hysterical denunciations by the entire political and media establishment. The response can only be described as a staggering exercise in hypocrisy, confected outrage and an attempt to whip-up a wartime nationalist frenzy.

The illustration is based on an investigative report by the Australian Department of Defense, Hua pointed out, noting that “although it is a painting, it reflects the facts.”

Hua pointed to Morrison’s real purpose: to divert attention and shift pressure from Australian war crimes to criticism of China.

Australia Liberal MP Andrew Hastie preferred that the war crimes had been kept buried. Hastie (who as a captain in the Special Air Services was cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation into soldiers under his command who chopped the hands off dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan) criticized the Australian Defence Force for releasing allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, saying it has allowed China to malign Australian troops.

Bipartisan support was forthcoming for Australian government indignation as Labor leader Anthony Albanese also criticized the image and shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong called it “gratuitous” and “inflammatory.”

Prosecuting Western War Crimes

At the end of World War II war crimes tribunals were set up. In Europe there was the Nuremberg Tribunal and in Asia the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. It was victor’s justice and no Allies were tried. This although the United States and, to a lesser degree France, engaged in a deliberate policy of starving German prisoners of war (who the US re-designated as disarmed enemy forces to evade the Geneva Conventions on POWs, as president George W Bush would later similarly do in Afghanistan when he refused to recognize POWs, labeling them instead as unlawful enemy combatants) and civilians. Germans stated that over 1,700,000 soldiers alive at the end of the war never returned home.

In the Far East, there were no allies prosecuted at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. It must be noted that just as Nazi scientists were brought back to work at the behest of the US, class A Japanese war criminals were also protected by the US from prosecution.

Australia is not alone in the commission of war crimes. Canadian Airborne Regiment troops tied and blind-folded 16-year-old Shidane Arone, beat him with a metal bar, and burned with cigarellos for hours (he was later found to have burns on his penis), and took “trophy pics.” Arone was dead the following morning. The Canadian Airborne Regiment would be disbanded. US war crimes are numerous. They include My Lai in Viet Nam, Bagram in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, etc.

Western war criminals are seldom punished, or when punished, then not in a meaningful way proportionate to the crimes committed. In fact, if you expose the war crimes perpetrated by a western allied country, then you risk becoming targeted for imprisonment. Such is the situation that Julian Assange finds himself in today. Although an Australian citizen, Morrison has been unsympathetic to the WikiLeaks founder and publisher who exposed egregious US war crimes. Said Morrison, “Mr Assange will get the same support that any other Australian would … he’s not going to be given any special treatment.”

This is what adherence to the tenet of freedom of expression genuinely signifies in much of the western world. In other words, freedom of expression is good for the western goose but bad when it is for the Muslim gander.

For further background view the damning allegations of serious war crimes, including the execution of innocent civilians and detainees.

Social media’s erasure of Palestinians is a grim warning for our future

Jonathan Cook

26 October 2020 12:39 UTC 

Facebook, Google and Twitter are not neutral platforms. They control the digital public square to aid the powerful – and can cancel any of us overnight

Palestinian critics say Facebook has become ‘another face of occupation’ (AFP/File photo)

There is a growing unease that the decisions taken by social media corporations can have a harmful impact on our lives. These platforms, despite enjoying an effective monopoly over the virtual public square, have long avoided serious scrutiny or accountability. 

In a new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, former Silicon Valley executives warn of a dystopian future. Google, Facebook and Twitter have gathered vast quantities of data on us to better predict and manipulate our desires. Their products are gradually rewiring our brains to addict us to our screens and make us more pliable to advertisers. The result, as we are consigned to discrete ideological echo chambers, is ever greater social and political polarisation and turmoil.

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them

As if to underline the ever-tightening grip these tech corporations exert on our lives, Facebook and Twitter decided this month to openly interfere in the most contentious US presidential election in living memory. They censored a story that could harm the electoral prospects of Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger to incumbent President Donald Trump. 

Given that nearly half of Americans receive their news chiefly via Facebook, the ramifications of such a decision on our political life were not hard to interpret. In excising any debate about purported corruption and influence-peddling by Biden’s son, Hunter, carried out in his father’s name, these social media platforms stepped firmly into the role of authoritarian arbiter of what we are allowed to say and know. 

‘Monopoly gatekeeper’

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them. But if we wish to understand where this ultimately leads, there is no better case study than the very different ways Israelis and Palestinians have been treated by the tech giants. 

The treatment of Palestinians online serves as a warning that it would be foolish indeed to regard these globe-spanning corporations as politically neutral platforms, and their decisions as straightforwardly commercial. This is to doubly misunderstand their role.How Facebook threatens vulnerable Muslim communities Read More »

Social media firms are now effectively monopolistic communication grids – similar to the electricity and water grids, or the phone network of a quarter of a century ago. Their decisions are therefore no longer private matters, but instead have huge social, economic and political consequences. That is part of the reason why the US justice department launched a lawsuit last week against Google for acting as a “monopoly gatekeeper for the internet”. 

Google, Facebook and Twitter have no more a right to arbitrarily decide who and what they host on their sites than telecoms companies once had a right to decide whether a customer should be allowed a phone line. But unlike the phone company, social media corporations control not just the means of communication, but the content too. They can decide, as the Hunter Biden story shows, whether their customers get to participate in vital public debates about who leads them.

The Hunter Biden decision is as if the phone company of old not only listened in to conversations, but was able to cut the line if it did not like the politics of any particular customer. 

In fact, it is even worse than that. Social media now deliver the news to large sections of the population. Their censoring of a story is more akin to the electricity company turning off the power to everyone’s homes for the duration of a TV broadcast to ensure no one can see it.

Censorship by stealth

The tech giants are the wealthiest, most powerful corporations in human history, their riches measured in hundreds of billions, and now trillions, of dollars. But the argument that they are apolitical – aiming simply to maximise profits – was never true. 

They have every reason to promote politicians who side with them by committing not to break up their monopolies or regulate their activities, or, better still, by promising to weaken controls that might prevent them from growing even more fabulously rich and powerful. 

Social media algorithms help drive decisions on content removal (AFP/File photo)
Social media algorithms help drive decisions on content removal (AFP/File photo)

Conversely, the tech giants also have every incentive to use the digital space to penalise and marginalise political activists who urge greater regulation either of their activities, or of the marketplace more generally. 

Unlike their explicit deletion of the Hunter Biden story, which incensed the Trump administration, social media corporations more usually censor by stealth. That power is wielded through algorithms, the secret codes that decide whether something or someone appears in a search result or on a social media feed. If they desire, these tech titans can cancel any one of us overnight. 

This is not just political paranoia. The disproportionate impact of algorithm changes on “left-leaning” websites – those most critical of the neoliberal system that has enriched social media corporations – was highlighted this month by the Wall Street Journal. 

Wrong kinds of speech

Politicians increasingly understand the power of social media, which is why they want to harness it as best they can for their own ends. Since the shock of Trump’s election victory in late 2016, Facebook, Google and Twitter executives have regularly found themselves dragged before legislative oversight committees in the US and UK.

There, they are ritually rebuked by politicians for creating a crisis of “fake news” – a crisis that, in fact, long predated social media, as the deceptions of US and UK officials in linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and claiming that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” testify to only too clearly. 

The online fate of Palestinians points to a future in which the already-powerful will gain ever greater control over what we know and what we are allowed to think

Politicians have also begun holding internet corporations responsible for “foreign interference” in western elections – typically blamed on Russia – despite a dearth of serious evidence for most of their allegations

Political pressure is being exerted not to make the corporations more transparent and accountable, but to steer them towards enforcing even more assiduously restrictions on the wrong kinds of speech – whether it be violent racists on the right or critics of capitalism and western government policy on the left.

For that reason, social media’s original image as a neutral arena of information sharing, or as a tool for widening public debate and increasing civic engagement, or as a discourse leveller between the rich and powerful and weak and marginalised, grows ever more hollow.

Separate digital rights

Nowhere are ties between tech and state officials more evident than in their dealings with Israel. This has led to starkly different treatment of digital rights for Israelis and Palestinians. The online fate of Palestinians points to a future in which the already-powerful will gain ever greater control over what we know and what we are allowed to think, and over who is visible and who is erased from public life.

Israel was well-positioned to exploit social media before most other states had recognised its importance in manipulating popular attitudes and perceptions. For decades, Israel had, in part, outsourced an official programme of hasbara – or state propaganda – to its own citizens and supporters abroad. As new digital platforms emerged, these partisans were only too willing to expand their role.Facebook accused of censoring Palestinians under pretext of fighting hate speech Read More »

Israel had another advantage. After the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, Israel began crafting a narrative of state victimhood by redefining antisemitism to suggest it was now a particular affliction of the left, not the right. So-called “new antisemitism” did not target Jews, but related instead to criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights. 

This highly dubious narrative proved easy to condense into social media-friendly soundbites. 

Israel still routinely describes any Palestinian resistance to its belligerent occupation or its illegal settlements as “terrorism”, and any support from other Palestinians as “incitement”. International solidarity with Palestinians is characterised as “delegitimisation” and equated with antisemitism. 

‘Flood the internet’

As far back as 2008, it emerged that a pro-Israel media lobby group, Camera, had been orchestrating covert efforts by Israel loyalists to infiltrate the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to edit entries and “rewrite history” in ways favourable to Israel. Soon afterwards, politician Naftali Bennett helped organise courses teaching “Zionist editing” of Wikipedia. 

In 2011, the Israeli army declared social media a new “battleground” and assigned “cyber warriors” to wage combat online. In 2015, Israel’s foreign ministry set up an additional command centre to recruit young, tech-savvy former soldiers from 8200, the army’s cyber intelligence unit, to lead the battle online. Many have gone on to establish hi-tech firms whose spying software became integral to the functioning of social media.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a 2019 cyber industry conference in Tel Aviv (AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a 2019 cyber industry conference in Tel Aviv (AFP)

An app launched in 2017, Act.IL, mobilised Israel partisans to “swarm” sites hosting either criticism of Israel or support for Palestinians. The initiative, supported by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, was headed by veterans of Israeli intelligence services. 

According to the Forward, a US Jewish weekly, Israel’s intelligence services liaise closely with Act.IL and request help in getting content, including videos, removed by social media platforms. The Forward observed shortly after the app was rolled out: “Its work so far offers a startling glimpse of how it could shape the online conversations about Israel without ever showing its hand.”

Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military censor who was then assigned to Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, said the goal was to “create a community of fighters” whose job was to “flood the internet” with Israeli propaganda

Willing allies

With advantages measured in personnel numbers and ideological zeal, in tech and propaganda experience, and in high-level influence in Washington and Silicon Valley, Israel was soon able to turn social media platforms into willing allies in its struggle to marginalise Palestinians online.  

In 2016, Israel’s justice ministry was boasting that Facebook, Google and YouTube were “complying with up to 95 percent of Israeli requests to delete content”, almost all of it Palestinian. The social media companies did not confirm this figure.

The Anti-Defamation League, a pro-Israel lobby group with a history of smearing Palestinian organisations and Jewish groups critical of Israel, established a “command centre” in Silicon Valley in 2017 to monitor what it termed “online hate speech”. That same year, it was appointed a “trusted flagger” organisation for YouTube, meaning its reporting of content for removal was prioritised. 

Tech corporations are now the undeclared, profit-driven arbiters of our speech rights. But their commitment is not to open and vigorous public debate

At a 2018 conference in Ramallah hosted by 7amleh, a Palestinian online advocacy group, local Google and Facebook representatives barely hid their priorities. It was important to their bottom line to avoid upsetting governments with the power to constrain their commercial activities – even if those governments were systematically violating international law and human rights. In this battle, the Palestinian Authority carries no weight at all. Israel presides over Palestinians’ communications and internet infrastructure. It controls the Palestinian economy and its key resources.

Since 2016, Israel’s justice ministry has reportedly suppressed tens of thousands of Palestinian posts. In a completely opaque process, Israel’s own algorithms detect content it deems “extremist” and then requests its removal. Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested by Israel over social media posts, chilling online activity. 

Human Rights Watch warned late last year that Israel and Facebook were often blurring the distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and incitement. Conversely, as Israel has shifted ever further rightwards, the Netanyahu government and social media platforms have not stemmed a surge of posts in Hebrew promoting anti-Palestinian incitement and calling for violence. 7amleh has noted that Israelis post racist or inciteful material against Palestinians roughly every minute. 

News agencies shut down

As well as excising tens of thousands of Palestinian posts, Israel has persuaded Facebook to take down the accounts of major Palestinian news agencies and leading journalists. 

By 2018, the Palestinian public had grown so incensed that a campaign of online protests and calls to boycott Facebook were led under the hashtag “FBcensorsPalestine”. In Gaza, demonstrators accused the company of being “another face of occupation”. Leila Khaled shutdown shows how corporate tech is enemy of free speechRead More »

Activism in solidarity with Palestinians in the US and Europe has been similarly targeted. Ads for films, as well as the films themselves, have been taken down and websites removed. 

Last month, Zoom, a video conferencing site that has boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic, joined YouTube and Facebook in censoring a webinar organised by San Francisco State University because it included Leila Khaled, an icon of the Palestinian resistance movement now in her seventies.

On Friday, Zoom blocked a second scheduled appearance by Khaled – this time in a University of Hawaii webinar on censorship – as well as a spate of other events across the US to protest against her cancellation by the site. A statement concerning the day of action said campuses were “joining in the campaign to resist corporate and university silencing of Palestinian narratives and Palestinian voices”.

The decision, a flagrant attack on academic freedom, was reportedly taken after the social media groups were heavily pressured by the Israeli government and anti-Palestinian lobby groups, which labelled the webinar “antisemitic”.

Wiped off the map

The degree to which the tech giants’ discrimination against Palestinians is structural and entrenched has been underscored by the years-long struggle of activists both to include Palestinian villages on online maps and GPS services, and to name the Palestinian territories as “Palestine”, in accordance with Palestine’s recognition by the United Nations. 

That campaign has largely floundered, even though more than a million people have signed a petition in protest. Both Google and Apple have proved highly resistant to these appeals; hundreds of Palestinian villages are missing from their maps of the occupied West Bank, while Israel’s illegal settlements are identified in detail, accorded the same status as the Palestinian communities that are shown. 

New houses are built in the Nokdim settlement in the occupied West Bank on 13 October (AFP)
New houses being built in the Nokdim settlement in the occupied West Bank on 13 October (AFP)

The occupied Palestinian territories are subordinated under the name “Israel”, while Jerusalem is presented as Israel’s unified and undisputed capital, just as Israel claims – making the occupation of the Palestinian section of the city invisible. 

These are far from politically neutral decisions. Israeli governments have long pursued a Greater Israel ideology that requires driving Palestinians off their lands. This year, that dispossession programme was formalised with plans, backed by the Trump administration, to annex swathes of the West Bank. 

Google and Apple are effectively colluding in this policy by helping to erase Palestinians’ visible presence in their homeland. As two Palestinian scholars, George Zeidan and Haya Haddad, recently noted: “When Google and Apple erase Palestinian villages from their navigation, but proudly mark settlements, the effect is complicity in the Israeli nationalist narrative.” 

Out of the shadows

Israel’s ever-tightening relationship with social media corporations has played out largely behind the scenes. But these ties moved decisively out of the shadows in May, when Facebook announced that its new oversight board would include Emi Palmor, one of the architects of Israel’s online repression policy towards Palestinians. 

Palestinians know only too well how easy it is for technology to diminish and disappear the voices of the weak and oppressed, and to amplify the voices of the powerful

The board will issue precedent-setting rulings to help shape Facebook’s and Instagram’s censorship and free speech policies. But as the former director-general of the justice ministry, Palmor has shown no commitment to online free speech. Quite the reverse: she worked hand-in-hand with the tech giants to censor Palestinian posts and shut down Palestinian news websites. She oversaw the transformation of her department into what the human rights organisation Adalah has called the Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”. 

Tech corporations are now the undeclared, profit-driven arbiters of our speech rights. But their commitment is not to open and vigorous public debate, online transparency or greater civic engagement. Their only commitment is to the maintenance of a business environment in which they avoid any regulation by major governments infringing on their right to make money.

The appointment of Palmor perfectly illustrates the corrupting relationship between government and social media. Palestinians know only too well how easy it is for technology to diminish and disappear the voices of the weak and oppressed, and to amplify the voices of the powerful. 

Many more of us could soon find ourselves sharing the online fate of Palestinians.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

الإرهاب ليس إسلامياً

بثينة شعبان 

المصدر: الميادين نت

2 تشرين ثاني 00:0

عشرات الآلاف من الإرهابيين الذين عاثوا فساداً في سوريا قدموا من الدول الأوروبية
عشرات الآلاف من الإرهابيين الذين عاثوا فساداً في سوريا قدموا من الدول الأوروبية

لقد ضرب مئات الألوف من الإرهابيين، الذين قدِموا من أكثر من مائة دولة، أجزاءً مختلفةً من سوريا وساهموا في تدمير مؤسساتها ولكننا لم نتّهم دين أحد، ولا جنسية أحد منهم.

علّ الخطيئة الأكبر التي اقترفها الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون في تصريحاته المتوترة حول الأحداث الأخيرة في فرنسا هي تصريحه أن “بلادنا تعرضت لهجوم من الإرهاب الإسلامي”. وسواء أكانت هذه العبارة مقصودة أو ناجمة عن جهل أثرها وانعدام صحتها، فهي لا شك خطيرة جداً وفي هذا التوقيت بالذات، ليس على المسلمين فقط، وإنما على فرنسا وأوروبا اللّتين تتشاطران الهوية المسلمة مع  وجود عدد غير قليل من المواطنين المسلمين الذين أصبحوا فرنسيين وأوروبيين، بفعل الهجرة والولادة أو تبنّي الإسلام ديناً لهم، ولا أحد يستطيع إنكار ذلك عليهم. 

أما السبب الثاني فيكمن في خطورة ارتدادات هكذا تصريح. نحن أمام رئيس أوروبي خلط بين إجرامٍ يقوم به بعض المجرمين لأسبابهم الخاصة والمختلفة وبين جنسيتهم أو هويتهم الدينية، وإذا ما تمّ تعميم هذا الأمر على البقع الجغرافية التي يضرب فيها الإرهاب، لانتهينا إلى وجود إرهاب فرنسي وألماني وهولندي وبلجيكي ومسيحي ويهودي وبوذي.. والقائمة تطول. ولذلك فإنه من المحظور أن تُلصق تهمة الإرهاب بدينٍ أو جنسية فقط لأن أحد مرتكبي الجرائم الإرهابية ينتمي إلى هذا الدين أو هذه الجنسية. إنّ الدين والجنسية براء مما يقوم به الإرهابيون. 

لقد ضرب الإرهاب يا سيد ماكرون الجمهورية العربية السورية كأبشع ما تكون به الضربات والعدوان على شعب وتاريخ وحضارة وهوية ومؤسسات، ولكنّ أحداً في العالم لم يسمع جملة واحدة نَطق بها أي سوري، جملةٌ تتحدث عن إرهاب أوروبي أو مسيحي أو ما شابه ذلك لا سمح الله، فنحن ندرك أن هؤلاء الإرهابيين شذاذ آفاقٍ لا علاقة لهم بأي دين سماوي، وأخلاق الديانات السّمحة براء منهم. 

الأكثر من ذلك، إنّ عدداً لا بأس به من هؤلاء كانوا أوروبيين وعدداً منهم كانوا فرنسيين ويتكلمون الفرنسية ويمثلون بالجثث على الأرض السورية وهم يهللون للقتل بلغتهم الفرنسية. ومع ذلك، لم نسمع ولم يسمع العالم تصريحاً سورياً واحداً يتحدّث عن إرهابٍ فرنسي أو إرهابٍ أوروبي رغم أن الأبحاث الموضوعية تُثبت أن عشرات الآلاف من الإرهابيين الذين عاثوا فساداً في سوريا قدِموا من الدول الأوروبية عبر تركيا، حاملين جوازات أوروبية بما فيها الفرنسية، والكثير منهم كان مسلحاً برشاشات لا يستخدمها غير الجيش الفرنسي، أي أن الإرهابيين في غرب دمشق كانوا مسلّحين من قبل الجيش الفرنسي مباشرة.

وما زال 600 طفل من إنجاب هؤلاء عالقين في شرق سوريا ولا تريد دولهم، وعلى رأسها فرنسا، استردادهم رغم نداءات الأمم المتحدة التي دعت هذه الدول إلى تحمّل مسؤوليتها تجاه رعاياها، ولا شك لدينا أنهم حظوا بتمويل وتسليح وتسهيلات من أجهزة المخابرات الفرنسية. ومع ذلك، فقد استهدفنا الإرهابيين أنفسهم في كلّ عملٍ وقولٍ ولم نأتِ على ذكر دينهم أو جنسيتهم ولم نوصم أياً منهما بالإرهاب. 

الفرق بين موقفنا وموقف ماكرون هو أننا نؤمن أن العالم أسرة واحدة وأنّ الإرهاب لا دين ولا وطن له وأنّ الإجرام الذي مارسته تلك العصابات على سوريا والسوريين وقبلهم على اللّيبيين والعراقيين، يمكن أن ينتقل إلى أي مكان في العالم، لأن الخطر الأساس كما أكّد السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد منذ البداية هو الإيديولوجية الإرهابية وليس وجود الإرهابيين فقط، ولذلك لابدّ من التعاون العالمي لاجتثاث جذور هذه الإيديولوجية وإلا فسيبقى الإرهاب يفاجئ الأبرياء من أفغانستان إلى العراق وسوريا وليبيا وفرنسا. ولكن أوروبا ومنها فرنسا الرسمية، عبر مخابراتها السرية، ساهمت بتغذية وتمويل وتسليح الإرهاب الذي ضرب سوريا. 

أما تركيا، فقد شكّلت ولا زالت تشكل ملاذاً آمناً للإرهابيين القادمين إلى سوريا وسهّلت لهم عبورهم وتموضعهم على الأرض السورية، وفي هذا المضمار أيضاً قال الرئيس بوتين “حين نحارب الإرهاب في سوريا فنحن ندافع عن موسكو”، وهذا صحيح ولكن الجيشين السوري والروسي لا يدافعان عن سوريا وروسيا فحسب، إنّما يدافعان عن أمن العالم برمّته في مواجهة هذه الآفة الخطيرة.

المشكلة في الموقف الفرنسي خصوصاً والغربي عموماً هو انقسام العالم إلى “هم” و”نحن”، وهنا يأتي تصريح الرئيس ماكرون ليبرهن على ذلك حين قال: “تعرضنا للهجوم بسبب قيم الحرية لدينا وعدم خضوعنا للإرهاب” متناسياً أنّ العالم كلّه يعرف أنّ المخابرات السرية الغربية والجيوش الاستعمارية القادمة من الغرب متورّطة ومنذ زمن الاستعمار القديم بالإرهاب والمجازر الوحشية. وما السبب برأيك يا سيد ماكرون بأن سوريا تعرضت لهجمات إرهابية أقسى وأعتى مما تعرّضتم له، وعلى مدى عشر سنوات، إذا كانت برأيك تفتقر إلى قيم الحرية التي تعتبرها حكراً عليك وعلى الغرب؟ إن حرية المعتقد والعيش المشترك الذي عُرفت به سوريا على مدى قرون، كان الهدف الأساس لهذه الحرب الإرهابية الظالمة التي تعرّض لها الشعب السوري، وإذا ما أردتم إصلاحاً حقيقياً وآمناً للعالم برمته، فلا بدّ أن تفكروا بطريقة مختلفة لا تُنبئ عن تفكير فوقي يكاد يصل إلى حدود العنصرية ضد الشعوب والأديان الأخرى. 

لقد ضرب مئات الألوف من الإرهابيين، الذين قدِموا من أكثر من مائة دولة، أجزاءً مختلفةً من سوريا وساهموا في تدمير مؤسساتها ولكننا لم نتّهم دين أحد ولا جنسية أحد منهم، ولم نزِر وازرةً وزر أُخْرَى، لما قامت به من شرذمة على أيدي المضلَّل بهم وشذاذ الآفاق الذين تبنّوا هذه الإيديولوجية البشعة لأسباب لا علاقة لها بالدين أو بالإنسانية. 

إنّ هؤلاء الذين يدّعون الدفاع عن الإسلام من ورثة العبودية العثمانية، هم أنفسهم الذين لعبوا دوراً أساسياً في استقدام إرهابيين من كلّ أصقاع الأرض ونظرياً من أتباع كلّ الديانات، إلى سوريا بلد الإسلام والمسيحية والعيش المشترك، فكيف يستوي ادّعاؤهم بالدفاع عن الإسلام والمسلمين مع تدمير بلد قدّم للبشرية أنموذجاً للمحبة والتآخي من بين أتباع الديانات السماوية؟ ثم ماذا عن الإرهاب الذي يضرب الأراضي الفلسطينية والشعب الفلسطيني؟ وماذا عن ذبح المسلمين وهم ساجدون في الحرم الإبراهيمي الشريف على يد المجرم باروخ غولدشتاين والذي أقام الإحتلال الإسرائيلي له نُصُباً تذكارياً؟ هل أسميتم ذلك الإرهاب إرهاباً يهودياً؟ فلماذا إذاً يتم تجريم الإسلام والمسلمين بسبب بعض المجرمين الذين لا يتورّعون عن قتل المسلمين وقتل أتباع الديانات الأخرى لأنهم لا يعرفون الدين أو الإيمان؟

من أجل التخلص من شرورهم، لا بدّ أولاً من التخلص من الموقف التمييزي الذي يقسم العالم إلى أعلى وأدنى، ويعتبر أن القيم التي يتمتع بها حكراً عليه. وما رأيه إذا كانت القيم الحضارية المغروسة في هذه الأرض والمتوارثة على مدى أكثر من عشرة آلاف عام هي القيم المؤهلة لإنقاذ البشرية ليس من خطر الإرهاب فقط، وإنما من خطر التمييز والعنصرية اللّذين يهددان بلدانكم من الداخل؛ فهل من مراجعة عاقلة ومسؤولة لهذا التخبط المفهوماتي والإعلامي الذي يصبّ الزيت على النار بدلاً من معالجة أسباب التوتر المجتمعي والسياسي بحكمة واتزان ومسؤولية؟ وهل من تشريع على مستوى عالمي يحرّم على الجميع تناول الرموز الدينية والمقدّسات لأتباع كلّ الديانات التي يؤمن بها البشر؟ حينذاك فقط، يمكن أن نعزل الإرهابيين ونقضي على شرورهم في كلّ مكان. 

The US: the only Western country with zero Muslim influence at all?

The US: the only Western country with zero Muslim influence at all?

October 16, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

The 10-year anniversary of France’s anti-burqa law was just celebrated by France’s most deranged.

The law was always just a means to distract from new, Brussels-imposed austerity measures despite the start of the Great Recession, and also – from the perspective of the journalist-class: a way to give journalists work, which Sarkozy was very good at and which Jupiter Macron will not deign to do. But what a waste of time….

So, this “tin/aluminium anniversary” arriving while being temporarily posted to the US has me rather sentimental for good old European Islamophobia – they really are the gold standard. It has me asking: where are all the good Islamophobic times here?

As the Great Lockdown/Covid hysteria proved: It’s crazy what a fella can get used to….

But there is no Islamophobic joy in Mudville because the United States is seemingly the only Western country which has zero influence from Muslims or Islamic culture: Muslims aren’t really seen, nor discussed, nor in any positions of power. Yes, multiculturalism also means “de facto segregation”, but in France we might be on the bottom of the social ladder but we at least we know occupy a rung, dammit!

France is the Muslim capital of Europe; the UK and Canada have plenty of Pakistanis and curry shops; since 1917 the former Yugoslavia has merely gone from referring to “Turks” to referring to “Muslims” (among the intelligent: “Slavic Muslims” (gasp, what’s that strange term?!)); Cervantes acknowledged in Don Quixote that his book was the product of stealing from the Moors (partly true, partly false, and part proto-multiculturalism); Australia is repeatedly Islamophobically incensed that Islam is the second-largest religion even though they’re less than 3% of the population.

Japan – in my estimation – is a Western country, but we have to exclude them because of their rather incredible demand for a citizenry comprised of total Japanese homogeneity means they are impermeable to all foreign influences within their domestic culture.

Russia – in my estimation – has reverted to being a Western country ever since they gave up socialism, which is dominated by Asian countries (Cuba and Venezuela combined is a population fraction of China, Vietnam, N. Korea and Iran). They just want to be non-aligned, is all.

In the US – it’s like… “Muslims… meh. I don’t know any.” There is less than 4 million out 330 million, after all.

By far the biggest Muslim influence in American history is from the Nation of Islam and Black Muslims, which many Americans would incorrectly say “aren’t Muslim”. However, Black Muslims are so oppressed, isolated and blacklisted that one could say that they don’t have zero cultural influence here, but negative cultural influence. FYI – I don’t know any Muslim who says African-American Muslims “aren’t Muslim”, but I do hear that regularly about Saudi Wahhabis.

That’s what makes last week’s 19th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan so significant: finally, American culture was confronted with the actual, breathing existence of Islam and Muslims (who aren’t hounded by police in US ghettos).

Hitherto these things were totally ignored, and everyone was fine with that ignorance.

Take, for example, one of 20th century America’s most prominent thinkers among the average American, but not the US intelligentsia, Joseph Campbell. He was a very interesting thinker on the power of myths, and I should write a review of his work someday. Basically, Campbell’s huge popularity with the lower classes – not just via his influence on Star Wars but his regular presence on PBS (the lone public TV channel) in the era of <10 TV channels – is explained not only by the fact of his genuine merit, but also by the fact that he did not at all question the absolute correctness and dominance of American-style capitalism and Christianity. For a man who discusses religion so much – and religion is a very big deal to the American lower classes, further explaining Campbell’s popularity, and probably why he is not remembered much today – it was always very amusing to read him repeatedly dismissing Islam as a “pagan” religion.

LOL… not only is Islam not pagan, it is the most anti-pagan religion out there. The primary ideological dispute of Islam is against pagan idolatry (although Muslims are forbidden to mock or fight pagans, lest that would turn them against the One True God).

Campbell – like most educated Americans – is a latently-ardent-yet-unmotivated supporter of Christianity, but like most Americans he doesn’t even seem to know what Abraham is most important for: smashing false idols. (This is a huge thing in Islam – because Islam logically understands you can be either polytheist or monotheist (or atheist) – whereas Christians mostly connote Abraham with his willingness to sacrifice his son). Campbell, like seemingly all Americans, had absolutely no idea regarding the way that Islam is an undeniable continuation of Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Adam which can in no way at all be separated nor questioned.

Muslims understand that last link as easily as 2+2=4, but those in America who are ignorant of it are currently scratching their head and about to get testy and defensive, which is what happens when you point out someone’s “logic” is illogical.

Of course, celebrating this Abrahamic brotherhood is not happening anytime soon in the West or in just the US, but in 2020 Campbell would at least be called out on Twitter with: “What the heck… Islam isn’t pagan at all?” Campbell’s absurd non-assessment wouldn’t stand.

So that’s progress.

Europe had this type of progress earlier, and I have already referenced it: Cervantes. But Europe has a totally different relationship with Islam because Islam is all over southeast and southwest of Europe, and because even the eugenic-loving Protestants know that a bunch of Muslims are not an ocean away.

Therefore the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq brought Islam and Muslim culture – finally – to the US.

Indeed, there are many anti-Muslims now who are thinking, “And what a shame that is!”

These racists (if you want to foolishly call Islam a race, as many Americans foolishly do for Jews) and idiots, who likely don’t even understand their own Christian religion, would surely have sided with the UK and French when the US intervened, incredibly, on the side of Egypt during the Suez crisis of 1956. “What are you doing,” Europe’s anti-Muslims raged, “don’t you understand what a threat these pagans are?”

The US did not see it that way. Not because – influential yet flawed thinkers like Campbell remind us – they understood that Islam is as close to Christianity and Judaism as (to steal Mao’s description of the relationship of China to Vietnam) lips are to teeth, but because the US wanted only – then as now – to impose their imperialist domination of foes and allies alike.

Paradoxically, the influence of Islam on America has been non-existent yet also terribly destructive for American culture: the Patriot Act, the militarisation of US society, the wasting of tax receipts to fund failed wars amid a Great Recession, giving American culture a new foe to evangelise against after the American Indians and communists, etc and etc and etc.

But of course that is all attributable to the influence of capitalist-imperialist thought, not Islamic thought – thus, Islam has not influenced America yet.

There wasn’t ever a post-Cervantes “golden age of reconciliation” between Europe and the neighbouring Islamic world, sadly. There was an age of reconciliation between Europeans and Muslims (but not Islam): the age of worker brotherhood, affirmative action, and anti-imperialism in the socialist Eastern Bloc.

The lack of this “golden age of reconciliation” is entirely due to the total one-way ignorance of Christians and Jews towards Islam – Islam, it is impossible to understate, embraces and understands the revealers of revelations which are entirely shared forever among these three Abrahamic religions. All Muslims know that good Christians and Jews are going to paradise – even if those two don’t think the same of Muslims – but… whatever – Muslims can’t compel faith or insult them any more than they can be bothered about pagans who worship a god/idol made of their own hands.

Muslims in India, for example, can only roll their eyes at such shirk much as they roll they eyes at the Hindu who truly made and prayed to an idol of Donald Trump. That article concludes: “The village headman said his neighbors were discussing how best to maintain their neighbor’s Trump shrine.” Really? Do they have to keep it up even after his death, per Hindu culture? I have no idea. Was I accurate to call this man a “Hindu”, even? Again, I don’t know.

What I should do is ask an American – since the 1960s Hinduism and Buddhism have had a huge, huge influence on not just American culture but all of Western culture. Islam – not at all, and not until the 21st century. Campbell was big on not just Indian polytheism but European paganism as well, which further explains his popularity among the US lower classes, who are descended from lower-class Europeans.

Of course, Christians who worship “three gods” are actually being polytheistic instead of worshiping the One True God – at least in Islamic thinking – so I can see why Americans are so very receptive to Hinduism, Buddhism and even the American Indian religions (now that the American Indians are nearly exterminated, of course). Islam is just too logical for them – we can’t build and pray to a god of money, for example, as in some polytheistic religions. Why anyone at all would build and pray to an idol of Donald Trump… I’m sure there’s a religious logic behind this which a polytheist could explain, and Inshallah one day I’ll be less ignorant about what goes on in this world, but I’ll leave these (entirely respectful and logical) discussions here, lest some American Christian Karen get micro-triggered and “cancel” my existence like I’m some aboriginal….

Back to how Muslims and Islam are finally influencing the lone Western holdout, the US: it’s off to a bad start – going from total ignorance to total war – but things have nowhere to go but up, at least. And Americans know this well already: following the French lead can’t possibly be right.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV 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 Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

The Muslim Holocaust

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is muslim-holocuast.jpg

Holocaust is a word that Zionist propagandists have reserved for Jewish experience. However, in a new book, US-Imposed Post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide (Korsgaard Publishing, 2020), Dr. Gideon Polya documents that three to four times more Muslims have been killed by Washington’s 21st century wars than there are Jews in Israel. Polya concludes that Washington’s holocaust of Muslims is a multiple of the claimed Jewish holocaust number of 6 million.

The cost in dollars to the United States of the gratuitous murder of 32 million Muslims is in the many trillions along with thousands of dead and maimed US soldiers and 88,000 US veteran suicides since September 11, 2001. Americans have paid dearly for the hoax “war on terror” imposed on them by lies and deception.

Polya acquaints the reader with a number of holocausts: the Bengali holocaust, Somali holocaust, opiate holocaust, and the Yemeni, Palestinian, Rohingya and other genocides. In Chapter 20 Polya speaks of the American Holocaust, which consists of untimely and unnecessary American deaths from the diversion of billions of dollars from American needs to Israel.

The book is full of factual information and is heavily documented.

There are so many unacknowledged crimes of state of horrific proportion that receive no public attention that the fake news story of George Floyd’s “murder by racist white police” is difficult to comprehend. Floyd died of an overdose of the dangerous opioid Fentanyl, as the toxicology report shows. If Polya’s book has a second edition, Chapter 22, War on Truth, deserves a section on how the fake news about Floyd’s death caused billions of dollars in US property damage and irreparably harmed racial relations in the US. Indeed, in my estimation, the property damage caused by the media’s lies exceed the combined value of the media companies.

Polya’s book can be purchased here: Korsgaard Publishing and here: Amazon


By Paul Craig Roberts
Source: Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy

THE BJP AND ISRAEL: HINDU NATIONALISM IS RAVAGING DEMOCRACY IN INDIA

 A

It was only a matter of time before the anti-Muslim sentiment in India turned violent. A country that has historically prided itself on its diversity and tolerance and for being ‘the largest democracy in the world’ has, in recent years, exhibited the exact opposite qualities – chauvinism, racism, religious intolerance, and, at times, extreme violence.

The latest round of violence ensued on February 23, one day before U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Delhi on his first official visit to India.

Trump is a beloved figure among Hindu nationalists, especially supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has ruled India since 2014.

BJP, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has wreaked havoc on Indian politics and foreign policy. However, the damage that this ultra-nationalist movement has caused to Indian society is unmatched since the country’s independence in 1947.

Under BJP rule, hatred for Muslims, a sizable minority of over 200 million, among other minority groups, has grown over the years to represent the core discourse of a movement that is ideologically and morally bankrupt.

Jumping on the Islamophobia bandwagon, which has grown exponentially since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Hindu nationalists disguised their racist and chauvinistic ideology as part of a global ‘war on terror’.

It was no surprise, then, to see Modi reaching out to like-minded Islamophobes, the likes of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The seemingly unbreakable Modi-Netanyahu ‘friendship’ underlies a growing pro-Israel movement among Hindu nationalists.

Hindu nationalists embrace Israel

Hindu nationalist ideologues and pro-Israel Zionists have long discovered a common cause, one that is predicated on a collective sense of racial supremacy and intolerance for Islam and Muslims.

In fact, Israel has, in recent years, emerged as the common denominator between various ultra-nationalist and far-right groups in India and across the globe. Strangely but tellingly, some of these groups are known for hostility towards Jews and outright antisemitism. However, for these groups, the anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim sentiments were far more pressing priorities than all else.

While Europe and North America have received a greater share of political analysis regarding the rise of Islamophobia around the world, countries like India, Burma, and China have largely been excluded from the discussion.

It is true that the discrimination and violence against China’s Muslim minority, the Uyghurs, Burma’s Rohingya population and India’s Muslims, have all received a relatively fair share of media attention and analysis. However, the targeting of Muslims in these polities is largely perceived as provisional ‘conflicts’ that are unique to these areas, with little or no connection to global anti-Muslim phenomena.

But nothing could be further from the truth. For example, the fact that BJP politicians often refer to Muslim migrants in India as ‘infiltrators and termites’ mirrors the same dehumanizing lexicon used by Buddhist nationalists in Burma and Israeli Zionists in Palestine.

The likes of the Hindu Samhati movement, known for its anti-Muslim bigotry, has, therefore, become essential to this new global anti-Muslim brand. And, according to the same disturbing logic, hating Muslims then becomes synonymous with loving apartheid Israel.

Hence, it was not a complete surprise to see tens of thousands of Hindu nationalists rallying in Calcutta in February 2018 in what was described by organizers as “the largest pro-Israel rally” in history.

But what took place in New Delhi in February was more ominous than any other previous display of violence. Dozens of Indian Muslims were beaten to death and hundreds more were severely injured by mobs of angry Hindu nationalists.

While India is no stranger to mob violence, the recent bouts of bloodshed in that country are most alarming considering it is a rational outcome of a racist trajectory that has been championed by the BJP and their supporters.

Particularly alarming were scenes of Indian security forces either watching the brutality against Indian Muslims unfold without intervening or objecting in any way, or worse, participating in the violence themselves.

While it is rightly argued that the anti-Muslim campaign in India was triggered by Modi’s Citizenship Amendment Act which ultimately aims at rendering millions of Muslims in India stateless, the ailment lies in the BJP itself – a purely xenophobic movement that exploits the grievances of the poor and marginalized in India to maintain political power.

It goes without saying that India’s Modi is a far cry from the India that was envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi or the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Unfortunately, with Modi and the BJP in power, India will experience yet more tragic days ahead. Flanked by equally racist and violent allies in Tel Aviv and Washington, Modi feels empowered to carry out more such sinister and discriminatory measures against the country’s vulnerable minorities, especially Muslims.

It is essential that we educate ourselves further about the situation in India, and that we understand the anti-Muslim politics and violence in that country within the larger global context. India’s Muslims need our solidarity more than ever before, especially as the emboldened BJP and their chauvinistic leader seem to have no moral boundaries whatsoever.

Feature photo | Hindu nationalists gather in India’s capital to demand construction of a Hindu temple on the ruins of a 16th century mosque in northern Indian city of Ayodhya, Dec. 9, 2018. Bernat Armangue | AP


By Ramzy Baroud
Source: MintPress News

Imam Khamenei Urges India to Stop Extremist Anti-Muslim Violence

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei deplored the massacre of Muslims in India, calling on the New Delhi government to confront extremist Hindus.

In a post on Thursday, Imam Khamenei’s official Twitter account denounced the recent wave of violence against Muslims in India.

“The hearts of Muslims all over the world are grieving over the massacre of Muslims in India,” the post read.

“The govt of India should confront extremist Hindus & their parties & stop the massacre of Muslims in order to prevent India’s isolation from the world of Islam,” it added.

The post ended with the hashtag #IndianMuslimslnDanger.

Violence erupted in the Indian capital last week, leading to a three-day-long rampage, with Hindu mobs attacking Muslim homes, shops and mosques.

The attacks were carried out on protesters, who have been rallying against a new citizenship law, after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] leader Kapil Mishra threatened peaceful sit-ins would be removed from the streets.

The violence in Delhi killed scores of people.

It was the worst violence in Delhi since 1984, when more than 3,000 Sikh minority were killed following the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Round one is over – an initial assessment

January 08, 2020

The Saker

Dear friends,

Looks like Round 1 is over.  Let’s begin with a small recap of events:

  • Iran fired a relatively small number of short range missiles at one, possibly two, US bases
  • The IRGC indicated that if Iran is attacked, then so will Israel
  • Trump tweeted “so far, so good”
  • The US reported no casualties

In plain English this means that the strike was intended to be both highly visible AND symbolic (Iran has MANY more missiles, including longer ranged ones, which, if Iran wanted to, could strike every single US base in the Middle-East simultaneously.

So what happened?

I think that Iran wanted to humiliate the US but in a manner which would be under the threshold which would guarantee a US/Israeli counter-strike.

Next, I forced myself to listen to Esper and the Idiot-in-Chief.  Here are the salient points:

  • Esper reiterated that the US does not want war with Iran
  • The US does not want to leave Iraq because, unlike the Iraq MPs, many/most Iraqis want the US to stay
  • The US armed forces are THE BEST in the history of the galaxy
  • Trump will never allow Iran to have nukes
  • Iran appears to be “standing down”
  • Europe needs to ditch the JPCOA
  • NATO needs to get further involved in the Middle-East
  • Iran bad bad bad, USA good good good
  • The US armed forces are THE BEST in this history of the galaxy
  • USA! USA! USA! (etc.)

Okay, to these idiots apparently think that’s it is over.  Or maybe they hope it is?

I can tell you for sure that it ain’t.  The goal of Iran and its allies is to get the USA out of the Middle-East.

Thus these symbolic strikes appear to have given the US/Israeli a sense of relief which might bring them to let their guard down, making it much easier for Iran and its allies to strike again.

It is rather funny to see how the Iranian PR machine “packaged” this one: if you dare hit us, we will hit you in your most holy and sacred, i.e. Israel.  So far this “we get to shoot at you but you don’t get to shoot back” has worked, but only because the Iranian strike was so symbolic.

Conclusion: this is far, FAR veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrry far from over.

Still, I have to downgrade the likelihood of a massive and imminent war back from 90% to 80%.

Finally, Putin traveled to Damascus to attend a Nativity celebration with Bashar al-Assad.  Then he visited a mosque (I can imagine how pissed Alt-Righters are at Putin’s care for Muslims, both in Russia and abroad).

DR. GUY BECHOR ON AMERICAN JEWRY AND ITS DESTINY

DECEMBER 23, 2019BY GILAD ATZMON

According to Israeli academic Guy Bechor the fate of American Jewry is sealed.

In this three years old video Dr. Bechor points at a Jewish progressive ‘conspiracy’ against America, its values and ideals. Bechor reckons that it is just a question of time before American Jews flee to Israel. He also insists that the so-called progressive Jews won’t be allowed to seek refuge in the Jewish State.

https://www.bitchute.com/video/k5VxUwr7OEP7/

The War against Syria: In the Name of the Father the Son, the Holy Spirit … and the Truth.

Global Research, December 02, 2019

If the truth about the war on Syria was known and accepted by broad-based Western populations, then there would be no war on Syria.

If the truth were known and accepted there would be no terrorism in Syria.

  • If the truth were known and accepted Syria would still rank as one of the top five (1) safest countries in the world.
  • If the truth were known Christians and Muslims and everyone would be safe. Christians and Muslims in Syria would never have been slaughtered had the truth been known and accepted.
  • If the truth were known and accepted there would be no economic blockades that cause death and disaster and terrorism with intent.

But the truth is not known and accepted by broad-based Western populations because we have been smothered by blankets of suffocating, criminal war propaganda for years. Our tax dollars pay for the indoctrination. Just like our tax dollars pay for NATO and its globalizing tentacles of death and destruction that are literally imperilling the world.

So,why is the Truth not known and accepted by broad-based Western populations?

Renowned author Michel Collon demonstrates the characteristics of war propaganda that deny us the right to know.

First, the real interests that push for war must be hidden. Privileged access to and control of resources, including oil pipelines, must not be mentioned.

Second, history must be erased. People musn’t be aware of the longstanding imperial efforts to divide, weaken, and colonize Syria. They must not know that the war on Syria was planned well in advance by imperial powers.

Third, the leader of the country must be demonized. People must never know that elected President Assad has always been popular, even according to a NATO poll,(2) and that the invading terrorists were never accepted nor welcomed by the vast majority of Syrians.

People must not know that it is the aggressors, the US and allies, who have and use Weapons of Mass Destruction, not only in Syria, but in Iraq, and every other country that they invade. Depleted Uranium impacts present and future generations. Babies in Vietnam are still being born with deformities thanks to that war and the US deployment of Agent Orange.

Perceptions must be fabricated in such a way that the Western aggressors are seen as defending “victims”.

The entire Western-perpetrated war has created a country full of victims. The real intention of war is to kill and harm and maim and destroy. Destabilize means to destroy. The notion that it is humanitarian is beyond ridicule, but this is the perception that must be embedded in Western populations.

Finally, alternate viewpoints must be suppressed.

Warmongers must monopolize the discussion.

People must not know that the White Helmets (3) are terrorists, that they fabricate fake chemical weapons incidents, that they create false flags, that they engage in involuntary organ harvesting. People must not know the truth.

The Truth, widely accepted, would deliver Peace. The Truth must be erased.

*

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Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017. Visit the author’s website at https://www.marktaliano.net where this article was originally published.

Notes

(1) RealClear World and Gallup, “Top 5 Most Personally Safe Countries.” 27 October, 2010.
(https://www.realclearworld.com/lists/top_5_personal_safety_countries/syria.html ) Accessed 29 November, 2019.

(2) “NATO reveals 70% of Syrians support Bashar al-Assad.” VOLTAIRE NETWORK, 6 JUNE 2013.
(https://www.voltairenet.org/article178779.html?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=9aadf28a533396ad5ebd8ea7ca0a80c110a39911-1575044240-0-AcCxkjY1iKAL5NA2qz5mxkDPrbY9fDr9uiK-odHiFQ01P-8l4JYuoleZQj9dlRvM3HRs3TNXjKyWcZmlN4NGjFA2n16YX2SdkQbTontqN7KTVaPMLcFqOMTiU62qjylvbxHrnWXqq5UhElws7LUS6w0oCbTHG2tg58lqh7RURlz3Cib5oIITDojuE1dNzl5f1wPpLolOH7-iujj3YA_aZxxL9Z4jg3SJgDmvrv2z42Ho8nwWg1e6ltQa1fR7zaSyUVgIblwQGpUZRZUlsT0gNgRRVXDt2ydXMyFQ59ENiYZ_ ) Accessed 29 November, 2019.

(3) Mark Taliano, “Video: Who are The White Helmets? Fake News and Staged Rescues. Canada’s beloved ‘humanitarian heroes’, the White Helmets.” Global Research, 26 December, 2018.
( https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-who-are-the-white-helmets-fake-news-and-staged-rescues/5663906) Accessed 29 November, 2019.

Featured image is from the author


Order Mark Taliano’s Book “Voices from Syria” directly from Global Research.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Voices from Syria 

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 1 new chapter)

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How Hezbollah Media Wing Runs Psychological Warfare?

Hezbollah

September 5, 2019

Hezbollah runs a widespread media network that addresses not only the Lebanese and Arab crowds, but also the Israelis, a report said.

A paper, conducted by researcher in Israeli affairs Rami Abu Zubaydah, described how the Lebanese resistance movement handles the psychological warfare, or what he calls “war of awareness.”

“War of awareness is an integral part of any military struggle,” Abu Zubaydah said.

In addition to the traditional media outlets- TV, radio and newspapers-, war of awareness highly relies on social media nowadays, the paper added.

Taking the latest escalation between the Zionist entity and Lebanon as an example, Abu Zubaydah cited Israel Defense Magazine as talking about the anti-Hezbollah messages conveyed by the Israeli occupation army to the Lebanese and Arab crowds.

In this context, Israeli Defense highlighted the performance of the occupation army Arabic Spokesman Avichai Adraee, who relied on social media to address the target audience.

On the other side, “we can’t ignore Hezbollah’s efforts on the level of awareness,” the Algerian researcher said, noting that the group’s media outlets played vital role in affecting both the Lebanese and the Israeli public opinion.

“For example, if we look into the latest incident between the Israeli army and Hezbollah, we find out that Hezbollah-related media, including Al-Manar, were the most ones which cited Israeli media,” Israel Defense reported.

Abu Zubaydah talked further about Hezbollah’s strike on Avivim military base last Sunday, which was in retaliation to Israeli aggression on Hezbollah post in Syria and Hezbollah media center a week earlier.

He said that even Israeli media quoted news circulated by Hezbollah-related channels that the Lebanese resistance group managed to destroy an Israeli military vehicle in Avivim.

In this context, Abu Zubayadah said that Hezbollah’s media wing managed to create “media vacuum” within the Zionist entity.

The researcher, meanwhile, cited the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which elaborately talked about “Hezbollah media empire”.

The Israeli center pointed to Al-Manar TV channel as Hezbollah’s most important and highest quality media outlet that has its own website.

Al-Manar Website communicates with hits audience across the world in four languages. Its main target audience are the Lebanese, then comes the Arabic/Islamic audience and finally comes the audience all over the world (audience talking English, French, Spanish), the Israeli center said.

SourceWebsites

See Also

 

French Muslim support of the Yellow Vests ignored by media

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

French Muslim support of the Yellow Vests ignored by media

Even though the Yellow Vest anti-government movement is historic in scope, duration and intensity, and even though Muslims compose 5-10% of France’s population, there has been almost zero media coverage of the interplay between these two forces.

Check Google in French or English and you truly find almost nothing. I have been waiting and waiting to do a story on this angle for Iran’s PressTV – I am their Paris correspondent – but there is simply no “news peg” from which we can start any report.

The reasons for this silence are due to a four key reasons but, mostly, it’s because the plight of Muslims and Yellow Vests are so obviously similar: just as French media ignores the Muslim community to promote violent misrepresentations instead, so they ignore the true substance of the Yellow Vests in favor of tabloid coverage.

For years I have talked with Nagib Azergui, who is the founder of the Democratic Union of French Muslims (English-language website here). This party is the most realistic political hope for France’s Muslims, and they seem certain to win seats in next month’s EU elections. They are not Islamists nor pushers of divisive identity politics – they are completely concerned with improving the lives of all French people. Secondarily, they have taken on a tough job – decontaminating Muslims in domestic French politics.

Azergui and I discussed why there is no media coverage of the Muslim Yellow Vests, and the level of support for the Yellow Vests in the French Muslim community.

French Muslims are indeed joining the Yellow Vests

I have covered the Yellow Vest demonstrations for months and I can assure you: there are plenty of Muslim Yellow Vests.

So why is there an impression that Muslims are not part of the movement? About the only thing we ever hear on the subject is: What a pity more Muslims didn’t show up.

“We heard the same complaints for the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ march for Charlie Hebdo,” said Azergui, referring to the attack on the satirical paper’s headquarters in 2015. “I was at the march with my children, and I saw many Muslims there.”

Azergui hits the nail on the head as to why Muslim Yellow Vests are hiding in plain sight from French media, which is hardly known for positive portrayals of Islam or Muslims.

“I think such statements reveal the subconscious image these commentators have of French Muslims – they expect us to show up wearing burkas, beards, African clothing, chanting slogans in Arabic and carrying signs in Arabic. But these types of Muslims are simply not representative of the average Muslim in France.”

So the first reason behind this false idea that there are no Muslim Yellow Vests is that many commentators are looking for caricatures – not French Muslims.

Muslims in France look very much like regular French people because they are regular French people.

A Black or Arab Yellow Vester does not stick out, mainly because all Yellow Vests look the same – they are wearing shiny Yellow Vests!

Let’s not forget that Muslims are a minority – there is about the same percentage of Muslims as there are people with red hair in often-Celtic France. Frankly, I have seen a million Yellow Vest faces and I can’t recall a single redhead – should I ask, “Why aren’t Celtic French supporting the Yellow Vests?” Of course, redheads are surely present… and often with plenty of Celtic-pride paraphernalia.

So the only way Muslims could get attention at Yellow Vest demonstrations is by being “excessively Muslim”… but such a thing is rather absurd, will not happen, and would certainly be dangerous – Muslim-pride paraphernalia would only attract negative attention, and Muslims already get enough of that.

Zero doubt among Muslims: when the truncheons fly, Muslims will get hit first

And the truncheons do fly every Saturday.

French police simply love to abuse Muslims: an estimated 70% of their prisoners are from Muslim backgrounds. French police simply love to abuse Yellow Vests. Police violence is guaranteed at which ever city is the week’s “focus”.

So the sight of a Muslim Yellow Vester makes many cops salivate. It also makes judges salivate at sentencing time.

Muslims would be the first victims of police brutality,” confirmed Azergui. “They are always the sacrificial lambs in France, so why would it be any different at the Yellow Vest protests?

On April 20th the police abuse was constant in Paris. Medics were working overtime as people were dropping like flies, but I only saw one unconscious person carried out on a stretcher – he was Black and thus quite possibly a Muslim, of course.

This guarantee of a double helping of both police brutality and judicial impunity is the second reason, but likely the most important reason, why Muslims might not be so eye-catching at Yellow Vest demonstrations.

This violence adds to the media silence – talking about Muslims and Yellow Vests would have to break the taboo against honest discussion of the institutionalised state violence towards the Muslim community.

Sad but true: one of the “great” things about the Yellow Vests is that it’s not only Muslims who are being brutalised anymore.

“France is starting to wake up to reality,” said Azergui. “When 4,000 Muslim families had their homes raided without a warrant during the State of Emergency, France didn’t care about police violence. There are so many images and videos which show how French cops abuse old people, women and innocent people – this is something Muslims live with daily. How could Muslims not have solidarity with such a movement?

Azergui’s thoughts reminded me of the case of Ali Ziri, a 69-year old Algerian native who was infamously beaten to death by French cops in 2009. Police violence is a real taboo in France, and by taking so many beatings the Yellow Vests are helping out their Muslim brothers and sisters.

Yellow Vests haven’t done enough to reach out to Muslims

The Yellow Vests are absolutely not an Islamophobic movement because none of their demands are steeped in religion or ethnicity. Their demands are economic, political and social – this is a class-based struggle.

The idea that because the Yellow Vests are a rural-based movement that they must be latently Islamophobic is absolutely false – in the 21st century there are at least a few Muslims in seemingly every tiny French village. Such accusations only reveals prejudice against rural people, and certainly in France and the West it is very au courant for urbanites to look down on small-town people as a “basket of deplorables”.

The Yellow Vests only trust other Yellow Vests – the only color they see is Yellow. As a worker for Iranian government media I am routinely persona non grata at many fake-leftist demonstrations, and even truly leftist ones, due to Iranophobia and Islamophobia. The only demonstrations I am welcomed at in France are for pro-Palestinians… and now the Yellow Vests, too. So I have no doubt – Muslims are welcome at Yellow Vest gatherings.

However, Yellow Vests have made some mistakes, and also failed to take some proper measures. At the very start of the movement Yellow Vests infamously turned in asylum-seekers to authorities, give the initial impression that extreme-right contaminated the Yellow Vests.

“The Yellow Vests are not a structured movement, but they have not done a good job repudiating some Islamophobic acts and disassociating themselves from Islamophobia completely. They just said, ‘Well, there are always some imbeciles in every crowd.’ That has left some lingering suspicions in the Muslim community.”

If the Yellow Vests would only organize a march dedicated to Muslim outreach I can promise – you will get at least one reporter there to help permanently dismiss this false accusation of Islamophobia. The rest of the French media… they might not be so interested in reporting it accurately.

Yellow Vests certainly do plenty of other demonstrations dedicated to certain themes and issues. It was absolutely necessary for the Yellow Vests to march in February against the absolutely false accusation that they were anti-Semitic. That was all a ruse to pave the way for Macron’s announcement that he would criminalise anti-Zionism – but we can understand why Muslims said to each other, “And where’s the march for us?”

Indeed, where? Why not?

The third reason for the lack of publicised interchange between the Yellow Vests and Muslims is that many Muslims may have been put off by the false propaganda campaigns of the Mainstream Media, and because we have yet to see a real Muslim outreach from the Yellow Vests.

Massive support for Yellow Vests from Muslims, even if sometimes from afar

When I asked Azergui if Muslims support the Yellow Vests he answered, “Yes,” before I had even finished the question.

In an unfortunate but perhaps real sense, many Muslims feel that they are best helping the Yellow Vests by staying out of it.

“If Muslims showed up and there were fights and destruction of property, we know the media would say these are ‘violent Islamists’, and this would only hurt the image of the Yellow Vests. We have already even heard this type of discourse.”

Azergui is right – last year there were absurd conspiracy theories that the Muslim Brotherhood was orchestrating the Yellow Vests – but Muslims simply must participate anyway.

That brings us to our fourth reason why Muslims haven’t attended Yellow Vest demonstrations in huge numbers – Muslims have never been allowed, encouraged or motivated to participate in French politics, so why would this time be any different?

Muslims were hidden underground in France for decades, after all. Their coming out party wasn’t until 1985 with the Touche pas mon pote (Don’t touch my buddy) campaign. The arrival of Nicolas Sarkozy as Interior Minister, then the mainstreaming of Islamophobia under Francois Hollande, then Macron’s normalisation of the Muslim-targeting State of Emergency – all this has reinforced to Muslims that their participation in French politics is neither useful nor desired.

So, of course the French media doesn’t want to talk about the Muslims and the Yellow Vests, because it only reminds France of their total failure to include the Muslim community in politics. And they like dominating, controlling and suppressing Muslims – let’s not act as if neo-imperialism is not alive and well in France.

So let’s not pretend that Mainstream Media really cares about Muslims and democracy, nor mainstream politicians: Despite all the Muslims in France, Macron no longer has a single Muslim minister in his cabinet. If Marine Le Pen had won the election she’d surely at least have a token Muslim minister….

Yellow Vests and Muslims are the two largest groups in France which suffer from socioeconomic marginalization – there is no doubt that they will be open political allies, eventually. We have 5 months of proof – the far-right contamination of the Yellow Vests was drastically overstated; by reaching out to Muslims immediately, the movement can even further display their leftist, progressive, class basis.

But there are obviously a raft of obstacles keeping Muslims from openly joining the Yellow Vest movement, mainly: mainstream media, mainstream politicians, and backwards policing and judicial methods. But not individual (nor collective) Yellow Vests.

The reality is that if the Yellow Vest movement does not adopt an open policy of anti-Islamophobia it will never succeed – how can it succeed when such a huge part of the company is not fully involved? Nor can it be considered a truly leftist movement – how can it be if race, religion or ethnic culture is prioritised over class?

However, it is truly leftist and it will succeed, I feel.

It is not a question of “who has to make the first step”, because Muslims are already involved with the Yellow Vests. However, both sides need to increase their cooperation and outreach for the good of France, the Eurozone, the European Union and the entire world.

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 Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

What if al-Aqsa Mosque caught fire?

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

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

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

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

Symbol of national identity

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sacred character

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

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

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

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

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

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

The case of the 1969 fire

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

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

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

Read More »

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

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

An orphan without allies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanders speaks at US mosque in the wake of deadly terrorist attack in New Zealand

Sat Mar 23, 2019
US Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles on March 23, 2019.
US Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles on March 23, 2019.

US Senator Bernie Sanders attends a mosque in the state of California in the wake of deadly attacks against two mosques in New Zealand by a white supremacist shooter.

“In this difficult moment, not only in American history where we see a rise in hate crimes, and not only in a world where we see a growing tendency toward authoritarianism, where demagogues are picking on minority communities all over this world, now is the time … for us to stand up to hatred of all kinds,” Sanders said during the event Saturday.

The 2020 presidential candidate visited the Islamic Center of Southern California, where religious leaders and people from other faiths had gathered to commemorate the 50 lives lost in the mass shooting earlier this month in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“To show the world that this nation in fact will be a leader in bringing our people together regardless of their religion, and to create an economy that works for all of us, an environment that works for all of us, and a world in which love will conquer hate,” said the Vermont senator.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Bernie Sanders

@BernieSanders

In this difficult moment, where we see a rise in hate crimes and a growing tendency toward authoritarianism, now is the time for everybody to come together and to show the world that love will conquer hate.

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Fifty people died and dozens were injured in twin shootings on two mosques in Christchurch on March 15.

Described as a terrorist attack by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, it was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in the country.

The majority of victims were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia and Afghanistan. Muslims account for just over one percent of New Zealand’s population.

The attack revived calls for an end to Islamophobia in the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Trump has been urged to assure Muslims that they are protected and that he will not tolerate violence against their community.

The US president’s condemnation of the massacre was mild and did not involve the word “Muslims.”

Ever since he appeared in office, the New York billionaire has been running and anti-Muslim agenda, including the so-called Muslim ban.

Israel Shamir: “Christchurch Revisited”

South Front

21.03.2019

Written by Israel Shamir; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

You don’t have to be a white nationalist to commit a mass murder in a house of worship like the one in Christchurch, though if you only read mainstream media you’ll probably associate them with the unique depravity of doing so. Without the slightest intention to wax apologetic for the crime and rejecting conspiracy theories, I want to contextualise the event and preclude political profit-taking and guilt-assigning by the liberals.

Israel Shamir: "Christchurch Revisited"

White nationalists are not exceptional. A Muslim can do it just as “well.” In Egypt, Muslims massacred in April 2017 45 Christians in two Coptic churches. There is a long list of attacks on churches in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq by Islamic extremists. They kill not-sufficiently devout Muslims, too: over 300 Muslim worshippers were slaughtered by Muslim extremists in a Sinai mosque in November 2017. The ISIS atrocities are on a different (worse) level altogether, though they go underreported in the media that prefers to demonise president Assad and his Iranian and Russian allies.

(Many Muslim attacks on Christians go underreported, for media follow the policy of keeping local native nationalists under pressure, and full reporting would undermine this goal. In September last year, a man poured out petrol and tried to ignite a fire on a subway train in Stockholm. He was stopped by fellow passengers, arrested, sentenced to four years in jail. It was hardly reported at all, and the only report does not give his name, for a good reason: it is a Muslim name. However, so-called hate crimes get a lot of coverage.)

A Jew can do it even better. A Brooklyn Jew, Dr Benjamin (it’s all about the Benjamins, baby!) Goldstein single-handedly massacred about fifty worshippers in the Ibrahimiye Mosque of Halil/Hebron in Palestine on the eve of Purim 1994. He also wounded about 150 Muslim worshippers – though it is said that Israeli soldiers present at the spot gave him an assisting hand. Perhaps they thought it was free-for-all.

Image result for Baruch) Goldstein

Benjamin (or Baruch) Goldstein is considered a hero and a sainted martyr within his community, the fiercely chauvinist Jews of Hebron. They go to his grave and ask for his intercession before the Almighty. Young girls ask him to find them a suitor. Candles are constantly lit in his memory. A book was published in his honour, and his name is frequently mentioned among the settlers. They claim (without any evidence or factual base) that this massacre saved the Jews from being massacred by Muslims.

While white nationalist videos have been de-platformed, YouTube has no problem with this video exculpating and glorifying the Jewish mass murderer. Prime Minister Netanyahu (another Benjamin, baby!) decided to bring the party of Goldstein fans, Otzma Yehudit, into his government coalition, and it did not interfere with his triumphal progress to the AIPAC conference to be held on March 24, right after Purim.

Goldstein had his predecessors. On 26 July 1983, a Jewish terrorist group attacked an Islamic college with hand grenades and submachine guns; three students were killed and thirty wounded. The attackers were eventually apprehended, sentenced and quickly pardoned by the president of Israel after a big public campaign: over 70% of Israeli Jews demanded their release.

As Purim approaches, activity around Goldstein’s grave comes to a peak. A mystic could think that the NZ shooter had been moved to action by the Purim awakening of the Goldstein spirit. At the same time, the name of the Jewish killer is hardly ever mentioned in the Western media, and the Jewish American officials, while expressing their (justified) horror and indignation regarding the Christchurch murders, never refer to their coreligionist who preceded and inspired Tarrant. Some of them even said that nothing similar to the mosque shooting ever happened.

So, white nationalists are not exceptional. An unusual feature of Tarrant’s crime was that it was a hate-less hate crime; essentially a gamer’s crime. Apparently there is a game-acquired appeal in raining bullets upon “vermin”. If you played videogames you would know what I mean. A sort of FPS (First-Person Shooter Games) with your preferred enemy instead of a zombie. And now, make the next step – consider real people being zombies. You do not need hate for that; and Tarrant did not hate his victims, judging by his writing. He even wrote about the great friends he made in Turkey.

The border between videogame and reality became blurred by way of modern warfare. The video Collateral Murder, the first breakthrough achievement of Assange and Wikileaks, gives us the FPS of an American pilot killing innocent and unarmed people on the streets of Baghdad. Israeli girl-soldiers operate a remote-control killing system on the Gaza fence. It is called the Spot and Shoot system. They do what Tarrant did as their daily job. The same is done by drone operators sitting in faraway places and killing children. (To make it easier, they call their victims “fun-size terrorists”.)

Video games that train you to kill without feeling hatred are a substitute for this sort of killing. I’ve been to wars, and I’ve seen and experienced the real thing. Hatred is not necessary to kill your enemy. If you know who is your enemy, you can kill without feeling hatred, and that is what most soldiers do, most of the time.

It’s not something to be horrified about. We have to recognise aggression as a necessary element of our mentality. It is not “good” or “bad”, this is what we are, in the favourite expression of Mme Pelosi. We have an inbuilt drive for hunt and warfare, that’s why a little boy goes “bang bang” before he is able to talk. This is the way we are hard-wired. People like to shoot people; if they aren’t allowed to in real life, they do it in games. But they dream of doing it for real, to fight, to kill and perhaps, to die. This drive, like other destructive drives, is normally canalised, or sublimated. A boy’s hunting instinct and his drive for war have been transformed into heroic actions, into defence of one’s home and country, or into performing Herculean feats. Without it, we would be still sharing bananas in the African jungle.

However, we live in a feminised society where feats are against the law. A boy is supposed to behave like a girl; a girl, like a boy. Not only clothes and toilets are unisex, so is the indoctrination. The propaganda of gender-fluidity aims at killing masculinity at its root. A young working-class man has very few prospects in life. He can get a low-paid temporary job with no security, at best. And he can pour out his indignation and desperation in a video games saloon or in a fighting club. Or just use more drugs and alcohol.

Games, and shooter games in particular, are very popular, because they cater for basic needs – as pornography does. They are so popular that the Swedish gamer who was mentioned by Tarrant has ninety million followers: it is many times more than any article-writing journalist can ever reach. So there are many frustrated and dissatisfied men. Will the games provide a sufficient outlet for the pent-up tension? Perhaps; porno certainly influenced sexual relations by making so many men less interested in the real thing.

It is not in the best interests of mankind. For mankind, it is better for men to be interested in women and perform feats of courage for the best of the community to win their love. For the people who consider themselves our masters, there are other priorities. They want to have calm herds of many cows and oxen; bulls are trouble. This comparison is somewhat misleading: humans are not herbivores, and we are more rebellious, clever and strong-minded.

In order to quell the rebellious spirit, our would-be masters invent traps and fake vents. Greta Thunberg and her demonstrations against global warming provide such a faux outlet for the rebellion. The Yellow Vests of France are fomenting a real rebellion, and that is why they are being demonised by the mass media. Our society should be reorganised to allow young men to perform real feats. They want to save the world, and the only things they are being offered is to flip hamburgers or play video games.

This desire to save the world is evident in Tarrant’s Manifesto. He describes the world in which he and other working-class young men are displaced, and though his proposed solution (terror) is wrong, the problem is real. He sees the people he is being replaced with, the immigrants, and he seeks to deal with them.

The replacement is real, but the culprits are not the immigrants he is being replaced with. It’s people who organise the replacement, who bomb Muslim lands to create living hell in the once-prosperous Middle East and North Africa, who bring the refugees to Europe (and its extension in Australia-NZ), who indoctrinate against ‘xenophobia’ instead of denouncing greed.

Actually, Tarrant is aware of it. He wrote in his Manifesto:

The major impetus for the mass importation of non-Europeans into Europe is the call and want for cheap labour. Nothing drives the invasion more and nothing needs to be defeated more than the greed that demands cheap labour… In the end human greed and the need for increasing profit margins of capital owners needs to be fought against and broken.

He is definitely right on that, spot on. Greed of capital should be destroyed in order to save mankind, but killing Muslims is not the right way for it.

Tarrant’s concern about the low birthrate of Europeans is understandable, but for one reason only: he takes for granted this demand for cheap labour and more sales have to be satisfied. However, it does not have to be satisfied at all. If greed is controlled and defeated, and immigration blocked, the population can gently decline until a new sustainable level is found. For a while, the population will grow older, true; but this is a temporary effect. We are not doomed to ever-increasing population, ever-increasing profits and sales, ever-rising shares, endless expansion. It can be changed.

And we should, because if we don’t, our ‘masters’ will organise a giant bloodletting, a new great war to turn millions of deprived young men into Tarrants in their service, as they did in 1914 and 1939. Mankind will defeat greed and work for its better future, or will it turn upon itself. This is the main lesson of the Christchurch massacre.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

Trump Supporters in Denial over New Zealand Massacre

Trump Supporters in Denial over New Zealand Massacre

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 17.03.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Trump Supporters in Denial over New Zealand Massacre

US President Donald Trump condemned the New Zealand massacre of 50 people by a self-declared white fascist as “horrible”. In an ambiguous choice of words, Trump said he sent his “warmest [sic] sympathies” to the victims of the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch. He also seemed to downplay white supremacy violence as a problem.

With several surviving victims still in a critical condition, the death toll could rise in coming days.

Of course, Trump would be obliged to join in the international outpouring of condemnation over the barbaric cold-blooded act of mass murder. How could he not, given the shocking horror and depravity of the crime?

But his repeated nationalistic and nativist rhetoric as well as the ideologues whom he associates with make it very hard for Trump and his supporters to deny that there is a link between the White House occupant and the terrorist attack on Muslims in New Zealand, or white supremacist violence generally.

Supporters of Trump have scoffed at media claims made against Trump following the massacre insinuating the president is associated with “white nationalism” and thereby linked to the violence.

Admittedly, anti-Trump media in the US, such as CNN and MSNBC, will always seek every opportunity to undermine Trump. Nevertheless, on the point of Trump’s dalliance with extremist rightwing groups and their ideological memes there is a valid criticism to be made.

The alleged shooter in the New Zealand attack Friday was named as Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian citizen. He openly declared himself to be a fascist, avowing white supremacist ideology. In a so-called manifesto, the suspect refers to Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity”.

More significantly, the themes the alleged murderer espouses are central to the Alt Right movement and numerous other white nationalist groups in the US and Europe, issues which Trump has also promoted for political gain.

The themes of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, white genocide by “invasion” or “replacement” by brown-skinned foreigners are run-of-the-mill talking points for far-right nationalist movements, which Trump has at times endorsed or given credence to.

Only days before the New Zealand massacre, Trump gave an exclusive interview with Breitbart News. The publication is a proponent of many of the themes surrounding fears of the “white race” being over-run by hordes of foreigners, and especially Muslim foreigners.

In his latest interview for Breitbart, Trump appeared to be inciting street violence by imploring his followers in the police and military to “get tough”. He tweeted a link to the publication. But following the horror in Christchurch, Trump deleted his tweet. That move suggests the president is fully aware of the toxic association with Breitbart at such a politically sensitive moment.

Trump and his supporters may try to play the innocent card, decrying what they would call are scurrilous attempt by the “liberal media” to bracket him with the violence of the far-right.

However, what else is one to conclude about Trump when he has personally amplified the touchstone causes of numerous fascist, white nationalist groups?

This week, Trump has pushed on with his border wall project. He has repeatedly sought to justify that project in sensationalist, scaremongering terms of preventing an “invasion” into the US from Mexico. The actual figures of migration over the southern border do not merit such high priority given by Trump to the “problem”. The proposed expenditure of $8-9 billion and declared state of emergency are “dog-whistling” techniques by Trump to mobilize far-right nationalist support.

Look at the people who associate with Trump. He may claim that their association is not reciprocated.

White neo-Nazi groups like Proud Boys and Alt Right have been hosted at Trump rallies. Alt Right leader Richard Spencer is partial to giving Nazi salutes at conferences and declaring “Hail Trump!”

David Duke, the grandmaster of the Klu Klux Klan, has publicly endorsed Trump.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s former political strategist in the White House, is a big proponent of the “replacement theory” whereby it is claimed that Muslim, African and other immigrants are “invading” the US and Europe to obliterate traditional white Christian communities. This was a prime motive for the alleged shooter in the New Zealand massacre. It was also a motive for the mass murder in 2011 by Norwegian neo-Nazi Anders Breivik.

Trump has taken up the cause of white South African farmers who claim that they are being expelled from colonial lands by the ruling ANC black government. This theme has also been taken up in Zimbabwe, and is a major touchstone issue for white supremacist, fascist groups around the world. For Trump to dally with the issue is an unmistakable sign of his witting – albeit tacit – support to such ideology, even though he may publicly try to distance himself at times, such as in the aftermath of the Christchurch atrocity.

Typically with Trump there are abundant contradictions. His son-in-law and special advisor Jared Kushner is Jewish. Yet Trump was accused of giving support to a “Unite the Right Rally” in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, where the torch-bearing marchers chanted slogans about not being replaced by Jews.

There seems little room for denial by Trump or his supporters about his links to the rise of extreme rightwing, white nationalist, fascist groups. His blanket ban on asylum-seekers from Muslim countries, his unhinged rhetoric about “invasion” by foreigners, and Trump’s association with racist, fascistic ideologues all put this president in the dock for incitement. The reckless rhetoric of Trump’s demagoguery is manifest in depraved actions such as the mass murder of 49 Muslims in New Zealand.

Trump can’t wash his hands after cynically dabbling in the cesspool of fascist ideology.

The Christchurch Shooting and the Normalization of Anti-Muslim Terrorism

The Christchurch Shooting and the Normalization of Anti-Muslim Terrorism

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 16.03.2019

The Christchurch Shooting and the Normalization of Anti-Muslim Terrorism

The real forces responsible for the destruction of many Muslim-majority countries and the current chaos present in many Western countries are not generated by civilian populations or religions but instead by the global oligarchy that engineers and profits from this chaos.

Whitney WEBB

What is without question the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history took place on Friday when shooters, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant among them, opened fire at two Christchurch mosques. Four, including Tarrant, have been arrested for the heinous act, which claimed at least 49 innocent lives. Tarrant was responsible for killing more than 40 victims, among them several children, in a rampage he live-streamed on Facebook, sending chills throughout the Muslim community, particularly Muslims living in Western countries.

Tarrant’s motives and ideology, laid bare in a 74-page manifesto, show a concern over the fertility rates of non-white groups as well as the immigration of non-whites to countries like New Zealand and Australia, which he likened to an “invasion” that threatened the white majority in those countries. However, Tarrant — in his ignorance — failed to grasp that many of the Muslim immigrants he targeted had come to New Zealand after fleeing Western-backed invasions, occupations, or persecution in their home countries.

Notable among Tarrant’s views is the fact that he is a clear ethno-nationalist, promoting his view that different ethnic groups must be kept “separate, unique, undiluted in [sic] unrestrained in cultural or ethnic expression and autonomy.” Tarrant also claimed that he doesn’t necessarily hate Muslims and only targeted those Muslims {i.e., immigrants) that chose “to invade our lands, live on our soil and replace our people.”

He also stated that he chose to target Muslims because “Islamic nations, in particular, have high birth rates, regardless of race or ethnicity” and to satiate “a want for revenge against Islam for the 1,300 years of war and devastation that it has brought upon the people of the West and other peoples of the world.” His views are remarkably similar to those of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, which is unsurprising given that Tarrant named him as an inspiration for the shooting.

Though many — in the hours after the shooting — have sought to place blame and point fingers at notable demagogues like President Donald Trump or “counter-jihad” alt-right figures like Laura Loomer and Jacob Wohl, it is important to place Tarrant’s motivations in context.

Indeed, while Trump’s rise to political power has brought Islamophobic rhetoric into the public sphere in an undeniable way, it is a symptom of a much broader effort aimed at propagandizing the people of the United States and other Western countries to support wars in and military occupations of Muslim-majority countries. This manufactured Islamophobia, largely a product of Western governments and a compliant mass media, has sought to vilify all Muslims by maligning the religion itself as terrorism, in order to justify the plunder of their countries and deflect attention from their suffering.

It is a classic “divide and conquer” scam aimed at keeping Westerners divided from Muslims in their own countries and abroad. The horrific shooting in Christchurch is a testament to its unfortunate success and pervasiveness, as well as a potent reminder that it must be stopped. Indeed, this manufactured Islamophobia has made it so that Muslims in their home countries are in danger of dying from Western-backed wars and, if they flee to the “safer” West, they have targets on their backs painted by the very war propaganda used to justify Western military adventurism in Muslim-majority nations.

Islam, the media and “Forever Wars”: Who’s the “real” terrorist?

Since September 11th and the advent of the “War on Terror,” mass media reporting increasingly began to conflate Muslims and Muslim-majority nations with war, terrorism and violence in general. Indeed, 9 out of 10 mainstream news reports on Muslims, Islam, and Islamic organizations are related to violence and Muslims who are named on mainstream media are all-too-frequently warlords or terrorist leaders.

This near-constant association of Islam and violence has created the false perception that the religion of Islam, by its very nature, is violent and that Muslims too must then be violent and thus dangerous. This media-driven association has had very real and troubling consequences. For instance, a 2010 study by the University of Exeter found “empirical evidence to demonstrate that assailants of Muslims are invariably motivated by a negative view of Muslims they have acquired from either mainstream or extremist nationalist reports or commentaries in the media.” In other words, Islamophobic media reports are directly related to hate crimes targeting Muslims.

This is no accident, as such biased reporting on Muslim-majority nations also began as Western-backed wars in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan sought to put these countries’ natural resources, namely their oil and mineral wealth, into the hands of American corporations. It should be no surprise then that top funders of media outlets that have routinely promoted Islamophobic narratives are also those who have profited considerably from the “War on Terror” and Western-backed regime-change wars in other countries.

This concerted effort to vilify Muslims has had the potent effect, likely by design, of reducing empathy among Westerners for the largely Muslim victims of Western military adventurism in Muslim-majority countries. Indeed, while mainstream news outlets often trumpet the imminent dangers Americans face from “radical Islamic terror,” the death toll of innocent people — most of them Muslim — that have been killed by the U.S.-led “War on Terror” is several orders of magnitude greater than the number of Americans who have died from all terror attacks over that same period.

For instance, from 2001 to 2013, an estimated 3,380 Americans died from domestic and foreign terrorism, including the September 11 attacks as well as acts of domestic terrorism carried out by white nationalists and supremacists. If one excludes the September 11 death toll, the number of American deaths over that same period stands at around 400, most of them victims of mass-killers who were not Muslim.

By comparison, an estimated 8 million innocent people in Muslim-majority nations died as a result of U.S. policies and wars in the Middle East and North Africa from 2001 to 2015. Yet, the magnitude of this loss of life of these “unworthy victims” is minimized by media and government silence, and the creation of a climate of Islamophobia in the West has only served to deepen the ease with which mass murder is accepted by the aggressor countries’ populations.

Beyond the staggering disparity in the death tolls caused by terror groups and Western-backed imperialist wars is the fact that many of these very Western governments that purport to be so concerned with “radical Islamic terror” have often created and funded the most notorious terror groups of all. Indeed, the U.S. government helped to create Al Qaeda and continues to protectits Syrian branch — Hayat Tahrir al-Sham — in Syria’s Idlib province to this day. In addition, the CIA was just recently revealed to be helping the Islamic State regroup in Syrian refugee camps. Furthermore, the U.S. has long turned a blind eye to the funding of terror groups by allied states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The role of Western money, arms and policy in the creation and maintenance of radical Wahhabi terrorist groups is often entirely ignored by Western media portrayals of Muslim-majority nations, thereby creating a false image that such violence is endemic to these nations when, in fact, it is often imported state-sponsored terror.

These nuances of the situation are rarely heard in the narratives parroted out on mainstream media and those who regularly consume mainstream news sources are more likely than not to support those narratives. For that reason, it is easy to see how someone like Donald Trump — who is said to watch television for eight hours every day, much of it Fox News — has espoused the views that he has. Thanks to the manufacturing of Islamophobia of mainstream media, racist policies like the so-called “Muslim ban” have found wide support, as this false narrative has conflated Islam with violence so often that many have come to believe that only by banning Islam can violence and terrorism in the U.S. be reduced.

However, the recent shooting in Christchurch, as well as the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting and other recent acts of domestic terrorism, should alert us to the fact that it is the hate manufactured by this false narrative that is itself endangering American lives while also covering up the mass murder that has been perpetrated by the U.S. and other governments around the world for decades.

Israel’s leading role in stoking ethnonationalism

While the realities of post-9/11 America, as well as the rise in visibility of white ethnonationalism during the Trump Era, have done much to normalize attacks on immigrants, the country that has done the most to normalize anti-Muslim terrorism over this same time frame has been the state of Israel.

Israel, from its founding days, has long been steeped in neocolonialist ideology that is remarkably similar to the ideological basis behind other settler states like the United States, Australia and New Zealand. This system of beliefs holds that the native inhabitants of the land — whether the Palestinians, the Sioux or the Maori — are “primitive” and incompetent and that the land would have remained “wild” and undeveloped were it not for the “fortunate” appearance of European settlers. As MintPressnoted in a previous report on the subject, such narratives cast these settlers as both superior and normal while the natives become inferior and abnormal, thus obfuscating the settler’s status as foreigner and conqueror.

In Israel’s case, this ideology has promoted the idea that all Arabs are “sons of the desert” while the desert simultaneously represents a barbaric obstacle to “progress” and development. However, the state of Israel, under the lengthy tenure of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has seen these long-standing and somewhat hidden underpinnings of the Zionist state burst out into the open.

The result has been the overt expression of ethnonationalism in such a way that Israel has become an inspiration to white nationalists in the United States, like Richard Spencer, and far-right ethno-fascist leaders like Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and India’s Narendra Modi. The inspiration has been mutual, according to reports and testimonials published by Jewish newspaper The Forward.

For years, through its military occupation of Palestine, Israel’s government and military have sought to paint all Palestinians, including children, as “terrorists” or “terrorist sympathizers.” Take, for example, current Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who wrote in 2014, “This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people …”

A more recent example came from former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who asserted just last year that “no innocent people” live in the Gaza Strip and that every inhabitant in the enclave is somehow connected to Hamas, even though nearly half of Gaza’s population are children and teenagers. Such rhetoric has become par for the course and numerous examples show that Shaked and Lieberman’s views are increasingly accepted and “normal” in today’s Israel.

Yet, the clearest indication of anti-Muslim terror’s normalization in Israel is the recent rise of Otzma Yehudit, or the “Jewish Power” Party. This party, founded by devotees of radical American-born Rabbi Meir Kahane, has now merged — at Netanyahu’s urging — with the Jewish Home Party and stands to become part of Israel’s ruling coalition if Netanyahu manages to win in the country’s upcoming elections.

In the office of Itamar Ben Gvir, one of Otzma Yehudit’s leaders, is a framed picture of Baruch Goldstein. In an act that bears a striking similarity to the events in Christchurch, Goldstein — a long-time devotee of Kahane — entered a mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994 and opened fire, killing 29 and injuring more than 125 worshippers. After the act, Kahane’s Kach party — the predecessor of Otzma Yehudit — was labeled a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel.

Despite official condemnation, Goldstein’s atrocious act has been the subject of praise and inspiration for subsequent extremists who, under Netanyahu’s government, have become increasingly normalized. Goldstein’s gravestone reads “He gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land” and continues to be used as a site of pilgrimage and homage by the very extremists that Netanyahu is openly courting for political gain.

While the followers of Kahane are making a comeback in Israel, several notable Arab political parties have been banned from participating Israel’s upcoming elections, with some being accused of “supporting terrorism” owing to their opposition to Israel’s decades-long military occupation of Palestine. Yet, by elevating clear terror supporters among the ranks of the Jewish Power Party, it has become increasingly clear that openly supporting and advocating anti-Muslim terrorism is no bar to legitimacy and political power in today’s Israel.

No ‘clash of civilizations,’ only manipulation and exploitation of differences

The tragic and barbaric shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand is yet another horrific and glaring reminder that the “divide and conquer” war propaganda that has sought to promote the so-called “clash of civilizations” between Christianity and Islam, West and East, has not only been monstrously effective but continues to be monstrously destructive to people on both sides.

However, the media’s manufacture of Islamophobia, in seeking to Wite-out Muslim suffering and reduce Western empathy for innocent Muslim civilians, has increasingly placed targets on the back of Muslims everywhere — in the West and the East — making it increasingly difficult for practitioners of the Islamic faith to feel safe regardless of where they live.

With most Muslim-majority countries now killing fields in Western-backed wars, ruled by oppressive, Western-backed dictatorships, or under threat of Western-backed regime change, even those Muslims who have sought a safer, quieter life in the “civilized” West have now found themselves targets thanks to the very war propaganda used to justify the destruction of their home countries.

While the murderer Tarrant had stated that he hoped his horrific crime would help stoke “civil war” in Western countries, this tragedy should and must serve as a wake up call for people everywhere that the real forces responsible for the destruction of many Muslim-majority countries and the current chaos present in many Western countries are not generated by civilian populations or religions but instead by the global oligarchy that engineers and profits from this chaos. These oligarchs loot from the people of the West just as they do from the people of the East and it is time to recognize that they are the real threats to a more peaceful world — not regular people praying, whether it be in a church, a synagogue or a mosque.

mintpressnews.com

White Nationalism Not Problem! Trump Says after NZ Attack

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump played down any threat posed by racist white nationalism on Friday after the terrorist accused of the New Zealand mosque massacre called the president “a symbol of renewed white identity.”

Trump, whose own previous responses to the movement have drawn scrutiny, expressed sympathy for the victims who died at “places of worship turned into scenes of evil killing.”

But he declined to join expressions of mounting concern about white nationalism, saying “I don’t, really” when asked whether he thought it was a rising threat around the world.

“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess,” Trump said.

“If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet. But it’s certainly a terrible thing.”

Questioned about the accused suspect’s reference to him, Trump professed ignorance.

“I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it,” he said. “But I think it’s a horrible event … a horrible, disgraceful thing and a horrible act.”

The man accused of the shootings left behind a lengthy document that outlined his motivations.

He proudly stated that he was a 28-year-old Australian white nationalist who hates immigrants and was set off by attacks in Europe that were ‘perpetrated by Muslims.’ In a single reference, he mentioned the US president.

New Zealand mosque attacks: Politicians and media have blood on their hands

By Siema Iqbal

ICH

March 15, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  We woke to news of at least 49 Muslims murdered in New Zealand by far-right fanatics.

We watched – or consciously avoided watching – in horror the live-streamed footage of Muslims being gunned down while praying. How depraved has society become when social media is used to lionise massacres?

I had to tell my children about the attack. I told them not to watch the videos or to be afraid of being who they are: Muslims.

Spreading hatred

Today, the media and politicians like American president Donald Trump and former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, have condemned the attacks. The same media and the same politicians have helped spread hatred against Muslims and Islam. They have blood on their hands.

This terrible mass murder was committed on the other side of the world supposedly in the name of “Europe”. There are lessons for us here in Britain, just as there are across the world.

This hatred is institutional. We knew Islamophobia was endemic in the Conservative party, but we turned a blind eye. Not anymore.

Siema Iqbal@siemaiqbal

This senator is Australian.

He has blood on his hands .

Call out the bigotry and hold people responsible.

Enough is enough.

Do not dare say that Islamophobia does not exist. The media and politicians must be held to account.

If we allow fanatics to turn up outside mosques with their banners of hate, and give airtime and social media platforms to the likes of Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, this is what happens.

If we continue to allow “think-tanks” to provide ammunition to parliamentarians and far-right leaders under the guise of “credible reports”, this is what happens.

Worldwide bigotry

This type of hatred is not confined to any country, but is widespread across the world.

Muslims are imprisoned in China; there are attacks on Muslims by Hindu nationalists in India; Rohingya Muslims are being ethnically cleansed in Myanmar. All of this is done in the name of tackling “extremism”, while ignoring the bigotry all around us.

Politicians might speak of their concern for the victims and families, but on a daily basis, many people are targeted by the far-right, as politicians have enabled a destructive discourse.

It’s time to admit that the UK’s Prevent strategy is not working. The “war on terror” has only fuelled hatred of Muslims in the general population, and distrust of the state among Muslim communities.

In 2013, the UK nearly suffered a similar attack against multiple mosques. Mosque security should be a major priority going forward.

Standing strong

Although Facebook was quick to remove a graphic video of the Christchurch attack, why was no action taken in response to previous posts threatening violence against Muslims?

How many more innocent people have to die before governments take a long, hard look at their role in creating this mess?

While many far-right extremists are celebrating the New Zealand attack, as a Muslim, I can promise you this: The more you attack us, the stronger and more united Muslims will become.

Today, the mosques will be packed – more than ever before – as prayers are offered for those killed. Muslims will never be afraid of bowing down to Allah, and nothing will stop us from doing so.

Siema Iqbal is a mother, a doctor and a British Muslim opinion writer based in Manchester. She is currently a partner and trainer at a North Manchester GP practice. She enjoys writing and can often be found public speaking and raising money and awareness for charities both in the UK and abroad.

This article was originally published by MEE” –

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New Zealand’s Massacre: PM Vows Gun Reforms after Mosque Attack

By Staff

New Zealand’s prime minister vowed to toughen the country’s gun laws after revealing Saturday that the man accused of murdering 49 people in two mosques legally purchased the arsenal of firearms used in the massacre.

Jacinda Ardern said the gunman, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, obtained a “Category A” gun license in November 2017 and began purchasing the five weapons used in Friday’s attacks in the southern city of Christchurch the following month.

The firearms included two semi-automatic rifles, two shotguns and a lever-action weapon, she said, speaking to reporters in Wellington before heading to Christchurch.

“The mere fact… that this individual had acquired a gun license and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I’m committing to that,” she said.

“While work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun license, and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now — our gun laws will change.”

She confirmed that the gunman and two suspected associates who were also arrested had not been on the radar of any intelligence agencies, even though he had published a manifesto online indicating plans for attacks on Muslims.

“They were not on any watch lists either here or in Australia,” she said, pointing out that “the individual charged with murder had not come to the attention of the intelligence community, nor the police, for extremism.

In parallel, Arden confirmed that she has asked “the agencies this morning to work swiftly on assessing whether there was any activity on social media or otherwise, that should have triggered a response. That work is already underway.”

“Given global indicators around far-right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area.”

New Zealand tightened its gun laws to restrict access to semi-automatic rifles in 1992, two years after a mentally ill man shot dead 13 people in the southern town of Aramoana.

But firearms laws are lax compared to neighboring Australia, which enacted a strict gun control regime in the wake of a similar massacre in 1996, and most other developed nations outside of the United States.

Anyone over 16 can apply for a New Zealand firearms license, valid for 10 years after completing a safety course and a police background check.

Most guns do not require registration under New Zealand’s Arms Act and police do not know “how many legally or illegally owned firearms there are in New Zealand”, according to a police statement last year.

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