A letter to Italian-Americans

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June 21, 2020

A letter to Italian-Americans

By POSTFATARESURGO for The Saker Blog

The World Thought Police (WTP) has included Cristoforo Colombo, a.k.a. Christopher Columbus, in his black list. He was a “bad” person, period. Details are not needed. WTP’s decision are not questionable, nor they can be subject to anyone’s appeal, scrutiny or disagreement. Once the WTP issues a red flag on anyone, past, present or future, scores of enforcers are ready, as they were waiting for a signal, to go into action. Even the most neutral observer of current events will have to admit that this ongoing heritage hate frenzy plays along well consolidated tactics, anything but “spontaneous”. Proof of that could easily come from asking participants in the hysteric toppling of statues around the US if they could correctly place dates and events related to the subject to be grounded: somebody has done that and all the answers he could receive were growls from a crowd of rabid Pavlov’s dogs who admit no questioning to their rage. After all a basic tenet of victimhood philosophy is that virtually everyone with problems, perceived problems, or a bad life situation, is a victim. Racial, sexual, age, ethnic, political, or whatever discrimination factor, outside one’s self, is to blame for one’s problems.

As for Americans of Italian heritage, the ultimate date to celebrate is the discovery of the new world by an Italian, Cristoforo Colombo on October 12th, 1492. But Colombo had no idea of being “Italian”, nor other prominent “Italian” navigators and explorers of the time, incidentally all of them working for national states such as Spain, France or England, simply because there was not a state called “Italy” that could have financed their costly voyages.

Therefore, Colombo always considered himself a Genoese, Vespucci and Verrazzano considered themselves Florentines, and Giovanni Caboto – although probably born in Gaeta – was sure to be Venetian. Giovanni da Verrazzano (whose correct spelling was only recently recognized by the state of New York) was in fact the first European to set foot in North America and Amerigo Vespucci unwillingly gave the name to the entire continent, courtesy of the German cartographer Waldseemüller.

As for Columbus, targeted by many as one of symbols representing a past that must be eradicated, there are indeed records and historical accounts that prove that he was not – by today’s standards – benevolent towards natives he came in contact with. Rather, he probably did not consider them any different than animals or objects, just like the Romans who considered – without any qualms of conscience – other human beings they had reduced to the status of slaves, just that: objects to be used for any labor necessities, whether by a private owner who had purchased them, or by the state for public works such as roads or public buildings such as arenas or aqueducts.

So, where do we go from here? It doesn’t take long to figure out that if we continue to examine history by todays’ “moral standards”, the path becomes endless. Soon there will be an endless list of human beings –under any denomination possible – demanding some sort of compensation for torts, damages, injustices, presumed violence, discrimination, unfair treatment, you name it.

Let’s get back to the Romans. They got their huge empire by conquering, that is by subjugating with violence other human beings, all over western Europe, northern Africa, and parts of Asia. Never mind that eventually those “barbarians” conquered themselves a crumbling Roman empire certainly not waging an olive branch. What about ancient peoples of the Italian peninsula? They were mostly peaceful populations who would have lived happily along the Romans, but the Romans waged war to their neighbors Etruscans, Sabines, Picenes, Ligures, Samnites, Lucani, Celts, Gauls just to name a few.

A possible lawsuit against the city of Rome by anyone claiming “suffering damages” enhanced by racial hatred in a past life is looming in the not so distant future, not to mention that statues of Roman emperors, the Colosseum and Roman arches of triumph are inevitably at risk.

What about the making of Italy as a nation? In 1861, the various states comprised in the Italian peninsula, including duchies and grand-duchies, decided to become all Italians and put aside almost two thousand years of differences and live happily together. At least that’s what history manuals have told us all along, right? Not quite.

Neapolitan philosopher Giovanbattista Vico stated that history invariably repeats itself. And one of the basic lessons of history is that it is written by the winners. The making of Italy was no exception to the rule as it was the annexation of a number of sovereign and independent states to another that simply had the military force to do so, because aided by foreign powers, namely France and Great Britain.

Giovanni Giolitti, the Italian statesman who ruled Italy for decades before Mussolini seized power in 1922, used to repeat that after all the Risorgimento was a fairytale, but a useful one, and as such it should be left untouched. In essence, the making of Italy caused for most Italians, especially from the south, suffering and despair, due to an unbearable worsening of their livelihoods, so bad in fact that millions were forced to emigrate to both North and South America. It was, once again since the beginning of recorded history, one organized elite who prevailed upon innocent populations who lived peaceful lives under their respective Kings and Dukes, which –incidentally – had not declared nor sought any conflict whatsoever with Piedmont or any other Italian state.

Ironically, the Kingdom of Piedmont (also called Kingdom of Sardinia as the island was part of it) was by all accounts the least “Italian” of all other Italian states. In fact the common language used in Piedmont was French, and the opening declaration of the Kingdom of Italy, pronounced on March 17th, 1861 by Camillo Benso di Cavour were in fact pronounced in French: “Le Royaume d’Italie est aujourd’hui un fait. Le Roi, notre auguste souverain prend pour lui-même et pour ses successeurs le titre de Roi d’Italie”. (The Kingdom of Italy is today accomplished. The King, our august sovereign, assumes for himself and his successors the title of King of Italy)

That the opening statement of the new nation was pronounced in French is one of the many details historians failed to describe or deleted altogether because inconvenient to the official narrative of the making of Italy. Neither Cavour nor the new king himself, Victor Emmanuel II, really knew how to express themselves in Italian, as the common language was the local dialect or, in more official occasions, French. Even after 1861 French was kept in use for most official acts of the new government as most employees and representatives came from Piedmont and had therefore no knowledge of Italian, which was used by no more than 2-3% of the populations of the Italian peninsula. The rest was simply other dialects, or other languages like Neapolitan.

Every basic manual of Italian history will tell you that Italy has its “founding fathers” and incidentally they all came from the Kingdom of Piedmont: Mazzini, the political father, ideologue and mastermind. Cavour, the discreet strategist and diplomat. The first King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, who preferred to be named in continuity with the dynastic line of Savoy, instead of becoming what should have been Victor Emmanuel I of Italy. And the quintessential Italian hero, Garibaldi.

Garibaldi enjoys a statue in every Italian city, village or hamlet. Universally recognized as the man who single handedly defeated all the enemies of Italian populations longing for liberty under one state, he also spent quite some time in South America, where he had to make a living, somehow. In 1852, in Lima, he decided to assume Peruvian citizenship in order to be named captain of a vessel that was to offer regular service from Lima to China with a cargo of guamo fertilizer, and sail back from Canton with a cargo of coolies, chinese peasants of the lowest class, who were practically brought to Peru by force to extract Guamo as slave labor force for a job not even the poorest Peruvians wanted to do.

So we have a problem here. Even a champion of liberty as Garibaldi could come under scrutiny as a slave trader and his statues soon could come down as symbols of a past that must be eradicated. Soon a worldwide ban on Garibaldi’s symbols could be enacted by the WTP and his statues – worldwide, but especially in Italy – singled out for immediate demolition.

But Colombo and Garibaldi were simply men of their times who were not burdened by the moral dilemmas of the 21st century. We should know better than judging with today’s standards men of the past, despite all their flaws. After all we should know that men of the future will judge many of today’s standards with inevitable different ones.

Italian Americans – regardless of their political affiliation – should see Colombo as one “Italian” who embodied one of quintessential American qualities: don’t take the word “impossible” for granted. Most seamen of his time believed that the discovery of another part of the world sailing westward was “impossible” as – in their beliefs – the ocean was simply an endless body of water no human being should dare to challenge.

The making of Italy inevitably caused emigration and suffering to millions of people, just as Garibaldi or Colombo did cause suffering to other fellow human beings, thinking they were doing “the right thing”. That has happened in every country or civilization of the past, and it will happen inevitably again. But statues, or symbols, are essential: they help us remember, no matter what.

Destroying statues is a complete useless damnatio memoriae which serves no one. Neither the perpetrators, who should be remembered and judged for their deeds, good or bad, nor the victims, which will be completely forgotten. But it does serve the same old movers and shakers who are acting – and funding – behind the scenes this wave of hysteria in order to eradicate our symbols, and therefore our memory.

Propaganda during World War I: An Illustrated Account

By Terje Meloy
Source

These stories are not unique cases from a remote war. The same methods are constantly rinsed and repeated, the mentality in our ruling elites is the same, and the risk of a major conflict is as great today as in 1914.

These examples concentrate mostly on British/American perception management and propaganda. First of all, because they are masters of the art, and secondly, as victors they still dominate the narrative.

Arthur Ponsonby and Falsehood in Wartime

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After the Great War came a huge backlash of disillusion and revulsion. Calmly analysed, most of what had been told in the war turned out to be lies and half-truths. «Falsehood in War-time, Containing an Assortment of Lies Circulated Throughout the Nations During the Great War» was the title of a book published in 1928. Written by Arthur, Ponsonby, it discussed 20 instances of lies in wartime.

The contents of the book can be summed up in the Ten Commandments of War Propaganda:

  1. We do not want war.
  2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
  3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
  4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
  5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
  6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
  7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
  8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
  9. Our cause is sacred.
  10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.

The Enemy Is the Face of the Devil

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The perception of German atrocities in World War 1 has had is up and downs during the decades.  They ‘Huns’ were indeed quite ruthless, and freely executed several thousand suspected franc-tireurs and hostages when they invaded Belgium and Northern France in 1914.

However, the theme of barbaric, nun-raping, baby-bayonetting Huns was so carried to excess by the Entente propaganda machine that there came a backlash in public opinion after the war. By the 1920s, the disillusionment with the war and its aftermath was so great that all of these stories were dismissed as atrocity propaganda, which again would backfire in 1939, when there was reluctance to believe stories of – this time real – massive German atrocities.

The same theme was used more recently, with the infamous tale of «Iraqis ripping babies from incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals», in the warm-up to the Gulf War in 1990. Before the US Congress, a young woman in tears testified how she as a nurse in Kuwait witnessed Iraqi soldiers ripping prematurely born babies out of their incubators, leaving them to die on the floor. The story was later repeated by an equally moved President George HW Bush.

The public later found out that the woman was in fact not a nurse, but the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington, and the story was concocted as part of the propaganda effort by the PR-Agency Hill & Knowlton.

Mussolini Changes His Mind — Italy Should Join the War

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Italy at first stayed neutral, then chose to join the Entente. This turned out to be a really bad decision, killing a generation of young men, and with not many gains to show for it in the peace treaties.

The decision was partially helped by subsidies from English and French intelligence to the Italian press. The Italian journalist Benito Mussolini (picture: in white coat, arrested during a scuffle with police in 1914) had a change of heart, and went from a leading socialist and war opponent to a fierce advocate of Italy joining the war.

According to a note written in November 1922 by the French secret services in Rome, Mussolini (who was described in another note from the same service as «an agent of the French Embassy in Rome») had in 1914 collected ten million francs «to support Italy’s war alongside the allied powers». In 1915, he was one of the founders the Fascist movement, which later took power in 1922.

The Difference Between Declared War Aims and Real Ones

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In August 1914, when an almost unanimous German parliament voted yes to war, it was presented to the German public as a defensive Schutzkrieg against conniving enemies. With the exception of one member, Karl Liebknecht, the entire 110-member delegation from the Social Democratic Party bowed to the war euphoria and voted yes to war loans.

The perception presented to the public during the first few years of fighting, was of a Germany fighting a defensive war for survival, not a scheme for imperial aggrandizement. But in reality, already in September 1914, in the first few weeks of the war, a secret plan for an extensive redrawing of Europe’s borders was prepared for Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, the Septemberprogramm (see map).

After the Brest-Litovsk separate peace with the Bolsheviks in 1917, the eastern part of these war aims were achieved, where Germany occupied or created puppet governments in Poland, Ukraine, the Caucasus and Baltic areas, and created a dependent state in Finland.

Although a victory, this led to great disillusionment in the German liberal-left, which so far had supported a war to preserve the country. Now he myth of a defensive war was exposed as a lie, and the treaty showed it to be a war for imperial expansion.

The Sinking of the Lusitania

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In May 1915 the British Government was in trouble. The European war was not going well. Instead of reacting to aggressive British blockades by begging for mercy, Germany was sinking more and more British ships with her U-boats.

The Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine on Friday May 7 1915, 12 miles off the coast of Ireland, killing 1198 people. The ship was running at two-thirds speed and in a straight line, rather than the recommended zigzag used to avoid torpedoes. The passengers were mostly US citizens (including millionaire Alfred Vanderbilt).

Her cargo consisted mostly of undeclared weapons and explosives, a fact finally confirmed in 1960, and which explained why she sank so fast. She was bound for the UK, sailing all alone, inexplicably without escort from the Royal Navy and right into a known U-boat hunting ground.

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No members of the press even considered asking why Lusitania had been steaming so slowly and in a straight line, or why the British Admiralty had chosen to withhold the usual naval escort.

The numerous travel warnings posted by the German government in US newspapers, warning people they traveled on British shipping into British waters at their peril, was left out of the narrative. The German explanation, that the Lusitania was a legitimate target because she carried armaments, was dismissed out of hand.

And totally forgotten was the aggressive policy of starving Germany to its knees that had prompted the U-boat campaign in the first place. After the war began in 1914, Britain immediately began a naval blockade of Germany. Since even food was classified as “contraband,” the Germans had to ration food. By all estimates, several hundred thousand people ultimately died of starvation due to the blockade.

The sinking of the Lusitania was one of the main causes that brought the United States into the war, saving the war for the British.

An Inconvenient Peace Offer: “What Does He Want to Butt In for?”

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In July 1915, Pope Benedict XV published the apostolic exhortation «To the Peoples Now at War and to Their Rulers.» Two years later, in 1917, this became The seven-point plan, a peace note presented to the warring parties. It was based on a peace linked to justice rather than military conquest, cessation of hostilities, a reduction of armaments, a guaranteed freedom of the seas, international arbitration, and Belgium restored to independence and guaranteed «against any power whatsoever.» (But it tacitly implied that Germany would gain some territory in the east).

The initiative failed: Although the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary) were positive to the mediation after three years of exhausting war, no one on the Entente side showed any interest. (The collapse of the Russian imperial government a few months later reduced the German willingness to negotiate.) Britain did not even show the Holy See the common courtesy of a proper reply. The French and Italian replies were hostile, and the rejection on behalf of the alliance was made by president Woodrow Wilson of the United States, who had initially remarked of the pope’s proposal: “What does he want to butt in for?»

The decision to reject any proposal from the Vatican was already decided in 1915. The threat was that a peace mediation from someone like the Pope might create so much pressure from a war-weary populace that it might just gather enough momentum to force the powers to accept.

The secret Treaty of London (1915), committing Italy to the Entente (Britain, France and Russia) contained a clause, article 15, where Italy is given carte blanche to do whatever is deemed necessary to silence the Church: «France, Great Britain and Russia shall support such opposition as Italy may make to any proposal in the direction of introducing a representative of the Holy See in any peace negotiations or negotiations for the settlement of questions raised by the present war» .

From Women’s Liberation to a Tool for the State

articles-a-womans-place-ww1-impact-of-war-2-dt-emmeline-pankhurst.jpgEmmeline Pankhurst addressing a pro-war rally in 1914

There is nothing new about liberal social reformers falling into lockstep when the country goes to war.

British Emmeline Pankhurst was the most prominent member in the Women’s Suffrage movement. She founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1902. After a remarkable and highly radical campaign for women’s rights, including hunger strikes, arson and window smashings, the group changed from a reformist program to a hard right reactionary nationalism as soon as the war broke out.

In 1914-15, bands of women roamed the cities of England handing out white feathers of cowardice to men wearing civilian clothes. The ‘White Feather Brigade’ was established by admiral Charles Fitzgerald, a war hawk who wished to see Britain institute mandatory military service. The campaign spread through the country with astonishing rapidity.

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The highly successful White Feather campaign, shaming British men to enlist.

Not unconnected, the WSPU successfully carried out secret negotiations with the government, and on the 10th August 1914, the government announced it was releasing all suffragettes from prison. After receiving a £2,000 grant from the government, the WSPU organised a pro-war demonstration in London. Members carried banners with slogans such as «We Demand the Right to Serve» and «Let None Be Kaiser’s Cat’s Paws».

Pankhurst founded the Women’s Party in 1917. Excerpts from the program:

(1) A fight to the finish with Germany.

(2) More vigorous war measures to include drastic food rationing, more communal kitchens to reduce waste, and the closing down of nonessential industries to release labour for work on the land and in the factories.

(3) A clean sweep of all officials of enemy blood or connections from Government departments. Peace terms to include the dismemberment of the Hapsburg Empire.

(8) Irish Home Rule to be denied.

In the Suffrage Movement’s defense, many members chose a different and more honorable stance, like her daughter Sylvia Pankhurst. In 1915, Sylvia gave her enthusiastic support to the International Women’s Peace Congress, and she later became a leading international voice in the resistance to Mussolini’s attack on Ethiopia.

Edith Cavell – Nurse (And a Hundred Years Later, a Spy After All)

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Few incidents created bigger outrage in the First World War than when the British nurse Edith Cavellwas executed by firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape occupied Belgium. In the trial, she admitted to leading a people smuggling network.

But the German charges also claimed that Cavell was a spy, sending sensitive intelligence through the same network, a claim which was strongly denied by both Cavell and the British government.

The government’s insistence on her innocence was taken as implicitly true in Britain, and she became a symbol for victims of Hunnic habitual cruelty. This perception also had great impact on public opinion in the still neutral United States. The implicit presumption of innocence lingered for a many years, and was a useful propaganda tool for many decades.

In a BBC-program in 2015, a hundred years after Cavell’s death, Stella Rimington, former head of the MI5, revealed that she had discovered documents in Belgian archives indicating that Cavell was in fact a spy.

This is of course a limited hangout. MI5 would have known this all along, being Cavell’s boss, but naturally chose to keep quiet about it, since the idea of her innocence was so convenient.

Rimington said her evidence showed «that the Cavell organisation was a two-pronged affair» and that espionage was the other part of its clandestine mission.

The documents included an account by Herman Capiau, a young Belgian mining engineer who had brought the first British soldiers to Cavell in 1914 and was an important member of her network.

He wrote: «Whenever it was possible to send interesting intelligence on military operations, this information was forwarded to the English intelligence service punctually and rapidly.»

Capiau referred to information about a German trench system, the location of munitions dumps and the whereabouts of aircraft.

Since she was in fact guilty, it would make her case similar to the famous spy Mata Hari, who was unceremoniously executed by the French in 1917, without any international outcry. Of course, Cavell’s case is worse, since she used a humanitarian cover for her activities, putting all medical personnel under suspicion.

Most of Our Opinions Are Formed by Men We Have Never Heard of

After the United States joined the war in 1917, president Wilson founded a government agency, The Committee on Public Information, to drum up support in public opinion for the US Crusade for Freedom©.

A young man, Edward Bernays,  started working for it, and quickly learned his trade there. He later became known as «the father of public relations», and a pioneer in the modern PR-industry, where he, among other things, arranged the media part of the CIA-regime change operation in Guatemala in 1954. The full quote from him is as follows:

«The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.»

The Invasion of 1910 — A Book Commissioned to Tell the Public Who the Next Enemy Is

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Describing an imagined German invasion of England, the book The Invasion of 1910 was written by William le Queux on commission from the press magnate Lord Northcliffe and serialized in his newspaper the Daily Mail in 1906. After the detente with France and friendlier relations with Russia, British elites circles agreed on who the next likely enemy would be. But the British public still wasn’t ‘with the program’, and a large campaign was started to prepare them mentally. In the years 1906-1914, a torrent of books and articles on the terrible Hun menace poured out from a number of authors, including Arthur Conan Doyle.

Bits by Bits a War Memorial Day Gets a New Meaning

14027266043_a3a49cb221_z.jpgCadets march in the 2014 ANZAC day parade (Picture: Flickr/Chris Phutully)

World War 1 was a bloody affair for the Commonwealth countries. Most Australian country towns or even small villages have a cenotaph or monument with a shockingly long list of local men lost in WW1. ANZAC-day  (on 25th of April, the anniversary of the Anglo-French campaign to conquer Gallipoli and the Dardanelles, where Australia played a part) was decided as a holiday in 1921 to commemorate these war dead, in a rather sombre spirit. The holiday and ceremony was a quiet affair for most of last century, apart from the usual right-wing forces trying to capitalize on it. It reached it’s nadir in the late 1970s, after the Vietnam war.

A marked change started in the 1990s, with a concerted and very well funded campaign from the government to militarize Australian history. Now the ceremonies are huge, military-political events, full of pathos, cant and sentimentality.  By spending huge sums to connect the public idea of Australianness to a glorification of its military glory, it seems Australian participation, like in 1914 by choice, in the next bloody world war is inevitable – nothing learned Down Under.

Neutral Countries Are the Winners

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This Swiss cartoon by Karl Czerpien, is captioned «The wooing of the Neutrals», where orators from the warring countries are trying to entice neutrals to join them. The different alliances spent large efforts to tangle neutral countries into their imperialistic intrigues (see the case of Italy above). For smaller neutral countries, war between the great powers is always a dangerous time, but by trying to stay neutral, they are rather better off than by joining an alliance. A lesson for our time, when small countries in Europe seem very eager to get the honor of being the battlefield in the next war.

1924 — The Pacifist Ernst Friedrich Shows the Real Faces of War

In 1924, in the book War against War, the German anti-war activist Ernst Friedrich breaks a taboo in war reporting, by showing real war injuries. Such horrific pictures were – and still are – generally very rarely shown in war reporting, both in the corporate media and in anti-war literature.

This unwillingness contributes, intentionally or just because the pictures are too shocking to handle, to an almost idealized image of war, where our dead are always beautifully serene and the wounded well wrapped in bandages.

Jerusalem, Nicosia and WW3

June 19, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Gilad Atzmon

Cypriot press reported last week on a large joint Israeli-Cypriot military drill.

The following Israeli video  publicises an elite Israeli commando brigade engaged in aggressive military routines around Cyprus’ Troodos Mountain range.

https://youtu.be/uvQJfqnPuME

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How did this came about? How did the Cypriots, who are known to support the Palestinian cause, become a province of the Israeli empire?

An Israel-Europe gas pipeline deal is the answer.

 

In the beginning of April we learned about a proposed 2,000 kilometer subsea pipeline connecting gas fields located offshore in Gaza and Cyprus with Greece and possibly Italy.

The pipeline agreement among Israel, Italy, Cyprus and Greece leaves both the Turks and the Palestinians out. While Gaza faces a critical energy crisis with electricity reduced to less than three hours a day; Israel aims to collect billions of dollars from a significant natural gas reserve located off the Gaza shore and well within Palestinian territorial water (assuming such a term exist).

Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s energy minister,  hailed the pipeline project expected to be in operation in 2025 as the “beginning of a wonderful friendship between four Mediterranean countries.” Of course, not all related Mediterranean nations are included in the deal. We can foresee that this is a recipe for disaster: the pipeline and the gas installation are soft targets. The region is volatile. Cyprus is putting its sovereignty at risk. It may, within a short time, God forbid, become a battle ground for some merciless global operators.

Cyprus leadership realises that it has to become an Israeli province if it wants an oil pipeline that dispatches plundered Palestinian natural gas. And as the video reveals, Cyprus is now protected by its Israelite big brother. The Israeli-Cypriot joint military drill was performed to deliver a message to Turkey and other regional players: any attempt to interfere with their gas theft project will be met by Israeli military brutality.

Gilad’s Being in Time can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com  and on Gilad’s site  here.

Charlie Hebdo run by jerks

Charlie Hebdo run by jerks

Sep 4, 2016

Italy slams Charlie Hebdo for tasteless quake cartoon. | Photo: Reuters


Its seems nothing is sacred for the French magazine.

Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine attacked by Islamic militants in 2015, drew wide criticism from Italians on Friday for the often impudent publication’s portrayal of victims of the country’s August earthquake that killed almost 300 people as different types of pasta.

An illustration in the the magazine with the heading, “Earthquake Italian style,” portrayed a man covered in blood with the caption, “Penne in tomato sauce,” along with a woman labeled “Penne au gratin.” It showed a “Lasagne” building that had collapsed with feet sticking out from in between rubble.

The French Embassy in Italy said via Twitter than the illustration “absolutely does not represent” France’s position and is rather a “caricature by the press (and) the freely expressed opinions are those of the journalists.” The cartoon made the front page of a number of Italian newspapers.

“How the fuck do you draw a cartoon about the dead! … I’m sure this unpleasant and embarrassing satire does not reflect French sentiment,” said Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of Amatrice, one of the Italian towns destroyed in the 6.2 magnitude earthquake. Amatrice is famous for the pasta sauce amatriciana, which it is named after.

Still remaining irreverent to Italian sensibilities, the magazine then published another illustration about the earthquake on its Facebook page showing a person under rubble with the caption: “Italians, it’s not Charlie Hebdo who has built your homes, it’s the mafia!” a reference to the Mafia controlling the construction industry.

It’s not that Charlie Hebdo hasn’t been in hot water over irreverent portrayals. In April the magazine blamed Muslims for terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris. In January it also mocked the Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, whose body was found washed up in the Mediterranean sea, portraying him as a would-be rapist. Twelve people were killed in the Jan. 2015 attack by gunmen accusing the journal of blasphemy for printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

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Europe’s Five “Undeclared Nuclear Weapons States”. Turkey’s Nuclear Arsenal. Russia and Iran are the Targets

Are Turkey, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy Nuclear Powers?

Global Research, July 30, 2016
Global Research 12 February 2010
Europe's Five "Undeclared Nuclear Weapons States"

Author’s Note

This article was originally published by Global Research  in February 2010 under the title:Europe’s Five “Undeclared Nuclear Weapons States”

The media, politicians and scientists have remained silent. The focus was persistently on Iran’s non-existant nuclear weapons.

Amply documented, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey are in possession of nuclear weapons which are deployed under national command against Russia, Iran and the Middle East.

In recent developments, following the failed July 2016 military coup, the media has reported on Turkey’s nuclear weapons stored and deployed at the Incirlik airbase. 

The US National Resources Defense Council in a February 2005 report confirmed Turkey’s deployment of 90 so-called tactical B61 nuclear weapons, some of which were subsequently decommissioned    

The stockpiling and deployment of tactical B61 in these five “non-nuclear states” are intended for targets in the Middle East. Moreover, in accordance with  “NATO strike plans”, these thermonuclear B61 bunker buster bombs (stockpiled by the “non-nuclear States”) could be launched  “against targets in Russia or countries in the Middle East such as Syria and Iran” ( quoted in National Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons in Europe , February 2005, emphasis added) 

In recent developments, press reports including Deutsche Welle have confirmed the deployment of Turkey’s 50 B61 nuclear weapons out it Incirlik air force base.  But this has been known for years. It took the media ten years to acknowledge that Turkey (a non-nuclear State) possesses a sizeable nuclear arsenal. 

There is however some confusion in the media reports as to the nature of the nuclear bombs stored and deployed at Incirlik. They are B61 gravity bombs [of the bunker buster type] with nuclear warheads,  with an explosive capacity of up to 170 kilotons (up to 12 times a Hiroshima bomb).

The accuracy of the numbers of bombs quoted in the media reports remains to be acertained. Some of the bombs were decommissioned. Some of them may have been replaced with a more recent version  including the B61-11. 

originalIt should be emphasized that in the last few years, the Pentagon has developed a more advanced version of the B61, namely the B61-12, which is slated to replace the older versions currently stored and deployed in Western Europe including Turkey.

Nuclear weapons are on the table: A trillion dollar nuclear weapons is now being contemplated by the Pentagon. 

click image to order Michel Chossudovsky’s book, which outlines the Dangers of Nuclear War

The notion of deterrence has been scrapped  These so-called mini-nukes are intended to be used. Under The Pentagon’s so-called Life Extension Program, the the B61 nuclear weapons are  intended to “remain operational until at least 2025.” 

Does this make Turkey an undeclared nuclear power?

The answer is Yes, but this also applies to four other countries, namely Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Italy which also possess B61 nuclear bombs, deployed under national command and targeted at Russia, Iran and the Middle East.

Michel Chossudovsky, July 30,  2016

*      *     *

“Far from making Europe safer, and far from producing a less nuclear dependent Europe, [the policy] may well end up bringing more nuclear weapons into the European continent, and frustrating some of the attempts that are being made to get multilateral nuclear disarmament,” (Former NATO Secretary-General George Robertson quoted in Global Security, February 10, 2010)

“‘Is Italy capable of delivering a thermonuclear strike?… Could the Belgians and the Dutch drop hydrogen bombs on enemy targets?… Germany’s air force couldn’t possibly be training to deliver bombs 13 times more powerful than the one that destroyed Hiroshima, could it?… Nuclear bombs are stored on air-force bases in Italy, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands — and planes from each of those countries are capable of delivering them.” (“What to Do About Europe’s Secret Nukes.”Time Magazine, December 2, 2009)

The “Official” Nuclear Weapons States

Five countries, the US, UK, France, China and Russia are considered to be “nuclear weapons states” (NWS), “an internationally recognized status conferred by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)”. Three other “Non NPT countries” (i.e. non-signatory states of the NPT) including India, Pakistan and North Korea, have recognized possessing nuclear weapons.

Israel: “Undeclared Nuclear State”

Israel is identified as an “undeclared nuclear state”. It produces and deploys nuclear warheads directed against military and civilian targets in the Middle East including Tehran. Iran There has been much hype, supported by scanty evidence, that Iran might at some future date become a nuclear weapons state. And, therefore, a pre-emptive defensive nuclear attack on Iran to annihilate its non-existent nuclear weapons program should be seriously contemplated “to make the World a safer place”. The mainstream media abounds with makeshift opinion on the Iran nuclear threat. But what about the five European “undeclared nuclear states” including Belgium, Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands and Italy. Do they constitute a threat?

Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Turkey: ”Undeclared Nuclear Weapons States”

While Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities are unconfirmed, the nuclear weapons capabilities of these five countries including delivery procedures are formally acknowledged. The US has supplied some 480 B61 thermonuclear bombs to five so-called “non-nuclear states”, including Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Casually disregarded by the Vienna based UN Nuclear Watchdog (IAEA), the US has actively contributed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Western Europe. As part of this European stockpiling, Turkey, which is a partner of the US-led coalition against Iran along with Israel, possesses some 90 thermonuclear B61 bunker buster bombs at the Incirlik nuclear air base. (National Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons in Europe , February 2005) By the recognised definition, these five countries are “undeclared nuclear weapons states”.

The stockpiling and deployment of tactical B61 in these five “non-nuclear states” are intended for targets in the Middle East. Moreover, in accordance with  “NATO strike plans”, these thermonuclear B61 bunker buster bombs (stockpiled by the “non-nuclear States”) could be launched  “against targets in Russia or countries in the Middle East such as Syria and Iran” ( quoted in National Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons in Europe, February 2005)

Does this mean that Iran or Russia, which are potential targets of a nuclear attack originating from one or other of these five so-called non-nuclear states should contemplate defensive preemptive nuclear attacks against Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey? The answer is no, by any stretch  of the imagination.

While these “undeclared nuclear states” casually accuse Tehran of developing nuclear weapons, without documentary evidence, they themselves have capabilities of delivering nuclear warheads, which are targeted at Iran.  To say that this is a clear case of “double standards” by the IAEA and the “international community” is a understatement.

Click to See Details and Map of Nuclear Facilities located in 5 European “Non-Nuclear States”

The stockpiled weapons are B61 thermonuclear bombs.  All the weapons are gravity bombs of the B61-3, -4, and -10 types.2 . Those estimates were based on private and public statements by a number of government sources and assumptions about the weapon storage capacity at each base .(National Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons in Europe , February 2005)

Germany: Nuclear Weapons Producer

Among the five “undeclared nuclear states”, “Germany remains the most heavily nuclearized country with three nuclear bases (two of which are fully operational) and may store as many as 150 [B61 bunker buster ] bombs” (Ibid). In accordance with “NATO strike plans” (mentioned above) these tactical nuclear weapons are also targeted at the Middle East. While Germany is not categorized officially as a nuclear power, it produces nuclear warheads for the French Navy. It stockpiles nuclear warheads (made in America) and it has the capabilities of delivering nuclear weapons.

Moreover,  The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company – EADS , a Franco-German-Spanish  joint venture, controlled by Deutsche Aerospace and the powerful Daimler Group is Europe’s second largest military producer, supplying .France’s M51 nuclear missile. Germany imports and deploys nuclear weapons from the US. It also produces nuclear warheads which are exported to France. Yet it is classified as a non-nuclear state.

Related Article Rick Rozoff, NATO’s Secret Transatlantic Bond: Nuclear Weapons In Europe, Global Research, December 4, 2009

Urgent: Secret Negotiations regarding Syria

| 13 JULY 2016

Over the past few weeks, several member states of the International Coalition against the Syrian Arab Republic began secret negotiations with it with a view to withdrawing from the war.

These states include members of the European Union and the Commonwealth.

The following three voyages have been disclosed by the GulfNews and Al-Mayadeen:
• a trip by General Ali Mamelouk —coordinator of Syrian Secret Services — to Berlin;
• a trip by General Mohammed Dib Zaitoun — Director General of Syrian Security — to Rome; _

• a trip by General Alberto Manenti — Director of the Agency on Intelligence and Foreign Affairs — by special plane from Rome to Damas.

The High Representative of the European Union, Federica Mogherini, is the former Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

All these trips follow Brexit. They are only the tip of the iceberg.

All negotiators interpret the Geneva Communique as having to lead not to regime change but to the establishment of government of national unity presided by Bachar el-Assad.

A Syrian officer is already placed in a European Capital to coordinate the fight against the jihadists.

These contacts contravene the sanctions officially decreed against Damas.

Translation
Anoosha Boralessa

Brexit Domino Effect? Greece, Spain, Italy Could Follow: Russian Analyst

brexit

The outcome of Thursday’s referendum in Britain could create a domino effect with similar plebiscites held in other EU countries, Igor Korotchenko, the editor of National Defense journal with close ties to the Defense Ministry, told RIA Novosti.

According to an official count, 51.9 of Britons voted for the United Kingdom’s exit from the 28-nation bloc.

“The results of the British referendum will deal a devastating blow to the EU bureaucracy in Brussels and could lead to similar plebiscites in other EU countries, above all Greece, Spain and Italy. It also means that the British people don’t like the idea of having outside structures deciding their economic and foreign policy,” Korotchenko said.

He added that Britain would now be drawing even closer to Washington toeing the US line and sharing responsibility for America’s military adventurism.

Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann
© AFP 2016/ SAMUEL KUBANI

“This primarily concerns London’s readiness to station US offensive forces in Britain and the contribution to development of the US missile defense program,” Korotchenko noted.

He added, however, that it would be an illusion to expect the EU to break up given the non-binding nature of the British referendum.

Moreover, Britain’s NATO membership will not be going anywhere, just like its contribution to the Alliance’s collective nuclear might.

“In any case, there is now an entirely new political situation we now have in Europe strengthening the hand of the Euro-sceptics which, in turn, will be politically weakening the European Union, Igor Korotchenko said.

David Cameron: Scotland cannot veto Brexit

Italian Delegation: Hizbullah Best Answer against Terrorism, No One Can Hide the Crimes of KSA! (Part 1)

 Fatima Haydar

The “Israeli” apartheid regime’s troops completely withdraw from South Lebanon by May 25th, 2000. Sixteen years on the liberation and the Lebanese still cherish this day stronger than ever.
Italian Delegation

This year, it is not only the Lebanese who celebrated the 16th anniversary of the Resistance and Liberation Day, an Italian delegation that visited Lebanon to show solidarity with Hizbullah had a lot to say to national, regional and international public.

The Italian delegation consisted of 11 activists and public figures from Italy and Spain among which were Alberto Palladino, an Italian journalist and executive board member of Solidarite Identites, a humanitarian organization to support the Syrian people, as well as Italian politician Giovanni Feola, leader of the Italian CasaPound movement.

Other members of the organization were: Poalo Sebastianelli, Rodrigo Gomez, Manfredi Pinelli, Rudy de Astis, Carlo Pezzolesi, Dario Zimbardi, Davide Granconato and Damiano Crudele.

It was not a coincidence that the delegation’s visit to Lebanon coincided with the Resistance and Liberation Day. According to the delegation’s deputy speaker, Alberto Palladino their visit to Lebanon was “much intended. We want to participate in this victory and this march”.

Italian Delegation: Hizbullah Best Answer against Terrorism, No One Can Hide the Crimes of KSA! (Part 1)

Palladino indicated that the Resistance’s May victory is very important and that it is a “symbolic victory because in this time no one can invade another sovereign nation; all the people in the Mediterranean zone, every free people have the right to defend their homes from invasion…”

He went on saying that “The victory of Hizbullah against “Israel” is the symbol of a new freedom in the Mediterranean zone. On another level, it is a very great victory because a powerful and very well-equipped army was defeated by the pure resistances of Hizbullah revolutionaries.”

According to Palladino, it is via their organization’s work in Syria that they met Hizbullah and founded a relations ship with the group.

He indicated that the Italian delegation intends to “create or rebuild the relation between Europe – specially the countries that are in contact with the Mediterranean Sea – and the close east; that is, the Middle Eastern countries on the Mediterranean Sea” pointing out that through “analyzing our similitudes, we find that we are very close in culture and history as well as political views”.

Palladion explains that the main example of likeness between the European and Middle Eastern countries in the Mediterranean zone is the fight against terrorism saying that “terrorists have engulfed Syria as it did in Paris and Brussels; so we have to be close as much as possible to solve it.”

When asked about the concerns over the wave of terrorism that has extended from the Middle East to Europe and the delegation’s expectations from their visit, Palladino said, “We aim to launch a signal through this activity to have the Europeans understand that there is an alternative to the official relation between Europe and Arab countries.”

“Take Saudi Arabia for example, our government and politicians have diplomatic ties with it; Saudi Arabia is killing the Yemeni people and no one in the West spoke out” Palladino said.

He added that “everyone in Europe considers Hizbullah as a terrorist organization, but no one speaks of the situation in Yemen where our military planes are sold to Saudi Arabia and are used to kill the Yemenis.”

On the level of Hizbullah’s fight against terrorism in Syria, Palladion said that the group “gives the best example it can give to the world” shedding light on the fact that now Hizbullah and its martyrs are the best answer against terrorism.

“It is not a terrorist organization! Hizbullah is fighting outside its territory and spending weapons, money and lives to defend the freedom and security of Syria and the Syrian people,” he added.

Palladino went on to say that “No one can hide the sacrifices of Hizbullah in Syria in the same manner that no one can hide the crimes of Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen as well as their public attack against Iran!”

He indicated that “now, people in Italy are getting their information directly from the source – your website for example – via the internet, and they no longer depend on the official media for news” explaining that Europeans are becoming more aware of the truth and their view Hizbullah.

To be continued…

Source: al-Ahed News

 

28-05-2016 | 16:43

USA anti-Muslim groups fund Europe’s israel lobby: encouraging discord

US anti-Muslim groups fund Europe’s Israel lobby:

Former European commissioner Antonio Tajani was also on the board of a key Israel lobby group. (EPP/Flickr)

 

The Israel lobby has established a “firm presence in Brussels,” the de facto capital of the European Union, according to a new report.

Launched in London on Friday, The Israel Lobby and the European Union details the way many new Israel lobby groups were established in the years following the launch by Palestinians in 2005 of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

These include organizations such as the European Friends of Israel (EFI), a group founded within the European Parliament in 2006, and the Friends of Israel Initiative (FII), founded by former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar in 2010.

Published by lobbying transparency organization Spinwatch, the report contrasts the multiple millions of dollars in cash and resources at the lobby’s disposal with the extremely modest budget of pro-Palestinian groups in Brussels.

FII alone received known funding of $2,448,750 between 2010 and 2013. Meanwhile, the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine had just $12,400 at its disposal for its Brussels office in 2012.

The report’s lead author is The Electronic Intifada’s David Cronin.

Right-wing US billionaires

Most of the groups detailed in the report “are opaque about their sources of funding.”

But most Israel lobby money comes from the far right in the US, said report co-author David Miller, including from noted pro-Israel and pro-Republican billionaires.

The report notes that while European Friends of Israel is associated with the political right in Europe, the Friends of Israel Initiative is even further to the right.

“Although its founding members include many Europeans, its funders include key American players in the transatlantic Islamophobia network,” the report states.

This follows a trend in the United States: whereas the lobby there has traditionally aimed for bipartisan support for Israel, the issue is becoming more aligned with the right.

In a sign of this shift, support for the Palestinians among young Democratic Party voters has increased markedly over the last few years.

US funders of the lobby in Europe include billionare casino magnate and key Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, leading Islamophobic demagogue Daniel Pipes and Nina Rosenwald – heir to the Sears Roebuck fortune, dubbed by journalist Max Blumenthal “the sugar mama of anti-Muslim hate.”

Adelson owns Israel Hayom, a leading pro-government tabloid in Israel. He also bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal in December.

Last month the most widely read columnist there resigned over what he termed a “gag order” placed on him by Adelson, who apparently did not take kindly to the columnist writing critically about his casinos.

Influence at the top

The report states that the Israel lobby in the EU “works in close cooperation with the Israeli state. The talking points for pro-Israel groups in Brussels are largely identical to those drawn up by Israeli ministries.”

As the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza was starting, European Friends of Israel posted a set of arguments to social media acknowledging that Israeli diplomats wrote them.

The report notes one instance of an Israel lobbyist securing a job near the top of the EU hierarchy. “Before he was nominated as Italy’s EU commissioner in 2008,” it explains, “Antonio Tajani was a [member of the European Parliament] with Silvio Berlusconi’s party, then called Forza Italia. He was also a political board member of [European Friends of Israel].”

The report details Tajani’s efforts during his time in office at the EU to increase military and high-tech links between the EU and Israel.

“This indicates that the EU perceives strong relations with Israel as being beneficial to corporate interests,” the report states.

Reaction to BDS

The number of new pro-Israel groups shot up in the years following the formal 2005 foundation of the BDS movement by Palestinian civil society.

The report says that “some of the key players in the Israel lobby [in the EU] are Christian Zionists who hold divergent views from many of their non-Christian counterparts.”

These include the European Coalition for Israel and the Israel Allies Foundation.

Noted Christian Zionists include Dutch European Parliament member Bas Belder, “one of Israel’s top supporters in Brussels,” the report says.

Belder belongs to SGP, a Dutch party which says it is “committed to a secure existence for Israel in the territory that God has assigned to the Jewish people.”

His party is also against same-sex marriage. But that didn’t stop Belder chairing a briefing organized by the Israeli foreign ministry during the 2014 war on Gaza at which the keynote speaker was an Israeli propagandist who has claimed Israel as an LGBTQ haven, the report notes.

David Saranga, the former head of the Israeli foreign ministry’s hasbara, or propaganda, department, says Israel has “some of the most advanced gay rights legislation in the world” – a distraction strategy known as pinkwashing.

Ongoing battle

Putting the report’s findings in context, co-author David Miller said it was important to see all these lobby groups “as part of the wider Zionist movement.”

He called for them all to be put on a compulsory transparency register.

Miller said that there is a “real opportunity” now to press for these organizations to have their charitable status revoked.

As the report concludes: “The lobby appears increasingly nervous that the European Union will finally take some concrete measures against Israel.”

European Friends of Israel asked candidates in the 2014 European Parliament elections to sign a pledge “to oppose the boycott of the state of Israel in the European Parliament.”

It’s an “ongoing battle” Miller said at the launch on Friday.

Most UK Troops Going to Libya for ‘Protection’, it was that excuse that caused the problems in the first place

Most UK Troops Going to Libya for ‘Protection’

As Britain continues to draw up its plans to participate in an Italian-led invasion of Libya, political figures continue to maintain that the mission will officially be a “training” mission, and not one of combat.

Despite this, British military officials are quoted as saying that the vast majority of the estimated 1,000 British troops to be sent would be “protection” forces, and that only a very small fraction of the troops would ever engage in training.

It is common, in overseas deployments, for nations to include some “protection” troops to protect the other troops being sent. Libya is such a wreck, however, that keeping even a small contingent of legitimate “trainers” safe requires a major deployment of combat forces.

The whole “training” conceit is likely to evaporate pretty quickly at any rate, as the Libyan unity government on whose imprimatur the invasion would be predicated has virtually no real military of its own, and hence not much for the 6,000-troop Western European invasion force to “train.”

Europe’s foreign policy being determined by the USA controlled NATO wild card

NATO and the Bananazation of Western Europe

By Joan Roelofs | CounterPunch | February 19, 2016

shutterstock_344966537

The wars of NATO are well-publicized but NATO as an institution remains in the shadows. Does NATO aspire to be a world government? Why did Western European countries join and why have they remained part of the alliance? It is not an egalitarian organization. The United States dominates every aspect of it. Are these supposedly social democratic countries really democracies, or are they banana republics? The traditional banana republic has democratic institutions, but is controlled by military and financial elites which are vassals of the United States.

Why NATO was formed is controversial. The official US justification was fear of an invasion by the Soviet Union to promote communism in Western Europe. There was never any evidence that this might happen, but then anything is possible.

There is evidence that other motives were more important. One was to facilitate the re-arming of Germany by embedding it in a larger military grouping. Western European countries were wary of an independent German military establishment. Another was the desire of pro-capitalist elites to prevent domestic socialist or communist electoral or revolutionary victories. This was much more of a threat than a Soviet invasion.

The founding treaty clearly states:

The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

The operative part is Article 5:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Members are not required to respond with military force; they can decide how far they want to go.

NATO, formed in 1949, now has twenty-eight full members: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

However, NATO is a vast empire with an expanding group of full members, plus networks, partnerships, associates, and guests. The Partnership for Peace includes: Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Montenegro, Malta, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan. These nations choose from a “menu” how far they want to go with NATO. Options include joint missions, combating terrorism, crisis response in the NATO Reaction Force (NRF), controlling mines and small arms, disaster rescue, war games, and scientific cooperation.

PfP members aspiring to full membership must have: weapons interoperability (e.g., Eastern Europe countries had to get rid of Russian and old Warsaw Pact arms in favor of Western ones), increase military spending to 2% of the GDP, purgepolitically unreliable” personnel from military, defense and security posts, train abroad in NATO military academies, host military exercises, and instruct the officer corps in English for joint overseas operations.

Other NATO associates are the Mediterranean Dialogue countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia; and the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates. Also, there are cooperating members: Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Republic of Korea. New Zealand, Mongolia. Informally cooperating are Colombia, Honduras, and El Salvador.

NATO’s aggressive “out of area” operations, have been multilateral, with willing participation of NATO members. The official military operations have been in Bosnia (1992-1994), Serbia and Kosovo (1999-present), Afghanistan (2001-present), counter piracy off Somalia coast (2008-present), Libya (2011), Turkey defense (2012-present).

NATO created a global army; the war in Afghanistan was fought by the largest military coalition in history. Finnish and Swedish troops (not full members) have died there; their countries are considering joining NATO. The defeated countries of World War II, which had constitutional provisions and laws against offensive military activity, including sending troops abroad, were also there. Italy and Germany sent troops and Japan provided support services.

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said last December:

NATO is playing a key role in the fight against ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) . . . All NATO allies are part of the coalition, the anti-ISIL coalition, and I think it’s of great importance for the coalition that both NATO allies but also many NATO partners are part of the coalition and they can take advantage of the interoperability that we have developed, our ability to work together which we have developed over many years through NATO military operations but also through NATO exercises. So the backbone of the forces in the coalition is provided by NATO and NATO partners.

NATO downplays its military nature and claims that it is simply the “premier organization of democratic nations.” This claim was part of the inducement for Eastern European countries to join. The new idea of both the US military and NATO is that security is no longer a territorial issue­–everything is relevant to it. Any policy of any nation anywhere in the world, concerning economics, human rights, the environment, secession movements, etc., may be a cause of terrorism or create an external threat that needs to be thwarted in advance, by NATO.

NATO is closely connected to military, political, scientific, and corporate elites. Europe now has a huge military-industrial complex. BAE Systems, the largest military firm, is British owned, and has factories in New Hampshire, US, and many other places. The major Italian arms manufacturer, Finmeccanica, and French, Thales, are heavily government supported. EADS is a conglomerate headquartered in the Netherlands, with main subsidiaries in France, Germany and Spain. The Netherlands has recently announced a purchase of 37 F-35 fighter planes; some part of it is made there. Sweden also has a significant very high tech military industry.

The European Union is closely enmeshed with NATO. During its formative period, the original nations sent NATO ambassadors to Paris, its early headquarters. They developed a pro-NATO view which often differed from their governments. Currently, the EU executive and NATO both have headquarters in Brussels.

When information came out about the secret “Gladio” armies, about the thousands of nuclear weapons formerly and some still in Europe, nuclear waste dumps, and testing and use of DU weapons, it became clear that crucial NATO activities are unknown not only to the ordinary citizen, but also to parliamentary representatives and even prime ministers if they are not part of the inner circle. Denmark’s constitution and laws ban nuclear weapons, but they were in Greenland. The complicity of 14 European governments (East and West) in recent renditions of “suspects” was also a surprise to citizens of the greatest democracies. Sweden, not a member (but now a partner), has been secretly aiding NATO since the beginning.

NATO is building a massive new headquarters suitable for a global empire. Among its diverse activities are grants for many types of science research. Ukraine is now a major grantee in its science program, where a multinational capacity for disaster response is being developed. The multinational telemedicine system can be used for both civilian and military applications.

Another project studies images and perceptions of NATO among the five Global Partners in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea. “The project will conduct comprehensive comparative research of elite perceptions and media images of NATO as a global security actor to identify, measure, and raise global awareness, as well as extend knowledge of NATO in the region.”

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to a Turkish NATO funded researcher, Aziz Sancar, who studied the mechanism of DNA repair. Now that everything affects security, NATO sponsors research in women’s reproductive choices, sustainable development, leather tanning effluent toxicity, landscape architecture, and stained glass preservation. Many projects are conducted jointly by teams including NATO member and PfP nationals, facilitating the mentoring of initiates.

Economic, political, educational, and social activities give NATO a friendly face. Internships at its Brussels headquarters are offered to students of political science, international relations, security studies, economics, engineering, human resources, information technology, library science, aeronautics, and journalism. It gives grants to environmental and other organizations just like a philanthropic foundation. On the other hand, citizens who protest the “out of area” aggressions are often branded as extremists or simply ignored.

NATO training includes massive war games, in which all members and many partners participate. For example, in 2013, “Steadfast Jazz,” a live-fire exercise, included partners Ukraine, Finland, and Sweden.

A network of training institutions exists in Europe, and NATO members are also trained in US military colleges and our great universities. The Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Germany provides combat training, and links European forces with US National Guard units. The Marshall Center for Security Studies, also in Germany, features university-type military training, and like many of the war colleges, educates civilian leaders and potential leaders as well as military personnel.

Military training throughout the world is an important part of the US empire. The US Department of Defense/State Department joint report to Congress for 2014 states that 52,600 people from 155 nations were trained—but this does not include NATO members, Australia, Japan, or New Zealand, because they are not required for the report. All arms sales are accompanied by training.

The relationships acquired through training, conferences, seminars, and joint exercises are a source of considerable power, as these experiences help younger people to move up the ladder to civilian and military leadership in their countries.

Bases are also a source of influence. At one time there were more than 800 in Europe; now it is estimated that there are about 350. Originally, there were hundreds in Germany. Everywhere bases generate economic activity and also enable surveillance and influence, as explained in the fine study by Catherine Lutz, The Bases of Empire.

Why did Western European nations join and now remain in NATO?

There was the idea promoted that the Soviet Union was poised to invade Western Europe. Its dissemination was aided by close links among the CIA, FBI, and foreign intelligence agencies. The foreign press was complicit, and in addition, the CIA and private foundations created new publications, such as Encounter in London, and others in France, Italy, Germany and elsewhere. Conferences, such as those of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, were held to lure European intellectuals away from socialist and pacifist ideologies.

Christian Democratic parties—bulwarks against communism and prime advocates of the “Atlantic alliance”—suddenly sprang up in many countries. They had been small entities before World War II; now they became governing parties, with an especially strong hold in Italy. The massive CIA funding to defeat the Italian Communist Party is well documented; there is evidence that similar activities were in place elsewhere in Europe. The NATO countries in turn financed Christian Democratic parties throughout Latin America.

Occupied Italy and Germany eventually joined NATO; they were already under the influence. In addition, some in those countries regarded membership as a sign of their conversion and redemption: they were with the “democratic” West. Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey were fascist countries, so militarism and anti-communism were natural for them.

But why the social democratic countries?

There was fear that Germany might develop an independent military, so embedding any future German army in a US led coalition was reassuring. Besides, the economic costs of each country creating its own high tech military seemed daunting. The UN Charter, which outlawed war, did not forbid national armies or regional alliances. In addition, the officials in the defense ministries of otherwise progressive countries tended to be conservative and believers in armed preparedness. The NATO alliance appeared especially useful in controlling socialist and communist parties within their countries. Those parties generally opposed NATO so had to be countered on that ground alone.

Ongoing support for NATO had the help of the Bilderberg group. This conspiratorial elite first met in the Netherlands in 1954, and consists of the power elite and potential leaders of North America and Western Europe. The group was especially concerned with the threat of socialism or communism from whatever source and was strongly oriented toward the Atlantic alliance. No formal resolutions are made or policies adopted. It is assumed that the members will apply the sense of the meeting in their exalted positions.

Public opinion in war-torn and impoverished Europe was influenced by Marshall Plan aid, which warmed up attitudes toward the US. A spinoff of the loan program was the repayment in local currency. These funds enabled the US to covertly or sometimes overtly subsidize center and right-wing citizen organizations, political parties, and unions

One example is the Labour Party of Britain, which was a double threat. Clause 4 of its constitution called for nationalization of major industries, and its mainstream supported the post-war Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and opposed NATO. Secretly, the CIA lavishly funded and promoted a small conservative group in the party, organized around the Socialist Commentary journal. This group believed the Atlantic alliance was needed to forestall a Soviet invasion, and also held that given the “welfare state,” nationalization was no longer required. Those of this persuasion gradually moved into the party leadership.

Sweden, a neutral country and still not a full NATO member, nevertheless covertly collaborated with the US during World War II. It established a resistance army, to combat a possible Nazi invasion. This was a model for the secret “fall-back” armies which NATO later created throughout Western Europe, including in neutral Sweden and Switzerland.

Known as the “Gladio” project, the name of the Italian branch, they were presumably to offer resistance to a Soviet invasion. However, later government investigations, in Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland, found them complicit in domestic terrorism, political manipulations, and neo-Nazi activities. The existence of these armies was not known to the public, journalists, or most European politicians until after 1990.

Sweden cooperated with NATO all along, even though policies enacted during the administration of Prime Minister Olaf Palme forbade any war planning with NATO. The Swedish Security Service, military and intelligence agencies collaborated with the US, and their strong connections in the public broadcasting system gave them great influence over public opinion. Furthermore, the very important Swedish defense industry is intertwined with US military technology, and contrary to public policy, was sending weapons to the US for use in its war against Iraq. In 2009, war games “Loyal Arrow” were conducted by 10 countries in Northern Sweden, as a preliminary move to extend US and NATO military presence into Arctic regions—and confronting Russia in that area.

Norway would have preferred a Scandinavian alliance, but when this didn’t happen, it joined NATO, and this influenced Denmark and Iceland to follow. The (conservative) Icelandic Foreign Minister had been part of secret talks with the US regarding landing rights and hoped that a NATO installation would dampen the strong communist and socialist movements. Pressure was put on the reluctant public by suggesting that the Soviet fishing fleet near Iceland was really a military force that would occupy Iceland along with a “fifth column” of Icelandic socialists.

Denmark was reluctant to join NATO, but was persuaded. However, the public and even most political leaders were unaware of the plans for nuclear installations in Greenland that were part of secret agreements. These were illegal and unconstitutional in Denmark.

The French and Dutch joined, although there was much dissent. Under the leadership of DeGaulle, France opted out of the central command in 1966 and removed foreign occupation of military bases. However, it had its own nuclear armed military, and secret agreements to fight with NATO if trouble came. In 2009, France agreed to resume full membership.

The Dutch have been particularly unhappy about nuclear weapons, which are still present in Italy, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Turkey. Belgium was particularly hard hit economically by postwar developments, so the location of NATO headquarters in Brussels helped to cement attachment.

With the transformation and dissolution of the Soviet Union, many thought NATO was obsolete. However, the attacks of 9-11 created more enthusiasm. This was dampened by the invasion of Iraq (not an official NATO action) and Afghanistan, which invoked Article 5 on shaky grounds. Nevertheless, 50 nations participated in the Afghan attack, including, as mentioned previously, neutral Sweden and demilitarized Japan. More recent terrorism has revived support for NATO in Europe; France has drawn much closer.

Some believe that NATO’s activities and its very existence conflict with the spirit of the UN, while others maintain that NATO is an essential operating arm of UN collective security, with knowhow and extensive high-tech weaponry.

In the classical “banana republic,” the United States controls crucial foreign and/or domestic policies of another nation through ties with its military and intelligence institutions. Only now, there is resistance in the lands where bananas grow, while “social democratic,” “neutral,” and reputedly “pacifist” countries of Western Europe are slipping into bananazation. Ordinary citizens have strong anti-war feelings and continue protesting, yet the military, political, and corporate elites of Europe have increasingly become dependents or confederates of the US military-industrial complex.

Europol: 10,000 refugee children are missing

Europol: 10,000 refugee children are missing

Europol: 10,000 refugee children are missing

The EU’s criminal intelligence agency has warned of pan-European gangs that are taking advantage of Europe’s refugee crisis to find sex and labor slaves

World Bulletin / News Desk

Over 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children have disappeared in Europe, the EU police agency Europol said on Sunday, adding that it fears many have been whisked away into sex trafficking rings. 

Europol‘s press office confirmed to AFP the figures published in British newspaper The Observer.

The agency’s chief of staff Brian Donald told the newspaper that the figures are for children who disappeared from the system after registering with state authorities following their arrival in Europe.

“It’s not unreasonable to say that we’re looking at 10,000-plus children,” Donald said, adding that 5,000 had disappeared in Italy alone.

“Not all of them will be criminally exploited; some might have been passed on to family members. We just don’t know where they are, what they’re doing or whom they are with.”

Over one million refugees and refugees, many fleeing the conflict in Syria, crossed into Europe last year.

Europol estimates that 27 percent of them are children, the Observer said.

“Whether they are registered or not, we’re talking about 270,000 children,” Donald told the paper.

“Not all of those are unaccompanied, but we also have evidence that a large proportion might be,” he said, adding that the 10,000 is likely to be a conservative estimate. 

UK pressed to detail 3,000 refugee orphan plan

Erdogan, the terrorist gangster family caught in new scandal

Erdogan’s Family Caught in New Scandal

15601765

Italian PM Renzi in Knesset: BDS is “futile and stupid”. No worries then?

Italian PM in Knesset: BDS is “futile and stupid”

During his visit to Israel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi gave a speech to the Knesset in which he stressed the relationship and friendship between Italy and Israel, affirming that “Italy will always be in the front line against all forms of boycott, which are futile and stupid “.

In protest, BDS Italia movement said that Renzi’s statement demonstrates his “utter lack of knowledge of the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) launched in July 2005 by a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society as a necessary and moral response to the failure of international institutions to halt Israel’s continuing violations of international law.” [1]

Statement by BDS Italia said that Israel, for decades and with complete impunity, has carried out policies of occupation and colonization, appropriating Palestinian land and resources, building settlements and the Apartheid Wall, approved laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel and forced half of the Palestinian population to live as refugees or in exile. [2]

A year after the operation “Protective Edge”, Israel’s third military operation bombarding the Gaza Strip in five years, which caused the death of over 2,200 people, the vast majority civilians and a quarter of them children, Israel continues to prevent the reconstruction of the 18,000 homes damaged with the illegal blockade it has imposed for eight years. [3]

“BDS serves to break the status quo in which Israel continues to violate rights with impunity, thanks to the inaction of States and institutions, and businesses, including Italian firms, continue to profit from this illegal situation,” BDS Italia said. [4 ]

“In these ten years, the BDS movement has grown steadily, garnering ever more consensus and successes. Among the endorsers of the campaign are trade unions, movements, churches, NGOs, artists and intellectuals, including Ken Loach, Naomi Klein, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and South African Archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu. Thanks to the work of civil society around the world, businesses, banks and pension funds have divested from the Israeli economy and complicit international companies and consumers refuse to buy Israeli products,” they added. [5]

The boycott is a recognized and time-honored non-violent means to apply pressure and withdraw support from systems of injustice, just as was the case of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Now more than ever, the BDS campaign in Italy must be intensified in order to end complicity of Italian institutions and companies.

BDS concluded by saying that it is “futile and stupid” to continue to ignore the violations of Israel instead of taking concrete measures to ensure respect for human rights, international humanitarian law and UN resolutions and support the Palestinian call for freedom, justice and equality.

BDS Italia is a movement supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, comprised of associations and groups throughout Italy, who endorse the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society and work to promote BDS campaigns and initiatives locally and nationally.

[1] The Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) 

Endorsements in Italy:

[2] The Discriminatory Laws Database
      Palestinian refugee numbers / whereabouts

[3] Fragmented lives Humanitarian Overview 2014

Eight months after Gaza war, ‘not a single home has been rebuilt’ – UN agency

The Gaza Strip: The Humanitarian Impact of the Blockade

[4] The multi-utility ACEA SpA signed an agreement with Mekorot, Israel’s national water company,       which extracts water from Palestinians aquifers and serves the illegal Israeli settlements.

Pizzarotti SpA is building the high speed railway linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which cuts through the occupied West Bank, confiscating Palestinian land for a tranportation system reserved for Israelis only.

Alenia Aermacchi sold 30 M-346 trainer jets to Israel.

In January of this year, the same Israeli pilots who razed entire neighborhoods in Gaza last summer began training with the “Made in Italy” aircraft.

[5] The key successes of the BDS movement

 

Germany suffers yet another historic defeat

by Dmitry Lekukh

July 10, 2015

Original article: http://www.odnako.org/blogs/germaniya-opyat-terpit-istoricheskoe-porazhenie/

Translated by Timofei

Really, something of the sort was bound to happen sooner or later, if not in Greece or in Spain, then in Portugal, or maybe even in Italy itself, which would be the most tragic option for the “United Europe”.

The inevitability of a systemic crisis was inherent in the very structure of the European Union and the “eurozone”. The important thing is that it occurred before the time it was “due”, as the economies of the “southern Euro” have not been completely obliterated, and their citizens are turning out to have a fairly strong will to resist.

Let us consider this with Greece as our example.

In the beginning, the banks of northern Europe, mainly those of Germany and France, pumped the economy, the banks and the populace of Greece full of easy and poorly secured credit money, which went mainly into fueling an increase in consumption.

After that, about five years ago, the Greek financial system entered a pre-default state, and the “new lender troika” came “to the rescue”: the European Commission, the European Central Bank and – couldn’t do without this “wonder of nature”, now could we – the International Monetary Fund. De-facto, it took over the debt to original banks, transformed the private loans made to Greek entities into Greek state debt and forced Athens to accept an “aid program”.

Over the five years, just as it was intended, the “aid program”, whose money, it has to be noted, mainly went into repaying loans to the very same German and French banks, predictably led to a 25% drop in GDP, a 60% youth unemployment level and a major decrease in Greek quality of life in general.

The debt became essentially impossible to repay.

Meanwhile, the “troika” continues to demand that Greece reach a primary budget surplus exceeding 3% of GDP (!), despite it being clear that these conditions would signify a further contraction of the economy in general and certain death for the last functional sectors of the economy, tourism and agriculture.

In essence, this is premeditated murder, followed by post-mortem debt slavery – there is no other way to describe that.

The funniest thing here is that, in the meanwhile, the remaining economies of Mediterranean Europe – Spain, Portugal and, with some irregularities, Italy – continue their descent into debt slavery via similar, though “softer” schemes.

Through these means, Germany, and partially also France, become the chief supervisors andgauleiters of the USA in Europe because of purely economic reasons. There’s nothing principally new here – it was through approximately similar means that the Moscow princes obtained the right of supremacy from the Khans of the Golden Horde.

But then, something unforeseen happens: the Greeks revolt. First they bring the “non-systemic” SYRIZA and Tsipras into power, then they set up a referendum that fully observes all rules and norms. Only after that they “display readiness for further negotiations”, but what negotiations could be held with these brazen Greeks now?

The problem here is not Greece – God knows, it’s not really significant for the “big European home”. The problem is that no matter what will be decided – it really doesn’t matter, at all! – Greece has created a precedent.

If you write off their debts, Spain and Italy will come for their turn with their trillion-sized debts – what are they, red-headed stepchildren? If you let them declare default and kick them out of the “eurozone”, you’ll show everyone else how to escape, first from the “eurozone”, then from the European Union, and after that, who knows, maybe from NATO itself – after all, if you go, then go all the way. This last bit, however, is unacceptable, not for Germany and the “euro-atlantic” crowd, but rather for their suzerain from the Shining City on the Hill, infinitely distant from the current troubles of Greece.

In short, it ain’t fun.

Thus, all that remains is to look for some sort of “compromise”, some “provisional decision”, which can now be anything but “good” for the new “Northern European vassal hegemons”. At best, it can be not particularly bad.

About the author: Dmitry Lekukh was born in 1965. Graduated from the Gorkiy Institute of Literature.Entrepreneur, journalist, writer. Authored several books on the football fan movement in Russia: “We’ll Come to You”, “Angel Behind the Right Shoulder”, “White Minority Hardcore”, “I’m Russian”. Actively participated in the ultra-right faction among the fans of Moscow FC “Spartak” in the recent past.

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!

Four Years After Gadhafi, Libya Is a Failed State Over Run by Terrorists

Four Years After Gadhafi, Libya Is a Failed State

Source: Giorgio Cafiero and Daniel Wagner

Weapons are pouring out of Africa’s most oil-rich country while extremist fighters tumble inNearly four years after NATO-backed rebels toppled the former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, the North Africa country has plunged into chaotic unrest.

The failure of last year’s election to achieve political unity in Libya was most evident when Fajr Libya, or “Libya Dawn” – a diverse coalition of armed groups that includes an array of Islamist militias – rejected the election’s outcome and seized control of Tripoli. The internationally recognized government relocated to Tobruk, situated in eastern Libya along the Mediterranean coast near the Egyptian border, while Libya Dawn set up a rival government, known as the new General National Congress, in the capital.

As forces aligned with the Tobruk government have fought Libya Dawn, the conflict has gradually become internationalized. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have launched air strikes targeting Libya Dawn, while Turkey, Qatar, and Sudan are believed to have provided the Islamist-dominated coalition with varying degrees of support.

The emergence of Daesh (the so-called “Islamic State”) in strategically vital areas of Libya has further complicated the conflict in Africa’s most oil-rich country and raised security concerns in nearby states.

Libya’s Most Polarizing General

The mercurial general Khalifa Belqasim Haftar has emerged as an influential, yet highly divisive, leader in this bloody conflict.

In early March, the anti-Islamist general was appointed commander of the armed forces loyal to the Tobruk government. Haftar’s role in the former Gaddafi regime, his cozy relationship with Washington, and suspicions about his long-term ambitions have given him a controversial reputation among many Libyans. Nonetheless, he’s also gaining respect from those who share his vitriol for Islamists.

Haftar was an early Gaddafi loyalist, and played an important role as one of the “Free Officers” in the 1969 revolution that toppled the monarchy led by King Idris al-Sanusi. Gaddafi later said that Haftar “was my son… and I was like his spiritual father.” It was the start of a military career in which Haftar fought on many different sides.

During the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, Haftar led a Libyan battalion. Later, as a commander of Libyan forces in the country’s 1980-1987 war with Chad, he was allegedly responsible for war crimes when his forces were accused of using napalm and poison gas.

In 1987, the Chadian military scored a major victory in the battle of Wadi al-Doum. In addition to killing more than 1,000 Libyan forces, Chad took over 400 Libyans, including Haftar, as prisoners.

Around that time, Haftar’s loyalties shifted.

While held in Chad, Haftar worked with other Libyan officers to coordinate a coup against Gaddafi, before the United States secured his release – by airlifting him and 300 of his men to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and from there to Virginia.

As a newly minted U.S. citizen, Haftar lived in northern Virginia from 1990 to 2011, spending part of this time working with the CIA before returning to Libya in March 2011 to fight once again against the Gaddafi regime. Several sources insist that Haftar was out of the CIA’s hands by 2011, but others maintain that the US government orchestrated his return to Libya that year.

Libya’s Civil War

Last year, Haftar called for the unilateral dissolution of Libya’s parliament and the establishment of a “presidential committee” to rule the country until new elections were held. Haftar cited Libya’s “upheaval” as justification for the armed forces to take over.

Many saw his act as an attempted military coup aimed at crushing the Muslim Brotherhood, which had won second place in Libya’s 2012 elections. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan dismissed his announcement as “ridiculous”.

Although many in Libya’s government viewed him as a rogue general hungry for power, his ongoing campaign against Islamist forces has gradually won him supporters. Last May, Haftar waged a campaign called “Operation Dignity” to “eliminate extremist terrorist groups” in the country. Since then, the Tobruk-based government has by and large come to support the general, viewing him as the government’s best bet in the struggle against its Islamist enemies.

Haftar’s anti-Islamist crusade parallels that of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, who is presiding over a crackdown on Egypt’s Islamists. In making no distinction between so-called moderate Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood and hardline factions such as Daesh and Ansar al-Sharia (an al-Qaeda affiliate), Haftar and Sisi are both selling a narrative to the West that their anti-Islamist positions are in sync with the “global war on terror.”

So far, Haftar has been unwilling to negotiate with Libya Dawn – which contains the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing and the “Loyalty to Martyrs” bloc within its coalition. In turn, Libya Dawn refuses to negotiate with Haftar.

The United Nations has begun hosting talks in Morocco between Libya’s various political factions in an effort to unite them against the growing threat of Daesh. Unfortunately, the UN’s efforts to push Libya’s two governments toward dialogue is undermined by the low levels of trust between them, and their mutual belief that only through continued armed struggle can they secure more territory and resources. Indeed, with strong backing from Cairo and Abu Dhabi, Haftar is likely convinced that he can make greater gains through warfare than diplomacy.

The toxic legacy of Gaddafi’s divisive and authoritarian regime, which pitted Libya’s diverse factions against one another, has plagued the prospects for any central authority gaining widespread legitimacy in the war-torn country. Indeed, since he was overthrown in 2011, Libya has turned into a cauldron of anarchy, with little meaningful security existing outside of Tripoli and Benghazi.

Gaddafi’s regime harshly oppressed the Islamist groups that went on to form Libya Dawn, which views its rise to power in Tripoli as hard fought and a long time in coming. They view Haftar as a war criminal from the ancien regime committed to their elimination, which will certainly undermine the potential for Libya’s two governments to reach a meaningful power-sharing agreement. With no peace in sight, a continuation of the bloody stalemate between the Tobruk and Tripoli-based governments seems most likely.

International Implications of Libya’s Turmoil

The fall of Gaddafi launched a geopolitical tsunami across Africa and into the Middle East.

Libya is now home to the world’s largest loose arms cache, and its porous borders are routinely transited by a host of heavily armed non-state actors – including the Tuareg separatists and jihadists who forced Mali’s national military from Timbuktu and Gao in March 2012 with newly acquired weapons from Libya. The UN has also documented the flow of arms from Libya into Egypt, Gaza, Niger, Somalia, and Syria.

Last October, 800 fighters loyal to Daesh seized control of Derna near the Egyptian border, some 200 miles from the European Union. Since then, Daesh’s Libyan branch has taken control of Sirte and gained a degree of influence in Benghazi, the nation’s second largest city and heart of the 2011 uprising against Gaddafi.

The group’s use of Libyan territory to terrorize and threaten other states has raised the international stakes. In February, Daesh beheaded 21 migrant workers from Egypt because they were Coptic Christians, then released a propaganda video containing footage of the heinous act. That lured Egypt into waging direct air strikes against the group’s targets in Derna.

Last November, Ansar Bait al-Maqdis – the dominant jihadist group in the Egyptian Sinai – pledged allegiance to Daesh, as did Nigeria’s Boko Haram more recently. Daesh has also made direct threats against Italy, prompting officials in Rome to warn that Italy’s military may intervene in Libya to counter Daesh’s fighters.

One quarter of Daesh’s fighters in Derna come from other Arab countries and Afghanistan. A major influx of Jabhat al-Nusra fighters from Syria have also entered the fray in Libya, underscoring how Islamist extremists from lands far away have exploited Libya’s status as a failed state. This development was most recently underscored when a Sudanese member of Daesh’s Libya division carried out a suicide attack on April 5th, which targeted a security checkpoint near Misrata. The bloody incident resulted in four deaths and over 20 injuries.

The number of weak or failing states across Africa suggests that such international networks will continue to take advantage of frail central authorities and lawlessness throughout the extremely underdeveloped Sahel and other areas of the continent to spread their influence. In the absence of any political resolution to its civil war, Libya in particular – as a failed state with mountainous oil reserves – will remain vulnerable to extremist forces hoping to seize power amidst the ongoing morass.

Giorgio Cafiero is Co-Founder of Gulf State Analytics. Daniel Wagner is CEO of Country Risk Solutions.

Signs that the EU is coming to its senses over the dangerous course the US is driving in regards to Russia

Wobbles in US-EU axis against Russia

The latest wobble in the Washington-Brussels axis against Russia, as expressed this week by Francois Hollande, has to be seen as good news. In that, at last, finally, official Europe is coming to its senses about the dangerous course the US is driving.

French President Francois Hollande this week called for an end to Western sanctions on Russia. He is the latest senior European political figure to express misgivings about the hostile policy that Washington and Brussels have embarked on against Russia over the year-old Ukrainian crisis.

Hollande was speaking during a traditional New Year interview with French media covering a range of issues, both domestic and international. Referring to upcoming political negotiations in Kazakhstan aimed at finding an end to the Ukraine conflict, Hollande said that he was in favor of lifting sanctions imposed on Russia “if progress was made” at the talks.

Russia sanctions 'must be lifted now' - Hollande

Senior French, German and Russian officials are to meet in the Kazakh capital Astana on January 15, along with representatives from Ukraine.

The aim is to find a lasting solution to the violence that has been raging in eastern Ukraine since last April. That conflict has taken nearly 5,000 lives and threatens to escalate, despite a shaky ceasefire put in place last month.

As a preliminary to the Astana summit, officials from the above countries were meeting in Berlin this week to sketch out a possible agreement. Significantly, American officials are not involved, even though Washington is closely aligned with the regime in Kiev that seized power illegally last February, and which has launched a military offensive on the eastern Donbas Russian-speaking population, who refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the coup.

Washington and Brussels have sought to blame Russia for the crisis, claiming that Moscow is fueling separatist fighters in Donbas to undermine the Western-backed Kiev regime. Russia has repeatedly denied any such involvement. Moscow has pointed to the dearth of evidence for Western claims. It says the crisis stems from the illegal intervention in the internal affairs of Ukraine by the Western states, and that the ethnic Russian populations of Crimea and the eastern regions have simply responded, out of their own volition, with dissent towards the neo-Nazi anti-Russian regime that seized power in Kiev.

The Washington-Brussels axis has slapped economic and diplomatic sanctions on Russia, which have been met by counter-sanctions from Moscow. The deterioration in relations is not only having economic impacts on Russia, it is rebounding to cast a pall over Europe’s own faltering economy. Trade and commerce between Russia and the European Union are tenfold than between Russia and the US, so in the unfolding economic war the EU has much more to lose than Washington.

This partly explains why EU leaders are increasingly showing trepidation over the widening impasse.

“France seeks end to Russia sanctions over Ukraine,” reported the BBC this week on Hollande’s public call for restraint. The French leader is the latest high-profile EU figure expressing serious doubts about the Washington-Brussels aggressive policy towards Russia.

As the BBC report added: “Politicians in Italy, Hungary and Slovakia are among those who want the sanctions eased.”

To that list we could append Germany, Austria, Spain, Greece, Czech Republic and Bulgaria, among others.

Last weekend, Czech President Milos Zeman deplored the warmongering attitude of the Kiev regime, denouncing the CIA-installed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as “the prime minister of war.”

The day before Hollande made his comments, Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warned against sanctions bringing Russia “to its knees” and risking “a conflagration.”

German Vice Chancellor, Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel (L) and Chancellor Angela .

Germany’s second highest politician, and deputy to Chancellor Angela Merkel, is thus giving notice of significant opposition to the Washington-Brussels axis and its anti-Russian policy, which his boss, Merkel, has been up to now an ardent supporter of.

Gabriel told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the Washington-led policy is ruinous. “The goal was never to push Russia politically and economically into chaos,” said Gabriel, a member of the Social Democrat party, which historically prefers cordial relations with Russia.

In a hint at malign external forces thriving on conflict between Europe and Russia, Gabriel noted:

“Whoever wants that [Russia’s political and economic chaos] will provoke a much more dangerous situation for all of us in Europe.”

At the end of last month, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a fellow Social Democrat member, also voiced disquiet over the Washington-Brussels axis that Merkel has dutifully followed.

German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier

“It cannot be in our interests that this runs out of control. We need to keep this in mind in our sanctions policy,” said Germany’s top diplomat, as reported in Deutsche Welle on December 19.

Hollande’s latest high-profile call for a reversal in policy towards Russia is not based on vague altruism. France, like Germany, is feeling the brunt of the sanctions war.

French unemployment hit a record high at the end of the year, reaching near 3.5 million or 10.5 per cent of the workforce. Bad news on the parlous state of the French economy keeps on piling up, and Hollande’s personal rating among increasingly angry French voters keeps on plumbing new depths.

European citizens know that the crisis over Ukraine and between Europe and Russia is wholly unnecessary. They know that the tensions have been whipped up by Washington for its own selfish strategic interests of driving a wedge into the continent. Up to now, EU leaders have stupidly gone along with this reckless policy even though it is rebounding in further economic hardship for EU citizens and risking an all-out war.

The latest wobble in the Washington-Brussels axis against Russia, as expressed this week by Francois Hollande, has to be seen as good news. In that, at last, finally, official Europe is coming to its senses about the dangerous course the US is driving.

A political theme that has gained momentum over the past year is the “democratic deficit” across the EU that is alienating millions of its citizens. What more disturbing democratic deficit can you get than Brussels slavishly following Washington’s warmongering policy against Russia – in total detriment to the interests of EU citizens over crucial matters of their livelihoods and ultimately over the risk of an all-out war in Europe.

agent cameron VNN

British mis-leader David Cameron is too much of an American puppet to ever come to his senses. But with France’s Hollande now beginning to show some long overdue common sense towards Russia, there may be grounds to believe that European governments are waking up to the recklessness of the Washington-Brussels axis against Russia – and ditching it.


Crosstalk: US-EU-Russia sanctions, who’s winning?

Published on Sep 12, 2014
Discussion of the American+EU sanctions against Russia, and tit-for-tat Russian sanctions on America and European Union…… who’s winning….

Crosstalking with Mitch Feirestein, author of Planet Ponzi and investor, Liam Halligan, Business New Europe, Art Franczek, American Institute Of Business And Economics.

 

CALL IT COLONIALISM, CALL IT OCCUPATION – JUST DON’T CALL IT ‘APARTHEID’

For many years I have been insisting that Israel is not apartheid and has never been one.

While apartheid is a system of exploitation, the Jewish State is a racially driven ethnic cleanser, it wants the Palestinians gone. Tagging Israel as a ‘colonial state’ and an ‘apartheid’ apparatus was introduced by the Jewish Left – for the obvious reason that they wanted to disguise the extent of the crime committed by Jewish nationalism. They want to convey the image that Israeli aggression isn’t really different from British, French and Dutch colonialism nor that it is different from South Africa or Southern USA Apartheid. But the truth of the matter is embarrassing. Zionism and Israeli aggression are unique phenomena.

But “if apartheid is not the right term, what is a better term?” The Jewish Left attempts to introduce a new spin, they call it now “settler colonialism” and a “pro-settler military occupation” but the truth is very simple to grasp. Being an expansionist, racist and ethnic cleanser, the Jewish State is a Nazi like operation. This is the truth the Jewish Left attempts to disguise.       

Call it colonialism, call it occupation – just don’t call it ‘apartheid’

‘Apartheid’ is rapidly becoming the new political term of condemnation and delegitimization in international politics. But is it truly the best description of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians? 

By Thomas Mitchell

Is apartheid an appropriate term to describe Israel’s occupation of the West Bank? In an article published on +972 late last year, Ran Greenstein argued that it is, relying on international law rather than historical grounds admitting that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is different—but not better—than South Africa between 1948 and 1994. “Apartheid” is rapidly becoming the new political term of condemnation and delegitimization in international politics. It is rapidly replacing fascism as that term. India used to refer to the nuclear non-proliferation regime as “nuclear apartheid.” But the process is instructive.

Fascism is the term used to describe the ideology and rule of the Fascist Party in Italy between 1922 and 1945 and more broadly to describe the ideology of similar parties in Europe in that period. But since the 1930s it has become a general term of abuse that is so overused that the only thing that one can meaningfully discern from its use is that the person wielding the term does not approve of its object. How did this come about?

In the 1930s the International Communist Movement, which was an ideological and political enemy of Italian fascism and German National Socialism, came up with an official definition of fascism tying it to capitalism. It then became a general term of abuse to use against any group that disagreed with the political line of the Soviet Union at the time. Social democrats in France were labeled “social fascists” when the French Socialist Party condemned the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact in August 1939. After this it was used by fellow travelers and Communists to describe anyone who was an opponent of the Soviet Union. Because of the alliance between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany the term was soon applied to Nazi Germany and eventually to all the Axis allies during World War II. Because the two countries were allies and their ideologies were very similar there was justification in using the term for Nazi Germany.

Apartheid in the Republic of South Africa. A beach for Whites only near the integrated fishing village of Kalk Bay, not far from Capetown. January 1, 1970. (UN Photo/KM)

But after World War II the terms fascist and Nazi became general terms of abuse, especially by those on the Left mirroring the similar use of the term Communist by those on the Right.

During the period of decolonization in Africa in the late 1960s and early 1970s the core of sub-Saharan Africa—the independent African countries—and the core of the Middle East—the Sunni Arab regimes—formed a political alliance in international forums. The Africans would support the Arabs against Israel in exchange for the Arabs supporting the black states against white minority regimes and Portuguese colonialism. This became part of the non-aligned movement—that at one point was headed by the very aligned Cuba. The result was a counter-alliance between Jerusalem and Pretoria formed in the mid-1970s by the Labor Party and intensified under the Likud after it came to power in 1977.

Greenstein quotes the official UN definition of apartheid: “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin.” Does he really believe that there were no instances of such in black Africa or in the Middle East, two regions infamous for ethnic power in multi-ethnic states? Why was the term apartheid not applied to the Hutu genocidal regime in Rwanda in 1993-94? Because applying the term apartheid to one black regime in Africa would make many others subject to its use. Why has the term not been applied to discrimination by the Ba’athist regimes in Iraq and Syria against the Kurds? Because the Kurds are part of the periphery in the Middle East and the Arabs are part of the core.

Greenstein ends his article by asking the question: if apartheid is not the right term, what is a better term? Here are two: “settler colonialism” and a “pro-settler military occupation.” Both are as applicable to Algeria as they are to South Africa. By bringing up Algeria this may have the fringe benefit of focusing attention on the negative effect of Israel’s party system, which is very similar to that of the French Fourth Republic.

Historians would have problems with applying the term apartheid to the Portuguese colonial regimes in Angola and Mozambique, which clearly fit the legal definition that Greenstein supplies. But they would not fit a historical definition because the Algerian settler regimes were not examples of herrenvolk democracy—master race democracy where the vote is reserved for whites. The Portuguese regimes were not democracies of any type and theoretically blacks could become full citizens, although only about one percent of blacks met the qualifications. Even the Rhodesian Front regime in Rhodesia between 1965 and 1979, which modeled itself on South African apartheid, gave the vote to some Africans. Outside of South Africa, South African-occupied Namibia, and Rhodesia the use of the term apartheid sheds little light on a situation but is simply the latest politically-correct word of abuse.

Thomas Mitchell has written three books comparing Israel with South Africa and Northern Ireland, and wrote his doctoral dissertation on internal settlements in Namibia, Rhodesia, and South Africa.

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The ‘Arab spring’ and the west: seven lessons from history

http://platform.twitter.com/widgets/hub.1324331373.htmlDrawing on the British Pathé archive, Seumas Milne picks out the recurrent themes of imperial efforts to control the Middle East

guardian.co.uk, Monday 19 December 2011 10.41 EST

talat harb 1956/2011
October 2011: Egyptians in Talat Harb square, Cairo, protest against military rule; October 1956: Egyptians demonstrate in the same square against British-French invasion. Photograph: Getty/Associated Press

There’s a real sense in which, more than any other part of the former colonial world, the Middle East has never been fully decolonised. Sitting on top of the bulk of the globe’s oil reserves, the Arab world has been the target of continual interference and intervention ever since it became formally independent.

Carved into artificial states after the first world war, it’s been bombed and occupied – by the US, Israel, Britain and France – and locked down with US bases and western-backed tyrannies. As the Palestinian blogger Lina Al-Sharif tweeted on Armistice Day this year, the “reason World War One isn’t over yet is because we in the Middle East are still living the consequences”.

The Arab uprisings that erupted in Tunisia a year ago have focused on corruption, poverty and lack of freedom, rather than western domination or Israeli occupation. But the fact that they kicked off against western-backed dictatorships meant they posed an immediate threat to the strategic order.

Since the day Hosni Mubarak fell in Egypt, there has been a relentless counter-drive by the western powers and their Gulf allies to buy off, crush or hijack the Arab revolutions. And they’ve got a deep well of experience to draw on: every centre of the Arab uprisings, from Egypt to Yemen, has lived through decades of imperial domination. All the main Nato states that bombed Libya, for example – the US, Britain, France and Italy – have had troops occupying the country well within living memory.
If the Arab revolutions are going to take control of their future, then, they’ll need to have to keep an eye on their recent past. So here are seven lessons from the history of western Middle East meddling, courtesy of the archive of Pathé News, colonial-era voice of Perfidious Albion itself.

1. The west never gives up its drive to control the Middle East, whatever the setbacks

Take the last time Arab states started dropping out of the western orbit – in the 1950s, under the influence of Nasser’s pan-Arabism. In July 1958, radical Iraqi nationalist army officers overthrew a corrupt and repressive western-backed regime (sounds familiar?), garrisoned by British forces.

The 1958 revolution in Iraq. Link to this video

The ousting of the reliably pliant Iraqi monarchy threw Pathé into a panic. Oil-rich Iraq had become the “number one danger spot”, it warned in its first despatch on the events. Despite the “Harrow-educated” King Faisal’s “patriotism” – which “no one can question”, the voiceover assures us – events had moved too fast, “unfortunately for western policy”.

But within a few days – compared with the couple of months it took them to intervene in Libya this year – Britain and the US had moved thousands of troops into Jordan and Lebanon to protect two other client regimes from Nasserite revolt. Or, as Pathé News put it in its next report, to “stop the rot in the Middle East”
.

British troops fly out to Jordan, 1958. Link to this video

Nor did they have any intention of leaving revolutionary Iraq to its own devices. Less than five years later, in February 1963, US and British intelligence backed the bloody coup that first brought Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athists to power.

Fast forward to 2003, and the US and Britain had invaded and occupied the entire country. Iraq was finally back under full western control – at the cost of savage bloodletting and destruction. It was the strength of the Iraqi resistance that ultimately led to this week’s American withdrawal – but even after the pullout, 16,000 security contractors, trainers and others will remain under US command. In Iraq, as in the rest of the region, they never leave unless they’re forced to.

2. Imperial powers can usually be relied on to delude themselves about what Arabs actually think

Mussolini visits Libya, 1937. Link to this video

Could the Pathé News presenter – and the colonial occupiers of the day – really have believed that the “thousands of Arabs” showering petrified praise on the fascist dictator Mussolini as he drove through the streets of Tripoli in the Italian colony of Libya in 1937 actually meant it? You wouldn’t guess so to look at their cowed faces.

No hint from the newsreel that a third of the population of Libya had died under the brutality of Italian colonial rule, or of the heroic Libyan resistance movement led by Omar Mukhtar, hanged in an Italian concentration camp. But then the “mask of imperialism” the voiceover describes Mussolini as wearing fitted British politicians of the time just as well.

The Queen visits Aden, 1954. Link to this video

And Pathé’s report on the Queen’s visit to the British colony of Aden (now part of Yemen) a few years later was eerily similar, with “thousands of “cheering loyal subjects” shown supposedly welcoming “their own Queen” to what she blithely describes as an “outstanding example of colonial development”.

Qahtan Al-Shaebi and lord Shakilton signing South Yemen Independace agreement on Nov 7,1967

So outstanding in fact that barely a decade later the South Yemeni liberation movements forced British troops to evacuate the last outpost of empire after they had beaten, tortured and murdered their way through Aden’s Crater district: one ex-squaddie explained in a 2004 BBC documentary on Aden that he couldn’t go into details because of the risk of war crimes prosecutions.

Aden soldier 1953
A British soldier seizes a demonstrator in Aden’s Crater district in 1967. Photograph: Terry Fincher/Getty  

But then it’s far easier to see through the propaganda of other times and places than your own – especially when delivered by preposterous 1950s-style Harry Enfield/Cholmondley-Warner characters.

The neocons famously expected a cakewalk in Iraq and early US and British coverage of the invasion still had Iraqis throwing flowers at invading troops when armed resistance was already in full flow. And UK TV reports of British troops “protecting the local population” from the Taliban in Afghanistan can be strikingly reminiscent of 1950s newsreels from Aden and Suez.

Even during this year’s uprisings in Egypt and Libya, western media have often seen what they wanted to see in the crowds in Tahrir Square or Benghazi – only to be surprised, say, when Islamists end up calling the shots or winning elections. Whatever happens next, they’re likely not to get it.

3. The Big Powers are old hands at prettifying client regimes to keep the oil flowing

When it comes to the reactionary Gulf autocracies, to be fair, they don’t really bother. But before the anti-imperialist wave of the 1950s did for a slew of them, the British, French and Americans worked hard to dress up the stooge regimes of the time as forward-looking constitutional democracies.
Sometimes that effort came rapidly unstuck, as this breezy report on Libya’s “first major test of democracy” under the US-British puppet king Idris makes no effort to conceal.

Rioting in Libya, 1952. Link to this video

The brazen rigging of the 1952 elections against the Islamic opposition sparked rioting and all political parties were banned. Idris was later overthrown by Gaddafi, oil nationalised and the US Wheelus base closed – though today the king’s flag is flying again in Tripoli with Nato’s assistance, while western oil companies wait to collect their winnings.

Elections were also rigged and thousands of political prisoners tortured in 1950s Iraq. But so far as British officialdom – entrenched as “advisers” in Baghdad and their military base at Habbaniya – and the newsreels shown in British cinemas at the time were concerned, Faisal’s Iraq was a benign and “go-ahead” democracy.

The oilfields of Basra, 1952. Link to this video

Under the watchful eyes of the US and British ambassadors and “Mr Gibson” of the British Iraq Petroleum Company, we see the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Said, opening the Zubair oilfield near Basra in 1952 to bring “schools and hospitals” through the “joint labour of east and west”.

In fact that would only happen when oil was nationalised – and six years later Said was killed on the streets of Baghdad as he tried to escape dressed as a woman. Half a century on and the British were back in control of Basra, while today Iraqis are battling to prevent a new takeover of their oil in a devastated country US and British politicians again like to insist is a democracy.

Any “Arab spring” state that ditches self-determination for the west’s embrace can of course expect a similar makeover – just as client regimes that never left its orbit, such as the corrupt police state of Jordan, have always been hailed as islands of good government and “moderation”.

4. People in the Middle East don’t forget their history – even when the US and Europe does

The gap could hardly be wider. When Nasser’s former information minister and veteran journalist Mohamed Heikal recently warned that the Arab uprisings were being used to impose a new
“Sykes-Picot agreement” – the first world war carve-up of the Arab east between Britain and France – Arabs and others in the Middle East naturally knew exactly what he was talking about.

It has shaped the entire region and its relations with the west ever since. But to most non-specialists in Britain and France, Sykes-Picot might as well be an obscure brand of electric cheese-grater.

The same goes for more than a century of Anglo-American interference, occupation and anti-democratic subversion against Iran. British media expressed bafflement at popular Iranian hostility to Britain when the embassy in Tehran was trashed by demonstrators last month. But if you know the historical record, what could be less surprising?

The overthrow of Mossadegh, 1953. Link to this video

mossadegh trial
   Mossadegh, Iran’s ousted prime minister, during his trial in the wake of the
CIA-MI6 orchestrated coup that overthrew his elected government in 1953.
Photograph: AFP  

The Orwellian cynicism of Britain’s role is neatly captured in Pathé’s take on the 1953 overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadegh after he nationalised Iran’s oil.
Pro-Mossadegh demonstrators are portrayed as violent and destructive, while the violent CIA-MI6 organised coup that ousted him in favour of the Shah is welcomed as a popular and “dramatic turn of events”. The newsreel damns as a “virtual dictator” the elected Mossadegh, who at his subsequent treason trial expressed the hope that his fate would serve as an example in “breaking the chains of colonial servitude”. The real dictator, the western-backed Shah whose brutal autocracy paved the way for the Iranian revolution and the Islamic Republic 26 years later, is hailed as the people’s sovereign.

So when western politicians rail against Iranian authoritarianism or claim to champion democratic rights while continuing to prop up a string of Gulf dictatorships, there won’t be many in the Middle East who take them too seriously.

5. The west has always presented Arabs who insist on running their own affairs as fanatics

The revolutionary upheaval that began last December in Sidi Bouzid is far from being the first popular uprising against oppressive rule in Tunisia. In the 1950s the movement against French colonial rule was naturally denounced by colonial governments and their supporters as “extremist” and “terrorist”.
Pathé News certainly had no truck with their campaign for independence. In 1952, it blamed an attack on a police station on a “burst of nationalist agitation” across North Africa. And as colonial police conduct a “vigorous search for terrorists” – though the bewildered men being dragged from their homes at gunpoint look more like Captain Renault’s “usual suspects” in Casablanca – the presenter complains that “once again fanatics intervene and make matters worse”.

Tunisian nationalist riots, 1952. Link to this video

He meant the Tunisian nationalists, of course, rather than the French occupation regime. Arab nationalism has since been eclipsed by the rise of Islamist movements, who have in turn been dismissed as “fanatics”, both by the west and some former nationalists. As elections bring one Islamist party after another to power in the Arab world, the US and allies are trying to tame them – on foreign and economic policy, rather than interpretations of sharia. Those that succumb will become “moderates” – the rest will remain “fanatics”.

6. Foreign military intervention in the Middle East brings death, destruction and divide and rule

It’s scarcely necessary to dig into the archives to work that out. The experience of the last decade is clear enough. Whether it’s a full-scale invasion and occupation, such as Iraq, where hundreds of thousands have been killed, or aerial bombardment for regime change under the banner of “protecting civilians” in Libya, where tens of thousands have died, the human and social costs have been catastrophic.

And that’s been true throughout the baleful history of western involvement in the Middle East. Pathé’s silent film of the devastation of Damascus by French colonial forces during the Syrian revolt of 1925 might as well be of Falluja in 2004 or Sirte this autumn – if you ignore the fezzes and pith helmets.

The defence of Damascus, 1925. Link to this video
british troops port said two

British troops surround hungry crowds in front of the ruins of Port Said, destroyed during the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt in 1956.
Photograph: Getty

Thirty years later and Port Said looked pretty similar during the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt in 1956 that marked the replacement of the former European colonial states by the US as the dominant power in the region.

Anglo-French operation on the Suez canal, 1956. Link to this video

This newsreel clip of British troops attacking Suez, invading troops occupying and destroying yet another Arab city, could be Basra or Beirut – it’s become such a regular feature of the contemporary world, and a seamless link with the colonial era.

So has the classic imperial tactic of using religious and ethnic divisions to enforce foreign occupation: whether by the Americans in Iraq, the French in colonial Syria and Lebanon or the British more or less wherever they went. The Pathé archive is full of newsreels acclaiming British troops for “keeping the peace” between hostile populations, from Cyprus to Palestine – all the better to keep control.

And now the religious sectarianism and ethnic divisions fostered under the US-British occupation of Iraq have been mobilised by the west’s Gulf allies to head off or divert the challenge of the Arab awakening: in the crushing of the Bahrain uprising, the isolation of Shia unrest in Saudi Arabia and the increasingly sectarian conflict in Syria – where foreign intervention could only escalate the killing and deny Syrians control of their own country.

7. Western sponsorship of Palestine’s colonisation is a permanent block on normal relations with the Arab world

Israel could not have been created without Britain’s 30-year imperial rule in Palestine and its sponsorship of large-scale European Jewish colonisation under the banner of the Balfour declaration of 1917. An independent Palestine, with an overwhelming Palestinian Arab majority, would clearly never have accepted it.

That reality is driven home in this Pathé News clip from the time of the Arab revolt against the British mandate in the late 1930s, showing British soldiers rounding up Palestinian “terrorists” in the occupied West Bank towns of Nablus and Tulkarm – just as their Israeli successors do today.

British troops in Nablus, 1939. Link to this video

The reason for the security of Jewish settlers, the presenter declares in the clipped, breathless tones of the 1930s voiceover, are “the British troops, ever watchful, ever protective”. That relationship broke down after Britain restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine on the eve of the second world war.
Britain’s colonial reflex, in Palestine as elsewhere, was always to present itself as “guardian of law and order” against the “threat of rebellion” and “master of the situation” – as in this delusional 1938 newsreel from Jerusalem.

British troops in Jerusalem, 1938. Link to this video

But the original crucial link between western imperial power and the Zionist project became a permanent strategic alliance after the establishment of Israel – throughout the expulsion and dispossession of the Palestinians, multiple wars, 44 years of military occupation and the continuing illegal colonisation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The unconditional nature of that alliance, which remains the pivot of US policy in the Middle East, is one reason why democratically elected Arab governments are likely to find it harder to play patsy to US power than the dictatorial Mubaraks and Gulf monarchs. The Palestinian cause is embedded in Arab and Islamic political culture. Like Britain before it, the US may struggle to remain “master of the situation” in the Middle East.
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Italian researcher in Gaza: Arrigoni murder will not effect Palestinian support

[ 25/04/2011 – 07:01 PM ]
GAZA, (PIC)– Italian researcher Dr. Paola Manduca, who is currently visiting the Gaza Strip, has said that the murder of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni will not effect the solidarity the Italians and world peace activists have with the Palestinians.
The statement came during a meeting with Palestinian Health Minister Bassem Naim, after the latter sent the condolences of those working in the ministry and Palestinian government to Arrigoni’s family.

He emphasized that everyone who loves Palestine condemns the Arrigoni murder, which he said conflicts with Palestinian customs and traditions.

Naim met with Manduca while she was on a mission to the Strip to research congenital malformations in the Gaza Strip due to chemical weapons used in Israeli aggression.

The meeting was also attended by Dr. Mohammed al-Kashif, director-general of the international cooperation board, and Eng. Awni Naim, vice-president of the environmental quality authority.

They discussed the environmental impacts of internationally banned weapons Israeli used during attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Dr. Manduca expressed her willingness to aid the health ministry.

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