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American Resistance To Empire

Israel, UAE and the hypocritical manipulation of religion

Israel, UAE and the hypocritical manipulation of religion

Palestinians and other Arabs are not interested in the promotion of ‘religious tolerance’ by highly intolerant regimes.

by
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks at the Hallam Conference Centre in London, Britain December 18, 2019 [Toby Melville/Reuters]
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks at the Hallam Conference Centre in London, Britain December 18, 2019 [Toby Melville/Reuters]

On December 21, right-wing British magazine The Spectator published an article by Ed Husain, a controversial figure on the British Muslim scene, entitled Islam’s reformation: an Arab-Israeli alliance is taking shape in the Middle East.

Husain, a self-styled champion of “Islamic renaissance” who describes himself as a former Muslim extremist is seen by some as an ally of Islamophobia.

His article puts forward a bizarre narrative: That a burgeoning alliance between a handful of authoritarian Arab leaders, including Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and the UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is a sign of “religious glasnost” in the Muslim world.

It was tweeted almost immediately after its publication by the Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed.

It is not surprising that the UAE’s leadership gave its stamp of approval to the article. Husain, after all, has close links to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is a close friend and supporter of the UAE’s rulers and their allies.

Husain’s CV includes the title of former adviser to Blair, and a stint at the Blair Faith Foundation, whose stated goal was to counter religious extremism. This same foundation was mentioned in a proposal made by Blair to the UAE in 2016 for a $35m contract to “build its brand and reputation, and to establish powerful networks of influence”.

In his pitch to the Gulf state, Blair, who recently offered his services to Egypt’s military ruler, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, bragged about his and his foundation’s connections in more than 50 countries. Over the last couple of years, Blair has been defending himself against claims of impropriety over the direct and indirect consultancy payments he allegedly received from the UAE and Saudi Arabia for services rendered.

Husain’s article peddles some of the questionable theories we have previously seen Blair promote. These include blaming the hostility Israel faces in the Middle East and beyond on Arab and Muslim “extremism” and “anti-semitism” and claiming that Arabs should become more “tolerant” in order to end the conflict. Also, the claim that conflicts involving Muslims, from the Philippines to the Caucasus, and from Palestine to Mali, are all linked, and again the fault of Muslims, and their “intolerant” religious doctrines.

At one point, Saudi-promoted Wahhabism was advertised as the main culprit. This is, of course, too simplistic, since the bulk of the conflicts Muslims are involved in today are not religious but political and exist outside Wahhabism’s zone of influence. Husain himself had become an extremist without ever coming in touch with Wahhabism – the ideology of the group he joined, Hizbut-Tahrir, is anathema to Salafi Wahabism.

The irony is that the proponents of these views now appear to believe, as demonstrated in Husain’s article, that the Saudis hold the key to religious enlightenment in the Muslim world, and “reformist” MBS’s Saudi Arabia can bring peace to the Middle East by forming an alliance with fellow “peace-lover” Netanyahu’s Israel.

Even from an Israeli perspective, the Netanyahu government is not an advertisement for religious enlightenment, tolerance or peace. Secular Israelis are feeling under siege in the face of the hegemony of religious bigotry, fascistic tendencies and the ever-increasing aggression and self-entitlement of illegal settlers. It is even worse for Israel’s beleaguered Arab citizens, or the Ethiopian Jewish minority, let alone the Palestinians living under occupation.

It may be a coincidence that the International Criminal Court announced an imminent investigation into Israeli war crimes just the day before this article came out, but it was another blow to any misguided hopes that Netanyahu’s Israel should be the source of inspiration for anyone in this region, let alone religious reformers.

The coincidental highlighting of the UAE’s own dismal human rights record did not help either. The day after bin Zayed’s tweet, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a damning report documenting systematic and brutal harassment of the relatives of Emirati dissidents. Dozens of relatives of jailed or exiled peaceful opposition figures are currently banned from travel, cannot renew identity documents, or have restricted access to jobs or higher education. Tolerance, it appears, does not start at home.

The chorus of international condemnations that greeted the announcement this week of sentences against those convicted of murdering Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi did not help either. It was another unwelcome reminder of the credentials of another key ally in this coalition for so-called “Islamic reformation”.

Spin and self-promotion do not qualify as reform or renaissance, and its promotors lack authority.

This a reminder that the Arab-Israeli conflict has nothing to do with religion, any more than the current intra-Arab struggles. The main actors in the conflict, both Israeli and Arab, have been, and still are, predominantly secular rulers and groups. In both the Arab and Israeli camps, the leaders of the initial struggle, whether from the Israeli Labour party, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation or leaders like Egypt’s Gamal Abdul Nasser and Syria’s Hafiz al-Assad, were lukewarm towards religion. Islamist actors and Jewish religious extremists entered the fray much later, in the 1980s.

Palestinians and other Arabs are not interested in the promotion of “religious tolerance” by highly intolerant regimes, but in a halt to the campaigns of dispossession and oppression.

No one knows or cares what Netanyahu’s religious beliefs are and how different they may be from those of Arab leaders. It is what is being done on the ground (harassment, dispossession, killings, etc) that is causing conflict.

For peace with Israel to happen, the war and the colonial appropriation of land first has to stop. For the UAE and its allies, the human rights abuses and foreign adventures must cease. The hypocritical manipulation of religion will not lead to peace and tolerance. Quite the reverse, it will drive continuing conflicts and resentment within the Muslim Arab community.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

30-Year CIA War Against Islam Succeeding In Plan To Ignite Islamic Civil War


'Mental and behavioural radicalism' in some Muslim countries 'paved the way to foreign interventions', said Rouhani [Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]
‘Mental and behavioural radicalism’ in some Muslim countries ‘paved the way to foreign interventions’, said Rouhani [Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the Muslim world is in a “state of crisis” and called for “implementable” solutions as he hosted a summit of Muslim-majority countries.

Mahathir made the call to action on Thursday as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani highlighted in their speeches the plight of the Palestinians under decades-long Israeli occupation.

“We all know that the Muslims, their religion and their countries are in a state of crisis. Everywhere we see Muslim countries being destroyed, their citizens forced to flee their countries, forced to seek refuge in non-Muslim countries,” Mahathir told a packed crowd gathered in Malaysia‘s biggest city.

The 94-year-old prime minister pointed out while other countries devastated by World War II have recovered and developed, many Muslim nations “seem unable to be governed well, much less to be developed and prosper”.

Mahathir said “fratricidal wars, civil wars, failed governments and many other catastrophes” continue to confront many Muslim countries and Islam “without any serious effort being made to end or reduce them or to rehabilitate the religion”.

But even as he sought a unified voice among Muslim-majority states to address those issues, several countries – including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – were absent from the meeting, which is seen by some in the Muslim community as an emerging competition to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

‘Divide’ feared

On Tuesday, Pakistan announced that it pulled out of the summit, citing concerns from Saudi Arabia the event could “divide” the Muslim world.

Initially, it was reported Prime Minister Imran Khan, who earlier confirmed his presence at the event, was sending Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to represent him. But the country withdrew altogether just two days before it started.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who was earlier listed as a speaker at the event, was also a no-show.

His vice president, Ma’ruf Amin, who was announced to represent him, cancelled at the last minute citing health reasons. Ma’ruf is the former supreme leader of Indonesia’s largest Muslim group, Hahdlatul Ulama.

On Thursday, Al Jazeera asked Mahathir if he received a message from the Indonesian president about Jakarta’s participation at the summit, but he waved off the question.

As for Saudi Arabia, Samsudin Osman, the summit secretary-general, earlier told Al Jazeera that Mahathir had sent a personal representative to invite King Salman to the summit. Saudi Arabia also decided to skip the event.

Osman said the summit is not meant to rival the OIC.

Khaled Meshaal, former leader of the Palestinian group Hamas, was among those who attended the summit. He told Al Jazeera the event in Kuala Lumpur is “not meant to create animosity between any nations” in the Muslim world.

Middle East ‘threats’

Meanwhile, in his opening speech on Thursday, Iran’s Rouhani blamed “serious security threats” facing the Muslim world and the Middle East in particular on the “Zionist regime” – a reference to Israel, which he said continues to impose its will on the stateless Palestinians.

Rouhani said the plight of the Palestinians remains the most important issue in the Muslim world.

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim expressed the same sentiment, saying the occupation of Palestine is “one of the most important sources of instability in our region”.

The annexation of Palestinian lands, illegal settlements, and the “Judaisation of Jerusalem” are examples of policies that “wipe out the Arab character of the city and provoke the feelings of Arabs and Muslims everywhere”, he said.

In a veiled criticism of Saudi Arabia, Rouhani said the “mental and behavioural radicalism” in some Muslim countries has “paved the way to foreign interventions” in the Middle East.

“The war in Syria, Yemen, and riots and turbulence in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Afghanistan is the outcome of the combination of domestic extremism and foreign intervention,” he said.

Calling Iran a “model of resistance”, Rouhani also urged the Muslim world to develop its own economic framework “to save it from the domination of the US dollar and the American financial regime”.

malaysia summit - rouhaniii
Iran’s Rouhani raised ‘serious security threats’ facing the Muslim world [Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

He said Muslim countries can establish special mechanisms for banking and financial cooperation, and use national currencies in trading. Iran has been under US sanctions since 2018, and is barred from using the international financial system to carry out trade with other nations.

For Turkey’s Erdogan, the challenge for the summit is to “implement and execute the plans” agreed upon between the leaders present, even as he said Muslim countries “should come to terms” with their own failures, particularly in preventing conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere.

“It is unfortunate that we are wasting our own energy on internal disputes,” he said, referring to the current situation in the Muslim world.

He said Muslim countries should not leave the fate of the 1.7 billion Muslims in the hands of Western powers, including the five member states sitting as permanent members of the UN Security Council.

“The world is bigger than five,” Erdogan said, repeating his frequent criticism of the international body’s permanent members whose veto power, he said, is harmful to smaller nations.

He said the US Security Council is “way past its expiry date”.

Nur Aldeen AlKawamleh, a doctorate graduate in Islamic studies from Jordan and a delegate at the event, said he hopes the summit will deliver alternative solutions to issues not addressed by the OIC.

The messages delivered reflect some criticism towards the OIC, he said, adding he sees the emergence of a “new coalition” of like-minded countries to address issues in the Muslim world.

Ahmad Farouk Musa, a professor at Monash University in Kuala Lumpur, also attended the summit.

He blamed Saudi Arabia for being a proponent of sectarianism in the Muslim world, and for showing its opposition to the summit, which tries to bring different voices into the debate.

“We have seen how this sectarianism destroyed the fabric of unity among Muslims. And to me, the main proponent sectarianism in the Muslim world is none other than the Saudis and their virulent ideology,” Farouk Musa said.

Saudi Arabia’s animosity towards the summit was because of the “presence of the Iranian leader”, Rouhani, he said.

With additional reporting by Manar al Adam

US Drones Attack Iranian/Hezbollah Allies In Syria and Iraq…Multiple Deaths

BAGHDAD (Sputnik) – The death toll from the drone attacks of the United States against Kata’ib Hezbollah militia in Iraq stands at 25, with 51 people injured, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi, said in a statement on Monday. Earlier, Hashd al-Shaabi reported of 19 people killed and 35 others injured.

The number of casualties may grow, as some remain in critical condition.

On Sunday, the US forces have carried out strikes targeting five Kata’ib Hezbollah facilities in Syria and Iraq, including weapons storage locations and command and control bases, the US Defence Department said in a statement. The Pentagon said it was retaliation for the group’s recent attack on a US base near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

On Friday, the US accused Kata’ib Hezbollah of involvement in a deadly rocket attack on the K1 military base outside Kirkuk. The attack claimed the life of a US civilian contractor and left several US service members with light injuries.

No group took immediate responsibility for Friday’s attack.

Kata’ib Hezbollah, not to be confused with the Hezbollah group of Lebanon, is a paramilitary force with Shia ideology established in 2007 and operating under the Hashd al-Shaabi umbrella. Washington designates them as terrorists.

The United States, Turkey and Russia To Move Syrian War To Libya—(seriously)

[The US and Russia have honed their dark arts of secret warfare and “deniability” to the point where they can effectively wage war against each other without losing actual combat troops, or leaving US or Russian fingerprints at the scenes of the war crimes.  Add the element of unmanned drones to the mix (without identifying marks or national insignia) and you have an almost completely deniable proxy arm guarded by its own proxy air force, to send into battle instead of US and Russian troops, while waging a miniature version of the battle of WWIII, against our “enemies,” who are fighting with their own proxy (mercenary) army in coutries pre-selected for the slaughter…NOW, we read that the veteran armies of the “Syrian Islamist terrorists”, who were first recruited by the CIA in Libya to kill Kaddafi (some of them were veterans from the CIA war in Bosnia and Serbia), then dispatched to Syria in a failed attempt to kill Assad, are now to be sent back to Syria, to overthrow the American/Russian/Emirati-backed Gen. Haftar.]

 

Libya’s Interior Minister: We’ll officially request military support from Turkey to fight Haftar’s mercenaries

Interior minister: Russians are leading the war on Tripoli

Libya’s Political Instability Makes Room for ISIS to Regroup

  • Turkey, which signed a military and economic accord with the Libyan government in November, could deprive Greece and the Greek Cypriots of large swaths of their oil and gas exploration areas and force Egypt and Israel to negotiate with Turkey over the construction of natural gas pipelines to Europe.
  • The threat posed by extremists in Libya and Tunisia is not one that Europeans can ignore, as evidenced by the attack on British tourists in Sousse and the more recent attack by Tunisian Anis Amri in Berlin.

Israel expresses rejection to Libyan-Turkish maritime deal

U.S. reiterates commitment on sovereignty of Libya

CIA’s Man In Libya, Gen. Haftar, Backed By Russia, Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia

  • Ethnic Turkmen militia to support Libya’s UN-backed government
  •  
    Deployments highlight Turkey’s increasing involvement in Libya
Fighters of a military battalion loyal to Libyan General Khalifa Haftar march during the morning assembly in Benghazi, Dec. 18. 
Fighters of a military battalion loyal to Libyan General Khalifa Haftar march during the morning assembly in Benghazi, Dec. 18.  Photographer: Abdullah Doma/AFP via Getty Images

In a deepening proxy war, Turkey aims to send its Navy to protect Tripoli, while its troops train and coordinate forces of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, according to a senior Turkish official. Turkey recently signed a critical maritime deal with oil-rich Libya that serves energy interests of both countries and aims to salvage billions of dollars of business contracts thrown into limbo by the conflict.

At the same time, ethnic Turkmen rebel groups that have fought alongside Turkey in northern Syria are expected to reinforce the government in Tripoli imminently, the Turkish official and a second official in Libya said. Both people asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The Libyan government had initially resisted the idea of such a deployment but eventually accepted it as Haftar’s forces began to advance on Tripoli, the Libyan official said.

With Egypt and the United Arab Emirates aiding Haftar, Turkey’s deeper involvement in Tripoli could complicate international efforts to end the turmoil that has gripped the country since the overthrow of strongman Moammar Qaddafi in 2011.

How the Battle for Libya Has Become a Proxy Conflict: QuickTake

Terms of the Turkish deployment will include:

  • Establishment of an elite Libyan force to respond immediately to threats
  • Allocation of weapons, planes, vehicles on ground and at sea
  • Joint exercises
  • Exchange of counter-terrorism intelligence and operational cooperation

Mainstream Media Lies Even When Telling The Truth

“People are so hypnotized by the endless drama of the mass media news churn that all context and sense of proportionality is lost to them. They stand transfixed by the latest kayfabe combat between the two puppets in America’s two-headed one-party system like an infant distracted from the cause of its outrage by a set of shiny, dangling keys.”

The News Churn Memory Hole: How The MSM Lies Even When Telling The Truth

“This goofy ass Trump letter is gonna get more outraged coverage than the bombshell report on the entire Afghanistan war being a lie and frankly I don’t know if I can handle that right now,” popular Youtube commentator Kyle Kulinski tweeted today.

The post was just one of the many observations that Kulinski tosses into the Twitterverse every day, presented in his typical casual, offhand way without any self-significance. But if you actually pause and think about what he’s saying here, how true it is and what it says about the mass media institutions which people rely upon to form their worldviews, it’s actually a damning indictment of our entire society.

It is a fact that far more news media energy is going into one trivial aspect of an impeachment agenda that will with absolute certainty fail to remove Trump from office than there is for the known fact that the US government fought to suppress indisputable proof that American officials have been consistently lying about an 18-year military occupation which continues to this day. This fact should, by itself, be sufficient to completely discredit the mainstream press. This one tiny piece of information, that there’s vastly more buzz about an irrelevant impeachment sideshow than there is over the Afghanistan Papers, should in and of itself cause everyone to regard the entire establishment media complex with the same amount of respect as it gives the Flat Earth Society.

But it doesn’t. People are so hypnotized by the endless drama of the mass media news churn that all context and sense of proportionality is lost to them. They stand transfixed by the latest kayfabe combat between the two puppets in America’s two-headed one-party system like an infant distracted from the cause of its outrage by a set of shiny, dangling keys.

The public’s total immersion in whatever sparkly clickbait drama gets served before them by the waiters and waitresses of corporate news media enables the narrative managers responsible for manipulating public thought to simply pace mainstream attention away from inconvenient news stories, even after reporting on those very news stories themselves the day before.

This ability to memory-hole attention away from inconvenient truths using the drama of the relentless news churn is the final line of defense for the establishment propaganda machine, and, much like a video game, they save the hardest boss fight for last. Even if a little truth manages to squeak past the wall of billionaire-controlled media employees who are conditioned to understand that they’ll only be able to advance their careers by promoting narratives which favor the establishment upon which those billionaires have built their respective kingdoms, even if that truth then squeaks past the steadily thickening walls of government secrecy, past the increasingly overt infiltration of media organizations by powerful government agencies, and past the empire’s increasingly aggressive war on oppositional journalism, it still has to face the final boss fight of news churn memory-holing. And boy, it’s almost unbeatable.

A lot of dissident-minded optimists got hopeful that maybe once the lies of the Iraq war were exposed, people would lose trust in the political/media class which deceived them about such a massively significant atrocity. These hopes were of course dashed as public attention was simply paced on to the next new, shiny thing, and then on to another and then on to another, and on now to the point where everyone’s babbling about impeachment over some political shenanigans with Ukraine and Joe Biden without hardly anybody bellowing in unmitigated rage that this same party refused to impeach Bush over mountains of literal war crimes. There is no actual correlation between a story’s newsworthiness and the amount of news coverage it ends up getting, so the still earth-shakingly consequential repercussions of Bush administration’s malfeasance have been eclipsed by today’s set of sparkly keys.

This infuriating tactic has been employed time and time again against inconvenient truths which miraculously managed to surmount the many other roadblocks which obstruct people’s understanding that they do not live in a free or just society but a murderous, oppressive and exploitative one. They are able to employ this immensely crucial strategic advantage because the social engineers whose employers benefit from the status quo don’t just work to manipulate information, but narratives as well.

It doesn’t matter how much information gets leaked to the public by whistleblowers, how much information the public gains access to via successful Freedom of Information Act requests, how much information is brought to public attention by investigative journalists combing through documents to connect the dots on the behavior of the powerful, as long as the establishment can manipulate or suppress any narratives that might get told about that information. No matter how much truth gets exposed about the depravity of the powerful, it won’t make one drop of difference in terms of public accountability if nobody’s talking about it. We see this in the way narratives still depict Trump as a Russian stooge despite the information about his many reckless escalations against Russia being publicly available, we see it in the way mainstream media is suppressing all discussion about the OPCW scandal, and we are now seeing it in the way the Afghanistan Papers are being memory-holed despite their temporarily featuring as front-page mainstream news.

This is all proof that simply getting information published isn’t enough. As important as whistleblowers, investigative journalists and leak publishing outlets like WikiLeaks are, by themselves they’re completely impotent, because all they do is reveal information while leaving the control of the dominant narrative in the hands of the establishment spinmeisters. There is no truth that could possibly be exposed that is so damning and so salacious that it couldn’t be manipulated away by establishment narrative control.

This doesn’t mean there’s no hope of ever awakening a critical mass to the fact that they live in a society which is ruled by oligarchs who benefit from keeping everyone else poor and powerless and profit from deceiving us into sending our children overseas to murder other people’s children. All it means is that we need to approach the problem with a very specific focus. It isn’t enough to simply expose the truth; we need to expose the truth while forcefully driving home the message that the media organizations which people rely on to form their entire understanding of the world have been deceiving them.

Yes, expose the truth, but do it while also saying “Look! See? This proves that the mainstream media have been lying to you this entire time! They lie to you about everything!” Drive this point home constantly, as often as possible. The propaganda machine is only able to manipulate people away from inconvenient truths when people trust it; if you can weaken their trust in the plutocratic media and the political class which regurgitates their narratives, you will cripple the machine’s ability to manipulate them in that way.

It’s not enough to simply expose the truth. You must also fully, repeatedly and consistently expose the ones who are telling lies.

This is simply a matter of an adjustment of focus. Far too many truth-tellers think it’s enough to keep their energy close to their chests and mildly speak truths as correctly as they can into the information ecosystem. This is like being in a cage fight and thinking it’s enough to simply have a good fighting stance. We are being attacked by an enemy who seeks to destroy our ability to understand and respond sensibly to our world, so we need to fight back. We need to be moving our feet and ducking and weaving and throwing strikes in combinations, not just standing there with a textbook-perfect fighting posture.

It’s not enough to be right, we’ve also got to win. We win by pouring our energy into sowing distrust in the establishment propaganda machine, mocking it, ridiculing it, showing everyone how absurdly phony it is, until everyone’s laughing at it and treating it with the same amount of deference that they give to flat-earthers. When we’ve accomplished that, that’s how we’ll know that we’ve won. And from there it will be possible to build a healthy world based on truth.

USMC Major/Federal Officer Warns That Virginians Are Ready To Push Back Against Gun Seizures

Rebel Yell Rings Out as USMC Major Warns Virginians Are Close to Tipping Point

Virginia’s Democratic politicians appear to be ready to drive the state into a period of massive civil unrest with no regard for citizens’ wishes, but conservatives in the commonwealth will not be stripped of their rights without a fight.

In the face of expected wide-reaching bans on so-called assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and other arms protected under the 2nd Amendment, Virginians are standing up to Democratic tyranny.

Even now, 79 percent of Virginia’s counties have enacted some form of 2nd Amendment sanctuary laws, and that number is only expected to grow.

It’s safe to say opposition to proposed anti-gun laws is widespread.

Despite this, the state’s Democratic leaders continue to threaten the use of force to bring its residents to heel.

A major in the Marine Corps reserves took an opportunity during a Dec. 3 meeting to warn the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County about trouble on the horizon.

Ben Joseph Woods spoke about his time in the military, his federal law enforcement career and his fears about where politicians are taking Virginia.

Woods said that the situation in Virginia is becoming so dangerous that he is close to moving his own wife and unborn child out of the state.

“The reason is because my fellow law enforcement officers I’ve heard on more than one occasion tell me they would not enforce these bills regardless of whether they believe in them ideologically,” Woods said, “because they believe that there are so many people angry — in gun shops, gun shows, at bars we’ve heard it now — people talking about tarring and feathering politicians in a less-than-joking manner.”

As Woods mentioned politicians themselves could very well be in danger because of their decisions, several rebel yells broke out as the crowd cheered him on.

Watch Woods’ full comments to the board below.

From the sounds of Woods’ audience to the counties defying state leadership, it appears as though Virginians are more than willing to act to protect their own constitutional rights.

Virginia’s Democratic leadership seems oblivious to this revolution brewing in their own state.

As Woods and many others see the writing on the wall, Governor Ralph Northam and his allies continue to push their own unconstitutional anti-gun agenda, inching the commonwealth closer and closer to a dire crisis.

The Coup Becomes a Civil War – Trump Impeached

The Coup Becomes a Civil War – Trump Impeached

The Democrats declared war yesterday. Not on Donald Trump but on the United States and the Constitution.

What started as a coup to overturn the 2016 election has now morphed into a Civil War as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Fran-feces) presided over the passage of a bill which creates a clear Constitutional Crisis.

And that means we have multiple factions vying for control of our government, the definition of a Civil War.

In passing these articles of impeachment against President Trump Congress has arrogated to itself powers it does not have.

The first article asserts a motive to Trump’s actions to invalidate his role as chief law enforcement officer for the country. It doesn’t matter if you like him or any President having this power, he does have it.

Read that first article and then apply it to a country other than Ukraine where Trump didn’t have ‘probable cause’ for investigation into corruption and malfeasance there.

That could be Abuse of Power.

But this happened in Ukraine where Trump clearly has probable cause.

The following is the scenario the first impeachment article is asserting as the basis for abuse of power, through ascribing political motives to the President:

One day President Trump wakes up and says, “Shit! Joe Biden’s leading me in the polls. I need to do something about this.”

So, Trump twirls his orange comb-over and calls up the Prime Minister of Armenia, a Russian ally, to whom we’ve pledged aid. Since it’s a Russian ally and Trump may have colluded with the Russians, they would be a good candidate to help him.

But Joe Biden has no history of diplomacy or oversight in Armenia as Vice-President. There’s no record of any contact of any kind with Biden in Armenia, for argument’s sake.

Trump then, during the phone call, shakes down the Armenian PM for that aid, explicitly saying he must create dirt on Joe Biden or he would withhold appropriated aid funds to the country.

Then, after getting caught, Trump tries to hide the record of the phone call by hiding behind Executive Privilege.

That would be Abuse of Power and an impeachable offense. It would be regrettable but indefensible that the odious jackals in Congress were right to impeach him. They would, actually, be defending the Constitution and fully within their rights.

But, that’s not what happened.

Biden was put in charge of Ukraine by President Obama. He had full discretion on policy towards Ukraine and was caught on tape bragging about doing exactly what the impeachment article is accusing Trump of doing. Shaking Ukraine down for favors in order to get $1 billion in aid.

Since the prosecutor who Biden had fired was investigating corruption into his son Hunter’s involvement with Ukrainian gas company Burisma, this admission is pretty damning, showing clear personal motive to use his office to stop investigation into his family.

This is Abuse of Power. This is subjecting U.S. foreign policy to the whims of an elected official, squelching an investigation into his personal family, using the office for personal gain.

So, when viewed through this lens the first impeachment article is a complete lie. Trump didn’t do the things asserted. The transcript of the phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky proves that.

Trump made the phone call public immediately.

The phone call and Trump’s order to review the foreign aid were contemporaneous but not conditional. If you have a non-charitable view of the President it may raise some questions, but there was probable cause here.

Your opinions on Trump do not add up to High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

The implications of this impeachment article are, however, staggering.

It says explicitly that the U.S. president cannot discharge his duties as a law enforcement official if the person of interest is someone of the opposite party or a potential electoral opponent.

It says that probable cause is not a standard for investigation only political considerations.

That’s a clear violation of Congress’ role. Congress writes laws. The President executes them. If the Congress wants to assume law enforcement powers it should work to amend the Constitution.

This is a clear example of why impeachment is a political process not a legal one. But, if they are going to act this politically, at least they should put the veneer of legality on it. Even the equally odious Republicans who impeached Bill Clinton did that.

But in asserting this as an offence Congress seeks to place the Legislative Branch as superior to the Executive in matters of law enforcement and implementation.

That’s a clear violation of the separation of powers. It may suck that the guy holding the Office of the Presidency is someone you don’t like or not willing to turn a blind eye to corruption, but doing his job is not a ‘high crime or misdemeanor.’

The second article is even worse. Because asserts the power to subpoena members of the Executive branch under the impeachment inquiry into the first article. And since Congress has sole authority over impeachment, no judicial review of its subpoena power can be made.

This is fully unconstitutional since it subverts the power of the Judicial branch to settle disputes between the Executive and Legislative branches as established by the Constitution.

Pelosi and company are broadening the definition of ‘the sole power of impeachment’ to say that whatever Congress deems as worthy of an impeachment inquiry is therefore law and the other branches have no say in the matter.

This is patent nonsense and wholly tyrannical.

Rod Rosenstein and Andrew Weismann tried to use an equally broad interpretation of ‘obstruction of justice’ to include future harm to continue the special council’s investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia.

Moreover it renders the concept of judicial review as laid down in Marbury vs. Madison null and void. Congress cannot just make up laws and crimes out of whole cloth and then unilaterally declare them constitutional under the rubric of impeachment.

The Supreme Court has the right to strike down bills Congress passes as unconstitutional.

This drives a massive wedge through the separation of powers in a blatant power grab by Pelosi and the Democratic House majority to protect themselves from Trump’s investigations into their crimes surrounding events in Ukraine.

When viewed dispassionately, Obstruction of Congress is not a crime but rather a function of each of the other two branches of government. It’s no better when the President hides behind Executive Orders to legislate unconstitutionally.

And it’s even worse when the Supreme Court makes up laws from the bench rather than kick the ball back to Congress and start the process all over again.

That’s what the whole three co-equal branches of government is supposed to mean.

Now, in practice I don’t believe the three branches are equal, as the Judicial branch routinely oversteps its authority. But in this case if it does not step in immediately and defend itself from this Congress then the basic fabric of our government unravels overnight.

That the second impeachment article is directly dependent on the flawed (or non-existent) logic of the first impeachment article renders the whole thing simply laughable on the face of it.

I’m no legal scholar so when I can see how ridiculous these articles are then you know this has nothing to do with the law but everything to do with power.

And the reality is, as I discussed in my latest podcast, what this impeachment is really about is distracting and covering up the multiple layers of corruption in U.S. foreign and domestic policy stretching back decades. Many of the tendrils emanating from the events surrounding the FISA warrants improperly granted connect directly to the Clintons, Jeffrey Epstein, William Browder and the rape of Russia in the post-Soviet 90’s.

We’re talking an entire generation or more of U.S. officials and politicians implicated in some of the worst crimes of the past thirty years.

The stakes for these people are existential. This is why they are willing to risk a full-blown constitutional crisis and civil war to remove Trump from office.

They know he’s angry at them now. This is personal as well as philosophical. Trump is a patriot, a narcissist and a gangster. That’s a powerful combination of traits.

The polls are shifting his way on this as the average person knows this impeachment is pathetic. They are tired of the Democrats’ games the same way British voters are over the arguments against Brexit.

So the old adage about killing the king come to mind. If Pelosi et.al. miss here, the retribution from Trump will be biblical.

The damage to the society is too great to argue irrelevancies. No one outside of the Beltway Bubble and the Crazies of the Resistance cares about what Trump did here. It’s too arcane and most people are against giving a shithole like Ukraine taxpayer money in the first place.

The whole thing is a giant pile of loser turds steaming up the room and impeding getting any work done.

In the end We’ll know if Trump has his ducks in a row in how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plays his cards versus Pelosi. If McConnell pussy-foots around and gives Pelosi anything on how the trial in the Senate is conducted then the fix is in and Trump is done.

But, if McConnell shuts this down then what comes next will be a righteous smackdown of Trump’s political opponents that will make the phone call with Zelensky look like a routine call to Dominos’ for a double pepperoni.

Either way, this coup attempt by Pelosi is now open warfare. There will be casualties.

Trump Has Given Israel Immunity to International Law

In Israel’s treatment of Occupied Palestine, Israel has been violating international law for decades. Under international law, an occupying power is not permitted to incorporate the occupied land into its own domain. However, Israel has persistently done so, evicting Palestinians from their homes, villages, and farm lands in order to build apartments for Jewish immigrants.

As people learned of the fate suffered by Palestinians at Israel’s hands, criticism of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians by human rights activists grew, and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movements arose.

These developments are inconvenient for Israel. Israeli media have indicated that the Israeli government is ready to complete the annexation of Palestine by evicting the remaining Palestinians and incorporating the remaining Palestinian land into Israel. Prior to taking this step, Israel wants to silence critics and prevent BDS action.

In the US the Israel Lobby has attempted to have the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, and the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act passed. However these acts clearly violate Constitutionally-protected free speech and protest, and Congress, although happy to please the Israel Lobby, doesn’t want to pass acts that the Supreme Court will obviously overturn. The ACLU opposes these acts on First Amendment grounds.

So the Israel Lobby has turned to Donald Trump to achieve by executive order what they have not achieved by legislation.

As the Israel Lobby has succeeded in equating criticism of Israeli government policies with anti-semitism or hatred of Jews, Trump’s executive order against anti-semitism permits the US government to cut off money to universities and organizations in which criticism of Israel is expressed in lectures, colloquiums, or debates.

Trump’s executive order has initiated a debate whether Trump has in effect declared Jews to be a nationality. See this and this.

This is the wrong debate. The issue is why should Israel be the only country among the approximately 200 on earth whose policies cannot be criticized? Why should Israel be the only country that cannot be sanctioned and boycotted? Why should this special protection be given to Israel at the expense of the US Constitution?

Trump’s executive order silences the Palestinians and those sympathetic to their dispossession. Why in an allegedly free country has President Trump imposed censorship that protects Israel from accountability?

It would seem that this is a far more serious offense by Trump against the US Constitution than the allegations behind the impeachment inquiry.

Allegedly Trump represents the little people against the Establishment, but how are powerless people protected by overturning their First Amendment rights? They hardly have a voice as it is.

As Stephen Lendman reports, Israel being all powerful, is pushing also the British government to protect Israel from accountability to international law.

 

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts writes on his blog, Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

US Army Releases Iraq War Study On the Second Failed War In the War On Terror

A two-volume Army study of the Iraq war is a deep examination of the mistakes and success of the war effort that also takes aim at critics who would slough off the conflict as they shift to near-peer threats.

The study, commissioned by former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno in 2013 and continued under current chief Gen. Mark Milley, was delayed for release since 2016, when it was completed. Some said it was due to concerns over airing “dirty laundry” about decisions made by some leaders during the conflict.

The 1,300-page, two volume history, complete with more than 1,000 declassified documents, spans the 2003 invasion through the U.S. withdrawal, the rise of ISIS, and the influence of Syria and Iran.

“At the time of this project’s completion in 2018, an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor,” authors wrote in the concluding chapter.

Col. Joe Rayburn and Col. Frank Sobchak, both retired, authored the study.

They note the damage to the political-military relationship that the war has caused, even to the American public.

“The Iraq War has the potential to be one of the most consequential conflicts in American history. It shattered a long-standing political tradition against preemptive wars,” authors wrote. “In the conflict’s immediate aftermath, the pendulum of American politics swung to the opposite pole with deep skepticism about foreign interventions.”

“The character of warfare is changing, but even if we face peer or near-peer competitors in future conflicts, they are likely to employ a blend of conventional and irregular warfare — what is often called ‘hybrid warfare’ or ‘operations in the gray zone,’ ” authors wrote.

In his foreword to the work, Odierno wrote that “those who rejected the idea that there is an operational level of war in counterinsurgency were wrong.”

He notes that following the war, the United States has entered “another historical cycle” like wars past, where civilian and military leaders debate the utility of land power. And he points directly to an overtaxed Army at even higher troop levels than they are now.

One issue raised repeatedly in the study is the lack of troops — within the deployed brigade combat teams, available for other operations such as the war in Afghanistan, and lack of an operational reserve in theater for responses to major events.

However, the study doesn’t just focus on the military’s failures in seeing the changing nature of the war.

Odierno calls the work an “astonishing story of an Army that reached within itself to learn and adapt in the midst of a war the United States was well on its way to losing.”

Milley’s foreward calls the study a “waypoint” on the Army’s “quest to comprehend the OIF experience.”

He sees the analysis as a start of what will be a lengthy analysis of the conflict.

“OIF is а sober reminder that technological advantages and standoff weapons alone cannot render a decision; that the promise of short wars is often elusive; that the ends, ways, and means must be in balance; that our Army must understand the type of war we are engaged with in order to adapt as necessary; that decisions in war occur on the ground, in the mud and dirt; and that timeless factors such as human agency, chance and an enemy’s conviction, all shape а war’s outcome,” he wrote.

Vehicles from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division move to the northwestern side of the city to complete the encirclement of Baghdad, Iraq, during the early days of the war. (Warren Zinn/Staff)

Vehicles from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division move to the northwestern side of the city to complete the encirclement of Baghdad, Iraq, during the early days of the war. (Warren Zinn/Staff)

Highlights of the study include validations of criticisms made at the time the war was being fought, and others that were not foreseen and only understood in the years that followed.

Study authors note that technology could not always make up for manpower shortages, that coalition warfare was “largely unsuccessful” for several reasons, that failing to account for a lack of understanding of the inner workings of Iraqi politics and group struggles meant some military unit actions did exacerbate problems.

And those battlefield commanders who did find innovative solutions to ground-level problems were not only often not commended or heeded in their innovations, they were often penalized for their work that inverted policy to adapt to real time needs of the battlefield.

The “short war assumption” and overly optimistic thinking drew out problems by pushing funding and manning to future projects because victory was always 18 months away.

The transformation of the Army to create more BCTs resulted in fewer units available for deployment, stretching the active units thin and requiring National Guard units to deploy in a large-scale conflict for the first time since the Korean War.

Half of all brigades in Iraq at the time of the 2005 election were Guard units. While the authors commended the Guard units for their service, they noted that, at the time, they were less experienced soldiers thrust into a critical time of the war without proper resourcing.

And how leaders assessed their own performance during the war suffered from a lack of clear understanding of what mattered.

They leaned too much on “inputs” rather than “outputs,” for example, money spent, Iraqis trained or insurgents killed or captured — rather than whether there was more cooperation with locals or reduced attacks.

“Army leaders have become too enamored with the ‘fetishization’ of statistics and metrics, when they only provide a snapshot in time of a portion of the situation,” authors wrote.

Additional highlights include the following, as highlighted in previous reporting:

  • The  need for more troops: At no point during the Iraq war did commanders have  enough troops to simultaneously defeat the Sunni insurgency and  Iranian-backed Shiite militias.
  • The  failure to deter Iran and Syria: Iran and Syria gave sanctuary and support to Shiite and Sunni militants, respectively, and the U.S. never developed  an effective strategy to stop this.
  • Coalition warfare wasn’t successful: The deployment of allied troops had political value but was “largely unsuccessful” because the allies didn’t send enough  troops and limited the scope of their operations.
  • The  National Guard needs more training: While many National Guard units  performed well, some brigades had so much difficulty dealing with insurgents that U.S. commanders stopped assigning them their own battlespace to control. The study found that Guard units need more funding and training.
  • The failure to develop self-reliant Iraqi forces: The U.S.-led effort to train and equip Iraqi forces was under-resourced for most of the war. A premature decision to transfer sovereignty to the Iraqis made it harder to blunt political pressure by Iraqi officials on Iraqi commanders.
  • An ineffective detainee policy: The U.S. decided at the outset not to treat captured insurgents or militia fighters as prisoners of war and then never developed an effective way to handle detainees. Many Sunni insurgents were returned to the battlefield.
  • Democracy doesn’t necessarily bring stability: U.S. commanders believed the 2005 Iraqi elections would have a “calming effect,” but those elections instead exacerbated ethnic and sectarian tensions.

The report praises the 2007 surge and other COIN efforts, many of which have been attributed to leaders such as Odierno, retired Gen. David Petraeus and retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who most recently served as President Trump’s national security adviser.

At the same time, some of its critiques can be levied at specific decisions of past Army leaders, including former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker’s decision to move ahead with the BCT restructuring as part of the Army transformation. Also, the consolidation of U.S. forces on large bases, leading to a security vacuum around Baghdad, can be attributed to then-Gen. George Casey.

You Can Thank Vladimir Putin For That

[SEE: Can an Ex KGB General Save America From Itself?–Aug 12, 2008]

A New Middle East Thanks to Putin

Peace in the Middle East is coming at us fast and we’re going to have Russian President Vladimir Putin to thank for it.

The howls of agony coming from U.S. and European foreign policy centers are deafening. Pat Buchanan lists them in his latest article which asks if Putin is now the new king of the Middle East.

“Donald Trump Has Handed Putin the Middle East on a Plate” was the title of a Telegraph column. “Putin Seizes on Trump’s Syria Retreat to Cement Middle East Role,” said the Financial Times.

The U.S. press parroted the British: Putin is now the new master of the Mideast. And woe is us.

Remember that the epicenter of virulent anti-Russian, pro-Israeli sentiment doesn’t begin with the Neocons along K-Street. It begins with the remnants of the British imperial class which still holds tremendous sway over British politics.

Think I’m wrong about that. Just look at Brexit.

As I pointed out the minute Trump defended his initial pullout of 50 U.S. troops to allow Turkey to cross into northern Syria, Putin has the situation mostly under control by laying the groundwork to craft win/win/win/win possibilities for everyone in the region.

Buchanan remains skeptical of this, saying that if Putin is the new king of the Middle East, will the crown lie heavy on his head?

It’s a fair question but I think it betrays Pat’s biases as an old Cold Warrior.

Pat makes a series of comparisons between Russia’s military presence in the region and the size of the economies backing them to make his point. I think, frankly, that’s outdated analysis.

It is based on the premise that Russia has imperial aspirations in the region, similar to that of the U.S. At his core, Buchanan is still a ‘great powers theory’ kind of guy.

From the moment Putin began his intervention into Syria the U.S.’s punditocracy said he would get bogged down in a quagmire. That he couldn’t afford the coming war with entrenched ISIS fighters.

This was based on the fact that the U.S. couldn’t defeat ISIS. But that logic only held if you believed the U.S. was actually fighting ISIS which I never did. Once Russia moved into Syria it exposed the lie of ISIS’s strength.

Within days of Russian air operations beginning the Syrian Arab Army began taking large chunks of territory from U.S. and Turkish-backed rebels and from ISIS.

The turnaround was striking. And the U.S. was stunned into fumbling silence, complaining that Putin was bombing the wrong people. The efficiency of the Russian air crews was off the charts and the results on the ground spoke for themselves.

This isn’t revisionist history or Putin shilling here. These are facts. The Russians were turning their planes over three to four times a day at that point.

It’s clear from the way that Putin has built Russia’s military that it is designed around defense of Russia’s borders not invading or maintaining an Empire.

And that’s why Buchanan’s criticisms of Putin’s victories here ring hollow. Pat rightly points out that if Putin does craft a network of deals that bring regional peace he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

But I suspect Pat doesn’t believe that to be happening.

My read, however, is the opposite. Peace is exactly what is happening.

From the beginning of my return to blogging in 2017 I speculated about the Grand Bargain in the Middle East built around Putin guaranteeing the behavior of his allies — Israel, Hezbollah, Syria, Iraqi Shi’ites — and President Trump guaranteeing the good behavior of his — Israel, the Saudis and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

That vision of the Grand Bargain never materialized because the influence of those allies within Trump’s government were too strong for him to resist politically.

Putin was smart to remain skeptical of Trump’s ability to deliver on his promises. And Trump, for his part, was sent down a path which would define his first term as a shambolic mess thanks to his inability to grasp the enormity of the problem confronting him.

He pushed U.S. policy too far in the pro-Israel, pro-Saudi direction to sell his version of Middle East peace, lobbied for intensely by Benjamin Netanyahu, Jared Kushner and their backers who helped install arch neocons around Trump like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Fiona Hill and Gina Haspel.

These folks were put in place to keep Trump ignorant of the dangers of his policy while Secretary of State James Mattis was there to stoke the hard-line militarily on Iran. Add to that General Joseph Dunford’s role as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to suppress strategic conclusions about our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now with the passing of the Dunford regime as Joint Chief in September, General Milley steps in, with significant changes to public policy already on display. For example, Milley’s commissioned study of the Iraq war — long awaited and delayed by military pressure to prevent release of a largely negative report — was publicly released by Milley in January of 2019. The report states, “that coalition warfare (in Iraq) was ‘largely unsuccessful’ for several reasons, that failing to account for a lack of understanding of the inner workings of Iraqi politics and group struggles’ in part led to failure there. That’s an account that Dunford was unlikely to approve, and may have caused him to delay. So, with the departure of Dunford and Mattis as we shall see, the way forward for US disengagement from Syria’s northeast was made possible.

I don’t think U.S. disengagement is just possible. I think it’s happening right in front of our eyes.

Any thought that Putin is not up to the task here isn’t reading the tea leaves.

Everyone who has been fronting strength has been bluffing. Hard.

Israel is weak. Saudi Arabia weak. Turkey weak.

The U.S. weaker than anyone wants to admit.

Pat’s right that Russia isn’t strong, but no one here is. Everyone’s been drained by the refusal to give up the dream of atomizing the region in the service of the outdated Brzezinski/Wolfowitz doctrine of sowing discord in Central Asia.

The EU has drained itself in the service of a political union no one except The Davos Crowd wants. The U.K. is drained from decades of the EU vacuuming their wealth from the core economy, hollowing it out to a financial shell centered around City of London.

The Russia/China/Iran axis has simply played the ultimate game of attrition, reading the economic and political tea leaves perfectly while executing a pan-Eurasian strategy of integration through disengagement from U.S. and U.K. financial institutions.

Russia is the only country with the unique mix of resources, geography and financial stability, thanks to its policy of de-dollarization and prudent fiscal management, that can make good on any of the promises it makes to its potential partners on the other side of the negotiating table.

Trump is following Putin’s lead in his dealings with Turkey. By leaving places like Manbij to the Syrians and the Russians it makes it clear to all that this is a bargain that can work for everyone directly involved.

Syria gets its territory back, Turkey gets the Kurdish SDF off its border in an important town and the U.S. alerts the world that the old game is over and a new one is starting.

Both of them made moves to stabilize Saudi Arabia — Trump with troops to keep Iran honest and Putin with major deals to assist the Saudi financial position through investment. Trump has worked with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to act as his proxy in Saudi/Iranian peace talks.

Putin is limiting Turkey’s Erdogan’s adventurism in Syria by fully supporting Assad and the restoration of Syrian territorial integrity through diplomacy with the YPG Kurds.

Putin and Trump are both waiting to see who takes power in Israel. But at this point it’s clear that whoever does will finally be order-takers and no longer order-makers unless Trump is impeached and convicted.

At this point that’s the biggest wild card. And regardless of that outcome, the rest of Putin’s deft use of diplomacy and his efficient military have created a different reality for Israel, that even with a full neocon restoration post-Trump, won’t be favorable to them.

And yes, you can thank Vladimir Putin for that.

Gainesville, Florida

Former Pak. Military Dictator Musharraf Sentenced To Death For Treason

[SEE: GENERAL GAMBIT ]

Pervez Musharraf: Pakistan ex-leader sentenced to death for treason

Gen Musharraf seen at 2013 election eventImage copyrightREUTERS

General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former military leader, has been sentenced to death at a special court hearing in Islamabad.

The three-member court sentenced him over a high treason charge that has been pending since 2013.

Gen Musharraf seized power in a military coup in 1999 and served as the country’s president from 2001 to 2008.

He is currently in Dubai after being allowed to leave the country for medical treatment in 2016.

The charge relates to Gen Musharraf’s suspension of the constitution in 2007, when he imposed emergency rule in a move intended to extend his tenure.

The 76-year-old issued a video statement from a hospital bed earlier this month, describing the case against him as “baseless”.

Gen Musharraf is the first military ruler to ever stand trial in Pakistan for overruling the constitution.

The verdict was announced on Tuesday with a 2-1 majority.

What is the case about?

In November 2007, Gen Musharraf suspended the constitution and imposed emergency rule – a move which sparked protests. He resigned in 2008 to avoid the threat of impeachment.

When Nawaz Sharif – an old rival whom he deposed in a coup in 1999 – was elected prime minister in 2013, he initiated a treason trial against Gen Musharraf and in March 2014 the former general was charged for high treason.

Gen Musharraf argued the case was politically motivated and that the actions he took in 2007 were agreed by the government and cabinet. But his arguments were turned down by the courts and he was accused of acting illegally.

According to the Pakistani constitution, anyone convicted of high treason could face the death penalty. Gen Musharraf travelled to Dubai in 2016 after a travel ban was lifted and he has refused to appear before the court, despite multiple orders.

Why is it significant?

The indictment of Gen Musharraf in 2014 for treason was a highly significant moment in a country where the military has held sway for much of its independent history.

Many of Pakistan’s army chiefs have either ruled the country directly after coups, as Gen Musharraf did, or wielded significant influence over policymaking during periods of civilian rule.

US President George W. Bush (R) shakes (shaking) hands with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (L) in 2006 press conferenceImage copyrightAFP
Image captionGen Musharraf is known internationally for his support of the US “war on terror” 

But Gen Musharraf was the first army chief to be charged with such a crime and the powerful military will have watched the case carefully.

Analysts say the institution is deeply aware that how the case proceeds could set a precedent.

Many expect the judgement to be delayed by an appeal by Gen Musharraf’s lawyers and it unclear if a request to have him returned would be successful as there is no formal extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UAE, the BBC’s M Ilyas Khan reports.

Who is Gen Musharraf?

He was appointed to lead the Pakistani army in 1998.

The army’s involvement in the Kargil conflict in May 1999 caused a major rift between him and then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and the army general seized power in a coup in 1999.

  • 1943Born in Delhi, India
  • 1961Joins Pakistan Military Academy
  • 1999Leads bloodless coup and becomes president two years later
  • 2007Loses power
  • 2008Goes into self-imposed exile – returns from 2013 to 2016
  • 2014Charged with high treason

Source: BBC

Serving as president until 2008, Gen Musharraf survived numerous assassination attempts and plots against him during his time in power.

He is best known internationally for his role in the US “war on terror”, which he supported after the 9/11 attacks despite domestic opposition.

Gen Musharraf left the country after relinquishing the presidency in 2008, but returned in 2013 to contest the general elections, when he was barred from standing by the courts and was embroiled in several cases – including over the assassination of former PM Benazir Bhutto.

He appeared only twice in hearings for treason and earlier spent time at an army health facility or on his farm in Islamabad. He subsequently moved to Karachi in April 2014, where he lived until his departure two years later.

We are all put in this earth to build and grow, not to destroy.

Overcoming Human Nature: The Revolution of the Meek

Human Nature Is the Enemy of the State

The war against good and evil

S. AFRICA

It is so important for everyone to understand that it was never a fight against the physical form.
We are all human and bonded spiritually, the universe has intertwined us so we have deep feelings of love, compassion and inner instincts, remorse and self-discipline towards each other – all the human emotions that carry us through life and enable us to tolerate each other’s shortcomings. Self-destruction was never on the agenda.

If we were people with so much hate within our hearts we would have destroyed each other decades ago. No one is born with hate in their hearts, hate is taught, taught by the ones that are so consumed by feelings of disappointment, disagreement and misunderstanding; so much hatred that they will even throw the next generation under the bus, never realising the consequences. Setting the worst examples ever. It’s not in our nature to destroy. We are all put in this earth to build and grow, not to destroy. We must survive!

Plutocracy has destroyed nations and left people suffering from hunger and starvation. Economies have plunged and are non-existent in the faces of their counterparts because their country’s wealth are being misused by evil.

The fight was and will never be between black, white or brown. We do not fight the physical, our biggest enemy is the mindset of individuals. The war against good and evil began in the mind and will end with the reconstruction of the human spirit. Implanting it with tolerance, love, understanding, extremely good communication, willingness to work side by side and realising that the one cannot survive without the other.

We have to get rid of the spirit that has befallen our brothers and sisters in higher positions – the spirit of greed, corruption, racism and the hate for what they do not understand. Each gender and race bring their own to the table, abilities and qualities that are much needed in society to evolve and prosper.

I don’t believe we were put on this earth to live like cats and dogs, always at each other’s throats, never putting in any effort to come together and be one.

Two Documents Which Prove That Barack Obama Went To War Against Syria To Steal Syrian Gas and Oil

[SEE: Why Syria’s small oil reserves have become the linchpin for political control in the region]

Aug. 17, 2011

Syria announces discovery of new gas field near Homs

DAMASCUS: Syria announced Tuesday it has found a promising gas field in the central governorate of Homs, as Human Rights Watch urged the European Union to freeze the assets of Syria’s state oil and gas companies. “The first wells were drilled at Qara in Homs governorate and the flow rate is 400,000 cubic meters per day.” Oil Minister Sufian Allawi was quoted as saying by state news agency SANA.

“This discovery opens new perspectives in the region of Qalamun and the Syrian company will continue its drilling,” said Allawi, adding that the field was located in the Basin of Dau.

He said Syria’s natural gas production has reached 30.29 million cubic meters per day, up by 3 million cubic meters since last year. Oil production in Syria is about 380,000 barrels per day, Allawi added.

Syria has partially replaced oil with gas as fuel in its power stations on falling crude production.

The nation’s gas reserves, estimated at 284 billion cubic meters, may increase after new discoveries in many parts of the country, Allawi added.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the European Union should freeze the assets of the Syrian National Oil Company, Syrian National Gas Company and the Central Bank of Syria until Damascus “ends gross human rights abuses against its citizens.”

The rights advocacy group said the state-run oil and gas companies have a 50 percent share in every oil and gas project in Syria.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged countries to stop buying Syrian oil and gas in a bid to pressure President Bashar Assad to end a brutal crackdown on protesters.

“We urge those countries still buying Syrian oil and gas, those countries still sending Assad weapons, those countries whose political and economic support give him comfort in his brutality, to get on the right side of history,” Clinton said.

In a March 2010 report, the International Monetary Fund estimated that the Syrian government earns approximately 2.1 billion euros ($3 billion) from oil and gas revenues per year.

Most of Syria’s oil is used domestically, but it exports approximately 150,000 barrels per day. Around 95 percent of that goes to Europe, primarily to Italy, the Netherlands, France, and Germany.

[The next day, Obama issued the following Executive Order, which amounted to a declaration of economic war against Syria, with the clear intention of preventing Bashar Assad from harvesting any of the newly discovered Syrian hydrocarbon wealth…Clearly an act of aggression.]

August 18, 2011

Executive Order 13582– Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to Syria

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in order to take additional steps with respect to the Government of Syria’s continuing escalation of violence against the people of Syria and with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004, as modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13399 of April 25, 2006, Executive Order 13460 of February 13, 2008, Executive Order 13572 of April 29, 2011, and Executive Order 13573 of May 18, 2011, hereby order:

Section 1.  (a)  All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the Government of Syria are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.

(b)  All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:  any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:

(i)   to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(ii)  to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

Sec2.  The following are prohibited:

(a)  new investment in Syria by a United States person, wherever located;

(b)  the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any services to Syria;

(c)  the importation into the United States of petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin;

(d)  any transaction or dealing by a United States person, wherever located, including purchasing, selling, transporting, swapping, brokering, approving, financing, facilitating, or guaranteeing, in or related to petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin; and

(e)  any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by this section if performed by a United States person or within the United States.

Sec3.  I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 and expanded in scope in Executive Order 13572, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.

Sec4.  The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include but are not limited to:

(a)  the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and

(b)  the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Sec5.  The prohibitions in sections 1 and 2 of this order apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.

Sec6.  (a)  Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b)  Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec7.  Nothing in sections 1 or 2 of this order shall prohibit transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.

Sec8.  For the purposes of this order:

(a)  the term “person” means an individual or entity;

(b)  the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;

(c)  the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States; and

(d)  the term “Government of Syria” means the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, its agencies, instrumentalities, and controlled entities.

Sec9.  For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual.  I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 and expanded in scope in Executive Order 13572, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.

Sec10.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order.  The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law.  All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.

Sec11.  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec12.  This order is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on August 18, 2011.

BARACK OBAMA

US GOVT Orders Pro-Israel Bias Into NC Colleges’ Curriculum

The chapel at Duke University. The Education Department is investigating a Middle East studies program that the university runs jointly with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Credit…Lance King/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Education Department has ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake the Middle East studies program run jointly by the two schools after concluding that it was offering students a biased curriculum that, among other complaints, did not present enough “positive” imagery of Judaism and Christianity in the region.

In a rare instance of federal intervention in college course content, the department asserted that the universities’ Middle East program violated the standards of a federal program that awards funding to international studies and foreign language programs. The inquiry was part of a far-reaching investigation into the program by the department, which under Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, has become increasingly aggressive in going after perceived anti-Israel bias in higher education.

That focus appears to reflect the views of an agency leadership that includes a civil rights chief, Kenneth L. Marcus, who has made a career of pro-Israel advocacy and has waged a yearslong campaign to delegitimize and defund Middle East studies programs that he has criticized as rife with anti-Israel bias.

In this case, the department homed in on what officials saw as a program that focused on the region’s Muslim population at the expense of its religious minorities. In the North Carolina program’s outreach to elementary and secondary school students, the department said, there was “a considerable emphasis placed on the understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.”

Too few of the Duke-U.N.C. programs focused on “the historic discrimination faced by, and current circumstances of, religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Yazidis, Kurds, Druze and others,” the department said.

With its actions, the department entered the debate over Israel and Palestinians that has roiled campuses around the country.

The department’s action “should be a wake-up call,” said Miriam Elman, an associate professor at Syracuse University and the executive director of the Academic Engagement Network, which opposes the boycott-Israel movement that has animated campus activism across the country. She added, “What they’re saying is, ‘If you want to be biased and show an unbalanced view of the Middle East, you can do that, but you’re not going to get federal and taxpayer money.’”

Palestinian rights groups accused the Education Department of intimidation and infringing on academic freedom.

“They really want to send the message that if you want to criticize Israel, then the federal government is going to look very closely at your entire program and micromanage it to death,” said Zoha Khalili, a staff lawyer at Palestine Legal, one such group. The department’s intervention, she added, “sends a message to Middle Eastern studies programs that their continued existence depends on their willingness to toe the government line on Israel.”

In a letter to university officials, the assistant secretary for postsecondary education, Robert King, wrote that programs run by the Duke-U.N.C. Consortium for Middle East Studies appeared to be misaligned with the federal grant they had received. Title VI of the Higher Education Act awards funding to colleges “establishing, strengthening and operating a diverse network of undergraduate foreign language and area or international studies centers and programs.”

The Education Department “believes” the Middle Eastern studies consortium “has failed to carefully distinguish between activities lawfully funded under Title VI and other activities” that are “plainly unqualified for taxpayer support,” Mr. King wrote.

The letter, published this week in the Federal Register, said that the consortium’s records on the number of students it had enrolled in foreign language studies — a cornerstone of the federal grant program — were unclear, and that “it seems clear foreign language instruction and area studies advancing the security and economic stability of the United States have taken ‘a back seat’ to other priorities.”

Mr. King wrote that the department believed other offerings, like a conference focused on “love and desire in modern Iran” and another focused on Middle East film criticism, “have little or no relevance to Title VI.” The department wrote the consortium’s programming also “appears to lack balance.”

The department also criticized the consortium’s teacher training programs for focusing on issues like “unconscious bias, serving L.G.B.T.I.Q. youth in schools, culture and the media, diverse books for the classroom and more.” They said that it had a “startling lack of focus on geography, geopolitical issues, history and language.”

The administration ordered the consortium to submit a revised schedule of events it planned to support and a full list of the courses it offers and the professors working in its Middle East studies program. The department also directed the consortium to demonstrate that it had “effective institutional controls” to stay compliant with the administration’s interpretation of the Higher Education Act. The universities were given until Sept. 22, only days before the department is scheduled to approve funding on Sept. 30.

A spokesman for Duke declined to comment, referring questions to the University of North Carolina. A spokeswoman for the U.N.C. acknowledged receipt of the letter.

“The consortium deeply values its partnership with the Department of Education and has always been strongly committed to complying with the purposes and requirements of the Title VI program,” the university said in a statement. “In keeping with the spirit of this partnership, the consortium is committed to working with the department to provide more information about its programs.”

To advocacy groups enmeshed in academic battles over Israel, the new investigation was not surprising.

Last year, the department reopened a case into anti-Jewish bias at Rutgers University that the Obama administration had closed with no finding of wrongdoing. In reconsidering the case, Mr. Marcus said the Education Department would be using a State Department definition of anti-Semitism that, among other things, labels “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” anti-Jewish bigotry, suggesting that it had been adopted by his office. The Education Department has not adopted that definition.

In June, Ms. DeVos said she had ordered an investigation into whether the Duke-U.N.C. consortium had misused any of the $235,000 it received in Title VI grants, including to sponsor an event in March called “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics and Possibilities.” Representative George Holding, Republican of North Carolina, had requested that Ms. DeVos investigate whether federal funding was used to host the conference, which constituents had said was rife with “radical anti-Israel bias.”

Mr. Holding said the conference featured active members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel — known as B.D.S. — and featured panelists who “distorted facts and misrepresented the complex situation in Gaza.” He said a video shown at the conference featured a performer who sang a “brazenly anti-Semitic song.”

But some groups came to the defense of the Middle East studies consortium. Tallie Ben Daniel, the research and education manager at Jewish Voice for Peace, a liberal group that advocates Palestinian rights, said the investigation was the latest attempt by the Trump administration “to enforce a neoconservative agenda onto spaces of academic inquiry and exploration.” She called the consortium’s curriculum “rich and diverse.”

To critics like Ms. Daniel, the targeting of the U.N.C.-Duke program appeared to be a continuation of efforts that predated the Trump administration. A group founded by Mr. Marcus, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, has pressed Education Department and Congress for years to crack down on Middle East studies programs that the center claimed promoted an anti-Israel bias.

But Ms. Elman, the professor at Syracuse, said the department’s scrutiny of the programs was long overdue.

“To get Title VI, you really have to strive for viewpoint diversity,” she said. “This is what our students want. They don’t want to be indoctrinated. They want both sides. It’s possible to do that and still make people uncomfortable.”

Before joining the Education Department, Mr. Marcus had aggressively lobbied for the Higher Education Act to crack down on Middle East studies programs, and criticized both the Education Department and Congress for failing to hold institutions accountable for violating the law’s “diverse perspectives” requirement.

In 2014, he wrote an opinion article that assailed the Title VI program for “being used to support biased and academically worthless programming on college campuses,” leaving students and faculty with opposing views “ostracized and threatened.”

“Aside from their intellectual vapidity,” Mr. Marcus wrote, “many of these programs poison the atmosphere on campus.”

He called on the department to establish a complaint process that would prompt extensive reviews of entire programs like the one being undertaken into U.N.C. and Duke.

Anti-Zionism Is Not Antisemitism

Anti-Zionism Is Not Antisemitism

Just days after he was warmly applauded by a Zionist group for delivering a stunningly antisemitic speech, Donald Trump issued a cynical “antisemitism” decree meant to stamp out campus criticism of Israel. It’s just the latest episode in Zionism’s long history of allying with antisemites.

US president Donald Trump signed an executive order to combat antisemitism during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House on December 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson / Getty

Few people would trust Donald Trump to protect Jews from a rise in antisemitism. In the United States alone, there were more than a hundred cases of physical attacks, arson, vandalism, and threats in 2018, including last October’s assault in Pittsburgh that left eleven Jews dead at the Tree of Life synagogue. Tuesday’s shooting at a Jersey City kosher market appears to be the latest anti-Jewish attack.

Trump once called himself “the least antisemitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.” But his December 11 executive order, which claims to target antisemitism on campuses, ironically employs an antisemitic trope. By defining Judaism as a nationality, Jews, the logic flows, are inherently foreign. This should come as no surprise, given the home that white nationalism and antisemitism have found in the Trump White House.

This isn’t new territory for Trump, who famously refused to call out antisemitic white supremacy after the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Most recently, he told a room full of Jews at the Israeli American Council:

You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me — you have no choice. You’re not gonna vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that. You’re not gonna vote for the wealth tax. Yeah, let’s take 100 percent of your wealth away! Some of you don’t like me. Some of you I don’t like at all, actually. And you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’re going to be out of business in about fifteen minutes if they get it. So I don’t have to spend a lot of time on that.

But the intention of the executive order is plainly not to protect Jews, but to silence the movement for Palestine. As Peter Beinart put it: “It is a bewildering and alarming time to be a Jew, both because antisemitism is rising and because so many politicians are responding to it not by protecting Jews but by victimising Palestinians.”

The executive order adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which so broadly defines the term that it includes such items as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” And by defining Judaism as a nationality, the order has power to withhold federal money from educational institutions that don’t adequately clamp down on these broadly and cynically defined affronts.

Trump isn’t actually trying to fight antisemitism here. He’s cynically trying to shut down criticism of Israel’s barbaric policies — the latest episode in Zionism’s long history of allying with antisemites.

“A Debate They Know They Can’t Win”

Trump’s order is but the latest salvo in a years-long campaign to redefine antisemitism for the purposes of shutting down criticism of Israel.

As Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told the New York Times: “Israeli apartheid is a very hard product to sell in America, especially in progressive spaces. And realizing this, many Israeli apartheid apologists, Trump included, are looking to silence a debate they know they can’t win.”

Across the ocean, France’s parliament recently passed a resolution equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. And in Britain, today’s elections, in which a victory for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party would dramatically turn around the state of British politics, have already been marred by nonstop smears purporting endemic antisemitism within the Labour Party. These attacks have mirrored the attempts to silence Ilhan Omar, an outspoken critic of Israeli aggression.

As the Guardian recently reported, this strategy has been quite explicit, and it has been driven by a sundry assortment of right-wing forces. At a conference this summer of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative network that promotes right-wing policies, Republicans met with pro-Israel lobbyists.

Their aim was to draft laws that, in the words of Randy Fine, a Republican representative from Florida, would mean that “antisemitism [will] be treated identically as how racism is treated. Students for Justice in Palestine is now treated the same way as the Ku Klux Klan — as they should be.”

Joseph Sabag of the Israeli American Council — the same group that hosted Donald Trump and applauded his openly antisemitic speech — agreed:

[Students for Justice in Palestine] is one of America’s most prominent anti-Israel propaganda groups and has material connections to organizations designated by the US justice department as terrorism co-conspirators. In the course of promoting BDS, or national-origin based discrimination against Israel, SJP members typically employ classic antisemitic themes and blood libels.

In fact, US lobby groups have a long history of working with the Israeli government’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and its hasbara (propaganda) efforts to sabotage Palestinian activism on campuses. Particularly, they have targeted the advances made by Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaigns to pass resolutions to divest their universities from companies that support Israeli occupation.

One Minoritarian Response to Antisemitism Among Many

Thankfully, a growing chorus of voices is making it clear that criticism of Israel cannot be equated with antisemitism — including a significant and ever-growing number of Jews and Jewish organizations.

Some progressives choose to differentiate between criticism of Israel’s most indefensible policies and deeper objections to the Zionist project as a whole. But this is a mistaken concession to a project that, no matter its claims, has always been one of colonization rather than Jewish emancipation. Not only does Israel not speak for the world’s Jews, but there is no correlation between support for Zionism or Israel on the one hand, and opposing antisemitism on the other.

Until the rise of fascism in Europe, Zionism was a fringe movement among Jews. Most had no interest in moving to Palestine, let alone driving out its native population. Between 1880 and 1929, almost 4 million Jews emigrated from Russia and Eastern European countries. But only 120,000 moved to Palestine, while more than 3 million moved to the United States and Canada.

In 1914, there were only 12,000 members of Zionist organizations across the entire United States. The Socialist Party had that many Jewish members in the Lower East Side of New York alone.

Modern antisemitism was born out of the tumultuous period of Eastern European and Russian history when feudalism was giving way to capitalist development. In Russia, antisemitic scapegoating deliberately organized and provoked by the czar was used as a means of dividing and weakening workers’ struggles. A wave of pogroms — anti-Jewish riots — exploded through Russia from 1881 onward, spreading to Poland and other Eastern European countries. Another outbreak of anti-Jewish violence reached even more barbaric proportions in 1903. Not coincidentally, both 1882 and 1904 saw waves of immigration to Palestine and other countries.

From its inception, Zionism was a secular rather than a religious movement and, in that sense, was never a “Jewish” idea. Religious Jews, by and large, opposed the growth of Zionism at that time, and some Orthodox groups still do today, on the basis of Jewish religious law.

Jewish liturgy refers to a return to the Holy Land on a spiritual level, and some Jewish religious pilgrims had emigrated to Palestine in the past to form religious communities — but not to establish a state. Political Zionism — which sought to form an exclusive Jewish state — was a new phenomenon that arose in Eastern Europe in response to the growth of modern antisemitism.

But Zionism was just one (minority) response to antisemitism, among many. Many more Jews flocked to socialist and communist movements, which were critical in the fight against fascism. Zionism’s response, on the other hand, was one of resignation to antisemitism and, at times, even collaboration with it.

As a member of the (now-defunct) Israeli Socialist Organization put it, Zionism “accepts at least tacitly the basic assumptions of racism.” That is, there is something inherent either in Jews or non-Jews that necessarily warrants a separation.

A number of leading Zionists concurred with popular racist ideas aimed at Jews themselves. Herzl accepted the idea that Jews were an economic burden to non-Jews, and in this way brought antisemitism on themselves anywhere they went. Thus, there has always been a disquieting symmetry between Zionism and antisemitism.

At minimum, Zionism resigned itself to antisemitism. Some major strands within the movement consciously articulated a common interest between Zionism, on the one hand, and antisemites — even fascists. One particularly appalling example of this attitude was expressed by Joachim Prinz, a Zionist leader in Germany in the 1930s. Commenting on Hitler, who pushed to institute total separation between Jews and non-Jews, especially a prohibition on intermarriage, he wrote:

The theory of assimilation has broken down. We have no longer any refuge. We want assimilation to be replaced by the conscious recognition of the Jewish nation and the Jewish race. Only those Jews who recognize their own specificity can respect a state founded on the principle of the purity of nation and race . . . From every last hiding place of baptizing and mixed marriage [the Jews] are being pulled out. This does not make us unhappy. In this coercion to acknowledge and clearly stand by one’s own community, we see at the same time the fulfillment of our dreams.

Practically speaking, the most overarching reason that emerged for why so many Zionists could view antisemitic regimes in a favorable light wasn’t necessarily that they actively preferred antisemites (though sometimes they did), but that the Zionist project was, and remains, dependent on the backing of imperial powers — first the Ottoman Empire, then the British, then the United States.

A minority settler community simply could not colonize a majority native population without the military support of one or more of the major powers. Zionists, including those in the mainstream “Labor” camp, weren’t discriminating as to where that backing came from, even when it was motivated by a disdain for Jews.

For instance, the British ruling class agreed with the Zionists that it would be mutually beneficial to support a Jewish state in Palestine, because a Zionist state could act as an important counterweight to growing Arab nationalism as well as to the tendency of many Jews in Britain to join radical and revolutionary movements.

Winston Churchill made this argument in an article called “Zionism versus Bolshevism,” which argued that it was important to “develop and foster any strongly-marked Jewish movement” such as Zionism that could “lead directly away from” the “worldwide conspiracy” of “the International Jews” (and here he mentions Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Emma Goldman, and Rosa Luxemburg) “for the overthrow of civilization.”

In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, formally declaring support for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Lord Balfour, who wrote the declaration, was a known antisemite who had sponsored legislation against Jewish immigration into Britain.

British officials began to give economic and political support to the burgeoning Zionist proto-state in Palestine. For instance, 90 percent of economic concessions were granted to Jews even though they made up a fraction of the population. As settlers drove Palestinians from their lands and workplaces, Arab nationalism grew in response to what was clearly an unfolding disaster.

It was with the rise of fascism in Europe that the Jewish population in Palestine experienced its greatest growth. But it was also in this period that Zionism showed its ugliest face with regard to Europe’s Jews. Within months of Hitler’s coming to power, the leading German Zionist organization sent him a memo offering collaboration. While the Nazis were smashing socialist and Jewish resistance organizations, they allowed the Zionists to continue operating. The leading Zionist organizations, for their part, worked to undermine a worldwide anti-German boycott.

Zionist leaders believed that fighting antisemitism in Europe was a distraction from winning a Jewish state in Palestine. Time and again, they chose to negotiate for more immigration of Jews to Palestine rather than confronting antisemitic regimes. In the process, they decided which immigrants were desirable. Chaim Weizmann, for instance, declared:

From the depths of this tragedy I want to save young people. The old ones will pass. They will bear their fate or they will not. They are dust, economic and moral dust in the a cruel world . . . Only the branch of the young shall survive.

Similarly, the Jewish Agency, the central Zionist organization in Palestine, refused to devote funds to the rescue of European Jews. It decided to spend the money on acquiring land in Palestine.

And David Ben-Gurion, who was to become Israel’s first prime minister, opposed a plan to allow German Jewish children to emigrate to Britain. His explanation:

If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them to Israel, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children but also the history of the people of Israel.

By 1947 — on the eve of Israel’s establishment — Jews still made up less than one-third of the population of Palestine. Settlement alone couldn’t create a Jewish state. The other arm of the strategy had to be the “transfer” of the Arab population (an antiseptic euphemism for ethnic cleansing.)

This idea was embraced by the majority of Zionist leaders, from Herzl to Ben-Gurion. As Yosef Weitz, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Department, said:

Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples together in this country. We shall not achieve our goal if the Arabs are in this small country. There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries — all of them. Not one village, not one tribe should be left.

The UN partitioned Palestine in 1947, reserving 55 percent of the land for a Jewish state and leaving the Arab majority with only 45 percent of their own country. The Zionist leadership publicly accepted the partition, but privately drew up plans to capture the rest of the country and drive the Arab population out. In the months between the partition and the British army’s withdrawal, Zionist militias took the opportunity to terrorize the Arab population. It was at this time that atrocities like the infamous Deir Yassin massacre — in which every man, woman, and child in the village, 254 in total, were killed — took place.

The final irony of Zionism is that it turned the oppressed minority Jews of Europe into an oppressor majority in Palestine. Rather than challenge domination, Zionists accepted discrimination and separation as natural principles of humanity. The rise of European fascism not only created a massive impetus for immigration to Palestine, it also, in the eyes of many Zionists, legitimized the ethnic cleansing of Arabs. The most right-wing strands of Zionism embraced ideas of racial purity as their own.

Ultimately, the fight against antisemitism has to be linked to the wider fight against oppression. For that reason, the fight against Palestinian oppression has far more in common with the struggle against antisemitism than Zionism does. This struggle must avoid compromising with the slanders against it — whether they come from the likes of Donald Trump or Israeli hasbara.

A movement that includes Jewish Voice for Peace and Bernie Sanders as much as it does Ilhan Omar and Jeremy Corbyn can get us a step closer to a world where the brutality of pogroms and occupations are consigned to the dustbin of history.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hadas Thier is an activist and socialist in New York, and the author of the forthcoming book A People’s Guide to Capitalism: An Introduction to Marxist Economics.

Is It Time To Kill Another Hariri, Already?

Israel Plans To Assassinate Saad Hariri

When all else fails against an enemy, the Israeli Mossad activates its assassins, either through a missile strike targeting a passenger in a moving car, or through a car bomb, through poisoned toothpaste, else through a bullet to the brain of their target.  This is their MO, as illustrated by their very own supremely long history of terrorism.

Following the dramatic civil unrest and protest upheaval in the Lebanon these past two weeks – a genuine anti corruption Lebanese revolution that was hijacked on the fifth day by the internal and external enemies of Lebanon, and more specifically, by the enemies of Hezbollah – Lebanon returned to some semblance of normality two days ago, albeit a volatile one.

Nasrallah, in his last speech, heartily congratulated the “awoke population of the Lebanon” for foiling an Israeli-Saudi plan to ignite sectarian civil war in their nation.  Indeed, it’s a miracle that gun fights on narrow Lebanese streets and strategic bridges didn’t erupt between hot-headed protesting civilians, considering that the majority of Lebanese homes proudly count weapons as part and parcel of their furniture.

Clearly, the aim of the revolution’s hijackers was solely to target Hezbollah for destruction – or at least, for weakening.  For over two decades, Hezbollah’s Jewish and Jew-centric enemies have been conspiring to destroy it, and all their efforts and missions have failed thus far – nay, all their efforts ended up making Hezbollah even stronger than the day before the dastardly conspiracies against it.

It is practically impossible to destroy a popular, home-grown resistance group that’s focused, disciplined, committed, well-trained and well-armed.  In fact, we can no longer refer to the Hezbollah as a resistance ‘group’, for it is now an intact army on par with any able-bodied regional army.  Yes, Hezbollah is an army – an experienced one, a professional one – and its stellar warfare tactics and methodology are currently being studied in military academies the world over.

Strategists in Tel Aviv sitting in windowless rooms have ran out of ideas in their endeavors to destroy Hezbollah.  They have run through the whole gamut of evil ploys with zero results, and now as a last resort, they have called in their kosher assassins.  And when Jewish assassins are called in, the target is usually the highest and most consequential.  Often, the target is one of their own ‘Controlled Opposition’ agents – an agent directly or indirectly and preferably Gentile – as indeed was the case with the Mossad-murdered Rafik Hariri, Lebanon’s ex Prime Minister and father of the current (resigned) Prime Minister, Saad Hariri.

In Lebanon, sectarianism still exists, though in much milder form than it did back in the 1970’s.  The recent mass protests distinguished themselves and confirmed this by the pluralistic protestors’ unified anti-corruption cries, instead of divisive and bellicose calls in support of their own religious sect, which used to be the norm in Lebanon.  Watchers of Saad Hariri observed that soon as he resigned, he began speaking in a sectarian language and warning of Lebanon’s Sunni community losing political power in the next new government, thus inciting Sunni extremists to take to the streets to ‘insult’ the powerful Hezbollah and their proud Shia and Christian supporters.  Armed protestors on the night streets of Tripoli (a Hariri stronghold) demanded his immediate return to government and skirmished and battled with the Lebanese army over two nights (they only appeared at nightfall).  It became clear then that Saad Hariri’s resignation and government dissolution was intended by him (and his Axis of Evil controllers) to elbow Hezbollah’s members out of government, thus stripping them of political power; as well as spinning the nation into an ‘atmosphere’ of sectarian civil war.  But alas, this too didn’t work as Tripoli’s armed and paid Sunni extremists could not give more than two nights’ worth of sedition and ruinous rebellion; and Hezbollah’s leadership, being an awoke and cool-headed lot, showed no physical reaction to these incitements at all.

Fizzle after fizzle laid at the feet of Hezbollah these past two weeks.

Saad Hariri, not known for being a political intellectual, nor for being a notable strategist, now with hindsight appears to be a pawn-member of the Jewish plan to weaken Hezbollah at the expense of Lebanon’s security – all to insure his leadership as head Sunni puppet, and not as a patriotic leader with profound responsibility towards the whole of the citizenry of Lebanon.

Here we must pause and ask ourselves: what does Saad Hariri mean to the Israeli Mossad?  What is his value and worth to the Jewish terrorist state?

We know that the Axis of Evil members, all of them, consider him as a weakling and view him with utter contempt.  Saudi MbS kidnapped him and had his security men slap him around and put a gun to his head.  We know that Jews and Jew-centric globalists and regime-changers in DC, with peg on nose use him as bait and pawn inside the Lebanon.  And we know that the Mossad found his father, well, very ‘disposable’.

Therefore, he too, Saad Hariri is disposable.

At this stage of the game between Hezbollah and the Mossad, and after all of the Mossad’s plans against the Hezbollah have failed over the decades, only one single ploy that may have some measure of success in turning the Lebanon theater into a pit of civil war that would weaken Hezbollah internally remains: it is the assassination of Saad Hariri.  To be pinned on Hezbollah.  Exactly as they did with his father.

This is the only card left in Jewish hands.

And they are already ready for it – by god the Jews are ready for it but… for Trump’s permission.

Will Trump ever give Tel Aviv the green light to assassinate Saad Hariri, thus triggering civil war in the Lebanon?  A war that may spill over into both a recovering Syria and an insecure Israel, thus raising with it the specter of a dreaded regional war?

The American embassy in Beirut is not behaving as if an engineered civil war is about to break out in the Lebanon.  They are more than happy for now to just engineer a hijacking of Lebanon’s genuine protests to bring the small nation to the brink of a ‘Trumpian’ bankruptcy, but, they’ve not been given orders by the White House to prepare for a dangerous, uncontrollable civil war.  Yet.

One thing we can be sure of is this: should the ‘nod’ to assassinate Saad Hariri be given to the Mossad and his murder plunges the country of Lebanon into civil war overnight, Tel Aviv will not be left unmolested by Hezbollah’s weapons, especially if Hezbollah’s Intelligence Unit (the best in the country and one of the best in the region) can provide evidence of Jewish hands in the assassination of Saad Hariri to the public.

Two years ago, a Mossad operative in Lebanon was caught planning the assassination of Rafik Hariri’s sister, Bahia Hariri – Saad Hariri’s aunt.  Report of this was denied by the Lebanese Ministry of Interior, but it was understood in Lebanon that this denial was to preserve the security of the nation.  Secular, Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV, who were first to report this story, have access to both Hezbollah and Lebanese Intelligence information.  They are not known for spreading fake news, or for sectarian incitement.  Moreover, Hariri’s aunt traveled to Paris the day after the attempted assassination on her and remained there for months, after adamantly refusing to comment on the story while still in Beirut packing her bags.

In classic mafia style, assassinating Saad Hariri’s aunt (successful or not) was intended to send a message to Hariri, the pawn: ‘fight Hezbollah dirtier, or else!’.

And who, pray tell, is sending this menacing message to him?  Why, it’s no other than the Israeli and Saudi intelligence, with support from the CIA.

If Israel finds no other way to diminish Hezbollah’s growing might and power domestically and regionally,  it will indeed call upon its DC brigade to pressure Trump into green-lighting the assassination of Saad Hariri.

After all, who is Saad Hariri to the racist Jews except yet another disposable, Gentile pawn?  A worthless Arab!

Ideally, Tel Aviv would much prefer to assassinate Hassan Nasrallah himself.  But all their attempts at getting intelligence on his whereabouts have so far been futile.  Therefore, for Tel Aviv to create the deeply desired sectarian war between Lebanese Shia and Sunnis, the next best way forward would be the assassination of Saad Hariri.

His life now rests in the small hands of President Donald J. Trump.

CIA Sets US Foreign Policy…Proxy Terrorism For Everyone, Including Best Friends

CIA’s Phoenix Terror Program: Vietnam, Latin Am, Africa, Middle East. British Court: NATO is Behind ISIS, Al Qaeda

There is another type of warfare – new in its intensity, ancient in its origin – war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It preys on unrest.” – John F. Kennedy

“They called the tactic ‘counter terror’ ironically since what they were doing was terrorism. In fact throughout the Vietnam war the CIA staged false flag terror attacks even bombing theaters and blamed them on Viet Cong “Terrorists”.. (..) Death Squads made up a major element in these programs. In Nicaragua they trained the contras to engage in terror and assassination that often targeted Nicaraguan health workers and teachers or any government member they could get their hands on doubtless in an attempt to eliminate the Sandinista “Infrastructure” Of course they also terrorized anyone else who fell into their hands men, women and children. The Phoenix program would rise once again after the wars in central America ended this time in Iraq and Afghanistan.” – Turner reviews the book

“The CIA has corrupted not only the military, but America’s political and judicial systems; and that, through its secret control of the media, the CIA’s power to create the official version of history has left veterans of the Vietnam War, as well as every subsequent generation of Americans as well, in a state of neurotic delusion.” — Douglas Valentine, 2017

“The Phoenix Program in Vietnam in many ways provides a blue print for our own times. Assassinations and torture are the essence of the war on terror. As are death squads and false flag terror attacks. As are mass surveillance of the populace.” – Review of Douglas Valentine’s The Phoenix Program

Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize Speech corroborates Doug Valentine’s Research on CIA (Vietnam, Nicarague, Syria.. link)

“.. my contention here is that the US crimes [since 1945]  have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now.
Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America’s favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as ‘low intensity conflict’. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued – or beaten to death – the same thing – and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer. (..)
The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven. Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it. (..) The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.” Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize Speech, 2005
“Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line” of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime. Clearly, the absurdity of sending someone to prison for doing what ministers and their security officials were up to themselves became too much. But it’s only the latest of a string of such cases.” ‘Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq’, 2015, Seumas Milne, The Guardian
“Let me just briefly revise the history of American so-called blunders over the last couple of years with regard to weapons ending up in the hands of Islamic State.” ‘US is using ISIS like an attack dog’, 2015, RT, Jeremy Salt. See his important The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands, here
“The examples that will be presented here, of contemporaneous news-reports from 2012, which covered America’s backing of Al Qaeda, and America’s heavy dependence upon Al Qaeda, were reported by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which itself is funded by the U.S. and Israeli Governments and supports the overthrow of Assad, so that no one can reasonably consider their reports to be slanted in favor of Syria’s Government.” America’s ‘Boots-On-The-Ground’ Fighters in Syria are Kurds and Al Qaeda, 2018, by Eric Zuesse for the Saker Blog
Lost peace and fake news, 2017, Scandinavian Peace Researcher Jan Øberg

“Simply stated, black propaganda is one of many criminal but legally deniable things the CIA does. It often involves committing a heinous crime and blaming it on an enemy by planting false evidence, and then getting a foreign newspaper to print the CIA’s scripted version of events, which sympathetic journalists in America broadcast to the gullible public. (..) Left paterfamilias Noam Chomsky, who generally shows an appreciation for the subtleties of covert action, claimed that America is not supplying its Al Qaeda mercenary army with arms – even though Eric Schmidt at The New York Times reported over a year ago that CIA officers in Turkey were “helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arm”” The CIA, the Press and Black Propaganda, 2013, by Douglas Valentine

“Both Obama and Trump have pointed out their badass nature on numerous occasions, not so much in sympathy for those they oppress but to raise fear levels of ISIS-inspired badassery here at home. And yet, both regimes have actively, secretly, and materially supported the advance of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, fully aware of who they were and what they were up to. Say what?”  ‘America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries’, 2018, G. Dutton, CounterPunch

CIA preys on states via intel, media, terror proxies & torture   

To get the necessary historical perspective on the nazi methods in US foreign policy after WW2 including similarity in corporate power relations’ ambitions of world dominance, see HS page: Big Business Behind WWI & II. After WW2 the US Imported Nazis and their methods to Continue the Nazi Policy (CIA)
“The postwar recruitment of Nazis and collaborators by agencies of the U.S. government stemmed, the author illustrates, from intense East-West competition after the German surrender, prodded by the prospect of war between the superpowers. Simpson, a freelance journalist, reveals that many covert operations of the early Cold War era involved the use of operatives known to have committed crimes against humanity during the Second World War. The underlying theme here is the corruption of American ideals in connection with this hushed-up recruitment policy in the name of anticommunism. In elaborating the policy’s “negative blowback,” Simpson emphasizes the long-term corrosive effect on American intelligence agencies in particular.” Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Destructive Impact on Our Domestic and Foreign Policy, 1988/2014, C. Simpson
“Designed to destroy the Vietcong infrastructure and ostensibly run by the South Vietnamese government, the Phoenix Program–in fact directed by the United States–developed a variety of counterinsurgency activities including, at its worst, torture and assassination. For Valentine ( The Hotel Tacloban , LJ 9/15/84), the program epitomizes all that was wrong with the Vietnam War; its evils are still present wherever there are “ideologues obsessed with security, who seek to impose their way of thinking on everyone else.” Exhaustive detail and extensive use of interviews with and writings by Phoenix participants make up the book’s principal strengths” The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam, 1990/2014 Douglas Valentine
“According to those who formulated it [The Phoenix Program], this monster child with its computer brain and assassin’s instinct would make the Vietcong wither from within. Not by attacking guerrillas in the field, but by destroying infrastructure – a term, as Mr. Valentine explains, used to refer to ”those civilians suspected of supporting North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers….” Body Count Was Their Most Important Product, M Safer, 1990 review The Phoenix Program
When CIA’s true nature was almost revealed: “… in June 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the aptly named Pentagon Papers, shifting blame for the increasingly unpopular Vietnam War from the CIA to the military, while distracting public attention from the investigations of the CIA’s Phoenix Program and the CIA’s involvement in drug smuggling.” Will the Real Daniel Ellsberg Please Stand Up!, 2003, Douglas Valentine
The Phoenix Program in Vietnam in many ways provides a blue print for our own times. Assassinations and torture are the essence of the war on terror. As are death squads and false flag terror attacks. As are mass surveillance of the populace. (..) From the perspective of a Bureaucrat like Bill Colby it was merely an attempt to coordinate a number of pre-existing programs. Sort of like the Department of HomeLand Security or more precisely it’s fusion centers where military, police, and intelligence agencies pool information on their enemies the American people. Phoenix sought to provide cooperation between various Vietnamese and American agencies (..) A massive campaign of torture and assassination aimed at destroying what the CIA called the VCI the Viet Cong Infrastructure. (..) They called the tactic ‘counter terror’ ironically since what they were doing was terrorism. In fact throughout the Vietnam war the CIA staged false flag terror attacks even bombing theaters and blamed them on Viet Cong “Terrorists”.. (..) Death Squads made up a major element in these programs. In Nicaragua they trained the contras to engage in terror and assassination that often targeted Nicaraguan health workers and teachers or any government member they could get their hands on doubtless in an attempt to eliminate the Sandinista “Infrastructure” Of course they also terrorized anyone else who fell into their hands men, women and children. The Phoenix program would rise once again after the wars in central America ended this time in Iraq and Afghanistan. (..) Using a CIA Front company Pacific Architects and Engineers the CIA built prisons all over the country to be used to torture political prisoners. They are exact forerunners of todays CIA black sites which now dot the world aiming to torture people to produce real or fabricated intelligence, recruit double agents, break people’s spirits and terrify the rest of the planet into submission. (..) Through a special program USAID the infamous CIA front that pretends to dole out charity sent out telephone generators across the world used by the CIA trained secret police around the world to torture their people. Vietnam was only one example. People would be held for months and there were few survivors. These PICs in return would obtain names for further targets who would be either killed or sent to the PICs to be tortured to generate even more names. An endless cycle of horror. (..) Of course many US Contractors, Military officers and CIA Officers also managed to earn fortunes in various corrupt schemes. (..) Another element of the Phoenix Program involved what were called census grievance teams. In every village the CIA appointed an official who was responsible for interviewing the head of each household every month. (..) The legacy of the Phoenix program is a legacy of terror, torture, and death. With all the carnage of the Vietnam War it was little noticed although there was a brief scandal about it  (..) Perhaps the latest site for the rebirth of the Phoenix program is Ukraine where Fascist Death Squads have been unleashed to terrorize the populace although after a recent power struggle the government plans to bring them into the regular army.” ‘CIA’s “Phoenix Program” and the “War on Terror”, 2016, Turner, Reviews Doug Valentine
Long hidden from public view, Operation Condor was a military network created in the 1970s to eliminate political opponents of Latin American regimes. Its key members were the anticommunist dictatorships of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil, later joined by Peru and Ecuador, with covert support from the U.S. government.” Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America, 2012 J. Patrice McSherry
The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability“reveals a formerly secret record of complicity with atrocity on the part of US government”, 2. ed, 2013 Kornbluh
“Michael Maclear’s 1975 doc., Spooks and Cowboys, Gooks and Grunts is more relevant now than ever. Forty-two years after its release, it exposes the suppressed, shameful truths that have corrupted America since the Vietnam War. The documentary makes it perfectly clear that “we” have always known what was going on – and that “we” have perfected the means of denying and obfuscating it.(…) Maclear’s documentary is straightforward in stating several shameful truths. Foremost, that the CIA has corrupted not only the military, but America’s political and judicial systems; and that, through its secret control of the media, the CIA’s power to create the official version of history has left veterans of the Vietnam War, as well as every subsequent generation of Americans as well, in a state of neurotic delusion.” The Vietnam War and the Phoenix Program: “A Computerized Genocide”, Doug Valentine, Oct 2017 [see HS Vietnam]
Who are ‘we’: “Hundreds of thousands travel freely among us, some even live as our neighbors, teach in our schools, borrow from our banks. They are war criminals, they have murdered, raped, run narcotics, been involved in arms and sex trafficking and are, in some cases, honored as heroes.”‘ Blacklist, Monsters Among US’, Oct 2017, Gordon Duff
US want Chaos: “The US is not looking to reverse progressive governments (Libya and Syria), nor to steal the region’s oil and gas. Its intent is to decimate States, to send people of these countries back to a pre-historic time where “man did not love his neighbour as God loved him but would pounce like a wolf upon his neighbour. () Has toppling the Saddam Hussein regime and the regime of Gaddafi brought peace back to these states? No! () It is a basic observation that rocks our understanding of contemporary imperialism. This strategy, radically new, was taught by Thomas P. M. Barnett following 11-Sept. 2001. It was publicly revealed and exposed in March 2003 – that is, just before the war against Iraq— in an article in Esquire, then in the eponym book, The Pentagon’s New Map. However, such a strategy appears so cruel in design, that no one imagined it could be implemented.” ‘The anti-imperialist camp: splintered in thought’, Aug 2017, Thierry Meyssan / Part 2 The US military project for the world
“An avalanche of spies, lies, covert actions and overt aggression; Davidson shows how many of the West’s troubles in the Middle East have emerged from its relentless search for resources.” ―Leif Wenar, Professor and Chair in Philosophy and Law, King’s College London. “This is an outstanding book, bracing in its understanding of the rapacious forces that set upon the Middle East and meticulous in weaving the historical threads that explain why.” — John Pilger
UK want Chaos: “What we want is not a united Arabia: but a weak and disunited Arabia split up into little principalities so far as possible under our suzerainty, but incapable of coordinated action against us” – so claimed a memorandum written by the Foreign Department of the British Government of India in 1915. – A more succinct summary of British policy towards the Arab world – both then and now – would be hard to find.” ‘British collusion with sectarian violence: Part two’, 2016, Dan Glazebrook

Some US history of creating, funding, training, leading and arming jihadist mercenaries. Mujahideen, Al Qaeda to ISIS

“The CIA recruited the Muslim Brotherhood to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which led to the withdrawal of the Soviets from the Hindu Kush. Since then, the CIA used the mercenaries to fight more proxy wars in the Balkans, Chechnya, and Azerbaijan. Due to the wars of aggression against Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen the US and its vassal states created sectarian violence that led to civil wars. Right now, the CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood are present in the form of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.” ‘US Empire, CIA, and the NGO’s, Watzal & Engdahl, 2017
“We know that al-Qaeda emerged because Western powers–in particular the United States–funded and trained radical Islamic groups in order to use them for their own purposes. This book shows that this is not an isolated incident. Journalist Brendan O’Neill argues that it’s part of a worldwide strategy, the results of which can now be seen from Afghanistan to Kosovo, Beslan and beyond. All over the world, so-called “humanitarian” interventions, while dressed up in terms of human rights, have weakened states, creating vacuums that encourage the movement of groups across borders–allowing terrorists like al-Qaeda to thrive. O’Neill makes links across all major conflicts of the late twentieth century, concentrating his analysis on the “humanitarian” interventions of the 1990s, in particular Bosnia and Kosovo. He shows how–the war having been won in Afghanistan–the United States and Britain helped arm and move thousands of Mujahideen fighters from Central Asia into the former Yugoslavia where they played a key role in the resistance of the Bosnian Muslims. Their continuing presence in the region now undermines efforts to stabilize Kosovo and turn Bosnia into a viable state. – O’Neill’s distinctive analysis will be of interest to all students of international studies, and anyone who wants to know more about the destabilising effect of recent western interventions and the rise of global terrorism.” Amazone Description of From Bosnia to Beslan: How the West Spread Al-Qaeda, by Brendan O’Neilll, 2010, Pluto Press This book is sold out. CIA probably bought all of them.
“The Politburo discussions show that the Soviet leaders were very reluctant to send troops, and responded to the Afghan requests with shipments of military equipment, but not troops, throughout the spring and summer of 1979.” THE SOVIET EXPERIENCE IN AFGHANISTAN: RUSSIAN DOCUMENTS AND MEMOIRS Edited by Svetlana Savranskaya, October 9, 2001
“The U.S. neoconservatives have long been talking about a policy of “creative chaos” in the Middle East. The “creativity” of this chaos consists of the consolidation of U.S. hegemony in the region by causing area-wide instability and generating more “failed states”. Indeed, ethnic, religious, civil and cross-national wars carry the Middle East in that direction.” – “The Virtual Inventor of the “IS” is none other than Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice” ‘The Fiction of “Fighting the Islamic State”, An Entity Created and Financed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia’, 2014, Dr. M Massarrat, prof emeritus Univ Osnabrück, Germany
“In Syria, as was the case in Afghanistan, the most bloodthirsty Islamists are deemed by the imperialist intelligence agencies as the most effective in terrorising their armed opponents and the general population. Therefore, groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, who daily engage in extortion, kidnapping, rape and bloody mass executions of their Shia and Alawite enemies and even one-time Sunni allies, are widely supported by the West. sec. services.” Trial collapses after threatened exposure of UK backing of Syrian terror groups, 2015, WSW
“A dozen nations armed ISIS, protected them, some provided air support, others funneled jihadists from the far reaches of the Pacific to battle fields in Iraq and Syria. (…) Most involved aren’t Muslims. Many are Americans, the same corporations that profited from the War on Terror, backed ISIS as well. Every NATO nation was involved as was Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. This was a war of corporations and banks, a commercial venture building on the real lessons learned after 9/11.” ‘A Nuremberg Tribunal for ISIS and Friends’, Sep 2017, NEO
“No one on the ground believes in this mission or this effort”, a former Green Beret writes of America’s covert and clandestine programs to train and arm Syrian insurgents, “they know we are just training the next generation of jihadis, so they are sabotaging it by saying, ‘Fuck it, who cares?’”. “I don’t want to be responsible for Nusra guys saying they were trained by Americans,” the Green Beret added.” Disobeying Obama, 2016
“Furthermore, one day before Prime Minister Thani’s interview, The Intercept released a new top-secret NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which show in stunning clarity that the armed opposition in Syria was under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the war which has now claimed half a million lives.” ‘In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War’, Oct 2017, Zero Hedge
“In other words, when the US and Britain offer “support” for Nigeria against Boko Haram, or for Iraq against ISIL, they are offering protection against a threat which they themselves are responsible for [in control of]. The flooding of North Africa and the Middle East with armed militias – the overt and predictable consequence of NATO’s actions in Libya and Syria – aims to make Africa and the Arab world dependent on the West for its security needs. – African and Arab governments should not fall into the trap. The West aims to destabilise countries like Nigeria and Iraq not stabilise them.” Western foreign policy as a protection racket, 2014, By Dan Glazebrook
“It is no coincidence that almost all of the recent terror attacks in North Africa – not to mention Manchester – have been either prepared in Libya or perpetrated by fighters trained in Libya. Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, ISIS, Mali’s Ansar Dine, and literally dozens of others, have all greatly benefited from the destruction of Libya. By ensuring the spread of terror groups across the region, the Western powers had magically created a demand for their military assistance which hitherto did not exist. They had literally created a protection racket for Africa.” – ‘West eyes recolonization of Africa by endless war; removing Gaddafi was just first step’, Oct 2017, Dan Glazebrook / NB. NATO goes to Asia
Flash-Back: Beginning 70’ties – 1979 & 1980’ties: President Carter funds Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Shortly after Reagan & Thatcher publicly support the Mujahideen. Later US re-brands and distances itself from link to (now) ‘Al Qaeda’. Next is 9/11, Declaring War on Terror and Proclaiming al Qaeda “The World’s Greatest Terror Organization”. Latest rebrand al Qaeda to ISIS (in Iraq) and al Nusra, Free Syrian Army etc. in Syria. 
(1) more will come here…
(2) “GOULD: Well, I think you really have to go back to the early 1970s, when Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who we already mentioned, has been an active Afghan fighter, who really started, in the early ’70s, separating from Afghanistan. (..) The United States, the Saudis, were already funding this kind of activity. Ahmad Shah Massoud was another one who was a part of the attempt to start the destabilization of Afghanistan from the Pakistani side.” CIA and ISI Nurtured Mujahideen and Taliban, 2010, The Real News
[Our] “book’s purpose is — as stated by Afghan expert Selig Harrison — to correct five decades of biased journalistic and academic writing about Afghanistan. (…) Kenneth J. Cooper’s review is a perfect example of what American journalism has become and what it can no longer be in order to be called journalism.” Invisible History, Afghanistan’s Untold Story Is no Conspiracy Theory!, 2009, Fitzgerald & Gould
Wikileaks: The Pakistan Connection: Gould, Fitzgerald, authors of “Afghanistan’s Untold Story” discuss WikiLeaks Pakistan Taliban connection, 2010, The Real News
“Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s …, Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s … Libya 2011 … Syria 2012 …”, 2012, The United States and its Comrade-in-arms, Al Qaeda. W. Blum
“In 1981 Margaret Thatcher travelled to the Pakistan/Afghanistan border and addressed the Mujahideen. She told them “the hearts of the free world are with you and that “we in Britain will continue to help you in every way we can”. (..) Abdul Haq was welcomed to Britain by Thatcher in 1986. Haq had ordered a bombing in Kabul which killed 28 people, most of them students. Thatcher also invited Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to London the same year and hailed him a “freedom fighter”. Hekmatyar gained status after throwing acid in a woman’s face. – Thatcher’s collusion with the Mujahideen was extensive. It highlights the hypocrisy of the British regime.” Brief overview of Thatcher’s collusion with Mujahideen, CRIMES OF BRITAIN
“Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today? – Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.” How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen, 1998, St. Clair and Cockburn
“CIA’s Chechen Wars: Not long after the CIA and Saudi Intelligence-financed Mujahideen had devastated Afghanistan at the end of the 1980’s, forcing the exit of the Soviet Army in 1989, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union itself some months later, the CIA began to look at possible places in the collapsing Soviet Union where their trained “Afghan Arabs” could be redeployed to further destabilize Russian influence over the post-Soviet Eurasian space.” What if Putin is Telling the Truth?, 2015 Engdahl
Wikispooks: “In an article in The Guardian the day after the 7 July 2005 London bombings, and four weeks before his untimely death, Robin Cook caused a stir by describing Al-Qaida as a product of Western intelligence and insisting that ‘The Struggle on terror” could not be won by military means’, 2005, The Guardian
NB. The more blunt quote above is disputed (of course). But it may very well be accurate – as it states the truth. And as Cook was a man of integrity. Brzezinski corrobates this bragging that he and US President Carter created the Mujahideen to lure Soviet Union into war in Afghanistan. Robin Cook resigned from Blair’s government over the decision to go to war in Iraq. “Robin Cook [also] once observed that he never knew Downing Street make any decision that displeased BAE Systems
Bunel, who is the source of the blunt Coook quote is a former French NATO officer and whistleblower, actually a hero against NATO’s lies and illegal bombing of Serbia. Bunel was imprisoned for ‘state treason’ for sharing NATO info with the Serbs and later wrote books on his Memoirs as a French agentNATO’s War Crimes etc. To corroborate Bunel’s NATO critique see also HS page on Yugoslavia

‘Islamic Terrorism: Our Ally For 38 Years’, June 2017, Kanthan, ICH:

“Islamic terrorists are wonderful instruments for proxy wars – they cost very little but fight fearlessly. They are a global resource that can be brought into any local conflict. They are also expendable – we use them when convenient and kill them when inconvenient. If this shocks the conscience of people, it just means they haven’t been paying keen attention. Consider the following examples: (…) Ever wonder why we never go to war against or impose sanctions on these sponsors of terrorism? Heck we don’t even condemn them!” Read the full article here

A few more links on US/NATO, Saudi Arabia etc. create & work with ISIS, Al Nusra etc. – Many, many more links could be added.

US and Saudi Arabia arms significantly enhanced Isis’ military capabilities, report reveals. The Number of US and Saudi supplied weapons in Isis’ hands goes ‘far beyond those that would have been available through battle capture alone’, Dec. 2017, The Independent
“The BBC has uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters and their families escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the city.” Raqqa’sdirty secret, Nov. 2017, BBC
“The idea is simple: Deploy US-backed “jihadi” proxies to capture-and-hold vast sections of the country thereby making it impossible for the central government to control the state. This is how the Obama administration plans to deal with Assad, by making him irrelevant. The strategy is explained in great detail in a piece by Michael E. O’Hanlon at the Brookings Institute titled “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”. Here’s an excerpt:..” The Brookings Institute Plan to Liquidate Syria, 2015, Mike Whitney
“Currently there are three main jihadist coalitions in Syria:
– the pro-Turks (Free Syrian Army);
– the pro-Qatari (Hayat Tahrir al-Cham / Al-Qaeda); and
– the pro-Deep State (Daesh).”
An Overview Of The Overwhelming Evidence, 2015, Glen Swart

Much, much more can be added to back the claims on this page. Perhaps later… Enough for now – (October, 2017, LJ) – See also HS (on nations involved in) Syria

Israel – al Qaeda, al Nusra & ISIS Cooperation

“New York, SANA – A report by the United Nations Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the occupied Syrian Golan confirmed Israel’s support for armed terrorist organizations in Syria, including Jabhat al-Nusra terror organization. The report was published on 6 December and it covers the period from September 10th to November 24th 2017.” Dec. 20, 2017, UN report uncovers Israel’s support for terrorist organizations in Syria, SANA
“The fact that the Israeli attacks coincided with those that their terrorist allies carried out is incontrovertible proof of the coordination, partnership and alliance that exists between Israel, which practices terrorism, and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Nusrah Front and other terrorist groups. Moreover, the Israeli occupying authorities’ continued aggressions against the Syrian Arab Republic are a blatant violation of Security Council resolution 350 (1974)…” Dec. 2017, Syria denounces Israeli-jihadist coordination, Voltaire
“The available information indicates that the United States of America launched the attack in a deliberate and premeditated manner, in an effort to pursue its strategy of perpetuating the terrorists’ war against the Syrian Arab Army, which has stood firm against the terrorist organizations and all their backers. That theory is borne out by the fact that ISIL attacked and gained control of that location immediately after the American aggression.”, 2016, US bombing against the Syrian Arab Army, Voltaire

Saudi Arabia 

Read more on: HS Saudi Arabia

Hardcore Zionist President Trump Called “Antisemite” For Honest Assessment of Jews Protecting Their Wealth

“Proving once again that no one hates liberal Jews like non-liberal Jews, Trump garnered another round of applause and chants of ‘Four more years’ by equating a vote for his rivals with disloyalty to Israel…Under any other circumstances, the sight of a U.S. president serving as speaker, host and standup comedian at a gala funded and orchestrated by a gambling magnate who just happens to be the top Republican donor – and, who, by sheer coincidence, approved of Trump’s every word – could have been added as an appendix to the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Haaretz

Jewish groups slam Trump for ‘antisemitic tropes in speech’ – here are all the other awful things he’s said over the years

Donald Trump, not for the first time, decided to dabble in antisemitic tropes over the weekend while delivering a speech to the Israeli American Council advocacy group in Florida.

The President began by acknowledging the profession of many assembled and throwing in his favoured “Pocahontas” slur in reference to Elizabeth Warren for good measure:

“A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers. Not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me. You have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that.”

Having warmed up his audience by telling them they’re “not nice people at all”, Trump added:

You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax. ’Yeah, let’s take 100 percent of your wealth away.’

The implication that Jews wouldn’t possibly vote for Warren’s wealth tax reinforces centuries old stereotypes relating to Jews and money. Remarkably, the president wasn’t finished yet and even went on to claim Jewish Americans do not “love Israel enough”, invoking a dual loyalty trope generally viewed as antisemitic.

The idea that Jewish Americans are as loyal to Israel as their own country is an antisemitic trope Trump seems particularly keen on. In August of this year he claimed:

In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel.

In 2017, of course, there was the Charlottesville Rally that involved, amongst other horrors, neo-Nazis and Klansman chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. How did Trump respond to this clash between literal Nazis and those protesting against them? Naturally he condemned the “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides”.

In a 1991 book, John O’Donnell, the former president of the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, said Trump told him: “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day” and later confirmed in an interview with Playboy (which he no doubt reads for the articles) that what was written was “probably true”.

In 2015, he told a room of Republican Jews: “I’m a negotiator, like you folks“. When all these comments are collected, it feels like the president seems to think that Jews are obsessed with money.

Perhaps the most troubling of the myriad ways in which Trump has engaged in antisemitism over the years relates to conspiracy theories. In the closing stages of his 2016 campaign, he unveiled an ad featuring three prominent Jews, Janet Yellen, Lloyd Blankfein and George Soros, accompanied by narration saying “those who control the levers of power in Washington” who “partner with these people who don’t have your good in mind”. Linking Hillary Clinton to a global Jewish conspiracy is undoubtedly sinister and speaks for itself.

Trump’s latest comments about Jews are nothing new, but they must be called out on each and every occasion. As with most of the president’s rhetoric, we can’t allow this stuff to be normalised.

Trump Is Gasoline and the Democrats Are On Fire

Chaos and contagion: How Trump accelerates democratic dysfunction

Chaos and contagion: How Trump accelerates democratic dysfunction
© Getty Images

The impeachment hearings last week demonstrated the rising risk of American polarization and democratic dysfunction. This political divide is undermining the integrity of the American experiment and its political, economic and values-based leadership of the global order. While dysfunction and chaos can be contagious, President Donald Trump is an accelerant.

Dr. Fiona Hill warned in her testimony last Thursday, “Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.” And yet, the following day, President Trump championed this very discredited narrative by pinning election interference on Ukraine in a rambling interview on Fox & Friends. Trump’s continued embrace of conspiracy theories, his nativistic leadership style, and his ability to exploit rather than bridge divides is helping to fuel xenophobic nationalism not only in America but also amongst some of our closest allies abroad.

The sun set on the British empire long ago; now Brexit and its ensuing political chaos is what defines Britain. While the American people try to grapple with Trump’s tweets and the national embarrassment of the impeachment hearings, consider the challenges our cousins are facing across the Atlantic.

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On Dec. 12, British voters will go to the polls to elect a new parliamentary government, which is the country’s fourth national vote in five years. While only prime minister for four months, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is gambling that he can break the country’s crippling political deadlock over Brexit two weeks before Christmas. The controversial Prime Minister has adopted Trump’s playbook, he is purposefully divisive and has trouble telling the truth. Unbelievably, this vote comes in the aftermath of Johnson’s unlawful suspension of the British Parliament in September.

In a foreshadowing of the upcoming 2020 U.S. Democratic primaries, the British election next month presents a stark choice as well. Jeremy Corbyn, the most left-wing leader the Labour Party has seen in decades, has pledged to oversee a revolution of the British economy, complete with the nationalization of public services. Similar to the calls of Senator Bernie Sanders, Corbyn’s platform constitutes “a fundamental redistribution of income, assets, ownership and power.” Come mid-December, there will be one certainty in London: The polity will be divided, the British will still be negotiating their divorce from Europe, and the United Kingdom will remain in a state of political dysfunction.

At nearly every step, President Trump has repeatedly advocated for a hard British turn away from Europe. In so doing, his administration is encouraging an ill-considered political outcome that inflicts enormous risk on the British people with the potential disruption of the United Kingdom itself.

Israel, too, is in a state of political sclerosis. Last week was tumultuous in a country that prides itself on weathering turmoil. The leader of the centrist Blue and White party, former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz informed Israeli President Rivilin on Wednesday that he had failed to form a governing coalition. A few weeks earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also failed to assemble the required 61-member majority to form a Likud government. Israel is now in unprecedented political territory as its faces the likelihood of a third election in 12 months.

If those events were not enough, on Thursday, Israel’s attorney general formally charged Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. In a nod to President Trump, Netanyahu claimed that Israelis were “witnessing an attempted government coup against the prime minister through blood libels and a biased investigation process.

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Then, on Friday in the Washington Post, Israel’s former director of the Shin Bet security services, Ami Ayalon, acknowledged that the Palestinian occupation is tearing Israeli apart. Specifically, Ayalon argued that Israel was engaged in an unjust war of aggression because of its continual expansion of its border, its decision to build more settlements, and its refusal to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state. The former Shin Bet head, no peacenik, believes that the Trump administration’s unqualified support for Netanyahu, total Israeli control over Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and continued West Bank settlement undermines the nation’s viability as a Jewish, democratic state.

The liberal West is witnessing a global shift away from the post-World War II order and toward great power competition marked by an ascending China and resurgent Russia.

Globalization, elite excess, and widespread middle- and lower-middle-class grievances have fueled nationalism in Britain and Israel, just as it has given rise to Trumpism in the United States. These trends are concerning.

The West is witnessing rising risks of conflict, a breakdown of alliances, growing anti-semitism, unsustainable wealth inequality, and rapid technological change. These historical shifts require the hope of America led by a president who embodies soaring American values and integrity — a leader who can chart a path of stability, predictability and vision.

Instead, the Trump administration stokes chaos and dysfunction at home and abroad.

R. David Harden is managing director of the Georgetown Strategy Group and former assistant administrator at USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance. He was a minister counselor in the Senior Foreign Service. In May of 2019, President Trump awarded Mr. Harden the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award in the Foreign Service, for “sustained extraordinary accomplishment in the conduct of the foreign policy.” 

“Active Saudi Terror Cell” At Pensacola Naval Air Station?

Report: Saudis arrested while filming a shooting in Florida

Pensacola shooter Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani hosted dinner party to watch mass shooting videos: report

Military base shooter assailed US as ‘nation of evil’

Pensacola shooter Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani hosted dinner party to watch mass shooting videos: report

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant who was getting aviation training at the base, also visited New York City with the same pals — fellow Saudi military students at the base, an investigative source told The New York Times.

They visited several museums and Rockefeller Center, where the Christmas tree lighting was taking place, the source told the outlet.

Investigators were unsure whether they met with other people while in the Big Apple, or if the trip was an innocent holiday jaunt, or one with a more sinister motive.

That same foursome watched the horrific videos together, a US official briefed by the feds told the Associated Press under the condition of anonymity.

One of the students at the dinner party recorded video outside the classroom during Alshamrani’s Friday morning rampage, the official said.

The two others watched from a car, as Alshamrani, using a semi-automatic handgun equipped with an extended magazine, opened fire just before 7 a.m. inside a classroom at Naval Air Station.

He killed three people and wounded two sheriff’s deputies, before one of them killed him. Eight others were injured.

The three who attended the mass-shootings watch party are believed to be among the total of 10 Saudi students from the base that were being held for questioning.

Officials had yet to say by Saturday night if the shooting was an act of terror, and if Alshamrani acted alone.

“No, I can’t say it’s terrorism at this time,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper told the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, adding he believed investigators needed to be allowed to do their work.

This, despite despite a virulently anti-US twitter account apparently belonging to Alshamrani, which also included a last “will” that quoted Osama bin Laden, according to CNN.

The morning of the shooting a series of tweets appeared on that account, condemning the US and Americans for supporting Israel and for sending troops to “our lands.”

“Do you expect to transgress against others and yet be spared retribution?” the tweets, which were later taken down, asked at one point.

The Superpowers Battling Over Iraq’s Giant Oil Field

West Qurna

Ever since the U.S. signalled through its effective withdrawal from Syria that it now has little interest in becoming involved in military actions in the Middle East, the door has been fully opened to China and Russia to advance their ambitions in the region. For Russia, the Middle East offers a key military pivot from which it can project influence West and East and that it can use to capture and control massive oil and gas flows in both directions as well. For China, the Middle East – and, absolutely vitally, Iran and Iraq – are irreplaceable stepping stones towards Europe for its era-defining ‘One Belt, One Road’ project. Earlier this week an announcement was made by Iraq’s Oil Ministry that highlights each of these factors at play, through a relatively innocuous-sounding contract award to a relatively unknown Chinese firm.

Specifically, it was announced that China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corp (CPECC) has been awarded a US$121 million engineering contract to upgrade the facilities that are used to extract gas during crude oil production at the supergiant West Qurna-1 oilfield in Iraq, 50 kilometres northwest of the principal oil hub of Basra. The project is due to be completed within 27 months and aims to increase the capture of gas currently being flared across the site. Two factors that were not highlighted in the general announcement were firstly that CPECC is a subsidiary of China’s principal political proxy in the oil and gas sector, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), and secondly that the gas capture project will also include the development of the oil reserves at West Qurna 1. The current level of oil reserves at West Qurna 1 is just under nine billion barrels but, crucially, the site is part of the overall massive West Qurna reservoir that comprises at least 43 billion barrels of crude oil reserves. “For China, it’s always all about positioning itself so that it is perfectly placed to expand its foothold,” a senior oil and gas industry source who works closely with Iraq’s Oil Ministry told OilPrice.com earlier this week. Related: Is Today’s Oil Price Plunge A Sign Of Things To Come?

Certainly it makes sense for Iraq to finally begin to monetise its associated gas that it has been burnt off for decades as a product of its burgeoning oil production. Aside from the negative environmental impact of this practice, there is the bizarre practical result that Iraq – which holds some of the biggest oil and gas reserves in the world – has to go to its neighbour Iran every year and beg for electricity imports to plug the huge power deficits that afflict it, particularly during the summer months. As it stands, Iraq has been steadily importing around one third of its total energy supplies from Iran, which equates to around 28 million cubic feet (mcf) of gas to feed its power stations. Even with these extra supplies, frequent daily power outages across Iraq occur and have been a prime catalyst for widespread protests in the past, including last year. The situation is also likely to become worse if change does not occur as, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iraq’s population is growing at a rate of over one million per year, with electricity demand set to double by 2030, reaching about 17.5 gigawatts average.

Apart from this, burning gas associated with the production of crude oil is costing Iraq billions of dollars in lost revenues. It loses money in the first place because in order to try to minimise power shortages, Iraq is forced to burn crude oil directly at power plants that it could sell in the open market for currently well over US$55 per barrel (and the lifting cost per barrel in Iraq is just US$2 on average). In this context, the average volume of crude oil used for power generation has fallen in the past two years from a peak of 223,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2015 but it still averages around 110,000 bpd, or around US$2.25 billion per year in value. It costs Iraq money in the second place because this associated gas that is flared could itself either be sold off directly or in LNG form or used as high-quality feedstock to finally truly kick-start the country’s long-stalled petrochemicals industry that itself could generate massive added-value product revenue streams. According to the IEA, Iraq has around 3.5 trillion cubic metres (tcm) of proven reserves of gas – mainly associated – which would be enough to supply nearly 200 years of Iraq’s current consumption of gas, as long as flaring is minimised. It added, though, that proven reserves do not provide an accurate picture of Iraq’s long-term production potential and that the underlying resource base – ultimately recoverable resources – is significantly larger, at 8 tcm or more. Related: Russia Ignores OPEC Commitment Two Weeks Before Landmark Meeting

China knows all of this and has come to the correct conclusion that it cannot lose by expanding its imprint in Iraq in such a way. “However, China is now very wary of being seen in Iran or Iraq as looking to make them into client states, although that’s what it plans for both, so it’s recalibrated its approach to being more of the stealth variety – that is, small, incremental steps but lots of them – until at one point in the future the governments [of Iran and Iraq] look around and wonder how China is calling all the shots all of a sudden,” said the Iraq source. Such is the case in West Qurna 1 in which, although the contract announced principally involves CPECC just building the infrastructure to capture gas rather than flare it, in reality also involves being allowed to take and use or sell the gas at an advantageous rate. “China is looking at taking the gas with a discount of at least 30 per cent to the lowest mean one-year average market price at the hubs [principal gas hub pricing in Europe], and this then allows China to get more involved in the oil as well,” he added. China certainly has the expertise for this – and the appetite – as it has put on hold for a while at least its plans to take over the development of Phase 11 of Iran’s supergiant South Pars gas field.

This large foothold in West Qurna 1 will very neatly fit in with China’s near-identical move just a couple of months ago in Iraq’s massive Majnoon oil field. It is this field that was the focus of the extremely similar announcement that two major new drilling contracts had been signed: one with China’s Hilong Oil Service & Engineering Company to drill 80 wells at a cost of US$54 million and the other with the Iraq Drilling Company to drill 43 wells at a cost of US$255 million. In reality, it will be China that is in charge of both, having given the funds required to the Iraq Drilling Company as a ‘fee’ for its own participation, according to the Iraq source. Also located very close to Basra – around 60 kilometres to the north-east – the supergiant Majnoon oilfield is one of the world’s largest, holding an estimated 38 billion barrels of oil in place. It is currently producing around 240,000 bpd. Longer term, though, the original production tar­get figures for the Shell-led consortium still stand: the first production target of 175,000 bpd (already reached), and the plateau production for the site of 1.8 million bpd at some point in the 2030s.  West Qurna 1, in the meantime, is producing around 465,000 bpd, with an original plateau target of 2.825 million bpd having been re-negotiated down, to 1.6 million bpd again by some point in the 2030s.

The deal for the oil that China ends up extracting from West Qurna 1 will be: “Absolutely in line with the deal it has for Majnoon,” the Iraq source told OilPrice.com earlier this week. Specifically, this will involve a 25-year contract but – critically – one that would only officially start two years after the signing date (yet to be determined), so allowing CNPC to recoup more profits on average per year and less upfront investment. The per barrel payments to China will be the higher of either the mean average of the 18 month spot price for crude oil produced, or the past six months’ mean average price. It will also involve at least a 10 per cent discount to China for at least five years on the value of the oil it recovers, in addition to the aforementioned 30 per cent discount for the gas it captures.

By Simon Watkins for Oilprice.com

 

With Trump/Democrat Encouragement, Hong Kong Protest Spreads To Mainland

Copycat protesters see victory after echoing Hong Kong slogan in mainland China

Police and protesters stand off outside government offices in Wenlou, Guangdong
Police and protesters stand off outside government offices in Wenlou, Guangdong 

A Chinese town has been forced to abandon plans to build a crematorium after residents took a cue from protesters in Hong Kong by taking to the streets, chanting a similar slogan and setting up barricades.

Hundreds of people in Wenlou clashed with riot police after learning that the authorities had included a crematorium in a proposed £8 million ecological park without notifying the public. In China crematoria are seen as inauspicious.

The demonstrators in Wenlou, which is about 60 miles from Hong Kong, chanted “revolution now”. One villager told a newspaper: “Just like Hong Kong, the protests have broken out throughout the township.” A township is a municipality with its own governance.

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong inspired copycats in Wenlou

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong inspired copycats in WenlouBILLY H.C. KWOK/GETTY IMAGES

 

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Slogans of Hong Kong’s democratic movement have been reportedly heard at protests in a Chinese city 60 miles to the west.

According to Hong Kong-based Apple Daily—a vocal supporter of the democracy campaign in Hong Kong—chants of “Liberate Maoming! Revolution of our times!” were heard during several days of protest in Maoming.

The chant is a take on the “Liberate Hong Kong” slogan commonly used during protests across the border, where anti-government demonstrations have raged since June.

Protestors also reportedly told Apple Daily reporters that their movement was “just like you [in] Hong Kong.” Both cities share a common Cantonese language.

In confrontations that began last week, Maoming protesters pelted police with bricks and set off fireworks, forcing authorities to announce Sunday that they would not be building a crematorium on plot of unused land in the area. The long-running plan had infuriated residents, who had been promised an ecological park on the same site.

Protests against town planning are common in China, releasing pent-up anger at corruption and local officialdom. But the climbdown by authorities in Maoming is unusual, as is the reported decision to release some 200 protesters arrested in recent days.

Smoke Bombs and Tear Gas Break Pause in Violence Amid Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protests
Thousands of people took to Hong Kong’s streets Sunday in a new wave of pro-democracy protests, but police fired tear gas after some demonstrators hurled bricks and smoke bombs.

Mainland Chinese authorities have heavily censored news around the demonstration, with searches of relevant protest keywords drawing up blanks on social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat. But videos purportedly filmed in Maoming, showing scuffles between protestors and police, have been circulating on Twitter.

Beijing is determined that calls for democracy in Hong Kong will not spread. News of the Hong Kong protests is censored and overland travelers from Hong Kong to China have reportedly had to unlock their phones for border officials looking for evidence of participation in, or support for, the unrest.