Archive | July 21st, 2016

American Democracy Is a Shitshow

NOVANEWS
  • California Highway Patrol officers confront protesters during demonstrations near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 19, 2016.
    California Highway Patrol officers confront protesters during demonstrations near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 19, 2016. | Photo: Reuters.
American democracy is a shitshow that is insightful only unintentionally and captivating only in its grotesqueries.

In the late afternoon of day three of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, media workers and RNC attendees were blocked from exiting the security zone around the convention center. Past the concrete barriers, lines of police, and double layers of 10-foot tall steel-link fence, a protest was swirling. It was the American flag–burning hyped all day by members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a tiny Maoist-style group known for provocative but ultimately harmless political stunts.

OPINION:
Republican Political Strategy for 21st-Century US Is Apartheid

From the security tunnel, apparently modeled on checkpoints dotting Israeli-occupied Palestine, it was difficult to distinguish protesters from media in the crowd of hundreds. Heated yelling drifted above the tightly packed throngs, but there was no smoke to be seen.

The mere threat of a piece of colored fabric being set alight was enough to trigger a lockdown. Rent-a-cops started herding bewildered media out of the tunnel. When two columns of beefy riot cops in full body armor began filing out to take up position near the protest, security swooped in to clear media out of a parking lot where the tumult could be observed.

On the scene was dozens of Bikers for Trump, loudly lecturing how the flag-burners would be killed in any other country. The imminence of violence is a refrain on a right that glorifies its weapons as instruments of peace. The previous day when I took a photo on the street near the convention of a knot of muscleheads all wearing the same 2nd Amendment t-shirts, one told me, with approving nods from his compatriot, “If it wasn’t for the First Amendment, I would have smashed your camera.”

These gun-clingers hadn’t figured out the Constitution is not an a la carte menu they can pick and choose from, and eliminating the First Amendment would usher in the tyranny they rant about as imminent.

But this moment fits into the hollowness of American democracy. One flag was eventually lit, giving the media dramaticimages to splash on their front pages and an opportunity for police to flex their muscle, unleashing pepper spray and arresting four. It also gave the RCP a chance to hijack an earlier immigrants-rights protest and art display to “Wall Off Trump” and his hate with hundreds of feet of canvas painted with brick walls and chain-link fence.

With protesters largely frightened off by police and FBI visits and the public gripped by fear of lone shooters, Black nationalists, and Neo-Nazis, the protests have been reduced to small packs moving through an empty downtown.

OPINION:
RNC Brings Fear and Total Lockdown to Cleveland

But the protests serve as a jobs program for media ravenous for a morsel of news given the convention hall is devoid of life for at least 18 hours day. And the protests serve as a real-life simulation for the police to test out all their weapons and tactics and electronic gear.

More important, with the government and media hysteria having squelched genuine dissent, these protestitos serve a role in maintaining the appearance of popular democracy under the control of a police holding the line against complete anarchy. The moment anti-Trump protesters come within range of pro-Trump demonstrators, police leap into action and isolate the two sides with democracy-free zones. Ideas must be contained, free from any potential contamination.

Any threat of violence is overblown. Alex Jones bellowed about his violent showdown with “Communist Black Lives Matter, when in fact footage shows him clumsily body checking a protester after being lightly pushed. But the purpose was served: cameras rolled, police sprung into action, and Jones got to play at brave truth teller for another day. And the audience at home imagines Cleveland is a crazed scene on the verge of open warfare when in reality it’s devoid of people other than low-age workers, hustlers, limelight-seekers, thousands of bored cops, and a stirred-up anthill of journalists scouring digital trails for any photo op, comment, or interview no matter how minor.

The protests mirror the inside of the Quicken Loans Arena where the RNC is being held. That the stage for a white-nationalist Republican Party is affixed with the name of a company accused of high-pressure tactics and predatory home loans in a city where the African-American community has been devastated by the foreclosure crisis beginning under President Bush and continuing under President Obama is a stellar example of image triumphing over substance. Just blocks away in nearly every direction are abandoned buildings, cracked streets, and the down and out.

Near the Wall Off Trump demonstration I caught up with Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone. Widely praised for his coverage of the foreclosure crisis and Wall Street crash, Taibbi lamented of the dog-and-pony show, “We are in one of the poorest most fucked-up cities in America and we have 10 million journalists here and all they are doing is making a spectacle out of all this.”

GALLERY:
Protests in Cleveland as Republicans Confirm Trump Candidacy

The second night of the convention, entitled, “Make America Work Again,” should have been labeled a disaster. Thirteen months into his campaign, Trump has yet to offer one concrete idea of what he will to help the millions of Americans caught in poverty or barely keeping afloat. Nothing about how he will return manufacturing jobs or boost wages other than an incessant loop of superlatives: “great,” “amazing,” “incredible,” “tremendous,” “unbelievable.”

On the flip side, Trump has indicated how he will make the economy worse—by trying to deport 11 million immigrants, starting trade wars, and ratcheting up diplomatic tensions with U.S. allies.

But the top story for the media three days running is Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech. “Make America Work Again” was a rerun of the first night squeezed of the bloodlust: more Benghazi, more Clinton, more Trump family time.

There was never a golden age of American democracy, but as Cleveland is showing, even the pretense of it is dead. What remains is hi-tech cameras and cops circling a hollowed out public. Both parties and the Fourth Estate are complicit in this fiasco. This may be the most absurd election ever, but the real reckoning is yet to come.

Posted in USAComments Off on American Democracy Is a Shitshow

The Cuban Revolution Will Not Fail: A View from the US

NOVANEWS
  • Cubans walk by a billboard of Che that reads, "Always onward to victory."
    Cubans walk by a billboard of Che that reads, “Always onward to victory.” | Photo: Reuters.
On the year anniversary of the opening of the Cuban and U.S. embassies, Cuba is stronger than ever.

The Cuban Revolution is one of the reasons that I became a revolutionary socialist and have remained an activist for almost 50 years.

RELATED:
US Congress Passes Restrictions on Trade and Travel to Cuba

Capitalism at a dead end, framed especially in the U.S. and Europe by white supremacy, presents a whole new set of challenges for our youth. Life is very different than it was in the 60s.

The exorbitant cost of higher education makes it impossible for working-class youth. If they do manage to attend university, the burden of student debt is crushing. And even with a college degree, young people still may find themselves stuck at a minimum wage job or unemployed.

On top of this are the official government institutions, especially the cops and the courts, that are carrying out a war against Black people. The rate of brutality and killings against primarily Black men, but women too, is unconscionable. At least 115 African-Americans have been killed by police so far this year—probably a conservative number.

This is nothing but the extension of slavery—the horrifying brutal system that enslaved Africans and was decisive in making the U.S. the rich superpower it is today. Today’s killer cops are yesterday’s slave patrols.

Brown folks are also being killed like dogs in the street. This includes a very high percentage of Indigenous people, who like Mexicans, had their land violently stolen from them by the U.S.

People of color in the U.S. today are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. But there is also a high level of resistance going on as well.

What Does Cuba Have to Do with It?

Cuba should give youth in the U.S. hope—inspiration—for how things could be if we were to fight for another kind of society—a revolutionary one. Cuba already brings hope to millions around the world.

First of all there are absolutely no killer cops or police brutality in Cuba. That alone is enough. But there is so much more to the Cuban Revolution.

OPINION:
Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua – Permanent Media False Positives

Yet there are those who often express doubt and uncertainty that the revolution will withstand today’s phase of Cuba-U.S. relations, especially those who have never traveled to the island nation.

They fear that McDonald’s—which is often the only thing available in oppressed neighborhoods in the U.S.—will soon take over and that corporations that exploit workers here in the U.S. will go to Cuba and do the same there.

I am astounded by the many times I have heard people doubt that Cuba will keep Black power hero, Assata Shakur safe.

But I have complete faith and confidence in the Cuban Revolution, I know that Assata is safe there.

I believe strongly that Cuba will withstand this new phase of Cuba-U.S. relations. This is not based on wishful thinking or some Pollyanna view. It is based on the science that guides all revolutionaries.

I am confident that Assata is safe because Cuba’s security apparatus has a lot of experience in protecting those who matter. Fidel Castro Ruz would not be alive today otherwise.

WATCH: Che Guevara’s UN Speech

When the U.S. flag started to fly in Havana at its new embassy a year ago, many progressives here in the U.S. were dismayed. And of course on the face of it, it was disheartening. But that is a narrow view.

Of course, activists in the U.S. want to see U.S. flags come down around the world, not go up. The ending of U.S. imperialism would be a huge step forward for humanity.

But the U.S. flag flying in Cuba can also be interpreted as a sign of Cuba’s strength. The U.S. flag went up in the context of the strength of the revolution, not weakness. It went up while the founders of the revolution are still alive and strong.

It went up while the U.S. had tried everything else to overthrow the revolution and had failed.

RELATED:
Raul Castro: Cuba Grows Despite Adverse Circumstances

The longest-running blockade in the Western Hemisphere, the economic, political and biological warfare could not bring down the Cuban Revolution.

What is it about Cuba that has stayed the hand of imperialism for over 50 years? It is such a tiny island, only 90 miles from the very country that has bombed Afghanistan for over 15 years, devastated Iraq, and is now intensifying intervention in Latin America, especially in Venezuela.

Today, one out of every 113 people in the world is displaced from their homeland, mainly as a result of the U.S.-NATO war in Syria and intervention in Africa, especially northern Africa, according to the World Council of Churches.

Yet no one flees Cuba because of repression, death squads or abject hunger and deprivation.

Imperialism is extremely powerful but Cuba has shown to the world that imperialism has feet of clay. This demonstrates that Cuba is indeed one of a kind.

This July 26 marks the 63rd anniversary of the assault on the Moncada barracks that marked the beginning of the revolution. Sixty-three years of history, leadership, ideological and military war against oppression.

There is no reason to fear that Cuba will stray from the course it has set for over 60 years. Who would want to return to the days of no independence?

Cubans need only to look over at Puerto Rico, Haiti or Mexico, to know they must defend their revolution to the death.

Fidel, one of the greatest leaders in world history, shaped and led the Cuban Revolution. He, along with others, built the Cuban Communist Party and created a vanguard leadership like no other.

They professed to be Marxist-Leninists almost immediately upon victory in 1959, assured that socialism could be created by ousting the banks and corporations that dictated society in other countries.

RELATED:
Cuba-Venezuela Mission to Prevent Blindness Helps 3.5 Million

“The destruction of the old bourgeois apparatus, and the formation of the nascent state, the radical steps taken by the Revolution, and the creation of genuine, fighting organizations of the masses, confirmed the Revolution’s unmistakable trajectory,” wrote Granma, the official newspaper of the CCP.

This is the science behind the confidence in Cuba.

This party and this leadership succeeded because of a high level of skill, knowledge, principled behavior, a Marxist ideology rooted in Leninism and above all a genuine love of the masses. It continues to succeed because of Fidel, Raul Castro and so many other leaders.

I had the honor of traveling to Cuba some years ago with the group Pastors for Peace. Over a dozen of us filled a van for an unexpected outing miles away from where we were staying at the Martin Luther King Center in Havana. On the highway, on several occasions, a law enforcement agent attempted to pull the van over.

I asked the driver why they wanted us to stop and why he wasn’t stopping? He said it was because the van was filled with too many people and that it was a safety violation. And he added that he wouldn’t stop because Rev. Lucius Walker, founder of Pastors for Peace, needed to get back to Havana for a meeting.

I said to the driver, “Wow, if something like this had happened in the U.S., if a van full of brown and Black people had not stopped, we would have all been shot.”

He said shyly and quietly, “Here the government and the people are one.”

That is why the Cuban Revolution has survived and will continue to not only survive, but thrive.

Posted in South AmericaComments Off on The Cuban Revolution Will Not Fail: A View from the US

Another Mexican Journalist Was Just Assassinated

NOVANEWS
  • Pedro Tamayo was reportedly shot 11 times.
    Pedro Tamayo was reportedly shot 11 times. | Photo: Twitter

Tamayo was murdered outside his home by unidentified assailants.

Mexican journalist Pedro Rosas Tamayo, who specialized in police reporting, was killed outside his home Wednesday night in Tierra Blanca, Veracruz.

RELATED:
UNESCO Calls for Probe of Murder of Latino Journalist in Texas

According to local Mexican media, Tamayo was hit with at least 11 gunshots at around 11 p.m. after two armed people fired on the reporter at his home, where he lived with his relatives. Tamayo was rushed to hospital but reportedly died in the ambulance.

His wife said that a black Volkswagen appeared at the house, with one of the men getting out and shooting Tamayo.

In January, Tamayo went missing before reappearing again in Oaxaca. He had allegedly sought refuge in the state following the arrest of the suspected leader of the “New Generation Jalisco Cartel,” in Tierra Blanca, Francisco Navarrete.

Navarrete was arrested and linked to the disappearance and murder of five young people in Tierra Blanca. Following the arrest, a number of sources said that Tamayo feared for his life.

RELATED:
Paramilitaries Target Mexico Teachers with Police Permission

Tamayo was reportedly under police guard for around a month.

So far this year, 43 journalists in Mexico have received threats and have been placed under the protection of the Ministry of State Security.

Many journalists in Latin America have recently been subjected to killings, many in relation to their work. A recent report detailed that the Americas is one of the most dangerous regions for journalists in the world.

Posted in MexicoComments Off on Another Mexican Journalist Was Just Assassinated

Palestinian Prisoners: Shared Struggle, Shared Suffering and Shared Aspirations

NOVANEWS
No matter how much we write about Palestinian prisoners, it is not enough in comparison to these prisoner’s sacrifices and daily suffering. They lost their freedom in the fight for the freedom of Palestine and for our freedom. Their “road of suffering” begins with the minute of their arrest. They are often brutally beaten by the IOF upon arrest, to be then handed over to the Israeli intelligence “Shabak”, who don’t hesitate to use all forms of physical and mental torture to force Palestinians into admitting things they didn’t do. Those prisoners who survive the Shabak interrogation are then handed over to the Israeli prison authority, which runs some Nazi-like prison facilities, death cells waiting to engulf Palestinians. Here, Palestinian prisoners are subjected to an inhumane treatment much similar to methods used by the Nazis in Concentration camps, such as conducting medical experiments on powerless prisoners, or neglecting their injuries and ailments leaving them to die an agonizing and slow death, or defining Palestinian prisoners according to their given numbers and not as human beings with names. Despite all, these Palestinian prisoners fight as one against the injustices inflicted upon them, against the atrocities of their executioners. Their fight is a daily fight; for they have to fight for the food they eat and the water the drink and the air they breathe. They fight for their right to see their families, to get medical treatment, to get decent food fit for human consumption, to sleep at night, to walk and see the sun during the day, to read books and newspapers, to watch television and hear a radio and get legal support. It is a daily fight to survive a prison institution that is run by a terror state that wouldn’t hesitate in shooting at unarmed prisoners who go on hunger strikes in protest of the treatment they receive; A prison institution that wouldn’t hesitate in sending a terminally ill Palestinian prisoner back to his cell with a pill of Acamol, a useless pain killer, and ignore his screams of pain all night long; A prison institution that wouldn’t hesitate to lock up blind and handicapped Palestinian prisoners in isolation cells which are not fit to be used as a pig’s pens; A prison institution that feeds and thrives on the lives of Palestinian children, women, men and elderly.

Every nation has the right to fight for its freedom, for its legitimate rights and for the future of its children. These freedom fighters locked up behind Israeli prison bars also depend on us to fight for them, to carry their fight to the outside world, to remind the world of their suffering and their sacrifices. It is our word they depend upon, our word to inform those at home and those far away, to mobilize people on their behalf, to uncover the crimes being committed against them behind locked doors, and to keep their issue on the top of our national priorities. During the last couple of weeks, several reports and articles were published on the issue of Palestinian prisoners. There were a number of campaigns and a few petitions distributed widely in support of certain cases. While some of these petitions and reports found great resonance on social sites such as facebook, twitter, and some yahoo and google groups, the stories of other prisoners and their suffering were limited to a few websites. And unfortunately, while some arrests make the headlines, tens of other arrests remain sidelines, numbers added to the list of thousands locked up inside Israeli jails. Regardless of the excuses given, ALL Palestinian prisoners deserve our interest and our work and campaigning for their freedom, and they don’t deserve to be reduced to a single line added to certain petitions whenever we find it appropriate or necessary.

Last week, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club started a campaign calling for the release of Akram Mansour, 49 years old, from Israeli imprisonment because of his deteriorating health situation. Mansour has been locked up in Israeli jails since more than 30 years now and suffers from several diseases. His complaints were often ignored by the Israeli prison authorities, until one day he collapsed during morning exercise. Despite loss of hearing, the Israeli prison authorities told him there was nothing wrong with him and refused him further medical examination. After several demands that he be thoroughly examined and treated, Mansour was given a CT scan at the so-called Ramleh prison “hospital”, which showed the existence of a mass growing inside Mansour’s head, causing the loss of hearing and other ailments. Mansoor lost both his parents and one of his sisters while in prison, unable to say goodbye to them, and might die in prison without having the chance to see his remaining siblings. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Club
“appealed to all institutions and the authorities concerned with prisoners’ affairs to activate his case for his release and to provide appropriate treatment as well as attention to the issues of sick prisoners, and to raise awareness at all levels and international forums.” (www.ppsmo.org)

Palestinian reports of experiments being conducted on Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli prison authority have always been denied by Israel, claiming as usual that the Palestinians are spreading lies and it being another Palestinian propaganda. Actually, all it needs is a study of the medical status of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails to realize that this is no lie and no propaganda: the number of Palestinian prisoners in need of medical care is on the rise. Those who urgently need medical help have often to wait long before receiving the appropriate treatment, i.e. if they are lucky enough to get any treatment at all, and are often left to die a slow and painful death or are treated with mere painkiller, no matter how severe the case is, while those who suffer from minor ailments end up with severe problems after they get “treated” at the so-called prison clinics. Examples exist of prisoners who needed urgent surgery but didn’t receive it, and of others who had to wait years before they were finally operated, with the condition of the patients not getting better after the operation, and others who lost their eye-sight, movement in their limbs and caught serious diseases after being “treated”. There are cases of prisoners suffering from diabetes where the deliberate delay in providing the needed medical help had led to the amputation of their limbs. Several registered cases of mass food poisoning inside the prisons strengthen what many prisoners and prisoner organizations say about Palestinian prisoners being used against their will and knowledge as test persons in medical experiments conducted by the Israeli prison authorities. Also, Palestinian prisoners who need urgent treatment get interrogated in the so-called prison clinics and are blackmailed into giving information or admitting to things they didn’t commit. Israeli soldiers comprise the medical staff running these so-called clinics, whereby an Israeli soldier can become a nurse after only 6 months of training. Palestinian prisoners are transferred in vans to the so-called Ramlah prison “hospital” instead of in ambulances and they are hand and leg cuffed, including during the operations which are often conducted without anesthetic.

According to several Palestinian prisoner organizations there are 1500 Palestinian prisoners with medical problems. Many of them suffer from heart diseases, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, diabetes, paralysis, vision loss, dental problems and other chronic diseases. Some suffer from past injuries inflicted upon them by the IOF during their arrest, or by the Israeli prison authority and the Israeli intelligence (Shabak) during interrogation and after it. Today, there are 16 Palestinian prisoners who suffer from cancer, which, according to several reports, is on the rise among Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli prisons. At least 150 Palestinian prisoners suffer from heart diseases and blood pressure problems, tens have become handicapped after being shot at by the IOF just before their arrest, and at least 12 suffer from Hemiplegia. In addition to physical suffering, more than 40 Palestinian prisoners suffer from mental and psychological ailments due to the interrogation methods used by the Israeli Shabak and the Israeli prison authorities, which include torture.

Raid Darabieh, 36 years old, from Jabalya RC, was diagnosed with kidney stones and was operated by the Israeli prison authority 4 times in the back and spine after the discovery of a tumor in the spinal cord. All operations failed, leaving Darabieh with open back-wounds and the loss of feeling in his feet, making him a cripple.
Anas Shihadeh had an Appendectomy without any anesthetic being used. During the operation his heart stopped beating 3 times.
Nur Alasa, 23, suffered from kidney failure and cirrhosis of the liver after being given pills by the Israeli prison authority as treatment for his cold.
Jum’a Muhammad Musa, 66 years old and a father of 8, died on 24.12.2008 in Israeli jails after spending 10 years in the so-called Ramlah prison “hospital”. Musa was given all sorts of medicines causing him only more pain and suffering, and an injection given to him caused paralysis in his left arm and leg.
Mohammad Abu Wahdan was tied to the bed in the “hospital” by his hands and legs and was left to die a slow and painful death.

Avigdor Lieberman, current Israeli foreign minister, stated on 07.07.2003 in front of the Israeli Knesset in a discussion on Palestinian political prisoners that “It would be better to drown these prisoners in the Dead Sea if possible, sine that’s the lowest point in the world.”[1] , adding that as transport minister, he would be willing to provide the buses to take the prisoners there.
Tzahi Hanegbi, former Israeli ministry for internal security, said in 2004 after Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails declared a hunger strike against the inhumane prison conditions: “They can strike for a day, a month, until death. We will ward off this strike and it will be as if it never happened. He has ordered large, open grills to be set up to barbecue meat and for bread to be baked just outside the prison doors, to torture prisoners with the smells. Prison guards are encouraged to eat all this in front of the fasting prisoners.”[2] He later said: “for all I care, they can starve to death!”[3]
Commenting on the same issue, Dany Naveh, former Israeli health minister, gave orders preventing Palestinian prisoners from receiving treatment in health facilities: “let them be treated where they lie … we don’t want these murderers in hospitals.”[4]

According to reports there are at least 28 Palestinian prisoners who are dying in Israeli prisons.

197 Palestinian prisoners have been killed by the IOF since 1967; 70 as a result of torture, 71 killed in cold blood after being arrested, 49 as a result of medical negligence and 7 being shot dead inside prisons by the Israeli prison authorities.[5]

49 Palestinian prisoners were killed due to medical negligence by the Israeli prison authorities:
Khalil Rashaydeh, Abdelqader Abu Al-Fahim, Ramadan Al-Banna, Omar Awad-Allah, Omran Abu Khalaf, ‘Ajaj Alawneh, Nasser Hweitat, Farid Ghannam, Idrees Nofal, Rasim Halawah, Ali Al-Ja’farai, Anis Dawlah, Salah Abbas, Ali Al-Shatreet, Salim Abu Sbeih, Michael Lazaro, Isaac Maraghah, Mahmoud Najajrah, Qandil Abdel Rahman, Ata Ayyad, Mohammad Hammad, Abdel Min’im Kolek, Omar AlQasem, Muhammad Al-Rifi, Raeq Suleiman, Jasir Abu Rmeileh, Hussein ‘Abeidat, Yahya Natour, Ahmad Ismael, Riyad Udwan, Yousif Al’ar’ar, Mohammad Dahameen, Ahmad Jawabreh, Walid Amr, Bashir ‘Eweis, Fawwaz Al-Balbal, Mohammad Abu Wahdan, Bashar Bani Odeh, Jawad Abu Maghseeb, Suleiman Darabjeh, Rasim Ghneimat, Abdel Fattah Raddad, Jamal Saraheen, Mahir Dandan, Shadi Sa’aydeh, Omar Masalmeh, Fadi AbuRub, Fadil Shaheen, Jum’a Musa.

70 Palestinian prisoners were killed as a result of torture at the hands of Israeli Shabak and prison authorities:
Yousef Al-Jabali, Mustapha Harb, Fathi Al-Natsheh, Younis Abu Sbeitan, Qasem Abu Aker, Ahmad Abu Amerah, Qasem Abu Khdeirah, Awn Al-‘Ar’er, Othman AlBahsh, Deeb Shtayeh, Hashim Karim, Salim Safi, Mustapha Al-Drabee’, MuhyiIldeen Al’Uri, Mohammad Wishah, Hassan Al-Sawarkah, Issa Abdel Hamid, Mustapha Al-Awawdah, Naser Aldeen Al-Shakhsheer, Fareez Tashtoush, Omar Shalabi, Salem Abu Sitta, Jamil Barakat, Fouad Hmed, Ahmad Dahdoul, Youssef Karim, Nasser Alheb, Said Abu Sitta, Faiz Al-Tarayrah, Salameh Hassouni, Husam Qar’an, Yacoub Dababish, Hamzah Abu Sh’eb, Khalil Abu Khadijah, Mahmoud Freitekh, Ghassan Lahham, Tariq Al-Hindi, Tariq Hammouri, Awwad Hamdan, Khadir Tarazi, Ibrahim AlRa’i, Iyad Aqil, Nabil Ibdah, Hani AlShami, Ibrahim Mutawwar, Mahmoud AlMasri, Jamal Abu Sharkh, Khalid Alsheikh Ali, Abdallah Alawneh, Atiyah Za’aneen, Ali AlShahid, Sami Zu’rub, Mustapha Akkawi, Ahmad Barakat, Samir Omar, Mohmmad Barbas, Haazim Eid, Mustapha Barakat, Ayman Barhum, Samir Salameh, Ayman Nassar, Mohammad AlJundi, Abdel Samad Hreizat, Ma’zuz Dalal, Majid Daghlas, Khalid Abu Dayyeh, Nidal Abu Srour, Ibrahim Abu Hawwash, Ali Abu Alrub, Wael AlQarawi.
71 Palestinian prisoners killed in cold blood by the IOF after being arrested:
Ahmad Al-Nuweiri, Kahlil Syam, Zaki Syam, Ahmad Abu Dayyeh, Yopusef ‘Asaliyeh, Ahmad Afaneh, Haris Abu Alhayyeh, Ali Abu Sultan, Samih Abu Hasaballah, Mohammad Khreizat, Hassan Abu Rukba, Khader Hilani, Bilal Burini, Jamal Qiblan, Mohammad Abu Jami’, Bader Karadah, Ibrahim Barad’ah, Yousef Al-Mughrabi, Hassan Abu Sh’era, Mahmoud Khalil, Jamal Thalji, Mustapha Yassin, Ali Julani, Issa Dabadbeh, Midhat Abu Dalal, Mohammad Hussein, Yousef AlSukarji, Jassir Samaro, Nasim Abu-Alrus, Karim Mafarjeh, Anwar Abdel Ghani, Abdel-Ghani Abu Daggah, Mahmoud Salah, Basim Abu Shihadeh, Khalid Awad-Allah, Ismael Zaid, Said Mahdi, Abdel Rahman Abdallah, Omar Musa, Ahmad ‘Ajaj, Azmi ‘Ajaj, Baha’ Sharqawi, Hazim Qabaha, Ala’ Khadriyeh, Yassin Al-Agha, Jadallah Shokah, Omran Gheith, Faiz Jabir, Mohammad Al’s’is, Jasir Hasaneen, Ahmad Atiyah, Abdel Afu AlQassas, Falah Masharqah, Qasem Al-Ja’bari, Mohammad Al-Khawaja, Walid Srouji, Hisham Abu Jamous, Sufian Al-‘Ardah, Tha’er Al-Mahdawi, Jamal Abu Mallouj, Iyad Al-Khatib, Ali Abu Hijleh, Nassar Abu Slim, Tariq Al-Hindawi, Mahmoud Kmel, Salah Sheikh Eid, Mazin Shabat, Salim AbulHija, Mahmoud Abu Hassan, Fawwaz Freihat, Obeidah Dweik.

7 Palestinian prisoners were shot dead inside prisons by the Israeli prison guards:
Assad Al-Showa from Gaza was killed on 16.8.1988 in Al-Naqab detention camp.
Bassam Al-Somoody from Al-Yamon was killed on 16.8.1988 in Al-Naqab detention camp.
Nidal Deeb from Ramallah was killed on 8.2.1989 in Majido prison.
Abdallah Abu Mahruqa from Deir Al-Balaha was killed on 12.9.1989 in Ansar 2.
Sabry Mansoor from Al-Jeep was killed on 7.7.1990 in Ofer.
Musa Abdul Rahman from Nuba was killed on 18.1.1992.
Mohammed Al-Ashqar from Sida was killed on 22.10.2007 in Al-Naqab detention camp.

A week earlier, on 25.09.2009, it was reported that Palestinian prisoner Sameh Al-Shobaky from Qalqylia had entered his 7th year in isolation in Israeli prisons. Al-Shobaky was transferred to isolation immediately after his arrest and the subsequent interrogation, and he stays in isolation till this very day. Through his lawyer, Al-Shobaky demanded more attention from the media to the situation of Palestinian prisoners, especially those held in isolation, and to inform the world of the daily human rights violations these prisoners are exposed to on a daily basis on the hands of the Israeli prison authority. He “appealed to all the human rights organizations and human rights groups to act on the subject of the prisoners in isolation and raising it to all levels, to get the prisoners out of isolation from the world.” (www.ppsmo.org). Prisoners who are placed in isolation are either locked up in solitary confinement where they neither see nor hear any other human being, or share the same tiny cell with one other prisoner. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club confirms the existence of
“a phony court where the prisoner is taken every six months and in the event of their being two prisoners they are taken to it once a year. This court obeys the Israeli intelligence court orders “Al-Shabak” and the prisons administration “Al-Shabas”, and often requires the extension of the period that the prisoner is in isolation without giving reasons for it, and it also lacks the bare images and elements of a fair trial.” (www.ppsmo.org)

According to the latest reports, there are at least 50 Palestinian prisoners in isolation, including the two female prisoners Wafa’ Albis and Latifah Abu Thra’ who has been in isolation for more than three years. Prisoners who are placed in isolation remain so for many years and have no access to other prisoners or to news from other prisons. Among those, there are more than 14 prisoners who have spent over five years in isolation such as:
Abdul Nasser Al-halisy and Tayseer Samody: have each spent over 13 years in isolation.
Sameh Al-Shobaky and Mo’taz Hijazy: have each spent 7 years in isolation.
Jamal Abu Al-Hijan, Ahmed Al-Magriby, and Hassan Salameh: have each spent 5 years in solitary confinement.

Other prisoners in isolation include Abbas Al-Sayed, Saeyd Al-Tubasy, Anas Jaradat, Abu Ali Maqadmeh, Thaer Hammad, Ahmed Awaywy and Islam Hadmy.

In isolation, many Palestinian prisoners are subjected to all forms of physical, psychological and emotional suffering. The isolation cells have an area of only 1.8m x 2.7m, including the bathroom, with no room for movement and very bad ventilation. These prisoners are punished further by denying them family visits. Family members, who often make the long and hard trip to the Israeli prisons, are often turned back without being allowed to see their loved ones. Isolated prisoners who have family members also locked up inside Israeli jails are also not allowed to see them. For example, Jamal Abu Heyja “is not allowed to see his wife Asma’a Abu Al Hayja, a former prisoner whose life is withering with cancer. Also, he is not permitted to see his small son and two daughters or to meet any of his three sons who are imprisoned in the occupation jails.”[6] Other punishments include sending the prisoners to the “snooker”, which a very small room (180cm x 150cm). The only facilities in the room are two containers for drinking and washing after urinating. Prisoners locked up here are allowed only once a day to go to the toilet. Here, prisoners are completely isolated, not only from other prisoner, but from any connection to the outside world such as newspapers, radios or even watches to know the time. Mohammed Barash, who is blind and “suffers from the amputation of his left leg and other diseases in his body … was taken to the snooker and tied by his hands and foot to the bed, and during the night he suffered from suffocation and could not get up because of the restrictions, he had no choice but to scream to get the attention of the nurse.”[7]

As a result of the conditions prevailing in isolation cells, a number of isolated prisoners suffer from diseases and do not receive the needed medical treatment. A report of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club mentions:[8]
Jihad Yaghmoor: ”suffers from severe pneumonia, and has recently been suffering from cases of suffocation at night then he awakens not finding anyone near him, so he knocks on the door shouting to force the nurse to attend.”
Abdul Nasser Al-Halisy: suffers from a difficult mental disorder. He is in isolation since over 13, of them 8 in solitary confinement.
‘Owaydeh Kallab: suffers from mental and physical illnesses, and general weakness, to the extent that “he is unable to prepare himself a cup of tea, previously the Palestinian prisoners prepared food and sent it to him, till the administration prevented the transport between rooms, despite requests by prisoners and his difficult health situation.”
Hassan Salameh: suffers from an injury in the stomach inflicted upon him on his arrest.

Mohammed Jaber Abdoh: suffers from urinary tract problems.
Mo’taz Hijazy: suffers from the brutal assault on him, because of which he was transferred to the intensive care unit. He has been in solitary confinement for the past 8 years.
Hani Jabir and Ahmad Shukry: were brutally beaten.

Among the over 11,650 Palestinian prisoners locked up inside Israeli jails, there are 325 “veteran prisoners”. The “Veteran Prisoners” is an expression used by prisoner movements and organizations to refer to Palestinian prisoners who have been locked up in Israelis jails since before the signing of the so-called peace agreement between Israel and the PLO in 1993. There are 108 Palestinian prisoners who have spent more than 20 years inside Israeli jails. These prisoners are called the “deans” of Palestinian prisoners. According to Abdel Nasser Farawna, a Prisoner Affairs expert, 20 of those belonging to “deans of prisoners” list are from Jerusalem, 16 are from the Palestinian Territories occupied in 1948 and 72 are from the Occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Among the Palestinian “deans of prisoners” there are 13 prisoners who are in Israeli prisons since more than 25 years. These prisoners are:
Na’il Saleh Al Bargouhti, 52 years old, Ramallah, in prison since 04.04.1978 (31 years, 6 months) and is thus the longest-standing political prisoner in the world.
Fakhri (Asfour) Abdallah Al Bargouthi, 55 years old, Ramallah, in prison since 23.06.1978 (31 years, 4 months)
Akram Abdel Aziz Mansour, 47 years old, Qalqilya, in prison since 02.08.1979 (30 years, 2 months)
Fouad Qasem Al-Razem, 51 years old, Jerusalem, in prison since 30.01.1981 (28 years, 8 months)
Ibrahim Fadel Jaber, 55 years old, Hebron, in prison since 08.01.1982 (27 years, 9 months)
Hasan Ali Salma, 51 years old, Ramallah, in prison since 08.08.1982 (27 years, 2 months)
Othman Ali Misleh, 57 years old, Nablus, in prison since 15.10.1982 (27 years)
Sami Khaled Younis, 77 years old, from ‘Ara, in prison since 05.01.1983 (26 years, 9 months)
Karim Yousif Younis, 51 years old, from ‘Ara, in prison since 06.01.1983 (26 years, 9 months)
Maher Abdel Latif Younis, 52 years old, from ‘Ara, in prison since 20.01.1983 (26 years, 9 months)
Salim Ali Al Kayal, 56 years old, from Gaza, in prison since 30.05.1983 (26 years, 4 months)
Hafith Qundus, 46 years old, from Yafa, in prison since 15.05.1984 (25 years, 5 months)
Issa Abed Rabbo, 46 years old, from Dheisheh RC, in prison since 20.10.1984 (~ 25 years)

I am not a full-time writer and can only write in my free time, and sometimes it takes me weeks to finish a paper. While writing this one, almost every single day there were news and reports of new arrests, of more suffering inside Israeli jails, of more horrors and new crimes being committed against Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli prison authority. No matter how many times we raise the issue of Palestinian prisoners, we will not do them justice. Those who are locked up behind bars are denied the sight of the green meadows of Palestine and the smell of the Taboon bread, solely for their love of Palestine, and for their fight for freedom, which is a legitimate right. They are denied the sight of their families, the hug of their mothers, the talk with their fathers. And they are denied the chance to say goodbye to those family members who die while waiting and hoping. And as long as there is still one single Palestinian in Israeli jails, it is our duty to talk about them, to write about them and demand their release, every single one of them! It is our duty to mobilize local and international support and efforts for their protection and release. It is our duty to expose the crimes committed against them and the daily violation of their human rights starting with their right to be free. Their struggle is our struggle, their captivity is our captivity and their freedom is our freedom. We are their voice and they depend on us to keep their issue alive and not forgotten.

According to latest statistics there are:
Some 11,650 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails
326 Palestinian children inside Israeli jails
32 Palestinian women inside Israeli jails
50 Palestinian prisoners in isolation cells
1500 Palestinian prisoners in need of medical care
16 Palestinian prisoners suffer from cancer
150 Palestinian prisoners suffer from heart diseases and blood pressure problems
12 suffer from Hemiplegia
40 Palestinian prisoners suffer from mental and psychological ailments due to the interrogation methods used by the Israeli Shabak and the Israeli prison authorities, which include torture
197 Palestinian prisoners have been killed by the IOF since 1967: 70 as a result of torture, 71 killed in cold blood after being arrested, 49 as a result of medical negligence and 7 being shot dead inside prisons by the Israeli prison authorities
325 Palestinian “veteran prisoners” have been locked up in Israelis jails since before 1993
108 Palestinian “deans of prisoners” have spent 20+ years inside Israeli jails
13 Palestinian prisoners are in Israeli prisons since more than 25 years
Some 500 Palestinian administrative detainees

Sources:
www.palestinebehindbars.org
www.alasra.ps
www.ppsmo.org
www.sabiroon.org
www.ahrar-pal.info

[1] //imeu.net
[2] http://www.cageprisoners.com/articles.php?id=3088
[3] http://globalresearch.ca/articles/AVN408A.html
[4] ibid.
[5] www.palestinebehindbars.org
[6] www.friendsofhumanity.info
[7] www.ppsmo.org
[8] ibid

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestinian Prisoners: Shared Struggle, Shared Suffering and Shared Aspirations

Narrating Turkey at a Time on National Crisis

NOVANEWS

by Dr: Richard Falk

A night before the attempted coup of July 15th, in conversation with an elegant secular business leader and permacologist in the seaside town of Yalikavak I was surprised by the intensity of her negativity toward the government, expressed with beguiling charm. She insisted that Turkey had hit rock bottom, that things in the country could not get worse. I felt speechless to respond to such sentiments that struck me as so out of touch with the reality of Turkey. This woman lives in a beautiful, secluded country house nearby, enjoys an extraordinarily successful career, is associated with a prominent Turkish family, possesses an engaging personality by any measure, and from all appearances lives a harmonious and satisfying modern life of comfort, good works, and human security. And yet she is totally alienated by the Turkish experience of Erdoğan’s prolonged leadership, which she alternatively describes as ‘autocratic’ and ‘Islamic.’ I mention her as the foregrounding of the typical mindset encountered among Turkish secular elites, displaced from their positions of control that lasted until the Kemalist hegemony began to weaken, and an outlook that confines political discussion to enclaves of out of touch likemindedness.

When I politely demurred during our dinner, suggesting that while there were justifiable criticisms of the AKP patterns of governance and of Erdoğan’s political style, especially since 2011, Turkey when compared with other countries in the region and its own pre-AKP past, and taking some account of a variety of challenges, still offers the region a positive example of what can be achieved by an energetic and ambitious emerging economy under what had been until recently generally stable political conditions. There are heavy costs of various kinds that should be acknowledged along side this somewhat affirmative picture—human rights have been abridged, üjournalists and academics suppressed who voice strong public criticisms of Erdoğan, and the Turkish state that he leads. There have also been a variety of charges of corruption and contrary well grounded charges of a ‘parallel government’ operating under the secretive authority of the Hizmet movement led by ‘the man in Pennsylvania,’ Fetullah Gülen, a mysterious Muslim cleric who preaches a moderate message. He is alleged to be the mastermind of the subversion of the Turkish state, and is accused by Erdoğan as having orchestrated the failed coup, and on this basis, Turkey has formally demanded his extradition to face criminal prosecution.

Arriving in Istanbul in the afternoon of July 15th with the expectation of participating in a conference the next morning held under the auspices of Koç University on the theme “Migration and Securitization of Europe: Views from the Balkan Corridor.” Listed in the program as the keynote speaker I felt quite nervous as to whether my prepared remarks captured the intended spirit of the tevent, but I will never know as an immediate personal impact of the attempted coup was a phone call to our hotel room at 2:00 AM telling us that ‘unfortunately’ it was necessary to cancel the conference. Our newly opened luxury hotel was almost empty, which itself expressed another facet of the reality of Istanbul in the wake of earlier terrorist incidents, most recently, the ghastly attack in late June at the Istanbul Airport. The only other hotel guests were a few families of rich Gulf Arabs with the women heavily veiled in black with only a slit open for their eyes. It was a strange atmosphere. This highly embellished postmodern hotel with its spacious marbled lobbies barely inhabited. I found the unattended electronic monitor at the hotel entrance a useful metaphor for the flawed security consciousness that, despite everything that has happened in the past year, still prevails in Turkey. The beautifully appointed rooms with exceptional views of the Golden Horn, beneath the softly lit graceful buildings that comprise the Topkapi palace, conveyed a different impression of Turkey’s past, present, and possible future than what this new hotel had to offer even in the best of times.

Before dinner we had walked slowly through our neighborhood of Karakoy, past numerous crowded and vibrant sidewalk cafes where mainly young Turkish men and women were enjoying water pipes, beers, soft drinks. We ended up in a popular nearby Armenian restaurant, admired for the quality of its food. As we entered we were happily surprised to find two close Turkish friends who we had known for the past 20 years, the longtime dean of the Bilgi University School of Law and his lawyer wife. Even though the restaurant was crowded we found a table that allowed our friends to join us. We had an animated conversation that touched lightly on the current political situation in the country and region but without any sense that we were dining amid an imminent internal crisis that would shake the foundations of the Turkish state.

In fact, the recent decisions of the government to repair the frayed relations with Russia and Israel were widely welcomed as signs that the Erdoğan leadership might be returning to a more pragmatic foreign policy based on nonintervention, refraining even from pro and con judgments about the political orientation of governments in the inflamed Middle East. This shift was reinforced by indications that efforts were underway to normalize relations with Egypt that had deteriorated badly after the Sisi coup in 2013 against the elected government of Mohammed Morsi, followed by the bloody crackdown of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership and other anti-coup activists. There were even hints by the new prime minister, Binali Yıldırım, that Turkey might be soon softening its insistence that there could be no peace with Syria until Bashar al-Assad gave up his role as leader, and this despite the continued massive genocidal atrocities being carried out the Damascus regime against the Syrian people.

Although not articulated in this manner, it certainly seemed that Turkey was moving away from an ideologically driven foreign policy in the Middle East that reflected sectarian biases, and trying to live at peace with all of its neighbors, virtually ‘a second coming’ of ‘Zero problems with neighbors’ as well as the brief flirtation with the unsustainable posture of ‘precious isolation.’

As our meal was nearing its end, the manager of the restaurant came to tell our friends, who ate there regularly, that he was hearing startling reports of a coup underway, with the Bosporus bridges closed and occupied by tanks, and Erdoğan’s whereabouts unknown and rumors circulating of his assassination or capture. We were told that people were returning to their homes as soon as possible if they could do so without having to pass over the bridges. We walked calmly in the warm Istanbul night close to the water, heeding the advice to get off the streets.

When we got to the room, we tried our best to find out what was happening by listening to TV, trolling through the channels to find some relevant reporting in real time. CNN Turka seemed to be doing the best job, at least until briefly taken over by coup supporters. The news we received at first was that there was sporadic fighting and casualties, and most significantly, that the coup was succeeding in gaining control over key governmental institutions and communications sites. There was an announcement that a state of emergency had been declared by the coup leaders and a curfew imposed. There were pictures on TV of the tanks on the bridges, of explosions in Ankara, gunfire in Istanbul and a report of a helicopter attack on the Parliament, which was meeting in a special session. These announcements were followed by conflicting claims as to who was in control with a dramatic focus on the whereabouts and reaction of Erdoğan.

Via CNN Turka Erdoğan was then interviewed by way of an I-Phone feed. He seemed shaken and uncertain, while vowing to take back control of the government, and apprehend those who were seeking its overthrow. It was later learned that the coup planners had changed course at the last minute, aware that the government was onto their scheme, initiating the coup attempt several hours ahead of schedule with the hope of capturing or killing Erdoğan, which seemed to be the key element in their plan. Apparently warned in the nick of time by the head of the Turkish Intelligence Organization (MIT), Hakan Fidan, Erdoğan managed to escape 10-15 minutes before the plotters arrived at the hotel where he was vacationing in Marmaris with 28 soldiers on board two helicopters. After that, according to a Reuters report, Erdoğan made a hazardous journey by plane back to Istanbul, both harassed and protected by F-16 jets aligned on opposite sides, arriving while the airport, including the flight tower, was still apparently under the control of pro-coup forces. The pilot made a dangerous manual landing with minimum lights, and by then the airport was again under the control of government supporters. Erdoğan held a dramatic press conference sitting between large Turkish flags and beneath a huge framed portrait of the founder of the republic, Kemal Ataturk, and speaking confidently that the coup was being defeated, and that forces loyal to the government were generally in control of the country. Erdoğan called on the people to come to the airport, and to the public squares throughout the country, asserting their loyalty to the government and their antipathy to the coup.

As night became morning we remained transfixed by the TV reportage of these unfolding events, including how they were being presented to Western audiences by CNN International and BBC. This

kind of passive witnessing contrasted with existential fears produced by F-16 military jets flying continuously over the city at low altitudes, breaking the sound barrier, causing ear-splitting sonic booms that were terrifying and seemed to threaten the onset of major combat. We were strongly reminded of the ordeal faced by the people of Gaza often traumatized by the sound of sonic booms from overflying Israeli jets and Syrians huddled in ruined cities being continuously subject to the terrorizing impact of barrel bombs dropped on the authority of the Syrian government. Unlike the real time abstractions of TV, the ominous activities of these jets, whose purpose we could not then fathom, gave the coup a frighteningly real dimension.

Twelve hours after the coup started it was over, and immediately questions were raised, suspicions surfaced, and political analysis reflected the deeply held contradictory views that had preexisted these tumultuous happenings. There were expressions of political unity, a rarity in Turkey, in which all of the leading parties expressed their hostility to the coup and those who undertook such a violent path, signing a declaration to this effect. This could be taken either as a sign of going with the winner in this bitter struggle for power or an indication that the political culture in Turkey had matured to the point where civilianization of political authority had made it unacceptable to mount a military challenge to a democratically elected government of the country under anycircumstances. The sea change in Turkish political culture was the conviction across the entire spectrum of polarized politics in the country that change of government must be brought about through the electoral process. In effect, the armed forces no longer were able to claim credibility as the guarantor of the Ataturk principles of republican governance as had been the case in such earlier coups as 1960, 1971 (bloodless coup by threatening memorandum), 1980, and 1997 (a so-called ‘post-modern coup’ that proceeded by way of ultimatum). In retrospect, one of the great achievements of the AKP period of leadership was this assertion of the primacy of the political, as interpreted by elected leaders, and the accompanying marginalization or constitutionalization of the Turkish deep state (composed of military leaders and heads of the intelligence services). As suggested, the opposition leading secular party, CHP, in this coup crisis affirmed civilianization as an integral element of Turkish democracy, but its polarizing opposition to the AKP and Erdoğan withheld any expression of appreciation for this achievement. Many years ago, my dear friend, Erich Rouleau, after serving as ambassador in Ankara for several years and an expert on the politics of the region, expressed the view that the deep state’s veto over the political process was such a formidable obstacle to the establishment of a democratic constitutional order in Turkey that it was unlikely ever to be overcome. Now, of course, the country confronts the opposite problem: an excessive consolidation of power in the office of the presidency with or without the blessing of constitutional reform.

With the crisis of the failed coup seemingly effectively resolved, there is emerging what might be described as ‘the crisis of the aftermath.’ So far, it consists of several main strands: (1) how wide to draw the circle of criminality and civic responsibility with respect to the movement of Fetullah Gülen as operative in the government [as of July 19 almost 20,000 suspected members of FETÖ (Gülenist Terrorist Organization) have been suspended from army, judiciary, and police, which is additional to 7,453 suspects now detained that include 100 police officers, 6,038 soldiers, 755 prosecutors and judges, and 650 civilians]; there exists also a preoccupation with the prosecution of Fetullah Gülen himself, which depends on whether the United States can be persuaded to grant extradition; there are also present anxieties about a witch hunt being extended to all critics, especially the faculty of universities and media journalists; (2) the extent to which ‘democracy’ is being deliberately confused through the mobilization of ultra-nationalist populism mingled with calls in the nightly demonstrations in the public squares for Sharia governance; (3) the degree to which in a period of insecure borders, transnational terrorism, and a domestic insurgency the effectiveness and credibility of the Turkish armed forces can be restored; (4) the extent to which the call for restoring the death penalty with respect to the coup culprits will lead European Union to end Turkish accession talks, and how this will impact on Turkey’s NATO membership; (5) overall, how relations with the United States will be affected by the policies that are adopted by the government in this period of aftermath and with other states in the region.

It is worth observing two tendencies that cause in one instance hope and in the other deep concern. The hope arises from the unity that has so far been maintained as between the main opposition political party and the AKP built on the consensus that the coup operatives and supporters must be brought to justice, but without a spirit of revenge and in accordance with the rule of law. The concern arises in response to the sweeping dismissals, suspensions, and detentions of those in the civil service, educational system, and armed forces under the misleading banner of anti-terrorism. The Gülen movement certainly seems guilty of treason, and some acts of terrorism against

Innocent Turkish civilians, but it was a criminal undertaking to be differentiated from terrorism in the pattern of recent attacks in Nice, Dhaka, Orlando, or the Istanbul Airport.

Returning to my pre-coup conversation in Yalikavak I think again

of the view so prevalent among oppositional secularists that due to recent political developments, things in the country could not get any worse. What this failed coup demonstrated convincingly is that things could, and almost did, get a lot worse: a bloody military regime that would have needed to be harshly oppressive to deal with the massive civil resistance that would have certainly emerged, and probably producing an insurgent challenge taking the form of a civil war, possibly in the Syrian mode. With such a prospect in mind it was particularly encouraging that even the bitter CHP opposition to the AKP during these past 14 years realized from the outset of the coup attempt that its success would have been a disaster for the country far, far worse than the continuation of AKP governance.

There has now surfaced in this unsettled period of the aftermath a quite different set of concerns about things getting worse, that the experience of the coup will lead Erdoğan to seek and obtain further enhanced powers that enable him to purge public institutions, and even the private sector of all its opponents, which it should be realized, make up about 50% of the country. And as well, use his populist mandate to move the country further in an Islamic direction

so far as regulatory framework and cultural atmosphere are concerned.

It is not a matter of abandoning a critical stance, but it is a reminder of the critical importance of not exaggerating the negative features of a governing process as it undermines the coherence and credibility of political discourse. How can we even talk about conditions that are worse than what exists being already deemed to be ‘the worst’? In times of tension it is particularly important for the defense of what is good and identification of what would worsen the status quo, to strive for balanced assessments, always hoping for the best, while trying to identify and oppose any and all steps toward coercive authoritarianism. I have had the same reaction to conversations in the United States with friends who deem the country to have become ‘fascist.’ Surely, there have been disturbing tendencies, but to assert the actuality of fascism is to misunderstand its truly demonic reality.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on Narrating Turkey at a Time on National Crisis

US-Backed Syrian ‘Moderates’ Behead 12-Year-Old

NOVANEWS

Exclusive: The grisly beheading of a 12-year-old boy by U.S.-backed Syrian rebels spotlights Washington’s creepy excuses for arming “moderate” jihadists who are barely distinguishable from Al Qaeda and ISIS, reports Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

The video is appalling even by Syrian standards. It shows a couple of grown men holding onto a small boy who is perhaps ten or 12 years old. One of them grips the boy by the hair while the other playfully pats his cheek. The men smile, laugh and give the thumb’s up. Then they lay the boy on his stomach, tie his hands behind his back, and draw a knife across his throat. In the final frame, one of the soldiers holds the severed head aloft in triumph.

The child’s crime? Allegedly fighting for Liwa al-Quds, or Jerusalem brigade, a Palestinian armed group that backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S.-backed Syrian "moderate" rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

“He sent us a child today, he no longer has men!” one of the rebels cries out in reference to Assad in the video, which went online on Tuesday. “We will leave no one in Handarat,” the rebels add, referring to the city north of Aleppo where heavy fighting has occurred between rebels and the government.For its part, Liwa al-Quds put out a statement saying that the boy, whom it identified as Abdullah Issa, was not a fighter, but a Palestinian living in Aleppo with his family “among multiple poor families that live in the area under the control of terrorists.”

The statement said the boy had been ill, adding: “By taking one glance at the child, the argument that he was a fighter is immediately disapproved.” Indeed, little Abdullah looks too small even to hold a gun, much less shoot it. (An Associated Press story reported that the boy was suspected of spying.)

As shocking as this is, what makes it even worse is that Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki, the group responsible for the atrocity, is part of the U.S.-backed Revolutionary Command Council and has received TOW anti-tank missiles courtesy of the CIA. When asked about the incident, State Department spokesman Mark C. Toner responded with his usual word games.

“We’re very concerned, certainly, if it’s accurate,” he said of the report. When asked if the incident would lead to a cut-off in military aid, he added: “If we can prove that this was indeed what happened and this group was involved in it, I think it would certainly give us pause … serious pause and we’ll look at, frankly, any affiliation or cooperation with this group we may have going forward, if these allegations are proven true.”

Spinning the Story

So the U.S. may drop Nour al-Din al-Zinki from its list of Grade A government-certified moderate rebel forces if a proper inquiry bears the story out. But these are weasel words for a number of reasons.  First, there’s no doubt that the report is accurate. Raw un-doctored video footage doesn’t lie, and, what’s more, Nour al-Din al-Zinki has confirmed that the incident took place and that its fighters were involved.

President Barack Obama walks through the Rose Garden to the Oval Office following an all-appointees summer event on the South Lawn, June 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama walks through the Rose Garden to the Oval Office, June 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Second, as judicious as Toner may sound in calling for proof, his decision to reserve judgment is actually a stalling tactic aimed at giving Nour al-Din time to extricate itself from the PR mess its fighters created.  Indeed, Nour al-Din al-Zinki quickly put out a statement – possibly at the prompting of Brookings Institution Syria expert Charles Lister – declaring that the fighters have been arrested and a judicial commission formed to determine what had happened and decide on a punishment.

Needless to say, this doesn’t mean that a Sunni-fundamentalist group that Amnesty International has accused of kidnapping, torturing and killing journalists and dissidents won’t still cover the crime up.  Neither does it mean that the killers won’t get off with a slap on the wrist. All it means is that the group will make a show of justice so that business can continue as usual. (In its statement, Nour al-Din al-Zinki also asserted that beheading a child does not represent the group’s overall policies.)

But the third thing that makes Toner such a weasel is that his statement doesn’t address the most important question of all: why the CIA has armed such a brutal outfit in the first place. Toner’s statement doesn’t because it can’t. The Obama administration’s Middle East policy today is such a welter of confusion that it hardly knows what it’s doing itself.

The administration claims to oppose Al Qaeda, obviously. But it continues to run interference for Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf petro-states that have bankrolled the group over the years and, according to no less an authority than Hillary Clinton, are still doing so today.

The administration continues to insist that the long-suppressed 29-page chapter of the joint congressional into 9/11 contains nothing important about Saudi links to 9/11 even though anybody who bothers to read it will know, as the indomitable Kristen Breitweiser has pointed out, that it details numerous contacts between Saudi operatives and the men who blew up the Twin Towers.

In Syria, the administration insists that it opposes both ISIS and Al Nusra, as Al Qaeda is locally known, yet it continues to supply arms to Nour al-Din al-Zinki and other outfits that ally themselves with such forces.

Contradictory Policies

Similarly, the administration claims to oppose torture, summary executions, and slitting the throats of twelve-year-old boys. But because it is determined to maintain the fiction that groups that engage in such horrors are moderates opposed to Al Nusra and ISIS, it protests so quietly that no one even notices.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chats with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov outside a room in the Russian Foreign Ministry's Osobnyak Guesthouse in Moscow, Russia, on July 15, 2016. [State Department Photo]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chats with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov outside a room in the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Osobnyak Guesthouse in Moscow, Russia, on July 15, 2016. [State Department Photo]

The contradictions were on full display in Moscow last week when John Kerry took part in a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following talks about possible joint action against Al Nusra in Aleppo. When New York Times reporter Gardiner Harris suggested that such a deal would be “a huge boon to the Assad regime by concentrating American firepower against the most effective anti-Assad forces and that you’re basically selling out the rebels,” Kerry was indignant, responding:“If some critic is criticizing the United States or Russia for going after al-Nusra, which is a terrorist organization, because they’re good fighters against Assad, they have their priorities completely screwed up. The fact is that Nusra is plotting against countries in the world. What happened in Nice … could just as well have come from Nusra or wherever it came from as any other entity, because that’s what they do….

“We saw what happened when people said the same thing about ISIL for a period of time – oh, don’t worry, they’re just a force against Assad, and down the road we can take them on. Well, they became more than just a force. And so I think that it is important for the United States, Russia … to stand up against terrorism, and that is what we intend to continue to do.”

But what is perplexing about such comments is that the administration has repeatedly employed the same logic that Kerry now criticizes. It channeled arms and materiel to the Syrian opposition even though the Defense Intelligence Agency reported in August 2012 that Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda were “the major forces driving the insurgency,” that they were seeking to establish “a Salafist principality in eastern Syria,” and that the anti-Assad opposition was out to organize an all-Sunni jihad “against what it considers one enemy,” i.e. the Shi‘ites.

The administration stood by while the Saudis and other Persian Gulf states “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 and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world,” as Vice President Joe Biden confessed two years ago before a student audience at Harvard.  (Quote starts at 53:20.)

Instead of opposing Al Nusra and similar forces, the U.S. thus stood by as its closest friends supplied these jihadists with money and arms. As for the argument that ISIL (also known as ISIS, Islamic State, and Daesh) could be safely deployed against Assad, it wasn’t just certain nameless critics who said this but the White House itself.

Favoring ISIS over Assad

While combating ISIS in Iraq, the U.S. attitude with regard to the group’s Syrian branch was startlingly blasé — even after it launched its devastating offensive in western Iraq in June 2014.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative, known as Jihadi John and identified as Mohammed Emwazi, the target of a drone attack that the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative, known as Jihadi John and identified as Mohammed Emwazi, the target of a drone attack that the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

“Certainly, ISIS has been able to expand in Syria, but that’s not our main objective,”The Wall Street Journal quoted a “senior defense official” as saying in January 2015. “I wouldn’t call Syria a safe haven for ISIL, but it is a place where it’s easier for them to organize, plan and seek shelter than it is in Iraq.”  The Journal added that “U.S. strategy in Syria is also constrained by a reluctance to tip the balance of power toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting Islamic State and other rebels.”

Translation: Despite the havoc across the border, the White House still regarded Syria as a place where ISIS could be left alone “to organize, plan, and seek shelter” and thus keep up the pressure on Assad.  That was its policy five months later when ISIS closed in on the ancient city of Palmyra. Even though Islamic State fighters would have been perfect targets as they crossed miles of open desert, the U.S. purposely withheld bombing so as not to tip the advantage to Assad.

As secretary of state, Kerry was thus party to the same policies that he now decries, policies based on leaving ISIS alone to make life miserable for Assad while others carried on unscathed. As a result, even he now seems to be confused.

Late last month at a conference in Aspen, Kerry emphasized the importance of defeating ISIS and Al Nusra along with “a couple of subgroups” such as Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham. The statement was accurate since both groups are indeed allied with Al Nusra.

But administration officials pronounced themselves “baffled” because the official line is the opposite. “For months, we’ve been arguing to make sure the Russians and the Syrian regime don’t equate these groups with the terrorists,” a senior administration official told theWashington Post.  “Kerry’s line yields that point.”

In fact, Kerry has been so concerned about protecting such groups on other occasions that he asked Lavrov last month not to bomb Al Nusra in Aleppo for fear of hitting pro-U.S. forces fighting side by side.  Evidently, terrorists and non-terrorists are so intermingled that even Kerry has trouble telling them apart. [See Consortiumnews.com’s Hillary Clinton’s ‘Entangled’ Foreign Policy.”]

So the U.S. condemns Al Qaeda except when it fights alongside pro-U.S. groups, at which point it begs Russia to leave it alone. The Obama administration claims to combat Islamic State except when it is marching against Palmyra, at which point it calls off the F-16s so ISIS can continue on its way. The U.S. backs “moderate” rebels except when they slit the throat of 12-year-old boys, at which point it promises to do something … soon.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on US-Backed Syrian ‘Moderates’ Behead 12-Year-Old

Russian Strikes Kill 18 ISIL Fighters in Syria

NOVANEWS
https://www.facebook.com/aleppo24news/videos/1123104444394990/?autoplay_reason=all_page_organic_allowed&video_container_type=0&video_creator_product_type=2&app_id=2392950137
Warplane

Russian air strikes have killed 18 ISIL group fighters in central Syria, including near the historic city of Palmyra, over the past 24 hours, a monitor said on Friday.

The Britain-based opposing Syrian Observatory said European members of ISIL were among the dead in the strikes around the town of Sukhna and near Palmyra in the central province of Homs.

A key ally of the Syrian government, Russia began carrying out air strikes in the country in late September.

On Thursday, it said it had carried out more than 50 raids over two days targeting ISIL ‘jihadists’ near Palmyra, which government forces recaptured from the Zio-Wahhabi extremist group in March.

“The Russian air force has increased the intensity of its strikes against targets of the armed units of international terrorist organizations near the city of Palmyra,” the ministry said in a statement Thursday on its Facebook page.

Six Tupolev bombers flew out of an airbase in Russia on Thursday morning and conducted strikes east of Palmyra, near the cities of Arak and Sukhna, as well as in the Homs region, the statement said.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Russian Strikes Kill 18 ISIL Fighters in Syria

“Nour al-Din al-Zenki” Wahhabi Monster to Slain Palestinian Child

NOVANEWS
We’re Worse than ISIL
Zenki Monsters Slaying Palestinian Child in Aleppo

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi “Nour al-Din al-Zenki” Saudi Zio-Wahhabi terrorist group announced in a statement that slaying the Palestinian Child is accounted for an individual incident which defies the hierarchal orders, marking a major lie refuted by clear-cut evidence.

According to accurate repots, after the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi “Nour al-Din al-Zenki” commander’s brother was killed, the murderer brought the Palestinian child from one of the hospitals and slaughtered him for vengeance.

The group’s commander in Aleppo Omar Salkho is the one who commander the slaughter according to the video posted by the “Nour al-Din al-Zenki” movement.

Salkho also commanded the group’s terrorists to capture a “selfie” photo with the Palestinian child who had suffered from Thalassemia.

Asked by Salkho about his last wish, Abdullah Issa, the 12-year-old child, murmured: “I wish to be shot dead,” pointing at his head as shown by the photo.

“You will not be shot dead. We are worse than ISIL,” Salkho answered Issa.

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi terrorists “Nour al-Din al-Zenki” movement had slaughtered in Handarat camp in Aleppo on Tuesday the Palestinian child Abdullah Issa, who was also injured during the clashes in the same area.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, SyriaComments Off on “Nour al-Din al-Zenki” Wahhabi Monster to Slain Palestinian Child

Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen: Moderniser or wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen

By James M. Dorsey

Believers say he preaches a new, modern form of Islam. Critics charge he is a power hungry wolf in sheep’s clothing preparing to convert secular Turkey into an Islamic republic; a conspirator who has created a state within the state and attempted this weekend to topple democratically elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a failed military coup.

That was not how past Turkish governments or for that matter Mr Erdogan in his first eight years as prime minister saw Fethullah Gulen, the leader of one of the world’s largest and wealthiest Islamic movements.

Back in the 1990s, secular prime ministers Tansu Ciller and Mesut Yilmaz and other prominent political leaders viewed Mr Gulen as their weapon against the pro-Islamic Refah (Welfare) Party, the predecessor of Mr Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which advocated Turkey’s divorce from the West and a return to its Islamic and Ottoman roots.

Mr Erdogan too initially saw Mr Gulen as a cherished ally. The two men worked together to force the staunchly secular military to accept civilian control, one of the European Union’s demands for future Turkish membership. It fit both men’s goal of lifting French-style laicist restrictions on freedom of religious expression that had long been resisted by the military. Mr Erdogan had at the time no problem with Mr Gulen’s followers establishing a power base in the police force and the military.

Mr Gulen preaches obedience to the state and recognition of the rule of law while at the same time inserting his followers into key institutions of the state and educating a next generation in his ideological mould.

This weekend’s failed coup suggests that elements of the military still believe in a non-constitutional role for the military. Yet, at the same time, it is to the credit of Messrs Erdogan and Gulen that significant parts of the military, the opposition and the public backed Turkey’s democratically elected president and helped foil the coup, irrespective of what they thought of his politics and leadership.

Mr Gulen’s moves into branches of government, a version of German student leader Rudi Dutschke’s march through the institutions, reflected his long-term strategy. Mr Gulen preaches obedience to the state and recognition of the rule of law while at the same time inserting his followers into key institutions of the state and educating a next generation in his ideological mould.

Indeed, more than half a century after he first became a government employed imam, Mr Gulen adopted the role. He often dresses in a crumpled sports jacket and slacks, looking the part of a modern religious leader rather than a fervent Turkish nationalist or a militant Islamist. A doleful 75-year-old, he moreover talks the talk, evading language often employed by Turkey’s right-wing nationalists and Islamists.

As a result, Mr Gulen’s modernist approach appealed to urban conservatives and some more liberal segments of the middle class. His approach contrasted starkly with that of Mr Erdogan, who targeted the more rural conservatives and the nationalists.

It was indeed Mr Gulen’s advocacy of tolerance, dialogue and worldly education as well as his endorsement of Turkey’s close ties to Europe that endeared him to the country’s secular leaders of the 1990s and subsequently to Mr Erdogan.

“We can build confidence and peace in this country if we treat each other with tolerance,” Mr Gulen said in a first and since then rare interview at the time with a foreign correspondent. “There’s no place for quarrelling in this world… By emphasising our support for education and the media, we can prove that Islam is open to contemporary things,” he added ,sprinkling his slow and deliberate speech with old Ottoman Turkish words regarded as quaint by modern Turks.

Mr Gulen… takes a conservative view of the role of women and has said that the presence of women makes him uncomfortable.

A diabetic with a heart ailment, Mr Gulen has devoted himself since officially retiring in the early 1990s to writing tracts on Islam. Yet there is little in his writing or the administration of institutions linked to him that points in the direction of theological renewal.

Mr Gulen, among other things, takes a conservative view of the role of women and has said that the presence of women makes him uncomfortable. It was something he had felt since he was a young man, he said. Not surprisingly, Mr Gulen’s movement operates separate schools for boys and girls.

Yet, even Mr Gulen has evolved. When in the mid-1990s a woman visitor asked directions to a toilet at the Istanbul headquarters of his Zamannewspaper, officials said the multi-story building wasn’t equipped for women visitors. A member of the staff was sent to check whether a men’s room was free. That has changed and women’s toilets were installed long before Mr Erdogan sent his police in March of this year to take over the paper.

Critics charge that Mr Gulen’s professed moderation may not be what he really hopes to achieve. “Fethullah’s main project is the takeover of the state. That is why he was investing in education. They believe the state will just fall into their lap because they will be ready for it, they will have the people in place. That is their long-term plan,” said a prominent liberal Turkish intellectual.

Indeed, Mr Gulen’s movement, despite the imam’s long-term vision, effectively sought to undermine Mr Erdogan’s government in late 2013 with charges of corruption against ministers in the then prime minister’s cabinet and members of his family. The charges and alleged evidence to back them up were never tested in a court of law.

…Mr Erdogan has used the alleged threat of a state within a state as well as increasingly authoritarian measures to remove his critics from the media and academia and to attempt to cow the parliamentary opposition to turn Turkey into an a more authoritarian state.

Mr Erdogan made sure of that. For him, the charges were the straw that broke the camel’s back. What had been an increasingly public parting of the ways that started with a football match-fixing scandal in 2011 turned in late 2013 into open warfare with Mr Erdogan firing or moving thousands of judiciary personnel and police officers to other jobs, shutting down the investigation, and seeking to destroy Mr Gulen’s religious, educational and commercial empire.

The fact that the police played a key role in foiling this weekend’s coup attempt bears testimony to the degree to which Mr Erdogan has succeeded in erasing Mr Gulen’s influence in the police. This weekend’s dismissal of almost 3,000 judges and the issuance of arrest warrants for 140 of them on allegations of involvement with Mr Gulen suggests that Mr Erdogan believes that his efforts to destroy the imam’s infrastructure were more successful in the police than they were in the judiciary.

None of this amounts to evidence of Mr Erdogan’s assertion that Mr Gulen engineered this weekend’s coup attempt. Like so much in recent years, Mr Erdogan has used the alleged threat of a state within a state as well as increasingly authoritarian measures to remove his critics from the media and academia and to attempt to cow the parliamentary opposition to turn Turkey into an a more authoritarian state.

Mr Erdogan’s increasingly illiberal version of Turkish democracy, in which the public is invited to protest on his behalf but not against him, makes uttering unsubstantiated allegations relatively easy. Mr Erdogan will, however, have to produce hard evidence if he formally goes ahead with a request that the United States extradite Mr Gulen, who is a green card holder resident in Pennsylvania.

Even if those that staged the failed coup turn out to be followers of Mr Gulen, Mr Erdogan would still have to prove that Mr Gulen was aware and involved in their plans. That may be easier said than done.

Back in 2011, during the football match-fixing scandal, the first public indication of the growing rift between the two Islamists, Mr Gulen apologised to one of the involved club executives. The preacher said if his followers were involved in prosecuting football executives and players, he was not aware of that. It was a rare suggestion that Mr Gulen, a by now frail old man, may no longer be in control of the empire he built.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen: Moderniser or wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Money talks as Trump does u-turn on Nazi regime

NOVANEWS
Money talks as Trump does u-turn on Israel
Image result for ZIONIST Trump CARTOON

The grubby underside of US electoral politics is on show once again as the Democratic and Republican candidates prepare to fight it out for the presidency. And it doesn’t get seamier than the battle to prove how loyal each candidate is to Israel.

New depths are likely to be plumbed this week at the Republican convention in Cleveland, as Donald Trump is crowned the party’s nominee. His platform breaks with decades of United States policy to effectively deny the Palestinians any hope of statehood.

The question now is whether the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, who positions herself as Israel’s greatest ally, will try to outbid Trump in cravenly submitting to the Israeli right.

It all started so differently. Through much of the primary season, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government had reason to be worried about Israel’s “special relationship” with the next occupant of the White House.

Early on, Trump promised to be “neutral” and expressed doubts about whether it made sense to hand Israel billions of dollars annually in military aid. He backed a two-state solution and refused to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

On the Democrat side, Clinton was challenged by outsider Bernie Sanders, who urged “even-handedness” towards Israel and the Palestinians. He too objected to the huge sums of aid the US bestows on Israel.

Sanders exploited his massive support among Democrats to force Clinton to include well-known supporters of Palestinian rights on the committee that drafts the party’s platform.

But any hopes of an imminent change in US policy in the Middle East have been dashed.

Last week, as the draft Republican platform was leaked, Trump proudly tweeted that it was the “most pro-Israel of all time!” Avoiding any mention of a two-state solution, it states: “Support for Israel is an expression of Americanism. … We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier.”

The capitulation was so complete that even the Anti-Defamation League, a New York-based apologist group for Israel, called the platform “disappointing” and urged the Republican convention to “reconsider”. After all, even Netanyahu pays lip service to the need for a Palestinian state.

But Trump is not signaling caution. His new advisers on Israel, David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, are fervent supporters of the settlements and annexation of Palestinian territory.

Trump’s running mate, announced at the weekend, is Indiana governor Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian and a stalwart of pro-Israel causes.

So why the dramatic turnaround?

Candidates for high office in the US need money – lots of it. Until now Trump has been chiefly relying on his own wealth. He has raised less than $70 million, a fifth of Clinton’s war-chest.

The Republican party’s most significant donor is Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate and close friend of Netanyahu. He has hinted that he will contribute more than $100 million to the Trump campaign if he likes what he sees.

Should Netanyahu offer implicit endorsement, as he did for Mitt Romney in the 2012 race, Christian Zionist preachers such as John Hagee will rally ten of millions of followers to Trump’s side too – and fill his coffers.

Similar indications that money is influencing policy are evident in the Democratic party.

Sanders funded his campaign through small donations, giving him the freedom to follow his conscience. Clinton, by contrast, has relied on mega-donors, including some, such as Haim Saban, who regard Israel as a key election issue.

That may explain why, despite the many concessions made to Sanders on the Democratic platform, Clinton’s team refused to budge on Israel issues. As a result, the draft platform fails to call for an end to the occupation or even mention the settlements.

According to The New York Times, Clinton’s advisers are vetting James Stavridis as a potential running mate. A former Nato commander, he is close to the Israeli defense establishment and known for his hawkish pro-Israel positions.

Clinton, meanwhile, has promised to use all her might to fight the growing boycott movement, which seeks to isolate Israel over its decades-long occupation of Palestinian territory.

The two candidates’ fierce commitment to Israel appears to fly in the face of wider public sentiment, especially among Democrats.

A recent Pew poll found 57 per cent of young, more liberal Democrats sympathized with the Palestinians rather than Israel. Support for hawkish Israeli positions is weakening among American Jews too, a key Democratic constituency. About 61 per cent believe Israel can live peacefully next to an independent Palestinian state.

The toxic influence of money in the US presidential elections can be felt in many areas of policy, both domestic and foreign.

But the divorce between the candidates’ fervor on Israel and the growing doubts of many of their supporters is particularly stark.

It should be dawning on US politicians that a real debate about the nation’s relationship with Israel cannot be deferred much longer.

 

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Money talks as Trump does u-turn on Nazi regime

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING