Archive | December 1st, 2015

Assassination, Oppression & the Turkish State’s War on Journalism…

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turkey_Tahir Elci

 

The shooting of prominent Kurdish lawyer and political activist Tahir Elci, dismissed by some state voices as ‘an unfortunate accident’, was almost certainly a targeted assassination.
Shot in the head during a political event on Saturday, the Turkish people have been told the activist died accidentally in a cross-fire. Had there not been a recent history of the Turkish state violently attacking or murdering people, particularly opposition activists, that explanation might seem more credible.

Amid a wave of protests, the pro-Kurdish HDP (which gained so much popular support in this year’s original election, but then appeared to have lost most of it again in the recent replacement election) denounced the murder as a planned political assassination.

Elci was facing trial for having refused to acknowledge that the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) is a terrorist organization. Even so, Elci has been known to denounce the PKK’s use of violence and was hardly a militant. For the record, lots of countries also don’t regard the PKK as a terrorist organisation and neither does the UN.

You would think the Turkish state and intelligence agencies, having already quite clearly used staged, false-flag terrorism on its own citizens more than once recently, would back it up a little for a while, particularly with the AKPhaving just won its contentious majority vote and cemented its hold on power. With the ruling powers essentially having gotten what they wanted, one would expect them to go easy on domestic opposition for a while, allow for a sort of cooling off period from the tension that HDP representatives recently said could lead Turkey into a Civil War.

But no, it appears there is to be no letting up. Just recently there was the deadliest ever attack of its kind on Turkish soil, specifically at an Ankara peace rally populated more or less exclusively by pro-Kurdish activists, pacifists and Turkey’s liberals and demanding an end to the violence between the Kurdish separatist PKK militants and the Turkish government. The attack, rather laughably attributed to ‘ISIL‘, killed hundreds but served no obvious purpose for the Islamic State militants, but seemed to rather transparently serve the increasingly tyrannical Turkish state’s purposes far more. The progressive, pro-Kurdish HDP party was among those in attendance, and its representatives had said in a statement that they believed their party members were the main target of the bombings.

The July terrorist incident in Suruc (again attributed to ISIL) was also directed at pro-Kurdish activists, yet the state’s subsequent anti-terror operation resulted in the arrest of 847 suspected PKK members (and yet only 137 suspected ISIL sympathizers).

turkey_erdogan

It is clear that the current Turkish regime of President Erdogan is forsaking Turkish democracy for dictatorship, and, probably at the guidance of its ‘deep state’,  is engaged in a domestic war against Kurdish influences, not just the PKK but moderate, progressive entities like the HDP too. It in fact appears to be at war with the country’s progressives and liberals in general, and is, concordant to this, conducting an undisguised war against journalists and journalism.

Cumhuriyet  Editor, Can Dündar, and another top editor have now been arrested on charges of espionage, this being just a week or so after the Turkish daily news outlet in question received a press freedom award. Predictably by now, the ‘espionage’ in question was an article exposing the arms shipments from Turkish intelligence to extremist rebels in Syria.

Meanwhile Ertuğrul Özkök, a reporter for Turkish daily Hüriyet, has been arrested for what is deemed as slanderous criticism of Erdogan, though apparently the offending article doesn’t even mention Erdogan by name. Both, if found guilty on charges of spying, could possibly spend the rest of their lives in prison; the crime is simply journalism. An accusation of ‘aiding terrorism’ also gets thrown about, but is utterly laughable given the Turkish state’s long-term collusion with jihadists in Syria, including ISIL.

So all of this also brings us back to the issue of the Turkish state supplying weapons to foreign jihadists, including ISIL. This is by now one of the worst-kept secrets in the world, and the Turkish state is essentially jailing journalists for ‘revealing’ a ‘secret’ that is basically already known all over the world.

The killing of foreign journalists isn’t off-limits for this Turkish state either. Journalist, Serena Shim, a 29 year-old Lebanese-American, revealed last year that weapons were secretly being delivered to the Daesh insurgents in Syria via trucks from Turkey (and bearing the logo of the UN World Food Organization). Her tragic death came just two days after a video interview in which she claimedTurkish intelligence agents had threatened her after her report on the ISIL extremist jihadists being smuggled into Syria from Turkey.  In her own words; ‘I am a bit worried because… Turkey has been labeled by Reporters Without Borders as the largest prison for journalists, so I am a bit frightened about what they might use against me.’ She continues, ‘But for the intelligence to actually look for me, that’s rather odd, so I think that they’re trying to get the word out to journalists to be careful so much as to what they say…’

turkey_serena-shim

Within two days of this report, Serena Shim was dead. Washington has shown zero interest in her death, despite her status as an American. The recent suicide of British activist and former journalist Jacky Sutton in an Istanbul toilet also, in the context of Turkey’s war on journalists, gives us causes for suspicion.

Reporters Without Borders  has labelled Turkey the ‘world’s largest prison for journalists’.

In the supposedly democratic nation with EU membership aspirations, press freedom is pretty much non-existent now. In an atmosphere of intimidation and fear, Turkey imprisons more journalists than any other modern nation; in spite of this tight control of information, people like Serena Shim and others have nevertheless managed to expose Turkey’s criminal role in supporting the Islamic State terror group and sustaining/funding the War in Syria that has killed over a quarter-of-a-million Syrians.

For some time, hundreds of Al-Qaeda recruits have been kept in safe-houses in southern Turkey, before being smuggled over the border to conduct “jihad” in Syria. According to The Daily Telegraph, the network of hideouts was enabling ‘a steady flow of foreign fighters – including Britons – to join the country’s civil war’. In reality, even this year, hundreds of trucks a day, originating deep within NATO-member Turkey’s territory, have been crossing the Turkish-Syrian border unopposed, destined for ISIS territory, keeping the terrorist group supplied and armed, along with its ranks full of fresh fighters.

For those who might not accept the reality of the Turkish factor in Syria’s horrific crisis, even relatively recently, Turkish special forces were caught playing an active role in the Al-Qaeda-aligned Jabhat al-Nusrah’s invasion of the predominantly Armenian-Syrian town of Kessab. The Turkish High Command can therefore be regarded entirely complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Kessab.

From day one, Turkey has been the key enabler, providing a staging area for anti-Syria terrorists in the southern province of Hatay (on the Syrian border). It also served as a logistics base, offering housing, medical support, and training to would-be armed fighters, and a supply-line across the border into Syria. The US was fully aware all along that its ally and NATO-member, the Turkish government, was enabling weapons and supplies to flow into the hands of the Al-Qaeda group, al-Nusra. Moreover, Turkey has been allowing jihadists and radicals to flood into Syria for years now. Turkey-based journalist James Ryan (Phd) emailed me a while ago to tell me about his ICC filing against Turkey and its ‘criminal gang’ in regard to Syria.

As he describes in his filing, the flow of jihadists and foreign mercenaries into Syria was not the chaotic scenario some like to think it was, but was more like an organised, orderly process; ‘The airports were full of jihadists,’ he writes, ‘in particular on flights from Istanbul to Hatay Airport’.

Shortly after Serena Shim’s mysterious death, video emerged of Turkish border police having friendly interactions with ISIL fighters.

That Turkey has been facilitating the collapse of Syria and the growth of ISIL is by now beyond question; it is, as I said, one of the worst kept secrets in the world. Jailing journalists and murdering reporters isn’t going to keep that fact secret anymore. All it does is to more lucidly portray the Turkish state’s maneuver from secular democracy to right-wing dictatorship.

The reality is that Turkey, which for decades has sought to be a secular democracy that keeps religion at a safe distance from the affairs of government, is now being run by an increasingly dictatorial leadership that is surrounded by equally non-progressive conservatives who most likely regard the country’s secular constitution a nuisance. Control of the media and intimidation or oppression of what few journalists try to report truthfully also means that the real dangers of this state of affairs are seldom discussed honestly within state-controlled media.

The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey (also known as the Constitution of 1982), is modern Turkey’s fundamental foundation stone, laying out the rules for the state’s conduct and its responsibilities to its citizens, as well as clearly establishing the rights of the people and also clearly asserting that Turkey is a secular, democratic republic answerable to the people. Fears have been growing in the country that the ruling establishment is looking to change the constitution, presumably on the pretext of ‘security’ or ‘fighting terrorism’. Turkey isn’t alone in this, however; the very symbol of libertarian values, France, is also in danger of having its constitution altered on similar grounds – again for ‘security purposes’ or to fight terrorism.

In regard to Turkey, however, I previously wrote on this subject at more length, particularly noting the somewhat tragic element of Turkey’s crisis. Apart from possibly Lebanon (and potentially post Arab Spring Tunisia), it is difficult to think of a ‘Muslim’ society as progressive, modernist and liberal as Turkey has traditionally been, particularly as it is also a democracy. This makes Turkey a relatively unique society in the world and a positive example of how moderate Sunni Islam and modern democratic and secular government and principles can work effectively in tandem and for the good of a society.

At a time when Muslim countries elsewhere are either harsh dictatorships, nations in a state of collapse or war, or aspiring-but-failing quasi-democracies, a Turkey true to its principles would stand as something of a shining beacon of both secular democracy and the modern-day capacity for a Muslim society to exist effectively and happily in that state of secular democracy.

Also given its unique position as the literal bridge between Europe and the Middle East, such a Turkey would, in these highly toxic and increasingly sectarian times, be all the more important and valuable a society and nation with a great capacity to play peacemaker and bridge-builder.

Instead Turkey is now governed by an increasingly undemocratic, overly religious and aggressive state that is seeing the society polarise and begin to destabilise, while also engaging in illegal operations abroad and facilitating terrorism against its neighbor, Syria. Not content with simply facilitating terrorism against its neighbor, however, the state is now apparently facilitating terror against its own citizens at home.

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Irish politicians face Christmas jail time for trying to inspect US war planes

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Image result for US military aircraft at Shannon airport. PHOTO
RT 

Two members of Ireland’s Dáil (parliament) face Christmas in the clink for trying to inspect US military aircraft at Shannon airport.

Independent TD (MP) Mick Wallace and United Left TD Clare Daly used a rope ladder to gain access to a restricted area of Shannon Airport in July 2014.

They suspected the US of carrying weapons through Ireland, a neutral country that is not part of NATO, and were arrested as they approached two US planes on the taxiway guarded by police and the Irish army.

The pair contested charges of trespassing on the grounds that they were inspecting the planes for humanitarian reasons and to highlight Ireland’s lack of neutrality.

They were subsequently fined €2,000 for their anti-war protest and could now be sent to prison for up to 30 days for refusing to pay up.

Warrants are believed to have been prepared by Irish courts and could be acted on in the coming days. The deadline for the fine payment expired on July 22nd.

Wallace said he and his colleague are prepared to go to prison.

“The decision of myself and Clare Daly to scale the fence at Shannon Airport was designed to help keep the peace, not break it,” he told Irish newspapers. “We do not accept the judge’s decision to the contrary, and under no circumstances will we pay the fines. We realise this may mean serving time in prison. It’s not something we’d look forward to, but if it happens, so be it.”

Wallace said it broke his heart that his country was promoting war by facilitating US military campaigns in the likes of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

The left-wing property developer made headlines years ago, before he won his seat in the Dáil, for hanging banners against the invasion of Iraq on one of his construction projects.

Wallace and Daly would likely be part of a Syriza-like ruling coalition if left-wing candidates succeed in next year’s general elections.

Shannonwatch, a group which monitors the military use of the airport, obtained details earlier this year showing the amount of troops and weapons which came through Irish territory and airspace in 2014.

“US troop carriers and aircraft with machine guns, rocket motors, and other war material are routinely allowed to fly through Irish airspace,” read the group’s document.

Shannonwatch spokesperson John Lannon said at the time: “There would seem to be an overwhelming bias towards facilitating flights from the US and other NATO countries. How can our government claim we are in any way neutral when this is happening?”

“When we see the scale of the refugee crisis created by the use of weapons in Syria, we begin to get a glimpse of how arms shipments can impact on a region. It’s not something we should be part of,” Lannon added.

Shannon Airport was the site of its most famous incident of civil disobedience 12 years ago when five Catholic peace activists broke into a hangar and caused more than $2.5 million damage to a US Navy plane with hammers and a pickaxe.

The “Pitstop Ploughshares” activists were eventually found not guilty by an Irish jury, who said they had the lawful excuse of saving lives in Iraq.

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Prosecutors ban Soros Foundation

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as ‘threat to Russian national security’

Zionist puppet George Soros’

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has recognized George Soros’s Open Society Institute and another affiliated organization as undesirable groups, banning Russian citizens and organizations from participation in any of their projects.

In a statement released on Monday, prosecutors said the activities of the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were a threat to the foundations of Russia’s Constitutional order and national security. They added that the Justice Ministry would be duly informed about these conclusions and would add the two groups to Russia’s list of undesirable foreign organizations.

Prosecutors launched a probe into the activities of the two organizations – both sponsored by the well-known US financier George Soros – in July this year, after Russian senators approved the so-called “patriotic stop-list” of 12 groups that required immediate attention over their supposed anti-Russian activities. Other groups on the list included the National Endowment for Democracy; the International Republican Institute; the National Democratic Institute; the MacArthur Foundation and Freedom House.

In late July, the Russian Justice Ministry recognized the US National Endowment for Democracy as an undesirable group after prosecutors discovered the US NGO had spent millions on attempts to question the legitimacy of Russian elections and tarnish the prestige of national military service.

The Law on Undesirable Foreign Organizations came into force in early June this year. It requires the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Foreign Ministry to draw up an official list of undesirable foreign organizations and outlaw their activities. Once a group is recognized as undesirable, its assets in Russia must be frozen, its offices closed and the distribution of any of its materials must be banned.

If the ban is violated, the personnel of the outlawed group and any Russian citizens who cooperate with them could face heavy fines, or even prison terms in the case of repeated or aggravated offences.

The Soros Foundation started working in Russia in the mid-1990s, but wrapped up its active operations in 2003.

READ MORE ABOUT C.I.A MOSSAD FOUNDATION’S:

US National Endowment for Democracy labeled ‘undesirable’ group under new law

Foreign Ministry praises law banning undesirable foreign groups in Russia

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Leading Zionist puppet’s Senators call for Massive US troop Deployment in Syria, Iraq

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Zionist puppet John McCain

Two US senators are demanding that Washington deploy some 20,000 troops to Syria and Iraq.

Republicans Zionist puppet John McCain and Zionist puppet Lindsey Graham called on Sunday for Washington to nearly triple the US military force levels in Iraq to 10,000, and send an equal number of troops to Syria to ‘counter’ Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in both countries.

McCain and Graham also criticized Barack Obama’s Daesh strategy, which relies on air strikes and modest support to what Washington deems as ‘moderate’ militants in Syria, stressing the need for greater US [intervention] in the Middle East conflicts.

“The only way you can destroy the caliphate (Daesh) is with a ground component,” said Graham who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination. “The aerial campaign is not turning the tide of battle,” Reuters reported.

Zionist puppet Lindsey Graham

McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently proposed intervention in Syria by a European and Arab ground force backed by 10,000 US military advisers and trainers.

On Sunday, both senators told reporters during a visit to Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, that US personnel could provide logistical and intelligence support to a proposed 100,000-strong force from countries like Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Last month, the US president ordered the deployment of dozens of special operations troops to northern Syria to “advise” what it calls ‘opposition forces’ in their fight against ISIL.

US counter-terrorism experts have warned that deploying ground troops risks backfiring.

The so-called US-led coalition, which has been bombing purported militant targets in Syria and Iraq for more than a year now, relies heavily on American resources despite including some 60 nations, according to Reuters.

The senators met earlier with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who they said had welcomed the idea of more US troops.

However, Iraqi government spokesman Saad Hadithi denied the claim, saying that the PM had not requested US combat troops on the ground but rather asked for more arms and advisers to increase air support for Iraqi forces.

Leading Iraqi politicians have repeatedly voiced opposition to a greater role for US forces, which withdrew in 2011 after a nearly nine-year war that left massive casualties.

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The Dancing Zionist

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Smoke pours from the twin towers of the World Trade Center after they were hit by two hijacked airliners in a terrorist attack September 11, 2001
By Philip Giraldi 

Senator Rand Paul, supported by a number of other congressmen, has demanded that the 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report that explored the Saudi Arabian role in the terrorist attack be made public. The redacted section of the report, which apparently concluded that the Saudi government itself played no direct role in 9/11, nevertheless contained considerable evidence suggesting that wealthy Saudis and even members of the Royal Family had been supporting and funding al-Qaeda. Some who have actually read the 28 pages were reported to be shocked by what was revealed.

Recent comments by presidential aspirant Donald Trump indicating that he was aware of people celebrating the terrorist attack in New Jersey, whom he described as “Muslims” numbering in their thousands, might well be regarded as misremembering events that took place over fourteen years ago. Or it could just possibly be part of a deliberate scheme to establish a false narrative that would fit nicely with Trump’s stated desire to surveil mosques, waterboard suspects and subject all Muslims to extraordinary scrutiny by the police.

The Trump over-the-top comments were greeting with disbelief and debunked by many media pundits. They were even denounced by some Republicans competing with him for the GOP nomination. But what is really astonishing about the reaction was the failure to connect the dots with what actually happened on 9/11. There were indeed people celebrating as the Twin Towers were burning and collapsing, but they were not Muslims. They were Israelis.

If the Saudi role in 9/11 is still classified secret it is regrettable, but the Israeli role, insofar as can be determined, was never seriously investigated at all and any conclusions, if there were any, were never included in the final report. This time around with the story being resurfaced by Trump one would think that a journalist or two just might be able to make the connection and realize that Donald may have actually been referring to a reported incident involving Israelis rather than Arabs and that he is possibly confusing one with the other.

But of course no one in the mainstream media did pick up on the connection, inhibited no doubt by the understanding that there are some things that one just does not write about Israel if one hopes to remain employed. That is true in spite of the fact that the Israeli angle to 9/11 is without a doubt a good story, one that has never been satisfactorily explored, but it is a tale that will have to remain mired in the alternative media where it can be marginalized by critics as a conspiracy theory or the product of anti-Semitism.

So for the benefit of Mr. Trump and for anyone else who might be interested, I will take it upon myself to relate what happened. Quite possibly Senator Paul will read this and decide that giving billions of dollars in aid annually to a country that just might have been linked to what occurred on 9/11 might no longer be a good idea. He might even demand an inquiry or a commission to look into it and determine what exactly the U.S. government does and does not know. That would be very interesting.

In the year 2001 Israel was running a massive spying operation directed against Muslims either resident or traveling in the United States. The operation included the creation of a number of cover companies in New Jersey, Florida and also on the west coast that served as spying mechanisms for Mossad officers. The effort was supported by the Mossad Station in Washington D.C. and included a large number of volunteers, the so-called “art students” who traveled around the U.S. selling various products at malls and outdoor markets. The FBI was aware of the numerous Israeli students who were routinely overstaying their visas and some in the Bureau certainly believed that they were assisting their country’s intelligence service in some way, but it proved difficult to actually link the students to actual undercover operations, so they were regarded as a minor nuisance and were normally left to the tender mercies of the inspectors at the Bureau of Customs and Immigration.

American law enforcement was also painfully aware that the Israelis were running more sophisticated intelligence operations inside the United States, many of which were focused on Washington’s military capabilities and intentions. Some specialized intelligence units concentrated on obtaining military and dual use technology. It was also known that Israeli spies had penetrated the phone systems of the U.S. government, to include those at the White House to include those at the White House.

In its annual classified counterespionage review, the FBI invariably places Israel at the top for “friendly” countries that spy on the U.S. In fact, the pre-9/11 Bureau did its best to stay on top of the problem, but it rarely received any political support from the Justice Department and White House if an espionage case involved Israelis. By one estimate, more than 100 such cases were not prosecuted for political reasons. Any Israeli caught in flagrante would most often be quietly deported and most Americans who were helping Israel were let off with a slap on the wrist.

But the hands-off attitude towards Israel shifted dramatically when, on September 11, 2001, a New Jersey housewife saw something from the window of her apartment building, which overlooked the World Trade Center. She watched as the buildings burned and crumbled but also noted something strange. Three young me were kneeling on the roof of a white transit van parked by the water’s edge, making a movie in which they featured themselves high fiving and laughing in front of the catastrophic scene unfolding behind them. The woman wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police, who responded quickly and soon both the local force and the FBI began looking for the vehicle, which was subsequently seen by other witnesses in various locations along the New Jersey waterfront, its occupants “celebrating and filming.”

The license plate number revealed that the van belonged to a New Jersey registered company called Urban Moving Systems. At 4 p.m. the vehicle was spotted and pulled over. Five men between the ages of 22 and 27 years old emerged. They were detained at gunpoint and handcuffed. They were all Israelis. One of them had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock and another had two foreign passports. Bomb sniffing dogs reacted to the smell of explosives in the van.

According to the initial police report, the driver identified as Sivan Kurzberg, stated “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The four other passengers were Sivan’s brother Paul, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari. The men were detained at the Bergen County jail in New Jersey before being transferred the FBI’s Foreign Counterintelligence Section, which handles allegations of spying.

After the arrest, the FBI obtained a warrant to search Urban Moving System’s Weehawken, N.J., offices. Papers and computers were seized. The company owner Dominick Suter, also an Israeli, answered FBI questions but when a follow-up interview was set up a few days later it was learned that he had fled the country for Israel, putting both his business and home up for sale. The office space and warehouse were abandoned. It was later learned that Suter has been associated with at least fourteen businesses in the United States, mostly in New Jersey and New York but also in Florida. Suter and his wife Omit Levinson Suter were the owners of 1 Stop Cleaner located in Wellington Florida and Dominick was also associated with Basia McDonnell, described as a Polish “holocaust survivor,” as a business partner in yet another business called Value Ad. Florida was a main focus for the Israeli intelligence operation in the U.S. that was directed against Arabs.

The five Israelis were held in Brooklyn, initially on charges relating to visa fraud. FBI interrogators questioned them for more than two months. Several were held in solitary confinement so they could not communicate with each other and two of them were given repeated polygraph exams, which they failed when claiming that they were nothing more than students working summer jobs. The two men that the FBI focused on most intensively were believed to be Mossad staff officers and the other three were volunteers helping with surveillance.

The Israelis were not exactly cooperative, but the FBI concluded from documents obtained at their office in Weehawken that they were targeting Arabs in New York and New Jersey, most particularly in the Paterson N.J. area, which has the second largest Muslim population in the U.S. They were particularly interested in local groups possibly linked to Hamas and Hezbollah as well as in charities that might be used for fund raising. The FBI also concluded that there was a distinct possibility that the Israelis had actually monitored the activities of at least two of the 9/11 hijackers.

To be sure, working on an intelligence operation does not necessarily imply participation in either the planning or execution of something like 9/11, but there are Israeli fingerprints all over the place, with cover companies and intelligence personnel often intersecting with locations frequented by the hijackers. And even possessing bits and pieces relating to the plot does not necessarily imply significant prior knowledge of it.

Apart from the interrogations of the five men from Weehawken, the U.S. government has apparently never sought to find out what else the Israelis might have known or were up to in September 2011. There are a lot a dots that might well have been connected once upon a time, but the trail has grown cold. Police records in New Jersey and New York where the men were held have disappeared and FBI interrogation reports are inaccessible. Media coverage of the case also died, though the five were referred to in the press as the “dancing Israelis” and by some, more disparagingly, as the “dancing Shlomos.”

Inevitably, the George W. Bush White House intervened. After 71 days in detention, the five Israelis were released from prison, put on a plane, and deported. Two of the men later spoke about their unpleasant experience in America on an Israeli talk show, one explaining that their filming the fall of the Twin Towers was to “document the event.” In 2004 the five men sued the United States government for damages, alleging “that their detention was illegal and that their civil rights were violated, suffering racial slurs, physical violence, religious discrimination, rough interrogations, deprivation of sleep, and many other offenses.” They were represented by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who in the previous year had founded the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center which seeks to bankrupt groups that Israel considers to be “terrorists.” Shurat HaDin is closely tied to the Israeli government.

Now it is just possible that the Urban Moving Israelis were indeed uninvolved in 9/11 but nevertheless working for Mossad, which one has to suspect is the case. More than fourteen years later it is perhaps past time to reveal what exactly the FBI knew and currently knows about both the scale and modus operandi of Israeli espionage in the United States. Did Israel have critical intelligence either in broad outline or possibly in specific detail about 9/11 and let it happen to bind Washington more closely to it in a “global war on terror?” If Senator Rand Paul wants to learn more about the Saudis, it is fair to ask “What about Israel?” If Donald Trump wants to pillory fictional celebrating Muslims it is perhaps appropriate that he begin to take note of the actual celebrating Israelis who were caught in the act on 9/11.

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Turkish media questions Ankara’s version on Su-24

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Image result for HURRIYET  NEWSPAPER LOGO
Sputnik 

Analyzing the Turkish attack on a Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria last week, Turkish journalist Umit Kivanc suggested that Ankara’s narrative on how things went down doesn’t seem to mesh with the basic facts, adding that a reasoned analysis has led him to conclude that the attack may have been a deliberate, political provocation.

In his analysis, published in Turkey’s Radikal newspaper, Kivanc emphasized that the Russians were not the only ones to condemn the shoot down, with even Turkey’s ostensible allies in the United States making harsh comments over the disproportionate response.

The journalist pointed to the commentary of Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, former US Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, who bluntly told Fox News that the attack was a “very bad mistake” and a sign of “poor judgment” on Turkey’s part.

McInerney, Kivanc noted, went so far as to call the attack an “aggressive” act, adding that the Russian plane had not made “any maneuvers to attack [Turkish] territory.” Having himself served as a NORAD commander in Alaska, McInerney noted that he could never imagine US planes responding to a violation of US airspace by shooting down the plane as the first response. Ultimately, the former military commander suggested that “this could have been a deliberate provocation by President Erdogan.”

Praising McInerney for his professionalism, and his ability to explain the situation in a simple and clear manner, Kivanc contrasted this with some of the rhetoric found in the Turkish press over the incident. Many Turkish commentators, he noted, have focused all their attention on the fact that the militants the Russian planes were bombing in the region weren’t Daesh (Islamic State).

“All this is well and good,” the columnist noted, “but did anyone ever claim that the Russians were bombing ISIL here? No, they didn’t. So why the commentary on ISIL’s absence? It is well-known that in this region, where the Syrian Army is attempting to advance, under the cover of Russian air support, there is Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra Front), Ahrar al-Sham, and other armed groups, with whom Turkey has rather close contacts. [Moreover,] according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the area contains terrorist infrastructure, including arms and ammunition depots and command centers.”

“Lavrov,” Kivanc added, “had mentioned this ‘infrastructure’ in the course of his telephone conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu,” asking whether Ankara was deliberately looking to create a buffer zone to protect the terrorists.

Moving on to Turkish authorities’ claims that the Russian plane had violated Turkish airspace, for 17 seconds, and had been warned “ten times in five minutes,” the journalist noted that several questions could not give him peace of mind over Ankara’s claims.

First of all, Kivanc noted, “we are talking about a military plane, capable of increasing to speeds of a thousand kilometers or more per hour. If the aircraft was first warned over the space of ‘five minutes’, at what distance [from the border] did the warnings start? Were they understandable? Was the plane flying very slowly?”

The journalist pointed out that “judging by the fact that in a matter of 17 seconds the plane had [allegedly] flown 1.8 km into Turkish territory, I recalled the opinion of German pilots flying Tornado fighter bombers. In a commentary for Der Spiegel, one of them suggested, based on the trajectory pictured in the diagram [released by Turkish authorities], that the Russian plane could have been in Turkish territory for 10-15 seconds. In other words, we would not even have had the time to tell it to ‘shoo’, before it was gone!”

Furthermore, Kivanc recalled, “there are ways to address [airspace violations] before shooting a plane down. These include, for example, accompanying the plane until it exits from your airspace. This idea, for some reason, was ignored, instead moving right away to the last possible option.”

In fact, the journalist emphasized that the plane was allegedly in Turkish airspace “for such a short amount of time that not only was it not necessary to shoot it down –it wasn’t necessary to do anything with it.”

Commenting on the history of airspace violations involving his country, Kivanc pointed out that, for example, in January 2014 alone, “Turkish jets had violated Greek airspace 1017 times –up to forty (40!) times a day. Correspondence related to the violations of airspace was among the documents released by WikiLeaks. And if the destruction of aircraft were to occur following each violation, there would be no aircraft remaining.”

Poring over all the details of the attack, both in Turkish and Western media, the journalist suggested that the main issue, in his view, was that of the “huge disparity” between the alleged Russian violation, and the Turkish response, all of which seemed to demonstrate that authorities in Ankara may have been looking for just such a provocation.

Noting that the Turkish letter to the UN had declared that the Su-24 was shot down “in Turkish airspace,” Kivanc pointed out that the map released by Turkey’s own Ministry of Defense “refutes such suggestions.”

“The Russian plane,” the journalist noted, “was not hit when it was in Turkish airspace. Ankara acknowledges that the downed plane crashed in Syria, but denies that it was struck on the other side of the border. The fact that US officials know the truth, but do not want to disclose it, was clear hours after the incident, according to Reuters. The Russians, meanwhile, maintain that the Turkish F-16 which shot down their plane had itself violated Syrian airspace.”

All in all, Kivanc suggested, “the incident does not look like a natural reaction of a state whose airspace has been violated. One gets the impression that the decision was made in advance, and was itself extreme in character, deliberately searching for a suitable situation.” This, the journalist notes, is exactly how Russia characterizes it, with Foreign Minister Lavrov calling the attack a “pre-planned provocation.”

Noting that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had basically confirmed the political nature of the decision, when he noted following the attack that he had “personally given the instructions to the General Staff,” to deal with violations in a harsh manner, Kivanc added that “the fact that immediately following the incident, Ankara rushed to NATO, instead of establishing direct contact with Moscow, leads one to agree with the skeptical approach of the American Lieutenant General.”

Posted in Russia, TurkeyComments Off on Turkish media questions Ankara’s version on Su-24

Turkey toughens media gag, detains another journalist

NOVANEWS

Image result for ERDOGAN JALS CARTOON

photo shows Ertugrul Ozkok, a columnist and a former editor-in-chief of the Turkish-language daily newspaper Hurriyet.
Press TV 

Turkish authorities have arrested another journalist amid growing concerns over the Ankara government’s attempts to stifle critical media and crackdown on dissidents.

Ertugrul Ozkok, a columnist and former editor-in-chief of the Turkish-language Hurriyet daily, was arrested on Sunday on charges of slander after publishing an opinion piece indirectly criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan back in early September.

In the op-ed, titled “Listen, grand man,” written after the tragic death of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian child refugee whose body was previously washed up on a beach near the port city of Bodrum, Ozkok denounced the Middle Eastern actors for turning the region into “the most brutal land in the world.”

The article, which did not mention the name of the Turkish leader, further pointed to a “dictator” who thinks the country is the “property of his father.”

Ozkok could face up to five years and four months in prison if found “guilty.”

The arrest came just two days after a prosecutor in Turkey demanded that Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of center-left Turkish dailyCumhuriyet, along with the paper’s Ankara representative, Erdem Gul, appear in court in Istanbul to face charges of “espionage and treason.” The two journalists had earlier revealed Ankara’s arms delivery to the militants in Syria in their reports. Cumhuriyet says the charges carry up to 45 years in prison altogether.

Outside the courthouse, Dundar told reporters that the government wants to cover up their paper’s revelations, stressing, “There is a crime that has been committed by the state that they are trying to cover up.”

On May 29, Cumhuriyet posted on its website footage showing trucks of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) being inspected by security officers.

The inspectors then spotted cardboard boxes inside a metallic container with the “fragile” marking on them. They opened the boxes, and found a considerable amount of munitions hidden in crates below boxes of medicine.

Cumhuriyet said the trucks were carrying around 1,000 mortar shells, hundreds of grenade launchers and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition for light and heavy weapons.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on Turkey toughens media gag, detains another journalist

War Returns to Ukraine

NOVANEWS

Tensions escalate as Ukraine tries to regain international attention diverted by Syria

By Alexander Mercouris 

poroshenko

Whilst all eyes are on Syria there has been a steady deterioration of the situation in Ukraine.

In violation of the ceasefire, shelling of the territories of the two people’s republics has resumed, and the OSCE has confirmed that the Ukrainian military has moved heavy weapons back to the contact line.

The Ukrainians meanwhile have extended their ban of commercial flights to and from Russia by also banning transit flights.

Ukraine has placed Crimea under a food blockade. To the intense embarrassment of its Western backers (see this editorial in theFinancial Times, headlined “Kiev should act to end the blockade of Crimea”) it has enlarged this to an energy blockade.

Ukraine claims the power lines to Crimea were destroyed by Crimean Tatar “activists” backed by Right Sector.

Even if this were true, the Ukrainian authorities have done little or nothing to take control of the situation, arrest and punish those responsible for what was after all an act of criminal damage, or carry out the necessary repairs.

Characteristically most Western governments have said nothing, save that there has been some muted criticism from Germany.

Contrast this silence with the furious – and wrong – accusations regularly made in the West against Russia for its supposed use of energy as a political weapon.

All of this is happening to a drumbeat of demands in the Ukrainian media for the country to renounce the Minsk II agreement.

The Russians for their part have responded by stopping coal supplies to Ukraine. Since Ukraine is again failing to pay for its gas, it seems the Russians intend to stop supplying Ukraine with gas on Tuesday.

The two people’s republics have also announced they are stopping their own coal deliveries to Ukraine.

These steps increase the prospects of severe power shortages in Ukraine during what is predicted to be a harsh winter.

The Russians are also due in January to impose sanctions on Ukrainian food imports to Russia. This is in retaliation to Ukraine joining EU sanctions against Russia, and imposing sanctions of its own.

Bizarrely, this systematic severing of trade links with Russia is being hailed in parts of the Western media as proof Ukraine is “successfully reorienting” its trade to the EU and away from Russia, and is becoming “less dependent” on Russia. This of course takes no account of the damage these actions are doing to Ukraine’s economy.

There has also been an orchestrated attempt in recent weeks on the part of some sections of the Western media to talk up Ukraine’s economic situation, with claims that it is “stabilizing”. The US credit agency Moody’s has joined in the game by upgrading Ukraine’s credit rating.

To the very limited extent this is true, it is wholly the consequence of the August ceasefire, which stopped the drain of fighting the war on the civilian economy.

The actions the Ukrainian government and “activists” have been taking over the last few weeks puts this in jeopardy.

What is causing this sudden deterioration in the situation?

At its simplest, it is growing alarm in Ukraine that Western – especially European – support for Ukraine is flagging.

It is now widely accepted that Merkel and Obama are becoming increasingly isolated in their insistence that the sanctions against Russia be extended.

In France Nicholas Sarkozy, Hollande’s likely conservative opponent at the Presidential election, has clearly signaled his opposition to sanctions, aligning himself on this issue with Marine Le Pen.

More to the point, in Germany, Merkel’s coalition partners – the SPD and the CSU – are both becoming openly critical of a sanctions policy with which one senses they both privately always disagreed.

Russia Insider has already discussed the increasingly rebellious line being taken by Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD’s leader and Germany’s Vice Chancellor.

Possibly even more important is the call from Horst Seehofer, leader of the CSU – the CDU’s right wing coalition partner in Merkel’s coalition – for a rapprochement with Russia.

Whilst Seehofer’s comments seem to have been specifically triggered by the migrant crisis and the conflict in Syria, their tone suggests a wider rapprochement.

Interestingly, Seehofer has been forging increasingly close links in recent weeks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – a bete noir in Washington – who is known to be a strong advocate of good relations between Europe and Russia.

Back in September – as the migrant crisis was starting to spiral out of control – Orban made another call for a new relationship between Europe and Russia.  Significantly he did this straight after a meeting with Seehofer.

The mounting opposition in Europe to the sanctions is being picked up by the “realists” in the US.

Russia Insider recently republished an article in The National Interest – the main publication in which the US foreign policy “realists” express their views – which should be read as a call to the Obama administration to take the lead in diplomatic discussions with Moscow before the sanctions regime collapses, leaving the US looking isolated and humiliated.

A number of our readers misunderstood this article, taking literally its ritual claims about the sanctions’ effectiveness and Putin’s supposedly “desperate situation”.

The sad truth about policy debate in the US today is that it cannot admit defeat, so that even when it retreats it has to claim “victory”.

The key point about the article in The National Interest is not what it says about Putin and Russia.

It is its call for the US to initiate diplomatic negotiations with Moscow to find a face-saving way to end the sanctions before Europe splits away and they fall apart.

The gradual shift towards an improvement in relations with Russia began before Russia’s intervention in Syria.

In fact it has been underway ever since the Minsk II agreement was reached in February. We have discussed the process at length in various articles here on Russia Insider.

However the Russian intervention in Syria and the Paris attacks have markedly accelerated the process, with Western public opinion showing increasing signs of backing Russia.

All of this is causing in Ukraine growing alarm. The Ukrainians must be seething as international attention is refocusing away from them, and as Russia shows signs of winning over Western public opinion to its side.

The consistent response of the Maidan movement whenever it senses it is losing is to double down and escalate and that is what we are now seeing.

A way to rationalise it would be to say that the Ukrainians are trying to provoke Russia into an overreaction, so as to reignite the conflict in order to shore up Western support and get the sanctions – due for renewal in December – extended.

Though this is at a certain level true, it seriously underestimates the purely visceral aspect in Ukrainian behaviour.

For the Maidan movement any sign Russia is gaining credit with the Western public is like a red rag to a bull. There is no need to look for calculation in Ukrainian behaviour in order to understand it.

The underlying problem – as we have said many times – is that the Maidan movement is inherently incapable of the sort of compromise that Minsk II envisages.

To see how that is so, consider what has happened since the October summit in Paris where the Europeans in effect ordered Poroshenko to implement Minsk II within a revised timetable.

The Ukrainians have done nothing of the sort, and the new timetable for carrying out the terms of Minsk II is already slipping.

Any discussion of the internal aspect of the Ukrainian conflict – as opposed to its external aspect – has to proceed from the fact that the present Ukrainian government is simply incapable of compromise unless overwhelming external pressure is brought upon it.

The Russians long ago grasped this. Over the last few weeks there are clear signs the Europeans belatedly are starting to grasp it as well.

The question that remains is for how much longer the Europeans will be prepared to go on making their relations with Russia hostage to the ideological obsessions of the Maidan movement and its neocon supporters.

The mounting evidence – judging from comments by people like Sigmar Gabriel and Horst Seehofer in Germany, Sarkozy in France, and from what happened during the summit in Paris – is that European patience is wearing thin.

Posted in UkraineComments Off on War Returns to Ukraine

Turkey stopped violating Greek airspace after Russian Su-24 downing

NOVANEWS
Image result for Turkey stopped violating Greek airspace PHOTO
RT 

Turkish warplanes abruptly ceased violating Greek airspace after downing a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber on November 24. Previously, air intrusions made by Turkish fighter jets took place on a daily basis and amounted to thousands a year.

The data comes from a diplomatic source in Athens, cited by RIA Novosti.

The last time Turkish warplanes were spotted in Greek airspace was on November 25, when six jets, two of them carrying weapons, entered the neighbor’s aerial domain.

Intrusions of Turkish jets into Greek national airspace remain a constant headache for Athens. Turkey and Greece, while partners in NATO, have been adversaries for centuries. The two nations have warred with each other before and still have territorial disputes.

In particular 2014 was marked with a sharp increase of Greek airspace violations by the Turkish Air Force, which amounted to 2,244 incidents. From January to October 2015, Greece’s airspace was violated by Turkish warplanes 1,233 times, including 31 flights over Greek territory itself, according to the Greek Air Force’s headquarters. In November, before the downing of the Russian bomber, there were at least 50 registered airspace violations.

Turkish jets habitually intrude into Greek airspace over disputed islands in the Aegean Sea, provoking the Greek Air Force to scramble fighter jets to intercept. Such airborne rendezvous often end with mock dogfights, with pilots performing real lock-ons of their air-to-air missiles onto their NATO partner’s aircraft.

Athens has repeatedly raised the matter at NATO meetings. Greece’s representative to NATO last reported Turkish violations of their national airspace on November 24. The reaction of other NATO member states has been usually to sit on the fence, and Ankara continued to test Athen’s patience.

When Turkey shot down the Russian bomber on Tuesday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikas Kotzias expressed solidarity with Russia in a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

“Athens agrees with the Russian president’s assessment on Ankara’s hostile actions, which are contrary to the goals of the anti-ISIS coalition,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, as reported by RIA Novosti.

Greece, according to its Foreign Ministry, “especially comprehends provocative moves by Turkey given regular multiple violations of Greek air space by Ankara lasting for years.”

According to Greece’s General Staff, on November 24, the day a Turkish F-16 fighter jet fired an air-to-air missile at Russia’s bomber, the Turkish Air Force made no violations of Greek airspace for the first time in a long period.

Once the Russian warplane went down in flames, “there was zero activity of Turkish aviation in Greek FIR in the Aegean Sea, and it is understandable why,” RIA Novosti cited a diplomatic source in Athens.

The Turkish Air Force also halted strikes on Syrian territory after Russia deployed S-400 long-range air defense complexes at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria’s Latakia, from where the Russian Air Force strikes Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Posted in Greece, TurkeyComments Off on Turkey stopped violating Greek airspace after Russian Su-24 downing

The dark role of archeology in the battle for Hebron’s Tel Rumeida

NOVANEWS

By Megan Hanna 

HEBRON – “As you can see we live in a cage,” Arwa Abu Haikel sighed as she walked up the steps of her home. “Because of the continuous attacks by Jewish Nazi settlers, throwing stones, breaking windows and causing injuries, we had to build the bars around the windows.” Based in Tel Rumedia, a neighborhood of Hebron, Arwa’s home possesses one of the most contentious postcodes of the occupied Palestinian territory. Hebron has been the epicenter of burgeoning violence since the outbreak of the so-called “Third Intifada” at the beginning of October, and a few weeks ago the Nazi military declared the whole of Tel Rumeida a closed military zone.

Despite this, Palestinian residents told Ma’an that Tel Rumedia’s difficulties long precede the recent spate of violence, and can be seen in the fight over the area’s archaeological ruins.

The troubled neighborhood has been at the heart of a longstanding battle — between settlers in the area, numerous rights groups and the Palestinian municipality of Hebron — over the development and management of an archaeological site that’s thousands of years old.

Critics say that the site is being used by a state-funded body for the benefit of extremist Nazi Jewish settlers living in the area, who have been aiming for decades to push local Palestinians out of their homes and out of the neighborhood.

A front for settler expansion

Based on archaeological surveys, the Tel Rumeida archaeological site dates back to the formation of Hebron in the middle Bronze Age. The site also has remains originating in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Excavations by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) began in 1967, but last year new excavations started in what many criticize as a political move taken to support the presence of settlers in the area. Yonathan Mizrachi is an Zionist archaeologist who used to work for the IAA, but left the body in order to establish Emek Shevah, an organization which monitors the role of archaeology in the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. Yonathan says the importance of and contention over the site in Tel Rumeida come from the possible implication it has for the demographic balance of the area. “In 2014 the IAA began a new excavation in Tel Rumeida on behalf of the settlers in order to make the site an archaeological park,” Yonathan told Ma’an. “When we started to monitor activity in Tel Rumeida, we began to see different ways that archaeology is used as a political tool,” he said.

“First of all, the idea of developing an archaeological park is the best way — from the settlers’ point of view — of how they can take over the land. They also realize that it can increase their power and their legitimacy over this place,” Mizrachi added.

The IAA — supported and sponsored by the Israeli government — received 7 million shekels ($1.8 million) last year from Israel’s Ministry of Culture and Sport for the Tel Rumeida project, according to Mizrachi.

Abu Haikel told Ma’an that her family owns segments of land in Tel Rumeida, parts of which have been confiscated by the Israeli military and are threatened by the expansion of the archaeological park. “Our daily life is difficult. To live in Tel Rumeida you have to be very strong, very patient and very peaceful,” Arwa said. She spoke of her fear from increasing numbers of settlers in the area, and the problem that a large influx of tourists to a settler-run archaeological park may pose for Palestinian residents. “Through the years, we have been attacked many times by settlers, especially by buses of Zionist extremist tour groups. They cause a lot of trouble for us and have physically assaulted us many times… I have a problem in the nerve of my eye from being attacked by a settler,” Abu Haikal explained to Ma’an.

The manipulation of history

Dr. Ahmed Rjoub is the director of the Department of Site Management at the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. When speaking to Ma’an about his concerns over the management of Tel Rumeida, Rjoub explained that “the conflict is all on history, and as such Tel Rumeida is a conflicted place, not just in terms of the physical space but a conflict over history and culture, heritage and identity.

“We have a lot of fears that the history, the archaeology and the remains of this site will be faked for the interests of Zionist heritage,” Rjoub told Ma’an.

Rjoub had grave concerns over the conservation of the site, especially regarding any artifacts that might be related to Islamic heritage. “They actually found some tombs and ruins relating to the Roman and Islamic period and removed them,” he claimed. Rjoub said that such excavations — their methods in particular — violate standards put in place by both Palestinian and international law, and are “against the ethics of archaeology.

“Such excavations, especially the methods of excavations, violate the international standards of Palestinian and international law, and are against the ethics of archaeology.”

“As members of the PA we tried to interfere,” Rjoub told Ma’an.

“In Oslo there is an article saying any project in Area C should be coordinated with the PA. But unfortunately Nazi violates even the Oslo Accords, and refused our official requests to visit even as technical and professional archaeologists,” Rjoub said.

Explaining how the political motivations behind the excavations go against the grain of archaeological convention, Rjoub said: “They have preconceptions and interpretations over this site before they have even started the excavations.

“This is very wrong, and it isn’t a scientific method to interpret the remains before you’ve even finished excavating.”

Mizrachi also raised misgivings over the integrity of Israeli archaeological practice in the occupied Palestinian territory.

“We [Emek Shevah] are monitoring all kinds of activities of the Israelis in the West Bank,” Mizrachi said. “Based on previous and present cases that we know about, we have a lot of criticism in regards to which periods are being emphasized and narrated to the people.”

Mizrachi told Ma’an that there are those who attempt to identify the layers of ruins with a “specific culture of today,” labeling the area as a “Jewish site” or a “Muslim site.”

“In this land you might find an ancient synagogue, church or mosque, obviously it is very dear to a specific culture, but it doesn’t mean that you can claim sovereignty over it. It means that it is part of the heritage of a place and you should protect it according to the international convention,” Mizrachi said.

Court verdict

After lobbying efforts — carried out by the Palestinian municipality, Tel Rumeida residents, Emek Shevah and Israeli rights group Breaking the Silence — the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank agreed to cancel the lease of the site to an pro-settlement organization, Association for Renewed Jewish Settlement in Hebron, a few weeks ago. However, this does not signal that the struggle in Tel Rumeida, or for archaeology throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, is over. Rjoub spoke of a move to raise the issue with UNESCO due to the universal value of the site. “The international community has a responsibility to protect this site as part of everyone’s history”, he said.“It’s not just Palestinian cultural heritage either — this heritage is for all,” Rjoub added.

Seeing as archaeology does not conform to contemporary political borders — such as Israel’s separation wall, the Green Line, or the West Bank’s delineation of Areas A, B and C — conforming excavations to a framework of military occupation has rendered the practice problematic. There is little structure in place to enforce accountability regarding archaeological conduct, and other sites such as as the City of David’s national parin occupied East Jerusalem as well as the Tel Shilo national park have been criticized for their current management. Zionist excavations in occupied Palestinian land appear to systematically abuse the occupation force’s power and flout International Law, whilst alienating Palestinians from their cultural heritage.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The dark role of archeology in the battle for Hebron’s Tel Rumeida

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