Archive | November 3rd, 2016

The Tragedy in Yemen

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By Derek Royden | CounterPunch 

Imagine if the Islamic Republic of Iran, complaining that its regional rival Saudi Arabia was meddling in a neighbor’s politics for sectarian reasons, led a coalition to invade that country. As a result, after 18 months, at least 10,000 civilians had been killed or wounded, more than half the country’s people needed food aid and three million people had been displaced.

Sanctions would be leveled. Pundits would write agonized essays comparing the country to Nazi Germany. Sabers would be rattled. War would likely follow. However, when these roles are reversed and the Saudis and their Gulf allies are the aggressors, it’s a different story.

Why the double standard? Because the US is allied to the Saudi royals and the US was evicted from Iran. When a friend commits a war crime, excuses are made.

The numbers above are estimates made by the UN for the ongoing conflict in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia with significant help from the United States and Great Britain. The stated purpose of the intervention in the country is to fight Houthi forces from the north who are allied with former President Saleh.

The Houthis, most of whom are followers of the Zaidi branch of Shia Islam, took the country’s capital Sanaa on September 21st, 2014, forcing then-President Mansur Al-Hadi to flee, first to Aden and then on to Saudi Arabia. The argument made by the Saudis and their coalition partners, that the Houthis are Iranian proxies, is dubious at best but it’s being spread in western media as flat-out fact, allowing governments to turn a blind eye to the tragedy unfolding in the country.

Besides intelligence and targeting assistance provided to the Saudis in Yemen, since 2010 the US has sold $60 billion in arms to the country, an absolute monarchy with one of the worst human rights records in the world. Human rights groups have concluded that these weapons, including cluster munitions banned in most countries, have been used indiscriminately against civilian targets including markets, schools and hospitals.

Finally, after a year and a half of this, some in the US Congress found the political will to take a stand on this carnage. A bipartisan resolution in the US Senate co-sponsored by Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) was crafted to block a new deal supplying the Kingdom with a further $1.15 billion in arms. Although having the vote at all showed some progress on this issue, it was defeated by a vote of 71-27 on September 21st.

The American people have a moral responsibility to contact their representatives and demand they vote to end their government’s support of the illegal intervention in the poorest country in the Middle East. Those who don’t care about the country’s suffering need to remember it’s also an issue of national security as both Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Yemen’s newly established ISIS affiliate are growing in the chaos, something that should worry the whole world.

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Myanmar army forces about 2,000 Rohingyas from homes

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Press TV 

The Myanmar army has forced about 2,000 Rohingya Muslims to abandon their homes in a village, as part of a crackdown on the religious minority following the recent attacks on border security forces.

Sources said border guards on Sunday went to Kyee Kan Pyin village, in the central region of Mandalay, and ordered about 2,000 villagers to evacuate it, giving them just enough time to collect basic household items.

The villagers were forced for a second night to stay and hide in rice fields without shelter.

“I was kicked out from my house yesterday afternoon, now I live in a paddy field outside of my village with some 200 people including my family, I became homeless,” said a Rohingya man from the raided village.

“After the soldiers arrived at our village, they said that if all of us didn’t leave, they would shoot us,” he added.

Witnesses and Rohingya community elders have confirmed the report.

A Myanmar government spokesman said the government was unable to contact anyone in the area because it was a militarily-operated “red zone.”

The move is believed to have been prompted after Myanmar police officials announced that attacks on three police posts along the country’s western border with Bangladesh on October 9 had claimed the lives of at least two officers while six more remain unaccounted for. An assault that was later blamed on the minority group.

Rakhine, home to around a million members of the minority Rohingya Muslim community, has been the scene of communal violence since 2012. Many of the Muslims have been killed while tens of thousands have been forced to flee as a result of attacks by Buddhists. The Rohingyas are largely living in camps in dire situations.

The Rohingyas have no militant faction to fight for them but police in Myanmar and Bangladesh have blamed a number of attacks in the past on the Muslims.

Over 1.3 million Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar face discrimination, including controls on their movements, family size and access to jobs.

Myanmar denies full citizenship to the Rohingya population in the country. According to the United Nations, Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

The violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has triggered an influx of refugees into neighboring countries, namely Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Posted in South AsiaComments Off on Myanmar army forces about 2,000 Rohingyas from homes

US Impunity Erodes World Justice

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By Nicolas J S Davies | Consortium news 

In the past week, Burundi and South Africa have joined Namibia in declaring their intention to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). They are likely to be followed by a parade of other African countries, jeopardizing the future of an international court that has prosecuted 39 officials from eight African countries but has failed to indict a single person who is not African.

Ironically, African countries were among the first to embrace the ICC, so it is a striking turnaround that they are now the first to give up on it.

But it is the United States that has played the leading role in preventing the ICC from fulfilling the universal mandate for which it was formed, to hold officials of all countries accountable for the worst crimes in the world: genocide; crimes against humanity; and war crimes – not least the crime of international aggression, which the judges at Nuremberg defined as “the supreme international crime” from which all other war crimes follow.

As the ICC’s founding father, former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, lamented in 2011, “You don’t have to be a criminologist to realize that if you want to deter a crime, you must persuade potential criminals that, if they commit crimes, they will be hauled into court and be held accountable. It is the policy of the United States to do just the opposite as far as the crime of aggression is concerned. Our government has gone to great pains to be sure that no American will be tried by any international criminal court for the supreme crime of illegal war-making.”

The U.S. has not only refused to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC over its own citizens. It has gone further, pressuring other countries to sign Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIA), in which they renounce the right to refer U.S. citizens to the ICC for war crimes committed on their territory.

The U.S. has also threatened to cut off U.S. aid to countries that refuse to sign them. The BIAs violate those countries’ own commitments under the ICC statute, and the U.S. pressure to sign them has been rightly condemned as an outrageous effort to ensure impunity for U.S. war crimes.

Resistance to U.S. Impunity

To the credit of our international neighbors, this U.S. strategy has met with substantial resistance. The European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution stating that BIAs are incompatible with E.U. membership, and urged E.U.- member states and countries seeking E.U. membership not to sign them.

Fifty-four countries have publicly refused to sign BIAs, and 24 have accepted cut-offs of U.S. aid as a consequence of their refusal. Of 102 countries that have signed a BIA, only 48 are members of the ICC in any case, and only 15 of those countries are on record as having ratified the BIAs in their own parliaments.

Thirty-two other ICC members have apparently allowed BIAs to take effect without parliamentary ratification, but this has been challenged by their own country’s legal experts in many cases.

The U.S. campaign to undermine the ICC is part of a much broader effort by the U.S. government to evade all forms of accountability under the laws that are supposed to govern international behavior in the modern world, even as it continues to masquerade as a global champion of the rule of law.

The treaties that U.S. policy systematically violates today were crafted by American statesmen and diplomats, working with their foreign colleagues, to build a world where all people would enjoy some basic protections from the worst atrocities, instead of being subject only to the law of the jungle or “might makes right.”

So current U.S. policy is a cynical betrayal of the work and wisdom of past generations of Americans, as well as of countless victims all over the world to whom we are effectively denying the protections of the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and other multilateral treaties that our country ignores, violates or refuses to ratify.

Avoiding the jurisdiction of international courts is only one of the ways that the U.S. evades international accountability for its criminal behavior. Another involves an elaborate and well-disguised public relations campaign that exploit the powerful position of U.S. corporations in the world of commercial media.

Major Propaganda Funding

The U.S. government spends a billion dollars per year on public relations or, more bluntly, propaganda, including $600 million from the Pentagon budget. The work of its P.R. teams and contractors is laundered by U.S. newspapers and repeated and analyzed ad nauseam by monolithic, flag-waving TV networks.

These profitable corporate operations monopolize the public airwaves in the U.S., and also use their financial clout, slick marketing and the support of the U.S. State Department to maintain a powerful presence in foreign and international media markets.

Foreign media in allied countries provide further legitimacy and credibility to U.S. talking-points and narratives as they echo around the world. Meanwhile, Hollywood fills cinema and TV screens across the world with an idealized, glamorized, inspirational version of America that still mesmerizes many people.

This whole elaborate information warfare” machine presents the United States as a global leader for democracy, human rights and the rule of law, even as it systematically and catastrophically undermines those same principles. It enables our leaders to loudly and persuasively demonize other countries and their leaders as dangerous violators of international law, even as the U.S. and its allies commit far worse crimes.

Double Standards in Syria/Iraq

Today, for instance, the U.S. and its allies are accusing Syria and Russia of war crimes in east Aleppo, even as America’s own and allied forces launch a similar assault on Mosul. Both attacks are killing civilians and reducing much of a city to rubble; the rationale is the same, counterterrorism; and there are many more people in the line of fire in Mosul than in east Aleppo.

But the U.S. propaganda machine ensures that most Americans see one, in Mosul, as a legitimate counterterrorism operation (with Islamic State accused of using the civilians as “human shields”) and the other, in east Aleppo, as a massacre (with the presence of Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the former Nusra Front, virtually whited out of the West’s coverage, which focuses almost entirely on the children and makes no mention of “human shields”).

The phrase “aggressive war” is also a no-no in the Western media when the U.S. government launches attacks across international borders. In the past 20 years, the U.S. has violated the U.N. Charter to attack at least eight countries (Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria), and the resulting wars have killed about two million people.

A complex whirlwind of conflict and chaos rages on in all the countries where the U.S. and its allies have lit the flames of war since 2001, but U.S. leaders still debate new interventions and escalations as if we are the fire brigade not the arsonists. (By contrast, the U.S. government and the Western media are quick to accuse Russia or other countries of “aggression” even in legally murky situations, such as after the U.S.-backed coup in 2014 that ousted the elected president of Ukraine.)

Systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions are an integral part of U.S. war-making. Most are shrouded in secrecy, and the propaganda machine spins the atrocities that slip through into the public record as a disconnected series of aberrations, accidents and “bad apples,” instead of as the result of illegal rules of engagement and unlawful orders from higher-ups.

The senior officers and civilian officials who are criminally responsible for these crimes under U.S. and international law systematically abuse their powerful positions to subvert investigations, cover up their crimes and avoid any accountability whatsoever.

Pinter’s Complaint

When British playwright Harold Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, he bravely and brilliantly used his Nobel lecture to speak about the real role that the U.S. plays in the world and how it whitewashes its crimes. Pinter recounted a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in London in the 1980s in which a senior embassy official, Raymond Seitz, flatly denied U.S. war crimes against Nicaragua for which the U.S. was in fact convicted of aggression by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Seitz went on to serve as Assistant Secretary of State, U.S. Ambassador to the U.K., and then Vice-Chairman of Lehman Brothers.

As Pinter explained: “this ‘policy’ was by no means restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.

“The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.

“Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.

“It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

If in 2016 the world seems to be more violent and chaotic than ever, it is not because the United States lacks the will to use force or project power, as both major party candidates for President and their military advisers appear to believe, but because our leaders have placed too much stock in the illegal threat and use of force and have lost faith in the rule of law, international cooperation and diplomacy.

After a century of commercial dominance, and 75 years of investing disproportionately in weapons, military forces and geopolitical schemes, perhaps it is understandable that U.S. leaders have forgotten how to deal fairly and respectfully with our international neighbors. But it is no longer an option to muddle along, leaving a trail of death, ruin and chaos in our wake, counting on an elaborate propaganda machine to minimize the blowback on our country and our lives.

Sooner rather than later, Americans and our leaders must knuckle down and master the very different attitudes and skills we will need to become law-abiding global citizens in a peaceful, sustainable, multipolar world.

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BDS Changed its Goal Statement Once Again

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By Gilad Atzmon 

When the call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions of Israeli goods was established in 2005 in Ramallah its first demand was for Israel to:

“End[ing] its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantl[ing] the Wall” (http://www.bdsmovement.net/call)

This call didn’t leave room for interpretation. Back in 2005, the BDS movement disputed the legitimacy of the Jewish State.

But in 2010, its primary goal was changed significantly into:

“Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall.”

This change didn’t leave much room for a doubt. The BDS has become an instrument to legitimise the Jewish State within its pre 1967 borders.

There was no public record of the process that led to this change. And, as if to prove its deceptive nature, the change appeared only in English and has never been integrated into any of the official BDS publications in Arabic. It is likely that most Palestinians were not aware of the change made on their behalf by people who claim to be their ‘grassroots’ representatives. My research suggested that the change in the BDS goal statement that, de facto, legitimised the Jewish State took place at the time the BDS movement became popular amongst Jewish activists and started accepting funds from liberal Zionist George Soros’s Open Society Institute.*

But the BDS campaign has now decided to change its first goal once again. It now reads:

“Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall” (https://bdsmovement.net/what-is-bds)

The 2010 embarrassing reference to the 1967 Israeli occupation is now  removed. However once you read the small letters, you grasp that BDS is more of a JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace) rather than a Palestinian voice.  Though the goal does refer, once again, to Israeli “colonization of all Arab land,” the statement now makes it clear that it limits its demands to territories occupied in 1967:

“International law recognises the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel. As part of its military occupation, Israel steals land and forces Palestinians into ghettos, surrounded by checkpoints, settlements, and watchtowers as supplemental to the illegal apartheid Wall. Israel has imposed a medieval siege on Gaza, turning it into the largest open air prison in the world. Israel also regularly carries out large-scale assaults on Gaza that are widely condemned as constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Though the first goal may resemble the original 2005 BDS call, in practice it is consistent with the left Zionist mantra – it opposes the occupation.

Disappointing? Not really. Treacherous? It depends on who you ask.

The truth of the matter is that the  BDS is not really a Palestinian grassroots organization as it claims to be. It is an integral  part of the ever growing solidarity industry. Though I don’t have any doubt about the benevolent intentions of many BDS supporters and leaders, the BDS movement has managed to unwittingly serve Israel and its interests. It has managed, for instance, to divert the essential discussion about the legitimacy of the Jewish State and the Right of Return into an endless – and meaningless – discussion about Israeli products. It, de facto, legitimized the existence of the Jewish State over the land of Palestine.

*You can read more about BDS, Soros money promoting BDS campaign here: http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/israelpalestine-and-the-queer-international-a-book-review-by.html

 

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Renegade Nazi Jewish Settlers

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Renegade Jewish Settlers

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Israeli settlers in Palestine: the most notorious squatters in the world.


Part 1

Israeli settlers have been slowly nibbling away at Palestine’s West Bank territory for four decades. 300,000 setllers now occupy outposts that range in size from plywood shacks to full-blown suburban housing complexes. Their abundance has grounded the much-ballyhooed two-state solution to a halt. VICE correspondent Simon Ostrovsky travels from Tel Aviv to the remote West Bank outposts where young Israelis squat for the sake of their heritage. But first, Simon pops in for some quick counter-terrorism training with a member of Israel’s Special Forces, just in case.


Part 2

Israeli settlers justify their expansion into the West Bank by digging up ancient artifacts that supposedly prove that they’ve occupied that patch of land for longer than the Palestinians. The twist is that the settlers have the Palestinians do the actual digging under the “supervision” of the Israeli army. Simon stumbles upon one of these infamous archaeological digs and finds that the Israelis are less than eager for their operation to be caught on camera.


Part 3

Meet Simcha and Yosef, a pair of teenage settlers at the Havat Gilad outpost in the West Bank doing what Israeli settlers do best: building and re-building houses without a permit.


Part 4

Simon gets mixed up in the West Bank Land Day protests, where Palestinians annually clash with the Israeli army.


Part 5

Simon travels to Asira al-Qibliya, a Palestinian town that is learning how to defend itself against attacks from the Israeli settlers one hill away.

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Venezuelan Government Releases Five Opposition Activists in Goodwill Gesture

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By Rachael Boothroyd-Rojas 

Caracas – Venezuela’s national government has agreed to release five jailed opposition activists in a goodwill gesture as part of its official talks with the country’s opposition.

The liberation of the prisoners is the first concrete agreement to emerge from the Vatican-mediated dialogue, initiated Sunday with representatives of four opposition parties.

On Monday evening, opposition mayor Carlos Ocariz took to social media to announce the negotiated release, confirming the freed prisoners as Andrés Moreno, Marco Trejo, Carlos Melo, Ángel Coromoto Rodríguez, and Andrés Leon– all arrested for their participation in violent protests or for the incitement of political violence.

As former security chief to opposition National Assembly President Ramos Allup, Ángel Coromoto Rodríguez, was arrested in May for allegedly bankrolling anti-police violence during opposition protests, while Melo was detained on August 31 for the possession of explosives. Similarly Moreno and Trejo were both arrested in late September after creating a video calling for the rebellion of the armed forces.

The longest-serving inmate amongst the group is Andres Leon, who was arrested during the deadly 2014 street violence known as the “guarimbas”. He was granted house-arrest on health grounds in June last year.

“Not enough”

The announcement comes just three days ahead of an anti-government march on the Miraflores Presidential Palace, called by the opposition for this coming Thursday.

Opposition leaders had previously hinted that they would be willing to consider calling off the demonstration depending on the progress of the talks, which they say are contingent on the release of their activists from jail.

Nonetheless, the government’s gesture appears to have done little to dissuade the MUD leadership from going forward with the controversial march– despite the violence unleashed by their supporters during protests last week.

“The release of the political prisoners is important, but not sufficient,” MUD Secretary Jesus Chuo Torrealba told reporters.

On Tuesday morning, the MUD opposition coalition also retweeted a message from legislator Freddy Guevara insisting that Thursday’s march would “still go ahead”. Guevara is a lawmaker for the ultra-right Popular Will party, which is currently boycotting the talks.

The coalition has been deeply divided over the decision to partake in official negotiations with the government, with proponents describing the top-level talks as just “one more terrain of struggle” amongst many.

Meanwhile, the government has hailed the move as a sign of its willingness to negotiate with the opposition in a bid to ease tensions in the politically polarised country.

“We, who have been permanently waiting for opposition sectors to (commit to) dialogue, salute the fact that it has finally taken place,” Venezuela’s foreign minister, Delcy Rodriguez, told press at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

The opposition has stated that it will not negotiate on its demands for a presidential recall referendum this year or on the release of all of its activists from jail, regardless of their crime. The MUD has yet to release an official statement confirming the status of Thursday’s march.

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Nazi acts to blunt criticism of the occupation as its grip tightens

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Israel acts to blunt criticism of the occupation as its grip tightens

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By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice 

Israel has just emerged from its three-week high holidays, a period that in recent years has been marked by extremist religious Jews making provocative visits to Al Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

Many go to pray, in violation of Israel’s international obligations. Most of them belong to groups that seek to replace the mosque with a Jewish temple. They now enjoy increasing parliamentary support, some of it from within prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party.

A rash of such visits last autumn outraged Palestinians and triggered a wave of so-called lone-wolf attacks on Israelis. The attacks have recently abated.

Taking advantage of the renewed quiet, Israel allowed a record number of ultra-nationalists to visit the mosque, figures released last week showed. Parties of Israeli soldiers are also entering the site.

The police, whose recently appointed commander is himself from the extremist settler community, have recommended that restrictions be ended on visits by Jewish legislators who demand Israel’s sovereignty over the mosque.

For Palestinians, Israel’s treatment of this supremely important Islamic holy site symbolises their powerlessness, oppression and routine humiliation. Conversely, a sense of impunity has left Israel greedy for even more control over the Palestinians.

The gaping power imbalance was movingly detailed last month at a special hearing of the UN security council. Hagai El-Ad, head of B’tselem, which monitors the occupation, termed Israel’s abuses as “invisible, bureaucratic, daily violence” against Palestinians exercised from “cradle to grave”.

He appealed to the international community to end its five decades of inaction. “We need your help. … The occupation must end. The UN Security Council must act. And the time is now,” he said.

Israeli politicians were incensed. Mr El-Ad had broken one of Israel’s cardinal rules: you do not wash the country’s dirty linen abroad. Most Israelis consider the occupation and Palestinian suffering as an internal matter, to be decided by them alone.

Mr Netanyahu accused B’tselem’s director of conspiring with outsiders to subject Israel to “international coercion”.

With the US limply defending Mr El-Ad’s freedom of speech, Mr Netanyahu found a proxy to relaunch the attack. David Bitan, chair of his party, demanded that Mr El-Ad be stripped of his citizenship and proposed legislation to ban calls in global forums for sanctions against Israel. Unsurprisingly, Mr El-Ad has faced a flood of death threats.

Meanwhile, another UN forum has been considering Israel’s occupation. Its educational, scientific and cultural body, Unesco, passed a resolution last month condemning Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian holy sites, especially Al Aqsa.

Again, Israelis were enraged at this brief disturbance of their well-oiled machinery of oppression. The abuses documented by Unesco were overshadowed by Israeli protests that its own narrative was not the focus.

While Israel exercises ever more physical power over Palestinians, its moral credit is running out with foreign audiences, who have come to understand that the occupation is neither benign nor temporary. The rise of social media has accelerated that awakening, which in turn has bolstered grassroots reactions such as the boycott (BDS) movement.

Aware of the dangers, Israel has been aggressively targeting all forms of popular activism. Facebook and YouTube are under relentless pressure to censor sites critical of Israel.

Western governments – which joined the chorus of “Je suis Charlie” after ISIL’s lethal attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo magazine last year – have cracked down on the boycott movement. Paradoxically, France has led the way by banning such activism, echoing Israeli claims that it constitutes “incitement”.

And left-wing social movements emerging in Europe face loud accusations that any criticism of Israel is tantamount to an attack on all Jews. Notably, a British parliamentary committee last month characterised as anti-semitic parts of the opposition Labour party under its new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a champion of Palestinian rights.

In these ways, European governments have been trying to hold in check popular anger at a belligerent and unrepentant Israel.

Illustrating that caution, Uneso was forced last week to vote a second time on its resolution, this time removing the word “occupation” and, against normal practice, giving equal status to the occupier’s names for the sites under threat from its occupation.

Even with the resolution neutered, Unesco’s usual consensus could not be reached. The resolution passed by a wafer-thin majority, with European and other governments abstaining.

Israel and its enablers have successfully engineered a hollowing out of official discourse about Israel to blunt even the mildest criticism. Gradually, western powers are adopting Mr Netanyahu’s doubly illogical premises: that criticising the occupation is anti-Israel, and criticising Israel is anti-semitic.

Incrementally, western leaders are conceding that any criticism of Mr Netanyahu’s policies – even as he tries to ensure that the occupation becomes permanent – is off-limits. Mr El-Ad called for courage from the western powers that dominate the security council. But the signs are his words have fallen on deaf ears.

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UN Expert to Investigate Nazi War on Human Rights Defenders

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A United Nations expert said on Friday that Nazi regime is attacking human rights organizations and trying to delegitimize their work and that he will launch an investigation into the problem.

Michael Lynk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, presented his first report to the UN General Assembly calling the Nazi regime os ‘Israel’ to end the nearly 50 years of occupation, which he said “is entrenched, is dripping in human rights violations.”

“The fact that the Israeli government threatened to revoke the citizenship of the executive director of B’Tselem is a particularly worrying path for Israel to wind up taking,” Lynk said, referring to the rights groups’ appearance before the Security Council earlier this month.

He praised the recent intervention at the Security Council by the Human rights organization B’Tselem, which urged the UN to end the Nazi occupation of Palestine and said he was especially troubled by the Nazi regime reaction.

In a statement, Nazi U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon called Lynk’s comments offensive and said it “shows the immense damage done by Israeli organizations that defame us in front of the international community.”

Most of the international community has labeled the Nazi occupation as illegal because the territories in which half a million Zio-Nazi Jewish live in over 230 illegal settlements, were captured by the Nazi regime in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

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Israel: 1984 Everlasting

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By Stanley L. Cohen | CounterPunch

Empty Declarations of Democracy… Vacant Boasts of humanity

For decades, Israel has held itself out as being the lone “democracy” in the Middle East; a state where the rights of individuals could not and would not be held hostage to the autocratic whims of royalty, but rather a full partner to a free and robust electoral process that guarantees not just meaningful input from the governed but the ability to challenge state policies as the winds of change blow from “the river to the sea.”

Once again, recent events have proven this to be just so much a perverse myth… empty rhetoric… second only to the brazen unfounded Israeli boast of having the “most humane army in the world,” even as the body count of Palestinian children grows in cemeteries and prisons that have become very much its own unique brand of 21st century youth hostel.

Recently, Hagai El-Ad, an Israeli and Jew, who serves as executive director of B’Tselem (The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories), spoke before the UN Security Council urging it to take immediate action against Israel’s illegal settlements.

Demagoguery and Inhumanity Exposed

Not quite 1400 words in its entirety, one paragraph in particular of El-Ad’s testimony sums up life for millions of those captured by a democracy that sees day as night… pain as pleasure. Crushing, despite its brevity, the power and pain of these words could easily be part of an opening statement by a war crimes prosecutor at a tribunal called to hold Israel accountable for crimes unseen since the Nuremburg tribunals some 70 years ago.

“What does it mean, in practical terms, to spend 49 years, a lifetime, under military rule? When violence breaks out, or when particular incidents attract global attention, you get a glimpse into certain aspects of life under occupation. But what about the rest of the time? What about the many “ordinary” days of a 17,898-day-long occupation, which is still going strong? Living under military rule mostly means invisible, bureaucratic, daily, violence. It means living under an endless permit regime, which controls Palestinian life from cradle to grave: Israel controls the population registry; Israel controls work permits; Israel controls who can travel abroad – and who cannot; Israel controls who can visit from abroad – and who cannot; in some villages, Israel maintains lists of who can visit the village, or who is allowed to farm which fields. Permits can sometimes be denied; permits must always be renewed. Thus with every breath they take, Palestinians breathe in occupation. Make a wrong move, and you can lose your freedom of movement, your livelihood, or even the opportunity to marry and build a family with your beloved.”

In a free democratic society these comments, while perhaps controversial, would certainly not constitute sedition. In an open, healthy State these words would surely give reason to pause and reflect… but never serve as a rational trip-wire to strip their speaker of his birthright as an unbound citizen empowered to support his government for policies he finds just but condemn it for those that bear the star of tyranny. It is a distinction that Israel has failed to adopt or learn over the course of its 50 year subjugation of millions whose only crime is to be born Palestinian in occupied land with sign-posts everywhere that simply say “ Jews only.”

Beating of Chests

Not long after El-Ad’s powerful speech before a world body entrusted with securing fundamental rights and liberty for all of its citizenry, the hue and cry could be heard among Israeli political elite to silence such subversive talk. Thus, Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan of the Likud Party undertook the first steps of reprisal by announcing he was considering submitting a bill to the Knesset that could remove the citizenship of Israelis who act against their country in international organizations. According to Bitan, “El-Ad’s actions at the Security Council are a blatant violation of the trust citizens must have for their country, so he should go find another country where he could be a citizen.”

Alarming, one might ask; no, not at all… merely another in an endless daily stream of steps by a government second to none when it comes to autocratic, indeed dictatorial, control of every fiber of its citizen’s freedoms, particularly their ability to access and exchange information without fear of retribution.

Much is known and largely ignored about the thousands of Palestinian civilians that have been targeted and slaughtered by the Israeli military machine in occupied Palestine, whether in Gaza or the West Bank. Indeed, the killing fields of Gaza or execution alleys of back street Jerusalem no longer acquire more than a passing fancy or footnote in the evening news spread across a world now busy with outrages of more recent vintage. After 70 years of slaughter, it’s just so much business as usual.

So, too, we have seemingly become numbed to the reality that thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in isolation, many sitting year after year, some for decades, in administrative detention cells of political prisons… uncharged, undefended and untried, tortured in ways that leave the spirits of those still roaming the now empty cellblocks of South Africa’s notorious Robben Island relieved their misery was ended quickly through state sanctioned executions by “suicide.”

The Mighty Censor’s Sword

Closures of Palestinian news rooms and television stations are commonplace… yet no more remarkable than assaults by Israel upon Palestinian journalists that long ago moved into triple digits and show no sign of abating. The Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has documented a pattern of such attacks by Israel running, for some time now, at almost 400 per year. Although the exact number of Palestinian journalists killed or injured by Israel over just the last decade may never be known, it has been documented that seventeen lost their lives in Gaza, alone, during the months of bombings which it endured in 2014.

Dozens of Palestinian journalists and private bloggers have been arrested by Israel and held for violating vague administrative codes that typically come down to the application of entirely undefined prohibitions such as “incitement.” Dareen Tatour, a 35-year-old poet and Arab-Palestinian citizen of Israel, was arrested and placed under administrative detention on charges of inciting violence via her poetry which she posted on Facebook and which merely praises those who fight against Israeli domination. Also arrested and charged with criminal incitement was 19-year-old Anas Khateeb, on the basis of her Facebook posts which included such alarming statements as “Jerusalem is Arab,” and “Long live the Intifada.”

Recently, Palestinian journalist, Samah Dweik, was released from prison having served almost six months for an alleged incitement charge which resulted from comments about the occupation she posted on her private Facebook account. For most of her sentence, her family was banned from visiting or having any contact with her. She was but one of over 20 Palestinian journalists recently imprisoned by Israel for allegations of incitement, along with hundreds of other Palestinian activists or bloggers who have been targeted for arrest and prosecution for nothing more than postings of political opinions about the Israeli occupation and Palestinian resistance on social media. Dweik’s release came not long after Israel and Facebook entered into an agreement to “work together” to monitor Palestinian posts.

The Sword Cuts Deeper

Increasingly, Palestinians are not the sole victims of an Israeli policy to silence “dissent” or to dramatically curb the nature and extent of information made available to its citizens… Jews and Arabs alike. For example, not long ago, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman confronted the military station director after Army Radio broadcast a documentary on the life of the leading Palestinian national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, saying that material like Darwish’s shouldn’t darken Israeli airwaves.

In what can only be described as a systematic effort to control both journalists and citizens in their ability to read and write, to access and exchange information, and to reach informed opinions essential to a public and democratic dialogue about current and future Israeli policies, its machinery of censorship has become the linchpin of the State’s view of what is appropriate knowledge and speech and what is not.

Thus, of late, Israel has begun to demand of social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter that they have input, if not control, over what posts ultimately find their way into the stream of ideas and debate within the Israeli public at large. According to Quds Press, Facebook and Twitter recently deleted thousands of posts, pages and accounts as a result of demands made by the Israeli Ministry of Justice based upon little more than amorphous claims that the information posed a threat to the safety of Israel.

On an even more ominous note, the Knesset has begun to formulate legislation that would require foreign entities to actively monitor social media sites for information deemed to be offensive to Israel. Under the legislation, content based liability could be found for material published by foreign nationals, addressed to foreign nationals and posted on foreign websites thereby reducing the concept of free speech in Israel to one that is cast by the prevailing political winds of the day and little else.

Recently the chief Israeli censor notified dozens of Israeli bloggers and social media activists that any material they might wish to publish in their personal blogs or social media accounts, when dealing with a wide range of what was described as “security” related subject matters, must be vetted. Although provided a generic and ambiguous catalog of those areas to be submitted for clearance, the targets, themselves, were not permitted to disclose the makeup of the list under penalty of law. If history can be counted upon to be the guidepost of what subject matters must be prescreened before publication, in the past the list has included such security “sensitive” subject matters as:

+ Cooperation agreements with foreign militaries;

+ Letters to the editor on military or security matters;

+ Contacts with foreign countries;

+ Anything connected to the nuclear industry;

+ Information about official delegations abroad;

+ Any material which constitutes a “danger” to people’s lives;

+ Immigration policies from “endangered” nations;

+ Use of foreign sources or material that touch upon any of these areas;

+ Detention of those suspected of security offenses;

+ Any information about military industries;

+ Appointments, resignations, firings, rumors about IDF activities or commanders

Finally, in a readily transparent effort to maintain a democratic illusion of a free and uncensored flow of information in the market place of ideas, pursuant to the censorship regulations there are complete prohibitions against leaving any blank spaces or other potential indicators in one’s writing or posts that might suggest or lead one to conclude that material has been deleted.

For those disturbed over this censorship procedure, it must be remembered that we are, after all, talking about a state that recently placed 101st out of 179 countries in the press Freedom index worldwide. Indeed, this appalling placement for the Middle East’s sole democracy is significantly better than Israel has scored in the Freedom index for quite a number of years.

For those wondering just how widespread, indeed systemic, Israel’s censorship procedures are, it is a country with a military censor procedure that has banned, outright, publication of, soon to be, some 2,000 articles and redacted various information from 15,000 others in recent history. That is thousands of articles professional journalists and editors decided were of public interest but which never saw the light of day. Imagine how many more events of public interest went uninvestigated, or articles which were not written, issues debated, or challenges brought to bear for the Israeli body politic to consider because of self-censorship by journalists or editors too tired or principled to seek preapproval of their body of work by government censors. Stories simply swallowed up and disappeared by an industry of censorship.

Human Rights… Israel Wrongs

Although not yet law, in what can only be described as an all-out onslaught against core democratic rights and values, over the last several days consideration of a bill has begun in the Knesset that would empower the Defense Minister to detain a citizen without trial; to deny one the right to pursue or obtain employment in a field of interest; to limit access to various public places; and “to impose any other order or restriction necessitated by considerations of national security or public safety”.

Earlier in January 2011, the Knesset endorsed a right-wing proposal to investigate some of Israel’s best-known human rights organizations for “delegitimizing” its military. Among others was B’Tselem. The proposed investigations would entail inquiries into the funding of several human rights groups that have a history of criticizing Israeli policies. At the time, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel described the proposal as a “severe blow” to Israeli democracy and critics labeled the policy as “McCarthyist“.

Recently a variation on that bill became law in Israel compelling non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive more than half of their funding from foreign state entities to declare so publicly. Ultimately, the legislative criteria were tailored specifically to silence criticism of government policies by some 27 NGO’s… 25 of which, including B’Tselem, are considered to be left-wing… while the other two are non-affiliated. As intended, the bill will have absolutely no impact upon right-wing and pro-settlement NGOs which are funded almost entirely by private donations from powerful Zionists and Zionist entities from outside of Israel.

One can only imagine that upon returning home to the firestorm awaiting him, following his speech before the UN, Hagai El-Ad surely felt what it must have been like to be an activist leftist Jew in the United States during the dark days of McCarthy.

On the other hand, perhaps El-Ad should consider himself very fortunate indeed. On his twitter account, Arab-Palestinian MK Ahmad Tibi mocked MK David Bitan’s call for El-Ad’s de-citizenship saying: “Why stop at removing citizenship? Why not destroy the home of the B’Tselem director-general? Why not bar his entire family from entering the country, remove his land, submit them to administrative detention, and put checkpoints and closures in his neighborhood?”

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Israel: 1984 Everlasting

Clinton proposed rigging Palestinian elections in 2006: Leaked audio

NOVANEWS
Image result for Clinton AS WHORE CARTOON
Press TV 

US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had proposed rigging the Palestinian parliamentary elections while she was a US senator in 2006, according to newly emerged tapes.

Speaking to media about the January 25, 2006, election for the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority, Clinton lamented that the US did not “determine who was going to win.”

The result of that election was a resounding victory for the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas over the US-favored Fatah political party.

“I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” then-New York Senator Clinton told The Jewish Press, a New York-based weekly newspaper, several months after the January election.

“And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win,” she said.

Eli Chomsky, an editor and a staff writer for the weekly newspaper, shared and played the tape for The New York Observer, which is also a weekly newspaper.

Chomsky had interviewed Clinton at the Jewish Press office located at the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Speaking to The Observer, Chomsky recalled being confused by the fact that “anyone could support the idea — offered by a national political leader, no less — that the US should be in the business of fixing foreign elections.”

“I went to my bosses at the time,” Chomsky said. “The Jewish Press had this mindset that they would not want to say anything offensive about anybody — even a direct quote from anyone — in a position of influence because they might need them down the road. My bosses didn’t think it was newsworthy at the time. I was convinced that it was and I held onto it all these years.”

The interview took place nine months after Hamas claimed 74 of the 132 parliamentary seats, pushing aside Fatah and securing the right to form a new cabinet.

In Washington, however, where Hamas is on a terror blacklist, officials in the George W. Bush administration repeatedly stated that they would not work with a Palestinian government ruled by Hamas.

The new revelation comes after repeated statements by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that the media and the political establishment have rigged the 2016 election against him and he may not accept the election outcome if Clinton wins.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USAComments Off on Clinton proposed rigging Palestinian elections in 2006: Leaked audio

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