Archive | June 25th, 2014

Blair Should Be Lecturing on Iraq from Dock at International Criminal Court


It has been heartening to witness the backlash against former British Prime Minister Tony Blair over his attempt to deny any responsibility for the chaos and carnage that has engulfed northern and eastern Iraq in recent days.

by John Wight

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

While thousands of ISIS Sunni extremists are engaged in a determined attempt to reach Baghdad, leaving a trail of carnage in the process, Tony Blair remains resolute in claiming that there is no connection between this and the hell in which Iraq has been plunged, even more than a decade since the 2003 onset of the war which he and former US President George W Bush unleashed. As someone averred among the avalanche of Tweets sent excoriating the former prime minister over his recent denials, this is about as serious as claiming there is no connection between him having sex with his wife and the existence of his children.

Blair cuts an increasingly isolated figure, which for a man obsessed with establishing a legacy in the Churchillian mode, not even the tens of millions of pounds he’s amassed since leaving Downing Street in 2007 can ever hope to compensate. Former friends and political allies have deserted him now; and in response to his latest public appearance, more than a few have taken the opportunity to stick the boot in. Perhaps the sentiments of London Mayor Boris Johnson came closest to describing the extent to which Blair is now considered a political pariah in Britain, when he described him as “mad.”

When it comes to the region, it is time for the West – in particular, the US and the UK – to abandon their nonsensical policy of supporting the opposition in Syria and instead acknowledge that the government of Bashar al-Assad is playing a key role in stemming the flood of Sunni extremism and has been over the last three years. In fact, without the resilience of the Syrian Arab Army the region would have been plunged into even more chaos and destruction than it is at present. For three years, the Syrian government, the Syrian people, army and allies have stood against this de facto Islamic Khmer Rouge in Syria otherwise known as ISIS (ISIL), an organization and ideology so beyond the pale that its defeat and destruction is absolutely vital.


Yet, as recently as the beginning of May, the British government announced its decision to resume the provision of “non-lethal” aid to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the form of laptops, communications equipment, vehicles and medical supplies. Surely this has to count as an act of insanity on the part of Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who pushed for this resumption of aid to the “moderate”Syrian opposition?

Firstly, the FSA – as a significant factor in the Syrian conflict – no longer exists. Secondly, how does atrocities committed by the FSA in Syria (most infamously the filming of the cutting open of a dead Syrian soldier and removal of his internal organs by an FSA commander in 2013, which was then posted online) qualify them as moderate in any meaningful sense? Thirdly, how would it profit the Syrian people and, with the spreading of the crisis to Iraq, the region as a whole if the current Syrian government is toppled?

It doesn’t take a genius of strategic thinking to work out that if there ever was a moderate opposition in Syria there no longer is, and that the only effective forces in the region currently able to take on these medieval extremists are the Syrian Arab Army, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah. Without them the entire Arab world would be dragged into hell without a way out, which is why the West must as a matter of urgency reorient its policy accordingly.

Another factor in this growing crisis, exposing the West’s abiding hypocrisy and venality, is the role of the Saudis as a major source of funding and support for Sunni extremism. It remains more than a coincidence that 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the atrocity of 9/11 were Saudi citizens, and since then this vile clan has used Saudi Arabia’s vast oil wealth to spread instability in Syria, Egypt, and now Iraq in service to an anti-Iranian agenda and a perverse rendering of Islam known as Wahhabism.

Saudi Arabia consistently ranks low on every international index on human rights. Indeed, so egregious is the problem that 52 members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, along with NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, sent a letter to President Obama prior to his visit to Saudi Arabia in late March/early April this year, urging him to press King Abdullah on the issue.

To be frank, Saudi Arabia is a hellhole of intolerance, state-sponsored religious extremism, injustice, the oppression of minorities and women, and corruption. Yet despite this, the West continues to foster close economic and political ties with the country. The most embarrassing evidence of the nature of this relationship came in February when Prince Charles visited the Kingdom during a tour of the Gulf in February and behaved like an idiot, performing a sword dance while dressed in traditional robes and headdress for the delectation of his hosts.


The day after his visit to Riyadh, Britain’s biggest arms firm, BAE, announced a deal to supply the Saudis with 72 Typhoon fighter jets, worth some £4.5 billion ($8 billion). Despite denials issued by the Prince’s office that there was any connection between his visit and the subsequent arms deal, the fact that this was the 10th state visit to the Kingdom by the heir to the throne leaves no doubt as to the close ties that exist between the UK and a clan of Arab potentates who rule their state like a mafia crime family.

Other Gulf states such as Qatar also have blood on their hands when it comes to funding the sectarian bloodletting that has swept Syria and now Iraq, while at the same time enjoying a close economic and political relationship with the West. It reminds us that to the political classes in the US and throughout Western Europe the lives of innocent men, women, and children in Syria and Iraq take second place to economic self-interest.

This is why being lectured to about democracy and human rights by a US president or British prime minister is like being told to sit up straight by the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Finally, returning to Tony Blair, it is not so much that we mind him defending his role in Iraq. It is that he should by now be doing it from the dock at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

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Burn Men in Black Burn


Isis fighters, pictured on a militant website verified by AP.

For the Empire of Chaos, ISIS is the agent provocateur that fell from (Allah’s?) Heaven; the perfect ski mask-clad tool to keep the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in Enduring Freedom Forever mode.

By Pepe Escobar

Asia Times

Let’s cut to the chase. As in chasing that Zara outdoor summer collection, complete with state of the art assault rifles, brand new white Nike sneakers and brand new, unlimited mileage white Toyotas crossing the Syrian-Iraqi desert; the Badass Jihadis in Black.

Once upon a (very recent) time, the US government used to help only “good terrorists” (in Syria), instead of “bad terrorists”. That was an echo of a (less recent) time when it was supporting only “good Taliban” and not “bad Taliban”.


So what happens when Brookings Institution so-called “experts” start blabbering that the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) is really the baddest jihadi outfit on the planet (after all they were cast out of al-Qaeda)? Are they so badass that by warped newspeak logic they’re now the new normal?

Since late last year, according to US government newspeak, the “good terrorists” in Syria are the al-Qaeda spinoff gang of Jabhat al-Nusra and (disgraced) Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush, the Islamic Front (essentially a Jabhat al-Nusra multiple outlet). And yet both Jabhat and ISIS had pledged allegiance to Ayman “the doctor” al-Zawahiri, the perennial gift that keeps on giving al-Qaeda capo.

ISIL militants backed by US, Israel, KSA.

ISIL militants backed by US, Israel, KSA.

That still leaves the question of what Men in Black ISIS, the catwalk-conscious beheading stormtroopers for a basket of hardcore tribal Sunnis and Ba’ath party “remnants” (remember Rummy in 2003?) are really up to.


We interrupt this desert catwalk to announce they will NOT invade Baghdad. On the other hand, they are busy accelerating the balkanization – and eventual partition – of both Syria and Iraq. They are NOT a CIA brainchild (how come Langley never thought about it?); they are in fact the bastard children of (disgraced) Bandar Bush’s credit card largesse.

The fact that ISIS is NOT directly on Langley’s payroll does not imply their strategic agenda essentially differs from that of the Empire of Chaos. The Obama administration may be sending a few marines to protect the swimming pools of the largest, Vatican-sized embassy on Planet Earth, plus a few “military advisers” to “retrain” the dissolving Iraqi Army. But that’s a drop of  Zero Coke in the Western Iraqi desert. There’s no evidence Obama is about to authorize “kinetic support” against ISIS, even though Baghdad has already green-lighted it.

Even if Obama went ballistic (“targeted military action”), and/or manufactured a new kill list to be itemized by his drones, that would amount to no more than a little diversion. What matters is that the confluent ISIS/Beltway agenda remains the same; get rid of Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki (not by accident the new meme in US corporate media); curb Iran’s political/economic influence over Iraq; fundamentally erase Sykes-Picot; and promote the “birth pangs” (remember Condi?) of vast wastelands bypassing centralized power and run by hardcore tribal Sunnis.

For the Empire of Chaos, ISIS is the agent provocateur that fell from (Allah’s?) Heaven; the perfect ski mask-clad tool to keep the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in Enduring Freedom Forever mode.

The icing in the (melted) cake is that the House of Saud has officially denied support of ISIS. So this means it’s true, even over Bandar Bush’s carcass. Cue to the official House of Saud and House of Thani narrative about ISIS: they are not in charge of what’s happening in Iraq. It’s all organized by the Ba’athist “remnants”.

Bring on more regime change

Now for the all-encompassing Iranian angle, because the whole drama, as usual, is mostly about “containment” of Iran.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

We just need to endure this to confirm it; the same old regurgitation about “evidence” that “Iran and its Syrian allies” have “cooperated” with ISIS and that Bashar al-Assad in Syria has a “business partnership” with ISIS. And don’t forget the scaremongering; what’s ahead is a “nuclear Iran” against a “Sunni Arab world” in which the great bogeymen remains al-Qaeda.

Neo-con propaganda denouncing the US government for being in bed with Tehran against ISIS is, once again, disinformation.

Commander of Iran’s Basij, General Mohammad Reza Naqudi, was very close to the mark when he said, “Takfiri and Salafi groups in different regional states, especially in Syria and Iraq, are supported by the US”, and that “the US is manipulating the Takfiri terrorists to tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims.” The same applies to Speaker of the Majlis Ali Larijani; “It is obvious that the Americans and the countries around it have made such moves … Terrorism has grown into an instrument for the big powers to advance their goals.”

What this all implies is that Tehran has identified the ISIS catwalk parade for what it is; a trap. Moreover, they are also convinced Washington won’t break with its vassals at the House of Saud. Translation: Washington remains committed to old school GWOT. What Tehran is already, practically, supporting – also with “advisers” on the ground – is a myriad of Shi’ite militias who are being deployed to secure Baghdad and especially the Shi’ite holy cities, Najaf and Karbala.

US Return of the Living Neo-Con Dead, meanwhile, insist on regurgitating their favorite theme; Maliki Maliki Maliki. Nothing of what’s goin’ on in Iraq has anything to do with Shock and Awe, the invasion, occupation and destruction of most of the country, Abu Ghraib, or the vicious, totally Washington-instigated sectarian war (Divide and Rule, all over again). It’s all Maliki’s fault. So he must be booted out. When everything fails – to the tune of trillions of dollars – the neo-con playbook always resets to default; regime change.

Slouching towards Hardcore Sunnistan

Big military exercises were held in Jordan  by US troops called Eager Lion, with the participation of more than 15,000 troops from 18 Arab and other countries.

Big military exercises were held in Jordan by US troops called Eager Lion, with the participation of more than 15,000 troops from 18 Arab and other countries.

It’s all extremely fishy about ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Abu Dua, born in Samarra in 1971, a Saddam “remnant” but – crucially – a former prisoner of the US government in Camp Bocca from 2005 to 2009, as well as a former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

It’s no secret in the Levant that ISIS Men in Black were trained in 2012 by US instructors at a secret base in Safawi, in the northern desert of that fiction disguised as a country, Jordan, so they would later fight as Western-approved “rebels” in Syria.

It was al-Baghdadi who sent a batch of Men in Black to set up Jabhat al-Nusra (“good terrorists”, remember?) in Syria. He may have split from Jabhat in late 2013, but still remains in charge of a vast desert wasteland from northern Syria to Western Iraq. He’s the new Osama bin Laden (the gift that keeps on giving, again), the all but certain Emir of an Islamically correct desert Caliphate in the heart of the Levant.

Forget about Osama in the Hindu Kush; this is so much sexier.


A hardcore Sunnistan between Iraq’s Kurdish north and the Shi’te south, swimming in oil, extending all the way to Aleppo, Rakka and Deir ez-Zor in Syria, between the two rivers – the Tiger and the Euphrates – with Mosul as capital, back to its ancestral role of pivot between the twin rivers and the Mediterranean. Sykes-Picot, eat your heart out.

Obviously, al-Baghdadi could not have pulled that awesome feat off all by himself. Enter his top Saddam “remnant” sidekick, Ba’ath party theorist extraordinaire Izzaat Ibrahim al-Douri, who happens to be from strategic Mosul. And most of all, enter the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries – an awesomely “secret” organization which has had the guile to dribble, like an infernal composite of Lionel Messi and Luiz Suarez, the whole Western intel apparatus, Orwellian-Panopticon NSA included.

ISIS fighters

Well, not really, because this ISIS-Ba’athist coalition of the willing was brokered by none other than Bandar Bush – while he was still in action, with crucial, lateral input from Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan. No way to trace it all back to the Beltway.

What the General Military Council managed to assemble was no less than all the “remnants” of the good old early 2000s Iraqi resistance, top tribal sheiks, merge it with ISIS, and create what might be dubbed a “Resistance Army” – those Badass Jihadis in Black in their white Toyotas, now the stuff of legend, performing the miracle of being untrackable by the NSA’s satellite maze. They’re so hip they even have their own Facebook page, with over 33,000 “likes”.

Balkanize or bust

Meanwhile, the agenda of the Empire of Chaos proceed unabated. Balkanization is already a fact. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, crucially a Kurd, pledged Kurdish Peshmerga “cooperation” with the Iraq army to keep oil-rich Kirkuk away from ISIS. Like clockwork, the Peshmergas for all practical purposes annexed Kirkuk. Grand Kurdistan beckons.

Grand Ayatollah Sistani, also for all practical purposes, launched a Shi’ite jihad against ISIS. For his part, the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Sayyid Ammar al-Hakim, all but resurrected their formidable paramilitary, the Badr Corps – very close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. These are real badasses, against which ISIS does not stand a chance. And Muqtada al-Sadr is launching “Peace Brigades” to protect the Shi’te holy cities and also Christian churches. Civil war rules.

Meanwhile, in the Land of Oz, the Pentagon will certainly be able to extract extra funds for its perennial crusade to save Western civilization from Islamist terror. After all, there’s a (ski masked) neo-Osama bin Laden in da hood.

Ali al Baghdadi

Al-Baghdadi Scripted and Ready to Roll

Although the majority of Iraqis reject balkanization, Sunnis will keep accusing Shi’ites of being Iranian pawns, and Shi’ites will keep accusing Sunnis of being the House of Saud’s fifth column. ISIS will keep getting loads of cash from wealthy Saudi “donors”. The US government will keep weaponizing Sunnis in Syria against Shi’ites and (perhaps) conducting soft “targeted military strikes” for Shi’ites against Sunnis in Iraq. Welcome to Divide and Rule run amok.

John Stewart Iraq Saudi Arabia Iran Israel ISIS 2014


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Uri Avnery – Sisyphus Redeemed – Peres says goodbye


In the Sunset of Years

In the Sunset of Years

Sisyphus Redeemed

…  by  Uri Avnery,      … and  Gush Shalom

A young Uri with Ben Gurion in the Knessett

A young Uri with Ben Gurion in the Knessett

[ Editor’s note:  We have another Uri classic for you today, defined by only he could write such a piece due to his encyclopedic background in Israeli political history.

The star of today’s show is Simon Peres, has been the Energizer Political Bunny on the Israeli scene for decades now. He and Uri are both 90.

As a bonus Uri gives us an peek into the depths of political infighting inside Israel where the competition for power is just that…and purely that. There is no serving the people, but “ruling over them” that drives the Zionist political machinery.

No one trusts anyone else, and rightly so, as they expect them to do exactly what they would do, use the reigns of power to benefit themselves and their supporter to their fullest ability.

This is why we often refer to Israel as a”base” rather than a country, because it is run like a pirate haven with one very important distinction. They have diplomatic immunity and all the organs of state to offer the international criminal community be they Russian Oligarchs or European bank swindlers, or setting up black trading networks where money can be moved around and not traced. 

Israel does it all. We have found no criminal enterprise where Israel is not an aggressive competitor, with the advantage stated above.

Stil getting gassed in his 80's

Stil getting gassed in his 80′s

Israelis are not alone in these abuses…doing and having them done to them. The country is broke because a huge part of its real GNP takes place offshore where never a dime comes back to Israel other then campaign contributions to the elected partners in crime from those who really run Israel.

Track where all your major Israelis politicians go offshore to kiss the ring and hopefully be chosen to rule.

To rank and file Israelis most of this goes on over their heads. They look at is as milking foreigners for the benefit of Israel, a national sport. They don’t catch that those who give the money really call that shots and that of course dis-empowers the people.

But Americans get suckered by the same game as many of the same mega-honchos fund campaigns here with the resulting transfer of power and representation that goes with it.

That is why I have begun describing our own democracy as a pretend-a-one.  To do otherwise I would be working for the bad guys covering for them PR-wise, which I will not do… Jim W. Dean]


Sisyphys condemned to push the same rock up a hill every day for eternity.

Sisyphys condemned to push the same rock up a hill every day for eternity.

If there is a God, he surely has a sense of humor. The career of Shimon Peres, who is about to finish his term as President of Israel, is clear evidence. Here is a life-long politician, who has never won an election.

Here is the world-renowned Man of Peace, who has started several wars and never done anything for peace. Here is the most popular political figure in Israel who for most of his life was hated and despised.

Once, several decades ago, I wrote an article about him with the title “Mr. Sisyphus”. Sisyphus, it will be remembered, was condemned for all eternity to roll a heavy rock to the top of a hill, and each time when he was nearing his goal the stone slipped from his hands and rolled down again.

That has been the story of Peres’ life – until now. God, or whoever, has obviously decided: enough is enough.

It started when he was a boy in a small Polish town.  Many times he complained to his mother that the other pupils in the (Jewish) school were beating him up for no reason. His younger brother, Gigi, had to defend him.


From Poland to Palestine

A representative photo of Noar Oved

Noar Oved – representative photo

Shimon arrived in Palestine in 1934, a year after me, as a boy of 11 (he is five weeks older than I). His father sent him to the agricultural school in Ben Shemen, a children’s village that was a Zionist indoctrination center.

There the Polish Persky became the Hebrew Peres and joined the Noar Oved (“working youth”) , the main youth organization of the ruling Mapai party. As was usual then, he was sent to a kibbutz.

That’s where his political career started. Mapai split into two, and so did its youth movement. The young and active joined “Faction 2″, the left-wing section. Peres, by now an instructor, was among the few who wisely remained with Mapai, and thus attracted the attention of the party leaders.

The reward came soon. The 1948 war broke out. Everybody in our age group hastened to join the fighting forces in what appeared to be literally a fight for life or death. Peres was sent abroad by Ben-Gurion to buy arms. An important task, no doubt, but one that could have been done by a 70- year old.

The fact that Peres did not serve in the army at this fateful juncture was not forgotten and earned him the contempt of our generation for decades.



I met him for the first time when we were 30 – he was already the Director General of the Ministry of Defense and the darling of Ben-Gurion, I was the editor in chief of a popular opposition magazine. It was not a case of love at first sight.

In his powerful position, young Peres was a determined war-monger. During the early 1950s, his ministry ordered an unending chain of “retaliation actions” whose aim was to keep the country on a war footing.

Arab refugees who returned at night to their villages were killed, Jews were killed in return, and unofficial units of the army crossed the armistice lines to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to kill civilians and soldiers in turn.

When the atmosphere was ripe, Ben Gurion and Shimon Peres started the 1956 Suez war. The Algerian people rose up against their French colonial masters. Unable to admit that they were facing a genuine war of liberation, the French blamed the young Egyptian leader, Gamal Abd-al-Nasser.

In collusion with another declining colonial power, Great Britain, the French conspired with Israel to attack Nasser. It ended in a mess, but Peres and Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan were celebrated in Israel as heroes, the men of the future.

The French showed their gratitude. For his services, Peres received a military atomic reactor in Dimona. Peres still boasts of being the father of Israel’s nuclear armament.

His career was clearly heading for the top. Ben-Gurion appointed him Deputy Minister, and he was destined to become Minister of Defense, the second most powerful position in Israel, when disaster struck. The querulous Old Man quarreled with his party and was thrown out.

Peres followed. The rock rolled down to the bottom.

Ben-Gurion insisted on founding a new party, and dragged an unwilling Peres after him. With indefatigable energy, Peres “plowed” the country, went from village to village and from town to town, and the “Rafi” party took shape. Yet with all its array of celebrities, it won only ten Knesset seats. (The peace party I founded at the same time got a seventh of their number of votes.)


Peres’ Political Fortunes Up and Down 



As a member of a small opposition party, Peres was vegetating. The future seemed dark, when Nasser came to the rescue. He sent his army into Sinai, war fever reached a frenzied pitch and the public decided that Ben-Gurion’s successor, Levy Eshkol, must give up his position as Minister of Defense. Several names were mentioned. High on the list was Peres.

And then it happened again. Moshe Dayan snatched the prize and became the Defense Minister, victor of the 1967 war and a world-wide hero. Peres remained a gray politician, a minor minister. The rock was down again.

For six glorious years, Dayan was the captain of the Ship of Fools, until the disaster of the Yom Kippur war. He and Golda Meir were wiped from the table and the country needed a new Prime Minister. Peres was the obvious candidate. But at the very last moment, practically out of nowhere, Yitzhak Rabin appeared and walked off with the prize.

Peres had to satisfy himself with the Ministry of Defense. He didn’t. For the next three years, he devoted days and nights to an unceasing effort to undermine Rabin. The fight became notorious, and Rabin invented a title which stuck to Peres for many years: “tireless intriguer”.

Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin

However, the effort bore fruit. Near the end of his term, Rabin faced a scandal: it appeared that after leaving office as ambassador to the USA, he had left open a bank account in Washington DC, contrary to Israeli law.  He resigned in the middle of the 1977 election campaign, Peres took over. At long last, the way was open.

And then the incredible happened. After 44 consecutive years in power, before and after the founding of Israel, the Labor Party lost the election. Menachem Begin came to power. Responsibility fell on the party leader, Shimon Peres. Nobody blamed Rabin.

On the eve of the 1982 Lebanon war, Peres and Rabin went to see Prime Minister Begin and urged him to attack. This did not prevent Peres, two months later,  appearing as the main speaker at the giant protest demonstration after the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

Begin abdicated and Yitzhak Shamir took his place. In the following election Peres at least achieved a draw. Shamir became prime minister again for two years, to be followed by Peres. During Peres’ two years as Prime Minister, he did nothing for peace. His main act was to persuade President Chaim Herzog to grant amnesty to the chief of the Security Service and to a group of his men who admitted to having murdered with their bare hands two young Arab prisoners who had hijacked a bus.

A younger Shimon Peres

A younger Shimon Peres

In 1992, it was Rabin again who led their party to power. He appointed Peres to the Foreign Ministry, presumably because he could not harm him there. However, things took another direction.

Yasser Arafat, with whom I had been in contact since 1974 and whom I met in besieged Beirut in 1982, decided to make peace with Israel. Behind the scenes, contact was established in Oslo. The result was the historic Oslo agreement.

Between Peres, his assistant Yossi Beilin and Rabin a competition for the credit started. Peres tried to appropriate all of it for himself. Beilin angrily resisted. But it was, of course, Rabin who took the fateful decision and paid the price.

First there was the Battle for the Nobel. The Oslo committee decided of course to bestow it on Arafat and Rabin (as it had done before to Sadat and Begin). Peres furiously demanded a share and mobilized half the political world. But if Peres got it, why not Mahmoud Abbas, who had signed together with him, and who had worked for years for Palestinian-Israeli peace?

Nothing doing. The prize can go only to three people at most. Peres got it, Abbas did not.

The Oslo agreement opened a new road for Israel. Peres started to talk (endlessly) about the New Middle East, and adopted it as his personal trade mark. He and Rabin had patched things up between them. And then disaster struck again.

A few minutes after standing next to Peres and singing a peace song at a mass demonstration in Tel Aviv, Rabin was assassinated. Peres himself had passed the murderer with his cocked pistol, who would not flatter him with a bullet.

That was the dramatic high point of Peres, and of Israel. The entire country was seething with anger. If Peres, the sole successor, had proclaimed immediate elections, he would have won by a landslide. The future of Israel would have been different.

But Peres did not want to win as the heir to Rabin. He desired to win on his own merits. So he postponed the elections, started another war in Lebanon which ended in disaster, caused another deadly terror campaign by ordering the assassination of a beloved Hamas leader – and lost the elections.

Sisyphys condemned to push the same rock up a hill every day for eternity.

Condemned to push the same rock up a hill every day for eternity.

In a variation of Murphy’s law: “If an election can be lost, Peres will lose it. If an election cannot be lost, Peres will lose it anyhow.” On a memorable occasion, Peres addressed a party meeting and loudly posed the rhetorical question: “Am I a loser?” The entire audience roared in return: “Yes!”

That should have been the end of Sisyphus’ troubles. New people took over the Labor Party. Peres was pushed aside. Or so it seemed.

Ariel Sharon, the extreme right-wing Likud leader, came to power. Throughout the world he was considered a war criminal, the author of several atrocities, blamed by an Israeli commission as “indirectly responsible” for the Sabra and Shatila massacre, the man behind the fateful settlement project.

He needed someone to make him acceptable. And who did? Shimon Peres, the internationally renowned Man of Peace. Later, he did the same for Netanyahu. But Peres’ rock rolled down a final time. The Knesset had to elect a President of Israel.

Moshe Katsav

Moshe Katsav

Peres was the obvious candidate, opposed only by a political nobody, Moshe Katzav. Yet the impossible happened: Peres lost, although he had undergone an operation that changed his lifelong hangdog expression into something more likeable.

Even people who didn’t like Peres agreed that this was just too much. Katzav was accused of rape and sent to prison. Peres finally, finally, won an election.

Since then, tragedy has turned into farce. The man who had been abused all his life suddenly became the most popular person in Israel.

As President he could talk every day, letting loose with an endless stream of utter banalities. The public just lapped it up.

Throughout the world, Peres became one of the Grand Old Men, one of the Wise Elders, the Man of Peace, the symbol of all that is fine and good in Israel. His successor has already been elected. A very nice person of the very extreme Right.

In a few weeks, Peres will finally step down. Finally? Why, he is only 90!

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Timid US Presbyterians punish American companies, shun BDS and let Israel off the hook



by Stuart Littlewood

Pro-Palestinian campaigners are cock-a-hoop over the Presbyterian Church USA’s vote to divest from Caterpillar Inc, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions. Hailed as amazing, brave and miraculous in some quarters, it was actually a very close-run thing: 310 to 303 against, with no abstentions. Presbyterian Church (USA)

Excuse me if I don’t join the celebrations. Nearly half of Presbyterian delegates, apparently, still wish to continue investing in companies that profit from the Israelis’ brutal and illegal occupation of the Holy Land. And that’s not good enough.

The narrow victory, if we can call it that, was only won thanks to great efforts from outsider campaigners including Jewish justice groups. Without them the divestment vote would probably have been lost.

I was struck by the Pre-amble to the conference motion, which says the PC(USA) “has a long standing commitment to peace in Israel and Palestine” but confesses to “complicity in both the historic and current suffering of Israeli and Palestinian yearning for justice and reconciliation…”

Knowing their complicity in the suffering, it has taken a surprisingly long time to deal with their offending investments. Their misguided sympathy with the Zionist cause may take even longer. What they have now agreed is this:

“Instruct the Presbyterian Foundation and the Board of Pensions of the PC(USA), to divest from Caterpillar, Inc, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions, in accord with our church’s decades-long socially responsible investment (SRI) history, and not to reinvest in these companies until the Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee of the PC(USA) is fully satisfied that product sales and services by these companies are no longer in conflict with our church investment policy. This action on divestment is not to be construed or represented by any organization of the PC(USA) as divestment from the State of Israel, or an alignment with or endorsement of the global BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.”

They also agreed to “affirm the importance of economic measures and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians that support and advance a negotiated two-state solution”.

So here’s another group who think negotiations under military occupation – with, quite literally, a gun to the underdog’s head – will deliver peace. A law-based justice solution wasn’t mentioned.

BDS dismissed as “a negative approach to peace making”

The Presbytery of Santa Barbara, in their ‘overture’ to conference, called on the General Assembly to make clear that the PC(USA) is not a part of the international BDS movement. “Proposals seeking divestment from companies doing business with Israel have been rejected at the last four consecutive General Assemblies in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012, yet they keep coming back as if none of these previous considerations, and subsequent rejections, had happened.” Promoting this kind of negative approach to peacemaking was wrong and must end, they said

And they concluded with this amazing statement: “The occupation will not and cannot end until the Palestinian people and their leaders choose a viable, democratic, Palestinian state, committed to living peacefully alongside the Jewish state of Israel.”

Do they have the faintest idea of the situation in the Holy Land? If Santa Barbara Presbyterians are representative of American Christianity, God help us all! I don’t detect any concern at all for the Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters and their dreadful suffering under the Israeli jackboot. No mention, either, of international humanitarian law and justice. And it still hasn’t dawned on some Presbyterians the consequences of ‘recognising’ Israel as a Jewish state. I suggest they read my last week’s article ‘Palestinian ambassador hotly denies recognising Jewish state’ Palestinian Ambassador Hotly Denies ‘Recognising’ Jewish State .

Either the Santa Barbara crowd are ‘the enemy within’ or they actually believe the Pope when he says that “inside every Christian is a Jew”, and have inherited the mindset of Israeli Jews.

Let them stew

All I can say to US Presbyterians and their supporters is this. Welcome progress has been made but self-congratulation is premature. Your organisation is still too susceptible to (and fearful of) Zio pressure. Yes, you sent a useful message but hardly a resounding one. All you have done is administer a slap on the wrist to a trio of US corporates. You haven’t even attempted to punish the real culprits, the thuggish Israeli regime, who’ll be relieved that even such a long-overdue decision just scraped by and may be reversed next time. They’ll also take comfort from the way you distanced yourselves from the global BDS movement.

I recommend you stop being squeamish and embrace BDS wholeheartedly, especially the George Galloway version – “No recognition, no normalisation; just boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the apartheid state is defeated.”

Many have criticised Galloway for his hard-line attitude. However, anyone who doesn’t demand an immediate end to the cruel and illegal 66-year occupation and finds silly excuses for prolonging the misery — like more lopsided ‘negotiations’ when international law and UN resolutions have already spoken — deserves to feel the cold blast of boycott, Galloway-style.

It would mean dumping interfaith ‘dialogue’ with Jews (and Christians) who support Zionism. What good has it done anyway? As long as they can keep everyone talking there’s no resolution and the Zionist entity carries on building settlements and establishing other irreversible ‘facts on the ground’ intended to make the occupation permanent. The situation, as we have seen over the decades, goes from bad to worse. Dialogue with such people simply opens the door to infiltration and unwarranted interference, as Christian churches all over the world have discovered.

But do make sure you continue discussion with those who openly condemn the Zionist project and work to halt it.

US Presbyterians’ big score came earlier this year when they published their booklet ‘Zionism unsettled’, a study guide to the underpinnings of Christian and Jewish Zionism. This infuriated not only Jewish groups but Presbyterians engaged in ‘dialogue’ with them. The president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs called the guide “worthy of a hate group, not a prominent American church”, according to the Jerusalem Post. The usual suspects branded it an attack on the very legitimacy of the Zionist enterprise (no humour intended). And a couple of rabbis from the Wiesenthal Center said it had “crippled dialogue with the Jewish people”.

With the Zionist-leaning element perhaps. So that’s a start…. let them stew. If they don’t like it, remind them of Israel’s latest terror rampage and murder spree across the West Bank and Gaza and over 400 arrests following the alleged kidnapping of 3 Jewish teenagers. The world forgets that the so-called ‘Jewish state’ indiscriminately shoots or abducts Palestinian children, and tortures them, with impunity.

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NEO – The Real Reason NATO is Courting Georgia


… by  Seth Ferris,      … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

Rasmussen…Promises of the West to not pull former Soviet states into NATO are long forgotten

There are many telltale signs of what the US’s grand scheme of things may be in the wake of events in Ukraine. One of these is the efforts being made to finally bring Georgia closer to its long-expressed goal of eventual NATO membership.

Of all the countries on the Eastern fringes of the European Union Georgia has perhaps the least claim to being a future NATO member.

Under Zviad Gamsakhurdia, its first and virulently anti-Soviet president, it was certainly pro-Western but didn’t even have an army. Nor has it controlled the whole of its recognised territory since Abkhazia and South Ossetia sought to secede not long after Gamsakhurdia was elected.

After Gamsakhurdia’s overthrow by criminal gangs their chosen successor, Eduard Shevardnadze, remained the darling of the West in theory but a pure opportunist in practice, as the West well knew. Even if he had run the country on Western lines he would never have been a trustworthy ally, merely someone so bad they couldn’t risk him falling into the other side’s camp.

Eventually the West felt confident enough to start discovering Shevardnadze’s many crimes, at least twenty years after ordinary Georgians had done so, and Mikheil Saakashvili was installed in another non-democratic takeover. All that needs to be said of his now-ousted regime is that the government elected to replace him is rapidly losing popularity because it has prosecuted a few of his former ministers, but not every single one, as most Georgians continue to demand.

With such a history Georgia is not an attractive prospect for the North Atlantic alliance, regardless of its strategic location between East and West and between the US and the countries it sells arms to and foments revolution in. Several countries, such as Burma, have previously been arms trafficking hubs and terrorist training bases without being offered a part in any alliance.

Yet Georgia’s new Foreign minister, Maia Panjikhidze, is doing more than trying to make the best of the country’s historic bad job. She said earlier this month that Georgia could now join NATO without needing the Membership Action Plan (MAP) it was refused when Saakashvili applied for it. Apparently this is because it meets the NATO criteria “to some extent”, whereas previously it had been expected to do so fully. So what is going on?


One law for one

The Georgian army was of course no match for the Russians, even with US and Israeli help

Georgia still does not meet NATO requirements in terms of territorial integrity or human rights. It contributes more troops per capita to NATO operations than any other non-member state, but this should be seen in context.

The Georgian Armed Forces depend so heavily on US funds, equipment and training that they are effectively American troops. The US knows what it is getting from Georgian troops, even if the troops themselves don’t always know what they are doing.

Furthermore, the fallout from the 2008 war has left Georgia in a state of frozen conflict with Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and potentially any number of other issues on which the countries disagree. NATO knows that accepting Georgia into membership might oblige it to confront Russia in its defence. It does not want to bring about the Third World War all the present world leaders were brought up trying to avoid.

As Tony Rinna, a journalist and geopolitical analyst, has written: “[Even if] NATO is going to accept Georgia, NATO needs to be willing to prove that it will defend the geographic integrity of its members. There is little point on NATO extending its hand to Georgia if, when push comes to shove, it is unwilling to defend the country from the very threat or situation for which membership was considered in the first place.”

NATO accession is not a quick process. Russia has repeatedly said it does not agree with Georgia joining NATO and it has been more consistent in this position than NATO has in its encouragement to Georgia. That is why the West wants to use such a perceived threat, real or otherwise, at every opportunity to prove that Georgia is the poor victim prior to its actual accession, and this ploy will also test NATO resolve as whether it will really will defend it or not.

This prospect is probably more alarming for NATO than for Russia, as it does everything it can to conduct anti-Russian actions by other means, such as the ordered Ukrainian coup, rather than openly confront it in its own backyard, while Russia does not display similar scruples. But according to Panjikhidze, this is not a substantial concern now, and Georgia is closer than ever to NATO, even if it means the end of civilization as we know it.


Promises, promises

Georgia Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze with John Kerry, 2013

Discussion of Georgia’s NATO prospects has ostensibly been aroused by the proximity of the NATO summit in Cardiff, Wales, in September. Panjikhidze claims that she has spoken to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, about this and received a positive response.

“One thing is beyond any doubt – the progress achieved by Georgia will be adequately acknowledged at the Wales summit. This is the main message we received from the German Chancellor,” she said.

Merkel has in fact stated publicly that a Membership Action Plan for Georgia will not be discussed during the summit in Wales and she does not expect granting one to be on the agenda. Germany was among the NATO members flatly opposed granting Georgia a MAP at the Bucharest summit in April, 2008, which took place even before that August’s Georgian-Russian war.

At the NATO Parliamentary Assembly spring session in Vilnius on May 30 NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called on Alliance member states “to consider” moving Georgia closer to NATO at its summit in Wales in September by granting it a Membership Action Plan (MAP). But this too is contingent on Georgia meeting the necessary criteria, including holding exemplary elections, reforming the judiciary and having a professional military. Three other countries also want to join the club: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia.

With these in mind, Rasmussen also urged the Vilnius delegates “to reaffirm their strong political commitment to the Open Door policy and the Euro Atlantic perspective of the countries aspiring for NATO membership.” However he did not explicitly say they should be offered MAP – and these countries are under far less threat of attack, and therefore present far less risk, than Georgia.


The answer which has nothing to do with the question

Alex Petriashvili

If the Georgian Foreign Minister is making these promises, when there is no apparent basis for doing so, she is either trying to get herself sacked or has been given inside information that the usual rules will be disregarded.

Organisations like NATO don’t exist for very long if they don’t obey their own rules, as their own members soon cease to trust them even if they themselves don’t agree with the rules. So this inside information must have come from someone big enough not to be harmed by any damage this action might do to NATO.

In an opinion column in the Wall Street Journal published on June 1, Georgia’s State Minister Alex Petriashvili urged readers, “To Halt Putin, Bring Georgia Closer to NATO”.

Although the disclaimer on the article reads, “The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of the Georgian government,” you don’t get such articles in the Wall Street Journal unless you are regarded as speaking with some authority on your subject and with approval from outsiders.

Petriashvili states directly, in somewhat surprising language for a government minister with a diplomatic portfolio, that Georgia joining NATO would prevent Russia “meddling” in Ukraine. He maintains that Georgia meets all NATO membership criteria, without explaining how it now meets the ones it has always been held not to meet, and says that to achieve its own ends “NATO must take a new look at Georgia.”

Petriashvili does not mention that throughout the civil unrest in Ukraine US and EU representatives continually made statements designed to support one particular side while the Russian envoy did not say a word. But despite this odd definition of the meddling which has to be stopped, Petriashvili insists that this is what NATO is actually for, not ensuring the defence of its members, of which Ukraine is not one, against external threats.

NATO cannot come right out and say that it wants to forget about its stated aims and prop up the US-organised, armed and funded coup against the Ukrainian government. It can’t say that because doing such things is not why any of its members joined it, even the US. They want military and political guarantees, not greater risk, and defence, not aggression which imperils them even further. Ask a Bulgarian, Pole or Romanian.

So NATO couches its new aspirations in terms of helping its poor, underprivileged brethren outside its current boundaries. It is trying to show the world how magnanimous it is by saying it wants to accept even the unlikeliest candidates for more than purely political reasons. The fact that they have the same enemy the US has in Ukraine is a convenient coincidence.

The cat in the bag

NATO has no real intention of fighting Russia, as the 2008 Georgia-Russia war showed. It will not put itself in a position where it has to defend Georgia, but has a reason for intimating it will.

NATO’s political aspirations now completely contradict its military ones. NATO has allowed this situation to build up for many years. Now its leadership is challenging its member states: choose the military NATO you were offered, or the new political NATO, before the inherent contradiction between the aims and resource implications of each leaves you with neither.

While its member states decide whether they want a military or political union Georgia will be left with no way of joining either side, as it does not fully meet either NATO’s military or political criteria. Its current claims are based on its virtues in both areas, taken together, forgiving the faults it has in each individual area. If the other members have to accept it in this condition, it will soon become an embarrassment to all.

Whichever side wins the battle for the heart and soul of NATO, Georgia gives it a public cause to champion and a private way out. The country which has donated the blood of so many of its citizens for causes few understand is now being asked to give its own. But promises will keep the present Georgian government in power, and that is a language much easier to understand.

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Zio-Nazi Prime Minister Insults Intelligence of U.S. Christians



In Response to Watershed Historic Presbyterian USA Vote to Divest from Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu Appears Unopposed on NBC Meet The Press to Send Condescending Message to U.S. Christians

By Johnny Punish

Today on NBC Meet The Press with David Gregory, Israeli Prime Minister appeared to discuss the Iraq crisis, kidnapped Israelis and the divest movement against his country for engaging in Apartheid policies in the occupied territories.  On the divest issue, yesterday, Presbyterian USA, one of the largest Christian churches in the USA voted to divest from Israel because of occupation.

In the latter part of the interview, Meet the Press host David Gregory asked him the following question on divesting;

GREGORY: As peace talks have stalled between you and the Palestinian Authority there has been new pressure from some religious groups, the Presbyterians in the United States have just passed a decision voted to divest from companies that do business with Israel they claim are used in the course of the occupation of Palestinians. How troubling is this to you? Do you think there will be other Presbyterian denominations that will follow suit?

NETANYAHU: It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it so disgraceful. You know, you look at what is happening in the Middle East and most Americans understand this; they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions. Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights; that guards the rights of all minorities. That protects Christians. Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is beacon of civilization and moderation. I would suggest to this Presbyterian organization to fly to Middle East and come see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is. And then take a bus tour. Go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq and see the difference. I would give them two pieces of advice; make sure it’s armored plated bus and second, don’t say you are Christian.

Well well! The skilled and very shrewd Netanyahu strikes again on U.S. main stream media and uses the bully pulpit while  NBC offers no opposing opinion, journalist or even a member of the church itself to challenge his statement. Worse, not even host Gregory, a journalist himself, bothered to challenge anything Netanyahu said.

So in absence of any real journalism, allow me to challenge Netanyahu’s statements.

PUNISH: Mister Nentanyahu, when you say “it should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it is so disgraceful” what exactly are you referring to? I mean, what is disgraceful? Do you mean the occupation of Palestinians and the Apartheid put upon them by Israel? I mean, this is the actual issue on which the Presbyterian USA church choose divest from companies doing business with Israel! Or do you mean that the Presbyterian USA is disgraceful for choosing to out Israel as a violator of human rights and promoter of Apartheid? Which one is it? Or maybe you have another explanation for your weird non-sensical statement.

PUNISH: As for your statement that “you look at what is happening in the Middle East and most Americans understand this; they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions…” and then you go on claim that Israel upholds basic human rights while you lecture Presbyterian USA to go on a bus tour of Libya, Syria and Iraq in an armored bus”..well where do I start? Hum?

First Benny, what the heck does Libya, Syria and Iraq have to do with the indigenous peoples living in the occupied terror ties under your control surrounded by your military with a Berlin Wall and check points everywhere?  Are you suggesting that Palestinians are responsible for Ben Ghazi, Iraqi ISIS events, or President Assad of Syria?  And why don’t you answer the question directly and deal with Occupation as Presbyterian USA has done in divesting from Israel because of your violations in the occupied territories. After all, they made no mention of Libya, Syria, or Iraq. So you are either insulting their intelligence or you are trying to redirect attention so you don’t have to answer for occupation. Which one is it?

And as for human rights in Israel proper, well, you are correct. Christians are treated better in Israel than in many parts of the extremist right Muslim world but still, in Israel proper, Israeli Arabs are treated as 2nd class citizens and just because somewhere else on the planet bad things are happening does NOT somehow absolve Israel from committing crimes against humanity. I mean, Mandela said Apartheid is a crime against humanity and you’re being accused of being an Apartheid state.

Now, if you want to discuss Muslim fundamentalism and extremism in Libya, Syria, or Iraq, let me know and we can do that on another show. But for now, can you please answer the question directly about divesting, Apartheid, and U.S. Christians because your current non-sensical redirect answer is insulting the intelligence of everyone watching this interview.

Do you need some water and deep breath first? Don’t worry, take your time!  But after you get your thoughts straight, be advised that we are NOT leaving until you answer the question!  Okay!  So get it together brother!

So what about Occupation? Illegal Settlers? And are your concerned that your U.S. Taxpayer billions are potentially at risk as other Christian churches begin to follow Presbyterian USA and give you a one finger up salute on Apartheid and Occupation?  Speak up Benny?  The weight of history got your tongue? We can’t hear you?

Oh and finally MEMO to David Gregory:   Hey David maybe you should change the name of your show from“Meet The Press” to “Meet The Non-Press” or better, hows bout “The Netanyahu Lecture Hour and Insult Our Intelligence Show”  You suck David! Straight up!
YouTube – Veterans Today –

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PCUSA Divests from Occupation Support Firms




The Presbyterian Church (USA) anti-occupation forces have finally removed that denomination’s funds from Corporations that support Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

by James M. Wall

Ten years after the start of their divestment campaign against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and people, the Presbyterian Church (USA) anti-occupation forces have finally removed that denomination’s funds from the occupation.

In their 221st biennial General Assembly Friday, PCUSA commissioners (delegates) voted 310-303 to divest all financial involvement in three U.S. corporations whose products are used to enforce Israel’s occupation: Hewlett Packard, Motorola and Caterpillar.

Hewlett Packard manufactures eye and face scanning devices used at Israeli checkpoints, Motorola provides communications facilities within the occupied areas; while Caterpillar makes bulldozers used by Israeli authorities to destroy Palestinian homes.

Presbytarian Church logo

The removal of PCUSA investments in those firms will neither end the occupation nor change Israel’s tactics over a captive population.  Total PCUSA investment in these firms is but a tiny portion of the Israeli military budget, a substantial amount of which is derived from annual U.S. gifts and loans.

The vote was not about the money; it was a moral vote against the occupation.

Through their divestment vote, U.S. Presbyterians are telling Israel, we do not support your occupation,no matter how hard you try to incorrectly shape the conversation as anti-Israel and anti-Hewlett Packard, Motorola and Caterpillar.

What will be the impact of the vote on U.S. public opinion?As with most major changes in history,the impact is usually incremental. This vote was a small vote for humankind,a vote that should be remembered the way the 1833 vote taken in the British Parliament to end the slave trade, is remembered.

Christian evangelical William Wilberforce was a leader in the fight against slavery through much of his life. He was fighting against a strongly-entrenched economic system that profited from the slave trade. . Here is one account of that British Parliament vote:

Despite the groundswell of public opinion, Parliament still refused to ban slavery, until parliamentary reform removed many of its supporters. Despite this, it was still not clear that Parliament would act. Wilberforce wrote a last petition.The Parliamentary debate lasted three months.

On the 26th July, 1833, the Abolition of Slavery bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons. A messenger rushed to Wilberforce’s house.They told him that slavery in British colonies would finally be abolished. Just three days later, on 29th July, William Wilberforce died.

Other denominations now have the Presbyterians as a moral bellwether. If they pay attention, they have also seen the Israeli narrative playbook in operation.

With approximately 1.76 million members in 2013, the PCUSA is the third largest denomination among the seven major U.S. mainline churches.

united methodist church

The largest denomination among the Big Seven is The United Methodist Church (UMC),which reported almost 8 million U.S. members in 2008. Anti-occupation UMC forces recently achieved a major divestment victory when its Pension Board withdrew church funds from G4S, a British firm that supplies equipment for use in Israeli prisons housing Palestinian prisoners.

Word on the church “street” is that the UMC is gearing up for its own divestment battle at its 2016 General Conference.The results of the USPCS vote should encourage Methodist anti-occupation leaders to prepare for their own exit from the immoral occupation business.

The Methodists can expect to encounter the same playbook in 2016 that the anti-divestment forces used in the PCUSA General Assembly.

That playbook may will have contributed to the narrowness of the Presbyterian vote Friday. The New York Timesstory at the end of the 2012 General Assembly in Pittsburg, PA, echoes stories that swept through the media this year after the 2014 vote.

In 2012 the vote was even closer than it was in 2014. It also achieved the opposite result. The New York Times story reported in 2012 that the General Assembly voted 333 to 331, with two abstentions not to divest from Hewlett Packard, Motorola and Caterpillar.

As Yogi Berra once said, the 2014 vote was “deja vu all over again”, except with a different ending.  Here is Laurie Goodstein, who also covered the 2014 GA, writing in the Times, July 5, 2012:

The decision not to divest, the culmination of an eight-year process, was watched intensely by Christians, Jews and Palestinians in the United States and in the Middle East.

It is likely to bring a sigh of relief to Jewish groups in Israel and the United States that lobbied Presbyterians against divestment, and to dismay the international movement known as B.D.S. — Boycott, Divest and Sanctions — which advocates using economic leverage to pressure Israel to return occupied land to the Palestinians.

In 2012, the General Assembly voted “to toss out the divestment measure and replace it with a resolution to encourage ‘positive investment’ in the occupied territories.”

The anti-divestment playbook was very much in evidence in Detroit last week. Hanging over the commissioners as they debated and finally voted, were passionate pleas not to divest, from commissioners who were terribly afraid that relations with their Jewish friends would be damaged.

This should have been evident to those observing and voting in Detroit’s Cobo Center.It was certainly evident to those of us who spent many hours on Friday watching proceedings on a public live internet feed.

One young commissioner was so emotional over the impact of the divestment vote on employees he knew personally who worked for Caterpillar, that he could hardly speak. The presiding officer had to gently tell him his time had expired.

That is the pro-Israeli playbook: Step One, tap into the personal feelings of commissioners where they “live”, American workers and Jewish neighbors.  Step Two: hit the internal mute button on the suffering caused by the occupation.

The internal mute button kept the occupation out of most of the GA discussion, except for the occasional testimony from commissioners who have visited the occupied areas.  One man, for example, told of visiting a Palestinian shop keeper just off the Bethlehem Square.

In their conversation, the commissioner said to the shop-keeper, “I know how you feel”. The shopkeeper asked him where he lived.. The commissioner answered, “in the United States”.  The shopkeeper responded, “Then you don’t know how I feel. I live in a prison all of the time”.


There was a poignant authenticity in that exchange.Did it change votes inside Cobo Center?Only the commissioners know. But what it does do is to highlight the stark contrast between the pro-Israel playbook narrative,which keeps the discussion focused on American “feelings” and keeps it away from the sufferings of those who live under a tight military occupation.

There were many non-voting “observers” inside Cobo Hall, many of them people of all ages who belong to Jewish organizations opposed to the occupation.

The picture on the right captures one of those “observers”, Robert Ross, as he reacts joyfully and in amazement just as the final divestment victory vote is posted on the big screen behind the podium. The picture is from the New York Times.

The battle is joined in this moment of victory against the occupation.

It will be a long battle. Not only will it be against the pro-Israel forces deeply embedded in all church bodies, but it will be a battle against an Israeli government that genuinely hates any criticism of their control of the occupied territories.

In its story on the anti-divestment vote, the Voice of America web site reported:

In a statement posted Friday night on its Facebook page, the Israeli Embassy in Washington called the resolution “shameful.”

“Voting for symbolic measures marginalizes and removes its ability to be a constructive partner to promote peace in the Middle East,” the statement said. “We would have hoped that (the Presbyterian church) would have joined us in promoting peace and denouncing terrorism.”

Mount up, you Methodists and you other five denominations in the Big Seven church bodies, the PCUSA has shown you how to fight the occupation. It has also shown you what you are up against.  It will not be easy.

When you think about the hard fight ahead, remember that Bethlehem shop keeper whose words are now in the hearts and minds of all who heard him quoted on the floor of the  2014 PCUSA General Assembly.

“In their conversation, the commissioner said to the shop-keeper, ‘I know how you feel’. The shopkeeper asked him where he lived. The commissioner answered, ‘In the United States’.  The shopkeeper responded, ‘Then you don’t know how I feel. I live in a prison all of the time’.”

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Terror in Iraq; Roots and Motivation

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” John F. Kennedy
by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich


ISIL militants backed by US, Israel, KSA.

ISIL militants backed by US, Israel, KSA.

Terrorism*, directly or sponsored, has long been America’s weapon of mass destruction – its weapon of choice. As a strategy, it outdates ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy promotion’ and has proven itself to be far more effective by creating mayhem and fear, removing resistance to intervention. The events of 9/11 justified this age-old tactic. Although the tentacles of America’s terror tactic reach back far and spread wide, this article seeks to address the presence of ISIL (or ISIS).

As of writing this essay, it has become public knowledge that the group referred to as ISIS was trained by the United States to topple Syria’s President Assad. The purpose of this article is to give a comprehensive, chronological overview of events leading to the present day crisis, which by necessity may repeat some of the points raised in various excellent articles on ISIS.


PART I. Prologue; Terror in Iraq

Scholars have opined that America’s crisis began in the 1970’s with the “Vietnam Syndrome” and America’s efforts to curb third world countries wishing to break away from the status quo system. None had the impact of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that ousted the American-backed Shah — the lynchpin of U.S. strategy in the Persian Gulf. In the following decades, the United States sought to reestablish its hegemony, in particular in the Persian Gulf region.

Hagel in Saudi Arabia

It was due to America’s desire to establish sole control over the Persian Gulf region that it showed no interest in the Soviet Union proposed neutralization of the Gulf, with no alliances, no bases, no intervention in the region in 1980, at the onset of the Iran-Iraq war[i].To the contrary, the United States used the war as a lever to establish  military bases in the Persian Gulf states.


The Saudi monarchy, threatened by the Iranian revolution, and reassured by President Reagan that “we will not permit” Saudi Arabia “to be an Iran”[ii], made way for US bases on its soil in 1985, making room for others to follow suit.

America’s efforts with the Shah’s cooperation to alienate Iranians and Arabs to Israel’s benefit continued unabated.

Thus, it is worthwhile recapping here that the cooperation among the Arab states against Iran was fear of communism and the potential of an uprising against the ruling monarchies.

The 1991 [Persian] Gulf War was an important and tragic war with heavy casualties on the Iraqi side.

However, for the sake of brevity it will not be discussed here other than to point out the most pertinent facts; the war was based on deception, Saudi Arabia paid $36 billion of US $60 billion costs, and US forces were deployed in Saudi Arabia. It is perhaps worthwhile pointing out that shortly before the end of the war, the American government allowed Israel to designate 100 targets inside Iraq for the coalition to destroy. [iii] Following the war, Iraq was subjected to deathly immoral sanctions with a death toll of over one million, half of them being children. The no-fly zone and its daily bombings left a vulnerable and devastated country in its trail, with no room for resistance to future incursions.

Not unrelated to current events is the fact that in the same year, The Jerusalem Report[iv] published that the idea of radical Islam replacing communism had taken seed among the Israeli right. The basis of the idea was founded on the neoconservatives fear that with the demise of the Soviet Union, and the splintering of the America’s right wing faction, there would no longer be an unconditional support for a U.S.-Israel alliance. Islam replaced communism as ogre du jour and gave neocons in Washington a decade to expand and promote the newfound ‘threat’.

The 90’s would see the virtual completion of media take-over by neocons made possible with the 1980’s regulation changes in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that allowed mergers and acquisitions. Washington think tanks became home to many more influential neoconservatives such as Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, and Richard Perle who had made their way to the AEI from the Jerusalem-based think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS). IASPS has published numerous strategy papers, chief among them “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” in 1996 – viewed by scholars and activist as the blueprint to the 2003 Iraq attack and invasion.


Who to blame for Iraq War

September 11, 2001 triggered the events years in the making.

Two short days later, on September 13, 2001, while the nation was recovering from the shock of 9/11, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) already had a statement available as to how the U.S. should proceed.   Saddam’s fate, or rather Iraq’s fate was already sealed.  JINSA “recommended” that Iraq be invaded militarily. The policy also called for America to be involved in disputes far and wide for the unforeseen future not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Sudan, the Palestinian Authority, Libya, Algeria – and eventually, Saudi Arabia and Egypt[v].   No doubt the Saudis were not copied on the policy recommendations for even though they were included in the list of target countries, the Saudi monarchy fully cooperated with advancing terrorism as a weapon of mass destruction and warfare

PART II. Terror in Iraq; Invasion


It is common knowledge by now that Saudi Arabia partnered with the neocons and pushed for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Taking on their usual role of gas station attendants, they pumped oil to fuel America’s war.

Bandar promised President Bush that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election – to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day”.

Their cooperation was not without its awards. There is ample literature available on the revelations made about the Carlysle Group and war profiteering. Additionally, less than a month after the illegal attack on Iraq, American forces were moved from Saudi Arabia to Qatar.

Could Iraq’s ‘greatest political survivor’ make a comeback? (Al Arabiya)

Could Iraq’s ‘greatest political survivor’ make a comeback? (Al Arabiya)

Saudis were further rewarded when in 2004, pro-Saudi, anti-Iranian Ayad Allawi, head of INA (Iraqi National Accord) backed by Saudi Arabia, UK and US was appointed as prime minister. His first order of the day was to re-establish diplomatic ties between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Dubbed ‘Saddam without a moustache’ and accused of being a US puppet, he was voted out in 2005. (In 2009, Alawi launched al-Iraqiya (Iraqi National Movement)). The Saudi/US/British backed Allawi is once again in vogue and a platform is made readily available to him to comment on Iraq and promote himself in opposition to the elected President Nouri al-Maliki).

In the ‘war on terror’, the first order of the day for the US-led occupation forces was to give ‘special status protection’ to the terrorist group, Mojahedeen-e Khalg (MEK). US was grateful to the MEK for fighting alongside Saddam Hussein against Iran during the 8-year war, and for their 2000 attack on a government complex in Tehran which housed the Supreme Leader and the President. Thus, the US and Israel made long term plans for the terrorist group which included fabricating information about Iran’s civilian nuclear program (Gareth Porter).

The US also started building elaborate bases in occupied Iraq. Contrary to their official narrative, Washington elite had plans to stay. The Americans built several ‘enduring’ bases soon upon arrival – each base arrogantly bearing an English name in Arab land. These were mini cities with their own country club style amenities — swimming pools, theaters, golf course, coffee shops, fast food chains, and so on.   This was clearly an occupation mission.

Karen Kwiatkowski, (retd) Office of Special Planning, Pentagon

Karen Kwiatkowski, (retd)
Office of Special Planning, Pentagon

According to Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who served in the office of the Secretary of Defense, “the neoconservative architects of the Iraq invasion definitely foresaw a permanent, large-scale presence and view the bases as vital both for protecting Israel and as launchpads for operations in Syria and Iran.”

Kwiatkowski was right – this timeline coincided with Washington’s support of opposition groups in Syria and sending MEK terrorists to Iran.

But Iran and Syria were only part of the equation. America had global designs. As a former senior Defense Department official observed during the 8-year long Iran-Iraq war: ‘To all intents and purposes,[Persian] Gulf waters now extend from the Straits of Malacca to the South Atlantic.’[vi]

But occupation of Iraq would not be the predicted cake walk’ .   The Mother of all Bombs dropped on Iraq, the indiscriminate killings, destruction of Iraq’s ancient sites, and abuses such as the Abu Gharib scandal pushed Iraqis to fight against their “liberators”.

Narratives of crimes committed by US-led forces and their intentions had to be stopped. Journalism became a hazardous occupation as US forces bombed, killed, or shut down papers critical of their occupation and atrocities. Among the most vocal was Muqtada al-Sadr who, giving voice to the Iraqi people, condemned the occupation and oppression in his newspaper– al Hawza. The U.S. forces shut down his paper. He did not surrender his will to fight.

The rising death toll, abuse, and carnage united Iraqis against the American occupiers. Reporting from Baghdad in May 2004, Dahr Jamail cites Imam Al- Adhamy who told him: what is happening is happening to all of Iraq. There is no difference now between Sunni and Shia, Arab and Kurd. We have all been invaded.”

Hence it became pertinent to undermine their unity and have Iraqis turn on each other instead of fighting the occupiers.   This tactic was not new to America. During the bloody Iran-Iraq war, the United States was providing arms and intelligence to both sides.   When asked what the logic was in aiding both sides in the bloody war, a former official replied: “You had to have been there”[vii]. (This strategy is once again at play with the emergence of ISIL. “Many ordinary Sunni Baghdadis, the advance of Isis is cause for alarm mixed with a vague hope that somehow Isis and Shia Muslims may severely damage each other, to the general benefit of moderate Sunnis.”)

Big military exercises in Jordan with US troops called Eager Lion, with the participation of more than 15,000 troops from 18 Arab and other countries.

Big military exercises were held in Jordan with US troops called Eager Lion, with the participation of more than 15,000 troops from 18 Arab and other countries.

In this regards, none proved more helpful than King Abdullah of Jordan in delivering a strategy for the division of Iraqis with his concept of a “Shia Crescent” in late 2004. This inflammatory notion would lay the groundwork for a Sunni-Shia (and Kurd) division. (To understand Jordan’s cooperation and interests, it is important to read the aforementioned IASPS strategy paper “A Clean Break…” ) The mainstream media and collaborators in Iraq and the region spread the concept like wild fire, burning bridges among the various sects.   (Click HERE to read an article that accurately refutes the myth of ‘Shia rising’).

In 2005, as anti-war protests spread across America, under direction of the Bush State Department the press was busy creating “happy” news to garner support for the illegal occupation of Iraq[viii].   Meanwhile in Iraq, efforts were underway to keep the Iraqis united. In October 2005, then Iraqi president Jalal Talabani announced at a press conference a compromise plan that had been applauded by Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish leaders alike. The threat of a united resistance to the occupation was reemerging. Extraordinary events would once again disrupt the fragile coalition.

Curiously (or not), in December 2005, it was announced that elite Israeli military were training the Kurds in Northern Iraq.   In January 2006, Saudi Arabia planned on securing and upgrading a fence intended to seal the Iraq-Saudi border to stop the flow of ‘terrorists’. In February 2006, one of Shia Islam’s holiest shrines, the Askariya shrine in Samarra was bombed. Without questioning or heeding witnesses, the bombing was quickly blamed on Sunnis.   Violence and revenge killing erupted.

In May 2006, Joe Biden suggested splitting Iraq into three parts. In August, Vali Nasr, adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations released his book The Shia Revival. The flames of a dangerous and irreversible divide were being fanned. On December 30, 2006, Saddam Hossein was hung on Eid ul-Adha inside the Green Zone.  The timing of his execution further exasperated the divide as it was a holy day of celebration for the Sunnis, yet the timeline had not yet commenced for the Shiites – it would commence the following day. This was perceived as a gift to the Shia’s further alienating the Sunnis and destabilizing Iraq.

In 2007, President Bush ordered a surge and 30,000 additional troops would be housed in the bases in order to provide ‘security’ and to help create a “…unified, democratic federal Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain itself, and is an ally in the War on Terror.” Askariya was bombed a second time. The troops managed to drag the Iraqi Christians into the sectarian division by pushing Christianity on Moslems

In 2008, the incumbent Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki opposed a permanent US presence and instead signed an Agreement (SOFA) that would see the removal of all US troops from Iraq by December 2011.

This timeline brings us to the arming of ISIL terrorists in Syria by the United States and allies who have been engaged in terror activities both inside Syria and Iraq. The motives are clear. To remove Assad, drag Iran (and Hezbollah) into this quagmire with the intention of bleeding all sides. It would also justify American presence to combat ‘terrorists’ and foreign fighters so that America can re-occupy its bases and dominate the Persian Gulf region as planned.

[RT Interview : Published January 8, 2014]

To sum up, neoconservatives had long sought to dominate the Persian Gulf and use it as a launch pad in their grand strategy of global dominance. When fear of communism and inter-state wars ceased to justify this agenda, 9/11 came to the rescue. Sectarian division eliminated resistance to the plan. As renowned strategist, Michael Porter said: “Finally, strategy must have continuity. It can’t be constantly reinvented.” ISIL is that continuation.

Finally, the brutal activities of the ISIL will also serve as a warning to Afghanistan’s reluctance to sign a SOFA. It is imperative to point out here that 9/11 was a pretext for the invasion of Afghanistan. Afghanistan will be the topic of a future article.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.

*Although there is no universal definition of terrorism, Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d) defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

[i]Gulf Security and the Iran-Iraq War, ed. Thomas Naff, Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 1985, p. 95.

[ii]Public Papers of the Presidents, Ronald Reagan, 1981, pp. 870-71.

[iii]Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army, “The Third Temple’s Holy of Holies: Israel’s Nuclear Weapons”, Air War College. 1999.

[iv] JJ Goldberg, “The Rest is Commentary”. The Jerusalem Report.  Jerusalem:Sep 26, 1991.

[v] “This Goes Beyond Bin Laden,” JINSA press release, September 13, 2001.

[vi] Stephen Shalom citing Anthony H. Cordesman, “The Gulf and the Search for Strategic Stability”, Boulder: Westview, 1984, p62

[vii]Stephen R. Shalom, The United States and Iran-Iraq War,   citing Stephen Engelberg, “Iran and Iraq Got ‘Doctored Data, U.S. Officials Say,” New York Times, 12 Jan. 1987, pp. A1, A6.

[viii]Barstow, David and Robin Stein. “Under Bush, A new Age of Prepackaged Television News”. New York Times. Early Ed. 13 March 2005

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America’s Make Believe Democracy – Subversion from Within



How Washington and its Allies Use Social Media to Topple Governments & Manipulate Public Opinion

…. from  Storm Clouds Gathering

Public protection from official and rogue element abuse is still rampant

Public protection from official and rogue element abuse is still rampant

[ Editors Note: This was sent in from Karl Schwarz in Switzerland who I met years ago when he was living in Atlanta and running as an independent presidential candidate to expose the rot inside the Clinton administration. He went way back with them having lived in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Karl had also become disenchanted with the Republican national committee as a member and getting to see what really went on, who was in control of it, and what their real goals were. We will be running some of his older and current articles to share what he learned, all very valuable stuff.

One of the issues we had been discussing is the cyber-terrorism operations going on now that have almost become routine, where those exposing government malfeasance, espionage penetrations, corruption and co-option of our government, are attacked via taxpayer supported governmental organizations.

This happens both here in the US and from overseas in places like Israel which has been running cyber-terrorism operations against Israeli policy critics for years.

These Storm Clouds Gathering folks are producing some very good material, stuff that we would have liked to do if we had the time. But duplication of effort is a huge waste of resources, so whenever we find someone doing great work we try to help promote them as part of leveraging all of our efforts.

Why is our government allowed to attack private citizens without a court order, or any showing of cause?

Why is our government allowed to attack private citizens without a court order, or any showing of cause?

The format of this video and the amount of information delivered is well suited for introducing these huge ongoing problems to new people as it is much easier to watch than reading ten analysis articles. We call this picking the best point of entry.

Why? Because we need to be careful of not falling into the trap of gearing our material, all of it, to the home crowd where you know they have a good solid background.

New people don’t, and it is a mistake to put them into a Phd level class on the first day. This video is really worth watching. If is wasn’t…it would not be here.

So as we move forward we are going to be flexible and fast on our feet in terms of adapting to our current and changing environment. And that includes the cyber-terrorism that VT has been subject to for quite a while now. We are not without friends and resources to hunt attackers down. More on that will be coming in future articles…much more… Jim W. Dean ].

YouTube – Veterans Today –


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Janes: ISIS Killing “Indistructable” M1A Abrams Tanks


Iraqi Abrams losses revealed

Jeremy Binnie, London – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

This image is part of a series posted on a pro-ISIL Twitter account on 6 June. Source: Al-Anbar News

(20 June 2014) – The armour on five of Iraq’s M1A1 Abrams tanks was penetrated by anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and six helicopters were shot down between 1 January and the end of May, The New York Times quoted an unnamed US official as saying on 13 June.

The official said 28 Iraqi Army Abrams had been damaged in fighting with militants, five of them suffering full armour penetration when hit by ATGMs. The United States supplied 140 refurbished M1A1 Abrams tanks to Iraq between 2010 and 2012. While they have new equipment to improve situational awareness, they do not have the depleted uranium amour package that increases protection over the tank’s frontal arc.

The penetration of a tank’s armour by a shaped-charge warhead increases the likelihood of crew casualties, but does not necessarily result in the destruction of the vehicle, especially if it has a dedicated ammunition compartment, as in the case of the Abrams.

However, the US official said the Iraqi Army has problems maintaining its Abrams, suggesting it will struggle to get damaged tanks back into service.

At least one video has emerged showing an Abrams ‘brew up’ after being hit by an ATGM during fighting this year in the western province of Al-Anbar. Militants operating in Al-Anbar have also released images of numerous attacks on other Abrams tanks, including ones involving a 9K11 Kornet ATGM, RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and a M70 Osa rocket launcher. The latter is a Yugoslavian weapon that has been widely used by insurgents in neighbouring Syria, but is rarely seen in Iraq.

The damage inflicted on the tanks has been difficult to assess from the images. These mostly seem to be stills from unreleased videos and tend to show spectacular explosions, but not the state of the vehicles after the attacks.

Only one sequence of images posted on a pro-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Twitter account on 6 June appears to show an Abrams actually being destroyed. A militant is seen placing a charge on the tank and an object is also thrown into an open turret hatch. Flames are then seen coming out of the hatches. The fate of the crew is unclear.

Another sequence posted on 28 May purportedly shows the same militant placing a charge on or in the turret of another Abrams in a hull-down position. While the extent of the damage caused by the resulting explosion is unclear, the fact that militants are repeatedly getting close to the tanks suggests the vehicles lack adequate infantry support.

Other types of armoured vehicle in service with the Iraqi Army appear to have suffered higher attrition rates than the Abrams. Militants have released many images showing destroyed or captured Humvees, M113 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), and mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles.

The Soviet-era armour the Iraqi Army has been using in Al-Anbar has also suffered losses, including MT-LB multipurpose armoured vehicles, a BMP-1, and T-55 tanks.

The US official also said that six Iraqi helicopters had been shot down and 60 damaged in combat between 1 January and the end of May. This represents a significant proportion of the Iraqi Army Aviation Command’s assets. Another helicopter was shot down by a light anti-aircraft gun (LAAG) over Al-Saqlawiyah on 16 June; its two crew members were killed.

It is unclear what helicopters the Iraqis have lost, but militants have released footage shot using an infrared camera of heavy machine guns or LAAGs bringing down at least two Mi-24/35 combat helicopters carrying out low-altitude rocket attacks.

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