Archive | December 25th, 2014

Palestinians garnish Christmas tree with Zio-Nazi canisters

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plf cri

Palestinian activists have decorated a Christmas tree with leftover Israeli tear gas canisters and stun grenades in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The activists garnished the tree in Bethlehem’s Manger Square on Tuesday in a symbolic move to show their anger at Tel Aviv’s atrocities in the occupied territories, said Farid al-Atrash, the head of the independent commission for human rights in the south.
The leftover tear gas canisters and stun grenades had been used by Israeli forces during clashes with Palestinians in the city.
“The world has to move to save the Palestinian people and hold the occupation accountable for its crimes against unarmed people in Palestine,” al-Atrash said.
In a separate incident in the day, Israeli forces fired tear gas to disperse the Palestinian protesters dressed as Santa Claus in the city.
The protesters were marching towards a checkpoint connecting the ancient city to East Jerusalem al-Quds Jerusalem.
The Palestinian demonstrators carried signs reading, “Jesus came with a message of: Peace, Freedom and Justice” and “We want Christmas without occupation.”
Tensions have been running high for over a month in the West Bank and East al-Quds over the desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli troops and the recent killing of a Palestinian minister in the occupied West Bank.
The al-Aqsa compound, which lies in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds, is a flashpoint. The location of the compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is the holiest site in Judaism. The al-Aqsa mosque is Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

 

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Zio-Nazi Jewish settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque compound

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plf storm

A group of Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in their latest act of violence against the holy site.

“Around 70 Jewish settlers stormed the al-Aqsa complex through the al-Magharbeh Gate under Israeli police protection,” Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the director general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and al-Aqsa Affairs, said on Monday.

Over the past weeks, the al-Aqsa Mosque has been the scene of clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli settlers and troops.

“The settlers wandered around the compound and attempted to perform Talmudic rituals, but Muslim worshippers stood up to them,” Khatib added.

Khatib also said that the Israeli police arrested three Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque compound’s al-Asbat Gate.

According to a recent report by the Organization for Muslim Endowments and al-Aqsa Affairs, nearly 14,000 Israelis, most of them extremist settlers, have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound since the beginning of 2014.

In November alone, more than 1,200 Israelis – including 1,081 settlers, 104 soldiers and 22 Israeli intelligence officers – entered the place.

Israel has over the past decades tried to change the demographic makeup of al-Quds by constructing illegal settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population.

The assistant secretary general for Palestine and authority on issues in the occupied territories for the Arab League, Mohammed Sabih, said Israel has allocated some USD 17 billion to Judaize East Jerusalem al-Quds in the occupied West Bank.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, located in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds, is a flashpoint holy site. The location of the compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is the holiest site in Judaism. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina, Saudi Arabia.

 

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SHOAH WISHES YOU A MARRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR .

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Shoah wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.  

We extends you warm regards and wishes you good health, with hopes that the new year brings with it progress in the pursuit of justice, protection of human dignity and promotion of human rights and carries peace, freedom and independence for Palestine.

 

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The Persistent U.S. Opposition To Self-Determination

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By Matt Peppe 

There is no principle in international law more fundamental than the right of all peoples to self-determination. This is universally accepted by the entire world, yet nearly 70 years after the signing of the UN Charter, the United States continues to fight tooth and nail against this most basic human right.

On December 18, the U.S. was one of only seven countries to vote against a UN General Assembly resolution that passed with 180 votes affirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

Earlier this year, the U.S. also found themselves on the wrong side of the international consensus when the UN Special Committee on Decolonization approved a statement to “reaffirm the inalienable right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination.”

Self-determination “denotes the legal right of people to decide their own destiny in the international order,” according to the Legal Information Institute.

This right was enshrined in international law with its inclusion in the UN Charter in 1945. Article 1 of the Charter states that one of the purposes of the United Nations is: “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”

In the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, this was made even more explicit: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

For people deprived of equal rights and political participation, self-determination could take many forms: independence, assimilation, sovereign association, or another form they choose for themselves. But no one has a right to self-determination at the expense of someone else.

“It is well known that any attempt to deny a human group its self-determination only intensifies its demand for sovereignty and enhances its collective identity,” writes Shlomo Sand in The Invention of the Jewish People. “This does not, of course, give a particular group that sees itself as a people the right to dispossess another group of its land in order to achieve its self-determination. But that is precisely what happened in Mandatory Palestine in the first half of the twentieth century.”

Some people justify Israel’s right to exist by claiming that Jewish people deserve self-determination just like all other peoples. But European Zionists seeking self-determination did not have a right to conquer the indigenous population of an already-populated land to establish a state which did not include Palestinians. In 1947, Jews represented no more than 33% of the population and owned no more than 10% of the land in Mandatory Palestine. There is no justification for ethnically cleansing people, stealing their land, and preventing the return of refugees for seven decades in order to manipulate the demographics of the state and engineer an artificial ruling majority.

The United States has never respected self-determination as a concept or a right. As independence movements from Asia to Africa to the Middle East fought wars of liberation following World War II, the United States fought on the side of colonial domination and subjugation.

Self-determination is not just a utopian ideal. It is a legal right. The contents of the UN Charter and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – as well as all treaties ratified by the U.S. government – are the “supreme law of the land,” per Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, prevention of self-determination is a legally enforceable human rights violation.

The “traditional American conception” of self-determination, writes Noam Chomsky in The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, is that “we will determine, since we are plainly the authentic representatives of the Palestinians – as of the Filipinos, the Nicaraguans, the Greeks, the Vietnamese, the Chileans, the Salvadorans, and many others who have been privileged to enjoy our beneficient attentions.”

When France decided to abandon a failed war to maintain colonial rule over Vietnam, the United States stepped in and escalated the war, carrying out wholesale slaughter of people seeking their liberation. U.S. military forces killed between 2.5  and 5 million Vietnamese, most of them civilians, in an attempt to prevent them from choosing their socioeconomic system on their own.

When the Portuguese dictatorship fell in 1974, clearing the way for independence for former colonies like Angola, the United States encouraged South Africa to invade that country the next year to install a puppet government friendly to the apartheid regime. The racist South Africans would have succeeded if it weren’t for a massive military intervention by Cuba on behalf of the populist Angolan government that crushed the invading forces and sent them back to Pretoria with their tail between their legs.

In 1898, American ships landed at Guánica. One hundred sixteen years later, Puerto Rico is still a colonial possession of the United States. In 1946, Puerto Rico was placed on the United Nations List of Non-Self Governing-Territories. The United States was forced to report regularly on the island’s political status with the goal of decolonization. Not willing to give up ownership of their tropical cash cow, the U.S. backed a new Puerto Rican Constitution that disguised the colonial status of the island. It was given the euphemistic status of a “Commonwealth,” in which the U.S. maintained sovereignty over Puerto Rico. Only the U.S. Congress – which Puerto Ricans cannot elect representatives to or participate in – is empowered to relinquish sovereignty over the island.

The United States has partnered with Israel in keeping Palestinians stateless since the creation of the Israeli state in 1948. In Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since 1967, Palestinians do not have citizenship in any state and do not enjoy sovereignty over the territory the entire world has recognized as their own.

Israel has for decades demonstrated that it intends to maintain the nearly half-century occupation indefinitely and prevent any Palestinian state. Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party charter states: “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel,” and “The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem.” As the majority party in the Knesset, they have been carrying this out in practice.

There is an name for ruling over people while preventing them from being part of the political process that governs their lives. It’s called colonialism, In international law, it is a crime against humanity.

Israel’s plan is to simply continue the status quo under the guise of a “peace process.” While Israel, with the help of the United States, uses the farcical cover of negotiations, they continue to steal Palestinian land and water while transferring in hundreds of thousands of Jewish Israelis onto stolen land and evicting residents of East Jerusalem to clear the way for more Jews.

It is what historian Illan Pappe and others have calledslow-motion genocide.” They create the conditions intended to drive as many Palestinians as possible from their land – to Jordan, Syria, or anywhere outside Greater Israel. They hope that as more 1948 refugees grow older and die their ancestors will lose their claim to the land they were systematically driven away from before the formation of the state of Israel. In this way, the Jewish state hopes to establish its permanence from the Jordan river to the Sea.

All this is only possible because the Israeli state denies Palestinians sovereignty to govern themselves or participate in a binational arrangement to share governance in Greater Israel. People who can’t vote and have no voice in these policies obviously cannot change them. Which is why it is so important to Israel to continue to deny Palestinians self-determination. Preserving their colonial domination over territory and people they have conquered is much more important to Israel than having a legitimate claim to being a democratic state that values human rights.

The rest of the world showed in voting for the UN resolution affirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination how isolated the U.S. and Israel are as they cling to a morally and legally indefensible position. Only Canada and four American client states (all tiny Pacific Island nations) joined them in voting against the measure.

The vote is a “strong affirmation of the international support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, led by their right to self-determination and liberation,” said Riyad Mansour, Permanent Palestinian Observer at the UN.

When the Palestinians finally are able to achieve their basic human right of self-determination, it will be in spite of decades of U.S. interference and complicity in Israeli repression. As they were in Vietnam and Southern Africa, and as they continue to be in Puerto Rico, the United States will shamefully be on the wrong side of history.

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Zionist MTV Glorifies Venezuela’s Barricade Protests in New Reality TV Show

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Zionist Media

By Z.C. Dutka 

Santa Elena de Uairen – US entertainment channel MTV has signed a contract with a Venezuelan media group to purchase extensive footage of the violent anti-government protests that wracked the South American nation earlier this year, to be featured in the new reality series Rebel Music.

The footage, captured by citizen reporters with GoPro cameras, show masked and shirtless men throwing handmade grenades and wreaking general havoc in a coordinated effort to force president Nicolas Maduro’s resignation that lasted from February to May this year.

43 people were killed during that time, the majority while trying to clear rubbish from or cross the barricades set up by demonstrators. Numerous public institutions including hospitals, universities, and transportation agencies were also burnt down in protest.

Reporte Confidencial became known for editing the GroPro material nightly, adding in a pumping dubstep track befitting a London club scene, and posting the finished videos to YouTube, where they received thousands of views from around the world.

It is this material MTV now seeks to own.

The reality show Rebel Music claims to be inspired by young people who “are raising their voices to demand change for a better future…. often putting their lives on the line,” according to the show’s website.

With this premise, many Venezuelans fear the show’s narrative will grant hero status to those hardcore protestors – whose tactics were so violent they effectively drove away a majority of opposition supporters, according to polls.

Furthermore, as the White House approves sanctions against Venezuelan government officials, others accuse the MTV program of dovetailing too neatly with US foreign policy. […]

The series, which first aired last month, will also feature voices of dissent in Myanmar, Iran, Senegal, Turkey and US Native American communities.

The US media has made no effort to hide its contempt of Venezuela’s socialist government since the Hugo Chavez’s election in 1999, while Chavez, in turn, repeatedly accused Washington of funding subversive movements to remove him from office.

Shepard Fairey and USAID

Venezuelan political analyst Luigino Bracci pointed out the paradoxical use of red stars and other archetypal communist symbols in an op-ed for Caracas newspaper Alba Ciudad last week, which he attributes to the show’s executive producer, Shepard Fairey.

Fairey is the pop art empresario behind the OBEY campaign and the red and blue stencil portrait of Barack Obama, which featured the word HOPE and was used universally throughout the US president’s initial campaign.

Though he calls himself apolitical, Fairey has been criticized for reproducing communist Cuban and Korean poster art with slight twists and selling them as his own. In a 2008 interview with the magazine Mother Jones, reporter Liam O’Donoghue also called the artist out on appropriating images from social movements, usually created by artists of color, and stripping them of their political messages.

In a promotional video, Rebel Music features Venezuelan reggae artist OneChot whose 2010 video for the English-language single “Rotten Town” generated controversy for its depiction of Caracas as an Inferno of crime and murder, replete with images of dead and dying children.

Though the reggae singer also claims to abstain from politics, his music is more popular with Venezuela’s privileged class, the same sector that widely supports the opposition.

“You are not free of violence anywhere. That is why I fight for change in Venezuela,” OneChot says to the MTV cameras.

While many Caracas artists would be eager for such international exposure, some mistrust the pre-determined script many reality shows are known to possess, believing it may spell out further US defamation of Venezuela’s socialist leaders.

After being approached by MTV correspondents to represent the pro-Chavez version of events, underground hip hop artist Arena La Rosa announced her refusal on her Facebook page.

“My dignity and my ideas are worth more than a million [page] views, so I have wisely decided not to participate,” the chavista rapper said.

On the same day La Rosa posted her response, the Associated Press released documents detailing the US government’s failed attempt at infiltrating the Cuban hip hop scene, by way of the developmental organization USAID.

According to the AP, Washington had sought to build a network of young people seeking “social change” to spark a resistance movement against the government of Cuban president Raul Castro.

Incidentally, Maduro has accused numerous opposition leaders of attempting the same kind of subterfuge during February’s unrest. A committee of victims and their families has even assembled to seek justice from those public figures who they believe encouraged such extreme tactics.

Meanwhile, Venezuela will have to wait for the MTV segment to be released to understand how their high-stakes reality will be adapted to meet the lofty demands of broadcast entertainment.

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Syria paying price for resistance against I$raHell

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Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani (L) and his Syrian counterpart Mohammad Jihad al-Laham attend a press conference in Damascus on December 21, 2014.

Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani (L) and his Syrian counterpart Mohammad Jihad al-Laham attend a press conference in Damascus on December 21, 2014.

Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani says Syria is paying the price for its resistance against the Israeli regime, vowing Tehran’s full support for a political solution to the ongoing crisis in the Arab country.

Addressing reporters in a joint press conference with Syria’s Parliament Speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Laham in Damascus on Sunday, Larijani said the Syrian government and nation should be supported in their resistance against the Israeli regime.

“Many countries whose officials are presently speaking about terrorism and Syria, have stood by the Zionist regime (Israel) in [its] wars against Lebanon and Palestine,” the Iranian Majlis speaker added.

He noted that terrorists have been fighting the Syrian government over the past four years under the pretext of establishing democracy in the country but they suddenly occupied parts of Iraq.

This indicates that the terrorists’ fight has nothing to do with democracy, he added.

The Iranian official further criticized the US and its Western and Arab allies for the way they are countering terrorism, adding that they would finally realize the kind of trouble they have put themselves in.

Larijani emphasized that the US pursues a “tactical” approach to the fight against terrorism, calling it a “strategic mistake.”

He further warned that the crisis in Syria and other woes in the region are only beneficial to the Israeli regime.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The ISIL terrorists, who control parts of Syria and Iraq, are engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.

The ISIL militants have terrorized and killed people of all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.

More than 200,000 people have been killed so far in the conflict in Syria, according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein.

The Syrian parliament speaker, for his part, said his country would give an appropriate response at a proper time to Israel’s attacks on Damascus which are carried out with the purpose of defending Takfiri terrorists.

Laham added that the Syrian nation would finally achieve victory against Tel Aviv.

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British ‘blackmailed’ the US into supporting 1953 Iran coup

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Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Former Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh steps off a plane in late August 1953.

The British government “blackmailed” the US administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower into supporting the overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, a political commentator in Washington says.

Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill blackmailed the Eisenhower administration by threatening to pull out British forces from the Korean peninsula during the Korean War unless the US, through the CIA, supported the overthrow of Mosaddegh, said Jeff Steinberg, a senior editor at the Executive Intelligence Review.

“So in a certain sense, the US was blackmailed into playing a role in what was fundamentally a British coup, it was on behalf of British Petroleum and their various, extensive oil holdings in Iran,” Steinberg told Press TV on Friday.

“The US unfortunately played a very nasty role in the Mosaddegh coup,” he said. “There is no legitimate excuse for withholding the release of the files on this shameful coup d’etat to overthrow Mossadegh … This was another dark moment in American history.”

The US State Department recently decided to delay the release of a volume of historical diplomatic documents that deals with the ouster of Mosaddegh.

Senior State Department officials decided at a September meeting to delay the release of the document out of concerns that it could adversely affect the current negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

“The refusal to release on the basis of the implications for the P5+1 talks to be a relatively shallow excuse,” Steinberg said.

The CIA has already acknowledged its role in toppling Mosaddegh, citing it a “CIA-assisted coup” on a timeline on its public website.

Earlier in a 2009 speech in Cairo, President Barack Obama said that “in the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”

Last year, other classified documents revealed more details about the involvement of the US and British intelligence agencies in the coup d’état.

The US and Britain had the same level of involvement in carrying out the coup. As much as $5 million were spent buying support from senior officials, military officers, newspaper editors and thugs to carry out the western-backed plot to overthrow the democratically elected Prime Minister Mosaddegh and replace him with General Fazlollah Zahedi, a choice agreed on by the British and Americans. Zahedi played a major role in the coup.

Mosaddeg’s overthrow led to the return of Iran’s former monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, whose regime turned increasingly oppressive until it was toppled by the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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Regime-Change Makeover: Blaming Syria for the Rise of ISIS

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By Finian CUNNINGHAM 

If a recent report in the British Guardian is to be believed, then the West is angling for a new pretext to step up its covert war of regime in Syria. The new pretext, it would seem, is that the Damascus government of Bashar al Assad was the main driving force in the creation of the so-called Islamic State (IS) terror network.

The report by Guardian Middle East correspondent Martin Chulov, published on December 11, is riven with contradictions and anomalies. It raises more questions than answers that the author seems strangely indisposed to delve into.

But the upshot is the apparent conclusion that the Syrian government of President Assad is to blame for the rise of IS, or ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). That the Syrian army has emerged as the main fighting force on the ground to defeat IS in the latter’s campaign to overthrow the Assad government is right away a troubling question mark over the credibility of the Guardianreport.

Nevertheless, if we follow the dubious logic of this narrative, then it would seem to be aimed at providing a «just cause» for Western hostility towards Assad and for the objective of regime change.

IS, an offshoot of the Al Qaeda network, is portrayed in the Western media as «the world’s most menacing terrorist group». It has gained notoriety for its videos purporting to show the execution of Western hostages. The US government has appointed itself as the leader of an international coalition to «wipe out» IS with air strikes on its bases in remote areas of Iraq and Syria.

The efficacy and legality of these US-led air strikes are questionable, and as already noted, it is the Syrian state forces carrying out ground operations that are actually inflicting the heaviest losses on the IS network – the latest being in the eastern city of Deir al Zour.

So, it is at odds, to say the least, that the Guardian should now be casting the Syrian authorities as the originating sponsors of the very network that they are locked in mortal combat with.

The report, headlined ‘ISIS: the inside story’, informs readers that around early 2009 the Syrian government gave the group crucial help in ramping up its insurgency in Iraq. That insurgency, according to the Guardian, then «spilled over» into Syria in 2011, as if by accident. And so we can condemn the «dastardly Syrians» for their own maladroit blowback.

The main source of the story, we are told, is «one of the Islamic State’s senior commanders» who goes by the nom de guerre of Abu Ahmed.

The Guardian correspondent writes: «Syria’s links to the Sunni insurgency in Iraq had been regularly raised by US officials in Baghdad and by the Iraqi government. Both were convinced that the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, allowed jihadists to fly into Damascus airport, where military officials would escort them to the border with Iraq».

That «assessment» is largely based on «interrogations» of captured jihadists. In other words, by torture techniques that even the US Senate Intelligence Committee report last week described as «unreliable».

According to the Guardian, the Syrian plot to destabilise Iraq with Sunni extremists was hatched during two top-secret meetings near Damascus during early 2009. The meetings were between Syrian military intelligence, senior members of the Baathist party of President Assad and the jihadists of Al Qaeda in Iraq – the latter being the precursor to the IS network.

The Syrian objective was allegedly to «unsettle the Americans and their plans for Iraq». This was nearly three years before the Americans ended their military occupation of the country at the end of 2011.

Apparently, the Iraqis knew of Syria’s alleged covert involvement and that led to a «poisoning of relations» between the then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and Assad.

However, this is where the story does not add up. Why would the Alawite-Shia-led government of Bashar al Assad get into bed with Sunni extremists to fuel a sectarian war against co-religionists in Iraq? Why would the Assad regime cause mayhem in a neighbouring Shia country and to provoke enmity with regional allies in Baghdad and Tehran? Not only that but to fan an insurgency by Sunni extremists who avowedly harbour a death wish against Alawites, Shia and other Sunnis who have for centuries formed a stable social order in Syria? Such a gambit by the Syrians would be suicidal. It is completely counter-intuitive.

These are just some of the questions that throw serious doubt on the narrative put forward by the Guardian, which seeks to pin the blame on Syria for the rise of IS – «the world’s most menacing terrorist group».

Tellingly in this «in-depth exposé» on the origins of IS in Iraq, there is not a single mention of the well-documented role that Western ally Saudi Arabia played, and continues to play, in fuelling the network and its Wahhabi fundamentalist ideology.

Moreover, the report appears to go into great detail about how IS and its Al Qaeda forerunner came into being at the giant US prison in southern Iraq known as Camp Bucca. The detention centre opened in 2004 and brought together some 24,000 suspected members of various Sunni militia. According to several sources, the inmates were permitted by the Americans to freely associate.

Even the Guardian’s IS source, Abu Ahmed, noted the lax prison conditions under US command. «We could never have all got together like this in Baghdad, or anywhere else. It would have been impossibly dangerous. Here, we were not only safe, but we were only a few hundred metres away from the entire al-Qaida [sic] leadership».

One of the inmates to be given special attention by the US jailers was Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who is now leader of IS and self-proclaimed caliph of the Middle East. Al Baghdadi was seen by the Americans as a «fixer» and a figure who could sort out fractious disputes and «resolve conflicts among the inmates». It is obvious that the «emir» was being groomed by the Americans as a future leader. Al Baghdadi, who several sources believe is a US intelligence asset, was released from Camp Bucca at the end of 2004, less than a year after being first imprisoned and despite the fact of his past terrorist activities.

Incredibly, the Guardian affects a doe-eyed naivety in this account and spins a narrative that the IS terror group was formed under «the noses of the American jailers». That is, without US knowledge or intent.

The newspaper’s IS «source» is quoted as saying: «When [the civil war in] Syria became serious it wasn’t difficult to transfer all that expertise to a different battle zone. The Iraqis are the most important people on the military and Shura councils in Isis now, and that is because of all of those years preparing for such an event. I underestimated Baghdadi. And America underestimated the role it played in making him what he is».

Contrary to the spin, the American handlers didn’t underestimate anything. Baghdadi and his future IS role went to plan.

Camp Bucca has been rightly referred to by several other observers as a «terror academy» from which IS graduated. Some 70 per cent of the IS current senior commanders are believed to have passed through Camp Bucca and other American detention centres before they were shut down at the end of the US occupation of Iraq. That the IS group was inculcated and mentored by American intelligence seems without question – except to Western media like the Guardian.

But that Western media whitewash of the real American origins of IS is now overlaid with a new veneer of misinformation that purports to lay the blame for the rise of IS terrorism on the Syrian government. A classic case of the terrorists and their terror-master blaming the victim.

Why the Americans are now leading a bombing campaign against their own creation is a good question. But the answer has got nothing to do with defeating terrorism, as the ineffectual bombing campaign so far would suggest. As the Western media narrative evolves, it seems rather more to do with extending the mission of IS – regime change in Syria.

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Palistine: Zio-Nazi longest occupation in modern history ” VIDEO”

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Zio-Nazi longest occupation

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Pope Benedict helped free Alan Gross from Cuba

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Times of Israel

Pope Francis rightly got credit for helping bring the US and Cuba together and free US government subcontractor Alan Gross. But it was Francis’ predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who made the first high-level Vatican maneuver to release Gross, spurred in part by an unlikely group of papal lobbyists.

The American Jewish Committee was one of several Jewish groups that approached the Vatican in the months before Benedict’s March 2012 visit to Cuba to ask that the German pontiff raise the issue of the Jewish captive on humanitarian grounds with Cuba’s leadership, The Associated Press has learned.

“I was told to rest assured that it would be and that it was raised,” the AJC’s Rabbi David Rosen told the AP on Thursday.

An official familiar with the Holy See’s diplomacy confirmed that Benedict did indeed discuss the Gross case with President Raul Castro, and possibly with Fidel Castro, during the March 27-28 meetings in Havana. The encounters came exactly two years before Francis and President Barack Obama discussed the Gross detention at the Vatican.

A few months later, Francis wrote letters to both Obama and Raul Castro, asking them to resolve the “humanitarian questions of common concern, including the situation of some prisoners,” and offering up the Vatican as a facilitator to seal the deal to restore relations, the Vatican said Wednesday.

The negotiations were concluded at the Vatican in October in the presence of Francis’ top diplomat, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who until 2013 was the Vatican’s ambassador to Cuba’s top ally, Venezuela.

Gross was released Wednesday and returned home to the US in a prisoner swap for three Cubans held as spies, part of the historic decision to restore diplomatic ties.

Gross says he was only working to set up Internet access for Cuba’s tiny Jewish community when he was arrested in 2009. But a Cuban court sentenced him to 15 years under a statute covering crimes against the state. Cuba considers programs like the US Agency for International Development project that Gross was contracted for to be attempts at undermining its sovereignty.

Rosen said as soon as Benedict’s Cuba trip was announced, the Jewish community mobilized to lobby the Vatican on Gross’ behalf, compelled by the sacred Jewish principle of doing everything possible to free captives, as well as a historical preoccupation with the detention and persecution of Jews for their faith.

Rosen said he spoke to and emailed officials in the Vatican secretariat of state and the Vatican’s ambassador to Israel to ask that the Vatican raise the issue on humanitarian grounds during Benedict’s trip.

“Nobody was asked to take up any principled argument as to whether what he had been accused of was justified or unjustified, whether he had been framed, but to raise it on compassionate grounds,” said Rosen, who as head of the AJC’s interreligious affairs department is one of the Holy See’s key partners in Jewish dialogue.

During Benedict’s Cuba trip, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, was asked if the Gross affair had been raised. Lombardi said at the time that “requests of a humanitarian character” were discussed, but that he had no information about individual cases.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the Holy See’s diplomacy publicly, said Benedict did indeed raise the case, saying the Vatican considered it a humanitarian intervention given Gross’ deteriorating health.

While in Cuban custody, Gross lost more than 100 pounds, developed problems with his hips and lost most of the vision in his right eye.

Travelling with Benedict on that trip was Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the No. 2 official in the secretariat of state and former Vatican ambassador to Cuba, who is believed to have had a prominent role in the final resolution of the initiative.

“It’s great that Francis gets credit for it, but many things were result of initiatives started by his predecessor,” Rosen said.

While Benedict may have gotten the ball rolling, Francis sealed the deal using in part his familiarity with the issue as history’s first Latin American pope.

“The pope has said it many times and I like to repeat it: When there are problems, you need to have dialogue. And the greater the problems, the greater the need to have dialogue,” Cardinal Parolin told Vatican Radio on Thursday.

For his part, Francis on Thursday praised the “little steps” of diplomacy that can bring about peace.

“And today we’re all happy because we saw how two peoples, who had been apart for so many years, took a step closer yesterday,” Francis told a group of new ambassadors in his first public comments about the deal.

Posted in USA, South AmericaComments Off on Pope Benedict helped free Alan Gross from Cuba

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