Archive | December 26th, 2014

Did World’s Largest Group of Psychologists Enable U.S. Torture Abuse? ”VIDEO”


A US flag at Guantanamo Bay.

CIA’s torture program
As a psychologist identified as the “architect” of the CIA’s torture program admits he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, DN! looks at allegations that the American Psychological Association — the largest association of psychologists in the world — secretly colluded with U.S. abuses. Speaking to Vice News, retired Air Force psychologist James Mitchell confirmed for the first time he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mitchell was hired to help create the interrogation program along with his partner, Dr. Bruce Jessen. The Senate report says Mitchell and Jessen were paid $81 million to help design the CIA’s torture methods, including some of the most abusive tactics.The Senate’s findings come as the American Psychological Association has launched a review to determine whether its leadership also played a role in CIA torture. The APA’s probe was prompted by revelations from Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times investigative reporter James Risen. In his new book, “Pay Any Price,” Risen reveals how after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, the APA formed a task force that enabled the continued role of psychologists in the torture program.

There has been a deep division within the APA’s policy on interrogations for years. Unlike the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, the APA never prohibited its members from being involved in interrogations.

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on Did World’s Largest Group of Psychologists Enable U.S. Torture Abuse? ”VIDEO”

Jewish comedians banned for supporting racism


Gilad Atzmon writes:

A bitter row has broken out in the Jewish stand-up ghetto after Ivor Dembina, the owner of a leading comedy club, refused to book anyone who plays benefit gigs for a Jewish racist pro-Israeli organisation.

Ivor Dembina banned comedians playing for the racist Jewish National Fund

Dembina, a veteran Jewish comedian who runs the Hampstead Comedy Club, said anyone taking part in benefit gigs for JNF UK – the British arm of the Jewish National Fund, set up to fund Jewish people buying land in Palestinian territories – would be barred from performing at his venue.

This has led to a row with leading Jewish comedians, including Mark Maier and Steve Jameson, both of whom have a history of performing at the North London club. They criticised Dembina’s handling of the situation, and accused him of “inconsistency” for accepting money from pro-Israeli audience members while banning pro-Israeli acts.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Jewish comedians banned for supporting racism

North Korea Refuses To Take Part In UN Security Council Meeting


Human Rights Situation


The U.N. Security Council took up the issue of North Korea’s bleak human rights situation for the first time Monday, a groundbreaking step toward possibly holding the nuclear-armed but desperately poor country and leader Kim Jong Un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity. North Korea quickly denounced the move.

The meeting appeared to be the first time that any country’s human rights situation has been scheduled for ongoing debate by the U.N.’s most powerful body, meaning that the issue now can be brought up at any time. It also came amid U.S. accusations that North Korea was behind a devastating hacking attack.

“Today, we have broken the council’s silence. We have begun to shine a light, and what it has revealed is terrifying,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

Internationl pressure has built this year on Pyongyang after a U.N.-backed inquiry found grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed under policies “established at the highest level of the State for decades.” In a letter to Kim, the commission also warned that he could be held accountable.

China and Russia, which hold veto power as permanent council members, protested the boldest effort yet to confront Pyongyang over an issue it has long disdained.

The council “should refrain from doing anything that might cause the escalation of tensions,” said China’s ambassador, Liu Jieyi.

An angry North Korea refused to recognize the meeting. “We totally reject the attempt” to bring the human rights issue to the council, North Korean diplomat Kim Song told The Associated Press shortly after the meeting began. He rejected the idea of dialogue or a visit to North Korea by a U.N. human rights investigator, and he insisted that the council should look into Washington’s recently released CIA torture report.

North Korea also has called the dozens of people who fled the North and aided the commission of inquiry “human scum.”

Diplomats touched on the inquiry’s more horrific details: Starving prisoners picking through cow dung for kernels of corn to eat. Rape. Forced abortions. Mass starvation. “I would not run through the macabre lists of atrocities,” Luxembourg Ambassador Sylvie Lucas said. “This would make us all nauseated.”

The U.N.-backed inquiry and the U.N. General Assembly have urged the 15-member council to refer North Korea’s human rights situation to the International Criminal Court. Permanent council members the U.S., France and the U.K. said it should be considered, but the council did not take action Monday.

The council has had North Korea’s nuclear program on its agenda for years, but Monday’s meeting opens the door to wider discussion of abuses alleged in the inquiry, including a harsh political prison camp system of up to 120,000 inmates. Pyongyang rejects the inquiry’s findings but never allowed it into the country. China did not allow a visit to its border area with North Korea, to which thousands have fled.

North Korea sent a sharp warning last month, threatening further nuclear tests after the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee voted to move the issue to the Security Council, which can take binding actions on matters of international peace and security.

Victor Cha, who served as director of Asia policy when George W. Bush was president, warned that North Korea likely sees both the council’s action and a now-shelved Hollywood film that depicts Kim’s assassination as hostile actions by the West.

“We could see escalation on the cyber front, but I wouldn’t rule out a nuclear test,” Cha said. “It feels like we are headed for some sort of crescendo.”

Two-thirds of the Security Council this month formally requested that North Korea’s human rights situation be placed on the agenda for ongoing debate, saying rights violations “threaten to have a destabilizing impact” on the region.

“Rarely has such an extensive charge-sheet of international crimes been brought to this council’s attention,” U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic said Monday. He said North Korea has shown “promising signs of engagement” since the inquiry came out early this year, but he stressed that real change in its human rights situation “will require not only reform; it demands justice.”

China could block any eventual action against its traditional but troublesome ally. But the mere threat of any damage to Kim Jong Un’s image has outraged the North Korean government.

Such fury is thought to be behind a recent hacking attack on Sony, which last week canceled the scheduled release of “The Interview.” That set off alarm among some diplomats who warned of setting a precedent for backing down in the face of future threats. North Korea denied the hacking but has suggested it was a “righteous deed” carried out by sympathizers.

Power on Monday described as “absurd” North Korea’s threat of serious consequences if the U.S. doesn’t conduct a joint investigation into the hacking.

North Korea experienced sweeping and progressively worse Internet outages extending into Monday, with one computer expert saying the country’s online access was “totally down.” The White House and the State Department declined to say whether the U.S. government was responsible.


Posted in North KoreaComments Off on North Korea Refuses To Take Part In UN Security Council Meeting

Russia Offers Support To North Korea Amid Sony Hack


MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Thursday offered sympathy to North Korea amid the Sony hacking scandal, saying the movie that sparked the dispute was so scandalous that Pyongyang’s anger was “quite understandable.”

Washington failed to offer any proof to back its claims of Pyongyang’s involvement in the hacking, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said at a briefing, adding that the U.S. threats of retaliation were “counterproductive.”

The U.S. has blamed Pyongyang for the recent cyberattack on Sony Pictures, which produced “The Interview,” a comedy depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang has denied a role in the hacking, but also praised it as a “righteous deed.”

Sony initially decided not to release the film because of threats against U.S. cinemas, but released the movie online Wednesday.

Russia’s ties with the communist North soured after the 1991 Soviet collapse, but have improved under President Vladimir Putin’s watch. Moscow has taken part in international efforts to help mediate the standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, although its diplomatic efforts have had little visible effect.

Last week, the Kremlin said that it had invited Kim to Moscow in May to attend festivities marking the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.

Commenting on the Sony hack scandal, Lukashevich said that “the concept of the movie is so aggressive and scandalous, that the reaction of the North Korean side, and not just it, is quite understandable.”

He went on to say that Pyongyang had offered to conduct a joint investigation into the incident, adding that the proposal could help ease tensions and reflected a “sincere desire of the North Korean side to study the issue in detail.”

“We perceive the U.S. threats to take revenge and calls on other nations to condemn the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as absolutely counterproductive and dangerous, as they only would add tensions to the already difficult situation on the Korean Peninsula and could lead to further escalation of conflict,” Lukashevich said.

Posted in North Korea, RussiaComments Off on Russia Offers Support To North Korea Amid Sony Hack

Remembering 2014 (Badly)


by Dr: Richard Falk

Considering the year that is about to end is a time to pause long enough to take stock of what went wrong. In the United States not much went right aside from Barack Obama’s surprising initiative to normalize relations with Cuba after more than 60 years of hostile and punitive interaction. Although the sleazy logic of domestic politics kept this remnant of the worst features of Cold War diplomacy in being for a couple of extra decades, it is still worth celebrating Obama’s move, which when compared to the rest of his record, seems bold and courageous. As well, Obama exhibited a strong commitment to doing more than previously on climate change, using his executive authority to circumvent Congressional unwillingness to act responsibly. Obama’s immigration reform proposals also seem on balance to be positive, although whether they will be implemented remains an open question.  


Drifting Toward Cold War II: Remembering World War I

There are several signs of a worsening global setting that seemed to gain an ominous momentum during 2014. Perhaps, worst of all, is a steady drumbeat of anti-Russian rhetoric backed up by Western sanctions, that seems almost designed to produce Cold War II. No less a figure than Mikhail Gorbachev, speaking at the Brandenburg Gate an event observing the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, warned of a renewed Cold War, and wonder aloud as to whether it had already started. There is little reason to praise Vladimir Putin, but there is far less reason to transform the tensions generated by the confusing and contradictory happenings in the Ukraine into a renewal of high profile geopolitical rivalry, replete with crises and confrontations that pose world-shattering threats that could be actualized by accident, miscalculations, or the over-reactions of extremists bureaucrats and leaders.

In this year when the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I is being observed in many countries it is helpful to remember that this ‘Great War’ was started rather frivolously and proclaimed to be “the war to end all wars.” Instead, it is better remembered as the war that helped produced political extremism in Europe, unleashed forces that led to an even more devastating Second World War, and created the conditions that brought the nuclear age to the world. Perversely, as well, the origins of the contemporary turmoil in the Middle East today can be traced back to the world war one diplomacy that produced both the Sykes-Picot Agreement carving up the region by establishing artificial states to satisfy the greedy appetites of British and French colonial ambitions and the Balfour Declaration that committed the British Foreign Office and the League of Nations to the Zionist Project of establishing a Jewish homeland in the heart of historic Palestine without ever bothering to consult the indigenous population. Although some of the mistakes associated with the punitive aspects of the peace imposed on Germany by the Versailles Peace Treaty were corrected after World War II, these colonialist moves converted the collapse of the Ottoman Empire into an ongoing regional catastrophe that shows no signs of abating in the near future. We cannot rewind the reel of Middle Eastern history to learn if things would have turned out better if things had been handled more in accord with Woodrow Wilson’s premature advocacy of a self-determination ethos as the foundation of legitimate political communities deserving of membership in international society as sovereign states. These developments of a century ago are to an extent lost in the mists of time, but we should at least be alert about the roots of the present ordeal of chaos, strife, and oppression.


Torture Revelations

On December 9th after months of delay and controversy, the 500 page Executive summary of the 6,000 page Senate Intelligence Committee Report on CIA Torture was released. It contained some grizzly additional information and interpretations to what had been known previously, adding such practices as ‘rectal re-hydration’ to the repertoire of state terrorists, and indicating that there were at least 26 individuals tortured by the CIA who were improperly treated as suspects.

Perhaps, the most disturbing feature of this phase of the controversy about the treatment of terrorist suspects is the absence of remorse on the part of those associated with the policies relied upon during the Bush presidency in the period of hysteria following the 9/11 attack. Dick Cheney was particularly out front about his readiness to do it all over again, and refused even to lament the abuse of those detained by mistake.

The former Deputy Director of the CIA, Mike Morrell, has attempted to insulate the CIA from blame by suggesting the reasonableness of CIA’s reliance on the ‘torture memos’ prepared by John Yoo and Jay Bybee that encouraged the CIA to think that their forms of coercive interrogation were ‘legal,’ and argued the reasonableness of the post-9/11 inclination to take exceptional measures to gain information given the fears that abounded at the time within the U.S. Government of further attacks, including according to him, of a credible threat of al-Qaida’s access to a nuclear weapon within national borders. George W. Bush, never one bothered by nuance, assures us that the CIA torturers were ‘patriots’ who were engaged in doing the good work of protecting the security of the country. Bush seems to be saying that patriotism wipes clean the slate of individual criminal accountability.

Morrell, and his colleagues, conveniently ignore the fact that the Nuremberg Judgment concluded that even ‘superior orders’ are no defense for someone charged with violating fundamental rules of international humanitarian law. If we stop for the briefest of moments, and consider how we would view the interrogation practices of the CIA if roles were reversed, and white American males were seen as the victims rather than dark Muslim men from the Middle East, it would seem clear beyond a reasonable doubt, that the label ‘torture’ would fit, and the description ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ (further euphemized as EITs) is a malicious evasion of reality.

Even liberal centers of opinion, including the ever cautious New York Times, have reacted to the Senate Report with calls for criminal investigations leading to probable indictments of those responsible for implementing torture, with the ladder of responsibility leading up at least as high as Cheney as Vice President, and conceivably to George W. Bush. [See editorial, “Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses,” Dec. 22, 2014] The even more cautious American president, Barack Obama, has disconcertedly combined his repudiation of EIT culture and practices with a steadfast refusal to besmirch the reputation of the CIA or to look backward in time. Obama’s strange view, which is entirely destructive of any notion of governmental accountability ever, is that with respect to torture allegations the effort should be to prevent such behavior in the future, but not to investigate or impose any accountability for what was done in the past. I am led to wonder why he does not apply a similar logic to the leaks associated with such well-intentioned whistleblowers as Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and above all, Edward Snowden! Perhaps somewhere in the dark recesses of Obama’s mind he distinguishes between crimes of government (deserving impunity) and crimes against government(deserving severe punishment).

It is not that Obama is necessarily wrong in his disposition to overlook the past when it comes to torture revelations, although he supplied the citizenry with no appropriate justification for this de facto conferral of impunity. It is not at all certain that the United States political system could manage such self-scrutiny without experiencing such a deep polarization as to put domestic and world peace at risk. It is evident that the country is split down the middle, and the risks of strife and a surge of support for the extreme right in the event of arrests and prosecutions are far from being paranoid excuses of the timid. We need to face the reality, with all of its shortcomings in relation to law and justice, that we live in a world of pervasive double standards when it

comes to the official treatment of criminal accountability for international state crime, whether perpetrated within the American domestic legal structure or at black sites around the world. It is plausible to hold defeated dictators like Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and Qaddafi, accountable, but quite another matter to indict Bush, Cheney, and Tony Blair, although both groupings have been responsible for heinous crimes.

Part of the liberal concept of legality is to overlook what it is not feasible to do and focus on what can be done. From this perspective it was good to prosecute surviving German and Japanese leaders at Nuremberg and Tokyo because those charged were associated with vicious behavior and it was important to discourage and deter in the future. The fact that the indiscriminate bombing of German and Japanese cities by the victorious democracies, and the unleashing of atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, would also by any criminal court be deemed as crimes is true but irrelevant. It is better not to go there, and leave it to dissident anti-imperialist scholars to whine about ‘victors’ justice’ and ‘double standards.’ “We liberals do what we can to make the world better, and to fight against the nihilistic nationalism of the extreme right.” Such is the liberal credo.

What liberalism ignores is the relevance of structure and the organic connectedness of equality with the rendering of justice. If we are unwilling to prosecute the most dangerous perpetrators of state crime, is it not hypocritical to go after only those whose behavior appalls or angers the reigning hegemon? Does it not make the rule of law susceptible to dismissal as a cynical exercise in the demonization of ‘the other,’ whether belonging to an adversary religion, ethnicity, a marginalized class, or defeated nation? The experience of the International Criminal Court during its first thirteen years of operation is illustrative of this two-tier discriminatory approach to individual accountability. This parallels the more overtly discriminatory approach to nuclear weaponry adopted via the profound shift away from the initial concern about apocalyptic dangers posed by the weaponry to anxiety about its spread to certain unwanted others.

Although these questions about criminal accountability are rhetorical, the prudential issue posed is genuinely challenging. I am not convinced that it would on balance be constructive in the present national atmosphere to attempt the punishment of political leaders in the United States who in the past authorized the practice of torture. The potential costs and risks seem too high compared to the benefits. The related question is whether or not to create some kind of equivalence at lower levels of expectations. If ‘well-intentioned’ torturers are given a free pass why not do the same for ‘idealistic and responsible whistleblowers’? It would seem almost beyond debate that the whistleblowers should not be prosecuted if the torturers are beneficiaries of such a pragmatic form of impunity. I would make the case that Assange, Manning, and Snowden deserve an honorific form of pardon, namely, the application of a doctrine of ‘principled impunity” as distinct from the notion of ‘pragmatic impunity.’ Here I think the social system in the United States would benefit despite producing some severe political strains that would almost certainly follow. I would argue that the highest pragmatic virtue of prudence would mandate taking such steps, namely, protecting one of the few safety valves available to citizens living in a modern national security state, which when added to the principled recognition of selfless and virtuous citizenship makes an overwhelming case for decriminalization. If we cannot haveaccountability for certain categories of abhorrent state crime, at least we should encourage transparency, making whistleblowing integral to the preservation of political democracy.

It would be a mistake not to connect the torture revelations to related issues of police brutality associated with the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and of Garner in Staten Island New York. Beyond this, the militarization of American political culture has been reaffirmed at the level of the citizenry by polls confirming the highest level of support for gun rights in the history of the country.


Multiple Atrocities

More than in previous years, 2014 seemed to be a time of multiple atrocities, events that went beyond the ordeals of warfare and massive poverty, to shock the conscience by their violent aggression against the purest forms of innocence—deliberate brutality directed at young children, exhibiting depraved political imaginaries. By calling attention I have no intention of downplaying the widespread suffering associated with such continuing struggles at those taking place in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Kashmir, and many other places on our tormented planet.

ISIS or Daesh: This extremist movement, claiming an Islamic identity, emerged suddenly in the early part of the year as an occupying force in Iraq and Syria, proclaiming a new caliphate under its authority, and representing a sociopathic response to the failed American occupation of Iraq. Initially welcomed by many Sunni Iraqis living in the northeastern parts of the country as liberation from Shiite abusive domination that resulted from American policies of debathification following the 2003 regime change in Baghdad, ISIS outraged the world by its televised beheadings of Western journalists, by its uprooting and slaughter of males belonging to the mainly Kurdish-speaking minority Yezidi community, and its alleged practice of turning Yezidi girls and women into sex slaves. Yezidis are considered an old religious sect that adheres to a pre-Muslim syncretist beliefs drawn from Zoroastrianism and ancient Mesopotamian religions, and drawing on other later religions as well. It would seem that the American-led response to ISIS is proceeding by way of yet another military intervention mainly in the form of air strikes. Although the political impact are yet to be clear, this does not a constructive path to restore peace and order.

Boko Harem: Another manifestation of sociopathetic extremist politics gained world attention in April by the kidnapping in Nigeria of some 200 schoolgirls who were later abused in various ways, including being sold into slavery. Boko Harem has controlled parts of northern Nigeria since 2009, and has continued to engaged in behavior that constitutes crimes against humanity, and a total disregard of the innocence of Nigerian children, repeatedly engaging in kidnappings and wholesale destruction of villages. As recently as December 18th, Boko Harem forces kidnapped at least 185 young men, women, and children from a village in northern Nigeria. Its political goals, to the extent evident, are to protect Muslims in the country and establish a strict version of sharia law for areas under their control.

Pakistani Taliban: The mid-December attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School by the Pakistani Taliban produced the massacre of an estimated 134 children and 14 others. The writer, Pervez Hoodbhoy, says that the Taliban, in ways that he believes parallel the ambitions of the Afghani Taliban, Boko Haram, and ISIS, are “fighting for a dream-to destroy Pakistan as a Muslim state and recreate it as an Islamic state.” The implication is a radical transformation from some kind of religious normalcy into a fearsome embodiment religious fanaticism.

Israel’s Military Operation ‘Protective Edge’ Against Gaza: For the third time in less than six years Israel launched a vicious attack against Gaza that continued for 51 days, with the resulting humanitarian crisis caused accentuated by imposing a punitive ceasefire that has hampered recovery. The entire viability of Gaza is at severe risk. The attacks, known by the IDF code name of Operation Protective Edge, produced heavy civilian casualties (over 2,100 Palestinians killed including 519 childen, about 11,000 wounded, and as many as 520, 000 displaced, many homeless; on the Israeli side 70 were killed, 65 of whom were IDF, and one child) including among children, and traumatized the entire population locked into Gaza, with no exit available even for women, children, and disabled seeking sanctuary from the attack.

Identified above are just a few highlights from this year’s catalogue of atrocities. It is also evident that there exists a pattern of numbed response around the world that amounts to a collective condition of ‘atrocity fatigue.’ Beyond this these incidents and developments illustrate the inability of many governments in Africa and the Middle East to exert effective sovereign control over their own territory, as well as the inability of the United Nations to protect peoples faced with threats underscoring their acute vulnerability. Account must also be taken of geopolitical priorities that accords attention to ISIS and Pakistan’s Taliban but much less to Boko Haram and none at all to Israel’s IDF. If there is any hope for effective responses it is a result of national and transnational activations of civil society that do their best to fill these normative black holes.

Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons

Without dwelling on these familiar issues threatening the future of the entire human species, it is worth noticing that little of a constructive nature took place during the year. A notable exception, which may make a difference, was the U.S./China agreement in November to regulate emissions and to cooperate in an effort to prevent the global buildup of greenhouse gasses. These two dominant states are responsible for almost 50% of this buildup, and suggest that geopolitical cooperation may produce more positive results than the dilatory movements of unwieldy UN mechanisms that involve the more than 190 states that make up its membership. On its surface the agreement was not impressive with the U.S. agreeing to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025 and China agreeing to peak its emissions in 2030, and by meet its energy needs by relying for 20% on zero emissions sources, but the very fact of such an agreement was looked upon as ‘a game changer’ by some. I would be more skeptical, especially of the American side of the commitment, given the possibility that a Republican could become president in 2016, and might well ignore such an agreed target, especially if it is perceived as slowing economic growth. The UN Conference in Peru a month later ended up doing little more than issuing the Lima Call for Climate Action was one more disappointment. The bickering among states pursuing their distinct national interests was manifest and a resulting race to the bottom. It does not generate any confidence that the hope for a 2015 breakthrough in Paris will actually address climate change in a manner that heeds the warnings of climate scientists. Relying on voluntary guidelines so as to circumvent domestic debate, especially in the United States, is not an encourage feature of what is expected.

As for nuclear weapons, the less said the better. Obama’s Prague visionary statement in 2009 has been swept aside by the nuclear weapons establishment, not only in the United States, but in all the nuclear weapons states. And even the possibility of bringing a measure of stability to the Middle East by eliminating nuclear weapons from the region has been taboo because of Israeli sensitivities. Instead the United States is embarked upon an expensive program on its own to upgrade its arsenal of nuclear weaponry. There is no serious initiative evident within international society to move toward the one solution that has long been obvious and yet unattainable—phased and verified nuclear disarmament as a prelude to a wider demilitarization of the global security system.

What is at stake, above all, is whether the species as a species can manifest a collective will to survive in strong enough forms to meet these mounting unprecedented challenges of global scope. The species will to survive has never been seriously challenged previously, with all past survival collapses being of civilizational or sub-species scope. Humanity has been facing something new since the advent of nuclear weaponry, but has responded manageriallyrather than either with moral clarity or prudential wisdom.



Despite all, we can look to 2015 with some measure of hope, almost exclusively because there seems to be a slow awakening of civil society, at least in the domains of the BDS Campaign relating to Palestinian rights and in the form of the separate emergence of a transnational movement that takes global warming as seriously as the realities suggest. As for the future, we see, if at all, through a glass darkly, and thus have no excuse for refraining from a dedication to the struggle for global justice in its many shapes and forms. A posture of cynical hopelessness or despair worsens prospects for positive future developments, however empirically based such a negative assessment seems. All of us should recall that those who struggle for what seems ‘impossible’ today often turn out to be the heroes of tomorrow.

Posted in USA, WorldComments Off on Remembering 2014 (Badly)

Foreign jihadis change face of Syrian civil war

Fighters from overseas are an increasingly dominant – and sometimes resented – force in the fight against Bashar al-Assad.
 in Istanbul, Reyhanli and Kilis
The Guardian
Refugees from Kobani watch the Syrian town during fighting between Isis and peshmerga forces.
Refugees from Kobani watch the Syrian town during fighting between Isis and peshmerga forces. Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

Muhammad no longer recognises his country. The 35-year-old former teacher from Idlib province says Syria has been so overrun by foreign fighters that they are the ones calling the shots.

“There are so many foreigners now – I have met guys from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Libya. It makes me feel like it is not my country any more. Once, I was walking around my home town when a man drove up to ask me for my papers. He was Tunisian. What’s his business ordering me around in my own country, in my town?”

Muhammad’s resentment is shared by many Syrians who have been forced out of their country while foreigners flood in to wage jihad – and also to fight in the ranks of Bashar al-Assad’s regime or in the myriad other militias.

Faisal, 27, also from Idlib, has been working in a Syrian restaurant in Reyhanli, southern Turkey, for more than two years, while watching foreign jihadis travel unhindered through the border town into Syria. “There were so many of them here, all going to my country. These people have ruined us, they have destroyed Syria.”

He accuses foreign powers of supporting without question anyone fighting against Assad. “So many foreign players have their hands in Syria; they are responsible for this. I pray every day that there will be a time when the same troubles will befall them.”

A UN security council report obtained by the Guardian says at least 15,000 people from more than 80 countries have travelled to Iraq and Syria in recent years to become jihadi fighters. Armed opposition groups initially welcomed foreign fighters to Syria, but their growing influence, religious fervour and violence have alienated ordinary Syrians, many of whom feel the jihadis are part of an attempt to further destabilise the country from outside.

It is no secret that Sunni states in the region have long supported and funded armed opposition groups in Syria and Iraq, though the US vice-president, Joe Biden, speaking at Harvard in October, caused a stir between the US administration and its allies when he accused Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – previously lauded in the fight against terrorism by Barack Obama – of pushing for “a proxy Sunni-Shia war” in Syria by providing financial, military and logistical support for “the extremist elements”.

The foreigners fighting in Syria had little trouble entering the country through the 550-mile border with Turkey via what Turkish pundits called the “jihadi highway”. Working not unlike regular tour operators, traffickers ran routine – and lucrative – transfers from Turkish airports close to the Syrian border while the authorities and border guards turned a blind eye.

“For the first two years of the conflict in Syria there was virtually no border,” says Ahmet, a smuggler and lifelong resident of a border village in Hatay province. “We pretty much came and went as we pleased. The Turkish government didn’t seem to mind.”

At the height of jihadi traffic in 2012, he sometimes ran three tours a day from the airport and the bus station in Hatay to Syria. An ethnic Arab, Ahmet says most of the men he smuggled into Syria did not speak Arabic, and many appeared to be religiously conservative: “I brought in a lot of very religious guys, and I really liked that. They reminded me of my own shortfalls as a Muslim.”

Militants walking on wooded hillside en route to the Syria-Turkey border in the Hatay province of Turkey.
Militants en route to the Syria-Turkey border in the Hatay province of Turkey.Photograph: Jonathan Lewis

Under mounting US pressure, Turkey has increased border security, cracking down on smuggling and tightening rules for Syrian refugees trying to enter the country. Ahmet confirms that known smuggling routes have become harder to access. “I stopped smuggling foreign fighters into Syria because it had started to deteriorate. I didn’t know who these people were, whom I was taking into Syria and what they were here for,” he said. “It became shadier, I wasn’t sure any more of the people coming in.”

The unease is global. This year, the UN security council passed a number of resolutions urging member states to step up screening measures and border patrols aimed at stemming the flow of foreign fighters to Iraqi and Syrian battlefields. Muhammad, the teacher from Idlib, scoffs at such international efforts. “Without foreign support, these groups would never have grown this powerful in Syria,” he says. He now lives in Reyhanli with his wife and two children while regularly returning to Syria to visit his parents who refuse to leave home. He says he often comes across foreigners, some of whom are unable to communicate in Arabic.

Despite this, he thinks the global focus on foreign jihadis fighting for Islamic State (Isis) and al-Qaida-affiliated groups such as al-Nusra Front is one-sided: “There are many foreigners in Syria fighting for the other side. There are Iranians, Russians and Lebanese who fight for Assad. What about them? The other foreigners come to help us, because their governments don’t.”

Abu Nour, 35, a primary school teacher and former fighter for the jihadi Ahrar al-Sham from Aleppo, says all foreign combatants were initially welcomed by the armed opposition, but no longer: “They provided decisive support in many battles. We were desperate for anyone to help us, but nobody – not the UN, not Nato, not even other Arab states – stepped up to do so. So the foreigners came. Some of them are good, they want to fight Assad and help us, but many have turned bad. They come for the money, for women. They destroyed the revolution.”

Abu Obaydah, 28, a Syrian fighter for al-Nusra Front in Aleppo, says most foreigners fighting for al-Nusra left for Isis when the two groups fell out last year. “Most foreigners don’t understand the reality on the ground in Syria,” he says. “They hear about it in the mass media and on the internet. So it is easy for groups like Isis to teach them whatever they want and to brainwash them.”

While jihadi groups such as al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham boast professional social media presences and have made names for themselves, neither can drum up as much attention as Isis. “The international media have done their bit to make Isis this famous,” Abu Obaydah says. “That makes it part of the attraction for foreigners who want to come to this so-called Islamic State (Isis), but who have little knowledge of the real Syria.”

Most foreigners are suspected of joining the ranks of Isis, now the principal jihadi group in Syria and Iraq, whereas the Free Syrian Army (FSA), an umbrella term for a network of armed opposition groups deemed moderate by the US-led military coalition, draws on only Syrian fighters. The People’s Defence Corps (YPG), the Syrian-Kurdish force that has been defending the town of Kobani against an Isis attack since mid-September, is the only non-jihadi group known to have attracted foreigners.

Free Syrian Army in combat
The Free Syrian Army – a network of armed opposition groups deemed moderate by the US-led coalition, prefers not to use foreign fighters. Photograph: Hamid Khatib/Reuters

Samir, 28, from Lattakia province, is affiliated to an FSA battalion fighting close to the Turkish border. He cites the lack of a strong ideology and reward prospects as reasons why his group remains all-Syrian. “These fighters often come because of what they believe in, because they come for jihad, not for the revolution itself. The FSA has little to offer there, it is just not as attractive.”

Abu Ayman al-Ansari, 30, formerly a surgery assistant from Hama and now a chief medical officer for the Chechen-led jihadi Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (Army of Emigrants and Supporters, JMA), agrees: “The FSA fights for democracy, but jihadi groups want Islamic law and unity among Muslims. This is a goal many foreigners support.”

Like other jihadis, he rejects nationalism and so is less troubled by foreigners fighting alongside Syrians. “We were immediately impressed by the Chechen commanders,” he recalls. “They and their sons were always fighting on the frontlines. That made us trust and believe them.”

Abu Ayman says that many of his fellow fighters placed similar trust in the Chechens’ religious convictions: “Our faith was skewered by government influence, but their way of religion is right, it’s unspoiled, because they learned it without outside interference, it’s purer. They support Muslims everywhere.”

Many of the JMA fighters, a group formerly headed by Omar al-Shishani, now a senior leader of Isis, come from Caucasian and central Asian countries, he explains, though one JMA battalion unites jihadis from western countries – the US, UK, Germany and others – who fight together “for language reasons”.

Abu Ayman says jihadis do not wish to quit the war and return to their countries. “They come because they have a very strong religious conviction. Many foreigners I know volunteer for suicide missions against Assad forces.”

But the international focus on foreign jihadis has made their recruiters wary. Abu Obaydah underlines that any foreigner aspiring to fight with his group needs a recommendation from another foreign al-Nusra Front member, adding that some jihadi outfits have set up monitoring groups that perform background checks on fighters coming from abroad.

“We have caught several spies posing as fighters,” he said. The JMA sends foreigners to fight on the frontlines, without exception. “Those that who refuse are immediately suspect.”

Only those who have gained the trust of the leadership are sent abroad for recruitment and to raise financial and logistical support.

“But those travelling out of Syria don’t wear those beards,” the medical officer says, smiling. “They wear earrings and often look quite fashionable.”

“Foreigners who enter Syria are often watched and followed by anti-terrorism groups and secret intelligence,” says Abu Ayman, who liaises between the opposition factions in Syria to organise ambulances and medical care. “This is one reason why we try never to send wounded foreign fighters to Turkey – most of them are being treated in Syria.”

Isis militants in balaclavas with guns in the air
Most foreigners are suspected of joining Isis militants, above, who now form the principal jihadi group in Syria. Photograph: Medyan Dairieh/Zuma Press/Corbis

Scores of Syrian fighters have been treated in Turkish hospitals since the start of the war, and private clinics and rehabilitation centres have been set up in many Turkish border cities. But Abu Ayman increasingly prefers to tell border guards that the wounded he brings across the border are with the FSA. “Everyone has become more nervous,” he says. “Even the Turks.”

FSA fighter Samir is angry that foreign fighters in Syria put themselves in charge and try to impose their religious views on the locals. In his experience, Tunisians, Saudis and Iraqis are among the most ruthless.

“These people don’t know Syria, and don’t understand it,” he says. “Why should our women suddenly be dressed all in black?”

A heavy smoker, he is not happy with the new regulations enforced by fighters of al-Nusra Front in his town either. “We will welcome anyone who wants to fight against Daesh [Isis] with us. But our religion does not allow killing indiscriminately and it doesn’t ban smoking. We would like people to come and help us in our fight, but they need to come to the right place.”

Sami Laani, an opposition journalist from the eastern province of Deir ez-Zor, describes an all-female police force formed by Isis in his city. “They watch the women, how they dress and behave. None of them are Syrian, but they think they know better than us.”

In his eyes, the foreigners fighting in Syria are an occupation force, but he blames fellow Syrians for allowing them in: “All these foreigners would never be able to come and do what they do without the help of Syrians, who know the country,” he says bitterly. “I hate those Syrians even more than I hate those foreign fighters. Why do they help them to destroy Syria?”

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Foreign jihadis change face of Syrian civil war



مقتل خمسة إرهابيين بحوزتهم أحزمة ناسفة على أوتستراد الفيحاء بدمشق


Al-Fayhaa`* Highway:  A hastily placed checkpoint on this important thoroughfare by Air Force Intelligence and SAA was the focus of a strange encounter with nihilists last night in Damascus.  Intel had revealed that a Nusra/Al-Qaeda suicide operations group was planning a “spectacular” suicide operation which would horrify the population of the capital and cast a pall of doubt on Dr. Assad’s claims to be winning the war against terrorism.

The 5 nihilistic rodents selected for the operation by Jordanian General Intelligence and MI6 vermin were properly instructed by quasi-Islamic quacks at the Al-Zarqaa base regarding all the protocol of entering Paradise and cavorting with the 72 Virginians specially reserved for them by a god who could only be Mephistopheles himself.

Embedded image permalink

This is a scene from Al-Fayhaa Highway in 2013

Once the knuckleheaded degenerates became convinced that nobody in his right mind could possibly utter such nonsense unless it were true, they embarked on the operation in full confidence that killing innocent Damascenes was something applauded by their favorite devil.  A stolen van with Syrian/Damascus license plate was picked as their vehicle and the 6 rats took off.  One was a driver while the others hid inside the van to make it appear like an ordinary business which just delivered some goods and was on its way back to its headquarters.

Each rodent wore a suicide belt stuffed with C-4 or Semtex.  When the van approached the checkpoint, the driver could not have noticed that behind the 4 or 5 soldiers were over 60 commandos from the Republican Guard and Air Force Intelligence.  The driver was ordered out to be checked while other soldiers opened the rear door to find the queer cargo which squirmed, no doubt, like hibernating snakes.  Their orders were very specific, apparently, so they did not ignite the belts.  There were too few soldiers to kill.  These miscreants had bigger plans.

Intead they rushed out as the commandos opened fire from all sides killing 5 immediately.  One of the rats was able to run a few feet and actually detonated his belt converting his carcass into so much Blutwurst.

But, it gets better. Another car used to distract security agents, in the event the main van was intercepted or halted for a search, exploded on Al-‘Adawi Road a short distance away.  The idea was that if the main van needed a distraction, this would be it.  The checkpoint guards would probably rush to the scene of the other explosion and leave the main van unmolested to enter the capital for the murder of all those civilians.

Because there were so many Republican Guards in the area for this operation, there was no need for the front line defenders to ignore the main van.  And so, once again, the British mind coupled to that of the Saudi ape’s produced another disastrous Christmas Day for David Cameron.

No civilians were injured.  No soldiers were killed.  Only one was injured slightly and received treatment at the site.

* Al-Fayhaa` is an epithet for Damascus. It means “the redolent” or the “sweet-smelling”.  The epithet for Aleppo is “Al-Shahbaa`”.  Another city which shares the same epithet as Damascus is Tripoli in the Lebanon.  Both cities are very famous for flowers and cultivated herbs which waft into the air to give certain quarters distinctively pleasant odors.

Khaan Al-Shaykh:  On Al-Zuhoor Street, the SAA took down this pack of derelicts:

‘Umar Al-Shaykhaani

Bilaal Hajju

Mustafaa Al-Taayih

Sa’eed Diyaab

Another 2 could not be identified.





(Photo credit: The Aviationist)

My source in Damascus, Monzer, is ecstatic about reports arriving that the SAAF has scored a bull’s-eye on a convoy originating in Jordan and transporting a huge amount of weapons and ammunition.  According to Monzer, the weapons and ammo have now been transformed into another kind of physical substance called gaseous fumes.

Tal Ba’aat:  This is in Al-Suwaydaa and it’s proof that what we’re telling you is true about the Southern Front.  It’s a disaster for Jordan’s king and the Saudi monkeys who have placed so much hope in it.  It’s not working, and now the Nusra rats are trying to outflank the SAA by using a province that is unusually hostile to them.  This province is the home of Syria’s large minority of Muwahhideen or Druze.  It’s been off-limits for some time out of a fear of triggering a backlash from the inhabitants who might have preferred to fence-sit rather than dive into the fray.

Good intelligence from sources which cannot be disclosed indicated that a large convoy of vans loaded with ammunition was on its way to Der’ah Province.  The convoy was accompanied by 6 pickups with 23mm cannons.  The convoy started up in the early hours this morning (Damascus time) and headed north, first, then, west.  I do not know which airbase was ordered to respond, but, it’s almost certainly the Tha’lah base or Khalaakhil north of Suwaydaa.

The attacking jets were reportedly Sukhoi 24 (NATO designation: Fencer) and they are excellent bombers.  The scene is typical of Nusra disasters with smoking vehicles and carcasses strewn all about.  Some of the rats may have been able to escape the conflagration although Monzer writes they were not too many.

As a note: some Syrian state media are reporting the location as “Tal Banaat”.  This is incorrect.  There is no Tal Banaat.


عشرات القتلى من الإرهابيين بسلسلة عمليات للجيش في ريف دمشق

Busras Al-Shaam:  Syrian Perspective is delighted to announce the departure of Muhammad Khaalid Al-Khaalid in the west neighborhoods of this town on December 22, 2014.  Along with this Nusra rat leader were 8 others who are accompanying him to the stony shores of Erebus:

Shareef Muhsin Al-Rujoob

Muhammad Qays ‘Abdul-Salaam

The others were not identified.

Al-Musayfira:  A town surrounded still by Nusra rodents.  Well defended to this day.  On Tuesday, December 23, 2014, SAA inside the town opened artillery fire on the rats and reported direct hits.  No details.

Al-Shaykh Miskeen:  SAA killed these Nusra and Harakat Al-Muthannaa vermin:

Mahmoud ‘Aassem Al-Masaalima

Ibraaheem Al-Nijm-

‘Abdullah Al-Ghazzaawi

Between ‘Itmaan-Tafass:  An attempted rat infiltration by the Liwaa` Tawheed Al-Janoob (Brigade for the Unification of the Sout) and Liwaa` Al-Mu’tazz Billaah was a standard disaster for the rodent armies of simian Arabia.  3 vehicles were incinerated by the SAA and these carcasses identified:

‘Ammaar Taalib Abu Sariyyaa (A/k/a “Abu Qusayy”. PALESTEEZIAN GRUB AND OPERATIONAL COMMANDER, yawn)

Tahseen ‘Abdul-Rahmaan

Muhannad Hassan-Bayk

Riyaadh Sab’aawi

Ahmad Khursheed

Another 6 could not be identified.  4 taken prisoner.

Fighting reported in these areas: East Al-Karak, ‘Itmaan, Al-Nu’ayma in city Center, Al-‘Abbaaseen Bakery in the city, East of Al-Masri Roundabout

Der’ah City:  A firefight erupted between PDC/SAA on one side and Liwaa` Tawheed Al-Janoob, Kateebat Madfa’iyyat Sijjeel and Kataa`ib Mujaahideey Al-Hawraan on the other.  Reports are that the terrorist monkeys lost over 19 of their prized orangutans in this encounter. I have no details.

‘Ayn Dhakar:  SAA has killed 5 leaders of a group which included 6 ordinary rats on the Golan Heights.  Another group scurried back to Zionist lines.

Simleen in the Sanamayn area:  A large number of terrorists were killed here in this town known for its canals, wells, ancient cemeteries which go back to Roman and Byzantine eras.  A large number of rats were killed here on Wednesday by the SAA.

Basr Al-Hareer, Inkhil and Daa’il all saw heavy fighting from Tuesday to today.  Information is developing.





الجيش العربي السوري

Doumaa to ‘Adraa area:   At 5 a.m. this morning, Damascus time, 2 units of the SAA, one from Special Forces and the second from Special Operations tasked with protecting the ‘Adraa Central Prison where some of the most vicious terrorist criminals are locked up, embarked on a joint operation that is now the specialty of the only truly great anti-insurgency force in the world.  Under the cover of a thick, impenetrable fog, with full knowledge of the location of the enemy thanks to superb intelligence gathering by MI, the 2 forces advanced from the Ibn Sina (Avicenna) Hospital/Nursing College Axis with artillery fire falling with deadly accuracy from SAA Howitzers and mortars in Al-Reehaan all the way to the Horse Grazing Farms, pounding the startled rodents who were shacked up at the Karakoosh Villas.

When the SAA units came upon the villas, they quickly neutralized 3 completely disoriented rodents some of whom belonged to Jaysh Al-Umma.  Another sniper hiding in a room, who never even got a shot off, was killed in the same area.  He belonged to Liwaa` Al-Islam.

Control of this area is crucial to stopping the flow from ‘Alloosh’s now trapped Jaysh Al-Islaam in Doumaa to the few remnant rodents still holed up in ‘Adraa.

Once word got out that the operation was in full swing, rodents communicated with their c&c centers and a firefight ensued to take the pressure off those at the villas.  The heaviest fighting took place at Al-Reehaan where the SAA advanced another 300 meters inside a dense fog.

But, another mechanized unit of the SAA then began its operation.  The 39th Brigade (based at Mayda’ah) supported by PDF started at the Palestine Martyrs’ School near the KIA Company and the Hangar Factories.  This attack not only involved infantry, but, also, a pod of tanks with artillery and mortars firing away at fortifications located mostly at the Syrian Cable Manufacturing Factory, Abu Khatt Piping Co. and Mr. Corn Co., killing and wounding every rodent inside the area.  Several pickups with Doschkas were spotted in flames at the Ibn Sina (Avicenna) Hospital Intersection and at the Tal Kurdi Crossroad.  This completed the encirclement of all the rats, placing them in a vise from which there can be no escape.

When the magnitude of the catastrophe became evident, the remaining rats who could muster up the energy to withdraw tried a pull-back to Doumaa to languish in the protection of the doomed King Rat, Zahraan ‘Alloosh.  But all were killed along the way.  All 16 vehicles they were driving were annihilated.  Several motorcycles are now fit for shipping to Japan for melting.  GRAD missiles and launchers were destroyed.  Monzer says over 120+ rodents were killed in this operation alone.

The entire route between Doumaa and ‘Adraa is now under the direct or artillery control of the SAA.  The SAA dominates at Tal Kurdi and Al-Reehaan.








by Ziad Fadel





The pro-ISIL Raqqa Media Center posted photos purportedly showing a captured Jordanian pilot.

The photo above was posted by Obama’s favorite terrorists on their websites.  It purports to show Captain Mu’aadh Al-Qasaba of the Jordanian Air Force being taken prisoner by ISIS rodents.  Note how suspicious this photo is.  Note the self-same balalaikas worn by the purported rat terrorists and look carefully at their uniforms.  Note also the care taken to conceal the face of the alleged pilot.  Why would ISIS want to blur out his face?   They normally gloat when they advertise their so-called “achievements”.

No, my friends, I can tell you already how this scenario is meant to unfold.  This is pure MI6.  Note that the story was broken by SOHR in London by its notoriously mendacious Raami ‘Abdul-Rahmaan (f/k/a Usaamaa Sulaymaan).  ‘Abdul-Rahmaan claimed the aircraft, surely a Jordanian F-16, was shot down by ISIS missiles.  Oh, pleeaaazzzz!  Amazingly, ISIS has not been able to shoot down any Syrian Russian-made bombers which regularly assault their positions in Al-Raqqa and Dayr El-Zor.  Can anyone explain how SOHR came across this information out of Al-Raqqa?

We assure you this Jordanian actor will be beheaded.  The scene will enrage the Jordanian people who will demand vengeance.  Anybody who knows the Jordanians (just bedouinized Syrians and disgruntled Palestinians, really,) will tell you that they are very quick to demand retribution – quick to kill their sisters on mere suspicions of concupiscence.  The only non-Jordanian personality in this whole charade is the King of Jordan himself, His Regal Dwarfiness, ‘Abdullah bin Antoinette Avril Gardiner, his mother an English woman, who married his father, the legendary traitor  Hussayn bin Zayn (a/k/a Hussayn bin Talaal).


The British chamber pot King beams for the camera in typical Hashemite fashion as he listens to instructions from his MI6 and Mossad handlers.

The plot was hatched back in April 2013 and was revealed by ‘Abdullah during a visit to the U.S.  His position was that Dr. Assad had to leave power by the end of the year or he, ‘Abdullah, would begin training the opposition terrorists on Jordanian territory and permit them entry into Syria.  Nothing new.  We’ve known for months that Jordan has become a Club Med destination or compost heap for all the wretched,  flea-ridden psychos in Saudi jails; for the anti-social Snackbarian Pakistanis of England; the Turk/Albanian/Chechen/Kosovar maladroits of Germany; the Schmoroccan/Tunisian barbarian wannabes of France; the rabid Libyan airheads of, well, Libya.  And the list goes on and on.

In order to get his people on board, ‘Abdullah, has to have a crisis.  It’s not enough that he is entertaining one of the world’s most populated scrums of mass-murdering butchers, he needs to have the “fuse” lit through some atrocious act.  Enter: ISIS.  We can tell you already that Madame Toussaud’s Wax Museum in London is burning the midnight oil to create a life-like effigy of Captain Al-Qasaba’s head and face so that the usual MI6 production can be completed with only a modicum of criticism.  He will be dressed in orange fatigues and made to kneel in front of a background screen at Pinewood Studios.  The terrorists around him will form a semi-circle after which Danny the Syrian will appear in his new incarnation as “Johnny Jihad”, his face covered by a balalaika, but, who’s privileged London accent cannon be concealed.  Suddenly, we predict, the film will be edited to show the Madame Tussaud head lying next to a manikin stuffed with Welsh barley.  There will be much screaming and cursing.  The stage is set.

The Tom Thumb Tyrant King of Jordan will appear on television to tell his subjects that the barbarian act of beheading the non-existent captain is “too much to bear” and that he, along with “coalition partners” have decided to participate in ground operations in Syria.

What does that mean?  Will the king send troops to Al-Raqqa to seek revenge?

No, he’ll probably start giving the Jordan-based rodents artillery cover and eventually invade southern Syria along with some Saudi-Pakistani mercenaries.  It’s so obvious.  I can’t really believe MI6 didn’t think of it.  It’s so awful, you’d think Obama, himself,  came up with this stinkpot of a script.  Maybe I’m wrong.  If I am, I’ll be the first to admit it.  But if I’m right, and MI6 is reading this post, they might change their minds and just have Captain Al-Qasaba remain prisoner in his cell near the Pinewood Studios.  ZAF


Shoah’s pages