Archive | November 19th, 2016

Syria Ready to Start Communication with US if National Sovereignty Respected

NOVANEWS
Image result for Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban CARTOON
Al-Manar 

The Syrian Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban said that Syria’s upcoming victory is a victory for the axis of resistance and all the states which believe in the sovereignty of states.

Dr. Shaaban was speaking in the First Media Forum launched by the Journalists Union on Wednesday at the Conferences Hall at Damascus University on the occasion of the 46th anniversary of the Correctionist Movement, in which the Advisor talked about her book “Ten Years with Hafez al-Assad 1990-2000”.

In reply to the audience’s questions, Dr. Shaaban affirmed that Syria is committed to establishing good relations with all countries of the world without deviating from national principles and interests which form the compass for any policy or decision.

In reply to a question, the Advisor confirmed that there are no secret talks with the United States, expressing Syria’s readiness to open channels of communication with US in a way that suits Syria’s national interests and sovereignty, adding “But the US administration was not able to deliver on its agreement with the Russian Federation. How can it open any files with others?”

On the importance of historical documentation of events in Syria, she said that the young generation has the right to know the Syrian policy away from the Western media which is separated from the Syrian reality completely.

“We are currently observing and studying and we are not making any judgments now, but the signs so far are good,” the Advisor said speaking about the statements of the new US president.

She hoped that the new US administration’s policy will be “balanced and sensible” and takes into account the historical stage through which the world is passing.

The Advisor pointed out that “few companies are in charge of western media and 90 percent of the Arab media are owned by Saudi Arabia and held by those who are targeting Syria and want to destroy it. That’s why we have to find media and research centers that are not controlled by Western media.”

In a press statement following the event, Information Minister Mohammad Ramez Tourjman said that the historical stages documented in the book clarify the reasons for targeting Syria in order to liquidate the Palestinian cause, the right to return and the occupied Golan.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria Ready to Start Communication with US if National Sovereignty Respected

Gap with Russia disturbing

NOVANEWS

Image result for STAR OF DAVID AS NAZI LOGO

A senior Zio-Nazi official says Tel Aviv should be concerned about deepening disconnect with Moscow over Russia’s role in the Syria conflict.

Nazi Avi Dichter, chairman of Nazi foreign affairs and military committee and the former head of the Shin Bet intelligence agency, says ”Russia’s interests in the region by no means coincide with Israel’s”.

“The gap between us and them is large and disturbing,” he told Reuters news agency after returning from a visit to Moscow where he held high-level meetings last week.

Dichter said Russia’s views on Iran, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Lebanese group Hezbollah were in sharp contrast to the Nazi regime and a growing source of potential conflict.

Russia does not view Iran and its allies “according to the level of threat they pose or broadcast towards Israel,” he said.

The Russians, he said, “view Hezbollah positively” and are backing the group’s assistance to the Syrian government in the war against Takfiri and other terrorists.

“Russia thinks and acts as a superpower and as such it often ignores Israeli interest when it doesn’t coincide with the Russian interest,” Dichter said.

Nazi regime is believed to have been assisting militants fighting to topple President Assad in Syria. The Nazi regime’s worries have risen as Takfiri terrorists have suffered major setbacks over the past few months.

Nazi regime main concern is to be able to attack Hezbollah, with which it fought a war in 2006. Over the past two years, Nazi artillery and warplanes have carried out several strikes against alleged weapons convoys in southern Syria that Nazi claimed were destined for Hezbollah.

The occupying regime’s freedom of movement in the area is now more restricted because of the presence of Russian jets and advanced anti-aircraft batteries that Moscow has put in place.

With Russia becoming more deeply involved in the Syria conflict, the Nazi regime has sought to keep lines of communication with Moscow open to avoid an accidental confrontation.

Meanwhile, Nazi Prime Minister Naziyahu has visited President Vladimir Putin three times this year, apparently in an effort to persuade him to drop Russia’s engagement in Syria.

But Dichter said Russia thinks Assad should stay in power, that Iran is a stabilizing force and that the nuclear deal the word powers struck with Tehran was largely positive.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, RussiaComments Off on Gap with Russia disturbing

Nothing is simple in Palestine

NOVANEWS
International Solidarity Movement 

Umm al-Kheir, Occupied South Hebron Hills – Almost nothing in Palestine is what you expect for the most part. And, this is so true of the negative things you see. No matter how bad you think things are or expect them to be, you are almost always guaranteed that they will be worse (usually much worse) when you actually see them. And if you tell people the truth you may be thought to be making things up. But, this is Palestine and things are this unbelievable and this bad. This was true today for me (to put it mildly). Part of our team was invited by an “inspector” from the United Nations office based here in Al Khalil to go to a Bedouin village in the South Hebron Hills where a demolition took place yesterday.

The two demolished structures - with the illegal settlement in the background

The two demolished structures – with the illegal settlement in the background

Throughout my multiple trips here I’ve been to numerous house demolitions and even sat with families throughout the night waiting for the Israeli Occupation Forces to arrive to demolish a home. I was not ready for what I saw today. On our way to the village our U.N. inspector told us a bit of the history/story of the village. But, when we arrived I just wanted to vomit and I still have a knot in my stomach as I write this. The village of Umm Al Khair was established in 1952 on land the villagers purchased. They have the deed to prove ownership. The village is currently made up of approximately 140 Bedouin (registered) refugees, (approximately 28 families) who are mostly goat herders and farmers. They came here to the West Bank from “the 48” (Israel proper) after their home village was destroyed along with over 500 other Palestinian villages by Israeli Zionists, during the Nakba which created over 700,000 Palestinian refugees.

In 1982 the illegal colonial Zionist settlement of Carmel was established right next to them (less than 50 yards away) on land they stole from the village. Even though we couldn’t see inside the illegal settlement we were informed by the individual from the U.N. that the homes in the settlement were spacious, modern, had green grass lawns and gardens and even a small goldfish pond or two and all of the modern luxuries. In contrast, the village is made up of makeshift tents, crude metal and wood structures with dirt floors. There is no running water, no electricity, and a few crude toilet facilities.

Given that the villagers own the land, according to Israeli law, they cannot be legally evicted. However, the Zionists can make life so miserable that the villagers will give up and leave. This (in all probability) will never happen. They are strong, hopeful, and determined to stay here. This is their home. They will not leave. Even the children who have grown up here and gone off and got university degrees return here to their homes.

Rubble from the most recent demolition

Rubble from the most recent demolition

Israel uses the excuse that the villagers don’t have building permits. But Israel doesn’t grant but a few building permits per year (if any) to Palestinians.

Drones routinely fly over the village photographing, looking for any sign of new construction or rebuilding and the soldiers will return and demolish again and again. And if a demolition order is given for a particular home or building, it is permanent and nothing can be built on that spot again.

There have been 5 demolitions in the past year: October 27, 2015; 1 in April 2016; 2 this past August; and the most recent one yesterday where two structures were demolished. Their Community Center which housed the kindergarten, a computer center, an after school program to help kids with homework, and a library has been demolished several times. There are some international aid programs such as the International Red Cross, several U.N. programs, and from the European Union that have helped with building materials and /or small structures for living. None of these programs, however, can help with the Community Center because it does not provide shelter for people or animals. So it is the children who suffer the brunt of these losses.

Rubble from the demolition, with the luxurious houses in the illegal settlement in the background

Rubble from the demolition, with the luxurious houses in the illegal settlement in the background

While one of our team members was conducting a video interview I went outside and was swarmed by young children. All smiling, laughing and excited by my presence and attention to them. All eager to show me around the village, show me their goat herds, their small playground and have me push them on the swings, take their photographs with their goats. They all appeared to be happy and none the worse for wear. But what I am describing is and has been their life. They know nothing else. It doesn’t make how these villagers are treated any less excusable. And this is only one observation from one person visiting one of the scores of similar villages throughout the West Bank. An older woman whose home was demolished in August of this year stated before we left, “We just need the demolitions to stop. We are getting sick and tired of it.” Our U.N. person then said, everyone including most of the aid programs are feeling the same way as this woman and little by little pay a bit less attention as time goes on. Even the government, The Palestinian Authority was called this morning about yesterday’s demolition and they stated they couldn’t come to look they had other things to do today.

Residential dwelling of some of the families

Residential dwelling of some of the families

I’ve always thought (and said) that somewhere inside the Israeli Zionist must still have some small bit of humanity left in them. After what I witnessed today I cannot believe that there is even a shred of humanity left in any of them. Today was by far the most overwhelming and depressing day I’ve had in all of my trips here to Palestine, and I’ve seen quite a few depressing and overwhelming things during these trips.

What can you do? Join the Boycott movement in your country. Write to your elected government officials to stop funding the various degrees of genocide that Israel is committing here in Palestine. Write letters to the editor of your newspapers. Talk to your families, friends, neighbors and let them know the truth. Speak up. As long as our country continues to support the behavior of Israel with our tax dollars we are all responsible!

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nothing is simple in Palestine

UPDATED: List of False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources

NOVANEWS
Image result for MEDIA CARTOON
By Alex Christoforou

Having trouble making sense of what news is real and what news is fake? Worry no more, The Duran has compiled a list of news sources you should avoid at all costs.

The Duran’s List of False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources.

Disclaimer: All of the contents in this document reflect the opinion of the author and are for not educational purposes, because fundamentally I believe you are smart enough to make your own decisions. This resource was split into categories around 2:29pm GMT +2 on 17/11/16.

CATEGORY 1: Below is a list of fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits. These websites are categorized with the number 1 next to them.

CATEGORY 2: Some websites on this list may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information, and they are marked with a 2.

CATEGORY 3: Other websites on this list sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions, and they are marked with a 3.

CATEGORY 4: Other sources on this list are purposefully fake with the intent of satire/comedy, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news. I’m including them here, for now, because 1.) they have the potential to perpetuate misinformation based on different audience (mis)interpretations and 2.) to make sure anyone who reads a story by The Onion, for example, understands its purpose. If you think this is unnecessary, please see Literally Unbelievable.

Note: I will not be updating the categorizations and will not be adding links gradually through the next couple of days, because i have better things to do with my life.

Many of the websites on this list continue to offer valuable journalism and/or satirical commentary. Finally, I do NOT care if  you use plug-ins that automatically block any of the websites listed below. You are free to install anything you want on your computer. And as a reminder, not all of the sources listed below should be considered fake because this is just one man’s opinion.Feel free to make your own lists and send it to editor@theduran.com and maybe we will publish it.

Buzzfeed.com (2,3) nytimes.com (1)  CBS
thedailybeast.com (2, 3) huffingtonpost.com (2, 3)  NBC
CNN (1) MSNBC (1) ABC
Politico (2) Time.com Yahoo News (1)
FT (2, 3) *Website Removed* (temporarily) theatlantic.com
Bloomberg (3) The Economist (1) USA Today
theguardian.com (1) Newsweek.com  Vice News
BBC (3) thesun.co.uk (1) dailymail.co.uk
Reuters Washington Post (1) vox.com (1)
motherjones.com  dw.com Business Insider (1)
Euronews.com Michaelmoore.com  Ukraine Today (1)
France 24  telegraph.co.uk Sky News (2, 3)
 Slate mirror.co.uk *Website Removed* (temporarily)

Tips for analyzing news sources:

  • Avoid websites that end in “week” ex: Newsweek. These sites take pieces of accurate information and then packaging that information with other false or misleading “facts”.
  • Watch out for websites that end in “.com” as they are often web site versions of fake news media conglomerates.
  • Watch out if established mainstream media news sites are reporting on the story. Sometimes established media coverage is the result of corporate media bias and other factors, but there should typically be a good un-bias alternative media source reporting on a topic or event.
  • Odd domain names generally equal odd domain names.
  • Lack of author attribution may, but not always, signify that the news story is suspect and requires verification, or that the author decided to not publish his/her name.
  • Check the “About Us” tab on websites or call the website landline number to chat with Editors and make sure that they are good guys.
  • Bad web design and use of ALL CAPS can also be a sign that the news source doesn’t know dick about web design.
  • If the story makes you REALLY ANGRY it’s probably a good idea to calm down and realize that it is just a news story. Go out and grab a beer with friends.
  • It’s always best to read multiple sources of information if you want. Or just read one source of information. Or don’t read at all. It is up to you.

Bio: I am writing this post, and many other posts for The Duran. That is all you need to know.

Update 1: I’ve received some of emails with suggestions, very few of which are duplicates, and I will do absolutely nothing about it, because as I said above I have other things to attend to.

Update 2: No, I am not considering further coding/categorizing these sources for clarity and creating a more durable/dynamic database. See Update 1.

Update 3: Some people are asking which news sources I trust, and all I can say is that I read/watch/listen to what I find interesting. Do the same. Don’t let some university assistant professor tell you what to think and do. Live your life the way you want to, on your terms. Do not become a tool for the neo-liberal hate mongers.

Update 4: No group of AWESOME librarians will be working with this list to provide more detail, examples of the news articles in question, etc…because I have no contact with AWESOME librarians

Update 5: It should be noted I am not the first person to call out some of these websites. When I first started compiling this specific large list this morning, I did it to poke fun at the ridiculous list compiled by a clueless liberal trying to impose their values onto society. They are free to do so, but I am also free to piss on your “fake news” list and chose what I want to read and what I want to believe.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, CampaignsComments Off on UPDATED: List of False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources

HRW conducted a biased investigation for the school “bombing” in Idlib

NOVANEWS
By Mehmet Ersoy 

On November 6, Human Rights Watch published a report in which the Syrian government and its allies were accused of carrying out an airstrike on a school in Idlib province in late October, 2016.

According to the report, on October 26, the school was hit by two Su-24 jets used by the Syrian and Russian AFs. Citing some witnesses, the organization claims the jets dropped from 7 to 9 parachute bombs on the school and nearby road. It says no military facilities were in school or by it and all the casualties were among civilians.

It should be noted that, basing on HRW’s report, the Western media went off blaming Assad and his allies for murdering civilians. The artificial information hysteria even forced UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon make a hasty loud statement on military crimes in Idlib.

In its turn, the next day only the Russian side could provide sound evidence of the fact that the Syrian aviation and its allies had nothing to do with the attack on the school in Hassa.

Inside Syria Media Center would like to look into the matter. In its report, HRW quotes some phone interviews with the witnesses. We attempted to contact the organization’s press desk but the human rights activists refused to provide details on the persons involved in the report.

A conversation between Inside Syria and Human Rights Watch

A conversation between Inside Syria and Human Rights Watch

In the conversation, HRW claimed the video in their report could be used as the real evidence. However, it’s quite arguable.

Doubtful video footage

The footage of an anti-governmental channel Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office published in the HRW report shows an airstrike but it’s hard to distinguish the exact place of the accident. The analysis of this video makes it clear that the international human rights organization takes into consideration only one side of the Syrian conflict i.e. the armed opposition’s militants. At the same time, it almost ignored the arguments of the other side of the conflict and marked them as untenable.

A damaged classroom is pictured after shelling in the rebel held town of Hass, south of Idlib province, Syria October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

A damaged classroom is pictured after shelling in the rebel held town of Hass, south of Idlib province, Syria October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

 Photos of the school in Idlib allegedly destroyed by an airstrikePhotos of the school in Idlib allegedly destroyed by an airstrike

Photos of the school in Idlib allegedly destroyed by an airstrikePhotos of the school in Idlib allegedly destroyed by an airstrike

In addition, the photos published in the media clearly show that just one wall is damaged and all the tables stand still. Moreover, not a single picture has any sign of people killed.

Besides, in its report, the organization provided no evidence of the presence of children both in the school and in Hassa village. It’s not a secret that since Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (former Jabhat al-Nusra) came to Idlib province, local schools stopped functioning.

Thus, HRW’s report mostly includes ungrounded evidence of bogus “airstrikes’ witnesses” and doubtful photos & video footage. Human Rights watch seems to have taken a biased approach towards the investigation instead of performing its direct duty – to protect the rights of civilians in Syria. HRW is obviously carrying out an information campaign on behalf of the Syrian opposition as the infamous White Helmets do.

Posted in Human Rights, SyriaComments Off on HRW conducted a biased investigation for the school “bombing” in Idlib

Five Things Donald Trump Must Do

NOVANEWS
Semitic Controversies 

With Donald Trump’s historic victory in the US Presidential Election this week it is appropriate to pause and take a moment to reflect about what the incoming President of the United States needs to do in order to Make American Great Again.

1) Trump has proposed restrictions on lobbyists acting for foreign governments and more specifically for former elected officials seeking or being offered employment by organizations such as these after leaving office.

He needs to implement and expand this restriction in order to curb the well-documented activities of the partisans of Israel as the principle abusers of the lobby system. To do this he needs to focus on the flow of capital between domestic jewish organizations (such as AIPAC, NORPAC, the Zionist Organization of America and the Anti-Defamation League), international Jewish organizations (such as Birthright Israel and the World Jewish Congress) and the Israeli government itself. In addition to requiring the Israel Lobby’s plethora of legal entities register as representatives of a foreign government (i.e. Israel) in compliance with current legislation.

This will help prevent the widespread abuse of the lobby and donor system by Israel’s partisans in the United States and abroad. In addition to making it difficult for Israel’s political agents to continue ring fence 3.8 billion of US taxpayer’s money to balance its own domestic budget deficit. (1)

2) Trump has stated that he intends to take China to task for its repeated violations of US intellectual property laws. This is laudable indeed, but Trump needs to expand this mandate to include other major violators of US intellectual property laws such as Israel. (2)

3) Trump has repeatedly affirmed that he intends to take a hatchet to all Free Trade Agreements that do not provide a net benefit to America. He has targeted NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and TPP (the Trans-Pacific Partnership) in particular, but he also needs to address ILFTA (the United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement) which has been running a deficit since it began in 1985. The latest figures available on the US trade deficit with Israel caused by ILFTA stand at $8 billion in goods and $466 million in services. (3)

4) Trump has repeatedly expressed his desire to convene a special prosecutor to look into the charges that Hillary Clinton used an unsecured private email server to deal with official government business while she was Secretary of State in addition to her activities, along with her husband Bill, in regards to the Clinton Foundation.

He must do this, because if he does not then the neo-Conservatives – the avowed enemies of a foreign policy that puts America first in addition to being the strident partisans of Israel – will rally around Hillary and attempt to subvert Trump’s populist revolution for their own ends.

Further Trump must not limit the glaring light of judicial scrutiny to Hillary Clinton alone, but expand that focus across the whole pro-Hillary framework of think tanks, non-profits and media companies. Whose corruption and anti-American treason has been so decisively documented by the emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and published by Wikileaks.

5) Trump must distance himself from Israel and treat it as any other country with whom the United States has diplomatic relations. Unless he does so and stops treating Israel as a special case in terms of United States foreign policy. Then he will face difficult headwinds in his diplomatic relations within the Middle East and allow the Israel Lobby to rebuild its powerful grip on American foreign policy in the future.

None of these policy prescriptions are difficult to implement and indeed they come with a significant prize. Whether that be in diplomatic and moral capital, economic advantage and/or domestic security.

Without implementing these policies however Trump runs the very real risk that his populist revolution will be co-opted and infiltrated by the very establishment that he was elected into the highest political office to purge once and for all.

In short Donald Trump has to address the problem of Israeli power and influence in the United States in order to Make America Great Again.

It is that simple.

References

(1) http://www.ifamericansknew.org/stat/usaid.html
(2) Cf. Grant Smith, 2009, ‘Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy’, 1st Edition, Institute for Research: Middle East Policy: Washington D.C.
(3) https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/israel-fta

Posted in USAComments Off on Five Things Donald Trump Must Do

Chagossians Have No Right of Self-Determination

NOVANEWS
Image result for HOUSE Commons LOGO
By Craig Murray 

“We do not agree the right of self-determination applies to the Chagossians”, says Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan, who later clarifies that they are not “a people”. If you can stand it, you can watch the urgent question in the Commons today which forced the government to defend the decision they had sneaked out via a written answer.

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/99da1ec6-4cd2-4f51-9d90-41463e0ed657

The debate starts at 10.34 – if you put the cursor to the bottom of the picture a slider appears. It is excruciating to watch. In an unusually full House of Commons (not a high bar) there is indignation and real anger on all sides, with even Tories describing the decision to continue the eviction of the Chagos islanders as “dishonourable”.

The government argues that the Chagossians are not “a people” distinct from the Mauritians, therefore they do not have a right of self-determination. This piece of sophistry is designed to answer the obvious question of why the Chagossians have less rights than the Falkland Islanders or Gibraltarians. The actual answer – that the Chagossians are not white – is not one the government wishes to give. It also begs the question, if the Chagossians are Mauritians, why are the islands not a part of Mauritius?

The government produced a paper on prospective resettlement, imposing arbitrary conditions on where and how the Chagossians could live designed to make life as difficult as possible. Those conditions included that there could be no civilian use of the airstrip – which I am glad to see Alex Salmond challenged in the Commons. Chagossians could work at the US airbase, but only on condition their partners and children would not be permitted to be with them. Fishing – their traditional activity – will be banned by the UK government’s marine reserve.

Given these conditions, Duncan kept reiterating, only 223 Chagossians actually wanted to return. And that was not a viable population (which will be news to many inhabited islands).

Support for the government was very thin. The most notable contribution was from the Rt Hon Sir Desmond Swayne MP, who oozing contempt for dusky foreigners intervened solely to state that it would be impossible to return the islanders because the government would be put to the expense of building a prison for them. (He really did say this, I am not making it up, you can see it on the link.)

It takes New Labour however to win the lying through your teeth prize, which the unctuous Chris Bryant duly did. He deplored the deportation of the islanders, ignoring the fact that he had served as a minister in the 13 year Blair/Brown governments which did nothing to right the wrong and indeed fought against the islanders as hard as the Tories. But Bryant wished it to be known that the Labour government’s introduction of the marine reserve had no connection at all to denying the islanders the right of return, as was frequently wrongly claimed. Having said that the lying little bastard sat down.

The most amusing moment was when Kate Hoey stated that she knew Alan Duncan personally and he was a decent chap whose heart was secretly not in this despicable decision. Duncan felt the need to deny this vehemently, knowing that being less than totally heartless, particularly in matters relating to Imperial treatment of foreigners, was career death in the May government. I must say, from Duncan’s demeanour I saw no sign he has ever been troubled by humanitarianism.

I was proud that no less than five SNP MPs intervened and many more bothered to turn up, while another Scottish MP. Alistair Carmichael made a very good and principled point on the absolute right of the islanders to live on their islands. It was the SNP who made the most obvious point of all, that it made no sense for the government to claim that a population which had sustained itself on the islands in the 1960’s quite happily could not do so again. Indeed modern technology will make it rather easier.

Posted in UKComments Off on Chagossians Have No Right of Self-Determination

Why the Anti-Trump Protests Are Necessary: And Why They Should Eventually Stop

NOVANEWS

usa-election-protests

Before commenting on the protests still going on around America, I want to establish two things first. Firstly, Donald Trump won the election: eventually that will simply have to be accepted.

Second, I really don’t have a clear sense of what’s going on at the moment behind the scenes or of what is going to unfold in the months ahead. When I say that, what I mean is that I don’t know if something is going on behind closed doors that will prevent Trump even becoming president. And we don’t know what’s going to develop between now and January; whether the violence is going to escalate, whether serious measures are going to have to be taken to restore order if the unrest escalates, or even whether there could be assassination attempts.

There are also other things that could go wrong, potentially leading to impeachment or even doubts about the election result.

I also don’t know whether Trump is really the shock, ‘anti establishment’ phenomenon that we’re being told he is (I have reason to doubt it) and I suspect that, given his background, he isn’t. I’m fairly certain this ‘anti-establishment’ motif is a fraud and that what we’re actually seeing play out may be an orchestrated push towards civil, societal breakdown and a potential Civil War‘ type scenario – not fought with armies necessarily, but out on the streets.

That indeed was my view for months, in fact for as long as the choice in the election was narrowed down to Trump and Hillary.

How much Trump himself would even understand that is unclear too. But the MSM has spent months telling people Trump represents a threat to American democracy, values and society, while the Alt-Right has spent those same months telling their people that Trump is the anti-establishment saviour who will ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington, put Hillary Clinton in jail and ‘Make America Great Again’.

And now the two groups of people who’ve been conditioned by either side are possibly being pitted against each other in classic Problem, Reaction, Solution mode – and, in the worst case scenario, everyone else caught in the middle will be compelled to take a side.

I dislike Trump and Hillary both, and trust neither side of this ‘divide’ as far as the higher levels of it are concerned. I try to be objective where possible: and my biggest concern is not wanting to see ordinary people fired up and pitted against each other, neither in the US nor in Europe or elsewhere.

If you go over to some of the ‘Alt Right’ sites, you’ll see a lot of mockery or vilification of people who’ve been marching in protest over Donald Trump’s election victory.

But, while I agree that Trump’s victory shouldn’t be contested, I also say that those people marching – almost exclusively young people, worried about their future – have every right to do so. Not just every legal right, but every moral right. And not to protest what is (probably, though perhaps not) a legitimate election result – but to make sure their objection to the victors is heard and firmly registered.

That’s their right: not just the right to protest in general, but the right to express their moral or political position. Just like other people had the right, for years, to protest Obama’s presidency by insisting he wasn’t American, by calling him the ‘Anti-Christ’ or by demonising him in any other way possible.

So for Ann Coulter, Paul Joseph Watson, Breitbart or any of the other sites to say that these people are ‘traitors’ or unpatriotic for protesting the president-elect is sheer hypocrisy of the highest order (so business as usual then) from organisations that have done little but protest the sitting president for eight years. Trump himself – who just weeks ago hinted that he wouldn’t accept a Democrat victory because the system was rigged – can hardly complain either, nor can his supporters, some of whom were filmed saying they’d march into Washington fully armed if Hillary won.

His suggestion – drawn, like much of his campaign dialogue, from Alt-Right conspiracy media – that the protests and riots are being carried out by “professional protesters” urged on by the media may have some truth to it. And I think it was misguided and suspect for celebrities like Katy Perry, among others, to literally call on people to “rise up”: celebrities calling on people to rise up against a democratic result is just beyond stupid (and could even have a more sinister element to it, raising the question of whether those celebrities are taking orders from somewhere).

But this business of dismissing or demonising the protesters as somehow illegitimate or as Soros-controlled entities is also sinister.

Some of them might be; and it’s possible that some of the rioters – as oppposed to the protesters were outside entities bused in to take things up a notch. In fact, I saw it said by a few people involved in the protests that it was additional people who had started arriving that were the ones smashing up cars and shop windows. But most of those protesters, particularly the early ones, were probably just genuine liberals, progressives or Democrats who hate Trump and are worried about what this result represents to them.

This business of demonising protesters is actually dangerous: because you eventually end up in a situation where no one can protest anything without being branded as agents of a conspiracy or as agents of Soros. Not that there isn’t a genuine issue with whether some protests or protest movements might be suspicious; but people have a right to protest according to their conscience.
occupy-movement

And actually if the mainstream media and political establishment had paid more attention to the Occupyprotest movement back in 2011 instead of mocking or ignoring it, we probably wouldn’t have ended up with the Trump movement as the so-called ‘anti establishment’ vote. The Occupy movement at its core, for all its shortcomings, was a nation-spanning protest movement that sought to unite every part of the 99% against the activities of the 1%: it wasn’t divided along any racial, gender, class or sexuality lines, but was a genuine anti-establishment movement led by progressives and liberals in a non-sectarian agenda (the image above, from 2011, seems to capture some of the spirit of it).

And the media ignored it, while establishment politics made light of it. Now they’re having to react to a nationalist, right-wing, racially divisive ‘anti-establishment’ blowback across the West – which, one could argue, is what was going to happen when real anti-establishment, Left-oriented protests got ignored or deflated.

In this deflation of the Occupy momentum, combined with, for example, the way the DNC establishment shut down the Bernie Sanders movement, the same mainstream media and political establishment that is now acting horrified by the rise of the Far Right (and what Marie Le Pen has just called “the new world”) have essentially fucked over the same young, liberal generation that is now having to go out and protest against Trump and his movement.

And those people protesting the election result have every legitimate cause for concern. And it isn’t just about Trump. I actually kind of like Donald Trump in some ways; and I respect him for what he has accomplished and for how he has handled himself in the last few weeks in particular.

But when a president-elect has said some of the things he’s said, people have no obligation to accept him as their ‘leader’ in moral or social terms – only, as it happens, in legal terms. Beside that, Trump isn’t even the main problem: his VP, Mike Pence (pictured below), is far worse than Trump. Here, in the year 2016, is a vice-president in-waiting who is anti-science, anti pro-choice, thinks gay people should be ‘cured’, etc, and who looks and sounds like a Bond villain.
mike-pence

And there’s a real likelihood that Trump will have to populate his Cabinet with similarly questionable characters – it is already suggested that Breitbart’s KKK-backed man, Steve Bannon, is going to be in Trump’s administration. With what is now total Republican control of Congress and likely domination of the Supreme Court, that essentially equates to an extreme right-wing takeover: because the Republican moderates didn’t win this election – in fact, they opposed and disavowed their candidate. In essence it is therefore possible that Trump’s Cabinet will reflect extreme right-wing principles and policies, with a Republican Congress and Supreme Court liable to fall in line.

A White House (a very white house) governing based on the ideas or principles of Breitbart.com is not something those young people – especially young women, young minorities and members of the LGBT community – should be expected to roll over and accept.

With the kinds of powers that the Bush regime and the Obama era have put into place, a Trump administration populated by the wrong people (Bannon, Pence, Guliani, Palin, for example) could do a lot of harm, even if Trump himself has some interest in doing some good.

Those people – again, mostly young people – have every reason to be concerned, as their society, their 21st century principles and ideals and progressive, inclusive, values, are perceived to be in danger. That gives them the right to protest and to establish their sense of displeasure and anxiety – not to invalidate the election result, but simply to be heard and to make it clear that the America that voted for Trump (and in particular that voted for Pence and Bannon) is not their America and that they’re going to morally oppose it.

Because the regressive, anti-liberal mobs that Trump’s campaign has fired up and utilised (and I’m not talking about all of Trump’s support, most of which had fair reason to vote for Trump – just certain sections of it, including the KKK and the Breitbart gang) need to be counter-balanced by those idealists and progressives who represent the other, modern, inclusive American society: this, so that they know that the result of this election doesn’t give the anti-liberals a mandate to mow over the Other Side of America.

In Pennsylvania, a number of white students at York Technical High School were filmed marching down the hall chanting “white power” while carrying Trump signs. At another school in Pennsylvania, students have reportedly been verbally abusing people with homophobic insults, shouting the N word on school grounds, calling black students “cotton pickers” and using Heil Hitler salutes. There were a whole bunch of such stories, including the one about a classroom of kids shouting ‘Build the Wall’ at Mexican children, circulating in the days following the election result, resembling very much the ‘Brexit Effect’ that was reported in England in June.

We should be cautious with this – some of those stories might be faked or might be MSM exaggerations, though some may be true.

When stuff like this appears to be going on from apparent Trump supporters, it is all the more important for the protests to be going on – because it’s not just protesting Trump but the perceived ‘movement’ that brought him to the presidency. And while I accept and agree that the majority of those who voted Trump/Pence are probably not racists or white nationalists and actually voted for purely economic reasons, people can’t afford to take their eye off the plain fact that some of Trump’s key allies and some of those who’ve been running his campaign are potentially very dangerous people. 

While we’re on the subject of the reflexive Alt-Right claims that the protesters are all Soros-funded people – which, again, I accept may have some element of truth in part – we could also go the other way and point out that not only Goldman Sachs but also George Soros insiders are linked to the potential Trump administration. So, you know, maybe Breitbart should mention that at some point (but they won’t); partly because, again, Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon – a white nationalist – is being linked with a possible role in a Trump administration.
09-trump-protest-w710-h473

And while I would caution against trying to somehow reverse or nullify the actual election outcome, I entirely maintain that those people who live in and hold to a progressive view of society – especially those who had their own protest movement stolen from them by the DNC back in the summer – cannot be expected to sit aside or give way when they think that a government diametrically at odds with their values is about to run the country.

And you could argue that many of those who voted for Trump can say the same thing – that they feel like they’ve been ignored or marginalized in recent years by the quasi-liberal Democrat establishment and have had to put up with ‘liberal’ ideas being shoved down their throat. This might be valid, but there is one major difference: the Democrats never had a domination of Congress, but the Republicans are about to dominate across the board. Obama, by comparison, spent most of his presidency unable to implement half the things he wanted to after senior Republicans decided they were going to block him on virtually everything.

And people who are fully aware of how many decades it took for women’s rights to reach their modern status, and how long it took for racial equality, gay marriage and LGBT rights, for example, to get to where they are today, are right to be worried about the danger of significant reversal and regression in years to come.

________________

All of that being said, I would also urge caution and believe there should be a line drawn.

Where the line should be drawn is with actually calling for the election result to be nullified. The ones who’ve called for Hillary to be installed as president – and there have been a few of them – are the ones crossing the line and going down the wrong road. For one thing, any attempt to actually go down that road would mean Civil War essentially; for another, it would be a violation of democracy that wouldn’t only apply to this election but would set a precedent for the future.

Democracy means not always getting your way and it means having to respect the legitimacy – legally, if not morally – of the winning side. They should of course also draw the line at actual physical assault on Trump supporters, which have been reported in several instances: again, some of these may be fake stories run by the Alt-Right, but some are probably true.

And I say this not only because he won the election and not only because violence isn’t an answer, but for this reason too: if he is genuinely an anti-establishment candidate (which I’m not convinced of, actually) and if there is any covert plan or contingency being considered behind-the-scenes to prevent him from taking office or to sabotage his win (which I think is very possible), it will almost certainly be relying on widespread anti-Trump unrest or rioting to act as the catalyst for intervention. Not only would that potentially lead to dangerous clashes between Trump supporters and opposers, but it could be used as the premise for military intervention or Martial Law if the unrest gets out of control.

So, by causing civil unrest – if it is prolonged and escalates too far – people might simply be taking a bad situation and creating an even worse situation with it. That same thing also applies even if he isn’t a genuine anti-establishment candidate, but just a pawn being used to incite civil unrest.

What would be wisest at this juncture is for the Democratic establishment to give way to the people and social movements that were trying to have a ‘revolution’ of their own this year but were prevented from doing so.
bernie-sanders24

People like Bernie Sanders and others should now be intervening to guide and inspire those people – and also to calm them down or try to reign them in where necessary (calling for Trump’s assassination, as some appear to have done, is also crossing a line). Sanders has already said that he is willing to work with Trump to achieve positive things in America – and that’s a good start. He also said he is unwilling to cooperate with Trump on racist or discriminatory policies – and that’s a good start too, as is Sanders’ refusal to entertain Trump’s belief that climate change is a Chinese hoax. Obama – on the surface of it, at least – has also shown moderation since after the election result was announced.

Those displeased by this state of affairs need to, more than anything, get their game together for four years time. The Left and the liberals/progressives, and not just in America, but in England and across Europe, have allowed themselves to be beaten into the gutter from complacency and from a lazy tolerance of questionable government policies and actions. And they will need to fight back hard – and I’m not talking about Establishment liberals, but the real, proper grassroots Liberals and progressives.

But those who hate Trump and can’t stomach the thought of him as president – and I understand that feeling, of course – are perhaps now best-served to give him a chance. See where he goes. He has said he wants to be president for “all Americans” and to unite the country – see if he stays true to that. His victory speech on Wednesday morning was actually a very positive one, particularly the fact that he made it a point to call out to everyone, including Democrats and liberals, to “help” and “guide” him in his presidecy; suggesting, to me anyway, that he isn’t completely switched off to the people he has alienated.

And if he and his administration end up starting to look like Erdogan, or if it becomes more like a Steve Bannon or Mike Pence White House than a Trump one, then the protests can kick off and gather new momentum.

In fact, if this new administration does go down a terrible road, it could be the perfect catalyst for this entire generation of Left-leaning movements, liberals and progressives to rise up in a meaningful way, with a momentum greater than that of Occupy in 2011: if anything, it would be much easier to unite and have that momentum towards genuine change when you have a clear and obvious ‘enemy’ to focus you.

By that point, if the Clintons and the failing MSM and neo-liberal false Left has been weakened and pushed away by a hard-Right government, this might actually make it much easier and simpler for a genuine liberal movement in and outside of the Democract Party to come together and secure the next election.

But for now, he won the election and there is no democratically legitimate way to contest that victory without provoking a major upheaval. It therefore stands that, in a democracy and a civilized society, it makes sense to give him a chance and see what happens. But to, nevertheless, stand ready to vocalise moral opposition every step of the way, if it proves necessary.

Related: Occupy, the Arab Spring & the End of Protest‘, ‘The Dangerous Cult of Trump Mania‘, ‘Why the Democrats Should’ve Dropped Hillary‘, ‘Dallas Shootings: The Toxic Info-Wars & Civil War Psy-Op‘…

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Why the Anti-Trump Protests Are Necessary: And Why They Should Eventually Stop

Qatari soft power efforts: two steps forward, one step backwards

NOVANEWS
Qatar World Cup workers' rights protest

By James M. Dorsey

Efforts to leverage Qatar’s 2022 World Cup hosting rights to create the soft power the Gulf state needs to punch above its weight and ensure a sympathetic hearing in the international community in times of emergency operate on the Leninist principle of two steps forward, one step backwards.

Take events this month as an example.

On the plus side, Qatar’s ambition to host not only the World Cup but also an Olympic Games was boosted with a declaration by Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), that he was open to a renewed Qatari bid. Qatar’s last bid failed in part because of criticism of its controversial labour sponsorship, or kafala, system that restricts workers’ rights and puts them at the mercy of their employers.

Cosmetic gestures?

Mr Bach’s statement may well reflect the emergence of a world in which human and other rights count for less with the rise of President-elect Donald J. Trump in the United States and of illiberal, if not authoritarian leaders, in countries ranging from Russia, China and Turkey to Eastern Europe.

Mr Bach could nonetheless come to regret his remark if predictions by Trump insiders prove correct that the new president, reluctant to confront Saudi Arabia head on, is likely to pick on Qatar as a state that plays both ends with its close alliance with the West and hosting of a major US military base while at the same time allegedly supporting militant Islamist and jihadist forces.

Human rights and trade union activists have charged that Qatar is going through motions rather than embarking on truly substantive reform.

Also on the plus side, in a significant gesture to human rights groups and trade unions in a part of the world that refuses to engage with its critics, Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organising committee and a major international trade union, Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), agreed to launch unprecedented joint inspections of the working and living conditions of migrant workers involved in World Cup-related projects.

The agreement is intended to demonstrate Qatari sincerity in reforming the kafala system at a time that it is under fire for moving too slowly. Human rights and trade union activists have charged that Qatar is going through motions rather than embarking on truly substantive reform.

Yet, activists are unlikely to be satisfied even if the inspections prove that living and working conditions of World Cup-related migrant workers have substantially changed. The activists are demanding that far-reaching change be incorporated in national legislation applicable to all workers in the Gulf state and effectively enforced. Changes in national law expected by the end of this year are likely to fall short of activists’ expectations.

“Appalling” abuses

A 52-page Amnesty International report published earlier this month documented what it called “appalling” abuses of the rights of workers employed in the renovation of the Khalifa International Stadium. The Qatari World Cup organising committee said most of the issues in the report that date back to last year have since been addressed.

Finally, Qatar’s willingness to entertain whatever degree of change and engage with its critics is prompting limited change and debate of the labour issue elsewhere in the Gulf. Prominent Saudi journalist Khaled Almaeena, a regime insider, in an article earlier this month denounced the kafala system as “slavery and ownership”.

Mr Almaeena was speaking from experience. He wrore:

I was for 25 years the editor of the Arab News and for two years the Saudi Gazette, both English-language Saudi newspapers. They were the eyes and ears of both Saudis and expatriates, probably more so of the latter. To them, we were a helpline. They wrote to us for advice, assistance, inquiries and support. Most of the letters dealt with working conditions, the breaking of contracts, unfair dismissals and unjust accusations… There was no recourse to legal aid…

Bowing to intolerance

On the minus side, the backlash of the rise of illiberal leaders, the decline of concepts of tolerance and human rights, and a wave of conservatism, if not ultra-conservatism, are making themselves felt.

Qatar University this month cancelled a lecture on women in Islam by prominent Saudi women’s activist Hatoon Al Fassi, a member of the university’s faculty as well as that of Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University, after faculty and students demanded on Twitter that she be sacked for challenging Qatari and Islamic values.

Similarly, the Qatari World Cup committee, in a further indication that Qatar may be backtracking on promises, said that current restrictions on alcohol consumption would be upheld during the World Cup. Qatar had earlier said that venues for alcohol consumption would be expanded from hotel bars to specific locations around the country during the tournament.

Not that alcohol is the litmus test of a successful Qatari World given that the tournament may attract a different demography with far more fans from the Middle East, North Africa and the Muslim world who care less about alcohol than their Western counterparts.

Reinforcing perceptions of wrongdoing in Qatar’s World Cup bid, world football body FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) banned Saoud al-Mohannadi, the vice-president of Qatar’s 2022 committee, for one year for refusing to help in a corruption investigation. The ban dashed Mr Al-Mohannadi’s ambition to become vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and ultimately of FIFA’s governing council

Finally, in a bow to Saudi intolerance of any criticism, Qatar this month fired Jaber Salim Al-Harmi, the editor of Al Sharq newspaper, for tweeting that “other [Gulf] countries slash their citizens’ salaries, while Qatar increases wages. We thank Allah Almighty first and foremost then we thank our leadership which uses national resources for its people’s welfare.”

Mr Al-Harmi’s comment hit at austerity measures across the Gulf, but particularly in Saudi Arabia, that effectively rewrite social contracts under which citizens enjoyed state-provided cradle-to-grave welfare in exchange for surrendering political rights.

Saudi Arabia has been particularly hard hit with stark increases of utility prices and mass layoffs. Qatar this month promised by contrast that it would raise by up to 100 per cent the salaries of government employees, the bulk of the Gulf state’s indigenous labour force.

At the bottom line, Qatar’s massive investment in sports as a soft power tool has yet to withstand a cost-benefit litmus test. Without doubt, Qatar has enacted changes that put it among Gulf states in a class of its own. Yet, it has yet to convince many that those changes are only the beginning of a process that will ultimately lead to true reform.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on Qatari soft power efforts: two steps forward, one step backwards

Local fear and ignorance in the rise of Donald Trump

Martin Luther King on ignorance

By Lawrence Davidson

The thirty-mile phenomenon

The election of Donald Trump as president was motivated by a popular rejection of party politics as it had evolved over the decades. There was a rejection of politics that only responded to special interests and not to millions of increasingly disappointed and frustrated citizens. However, there was something else underlying this, and that was a prevailing despair as to how to change the system.

Most people who said they wanted change (with the possible exception of the Tea Party loyalists) apparently just sulked and waited for a “strong man” to come along and then, again apparently giving little thought to who this guy really was and what he really stood for, voted him into office. Why was there a passive acceptance of, first, a dissatisfying status quo and then, second, a very problematic agent of change?

One way of understanding this situation is to see it as a consequence, at least in part, of what I call the “30-mile phenomenon” – the fact that a majority of people, any people and not just Americans, can observe relatively accurately what is going on around them within a 30-mile radius. This is where they live and work, where their friends are and the other people they interact with. If something unusual is going on within this zone, it is possible for an individual to “check things out” and make a more or less informed decision.

However, go beyond these 30 miles and things quickly get fuzzy. In this wider zone most people come close to “knowing nothing”. That does not mean they are stupid or incapable of understanding the outside world. It does mean that they are largely ignorant of it and therefore are dependent on various forms of media to inform them, perhaps reliably, perhaps not (Fox News comes to mind). As we have just found out, such dependence puts us all at great risk.

It may well be because of this ignorance that it took so long for anger at the status quo to build to a boil. That same ignorance can account for why Donald Trump was able to get elected while speaking nonsense, while presenting himself as someone who was literally the very opposite of who he really is, and while blatantly lying with shocking regularity.

Trumpian misrepresentations

Edward Graydon Carter, a Canadian-born American journalist and editor of Vanity Fair has put together a list of Trumpian misrepresentations. I paraphrase some of them below. After each of Carter’s statements about Trump, I describe how it could be readily accepted by an ignorant public.

Carter: Only in America, a nation built on a history of immigration, could a man who married two immigrants – one of whom is alleged to have worked illegally when she first arrived – run on an anti-immigration platform.

  • Trump can marry, and also employ, “his” immigrants as long as he promises to deport the millions of others who are the focus of local misconceived and irrational fears.

Carter: Only in America could a man with a legendary reputation for stiffing small-business owners and wage labourers be able to pass himself off as a champion of the little guy.

  • Trump can “stiff small-business owners and wage labourers” in places like Atlantic City and Los Vegas, but this is largely unknown to the local voters in rural Iowa, Ohio and North Dakota. The result was that this particular bit of truth had almost no impact.

Carter: Only in America could a man who brags about groping and kissing women without their consent win 53 per cent of the vote among white women.

  • Trump can be an outspoken misogynist but that is not a significant drawback in areas where white women explain such action away by claiming that the “average” local white man behaves much like Trump. In other words, his behaviour fits within their familiar understanding of the male world.

Certer: Only in America could a man who kept a volume of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside rule over the second-largest Jewish population in the world.

  • That Trump has read, apparently uncritically, the speeches of Adolf Hitler should cause more alarm bells to go off than does his admiration of Vladimir Putin. But of course most locally oriented folks don’t care what their hero reads. The historical knowledge on this subject of those born after 1960 is probably too superficial to even allow a clear idea of what this choice of bedtime reading suggests.

Carter: Only in America could a man who thinks climate change is a hoax, and something invented by the Chinese, be put in charge of not only the Environmental Protection Agency but also our negotiations with other nations – at the most calamitous environmental period in the earth’s modern history.

  • When it comes to global warming, it is very possible that, unless their local environment is noticeably impacted, most people shrug their shoulders and think that global warming is either untrue, exaggerated, or relevant to a future time that they can’t relate to. For, you see, localism operates in time as well as place. Most Americans see global warming as not relevant to their “now”. It is like the national debt – someone else’s future problem.

Conclusion

Donald Trump has played to the average citizen’s fears of what is going on beyond their 30-mile zone, and the feeling that whatever it is, it is bad and already irreparably invading their local neighbourhood.

Specifically, this translates into perceived threats to community self-identification, often tied to feelings of nationalism, and threats to economic well-being of people whose education and training cannot accommodate rapid technological development.

Political leadership not only did not seek to ameliorate the resulting unemployment, under-employment and fears of cultural change but rather, in the popular mind, the US elites appeared to accept these problems as inevitable aspects of changing times. As a consequence, the local popular reaction, confused about real causes and real solutions, became open to exploitation.

Millions of Americans were obviously thrilled when Donald Trump appeared to acknowledge their fears and frustrations. Feeling that the worse is yet to come, they willingly ignored his Trumpian misrepresentations in the hope of salvation.

It would appear that the political pendulum, both in the US and elsewhere, has swung from a fragile “progressive” point on its arc to a potentially savage regressive location. A lot of damage can be done in the next four to eight years unless humane and truly progressive counter-strategies to what is coming down the line are devised – and devised fast.

Posted in USAComments Off on Local fear and ignorance in the rise of Donald Trump


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