Archive | October 10th, 2017

Bangladesh set to relocate all Rohingya to mega refugee camp: Official

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Bangladesh says it plans to expand a massive settlement under construction in its southernmost district to house nearly 900,000 persecuted Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Myanmar.

Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, minister for disaster management and relief, said on Thursday that the estimated 890,000 refugees would eventually be moved to the new site near the border town of Cox’s Bazar.

“All of those who are living in scattered places… would be brought into one place. That’s why more land is needed. Slowly all of them will come,” media outlets quoted the minister as saying.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the minister said that families were already moving to the new site, known as the Kutupalong Extension.

There are currently nearly two dozen camps and other makeshift camps along the border. Two of the existing settlements have already been shut down.

Last month, two thousand acres of land next to the existing Kutupalong camp were set aside for the new Rohingya arrivals. Another 1,000 acres were later set aside for the new camp.

The number of newcomers has exceeded 500,000 — adding to 300,000 already in Bangladesh.

The mega camp project has, however, caused concern among doctors and charities on the ground that they fear a disease like cholera could spread quickly through such a congested, overpopulated site.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says the situation is “slowly spiraling into a catastrophe of biblical proportions.”

According to Mark Lowcock, UN emergency relief coordinator, the world body would be seeking around $430 million to scale up the humanitarian operation for the destitute Rohingya.

In a fresh bout of violence in Myanmar, soldiers and Buddhist mobs have been attacking Rohingya Muslims and torching their villages since October 2016. The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August 25, following a number of purported armed attacks on police and military posts in the western state of Rakhine.

Many witnesses and rights groups have reported systematic attacks, including rape, murder and arson, at the hands of the army and Buddhist mobs against Rohingya Muslims, forcing them to leave their generations-old homes and flee to overcrowded and squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The UN has described the crackdown on Rohingya in Myanmar as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

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UK Condemns Johnson’s Joke But Refuses to Admit It Helped Destroy Libya

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Zionist Boris Johnson ‘Shoah’

Alexander Mercouris, editor-in-chief of The Duran, told Radio Sputnik that he found UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s joke about “clearing away dead bodies” in Libya “outrageous,” given that the UK played a large role in destroying the North African state.

Speaking about Libya’s tourism potential at a Conservative Party conference fringe meeting, the UK’s chief diplomat said that the war-torn city of Sirte could become the new Dubai, adding that “the only thing they have to do is clear the dead bodies away.”

The members of Libya’s House of Representatives based in Tobruk on Thursday demanded Johnson’s apology for the remark.

Mercouris told Sputnik in an interview that he expected the people of Libya to be shocked and infuriated by Johnson’s “extremely crude” comments, given that he made a joke about a city that the British destroyed in a country the British played a large role in smashing.

​”If we take Sirte, the city which he was referring to, it was incredibly heavily bombed by the [Royal] Air Force amongst others during the Libyan intervention that took place in 2011, which Britain played a very large role in instigating,” he said. “It was Muammar Qaddafi’s hometown, and he was murdered in the most appalling fashion not far from there.”

Mercouris added that although Johnson is under fire for his remarks in his home country as well — with some British politicians calling for him to be sacked — most critics fail to note the UK’s role in destroying Libya in the first place.

In a similar fashion, he noted, members of Johnson’s party always talk about the threat of terrorism in Europe without ever bringing up the foreign policy choices that the UK government has made, which created the conditions for terrorist groups to thrive in North Africa and for Libya becoming a major recruiting ground for militant fighters.

“This comes back to Boris Johnson’s comments,” Mercouris said. “He has been strongly criticized within Britain for making them, but always that criticism stops at the point of admitting any British responsibility for the disaster that is Libya today. And of course that responsibility is enormous.”

Libya has been in a state of turmoil since 2011 when a civil war began in the country and its longtime leader Gaddafi was overthrown. In December 2015, Libya’s rival governments — the Council of Deputies based in Tobruk and the Tripoli-based General National Congress — agreed to create the Government of National Accord, to form the Presidency Council and to end the political impasse.

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Nazi Gestapo Shin Bet can reject or dismiss teachers in Israel’s Arab schools

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Nazi Internal Security Agency, Shin Bet, has the power to reject the appointment of Arab teachers at the country’s Arab schools, Quds Press reported on Friday. The agency can also dismiss such staff for political reasons, it is claimed. A former official at the Nazi Ministry of Education, Emmanuel Koplovich, told Ynet News that Shin Bet has rejected the appointment of many qualified teachers.

“Shin Bet was involved in everything regarding recruitment for education positions,” confirmed the former head of the agency, Knesset member Yacob Berri. “It is still active in Arab schools to this day.”

The news website revealed that Nazi Shin Bet targeted the Arab teachers in cooperation with the ministry. Teachers did not know why they were dismissed or not accepted for a position. It also revealed that some of the teachers were not involved in any political activities, but were rejected because of the political activities of one of their relatives.

According to the reports, information about Arab teachers and head teachers was circulated among different government institutions, mainly the education ministry and the Prime Minister’s office.

The Director of Adalah Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Hassan Jabareen, said that Shin Bet’s interference in the recruitment and dismissal of Arab teachers and head teachers has been known for a long time in the Arab community. This, Quds Presssuggested, reiterates the hostility of the Nazi Education Ministry towards the country’s Arab citizens, who make up a fifth of the population.

“The Shin Bet has an important role,” insisted the former Director General of the Ministry of Education, Samson Shoshani. “Its mission is to make sure than no oppression is practiced against anyone. We are not against extremist teachers, but against extremist people in regard to loyalty to the state.”

Read also: Education is a right being denied to Palestinian children, and Israel is the culprit

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Former Nazi Intel Chief Calls on Trump Not to Quit Nuclear Deal with Iran

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The US President is facing an October 15 deadline to certify that Iran is complying with its terms under “the P5+1” nuclear deal. A senior US administration official said that the US leader is expected to quit the pact. Former Israeli intel chief Amos Yadlin, however, called on Trump to wait for better timing, which would create more pressure.

On Monday, former Israeli Defense Forces military chief Amos Yadlin, who is also the head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), co-authored an essay with his INSS fellow and former National Security Council official Avner Golov, urging the US President against leaving the agreement.

Among the arguments provided by the authors was that any US steps at the moment “would lack European backing, let alone backing from Russia and China,” who are also parties to the deal.

The former military intelligence chief explained that first the US “must get its allies lined up for new UN resolutions against Iranian ballistic missile testing,” the Jerusalem Post quotes him as saying. “However, as the expiration date on the deal’s restrictions get closer, these countries will naturally become more worried about Iran trying to break out with a nuclear weapon and will be more ready to confront it,” the authors suggested.

“Instead of trying to end the Iran nuclear deal now, the US should pressure Iran with the threat of leaving the deal at a more strategic moment,” the authors concluded.

They also referred to a range of top US defense officials who oppose quitting the deal now, although they would support tougher inspections of Iran’s military nuclear sites and restrictions on Iran’s testing of advanced uranium centrifuges.

Ultimately, they say, “any decision by Trump to decertify the deal should be used by the US Congress and the West to raise pressure on Iran for a later battle, but not to leave the deal now and free Iran to go nuclear while blaming the US.”

Last week, a senior US administration official said that President Trump is expected to announce that he will decertify the landmark deal, more properly called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed in 2015 between Tehran, the five Security Council powers and Germany. The US leader had previously called the deal “an embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated.”

SEE ALSO:

Lavrov Calls Reports of Trump’s Plans to Withdraw From Iran Nuclear Deal Rumors

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Iran0 Comments

Nazi Army Abducted 400 Palestinians, Including 55 Children, In September

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The Palestinian Center for Detainees’ Studies has reported that Nazi soldiers have abducted more than 400 Palestinians, including 55 children and eight women, in September.

Researcher Riyad al-Ashqar said the soldiers, and navy, have abducted seven fishermen close to the shore in the Gaza Strip, in addition to abducting Ramzi ‘Abed, who teaches at the Islamic University in Gaza, when he tried to cross Erez Terminal on his way to a conference in Italy.

In addition, the soldiers abducted a patient, identified as Fadel Mazen Abu Haseera, 27, also at Eretz Terminal, as he was in his way to receive treatment in the al-Makassed hospital, in Jerusalem, even though Nazi regime granted him an entry permit.

Three more Palestinians were abducted by the soldiers while trying to breach the border fence, in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, in search for work in ‘Israel’ due to extreme poverty rates in the besieged coastal region.

In the West Bank, the soldiers invaded the home of legislator Abdul-Rahman Zaiden, in Deir al-Ghusun village, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, and ransacked it for several hours.

The legislator was interrogated for several hours at a military base, before the soldiers eventually released him.

Al-Ashqar added that September also witnessed a serious escalation in the abduction of women and children, as the army detained 55 children, including Mohammad as-Sa’ou, only 10 years of age, who was taken prisoner from his home, in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem.

The soldiers also abducted eight women, including a child identified as Sally Mohammad Shawwa, 14 years of age, from Jerusalem, and released her later after imposing a high fine.

In addition, the soldiers abducted three girls, identified as We’am Hamada, Hadeel Sob Laban and Hiba al-Joulani, from Jerusalem, and released them later under the condition of not entering the Old City and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, for fifteen days.

Al-Ashqar added that the army also issued 100 arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, holding the detainees captive without charges or trial. 33 of these orders were issued against the detainees for the first time, and 67 others were renewals of existing orders.

The Administrative Detention orders that were issued in September vary between two and six months, and one of these orders was against Professor Essam Al-Ashqar of the Najah National University in Nablus.

The army also escalated its violations against the detainees, including repeated invasions and violent searches of their rooms, arbitrary transfers to various prisons, in addition to forcing many detainees into solitary confinement.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

UNHRC Yemen Inquiry is Doomed to Fail Magnanimously

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By Salman Rafi Sheikh | New Eastern Outlook

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) seems to have finally awakened up to the brazen human rights violations that the Saudia led Arab coalition forces have been blamed to have committed in the conflict in Yemen that has been going on for more than two years now, and has consumed thousands of lives, and destroyed the country, its polity and economy alike. While UNHRC has resolved to find out the atrocities that have been committed, the question that remains unanswered is if this ‘fact-finding’ mission would lead to an end of the war, let alone punish the antagonists?A compromise has been achieved from the very beginning, which will allow the House of Saud to not only to manipulate or dispute the results, but also escape any consequences whatsoever. As a matter of fact, Saudi Arabia was able to steer things to a course of its own advantage by simply altering the original resolution adopted by the Council, making the UNHRC look like a meaningless and worthless house of cards.

Let’s consider what the original resolution had called for and what is actually going to happen now. The original resolution had called for the establishment of an independent inquiry commission. However, thanks to Saudi Arabia’s intense lobbying and coercive diplomacy, the amended version is now restricted only to sending some “eminent experts”. According to reports, Riyadh had threatened to restrict and even cut trade and diplomatic ties with the council members which had backed the much more robust version. The House of Saud also publicly appreciated the UK, US and France for their cooperation in securing a compromise on resolution. The three countries also support Saudi Arabia’s deadly military aggression against the impoverished Yemen. The UK and the US had no reason to criminalize Saudi Arabia not only because they are allies but also because the US is itself a party to destroying Yemen.

This is evident from the way the US president Donald Trump has almost doubled the number of covert US airstrikes in Yemen. According to the data compiled by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the US has carried out about 100 strikes in Yemen in 2017. While the official narrative is that these strikes target Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), there are evidences that suggest that the US has been equally targeting the Houthis as well. Nothing perhaps could illustrate this ‘US vs Houthis’ phenomenon more than the fact that a US drone was attacked and shot down by the Houthis in western Yemen as recently as October 2, 2017. While the US officials said that the matter was under investigation, the Houthi-controled Defense Ministry announced that it had downed an American drone in the outskirts of Yemen’s capital Sanaa, thus rejecting the US claim that it was mainly involved in non-combatant missions in the aid of the Arab coalition.

On the other hand, what really explains the reason for the Trump administration’s decision to increase drone attacks is the policy of isolating and defeating Iran that the US and Saudi Arabia are following. Interestingly enough, perusal of this policy has caused political tension in the UK as well, where the parliament’s joint committee on human rights has raised strong concerns about the UK’s involvement in the US targeted killing programme, noting that the UK’s intelligence agencies work “hand in glove” with the US.

Given the extent of co-operation between the West and its key ally in the Middle East, an independent inquiry into war atrocities committed by the self-declared regional hegemon is unlikely to take place ever, let alone punish the wrongdoers. Besides the current UNHRC debacle, this is also evident from the way the House of Saud was able, back in July 2016, to turn upside down a UN report that had blacklisted the country after it found out that the Kingdom was responsible for 60 percent of the 785 deaths of children in Yemen in 2015. A few days later, however, the world body announced that the Riyadh regime would be scratched off the list, pending a joint review with the Arab kingdom. Sounds like really independent and impartial!

Once again Riyadh has been able to manipulate inquiry into atrocities by radically altering the resolution that had called for an independent inquiry. Could there be a greater irony than the fact that the new resolution that decided to set up a committee of experts had been set up by Riyadh itself? How can an accused set up, or even influence, a committee to investigate into his own crimes? Can such a body be expected to be impartial and truly reveal what the Arab coalition has done in Yemen?

Answers to all of these questions have, unfortunately, to be in the negative. It is not that we are expressing pessimism, there are certainly concrete basis for what we have said. Besides the above given arguments with regard to the co-operation between the US, the UK and Saudi Arabia, the fact remains that not even the EU, the so-called champion of human rights, is able to leave a decisive impact on the situation and turn things against Saudia. For instance, the European human rights organisation had to face a lot of ridicule when, despite its earlier statement that had confirmed that airstrikes carried out by the Arab coalition in the past two months had killed 39 civilians, including 26 children, the resolution was amended and the bid for constituting an independent inquiry was replaced by a committee of “experts.” Not only were their reports and arguments not accepted, but their demand that the matter be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) was squarely rejected, thanks again to the Saudi lobbying and the help it received from its key allies in the West i.e., the US and UK and France and the way it coerced countries into backing down on this demand.

According to a Reuters report, in a letter seen by one of the diplomats, Saudi Arabia – the world’s biggest oil exporter – had warned some states of possible consequences should they support the Dutch resolution, submitted jointly with Canada, calling for a full commission. This lobbying was the perfectly echoed by French diplomatic source who was reported to have said that “there is room to satisfy everybody.”

It appears that no other party is more satisfied now than the House of Saud, the principal accused in the scene. The accused stands vindicated as it is well “satisfied” with the way things have ended in the UNHRC session and the way things will proceed in the future. It is possible that by the time the committee of experts is constituted, does its investigation and submits its report in a year from now on, the Arab coalition, which believes that airstrikes killing civilians are legally justifiable, might end up killing thousands of innocent people. Who will then the UNHRC blame for the loss?

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia, Yemen0 Comments

Al Jazeera ‘vindicated’, as Ofcom rejects all complaints about ‘The Lobby’

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MEMO 

Al Jazeera has declared itself “vindicated”, after British regulatory body Ofcom rejected all complaints made against the channel’s undercover series ‘The Lobby’, broadcast in January.

The four-episode investigation looked at efforts by the Israeli embassy in London and a number of pro-Israel lobby groups to influence British political debate, including by smearing critics of Israeli policies and supporters of Palestinian rights.

After ‘The Lobby’ was broadcast, Ofcom received a number of complaints, some of which prompted investigations. The results of these rulings were published today in the body’s regular bulletin.

In its lengthy rulings, Ofcom notes that the complaints received “raised a range of issues about the programme including that they were anti-Semitic and were not duly impartial”. Other complaints “considered that the programme was materially misleading”.

According to Ofcom, this latter allegation was dismissed without further investigation, following information received from Al Jazeera. With respect to the other complaints, Ofcom found Al Jazeera not in breach of the obligation to “due impartiality”, and similarly rejected claims of antisemitism.

“We considered that the allegations in the programme were not made on the grounds that any of the particular individuals concerned were Jewish and noted that no claims were made relating to their faith”, Ofcom states. “We did not consider that the programme portrayed any negative stereotypes of Jewish people as controlling or seeking to control the media or governments”.

It continues: “Rather, it was our view that these individuals featured in the programme in the context of its investigation into the alleged activities of a foreign state (the State of Israel acting through its UK Embassy) and their association with it”.

“We also noted that a number of the organisations featured in the programme, such as Labour Friends of Israel and Conservative Friends of Israel, are not defined by any adherence to Judaism or having a predominantly Jewish membership”.

In what some will see as an ironic twist, Ofcom made reference to a controversial definition of antisemitism that Israel advocacy groups have used in seeking to undermine Palestine solidarity activism and attack critics of Israel.

Citing this definition, Ofcom rejected claims that “critical analysis of the actions of a foreign state constituted anti-Semitism”, since “the overall focus of the programme was to examine whether the State of Israel was acting in a manner that would be expected of other democratic nations”.

Ofcom also rejected complaints made by three individuals who featured in the documentary: Ella Rose, Jewish Labour Movement director; Russell Langer, now at the Jewish Leadership Council, and Luke Akehurst, head of BICOM’s ‘We Believe in Israel’ project and a Labour Party activist.

Ofcom rejected Rose’s claim that she had been “treated unjustly or unfairly in the programme as broadcast”. Ofcom said it did not accept Rose’s claim that to reject her complaint “risks creating a precedent for the infringement of the privacy of any Jewish person involved in public life”.

Each privacy complaint we receive is considered on its facts, and must always be assessed in light of the particular circumstances of each case”

Ofcom similarly failed to uphold a complaint made of “unjust or unfair treatment and unwarranted infringement of privacy” made by Kingsley Napley LLP on behalf of Russell Langer, and a separate complaint on the same grounds by Kingsley Napley LLP on behalf of Luke Akehurst.

Responding to the published rulings, a statement by Al Jazeera said: “This goes to show that no matter what Al Jazeera’s critics say, its journalism meets and exceeds the highest standards of objectivity and balance. We feel vindicated by the rulings and evermore committed to exposing human rights violations by anyone—regardless of geography, religion, or the power of their lobbies”.

‘The Lobby’, made by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, made news in Britain and around the world, in particular for its covert footage of Shai Masot, the Israeli Embassy’s then Senior Political Officer, in discussion with a British civil servant plotting to “take down” government minister Sir Alan Duncan.

Masot was subsequently returned to Israel, and Ambassador Mark Regev formally apologised.

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The Lobby P2: The Training Session

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The Lobby P3: An Anti-Semitic Trope

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The Lobby P4: The Takedown

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Media, UK0 Comments

Antifa in Theory and in Practice

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By Diana Johnstone | CounterPunch 

Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.”

– Ennio Flaiano, Italian writer and co-author of Federico Fellini’s greatest film scripts.

In recent weeks, a totally disoriented left has been widely exhorted to unify around a masked vanguard calling itself Antifa, for anti-fascist.  Hooded and dressed in black, Antifa is essentially a variation of the Black Bloc, familiar for introducing violence into peaceful demonstrations in many countries. Imported from Europe, the label Antifa sounds more political.  It also serves the purpose of stigmatizing those it attacks as “fascists”.

Despite its imported European name, Antifa is basically just another example of America’s steady descent into violence.

Historical Pretensions

Antifa first came to prominence from its role in reversing Berkeley’s proud “free speech” tradition by preventing right wing personalities from speaking there. But its moment of glory was its clash with rightwingers in Charlottesville on August 12, largely because Trump commented that there were “good people on both sides”. With exuberant Schadenfreude, commentators grabbed the opportunity to condemn the despised President for his “moral equivalence”, thereby bestowing a moral blessing on Antifa.

Charlottesville served as a successful book launching for Antifa: the Antifascist Handbook, whose author, young academic Mark Bray, is an Antifa in both theory and practice. The book is “really taking off very fast”, rejoiced the publisher, Melville House. It instantly won acclaim from leading mainstream media such as the New York TimesThe Guardian and NBC, not hitherto known for rushing to review leftwing books, least of all those by revolutionary anarchists.

The Washington Post welcomed Bray as spokesman for “insurgent activist movements” and observed that: “The book’s most enlightening contribution is on the history of anti-fascist efforts over the past century, but its most relevant for today is its justification for stifling speech and clobbering white supremacists.”

Bray’s “enlightening contribution” is to a tell a flattering version of the Antifa story to a generation whose dualistic, Holocaust-centered view of history has largely deprived them of both the factual and the analytical tools to judge multidimensional events such as the growth of fascism. Bray presents today’s Antifa as though it were the glorious legitimate heir to every noble cause since abolitionism. But there were no anti-fascists before fascism, and the label “Antifa” by no means applies to all the many adversaries of fascism.

The implicit claim to carry on the tradition of the International Brigades who fought in Spain against Franco is nothing other than a form of innocence by association. Since we must revere the heroes of the Spanish Civil War, some of that esteem is supposed to rub off on their self-designated heirs. Unfortunately, there are no veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade still alive to point to the difference between a vast organized defense against invading fascist armies and skirmishes on the Berkeley campus. As for the Anarchists of Catalonia, the patent on anarchism ran out a long time ago, and anyone is free to market his own generic.

The original Antifascist movement was an effort by the Communist International to cease hostilities with Europe’s Socialist Parties in order to build a common front against the triumphant movements led by Mussolini and Hitler.

Since Fascism thrived, and Antifa was never a serious adversary, its apologists thrive on the “nipped in the bud” claim: “if only” Antifascists had beat up the fascist movements early enough, the latter would have been nipped in the bud. Since reason and debate failed to stop the rise of fascism, they argue, we must use street violence – which, by the way, failed even more decisively.

This is totally ahistorical. Fascism exalted violence, and violence was its preferred testing ground. Both Communists and Fascists were fighting in the streets and the atmosphere of violence helped fascism thrive as a bulwark against Bolshevism, gaining the crucial support of leading capitalists and militarists in their countries, which brought them to power.

Since historic fascism no longer exists, Bray’s Antifa have broadened their notion of “fascism” to include anything that violates the current Identity Politics canon: from “patriarchy” (a pre-fascist attitude to put it mildly) to “transphobia” (decidedly a post-fascist problem).

The masked militants of Antifa seem to be more inspired by Batman than by Marx or even by Bakunin.

Storm Troopers of the Neoliberal War Party

Since Mark Bray offers European credentials for current U.S. Antifa, it is appropriate to observe what Antifa amounts to in Europe today.

In Europe, the tendency takes two forms. Black Bloc activists regularly invade various leftist demonstrations in order to smash windows and fight the police. These testosterone exhibits are of minor political significance, other than provoking public calls to strengthen police forces. They are widely suspected of being influenced by police infiltration.

As an example, last September 23, several dozen black-clad masked ruffians, tearing down posters and throwing stones, attempted to storm the platform where the flamboyant Jean-Luc Mélenchon was to address the mass meeting of La France Insoumise, today the leading leftist party in France. Their unspoken message seemed to be that nobody is revolutionary enough for them. Occasionally, they do actually spot a random skinhead to beat up. This establishes their credentials as “anti-fascist”.

They use these credentials to arrogate to themselves the right to slander others in a sort of informal self-appointed inquisition.

As prime example, in late 2010, a young woman named Ornella Guyet appeared in Paris seeking work as a journalist in various leftist periodicals and blogs. She “tried to infiltrate everywhere”, according to the former director of Le Monde diplomatique, Maurice Lemoine, who “always intuitively distrusted her” when he hired her as an intern.

Viktor Dedaj, who manages one of the main leftist sites in France, Le Grand Soir, was among those who tried to help her, only to experience an unpleasant surprise a few months later. Ornella had become a self-appointed inquisitor dedicated to denouncing “conspirationism, confusionism, anti-Semitism and red-brown” on Internet. This took the form of personal attacks on individuals whom she judged to be guilty of those sins. What is significant is that all her targets were opposed to U.S. and NATO aggressive wars in the Middle East.

Indeed, the timing of her crusade coincided with the “regime change” wars that destroyed Libya and tore apart Syria. The attacks singled out leading critics of those wars.

Viktor Dedaj was on her hit list. So was Michel Collon, close to the Belgian Workers Party, author, activist and manager of the bilingual site Investig’action. So was François Ruffin, film-maker, editor of the leftist journal Fakir elected recently to the National Assembly on the list of Mélenchon’s party La France Insoumise. And so on. The list is long.

The targeted personalities are diverse, but all have one thing in common: opposition to aggressive wars. What’s more, so far as I can tell, just about everyone opposed to those wars is on her list.

The main technique is guilt by association. High on the list of mortal sins is criticism of the European Union, which is associated with “nationalism” which is associated with “fascism” which is associated with “anti-Semitism”, hinting at a penchant for genocide. This coincides perfectly with the official policy of the EU and EU governments, but Antifa uses much harsher language.

In mid-June 2011, the anti-EU party Union Populaire Républicaine led by François Asselineau was the object of slanderous insinuations on Antifa internet sites signed by “Marie-Anne Boutoleau” (a pseudonym for Ornella Guyet). Fearing violence, owners cancelled scheduled UPR meeting places in Lyon. UPR did a little investigation, discovering that Ornella Guyet was on the speakers list at a March 2009 Seminar on International Media organized in Paris by the Center for the Study of International Communications and the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. A surprising association for such a zealous crusader against “red-brown”.

In case anyone has doubts, “red-brown” is a term used to smear anyone with generally leftist views – that is, “red” – with the fascist color “brown”.  This smear can be based on having the same opinion as someone on the right, speaking on the same platform with someone on the right, being published alongside someone on the right, being seen at an anti-war demonstration also attended by someone on the right, and so on.  This is particularly useful for the War Party, since these days, many conservatives are more opposed to war than leftists who have bought into the “humanitarian war” mantra.

The government doesn’t need to repress anti-war gatherings. Antifa does the job.

The Franco-African comedien Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, stigmatized for anti-Semitism since 2002 for his TV sketch lampooning an Israeli settler as part of George W. Bush’s “Axis of Good”, is not only a target, but serves as a guilty association for anyone who defends his right to free speech – such as Belgian professor Jean Bricmont, virtually blacklisted in France for trying to get in a word in favor of free speech during a TV talk show. Dieudonné has been banned from the media, sued and fined countless times, even sentenced to jail in Belgium, but continues to enjoy a full house of enthusiastic supporters at his one-man shows, where the main political message is opposition to war.

Still, accusations of being soft on Dieudonné can have serious effects on individuals in more precarious positions, since the mere hint of “anti-Semitism” can be a career killer in France. Invitations are cancelled, publications refused, messages go unanswered.

In April 2016, Ornella Guyet dropped out of sight, amid strong suspicions about her own peculiar associations.

The moral of this story is simple. Self-appointed radical revolutionaries can be the most useful thought police for the neoliberal war party.

I am not suggesting that all, or most, Antifa are agents of the establishment. But they can be manipulated, infiltrated or impersonated precisely because they are self-anointed and usually more or less disguised.

Silencing Necessary Debate

One who is certainly sincere is Mark Bray, author of The Intifa Handbook. It is clear where Mark Bray is coming from when he writes (p.36-7): “… Hitler’s ‘final solution’ murdered six million Jews in gas chambers, with firing squads, through hunger an lack of medical treatment in squalid camps and ghettoes, with beatings, by working them to death, and through suicidal despair.  Approximately two out of every three Jews on the continent were killed, including some of my relatives.”

This personal history explains why Mark Bray feels passionately about “fascism”. This is perfectly understandable in one who is haunted by fear that “it can happen again”.

However, even the most justifiable emotional concerns do not necessarily contribute to wise counsel. Violent reactions to fear may seem to be strong and effective when in reality they are morally weak and practically ineffectual.

We are in a period of great political confusion. Labeling every manifestation of “political incorrectness” as fascism impedes clarification of debate over issues that very much need to be defined and clarified.

The scarcity of fascists has been compensated by identifying criticism of immigration as fascism. This identification, in connection with rejection of national borders, derives much of its emotional force above all from the ancestral fear in the Jewish community of being excluded from the nations in which they find themselves.

The issue of immigration has different aspects in different places. It is not the same in European countries as in the United States. There is a basic distinction between immigrants and immigration. Immigrants are people who deserve consideration. Immigration is a policy that needs to be evaluated. It should be possible to discuss the policy without being accused of persecuting the people. After all, trade union leaders have traditionally opposed mass immigration, not out of racism, but because it can be a deliberate capitalist strategy to bring down wages.

In reality, immigration is a complex subject, with many aspects that can lead to reasonable compromise. But to polarize the issue misses the chances for compromise. By making mass immigration the litmus test of whether or not one is fascist, Antifa intimidation impedes reasonable discussion. Without discussion, without readiness to listen to all viewpoints, the issue will simply divide the population into two camps, for and against. And who will win such a confrontation?

A recent survey* shows that mass immigration is increasingly unpopular in all European countries. The complexity of the issue is shown by the fact that in the vast majority of European countries, most people believe they have a duty to welcome refugees, but disapprove of continued mass immigration. The official argument that immigration is a good thing is accepted by only 40%, compared to 60% of all Europeans who believe that “immigration is bad for our country”. A left whose principal cause is open borders will become increasingly unpopular.

Childish Violence

The idea that the way to shut someone up is to punch him in the jaw is as American as Hollywood movies. It is also typical of the gang war that prevails in certain parts of Los Angeles. Banding together with others “like us” to fight against gangs of “them” for control of turf is characteristic of young men in uncertain circumstances. The search for a cause can involve endowing such conduct with a political purpose: either fascist or antifascist. For disoriented youth, this is an alternative to joining the U.S. Marines.

American Antifa looks very much like a middle class wedding between Identity Politics and gang warfare. Mark Bray (page 175) quotes his DC Antifa source as implying that the motive of would-be fascists is to side with “the most powerful kid in the block” and will retreat if scared. Our gang is tougher than your gang.

That is also the logic of U.S. imperialism, which habitually declares of its chosen enemies: “All they understand is force.” Although Antifa claim to be radical revolutionaries, their mindset is perfectly typical the atmosphere of violence which prevails in militarized America.

In another vein, Antifa follows the trend of current Identity Politics excesses that are squelching free speech in what should be its citadel, academia.  Words are considered so dangerous that “safe spaces” must be established to protect people from them. This extreme vulnerability to injury from words is strangely linked to tolerance of real physical violence.

Wild Goose Chase

In the United States, the worst thing about Antifa is the effort to lead the disoriented American left into a wild goose chase, tracking down imaginary “fascists” instead of getting together openly to work out a coherent positive program. The United States has more than its share of weird individuals, of gratuitous aggression, of crazy ideas, and tracking down these marginal characters, whether alone or in groups, is a huge distraction. The truly dangerous people in the United States are safely ensconced in Wall Street, in Washington Think Tanks, in the executive suites of the sprawling military industry, not to mention the editorial offices of some of the mainstream media currently adopting a benevolent attitude toward “anti-fascists” simply because they are useful in focusing on the maverick Trump instead of themselves.

Antifa USA, by defining “resistance to fascism” as resistance to lost causes – the Confederacy, white supremacists and for that matter Donald Trump – is actually distracting from resistance to the ruling neoliberal establishment, which is also opposed to the Confederacy and white supremacists and has already largely managed to capture Trump by its implacable campaign of denigration. That ruling establishment, which in its insatiable foreign wars and introduction of police state methods, has successfully used popular “resistance to Trump” to make him even worse than he already was.

The facile use of the term “fascist” gets in the way of thoughtful identification and definition of the real enemy of humanity today. In the contemporary chaos, the greatest and most dangerous upheavals in the world all stem from the same source, which is hard to name, but which we might give the provisional simplified label of Globalized Imperialism. This amounts to a multifaceted project to reshape the world to satisfy the demands of financial capitalism, the military industrial complex, United States ideological vanity and the megalomania of leaders of lesser “Western” powers, notably Israel. It could be called simply “imperialism”, except that it is much vaster and more destructive than the historic imperialism of previous centuries. It is also much more disguised. And since it bears no clear label such as “fascism”, it is difficult to denounce in simple terms.

The fixation on preventing a form of tyranny that arose over 80 years ago, under very different circumstances, obstructs recognition of the monstrous tyranny of today. Fighting the previous war leads to defeat.

Donald Trump is an outsider who will not be let inside. The election of Donald Trump is above all a grave symptom of the decadence of the American political system, totally ruled by money, lobbies, the military-industrial complex and corporate media. Their lies are undermining the very basis of democracy. Antifa has gone on the offensive against the one weapon still in the hands of the people: the right to free speech and assembly.

Notes.

* «Où va la démocratie?», une enquête  de la Fondation pour l’innovation politique sous la direction de Dominique Reynié, (Plon, Paris, 2017).

Posted in Politics0 Comments

Lavrov: Russia insists on return of its diplomatic property ‘illegally seized’ by US

NOVANEWS
Image result for Lavrov CARTOON
RT 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Moscow insists on the return of its diplomatic properties “illegally seized” by the US, warning of legal consequences and possible retaliation.

“Russia reserves the right to undertake legal action and retaliatory measures,” reads a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry after the phone call.

Both Lavrov and Tillerson, however, expressed support for the ongoing consultations on the issues of Russia-US relations, led by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov and US Under Secretary Thomas Shannon.

The diplomatic property row between Moscow and Washington dates back to late 2016, when the outgoing Obama administration expelled a number of Russian diplomats and closed two Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland. In July 2017, the US Congress imposed new sanctions on Russia. The move prompted Moscow to reduce US diplomatic personnel numbers in Russia to 455. The US responded with new hostile actions early in September, shutting down the Russian Consulate-General in San Francisco as well as trade missions in Washington and New York.

On Monday Lavrov and Tillerson also discussed the conflict in Syria, focusing on the prospects for cooperation between Russia and the US in maintaining the ceasefire in de-escalation zones and political reconciliation between the warring parties. Lavrov also stressed the utmost importance of fighting terrorism in the country.

The crisis in the Korean Peninsula was also a high priority in the talks, with Lavrov warning that the US’s activities in the region were only leading to escalation. The Russian foreign minister urged the US to resolve the conflict solely through dialogue.

Posted in USA, Russia0 Comments

Smoking gun or nothingburger? WaPo claims Russia ‘meddled’ in election through Google, YouTube

NOVANEWS
Image result for Smoking gun CARTOON
RT 

In the latest of its near-weekly scoops, the Washington Post has claimed that “Russian operatives exploited Google’s platforms to interfere in the 2016 election.” However, as previously, its own evidence can’t bear the weight of its allegations.

While the report did genuinely break the news of an internal investigation at the California tech giant, which Google has since confirmed, it waits until paragraph six to specify what it has found so far.

“The people familiar with its investigation said that the company is looking at a set of ads that cost less than $100,000 and that it is still sorting out whether all of the ads came from trolls or whether some originated from legitimate Russian accounts,” write the authors.

Even if the figure involved is closer to $100,000 than, say, $10,000, it is notable that the two leading candidates in the 2016 election spent at least $1.8 billion, with Hillary Clinton outspending the winning candidate Donald Trump by a factor of two to one. Evidently, she didn’t have genius Russian “trolls” authoring her ads. But then again, the authors go on to note that “the number of ads posted and the number of times those ads were clicked on could not be learned” by Google, so maybe not.

The second part of the statement – about “legitimate Russian accounts” – seems to run even more contrary to the tenor of the report, suggesting in fact that adverts being audited may represent normal spending after all, something the Washington Postomitted from its headline and intro.

The use of anonymous sources – “people familiar”  that also later featured in a Reuters version of the report – to make claims about Russia that go beyond the factual, even in situations where there is no fundamental security reason to stay off the record, has become too common to produce more than a disappointed sigh.

But there is more.

“The discovery by Google is also significant because the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook – a sign that the Russian effort to spread disinformation online may be a much broader problem than Silicon Valley companies have unearthed so far,” write Elizabeth Dwoskin and Adam Entous, responsible for many of the newspaper’s Russian-tech-meddling stories.

So, when a “Kremlin-affiliated troll farm” buys adverts, it is evidence of Russian meddling, but when that “troll farm” doesn’t buy adverts, it is also evidence of Russian meddling, indeed perhaps “broader” in scope?

It is in fact not until the penultimate paragraph of the story that the method of the investigation is revealed.

“Google downloaded [historical tweet] data from Twitter and was able to link Russian Twitter accounts to other accounts that had used Google’s services to buy ads,” write Dwoskin and Entous.

So, from this it appears that Google has simply identified Russian Twitter accounts, and tried to find which of them bought ads on YouTube and its DoubleClick ad network – and that’s it so far. In fact, somewhat sheepishly, the authors admit in the very last paragraph that “Google’s probe is still in its early stages.”

And that is fine. But now cycle back to the claims made in the headline and compare. Why not just report the investigation? Why the tenuous insinuations and overblown allegations?

Dwoskin is the newspaper’s Silicon Valley correspondent, Entous has two decades’ experience as a well-known security, intelligence and foreign affairs correspondent. Yet over the past year the stories by  them and others from the same newsroom, have resulted in multiple retractionsdenials, and instant  takedowns.

That is not to say that they are no longer capable of credible journalism. Almost apropos of nothing in their attempt to see what sticks, at one point they state “RT also has a sizeable presence on YouTube.” That part is definitely true.

Posted in Russia0 Comments


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