Archive | December 20th, 2015

Welcome to America: Florida woman dies outside hospital

 Florida woman dies outside hospital after being arrested, forcibly removed by police from her room
Nicolas Roberts

© ABC News
Barbara Dawson
A Florida woman who was arrested for refusing to leave an emergency room of a local hospital collapsed and died in the hospital’s parking lot later that day. Medical staff called police on her because they reportedly thought she was feigning her illness.Barbara Dawson, 57, went to the Calhoun Liberty Hospital in Blountstown, Florida, on Dec. 20, 2015, to get treatment for her abdominal pain, ABC reports. She died in the early hours of Dec. 21, 2015.

Hospital officials said that Dawson was being unruly and refused to leave the hospital after medical staff examined and released her. A police officer was called to the hospital, and he arrested Dawson for disorderly conduct and trespassing.

Lawyers representing Dawson’s family have released a police dash-cam video of the incident. Martha Smith-Dixon, Dawson’s aunt, said in a news conference on Jan. 6 that she hopes the footage will bring “justice for Barbara,” according to ABC.

Dawson is not visible in most of the dash-cam video but can reportedly be heard saying “Oh my God” and “I can’t breathe” multiple times.”You hear them insisting that she is going to jail,” Benjamin Crump, the Dawson family lawyer, said about the video, Reuters reports. “You also hear hospital personnel repeating to her, ‘There’s nothing wrong with you,’ as she continues to be in distress.”

According to Crump, the video shows that the officer did not believe Dawson was in any medical trouble either. The cause of her death was a blood clot on the lung.” You hear him saying to the captain, ‘I thought she was just being non-compliant,'” Daryl Parks, another lawyer representing the family, said. “We now know that that assumption cost Barbara Dawson her life.”

Dawson collapsed before entering the officer’s vehicle and was eventually brought back inside the hospital. Parks noted that there is a 20-minute gap between when Dawson could no longer be heard on the dash-cam recording and when medical staff arrived, according to ABC.

A police report received by an ABC affiliate said that the officer believed “Dawson was … making herself dead weight in an effort to avoid going to jail.”Crump went on to emphasize what he called the larger implication in Dawson’s death, noting that police and hospital staff treated her “like she was not worthy of consideration.”

No lawsuits have yet been filed in the case, although the Blountstown Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration have all launched separate independent investigations.

Sources: ReutersABC News

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‘Are embedded British soldiers helping Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime attack Yemen?’


Human rights activists fear British military personnel could be embedded with Saudi Zio-Wahhabi allies who are bombing Yemen after receiving opaque responses from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Concerns have been raised by the charity Reprieve, which is best known for its work on post 9/11 torture and rendition, after the MoD published figures detailing the number of UK military personnel embedded around the world.

The war in Yemen, between Houthi rebels and Saudi Zio-Wahhabi backed forces, is not one the UK is officially involved in. However, the theocratic Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime is a close regional ally of Britain.

Thousands have been killed, tens of thousands injured and up to 2.5 million displaced, according to some reports.

While most of those embedded personnel are in easily identifiable locations – such as in the US, Canada, NATO and the EU member states – nearly 100 personnel are assigned to cryptically titled ‘Coalition HQs’.

Responding to the revelations that 94 members of the UK armed forces are carrying out duties for unknown forces, Jennifer Gibson, a staff attorney at Reprieve, said in a statement: “This is a long way from real transparency. It is impossible to tell what operations or even what countries these personnel are active in, making this information almost worthless.”

Gibson said the terms used were “hopelessly vague” and asked “what, for example, are the ‘coalition HQs’ where nearly 100 UK personnel are based?”

“Is this the highly-controversial Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, the long-standing coalition in Afghanistan, the coalition in Iraq and Syria, or another we don’t know about?”

Gibson said the UK is entitled to use military force, but that “parliament and the public deserve to know at the very least which wars we are sending our troops into and under whose command.”

It emerged in July that UK aircrews embedded with foreign air forces – allegedly the US and Canadian militaries – had been carrying out combat missions over Syria.

This was despite there being no parliamentary authority for such actions. A vote on bombing targets within Syria has since passed early in December.

In a statement released with the figures on the MoD website, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Embeds [sic] play an important role in enhancing our national security interests around the world, strengthening our relationships with key allies and developing our own capabilities.

“For operational and personal security reasons the information that can be routinely released is limited,” he added.

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Nazi Lieberman launches campaign to oust Zoabi

Nazi Lieberman launches campaign to oust Zoabi and the Joint Arab List from the Knesset

Nazi Member of Knesset Avigdor Lieberman, who also heads the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, has launched a campaign to oust Arab MK Hanin Zoabi and the Joint Arab List from the Israeli parliament.

The campaign, which Nazi Lieberman began on his Facebook page yesterday, calls for “permanently” ousting Hanin Zoabi from the Knesset. “Together we can expel vandal supporters from the Knesset,” he said in a Facebook post.

In a video posted on his page, Nazi Lieberman called on the Zionist public to put pressure on MKs from the Likud, Jewish Home, Kulanu, Shas and United Torah Judaism parties to support the proposed campaign, which aims to expel Zoabi and the Joint List from the Knesset.

Nazi Lieberman mentions in the video that the Central Election Commission (CEC) previously banned Zoabi and her party Balad (a member of the Arab Joint List) from running but that the Supreme Court overturned the commission’s decision. As a result, Nazi Lieberman presented a bill seeking to remove the Supreme Court’s power of intervening in CEC’s decision of whether to approve or ban the participation of a candidate or a list in the Nazi Knesset’s elections.

Nazi Lieberman claims that the banning of Balad was in line with the law, which states that those who support terrorism and armed struggle against the Nazi state of I$raHell, or deny I$raHell existence as a Nazi state, cannot be in the parliament. “The party of traitor Azmi Bishara and his successor Hanin Zoabi is doing that openly, and it is time they were made to pay the price,” he added.

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Egypt gets billions in aid from Saudi Arabia, World Bank

Mada Masr 

Egypt, which is facing dwindling foreign reserves and a yawning budget deficit, will be getting a major boost this month, thanks to large aid packages coming in from Saudi Arabia, the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail announced that Saudi Arabia will increase its investment in Egypt to 30 billion riyals (LE62 billion/US$8 billion), support Egypt’s petroleum needs for five years, and help boost traffic through the Suez Canal.

The announcement came after a Tuesday meeting of the Egyptian-Saudi coordination council. On Monday, Saudi Arabia announced that Egypt, along with 34 other states, was joining a Saudi-led alliance to fight terrorism.

In a Monday press conference, Ismail told reporters that during the meeting he intended to discuss the possibility of Saudi Arabia depositing funds at Egypt’s Central Bank — a more direct form of support for the government than increased investment. Official communications since the meeting have not mentioned this possibility, but an anonymous official told Bloomberg news the Kingdom is considering buying Egyptian treasury bonds and bills instead.

In related news, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr announced Tuesday that the board of the African Development Bank approved a US$500 million soft loan to Egypt. According to Nasr, the loan is part of a comprehensive economic development program that will loan US$1.5 billion to support Egypt’s general budget over three years, and signals the bank’s trust in Egypt’s economic and social program.

Meanwhile, the World Bank’s executive board is scheduled to meet Thursday to approve a US$1 billion budgetary support loan for Egypt. According to Egyptian officials, the loan is part of a three-year, US$3 billion package. It will be granted in accordance with the World Bank’s new Country Partnership Framework for Egypt, a document that is also expected to be approved on Thursday.

The last time Egypt received a major infusion of foreign support was April 2015, when Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates each deposited US$2 billion at Egypt’s Central Bank. These deposits helped pushed the country’s foreign reserves to over US$20 billion.

Since then, reserves have dwindled, reaching US$16.42 billion at the end of November. In early December, Egypt’s new Central Bank governor, Tarek Amer, said the country’s reserve position was stable, and would improve in the coming months.

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Turkish troops ‘raiding civilian houses’ in Kurdish city of Silopi



© farukencu / Instagram

The Turkish Army has reportedly sent military vehicles, including tanks, into civilian areas in its predominantly-Kurdish southeast. While mainstream Western media remains silent, local activists posted frightening photos on social media.

The People’s Democracy Party (HDP) published a series of photos of the Thursday raid by the Turkish Army. According to HDP, soldiers in the Yenisehir district of Silopi “broke into a building and pointed guns at people.”

Ferhat Encu, an MP for the People’s Democratic Party, was taken into custody in Silopi.

“The world and those justifying this cruelty know well, this isn’t an ‘anti-terror’ act. This is an ethnic cleansing and genocide operation,” the party tweeted.

Ankara has been busy conducting military operations in the southeast since summer. Tensions have been mounting for months as security forces have been battling Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants after a ceasefire collapsed in July. The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey for over three decades.

Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu promised that anti-PKK operations would continue in Silopi and Cizre in order to, as he put it, prevent the militants from “spreading the fire” from Syria and Iraq into Turkey.

“The terrorists will be wiped out from these districts. Neighborhood by neighborhood, house by house, street by street,” he pledged.

Nurcan Baysal, founder of the Diyarbakir Political and Social Research Institute, has described Davutoglu’s language as “very dangerous.”

“If the Turkish state wants peace with its Kurdish citizens, it should change its dangerous language into the language of peace,” Baysal told the Middle East Eye news outlet. “Unfortunately, the Turkish state has decided to wage war against the Kurdish people again.”

“People are without water, electricity, food, medical care, and many civilians have died – and state officials say that they will continue this.”

Figen Yuksekdag, the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has publicly accused Davutoglu of “ordering a massacre” in Cizre and Silopi.

“Who are these operations against, Mr. Prime Minister?” Yuksekdag wondered at a press conference in Diyarbakir. “There are people living in these houses, Davutoglu,” she said.

Thousands took to the streets of Diyarbakir in late November after Tahir Elci, a lawyer and campaigner for Kurdish rights, was shot dead in while giving a speech on November 28. This became the last straw.

Seven Kurds were killed following clashes with Turkish security forces earlier this week. Two died in the city of Diyarbakir as protesters fought with police, while five lost their lives in the Mardin province.

Around 5,000 people gathered for a march in Diyarbakir on Monday, according to AP, which was called by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Local residents gathered to voice their concerns about round-the-clock curfews being implemented in the region.

According to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, there have been a total of 52 curfews imposed since mid-August across seven provinces in the region, affecting areas where some 1.3 million people live.

Residents from the pro-Kurdish town of Silvan (some 80km north east of Diyarbakir) said they had been shelled by Turkish forces in mid-November, while the never-ending curfew had driven them to the brink of starvation.

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A People’s History of Churchillian Madness

Image result for Winston Churchill CARTOON
By Elliot Murphy 

This year marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, which is almost universally seen in Britain as purely a war against the Nazis and their UK-bound warplanes. Unlike the First World War or the wars in Indochina and Iraq, the Second World War is somewhat unique in that it is likely the only modern war whose reputation has remained pristine throughout the decades, being regarded as the ‘Good War’. But the impetus behind Britain’s involvement was as much imperial as it was defensive. At the end of the 1930s, Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden believed Germany to be a significant threat to their empire, and not Britain’s national security. Some of the ruling class entered the Second World War reluctantly, and contrary to many propaganda cartoons, British elites did nothing to aid the Poles; they did, however, evacuate a segment of the Polish army to deploy in their own objectives in 1940.

Even after the Battle of Britain, Whitehall still marginally favoured Hitler. Indeed, its objection to the Hitler-Stalin pact was merely that it gave Stalin too much power. Between the spring of 1940 (the fall of France) and 1943 (the Allied landing in southern Italy), the British army fought the majority of their battles in northern Africa. Churchill was deeply concerned about the safety of Suez Canal and the region’s oilfields, along with Saudi Arabia, which he sought to keep from Roosevelt’s influence.

The traditional view of the war, however, is a picture of democracy versus fascism, good versus evil. But this was not the motivation for the Allied leaders, as Chris Harman wrote in A People’s History of the World (Verso, 2008, p. 536):

The Churchill who demanded a no-holds-barred prosecution of the war was the same Churchill who has been present during the butchery at Omdurman, sent troops to shoot down striking miners in 1910, ordered the RAF to use poison gas against Kurdish rebels in British-ruled Iraq, and praised Mussolini. He had attacked a Conservative government in the 1930s for granting a minimal amount of local self government to India, and throughout the war he remained adamant that no concessions could be made to anti-colonial movements in Britain’s colonies, although this could have helped the war effort.

At the Yalta Conference, Churchill informed Roosevelt and Stalin that ‘While there is life in my body, no transfer of British sovereignty will be permitted’ in India. His stubbornness over the issue was so extreme that in 1942, during the Battle of Stalingrad, instead of pushing back the Nazis thousands of British troops were viciously suppressing demonstrations in India. Churchill’s inflexibility on the issue of sovereignty was so extreme that it led to a famine in Bengal which killed three million.

As historians like Harman and Danny Gluckstein (in A People’s History of the Second World War) have documented, the Second World War was comprised of two wars; one ‘from above’ and one ‘from below’. In a typically hypocritical act of pseudo-internationalist policy formation, during the war ‘from above’ in August 1941 Roosevelt and Churchill pledged to respect, in one of the principles of the Atlantic Charter, ‘the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live’. Applying different standards to his own actions, Churchill later stressed, when presenting the Charter to the House of Commons, that it did ‘not qualify in any way the various statements of policy which have been made [regarding] the British Empire’, since it only applied to ‘the States and nations of Europe now under the Nazi yoke’ (The Times, 10 September 1941). The war was consequently a disagreement between the major world governments about who should dominate, and not a battle against domination itself.

As early as the fall of Singapore in 1942, plans were already being made in Whitehall to reclaim parts of the empire, with the examples of Burma, Malaya, Hong Kong and Nigeria being the most notable. Churchill even drew up a plan, vetoed by the US, of taking over Thailand (covered by P.J. Cain and A.G. Hopkins in their 1993 study British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction 1914-1990).

He also issued a stern instruction to Eden towards the end of 1944: ‘[H]ands off the British empire is our maxim and it must not be weakened or smirched to please sob-stuff merchants at home or foreigners of any hue’. Labour had long confessed a principled opposition to imperialism, though had a change of heart after assuming office in 1945, supporting the renewal of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act and the establishment of a managerial structure run by several generations of educated colonial subjects. As Ernest Bevin modestly put it, ‘our crime is no exploitation; it’s neglect’ – where ‘neglect’ should be understood in its proper sense of ‘more exploitation’ (for discussion, see Robert D. Pearce’s 1982 The Turning Point in Africa: British Colonial Policy 1938-1948).

In 1936, the Greek king appointed General Ioannis Metaxas as a fascist dictator, who sought to bring about a ‘Third Hellenic Civilisation’. A British liaison officer sent to wartime Greece, C.M. Woodhouse, believed Metaxas to be ‘benevolent’, having ‘high-minded motives for undertaking supreme power’ (The Apple of Discord: A Survey of Recent Greek Politics in their International Setting, Hutchinson, 1948, pp. 16-17). Britain supported Metaxas because, as a different liaison officer explained in 1944, three years after the dictator’s death, the Greeks ‘are a fundamentally hopeless and useless people with no future or prospect of settling down to any form of sensible life within any measurable time’. Any remnants of the Atlantic Charter had by now been long discarded from political consciousness. The Allies proceeded to bomb Athens in order to destroy the Greek resistance movement, EAM (the National Liberation Front) and its military arms, ELAS (the National Popular Liberation Army). During the war, zones controlled by EAM underwent large-scale self-government to a level of sophistication rivalling the Spanish anarchists. Residents voted for municipal councilors and judiciaries in mass assemblies, while expensive lawyers were dispensed with and regular justice prevailed.

‘Communist’ Russia also declined to support EAM/ELAS, and ordered the resistance to fuse with the government of the king. In an effort to dominate as much of the country as possible, Churchill’s coup later overthrew the Greek government while also suppressing the communists. Churchill informed General Scobie, in language to match that of any of the century’s great dictators, ‘Do not hesitate to fire at any armed male in Athens who assails the British authority or Greek authority … [A]ct as if you were in a conquered city where a local rebellion is in progress’. He later informed parliament of his view on EAM/ELAS, preferring collaborators to anti-fascists: ‘The security battalions came into existence … to protect the Greek villagers from the depredations of some of those who, under the guise of being saviours of their country, were living upon the inhabitants and doing very little fighting against the Germans’, unlike the ‘security battalions’ deployed by the Greek government who pledged loyalty to Hitler and who, according to Churchill, ‘did the best they could to shelter the Greek population from German oppression’.

Post-war Greek persecutors also worked alongside US counterinsurgency forces. Whereas Russia allowed the Nazis to crush the Polish communist resisters, the AK, Churchill actively sought the destruction of the Greek anti-fascists. In 1947 the American New Republicreported that ‘Churchill’s victory is complete – and neatly underwritten by hundreds of millions of American dollars. It could only be slightly more complete if Hitler himself had engineered it’ (15 September 1947). Like the US, Churchill also thoroughly approved of Mussolini. After visiting him in 1927, Churchill once again picked up his pen to confess how he ‘could not help being charmed, like so many other people have been, by his gentle and simple bearing and by his calm, detached poise’ (Extract from press statements made by Churchill, January 1927, Churchill Papers, CHAR 9/82 B). When Mussolini fell in 1943, Churchill promised that ‘Even when the issue of the war became certain, Mussolini would have been welcomed by the Allies’.

Earlier in the 1920s, Churchill had proclaimed his desire for justice when he confessed that poison gas would be an excellent weapon against ‘uncivilized tribesmen and recalcitrant Arabs’. This tactic was in clear violation of the Hague Declaration of 1899, calling on all adherents to refrain from ‘the use of projectiles the sole object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious gases’, which Britain eventually agreed to sign in 1907. During the Good War, he added that ‘It is absurd to consider morality on this topic when everybody used it in the last war without a word of complaint from the moralists or the Church. On the other hand, in the last war the bombing of open cities was regarded as forbidden. Now everybody does it as a matter of course. It is simply a question of fashion changing as she does between long and short skirts for women’. Expressing his concern for the safety of the British public, he continued in a secret memo:

If the bombardment of London became a serious nuisance and great rockets with far-reaching and devastating effect fell on many centres of Government and labour, I should be prepared to do  anything that would hit the enemy in a murderous place. I may certainly have to ask you to support me in using poison gas. We could drench the cities of the Ruhr and many other cities in Germany in such a way that most of the population would be requiring constant medical attention. We could stop all work at the flying bomb starting points. I do not see why we should have the disadvantages of being the gentleman while they have all the advantages of being the cad. There are times when this may be so but not now.

Britain engaged in what Churchill called the ‘absolutely devastating’ tactic of ‘area bombing’ of German cities instead of hitting specific military targets. Because of the power of aerial bombing, as Prime Minister Baldwin had explained in 1932, ‘The only defence is in offence, which means that you have to kill more women and children more quickly than the enemy if you want to save yourselves’. During the later years of the war, Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris took this message to heart more than any other RAF commander. He took pride in the fact that his Bomber Command has ‘virtually destroyed 45 out of the leading 60 German cities. In spite of invasion diversions we have so far managed to keep up and even exceed our average of two and a half cities a month’; that is, in spite of the existence of actual military targets to hit, Harris continued to wreak unnecessary and horrific damage on Germany.

On February 13th 1945, the Allies initiated the bombing of Dresden, an act which only hardened the resolve of the German military and encouraged it to step up its production of armaments. British and US bombers devastated Dresden’s cultural centre, the Altstadt, and destroyed 19 hospitals, 39 schools and residential areas. Meanwhile, core military and transport installation remained unscathed. Between 35,000 and 70,000 people died, and only 100 were soldiers; a civilian:soldier death ratio which would make even Benjamin Netanyahu blush. The only reason the bombing stopped was because Churchill realised that a completely demolished Dresden would leave no spoils, such as ‘housing materials … for our own needs’. Likewise, two years earlier, after the end of the Battle of Britain in May 1941, Churchill had wept over the ruins of the House of Commons, though not, strangely, over the deaths of thousands of Londoners.

After the Siege of Sidney Street in January 1911, in which Churchill, Home Secretary in the Liberal government, directed police to attack two jewelry robbers who had left three policemen dead the previous month in Houndsditch, the building the robbers were hiding in ended up in flames and all three were killed. Lindsey German and John Rees comment in A People’s History of London (Verso, 2012, p. 167).

Churchill reveled in such confrontations, and exploited the furore over the killing and the emerging popular press’s witch-hunt of anarchists to stoke up his own reputation and justify repressive methods overall. In fact the dead men were not anarchists but Latvian social democrats, engaged in what was called an ‘expropriation for the cause’.

Consequently, because of Churchill’s authoritarianism and the media’s assault on anarchists, Latvians, and Russians, one anarchist noted that ‘Anyone who walked along in a Russian blouse was considered a suspicious character and sometimes assaulted’. It’s against this cultural and political backdrop that any histories of Churchill and the Second World War should be assessed – and any judgements of the benevolent claims of present statesmen should be made.

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A Blind Eye Toward Turkey’s Crimes

Image result for ERDOGAN CARTOON
By Robert Parry

Theoretically, it would be a great story for the American press: an autocrat so obsessed with overthrowing the leader of a neighboring country that he authorizes his intelligence services to collaborate with terrorists in staging a lethal sarin attack to be blamed on his enemy and thus trick major powers to launch punishing bombing raids against the enemy’s military.

And, after that scheme failed to achieve the desired intervention, the autocrat continues to have his intelligence services aid terrorists inside the neighboring country by providing weapons and safe transit for truck convoys carrying the terrorists’ oil to market. The story gets juicier because the autocrat’s son allegedly shares in the oil profits.

To make the story even more compelling, an opposition leader braves the wrath of the autocrat by seeking to expose these intelligence schemes, including the cover-up of key evidence. The autocrat’s government then seeks to prosecute the critic for “treason.”

But the problem with this story, as far as the American government and press are concerned, is that the autocratic leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is in charge of Turkey, a NATO ally and his hated neighbor is the much demonized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Major U.S. news outlets and political leaders also bought into the sarin deception and simply can’t afford to admit that they once again misled the American people on a matter of war.

The Official Story of the sarin attack – as presented by Secretary of State John Kerry, Human Rights Watch and other “respectable” sources – firmly laid the blame for the Aug. 21, 2013 atrocity killing hundreds of civilians outside Damascus on Assad. That became a powerful “group think” across Official Washington.

Though a few independent media outlets, including Consortium News, challenged the rush to judgment and noted the lack of evidence regarding Assad’s guilt, those doubts were brushed aside. (In an article on Aug. 30, 2013, I described the administration’s “Government Assessment” blaming Assad as a “dodgy dossier,” which offered not a single piece of verifiable proof.)

However, as with the “certainty” about Iraq’s WMD a decade earlier, Every Important Person shared the Assad-did-it “group think.” That meant — as far as Official Washington was concerned — that Assad had crossed President Barack Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons. A massive U.S. retaliatory bombing strike was considered just days away.

But Obama – at the last minute – veered away from launching those military attacks, with Official Washington concluding that Obama had shown “weakness” by not following through. What was virtually unreported was that U.S. intelligence analysts had doubts about Assad’s guilt and suspected a trap being laid by extremists.

Despite those internal questions, the U.S. government and the compliant mainstream media publicly continued to push the Assad-did-it propaganda line. In a formal address to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013, Obama declared, “It’s an insult to human reason and to the legitimacy of this institution to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack.”

Later, a senior State Department official tried to steer me toward the Assad-is-guilty assessment of a British blogger then known as Moses Brown, a pseudonym for Eliot Higgins, who now runs an outfit called Bellingcat which follows an effective business model by reinforcing whatever the U.S. propaganda machine is churning out on a topic, except having greater credibility by posing as a “citizen blogger.” [For more on Higgins, see’s “‘MH-17 Case: ‘Old Journalism’ vs. ‘New’.”]

The supposedly conclusive proof against Assad came in a “vector analysis” developed by Human Rights Watch and The New York Times – tracing the flight paths of two rockets back to a Syrian military base northwest of Damascus. But that analysis collapsed when it became clear that only one of the rockets carried sarin and its range was less than one-third the distance between the army base and the point of impact. That meant the rocket carrying the sarin appeared to have originated in rebel territory.

But the “group think” was resistant to all empirical evidence. It was so powerful that even when the Turkish plot was uncovered by legendary investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh, his usual publication, The New Yorker, refused to print it. Rebuffed in the United States – the land of freedom of the press – Hersh had to take the story to the London Review of Books to get it out in April 2014. [See’s Was Turkey Behind Syria Sarin Attack?”]

The Easier Route

It remained easier for The New York Times, The Washington Post and other premier news outlets to simply ignore the compelling tale of possible Turkish complicity in a serious war crime. After all, what would the American people think if – after the mainstream media had failed to protect the country against the lies that led to the disastrous Iraq War – the same star news sources had done something similar on Syria by failing to ask tough questions?

It’s also now obvious that if Obama had ordered a retaliatory bombing campaign against Assad in 2013, the likely winners would have been the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, which would have had the path cleared for their conquest of Damascus, creating a humanitarian catastrophe even worse than the current one.

To confess to such incompetence or dishonesty clearly had a big down-side. So, the “smart” play was to simply let the old Assad-did-it narrative sit there as something that could still be cited obliquely from time to time under the phrase “Assad gassed his own people” and thus continue to justify the slogan: “Assad must go!”

But that imperative – not to admit another major mistake – means that the major U.S. news media also must ignore the courageous statements from Eren Erdem, a deputy of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who has publicly accused the Erdogan government of blocking an investigation into Turkey’s role in procuring the sarin allegedly delivered to Al Qaeda-connected terrorists for use inside Syria.

In statements before parliament and to journalists, Erdem cited a derailed indictment that was begun by the General Prosecutor’s Office in the southern Turkish city of Adana, with the criminal case number 2013/120.

Erdem said the prosecutor’s office, using technical surveillance, discovered that an Al Qaeda jihadist named Hayyam Kasap acquired the sarin.

At the press conference, Erdem said, “Wiretapped phone conversations reveal the process of procuring the gas at specific addresses as well as the process of procuring the rockets that would fire the capsules containing the toxic gas. However, despite such solid evidence there has been no arrest in the case. Thirteen individuals were arrested during the first stage of the investigation but were later released, refuting government claims that it is fighting terrorism.”

Erdem said the released operatives were allowed to cross the border into Syria and the criminal investigation was halted.

Another CHP deputy, Ali Şeker, added that the Turkish government misled the public by claiming Russia provided the sarin and that “Assad killed his people with sarin and that requires a U.S. military intervention in Syria.”

Erdem’s disclosures, which he repeated in a recent interview with RT, the Russian network, prompted the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office to open an investigation into Erdem for treason. Erdem defended himself, saying the government’s actions regarding the sarin case besmirched Turkey’s international reputation. He added that he also has been receiving death threats.

“The paramilitary organization Ottoman Hearths is sharing my address [on Twitter] and plans a raid [on my house]. I am being targeted with death threats because I am patriotically opposed to something that tramples on my country’s prestige,” Erdem said.

ISIS Oil Smuggling

Meanwhile, President Erdogan faces growing allegations that he tolerated the Islamic State’s lucrative smuggling of oil from wells in Syria through border crossings in Turkey. Those oil convoys were bombed only last month when Russian President Vladimir Putin essentially shamed President Obama into taking action against this important source of Islamic State revenues.

Though Obama began his bombing campaign against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in summer 2014, the illicit oil smuggling was spared interdiction for over a year as the U.S. government sought cooperation from Erdogan, who recently acknowledged that the Islamic State and other jihadist groups are using nearly 100 kilometers of Turkey’s border to bring in recruits and supplies.

Earlier this month, Obama said he has had “repeated conversations with President Erdogan about the need to close the border between Turkey and Syria,” adding that “there’s about 98 kilometers that are still used as a transit point for foreign fighters, ISIL [Islamic State] shipping out fuel for sale that helps finance their terrorist activities.”

Russian officials expressed shock that the Islamic State was allowed to continue operating an industrial-style delivery system involving hundreds of trucks carrying oil into Turkey. Moscow also accused Erdogan’s 34-year-old son, Bilal Erdogan, of profiting off the Islamic State’s oil trade, an allegation that he denied.

The Russians say Bilal Erdogan is one of three partners in the BMZ Group, a Turkish oil and shipping company that has purchased oil from the Islamic State. The Malta Independent reported that BMZ purchased two oil tanker ships from the Malta-based Oil Transportation & Shipping Services Co Ltd, which is owned by Azerbaijani billionaire Mubariz Mansimov.

Another three oil tankers purchased by BMZ were acquired from Palmali Shipping and Transportation Agency, which is also owned by Mansimov and which shares the same Istanbul address with Oil Transportation & Shipping Services, which is owned by Mansimov’s Palmali Group, along with dozens of other companies set up in Malta.

The Russians further assert that Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian Su-24 bomber along the Syrian-Turkish border on Nov. 24 – which led to the murder of the pilot, by Turkish-backed rebels, as he parachuted to the ground and to the death of a Russian marine on a rescue operation – was motivated by Erdogan’s fury over the destruction of his son’s Islamic State oil operation.

Erdogan has denied that charge, claiming the shoot-down was simply a case of defending Turkish territory, although, according to the Turkish account, the Russian plane strayed over a slice of Turkish territory for only 17 seconds. The Russians dispute even that, calling the attack a premeditated ambush.

President Obama and the mainstream U.S. press sided with Turkey, displaying almost relish at the deaths of Russians in Syria and also showing no sympathy for the Russian victims of an earlier terrorist bombing of a tourist flight over Sinai in Egypt. [’s Obama Ignores Russian Terror Victims.”]

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman expressed the prevailing attitude of Official Washington by ridiculing anyone who had praised Putin’s military intervention in Syria or who thought the Russian president was “crazy like a fox,” Friedman wrote: “Some of us thought he was just crazy.

“Well, two months later, let’s do the math: So far, Putin’s Syrian adventure has resulted in a Russian civilian airliner carrying 224 people being blown up, apparently by pro-ISIS militants in Sinai. Turkey shot down a Russian bomber after it strayed into Turkish territory. And then Syrian rebels killed one of the pilots as he parachuted to earth and one of the Russian marines sent to rescue him.”

Taking Sides

The smug contempt that the mainstream U.S. media routinely shows toward anything involving Russia or Putin may help explain the cavalier disinterest in NATO member Turkey’s reckless behavior. Though Turkey’s willful shoot-down of a Russian plane that was not threatening Turkey could have precipitated a nuclear showdown between Russia and NATO, criticism of Erdogan was muted at most.

Similarly, neither the Obama administration nor the mainstream media wants to address the overwhelming evidence that Turkey – along with other U.S. “allies” such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar – have been aiding and abetting Sunni jihadist groups, including Al Qaeda and Islamic State, for years. Instead, Official Washington plays along with the fiction that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others are getting serious about combating terrorism.

The contrary reality is occasionally blurted out by a U.S. official or revealed when a U.S. intelligence report gets leaked or declassified. For instance, in 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted in a confidential diplomatic memo, disclosed by Wikileaks, that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

According to a Defense Intelligence Agency report from August 2012, “AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, which later morphed into the Islamic State] supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media. … AQI declared its opposition of Assad’s government because it considered it a sectarian regime targeting Sunnis.”

The DIA report added, “The salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria. … The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition.”

The DIA analysts already understood the risks that AQI presented both to Syria and Iraq. The report included a stark warning about the expansion of AQI, which was changing into the Islamic State. The brutal armed movement was seeing its ranks swelled by the arrival of global jihadists rallying to the black banner of Sunni militancy, intolerant of both Westerners and “heretics” from Shiite and other non-Sunni branches of Islam.

The goal was to establish a “Salafist principality in eastern Syria” where Islamic State’s caliphate is now located, and that this is “exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition” – i.e. the West, Gulf states, and Turkey – “want in order to isolate the Syrian regime,” the DIA report said.

In October 2014, Vice President Joe Biden told students at Harvard’s Kennedy School that “the Saudis, the emirates, etc. … were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war … [that] they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda.”

Despite these occasional bursts of honesty, the U.S. government and the mainstream media have put their goal of having another “regime change” – this time in Syria – and their contempt for Putin ahead of any meaningful cooperation toward defeating the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.

This ordering of priorities further means there is no practical reason to revisit who was responsible for the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack. If Assad’s government was innocent and Ergogan’s government shared in the guilt, that would present a problem for NATO, which would have to decide if Turkey had crossed a “red line” and deserved being expelled from the military alliance.

But perhaps even more so, an admission that the U.S. government and the U.S. news media had rushed to another incorrect judgment in the Middle East – and that another war policy was driven by propaganda rather than facts – could destroy what trust the American people have left in those institutions. On a personal level, it might mean that the pundits and the politicians who were wrong about Iraq’s WMD would have to acknowledge that they had learned nothing from that disaster.

It might even renew calls for some of them – the likes of The New York Times’ Friedman and The Washington Post’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt – to finally be held accountable for consistently misinforming and misleading the American people.

So, at least for now — from a perspective of self-interest — it makes more sense for the Obama administration and major news outlets to ignore the developing story of a NATO ally’s ties to terrorism, including an alleged connection to a grave war crime, the sarin attack outside Damascus.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on A Blind Eye Toward Turkey’s Crimes

Head of student Islamic Society that heckled ‘intolerant’ speaker

  • Muhammed Patel, 20, is alleged to have called someone a ‘fag’ on Twitter
  • Members of the society disrupted a lecture by a human rights campaigner
  • Accused of intolerance due to cartoons of Christ and Prophet Mohammed
  • Before the talk they claimed her ‘bigoted views’ violated their ‘safe space’
19 December 2015 

The head of a university Islamic Society that accused an Iranian speaker of bigotry has quit – over a series of homophobic tweets.

Muhammed Patel, 20, is alleged to have called someone ‘fag’ on Twitter and to have written that ‘homosexuality is a disease of the heart and mind’.

Last month, members of the Islamic Society (ISOC) at Goldsmiths, University of London, disrupted a lecture by Maryam Namazie, a human rights campaigner and critic of Islam.

Men stood up and shouted, with one even switching off her projector when she showed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed alongside Jesus Christ.

Tweet: Members of the society brought a motion of no confidence, saying that 'hate speech of any kind has no place in our society'

Tweet: Members of the society brought a motion of no confidence, saying that ‘hate speech of any kind has no place in our society’

One of her colleagues said he had received a death threat during the lecture, in the form of a ‘shooting gun’ hand gesture.

Miss Namazie, 49, a former Muslim who fled the repressive regime in Iran and is an advocate of women’s rights, was later sent an anonymous death threat on Twitter. At first, ISOC defended its actions, labelling Miss Namazie an ‘Islamophobe’ and claiming its members had been subject to ‘vile harassment’.

Soon after Muhammad tendered his resignation and it was accepted by the committee. Hate speech of any kind has no place in our society.
ISOC spokesman

But in the days that followed, damning footage of what happened was posted online and critics uncovered abusive tweets about homosexuality sent from an account called Mopey96, thought to be used by Mr Patel.

They had been posted in August about the Channel 4 documentary Muslim Drag Queens, which explored the life of Muslim gays and drag queens in Britain.

Now, Mr Patel, a politics student, has resigned as president of ISOC after members brought a motion of no confidence. In a statement, the society said: ‘In light of recent allegations attributed to Muhammed Patel, a meeting was called to discuss a motion of no confidence.

‘Soon after Muhammad tendered his resignation and it was accepted by the committee. Hate speech of any kind has no place in our society.’ ISOC has denied that any of its members made death threats. Miss Namazie’s lecture – ‘Apostasy, blasphemy and free expression in the age of ISIS’ – was hosted by the university’s Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (ASH).

Before the talk, the Islamic Society insisted Miss Namazie should not be allowed to speak because her ‘bigoted views’ violated their ‘safe space’. Under university policies, people can be ejected from events if they are considered to be ‘invading’ a student’s ‘safe space’. This might include racist, sexist or homophobic insults’.

University: Before the talk, the Islamic Society insisted Miss Namazie should not be allowed to speak because her ‘bigoted views’ violated their ‘safe space’

University: Before the talk, the Islamic Society insisted Miss Namazie should not be allowed to speak because her ‘bigoted views’ violated their ‘safe space’

ISOC pointed to a number of controversial comments Miss Namazie has made in the past, including describing the veil as a symbol of ‘far-Right Islamism’ and calling the niqab a ‘bin bag’. Mr Patel lives with his father in Upton Park, East London. When a Mail reporter visited his home, his father said he was not in his room and refused to arrange for him to be contacted.

Image result for Moazzam Begg PHOTO

Moazzam Begg

Mr Patel’s Facebook page carries an advertisement for an ISOC event featuring Moazzam Begg, who heads the CAGE group, which described Islamic State executioner Jihadi John as a ‘beautiful young man’.

The Goldsmiths students’ union said it had investigated what happened at the lecture and that both ASH and ISOC could be disciplined.

A Goldsmiths spokesman said: ‘We have a long-held reputation for promoting and supporting free speech and providing an inclusive and welcoming campus.

‘We are therefore concerned at reports from the student society event and its surrounding issues. We cannot comment on any of our discussions with individual students.’

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Adelson Funded Group that Praised Hitler, Blamed Jews for Anti-Semitism


Image result for Adelson PHOTO

by Eli Clifton

In July, Iran and the P5+1 countries signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), under which Iran, in exchange for sanctions relief, would reduce its low-enriched uranium levels by 98%, eliminate its medium-enriched uranium stockpile, and reduce the number of its centrifuges by two-thirds. It was the product of nearly two years of negotiations as parties worked toward a long-term agreement to resolve tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.

But we’re only beginning to get some peeks behind the curtain at the funding, alliances, and odd bedfellows that comprised the opposition to the Obama administration’s signature foreign policy achievement. New evidence points to an unlikely pairing between one of the Republican Party’s biggest donors and a controversial apocalyptic Christian Zionist organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), whose leader has gone so far as to say that Adolf Hitler was doing God’s work by bringing the Jews back to Israel.

Tens of millions of dollars were spent in efforts to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, led by a $20 million campaign underwritten by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Ultimately, after nearly two years of negotiations, lobbying, and public debate, Senate Republicans failed to block the nuclear deal in September 2015.

Casino billionaires and Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) board member Sheldon Adelson made no secret of his animosity toward the nuclear deal. He proposed launching a first-strike nuclear attack on Iran as a negotiating tactic. But his unconditional support of a hawkish foreign policy agenda in the Middle East—as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s growth of settlements in areas previously expected to be part of a future Palestinian state –seems to have brought him, and his money, in line with CUFI.

Tax filings reviewed by LobeLog show that Adelson contributed $1.82 million to CUFI in the 2014 tax year. The Adelson Family Foundation contributed to CUFI in the previous two years ($125,000 in 2013 and $25,000 in 2012), but the 2014 contribution marked a 14-fold increase in size over the foundation’s 2013 grant.

CUFI’s Controversial Claims

CUFI certainly took a vocal stance against nuclear diplomacy with Iran, sending email blasts to its membership about the Iran deal and making the negotiations the central topic of its 2014 annual summit in Washington.

Quick to embrace apocalyptic rhetoric, CUFI emailed its supporters when the Obama administration decided to extend talks with Iran beyond the November 24th deadline, telling them “the world took yet another step down the plank towards a dark abyss” and warned that Obama and his negotiating team either naively believe the Iranians were negotiating in good faith “or they are lying to the American people.”

The email concluded:

The only people who still seem to take Iran at its word are President Obama, Secretary Kerry and chief negotiator Wendy Sherman. Either that, or they are lying to the American people. Neither option is acceptable.

In June, 2015, CUFI held a conference call for its supporters, during which Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, who himself advocated for the invasion of Iraq, advised the group on how to lobby Congress to oppose the Iran nuclear deal. Glenn Greenwald reported that Stephens told CUFI:

Someone should say, “this is going to be like your vote for the Iraq War. This is going to come back to haunt you. Mark my words, it will come back to haunt you. Because as Iran cheats, as Iran becomes more powerful, and Iran will be both of those things, you will be held to account. This vote will be a stain. You will have to walk away from it at some point or another. You will have to explain it. And some of you may in fact lose your seats because of your vote for this deal. You’ll certainly lose a lot of financial support from some of your previous supporters.”

CUFI and its chairman, John Hagee, have a long history of courting controversy.

In November 2014, the organization drew criticism from the Anti-Defamation League after its chairman, John Hagee, called Obama “one of the most anti-Semitic presidents in the history of the United States of America.” The ADL said his comments were “offensive and misplaced.”

Hagee’s own comments, however, have frequently veered into strange, and seemingly anti-Semitic, territory.

In a 2003 sermon, Hagee said that the Antichrist will be “partially Jewish, as was Adolf Hitler, as was Karl Marx.” In a 2006 book, Hagee appeared to blame anti-Semitism on Jews, writing, “It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews… that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.”

He went on to blame the rise of anti-Semitism on Jewish idol worship:

How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for his chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings he had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.

Courting the Born-Again Vote

Adelson’s decision to pour funding into the controversial group is probably closely linked with born-again and evangelical Christians’ largely unconditional support of the hawkish policies undertaken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a personal friend of the Las Vegas-based billionaire.

A Bloomberg Politics poll from April found that “[b]orn-again Christians are more likely than overall poll respondents, 58 percent to 35 percent, to back Israel regardless of U.S. interests.”

Adelson isn’t the only RJC director to engage in outreach to Christian Zionists and seek their support in opposing the Iran nuclear deal.

In March, I reported that hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer was behind The Philos Project, a new group whose mission statement includes “educating Christians on the theological, historical, and political issues surrounding Israel and the Jewish people.”

The Philos Project, like CUFI, engages in fear-mongering and apocalyptic rhetoric about Iran. “Iran doesn’t mind killing people,” “Iran is working toward a nuclear weapon,” “Iran hates Christianity,” and “Iranian leaders see themselves as bringing about the end of history,” says a Philos Project article on why we should worry about Iran.”

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Nazi Entity Wary after Jaramana Strike, Waiting for Sayyed Nasrallah Response

It’s clear that the Nazi entity can’t bear to officially claim responsibility for the strike which killed the Dean of the freed detainees from the Nazi camp, Samir Kuntar late on Saturday. However, the Zionist media didn’t hesitate to praise the strike, in an obvious admission that the Nazi regime had carried out the raid.Sayyed Nasrallah

Hasan Hijazi, the editor of the Zionist affairs at al-Manar, said that the Nazi entity declined to officially comment on the strike in order to avoid a harsh retaliation by the resistance, noting that the Nazi regime eye now is on Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s response.

“The Israeli authorities are avoiding the direct claim of responsibility, in a bid to give the other side (the resistance) a chance to mull its retaliation choices and in order for this retaliation to be deliberate and well-calculated,” Hijazi said during a live coverage on al-Manar.

“According to Israeli commentators, Israel now is denying any involvement because the direct claim of responsibility would lead to strong and justified retaliation (by the resistance).”

“According to the Zionists, Kuntar represents the Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian struggle against Israel. He is well-recognized for his participation in Nahariya operation in 1979. He is well known because he was freed despite the 33-day Israeli war on Lebanon which took place after the resistance captured two Israeli soldiers and killed other eight. He is well recognized for his alleged role in opening a new front in Golan against the Zionist entity. Samir Kuntar represents the path of resistance.”

Zionist Media ‘Praising’ Kuntar Assassination

“Israeli officials praised the reported killing of Lebanese militant leader Samir Kuntar,” Zionist daily, Jerusalem Post said on Sunday.

It quoted Nazi Construction and Housing Minister Nazi Yoav Gallant as talking to Nazi Radio that “It is good that people like Samir Qantar will not be part of our world.”

Asked if Nazi regime carried out the strike, Gallant said: “I am not confirming or denying anything to do with this matter.” Other Nazi officials, including military spokesmen, declined comment.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Nazi justice minister Ayelet Shaked welcomed the assassination of Kuntar but did not claim credit for the air strike.

Posted in Lebanon, SyriaComments Off on Nazi Entity Wary after Jaramana Strike, Waiting for Sayyed Nasrallah Response

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