Archive | September 18th, 2015

SYRIA TODAY ‘2’ : المفتي حسون لإعلاميين أمريكيين: سورية تتعرض لعدوان يستهدف فكرها المتسامح وتنوعه

NOVANEWS

أكد سماحة المفتي العام للجمهورية الدكتور أحمد بدر الدين حسون أن سورية تتعرض لعدوان يستهدففكرها المتسامح وتنوعها.

وخلال لقائه اليوم وفدا إعلاميا امريكيا من مؤسسة فيترانس توداي الأميركية أشار المفتي حسون إلى أن جميع الشرائع السماوية هدفها بناء الإنسان وسعادته والحفاظ على كرامته منوها بزيارة الوفد الأمريكي الذي استطاع أن يأتي إلى دمشق في هذه الظروف ليطلع على حقيقة ما يجري متجاهلا ما تروجه وسائل الإعلام المغرضة.

بدورهم أكد أعضاء الوفد أنهم سيوجهون دعوة إلى مفتي سورية لزيارة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية لشرح حقيقة ما يحدث في سورية للشعب الأمريكي.

ومؤسسة فيترانس توداي شبكة إخبارية أمريكية تضم نحو 60 موقعا الكترونيا منفصلا وتمثل آراء مجموعة من المحاربين القدامى وتفضح باستمرار الممارسات الأمريكية والصهيونية في المنطقة العربية والشرق الأوسط ونشرت تقريرا يؤكد أن متزعم تنظيم “داعش” الإرهابي بالعراق أبو بكر البغدادي ليس إلا عميلا للموساد الإسرائيلى يدعى سايمون إليوت أو إليوت شيمون تم تدريبه ليراس التنظيم بهدف نشر الفوضى في الدول العربية المجاورة لـ “إسرائيل”

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SYRIA TODAY ‘1’ : كوفاتشيك: الغرب يتحمل مسؤولية تأجيج الأزمة في سورية وتهجير مواطنيها

NOVANEWS

دعا رئيس الكتلة النيابية للحزب الشيوعي التشيكي المورافي في مجلس النواب بافيل كوفاتشيك الاتحاد الأوروبي إلى العمل على إيجاد حل ينهي الأزمة في سورية بالتعاون مع روسيا والولايات المتحدة مشدداً في الوقت ذاته على أن لا حل للأزمة دون الرئيس بشار الأسد.

وكان وزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف اكد امس عدم وجود أي أسباب تبرر التهرب من التعاون مع القيادة السورية التي تواجه الخطر الإرهابي معتبراً في الوقت ذاته أن تجاهل قدرات الجيش السوري في محاربة الإرهاب يساوى التضحية بأمن المنطقة برمتها.

وانتقد كوفاتشيك في حديث للتلفزيون التشيكي الليلة الماضية التناقضات القائمة في سياسات الدول الغربية التي تزعم بأنها تقاتل تنظيم “داعش” الإرهابي فعلياً أو وهمياً في وقت تعمل فيه ضد الحكومة السورية الشرعية.

وحمل كوفاتشيك الغرب المسؤولية عن الأزمة في سورية والأوضاع في العراق وليبيا بسبب تدخلاته فيها ومحاولاته الفاشلة لتصدير ديمقراطيته التي لا تناسب مجتمعاتها إليها.

ولفت رئيس الكتلة النيابية للحزب الشيوعي التشيكي المورافي إلى التقدم والتطور في نظامي الصحة والتعليم في سورية قبيل التدخلات الخارجية في شؤونها مشيراً إلى أن تأجيج الأزمة في سورية أدى إلى نشوء أوضاع إنسانية صعبة وتهجير مواطنيها.

وشدد على وجوب العمل على إنهاء الأزمة في سورية بكل الطرق الشرعية وإعادة الأمن والاستقرار إليها حتى يتمكن السوريون الذين هجروا منها إلى الخارج من العودة إليها والمساهمة في إعادة إعمارها لافتاً إلى أن حل أزمة تدفق اللاجئين يبدأ بالبحث عن أسبابها في الدول التي يتدفقون منها وليس في معالجة تداعياتها كما يفعل الاتحاد الأوروبي الآن من خلال التركيز على موضوع العمل بالمحاصصة الإجبارية بتوزيع اللاجئين بين دوله.

 

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Afghan-Kosovo Mafia Migrant Smuggling Ring and More Refugee Chaos in Macedonia (Video)

NOVANEWS
By I.N. from Macedonia

Illegal Migration in Europe – Migrant-PioneersFirst of all I would like to go back to the origin of the problem – where it started, how it had developed into the monster which it is today and to get to the core of the problem.
I will start with the 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan by NATO forces. Two years after that occupation of Afghanistan the very first migrants (at the time they were called properly “illegal immigrants”) started to arrive and transit through Macedonia. At the time it was strange to see Afghans and Pakistanis in our state, and although they were in small numbers, they were visible and people started to wonder: “Who are these people, what are they doing here, where they are going???” Soon the people realized that they are trying to get to Europe (EU) to claim asylum since their countries were NOT on the list of safe countries. The pro-US (populist government) in Skopje at the time saw this beginning of the migrant flow as a chance to try to get closer to the US by faking a story about stopping terrorists on the way to EUROPE.
Take a look at this story from BBC:
Macedonia faked ‘militant’ raid

Macedonian officials have admitted that seven alleged Pakistani militants killed in March 2002 were in fact illegal immigrants shot in cold blood to “impress” the international community.They said four officers in the security services had been charged with their murder, while former Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski may also face charges.

At the time, the interior ministry said they had been killed after trying to ambush police in the capital, Skopje.

But a police spokeswoman said they had in fact been shot in a “staged murder”.

The Macedonians were apparently trying to show the outside world that they were serious about participating in the US-led war on terror, officials say.

“It was a monstrous fabrication to get the attention of the international community,” Interior Ministry spokeswoman Mirjana Kontevska told a news conference.


Questions asked

When the incident was reported more than two years ago, it was claimed that a new front had opened up in the war on terror.

The Macedonian interior ministry said the seven men of Pakistani origin were killed after opening fire on a police patrol with machine guns.

Mr Boskovski said the dead men had been planning attacks on vital installations and embassies.

But questions soon began to be asked about the authorities’ version of events.

Now the public prosecutor’s office has brought charges against officers involved in the case and has asked parliament to waive Mr Boskovski’s immunity from prosecution.

The former interior minister denies any wrongdoing.

Gunned down

Police spokeswoman Mirjana Konteska told the Associated Press news agency that the victims were illegal immigrants who had been lured into Macedonia by promises that they would be taken to western Europe.

She said they were transported to the Rastanski Lozja area, about 5km north of Skopje, where they were surrounded and gunned down by police.

“They lost their lives in a staged murder,” she said.

Ms Konteska told AP the investigation was continuing and more suspects could be charged.

If convicted, they face between 10 years and life in prison.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3674533.stmThis story proves that this migrant invasion started more than a decade ago, but then nobody was writing about it because the numbers were small. (By the way,  that former interior minister is in prison for that case).
So after 2010 the problem began to escalate. I was seeing Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis at the Skopje bus terminal (in the capital) being hidden by the smugglers on a daily basis, and to be fair, our police was catching them and deporting them back to Greece. But some of them were part of the smuggling network. I have witnessed a couple of times migrants been taken off the bus because they did not have proper papers. The Macedonian and the Serbian police were trying to tackle the problem in the early stage and they did that successfully. Some of these migrant-pioneers applied for asylum in Macedonia and Serbia. At the time nobody knew why, but after a while the reason was clear (Ali Baba’s mafia).Europe looking for the smugglers….They are on it’s doorstep

So if you wondered what the term ‘pioneer-migrant’ means, you will find out in this second part.
One of the very first Afghan migrants have set up a smuggling network from Turkey all to the way to Serbia. They had boats and equipment to transport migrants to Greece and from Greece. Other members of the mafia will wait for them, charge them and send them to Macedonia, where the infamous Ali Baba (an Afghan national) was stationed at his headquarters at the village of Vaksince (100% of the its population are ethnic Albanians) right next to the Serbian Border. Ali Baba’s associates were the former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (which was created and backed by the US and NATO). Finally the story broke on Channel 4 News and police had to take action (video):http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid69900095001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAAAEabvr4~,Wtd2HT-p_VhJQ6tgdykx3j23oh1YN-2U&bctid=4278209492001The “ Peaceful ” Migrants….

In recent reports in the western media we have seen how the migrants have been mistreated, beaten, abused by the governments and security forces of the transit countries. So I felt in some way provoked by this mainstream media to try and flip the coin and to show the other side of the story.

First of all I would start with the Greek – Macedonian border, where thousands of migrants are arriving on a daily basis. As you are aware Greece is going through the worst economic crisis in its history and it’s overwhelmed with migrants. The situation on the Greek islands is critical. Thousands are arriving and more are on their way. The Greek government can’t handle this crisis, so the easiest option for them was to stop fingerprinting and making security checks. Instead the migrants are directly transported to Thessalonika and Athens, from there the Greek government is taking the migrants with buses north to the Macedonian border near the most southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija which has a population of around 15,000 people.
In the beginning of this crisis the number was much smaller and most of the migrants were peaceful, but at the time they were entering illegally and, as advised by the Greeks police, heading straight along the railway tracks, along their path there were dozens of reports about migrants breaking into people’s cottages and weekend houses. They even vandalized a holy site near one of the train stations, throwing underwear and trash right next to the Orthodox icons and the holy water spring.
The Macedonian and Serbian governments, seeing the intelligence information about the large numbers of refugees stationed in Greece and the large numbers of camps built near the Greek-Macedonian border, passed a law according to which the migrants will have a 72 hours transit visa and all hell broke loose.
The first violent incidents occurred. The Macedonian police has been stoned by the angry migrants, not once, not twice but on daily basis. None of the mainstream media reported about this incident:

As you can see from the media there’s no sign of the Greek police, an EU member state. It seems that the migrants are controlling the Northern Greek border. A state within state.

Instead the mainstream media reported only about the incident when the Macedonian police used tear gas to disperse the groups that were trying to enter the country. That’s what every border force should do, but let’s put that aside and look at the facts.

According to the sources in the Interior Ministry, the police attempted to let women and children and families first, so they can get to the train station and avoid the riots, fights and clashes between the migrants that where happening at the Gevgelija train station. That was not well received by the migrants since 80% are military capable men, many of them former fighters in the Syrian Civil War. They attempted to break into the country by force, starting a riot and clashing with police. Afterwards when the situation calmed down and most of them were allowed in, some of the migrants were saying with laughter to the local media that they can’t be intimidated by tear gas since they were using tanks, machine guns, bombs, artillery in the war in Syria. Tear gas is joke to them.
The next stop is the previously mentioned town of Gevgelija where migrants where boarding the trains, buses, taxis, in order to get to Tabanovci border crossing with Serbia.
The town looks like the judgement day has arrived, its apocalyptic landscape covered with trash everywhere. All of the parks and public areas are occupied by the migrants. Old shoes, clothes and garbage are all over the place, the whole town smells of urine. The residents are saying that their town has become like a s***hole.
Since the national railways provided six trains per day for the migrants, the train station of Gevgelija was converted into a ‘boxing ring’ for the migrants to show off their muscles, trying to get on board the trains. There were numerous clashes with police and between the migrants themselves. Once a police officer was stabbed with a knife in his back by a Syrian refugee. There were countless fights and clashes between them using knives, clubs, sticks…

They are robbing themselves. It’s common knowledge between the migrants that the Syrians are the ones with more money, so very often they are robbed by the Afghans and Pakistanis who are considered the most violent and the most aggressive.
Another myth in the mainstream media is that the migrants are not being given food and fresh water. But none of the mainstream media reported the “Red Cross incident” where the migrants were refusing the food because it is from the Red Cross and was not up to Halal standard.

There’s been cases where the Red Cross and leftist activists were giving them food. When the migrants got onto the train they would throw away the food through the windows.
This has been reported by the railway workers and volunteers. It’s worth mentioning that the same thing happened in Serbia and recently in Hungary.

As I am writing this, there are around 8 000 migrants on the Southern Macedonian border, and more are expected to arrive in the later hours. Now many of them encouraged by the German welcoming policy are acting like they are Germans, demanding to enter immediately. They are impatient, even more aggressive than they used to be, and are constantly shouting “Angela Merkel”. The situation on the Southern Macedonian border is getting out of control.
More reports from Macedonia coming soon…

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Syriza Before and After the Elections: To Fight Another Day

NOVANEWS
Global Research

Michalis Spourdalakis interviewed by Pavlos Klavdianos

Pavlos Klavdianos (PK): Will the elections bring about changes in the balance of power and on the political system?

Michalis Spourdalakis (MS): The historical victory of the Left in January marked a change in the system of political representation which outlines a new dynamic for the political forces. However, the way in which this victory was achieved and the difficulties that the first government of the left faced, led after the referendum of the 5 of July, to a big fallback, a big defeat. This defeat needs to be understood as a turning point in a long and large war for the victory of the left in the struggle for the control of state power. The government did not handle this well, it must be said, through the collective processes of the party, which resulted in totally justified emotional responses, mainly disappointment, and which in turn has created a general climate of disappointment and therefore centrifugal tendencies. It was a withdrawal and/or a defeat which however was not the result of a betrayal of a selfish or sneaky leadership. In my opinion, it was a manoeuvre in front of incredibly more powerful forces, in order to save strength and the ability to continue the war in the future. It is very important to see it in this way and not like an accomplishment the government is content with or even in terms of the simplistic logic that it now accepts the notion that there is no alternative.

Syriza and Society

BS: There is stern criticism being voiced against Syriza for calling this election.

MS: Syriza won the elections by promising a very specific program (the Salonica program), was forced to back down and so they are turning to the people for a decision, with a new political strategic proposal. There is of course the parliamentary dimension (loss of the majority), but this was not the defining factor. Syriza is guided by a different logic. It was founded and was developed on the basis of the promise that it would “bring society to the stage.” It also promised to do this with its action at the social level… it would go to the social movements, learn from them, and would form a government that would take into account not just the technocratic hierarchies but also the experience gained from the social movements. Moreover, for Syriza the prerequisite for this strategy was based on the call for the unity of the Left. This was its strategy when it said that it is not interested whether someone was coming from one or the other ideological or party background or movement and spoke of the “whole of the Left” in pluralistic way.

So, Syriza with its action on a social level and with its program which is based on this action attempted to engage the institutions [aka the Troika: European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank]. It stands therefore with one leg in the society and the social movements and the other in a serious, systemic presence in the institutions: in the parliament, in the peripheral and municipal level and also in the unions, the co-ops, the various citizens’ movements etc. With these prerequisites, it gained the “right” to govern, to manage the state power, in a different logic from which had been imposed in the post-Junta years.

BS: It is difficult to be convinced that it honors the logic you presented. Isn’t this suggested by its fall in the polls?

MS: This weakness stems from the fact that Syriza reached 27 per cent in 2012, through the logic I described, but I fear that even the top cadre of the party, who had helped shape and were operating under this logic, had not fully understood the significance of this strategy. No theoretical or education work to ensure the consolidation of “the Syriza way” was conducted.

Thus, after 2012, Syriza gradually slid into somewhat “governmental” practices and hurried to ascend to power, “at all costs.” It gave much emphasis to the parliamentary game and the action in the social field seemed a routine. It ceased to take initiatives in the society, be inventive as it was in 2010 or 2011. This became apparent in the 2012 convention and even more clear in the 2013 founding conference where the issues discussed were mainly procedural in nature,  apparently isolated from the social field, concerned with only “party organizational matters.” Without any inspiration and creativity, the organization was unable to maintain and support this strategy of Syriza, which up until the 2012 election was more pure and fresh.

Absolute Naivety

BS: But there was popular pressure for Syriza to govern.

MS: The critical assessment we make, cannot simply be attributed to the deficit of the choices of leadership but is a response to real pressures and necessities, arising from the social dynamics and political necessity. It was a “mobilization” of Syriza from the popular classes, which required it to govern. So, the organizational problems of Syriza were not addressed, the necessary adjustments to the new situation were not made, which would require a better consolidation of the party’s strategy.

At the same time, there have been a series of naiveties, having to do with the action of Syriza within the country and the perception of the international environment. There is a perception that if we went to Europe and voiced our view in a well-documented and clear way, this will be heard and the “institutions” would subside. “Institutions” which, however, are filled by neoliberal logic and express very hard and inflexible interests. This was a huge naivety, which decisively influenced the negotiation. In respect to Greece itself, the major naivety had to do with the party. Since the electoral influence was expanding, the leadership implicitly seems to think that a vibrant, democratic, participatory party was not all that necessary. The theoretical work was ignored and the notion was if you take the government that will be enough to allow you to gradually change the domestic balance of power. The naivety of that view, was based on an instrumental conception of power and the state, led the government to tolerate key figures in public administration serving other goals or even appoint technocrats, who clearly had a different make-up and skill-set than the ones required to serve the social alliances with Syriza.

The social alliance that made Syriza comprises not only of the lower social classes (workers, precarious workers, the unemployed, etc.) but also the so-called petty bourgeoisie traditional class (shopkeepers, small traders, etc.), crushed under the austerity policies, as well as the new petty bourgeoisie (self-employed, the urban educated strata and so on). This is the alliance Syriza should have in mind and to strengthen, however slowly, with structural reforms to change the balance of power, despite the adverse conditions, and so to open roads for a broader social transformation.

BS: The idea that when we take the government everything will be done, it was a blatantly instrumental view.

MS: Exactly! Despite the theoretical achievements of the radical, “regenerative” left, standing against instrumental logic, the Syriza government did not follow this. It showed an absolute naivety. Thus the government ran into a wall. The left government proved more inefficient than what you expect, so the criticism is, I think correctly, stating that beyond the limitations of the memorandum, in other areas where it does not touch, the government was not as effective as it had to be.

BS: Do you think that the current difficulty of Syriza to rally, in the elections, its influence on January 25, and its new earned influence even despite the onerous agreement, has its roots in the post-2012 period?

MS: From 2012 onward, I think Syriza became more “governmental,” even before getting the government. It forgot, somehow, what had brought it to the fore, the protagonist of the developments in the country and in Europe, the alter-globalization democratic movement. However, after the retreat this July, the following risk presented itself: the management of that defeat would have heavier political effects than just those resulting from the continuing economic repression it required. First, it did not happen through the collective proceedings of the party, although many excuses given for this were to some extent understandable. It is, however, wrong to claim that the party had become a pro-memorandum, a pro-austerity one. Syriza is not that. We had a government, “with Syriza being its backbone” which in the face of “the EU coup” – we have to say this – was forced to retreat. This party was constructed and strengthened in a completely different orientation, as I explained earlier, drawing strength from distress and resistance struggles against austerity over the last five years.

BS: On what basis, then, can a political recovery be achieved?

MS: First of all, Syriza should reaffirm its pluralism, in terms of radical, regenerative Left. The party’s and the subsequent government’s character, has to take some lessons from the seven months’ tenure. Secondly, the people selected will have to mark this achievement. Thirdly, we need to appreciate the importance that the government has in managing the state. One cannot say “oh, it’s too difficult, I will leave the management of the state.” That is because the state resources are key for the left to strengthen the subordinate classes and change institutions and relations, from state centered to societal centered. Instead, it must manage them in an innovative way, especially under the restrictions put in place by the new agreement.

Something else that must be done, and I think Syriza does it to an extent, is put higher in its agenda the importance of renegotiation of the debt and to be connected with an investment program in the social sector. This will not only alleviate the difficulties imposed by this agreement in the social field, but will also at least give a vision, a positive look to the immediate future of subordinate classes. To promote its contribution to the new strategy, a new vision that we should give to Greek society is key in order to revive the hope that Syriza represented. We also need to overcome the not very democratic functioning of Syriza. The party should quickly proceed to a conference designed to mend the bridges with those who were disappointed, tired, totally justifiably, given how much Syriza had inspired so many.

BS: Syriza is a socially oriented political force; this is clear and those who believe that this was lost because of the forced agreement are wrong. However, there are two elements in its theoretical equipment that suffer, had not been assimilated and, unfortunately, we are going to need them now very much. The first one is that Syriza is not only an anti-memorandum party, but also a left one, which results in its having a great range of action, especially in the Greek society. The second one is the purpose – especially the ability to materialize it – of the transformation of the Greek society and economy. What has been revealed about Syriza’s deficiencies in terms of these characteristics is what this discussion is trying to underline.

MS: And this is the reason why I insisted on the need to renew, to retrieve, to recapture, to realize and systematize Syriza’s strategy. For a long time now, it has become clear that we needed to cast the anti-memorandum character off and insist that we are against austerity entirely and the internal devaluation that goes with it, and this requires that we must become actually anti-neoliberal today and, finally, somehow anti-capitalist. This has not been done and it must get done now; to be creative not only in fields that are not affected by the memorandum, but also in fields that are affected by the memorandum.

This tactic gives us another power, another perspective, knowing – and saying – that this is not the maximum that we want to manage, but that along with the debt reduction, recommit ourselves to the democratic goals we need to realize in terms of transparency, fighting corruption, upgrading local government, democratizing public administration, stopping tax evasion etc., all of which would substantially undermine the reproductive core of Greek capitalism. After all, corruption, or what is called here “interlocking,” is actually key for the reproduction of Greek capitalism, so it is not just a moral or merely a legal issue. The new strategic discussion required for this will need to be a long one, because such a transformation plan needs to involve all the forces of the party, and it should be recalled that Alexis Tsipras, even at the Central Committee meeting after “the coup” himself said that we want to start the procedures for the general social transformation. But for this to happen, all these strategic elements need to be discussed, and in a way that is always moving toward their verification.

BS: The problem we are discussing relates to one of the root causes of the split, in the sense of the non-consolidation of this strategy or maybe also of its non-acceptance by those comrades who formed Popular Unity (LA.E.)

MS: I would like to remind people that the majority of Syriza’s former members who are now connected with Popular Unity have also had an instrumentalist perception of the state, which the majority of Syriza itself does not espouse. Moreover, what Syriza used to say in its formal texts about social control was not absolutely understood by that tendency which is now Popular Unity, and which always gave great emphasis on state control. The understanding of socialism in terms of social control not state control is one of the key achievements of today’s radical and regenerative left which, as it seems, this tendency did not share. A third element is that this tendency could not fully understand the importance of solidarity networks and social movements and actually concluded in a refusal to participate. There was confusion, because it was thought that solidarity is charity.

What this reflects is that words in the party program had different meaning for different tendencies in the party, which led to many misunderstandings, but there were no procedures for real theoretical and political debate and discussion.

What this reflects is that words in the party program had different meaning for different tendencies in the party, which led to many misunderstandings, but there were no procedures for real theoretical and political debate and discussion. The “federal” nature of the tendencies in the party did not help; they functioned more or less as small or larger networks and even as movements or parties within the party, so that almost no common understanding was allowed. It was thought that through decisions from above, minorities and majorities in the founding Congress, things could be addressed. This is a tedious job, which requires a functional, living party, the organization of which will support the strategy of Syriza and that organizationally will be what is really the “new” about the “Syriza way.” The lack of this must be attributed, to some extent, to the split in the party that has now occurred and which costs so much energy, efficiency and votes.

Let me add one more thing. No one takes initiatives, which either force some people to the exit, or undermine the management of the state from the left, unless you have an instrumental conception of power. That is to say a perception that if I am in the government, I will make it. Or counter to that, that I cannot stay in government since I can readily implement the whole of my political project and so I retire. So, these two aspects have met at the same place. Can you criticize from either side of the management of the state and power, if you haven’t grounded what you want to do in the real social and political balance of power not only in our country but also in Europe?

We know from the history of the Left that no social transformation could happen in a single country, let alone today with the processes of global capitalist integration, and which also institutionally now due to the EU relates to the hard core of capitalist dynamics. You do not give up, however, the government for that reason. We shall retake the thread and through a “Syriza’s way” build the party, as we built it gradually since 2006, even without full knowledge of what we were up to. Anything else will be a tacit acceptance of post-democratic currents, that does not want collectivities, but sees management policy, more or less along the lines in which businesses operate. Instead, I believe that there are still resources in Syriza which if properly exploited will not only lead it to recover but will guarantee a real take off. Laying the ground for this positive outlook might be the best outcome of the election. •

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Guardian’s Correspondent “Pinocchio” in Tehran: Demonizing Iranians, Nonsensical Propaganda

NOVANEWS

A Response to Tehran Bureau/The Guardian’s Propaganda

Global Research
propaganda lies

Virtually everyone is familiar with Pinocchio’s story – a wooden puppet carved by Gepetto brought to life by a fairy that instructed him to be “brave, truthful, and unselfish” in order to remain a real boy. What I remember the most about Pinocchio was his failure to heed the fairy, his nose growing longer with every lie. This seems to be the case with Tehran Bureau’s unnamed ‘correspondent’ who failed to heed the ‘canons of journalism’ by making up tall stories about Iran in her article “How the hijab has made sexual harassment worse in Iran” — in effect turning herself into

Correspondent Pinocchio (CP).

CP writes a damning account of being sexually harassed in Iran, of being subjected to ‘ogling’, “whistling, hissing, smacking, licking, puffing” and ‘unhindered expressions of lust’ and ‘profanity’.  She backs her personal account with remarks from a friend who told her that she felt “naked, and worthless.” Not only is CP claiming that hijab has made the situation worse for women, but she also quotes someone as saying: “Basically, a woman shouldn’t walk in the street without male protection,”.  What nonsense.

Now as a scholar of US foreign policy I pay close attention to propaganda. Misinformation is nothing new to me and I don’t like to spend my time and energy responding to all the lies. But this particular article by CP hit me hard because I happen to be in Iran at the moment and in the same exact location/neighborhood she mentions in her tall tale. And t had it not been for the fact that the evening prior to reading her story I had been talking to my husband in California telling him that never had I felt more safe and comfortable walking alone and eating alone in a restaurant than I did here, I would have dismissed CP’s propaganda.  But CP’s lies had a personal effect on me and I could not let it rest — especially in light of Tehran Bureau’s malicious history.

Tehran Bureau (TB) was established shorty prior to the 2009 elections in Iran. It would seem the sole purpose at the time was to start false allegations about the 2009 elections in Iran (Foreign Policy Journal Editor Jeremy Hammond has a brilliant piece on this HERE).  TB’s ability to promote lies and with it, unrest, must have caught the attention of PBS. Tehran Bureau is now affiliated with PBS. PBS receives funding from the Federal Government.  Hosting Tehran Bureau by The Guardian” may have well given the paper a boost for its very continuity was questionable as admitted to in 2013 when its CEO warned that his paper may not survive.

So given this colorful background of Tehran Bureau and PC’s blatant lies, I was prompted to set the record straight and share my experiences and observations which were the exact opposite of what PC wrote in her piece. What I saw and personally experienced was profound respect. No glaring stares, no harassment. Simply the kind of courtesy that is offered to a woman and that is demanded by society. It seems to be me as if in Iran the hijab serves as a reminder of how men are expected to behave toward women. (See article on hijab and status of women in Iran HERE). So what is CP on about?

Of course there is the possibility that CP is a budding beauty and Iranian men simply can’t handle her splendor (what an insult to Iranian men). Were I to give her this benefit of the doubt and imagine her to be a radiant beauty, her (possible) beauty would be completely eclipsed in Iran.  As Mara wrote of the Iranian women in her 2012 article titled For the women of Iran, with Love “They are the most beautiful women I have ever seen”.  I concur – as do many others.  And Iranian men are accustomed to beauty.  So I tend to dismiss her claims of “harassment” based on her glamor.

On the other hand, it may be that she was completely ignored.  After all, in many countries around the world men do indeed harass women and make sexual overtures.  Some women are flattered while others are offended.  But being invisible is not easy to handle.  Being invisible may be likened to a blank piece of paper on which one can write anything and all things imaginary – depending on one’s inclination. What is an undisputed fact is that contrary to CP’s report, many Iranian women go all out to become visible.

I spent hours in a coffee shop in a beautiful park (Ab o Atash – literal translation water and fire) near where CP claims to have walked, and watched young women. Faces made up, dressed fashionably in their colorful ‘hijab’ they parading around like peacocks that opens their glorious tails in order to attract attention.  Sadly for them, I was doing the glaring while they were left mostly unnoticed.  And in their midst there were also women who did not venture out to make an impression with their hairdo and clothing. They were beautiful in their simplicity and modesty.  I made a mental note of them too, of their ease and confidence in themselves.

Now it would be a lie to claim that all women are ignored and all men here are well behaved.  With all the demonizing of Iranians, it may be hard to believe that Iranians are normal!  As with every other country in the world, there are men who harass women and who make unsolicited approaches.  This is more a personal upbringing than a norm. In the pre-revolution years, when I visited Iran as a very young teenager, harassment and catcalling was prevalent. As a shy girl, I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me up so that I would be spared the stares, the pestering.  But things have changed. What was once common is truly rare these days.  Men would not dare disrespect women – and they don’t.

I would very much like to suggest that PC take her notebook or laptop, sit in the aforementioned park (or anywhere else in Tehran and elsewhere) and speak the truth. Perhaps only then, as with Pinocchio, her courage and unselfishness to write truthfully will turn her into a real bona fide correspondent.

Posted in IranComments Off on Guardian’s Correspondent “Pinocchio” in Tehran: Demonizing Iranians, Nonsensical Propaganda

Iceland Boycotts I$raHell

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Global Research
VIDEO: Icelanders Reject Debt Repayment Plan

The whole world needs to follow Iceland’s lead. Its capital City of Reykjavik no longer will buy products made in Israel.

Its city council voted for boycott as long as it continues occupying Palestinian territory – a bold act deserving high praise, perhaps inspiring greater numbers of cities worldwide to follow suit, then maybe countries if enough effective popular resistance against its viciousness materializes.

Petitions in Britain and America to arrest Netanyahu attracted growing thousands of ordinary people – expressing justifiable anger against an apartheid state brutalizing Palestinians for not being Jewish.

Reykjavik Social Democratic Alliance councilwoman Bjork Vilhelmsdottir introduced the motion to boycott – her last action before retiring from politics, expressing support for long-suffering Palestinians, recognizing their self-determination right, free from Israeli oppression.

Left Green Alliance governing coalition member Soley Tomasdottir expressed hope Reykjavik’s action will be a step toward ending Israel’s illegal occupation. Boycotting other countries guilty of human rights abuses may follow, she said.

By acting, “we as a city council, even though we are a small city in the far north, are doing what we can to put pressure on the government of Israel to stop the occupation of Palestinian territory,” she told Icelandic public broadcaster RUV.

Israel reacted as expected. “A volcano of hatred is erupting in the Reykjavik city council,” blustered foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.

“There is no reason or justification for this move, besides hate itself, which is being heard in the form of calls for a boycott against Israel, the Jewish state,” he added.

“We hope that someone in Iceland will wake up and stop this blindness and one sidedness which is aimed against the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.”

The move is largely symbolic, yet another BDS success. Its web site highlighted “a decade of effective solidarity with Palestinians,” citing the following:

A UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report shows year-over-year direct foreign investment in Israel declined 46% in 2014.

UNCTAD’s Ronny Manos said “(w)e believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing.”

French transnational company Veolia failed to win major contracts across Europe and in other countries because of its involvement in Israeli human rights abuses.

The University of Johannesburg cut ties to Israel’s Ben-Gurion University in response to boycott calls from 400 South African academics. Three-fourths of London’s SOAS University academics and students voted to back BDS.

Growing numbers of entertainers refuse to perform in Israel. Many academics decline to lecture there or participate in Israeli conferences. Thousands of professionals and activists support culturally boycotting Israel.

Over 30 US student associations and 11 in Canada voted to support BDS. Israel’s largest defense company Elbit Systems lost a major Brazilian contract. SodaStream closed its settlement factory.

The American Studies Association is the nation’s oldest and largest organization involved in the interdisciplinary study of US culture and history. It voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

Kuwait boycotted 50 companies profiting from Israel’s occupation. The African National Congress declared support for BDS. Sao Paulo Festival organizers ended a sponsorship arrangement with Israel.

Major European banks divested from Israeli companies. Community actions blocked Israeli ships from docking at world ports.

Israeli exporters are experiencing sales declines in Europe. Chile suspended a trade agreement with Israel following its summer 2014 Gaza aggression.

US churches are divesting from companies involved in Israel’s occupation. Its state owned Mekorot water company lost contracts in Argentina, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Over 500 European academics called for EU nations to boycott Israeli settlement products. Growing numbers of European city councils support BDS.

Citing Israeli “state terrorism,” Venezuela and Bolivia cut diplomatic ties. Norway refuses to sell it weapons.

These and numerous other examples of BDS effectiveness show growing world outrage against daily Israeli crimes too horrific to ignore, including against young Palestinian children.

They’re terrorized, brutalized, or murdered in cold blood. Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) reported around 2,000 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in the past 15 years.

It blamed Israel’s “hyper-militarized environment” – calling its summer 2014 Operation Protective Edge a war on Gazan children. Over 550 died – 68% under age 12.

It blasted Israel’s judicial system for denying Palestinian children basic rights. It said conditions won’t improve until occupation ends.

Global BDS activism is the single most effective campaign against Israeli lawlessness. It hits hard where it hurts most – economically, as well as exposing its phony image as a democratic state. It highlights its apartheid viciousness.

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Polls Show Syrians Overwhelmingly Blame U.S. for ISIS

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Global Research
us-syria flags

The British polling organization ORB International, an affiliate of WIN/Gallup International, repeatedly finds in Syria that, throughout the country, Syrians oppose ISIS by about 80%, and (in the latest such poll) also finds that 82% of Syrians blame the U.S. for ISIS.

The Washington Post summarized on September 15th the latest poll. They did not headline it with the poll’s anti-U.S. finding, such as “82% of Syrians Blame U.S. for ISIS.” That would have been newsworthy. Instead, their report’s headline was“One in five Syrians say Islamic State is a good thing, poll says.” However, the accompanying graphic wasn’t focused on the few Syrians who support ISIS (and, at only one in five, that’s obviously not much.) It instead (for anyone who would read beyond that so-what headline) provided a summary of what Syrians actually do support. This is is what their graphic highlighted from the poll’s findings:

82% agree “IS [Islamic State] is US and foreign made group.”

79% agree “Foreign fighters made war worse.”

70% agree “Oppose division of country.”

65% agree “Syrians can live together again.”

64% agree “Diplomatic solution possible.”

57% agree “Situation is worsening.”

51% agree “Political solution best answer.”

49% agree “Oppose US coalition air strikes.”

22% agree “IS is a positive influence.”

21% agree “Prefer life now than under Assad.”

Here are the more detailed findings in this poll, a poll that was taken of 1,365 Syrians from all 14 governates within Syria.

The finding that 22% agree that “IS is a positive influence” means that 78% do not agree with that statement. Since 82% do agree that “IS is US and foreign made group,” Syrians are clearly anti-American, by overwhelming majorities: they blame the U.S. for something that they clearly (by 78%) consider to benot “a positive influence.”

Here is the unfortunately amateurish (even undated) press release from ORB International, reporting their findings, and it links directly to the full pdf of their poll-results, “Syria Public Opinion – July 2015”. Though their press-operation is amateurish, their polling itself definitely is not. WIN/Gallup is, instead, the best polling-operation that functions in Syria, which is obviously an extremely difficult environment.

WIN/Gallup and ORB International had previously released a poll of Syria, on 8 July 2014, which reported that, at that time, “three in five (60%) of the population would support ‘international military involvement in Syria’. In government controlled regions this drops to 11% (Tartus), 36% (Damascus) and rises in those areas currently largely controlled by the opposition – Al Raqqah (82%), Aleppo (61%), Idlib (88%).” In other words: The regions that were controlled by Islamic jihadists (Sunnis who are backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States) were, a year ago, overwhelmingly wanting “international military involvement in Syria.” They wanted to be saved from ISIS. Government-controlled regions didn’t feel the need for international involvement. Syrians were, apparently, at that time expecting “international military involvement” to be anti-jihadist, not pro-jihadist, as it turned out to be (which is the reason why the current poll is finding rampant anti-Americanism there).

This earlier poll further found that, “There is also evidence to suggest that Bashar al-Assad’s position is strengthened from a year ago.”

So, apparently, the more that the war has continued, the more opposed to the U.S. the Syrian people have become, and the more that they are supporting Bashar al-Assad, whom the Syrian people know that the U.S. is trying to bring down.

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Refugees as Weapon – and Germany shifting Alliances?

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Global Research
RefugeeThrongs

Turkey has eagerly opened her gates to two million refugees to house them in refugee camps which were funded with up to 6 billion US dollars – not for reasons of altruism, but to use them jointly with the US, NATO and the EU as a geopolitical weapon. – The German konjunktion.info network.

This is a plausible scenario. Turkey practiced since many years a suspicious ‘open door’ policy towards refugees, amassing hundreds of thousands in fully financed and well organized refugee camps. During a recent visit to Bodrum, Turkey (Turkish transit city to Kos, Greece), I was told, to better control the flow of refugees, i.e. the exit from Turkey, Erdogan’s Government has eliminated most refugee camps along the Turkish border, shifting them to huge camps near Istanbul.

These camps are part of a long-term strategy to justify the creation of ‘safe heavens’ in northern Syria which eventually would serve the invasion of NATO and their terrorist proxies – ISIS-Daesh. Once in the country they would be able to move towards Damascus to carry out the long-planned ‘regime change’ – toppling the Government of democratically elected Bashar Al-Assad. On 3 June 2014 he was elected with almost 90% of the votes which was considered as “free, fair and transparent” by international observers, although Washington and its EU vassals dismissed them as illegitimate. Bashar Al-Assad’s popularity is still today above 75%.

Source: ActivistPost.com

This diabolical plan was developed by the neocon Brookings Institute already in 2012. Memo # 21 of the Brookings Middle Eastern Saban Center bears the title Assessing Options for Regime Change. A more recent report entitled Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country – describes how “moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would act in support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via the presence of special forces [meaning ISIS-Daesh – author’s observation] as well. The approach would benefit from Syria’s open desert terrain which could allow creation of buffer zones that could be monitored for possible signs of enemy attack through a combination of technologies, patrols, and other methods that outside special forces could help Syrian local fighters set up.”

As a parallel or backup plan, the unholy alliance between Washington, NATO and Turkey agreed to open Turkey’s flood gates for refugees, actually promoting the exodus to gain free reign in the safe heavens and to build up a mass of refugees – most of whom want to flee to Germany – which in the right moment could be let go and cause the right pressure or destabilization effects in Europe. Well, this is just happening.

Within the space of a week or so, Germany has taken some drastic and controversial actions. The first of them looks like a 180 degree U-turn vis-à-vis its refugee policy, specially towards Syrian refugees, by opening its borders to 800,000 or more refugees, mostly Syrians, until the end 0f 2015. This sudden welcome to refugees surprised many Germans who were demonstrating for a more humane refugee policy.

Almost simultaneously Germany re-introduced border controls – stepping over one of the key Schengen agreements of ‘open borders’, fearing infiltration of disproportionate numbers of non-Syrians and of ISIS or other jihadist cells or groupings. Such destabilizing US trained and funded groups are known to be already lodged in Europe, if necessary to be ready to manipulate elections or organize mass demonstrations, à laArab Spring and more recently Ukraine. One of Washington’s most notorious organizations to sponsor such destabilizing groupings is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which receives hundreds of millions of dollars from the State Department. NED is responsible for destabilizing or attempting to destabilize, dozens of countries around the globe, including Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Iran – and many more.

We easily forget or often can’t believe the limitless evilness of the Washington neoliberal empire which functions with absolute impunity of lawlessness and without scruples to reach world hegemony. Even that will not be enough, since it feeds on constant wars and conflicts – a must to sustain its economy that depends on the war industry. We forget or can’t believe it, because the mainstream media which it also controls – ‘it’ being the Zionist-Anglo-Saxon financial and media tail that moves the US war dog – brainwash us daily with lies and distorted news, impressing us of the empire’s goodness, denigrating all those who are seeking a peaceful and harmonic living-together of sovereign nations.

For example, today, 16 September, the NY Times reports “The recent deployment of Russian weapons and equipment to Syria has brought to a head a conflict that has dominated the Obama administration since Mr. Putin’s return to the presidency, the choice between engaging with Russia [meeting with Putin] and trying to isolate it.”- Do you see one word on how the Obama Administration together with its Middle-Eastern proxies, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, to just name the most important ones, have financed and armed ISIS-Daesh, destroying homes, towns, cultures and livelihoods, as well as killing thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Yemenis – causing the survivors to flee their countries? – Nope. Zilch.

The article goes on claiming that many [of the US-Zionist elite – author’s remark] “worry that agreeing to meet would only play into Mr. Putin’s hands and reward an international bully.” – When the only world bully spreading endless terror throughout the globe is Obama and his minions in the Americas (only a few), Europe (all of it) and Asia (a few but growing).

That’s not all. The NYT offers more wisdom. “The move by Russia to bolster the government of President Bashar al-Assad, who has resisted Mr. Obama’s demand to step down for years, underscored the conflicting approaches to fighting the Islamic State terrorist organization.” – Who in havens is Obama to request a democratically elected leader of a sovereign country to step down? – Does it ever occur to the readers of the NYT and the like to question such statements of absolute illegality? – Does it ever occur to western audiences that this type of hegemonic arrogance could be turned on its head? – Wouldn’t Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad, whose country has suffered Washington directed bloody atrocities for years, have the same right to ask for the western hegemonic royal, Obama, to step down? – How would such an equal presumption come across?

On 15 September, the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s (CSTO) Security Council held a summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, with the main focus of seeking an effective response to the biggest current military and political challenges, including an upsurge in activity by terrorist and extremist groups and destabilization of the situation on the CSTO countries’ borders. CSTO members include Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

In his speech before the CSTO Council Mr. Putin said –

“The state of affairs there [in the region including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria] is very serious. The so-called Islamic State controls significant stretches of territory in Iraq and Syria. Terrorists are already publicly stating that they have targets set on Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Their plans include expanding activities to Europe, Russia, Central and Southeast Asia.

We are concerned by this; especially since militants undergoing ideological indoctrinations and military training by ISIS come from many nations around the world – including, unfortunately, European nations, the Russian Federation, and many former Soviet republics. And, of course, we are concerned by their possible return to our territories.

Basic common sense and a sense of responsibility for global and regional security require the international community to join forces against this threat. We need to set aside geopolitical ambitions, leave behind so-called double standards and the policy of direct or indirect use of individual terrorist groups to achieve one’s own opportunistic goals, including changes in undesirable governments and regimes.

As you know, Russia has proposed rapidly forming a broad coalition to counteract the extremists. It must unite everyone who is prepared to make, or is already making, an input into fighting terrorism, just as Iraq and Syria’s armed forces are doing today. We support the Syrian government – I want to say this – in countering terrorist aggression. We provide and will continue to provide the necessary military technology assistance and urge other nations to join in.”

Coming back to Germany’s bold and controversial actions: As reported by Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) on 12 September 2015,

“In a surprise move Germany left the anti-Putin-alliance formed by the USA: Germany is now officially welcoming Moscow’s readiness to act in Syria and is starting an initiative together with the Russians and the French to bring an end to the war. This is to stop the constant stream of refugees. Germany has ordered thousands of soldiers into readiness.”

http://www.sott.net/article/301791-Germany-moves-away-from-the-US-anti-Putin-alliance-and-joins-forces-with-Russia-in-coalition-to-defeat-ISIS

Heeding Vladimir Putin’s call for joint action against the Islamic State and its affiliate terror organizations, and facing a new Washington-NATO-Turkey created weapon of destabilization – the “refugee missile” – it may not be coincidence that Germany once again over-steps her Constitution, prepared to launching war from its territory, to fight alongside Russia – NOT alongside Washington – the western created ISIL-Daesh terrorism. Germany may have finally understood the deadly two-faced hypocrisy of the White House: funding and supporting the monster with one hand – and fighting it with the other; using the ‘safe heavens’ for cursory attacks on ISIS but in reality to advance towards Damascus. Such two-sided strategies are of course not new. The self-proclaimed master of the universe has been doing this for at least 100 years, including in both world wars.

If French President Hollande, who has already declared he would send his war jets to fight the Islamic State terror is joining Germany on the side of Russia – and if other Europeans might follow – it could mean an instrumental shift in geopolitics which is further illustrated by the Saudis rapprochement to Russia, as well as by the so-called ‘nuclear deal’ with Iran. This landmark decision by the P5+1 states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; plus Germany) is widely considered by the world at large as a new Middle East opening, no matter Netanyahu’s protests and the US Congress’ possible objections. The deal is already having its impact. Despite US ‘sanctions’ still in place, new diplomatic and business prospectors are flocking to Iran from all over the world.

Germany is still host to the largest US air force base in Europe, Ramstein, from where most of the United States global drone programs are coordinated and executed. Tens of thousands of people are being killed from a US base in Germany – whose Constitution forbids war-type aggressions from its territory. A huge anti-Ramstein demonstration is being planned for the end September. Germans awareness is raised to the point where the neocon Zionist Washington hegemon’s killing machine is no longer tolerated.

Germany alongside Russia might indeed defend and help preserve the Assad government, together with Iran the two stabilizing factors in the Middle East. It might also signal for Europe a gradual move away from hostility and economic isolation against Russia. The shift may be marked by Europe’s distancing itself from the US-western dominated sinking ship where the fiat money system of dollars and euros is doomed. Instead it might open the doors for new relations with the East – towards the new Silk Road offered in March 2014 by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Madame Merkel. Once the threshold of this new open door has been crossed, a myriad of new economic and monetary opportunity might break the dollar-euro strangleholds. 

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UK Jewish leaders seek clarification on Jeremy Corbyn’s policies

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Community wants ‘straight answers to straight questions’ amid concerns over Labour leader’s stance on Israel, faith schools and antisemitism

The leaders of Britain’s Jewish communities want Jeremy Corbyn to explain his position on antisemitism and faith schools.
 The leaders of Britain’s Jewish communities want Jeremy Corbyn to explain his position on antisemitism and faith schools. Photograph: Andy Hall for the Observer

Leaders of Britain’s Jewish community are seeking urgent meetings with Jeremy Corbyn amid anxieties about his attitudes towards Israel, faith schools and antisemitism.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council have written to the new Labour leader requesting talks to clarify his position.

Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies, said he wanted “straight answers to straight questions” but hoped for a “constructive engagement between the Jewish community and the leader of the opposition”.

He added: “It’s unfair to pre-judge before we have spoken. [Corbyn] may be considering afresh some of his views now he’s in such a senior and responsible position. He no longer has the luxury of being a lone dissenting backbencher. But that doesn’t mean I’m naive or prepared to be soft on concerns and issues raised by the Jewish community.”

Arkush said specific questions included whether Corbyn repudiated the ideology and behaviour of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon; whether he would condemn antisemitism on the far left as well as the far right; whether Labour would continue to oppose a boycott of Israel; and whether the party would continue to support and protect faith schools.

Simon Johnson, of the Jewish Leadership Council, said there was “no question that we should engage with the [Labour] leadership” but added he was concerned to discover to what extent Corbyn’s views might “move from the fringe of the Labour party to the centre”.

He said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s tradition of the far left has tended to be anti-Israel and supportive of boycotts and delegitimisation. The language is often inflammatory. If that radical anti-Israel, anti-Zionist tendency becomes more mainstream, what is the impact on policies such as faith schools and antisemitism?”

Corbyn has vigorously rejected accusations of antisemitism, saying suggestions that he would knowingly associate with Holocaust deniers were “ludicrous and wrong”.

His rebuttal followed disclosure during his leadership campaign that 15 years ago he attended meetings of a group called Deir Yassin Remembered, founded by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen. “Holocaust denial is vile and wrong. The Holocaust was the most vile part of our history. The Jewish people killed by the Nazi Holocaust were the people who suffered the most in the 20th century,” Corbyn said in response.

Corbyn has also previously urged talks with Hamas and Hezbollah as part of a wider peace process in the Middle East, but he has insisted his use of the word “friends” was meant in a “collective way”.

At the weekend, the Jewish Chronicle reported that Corbyn was considering appointing a “minister for Jews as a response to the Jewish community. However, there has been no other evidence that such a move is under consideration.

Luciana Berger is the only Jewish member of the party’s frontbench following her appointment as shadow mental health minister. The decision to join Corbyn’s team was not easy, Berger said in a statement, adding: “I cannot honestly say I agree with everything the new leader has said over the years. I felt he was willing to listen and engage.”

Ivan Lewis, the Jewish former shadow Northern Ireland secretary, whose offer to serve on Corbyn’s frontbench was rejected, will also meet the Labour leader to discuss antisemitism.

Lewis, MP for Bury South, said he had never accused Corbyn of antisemitism but wanted to discuss “antisemitism on the left … and Jeremy’s support in the past for such people”, according to a report in Jewish News.

Jewish leaders had decided to seek meetings with Corbyn because it was their duty, said David Mencer, a former director of Labour Friends of Israel. But he said he had decided “with real regret” to leave the party after 20 years as a result of Corbyn’s election.

“Thousands of years of persecution have given Jewish people a sixth sense, and with Corbyn the alarm bells are ringing extremely loudly. There is a way in which he frames his views that makes me feel very uncomfortable. When I listen to Corbyn speak on almost any issue, I get the feeling this is a man who doesn’t like my community.”

Highlights from Jeremy Corbyn’s first PMQs on Wednesday

Muslim leaders also said they were keen for Corbyn to address issues of concern to their communities. The Muslim Council of Britain said in a statement that it would “seek to engage with the new leader of the opposition just as it would with the government and any other public body for the common good of the country”.

“Whilst we congratulate Mr Corbyn on his election, we hope that all politicians engage with Britain’s diverse communities, including Muslims, in more meaningful ways,” the statement said.

At Finsbury Park mosque, in Corbyn’s Islington North constituency, chairman Mohammed Kozbar said that without the local MP’s support and engagement, the mosque would not have been able to transform itself from a notorious militant stronghold to an open, tolerant community organisation and place of worship. “He helped us change the atmosphere from hostile to cohesive,” said Kozbar.

Corbyn, he added, “supports all communities and faiths in the constituency – Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu. He has done a fantastic job here, and I’m sure he will do the same for the whole country.”

Unusually for party leaders – but in line with his predecessor, Ed Miliband – Corbyn has not professed personal faith. But, in an interview with the Christian Third Way magazine in June, Corbyn said: “I’m not anti-religious at all … I go to churches, I go to mosques, I go to temples, I go to synagogues. I find religion very interesting. I find the power of faith very interesting. I have friends who are very strongly atheist and wouldn’t have anything to do with any faith, but I take a much more relaxed view of it. I think the faith community offers and does a great deal for people.”

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Russian-Chinese new drone can be delivered via rocket system

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994b9b36-ac2c-458f-85bf-a7c80ea4d665… from Press TV,  Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: The Western press will spin this as confirmation of Russia’s imperial aggression, when it is actually just the opposite, with Moscow pouring gas on the afterburners to beef up their border defense.

The next major war will be dominated, after establishing air superiority, by whoever has the quickest battlefield intelligence. Both sides will be deploying electronic warfare, from radar spoofing to EMT weapons to burn enemy radars.

The weapons system you see above can be used by front line defenders who had their central command communications go dead to not only launch drones quickly, but get them over the “area of concern” fast to evaluate any ground threat. Even if it were shot down quickly, the artillery would soon be raining down on the threat.

As I have written before, Russia will have a defense in depth, which would have to include local air superiority and the elimination of any opposing strike forces on its border. The Baltic state bases would have to be eliminated to secure Russia’s northern flank when their forces moved into Ukraine “preemptively” to prevent NATO getting on their Western border.

To save money, the China-Russian team is using an established launcher with production line already in place, and where new and improved drones can be designed to fit inside a standard launcher usable in both countries. This is a strategy of not spending themselves to death to have a good defense.  And of course, an offense beyond its border area would be out of the question… Jim W. Dean ]

______________________

– First published September 10,  2015 –

Russia and China are developing a new drone that uses a powerful projectile of a multiple launch rocket system for deployment to battlefields as far as 90 kilometers away.

The reconnaissance drone, the first of its kind ever, is being developed by Russian and Chinese engineers at the Splav design bureau and production center in the western Russian city of Tula, some 400 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, RT reported Wednesday.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is capable of being delivered within a 300mm MRLS rocket.

“This system makes tactical intelligence really fast, because the UAV is delivered to a desired distance – which could be up to 90km – by a projectile flying with tremendous speed,” the deputy director of Techmash Concern, Dmitry Rytenkov, said at the Russia Arms Expo 2015 in Nizhny Tagil.

The UAV is capable of monitoring an area for 25-30 minutes and transmit real-time data to an operational console, Rytenkov said. It can then launch a precise airstrike on the given target.

It is not clear what part of the drone is being made in China.

Posted in China, RussiaComments Off on Russian-Chinese new drone can be delivered via rocket system

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