Archive | January 29th, 2018

Oliver Stone Leads Tributes to Robert Parry as Shady US Lobbyists PropOrNot Dance on His Grave

The anonymous anti-Russia lobby group PropOrNot has stunned social media users with an outrageous attack on the memory of Robert Parry, the crusading journalist who died last weekend.

Clearly forgetting the usual convention by which polite society never “speaks ill of the dead,” the smear-merchants weren’t willing to bury their enmity towards the writer, even in the immediate aftermath of his untimely death.

He is, no doubt, hot-bunking it in hell with Lord Haw-Haw. Good riddance,” the activists wrote, after accusing Parry of “spreading lies in the service of brutally corrupt regimes that are at war with us.”

This completely wrong story is an appropriate tribute to Robert Parry’s legacy of spreading lies in the service of brutally corrupt regimes that are at war with us.

He is, no doubt, hot-bunking it in hell with Lord Haw-Haw. Good riddance. https://twitter.com/consortiumnews/status/957657511703785473 

Not content with those ungracious words, the obsessives escalated matters with a follow-up tweet.

“Robert Perry died mad about the fact that people were calling him what he was. The truth is poison for a guilty mind,” they wrote, neglecting to spell his surname correctly.

This completely wrong story is an appropriate tribute to Robert Parry’s legacy of spreading lies in the service of brutally corrupt regimes that are at war with us.

He is, no doubt, hot-bunking it in hell with Lord Haw-Haw. Good riddance. https://twitter.com/consortiumnews/status/957657511703785473 

Robert Perry died mad about the fact that people were calling him what he was. The truth is poison for a guilty mind. This is a great example of Robert Perry’s Putinist lies: https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2015/05/19/robert-parry-falsely-accuses-60-minutes-australia-of-using-mh17-fake-evidence/ 

Robert Parry Falsely Accuses 60 Minutes Australia of Using Fake MH17 Evidence – bellingcat

This weekend 60 Minutes Australia aired a segment where they investigated the Buk missile launcher that shot down MH17, using information gathered by Bellingcat to follow the route of the Buk through…

bellingcat.com

Colleague remembered

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Hollywood legend Oliver Stone dropped a touching tribute to his late friend. The three-time Oscar winner opined how Parry’s passing “leaves a giant hole in American journalism.”

In honor of Robert Parry, read a collection of his work curated by the CIA https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2018/jan/29/robert-parry-cia-archive/  via @muckrock

In honor of Robert Parry, read a collection of his work curated by the CIA

This weekend, I was saddened to read about the sudden passing of legendary investigative journalist Robert Parry. Parry is vital reading for anyone interested in American’s hidden history and…

muckrock.com

“As audiences, we’re inundated with the surface of events but seem unable to interpret them correctly; with intelligent, common-sense repetition (not the continual Russia-bashing of NY Times and WaPo), we learn and remember,” the ‘Wall Street’ and ‘JFK’ director wrote. There’s a critical need for Parry’s Consortium News to continue as a foundation for progressive, independent journalism. I hope, as the years go, you’ll follow and contribute to this legacy and come to appreciate its importance in our present condition.”

Stone also paid tribute to Parry’s bravery, noting how “to my mind, he exists now alongside I.F. Stone, Drew Pearson, George Seldes, Gary Webb, and others as seekers of truth at the steep price you seem to have to pay to follow your common sense and your integrity when they are in direct opposition to the tyranny of mainstream media conformity.”

PropOrNot was made famous when the Washington Post legitimized its agenda in late 2016 by reporting its (evidence-free) findings that  around 200 US alternative-media outlets were operating on behalf of “Russian Propaganda.” The Post’s role in the outrage was widely slammed. The Intercept described it as “McCarthyite”, and Rolling Stone as “shameful and disgusting,” while the New Yorker classified it as “propaganda” in itself.

The Washington Post later tried to distance itself from the organization, appending an “Editor’s Note” to its piece in response to the widespread criticism. For its part, PropOrNot refuses to reveal the identities of its operatives, only stating that around 40 individuals are involved. This is a statement that has to be taken with a pinch of salt, much like blogosphere speculation about the smear artists’ alleged ties to the Washington establishment.

A fine legacy

PropOrNot wasn’t alone in anonymously showing disdain for Parry. The Twitter account ‘Soviet Sergey’ weighed in with “good, he was a vile liar.” While a “parody” account wouldn’t usually merit mention,  this one has been heavily promoted by Jakub Janka of the George Soros-backed ‘European Values’ in Prague. The activist regularly includes it alongside figures such as Economist Editor Edward Lucas, Atlantic Council lobbyist Ben Nimmo and Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum in his tweets.

Parry was born in 1949 in Connecticut and worked for the Associated Press, PBS and Newsweek. He won a George Polk Award in 1984 for his stories on how the CIA helped the so-called contras, right-wing rebels who were fighting the socialist government in Nicaragua. The journalist later revealed the involvement of National Security Council officer Oliver North in a clandestine operation to support the same contras with revenues from secret arms sales to Iran.

However, by 1995, he’d become disillusioned with the mainstream media and established the Consortium for Independent Journalism.

Robert Parry, editor and publisher of http://Consortiumnews.com , died peacefully Saturday evening. In this tribute, his son Nat Parry describes Robert’s unwavering commitment to independent journalism. https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/28/robert-parrys-legacy-and-the-future-of-consortiumnews/ 

Robert Parry’s Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews

Robert Parry, editor and publisher of Consortiumnews.com, died peacefully Saturday evening. In this tribute, his son Nat Parry describes Robert’s unwavering commitment to independent journalism. By…

consortiumnews.com

“The people who succeeded and did well” in the popular press, he told media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting in 1993, “were those who didn’t stand up, who didn’t write the big stories, who looked the other way when history was happening in front of them, and went along either consciously or just by cowardice with the deception of the American people.”

Read the full tribute of Oliver Stone to Robert Parry below.


Robert Parry’s death Saturday night leaves a giant hole in American journalism. To my mind, he exists now alongside I.F. Stone, Drew Pearson, George Seldes, Gary Webb, and others as seekers of truth at the steep price you seem to have to pay to follow your common sense and your integrity when they are in direct opposition to the tyranny of mainstream media conformity. Parry was in that mainstream at the Associated Press and Newsweek, and quit when he recognized how corrupt our reporting on the Pentagon’s Central American wars had become. He went after Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal, which was far worse in my opinion than Watergate (and deliberately ignored BTW by Katharine Graham and her Washington Post; note how she’s now being lionized in Spielberg’s lame-brained “The Post”).

Parry then made the connection to the corrupted election of 1980 when Reagan cynically and traitorously used the Iran hostages to get elected. Parry further investigated the Contra crack connection to the CIA in Central America, as well as the real story behind George H. W. Bush’s hydra-headed role in this mess.

At Consortiumnews, the website he founded in 1995, he clarified the shoddy reporting on the 2000 election of Bush’s son, George W. (‘Dubya’), followed by his Administration’s Iraq War lies. Parry also provided us with strong counter-narratives in crucial contemporary events such as Ukraine, Syria, the Magnistky Act, and ‘Russiagate.’

The truth, as Parry often said, is that without an honest history of our country we are lost in an Alice-in-Wonderland void of poor and uninformed leadership. Obama, who should’ve known better, believed these false narratives about Reagan and ended up victimized by them. Parry also frequently repeated his reports, which may have driven his enemies crazy, but was crucial, I believe, to understanding their complexity. As audiences, we’re inundated with the surface of events but seem unable to interpret them correctly; with intelligent, common-sense repetition (not the continual Russia-bashing of NY Times and WaPo), we learn and remember. There’s a critical need for Parry’s Consortiumnews to continue as a foundation for progressive, independent journalism. I hope, as the years go, you’ll follow and contribute to this legacy and come to appreciate its importance in our present condition.

Posted in USA, MediaComments Off on Oliver Stone Leads Tributes to Robert Parry as Shady US Lobbyists PropOrNot Dance on His Grave

What I learned from Ahed Tamimi and spending my birthday with her family

NOVANEWS

What I learned from Ahed Tamimi and spending my birthday with her family

Photo: Author at center front center, next to Ahed. She is with the Tamimi family and other members of solidarity delegation.

This article is based upon a talk given at a recent meeting of the Party for Socialism and Liberation in New York City.

Many of us are familiar with Ahed Tamimi who is illegally detained by the Israeli occupation military, a force as illegitimate as Trump’s announcement of his acknowledgement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Jan. 28 was Ahed’s birthday. She was 17 years old. That day demonstrations demanding her release and in solidarity with Palestine were held around the world.

Ahed and her mother, Nariman Tamimi, are both unjustly imprisoned by Israel. Ahed is charged with five counts of assaulting security forces, as well as with incitement. Nariman is accused of incitement via social media.

After attending a recent court hearing for the two, Ahed’s father said:

“While in jail, my daughter Ahed informed us that she studies four classes from her school curriculum and she read two books outside the curriculum. She additionally asked us all to focus on every imprisoned woman and child and to work towards a campaign to highlight their cases.

“My wife Nariman suffers from a stress disorder and diabetes, but her morale is high. She said that she and Ahed are transported constantly but in different vehicles. Ahed is transported with criminals who intimidate her with threats and insults. The military prison officials begin transporting her at two in the early morning and return after midnight. They affirm that there is a problem with the quality of food, saying the prison needs to improve the quality and quantity of food.”

This is a glimpse of the lives of West Bank Palestinian families with members in jail, which is very common. The Israeli military shamelessly targets those they have labeled as weakest– children, women, the elderly and disabled folks already struggling to survive in the open air prison that is the West Bank.

Ahed Tamimi has consistently asked for one thing since her arrest and her famous resistance: When you mention her you must mention that she represents hundreds of children, some as young as 5 years old, who, like her, have been illegally snatched off the streets by Israeli soldiers.

Spending my birthday with the Tamimi family

I was able to spend a couple weeks in Palestine this past summer on a fact-finding and solidarity trip sponsored by Existence is Resistance. I actually spent my birthday there. I tried to keep my birthday a secret, feeling it was inappropriate to even bring it up on this trip. But of course our guide, and others, found me out. Then I learned most of our team wouldn’t be there for my birthday. Most were heading back home the night before and morning of my birthday.

But then our guide mentioned having some folks she wanted us to meet–this extra special family she wanted us to spend this day with. She drove us up a mountain, talking of a family that marches and resists on a weekly basis. Some members even traveled outside of Palestine and received international attention for their message and their unified fearlessness. It was the Tamimis.

I fell in love, honestly. Every family you meet in Palestine will make you fall in love, but its such a painful love! Nariman made us a beautiful meal and we ate talked and watched videos nonstop until the late evening. While eating that meal on their porch, we laughed and greedily went back and piled more and more food on our plates.

Then we heard a loud buzzing. The sound was coming from and Israeli spy drone that quickly flew away. A drone y’all! Who were we to attract this much attention? The conversation shifted. The spy drone was a reminder of the occupation, one of so many reminders experienced on any day.

Ahed’s village, Nabi Salih, stands right outside of the West Bank city of Ramallah. Nabi Salih is known for holding weekly protests against the occupation from 2009 to 2016. These demonstrations have slowed down in recent months due to the injuries inflicted on more than 300 community members by Israeli soldiers. Nabi Saleh is only a town of about 600 people.

This town is in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians who live there must use passports, must go through checkpoints, are subject to violence from the Israeli state and at the hands of racist settlers who are allowed to attack Palestinians. Israel also controls access to water, food, and electricity.

I saw Israeli soldiers, armed with guns, tanks and bombs. They know international delegations like ours are watching and they don’t care! The Pentagon funds the Israeli military with about $ 10 million a day for the very weapons that have put Ahed and other Palestinians in this situation.

This is about two birthdays—Ahed’s in jail, mine with her and her family. I learned a lot from both. I I got a taste of what occupation is like. I learned from Ahed and her family that Palestinians will fight until they are liberated.

I learned that people in the U.S. have a critical role to play in ending the occupation, and that we too must fight–to end all U.S. aid to Israel.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on What I learned from Ahed Tamimi and spending my birthday with her family

Turkish government launches new invasion of Syria, targeting Kurdish forces

NOVANEWS
Turkish government launches new invasion of Syria, targeting Kurdish forces

It is now more than a week since the start of the Turkish military assault targeting Kurdish forces in the Afrin region of northern Syria. Following heavy artillery strikes launched on January 17, the operation initiated by the ruling, right-wing Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey quickly escalated into an all-out military incursion into Syria with ground troops from both the Turkish armed forces and the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Shortly after the start of the attack by Turkey, the Syrian government issued a statement strongly condemning the actions of the AKP government, saying they represent a violation of Syria’s sovereignty.

The Afrin region is under the control of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militia, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). For the last several years, the YPG has received major military assistance from the United States. However, to the great dismay of the Turkish government, the YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a 30-year-long armed struggle for Kurdish independence or autonomy in southeast Turkey.

The timing of the attack by Turkey in Afrin seems to be directly connected to an earlier revelation that the United States intended to set up a 30,000-strong border security force, to be made up primarily of YPG forces. The Turkish government was furious. They said in a statement, “It is regrettable that a state [the United States], which is part of NATO and our ally in bilateral relations, declares the terrorists [the YPG] as its partner and provides them with weapons, without any concern for our safety.”

The Russian government also pointed to the U.S. announcement of the Kurdish led security border force as the reason behind the Turkish military action in Afrin. In a statement on January 20, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “Washington has actively encouraged and continues to encourage separatist sentiment among Kurds,” adding “This is either a lack of understanding of the situation or an absolutely conscious provocation.”

It is important to note that the AKP regime could not have acted without Russia’s approval because Russia controls the air space over Afrin. Russia intervened in Syria at the request of the Syrian government, its longstanding ally, in 2015 and helped turn the tide of the war against the opposition. While Russia is not an imperialist power like the United States, its foreign policy is motivated by nationalist considerations, not international solidarity.

U.S. and Turkish military intervention in Syria: a blatant violation of international law

Flying in the face of an earlier U.S. statement on January 22 that “urged Turkey to exercise restraint in its military actions and rhetoric; ensure that its operations are limited in scope and duration,” Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on January 26 that the military operation would extend east all the way to the Iraqi border, including Manbij where some U.S. troops are stationed. While the chances of a military confrontation between the United States and Turkey, both NATO members, are slim, the fact that it is being discussed at all highlights the extreme low point in relations between U.S. imperialism and the Erdoğan-led Turkish government.

Under the pretext of fighting terror, the United States has deployed more than 2,000 troops in Syria as well as established numerous military bases, mostly in areas under Kurdish control. On January 17, U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson announced that these U.S. troops will remain indefinitely in Syria.

At a time when ISIS and all other reactionary terror groups have more or less been defeated, it is clear that the decision by U.S. imperialism to keep these troops in Syria has nothing to do with fighting terror and everything to do with an illegal occupation aiming to partition Syria, now that their 7-year-long regime change operation has been largely defeated by the Syrian government and its allies. Unlike the military interventions of Russia and Iran, which were formally requested by the sovereign Syrian government, the United States and Turkey’s presence in Syria are illegitimate and an outright violation of international law.

While at odds at the moment, it is important to remember that both U.S. imperialism and the AKP have been partners in crime in the carnage and bloodbath in Syria. Along with reactionary Gulf monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, they supported reactionary terror groups including ISIS, al-Qaeda and others in their joint effort to overthrow the Syrian government. It is the height of hypocrisy that two main sources of terror in Syria, namely the U.S. and Turkish governments, continue to justify their actions under the pretext of “fighting terror.”

A showcase of U.S. imperialist treachery

The U.S. government has absolutely no concern for the well being of the Kurdish people and in the past has not hesitated to break their alliance with various Kurdish forces when it suited their imperial interests.

The AKP’s current military move in Syria forces the United States into a corner — forced to choose between Turkey and the YPG. Turkey is a more valuable partner when it comes to weakening and overthrowing the Syrian government itself, while the elements of the Pentagon and State Department who are most committed to the strategy of partitioning Syria see the YPG as a more important ally.

Betrayal of its Kurdish allies by U.S. imperialism is certainly no small possibility. A Pentagon official speaking to Voice of America about the Syrian Democratic Forces (mainly made up of YPG militia) said, “We don’t see the YPG as currently the majority element [in] SDF, we have a much more populous and much more capable Arab force that we can use.” The YPG is in fact the majority element of SDF, but this statement underplaying their significance indicates that the Pentagon may be ready to leave them behind.

Sensing this pending betrayal and at odds with their earlier position in November 2017, which welcomed the long term presence of the U.S. military in Syria, the PYD authorities in Afrin issued a statement on January 25 formally asking for the help of the Syrian government forces:

“We affirm that we will continue to defend Afrin region in the face of the outraged foreign attacks and we will confront the attempts of the Turkish occupation of Afrin. We call upon the Syrian state to carry out its sovereign duties towards Afrin and protect its borders with Turkey from attacks by the Turkish occupier, and to deploy its Syrian armed forces to secure the borders of the Afrin region.”

What does AKP hope to gain from Afrin operation?

At a time when the ruling AKP government is facing domestic and international problems, the military operation in Afrin serves AKP’s interests on a number of fronts.

On the domestic front, as the workers and poor face more and more economic hardships, unemployment of over 10 percent, inflation on the rise and an economy heading towards a deep crisis, the AKP had slowly been losing the popular support it once had. The nationalist, anti-Kurdish rhetoric whipped up by the corporate media in unconditional support of AKP and the the Afrin operation, portraying Erdoğan as the ‘powerful’ leader ‘defying global powers,’ has  helped Erdoğan re-consolidate his mass base and deflect some of the growing frustration by the masses facing severe economic problems.

It is also providing him with a stronger hand in escalating the repression of the Kurdish opposition movement. He stated, “Whoever takes to the streets on the call of [pro-Kurdish] HDP, [Kurdistan Communities Union], and PKK should know that our security forces will keep a tight rein on them and they will pay a heavy price.”

It is not only the Kurdish movement but any progressive force that dares to speak against this war that is facing extreme repression at the hands of the AKP. There are reports of people being detained based on social media posts that oppose the military operation in Afrin.

Other than the Kurdish opposition HDP (Peoples’ Democracy Party), all the parties represented in parliament including the social democrat CHP (Republican People’s Party), the fascist MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) and the new center-right IYI (Good) Party came out in support of the military operation in Afrin.

Speaking to the media on January 20, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said, “We are totally confident about our brave army and give full support to the operation. What we care about is the security of our borders. No country would want a terrorist organization on their border.”

With the general elections approaching in 2019, there were talks about a possible CHP-HDP coalition which would pose a serious threat to continued AKP rule. Given the CHP’s position in support of the attack on Afrin, the AKP can now rest easy as a CHP-HDP coalition appears out of the question.

It is also no surprise that the capitalist class lent full support to the invasion of Afrin. In a written statement released on January 21, the president of the Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD) Erol Bilecik said: “Our hearts are with the Turkish Armed Forces in our rightful fight against terror elements.”

Erdoğan was on the verge of a major setback as Syrian government forces launched an offensive in December 2017 to liberate Idlib, the largest remaining bastion of ultra-reactionary, religious forces remaining in Syria. The main group under attack in Idlib is the AKP-backed Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra front, the branch of al-Qaeda in Syria).

The Afrin operation gave the AKP a chance to get back in the game in Syria, redeploy some of the remaining jihadist forces from Idlib under the banner of the “moderate” FSA and use them against what it considers a mortal enemy — the YPG. It is also certain that the AKP will use Afrin to strengthen its role within the broader U.S.-led regime change project in Syria.

As progressives and revolutionaries in the United States, it is crucial that we uphold the right to self determination of the people of Syria, free of intervention by U.S. imperialism or its partners like Turkey. The U.S. anti-war movement should strongly reject all interventions of U.S. imperialism and its partners.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Turkish government launches new invasion of Syria, targeting Kurdish forces


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