Archive | May 29th, 2019

BBC misreports John Kerry on talks failure

By Nureddin Sabir
Editor, Redress Information & Analysis

For once, US Secretary of State John Kerry was not mincing his words when he blamed Israel for the breakdown of talks with the Palestinians.

But you would not have known this if you were following the story from the BBC News website.

What Kerry actually said

Here is how Philip Weiss, founder and co-editor of the news website Mondoweiss characterized Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 7 April:

John Kerry, Secretary of State, blamed the Israelis for the breakdown of peace talks during a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. Israel failed to release prisoners on time according to a deal it had with Palestinians, then announced 700 settlement units – “poof!”– causing the latest breakdown in the talks…

And this is what Kerry actually said:

In my judgment both leaders have made courageous and important decisions up until now. For Prime Minister Netanyahu to release prisoners is a painful, difficult political step to take, enormously hard, and the people of Israel have been incredibly supportive and patient in giving him the space in order to do that. In exchange for the deal being kept of the release of prisoners and not going to the U.N. Unfortunately, the prisoners weren’t released on the Saturday they were supposed to be released. And so day went by, day two went by day three went by and then in the afternoon when they were about to maybe get there, 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem. And poof! That was sort of the moment.

Weiss called it possibly a historic moment.

As Juan Cole, Professor of History at Michigan University, stresses:

Kerry attributed the breakdown to two separate Israeli moves. One was to decline to release the remaining 25 or so Palestinian prisoners jailed before 1993, whose release had been agreed to in the Oslo Peace Accords (a pledge on which Israel reneged, as it did on the whole Oslo process), and which Israel had undertaken to free last August. The second was the announcement of 700 new squatter homes in Palestinian East Jerusalem by fanatical Israeli expansionist Housing Minister Uri Ariel.

Even the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said it was disappointed over Kerry’s remarks, which implicitly means they saw it as apportioning the blame for the talks’ collapse on Israel.

How the BBC reported Kerry to absolve Israel

However, the BBC News website chose to fudge the truth by making it seem that Kerry had blamed not Israel but both Israel and the Palestinians in equalmeasure.

According to the BBC, Kerry “blamed both sides for taking ‘unhelpful’ steps”.

But search Kerry’s full statement and you will not find the word “unhelpful” anywhere. The only person who mentioned the word “unhelpful” was State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, as reported by the Israeli news website Ynet.

So, either the person who wrote the BBC report is sloppy or incompetent, or there is something more sinister at work.

Although sloppiness and incompetence are no strangers to the BBC, there is reasonable ground to suspect that there is something more sinister.

Raffi Berg, the BBC’s in-house Israel flag waver

This is none other than Raffi Berg, the head of the Middle East section of the BBC News website.

Raffi Berg

Raffi Berg – caught telling BBC staff to write more favourably about Israel

As we reported last August, Berg had been caught sending his staff emails advising them to write more favourably about Israel. According to Electronic Intifada, which exposed Berg’s behind-the-scenes work on behalf of Israel, Berg sent an email to staff during Israel’s eight-day assault on Gaza in November 2012, which killed nearly 200 Palestinians, asking them

to word their stories in a way which does not blame or “put undue emphasis” on Israel for starting the prolonged attacks. Instead, he encouraged journalists to promote the Israeli government line that the “offensive” was “aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza”.

This was despite the fact that Israel broke a ceasefire when it attacked Gaza on 14 November, a ceasefire which the Palestinians had been observing – firing no rockets into Israel

In a second email, sent during the same period, Berg told BBC journalists: “Please remember, Israel doesn’t maintain a blockade around Gaza. Egypt controls the southern border.” He omitted to mention that the UN viewed Israel as the occupying power in Gaza and has called on Israel to end its siege of the Strip. Israel’s refusal to do so is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

The similarity between the instruction to misreport the Israeli aggression on Gaza and the BBC News website’s downplaying of Kerry’s blame for the failure of the talks with the Palestinians is too close to be accidental. We detect the hands of Berg.

Zionists at the BBC’s helm

To be fair, Berg is not the only Israel pimp working at the BBC. Others include the notorious Zionist James Purnell, who in February 2013 was put in charge of BBC policy and strategy, and the head of BBC News, James Harding.

According to Electronic Intifada, in 2011 Harding spoke at a media event organized by the Jewish Chronicle, telling his audience:

I am pro-Israel. I believe in the state of Israel. I would have had a real problem if I had been coming to a paper [The Times, of which he was editor before taking up his BBC job] with a history of being anti-Israel. And, of course, Rupert Murdoch is pro-Israel.

Eight years ago the BBC’s governing body commissioned an independent report which concluded that BBC coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “does not consistently constitute a full and fair account of the conflict but rather, in important respects, presents an incomplete and in that sense misleading picture”. The reasons for this have long been the subject of serious academic studies, the best known of which is Greg Philo’s and Mike Berry’s More Bad News from Israel.

Without a doubt, the presence of Raffi Berg, James Purnell, James Harding and other Zionists in key positions at the BBC will ensure that the corporation’s bias in favour of Israel will not only continue but will get worst.

As we never tire of repeating, it is past time that an independent authority investigate how Zionists in key positions at the BBC are shaping coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

This is a matter of grave concern because not only is the BBC a publicly-funded news organization, but it is also self-regulated, which means that it pretty much gets away with murder before anyone will say “poof’, to use Kerry’s word.

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A robust message from Palestine’s foreign minister

A robust message from Palestine’s foreign minister and an attempt at Israeli propaganda from BBC Israeli hasbara asset Raffi Berg
Raffi Berg - BBC hasbara agent

“Freedom not conditional liberty. Sovereignty not limited autonomy. Peace not subjugation:” Riad Malki sends plain message to Trump and Kushner in run-up to their “Deal of the century”

Stuart Littlewood reports on Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki’s eloquent representation of the Palestinians’ “historic compromise” with Israel and how the BBC website’s Middle East Editor Raffi Berg tried to steer the discussion in a pro-Israel direction.

By Stuart Littlewood

Chatham House, the international affairs think-tank in London, recently invited Dr Riad Malki, Palestine’s minister of foreign affairs, to talk about the future of Palestine ahead of the “Deal of the century” dreamed up by the Trump administration. Malki is involved in shaping the Palestinian response to that initiative when it is finally revealed.

During questions Raffi Berg (pictured above), editor of the BBC News website’s Middle East section, said that while the official Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) position is for two states as the solution to the conflict, he mischievously suggested that the recent Israel election results showed that Israelis consider the Palestinians’ position to be “insincere”. He asked: “Can you make clear whether you fully accept the presence of Israel as a country in the Middle East within/outside [indistinct] the 1967 ceasefire line?”

This sounded a little off-key from the BBC, which is supposed to maintain an air of utter impartiality. However, Malki dealt with the unfriendly prod quite firmly:

We have made it very clear that we are going to accept, and we have taken the decision to accept, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, to accept the historic compromise that the state of Palestine will be established on the 22 per cent of historic Palestine. It is not only the Palestinian position, it is the position of almost every country around the world.

He reminded the audience that there is international consensus about the two-state solution and that the Palestinian state should be established on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem the capital of Palestine and of Israel. He continued:

We have also agreed in principle that we are ready during negotiations to talk about territorial exchange but always to keep the 1967 border as the border of the state of Palestine. So, we are not going to accept anything less than that.

If anyone talks about the State of Palestine on less than the 1967 border, or the State of Israel beyond that line, this is not acceptable because it defies not only the negotiating position but international law and the international consensus.

I recently wrote about Hanan Ashrawi, a long-time member of the PLO executive and an all-round formidable lady, saying we should see and hear more of her in a front line spokes role. The same goes for Raid Malki who is well informed and articulate and came across well at Chatham House. That they remain invisible to the Western world is the fault of the PLO and Palestinian Authority who are simply not media savvy and stubbornly intend to remain that way. Their embassies (or missions) around the globe are the same.

Malki was a one-time leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and has a PhD in civil engineering from the American University. His impressive CV includes Head of the Civil Engineering Department at Birzeit University, the European Peace Prize in 2000 in Copenhagen and the Italian Peace Prize (Lombardi) in 2005. He is a visiting professor at several European universities.

In his Chatham House speech Malki pulls no punches: “I know that some may be uncomfortable to hear the words ‘colonialism’ and ‘apartheid’ associated with Israel. But they are what we experience on a daily basis and what is visible to the naked eye.”

As for America, “the US administration has shown nothing but disregard for Palestinian rights and Palestinian lives, for international law and the internationally recognised terms of reference, and for common sense and decency”.

The Palestinian people, he insists, “want freedom not conditional liberty. They want sovereignty and not limited autonomy. They want peace and coexistence not domination and subjugation. He continued:

There are two ways to end the conflict: a peace accord or capitulation, meaning a surrender act. We continue to stand ready to negotiate the peace accords based on the internationally recognised terms of reference and the pre-1967 borders, under international monitoring holding accountable the parties and within a determined and binding timeframe. We will never be ready to sign a surrender act.

It is worth watching the video. Sparks are set to fly when Trump and Kushner eventually unveil their big deal.

I’m not a reader of the BBC News website. Long ago I came to distrust the BBC’s reporting of Middle East affairs, so I tend to ignore it. Berg’s line of questioning prompted me to look deeper and I found this piece from 2013 by Amena Saleem in Electronic Intifada titled “BBC editor urged colleagues to downplay Israel’s siege of Gaza”, in which she reports that Berg, during Israel’s eight-day assault on Gaza in November 2012 which killed nearly 200 Palestinians, emailed BBC staff to write more favourably about Israel. He urged them, allegedly, not to blame Israel for the prolonged onslaught but to promote the Israeli government line that the “offensive” was “aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza”, despite the fact that it was Israel which broke the ceasefire.

In another email, he told them: “Please remember, Israel doesn’t maintain a blockade around Gaza. Egypt controls the southern border.” However, the United Nations regards Israel as the occupying power in Gaza and had called on Israel to end its siege, which is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

It is interesting to read that Berg’s boss until last year was James Harding, an ex-Murdoch editor and self-proclaimed Israel supporter – a strange choice for a supposedly non-partisan head of BBC News. Almost as strange as the appointment around the same time of ex-Labour minister and former Chairman of Labour Friends of Israel James Purnell as director of strategy at this beacon of impartiality. Purnell is still there.

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A Palestinian “resistance” view

Emmanuel Tierra

After 66 years of brutal occupation “peace talks without applying the principles of international law are an exercise in delusion”

By Stuart Littlewood

As expected, the “peace” talks farce has ended in disarray with all parties utterly discredited again. Do they never learn? Expect more acrobatics and slapstick if the same circus clowns remain in the ring.

We badly need a new act. Let this be the moment in history when world leaders finally stop talking poppycock about peace in relation to the Holy Land, and start talking justice.

A statement issued on 29 April by the Palestinians’ chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, seemed to say there will be no more negotiations until Israel complies with the 1967 borders and ends its illegal occupation. He didn’t mention explicitly that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) would now take their case to the International Criminal Court or War Crimes Tribunal; but he talked about using “every legitimate means possible” to pursue Palestine’s independence and fulfil its people’s rights.

We were also given figures showing how desperately the Israelis – those self-styled “partners for peace” – were trying to sabotage the talks throughout the nine months they were going on. They stepped up their occupation and colonization activities, announcing homes for over 55,000 new settlers. Israeli military and security officials killed 61 Palestinians and injured 1,100 more. There were 660 settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and property, including places of worship. And construction of more than 14,000 Jews-only housing units was begun in the illegal settlements while Israel demolished 508 Palestinian structures (196 residential and 312 business) in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, resulting in 878 persons being forcibly displaced.

While we wait for US Secretary of State John Kerry to contemplate the revolver on the silver tray and write his suicide note, readers will recall an earlier articletelling of my failed attempts to conduct an interview with the PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi and posting the unanswered questions instead. Well, they were suddenly answered, out of the blue, by Emmanuel Tierra, a former national security adviser to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and a former acting PLO chairman. He tells me he is currently a senior policy adviser and military analyst with the Provisional Interim Council of Government (PINCG), which is an unincorporated agency of individuals from all 17 Palestinian resistance groups, excluding the Palestinian Authority and Al-Qaeda-type organizations. Marwan Barghouti is chairman and joint chief of staff of the Militia and National Command Authority (MANCAT). Tierra is deputy chairman. I imagine these shadowy organizations are waiting in the wings for the day when Mahmoud Abbas finally falls under a bus, and are as new to most of you as they are to me.

Is he a spokesman for the PLO? I doubt it; he speaks with a different tone of voice. I asked Dr Ashrawi’s office – the Department of Information no less – and received no reply. So Tierra remains a rather mysterious, shadowy figure, and that’s maybe just as well in the circumstances. Here are some of his responses.

[Question] What do you expect John Kerry’s peace “framework” to deliver, and will it amount to any more than another giveaway of Palestinian positions, entitlements and assets?

[Answer] “There is only one framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is international law of the UN Charter and the laws of armed conflict.

“Without applying the principles of international law it is an exercise in delusion. The Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement was possible because it applied UNSC [UN Security Council Resolution] 242.”

UNSC 242 emphazises the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every state in the area can live in security. It also calls for “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and “termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force”, in accordance with UN Charter principles.

It emphasizes further that all member states in their acceptance of the UN Charter have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter. This says in particular:

  • All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice are not endangered.
  • All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
  • All members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
  • The organization shall ensure that states which are not members of the United Nations act in accordance with these principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Appeasing Netanyahu “destroys US credibility”

Tierra maintains that the Palestinian leadership has actually been successful in its negotiations inasmuch as it has “not sold out Palestinian sovereignty or territory for glass beads and trinkets. The only expectation that Palestinian citizens and the international community should have is that international law compliance will bear fruit for not only an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, but also Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese agreements.

“Palestinian Resistance leaders know very well that the USA cannot deliver any peace agreement with Netanyahu’s intransigence. We went along with this present effort so that the US administration and the American people could see for themselves that Israeli Zionism is the root of the problem and appeasing Netanyahu or any other Israeli leader who continues Israel’s criminal enterprise will eventually destroy the US’s credibility in the Middle East and globally.”

[Question] Why has the Palestinian leadership been so reluctant to take its case to the International Criminal Court, opting instead for more bogus negotiations mediated by a dishonest broker and giving the occupier even more time to establish irreversible “facts on the ground”? Shouldn’t maximum effort be made to reach a law-based solution, all other ways having failed?

[Answer] “First, Zionist ‘facts on the ground’ such as Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine West Bank are not irreversible. The Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 49 prohibiting the transfer of Israeli citizens into occupied territory, should see to that.

“The substantive issue is sovereignty and territorial integrity. UNGA [United Nations General Assembly Resolution] 181 divided the territory of Mandated Palestine as follows:

  • State of Palestine territory/sovereignty is defined in UNGA 181 Part II Boundaries A.,
  • State of Israel territory/sovereignty is defined in UNGA 181 Part II Boundaries B.,
  • Jerusalem is placed under UN trusteeship defined in UNGA 181 Part III, as a corpus separatum.

“Regardless of how anyone interprets the establishment of the state of Israel, the Israeli government in its UNGA 273 Accession to the UN Charter ‘unreservedly agreed’ to the international law context of UNGA 181.

“The Partition Plan also laid down a guarantee of the rights of minorities and religious rights, including free access to and the preservation of holy places, the constitution of an economic union between the two states, and a custom union, including equal access to water and energy resources.”

UNGA 181 called for the Security Council to consider whether the situation in Palestine constitutes a threat to peace. If it decides that such a threat exists, and in order to maintain international peace and security, the Security Council should supplement the authorization of the General Assembly by taking measures under articles 39 and 41 of the UN Charter, to empower the United Nations Commission to exercise in Palestine the functions which are assigned to it. It also called for the Security Council to determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution.

“To comply with UNSC 242 Israel will have to remove its war criminal settlers,” says Tierra. “The houses would remain within the context of a comprehensive peace agreement dealing with UNGA 181 Palestinian territories occupied since 1949 by the state of Israel. A lottery would award the houses to Palestinians currently living in refugee camps within Palestine and in third Arab states.

“This of course is within the context of Israeli reparations for 44 years of war crimes occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza. It assumes that a sincere Israeli leadership would be our partners in an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. A hardline Zionist government, however, might demolish the housing colonies, but compliance with UNSC 242 would still be required.”

As regards the International Criminal Court, Tierra points out that it does not have the universal jurisdiction that some people think. “It cannot apply retroactively. Its temporal jurisdiction is limited to acts committed after 1 July 2002. And its territorial jurisdiction is limited to nation states that have acceded to the Rome Statute. The state of Israel has not contracted with the ICC; the State of Palestine has just filed an Instrument of Accession.”

Sovereignty/territory of Israeli and Palestinian states as originally defined by UN

The questions that beg to be answered, he says, are:

  • “What is the sovereignty/territory of the state of Palestine?” and
  • “What is the sovereignty/territory of the state of Israel?”

He points again to UNGA 273 which admitted Israel to the United Nations and to Israel’s unreserved acceptance of binding obligations and unreserved agreement to the international law context of UNGA 181 and UNGA 194.

ICC jurisdiction includes a Chapter VII, Article 41 referral, but the provisions of articles 39 and 40 must to be exhausted (they surely must have been by now) before Articles 41 (sanctions or referral to the ICC) and 42 (military intervention) can be triggered.

[Question] What action is being taken to protect Palestine’s offshore and inland oil/gas reserves from being plundered by Israel? What is being done to retrieve Palestine’s water resources?

“UNGA 181 state of Palestine has been under occupation since 29 November 1947. Yet it is a UN Trusteeship State in accordance with the UN Charter Chapter XII, Article 80, Terms of Trusteeship, and as such should be under direct UN administration in accordance with charter Article 81.

“The Palestinian resistance leadership cannot protect these resources nor prevent Israel plundering them while UNGA 181 state of Palestine is under IDF [Israel Defence Forces] occupation and our people are under siege. Therefore, the Palestinian resistance is striving to become a professional military corpus, a professional diplomatic corpus and a professional public administration of civil servants. If we are to protect our natural resources, it is imperative that we defeat the Israelis diplomatically, although defeating them militarily would be nice.

“I emphasize that the General Assembly, with UNGA 3236, granted the PLO provisional sovereign powers, but these powers cannot be exercised until UNSC 242 is complied with. So, in order to protect the resources belonging to UNGA 181 state of Palestine we are steadily becoming a more professional agency of governance and liberation, with the aim of taking back our territory centimetre by centimetre if necessary.”

Incidentally, 3236 reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine, including their right to self-determination without external interference and their right to national independence and sovereignty. It also recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to regain their rights by all means in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and it appeals to all states and international organizations to help the Palestinian people in their struggle to restore those rights. UK are you listening?

[Question] When is President Abbas, who has long overstayed his term of office and exhausted his legitimacy, expected to step down? 

“The Palestinian Authority is fraud masquerading as national governance. Its only subscribers are the Israelis and the USA plus the cronies and stooges that draw PA salaries. The presidential term expired in 2009 and the legislature expired in 2010.”

Palestinian leaders who speak up for unity are likely to go on Israel’s kill list

[Question] What are the prospects for Palestinian unity and how much longer will it take to achieve? Palestinian women have been a tower of strength throughout the long years of occupation. Could Palestinian “girl power” be mobilized to help bring about unity? 

“Without Palestinian unity, we may as well just surrender to the Israelis because liberation cannot be achieved.

“Arafat and I formulated a Palestinian Defence Policy in 2000 that had as its objective the integration of all Palestinian resistance agencies into a Provisional Council of Government that was titled PALGAZ, PALWEB and PALIS, establishing political administration for Gaza, West Bank and territories occupied by Israel in 1949.

“Abbas was played by the Israelis, Europeans and Americans into attempting a coup of the Hamas-elected Palestinian Authority in 2007, which resulted in the PA and Fatah being expelled from Gaza.

“How long will it take to achieve Palestinian unity? The Palestinian resistance fragmentation of the 1970s into multiple agencies has hurt the Palestinian cause right up to the present time and was the result of self-idolatrous vanity. It will take as long as it takes to instil into the emergent leadership that governance and legitimate political authority are intended to serve the interests of the people and not selfish greed.

“Equality of women shall be a cornerstone of the Palestinian political community. Anything less would be an offence against the very persons who have been heads of households while their men have been in Israeli prisons. All that is needed is to offer women the opportunity to voice their opinions through their votes, and voice their concerns through equal opportunities in education and employment.

“The present PLO-Hamas unity agreement was envisioned by myself and Arafat under the title ‘Articles of Confederation’. Unity will take as long is it takes to grasp the reality that no one is coming to help Palestinians remove the Israeli yoke of oppression – not the third Arab state, not the human rights preaching Americans, not the civil rights preaching Europeans, and certainly not the Palestinian Authority.”

He’s right, of course. The “great and good” are ultimately unprincipled, as they demonstrate repeatedly. Civil society, however, is angered by the inaction of those who are supposed to represent them, and movements like Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) are fast gaining ground.

“And Palestinian unity will become a reality,” says Tierra, “when Palestinians stop believing in the delusion that 100 per cent of the Mandate of Palestine should or could be liberated. The state of Israel is a permanent fixture among nation states. So, we must embrace international law, UN Charter Article 80, Terms of UN Trusteeship, and UNGA 181 because these offer protection to the viability of a nation state of Palestine as defined in UNGA 181 Part II Boundaries.”

[Question] Israel has run rings round the Palestinians media-wise. Communication is practically non-existent. What professional media training do key people at the PA and PLO receive?

“Palestinians are building a nation state from scratch without any help other than the UN agencies that are humanitarian-aid-focused and not diplomatically focused.

“I am 100 per cent in agreement that Palestinian resistance agencies should incorporate public diplomacy. However, please understand that the Israelis since the 1960s have targeted for killing all Palestinian leadership that voice opinions that would unify Palestinians or expose the reality of Israel’s war criminal enterprise.”

That’s a chilling thought on which to end.

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Peace process: PLO ignores interview request

Hanan Ashrawi

Questions activists want answered are posted here

By Stuart Littlewood

The futile exercise reviving peace talks between Mahmoud Abbas’s half-baked puppet administration and the Israelis has come to a much-predicted end. It collapsed after Israel reneged on an agreement to release Palestinian prisoners, having achieved absolutely nothing. It should have collapsed before then under the provocation of Israel’s continuing illegal settlement programme. We now wait with bated breath for US Secretary of State John Kerry’s next step, if any. Perhaps even more lopsided peace talks while Israel’s relentless colonizing of occupied Palestinian land with Jewish squatters continues.

Seven weeks ago, in anticipation of this fateful moment in Palestinian history, I asked Dr Hanan Ashrawi of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for an interview and sent her some draft questions.


Dr Ashrawi is a member of the PLO Executive Committee and runs the Department of Culture and Information. A former chair of the Department of English at Birzeit University and highly articulate, she is an experienced and formidable politician. Western activists regard her as a “good egg” and wish they could hear her speak on behalf of Palestinians more often.

It’s a familiar story with Palestinian politicians. they treat the media, and even friendly journalists and writers such as myself, with contempt.

I got no reply, and after repeating my request her media assistant asked me make contact again in a few weeks, which I did. That was a fortnight ago. I have heard nothing, not even an acknowledgement. It’s a familiar story with Palestinian politicians. they treat the media, and even friendly journalists and writers such as myself, with contempt. Then they wonder why they don’t get space or air-time when they want it, and why it is Israel’s narrative that’s broadcast.

It’s hardly surprising that Palestinians never make progress towards freedom – indeed the prospect is more distant than ever – despite having international law and most of world opinion on their side. Losing so heavily, in the circumstances, is a truly remarkable achievement; so remarkable, you wonder if it’s deliberate.

In the eight years I’ve been writing in support of the Palestinian cause I have had no help from Palestinian politicians or their bureaucrats. I find them an uncommunicative “awkward squad” but hoped Dr Ashrawi might be different.

Questions awaiting answers

No matter, I’ll set out the questions here. And if “good egg” Dr Ashrawi or any of her PLO colleagues wish to use this opportunity to enthuse campaigners and help sympathizers understand, they are welcome to write in with their answers.

  • What do you expect John Kerry’s peace “framework” to deliver, and will it amount to any more than another giveaway of Palestinian positions, entitlements and assets?
  • Why has the Palestinian leadership been so reluctant to take its case to the International Criminal Court [ICC], opting instead for more bogus negotiations mediated by a dishonest broker and giving the occupier even more time to establish irreversible  “facts on the ground”? Shouldn’t maximum effort be made to reach a law-based solution, all other ways having failed?
  • Why is the negotiating team still headed by Saeb Erekat, a serial resigner with a long record of failure?
  • When the present round of talks ends this month, will the Palestinian Authority, or PLO, then pursue matters in the ICC? Has the groundwork been done so that there’s no further delay?
  • In the meantime, what action is being taken to protect Palestine’s offshore and inland oil/gas reserves from being plundered by Israel? What is being done to retrieve Palestine’s water resources?
  • When is President Abbas, who has long overstayed his term of office and exhausted his legitimacy, expected to step down? Who is likely to replace him – the mobster Muhammad Dahlan?
  • How do you rate the prospects for Palestinian unity and how much longer will it take to achieve? Palestinian women have been a tower of strength throughout the long years of occupation and the Palestinians’ famed resilience in the face of brutal repression is in large part thanks to them. Could Palestinian “girl power” be mobilized to bang heads together and bring about unity? Left to the men it may never happen.
  • All these years Israel has run rings round the Palestinians media-wise. Communication is practically non-existent. For example, writers such as myself are never kept informed or briefed on important developments. What professional media training do key people at the PA [Palestinian Authority] and PLO receive?
  • As a Christian yourself, how would you describe Muslim-Christian relations (a) in the West Bank and (b) in Gaza where Christians are a tiny minority?
  • Many people have called for the Palestinian Authority to be dissolved. If that were to happen, what should replace it?
  • Israeli occupation authorities have detained 11 Palestinian MPs and one minister since shortly after the 2006 elections. We seldom hear of efforts to secure their release. What is their present situation?

These, I felt, were some of the questions at the front of activists’ minds.

No justice, no peace

As it happens the rival factions, Hamas and Fatah, have just met to agree preliminary moves to end the division and establish an interim unity government headed by Abbas. The previous unity government, in 2007, was headed by Hamas (who won the 2006 elections) and lasted only three months. It was dissolved by Abbas. Whether they’ll do better this time, we’ll have to wait and see, but America and Israel have already objected to Palestinian unity (as if it’s any of their damn business), bleating that Hamas is a terror organization and cannot be involved in government. Does anyone still buy that crapaganda about Israel being the victim of terror when it is clearly the chief perpetrator? Only the zombies in the White House and certain European Union capitals.

Spokeswoman for the US State Department Jen Psaki said the Palestinian announcement jeopardized the continuation of the fragile peace process, while Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ranted that the unity deal “buried” the peace talks – which he himself had already killed off.

Actually it doesn’t matter what any of them say. There can be no peace without justice, and justice in this case can only be obtained in a court of law. Failure to recognize this simple truth is plainly perverse.

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Will Palestinians ever “seize their destiny”


… and stop running head-on into a brick wall?

By Stuart Littlewood

Some commentators have been saying that Israel’s latest land-grab has effectively killed off the two-state solution (if such a thing was ever truly feasible). And this has led to questions like, what should the Palestinians do next?

Palestinians must have been asking themselves the same thing for the last 64 years. They themselves are well acquainted with their rights and the crimes committed against them. They know what they must defend to the last. They also know – and if they don’t they must figure it out quickly – what to do next in order to secure those rights.

Putting Palestinian interests first

More than four years ago I came across a report entitled Regaining the Initiative: Palestinian Strategic Options to End Israeli Occupationby the Palestine Strategy Group, which shows that at least some of them had an answer.

The document “reflects an alternative to an official but impotent Palestinian discourse that will very shortly, in the judgment of most Palestinians, run head-on into a brick wall”. That was the view expressed by Sam Behour, a Palestinian entrepreneur and one of 45 politicians, academics, business people and others who participated in the study.

They set out a number of tasks for the Palestinians if they were to bring the sterile “peace” negotiations of that time to an end and refocus efforts towards achieving the Palestinian dream. The study was funded by the European Union but never given much publicity. I wonder how many EU ministers read it and how many activists, sympathizers and supporters around the world even knew of its existence?

The report’s main message urged Palestinians “to seize their destiny in their own hands” by refusing to enter into peace negotiations unless the international community first dealt with issues relating to national self-determination, liberation from occupation, individual and collective rights, and enforced international law. Only when these priorities were recognized and actioned could peacemaking and state-building rise to the top of the agenda. 

It was important that, from now on, they made sure it was the Palestinian discourse that framed international discussion of the Palestinian future. They needed to emphasize that it was not Palestinians who lacked commitment to a negotiated outcome, but Israel. Palestinians had persisted for 20 years (up to that point) with their historic offer of 1988. The Israelis refused to honour it so their squeals of protest were simply not valid.

The report also spelled out the need for national unity: “Palestinian strategic action is impossible if the Palestinian nation is unable to speak with one voice or to act with one will.” Of course, the relentless pressures of occupation and out-and-out bribery by troublemakers like the US were designed to cause internal strife, but so what?

Communications failure

When you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile-driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack. (Winston Churchill)

Reading this report by the Palestine Strategy Group (or the Oxford Research Group – it isn’t clear who was ultimately responsible) is hard going. They would have done better to turn it into a much more user-friendly publication. It said “the essence of the Palestinian problem is not recognized”, but one had to wade through 52 pages, 16,500 words and even five pages of summary to get to the point. Churchill’s advice immediately sprang to mind: “When you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile-driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”

This is where the Palestine Strategy Group seems to have fallen down. Their view has been ignored because it was never put across effectively. However, it makes good sense. The Palestine Liberation Organization must indeed “seize their destiny”, sign up to the Rome Statute and join the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. As I suggested in an earlier article, when they won the UN vote upgrading their status they should have had all the paperwork ready and wasted no time laying charges against Israel for its illegal occupation, blockade, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

When they eventually get around to it, that will put the international community in a tight spot and rightly so. It has shirked its duty for much too long. A lasting peace requires justice, and that means an end to the illegal occupation and full respect for the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. These things are not negotiable. They are not matters to be haggled over like the purchase of a used car – they are international obligations already determined by UN resolutions and international law. And they are waiting to be enforced. For their part the Palestinians are perfectly entitled to engage the agencies responsible for the rule of law and resist being bullied again into bogus “peace talks”.

I’d … like to see the PLO immediately send Hanan Ashrawi on a speaking tour of the West. She is the most articulate spokesperson the Palestinians have, and her knowledge and experience should not be wasted at this critical moment.

But just because Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at the UN finally did something bold and positive doesn’t mean his sins of appeasement and collaboration with the enemy over the years are cancelled out. He strikes few people as the leader Palestinians deserve. I’d also like to see the PLO immediately send Hanan Ashrawi on a speaking tour of the West. She is the most articulate spokesperson the Palestinians have, and her knowledge and experience should not be wasted at this critical moment.

Hamas too is a disappointment. It could and should have redrafted its charter in diplomatic language more fitting to a civilized party of government. While it is every bit as entitled to self-defence as the Israelis, the firing of unguided rockets is not a truly defensive act and if it continue armed resistance I suspect supporters would like to see it concentrate more on anti-aircraft, anti-tank, anti-warship and anti-troop weaponry.

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal, addressing the crowds in Gaza on the 25th anniversary rally, repeated the usual refrain (which is a good one):

Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the north to the south. It is our land and our right, it is our nation, no concession on an inch or part of it… Resistance is the means not the end … for 64 years we have tried all other options but to no avail… We do not fight Jews because they are Jews, but we fight Zionists because they are occupiers and abusers.

As for unity, that might come with positive action.

However, the hard truth is that Palestinians of both factions (Hamas and Fatah), no matter how unified, will never succeed in reframing the international discussion and “seizing their destiny” unless they undergo a crash course in media skills. The collaborators among them no doubt will be under instructions from their puppet-masters not to. But there’s no excuse for the rest. It is something they have to do if they are to stand any chance of winning.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Will Palestinians ever “seize their destiny”

British blackmail to cripple Palestinians’ UN bid?

“Promise not to prosecute Israeli war criminals, not to go for full UN membership, not to seek justice but submit to rigged talks, and we’ll support you”

By Stuart Littlewood

Britain’s Foreign Office, on its website, states loudly and clearly:

The UK is committed to upholding international justice and all of our international obligations. Our core principle is clear. Those guilty of war crimes must be brought to justice whether they are Israeli or any other nationality. We are also committed to ensuring that UK systems are robust in meeting its international law obligations.

Yet ugly rumours are flying that the British government twisted the arm of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and told him the UK would support Palestine’s modest upgrade to “observer state” at the UN (to be decided on 29 November) only if he pledged not to pursue Israeli war criminals through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In a statement issued on 27 November by the Palestinian MIssion in London, Ambassador Manuel Hassassian says:

It was reported recently in several media outlets that in exchange for its – the British government’s – support of the Palestinian UN bid it wants guarantees from Abbas including: (1) That the Palestinians will not bring cases against Israeli officials to the ICC or other UN agencies… (2) That the Palestinians will not use UN observer status as a basis for a renewed appeal to the UN Security Council for full membership to the UN… (3) That Abbas will commit to renewing peace talks with Israel without preconditions.

Such steps would undermine the Palestinian leadership and its credibility with its own constituents. The British government is once again putting conditions for its support to the Palestinian people instead of shouldering its historic responsibility towards them… I urge the British government to fulfil its responsibility and stand at the right side of history by recognizing the state of Palestine and voting in favour of an enhanced Palestinian status at the UN.

This morning the Palestinian embassy in London was unable to verify that any such pressure was put on Abbas. But that is not to say it didn’t happen and numerous media sources got it wrong. The conversation was likely to have taken place in Ramallah, and Ramallah is not noted for its responsiveness to media questions.

A last-minute message from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) communications office reads:

I can confirm that there has been British pressure to deprive of our right to ratify an international treaty. I can also ratify that we have been very clear in telling the UK that we are not going to compromise on our sovereignty. The resolution haven’t been and will not be modified to adequate any objection to our right to self determination and protection of our people.

What exactly that means I don’t know. And they still won’t say who put the squeeze on Abbas.

If nothing else, this episode demonstrates once again the deplorable state of the PLO/PA media skills.

If indeed any attempt were made by the UK government to deprive the Palestinians of the status, privileges and freedoms enjoyed by their neighbours it would be a deep disgrace on the people of Britain.

Solemn and binding obligations to pursue war criminals – do they mean nothing?

It was established at Nuremberg after World War II that crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes are also offences against the whole of international society.

All states that are party to the Geneva Conventions – and that includes the UK – are under a solemn and binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them to justice. There should be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

…what we’re up against in the UK is a biased and unprincipled administration that wants to let “friendly” war criminals off and protect them from arrest while they visit Britain.

The UN’s Goldstone report and the international law panel appointed after the Gaza flotilla incident raised the issue of Israel’s impunity and unaccountability.

But what we’re up against in the UK is a biased and unprincipled administration that wants to let “friendly” war criminals off and protect them from arrest while they visit Britain. The government recently watered down UK law on universal jurisdiction, arguing that foreign politicians they happen to like, no matter how thuggish, should never be made to feel unwelcome. The overriding principle that no-one, regardless of nationality, should feel able to commit war crimes with impunity, is sacrificed so that the likes of former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, with the blood of thousands of Palestinian dead and wounded on her hands, can go shopping in London.

Livni, the pin-up girl of the Knesset, is reported to be making a comeback in Israeli politics at the head of a new party in January’s elections. It seems our Foreign Office chaps are hopelessly smitten by her.

Meanwhile, mountains of evidence of Israel’s war crimes are just waiting to be tested in the International Criminal Court.

The purpose of the ICC is “to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community”. The court has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by nationals of a state party or on the territory of a state party since July 2002.

One hundred and fifteen states have signed up. The UK is one of them, and so too is Afghanistan. But rogue states like the US, Israel and Saudi skulk in the outer darkness.

A further 34 countries, including Russia, have signed but not ratified. Three — Israel, Sudan and the United States — signed and then, presumably realizing their conduct was not up to the standards expected and no doubt wishing to undermine its work whenever it suited them, “unsigned”.

Palestine declared its voluntary acceptance of the ICC’s jurisdiction in 2009, but whether it should be regarded as a “state” as required by Article 12(3) of Rome Statute has been the subject of much debate. In April this year the ICC General Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the court would not accept a Palestinian demand to investigate alleged war crimes by Israel until Palestine was recognized as a state by the UN General Assembly. “In order to proceed we need the General Assembly of the UN accepting Palestine as an observer state. As soon as this is done we can proceed.”

If the ICC does acquire jurisdiction, it will inherit a whole shed-full of damning evidence gathered not only by Goldstone but many other organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Arab League Fact Finding Committee.

Consequently, Israel and its obedient friends America and Britain are getting edgy.

In the meantime ,the PLO Executive Committee’s Hanan Ashrawi has announced that Palestine’s final resolution was submitted to the UN on 26 November, so all this last-minute bickering and arm-twisting is academic. It has been too late to change the wording since last weekend.

Asked whether Palestine would file complaints with the ICC, Ashrawi said it would be for the Palestinian leadership to decide. She also said that the PA would not abandon any of the inalienable Palestinian rights guaranteed by international law.

Within Palestinian ranks there seems to be a measure of unity. Hamas’s chief-in-exile, Khaled Meshaal, and fellow political bureau member Izzat al-Rishq said on 26 November that they supported Abbas in going before the United Nations, but warned that Palestinian “constants and rights” must not be compromised nor any inch of Palestinian land sacrificed.

Whether Hamas’s leaders-on-the-ground are quite so enthusiastic isn’t clear. However, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said “nobody is against statehood, and [my government] supports any political move to establish a Palestinian state on the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UK, UNComments Off on British blackmail to cripple Palestinians’ UN bid?

Was that the next Palestinian president you just banned, Mr Trump?

Grandma Ashrawi is more than a match for Israel’s stooges in the White House and whatever “deal of the century” they have cooked up for the Holy Land
By Stuart Littlewood

So, the Trump administration will no longer allow Hanan Ashrawi into the US, even though she’s a top diplomat, has family there and visits regularly. Why?

A US State Department spokesperson told Haaretz that “visa records are confidential under US law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases”, adding that the law “does not authorise the refusal of visas based solely on political statements or views if those statements or views would be lawful in the United States”.

“Pettiness and vindictiveness”

Ashrawi is reported as saying, in her forthright way, that refusal to let her in was a political act and full of “pettiness and vindictiveness”.

Ashrawi, a Palestinian Christian, is something of a hot potato. She was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council representing Jerusalem in 1996 and again in 2006. She has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for 20 years, becoming the first woman to hold a seat in the highest executive body in Palestine. It is recognised as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by the 137 states with which it has diplomatic relations. Ashrawi’s father, a physician, was a founder of the PLO.

She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in literature from the Department of English at the American University of Beirut and completed her education with a PhD in Medieval and Comparative Literature from the University of Virginia. She is also an Honorary Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford.

Ashrawi has been an official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace process, starting with the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991. In 1996 she was appointed as the Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education and Research. Before that she was Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Birzeit University.

In 2003 Ashrawi received the Sydney Peace Prize, an award praised by, among others, Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State. Albright called Ashrawi “a brilliant spokeswoman for her cause”.

Ashrawi, now 72, is a grandmother, and several of her grandchildren live in the United States. So, why is America hostile towards her?

Israeli occupation “a most pervasive form of oppression, dispossession and denial”

In a recent article in Aljazeera Marwan Bishara reminds us that for the past year and a half Trump and his administration have been showering Binyamin Netanyahu and his apartheid regime with anti-Palestinian “gifts”… like recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv, ending US assistance to UNRWA (the UN agency that supports millions of Palestinian refugees), quitting the UN Human Rights Council and shutting down the PLO’s office in Washington.

Ashrawi has perfect English and is a highly articulate and persuasive woman – an unrivalled expert in Middle East affairs – and capable of reducing Trump and his entourage to mincemeat in any broadcast encounter.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Trump administration has stopped describing the West Bank and East Jerusalem (which are Palestinian) as “occupied” and instead calls them “Israeli-controlled”. This gives Netanyahu all the encouragement he needs for expanding Israel’s illegal settlements and pledging to annex them. To cap it all, Trump then delivered Netanyahu a splendid election present in recognising Israel’s illegal annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights. Of course, whatever Trump says that territory is still Syria’s.

Western media, when providing “balance” to news on the Israel-Palestine conflict, usually wheel in a Palestinian spokesperson who is unintelligible. Israeli spokespersons, on the other hand, are media trained and sound very British/American, giving them a huge advantage. Ashrawi has perfect English and is a highly articulate and persuasive woman – an unrivalled expert in Middle East affairs – and capable of reducing Trump and his entourage to mincemeat in any broadcast encounter. Therefore, she poses a clear and present danger to their hopes of putting across and maintaining the false narrative that sustains Israel’s rogue dominance in the Middle East.

Haaretz reproduces some of Hanan Ashrawi’s recent tweets. In one she says:

I despise hypocrisy, misogyny, absolutist fundamentalism, populism, racism of all kinds, exclusivity, arrogance & condescension, power politics & militarism, cruelty in any form, & any sense of entitlement & exceptionalism…

In another, she says:

Most of all, I have no tolerance for the Israeli occupation in all its manifestations as a most pervasive form of oppression, dispossession & denial; I have no respect for the enablers of this inhuman condition nor for its apologists…

She tells it straight. And in her tweets she adds:

I’ve met (and even negotiated with) every Sec. of State since Shultz, and every President since George H. W. Bush (present administration excluded); I’ve been a vocal critic of this administration and its underlings; I believe in freedom of speech.

This is one formidable lady! I have her down as the next Palestinian president, head and shoulders above any male candidates. But will the good people of Palestine have a say in the matter? The presidency of Mahmoud Abbas, the quisling loser, should have ended in 2009. But the corrupt system he presides over has allowed him to cling to power indefinitely, to his people’s great detriment.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Was that the next Palestinian president you just banned, Mr Trump?

The Bolivarian Revolution Metes Out Poetic Justice

  • Caracas, May 4, 2019.
    Caracas, May 4, 2019. | Photo: Twitter / @NicolasMaduro

    It is turning the tables on history and on its accusers, all the while increasingly winning the support of people worldwide.

On April 30, 2019, the Bolivarian Revolution defeated the latest in a series of attempted U.S.-orchestrated coups d’états since the inaugural one on January 23, when Guaidó was recognized as President by Washington.

US Military Still Actively Plotting Against Venezuela

One of the main pretexts being used for the U.S. intervention is that the May 2018 presidential elections were supposedly steeped in electoral irregularities and therefore deficient. Thus, Maduro was, according to this false narrative, not elected democratically.

However, in a twist of irony, it is the very U.S. interventionist activities – ongoing and supported by the Lima Group – that resulted in the ratification of Maduro as President. Since January 23, Venezuelans in the millions have marched and demonstrated innumerable times all across the country in support of Maduro as President and the Bolivarian Revolution he embodies. The detractors may scoff at this manifestation of political expression as not conforming to the acceptable norms of democracy, let alone electoral procedures.

However, millions of Venezuelans have continuously – for close to three months – voted with their feet and their voices. Can this experience replace actual voting in a ballot box? obviously, it cannot replace the formality. Nonetheless, the ongoing “voting in the streets and workplaces” is even more meaningful than a simple deposit in a ballot box. In fact, on May 4 the Venezuelans armed forces “went to the polls” once again to ratify what they voted for in May 2018.

It is only poetic justice that Maduro has strengthened his position as the legitimate President despite, or rather as a result of, the U.S. Maduro and the government know this; so does the U.S. However, the U.S. cannot afford to admit it, as it challenges the U.S.-centric view that people do not want socialism and revolution, which is supposedly forced upon the people despite their will.

In addition to an electoral procedure serving as an excuse for U.S. intervention, the charge that Maduro and the government are “authoritarian” at best, or a dictatorship, irrespective of how he was elected also serves as a pretext. Why has the U.S. not been able to overthrow the Maduro government? Is it because it is a dictatorship? No, if it were indeed a dictatorship, it would be relatively easy for the U.S. to win over the people, with a dose of naïveté, to free themselves from their “oppressors.”

The U.S. could not succeed because of the civic–military union. Despite all the attempts, including the latest one on April 30, it remains not only fully intact, but its consciousness, patriotism and military strength have all been strengthened.

The fact that the already broad-armed alliance is continuously sinking its roots yet further into the communities that are arming themselves (at their own request) makes what would normally be applauded as democratization seen as another proof of dictatorship.

The U.S. is pitted against this force. Can the U.S. and its puppet offer democracy? Its stated goal is to convert Venezuela into an economic and political satellite of the U.S. In the face of this, the civic–military alliance and the Maduro government are the guarantee of democracy for the majority of Venezuelans.

Thus, in yet another twist of irony, the very government that has been dubbed a dictatorship, as a result of U.S. policy, is on a daily basis acting – and more importantly, being seen by millions of Venezuelans – as the instrument of democracy for Venezuela, and not the antithesis of it.

This consciousness is worth its eight in gold, and it is omnipresent in society, including the military. The U.S. claims it wants democracy for Venezuela, but the majority of Venezuelans are increasingly gripping on to their own government as the instrument for maintaining – and seemingly strengthening – democracy. Virtue is rewarded while infamy is punished. Moreover, the way the situation is evolving, the U.S. is destined to be punished time and time again, as it is blinded by its own self-serving, preconceived views on democracy.

The Bolivarian Revolution’s resistance to the ongoing U.S.-led economic and political war is going to be one of the most heroic chapters in post-World War II Latin American history. Today, millions of Venezuelans are writing history.

It is this very outcome that the critics of the Trump policy fear. Their only difference with Trump is their claim that his economic/political (and potential military) intervention is “counterproductive.” What does that mean? They fear what they call “polarization.” This is a liberal code word for the strengthening of Chavismo, which strikes fear in the hearts and minds of the “left” opposition.

The Bolivarian Revolution metes out poetic justice against all the accusations against it. It is turning the tables on history and on its accusers, all the while increasingly winning the support of people worldwide. This includes the people in the U.S. itself and in one of its main allies, Canada. On the other hand, the U.S. government is increasingly isolated. It is lashing out like a mad dog and swinging widely, such as on Cuba, and in the process even further isolating itself on an international scale.

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on The Bolivarian Revolution Metes Out Poetic Justice

India’s Brutal Torture of Kashmiri Prisoners an ‘Instrument of Control’

  • A report published by JKCCS revealed the brutal torture Kashmiri prisoners are subjected to under Indian occupation.

    A report published by JKCCS revealed the brutal torture Kashmiri prisoners are subjected to under Indian occupation. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 May 2019

“Due to legal, political and moral impunity extended to the armed forces, not a single prosecution has taken place in any case of human rights violations.”

The Kashmiri prisoners under Indian occupation are subjected to brutal physical, psychological and sexual abuse, said a report published Monday.


71 Years of Occupation and Piling Bodies in Indian-Occupied Kashmir

The 560-page report provides details on the torture Kashmiri prisoners are made to undergo for resisting Indian occupation. According to the report, torture is used by India as a “matter of policy” and “instrument of control” in the occupied territory.

The report, named “Torture – Indian state’s instrument of control in Indian-state of Jammu and Kashmir,” was published by Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). It documented 432 testimonies of prisoners.

“Torture is the most under-reported human rights violation perpetrated by the state,” the report noted.

“Due to legal, political and moral impunity extended to the armed forces, not a single prosecution has taken place in any case of human rights violations.”

The prisoners are subjected to solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, and sexualized torture like rape and sodomy.

Other torture methods include electrocution, hanging from a ceiling, pushing detainees head into the water which is sometimes mixed with chili powder, water-boarding, etc.


Kashmiri Feminists Blame Patriarchal Society for Rape of Infant

“Muzaffer Ahmed Mirza from Tral and Manzoor Ahmad Naikoo were subjected to insertion of a rod through their rectum. It caused multiple ruptures to their internal organs,” the report read.

“While Mirza died after a few days in the hospital of lung rupture, Naikoo had to undergo five surgeries to finally heal the wounds he received due to this torture. Apart from insertion, a cloth was wrapped around Naikoo’s penis and set on fire.”

The report said that 70 percent of the victims were civilians and they are usually unwilling to report the atrocities out of fear of more torture at the hands of Indian forces.

“Victims have been randomly picked up, tortured and never even told what they were tortured for,” the report explained.

Out of the 432 cases, 24 are women. “Out of these 12 had been raped by Indian armed personnel” the report informed. Among them, 239 were civilians and 119 militants, and 27 were minors at the time of their arrest and subsequent torture.

The survivors of tortures often battle with psychological issues. According to a 2015 study by Doctors Without Borders (known by its French initials MSF), 19 percent of the people in Kashmir suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Last year the U.N. released its first report on human rights abuses in Kashmir and called for establishing a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate into violation of rights like rape, torture, and extrajudicial killings.


Hate in India: Kashmiris Attacked by Right-Wing Mobs in Aftermath of Pulwama Blast

India rejected the report as “fallacious.”

“The prisoners are forced to eat or drink filthy and harmful substances like human excreta, chili powder, dirt, gravel, chili powder mixed water, petrol, urine, and dirty water,” the U.N. report said.

It also revealed that prisoners undergo “behavioral coercion” and forced into activities that are against their religious beliefs like forcing them to consume alcohol or rubbing piglets on their bodies.

Juan E. Mendz, the former U.N. special rapporteur on torture, said the report “will be enormously helpful in drawing attention in the international community to the need to express concern about India’s human rights record”.

“I am convinced that a report, when it is as rigorous, evidence-based and persuasive as this one is, constitutes a building block towards public awareness of the tragedy of torture,” he added.

Saiba Varma, an anthropologist at the University of California, San Diego who has researched psychiatric ailments in Kashmir said that India uses systematic use of torture to warn the Kashmiris.

“In making these bodies spectacles, the state is further exerting its power, not only on those who have been tortured but by also sending a message to those who have not been tortured, saying, ‘this could be you,’” she said.

Posted in Human Rights, India, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on India’s Brutal Torture of Kashmiri Prisoners an ‘Instrument of Control’

Brazil: At Least 11 Killed by Mass Shooting in Bar

  • A total of six men and five women were killed by reportedly seven hooded men that arrived at the bar in a vehicle and three motorcycles.
    A total of six men and five women were killed by reportedly seven hooded men that arrived at the bar in a vehicle and three motorcycles. | Photo:

    The mass killing was perpetrated at around 16:00 local time in a local bar in the Guama neighborhood, which according to the police is a well-known site for drug selling and buying in the capital of the Para state in the northern part of the country. 

At least eleven people have been shot dead by seven armed men in Belem in northern Brazil on Sunday, according to reports by Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

Brazil’s Military Police Kills 434 in Rio de Janeiro in 2019

The mass killing was perpetrated at around 16:00 local time in a local bar in the Guama neighborhood, which according to the police is a well-known site for drug selling and buying in the capital of the Para state in the northern part of the country.

A total of six men and five women were killed by reportedly seven hooded men that arrived at the bar in a vehicle and three motorcycles. A 12th victim was shot, yet survived and was rescued by the Emergency Care Unite.

At this moment reasons for the massacre have not yet been clarified but police suspect the shooting to be related to drug and criminal disputes in the city. Military Police secured the area.

As gun violence in Brazil continues to be a worrying issue, on May 7, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree to ease restrictions on gun imports and increase the amount of ammunition a person can buy.

Meanwhile, according to the Rio de Janeiro State Institute of Public Security(IPS), 434 military police killings took place in Rio de Janeiro in the first quarter of 2019, averaging seven deaths per day, becoming the most violent 90 days period in recorded history.

Posted in BrazilComments Off on Brazil: At Least 11 Killed by Mass Shooting in Bar

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