Archive | December 16th, 2017

Renowned South African university cuts ties with ‘Israel’

NOVANEWS

PRETORIA – “The Council of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has resolved that TUT will not forge any ties with the State of Israel or any of its organizations and institutions,” TUT spokesman on the issue Professor Rasigan Maharajh told the African News Agency (ANA) during an interview on Wednesday.

A December 7 press release from TUT stated: “As a progressive university in a democratic South Africa, we want to affirm that TUT will not sign any agreements or enter into scientific partnerships until such time that Israel ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

“The university will not stand back and accept the violations of the Israeli government when it confines the movement of Palestinian children and youth on their own land and restricts their ability to access education through destroying their schools,” added the statement.

South African criticism of Israel is growing, the ANA pointed out.

One of the controversial issues to be discussed at the ANC’s forthcoming 54th National Conference in Gauteng, from December 16 to 20, is the possible downgrading, or even closure, of the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“As a constitutional democracy premised on the recognition of human rights, the Republic of South Africa must urgently discuss downgrading the status of its relationship with Israel,” said Maharajh.

TUT’s decision to cut all ties with the Jewish state also comes in the wake of strong condemnation from the South African government, and various political and human rights organizations across the country, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem while stating that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

Under international law East Jerusalem is occupied territory and all international embassies have based themselves in Tel Aviv until the final status of Jerusalem is negotiated through talks.

“The announcement by the Trump regime of its intentions to establish its embassy in Jerusalem further escalates tensions,” said Maharajh.

“As guided by the founding President of the post-apartheid South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who declared that: ‘We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’, the Republic of South Africa must also condemn the actions of the Trump regime and work harder at fostering solidarity and cooperation with the people of Palestine.”

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Red Cross says life has ‘stopped’ in Myanmar’s Rakhine

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The International Committee of the Red Cross says life has “stopped” in Rakhine state due to the fear of violence, nearly four months after a new wave of crackdown by the government erupted against the persecuted Rohingya Muslims.

The ICRC director of operations, Dominik Stillhart, said Wednesday that tensions between the Muslims and the dominant Buddhist community were preventing Muslim traders from reopening shops and markets.

“The situation in the northern Rakhine has definitely stabilized, there are very sporadic incidents, but tensions are huge between the communities,” Stillhart said after a three-day mission to the remote area. “You get a sense, especially of the two main communities being deeply scared of each other.”

He visited the towns of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung in northern Rakhine, where the ICRC, the only aid agency operating in the violence-hit region, is providing food, water and other aid to 150,000 people.

Stillhart said the Red Cross hoped to reach all of the 180,000 Rohingya it estimated remained in the “politically-sensitive” region after more than 600,000 people fled to Bangladesh.

“You travel through the countryside and you really see on both sides of the road villages that are completely destroyed. It just gives you a bit of a sense of the scale of destruction. There is also this pervasive sense of absence.”

“It is as if life has stopped in its tracks, people do not move, markets are closed in Muangdaw town,” Stillhart said.

He said the main problem facing the Muslims was “the very limited possibilities for them to access their own livelihoods like fields, and especially markets and services.”

Late last month, Bangladesh and Myanmar reached a deal to repatriate the Rohingya refugees within several months.

The Red Cross said the returns must be voluntary and safe. “But for now we really don’t see a significant return movement and I’m also not expecting that we will see massive return anytime soon,” Stillhart said. Citing UN figures, he added that nearly 300 Muslims still fled daily.

About 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since late last year, when Myanmar’s soldiers and Buddhist mobs began vicious attacks on the minority Muslims in Rakhine. The crackdown on the Rohingya has intensified since August 25.

All along, government troops and the Buddhist mobs have been killing, raping, and arbitrarily arresting members of the Muslim community. They have also been setting the houses of the Muslims on fire in hundreds of predominantly-Rohingya villages in the northern parts of Rakhine, where nearly all the Rohingya reside.

Myanmar’s government denies full citizenship to the Rohingya, branding them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Dhaka, in turn, regards the desperate refugees as Myanmarese. The Rohingya, however, track their ancestors many generations back in Myanmar.

The UN has already described the Rohingya as the most persecuted community in the world, calling the situation in Rakhine similar to “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

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Haneyya: Three means to thwart Trump’s decision over Jerusalem

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Palestine Information Center 

GAZA – The head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) Ismail Haneyya has outlined three means to confront Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and topple ‘the deal of the century’, stressing that the Palestinian people, Hamas, and the resistance will work to achieve this objective on the ground.

In a speech during celebrations marking the 30th Hamas founding anniversary in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Haneyya stressed that his Movement is now working on two parallel goals: to thwart both the Trump decision and ‘the deal of the century’.

He added, “We will work to force the US administration to retreat from its unjust decision, our goal is to break the US position and annul the Trump decision once and for all.”

He praised the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and in the refugee camps and the diaspora. He saluted the people of all nations from Indonesia to Morocco and all the free people who responded to the call and rose for the sake of Jerusalem.

Objectives of the battle

“No one could take away our sacred sites or change their identity, and no force could grant Jerusalem to the occupier. There is no such thing as the State of Israel in the first place to have a capital called Jerusalem,” he said, stressing that this is not limited to political speeches and positions. Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, Palestinians in the 1948 occupied territories, the refugee camps and the diaspora, know their role well. Our lives, our people and our homes are sacrificed for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.”

He noted that the people of Jerusalem removed the Israeli gates installed at Al-Aqsa and prayed in the streets, adding, “If they alone defeated Netanyahu and broke his decision and victoriously entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque, can’t we as a people and a nation foil the decision? Yes, we can.”

He added, “This ominous decision is no less dangerous than the Balfour Declaration,” stressing that the Palestinian and Arab Muslim generations will not allow for this decision to pass.

Haneyya stressed that the second goal of the uprising of our people and nation along with the world’s free people and their religious and political authorities is to overthrow the so-called ‘deal of the century’, which Palestinian President Abu Mazen described as ‘the slap of the century’.

He said, “We as a people and a nation are able to respond to this slap by thwarting the so-called ‘deal of the century’, because the issue of Jerusalem came at a time of proposing projects that aim at liquidating the Palestinian issue.

Three ways

Haneyya stressed that Hamas needs today to follow three paths, the most prominent of which is the achievement of national unity and partnership in the management of the country, adding, “the most effective response would be a unified Palestinian position.” He reiterated Hamas’s adherence to national reconciliation, which was revived over the last few months, with Hamas making important steps along that the path.

He said: “Achieving unity and reconciliation requires speeding up applying all the measures we have agreed upon in Cairo and Gaza and everywhere, and requires that our people live a decent and dignified life in Gaza. Gaza is the stronghold of resistance and the incubator of the national project. And despite fighting three wars, it comes out today to say we are with the resistance and unity with all of Palestine.”

He added, “We have to deal with the details quickly, the issue is bigger and is more serious. We must agree on a national strategy of struggle that takes all reasons of strength and steadfastness into consideration within the framework of the overall popular resistance to confront the occupier, and on the top of that armed and popular resistance.”

Haneyya stressed the need to work quickly to restructure the PLO, the house that includes under its umbrella all Palestinians, so tas to include all national and Islamic forces under it.

Building alliances

Haneyya stressed the need to build strong alliances at the regional and national levels. He said: “The battle of Jerusalem is not our battle alone; it is the battle of the entire nation.” He welcomed every genuine position that supports Jerusalem and every idea that could build a strong Muslim and Arab front at the regional level.”

He called for the formation of action groups that include all forces and components of the nation, adding, “Our nation is invited to forget its differences and internal conflicts and tears, and to seek to re-establish its connection to Jerusalem and the blessed land of Palestine.”

He stressed that Hamas has started and will continue to build alliances in the region to address the Israeli-American project, noting that that would also include “maintaining the strategy of openness to all Arab and Muslim countries and peoples.”

Continuation of Intifada

The third path is the continuation of the intifada, Haneyya said, stressing that it should not stop. “Netanyahu and the US administration are betting on the exhaustion of the Nation.”

Haneyya called on Arab and Muslim nations to make Friday of every week a day of anger and marches for Jerusalem.

He called on scholars and preachers to make Jerusalem present in their speeches and lessons and to incite people and the free world, until the decision is dropped.

He also called on Christian churches in Palestine and the Levant to devote their prayers on Sunday for Jerusalem, the Church of the Resurrection and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, affirming that “We still stick to the Pact of Omar.”

He called on the youths from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf to form frameworks to organize events monthly and weekly until Trump’s decision is revoked, adding: “We should not suffice with an emotional event, or with a march or a single event, but we want permanence and persistence. Let young people of our nation form national frameworks and design programs and strategies to support Jerusalem and Palestine and to foil Trump’s decision.”

Hamas and the resistance project

Haneyya paid tribute to the Palestinian people in all places of their presence, saluting the participants in the Hamas anniversary, prominent leaders of the national and Islamic factions, who attended the event, and all segments of the Palestinian people.

Haneyya stressed that this unique national presence that takes part in the Hamas anniversary is a proof that “Hamas is a natural extension of the resistance and steadfastness project on our land, and a proof of the blessed resistance that has been going on in our land since the beginning of the last century.”

He pointed out that other forces and factions preceded Hamas in this regard and will continue with it, noting that this national rally is an evidence of the popularity of Hamas, which keeps the identity and principles and stability and mobilization of our people.

He pointed out that Hamas has served as “a qualitative addition to our people and our resistance. Today, we celebrate this anniversary with these masses.”

“Let us emphasize that the Intifada was for Jerusalem and the resistance is for Jerusalem and Jihad is for Jerusalem, so are the martyrs, the blood, the wounded, the prisoners and all the heroic works”, he highlighted.

The Hamas leader said: “The celebration of Hamas is the celebration of a people and a nation and represents a great contribution to the resistance, Jihad and heroism project. Hamas gave the best of its people for the sake of Jerusalem. The entire Muslim nations celebrate this anniversary because they see in Hamas an example to follow that carries the flag of resistance and represents these nations in the battle to liberate Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

He said: “The Palestinian issue is central to our nation and our people and the free world. After many thought that the issue has been overshadowed, and that the people of the nation were preoccupied with their concerns.”

In just eight days, the issue of Jerusalem became the center issue for all Muslims and Arabs, he explained, adding that for the first time in the history of the issue, “the whole world is standing on one side, and Netanyahu and Trump are standing on the other, which asserts that the occupation no longer has an important status even among the European countries.”

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Appropriation of Jerusalem

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Photo by Kristoffer Trolle | CC BY 2.0
By Liaquat Ali Khan | CounterPunch 

In recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a state formed by native Jews and Jewish settlers from Europe and America, President Trump and the U.S. Congress have validated the Jewish appropriation of a disputed city. This commentary explains the foul dynamics of settlements. It also illuminates the “sacred” justifications offered to legitimize settler colonialism. In addition to Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other states, owe their origin to settler colonialism, another name for forcibly taking land from indigenous inhabitants. The criticism of settler colonialism is highly sophisticated in academic circles, college colonialism courses, this year mystifyingly trickling down in high school debates.

An unholy alliance of Zionists, evangelical Christians, politicians fearful of the revengeful Israeli lobbies, radio and TV commentators, Neocon opinion-writers, and self-aggrandizing academics refuses to see Israel as a settler state. In fact, calling Israel a settler state is condemned as anti-Semitic, a handy label swiftly invoked to stop honest conversations about the grinding appropriation of Palestinian occupied territories.

Given the successful drive to criminalize holocaust denials across Europe, efforts are underway to find pathways to criminalize the criticisms of Israel. The prospective criminalization of the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement is a shameful suppression of legitimate free speech in no other country but the United States where the First Amendment reigns as the first principle of coexistence. Muffling free speech is unlikely to suppress the fact that Israel is primarily a state of settlers who have brutally suffocated and dislocated the native population of Palestinians.

Immigrants and Settlers

Ordinarily, immigrants are distinguishable from settlers. But the distinction is not valid in Israel. Under the 1950 Law of Return, Israel invites “the child or grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child and grandchild of a Jew to settle in Israel.” Non-Jews or even Jews who have converted to another religion are ineligible to return and settle. Jews mostly from Europe and America and some from the Middle East and East Africa have “returned” to Israel. The prevailing racism prefers white Jews over Jews with darker pigments.

Under international law, immigration is relocating from one country to another. Individuals and families may migrate for economic and existential reasons. Every year, millions of people migrate to foreign countries for economic betterment or to avoid starvation, discrimination, tyranny, torture, and death. Refugees migrate from war-torn countries where the probability of death and starvation escalates. In the 15th century, Jews migrated from Spain to Turkey as the defeat of Moors opened the doors of persecution and death. More recently, Palestinians, Syrians, Libyans, Yemenis, and Afghans have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter as refugees in neighboring countries.

Settlement too is relocating from one country to another. Unlike immigrants, however, settlers dispossess native inhabitants for ideological or predatory reasons. Immigrants do not forcibly take away the land and homes that belong to the natives. Settlers do. Immigrants live in the mortal fear of deportation. Settlers do not. Immigrants may face discrimination, racism, and hostility in employment, education, and housing.  Settlers are welcome and receive affirmative state assistance and grants. The state may offer jobs, housing, and other facilities to settlers willing to live on the land that once belonged to the natives.

Unlike immigrants, the settlers develop an aggressive relationship with the natives. The purpose of settlements is to make it highly unpleasant and oppressive for the natives to continue to live side by side with the settlers. Apartheid-like conditions are built to show to the natives that they need to relocate themselves to foreign countries. Thus, settlers not only take over the land that belongs to the natives but they also force natives, economically, socially, psychologically, and physically to leave their lands and homes. Other tactics, such as buying homes and lands from helpless natives is defended on the market theory that the real estate ought to be purchasable for a price. The art of tyranny is perfect: first, push the natives to the ground; then, offer to buy their homes.

In Israel, the state-sponsored settlements are ideological and not merely predacious. Predacious settlements may be disorganized, intermittent, and privately sponsored. Ideological settlements are highly coordinated in terms of degrading the local communities economically, morally, and socially. Stereotypes may be promoted to paint the natives as savages and terrorists. Any reactive violence by the natives may be used as a pretext to demolish their homes, issue eviction orders for entire families, arrest men, and dishonor women. The natives may be employed in menial jobs at businesses started by the settlers. In fact, the natives may have no choice but to seek employment in constructing the settlements that the natives detest in their hearts.

In Jerusalem, all distinctions between native Jews and Jewish settlers disappear for ideological purposes since most of them share the common goal of driving the Palestinians out of Jerusalem so that Israel can reclaim this historic city all for itself. Orthodox Jews who oppose the existence of Israel as an anti-Biblical entity, a fast diminishing minority, share no such platform. For Trump, the realtor, a city, any city, belongs to money merchants and any “encroachments “by the have-nots should be forcibly cleared.

Terra Irredenta

Appropriation perpetrated with moral justifications acquires a new meaning. Stealing a loaf of bread seems morally justified if the thief is starving. Land appropriation is palatable if a credible moral excuse can be crafted. Settlers know this moral trick. When settlers are highly educated, their moral justifications for the appropriation of land are crafted in more persuasive (Latin) terms. Over the centuries, settlers in various countries and continents have used moral imperatives to justify the dispossession of native populations and stealing away their lands, hills, rivers, sacred places, olive trees, playgrounds where the native children played, and the cemeteries where native elders were buried. Everything can be stolen if the moral justification is mounted at the barrel of the gun.

In the 15th century, the Catholic Church used two distinct theological edicts to support conquests and colonization. The concept of “terra irredenta” empowered Christian rulers to take away the Iberian lands from the Muslims. The concept of “terra nullius” empowered the European colonizers to take away the land from the native owners in Americas and Africa. In both cases, Christianity, presented as the one and the only one true religion, was invoked as the ultimate justification to legitimize the appropriation of land. Heathens, pagans, and the deniers of Jesus as God could be lawfully converted, enslaved, dispossessed, and even killed if they resisted the Christian Europeans, the true owners of God’s land.

In the 20th century, the European Jews invoked a complex fusion of the two edicts to lay claim to what has been Palestine for centuries under the Ottoman Empire and before. Invoking terra nullius, the Zionists argued that “a people without a land (Jews) are claiming a land without a people.” This argument derived from terra nullius denies the existence of local populations, be they Africans, Native Americans, or Palestinians.

The terra nullius concept, however, is less powerful than terra irredenta under which the land is restored to “legitimate owners.” The Right to Return is conceived in the womb of terra irredenta rather than terra nullius. Terra irredenta creates a mighty distinction between current and original owners. It reverses the logic of ownership. The current owners are deemed illegal intruders whereas the original owners are considered the lawful owners. In the Iberian Peninsula, the Moors were the actual but illegal owners. The Spaniards and the Portuguese were the lawful owners. Therefore, the Moors must be dispossessed and expelled and the land restored to the original owners.

Invoking a similar logic, the European Jews claimed to be the original owners of Palestine since the Palestinians were the illegal occupiers of the sacred land that belonged only to the Jews. Accordingly, Zionist morality dictates that the Palestinians, particularly if they resist the Right to Return, be expelled, detained, killed, and their homes demolished.

Soon after Trump, the realtor, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu argued that it is “absurd” to deny the “millennial connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. You can read it in a very fine book – it’s called the Bible. The sooner the Palestinians come to grips with this reality, the sooner we will move towards peace.”

Much like Netanyahu, President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) declared that “The Bible is the rock on which this Republic (U.S.) rests.” The Bible-lover Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, under which 25 million acres of land was donated to white settlers. This land had belonged to Cherokees, Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole nations, the “unlawful owners” forced to yield their land rights to Jesus-loving Christians.

Trump adores Andrew Jackson. Netanyahu adores Donald Trump. The Christian removal of Native Americans created reservations. The Jewish removal of Palestinians created refugee camps. The Native American Trail of Tears caused tears and death. The Palestinian Trail of Tears caused tears and massacres at Sabra and Shatila.

Conclusion

Invoking the Bible to appropriate land is a Judeo-Christian colonial tradition. First Christians, now Jews, are invoking the concepts of terra irredenta and terra nullius to justify the taking of land from the native owners. The appropriation of Jerusalem as a Jewish city runs counter to historical facts. It simplifies the complex history of a city that experienced the pre-Christ rule of Egyptians, Syrians, and Persians, and post-Christ rule of Arabs, Turks, and the British. Jews had not owned Jerusalem for centuries. Now, they have deadly weapons to do so. The Bible is a sacred book (different parts and versions) for Jews and Christians, even for the Palestinians, but does it justify the terra irredenta appropriation of territories and cities?

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Yemen, Afghanistan in focus as landmine casualties spike

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Landmines killed 8,605 people in several countries in 2016, despite an international ban on the deadly device, a monitoring group says.

According to the annual report released Thursday by Landmine Monitor, about three-quarters of the known casualties were civilians, including more than 1,000 children who were injured and nearly 500 who were killed.

The number of the casualties — which were mostly recorded in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen — showed a 30% surge compared to 2015.

“A few intense conflicts, where utter disregard for civilian safety persists, have resulted in very high numbers of mine casualties for the second year in a row,” Loren Persi, an editor of the Landmine Monitor said.

Persi described the spike as “alarming”, adding that the true number of the victims would be significantly higher if the data gathering were complete.

The surge comes after a 18-year decline in landmine casualties since the Mine Ban Treaty first came into force in 1999.

The treaty bans the use of landmines and other explosive devices placed on or under the ground, designed to blow up when somebody unintentionally steps on them.

These weapons can be continuously deadly weapons for many years, long after the war has ended. About 80% of landmine victims are civilians.

The Mine Ban Treaty, which has been signed by 163 countries, also bans production, stockpiling and transfer of the deadly landmines.

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Kiev hails US & Canada for greenlighting lethal arms supplies that could kill Ukraine peace process

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By including Ukraine on the list of countries approved for lethal weapons sales, Canada has become a side in a bloody civil war, undermining a shaky peace process, a senior Russian senator said, as Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko applauded the move.

Poroshenko praised the US and Canadian governments for stepping up military cooperation with Ukraine, which could lead to lethal weapons from both countries being supplied to the Ukrainian army, embroiled in a long-running civil conflict with rebel militias from breakaway eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk Republics.

“As it was agreed, the United States authorized security assistance for our country and Canada included Ukraine into the Automatic Firearms Country Control List. The door to enhanced defense assistance for Ukraine has been opened,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook, as US President Donald Trump signed a new Pentagon funding bill and the government in Ottawa revealed its decision to greenlight the export of “certain prohibited firearms, weapons and devices” to Ukraine by including it into its list.

Unlike the Pentagon bill, Canada’s decision sets no preconditions for selling the armaments to Ukraine. The Canadian government’s only precaution is to examine the export applications on a case-by-case basis, to establish who will be using the weapons and how.

This makes Canada a party to the conflict, says Franz Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee for Defense and Security.

“A very dangerous precedent has been created: Effectively, Canada has become a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict with all ensuing consequences. And this, above all, means that it assumes responsibility for the actions of the Ukrainian forces, trained by Canadian instructors and equipped with Canadian weapons,” Klintsevich said.

Be arming one side, Canada could tip the relative balance of power, fueling the stalled hostilities and shattering the hopes of peace. “To call a spade a spade, Canada has directly opposed the Minsk Accords,” Klintsevich said.

The US approved $500 million in “defensive lethal assistance” to Ukraine on Wednesday as Trump signed into law the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) drafted by Congress in late November.

The act claims that the US should beef up its military presence in Eastern Europe in face of the perceived “Russian aggression,” as well as to help Ukraine to tackle it. However, the allocation of the funds is conditional on the Ukrainian military undergoing “substantial” reforms. It is ultimately up to the US Secretary of State to decide if Ukraine has met the prerequisites.

Russia may take the issue of weapon sales and lethal aid to Ukraine to the UN Security Council, Yuri Schvytkin, deputy chairman of State Duma’s Defense Committee, told  RIA Novosti.

A recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found that US arms sales overseas as well as its ongoing military operations were two main factors that drive global weapons trade, that rose for the first time in five years. With 38 firms that account for combined $217.2 billion in weapon sales, the US ranked first on the list of arms manufacturing countries.

In line with its strategy of encircling Russia with NATO contingents and “purely” defensive military equipment, Washington has recently authorized a shipment of 410 Javelin Missiles as well as 72 Javelin Command Launch Units to Georgia.

The promised delivery was slammed by Moscow, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin arguing in November that it “directly encourages Tbilisi to new dangerous adventures in the region.”

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RIP Mahmoud Zaal Odeh

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If Americans Knew

Palestinian deaths are largely ignored by US media. We want people to learn about these human beings. Mahmoud Za’al Odeh was killed November 30th, 2017; attached is a 90-second video about him:

(All Palestinians and Israelis who have died due to actions committed by the other side are listed at iakn.us/2i9VONR)

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Is TIME’s Afghan “cover girl” really a victim of mutilation by the Taleban?

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Zero Anthropology 

TIME : What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan (story)

 

BOING BOING : What Still Happened Despite 10 Years of Occupying Afghanistan (story)

ZERO ANTHRO : What Happens When We Don’t Fix Problems at Home (story)

The August 9th TIME magazine cover story is about a young Afghan woman whose nose and ears have been allegedly “mutilated” by the Taleban. The story has generated widespread self-serving moral indignation and self-righteous clamor in the U.S. propaganda machine supporting the occupation of Afghanistan run by the Israeli-American weapon-making industry. The American culture cleansing project in Afghanistan must be in need of a booster shot from the radical feminist forces that so fervently collaborated with the American war machine in initiating this racist imperial enterprise in 2001. Perhaps the flaunting of this fictitious story is a desperate attempt by the Obama war regime to offset the steep decline of support for this murderous program against unarmed and helpless pre-industrial Afghanistan. Let us recall the production of the picture of the frightened green-eyed Afghan girl on the cover of the National Geographic magazine to justify the United States sponsorship of local anti-government terrorist gangs who currently host the American occupation of Afghanistan.

TIME’s story does not provide its readers with any specific or credible factual text and context about what has really caused the deformity in this young woman’s face. Like much fiction that has been produced in the shadow of the American war machine in Afghanistan, this “story” appears to be a string of hearings and imaginings about women’s life in Afghanistan put together by Aryn Baker and Jodi Bieber, two young American journalists who probably first encountered Afghanistan in the pages of “the kite runner”. Having the readers see the reporters’ pictures (p. 4) in a “Kabul kite shop” speaks to the compelling impact of the untruths about life in Kabul in that “bestseller” book. What is the relationship of kites to a story about a mutilated nose? TIME’s story by Baker and Bieber has no truth value. Let us have a closer look at some of the cultural content and ethnographic claims in this fabricated telltale.

The narrative in which the Taleban single out this young woman for ears and nose mutilation at the instigation of her husband cannot be credible when exposed to the spatial, temporal, and cultural framework provided by the reporters.  First, Urozgan province is located in central Afghanistan not “southern” Afghanistan. And if the alleged mutilation took place in central or northern Urozgan,TIME’s tale becomes even less credible for these parts of Urozgan are home to non-Paxtuns, especially Hazaras. What is the victim’s ethnic background? Even if the agency of this “mutilation” were the Taleban, why would they devote this amount of precious human resources in a hostile area to the personal disenchantment of a single Taleb foot soldier with his runaway wife, Aisha? This does not make tactical or strategic sense.

The Taleban dragged Aisha “to a mountain clearing near her village” where “[s]hivering in the cold  air and blinded by the flashlights trained on her by her husband’s family, she faced her spouse and accuser… and men moved to deliver her punishment. Aisha’s brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife. First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose. Aisha passed out from her pain but awoke soon after, choking on her own blood. The men had left her on the mountaintop to die” (pp. 20-22).  If the men wanted Aisha to die, why did they not kill her on the spot, on the mountain? Why give her a chance to live? Why risk her potential recovery and/or rescue?

To receive her punishment, why would Aisha have to be dragged to the mountain clearing (or is it a “mountainside”)? Where is this mountain clearing or side located in Urozgan? However, it must be at a distance from the village. And if TIME’s narrative is valid, the mutilation is a public affair with the husband, his family, and Taleban officials present. Thus, there are witnesses to the mutilation of Aisha’s nose and ears.  These witnesses, especially members of her husband’s family, can be located. Did Aisha “pass out” from “pain” or loss of blood? How does a victim whose ears and nose have been mutilated and is choking on her own blood, and left alone “on the mountainside to die” survive such virtually fatal injuries? The human face is heavily irrigated with blood. I am not a medical doctor, but based on common sense, it would not take more than a few minutes of suffering heavy blood loss from open veins around the nose and ears to become fatal? How does a rural 19 year girl in such perilous medical condition, bleeding from open veins around her nose and ears, manage to move from a mountainside in remote Urozgan to a “shelter” in downtown Kabul hundreds of miles away? “A few months after Aisha arrived at the shelter, her father tried to bring her home with promises that he would find her a new husband. Aisha refused to leave. In rural areas, a family that finds itself shamed by a daughter sometimes sells her into slavery, or worse, subjects her to a so-called honor killing—murder under the guise of saving the family’s name” (p. 26). Now, what are the prospects (or practical feasibility) for marriage of a woman who has her ears and nose mutilated for having dishonored her own family, husband, and in-laws in patriarchal Afghanistan or for that matter in patricentric United States? What would be the market value of Aisha’s labor? What kind of labor could a severely mutilated woman like this produce as a slave? Only total ignorance of the Afghan cultural plane and complete disregard for the intelligence of the audience by the American popular media would allow such fabricated prattle to see the light of public print.

Aisha’s disposition could be congenital. It could be caused by a bacterial or viral infection such as cancer, a malady not rare in Afghanistan among both men and women. Or it could be related to an injury caused by firearms or explosives. Harelips and other deformities in the mandible, although rare, occur in the population of Afghanistan. Incidents of human body deformities in Afghanistan have steadily increased with the expanding military interference of the United States going back to the 1980s. These incidents have soared since 2001 with the American occupation and experimentation with weapon systems designed for “population centered wars” in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The non-Paxtun Northern Alliance warlords and their inner circles are the only Afghans that pray and beg for the American military presence in Afghanistan. It was these anti-Paxtun American trained and subsidized terrorist gangs who scouted and pimped for the American occupation of Afghanistan. And it is the Northern Alliance that opposes a political solution in Afghanistan because any such solution would remove them from power and expose and punish their criminal deeds. Amrullah Saleh, a known psychopath and a leading member of this criminal gang who headed Afghanistan’s intelligence services, recently expatiated: “I have killed many of them (Taleban) with pride”, killing “them is part of my blood” (Lara Logan interview on “60 Mintes”, August 1, 2010). The informants for TIME’s reporters of this story are the female dependents of the Northern Alliance criminal clique one of whom is credited with this rabid hateful lie “I go running in the stadium where the Taliban used to play football with women’s heads” (p. 24). This woman is pictured standing in Kabul stadium with three Kabuli teenagers in the background clearly running-in-place! There is not a shred of evidence for a football game played with human heads anywhere at any time in Afghanistan. TIME magazine has truly stooped to the lowest standards in journalism. During the 1990s the Kabul stadium was used once for the public execution of a woman found guilty of violating a Taleban decree.

The American intimate love affair during the past three decades with the various gangs of terrorists including Al-Qaeda, Hezb-e Islami, Northern Alliance, and sporadically the early manifestation of the Taleban movement during the 1990s has inflicted irreparable damage on the political, economic, and security prospects of Afghanistan. The ethnic and sectarian divisions caused by the American military operations and criminal deeds in South Asia has brought the frail state structure of Afghanistan to the verge of total collapse. It has destabilized the whole region. Tens of thousands of innocent and helpless Afghans have been slaughtered by the American Zionist-controlled killing machine. These are war crimes and crimes against humanity for which history will condemn its perpetrators.

On an ethnographic level, the manipulation of the body of the subject human population by the state has historical roots in several culture areas including Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. To this day in the popular lore of non-Paxtun areas of Afghanistan (especially among the Farsi-speaking population) a person, male or female, who compromises the interests and standards of the larger community, is symbolically labeled “beeni borida” (Farsi, one whose nose has been cut, one who has lost his nose, i. e. one who has lost her/his honor, a person without honor). The equivalent of this linguistic construct and its cultural content does not exist among Paxtuns.

However, no matter the untruths and distortions from which TIME’s August 9th cover story is concocted, we need a proper comparative cultural framework for the understanding of abuse of the human body including the practice of mutilation of body parts. An informed glance at global ethnographic realities connects such practices with a relation of power called patriarchy—male domination of society. As a system of ideas and practices patriarchy “is a threat to public health everywhere” (Laura Nader, Anthropology News, September 2006, p. 7) including Afghanistan and the United States. In principle the socio-cultural ingredients involved in the mutilation of the human body in Afghanistan are not different than the socio-cultural forces that impose industrial “vaginal rejuvenation”, “pussy tightening” (JoAnn Wypijewski, The Nation, 9/28/2009, p. 8), and breast enhancement in Euro-America. In no other culturally constructed space are women, womanhood, and femininity so universally abused, exploited, demeaned, and vulgarized than in the Euro-American industry of internet pornography—the biggest money making enterprise in cyberspace. Comparative studies reveal that American domestic violence is approximately 25%–about the same as in Syria and Bolivia (Nader 2006:7). The extensive system of shelters for abused women throughout the United States is symptomatic of a widely practiced tradition of physical and verbal abuse of women by men that is qualitatively not different than the abuse of women by men elsewhere in the world.

TIME, you are a beeni borida!

_________

Addendum by Max Forte:

[“In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner. That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner” (source). 17.6 % of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. Of these, 21.6% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 32.4% were between the ages of 12 and 17. 64% of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date. Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. The National College Women Sexual Victimization Study estimated that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 college women experience completed or attempted rape during their college years. One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Factoring in unreported rapes, about 5% – one out of twenty – of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. 19 out of 20 will walk free. The costs of intimate partner violence against women exceed an estimated $5.8 billion. These costs include nearly $4.1 billion in the direct costs of medical care and mental health care and nearly $1.8 billion in the indirect costs of lost productivity and present value of lifetime earnings. A University of Pennsylvania research study found that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to low-income, inner-city Philadelphia women between the ages of 15 to 44 – more common than automobile accidents, mugging and rapes combined. In this study domestic violence included injuries caused by street crime (see sources).]

Posted in AfghanistanComments Off on Is TIME’s Afghan “cover girl” really a victim of mutilation by the Taleban?

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi & ‘their Western handlers’ behind Syria peace talks failure

NOVANEWS
Image result for SAUDI ZIONIST KING CARTOON

The ultimatum that President Bashar Assad must go if there is to be peace in Syria, drawn up by the anti-Assad opposition backed by Saudi Arabia and the West, derailed the latest peace talks in Geneva, Damascus’s envoy to the negotiations has said.

The eighth round of Syria peace negotiations in Geneva has ended in failure, after Damascus officials refused to engage in direct talks with the opposition, which continues to demand the removal of President Bashar Assad as a precondition for ending the six-year conflict.

“The Riyadh 2 Communique is a blackmail of the Geneva process,” Syrian government negotiator Bashar Ja’afari told the media, referring to a document adopted during a Syrian opposition summit in the Saudi capital last month. As a result of the conference, attended by 140 participants and backers in the conflict, a communique was adopted insisting that the Syrian president must leave at the start of any transition period following the cessation of hostilities. The conflict has taken more than 400,000 lives.

“Those who drew up the Riyadh 2 statement were the ones who sabotaged this round. I mean by that the other side. I mean the Saudis and the Saudi handlers themselves who are the Western countries. They do not want the Geneva process to succeed.”

Ja’afari insisted that the proposal contradicted previous UN resolutions, and said that outside forces wanted to turn Syria into “another Libya or Iraq.”

The Syrian negotiator also criticized the long-time mediator of the talks, Staffan de Mistura, who on Wednesday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to put pressure on Assad to accept constitutional reforms and fresh elections.

Ja’afari called de Mistura’s words an “error” that could “derail his mandate as a facilitator of the talks, which will have an impact on the Geneva process altogether.”

In turn, de Mistura said that Damascus’s refusal to engage with the opposition delegation, whom it has branded both unrepresentative and envoys of “terrorists,” as “regrettable.”

“Despite a lot of effort by my whole team, day and night with all sorts of creative formula, we did not have real negotiations,” said de Mistura, who earlier suggested that Syria was on the verge of permanent fragmentation. “It is a big missed opportunity, a golden opportunity missed at the end of this year.”

Posted in Saudi Arabia, SyriaComments Off on Saudi Zio-Wahhabi & ‘their Western handlers’ behind Syria peace talks failure

Yes, the FBI is America’s secret police

NOVANEWS
Image result for FBI LOGO
By James Bovard – The Hill 

Politifact delivered a “pants on fire” slam to Fox News on Friday because one of its commentators asserted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation “has become America’s secret police.” The FBI has legions of new champions nowadays among liberals and Democrats who hope that its probes will end Donald Trump’s presidency. This is a stunning reversal that may have J. Edgar Hoover spinning in his grave.

In order to boost the credibility of the FBI’s investigations of the Trump team, much of the media is whitewashing the bureau’s entire history. But the FBI has been out of control almost since its birth.

A 1924 American Civil Liberties Union report warned that the FBI had become “a secret police system of a political character.” In the 1930s, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court feared that the FBI had bugged the conference room where justices privately wrangled over landmark cases, as Tim Weiner noted in his “Enemies: A History of the FBI.” In 1945, President Harry Truman noted that “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction.” And FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover compiled a list of 20,000 “potentially or actually dangerous” Americans who could be rounded up and locked away in one of the six detention camps the federal government secretly built in the 1950s.

From 1956 through 1971, the FBI’s COINTELPRO program conducted thousands of covert operations to incite street warfare between violent groups, to get people fired, to smear innocent people by portraying them as government informants, to sic the IRS on people, and to cripple or destroy left-wing, communist, white racist, antiwar, and black organizations (including Martin Luther King Jr.). These operations involved vast numbers of warrantless wiretaps and illicit break-ins and resulted in the murder of some black militants. A Senate Committee chaired by liberal Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) issued a damning report on FBI abuses of power that should be mandatory reading for anyone who believes the bureau deserves deference today.According to Politifact, the FBI is not a “secret police agency” because “the FBI is run by laws, not by whim.” But we learned five years ago that the FBI explicitly teaches its agents that “the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others.” No FBI official was fired or punished when that factoid leaked out because this has been the Bureau’s tacit code for eons. Similarly, an FBI academy ethics course taught new agents that subjects of FBI investigations have “forfeited their right to the truth.” Are liberals so anxious to get Trump that they have swept under the rug the 2015 Washington Post bombshell about false FBI trial testimony that may have sentenced 32 innocent people to death?

Politifact absolved the bureau because “The FBI doesn’t torture or carry out extrajudicial executions.” Tell that to the Branch Davidians — 80 of whom died after the FBI assaulted their ramshackle home with tanks and pyrotechnic devices and collapsed much of the building on their heads even before fires burst out.

Politifact quotes a professor who asserts that “any use of unnecessary violence (by the FBI) would be met with the full force of the criminal law.” Is that why an internal FBI report claimed that every one of the 150 shootings by FBI agentsbetween 1993 and 2011 was faultless?

FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi gunned down Vicki Weaver in 1992 as she stood in her Idaho cabin doorway holding her baby. After I accused the FBI of a coverup in a Wall Street Journal oped, FBI chief Louis Freeh denounced me for twisting the truth. But after a confidential Justice Department report leaked out revealing the FBI’s deceits and unconstitutional rules of engagement, the feds paid a $3 million wrongful death settlement to the Weaver family. When an Idaho County sought to prosecute the FBI sniper, the Justice Department invoked the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution to torpedo the case.

Politifact asserts that “just because the FBI sometimes operates in secret does not mean that it’s a ‘secret police.’” But the FBI’s secrecy is profoundly skewing American politics. More than a year after the 2016 election, Americans still have no idea the true extent of the FBI’s manipulation of the presidential campaign. Did the FBI wrongfully absolve Hillary Clinton on the email server issue? What role did the FBI have in financing or exploiting the Steele dossier? Will we ever learn the full truth?

The so-called fact checkers insists that any comparison of the FBI and KGB is “ridiculous” because the FBI is “subject to the rule of law and is democratically accountable.” But there is little or no accountability when few members of Congress have the courage to openly criticize or vigorously cross-examine FBI officials. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs admitted in 1971 that Congress was afraid of the FBI: “Our very fear of speaking out (against the FBI) … has watered the roots and hastened the growth of a vine of tyranny … which is ensnaring that Constitution and Bill of Rights which we are each sworn to uphold.” The FBI is currently scorning almost every congressional attempt at oversight. Thus far, members of Congress have responded with nothing except press releases and talk show bluster.

Politifact repeatedly scoffs at the notion that the FBI is “a secret police agency such as the old KGB.” And since the FBI is not as bad as the KGB, let’s mosey along and pretend no good citizen has a right to complain. A similar standard could exonerate any American president who was not as bad as Stalin.

In the 1960s, some conservatives adorned their cars with “Support Your Local Sheriff” bumper stickers. How long until we see Priuses with “Support Your Secretive All-Powerful Federal Agents” bumper stickers? But those who forget or deny past oppression help forge new shackles for the American people.

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