Archive | September 21st, 2017

Tweeting While the Planet Burns

NOVANEWS

It’s January 2025, and within days of entering the Oval Office, a new president already faces his first full-scale crisis abroad. Twenty-four years after it began, the war on terror, from the Philippines to Nigeria, rages on. In 2024 alone, the US launched repeated air strikes on 15 nations (or, in a number of cases, former nations), including the Philippines, Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, the former Iraq, the former Syria, Kurdistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, and Nigeria.

In the weeks before his inauguration, a series of events roiled the Greater Middle East and Africa. Drone strikes and raids by US Special Operations forces in Saudi Arabia against both Shiite rebels and militants from the Global Islamic State killed scores of civilians, including children. They left that increasingly destabilized kingdom in an uproar, intensified the unpopularity of its young king, and led to the withdrawal of the Saudi ambassador from Washington.  In Mali, dressed in police uniforms and riding on motorcycles, three Islamic militants from the Front Azawad, which now controls the upper third of the country, gained entry to a recently established joint US-French military base and blew themselves up, killing two American Green Berets, three American contractors, and two French soldiers, while wounding several members of Mali’s presidential guard.  In Iraq, as 2024 ended, the city of Tal Afar — already “liberated” twice since the 2003 invasion of that country, first by American troops in 2005 and then by American-backed Iraqi troops in 2017 — fell to the Sunni militants of the Global Islamic State. Though now besieged by the forces of the Republic of Southern Iraq backed by the US Air Force, it remains in their hands.

The crisis of the moment, however, is in Afghanistan where the war on terror first began. There, the Taliban, the Global Islamic State (or GIS, which emerged from the Islamic State, or ISIS, in 2019), and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan (or AQIA, which split from the original al-Qaeda in 2021) now control an increasing number of provincial capitals.  These range from Lashgar Gah in Helmand Province in the southern poppy-growing heartlands of the country to Kunduz in the north, which first briefly fell to the Taliban in 2015 and now is in the hands of GIS militants.  In the meantime, the American-backed government in the Afghan capital, Kabul, is — as in 2022 when a “surge” of almost 25,000 American troops and private contractors saved it from falling to the Taliban — again besieged and again in danger.  The conflict that Lieutenant General Harold S. Forrester, the top US commander in Afghanistan, had only recently termed a “stalemate” seems to be devolving.  What’s left of the Afghan military with its ghost soldiers, soaring desertion rates, and stunning casualty figures is reportedly at the edge of dissolution. Forrester is returning to the United States this week to testify before Congress and urge the new president to surge into the country up to 15,000 more American troops, including Special Operations forces, and another 15,000 private contractors, as well as significantly more air power before the situation goes from worse to truly catastrophic.

Like many in the Pentagon, Forrester now regularly speaks of the Afghan War as an “eonic struggle,” that is, one not expected to end for generations

You think not?  When it comes to America’s endless wars and conflicts across the Greater Middle East and Africa, you can’t imagine a more-of-the-same scenario eight years into the future?  If, in 2009, eight years after the war on terror was launched, as President Obama was preparing to send a “surge” of more than 30,000 US troops into Afghanistan (while swearing to end the war in Iraq), I had written such a futuristic account of America’s wars in 2017, you might have been no less unconvinced.

Who would have believed then that political Washington and the US military’s high command could possibly continue on the same brainless path (or perhaps it would be more accurate to say superhighway) for another eight years?  Who would have believed then that, in the fall of 2017, they would be intensifying their air campaigns across the Greater Middle East, still fighting in Iraq (and Syria), supporting a disastrous Saudi war in Yemen, launching the first of yet another set of mini-surges in Afghanistan, and so on?  And who would have believed then that, in return for prosecuting unsuccessful wars for 16 years while aiding and abetting in the spread of terror movements across a vast region, three of America’s generals would be the most powerful figures in Washington aside from our bizarre president (whose election no one could have predicted eight years ago)?  Or here’s another mind-bender: Would you really have predicted that, in return for 16 years of unsuccessful war-making, the US military (and the rest of the national security state) would be getting yet more money from the political elite in our nation’s capital or would be thought better of than any other American institution by the public?

Now, I’m the first to admit that we humans are pathetic seers. Peering into the future with any kind of accuracy has never been part of our skill set.  And so my version of 2025 could be way off base.  Given our present world, it might prove to be far too optimistic about our wars.

After all — just to mention one grim possibility of our moment — for the first time since 1945, we’re on a planet where nuclear weapons might be used by either side in the course of a local war, potentially leaving Asia aflame and possibly the world economy in ruins.  And don’t even bring up Iran, which I carefully and perhaps too cautiously didn’t include in my list of the 15 countries the US was bombing in 2025 (as opposed to the seven at present).  And yet, in the same world where they are decrying North Korea’s nuclear weapons, the Trump administration and its U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, seem to be hard at work creating a situation in which the Iranians could once again be developing ones of their own.  The president has reportedly been desperate to ditch the nuclear agreement Barack Obama and the leaders of five other major powers signed with Iran in 2015 (though he has yet to actually do so) and he’s stocked his administration with a remarkable crew of Iranophobes, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, all of whom have been itching over the years for some kind of confrontation with Iran. (And given the last decade and a half of American war fighting in the region, how do you think that conflict would be likely to turn out?)

Donald Trump’s Washington, as John Feffer has recently pointed out, is now embarked on a Pyongyang-style “military-first” policy in which resources, money, and power are heading for the Pentagon and the US nuclear arsenal, while much of the rest of the government is downsized.  Obviously, if that’s where your resources are going, then that’s where your efforts and energies will go, too.  So don’t expect less war in the years to come, no matter how inept Washington has proven when it comes to making war work.

Now, let’s leave those wars aside for a moment and return to the future:

It’s mid-September 2025.  Hurricane Wally has just deluged Houston with another thousand-year rainfall, the fourth since Hurricane Harvey hit the region in 2017.  It’s the third Category 6 hurricane — winds of 190 or more miles an hour — to hit the US so far this year, the previous two being Tallulah and Valerie, tying a record first set in 2023.  (Category 6 was only added to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale in 2022 after Hurricane Donald devastated Washington DC)  The new president did not visit Houston.  His press secretary simply said, “If the president visited every area hit by extreme weather, he would be incapable of spending enough time in Washington to oversee the rebuilding of the city and govern the country.”  She refused to take further questions and Congress has no plans to pass emergency legislation for a relief package for the Houston region.

Much of what’s left of that city’s population is either fled ahead of the storm or is packed into relief shelters.  And as with Miami Beach, it is now believed that some of the more flood-prone parts of the Houston area will never be rebuilt.  (Certain ocean-front areas of Miami were largely abandoned after Donald hit in 2022 on its way to Washington, thanks in part to a new reality: sea levels were rising faster than expected because of the stunning pace at which the Greenland ice shield meltdown.)

Meanwhile, the temperature just hit 112 degrees, a new September record, in San Francisco.  That came after a summer in which a record 115 was experienced, making Mark Twain’s apocryphal line, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” an artifact of the past. In another year without an El Niño phenomenon, the West Coast has again been ablaze and the wheat-growing regions of the Midwest have been further devastated by a tenacious drought, now four years old.

Around the planet, heat events are on the rise, as are storms and floods, while the wildfire season continues to expand globally.  To mention just two events elsewhere on Earth: in 2024, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), thanks to both spreading conflicts and an increase in extreme weather events, more people were displaced — 127.2 million — than at any time on record, almost doubling the 2016 count. UNHCR director Angelica Harbani expects that figure to be surpassed yet again when this year’s numbers are tallied.  In addition, a speedier than expected meltdown of the Himalayan glaciers has created a permanent water crisis in parts of South Asia also struck by repeated disastrous monsoons and floods.

In the United States, the week after Hurricane Wally destroyed Houston, the president flew to North Dakota to proudly mark the beginning of the construction of the Transcontinental Pipeline slated to bring Canadian tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the East Coast.  “It will help ensure,” he said, “that the United States remains the oil capital of the planet.”

Think of it this way: a new weather paradigm is visibly on the rise.  It just walloped the United States from the burning West Coast to the battered Florida Keys.  And another crucial phenomenon has accompanied it: the rise to power in Washington — and not just there — of Republican climate-change denialism. Think of the two phenomena together as the alliance from hell.  So far there’s no evidence that a Washington whose key agencies are well stockedwith climate-change deniers is likely to be transformed any time soon.

Now, meld those two future scenarios of mine: the fruitless pursuit of never-ending wars and the increasing extremity of the weather on a planet seemingly growing hotter by the year.  (Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record occurred in the twenty-first century and the 17th was 1998.)  Try to conjure up such a world for a moment and you’ll realize that the potential damage could be enormous, even if the planet’s “lone superpower” continues to encourage the greatest threat facing us for only a brief period, even if Donald Trump doesn’t win reelection in 2020 or worse than him isn’t heading down the pike.

The Frying of Our World

There have been many imperial powers on Planet Earth.  Any number of them committed massive acts of horror — from the Mongol empire (whose warriors typically sacked Baghdad in 1258, putting its public libraries to the torch, reputedly turning the Tigris River black with ink and that city’s streets red with blood) to the Spanish empire (known for its grim treatment of the inhabitants of its “new world” possessions, not to speak of the Muslims, Jews, and other heretics in Spain itself) to the Nazis (no elaboration needed). In other words, there’s already competition enough for the imperial worst of the worst.  And yet don’t imagine that the United States doesn’t have a shot at taking the number one spot for all eternity. (USA! USA!)

Depending on how the politics of this country and this century play out, the phrase “fiddling while Rome burns” might have to be seriously readjusted.  In the American version, you would substitute “fighting never-ending wars across the Greater Middle East, Africa, and possibly Asia” for “fiddling” and for “Rome,” you would insert “the planet.” Only “burns” would remain the same.  For now, at least, you would also have to replace the Roman emperor Nero (who was probably playing a lyre, since no fiddles existed in his world) with Donald Trump, the Tweeter-in-Chief, as well as “his” generals and the whole crew of climate deniers now swarming Washington, one more eager than the next to release the full power of fossil fuels into an overburdened atmosphere.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that my own country, so eternally overpraised by its leaders in these years as the planet’s “indispensable” and “exceptional” nation with “the finest fighting force the world has ever known” might usher in the collapse of the very environment that nurtured humanity all these millennia.  As the “lone superpower,” the last in a line-up of rival great powers extending back to the fifteenth century, what a mockery it threatens to make of the long-gone vision of history as a march of progress through time.  What a mockery it threatens to make of the America of my own childhood, the one that so proudly put a man on the moon and imagined that there was no problem on Earth it couldn’t solve.

Imagine the government of that same country, distracted by its hopeless wars and the terrorist groups they continue to generate, facing the possible frying of our world — and not lifting a finger to deal with the situation.  In a Washington where less is more for everything except the US military (for which more is invariably less), the world has been turned upside down.  It’s the definition of an empire of madness.

Hold on a second!  Somewhere, faintly, I think I hear a fiddle playing and maybe it’s my imagination, but do I smell smoke?

Note: Credit must be given for the citation in this piece of “Hurricane Donald,” the storm that devastated Washington in 2022. I stole it from John Feffer’s superb dystopian novel Splinterlands.

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On Rosh Hashanah: Recommitting to Solidarity in the Face of White Supremacy

NOVANEWS

By Brant RosenTruthout 

This must be our response to white supremacy: that a threat to any one of us is a threat to all," writes Brant Rosen, calling for a new commitment to building solidarity-based movements in the Jewish New Year. Here, members of Holy Blossom Temple, a Toronto Synagogue, form a protective circle around the Imdadul Mosque in North York in Canada on February 3, 2017, following an Islamophobic attack on a mosque in Quebec City that left six Muslim worshippers dead and nineteen wounded. (Photo: Bernard Weil / Toronto Star via Getty Images)

“This must be our response to white supremacy: that a threat to any one of us is a threat to all,” writes Brant Rosen, calling for a new commitment to building solidarity-based movements in the Jewish New Year. Here, members of Holy Blossom Temple, a Toronto Synagogue, form a protective circle around the Imdadul Mosque in North York in Canada on February 3, 2017, following an Islamophobic attack on a mosque in Quebec City. (Photo: Bernard Weil / Toronto Star via Getty Images)

When Temple Beth Israel — a large Reform synagogue in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia — opened for Shabbat morning services on August 12, 2017, its congregants had ample reason to be terrified. Prior to the “Unite the Right” rally held in town by white supremacists and neo-Nazis that weekend, some neo-Nazi websites had posted calls to burn down their synagogue.

The members of Beth Israel decided to go ahead with services, but they removed their Torah scrolls just to be safe. When services began, they noticed three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles standing across the street from their synagogue. Throughout the morning, growing numbers of neo-Nazis gathered outside their building. Worshippers heard people shouting, “There’s the synagogue!” and chanting, “Sieg Heil!” At the end of services, they had to leave in groups through a side door.

Of course, this story did not occur in a vacuum. It was but a part of a larger outrage that unfolded in Charlottesville that day, and part of a still larger outrage has been unfolding in our country since November. I think it’s safe to say that many Americans have learned some very hard truths about their country since the elections last fall. Many — particularly white liberals — are asking out loud: Where did all of this come from? Didn’t we make so much progress during the Obama years? Can there really be that many people in this country who would vote for an out-and-out xenophobe who unabashedly encourages white supremacists as his political base? Is this really America?

Yes, this is America. White supremacy — something many assumed was relegated to an ignoble period of American history — is, and has always been, very real in this country. White supremacists and neo-Nazis are in the streets — and they are being emboldened and encouraged by the president of the United States.

While this new political landscape may feel surreal, I’d suggest that this is actually a clarifying moment. Aspects of our national life that have remained subterranean for far too long are now being brought out into the light. We are now being brought face to face with systems and forces that many of us assumed were long dead; that we either couldn’t see or chose not to see. Following the election of Trump many have commented that it feels like we are living through a bad dream. I would claim the opposite. I would say that many of us are finally waking up to real life — a reality that, particularly for the most marginalized among us, never went away.

It is certainly a profoundly clarifying moment for American Jews. With this resurgence of white supremacist anti-Semitism, it would have been reasonable to expect a deafening outcry from the American Jewish establishment. But that, in fact, has not been the case. When Trump appointed white nationalist Steve Bannon to a senior White House position, there was nary an outcry from mainstream Jewish organizations. The Zionist Organization of America actually invited Bannon to speak at its annual gala.

Why would the Israeli Prime Minister call a president who panders to anti-Semitic white supremacists “brave” and “courageous?” Because Trump pledged his support to Israel.

Israel’s response to this political moment is no less illuminating. During a huge spike in anti-Semitic vandalism and threats against Jewish institutions immediately after the elections, it wasn’t only Trump that had to be goaded into making a statement — the Israeli government itself remained shockingly silent. This same government that never misses an opportunity to condemn anti-Semitic acts by Muslim extremists seemed utterly unperturbed that over 100 Jewish institutions had received bomb threats or that Jewish cemeteries were desecrated across the country. (More than 500 headstones were knocked down at one Jewish cemetery alone in Philadelphia.) And when neo-Nazis with tiki torches rallied in Charlottesville proclaiming “Jews will not replace us,” it took Prime Minister Netanyahu three days to respond with a mild tweet. Israel’s Diaspora Minister Naftali Bennett, whom one would assume should be concerned with anti-Semitism anywhere in the Diaspora, had this to say:

We view ourselves as having a certain degree of responsibility for every Jew in the world, just for being Jewish, but ultimately it’s the responsibility of the sovereign nation to defend its citizens.

This is a clarifying moment if ever there was one. Support for Israel and its policies trumps everything — yes, including white supremacist Jew hatred. Just this week, Prime Minister Netanyahu said this about Trump’s speech at the UN:

I’ve been ambassador to the United Nations, and I’m a long-serving Israeli prime minister, so I’ve listened to countless speeches in this hall. But I can say this — none were bolder, none were more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today.

Why would the Israeli Prime Minister call a president who panders to anti-Semitic white supremacists “brave” and “courageous?” Because Trump pledged his support to Israel. Because he called the Iran nuclear deal an “embarrassment.” Because he vowed American support to allies who are “working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists.”

Historically speaking, this is not the first time that Zionists have cozied up to anti-Semites in order to gain their political support. Zionism has long depended on anti-Semites to validate its very existence. This Faustian bargain was struck as far back as the 19th century, when Zionist leader Theodor Herzl met with the Russian minister of the interior Vyacheslav von Plehve, an infamous anti-Semite who encouraged the Kishinev pogroms that very same year. Plehve pledged that as long as the Zionists encouraged emigration of Jews from Russia, the Russian authorities would not disturb them.

It makes perfect sense that Israeli leaders are loath to condemn the rise of white supremacy. After all, they have a different enemy they want to sell to us.

This Zionist strategy was also central to the diplomatic process that led to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour announced his government’s support for “the establishment of a national home in Palestine for the Jewish people.” Although Balfour has long been lionized as a Zionist hero, he wasn’t particularly well known for his love for Jews or the Jewish people. When he was prime minister, his government passed the 1905 Aliens Act, severely restricting immigration at a time in which persecuted Jews were emigrating from Eastern Europe. At the time, Balfour spoke of the “undoubted evils which had fallen on the country from an alien immigration which was largely Jewish.” Balfour, like many Christians of his class, “did not believe that Jews could be assimilated into Gentile British society.”

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that Israeli leaders are loath to condemn the rise of white supremacy. After all, they have a different enemy they want to sell to us. They want us to buy their Islamophobic narrative that “radical Muslim extremism” is the most serious threat to the world today. And you can be sure they view Palestinians as an integral part of this threat.

We cannot underestimate how important this narrative is to Israel’s foreign policy — indeed, to its own sense of validation in the international community. Netanyahu is so committed to this idea, in fact, that two years ago he actually went as far as to blame Palestinians for starting the Holocaust itself. In a speech to the Zionist Congress, he claimed that in 1941, the Palestinian Grand Mufti convinced Hitler to launch a campaign of extermination against European Jewry at a time when Hitler only wanted to expel them. This ludicrous historical falsehood was so over the top that a German government spokesperson eventually released a statement that essentially said, “No, that’s not true. Actually, the Holocaust was our fault.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is pursuing an alliance with the anti-Semitic populist Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán. When Netanyahu recently traveled to Hungary to meet with Orbán, leaders of the Hungarian Jewish community publicly criticized Netanyahu, accusing him of “betrayal.”

If there was ever any doubt about the profound threat that white supremacy poses to us all, we’d best be ready to willing grasp it now. White supremacy is not a thing of the past and it’s not merely the domain of extremists. It has also been a central guiding principle of Western foreign policy for almost a century. To those who claim that so-called Islamic extremism is the greatest threat to world peace today, we would do well to respond that the US military has invaded, occupied and/or bombed 14 Muslim-majority countries since 1980 — and this excludes coups against democratically elected governments, torture, and imprisonment of Muslims with no charges. Racism and Islamophobia inform our nation’s military interventions in ways that are obvious to most of the world, even if they aren’t to us. It is disingenuous to even begin to consider the issue of radical Islamic violence until we begin to reckon with the ways we wield our overwhelming military power abroad.

So, as we observe Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, where are we supposed to go from here? I would suggest that the answer, as ever, is solidarity.

Let’s return to the horrid events at Temple Beth Israel in Charlottesville. As it turned out, the local police didn’t show up to protect the synagogue that Shabbat — but many community members did. The synagogue’s president later noted that several non-Jews attended services as an act of solidarity — and that at least a dozen strangers stopped by that morning asking if congregants wanted them to stand with their congregation.

Another example: Last February, when Chicago’s Loop Synagogue was vandalized with broken windows and swastikas by someone who was later discovered to be a local white supremacist, the very first statement of solidarity came from the Chicago office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Their executive director, Ahmed Rehab, said:

Chicago’s Muslim community stands in full solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters as they deal with the trauma of this vile act of hate. No American should have to feel vulnerable and at risk simply due to their religious affiliation.

Here’s another example: last Friday, protests filled the streets of St. Louis after a white former city policeman, Jason Stockley, was found not guilty of the first-degree murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, a Black 24-year-old whom he shot to death on December 20, 2011. The St. Louis police eventually used tear gas and rubber bullets against the demonstrators. Some of the demonstrators retreated to Central Reform Congregation of St. Louis, which opened its doors to the protesters. The police actually followed them and surrounded the synagogue. During the standoff, a surge of anti-Semitic statements trended on Twitter under the hashtag #GasTheSynagogue. (Yes, this actually happened last week, though it was not widely covered by the mainstream media.)

This must be our response to white supremacy: that a threat to any one of us is a threat to all.

Just one more example: last January, a 27-year year-old man entered a mosque in Quebec City and opened fire on a room filled with Muslim worshippers, killing six men and wounding another 16. The following week, Holy Blossom Temple, a Toronto synagogue organized an action in which multifaith groups formed protective circles around at least half a dozen mosques. It was inspired by the “Ring of Peace” created by about 1,000 Muslims around an Oslo synagogue in 2015, following a string of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe by Muslim gunmen.

This must be our response to white supremacy: that a threat to any one of us is a threat to all. That we are stronger together. This is the movement we need to build.

However, even as we make this commitment to one another, we cannot assume that oppression impacts all of us equally. This point was made very powerfully in a recent blog post by Mimi Arbeit, a white Jewish educator/scientist/activist from Charlottesville, so I’ll quote her directly:

Jews should be fighting Nazis. And — at the same time — we White-presenting White-privileged Jews need to understand that we are fighting Nazis in the US within the very real context of centuries of anti-Black racism. I have been face to face with Nazis and yes I see the swastikas and I see the anti-semitic signs and I hear the taunts and I respect the fear of the synagogue in downtown Charlottesville — AND please believe me when I say that they are coming for Black people first. It is Black people who the Nazis are seeking out, Black neighborhoods that are being targeted, anti-Black terrorism that is being perpetrated. So. Jews need to be fighting Nazis in this moment. And. At the same time. If we are fighting Nazis expecting them to look like German anti-Semitic prototypes, we will be betraying ourselves and our comrades of color. We need to fight Nazis in the US within the context of US anti-Black racism. We need to be anti-fascist and anti-racist with every breath, with every step.

To this I would only add that when it comes to state violence, it is people of color — particularly Black Americans — who are primarily targeted. While white Jews understandably feel vulnerable at this particular moment, we still dwell under an “all encompassing shelter of white privilege.” We will never succeed in building a true movement of solidarity unless we reckon honestly with the “very real context of centuries of anti-Black racism.”

I’ve said a great deal about clarity here, but I don’t want to underestimate in any way the challenges that lay before us. I realize this kind of “clarity” can feel brutal — like a harsh light that reflexively causes one to close one’s eyes tightly. On the other hand, I know there are many who have had their eyes wide open to these issues for quite some time now.

Either way, we can’t afford to look away much longer. We can’t allow ourselves the luxury to grieve over dreams lost — particularly the ones that were really more illusions than dreams in the first place.

On Rosh Hashanah, the gates are open wide. This is the time of year we are asked to look deep within, unflinchingly, so that we might discern the right way forward. We can no longer put off the work we know we must do, no matter how daunting or overwhelming it might feel. But at the same time, we can only greet the New Year together. We cannot do it alone. Our liturgy is incorrigibly first person, plural — today we vow to set our lives and our world right, and we will be alongside one another.

So here we are. We’ve just said goodbye to one horrid year. The gates are opening before us. Let’s take each other’s hands and walk through them together.

Shanah Tovah / Happy New Year.

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Unmasked: Trump Doctrine Vows Carnage for New Axis of Evil

NOVANEWS

North Korea, Iran, Venezuela are targets in “compassionate” America’s war on the “wicked few.” It’s almost as though Washington felt its hegemony threatened

 

Featured image: Paul Delaroche, Napoléon à Fontainebleau, 1840. With other global powers increasingly at odds with US foreign policy under Donald Trump, the nation’s hegemony on the world stage may soon face its own crisis point. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This was no “deeply philosophical address”. And hardly a show of  “principled realism” – as spun by the White House. President Trump at the UN was “American carnage,” to borrow a phrase previously deployed by his nativist speechwriter Stephen Miller.

One should allow the enormity of what just happened to sink in, slowly. The president of the United States, facing the bloated bureaucracy that passes for the “international community,” threatened to “wipe off the map” the whole of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (25 million people). And may however many millions of South Koreans who perish as collateral damage be damned.

Multiple attempts have been made to connect Trump’s threats to the madman theory cooked up by “Tricky Dicky” Nixon in cahoots with Henry Kissinger, according to which the USSR must always be under the impression the then-US president was crazy enough to, literally, go nuclear. But the DPRK will not be much impressed with this madman remix.

That leaves, on the table, a way more terrifying upgrade of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Trump repeatedly invoked Truman in his speech). Frantic gaming will now be in effect in both Moscow and Beijing: Russia and China have their own stability / connectivity strategy under development to contain Pyongyang.

The Trump Doctrine has finally been enounced and a new axis of evil delineated. The winners are North Korea, Iran and Venezuela. Syria under Assad is a sort of mini-evil, and so is Cuba. Crucially, Ukraine and the South China Sea only got a fleeting mention from Trump, with no blunt accusations against Russia and China. That may reflect at least some degree of realpolitik; without “RC” – the Russia-China strategic partnership at the heart of the BRICS bloc and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – there’s no possible solution to the Korean Peninsula stand-off.

In this epic battle of the “righteous many” against the “wicked few,” with the US described as a “compassionate nation” that wants “harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife,” it’s a bit of a stretch to have Islamic State – portrayed as being not remotely as “evil” as North Korea or Iran – get only a few paragraphs.

The art of unraveling a deal

According to the Trump Doctrine, Iran is “an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos,” a “murderous regime” profiting from a nuclear deal that is “an embarrassment to the United States.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted:

 “Trump’s ignorant hate speech belongs in medieval times – not the 21st century UN – unworthy of a reply.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov once again stressed full support for the nuclear deal ahead of a P5+1 ministers’ meeting scheduled for Wednesday, when Zarif was due to be seated at the same table as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Under review: compliance with the deal. Tillerson is the only one who wants a renegotiation.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has, in fact, developed an unassailable argument on the nuclear negotiations. He says the deal – which the P5+1 and the IAEA all agree is working – could be used as a model elsewhere. German chancellor Angela Merkel concurs. But, Rouhani says, if the US suddenly decides to unilaterally pull out, how could the North Koreans possibly be convinced it’s worth their while to sit down to negotiate anything with the Americans ?

What the Trump Doctrine is aiming at is, in fact, a favourite old neo-con play, reverting back to the dynamics of the Dick Cheney-driven Washington-Tehran Cold War years.

This script runs as follows: Iran must be isolated (by the West, only now that won’t fly with the Europeans); Iran is “destabilizing” the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, the ideological foundry of all strands of Salafi-jihadism, gets a free pass); and Iran, because it’s developing ballistic that could – allegedly – carry nuclear warheads, is the new North Korea.

That lays the groundwork for Trump to decertify the deal on October 15. Such a dangerous geopolitical outcome would then pit Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi against Tehran, Moscow and Beijing, with European capitals non-aligned. That’s hardly compatible with a “compassionate nation” which wants “harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife.”

Afghanistan comes to South America

The Trump Doctrine, as enounced, privileges the absolute sovereignty of the nation-state. But then there are those pesky “rogue regimes” which must be, well, regime-changed. Enter Venezuela, now on “the brink of total collapse,” and run by a “dictator”; thus, America “cannot stand by and watch.”

No standing by, indeed. On Monday, Trump had dinner in New York with the presidents of Colombia, Peru and Brazil (the last indicted by the country’s Attorney General as the leader of a criminal organization and enjoying an inverted Kim dynasty rating of 95% unpopularity). On the menu: regime change in Venezuela.

Venezuelan “dictator” Maduro happens to be supported by Moscow and, most crucially, Beijing, which buys oil and has invested widely in infrastructure in the country with Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht crippled by the Car Wash investigation.

The stakes in Venezuela are extremely high. In early November, Brazilian and American forces will be deployed in a joint military exercise in the Amazon rainforest, at the Tri-Border between Peru, Brazil and Colombia. Call it a rehearsal for regime change in Venezuela. South America could well turn into the new Afghanistan, a consequence that flows from Trump’s assertion that “major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell.”

For all the lofty spin about “sovereignty”, the new axis of evil is all about, once again, regime change.

Russia-China aim to defuse the nuclear stand-off, then seduce North Korea into sharing in the interpenetration of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), via a new Trans-Korea Railway and investments in DPRK ports. The name of the game is Eurasian integration.

Iran is a key node of BRI. It’s also a future full member of the SCO, it’s connected – via the North-South Transport Corridor – with India and Russia, and is a possible future supplier of natural gas to Europe. The name of the game, once again, is Eurasian integration.

Venezuela, meanwhile, holds the largest unexplored oil reserves on the planet, and is targeted by Beijing as a sort of advanced BRI node in South America.

The Trump Doctrine introduces a new set of problems for Russia-China. Putin and Xi do dream of reenacting a balance of power similar to that of the Concert of Europe, which lasted from 1815 (after Napoleon’s defeat) until the brink of World War I in 1914. That’s when Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia decided that no European nation should be able to emulate the hegemony of France under Napoleon. In sitting as judge and executioner, Trump’s “compassionate” America certainly seems intent on echoing such hegemony.

Posted in USA, Iran, North Korea, VenezuelaComments Off on Unmasked: Trump Doctrine Vows Carnage for New Axis of Evil

Syria: 850 Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Jihadists Killed

NOVANEWS

850 Jihadists Killed as Russian Warplanes Help Syrian Army Repel Idlib Offensive

Featured image: ussian Su-25 attack aircraft take off from the Khmeimim airbase in Syria (Source:Dmitriy Vinogradov / Sputnik)

Russian warplanes and Syrian forces have repelled an offensive by jihadists in a de-escalation zone in Idlib governorate in Syria. The forces killed some 850 militants and destroyed 11 tanks and other assets, Russia’s General Staff reported.

The offensive was launched by the militant group formerly called Al-Nusra Front and its allies on Tuesday morning, a statement from the General Staff said.

The jihadists attacked the positions of government forces stationed to the north and northeast of the city of Hama. The positions are part of a designated de-escalation zone, which covers Idlib governorate, the powerbase of a number of anti-government armed groups in Syria, the Russian military said.

The report accused US security services of instigating the offensive, which, the statement said, is meant to derail the successful operation of Damascus forces east of Deir ez-Zor.

The Russian General Staff said the militants tried to capture a unit of the Russian military police, which have a mandate to monitor the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone. The unit was forced to fight against a larger enemy presence for several hours, but prevailed thanks to the support of a local militia.

The Russian command in Syria ordered an operation to repel the militants’ assault, including airstrikes and a ground offensive conducted by the military police and special operations forces, General Sergey Rudskoy, spokesman for the Russian General Staff, added in the statement.

The Russian unit was successfully rescued. Three troops from the special operations forces were injured, but the Russian forces suffered no fatalities, Rudskoy said.

The General Staff said the jihadist offensive had been stopped. The militants’ estimated losses include some 850 fighters, 11 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, 46 armed pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 freighter trucks and 38 ammo supply points.

The statement says Syrian government forces supported by Russian warplanes launched a counteroffensive and recaptured territories previously seized by the jihadists.

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Democracy in America Is Pure Fantasy: Stephen Lendman

NOVANEWS
 

“I’ll never live to see 9/11 justice,” says Stephen Lendman. The 9/11 attacks have changed the course of humanity, even so for sixteen years have not been minimally clarified but turned the world in a place full of fear and hate as the United States spreads its military bases all over the world, having 737 and more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet. 

Stephen Lendman, one of the world’s most respected analysts, speaks with Pravda Report on the consequences of those attacks, and President Trump’s denial of his promises during the presidential campaign to investigate the day that has killed more than one million people all over the world, and up to now bring innumerable contradictions and evident lies.

Edu Montesanti: Stephen Lendman, I’d like to thank you so very much for this interview. So what has been the consequences of the 9/11 attacks to the US and the world? 

Stephen Lendman: I call 9/11 the mother of all false flags. It was staged to let Washington wage endless wars of aggression against one sovereign independent state after another.

All nations America doesn’t control are vulnerable to wars or color revolutions for regime change. Dark forces in Washington want them all transformed into subservient puppet states, their resources looted, their people exploited.

EM: The current crisis of a nuclear war between Washington and Pyongyang is, in a large part, a consequence of 9/11 as the then-US President George Bush included North Korea in the Axis of Evil”, in his State of the Union address in 2002…

SL: The North Korea situation has been festering since the 1940’s, unconnected to 9/11 except for powers in Washington perhaps including the country among others it calls evil regimes.

America, NATO, Israel and their rogue allies are the only pure evil ones I know.

9/11 let America launch phony war on terror, waging war OF terror on humanity, supporting ISIS, al-Qaeda and other terrorists groups, using them as imperial foot soldiers.

I’ve written a great deal on North Korea. I deplore wars, nuclear and other powerful weapons, but recognize the DPRK’s right to self-defense.

Throughout its history, it never attacked another country. It genuinely fears possible US aggression, why it’s pursued powerful deterrents to save the nation and its leadership from destruction.

EM: Campainger Donald Trump said that, once elected, he would investigate 9/11, what he has not been doing as president: Why do you think he has given up?

SL: All politicians lie, Trump like all the rest. Further, he’s been co-opted by dark forces in America. He’s an impotent front man for their agenda. The same is true for congressional leadership and most congressional members, along with the courts.

Democracy in America is pure fantasy. None exists. Powerful monied interests run things. People have no say. Elections are farcical when held. Dirty business as usual wins every time.

EM: We see people not willing to face the truth, especially Americans. 9/11 has become a taboo among people. Mike Berger has said me, “I have heard many times: ‘If it is true [an inside job], I just don’t want to know’.” Every 9/11 truther I have interviewed or talked to, mention the mainstream media brainwashing, and psychological barriers as the roots of it. What can you say about it?

SL: Democracy in America is pure fantasy. None exists. Powerful monied interests run things. People have no say. Elections are farcical when held. Dirty business as usual wins every time.

The major media in America are abominable, especially the New York Times, CIA-connected Washington Post, and farcical television news.

EM: Do you still believe in justice for 9/11?

PSL: I’ll never live to see 9/11 justice.

Posted in USAComments Off on Democracy in America Is Pure Fantasy: Stephen Lendman

Covert Rivalry Between Damascus and Washington-led SDF

NOVANEWS

Recently, the Syrian Arab Army has achieved quite a lot in fighting against ISIS in Deir Ezzor – vast territories near the city are liberated, the Euphrates crossed, a lot of terrorists and vehicles eliminated and destroyed.

Meanwhile, an offensive towards Deir Ezzor is carried out by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces aided by the International Coalition. The Kurds have captured a number of villages to the northeast of the city and are approaching the Euphrates.

In fact, for this purpose the SDF de facto stalled the siege of Raqqa and moved the troops to the south.

On September 15, in its article Bloomberg compared the current situation in Syria to the one at the end of WWII when the Soviet army and Allied forces were pushing to Berlin to control as many territories as possible for the post-war division of Germany.

Indeed, despite the difference of the scales, Syria witnesses similar processes, despite the official statements that the US-led coalition only aims at fighting terrorism. The Raqqa offensive, however, proves another thing: Washington seeks clearing as much areas as possible from ISIS before it’s done by the government troops.

After the Islamic State is defeated and the war ends, the areas of influence shall become one of the main factors at the negotiations on post-war Syria. Besides, a key part belongs to the media, as the first one to clear the country of ISIS will have a possibility to increase their popularity. Thus, making use of propaganda in the U.S. media, Donald Trump may declare himself “a modern crusader” and improve his extremely low rating.

The Syria war long ago transformed from an ordinary local conflict to a crisis influencing the political agenda all over the world. Europe is overcrowded with Syrian refugees, Israel fears Syria’s ally Iran and shells the SAR territory, and Turkey is up to deter the formation of an autonomous Kurdish region by the Syrian-Turkish border and is building up its presence there. All these parties are attempting to affect the Syrian conflict.

But now, the main rivalry is between Syria’s legal government and Washington, which invaded the country seeking its own interests. Damascus is in the lead and the only thing the White House can do is to chase it redeploying the Kurds from one location to another.

This article was originally published by Inside Syria Media Center.


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes one additional chapter. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

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Posted in USA, IranComments Off on Covert Rivalry Between Damascus and Washington-led SDF

Syrian Army Crossed Euphrates River ‘Video’

NOVANEWS

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Hezbollah, the Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) are preparing for a joint advance on the ISIS border strongholds of al-Bukamal and al-Qaim.

On Saturday, the Iraqi Army and the PMU launched an anti-ISIS operation in the border area, liberated the border town Akashat, the H-3 station, Akashat factory and the Akashat housing complex, and secured a road linking it with the Damascus-Baghdad highway.

At the same day, the SAA and Hezbollah, supported by Liwa Fatemiyoun, Liwa Haydaryoun, Liwa al-Zainabyoun and the National Defense Forces (NDF), captured al-Rutimah, Ghizlaniah and the desert area north of Sharat al-Wa’ar.

On Sunday, Syrian and Iraqi forces officially met on the border near Akashat. The SAA and Hezbollah deployed several special force and armoured units right on the border line. According to the UK-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper, the sides had agreed to establish three joint positions there.

Damascus gave Iraqi forces a permission to enter 10km deep inside the Syrian territory if needed. Iraqi sources claimed that some Syrian battle tanks and armoured vehicles of entered the Iraqi territory and joined Iraqi units.

The expected joint push towards al-Bukamal and al-Qaim will ease a battle against ISIS in the border area. Furthermore, many PMU factions particiapte in an anti-ISIS campaign of the Syrian government inside Syria. Units of these factions could cross the border and to assist the SAA in its advance towards al-Bukamal.

On Saturday, the US-led coalition officially accused Russian forces of striking a position on the eastern bank of the Euphrates near the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and coalition troops. Six SDF members were injured, according to the SDF statement. The alleged strike came after SDF representatives had repeatedly threatened to strike Syrian government forces if they attempt to cross the Euphrates in the Deir Ezzor countryside.

On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry rejected these claims adding that Russian forces strike only ISIS positions and the US had received a notice about this in advance. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov added that the Russian military has not observed any fighting between ISIS and SDF in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor over the past few days.

“Therefore, only representatives of the international coalition can answer the question as to how ‘opposition members’ or ‘military advisers of the international coalition’ managed to get to the IS-held areas in the eastern part of Deir Ezzor without striking a blow.”

The SAA and its allies have liberated Jafrah, Ayyash, the Hujeif mount, Muraieiah, Hawayej, Hawayej Abu Arab, Ain Abu Jumah and Hajj Hammoud as well as some nearby points on the both northwestern and southeastern flanks of the city.

On Monday, Syrian forces crossed the Euphrates east of Deir Ezzor. Since start of September, the SDF and pro-SDF sources have repeatedly claimed that they will not allow the SAA to cross the Euphrates. So what now?

 

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syrian Army Crossed Euphrates River ‘Video’

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivers clear and calm rebuttal of Trump’s hostile remarks at UN

NOVANEWS
Image result for ISRAELI NUCLEAR CARTOON
By Adam Garrie | The Duran 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has addressed the General Assembly in a short speech that primarily covered Iran’s foreign policy outlook, its specific goals for peace and an unambiguous warning against anyone who seeks to undermine the 2013 JCPOA (aka the Iran nuclear deal).

President Rouhani used the word ‘moderation’ throughout the speech. He characterised Iran’s history, contemporary outlook and policy positions as quintessentially moderate.

After paying tribute to Iranian voters who recently re-elected him as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, he then set out to define Iran’s definition of moderation in the following way.

“Moderation is the inclination as well as the chosen path of the great Iranian people. Moderation seeks neither isolation nor hegemony. It implies neither indifference nor intransigence. The path of moderation is the path of peace, but a just a inclusive peace; not peace for one nation and war and turmoil for others. Moderation is freedom and democracy, but in an inclusive and comprehensive manner, not purporting to promote freedom in one place while supporting dictators elsewhere. Moderation is the synergy of ideas and not the dance of swords. Finally, the path of moderation nurtures beauty. Deadly weapons exports are not  beautiful, rather peace is beautiful.

We in Iran strive to promote peace…. we never condone tyranny and always defend the voiceless. We never threaten anyone  but we do not tolerate threats from anyone. Our discourse is one of dignity and respect. We are unmoved by threats and intimidation. We believe in dialogue and negotiation based on equal footing and mutual respect”.

Rouhani then briefly turned to the issue of Palestine. He stated that a “rogue and racist state” (Israel) cannot trample on the rights of Palestinians in the 21st century. He continued, citing Iran’s historic record of helping minorities and the oppressed.

Rouhani stated,

“Iran is a bastion of tolerance… we are the same people who rescued Jews from Babylonian servitude… open our arms to receive Armenian Christians in our midst”.

He explained further, that just as Iran fought for Jews in the past, today Iran fights for the rights of oppressed Palestinians. He stated, “We support justice and seek tranquillity”.

Rouhani then described Iran’s fight against Takriri/Salafist terrorism as a fight based on ethics and humanity rather than one of conquest. The Iranian President said that Iran does not seek to restore its empire nor export revolution through the force of arms. He contrasted this with the ‘boots on the ground’ approach of “neo-colonialists”.

Turning once again to the theme of moderation, Rouhani said that Iran does not merely preach moderation but practices it. He said that the JCPOA is a primary example of moderate geo-political behaviour.

Rouhani then said that the JCPOA which has been applauded by the wider international community, both in the east and west, can become a new model of interaction between nations. The clear inference here was to North Korea. Even German leader Angela Merkel who supports the JCPOA along with her EU colleagues are suggesting using it as a model for bringing about de-escalation on the Korean peninsula.

Hassan Rouhani then stated that Iran never sought nuclear weapons and does not now. He remarked that it is “ridiculous” for a country, Israel,  which has nuclear weapons and has signed not a single international protocol for nuclear safety has the “audacity” to preach to peaceful nations.

He then stated,

“Iran will not be the first country to violate the JCPOA but will respond resolutely to its violation by any party”.

While he did not name Donald Trump or the United States, Rouhani said that yesterday, words were spoken in the General Assembly that were “hateful” and “unfit to be heard in the UN which was established to promote peace…”.

He went on to say that Iran’s missiles are for defensive purposes and to prevent against the “adventurous tendencies” of others, before stating

“The US should explain why after spending the assets of its own people, why instead of contribution to peace, it has only brought war, misery poverty and the rise of terrorism and extremism to the region”.

Rouhani concluded by praising Iran’s economic reforms and subtly alluded to Iran’s increased participation in joint economic ventures, the clear reference being to China’s One Belt–One Road initiative.

The Iranian President concluded by inviting all those who seek peace to visit Iran which has been historically hospitable to such individuals.

Rouhani’s speech did exactly what it should have done given the circumstances. It was a calm and clear articulation of Iran’s position in the region and the wider world. By citing the wide international support for the JCPOA, including among NATO members and other US allies, Rouhani has made it clear that the US and Israel are isolated in their anger towards the deal.

Rouhani also highlighted US hypocrisy in supporting Israel’s technically non-disclosed nuclear arsenal while accusing Iran of wanting nuclear weapons without evidence and contrary to the clear statements from Iran.

Rather than reacting aggressively to Donald Trump’s provocative speech, Rouhani’s calm and at times poetic approach to the issues, put the ball squarely in the US court. As it stands, the US is currently sending mixed signals in respect of whether Trump seeks to formally pull out of the JCPOA.

Posted in Iran, UNComments Off on Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivers clear and calm rebuttal of Trump’s hostile remarks at UN

Zionist Chief Stooge at Westminster Shames Us Again

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Israel’s Chief Stooge at Westminster Shames Us Again

PM Theresa May holds a reception at Downing Street to celebrate the upcoming Jewish New Year. Image credit: Number 10/ flickr
By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune 

“As Prime Minister, I am proud to say that I support Israel. And it is absolutely right that we should mark the vital role that Britain played a century ago in helping to create a homeland for the Jewish people.”

Thus spoke Theresa May the other day as she welcomed members of the Jewish community to 10 Downing Street. But by focusing on creating a homeland for the Jewish people she’s also celebrating the hell that Balfour’s Declaration created for the gentle Palestinians and for the rest of the region. “Born of that letter, the pen of Balfour, and of the efforts of so many people, is a remarkable country,” said May, apparently blind to the reality.

Right now we’re on the run-up to the centenary of what is arguably the biggest foreign policy blunder in British history: the Balfour Declaration. In 1917 Arthur Balfour, foreign secretary, bowed to Zionist demands for a homeland for the Jews in Palestine and gave an undertaking that set the world on course for long-term turmoil and, for the native Palestinians, unspeakable misery, dispossession and displacement. It was a criminal conspiracy. And Balfour was an A-list idiot who bragged that he wasn’t even going to consult the local Arab population about this theft of their homes and lands.

Yet he remains a hero of the Conservative Party which, led by Theresa May, plans to celebrate this hundred-year “running sore” — as Lord Sydenham called it — in great style, inviting Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu to the festivities. That’s if the mad-dog warmonger isn’t under arrest by then on imminent charges of corruption back home.

“I will always do whatever it takes to keep our Jewish community safe,” May added. “Through our new definition of anti-Semitism we will call out anyone guilty of any language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews. We will actively encourage the use of this definition by the police, the legal profession, universities and other public bodies.”

She was referring to the  International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

BDS “unsucessful”? Really?

One of May’s Cabinet minsiters, Sajid Javid, told the World Jewish Congress that the UK would celebrate the upcoming anniversary with pride. “Someone said we should apologise for the Declaration, to say it was an error of judgment. Of course that’s not going to happen.” To apologise, he said, would be to apologise for the existence of Israel and to question its right to exist.

Instead, he emphasised the UK government’s intolerance towards any kind of boycott of Israel. “I’ll be 100 per cent clear. I do not support calls for a boycott, my party does not support calls for a boycott. For all its bluster, the BDS campaign is most notable I think, for its lack of success….  As long as I’m in government, as long as I’m in politics, I will do everything in my power to fight back against those who seek to undermine Israel.” The UK, he said, has maintained close diplomatic, trade and security ties with Israel since its inception, and is counted upon by Israel to vote in its favour at the UN and other international institutions.

As Noam Chomsky has aptly observed: “People who call themselves supporters of Israel are actually supporters of its moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.”

Israel lobby stooges like May and Javid continue trying to ram their pro-Zionist nonsense down our throats despite the fact that last time they attacked the successful BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, warning that her government would “have no truck with those who subscribe to it”, they came spectacularly unstuck. 200 legal scholars and practising lawyers from all over Europe put May in her place by pointing out that BDS is a lawful exercise of freedom of expression and outlawing it undermines a basic human right protected by international convention. Her efforts to repress it amounted to support for Israel’s violations of international law and failure to honour the solemn pledge by States to ‘strictly respect the aims and principles of the Charter of the United Nations’.

May needs a crash course in human rights

Top legal experts were recently asked for their views by Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Their verdict was that those in public life cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”.

What’s more, there is an obligation to allow all concerned in public debate “to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”. Article 10 says that everyone has the right to freedom of expression including “freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says the same sort of thing, subject of course to the usual limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.

Eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has sharply criticised the anti-Semitism definition touted by May. Firstly, it isn’t a legally binding definition so doesn’t have the force of a statutory one. And it cannot be considered a legal definition as it lacks clarity. Therefore any conduct contrary to the IHRA definition couldn’t necessarily be ruled illegal.

He says it was “most unsatisfactory for the Government to adopt a definition which lacks clarity and comprehensiveness” and suggests the Government’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition was simply a freestanding statement of policy — a mere suggestion as to a definition of anti-Semitism that public bodies might wish to use. But no public body was under an obligation to adopt or use it, or should be criticised for refusing to. He warned that if a public authority did decide to adopt the definition then it must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights mentioned above.

A further obligation put on public authorities is “to create a favourable environment for participation in public debates for all concerned, allowing them to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”.

According to Tomlinson, then, the IHRA definition doesn’t mean that calling Israel an apartheid state that practises settler colonialism, or urging BDS against Israel, can properly be characterized as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, a public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition in order to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully.”

Retired Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Stephen Sedley, has weighed in bycriticising the IHRA definition for lack of legal force. “It is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally.” He added that the right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, “places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed”. Moreover the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”.

Sedley felt the IHRA definition was open to manipulation. “What is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of government from a stance which it has naively adopted.”

As for Javid’s crack about not having to apologise for Israel’s existence, he must have forgotten that in the wake of the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which granted the Jews territory within defined borders, they declared statehood in 1948 without borders, grabbing as much extra land as they could by armed terror and ethnic cleansing.  The new state of Israel’s admission to the UN in 1949 was conditional upon honouring the UN Charter and implementing UN General Assembly Resolutions 181 and 194. It has failed to do so and to this day repeatedly violates provisions and principles of the Charter.

When the UK Conservative Government makes pronouncements on foreign affairs it pays to consider that 80 percent of its MPs are claimed to be signed-up members of Friends of Israel and this is a stepping-stone to higher office. Conservative Friends of Israel, according to their website, are active at every level of the party.

It is sad that so many of our politicians are so spineless and so insecure that they feel the need to herd together under the flag of what the UN has called a racist state.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on Zionist Chief Stooge at Westminster Shames Us Again

USA: War Propaganda 101 ‘VIDEO’

NOVANEWS

A REVIEW OF THE ABCS

PROFESSIONAL LIARS

Remember when Trump expressed his anguish over the “sarin gas attacks” in Syria.

Well, the whole while his own on-the-ground military advisors were telling him the story was impossible baloney.

So what did he do?

He went with the pro-war propaganda instead.

Is he an idiot? Is he a liar? Or is he just (another) presidential lightweight in over his head just doing whatever the pro-war forces want.

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