Archive | January 9th, 2016

Abu Mazen’s UN “bombshell” speech won’t rein in I$rahell insolence

NOVANEWS

 Abu Mazen's UN

By Khalid Amayreh
I don’t know for sure what Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will say in his much-heralded speech at the UN General Assembly later this week.

This is not because Abbas is unpredictable or enigmatic. He is neither.

But while one can’t be quite certain about the contents of Abbas’s speech, a careful observer of Abbas’s behavior since he succeeded Yasser Arafat more than ten years ago, can be sure of what the speech won’t contain.

Abbas will not declare the end of the scandalous Oslo peace process, not because the disastrous scheme is beneficial or expedient for the Palestinian people and their enduring just cause, but rather because the chains of the Oslo Process have long crippled the PA, making Abbas utterly unable, even if willing, to dislodge himself and his powerless, un-sovereign authority from the Oslo trap.

In fact, a unilateral termination of the Oslo Process, de jure or de facto, by the PLO would be a sort of suicide for the Ramallah leadership. In the final analysis, the PLO-PA entity has so integrated itself into the system that bolting out of it is unthinkable.

Similarly, Abbas won’t announce the end of the treacherous pact with Israel, known as “security coordination.” The term is in fact inaccurate because the security coordination is unilateral, first and foremost, as Israel doesn’t carry out the same responsibilities and tasks carried out to the letter the PA carries.

Indeed, the security coordination between the Israeli occupation army and the PA security agencies very much resembles the working relations between a master and his slave.

Besides, we all know that serving Israeli security whims by the estimated 70,000 PA security personnel , which also includes repressing, tormenting and savaging Palestinian citizens on Israel’s behalf, constitutes the ultimate raison d’être for the PA as far as Israel is concerned.

This is why Abbas won’t even allude to this subject, knowing too well it would mean a definitive suicide for the PA.

Furthermore, Abbas is unlikely to announce the dismantlement of the PA as such a step would cost Abbas too much in terms of political support, especially the tens of thousands of operatives and civil servants and their families who will abruptly lose their income which might cause a real implosion within the Palestinian society, one with unpredictable direct and indirect ramifications.

As part of these ramifications, the Palestinian banking system would also collapse as a result of the inability of PA employees and civil servants to pay off their loans and debt, worth several billions of dollars.

A state under occupation

The most audacious scenario expected from Abbas at the UN will be a declaration that Palestine is a state under foreign occupation.

Abbas probably hopes that such a feat would be backed by a sufficient number of member-states of the UN, which would create a certain international momentum, pressuring Israel to come to terms with Palestinian rights.

But Abbas’s hopes are actually a futile exercise in wishful thinking, very much like the Declaration of Independence of 1988 and other similar PR schemes that did virtually nothing to advance the Palestinian cause.

Abbas and his PA apparatuses are focusing their efforts on making symbolic accomplishments, such as joining some UN agencies, precisely because they have been utterly unable to make real, concrete achievements on the ground.

Hence, declaring Palestine a state under foreign occupation would be another symbolic achievement even if we gave Abbas the benefit of the doubt.

But in this case, another symbolic but useless achievement would deepen the Palestinian people’s frustration and embolden Israel to continue its Nazi-like efforts toward the liquidation of the Palestinian people.

A few days ago, a right-wing Israeli commentator wondered why Israel doesn’t imitate President Bashar el-Assad in ethnically cleansing millions of Sunni Muslims of his people by forcing them to seek a new life in Europe.

“The world is watching rather passively as Bashar Assad is expelling millions of Syrians across the globe. Why can’t Israel do the same by expelling a few million Palestinians?”

Finally, it is really mind-boggling why Abbas is continuing with his manifestly futile approach?

Does he count on Russia which is giving Assad the means to exterminate the Syrian people?

Does he count on Britain which created Israel in Palestine in the first place?

Does he count on the US, Israel’s guardian-ally, which the late Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi called “the ultimate tormentor of the Palestinian people.”

Or perhaps he might be counting on the blood-drenched ruling Junta in Cairo, which has murdered more Egyptians in cold blood than Israel did in four wars with Egypt.

In conclusion, I have an advice for Mr. Abbas:
You have already passed the age of eighty. At such age, a man needs to do a lot of reflection and soul-searching.

Hence, instead of flying all the way to New York, I suggest you go to the TV building in Ramallah to address the Palestinian people and tell them that the time has arrived for your retirement.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Abu Mazen’s UN “bombshell” speech won’t rein in I$rahell insolence

New Charter Schools Teach American Students to be ‘Representatives of I$raHell’

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The cartoon was published Wednesday in newspapers and on the Internet.

Hebrew to become ‘World Language’

By Drew Franklin 

With the school privatization movement taking over public school districts across the United States, wealthy donors have seized on education reform to finance the creation of publicly-funded classrooms that teach young children to look to Israel “as a model for both democracy and diversity.”

That’s how one group described a proposed Social Studies curriculum in its 2012 application for a charter from the D.C. Public Charter School Board, which cleared the way for their Hebrew language school to open its doors to elementary school-aged residents of Washington, D.C. the next year.

Gil Tamary profiled Sela Public Charter School for a story that aired in Israel on Channel 10 last April. In his report, Tamary expresses shock upon seeing a room full of kindergarteners—most of them black—singing and conversing with him in Hebrew.

After noting that the Israeli Declaration of Independence and a map of Israel adorn the bulletin board by the school’s front entrance, Tamary reports that “the majority of the students are from the nearby neighborhoods, from local families, most of whom are not very fortunate.”

Publicly available statistics for charter schools, mandated by D.C. law, show that 74% of students enrolled in Sela PCS last year were African-American.

In the District of Columbia, charter schools are given $3,000 in government funding per child, per school year, while maintaining the freedom to manage their own budget and curricula, according to the Public Charter School Board website. Tuition is free, and because state and federal law prohibits public schools from affiliating with any religion, Sela is open to all students who live in D.C., Jewish or not.

Channel 10’s broadcast shows Shira Ravin, then-Director of Hebrew Curriculum and Instruction, explaining Sela’s appeal to non-Jewish residents by claiming that “in Israel, they teach better,” and that “Israel showcases a culture of good education.”

But, Tamary later points out to her, the kids have no connection to the country apart from Sela. “You’re raising them to be representatives of Israel,” he says.

“Amazing. A wonderful idea. Exactly. Exactly!” answers Ravin. “You never know if these same kids, who are growing up in D.C., will be the next president of the United States or a member of Congress.”

Sela’s unlikely appeal to parents in D.C.’s predominately black neighborhoods might be better explained by the supplementary funding charter schools receive from private donors, which helps them stay competitive in a system where school closures are common. Tax filings indicate that in 2014 Sela received a $250,000 grant from the Hebrew Charter School Center, a New York-based nonprofit foundation that funds seven of the twelve Hebrew charter schools currently operating in the U.S.

As previously reported in the Electronic Intifada, HCSC is financed by the hedge fund billionaire and Taglit-Birthright financier Michael Steinhardt, who in 2012 told Max Blumenthal, “There were no Palestinian people.”

The first Hebrew charter school to open in the U.S., the Hebrew Language Academy in New York, was founded in 1999 by Steinhardt’s daughter, HCSC board chair Sara Berman. In an editorial for the Spring 2011 issue of Contact, a journal published by the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, Berman says she envisions Hebrew charter school graduates growing into “a vanguard of understanding for Israel.”

According to the HCSCH website, another board member, Jason A. Muss, concurrently sits on the national board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

While there has been some controversy about whether or not the language’s association with Judaism proves that Hebrew charter schools violate the separation of church and state, less discussed is the possibility that their Israel-centric curricula indoctrinate American children to sympathize with Zionism.

In May 2012, before Sela opened for business, the Forward quoted co-founder Jessica Lieberman dismissing that concern, insisting that the school was not a “Zionist enterprise.” Rather, she said, Israel would be taught “just as you learn about any other country in school.”

But how many public schools in the United States have working relationships with diplomats from those countries? Sela’s annual report to the Public Charter School Board for school year 2013/2014 states that representatives from the Israeli embassy have visited the school “on multiple occasions.” It also says that the school recruits its Hebrew teachers—all of whom are “native Israelis”—through a partnership with the World Zionist Organization.

The kindergarten classroom featured in Channel 10’s broadcast is named “Be’er Sheva,” which is the Hebrew name for an Israeli city in the southern Naqab. That city is built on land that was ethnically cleansed of its 110,000 indigenous Palestinian inhabitants in 1948; it was also at the center of the region targeted by the “Prawer Plan,” which would have displaced 30,000 Bedouin from the surrounding desert1, until the plan was withdrawn by the Israeli government following mass protests in 2013.

While the Prawer Plan explicitly called for violent displacement and predicated it on economic development, D.C.’s native black population is threatened with ipso facto displacement for the same end. In Ward 4, in which Sela is located, rising housing costs driven by development have disproportionately priced out poorer black residents, whose incomes have fallen despite D.C.’s rapid economic growth2. U.S. Census data shows that between 2000 and 2010, Ward 4’s black population declined by 15%, while its white population rose by 33% in the same period.

School privatization is a vehicle for the land development that drives displacement, and it’s controlled by white elites—so says Howard University’s Dean of Education Policy, Leslie T. Fenwick, in a Washington Post op-ed from 2013. “This kind of school reform is not about children,” she concludes, “it’s about the business elite gaining access to the nearly $600 billion that supports the nation’s public schools. It’s about money.”

For Michael Steinhardt, money is no object. If exploiting black communities and indoctrinating their children can aid in the theft of Palestinian land, he’ll pay for it—and double down with taxpayers’ dollars.


1. http://www.badil.org/phocadownload/Press_Releases/2010-2015/21st-century-ethnic-cleansing-in-Beer-Sheba.pdf

2.  http://www.dcfpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/9-22-09ACSIncome.pdf

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‘Demoralization’ of the US-led Forces and the ISIS Terrorists

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Image result for ISIS FLAG

By Sajjad Shaukat

Present ‘different war’ is simply a clash of wills between two entities. Military thinkers agree

that although the physical force will determine the type and scale of war, yet it is the will to fight

or moral force which determines the outcome of war.

Clausewitz puts it this way, “One might say that the physical force seems little more than the

wooden hilt, while moral factors are the precious metal, the real weapon.”

In his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945″, Creveld

identifies the elements of moral force, whom he calls “fighting power, the willingness to fight

and the readiness, if necessary, to die.” The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed

force will be to ‘demoralization’. Quite opposite to ‘demoralization’, moral force, then, is the

crucial factor in determining the combat power of any belligerent.

In this regard, more than 14 years have passed and the US-led NATO forces have been facing

defeatism in Afghanistan in their longest war of history. The ambush attacks on their military

installations and personnel by the Afghan freedom fighters have continued, particularly,

targeting American bases, check posts and armed persons. While, the US-led troopers and their

vehicles are equipped with sophisticated weaponry and modern technology, but they have badly

failed in crushing the stiff resistance of the Afghan Taliban.

Likewise, in case of Iraq, the US-led forces occupied the country in 2003. When Iraqis started a

war of liberation, Anglo-American forces became helpless before the stiff resistance of the

freedom fighters. In that respect, the US President George. W. Bush had repeatedly said that Iraq

is the main battleground of the ‘different war’ against the militants, and he would not withdraw

the forces. However, US faced a humiliated defeat in that country.

In fact, despite their qualitative and numerical superiority over Iraqis (During occupation) and

Afghans who are well-equipped with the elements of moral force, and have been showing

unmatched courage by sacrificing their lives, the US-led forces have been demoralized.

We can note the same moral force or spirit of sacrificing their own lives in Pakistan’s armed

forces, during the successful military operation, “Zarb-e-Azb”, which compelled the Indian-

supported insurgents of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to retreat from North Waziristan

Agency and other tribal areas. The jets of Pakistan Air Force have bombed militants’ hideouts in

North Waziristan, and killed thousands of insurgents including foreign militants, while Pak

Army has also killed several terrorists through ground offensive, and many of them surrendered

before the army. And during street to street fighting, without bothering for their lives, and by air-

dropping commandos at the risky places, Pak army made a great headway in disrupting the

Taliban supply routes and links. While, there is a significant decline in motivation of suicide

bombers, because most of the TTP Taliban have either been killed or fled their areas—they have

been demoralized. What the US-led NATO forces could not do in the last 14 years in

Afghanistan, Pakistan’s armed forces did within 14 months, while, geographically, the North

Waziristan is the largest Agency and has the same topography like Afghanistan. It is also

mentionable that unlike the American CIA which is part of the US global war on terror,

Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency ISI captured several terrorists in Pakistan’s various

regions, including suicide-jackets and weapons—thus thwarted their subversive acts.

Displaying moral courage like Pakistan’s armed forces, within three months, the Russian-led

coalition of Iran, Iraq, the Syrian army-the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Lebanon-based

Hezbollah have broken the backbone of the US-CIA-backed ISIS terrorists, Al-Qaeda’s Al-

Nusra Front, the rebels and the mercenaries who have been fighting against the Syrian President

Bashar al-Assad’s government and against the current Iraqi regime as part of America’s double

game (Of regime change). In this context, it is owing to the high moral force that Russian-led

combatants have destroyed the strongholds, supply lines and installations of the US-led entities.

Besides killing several commanders of the CIA-assisted militants, they have shattered the

command and control system of the ISIS and their affiliated terrorist outfits. These demoralized

militants have fled most of the areas in Syria and Iraq, which have been recaptured by the NDF

and Iraqi military which is well-motivated with the fighting spirit of audacity and boldness. In

this regard, recently Iraqi forces have defeated the ISIS terrorists and liberated the city of Ramadi

which was occupied by the group in 2014. Now, without caring for their lives, Russia-led forces

are successfully achieving their objectives.

Here question arises, as to why unlike the Russia-led combatants, the US-led forces have been

demoralized. In this connection, it is important to know that in every kind of war, the victory or

defeat depends upon the soldiers who know that for whom they are fighting for, and for what

In this context, Russian President Putin has pointed out that he was exposing the secret designs

of the US global war on terror—New World Order agents, their collaboration with the Zionist-

led regime in America and Israel including fake war against ISIS. Regarding NATO countries,

Putin also clarified by saying that he is attacking the New World Order, “not because he wants to

establish some kind of super-power entity in the Western world, but because the New World

Order is imposing an irrational, irresponsible and unlivable ideology upon much of the West.”

The people of the Russian Federation are in unity with the Russian forces, which is the main

reason behind their great courage. Similar is true in case of the Syria’s NDF and Iraq-Iran

On the other side, America-led forces know that they are fighting for the interests of the Zionist

Jews and Israel. Particularly, the US military personnel are well-aware of the facts that they have

been sent abroad—Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere in the world to maintain the supremacy of

Israel, instead of protecting America whose citizens have been facing multi-faceted crises due to

the prolonged phony war on terror. It is the major factor which have demoralized the US forces.

Obama’s dual policy and contradictory approach have also demoralized the US-led forces. In this

respect, earlier, he had ordered the Defense Department to abandon the goal of training the

Syrian rebels, after the failure of the US-supported rebels to topple Assad’s government, but,

afterwards, he decided to send 50 Special Forces to Syria to help in eliminating the ISIS

terrorists. Similarly, he agreed to keep the Syrian President Assad in power, but, later on, he

backed out from his statement and remarked that the Assad would have to go. Then, again, he is

favouring the Vienna meeting where the US Secretary of State John Kerry has agreed to

maintain Assad in power. Meanwhile, ordinary Americans have been criticizing the double game

of President Obama, military establishment and the US useless proxy wars which are being

waged for the interests of Israel, at the cost of American tax-payers.

While comparing factors of moral force and ‘demoralization’ in connection with the combatants

of this ‘different conflict’, it is also of particular attention that despite the use of every possible

technique of state terrorism, the well-equipped Israeli and Indian security forces have, totally,

failed in suppressing the wars of liberation in the occupied territories of the Palestine and

Kashmir where freedom fishers’ resistance continues unabated.

‘Demoralization’ of the US-backed forces in Afghanistan, Syria, controlled territories of the

Palestine etc. have resulted into their frustration and depression. Hence, they are killing the

innocent persons through special military operations and aerial bombardment. Likewise, the US-

assisted ISIS terrorists and their affiliated militant groups have also been massacring the innocent

people, including their own warriors who have vacated the regions in Syria and Iraq. Many

demoralized ISIS militants have deserted their comrades. They have also lost the support of local

Muslims who have come to know that these brutal militants are distorting the image of Islam,

and are misinterpreting Jihad which does not permit the any sort of terrorism. Moreover, in

frustration, US have so far killed several soldiers of its own army and those of Afghan army in

the friendly fire incidents, especially in Afghanistan.

Without any doubt, we can conclude that the US-led forces and the ISIS terrorists have been

demoralized in this ‘different war’, as they are fighting for the supremacy of Israel in the entire

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,

Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

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Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ insists on no talks before ceasefire

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

An anti-regime rebel takes aim at a target in Aleppo [file photo]Saudi Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ takes aim at a target in Aleppo [file photo]

A spokesman from the ‘Supreme Committee for the Syrian opposition’, chosen during the Riyadh Conference, has said that talks slated for 25 January would not begin unless a ceasefire is in place across Syria, Anadolu reported on Friday.

“Halting air strikes, releasing prisoners and lifting the siege on areas controlled by the opposition will be evidence of the regime’s goodwill prior to the talks,” explained Na’san Agha. “This is based on the recent UN Security Council resolution 2254.”

Agha noted that the opposition delegation is complete and ready to go, and pointed out that it is to conduct discussions with the international envoy to Syria on Saturday regarding several issues, including the mechanisms of the expected talks. In the meantime, he reiterated the complete coordination of the opposition on the ground. He stated that the new committee includes representatives from ten basic opposition parties, military as well as political.

He also stressed that the ‘Supreme Committee’ will never accept external diktats and would make its own decisions, which would be “fully Syrian”. Several reservations about resolution 2254 exist, he said, all them relating to Assad’s future. Agha stressed that the Zio-Wahhabi regime Statement, which stipulates the reference of Geneva, is the sole basis for the talks.

In closing, he accused Russian of targeting the moderate Syrian opposition, not fighting terrorism. “Russia must stop its daily strikes and killing civilians,” he added, “because it is doubtful if the Syrian people will be able to talk about peace while they are under attack.”

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US ‘Regime Change’ Madness in the Middle East

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Bureaucratic self-interest trumped US military’s conviction that American security is being endangered by Obama’s policy of regime change

Defence Secretary Ashton Carter (L) and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford Jr. prepares to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the US military strategy in the Middle East on 27 October, 2015 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. (Photo: AGP)

Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations about an effort by the US military leadership in 2013 to bolster the Syrian army against jihadist forces in Syria shed important new light on the internal bureaucratic politics surrounding regime change in US Middle East policy. Hersh’s account makes it clear that the Obama administration’s policy of regime change in both Libya and Syria provoked pushback from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

That account and another report on a similar episode in 2011 suggest that the US military has a range of means by which it can oppose administration policies that it regards as unacceptable. But it also shows that the military leadership failed to alter the course of US policy, and raises the question whether it was willing to use all the means available to stop the funnelling of arms to al-Nusra Front and other extremist groups in Syria.

Hersh details a JCS initiative in the summer of 2013 to share intelligence on Islamic State and al-Qaeda organisations with other German, Russian and Israeli militaries, in the belief that the information would find its way to the Syrian army. Hersh reports that the military leadership did not inform the White House and the State Department about the “military to military” intelligence sharing on the jihadist forces in Syria, reflecting the hardball bureaucratic politics practised within the national security institutions.

The 2013 initiative approved by the chairman of the JCS, General Martin Dempsey, was not the first active effort by the US military to mitigate Obama administration regime change policies. In 2011, the JCS had been strongly opposed to the effort to depose the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya led by then secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

When the Obama administration began its effort to overthrow Gaddafi, it did not call publicly for regime change and instead asserted that it was merely seeking to avert mass killings that administration officials had suggested might approach genocidal levels. But the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which had been given the lead role in assessing the situation in Libya, found no evidence to support such fears and concluded that it was based on nothing more than “speculative arguments”.

The JCS warned that overthrowing the Gaddafi regime would serve no US security interest, but would instead open the way for forces aligned with al-Qaeda to take over the country. After the Obama administration went ahead with a NATO air assault against the Gaddafi regime the US military sought to head off the destruction of the entire Libyan government. General Carter Ham, the commander of AFRICOM, the US regional command for Africagave the State Department a proposal for a ceasefire to which Gaddafi had agreed. It would have resulted in Gaddafi’s resignation but retain the Libyan military’s capacity to hold off jihadist forces and rescind the sanctions against Gaddafi’s family.

But the State Department refused any negotiation with Gaddafi on the proposal. Immediately after hearing that Gaddafi had been captured by rebel forces and killed, Clinton famously joked in a television interview, “We came, we saw, he died” and laughed.

By then the administration was already embarked on yet another regime change policy in Syria. Although Clinton led the public advocacy of the policy, then CIA director David Petraeus, who had taken over the agency in early September 2011, was a major ally. He immediately began working on a major covert operation to arm rebel forces in Syria. The CIA operation used ostensibly independent companies in Libya to ship arms from Libyan government warehouses to Syria and southern Turkey. These were then distributed in consultation with the United States through networks run by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The plan went into operation within days of Gaddafi’s death on October 20, 2011 just before NATO officially ended its operation at the end of that month, as the DIA later reported to the JCS.

But the result of the operation was to accelerate the dominance of al-Qaeda and their Islamist allies. The Turks, Qataris and Saudis were funnelling arms to al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al-Nusra Front or other closely related extremist groups. That should not have surprised the Obama administration. The same thing had happened in Libya in spring 2011 after the Obama administration had endorsed a Qatari plan to send arms to Libyan rebels. The White House had quickly learned that the Qataris had sent the arms to the most extremist elements in the Libyan opposition.

The original Petraeus covert operation ended with the torching of the US consulate in Benghazi in September 2012 in which Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed. It was superseded by a new programme under which Qatar and Saudi Arabia financed the transfer of weapons from other sources that were supposed to be distributed in cooperation with CIA officials at a base in southern Turkey. But “thousands of tons of weapons” were still going to groups fighting alongside the jihadists or who actually joined them as Vice-President Joe Biden revealed in 2014.

By spring 2013, al-Nusra Front and its Islamic extremist allies were already in control of wide areas in the north and in the Damascus suburbs. The Islamic State had separated from al-Nusra Front and established its own territory south of the Turkish border. The secular armed opposition had ceased to exist as a significant force. The “Free Syrian Army”, the nominal command of those forces, was actually a fiction within Syria, as was reported by specialists on the Syrian conflict. But despite the absence of a real “moderate opposition”, the Obama administration continued to support the flood of arms to the forces fighting to overthrow Assad.

In mid-2013, as Hersh recounts, the DIA issued an intelligence assessment warning that the administration’s regime change policy might well result in a repeat of what was already happening in Libya: chaos and jihadist domination. The JCS also pulled off a clever manoeuvre to ensure that the jihadists and their allies were getting only obsolete weapons. A JCS representative convinced the CIA to obtain much cheaper arms from Turkish stocks controlled by officials sympathetic to the CIA’s viewpoint on Syria.

But the JCS failed to alter the administration’s policy of continuing to support the flow of arms into Syria. Did the military leadership really use all of its leverage to oppose the policy?

In 2013, some officials on the US National Security Council staff pushed for a relatively modest form of pressure on Qatar to get it to back off its continued supply of arms to extremists, including al-Nusra Front, by pulling out a US fighter squadron from the US air base at al-Udeid in Qatar. But as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, the Pentagon, obviously reflecting the JCS position, vetoed the proposal, arguing that the forward headquarters of the Central Command at the airbase was “vital” to US operations in the Middle East.

The political implications of the episode are clear: bureaucratic self-interest trumped the military’s conviction that US security is being endangered. No matter how strongly the JCS may have felt about the recklessness of administration policy, they were not prepared to sacrifice their access to military bases in Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Turkey to pressure their Middle Eastern allies.

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HDP leader lays down gauntlet, calls for lifting of own immunity

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Co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş (R) speaks during a press conference on December 30, 2015 in Diyarbakır. AFP Photo

Co-leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş (R) speaks during a press conference on December 30, 2015 in Diyarbakır. AFP Photo

Amid rising calls for the parliamentary immunity of Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs to be lifted, HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said his party is ready for the lifting of immunity of all members of parliament.

“Our proposal for the constitution is already there. You could lift the immunity of all of us in one day. We will vote ‘yes.’ Lawmaker’s immunity should not exist beyond immunity within parliament,” Demirtaş said on Jan. 5 at a press conference at parliament.

“It is said that the [Nationalist Movement Party] MHP will support it too,” he added, referring to remarks delivered by MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli earlier on Jan. 5 when he signaled his willingness to lift the immunity of lawmakers from the HDP.

“OK, we are ready too. Bring it with a single-article amendment. Let’s have the immunity of all lawmakers lifted,” Demirtaş said.

During a convention held late last month, the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an association of Kurdish political organizations, released a declaration calling for self-rule in Turkey’s southeast, escalating political tensions at a time of renewed clashes between the security forces and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.

Demirtaş was one of the participants in a two-day congress of Kurdish groups that called for more self-governance, during which he said “there will be a Kurdistan in the next century and it could include an independent state.” A prosecutor opened an investigation into Demirtaş on Dec. 28 over his call, while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said he supports criminal probes into HDP leaders over their comments about self-rule.

“We are not worried about the lifting of immunities. We are only complaining about injustice and inequality. There is no use for anybody to needlessly use the immunity issue for blackmailing. The president has no authority on this issue, so his giving of instructions to the judiciary is a crime,” Demirtaş also said on Jan. 5.

Meanwhile, addressing a parliamentary group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu did not touch upon the ongoing debate over immunity of HDP lawmakers.

However, he called on the HDP to work within the “legitimate boundaries of politics,” instead of “acting as a spokesperson for the terrorist organization.”

“We are paving the way to express all kinds of opinions in parliament and everywhere in Turkey. But rather than using its right to do politics, the HDP hasn’t even embraced acting like a political party,” Davutoğlu said, claiming that the HDP was trying to “legitimize terrorist organizations.”

HDP co-chair Demirtaş was also reminded of remarks from Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş last week when he said “political bans cannot be a solution.”

“I know that Numan Kurtulmuş has a conscience on these issues. But this language of resolution should become the government’s official policy. The HDP reviews its flaws and mistakes; we are constantly discussing this matter,” he said.

Demirtaş was apparently referring to Kurtulmuş’s remarks when the AKP spokesman said “an extreme historical responsibility falls on the shoulders of the HDP,” adding that it must “conduct politics in a democratic style that will not harm the nation or its own voters.”

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Syria is the Middle Eastern Stalingrad

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By: Neo

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Day and night, for years, an overwhelming force has been battering this quiet nation, one of the cradles of human civilization.

Hundreds of thousands have died, and millions have been forced to flee abroad or have been internally displaced. In many cities and villages, not one house is left intact.

But Syria is, against all odds, still standing.

During the last 3 years I worked in almost all of Syria’s perimeters, exposing the birth of ISIS in the NATO-run camps built in Turkey and Jordan. I worked in the occupied Golan Heights, and in Iraq. I also worked in Lebanon, a country now forced to host over 2 million (mostly Syrian) refugees.

The only reason why the West began its horrible destabilization campaign, was because it “could not tolerate” Syria’s disobedience and the socialist nature of its state. In short, the way the Syrian establishment was putting the welfare of its people above the interests of multi-national corporations.

More than two years ago, my former Indonesian film editor demanded an answer in a somewhat angry tone:

“So many people are dying in Syria! Is it really worth it? Wouldn’t it be easier and better for Syrians to just give up and let the US have what it is demanding?”

Chronically petrified, this young woman was always searching for easy solutions that would keep her safe, and safe with significant personal advantages. As so many others in this time and age, in order to survive and advance, she developed a complex system resting on betrayals, self-defenses and deceptions.

How to reply to such a question?

It was a legitimate one, after all.

Eduardo Galeano told me: “People know when it’s time to fight. We have no right to tell them … but when they decide, it is our obligation to support them, even to lead them if they approach us.”

In this case, the Syrian people decided. No government, no political force could move an entire nation to such tremendous heroism and sacrifice. Russians did it during World War Two, and the Syrians are doing it now.

Two years ago I replied like this: “I have witnessed the total collapse of the Middle East. There was nothing standing there anymore. Countries that opted for their own paths were literally leveled to the ground. Countries that succumbed to the dictates of the West lost their soul, culture and essence and were turned into some of the most miserable places on earth. And the Syrians knew it: were they to surrender, they would be converted into another Iraq, Yemen or Libya, even Afghanistan.”

And so Syria rose. It decided to fight, for itself and for its part of the world.

Again and again, it retained itself through the elections of its government. It leaned on its army. Whatever the West says, whatever the treasonous NGOs write, the simple logic just proves it all.

This modest nation does not have its own powerful media to share the extent of its courage and agony with the world. It is always the others who are commenting on its struggle, often in a totally malicious way.

But it is undeniable that whilst the Soviet forces stopped the advance of the German Nazis at Stalingrad, the Syrians have managed to stop the fascist forces of Western allies in its part of the world.

Of course Russia got directly involved. Of course China stood by, although often in the shadow. And Iran provided support. And Lebanon-based Hezbollah put up, what I often describe as, an epic fight on behalf of Damascus against the extremist monsters invented and armed by the West, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

But the main credit has to go to the Syrian people.

Yes, now there is nothing left of the Middle East. Now there are more tears than raindrops descending on this ancient land.

But Syria is standing. Burned, wounded, but standing.

And as is being widely reported, after the Russian armed forces came to the rescue of the Syrian nation, more than 1 million Syrian people were able to return home … often to encounter only ashes and devastation, but home.

Like people returned to Stalingrad, some 70 years ago.

So what would my answer be to that question now: “whether it would be easier the other way”, to surrender to the Empire?

I guess something like this:

“Life has meaning, it is worth living, only if some basic conditions can be fulfilled. One does not betray great love, be it love for another person or love for one’s country, humanity or ideals. If one does, it would be better not to be born at all. Then I say: the survival of humankind is the most sacred goal. Not some short-time personal gain or ‘safety’, but the survival of all of us, of people, as well as the safety of all of us, humans.”

When life itself is threatened, people tend to rise and fight, instinctively. During such moments, some of the most monumental chapters in human history are written.

Unfortunately, during these moments, millions tend to die.

But the devastation is not because of those who are defending our human race.

It is because of the imperialist monsters and their servants.

Most of us are dreaming about a world without wars, without violence. We want true kindness to prevail on earth. Many of us are working relentlessly for such a society.

But until it is constructed, until all extreme selfishness, greed and brutality are defeated, we have to fight for something much more “modest” – for the survival of people and of humanism.

The price is often horrible. But the alternative is one enormous gaping void. It is simply nothing – the end, full stop!

In Stalingrad, millions died so we could live. Nothing was left of the city, except some melted steel, scattered bricks and an ocean of corpses. Nazism was stopped. Western expansionism began its retreat, that time towards Berlin.

Now Syria, quietly but stoically and heroically, stands against Western, Qatari, Saudi, Israeli and Turkish plans to finish the Middle East.

And the Syrian people have won. For how long, I don’t know. But it has proven that an Arab country can still defeat the mightiest murderous hordes.

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Why I$raHell schools Merit U.S. Boycott

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 Another national academic group condemns racism in I$raHell education 

LA Times Opt in story reports: “In  its annual convention this week, the Modern Language Assn., which represents 26,000 language and literature scholars, will become the latest academic body to consider the merits of adopting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This follows endorsements of such a boycott by the Assn. for Asian American Studies, the American Studies Assn. and, most recently, the American Anthropological Assn., which voted 1,040 to 136 to endorse a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions at its November annual meeting in Denver; the AAA’s entire membership will soon vote on the resolution, which is expected to pass.”

“The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination points out with alarm that Israel maintains two separate educational systems for its citizens — one for Jewish children and another for the children of the Palestinian minority — a structure that reinforces the profound segregation of Israeli society in everything from matters of citizenship and marriage to housing rights. According to official Israeli data cited by the human rights organization Adalah, by the turn of the 21st century Israel was investing three times as much on a per capita basis in the education of a Jewish as opposed to that of a Palestinian citizen.”

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Islam Is Not the Problem, The US Empire Is

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Dr Ron Paul’s 16 minute address,”Are We In A Clash of Civilizations?” is a must view. Dr. Paul’s comments include: “If what is said by the neoconservatives about Islam is true, nuking Indonesia would seem logical. ISIS is not a reflection of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. To do so is like claiming that the KKK represents sound Christian theology. Unfortunately some evangelical Christians support preemptive war in the Middle East, but that doesn’t mean that Christians must give up the notion that, as Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers.’” To that we add: “Who Would Jesus Bomb?” [Ed.-TEC]

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The text of Dr. Paul’s address is available at The Ron Paul Institute For Peace And Prosperity.

 

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Wibisono’s Resignation as UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

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Commentary on the Resignation of Makarim Wibisono

 

by Dr: Richard Falk

(Prefatory Note: This post appeared on January 5th under a different title in the Electronic Intifada. It is published here in a slightly modified and extended form).

Makarim Wibisono announced his resignation as UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine, to take effect on March 31, 2016. This is position I held for six years, completing my second term in June 2014.

The prominent Indonesian diplomat says that he could not fulfill his mandate because Israel has adamantly refused to give him access to the Palestinian people living under its military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Unfortunately, my efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinian victims of violations under the Israeli occupation have been frustrated every step of the way,” Wibisono explains.

His resignation reminds me in a strange way of Richard Goldstone’s retraction a few years ago of the main finding in the UN-commissioned Goldstone report, that Israel intentionally targeted civilians in the course of Operation Cast Lead, its massive attack on Gaza at the end of 2008.

At the time I responded to media inquiries by saying that I was shocked, but not surprised. Shocked because the evidence was overwhelming and the other three distinguished members of the UN fact-finding commission stuck by the finding. Yet I was not surprised because I knew Goldstone – a former judge of the South African constitutional court – to be a man of strong ambition and weak character, a terrible mix for public figures who wander into controversial territory.

In Wibisono’s case I am surprised, but not shocked. Surprised because he should have known from the outset that he was faced with a dilemma between doing the job properly of reporting on Israel’s crimes and human rights abuses and gaining Israel’s cooperation in the course of gathering this evidence. Not shocked, indeed grateful, as it illuminates the difficulty confronting anyone charged with truthful reporting on the Palestinian ordeal under occupation, and by his principled resignation Wibisono doesn’t allow Israel to get away with neutering the position of special rapporteur.

It is worth recalling that when Wibisono was selected as my successor, several more qualified candidates were passed over. Although the selection guidelines stress expert knowledge of the subject matter of the mandate, Wibisono apparently gained the upper hand along with the acquiescence of Israel and the United States precisely because of his lack of any relevant background.

I can only hope that now the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) will redeem its mistake by reviving the candidacies of Professor Christine Chinkin and Phyllis Bennis, both of whom possess the credentials, motivation and strength of character to become an effective special rapporteur.

 

The Palestinians deserve nothing less.

Honesty

When I met with Makarim Wibisono in Geneva shortly after his appointment as Special Rapporteur was announced, he told me confidently that he had been assured that if he accepted the appointment the Israeli government would allow him entry, a reassurance that he repeated in his resignation announcement. On his side, he pledged objectivity and balance, and an absence of preconceptions.

I warned him then that even someone who leaned far to the Israeli side politically would find it impossible to avoid reaching the conclusion that Israel was guilty of severe violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights standards, and this kind of honesty was sure to anger the Israelis.

I also told him that he was making a big mistake if he thought he could please both sides, given the reality of prolonged denial of fundamental Palestinian rights. At the time he smiled, apparently feeling confident that his diplomatic skills would allow him to please the Israelis even while he was compiling reports detailing their criminality. He told me that he was seeking to do what I did but to do so more effectively by securing Israel’s cooperation, and thus short circuiting their objections. It was then my turn to smile.

It is correct that the mandate itself is vulnerable to criticism as it does include an assessment of the responsibility of Palestinian administering authorities for violations of human rights, and only looks at Israeli violations. I tried to persuade the HRC unsuccessfully to have the mandate enlarged to encompass wrongdoing by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. The arguments against doing so was that it had been difficult to get agreement to establish the mandate, and opening up the issue of its scope was risky, and also, that the overwhelming evidence of Palestinian victimization resulting from the occupation resulted from Israel’s policies and practices. Hence, it was argued by several delegations at the HRC that attention to the Palestinian violations would be diversionary, and give Israel a way to deflect criticism directed at the occupation.

 

Facing the heat

What I discovered during my six years as special rapporteur is that you can make a difference, but only if you are willing to put up with the heat.

You can make a difference in several ways. Above all, by giving foreign ministries around the world the most authoritative account available of the daily realities facing the Palestinian people. Also important is the ability to shift the discourse in more illuminating directions, instead of limiting discussion to ‘the occupation,’ address issues of de facto annexation, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid, as well as give some support within the UN for such civil society initiatives as BDS and the Freedom Flotilla. By so doing you have to expect ultra-Zionist organizations and those managing the ‘special relationship’ between Israel and the United States to react harshly, including by launching a continuous defamatory campaign that seeks by all means to discredit your voice and will mount inflammatory accusations of anti-Semitism and, in my case, of being a “self-hating Jew.”

What both shocked and surprised me was the willingness of both the UN Secretary General and US diplomatic representatives (Susan Rice, Samantha Power) at the UN to bend in Israel’s direction and join the chorus making these irresponsible denunciations focused on a demand for my resignation.

Although periodically tempted to resign, I am glad that I didn’t. Given the pro-Israel bias of the mainstream media in the United States and Europe, it is particularly important, however embattled the position, to preserve this source of truth telling, and not to give in to the pressures mounted.

My hope is that the Human Rights Council will learn from the Wibisono experience and appoint someone who can both stand the heat and report the realities for what they are. It is hampering the performance of a Special Rapporteur to be denied Israeli cooperation with official UN functions, which is itself a violation of Israel’s obligations as a member of the UN. At the same time, Israel’s behavior that flaunts international law is so manifest and reliable information easily available that I found it possible to compile reports that covered the main elements of the Palestinian ordeal. Of course, direct contact with people living under occupation would have added a dimension of validation and witnessing, as well as giving some tangible expression of UN concern for the abuses being committed under conditions of an untenably prolonged occupation with no end in sight.

Until the day that Palestinian self-determination arrives, the least that UN can do is to keep open this window of observation and appraisal. After all, it is the UN that undertook back in 1947 to find a solution to the Israel/Palestinian struggle that acknowledged the equal claims of both peoples. Although such an approach was colonialist and interventionist in 1947, it has plausibility in 2016 given the developments in the intervening years. The UN may not be guilty in relation to what went wrong, but it certainly has failed to discharge its responsibilities with regard to Palestinian fundamental rights. Until these rights are realized, the UN should give this remnant of the colonial era as much attention as possible.

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