Archive | November 20th, 2019

The Milgram Shock Experiment: “Obedience to Authority”

By Saul McLeod

One of the most famous studies of obedience in psychology was carried out by Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University. He conducted an experiment focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience.

Milgram (1963) examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials. Their defense often was based on “obedience” – that they were just following orders from their superiors.

The experiments began in July 1961, a year after the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised the experiment to answer the question:

Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?” (Milgram, 1974).

Milgram (1963) wanted to investigate whether Germans were particularly obedient to authority figures as this was a common explanation for the Nazi killings in World War II.

Milgram selected participants for his experiment by newspaper advertising for male participants to take part in a study of learning at Yale University.

The procedure was that the participant was paired with another person and they drew lots to find out who would be the ‘learner’ and who would be the ‘teacher.’  The draw was fixed so that the participant was always the teacher, and the learner was one of Milgram’s confederates (pretending to be a real participant).

The learner (a confederate called Mr. Wallace) was taken into a room and had electrodes attached to his arms, and the teacher and researcher went into a room next door that contained an electric shock generator and a row of switches marked from 15 volts (Slight Shock) to 375 volts (Danger: Severe Shock) to 450 volts (XXX).

Milgram’s Experiment:

Aim:

Milgram (1963) was interested in researching how far people would go in obeying an instruction if it involved harming another person.

Stanley Milgram was interested in how easily ordinary people could be influenced into committing atrocities, for example, Germans in WWII.

Procedure:

Volunteers were recruited for a controlled experiment investigating “learning” (re: ethics: deception).  Participants were 40 males, aged between 20 and 50, whose jobs ranged from unskilled to professional, from the New Haven area. They were paid $4.50 for just turning up.

At the beginning of the experiment, they were introduced to another participant, who was a confederate of the experimenter (Milgram).

They drew straws to determine their roles – learner or teacher – although this was fixed and the confederate was always the learner. There was also an “experimenter” dressed in a gray lab coat, played by an actor (not Milgram).

Two rooms in the Yale Interaction Laboratory were used – one for the learner (with an electric chair) and another for the teacher and experimenter with an electric shock generator.

The “learner” (Mr. Wallace) was strapped to a chair with electrodes. After he has learned a list of word pairs given him to learn, the “teacher” tests him by naming a word and asking the learner to recall its partner/pair from a list of four possible choices.

The teacher is told to administer an electric shock every time the learner makes a mistake, increasing the level of shock each time. There were 30 switches on the shock generator marked from 15 volts (slight shock) to 450 (danger – severe shock).

The learner gave mainly wrong answers (on purpose), and for each of these, the teacher gave him an electric shock. When the teacher refused to administer a shock, the experimenter was to give a series of orders/prods to ensure they continued.

There were four prods and if one was not obeyed, then the experimenter (Mr. Williams) read out the next prod, and so on.

Prod 1: Please continue.

Prod 2: The experiment requires you to continue.

Prod 3: It is absolutely essential that you continue.

Prod 4: You have no other choice but to continue.

Results:

65% (two-thirds) of participants (i.e., teachers) continued to the highest level of 450 volts. All the participants continued to 300 volts.

Milgram did more than one experiment – he carried out 18 variations of his study.  All he did was alter the situation (IV) to see how this affected obedience (DV).

Conclusion:

Ordinary people are likely to follow orders given by an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being.  Obedience to authority is ingrained in us all from the way we are brought up.

People tend to obey orders from other people if they recognize their authority as morally right and/or legally based. This response to legitimate authority is learned in a variety of situations, for example in the family, school, and workplace.

Milgram summed up in the article “The Perils of Obedience” (Milgram 1974), writing:

‘The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous import, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations.

I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist.

Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ [participants’] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects’ [participants’] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not.

The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.’

Milgrams’ Agency Theory

Milgram (1974) explained the behavior of his participants by suggesting that people have two states of behavior when they are in a social situation:

  • The autonomous state – people direct their own actions, and they take responsibility for the results of those actions.
  • The agentic state – people allow others to direct their actions and then pass off the responsibility for the consequences to the person giving the orders. In other words, they act as agents for another person’s will.

Milgram suggested that two things must be in place for a person to enter the agentic state:

  1. The person giving the orders is perceived as being qualified to direct other people’s behavior. That is, they are seen as legitimate.
  2. The person being ordered about is able to believe that the authority will accept responsibility for what happens.

Agency theory says that people will obey an authority when they believe that the authority will take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. This is supported by some aspects of Milgram’s evidence.

For example, when participants were reminded that they had responsibility for their own actions, almost none of them were prepared to obey. In contrast, many participants who were refusing to go on did so if the experimenter said that he would take responsibility.

Milgram Experiment Variations

The Milgram experiment was carried out many times whereby Milgram (1965) varied the basic procedure (changed the IV).  By doing this Milgram could identify which factors affected obedience (the DV).

Obedience was measured by how many participants shocked to the maximum 450 volts (65% in the original study). In total 636 participants have been tested in 18 different variation studies.

Uniform

In the original baseline study – the experimenter wore a gray lab coat as a symbol of his authority (a kind of uniform). Milgram carried out a variation in which the experimenter was called away because of a phone call right at the start of the procedure.

The role of the experimenter was then taken over by an ‘ordinary member of the public’ ( a confederate) in everyday clothes rather than a lab coat. The obedience level dropped to 20%.

Change of Location

The experiment was moved to a set of run down offices rather than the impressive Yale University. Obedience dropped to 47.5%. This suggests that status of location effects obedience.

Two Teacher Condition

When participants could instruct an assistant (confederate) to press the switches, 92.5% shocked to the maximum 450 volts. When there is less personal responsibility obedience increases. This relates to Milgram’s Agency Theory.

Touch Proximity Condition

The teacher had to force the learner’s hand down onto a shock plate when they refuse to participate after 150 volts. Obedience fell to 30%.

The participant is no longer buffered / protected from seeing the consequences of their actions.

Social Support Condition

Two other participants (confederates) were also teachers but refused to obey. Confederate 1 stopped at 150 volts, and confederate 2 stopped at 210 volts.

The presence of others who are seen to disobey the authority figure reduces the level of obedience to 10%.

Absent Experimenter Condition

It is easier to resist the orders from an authority figure if they are not close by. When the experimenter instructed and prompted the teacher by telephone from another room, obedience fell to 20.5%.

Many participants cheated and missed out shocks or gave less voltage than ordered to by the experimenter. The proximity of authority figure affects obedience.

Critical Evaluation

The Milgram studies were conducted in laboratory type conditions, and we must ask if this tells us much about real-life situations. We obey in a variety of real-life situations that are far more subtle than instructions to give people electric shocks, and it would be interesting to see what factors operate in everyday obedience. The sort of situation Milgram investigated would be more suited to a military context.

Orne and Holland (1968) accused Milgram’s study of lacking ‘experimental realism,’’ i.e.,’ participants might not have believed the experimental set-up they found themselves in and knew the learner wasn’t receiving electric shocks.

Milgram’s sample was biased:

  • The participants in Milgram’s study were all male. Do the findings transfer to females?
  • Milgram’s study cannot be seen as representative of the American population as his sample was self-selected. This is because they became participants only by electing to respond to a newspaper advertisement (selecting themselves). They may also have a typical “volunteer personality” – not all the newspaper readers responded so perhaps it takes this personality type to do so.Yet a total of 636 participants were tested in 18 separate experiments across the New Haven area, which was seen as being reasonably representative of a typical American town.

Milgram’s findings have been replicated in a variety of cultures and most lead to the same conclusions as Milgram’s original study and in some cases see higher obedience rates.

However, Smith and Bond (1998) point out that with the exception of Jordan (Shanab & Yahya, 1978), the majority of these studies have been conducted in industrialized Western cultures and we should be cautious before we conclude that a universal trait of social behavior has been identified.

Ethical Issues

  • Deception – the participants actually believed they were shocking a real person and were unaware the learner was a confederate of Milgram’s.However, Milgram argued that “illusion is used when necessary in order to set the stage for the revelation of certain difficult-to-get-at-truths.”Milgram also interviewed participants afterward to find out the effect of the deception. Apparently, 83.7% said that they were “glad to be in the experiment,” and 1.3% said that they wished they had not been involved.
  • Protection of participants – Participants were exposed to extremely stressful situations that may have the potential to cause psychological harm. Many of the participants were visibly distressed.Signs of tension included trembling, sweating, stuttering, laughing nervously, biting lips and digging fingernails into palms of hands. Three participants had uncontrollable seizures, and many pleaded to be allowed to stop the experiment.In his defense, Milgram argued that these effects were only short-term. Once the participants were debriefed (and could see the confederate was OK) their stress levels decreased. Milgram also interviewed the participants one year after the event and concluded that most were happy that they had taken part.
  • However, Milgram did debrief the participants fully after the experiment and also followed up after a period of time to ensure that they came to no harm.

Milgram debriefed all his participants straight after the experiment and disclosed the true nature of the experiment. Participants were assured that their behavior was common and Milgram also followed the sample up a year later and found that there were no signs of any long-term psychological harm. In fact, the majority of the participants (83.7%) said that they were pleased that they had participated.

  • Right to Withdrawal – The BPS states that researchers should make it plain to participants that they are free to withdraw at any time (regardless of payment).

Did Milgram give participants an opportunity to withdraw? The experimenter gave four verbal prods which mostly discouraged withdrawal from the experiment:

    1. Please continue.
    2. The experiment requires that you continue.
    3. It is absolutely essential that you continue.
    4. You have no other choice, you must go on.

Milgram argued that they are justified as the study was about obedience so orders were necessary. Milgram pointed out that although the right to withdraw was made partially difficult, it was possible as 35% of participants had chosen to withdraw.

Milgram (1963) Audio Clips 

Below you can also hear some of the audio clips taken from the video that was made of the experiment. Just click on the clips below.

You will be asked to decide if you want to open the files from their current location or save them to disk.  Choose to open them from their current location. Then press play and sit back and listen!

Clip 1: This is a long audio clip of the 3rd participant administering shocks to the confederate. You can hear the confederate’s pleas to be released and the experimenter’s instructions to continue.

Clip 2: A short clip of the confederate refusing to continue with the experiment.

Clip 3: The confederate begins to complain of heart trouble.

Clip 4: Listen to the confederate get a shock: “Let me out of here. Let me out, let me out, let me out” And so on!

Clip 5: The experimenter tells the participant that they must continue.  Download this article as a PDF

Notes:

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedienceJournal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371-378.

Milgram, S. (1965). Some conditions of obedience and disobedience to authorityHuman relations, 18(1), 57-76.

Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority: An experimental view. Harpercollins.

Orne, M. T., & Holland, C. H. (1968). On the ecological validity of laboratory deceptions. International Journal of Psychiatry, 6(4), 282-293.

Shanab, M. E., & Yahya, K. A. (1978). A cross-cultural study of obedience. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society.

Smith, P. B., & Bond, M. H. (1998). Social psychology across cultures (2nd Edition). Prentice Hall.

Posted in Education0 Comments

OPCW Must Come Clean: Grave Flaws in Syria Report. Open Letter To States’ Representatives

By Tim Hayward

Following revelations of grave flaws in its Syria reporting, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons must allow whistleblowers’ evidence to be heard at the coming OPCW Conference of States Parties. That’s the message from the following public figures who have signed an Open Letter to OPCW permanent representatives.

José Bustani, Ambassador of Brazil, first Director General of the OPCW and former Ambassador to the United Kingdom and France.

William Binney, a former technical director at NSA

George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury

Noam Chomsky, Emeritus Professor, MIT

Alain Chouet, former chief of the Security Intelligence Service within the French external intelligence service (DGSE)

Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Professor Emeritus, former head Research group Cross-cultural Injury Epidemiology, Karolinska Institute. Chair Swedish Doctors for Human Rights – SWEDHR

Anne Gazeau-Secret, former French Ambassador, The Hague

Katharine Gun, former GCHQ (UKGOV), Whistleblower

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Officer and Former Senior Investigator, US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Annie Machon, former MI5 Officer, UK Security Services

Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst and presidential briefer; co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence; former Army Infantry/Intelligence officer.

John Pilger, Journalist and documentary film maker

Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security, MIT

Scott Ritter, UNSCOM Weapons Inspector 1991-1998

Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel, 9-11 whistleblower and a 2002 Time Magazine Person of the Year

Hans von Sponeck, former UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator (Iraq)

Oliver Stone, Film Director, Producer and Writer.

Courage Foundation Panel Members:-

Richard Falk, Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Princeton University; Visiting Professor, Istinye University, Istanbul

Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief, Wikileaks

John Holmes, Maj Gen (retd) DSO OBE MC, former director of Special Forces, British Army

Dr. Helmut Lohrer, MD, Board member of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and International Councilor of its German affiliate

Prof. Dr. Günter Meyer, Centre for Research on the Arab World (CERAW) at the University of Mainz

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence; member, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

And with support of members of the OPCW Douma Fact-Finding Mission


Open Letter to Permanent Representatives of States Parties

cc: Office of the Director General, OPCW

Dear Permanent Representative,

We are writing in order to bring to your attention the recent meeting of the Courage Foundation Panel held in October 2019 and to ask for your support in taking action at the forthcoming CSP aimed at restoring the integrity of the OPCW and regaining public trust. The Courage Foundation is an international organisation that supports those who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record.

The Courage Foundation Panel heard testimony and saw documentation from an OPCW official who was a member of the team investigating the alleged chemical weapon attack in Douma, Syria, April 2018. The panel, comprised of eminent individuals including José Bustani (the first Director General of the OPCW), Professor Richard Falk (Professor of International Law at Princeton and former UN Special Rapporteur) and Dr Helmut Lohrer (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War), was unanimous in finding that ‘unacceptable practices’, involving suppression of information aimed at reaching a ‘preordained conclusion’, had occurred during the Douma investigation. Substantive concerns were raised regarding the credibility of the report, specifically with respect to toxicology and ballistics assessments, as well as the use and interpretation of witness testimonies. Suppression of internal debate and questioning within the investigation team appears to have been systematic. The full statement and accompanying analytical points can be found at https://couragefound.org/?s=OPCW and https://wikileaks.org/opcw-douma/.

The deliberations of the Courage Foundation Panel occurred against the backdrop of existing public controversy following the leaking in May 2019 of an engineering report authored by OPCW official Ian Henderson which reached very different conclusions from the official final OPCW report. In this regard, the Courage Foundation Panel noted that little consideration had been given in the final OPCW report to alternative hypotheses on how the alleged chlorine munitions came to be found in the two apartment buildings.

In view of the current disclosures, and the questions inevitably raised with respect to the integrity and credibility of OPCW FFM investigations, the Panel has called on the OPCW to ‘permit all inspectors who took part in the Douma investigation to come forward and report their differing observations in an appropriate forum of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention’.

We believe this request is eminently reasonable and indeed an essential step toward both establishing the truth of what happened in Douma and restoring public trust in the OPCW. If the organization is to faithfully implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, proper accountability and transparency of process are now required.

We hereby call on you to support the Panel’s request and facilitate efforts to allow all members of the FFM team to speak freely and without risk of censure at an appropriate forum.

Yours Sincerely,

José Bustani, Ambassador of Brazil, first Director General of the OPCW and former Ambassador to the United Kingdom and France

William Binney, former technical director at NSA

George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury

Noam Chomsky, Emeritus Professor, MIT

Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Professor Emeritus, former head Research group Cross-cultural Injury Epidemiology, Karolinska Institute. Chair Swedish Doctors for Human Rights – SWEDHR

Anne Gazeau-Secret, former French Ambassador, The Hague

Katharine Gun, former GCHQ (UKGOV), Whistleblower

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Officer and Former Senior Investigator, US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Annie Machon, former MI5 Officer, UK Security Services

Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst and presidential briefer; co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence; former Army Infantry/Intelligence officer

John Pilger, Journalist and documentary film maker

Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security, MIT

Scott Ritter, UNSCOM Weapons Inspector 1991-1998

Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel, 9-11 whistleblower and a 2002 Time Magazine Person of the Year

Hans von Sponeck, former UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator (Iraq)

Oliver Stone, Film Director, Producer and Writer

Courage Foundation Panel Members:-

Richard Falk, Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Princeton University; Visiting Professor, Istinye University, Istanbul

Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief, Wikileaks

John Holmes, Maj Gen (retd), DSO OBE MC

Dr. Helmut Lohrer, MD, Board member of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and International Councilor of its German affiliate

Prof. Dr. Guenter Meyer, Centre for Research on the Arab World (CERAW) at the University of Mainz

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence (retd); member, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

This letter is supported by members of the OPCW Douma Fact-Finding Mission

Posted in Syria0 Comments

An Interview with John Shipton, Father of Julian ‘Video’

By John Shipton and Pandora TV

.Video: Abby Martin: Hands Off Venezuela

Posted in Human Rights, UK0 Comments

The Missing Pieces of the Al-Baghdadi Execution Puzzle

By Nauman Sadiq

Casting aspersions over the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Russia’s seasoned Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed [1] while speaking to Rossiya 24 broadcaster that the Islamic State and its slain “caliph” were the spawns of the United States. Being a skilled diplomat having intimate knowledge of happenings on the ground in Syria, his statement merits serious consideration.

It’s important to note in the news coverage about the killing of al-Baghdadi that although the mainstream media had been trumpeting for the last several years that the Islamic State’s fugitive chief had been hiding somewhere on the Iraq-Syria border in the east, he was found hiding in the northwestern Idlib governorate, under the control of Turkey’s militant proxies and al-Nusra Front, and was killed while trying to flee to Turkey in Barisha village five kilometers from the border.

The reason why the mainstream media scrupulously avoided mentioning Idlib as al-Baghdadi’s most likely hideout in Syria was to cover up the collusion between the militant proxies of Turkey and the jihadists of al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State.

In fact, the corporate media takes the issue of Islamic jihadists “commingling” with Turkey-backed “moderate rebels” in Idlib so seriously – which could give the Syrian government the pretext to mount an offensive in northwest Syria – that the New York Times cooked up an exclusive report [2] a couple of days after the Special Ops night raid, on October 30, that the Islamic State paid money to al-Nusra Front for hosting al-Baghdadi in Idlib.

The morning after the night raid, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported [3] on Sunday, October 27, that a squadron of eight helicopters accompanied by warplanes belonging to the international coalition had attacked positions of Hurras al-Din, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, in Idlib province where the Islamic State chief was believed to be hiding.

Despite detailing the operational minutiae of the Special Ops raid, the mainstream news coverage of the raid deliberately elided over the crucial piece of information that the compound in Barisha village five kilometers from Turkish border where al-Baghdadi was killed belonged to Hurras al-Din, an elusive terrorist outfit which had previously been targeted several times in the US airstrikes.

Although Hurras al-Din is generally assumed to be an al-Qaeda affiliate, it is in fact the regrouping of the Islamic State’s jihadists under a different name in northwestern Idlib governorate after the latter terrorist organization was routed from Mosul and Anbar in Iraq and Raqqa and Deir al-Zor in Syria and was hard pressed by the US-led coalition’s airstrikes in eastern Syria.

Here, let me try to dispel a myth peddled by the corporate media and foreign policy think tanks that the Islamic State originated from al-Qaeda in Iraq. Many biased political commentators of the mainstream media deliberately try to muddle the reality in order to link the emergence of the Islamic State to the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the Republican Bush administration.

Their motive behind this chicanery is to absolve the Obama administration’s policy of nurturing the Syrian opposition against the Syrian government since the beginning of Syria’s proxy war in 2011 until June 2014, when the Islamic State overran Mosul in Iraq and the Obama administration made a volte-face on its previous “regime change” policy of providing indiscriminate support to Syrian militants and declared a war against a faction of Syrian rebel groups, the Islamic State.Islamic State’s Chief Al-Baghdadi Survived a ‘Coup’ by His Fighters

After linking the creation of the Islamic State to the Iraq invasion in 2003, interventionist hawks deviously draw the risible conclusion that the Obama administration’s premature evacuation of American troops from Iraq in December 2011 gave birth to the Islamic State.

Moreover, such duplicitous spin-doctors misleadingly try to find the roots of the Islamic State in al-Qaeda in Iraq; however, the Anbar insurgency in Iraq was fully subdued after “The Iraq Surge” in 2007. Al-Qaeda in Iraq became a defunct organization after the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi in June 2006 and the subsequent surge of troops in Iraq.

The re-eruption of insurgency in Iraq was the spillover effect of nurturing militants in Syria since 2011-onward, when the Islamic State overran Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in January 2014 and subsequently reached the zenith of its power after capturing Mosul in June 2014.

The borders between Syria and Iraq are highly porous and it’s impossible to contain the flow of militants and arms between the two countries. The Obama administration’s policy of providing funds, weapons and training to Syrian militants in training camps located at the border regions of Turkey and Jordan bordering Syria was bound to backfire sooner or later.

Notwithstanding, during the eight-year proxy war in Syria, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, the chief of al-Nusra Front which currently goes by the name of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), emerged as one of the most influential militant leaders, second only to the Islamic State’s slain “caliph” al-Baghdadi. In fact, since the beginning of Syria’s proxy war in early 2011 to April 2013, the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front used to be a single organization that followed Saudi Arabia’s Salafi ideology and chose the banner al-Nusra Front.

Although the current al-Nusra Front has been led by Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, he was appointed[4] as the emir of al-Nusra Front by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, in January 2012. Thus, al-Jolani’s Nusra Front is only a splinter group of the Islamic State, which split from its parent organization in April 2013 over a leadership dispute between the two organizations.

In early 2011, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was based in Iraq, began sending Syrian and Iraqi jihadists experienced in guerrilla warfare across the border into Syria to establish an organization inside the country. Led by a Syrian known as Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, the group began to recruit fighters and establish cells throughout the country. On 23 January 2012, the group announced its formation as al-Nusra Front.

In April 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio statement in which he announced that al-Nusra Front had been established, financed and supported by the Islamic State. Al-Baghdadi declared that the two groups were merging under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The leader of al-Nusra Front, Abu Muhammad al-Jolani, issued a statement denying the merger and complaining that neither he nor anyone else in al-Nusra’s Syria-based leadership had been consulted.

Al-Qaeda Central’s leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, tried to mediate the dispute between al-Baghdadi and al-Jolani but eventually, in October 2013, he endorsed al-Nusra Front as the official franchise of al-Qaeda Central in Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, however, defied the nominal authority of al-Qaeda Central and declared himself the caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Keeping this background in mind, it becomes abundantly clear that a single militant organization operated in Syria and Iraq under the leadership of al-Baghdadi until April 2013, which chose the banner of al-Nusra Front, and that the current emir of the subsequent breakaway faction of al-Nusra Front, al-Jolani, was actually al-Baghdadi’s deputy in Syria.

Thus, the Islamic State operated in Syria since early 2011 under the designation of al-Nusra Front and it subsequently changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in April 2013, after which it overran Raqqa and parts of Deir al-Zor in the summer of 2013. And in January 2014, it overran Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in Iraq and reached the zenith of its power when it captured Mosul in June 2014.

In conclusion, it would be misleading to fall for the ruse of finding the roots of the Islamic State in al-Qaeda in Iraq. Although the remnants of al-Qaeda in Iraq might have joined the ranks of Syria-bound militants in Iraq in 2011, the principal cause of the creation of the Islamic State, al-Nusra Front and myriads of other militant outfits in Syria and Iraq was the “regime change” policy pursued by the Obama administration from 2011 to 2014 to topple the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

During the course of Syria’s proxy war, billions of dollars [5] worth weapons and ammunition, including American-made antitank missiles, were provided to militants in training camps located in border regions of Turkey and Jordan, and possibly in Iraq too, by the Western powers and the Gulf states. It also bears mentioning that for the initial several months of Syria’s proxy war, American troops were still deployed next door in Iraq, as the war in Syria began in early 2011 whereas the US forces evacuated from Iraq in December 2011.

Posted in Middle East, USA0 Comments

Naziyahu Kills Palestinians to Keep Opposition From Forming Government

Provoking a conflict with Gaza led to the deaths of 32 Palestinians.

But, was the real objective the creation of an emergency government so Netanyahu can remain in power?

Jeff Halper is the co-founder and director of ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He was born in 1946 in Minnesota and emigrated to Israel in 1973. Since then he has been a tireless advocate for justice and civil rights for all Israelis and Palestinians. He spent ten years as a community worker in Jerusalem aiding low-income Mizrahi families. He co-founded ICAHD in 1997 to help resist Israel’s strategy of house demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He is the author of three books, Between Redemption and Revival: The Jewish Yishuv in Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century, An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Possession, Redeeming Israel, and Obstacles to Peace: A Reframing of the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict. In 2006 Dr. Halper was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, citing ICAHD’s work “to liberate both the Palestinian and the Israeli people from the yoke of structural violence” and “to build equality between their people by recognizing and celebrating their common humanity.”

TRNN Video & Transcript

MARC STEINER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Great to have you all with us once again.

I have to say this: Benjamin Netanyahu may be one of the shrewdest politicians on the face of the earth. He appointed far-right Naftali Bennett Minister of Defense just after he launched an air attack that killed Baha Abu al-Ata–who is the leader of Islamic Jihad we think–in Gaza, along with his wife Asmaa. That kept Bennett with him politically, which was a move on his part. And then it turned out that al-Ata was really not that much of a leader at all, some people write.

And then he bombed the offices of Islamic Jihad in Damascus, and then launched a bombing campaign on Gaza after the Islamic Jihad launched an ineffectual rocket assault on Israel. The attack in Gaza killed 32 Palestinians, including 11 children. And another 111 people were wounded. Okay, so that doesn’t make him brilliant. But his next steps politically inside of Israel that seem to be part of his grand strategy after all, is and was brilliant. And here is where his brilliant manipulation and strategic thinking begins to keep himself in power.

To help us figure all that out, we’re about to talk with Jeff Halper; Jeff Halper joins us once again. He’s an anthropologist, former head of the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions, and his latest book is War Amongst the People, Israel, the Palestinians, and Global Pacification. And he is currently involved with the People Yes Network, which promotes strategic coordination among left groups globally. And Jeff, welcome. Good to have you with us.

JEFF HALPER: Good to be back.

MARC STEINER: Always good to talk to you. I meant what I said at the very top here. I mean, whatever you think about Netanyahu and his politics and what he represents, the man is really brilliant, and he knows how to stay in power.

JEFF HALPER: That’s right.

MARC STEINER: So here he has his opposition, Benny Gantz, who might have won a few more votes than he has. He has a week to set up the government. So paint this story for us at this moment about what Netanyahu is doing to set himself up, so he doesn’t go to jail and can stay in power.

JEFF HALPER: Well, that’s all the manipulations, of course. And so Gaza and the Palestinians, as usual, are simply the vehicles for Netanyahu’s political campaigns, essentially. The people of Gaza and Hamas and Islamic Jihad do not pose an existential threat to Israel. And for years and years, they’ve tried even to get into some kind of a peace agreement with Israel. They even agreed to the two-state solution, years ago. It was called the Prisoner’s Stock. But we’re talking about a situation of controlled bias that serves Netanyahu in Israel in different ways. Controlled violence, of course, it continues the pretext of keeping the occupation going because they’re always attacking us, so we always have to defend ourselves.

Controlled violence also, of course, blames the victim so that we can’t be held accountable for anything, and they’re to blame and that gives us a free rein to do anything we want to in the occupied territories or politically. It also keeps the laboratory going, because don’t forget Israel tests all kinds of new weapons systems, security systems, surveillance systems, drones in particular, in Gaza. Gaza is like a little laboratory, which is part of a larger West Bank laboratory. So for all of those reasons, of course, the Gazi is very useful for Israel. But in terms of internal politics, it’s also useful because again, it can be turned on and turned off according to the needs of Netanyahu.

So now that he’s in this competition with Gantz, he’s trying to create a situation in which, and he’s said this many times, that security situation and such; that we can’t afford a new government. And certainly this is the boss subtext, the very important subject, certainly not a government that would rely on the Arabs in Israel. Because any government that Gantz would set up would have to have the support, at least half the support of the joint Arab list. And so by demonizing the Arabs, and of course by creating the conflict in Gaza, what Netanyahu was doing and saying, “What you’re going to have Arabs in the government at a time of war, they’re our enemies fighting us in Gaza and creating an absolutely impossible situation for Gantz.” So there’s all kinds of layered levels. You’re absolutely right. He is a brilliant manipulator.

MARC STEINER: So in taking a step further, I mean let’s take two parts here. A, what just happened in Gaza, I mean 32 people were killed, many of them innocents. I mean the father driving off on his motorcycle and the visuals were put out by some of the middle Eastern Arab media driving up to his house. He’s blown up. His two kids were blown up with him, but he’s just coming home to say hello to his kids. And it was a pretty horrendous attack that took place in Gaza, but many innocent people killed, 111 people wounded.

So that in itself creates this kind of terror inside of Gaza, with Hamas it seems is saying “We’re out of this, we’re not part of this.” So he’s neutralized them. But now it seems inside of Israel is, explain this to us, I mean Benny Gantz was going to form a coalition with Avigdor Lieberman on the right, from the Russian group on the right, the Russian Jews on the ride. And then he had the joint list on the left saying, at least, we passively support them, but not if he supports Gaza. So the Gaza incursions, which means that that was something else that Netanyahu must have planned ahead of time, knowing that that could split that coalition as well, to make it even more difficult for Gantz to form a government. Am I right or wrong about that?

JEFF HALPER: Well, it can be. But not far off. There’s nothing here that’s by chance. `In other words, it’s in the press in Israel that Abu al-Ata was schedule to be assassinated two years ago. In other words, the approval went through the Israeli government and the military 32 years ago. So in other words, for different reasons they might want it to get rid of him, but certainly it was very convenient to get rid of him and particularly at this time when the negotiations are so keen, and you want to make it impossible for Gantz and link up to the Arabs in Israel.

The Arabs in Israel are being portrayed by Netanyahu, not as in training citizens, but as the enemy. I mean there’s no difference in it. And I was speaking between Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Ayman Odeh from the joint Arab list. And so I think the timing can’t be ignored, of course, for this and don’t forget also, this isn’t an isolated incident. We’ve been talking now about a year and a half or more, what’s called the March of return in Gaza. There have been almost 400 Palestinians killed, and more than 3,600 Palestinians wounded, in very different and very crippled in many cases. In Gaza. So, in other words, this is all art of the controlled violence. It’s controlled politically, it’s controlled in terms of managing Gaza and it’s also controlled in terms of Netanyahu’s immediate political needs.

MARC STEINER: And then didn’t he also kind of bring in one of the leaders of the joint list and kind of set him up in a conversation that he released? Wasn’t that part of his way of getting in between Gantz and potentially building a coalition?

JEFF HALPER: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, let me put it this way. Yes, but you know Netanyahu really is brilliant, but let me introduce another thought to this whole thing and that is that I think for everything else, I think he’s finished politically that Netanyahu.

MARC STEINER: You think he’s finished?

JEFF HALPER: I believe he is going to be indicted, I think. And even if not, people are tired. Even in the Likud, they’re tired of him. Gideon Sa’ar and other people are already beginning to challenge him. So he’s finished. Now, what is true, we have to keep this in mind is he is a brilliant manipulator. His English is great. He knows everybody from Modi, to the Chinese, to Bolsonaro, to Trump to everybody, and he’s set up very important right wing coalitions in the world. He’s got a big plan, a big strategy, and he’s managed to keep this whole thing together, all this all these years. Because the occupation is not very popular in the world, but he’s managed to hold it all together.

The next guy that comes in, whether it’s Gantz or Gideon Sa’ar who’s going to probably take over, or anybody else, is not going to have those skills. His English isn’t going to be so good. You’ll be a local Israeli politician. You won’t know anybody else. You won’t really care that much. And I think in a way after Netanyahu, this whole thing could start to unravel. And I’m looking forward to all kinds of opportunities to finish things when he’s gone because he really is–you’re right–he really is a brilliant manipulator.

MARC STEINER: It’s amazing. I was going to show that the very top, but I meant to do that, but let me show it now. This is just to conclude with what he did in Gaza. This is his press conference when he talked about what was about to do. Let’s look at, just for a moment, I want a quick thought from you on this:

SPEAKER: In the past year, this arch terrorist was the main generator of terrorism from the Strip. He initiated, planned, and carried out many attacks. He fired hundreds of rockets at communities in the Gaza periphery, whose suffering we haven’t ignored. He was in the midst of crossing additional attacks these very days. He was a ticking bomb.

MARC STEINER: So I meant to show this at the top and I apologize but this, because even this, afterwards was shown a ticking bomb. He’s killing somebody because what he might do, and everything I’ve read in the European press and other press, is that this guy wasn’t that big a deal to start with. I mean that these manipulations are sort of there and ended with how you were describing what he was doing inside of Israel proper.

JEFF HALPER: Look, on the one hand, he’s been ticking for two years now. I mean how long do you tick. Again, they improved his killing two years ago. So you have to look at that timing as well. But in addition, what the horse is missing from the whole discussion is any kind of political horizon. And this is the conflict management part, that the international community participates in an allows, and that is that everything is reduced to “They’re terrorists. They’re throwing missiles,” and in the sense, they have a right to resist. Nobody talks about occupation. That word is never, ever, ever used and very seldom internationally in these things. There are 50 years of occupation, 20 years or 10, more than 10 years, 15 years of a siege impoverishment.

If the UN says Gaza is going to be uninhabitable next year already, there’s no water to drink, there’s no employment. Israel is destroyed the infrastructure several times, killed thousands and thousands of people. So in this situation, in a way this particular attack, might have a certain strategic and tactical meaningfulness Netanyahu has put in a wider context. And we have to understand that this is a violent state terrorism, against the Palestinian people, has been going on now for more than 50 years in the occupied territory. And more than 125 years for the entire country.

So we have to always, always put these things within the wider political perspective and understand that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, together with all the other Palestinian factions agreeing years ago, to a two state solution, which is really a very pro-Israel solution, they’ve tried to sue for peace and Israel has always said no. And what Netanyahu tries to do is use these attacks to blame the victim, to make the Palestinians think that the terrorists attacking us. And we lose the whole bigger picture of Israel’s attacks, of besiegement, of occupation, of semi-colonialism, and the fact that we’re talking about Palestinian resistance, we’re not talking about Palestinian attacks on Israel. And so I think we have to keep that wider context all the time in front of us.

MARC STEINER: Well, Jeff. However, as this unfolds, we see what happens with Netanyahu and the indictment, and whether Gantz takes over or someone else takes over for Netanyahu, we’ll come back to you to see what this all is. Thank you for the work you do and thanks for joining us once again.

JEFF HALPER: Thanks for having me.

MARC STEINER: Always good to talk to you, Jeff. And I’m Marc Steiner here for The Real News Network. Thank you all for joining us. Let us know what you think. Take care.

DHARNA NOOR: Hey, y’all. My name is Dharna Noor and I’m a climate crisis reporter here at The Real News Network. This is a crucial moment for humanity and for the planet. So if you like what we do, please, please support us by subscribing at the link below. Thank you.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

United States Has No Legal Capacity To Legalize Settlements

Aseel Akhras/Days of Palestine

International law experts agree that the US administration does not have the legal capacity to legalize settlements, and that the recent announcement by its secretary of state comes in response to the European Court of Justice’s decision to label settlement goods and the international consensus to renew the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, yesterday, that his country no longer considers settlements in the occupied West Bank “inconsistent with international law.”

The lawyer and expert in international law, Salah Mousa, said that the Pompeo declaration is a political statement and does not have any legal impact, noting that the US has no right to change the legal facts.

He said the announcement came in response to the European Court of Justice, which ruled to label the goods from settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Mousa said that the US administration’s current position is just another one in its anti-Palestinian decision, namely recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving its embassy to it, ending financial support for the UNRWA and trying to end its mandate, and closing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, which affirms that this administration does not give value to international law.

On how to confront these decisions, Mousa explained that the PLO should seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, open the file of settlements as a war crime, prosecute US companies dealing with settlements, and launch lawsuits by Palestinians holding American citizenship against the Israeli occupation and its companies in the American courts.

He called for continuing the diplomatic battle, in addition to taking unified Arab decisions and positions, and raising the Pompeo declaration and its repercussions in international forums.

For his part, international law expert Hanna Issa said the US is not authorized to act against international law and UN resolutions, especially those on the settlements.

In 1967, the United States recognized that the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, were occupied, and that the Hague and Geneva Conventions were applicable to them, he said.

The United States also voted for UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which considered the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as occupied territory, and therefore considered the settlements illegal.

Issa said that what Pompeo announced, on the settlements, does not reflect the opinion of the international community, pointing out that the countries of the world without exception, even US allies, consider the settlements illegal, not mentioning that the declaration violates international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

Justice Minister Mohammed Shalaldeh said that this declaration, which set a dangerous precedent, encourages violations of international law and UN resolutions, undermines efforts to achieve peace and increases tension, violence and instability in the region to a point that will threaten world peace and security.

He called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor to expedite the settlement complaint filed by the State of Palestine, taking into account the statements of the US Secretary of State and the approval of the US President to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

He recalled the overwhelming adoption by the UN Security Council in 2016 of resolution 2334 condemning settlements and calling for a halt to their construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, and which stressed that all states should not provide any assistance to Israel specifically if used in settlement activities.

The Minister of Justice said that the foreign policy of the United States completely contradicts with international law because of the clear breach of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and at the same time it involves an encroachment on the UN.

He considered Pompeo’s declaration reminiscent of the Balfour Declaration, on the 102nd anniversary of the old promise, but this time by an American official.

“With that declaration, the United States becomes an accomplice in the crime of settlements with the occupying Power, and the International Criminal Court has the right to prosecute US officials for this decision, including President Trump and his Secretary of State,” he said.

(photo: Alternative Information Center)

Int

ernational law experts agree that the US administration does not have the legal capacity to legalize settlements, and that the recent announcement by its secretary of state comes in response to the European Court of Justice’s decision to label settlement goods and the international consensus to renew the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, yesterday, that his country no longer considers settlements in the occupied West Bank “inconsistent with international law.”

The lawyer and expert in international law, Salah Mousa, said that the Pompeo declaration is a political statement and does not have any legal impact, noting that the US has no right to change the legal facts.

He said the announcement came in response to the European Court of Justice, which ruled to label the goods from settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Mousa said that the US administration’s current position is just another one in its anti-Palestinian decision, namely recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving its embassy to it, ending financial support for the UNRWA and trying to end its mandate, and closing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, which affirms that this administration does not give value to international law.

On how to confront these decisions, Mousa explained that the PLO should seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, open the file of settlements as a war crime, prosecute US companies dealing with settlements, and launch lawsuits by Palestinians holding American citizenship against the Israeli occupation and its companies in the American courts.

He called for continuing the diplomatic battle, in addition to taking unified Arab decisions and positions, and raising the Pompeo declaration and its repercussions in international forums.

For his part, international law expert Hanna Issa said the US is not authorized to act against international law and UN resolutions, especially those on the settlements.

In 1967, the United States recognized that the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, were occupied, and that the Hague and Geneva Conventions were applicable to them, he said.

The United States also voted for UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which considered the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as occupied territory, and therefore considered the settlements illegal.

Issa said that what Pompeo announced, on the settlements, does not reflect the opinion of the international community, pointing out that the countries of the world without exception, even US allies, consider the settlements illegal, not mentioning that the declaration violates international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

Justice Minister Mohammed Shalaldeh said that this declaration, which set a dangerous precedent, encourages violations of international law and UN resolutions, undermines efforts to achieve peace and increases tension, violence and instability in the region to a point that will threaten world peace and security.

He called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor to expedite the settlement complaint filed by the State of Palestine, taking into account the statements of the US Secretary of State and the approval of the US President to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

He recalled the overwhelming adoption by the UN Security Council in 2016 of resolution 2334 condemning settlements and calling for a halt to their construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, and which stressed that all states should not provide any assistance to Israel specifically if used in settlement activities.

The Minister of Justice said that the foreign policy of the United States completely contradicts with international law because of the clear breach of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and at the same time it involves an encroachment on the UN.

He considered Pompeo’s declaration reminiscent of the Balfour Declaration, on the 102nd anniversary of the old promise, but this time by an American official.

“With that declaration, the United States becomes an accomplice in the crime of settlements with the occupying Power, and the International Criminal Court has the right to prosecute US officials for this decision, including President Trump and his Secretary of State,” he said.

(photo: Alternative In

International Law Experts: United States Has No Legal Capacity To Legalize Settlements

 November 20, 2019 7:50 PM  IMEMC News & AgenciesInternationalInternational NewsInternational PoliticsIsraeli SettlementNews ReportOpinion/Analysis 0

Aseel Akhras/Days of Palestine

International law experts agree that the US administration does not have the legal capacity to legalize settlements, and that the recent announcement by its secretary of state comes in response to the European Court of Justice’s decision to label settlement goods and the international consensus to renew the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, yesterday, that his country no longer considers settlements in the occupied West Bank “inconsistent with international law.”

The lawyer and expert in international law, Salah Mousa, said that the Pompeo declaration is a political statement and does not have any legal impact, noting that the US has no right to change the legal facts.

He said the announcement came in response to the European Court of Justice, which ruled to label the goods from settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Mousa said that the US administration’s current position is just another one in its anti-Palestinian decision, namely recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving its embassy to it, ending financial support for the UNRWA and trying to end its mandate, and closing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, which affirms that this administration does not give value to international law.

On how to confront these decisions, Mousa explained that the PLO should seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, open the file of settlements as a war crime, prosecute US companies dealing with settlements, and launch lawsuits by Palestinians holding American citizenship against the Israeli occupation and its companies in the American courts.

He called for continuing the diplomatic battle, in addition to taking unified Arab decisions and positions, and raising the Pompeo declaration and its repercussions in international forums.

For his part, international law expert Hanna Issa said the US is not authorized to act against international law and UN resolutions, especially those on the settlements.

In 1967, the United States recognized that the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, were occupied, and that the Hague and Geneva Conventions were applicable to them, he said.

The United States also voted for UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which considered the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as occupied territory, and therefore considered the settlements illegal.

Issa said that what Pompeo announced, on the settlements, does not reflect the opinion of the international community, pointing out that the countries of the world without exception, even US allies, consider the settlements illegal, not mentioning that the declaration violates international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

Justice Minister Mohammed Shalaldeh said that this declaration, which set a dangerous precedent, encourages violations of international law and UN resolutions, undermines efforts to achieve peace and increases tension, violence and instability in the region to a point that will threaten world peace and security.

He called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor to expedite the settlement complaint filed by the State of Palestine, taking into account the statements of the US Secretary of State and the approval of the US President to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

He recalled the overwhelming adoption by the UN Security Council in 2016 of resolution 2334 condemning settlements and calling for a halt to their construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, and which stressed that all states should not provide any assistance to Israel specifically if used in settlement activities.

The Minister of Justice said that the foreign policy of the United States completely contradicts with international law because of the clear breach of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and at the same time it involves an encroachment on the UN.

He considered Pompeo’s declaration reminiscent of the Balfour Declaration, on the 102nd anniversary of the old promise, but this time by an American official.

“With that declaration, the United States becomes an accomplice in the crime of settlements with the occupying Power, and the International Criminal Court has the right to prosecute US officials for this decision, including President Trump and his Secretary of State,” he said.

(photo: Alternative Information Center)

formation Center)

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Hebron: Nazi Army Abducts Three Palestinians

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is abducthebron-e1547113075627.png

Nazi soldiers abducted, on Wednesday evening, three Palestinians from Hebron governorate, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Media sources said the Nazi soldiers abducted Qussai Ziad al-Alama, 22, from Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, while walking at the main entrance of the city.

They added that the Nazi soldiers also abducted Mousa Issa Awad, and his son Sa’ad, from Yatta town, south of Hebron, after stopping them at a military roadblock near the entrance road of Nablus city, in northern West Bank.

On Wednesday at dawn, the soldiers abducted eight Palestinians from several parts of the occupied West Bank.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

Ramallah: Nazi Soldiers Demolish Two Palestinian Homes

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is demolishhome-e1574278979143.jpg

Nazi soldiers demolished, two Palestinian homes in Shuqba village, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Media sources said several Nazi army jeeps, and bulldozers, invaded the village and demolished the homes, reportedly for being built without a permit from the Nazi Civil Administration Office, the executive branch of the illegal Nazi occupation of the West Bank.

They added that the homes are owned by Abdul-Jaber al-Masri, and that the Nazi soldiers briefly detained him along with his brother.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

America’s long history of tolerating Israel’s illegal expansion

The U.S. has never treated Israeli settlements as illegal, as expansion continues with little resistance from Washington. Still, Pompeo’s declaration will likely become the new normal.

By Mitchell Plitnick 

Illustrative photo of Israeli Border Police officers guarding a settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Illustrative photo of Israeli Border Police officers guarding a settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

In the latest reversal of long-standing United States policy in the Middle East, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared this week that Washington no longer views Israeli settlements in the West Bank as “inconsistent with international law.”

Pompeo framed the decision as a “reversal” of Obama administration policy. He said, “[Former] Secretary [of State John] Kerry changed decades of this careful bipartisan approach by publicly reaffirming the supposed illegality of settlements,” referring to a December 2016 resolution in the United Nations Security Council that termed the settlements illegal, which President Barack Obama permitted to pass by abstaining from the vote.

But in fact, Obama had been more tolerant of Israeli settlement than his predecessors. While he talked more often about their being an obstacle to peace, that abstention was the only time in his eight years in office that Obama had allowed a UN resolution critical of Israel to pass. By contrast, George W. Bush permitted six UNSC resolutions to which Israel objected to pass. Ronald Reagan permitted 20.Get Our Weekly NewsletterSign up

Obama even vetoed a UNSC resolution whose text was almost verbatim U.S. policy, causing himself quite a bit of embarrassment in the international arena. On another occasion, Israel announced a new and highly controversial settlement in East Jerusalem while Vice President Joe Biden was in the country. The administration’s reaction was to do a reading of standard talking points and move on.

Distorting Obama’s record affects more than the president’s legacy. It increases the distortion of politics around Israel and its occupation. Obama emphasized actual Israeli security needs, which, in his view, included finding an agreement with the Palestinians, and lowering the temperature between Israel (and Saudi Arabia) and Iran. Trump has focused on crowd-pleasing, grandiose gestures like moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem — a move that eliminated any possibility of diplomacy with the Palestinians; or leaving the Iran nuclear deal, which aggravated tensions with Iran, thereby making the environment considerably less secure for Israel. Much like the neoconservative strategies of the early part of the century, casting those who pursue diplomacy as a threat to security allows hawks to get away with making the region less secure for everyone.

The new normal

In many ways, this decision will mean little on the ground. The U.S. has never really treated the settlements as illegal, only occasionally offering more than a mild objection to Israeli settlement plans. While a few of the most controversial projects — such as the construction of a police station and some roads in the E-1 Corridor, which effectively bisects most of the West Bank — have been temporarily halted by U.S. pressure over the years, most projects have moved ahead eventually, with little more than a clucking of tongues from Washington.

Israel has always managed its settlement expansion based on the political concerns of the moment. Washington’s attitude certainly is a major factor, but so are “managing” the Palestinian population under occupation, navigating domestic Israeli politics, and balancing Israel’s relationships with Europe and the key Arab states such as Egypt, Jordan, and, increasingly, Saudi Arabia. But many of the other players, including opposition figures within Israel, often work with the United States in their efforts to slow Israel’s plans.

The new policy Pompeo presented on Monday will change things a bit going forward, but the historic tolerance of the United States for settlements means the change won’t amount to much for now. Still, as the policy debate evolves over the years, the effect could become more pronounced.

Pompeo’s outline of the new U.S. attitude explicitly relies on Israeli decision-making, both in the political and legal spheres. “We recognize, as Israeli courts have, that legal conclusions relating to individual settlements must depend on an assessment of specific facts and circumstances on the ground,” he said. “The Israeli legal system affords an opportunity to challenge settlement activity, and assess humanitarian considerations connected to it.”

The “facts and circumstances” to which Pompeo refers vary, depending on the best way for the state to make its case. The Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, describes a wide array of tactics — from land confiscation for military purposes, to emergency military laws, to old laws from the days of Ottoman control or Jordanian occupation of the West Bank, among others — that Israel uses to take the land it wants, even if that Palestinian land is privately owned in some cases. But, if the Israeli legal hodgepodge is the guide, then it’s all perfectly legal.

“Israeli courts have declared the legality of some settlements and concluded that others cannot be legally sustained,” Pompeo continued. Here, he is referring to the fact that the state is supposed to authorize all settlement construction. Unauthorized settlements, sometimes referred to as “outposts” are illegal and are supposed to be demolished. In practice, however, this rarely happens. Demolition orders are subject to lengthy court proceedings, during which time the outposts continue to grow and become more entrenched. On a few occasions, Israel has destroyed outposts but in many other cases, they are “retroactively legalized.” That’s the system that Pompeo is basing U.S. policy on.

Because the issue of Israel and Palestine is so fraught in U.S. domestic politics, it will be difficult for a subsequent administration to change the policy Pompeo has put forth. The powerful lobbying group, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has refused to challenge Pompeo and, while keeping their own statement carefully neutral, the group circulated several statements by others in support of the announcement. The so-called Democratic Majority for Israel has made no statement at all as of Tuesday morning. J Street opposed Pompeo, but offered little in the way of action apart from a bill currently in the House of Representatives that stands little chance of becoming law.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo deliver joint statements at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, March 20, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo deliver joint statements at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, March 20, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The long-term outlook for this policy is that it will become the new normal, and that will mean yet another change in the playing field. It is a step closer to convincing people not only that the Palestinians are the aggressors in this conflict — something which many already believe — but that they are actually the interlopers and colonizers, as many supporters of Israel argue. That sort of distortion of reality and of history cannot possibly lead to anything but deeper and greater conflict.

Citing Reagan

Pompeo claimed to be reverting to a Reagan-era policy. “After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President Reagan: the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law.” It’s true, Reagan did say that, but his actual policy tells a different story than Pompeo implies.

In 1982, most saw Reagan as strongly pro-Israel, in contrast to his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, who had the temerity to “force” Israel into a peace deal that ended the era of interstate wars for Israel. Reagan was offering his view of the Hansell Memorandum, which, in 1978, had concluded, “While Israel may undertake, in the occupied territories, actions necessary to meet its military needs and to provide for orderly government during the occupation… the establishment of the civilian settlements in those territories is inconsistent with international law.” The memo was the opinion of the State Department’s legal advisor. As such, it was a more informed opinion than Reagan’s, but it was less than a statement of official U.S. policy. Over the years, it was neither refuted by any legal argument (neither Reagan nor any official under him ever gave a legal argument supporting the president’s position) nor ever followed up by a clear statement of policy.

That left Hansell’s view vulnerable to the whims of politics and, eventually, to being summarily disregarded, as Pompeo has now done. But Pompeo is either ignorant of Reagan’s actual position on settlements or he is eliding it.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter attends a demonstration against evictions and settlements in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, October 22, 2010. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter attends a demonstration against evictions and settlements in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, October 22, 2010. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

In 1982, Reagan communicated his “talking points” on settlements to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. According to the New York Times, “The United States said…it supported ‘a real settlement freeze’ but added that it would oppose ‘dismantlement of the existing settlements’… As to the eventual status of the Jewish settlements, the United States said that this ‘must be determined in the course of the final status negotiations.’ But it also said the United States would oppose any Israeli control over the settlements in the future as ‘extraterritorial outposts.’”

The ambiguity expressed there is quite different from Pompeo’s pronouncement that, in essence, Israel would be free to determine the ongoing settlement policy.

Finally, it’s worth noting the silence of the president in all of this. Only the day before, Israeli media reported that Trump was frustrated with Netanyahu and his failure to form a governing coalition. That, no doubt, is why Pompeo is standing in the spotlight on this issue, in contrast to the previous political gifts the Trump administration has given Netanyahu.

It was also reported that Trump was annoyed that the ongoing stalemate in Israel has delayed the unveiling of his “deal of the century,” an event few are eagerly anticipating. This new settlement policy, however, supports the fears of many that this “deal” will propose some truncated area with limited sovereignty for the Palestinians that Trump will say they can call a “state.”

Ultimately, this new American policy affirms that there is no longer any realistic possibility for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. If Israel hasn’t buried it, the United States will. But if settlement growth continues with even less restraint than there is now, the consequences for existing Palestinian towns, villages, and cities will be devastating, as the settlements will choke off travel, commerce, water and other resources even more than they already do. It won’t lead to a single state, or any other stable future, even an oppressive one. It cannot lead to anything but violence.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

On paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and the Clintons

NOVANEWS

The Clintons and Epstein
Eve Mykytyn writes:

Trevor Noah, host of the Daily Show, an American satirical news programme broadcast on Comedy Central, started his interview with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton by asking Hillary how she killed Jeffrey Epstein. Clinton looked “shocked” and then laughed as Noah asked how “they” could think she had so much power. Why was she the besieged ‘“bogeyman” of the right? This led to a discussion of absurd conspiracy theories, with Chelsea “spontaneously” volunteering that in 2016 a voter thought Clinton the better candidate but had heard she murdered more than 50 people.

Clinton is, of course, not above mouthing conspiracy theories of her own. She famously blamed “a vast right wing conspiracy” for her husband’s problems. Recently, Clinton alleged that Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic candidate currently polling at 1.2 per cent among members of her own party, was “the favorite of the Russians”. Her accusation is, at best, an indication of the decline of Russian “power”: first they help elect Trump and now their candidate can’t even hit the 5 per cent mark.

Despite the “outrage” among some in the press, it is difficult to imagine that Noah’s questions to Clinton weren’t vetted beforehand – Hillary Clinton may even have fed him the line. Hillary, having run and lost twice, remains unwilling to slink out of public sight. Should Clinton’s fantasy be fulfilled and the Democrats beg her to run “just one more time, for the good of the nation”, she hardly wants her reputation sullied by a paedophile.

On the day after a forensic pathologist opined that Epstein did not commit suicide, Clinton joked about Epstein’s death and pushed to the point of absurdity any attempt to question its circumstances. What is so funny about a  paedophile and enabler who kept cameras in the rooms where famous, rich and/or powerful people allegedly had sex with young girls? (By the way, who has copies of the tapes Epstein likely made?)

While posed as a somewhat awkward question, it appears instead to be a deliberate attempt to defuse legitimate questions about Epstein’s connections to the Clintons. The former secretary of state mocks those who want to address the disgrace of our system’s failure to hold Epstein responsible for his actions. It is a diversionary tactic to label an important question to which the public has not had access to information on a “conspiracy”. It is an attempt to turn the questioner into the wrongdoer.

Clinton knows there is reason to question her connections to Epstein. The brave journalist Whitney Webb has written a detailed account of the many links between Epstein and  Bill and Hillary Clinton that date back to when Clinton was governor and continued after his presidency. At a minimum, we know that Epstein gave generously to Hillary’s Senate campaign and to the Clinton foundation. Epstein’s partner, Ghislaine Maxwell and Chelsea vacationed together and Maxwell was a guest at her wedding. And, as Politico reported, Bill Clinton flew many times on Epstein’s jet, the Lolita Express.

Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party platform follies

Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party platform follies

In “Home”

Jeffrey Epstein and the Zionist culture of dehumanising the “Other”

Jeffrey Epstein and the Zionist culture of dehumanising the “Other”

In “Israel Stooges”

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: Bigots all around

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: Bigots all around

21st June 2016

Posted in USA0 Comments


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