Archive | February 5th, 2017

The more Juif becomes Theresa, the more ‘antisemitic’ becomes Britain

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By Gilad Atzmon 

Today, the Jewish Chronicle (JC) reported that the number of antisemitic incidents in Britain in 2016 were the highest on record. The CST’s statistics show that there were 1,309 incidents of ‘Jew hatred’ last year — a 36 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.

Of course, the CST is not a reliable source and its‘antisemitism figures’ have been debunked numerous times before. However, if these statistics are accurate, they suggest only that the more the British government invests in fighting anti-Semitism…. the more antisemitic Britain becomes.

This is easy enough to explain. The fight against antisemitism is now a profitable industry.  Every day, we learn of some new Jewish organisation dedicated to fighting antisemitism and to hunt down the Jew haters, and all at the expense of the British tax payer*.

And, as always in the case of Israel and Zionism, these organisations are financially sustained by the very Jewish hatred they seek to oppose. And, when there is no Jew hatred to be found, they will either induce, or even invent some.

For instance, we learned in the last few weeks that Stephen Silverman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) launched a war against popular cult figure David Icke. The same Stephen Silverman who launched this war also launched a war against musician Alison Chabloz for expressing her thoughts on Holocaust religion by means of a cabaret performance.

These ugly campaigns against British truth-seekers are unlikely to make UK Jewry popular. Quite the opposite. Both these campaigns immediately backfired – Alison’s work went viral and the campaign against Icke proved only that Icke’s investigation into Rothschild Zionism is not only legitimate, it is actually essential. These campaigns clearly are not going to silence Icke or Chabloz but they will confirm  that Jewish institutions here in Britain do not subscribe to the notion of freedom of thought and elementary human rights.

Dave Rich, Deputy Director of Communications at the CST told the JC : “I think there is an overall climate rather than one specific thing that is responsible for the rise in (antisemitic) incidents.”

Rich is wrong. There is one crucial factor in the rise in opposition to Jews and their politics: Jewish power has lost all its subtlety. It is now crude and vulgar and manifested right out in the open: whether it is the campaign against Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour party or the Israeli embassy crudely interfering with British party politics or the constant hunting of critics of Israel or even the impunity of suspected child molester Lord Janner – more and more Brits are now reading between the lines. They have had enough.

If the British government is really concerned about antisemitism, it could eliminate it in no time at all. It must immediately strip Jewish organisations of any special treatment and funds and must stop spending millions on the CST and all the other Jews-only paramilitary organisations operating in the kingdom.

We all agree that racism is a bad thing, so let’s fight it in a universal manner rather than following the whims of one particular tribe.

* Theresa May vowed recently to allocate more than 13.4 million pounds annually to Jewish security matters.

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Zionist Regime Plays down White House Comments on Settlements

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Al-Manar 

A senior Israeli official played down Friday remarks from the White House that building new or expanding existing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories “may not be helpful” in securing peace.

In an apparent break from President Donald Trump’s previously full-throated support of settlements building, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that the new administration hadn’t yet taken an official position on settlements.

Responding Friday, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said Spicer’s comments didn’t amount to “a U-turn”.

“The statement is very clear and essentially means: wait for the meeting with (Israeli) Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu, who is arriving in Washington in less than two weeks to meet President Trump, and then we’ll determine our policy,” Danon told Israeli public radio.

The Zionist entity has now approved more than 6,000 settler units since Trump took office having signaled a softer stance on settlement construction than predecessor Barack Obama.

“While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful,” Spicer said on Thursday.

Trump is scheduled to welcome Netanyahu to the White House on February 15.

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If Americans Truly Cared About Muslims, They Would Stop Killing Them by the Millions

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By Glen Ford 

In the most dramatic expression of insider opposition to a sitting administration’s policies in generations, over 1,000 U.S. State Department employees signed on to a memo protesting President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries setting foot on U.S. soil. Another recent high point in dissent among the State Department’s 18,000 worldwide employees occurred in June of last year, when 51 diplomats called for U.S. air strikes against the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad.

Neither outburst of dissent was directed against the U.S. wars and economic sanctions that have killed and displaced millions of people in the affected countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Rather, the diplomatic “rebellion” of last summer sought to pressure the Obama administration to join with Hillary Clinton and her “Big Tent” full of war hawks to confront Russia in the skies over Syria, while the memo currently making the rounds of State Department employees claims to uphold “core American and constitutional values,” preserve “good will towards Americans” and prevent “potential damage to the U.S. economy from the loss of revenue from foreign travelers and students.”

In neither memo is there a word of support for world peace, nor a hint of respect for the national sovereignty of other peoples — which is probably appropriate, since these are not, and never have been, “core American and constitutional values.”

Ironically, the State Department “dissent channel” was established during one of those rare moments in U.S. history when “peace” was popular: 1971, when a defeated U.S. war machine was very reluctantly winding down support for its puppet regime in South Vietnam. Back then, lots of Americans, including denizens of the U.S. government, wanted to take credit for the “peace” that was on the verge of being won by the Vietnamese, at a cost of at least four million Southeast Asian dead. But, those days are long gone. Since 2001, war has been normalized in the U.S. — especially war against Muslims, which now ranks at the top of actual “core American values.” Indeed, so much American hatred is directed at Muslims that Democrats and establishment Republicans must struggle to keep the Russians in the “hate zone” of the American popular psyche. The two premiere, officially-sanctioned hatreds are, of course, inter-related, particularly since the Kremlin stands in the way of a U.S. blitzkrieg in Syria, wrecking Washington’s decades-long strategy to deploy Islamic jihadists as foot soldiers of U.S. empire.

The United States has always been a project of empire-building. George Washington called it a nascent empire,” Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from France in pursuit of anextensive empire,” and the real Alexander Hamilton, contrary to the Broadway version, considered the U.S. to be the “most interesting empire in the world.” The colonial outpost of two million white settlers (and half a million African slaves) severed ties with Britain in order to forge its own, limitless dominion, to rival the other white European empires of the world. Today, the U.S. is the Mother of All (Neo)Colonialists, under whose armored skirts are gathered all the aged, shriveled, junior imperialists of the previous era.

In order to reconcile the massive contradiction between America’s predatory nature and its mythical self-image, however, the mega-hyper-empire must masquerade as its opposite: a benevolent, “exceptional” and “indispensible” bulwark against global barbarism. Barbarians must, therefore, be invented and nurtured, as did the U.S. and the Saudis in 1980s Afghanistan with their creation of the world’s first international jihadist network, for subsequent deployment against the secular “barbarian” states of Libya and Syria.

In modern American bureaucratese, worrisome barbarian states are referred to as “countries or areas of concern” — the language used to designate the seven nations targeted under the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 signed by President Obama. President Donald Trump used the existing legislation as the basis for his executive order banning travelers from those states, while specifically naming only Syria. Thus, the current abomination is a perfect example of the continuity of U.S. imperial policy in the region, and emphatically not something new under the sun (a sun that, as with old Britannia, never sets on U.S. empire).

The empire preserves itself, and strives relentlessly to expand, through force of arms and coercive economic sanctions backed up by the threat of annihilation. It kills people by the millions, while allowing a tiny fraction of its victims to seek sanctuary within U.S. borders, based on their individual value to the empire.

Donald Trump’s racist executive order directly affects about 20,000 people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. President Obama killed an estimated 50,000 Libyans in 2011, although the U.S. officially does not admit it snuffed out the life of a single civilian. The First Black President is responsible for each of the half-million Syrians that have died since he launched his jihadist-based war against that country, the same year. Total casualties inflicted on the populations of the seven targeted nations since the U.S. backed Iraq in its 1980s war against Iran number at least four million — a bigger holocaust than the U.S. inflicted on Southeast Asia, two generations ago — when the U.S. State Department first established its “dissent channel.”

But, where is the peace movement? Instead of demanding a halt to the carnage that creates tidal waves of refugees, self-styled “progressives” join in the macabre ritual of demonizing the “countries of concern” that have been targeted for attack, a process that U.S. history has color-coded with racism and Islamophobia. These imperial citizens then congratulate themselves on being the world’s one and only “exceptional” people, because they deign to accept the presence of a tiny portion of the populations the U.S. has mauled.

The rest of humanity, however, sees the real face of America — and there will be a reckoning.

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Trump may continue Obama legacy of supporting Saudi Zio-Wahhabi war against Yemen

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We have witnessed big payoffs to the Pentagon in the form of the ability to sell arms to the Saudis Zio-Wahhabi regime– at least to $200 billion estimated over two decades – to American arms makers, Gareth Porter, investigative journalist, told RT.

US House Democrat leader Zionist Nancy Pelosi lashed out at the Trump administration’s handling of the conflict in Yemen on CNN, after a Yemeni refugee in one of the programs told the tragic story of her family.

Zionist Pelosi said that girl’s family is suffering because the US president “is reckless and his administration is incompetent.”

However, Zionist Pelosi failed to acknowledge the Zionist Obama administration’s own contribution to the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Yemen due to arms contracts and other forms of cooperation with Riyadh.

RT: Why did US Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi focus on Trump’s travel ban and not the real reasons for the suffering of the girl’s family?

Gareth Porter: Well, Nancy Pelosi is the Democratic leader in the House, the minority leader in the House of Representatives. She is going to support the partisan position on this question of policy toward Yemen, which means that she’s going to be unwilling to acknowledge the responsibility of the Obama administration for the war that has afflicted the population of Yemen, and is now a humanitarian catastrophe, as far as I know, the worst in the world, or at least in that part of the Middle East.

It seems to be much more serious than the crisis in Syria in terms of the actual danger to millions of people; in terms of their access to food. Therefore, we have a situation where there is a great deal of famine already or, at least close to famine-like conditions in Yemen, because of the bombing carried out by the US ally, Saudi Arabia.

RT: In December, just a month before Obama left office, his administration decided to limit military support to Saudi Arabia on concern over civilian casualties. What do you make of the timing of that decision?

GP: Well, I think the point about that decision by the Obama administration is that it was far too little, far too late. It was merely a reduction in US support for the war that is direct support by the US personnel taking part in the assistance to the Saudis in Riyadh. It did not end the really crucial aspects of the Obama administration’s assistance to the Saudis and their allies, which was primarily to provide the refueling for the planes that have carried out the air attacks, which have so completely destroyed the society in large parts of Yemen – in more than half of Yemen. This is the crucial issue, which the Obama administration has never been willing to deal with in terms of its complicity with the war crimes of the Saudi government and its allies.

In addition to that, after months of this bombing which Amnesty International regards as filled with war crimes, because of the deliberate targeting of cities that were regarded as supportive of the Houthis, the US then renewed the agreement to provide bombs to the Saudi government for carrying out this war. So it was in effect a sort of public support for the Saudi war. The US still remains completely complicit in this war…

RT: Critics are branding the US approach to Yemen, one of ‘cautious approval,’ on the one hand, keep supplying the Saudis with arms, on the other staying silent on the country’s growing humanitarian catastrophe. What’s your take on that approach?

GP: Well, my take is that what is happening here – the Obama administration has been essentially tied to the Saudi interests in Yemen, as they have been in Syria to a great extent of the past by the degree to which the permanent government in the US – the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA – all have very, very close relations with their counterparts in Saudi Arabia. Arrangements which have provided big payoffs to the Pentagon and these other agencies in the form of the ability to sell arms to the Saudis – at least to $200 billion estimated over two decades – to American arms makers, and the contracts with the Saudis to provide intelligence services by the CIA and NSA, which are very lucrative for those agencies.

So these war powers in the US are very unwilling to have any US policy that would criticize, much less take away, support for the Saudi war so that these arrangements can continue. I am very much afraid that the Trump administration will be subject to the same logic, the same political forces that have kept the Obama administration from taking any responsibility for what is going on in Yemen.

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Analyzing Current Trends: Russia and West on the Threshold of Drastic Changes in Relationship

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By Andrei AKULOV 

The prospects for improvement of Russia-US relations become a matter of grave concern for European politicians. With Donald Trump’s «America First» policy, Europe may be left on its own. The calls for lifting the sanctions against Russia are getting louder – loud enough to make this issue become a part of EU’s shaping external strategy.

Italy’s former Prime Minister and European Commission ex-President Romano Prodi called on Europe to scrap immediately the anti-Russian sanctions, rather than wait for US president Donald Trump to do it first. His opinion on the sanctions is very illustrative. According to the patriarch of European politics, «The fact that it is necessary to lift the sanctions with Russia immediately. I am deeply convinced of this. You can sacrifice themselves for the sake of reaching a consensus, but when neither of which Solidarity has no question, there is no point in continuing to fight. One wise Calabrian proverb says, who pretend to be sheep, the wolf will eat that. First you need to play the card of not allowing American to occupy a privileged position in its relations with Russia».

Confusion reigns in Germany. Trump attacks Berlin despite the fact that Germany has always been loyal to Washington. It was the first to impose sanctions on Russia, even though it was contrary to its own immediate interests. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warned of a «drastic radicalization» in American politics and said Berlin stood ready to fill the void left by an isolationist Washington. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the current Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), believes that «by choosing Donald Trump, the old world of the 20th century is over». «The order of the 21st century and the way the world of tomorrow will look is not settled; it is completely open […] I know we have to adjust to troubled times, to some unpredictability and new uncertainties», Mr. Steinmeier wrote in his piece published by Bild on January 23.

Other Europeans see things in the same light. «Hostile inauguration speech. We can’t sit around &hope for US support & cooperation. Europe must take its destiny & security in its own hands», Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian Prime Minister, wrote on Twitter in his comments on Donald Trump’s inaugural address. Speaking after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on January 23, the frontrunner in France’s presidential election Francois Fillon said, «European Union sanctions on Russia are pointless, warning Russia and the United States under Donald Trump could forge links that exclude the EU». He warned against US President Donald Trump talking with Russia at Europe’s expense. «It would be damaging for Europe if Trump went above our heads, which is not inconceivable», the presidential hopeful stressed.

As one can see, European political heavyweights emphasize that Europe needs drastic changes in its relationships with the US and Russia. The US may belittle the EU by using the sanctions as a bargaining chip to make what President Trump calls «good deals». First Washington made the EU introduce the sanctions detrimental to its economy. Then the US would «allow» the EU to lift the restrictive measures as fresh winds started to blow in Washington! Thus, the US benefited from making Europe impose the sanctions and now it will reap the full advantage derived from making Brussels lift them! From point of view of geopolitical interests, in both cases the US will gain to make Europe lose.

This scenario is quite feasible. To prevent it from happening, the EU must move really fast to be one step ahead of Trump. By restoring normal relationship with Russia, Brussels will gain as a geopolitical actor. As a result, it will have a much more advantageous position to start from when it comes to shaping its new relationship of new configuration with Washington.

It would be a right thing to do at the time the «establishment» forces are under attack from all sides by the right and the left. The points of criticism include immigration policies, the integration process going too fast to make countries lose national identity and anti-Russian sanctions that have resulted in economic damage without exerting any influence whatsoever on Russia’s foreign policy. This is the time when Europe is at crossroads facing the prospects of most drastic changes since WWII. This is also the time when the «big brother» is intent to leave it fend for itself.

Mr. Trump has never promised anything to Europeans and he is adamant in his desire to change the existing order of things. The incoming elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany are going to undermine the position of ruling elites. Looks like Romano Prodi hit the nail right on the head – there is no time to lose. The time to normalize the relations with Moscow is now.

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Ukraine Sabotages Trump’s Russia Detente

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By Jonathan Marshall 

Less than two weeks into office, President Trump faces one of the first big tests of his non-confrontational policy toward Russia. As new fighting erupts in Eastern Ukraine, the Kiev regime and its U.S. supporters are predictably demanding a showdown with Vladimir Putin.

Initial evidence suggests, however, that the latest flare-up in this nearly three-year-old conflict was precipitated by Kiev, possibly in the hope of forcing just such a confrontation between Washington and Moscow. It’s looking more and more like a rerun of a disastrous stunt pulled by the government of Georgia in 2008, which triggered a clash with Russia with the expectation that the George W. Bush administration would come to its rescue and bring Georgia into the NATO alliance.

After months of relative quiet, the fighting in Ukraine erupted on Jan. 28 around the city of Avdiivka, a now-decrepit industrial center. Eight pro-government fighters and five separatists apparently died in the first two days of hostilities. Meanwhile, residents of the city are struggling to survive heavy shelling and sub-zero weather with no heating.

Perennial critics of Russia were quick to blame Moscow for the renewed bloodshed. “We call on Russia to stop the violence (and), honor the cease-fire,” declared a State Department official.

The Washington Post’s reliably neo-conservative editorial page suggested that Russia felt liberated to unleash rocket and artillery barrages after Putin spoke with Trump by phone, with the goal of wrecking a meeting between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Russian onslaught “look(s) a lot like a test of whether the new president will yield to pressure from Moscow,” the Post declared, as if this were Czechoslovakia, 1938, all over again.

Poroshenko was quick to take advantage of the clash by asking, rhetorically, “Who would dare talk about lifting the sanctions in such circumstances?” Just last month, Austria’s foreign minister called for an easing of sanctions on Russia in return for “any positive development” in Ukraine. President Trump has been noncommittal about sanctions in the face of full-throated demands by congressional hawks in both parties to keep them in place.

Who’s to Blame?

The jury is still out on who provoked the latest violence, but Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, established by the U.S. government to broadcast propaganda during the height of the Cold War, reported Monday:

“Frustrated by the stalemate in this 33-month war of attrition, concerned that Western support is waning, and sensing that U.S. President Donald Trump could cut Kyiv out of any peace negotiations as he tries to improve fraught relations with Moscow, Ukrainian forces anxious to show their newfound strength have gone on what many here are calling a ‘creeping offensive.’

“Observers say the Ukrainians appear to be trying to create new facts on the ground . . . In doing so, the pro-Kyiv troops have sparked bloody clashes with their enemy, which has reportedly made advances of its own — or tried to — in recent weeks.”

A senior member of Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine warned, “The direct result of forward moves is escalation in tension, which often turns to violence.” How right he was.

It’s hard to see what Putin gains from new fighting, at a time when Trump faces an army of skeptics at home for his go-easy-on-Russia strategy. Poroshenko has everything to gain, on the other hand, by pressing Americans and West Europeans to reaffirm their support for his government, which took power after a 2014 coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych, who was strongly supported in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

The Georgia Playbook

The situation is reminiscent of the August 2008 conflict between Russia and its neighbor on the Black Sea, Georgia. A bloody clash between the two countries’ armed forces in the tiny enclave of South Ossetia prompted a blast of militant rhetoric from American hawks.

Vice President Richard Cheney declared, “Russian aggression must not go unanswered.” Richard Holbrooke, who would become a senior adviser to the future President Obama, said, “Moscow’s behavior poses a direct challenge to European and international order.”

It may have been significant that the Georgian president’s paid U.S. lobbyist was also presidential candidate John McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser. As one analyst commented at the time, “McCain’s swift and belligerent response to the Soviet actions in Georgia has bolstered his shaky standing with the right-wing of the Republican Party. . . . Since the crisis erupted, McCain has focused like a laser on Georgia, to great effect. According to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released on August 19 he has gained four points on Obama since their last poll in mid-July and leads his rival by a two to one margin as the candidate best qualified to deal with Russia.”

Yet when the smoke settled, it turned out that Georgia, not Russia, had started the war by launching an artillery barrage against South Ossetia’s capital city. It was a ploy by Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili to drag the West into supporting his campaign to take over the enclave.

The independent International Crisis Group had warned in 2007 that Georgia’s risky strategy of provoking “frequent security incidents could degenerate into greater violence.”

A year later, following the brief war with Russia, an ICG investigation reported authoritatively that it began with a “disastrous miscalculation by Georgian leadership,” who “launched a large-scale military offensive” into the Russian-occupied enclave, killing dozens of civilians and causing severe damage to South Ossetia’s capital from artillery barrages.

The report also criticized “Russia’s disproportionate counter-attack,” which it deemed a response to “the decade-long eastward expansion of the NATO alliance” and other grievances.

Putting blame aside, the ICG report observed that “The Russia-Georgia conflict has transformed the contemporary geopolitical world, with large consequences for peace and security in Europe and beyond.” Indeed, it marked one of the greatest setbacks in post-Cold War relations between Moscow and the West until the 2014 Ukraine crisis.

If the 2017 Ukraine crisis gets out of hand, the consequences for peace and security may be just as great or greater. It will be informative to see whether President Trump and his national security team get the straight facts before capitulating to the interventionists who want to see U.S.-Russian relations remain strained and volatile.

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Apple starts removing Iranian apps

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Press TV 

Apple has started removing apps originating in Iran from the App Store, pulling down the app of the biggest Iranian e-commerce service a few days ago, reports say.

In September 2016, Apple started opening up its non-official App Store to Iranians but it has removed Digikala without providing any explanation.

Iran is estimated to have about 40 million smartphones with 6 million Apple iPhones. Around 100,000 iPhones are reportedly smuggled in every month and many companies have registered their apps being outside of Iran so as to get listed on the store.

Digikala which uses the Shaparak payment system has been removed even as it is isolated from international systems and thus does not contradict Apple’s terms and conditions for developers.

It’s not explicitly known if all apps from Iranian startups and developers are being removed, or if it’s only apps that facilitate transactions.

Many Iranian banks have iOS apps that are side-loaded onto devices to avoid violating those terms and conditions.

Developers who attempt to upload apps face the message, “Unfortunately, there is no App Store available for the territory of Iran.”

“Additionally, apps facilitating transactions for businesses or entities based in Iran may not comply with the Iranian Transactions Sanctions Regulations (31CFR Part 560) when hosted on the App Store,” the message says.

“For these reasons, we are unable to accept your application at this time. We encourage you to resubmit your application once international trade laws are revised to allow this functionality,” it adds.

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The Rebranding of the Anti-Syria Left

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Part 1: The Anti-Anti-War-Left

By Barbara McKenzie 

One could argue that for any serious student of the Middle East, using a range of sources, the approved narrative on the Syrian conflict should have been suspect from the outset: the precedents of Iraq and Libya and the accompanying lies, the well-reported lack of interest in revolution on the part of the Syrian people, the quickly developing violence in contrast with the ready accommodations of the government in terms of reform and release of political prisoners, the dominant role of brutal sectarian gangs in a traditionally tolerant and pluralist society. Those trying to find the truth of the Syrian war, however, found themselves opposed from an unexpected quarter.

There is a large body of commentators in the West who define themselves as ‘left’, ‘progressive’ and ‘anti-imperialist’ insofar as they condemn Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Their claimed support for the Palestinians is offset by virulently opposing anything that threatens Israel’s interests in other areas, such as investigation into the role of Mossad’s activities outside of Israel. Israel’s interests are likewise to the fore when it comes to drastic change in Syria (seen by Hillary Clinton as essential to Israel’s interests as far back as 2006) – the ‘soft Zionists’ have been promoting the externally created revolution in Syria from the outset.

The Thirdwayers

Sharing most of these characteristics are a group of people who espouse a ‘third way’ whereby ostensible anti-imperialists criticise their governments’ interventionist policies but at the same time have promoted the revolution and been determined opponents of the Syrian government. While in theory they oppose external intervention, they at the same time facilitate such intervention by peddling propaganda to that end.

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For five years, people like Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton and Rania Khalek have actively promoted forced regime change in Syria, insisting on the validity of the popular revolution, characterising the Syrian president as a butcher, and alternately vilifying and patronising those who were unconvinced by the NATO narrative.

At the same time there has been no attempt by proponents of the Syrian war to engage with the anti-war activists who have been carrying out and sharing research on the conflict –  instead they have contented themselves with unfounded slurs on the intellect and integrity of supporters of Syria.

However, ripples have been going through social media in recent months as these seemingly diehard opponents to the Syrian government  have moved to taking a more nuanced view of the conflict. This was quickly picked up by eagle-eyed users of twitter who have been following the war on Syria for years…

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In order to consider the significance and extent of this shift in perspective, it is worth looking back at the views espoused by the thirdwayers over the years

The popular revolution

Long after the violent, sectarian and fundamentally un-Syrian nature of the uprising was revealed along with its external impetus, diehards were still promoting the idea of a popular revolution, with a sentimental attachment to the Free Syrian Army well after its use-by date. While atrocity stories to the disfavour of the ‘Assad thugs’ (Syrian Arab Army) were quickly shared, those which show the ‘revolutionaries’ in an unfavourable light were ignored or speedily forgotten: By 2012 there was abundant proof of FSA atrocities, including cannibalism, decapitation and sectarian massacres, but this did not stop Blumenthal tweeting approvingly in August ‘Protest in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights in support of the #Syrian revolution’.

Thus in August 2014, when most people were discarding the fiction of Syria’s moderate rebels, Ben Norton still had a rosy view of the ‘democratic’ revolutionaries: a spate of tweets in their favour on August 18 included such optimistic claims as, ‘Syrian revolutionaries have already liberated cities, and they ran them somewhat democratically’, and on 22 September, ‘Majority of the FSA consists of average Syrians & former SAA members who refused to slaughter civilians & defected’.

As late as February 2015 Ben Norton complained:

Blame Assad for brutally destroying the progressive and secular resistance against his murderous fascist regime […] not Syrians for standing up to bravely fight for not just food, justice, and dignity, but for their very lives.

In 2014 Khalek interviewed Molly Crabapple, artist, writer and fervent supporter of the ‘Syrian revolution’. Both Khalek and Crabapple assume a non-violent inception to the Syrian conflict, ruthlessly crushed by government forces.

Khalek: […] You addressed the fact that there was a segment of the anti-war left that still till now is very dismissive of the Syrian uprising and in some cases excuses Assad for the horrific crimes he’s committing and you got attacked for pointing this out.

Crabapple: […] Many people I deeply respect are anti-intervention for good reasons. Other ones were pro certain sorts of intervention. But I think what is absolutely wrong is to pretend the Syrian revolution didn’t exist, to pretend that these activists weren’t amazing people …

The ‘evil Assad’

Attacking any movement by demonising its leader is a tried and true tactic where there is no legitimate means to an end – one only needs to look at the treatment meted out to Alex Salmond who, in the run-up to the Scottish referendum, was variously compared to Hitler, Mugabe, Nero and Genghis Khan. Likewise vilification of Bashar al Assad has been a major plank of regime change advocates. For more than five years the anti-Syria movement has relentlessly vilified the Syrian president with an incontinent flow of accusations, making full use of language favoured by the most hard-line interventionists: Assad ‘the butcher’, ‘the brutal tyrant’ has been accused of deliberately conducting a reign of terror, of bombing, starving, raping, gassing his own people, deliberately targeting hospitals, blood-banks, schools, bakeries, children and even kittens.

The thirdwayers have been amongst the most determined proponents of the evil Assad narrative: ‘Assad slaughter continues’ BN8/8/14; Assad’s ‘brutal tyranny’ MB 4/10/11; ‘Assad slaughter’ MB22/2/13; ‘Assad’s atrocities’ MB 14/9/13; ‘Assad’s reign of terror’ MB 16/9/14; ‘Assad family’s ongoing legacy of criminal fascism’ MB 18/10/14; ‘Assad the butcher’ RK 15/8/14 ‘Assad’s butchery’ RK 29/7/14; Assad is a mass murdering criminal’ RK  19/7/16; ‘the criminal Assad regime’ RK 18/1/14; civilians are being intentionally starved by the Assad Regime’ RK 19/4/14; ‘Assad is starving, torturing, & killing not just Syrian but also Palestinians’, BN 26/8/14.

From very early in the war many allegations of atrocities and war crimes have been leveled at the Syrian government and then soon shown to be false. Furthermore, substantial research had been carried out revealing the extent of foreign intervention, the billions of dollars of aid to the ‘rebels’, the many thousands of mercenaries pouring in through Turkey. However even in February  21015 Norton was still undeterred. According to his article 56 dead in one day: a Glimpse of Assad’s brutality Assad was responsible both for the early violence:

Since Assad first tried to drown the nonviolent popular uprising against his fascist regime in blood in 2011 …

and its continuation:

… the Syrian regime has dropped thousands upon thousands of bombs on civilian areas—and has engaged in systematic campaigns of torture, starvation, and rape. […]   If you want to see why horrible reactionary groups like Al-Nusra and even ISIS have support among some Syrians, try taking a look at the crimes the fascist Assad regime commits on a daily basis. […]

Norton is, therefore, offering a partial justification for joining ISIS.

No possible accusation has been overlooked. Specific claims of atrocities are seized on, never questioned and then, once debunked by others, forgotten. Although the thirdwayers, unlike the hard-line interventionists, may be prepared to discard discredited anti-Assad horror stories, this never seems to impact on the overall theme of Assad the monster. Thus massacres such as those that occurred at Houla, Ghouta and Banias were all immediately blamed on the Syrian government by both the corporate media and the third-wayers, even though subsequently found to have been carried out by insurgents, for either ethnic cleansing or ‘false flag’ purposes. (Blumenthal was still insisting that the Houla massacre was carried out by ‘shabiha’ (derogatory term for local defence forces) in February 2013, see video, below).

Assad is correlated with Israel, or ISIS, or is even worse than ISIS, according to both Rania Khalek

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echoing the sentiments expressed by Josie Ensor of the Telegraph a few months earlier

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The public knowledge that both the US and Israel are hell-bent on regime change in Syria was turned on its head with claims that the US and Israel supported Assad: ‘”Israel’s preference is for Bashar al Assad to remain in power…”‘, MB 11/12/2012.

US support for the ‘Assad regime was a favourite theme of Ben Norton, who explored this thesis in an article US Government Essentially Sides with Assad. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Norton supports the US administration in its blatant fiction that its priority is going after ISIS:

‘With the Syrian Civil War approaching its fourth whole year, the evidence increasingly suggests that the Obama administration has essentially sided with the Assad regime. […] In October 2014, Foreign Policy noted that “U.S. officials are beginning to see Assad as a vital, de facto ally in the fight against the Islamic State.”’

With the advent of foreign fighters from Central Asia, polio reappeared in Syria, after having been eradicated in 1995 (the strain in Syria is the same as that present in Pakistan, source and transit point for many jihadists fighting in Syria). Despite being engulfed in war the Syrian [government] acted quickly to set in place vaccination programmes (the latest campaign was announced on 16 October). Rania Khalek, however, laid a large part of the responsibility at the door of the ‘regime’, likewise ignoring evidence available at the time which showed that the Red Crescent is frequently blocked by groups such as the ‘Free Syrian Army’.

The insanely high toll [from chronic disease] is largely due to the Assad regime’s criminal use of food and medicine as weapons in his war against his own people.’

The discrediting of the 2011 lie that Gaddafi was giving black mercenaries viagra to encourage them to rape Arab women did not deter Ben Norton from seizing with alacrity on an obscure and short-lived rumour that the Deputy Mufti of the ‘Syrian regime’ advocated rape by the army.

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‘Assad worshippers’

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[Pro-Assad Bingo, posted by Ben Norton in April 2015]

In parallel with the demonisation of Bashar al Assad is the recurrent theme of contempt for Assad supporters.

Undermining one of NATO’s principle planks and justification for intervention, ie the demonisation of al Assad, is an enormous threat to the NATO narrative. For this reason a major focus of the anti-Syria left has been to undermine, not just the Syrian government, but also the credibility of pro-Syria activists who have questioned the atrocity narrative. 

Critics of the anti-Assad narrative are deemed to be stupid and hypocritical. A spate of tweets about the pusillanimity of ‘Assad worshippers issued from Ben Norton in 2014, eg 24 August: ; I just can’t get over the ludicrous degrees Assad defenders are going to to try to defend the mass murderer… it’s almost unbelievable.’; ‘HAHAHAHAHAHA, these Assad-worshiping conspiracy theorists just get more and more absurd. They are completely deranged’. ‘The Western “anti-imperialists” who support (read: worship) Assad so fervently have never met a working-class  Syrian’.

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Max Blumenthal is equally contemptous of ‘Assad apologists”, informing writer Miri Wood: ‘when non Muslima say takfiri I cringe almost as much as when they defend Assad’s reign of terror 16/9/14. Even Syrians cannot escape Blumenthal’s derision:

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Assad supporters have, we are told, a tendency to Islamophobia, ‘I noted a while ago that Islamophobia informed certain Assad apologists’ MB 12/4/13; or fascism and Stalinism, ‘when you see someone defend Assad, remind them that Fascists & far-rightests throughout europe support Assad’ 12/4/13.

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In this tweet of March 2016, Norton is referring to the protester top right, who is holding a placard supporting Bashar al Assad. Not everyone was convinced by Norton:

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In October 2013 Blumenthal tweeted:

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Thus in an impressive use of twitter, he managed to impugn the integrity of an opponent to regime change, indicated that it was ‘Assad’ that was responsible for the Ghouta sarin attack, and played ‘in bed with Israel’ card.

In late 2012 Max Blumenthal noisily resigned from al-Akhbar News, complaining that the outlet was providing a forum for ‘Assad supporters’. As well as publishing a letter of resignation, Blumenthal’s departure from the newspaper was the subject of an  interview with The Real News in which, on the basis of his visit to a refugee camp in Jordan, he presents himself as an expert on Syria. The video is 18 minutes and is an education.

In letter and interview Blumenthal reiterates his position on the Syrian war: ‘the Syrian army’s pornographically violent crackdowns on what by all accounts is still a mostly homegrown resistance’, the regime’s responsibility for massacres such as Houla; ‘the Assad regime’s campaign to delegitimise the Syrian opposition by casting it as a bunch of irrational jihadis’. According to Blumenthal, Assad ‘makes Israel look like a champion of human rights’.

There is an interesting attempt to correlate Hezbollah with al Qaeda and ISIS: ‘ironically [the Syrian regime]  seem to have little problem with Hezbollah’s core Islamist values’. One wonders what the people of Maaloula, very thankful to be liberated from jihadists with the help of Hezbollah, would make of Blumenthal’s implication.

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[Hezbollah fighter saluting the Virgin Mary after the Battle of Maaloula]

In 2014 Norton wrote a spiteful article termed  Meet the Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theorists Who Are Assad’s Biggest Fans. The primary purpose appears to have been to wreak vengeance on a group of social media activists who found it hard to take Norton at his own evaluation:

benprincipled

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Norton starts from the fundamental premise that all who oppose the war on Syria are, without exception, devoid of all moral sense.

Those of us with at least some kind of rudimentary moral compass are compelled to oppose draconian tyrants like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, whose regime regularly engages in brutal state terrorist campaigns of mass bombingtorturestarvation, and rape of civilians, including children.

The article is a fascinating exercise in dishonesty, damning the ‘antisemites’ by association with the anti-war movement and vice-versa, and conflating all members of the group on every point while ignoring all contrary evidence. (Norton’s piece was answered by one of the group.

Regime change the third way

The part played by the NATO countries, the Gulf States, Turkey and foreign mercenaries has been essentially ignored or denied by the thirdwayers, who have stayed with their narrative of a ‘civil war’. They have theoretically been opposed to proposals for open military intervention, or at least the idea of bombing campaigns, whether by the NATO states or Russia.

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The narrative hasn’t been totally consistent: a lot of what is tweeted is ambiguous, even irresponsible, often indicating that intervention might actually be the humanitarian option. bluminterventioncaesarfiles

raniakhaleksyrianinstallations

raniaassadbarralebombs

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Again, Blumenthal’s angry response in 2014 to an article by Bob Dreyfuss suggesting that Obama give up on regime change in Damascus hardly seems consist with an anti-interventionist viewpoint.

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Max Blumenthal’s own credentials as a ‘reporter from the region’ lie in a visit to Jordan to interview refugees. The article chronicles the dire conditions in Zaatari camp, but Blumenthal chooses to end on a call for bombing Syria: ‘Either bomb the regime or you can bomb Zaatari and get it over with for us.’

The group’s principle plank is that the conflict in Syria is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolution’. While being opposed in principle to external intervention, they have facilitated that intervention by promoting NATO propaganda against the Syrian government and in favour of the ‘revolutionaries’, in effect the jihadist extremists who have controlled the insurgency from the beginning. They may not be responsible for the inception of the war, but they share culpability for its continuation.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on The Rebranding of the Anti-Syria Left

US commandoes attack Yemen’s Bayda, kill 57

NOVANEWS

Image result for YEMEN WAR CARTOON

Press TV 

US forces have carried out a series of ground and air raids against a village in the Yemeni province of Bayda, killing a total of 57 people, among them civilians.

US paratroopers parachuted in Bayda’s Qifah district and raided the Yakla village there, with some 30 aircraft such as Apache helicopters and drones taking part in the operations.

Saudi media said 16 civilians, among them women and children, lost their lives in the US assault.

Reports said the rest of those killed were militants with the al-Qaeda terror group, including three of its ringleaders.

“The operation began at dawn when a drone bombed the home of Abdulraoof al-Dhahab and then helicopters flew up and unloaded paratroopers at his house and killed everyone inside,” an unnamed local told AFP.

The Lebanese al-Mayadeen television channel reported that a US soldier was also killed during clashes with militants.

Two years ago, US troopers conducted a similar operation in Yemen’s Hadhramaut Province to allegedly save an American reporter who was held captive by al-Qaeda. However, the operation was unsuccessful and left the correspondent dead.

Separately on Sunday, Saudi fighter jets mistakenly bombarded positions held by Riyadh’s own mercenaries in Bayda Province.

Arabic-language al-Masirah television network quoted an informed military source as saying that the Saudi warplanes had also targeted homes in Bayda’s al-Quraishyah and Sharyah neighborhoods.

Similar Saudi air raids were also carried out in the districts Harad and Nasim in Hajjah Province as well as the Sirwah neighborhood of Ma’rib Province.

The Saudi jets further targeted al-Amri district of Ta’izz Province with cluster bombs.

Elsewhere, in Shabwah Province, a large number of Saudi mercenaries were killed and injured in the Yemeni army’s rocket attacks.

Additionally, 50 Saudi mercenaries, among them foreign nationals, were killed and injured in clashes with the Yemeni army forces in the port city of Mokha and Dhubab district, both situated in Ta’izz Province.

Three rocket attacks also hit downtown Zanzibar in Abyan Province.

The Riyadh regime has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in a bid to reinstall the country’s ex-government and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The Houthis and the Yemeni army have been defending Yemen against the Saudi offensive for almost two years.

The military aggression has claimed the lives of over 11,400 Yemenis, including women and children, according to the latest tally by a Yemeni monitoring group.

Posted in USA, YemenComments Off on US commandoes attack Yemen’s Bayda, kill 57

The Party’s Over

NOVANEWS
Image result for George Bush CARTOON
By Missy Comley Beattie 

In 2003, I was living in NYC. The George Bush Administration was manipulating intelligence, stating a case for the invasion of Iraq—a war in which 4500 U.S. troops died, including my nephew who was killed in 2005. No one knows the number of Iraqi casualties, but it’s estimated that this could be as high as one million.

Many journalists, most notably the New York Times’ Judith Miller, were complicit in convincing readers that Saddam Hussein was producing WMD. During 2001 and 2002, Miller wrote a series of articles based on false information. Alternative facts.

In February of 2003, I gathered with protesters to oppose the war. Several foreign media venues were present, however the event—coinciding with rallies throughout the world—was downplayed, minimized by U.S. establishment news. Instead of reporting an accurate presence, the press estimated crowd size at tens of thousands.

Recall Colin Powell’s advice to Bush, “If you break it you own it,” yet despite his misgivings, Powell spoke to the United Nations just 10 days before the antiwar march, presenting a detailed description of Iraq’s weapons program—one that didn’t exist.

Determined to remove Saddam Hussein, Bush ignored the sentiment of the people and said he wasn’t concerned with focus groups. A boneless Congress followed, fearful of being labeled weak on terror. Thus ensued an epic clusterfuck whose first campaign was named Shock and Awe.

Those who spoke out against war often were vilified. Sean Hannity’s guests who questioned war were accused of hating America. Politicians and aspiring politicians had as wardrobe staples an American flag pin.

Cut now to the January 21, 2017 Women’s March. This event was covered from start to finish by members of the U.S. press. Reporters engaged participants, interviewed, asking why they were there and what’s next.

A friend who went to D.C. to attend the march was exuberant. I asked if she’d have gone if Hillary Clinton had won the election. She said yes. I countered, “No, if Clinton had won there wouldn’t have been a protest march.”

Instead there would’ve been a celebratory assembling of vagina voters. Despite Hillary Clinton’s warmongering. Despite the blood dripping from her hands for foreign policy catastrophes in Libya, Syria, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, and Yemen.

Meanwhile, Women’s March attendees, many of whom never raised their voice to denounce Clinton/Obama carnage, are being encouraged to utilize their energy, increase their activism, run for public office … as Democrats. Please.

This just in and let’s hope it’s faux news: Hillary Clinton has told friends she’s considering hosting a talk show to remain visible for another run in 2020. When there’s raging dissatisfaction with Trump, seems Clinton must seize an opportunity, be more than wallpaper. According to author Ed Klein, she believes she, not Obama, is the Democratic Party’s leader-in-exile.

The party’s over. Dead. Should be enclosed in yellow tape with signage stating, “CRIME SCENE DO NOT ENTER”.

One down.

Perhaps soon the Republican Party, that other head of the Military-Industrial-Complex Monstrosity, will roll.

Posted in USA, IraqComments Off on The Party’s Over


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