Archive | March 26th, 2015

Gaza: Press Release

NOVANEWS

 

 

The large-scale Austrian-German Gaza Relief Action is happy to announce that four injured persons from Gaza accompanied by three caretakers arrived in Berlin on Saturday, March 21, 2015.

The patients are two children as well as a 15 year old girl and a boy of 18. The 15 year old girl suffered heavy injuries on her arms, the 18 year old boy was injured by shell splinters on his shoulder, hand and leg, and additionally suffers from an Injury of his eye. A four year old boy needs treatment of the severe injury on his thigh, another boy (6 years old) suffers from shell splinter injuries in his pelvis and chest after surviving a shell attack which killed his two siblings.

Two hospitals in Berlin are going to treat the four patients.

In an unparalleled joint coordination effort, organized mainly through social networks, helpful people received our guests at the airport in Berlin and accommodated them in their homes until Monday. Caretaking, interpreting, and transportation services, and many other necessities are provided by private persons and the participating organizations for the whole stay of our guests.

We, the participating organizations of the large-scale Austrian-German Gaza Relief Action wholeheartedly wish to say thank you to all Clinics, supporters, sponsors, and helpers who made this work possible. It makes us happy to see that together we can make a change.

In particular, we would like to thank Palästinensische Mission Berlin (Palestinian Embassy in Berlin) for their great cooperation.

We hope this joint action will give the children and their caretakers the chance to physically and mentally recover so that they can build up a perspective for a positive future.

If you are willing and able to do so, please continue donating (bank account see below). We also still need more hospital places for the  many patients in Gaza waiting for our help. (Contacts see below).

You are always welcome to ask for a donation receipt. For this purpose we need the donors home address.

THANKS to all of you

Coordination in Germany

Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V., E-Mail: cafepalestine@sin-nom.com

BANK ACCOUNT GERMANY

Cafe Palestine Freiburg – Österr. – Dt. Gaza-Hilfe

IBAN: DE47680501010013455233

BIC: FRSPDE66XXX

INTENDED PURPOSE: Österr. – Dt. Gaza-Hilfe

 

Participating Organizations in Germany

Bürger für den Frieden Karlsruhe

Cafe Palestine Freiburg e. V.

Deutsch-Palästinensisches Ärzteform e.V., PalMed

Deutsch-Palästinensische medizinische Gesellschaft, DPMG

Palästinensische Ärzteu. Apothekervereinigung Deutschland e. V., PÄAV Deutschland e. V.

Palästinensische Stimme Berlin e. V.

MHS – Medical and Humanitarian Support

 

                    

               

 

                                                                    

Coordination in Austria

Gesellschaft für Österreichisch-Arabische Beziehungen GÖAB, E-Mail: office.vienna@saar.at

Bank account GÖAB

IBAN: AT44 2011 1285 2009 6803

BIC: GIBAATWWXXX

INTENDED PURPOSE: Gaza-Hilfe

 

Participating Organizations in Austria

 

BDS Austria

Dar al Janub Verein für antirassistische und friedenspolitische Initiative

Frauen in Schwarz (Österreich)

Gesellschaft für Österreichisch-Arabische Beziehungen

Koordinationsforum zur Unterstützung Palästinas

Palästinensische Ärzte- und Apothekervereinigung

Palästinensische Gemeinde

Palästinensisch-Österreichische Gesellschaft

Rahma Austria

Steirische Friedensplattform

Verein palästinensischer Ingenieure in Österreich

 

 

Posted in Palestine Affairs, GazaComments Off on Gaza: Press Release

This explains a lot…

NOVANEWS
 Birkenau Entrance Today
I’m always interested in the stories we Jews tell ourselves in order to justify some the awful things we do.
This poem, I think by one Ran Shirdan, explains a lot.

If you are Jewish.

If you are Israeli.
If anyone asks you to explain Israel’s actions.

If anyone debates how Israel’s situation should be handled.
How we should act.
What we should do.
What we shouldn’t do.
Or questions our motives.
Or accuses.
Or judges.
Or condemns.
Or pries.Show them this picture.

This picture of nail scratches of the victims who were suffocated to death inside an Auschwitz gas chamber.

This is our history.
This is what has shaped us. Our existence.This is what we fight against every day so history doesn’t repeat itself.Our memory is what makes us smart.

Our memory is what makes us strong.

Our memory is what differentiates us.

This picture, we get it.

We feel it.

It’s eerie to us like it could be to no other.

We get it like others cannot.

We get the correlation between this photo and the now.

And we say, “Never Again.”

Never Again will be terrorized.

So if anyone asks.

Or debates.

Or questions.

Or accuses.

Or judges.

Or condemns.

Or pries.

Only remember: Israel does not have to justify to the world its actions, and neither do we.

Posted by 

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on This explains a lot…

Kosher Nostra

NOVANEWS
Image result for JACK Spot PHOTO

My recent post about that jolly rogue Anthony Dennison raises some interesting questions about the relationship between the very many upstanding Jews and their far fewer, but somewhat less-upstanding, fellow Jews.

In a post about London Jewish gangster Jack Spot I told how as a child, I’d sometimes overhear my mum and dad talking about this violent and unsavory man. Sure, they disapproved of him (my parents were thoroughly decent people) but there was affection there too. You see, Jack Spot was a bit of a legend in my family and in many other Jewish families of the time because the fact was that for us second and third generation London Jews, this Jewish roughneck was a bit of a Robin Hood.
The same is true of American Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky, a towering gangland figure against whom a little Brit like Jack Spot was small potatoes. Lansky was big-time; a true king of the underworld yet he was celebrated for being honest, somewhat cerebral and personally non-violent. Was he really? I doubt it, but we Jews thought so and by now you must know that if we Jews think something, you have to think it too.
Another one was  a real enough character who made a fictional  appearance in my favorite Jewish author Philip Roth‘s book The Plot Against America. In this book which imagines a ‘Nazi’ takeover of America, Jewish street resistance is led by local Jewish gangster  ‘Longy’ Zwillman. Zwillman did indeed exist in Roth’s native Newark and, bless my soul, the Jews of New Jersey still miss him. 
So what, apart from their Jewishness and their unsavory ways, did all these Jewish gangsters have in common? Well, all of them, without exception were ‘good for the Jews’. Jack Spot, as he’ll tell you himself here specialised in cutting with a razor the face of anyone who defaulted in their payments to Jewish traders. In his younger days, Meyer Lansky did much the same and in later life his Zionist activities were legendary. Finally the real Abner ‘Longy’ Zwillman had strong Jewish connections  and just like Roth’s character “…was a hero to the Jewish people in Newark and Irvington …because he would form this group …….who would throw these stink bombs in the meetings of the Bund” — the German-American pro-Nazi movement — and wait for them to run outside and be waiting for them with bats, sticks, and fists and beat the crap out of them.”
You see, the truth is, we Jews loved Jack Spot, we loved Meyer Lansky and we loved  ‘Longy’ Zwillman too. And why? Simple. We loved them because they loved us.
So, taking all this into consideration, is it any wonder that the North-West Friends of Israel and the Jewish Chronicle have no problem with the merely dishonest’ Anthony Dennison?
But “Ah…”, I hear you say, “What’s so noteworthy about Jews – poor, outsiders and victims – admiring those who break the law to look after their own? After all, is this not the story of the Italian mafia every bit as much as it is the Jewish mafia?”
It is indeed. Except that Jews are no longer poor, Jews are no longer outsiders and Jews are no longer victims –  It’s just that in our hearts and minds we are, and will forever be – poor, outsiders and victims – and we will continue to love and support anyone and everyone – no matter what their morals – who is ‘good for the Jews’.Such is our Jewishness.

Posted by 

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on Kosher Nostra

Jews for this, Jews for that…

NOVANEWS

Posted by 

 Image result for Deir Yassin MEMORIAL PHOTO
These were the Jews I first came across, the Jews to whom I returned after Year Zero and the thirty years of contented exile with my catholic wife and secular children, these were the Jews  – Zionist and anti-Zionist – in solidarity with Palestinians.The Zionists, appalled at the treatment of Palestinians by Israel still clung in their hearts, to the Jewish state. “What’s done is done” they said “It was terrible but we must make the best of it”. For these Jews this meant a state for Palestinians alongside a state for Jews. That such a state would be weak, fragmented and under the guns of the Israeli military was for these Jews, well… better not think about it.

Nor need a memorial at Deir Yassin trouble them, or anyone else, too much. “Go build your memorial”, a future Israeli government might say and when built, could use it to show visitors, on their way to the Holocaust shrine at Yad Vashem, how wonderfully ethical is this Jewish state in its dealings with the Palestinians.

They were suspicious of course – entirely understandable for these peaceniks – of both me and of Deir Yassin with its problematic focus on the events of 1948 and its clear delineation between perpetrator and victim and this soft Zionist approach which later I characterised as I-just-wish-Israel-wouldn’t–behave–quite-so-badly-and-stop-embarrassing-me-in-front-of-my-friends was rooted in the belief in Israel as an essential good that had somehow gone bad.

The establishment of the state in 1948 (nobody at that time even mentioned the Nakba) was not only necessary, it was also good though at a pinch, these Zionists could concede that it had not been quite so good for the Palestinians. The Six-Day War (later, always referred to by me by its Arab designation: “The June War”) which had so thrilled me as a boy, was also good – a thoroughly defensive war – ‘pre-emptive’ was the designation of choice – which averted what undoubtedly would have been a second Holocaust. Even the occupation, while not an intrinsic good, was a necessary evil – a regrettable stopgap until the Arabs saw sense and recognised the Jewish state. Sure, things had gone wrong – but not through the fault of the Israelis, more the result of us Jews being somehow forced by the incalcitrance of our enemies to adopt repressive measures. Golda Meir said it best: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children, we cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill theirs.”

For these Jews, this was a conflict between equals – not in power for sure because even the most deluded of Zionists couldn’t entirely overlook the overwhelming military imbalance between the Israelis and the Palestinians – but a kind of moral equality, and this “sin of moral equivalence” as termed by Walid Khalidi and quoted by me in “Speaking the Truth to Jews” was at the very heart of this soft-Zionist discourse. The Israel-Palestine conflict, as they described it, was a ‘tragic’ struggle between two rights, two equal claims to the same piece of land.

Of course, after the peak in victimhood achieved by the Yom Kippur War with its near-miss, snatched-from-the-jaws-of-defeat victory, things had taken a definite turn for the ethical worse. Two Lebanese wars, Sabra and Shatilla and two Intifadas later, and by the time I came on the scene, these peaceniks were somewhat subdued and increasingly ready to grab at the Deir Yassin message which was radical enough to get them out of their moral rut but with its in-clear-sight-of-Yad-Vashem focus on the still-central place of Jewish suffering, did not entail the crossing of any red lines.

And what were these red lines? What was it that could not be discussed, let alone questioned and certainly not denied? These red lines were quite simply, the boundaries around the ‘specialness of Jewish suffering’ – and they were red lines that I was inexorably impelled to cross. But that was to come, for now, these Jews had welcomed me with my (largely taken from Marc Ellis) vision of some saving remnant of Jewish goodness, some dimmed but still eternal flickering flame, a Jewish goodness still rooted in the specialness of Jewish suffering. That is, until I began to question that suffering. Because it was precisely my stepping over those lines, my asking what was so special – and so unexaminable – about Jewish suffering that led to my estrangement from all those good Jews of Palestinian solidarity and to what, in my more portentous moments, I think of as my second, now permanent exile.

Still, I liked them, these Jews who were in the main warm-hearted and sincere in their albeit limited support for the Palestinian cause – and courageous too. Because, no matter how equivocal their support may at times have been, no-one can doubt their commitment to a cause that often cost them dear. Also, their Zionism, such as it was, was heartfelt and open. How many times in those years and in the years to come would I say “You know, I’d rather have tea with Ariel Sharon any day of the week!” And it was true. An open-hearted Jewish butcher was always infinitely more to my taste than a delusional Jewish weepie.

And I liked their company too, not surprising really, since these seemed to me to be the same Jews I’d known in Wembley Park. More educated, for sure, and way more articulate in their Zionism than the visceral, folk adherence of the Fisher family. But still, they were vital and noisy and they laughed a lot. For these Jews, just like those Jews of Wembley Park, all was community.

Not so their anti-Zionist colleagues. For these Jews, Israel was an abomination but… (and this is important) no more than a segregated Deep South or an apartheid South Africa. These folks favoured a ‘one-state solution’, but a one-state that must be democratic and secular. That such a state would be for a people and a place traditionally undemocratic and unsecular bothered them not a bit. And why should it? After all, for these, often Marxist Jews, Palestine was but part of a greater whole – a world to be made, and in their own image, democratic and secular. Because whilst the Zionist Jews simply wanted to build a utopia for Jews in Palestine, the anti-Zionists wanted to build a utopia for everyone and everywhere. And what these Jewish revolutionaries failed to mention and probably also to consider, was that in this secular, democratic utopia there would, on every corner, be a commissar who, also in their own image, just happened to be Jewish and who happened to know how every Palestinian – Jew and Arab alike – should live their lives.

For these Jews Deir Yassin was an unpardonable crime but (and again this was important) no more than any other colonialist, imperialist atrocity. Sure, they were delighted to tell and re-tell the story of the Nakba – anything that criminalised the Zionist project was music to their ears – but what was all this about Jewish responsibility? What Jewish responsibility? There was no Jewish responsibility because, other than as a vague ethnicity that spoke Yiddish, told wry, self-deprecating jokes, liked gefilte fish and (though they would never speak of this) liked to lend themselves to all kinds of revolutionary activities, in effect, there were no Jews – at least not in any collective sense.

Cold and unkempt, the wild-haired, strident females and the goateed, feminised males, these were like no Jews I’d met before. This was the Jewish intelligentsia and no better for that, since these barefoot intellectuals were not so much educated as over-educated. Lifted out of an essential mediocrity only by the fact of their being Jews, this lot had heard and read far more than ever they could understand.

And what a creed they had concocted for themselves. Circumcised to a man, married to other Jews, still they swore blind their Jewishness meant nothing to them or, more pertinently, had no bearing whatsoever on their ideological and political activities.

But if their separation from their ideological Jewishness was no more than a sham, the same could not be said of their alienation from their Judaism – at least, that’s how it appeared. This lot, whose fellow ideologues had in Yiddish sung the Internationale as they burned churches in Spain, despised all religion, yet their attitude to their own religion, or more accurately the religion of their fathers, was strangely ambivalent. On the surface they loathed it, yet these same fierce atheists so often married other Jews, circumcised their sons and, in the final analysis, had themselves buried in consecrated ground. I recall one of them, a poor man dying of cancer who was married to a Mennonite wife and who it was said had taken the Mennonite faith. He died and I overheard one of his comrades confiding to another that on his deathbed, and at his request, kaddish was surreptitiously said.

In the place of the Jewish God they so despised, these Jews had placed a multitude of other gods. Master of the Universe was Karl Marx himself and from this greatest of deities sprang a plethora of lesser gods, a mass of ‘isms’ to suit all tastes: Feminism, Freudianism, secularism, multi-culturalism – the list went on, each with its own rebbe and each adhered to and enforced as might be the word of God Himself. It was all there in the house of one of these Godless Jews I visdited. High in a lit cabinet, looking for all the world like a sefer torah in a Holy Ark was a multi-volume, early edition of The Complete Works of Karl Marx. This was a faith that brooked no heresy. A Zionist Jew might disagree with me, many would have nothing to do with me, but only an anti-Zionist, Marxist Jew would endeavour to silence me.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Jews for this, Jews for that…

I$raHell, Palestine and ‘Greenwashing’

NOVANEWS
By Robert Fantina

The genocidal methods employed by Israel against the Palestinians know no boundaries. The degree to which apartheid Israel works to erase Palestine, its people, history and culture is truly extraordinary. One method in use that may not be commonly known is referred to as ‘greenwashing’.

olive-tree-awarta-600x450

To fully understand this concept, it’s necessary first to understand and appreciate Palestinians’ devotion to, and reliance on, their lands in general, and olive trees in particular. For millennia, Palestinians have farmed the land and supported themselves and their families in this way. The olive tree has a central role in the lives and the very existence of Palestinians.

A newly-planted olive tree takes several years to bear fruit, but most will live for hundreds of years, producing fruit. It is not unusual for such trees to live for 2,000 years. The olives are used in a variety of ways, not only for oil, but in the making of soap, hair treatment and other products, and even to light their homes. Since many Palestinians live on lands that have been in their families for countless generations, there is a strong attachment to olive trees. Some families name their olive trees, indicating the importance the trees have to them.

Israel is not unaware of the significance of olive trees to the Palestinians. The Zionist Jewish National Fund (JNF) has long sponsored a program called ‘Plant a Tree in Israel’. For a small sum, they say, anyone in the world can have a European Pine tree planted in Israel, in memory of a loved one. Who can argue with such a thing? Can anything be more benign than planting a tree? However, there are multiple problems with this:

  • The trees are planted in Palestine, not Israel;
  • Olive trees are destroyed so that the new trees, European Pines, can be planted, and
  • The new trees help to erase Palestinian history.

European Pines are, as the name indicates, common in European countries. They look far different than olive trees, and do not thrive in Palestine as olive trees do. These ‘memorial’ trees are planted not only on former olive tree orchards which have been destroyed to make way for them, but also on bulldozed villages. When orchards are destroyed, the owners are given no compensation; they have no opportunity to appeal the decision. They can only watch in despair as their livelihood, the same means that has sustained their family for generations untold, is destroyed.

Part of Israel’s genocidal practices involves obliterating Palestine history and culture; this is done, in part, by destroying entire villages, bulldozing every building in the village. Again, there is no compensation offered, and no opportunity to appeal. Palestinians must simply quickly remove whatever they can, before their homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, stores and farms are bulldozed. Once that is done, what better way to hide any remaining evidence that this area was once full of families, working, farming, going to school, etc., then to grow a forest on the site? European Pines grow quickly, hiding the tragedies on which they are planted.

In the past few decades, at least 280,000 olive trees have been intentionally destroyed in Palestine by Israel; an estimated 250,000,000 pine trees have been planted, some financed by well-meaning but uninformed people, but most by the Israeli government. It is likely that most of the people around the world who have sent money to have them planted are unaware of their real purpose; who is going to think of genocide, when planting a tree in memory of a loved one?

Israel has many methods of genocide against the Palestinians that are not generally known in the U.S.; reporting on these atrocities seems a bit better in much of the rest of the world. Greenwashing, like many others, is insidious, and must be stopped.

With the re-election of Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu, the only change that can be expected in Israeli policy toward Palestine is an increase in illegal arrests, illegal settlement building, illegal land confiscation, and violence. However, a large crack in the fragile, glass jar of global support has appeared, put there by the campaign promises of Mr. Netanyahu. Even the United States, which for so long has been Israel’s willing puppet, is ‘reevaluating’ its policies toward that country, in view of Mr. Netanyahu’s assurance to Israelis that there will be no independent Palestine while he is Prime Murderer. Europe, long impatient with Israel’s continuing violation of international law, cannot be expected to sit quietly now.

What might this ‘reevaluation’ result in? The one aspect that is being whispered, almost in reverential awe, is the possibility that the U.S. may stop its blatantly unfair, constant and unjust defense of Israel at the United Nations. Any time that a resolution seeking to further the basic human rights of the Palestinians, rights that Israel deprives them of with the full support and financing of the United States, is proposed in the U.N., the U.S. vetoes it. Incredibly, it even vetoes it when it agrees with it! Consider then U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s astonishing comments when vetoing a resolution criticizing illegal settlements in 2011: She said that, while the U.S. sees “the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, we think it unwise for this council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians”. Now, perhaps, the handcuffs which the U.S. so firmly locked in place on the U.N.’s ability to do its job will be released.

What can Palestinians expect in the near term? Unfortunately, nothing good. The wheels of diplomacy turn far more slowly than those on the bulldozers that destroy Palestinian homes and olive trees. Yet there was a turning point with Israel’s savage genocide in the summer of 2014; now that Mr. Netanyahu has stated clearly his intentions regarding Palestine, the age of pretense is over. The U.S., which has never helped Palestine, can no longer hide behind the farce of negotiations. The time to act is now.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on I$raHell, Palestine and ‘Greenwashing’

British state ‘involved in mass murder on British soil

NOVANEWS

Colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in 80 deaths between 1972 and 1978′

The aftermath of the UVF Step Inn pub bombing, Keady, in August 1976

Belfast Telegraph 

The state was involved in mass murder on British soil, a lawyer has told a coroner’s court.

The security forces colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in 80 deaths between July 1972 and June 1978 in Northern Ireland’s “murder triangle” in counties Armagh and Tyrone, Leslie Thomas QC said.

He said many were carried out by the Glenanne Gang of gunmen with the alleged involvement of soldiers and police officers.

Mr Thomas said it could take a year to hear inquests and compared the task to that of investigating the Hillsborough football disaster.

“If what we say is right this is the biggest involvement of state agents in mass murder on British soil,” he said.

He added: “We say that what the families of the bereaved want, quite simply can be put in a few words: they want the truth, they want the truth to come out, they want justice.”

Mr Thomas was addressing a preliminary hearing in Belfast of two inquests involving a Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) bombing at the Step Inn in Keady in Co Armagh in 1976 during which Catholics Elizabeth McDonald, 38, and Gerard McGleenan, 22, died.

He said the same weapons were used in many of the Glenanne murders and the killers adopted the same modus operandi, accused the authorities of state-sponsored terrorism and claimed one individual involved in killing Ms McDonald should have been dealt with sooner.

He said: “The murder of Betty McDonald could have been avoided, could have been avoided had that individual been taken off the street earlier on or the weapons been taken off the street earlier on, or there had not been the collusion amongst state agents in covering up earlier murders then in terms of Betty McDonald’s right to life we say she may be still here today, living long into life with her husband.”

The UVF gang operated out of farms in Armagh and Tyrone in the mid 1970s when the Troubles were at their worst.

Lawyers for the victims have insisted only a public inquiry or an inquest covering all the deaths can get to the truth of the collusion claims. Senior coroner John Leckey said he was constrained by the resources available to his office.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) Historical Enquiries Team (HET) has found “indisputable evidence” of security force collusion in the group.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has declined to be represented at the inquest. No submission has been made to her seeking a public inquiry but Mr Thomas said the McDonald family was not surprised she allegedly did not want to be involved.

He added: “This is the biggest case of state collusion in mass murder of innocent individuals. This is a state murdering its own, you cannot get bigger than that, and therefore while one sees and understands and looks at what is happening in Hillsborough, if what we say has occurred on, lets face it, British soil, why should that not be investigated?

“British security agents being involved in deaths of British citizens, it does not get worse than that.”

Mother-of-three Ms McDonald and Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) footballer Mr McGleenan were killed when a no-warning loyalist bomb detonated outside the Step Inn pub and nearby houses in August 1976. Twenty-five other people were injured.

Northern Ireland’s Attorney General John Larkin QC ordered the new inquest.

Mr Thomas acknowledged there had been convictions in some of the other killings he said were linked, but he added a narrow criminal investigation was not enough.

He said across the cases there had been a repetition of similar failings by the investigating authorities, a lack of criminal convictions, the killings happened in close proximity to each other, and created similar victims while pursuing similar modus operandi.

He added the deaths involved a similar group of individuals involved in a number of attacks.

“Many of those responsible were either serving or former members of the security forces. There were close ballistic links between the victims, the weapons used in many of the killings which originated within the Ulster Defence Regiment (a branch of the army recruited in Northern Ireland).”

He quoted the HET report: “Despite the obvious pattern and linkages between these offences, only cursory efforts have been made to investigate further.

“No determined efforts were made to investigate them in a meaningful fashion.

“This (Step Inn) bombing could have been prevented and should have been detected.”

Mr Thomas said precedents for a linked series of inquests were given by that into the deaths of Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko and Azelle Rodney, who was allegedly shot dead by Met Police.

He told Mr Leckey: “I can connect and join the dots in relation to various individuals who were named here to various atrocities, various bombings, various shootings, various matters and I can make the link on various weapons, various ballistics.

“This document enables me to tie up individuals.”

Further reading

Glenanne gang: Notorious death squad ‘fuelled by collusion’

Widow to sue police chief and MoD

38 years on, Malachi McDonald craves justice for wife he lost to brutal UVF gang

Posted in UKComments Off on British state ‘involved in mass murder on British soil

The Houla Massacre Revisited: “Official Truth” in the Dirty War on Syria

NOVANEWS

U.N. observers visit a hospital morgue in Houla on Saturday before the burial of massacre victims. Opposition activists and residents blame al-Assad's regime for the bloodbath.

By Prof. Tim Anderson
Global Research 

This article examines and documents the Houla massacre of May 2012, a terrible incident in the Syrian Crisis which came closest to attracting UN intervention. The analysis here seeks to include all relevant evidence, both from witnesses and on the UN processes. A series of appalling civilian massacres during the conflict helped set the tone for another round of ‘humanitarian intervention’ or ‘responsibility to protect’ debates. The killings at Houla deserve close attention. However, because of NATO’s abuse of the ‘no fly zone’ authorisation for Libya and the wider geo-politics of Syria, Russia and China would not allow a similar UN Security Council authorisation of force. Big power intervention therefore remained indirect, through proxy militias. While the Syrian army attacked those militias and many Islamist groups carried out public executions, attempts to blame the Syrian Army for attacks on civilians remained hotly contested.

The context to this was two very different narratives. Western propaganda attacked Syrian President Bashar al Assad, claiming that he, through the Syrian Arab Army, was repeatedly ‘killing his own people’. From the Syrian side this was always a proxy war against Syria, with NATO and allied Gulf monarchies backing sectarian terrorist gangs, with the aim of ‘regime change’. The western line maintained that a peaceful protest movement, after many months of ‘regime brutality’, transformed into a secular (later ‘moderate Islamist’) ‘revolution’. The western popular media reinforced this line, with calls to arm the ‘civilian protestors’. One such article claimed ‘We will pay a high price if we do not arm Syria’s rebels’ (Slaughter 2012). In the first few months of western reports there is very little admission of an armed insurrection, except by suggested ‘civilian self-defence’ measures.

The Syrian Government, on the other hand, said the political reform movement and the sectarian Islamist attacks were quite distinct, the latter taking cover under the former. Armed sniping attacks on police and civilians began in March 2011. In fact, arms shipments were intercepted on the Syria-Iraq border a week before the first violence broke out (Reuters 2011) and former Saudi military official Anwar Al-Eshki would later confirm to the BBC that his country had armed Islamists at the al-Omari mosque in Daraa (Truth Syria2012). Many Syrian citizens back their government’s explanation, saying that the early protests were not linked to the armed attacks, which made use of Islamist slogans. The protest movement was effectively driven off the streets by the armed conflict (Eva Pal 2014; Haidar 2012). It has emerged that both sides played down soldier deaths in the early weeks, as ‘the government did not want to show they are weak and the opposition did not want to show they are armed’. Yet 18-19 soldiers were massacred in Daraa in late March and another 88 were killed across Syria in April (Narwani 2014).

A similarly polarised view developed over how to characterise the violence in Homs over 2011-2012, when the first groups calling themselves Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigades attempted to hold parts of the old city. The Farouq and Khalid bin Walid brigades were the main occupying groups. Western sources characterised Farouq, if not exactly secular, then as ‘moderate’ Sunni Muslims. One US report, while recognising Islamist ‘jihadis’ amongst the fighters, claimed that ‘the vast majority of the [FSA] opposition fighters are legitimate nationalists … pious rather than Islamists and are not motivated by sectarianism’ (Benotman and Naseraldin 2012). The Washington-aligned International Crisis Group similarly noted ‘the presence of a strong Salafi strand among Syria’s rebels’, but spoke of ‘a moderate Islamic tradition’, suggesting that the Farouk and Khalid bin Walid brigades might be pious rather than Islamist (ICG 2012). The Wall Street Journal also called Farouk ‘pious Sunnis’ rather than Islamists (Malas 2013). The BBC called them ‘moderately Islamist’, suggesting they exaggerated their Islamism by dress and beards ‘to attract financial support from the Gulf’ (Marcus 2013).

Yet many Homs residents were terrified by the sectarian-genocidal slogans of ‘Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the tomb’ (Eretz Zen 2012; Adams 2012; Wakefield 2012). Reports of these slogans appeared in the US media as early as May 2011 (Blanford 2011). They did indeed drive Christians to Beirut. The Orthodox and Catholic churches blamed Farouq for the large scale ethnic cleansing of more than 50,000 Christians from Homs (CNA 2012). They began to impose an Islamic tax (Spencer 2012). A local analyst concluded most of Farouk were sectarian Salafis, armed and funded by Saudi Arabia; while ‘Khalid Ibn al-Walid remained loyal to and supported by the Muslim Brotherhood’ (Mortada 2012). Such ethnic cleansing would hardly have come from ‘moderate’ religious people, let alone a secular revolution.

The Houla massacre

After the Syrian Army had driven the FSA groups out of Homs, and on the eve of a UN Security Council meeting on Syria, a dreadful massacre of more than 100 civilians took place at the village of Houla, on the Taldou plains just north-west of Homs. The Houla massacre (25 May 2012) is important to ‘Responsibility to Protect’ discussions, because it formed the basis of a failed attempt to authorise UN intervention to protect civilians, based on the claim that the Syrian Government had massacred civilians. Evidence to back that claim, however, was hardly clear.

The governments of Britain, France and the USA immediately blamed the Syrian Government. In what has been called the ‘western and Arab media narrative’ the victims were killed by army artillery (Correggia, Embid, Hauben and Larson 2013). The Syrian Government, in turn, accused the foreign-backed terrorists, in particular the groups that had been driven out of Homs. Syria’s Foreign Ministry said the army clashed with ‘hundreds’ of armed men who committed Friday’s massacre. The killers used knives, which they said was a ‘signature’ of Islamist militant attacks (Reuters 2012). The Government told the UN ‘the victims were reportedly killed by terrorists numbering between 600–800, who had entered Al-Houla previously from the villages of Al-Rastan, Sa’an, Bourj Qaei and Samae’leen, among other locations’. The General Command of the armed forces held an inquiry (HRC 2012a: 6).

Allegations of Islamist ‘false flag’ provocations had been made before. Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix, the mother superior in charge of an ancient monastery in Qara, south of Homs, had observed the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Homs, and had grave suspicions about who was behind the killings at Houla. She had said publicly that Syrian Christians had been pressured to join FSA groups, had been used by the rebels as human shields and that Christian homes had been taken over by Sunnis. She denounced their ‘false flag’ crimes in 2011 (SANA 2011; AINA 2012), pointing out that the Catholic Media Centre had a list of names of hundreds of murder victims, many of whose images had been later used in [FSA] media setups (SANA 2011).

Western media reports, however, generally dismissed statements from Damascus. Several governments expelled Syrian diplomats, in moves designed to isolate the government. The UN Security Council said it:

‘condemned in the strongest possible terms the killings … in attacks that involved a series of Government artillery and tank shellings on a residential neighbourhood … [and] also condemned the killing of civilians by shooting at close range … [this] constitutes a violation of applicable international law and of the commitments of the Syrian Government’ (UNSC 2012). France’s representative at the UN, Martin Briens, said: ‘Tanks and artillery cannons from the government shelled residential areas killing civilians’ (RT 2012). Britain’s envoy Mark Lyall Grant said ‘there is not the slightest doubt that there was deliberate government shelling against a civilian neighbourhood’ (Cowan 2012).

These accusations were premature, betraying prejudice. Russia insisted on a UNSC briefing by UN Special Mission (UNSMIS) head, Norwegian General Robert Mood, who told them the victims included 49 children and 34 women, most of whom had been shot at close range or had their throats cut. Russian diplomat Aleksandr Pankin summarised: ‘very few of the people who died in Houla were killed by artillery shelling’ (RT 2012). From then, culprits in western media stories shifted to pro-government militia (shabiha). Britain’s Daily Telegraph blamed ‘Assad’s Death Squads’. The paper suggested a sectarian motive, from an opposition source: ‘They would fight for Bashar to the death. It is natural – they have to defend their sect’ (Alexander and Sherlock 2012).

The certainty of the British and French governments, and of the anti-government ‘activists’, was not evident in the statements of the head of UNSMIS. Mood’s group visited the massacre site and heard two distinct stories. The general’s public comments three weeks after the massacre deserve attention, given that the UN did not release the report to which he refers:

‘We have interviewed locals with one story and we have interviewed locals that have another story. The circumstances and … the facts related to the incident itself still remain unclear to us … we have sent [statements and witness interviews] as a report to UN headquarters New York … if we are asked [to assist] obviously we are on the ground and could help’ (Mood 2012).

This report was delivered to the UN Secretary General (UNSG 2012); yet it seems it was not received by the Security Council (Hauben 2012). Mood’s ambiguity may have been disconcerting for those wanting clear findings against the Syrian Government. On 1 June the Human Rights Council (three against and two abstentions) blamed the Houla killings on the Syrian Government (‘wanton killings … by pro-regime elements and a series of Government artillery and tank shellings’) before calling for a ‘comprehensive, independent and unfettered special inquiry’ (HRC 2012c). UNSMIS had its activities suspended and was disbanded in August.

Circumstances and timing were certainly important. As the Syrian Army drove Farouq from Homs and into surrounding towns, Syrians turned out for the 7 May National Assembly elections. Those sections of the opposition aligned to the FSA called for a boycott, and armed groups threatened to enforce this (al Akhbar 2012). In the event, the ruling Ba’ath party won 60% of the vote and their allied parties another 30%, though turnout was only 51% (Zarzar and al-Wahed 2012). There was reason to suspect enforcement of the threat, as reprisals against those who had participated and so lent legitimacy to the state and the government.

Yet that line of inquiry was not pursued by the second UN inquiry. With three of the UNSC permanent members openly backing regime change in Syria, the debate was heavily politicised. The Houla massacre inquiry was taken over by a Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry, co-chaired by US diplomat Karen Koning AbuZayd (HRC 2012a; HRC 2012b). Appointing a US delegate was a mistake, on the part of the UN. Karen Koning Abu Zayd had worked for the UN for many years, but was explicitly listed as a USA delegate to the Commission. The US Government had, by this time, publicly blamed the Syrian Government for Houla, demanding that President Assad resign for ‘killing your fellow citizens’ (AP 2012) and, with Turkey, had ‘stepped up’ what it called ‘non-lethal aid’ to rebels in Syria (Barnard 2012). By any standard Washington was a belligerent party to the Syrian conflict. On principles of independence and avoiding conflicts of interest the Human Rights Council should not have incorporated a US representative.

Unlike UNSMIS, this Commission did not visit Syria. A review of evidence was carried out and eight additional interviews were conducted, at a distance from Syria. The interim report reflected some of the ambiguity of the UNSMIS team: ‘[We are] unable to determine the identity of the perpetrators at this time; nevertheless … forces loyal to the Government may have been responsible for many of the deaths’ (HRC 2012b: 10). This was an injudicious statement. The report blamed both government forces and anti-government groups for crimes of war, but came in more strongly against the Syrian government, relying on the formal duties of government to ‘prevent or punish’ violence, as well as not commit it (HRC 2012b: 23). That is, a ‘catch-all’ argument had it that the Government was ultimately responsible for all violence on its territory.

The Commission’s 15 August report firmed up against the Syrian Government, removing most of the earlier ambiguity, but without identifying perpetrators. They wrote:

‘The commission conducted eight additional interviews, including with six witnesses from the Taldou area, two of whom were survivors. They looked at a range of statements from ‘various sources’, including ‘international human rights NGOs’ (HRC 2012b: 64-65).

All statements, they said, were consistent with deaths being caused by government shelling and unidentified ‘shabiha’ forces. Even though they had heard evidence that the Al Sayed and Abdulrazzak families (the main groups of civilians killed) were government supporters, they concluded that the unidentified killers of those families ‘were aligned to the government’ (HRC 2012b: 67). They discounted evidence that FSA groups had committed the murders, claiming ‘apart from two witnesses in the Government report, no other account supported the Government’s version of events’ (HRC 2012b: 10). The Government ‘was responsible for the deaths of civilians as a result of shelling’, they said; while as regards the ‘deliberate killing of civilians, the Commission was unable to determine the identity of the perpetrators … [but] it considered that forces loyal to the Government were likely to have been responsible for many of the deaths’ (HRC 2012b: 10).

A prominent witness presented by the anti-government side was 11 year old boy Ali Al Sayed, who says many members of his family were murdered. In an online video little Ali says:

‘There were tanks in the street, they shot at us with machine guns … soldiers came out … they fired 5 bullets on the door lock … arrested my brother … [and] my uncle … then my mum screamed at them … they then shot her 5 times, they shot her in the head … then he went to my brother and shot him … some of them were dressed as military, some had regular clothes, had shaved heads and beards, shabiha’ (Marchfifteen 2012).

He pretended to be dead, and thus escaped being murdered. Later he saw news on state television of his uncles having been murdered. His story is not consistent in several respects (Larson in Correggia, Embid, Hauben and Larson 2013: 20-28) and, at the end, with the help of some leading questions, he gives what appears to be a tutored appeal for foreign military intervention:

‘I demand that the international community stop the killing in Syria and in Houla … we are being killed … the international community is sitting, just talking and not doing anything … the people must fight for us, do what they say and protect us’ (Marchfifteen 2012).

Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of the boy’s story, Ali’s was hardly the only eye-witness account of the massacre. Further, it was quite false for the UN Commission of Inquiry to suggest that only ‘two witnesses … supported the Government’s version of events’. By that time there was public evidence from at least fifteen witnesses, broadly consistent with the account by the Syrian Government. Russian journalists tried to present their interview material to the Commission and apparently met with a lack of interest (Janssen 2012). The Commission claimed that the Russian reports ‘relied primarily on the same two witnesses as the Government’s report’ (HRC 2012b: 66). Yet a simple reading of a summary of evidence from the latter’s witnesses shows this to be false. Below is a summary of evidence from witnesses the UN Commission ignored. These accounts of ‘rebel’ culprits are broadly consistent with the account of the Government and often quite specific. Several gunmen are named.

Inconvenient Evidence

First, the Syrian news agency reported two unidentified people who feared for their safety. The first said the gunmen were locals plus a larger group from other areas. The locals assembled after noon prayers before attacking check-points. They then selected pro-government people, those who participated in elections or ‘didn’t give the gunmen money’. One was Haitham al-Housan. The bodies shown on television were of ‘people murdered by terrorists along with the bodies of the gunmen killed in the initial conflict’ (SANA2012). The second witness, a woman, saw the larger group attacking a check-point. They heard of people from Tal Dahab, Aqrab and al-Rastan. A man called Saiid Fayes al-Okesh fired a mortar and police responded; he was shot in the leg. Another gunmen was Haitham al-Hallaq, who led a group of about 200. The victims belonged to the al Sayed family, with Muawiya al Sayed ‘a police officer who didn’t defect’ and others related to Meshleb al Sayed, who ‘recently became Secretary of the Peoples’ Assembly’. Other targeted groups included four households of the Abdelrazzaq family (SANA 2012).

Syrian television news showed interviews with two distressed male witnesses. The first man said:

‘The terrorists are from this area and all the areas around … a huge number of them, hundreds. They started to use shells and RPGs … hitting the houses with guns, machine guns … They killed people in their houses … some bodies have been burned’ (Syria News 2012: at 6.47). The second man said: ‘A man, his brother, and nephew were killed in front of my sister … [another] was able to run away and hide … the United Nations, those observers, what are they doing while shells are hitting us?’ (Syria News 2012: at 7.35).

German journalist, Rainer Hermann, who speaks Arabic, interviewed witnesses from Houla within days of the massacre. His sources included Syrian opposition members who had rejected violence, whose names he withheld. They said Islamist rebels had attacked three army checkpoints. His sources told him:

‘The massacre took place after Friday prayers … dozens of soldiers and rebels were killed … [in fighting of] about 90 minutes … those killed were almost exclusively families of the Alawite or Shia minorities … [including] several dozen members of a family which had converted to Shia Islam in recent years … and the family of a Sunni member of parliament, because he was considered a collaborator … after the massacre, the perpetrators filmed their victims, presented them as Sunni victims and spread their videos’ (Hermann 2012).

Hermann gave names to the gang leaders:

‘more than 700 gunmen under the leadership of Abdurrazzaq Tlass and Yahya Yusuf [Farooq leaders] came in three groups from Rastan, Kafr Laha and Akraba and attacked three army checkpoints around Taldou. The numerically superior rebels and the soldiers fought bloody battles … the rebels, supported by the residents of Taldou, snuffed out the families … [who] had refused to join the opposition’ (LRC 2012).

German journalist Alfred Hackensberger spoke with a man who had been given refuge in the Qara monastery headed by Mother Agnes Mariam. This man called ‘Jibril’ said:

‘The fighting began around noon, when the rebels, coming from Ar-Rastan and Saan, attacked the checkpoints … the rebels went to the hospital and killed patients there … several teams targeted and went in selected houses and started to shoot all of the inhabitants. He knew the Sajid’s personally. ‘They were Sunni Muslims, like all of us’, he says. ‘They were killed by them because they have refused to join the revolution. They’ve even murdered a Member of Parliament who … had refused the boycott of the FSA’.

Asked about the ‘regime loyalists’ claims, Jibril responded derisively:

‘Nonsense … Houla is in rebel hands since December 2011 … the Army would like to reclaim Taldu, but it has not been done … many people know what really happened … who’s there … can only replay the version of the rebels. Everything else is certain death’ (Hackensberger 2012).

The Arabic speaking Dutch writer Martin Janssen constructed his view from three sources: the Catholic Fides news agency, information from refugees at the Qara monastery and the accounts of Russian journalists Musin and Kulygina. He questioned the shabiha story because many victims were Alawi, who are almost all pro-government. Fides had reported that ‘large groups of Syrian Alawites and Christians were fleeing to Lebanon to escape the violence of armed gangs’, after the events at Houla (Janssen 2012). The Qara monastery told him witnesses said the army was absent in the region, with ‘Rastan and Saan … under full control of the Free Syrian Army’. The armed groups attacked the al-Watani hospital and killed the guards. ‘Then they invaded the hospital where armed rebels killed all present and … put the hospital on fire’ (Janssen 2012). At Tal Daw, near Houla, armed groups murdered all the Alawite families. The report from the monastery described the area around Qusayr as ‘in turmoil’ and wracked by sectarian violence (Janssen 2012).

Those Russian journalists, Marat Musin and Olga Kulygina from the Abkhazian Network News Agency (ANNA-News) had a camera crew in Houla on 25 May and took a number of witness interviews. Their sources make it very clear the murderers were Islamist ‘rebels’. An old woman called

‘The grandmother of Al-Hula’ said: ‘Checkpoint positions were attacked … All the soldiers were killed, then they attacked our villages, torched a hospital … Bandits killed our pharmacist … [because] he had treated a wounded soldier Nobody but the army will help us … They say there have been airstrikes! Lies, lies, lies. Liars, all of them come from Ar-Rastan’ (ANNA 2012).

Taldou resident Syed Abdul Wahab, said: ‘The terrorists want to come here … to take power. We have always lived in peace. We cannot leave the house’. A local woman from Al-Gaunt, next to Al-Houla, said ‘Nine terrorists killed my relatives in the field. The bandits set fire to our houses and we fled … we have a martyr, who was burned alive. Why, by what law did they die? Is this Islam? Is this justice?’ (ANNA 2012).

Another woman from Taldou they call Arifah told them she listened to the radio chatter from the ‘bandits’, before the massacre (Musin 2012a). They began by firing at the main checkpoint while a group from the al Hassan clan, led by Nidal Bakkur, attacked a ‘second checkpoint’ outside the village. The bandits lost about 25 people but after about two hours they had taken over both check-points. ‘They then proceeded to murder the Al-Sayed family which lived across the street from the police station’. Three families including about 20 children were murdered, along with another 10 from the Abdul Razaq family. That afternoon Abdul Razak Tlas, leader of the Farouq Brigade, arrived with 250 men from Ar-Rastan, Aqraba and Farlaha (Musin 2012a). The city of Ar-Rastan had been abandoned by most civilians for some time, taken over by Islamists from Lebanon (Musin 2012b). Arifah said that by 8pm the murdered civilians and dead bandits had been taken to the mosque. They then filmed for the Qatari and Saudi television stations. On Saturday morning, when the UNSMIS observers arrived, ‘The fallen rebels involved in the action were presented as civilians, while the conquering rebels dressed in army uniforms posed as defectors. They were surrounded by their family members who told the story of a government attack with heavy shelling and posed as victim’s relatives, while the relatives of the real victims were nowhere to be seen’ (Musin 2012a).

Violence continued after the UNSMIS visit. Musin and Kulygina later interviewed two wounded soldiers, a wounded policeman and another resident, who gave more detail of ‘rebel’ sniper attacks and murders, and of the ‘rebel’ escorts set up for the UN observers. They continued to identify attackers and victims. A group from the Al Aksh clan had been firing mortars and RPGs at the checkpoints. All checkpoint prisoners were executed: a Sunni conscript had his throat cut, while Abdullah Shaui of Deir-Zor was burned alive (Maramus 2012; Musin 2012b). The police officer said ‘the attackers were from Ar-Rastan and Al-Hula. Insurgents control Taldou. They burned houses and killed people by the families, because they were loyal to the government’ (Musin 2012b). The resident saw the clashes from the roof of the police station. ‘Al Jazeera aired pictures and said that the Army committed the massacre at Al Hula … in fact, they [the gunmen] killed the civilians and children in Al-Hula. The bandits … steal everything … most of the fighters are from the city of Ar Rastan’ (Maramus 2012; Musin 2012b). The second UN inquiry ignored these 15 witnesses, who told of specific perpetrators with clear political motives. An outline of major reports and their associated evidence is below.


TABLE Houla massacre (May 2012): significant reports
Source/report Method and conclusion
Mother Agnes Mariam FSA had previously attacked Christians and was engaged in ‘false flag’ attacks, falsely blamed on the government
Most western media reports Massacre by ‘Assad’s death squads’
British and French government Massacre resulted from Government shelling of civilian areas; later changed this to ‘regime thug’ attacks
UN Special Mission on Syria (UNSMIS), Gen. Robert Mood Went to massacre site, heard stories that blamed both sides. Could not resolve the two versions.
UN HRC Commission of Inquiry Interviews in Geneva, co-chaired by US diplomat; witnesses selection assisted by anti-government groups; Commission blames pro-government ‘thugs’ (shabiha)
FSA video, on Al Jazeera and elsewhere Show young boy Ali al Sayed, he blames ‘shabiha’ in army clothes with shaved heads and beards.
Syrian Government, state news agencies and television Four direct witnesses say attacks were by armed gangs, who killed security and targeted pro-government families
German journalist Alfred HACKENSBERGER Interviews refugee ‘Jibril’ at Qara monastery – massacre carried out by FSA gangs on pro-government families
German journalist Rainer HERMANN Interviews anti-violence opposition people – they say local gangs and FSA killed pro-government families
Dutch Journalist Martin JANSSEN Notes large outflow of Christian and Alawi refugees from Houla; refugees at Qara blame FSA gangs
Russian journalists Marat MUSIN and Olga KULYGINA Eight witnesses blame FSA-linked anti-government gangs, victims pro-government families
Correggia, Embid, Hauben and Larson Critical review of evidence and UN reports – say the Commission report is not credible.

Dissent at the UN

The partisan report clearly influenced UN discussions. Although the HRC passed a motion with a strong majority, condemning the Syrian Government, the dissenting comments were significant. Russian representative Maria Khodynskaya-Golenischv (UNTV 2012: 7.00 to 8.10) said

‘We cannot agree with the one-sided conclusions put out in the resolution concerning the Commission on the Houla tragedy … We believe that the question of guilt is still open. An investigation should be carried out thoroughly … unfortunately some states are de facto encouraging terrorism in Syria therefore we have no doubt that the episode in Houla has definitely been whipped up in the media and has been used to carry out force against this country. The delegate from China (UNTV 2012: 13.25 to 15.50) also flagged that country’s intention to vote against the resolution, as there was a need ‘for a political solution … [and an] immediate end to violence … putting pressure on one party for the conflict will not help solve the problem’. The Cuban delegate (UNTV 2012: 16.05 to 18.50) said ‘there are parties that are interested in not fostering the path of dialogue and understanding … [some saying clearly they want] regime change, and even promoting the idea of military intervention with the use of force to impose on the Syrian people decisions that are being taken outside the country’. The Indian delegate (UNTV 2012: 19.00-21.30), who abstained, said India had given ‘unqualified support to the joint missions’ but urged the Human Rights Council to ‘always act with complete impartiality, in order to maintain its credibility and retain the trust and confidence of all … [there is a need for] a balanced and impartial resolution that can help start a meaningful political process in Syria’

The Syrian delegation (UNTC 2012: 24.33-35.30) came out hardest against the resolution, saying that the Commission of Inquiry ‘didn’t even visit Syria’ and had ignored the Syrian inquiry. Referring to some ‘Arab co-sponsors’ Syria said they had no right to ‘give advice’ because they were ‘directly involved in the killings of Syrian people, and criminals cannot be judges’, imposing sanctions and then ‘shedding tears about the humanitarian situation’. The refusal to condemn terrorism in Syrian reflected badly on the Council. Nevertheless, the big powers had the numbers, with 41 voting in favour, three against and three abstentions. The resolution was adopted but no UNSC action was possible because of opposition from two of the five permanent members of the Security Council, Russia and China.

The unsatisfactory UN process does not negate the fact that strong prima facie evidence emerged against particular groups and individuals. Witnesses identified as perpetrators four local gunmen (Haitham al-Housan, Saiid Fayes al-Okesh, Haitham al-Hallq and Nidal Bakkur) along with groups from two clans (the al Hassan and the al-Aksh), plus a large Farouq group led by Abdurrazzaq Tlass and Yahya Yusuf. Their motive was to punish pro-government villagers, in particular the al-Sayed and Abdulrazzak families, then to set up a scene to falsely blame the government for their own crimes. The Houla massacre did not result in a Libyan-styled intervention, but false accusations afforded temporary impunity to the killers and created a great risk that military intervention could have been set in play.

The Aftermath

Houla set the tone for a series of similar ‘false flag’ massacres. When the August 2012 massacre of 245 people in Daraya (Damascus) came to light, western media reports quickly suggested that ‘Assad’s army has committed [another] massacre’ (Oweis 2012). However that story was contradicted by British journalist Robert Fisk, who observed that the FSA had slaughtered kidnapped civilian and off-duty soldier hostages after a failed prisoner swap (Fisk 2012). Similarly, the 10 December 2012 massacre of 120 to 150 villagers in Aqrab (less than 15 kilometres from Houla, and also at that time under ‘rebel’ control) was also blamed by ‘activists’ on the Syrian Government. The New York Times suggested ‘members of Assad’s sect’ were responsible (Stack and Mourtada 2012). In fact, as British journalist Alex Thompson (2012b) later reported, from the tightly corroborated evidence of survivors, the FSA (including foreign fighters) had held 500 Alawi villagers for nine days, murdering many of them as the army closed in and the FSA fled. In this case those of ‘Assad’s sect’ were the victims, just as the victims at Houla had been mostly government supporters and their families.

The Houla massacre illustrates great dangers in the practice of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine, when the big powers have proxy armies in the field. The idea that almost any sort of atrocity could be blamed on the Syrian Government, with little fear of contradiction in the western media, must have played heavily on the minds of Islamist armed groups. Farouq in particular was very media savvy, regularly producing videos for the television networks of Qatar (Al Jazeera) and Saudi Arabia (Al Arabiya). Up against a superior national army, which was not disintegrating along sectarian lines, Farouq and the others were in desperate need of military backing. Inflaming moral outrage against the Syrian Government just might bring in NATO air power, as it had in Libya. In the meantime, they could carry out major crimes with impunity.

The failure of UN processes to recognise the UN’s own role, in fomenting both impunity and escalation of the violence, further discredited the ‘no fly zone’ idea, which had been cynically exploited in the Libyan intervention. After Houla, while the propaganda war continued, there was no real hope of Security Council authorised intervention in Syria. The next major incident, involving the use of chemical weapons in ‘rebel’ occupied East Ghouta, more than a year later, would have as its reference point a unilateral ‘red line’ decree by Washington. Houla in many respects marked the collapse of UN-sanctioned ‘official truth’ in Syria.

Bibliography

Adams, Simon (2012) ‘The World’s Next Genocide’, New York Times, 15 November, online:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/16/opinion/the-worlds-next-genocide.html

AINA (2012) ‘Sunni Rebels Occupying Churches, Homes of Syrian Christians’, Assyrian International News Agency, 29 July, online:http://www.aina.org/news/2012072912019.htm

Al Akhbar (2012) ‘Boycott and breaches mar Syrian vote’, 7 May, online: http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/syria-votes-against-backdrop-violence

Alexander, Harriet and Ruth Sherlock (2012) ‘The Shabiha: Inside Assad’s death squads’, The Telegraph, 2 June, online:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9307411/The-Shabiha-Inside-Assads-death-squads.html

ANNA (2012) ‘Показания свидетеля-боевика по резне в Аль Хула с привязкой на местности’ [Summary report of interviews], online in Russian at: http://anna-news.info/node/6359; ‘Показания свидетеля-боевика по резне в Аль Хула’ [Arabic interviews dubbed in Russian], online: http://video.yandex.ru/users/news-anna2012/view/25 ; also ‘Witnesses to al-Houla Massacre in Syria’ [English subtitles by Syriaonline], 1 June, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68TjaXP84wM

AP (2012) ‘’Stop killing your fellow citizens or you will face consequences’: Clinton issues warning to Syrian regime as she says Assad must go’, Associated Press, Daily Mail UK, 2 April, online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2123853/Syria-Hillary-Clinton-says-Assad-go.html

Barnard, Anne (2012) ‘U.S. and Turkey to Step Up ‘Nonlethal’ Aid to Rebels in Syria’, New York Times, 25 march, online:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/world/middleeast/us-and-turkey-to-step-up-nonlethal-aid-to-syrian-rebels.html?_r=0

Benotman, Noman and Emad Naseraldin (2012) ‘The Jihadist Network in the Syrian Revolution, A Strategic Briefing’, Quilliam Institute, 20 September, online: http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/press-releases/quilliam-releases-concept-paper-the-jihadist-network-in-the-syrian-revolution/

Blanford, Nicholas (2011) ‘Assad regime may be gaining upper hand in Syria’, Christian Science Monitor, 13 May, online:http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0513/Assad-regime-may-be-gaining-upper-hand-in-Syria

CNA (2012) ‘Syrian violence drives 50,000 Christians from homes’, Catholic News Agency, online:http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/syrian-violence-drives-50000-christians-from-homes/

Correggia, Marinella; Alfredo Embid, Ronda Hauben, Adam Larson (2013) ‘Official Truth, Real Truth, and Impunity for the Syrian Houla Massacre of May 2012’, CIWCL, May 15, online: http://ciwclibya.org/reports/realtruthhoula.html

Cowan, Jane (2012) ‘UN Security Council condemns Syrian regime’, ABC, 28 May, online:http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2012/s3512153.htm

Eretz Zen (2012) ‘Rhetoric of Syrian protesters and to whom their allegiance goes’, YouTube, 17 June, online:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6zGwjj0lDc

Eva Pal (2014) ‘Talk with Lilly Martin and Steven Sahiounie, part 1’, YouTube, May 10, online:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc2HRk42O-w

Fisk, Robert (2012) ‘Inside Daraya – how a failed prisoner swap turned into a massacre’, 29 August:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-inside-daraya–how-a-failed-prisoner-swap-turned-into-a-massacre-8084727.html

Hackensberger, Alfred (2012) ‘In Syrien gibt es mehr als nur eine Wahrheit’, Berliner Morgenpost, 23 June, online:http://www.morgenpost.de/politik/ausland/article107255456/In-Syrien-gibt-es-mehr-als-nur-eine-Wahrheit.html

Haidar, Ali (2012) Syria’s Ali Haidar: Both Sides Have Extremists’, Al Akhbar, 13 July, online: http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/9716

Hauben, Ronda (2012) ‘Why is the UNSMIS Houla Report Missing?’, 28 November, Netizenblog, online:http://blogs.taz.de/netizenblog/2012/11/28/why-is-unsmis-report-missing/

Hauben, Ronda (2013) ‘Why is the UNSMIS Houla Report Missing?’ in Correggia, Marinella; Alfredo Embid, Ronda Hauben, Adam Larson (2013) ‘Official Truth, Real Truth, and Impunity for the Syrian Houla Massacre of May 2012’, CIWCL, May 15, online:http://ciwclibya.org/reports/realtruthhoula.html

Hermann, Rainer (2012) ‘Abermals Massaker in Syrien’, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 7 June, online:http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/neue-erkenntnisse-zu-getoeteten-von-hula-abermals-massaker-in-syrien-11776496.html

HRC (2012a) ‘Oral Update of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic’, Human Rights Commission, 26 June, online:http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/OralUpdateJune2012.pdf

HRC (2012b) ‘Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic’, Human Rights Commission 16 August, online: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session21/A-HRC-21-50_en.pdf

HRC (2012c) ‘The deteriorating situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the recent killings in El-Houleh’, Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council S-19/1, Human Rights Council, United Nations, 4 June, online:http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/SpecialSession/Session19/A-HRC-RES-S-19-1_en.pdf

Janssen, Martin (2012) ‘De verschrikkingen van Houla’, 10 June, Mediawerkgroep Syrië, online:http://mediawerkgroepsyrie.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/de-verschrikkingen-van-houla/

LRC (2012) ‘Germany’s FAZ paper Follow-up on Houla Hoax’, The LRC Blog [translation of the FAZ article from German], 16 June, online: http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/113737.html

Marchfifteen (2012) 11-year-old Houla Massacre Survivor’, marchfifteen’s YouTube channel, 28 may, online:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POEwEiqTavA

Malas, Nour (2013) ‘As Syrian Islamists Gain, It’s Rebel Against Rebel’, Wall Street Journal, 29 may, online:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323975004578499100684326558.html

Marcus, Jonathan (2013) Gruesome Syria video pinpoints West’s dilemma, BBC, 14 May, online:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22521161

Mood, Robert (2012) ‘Houla massacre, 2 versions – UNSMIS Robert Mood, June 15’, Adam Larson YouTube site, 16 September, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ViUVJYGT_8

Mortada, Radwan (2012) ‘Syria Alternatives (II): no homegrown solutions’, Al Akhbar, 13 June, online: http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/syria-alternatives-ii-no-homegrown-solutions

Musin, Marat (2012a) ‘Al Hula Witness’, Sabina Zaher You Tube, 31 May, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD0PA0BxNAQ

Musin, Marat (2012b) ‘THE HOULA MASSACRE: Opposition Terrorists “Killed Families Loyal to the Government’, Global Research, 1 June, online:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-houla-massacre-opposition-terrorists-killed-families-loyal-to-the-government/31184?print=1

Maramus (2012) ‘ANNA ВИДЕО : материалы собственного расследования по Аль Хула’, [soldier and police interviews] May 30, online: http://maramus.livejournal.com/86539.html ; VIDEO: http://video.yandex.ru/users/news-anna2012/view/24/.]

Narwani, Sharmine (2014) ‘Syria: the hidden massacre’, RT, 7 May, online: http://rt.com/op-edge/157412-syria-hidden-massacre-2011/

Oweis, Khaled Yacoub (2012) ‘Syria activists report ‘massacre’ by army near Damascus’, 25 August:http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/25/us-syria-crisis-killings-idUSBRE87O08J20120825

Reuters (2011) ‘Syria says seizes weapons smuggled from Iraq’, 11 March, online:http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/11/us-syria-iraq-idUSTRE72A3MI20110311

Reuters (2012) ‘Syrian gov’t: Islamists behind Houla massacre’, Jerusalem Post, 28 May, online: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Syrian-govt-Islamists-behind-Houla-massacre

RT (2012) ‘UN Security Council issues statement condemning Houla Massacre’, 27 May, online: http://rt.com/news/un-security-syria-houla-348/

SANA (2011) ‘Mother Agnes Merriam al-Saleeb: Nameless Gunmen Possessing Advanced Firearms Terrorize Citizens and Security in Syria’, Syrian Free Press Network, 19 November, online: http://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/mother-agnes-merriam-al-saleeb-nameless-gunmen-possessing-advanced-firearms-terrorize-citizens-and-security-in-syria/

SANA (2012) ‘Witnesses to al-Houla Massacre: Massacres were carried out against specific families that support the government’, Uprooted Palestinian, 4 June, online: http://uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/witnesses-to-al-houla-massacre.html

Slaughter, Ann-Marie (2012) ‘We will pay a high price if we do not arm Syria’s rebels’, Financial Times, 31 July

Spencer, Robert (2012) ‘Syrian Opposition Army Imposes Jizya on Christians in Homs’, Assyrian International News Agency, 13 April, online: http://www.aina.org/news/20120413175936.htm

Stack, Liam and Hania Mourtada (2012) ‘Members of Assad’s Sect Blamed in Syria Killings’, New York Times, December 12, online:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/13/world/middleeast/alawite-massacre-in-syria.html?_r=0

Syria News (2012) ‘Syria News 27 May 2012. Syrian Official TV Channel’, Syria News YouTube, 27 May, online:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX7n0U5hvWQ

Thompson, Alex (2012) ‘Was there a massacre in the Syrian town of Aqrab?’, 14 December: http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/happened-syrian-town-aqrab/3426

Truth Syria (2012) ‘Syria – Daraa revolution was armed to the teeth from the very beginning’, BBC interview with Anwar Al-Eshki,YouTube, 7 November, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoGmrWWJ77w

UNSC (2012) ‘Security Council Press Statement on Attacks in Syria’, United Nations Security Council, 27 May, online:http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/sc10658.doc.htm

UNSG (2012) ‘Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General’, United Nations, 21 June, online:http://www.un.org/press/en/2012/db120621.doc.htm

UNTV (2012) ‘September 28 2012 meeting of the Human Rights Council’, L32 Vote, Item: 4, 38th Meeting – 21st Regular Session of Human Rights Council, online:

http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-council/watch/l32-vote-item:4-38th-meeting-21st-regularsession-of-human-rights-council/1865712813001

Wakefield, Mary (2012) ‘Die Slowly Christian Dog’, The Spectator, 27 October, online:http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8708121/die-slowly-christian-dog/

Zarzar, Anas and Tareq Abd al-Wahed (2012) ‘Syria’s New Parliament: From Baath to Baath’, Al Akhbar, 16 May, online:http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/syria%E2%80%99s-new-parliament-baath-baath

Posted in SyriaComments Off on The Houla Massacre Revisited: “Official Truth” in the Dirty War on Syria

The Roots of Naziyahu’s Electoral Victory: Colonial Expansion and Fascist Ideology

NOVANEWS

Image result for Netanyahu CARTOON

Global Research

It is always a meritorious deed to get hold of a Palestinian’s possessions” The code of Jewish Law revised and updated by Benjamin Netanyahu

            Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election makes him the longest serving prime minister in Israel’s history.  His 20% margin of victory (30 Knesset seats to 24 for his nearest opponent) underlines the mass base of his consolidation of power.

            Most critical commentators cite Netanyahu’s racist pronouncements; his rejection of any two state solution and his overt appeal for a mass Jewish voter turnout to counteract the ‘droves of Arab voters’ for his electoral victories.

            There is no question that the majority of Israeli Jewish leaders and parties support Netanyahu’s racist pronouncements and ‘no-state’ solution and joined him in a coalition government.  But the larger issue is the positive mass response to Netanyahu’s call to action.  Nearly three quarters of the electorateturned out (73%) to elect him.  Moreover, Netanyahu has been elected prime minister for four terms:  between 1996-99 and more recently 2009-20.

            What is more, the opposition has not differed from the Netanyahu coalition regime’s Judeo-centric policies and pronouncements.  In other words, ‘racist’ ideology per se is not what drives the Israeli majority to repeatedly support Netanyahu.

Jewish-centered racism is an integral and accepted part of Israel’s political culture.

Social Colonialism and Netanyahu’s Popularity

There is a more fundamental, ongoing material basis which accounts for Netanyahu’s electoral victories and mass appeal: His regime’s aggressive, perpetual and escalating seizure and dispossession of Palestinians land and his massive financing of Israel’s Jewish colonial towns.

In other words, Netanyahu’s appeal is rooted in the large-scale, long-term housing which hundreds of thousands of low and middle income Israeli Jews have obtained via his brutal land-grabbing policy.  The so-called ‘settlers’ are in part armed Israeli Jewish colonists who engage in open theft and defend Netanyahu, because they materially benefit from his policies…  It is not only those who have already colonized Palestinian land grabbed after 1967 – over 650,000 Jews – who vote for Netanyahu, but there are the hundreds of thousands of others in Israel, priced out of the Israeli real estate bubble, who cannot afford comfortable housing and look to the West Bank and Jerusalem for a ‘Jewish solution’ at the expense of the Palestinian inhabitants.

Racism, the foul language directed at Palestinians, which pervades Israeli-Jewish culture (‘Arab scum’ is one of many such common expressions) found expression even among the songs celebrating Netanyahu’s latest electoral victory.  Racism serves to justify the land grabbing.  Can the settler mind even imagine that an ‘inferior people’ should complain about land grabs by the ‘chosen people’?  Modern educated Jewish professionals wax indignant that shepherds and olive farmers should hold back the development of glitzy shopping malls, million dollar community centers (for Jews only, of course), hospitals, sports complexes and high tech industrial parks.

And if they – ‘the Arabs’ – object to their own displacement, all the better:  Their resistance provides an excellent pretext for armed Jewish settler thugs to invade a village, drive out the inhabitant and call in Netanyahu’s bull dozers, as a prelude to establishing an ‘outpost’, first steps to a new Jews only colony!

The key to Netanyahu’s big vote is that he responds favorably and forcefully in favor of new colonies.  The self-styled Israeli Defense (sic) Force (IDF) is dispatched to protect the local vandals and to shoot live ammo at any rock-throwing Palestinian adolescent defending the family patrimony.

Netanyahu acts and speaks for the rapacious Jewish colonial masses.  The opposition criticized Netanyahu on the basis of his neglect of socio-economic issues in Israel, especially, the soaring prices of housing in the major cities.  But they failed to attract many Jewish voters because Netanyahu offers a more attractive alternative solution – the seizure of more Palestinian land and the construction of Jewish homes, instead of fighting powerful Jewish real estate moguls, land speculators and corporate landlords inside Israel.

Extremism at the Service of Jewish Housing is No Vice

For the mass of Israeli Jews, looking for a cheap, easy and government-financed road to comfortable middle class housing, seizing and occupying Palestinian property is a very attractive and viable ‘solution’.

Netanyahu’s ‘final solution’ for the Palestinians – no state – is a guarantee that land, which is seized and housing which is built, will remain under Jewish jurisdiction.  The ‘final solution’ for Palestinians is the housing solution for the Jewish masses.

Under Netanyahu, from 2013 to 2015, two-thirds of new housing construction (for Jews only) has taken place on stolen Palestinian lands.  His regime spends $252 million dollars a year on Jews-only colonies (‘settlements’).  The Netanyahu regime spends $950 for each Jewish colonist in the West Bank, double what is invested for each Jewish Israeli resident in Tel Aviv.  For the most aggressive Jewish colonists, those who destroy the productive olive groves, torch Palestinian homes and who establish ‘settler outposts’, Netanyahu spends $1,483 a year . . . with promises of roads, electricity, schools, swimming pools and air conditioning to come!

Owning the Holy City Secures the Unsavory Vote

Netanyahu’s big vote in Jerusalem can be accounted for by the fact that over 300,000 Jews have been the beneficiaries of land grabs and sparkling high-rise condos in what had been centuries-old Palestinian neighborhoods.

Netanyahu assures the Jerusalem Jews that ‘their city’ is and always will be the capital of Israel, an undivided Jewish city.

Sticking his finger in the eyes of the EU and US officials, who claim otherwise, energizes and emboldens the Jewish voters

Netanyahu’s ethnic cleansing is unrelenting:  That is why he is re-elected over and over again.  Israeli colonial settlements grew by over 5% each year from 2009 – 2015.  There is no backtracking with Bibi Netanyahu:  at this rate of ‘erasure’ all of historical Palestine will be Judified by 2050 at the latest!

Herr Netanyahu claims that Israeli Jews must have their  ‘lebensraum’ . . .

Israel and other colonial powers, like England in the 19th century and Germany in the 20th century, ‘solve’ their domestic social problems and social unrest by exporting populations across borders.  The attractiveness of this solution is that it preserves the power and privileges of the domestic economic elite and provides an ‘escape valve’ for the local disaffected masses.

Emigration to settler colonies requires violent dispossession of the local inhabitants.  If stiff resistance emerges – the imperial powers resort to genocide; extermination of native peoples by the English, Slavic peoples by the Germans, Palestinian Arabs and other non-Jews by the Israeli Jews.

Long past is the notion that Israeli Jews would solve their social -economic problems via a collectivist economy and popular struggle against Jewish plutocrats.

Today Jewish-Israeli millionaires flourish alongside orthodox, secular, Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Sabra and Russian emigrant colonists.  The former exploitslabor and markets, while the latter dispossesses Palestinians.  Netanyahu has discovered a formula for uniting quarrelsome Jewish parties, leaders and voters and for winning elections.

Moreover, Netanyahu has secured the financial and political backing of numerous overseas Jewish-Zionist billionaires.  He has secured the unconditional support of tens of thousands of middle class Israel-First activists, academics and professionals who operate AIPAC and dozens of similar propaganda mills in Washington and Christian Zionists throughout the US.  Netanyahu’s overseas backers ensure that the US government may grumble and criticize, but will never disrupt Netanyahu’s ‘plan’ of an ethnically pure ‘Greater Israel’ with Jerusalem as its ‘eternal’ capital.  Obama may whine and talk to the press about ‘reconsidering US-Israeli relations’ but he has assured Israel and Netanyahu that military and economic ties will remain intact.

 Conclusion

            Netanyahu has succeeded in setting a colonial agenda for all Israeli-Jewish parties (bar one).

            He has established the fact that competitive elections and opposition political parties are compatible and even facilitate violent colonial expansion.

            He has established the fact that Israel and its people embrace a racist ideology and receive the endorsement of most Western leaders, and mass media and the unconditional support of its overseas fifth column.

            Israel’s project for Palestine, the creation of a single Jewish state, is far more than the demented vision of one man.  It has been taken to heart by the great mass of the Israeli-Jewish people and their overseas supporters.  The victory of Netanyahu and his supporters marks a historic victory for all those regimes and people across the world who believe and fight for an imperial dominated world.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The Roots of Naziyahu’s Electoral Victory: Colonial Expansion and Fascist Ideology

Obama Now Sides with Poroshenko and the European Union to End Ukraine’s War

NOVANEWS
Global Research
ukraine drapeau animé 2
To understand the recent signs that are pointing toward a final settlement of Ukraine’s civil war, this war’s background must first be summarized:

 Petro Poroshenko became elected as Ukraine’s President on 25 May 2014, in an election that was held virtually only in the anti-Russian northwestern half of Ukraine. That’s the area which had not voted for his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, in Ukraine’s last, 2010, election — the man who was violently overthrown on 22 February 2014, in what the head of Stratfor, the ‘private CIA’ firm, has called “the most blatant coup in history.”

Before Poroshenko became elected, however, the region in the far east bordering Russia, Donbass, had broken away from Ukraine, and its residents were dubbed by the post-coup government as ’terrorists,’ for rejecting their rule. That region had voted 90% for Yanukovych, the man who had been overthrown in the coup. This new Ukrainian government invaded Donbass, using bombers, tanks, rocket-launchers, and everything it had; and, when Poroshenko gave his victory speech on May 25th, he promised, and it was very clear from him, that: “The anti-terrorist operation cannot and should not last two or three months. It should and will last hours.” (Another translation of it was “Antiterrorist operation can not and will not continue for 2-3 months. It must and will last hours.”) But it did last months — Poroshenko’s prediction was certainly false; and, moreover, he lost first one round of the war, and then another — his prediction of its outcome was likewise false.

 Quickly, the hard-line anti-Russian leaders in Ukraine started talking about overthrowing Poroshenko. One of them was Ihor Kolomoysky, a billionaire governor of one of Ukraine’s regions, who had been appointed by Oleksandr Turchynov, who had been appointed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had been appointed by Victoria Nuland, who had been appointed by Barack Obama.

Kolomoysky also had hired Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden to the board of one of his companies. So, Kolomoysky was connected directly to Obama. By contrast, Poroshenko was not, at all — he had been elected, by the residents in the now-rump Ukraine. Poroshenko wasn’t appointed by anybody. Kolomoysky said, as early as 21 June 2014 (when the first round of Poroshenko’s war was lost), “I’ll never obey Poroshenko,” and “My private army will finish off the separatists.”

He was saying that he would achieve what Poroshenko and Ukraine’s regular army could not. Kolomoysky’s faction in Ukraine’s parliament is almost as influential as is Poroshenko’s. Moreover, on December 2nd, all three of the far-right parliamentary factions (including Kolomoysky’s) joined together in an alliance whose aim was specifically to remove Poroshenko.

 By this time, Poroshenko, now the loser of two rounds of this war, was the reluctant leader of the Ukrainian government’s “moderate or peace faction”. The leader of the war faction is still Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the man who had been appointed on 4 February 2014 (18 days before the coup) by Victoria Nuland of the U.S. State Department. Whereas Yatsenyuk was directly beholden to Obama, Poroshenko was not.

Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande, as well as several other EU leaders, wanted the war to end at this point, but America’s Barack Obama still did not; he wanted yet another, third, round of the war, just as did Yatsenyuk and the other hard-line anti-Russians. So: Merkel and Hollande decided to fly to Moscow and negotiate on their own with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; and, on February 7th, they announced agreement on a plan, with or without the U.S. President. Though Obama had previously said that he would send weapons to Ukraine, he now said that he would place on hold his decision about sending weapons, so as not to obstruct the efforts of those EU leaders — not embarrass and antagonize leaders whose cooperation he was seeking.

A peace-summit was then held at Minsk on February 11th, attended by Merkel, Hollande, Putin, and Poroshenko; and it resulted in the signing of a new package of peacemaking measures, called Minsk II, on February 12th.

The big question, since then, has been whether the United States would press on with its arming of Ukraine. Would Obama support Yatsenyuk, whom his own person Victoria Nuland had selected to run the country? Or would he instead switch now to support Poroshenko — whom he had never chosen?

The first big shoe to fall was on March 19th, when Poroshenko removed Kolomoysky from control of a company whose majority owner is the Ukrainian government, and when Kolomoysky sent some of his toughs into its headquarters in order to seize back control of it, and when the American Ambassador to Ukraine — the very same person who had carried out Victoria Nuland’s appointment of Yatsenyuk to become Ukraine’s Prime Minister — publicly reprimanded Kolomoysky for that action. The U.S. White House, which had selected Yatsenyuk, who then indirectly selected Kolomoysky, was now publicly renouncing Kolomoysky. This was huge. (Subsequently, on March 25th, Poroshenko removed Kolomoysky from the governorship to which Yatsenyuk — via Turchynov — had originally appointed him.)

The second big shoe to drop was on March 23rd, when, as announced in a headline, “Ukrainian Parliament May Check Yatsenyuk for Corruption.” It reported: “MP Sergei Kaplin, a member of the largest faction in the Ukrainian parliament — ‘Petro Poroshenko Bloc’ — suggested creating a special commission in Verkhovna Rada – Ukraine’s Parliament – to investigate the activities of the current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was accused of concealing corruption schemes.” In other words: Poroshenko has Obama’s approval to get rid of Yatsenyuk — who had previously been Obama’s man. Poroshenko is now free to follow through with the Merkel-Hollande peace-plan.

Apparently, Obama, who had started this war, has finally given up on pursuing it any further, because doing so would split the Western alliance.

Obama has other fish to fry with them — such as his proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), to grant international corporations effective control over the environmental, labor, and product-safety regulations of participating countries. He seems to have decided (at least for the time being) to pursue — via other routes than Ukraine — his war against Russia.

Posted in USA, UkraineComments Off on Obama Now Sides with Poroshenko and the European Union to End Ukraine’s War

How The US Government and US Military Became Murder, Inc.

NOVANEWS

Image result for AMERICAN WAR'S PHOTO

Global Research

Andrew Cockburn has written a must-read book.  The title is Kill Chain: The Rise Of The High-Tech Assassins.  The title could just as well be: How the US Government and US Military Became Murder, Inc.

The US military no longer does war.  It does assassinations, usually of the wrong people.  The main victims of the US assassination policy are women, children, village elders, weddings, funerals, and occasionally US soldiers mistaken for Taliban by US surveillance operating with the visual acuity of the definition of legal blindness.

Cockburn tells the story of how the human element has been displaced by remote control killing guided by misinterpretation of unclear images on screens collected by surveillance drones and sensors thousands of miles away.  Cockburn shows that the “all-seeing” drone surveillance system is an operational failure but is supported by defense contractors because of its high profitability and by the military brass because

general officers, with the exception of General Paul Van Ripper, are brainwashed in the belief that the revolution in military affairs means that high-tech devices replace the human element.  Cockburn demonstrates that this belief is immune to all evidence to the contrary.  The US military has now reached the point that Secretary of Defense Hagel deactivated both the A-10 close support fighter and the U-2 spy plane in favor of the operationally failed unmanned Global Hawk System.  With the A-10 and U-2 went the last platforms for providing a human eye on what is happening on the ground.

The surveillance/sensor technology cannot see human footprints in the snow.  Consequently, the drone technology concluded that a mountain top was free of enemy and sent a detachment of unsuspecting SEALS to be shot up.  Still insisting no enemy present, a second group of SEALS were sent to be shot up, and then a detachment of Army Rangers.  Finally, an A-10 pilot flew over the scene and reported the enemy’s presence in force.

By 2012 even the US Air Force, which had been blindly committed to the unmanned drone system, had experienced more failure than could any longer be explained away.  The Air Force admitted that the 50-year old U-2 could fly higher and in bad weather and take better pictures than the expensive Global Hawk System and declared the Global Hawk system scrapped.

The decision was supported by the 2011 report from the Pentagon’s test office that the drone system was “not operationally effective.”  Among its numerous drawbacks was its inability to carry out assigned missions 75% of the time. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress that in addition to the system’s unacceptable failure rate, the drone system “has fundamentally priced itself out of our ability to afford it.”

As Cockburn reports:  “It made no difference. Congress, led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon and Democratic Congressman Jim Moran (whose northern Virginia district hosts the headquarters of both Northrop and Raytheon) effortless brushed aside these pleas, forcing the Air Force to keep buying the unwanted drone.”

Cockburn provides numerous examples of the utter failure of the unmanned revolution ushered in by unrealistic dreamers, such as Andrew Marshall, John Foster, William Perry, and David Deptula, who have done much harm to the US military and American taxpayers. The failure stories are legion and sad.  Almost always the victims are the innocent going about their everyday affairs.

The book opens with the story of three vehicles crammed with people from the same village heading to Kabul. Some were students returning to school in Kabul, some were shopkeepers heading to the capital to buy supplies, others were unemployed men on their way to Iran seeking work, and some were women bringing gifts for relatives.  This collection of ordinary people, represented on screens by vague images, was willfully mistaken, as the reproduced conversations between drone operators and assassins show, for a senior Taliban commander leading forces to attack a US Special Forces patrol.  The innocent civilians were blown to smithereens.

The second chapter tells of the So Tri, an indigenous people in the remote wilderness of southeastern Laos who were bombed for nine years because the stupid American military sowed their environment with sensors that called down bombs when human presence was detected.  High-tech warfare misidentified the villagers with Viet Cong moving through jungle routes.

One heartbreaking story follows another. If surveillance suspects the presence of a High Value Target in a restaurant, regardless of nominal restrictions on the number of innocents who can be murdered as the “collateral damage” part of the strike, the entire restaurant and all within are destroyed by a hellfire missile.  Remember that the Israelis denounce terrorists for exploding suicide vests inside Israeli restaurants.  What the US military does is even worse.

On other occasions the US assassinates an underling of a High Value Target on the assumption that the Target will attend the funeral which is obliterated from the air whether the Target is present or not.

As the murders are indiscriminate, the US military defines all males killed to be valid targets. Generally, the US will not admit the deaths of non-Targets, and some US officials have declared there to be no such deaths.  Blatant and obvious lies issue without shame in order to protect the “operationally ineffective” and very expensive high-tech production runs that mean billions of taxpayer dollars for the military/security complex and comfortable 7-figure employment salaries with contractors after retirement  for the military brass.

When you read this book you will weep for your country ruled as it is by completely immoral and inhumane monsters.  But Cockburn’s book is not without humor.  He tells the story of Marine Lt. General Paul Van Riper, the scourge of the Unmanned Revolution in Military affairs, who repeatedly expressed contempt for the scientifically unsupported theories of unmanned war.  To humiliate Gen. Ripper with a defeat in a massive war game as leader of the enemy Red force against the high-tech American Blue force, he was called out of retirement to participate in a war game stacked against him.

The Blue force armored with a massive database (Operational Net Assessment) and overflowing with acronyms was almost instantly wiped out by General Ripper. He sank the entire aircraft carrier fleet and the entire Blue force army went down with it.  The war was over. The 21st century US high-tech, effects-based military was locked into a preset vision and was beaten hands down by a maverick Marine general with inferior forces.

The Joint Forces Command turned purple with rage.  Gen. Ripper was informed that the outcome of the war game was unacceptable and would not stand. The sunken fleet magically re-floated, the dead army was resurrected, and the war was again on, only this time restriction after restriction was placed on the Red force. Ripper was not allowed to shoot down the Blue force’s troop transports. Ripper was ordered to turn on all of the Red force’s radars so that the Red forces could be easily located and destroyed. Umpires ruled, despite the facts, that all of Ripper’s missile strikes were intercepted.  Victory was declared for high-tech war.  Ripper’s report on the total defeat of the Blue force, its unwarranted resurrection, and the rigged outcome was promptly classified so that no one could read it.

The highly profitable Revolution in Military Affairs had to be protected at all costs along with the reputations of the incompetent generals that comprise today’s high command.

The infantile behavior of the US military compelled to create a victory for its high-tech, but legally blind, surveillance warfare demonstrates how far removed from the ability to conduct real warfare the US military is.  What the US military has done in Afghanistan and Iraq is to create far more enemies than it has killed.  Every time high-tech killing

murders a village gathering, a wedding or funeral, or villagers on the way to the capital, which is often, the US creates hundreds more enemies.  This is why after 14 years of killing in Afghanistan, the Taliban now control most of the country.  This is why Islamist warriors have carved a new country out of Syria and Iraq despite eight years of American sacrifice in Iraq estimated by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes to have cost Americans a minimum of $3 trillion.  The total failure of the American way of war is obvious to all, but the system rolls on autonomously.

 The Revolution in Military Affairs has decapitated the US military, which no longer has the knowledge or ability or human tools to conduct war.  If the crazed Russophobic US generals get their way and end up in confrontation with Russia, the American forces will be destroyed.  The humiliation of this defeat will cause Washington to take the war nuclear.

 Here is Stanislav Mishin’s view of what awaits the foolish West:  http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/22/4790

Posted in USAComments Off on How The US Government and US Military Became Murder, Inc.

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING