Posted on 03 April 2017.
Posted on 03 April 2017.
By Sajjad Shaukat
In order to pollute the minds of the patriot people of the Baluchistan province against the
federation of Pakistan, every year Baloch Sub Nationalists (BSNs) observe March 27 as a black
day on alleged annexation of Kallat state with Pakistan in 1948.
During this very day, shutter down strikes in small and far-flung areas of Balochistan and
demonstrations of small attendance by exiled BSNs take place. As these hostile elements, while
following the foreign agenda of the anti-Pakistan countries distort the historical facts; the Baloch
must need to know the actual perspective about accession of Kallat state with Pakistan.
No doubt, Baloch leaders and people of Balochistan played a vital role in creation of Pakistan,
and ultimately succeeded under the leadership and guidance of Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad Ali
Jinnah in achieving Pakistan as an independent state. In fact, Balochistan is an integral part of
Pakistan with a history of supporting Resolution of Pakistan-1940, which envisaged creation of a
separate homeland for Muslim majority areas of the Sub-continent, as the Baloch had strongly
opposed plan of the united India.
Unfortunately, there are still been certain dissident elements which not only opposed the idea of
Two Nation Theory-the fundamental ideological base for creation of Pakistan, but also left no
stone unturned in polluting the minds of the innocent Baloch by distorting the history of
Balochistan’s accession to Pakistan. In reality, before the independence of Pakistan, the
territories which are now consolidated into the province of Balochistan did not constitute a
settled province. Apart from Quetta District that was administrated under civil law, the rest of the territory was under Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR). The then government of British India constituted a special body of tribal elders known as “SHAHI JIRGA” for consultation by
Assistant Governor General (AGG) on local issues relating to British Balochistan.
On June 29, 1947, “SHAHI JIRGA” of the British Balochistan as representative body of AGG along with elected members of Quetta Municipal Body unanimously passed a resolution of forming part of Pakistan. The State of Kalat had customary over lordship on the princely states of Kharan,
Makran and Lasbela. As these three states decided to join Pakistan in March 1948, the Khan of
Kalat (KoK) also acceded with Pakistan on March 27, 1948. The brother of KoK Shehzada
Abdul Karim of Kakat having mustered 130 tribesmen started insurgency in 1948 which never
took off ground and the matter was brought under control.
Regretfully, Baloch Sub Nationalists (BSNs) distort history of accession of Kalat with Pakistan
and give reference of the so-called insurgency of 1948 by brother of KoK, whereas the document
of accession of State of Kalat with Pakistan was signed by KoK himself as legitimate ruler of
State of Kalat.
Notably, as a result of the general elections 2013, the government led by the nationalist leader
Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch was established in Balochistan, while on
December 7, 2013; local bodies elections were largely held in a peaceful manner in the province.
However, these elections proved that majority of the Baloch are loyal to the federation, and do
not favour separation of the Balachistan, as they have rejected the case of separatists, being
projected by anti-Pakistan powers.
Even a Gallup survey of the UK official body, DFID, conducted on July 20, 212, had disclosed
that the vast majority of the Baloch people oppose the idea of an independent Balochistan. This
survey has also proved that some external entities have been conducting acts of sabotage in the
province by backing the minority groups.
As regards the deteriorating situation of Balochistan and the missing persons, everyone knows
that Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Baloch Salvation Front (BSF) and their affiliated
outfits, including another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for
secession of the province gets logistic support from American CIA, Indian RAW, and Israeli
Mossad. In the past few years, these militants kidnapped and killed many innocent people and
the security personnel in the province. They also massacred many persons through suicide
attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence. Therefore, they are responsible for
dumped bodies and extrajudicial killings in the province. On a number of occasions, these
insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their subversive acts. A majority of the disappeared
individuals are also in the detention centers (Farrari Camps) which are being run by foreign-
assisted Baloch feudal lords (Sardars) who want to continue old system of feudalism in the
province so as to maintain their status, prestige and influence at the cost of people of the
It is mentionable that India, US and Israel have been internationalizing the Balochistan issue in
accordance with their secret goals. In this respect, in connivance with the Baloch separatist
leaders who have taken refuge in Switzerland, Sweden, US and London, these foreign elements
use media, various NGOs and human rights organizations for false propaganda against
Pakistan’s security agencies in relation to extrajudicial killings, mutilated bodies and the missing persons.
Nevertheless, during this vary day, it is also of particular attention that since, the government of
the Balochistan province announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants as part of reconciliation process, many militants and their leaders have surrendered their arms and
decided to work for the development of Pakistan and the province.
Besides, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by
the successful military operation Zarb-e- Azb which has also been extended to Balochistan where peace has been restored. But, it is misfortune that based in Afghanistan; external secret agencies such as CIA, RAW and Mossad have, again, started subversive activities in Balochistan. As part of the double, game, these agencies are using the separatist elements and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL), the Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur- Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA), including other similar outfits in creating unrest in Balochistan, as recent terror attacks in the province has proved.
Now, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is their special target. Taking cognizance of historical facts, the idea of observing Black Day must be denounced by all the segments of society, while the majority of the Baloch has already rejected the call for shutter down strike. But, these anti-Pakistan aims of the separatist elements also needs to be countered by our own historians, analysts and media persons by giving true perspective of history and denouncing the hostile elements who distorting the facts in order to advance their vested interests.
These internal entities of Pakistan must point out that People of Balochistan, especially the youth are very loyal and patriotic Pakistanis who believe in unity and sovereignty of the country. They cannot be misled by elusive designs of greedy leaders who plan to observe March 27 as Black Day.
Particularly, media must proactively project the role of Baloch leaders in creation of Pakistan
and in defending the state of Pakistan. For the purpose, talk shows must be held giving correct
perspective of historical records by explaining the process of accession of State of Kalat with
Pakistan and internal rift between KoK and his brother.
Our own intellectuals must indicate that insurgency of 1948 which started by Shehzada Abdul
Karim of Kakat never took off, because it was not supported by other realist Baloch leaders, and
it was based on misguided thoughts suggested by few Indian Congress leaders. The aim was to
destabilize Pakistan by creating militancy in Balochistan.
Returning to our earlier discussion, last year, Baloch Sub Nationalists and Baloch Salvation
Front called for a shutter down strike in Balochistan on March 27 to observe it as Black Day.
Since it is the date of legal accession of State of Kalat with Pakistan, therefore, the strike call was
based on negative contemplation and wicked designs to misguide the Baloch, especially the
youth. In order to obtain the foreign agenda against Pakistan, these hostile elements who distort
the history, want that every year, this Black Day should be observed.
Posted on 03 April 2017.
The logical part of your brain really, really likes listening to the social part, which just wants to fit in.
If efforts by foreign powers to influence American society via disinformation — like the “fake news” that spread during last year’s presidential election — are rising as a national-security concern, then we need to know why such antics work. How does an adversarial government go about persuading an entire population that something is true, or that one truth is more important or relevant than another?
Recent research into the roots of persuasion in the brain yields some important clues about how people are convinced to propagate news that is not true or poorly sourced. Bottom line: fake news appeals directly to the portions of the brain associated with social acceptance. Activity from those regions has a bigger effect on decision-making than logical argument — like some snobby East Coast news outlet trying to tell you “true” things.
If you haven’t heard of the social brain or the role that it may play in deciding what to news to believe, you’re not alone. We associate most high-level decision making with the very front of the brain, the prefrontal cortex. You could be forgiven for thinking that prefrontal cortex would be the part of the brain we would use to evaluate the authenticity or accuracy of a big national news story.
But UCLA neuroscientist Matthew D. Lieberman has discovered a new neural network for social thinking that has an on-and-off relationship with the prefrontal cortex in decision-making.
As Lieberman explained in a 2013 TED talk, “Social thinking is so important that evolution gave us a separate brain system just for this type of thinking.” It runs along the side of the brain and is distinct from the prefrontal cortex. In fact, they seem to activate in a way that takes turns influencing one another.
“It’s as if these two networks are on two sides of a seesaw. When one goes up the other goes down,” he said. “This network also comes on when we’re taking in new information.”
[Skip to around minute 10.]
Lieberman’s lab asked test subjects to watch movie trailers while their brains were monitored via functional magnetic resonance imaging. He found that when the subjects experienced high activation in the social portion of the brain, they were much more likely to spread or share the trailer.
“This network switches us from being information consumers to information DJs,” he says.
Here’s why this is big news for fake news. It relates directly to persuasion, getting a person to accept information you are giving them and then act on that information. Lieberman’s discovery is an effective hack for persuasion.
You use your social brain to make decisions about how to classify incoming information on the basis of your social network, who you follow online, what other news sites you read — what technologist Eli Pariser sometimes calls your filter bubble. This analysis is accepted as important by the prefrontal cortex, the so-called logical and analytical portion of your brain. If you’ve just read a news story, your social brain is shaping your decision to spread it as real or to denounce it as fake.
Lieberman’s work has been validated by Ian McCulloh, an Army veteran and neuroscientist at the Johns Hopkins School Applied Physics Lab. At a recent Global SOF Foundation event in Tampa, Florida, McCulloh discussed his own work with special operations forces personnel.
McCulloh described a recent test he and some colleagues performed in Amman, Jordan. He showed subjects anti-smoking ads that were targeted toward very particular groups (young men and older men with families). Using a much more portable brain measurement kit — one that measures electricity rather than hemoglobin — they found that ads targeted specifically to the subjects’ social group caused more of the prefrontal cortex to light up. The social signal was shaping reactions by the brain’s logic and decision portion. Put into behavioral terms, people are more likely to do something, believe something, or act on something if they are convinced that other people like them are engaging in that behavior.
That’s hardly surprising. But there’s a counter-implication as well: the same brain regions that boost socially accepted messages are also more resistant to information or news reports whose acceptance that might isolate that individual from their social group.
For the military, and Special Operations Forces in particular, that simple fact has direct relevance to the difficult work of persuading a local population not to embrace extremism, or believe bad stories about what the U.S. troops are doing.
“If you’re trying to use logical arguments to convince an ISIS supporter that ISIS is wrong, you’re polarizing them and make them more isolated. I mean, that’s, you know that’s sofa psychology,” McCulloh explained.
Beyond war, the lesson has relevance for how everyone accepts and then spreads ideas.
“If you’re really polarized on a particular issue — you’re on, let’s say, platform A, and I start telling you all the reasons why platform B is really a good, factual, better system, your brain does not systematically evaluate that information,” he said “Instead, what it does is it come up with all of the reasons and rationale as to why you should not believe that factual information, why you should distrust it. The result is that you become polarized in the opposite direction of whatever you want.”
Back to Lieberman’s lecture. There’s an entire neural region that exists to keep people from accepting ideas or being persuaded by information that might isolate that individual from their social network.
The result: not only is the social brain region more susceptible to fake news that has high social value, it defends itself by shouting “fake news!” at information that runs contrary to already accepted information. Trolls, bots, and less-than-reputable news sites take that individual reaction and spread it across an entire self-selected user group at lightning speed.
This, in part, is why a report suggesting that the CIA hacked the DNC to frame Russia can gain traction both on Russian propaganda sites such as RT and alternative-right news sites like Breitbart. It’s also one reason why people who follow news sites on the basis of whether they are liberal or conservative are more likely to accept and act on bad information.
The FBI is reportedly exploring the role of RT and Breitbart and similar sites in the spread of disinformation masquerading as news coverage during the 2016 election. The news comes as a gathering chorus of policy-makers and even members of the intelligence community fret over the effects of fake news on public life.
But actually stopping fake news will likely be more difficult than spotting it.
Posted on 03 April 2017.
Until Moscow decides that working to reduce radicalization is more important than propping up Assad, the anti-ISIS coalition doesn’t need its help.
When scores of foreign ministers gather in Washington on Thursday for their latest meeting to coordinate the fight against ISIS, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will once again be missing. Despite a January phone call in which Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed collaborating against the Islamic State, it appears that the White House has at least temporarily shelved the idea. If that holds, it will be good for the United States.
Last August, I sat across from senior Russian generals and intelligence officials in a meeting meant to explore whether our two countries could agree on modalities for delivering humanitarian assistance to the beleaguered city of Aleppo. Our Pentagon delegation was trying to convince the Russians to pull back Assad-regime forces from critical supply routes such as Castello Road in northern Aleppo. It was painfully clear from our discussions then, just as it is now, that the Russian General Staff was not focused on the fight against ISIS and cared even less about civilian casualties, which had become a tool for extremist radicalization. It appeared that the generals across the table were simply playing for time so Assad could barrel-bomb his way to victory in Aleppo. Their focus was on mustering every conceivable argument to oppose humanitarian access to Aleppo neighborhoods where the local population sympathized with the opposition.
In these discussions, the Russians repeatedly accused the United States of failing in its ostensible responsibility to separate radical groups like Jabhat Al Nusrah (now called Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) from moderate opposition fighters. Whether they were oblivious or understood and simply did not care, the Russians failed to appreciate the argument that bombing urban centers radicalizes the civilian population and pushes moderate and extremist groups towards tactical alliances against a common enemy. In any case, after days of negotiations we did manage to agree on a plan for humanitarian access that alleviated Russian concerns about the possibility of military resupply for opposition fighters in Aleppo. Unfortunately, when Foreign Minister Lavrov met Secretary Kerry in Geneva a few days later, Lavrov reneged on the agreement.
The reason is simple. Lavrov’s bosses in the Kremlin view the Syrian opposition the same way they viewed the Chechen opposition 20 years earlier: as a regime threat that needs to be physically eliminated. The only difference is that in Syria the Kremlin prefers to outsource the bloody ground combat to its three allies: Assad’s army, Lebanese Hezbollah, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. It is a “hearts and minds” campaign of a different sort, one based on terrorizing the civilian population into submission and capitulation. Because Russia is militarily embedded with these groups and coordinates its actions with them, it is fully complicit in this campaign. For this reason alone, the United States should continue to avoid any association or entanglement with this notorious alliance.
Another reason to avoid collaboration with Russia in Syria is because it would require sharing intelligence on military targets, which would expose U.S. sources and methods to Russian military intelligence. Because Russia’s air campaign in Syria is based largely on unguided munitions, sharing even sanitized target information would risk U.S. complicity in any collateral damage, including civilian deaths, from airstrikes using “dumb bombs.” If intelligence on targets were shared in the reverse direction, it would also pose problems because it would require the United States to independently verify Russian targets — a painstaking and lengthy process — before taking action. Assuming the targets were valid, it would make far more operational sense for the Russian military simply to take action on its own rather than to wait for the United States. Fortunately, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community understand these dangers and have staunchly resisted calls for collaboration in the air campaign.
Instead of pursuing a futile attempt to cooperate with Russia against ISIS, the U.S. should continue to deconflict its operations with Moscow so an accidental encounter in the congested skies over Syria does not inadvertently set off an escalatory spiral. Deconfliction channels that were opened under the Obama administration should continue to be maintained and even improved to ensure that sufficiently senior (i.e., flag) officers are available 24/7 if something happens. Another potential step is a more defined geographic deconfliction of activities on the ground. This would involve designating areas where Russia bears responsibility for clearing ISIS, such as those regions where Moscow has a significant military footprint already, and leaving other areas to the Counter-ISIS Coalition. Geographic delineation of areas of responsibility would ensure that ground forces supported and armed by the two sides do not inadvertently clash, but would not involve any combined missions or operations. Further still down the road, if geographic de-confliction became a reality and de facto zones of influence emerged in Syria that were reasonably well delineated, one could envision a negotiation among key stakeholders to discuss Syria’s future governance structure.
For now, however, it is important to recognize that while Russia has a clear national interest in defeating ISIS, good counterterrorism policy is about more than just eliminating bad guys. It is also about creating socio-political conditions on the ground that mitigate against future radicalization. Iraq learned this lesson the hard way under Prime Minister Maliki’s exclusionary rule, during which Al Qaeda in Iraq was transmogrified into ISIS. It is not a lesson that Russia or its allies in Syria appear to understand, given their direct role in deepening sectarian divisions. So long as that is the case, the United States and the rest of the Counter-ISIS Coalition should steer clear of collaborating with Russia.
Posted on 03 April 2017.
Despite claiming responsibility for attacks like the one in London, the group is dying. It will retain the ability to inspire.
The Islamic State is claiming responsibility for the London attack that left three people and the attacker dead on Wednesday. “It is believed that this attacker acted alone,” Prime Minister Theresa May said, adding that the British-born man, already known to authorities, was inspired by “Islamist terrorism.” For its part, ISIS called the attacker its “soldier” in a report published by its Amaq news agency in both Arabic and English. The caliphate, it seemed, was eager to signal to a broad audience that it was as busy and effective as ever. The facts, however, tell a different story.
Back in 2014, God was on the side of ISIS—or so it appeared, and so ISIS claimed, with some plausibility. The speed and scope of its ascent was extraordinary. In mid-June it seized Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and in the following months it annexed a Britain-sized swath of territory crossing Syria and Iraq. In his historic June 29 statement, in which he declared the restoration of the caliphate and announced Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its leader or caliph, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said:
It is a hope that flutters in the heart of every mujahid [one who does jihad] and muwahhid [monotheist]. … It is the caliphate—the abandoned obligation of the era. … The sun of jihad has risen. The glad tidings of good are shining. Triumph looms on the horizon. The signs of victory have appeared. … Now the caliphate has returned. … Now the dream has become a reality.
Al-Adnani also warned ISIS fighters that they would face “tests and quakes,” and the next few months proved him right about that. But he couldn’t have been more wrong about the “triumph” part.
Since August 2014, when it was at the height of its powers, ISIS has lost about 45 percent of its territory in Syria and 20 percent in Iraq—and with it a vast source of wealth generation. According to research conducted by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), ISIS’s “annual revenue has more than halved: from up to $1.9b in 2014 to a maximum of $870m in 2016.” At the same time, the flow of foreign fighters to the caliphate has plummeted, from a peak of 2,000 crossing the Turkey-Syria border each month in late 2014 to as few as 50 each month nowadays. The U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition has reportedly killed more than 10,000 ISIS fighters, including al-Adnani, who was targeted in a U.S. drone strike last August, and other notable leadership figures. And last month Iraqi government forces took complete control of Eastern Mosul.
More than two and a half years after al-Adnani’s statement, “the sun” of ISIS’s jihad would appear to be setting. Far from becoming an entrenched reality, ISIS’s self-declared caliphate is desperately hanging on for survival and will in all probability return to the dreamscape from which it came. God, it turns out, has switched sides and deserted ISIS—or so it seems, and so ISIS’s enemies can claim, with some plausibility.
It’s far too early to be writing ISIS’s obituary, but it seems likely that the group will lose its hold on Mosul and its de-facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria by the end of the year, although much will depend on what role the United States takes on in coalition efforts to defeat the group.
What will happen to ISIS—both as a physical entity and as an idea—once it is removed from its territorial bases in Iraq and Syria?
The expert consensus seems to be that ISIS as a physical entity will retreat into the desert, where it will regroup in some form or other, just as it did after the U.S.-led surge in Iraq in 2007. Whether such a retreat will spell the end of ISIS in the long term will depend crucially on the political situation in Iraq. If nothing is done to change the power balance between Sunnis and Shia, and if Sunni civilians are massacred out of misplaced revenge for ISIS atrocities, there is every possibility that ISIS will again return and resume a footing among Sunni communities. As Hassan Hassan put it in The New York Times, if there is no Sunni group in Iraq that can “fill the void left by the Islamic State,” then ISIS “will once again emerge from the desert.”
A return to the desert will almost certainly make it harder for ISIS to mount large-scale attacks on Western targets, although it may intensify the desire to mount such attacks as a way of signaling continuing relevance and resilience to the wider jihadist community. And although surviving foreign fighters may seek to return to their countries of origin to launch attacks there, incidents of remotely guided lone wolf attacks in the West may actually decline, given the diminishing symbolic rewards a degraded ISIS is able to provide distant would-be-martyrs.
Loss of territory will also, as Georgetown’s Bruce Hoffman recently observed, greatly reduce ISIS’s global appeal, making it difficult to recruit and retain supporters. Indeed, it may even, as political scientist Mara Revkin suggested in The New York Times, “trigger a credibility crisis from which the group may never fully recover,” given that ISIS’s self-avowed status as the world’s preeminent jihadist actor is based almost entirely on its control of territory and ability to govern.
The other point of consensus is that the destruction of the caliphate will not spell the end of the caliphate as an idea; it will live on not only in the minds of surviving ISIS members, but also as a free-floating ideological meme in contemporary global culture. ISIS analyst Charlie Winter, for example, argued that one way in which this meme will be preserved is through ISIS’s massive digital propaganda archive. “The caliphate idea will exist long beyond its proto-state,” Winter wrote.
No doubt there will be some ISIS foreign fighters for whom territorial defeat of the caliphate will spark a spiritual crisis, prompting disaffection from ISIS and disillusionment with its animating ideology.
But for many others, especially those true believers whose core identity is intricately and indisociably bound up with ISIS, it will spark disaffection from neither the group nor its animating ideology. For these diehards, ISIS will remain the divinely ordained real deal whose setbacks are merely temporary and whose ultimate triumph is guaranteed. It’s not that God has abandoned the mujahids in favor of the infidel; rather, it’s that trial and torment are inevitable on the path of jihad, and must be endured. Even if territorial defeat does occur, it will not be a “true” defeat, as al-Adnani explained in his last recorded massage in May 2016: “Whoever thinks that we fight to protect some land or some authority, or that victory is measured thereby, has strayed far from the truth. … O America, would we be defeated and you be victorious if you were to take Mosul or Sirte or Raqqa? … Certainly not! We would be defeated and you victorious only if you were able to remove the Quran from Muslims’ hearts.”
For others still, territorial defeat of the caliphate may prompt defection from ISIS, but not from its worldview. In John Horgan’s research on former terrorists, many belonged to this category: “disengaged” but not “de-radicalized.” “Often,” Horgan wrote, “there can be physical disengagement from terrorist activity, but no concomitant change or reduction in ideological support.”
There is some evidence to suggest that many former ISIS members are disengaged but ideologically committed. “Many of the ISIS deserters I have met in Turkey,” Revkin wrote, “still identify as jihadists who want to establish some form of shariah-based governance, but they became disillusioned with ISIS when they saw that the group was failing to follow its own strict rules.”
A report by the ICSR echoed this: Among a sample of 58 ISIS defectors, only a few had renounced their “commitment to the jihadist ideology,” whereas “for the majority, the critique of [ISIS] continued to be framed in jihadist and/or sectarian terms.” Terrorism researcher Amarnath Amarasingam categorized ex-ISIS foreign fighters as “disengaged returnees,” writing, “While they may rescind their allegiance to a particular militant group, they remain committed to the broader cause of jihadism.” According to German authorities, 48 percent of German fighters linked to ISIS and Al Qaeda returning from Syria and Iraq (274 in total) were still devoted to the cause of jihad.
The history of Western supporters of Soviet communism testifies to a similar phenomenon: Although many renounced their membership in the Communist Party and acknowledged its failures, they did not renounce their commitment to the ideals of communism. In The End of Commitment, the sociologist Paul Hollander called these unrepentant comrades “the unwavering,” those whose “deep attachment to ends and ideals persists in the face of disillusioning experiences.” By way of example, he cited the British social historian E. P. Thompson, who, in a 100-page “Open Letter” to the Polish philosopher and ex-communist Leszek Kołakowski, expressed his allegiance not to the Communist Party, “but to the Communist movement in its humanist potential.”
Hollander also discussed the case of British historian Eric Hobsbawm, who, though he recognized the flaws inherent in existing communist societies, remained resolute in his commitment to the ends of communism. “The dream of the October Revolution,” Hobsbawm wrote in his 2002 autobiography Interesting Times, “is still there somewhere inside me…”
For Hollander, such formidable intransigence, as exemplified by Thompson, Hobsbawm, and a host of other left-leaning intellectuals, is a testament to the power of utopian ideas—and their extraordinary capacity to inspire and retain allegiance even after history has decisively repudiated them.
This intransigence is also a testament to the need to believe—or rather, as the English writer Stephen Spender put it in his contribution to The God that Failed (a classic volume of essays by famous ex-communists), “the unwillingness of people to believe what they did not want to believe, to see what they do not want to see.”
History will assuredly repudiate ISIS, just as it has decisively repudiated the utopian experiment of Soviet communism. But the idea of the caliphate will remain, despite its tarnished association with ISIS. Just as unrepentant communists said of their utopian vision of a classless society, today’s caliphate supporters can say: The caliphate never failed—it was never tried.
Posted on 03 April 2017.
Posted on 03 April 2017.
This weekend, the annual AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Convention takes place where 15,000 of this diabolical Jewish lobby’s best and brightest meet to mix and mingle, celebrate the successes of the past year and more importantly, strategize for the coming year how best to maintain Israel’s strength. The claim is that it’s in America’s best interest, as well, but the truth is American citizens get zero from this one-sided relationship. Sure, a few American companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin make boatloads of cash through the sales of Apache helicopters and weapons to Israel, but for American tax payers, the return on investment is nothing more than our share of the guilt of mass slaughter of Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, and whomever challenges Israel’s dominance in the region.
This lobby is powerful. Some consider it to be a lobby like any other, but the truth is it differs in a few crucial ways. To start with, no other lobby forks over millions of dollars in campaign donations, on local and federal levels to push the agenda of and back a foreign government. Whether one supports or opposes the existence of the Jewish state, it cannot be denied it is, in fact, a foreign government. And no other lobby makes EVERY member of Congress sign an agreement that they will fully and unconditionally support the state of Israel economically, politically, militarily and diplomatically. On the rare occasion someone has refused to sign it, the AIPAC campaign to get them removed from Congress goes into full-force. Ask Cynthia McKinney how refusing to sign this agreement worked out for her.
Counter to this annual event is a protest of AIPAC. I’ve attended this protest four times. Different groups organize to meet at the Convention Center to denounce AIPAC’s hideous agenda and the impact it has on our government, the Palestinians and beyond. The protests are always peaceful with a diverse group of people and one can always count on seeing familiar faces including Orthodox Torah Jews, Neturei Karta. They adamantly oppose Zionism and the existence of the Jewish state. I attend independently, not as a member of any group.
This year I made the choice to forego the protest and attend the fourth annual conference, ‘The Israel Lobby And American Foreign Policy’ hosted by The American Educational Trust who publishes Washington Report On Middle East Affairs and The Institute For Research: Middle Eastern Policy. I only learned of the conference just last year and missed an impressive lineup. This year I got lucky as a friend had an extra ticket and was generous enough to let me have it. The presenters and keynote speakers were, again, impressive. The standouts for me were Palestinian legislator and scholar Hanan Ashrawi, Ilan Pappé, documentary filmmaker (Two Blue Lines, Native Sons), Tom Hayes, and American Journalist and author, Clayton Swisher, who managed the six-month undercover investigation that produced Al-Jazeera’s 4-part series, “The Lobby”, about AIPAC’s activities in the U.K. It’s stellar and you can watch it on YouTube.
Hanan Ashrawi is a powerhouse, just as I expected. She is monumentally clever, charismatic and a force to be reckoned with. Her main focus was the Israel Lobby and the duplicity of the “peace process”. Ilan Pappé geared his presentation towards seeing Palestine through the prism of settler-colonialism (a term I’ve grown disgusted with due to its inaccuracy of what’s really taken place, therefore it’s been adopted by controlled opposition groups. It invokes a romantic, pastoral image rather than the reality of the more accurate terms of genocide, ethnic cleansing, land theft, etc.), the lobby’s participation in forming/maintaining Zionist myths, and accurately identifying and exposing the myths so that efforts to end the conflict are based in reality.
While most of the speakers had interesting perspectives and personal experiences with the Israel lobby, I had a nagging, frustrating feeling that something was missing. Speaker after speaker, I continued to be underwhelmed. No one went far enough. No one drew the parallels between Gaza, Detroit, Athens, and Berlin. In the world in which we currently live, we are all Palestinians. There was quite a lot of focus on the impact in Palestine and to Palestinians and non-Palestinian supporters of this struggle, we are always elated to hear anyone acknowledge the injustice and continuing horrors inflicted upon them since 1948, but is the acknowledgement of what we already know all we can expect? Have we been so well trained by the oppressor to not expect more?
About an hour or so after the conference ended, I had an epiphany. AIPAC is convening to determine our future while pro Palestinians convened to reflect on the past. Over the course of 8.5 hours, it was evident what is AIPAC’s agenda, how duplicitous and ruthless are its methods, how it manipulates Congress and further exacerbates the suffering of the Palestinians and how it strong-arm’s our government out of billions of tax-payer dollars to support the foreign government of the Jewish state of Israel. The conference was a culmination of the past and the present. But, what about the future? Where is the strategic plan for the future? When AIPAC has their convention on Sunday, March 26, 2017, they will spend some time celebrating the successes of this past year, but the vast majority of their 8 hour day will be spent strategizing about the future, both immediate and long term. They will present the road map, step by step no doubt, with crystal clarity of what are their goals and exactly what steps need to be taken to bring them to fruition, so that next year’s celebration will be bigger than this year, followed by a whole new strategy for the coming year.
If there is anything we can learn from AIPAC, indeed this is it.
Posted on 03 April 2017.
Spokesman for Hamas Movement Sami Abu Zuhri said Monday that the Nazi Army Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s recent threats to assassinate senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyyah prove his government’s “terrorist nature”.
Abu Zuhri called in his Twitter account on all the free people around the world to unite their efforts in the face of “Israeli terrorism” and in support of the Palestinian people.
Earlier on Sunday, Nazi Lieberman renewed his earlier threats to assassinate Haniyyah before he leaves office.
In a live chat, Nazi Lieberman was asked about his promise before he was appointed Nazi Army Minister to eliminate senior Hamas leader Ismail Haneyyah. “It is wise to progress responsibly,” he answered.
“Speak with me about Haneyyah at the end of my term as Defense Minister,” he proclaimed.
Nazi Lieberman’s statements came only few days after the assassination of al-Qassam commander Mazen Fuqaha outside his house in Gaza city by six bullets to the head.
Posted on 03 April 2017.
In a previous piece, I noted how the British Labour Party had departed from its traditional values. But if it is no longer truthfulness or ethics that motivate the Labour Party, what is it that drives the current crusade against Ken Livingstone?
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust provides a possible answer.
“Even when it has been made blatantly clear that his comments have caused deep hurt and offence to Jewish people, and in particular to Holocaust survivors, still Ken Livingstone has persisted down this route – repeatedly invoking the Holocaust, promoting a misleading and misinformed version of history to further his agenda.”
For Karen Pollock, a true Holocaust industry apparatchik, truth and historicity or any other recognised value are all subservient to Jewish sensitivities. For Karen Pollock and the Holocaust Educational Trust, only what is Jewish is to be embraced – it is the universal which is the enemy.
But Ken Livingstone deals in the universal. He has been telling the truth. His vision of the Holocaust is accurate and consistent with scholarly work, both Zionist and revisionist.
So Livingstone’s crime is obvious. Refusing to subscribe to the primacy of Jewish suffering, Livingstone, an old-style Lefty, aims at the universal, in this case, the truth.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is, why does the Labour Party now subscribe to the primacy of Jewish suffering? When and why did the Labour Party drift away from ethics, truth, the universal and the worker?
We need to know when and why our Labour Party and the Left closed the door on Athens and opened the door to Jerusalem?
Posted on 03 April 2017.
The Israeli government has purchased a software system enabling it to monitor social media and specific users to plan ideas in online discourse.
The bid, which was won by a company called Buzzilla, specifies that the software must have the ability to “plant an idea in the debate on social networks, web news sites and forums,” reports Ido Kenan on the website Room 404, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Haaretz said, according to Days of Palestine, that the main purpose of the software is to monitor debate on the internet and identify trends and feelings among the public.
“From time to time, the ministries have the need for monitoring services, and recovery and processing of data on internet,” the bid request states.
“These services are necessary for a range of needs in the government sector, such as generating useful information for the sake of ongoing activity, feasibility testing, identifying trends, identifying needs and identifying and handling crises.”
The Israeli finance ministry, which issued the request, further explains that, until now, ministries requiring such services had obtained them from different sources, so it decided to find a system that can supply all of the ministries’ needs.
Via this system, the Israeli government is able to plant ideas in conversations on social networks and forums through an automated or semi-automated mechanism.
Haaretz wondered what the government is doing with the system. It answered: There is the possibility of swaying an existing debate, which is worrying; but, as the system also offers a breakdown of users, even more worrying is the theoretical ability of the ministries to focus on specific ones, such as supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.
“In our case, since there is no legal obligation to deliver information, and since there is no certainty regarding the ways this information will be transferred and processed, there is another problem: What is going to be done with that information,” lawyer Yehonatan Klinger, the legal adviser of the Digital Rights Movement, said.