Archive | August 13th, 2018

Though “Too Late” Now, Cables From Secret CIA Black Site Read Like Gina Haspel’s “Torture Journaling”

NOVANEWS

Critics say this “detailed account” of the CIA director’s role “in horrendous acts of torture” further confirms “that she is totally unfit to lead the agency.”

Haspel

President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Gina Haspel, was confirmed by the Senate in May despite concerns about her role in the agency’s torture program. (Photo: CIA / with overlay)

Government cablesreported in the New York Times on Friday “read like torture journaling,” critics said after reviewing the “loud noise, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, wall-slamming, and waterboarding” that CIA interrogators used on an al-Qaida suspect in 2002 at a secret prison run by Gina Haspel, whom the Senate confirmed as agency chief in May despite widespread outrage over her torturous record.

Vince Warren

@VinceWarren

Gina Haspel ran the secret CIA prison in Thailand in 2002. Her secret cables from there read like journaling…

Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University—which obtained the 11 top secret cables through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit—explained that as chief of the base at the CIA black site, Haspel would have either written or authorized the cables that outline how the CIA tortured Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who remains imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.

Nashiri’s former attorney Richard Kammen—who quit amid allegations that the U.S. government was spying on the defense team’s private meetings with the prisoner—told the Times he hopes the full truth about how agents interrogated Nashiri is revealed before his trial, because “ultimately, the public will be horrified by the level of brutality employed by the CIA.”

While human rights advocates vocally protested President Donald Trump’s appointment of Haspel to run the CIA earlier this year—as well as the “robust” public relations campaign which some said amounted to “domestic propaganda” ahead of her confirmation—they pointed to these newly released cables as further evidence “that she is totally unfit to lead the agency.”

Iain Levine

@iainlevine

Detailed account of involvement of Gina Haspel, CIA director, in horrendous acts of torture, confirming that she is totally unfit to lead the agency https://nyti.ms/2Oq0ZqL?smid=nytcore-ios-share  pic.twitter.com/td6E7jm0xt

Detailing the CIA’s treatment of Nashiri—which “produced little or no new intelligence about existing plots or imminent attacks,” further invalidating claims by the agency and Trump that “torture works“—the Times reported:

In one early interrogation, outlined in the new documents, Mr. Nashiri had his clothes ripped off him and “whimpered that he would do anything interrogators wanted.” The interrogators told him that “if he refused to cooperate, he would suffer in ways he never thought possible.” They then shaved Mr. Nashiri’s head while he wailed and moaned.

[…]

“Interrogation escalated rapidly from subject being aggressively debriefed by interrogators while standing at the walling wall, to multiple applications of the walling technique, and ultimately, multiple applications of the watering technique,” another document said.

At times, the interrogators called Mr. Nashiri names—”a little girl,” “a spoiled little rich Saudi,” a “sissy”—and threatened to turn him over to “other people” who, they said, “would certainly kill him,” one cable said. Pointing to the black-clad team that carried out the torture, they told Mr. Nashiri that its members had volunteered for the job after hearing he was responsible for the bombing of [a Navy destroyer, the USS] Cole and “had something to avenge.”

In the late November session, after Mr. Nashiri was waterboarded several times, the interrogators said they were willing to deliver the same treatment for months until he cooperated. When they were finished, Mr. Nashiri crawled into “the small box” in which he was confined.

Some Haspel critics responded by calling out the six Democrats—Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.)—who joined with nearly all of the Senate’s Republicans to confirm Haspel.

Others highlighted the issue that Haspel, as the CIA’s acting director, had final say over what was released during her confirmation process—the National Security Archive’s request to obtain the secret cables before the Senate’s vote was denied—and emphasized that while it is now “too late” to block her nomination, senators should wait for “all relevant documents” before voting on Trump’s highly contested U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Posted in USA, C.I.AComments Off on Though “Too Late” Now, Cables From Secret CIA Black Site Read Like Gina Haspel’s “Torture Journaling”

U.S. Is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen

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“If an airstrike was a drive-by and killed someone, the U.S. provided the car, the wheels, the servicing and repair, the gun, the bullets, help with maintenance of those—and the gas.”

"According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, at least twenty-nine of those killed were children under the age of fifteen, and forty-eight people were wounded, including thirty children." (Photo: BBC News)

“According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, at least twenty-nine of those killed were children under the age of fifteen, and forty-eight people were wounded, including thirty children.” (Photo: BBC News)

On August 9, a U.S.-supported Saudi airstrike bombed a bus carrying schoolchildren in Sa’ada, a city in northern Yemen. The New York Times reported that the students were on a recreational trip. According to the Sa’ada health department, the attack killed at least forty-three people.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, at least twenty-nine of those killed were children under the age of fifteen, and forty-eight people were wounded, including thirty children.

CNN aired horrifying, heartbreaking footage of children who survived the attack being treated in an emergency room. One of the children, carrying his UNICEF issued blue backpack, is covered with blood and badly burned.

U.S. companies such as Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin have sold billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Saudi-Emirati-led coalition which is attacking Yemen.

Commenting on the tragedy, CNN’s senior correspondent Nima Elbagir emphasized that she had seen unaired video which was even worse than what the CNN segment showed. She then noted that conditions could worsen because Yemen’s vital port of Hodeidah, the only port currently functioning in Yemen, has been under attack for weeks of protracted Saudi coalition-led airstrikes. Ms. Elbagir described the port of Hodeidah as “the only lifeline to bring in supplies to Yemen.”

“This conflict is backed by the U.S. and the U.K.,” Elbagir said, concluding her report with, “They are in full support of the Saudi-led activities in Yemen today.”

U.S. companies such as Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin have sold billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Saudi-Emirati-led coalition which is attacking Yemen.

The U.S. military refuels Saudi and Emirati warplanes through midair exercises. And, the United States helps the Saudi coalition warmakers choose their targets.

Isa Blumi, an associate professor at Stockholm University and author of the book Destroying Yemen, has said the United States is “front and center responsible” for the Saudi coalition attacks.

Looking for a helpful way to describe U.S. support for the Saudi-Emirati operation in Yemen, journalist Samuel Oakford recently offered this comparison: “If an airstrike was a drive-by and killed someone, the U.S. provided the car, the wheels, the servicing and repair, the gun, the bullets, help with maintenance of those—and the gas.”

The August 9 attack against children and other civilians follows a tragic and sordid list of Saudi-Emirati attacks causing carnage and extreme affliction in Yemen. On June 12, Doctors Without Borders reported an airstrike which destroyed its newly constructed facility for treatment of cholera, in the town of Abs, built in anticipation of a third epidemic outbreak of cholera in Yemen.

Professor Isa Blumi believes the goal is to bludgeon Yemenis into complete submission and exert control over  “a gold mine” of resources, including oil reserves, natural gas, minerals, and a strategic location.

Scores of people were killed and wounded in an August 3 attack near the entrance to the port of Hodeidah’s Al Thawra hospital. Analysts examining the munitions used in the attack believe the killing and destruction was caused when United Arab Emirates forces situated near the Hodeidah airport fired mortars into the area.

Why have the Saudis and Emiratis led a coalition attacking Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab peninsula, since March of 2015?

Professor Isa Blumi believes the goal is to bludgeon Yemenis into complete submission and exert control over  “a gold mine” of resources, including oil reserves, natural gas, minerals, and a strategic location. Blumi notes that the war against Yemen costs the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 200 million dollars per day, yet Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who commented that a prolonged war is in the interests of Saudi Arabia, seems to believe the cost is worth it, considering potential future gains.

Business profits seem to also motivate U.S. weapon companies that continue benefiting from weapon sales to the Saudi-Emirati led coalition.

The United States is deeply implicated in the appalling carnage in Yemen. It is our responsibility as citizens to do what we can to demand an end to this complicity.

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on U.S. Is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen

Visions of War and Wealth in the Middle East

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U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is part of a long-term strategy to gain regional influence and access to resources

"The great majority of victims in the war in Iraq have been civilians." (Photo: Shutterstock)

“The great majority of victims in the war in Iraq have been civilians.” (Photo: Shutterstock)

At a recent security conference, a panel of current and former U.S. officials discussed the possibility of extending the U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan for years into the future and considered the potential to more effectively tap into the natural resources in both countries.

The panelists said that the war in Afghanistan would probably continue for years, but they were less certain about the prospects for Iraq. They shared their thoughts as part of a session at the Aspen Security Forum on what a U.S. victory would look like in both countries.

Moderator Kim Dozier opened the session by asking, “Will we still have tens of thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in a decade from now?”

The panelists mostly agreed that at least some minimal U.S. commitment was necessary. A number of them called for a long-term military presence in both countries. Some were quite optimistic about the untapped oil and mineral wealth in the region.

A number of them called for a long-term military presence in both countries. Some were quite optimistic about the untapped oil and mineral wealth in the region.

The panelists included former U.S. officials Thomas Shannon, Samantha Vinograd, and Juan Zarate. Shannon is a career ambassador who worked in the Trump administration for about a year before announcing his retirement earlier this year. Vinograd and Zarate both worked for the Bush administration, which started the wars.

Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the house intelligence committee, also participated in the discussion. In 2001, Schiff voted in favor of the bill that authorized the Bush administration to attack Afghanistan. In 2002, Schiff voted in favor of the resolution that authorized the Bush administration to attack Iraq.

All of the panelists have played some role in the wars, both of which have been devastating. The Costs of War Project at Brown University estimates that more than 100,000 people have died in the war in Afghanistan and about 200,000 people have died in the war in Iraq. The great majority of victims in the war in Iraq have been civilians.

Rather than dwelling on these issues, however, the panelists used their time to consider the ways in which the U.S. government can still achieve its strategic objectives.

One of the major issues they considered was whether the United States should maintain a long-term military presence in both countries. Two of the panelists, Zarate and Vinograd, argued that U.S. military forces should remain in both countries for some time to come.

Zarate argued that “we should have a military presence consistently in both in a decade or two.” He also called for the creation of “a permanent base in Erbil,” the capital city of Iraq’s Kurdish area. He argued that the base could provide the U.S. with an alternative to a base it is using in Turkey while sending a “very near signal to the Iranians… that we are going to be present, if need be.”

Another possibility, according to Vinograd, would be to take U.S. involvement in South Korea as a model. Vinograd explained that the U.S. has maintained a permanent military presence in South Korea since the time of the Korean War.

“I really struggle to think of any real military operation right now where there wouldn’t be some longer-term presence on the ground,” she said.

Not all of the panelists fully agreed with the proposals, however. Shannon argued that the United States does not function well as an “occupying power.” He said that the United States performed more effectively as a “collaborating power.” Shannon also wavered on the idea of creating a permanent military base in Erbil, saying that it was “an interesting idea” that deserves consideration.

Zarate noted that the mineral wealth in Afghanistan has been estimated at about $1 trillion. He suggested that it could be tapped by companies in the United States and elsewhere.

Schiff agreed that the United States should remain involved in Afghanistan but doubted whether the U.S. could succeed in Iraq. “The investment in Iraq was not worth it,” he said.

Another major issue the panelists considered was how to create stable governments in both countries. One of their big fears is that neither the Afghan nor Iraqi government can survive very long without U.S. assistance. The panelists wondered if they could create stronger governments by exploiting the extensive material wealth in both countries.

Zarate noted that the mineral wealth in Afghanistan has been estimated at about $1 trillion. He suggested that it could be tapped by companies in the United States and elsewhere.

“We’re not a mercenary country in that we send troops to where we want to have… business opportunities,” Zarate said. “But to the extent that we’re already present, to the extent that we’ve already expended blood and treasure, why not consider how it is that we’re thinking about the positive elements of economic development?”

Shannon saw similar possibilities. He noted that President Trump has already pointedto commercial opportunities in both countries as reasons for continuing U.S. military operations. “This is an extractive opportunity,” Shannon said, citing petroleum as an example.

Their considerations showed that U.S. officials still aspire to create governments that will provide them with access to the area and the ability to influence the surrounding area.

Once again, however, not all of the panelists were on the same page. Vinograd said that when she had been working in Iraq in 2007, it had been difficult to find ways to attract businesses to the country.

“I don’t see large-scale business opportunities in Iraq until the security situation is more sustainable over the medium term,” she said.

Schiff was more troubled by the proposals. He argued that the U.S. should not risk the lives of U.S. soldiers to create business opportunities in foreign lands.

“I kind of recoil at the idea of using business opportunity as the primary argument for the deployment of military forces,” he said.

Although the panelists did not reach a consensus, their conversation revealed quite a lot about the basic mindset in Washington about the two wars. Their considerations showed that U.S. officials still aspire to create governments that will provide them with access to the area and the ability to influence the surrounding area.

According to Shannon, these strategic issues are perhaps more important than ever.

“Increasingly we’ve realized that what we’re doing in Afghanistan and what we’re doing in Iraq is not just about Afghanistan or about Iraq,” he said. “It’s about the regional challenges we face in South and Central Asia, and in the larger Middle East, and so our interests there are going to extend far beyond what is happening inside of these countries, but what happens beyond.”

Posted in Middle East, USAComments Off on Visions of War and Wealth in the Middle East

99-Year-Old Nuremberg Prosecutor Calls Trump’s Detention of Children a ‘Crime Against Humanity’

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“What could cause more great suffering than what they did in the name of immigration law?”

“Nobody wins in war; the only winner is death,” Ben Ferencz told United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. (Screengrab)

The last surviving prosecutor at the Nazi Nuremberg trials just offered harsh criticism for the Trump administration’s family separation crisis resulting from its cruel immigration policies, calling it “a crime against humanity.”

Ninety-nine year old Ben Ferencz made the comments in a recent lengthy interview with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, which was posted online Tuesday.

When he learned of the family separations, “it was very painful for me,” Ferencz told Zeid. “I knew the Statue of Liberty. I came under the Statue of Liberty as an immigrant.” Ferencz was a baby when his family came to the United States from Romania.

He referenced lines from Emma Lazarus’s poem inscribed at the base of the monument, including its ending: “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

But “the lamp went out when [Trump] said no immigrants allowed unless they meet the rules that we laid down,” Ferencz said. “It was outrageous. I was furious that anybody would think that it’s permissible to take young children—5, 4, 3 years of age—and take them away from their parents and say the parents go to another country and the children go to another country, and we’ll get you together, maybe, at some later date.”

Benjamin Ferencz@BenFerencz

Forcing desperate young parents to surrender custody of their weeping children because they were unable to comply with restrictive immigration rules is a disgrace to our great country. Such cruelty should be condemned as a crime against humanity.

“It’s a crime against humanity. We list crimes against humanity in the Statute of the International Criminal Court. We have ‘other inhumane acts designed to cause great suffering.’ What could cause more great suffering than what they did in the name of immigration law? It’s ridiculous. We have to change the law if it’s the law,” he said.

Watch the fuller interview below:

Ferencz also denounced the ongoing “glorification of war-making.” He said, “The capacity to kill human beings has grown faster than our capacity to meet their vital and justified needs,” noting, “Nobody wins in war; the only winner is death.”

He’s still expresses optimism, however, about the state of the world. But he said that hope lies not with diplomats or national leaders. Rather, “the students are with us, and I think the future lies with them.” Some young people, he said, “are thoughtful enough to realize they’re in great danger.”

Ferencz was just 27 years old when he was chief prosecutor at the Einsatzgruppen trial, at which 22 Nazi officials were convicted of murdering more than 1 million people.

Posted in USAComments Off on 99-Year-Old Nuremberg Prosecutor Calls Trump’s Detention of Children a ‘Crime Against Humanity’

Nazi food theft as a form of genocide of Palestinian culture

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Israeli food theft as a form of genocide of Palestinian culture
Palestinian cuisine

By Lawrence Davidson

Cultural genocide

Back in 2012 I wrote a short book entitled Cultural Genocide (Rutgers University Press). It looked at four case studies of this phenomenon: the American Indians, Russian treatment of Jews in the 19th century, Chinese assimilation of Tibet and Israel’s ongoing treatment of the Palestinians. It is an aspect of the Palestinian plight that I want to revisit here.

The idea behind cultural genocide is relatively simple: it is the systematic erasure of the culture of indigenous people subject to colonisation. The endgame here is that the conquered land will no longer be popularly identified with the culture and traditions of those who were once native to it. Instead, their culture will be replaced by that of the coloniser. The most common way of doing this is to disperse or actually wipe out a good part of the indigenous population, with the resulting trauma causing their culture, at least in its native form, to disappear. However, sometimes the colonisers will appropriate elements of the native culture as their own. This is cultural genocide by theft as well as destruction.

In Cultural Genocide I laid out how the Israelis were attempting to undermine and ultimately destroy Palestinian culture in a seemingly never-ending effort to “Hebraize” the territory now called Israel. Here are some of the techniques employed: 

  1. The practice of renaming, which began as early as the 1920s: “With the help of archeologists, geographers and biblical scholars” the Zionists “began to systematically erase Palestine’s Arab history and heritage from what would be Israel’s own official records, maps and histories”;
  2. The physical destruction of Palestinian archeological sites, artifacts, ancient mosques and historic houses to the extent that the UNESCO World Heritage office describes the Israeli actions as “crimes against the cultural history of mankind”;
  3. The purposeful looting and subsequent destruction of Palestinian libraries, archives and museums; and
  4. The imposition of literally thousands of regulations designed to make it impossible for Palestinians in occupied territory to express themselves culturally or politically. (For further information, see Cultural Genocide, pp. 77-80.)

Mislabelling Palestinian cuisine

When I wrote this book in 2012, the issue of the appropriation of native foods as the coloniser’s own did not come up. It was, if you will, “under my radar”. It got on my radar about five years ago, whereupon I began complaining (often to no avail) to supermarkets and restaurants about hummus and falafel being advertised as “Israeli food”.

I was again reminded of the issue by a series of events, most recently, a local catered dinner to raise money for Playgrounds For Palestine. The food was all Palestinian. The well-known chef Anan Zahr reminded us all that “this is a crucial time for the Palestinian people, whose identity and culture are aggressively threatened on a daily basis by the Israeli government. It is so important for us to highlight and showcase the Palestinian cuisine to prevent ongoing food appropriation.”

To “highlight and showcase Palestinian cuisine” here in the West is a difficult task, if only because the effort must overcome a sea of ignorance and indifference. Despite the decades of ongoing conflict that has been grist for the mill of mass media, there are still millions of Americans, and others too, who know little about the cultural genocide of the Palestinians. What resides now in the minds of most people (when they consider the topic at all) is Israel presented to them as a “normal country” periodically threatened by Muslim Arabs. And, just as the Italians eat Italian food, and the French eat French food, the average American assumes that the Israelis eat “Israeli food”.

A good example of this was the controversy sparked by celebrity chef Rachel Ray, who appears on a number of online and televised cooking shows. Back in December 2017 Ray, who is not Jewish, put out a number of tweets describing “an Israeli nite meal.” The foods she tweeted about included hummustabbouleh (tabouli), stuffed grape leaves, chicken fried in za’atar and cucumber salad – all of them traditional Palestinian foods.

As the Times of Israel described it, “the posts spurred a cascade of more than1,600 replies, most of them critical”. This is an expression of the fact that Palestinians “see Israeli claims to these foods as just one more form of oppression”. Yousef Munayyer, who directs the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, placed the situation in context: 

Place names, street names, historical markers have been changed. Forests have literally been planted above our villages, obfuscating the very remnants of our history and the graves of our ancestors. So please understand, when you label this food ‘Israeli’ you’re participating in a broad process of replacement that goes way beyond what is on a plate and is instead about denying Palestinians [to] even have a place at the global table.

He asserted that Ray’s tweets had contributed to “a culture in which Palestinians, as a people, are often told they do not exist”. In other words, by taking Palestinian food and renaming it Israeli, the Zionists perform an act of cultural genocide.

All of this must have left Rachael Ray’s head spinning. She did not directly respond to the consequences of her faux pas but quickly moved on to tweeting about Greek cuisine. As far as I can learn, her mislabelling of Palestinian cuisine as Israeli was largely due to ignorance. She has no particular connections to Israel beyond the fact that she has a friend who goes there and brings her back recipes. She certainly is no hard-core Zionist. For instance, back in 2008 Ray was accused of giving moral support to a “murderous Palestinian jihad”, by appearing in a commercial for Dunkin Donuts wearing a scarf that “looked too much like a keffiyeh”.

The Zionist response

Zionists and their supporters have a response to these complaints. However, like all their other arguments, they rest on an utter unwillingness to take responsibility for their own collective actions. What they do in this case is talk around the issue, thus avoiding a complete picture. Thus, their principal response, given here by one Alex Kay, goes like this: “Israeli cuisine is a beautiful celebration of Jews from around the world, including 800,000 Jewish Arabs thrown out from Arab countries. In Israel you have Eastern and Western food mixed perfectly… Palestinians don’t own chopped salad or za’atar.”

It is quite beside the point whether or not Israeli cuisine is “a beautiful celebration of Jews from around the world” or “in Israel you have Eastern and Western food mixed perfectly”. The context for the complaint of food appropriation has nothing to do with the celebration of “Jewishness” or a melding of cuisines. Nor, quite frankly, has it to do with the allegation that 800,000 Jewish Arabs were “thrown out from Arab countries” soon after Israel was founded. This assertion is an exaggerated element of the broader Zionist mantra. Jewish Arabs faced much less hostility in most Arab countries than the Zionists say they did, particularly considering that, at the time, the Zionists had begun to ethnically cleanse Palestinians. However, in every case these Arab Jewish communities faced relentless Zionist pressure to emigrate. And, when they did go to Israel they faced discrimination because of their Arab heritage.

The only pertinent allegation in the Zionist retort is “Palestinians don’t own chopped salad or za’atar”. Yet, within the broader context in which Israel’s appropriation of Palestinian food takes place, the truth is that the Palestinians do “own” these foods – not only historically, but also morally. As noted above, that greater context is one of purposeful destruction of the Palestinian people, and that makes all the difference. As long as the Israelis practice ethnic cleansing and continue down the road to apartheid state status (as they did with their recent nationality law), their claim on any aspect of Palestinian heritage – be it land or food – is a de facto act of cultural genocide. And, if this form of destructive racism is not to become ever more frequent, every aspect of Zionist appropriation must be fought, right down to the last “Israeli” falafel.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi food theft as a form of genocide of Palestinian culture

Did Saudis Just Threaten Canada With 9/11-Style Attack

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Did Saudis Just Threaten Canada With 9/11-Style Attack for Crime of Criticizing Their Atrocious Human Rights Record?

“If you represent a kingdom which brought forth the majority of 9/11 attackers, don’t use a plane flying into a tower in North America when you have a disagreement with Canada. It doesn’t help.”

Responding to the rising tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday called the Saudi government’s behavior “outrageous” and highlighted the necessity of speaking out about the human rights violations of nations that receive political and military backing from the West. (Photo: @infographics_ksa/Twitter)

As tensions between Saudi Arabia and Canada continue to soar after the Canadian Foreign Ministry dared to condemn the kingdom’s imprisonment of dissidents and human rights activists, a verified Twitter account connected to the Saudi governmenttweeted a graphic on Monday that appeared to threaten Toronto with a 9/11-style attack.

“With hundreds of billions in arms deals from the U.S. and U.K., the Saudi regime is being given carte blanche to threaten anyone and everyone with violence.” —Ben Norton

The image—which was deleted after it sparked widespread outrage—showed an Air Canada jet flying in the direction of the 1800-foot CN Tower, invoking memories of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center that killed thousands, including 26 Canadians.

Overlaying the image was the quote, “He who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him.”

After deleting the initial tweet and replacing it with a graphic without the Canadian jet, the Saudi account apologized for posting the “inappropriate” image and implausibly claimed that the message behind the graphic—which was clear as day to most observers—was misinterpreted.

“The U.S. must be clear in condemning repression, especially when done by governments that receive our support.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

The Saudi account insisted that the Canadian jet flying toward CN Tower was supposed to represent Riyadh’s expulsion of the Canadian ambassador, who was kicked out following Canada’s criticism of Saudi Arabia’s notoriously appalling human rights record. Saudi Arabia’s Media Ministry later shut down the infographic account and said it is investigating the matter.

Journalists and other commentators from Canada and around the world were wholly unimpressed by Saudi Arabia’s explanation and apology.

Highlighting the well-known fact that 15 of the 19 September 11th hijackers were Saudi citizens, German political scientist Marcel Dirsus offered the Saudi government some free PR advice: “If you represent a kingdom which brought forth the majority of 9/11 attackers, don’t use a plane flying into a tower in North America when you have a disagreement with Canada. It doesn’t help.”

Marcel Dirsus

@marceldirsus

Some free PR advice for Saudis: Your country is known for financing Muslim extremists. If you represent a kingdom which brought forth the majority of 9/11 attackers, don’t use a plane flying into a tower in North America when you have a disagreement with Canada. It doesn’t help. pic.twitter.com/mJaCCOoRTj

  • The Saudi-connected Twitter account’s apparent threat against Canada comes amid an intensifying conflict between the two nations over the kingdom’s continued imprisonment of activists who speak out against its ongoing human rights violations—many of which are financed by Western nations, including Canada and the United States.

Ben Norton, a reporter and producer with The Real News, argued that the Saudis’ increasingly belligerent behavior stems from the fact that the U.S. and the U.K. have continued to funnel weaponry into the kingdom even as it commits atrocities at home and in Yemen.

“With hundreds of billions in arms deals from the U.S. and U.K., with Trump sword-dancing with Saudi royals, and with the corporate media fawning over dictator Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi regime is being given carte blanche to threaten anyone and everyone with violence,” Norton argued.

Ben Norton

@BenjaminNorton

With hundreds of billions in arms deals from the US and UK, with Trump sword-dancing with Saudi royals, and with the corporate media fawning over dictator Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi regime is being given carte blanche to threaten anyone and everyone with violence.

In a statement that came 24-hours after the spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia began, the Trump administration made clear that it has no intention of standing behind Canada’s criticism of Saudi crimes.

“Canada and Saudi Arabia are both close allies of the United States. I refer you to the Canadian and Saudi Ministries of Foreign Affairs for further information,” a State Department official wrote in an email to the Huffington Post.

Trump—who has embraced the Saudis with even more enthusiasm than previous American presidents—has been completely silent on the conflict.

After Canada refused to back down from its criticism of Saudi human rights violations, the kingdom announced that it is freezing all new trade with Canada and suspending scholarships of the approximately 16,000 Saudi students currently studying at Canadian schools.

Responding to the rising tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday called the Saudi government’s behavior “outrageous” and highlighted the necessity of speaking out about the human rights violations of nations that receive political and military backing from the West.

“The U.S. must be clear in condemning repression, especially when done by governments that receive our support,” Sanders concluded.

 

Bernie Sanders

@SenSanders

This is an outrageous move. It’s entirely legitimate for democratic governments to highlight human rights issues with undemocratic governments. We must continue to do so. The US must be clear in condemning repression, especially when done by governments that receive our support.

CNN

@CNN

Saudi Arabia has expelled the Canadian ambassador and frozen all new trade and investment with Ottawa after Canada’s Foreign Ministry criticized human-rights violations in the Islamic kingdom https://cnn.it/2OGyQNj 

 

 

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Based on Bogus Charges of ‘Anti-Semitism’

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Based on Bogus Charges of Anti-Semitism, Details Emerge of Plot to Oust Corbyn or Split UK Labour Party

 

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Amid a tidal wave of coordinated media hysteria slandering Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as anti-Semites, details are emerging of the plot to remove him as Labour Party leader or to split the party to prevent him ever leading a government.

On August 7, the Daily Express reported that senior Labour MPs “have been holding secret away days at a luxury 12-acre holiday estate in Sussex to make plans to oust Jeremy Corbyn.”

The meetings have been held for months as “moderate Labour MPs” plan Corbyn’s downfall, led by a core group of 12 and a wider group numbering “more than 20.”

The Express lists former leadership candidate Liz Kendall, former shadow cabinet members Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie, Stephen Kinnock and Gavin Shuker as present, along with John Woodcock, who has quit Labour to become an independent MP.

A source cited by the newspaper said,

“At some point the Corbyn leadership is going to fail and collapse, we only need to see what is happening with the anti-Semitism problem, and we need to be ready to step in, win the leadership, rebuild the party as a credible force and repair the damage that has been done.”

Repairing “damage” means reasserting the nakedly neo-liberal and militarist agenda pursued by Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, even if this means keeping the Conservatives in office.

The Express reports,

“Among the subjects discussed have been plans to regain the leadership and form a new party … one proposal put forward was to wait for a Corbyn election victory and then to use the large group of moderate Labour MPs to prevent him from becoming prime minister.”

One of those involved states that if the Conservatives lose the next election, then “we will break away and either form a separate Labour Party within parliament or a new party.”

Another added,

“There are [Remainer] Conservative and Lib Dem MPs who are interested in joining us if we do form a new party because of Brexit.”

Listed as potential leadership challengers to Corbyn are former leadership challenger Yvette Cooper, Umunna, Leslie and Kinnock. But the Express also anticipates a “left challenge” to Corbyn by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, alongside “compromise candidates” Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer.

The Electronic Intifada website ran a piece on the same day by Asa Winstanley of the group Lobby Watch. He noted that an app “operated as part of an Israeli government propaganda campaign issued a ‘mission’ for social media users” to make comments accusing Corbyn of anti-Semitism.

The Act.IL app “asks users to comment on Facebook in response to a Huffington Post UK story about Corbyn’s alleged ‘anti-Israel remarks,’” directing them to click “like” on a comment by Facebook user “Nancy Saada” before adding comments echoing her criticisms.

Winstanley adds that the Act.IL app is a product of Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, which “directs Israel’s covert efforts to sabotage the Palestine solidarity movement around the world. Its top civil servant is a former army intelligence officer and the ministry is staffed by veterans of various spy agencies whose names are classified.”

Positioning himself in the destabilisation campaign is Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, who wrote in the Observer newspaper Sunday that the party faced disappearing into a “vortex of eternal shame” unless it tackled anti-Semitism in its ranks. Even Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspaper was forced to acknowledge that “his comments are not designed to help the Corbyn Labour Party, they are meant to destabilise it.”

Opposition to the right-wing offensive is widespread, with Twitter hashtags #WeAreCorbyn and #ResignWatson trending at No. 1 in Britain and internationally, and widespread calls for the coup plotters to be expelled. Instead, the familiar pattern emerges of Corbyn seeking to appease his opponents who then redouble their offensive.

The millionaire MP Margaret Hodge, who called Corbyn, to his face, a “fucking racist and anti-Semite,” had disciplinary action against her dropped amid claims that she had “expressed regret.” A letter from her tier-one lawyers Mishcon de Reya, posted on Twitter by Hodge, accused Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby of an “entirely disingenuous” attempt to save face, adding that “our client will not apologise for her conduct or words, as she did nothing wrong.”

Hodge, together with the equally foul-mouthed right-winger Ian Austin, are complaining of a campaign to drive out opponents of Labour’s anti-Semitism. “The new style of politics is bullying and intolerance, not gentle and inclusive,” she told the Express without blushing.

Corbyn has issued a statement to the Guardian and an accompanying video, ceding much ground to those slandering the left as anti-Semitic.

There was “a continuing problem” of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, which he would “root out”—including by speeding up the processing of disciplinary cases and launching “an education and training programme throughout the party.”

He then calls “actual differences” over Labour’s refusal to accept all 11 examples attached to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism “very small.”

Corbyn’s “small” difference is over Labour’s opposition to an IHRA example stating that it is anti-Semitic to describe the foundation of the State of Israel as a “racist endeavour.” Adopting this would provide a blanket excuse to witch-hunt left-wing critics of Israel’s repressive actions against the Palestinians that were on display yet again in this week’s bombing of Gaza.

Corbyn appealed to his opponents to recognise that “This has been a difficult year in the Middle East, with the killing of many unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, and Israel’s new nation-state law relegating Palestinian citizens of Israel to second-class status.” Opposing this “should not be a source of dispute,” he pleaded.

However, this is precisely the source of the present dispute.

Manchester Jewish Action for Palestine wrote correctly that the anti-Semitism definition guidelines “are designed by Israeli propagandists to aid their many mass lobby attempts to stop international solidarity with the Palestinians and to deny Palestinians the right to express the nature of Israel’s 70 years of violence and racism towards them.”

Corbyn trails behind many of his erstwhile supporters in efforts to appease the right wing, to supposedly preserve party unity and get Labour elected.

McDonnell was among those who called for the disciplinary action against Hodge to be dropped and is reportedly supportive of the full adoption of the IHRA definition and examples. He is joined by Jon Lansman, who exercises almost total control of the pro-Corbyn Momentum group, Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB union, and Dave Prentis of Unison.

All such claims that Labour’s divisions can be mended by the simple expedient of adopting the IHRA definition in full is so much snake oil. A regime-change operation is again underway in the Labour Party. And if this fails, then a split will be organised. The appeasement of the right wing by Corbyn et al only demobilises the working class in the face of the political conspiracies being organised against it.

In the process, Corbyn’s insistence that Labour could be transformed into a party opposing austerity and war is being tested to destruction, confirming the warning made by the Socialist Equality Party in its first statement following Corbyn’s election as party leader in September 2015:

“No one can seriously propose that this party—which, in its politics and organisation and the social composition of its apparatus, is Tory in all but name—can be transformed into an instrument of working class struggle. The British Labour Party did not begin with Blair. It is a bourgeois party of more than a century’s standing and a tried and tested instrument of British imperialism and its state machine. Whether led by Clement Attlee, James Callaghan or Jeremy Corbyn, its essence remains unaltered.”

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Russiagate Conceals Nazi regime Meddling and Coming War with Iran

NOVANEWS

Russiagate Conceals Israeli Meddling and Coming War with Iran

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Since taking office a year and a half ago, the allegations of ‘collusion’ between U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign and the Russian government have buried nearly all other substantive issues in regards to his administration. This hasn’t been limited to marginalizing reportage of destructive domestic legislation or the escalation of endless war abroad. It has successfully diverted attention away from other foreign governments shaping U.S. policy and elections. The media has even downplayed Trump’s sycophantic behavior towards other heads of state in favor of their pathological obsession with his perceived obsequiousness toward Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is largely because “Russiagate” is not based on facts or evidence, but a psychological operation conducted by the intelligence community through mass media disseminating suggestive and pre-selected disinformation about Trump and Russia. Not only has it enabled the national security state and political establishment to neutralize the anti-Trump “resistance”, it has become a smokescreen for the ‘collusion’ between Trump and the state of Israel which continues to guide his decision making.

One month after his shocking victory and before his inauguration, one of the top members of Trump’s transition team, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, directly contacted members of the UN Security Council and urged them to block a draft resolution that condemned illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. General Flynn corresponded with diplomats from several foreign governments (including Russia) to learn their stance on the resolution and tried to persuade them to vote against it. Flynn would later plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his discussions with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. The Israeli government candidly admitted to seeking help from Trump’s transition team and it was his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who put Flynn up to the task. However, it is not unusual for foreign officials to communicate with an incoming administration and Flynn lobbied envoys from other nations in addition to Russia.

None of this prevented the media from neglecting the substance of Flynn’s guilty plea to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which is that he likely gave the FBI incomplete information about his communication with Kislyak only because the Trump campaign was already under inquiry for ties to the Kremlin. In a mindless frenzy, the media have presumed this correspondence between Flynn and a Russian official was evidence of a diabolical plot between Trump and the Kremlin that occurred during the election. The fact that the transition team did collude with Israel or the actual content of his talks with the Russian Ambassador was reduced to a footnote. It is not that the double-dealing between Israel and Trump has been unreported, but rather it is normalized and deemed completely acceptable because relations with Israel are unquestionable.

If there is a foreign country which routinely interferes i n U.S. elections , it is the state of Israel through its immeasurably powerful lobbying groups. Its most influential organization is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which is not forced to register as a foreign agent as its tentacles permeate into all aspects of the democratic process. AIPAC closely monitors American elections at every level, blackmailing the support of the entire U.S. congress to deliberately ignore Israel’s reckless violation of international law, its ever-expanding illegal occupation of Palestine, and war crimes in Gaza and Lebanon. For the same reason, the media continues to whitewash the IDF’s ongoing massacres on the Gaza strip, while the mantra of “Putin kills journalists!” is chanted as Israeli snipers murder Palestinian journalists on camera wearing “PRESS” across their chests. In turn, the Zionist lobby manipulates the bias of major news outlets and infiltrates the rosters of the Washington elite think tank community. Israel disrupts U.S. elections and impacts the media far and away more than any other country, but even mentioning this fact can relegate a journalist to marginal publications or risk being publicly smeared as an anti-Semite.

Recently, it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr. and Blackwater founder Erik Prince had met with an Israeli private intelligence firm called PSY-Group offering social media manipulation services in August 2016. Most of the mainstream media coverage minimized the significance that the firm is an Israel-based company, whose ominous motto is to “Shape Reality.” Instead, coverage of the Mueller probe has focused exclusively on the Russian-based Internet Research Agency indicted by the U.S. Justice Department for “conspiracy to defraud the United States.” The premise that an internet marketing and clickbait scam company owned by a ex-hot dog salesman could have swayed the election of the most powerful country in human history simply by sharing memes and buying Facebook ads through phony social media accounts is beyond comprehension.

While blame for election interference has been squarely placed on Russia, Israel has managed to escape free from any scrutiny despite the disclosures about PSY-Group. Meanwhile the consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, founded by Breitbart CEO/White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannonand pro-Trump billionaire Robert Mercer, became the center of controversy when it was exposed for illegally mining the data of millions of Facebook users as it worked for the Trump and Brexit campaigns. Yet according to a whistleblower, the firm had also employed the Israeli private security firm Black Cube to hack an election in Nigeria. Black Cube is the same agency formed by ex-Mossad agents implicated in the Harvey Weinstein scandal that sparked the #MeToo movement. Why has this revelation aroused little to no interest from the Mueller team or the media?

If an analysis were based on Trump’s actual policies, there would be no clearer front-runner for impact on his governance than Israel. It goes beyond his plans for a border wall being modeled after the West Bank and Egypt-Sinai barrier fences. As President, he has surpassed each of his predecessors in out-and-out support for the Jewish state and hostility towards the Palestinians. The controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, approved by 90 out of 100 Senators, has irreparably damaged any remaining belief that the U.S. was ever a neutral peace broker in seventy years of Israeli-Palestinian relations. The move to recognize Jerusalem as the ‘undivided’ capital of Israel has been his most bipartisan measure — coastal elite liberals and the Bible Belt may like to appear worlds apart, but on fanatical support for Israel they too are ‘undivided.’ The Israel lobby has long held sway over both major parties and it was Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who led the applause of Trump’s Jerusalem decision, the same fanatical Zionist who has sought to make boycotting of Israel a felony crime.

Israel has also determined much of Trump’s other foreign policy moves, especially those towards its sworn enemy — the Islamic Republic of Iran. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adamantly opposed the nuclear deal framework even though spy cables revealed that his own intelligence agency contradicts his claims about their nuclear capabilities. The motive for Iran to agree to the nuclear deal was primarily to alleviate the damage done from decades of economic sanctions by the U.S. The crisis itself is engineered — in actuality Iran long ago ended its nuclear program but it’s wounded economy forced it into accepting the terms of the now abandoned Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). As if this weren’t enough, a recently leaked clip of Benjamin Netanyahu bragging about convincing Trump to withdraw from the Iran deal was made public but was buried in the headlines during the Helsinki summit with Putin. This collusion didn’t bother Democrats one bit as both parties just unanimously approved a $38-billion aid package to Israel for the next ten years.

It was Trump’s opponent in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton, who as Secretary of State delisted the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (People’s Mujahideen of Iran) from the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations in 2012. The militant organization (abbreviated MEK, MKO or PMOI) is a cult-like group in exile which advocates the violent overthrow of the Iranian government and was officially designated a terror group for 15 years by the U.S. It was removed by the Obama administration after aggressive lobbying by its political wing based in France, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Two of Trump’s top associates — war hawk National Security Advisor John Bolton and his lawyer representing him in the Mueller probe, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — have repeatedly met with the MEK in recent years giving highly paid speeches at their events advocating regime change in Iran.

Founded in 1965, the MEK committed terrorist attacks throughout the Shah’s reign which killed thousands of Iranians and also included several plots that took the lives of U.S. personnel. The group today claims the attacks which killed Americans were committed by a breakaway Marxist faction of the group during a period when the Shah imprisoned its founder, Massoud Rajavi, but the evidence of it’s violent past (and present) is overwhelming. This is yet another instance of the U.S. re-branding terrorism when it suits its interests while simultaneously conducting a vaguely defined war against it. The decision to remove the group from the blacklist was a politicized move as the criminal activity of the MEK has never ceased. Another motive has been the group’s close ties with Israel, whose intelligence agency Mossad has trained MEK operatives in committing assassinations against Iranian nuclear scientists.

In 1979, the MEK participated in the Islamic Revolution which overthrew the U.S.-backed Shah. Persian royalty had been in power for more than 2,000 years, but the Pahlavi monarchy had been re-installed as a U.S. puppet following a CIA/MI6 coup d’etat in 1953 green-lighted by Winston Churchill and the Eisenhower administration. The illegal putsch ousted the first ever democratically-elected President of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, who had nationalized the Iranian oil industry and thrown out foreign oil companies like the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, later known as British Petroleum (BP), recently known for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Shah ruled brutally over Iran serving Western oil interests until the Islamic Revolution which was a huge loss for U.S. hegemony that it has sought to regain ever since. After the popular uprising, Ayatollah Khomeini consolidated power and pushed out the leftist participants, liberal elements and rival Islamists like the MEK. The group was then outlawed and went into exile after a failed insurrection.

MEK demonstation during the Revolution when it was aligned with Khomeini

During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Saddam Hussein (then supported by the U.S.) allowed the MEK to operate in Iraq, providing weapons and funding to carry out terrorist attacks against Tehran. When the U.S. invaded Baghdad in 2003, the remaining MEK and its nearly 3,000 Iranian exiles were given protection status by the Bush administration in U.S. military facilities. Massoud Rajavi disappeared during the U.S. invasion and to this day his whereabouts are still unknown. His wife, Maryam Rajavi, has led the group since and continued the cult of personality that existed around her husband’s leadership, purging critics and assassinating defectors while rebranding the terror cult as a ‘pro-democracy’ organization. The new Iraqi government began to develop close relations with Iran during the period which saw the rise of ISIS and the MEK were suddenly no longer welcome. Iraqi security forces raided their base in Camp Ashraf killing dozens of MEK members, a sign of waning U.S. influence in post-Saddam Iraq. The Rajavi cult have since been evicted and relocated to Albania and NATO-occupied Kosovo where the group has strong Islamist supporters. In Albania’s capitol Tirana, the exiled opposition group is currently based in a compound known as ‘Ashraf 3’.

Photograph of the secret MEK facility in Albania

The group is also known by the CIA to have aligned itself with ISIS against the Iranian-backed government in Iraq that expelled them. ISIS and MEK even likely coordinated terrorist attacks in June 2017 in Iran just as the Trump administration increased the economic sanctions. In addition to Ashraf 3, the MEK is allegedly being trained at the NATO military base in Kosovo, Camp Bondsteel, possibly for a regime change operation in Iran. Concurrently, Trump is reported to be preparing to strike Tehran as early as this month according to the Australian Geo-Spatial Intelligence Organization, just as he tweeted threats at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The decision to use Kosovo as a base of operations for the MEK is consistent with the protectorate’s history — it was established after seceding from Serbia when the Clinton administration supported another de-listed Islamist terror group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), in NATO’s bombing campaign against Belgrade in 1999.

Trump rhetorically has been a harsh critic of NATO and the media has used this as further ‘evidence’ of his secret allegiance to the Kremlin, but an examination of his actual courses of action show the contrary. NATO has already expanded to include Montenegro in it’s membership and Trump is sending arms to Ukraine in its war against pro-Russian separatists. The National Security Council added an additional $200 million worth in support immediately following the Helsinki summit in a move the Obama administration had opted against. Even a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a NATO-funded think tank, assessed that Trump has taken a very hard-line stance on Russia despite the photo opportunity with Putin. After all, the summit did not result in the lifting of sanctions or the recognition of Crimea as Russian territory as some predicted. Apart from his rhetoric, what policies has Trump enacted that appease Russian interests?

If his statements and policies diverge, what remains a mystery is the intention behind his dialogue with Russia. Many speculate it is an effort to realign Washington with Moscow to halt the ascent of China while driving a wedge between Iran and Russia. While Putin may have rebuilt the Russian economy, the claim that Moscow has become a rival ‘superpower’ is greatly exaggerated — Washington’s main geopolitical challenger is China. Obama’s “pivot to Asia” turned out to be a catastrophic failure, as did the attempt to oust Assad in Syria and desperation move to covertly back the failed Gülenist coup in Turkey. Regardless of whether Trump’s motive is to reset U.S. foreign policy or the unlikely possibility Putin would ever agree to an alliance against China, the imaginary Russian collusion narrative is subterfuge which benefits Israel. It is either inadvertently or purposefully concealing the principal guilty party in meddling in the U.S. election — Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel.

The 2016 election was a contest over how best to arrange the deck chairs of the Titanic — either way the empire has overplayed its hand and the ship was going down no matter the outcome. We are told that American voters, specifically the “white working class”, were too stupid to think for themselves. They did not follow orders from the “polls” predicting a 90% chance of a Clinton victory, which really were belittling instructions as to how to vote. We are led to believe they chose to elect a populist demagogue instead of Wall Street’s darling because they were brainwashed by ‘Russian interference’, not the collusion on the part of the DNC to rig the primaries in Clinton’s favor. Apparently, this same logic does not apply when Israel interrupts US elections — their interference doesn’t rob Americans of their agency in the voting process.

Israel is also directly supporting the ascendancy of the far right in the West that the same liberals have raised the alarm about while pointing the finger at Moscow. In the EU, Israel has close ties with Hungary’s anti-Semitic President Viktor Orban and the other nations of the Visegrád 4 Group in the grip of anti-immigrant hostility. It is even providing military aid to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion in Ukrainefighting pro-Russian separatists. The links between the U.S. far right and Zionist organizations is also no secret, with Steve Bannon having spoken at ZOA galas despite being an alleged anti-Semite. Israel controversially just passed the “Jewish nation-state” law that mirrors Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Race laws, inscribing ethno-nationalism and the complete exclusion of Arabs into its very definition as a state. At the same time, the definition of anti-Semitism has been conflated into being synonymous with criticism of Israel, which is the exact sentiment that is causing the media to disregard Trump’s collusion with Netanyahu in favor of Russiagate. It is also the same schizophrenic logic that enables Israel to align itself with the far right.

If history is any indicator, when an empire is in decline it will seek out scapegoats to place blame for its downfall. It is no coincidence that while the far right expresses hostility towards immigration and the demise of the nation state by globalism, the political establishment is inculpating the rising power of Russia for the end of America’s full spectrum dominance. When all is said and done, the Democratic Party will only have itself to blame for its utterly failed strategy of atomizing the working class on cultural issues while neglecting to address the collapsing global economy. We can only hope that its defeat will open new political space for those who wish to confront it.

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USA: THE KLEPTOCACY BUREAUCRACY ‘Video’

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Image result for bureaucracy cartoon

“THE GREAT NARROWING”
MILLIONS OF GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATE “DO-NOTHING” JOBS

There’s “democracy” – rule by the people.

Then there’s “meritocracy” – rule by the best.

Introducing the dominant government mode today: Kleptocracy

Local government and state government, federal government and corporations – they’re all playing the same game.

“I’ll scratch your back. You scratch my back.”

Warren Pollock explains the “new welfare.” Millions of government and corporate “do-nothing” jobs.

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Drifting Away from Peace

NOVANEWS

According to a new study, peaceful countries are getting more peaceful while the violent are getting more violent

"Despite the sharp decline in interstate conflicts and deaths of military personnel, the significant number of deaths of civilians in the civil wars continues to pose threat." (Photo: Sergeeva Leka via Shutterstock)

“Despite the sharp decline in interstate conflicts and deaths of military personnel, the significant number of deaths of civilians in the civil wars continues to pose threat.” (Photo: Sergeeva Leka via Shutterstock)

With the Cold War ending in the early 1990s, some Western scholars predicted a more peaceful world with liberal democracy the only game in town. The findings of the Global Peace Index suggest otherwise.

The twelfth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) reports that the global level of peace deteriorated by 0.27 per cent last year. Europe and United States, the world’s most peaceful regions, recorded a decline in peacefulness for the third straight year. This is not merely a one-year decline. Rather, it’s part of a decade-long trend: global peacefulness has deteriorated by 2.38 per cent since 2008.

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a non-partisan think tank headquartered in Sydney, has been publishing yearly editions of GPI for the last 13 years. Covering 99.7 per cent of the world population, the index ranks 163 independent states and territories in three domains – safety and security in the society, involvement in ongoing conflicts, and militarization – according to 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators.

In addition to presenting the findings for the last year, this year’s edition also includes analyses of trends in positive peace: the attitudes, institutions, and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies. It turns out that much like the trend of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, the most peaceful countries are getting more peaceful whereas the least peaceful are further declining on the scale.

The major reasons for the deterioration in global peace are ongoing violent conflicts. A century after World War I, the theater of war has shifted from interstate conflicts in Europe to internationalized civil wars and terrorist violence in the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America. International powers are involved in one-third of all armed conflicts, making them intractable. At the same time, a dramatic increase in deaths, the majority of which are civilian, has taken place only in a handful of countries. That should explain why ill-fated Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq persist among the bottom five countries.

Sustaining these high levels of violence comes with an economic cost, which the GPI estimates at around $14.76 trillion for 2017: roughly $2,000 per person on the planet. Consider, for example, the costs of violence at the Siachin Glacier, a 50-mile stretch of Himalayan glacier, a source of pointless contention between two nuclear-armed nations, Pakistan and India. Researcher Sajjad Padder estimates that a Pakistani soldier dies every fourth day and an Indian soldier every other day – solely because of weather conditions on the glacier and without a single shot fired. India and Pakistan together spend an estimated $350 million every year to maintain soldiers in unlivable conditions of 70 degrees below zero. Associate Professor Happymon Jacob at Jawahir Lal Nehru University in New Delhi, India, argues that this military standoff is “mostly symbolic and political, not strategic or military.”

Intractable conflicts in the Middle East have affected Syria and Iraq the worst but the spillover effect from these conflicts has also contributed to deterioration in the ranks of more peaceful and richer countries. Commenting on this interconnectivity in a more globalized world, Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis explains, “Europe and Middle East are not separable anymore. The Syrian conflict is more than a civil war. It is also regional, sectarian, and global where Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United States, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan are all involved.”

Other than the countries directly involved, the Syrian conflict also continues to affect other countries indirectly by producing more than six million refugees worldwide. “Violent conflicts in the Middle East have affected governance and societies everywhere, most notably the United States which has enacted controversial laws such as the Muslim travel ban,” adds Bennis. “Clearly, human rights has given up its standing on the priority list to nationalism.”

The United States, meanwhile, has a very poor showing in the GPI. Its ranking is 121, just above Myanmar and well below Honduras, El Salvador, Rwanda, and Burkina Faso. Although the United States has done poorly in terms of safety and security as well as ongoing conflict, its rank in the militarization domain is particularly dire: fourth from the bottom, below Syria and above only North Korea, Russia, and Israel. The report notes that the US score has deteriorated across all three domains since last year. “For a number of years, the United States has scored the worst possible scores on such variables as incarceration, involvement in external conflicts, weapons exports, and nuclear weapons” says the report.

“The United States spends more on its military than any country in the world – all while its politicians claim not to be able to afford measures like universal health care and free or low-cost higher education that are commonplace in other wealthy nations,” notes Lindsay Koshgarian, program director for the National Priorities Project. “At the same time, the U.S. military polls as citizens’ most trusted institution, above organized religion, the media, public schools, the courts, and far above Congress. A good deal of American exceptionalism – the belief that America is and always will be ‘number one’ – seems based on wartime victories going as far back as World War II.”

Some regions and countries have improved their measures of peace. The election of new president Adama Barrow in Gambia has improved relationships between Gambia and its neighbors, particularly Senegal. Gambia, thus, improved from number 111 last year to 76 in this year’s report. Countries in Eastern Europe also improved their scores whereas Asia Pacific retained its position as the third most peaceful region in the world.

Chic Dambach, Woodrow Wilson visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins University, is positive about overall improvement in human conditions. “Hunger, poverty, infant mortality have declined dramatically, and democracies have emerged in much of the world,” he points out. “All of that is to the good and worthy of celebration.” However, despite the sharp decline in interstate conflicts and deaths of military personnel, the significant number of deaths of civilians in the civil wars continues to pose threat.

Dambach is also concerned about the renewed arms race between China, Russia, and the United States. “The newly launched G. R. Ford aircraft carrier cost $13 billion with two more on the way, and the acquisition cost of the F-35 is $406 billion,” he notes. “The actual combat utility of these and other new weapons systems in a climate of asymmetrical warfare is questionable, but the benefit to the arms industry is clear. Sadly, as these tools of destruction are produced, some may feel compelled to use them. Therein lies great risk and a call for a new movement for peace.”

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