Gaza Mourns, Buries 21 Fire Victims in Jabaliya (PHOTOS)

November 18, 2022

Thousands of mourners take part in the funeral of 21 Palestinians in the Jabaliya refugee camp. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Thousands of mourners took part on Friday in the funeral of 21 Palestinians in the Jabaliya refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, the Palestine Chronicle correspondent in Gaza reported.

At least 21 people, including seven children, died and many others were wounded on Thursday night, after a massive fire engulfed a residential building belonging to the Abu Raya family in Jabaliya.

Mohammed Abu Raya told the Associated Press the extended family had gathered for joint celebrations on the occasion of the birthday of one of the children.

The bodies of the victims were wrapped in Palestinian flags before being buried in the Martyrs’ Graveyard east of the refugee camp.

Preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Interior and National Security said that an amount of benzene was stored in large quantities inside the apartment, which led to the fire outbreak.

Gaza, with a population of 2 million, has been under a hermetic Israeli siege since 2007, when the Palestinian group Hamas won the legislative elections in occupied Palestine. Since then, Israel has carried out numerous bombing campaigns and several major wars, that resulted in the death of thousands of people. 

Moreover, the power supply is provided only for a few hours a day, making the Strip chronically short of electricity. This fact forces many Palestinian families to store fuel inside their own homes as an alternative source of energy.

(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

THE ISRAEL FILES: WIKILEAKS DOCS SHOW TOP HOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS WORKING WITH ISRAEL TO DEFEND ITS WAR CRIMES

SEPTEMBER 23RD, 2022

Source

THE ISRAEL FILES IS A NEW MINTPRESS SERIES EXPLORING AND HIGHLIGHTING THE MANY REVELATIONS ABOUT THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE THAT WIKILEAKS DOCUMENTS DISCLOSED. IT HOPES TO SHED LIGHT ON MANY OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AND UNDERREPORTED REVELATIONS THE PUBLISHING GROUP EXPOSED. 

By Alan Macleod

As Israel was launching a deadly assault on Gaza, killing thousands of civilians and displacing more than 100,000 people, many of America’s top TV, music and film producers were organizing to protect the apartheid state’s reputation from widespread international condemnation.

Together, the Sony Archive – a cache of emails published by Wikileaks – prove that influential entertainment magnates attempted to whitewash Israeli crimes and present the situation as defending itself from an impending “genocide”, liaised with Israeli military and government officials in order to coordinate their message, attempted to cancel those who spoke out against the injustice, and put financial and social pressure on institutions who hosted artists criticizing the apartheid government’s actions.

AS ISRAEL ATTACKS, HOLLYWOOD PLAYS DEFENSE

“[Israel’s message] Must be repeated ad infinitum until the people get it,” wrote Hollywood lawyer and producer Glenn D. Feig, in an email chain to many of Tinsel Town’s most influential executives. This was in response to the unprovoked 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza, one of the bloodiest chapters in over half a century of occupation.

Named “Operation Protective Edge”, the Israeli military engaged in seven weeks of near-constant bombing of the densely populated coastal strip. According to the United Nations, over 2,000 people were killed – a quarter of them children. 18,000 houses were destroyed, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless.

The Israeli military deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure, knocking out Gaza’s only power plant and shutting down its water treatment plants, leading to economic, social and ecological devastation in an area Human Rights Watch has labeled the world’s largest “open air prison”.

Many in Hollywood expressed deep concern. “We must make sure that never happens again”, insisted producer Ron Rotholz. Rotholz, however, was not referring to the death and destruction Israel imposed on Gaza, but to the fact that many of the entertainment world’s biggest stars, including celebrity power couple, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, had condemned Israel’s actions, labeling them tantamount to “genocide.”

“Change must start from the top down. It should be unheard of and unacceptable for any Academy Award-winning actor to call the legitimate armed defense of one’s territory…genocide” he continued, worrying that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement – a worldwide campaign to put economic pressure on Israel in an attempt to push it to meet its obligations under international law – was gaining steam in the world of the arts. Israel’s legitimacy rests upon political and military support from the U.S. Therefore, maintaining support among the American public is crucial to the long term viability of its settler colonial project.

Rotholz then attempted to organize a silent, worldwide pressure campaign on arts venues and organizations, including the Motion Picture Academy in Hollywood and the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, to stamp out BDS, writing,

What we can do is urge the leaders of major film, TV and theater organisations, festivals, markets and potentially the heads of media corporations to issue official statements condemning any form of cultural or economic boycotts against Israel.”

Others agreed that they had to develop a “game plan” for opposing BDS.

Of course, when influential producers, festivals and heads of media corporations release statements condemning a certain position or practice, this is, in effect, a threat: stop taking these positions or suffer the professional consequences.

LOACH ON THE BRAIN

The Sony emails also reveal a near obsession with British filmmaker and social activist Ken Loach. The celebrated director’s film, “Jimmy’s Hall” had recently been nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and in the wake of Israel’s assault on Gaza, he had publicly called for a cultural and sporting boycott of the apartheid state.

This outraged many in Hollywood. Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, a film producing company responsible for financing more than 200 movies, demanded that not only Loach, but the whole Cannes Film Festival be cancelled. “The studios and networks alike must join together and boycott cannes,” he wrote. “If we don’t we are sending a message that another holocaust is fine with Hollywood as long as it is business as usual,” he added, framing the Israeli attack on a near-defenseless civilian population as a Palestinian genocide of Israelis.

Others agreed. Ben Silverman, former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios and producer of shows such as “The Office”, “The Biggest Loser” and Ugly Betty” said that the industry should “boycott the boycotters”. Rotholz, meanwhile, wrote to the head of the Cannes Film Festival, demanding that he take action against Loach for his comments. “There is no place for [Loach’s intolerant and hateful remarks] in the global world of film and filmmakers”, he insisted.

.

Others came up with another way of countering Loach. “How about we all club together and make a documentary about the rise of new anti-Semitism in Europe,” suggested British film producer Cassian Elwes, adding,

I would be willing to contribute and put time into it if others here would do the same. Between all of us I’m sure we could figure out a way to distribute it and get it into places like Cannes so we could have a response to guys like Loach. Perhaps we try to use it to rally support from film communities in Europe to help us distribute it there”.

“I love it,” replied publishing oligarch Jason Binn, “And I will promote it in a major way to all 3.2 million magazine subscribers across all on and offline platforms. I can even leverage Gilt’s 9 million members,” he added, referring to the shopping and lifestyle website he managed.

“Me too,” said Amy Pascal, the Co-Chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Meanwhile, Mark Canton, producer of movies such as “Get Carter”, “Immortals” and “300” busied himself drumming up more Hollywood support for the idea. “Adding Carmi Zlotnik to this growing list”, he replied, referencing the TV executive.

This whole correspondence was from an email chain of dozens of high-powered entertainment figures entitled “Happy New Year. Too bad Germany is now a no travel zone for Jews,” which ludicrously claimed that the European country had become a Muslim-controlled Islamic theocracy.

“It is horrible. But in the end, it is no surprise, because apologists for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians will go to any length to prevent the people opposing them,” Mr. Loach said, when asked for comment by MintPress. “We shouldn’t underestimate the hatred of those who cannot tolerate the idea that Palestinians have human rights, that Palestine is a state; and they have their country,” he added.

SHUTTING DOWN FREE EXPRESSION

The pro-Israel group in Hollywood also put serious pressure on American institutions to crack down on support for Palestinian human rights. Silverman revealed that he had written to Peter Gelb, the general manager of the New York Metropolitan Opera, in an effort to shut down a performance of “The Death of Klinghoffer”, an opera that tells the story of the 1985 hijacking of an airliner by the Palestine Liberation Front. “I suggest though that we each call him on Monday at his office at the Met and your point about the Met’s donors’ leverage is important,” he advised the other entertainment oligarchs, thereby shining a light on how the powerful move in secret to silence speech they do not approve of, and how they use their financial clout to coerce and strong-arm others into toeing their line. A lot of pressure was necessary, because, as Silverman explained, “as members of the artistic community it is very hard to be pro free speech only some of the time and not all of the time.”

Ultimately, the performance did go ahead, but not without a large and coordinated protest both inside and outside the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, as individuals attempted to shut down the performance, claiming it was “antisemitic.”

LIAISING WITH THE IDF

The email conversations of many of Hollywood’s most influential individuals show that they believe they are on the verge of a worldwide extermination of Jews, and that Israel – and themselves – are the only things standing in the way of this impending fate. As Kavanaugh wrote, “It’s our job to keep another Holocaust from happening. Many of you may think that can’t happen, that is extreme…[but] If you pull newspapers from pre Holocaust it seems eerily close to our world today.”

Rotholz was of a similar opinion, writing that,

It is imperative that leading figures in the LA/NY film, tv, media, digital and theater communities who support a strong and potent Jewish state develop a strategy for liasing with colleagues in London and Europe and also with the creative communities here and in Europe to promote and explain the Israeli cause.”

The Sony Archive emails also show that, not only were Tinsel Town’s top brass coordinating strategies to silence critics of Israel, but that they were also closely liaising with the Israeli government and its military.

Producer George Perez, for example, messaged his colleagues in the chain email to introduce them to an IDF colonel, stating (emphasis added),

Everyone please use this “reply all” list from here on.  I have included Kobi Marom a retired commander in the Israeli army. Kobi was kind enough to give my family and I a jeep tour of the Golan Heights during our June trip to Israel.  He also took us to visit an army base on the border of Israel and Syria, an area which has been in the news lately.  Hard to imagine that the “kids” that we met at the base are most likely engaged in combat with our enemies.”

Seeing as the large majority of those who died were Palestinian civilians, it is unclear whether he considers all Palestinians or just Hamas as enemies of Hollywood. Perez also noted that “Kobi works closely with the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) who are in need of donations,” and advised that Hollywood needed to “dig deep to help in the constant struggle for the survival of Israel.”

Hollywood celebrities including famed producer Haim Saban and actress Fran Drescher, pose with IDF soldiers at the FIDF Western Region Gala

The group also attempted to recruit Israeli-American movie star Natalie Portman into their ranks. But the Academy Award-winning actress appeared more concerned that her personal details were being shared. “How did I get on this list? Also Ryan Seacrest?” she replied, before directly addressing Kavanaugh, writing,

[C]an you please remove me from this email list? you should not be copying me publicly so that 20 people i don’t know have my personal info. i will have to change my email address now.  thank you”.

While Portman’s open contempt for the group of rabidly pro-Israel producers is notable, more so was Kavanaugh’s response, which revealed how close the connection between the Israeli state and Hollywood is. Kavanaugh wrote back,

Sorry. You are right Jews being slaughtered for their beliefs and Cannes members calling for the boycott of anything Israel or Jewish is much much less important than your email address being shared with 20 of our peers who are trying to make a difference. my deepest apologies…I had lunch yesterday with Israel consulate general who brought J street up to me. He was so perplexed confused and concerned when he heard you supported them that he begged me to connect you two.”

Thus, the leaked emails prove beyond any doubt that both the Israeli government and the IDF liaise with some of the most powerful people in the entertainment world in order to push forward a pro-Israel message and stamp out any deviance from that line.

HIP HOPPERS FOR APARTHEID

While their efforts at recruiting Portman fell flat, one star who responded enthusiastically was hip hop mega producer Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records and the brother of Joseph “Rev.Run” Simmons, one third of Run DMC. Simmons has recently been the subject of controversy, after 20 women have come forward, charging him with rape or other sexual misconduct.

The emails reveal that promoting engagement with Israel within the African-American community is one of Simmons’ primary interests. When asked if he had any ideas how to improve Israel’s image, he said, “Simple messaging from non Jews specifically from Muslims promoting peace and Israel’s right to exist…We have resources and the desire to win rather than lose the hearts of young Muslims and Jews.”

What these resources were, he explained,

We have hundreds of collaboration programs between Imams Rabbis and their congregations We have many respected imams who would join former chief rabbi metzker (spelling) rabbi Schneier and non Jews in promoting the Saudi peace plan”.

“Through this campaign we will be helping Israel,” he concluded.

TURNING THE TIDE

Despite the best efforts of Simmons and others, however, American public opinion has, in recent years, begun to turn against Israel. Young Americans, in particular, are more likely to sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian people and support an independent Palestinian state.

Much of this has to do with the rise of social media and a new generation of activists breaking through the barriers to highlight injustices being carried out by their government. Today, Americans are more likely to see first-hand, unvarnished accounts of Israeli brutality on social media platforms. As veteran political scientist Noam Chomsky explained to MintPress last year, “The veil of intense propaganda [is] being lifted slowly, [and] crucial U.S. participation in Israeli crimes is also coming more clearly into view. With committed activism, that could have salutary effects.”

Despite the best efforts of Simmons and others, however, American public opinion has, in recent years, begun to turn against Israel. Young Americans, in particular, are more likely to sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian people and support an independent Palestinian state.

Much of this has to do with the rise of social media and a new generation of activists breaking through the barriers to highlight injustices being carried out by their government. Today, Americans are more likely to see first-hand, unvarnished accounts of Israeli brutality on social media platforms. As veteran political scientist Noam Chomsky explained to MintPress last year, “The veil of intense propaganda [is] being lifted slowly, [and] crucial U.S. participation in Israeli crimes is also coming more clearly into view. With committed activism, that could have salutary effects.”

Nevertheless, U.S. government support for Israel continues to rise. Between 2019 and 2028, it is scheduled to send nearly $40 billion in aid, almost all of it military, meaning that American taxpayer funds are contributing to Palestinian oppression and displacement.

Loach was even more upbeat on the issue, telling us that those who stand in the way of justice will be judged poorly by history, stating,

The denial of human rights of the Palestinians is one of the great crimes [of the modern era] and Palestinian rights is one of the great causes of last century and this century. We should all support the Palestinians. If you have any care for human rights, there is no question: the Palestinians have to be supported. And these people who oppose them, in the end, will fade away. Because history will show this was a terrible crime. Palestinians suffered ethnic cleansing of their homeland. We have to support the Palestinians, full stop.”

Those people, however, have no intention of “fading away”, and continue to organize on behalf of the Israeli government. Thanks to the leaked documents, those who care about Palestinian self-determination have a clearer understanding of how they operate.

Europe’s Failure Over Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Due to Germany’s Nazi Guilt and EU’s Subservience to United States

June 1, 2021

See the source image
Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

Finian Cunningham

The international community has to end its support for the apartheid state of Israel and must stop the genocide of the Palestinian people, says MEP Mick Wallace in an interview with Finian Cunningham.

Mick Wallace, an independent Irish Member of the European Parliament, speaks his mind to Strategic Culture Foundation about the recent violence in Gaza where 248 people were killed by the Israeli military. Among the dead were 66 children during 11 days of bombardment of the Palestinian territory. Nearly 2,000 were injured in airstrikes on the densely populated coastal strip where two million people live in appalling deprivation. Hundreds of homes and civilian infrastructure were destroyed by the Israeli forces armed with U.S. warplanes and munitions. Rockets fired by Palestinian militant group Hamas killed 12 Israelis, including two children. Yet the United States and the European Union stridently declared support for Israel’s “right to self-defense” while not categorically denouncing the slaughter of Palestinians. Mick Wallace condemns what he calls the complicity of America and the European Union in Israeli war crimes. He says the oppression of Palestinians will continue tragically because, effectively, the U.S. and EU are sponsoring genocide. However, he notes, Western governments are increasingly out of step with public opinion horrified by Israel’s wanton occupation of Palestinian territory.

Wallace was elected to the EU parliament in 2019. He is an independent MEP who is affiliated with the European Party of the Left. He is an outspoken critic of American imperialism and European complicity in NATO aggression towards Russia. His weekly podcast frequently explores and condemns Russophobia in EU foreign policy which he says is due to the bloc’s subservience to Washington. Wallace’s outspoken internationalism and anti-imperialism have gained him much popular support in Ireland and abroad.

Interview

Question: American and European politicians commonly declare their support for Israel’s “right to self-defense”. However, you have stated that Israel does not have such a right. Many people would condemn your statement given the barrage of rockets fired at Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Can you explain why you think Israel does not have a right to self-defense?

Mick Wallace: Gaza is the largest concentration camp in the world. Do concentration camp guards have the right to self-defense? The indigenous people, the Palestinians, have the right to self-defense, not the colonizer. Does Israel have the right to self-defense? Does Israel have the right to commit crimes against humanity?

Question: During the recent eruption of hostilities between the Israelis and Palestinians, the European Union showed little leadership in calling for a ceasefire. Why is the EU so ineffective in resolving a conflict which is on Europe’s periphery?

Mick Wallace: It would probably be fair to say that when it comes to foreign policy, the European Union has never been so weak.

Question: European leaders aspire for the EU to be a global political force. But the EU is all too often seen as subordinate to the United States. With regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Europe seems too deferential to Washington. Is that a fair criticism?

Mick Wallace: Yes, the EU does not have the courage to challenge the United States on these matters.

Question: You have been especially critical of Germany and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who was formerly the German minister of defense, for their appeasement of Israel by not criticizing its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. You have made the point that Germany’s historical guilt from Nazism and the Holocaust is a factor. Can you elaborate on that point?

Mick Wallace: Von der Leyen is a weak European Commission president but her statement on the conflict emphasizing Israel’s supposed right to self-defense was a new low. Sixty-six Palestinian children were killed by the illegal occupier, Israel, while Hamas killed two Israeli children. And yet Von der Leyen could only condemn Hamas. Germany backs Israel because of its guilt over Nazi horror. Yet in appeasing Israel, German politicians are complicit today in crimes against humanity akin to those of Nazi Germany.

Question: Other European countries were also complicit in Nazi crimes against Jews, such as France and the Baltic states, Austria, Romania, and Hungary. During the latest violence, Austrian public buildings were draped with the flag of Israel. Does the specter of the past Nazi horrors and European guilt account for the EU’s failings with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Mick Wallace: There’s no doubt that German guilt for the terrible atrocities committed against European Jews is a factor. The failure of so many German Members of the European Parliament to criticize Israeli war crimes is shocking, but other forces are also at play. Israel is a vital part of the United States Empire, and that’s reflected in EU subservience to the Americans.

Question: Out of 705 European parliamentarians, a sizable majority seems to be supportive of Israel whereas among European citizens there is strong sympathy for the Palestinians suffering from illegal occupation and oppression. How do you explain such a discrepancy between elected representatives and the general public with regard to views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Mick Wallace: Politicians rarely represent their citizens.

Question: Is European guilt over Nazism and fascism a factor in the European Parliament’s attempts at World War Two revisionism whereby the Soviet Union is equated with the Nazi Third Reich?

Mick Wallace: I believe it’s more a case of the European Union, at America’s beckoning, trying to undermine and isolate Russia.

Question: Russia has offered to act as a mediator between the Israelis and Palestinians, claiming to have credible relations with both sides. The American mediation efforts have been a failure as has been shown by the chronic impasse and erosion of Palestinian rights over several decades. Do you think Russia could help find a resolution?

Mick Wallace: I wouldn’t be confident of Russia playing a neutral and fair role – the Kremlin also tolerates much of the lawless behavior of Israel.

Question: What, in your view, is a viable solution to the decades-old conflict?

Mick Wallace: That’s a big question. The two-state solution is long dead. The international community has to end its support for the apartheid state of Israel and must stop the genocide of the Palestinian people. All Palestinians are entitled to live a dignified life in their homeland. But this is unlikely to happen until the international community stops supporting U.S. imperialism, and the sovereignty of all nations is respected.

Canada Ties to the U.S. Empire: Lester Pearson and the Myth of Canada as “Peaceable Kingdom” Part I

By Richard Sanders

Global Research, March 31, 2021

CovertAction Magazine 30 March 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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[T]here are two sides whose composition cuts across national and even community boundaries. The issues … can be described as freedom vs. slavery…. [T]wo powerful leaders of these opposed sides have emerged—the United States of America and the USSR.

We are faced now with a situation similar in some respects to that which confronted our forefathers in early colonial days when they ploughed the land with a rifle slung on the shoulder. If they stuck to the plough and left the rifle at home, they would have been easy victims for any savages lurking in the woods. ”

As Canada’s Minister of External Affairs, Lester Pearson delivered the above statements in his speech entitled “Canadian Foreign Policy in a Two Power World” to a joint meeting of the Empire Club of Canada and Canadian Club of Toronto. (April 10, 1951)

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For centuries, self-righteous state myths have depicted the imperial Canadian project as a victory for democracy and human rights. Despite Canada’s long record of genocide, land plunder, and war profiteering, official narratives about noble “Canadian values” still reign in this imagined “peaceable kingdom.”

Canada’s ethnonationalist propaganda demonized First Nations as hostile sub-humans to be enslaved, imprisoned on reservations and made Christian in residential schools. This White-Power racism served imperialist containment policies designed to turn “Red Indian” enemies into captive nations.

By the early 1950s, then-external affairs minister Lester Pearson was pioneering a new containment policy. During the transition to the new world order of the Cold War, he rallied his powerful allies in Canada’s racist old-boys’ clubs.

Pearson’s status as a national hero was consolidated when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his role in helping to establish a UN peacekeeping force.

But Pearson was far from a progressive. In 1951, he compared the new Red Menace of communism to what he called “savages lurking in the woods.” These “savages,” he declared, had violently threatened the peaceful lives of innocent white Europeans whom he lovingly called “our forefathers.”

By conjuring unsettling images of a Red-Indian bogeyman, Pearson helped manufacture consent for a new, politically Red enemy to meet the needs of NATO’s capitalist powers.

On the home front, Pearson’s fierce anticommunism justified Canada’s systematic abuses of civil rights. As Ian MacKay and Jamie Swift note in Warrior Nation: “Pearson enthusiastically supported a Cold War against any Canadians suspected of viewing the world outside the newly hegemonic framework of the American imperium.”[1]

Headline in Toronto newspaper pointing to repressive political environment in the early Cold War. [Source: opentext.bc.ca]

Targeted for abuse by Canada’s Cold War elites were “peaceniks,” radical unionists and anyone branded as too leftwing. “Pearson had become an ever-more-aggressive accomplice,” said MacKay and Swift, “in government attacks on dissidents.”[2]

To Pearson and other Cold Warriors, the world was torn. As chief architect of Canada’s postwar anti-Red foreign policy, Pearson demonized the Soviet Union as the epicenter of evil. The USSR was still reeling after 27 million of its citizens had been killed by Hitler’s anti-communist crusade.

This is the cover of the Canadian edition (1947) of a U.S. comic by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society. [Source: coat.ncf.ca]

Anti-communist propaganda which Pearson echoed. [Source: coat.ncf.ca]

After the Red Army liberated Eastern Europe and led Germany’s defeat, the U.S. replaced the Nazis as global leaders in the war on communism. NATO efforts to destroy the USSR used Cold-War “containment” strategies: surrounding the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons, isolating it with political and economic sanctions, and vilifying it with propaganda. Pearson had a central role in this new phase of the West’s war on communism.

Lester Pearson, far right, with Halvard Lange of Norway and Gaetano Martino of Italy. They were known as the “Three Wise Men” who were ardent in supporting NATO. [Source: nato.int]

The Red Scare had been going on for decades. In Pearson’s youth during WWI and the First Red Scare (1914-20), Canada ran slave-labor, concentration camps that interned thousands of single immigrant men, mostly Ukrainians, who had been laid off from rural work camps. Elites feared their growing protests in urban centers might spark a socialist revolution.[3]

Ukrainians interned during World War I and the First Red Scare. [Source: infoukes]

And, in 1919, Canada was among thirteen countries that invaded newborn Soviet Russia with 150,000 troops to intervene in its civil war and reverse its revolution. Canada’s allies in the war, led by Admiral Alexander Vasilevich Kolchak, killed at least 100 civilians for every one killed by the Bolshevik Red Army, according to General William S. Graves, who headed the U.S. contingent.[4]

Members of the Canadian Army’s 67th Battery pose for a photo following the Battle of Tulgas, Russia, on November 11, 1918. [Source: ipolitics.ca]

During the Depression, when Pearson was a bureaucrat working closely with Canada’s prime minister, some 170,000 single, unemployed men were forced into remote work camps to prevent a potential revolution.[5]

One means of dismantling Canada’s prevailing peace mythology is to examine this country’s support for U.S. militarism throughout the Cold War. This study leads to the conclusion that little if anything has changed.

Plaque commemorating Pearson and Truman and signing of original NATO treaty in 1949. [Source: tcdb.com]

Always a stalwart NATO warrior giving solid allegiance to U.S.-led military, political, economic and propaganda warfare, Canada has taken leading roles in a new Cold War being waged by the American empire.

Lester Pearson at West Germany’s accession to NATO in 1955. [Source: nato.int]

Facing Canada’s history of duplicity is especially difficult because it means challenging the villainous hypocrisy of some of this nation’s most-beloved leaders. It also means confronting the powerful, political descendants of Canada’s much-glorified peace cult heroes, and debunking pernicious narratives that are still perpetuated, even by many mainstream progressives.

Pearson As Peace-Cult Hero and Cold-War Hatemonger

While state-sponsored myths have helped to create an institutionalized cult around Pearson, Canada’s beloved Nobel Peace Prize winner was actually a vociferous Cold Warrior. Besides using hateful anti-Red rhetoric to whitewash U.S.-backed wars, Pearson rallied support for various covert actions that squashed anti-colonial struggles in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Canada’s largest political, corporate, religious and media institutions shared with their Western allies a fierce loathing for anyone who could be labelled communist. Their global crusade maligned all individuals, groups, parties, movements and governments that dared to threaten the freewheeling reign of predatory corporations. In Lester Pearson, these fear-mongering elites found a believable voice whose skilful devotion to Cold War tropes served their shared, vested interests.

Pearson was useful to British and American power elites because he leveraged Canada’s well-crafted reputation as a neutral “middle power” to cheerlead their neocolonial adventures. This included lending Canada’s respected voice to the ousting of elected, socialist-friendly governments that tried to limit the exploits of foreign corporations.

As Canada’s most influential confidence man, Pearson exuded faith in America’s supposed devotion to peace. “It is inconceivable to me that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive war,” said Pearson in 1955, and “it is also inconceivable that Canada would ever take part in such a war.”[6]

Captivated by the era’s extreme anti-communism, Pearson ignored Western war crimes. In fact, he artfully glorified these crimes with phobic narratives that painted assaults on democracy as if they were part of a noble, god-inspired plan to wipe communist evil off the face of the earth.

Before examining Pearson’s key role in leading Canada’s support for these American adventures, it is worth examining the cultural influences in his early life that helped create his pious devotion to Cold War causes.

The Early Origins of Pearson’s “Muscular Christianity”

That Pearson slipped so easily into sermonizing about the Red Menace can be explained largely by his ultrareligious upbringing. His father, and both grandfathers, were Methodist ministers. [NOTE: Not sure what a “staunch” Methodist minister is.]

Methodism, which was then Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, was central to the imperial project of spreading “Christian values” at home and abroad.

This religious exercise, to build the moral muscles of a global Anglo-based civilization, fixated on the Social Gospel movement. Its mission was to take up the “white man’s burden” and uplift atheist heathens and inferior races through such genocidal institutions as Indian Residential Schools.[7]

Pearson describes his maternal grandfather, Rev. Thomas Bowles, as “a pillar of the church and the Liberal party.” He had been elected county warden three times, township reeve (mayor) ten times, and was appointed first sheriff of Dufferin County, Ontario. Pearson notes that his paternal grandfather Rev. Marmaduke L. Pearson, one of the Methodist “church’s most distinguished divines,” was a devoted Tory who seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about and playing baseball, lawn-bowling and cricket.

This obsession was passed on to his sons, including Lester’s father, Rev. Edwin A. Pearson. He was described by historian John English, as “a strong imperialist” whose “three boys shared his enthusiasm for sports and the empire.”[8]

Lester Pearson (bottom left), at home in Hamilton, 1913, with brothers, parents and grandfather. His father and grandfather were both Methodist ministers who zealously supported British imperialism. [Source: coat.ncf.ca]

Pearson’s memoir also reveals the great influence of certain novels he found in his Sunday School library. “From its shelves I learned of life and adventure,” said Pearson, “through Horatio Alger, G.A. Henty and similar heroic books.”[9] Alger, a disgraced Unitarian minister who became one of the most popular novelists of the late 1800s, is best known for perpetuating the American dream’s “rags-to-riches” myth.

George A. Henty though, revealed Pearson, was “the author whom I knew the best among all English writers before I went to college.” [10] As a British war correspondent, Henty’s travels across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, were always sure to promote British imperialism. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his work epitomized that blatantly jingoistic literary genre known as “imperial adventure fiction.”Canada’s Secret War: IRAQ – Ten Years After “Shock and Awe”

Henty’s books embodied the spirit of so-called “Muscular Christianity.” This Victorian movement glorified the pious athleticism and virile masculinity of tough, white saviors who would happily knock heads together (and kill if need be) for the glory of god, king, country and empire.

Always ready to save the brutish, lower-class savages from themselves, Henty’s heroes enthralled impressionable juveniles, like Pearson, who lapped up this macho vision of a missionizing, tough-love fundamentalism that was hopped up on just wars and imperial steroids.[11]  “To be a true hero,” explained Henty when interviewed, “you must be a true Christian.”[12]

Henty’s 122 novels were riddled with white supremacist heroes who spouted the era’s outrageously popular racist, sexist and anti-semitic beliefs. His books also targeted left-wing, cartoon villains from the ruthless labour leaders of striking English coal miners[13] to the eroticized socialist women who ran loose in the 1871 “Paris Commune.”[14]

Considering his class and the strong religious leanings of his family and community, it is not surprising that Pearson would be so captivated by Henty’s writings. While Pearson’s 1972 memoir offers no critique of Henty, it praises the author’s historical fiction for having provided a knowledge of the world that informed and inspired him throughout his political career:

“His exciting stories based on history’s more romantic episodes stirred my imagination mightily and, I suspect, had much to do with my liking for and concentration on history in my educational progress. When years later I traveled extensively abroad as Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs, there was hardly a place I visited which I had not known through that prolific but now almost forgotten writer of adventure stories for boys.”[15]

Pearson’s exceedingly sheltered childhood kept him cozy in the warmth of positive feelings for imperialism. “[T]he parish was my world,” he confessed. “As for the rest of the world, I thought about it … largely in terms of the British Empire which was looking after the ‘lesser breeds’ and keeping the French and Germans under control.”[16]

Admitting that his was “an absorbing mind rather than a questioning mind,” Pearson also disclosed that he had “a rather superficial approach to life.” His “limited” world, Pearson says, “did not broaden much” until 1913 when, at age 16, he entered Toronto’s Victoria College.[17]

Named for Queen Victoria, and founded by the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1836, this was no breeding ground for radical thought; it was a hotbed of imperialist education.

Rather than freeing Pearson’s mind from its fetters, college life further narrowed Pearson’s “limited” worldview. And, it was here that Pearson first made contact with influential men who led him along the political path to power.

Victoria College was where he began what he called his “long and … rewarding association”[18] with Vincent Massey, a history lecturer and dean of the residence building which his family had built and furnished. Massey’s Methodist father, owning one of Toronto’s biggest industrial concerns, had close links to the highest echelons of the Liberal Party. Massey was already a good friend of Mackenzie King, who became Canada’s longest-standing prime minister.

Massey became one of Pearson’s most important Methodist mentors. His deeds included being a leader of Toronto’s Cecil Rhodes-inspired Round Table Society (1911-18); marrying Alice Parkin, daughter of Sir George Parkin, secretary of The Rhodes Trust (1915); being appointed to Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s cabinet war committee (1918) and to the Liberal cabinet (1925); being appointed Canada’s first envoy to the U.S. (1926-30) and its high commissioner to Britain (1930, 1935-46); being president of England and Wales’ National Liberal Federation (1932-35); being made Canada’s delegate to the League of Nations (1936) and being appointed to represent the Queen as Canada’s governor general (1952-59).[19]

Massey, who Pearson notes was “personal friends of the Royal Family, and … seemed to know every duke by his first name,”[20] was able to open doors for Pearson throughout his career. This included funding Pearson’s BA and MA studies at Oxford (1923-25).[21]

Pearson’s subservience to the moneyed interests of empire helped ensure his rise through the Department of External Affairs. He joined that bureaucracy in 1928, during the King government, but when Conservative Prime Minister Richard “Iron Heel” Bennett took power in 1930, “Pearson was a beneficiary.”[22]

Bennett, who was also a devout Methodist, earned his nickname after an inflammatory 1932 speech in which he said:

“What do these so-called groups of Socialists and Communists offer you? They are sowing their seeds everywhere…. [T]hroughout Canada this propaganda is being put forward by organizations from foreign lands that seek to destroy our institutions. And we ask that every man and woman put the iron heel of ruthlessness against a thing of that kind.”[23]

Crushing communism was clearly the order of the day, and Pearson was ambitious and eager to comply.

Talent-spotted by Bennett, Pearson was soon appointed to two royal commissions on economic issues. As journalism professor Andrew Cohen noted: “Pearson liked Bennett who treated him as a protegé.”

In early 1935, Pearson accompanied Bennett to London where they took part in the Jubilee to celebrate King George V’s 25-year reign. During their lavish sea voyage with its sumptuous cuisine, Pearson learned he would receive the Order of the British Empire and asked Bennett for a raise of $25 per week.[24]

This increase boosted Pearson’s salary by an extra $25,000 per year in today’s dollars. This was distasteful considering all those who were hungry for food and justice during the Great Depression.

Unmentioned by Cohen or Pearson is that, between 1932 and 1935, Bennett’s government rounded up 170,000 single, unemployed, urban men and forced them into slavery in army-run “Relief Camps.”

Army-run relief camp during Great Depression, designed to remove “red” agitators from the cities. [Source: sutori.com]

General Andrew McNaughton’s internment plan makes it clear why. “In their ragged platoons,” he explained to the cabinet, “here are the prospective members of what Marx called the ‘industrial reserve army, the storm troopers of the revolution.’”[25]

General McNaughton further told Bennett that “[b]y taking the men out … of the cities” and forcing them into remote work camps, “we were removing the active elements on which the ‘red’ agitators could play.”[26]

In 1935, Bennett approved Pearson’s posting to Canada’s High Commission in London. When Bennett was replaced by King, Pearson’s move was confirmed and he continued his climb, becoming second in command under High Commissioner Vincent Massey (1939-42).

In 1940, Pearson was recruited by Sir William Stephenson to be a “King’s messenger” carrying secret documents to Europe. Nicknamed “the Quiet Canadian,” Stephenson was the Canadian intelligence agent, codenamed “Intrepid,”[27] who inspired Ian Fleming’s fictional, anti-communist superspy, 007.[28]

James Bond was also the violently racist and sexist Cold War equivalent of the Victorian era’s manly, white, imperial adventure heroes, so admired by Pearson.

From London, Pearson was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he was Canada’s ambassador and envoy extraordinaire to the U.S. (1942-46).

After returning to Ottawa, he was appointed foreign minister for the last few months of Prime Minister King’s time in office (1948). When King’s protégé, Louis St. Laurent, took over, he retained Pearson as foreign minister (1948-57).

Pearson’s early decades of pliable innocence were over. Having been moulded and mentored into form by family, church, schools and government, he had thoroughly internalized the deceitful scripts of elite institutions.

But though he became a manager and manipulator in his own right, Pearson’s role on the global stage was still directed by external forces in Washington and London. While just following his social orders, Pearson’s acts of complicity in Cold War coups, wars, invasions and occupations cannot be excused. He was culpable for the criminality in which he willfully engaged. Let’s look at a few examples.

The Korean War and Its Planning, 1947-1953

Pearson was a strong supporter of the Korean War (1950-1953), which devastated the Korean peninsula and left a legacy of conflict and division that persists to this day.

Pearson considered the war part of a moral crusade against communism.

His understanding overlooked the fact that the northern communist regime, led by Kim Il-Sung, had led the fight against Japanese colonialism. By contrast, the southern regime, led by Syngman Rhee and dominated by Japanese colonial collaborators, killed over 100,000 of its own citizens and launched raids into the north, all of which provoked the onset of the war.

Image from Pyongyang museum of American war crimes depicting U.S. soldiers brutalizing North Koreans. [Source: peacehistory-usfp.org]

Pearson’s hawkish position contrasted with Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s, who said that “Canada should not automatically support the United States in all its endeavors.”[29]

Pearson also clashed with Defense Minister Brooke Claxton who opposed sending Canadian troops to Korea presciently because the U.S. was “getting [Canada] into something to which there is really no end.”[30]

When Pearson was dispatched to Washington to meet with President Harry S. Truman in 1948, he conspired behind the scenes with Truman to undermine King’s direct orders regarding the pursuit of an independent Canadian foreign policy, and assisted U.S. State Department officials in crafting a letter that urged King to support the Korean War.[31]

King’s successor, Louis St. Laurent, assisted the war effort by deploying a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) squadron of transport planes to airlift U.S. troops, weapons and other materiel across the Pacific.

Canadian soldiers playing ice hockey, the national sport, on a rink they built in South Korea. [Source: bardown.com]

Military historian David Bercusson,[32] who continues to spread official narratives promoting this and other wars, wrote:

“Pearson was correct about what the Korean War meant in the global confrontation between Soviet Communism and the Western democratic powers and correct too in believing that Canada could not sit out the war if the Americans insisted that Canadian troops were needed. He was far wiser than Claxton in knowing this. With Pearson leading the way, Claxton came on board.”[33]

Pearson told St. Laurent that he supported troop deployments based on his anti-communist views about “the menace which faces us, … the expression of that menace in Korea, and the necessity of defeating it there by United Nations action.” Pearson’s efforts paid off. “St. Laurent came around,” said Bercusson, because “he and the nation really had little choice.”[34]

The speech St. Laurent gave over the radio announcing Canada’s commitment to the war was probably crafted in part by Pearson. It was deep in Orwellian newspeak:

“The action of the United Nations in Korea,” St. Laurent intoned, “is not war; it is police action intended to prevent war by discouraging aggression.” Since “the war to end all wars” had already come and gone 30 years hence, the Korean War was framed as “important to all of us who want to avoid another world war.” The need to “defeat the Communist aggressors in Korea,” said St. Laurent, was like fighting “fascist aggression” in WWII. He concluded his deceit with “We owe it to to ourselves, to each other, to our children, and each other’s children … to prevent the disasters of a third world war.”[35]

This launched Canada’s four-year collaboration—under the UN’s respectable cover—in a barrage of napalm-saturated bombings that slaughtered some three or four million Koreans.

This supposed non-war, also caused “six to seven million” more to be “rendered refugees,” says historian Jeremy Kuzmarov, who also notes that the onslaught destroyed “8,500 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, and 600,000 homes.”[36]

Canadian troops marching in North Korea during a brutal 40-day U.S.-UN occupation. [Source: thecanadianencyclopedia.ca]

To aid and abet this mayhem, Canada supplied its good name, plus more than 20,000 troops (516 of whom died), numerous war planes, eight destroyers and a wealth of strategic minerals and military hardware.

Canadian troops after the Battle of Kapyong in April 1951. [Source: veterans.gc.ca]

In return, the St. Laurent government exploited the war as an excuse to vastly expand Canada’s army, navy and air force and to accelerate the production of jet fighters, jet engines, naval vessels, weapons, ammunition, radar and more.

“We are working in the closest co-operation with the United States,” said St. Laurent, so “that our joint resources and facilities are put to the most effective use in the common defence [sic] effort.” The government, he went on, was also “looking forward confidently to an acceleration and an intensification of our joint [military] production efforts” through the “U.S.-Canada industrial mobilization planning committee.”[37]

While devastating Korea itself, the Korean War sparked the blossoming of Canada’s military-industrial complex, which fueled its complicity in Cold War adventures for decades to come.

Similarly, anti-communism was harnessed by Western governments to repress the civil liberties of anti-war activists. Quebec’s “Padlock Law” (1937-57) made it illegal to copy, publish or distribute anything deemed pro-communist. Although the King and St. Laurent governments could have struck down this law, they didn’t. It was used against peace activists opposing the Korean War.

In May 1951, an “anti-subversion squad” raided a Montreal home where about thirty labor and civil rights activists were meeting with James Endicott, president of the Canadian Peace Congress. Literature was seized and male police invasively searched activists, including the women, who lodged a complaint to Pearson’s office, which did nothing.[38]

In January 1952, Endicott denounced the “Padlock Law” at a meeting in London, England. “Under American pressure,” he reported, Canada’s treason act had been amended “so that a cabinet committee can order secret arrests and hold people indefinitely and incommunicado without trial. They are doing that against peace workers.”[39]

Coup in Iran, 1953

Pearson’s foreign ministry supported the coup that installed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as Iran’s dictator in 1953.

This CIA/MI5-led coup ousted Mohammad Mosaddegh’s elected government after it dared to nationalize Iran’s UK-owned oil industry in March 1951. Although not a socialist, Mosaddegh worked with Iran’s communist party, Tudeh, which had played a key role in Iran’s struggle to gain control of its own oil resources.

As revealed by anti-war writer Yves Engler, Pearson “was not happy with the Iranian’s move”:

In May 1951 External Minister Lester Pearson told the House of Commons the “problem can be settled” only if the Iranians keep in mind the “legitimate interests of other people who have ministered to the well-being of Iran in administering the oil industry of that country which they have been instrumental in developing.”[40]

Mossadegh’s duly-elected government also angered Pearson. “In their anxiety to gain full control of their affairs by the elimination of foreign influence,” he told parliament, Iran had exposed itself “to the menace of communist penetration and absorption—absorption into the Soviet sphere.”[41]

As Engler notes, “Pearson did not protest the overthrow of Iran’s first elected prime minister” and three days after the coup, Canada’s ambassador expressed concern with what he called the “disturbing factor” of “the continued strength of the Tudeh party.”[42]

In response, the Shah’s CIA-trained secret police (SAVAK) quickly began arresting thousands of Tudeh members. By 1958, SAVAK torture and assassination campaigns had decimated Tudeh and other popular, democratic forces.[43] This “progress” allowed Canada to begin diplomatic relations with Iran in 1955.

By May 1965, when deposed Prime Minister Mossadegh was still under arrest, Pearson was prime minister and hosted the Shah’s state visit to Canada.

Upon his arrival in Ottawa, aboard a Canadian military plane, the Shah was greeted by Pearson, Foreign Minister Paul Martin, Sr., and Governor General George Vanier, who literally gave him the red-carpet treatment.

Vanier intoned “I greet Your Imperial Majesty as an able and valiant head of state and as a great leader with progressive policies,”[44] while Pearson said the Shah “had given outstanding leadership in bringing his country forward into the modern world.”[45]

During his eight-day visit to five cities, the Shah attended top-government meetings, inspected an honor guard, waved to the public, laid a wreath, spoke at press conferences and elite clubs, was feted at gala luncheons and black-tie dinners, dined privately at Pearson’s home, was honored at a state banquet and reception by Vanier in his palatial mansion, and was regaled by Canada’s mass media. Pahlavi and his Empress were a hit.[46]

Special police precautions were taken for fear of Iranian student protests, which the Shah “dismissed …  as the work of communists.”[47]

Summing up the visit, Pearson said it had “brought our two countries even closer together in our approach to problems of peace and the United Nations.”[48]

Coup in Guatemala, 1954

A CIA-led coup toppled Guatemala’s elected government and ushered in decades of dictatorships that killed about 200,000 people.

Diego Rivera painting, Glorious Victory, which depicts Secretary of State John Foster Dulles shaking hands over a pile of dead corpses with Castillo Armas who deposed Guatemala’s left-leaning president Jacobo Arbenz. CIA Director Allen Dulles stands next to the pair, his satchel full of cash, while Dwight Eisenhower’s face is pictured in a bomb. [Source: wikipedia.org]

As a U.S. State Department official said, Guatemala’s elected President Jacobo Arbenz—the target of the coup—had a “broad social program” to aid “workers and peasants in a victorious struggle against the upper classes and large foreign enterprises.”

This, he admitted, had “strong appeal to the populations of Central America.”[49] Arbenz was not allowed to pose the threat of a good example.

Even before Arbenz’s 1950 election, Ottawa’s trade commissioner in Guatemala had characterized him as “unscrupulous, daring and ruthless, and not one to be allayed in his aims by bloodshed or killing.”[50]

Prior to the coup, Arbenz’s Foreign Minister Guillermo Toriello asked Canada to allow embassies to open in their two countries.

Pearson’s department refused. “At external affairs and in Canadian board rooms,” said reporter Peter McFarlane, “the coup was chalked up as another victory of the Free World against the [Red] Menace.”[51]

Afterwards, U.S.-led counter-insurgency operations directed against left-wing rebels who sought to restore Arbenz’s political program benefited from the use of Canadian military hardware. The key U.S. warplanes used in this CIA operation were P-47 and F-47N fighter planes and C-47 and C-54 cargo planes. Owned and operated by the CIA, they were flown by American pilots.[52]

These aircraft in the CIA’s “Liberation Air Force” were powered by Wasp-series engines built in Montreal, Quebec, by Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC).[53]

Throughout the 1980s, when the Guatemalan air force attacked villages, they employed U.S. Bell 212 and 412 helicopters—made famous in the Vietnam War—that were powered by PWC’s PT6T engines.[54]

PWC has long been one of the highest government-subsidized war industries in Canada. For example, between 1982 and 2006 it was Canada’s top corporate welfare recipient, raking in about $1.5 billion.[55]

Vietnam War, 1952-1974

From the beginning, Pearson was a gung-ho supporter of the Vietnam War. When France initiated the first Indochina War (1946-1954) in an attempt to reclaim its former colony, Pearson led Canadian efforts to supply weapons for use by French forces in Indochina (now Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia).[56]

This was done under the radar through NATO’s Mutual Aid Program. Between 1950 and 1954 alone, about $650 million (in 2021 dollars) worth of Canadian “armaments, ammunition, aircraft, and engines were transferred … to the Indochina war theatre.”[57]

In 1952, Pearson “okayed the deal” to allow Canadian arms, sold to France for use in Europe only, to be diverted to Indochina. This materiel included “antitank and anti-aircraft guns, ammunition, rangefinders and telescopic sights.” Behind the cabinet’s back, Pearson decided that arming France’s Indochina War was lawful because it “help[ed] assure the preservation of peace.”[58]

In one of Pearson’s many 1951 tirades affirming his support for that war, he suggested that if the independence of Indochina were to fail, “all of South-East Asia, including Burma, Malaya and Indonesia, with their important resources of rubber, rice and tin, might well come under communist control.”[59]

Pearson at the same time was claiming in the early 1950s that the “‘Soviet colonial authority in Indochina’ appeared to be stronger than that of France.” Considering that there was “not a Russian anywhere in the neighborhood,” Noam Chomsky wrote, “[o]ne has to search pretty far to find more fervent devotion to imperial crimes than Pearson’s declarations.”[60]

Pearson’s collaboration in the Vietnam War included his backing of Canadian government collaboration in “spying, weapons sales, and complicity in the bombing of the North.”[61]

Many Canadians believe the myth today that Pearson helped keep Canada out of the Vietnam War. However, 40,000 Canadians joined the U.S. armed forces during the war.[62] This was 50% more than the 26,000 Canadian soldiers who had served in Korea.

In 1954, when Pearson was minister of external affairs, he helped gain American backing for Canada’s bid for a seat on the International Control Commission (ICC)—whose purpose was to enforce the 1954 Geneva accords.

Pearson served as the handler of Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., Arnold Heeney, who forged an agreement with U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of State Robert Murphy, that Canada would illegally supply the U.S. with secret intelligence obtained through its involvement in the ICC mission.[63]

Canada’s best-known ICC spy was Blair Seaborn, a long-time friend of America’s ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. In late April 1964, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk met Prime Minister Pearson and External Affairs Minister Paul Martin, Sr., to discuss the “Seaborn Mission.” A month later Pearson conveyed to Johnson his “willingness to lend Canadian good offices to this endeavour.”

The Pentagon Papers later revealed that Pearson told Johnson at this meeting that, although he “would have great reservations about the use of nuclear weapons,” in Vietnam, America’s “punitive striking” with “iron bomb attacks” (i.e., unguided, air-dropped conventional munitions) was fine.[64]

Seaborn conveyed U.S. threats to the North Vietnamese that, unless they surrendered, the U.S. would unleash massive military attacks.

Seaborn also “gathered intelligence for U.S. authorities” on many strategic issues that aided and abetted America’s war. The Pentagon Papers showed that the U.S. informed Canada, seven months in advance, of closely guarded U.S. plans for a major bombing campaign against the north in December 1964.[65]

Victor Levant’s groundbreaking book, Quiet ComplicityCanadian Involvement in the Vietnam War (1986), reveals that Pearson’s government (he was prime minister from 1963 to 1968) was aiding and abetting domestic war industries to cash in on the bonanza.

This was despite the fact that, as a member of the ICC, one of Canada’s duties was “to restrict the entry of arms into Vietnam from anywhere.”[66] But, said Levant, “[f]ar from trying to curtail U.S. purchases of Canadian military equipment, the government in Ottawa actively encouraged the process” with grants to so-called “defense industries” between 1964 and 1968, that were worth just over $1 billion in 2021 dollars.[67]

This investment of taxpayers’ money paid off, at least for Canadian corporations that received over $2.16 billion (in 2021 dollars) “in 1965 [alone] by making military equipment, ranging from green berets to airplanes, for the U.S. war effort in Vietnam.”[68]

Prime Minister Pearson tried to absolve himself and the government of complicity in this war profiteering by claiming in 1967 that Canada could not determine the whereabouts of military equipment purchased in Canada by the U.S., though he conceded that a “small percentage of Canadian arms could be reaching the battlefield in Vietnam.” [69]

While cheered by virulently anti-communist groups, Pearson became a main target of the anti-war protesters who carried banners that read “End Canadian complicity in Viet Nam War,” “Pearson accomplice in genocide” and “Accomplice in mass murder.” A chant that was familiar in those days,was “Pearson, Martin, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”[70]

On the nation’s 100th anniversary (July 1, 1967) in Montreal, when thousands marched to protest Canada’s role in the Vietnam War, French chants included “Johnson assassin. Pearson Complice.”[71]  The fact that Pearson was an accomplice to mass murder in Vietnam was then well known to the peace movement. This institutional memory has now been all but erased.

*

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Richard Sanders is an anti-war activist and writer in Canada. In 1984, he received an MA in cultural anthropology and began working to expose Canada’s complicity in U.S.-led wars. In 1989, he founded the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), which led to a 20-year municipal ban on Ottawa’s arms bazaars. Richard can be reached at overcoat@rogers.com

Notes

[1] Ian MacKay and Jamie Swift, Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety, 2012, p. 128.

[2] Ibid., p. 118.

[3] Richard Sanders, “War Mania, Mass Hysteria and Moral Panics,” Captive CanadaPress for Conversion!, March 2016, pp. 5-14. http://bit.ly/RedScare-1

[4] See Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano, The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2018).

[5] Richard Sanders, “Left-Right Camps: A Century of Ukrainian Canadian Internment,” Captive Canadaop. cit., pp. 40-55. https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/68/68_40-55.htm

[6] Lester Pearson, Statements and Speeches, 55/10, March 24, 1955, cited by Levant, op. cit., pp. 12-13.

[7] Richard Sanders, “The Occupation(al) Psychosis of Empire-Building Missionaries,” Captive Canadaop. cit., pp. 18-19.https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/68/68_18-19.htm

[8] John English, “Pearson, Lester Bowles,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 2003- http://bit.ly/EdwinP

[9] Lester Pearson, Mike: The Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. Lester B. Pearson, Vol.1, 1972, p. 10.

[10] Ibid.

[11] For more on this genre and its Canadian exemplar, Charles Gordon, see Richard Sanders, “Religious Guardians of the Peaceable Kingdom: Winnipeg’s Key Social-Gospel Gatekeepers of Canada West,” Captive Canada op. cit., pp. 22-29. https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/68/68_22-29.htm

[12] Ray Van Neste, Review of The Boy’s Guide to the Historical Adventures of G. A. Henty, March 3, 2006. http://rayvanneste.com/?p=686

[13] G.A. Henty, Facing Death: A Tale of the Coal Mines, 1883. https://books.google.ca/books?id=rRcCAAAAQAAJ

[14] Matthew Beaumont, “Anti-Communism and the Cacotopia,” Utopia Ltd.: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England 1870-1900, 2005, pp. 152-154. https://brill.com/view/book/9789047407096/BP000006.xml

G.A. Henty, Woman of the Commune: A Tale of Two Sieges of Paris, 1895. https://books.google.ca/books?id=9mZWAAAAMAAJ

[15] Pearson 1972, op. cit., p. 10.

[16] Ibid., p. 15

[17] Ibid., pp. 14-15.

[18] Ibid., p. 15.

[19] Claude Bissell, The Young Vincent Massey, 1981, passim.

[20] Pearson 1972, op. cit., p. 105.

[21] Ibid., p. 45.

[22] Andrew Cohen, Lester B. Pearson, 2008.

[23] Thomas Green, “Bennett Raps Socialism, Communism,” Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Nov. 10, 1932, p. 5. https://www.newspapers.com/image/508724453

[24] Cohen 2008, op. cit.

[25] Canada: A People’s History, Vol. 2http://books.google.ca/books?id=2fcXAAAAYAAJ

[26] In Jean Barman, The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia, 1991. http://books.google.ca/books?id=JbYe6fCOSTAC

[27] A Man Called Intrepid: The Incredible True Story of the Master Spy Who Helped Win WWII, 1976, pp. 191, 216.

[28] Guy F. Burnett, “Ian Fleming’s Coldest Warrior: The Anticommunist Origins of James Bond,” Dissident, Nov. 17, 2015. http://bit.ly/antiRedBond

(The above archived article, from the anti-communist, “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation” website, celebrates both Fleming and his Bond character as those “who fought to save the world from tyranny and oppression.”

[29] Pearson 1972, p. 139.

[30] David Jay Bercuson, Blood on the Hills: The Canadian Army in the Korean War, 1999, pp. 31-32. https://books.google.ca/books?id=eCizi80V1M0C

[31] Pearson 1972, op. cit., pp. 140-141. https://books.google.ca/books?id=nXM2CwAAQBAJ&pg=PA140

[32] Bercuson is a director of two right-wing, Calgary-based think tanks, the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies (funded by the Canadian war department’s “Security and Defence Forum”), and the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (which has accepted funding from General Dynamics and publicly promoted the company’s exports of major Canadian-made weapons systems, such as LAVs, to Saudi Arabia.

[33] Ibid., p. 33.

[34] Ibid.

[35] “St. Laurent Text on Resisting Reds,” Windsor Daily Star, August 8, 1950, p. 14.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/72910987/the-windsor-star/

[36] Jeremy Kuzmarov, “The Korean War: Barbarism Unleashed,” United States Foreign Policy, History and Resource Guide website, 2016. http://peacehistory-usfp.org/korean-war/

[37] Windsor Daily Starop. cit.

[38] See author’s collection of seven newsclips, May 25-28, 1951.

[39] “Says working for peace in America hard,” Ottawa Citizen, Jan. 10, 1952, p. 10.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73516103/the-ottawa-citizen/

[40] Engler 2012, citing Pearson, Hansard, May 14, 1951, 3002.

[41] Lester Pearson, Hansard, Oct. 22, 1951, p. 253, cited by Engler, op. cit., pp. 75.

[42] Engle, ibid., p. 76.

[43] Ervand Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran, 1999, pp. 89-101. http://bit.ly/SAVAK-Tudeh

[44] “Shah, Empress in Ottawa,” Ottawa Journal, May 19, 1965, p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73543166/the-ottawa-journal/

[45] “Shah starts visit,” Ottawa Citizen, May 19, 1965, p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73528451/the-ottawa-citizen/

“Shah in Canada,” Ottawa Citizenibid., p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73534362/the-ottawa-citizen/

[46] “Shah has busy schedule here,” Ottawa Citizen, May 17, 1965, p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73524704/the-ottawa-citizen/

“Shah of Persia in Canada, 1965.” https://www.britishpathe.com/video/shah-of-persia-in-canada

(Note: These film clips from the Shah’s visit include footage of the state dinner with Governor General Vanier at Rideau Hall.)

[47] “Shah in capital,” Ottawa Citizen, May 19, 1965, p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73534362/the-ottawa-citizen/

[48] “Royal Visits Top News Events,” Brandon Sun, May 31, 1965, p. 12. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73525463/the-brandon-sun/

[49] Cited by Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, 1991, p. 419. http://bit.ly/Chomsky1991

[50] James Rochlin, Discovering the Americas: Evolution of Canadian Foreign Policy towards Latin America, 1994, p. 35. http://bit.ly/Roch94

[51] Peter McFarlane, Northern Shadows: Canadians in Central America, 1989, pp. 98, 100, cited by Engler op. cit., p. 79.

[52] Guatemala: Air Force History

http://www.aeroflight.co.uk/waf/americas/guatemala/Guatemala-af-history.htm

[53] Pratt & Whitney Canada ; http://bit.ly/PWC-WASP; Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_P-47_Thunderbolt; Douglas C-47 Skytrain [Dakota]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_C-47_Skytrain#Postwar_era; Douglas C-54 Skymaster

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_C-54_Skymaster

[54] Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_Canada_PT6T

Bell 212 in Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca (Guatemalan Air Force) 1980 to present https://www.helis.com/database/modelorg/Guatemala-Bell-212/

Bell 412 in Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca (Guatemalan Air Force) 1982 to present https://www.helis.com/database/modelorg/Guatemala-Bell-412/

[55] Mark Milke, Corporate Welfare: A $144 billion addiction, Nov. 2007. https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/corporate-welfare-a-144-billion-addiction.pdf

[56] Levant, op. cit., p. 42

[57] Ibid., p. 43

[58] Levant, op. cit., p. 43 [NOTE: I believe “Idem.” in italics would be appropriate here.]

[59] Chomsky 2012, op. cit., p. 9.

[60] Noam Chomsky, “Imperial Presidency,” Canadian Dimension, Jan/Feb 2005. http://bit.ly/CDchom

[61] Noam Chomsky, Foreword, in Yves Engler, Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt, 2012, p. 8.

[62] Ryan Goldsworthy, “The Canadian Way: The Case of Canadian Vietnam War Veterans,”  http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vol15/no3/page48-eng.asp

[63] James Eayrs, In Defence of Canada: Indochina – Roots of Complicity, 1983, pp. 242-243, cited in Levant, op. cit., p. 193.

[64] Levant, op. cit., pp. 178-79.

[65] Ibid., p. 178

[66] Harry Trimborn, “Canada-US Tieup? Some Other Time!” Los Angeles Times, Aug. 23, 1966, p. 82.  https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73697853/the-los-angeles-times/

[67] Levant, op. cit., p. 57.

[68] Trimborn, op. cit.

(Note: The article noted a figure of $260 million, which the Bank of Canada, when corrected for inflation, says is worth $2,164,578,313.25 in 2021 dollars.)

[69] Lester Pearson, Statements and Speeches, March 10, 1967, Levant, ibid.

[70] Alex Young, “Heavy guard for PM: ‘Vietniks’ at airport, club,” Province, Mar. 31, 1967, p. 1 https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73069053/the-province

Peter Loudon, “Like French Revolution Some Feast Others Chant,” Times Colonist, Apr. 1, 1967, p. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73616904/times-colonist/

(Note: This article, covering a protest the next day outside a gala banquet attended by Pearson, notes the same “Pearson, Martin, LBJ…” chant.  The reporter mocked the protesters’ appearance, and said they were “denouncing Canada’s alleged support of the US in Vietnam.” Emphasis added.)

[71] Nick Auf der Maur, “Vietnam Protesters March Through City, Montreal Gazette, July 3, 1967, p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73067312/the-gazette/

Featured image: Former Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs (1948-1957), Lester B. Pearson, at his desk in Ottawa. As leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, he served from 1958 to 1968. [Source: journal.forces.gc.ca]

Israel’s Honeymoon with the United Arab Emirates Is Grotesque

By Belén Fernández

Global Research,

December 10, 2020Jacobin 7 December 2020

Since normalizing relations in September, Israel and the United Arab Emirates have teamed up to do what both do best: trample on democratic freedoms, commit atrocities, and whitewash occupation.

***

Back in 2010, the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman issued the following complaint: “Destructive critics dismiss Gaza as an Israeli prison, without ever mentioning that had Hamas decided — after Israel unilaterally left Gaza — to turn it into Dubai rather than Tehran, Israel would have behaved differently, too.”

Never mind that Israel never “left” Gaza — or that even if Hamas had managed to transform the diminutive Palestinian coastal enclave into the capital of Iran, international law would not have authorized the Israelis to then convert it into the “world’s largest open-air prison.” It’s also unclear how any territory could be turned into Dubai while under siege and frequent bombardment, or how Gazans would go about building malls with ski slopes — or building anything, for that matter — when Israel intermittently blocks construction materials from coming into the narrow strip of land.

Now, courtesy of the September normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates — the culmination of a long-standing clandestine love affair — it seems the Palestinians will finally get to experience a taste of Dubai. (And Emirati alcohol consumers will get a taste of Israeli-made wine from the illegally occupied Golan Heights.)

In a recent CNN dispatch titled “The UAE and Israel’s whirlwind honeymoon has gone beyond normalization,” correspondent Ben Wedeman writes of the “mutual enthusiasm” infecting the Israeli government and the federation of Arab sheikhdoms, so much so that the UAE “appears to have dropped, in practical terms, any objections to Israel’s occupation of Arab lands.” That’s no accident. Disappearing the occupation is a primary function of normalization, fitting right in with the Friedmanite approach to Middle East peace, which posits that, if the Palestinians would just stop bitching about being occupied and massacred and get on with their lives, they, too, could be Dubai — the equivalent of telling a person in a burning house to simply ignore the flames.A Special Relationship Born in Hell: The US Should Cut all Ties with War Criminal Israel

Wedeman catalogues the perks of the overzealous Emirati-Israeli honeymoon: mutual visa exemption, the aforementioned wine, an excursion to the UAE by Israeli settler leaders from the West Bank, direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi scheduled to start early next year, and an arrangement where the UAE will “finance with the US and Israel a project to ‘modernize’ Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank used to control and monitor the movement of Palestinians.”

Presumably, “modernization” does not mean that Israeli soldiers will stop beatingkilling, detaining, and otherwise abusing Palestinians at checkpoints. But perhaps the Emiratis can help install state-of-the-art mobile maternity wards to deal with the Palestinian women forced to give birth there.

To be sure, it’s not like the checkpoints aren’t “modern” enough already. As NBC News reported last year, Microsoft has “invested in a startup that uses facial recognition to surveil Palestinians throughout the West Bank, in spite of the tech giant’s public pledge to avoid using the technology if it encroaches on democratic freedoms.”

That’s no turnoff for the UAE, where democratic freedoms are entirely absent and the slightest criticism of the government is grounds for detentiontorture, or disappearance. And what do you know: Emirati-Israeli collaboration regarding surveillance far predated the official unveiling of amorous bilateral relations. In 2015, a Middle East Eye article quoted a description of Abu Dhabi’s Israeli-installed mass civil spying system: “Every person is monitored from the moment they leave their doorstep to the moment they return to it. Their work, social and behavioral patterns are recorded, analyzed and archived.”

Call it modern barbarism — a right-wing neoliberal dream where basic rights are supplanted by skyscrapers, artificial islands, the annual Dubai Shopping Festival, and other distracting obscenities built on the backs of a migrant work force toiling in “virtual slavery.”

For their normalization efforts, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Perverse, unless you recall that former US president Barack Obama, the man who ordered the dropping of at least 26,171 bombs on seven Muslim-majority countries in 2016 alone, also received the prize. “Peace,” meanwhile, is not currently an option for Palestinians, Yemenis, and other regional inhabitants whose lives are sacrificed in the interest of arms industry profits and similar fixtures of “modernity” — all with US backing, and an imperial narrative that insists Iran is the one causing all the trouble.

So the honeymooners are getting off scot-free, whether for killing 2,251 people in Gaza in a matter of fifty days or for helping oversee the sexual torture of Yemeni detainees and mass starvation of Yemeni children as part of the Saudi-led coalition. And as normalization forges ahead, it’s nothing short of terrifying that anyone finds this normal.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Belén Fernández is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at WorkMarytrs Never Die: Travels through South Lebanon, and, most recently, Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin.

Featured image is from DesertpeaceThe original source of this article is JacobinCopyright © Belén FernándezJacobin, 2020

Ode to Resistance: Video-Clip from Palestine (Song by Haidar Eid)

Source

August 29, 2020

Ode to Resistance, a Song by Haidar Eid. (Photo: Video Grab)

By Haidar Eid

As Israel continues its bombing of Gaza for the 15th night in a row, while its sole power plant is forced to shut due to Israel’s decision to ban fuel from entering the Strip, and amid the spread of Coronavirus outside quarantine facilities, a new video clip has been produced.

It comes as part of a creative project produced in besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine, where a group of activists and artists came together in order to highlight:

  1. The Palestine that every refugee is dreaming to return to;
  2. Resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid; and
  3. The links with progressive Arab forces .

It is an established fact that two million Gazans are trapped in the world’s largest prison. 13 years of Israel’s brutal siege by land, sea and air has devastated every aspect of life in the Strip. 97% of aquifer water is undrinkable, 52% of essential drugs are at zero stock, and over 50% of the population is unemployed. Gazans suffer chronic water, medicine, fuel and food shortages.

Add to this the latest Coronavirus cases that have been reported with only 66 ventilators for the 2 million residents of the strip. Unlike the pandemic all over the world, in Gaza it is allowed to spread simply because apartheid Israel has decided to tighten the medieval siege.

The UN already predicted that by 2020 Gaza would be uninhabitable. And we are already there!

Despite our situation, we, in Gaza have never stopped fighting for freedom and justice. Hence, the video clip. As activists and artists, we cannot stand by while Gaza’s entire population is slowly dying the hands of one of the most sadistic colonial powers.

This is why we wanted to highlight not only the suffering of our people, but their resilience and resistance. Students, children, elderly, shopkeepers, women, girls, worshippers, stone throwers, GFM protesters, fishermen, mothers, fathers…

In addition to being a celebration of Palestinian life and resistance, the clip is a tribute to the late Egyptian singer, Abdulhalim Hafez who was the first to sing these songs during the progressive decades of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

– Haidar Eid is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature at the Al-Aqsa University, in the Gaza Strip. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Trump Exploits the Suffering of Thousands of Syrian Refugees in Rukban Camp

Source

July 18, 2020 Arabi Souri

US Exploits the Suffering of Thousands of Syrian Civilians Held in Rukban Concentration Camp
US Exploits the Suffering of Thousands of Syrian Civilians Held in Rukban Concentration Camp

The infamous Rukban Concentration Camp continues to hold up to ten thousand Syrian civilians living in inhumane conditions, by all standards, and the regime of Donald Trump refuses to allow the families to go back to their homes or allow proper flow of humanitarian aid into the camp, similarly to what the US-led a hysteric campaign against Syria, China, and Russia, for al-Qaeda in Idlib.

Where are the Western criers for humanity when one needs them? Over months, the hypocrite representatives of NATO member states at the United Nations Security Council were pressuring to allow new crossings into Al-Qaeda controlled areas in Idlib, despite that their territories have shrunk considerably. But we see no action, at all, by the same NATO representatives when there is real horrific suffering of thousands of Syrian civilians held hostage by a US military base and two terrorist groups affiliated with ISIS in the depth of the Syrian desert at the border crossings with Iraq and Jordan.

The following report by Muhammad Al-Khader of the Lebanese-based Al Mayadeen news channel sheds further light on the issue:



The video report is also available on BitChute.


Transcript of the English translation of the above video report:
Thousands of displaced Syrians in Rukban camp on the Jordanian border have become a tool of American for pressure on Damascus, the suffering of the camp’s residents, estimated to number more than 10,000 civilians, is getting worse every day.
A harsh reality exploited by the American base in Al-Tanf in the face of the Syrian and Russian demands to tackle the camp file, refusing to open safe corridors that allow entry of Syrian relief and health convoys or even the exit of civilians to their homes in Tadmor (Palmyra), the Badia (plain desert) of Homs, and in Deir Al-Zour.
A number of the (US-sponsored) Maghawir Thawra militants who recently fell in the grip of the Syrian security units revealed even more.
They talked about imposing the American base through its agents in the Maghawir Thawra faction and the Ahrar Asha’ir on the males to join the two factions in order to obtain money and always depend on the American decision.
Osama Danoura – writer and political analyst: This aid is distributed only in a way that causes the citizens there who are detained in Rukban to become militia workers for these terrorist organizations, and it (the USA) has practically replaced the influence of ISIS in the region with the influence of these terrorist groups created by it.
A confession that provides further evidence of American involvement in keeping the camp file open, Russian and Syrian efforts have succeeded over three years in evacuating about 20,000 civilians from the camp’s residents to their areas, and by cooperating with international agencies, they have managed to bring aid convoys into the camp.
The US hold of the Rukban camp file and obstructing its return to the Syrian government provide an excuse to justify the illegal US presence in al-Tanf, and more importantly, it turns it into a blackmail and pressure paper on Damascus, which has achieved an important recovery in the south file.
End of the English transcript.
Every person can help these innocent people, you can help right now by sharing this post with your friends, asking your ‘democratically-elected’ supposed to be officials and representatives in your country about the actions to this issue just like how they spent your tax money and their time you pay for on supporting al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
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Accused of Treason and Imprisoned Without Trial: Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky Recounts His Harrowing Time in a Ukrainian Prison

Eva Bartlett sat down with recently released Ukrainian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky. Vyshinsky endured 15 months of appalling conditions in a Ukrainian prison after being falsely accused of treason.

October 28th, 2019

Video

In November 2018, I became aware of the case of Kirill Vyshinsky, a Ukrainian-Russian journalist and editor imprisoned in Ukraine without trial since May 2018, accused of high treason.

Soon after, I interviewed Vyshinsky via email. He described his arrest and the accusations against him as politically-motivated, “an attempt by the Ukrainian authorities to bolster the declining popularity of [then] President [Petro] Poroshenko in this election year.” 

Vyshinsky noted that his arrest was advancing the incessant anti-Russian hysteria now prevalent among Ukrainian authorities, as he holds dual Ukrainian and Russian citizenship. He noted that the charges against him, which pertain to a number of articles he published in 2014 (none of them authored by Vyshinsky), became of interest to Ukrainian authorities and intelligence services four years after they were published. To Vyshinsky, this supports the notion that neither the articles nor their editor were a security threat to Ukraine, instead, he says, they were a political card to be played.

In early 2019, I traveled to Kiev to interview Vyshinsky’s defense lawyer Andriy Domansky about the logistic obstacles of his client’s case. Domansky viewed the Vyshinsky case as politically motivated and expressed concern that he could himself become a target of Ukraine’s secret service for his role in defending his client, an innocent man.

Domansky told me at the time,

The Vyshinsky case is key in demonstrating the presence of political persecution of journalists in Ukraine. As a legal expert, I believe justice is still possible in Ukraine and I will do everything possible to prove Kirill Vyshinsky’s innocence.”

To the surprise of those following the case against Vyshinsky, in late August 2019 he was released with little fanfare after serving more than 400 days in a Ukrainian prison but still faces all of the charges brought against him by the Ukrainian government and is “obliged to appear in court or give testimony to investigators if they deemed it necessary.”

By early September, Kirill Vyshinsky was on a plane to Moscow. Despite never being tried or officially convicted, he found himself the subject of a prisoner exchange between the Russian and Ukrainian governments.

A banner reading “Freedom to Kirill Vyshinsky” is held at a June 16, 2019 rally in Moscow. Maxim Shemetov | Reuters

I interviewed Vyshinsky in Moscow in late September. He told me about his harrowing ordeal, the Ukrainian detention system, other persecuted journalists, and what lies ahead for him.

He also touched on the inhumane conditions he experienced in Ukrainian prisons. He noted that a pretrial detention center as we know it in Western nations is a very different entity in Ukraine and that Ukrainian prisons were so over-crowded that it was common for inmates to sleep in three shifts in order to allow enough standing room for inmates crammed into a cell.

 

Ukrainian prisons like a “concentration camp”

Aleksey Zhuravko, a Ukrainian deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of V and VI convocations recently published photos taken inside of an Odessa pretrial detention center showing utterly unsanitary and appalling conditions. Zhuravko noted, “I am shocked at what was seen. It is a concentration camp. It is a hotbed of diseases.”

Another Ukrainian journalist, Pavel Volkov, was subjected to the same types of accusations lobbed against Vyshinsky. Volkov spent over a year in the same pretrial detention center as Vyshinsky. He was arrested on September 27, 2017, after Ukrainian authorities carried out searches of his wife and mother’s apartments without the presence of his lawyer and with what he says, was a false witness.

Volkov spent more than a year in a pretrial detention center on charges of “infringing on territorial integrity with a group of people” and “miscellaneous accessory to terrorism.” On March 27, 2019, he was fully acquitted by a Ukrainian court.

Volkov shared his thoughts on the persecution of journalists in Ukraine, saying:

The leaders of the 2014 Euromaidan movement, who subsequently occupied the largest positions in the country’s leadership, repeatedly stated that collaborators from World War II who participated in the mass extermination of Jews, Russians, and Poles are true heroes in Ukraine, and that the Russian and Russian-speaking population of Ukraine are inferior people who need to be either forcibly re-educated or destroyed.

They also believe that anyone who wants peace with the Russian Federation, and who believes that the Russian language (the native language for over sixty percent of Ukraine’s population) should be the second state language, is the enemy of Ukraine.

These notions formed the basis of the new criminal law, designed to persecute politicians, public figures, journalists, and ordinary citizens who disagree with the above.

Since 2014, security services have arrested hundreds of people on charges of state treason; infringing on the territorial integrity of Ukraine; and assisting terrorism for criticizing the current government in the streets or on the Internet.

People have been in prison for years without a conviction. And these are not only the journalists included in the ‘Vyshinsky list’.

Activists from Odessa, Sergey Dolzhenkov and Evgeny Mefedov, have spent more than five years in jail just for laying flowers at a memorial to the liberators of Nikolaev [Ukrainian city] from Nazi invaders.

Sergeyev and Gorban, taxi drivers, have spent two and a half years in a pretrial detention center because they transported pensioners from Donetsk to Ukraine-controlled territory so that they could receive their legal pension.

The entrepreneur Andrey Tatarintsev has spent two years in prison for providing humanitarian assistance to a children’s hospital in the territory of the Lugansk region not controlled by Ukraine.

Farmer Nikolay Butrimenko received eight years of imprisonment for paying tax to the Donetsk People’s Republic for his land located in that territory.

The 85-year-old scientist and engineer Mekhti Logunov was given twelve years because he agreed to build a waste recycling plant with Russian investors. The list is endless.

People often incriminate themselves while being tortured or under the threat of their relatives being punished, and such confessions are accepted by the courts, despite the fact that lawyers initiate criminal proceedings against the security services involved in the torture. These cases are not being investigated.

The only mitigation that has happened in this direction after the change of government was the abolition of the provision of the Criminal Procedure Code stating that no other measure of restraint other than detention can be applied to persons suspected of committing crimes against the state.

This allowed some defendants to leave prison on bail, but not a single politically-motivated case has yet been closed. Moreover, arrests are ongoing.

The only acquittal to date from the so-called journalistic cases on freedom of speech is mine. However, it is still being contested by the prosecutor’s office in the Supreme Court.

Ninety-nine percent of the media continue to call all these people ‘terrorists’, ‘separatists’, and ‘enemies of the people’, even though almost none of them have yet received a verdict in court.”

Volkov’s words lay bare the true nature of the allegations made against Kirill Vyshinsky as well as the countless other journalists and citizens of Ukraine that have fallen victim to the heavy hand of Ukrainian authorities.

Feature photo | Kirill Vyshinsky poses while covering Ukraine’s Maidan protests in 2014. Photo | Zenit-ka.ru

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and occupied Palestine, where she lived for nearly four years. She is a recipient of the 2017 International Journalism Award for International Reporting, granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951), was the first recipient of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism, and was short-listed in 2017 for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. See her extended bio on her blog In Gaza.

When Jews Invoke The Holocaust

July 01, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 21.19.30.png

by Gilad Atzmon

30 Jewish protesters were arrested on Sunday outside a privately managed ICE detention centre in New Jersey, which has been used to hold undocumented immigrants.

Invoking the Holocaust, demonstrators described the facilities in which immigrants are being held as concentration camps and spoke of the immigrant children who have died while being held by ICE. The Jewish protesters travelled from cities all over the USA. They were holding signs and singing and chanting in Hebrew and English.

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                                                Never Again Action ✡️@NeverAgainActn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TWO HUNDRED JEWS SHUT DOWN ELIZABETH DETENTION CENTER, 36 ARRESTED, SAY “NEVER AGAIN IS NOW”

Full press release: https://www.neveragainaction.com/press/for-immediate-release-two-hundred-jews-shut-down-elizabeth-detention-center-36-arrested-say-never-again-is-now 

Donate to support legal fees: http://bit.ly/NeverAgainFund 

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The Jews behind the protest say about themselves, “we are  #JewsAgainstICE because #NeverAgainMeans never again for anyone.” This sounds good enough to me and I have no criticism of the official objective behind this humanist protest. Yet the Jewish nature of the gathering raises some crucial and necessary questions:

 Are these Jewish protestors willing to describe Gaza as a concentration camp?

 Will the Jewish activists protest in front of the Israeli embassy invoking the holocaust, pointing out that the Palestinians are subject to long-term genocidal policies?

 Will these Jewish protestors allow gentile pro Palestinian activists, for instance,  to equate Israel with Nazi Germany or maybe invoke the holocaust is a Jews-only domain?

 Would the activists consider a Jewish protest in front of Goldman Sachs headquarters or George Soros’ offices, pointing at the carnage these investors inflicted on states and millions of people around the globe?

 How far are these well-meaning Jewish protestors willing to go to identify problems that might be related to Jewish exceptionalism, nationalism or racism?

 But the Jewish protest raises a much deeper question. What kind of people make a conscious and collective effort to look humane and empathic? I guess one possible answer is that we are dealing with people who accept that some of the actions and politics associated with their tribe are deeply disturbing.

 Newsweek reports that “the protest brought together Jews with a range of religious leanings, creating what Alona Weimer, a member of New York ‘s Yeshivat Hadar, described as an atypical cross-section of attendees for a demonstration.” Once again, it is not Judaism or a meta-Jewish ethos that unites these diverse good Jews and Tikkun Olam enthusiasts. One may wonder: what is it then that bonds this Jewish ‘cross-section’? Is it the phantasy of Jewish humanist DNA? Is it the Jewish revolutionary spirit, or is it the controlled opposition gene?

Unless Jews learn to fight for humanity as ordinary people, these questions may keep surfacing.

Syria: US SS Won’t Leave Rukban Concentration Camp; MSM Ignore Terror Attacks

April 4, 2019

rukban-concentration-camp

Rukban Concentration Camp, where US-led SS is holding 40,000 Syrians hostage & starving them. Photo via SANA.

In Syria, the US-led SS forces continue to hold 40,000 internally displaced persons hostage in the Rukban concentration camp. In Syria, the US and EU funded and armed moderate terrorists continue to bomb civilian neighborhoods. In Syria, landmines provided to these moderates and left behind, continue to explode under the feet of Syrian civilians.

Massive coverage on Trump’s alleged golf cheating by media that are silent over the Rukban Concentration Camp. On rare occasions the camp is mentioned, lies have hostages appreciating their captivity. Author remains surprised that her relative who survived Auschwitz never mentioned his appreciation to the Nazis for his well-being.

The world’s human garbage, the criminally insane pimped by western world leaders and warmongering media as demigods, continue to breach the [unilaterally applied] Idlib “de-escalation zone agreement.” On 1 April, terrorists fired multiple rocket shells into Mhardeh (“rocket shells,” like “mortars,” is a euphemism for ground-to-ground-bombs). Houses, businesses, and other infrastructure were damaged.

The civilians of Mhardeh, Syria, are frequent targets for the Saudi-run, Jaish al Ezza Benevolent Society, located in Ltamenah, and whose social media activity was used by UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Investigation Lab report, published 18 January 2018.

Syria
Baboons — er, ‘medics’? — keep busy when not building unhospitals in Ltamenah.
syria
Ten coffins carrying the remains of civilians are draped in the flag of the Syrian Arab Republic for their mass funeral.

The Syrian Arab Army has destroyed some rocket launchers of Saudi al Ezza and Qatari al Nusra — the latter, still on the designated terror lists of UN, US, and European countries. It is likely that the media will soon issue a condemnation.

Yesterday, 2 April, the SAA discovered another weapons cache and telecommunications trove in Daraa, Syria.

Weapons & telecommunications devices left behind by retreating terrorists.

They were abandoned by the beloved friends of US Sen. Adam Kinzinger, who neglected to nominate them for the Nobel Peace Prize for having slaughtered Syrian Arab Army soldiers after which they proudly mutilated their corpses.

syria
SAA soldiers slaughtered, their corpses abused. What American would cheer seeing a US soldier so brutalized?

The SAA also targeted hideouts of the not Syrian Turkistani Party, in the outskirts of al Ankawi and Shorlin, in the northern countryside of Hama in response to the foreign terrorists ongoing breaches in the “de-escalation” agreement.

Syria

Also, yesterday, another 9 civilians were blown up in yet another landmine explosion, in Aleppo countryside.

Do a search of Syria news and see zero reports on the Trump SS concentration camp of Rukban, zero reports on landmines and on human garbage bombing civilian neighborhoods.

Instead, you will find reporting on a British terrorist actually on trial for terrorism. Leading the stories, you will find Fox News as press liaison for al Qaeda in Idlib — Syria — quoting Amnesty supporting al Qaeda, and posting an impressive staged photo of the savage White Helmets.

It should come as no surprise that the faux conservative Fox gives the same criminal propaganda as CNN; after all, Fox did not mention that Trump followed “fake news CNN” interview with a Brit illegal whose medical license was permanently revoked for terrorism charges and bombed Syria based on his lies.

Still, no on notices, as is the outcome showing the success of the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird.

No matter that Fox & CNN are fully aligned in anti-Syria propaganda, when there are important differences, regarding how many Mexico’s are in existence.

Syria News further notes the collaboration of FoxCNNand the UN, in complete and utter silence regarding the humanitarian aid convoy to victims of mass floods in Hasaka.

UN has ongoing meetings of the humanitarian situation in Syria. UN falsifies statistics, and these lies are reported by media sources such as Fox & CNN.

It is essential this conspiracy of omission be acknowledged.

Let us be mindful of the very active roll the UN has taken in helping to destroy Syria; showing itself to be “a place to demolish peace and security, to destabilize societies”:

Syrians continue to ignore the UN.

The US-led SS troops continue to hold Syrians prisoners at Rukban Concentration Camp. US/EU/Gulfie – backed takfiri and other wetworkers continue to commit atrocities against the Syrian people, as western media perform as press liaison, with the help of the UN.

syria
H.E. al Jaafari quoting Egyptian Nobel Laureate Najib Mahfouz to the rabid & deaf UN hyenas

Once proven, a conspiracy is no longer a theory. Though rabid, the unleashed media dogs of war are mindful of Dr. Assad’s promise to his people, the Syrian people, and they have begun the campaign in support of alQaeda in Idlib.

syria
Syria’s President, Dr. Bashar al Assad,

— Miri Wood

Rukban Concentration Camp: US Ugly Face Recreates SS

Source

March 11, 2019

rukban

Rukban Camp, where US occupier forces recreate SS crimes. Photo, courtesy SANA.

US occupier forces again show their ugly political face in recreating the SS at al Rukban Camp in Syria, holding approximately 40,000 Internally Displaced Persons hostages, despite the opening of two humanitarian corridors for their safe passage. US temp ‘diplomat’ Jonathan Cook made this threat at the UN on 30 January — and though the US never keeps its promises, it always keeps its threats.

Plans to dismantle the Rukban concentration camp were reported last October. The existence of this open air prison received massive western coverage in November, when the US finally permitted a convoy of 78 trucks filled with humanitarian aid, to safely enter. The source of the anti-Syria colonialist propaganda was “Terrorist Barbie,” al Qaeda’s press liaison, who omitted the facts of joint SAA, UN, & SARC convoys previously being bombed during each attempt to bring food and medicine during a 10 month period.

Rukban
Rukban Concentration Camp for Syrian Displaced Refugees

SANA reports on the current war criminal activity against Syrians in Rukban, using diplomatic euphemisms:

“Damascus, SANA_ The United States continues to adopt hypocrisy and misleading methods in its international policies, especially in the humanitarian issue.

“It has appointed itself a policeman for the world to put lists of states that violate human rights while it should be on the top of this list due to  its black history in violating the peoples’ rights and trading with the tragedy of thousands of people around the world.

“The issue of thousands of displaced Syrians trapped in al-Rukban camp in al-Tanf area on the Syrian-Jordanian border for nearly five years is one of the humanitarian catastrophes that the United States alone is responsible for .

“It has been blocking  the exit of civilians held as hostages by terrorist groups and preventing them from returning to their homes in the state-controlled safe areas which have been cleared of terrorism by the Syrian army.

“US forces prevent displaced from exiting the camp, while militants are forcibly holding them inside, demanding large sums of money in US dollars to let them out.

“This openly uncovers the claims of Washington and its allies about their keenness on protecting civilians and divulges their support for the terrorist groups which control the camp, treat the people inside the camp as hostages, and put hands on the relief aid sent to the displaced.

“Days ago, The Russian and Syrian Joint Coordination Committees on Repatriation of displaced Syrians confirmed that situation of the besieged civilians in al Rukban Camp remains disastrous.

“They emphasized that Washington should take steps to disband the camp and pull its forces out of the area.

“The committees said in a joint statement that the US-backed terrorist organizations have been forcibly keeping thousands of  civilians for 1773 days, adding that the situation in the camp remains disastrous and its residents have to survive in the most difficult conditions, facing militant violence on a daily basis

“The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, asserted that ‘the US forces prevented the buses prepared by Syria and Russia to reach al Rukban camp to evacuate the Syrian civilians, denouncing this behavior.’

“The Syrian government, in cooperation with its allies and international humanitarian organizations, did its best  to secure the return of the displaced and provide them with basic services.

“On February 19, Syria, in cooperation with Russia, opened two humanitarian corridors in the towns of Jaleeb and Jabal Al-Ghorab on the outskirts of al-Tanf, but the US occupation forces foiled the operation and prevented vehicles from reaching the camp to transport those willing to leave.

“The ministry said in a statement that despite these measures, however, the exit of from al Rukban camp remains complicated. The US side prevents buses from evacuating the displaced people and refuses to ensure safety of the humanitarian convoys within the 55-km radius around its base in al-Tanf.

“It called on the international community not to believe Washington false claims, open its eyes to the situation in the camp and to believe only facts and real deeds instead of pure words by the U.S. side.

‘“We have repeatedly pointed to the hypocrisy of the American side, which declares its commitment to recognize humanitarian values, but at the same time does nothing to implement them.’

“The ministry refuted  allegation of the representative of ‘International Coalition’ Command that no obstacles were set to the free movement of displaced persons while the First Secretary of the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Alex Hawke, outlined a number of conditions for departure from the camp.

“The fate of thousands of displaced Syrians remains suspended and controlled by terrorists backed by US forces deployed in the camp area and by the political blackmail practiced by Washington without taking into account the humanitarian situation for those people.”

To hell with the overly polite language; the “International Coalition” launched by Obama and accelerated by Trump is a gang of fascist war criminals. Most are signatories to the Geneva Treaties on International Law, which these perpetrators of genocide flaunt with impunity.

rukban
rukban

Let us be earsplitting with our screams for accuracy: The US is illegally in Syria, as unlawful as were the Nazis in Poland, Hungary, The Netherlands, et al. US occupation forces keeping Syrians imprisoned in al Rukban are recreating the brutal actions of the Nazi Schutzstaffel (“Protection Squadron” [!!!]), better known as the “SS.”

US strikes in Syria may be lawful if Syria consents to the use of force in their territory.  If Syria does not consent, the strikes would violate international law, unless the US demonstrates that the strikes were taken in self-defense.  — Sarah Knuckey, international lawyer and Professor at Columbia Law School

Do not expect the UN to condemn these crimes against the Syrians held hostage in Rukban. The UN is run by the P3 mafioso clique, and is silent on atrocities — including against their own personnel, including when Turkey was shelling the UN-OPCW as it was removing Syria’s chemical weapons, in 2013.

The UN “is a place to demolish peace and security, to destabilize societies.” It has averted its gaze as its own General Assembly breaches its Charter. It supports terrorism in Syria, and it repugnant imperialist fashion, it has attempted to sabotage return of Syrian refugees from the diaspora.

Back in 2017, UNHCR head Andrej Mahecic ‘warned’ the almost 500,000 returning Syrians that it was not yet safe (for some of the most putrid of the UN’s neocolonialist arrogance against Syria, read Syria Newsreports on terrorist-lover and criminal liar, de Mistura).

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Archbishop Atallah Hanna: Warsaw Conference has disregarded that no one can undermine Palestinian cause

Source

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Archbishop of Sebastia of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of al-Quds [Jerusalem] Atallah Hanna has affirmed that Palestinian people will continue to defend al-Quds [Jerusalem], their shrines and their just national cause no matter how tough the oppressive occupation policies are.

His Eminence’s remark was made during a tour in Salwan town [ located in the south of al-Aqsa Mosque], which is being constantly targeted by Israeli occupation authorities.

“Our mission is a message of solidarity, love, fraternity and national unity among all Palestinian people. The pains of Salwan citizens are our pains because we are one Palestinian people wherever and whenever we are, and we share the same ambitions,” the archbishop said, according to a newsletter sent to the Syria Times e-newspaper.

His Eminence asserted that the issue of detainees and prisoners must be a top priority for Palestinians because those are the heroes and symbols of freedom and they deserve to stand by them.

“We believe in values of human brotherhood and national unity through which we can be strong in defending the right we call for…Palestinians are not guests or a minority of al-Quds population…Al-Quds is their capital… We hope that internal Palestinian divisions will end so as to be strong in defending al-Quds and our shrines,” the archbishop stated, according to another newsletter sent by the archbishop Office.

His Eminence has told a German media delegation that the Palestinian cause plus the attempts of aborting it are being marginalized by media outlets.

“The world must show interest in the catastrophic circumstances the Palestinian children are going through… Gaza strip has become the largest prison in the world due to the siege being imposed by Zionist occupation,” the archbishop said.

In a separate meeting with Swiss lawyers, his Eminence called for lifting the siege being imposed by Israel on Gaza strip as Palestinian people suffer from a real humanitarian catastrophe.

“Occupation authorities have killed many youths and children during peaceful marches, and these crimes have been perpetrated because Israel, which acts brutally and without moral and human deterrent, has not been held accountable,” the archbishop clarified, indicating that over 2 million Palestinian persons are living under the siege in the strip.

Add to that, His Eminence referred to the great efforts being exerted by the World Campaign for defending Children in Palestine, warning against forced displacement being practiced by occupation authority.

“Forced displacement is dangerous and poses a threat to scores of Palestinian families and the UN report must take this matter seriously,” the archbishop asserted, calling for active European role in protecting al-Quds city’s history from Zionist occupations’ attempts to change it.

“The occupation authorities seek to turn Al-Quds city, which has its religious and spiritual status in the Abrahamic religions, into a Zionist -Jewish city encroaching on Christian and Islamic dimensions.”

As for Warsaw conference, the archbishop has declared: “ The conference comes within conspiracy hatched against the Palestinian cause and it aims to liquidate the cause, but the conferees disregard that there are Palestinian people on the ground and they have a just cause that no one can undermine.”

Treason

He went on to say:

“Like other conferences and meetings that came within the projects of liquidating the Palestinian cause, Warsaw conference is doomed to fail. Besides, the deal of the century will never pass and it exists only in their minds and on their papers that will be thrown in the dustbin of history.”

His Eminence regrets that some Arab countries have decided to be involved in the plot that aims to eliminate the Palestinian cause.

“We consider normalization meetings as treason to Palestine that is supposed to be the main Arab cause and to the Arab nation as well.”

“If those who normalize relations with Israel believe that Israel can keep them in power, they are mistaken as the top priority for Israel is its interest and the continuity of its occupation of Palestine. While those who believe that they are US friends, they will discover- sooner or later- that they have no friends because Washington just thinks of its agendas and it has thirst for gulf oil, which it steals from our region to finance its wars and policies,” the archbishop concluded.

Basma Qaddour  

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Zionist Occupation Forces Assault 47th Gaza Protests: Dozens Injured

February 15, 2019

Great March of Return

The Zionist occupation forces Friday fired live bullets and gas bombs while attacking the Return Protests on Gaza border, injuring or suffocating dozens of Palestinians.

After Friday Prayers, Gazans started flocking into the Strip’s order to protest the Zionist blockade and demand the return to their occupied lands.

Zionist sources mentioned that the Israeli military command authorized the enemy soldiers to fire live bullets at the upper part of the protestors’ bodies and warned them from being exposed to sniping operations.

It is worth noting that the National Committee of the Return Marches called for wide participation in the weekly protests which have been held for 47 consecutive weeks.

Gaza burns hotter than Hollywood but there’s nobody to put the fires out – George Galloway

Related image

By George Galloway
Source

5beaecdbdda4c8513f8b45b5.jpgA ball of fire above the building housing the Hamas-run television station al-Aqsa TV in the Gaza Strip during an Israeli air strike, November 12, 2018 © AFP / Mahmud Hams

 

The world is fixated by the forest fires in Hollywood burning down stars’ mansions. With supreme irony some of them belong to those who helped raise millions of dollars for the Israeli Army which is now burning the hovels of Gaza.

The Hollywood warriors have insurance of course, and other homes too, sometimes many of them. The hovel-dwellers of Gaza have neither.

The brave firefighters of California are well-equipped and have the wind of hope of millions of well-wishers at their backs. There are no firefighters in Gaza.

The hovels of Gaza are unfortunately well-known to me, since long before Hamas even existed. In fact I saw Hamas be born, and Israel was the midwife. I was a comrade of Yasser Arafat then the Chairman of the secular PLO, an Arab nationalist, whose executive committee consisted of Arab nationalists and Moscow-aligned leftists like the PFLP led by the late Dr George Habash.

Israel feared this then zeitgeist in the Arab world so they turned, as the British had earlier in seeking to undermine Egypt’s President Nasser, to the Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood, a client of the British in Egypt had brothers in Gaza of course. Those brothers became Hamas with the full cooperation of Israel.

I saw with my own eyes the open development of Islamism in Gaza, a catspaw against Arafat and the PLO. While the gaols (and the graveyards) were full of PLO men, the roads were choc-a-block with Islamist society vehicles. Communities were served by Islamic schools, hospitals & civic-society institutions of all kinds. Permitted, encouraged, sometimes financed by Israel. It was divide and rule in perfect harmony.

Of course, that was nearly 40 years ago and none of the leaders of Hamas then are still alive – by one means or another. The Hamas Israel thought it was developing as a client long-ago outgrew that role and is now a formidable fighting force which can be slaughtered from the air of course (along with anyone nearby) but on the ground, face to face, not so much.

Whilst a ceasefire was in place and peace talks were taking place in Cairo between Israel and Hamas, Netanyahu sent a special forces commando undercover into Gaza to assassinate a Hamas military commander and in the accompanying firefight an Israeli commander was slain. And all hell broke loose. As I write the dogs of war are unleashed and havoc has ensued.

Increasingly accurate Hamas missiles have been fired with greater accuracy and quantity. Israeli warplanes are bombing and rocketing like there was no tomorrow (with an unlimited guarantee of more from Donald Trump). This week the Palestinian television station Al Aqsa was eviscerated in an air-strike about which the Israeli government boasted on Twitter. Like Yugoslav TV in Belgrade, like the Al Jazeera TV station in Baghdad, the slaughter of tea-ladies, make up departments, camera-operators and of course journalists has elicited only stony-silence from Western media outlets.

The fourth estate, rightly scandalized by the kidnap, torture, murder and dismemberment of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, is unmoved by the dismemberment of Palestinian journalists.

The media solidarity, triggered by Donald Trump withdrawing the White House credentials of CNN journalist Jim Acosta, who none of us had ever heard of, working for a station that none of us ever watches, was impressive. The withdrawal of the life’s blood of TV make-up ladies hasn’t even made the news, especially on CNN.

For them as with the other Western fake-news machines, the clock starts ticking when Israel says it does and when Israel “responds“. That the response is a response to a provocation matters not a jot or tittle.

In any case, nobody working in the Western media today either knows or cares that the root cause of this is the existence of the barbed wire enclave called Gaza.

Two million Palestinians locked in a tiny strip of land (it’s called the Gaza Strip for a reason) with no entry or exit guaranteed and overwhelmingly refused. Eighty percent of those two million are refugees there, looking through the barbed wire at their own property now occupied by others. When they approach the fence they are mercilessly cut down by snipers.

Since March, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been wounded at the Gaza fence. Hundreds have been killed including children, women, nurses and of course the press. Hundreds of limbs have been amputated, many have been blinded, left eyeless in Gaza. They were unarmed, in their “own territory” and had not remotely reached the fence which, entirely unilaterally, the Israelis have demarcated as their border.

Throughout the last ten years or more the Palestinians in Gaza have endured bitter cold in winter & baking heat in summer, with deliberately-rationed electricity supplies controlled by Israel. Often there is none, at best four hours per day. Medical supplies and foodstuffs frequently perish as refrigeration fails.

Israel controls the water supply too and most of Gaza never has access to clean potable water.

Even the sea off Gaza is remorselessly controlled with abundant fish-stocks only harvestable by fisherman at the risk of their lives which are frequently lost.

It is a ghetto of suppurating suffering. It is a crucifixion of an entire population. But it is not the whole story.

The whole story goes back much farther and is beyond the scope of this article. Palestine no longer exists, it is wiped off the map. Its people are scattered to the four corners of the earth as exiles and refugees, or live in the Bantustans of the West Bank, the illegally annexed Holy City of Jerusalem, or in besieged Gaza. Until this is resolved and as long as a single Palestinian remains alive there will be resistance, there will be trouble. It is this story that all the world’s governments and all their institutions have singularly failed to meaningfully address.

And so for now, and for the future, there will be much wailing, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth in the Terra Santa.

Palestine, Israel & Alison Weir

 

Europe’s Human Rights Exposed in Treating Refugees: Families Fed ’Like Animals in Pen’!

Local Editor

Disturbing footage emerged Friday of the way migrants are being treated inside Hungary’s main refugee camp on the border with Serbia, with images showing families fed “like animals in a pen”.

The video, shot secretly by an Austrian volunteer who visited the flashpoint Roszke camp on Wednesday, shows some 150 people wildly scrambling for bags of sandwiches thrown at them by Hungarian police wearing helmets and hygiene masks in a fenced-in enclosure inside a big hall.

Women and children were caught in the chaotic scrum as hungry people frantically tried to catch the bread flying through the air.

Many migrants too far back in the crowd climbed onto the fence, waving and shouting to get the officers’ attention.

“It was like animals being fed in a pen, like Guantanamo in Europe,” said Klaus Kufner, a volunteer who was with the woman who recorded the images, referring to the notorious prison camp where the US is accused of torturing inmates.

He stated that he and Michaela Spritzendorfer — who filmed the scenes — had driven together to Roszke to bring food, clothes and medication to help the thousands of refugees pouring over the border.

“It was inhumane and it really speaks for these people that they didn’t fight over the food despite being clearly very hungry,” said Spritzendorfer, the wife of a Vienna councilor with Austria’s Green Party.

The footage, which was uploaded on YouTube late on Thursday and widely shared on social media networks, had more than 20,000 views by Friday morning.

The UN’s refugee agency criticized the dire conditions at the Roszke camp earlier this week, with Hungary’s hardline stance against migrants also angering other EU countries.

Harsh laws which could see migrants jailed for crossing its borders are due to come into force on Tuesday.

Hungary’s right-wing government in late August completed a razor-wire barrier along its 175-kilometer border with Serbia but it is not proving to be much of an obstacle for desperate people fleeing war in Syria and Iraq.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has however ordered the building of an additional four-meter high fence that he wants completed by the end of October.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

11-09-2015 | 12:46

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian 

  

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

An Israeli Conundrum

Israeli News Channel (Channel 10) recently covered my appearance as a guest artist on Pink Floyd’s latest album, The Endless River.  On the one hand they were very proud of my artistry, on the other, they admitted, he is not one of us anymore and he is not going to receive a “congratulations call from Bibi.”

The Israeli channel was  honest in  their reporting of  my criticism of Israel and Jewishness. They reported that I had renounced my Israeli citizenship,  They quoted my observation that  Gilad Shalit had been a “post guard in a concentration camp (Gaza)”. And when they referred to  my recent Press TV appearance  about Gaza they translated the word ‘genocide’  as “Shoah.”  This is very revealing. While The Guardian Of Zion and the Soros funded BDS  network would never compare the Palestinian plight with the Holocaust, the Israelis understand  that the comparison is natural.

The message is clear.  Israel is more tolerant of its critics than its Diaspora Jewish opposition (the Anti Zionist Zionists). This is why Israel rather than the Jewish Diaspora Left has produced the sharpest criticism of Jewish power, Judaism and Jewishness (Israel Shahak, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Israel Shamir, Shlomo Sand, and many more).

 River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

US Ordered to Explain Withholding of Iraq and Afghanistan Torture Photos

Obama admistration must justify suppression of never-before-seen photographs depicting US military torture of detainees
The photographs discussed in court on Tuesday are said to be even more disturbing than the infamous prison photos from Abu Ghraib. Photograph: Khalid Mohammed/AP

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/21/us-withholding-torture-photographs-iraq-Afghanistan

abu Ghraib prison iraq baghdad The   Photograph: Khalid Mohammed/AP

The Obama administration has until early December to detail its reasons for withholding as many as 2,100 graphic photographs depicting US military torture of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, a federal judge ordered on Tuesday.

By 12 December, Justice Department attorneys will have to list, photograph by photograph, the government’s rationale for keeping redacted versions of the photos unseen by the public, Judge Alvin Hellerstein instructed lawyers. But any actual release of the photographs will come after Hellerstein reviews the government’s reasoning and issues another ruling in the protracted transparency case.

While Hellerstein left unclear how much of the Justice Department’s declaration will itself be public, the government’s submission is likely to be its most detailed argument for secrecy over the imagery in a case that has lasted a decade.

“The only thing that bothers me is that we’re taking a lot of time,” Hellerstein told a nearly empty courtroom.

At issue is the publication of as many as 2,100 photographs of detainee abuse, although the government continues not to confirm the precise number. Said to be even more disturbing than the infamous Abu Ghraib photographs that sparked a global furor in 2004, the imagery is the subject of a transparency lawsuit that both the Bush and Obama administrations, backed by the US Congress, have strenuously resisted.

In 2009, US president Barack Obama reversed his position on the photographs’ release and contended they would “further inflame anti-American opinion and … put our troops in greater danger”. That year, Congress passed a law, the Protected National Security Documents Act, intended to aid the government in keeping the images from the public. Two secretaries of defense, Robert Gates in 2009 and Leon Panetta in 2012, have issued assertions that US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq would be placed at risk by the disclosure.

But in August, Hellerstein said the government’s declaration was overbroad. Some of the photographs, which he said on Tuesday he had seen behind closed doors, “are relatively innocuous while others need more serious consideration”, Hellerstein said in August.

Disclosure, sought by the American Civil Liberties Union since 2004, will not come this year. Hellerstein scheduled a hearing to discuss the upcoming government declaration for 23 January.

The return of the US to war in Iraq raises the stakes for the case. Unlike in 2012, when Panetta certified that the release of the photographs would endanger the US military in Afghanistan, some 1,600 US troops are also now in Iraq again, this time to confront the Islamic State (Isis).

But while Hellerstein indicated he was interested in an “update” about current exposure to danger, he only ordered the government to specify its reasons for keeping each individual photograph withheld as of Panetta’s November 2012 declaration.

Potential release of the photographs dovetails with another imminent torture disclosure. The Senate intelligence committee is expected to soon unveil sections of its long-awaited investigation into CIA torture. The government’s most recent filing in a different transparency suit indicated the report’s release will come on 29 October, though the government has asked for extensions in the past and may do so again.

Marcellene Hearn, an attorney for the ACLU, portrayed the release of the torture photographs as an accountability measure.

“It’s disappointing that the government continues to fight to keep these photographs from the public,” Hearn said after the half-hour hearing. “The American people deserve to know the truth about what happened in our detention centers abroad. Yet the government is suppressing as many as 2,100 photographs of detainee abuse in Iraq and elsewhere. We will continue to press for the release of the photos in the courts.”

Advocates for U.S. Torture Prosecutions Shadow Report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture

FULL REPORT Here

Shadow Report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture

on the Review of the Periodic Report of the United States of

America

Advocates for U.S. Torture Prosecutions

Dr. Trudy Bond, Prof. Benjamin Davis, Dr. Curtis F. J. Doebbler, and

The International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School

Summary:

Since the United States last reported to the Committee Against Torture in 2006, even more

evidence has emerged confirming that civilian and military officials at the highest level created,

designed, authorized, and implemented a sophisticated, international criminal program of torture.

In August 2014, President Barack Obama conceded that the United States tortured people as part

of its so-called “War on Terror,” yet the United States continues to shield senior officials from

liability for these crimes, in violation of its obligations under the Convention Against Torture.

Recommended Questions:

  1. Why has the United States not prosecuted senior officials for authorizing conduct it admits was torture?
  2. Were the following people ever criminally investigated for their role in torture, and why have they not been prosecuted?
  3. Former President George W. Bush
  4. Former Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo
  5. Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor Dr. James Mitchell

Suggested Recommendation:

  1. That the United States promptly and impartially prosecute senior military and civilian

officials responsible for authorizing, acquiescing, or consenting in any way to acts of

torture committed by their subordinates.

Advocates for U.S. Torture Prosecutions

2

  1. Reporting Organization

Advocates for U.S. Torture Prosecutions is a group composed of concerned U.S. citizens,

residents, and students—scholars, legal and health care professionals, and law students1—who

have sought for years to use what modest levers we have to end the U.S. program of torture put

in place post-9/11, to obtain justice and redress for those harmed, and to seek accountability for

those responsible.2 We are joined in our submission by supporting organizations and individuals

from across civil society.3

  1. Summary of the Issue
  2. The U.S. Government’s criminal program of torture was authorized at the highest

levels.

Since the United States last reported to the Committee in 2006, even more evidence has emerged

confirming that civilian and military officials at the highest level created, designed, authorized,

and implemented a sophisticated, international criminal program of torture between 2002 and

  1. Just this past August, President Obama conceded that the United States tortured people as

part of its so-called “War on Terror,”4 yet the current administration continues to shield senior

officials from liability for these crimes, in violation of its obligations under the Convention

Against Torture.

The techniques in question, sometimes styled as interrogation techniques and sometimes as

detention procedures, included near-drowning (“waterboarding”), sleep deprivation for days, and

forced nudity.5 They have caused many people intense suffering, including severe mental harm6

and, in some cases, death.7

On Israel’s little-known concentration and labor camps in 1948-1955

Civilians captured during the fall of Lydda and Ramle around the time of July 12, 1948 and taken to labour camps. In the July heat they were thirsty and were given a drop of water carried by a child under soldiers’ guard. (Photo: Salman Abu Sitta, Palestine Land Society)
Published Monday, September 29, 2014
Much of the grim and murky circumstances of the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the late 1940s have gradually been exposed over time. One aspect – rarely researched or deeply discussed – is the internment of thousands of Palestinian civilians within at least 22 Zionist-run concentration and labor camps that existed from 1948 to 1955. Now more is known about the contours of this historical crime, due to the comprehensive research by renowned Palestinian historian Salman Abu Sitta and founding member of the Palestinian resource center BADIL Terry Rempel.
The facts are these.
The study – to be published in the upcoming issue of theJournal of Palestine Studies – relies on almost 500 pages of International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) reports written during the 1948 war, that were declassified and made available to the public in 1996, and accidentally discovered by one of the authors in 1999.
Furthermore, testimonies of 22 former Palestinian civilian detainees of these camps were collected by the authors, through interviews they conducted themselves in 2002, or documented by others during different moments of time.
With these sources of information, the authors, as they put it, pieced together a clearer story of how Israel captured and imprisoned “thousands of Palestinian civilians as forced laborers,” and exploited them “to support its war-time economy.”
Digging up the crimes
“I came across this piece of history in the 1990s when I was collecting material and documents about Palestinian,” Abu Sitta told Al-Akhbar English. “The more and more you dig, the more you find there are crimes that have taken place that are not reported and not known.”
At that time, Abu Sitta went to Geneva for a week to check out the newly-opened archives of the ICRC. According to him, the archives were opened to the public after accusations that the ICRC had sided with the Nazis during World War II. It was an opportunity that he could not miss in terms of seeing what the ICRC had recorded of the events that occurred in Palestine in 1948. It was there he stumbled onto records discussing the existence of five concentration camps run by the Israelis.
He then decided to look for witnesses or former detainees, interviewing Palestinians in occupied Palestine, Syria, and Jordan.
“They all described the same story, and their real experience in these camps,” he said.
One question that immediately struck him was why there was barely any references in history about these camps, especially when it became clearer the more he researched that they existed, and were more than just five camps.

“Many former Palestinian detainees saw the concept of Israel as a vicious enemy, so they thought their experience labouring in these concentration camps was nothing in comparison to the other larger tragedy of the Nakba.” – Palestinian historian Salman Abu Sitta

“Many former Palestinian detainees saw the concept of Israel as a vicious enemy, so they thought their experience labouring in these concentration camps was nothing in comparison to the other larger tragedy of the Nakba. The Nakba overshadowed everything,” Abu Sitta explained.
“However, when I dug into the period of 1948-1955, I found more references like Mohammed Nimr al-Khatib, who was an imam in Haifa, who had written down interviews with someone from al-Yahya family that was in one of the camps. I was able to trace this man all the way to California and spoke with him in 2002,” he added. More references were eventually and slowly discovered by Abu Sitta that included information from a Jewish woman called Janoud, a single masters thesis in Hebrew University about the topic, and the personal accounts of economist Yusif Sayigh, helped to further flesh out the scale and nature of these camps.
After more than a decade, Abu Sitta, with his co-author Rempel, are finally presenting their findings to the public.
From burden to opportunity: concentration and labor camps
The establishment of concentration and labor camps occurred after the unilateral declaration of Israel’s statehood on May 1948.
Prior to that event, the number of Palestinian captives in Zionist hands were quite low, because, as the study states, “the Zionist leadership concluded early on that forcible expulsion of the civilian population was the only way to establish a Jewish state in Palestine with a large enough Jewish majority to be ‘viable’.” In other words, for the Zionist strategists, prisoners were a burden in the beginning phases of the ethnic cleansing.
Those calculations changed with the declaration of the Israeli state and the involvement of the armies of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Transjordan, after much of the ethnic cleansing had occurred. From that moment, “the Israeli forces began taking prisoners, both regular Arab soldiers (for eventual exchange), and – selectively – able-bodied Palestinian non-combatant civilians.”
The first camp at Ijlil, which was about 13 km northeast of Jaffa, on the site of the destroyed Palestinian village Ijlil al-Qibiliyya, emptied of its inhabitants in early April. Ijlil was predominately made up of tents, housing hundreds and hundreds of prisoners, categorized as POWs by the Israelis, surrounded by barbed wire fences, watchtowers, and a gate with guards.
As the Israeli conquests grew, in turn exceedingly increasing the number of prisoners, three more camps were established. These are the four “official” camps that the Israelis acknowledged and were actively visited by the ICRC.
The study notes:
All four camps were either on or adjacent to military installations set up by the British during the Mandate. These had been used during World War II for the interment of German, Italian, and other POWs. Two of the camps – Atlit, established in July about 20 kms south of Haifa, and Sarafand, established in September near the depopulated village of Sarafand al-Amar in central Palestine—had earlier been used in the 1930s and 1940s to detain illegal Jewish immigrants.
Atlit was the second largest camp after Ijlil, it had the capacity of holding up to 2,900 prisoners, while Sarafand had the maximum capacity of 1,800, and Tel Letwinksy, near Tel Aviv, held more than 1,000.
All four camps were administered by “former British officers who had defected their ranks when British forces withdrew from Palestine in mid-May 1948,” and the camp’s guards and administrative staff were former members of the Irgun and the Stern Gang – both groups designated as terrorist organizations by the British before their departure . In total, the four “official” camps were staffed by 973 soldiers.
A fifth camp, called Umm Khalid, was established at a site of another depopulated village near the Zionist settlement of Netanya, and was even assigned an official number in the records, but never attained “official” status. It had the capacity to hold 1,500 prisoners. Unlike the other four camps, Umm Khalid would be “the fist camp established exclusively as a labor camp” and was “the first of the “recognized” camps to be shut down…by the end of 1948.”
Complementing these five “recognized” camps, were at least 17 other “unrecognized camps” that were not mentioned in official sources, but the authors discovered through multiple prisoner testimonies.
Civilians in a labour camp in Ramleh, July 1948. (Photo: Salman Abu Sitta, Palestine Land Society)
“Many of [these camps],” the authors noted, “[were] apparently improvised or ad hoc, often consisting of no more than a police station, a school, or the house of a village notable,” with holding capacities that ranged from almost 200 prisoners to tens.
Most of the camps, official and unofficial, were situated within the borders of the UN-proposed Jewish state, “although at least four [unofficial camps] – Beersheba, Julis, Bayt Daras, and Bayt Nabala – were in the UN-assigned Arab state and one was inside the Jerusalem “corpus separatum.”

“[T]he situation of civilian internees was ‘absolutely confused’ with that of POWs, and… Jewish authorities ‘treated all Arabs between the ages of 16 and 55 as combatants and locked them up as prisoners of war.’” – ICRC report, 1948

The number of Palestinian non-combatant detainees “far exceeded” those of Arab soldiers in regular armies or bona fide POWs. Citing a July 1948 monthly report made by ICRC mission head Jacques de Reynier, the study states that de Reynier noted, “that the situation of civilian internees was ‘absolutely confused’ with that of POWs, and that the Jewish authorities ‘treated all Arabs between the ages of 16 and 55 as combatants and locked them up as prisoners of war.’” In addition, the ICRC found among the detainees in official camps, that 90 of the prisoners were elderly men, and 77 were boys, aged 15 years or younger.
The study highlights the statements by an ICRC delegate Emile Moeri in January 1949 of the camp inmates:
It is painful to see these poor people, especially old, who were snatched from their villages and put without reason in a camp, obliged to pass the winter under wet tents, away from their families; those who could not survive these conditions died. Little children (10-12 years) are equally found under these conditions. Similarly sick people, some with tuberculosis, languish in these camps under conditions which, while fine for healthy individuals, will certainly lead to their death if we do not find a solution to this problem. For a long time we have demanded that the Jewish authorities release those civilians who are sick and need treatment to the care of their families or to an Arab hospital, but we have not received a response.
As the report noted, “there are no precise figures on the total number of Palestinian civilians held by Israel during the 1948-49 war” and estimates tend to not account for “unofficial” camps, in addition to the frequent movement of prisoners between the camps in use. In the four “official” camps, the number of Palestinian prisoners never exceeded 5,000 according to figures in Israeli records.
Taking accounting the capacity of Umm Khalid, and estimates of the “unofficial camps,” the final number of Palestinian prisoners could be around the 7,000 range, and perhaps much more when, as the study states, when taking into account a November 17, 1948 diary entry by David Ben-Gurion, one of the main Zionist leaders and Israel’s first prime minister, who mentioned “the existence of 9,000 POWs in Israeli-run camps.”
In general, the living conditions in the “official” camps were far below what would be considered appropriate by international law at that time. Moeri, who visited the camps constantly, reported that in Ijlil in November 1948: “”[m]any [of the] tents are torn, that the camp was “not ready for winter,” the latrines not covered, and the canteen not working for two weeks. Referring to an apparently ongoing situation, he stated that “the fruits are still defective, the meat is of poor quality, [and] the vegetables are in short supply.””
Furthermore, Moeri reported that he saw for himself, ““the wounds left by the abuse” of the previous week, when the guards had fired on the prisoners, wounding one, and had beaten another.”
As the study shows, the civilian status of the majority of the detainees were clear for the ICRC delegates in the country, who reported that the men captured “had undoubtedly never been in a regular army.” Detainees who were combatants, the study explains, were “routinely shot on the pretense that they had been attempting to escape.” ‘
The Israeli forces seemed to always target able-bodied men, leaving behind women, children, and the elderly – when not massacring them – the policy continued even after there were low levels of military confrontation. All in all, as the Israeli records show and the study cites, “Palestinian civilians comprised the vast majority (82 percent) of the 5,950 listed as internees in the POW camps, while the Palestinians alone (civilian plus military) comprised 85 percent.” The wide-scale kidnapping and imprisonment of Palestinian civilians tend to correspond with the Israeli military campaigns. For example, one of the first major roundup occurred during Operation Danj, when 60-70,000 Palestinians were expelled from the central towns of Lydda and Ramleh. At the same time, between a fifth and a quarter of the male population from these two towns who were over the age of 15 were sent to the camps.
The largest round-up of civilians came from villages of central Galilee who were captured during Operation Hiram in the fall of 1948.
One Palestinian survive, Moussa, described to the authors what he witnessed at the time.
“They took us from all villages around us: al-Bi’na, Deir al-Asad, Nahaf, al-Rama, and Eilabun. They took 4 young men and shot them dead…They drove us on foot. It was hot. We were not allowed to drink. They took us to [the Palestinian Druze village] al-Maghar, then [to the Jewish settlement] Nahalal, then to Atlit.”
A November 16, 1948 UN report collaborated Moussa’s account, stating that some 500 Palestinian men “were taken by force march and vehicle to a Jewish concentration camp at Nahlal.”
Maintaining Israel’s economy with “slave labor”
The policy of targeting civilians, particular “able-bodied” men, was not accidental according to the study. It states, “with tens of thousands of Jewish men and women called up for military service, Palestinian civilian internees constituted an important supplement to the Jewish civilian labor employed under emergency legislation in maintaining the Israeli economy,” which even the ICRC delegation had noted in their reports.

Abuses by the Israeli guards were systematic rife in the camps, the brunt of which was directed towards villagers, farmers, and lower class Palestinians.

The prisoners were forced to do public and military work, such as drying wetlands, working as servants, collecting and transporting looted refugee property, moving stones from demolished Palestinian homes, paving roads, digging military trenches, burying the dead, and much more.
As one former Palestinian detainee named Habib Mohammed Ali Jarada described in the study, “”At gunpoint, I was made to work all day. At night, we slept in tents. In winter, water was seeping below our bedding, which was dry leaves, cartons and wooden pieces.”
Another prisoner in Umm Khalied, Marwan Iqab al-Yehiya said in an interview with the authors, “We had to cut and carry stones all day [in a quarry]. Our daily food was only one potato in the morning and half dried fish at night. They beat anyone who disobeyed orders.” This labor was interspersed with acts of humiliation by the Israeli guards, with Yehiya speaks of prisoners being “lined up and ordered to strip naked as a punishment for the escape of two prisoners at night.”
“[Jewish] Adults and children came from nearby kibbutz to watch us line up naked and laugh. To us this was most degrading,” he added.
Abuses by the Israeli guards were systematic rife in the camps, the brunt of which was directed towards villagers, farmers, and lower class Palestinians. This was so, the study said, because educated prisoners “knew their rights and had the confidence to argue with and stand up to their captors.”
What is also interestingly noted by the study is how ideological affiliations between prisoners and their guards, had another effects in terms of the relationship between them.
Citing the testimony of Kamal Ghattas, who was captured during the Israeli attack in the Galilee, who said:
We had a fight with our jailers. Four hundred of us confronted 100 soldiers. They brought reinforcements. Three of my friends and I were taken to a cell. They threatened to shoot us. All night we sang the Communist Anthem. They took the four of us to Umm Khaled camp. The Israelis were afraid of their image in Europe. Our contact with our Central Committee and Mapam [Socialist Israeli party] saved us .… I met a Russian officer and told him they took us from our homes although we were non-combatants which was against the Geneva Conventions. When he knew I was a Communist he embraced me and said, “Comrade, I have two brothers in the Red Army. Long live Stalin. Long Live Mother Russia”.

“Anyone who refused to work was shot. They said [the person] tried to escape. Those of us who thought [we] were going to be killed walked backward facing the guards.” – Former Palestinian detainee Tewfic Ahmed Jum’a Ghanim

Yet, the less fortunate Palestinians faced acts of violence which included arbitrary executions and torture, with no recourse. The executions were always defended as stopping “escape attempts” – real or claimed by the guards.It became so common that one former Palestinian detainee of Tel Litwinsky, Tewfic Ahmed Jum’a Ghanim recounted, “Anyone who refused to work was shot. They said [the person] tried to escape. Those of us who thought [we] were going to be killed walked backward facing the guards.”Ultimately, by the end of 1949, Palestinian prisoners were gradually released after heavy lobbying by the ICRC, and other organizations, but was limited in scale and very focused to specific cases.

Prisoners of Arab armies were released in prisoner exchanged, but Palestinian prisoners were unilaterally expelled across the armistice line without any food, supplies, or shelter, and told to walk into the distance, never to return.
It would not be until 1955 when most of the Palestinian civilian prisoners would finally be released.
Forced Labour Camps Atlas. (Source: Salman Abu Sitta,
Palestine Land Society)
An enduring crime
The importance of this study is multi-faceted. Not only does it reveal the numerous violations of international law and conventions of the age, such as 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1929 Geneva Conventions, but also shows how the event shaped the ICRC in the long run.
Because the ICRC was faced with an Israeli belligerent actor who was unwilling to listen and conform to international law and conventions, the ICRC itself had to adapt in what it considered were practical ways to help ensure the Palestinian civilian prisoners were protected under the barest of rights.
Citing his final report, the study quotes de Reynier:
[The ICRC] protested on numerous occasions affirming the right of these civilians to enjoy their freedom unless found guilty and judged by a court. But we have tacitly accepted their POW status because in this way they would enjoy the rights conferred upon them by the Convention. Otherwise, if they were not in the camps they would be expelled [to an Arab country] and in one way or another, they would lead, without resources, the miserable life of refugees.
In the end, the ICRC, and other organizations, were simply ineffective as Israel ignored its condemnations with impunity, in addition to the diplomatic cover of major Western powers.
More importantly, the study sheds more light on the extent of the Israeli crimes during its brutal and bloody birth. And “much more remains to be told,” as the final line of the study states.

The study essentially shows the foundations and beginnings of Israeli policy towards Palestinian civilians that comes in the form of kidnapping, arrest, and detainment.

“It is amazing to me, and many Europeans, who have seen my evidence,” Abu Sitta said, “that a forced labor camp was opened in Palestine three years after they were closed in Germany, and were run by former prisoners – there were German Jewish guards.”“This is a bad reflection of the human spirit, where the oppressed copies an oppressor against innocent lives,” he added.
The study essentially shows the foundations and beginnings of Israeli policy towards Palestinian civilians that comes in the form of kidnapping, arrest, and detainment. This criminality continues till this day. One merely has to read the reports on the hundreds of Palestinians arrested prior, during, and after Israel’s latest war on Gaza mid-summer of this year.
“Gaza today is a concentration camp, no different than the past,” Abu Sitta concluded to Al-Akhbar English.

Yazan is a staff writer for Al-Akhbar English. Follow him on Twitter: @WhySadeye
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