The Washington Post Admitted That Zelensky Lied, People Died, And Ukrainians Are Upset

Aug 19 2022

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Had Zelensky leveled with his people months ago and told them about what was about to happen, then the horrors that millions of them experienced – including at the direct hand of their own government – could have been avoided.

The Washington Post published a surprisingly candid piece on Thursday in response to the widespread outrage that their interview with Zelensky earlier this week provoked among his own people. Titled “Zelensky faces outpouring of criticism over failure to warn of war”, the article points out how this so-called “master communicator” apparently slipped up by admitting that he lied to his compatriots by denying prior reports about what they describe as Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine. To be clear, the reality is that Russia was preparing to resort to military means as a last resort for defending the integrity of its national security red lines in that neighboring country after US-led NATO crossed them. That aside, the point behind their piece is that Zelensky lied, people died, and Ukrainians are upset.

This influential Mainstream Media (MSM) outlet’s report quotes a couple Ukrainians who expressed outrage at what their leader just revealed, which they implied was representative of popular opinion in the days after his initial interview was released. Rightly described by the Washington Post as Zelensky’s “first serious communications crisis”, the reason why millions of people are so angry is because he casually explained away his lie as alleging that it saved Ukraine $7 billion a month from October onward. Evidently, he believes that his people’s lives have a price tag and aren’t as sacred as he’s always made it seem in his daily video appearances where he pretends to be sad about all those who died. If he’d just told Ukrainians the truth, many might have either fled or better prepared themselves for the conflict.

Instead, the vast majority of the population was caught off guard after trusting his repeated reassurances that no such Russian military action was imminent, which indisputably resulted in increasing the loss of life. This is especially the case after Amnesty International proved that Kiev’s forces illegally militarized residential areas near the front lines and thus exploited civilians there as human shields in a desperate last-ditch attempt to stop Russia’s slow but steady advance over the past six months. That, however, might have been one of the reasons why he refused to warn his people about what was about to happen since his military officials might have had a Machiavellian “defense plan” this entire to time to disproportionately rely on a policy of human shields.

Had Zelensky leveled with his people months ago and told them about what was about to happen, then the horrors that millions of them experienced – including at the direct hand of their own government – could have been avoided. The speculative preplanned human shield “defense plan” coupled with his oligarchic backers’ economic-financial interests are the reason why he declined to do so, which exposes this “master communicator” as nothing but a master manipulator, or rather, the puppet that his warmongering Western patrons exploited in order to manipulate the Ukrainian population. His lies affected each and every Ukrainian, which is why so many of them are suddenly turning against him, thus prompting the Washington Post to surprisingly report about this abrupt shift in public opinion.

Why is Amnesty apologising for telling the truth about Ukrainian war crimes?

16 August 2022

JONATHAN COOK

Allowing only one side to be criticised for its crimes – reinforcing the loaded western political narrative of good guys versus bad guys – is likely to fuel war rather than resolve it

Middle East Eye – 16 August 2022

Should a human rights organisation apologise for publishing important evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses?

If it does apologise, what does that suggest about its commitment to dispassionately uncovering the truth about the actions of both parties to war? And equally, what message does it send to those who claim to be “distressed” by the publication of such evidence?

Those are questions Amnesty International should have pondered far more carefully than it obviously did before issuing an apology last week over its latest report on the war in Ukraine.

In that report, Amnesty accused Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes by stationing troops and artillery in or near schools, hospitals and residential buildings, thereby using civilians effectively as human shields. Such practices by Ukrainian soldiers were identified in 19 different towns and villages.

These incidents did not just theoretically endanger civilians. There is evidence, according to Amnesty, that return fire by Russian troops on these Ukrainian positions led to non-combatants being killed.

The Israeli army regularly accuses Palestinian factions like Hamas of hiding among civilians in Gaza, while obscuring its own, long-documented practice of using Palestinians as human shields.

But whatever the truth of Israel’s claims, unlike the tiny and massively overcrowded Gaza, which offers few or no hiding places outside of built-up areas for Palestinian fighters to resist Israeli aggression, Amnesty concluded of the situation in Ukraine: “Viable alternatives were available that would not endanger civilians – such as military bases or densely wooded areas nearby, or other structures further away from residential areas.”

In other words, it was a choice made by the Ukrainian army to put its own civilians in harm’s way.

Mounting pressure

Notably, this is the first time a major western human rights organisation has publicly scrutinised the behaviour of Ukraine’s soldiers. Until now, these watchdog bodies have focused exclusively on reports of crimes committed by Russian forces – a position entirely in line with the priorities of their own governments. By its own admission, Amnesty has published dozens of reports condemning Russia.

The pushback against the latest report was relentless, coming even from Amnesty’s own Ukrainian team. Oksana Pokalchuk, its head, quit, explaining that her team “did everything they could to prevent this material from being published”.

Under mounting pressure, Amnesty made a statement last week in which it said it “deeply regrets the distress and anger” caused by its report, while at the same time stating: “We fully stand by our findings.”

The idea that only one side has been committing war crimes in Ukraine was always implausible. In wars, all sides commit crimes. It is in the nature of wars.

Faulty lines of communication mean orders are misunderstood or only partially relayed to those on the front lines. Inevitably, soldiers prioritise their own lives over those of the enemy, including civilians. Terrorising the other side – through human rights violations – can be an effective way to avoid combat, by sending a warning to enemy soldiers to desert their posts and civilians to flee. Sadists and psychopaths, meanwhile, find themselves with plenty of opportunities to exploit during the fighting.

But conversely, parties to wars invariably struggle to acknowledge their own abuses. They prefer simple-minded, self-serving narratives of good and evil: our soldiers are heroes, morally spotless, while their soldiers are barbarians, indifferent to the value of human life.

Western governments and establishment media outlets have readily peddled this foolish line in Ukraine, too, even though neither Europe nor the United States are supposed to be directly involved in the war. They have reflexively amplified Ukrainian claims of Russian war crimes, even when the evidence is lacking or the picture murky, and they have resolutely ignored any evidence of Ukrainian crimes, such as evidence that Russian prisoners of war have been executed or that Ukraine has been using petal cluster bombs in civilian areas.

More self-censorship

In such circumstances, only the human rights community is in a position to provide a more faithful picture of how events are unfolding, and hold to account both sides for their crimes. But until Amnesty stepped out of line, western human rights groups had moved in lockstep with western governments, the same governments that appear to want endless war in Ukraine, to “weaken Russia”, rather than a quick resolution.

Even the author of Amnesty’s new report, Donatella Rovera, has conceded: “I think the level of self-censorship on this issue [Ukrainian war crimes] has been pretty extraordinary.”

Amnesty should not be apologising for providing a rare window on such crimes. It should be emphasising the importance of monitoring both sides for serious breaches of international law. And for very good reason.

Amnesty’s apology sends a message to those partisans trying to shut down scrutiny of Ukrainian crimes of just how easy it is to put the human rights community on the defensive. Efforts to deter reporting of a similar nature in the future will intensify.

Ukraine’s foreign affairs minister, Dmytro Kuleba, was among those who lost no time vilifying Amnesty by characterising its report as “Russian disinformation”.

Amnesty’s apology suggests such pressure campaigns have an effect and will lead to increased self-censorship – in a situation where the evidence already indicates that there is a great deal of self-censorship, as Rovera pointed out.

The apology betrays the civilians who have been, and will be, used as human shields – putting them in lethal danger – over the coming months and potentially years of fighting. It means Ukrainian forces will feel even less pressure to rein in behaviour that amounts to a war crime. 

Amnesty would never apologise to Russian partisans offended by a report on Russian war crimes. Its current apology indicates to the victims of Ukrainian human rights abuses that they are less worthy than the victims of Russian abuses.

Flooding the battlefield

Turning a blind eye to Ukrainian crimes also lifts the pressure on western governments. They have been recklessly channelling arms worth many billions of dollars to Ukraine, even though they have little idea where most end up. (In a further worrying sign of self-censorship in the west, CBS recently postponed the broadcast of an investigation suggesting as little as a third of western weapons reach their intended destination in Ukraine.)

That is all the more dangerous because, even before Russia’s invasion in late February, Ukrainian forces – including the neo-Nazi elements now glossed over in western narratives – were engaged in a vicious civil war with ethnic Russian communities in Ukraine’s east. That region, the Donbas, is where Moscow has been focusing its military advances.

Human rights violations by Ukrainians against other Ukrainians were regularly committed during the eight-year civil war, as western monitors documented at the time. Such crimes are almost certainly continuing under cover of the war against Russia, but with the aid now of western arms shipments.

Ignoring abuses by Ukrainian forces gives them a free hand to commit crimes not only against Russian soldiers but also against the large number of Ukrainians who are not seen as loyal to Kyiv.

A failure to closely scrutinise how and where western artillery is being used is almost certain to result in more, not less, of the kind of Ukrainian crimes Amnesty has just highlighted.

Western governments, and publics, need to be confronted with the likely consequences of flooding the battlefield with weapons before they prefer such a policy over pursuing diplomatic solutions.

Ultimately, allowing one side only to be criticised for its crimes – reinforcing the simple-minded narrative of good guys versus bad guys – is likely to fuel the war rather than resolve it.

War-mongering

Amnesty’s conduct over this latest report is not exceptional. It is part of a pattern of behaviour by a western human rights community vulnerable to political and financial pressures that detract from its ostensible mission. 

As the near-exclusive focus on Russian crimes in Ukraine illustrates, international humanitarian law is all too often interpreted through the prism of western political priorities.

There has long been a revolving door between the staff of prominent human rights groups and the US government. And pressure from elite donors – who are invested in these dominant narratives – doubtless plays a part, too.

Anyone departing from the narrow political consensus imposed by western political and media elites is defamed as spreading Russian “disinformation”, or for being apologists for dictators like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad or Libya’s late ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Criticisms of Israel, meanwhile, are demonised as proof of antisemitism. 

Certainly, Russian, Syrian and Libyan leaders have committed war crimes. But the focus on their crimes is all too often an excuse to avoid addressing western war crimes, and thereby enable agendas that advance the interests of the West’s war industries.

I experienced this first hand during the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. Israel accused Hezbollah of using its own population as “human shields” – framed by the Norwegian politician and United Nations official Jan Egeland as “cowardly blending” – an allegation lapped up by the western media.

Whatever the truth of that claim, it presented a very one-sided picture of what took place during that summer’s fighting. Though no one was allowed to mention it at the time because of Israel’s strict military censorship laws, it was common knowledge among Israel’s minority of Palestinian citizens that many of their own communities in northern Israel were being used as locations for Israeli tanks and artillery to fire into Lebanon.

The Israeli army had forcibly recruited these third-class citizens as human shields, just as the Ukrainian army is now accused by Amnesty of doing to civilians.

I saw for myself a number of the locations where Israel had installed batteries in or next to the minority’s communities. There were later Israeli court cases that confirmed this widespread practice; Palestinian politicians in Israel raised the matter in the Israeli parliament; and a local human rights group later issued a report documenting examples of these war crimes.

But these revelations never gained any traction with either the western media or human rights groups. Western publics were left with an entirely false impression: that Hezbollah alone had endangered its own civilians, even though Israel had undoubtedly done the same or worse.

The reality could not be acknowledged because it conflicted with western political priorities that treat Israel as a valued ally with a moral army and Hezbollah as a depraved, bloodthirsty terrorist organisation.

Saints and sinners

Human rights groups reporting on the 2006 Lebanon war actively echoed these self-serving western narratives that unfairly differentiated between Hezbollah and Israel, as I highlighted at the time.

I found myself in a very public row with Human Rights Watch over comments made by one of its researchers to the New York Times claiming that Hezbollah had intentionally targeted Israeli civilians whereas Israel had avoided targeting Lebanese civilians.

First, it completely failed to fit the known facts of the war. Israel’s strikes on Lebanon had caused a disproportionately large number of civilian deaths, despite the use of precision weapons. Hezbollah, using far more primitive rockets, meanwhile, had killed mostly soldiers, not civilians. 

But more problematic still, HRW had ascribed intentions to each side – good and bad – when it could not possibly know what those intentions were. As I wrote at the time of its researcher’s comments:

Was he or another HRW researcher sitting in one of the military bunkers in northern Israel when army planners pressed the button to unleash the missiles from their spy drones? Was he sitting alongside the air force pilots as they circled over Lebanon dropping their US-made bombs or tens of thousands of ‘cluster munitions’, tiny land mines that are now sprinkled over a vast area of south Lebanon? Did he have intimate conversations with the Israeli chiefs of staff about their war strategy? Of course not. He has no more idea than you or I what Israel’s military planners and its politicians decided was necessary to achieve their war goals.

HRW’s comments made sense only in a political context: that the group faced enormous pressure from US politicians and funders to focus on Hezbollah’s crimes. It also faced a damaging vilification campaign led by Israel lobbyists who wished to shield Israel from scrutiny. They accused the group’s senior staff of antisemitism and spreading a blood libel.

It looked very much like HRW caved into that pressure, just as Amnesty is now effectively doing in apologising for upsetting Ukrainian partisans and those emotionally invested in the one-sided narrative they hear constantly from their politicians and media.

Neither Amnesty nor Human Rights Watch responded to a request for comment. 

The reality is that western publics need more, not less, scrutiny of the crimes committed in wars, if only to tear the facade off narratives designed to paint a picture of saints and sinners – narratives that dehumanise official enemies and fuel more war.

The minimum needed to achieve that is an independent, fearless, vigorous human rights community, not an apologetic one. 

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An unpleasant truth for Ukrainians is coming to light

August 07, 2022

Source

By Batko Milacic

Ukrainian forces have threatened civilians by setting up bases and operating weapons systems in populated areas, including schools and hospitals, as they battled the Russian intervention that began in February, Amnesty International said in a statement.

“Such a tactic violates international humanitarian law and endangers civilians, as it turns civilian objects into military targets. The Russian strikes that followed in populated areas killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure,” the statement said.

– Amnesty International has documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when conducting operations in populated areas – said Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

He pointed out that the defensive position does not free the Ukrainian army from respecting international humanitarian law.

The organization’s researchers spent several weeks from April to July investigating Russian attacks in Kharkiv, Donbass and the Mykolaiv region.

The organization inspected the attacked sites, interviewed survivors, eyewitnesses, relatives of the victims of the attack, and carried out remote detection and analysis of weapons. During those investigations, evidence was found that Ukrainian forces were firing from heavily populated areas and were themselves inside civilian buildings in 19 towns and villages in these regions. The organization analyzed satellite images to further confirm some of these incidents – it is emphasized.

According to Amnesty International, most of the residential areas where the soldiers were located were kilometers away from the front.

– Viable alternatives were available that would not endanger civilians, such as military bases or densely wooded areas nearby, or other structures further away from residential areas. In the cases it has documented, Amnesty International is not aware that the Ukrainian military, located in civilian structures in residential areas, asked or helped civilians to evacuate, which is a failure to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians. announcement.

Directed shooting from populated areas

Amnesty says survivors and eyewitnesses of Russian attacks in Donbass, Kharkiv and the Mykolaiv region told researchers that the Ukrainian military was conducting operations near their homes at the time of the attacks, exposing the areas to counterfire from Russian forces. Amnesty International researchers have witnessed such behavior in numerous locations.

International humanitarian law requires all parties to a conflict to avoid locating, to the greatest extent possible, military targets within or near densely populated areas. Other obligations to protect civilians from the effects of attacks include removing civilians from the vicinity of military targets and providing effective warning of attacks that may affect the civilian population.

– The army was stationed in the house next to ours and my son often brought food to the soldiers. I begged him several times to stay away, because I feared for his safety. That afternoon, when the attack happened, my son was in our yard and I was in the house. He died on the spot. His body was mutilated. Our house was partially destroyed – said the mother of a man (50), who was killed in a rocket attack on June 10 in a village south of Nikolaev.

Amnesty International found military equipment and uniforms in the house next to hers.

Nikola, who lives in the block in Lisichansk in Donbass, which the Russians regularly targeted and killed at least one person, said that it is not clear to him “why our army fires from the cities and not from the fields”.

Another resident said that “there is definitely military activity in the neighborhood.”

– We hear “outgoing” and then “incoming” fire” – he said.

Amnesty International teams saw soldiers using residential buildings located 20 meters from the entrance to the underground shelter, which was used by residents and where an elderly man was killed.

In one Donbas town on May 6, Russian forces used cluster munitions over a neighborhood of mostly one- or two-story houses where Ukrainian forces were manning artillery. Shrapnel damaged the walls of the house where Ana (70) lives with her son and 95-year-old mother.

In early July, a farm worker was injured when Russian forces attacked an agricultural warehouse in the Nikolayev area. Hours after the attack, Amnesty International researchers witnessed the presence of Ukrainian military personnel and vehicles in the grain storage area, and witnesses confirmed that the military was using the warehouse, which is located across from a farm where civilians live and work.

As researchers surveyed damage to residential and public buildings in Kharkiv and villages in the Donbass and east of Mykolaiv, they heard gunfire from nearby Ukrainian military positions.

In Bakhmut, several residents said the Ukrainian military was using a building barely 20 meters across the street from the high-rise. On May 18, a Russian rocket hit the front of the building, partially destroying five apartments and damaging nearby buildings.

Military bases in hospitals

Amnesty International researchers witnessed Ukrainian forces using hospitals as de facto military bases in five locations. In the two cities, dozens of soldiers rested and ate in hospitals. In another town, soldiers fired from near a hospital.

A Russian airstrike on April 28 injured two workers at a medical laboratory in the suburbs of Kharkiv after Ukrainian forces set up a base in the compound.Using hospitals for military purposes is a clear violation of international humanitarian law.

Military bases in schools

The Ukrainian army routinely set up bases in schools in the cities and villages of the Donbass and in the Mykolaiv region. Schools have been temporarily closed to students since the beginning of the conflict, but in most cases the buildings were located near civilian settlements.

In 22 of the 29 schools visited, researchers either found soldiers using the premises or found evidence of current or previous military activity – including the presence of military equipment, ammunition, military ration packs and military vehicles.

Russian forces attacked many schools used by Ukrainian forces. In at least three cities, after Russian bombing of schools, Ukrainian soldiers moved to other schools nearby, putting surrounding neighborhoods at risk of similar attacks.

In a city east of Odessa, Amnesty witnessed Ukrainian soldiers using civilian areas for accommodation and staging areas, including basing armored vehicles under trees in residential areas and using two schools located in densely populated residential areas.

Conclusion

Amnesty International’s report was not a surprise to me as an analyst. Since the beginning of the conflict, all of us who follow the behavior and tactics of the Ukrainian army have witnessed such tactics of the Ukrainian army, which are strictly prohibited by international law. Also, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned about the behavior of the Ukrainian army that threatens innocent civilians. However, the fact that the respected Amnesty International writes about it in its report represents a strategic turn. Bearing in mind that this is an extremely respected Western non-governmental organization, we can safely say that even in the West, the opinion is slowly growing that the criminal behavior of the Ukrainian army will no longer be tolerated.

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Macron Hosts MBS Regardless of Outrage over Khashoggi Murder

JULY 28, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] for talks in Paris on Thursday, regardless of criticism that the invitation is deeply inappropriate barely four years after the murder by Saudi agents of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The meeting is seen as the latest step in the readmission of the de-facto ruler of the kingdom into the international fold, after US President Joe Biden met him earlier this month.

The topics set to loom over the meeting include energy supply as concern grows over possible power shortages in wake of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, as well as reining in the nuclear program of Riyadh’s top regional foe Iran.

“I feel profoundly troubled by the visit, because of what it means for our world and what is means for Jamal [Khashoggi] and people like him,” Amnesty International secretary general Agnes Callamard told AFP, describing MBS as a man who “does not tolerate any dissent.”

The visits mark MBS’ first trip to the EU since the murder of Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018, a crime that a UN probe described as an “extrajudicial killing for which Saudi Arabia is responsible.”

It also said there was “credible evidence” warranting further investigation of the individual liability of high-level Saudi officials, including MBS.

US intelligence agencies determined that MBS had “approved” the operation that led to Khashoggi’s death, though Riyadh denies this, blaming rogue operatives.

The killing drew outrage not just over the elimination of a prominent critic of the Saudi regime, but also for the manner in which it was carried out. Khashoggi was lured into the Saudi consulate on October 2, 2018, strangled and dismembered, reportedly with a bonesaw.

His reception by world leaders is “all the more shocking given many of them at the time expressed disgust [over the killing] and a commitment not to bring MBS back into the international community,” Callamard added, denouncing the “double standard.”

But despite the concern over Saudi Arabia’s rights record, the kingdom is seen by many in the West as an essential partner due to its energy resources, purchases of weaponry and staunch opposition to Iran.

Western countries resume their relationship with Riyadh after the isolation imposed on Ibn Salma

AHMAD MANASRA AND THE CRIME OF EXISTING WHILE PALESTINIAN

JULY 1ST, 2022

By Miko Peled

Source

Conversations with Palestinians both young and old almost always end with them saying to me, “you [a Jewish Israeli] can say these things, but if we were to say them we would be excluded from all spaces and we would be called anti-semitic.” A young Palestinian interning in Washington, D.C. told me she felt that she needed an Israeli beside her to give her legitimacy. Not in her own eyes, but in the eyes of the D.C. establishment. Sadly, she is probably correct; in the anti-Arab, and particularly anti-Palestinian atmosphere in Washington, this is very likely true.

About ten years ago my very good friend Bassem Tamimi from Nabi Saleh told me the following story: He was in the United States for a speaking tour and on a certain occasion, an American activist came up and warmly shook his hand. He said to Bassem that since he, Bassem, is a friend of mine, then he too welcomes him. This was the same kind of skewed reality whereby people feel an Israeli is the barometer by which a Palestinian is to be measured. Bassem proceeded to tell the man that although it is true that he and I are friends, and that I slept at his house many times, he does not accept that anyone will judge him on the basis of his friendship with me. That was the end of that conversation and Bassem walked away from this person.

Bassem mentioned this story many, many times during our years of friendship, and he continues to do so, particularly when there are people around who may be thinking the way the man in the story does. I told this young Palestinian the story about Bassem and said that had he not had that kind of integrity, he and I could never have become friends.

A CHASM

There exists a chasm between the reality in Palestine and the way that reality is perceived by the “establishment” in Washington, D.C. Palestinians’ existence in their own country is tantamount to a living hell. Certainly, there are Palestinians who managed to secure a relatively comfortable life within the parameters set for them by Israel, but that does not mean it is any less of a living hell.

The Amnesty International report on Apartheid in Palestine speaks to this issue as well. Just because there are Palestinians who do live well and can survive and work and raise their children somewhat normally within the system of oppression, does not make the system less oppressive or the crime of Apartheid less violent.

One example of this violence is Israel’s administrative detention and torture of Palestinians. Amnesty International published a report about child prisoner Ahmed Manasra, stating that,

Israel continues to perpetrate widespread as well as systematic human rights violations against Palestinians, including children, against a backdrop of decades of state-sponsored discrimination, segregation and persecution.

Had he not been a Palestinian held by Isreal, the entire world would have stood up for Ahmed. Mansara was arrested when he was only 13 years old and was interrogated with no lawyer or parent present. A disturbing video showing his arrest and interrogation went viral.

The Amnesty International report states in no uncertain terms that his arrest and the conditions in which he has been held are tantamount to, “a flagrant violation of international law.” Amnesty goes on to say, “There is evidence that the treatment of Ahmed Manasra fits a wider pattern of discrimination against Palestinian children in the Israeli criminal justice system.” Manasra is, “still in prison despite worsening mental health.”

Amnesty demanded that the Israeli authorities release Manasra and immediately provide him with the medical and mental health care that he needs. Much of the deterioration of his mental health care is directly related to the manner in which both prison authorities and the Shabak – Israel’s secret police – treated him. These include prolonged periods of solitary confinement.

Again, from the Amnesty report:

Ahmad Manasra has been held in prolonged solitary confinement since the beginning of November 2021, in violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

There is no surprise – much less an outcry – that Israel regularly uses solitary confinement, as does the United States, as a tool for punishing inmates. Amnesty goes on to report that,

The Israel Prison Service asked to renew Ahmad’s solitary confinement for a further six months on 17 April 2022. A hearing that was scheduled to be held on 15 June 2022 with regards to his solitary confinement was postponed to a later date.

Ahmad Manasra’s mental health worsened during his incarceration to a point where there is a concern for his life. In October 2021, an independent Israeli clinical psychologist working with Physicians for Human Rights diagnosed him with severe psychiatric conditions and stated these had developed since his incarceration.

AN ABSURD REALITY

The vicious crimes perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians are well documented by credible agencies with no affiliation to either Israel or the Palestinians, such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. However, when Israel is mentioned in the halls of power in Washington, D.C., there seems to be a sense of awe and admiration. This is also true in many churches and other non-governmental organizations.

Palestinians are far less welcome and when they are invited, they need to be sponsored – if not physically accompanied by an organization that includes Israelis or at least the blessing of Israelis. As was mentioned earlier, while many Palestinians reject this reality, others feel they cannot otherwise have their voice heard.

Perhaps this is a good time to speak of Palestinian generosity. For nearly a century, Palestinians by and large have been trying to make peace with the fact their country was taken and they have been forced to live as refugees or second-class citizens. Palestine, a country that was widely known had all of a sudden become a footnote to Israel. Israelis who consider themselves “progressives” are willing to “give” Palestinians a small portion of Palestine in order to have their own state. However, the real generosity is that Palestinians (in general) agree to the creation of a single democracy with equal rights in all of historic Palestine. Not to confine the Jewish settler-colonizers in small areas within Palestine, but full equality with the very people who killed and tortured them, stole their homes, and deprived them of their land and their rights.

Indeed, it makes more sense that if representatives of Israel are ever welcome anywhere, it should be only when sanctioned by Palestinians. To that end, we must all adopt and demand that sanctions and boycotts be placed on Israel, and without delay.

THE PARADOXICAL SEEDS OF THE HOLOCAUST: OPPRESSION AND DEATH LIVE ON IN THE APARTHEID STATE

JUNE 22ND, 2022

MIKO PELED

Source

LYD, OCCUPIED PALESTINE – It is becoming increasingly difficult for Israel and the agencies that promote Zionism around the world to portray Zionism in rosy colors. This is primarily because there is a history of close to 100 years of Zionism; and the actions of the Zionist State, Israel, have a history of seven and a half decades of violence and racism. To add to that, in February, Amnesty International came out with a damning report demonstrating in no uncertain terms that Israel is engaged in the crime of apartheid and has been since the day it was established.

The Amnesty report is fewer than 300 pages long and can, and indeed must, be read by everyone. It is detailed, well-written and can provide the tools and information needed when confronting Israel and its allies in the various spheres in which they operate: in the academic world when confronting representatives of Israeli academic institutions; in the world of international sports, when demanding that FIFA and the International Olympic committee expel Israel; and in the corporate world and in the political-diplomatic spheres. In short, the Amnesty report is an invaluable tool.

CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Article 1 of The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid states:

The States Parties to the present Convention declare that apartheid is a crime against humanity and that inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of apartheid and similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination, as defined in article II of the Convention, are crimes violating the principles of international law.

According to Article II.a of the Convention, the crime of apartheid includes the following elements:

Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person:

(i) By murder of members of a racial group or groups;

(ii) By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

(iii) By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;

(b) Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part…

The significance of this clause cannot be overstated, particularly when speaking about the State of Israel, a state that was established only three years after the end of World War II and the Holocaust. According to the Amnesty report, the crime of apartheid began in 1948 when the state of Israel was established.

OPERATION DANNY

piece titled “We Need to Discuss Lyd,” published on the Israeli alternative media platform, Haokets, relays the events of July 1948 when the Palestinian city of El-Lyd was taken by the Israeli military in what was known as “Operation Danny.”

El-Lyd was subjected to an aerial attack on the night between the 10th and 11th of July 1948. Then a battalion led by Moshe Dayan, the famous eyepatch-wearing Israeli general, drove through the city, spraying it with gunfire. Witnesses who were part of this attack said that Dayan ordered them to “wash the city with gunfire,” a command they took to mean shooting indiscriminately in every direction. The city was taken in 47 minutes during which, according to this piece, the Israeli military utilized nine armored personnel carriers, 20 jeeps, and 10 armored vehicles equipped with machine guns. The Palestinians had no forces apart from a few men with rifles.

Various witnesses mentioned hundreds of bullet-strewn bodies on the streets. The dead were eventually buried in unmarked mass graves. On July 12, clashes between some of the local fighters and the Israeli invading forces were reported. In these clashes an additional 250 Palestinians were killed, some of whom were prisoners held by the Israelis. Later that day, a soldier by the name of Yerahmiel Kahanovich shot a missile into the Dahmash Mosque where over 100 Palestinians had taken refuge. One anti-tank Fiat missile killed an estimated 120 civilians who posed no danger to anyone.

The exact number of those killed is unknown. This is because the impact of the blast was so severe that no bodies were left intact. “The bodies were all over the walls and ceiling,” one Israeli soldier said. So the Mosque was kept shut for two weeks. After two weeks, Palestinian prisoners were sent to clean up the mosque and bury the remains of those inside. Then, according to the testimony of Israelis themselves, many of those who carried out the burial were shot, killed and then buried as well.

Not only was no one ever prosecuted, not only did Moshe Dayan go on to command the Israeli army and then become minister of defense and of foreign affairs, but, in a move that is perhaps more cynical than any, the plaza outside the mosque was named “Palmach Plaza,” Palmach being the brigade that had committed the massacre in the city and particularly at the mosque.

Once the city was occupied, soldiers sent the Palestinian residents on their way to march eastward toward the newly established Kingdom of Jordan in the heat of summer without food or water. “Yalla to Abdullah,” the Israeli soldiers shouted as men, women, children and the elderly were forced into a death march that would result in the demise of countless Palestinians.

WHAT CONSTITUTES COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP?

In a piece in the Israeli army publication Maarachot, Moshe Dayan’s command of the battalion that took El-Lyd is described as “courageous,” and possessing “an ability to withstand the pressures of battle.” Dayan is described as endowed with a “determination to complete the mission,” “professionalism,” and “leadership.”

In this piece, the massacre of El-Lyd is described as “a difficult battle,” in which the leadership skills of the battalion commander, Dayan saved the day and led to victory. The article was written by Brigadier General Shay Kelper while he was still a Lt. Colonel and a battalion commander himself. His article received an award from the IDF Chief of Staff.

The fight to end the apartheid regime in Palestine takes place in every arena, in every field and on every continent. Israel and its allies are determined to hold their ground because they know that for them this is a fight for their lives. People who care for justice and for the lives of Palestinians need to remember that every day that goes by while Israel is permitted to continue its crimes against humanity is another day of death to Palestinians.

Feature photo | The minaret of the Al-Omari mosque and St. George Greek Orthodox church are reflected in the broken windshield of a vehicle in Lyd.

WHAT CONSTITUTES COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP?

In a piece in the Israeli army publication Maarachot, Moshe Dayan’s command of the battalion that took El-Lyd is described as “courageous,” and possessing “an ability to withstand the pressures of battle.” Dayan is described as endowed with a “determination to complete the mission,” “professionalism,” and “leadership.”

In this piece, the massacre of El-Lyd is described as “a difficult battle,” in which the leadership skills of the battalion commander, Dayan saved the day and led to victory. The article was written by Brigadier General Shay Kelper while he was still a Lt. Colonel and a battalion commander himself. His article received an award from the IDF Chief of Staff.

The fight to end the apartheid regime in Palestine takes place in every arena, in every field and on every continent. Israel and its allies are determined to hold their ground because they know that for them this is a fight for their lives. People who care for justice and for the lives of Palestinians need to remember that every day that goes by while Israel is permitted to continue its crimes against humanity is another day of death to Palestinians.

Amnesty: Manasrah A Victim of ‘Israeli’ Apartheid, Lost Childhood behind Its Bars

22 Jun 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

By Staff, Agencies

Amnesty International announced that Ahmad Manasrah was a victim of ‘Israeli’ Apartheid and the so-called ‘Israeli’ justice system.

“20-year-old Ahmad Manasrah is one of many victims of [the ‘Israeli’ Apartheid’s] discriminatory justice system, where torture is routinely used against Palestinians,” Amnesty tweeted. “His health is now at stake.”

Amnesty asserted that Manasrah had “lost his childhood in ‘Israel’s’ prison system,” and called on ‘Israeli’ politicians to free him due to deteriorating health.

Amnesty stated that Mansarah is suffering from schizophrenia, psychotic delusions, depression, and suicidal ideation, and should be released and given medical care.

“Ahmad Manasrah has been subjected to a catalogue of injustices by the ‘Israeli’ authorities, including deleterious effects of incarceration on his development and prolonged solitary confinement,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the Amnesty statement on Friday.

“He endured ill-treatment during interrogations, which were conducted without his parents or lawyers’ presence, and was denied the right to a fair trial. He should have been released a long time ago, yet he remains in unnecessary suffering in ‘Israeli’ prisons.”

She further stated: “20-year-old Ahmad Manasrah is one of many victims of ‘Israeli’ Apartheid’s discriminatory justice system, where torture is routinely used against Palestinians.”

Amnesty urges UAE to free 10 inmates kept beyond sentences

 May 30, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The ten UAE citizens were among 69 nationals arrested in 2012 and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in 2013.

The ten UAE citizens were among 94 defendants, including 13 women.

Amnesty International called on the UAE, on Monday, to “immediately” release ten men who it said were being arbitrarily detained after serving their sentences.

They were detained “under the guise of counter-extremism counseling,” according to Amnesty.

The ten UAE citizens were among 69 nationals arrested in 2012 and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in 2013.

They were also among 94 defendants, including 13 women.

In a statement, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Lynn Maalouf said, “These men have already spent a decade behind bars for daring to speak out against the Emirati authorities or being perceived as political opposition, and now this injustice is being prolonged past their long-awaited release dates.” 

“UAE authorities must immediately release anyone detained beyond the completion of their prison sentence, and cease the unlawful practice of arbitrarily extending prison terms,” Maalouf stressed.

The sentence was based on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, which Amnesty International criticized as “grossly unfair”, slamming the charges as “bogus”.

According to the official WAM news agency at the time, the Federal Supreme Court sentenced 56 of the 94 defendants to ten years in prison each.

Five defendants were sentenced to seven years in prison each, while eight others who were tried in absentia were sentenced to 15 years, according to the report.

A total of 25 people, including all 13 women arrested during the crackdown, were acquitted.

Their trial was considered the largest in the UAE’s history.

This is clear proof that the UAE continues to violate serious human rights, including arbitrary detention, cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees, repression of free expression, and violation of the right to privacy. 

Go deeper: The Pegasus Project: UAE as a Model

Furthermore, UAE has continued to deny stateless people the right to nationality, limiting their access to a variety of basic services. Death sentences were handed down by courts, and executions were reported.

So How Serious is Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Romance?

May 20, 2022

Source

By Cynthia Chung

In the history of civilization, Politics has more often than not, been a matter reduceable to the question of “whose side are you on?

Granted it is not an easy affair to discern what most-nearly approaches truth in the fog of “the present.” Hindsight is 20/20 they say, although that is also not entirely true, for the interpretation of history is just another battlefield, albeit in much slower motion.

In a world of increased division, where we are told there is only black or white, the best we mere “civilians” can hope for is to not get hit by the crossfire. However, that is becoming increasingly harder to do.

It is not a matter of holding “opinion” any longer, it is about upholding a “conviction,” not earned with your own personal scrutiny and research, but by your “faith” in such a conviction and the authorities who shape it.

Increasingly, it does not truly matter what the “facts” are, but the question of “whose side are you on?

If that is what “reality” has been reduced to by those forces controlling the state, then any enemy to those forces controlling that state will be a villain, regardless of their actions, regardless of their ideology; and any ally to those forces controlling that state will be a hero, regardless of their actions, regardless of their ideology.

And thus, in our shaped reality of today, what makes a “Hero” or a “Villain” will be determined by the simple question “whose side are you on?

If this is troubling to you, I suggest we do a little exercise together. Let us dare to discern the “facts” for ourselves. Only then, will we cease being mere cheerleaders for a team; only then, can we qualify ourselves to ask in all honest sincerity, “whose side are we truly on?”

Are Nazis Now the New “Good Guys”?

There is a bit of mixed messaging that has been going on, especially in the last few weeks. Are there significant numbers of Nazis in Ukraine and are these “bad” or “good” Nazis in the context that they are fighting the Russian “invaders”?

In one breath we hear the counter, how can there be Nazis in Ukraine when there is a Jewish President calling the shots? In another breath we hear Facebook is now allowing users to praise the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion while they are fighting Russians. In yet another breath we hear, well its complicated, Ukrainian Nationalism should be considered at the forefront of any debate, even if it overlaps with Nazi ideology.

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On Feb. 27, 2022, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland held a scarf bearing the slogan “Slava Ukraini,” meaning “Glory to Ukraine,” with the “Blood and Soil” colors of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) (who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII and massacred thousands of Jews and Poles).

She then proceeded to post this picture onto her Twitter account (replacing it hours later with a picture of her without the “Blood and Soil” scarf) and accused her detractors of “reeking of Russian disinformation”. This controversial picture of Freeland was reported by Canada’s National Post.

According to Freeland’s press secretary, this was just another case of a “classic KGB disinformation smear… accusing Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Canadians of being far right extremists or fascists or Nazis,” which is a confusing statement on multiple levels.

It is not clear how this is a case of “Russian disinformation,” since the picture is indeed authentic, Freeland does not deny this. And she is indeed holding a “Blood and Soil” emblem, which originated with the Nazis, clear for everyone to see. Lastly, it is confusing as to why the Canadian government seems to be unaware that the KGB no longer exists. Are they also under the impression that the Soviet Union still exists?

Not irrelevant in all of this is the fact that Freeland’s grandfather was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper during WWII in Galicia and that she is indeed aware of this and apparently unapologetic. Whenever she is questioned about this, she does not deny anything, but simply blames such a focus of inquiry on Russian disinformation with the intent to “destabilize Western democracies.” That is, it is not a question of what is one’s historical or ideological background, but a question of “whose side are you on?

Interestingly, it was the Canadian newspaper “The Globe and Mail” who reported this story, titled “Freeland knew her grandfather was editor of Nazi newspaper,” thus, not a Russian publication last time I checked. And upon whom did they base such information? None other than Freeland’s own uncle, John-Paul Himka, who is now professor emeritus at the University of Alberta.

According to the Globe and Mail, Freeland was aware for more than two decades that her grandfather Michael Chomiak, was the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper that vilified Jews and supported the Nazi cause.

Globe and Mail writes:

“Krakivski Visti [Krakow News] was set up in 1940 by the German army and supervised by German intelligence officer Emil Gassert. Its printing presses and offices were confiscated by the Germans from a Jewish publisher, who was later murdered at the Belzec concentration camp.

The article titled ‘Kravivski Visti and the Jews, 1943: A contribution of Ukrainian Jewish Relations during the Second World War’ was written by Ms. Freeland’s uncle, John-Paul Himka, now professor emeritus at the University of Alberta.

In the foreword to the article, Prof. Himka credits Ms. Freeland for ‘pointing out problems and clarifications.’ Ms. Freeland has never acknowledged that her grandfather was a Nazi collaborator and suggested on Monday that the allegation was part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

In 1996, Prof. Himka wrote about Mr. Chomiak’s work for Kravivski Visti, a Ukrainian-language newspaper based in Krakow that often published anti-Jewish diatribes including ‘certain passages in some of the articles that expressed approval of what the Nazis were doing to the Jews.’” [emphasis added]

Oddly, Freeland helped to edit and clarify Prof. Himka’s article discussing her grandfather as the chief editor of a Nazi newspaper, however, refused to acknowledge her grandfather’s role publicly and accused any reference to this as part of a “Russian disinformation campaign.” According to this topsy-turvy logic, Freeland’s uncle, Prof. Himka is part of this “Russian disinformation campaign,” and she is guilty of providing assistance to this “Russian disinformation campaign,” all to ruin her political career and “destabilize Western democracies.”

Freeland also told her uncle, Prof. Himka, which is included in his article, that according to her father, her grandfather Michael Chomiak was also working to some extent with the anti-Nazi resistance. However, Prof. Himka was unable to verify this information, which he described as “fragmentary and one-sided.”

This past April, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova delivered an explosive response to Chrystia Freeland’s recent obnoxious efforts to ban Russia from all international organizations and financial institutions, revealing the real sort of work Freeland’s grandfather was in the business of. You can read the full speech here.

Then there is the strange case of NATO tweeting in celebration of international women’s day, this past March 8, a picture of a female Ukrainian soldier wearing the Black Sun symbol which is tied to Nazi occultism, and Satanism. NATO wrote in their post “All women and girls must live free and equal,” sending a very mixed message. NATO also ended up taking down their picture of the Black Sun symbol.

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The timing of Freeland and NATO’s twitter posts are most strange. It also begs the question, why post something at all if you are just going to delete it? Is this just a matter of not being aware of such things, or is it a matter of certain groupings getting increasingly bolder and unapologetic as to where their true allegiance lies? Has Chrystia Freeland or NATO undergone any real questioning or backlash for such public displays? Not really.

Fact Checking the “Fact-Checkers” on Ukraine

Before we go through the situation of Ukraine today, I wanted to share with you a very relevant story of how the CIA buys News.

Udo Ulfkotte was a well-known German journalist and author of numerous books. He worked for 25 years as a journalist, 17 of which were for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), including his role as editor. In his 2014 book “Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys News,” Ulfkotte goes over how the CIA along with German Intelligence (BND) were guilty of bribing journalists to write articles that either spun the truth or were completely fictitious in order to promote a pro-western, pro-NATO bent, and that he was one of those bought journalists.

In an interview, Ulfkotte describes how he finally built up the nerve to publish the book, after years of it collecting dust, in response to the erupting 2014 crisis in Ukraine stating:

I felt that the right time had come to finish it and publish it, because I am deeply worried about the Ukrainian crisis and the possible devastating consequences for all of Europe and all of us…I am not at all pro-Russia, but it is clear that many journalists blindly follow and publish whatever the NATO press office provides. And this type of information and reports are completely one-sided”. [emphasis added]

In another interview Ulfkotte stated:

it is clear as daylight that the agents of various Services were in the central offices of the FAZ, the place where I worked for 17 years. The articles appeared under my name several times, but they were not my intellectual product. I was once approached by someone from German Intelligence and the CIA, who told me that I should write about Gaddafi and report how he was trying to secretly build a chemical weapons factory in Libya. I had no information on any of this, but they showed me various documents, I just had to put my name on the article. Do you think this can be called journalism? I don’t think so.

Ulfkotte has publicly stated:

I am ashamed of it. The people I worked for knew from the get-go everything I did. And the truth must come out. It’s not just about FAZ, this is the whole system that’s corrupt all the way.” [emphasis added]

Udo Ulfkotte has since passed away. He died January 2017, found dead in his home, it is said by a heart attack. His body was quickly after cremated, thus preventing any possibility of an autopsy from occurring. His book has been made pretty much impossible to find available for purchase at this point.

Today’s situation concerning media reporting on Ukraine does not seem to be any different, if anything, it is much much worse.

To bolster support for the Ukrainian military, Kiev has churned out a steady stream of sophisticated propaganda aimed at stirring public and official support from Western countries.

Ukraine’s propaganda strategy earned it praise from a NATO commander who told the Washington Post, “They are really excellent in stratcom — media, info ops, and also psy-ops.” The Post ultimately conceded that “Western officials say that while they cannot independently verify much of the information that Kyiv puts out about the evolving battlefield situation, including casualty figures for both sides, it nonetheless represents highly effective stratcom.”

Dan Cohen for Mint Press News writes:

“Key to the propaganda effort is an international legion of public relations firms working directly with Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to wage information warfare. According to the industry news site PRWeek, the initiative was launched by an anonymous figure who allegedly founded a Ukraine-based public relations firm…

According to the anonymous figure, more than 150 public relations firms have joined the propaganda blitz.

The international effort is spearheaded by public relations firm PR Network co-founder Nicky Regazzoni and Francis Ingham, a top public relations consultant with close ties to the UK’s governmentIngham previously worked for Britain’s Conservative Party, sits on the UK Government Communication Service Strategy and Evaluation Council, is Chief Executive of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation, and leads the membership body for UK local government communicators, LG Comms.”

Thus, Ingham who has been a member of the UK government and continues to have very high-level connections within the British government, is playing a leading role in shaping how the Ukraine war is being represented.

Dan Cohen provides a thorough explanation of how these “PR firms” have been responsible for reporting and spreading fabricated news and that even when such reports are found conclusively to be untrue, they continue to use them nonetheless. These PR tools include propaganda graphics, which are created in order to encourage radicalisation and promotion of ultra-nationalist identity; using xenophobic and racist language (not just to Russians), outright praise of Ukrainian neo-Nazis as heroes, the idolisation of Nazi affiliated Unit-B leader Stefan Bandera, and the encouragement of violent acts against other individuals (see Cohen’s article for examples).

Why would someone like Ingham be involved in something like this? Well, if you have already read my paper on “How the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement was Bought and Paid for by the CIA Post WWII”, you will see that this is just a continuation of a several decades-long script.

If you have ever wondered who is behind the omnipotent “fact-checkers”, in the case of StopFake who have self-described themselves as such, they are funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) aka the fully-rogue department of the CIA, the Atlantic Council, the International Renaissance Foundation (funded by Open Society Foundation’s billionaire George Soros), the British Embassy in Ukraine, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the German Marshall Fund, among others.

StopFake was hired by Facebook in March 2020 to “curb the flow of Russian propaganda” but was found to be employing multiple figures closely tied to violent neo-Nazis. This has, however, not deterred Facebook from continuing to work with StopFake.

At the end of the day, it does not seem to matter how many times these arbiters of truth are found to be wrong, for US officials have already admitted that they are literally just lying to the public about what is going on in Ukraine.

So How Serious is Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Romance?

Interestingly, the Atlantic Council itself acknowledges it is quite serious, in an article published in 2018 titled “Ukraine’s Got a Real Problem with Far-Right Violence (And No, RT Didn’t Write This Headline).”

Josh Cohen for the Atlantic Council writes [links are from the original article]:

It sounds like the stuff of Kremlin propaganda, but it’s not. Last week Hromadske Radio revealed that Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports is funding the neo-Nazi group C14 to promote “national patriotic education projects” in the country…”

Yes, you read right, C14 along with the Azov Battalion has been training children, with encouragement and funding by the Ukrainian government via Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports under the title “national patriotic education projects”, including in terror tactics.

Josh Cohen continues [links are from the original article]:

“Since the beginning of 2018, C14 and other far-right groups such as the Azov-affiliated National Militia, Right Sector, Karpatska Sich, and others have attacked Roma groups several times, as well as anti-fascist demonstrations, city council meetings, an event hosted by Amnesty International, art exhibitionsLGBT events, and environmental activists. On March 8, violent groups launched attacks against International Women’s Day marchers in cities across Ukraine. In only a few of these cases did police do anything to prevent the attacks, and in some they even arrested peaceful demonstrators rather than the actual perpetrators.”

After the March 8 2018 attacks against International Women’s Day marchers, Amnesty International wrote “Ukraine is sinking into a chaos of uncontrolled violence posed by radical groups and their total impunity. Practically no one in the country can feel safe under these conditions.”

Josh Cohen writes:

“To be clear, far-right parties like Svoboda perform poorly in Ukraine’s polls and elections, and Ukrainians evince no desire to be ruled by them. But this argument is a bit of “red herring.” It’s not extremists’ electoral prospects that should concern Ukraine’s friends, but rather the state’s unwillingness or inability to confront violent groups and end their impunity.” [emphasis added]

However, we heard it, straight from Yevhen Karas’s mouth, the leader of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi group C14, what determines who holds power in Ukraine has never really been about polls and elections.

As the famous “f*ck the EU” tape revealed to the dumbfounded world, the Ukrainian people don’t actually have a say in who runs their government. After the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” where Ukrainians literally died for “democracy,” the US went on to “influence” the roster of the newly formed Ukrainian government, specifically around members of Svoboda and Pravyi Sector (Right Sector) who held five senior roles in the new government, including the post of deputy prime minister.

But neo-Nazis have not just been receiving western support in the political sphere.

Just this past October, as a reaction to her failed diplomatic visit to Russia, Victoria Nuland, according to French journalist Thierry Meyssan, went ahead and “imposed” Dmytro Yarosh onto President Zelensky. On Nov. 2, 2021, President Zelensky appointed Dmytro Yarosh (leader of the neo-Nazi affiliated ultra-nationalist paramilitary group Right Sector 2013-2015) as Adviser to the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

This is the very same Dmytro Yarosh who has been on Interpol’s “wanted list” since 2014.

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Neo-Nazis have also received ongoing training by the CIA, British SAS (Special Air Service) as well as other NATO countries such as Canada since at least 2014. This training has continued despite Russia’s entry into Ukraine, which has been confirmed by The TimesOttawa CitizenCTV News, and Radio Canada.

The Canadian government has attempted to deny any knowledge of training neo-Nazi militants in Ukraine and have made the claim that they are not responsible for verifying who they are in fact training, but that this is the responsibility of the Ukrainian government. However, such claims of ignorance fell through when the very neo-Nazis they were training went ahead and posted pictures on their social media accounts, showcasing their neo-Nazis badges identifying them as such, plain for everyone to see.

On the same day as the untoward NATO tweet on International Women’s Day of a Ukrainian soldier with the Nazi Black Sun occult symbol, photographs appeared on NEXTA’s twitter feed showing the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion receiving training by instructors from “NATO countries” on how to use NLAW grenade launchers.

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The badge on the sidearm is that of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion

The ultra-nationalist Right Sector have also appeared in the field with UK-made NLAW launchers.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons on March 9 that “as of today, we have delivered 3,615 NLAWs [to Ukrainian forces] and continue to deliver more. We will shortly be starting the delivery of a small consignment of anti-tank Javelin missiles as well.”

For a full list of all the weapons sent to Ukraine since 2014 by all involved countries, refer here.

For those especially adamant that neo-Nazis are not “officially” a part of the Ukrainian army, you should be informed that the Azov Battalion is part of Ukraine’s National Guard, and thus, yes it is officially part of Ukraine’s military.

Andriy Biletsky, the Azov Battalion’s first commander and later a National Corps parliamentarian previously led the neo-Nazi paramilitary organisation “Patriot of Ukraine,” and once stated in 2010 that it was the Ukrainian nation’s mission to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade… against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].”

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In 2019, the Soufan Center, which tracks terrorist and extremist groups around the world, warned:

The Azov Battalion is emerging as a critical node in the transnational right-wing violent extremist network… [Its] aggressive approach to networking serves one of the Azov Battalion’s overarching objectives, to transform areas under its control in Ukraine into the primary hub for transnational white supremacy.

The Soufan Center described how the Azov Battalion’s “aggressive networking” reaches around the world to recruit fighters and spread its white supremacist ideology. Foreign fighters who train and fight with the Azov Battalion then return to their own countries to apply what they have learned and recruit others.

In 2014, Newsweek published an article titled “Ukrainian Nationalist Volunteers Committing ‘ISIS-Style’ War Crimes.” Is this an indication of how both the Azov and ISIS have received their funding and training from the very same sources? Hmmm.

NATO has recently gone so far as to make a short film honoring the Baltic Nazi collaborators the “Forest Brothers.” The NATO film lionises the “Forest Brothers,” former Waffen SS fighters who voluntarily collaborated with the Nazis, as anti-communist heroes.

Dovid Katz, a leading historian and anti-Nazi investigator condemned the NATO film for rewriting history:

By going beyond turning a blind eye to the worship of pro-Hitler forces in Eastern Europe…[NATO] is crossing the line right into offering its moral legitimization of Nazi forces such as the Latvian Waffen SS.” [emphasis added]

David Ignatius, the Washington Post columnist and reliable voice of the US intelligence apparatus, noted that even prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “the United States and NATO allies [were] ready to provide weapons and training for a long battle of resistance.”

This is the very same David Ignatius who was once President of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) (aka specialists in color revolutions), who arrogantly stated in a 1991 interview that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA…The biggest difference is that when such activities are done overtly, the flap potential is close to zero. Openness is its own protection”.

I guess the NED has had a change of heart on “openness is its own protection.”

Jeremy Kuzmarov for Covert Action Magazine writes in an article titled “National Endowment for Democracy Deletes Records of Funding Projects in Ukraine” [links from the original article]:

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED)—a CIA offshoot founded in the early 1980s to advance “democracy promotion” initiatives around the world—has deleted all records of funding projects in Ukraine from their searchable “Awarded Grants Search” database.

The archived webpage captured February 25, 2022 from 14:53 shows that NED granted $22,394,281 in the form of 334 awards to Ukraine between 2014 to the present. The capture at 23:10 the same day shows “No results found” for Ukraine. As of right now, there are still “No results found” for Ukraine…

The erasure of the NED’s records is necessary to validate the Biden administration’s big lie—echoed in the media—that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was ‘unprovoked.’” [emphasis added]

Who will suffer the most in this plan for a long battle of resistance? The Ukrainian people.

If Putin’s top reason for going into Ukraine is to “denazify” the country, and the CIA, NATO and co. are persistently “nazifying” the political and military components of Ukraine, you can see how this is making a situation for peace in Ukraine impossible, and that it is the CIA and NATO that are to blame for this.

You can also understand how Ukraine’s entry into NATO was unacceptable merely by its geographic location (the distance between Ukraine’s border and Moscow is 450 km), however, add in the fact that NATO is involved in the promotion of neo-Nazi militants in Ukraine and that now both Sweden and Finland have also expressed a desire to join NATO (with no referendum since democracy is officially dead in Cold War 2.0) and we have ourselves a real sh*t storm.

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However, this is not just a threat to Russia. The reality of the situation is that Ukraine has been in a civil war these past 8 years, though the western media refuses to acknowledge this very important fact.

Ivan Katchanovski, Professor of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, told MintPress:

People who take at face value the Western media coverage would have a very distorted perception of the Ukraine conflict and its origin… They omit or deny that there is a civil war in Donbas even though the majority of scholars who [have] published or presented concerning this conflict in Western academic venues classify it as a civil war with Russian military intervention. The Western media also omitted that recent ‘unity marches’ in Kharkiv and Kyiv and a staged training of civilians, including a grandmother, were organized and led by the far right, in particular, the Neo-Nazi Azov [Battalion].”

Robert Parry from Consortium News writes [link is from original article]:

On Sunday, a Times article by Andrew E. Kramer mentioned the emerging neo-Nazi paramilitary role in the final three paragraphs…In other words, the neo-Nazi militias that surged to the front of anti-Yanukovych protests…have now been organized as shock troops dispatched to kill ethnic Russians in the east [of Ukraine] – and they are operating so openly that they hoist a Swastika-like neo-Nazi flag over one conquered village with a population of about 10,000.

Burying this information at the end of a long article is also typical of how the Times and other U.S. mainstream news outlets have dealt with the neo-Nazi problem in the past. When the reality gets mentioned, it usually requires a reader knowing much about Ukraine’s history and reading between the lines of a U.S. news account.” [emphasis added]

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In the above image which outlines the population distribution of ethnic Ukrainians and Russians within Ukraine, you can understand how an ultra-nationalist view that identifies as solely ethnic Ukrainian would be a catalyst for a civil war.

The people of Donbass have understandably asked for independence from Ukraine, yet the Ukrainian government has refused to allow this nor intervene for a peaceful resolution. What does this mean? The war can only end when one side is fully dead.

Not only is it publicly known that the US and NATO have been funding and training neo-Nazis, but they have also been supplying a massive supply of arms (as previously mentioned). It got to such a point where in 2018, Congress had to ban the United States from sending further arms to Ukraine militia linked to neo-Nazis, specifically mentioning the Azov Battalion. For some reason this ban was to only last for three years thus it is apparently fair game now?

But you may say, what about Russia’s crimes against the Ukrainian people, aren’t they far worse than even vicious neo-Nazis? Namely the bombing of the Mariupol theater and the Bucha massacre. Thorough journalistic investigations have already been done on the former, which can be found here, that conclusively shows the bombing of the Mariupol theater was a false-flag.

As for the Bucha massacre, there has been no evidence presented as of yet that conclusively proves who committed this atrocity, there have only been assertions. Recall that the chemical attacks in Syria were also full of assertions, to which investigative journalist Seymour Hersch wrote a report titled “Whose Sarin,” which conclusively proved that the popular assertions being pushed by the Obama government in their attempt to incriminate the Syrian government, were in fact false. Rather, it was pointing to the fact that the actual terrorists were the ones using sarin on the Syrian civilians, who were receiving American and co. funding and arms.

Unfortunately, time is of the essence in investigating crimes such as these, and despite the outcries of the inhumanity of such events, there is always heavy foot-dragging if not outright dismissal over an official and neutral investigation of such crime scenes. Why is this?

Russia has asked the UN Security Council for an investigation and to discuss the Bucha massacre. China has also called for an official investigation into this and has received backlash for withholding blame until all facts are known. However, an official investigation has been repeatedly refused. Why? This should be the official protocol for such matters.

Instead, the response to this was for the UN to suspend Russia from its human rights body. Thus, not only denying an official investigation, but denying Russia a voice in responding to the matter.

The disturbing elephant in the room in all of this, is that the Azov Battalion has already been found guilty of similar atrocities against its own Ukrainian people, which has been thoroughly investigated by Max Blumenthal and Esha Krishnaswamy and which can be found here (warning there is graphic content).

The Azov Battalion has also been found guilty of purposefully putting Ukrainian citizens in jeopardy by positioning their artillery and military in residential areas and buildings, including daycares and hospitals, to which even the Washington Post had to acknowledge in their misleadingly titled article “Russia has killed civilians in Ukraine. Kyiv’s defense tactics add to the danger.

However, these are not simply “defense tactics,” they are blatant war crimes that are recognised as such by international law. These war crimes are publicly acknowledged to be going on, causing the deaths of a significant number of Ukrainians. Just to be clear here, during times of war, to which the Washington Post also acknowledges, Ukrainian soldiers and weaponry are legitimate targets for the Russian military. It is not Russia that is committing the war crime here, it is the Ukrainian government. They have literally been caught using their own people as human shields.

Does this still sound like a patriotic nationalist movement for the welfare and sovereignty of the Ukrainian people?

According to an interview with Scott Ritter, former US Marine Intelligence Officer, the Russian military have made it clear that they are using “Syrian tactics” in Ukraine.

Scott Ritter explains, the Russian military’s tactic in Syria was:

“…to surround urban areas where these jihadists had been gathered, terrorizing the population, surround them and give them the opportunity to evacuate on buses with their security guaranteed by Russian military police. A soft approach that protected civilians, that protected civilian areas.”

It was this tactic that allowed the Russians along with the Syrian army to defeat ISIS and other terrorist affiliates. Today they only occupy the Idlib province. These terrorists who remain would not have been possible without Turkish support. This initiative to rid Syria of ISIS was something that the United States has clearly never been interested in supporting.

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In the image on the left the red and largely the blue represent the region controlled by terrorists, or as Obama liked to call them “moderate rebels” in the year 2017, in the image to the right the purple and grey represent the region controlled by terrorists in the year 2021. The green is the United States and co.’s illegal presence in the country.

Interestingly, when the Russians entered Syria to combat the terrorists at the behest of the Syrian government, this was also called a “Russian invasion” by certain quarters of western media. However, it was not the Russians who bombed Syrian cities to the ground, that was the good ol’ US of A.

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In the same interview, Scott Ritter stated that these very terrorists who have been stationed in Idlib are now being brought into Ukraine:

“…[Zelensky] has opened the door for illegal warriors, the mercenaries from Europe…the exploiters of conflict…[and] they brought in the jihadists…they brought in the people..[who] ostensibly want to kill Russians…It’s a poison pill…now we are going to have these jihadists, who are being armed by the way with javelin missiles and stinger missiles. Imagine what happens when a bunch of bloodthirsty jihadists take these weapons into Europe. Would you like to be the German Chancellor driving on a highway knowing that up in the hills could be a jihadist hit-team armed with javelins?…This is literally the worst kind of decision-making ever to put that much weaponry into Ukraine in an uncontrolled fashion. Even before the jihadist came in you were giving it to neo-Nazis who can’t surrender. They can’t surrender because they will be killed, rightfully so. So what do desperate people do when they can’t surrender and they don’t die? They run away with the weaponry they have. They’ll be burying it, making caches, falling back on it, continuing the futile resistance and in their anger to the West they’ll lash out at the West…that is how global terrorism is born.”

How is this in the best interest of anyone’s welfare in Europe, let alone Ukraine? It isn’t.

In November 2015, a UN resolution was brought forward condemning the glorification of Nazism. Of the total 126 member states, 53 countries including member nations of the European Union abstained from voting, four countries voted against the resolution: Canada, Palau, the United States, and Ukraine.

Why do you think that is?

Zelensky: the Enigma

Many have been especially confused as to how Ukraine can have such a serious neo-Nazi problem, when they have a Jewish President.

There is something you should know about the position of “President” of Ukraine since 2014, in a country where neo-Nazis have been made more confident than the mafia ever was, that they literally cannot be touched since they have the direct backing and protection of the United States and NATO.

When President Poroshenko (June 2014 – May 2019) negotiated the Minsk agreements in September 2014, he agreed, with Germany and France, to the special autonomous status of Donetsk and Lugansk, and that under this special condition, they would stay part of Ukraine.

According to an interview[1] with Scott Ritter, this was unacceptable to the neo-Nazis who threatened Poroshenko’s life, if such a thing were to be implemented.

The Minsk agreements were never put into action. Instead, Ukraine entered a civil war that has gone on for 8 years and continues to this day. The Minsk agreements were officially expired on February 21st, 2022, the same day that the State Duma of Russia passed a bill officially recognizing Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states. This ultimate rejection by the Ukrainian government was a clear indication that their war against Donbass would be escalated.

The situation with President Zelensky is no different.

In October 2019, President Zelensky (who assumed office in May 2019), had a recorded face-to-face confrontation with the militants from the Azov Battalion, who had launched a campaign to sabotage the peace initiative called “No to Capitulation.”

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Kyiv Post translated the conversation as such:

“’Listen, Denys [Yantar], I’m the president of this country. I’m 41 years old. I’m not a loser. I came to you and told you: remove the weapons. Don’t shift the conversation to some protests,’ Zelensky said, videos of the exchange show. As he said this, Zelensky aggressively approached Yantar, who heads the National Corps, a political offshoot of the far-right Azov volunteer battalion, in Mykolaiv city.

‘But we’ve discussed that,’ Yantar said.

‘I wanted to see understanding in your eyes. But, instead, I saw a guy who’s decided that this is some loser standing in front of him,’ Zelensky said.”

The Kyiv Post continues in their article, that this reaction by President Zelensky received a strong backlash from certain quarters of Ukraine:

“Andriy Biletsky, head of National Corps and the Azov Battalion, threatened Zelensky on his YouTube channel that more veterans would head to Zolote if the president tried to evict them from the town. ‘There will be thousands there instead of several dozen,’ he said…

Singer Sofia Fedyna, who is a lawmaker with the European Solidarity party of former President Petro Poroshenko, which has 27 seats in parliament, was particularly aggressive in her response. She issued physical threats against Zelensky.

‘Mr. President thinks he is immortal,’ she said in a video shared on Facebook. ‘A grenade may explode there, by chance. And it would be the nicest if this happened during Moscow’s shelling when someone comes to the front line wearing a white or blue shirt.’

Zelensky has previously visited the front line dressed in civilian clothing, rather than military fatigues.”

Thus, the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion publicly threatened Zelensky if he were to intervene on attempting to negotiate peace and end Ukraine’s civil war.

However, this is not the full story.

President Zelensky is also backed by Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who sponsored Zelensky’s rise to presidency, not just with his presidential campaign, but also in the tv show “Servant of the People,” that Zelensky literally “play-acted” as President for three seasons, which ran from November 16th, 2015 to March 28th, 2019. Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine less than two months after the last episode, on May 20th, 2019.

Former President Poroshenko even publicly called Zelensky “Kolomoisky’s puppet” during the presidential campaign.[2]

Kyiv Post reports:

“For years, Zelensky’s company has produced shows for Kolomoisky’s biggest TV channel, 1 + 1. In 2019, Kolomoisky’s media channels gave a big boost to Zelensky’s presidential campaign. After, Zelensky’s victory, Kolomoisky kept up his relationship with the president, nominating over 30 lawmakers to Zelensky’s newly established party, and maintaining influence with many of them in parliament.”

Since Zelensky’s presidency, Kolomoisky has been able to secure control over a significant portion of Ukraine’s energy sector, including Ukrnafta and Centrenergo, as well as Burisma Holdings.

2012 study of Burisma Holdings done in Ukraine by the AntiCorruption Action Centre (ANTAC) found that the true owner of Burisma Holdings was none other than Kolomoisky.

Recall the Joe and Hunter Biden scandal over Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company. The Bidens ties with Kolomoisky and the situation of Ukraine today is not a coincidence.

In the 1990s, Kolomoisky set up PrivatBank, which quickly grew to be one of the biggest financial institutions in Ukraine.

In 2016, Ukraine nationalized PrivatBank from Kolomoisky and his business partner, Gennadiy Boholiubov. A U.S. Justice Department civil forfeiture complaint from December 2020, said the two men “embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars.” [emphasis added]

There is also the matter of the Pandora Papers, which has confirmed that Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoisky was funneling millions of dollars in concealed assets offshore. Zelensky was also implicated in this. And what this of course also means, is that the City of London is tied into all of this.

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Kolomoisky has a notorious history of being a literal “raider” of Ukrainian companies, as confirmed by Harper’s Magazine, and Forbes.

Forbes reports:

Bogolyubov and Kolomoisky fostered strong reputations as corporate raiders in the mid-2000s, becoming notorious for a series of hostile takeovers. Hostile takeovers Ukrainian style, that is, which often included the active involvement of Privat’s quasi-military teams.

Kolomoisky, who is Jewish, is also a funder of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion since it was formed in 2014, which has been confirmed by ReutersNewsweek, and Aljazeera.

He has also bankrolled private militias like the Dnipro and Aidar Battalions and has personally deployed them to protect his financial interests.

In other words, Kolomoisky is funding the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion who have been fighting Eastern Ukrainians for these past 8 years, and thus has been directly fueling the civil war in Ukraine. One of the reasons for this, is that Donbass is a region with many natural resources, especially for the energy sector, to which Kolomoisky would very much like to be in possession of. This could only occur with the extermination or occupation of the people of Donbass.

Interestingly, this past Victory Day (May 8th), First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky’s interview was cut short on Sky News when he brought up that Zelensky shared on his Twitter account for Victory Day the insignia of the Nazi 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf.

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After years of civil war, the city of Mariupol has now been liberated. Do you think the people in the West will ever hear about this?

Where do We go from Here?

Well, let me put it this way. The United States and NATO know they cannot defeat Russia or China in a direct war, hence all of these proxy wars these past several years under the guise of “War on Terror.” As David Ignatius honestly expressed, their desire is for a long-drawn war. This is because they believe that they can bankrupt Russia and/or set the stage for internal unrest and eventual coup. However, things are clearly not going as planned.

What has been greatly underestimated in this situation is 1) China’s solid alliance with Russia, 2) that Russia is the most resource abundant country in the world to which Europe is dependant on, and 3) the economic brilliance of Sergey Glazyev.

Russia’s rouble has also not tanked as expected. In fact, it has actually grown stronger than ever.

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Alasdair Macleod for Goldmoney writes:

Keynesians in the West have misread this situation. They think that the Russian economy is weak and will be destabilised by sanctions. That is not true. Furthermore, they would argue that a currency strengthened by insisting that oil and natural gas are paid for in roubles will push the Russian economy into a depression. But that is only a statistical effect and does not capture true economic progress or the lack of it, which cannot be measured. The fact is that the shops in Russia are well stocked, and fuel is freely available, which is not necessarily the case in the West.

The advantages for Russia are that as the West’s currencies sink into crisis, the rouble will be protected. Russia will not suffer from the West’s currency crisis, she will still get inflation compensation in commodity prices, and her interest rates will decline while those in the West are soaring. Her balance of trade surplus is already hitting new records.”

It is the West who has miscalculated in all of this, and it is their economy that will utterly tank from this “long-drawn” war these oligarchs have been having wet dreams about for God knows how many years.

We have done this to ourselves. And if we truly want to correct the matter, we should first have the respect to admit the truth in our complicity to much of the world’s woes during this Cold War period. Those of us who have lived in abundance, in comfort, and security, should take the first step to speak out and say no more to the rest of the world living in starved war-torn agony.

We must stop caring for ourselves first at the expense of all else. We must start caring for others first and foremost and acknowledge the crimes that have been committed in our name. Only then can we truly have the humility to see that the solution has been in front of our face the whole time.

If we fail in this, the western world will not be able to sustain itself for much longer economically. And when it falls, what sort of people do you think you will be surrounded by after all these years of supporting fascism under your very nose?

The author can be reached at cynthiachung.substack.com

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYm8pDrIXBg minute 19:33 
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXgli7TpINw Minute 0:49 

“Israel”, the United States and the internationally accepted genocide

17 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Atilio A. Boron 

How long will Washington’s double discourse last?

“Israel”, the United States and the internationally accepted genocide

Israeli government troops assassinated Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, one of the leading figures of Al Jazeera TV network. Yet, Washington and the Western media and governments remain silent in complicity against this unspeakable crime, not only for the murder itself but also for the vicious attack on freedom of the press. Can you imagine how these governments and their dependent press would have reacted if this crime had been committed against a Venezuelan-American journalist in Venezuela? This news would have been the cover of all the newspapers in the West and the subject of all the radio and television programs, denouncing the brutality of the Maduro “regime”. But, since the crime was committed by the Israelis, what prevails is silence and concealment of the information. Again, the damn double standard of the empire!

Shireen Abu Akleh, was shot dead while covering an Israeli army incursion into the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. A Palestinian colleague of the murdered journalist, Ali Samudi, was also attacked by Zionist bullets and was shot in the back, fortunately not causing fatal injuries. The “Israel” Defense Force confirmed that it carried out an operation Wednesday morning in the Jenin refugee camp, but denied that they have shot at journalists present at the scene. However, Israeli army sources assured that there was an exchange of fire on the ground and Defense Minister Benny Gantz himself told the foreign press at night that the army “was not sure how the journalist died. Maybe it was a Palestinian who shot her, the shot could also have come from our side, we are investigating,” Gantz said. Nevertheless, one of the photographers from the French news agency AFP said that Israeli forces were firing in the area and that he saw the body of the Al Jazeera reporter on the ground. In addition, he said that there were no armed Palestinians in the area.

Al Jazeera called on the international community to hold “Israel” responsible for the “intentional” death of the journalist. “In a flagrant murder that violates international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces cold-bloodedly murdered the Al Jazeera correspondent in the Palestinian territories,” the channel said. Qatari Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater said on Twitter that the correspondent was shot “in the face” and called the act “Israeli state terrorism.” For its part, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the autonomous Palestinian government based in the West Bank, described the journalist’s death as an “execution” and as part of the Israeli effort to hide the “truth” of its occupation of the West Bank. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that these protests will find an echo in the Western press, completely controlled by US imperialism and its European lackeys.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid assured that his country wanted to join an “investigation into the sad death of the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh” and stressed that “journalists must be protected in conflict zones”, for which “Tel Aviv” has “the responsibility to get to the truth.” The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called for the facts to be investigated by “both parties” in a transparent manner. In a completely hollow speech the diplomatic stressed that the “absolute priority” of the United States is “the protection of American citizens and journalists”, something blatantly false. Beautiful words, devoid of any substance because the United States and Western countries have been endorsing the genocidal policies of the state of “Israel” since 1948, and there is nothing to suggest that this policy will be changed in the near future, especially in the context of the Ukrainian war.

For its part, Amnesty International (AI) pointed out that the “increase in unlawful killings” in recent times is one more example of the need to put an end to “Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians.” In an unusually harsh public statement, the organization denounced what could be “extrajudicial executions” against Palestinians. It also said that “the murder” of the journalist “is a bloody reminder of the deadly system in which “Israel” locks up Palestinians. “Israel” is killing Palestinians left and right with impunity. How many more must die before the international community acts to hold “Israel” accountable?” questioned AI’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Saleh Higazi. This statement is in line with a recent declaration by Noam Chomsky, who accused the Israeli government of practicing genocidal policies in Gaza, the largest open-air prison in the world according to his words. The sad culmination of this policy followed by the neo-Nazi government of “Israel” was the scandalous repression that occurred during the funeral of Abu Akleh, which offends the most basic canons of human rights. However, despite these brutal transgressions and “Israel”‘s escalation of repression in recent weeks -in which at least 31 people were killed- the American government continues to monolithically support the slaughterers of the Palestinian people.

How long will Washington’s double discourse last? How is it that Biden, who claims to be recognized as a champion of human rights, supports a regime like the Israeli one that, since its foundation, has systematically violated the human, social and economic rights of the Palestinians stealing their land, destroying their houses and condemning them to a trickle-down genocide?

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

It’s Palestinian, not Israeli Flag, that Should Be Raised at Toronto’s City Hall

May 10, 2022

Toronto Mayor John Tory raises the Israeli flag on Israel’s ‘Independence Day’. (Photo: via Tory Twitter page)

By Paul Salvatori

Toronto Mayor, John Tory, is disingenuous. Honoring Israel’s ‘Independence Day’ at City Hall this week, he emphasized:

“There have been days, far too many of them where Jewish Torontonians felt insecure just walking down the street on the way to school. And that is not right. It should never be the case in this city or anywhere that people on their way to worship or just going about their lives should feel insecure or unsafe because of the faith that they have or because of their background in any way, shape or form.”

Is that what we really should be thinking about when we talk about Israel? Given all we know—confirmed by numerous and recent findings by United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other credible organizations—that Israel actually is: a criminal state, unrelenting in its violent oppression and colonization of the Palestinian people? What does that, at all, have to do with antisemitism? Why is Toronto still celebrating Israel?

What makes Tory’s statement all the worse is that a few days prior to it he singled out, on Twitter, the Al-Quds (pro-Palestinian) demonstration, suggesting its potential for violence:

This plays directly into the Zionist narrative that Palestinians are always suspect, a ‘terrorist’ risk that must be controlled, surveillanced, managed. If Tory were the “progressive” mayor he pretends to be, he would have expressed solidarity with the demonstrators, calling for an end to the current Israeli regime (never to be conflated with the Jewish people as the Israeli lobby does). That’s what someone who genuinely cares about human rights does. They support anyone, anywhere, being oppressed for who they are—in this case Palestinians for being Palestinian.

A Palestinian friend of mine in Toronto told me privately that whenever they see the Israeli flag they feel afraid, anxious, and automatically recall horrid stories told to them by their parents such as when the Israeli state illegally destroyed their mother’s home. As much as this saddens me it is not surprising.

Israel has traumatized the Palestinian people. Mayor Tory, as well as any principled public official, must reckon with and not turn away from this reality. They do so however every time they participate within the imaginary world of Zionists where Israel is an “exemplary” democracy, the perpetual victim of Palestinian attacks and have never been responsible for the slaughter and massacre of Palestinians. This is an outright lie that must be denounced, even if our so-called “leaders” won’t, be that out of fear of what Israeli supporters will do or contempt for the Palestinian people themselves.

Tory’s statement is also upsetting not because it is untrue. Antisemitism exists in Toronto and there’s absolutely no place for it. Rather, in foregrounding antisemitism (and saying nothing about Palestine) when talking about Israel, he misuses his power. Specifically, he impresses onto the public the message that when you think of Israel do not think of it as a colonial force or system of apartheid that disadvantages Palestinians. No. Think victims. A true friend of Israel would never frame it as the oppressor.

Where this kind of thinking gains currency it naturally creates an uninviting or even hostile situation for Palestinians, as well as their allies. Where they rightfully protest Israel’s criminality they’ll be slammed for it, silenced and called names like “antisemitic.” Writing this I’m reminded of a story by a friend and fellow Palestinian ally, Ted Schmidt. For wearing a Palestinian button someone on a Toronto elevator told him, “You should be killed.” Where is Tory, other Toronto politicians, speaking against such hostile anti-Palestinianism, all too common in the city? Why should Toronto be a safe place for only my Israeli brothers and sisters but not those of mine who are Palestinian? How can we, in good conscience, ever accept that?

If Tory is serious about honoring all Torontonians he will not shy away from, in addition to the Israeli flag this past Independence Day, raising the Palestinian one on May 15: Nakba Day. This will signal to Palestinians in Toronto and elsewhere that Toronto is serious about their receiving justice, remembering the Nakba catastrophe itself that—at the hands of violent Zionist forces—displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes. This was to make way for the establishment of Israel itself in 1948 while preventing Palestinians from ever being able to return to their homes again.

It is also a test of sincerity. Tory and the City of Toronto more generally are expressly committed to truth and reconciliation efforts with Canadian Indigenous peoples. This, on the surface, means they are aware of the atrocities inflicted by colonization and want to rectify that, best as possible. If they are sincere about this they will show the same regard to Toronto Palestinians, who either experienced the Nakba firsthand or are descendants of those who have. The anti-colonial spirit is not selective. It does not oppose colonization in certain circumstances but not in others. It is neither bound to geography, Canadian or otherwise.

I stand with you Mayor Tory in combatting antisemitism. Will you stand with myself and many other fellow Torontonians, to combat the ongoing colonization of Palestine?

If so, raise the Palestinian flag at City Hall too.

– Paul Salvatori is a Toronto-based journalist, community worker and artist. Much of his work on Palestine involves public education, such as through his recently created interview series, “Palestine in Perspective” (The Dark Room Podcast), where he speaks with writers, scholars and activists. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

A disturbing trend in Ukraine

April 10, 2022

A disturbing trend in Ukraine

This article provides an overview into a deeply disturbing trend in Ukraine, one that started in 2014, that has accelerated and intensified since 24 February 2022. Extrajudicial killings, harassment, arbitrary detentions by men in camouflaged uniforms, beatings and disappearances continue to take place on a regular basis in Ukraine.  Most of the detentions and disappearances are often carried out by the Ukrainian Security service, (SBU), under a sweeping repression.

While we have all heard about the egregious processes that took place in the USA, a witch hunt for suspected communists, better known McCarthyism,  a similar course of action is taking place in Ukraine.  The Ukrainian authorities and associated ultra-nationalist groups are after people who were not only very critical of the former but also the current Ukrainian government.   Threats, harassment and calls for violence has been and continue to be made against those who:

  • publicly supported the Minsk Agreements,
  • are against “de-communisation”,
  • highlight human rights abuses,
  • advocated for a settlement of the conflict in Donbass,
  • are deemed to be “pro-Russian”.
  • Church representatives and clergy;
  • For reading the news in Russia.

Add into this maelstrom another layer of extra-judicial repression, in the form of impromptu justice being meted out to civilians, bound up, tied to posts, beaten, humiliated and some killed as a result.  There are simply hundreds and hundreds of video clips and photos showing these events, which are outlined in another article.

People are not only being tied up to street furniture as suspected looters, but people are being bound up or arrested for being pro-Russian, for not being able to say the word “Palyanytsya” in Ukrainian.  Not every ethnic Russian speaker in Ukraine can speak good Ukrainian, and some have trouble pronouncing certain words in Ukrainian.  People have been reportedly killed for not pronouncing the shibboleth word correctly and thus assumed to be part of subversive Russian reconnaissance groups.

The so called” international community” has expressed no interest or desire to take a closer look at this disturbing situation in Ukraine.  Once again, the moral high ground as avidly promoted by thousands of NGOs’, think tanks and a multitude of reports, dissipates rapidly in reality into a dark void.  The silence is deafening and all of them mute on the repression that is taking place in Ukraine, likely start the process of EU accession in June.  Obviously, a highly repressive with systematic serious human rights abuses committed against civilians, by members of the military and police are not an impediment to being part of the European and NATO family.

Once upon a time, there would have been prisoners of conscience that Amnesty International would have supported and denounced human right abuses, now it is a case of total amnesia, right across the board, a deadly silence reigns over the widespread instances of human right abuses and atrocities, unless it is finger pointing at Russia.

For 8 years Ukrainian nationalists have internalised naked hate against Russian speaking Ukrainians and by default judged them to be guilty of being pro-Russian. Within this scope includes being pro-Minsk agreements, advocating for peace in Donbass or highlight human rights abuses. Against this background of feverish witch-hunts, any hint of the slightest suspicion of cooperation or aiding Russians is tantamount to a summary execution in some situations, or more likely, a beating and being handed over to the SBU.

A short list of those who have fell foul of the Ukrainian government and its policies:

Vlodymyr Struk (Major of Kreminna)

Denis Kireev  (high-ranking government official)

Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich (political party leaders)

Nestor Shufrych (Verkhovna Rada deputy)

Yuri Tkachev (journalist)

Yan Taksyur (writer)

Elena Berezhnaya (Human rights activist / ex-figure skater)

Dmitry Dzhangirov,  (TV presenter, political scientist);

Yuriy Dudkin, (political scientist);

Maxim Rindkovsky (MMA fighter);

Dmitry Skvortsov (journalist);

Aleksandr Matiushenko (activist organisation “Livytsia”);

Oleg Smetanin (violinist);

These individuals and others are listed in further details later on in the article.

Remember these people, these Ukrainians who for various reasons fell afoul of the authorities, imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, or killed.   Those detained are often put under huge stress, threatened, beaten, or tortured into giving confessions.   Another aspect to consider is that many lawyers do not wish to represent these people, as doing so may lead to being accused of being an accessory and likewise accused of being “agents of the enemy”.

The SBU, human rights abuses and paramilitaires

The SBU has a history of torture, brutal interrogations, extra judicial murders and other violence and threats carried out with total impunity.  The Ukrainian government knows this, more so since Zelensky, since he  appointed Oleksandr Poklad as the SBU’s counter-intelligence chief in 2021.  Poklad has a sinister reputation as the ‘The Strangler’ . He is known to have links to organised crimes and involvement in extrajudicial killings. This person is now a top-level official and just one of a number of decidedly highly unscrupulous characters that are law enforcement officers.

A glimpse of some of the attitudes tolerated within the law enforcement structures, starting with 2018, when an ex-SBU adviser,  former deputy in the Rada, member of the far-right nationalist party Svoboda [Freedom], Yuri Michalchyshyn, advocated the following:

To propagate a total extermination of the Kremlin vultures and ghouls, local traitors and turncoats, its voluntary helpers and accomplices — instead of “reconciliation” with the traitors of the Motherland and the enemies of the Ukrainian people.

Another paramilitary group, Right Sector also has wide connections with the SBU.

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SBU officer, with Right Sector insignia on 6th April. Notice the other insignia, one SS Galicia of WW2 notoriety.

Prior to the start of the Russian military operation against Kiev,  a few instances of the brutality, torture and extra judicial killings were reported by a host of organisations, HRW,  OSCE, Amnesty International, OHCHR and in France — OFPRA.  These reports provided a glimpse into a situation that was overwhelmingly swept under the carpet by EU, U.S. officials and the corporate MSM alike.   Most of the cases were connected to the conflict in Donbass, yet there were many instances elsewhere in Ukraine.

“OHCHR documented allegations of enforced disappearances, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, and torture and ill-treatment, perpetrated with impunity by Ukrainian law enforcement officials, mainly by elements of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).”

Source: OHCHR

The June 2016 UN report noted that the cases of incommunicado detention and torture brought to their attention in late 2015 and early 2016 “mostly implicate SBU”

Source: HRW Report 2016

The SBU accounts for a large percentage of reported “arbitrary detention, torture, and abuse of detainees”,  from a period from 2014 to 2019. In reality, this is a fraction of what took place, given the one-sided assessment of many of these reports in the first place.  Horrid glimpses into these detentions were provided:

Several also alleged that after being transferred to SBU premises they were, variously, beaten, subjected to electric shocks, and threatened with rape, execution, and retaliation against family members, to induce them to confess to involvement with separatism-related criminal activities or to provide information. (HRW 2016)

Notably, during the Donbass conflict, the Ukrainian side committed extremely  heinous crimes, such burying people alive, beheadings (as reported by Newsweek), pitiless systematic acts of torture, rapes, looting, on a significantly much larger scale compared to the reported crimes committed by the “pro-Russian side”  also featured in these reports.  On the flip side, the Russian side has also documented the human rights abuses and repression:  report of violations from 2017-2020.

Tellingly, even the U.S State Department managed to notice and picked up on these disturbing aspects of Ukrainian law enforcement behaviours:

“UN noted significant deficiencies in investigations into human rights abuses committed by government security forces …into allegations of torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and other abuses reportedly perpetrated by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).”

Source:  U.S. Report

These reports made for grim reading, yet no one in the corporate Western media dare to make references to these, but instead continue to whitewash the hideous crimes committed by Ukrainian law enforcement & military units.  The worst cases are carried out by paramilitary and ultra-nationalist units.

More recently:

No justice, truth or reparation was attained for any of the victims of enforced disappearance, secret detention and torture of civilians by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) from 2014 to 2016, and not a single suspected perpetrator was prosecuted”

2020 Amnesty International 

The SBU has a harrowing track record of serious human right abuses, which continues today.  Worse still, is the participation of  the likes of ‘Azov’, Right Sector and others in the detentions and also disappearances of people.  The Neo-Nazi group C-14 leader, Yevhen Yaras openly acknowledged working with the Ukrainian security service, (SBU).

Now, we are being told repeatedly that this is “Russian misinformation” by certain corporate MSM outlets or being told that this is not relevant any longer. As if this was remotely possible to gloss over or make light of absolutely odious human rights abuses. Washington, Brussels are indeed capable of doing, as they shown a long-standing ability to sweep under the carpet, Contras in Nicaragua, death squads in South and Central America,  KLA crimes in Kosovo, moderate rebels in Syria and now Ukrainian ultra-nationalists. Mykola Azarov made references to death squads in a video.

These practices and human right abuses still take place on a regular basis in Ukraine.  Details of arrests, detentions are always sketchy as legal representation is practically nil and no communication is possible.

In short, under Zelensky’s rule, the government agencies and others armed groups are detaining, imprisoning, and killing people in Ukraine. Anyone that criticises or is considered as opposing his government, any perceived actions, (current or historical) is duly noted,  and thus is likely to get persecuted, detained by either the SBU or irregular paramilitary groups.  The government knowingly allows these human rights abuses for its own interest.

It must remembered that the Ukrainian authorities have continued to use a  database, the Mirotvorets (Peacekeeper) website, to highlight those that they consider as ‘enemies of Ukraine’.  This controversial website created in 2014, under the initiative of Anton Gerashchenko, (the Ukrainian deputy minister of internal affairs).    Gerashchenko stated that the site was “extremely important for the national security of Ukraine.” He then added that “anyone who does not understand this or tries to interfere with this work is either a puppet in the hands of others or works against the interests of national security.” [2]

The inclusion of details of individuals, recommended for liquidation and arrest, has in the past led to people, Ukrainian and foreigners, being targeted, arrested, and murdered.  A Ukrainian journalist, Oles Buzina, had his personal details published on the site in 2015, which led to his murder shortly afterwards. All of this in a supposedly democratic Ukraine.

Remember that Zelensky has now outlawed all opposition parties —but not  all, those parties who support him are allowed to continue, with ultra-nationalists & Neo-Nazis part of these political parties and who happen to be highly influential too. Facebook and other social media platforms also helped in this process by deleting sites and accounts of opposition organisations and individuals.

Top-level officials and media outlets are wilfully ignoring what is taking place in Ukraine, by believing that the Russians are far worse, in scope and extent of human right abuses, while at the same time sanitising a wide range of heinous abuses, disappearances and killings in Ukraine. Additionally, this is swept under the vague categories of ‘treason’, support for the Russians or “saboteurs”:

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Individual cases

Case: Vlodymyr Struk

Mayor of Kreminna

Event: kidnapped & extra judicially killed

Date: 01 March 2022

Accused of: being a traitor  and pro-Russian

Ref: New York Post  /  Daily Mail

Notes: Anton Gerashchenko, Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, announced on his social media account that the Mayor of Kreminna, Volodymyr Struk, was shot dead by “unknown patriots” after he was kidnapped from his home. He also added that Struk ‘was judged by the court of the people and called hime a traitor.

Case: Denis Kireev 

A member of the Ukrainian government negotiating team.

Event: murdered on the street of Kiev, near Pechersky Court building by the SBU security service.

Date: 5 March 2022

Accused of:  allegedly for having “pro-Russian position” and ‘ suspicion of treason’.

Ref: Times of Israel / Daily Mail / Kyiv Independent

Notes: gunned down while “resisting arrest”.   Reportedly a member of the Ukrainian military intelligence service.

Case: Nestor Shufrych

Verkhovna Rada deputy  (Opposition Bloc)

Event: Arrested and kidnapped

Date: 4 March 2022

Accused of: allegedly “providing Russia with intelligence”.

Ref:  Reportedly detained by the 206th Territorial Defense Battalion.  Photos + video clip of him being intimated and threatened.

Case: Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich

Leading members of the outlawed Leninist Communist Youth Union of Ukraine.

Event:  Arrested and detained by SBU

Date: 6 March 2022

Accused of: “spreading “pro-Russian and pro-Belarusian views.” and ‘treason’.

Ref:

Notes: Currently held in a pretrial detention centre, been beaten and are facing execution on false charges.

Case:  Yan Taksyur

Writer and TV journalist / presenter.

Event: Arrested and detained by the SBU.

Date:  10 March 2022

Accused of: ‘treason’

Ref:  70-year-old native of Kiev, an Orthodox journalist and TV presenter, “Pershiy Kozatsky”. Currently in a pre-trial detention centre.

Case:  Yuri Tkachev 

Scientist and independent journalist

Editor-in-chief of the online magazine https://timer-odessa.net/.

Event: Arrested and detained in Odessa

Date: 19 March 2022
Accused of: ‘ treason’.

Ref: No contact or information on his current status. Wrote just before his arrest: “They came for me, it was a pleasure to talk”.

Case: Dmitri Dzhangirov

TV presenter, political scientist

Member of the “Novyi Sotcialism” (“New Socialism”) party

Event: detained by the SBU (?)

Date: 7 March 2022

Accused of: ?

Ref:  According to social media information, “subscribers denounced that an anti-Russian statement was published on his Youtube channel “The Capital”.  He was subsequently forced to make a anti-Russian speech on camera and on his YouTube channel as well.

Case: Elena Berezhnaya 

Sportswoman / human rights activist

Event: Detained by the SBU (?)
Date: 16 March 2022

Accused of:

Ref:  article

Case: Maxim Rindkovsky

MMA fighter

Event: detained, beaten and tortured by ultra-nationalist group

Date:  Precise date unknown-  1st week of March 2022

Accused of: having trained  with MMA fighters from the Chechen Ahmat club during his sports career.

Ref:  Article /   Current status is unknown although alleged to have been killed.

Case:  Dmitry Skvortsov 

Journalist and peace activist of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Event: Detained by the SBU

Date: 10 March 2022

Accused of:

Ref:  tweet 

Case: Mikhail Pogrebinsky

Political scientist

Event: Arrested by the SBU

Date: 27 March 2022

Accused of: treason and illegal enrichment.

Ref: Considered to be pro-Russian as he appeared on Russian TV channels.

Case: Vladimir Ivanov

Left-wing activist

Date:  4th March

Case: Aleksandr Matiushenko

Militant of the Ukrainian left-wing organisation “Livytsia”

Date: 3rd March

Charged with “participation in the aggressive war”.

Ref: Arrested by SBU and ‘Azov’

Case: Oleg Smetanin 

Violinist

Date: 4th March

Accused of: passing information about an airport to the Russians.

Case: Vasily Volga

Former leader of the Union of Left Forces,

Date: 7 March

Case: Yury Dudkin

Journalist

Date: 7 March

Case: Aleksandr Karevin

Writer

Date: 7 March

Ref: wrote on his FB page: “The SBU has arrived”

Case: Oleg Pankartiev

Assistant to a deputy of the opposition party “OPZZH (Opposition Platform for Life)

Date: 9 March

Accused of: ?

Ref: Brutally beaten during arrest and is still detained by SBU.

Case:   Spartak Golovachiov 

Left-wing activist

Date: 11 March

Ref: Managed to write on social media : “They are breaking down my door armed with Ukrainian uniforms. Goodbye.”  Whereabouts unknown.

Case: Elena Viacheslavova

Human rights activist

Date: 11 March in Odessa

Detained by SBU

Ref: The daughter of Mikhail Viacheslavov, burned alive on 2 May 2014, in the Odessa House of Trade Unions.

Case: Artiom Khazan

Representative of the Shariy Party

15 March

Detained by the SBU

Ref: He was severely beaten during his arrest by the SBU,

The next day, a video appeared on social networks, in which Khazan slandered the party chairman Anatoli Shariy. Current whereabouts unknown.

Case: Yury Bobchenko

Chairman of the trade union of Ukrainian steelworkers and miners

Date: 19 March

Arrested by Ukrainian military.

Ref: A worker from the Arcelor Mittal Krivoi Rog company.

Case: Gleb Lyashenko 

Political scientist and blogger

Date:  29/30 March

Arrested by SBU (?) and charged with treason.

Case: A German

Ex-journalist — Radio Liberty

Case: Oleg Novikov

Opposition Activist

Date: 5 April

Arrested by SBU

Ref: Managed to write on Telegram: “They came for me. Don’t think ill of me. Stay yourself”

As you can see from the list, the whereabouts of many are not known, actual accusations against them are not known either.  Just an accusation, having your name on a blacklist can get you kidnapped, brutalised, and potentially killed in Ukraine.

Situation

Situation in Ukraine

There are still some brave few who try to gather information on the arrests and detentions.   The increasing levels of lawlessness and repression makes it very difficult to collect precise information.

Embedded into the already volatile mix of state repression, Ukrainian ultra-nationalists operate outside of any legal oversight, thus not accountable to state political structures.  Moreover, many had total impunity since 2014 and despite a couple of incidents between the SBU and Right Sector, they still have undeclared support by all levels of Ukrainian officialdom.

It is only to be expected that ultra-nationalists have taken matters in own their hands, such as the kidnapping, beating and torture of an MMA fighter, Maxim Rindkovsky, solely based on the fact he had trained in the past with a Chechen MMA club. Unverified claims made indicate the participation of Azov members in the torture and disappearance of Maxim Rindkovsky.

Other recent instances of the rule of the mobultra-nationalist, territorial defense enforcers:

13 March, the house of Dmitry Lazarev, a left-wing activist, was burnt down, (in a village near Odessa).

16 March, in the village of Tomashevka in the Kiev region: Guennady Batenko, a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was kidnapped by an armed commando. He was released by the SBU the next day.

27/28 March: Slema, Cherkasy region. A priest is filmed being forcibly taken away by a detachment of “territorial defense” ultra-nationalists (Teroborona), along with parishioners who try to protect him. His whereabouts are not known.

Solely judging by the list as outlined in this article, it is just a little indication of the broader situation where there are hundreds of detainees in Ukraine, their circumstances and status hasn’t warranted the attention to make their disappearance / arrest on social media, their whereabouts are not known at all.  As the conflict continues, the repression continues to build up against a wide-ranging category of people.

While this is all happening, the Western authorities and corporate MSM are completely indifferent to the situation and turmoil.   The MSM are indeed complicit in whitewashing these abominable events.   As expected, the West organisations are all too eager to publicise any crackdown of dissenting voices in Russia. Yet, they have no time or inclination whatsoever to do likewise for those critical of Zelensky’s government, state- repression that is innumerably and unrelentingly cruel, harsher, and significantly deadlier.

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The long list of human rights abuses and ill-treatments by the SBU has been amply catalogued in the past, along with the assistance of ultra-nationalist groups, who are tacitly permitted to act indiscriminately against anyone they deem as an “enemy of Ukraine”.

The fate of at least a dozen well-known opposition activists, political analysts, journalists, politicians, and bloggers remains unclear. All this taking place with a cold indifference of well-known Western human right organisations and more strikingly, the Western corporate MSM, all under the auspices of the supposedly ‘enlightened’, ‘civilised’ Europe and North America. No one is raising a voice against these actions.

———-

* 2016 OSCE-report “War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture and inhumane treatment”.

[2] https://www.defenddemocracy.press/killing-and-terrorizing-journalists-in-ukraine/

Against the background of rampant corruption, by the end of 2021, Ukraine fell to 122nd place out of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International, 2021).

To Maintain Jewish Demographic Control, Israel Cloaks Family Unification Law in Security Concerns

February 25th, 2022

Amnesty International described “discriminatory laws and policies that disrupt family life” as “primarily guided by demographic – rather than security – considerations and aim[ing] to minimize Palestinian presence inside the Green Line to maintain a Jewish majority.”

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM — A controversial law banning family unification between Israelis and Palestinians in the occupied territories expired last summer, but right-wing politicians are seeking to resurrect it with a vengeance. This month, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) approved, in the first of three votes, the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, preventing Palestinians married to Israeli citizens from receiving permits to enter into 1948-occupied Palestine (or modern-day Israel).

“It’s one of the most racist, apartheid laws that was ever passed in the world,” Adi Mansour, attorney with Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, told MintPress News. “There is no other law that’s even remotely close to this law in the effects … that it has on family lives.”

Known as the family unification ban, the bill passed in 2003 and has been renewed annually since its inception — until last year. In July, the law was defeated after former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party voted against it to disrupt the new coalition government.

Now, right-wing Knesset members are hoping to breathe new life into the legislation by adding more restrictive amendments to a law human rights organizations already deem deeply discriminatory.

Making a harsh law even harsher

Knesset member Simcha Rothman of the far-right Religious Zionism Party negotiated with Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked to add tougher amendments to the law and get it back on the agenda.

Rothman’s applied amendments include setting a maximum yearly quota for those eligible to receive Israeli citizenship from the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Iran, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, and requiring the Interior Ministry submit a monthly report on the number of permits granted. While this law is classified as a temporary order, the newest version also allows the government to extend its enforcement for longer than one year at a time, meaning it won’t need to be renewed annually.

“The amendment that was filed by the opposition brings to the surface the real intention of the law —  to prevent a supposed attack on the Jewish majority of the state,” Mansour said.  Rothman and the spokesperson for the Knesset did not respond to requests for comment.

Despite the law’s expiration, Shaked ordered the Population and Immigration Authority to apply the law to family unification requests. Israeli non-profit organizations HaMoked, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, filed a joint petition to the Israeli Court of Administrative Affairs. The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which prompted the Interior Ministry to establish two temporary procedures. One of the procedures — HaMoked argues — simply “perpetuates the relevant provisions of the expired law, under a different name.”

More than just preventing the Palestinian right of return

HaMoked opposes the law, but Dani Shenhar, who heads HaMoked’s legal department, said that if it does pass, there are several amendments they are advocating to have attached to the bill in order to make it constitutional. These include: not applying the law to women over the age of 50, men over the age of 55, and minors; providing full government benefits to those given an entry permit; and giving permanent residency or citizenship to those applying on humanitarian grounds.

“When the law didn’t pass in July, many politicians said that it’s very important for keeping the demographics of Israel under control — not having Palestinians receive Israeli IDs,” Shenhar told MintPress. “This is the real concern of the state.”

Proponents of the law argue it’s necessary for security purposes, specifically claiming unified families are more likely to commit acts of terrorism. Shenhar explained, however, that Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, said that from 2001 to 2016 only 104 individuals from families who obtained residency or citizenship through family reunification were involved in terrorist activity. From his perspective, these low numbers suggest there isn’t a security concern. “Security is an explanation used by the state because it’s easier for the court to give its green light to this law when there’s a security basis for it,” Shenhar said. “It’s more difficult to justify this kind of law on the basis of demographics or racial profiling.”

Even Minister of Interior Shaked suggested this law isn’t just for security purposes. In an interview with Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Shaked admitted the law is meant to prevent the “creeping [Palestinian] right of return.” “The law wants to reduce the motivation for immigration to Israel. Primarily for security reasons, and then also for demographic reasons,” Shaked said.

Adalah’s Mansour argued that family reunification isn’t about the right of return. “We want the right of return, but still when we fall in love with a person, we do not think, ‘Let’s implement the right of return.’ This is not part of the rationality of love and relationships,” he said.

Instead, Mansour argues that the narrative that the law is about the right of return is merely strategic — to better persuade the Israeli media and public of the need for such a law. “The motive to prevent the right of return is not real,” he said, emphasizing the law’s agenda is Zionist and racist. “The real motive is preventing any demographic changes and preventing Palestinians from implementing their right to family life.”

“To basically build and sustain an apartheid regime,” Mansour added.

Denying the right to family life

Earlier this month Amensty International released a comprehensive report declaring Israel an apartheid state. The organization’s analysis highlighted the family reunification ban, calling it a “clear example of how Israel fragments and segregates Palestinians through a single system.”

Amnesty International described “discriminatory laws and policies that disrupt family life” as “primarily guided by demographic – rather than security – considerations and aim[ing] to minimize Palestinian presence inside the Green Line to maintain a Jewish majority.”

“By contrast, the 2003 law explicitly did not apply to residents of Jewish settlements in the West Bank wanting to marry and live with their spouse inside Israel, making it, and the ongoing policy underpinning it, blatantly discriminatory,” Amnesty wrote. The organization also noted that information from the Ministry of Interior indicated the rejection of about 43% of family unification applications from 2000-2013.

Families affected by the legislation were unable to speak on the record to MintPress, given that the bill is still being debated and voted on. However, Amnesty collected anonymous testimonies on how this law has disrupted families’ lives.

One spouse, who moved from the West Bank to 1948-occupied Palestine, applied for family reunification but while awaiting approval and without proper documentation, she lived in a perpetual state of anxiety. “There was a constant fear in my life. I was terrified of getting sick for example, because of this fear of having to go to the hospital without the necessary documents, getting caught [by Israeli authorities], and paying lots of money to cover for any kind of procedure or treatment,” she told Amnesty. She had married in 2003 when she was 18 but, according to the Citizenship Law, couldn’t apply for family reunification until she turned 25.

Another woman was rejected when trying to renew her permanent residency. She is now confined to Jerusalem in fear of arrest if she crosses Israeli checkpoints. She told Amnesty International how the law has impacted her life:

Since 2008, I have not been able to see my children as I please, because I cannot cross Israeli military checkpoints. I can only see my children and grandchildren through video calls. I have spent 12 years of my life trying to solve this, but the [Israeli] authorities keep stalling. I have spent half of my life either at the Ministry of Interior offices or gathering papers for them. This is exhausting.”

Adalah’s Mansour detailed the various cases he’s worked on regarding family reunification and called their experiences “devastating.” One example he offered:

During corona, a woman who was from Ramallah couldn’t leave Ramallah through the checkpoint because there was a lockdown. So she had to live for at least a month away from her kids and her family because they had citizenship and could go back to where her family lived, but she had to stay in Ramallah with her parents.”

In some situations, individuals could only get a driver’s license after 10 years. In other cases, individuals couldn’t find work in 1948-occupied Palestine because they didn’t have citizenship.

Often employers are unwilling to hire individuals with the family unification permit because, since it only lasts a year, their residency status is seen as unstable. Mansour summed it up:

People fall in love and they live together and they get married and they don’t think of the consequences. But eventually what happens is either you leave the country and live abroad, which is a decision that a lot of people don’t want to take because this is their homeland. On the other side, you have people who suffer every day from the consequences of not being able to unify their family.”

Adalah has been working with families on a potential upcoming petition against the legislation. In characterizing the bill, Mansour equated it to doctrines used by the German Nazi and Italian fascist regimes during World War II, in which governments would discriminate against people because of their nationalities. “It’s a law that attacks the very existence of Palestinians for being Palestinians,” he said.

The Next Step in Palestine’s Anti-Apartheid Struggle is the Most Difficult

February 23, 2022

Israel’s Apartheid Wall. (Photo: Dickelbers, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Ramzy Baroud

When Nelson Mandela was freed from his Robben Island prison on February 11, 1991, my family, friends and neighbors followed the event with keen interest as they gathered in the living room of my old home in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip. 

This emotional event took place years before Mandela uttered his famous quote “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.  For us Palestinians, Mandela did not need to reaffirm the South African people’s solidarity with Palestine by using these words or any other combination of words. We already knew. Emotions ran high on that day; tears were shed; supplications were made to Allah that Palestine, too, would be free soon. “Inshallah,” God willing, everyone in the room murmured with unprecedented optimism. 

Though three decades have passed without that coveted freedom, something is finally changing as far as the Palestine liberation movement is concerned. A whole generation of Palestinian activists, who either grew up or were even born after Mandela’s release, was influenced by that significant moment: Mandela’s release and the start of the official dismantling of the racist, apartheid regime of South Africa. 

Even the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 between Israel and some in the Palestinian leadership of the PLO – which served as a major disruption of the grassroots, people-oriented liberation movement in Palestine – did not completely end what eventually became a decided anti-Israeli apartheid struggle in Palestine. Oslo, the so-called ‘peace process’ – and the disastrous ‘security coordination’ between the Palestinian leadership, exemplified in the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Israel – resulted in derailed Palestinian energies, wasted time, deepened existing factional divides, and confused Palestinian supporters everywhere. However, it did not – though it tried – occupy every political space available for Palestinian expression and mobilization. 

With time and, in fact, soon after its formation in 1994, Palestinians began realizing that the PA was not a platform for liberation, but a hindrance to it. A new generation of Palestinians is now attempting to articulate, or refashion, a new discourse for liberation that is based on inclusiveness, grassroots, community-based activism that is backed by a growing global solidarity movement. 

The May events of last year – the mass protests throughout occupied Palestine and the subsequent Israeli war on Gaza – highlighted the role of Palestine’s youth who, through elaborate coordination, incessant campaigning and utilizing of social media platforms, managed to present the Palestinian struggle in a new light – bereft of the archaic language of the PA and its aging leaders. It also surpassed, in its collective thinking, the stifling and self-defeating emphasis on factions and self-serving ideologies. 

And the world responded in kind. Despite a powerful Israeli propaganda machine, expensive hasbara campaigns and near-total support for Israel by the western government and mainstream media alike, sympathy for Palestinians has reached an all-time high. For example, a major public opinion poll published by Gallup on May 28, 2021, revealed that “… the percentages of Americans viewing (Palestine) favorably and saying they sympathize more with the Palestinians than the Israelis in the conflict inched up to all-time highs this year.”

Moreover, major international human rights organizations, including Israelis, began to finally recognize what their Palestinian colleagues have argued for decades: 

“The Israeli regime implements laws, practices and state violence designed to cement the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians,” said B’tselem in January 2021.

“Laws, policies and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power and land has long guided government policy,” said Human Rights Watch in April 2021.

“This system of apartheid has been built and maintained over decades by successive Israeli governments across all territories they have controlled, regardless of the political party in power at the time,” said Amnesty International on February 1, 2022.

Now that the human rights and legal foundation of recognizing Israeli apartheid is finally falling into place, it is a matter of time before a critical mass of popular support for Palestine’s own anti-apartheid movement follows, pushing politicians everywhere, but especially in the West, to pressure Israel into ending its system of racial discrimination. 

However, this is where the South Africa and Palestine models begin to differ. Though western colonialism has plagued South Africa as early as the 17th century, apartheid in that country only became official in 1948, the very year that Israel was established on the ruins of historic Palestine. 

While South African resistance to colonialism and apartheid has gone through numerous and overwhelming challenges, there was an element of unity that made it nearly impossible for the apartheid regime to conquer all political forces in that country, even after the banning, in 1960, of the African National Congress (ANC) and the subsequent imprisonment of Mandela in 1962. While South Africans continued to rally behind the ANC, another front of popular resistance, the United Democratic Front, emerged, in the early 1980s to fulfill several important roles, amongst them the building of international solidarity around the country’s anti-apartheid struggle. 

The blood of 176 protesters at the Soweto township and thousands more was the fuel that made freedom, the dismantling of apartheid and the freedom of Mandela and his comrades possible. 

For Palestinians, however, the reality is quite different. While Palestinians are embarking on a new stage of their anti-apartheid struggle, it must be said that the PA, which has openly collaborated with Israel, cannot possibly be a vehicle for liberation. Palestinians, especially the youth, who have not been corrupted by the decades-long system of nepotism and favoritism enshrined by the PA, must know this well. 

Rationally, Palestinians cannot stage a sustained anti-apartheid campaign when the PA is allowed to serve the role of being Palestine’s representative, while still benefiting from the perks and financial rewards associated with the Israeli occupation. 

Meanwhile, it is also not possible for Palestinians to mount a popular movement in complete independence from the PA, Palestine’s largest employer, whose US-trained security forces keep watch on every street corner that falls within the PA-administered areas in the West Bank. 

As they move forward, Palestinians must truly study the South African experience, not merely in terms of historical parallels and symbolism, but to deeply probe its successes, shortcomings and fault lines. Most importantly, Palestinians must also reflect on the unavoidable truth – that those who have normalized and profited from the Israeli occupation and apartheid cannot possibly be the ones who will bring freedom and justice to Palestine.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Global Reaction, Call for Action on “Israel’s” Apartheid Against Palestinians

11 Feb 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Ruqiya Anwar

Apartheid has no place in the world, and countries that choose to make exceptions for “Israel will be on the wrong side of history.

Global Reaction, Call to Action on “Israel’s” Apartheid Against Palestinians

Amnesty International released a report on “Israel’s” Apartheid against Palestinians. The report delves into how “Israel” uses coercion and dominance to oppress Palestinians wherever it has control over their rights: Palestinians living in “Israel” and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), as well as displaced refugees in other countries. International law considers apartheid to be a crime against humanity. It is defined as “inhuman actions performed with the intent of establishing and maintaining dominance by one racial group over any other racial group and systematically oppressing them.”
 
In response to this report, several Palestinian civil society organizations called on other countries to take strong responses to end “Israel’s” illegal acquisition of Palestinian territory via force and its apartheid, as well as its rejection of Palestinian inherent right to self-determination.
 
Moreover, because of the growing recognition that “Israel” maintains an apartheid rule over Palestinians, regional and international civil society organizations have called on the United Nations General Assembly to take immediate and effective steps to address the root causes of Palestinian oppression, including ending “Israel’s” occupation, inhibition of Gaza, forcible acquisition of territories, its apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, and the continued denial of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and the right to return to their homeland.
 
They further urged all UN General Assembly Member States to launch global investigations into “Israel’s” apartheid against the Palestinians and eliminate apartheid in the twenty-first century, particularly by reinstituting the UN Special Committee against Apartheid and the UN Centre Against Apartheid. Arms sales and military-security cooperation with “Israel” must also be prohibited. Restrictions should be imposed on trade with illegal occupied territories, and companies should refrain from doing business with “Israel’s” unlawful settlements.
 
Previously, civil society organizations urged the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council to take comprehensive measures to secure justice and accountability for widespread and systemic human rights violations, including potential international crimes perpetrated against Palestinian people (Al-Haq, 2022).
 
Most importantly, the Palestinian civil society has called for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS); a global citizen reaction to the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. The BDS movement also stressed that “Israel’s” policies of apartheid against Palestinians are only possible because of international support. Governments around the globe refuse to hold “Israel” accountable, while corporations’ profit from their role in Israeli settlements or “Israel’s” militarized suppression of Palestinians because those in positions of authority refuse to take action to address this injustice,
 
In addition to this, the Palestinian activists in Australia have urged the Australian government not to overlook an Amnesty’s report accusing “Israel” of apartheid and stressed that Australia has a responsibility to report human rights violations wherever they occur. This report urges governments to employ political and diplomatic measures to stop this unjust situation, particularly those with close ties to “Israel”.

Nasser Mashni, vice-president of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, discussed that Australia’s government has a history of sheltering “Israel” from accountability. It is Australia’s responsibility to denounce this in the strongest possible terms. Australia should follow the report’s recommendations and impose an arms embargo on “Israel” right away.

Significantly, there is no viable justification for a system based on millions of people being subjected to institutionalized and long-term racist oppression. Apartheid has no place in the world, and countries that choose to make exceptions for “Israel” will be on the wrong side of history. Governments that continue to support “Israel” and shield it from international accountability at the UN are backing apartheid, undermining international law, and exacerbating Palestinian suffering. The international community must address “Israel’s” apartheid reality and seek the many untapped paths to justice. (Amnesty International, 2022).
 
The international world must put pressure on “Israel” to remove this inhumane institution. All those who have jurisdiction over the crimes committed to keep the system running should look into them. Such acts are part of a systematic and widespread assault against the Palestinian people and constitute apartheid’s crime against humanity. The international world must put pressure on “Israel” to remove this inhumane institution.

For more than two decades, Palestinians who have been subjected to “Israel’s” repression have called for a recognition of “Israel’s” rule as apartheid. Over time, a larger international acknowledgment of “Israel’s” treatment of Palestinians as apartheid has emerged. Despite this, governments with the authority to intervene have hesitated to do anything to hold “Israel” accountable. Instead, they have been hiding behind a dormant peace process, putting human rights and responsibility on the back burner. This report sheds light on the Palestinian people’s cause and the best ways to achieve peace. Therefore, “Israel” must end the fragmentation, segregation, discrimination, and deprivation imposed on the Palestinian people.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

WATCH: ‘Anti-Apartheid’ Protest Greets Israeli Ambassador at Cambridge University

February 9, 2022

Students protest against Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely speaking at the Cambridge Union. (Photo: via Palestinian Forum in Britain Twitter Page)

More than 100 students at Cambridge University rallied on Tuesday against extreme right-wing ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, the Middle East Monitor reported.

Hotovely, who served as a settlement minister under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was invited to address the Cambridge Union’s debating society. Student groups slammed the decision, citing the 42-year-old ambassador’s long track record of deeply hostile and racist anti-Palestinian remarks.

“Hotovely is a proud supporter of Israeli settler colonialism,” Cambridge students wrote in an open letter, “and an open advocate of a ‘Greater Israel’.”

While deputy foreign minister, Hotovely asserted that the entire West Bank belongs to Israeli Jews alone. “This land is ours,” she said. “All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.”

Early on in her time at the Israeli Embassy in London, Hotovely denied that the Nakba — the premeditated ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians — ever happened. She has called it an “Arab lie” and a “made-up story”. Her rejectionist view is not a fringe opinion in Israel; it is part of the mainstream position of the Likud party led by Netanyahu and other parties on the right and far-right.

Tuesday’s protest attracted crowds from outside the student community, including representatives from Amnesty International UK and Jewish Voice for Labour.

Amnesty released a report on February 1, labeling Israel as an apartheid state. Apartheid is a crime akin to a crime against humanity.

“Silence is complicity, acceptance is complicity, platforming is complicity,” protestors chanted while holding Palestinian flags.

Hotovely’s visit to Cambridge Union comes as consensus grows among leading human rights groups over Israel’s apartheid. Amnesty joined the likes of Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and others who have labeled Israel as an apartheid state.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

No Sign that Amnesty Apartheid Report Will Shatter Pan-Israeli Denial of “Palestinian Problem”

February 04th, 2022

By Miko Peled

Source

JERUSALEM – For decades, Israel has tried to resolve the Palestinian “problem” by ignoring it completely. The heads of the Israeli parties that make up the coalition government met with their party members recently and discussed the issues on their agendas and there was not a moment spent on Palestinians.

The following are examples of the statements made by the heads of the parties that lead the Israeli government:  

  • Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of the right-wing party Yisrael Beiteinu (Hebrew for “Israel Our Home”), said: “This government has done more since it was established than the Netanyahu governments have done.”
  • Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz, head of the so-called Zionist-left Meretz Party, said: “Our decision to allow daily routines to continue during Corona has proven itself.”
  • Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid Party, said that Israel will never forsake the small businesses and that helping them during these difficult times is a national priority.
  • Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who heads the Blue and White Party, talked about the need to strengthen the draft laws because, as he admits, only half of 18-year-old citizens of Israel are actually drafted into the military. The “Draft Law’ is designed to force the Ultra Orthodox community, many of whom are anti-Zionist and refuse to serve in the Israeli army, into service. 

Meretz as a progressive group

“I work with leftist progressive groups on both sides, like the Meretz Party and whatever their equivalent may be on the Palestinian side,” I was told by an acquaintance recently. The claim that the soft-Zionist Meretz Party is somehow progressive or even “leftist” is part of the problem. No Zionist party should be considered progressive or “leftist.”

Seeing these two parties – Meretz and Yisrael Beiteinu – sitting in the same government should give one pause to think. What is Meretz – a party that claims to promote regional peace, says it demands the rescinding of the Nation State Law, and claims to stand for Palestinian rights – doing sitting in a coalition government with the right-wing Lieberman?

Meretz clearly states that it opposed the law that delegitimizes commemoration of Naqba Day by Palestinian citizens of Israel, while the Yisrael Beiteinu platform states: 

Yisrael Beiteinu – Israel Our Home – has already enacted legislation that determines that any local authority that commemorates ‘Nakba Day’ will receive no financial aid from the State of Israel. We will continue with these types of legislation until the idea is fully inculcated that we will not accept the sight of a black flag on Independence Day.

A common denominator

The common denominator that allows Meretz to sit in a coalition government with Yisrael Beteinu, and with Naftali Bennett as prime minister, is Zionism. “Israel is the national home of the Jewish people,” the Meretz platform claims. Furthermore, it says, “Israel will recognize the Arab minority as its national minority with collective rights.” This may sound progressive but for the fact that Arabs in Palestine are not a minority but a majority. 

Israel pretends that there is an Arab minority living within it – first by referring to the Palestinian citizens of the state as “Arabs of Israel,” and then by excluding 5 million Palestinians from any rights or privileges at all. Palestinians who reside in the pre-1967 occupation, or what is known as 1948 Palestine, are considered an Arab minority, or citizens; the Palestinians in the areas occupied in 1967 are excluded from any rights completely. That is a Zionist construct and it must be rejected.

What Palestinian problem?

The general attitude taken by Israeli politicians – and one dares say the people who voted for them – is that the Palestinian problem is not their problem. If they, the Palestinians, misbehave, the Israeli war machine, with its endless units and countless commandos and intelligence agencies, will know how to deal with them.

As the Israeli minister of communication, Yoaz Hendel, himself a decorated war criminal and former commander in an Israeli military terror squad, said, “Israel will continue to plant, build an infrastructure and regulate the Negev.” He was speaking about the Palestinian Bedouin uprising and resistance to Zionist ethnic cleansing of the Naqab for the purpose of — this is not a joke — forestation of the Naqab region. “Regulate” means to displace Palestinians and allow Israeli Jews to take their land.

The underlying message is that there is no problem – we know how to deal with the rioters and we will push forward with our agenda of displacement, land theft, and war crimes. 

An unpleasant awakening

The Israeli government and indeed the State of Israel, in general, had a rude awakening on Tuesday, February 1, when Amnesty International accused Israel of subjecting Palestinians to a system of apartheid founded on “segregation, dispossession and exclusion,” which Amnesty said amounted to crimes against humanity.  

The executive summary of the report begins with a quote from Israel’s former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The quote says, “Israel is not a state of all its citizens… [but rather] the nation-state of the Jewish people and only them.” Well there it is, really. Then the report goes on to describe what Palestinians have been claiming for nearly a century, namely:

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued an explicit policy of establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic hegemony and maximizing its control over land to benefit Jewish Israelis while minimizing the number of Palestinians and restricting their rights and obstructing their ability to challenge this dispossession. In 1967, Israel extended this policy beyond the Green Line to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which it has occupied ever since. Today, all territories controlled by Israel continue to be administered with the purpose of benefiting Jewish Israelis to the detriment of Palestinians, while Palestinian refugees continue to be excluded.

It further states what Palestinians and people paying attention have said, which is: 

This system of apartheid has been built and maintained over decades by successive Israeli governments  across all territories they have controlled, regardless of the political party in power at the time.

In addition, the report states that, “given the scale and seriousness of the violations documented in this report,” it is “calling on the international community to urgently and drastically change its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and recognize the full extent of the crimes that Israel perpetrates against the Palestinian people.” It calls on the international community to: 

…[i]mmediately suspend the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer, including transit and trans-shipment to Israel of all weapons, munitions and other military and security equipment, including the provision of training and other military and security assistance.

Finally, in what must be viewed as an enormous victory for all who care about Palestine, is the inclusion of the following passage: 

[Israel must r]ecognize the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to homes where they or their families once lived in Israel or the OPT, and to receive restitution and compensation and other effective remedies for the loss of their land and property.

Perhaps at the next meeting of the heads of Israel’s leading political parties, they will finally see that Palestine is their problem.

Cambridge Students Say ‘Apartheid’ Israel’s Envoy ‘Not Welcome’

February 4, 2022

Israel’s ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely. (Photo: Arielinson, via Wikimedia Commons)

An upcoming visit to Cambridge University by the extreme right-wing Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, has sparked outrage amongst student groups, the Middle East Monitor reported on Friday.

Citing Cambridge University’s “proud tradition” of opposing racism and apartheid, the Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Society (PalSoc) has co-written an open letter expressing “dismay” at the decision to invite Hotovely to deliver a ‘monologue’ next Tuesday.

In the letter, PalSoc cataloged Hotovely’s many racist supremacist views which the students insist should have disqualified her from ever appearing at Cambridge University.

“Hotovely is a proud supporter of Israeli settler colonialism, and an open advocate of a ‘Greater Israel’,” said the letter mentioning Hotovely’s extremist view.

The letter pointed out that as Settlements Minister in 2020, Hotovely was directly involved in the continued dispossession of Palestinians and annexation of Palestinian land in the occupied territories.

“Hotovely has repeatedly endeavored to erase the history and existence of Palestinians,” the letter continues, before highlighting the numerous occasions where she publicly made racist anti-Palestinian remarks.

Arab members of the Israeli Knesset have been denounced as “thieves of history” by Hotovely and Palestinians were dismissed as a people without a history. Early into her appointment as ambassador to the UK, Hotovely denied the Nakba – the premeditated ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. She has called it an “Arab lie” and a “made-up story”.

Citing leading human rights groups including the most recent report by Amnesty, the letter argued that Hotovely has “dedicated her life” in pursuit of the forcible dispossession of Palestinians to make way for illegal Israeli settlements and in the service of an apartheid system of racial domination.

The letter insisted that given Hotovely’s extreme racist politics, and enthusiastic support for and involvement with the Israeli state’s practices of settler-colonial expansion, dispossession and ethnic cleansing, her appearance in Cambridge “profoundly” undermined the shared values of human rights, freedom and equality.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Why “Israel” is really threatened by Amnesty’s apartheid report

Feb 04 2022

Why “Israel” is really threatened by Amnesty’s apartheid report

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Robert Inlakesh

Once again, when “Israel” is accused of something, it rushes to accuse others of “anti-Semitism”.

Prior to the release of Amnesty International’s near-300 page report supporting its position that “Israel” is committing the crime of Apartheid, the Israeli regime had already lashed out in order to delegitimize it as “anti-Semitic”. The reason for this is that “Israel’s” Jewish nature is now called into question.

Amnesty International’s lengthy report, which according to its Secretary-General, Agnes Callamard, was 4 years in the making, concludes that “massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system which amounts to apartheid under international law. This system is maintained by violations which Amnesty International found to constitute apartheid as a crime against humanity, as defined in the Rome Statute and Apartheid Convention.”

Without addressing any of the report’s findings, Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, claimed that “instead of seeking facts, Amnesty quotes lies spread by terrorist organizations”, labeling Amnesty as “just another radical organization.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry itself directly accused Amnesty of anti-Semitism, as did pro-“Israel” organizations such as the ADL, AIPAC, and others, all claiming that the only reason for the report was because “Israel” is Jewish. What’s interesting is that the lengthy Amnesty report is directly citing the laws implemented by the Israeli regime and begins with quoting its former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who said “Israel is not a state of all its citizens…[but rather] the nation-state of the Jewish people and only them.”

What’s interesting is that not a single Zionist organization, nor the Zionist regime itself, has attempted to go through the report and refute it, instead of attempting to obfuscate and mislead people into thinking that the world’s largest – renowned as liberal and moderate – human rights organization is in fact filled with anti-semitic terrorists. Yet, nobody is buying this, especially due to the fact that Amnesty is not alone in its conclusions.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), the second most influential human rights group, also released a 200 page report last year, entitled ‘A Threshold Crossed’, in which they concluded “Israel” was committing the crime of Apartheid. Additionally “Israel’s” top human rights group, B’Tselem, also released a position paper in which they accused “Tel Aviv” of operating “a regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.” Israeli human rights group Yesh Din also released a legal conclusion that the occupation of the West Bank is Apartheid. On top of this, the accusation of Apartheid being practiced by the Zionist regime has been argued by the likes of the late anti-apartheid icon, Desmond Tutu, as well as Palestinian groups. Palestinians have argued that Apartheid is what they are suffering from for decades, way pre-dating any human rights groups taking the position they do today.

So with such consensus from leading human rights groups internationally, that “Israel” is an Apartheid regime, there is now a major issue for “Israel” that has to be well understood in its context. “Israel” has always been a regime of Jewish supremacy, of Apartheid, it was built around the understanding that this is to be the case and continues to implement its policies until this day. For long, “Israel” has been able to shield itself from the accusation that it is fundamentally a racist regime. With the fall of the Soviet Union, no superpower emerged willing to take up the banner of the Palestinian cause, and the United States maintained complete domination over dealing with the Palestine-“Israel” conflict. When things got tough for “Israel” during the first Intifada, they ended that problem with the Oslo Agreement, and since 1993, were able to get away with presenting the illusion of peace whilst continuing to ethnically cleanse and colonize Palestine. However, the so-called two-state solution and “peace process” were essentially destroyed during the Trump administration once and for all, meaning that the internationally agreed-upon consensus for ending the conflict had fallen flat and the US was not even pushing for that anymore. 

The Arab reactionary regimes began normalizing ties with “Israel”, making no pre-condition of a Palestinian State before doing so, whilst the international community sat back and allowed the situation to play out as Palestinians fought against Trump’s “Deal of the Century” plan to rob them of the final 20% of their land. In this period, two very key things happened, one was that the final nail had been hammered into the two-state solution coffin, the other was that the Palestinian youth underwent a pivotal transformation and prepared themselves for waging resistance in order to liberate all of their lands. The latter mentioned point had of course progressed over a greater peroid of time, but with the Trump administrations recognition of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and illegal settlements as belonging to “Israel”, it contributed greatly to the mindset of the Palestinian youth today.

Being in Palestine to witness the reaction to Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, I saw the desperation, interviewed countless Palestinians, and spoke to friends on their feelings toward how to proceed with their struggle for national liberation. I recall speaking to Palestinian friends of mine in the occupied West Bank who had been lifelong proponents of nonviolent struggle, one of which told me, “I don’t believe in non-violence anymore, we need to take our land back by force.” At that time however, most people felt desperate, even depressed, and did not see a light at the end of the tunnel. Following the uprising, leading to 11-days of war, last May, the energy and hope is now alive and well, especially in the Palestinian youth.

All of this must be kept in mind now, because if the two-state solution is now dead, then what comes next? The human rights organizations have just paved the way for the very next step, “Israel’s” entire system is now the target, not just its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. The reports by Amnesty, HRW, and B’Tselem all demand that the Israeli regime drop its discriminatory policies everywhere in historic Palestine. If “Israel” is forced to do this, there can be no Jewish state, because in order for there to be one, “Israel” has to systematically oppress the Palestinian people.

This means that the only solutions left are the following; “Israel” kills every single Palestinian in a mass genocide, “Israel” is completely destroyed to be replaced by a new state structure, or the country is transformed into a democratic state under which the majority would be Palestinian and all citizens are treated equally. “Israel” knows that the latter two options mean the end of the Zionist dream and hence are not willing to accept any report telling it that it must change its racist settler colonial system. “Israel” has always been a racist endeavor, so to corrupt this is seen by its supporters as an existential threat. They know it’s Apartheid and that’s just the way they like it, but what they don’t like is being told they can no longer run an Apartheid regime.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Ten Things You Should Know about Amnesty International Report on Apartheid Israel

February 2, 2022

Amnesty slammed Israel for committing ‘the crime of apartheid’ in new report. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Romana Rubeo

On Tuesday, February 1, London-based international human rights group Amnesty International (AI) released an extraordinary report, which labels Israel an ‘apartheid state’. The report calls for Israel to be held accountable for its practices against Palestinians.

The 280-page document, entitled ‘Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity’, outlines how the Israeli state segregates and controls Palestinians in order to maintain Jewish hegemony.

Though to be fully appreciated, the AI document must be read in its entirety, below are the top ten points raised by the international human rights group.

1. What is Apartheid?

After defining “apartheid” as “a violation of public international law, a grave violation of internationally protected human rights and a crime against humanity under international criminal law”, Amnesty, in its report, describes Israel’s “intent to oppress and dominate Palestinians:

“Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued an explicit policy of establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic hegemony and maximizing its control over land to benefit Jewish Israelis while minimizing the number of Palestinians and restricting their rights and obstructing their ability to challenge this dispossession.”

2. Geographic Scope

According to Amnesty, the system of segregation “extended beyond the (so-called) Green Line to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which (Israel) has occupied” in 1967. 

“Today, all territories controlled by Israel continue to be administered with the purpose of benefiting Jewish Israelis to the detriment of Palestinians, while Palestinian refugees continue to be excluded.”

“Although Israel’s system of apartheid manifests itself in different ways in the various areas under its effective control,” the report reads, “it consistently has the same purpose of oppressing and dominating Palestinians for the benefit of Jewish Israelis, who are privileged under Israeli civil law regardless of where they reside.” 

3. Treatment of Palestinians

Israel should be labeled an apartheid state because “Palestinians are treated by the Israeli state differently based on its consideration of them as having a racialized non-Jewish, Arab status”.

4. Territorial Fragmentation, Segregation, Jewish Settlements

Starting in 1948, Israel pursued a policy of territorial fragmentation and legal segregation, Amnesty said in its report. 

“(Israel) chose to coerce Palestinians into enclaves within the State of Israel and, following their military occupation in 1967, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They have appropriated the vast majority of Palestinians’ land and natural resources. They have introduced laws, policies and practices that systematically and cruelly discriminate against Palestinians, leaving them fragmented geographically and politically, in a constant state of fear and insecurity, and often impoverished.”

“Meanwhile, Israel’s leaders have opted to systemically privilege Jewish citizens in law and in practice through the distribution of land and resources, resulting in their relative wealth and well-being at the expense of Palestinians. They have steadily expanded Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law,” the report adds.

5. Legal Segregation

Amnesty describes the way “Israel has used military rule as a key tool to establish its system of oppression and domination over Palestinians across both sides of the Green Line, applying it over different groups of Palestinians in Israel and the OPT almost continuously since 1948”.

“Israel maintains its system of fragmentation and segregation through different legal regimes that ensure the denial of nationality and status to Palestinians, violate their right to family unification and return to their country and their homes, and severely restrict freedom of movement based on legal status.”

6. Restrictions of Movement and Apartheid Wall

Amnesty denounces the closure system imposed on Palestinians within the Occupied Territories and between the OPT and Israel, “gradually subjecting millions of Palestinians who live in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip to ever more stringent restrictions on movement based on their legal status. These restrictions are another tool through which Israel segregates Palestinians into separate enclaves, isolates them from each other and the world, and ultimately enforces its domination.”

Moreover, the report highlights how “the 700km fence/wall, which Israel continues building mostly illegally on Palestinian land inside the occupied West Bank, has isolated 38 Palestinian localities in the West Bank (…) and has trapped them in enclaves known as ‘seam zones’”.

7. Political Rights

According to Amnesty, “Israel’s version of democracy overwhelmingly privileges political participation by Jewish Israelis.”

“Limitations on the right of Palestinian citizens of Israel to participate in elections are accompanied by other infringements of their civil and political rights that limit the extent to which they can participate in the political and social life of Israel. This has included racialized policing of protests, mass arbitrary arrests and the use of unlawful force against protesters during demonstrations against Israeli repression in both Israel and the OPT.” 

8. Dispossession of Palestinian Land

Amnesty illustrates how, since its creation on the ruins of Palestinian towns and villages, “the Israeli state has enforced massive and cruel land seizures to dispossess and exclude Palestinians from their land and homes.”

Suffice it to say, “in 1948, Jewish individuals and institutions owned around 6.5% of Mandate Palestine, while Palestinians owned about 90% of the privately owned land there. Within just over 70 years the situation has been reversed.”

Amnesty also mentions Israeli laws and regulations currently implemented by Israeli authorities to carry out demolitions of Palestinian property in East Jerusalem, including the Absentees’ Property Law of 1950 and the Administrative Matters Law.

“In Israel and East Jerusalem, (the Israeli government) transferred from the state to Jewish national organizations and institutions, many of which serve Jews only, while the legal title of the land remained in the state’s name.”

9. Crimes against Humanity

Amnesty’s report analyzes three major categories of crimes against humanity, that’s to say, the “inhuman and inhumane acts as proscribed, respectively, by the Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute”.

First, it condemns the forcible transfer of Palestinians, explaining that, “since 1948, Israel has demolished tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and other properties across all areas under its jurisdiction and effective control.”

Second, the report addresses the issues of administrative detention, torture and other ill-treatment.

“Israel’s systematic use (of the administrative detention) against Palestinians indicates that it is used to persecute Palestinians, rather than as an extraordinary and selective security measure.” 

The report also illustrates how “Israeli courts have admitted evidence obtained through torture of Palestinians, accepting the justification of ‘necessity’. Prompt, thorough and impartial investigations by Israeli authorities into allegations by Palestinians that they have been tortured are extremely rare, effectively giving state endorsement to the crime of torture.”

Third, Amnesty strongly condemns Israel’s unlawful killings and injuries, which were “perpetrated outside the context of armed conflict during Israeli law enforcement activities in the OPT, including during the suppression of protests, arrest raids, when enforcing travel and movement restrictions, and conducting house and search operations.”

10. Recommendations

Amnesty states in its report that “dismantling this cruel system of apartheid is essential for the millions of Palestinians who continue to live in Israel and the OPT, as well as for the return of Palestinian refugees who remain displaced in neighbouring countries”.

Also, it urges the need for “the international community to urgently and drastically change its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and recognize the full extent of the crimes that Israel perpetrates against the Palestinian people.”

Amnesty directly calls on “the USA, the European Union and its member states and the UK” to “recognize that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid and other international crimes, and use all political and diplomatic tools to ensure Israeli authorities implement the recommendations outlined in this report and review any cooperation and activities with Israel to ensure that these do not contribute to maintaining the system of apartheid”.

Finally, Amnesty calls on the International Criminal Court (ICC) “to consider the applicability of the crime against humanity of apartheid within its current formal investigation,” and on the United Nations Security Council to “impose targeted sanctions, such as asset freezes, against Israeli officials most implicated in the crime of apartheid, and a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel.”

(Read the full report here: Amnesty International – Apartheid Israel)

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.

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