Archive | November 9th, 2017

Global Conflict and Terrorism Are a Prerequisite for Lucrative Arms Deals

NOVANEWS
Global Conflict and Terrorism Are a Prerequisite for Lucrative Arms Deals. The World’s Major Arms Exporters
A Comparison of Superpowers

The powerful countries’ economy is now leaning to a great extent on manufacturing and exports of diverse military weapons. A government’s global status and might is now measured by its capacity to invent and fabricate outmatched and super military gears.

A country’s military standing is evaluated on the basis of air power, naval power, manpower as well as nuclear bombs. There is no single power with all these strengths above others. The US, for example, is surpassing rivals on air power whereas Russia has astonishing number of advanced tanks. North Korea’s battleship force outnumbers others including the US. 

According to studies conducted by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute [SIPRI], the five biggest arms and weapons importers between 2010 and 2014 were India, Saudi Arabia, China, the United Arab Emirate and Pakistan.

The table below provides data for the period 2012-2016

Germany’s largest customer was the US, and France and the UK’s major export destinations were Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

In the given period, China replaced Germany as the world’s third largest arms supplier, accounting for 5 percent of international arms exports. China’s top arms purchaser was Pakistan followed by Bangladesh and Myanmar as strategic partners to counterbalance, in particular, India.

The US was the largest arms supplier with 33 percent of international arms exports compared with Russia 23 percent (2012-2016). Both of them combined represent 58 percent of all exports. Russia’s arms industry is projecting boom over bumper sales to India since many years.

Russia’s main markets are China, India and Algeria. The US’s great arms destinations are South Korea, the UAE and Australia. The US sells arms to broader range of clients unlike Russia that has fewer markets.

Source of tables : SIPRI 

The world’s disputed territories and waters claimed by two states such as Pakistan-India’s strife over Kashmir, Azerbaijan and Armenia’s row over Nagorno-Karabakh, China-Taiwan, India-China, Japan-China, Israel-Syria, among many others, remains to be a magnetic cause for arms purchase. Since arms producing powers’ economy heavily stand on this industry’s exports, the world’s leading governments would not insist on ceasefires anywhere. Russia exports arms to both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In April 2016, Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev visited both Armenian and Azerbaijan officials following an armed fight for mediation and said that Russia had no intention of halting arms sales to any side of the conflict.

Other countries like France and Germany have slashed their defense spending and devoted great energy and cost to developing the newest and further sophisticated military systems. Israel’s arms industry grew tremendously which is distinguished for its drones. NATO members flew their Israel-made drones in Afghanistan. Israel spends almost 4.5 percent of its GDP on research and development where the culture of innovation and creativity is dominant.

The world’s top five major arms exporters are the United States, Russia, Germany, France and China which account for 75.8 percent of the entire global arms exports (2012-2016).

If one delves deep into the root causes of terrorism in corners of the world, it may be surprised to find that the real causes of the conflicts are totally different; indeed no logic lies behind as much belligerence and savagery in the name of terrorism. Each time, for instance, an ISIS fanatic’s image with covered face and arm in the hand threatening a country pops up or a missile is fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemeni Houthis, it raise angst and demands for state-of-the-art weapons.

The unrest in the Middle East is believed to have been stoked in part to establish appeal for arms among affluent Arab states. Saudi Arabia is determined to achieve the regional military hegemony by virtue of the US arms. Saudi Arabia is overwhelmed by Iran’s nuclear threats, Yemeni rebel’s resistance, row with Qatar and the ISIS’s battles in the Middle East. The rising international tensions brought Saudi Arabia up to the third largest spender followed by India. This Arab state just declared its plan to build its first nuclear reactors next year. Although it stresses that nuclear program is solely meant for energy supply and peaceful purposes, we might have learned in the past that this oil-rich country is struggling, on the one hand, to not fall behind Iran and, on the other hand, is in pursuit of winning supremacy over other Arab region states.

In early decade, the US had introduced restrictions on the sale of national advanced arms to Arab region states to enable Israel stand ahead of its inveterate foes in the region by exporting own products. A bill was approved by the US Congress in 2008 to allow Israel lead an exclusive arms clout in the region. But following the formation of Saudi-led anti-Iran Alliance, Obama’s administration resumed an earlier level of arms sales which infuriated Israeli officials. Reports reveal that Riyadh and Washington’s arms deals hit US$ 90 billion between 2010 and 2014.

The White House under the Obama administration had endorsed Saudi Arabia-led Military Alliance’s battle with Yemen in a statement. The then undersecretary of the US State Department Antony Blinken visited Riyadh on the second week of Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen and said that this country [Saudi Arabia] is sending a powerful message to Houthis and its allies in Yemen and the US is bolstering it by delivering arms.

According to Swedish SIPRI, the major arms imports have soared in the Middle East over the past few years. As of 2012 to 2016, arms imports skyrocketed by 86 percent in the region.

The US companies were the leading exporters of military equipment and services, according to HIS report.

Boeing hitting the highest of US$ 5.6 billion, followed by Lockheed Martin at US$ 5.1 billion, then Raytheon and Airbus at US$ 3.5 billion and US$ 2.9 billion respectively.

Russia’s UAC holds fifth place with a worth of US$ 2.9 billion.

Earlier in October, Saudi King Salman inked a deal worth of US$ 3 billion with Moscow to purchase S-400 surface-to-air missiles among other arms. (image right King Salman with President Putin)

On 25 October, Qatar swept to purchase the same S-400 anti-aircraft system as well as Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft system, armored vehicles and tanks. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are on the rock and investing hugely on military powers. This could possibly be a foreign conspiracy to push Arab states into purchasing multi-billion dollars worth of arms. Bahrain and Egypt are said to be next in line to strike similar deals with Moscow. This is while Trump had signed the largest single arms deal in the US history during his visit of Riyadh that amounts to US$ 110 billion.

Russia’s S-400 Air Defense System

The International Institute for Strategic Studies released a report in 2017 that put powerful militaries on the order of largest manpower. The world’s most populous nation, China, remained unparalleled in number of military forces. First established way back in 1927, China has an army of 2,183,000, followed by India’s 1,395,100 forces. The US is in third place which is nearly followed by archenemy North Korea with 1,190,000 forces, but the US’s army is said to have been best-equipped than every other on the list.

On the other hand, the Global Fire Power’s 2017 study provides a new look into relative strengths and weaknesses of global superpowers. The US overtakes others on possessing far more aircrafts which is put at 13,762. Russia runs only 3794 followed by China and India. On tanks, Russia tops the list with 20,216, then China at 6,457 and the US in third place followed by North Korea and Syria.

The United States adversary North Korea has something to catch up with others and it is battle force ships including frigates, destroyers, corvettes, torpedo boats, patrol boats and others. North Korea has 967, China 714 and then comes US with 415 followed by Iran and Russia.

The aircraft carrier viewed as a nation’s “symbol of strength” on the ocean is the most expensive military system that countries like China and Turkey are scrambling to own. The US leaves others far behind in possession of aircraft carriers that reach 19 in number. (USS Theodore Roosevelt left) France hold second place with 4 carriers followed by Japan, India and the UK with 4, 3 and 2 carriers respectively. Russia and China each has only one.

There is one more thing North Korea surpasses the US and it is submarine force. However, it is believed that NK’s submarine is a lower-cost and less-complicated force. It is limited to coastal waters and has fewer capabilities. The list place North Korea first with 76, the US 70, China 68 and Russia 63 submarines followed by Iran, the UK and France.

The US’s defense spending budget is the highest of all, so is its external debt. China, the world’s leading economy, is behind the US in military spending, perhaps, due to its largest manpower. Saudi Arabia is not lagging and holds third place with US$ 56 billion and then there is India which has emerged as a potential arms market for Russia and the US. The list of external debt, regarded as a downside, first reads the powers deeply plunged into global conflicts. These are the US, the UK, France and Germany while China and Russia fall in ranks 14 and 20.

Every arm producing country is strict to expose the secrets of super features of aircrafts and other military hardware developed uniquely. In 2011, when the US assault team raided on Osama Bin Laden’s compound near Islamabad, it used radar-evading helicopters. The helicopter was damaged while landing and later blown up by the US forces. Reports just revealed that Pakistan had allowed China to examine the wreckage in a bid to discover the critical technology used in the aircrafts that not only escaped radar but also muffled the noise.

In Dec 2011, a US spy drone crashed 140 miles into Iranian soil and later displayed by Iranian state television. As a surprise for technology-hungry Russia and China, the two allies immediately asked Iran to get an insight into the advanced intelligence asset to build a prototype of their own.

In a separate episode in 2001, China managed to get hold of P-3 Orion reconnaissance aircraft operated by the US Navy when it was forced down after a mid-air collision. This allowed China to develop counter-measures to the surveillance systems carried by the Orion which compelled the US to upgrade its entire fleet.

Posted in USA, Europe0 Comments

Syria War Report – November 7, 2017

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Syria War Report – November 7, 2017: Syrian Army Pulverizes Al-Qaeda Positions In Northern Hama

…from SouthFront

While the Syrian Tiger Forces and their allies are preparing for a final push towards the ISIS-held town of al-Bukamal, important developments are also taking place in the area west of the Ithriyah-Khanaser road.

Since October, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) have been conducting a military operation in the area against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in order to expand the buffer zone near the Ithriyah-Khanaser part of the Ithriyah-Aleppo highway and to shorten the frontline in northeastern Hama.

Some pro-government sources even speculate that the SAA and the NDF may seek to reach the Abu Duhur Military Airbase, but this would take a large-scale advance, which would require deployment of additional reinforcements.

Recently, government forces have liberated the villages of Abu Ghar, Sarha Janubi, Mushayrifah, Husaywat, Jundya and Rasm Kahal and the hill of Sawan. The SAA and the NDF also entered Sarha Shamali where intense fighting was reported between government troops and terrorists.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorists responded by attacking SAA positions north of al-Maqarayh and capturing Umm Turaykiyah and Al-Balil after repelling a government attack on Musharifah.

According to pro-opposition sources, the fighting is ongoing amid constant Russian airstrikes on terrorist weapons depots and convoys. However, the intensity of the strikes is relatively low.

As long as the town of al-Bukamal in eastern Syria is not liberated, the Syrian military cannot deploy the manpower and military equipment to the northeastern Hama frontline, which would allow them to crush the HTS defenses there and to reach the Abu Duhur Military Airbase. However, this moment may be closer than some HTS supporters would like to believe.

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Could new British political sex scandals expand to more areas?

NOVANEWS

We May Be At The Beginning of “Lettergate,” Great as and Even “Greater than Watergate!”

by Seth Ferris,  … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

We have all been here before, especially in Britain

[ Editor’s Note: Seth Ferris once again wanders into a “no go” area, how the political world attracts flawed people into public service, where their flaws can be used to control them. The case in point focuses on how sexual indiscretions can be a permanent leash on Parliamentarians to produce a guaranteed vote when and where it is needed.

None of this will shock the VT readers, nor would extending this blackmailing tactic to espionage penetrations, particularly by the little country in the Mideast who is also historically adept at influencing such votes by their knowledge of past indiscretions.

Seth Ferris is a part of a disappearing breed, the investigative reporter that really does the heavy grunt work, a dual approach of having the scholastic background necessary and then the ability to dig out what is happening now, the dot-connecting which we feel is our critical job for our readers who do not have the time and resources to all do this themselves.

It has to be a group effort, and to that purpose VT is like an hour glass where we have our own network funneling material and analysis into us, where we then cherry pick what we feel is most important for our reader network. 

We try to maintain the right balance in terms of quantity and quality, as the public can only absorb so much information at a time, but we don’t view this as a major impediment because education and knowledge is cumulative.

And I think our long time readers would agree, as we do, that we are all wiser after spending a few years here, with Gordon and I at the head of the line in terms of what we know now that we did not, say five years ago. To quote Gordon, “We are light years ahead of where we were then”, so it was definitely worth the seven days a week effort… Jim W. Dean ]

Jim’s Editor’s Notes are solely crowdfunded via PayPal – JimWDean@aol.com

This includes research, needed field trips, Heritage TV Legacy archiving, and more – Thanks for helping 

Michael Fallon was out the door, and quickly, too. But will the floodgates open now?

– First published … November 06, 2017 –

Sometimes a relatively obscure event takes place which has profound consequences far beyond its original location. For example, the positioning of the star at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was one of the causes of the Crimean War, which contributed to the eventual downfall of the Russian autocracy, removed the British Prime Minister and is still causing boundary disputes between modern Turkey and its neighbours.

A small fuss has arisen in the UK over an ill-advised letter sent by an MP. Usually such an action has only local relevance, and the story soon blows over. But the more we find out, the more disturbing this story becomes. It is creating pressures which could potentially bring down many governments, as no country can claim to be free from the corrupt connections which are coming to light.

Those old enough to remember the Watergate Scandal and its impact might soon be calling this one Lettergate. It has the potential to be just as big—even bigger. As we saw back then, there is a global public primed to feast on an orgiastic mess of corruption, dictatorship and secrecy, which eagerly awaits each new salacious development. There is no telling where this one act of folly might lead, or who will get burned in the process.

Would you be so kind?

Few people had heard of Chris Heaton-Harris before October 2017. He is the Conservative MP for Daventry, a place most couldn’t pinpoint on a map. But he has now made himself notorious by writing to to a number of university Vice-Chancellors, asking for the names of the professors who are teaching about Brexit at their universities and copies of what they are teaching.

On the surface, the MP’s letter is a simple information request. But it was not regarded as such by the people he wrote to, for various reasons.

Firstly, Heaton-Harris is a strong supporter of leaving the EU, and most academics are not. It is therefore clear that Heaton-Harris expects to find these professors teaching things he doesn’t like. Heaton-Harris and his supporters regard those who oppose Brexit as “enemies of the people”, and here he is, seemingly asking for proof so he can denounce individuals publicly.

Secondly, he sent this signed letter on official House of Commons notepaper. An MP is only allowed to do this when they are conducting official business connected with their own constituency. He also gave no reason why he wanted this information. All this implies that the powers-that-be, rather than this one MP, want the information for some reason they daren’t give.

Thirdly, if Heaton-Harris wanted to know what was being taught at universities he could have done what everyone else does: look at their websites, obtain their prospectuses or attend their lectures. Asking for this information in an official capacity, without giving a reason, smacks of government monitoring of academic work. No university Vice-Chancellor in the democratic world would accept that, as they all insist that independent thought is what their university is there for, and this principle must be respected.

When this letter was made public it provoked a furious backlash, along the lines of McCarthyite Witchhunt. The MP did not respond, but the following day Boris Johnson’s brother, who is the Universities Minister, claimed Heaton-Harris had merely been “researching a book he might one day write. He did however also say that the letter probably shouldn’t have been sent.

Eventually Heaton-Harris tweeted that he believed in academic freedom. But otherwise he has remained silent, despite the press beating at his door. This means he has been instructed to keep his mouth shut. But Heaton-Harris is always advertising his other statements, even if they cause his party problems. So something greater than merely party discipline is making him comply with this request, however embarrassing that is for him.

Skeletons out of the cupboard

What is that something? A clue has emerged in a seemingly unrelated development. Following the scandals surrounding expenses the House of Commons is taking a hard look at its practices. As a result, the government has admitted that a number of MPs are under suspicion of sexually harassing people who work there, and often for the harasser themselves. Through the Leader of the House it has denounced such behaviour, and says it is now serious about stamping it out.

Who are these MPs? The names of some of those on the Conservative side, and what they are accused of, were included in a document some national journalists got hold of. Though the names were redacted for official publication, the internet has resolved this problem. Sure enough, Heaton-Harris’ name appears there, alongside the allegation “inappropriate with female researchers + handsy in taxis” – implying that he employs researchers so he can sexually molest them, not because he wants them to research anything.

This is only an allegation at present. But Heaton-Harris has reason to be concerned by it. Theresa May’s former Communications Director, Katie Perrior, has now stated publicly on TV what was long suspected: that party whips gather this information so they can blackmail their colleagues with it. Anyone who threatens to vote against the government is threatened with having compromising information about them exposed.

Already one of the MPs mentioned on the list has resigned due to its contents. This is former Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who has next to his name “Odd sexual penchants and sexual with fellow MP Mike Freer – a drunk”. Heaton-Harris is a whip himself, he knows what is in his own file and how it can be used against him by his party.

People have often asked why MPs continually vote for things they are known to personally disagree with. We now have hard evidence of why. We also have hard evidence that Heaton-Harris himself is one of those at risk of blackmail, who can be leaned upon to do whatever the leaner wants.

Who is in charge?

We don’t know if Heaton-Harris was blackmailed by figures in his own party, or the government, to write to the university Vice-Chancellors. But the chances are we soon will, because there is evidence that his instructions came from the top.

While Boris Johnson’s brother (he is not on the list, but Boris is) was simultaneously defending and slapping down Heaton-Harris the Daily Mail newspaper, which has consistently promoted Brexit, was preparing its banner headline – OUR REMAINER UNIVERSITIES. The accompanying article, available online, maintains that universities are full of people who oppose Brexit and are trying to poison the minds of their students with relentless Remain bias.

This language is a rehashing of the Cold War era complaints that universities were full of Communist spies. It is true that academics often hold opinions which the world around them doesn’t like, and this is one reason they end up in universities: they can hold their opinions freely there without it harming their careers, at least in theory. When Communists and near-Communists were automatically regarded as enemies of the people they found the more independent and questioning university space congenial, and in some cases were directly linked with espionage activity.

But the difference is that working for enemies of the state, and recruiting and encouraging other people to do so, is a serious criminal offence. It is not in any way illegal to disagree with the UK’s decision to leave the EU, nor the reasoning behind it. Furthermore, the people who use this language now, and did then, attended the same universities and had the same professors. How come they weren’t “contaminated” in the same way? Do they possess some sort of magic powder, obtained from who-knows-where, which gives them alone the ability to have correct opinions?

The link between the hatred-spewing UK tabloid newspapers, such as the Daily Mail, and the government is well documented. The more the government investigates Brexit, the more it sees it is a problem: it still won’t publish the impact studies it paid for, and junior ministers and civil servants involved with the Brexit process are leaving their jobs at an alarming rate. But the government continues to justify its policy by saying it reflects the “Will of the People” – which means the one expressed in those particular newspapers rather than others, or more recent opinion polls.

Newspaper proprietors have a vast intelligence gathering network at their disposal, and a public platform for their views no individual politician ever has. It is a world designed for the megalomaniac, who exerts his own power over elected representatives whose futures ultimately depend on his patronage. At national level, you can do this. In the EU, with all its languages and largely unknown politicians, that is much more difficult. If being a megalomaniac got you into newspapers to begin with, are you going to be happy in a political institution where you can’t be one?

It is no coincidence that Chris Heaton-Harris wrote a letter which got people talking, and then a newspaper which shares his views, and which the government is scared of, followed it up with a front page article attacking Remainer bias in universities.

Everything suggests that the press and government are jointly conducting a concerted campaign against “enemies of the people” who disagree with Brexit – not because they threaten national security, but because they threaten the existence of the government, and the undemocratic influence unelected press barons have over it.

Are we any different?

Anything connected with Brexit now attracts global attention, because leaving the EU hasn’t been done before. Every country is watching to see what the positive and negative outcomes of the process are, and whether they might happen their own countries. So even a small scandal, such as this, which gets connected with Brexit will not remain a purely UK affair.

If a letter about Brexit is shown to be part of a wider official conspiracy to stifle dissenters, involving dirty tricks and corrupt relationships with media figures with more power than the government, people in other countries will wonder whether the same is happening there. They will be reminded of their own government scandals, and the names of those involved. Once that process starts, it will be very difficult for anyone to stop it, for as long as the UK is unable to put out its own fire.

Belgium had the Marc Dutroux child abuse scandal. Senior Belgian government figures interfered with, and later stopped, the full investigation of this. Who were they working with? What did they know? Most of those politicians are still around, and their parties and press owners are too.

The French are used to second-guessing everything they read, as the media is regarded as a government mouthpiece whichever party is in power. They also have a historic sensitivity to “collaborators” and secret communication – sending an anonymous letter, even an anodyne one, is a much more serious offence in France than in other countries. Giscard-d’Estaing was damaged by accepting a gift from an African dictator, but that is small potatoes compared with what could easily be uncovered by anyone with inside knowledge.

Any country you could name has its dirty tricks, its political scandals, its corrupt backroom deals which are not designed to help the people. These scandals come and go because they are blamed on individuals, who are then disgraced. But if this conduct becomes seen as systemic, that is another question.

It took a long time for many in Eastern Europe to realise that they could not reform Communism, it was inherently corrupt. When they did, the whole system was swept away, and anything to the contrary was embraced for the sake of it, without thought or justification. Could we see Western Europe institutions and democracies crumble because their citizens perceive them to be irredeemable in the same way?

Everyone said this could never happen in Eastern Europe because those systems were too tightly controlled. That doesn’t apply in the West, and the complaints people once made about the Soviet Union are the same ones they make about their own governments now- dictators, corrupt, undemocratic. 

The nexus between an MP who can be blackmailed, a government held to ransom by press barons and a dirty tricks campaign designed to force particular views on the public and forbid others is easy to see, and getting clearer by the day.

The actual catalysts for the overthrow of Soviet bloc governments were relatively minor events, such as rubbish being dumped outside a mosque in Sofia. Already there is talk that the sexual harassment issue could bring down the UK government. But that is only part of a much bigger story, which has the potential to be played out in any country, as they all have a great many things to hide.

Posted in UK0 Comments

New York Times Strikes Out Again on Afghanistan

NOVANEWS

American people expect full story from their “free press” and Constitution demands the press serve the people and not bureaucracy; New York Times needs to get its mission straight.

An old witticism going around the Soviet Union about truth (Pravda) in its final days went something like this: In the United States they tell you everything but you know nothing, in the USSR they tell you nothing but you know everything.

Who would ever be nostalgic for the old Soviet Union where truth was what the official government mouthpiece told you and everything else was a lie meant to undermine the state?

Whoever that might be, they would feel at home in the now totally neoconized U.S. where the old mainstream media marches in lockstep with a dysfunctional federal bureaucracy; to aggressively narrow freedom of speech and label anything that contradicts their ideological view of reality as enemy propaganda.

New York Times Building from the street level

From 1918 until its demise in 1991, the Russian people at least knew that Pravda (Truth) was the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. But what most Americans would be surprised to learn is that The New York Times has been operating for decades as the U.S. government’s Pravda without anyone being the wiser.

Now the truth-war rages between the old mainstream media outlets like The New York Times and any news operation or website that puts out any story challenging their version of the official truth. Even Facebook and Googleare under attack. Much to our surprise we were recently drawn into this battle by a New York Times Obituary for our dearest Afghan friend, Sima Wali who fled the violent Marxist coup in 1978 that kicked off the U.S.-backed rise of Islamic extremism and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Considering that the Times maintains that the alternative media is filled with false news and Russian propaganda, we were shocked to find that there were many claims made in Sima’s obituary that contained American Cold War propaganda about Afghanistan that have long since been debunked as fabrication! One particularly outrageous example came with the claim that in 1978 “gender apartheid” had been “imposed by the Communists and then by the Taliban.”

Apparently The New York Times believes it can turn day to night by blaming the Communists for introducing “gender apartheid.” Gender apartheid was the name adapted (from the South African apartheid regime) in 1996 to draw the public’s attention to the cruelty and human rights abuses imposed by the Taliban on the women of Afghanistan. It was not imposed by the Communists after their takeover in 1978. In fact, quite the opposite was true.

Afghan Human Rights Expert Sima Wali Returns to Afghanistan in 2002 for the first time since her exile in 1978

As Sima stated in the introduction to our book Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story,“The draconian Taliban rule stripped women of their basic human rights. Their edicts against women in Afghanistan led to an introduction of a new form of violence termed “gender apartheid.” In point of fact a major cause for the growth of the resistance to the Communists in the more tradition-bound countryside was the forced education of women and girls and the forced removal of the veil. Nor is it understood in the West that these reforms had been attempted by many Afghan rulers in the past with some level of success.

Related Articles  Sima Wali obituary | theguardian.com  What Have They Done to Our Fair Sister? by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould | VT

As David B. Edwards writes in his book Before Taliban , there is actually a direct line between these and other reforms to the reforms mandated by King Amanullah after 1919. He writes, “The transformations that he [Amanullah] sought to bring about before his overthrow in 1929 were in many respects forerunners of those of the Marxists and were particularly revealing of the problems they later encountered.”

An accurate picture of what was being done by the Communists during their rule in the early 1980s can be read in Jonathan Steele’s 2003 Guardian article Red Kabul revisited in which he compares the U.S. occupation of Kabul in 2003 with Soviet occupied Kabul of the 1980s. “In 1981, Kabul’s two campuses thronged with women students, as well as men. Most went around without even a headscarf. Hundreds went off to Soviet universities to study engineering, agronomy and medicine.

The banqueting hall of the Kabul hotel pulsated most nights to the excitement of wedding parties. The markets thrived. Caravans of painted lorries rolled up from Pakistan, bringing Japanese TV sets, video recorders, cameras and music centres. The Russians did nothing to stop this vibrant private enterprise.”

Prior to 9/11 Laili Helms, a spokeswoman for and defender of the Taliban and niece to former CIA director Richard Helms, went so far as to diss educating women as a Communist plot, claiming that any Afghan woman who could read had to be a Communist, because only the Communists had educated women.

After the American invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, Sima Wali was outraged by this Taliban mentality that she saw creeping into the American-installed Afghan leadership with the blessing of the American government. In an address to the Global Citizens Circle in Boston in 2003 she stated her objections clearly: “[A]s an Afghan and an American I will testify to you that the argument against women’s rights is neither Afghan nor Islamic!”

Thirty four years ago last May I stood before the irate Afghan press officer for the “Communist” government in Kabul, Afghanistan as he threw down a copy of The New York Times onto his desk. “Have you read this,” he demanded, pointing to an article by Leslie Gelb, titled “U.S. Said to Increase Arms Aid For Afghan Rebels.” What Gelb, The New York Times national security correspondent and former Carter administration Assistant Secretary of State had disclosed, angered the foreign ministry’s press secretary Roshan Rowan, and as an American he was holding me responsible. “Why are you doing this to us?” He shouted. “What is it we have done to you, to deserve this invasion?”

I didn’t need to rely on The New York Times to tell me what was going on in Afghanistan. As the first American journalist to risk the wrath of the Reagan administration’s newly installed neoconservative foreign policy by bringing a news crew to Kabul in 1981, I was one of only a handful of Americans who knew the score. The United States was backing Muslim guerillas that were burning down schools, specifically for girls and killing local officials regardless of whether they were Communist or not.

The Gelb article made clear that in collaboration with the Saudis, Egyptians, Chinese, Iranians and Pakistanis, the “bleeders” inside the Reagan administration were upping the ante in order to “draw more and more Soviet troops into Afghanistan,” while at the same time claiming to pursue “a negotiated settlement to the war.” It was not obvious from the Gelb article how the United States could be escalating a conflict in Afghanistan in 1983 while at the same time negotiating a settlement. Also missing from the article was any indication that the administration’s policy was a fundamental contradiction.

That spring of 1983 we had invited Roger Fisher, director of the Harvard Negotiation Project to return with us to Kabul to unwrap this riddle of why the UN negotiations were getting nowhere. Contracted to ABC Nightline, Roger met with the Kremlin’s chief Afghan specialist who’d flown down from Moscow and told him point blank, “We want to get out. Give us six months to save face and we’ll leave the Afghans to solve their own problems.”

Upon his return Roger expected his discovery would be greeted with relief. Instead he found that “negotiated settlement” was only a fig leaf for escalating the war. The mainstream media was just beginning to ramp up a propaganda campaign, which would become known as Charlie Wilson’s War, to drive support for keeping the Soviets pinned down in their own Vietnam while bleeding Sima Wali’s Afghanistan to death.

The American people expect the full story from their “free press” and the Constitution demands that the press serve the people and not the bureaucracy. The New York Times needs to get its mission straight lest it sacrifice its credibility to the very thing it claims to stand against. Left wing Afghan Communists cannot be magically transformed into right wing Pakistani Taliban. The United States is not the Soviet Union and The New York Times should stop behaving as if it is Pravda.

Copyright – 2017 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved

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Why numbers don’t add up for Trump’s failing Afghanistan War

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Afghanistan – Where the dreams of empires get buried

Editor’s Note: Governments now routinely hide anything they can about the failure of our foreign policy, by deeming not doing so to be a potential threat to national security. This of course is quite a stretch, and a convenient one on their part.

Martin Jay has a very concise article below about how both the Afghan government and the US want to hide the real casualties being incurred in the war, feeling that it might cast a shadow on the rosy projections. For the Afghans it hurts recruitment as the draw to pull people into the military their is the paycheck.

Martin Jay – Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley

 

the US, although much is made about serving one’s country, which the draft was a kind of forced servitude, the all professional army is well paid and with generous educational benefits.

Most people are not joining because they want to fight in endless wars overseas to expand corporate America’s market share. The proof of that was the 50% of all the West Pointers who were bailed out during the War on Terror as soon as their five years were up. They did not want to be mercenaries for US multinationals.

The catch-22 in all of this is the citizen’s right to know, which our Founding Fathers felt was so critical to not allowing a corrupt government to get into and stay in power, that both free speech and a free press were made cornerstones of our freedoms.

They have now been significantly eroded, and when military issues are involved, which keep defense contracts flowing through a carefully designed system to be spread across as many Congressional districts as possible, with special attention paid to powerful committee chairman districts, we find our elected representatives are often compromised.

This is a serious challenge to what we have left of our democracy. Can failed and failing government policies be hidden from us? Can taxpayer money actually be used to run what are top tier Intelligence disinformation ops on us, effectively attacking our constitutional rights to be informed? The answer right now is yes, and the question is what can we really do about it with our system compromised to the extent that it is … Jim W. Dean

Welcome to the gray zone: Why the numbers don’t add up for Trump’s failing Afghanistan war


First published … November 03, 2017

by Martin Jay from Beirut with Russia Today, Moscow

A recent US report on troop fatalities in Afghanistan, for the first time, failed to mention the number. Did the Americans tell Kabul to omit it? And can we expect more fudging of the truth about Trump’s Afghanistan campaign? You betcha…

The news from Afghanistan that essential data about the numbers of dead in its country’s own army is to be kept a secret from now on is worrying but not at all surprising – either from Kabul or Washington. The campaign is not working and, according to recent reports from credible media outlets, the territory taken by the Taliban – and ISIS – is slowly but undoubtedly expanding.

The writing is on the wall for both the Kabul government and Washington: prepare for increased numbers of deaths of Afghans – both civilians and security forces – as American airstrikes increase and the Taliban moves closer to inevitably taking power once again.

But that’s not happening. Trump sees PR value in US troops fighting a war against both the Taliban and ISIS and is preparing for a long, bloody battle. The problem he faces though is that his strategy is based almost entirely on the tenet of having the Afghan forces doing the bulk of the fiercest, front-line fighting. He needs the numbers.

And if what we have read is true in the most recent SIGAR report, that it is the Kabul government which wishes to conceal the numbers of deaths of their own soldiers, then this raises some questions over the validity of the entire campaign. Is Trump’s bold move in the graveyard of empires, already about to implode?

Arguably, it’s probably true that the Afghan government asked to keep the number of its own army casualties a secret as this would seriously impede the numbers of new recruits. Compared to 2014, where there were about a thousand deaths, we’re looking at a new type of conflict which, according to SIGAR’s quarterly report in July found what it called “shockingly high” casualties: 2,531 members of the Afghan security forces killed and 4,238 wounded between January and May, 8. No wonder someone wants this incendiary information to be buried.

In today’s new conflict, which is taking at least five times the number of Afghan casualties, it seems the first casualty on the battlefield will be the truth. The numbers shouldn’t have surprised anyone since ISIS came into the theater and it is only natural that the numbers of new recruits is being affected by the militants’ recent victories, like the one in April this year which took 140 Afghan soldiers in one swoop. Clearly, as militants take more ground, and the attacks become bloodier, fewer Afghans are willing to enlist.

But we should also be very skeptical about whether this initiative was entirely theirs or someone suggested that they request the Pentagon from now on keeps this kind of information away from the public eye. When you witness firsthand, as I have, the sheer scale of ‘mentoring’ which has been going on in Kabul, by US senior officers as early as 2008, then it’s hard to imagine that this initiative is Kabul’s alone.

I would estimate that US generals in Kabul who advise President Ashraf Ghani told him to stop releasing the data as the figure in recent months must have jumped considerably. If during the spring period it has jumped five times, we can only imagine that it might be tenfold during the summer months.

I recently argued in an article that Trump’s only way to win in Afghanistan was through the manufactured consent of Western journalists’ ignorance of the war; Trump press kits were given to third rate news agencies who aren’t interested in fact checking too much and are just click bait hungry. But buzz-feeding the wannabee journos might not be enough.

I would argue that this latest move is the thin end of the wedge and we will see more and more ambiguity in such intelligence sharing – and consequently a new ‘gray zone’ in reporting. Yet it’s not just about keeping the media guessing over the number of deaths.

If the Americans can keep up this farce and Pentagon spin doctors can just shrug their shoulders when asked tough questions – and attribute everything to the Afghans – then how far can this new stunt be taken? Are there other critical areas which the Trump would like covered up?

Thin end of the wedge

One visible gray area when things start to slip in a downward spiral might be US soldiers badly wounded. Obviously, it would be impossible to fudge the figures of actual body bags, but those coming back hideously injured without limbs or suffering from PTSD might also be hidden under this latest ruse.

Or, under this blanket cover of need-to-know basis, perhaps US troop numbers will slowly be increased in very small numbers over the months, without the press knowing. All is feasible when you have a premise to withhold data.

Perhaps a more obvious one would be how much money is the US government giving to the Afghans? To date, according to Forbes magazines, the 17-year-old war has cost over a trillion dollars, with training for the Afghan forces reaching a staggering $30 billion in 2016. The figure of only $5.7 billion for 2017 seems trivial – that is when it’s compared to what the US has given to Afghanistan in non-military aid since 2002, a monumental sum of $100 billion.

The number of critics lining up to point out the failure of this development aid is growing, with even some US media outlets exposing the amount “wasted and stolen” and given that it is a tenth of the whole bundle shelled out since the war began, we have to wonder if Afghanistan is not a gray area of disinformation for a reason: to cover up corruption and embezzlement to the tune of billions of dollars.

Presumably, with Trump’s new carpet bombing campaign kicking off – and a dramatically higher number of civilian casualties – this 2017 figure of only $5.7 billion will have to rise. But will it be hidden this time under the guise of the Afghans apparently wanting to keep it quiet, as it would be a PR coup for the enemy?

But $100 billion in aid vanishing into a black hole is pretty impressive. Is that a record?

It might be. And so while Baghdad had its green zone, Kabul now has its gray zone. If the next chapter of Afghanistan’s war against insurgents is at best, going to slow down the demise of the US operation, then expect a lot of shrugged shoulders and idiotic, helpless grimaces from Pentagon spokespersons as all part of an insidious plan to wane away the truth of what’s really happening there.

I’m convinced Trump and his accomplices in the Pentagon want to extinguish all factual, objective reporting from Afghanistan and reduce the entire operation to one which can be only reported on when the US has ‘hand-out’ press kits or doctored reports. We’ve gone from a quarterly study, which once had vital data in it which could be written about by armchair ‘foreign journalists’ in the US, to now the farce of even these news items having no value whatsoever.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, dismount a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter during an air assault in the Al Jazeera Desert, Iraq © U.S. Air Force

And it’s working. It’s as though there are no journalists left in the US anymore who don’t whiff the stench of foul play or even graft when Afghanistan abandons its Russian helicopters, which it can get cheap parts for and has leagues of Russian-trained mechanics waiting to service – in preference for America’s overpriced ones.

The deafening sound of silence from America’s best investigative journalists was notable as it is on the subject of how Trump’s cabal seem to be doing more business with one of the most corrupt countries in the world which supplies the entire planet with illegal heroin.

MSM in the US struggles to even acknowledge that Afghanistan’s opium production continues to climb and that, in 2001, before the US went to Afghanistan there were only a few thousand heroin addicts in the US. There are presently almost 5 million and climbing; or indeed that it was the Taliban in 2000, when in power, which agreed to ban the heroin trade altogether. Is the US campaign also about protecting this industry?

Similar cynicism should be leveled at the SIGAR report having critical data airbrushed out. Soon it will get harder for journalists to even go to Kabul on journalist visas, as the Trump campaign sinks further into the quagmire.

Mark my words. Afghanistan will soon be a gray zone for media, wherein the interests of not helping the terrorists, all information will be off limits. But not to worry. Many journalists will merely put on green wigs and wear silly t-shirts and mock their rivals who demand this information, and then write stories about that instead.

Posted in USA, Afghanistan0 Comments

Imran Khan’s Collusion with Pakistan’s Military

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Image result for Imran Khan CIA CONNECTION CARTOON

By Nauman Sadiq for Veterans Today 

The predicament of Imran Khan’s fanboys has been somewhat like the pubescent girl who falls head over heels in love with a promiscuous playboy; and when her family and friends try to knock some sense into her by telling her that your sweetheart is cheating on you, instead of heeding to their well-meaning advice, she thinks they are jealous of her love life.

No wonder playboys like John F. Kennedy and Imran Khan turn out to be popular and revered leaders because they understand the elementary psychology of the masses. The puerile multitude doesn’t understand that grown-up politics is about following democratic principles and institution-building rather than putting the destiny of one’s nation in the hands of cavalier messiahs.

In order to assess the prospects of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as a political institution, we need to study its composition. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems the worst decision Nawaz Sharif took in his political career after returning from exile in November 2007 was his refusal to accept Musharraf-allied Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) defectors back into the folds of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). After that show of moral uprightness in the essentially unprincipled realpolitik, the PML-Q turncoats joined PTI in droves and gave birth to a third nation-wide political force in Pakistan after PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

If we take a cursory look at the PTI’s membership, it is a hotchpotch of electable politicians from various political parties, but most of all from the former stalwarts of the PML-Q. Here is a list of a few names who were previously the acolytes of Musharraf and are now the ‘untainted’ leaders of PTI which has launched a nation-wide crusade against corruption in Pakistan: Jahangir Tareen, a billionaire businessman who was formerly a minister in Musharraf’s cabinet; Khurshid Mehmood Qasuri, who was Musharraf’s foreign minister; Sheikh Rasheed, although he is not officially a PTI leader but he has become closer to Imran Khan than any other leader except Imran Khan’s virtual sidekick, Jahangir Tareen; and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a former stalwart of Pakistan People’s Party who served as a foreign minister during the Zardari administration until he was forced to resign after the Raymond Davis affair in 2011, to name a few.

Allow me to scribble a tongue-in-cheek rant here on Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan Revolution’: This struggle for revolution isn’t the first of its kind in Pakistan and it won’t be the last. The first such revolution took place back in 1953 against the unjust status quo of Liaquat Ali Khan and Khawaja Nazimuddin’s Muslim League. The revolutionary heroes of yore, Ghulam Muhammad, Iskander Mirza and Ayub Khan, laid the foundations of the dictatorship of proletariat in Pakistan. The first such dictatorship of proletariat lasted from 1958 to 1971, and its outcome was the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Bengalis and the separation of East Pakistan.

The second such revolution occurred against the elected dictatorship of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977 and the revolutionary messiah, Zia-ul-Haq, ruled Pakistan from 1977 to 1988 with an iron hand. After sufficiently consolidating the gains of the revolution in Pakistan, he also exported the revolution throughout the Af-Pak region. The immediate outcome of the revolution was the destabilization of the whole region. It spawned many tadpole revolutionaries whose names we now hear in the news every day, such as the Taliban, the TTP and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The last such revolution took place against the monopoly capitalism and corrupt cronyism of Benazir Bhutto’s People’s Party and Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League in 1999. However, unlike the Stalinists of Zia, Musharraf was a Trotskyite. He joined forces with the neo-Trotskyites of the US like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and an internecine struggle ensued which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Stalinists and Trotskyites in Pakistan alone, not to mention the millions of peasants who were displaced by this conflict in Pakistan’s tribal areas. No offense to the new revolutionaries such as Imran Khan, Jahangir Tareen and Sheikh Rasheed, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

On a serious note, however, another reason why Imran Khan is desperate now to destabilize the central government is that despite forming the provincial government and ruling Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for five years, he has no tangible achievements to show. Criticizing the government from opposition benches and making electoral promises is always easy, but showing visible improvement in the affairs of the province which one administers is a hard sell.

The electoral promises of cracking down on corruption and doing away with bureaucratic red-tape might earn him a few brownie points in front of his immature audience, but to treat the malady of corruption, we must first accurately identify the root causes of corruption. Corruption and economy are inter-linked. The governments of prosperous countries can afford to pay adequate salaries to their public servants; and if public servants are paid well, then they don’t have the incentive to be corrupt.

There are two types of corruption: need-based corruption and greed-based corruption. Need-based corruption is the kind of corruption in which a poor police constable, who has a large family to support, earns a meager salary; he then augments his salary by taking bribes to make ends meet. I am not justifying his crime, but only describing the factual position.

After establishing the fact that corruption and economy are inter-linked, we need to ask Imran Khan what is his economic vision to improve Pakistan’s economy, and on what basis does he claim to improve the economy on a nation-wide scale when he failed to make any visible improvement in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa during the PTI’s five-year rule in the province? All I am trying to say is the magic wand of savior-type messiahs cannot solve our problems overnight; reforming Pakistan would be a long-term process which would need, more than anything, adherence to democratic principles and institution-building.

Finally, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are the grownup political parties in Pakistan. They learned their lesson from the politics of confrontation during the 1990s that the security establishment employs the Machiavellian divide-and-conquer tactic of hobnobbing with weaker political parties against stronger political forces in order to disrupt the democratic process and maintain the establishment’s stranglehold on its traditional domain, the security and foreign policy of Pakistan. The new entrant in Pakistan’s political landscape, Imran Khan’s PTI, will also learn this lesson after paying the price of colluding with the establishment, but by then, it might be too late.

Posted in Pakistan & Kashmir0 Comments

TRUTH JIHAD: A second (and third) opinion on Harvey Weinstein and the Jewish-Christian “culture wars”

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Two Americans from Jewish backgrounds offer different perspectives on Harvey Weinstein, Zionism, and what constitutes prejudice and bigotry.

Henry Herskovitz is the one on the left
Joel Simpson

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First hour: Were Peter Myers and I “pursuing racism” in last week’s show Harvey Weinstein’s disgrace: A major event in the culture war? If so, I didn’t mean to be. But that was Joel Simpson’s first reaction. He wrote to a listener who had plugged the show:

“There are Jews in organized crime, Jews who abuse their families, Jewish murderers, just as there are violators in every other ethnicity. But if you think you’re ‘onto’ something, I must warn you that this is a form of racism you and Kevin are pursuing and is very odious to us Jews. Again I’ll say: any moral judgment of an ethnic group—a group people belong to be birth and not choice—is a form of racism. I have no objection to making moral judgments of Zionists or any other ideological group. But trying to derive some sort of insight here about the turpitude of Jews is as wrongheaded as trying to do it with Italians or Irish or any other ethnic group. Every group has its stereotypes, and if we’re evolved thinkers we eschew them. We realize that we don’t know anything about the moral character of a person simply by knowing that person’s ethnicity. I’ve learned this over and over in my life, since I was not free of prejudices either.”

I thought we were doing ideological/cultural/religious critique. Just as it’s fine to discuss the way Muslims in Saudi Arabia or Iran or Egypt (or Christians in Russia) view issues of “gay rights” and sexual morality in general through the prism of their religious/ideological worldview, it is perfectly legitimate to do the same kind of analysis on Jewish-dominated Hollywood. Isn’t it? Tune in, listen to what Joel has to say, and decide for yourself.

Joel Simpson has “had careers in college teaching, jazz piano and music software” but is happiest now as a professional photographer. He also has a good eye for truth (as opposed to “public myth.”) Check out my earlier interview with him, on deep state issues, HERE.

Second hour: Henry Herskovitz of Deir Yassin Remembered offers a third opinion on the controversy. Henry hails from a Jewish background, but no longer considers himself a member of the tribe. Henry is well known in Ann Arbor, Michigan for picketing his local synagogue every Saturday in protest against the Palestinian genocide. Recently a local attorney, Jessica Lieberman, was convicted and sentenced for stealing one of Henry’s group’s protest signs.

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1939: On this Day in History, Adolf Hitler survives assassination attempt

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On this day 8th day of November in 1939, on the 16th anniversary of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch, a bomb explodes just after Hitler has finished giving a speech

On this day 8th day of November in 1939, on the 16th anniversary of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch, a bomb explodes just after Hitler has finished giving a speech. He was unharmed.Hitler had made an annual ritual on the anniversary of his infamous 1923 coup attempt, (Hitler’s first grab at power that ended in his arrest and the virtual annihilation of his National Socialist party), of regaling his followers with his vision of the Fatherland’s future.

On this day, he had been addressing the Old Guard party members, those disciples and soldiers who had been loyal to Hitler and his fascist party since the earliest days of its inception. Just 12 minutes after Hitler had left the hall, along with important Nazi leaders who had accompanied him, a bomb exploded, which had been secreted in a pillar behind the speaker’s platform. Seven people were killed and 63 were wounded.

The next day, the Nazi Party official paper, the Voelkischer Beobachter, squarely placed the blame on British secret agents, even implicating Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain himself. This work of propaganda was an attempt to stir up hatred for the British and whip the German people into a frenzy for war. But the inner-Nazi Party members knew better—they knew the assassination attempt was most probably the work of a German anti-Nazi military conspiracy.

In an ingenious scheme to shift blame, while getting closer to the actual conspirators, Heinrich Himmler, the Gestapo chief, sent a subordinate, Walter Schellenberg, to Holland to make contact with British intelligence agents. The pretext of the meeting was to secure assurances from the British that in the event of an anti-Nazi coup, the British would support the new regime.

The British agents were eager to gain whatever inside information they could about the rumored anti-Hitler movement within the German military; Schellenberg, posing as “Major Schaemmel,” was after whatever information British intelligence may have had on such a conspiracy within the German military ranks.

But Himmler wanted more than talk—he wanted the British agents themselves. So on November 9, SS soldiers in Holland kidnapped, with Schellenberg’s help, two British agents, Payne Best and R.H. Stevens, stuffing them into a Buick and driving them across the border into Germany.

Himmler now proudly announced to the German public that he had captured the British conspirators. The man who actually planted the bomb at their behest was declared to be Georg Elser, a German communist who made his living as a carpenter.

While it seems certain that Elser did plant the bomb, who the instigators were—German military or British intelligence—remains unclear. All three “official” conspirators spent the war in Sachsenhausen concentration camp (Elser was murdered by the Gestapo on April 16, 1945—so he could never tell his story). Hitler dared not risk a public trial, as there were just too many holes in the “official” story.

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Yasser Arafat, the leader I knew

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Yasser Arafat

By Jamal Kanj

Thirteen years ago, I published my first article in a major US newspaper, the San Diego Union Tribune. It was unwittingly published on the same day news came out of Paris that Yasser Arafat had passed away. The article wasn’t meant to be a eulogy but was intended to introduce Arafat and his cause to readers who rarely read a Palestinian viewpoint in the Zionist-controlled US media.

The article was about the first time I had met Yasser Arafat, in February 1973. In the early morning hours of the previous night, I had been jolted from my sleep by the rattle of guns and thunderous booms. Israeli commandos had landed at the shores of a defenseless, sleepy Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. The Israeli military’s target was a vacant community clinic, but for a lonely sleeping and unarmed night guard.

The public health centre serving the poor was just metres from our home. The building had been blown up over the unarmed guard. The Israeli media spin, which was reported by the BBC, described the raid on the clinic in Nahr al-Barid refugee camp as a preemptive strike against a military target.

The next day, and while I played with other children on the small dirt road, two speeding jeeps headed in our direction. The vehicles swerved towards the heap of concrete, brakes squealed, tyres skidded and dust billowed in the air.

The back doors flung wide open before the car stopped completely. Two men jumped out of the vehicle and ran along its side. A short man dressed in his trademark Kufiah, emerged from the swirling dusts hovering over the jeep.

To the chagrin of many Palestinians and Arab governments alike, Arafat accentuated Palestinian nationalism over pan-Arabism and secularism over religion.

We immediately recognised him as the leader of the Fatah organisation, Abu Ammar, as he was commonly known. I, along with other kids, gathered around him to shake his hand. He was very gracious, and in no time a large crowd from the district started to congregate and to chant “We sacrifice our blood and soul for Abu Ammar.” Abu Ammar led another chant, “We sacrifice our blood and soul for Palestine.”

He was very young at the time, and full of energy, unlike the last public photo of the feeble old man embarking on to the helicopter for his trip to a Paris hospital. He died less than two weeks later.

Arafat lived a life of contradictions. Under his leadership, group of Palestinian intellectuals abandoned their conflicting ideologies to form a national movement for the liberation of Palestine. He is credited with conceiving an ingenious, simple idea – national liberation. This philosophy gave birth to a powerful political and military organisation, the Fatah movement.

Shortly thereafter, Fatah seized leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Inspired by the same national liberation philosophy, the PLO grew more independent and, like Che Guevara’s beret, Arafat’s Kufiahbecame a new symbol for the revolution.

Subsequently, Arafat addressed the United Nations General Assembly in 1974 and, for the first time, the world got the chance to hear directly from the leader of Palestine. Following his UN visit, more nations recognised and established PLO offices in their capitals than have recognised the state of Israel.

Arafat led the Palestinians with a strong hand and was unwilling to share power. To the chagrin of many Palestinians and Arab governments alike, Arafat accentuated Palestinian nationalism over pan-Arabism and secularism over religion.

Irrespective of whether one agreed or disagreed with Arafat during the many tumultuous years of his leadership of the PLO, and later the Palestinian Authority, Arafat became an icon of his people’s struggle for statehood.

On the 13th anniversary of his death, Arafat shall be remembered as a master tactician who departed before liberating his people from a malicious occupation. Israel’s intransigence and confiscation of land for the benefit of Jews-only colonies undermined the Oslo agreement and stripped Arafat’s ability to transform the national liberation philosophy into nation-building.

Arafat’s strong leadership qualities left behind much more to be desired in Palestine today.

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Storming the Gates: How the Russian Revolution Changed the World

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Image result for Russian Revolution CARTOON
Storming the Gates: How the Russian Revolution Changed the World

The Russian Revolution ‘shook the world’ in 1917. It was the first time a socialist revolution had taken hold, putting the workers in power, seizing private property and society’s productive capacity. This was the basis for a rational, cooperative society.

That revolution became the nemesis of the United States and other imperialist countries, which would not rest until its gains were undone.

The Bolshevik Revolution inspired anti-colonial revolutions and national liberation movements around the world, lending solidarity and material assistance to them. As it emerged to be the second-largest economy in the world, the first to put a satellite and human into space, it became a valid counterweight to claims of capitalism’s superiority.

Storming the Gates looks inside the revolution, from the early years to the last — not as a neutral observer, but a partisan for revolutionary change. Recounting the vast accomplishments, global impact, loyal followers, challenges and shortcomings, this book remembers ‘the Soviet Union not as the end of communism but as its first grand, real-life experiment.’

Looking to the future, Storming the Gates examines what role a Bolshevik-type party can have in the 21st Century, and how it can once again shape history.

“The single biggest event that shaped global politics in the 20th century was the Russian Revolution of 1917, which gave birth to the Soviet Union. The first socialist government’s existence was the pivot for world events in history’s most turbulent and dynamic century. The destruction of the Soviet Union 74 years later in 1991 has been the dominant factor shaping global politics ever since.”

—from Storming the Gates

Feature: Paperback, 170 pages, illustrated. $14.95 (retail)
Feature: ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-9910303-5-4
Feature: October 2017, Liberation Media
Feature: Get 25% off the list price today on the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution

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