Archive | August 11th, 2017

RT Slams The Times’ Claims About Making Fake News to Serve Russian Interests

NOVANEWS
Sputnik 

RT Broadcaster on Friday responded to a request for commentary from The Times newspaper, which alleged that RT published a false story about itself to promote Russian state interests.

The Times suggested in an email to RT that last fall’s story about a UK bank closing RT accounts in the country was published to serve the Russian state’s narrative. The Times said that the letter from National Westminster Bank (NatWest) bank, cited by RT Editor-In-Chief Margarita Simonyan on her Twitter, was sent to a supplier of RT rather than the broadcaster itself, and that NatWest and the supplier eventually reached an agreement. The Times quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s criticism of the situation as an example of how wrong information appears to have been put into the public sphere.

“As you’ve apparently forgotten, here’s a refresher: NatWest (which has a significant shareholding by the UK government) provided RT’s principle UK banking facility to Russia Today TV UK Ltd, the production company for RT UK, which services the salaries of all RT UK staff and handles practically all other RT UK operations. Last October the bank informed the company that it is closing (not threatening to close) all of its accounts, and that the decision was final and not subject to redress – precisely what Margarita Simonyan said in her post,” the broadcaster said in a response to The Times.

RT added that the information was made into a story because it was true and newsworthy.

“But we look forward to the Times’ valiant effort in turning these facts into fakes; it wouldn’t be the first time,” the broadcaster said.

After the RT’s accounts were blocked in the United Kingdom in October, Lavrov criticized the move suggesting that “no bank can make these decisions on their own” and reminded “an old wisdom that goes something like this: never treat others the way you would not want them to treat you.”

In January, RT said that NatWest reviewed its decision and would retain the broadcaster’s accounts. In March, Simonyan said RT was in consultations with other banks, when asked if RT had taken any precautions to avoid problems with their accounts in the future.

RT operates a number of cable and satellite television channels in a number of languages and is directed at a foreign audience. The channels provide 24-hour news coverage, as well as airing documentaries, talk shows and debates.

German Bombshell Bestseller Exposing CIA Media Control Blocked in US

 

Posted in USA, Media, RussiaComments Off on RT Slams The Times’ Claims About Making Fake News to Serve Russian Interests

Jordan charges Nazi embassy guard with murder

NOVANEWS
Zionist puppet of Jordan with Naziyahu

Jordan’s public prosecutor says murder charges have been filed against an Nazi embassy guard, who recently shot dead two Jordanians in Amman.

State media said Friday that Attorney General Akram Masaadeh charged the guard with two counts of murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The official argued that diplomatic immunity did not mean the “killer” could not be put on trial in his own country.

Nazi regime source, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said his regime was also “giving preliminary consideration to offering compensation to the family of the second Jordanian (the landlord) killed in the incident.”

The development came after Zionist puppet Abdullah of Jordan angrily urged Nazi Prime Minister Naziyahu to put the guard on trial, warning that the issue jeopardizes Amman-Tel Aviv ties.

“We demand that the Israeli Prime Minister abides by his commitment and takes all measures to ensure the trial of the killer, and not handle this like a political show to achieve personal political gains,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Zionist puppet Abdullah made the remarks when he visited the family of one of the victims, during which he pledged that the state would “do everything within its means” to get justice for the two men.

Zionist puppet Abdullah lashed out at Naziyahu for giving the guard a hero’s embrace after Nazi regime brought him home under diplomatic immunity, saying the behavior was “provocative on all fronts and enrages us, destabilizes security and fuels extremism.”

On Sunday, the guard shot dead Jordanian teenager Mohammad Jawawdah at Nazi embassy in Amman as well as the landlord of the house in the compound where the guard lived.

During the funeral procession of Jawawdah on Tuesday, thousands of Jordanians protested against the Nazi regime, calling on their Zionist puppet to close the Nazi embassy and scrap the country’s peace treaty with Tel Aviv.

Nazi regime claims that the guard had been defending himself in a “terrorist attack” after Jawawdah attacked him with a screwdriver. It is still unclear how the landlord came to be shot.

However, the Jordanian police, who were unable to question the guard, say the guard shot the teenager, who worked for a furniture company and was delivering an order, after they got into a brawl.

Zionist puppet Abdullah also pointed to a previous incident in March 2014, in which an Nazi soldier shot dead a Jordanian judge at a border crossing. No investigation was ever conducted.

“The way Israel handles the embassy case and the judge’s killing and other cases will have a direct impact on the nature of our relationship,” he said.

Many Jordanians have accused the authorities of abdicating sovereignty by allowing the Nazi guard to leave the country, with lawmakers walking out of parliament in protest.

Jordanians are set to hold another protest on Friday to repeat their demand for closure of the Nazi Embassy and tearing up the unpopular peace treaty.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, JordanComments Off on Jordan charges Nazi embassy guard with murder

Resistance at Tule Lake (trailer)

NOVANEWS

Resistance at Tule Lake (trailer) from Konrad Aderer on Vimeo.

RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE tells the long-suppressed story of 12,000 Japanese Americans who dared to resist the U.S. government’s program of mass incarceration during World War II. Branded as “disloyals” and re-imprisoned at Tule Lake Segregation Center, they continued to protest in the face of militarized violence, and thousands renounced their U.S. citizenship.

The documentary premiered in February 2017, is continuing to screen at film festivals and other venues, and will be presented for national public television broadcast in May 2018.

For more information, visit resistanceattulelake.com

Posted in USA, JapanComments Off on Resistance at Tule Lake (trailer)

Opening Gitmo to the World

NOVANEWS
By Robert Koehler | CounterPunch 

To read Witnesses of the Unseen: Seven Years in Guantanamo is to run your mind along the contours of hell.

The next step, if you’re an American, is to embrace it. Claim it. This is who we are: We are the proprietors of a cluster of human cages and a Kafkaesque maze of legal insanity. This torture center is still open. Men (“forever prisoners”) are still being held there, their imprisonment purporting to keep us safe.

The book, by Lakhdar Boumediene and Mustafa Ait Idir — two Algerian men arrested in Bosnia in 2011 and wrongly accused of being terrorists — allows us to imagine ourselves at Guantanamo, this outpost of the Endless War.

“‘Take him outside,’ the interrogator told them. They led me up a flight of eight or nine concrete steps to a long gravel drive. It was pitch black out, and completely quiet. There was no one around. One of the soldiers grabbed my left arm, and another took my right. And then they started running.

“I tried to keep up, but my legs were shackled together. First, my flip-flops fell off, and after a few barefoot strides, my legs fell out from under me. The soldiers didn’t even slow down. They kept a firm grip on my arms while my legs bounced and scraped along the ground, gravel biting into them. When the run finally ended, the soldiers brought me back to the interrogation room, bloody and bedraggled.”

This is one fragment, one story of the seven years these two innocent men endured: these two fathers who were pulled away from their wives and children, yanked from their lives, stuffed into cages, interrogated endlessly and pointlessly, humiliated, force-fed (in Lakhdar’s case) . . . and finally, finally, ordered by a U.S. judge to be freed, when their case, Boumediene v. Bush, was at long last heard in a real court and the lack of evidence against them became appallingly clear.

The book is the story of the courage it takes to survive.

And it’s a story that can only be told because of the work of the Boston legal firm WilmerHale, which spent more than 17,000 pro bono hours litigating the case, “work that would have cost paying clients more than $35 million.”

Lakhdar and Mustafa were freed in 2008 and began rebuilding their lives. They eventually decided they wanted to tell their story — to an American audience. Daniel Norland, who was a lawyer at WilmerHale when the case was making its way through the court process (but was not part of the litigation team) and his sister, Kathleen List, who speaks fluent Arabic, conducted more than 100 hours of interviews with the two men, which were shaped into Witnesses of the Unseen.

In October 2011, the two men, who were living and working in Sarajevo, were among six Algerians who wound up being arrested by Bosnian authorities and charged with plotting to blow up the American embassy in Sarajevo. They were held for three months, then released. There was no evidence to back up the accusation.

But this turns out to be the beginning of their story, not the end of it. The men were released not back to their own lives but to an authority more powerful than the Bosnian judicial system: They were released to the Americans, who had begun rounding up Muslims . . . uh, terrorists. Evidence, or lack thereof, didn’t matter. These men were shipped to a new military prison, built at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba — an offshore prison, in other words, unencumbered by the U.S. Constitution. The detainees there allegedly had zero rights. That was the whole point.

Much of what Lakhdar and Mustafa describe is the efficiency of the U.S. military in dehumanizing its prisoners. The beatings and physical pain inflicted by guards, interrogators and even medical personnel were only part of it. The men also endured sexual humiliation, endless mocking of their religion — “I heard . . . that a soldier went into someone’s cell and flushed his Qur’an down the toilet” — and the cruel, teasing “misplacement” or censorship of letters from the prisoners’ loved ones.

Several years into his imprisonment, Lakhdar went on a hunger strike, which meant he was subjected to force-feeding, which the U.N. Human Rights Commission has called a form of torture:

“The soldier brought out an apparatus with a long yellow tube and started measuring out the length of tube he needed. He stopped when he got to a marking somewhere between 45 and 50 inches. That was the amount of tube he was going to insert through my nostril. . . .

“It’s almost impossible to explain what a feeding tube feels like to someone who hasn’t experienced it. I felt like I was choking, and being strangled, and yet somehow still able to breathe, all at the same time.

“The soldier taped the tube in place. I could see the Ensure trickling through the tube, one droplet at a time. It felt cold as it reached my stomach. I later learned that a full feeding normally takes fifteen to twenty minutes, but that first time they went exceptionally slowly. I sat in the clinic, chained to the chair, a tube protruding down my throat, for the rest of the afternoon and all through the night.”

It took no less than a Supreme Court ruling to start ending this nightmare.

In early 2007, a U.S. Circuit Court judge had refused to hear Boumediene v. Bush on the grounds that Guantanamo prisoners had no Constitutional rights. But the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal, and in June 2008 ruled that Guantanamo counted as part of the U.S. and, as Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, the government couldn’t “switch the Constitution on and off at will.”

Thus the case went back to the Circuit Court and a real hearing got underway, leading to one of the most appalling revelations in the book: “Our lawyers had told us, in the days leading up to our trial, about a recent bizarre development in our case: the government had dropped its allegation that we had plotted to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. Just like in Bosnia seven years before, authorities were eager to toss around bomb-plot allegations right up until a court required them to provide evidence.

“Instead, our lawyers told us, the government now said that the reason it considered us ‘enemy combatants’ was that it had evidence — classified evidence that I wasn’t allowed to see — that we had made a plan to fly to Afghanistan and join Al Qaeda’s fight against American forces there. This was the first time I had ever heard this allegation. No one — no police officer, no Bosnian official, no American interrogator — had ever asked me a single question about it.

“And it was a ludicrous allegation. . . .”

And the judge ruled in their favor and they eventually were set free, to reclaim their lives, to see their children for the first time in seven years — and to give their story to the world.

But as long as Gitmo remains open and the Endless War continues — and no one is held accountable — there is no ending to this story, just an open wound.

Posted in USAComments Off on Opening Gitmo to the World

Attempt to prosecute Tony Blair over Iraq War blocked by High Court

NOVANEWS
RT 

Britain’s High Court has blocked a bid by an Iraqi general to bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair over the war he launched in Iraq while prime minister.

General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat accused the former Labour leader of committing a ‘crime of aggression’ by invading Iraq in 2003 to overthrow former President Saddam Hussein. The general wanted to see the prosecution Blair and two other key ministers of the time – Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general.

The men currently have immunity from criminal charges over the war after a 2016 ruling said attempting to bring any prosecution would involve revealing details kept under the Official Secrets Act.

Al Rabbat’s lawyers asked London’s High Court for permission to seek judicial review in an attempt to get the Supreme Court, now the highest court in the land, to overturn a ruling by the House of Lords in 2006 that there is no such crime as the ‘crime of aggression’ under the law of England and Wales.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, and Mr. Justice Ouseley, dismissed the general’s application on Monday, saying there was “no prospect” of the case succeeding.

Michael Mansfield QC, appearing for Al Rabbat, argued that the Chilcot Inquiry published last year showed the prosecution of Blair would be justified. An order declaring Blair’s immunity against any charges should therefore be overturned, Mansfield said.

The 2.6 million-word Chilcot report, which examined the first eight years of the war, said Britain chose to join the invasion of Iraq in 2003 before peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted, alongside former US president George W. Bush, whom Blair had already pledged to support.

It added that the UK’s involvement in Iraq was based on what soon became obvious was a false pretext that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The report found that Blair misled the British public over the threat posed by WMD, which turned out to be non-existent.

Blair’s arguments for going to war were “based on flawed intelligence and assessments” that “were not challenged [and] should have been,” the report said.

The report also detailed the private deals Blair made with Bush ahead of the invasion. Blair promised Bush “I will be with you, whatever” long before the British public was told that he had set out on a path that led inevitably led to British involvement in the conflict eight months later.

Mansfield argued that the international crime of a war of aggression had been accepted by then-UK Attorney-General Sir Hartley Shawcross QC in the 1940s, at the time of the Nuremberg trials over Nazi war crimes.

Mansfield said that, as the international community had held those responsible for the Second World War to account by prosecuting those thought responsible for aggression at Nuremberg, it was the duty of UK courts to follow that example in relation to the Iraq War.

Westminster Magistrates Court refused to issue summonses in November last year on the grounds that the ex-ministers had immunity from legal action – and in any event, the current attorney-general, Jeremy Wright QC, would have to give permission.

Wright intervened in the case and his legal team urged the Lord Chief Justice to block the challenge. He said the private trial of Blair could “involve details being disclosed under the Official Secrets Act.”

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said: “Today’s decision by the High Court to block an attempt to prosecute Tony Blair for his role in the Iraq war is hugely disappointing and means justice has been left undone.

“Last year’s Chilcot report showed that Tony Blair had no respect for cabinet procedure, no respect for Parliament, and no respect for international law.

“Iraq was devastated by the war Blair led Britain into, millions of innocent Iraqis were killed, British soldiers were killed, and terrorism has spread across the Middle East.

“Chilcot revealed the evidence that must now be used to bring Tony Blair to justice.

“Only when justice is served can we prevent disasters like the Iraq war from happening again.”

The Iraq War caused the deaths of 179 British servicemen and women, and cost the UK economy an estimated £9.6 billion (US$12.6 billion). It is widely held to have caused the bloody sectarian conflict that brought about the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

According to Iraq Body Count, at least 160,400 Iraqi civilians died during the war.

Posted in UKComments Off on Attempt to prosecute Tony Blair over Iraq War blocked by High Court

New Iran sanctions simply don’t add up

NOVANEWS
By M.K. Bhadrakumar 

The new legislation by the venerable lawmakers in the United States, imposing sanctions against Iran (along with Russia and North Korea), has an air of inevitability. But what is inevitable doesn’t always have to be logical.

The base line is how effective these sanctions are going to be. Iran is not new to US sanctions and its economy does not depend on trade or investment from the US. In sum, the US lawmakers are hoping to impose the sanctions via the international community.

But the main difference this time as compared to previous US sanctions is that the POTUS happens to be Donald Trump and the international community regards him with profound scepticism bordering on bewilderment. The world opinion is unlikely to rally behind Trump in an enterprise to punish Iran – or on any issue.

There is a big contradiction in the Trump administration’s approach to Iran because it is legislating sanctions while also certifying that Iran’s compliance with the 15 July 2015 nuclear deal [JCPOA] is satisfactory. And for the world community, JCPOA is a vital platform in international security and is the top priority.

Trump doesn’t have the ghost of a chance to get the UN Security Council to sanctify new sanctions against Iran (on whatever pretext). And in the absence of UN mandate, this becomes an issue of his “America First” foreign policy.

Things will be different if Iran retaliates against these sanctions by exiting the JCPOA, pleading that Washington is backing out from the deal. But Tehran is instead playing an astute game. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif said yesterday that Iran will not give a “gift” to Trump.

Zarif signalled that: a) Iran can live with Trump’s sanctions; b) Iran stands to gain more by complying with the JCPOA and earn international goodwill (especially among the world powers); and, c) Iran is utterly free anyway to pursue its missile program (which is indigenous and does not depend on Western technology).

What matters to Iran is that its successful (re)integration with the international community does not suffer any setback. So long as Iran can sell its oil and gas in the world market and so long as there is no sanctions regime with a cutting edge such as the one Barack Obama brilliantly succeeded in imposing (by getting even China and Russia on board), Iran can advance its development agenda.

In fact, Russia’s Gazprom just signed an agreement with Iran’s Oil Industries’ Engineering and Construction to develop Azar and Changuleh oil fields, Iran’s most recent discoveries located in the western province of Lorestan, which are believed to hold an in-place reserve of about 3.5 billion barrels of oil. (Azar is a joint field Iran shares with Iraq.)

Clearly, in the developing global scenario with the US-Russia relations nose diving – and no improvement possible in a foreseeable future – Russian military technology reaches Iran more freely than ever before. Iran’s strategic defiance of the US matters to the Russian strategy.

Equally, China views Iran as the regional hub in its Belt and Road Initiative. Only last week, China agreed to provide $1.5 billion as funding for the upgrade of the Tehran-Meshaad trunk railway line which connects Central Asia.

Suffice to say, if Iran can sell oil in the world market to generate income and with full-throttle cooperation with Russian and Chinese (and even some EU countries), Tehran will be doing reasonably well against Trump’s best-laid plans to “isolate” it.

The EU is giving an unmistakeable signal to Trump through the announcement on Saturday in Brussels that EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will be travelling to Tehran on August 5 to attend the inaugural ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani in her capacity as the head of the Iran-5+1 Joint Commission monitoring the JCPOA. (In addition to Mogherini, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has also announced his intention to participate in the event.

However, this is not to say that Trump will back off from his enterprise to punish Iran and bring about a ‘regime change’. Knowing Trump, he might well be planning to score a hat-trick by dumping the JCPOA sometime around September when the next certification on Iran’s compliance is due – thereby completing a trifecta of withdrawals from international agreements that he inherited from Obama (the other two being Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris accord on climate change.)

How does it all add up? By withdrawing from JCPOA, Trump will the isolating the US in international opinion. The political optic will be simply “disastrous” – to borrow Trump’s favourite idiom. The US will be the outlier.

Trump’s biggest challenge is that while the US’ allies support strict and verifiable implementation of the JCOPA by Iran, they disapprove of Trump’s game plan to create a pretext to collapse or renegotiate the deal. Even for proposing a renegotiation of the JCPOA, Washington needs five of the eight members of the Joint Commission (comprising US, UK, France, Britain, Germany, EU, Russia and China) to back the proposal.

Finally, as the Bible says, “Behold, a little cloud, like a man’s hand is rising” on the horizon – pressure is building over the release of Americans under detention in Iran. Some Iranian news reports recently mentioned the names of several Iranian citizens in jail in the US for sanctions violations.

Tehran could be signalling interest in a quiet conversation over a potential political prisoner exchange similar to what Obama administration once negotiated. Which, of course, requires the Trump administration to engage directly with the government of Iran.

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on New Iran sanctions simply don’t add up

PBS’: Anti – Russia Propaganda Series

NOVANEWS

By Rick Sterling 

The U.S.-government-supported Public Broadcasting System (PBS) recently ran a five-part series dubbed “Inside Putin’s Russia”. With a different theme each night, it purports to give a realistic look at Russia today. The image conveyed is of a Russia that is undemocratic with widespread state repression, violence and propaganda. Following are significant distortions and falsehoods in the five-part documentary.

Episode 1: “How Putin Redefined what it means to be Russian”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Claims that Russian identity is based on “projection of power.” In reality, “projection of power” characterizes the U.S. much more than Russia. For the past two centuries the United States has expanded across the continent and globe. The last century is documented in the bookOverthrow: American’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. The U.S. currently has nearly 800 foreign military bases in over 70 countries. In contrast, Russia has military bases in only two countries beyond the former Soviet Union: Syria and Vietnam.

–Ignores crucial information about events in Ukraine. Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine and Crimea are presented as examples of “projection of power.” But basic facts are omitted from the documentary. There is no mention of the violent February 2014 coup in Kiev nor the involvement of neoconservatives such as Sen. John McCain and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in supporting and encouraging the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government. In a December 2013 speech, Nuland outlined her intense involvement in Ukraine including U.S. insistence that Ukraine choose a “European future” since the U.S. had “invested $5 billion to assist.” Days before the coup in February 2014, Nuland was captured on audio planning the composition of the coup leadership.

–Ignores Crimea’s historic connections with Russia and the Ukrainian violence. The documentary says, In 2014 in Crimea, Russia helped install separatist leaders who rushed through a referendum that led to Crimea’s annexation.” This gives the misleading impression the decision was Russian, not Crimean.

Even the New York Timesreport on March 16, 2014, acknowledged that, “The outcome, in a region that shares a language and centuries of history with Russia, was a foregone conclusion even before exit polls showed more than 93 percent of voters favoring secession.”

The documentary fails to mention the fear of violence after Crimean travelers to Kiev were beaten and killed by Ukrainian hyper-nationalists. One of the first decisions of the Kiev coup government was to declare that Russian would no longer be an official language. A good overview including video interviews with Crimeans is in this video, contrasting sharply with the implications of the PBS documentary.

–Trivializes Russian opposition to NATO expansion. The documentary suggests Russians feel “humiliated” by NATO expanding to their borders. This distorts a serious military concern into a subjective, emotional issue. In 2002, the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and started construction of missile defense systems which could be used in tandem with a nuclear first strike. In recent years, NATO troops and missiles have been installed at Russia’s borders. Imagine the response if Russian troops and missiles were placed at the U.S. border in Canada and Mexico.

–Falsely claims that coup violence in Odessa was “exaggerated.”

The documentary says that Russians who went to help defend civilians in eastern Ukraine were convinced by Russian “propaganda” where “dozens of pro-Russian separatists died in Odessa, Ukraine” but “Russian media exaggerated the attack.” In reality, the Odessa attack killed at least 42 people and injured 100. This video shows the sequence of events with the initial attack on peaceful protesters followed by fire-bomb attacks in the building. Fire trucks were prevented from reaching the building to put out the fire and rescue citizens inside.

Episode 2: “Inside Russia’s Propaganda Machine.”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Suggests Russians are aggressive and threatening. The documentary highlights a Russian TV broadcaster who is translated to say, “Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.” And later, “If you can persuade a person, you don’t need to kill him … if you aren’t able to persuade, then you will have to kill.” We do not know the context or accuracy of these translated statements. However on the basis of my own travels in Russia and the experience of many other Americans, these statements are strange and uncharacteristic.

At the popular and government level, Russians are typically at pains to call the U.S. a “partner” and to wish for peace and better relations. With 27 million killed in World War 2, most Russians are very conscious of the consequences of war and deeply want peace. Russians vividly recall the Russia-U.S. alliance during WW2 and seek a return to friendly collaboration. The film producers must have heard this message and desire for peace expressed by many Russians many times. But the documentary only presents this uncharacteristic aggressive message.

–Inaccurately suggests that producers of a private TV network received angry public messages because they were exposing corruption. In reality, the angry public response was because the TV station ran a poll asking viewers if the Soviet Union should have surrendered to Nazi Germany to save lives during the siege of Leningrad.

–Falsely suggests that RT (Russia Today TV) typically features Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis. This is a grotesque distortion Anyone who watches RT will know that American personalities such as Chris Hedges, Larry King and Ed Schultz are regulars on RT. Interviewees on international affairs generally come from the left side of the political spectrum – the opposite of what is suggested.

–Uncritically repeats the conspiracy theory that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton emails. The findings have been disputed by the publisher of the emails, Julian Assange of Wikileaks , as well as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanityrecent forensic examination confirms that this was a leak not a hack (inside job done by local data transfer NOT a hack over the internet) and points to “Guccifer 2.0the presumptive “hacker,” being a hoax intentionally created to implicate Russia.

–Falsely suggests that anti-Clinton social media messaging during 2016 was significantly caused by Russian government trolls. Hillary Clinton was strongly opposed by significant portions of both the left and right. There were probably hundreds of thousands of Americans who shared anti-Clinton social media messages.

–Claims that research showing a Google search engine bias in favor of Hillary Clinton was “quickly debunked.” The documentary ignores the original article describing the potential effect of search-engine bias, which was published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The author is Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Todaymagazine. Contradicting the claim that this research was “debunked,” this academic article estimates the effect of the Google bias and how the bias went away AFTER the election. The response from Google and very shallow Snopes “fact check” are effectively rebutted by the lead author here. In neo-McCarthyist style, the documentary smears the findings and claims they were “laundered” after being published by the Russian “Sputnik” media.

–Suggests the “idea that President Kennedy was killed by the CIA” was “planted” by the Soviet intelligence agency KGB. Many impressive American books have been written supporting this contention, from New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s book to David Talbot’s 2015 book Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and Deep State. Claiming that this accusation is based on KGB “disinformation” is another grotesque distortion. It is not revealing disinformation; this is an example of disinformation.

Episode 3: “Why are so many from this Russian republic fighting for Isis?”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Rationalizes and almost justifies Russian Muslims traveling to join ISIS. The documentary suggests that religious repression and discrimination is a cause of ISIS recruitment and that “Dagestanis who fought for ISIS continue a decades-old legacy here of radicalism and militancy.”

–Ignores the role of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in promoting Islamist fundamentalism in Dagestan. As described by Robert Dreyfus in the book Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam: “the Casey-ISI (CIA and Pakistan Secret Service) actions aided the growth of a significant network of right-wing, Islamist extremists who, to this day, plague the governments of the former Soviet republics … In particular, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Liberation Party, the powerful Islamist groups in Chechnya and Dagestan.”

–Ignores the role of the US and allies in facilitating ISIS. As journalist Patrick Cockburn has written, In the 20 years between 1996 and 2016, the CIA and British security and foreign policy agencies have consistently given priority to maintaining their partnership with powerful Sunni states over the elimination of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and Isis.”

Journalist Nafeez Ahmed exposed the role of Turkey here, “A former senior counter-terrorism official in Turkey has blown the whistle on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deliberate sponsorship of the Islamic State (ISIS) as a geopolitical tool to expand Turkey’s regional influence and sideline his political opponents at home.”

Elements of the U.S. military/intelligence suggested the establishment of ISIS to “isolate the Syrian regime.” This was revealed in the classified 2012 report of the Defense Intelligence Agency that THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME”

In short, ISIS recruitment from Muslim communities in Russia and worldwide has been spurred by the policies and actions of the U.S. and allies such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This is what Dreyfus calls The Devil’s Game, but is ignored in the documentary.

Episode 4: “The Deadly Risk of Standing up to Putin”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Suggests that critics of Putin and the Russian government face “consequences” including death. These accusations are widespread in the West but largely based on the claims of different U.S.-supported “activists.” One of the most famous cases, and the one on which U.S. congressional sanctions against Russia are based, is that of Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky’s death was the subject of a documentary, which has been effectively banned in the U.S. In the course of researching what happened, the filmmaker learned that the truth was very different than has been told in the West and promoted by hedge-fund executive William Browder. Gilbert Doctorow outlines what happens in his review of the film here:

“‘Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes’ is an amazing film which takes us through the thought processes, the evidence sorting of the well-known independent film maker Andrei Nekrasov as he approached an assignment that was at the outset meant to be one more public confirmation of the narrative Browder has sold to the US Congress and to the American and European political elites. That story was all about a 36 year old whistle-blower ‘attorney’ (actually a bookkeeper) named Sergei Magnitsky who denounced on Browder’s behalf the theft of Russian taxes to his boss’s companies amounting to $230 million and who was rewarded for his efforts by arrest, torture and murder in detainment by the officials who perpetrated the theft. This shocking tale drove legislation that was a major landmark in the descent of US-Russian relations under President Barack Obama to a level rivaling the worst days of the Cold War.

At the end of the film we understand that this story was concocted by William Browder to cover up his own criminal theft of the money in question, that Magnitsky was not a whistleblower, but on the contrary was likely an assistant and abettor to the fraud and theft that Browder organized, that he was not murdered by corrupt Russian police but died in prison from banal neglect of his medical condition.”

The PBS documentary quotes an opposition leader, Vladimir Kara-Murza, saying “We have no free and fair elections. We have censorship in the media. We have political prisoners, more than 100 political prisoners now in Russia, today.” Kara-Murza now lives in Washington “for his safety” but returns to Russia periodically. He claims to have been poisoned several times.

Opponents of the Russian government are quick to accuse but the evidence is largely hearsay and speculation. Public polls of citizens in Russia repeatedly indicate that Putin and the government have widespread popularity, in contrast with the accusations in this documentary that they rule by intimidation and violence.

Episode 5: “What Russians think about Trump and the U.S.”                                                

Based on the content, the final episode should be titled “What the U.S. establishment and media thinks of Putin and Russia.” In this episode, the documentary:

–Features accusations by CIA Director Mike Pompeo that Russian President Putin, “ is a man for whom veracity doesn’t translate into English.” An objective documentary would take CIA claims about “veracity” with a healthy dose of skepticism. Just a few years ago, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was confirmed to have lied under oath to Congress. Former CIA chief of counterintelligence James Angleton said in his dying days, “Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you got promoted.” So it is curious to see the PBS documentary uncritically presenting the new CIA director as a judge of veracity.

–Implies that President Trump is out of line to question “the U.S. intelligence community’s unanimous assessment that Russia hacked the 2016 election.” It has been recently exposed that the “unanimous assessment” was, in reality, by “hand-picked” analysts at three agencies, under DNI Clapper’s oversight, not all 17 agencies and that the National Security Agency did NOT have “high confidence” in a key finding. The “assessment,” which the Jan. 6 report acknowledged was NOT an establishment of fact, was based on the forensics of a private company, Crowdstrike, with a checkered record in this field, and the dubious Christopher Steele dossier, a collection of “opposition research” reports against Donald Trump, paid for unidentified allies of Hillary Clinton and compiled by Steele, an ex-British intelligence agent.

In March 2017, Crowdstrike was found to have made false claims in another investigation of an alleged Russian “hack.” Yet, neither the CIA nor FBI examined the Democratic National Committee’s computers. If the issue was as important as it supposedly has now become, the FBI should have issued a subpoena to do its own examination. Why the DNC rejected the FBI request, and why the FBI did not insist, raises serious questions given the enormous publicity and accusations that have followed.

–Uncritically features two US politicians making loose accusations and effectively criminalizing “contacts” with Russians. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, says President Trump is “pushing out some messages that are consistent with the Kremlin policies … there’s no question that the Russians were trying to hack into our elections.” Yet, former U.S. intelligence officers with experience in these areas recently presented evidence raising significant questions about this conventional wisdom.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia indicates the Senate investigation reached its conclusion before it began. He said, “The goal of this investigation is not only to reconfirm Russian intervention and explain that to the American public, but to also see if there were any contacts between Trump and the Russians.”

In the current environment, to have “contacts” with Russians has been criminalized. Instead of questioning the validity or wisdom of this position, the documentary presents it with seeming approval.

–Uncritically promotes false statements and reckless threats. Sen. Lankford says We believe strongly that what Russia continues to do to be able to threaten Ukraine, threaten its neighbors, threaten NATO, to continue to pry into not only our elections, but other elections, is destabilizing, and it demands a response. They have yet to have a consequence to what they did in the election time. And they should.”

Lankford’s assertions are presented as facts but are debatable or false. For example, security services in GermanyFrance and theU.K. all found that – despite the international accusations – there was NO evidence of Russian interference in their recent elections.

–Justifies and promotes “punishment” of Russia. The belligerent approach of Lankford and Warner is continued by PBS host Judy Woodruff and narrator Nick Schifrin. The U.S. is portrayed as a vulnerable victim with a future that is “foreboding”. Russia is portrayed as threatening and needing some punishment soon: “The Russian government doesn’t feel like the United States government really penalized them for what happened last year…. a lot of officials here in Washington agree with that… Russia should have paid for what they did last year.”

This threatening talk is then followed by the following assessment from the narrator: “There are analysts in Moscow who think the only thing we can hope is that we avoid war.”

In 2002-2003, American mainstream media failed to question or challenge the assertions of the CIA and politicians pushing for the invasion of Iraq. At that time, the false pretense was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the U.S.

Much of the media and many of the same politicians are now claiming Russia is an adversary that has “attacked us.” This claim is being widely made without serious question or challenge. “Liberal” media seems to be in alliance with hawkish neoconservatives on this issue. Virtually any accusation against Russia and its leader can be made with impunity and without serious evidence.

The PBS documentary “Inside Putin’s Russia” aims to expose Russian repression, aggression and disinformation. As shown in the many examples above, the five-part documentary is highly biased and inaccurate. While it shows some features of Russia, it also demonstrates American propaganda in the current tumultuous times.

  1. Armed wing of Putin…

Posted in USA, Media, RussiaComments Off on PBS’: Anti – Russia Propaganda Series

US govt spends $76bn to arm & equip Afghan forces

 NOVANEWS

The Pentagon has spent $76 billion on weapons and equipment for the Afghan army and police since 2001, the US Government Accountability Office said. The report comes as President Donald Trump says he is “very close” to announcing a new strategy on Afghanistan.

The US has paid for 600,000 weapons, including rifles and pistols, for the Afghan army and police, the GAO report released on Thursday said. The funding also went to buy more than 25,000 grenade launchers and almost 10,000 rocket-propelled weapons to be used by the Afghans.

Additionally, the US has given to the government in Kabul 162,643 pieces of communications equipment and nearly 76,000 vehicles.

Earlier this summer, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) slammed the Pentagon for spending money on uniforms that Afghan forces didn’t need.

The US has spent $93.81 million over the past decade to provide Afghan troops with uniforms of a “forest” camouflage pattern which is largely unsuitable for Afghanistan’s landscape, a SIGAR report said.

Billions have been squandered on projects that were useless, or lost to waste and corruption, according to SIGAR.

The US’s profligate spending in Afghanistan is “the definition of insanity — doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different result,” Special Inspector General John F. Sopko told NBC News last year.

The US is overall estimated to have spent over $700 billion on military assistance, reconstruction and economic aid to Afghanistan in the past 17 years of war, which began in 2001 as a response to Afghanistan’s harboring of Al-Qaeda following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. With Al-Qaeda in the country largely defeated, the war has morphed into a fight with local Taliban insurgents.

On Thursday, President Trump told reporters that he’s “very close” to announcing his administration’s new strategy on Afghanistan.

“It’s a very big decision for me. I took over a mess and we’re going to make it a lot less messy,” he said.

US officials had earlier promised to deliver an updated strategy by mid-July, but the decision-making stalled.

The commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, as well as Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, suggested adding some 4,000 American troops to the nearly 9,000 already deployed in Afghanistan.

Trump reportedly lashed out at top US military officials in a July meeting for losing ground in Afghanistan and questioned whether America’s longest war is still worth fighting. “We are losing,” Trump said, according to an NBC report.

The president also reportedly considered firing the commander of US forces in Afghanistan.

In 2013 Trump tweeted: “We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let’s get out!”

The US-backed government in Kabul controls about 60 percent of the country – down from 65 percent the same time last year, according to the US military headquarters in Kabul.

Meanwhile, the Taliban is gaining ground. Last week, militants gained control of a key area in Afghanistan’s north Sari Pul province.

Earlier this summer, the Taliban raided and seized the district of Jani Khel in Paktia province, south of Kabul. The fall of Jani Khel marked its third victory in just four days.

Deaths of Afghan security forces in the early months of 2017 were “shockingly high,” SIGAR recently reported.

The Obama administration said a political solution that would involve the Taliban was necessary to end the conflict. The Trump administration has yet to outline its position.

Posted in USA, AfghanistanComments Off on US govt spends $76bn to arm & equip Afghan forces

Canada’s NDP backs American Empire

NOVANEWS
By Yves Engler 

Does the NDP consistently support a foreign policy that benefits ordinary people around the world? Or does the social democratic party often simply fall in line with whatever the American Empire demands?

Hélène Laverdière certainly seems to support the US-led geopolitical order. While the NDP foreign critic has called for stronger arms control measures and regulations on Canada’s international mining industry, she’s aligned with the Empire on issues ranging from Venezuela to Palestine, Ukraine to Syria.

Echoing Washington and Ottawa, Laverdière recently attacked the Venezuelan government. “On the heels of Sunday’s illegitimate constituent assembly vote, it’s more important than ever for Canada to work with our allies and through multilateral groups like the OAS to secure a lasting resolution to the crisis,” she told the CBC.

But, the constituent assembly vote wasn’t “illegitimate”. Venezuela’s current constitution empowers the president to call a constituent assembly to draft a new one. If the population endorses the revised constitution in a referendum, the president – and all other governmental bodies – are legally required to follow the new constitutional framework.

Additionally, calling on Ottawa to “work with our allies” through the OAS may sound reasonable, but in practice it means backing Trudeau’s efforts to weaken Venezuela through that body. Previously, Laverdière promoted that Washington-led policy. In a June 2016 press release bemoaning “the erosion of democracy” and the need for Ottawa to “defend democracy in Venezuela”, Laverdière said “the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter regarding Venezuela, and Canada, as a member of the OAS, should support his efforts.” But, the former Uruguayan Foreign Minister’s actions as head of the OAS have been highly controversial. They even prompted Almagro’s past boss, former Uruguayan president José Mujica, to condemn his biasagainst the Venezuelan government.

Laverdière has also cozied up to pro-Israel groups. Last year she spoke to the notorious anti-Palestinian lobby organization American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Months after AIPAC paid for her to speak at their conference in Washington, Laverdière visited Israel with Canada’s governor general, even participating in a ceremony put on by the explicitly racist Jewish National Fund.

The only Quebec MP to endorse Jagmeet Singh as next party leader, Laverdière has attended other events put on by groups aligned with Washington. She publicized and spoke to the weirdly themed “Demonstration for human and democratic rights in Venezuela, in solidarity with Ukraine and Syria.”

Laverdière supports deploying troops to the Russian border and repeatedly called for more sanctions on that country. She said the plan to send military trainers to the Ukraine “sounds good in principle” and only called for a debate in Parliament about sending 450 Canadians to head up a 1,000-strong NATO force in Latvia.

Since 2014 Laverdière has repeatedly called for stronger sanctions on Russia. In 2014 Laverdière told the Ottawa Citizen that “for sanctions to work, it’s not about the number of people but it’s about actually sanctioning the right people. They have to be comprehensive. And they have to target mainly the people who are very close to Putin. Our sanctions, the Canadian sanctions, still fail to do that.”

In May Laverdière applauded a bill modeled after the US Magnitsky Act that will further strain relations between Ottawa and Moscow by sanctioning Russian officials. “Several countries have adopted similar legislation and we are encouraged that the Liberals are finally taking this important step to support the Global Magnitsky movement,” she said.

In another region where the US and Russia were in conflict Laverdière aligned with the Washington-Riyadh position. In the midst of growing calls for the US to impose a “no-fly zone” on Syria last year, the NDP’s foreign critic recommended Canada nominate the White Helmets for the Nobel Peace Prize. A letter Laverdière co-wrote to foreign minister Stéphane Dion noted: Canada has a proud and long-standing commitment to human rights, humanitarianism and international peacekeeping. It is surely our place to recognize the selflessness, bravery, and fundamental commitment to human dignity of these brave women and men.”

Also known as the Syrian Civil Defence, the White Helmets were credited with rescuing many people from bombed out buildings. But, they also fostered opposition to the Bashar al-Assad regime. The White Helmets operated almost entirely in areas of Syria occupied by the Saudi Arabia–Washington backed Al Nusra/Al Qaeda rebels. They criticized the Syrian government and disseminated images of its violence, but largely ignored those people targeted by the opposition and reportedly enabled some of their executions.

The White Helmets are closely associated with the Syria Campaign, which was set up by Ayman Asfari, a British billionaire of Syrian descent actively opposed to Assad. The White Helmets also received at least $23 million from USAID and Global Affairs Canada sponsored a five-city White Helmets tour of Canada in late 2016.

Early in the Syrian conflict Laverdière condemned the Harper government for failing to take stronger action against Assad. She urged Harper to raise the Syrian conflict with China, recall Canada’s ambassador to Syria and complained that energy giant Suncor was exempted from sanctions, calling on Canada to “put our money where our mouth is.”

Prior to running in the 2011 federal election Laverdière worked for Foreign Affairs. She held a number of Foreign Affairs positions over a decade, even winning the Foreign Minister’s Award for her contribution to Canadian foreign policy.

Laverdière was chummy with Harper’s foreign minister. John Baird said, “I’m getting to know Hélène Laverdière and I’m off to a good start with her” and when Baird retired CBC reported that she was “among the first to line up in the House on Tuesday to hug the departing minister.”

On a number of issues the former Canadian diplomat has aligned with the US Empire. Whoever takes charge of the NDP in October should think about whether Laverdière is the right person to keep Canadian foreign policy decision makers accountable.

Posted in CanadaComments Off on Canada’s NDP backs American Empire

Palestinians, B’nai Brith and Canada’s New Democratic Party

NOVANEWS

Niki Ashton injects vital ideas and principles into the NDP leadership campaign

Niki Ashton. Image credit: Matt Jiggins/ flickr
By Prof. Tony Hall 

Like many NATO countries, Canada has suffered from an impoverishment of free and open debate when it comes to the issue of relations with the Israeli government and the Palestinian people. In country after country the Israeli lobby dominates not only governing parties but opposition parties as well.

The Canadian Parliament has epitomized the pattern. Elected federal officials have conspicuously failed to reflect the anxieties felt by many Canadians of conscience who have managed to become well informed on Palestinian-Israeli relations. There has been little in Canadian parliamentary debates or in mainstream media reports to reflect the views of those most attuned to the unmitigated suffering of Palestinian people under the jack-booted authoritarianism of Israeli domination.

In recent years the Liberals and Conservatives and the New Democrats (NDP) have maintained a blind eye towards Israeli assaults on the Palestinian people especially in Gaza and in the Occupied Territories seized through Israeli conquest a half century ago. Typically Canadian parliamentarians parrot one another across party lines on the sanctity of the “Israeli right of self-defence.” Concurrently our elected representatives mostly fail to notice that Palestinians share with all peoples a basic human right to protect themselves against systematic bouts of dispossession, disempowerment, mass incarcerations, and industrial-scale military murders sometimes heartlessly described as “cutting the grass.”

In 2016 Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined with the Conservative Party of Canada in backing a motion to condemn all groups and individuals supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aimed at penalizing Israel for its anti-Palestinian infractions. Only one federal party, the diminutive Bloc Québécois, has openly argued that “the BDS campaign constitutes legitimate criticism of Israeli policies.

Tom Mulcair 750f7

Tom Mulcair. Image credit: United Steelworkers/ flickr

In the prelude to the federal election of 2015 Tom Mulcair, the leader of the party that is supposed to embody Canadian social democracy, highlighted his own attachment to Zionist extremism by purging the New Democratic Party of federal candidates who expressed support for Palestinian rights. For Mulcair, those seeking to represent the NDP under his leadership were punished for noticing that the United Nations agencies had accused the Israeli Defence Force of “war crimes” in the military invasions of Gaza in 2009 and 2014.

The NDP’s venerable veteran parliamentarian, Libby Davies, was an early casualty of Tom Mulcair’s marked bias in taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Other casualties included Morgan Wheeldon, Jerry Natanine and Paul Manly, the son of long-serving NDP parliamentarian and United Church clergyman, James Manly. The son’s alleged crime was to have called for the release of his father from custody after the elder Manly was arrested in a Finnish ship carrying humanitarian supplies through the Israeli-enforced blockade encircling Gaza.

B’nai Brith Canada versus NDP Leadership Candidate, Niki Ashton

Is the conformist complacency in the glum parliamentary proceedings concerning Palestine and Israel about to come to an end? Perhaps that change will occur if a spark of controversy in the NDP leadership race ignites wider debate on such crucial issues of Canadian public policy.

The contest to replace Tom Mulcair is showing signs of vibrancy that began with a clash of interpretations pitting NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton’s pro-Palestinian politics against B’nai Brith Canada. B’nai Brith Canada is the local extension of the US and Israeli-based Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

Ms. Ashton represents a huge and largely Aboriginal riding in the northern part of the Canadian province of Manitoba. As many see it, Ms. Ashton’s convictions concerning the importance of Palestinian rights are a natural extension of her representation in Parliament of so many Indian and Metis people. In both Canada and the Middle East, Indigenous peoples share similar perspectives on the incursions of newcomers bent on asserting ownership and control over their Aboriginal lands.

The conflict between Niki Ashton and B’nai Brith Canada has much to do with how disparate perceptions of history impinge on contemporary politics. The nub of the current dispute has to do with Palestinian perceptions of the founding acts of the new Jewish state in 1948 as a “catastrophe,” as the “Nakba” in Arabic. The Palestinian view of the Nabka is very close to the Jewish perception of the Shoah. Shoah is the Hebrew term to identify the disaster engulfing European Jewry during World War II.

In 1998 Yasser Arafat instituted May 15 as Nakba Day. The timing was meant as a response to the annual commemoration on May 14 of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. As many Palestinians see it, the founding of Israel led to the initial violent displacement of about 700,000 of their people, almost half of the Palestinian population at that time.

Deir Yassin ca7a1

The horror of the Israeli military assault was epitomized by the murderous atrocities committed at Deir Yassin of the Irgun and Lehi militias. Led by a future Israeli prime minister, Menachem Begin, Irgun and Lehi had been instrumental in displacing the British administrators of colonial Palestine through a hugely publicized act of international terrorism at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946.

In reflecting on this history, NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton announced on her Facebook page,

For more than 60 years, Palestine has been struggling to simply exist. Many in our country have been fighting in solidarity for many years. This week in Montreal I was honoured to stand with many in remembering the Nakba. It was also powerful to join many at a rally in solidarity with those on hunger strike in Palestine today. The NDP must be a voice for human rights, for peace and justice in the Middle East. I am inspired by all those who in our country are part of this struggle for justice.

Michael Mostyn, the CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, responded as follows to Ms. Ashton’s actions and comments. In a Toronto Sun opinion piece Mr. Mostyn observed,

The re-emergence of the Jewish State in 1948 is a miraculous story of indigenous survival and resilience, not a “catastrophe” to be mourned.

Mr. Mostyn’s rejection of the Nakba narrative harkens back to many similar divergences when it comes to the position of Indigenous peoples on a variety of commemorations in the colonized world. Not surprisingly, Native groups often have severe problems and reservations when they are asked to join in anniversary celebrations of, say, 1492, or 1776, or 1867.

Michael Mostyn 63f54

Michael Mostyn doing in interview with Christina Stevens, 2016. Image courtesy of Twitter

Not satisfied to stop at insisting that the founding of the Jewish State must be universally embraced, even by the Palestinians, as a “miraculous” event to be lauded, he goes on to attempt to turn the tables on groups he clearly sees as classes of criminals. Mr. Mostyn thereby seeks to transform the Palestinian memory of the Nakba into the lionization of an Israeli military campaign to clear aside the human obstacles to Israeli ascendance. He writes,

Had Jewish forces not prevailed [in 1948], the likely result would have been another genocide of the land’s Jewish inhabitants, just after the Holocaust, by invading Arab armies who had sworn to exterminate them.

In a news item on B’nai Brith Canada’s own web site Mr. Mostyn adds

To suggest that we should commemorate and mourn the Arab world’s inability to successfully commit a genocide against the Jewish people is beyond comprehension.

In her Facebook post Ms. Ashton combined her comments on the Nakba with a reference to Palestinian hunger strikers currently making their stand throughout the elaborate Israeli prison system. Mr. Mostyn treats this act of protest with contempt. He accuses Ms. Ashton of joining in solidarity with “convicted murders,” with her “advocating for vile terrorists.” The B’nai Brith CEO fails to mention in his remarks on the hunger strike that many of the thousands of jailed Palestinians are being held for months and even for years under “administrative detention certificates.” They have been jailed but not charged with any crime.

Mr. Mostyn concludes by condemning Ms. Ashton as the possessor of “a defective moral compass.” He asserts

Ms. Ashton’s comments are a shocking and insulting departure from the traditional position of her party and those of mainstream Canadians…. Every Canadian, and every honest NDP supporter, should be shocked by Ashton’s ignorance, callousness, and blatant double-standards… Her ignorance as to the reality of the situation in Israel, particularly when it comes to the hunger strike of convicted murderers, is alarming from someone aspiring to be leader of this country.

Who Is Out of Step with the Opinions of Mainstream Canada?

Yves Engler has closely studied the controversy and concluded that it has worked in the favour of Niki Ashton’s leadership campaign and against the credibility of B’nai Brith Canada. He observes that the B’nai Brith backed down once it realized that its interest in Ms. Ashton’s politics was feeding a broader discussion rather than discrediting its target. Engler writes,

Their silence on Ashton’s recent moves is deafening. B’nai B’rith is effectively conceding that their previous attacks backfired and they now fear drawing further attention to Ashton’s position since it would likely strengthen her standing among those voting for the next NDP leader.

Reflecting on the experience Engler observes,

The first ever pregnant major party leadership candidate in Canadian political history has gained this support by speaking truth to power and taking a principled position on an issue most politicians have shied away from. And, she has demonstrated that the purpose of Israeli nationalist attacks is to silence them, not to have a debate. In fact, real debate is what organizations like B’nai B’rith fear the most because the more people know about Israel and the Occupied Territories, the more they support the Palestinian cause.

https://electronicintifada.net/content/why-canadas-ndp-supporting-israeli-racism/20576

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/yves-engler/ndp-foreign-policy_b_15430872.html

The injection of Israeli and Palestinian issues into the NDP leadership campaign is a promising development that is attracting considerable attention domestically and internationally. This turn of events holds out the promise of bringing the parliamentary facet of Canadian social democracy more into line with the existing Middle East policies of agencies like the United Church of Canada, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, the Canadian Labour Congress and student groups like the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.

The enthusiasm generated by open debate is proving to be infectious. About 80 prominent academics and community activists have come up with an open letter urging the NDP to formulate a more balanced, enlightened and intelligent Middle East policy. Among those who signed the document are Noam Chomsky and former UN special rapporteur on Israel-Palestine, Prof. Richard Falk. The letter concludes with a list of proposals indicating,

WE propose that the New Democratic Party of Canada commit to the following, both in opposition and in government:

1. condemning Israeli settlements as a violation of international law and as an impediment to a just resolution;

2. calling upon the State of Israel to halt any further settlement construction, respect the political and civil rights of its Palestinian citizens, pursue a fair solution to the plight of Palestinian refugees, lift its blockade on Gaza and end its military occupation of the Palestinian Territories;

3. calling upon legitimate representatives of the State of Israel and the Palestinian people to negotiate in good faith a just resolution that respects the spirit and intentions of UNGA Resolution 194 and UNSC Resolution 242;

4. pursuing and supporting the use of diplomatic and economic means to exert pressure on the State of Israel in such a manner as to achieve a just resolution. This includes:

> using Canada’s stature and position in the international community to push for meaningful progress on the topic of Israel and Palestine

> renegotiating the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement in such a manner as to divert from the Canadian market any product made in Israeli settlements

> suspending security trade and cooperation between Canada and Israel indefinitely and until the Gaza siege is lifted, the occupation ends and a just peace is achieved

> revoking the tax-exempt status of any organization operating within Canada that is known to financially support or benefit from Israel’s military occupation

> requesting that the International Criminal Court give greater attention to the situation in Israel and Palestine

> recognizing the State of Palestine

B’nai Brith Canada accuses Ms. Ashton of making “a shocking and insulting departure from the traditional position of her party and those of mainstream Canadians.” Yves Engler and others conclude otherwise. They allege it is B’nai Brith Canada that is increasingly out of step with mainstream opinion of well informed Canadians.

I agree. Certainly I continue to be dismayed at B’nai Brith Canada’s deployment of the hate speech deceptions of Joshua Goldbergin the initiation of a campaign of smear and disinformation against me. The campaign began with a publicity stunt based on the planting on my Facebook wall of a reprehensible Facebook post whose origins go back not to me but to Joshua Goldberg and quite possibly to B’nai Brith Canada and related agencies.

Some explanations are in order from the responsible parties. The time is past when Mr. Mostyn can play the victim card when the B’nai Brith is so deeply implicated in hate speech victimization of others. To accuse an attractive and rising social democratic politician like Niki Ashton of “advocating for vile terrorists” is a blasphemy of a high order. Taking the side of oppressed groups over the side of their oppressors is not only legitimate but laudable in the context of these dangerous times through which we are living.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, CanadaComments Off on Palestinians, B’nai Brith and Canada’s New Democratic Party


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