Archive | February 14th, 2018

Trump Threatens China and South Korea: if it’s not Nuclear Saber-rattling – its Trade War by Beating Hot Air

NOVANEWS

Transcript of a PressTV Skype Interview

According to a Feb 13, 2018 by AFP

“The US President Donald Trump threatened retaliatory action against two major Asian trading partners Tuesday, warning of sanctions against China while vowing to revise or scrap a free trade deal with South Korea.

Accusing Beijing of decimating American steel and aluminum industries, Trump said he was “considering all options,” including tariffs and quotas.

Trump recently received two Commerce Department reports concerning alleged Chinese subsidies for steel and aluminum exports — materials that are vital for industries from construction to autos.

He has another two months to decide on possible retaliatory action, but strongly indicated that he is leaning toward hitting back at Beijing.

“I will make a decision that reflects the best interests of the United States, including the need to address overproduction in China and other countries,” he said.

For the full AFP Story click here 

**

PressTV: What is your take on this story?

PK: This is again in typical Trump manner, “beating hot air”. It’s the equivalent of saber-rattling, “fire and fury”, but for trade. Propaganda.

First, America promotes unfettered neoliberal economics, i.e. so-called “free trade”, calling it “competition”. If another country applies it – it’s not fair, it must be sanctioned.

Let’s see. Trump knows exactly that China is not afraid of such threats. What tool does he have?

China is largely detached from the western monetary system, meaning from the US dollar. China trades almost exclusively outside the dollar domain.

China also holds about US$ 3.1 trillion equivalent in foreign reserves, of which about two thirds in US-dollar denominated securities, about US$ 2 trillion.

China could retaliate against any sanctions by dumping some of these dollar reserves on the market and demolish the dollar. China probably won’t do that. Since the FED could simply suck these excess dollars up as more debt. And since debt has no meaning in the US, as Alan Greenspan said already 30 years ago, “we will never pay our debt; we just print new money”. So it wouldn’t work, but it would make a temporary noise and show the world the dollar’s vulnerability.

China as a sovereign nation, could also devalue its currency, the Yuan, and become even more competitive against merchandise produced in the US.

The US does that all the time. With almost unlimited amounts of dollars flooding the world, the FED in connivance with the BIS manipulates the value of the dollar at will in any country against any currency they want. – Why wouldn’t China be able to devalue their currency/ – Not even manipulate it – Just devalue it?

About China subsidizing steel production – yes possibly, so its car and other steel using manufacturer will become more competitive in the world. Fair? – what is fair these days? Most of the times these rules are made initially by Washington and when others follow, Washington barks.

Let’s take US agriculture. It’s highly subsidized at the tune of close to US$ 100 billion per year, in direct and indirect subsidies in order to make US agriculture more competitive world wide. This subsidized agriculture enters into so-called bilateral free trade agreements the US has with many countries around the globe, most of them developing countries, thus destroying local agriculture and making poor countries eventually dependent on US imports.

So – what are we talking about?

Of course, most people don’t know that. The MSM doesn’t tell you. It’s always “America First’ – dummy! – America is allowed to do whatever they want whenever they want and to whomever they want. That’s their rule of the game. And it’s unfortunately widely accepted around the globe.

PressTV: But does Trump have any tools to actually punish China and North Korea, or is this just noise to detract from his problems at home?

PK: He does not have any effective tools; increasing import tariffs? China is not dependent on exports to the US, or as I said before, China could devalue her currency and do a number of other things, like raising taxes for US corporations producing in China. But Mr. Trump knows all that. He has no effective tools for sanctioning either of the two Asian countries. It’s beating hot air.

And as you said, it’s deviating on the one hand from his US domestic problems with the economy – an ever-increasing budget deficit. I believe with the current budget proposal another US$ 4 trillion would be added to the deficit; and on the other hand, he wants to draw attention away from his war promotion propaganda, beating the war drums against Iran, Venezuela, North Korea… people, even in the US are getting sick and tired of his erratic pouncing.

And about South Korea – as far as I know the Trade Agreement with South Korea was initiated in 2012 by the Obama Administration. Be sure, the US does not initiate any trade agreement with anyone if they are not coming out as the winner. It must have looked good then for American corporations – and probably still looks good for them.

However, what usually is not reckoned with is that US corporations have already most of their manufacturing outsourced to cheap-labor countries, many of them in Korea – and in other Asian countries; and with such trade agreements more manufacturing will be done by them, i.e. in Korea or other Asian countries – and while US corporations are winning – American labor is losing. Not that Trump cares. But it doesn’t fit into his promise and campaign image of “America Firfst”.

That’s a logical equation of neoliberalism – that eventually shoots their inventor and initiator, the US of A, in her own foot.

Besides, Trump knows to be better careful with threatening so far still an ally, South Korea, where the US has about 30,000 soldiers stationed, as well as a nuclear arsenal accompanied by a navy fleet and a whole arsenal of fighter planes.

Such an alliance may be at the verge of being outmaneuvered between the two Koreans – who clearly want to find a way to unify again.

So, in conclusion – Trump, if it’s not nuclear saber-rattling – its trade war by beating hot air; it’s all the same.

Posted in USA, China, South Korea0 Comments

A Russian Trump?

NOVANEWS
 

Do you remember the terrible onslaught of the mainstream media on presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016? Dozens of revelations about his fake hair, pussy grabbing, tax avoidance and what not; dozens of public polls proving that the nation wanted Hillary and hated Trump, opinion pieces convincing you that only racist white trash could think of voting for him. They even printed that Time weekly (or was it Newsweek?) cover with a Madam President! greeting. And then came the day of counting.

This development comes to my mind as I follow the incessant attacks in the Russian media and social networks on presidential candidate Paul N. Grudinin (usually nicknamed Gru). Russian state-owned TV is supposed, by its charter, to play a neutral role in the election campaign. They did it for a week after his name was entered into the race. In that week’s time, Gru’s rating skyrocketed and almost reached that of President Putin. This was an unexpected turn of events for the Kremlin, whose political witch-doctors expected Gru to make a modest showing and to improve the doubtful legitimacy of the forthcoming elections.

When they recognised the magnitude of their mistake, they gave a command to their obedient TV channels, and Gru became the target of their daily attacks. Out of eight candidates, Gru is the only one who gets negative coverage. About him, they speak bad or nothing, just like about Trump in the US in his time.

A veteran candidate, the old Nationalist Zhirinovsky gets plenty of time on the TV, for he has only one message, Down with Gru. His wild attacks on Gru are broadcasted in every election campaign program every evening on the TV.

There is a spoiler, a tiny ‘Russian Communists’ Trotskyite party, whose only purpose in life is to steal votes from the mainstream Communist Party (KPRF). It is a virtual party that disappears after elections to come back to life before new elections. Some innocent souls in the Russian hinterland vote for them being convinced that this is theCommunist Party. They are violently anti-Gru, and post like mad in Facebook their denunciations of the not-quite-communist Gru.

However, Gru is not a run-of-the-mill communist candidate. A successful manager of an agricultural holding called Lenin Sovkhoz, he is a good example of Russian industrialists otherwise called ‘Red directors’, that is managers of Soviet factories and enterprises who adjusted to the new system. They are producers of goods for local consumption, and their interests do not coincide with those of the Putin (or Yeltsin) oligarchs. Those oligarchs made their fortunes by importing consumer goods and exporting raw materials; they are the base of Putin’s power.

The producers, both industrialists and agriculturalists, want more protectionist measures and cheaper credits, they want to boost the buying power of ordinary Russians, that is increase salaries and pensions. Their fortunes lie with the fortunes of the ordinary Russian workers. They are dissatisfied with President Putin, and even more with his government led by Mr Medvedev.

Gru became the candidate for a plethora of political organisations from the Left and from the Right; he is supported by Russian Nationalists, though his main alliance is with the KPRF (the mainstream Russian Communist Party). He is a combination of Sanders and Trump, for workers, against immigration, for protective trade barriers and low-cost credits for small producers. A self-made-man of the upper-middle class, not a billionaire, but definitely a wealthy man, he does not scare middle-class Russians who would be afraid to support a real red-in-tooth-and-claw Communist.

Though the official prediction grouop, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, VTSIOM (ВЦИОМ) claims 70% of electorate will vote for Putin and only 7% for Grudinin, the feeling on the ground is very different. There are a few sites allowing people to express their preference by “voting”; a biggish site of this sort is this where out of 180,000 voters 60% preferred Gru, and only 30% voted for President Putin. On other sites, Gru gets anything from 30 to 80 per cent of the vote.

It is difficult to predict the result, and it is still over a month until election day, but VTSIOM’s assessment appears too low to justify the ferocious campaign against Gru. If he were about to get 6-7%, the top wheeler-dealer, the presidential administration, would not bother and would not activate its troll factories and fake social network accounts to stop Grudinin. It seems that man has a chance to win the battle, that is if the elections are reasonably fair.

Putin has been a good president, and a popular one, but he has his limitations. He still feels obliged to keep the Deal he made with the late President Yeltsin; he still keeps fighting the Soviet memory, he is surrounded by his buddies who roll in cash; he does not support local production except for the weapons industry. While he was good for a long while, there is a feeling that the country is ripe for a changing of the guard.

A teacher in the preparatory school may be wonderful, but sooner or later, the child should move on, to new teachers. Gru is the first man who has excited the Russians since 1996, and he is likely to make a strong bid.

The Russian Left is Different.

Grudinin has the support of the left and of the right; of workers and of managers; of communists and of nationalists. How could this happen? The main reason is that the Russian Left is quite different from the European Left. The Russians are Bolsheviks. The Western Left is predominantly Menshevik.

Historically, the Russian Social Democrats were divided into Bolsheviks, the Majorites, and Mensheviks, the Minorites. The actual argument that divided the Social Democrats into these majority and minority groups is of little importance now and of even less relevance. Nowadays, the Majorites are the Left for the Majority, while Minorites are the Left for Minorities.

The Russian Left is the force for the majority, for the workers, for the natives. The Western Left is for gender, ethnic, religious minorities. If you’d ask a Western worker about the Left, he will probably tell you: the Left is not for us, they care only for gays and migrants who take our jobs.

Mensheviks are (and were) better for Jews, as Jews are the ultimate minority. Bolsheviks accepted Jews as individuals and equals, not as a separate and preferred minority group. Bolsheviks fought against the Bund, the Jewish Social Democrats, while the Mensheviks joined with the Bund.

Stalin observed (and Trotsky quoted that in his book on Stalin):

“the majority of the Menshevik group were Jews. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of the Bolshevik group were ethnic Russians. In this connection a Bolshevik observed in jest that the Mensheviks constituted a Jewish group while the Bolsheviks constituted a true-Russian group and, therefore, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for us Bolsheviks to organise a pogrom in the Party”.

While being comradely to Jewish comrades, Stalin effectively de-Jewified the Russian Communist Party by bringing in many ethnic Russian workers and peasants. He treated the Jews as just one of the tribes populating Eurasia, not as the Chosen Ones. This is the sin of Stalin in Jewish eyes, and that is why they condemn him now.

The Jewish influence in the Western Left has survived all these years and even outlived the massive Jewish involvement with the Left. After 1968, the Jews en masse departed to new pastures, but their influence lingered, entrenching the Jewish-friendly Menshevik tendency. They adapted the Western Left to fit their preferences and made it suitable for cohabitation with the elites. Along the way, they had lost their working class support, but they were more interested in keeping with the rulers.

The Jewish-run Mensheviks fit perfectly into the oligarchy. They believe that Anna and Susan Wojicki, the former wife of Sergei (“Google”) Brin and her sister, are unhappy discriminated women, unlike welders and auto mechanics, who are white men, the patriarchal lords of the world.

The Bolsheviks struggle for women’s equality is exemplified in free kindergartens, and the Mensheviks, in reserved places for women in the directorships of large companies.

Mensheviks are concerned about the rights of transgender people to a urinal of their preference. The Bolsheviks are concerned about the right of workers to work, to a decent wage, to their share of natural resources. You can easily understand what sort of Left is preferred in the eyes of mainstream media and their billionaire owners.

Migrants provide another cause of distinction. The Western working class achieved much during the years of the Cold War, when the Western ruling class had to compete with the Communists for workers’ loyalty. Now the rulers are eager to void these achievements – and the easiest way is through population replacement by the massive importation of migrants and refugees. For this purpose, Capital is waging wars in the Middle East and fanning strife in Africa, and they facilitate the refugees’ flight to Europe and America.

The Mensheviks, that is the Western Left, support migrants against the indigenous population, in the name of their anti-racism and internationalism. However, for all practical reasons they do the work for their masters, because migrants are easier to manipulate, they help to lower salaries, to undermine the workers’ organisations, and to destroy natural solidarity.

The Bolsheviks are against the causes of mass migration, against the use of migrants and refugees to the detriment of the indigenous population. This is the position of the Russian Communists, whose anti-migration rhetoric is so outspoken that even Trumpists would find it too brusque.

Mr Grudinin has a history of anti-immigration demands behind him. He calls for enforcing a visa regime with the Central Asian republics of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kirgizstan, as now their working migrants do not need a Russian visa. He insists that every working migrant should be given the same salary as a native Russian worker, the idea being that in such conditions there will be less demand for migrants’ labour. Perhaps it makes sense to hire inexperienced dirt-cheap Tajik migrants, but if for the same price you can hire a qualified Russian worker, you will probably employ the latter.

Grudinin’s suggestions are anathema to the neo-liberal Kremlin. Putin keeps the doors of Russia wide open for immigration, to the detriment of native workers. If the immigration flow has decreased it is mostly the result of Rouble’s depreciation.

In the West, these ideas of limiting migration belong fully to the realm of the Right, or even the Alt-Right. They are described as “populist”, meaning they are popular but disapproved by the ruling elites. The Western Left has been manipulated into an unpopular position, while the popular (‘populist’) ideas have been transferred to the Right.

In Russia, the Russian Communists did not follow the path of the Mensheviks. They made all sorts of compromises, but they always stayed for the workers. They do not fight for gays, migrants and upper-class feminists. They make allies with the producers and against the rentiers and bankers.

Perhaps the Russian Communists will show the way to their Western comrades as they did a hundred years ago. These two branches of the world Left movement have had a checkered history. In the 19th century, the new-born Russian revolutionary movement was keen to learn from the West; the Russian Narodniks went on a pilgrimage to visit Marx in London seeking his advice. The Western revolutionaries of that time (including Marx) were as distrustful of Russians as Robert Mueller or John McCain. They thought Russia was so backward and so reactionary that a Russian progressive Left was an impossibility.

And then something unexpected had happened. When the guns of the First World War struck, only the Russian Left, led by Vladimir Lenin, did not lose their heads, but led their country to the victory of socialist revolution. After 1917, for many years the Russian Left was the guiding star for the world Left.

The Russians paid heavily for their cutting edge achievement, while the European peoples became the main beneficiaries of the October Revolution. They’ve got all the Russians fought for, for free. Their leaders were afraid their workers would go over to the Communists; and thus the welfare state came into being.

Eventually, both branches of the Left forgot their history. The Western Left forgot their victories were due to the Red Army’s might, and they proudly preached the new-fangled theories of Euro-Communism. The Russians, always eager to learn a new trick, fell for it, and dismantled the socialist state, sincerely expecting they would live as good as Swedes. The end was gruesome: the Russians were plunged into long years of depopulation and de-industrialisation, while the flagship of the Western left, the huge Euro-Communist parties of France and Italy disappeared. Swedish socialism has almost perished.

Over the years, the Western Left virtually disappeared, and its place was taken by the pseudo-left, who appropriated the name of the historical Left parties. Capital raised in its secret labs this poisonous pseudo-Left, with one supreme goal in mind – to make the very name of communism obnoxious and repelling.

For the Bolsheviks, the Good Ones were workers, they were the salt of the earth. Everyone could join this class by identifying with workers. The Menshevik pseudo-left has offered a shortcut to join the Good Ones: Identity Politics. You are Good if you are discriminated against. If you are black, you suffer discrimination, even if you are an Obama. If you are a woman, you suffer discrimination. If you like BDSM, you are discriminated against. If you are a migrant, you are discriminated against. If you are a Jew, a Soros or a Rothschild, you are still suffer discrimination, for just half a century ago your grandfather was not allowed to join a country club.

For Bolsheviks, discrimination is not the most urgent problem. They are surely against discrimination; but it takes a backseat after the really important question: labour/capital relationship. When the working people win, discrimination will vanish, they say. By keeping the eye on this most important bottom line, the Bolsheviks are the greatest natural enemies of the 1%.

The cause of socialism was defeated in 1991, no doubt, but it is not the first defeat. In November 1941, when the German troops reached the outskirts of Moscow, it also appeared socialism had been defeated. However, in 1945 socialism rebounded. Since 1991, the winner, Capital, claims its victory is irrevocable and irreversible. It is, they say, the end of history.

But victories and defeats can be reversed. The Soviets did not know that. They believed that “the victory of socialism is inevitable because it is progressive.” Perhaps in the long run it is inevitable, but it can happen in a thousand years, and meanwhile a nuclear war or biological experiments can exterminate the human race.

The most basic ideals of French Republic – democracy, liberty, equality – were defeated by Napoleon, by the Bourbons, by Orleans, but they rebounded.

Nothing is inevitable. The Soviet Bolsheviks believed in inevitability – and lost; while their adversaries just fought hard, not giving an inch – and won. Their attitude should be emulated. The people of the West are ready for the real-Left turn. Recent successes of Jeremy Corbyn in England, of Bernie Sanders in the US, of Jean-Luc Mélenchon in France prove it. They are soft, but hard ones will come, too.

This is not the beginning of the end of the cruel man-eating neo-liberalism and its Menshevik allies, but this is the end of the beginning in the universal battle for socialism, as Churchill said of the British victory over the Germans at El Alamein. The light at the end of the tunnel is already visible. And then the Russian Communists will again become the beacon for the workers of the world.

Gru’s success can change a lot of things. His worldview has many points in common with Donald Trump. In a month’s time, we shall know how far this Russian Trump has succeeded in advancing.

Posted in USA, Russia0 Comments

Islamophobia and the “Negative Media Portrayal of Muslims”

NOVANEWS
An Exposition of Sufism, A Critique of the Alleged “Clash of Civilizations
 

Originally published on Global Research in April 2015

There is a current obsession in mainstream media and academic discourse pertaining to Islam and the West. This current obsession is tinged with negative signifiers with the global media’s predominantly negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims, depicting Muslims generally as violent, fanatical, bigoted, or as extremists and terrorists.

Islamophobia, fear of Islam and Muslims, has intensified with the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, the Taliban’s fundamentalist proscriptions and restrictions in Afghanistan, the Charlie Hebdo attack in France, and the emergence of the self proclaimed “Islamic State group (ISIS) which allegedly shows videos of the beheadings of their prisoners who are more often journalists.

There are factual analyses which show that ISIS is supported covertly by US-NATO forces, just as the Taliban was supported by the US to fight against the Soviet Union,  and that the 9/11 World Trade Center bombing was used as a pretext to wage war against Afghanistan (October 2001) and oil-rich Iraq (March 2003). These were often labeled as conspiracy theories, but more in-depth investigations and analysis can bring out the truth behind each of these geopolitical events.

The point is that Islam has been consistently portrayed by global media as a violent-prone religion that is diametrically opposed to the West. The question of “Islam and the West” has been the theme of various academic conferences in US, Europe, and other countries including Malaysia; it has also been the theme of analytical writings, discourses, and publications. These trends illustrate the significance of the topic, which has significance for other countries in Asia and Africa where Muslims can be found.

F. A. Noor (2007) argued that “Muslim identity and the concerns of Muslims are increasingly being defined in terms of an oppositional dialectic that pits Islam and Muslims against the rest of the world” (p. 261), as Islamophobia has become the mainstream media discourse “where images of Muslims as murderous fanatics abound in movies, videos and computer games” (p. 267).

He proposed that the solution to the present predicament faced by Muslims the world over can be found in the corpus of Islamic theology and praxis itself, particularly in the concept of tawhid, which refers to the unity of all creation and the fundamental equality of the singular human race. The idea of tawhid reminds Muslims that all human beings are equal and are thus entitled to their own share of respect and dignity.

As hostility and misperceptions between Muslims and Christians persist in an alleged  “clash of civilizations”, Noor (2007) asserted that there is the urgent need for Muslims to get out of this rut by shifting their focus to other issues and concerns that are more universal in nature such as the debate over globalization, specifically,

“the environmental movement, the pacifist movement against war and the trade of arms, the campaign for equal labor, the campaign against exploitation of children and most recently the wave of anti-globalization….” (p. 274).

When Muslim concerns for justice, equity, rights and freedom are articulated in the context of a borderless world where the audience is not only Muslims but the world as a whole, that will be the time when “the image of Islam and Muslims will stand above the crude and poisonous images we see today” (p. 276).

In relation to Noor’s ideas propounded above, it is essential to counteract the predominantly negative media portrayal of Islam and Muslims with a condensed exposition of the phenomenon of Sufism, which is barely portrayed or understood by Western media, through the writings of two Turkish Sufi spiritual masters, namely: Osman Nuri Topbas on Sufi spirituality, and Bediuzzaman Said Nursi on the need for Christians and Muslims to unite in a critique of modern civilization. It is the nature of media to report on the novel, the sensational, the bizarre, the dramatic, the extraordinary but not the ordinary occurrences in life. Hence, with regard to Islam, it does not report about peace-loving Muslims, or Muslims’ striving for holiness and daily jihad against their egos and natural temptations, or peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians in different parts of the world. Through an exposition of Sufism, it will be shown that Muslims who genuinely seek the path to holiness and union with God will never be murderous in their hearts but will be filled with profound gentleness and compassion for all.

Sufism: The pursuit of holiness, purification, and the way of love

The riches of Islamic spirituality are best seen in the phenomenon of Sufism, which Osman Nuri Topbas (2011) defined as “the effort to pursue a lifestyle that is harmonious with the essence of religion, by virtue of purifying oneself from material and moral defects, and embodying, in their place, a beauty of moral conduct” (p. 31).

Sufism existed from the earliest centuries when some Muslims stressed the potential of the Qur’anic message to effect an inner transformation of the believer by adopting many of the harsh ascetical practices of the Christian monks of the desert (Michel, 1997). By the 13th century, Order or Brotherhoods of Sufis existed, each with its own form of prayer and patterns of spiritual exercises, often with its own distinctive dress, lodges, and methods of initiation. They commonly stressed the transforming power of God’s love in human hearts and understood Islam as a path to attain union of love and will with God (Michel, 1997). Sufism is still very much alive and active in many parts of the Islamic world such as in West Africa, the Maghrib, Egypt, Sudan, South Asia, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, and Indonesia. Modern Muslim publications in the last four countries mentioned attest to the resurgence of interest in Sufism, but it is in Turkey where Rumi came from that Sufism is thriving at its best.

Sufism has its branches depending on the method or tariqah used. The first is the path for the good which focuses on the deeds of worship and piety; the second is the path for the virtuous which concentrates on purifying the human soul through spiritual exercises and services; and the third is the path for lovers which aims at attaining the same goal through love. Osman Nuri Topbas (2011, pp. 32-49) expounded on a few definitions of Sufism offered by saints in accordance with the spiritual manifestations they were privileged with:

The Sufi way personifies exemplary character traits and propriety. The Sufi way is about purifying the heart and the soul.

The Sufi way is a ceaseless spiritual combat against the ego and all kinds of natural temptations that place Muslims away from the path of the Almighty.

Sufism means sincerity (ikhlas) which means offering all acts of worship solely for the sake of the Almighty, without any other consideration intruding on the heart.

Sufism means standing upright on the straight path which means acting in accordance with the morals and regulations according to the Quran and Sunnah.

The Sufi way is obedience and submission to God which entails establishing sentiments of contentment and submission to God deep in the heart as to come closer to Him and feel his Divine Gaze watching over him all the time.

Osman Nuri Topbas quoted Ibrahim Effendi, the renowned Sheikh of the Sufi Lodge of Aksaray, who eloquently defined the Sufi path in verses such as follows:

Being a Sufi, is to kindle the candle of the heart with a flame Divine,

And hence throwing it in the fire of love, to burn forever more….

Being a Sufi is acquaintance with the ways of the Lord;

And hence to reach out a helping hand and cure to the needy.

Being a Sufi is to become joyous and bewildered in Divine presence,

To be in amazement before the secrets of the Divine.

Being a Sufi is to reach East and West in the blink of an eye;

To hence care for all people and offer them shelter.

Being a Sufi is to surrender the soul to the beloved and become free;

To remain with the beloved forever more.

The verses above are only a few of the eloquent, sublime verses written by Ibrahim Effendi as quoted by Osman Nuri Topbas in his book on Sufism. With such sublime aspirations of a Sufi on the path to holiness and considering that Sufism is the spirit of Islam, Talibans, Abu Sayyaf, and ISIS cannot be properly called Muslims but are rather deviants and aberrations of Islam and humanity.

A critique of neo-imperialism and modern civilization: Bediuzzaman Said Nursi on Christian-Muslim cooperation

There are reasons why Muslims feel anger and antipathy towards the West, particularly towards America. In earlier times, the anger was due to the imperialist expansions of the British Empire in Muslim lands. In contemporary times, Noor and Moten (2007) explained that Muslims are angry to see their co-religionists killed in Afghanistan by the U.S. forces and a thriving Iraq illegally invaded and occupied with untold death and destruction.

They are also against the Americans’ unbalanced, pro-Israeli policy in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with its backing of Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian lands characterized by brutal and bloody incursions into Palestinian camps. These neo-imperialist actions by the US and NATO forces are part of a larger scheme to put nations under political, cultural, and economic hegemony of the global elites, including those who govern the Bretton Woods institutions (World Bank, IMF)  and the WTO. Both the Christians and Muslims need to critique, expose, and denounce the neo-imperialist actions of U.S. and its allied forces.

Muslims stand antithetical to the West in their theocentric way of life whereas the West is marked by the separation of church and state, causing widespread secularism and humanism. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (as cited in Michel, 2005, pp. 87-88) was able to identify clearly the five negative principles on which modern civilization was founded:

Might makes right,

Self-interest and competition,

The law of the jungle, everyone for himself,

My race and nation are superior,

I have a right on whatever I want.

Nursi rightly saw that if people build civilization on the principles of conflict, competition, and enmity, the result will inevitably be war and mutual destruction. This was proven by the onslaught of the two World Wars which ravaged many nations in the world, and the continuing war or threat of wars among nations at present. Said Nursi also saw that the enemy of human happiness and ethical uprightness is unbelief, irreligion, which implies that people decide to find their own path through life without seeking divine guidance. Facing the common enemy of unbelief, Nursi called on Muslims to unite not only with their own fellow believers but also with the truly pious Christians to offer to the modern world a vision of human life and society in which God is central and God’s will is the norm of moral values.

Western civilization has brought much good and progress to many people but various currents of thought in Western history have enabled negative qualities of modern civilization to emerge and sometimes predominate over the good. Nursi identified two negative developments in Western civilization which has spread its influence throughout the world (as cited in Michel, 2005, pp. 29-30). The first is that Western civilization became distant and estranged from true Christianity and based its personal and societal views on the principles of an anthropocentric Greco-Roman philosophy which exalted the human person to the center of the universe and pushed God to its margins. The second is the appalling inequality in the means of livelihood of people due to its unchecked market policies. These negative currents, according to Nursi, seek to destroy both Muslims and Christians by alienating them from the source of spiritual and moral values and by creating enmity between Christians and Muslims. Nursi rejects capitalist culture and decadent civilization which he calls the Second Europe, that which is founded not on Christian ethics but on philosophy rather than religion. The backbone of this global decadent civilization with the primary goal of sensual pleasure is American “popular culture”; hence, for Said Nursi, the clash of civilizations is essentially the clash between decadent civilization and virtuous civilization, with Islamic civilization being the pillar of “virtuous civilization” (Aydin, 2005).

Nursi interpreted the Qur’an’s injunction to come to a ‘common term’ with the People of the Book to mean that Muslims and Christians should come to a mutual awareness of their common mission to bear witness to the Divine values in the midst of modern civilization. He expressed through his writings that far from being divided by a supposed ‘clash of civilizations’, Muslims and Christians “are called to work together to carry on a critical civilizational dialogue with the proponents of modernity” (Michel, 2005, p. 31).

Conclusions

The predominantly negative media portrayal of Islam and Muslims needs to be balanced by widespread knowledge of peace-loving Muslims who pursue the path towards union of love and will with God. Such is the phenomenon of Sufism which has existed since the earliest centuries and is still active and thriving in many parts of the Islamic world particularly in Turkey. True Muslims, like true Christians, sincerely pursue the path of holiness to attain union of love and will with God; hence, murderous and cruel groups like the ISIS, the Talibans, and the Abu Sayyafs are not true Muslims but are rather deviants and aberrations of Islam. Muslims’ anger towards the West, particularly towards America, is due to the latter’s neo-imperialist actions such as its unjust invasion of Iraq, its war in Afghanistan, its backing of Israeli intrusions in Palestinian camps, and its spread of global capitalist values throughout the world. Said Nursi rightly saw that Christians and Muslims need to unite in a common mission to bear witness to the divine values in the midst of modern civilization. The author agrees with Nursi because there are really deep commonalities in Islamic spirituality and Christian spirituality, and it is on the level of spirituality that these two major religions can find their unity and convergence.

*

Belinda F. Espiritu is an associate professor of communication and Coordinator of the Mass Communication Program of the University of the Philippines Cebu. She has conducted research in Turkey focussing on the writings of Osman Nuri Topbas and Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. 

Sources

Aydin, N. (2005). Virtue vs. decadence: The struggle of civilizations within the global village, in Ian Markham and Ibrahim Ozdemir, Eds. Globalization, ethics and Islam: The case of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. Cornwall: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Michel, T., S.J. (1997). A Christian looks at Islamic spirituality. Zamboanga City: Silsilah Publications.

Michel, T., S.J. (2005). Said Nursi’s views on Muslim-Christian understanding. Istanbul: Nesil Printing.

Noor, F. A. (2007). Mediating the mediated image of Islam: Multiple audiences, differentiated constituencies in the global age, in Abdul Rashid Moten and Noraini M.

Noor, Eds. Terrorism, democracy, the west & the Muslim world. Malaysia: Thomson Learning.

Topbas, O. N. (2011). Sufism: A path towards the internalization of faith (Ihsan). Istanbul: Erkam Publications.

Posted in Literature, Politics0 Comments

Naziyahu’s “Operation Greater Israel”?

NOVANEWS
Netanyahu’s “Operation Greater Israel”? Israel’s Intent to Wage War on Lebanon.
 

Will this be the trigger, finally, for the active commencement of Operation Greater Israel that Netanyahu has been meticulously planning for the whole of his political career, and prior to his increasingly likely indictment on corruption charges as he is finally forced from office later this year?

A last ditch attempt to implement the infamous Zionist ideological agenda for the ethnic cleansing of the whole of former Palestine and the military expansion into not only Lebanon but also Jordan, Syria and Iraq in order to confront his sworn enemy, Iran, and to implement his (revisionist) Zionist dream of Israel as hegemon of the Middle East?

That would likely involve a full-scale attack on Lebanon; the targeted (criminal) political assassination of senior Hezbollah leaders and presumably the Israeli occupation of Beirut using US-supplied F-16 and F-35 strike aircraft, courtesy of Mr Trump, and (reluctantly) backed by the American Pentagon.

The expected illegal annexation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights with the assistance of American troops authorised by the Trump-Kushner family White House would put the Middle East and the world on a trajectory that would very probably lead to a regional nuclear war.

It would appear that Europe, including Britain, will be impotent to stop the Trump-Netanyahu war machine but it will not come as any great surprise to those who are familiar with the long-time, Likud charter agenda for a Greater Israel: a neo-colonial enterprise that holds complete contempt for the UN Security Council; for the entire international community and for the concept of Middle East peace.

This would, of course, well turn out to be the trigger for a much wider conflagration that could extend well beyond the Middle East into Europe, and an escalating confrontation with both Russia and/or the European Union, as well as the United Nations Security Council that represents the global international community and had already categorically condemned Israeli aggression and illegal expansion in its passing, without dissent, of UNSC Resolution 2334, as recently as December 2016. These are the facts.

Posted in Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, Lebanon0 Comments

Timeline: Nazi Anti-Palestinian Laws Since 1948

NOVANEWS
Timeline: Israel’s Anti-Palestinian Laws Since 1948
  

2006-Present

07 February 2018: Israel advances a plan to build a walkway though the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem to connect two settler residential compounds in the Palestinian At-Tur neighbourhood

07 February 2018: During a Knesset report on the policy of refusing to return the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces to their families for burial, officials are urged to ‘throw it into the sea’, ‘we should not return bodies. We should demolish homes’, others say

05 February 2018: A number of Israeli politicians, including coalition government members, call for ‘practical moves’ to be taken to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank while Donald Trump heads the White House

04 February 2018Israel grants legal status to the unauthorised outpost of Havat Gilad in the occupied West Bank

05 February 2018: The Israeli army is imposing ‘harsh travel restrictions’ in an effort to ‘drive Palestinians out’ in the southern Hebron Hills area of the occupied West Bank, according to human rights NGO B’Tselem

02 February 2018: In a report, the EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem warn that Israel is using tourism to legitimise its illegal settlement construction with ‘local Palestinian residents absent from the narrative being promoted to the visitors’

30 January 2018: The Israeli occupation army maintains a ‘policy of suppressing demonstrations in Gaza with live fire’ against  demonstrators ‘who are not endangering them’,  NGO B’Tselem reports

31 January 2018: Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman announces via Twitter that the illegal settlement outpost of Havat Gilad will be ‘legalised’ on Sunday.

01 February 2018: The Israeli municipality in Jerusalem begins to impose taxes on church and United Nations properties in occupied East Jerusalem

30 January 2018: The Knesset passes in its first reading a bill extending the authority of the Israeli Higher Education Council over higher education institutions in illegal settlements built on Palestinian lands occupied in 1967

30 January 2018The Israeli army is set to take full ‘security control’ of Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that lie behind the illegal Separation Wall, in particular the areas of  Kafr Aqab and the Shuafat refugee camp

15 January 2018: Israeli Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank launched field teams of photographers and videographers to take pictures of Palestinian protesters to help the Israeli occupation forces to identify and arrest them easily

January 2018: Israel’s Ministry of Justice recommends punitive measures be imposed on men who marry more than one woman, including reducing child and family allowances, in an effort to stifle the increase in the Arab population

07 January 2017: Israel publishes a “blacklist” of 22 NGOs from Europe, the United States, South America and Africa whose activists are barred from entry

26 December 2017: Poverty levels among Israel’s Arab citizens have increased as a result of the government’s racist policies, official data shows

24 December 2017: The leader of Al-Araqeeb village receives 10 month sentence, $10,300 fine and expelled from his home by Israel

6 December 2017: Israeli occupation bulldozers raze the village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev area for the 122nd time leaving its residents homeless despite the stormy and cold weather.

30 November 2017: 10 US Senators urge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to demolish Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

16 November 2017: Israeli authorities demolish the Palestinian village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev Desert for the 121st time

25 October 2017: Staff from the Israel Land Authority (ILA) accompanied Israel Police and bulldozers who raided Al-Araqeeb village and demolished the makeshift homes made out of tin that the residents build every time the village is demolished. This is the 120th time that the village has been razed

3 October 2017: Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by police forces, raided the Arab Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev region and demolished it for the 119th time

14 September 2017: Israeli army bulldozers demolish the village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev for the 118th time

5 September 2017: Israeli authorities demolished 1,158 homes belonging to Israeli Arabs in the Negev between August 2016 and August 2017, a report issued by Coexistence Club in the Negev reveals

24 August 2017: An Israeli court has ordered residents of Al-Araqeeb village to pay the government $541,000 for the cumulative cost of destroying their homes 116 times since 2010

09 November 2017: 30 families in the Jordan Valley receive eviction notices dated 1 November warning them they have eight days to evacuate their homes before they are demolished. They now live in constant fear of raids and forced displacement

10 November 2017: Amendments are made to the proposed ‘Jewish Nation-State Law’ allowing it to head for its first vote in the Knesset next month

09 November 2017: Israel plans to double the number of settlers in the Jordan Valley area because the area ‘must be strengthened’, Israeli Radio reports

08 November 2017Israel approves building permits for 240 new homes in settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, including 90 units in Gilo and another 150 in Ramat Shlomo

08 November 2017: Israeli occupation forces destroy a Palestinian-owned commercial building in the French Hill district of occupied East Jerusalem. This is the third time that the building has been destroyed by the Israelis

Israeli Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Yisrael Katz [File photo]

08 November 2017: Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (image on the right) demands the dismissal of a civil servant who supports the Palestinian right of return, saying ‘a legal way has to be found to immediately terminate the new employee’s employment at the National Road Safety Authority’

06 November 2017Israeli occupation forces have began clear its own landmines from Palestinian-owned land adjacent to the illegal settlement of Karnei Shomron near Qalqiliya. The clearance programme is expected to last two months; more than 2,200 landmines are believed to have been laid in the area, which covers around 20 acres of stolen land

24 October 2017: Israeli occupation forces once again deliver demolition notices to Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan

26 September 2017: Illegal Israeli settlers call for the Israeli government to enact harsher punishments on the families of Palestinian prisoners through ‘deny citizenship’ and ‘carry out more house demolitions’

26 September 2017: Israeli MK Amir Ohana proposes a bill which would ‘expand the interior minister’s authority to revoke permanent residence status for security reasons’ in an effort to ‘circumvent’ controversial court rulings against revoking residency of Arabs in Jerusalem

11 September 2017: Israel begins construction of its first new illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. The new settlement, known as Amichai, is being built to house about 300 hardline residents of the illegal West Bank Jewish outpost of Amona. The Cabinet allocated $16 million for its construction

11 September 2017: Israeli authorities are making it increasingly difficult for Palestinians’ foreign spouses to stay in the occupied West Bank, reducing the length of the validity of visas, the process for obtaining permanent residency has been frozen

2017: Israel announces plans to limit the travel of those arriving in Ben-Gurion airport to the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

2016: NGO ‘Funding Transparency’ Law

Israel begins plans to pass a law that will ban the Muslim call for prayer on loudspeakers between 23:00 and 07:00.

Stop-and-Frisk Law – Amendment: The new law allows police to stop and frisk people in case of a reasonable suspicion that he or she is about to commit a violent act. The law was passed amid the recent wave of violence.

Anti-Terror (Counter-Terrorism) Law: This contains broad and vague definitions of terrorism and terrorist organisations often exploited by law enforcement authorities to criminalise legitimate actions of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories.

Expulsion of MKs Law – Amendment: The bill allows for the Israeli Jewish majority in the Knesset to further delegitimise and marginalise the elected political representatives of the Palestinian minority in Israel and to oust Arab MKs and political lists on the basis of purely political and ideological considerations.

2016: NGO “Funding Transparency” Law: This requires NGOs that receive 50 per cent or more of their funding from foreign governments to make it clear in every instance. Organisations that express views critical to the government’s policies, particularly those policies which discriminate against or otherwise harm Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, are the main targets of this law.

Mandatory minimum sentences for convicted stone-throwers – Amendment: A mandatory minimum prison sentence on a convicted stone-thrower or similar acts is set at “one-fifth of the maximum sentence” which equates to either two or four years.

Revoking child allowances from parents of children convicted of security offences: This removes child allowances for parents of a child convicted on criminal charges.

2015- Fines on parents of stone-throwers – Amendment: Direct fines are imposed on the parents of minors convicted of committing an offence listed in the Israeli Penal Code; for example stone-throwing. This discriminates against the parents of Palestinian children within Israel or residents of East Jerusalem brought before Israeli civil courts.

2014-March: Increased Governance and Raising the Qualifying Election Threshold – Bill to Amend Basic Law: The Government: This raises the threshold percentage of votes required for political parties in order to obtain seats in the Knesset to 3.25 per cent. This undermines the parliamentary representation of Palestinian Arabs and prevents Arab parties from contesting the elections within multiple party lists.

Civil Wrongs Law – Amendment: This creates further obstacles to justice and accountability for civilian victims harmed by Israeli security forces in the Occupied Territories.

July- Income Tax Ordinance – Amendment: This grants a 35 per cent tax exemption on donations to institutions that promote “Zionist settlement”. It differentiates between public institutions on political and ideological grounds.

2012– May: Israeli Prisons Ordinance Amendment No. 43: This was passed allowing for restrictions on security prisoners’ access to legal counsel for three months at a time, which can be extended for another three months.

[file photo]

Israeli Prisons Ordinance – Amendment: This allows the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to prohibit prisoners involved in “security crimes” from meeting their lawyers due to suspicion that the meeting will lead to the transfer of information relating to a “terror organisation”. This law targets Palestinian prisoners and Palestinian lawyers.

Anti-Boycott Law: This prohibits the promotion of academic, economic or cultural boycotts of Israeli citizens and organisations and against Israeli institutions or illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. A civil lawsuit can be filed against anyone who calls for a boycott, namely the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Admissions Committees Law: The Admissions Committees Law legalises Committees that operate in small community towns built on state land in the Negev and Galilee. They are permitted to filter on the basis of ethnicity applicants for housing units and plots of land; Arab Palestinians are the main victims of this process.

Citizenship Law: This allows courts to revoke the citizenship of persons convicted of treason, espionage, assisting the enemy in time of war, violating state sovereignty and acts of terrorism. The law was proposed following the arrest and indictment of Arab civil society leader Ameer Makhoul on charges of espionage and has since been used discriminately against Palestinians.

Nakba Law: The Finance Minister can reduce state funding or support to an institution if it holds an event that rejects the existence of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” or commemorates “Israel’s Independence Day or the day on which the state was established as a day of mourning.” The law deprives Arab citizens of commemorating the Nakba in a way that is an integral part of their history.

2011– Foreign Government Funding Law: This imposes invasive reporting requirements on NGOs, requiring them to submit and publish quarterly reports on any funding received from foreign governments or publicly-funded foreign donors. Palestinian NGOs in Israel and all NGOs which promote Palestinian rights are particularly vulnerable since they do not seek funding from Israeli governmental sources and have limited access to private funding.

Extension of Detention – Criminal Procedure Law: Designed to extend the harsh detention procedures for those suspected of security offences. Again, this law is used exclusively against Palestinians.

Negev Development Authority Law: “Individual settlements” are used to provide individual Jewish Israeli families with potentially thousands of acres of land for their exclusive use. In the Negev, these settlements were seen as part of a plan for “saving” the land.

Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Law: Jewish Israeli students living in the NPA will be granted a “compensation package”. Since Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel are exempt from military service they are excluded from receiving these state-allocated benefits and discriminated against on the basis of their national belonging.

Land Ordinance Law: This allows Israel to confiscate land for “public purposes” and has been used to confiscate Palestinian-owned land in Israel.

2010– Termination of Proceedings and Deletion of Records in the Disengagement Plan Law: This exempts anyone who was convicted in relation to their opposition to Israel’s 2005 Gaza disengagement plan from legal sanction, provided they have not received a prison sentence. This established a separate legal process for people who were charged when demonstrating against the Gaza disengagement from those charged for other political demonstrations, thus discriminating on ideological grounds.

Nakba journey - Palestinians fleeing during the Nakba in 1948

More than 1 million Palestinians were displaced in 1948

Regional Councils Law: This law, which grants the Interior Minister absolute power to declare the postponement of the first election of a Regional Council, was passed shortly before elections were due to take place in the Abu Basma Regional Council, which includes ten Arab Bedouin villages in the Negev.

Israel Land Administration Law: Enforced land privatisation, especially of land owned by Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as land on which settlements are built in occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The Economic Efficiency Law – Legislative Amendments: Classifying towns, villages and areas as “National Priority Areas” (NPAs), this allows for the allocation of state resources without criteria; 553 Jewish towns and only 4 small Arab villages are classified as NPAs with “A” status.

2009– Economic Efficiency Law: This law stipulates that children who do not receive the vaccinations recommended by the Ministry of Health will no longer be provided with “child allowances”. This mainly affects Arab Bedouin children living in the Negev due to the lack of availability of vaccinations.

Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Law – Amendment No. 7: The benefits package available to Jewish Israelis adding to the already extensive educational benefits package enjoyed by discharged soldiers in Israel is not available for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel due to them being exempt from military service and so excluded from receiving these state-allocated benefits.

2008– Criminal Procedure Law – Interrogating Suspects – Amendment No. 4: This exempts the police and the Israeli Security Agencies from recording audio and video documentation of interrogations of suspects and is used exclusively against Palestinians.

2006- Criminal Procedure Law: This law removes a number of essential procedural safeguards for detainees suspected of security offences and is used solely against Palestinians.

1960-2003

2003- Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law: This bans the unification of the family where one spouse is an Israeli citizen (usually applied to Palestinian citizens) and the other is a resident of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. An additional amendment in 2007 expanded the ban to include citizens and residents of Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Although the law was originally a temporary order, it has been used repeatedly, making it a permanent law.

1998- Hebrew Date Law: The use of the Hebrew calendar in all correspondence and publications issued by the state authorities does not recognise the use of the Islamic calendar.

1994- Knesset Law: In the opening session of the Knesset excerpts from The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel will be read out to emphasise the exclusive connection of the state to the Jewish people.

The Golan Heights Law: This law is another annexation law which aims to provide a legal defence for the application of Israeli law in the Syrian Golan Heights occupied by Israel since 1967.

Image of Israeli and UN forces at the Golan Heights border [Escla/Wikipedia]

Image of Israeli and UN forces at the Golan Heights border [Escla/Wikipedia]

Interpretation Law: Article 24 states that the Hebrew versions of laws will be the guiding versions, which disregards Article 82 of the Palestine Order-in-Council (1922), which states that both Hebrew and Arabic are official state languages.

1981– Public Lands Law (Eviction of Squatters): An amendment to the law, introduced in 2005 expanded the powers of authorities to operate through administrative orders to evacuate land in accordance with the law. The 2005 amendment was aimed against the Arab Bedouin population of the Negev.

1980- Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel: “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel” removes any connection for Palestinians and insists that the Occupied East of the city is part of the State of Israel.

1971- Religious Jewish Services Law: Religious councils in Jewish towns, cities and settlements can be established but no parallel law to authorise the establishment of non-Jewish religious councils exists.

1967- Protection of Holy Sites Law: The Ministry of Religious Affairs has declared 135 Jewish sites as holy sites, although Muslim, Christian and Druze holy places have still yet to be recognised as holy sites.

National Planning and Building Law – Limitation of Water, Electricity and Telephone: Article 157A prohibits national utility companies from connecting a building to national electricity, water and telephone networks if it lacks a building permit. This has been used exclusively to dislodge residents from the unrecognised Arab Bedouin villages in the Negev.

National Planning and Building Law: This does not require Council and District Committees to include Arab-Palestinian representatives.

1965– Broadcasting Authority Law: Broadcast programmes must reinforce the Zionist identity of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and reflect the life of Jews in the Diaspora communities. Arabic language channels must promote the “understanding and peace with the neighbouring states in accordance with the basic goals of the state.”

1960- Basic Law: Israel Lands: The ownership of “Israel lands” cannot be transferred in any manner except to Jews only.

1960- Israel Land Administration Law: The government is able to nominate members to the discriminatory “Israel Land Administration Council” which determines and formulates Israel’s land policy within the state.

1945-1960

1958- Basic Law: The Knesset: Arab political candidates are disqualified from participating in the elections for the Knesset if the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people is denied, as well as the democratic nature of the state and incitement to racism.

1953- Jewish National Fund Law: The Jewish National Fund was established in 1901 to collect funds for purchasing land for the exclusive benefit of the Jewish people.

1953- State Education Law: The law establishes separate, independent systems and secular state and state religious schools, to maintain a distinct Jewish community, Jewish culture and Zionist ideology.

1953- Land Acquisition Law (Actions and Compensation): Approximately 93 per cent of the land in Israel is owned by the state. Only 3-3.5 per cent is owned by the Arab population, compared to 48 per cent Arab ownership in 1948.

1952- World Zionist Organisation-Jewish Agency (Status) Law: This law authorises the World Zionist Organisation, the Jewish Agency and other Zionist bodies to function in Israel as quasi-governmental entities to advance the goals of the Zionist project.

1952- Entry into Israel Law: This law governs the entry into Israel of non-citizens of the state. It grants preferential treatment to Oleh [a Jewish person who migrates to Israel under the Law of Return].

1952- Citizenship Law: Article 2(a) of the Citizenship Law stipulates that, “Every emigrant under the Law of Return will become a citizen of Israel as a direct result of the return.” Article 3 of the law deprives Palestinians who were residents of Palestine prior to 1948 of the right to gain citizenship or residence status in Israel.

1950- Law of Return: Every Jew who migrated to Israel automatically became a citizen of the state, no matter where they were born. No comparable law exists to guarantee the rights of Palestinians to migrate or receive citizenship, even if they were born in the area that is now the State of Israel.

1950– Absentees’ Property LawPeople who were expelled or who fled after November 1947 due to the war, as well as their movable and immovable property, are marked as “absentees”. Property belonging to absentees was placed under the control of the State of Israel and the Absentees’ Property Law was used by Israel to possess land belonging to internal and external Palestinian refugees.

1949- State Stamp Law: The state stamp is placed on all official documents; it consists of the Star of David and the Menorah (candelabrum).

1945– Law and Government Ordinance, Article 18A: designates the official holidays of the state to be Jewish holy days. The only other official state holiday is Israel’s Independence Day.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

BDS Movement Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Norwegian parliamentarian Bjørnar Moxnes has officially nominated the BDS movement for Palestinian rights for a Nobel Peace Prize. He did so with the support of his party, the progressive Rødt (Red) Party, explaining why BDS “should be supported without reservation by all democratically-minded people and states.”

The following is his statement on nominating the BDS Movement for Palestinian Rights for a Nobel Peace Prize.

*

As a member of the Norwegian parliament, I proudly use my authority as an elected official to nominate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nominating the BDS movement for this recognition is perfectly in line with the principles I and my party hold very dear. Like the BDS movement, we are fully committed to stopping an ascendant, racist and right-wing politics sweeping too much of our world, and securing freedom, justice and equality for all people.

Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the American Civil Rights movement, the grassroots, Palestinian-led BDS movement is a peaceful, global human rights movement that urges the use of economic and cultural boycotts to end Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.

Basic Human Rights

The BDS movement seeks to end Israel’s half-century of military rule over 4.5 million Palestinians, including the devastating ten-year illegal siege collectively punishing and suffocating nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, the ongoing forcible eviction of Palestinians from their homes, and the theft of Palestinian land through the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. It seeks equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, currently discriminated against by dozens of racist laws, and to secure the internationally-recognized legal right of Palestinian refugees to return to homes and lands from which they were expelled. Palestinian refugees constitute nearly 50 per cent of all Palestinians, and they are being denied their right to return, guaranteed by law to all refugees, simply because of their ethnicity.

The BDS movement’s aims and aspirations for basic human rights are irreproachable. They should be supported without reservation by all democratically-minded people and states.

The international community has a longstanding history of supporting peaceful measures such as boycotts and disinvestment against companies that profit from human rights violations. International support for such measures was critical in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the racist colonial regime in former Rhodesia.

If the international community commits to supporting BDS to end the occupation of Palestinian territory and the oppression of the Palestinian people, new hope will be lit for a just peace for Palestinians, Israelis and all people across the Middle East.

The BDS movement has been endorsed by prominent figures, including the former Nobel Peace Prize winners Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire. It is gaining support from unions, academic associations, churches, and grassroots movements for the rights of refugees, immigrants, workers, women, indigenous peoples and the LGBTQI community. It is increasingly embraced by progressive Jewish groups and anti-racist movements across the world.

Twelve years since BDS’ launch, it’s high time for us to commit to doing no harm, and for all states to withdraw their complicity in Israel’s military occupation, racist apartheid rule, ongoing theft of Palestinian land, and other egregious human rights violations.

Awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement would be a powerful sign demonstrating that the international community is committed to supporting a just peace in the Middle East and using peaceful means to end military rule and broader violations of international law.

My hope is that this nomination can be one humble but necessary step toward bringing forth a more dignified and beautiful future for all peoples of the region.


Palestinian BDS National Committee

The Palestinian BDS National Committee is the broadest Palestinian civil society coalition that works to lead and support the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.

The broad consensus among Palestinian civil society about the need for a broad and sustained Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resulted in the Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel that was launched in July 2005 with the initial endorsement of over 170 Palestinian organizations.

The signatories to this call represent the three major components of the Palestinian people: the refugees in exile, Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the discriminated Palestinian citizens of the Israeli state.

The efforts to coordinate the BDS campaign, that began to grow rapidly since the 2005 Call was made public, culminated in the first Palestinian BDS Conference held in Ramallah in November 2007. Out of this conference emerged the BDS National Committee (BNC) as the Palestinian coordinating body for the BDS campaign worldwide.

The BNC’s mandate and role is:

  • To strengthen and spread the culture of boycott as a central form of civil resistance to Israeli occupation, colonialism and apartheid
  • To formulate strategies and programs of action in accordance with the 9 July 2005 Palestinian Civil Society BDS Call
  • To serve as the Palestinian reference point for BDS campaigns in the region and worldwide
  • To serve as the national reference point for anti-normalization campaigns within Palestine
  • To facilitate coordination and provide support & encouragement to the various BDS campaign efforts in all locations

The BNC has offices in various parts of Palestine, a small staff spread across five countries and a network of international partners.

The BNC’s main activities include:

  • Campaigning with BDS activists locally and worldwide by preparing and disseminating BNC statements and public speaking
  • Advocacy by briefing and lobbying policy makers
  • Monitoring & Rapid Response by means of BNC calls for action against projects and initiatives which amount to recognition of or cooperation with Israel’s regime of apartheid, colonialism and occupation (i.e., normalization)
  • Media Outreach in Palestine and abroad, based on a professional media strategy
  • Coordination with BDS activists locally and worldwide, including preparation of regional and international organizing meetings and conferences
  • Awareness Raising & Training activists and organizations about BNC analysis, standards and BDS campaign work; through workshops, BNC information materials and the BDS campaign website (www.bdsmovement.net)
  • Developing the BDS Campaign in Arab countries
  • Research and BDS Strategy Development

The current members of the BNC are:

Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine
General Union of Palestinian Workers
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS)
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
Palestinian National Institute for NGOs
Federation of Indep. Trade Unions
Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition
Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Initiative
General Union of Palestinian Teachers
Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
General Union of Palestinian Women
General Union of Palestinian Writers
Union of Palestinian Farmers
Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign – Stop the Wall
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC)
Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem
Coalition for Jerusalem
National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba
Union of Public Employees in Palestine-Civil Sector
General Union of Palestinian Peasants
Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations
Union of Professional Associations
Women Campaign to Boycott Israeli Products
Palestinian Economic Monitor
Union of Youth Activity Centers-Palestine Refugee Camps
Agricultural Cooperatives Union
National Committee for Grassroots Resistance

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Campaigns0 Comments

Dangerous Delusions: Syria Isn’t Going to Liberate Palestine Anytime Soon nor Is Russia Turning Against “Israel”

NOVANEWS

A wave of hysteria has swept the Alt-Media Community following Syria’s downing of an “Israeli” jet, but for as much as people want to imagine that Damascus is on the cusp of liberating Palestine and that Moscow has turned against Tel Aviv, believing anything of the sort is nothing more than wishful thinking. 

Pop The Champagne!

Syria finally shot down an “Israeli” jet after what some sources have estimated was the Zionist entity’s more than 100th strike against the Arab Republic since 2011, and Damascus’ supporters all across the world are celebrating this powerful act of Resistance for putting Tel Aviv in its place.

This event was made all the more symbolic because Syria has been struggling against 7 years of multifaceted Hybrid War, showing the world that even the most conflict-weary state in the Mideast is capable of successfully standing up to the regional bully.

The resultant euphoria has begun to take on hysterical dimensions, however, with many Alt-Media commentators suggesting that Russia has taken Syria’s side in this conflict and that this automatically means that Damascus and its allies are on the cusp of liberating Palestine.

Nothing of the sort has happened and any “serious” talk about these long-awaited developments is delusional.

Sobering Up

Russia’s position has been deliberately ambiguous and corresponds with its new diplomatic-strategic position of attempting to achieve a “balance” between opposing parties in any given conflict.

Much ado has been made about President Putin’s plea to Netanyahu to avoid any escalation of the War on Syria, but this was to have been expected, just as it was predictable that people would see in this statement whatever they wanted to.

Instead of soberly recognizing that this is Russia’s standard response to any development that happens anywhere in the world, some people wrongly interpreted this as Putin chastising Netanyahu, with this narrative being reinforced because details about the presumed talks that he must have also had with his Syrian and Iranian counterparts haven’t been disclosed.

For reasons of strategic sensitivity in the framework of the Astana peace process, Russia is likely to refrain from any public criticism of Syria and Iran, and it’s very telling that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) and the country’s Presidential Administration haven’t commented on the veracity of “Israel’s” claims that an Iranian drone flying over the occupied Golan Heights was what sparked the latest escalation.

The absence of commentary doesn’t indicate that Russia is dismissing “Israel’s” narrative, but to the contrary suggests that it is quietly accepting it as truth, though as was remarked above, is reluctant to say anything further about these claims in public because of its relationship to Syria and Iran in this sensitive context.

The Imaginary Russian-“Israeli” Split

Like the author wrote about last year, “Does Anyone Still Seriously Think That Russia And Israel Aren’t Allies?”, and any shocked readers should reference that piece for more background information into this admittedly provocative pronouncement if they aren’t already aware of how close these two sides really are.

Russia may feel uncomfortable about what “Israel” has just done in Syria, but it’s been passively facilitating such strikes for the past 2-5 years in an attempt to “balance” regional affairs per the “19th-Century Great Power Chessboard” paradigm, particularly as it relates to limiting Iran’s post-Daesh role in Syria.

Moscow’s silence every other time that this happened points to at least tacit approval of Tel Aviv’s actions or even clandestine coordination at times, because as the saying goes, “words are cheap”, and while it couldn’t have hurt Russia’s soft power to at least rhetorically condemn all of “Israel’s” previous bombings, Moscow still abstained from doing so.

The remains of the F-16 jet that crashed in northern Israel (Source: RTE)

What Russia didn’t expect, however, was that Syria would ever succeed in shooting down an “Israeli” jet, as it’s for Moscow’s aversion to this very same scenario that it has hitherto held off on selling top-notch anti-air missile systems to Damascus and has clearly reaffirmed on multiple occasions that its in-country military mandate does not include protecting Syria’s airspace from any foreign air force, whether American, “Israeli”, or Turkish.

This implies that Russia did not in fact provide Syria with the directive to shoot down the “Israeli” jet, nor would it have ever approved of such an action if it was previously informed, thus debunking the “populist” claims that Moscow gave the green light to Damascus to carry out this prominent act of self-defense.

Syrian Sovereignty And Its Limitations

Russia was probably informed of what happened immediately afterwards, but Syria as a sovereign state wouldn’t have sought its approval beforehand in any case, nor should it have.

Seeing as how this action prompted “Israel” to pummel Syria’s air defenses in response — an objective fact that’s “coincidentally” forgotten amidst the Alt-Media celebrations — it’s indeed true that the conflict between both parties has escalated, though that doesn’t mean that Syria’s response was unjustified or that Damascus is about to commence a liberation campaign in Palestine.

To address the first of the two, Syria has every right to defend its airspace from foreign intrusion no matter what the reason is for the external force’s territorial infringement (e.g. an Iranian drone venturing into the occupied Golan Heights), even if this sovereign decision “endangers” Russia’s “master plan” of “balancing” the Mideast.

As for the second point, there is no way that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is anywhere capable of freeing Palestine owing to “Israel’s” track record of responding with overwhelming force in the face of even the tiniest move in this direction, as was just evidenced by its large-scale bombing run against the country’s air defense systems after losing one of its jets.

“Allied” Disagreements

Having established the realistic limitations to what Syria can do against “Israel”, as well as explaining the nuances of Russia’s position in this matter, it’s now time to tackle the origin of this latest escalation and explain why it happened in the first place.

The Syrian state and its people were saved from impending destruction following Russia’s decisive anti-terrorist intervention in 2015, and while forever indebted to Moscow for what it did, Damascus doesn’t automatically have to comply with all of its partner’s “suggestions” for “politically” resolving the country’s conflict.

To be direct, Syria does not have to approve of the “decentralization” clauses controversially included in the 2017 Russian-written “draft constitution” for Syria out of the implied “guilt” that it “owes” Moscow something for saving it, considering that Russia’s mandate is specifically to fight terrorism and does not entitle it to lead the subsequent “peace process”.

That said, as the UNSC country with the most powerful influence over Damascus, it’s natural that Russia would take the lead in trying to kickstart the country’s stalled commitment to Resolution 2254’s mandate that it carry out “constitutional reform” and hold new elections, and this ambitious role is intended to deepen Moscow’s multipolar leadership in the Mideast following the vacuum that was created in the wake of Washington’s “Pivot to Asia”.

No matter the well-intended win-win motivations behind Russia’s stewardship of Syrian peace process, the “inconvenient fact” remains that the country’s government has been dragging its heels in this regard out of its implied unhappiness with Moscow’s “suggestions” and its unwillingness to commit to a “military solution” that would fulfill President Assad’s famous promise to liberate “every square inch” of Syria.

So as not to be misconstrued at this delicate moment of the analysis, the author is not hinting that there is a serious rift between the two wartime partners, but just that there nevertheless exist differences of vision — particularly over the end game — that are perfectly normal for any pair of friendly countries to have.

The Deir ez-Zor Disaster

The point to remember, however, is that Russia doesn’t have a “monopoly” on the Syrian peace process and that Iran is also crucially involved as well, and unlike Moscow, Tehran is in perfect alignment with Damascus’ preferred path forward in the war, no matter how unachievable it might be given the presence of approximately 2000 US troops and 10 American bases occupying the energy-rich and agriculturally wealthy northeastern third of the country.

Russia realized the impossibility of forcing the US out of Syria early on and that’s why it entered into a “gentlemen’s agreement” with it to informally recognize a so-called “deconfliction line” between these two Great Powers along the Euphrates River, but Syria and its Iranian ally don’t accept this deal and are intent on opposing it to the best of their abilities, just as they don’t like how Russia has passively allowed “Israel” to carve out a “buffer zone” near the occupied Golan Heights via its “rebel” proxies.

To this end, the SAA and their supported militias (which might have possibly included some kind of Iranian element as well) responded to Kurdish-led SDF provocations along the Russian-US “deconfliction zone” near Deir ez-Zor but were then decimated when the US promptly carried out a punitive strike against them, one which led to Russian condemnation but nothing else, whether before or after.

It’s possible that Syria was encouraged by Iran to respond to the Kurdish attacks despite what might have been Russia’s general orders to stand down under any such conditions while Moscow attempts to enter into a “deal-making” dialogue with Washington, and it’s Damascus’ refusal to follow this “protocol” that could have triggered the US to react with disproportionate force in seeking to “set an example”.

This version of events would also explain Russia’s lack of any substantial response before or after what happened.

Gambling In The Occupied Golan Heights

Should that have been the case, then Syria clearly didn’t heed the US’ “warning” because it soon thereafter might have been encouraged by Iran once more to defend itself from America’s “Israeli” ally in the southern part of the country against what could have either been yet another unprovoked attack (albeit one which Russia seems to always quietly agree with “Israel” is due to some sort of Iranian ‘tripwire’) or a drone ruse by Tehran in order to catalyze events.

It should be explained here that Iran, as a military actor invited into Syria at the request of the democratically elected and legitimate government, has every legal right to operate drones inside the country’s internationally recognized territory which thus includes the “Israeli”-occupied Golan Heights, so there’s no reason in principle to deny that it flew a drone over that part of the state if that’s what truly happened (and which Russia hasn’t openly denied).

Nevertheless, international law and international reality are two different things, and the facts on the ground are such that “Israel” has unilaterally and illegally annexed the Golan Heights, so flying an Iranian drone over them would indeed incite a military response no matter how illegal it may be.

Iran might have wanted to set a trap for its hated Zionist enemy, especially if it had just secretly improved Syria’s air defense capabilities, and this might have been something that Syria would have voluntarily gone alone with in earnest owing to the identical policy that it shares with Tehran when it comes to “Israel”.

The “Resistance’s” Strategy Towards Russia

It’s important to mention that Syria and Iran are “Resistance” states and therefore prioritize ideals and what they sincerely believe to be the “right thing” over realpolitik, international reality, and the power-centric paradigm of Neo-Realism that the vast majority of the world operates under per the “19th-Century Great Power Chessboard”, which is why these two countries are predisposed to doing the seemingly “inexplicable” in challenging the US and “Israel” when not even Russia dares to confront them in the region (choosing instead to seek out “pragmatic” “balancing” deals with mixed “success”).

It’s precisely because of Russia’s “Machiavellian” position and the dissatisfaction that Syria and Iran have towards it that they have an incentive to challenge Moscow’s grand strategy whenever it conflicts with their “Resistance” principles, as it may have done in Deir ez-Zor and the occupied Golan Heights over the past week.

Neither of these two Russian partners want to “betray” Moscow or even “undermine” its regional position, but actually want to “help” it realize its “full potential” by engineering situations where Russia is compelled to “choose” between the “Resistance” and its sworn enemies, genuinely believing that all that it might take to get Moscow to abandon its newfound “balancing” strategy and pivotally become a partisan player like it used to be during the Old Cold War is to “gently” give it a “push” in the “right direction” through the Deir ez-Zor and occupied Golan Heights defensive escalations.

The problem is that Russia doesn’t perceive of the recent events in this manner, and instead of smiling upon Syria and Iran’s strategic “ingenuity” in masterminding these “clever” pivot-inciting “opportunities”, Moscow is more inclined to believe that Tehran is “exploiting” Damascus’ irritation at Russia’s leadership of the “peace process” and attendant “balancing”-directed “suggestions” at “decentralization” in order to utilize it as a “cat’s paw” for drawing the US and “Israel” into a standoff with Russia, one which the Islamic Republic might be gambling could work out to the “Resistance’s” benefit.

Fatal Miscalculation

Such a “wishful-thinking” assumption would be a terrible mistake because Russia isn’t going to risk a war with either of the “Resistance’s” above-mentioned adversaries because Eurasia’s consummate Neo-Realist state “knows better” than to “fall for” this “idealistic” “trap”.

If it comes down to it, which it very well might, Russia can “reconcile” itself with the “federalized” fragmentation of the Arab Republic into “spheres of influence” in order to advance its “balancing” vision and could even accept the removal of President Assad so long as it’s “orderly” and doesn’t replicate the terrorist-producing Libyan scenario (ergo Moscow’s repeated assertions that his political fate wasn’t the reason why it launched its military intervention), so the “Resistance” could ultimately be shocked to find out that Moscow might not rush to its “rescue” if it keeps “playing with fire” when it comes to what might have been Russia’s clandestine “gentlemen’s agreements” with the US and “Israel” in Syria.

To conclude by bringing everything full circle and back to the lead-in news event that inspired this analysis, Syria’s downing of the “Israeli” jet filled the “Resistance”-friendly Alt-Media Community with hope that Palestine might soon be liberated after what they’ve largely convinced themselves was Russia’s “chastisement” of “Israel”, but such wishful thinking is actually nothing more than a dangerous delusion that might horrifyingly see this celebratory occasion lead to Syria’s total destruction because of what might come to be the “Resistance’s” fatal miscalculation about Russia.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Russia, Syria0 Comments

The UK’s Hidden Hand in Julian Assange’s Detention

NOVANEWS

It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade.

Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.

In other words, for more than four years Assange has been holed up in a tiny room, policed at great cost to British taxpayers, not because of any allegations in Sweden but because the British authorities wanted him to remain there. On what possible grounds could that be, one has to wonder? Might it have something to do with his work as the head of Wikileaks, publishing information from whistleblowers that has severely embarrassed the United States and the UK.

In fact, Assange should have walked free years ago if this was really about an investigation – a sham one at that – into an alleged sexual assault in Sweden. Instead, as Assange has long warned, there is a very different agenda at work: efforts to extradite him onwards to the US, where he could be locked away for good. That was why UN experts argued two years ago that he was being “arbitrarily detained” – for political crimes – not unlike the situation of dissidents in other parts of the world that win the support of western liberals and leftists.

According to a new, limited release of emails between officials, the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, wrote to Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service on 18 October 2013, warning that Swedish law would not allow the case for extradition to be continued. This was, remember, after Sweden had repeatedly failed to take up an offer from Assange to interview him in London, as had happened in 44 other extradition cases between Sweden and Britain.

Ny wrote to the CPS:

“We have found us to be obliged to lift the detention order … and to withdraw the European arrest warrant. If so this should be done in a couple of weeks. This would affect not only us but you too in a significant way.”

Three days later, suggesting that legal concerns were far from anyone’s mind, she emailed the CPS again:

“I am sorry this came as a [bad] surprise… I hope I didn’t ruin your weekend.”

In a similar vein, proving that this was about politics, not the law, the chief CPS lawyer handling the case in the UK, had earlier written to the Swedish prosecutors:

“Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!”

In December 2013, the unnamed CPS lawyer wrote again to Ny:

“I do not consider costs are a relevant factor in this matter.”

This was at a time when it had been revealed that the policing of Assange’s detention in the embassy had at that point cost Britain £3.8 million. In another email from the CPS, it was noted:

“Please do not think this case is being dealt with as just another extradition.”

These are only fragments of the email correspondence, after most of it was destroyed by the CPS against its own protocols. The deletions appear to have been carried out to avoid releasing the electronic files to a tribunal that has been considering a freedom of information request.

Other surviving emails, according to a Guardian report last year, have shown that the CPS “advised the Swedes in 2010 or 2011 not to visit London to interview Assange. An interview at that time could have prevented the long-running embassy standoff.”

Assange is still holed up in the embassy, at great risk to his physical and mental health, even though last year Sweden formally dropped an investigation that in reality it had not actually been pursuing for more than four years.

Now the UK (read US) authorities have a new, even less credible pretext for continuing to hold Assange: because he “skipped bail”. Apparently the price he should pay for this relatively minor infraction is more than five years of confinement.

London magistrates are due to consider on Tuesday the arguments of Assange’s lawyers that he should be freed and that after so many years the continuing enforcement of the arrest warrant is disproportionate. Given the blurring of legal and political considerations in this case, don’t hold your breath that Assange will finally get a fair hearing.

Remember too that, according to the UK Foreign Office, Ecuador recently notified it that Assange had received diplomatic status following his successful application for Ecuadorean citizenship.

As former British ambassador Craig Murray has explained, the UK has no choice but to accept Assange’s diplomatic immunity. The most it can do is insist that he leave the country – something that Assange and Ecuador presumably each desire. And yet the UK continues to ignore its obligation to allow Assange his freedom to leave. So far there has been zero debate in the British corporate media about this fundamental violation of his rights.

One has to wonder at what point will most people realise that this is – and always was – political persecution masquerading as law enforcement.

Posted in UK0 Comments

Nazi gets bloody nose in Syria. What next?

NOVANEWS

Image result for NAZI jets CARTOON

Israel gets bloody nose in Syria. What next?
By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline 

On Saturday, when Israeli jets undertook yet another bombing raid – this time an audacious attack on a drone base at the T4 airbase in Homs province deep inside Central Syria – a nasty surprise awaited them. They were confronted by the Russian-made S-200 air defence system. One Israeli F-16 jet was shot down; a second jet was hit but managed to make it home; and, two pilots parachuted – one heavily injured and in serious condition.

The last time an Israeli jet was shot down was in 1986 in Lebanon. The incident on Saturday is a humiliating experience for Israel. But, more importantly, it contains a stark message – namely, that Israeli air attacks from now onward on Syria may come only at an unacceptable cost.

The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani summed up the message to Israel this way: “There is an important point in the recent events and in targeting an Israeli fighter jet: the Syrian army showed to the Zionists that the era of hit-and-run has ended.” In political terms, Tehran has justified the retaliation by the Syrian forces. The influential senior advisor on foreign policy to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Akbar Velayati said today, “If the Zionist regime wants to make aggression against Syria or any other state’s airspace, the regional countries are entitled to use their space and the Syrian government and nation was entitled to respond to the Zionist regime’s aggression to make them regret.”

The same sentiments are echoed in the remark by the Deputy Secretary-General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Resistance Movement Sheikh Naim Qassem lauded the Syrian army and said “Shooting down the Israeli fighter jet means that the era of unanswered attacks has ended.” He warned that henceforth, Israeli aggression will be met with counter-attacks.

The impression becomes unavoidable that the rules of engagement in the Syrian conflict have changed and Israel has been duly notified of the change. It is inconceivable that the Syrian air defence system would have opened up without the knowledge of the Russian forces in Syria. Russia controls the Syrian air space. On the other hand, neither Moscow nor Tehran has hyped up the incident on Saturday. In effect, they are letting the message to Israel to sink in.

The reset of the rules of engagement has become inevitable now that the Syrian government and its allied forces are registering more successes in the conflict. Israel has been so far acting with impunity, having conducted air attacks on Syrian territory more than a hundred times during the conflict. Interestingly, Israel can only expect verbal support from the US, since American presence is very thin on the ground in Syria and the Trump administration has its hands full at the moment what with the cascading tensions with Turkey that may lead to a nasty confrontation.

The pro-Israeli US media, which is heavily under the influence of the Jewish lobby, is conjuring up the spectre of a massive Israeli retaliation against Iran. But the fact of the matter is that the Israelis are hardcore realists. They’d have no difficulty to grasp the message that their plans to insert themselves into the Syrian endgame to extract concessions in terms of legitimizing their illegal occupation of Golan Heights as part of any settlement might as well be abandoned now.

Equally, the Israeli game plan to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran is simply not working. It comes as no surprise that amidst all this, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has chosen to defend Iran’s ballistic missile program. The Russian news agency Sputnik quoted Lavrov as saying in an interview with Russian TV, “There are other countries in the (Middle East) region with such programs. We must look at it as a whole. It is hardly justified to mix nuclear affairs with human rights and put the issue on the agenda that Iran should stop taking certain steps in the region… to my mind, a frankly discriminatory, biased and unjustifiably captious approach can be seen behind these US actions.”

All in all, as the veteran Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri says, “What happened (on Saturday) is larger than a battle and a little less than a war. It will create new balances and rules of engagement in the region. This event is the first of its kind in tens of years. However, no escalation is expected. Things will end here; they will not develop into an all-out war.” If Berri says so, they must be words of wisdom. The shrewd politician after all has been holding the post of parliament speaker in Beirut continuously since 1992.

Posted in Middle East, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments


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