Archive | March 13th, 2015




Anonymous sent us this yesterday in the Comments Section:

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Join the National March on Washington Saturday, March 21

By ANSWER Coalition

Mar 10, 2015

The Party for Socialism and Liberation is a member of the ANSWER Coalition, which circulated the following appeal:

Join the National March on Washington
Saturday, March 21

Say No to Endless U.S. War in the Middle East

12:00 noon at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Please share widely:



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The Saturday, March 21 Rally and March at the White House is the culminating action of Spring Rising: an anti-war intervention, with four days of events in D.C. beginning March 18.Click here for the full schedule of events.The Saturday, March 21 National Action in Washington, D.C., will be a powerful and dramatic action. We will be in the streets to reject the false logic of the Obama administration’s decision to commit the United States to wage “endless war” for generations to come in Iraq, Syria and throughout the Middle East.

It was Bush and Cheney’s invasion and occupation of Iraq that fragmented Iraq. Hundreds of thousands were killed and millions made homeless or refugees. Communities were pitted against each other. The Pentagon occupation strategy funded and armed Iraqis along sectarian lines. A beautiful, unitary country was broken up. That is the reason the ISIS exists in Iraq.

The Obama administration used NATO to destroy the Libyan government in 2011. That is the reason that ISIS exists in Libya.

In Syria, the Obama administration supported and the CIA coordinated the flow of foreign arms and billions of dollars to armed groups fighting the Assad government. That is the reason ISIS exists in Syria today.

We reject the hollow, hypocritical and ridiculous arguments about the so-called imperative need for another U.S. war in Iraq and Syria. Instead, there should be accountability for the crisis in Iraq. We believe that George W. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should be prosecuted for initiating a war of aggression based on lies and for authorizing war crimes, and for the torture and brutal treatment of Iraqis detained at Abu Gharaib and other U.S. military prisons. That too is why ISIS exists in Iraq today.

Having created the space for ISIS to exist by destroying the governments that opposed ISIS (in Iraq and Libya) and by weakening the government in Syria through the agency of a foreign-funded civil war, the U.S. government is telling the American people that what is needed is more U.S. bombing and an open-ended war in the Middle East under the pretext of stopping ISIS.

The Saturday, March 21 National Action in Washington, D.C., is not the usual demonstration. Everyone needs to play a role.

We would like to ask you and your friends who are coming to the March 21 National Action to do one or more of the following:


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Help expose and dramatize the scale of the war crimes being committed by the United States: Carry a flag-draped coffin representing the victims of U.S. bombing in Iraq, Syria, Libya and other countries. We will deliver these coffins to the doorstep of the White House and the D.C. offices of those who support the war machine.image: (1)image:×208.jpg

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Hold a picture of one of the thousands of people killed by U.S. bombs: Most of those who have been killed are civilians. Many are children. Holding the pictures of the victims of U.S. bombing helps break through the media propaganda barrage and tell the truth.image: (1)image:×154.jpg

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Participate in a Die-In: During the march from the White House, we will conduct a Die-In and deliver flag-draped coffins to the front doors of the D.C. offices of those who support the war machine.Please make an urgently needed donation to help cover the costs of the March 21 demonstration, including purchasing flags and materials that will make this important demonstration a visible and dramatic expression of public anti-war sentiment.






إرهابيQUNAYTRA:  This is reported by Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), Al-Mayaadeen TV and Al-Manaar TV.  3 days ago, the Zionist Tay-Sachs-carrying Khazar military officer joined with a traitor Jordanian compradorist regime officer to plan attacks against the Syrian Army whose gains on the battlefield in the south have alarmed the rat-Americans, Wahhabist child molesting apes and the French gay boys in Mafraq, Jordan.  The Zionist military was represented by a liaison officer in the signal corps known by the code name of “Johnny”.  He was meeting with on one leader of the “Fake Syrian Army- Southern Front”, Abu Usaamaa Al-Nu’aymi,  who is a cousin of the overall in-bred commander, ‘Abdul-Ilaah Al-Basheer Al-Nu’aymi.  The Jordanian, the Zionist and the rat leader were all killed.  It was glorious!

According to the reports on our desk, the Zionist cockroach was instructing the traitors and disease-carrying vermin in the fine art of using new equipment for communication according to Zionist military intelligence (AMAN).  He belonged to a technical unit of the Giv’aati Brigade.  No longer.  He is now in Hell.

The actual method by which the vermin were killed has not been revealed.  And Monzer has no information about the details of the operation.  8 traitorous rodents were critically wounded and evacuated to hospitals in both Occupied Palestine and Occupied Jordan.  In Palestine, the bleeding filth was taken to Safad.  In Jordan, occupied by the non-indigenous malignant Hashemite heretics and professional traitors, the wounded were taken to Al-Ramtha.

Another report indicated that the rodents belonged to a unit called “Al-Faylaq Al-Awwal”, a meaningless and pretentious ball of onanism purveyed by these lepers.  It means “The First Division”, yawn.


“Heeeeeere’s Johnny”

Rasm Al-Khawaalid:  On March 9, 2015, the SAA struck pay dirt with a perfectly aimed artillery round striking a convoy of moving rodents and their ordnance killing an estimated 22 and wounding scores.  5 vans went up in smoke with a pickup truck armed with a 23mm cannon.  No chance to perform an assessment because of the location.

Fighting reported here: Al-Suwaysa, Al-Hameediyya.


S Korean Officials in Hot Water Over Plans to Forcefully Unify With North


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South Korean officials have been in damage control over the past several days following revelations by a senior official earlier this week that a “non-consensual” scenario on unification with North Korea was among the contingencies the Committee for Unification was looking at.

Chung Chong-Wook, the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation, said he had used the “wrong words” at a breakfast forum Tuesday where he had said that South Korean authorities envisioned a “variety of road maps” for unification, including “non-consensual unification.”This was the first high-ranking admission of a scenario envisioning North Korea’s absorption by South Korea. Speaking at the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Chung also revealed that South Korean authorities had plans for dealing with North Korea’s political elite: “There is a large variety of North Korean elites, and the constituency of the Workers’ Party is quite diverse, so we will classify them and deal with them,” Chung said, cited by South Korea’s JoonAng Daily.Chung did his best to clarify his remarks on Thursday, noting that “our government is pursuing a peaceful reunification, not unification through absorption unilaterally by either the South or the North,” Yonghap reported. He added that the Presidential Committee “has reviewed various road maps, but it has determined that a peaceful reunification is the only alternative in ending the division and going forward [with the North] to a new future.”

Also on Thursday, the leaders of seven South Korean civic groups held a press conference in Seoul, noting in a joint statement that “any attempt to reunify the two Koreas by force would bring extreme cross-border confrontation and an end to inter-Korean relations.” The statement urged the government to “give up any attempt to reunify the North through absorption and [to] take a path of win-win co-existence.”The 50-member Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation was launched by President Park Geun-hye last July as one of her administration’s key policy initiatives. The Ministry of Unification, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other ministries and experts participate in the Presidential Committee, with President Park serving as the panel’s Chair.

Park unveiled her vision for unification last March in Dresden, Germany. North Korea has slammed the resulting Dresden Declaration, eying the South’s initiative with suspicion, and seeing it as a possible attempt to unify the two countries by force.An official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Korea Herald Wednesday that the Unification Panel has been bogged down “by administrative work, including…contacts with more than 50 civilian experts and advisors.” The official noted that creating a separate panel to study forceful unification would be “impossible,” given its current lack of capacity.

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UN torture expert refused access to Guantánamo Bay and US federal prisons


Juan Méndez says he has been waiting more than two years for access to a range of state and federal prisons and asks: ‘Is the United States hiding something?’

guantanamo bay detention facility
 Juan Méndez, the UN’s top investigator on torture, also said the US state department has yet to be able to visit federal prisons despite two years of discussions. Photograph: Brennan Linsley/AP

AFP in Geneva

The United Nations’ top investigator on the use of torture has accused Washington of dragging its feet over his requested visits to prisons and refusing to give him access to inmates at Guantánamo.

Juan Méndez said he had been waiting for more than two years for the United States to provide him access to a range of state and federal prisons, where he wants to probe the use of solitary confinement.

Méndez told reporters in Geneva he wanted to visit federal prisons in New York and Colorado and state prisons in New York, California and Louisiana, among others.

He said the US state department had been working to help him gain access to the state prisons, but after two years of discussions he had yet to receive a positive answer.

“And in one of my last conversations they said that federal prisons were unavailable,” he said.

“I fully expect the United States to secure invitations from state prisons for me, but also to be able to visit federal prisons as well,” he said.

According to Méndez, “it is not rare” for prisoners in the United States to spend 25-30 years in solitary confinement, locked up in a cell with no human contact for 22-23 hours a day.

“It’s simply outrageous that it’s taking such a long time to provide access to American detention facilities,” said Jamil Dakwar, head of human rights at the American Civil Liberties Union.

“This begs the question: is the United States hiding something?” he wrote to AFP in an email.

According to the ACLU, more than 80,000 people are held in solitary confinement in the United States on any given day.

Méndez said he was particularly concerned about the use of solitary confinement for underage offenders.

Solitary confinement for children “should never happen, even for a single day”, he said, pointing out that the punishment, widely considered cruel even for adults, was “particularly harmful for children because of their state of development and their special needs”.

Méndez also harshly criticised Washington for not providing him with “acceptable” access to the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, and to the 122 detainees still being held there.

Washington, he said, had invited him to visit the prison camp in 2012, but under “unacceptable” conditions.

He would be allowed to only visit parts of the prison, and “I am not allowed to have any unmonitored or even monitored conversations with any inmate in Guantánamo Bay,” he said.

Méndez said he had declined the invitation and asked the United States to replace it with one he can accept, to no avail.

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Naziyahu Leverages Terror Threat To Further Colonial Expansion

“Jews have been murdered again on European soil only because they were Jews, and this wave of terrorist attacks — including murderous anti-Semitic attacks — is expected to continue,” the Israeli prime minister told a weekly cabinet meeting last month.
Denmark Ring Of PeaceDanish Muslims from the organization, The Network, form a “Ring of Peace” against terror at City Hall Square in Copenhagen Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Thousands of people of different faiths have gathered in Denmark and Sweden in a show of unity after attacks against Jews in Europe.

With Jews among the victims of the deadly attacks in Paris and Copenhagen in January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has utilized both scenarios as a platform to call for a mass immigration of European Jews to Israel.

Speaking about the attack carried out on a synagogue in Copenhagen in January, Netanyahu stated: “Jews have been murdered again on European soil only because they were Jews, and this wave of terrorist attacks — including murderous anti-Semitic attacks — is expected to continue.”

“We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe. I would like to tell all European Jews and all Jews wherever they are: Israel is the home of every Jew.”

In 2014, 26,500 Jews immigrated to Israel. Up from nearly 17,000 in 2013, the figures represented a decade high boosted by an unprecedented influx of French Jews, Haaretz reported in December.

The Zionist fixation with maintaining a Jewish demographic majority and superiority has featured prominently in Netanyahu’s policies, particularly in the continued insistence on settlement expansion in the West Bank. Facilitating the propaganda is the Israeli Law of Return, a law first enacted in 1950 which stipulates that every Jewish person — defined as someone who has a Jewish mother or who converted to Judaism — is eligible to settle in Israel.

The law was intended to promote and achieve colonial expansion, especially in the aftermath of the Nakba of 1948, when Zionist paramilitary groups ethnically cleansed hundreds of Palestinian villages, destroying Palestinian history, demography, and culture. Application of the Israeli Law of Return ensures Zionist ambitions of a Jewish demographic majority — a necessary element for safeguarding Israel’s colonial project.

Since 1967, Israel has destroyed an estimated 1 million olive trees in Palestine. Such destruction has serious repercussions for both the livelihood of Palestinians, who are dependent upon olive produce, and their traditions. Some 5 million Palestinians are currently eligible for services provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), with roughly 1.5 million living in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. During last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid wrote an article in theTimes of Israel in which a selective account of the Holocaust was used as a premise for defending the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza.

Encouraging mass migration

IsraelIsraeli soldiers and relatives of new Jewish immigrants from the U.S. and Canada, wave Israeli flags to welcome them as they arrive at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, July 23, 2013.  Photo: Ariel Schalit/AP

As reported by YNet News, both Netanyahu and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have cited radical Islam as a threat to Jews living in Europe, while not making much public mention of the threat it poses to other groups, including the Muslims affected by the attacks in Copenhagen and Paris. Netanyahu is also reported to have stated that the government would discuss “a $46 million plan to encourage Jewish immigration from France, Belgium and Ukraine.”

European leaders seem to have taken Netanyahu’s comments as an affront. French President Francois Hollande declared, “I will not just let what was said in Israel pass, leading people to believe that Jews no longer have a place in Europe and in France in particular.”

Hollande’s statement was echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who insisted, “We are glad and thankful that there is Jewish life in Germany again. And we would like to continue living will together with the Jews who are in Germany today.”

Denmark’s Chief Rabbi Yair Melchior also expressed his disagreement with Netanyahu’s declarations, asserting that “people from Denmark move to Israel because they love Israel and because of Zionism, but not because of terrorism.” Yet Melchior’s statement fails to take into account the concept of Zionism as a form of terrorism in which citizens of the state participate willingly as colonial settlers.

Historically, support for Zionist colonization was given a boost following the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. Little is said about Zionist exploitation of Jewish nationalism as a necessity for the construction of the settler-colonial state in historic Palestine, where Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived side by side in peace for centuries and all religious groups had equal rights. Ethnic cleansing, road segregation, the Separation Wall, and forced transfer remain a characteristic of Israel, which practices a form of apartheid that complements its settler-colonial activity.

As David Ben-Gurion, a Zionist leader and first prime minister of Israel, had stated: “If I knew it was possible to save all [Jewish] children of Germany by their transfer to England and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz-Yisrael, I would choose the latter — because we are faced not only with the accounting of these [Jewish] children but also with the historical accounting of the Jewish People.”

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel on May 15, 1948 states, “The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles.”

The same argument for sustaining colonialism was also made by Yosef Weitz in 1967, following the Six Day War which enabled further expansion of Israel. Weitz, who served as director of the Department of Land and Afforestation affiliated to the Jewish National Fund, also wrote about “the need to sustain the character of a state which will henceforth be Jewish, and obviously in the near future, by the majority of its inhabitants, with a non-Jewish minority limited to fifteen percent.”

Palestinian Right of Return

Palestinian refugees Palestinian refugees flee violence following the creation of Israel in 1948.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Right of Return, enshrined in U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194, stipulates that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practical date.”

In 1974, U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3236 reaffirmed not only the right of Palestinians to self-determination without external interference and the right to national independence and sovereignty, but also insisted upon “the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted.”

The discrepancy within Resolution 194 lies in the U.N.’s inherent acceptance of Zionist colonization — a strategy which has not been challenged at an international level and hence facilitates not only the constant repudiation of Palestinian rights, but also Israel’s calls for mass immigration.

Furthermore, with the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Right of Return was mired in a series of contradictions — namely, the excessive control granted to Israel over Palestinian affairs which, in turn, facilitated Israel’s colonial expansion. As settlement expansion gained ground, Palestinian resistance, including the Right of Return, was normalized into a series of negotiations that disregarded the historical concept of Palestinian exile.

Exploitation, manipulation

APTOPIX Mideast Israel PalestiniansIsraeli border policeman push Palestinian women during clashes in the Old City of Jerusalem, Monday Oct. 13, 2014.

What emerges is a pattern of colonial exploitation, manipulated according to current events, which various Zionist leaders have embarked upon in order to consolidate Israel’s settler-colonial character. Through its policies, including the funding of Israeli companies such as Elbit, the fulcrum of the surveillance and oppression of Palestinians, Europe has divested itself of its historical responsibility by aiding Zionism in its slow extermination of Palestinians. A report published by Stop The Wall, a Palestinian grassroots campaign against the Israeli Separation Wall, shows that the EU research program Horizon 2020 has approved funding for 205 research projects in which Israeli companies, including Elbit, will be taking part.

Recent tragedies — namely, the vandalism of Jewish graves in France and the deaths of Jewish people in Paris and Copenhagen — have provided additional fodder for Netanyahu and like-minded ministers, such as Lieberman, to misinterpret the aggression out of context. The ultimate aim was to enforce upon European countries the strategy of equating so-called “Islamic terrorism” with Palestinian resistance in a manner that diverts attention away from Israel’s colonial policies.

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We Would Rather Believe Jihadi John Was Always Evil



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CAGE research director, Asim Qureshi talks during a press conference held by the CAGE human rights charity in London, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. CAGE and Qureshi have found themselves under attack in the media, due to his compassionate remarks about past dealings with Mohammed Emwazi, better known in the media as ISIS spokesperson “Jihadi John.” (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

By its very composition, the term “radicalised” accepts a past tense. A past where such a person was not radical, where he or she was normal.

Despite this, all hell broke loose when Asim Qureishi, a director with UK prisoners’ rights group CAGE, said “the Mohammed Emwazi that I knew [based on correspondence between 2009 and January 2012] was extremely kind, extremely gentle … the most humble young person that I knew.”

Admittedly, it was a PR failure by CAGE. They should have picked their words more carefully on such a sensitive issue. Their naivety has cost them dearly. But that was their only crime: being naive.

The general public reacted with disgust. Instead of front-page headlines on the newfound identity of Jihadi John, many outlets focused on some variation of “Important human rights group or apologists for terror?

In reality, CAGE merely sought to highlight the potential reasons behind Emwazi’s radicalisation. They discerned security service treatment as a possible factor, among many.

However, this goes against the perpetual narrative that terrorists are evil “because they are evil.” The masses would rather perceive a dichotomy between ISIS and the West which makes one inherently evil, just because they are. And the other morally superior, because they are. Cause and effect become irrelevant. Past and present are blurred into oblivion.

We would rather believe Jihadi John was always evil. He always wanted to behead people. Bomb others. Burn innocents. To argue otherwise is to be an apologist for terrorism, it makes you “part of the problem.” And thus the parameters of discussion are severely constrained; a large chunk of freedom of expression is eroded by baseless stigma.

Yet Owen Jones, on last week’s Comment is Free, indicated an interesting analogy.

He said: “Is examining the role of, say, Versailles and economic crisis in the rise of Nazism making excuses for it? If we provide such context for the most barbarous ideology in human history, why not elsewhere?”

Similarly, exploring the root causes and any possible factors which could encourage “radicalisation” is not necessarily an exercise in vindication.

If we do not agree with CAGE’s deduction, we should constructively criticise their approach after reading all of the evidence involved. It does no one any favours to fling abuse while offering nothing constructive to the discussion at hand.

It is also worth noting that at no point does this absolve the individual perpetrator of any crimes.

As Peter Oborne wrote, in a blog about CAGE on the Telegraph last year, “Indeed one of the most important tests of a robust legal system is the way it defends unpopular minorities.”

In the same way, one of the most important tests for any government or people is whether we can tackle emotionally charged issues in a rational way which contributes to the overarching discourse. In a way which helps everyone involved, rather than serving to feed and propagate the most simple-minded and impulsive of reactions.

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US Has “Long-standing Policy” Against Backing Coups ??? ”VIDEO”


Journalists Challenge White House Spokesperson Who Says US Has “Long-standing Policy” Against Backing Coups

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After Comrade Modoro  accused the United States of plotting another coup, State Department spokesperson Zionist Jen Psaki rejected the claim as “ludicrous.” She said, “As a matter of long-standing policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means.” The response from reporters may surprise you.

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Gaza: Cease Fire, Resume Genocide


An interview with Dr. Jacob Smith*

 Palestinian policemen and medics carry a man, who medics said was wounded in Israeli shelling, at a hospital in Gaza City July 20, 2014.
  • Palestinian policemen and medics carry a man, who medics said was wounded in Israeli shelling, at a hospital in Gaza City July 20, 2014. | Photo: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
My dream is that Gaza would have an independent health care system that would be run by Gaza that wouldn’t be dependent on foreign aid, not dependent allowing supplies in through the occupier.

Dr. Jacob Smith (name changed) is a North American physician who has visited Gaza several times, working at several hospitals there in both clinical and training roles. I spoke with him about the medical system in Gaza and the state of Gaza under the current, post August-2014 intensified siege.

Justin Podur: Describe your work in Gaza’s medical system.

Jacob Smith: I was initially asked several years ago by the Ministry of Health in Gaza to participate in a needs assessment for one of the subspecialties. At the time I knew very little about Gaza, wasn’t involved in politics, and knew very little even about the history of the region.

As a physician what I saw was a tremendously poor humanitarian situation that was in large part man-made. Most times humanitarian crises result from earthquakes, tornadoes, natural disasters. This disaster is entirely man-made.

The health system is the area I’m exposed to most. But it’s one small nidus of a multifactorial problem. The health system needs work, but so does the water system, so does rebuilding people’s homes, there are huge needs in every area.

Politically, the most important thing would be getting the borders open so people can export and import – these are simple things that people in a Western society simply take for granted. The blockade prevents medical supplies, medications, training of doctors. The actualization of an independent, sovereign people requires that they can interact with other people. To be able to be empowered to overcome poverty and other challenges, is really not something that they can do under blockade.

JP: Give us some examples of how the siege plays out in the medical system.

JS: I’ll give you an example of what happened in the last offensive. Some specialized treatments like cancer treatment, kidney dialysis, and blood transfusions are only available in Shifa hospital in Gaza City. These treatments are regular, life-saving, and necessary to prolong people’s lives. In the last offensive, people from Northern Gaza were unable to get to Gaza City for these treatments because the road network was destroyed. Those people simply died. Just like that.

Another very simple example: when I was there a few years ago, I met a young man in his early twenties who had been exposed to white phosphorus. As a complication of that, he ended up being in the intensive care unit quite a long time. I saw him several years after his exposure, which was probably during Cast Lead in 2008/9. He has chronic illness, he’s unable to find work. During his time in intensive care, the hospital lost power, so he’s lucky to even be alive, but he is a casualty of white phosphorus.

In the most recent Israeli offensive a lot of the equipment just stopped because of power cuts. If you’re on a respirator and the power dies, you die. And during the most recent offensive, people who were the sickest – in the intensive care unit – intermittently, the power went down, and you had to hope the generators kicked in. Otherwise the person died. It was that simple.

During the offensive, the one time when critical supplies need to come in, this is the time that none of the supplies were available. People were ingenious, trying to find solutions, but there are limits to that. Many people died from things that were easily preventable.

JP: I think it would be worth our time for you to tell us a bit about Palestinian ingenuity. It’s a part of the story people rarely get to hear about.

JS: Just to give you an example, when I visited the dialysis unit, one thing they have is old equipment that is essentially breaking down, broken down to the point where anywhere else, it would be thrown out. But because of the needs, the major hospital in Gaza has designed a system where there are now five shifts – for perspective, you should know no North American facility runs more than three shifts – they run five shifts and they have modified the regime to assure that every patient’s needs are met. They’ve modified the scheduling system to ensure there are nurses available 24 hours a day. I’ve never heard of that happening anywhere else.

Another well-publicized example. When the power runs out, many of the Palestinian people will use cooking oil in their cars, which works effectively. The hospitals do the same when they run out of diesel. They use cooking oil to fuel the generators.

There are countless examples of running out of electricity supply in the hospital, and setting up someone’s car battery so that the intensive care unit, OR, and the ER can continue to operate.

Now there’s a big push, and one of the most empowering programs now is to empower each of the hospitals with solar power similar to as has been done in a couple of hospitals in Haiti. You’ll find countless examples.

The level of knowledge of medical students, in terms of book knowledge, was higher than my North American students. But the Palestinian students don’t have the opportunities to go on exchange, develop experience and training outside of Gaza. They have everything they can get in Gaza – they are brilliant students – but they are stuck under the blockade.

JP: And as inventive as the Palestinians are, the occupation is also endlessly inventive in attacks and deprivations. How do they raise the costs for internationals to try to help in Gaza?

JS: So long as the blockade continues, Gaza is in a situation where they really need international help. So long as they are blocked, they need foreign aid, they need NGOs, they need money, reconstruction of hospitals, homes, UN buildings, everything. And yet at the one time that they need the world more than ever before, the world is grossly absent. And it is not simply that the world doesn’t want to be there. Israel (and, it must be said, Egypt) has made it almost impossible to get in and out of Gaza.

If you’re an NGO and you’re trying to determine the most productive use of your time and money, you’ll go to a place that’s easier to get in and out. It is hard to get in, hard to get out, it’s intentional delays to deprive people of the ability to do good work. If you apply to go through Israel, they’ll delay or refuse your COGAT permission. Many have been refused without explanation and aren’t allowed back – for no reason. Mads Gilbert is an example.

I know of doctors who have been rejected multiple times, spent thousands in legal fees, took their case to the Supreme Court of Israel, and were finally granted permission through the Supreme Court of Israel. Even after getting permission from Supreme Court, the border officials make entry and exit especially difficult and humiliating.

When I was leaving Israel via Ben Gurion, the authorities insisted I write my facebook, home address, work address, phone numbers. I had my luggage dumped on the floor, every item in my bag was swabbed, I had to go through the X-ray twice, I was strip searched, and had my private parts patted down. This is routine for anyone entering and exiting Gaza for medical relief work.

You are intentionally made to feel like a criminal, like you’re doing something wrong by going to Gaza, that the mere act of being present there makes you a criminal. As you go through it, even if you know that’s happening, human nature dictates that you’ll start to think, well, there are a lot of places that need humanitarian work, you’ll be inclined to go somewhere else next time, which means you’ll have done exactly what the Israelis wanted you to do. As a physican, most physicians will feel they have better things to do with their time. And that’s a part of why development has happened at a snail’s pace.

And consider me, as a white North American physician, I’m not used to this treatment, but part of the sadness is, if I was Palestinian, this would happen all the time, I wouldn’t be telling this story, and much worse would happen to me – I’d be detained, or jailed, or tortured, and no one would know.

JP: You mentioned Egypt. It’s not just Israel making it difficult for people to get in. It’s also the Sisi dictatorship in Egypt.

JS: I visited Gaza when Morsi was president of Egypt. At that time, the Rafah border crossing was mostly open. There was also a tunnel system that served as a lifeline of medical supplies into Gaza. It was easier for people to go in and out via Rafah for specialized medical care. That said, it was still not accessible to everyone. It was accessible to people who had the means – in a territory where there is more than 50% unemployment, that was still a major barrier.

But now, in the Sisi era, it’s simply impossible to get out. Several years ago, during one of my visits, you could see NGO people everywhere: UN, MSF, Red Crescent from Turkey. They were everywhere, there were projects, there were people. Now they are almost invisible. Much of the money that was pledged, the overwhelming majority, has never got in. Reconstruction efforts are essentially nonexistent.

The hospitals that were most visible from the international perspective – in Gaza City – were rebuilt first. Not because they were strategic for human health, but because they were the most likely to please Israel, to help Israel’s international reputation. The pediatric hospital, which was bombed in August 2014, was rebuilt first. So far, the reconstruction effort is going at a rate that will take 100 years to repair the damage just from the most recent conflict, never mind the conflicts before that.

The most basic necessities are in short supply. The majority of the water is undrinkable because of damage to water treatment plants and lack of sewage treatment. Electricity outages range anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a day. Because of the displacement of over 100,000 people, many of these people are living in congested housing. We’re seeing a very high rate of people living in close proximity. People are literally dying of diarrhea, children have died of hypothermia because they can’t get heat in their homes.

Each of the things that I’m describing, we’re talking about an area where the average person in Gaza lives on less than $1500 per year. If you move less than a mile away in Israel, that figure is over $35,000 per year. The reason this exists is entirely man-made.

The people within Gaza are motivated, determined to be independent and have their own health care system that they develop and that they optimize. The reason this is not happening is solely because of the occupation and a blockade that forbids supplies, and rather than the very rapid genocidal campaign of the war, after the ceasefire none of the conditions have been respected.

My dream is that Gaza would have an independent health care system that would be run by Gaza that wouldn’t be dependent on foreign aid, not dependent allowing supplies in through the occupier. That’s completely possible. The desire, the expertise, the determination, are all there on the Palestinian side. But on the Israeli and Egyptian sides, there is opposition. And internationally, those who want to help haven’t been strong enough to overcome this opposition.

One of the most frustrating things for me, is, to see the potential. I have to perceive things as, what’s the potential if we overcome those barriers. That has to be the way that we think. What’s the ideal situation? A health system designed by, for, and managed by physicians and leaders in Gaza. They are more than capable of doing it if the world allowed them.


Posted in Palestine Affairs, Gaza, HealthComments Off on Gaza: Cease Fire, Resume Genocide

The ‘Jihadi John’ Feeding Frenzy

 Jihadi John
  • Jihadi John 
In the case of the unmasking of Jihadi John, one of the perspectives that was excluded from the ‘spectrum of thinkable thought’ was the view that Britain’s aggressive foreign policy has been a key driver of ‘radicalisation’, leading young British Muslims towards armed struggle or ‘jihadism’.

The identification of the Islamic State killer ‘Jihadi John’ as Kuwaiti-born Londoner Mohammed Emwazi stirred a media storm in Britain in February, with pages and pages of coverage. The coverage demonstrated again the soundness of Noam Chomsky’s Propaganda Model’ of the Western mass media. In this view, the corporate media actually has ‘the societal purpose of protecting privilege from the threat of public understanding and participation’. While free from state interference of the Stalinist variety, the mainstream media nevertheless serves power rather than truth. Chomsky and his co-author Edward Herman coined the phrase brainwashing under freedom to describe this paradox.

One of the signs of ‘brainwashing under freedom’ is that only a narrow range of views are expressed in the media. Chomsky argues that the range of views is systematically narrowed in order to serve powerful interests. There is not only a narrow range of views-that-are-expressed, but of views-that-are-expressible.

In the case of the unmasking of Jihadi John, one of the perspectives that was excluded from the ‘spectrum of thinkable thought’ was the view that Britain’s aggressive foreign policy has been a key driver of ‘radicalisation’, leading young British Muslims towards armed struggle or ‘jihadism’.

This view was expressed by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), the apex of the British intelligence system, in advance of the second ‘Gulf War’ (a conflict that does not deserve the title ‘war’). In September 2003, the British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee reported that a 10 February 2003 JIC report had warned the then Prime Minister Tony Blair of this danger: ‘The JIC assessed that al-Qaida and associated groups continued to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq.’

After the 2003 invasion, the British Government commissioned a secret study, ‘Young Muslims and Extremism’, conducted jointly by the Home Office and the Foreign Office. (The report can be downloaded in four parts from the Sunday Timeswebsite [paywall] or viewed on This 2004 joint report named factors causing ‘extremism’. First on the list were ‘Foreign policy issues’. The report said:

‘It seems that a particularly strong cause of disillusionment amongst Muslims including young Muslims is a perceived “double standard” in the foreign policy of western governments… in particular Britain and the US. This is particularly significant in terms of the concept of the “Ummah”, i.e. that Believers are one “nation”…’

‘This perception seems to have become more acute post 9/11. The perception is that passive “oppression”, as demonstrated in British foreign policy, eg non-action on Kashmir and Chechnya, has given way to “active oppression” – the war on terror, and in Iraq and Afghanistan are all seen by a section of British Muslims as having been acts against Islam.’

‘This disillusionment may contribute to a sense of helplessness with regard to the situation of Muslims in the world, with a lack of any tangible “pressure valves”, in order to vent frustrations, anger or dissent.’

In other words, many British Muslims see themselves as part of a global Muslim community (ummah), and when they see the British government waging violent war on other parts of that global community – against ordinary civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, it hurts them. Their anger over violent civilian deaths at the hands of the US and UK, and their despair at the possibility of changing these foreign policies, make some young British Muslims vulnerable to recruitment by al Qaeda. This was the British Government’s own internal, multi-agency, analysis in 2004.

In June 2005, Britain’s Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre reported to the government that ‘events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and a focus of a range of terrorist-related activity in the UK’.

A few weeks later, Britain suffered its largest al-Qa’eda-style terrorist attack, the 7 July suicide bombings in London that killed 52 commuters.

Following the bombings, the anti-terrorist branch of London’s Metropolitan police compiled a report on the motivations of Muslims planning acts of political violence in the UK. A headline introducing one section of the document ran:

‘Foreign policy and Iraq; Iraq HAS had a huge impact.’ (Emphasis in original.)

The anti-terrorist specialists reported: ‘Iraq is cited many times in interviews with detained extremists but it is over-simplistic to describe terrorism as the result of foreign policy. What western foreign policy does provide is justification for violence….’

In 2006, Britain’s internal intelligence agency, MI5, stated publicly on its website, in a section on ‘International Terrorism and the UK’:

‘In recent years, Iraq has become a dominant issue for a range of extremist groups and individuals in the UK and Europe.’

So there has been quite a bit of establishment support for the view that British foreign policy has been a significant factor in leading to jihadist violence by British Muslims.

This is to leave aside the fact that the 7/7 bombers themselves pointed to British intervention abroad as motivations for their attacks (in video statements by Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer). A credible claim of responsibility for 7/7, made within hours of the attacks, referred to the bombings as ‘revenge against the British Zionist Crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan’. Michael Adebolajo, who killed British soldier Lee Rigby in May 2013 said during his trial for murder that ‘Allah commands that I fight those militaries that attack the Muslims.’ He added: ‘The Iraq war probably grated on me the most when I was in college’.

When ‘Jihadi John’ was unmasked and his personal history could be traced, there was inevitably speculation on what could have motivated him to carry out his horrendous crimes. How did the media treat the possible role of British foreign policy in fostering the ‘radicalisation’ of people like Emwazi?

Very simply. The issue was almost completely ignored, as the media preferred to blame ‘Islamist ideology’.

If you read very closely, you can detect the traces of a rejection of the ‘foreign policy’ argument, for example in these isolated lines in a Daily Telegraph editorial: ‘it is wrong and counterproductive for the West to blame itself for the existence of Jihadi John. Young men and women, many of them middle class, are attracted to Islamist extremism simply because it gives them purpose and the promise of glory.’ (‘We must assert our superior Western values’, 27 February 2015, p. 23) More simply, The (London) Times editorialised: ‘We have seen the enemy and it is not us.’ (‘Heart of Darkness’, 28 February 2015, p. 24) The Independent editorial simply described Emwazi as ‘disengaged’ from British society – for no specific reason. (‘Lost soul’, 27 February 2015, p. 2)

The Guardian played the game cleverly, not editorialising, but commissioning opinion pieces from a libertarian (in the true sense) Conservative MP, David Davis; from a former Islamic fundamentalist, Maajid Nawaz; and from a liberal, Jonathan Freedman. David Davis did not mention any of the support for the ‘foreign policy factor’ within the British establishment, despite referring to the work of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee and MI5.

Majid Nawaz and Jonathan Freedman were the only commentators or reporters in the British press to mention ‘foreign policy’ during the first two days of the media feeding frenzy.

One of the features of the Western propaganda system, according to the Chomsky-Herman Propaganda Model, is that significant information often does appear in the press, but it is effectively suppressed by the media’s placement of the information, the frequency of repetition, and the emotional tone of the report.

Let’s look closely at how Nawaz and Freedman mentioned the ‘foreign policy’ argument.

Nawaz wrote a 15-paragraph, two-column comment. His first mention of ‘foreign policy’ comes in para 13. In his preceding remarks, Nawaz argued that no all anti-immigration voices are racist, and that it is important for members of the political Right to distance themselves from racism. Then we come to this sentence:

‘Similarly, it is disingenuous for many Muslims and others to solely criticise foreign policy grievances without also openly debunking Islamist ideology in its peaceful or violent manifestations. Fall short of this and we become nothing but tools in the hands of ideological propagandists who will use our voices to further the victimhood narrative, just as racists do when talking about immigration.’

So there is an acknowledgement (in some fashion) that ‘foreign policy grievances’ exist, but it is done in such a way – by its placement within the article and within the sentence, and by the language governing it (‘disingenuous’, ‘solely’) – that it is effectively suppressed.

Freedman is much more serious. In a 16-paragraph, three-column comment, Freedman dismisses a number of possible explanations for Emwazi’s turn to al-Qa’eda-style violence. His first mention of foreign policy comes in para 6:

‘So we need to look elsewhere, perhaps preferring politics to psychology as the key to understanding. The favoured culprit is usually western intervention in the Middle East. This is appealing in its simplicity, not least because it suggests a remedy: stop what we’re doing, and Isis will wither away and we’ll all be safe.’

Freedman dismisses this idea as well, but only after referring to some evidence, a rare move. Shiraz Maher, a terrorism researcher, reports that his interviews with jihadists showed they were angry at Western intervention in Iraq in 2003, and they were angry at Western non-intervention in Syria in 2013. ‘Put simply, there is no neat, straight line that begins in western policy and ends in “Jihadi John”,’ Freedman concludes.

As a small point, this ignores the finding of the Home Office-Foreign Office study, ‘Young Muslims and Extremism’, that young Muslims were concerned about both British ‘passive oppression’ of Muslims (for example, non-action over Kashmir) and British ‘active oppression’ of Muslims (for example, the invasions and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan).

Another small point: no one has suggested that there is a ‘neat, straight line’ between western foreign policies and the actions of any particular individual. Rather what has been suggested is that aggressive western foreign policy has been a major driver in the rise of jihadist violence by British Muslims.

And who has suggested this? Freedman says, in a carefully passive construction, ‘The favoured culprit is usually western intervention in the Middle East.’ He fails to mention that this culprit is ‘favoured’ by the Joint Intelligence Committee (the top level of British intelligence), the Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre, MI5, the Home Office, the Foreign Office, and the police’s anti-terrorist branch.

So, in the dozens of news reports over two days of media frenzy about ‘Jihadi John’, and among the dozen or so editorials and opinion pieces in the British ‘quality’ press, there were (I think) only two very brief mentions of the possible foreign policy motivations of British al-Qa’eda-type terrorists – neither of which were signalled in the headlines, introductory subheadings, or initial paragraphs of the articles.

In all the thousands and thousands of words about terrorism in the British elite press, there were 14 words on foreign-policy-as-motivation by Maajid Nawaz, and 165 by Jonathan Freedman, both writing in the Guardian, on successive days.

No news story or comment piece saw fit to mention the ‘Young Muslims and Extremism’ report or any of the other documents referred to above, despite their relevance to the topic of home-grown terrorism. All this evidence has gone into Orwell’s ‘memory hole’, confirming, yet again, the validity of the Chomsky-Herman Propaganda Model.

Posted in Middle East, UKComments Off on The ‘Jihadi John’ Feeding Frenzy

NED Official Meets with Venezuelan Opposition Figures


Miriam Kornblith traveled to Venezuela under suspicious circumstances to meet with opposition figures.

  • Miriam Kornblith traveled to Venezuela under suspicious circumstances to meet with opposition figures. 

The official changed her appearance upon arrival in Venezuela, used a pseudonym, and traveled with illegal license plates.

A high-ranking official from the National Endowment for Democracy recently traveled to Venezuela under suspicious circumstances to meet with right-wing opposition politicians, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly Diosdado Cabello revealed Wednesday.

During his weekly television program, Cabello said the NED’s Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Miriam Kornblith arrived in Venezuela Feb. 28, and upon her arrival she opted to disguise her appearance, going so far as to dye her hair.

Kornblith then traveled to Bolivar City to meet with opposition politicians and representatives of a nongovernmental organization, registering at a hotel under the pseudonym Sarah Collins.

“If she is acting in good faith, why does she feel the need to change her name and dye her hair?” asked Cabello. The Venezuelan official also said that Kornblith traveled in a vehicle using license plates belonging to a different car.

Cabello stated that Kornblith’s mission in Venezuela was to resolve an issue regarding the allocation of money from the NED between opposition parties. After returning to Caracas, she allegedly held a four-hour meeting with opposition leader Ramon Jose Medina at the offices of an opposition political party.

Cabello called Kornblith’s employer, the NED, “an institution used by North American imperialism to finance subversive terrorist groups that operate as so-called NGOs.”

In Context: Kornblith and the National Endowment for Democracy

Although the NED claims to be a private foundation, its resources come from the U.S. Congress by way of the State Department. The NED has been widely accused of being a tool of U.S. foreign policy, funding groups that oppose governments that U.S. governments oppose.

According the NED website, in 2014 alone, the foundation gave US $2,381,824 to organizations operating in Venezuela, ostensibly for things such as training in the use of social media, and the monitoring of human rights. A cursory examination of grant recipients reveals that the money mostly went to groups opposing the democratically-elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Kornblith does not hide her own political views concerning Venezuela. In 2013 she wrote in the NED’s scholarly journal an article entitled, “Latin America’s Authoritarian Drift: Chavismo after Chavez?” In the article Kornblith heavily criticizes Venezuela under Chavez for allegedly undermining democracy in the country, citing analysis by the conservative Freedom House think tank.

She also questions the legitimacy of elections in Venezuela – which have been praised by prominent groups such as the Carter Center – and lauds the politicalarrangement that existed in Venezuela before Chavez. Known as the Punto FijoPact, under that system two traditional parties would alternate in power, deliberatelyexcluding the voices of Venezuela’s poor majority.

In addition, Kornblith distorts history and misrepresents facts to make her argument. For example, she makes an unsourced claim that military officers refused an order from Chavez to use force against demonstrators before the 2002 coup that briefly ousted him from power.

Posted in USA, VenezuelaComments Off on NED Official Meets with Venezuelan Opposition Figures

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