Zionists snuff out free speech at UK universities

NOVANEWS
Zionists stifle free speech

Who had the impudence to change our values regarding free speech?

Desperation tactics to shut down discussion of the Israeli regime’s mega-crimes reach new heights of absurdity

By Stuart Littlewood

A fake anti-Semitism campaign masterminded by the usual Zionist suspects, their Israel lobby colleagues and their stooges in the corridors of power, continues to sweep across UK universities – and our political parties, especially shambolic and rudderless Labour.

Muffling universities

Central Lancashire

Last month the University of Central Lancashire cancelled an event entitled “Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine and the Importance of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) organised by the University’s Friends of Palestine Society. The university said it would contravene the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) new definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism and would therefore be unlawful. The event went ahead, off campus, at the premises of a local voluntary organisation.

Exeter

Exeter University banned students from staging a re-enactment called Mock Checkpoint, in which some dressed up as Israeli occupation soldiers while others acted the part of Palestinians trying to go about their daily lives. The event was approved by the students’ guild but banned for “safety and security reasons” less than 48 hours before it was due to take place. An appeal was rejected.

The common understanding that the values of a liberal democracy are the foundation of society appears to have evaporated. (Craig Murray, former UK ambassador)

Leeds

At Leeds University former British ambassador Craig Murray was asked by the trustees of the University Union to provide details of what he was going to say in his talk “Palestine/Israel: A Unitary Secular State or a Bantustan Solution” just 24 hours before he was due to speak. Craig reluctantly gave them an outline to allow the lecture to go ahead. He writes in his blog:

I have just been told by Leeds University Union I will not be allowed to speak unless I submit what I am going to say for pre-vetting.

I am truly appalled that such a gross restriction on freedom of speech should be imposed anywhere, let alone in a university where intellectual debate is meant to be an essential part of the learning experience. I really do not recognise today’s United Kingdom as the same society I grew up in. The common understanding that the values of a liberal democracy are the foundation of society appears to have evaporated.

Also at Leeds the student Palestine Solidarity Group was refused permission to mount a visual demonstration outside the Leeds Student Union Building or to have a stall inside.

Liverpool

At Liverpool Professor Michael Lavalette was contacted the day before he was due to speak with a demand that he sign the university’s “risk assessment” for the event. This included reading the controversial IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and agreeing with it. He emailed his response in which he carefully avoided mention of the dodgy definition and the meeting went ahead.

Manchester

The University of Manchester allowed a series of talks marking Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) to go ahead, but only after several meetings and imposing strict conditions which the organisers called “unheard of…. other societies and groups do not face the same problems”. University authorities, however, vetoed the students’ choice of academic to chair an IAW event on BDS over concerns about her “neutrality”, and other speakers had to acknowledge the British government-endorsed definition of anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, some reports say that a conference with the title “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism”, to be held at University College Cork at the end of this month, has been cancelled thanks to pressure from Zionist groups.

“The Irish, it seems, are not as easily pushed around as the English”

StandWithUs Israel, in cahoots with Irish4Israel, claim the university has been persuaded to impose added security stipulations and other limitations that “amount to a de-facto cancelling of this hateful event”.

But these are desperation tactics. Checking with the organisers, I’m told the event is “100 per cent going ahead”. The Irish, it seems, are not as easily pushed around as the English. The conference, if you remember, was chased away from Southampton university two years ago by a similar campaign against free speech. The “official” reason, as usual, was security concerns.

Now comes the scandal of the 26-year-old Exeter student, noted for her work on anti-racism, being smeared by the Zionist inquisition for her pro-Palestinian activism.

She is accused of having tweeted two years ago: “If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist”.

So what? As everyone and his dog knows, or ought to know, the Palestinians are perfectly entitled, under international law, to take up arms and resist a brutal illegal occupier. As Malaka Mohammed herself says:

It may appear as a radical statement that could raise serious concerns at both the University of Exeter and its Students’ Guild. However, it is my honest belief, and as I will attempt to explain, these kind of statements by Palestinians in general, and me in this instance, are most commonly in response to efforts by Israel advocacy groups and the Israeli government to demonise and dehumanise Palestinians. This is done by using the emotive dog whistle by Israeli descriptors of “terrorist” and “terrorism” whenever referring to the “Arab” population. Palestinians who throw stones in response to Israeli soldiers invading their villages are labelled violent thugs, rioters and terrorists. Palestinians who non-violently protest the illegal occupation are portrayed as violent individuals who terrorise Israeli Jews. Practically any Palestinian who resists the Israeli occupation and its plethora of human rights violations, war crimes and serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law is stigmatised in this way.

After reading that, I dropped the vice-chancellor a line:

Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor University of Exeter

Dear Sir Steve,

I’m writing as a graduate of Exeter University with fond memories of the place, and because I’m shocked to see its good name besmirched by ludicrous accusations linking Palestinian PhD student Malaka Mohammed (aka Shwaikh) to anti-Semitism and supporting terrorism.

As an acknowledged international relations specialist you will know the score regarding Israel’s decades-long illegal occupation of the Palestinians’ homeland and its brutal subjugation and merciless dispossession of the Palestinian people. You will also, I imagine, understand who the true terrorists and anti-Semites are.

Lest we forget, the US defines terrorism as an activity that

(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and
(ii) appears to be intended
– to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
– to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
– to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.

And the US has used this definition to terrorise and degrade individuals, groups and countries it doesn’t happen to like.

Ironically it’s a definition that fits the US administration itself – and the thuggish Israeli regime – like a glove.

I sincerely hope that amidst the flurry of investigations going on you will take steps to ensure that plucky Ms Mohammed/Schwaikh ceases to be victimised by tiresome Zionist inquisitors and is allowed to get on with her studies, and from now on free speech prevails across the beautiful Exeter campus.

Sir Steve is said to earn £400,000 a year according to this report. Perhaps he and many other university bosses need rousing from their plumptious comfort zone.

I’m with Craig Murray on this. I too don’t recognise our society today as the same one I grew up in. Who had the impudence to change our values regarding free speech?

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UK0 Comments

Will the British royal family celebrate 100 years of shame by endorsing I$raHell?

NOVANEWS
Will the British royal family celebrate 100 years of shame by endorsing Israel?
Prince Charles wearing a Jewish kippah

An official visit during the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration could be another nail in the coffin of the British Monarchy

By Stuart Littlewood

You know that awful feeling of doom when bad news makes your blood run cold? It’s happened to me at least four times already this year:

  • when Theresa May invited Trump on a state visit to the UK when he’d been in office only five minutes and clearly ought to be on probation for at least two years;
  • when the British government announced it was going to whoop it up for the centenary of the Balfour Declaration;
  • when the British government announced it had invited Israel’s chief criminal, Binyamin Netanyahu, to those Balfour celebrations; and
  • when news came the other day that a member of the British royal family might break precedent and formally visit Israel later this year.

That fourth one had the Times of Israel crowing with delight. Its report succeeds in portraying Prince Charles as the perfect stooge while Boris Johnson is having a bad hair day as usual. Such a visit would, of course, legitimise Israel as an illegal occupying power and destroy the last shred of British credibility in the Middle East and indeed the rest of the civilised world. But that counts for nothing among the bird-brains that run our country.

Let’s remember how this Balfour lunacy began, Arthur Balfour (later Lord Balfour) being British foreign secretary at the time and a Zionist convert.

His Declaration of 1917 – actually a letter to the most senior Jew in England, Lord Rothschild – pledged assistance for the Zionist cause with total disregard for the consequences to the native majority in the land the Zionists had targeted: Palestine.

Calling itself a declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, it said:

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing and non-Jewish communities…

Balfour also wrote:

In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country. The four powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now occupy that land.

The “running sore in the East” and how it turned septic

Obviously, there was opposition. Lord Sydenham warned:

The harm done by dumping down an alien population upon an Arab country may never be remedied. What we have done, by concessions not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, is to start a running sore in the East, and no-one can tell how far that sore will extend.

Well, we know now, a hundred years on.

So what was behind it? I like the account of Jewish businessman Benjamin Freedman who gave a speech at the Willard Hotel, Washington, in 1961. He told his audience that Britain, in World War I, was in dire straits thanks to the success of the German U-boats. It was alone, almost out of ammunition and on the edge of starvation. Germany offered peace terms, and while Britain chewed it over the Zionists of Germany (representing the Zionists of Eastern Europe who wanted an end to the Czar) came to London and said: “We will guarantee to bring the United States into the war as your ally, to fight with you on your side, if you will promise us Palestine after you win the war.” And that was the bargain Britain struck, in October 1916, overturning earlier pledges to the Arabs for their help.

And having done their bit, the Zionists wanted a “receipt” – written confirmation of Britain’s pledge. Hence Balfour’s infamous “Declaration” in November the following year, a grubby note addressed to Lord Rothschild promising to pay off the Zionists with land that wasn’t Britain’s to give.

When the war was over a large delegation of Jews attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. According to Freedman, who was there, when the Great Powers carved up the losers’ territories – German and Ottoman – the Jewish delegation claimed Palestine, producing Balfour’s promissory note.

In August 1917, while the Palestine deal was still being discussed but before Balfour issued his Declaration, Lord Montague penned an important memorandum to the British cabinet. Montague, only the second Jew to serve in a British cabinet, was minister of munitions in 1916 when, said Freedman, Britain was running out of ammunition. He wanted to place on record that in his opinion the policy of the British government was anti-Semitic because it would provide a rallying ground for anti-Semites in every country in the world. “Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom,” he said. He assumed that Zionism meant that Muslims and Christians were to make way for the Jews and that Jews would be put in all positions of preference.

No such a thing as a Jewish nation

Montague argued that there was no such thing as a Jewish nation, and he was well aware of the unpopularity of the Jewish community. “We have obtained a far greater share of this country’s goods and opportunities than we are numerically entitled to… Many of us have been exclusive in our friendships and intolerant in our attitude…”

As for the Balfour Declaration itself, he felt the government was carrying out the wishes of a Zionist organisation “largely run by men of enemy descent or birth”. Furthermore, he said, “I would be almost tempted to proscribe the Zionist organisation as illegal and against the national interest.” His message to Lord Rothschild was that the government should help Jews in Palestine enjoy liberty of settlement and life on equal terms with inhabitants who hold other religious beliefs, but go no further.

The insane Declaration was followed 30 years later by another monstrous betrayal when the Great Powers pushed the United Nations into cruelly partitioning Palestine, again without consulting those who lived there. Worse still, the UN did nothing to halt the Jewish terror spree and land grab that followed.

Celebrating Balfour amounts to praising the thieves for keeping what they stole

Justice groups are now saying it’s time the British government, which accepted the mandated responsibility for the Holy Land up to 1948, had the good manners to admit its part in the catastrophe and say sorry for the needless damage and suffering caused to Palestinian Arabs who once considered themselves Britain’s allies. That would be a reasonable starting point for dealing with the horrendous situation today.

Celebrating Balfour amounts to praising the thieves for keeping what they stole. Those who cannot stomach such a cowardly betrayal of Christian and Muslim communities in the Holy Land may consider signing a petition addressed the the Queen’s private secretary asking that she does not travel to Israel at this time. It points out that the situation vis-à-vis Palestine is regarded by the Foreign Office as “unfinished business” and a royal visit would not only add insult to injury to the Palestinians but embroil Her Majesty in a controversy that could damage the international standing of the British monarchy.

The time for the royal family to start being nice to Israel is when Israel starts being nice to its Palestinian neighbours, honours its obligations under the UN Charter, ends its illegal occupation and shows proper regard for international and humanitarian law.

And not before.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UK0 Comments

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Made in Britain, Tested on Yemenis: The Reality of Working for the “Bomb-makers”

NOVANEWS
 
YEMEN-CONFLICT

Jack sits down with his pint in the Fielden Arms in Mellor, and contemplates his latest shift making Typhoon warplanes for the Saudi air force.

Tucking into steak and chips, the 25-year-old talks of moving in with his girlfriend, his good pay at the nearby BAE factory – £40,000, almost twice the local average – and the security it brings.

And then he thinks of the people those planes will be sent to kill.

“You see the children in Yemen starving on the 10 o’clock news,” he tells Middle East Eye. “But you try to not pay attention and just get on with it.”

His friend, Harry, interjects: “It’s really weird and there is no way to describe it, because you are in essence building a weapon of mass destruction.”

So why don’t they quit? “Good pay and job security,” Jack responds, taking another sip of his beer. “If the military contracts go, 7,000 people go with them.”

Jack is like thousands of others who works at the BAE Systems factory in nearby Samlesbury, outside Preston in Lancashire, making parts that will be assembled in nearby Warton to create Typhoons, the most advanced jet fighters operated by the Saudis over Yemen.

There, the Saudis have contributed to a civil war with the most terrible violence: bombing civilians, blowing up hospitals, and imposing a siege that has condemned millions of Yemenis to slow starvation and poverty.

And Britain, in its wisdom, has sold the Saudis the hardware to do it. Since the war began in 2015, the UK has approved arms sales to Riyadh worth more than $3.3bn. Many of those weapons have come from BAE factories like Samlesbury, built by workers like Jack.

This prompted anti-arms trade campaigners to launch a judicial review in February to stop arms exports to the Saudi government until it stops committing human rights atrocities in Yemen. The decision on that review is due in the coming months.

St Oswald’s church in Warton (Wikipedia)

All the while, BAE continues to expand its operations in the north-west of England, and the contracts keep coming. It is building a solar farm the size of nine football fields, creating hundreds of new apprenticeships, and is already Preston’s largest employer with 9,000 staff. Under the £40bn al-Salam deal, signed in 2007 to a 25,000-strong celebration in Preston, BAE has delivered 68 of 72 Typhoons ordered, and another 48 may soon be agreed.

And in the surrounding villages, where the quiet life is punctuated by the sonic booms of jets and the rumble of lorries on narrow roads, the business is welcomed, even venerated. BAE is woven into the fabric of a local life, where generations have manned BAE’s machine rooms.

There is pride in what they do. “Lancashire has a strong history of building fighter jets, and we are proud to be building them,” said Mike Harris, who has worked as an electric fitter in Samlesbury. ”We produce the best in the world.”

“We can’t build washing machines because we have a history of building fighter planes,” Harris said. ”That’s what we do and want to carry on doing.”

And a block on that expertise would be devastating.

Audrey Charnley sits in the old church opposite BAE’s Warton factory, the main assembly site for Typhoon jets, and speaks of the “problem” for locals if it was to close or lose business due to the efforts of anti-war activists.

Many villagers like Audrey have family who have worked for there. She doesn’t like the “idea” of Warton building fighter jets – “but somebody would be building the jets if Warton wasn’t”.

As to the war in Yemen, “we want peace, just like the peace we feel in this church”, she says.

The same thought is echoed across the way at the local village hall, which Lynn Shuttleworth helps run. “If they didn’t do it here they would do it somewhere else,” she says, before commenting on a more pressing local issue: “Does cause a lot of traffic I must admit.”

Britain has sold Saudi Arabia dozens of Typhoon fighter jets (wikimedia)

And at the Clifton Arms, next to Warton’s factory, Taylor James pulls pints for the workers emerging from their shifts. He knows that victory for the judicial review will hit him and his family’s pub hard.

He’s never really heard of Yemen, or its current catastrophe, and neither – he says – have many people in the area.

“Because it’s not personally affecting me, I don’t really get involved or have an interest in what the planes are used for.”

Politics by other means

Politics may not be the concern of some locals, but it plays a central part in the world in which they live. What is made by BAE has local, national and international repercussions, and has turned parties and traditional allies against each other.

Many in Samlesbury and Warton are members of Unite, the union that helped propel anti-war activist Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party. Twice.

He is opposed to Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and its bombing campaign in Yemen. Union representatives say opposition to Saudi exports is “misguided”.

Simon Brown, who represents thousands at Warton, rationalises that position. He says maintaining trade with Saudi Arabia ensures Britain has a say in what it does.

“Trading gives us influence to talk about the things we’re not happy about in these regimes,” he said at a discussion at the Unite HQ in Salford. “If we left them on their own, we won’t have influence.”

Another senior Unite official, who spoke to MEE anonymously, skips the platitudes for a more succinct answer: it’s about the jobs.

“Of course our members don’t agree with what Saudi are doing in Yemen, it’s barbaric,” says the official.

However, he absolves his members of responsibility: “The government’s created a situation where people can do nothing but work for BAE.”

Andy Clough, a Unite union spokesman at Warton and worker since 1979, agrees: “I’ve seen whole families work there,” he says. “It’s still like that now. There are fathers and sons. That’s the sort of culture that we have.”

Nigel Evans, the local Conservative MP for the Samlesbury factory, has been a staunch defender of BAE systems in parliament.

His last appearance in parliament described the presence of BAE systems in Lancashire as “important” and providing “thousands of jobs for the Ribble Valley and Lancashire” area.

Their loss, he said, would be devastating.

But Andrew Smith from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade disagrees. He says that the arms trade is, in fact, a very small part of the British economy.

“Arms companies enjoy a huge influence in the corridors of power, which has bought them a lot of power,” he says.

“We want to see an industrial strategy that puts the skills of industry workers to good use and focuses on positive, substantive jobs and not those dependent on war and conflict.”

According to the Oxford Economics groupBAE in 2013 exported £3.8bn worth of weapons, including missiles, naval systems and jets – 69 per cent of which was sent to countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

But that £3.8bn represents just one percent of all the British economy’s exports.

Smith’s group has another option – last year it launched itsarms to renewables campaign, which argues skilled engineers could be moved into industries that can build a new future, rather than destroy it.

Skilled engineers will always be in demand, it says.

The Lightning that stands outside the Samlesbury factory (screengrab)

Back in Samlesbury, such high-minded thinking is just that.

When the shifts change, workers file in and out of the steel gates of the 700-acre site, guarded by a life-sized model of a Lightning, a famous cold war fighters built by English Electric, a forerunner of BAE.

A real one used to stand here – in active service, it was flown by the Saudis in the 1970s.

Workers who take a moment to speak to MEE have the unmistakable pride of decades of excellence, while conceding their concerns about where their jets end up.

But that’s just the way it is.

And the BAE of the future will continue to build expert killing machines: The company has recently signed a multi-million contract to develop a new generation of armed drones, another weapon common in the skies of Yemen, and beyond.

Jack, in the pub in Mellor, is aware this is where his future may lie: building robots for foreign states to kill foreign people in foreign lands.

“There’s nothing we can do,” he says. “We’re caved in, making it impossible to work anywhere else, because we’ve all got specific skills.”

Posted in UK, Yemen0 Comments

Boycott Exeter University

NOVANEWS

Gaza student victory at Exeter University scares Jews

 

Image result for Exeter University LOGO

Gaza-born Malaka Shwaikh, 25, is a PhD candidate in Palestinian studies at the University of Exeter, Devon, UK. Last month she become one of 15 students representatives on the National Executive Council at the National Union of Students (NUS) despite a vicious character assassination campaign by various Jewish groups.

Malaka who organized a protest against British prime minister Theresa May’s invitation to Donald Trump at Exeter, was accused by Jewish Hillel being hypocrite claiming that six of the seven Muslim majority countries banned by Trump administration (Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) have long imposed banned on Jew visitors.

One has to excuse these lying Israeli propaganda pigs as Iran is home to region’s largest Jewish population (35,000) after Israel. Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen also have Jewish communities which are NOT persecuted as African Jews are persecuted in Israel. Beside, Trump didn’t ban Muslims from Saudi Arabia or Israel whom Israeli Jews would love to leave their properties for Europe’s unwanted Jews.

Malaka has been accused of the so-called antisemitism. Being a Palestinian, I’m sure Malaka has more chances of being Semite than 90% of the 13 million world Jewry.

UK’s taxpayers’ funded Israeli watchdog, the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) headed by Gideon Falter, a UK-Israel citizen, continues its vilification of Malaka even after her victory.

I believe the attacks against me have been an attempt to defame my character, particularly as a Palestinian activist and as a Muslim woman. It’s no coincident that they coincide with my election to various positions in Exeter University Student’s Guild,” she says (here).

Last year, UK’s Jewish groups ran a similar campaign against NUS president Malia Bouattia, an Algerian-born Muslim female student.

Malaka Shwaikh is a freelance writer. Her articles have been published at Moment, Mondowiess, Huffington Post, etc. She lives in Sheffield (UK). She graduated with a BA in English literature from the Islamic University of Gaza and a MA in global politics and law from the University of Sheffield in Britain. She describes herself as follows:

As a Palestinian, peace for me means the end of Israeli policies of the occupation of our historical lands, ethnic cleansing, colonization, and racial discrimination that has been continuously condemned by human rights and international law organizations, yet Israel chooses to ignore these calls with full impunity. Peace is by putting so much pressure on this settler colonial state to abide by human rights and international law. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is one of the tactics that has proved its success to tell Israel that you’re no more immune; the world is watching and looking for a peaceful Globe. I use writing as a way to raise awareness and to express myself. It is good to have approachable platforms that one can use to reach large audiences around the world.

Posted in UK0 Comments

Amnesty International’s Kangaroo Report on Syria

AI Syria 19e96

Introduction

Amnesty International (AI) has done some good investigations and reports over the years. This has won them widespread support.  However, less well recognized, Amnesty International has also carried out faulty investigations contributing to bloody and disastrous actions. One prominent example is in Iraq, where AI “corroborated” the false story that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. The deception was planned and carried out in Washington DC to influence the public and Congress.  A more recent example is from 2011 where false accusations were being made about Libya and its leader as Western and Persian Gulf powers sought to overthrow the Gaddafi government. AI leaders joined the campaign claiming that Gaddafi was using “mercenaries” to threaten and kill peacefully protesting civilians. The propaganda was successful in muting criticism. Going far beyond a UN Security Council resolution to “protect civilians”, NATO launched sustained air attacks and toppled the Libyan government leading to chaos, violence and a flood of refugees. AI later refuted the “mercenary” accusations but the damage was done.

The Sensational New Amnesty International Report

On 7 February Amnesty International released a new report titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison”. It has received huge uncritical review in mainstream and liberal media.

Like the Iraq/Kuwait incubator story and the Libyan ‘mercenary’ story, the “Human Slaughterhouse” report is coming at a critical time. The consequences of the AI report are to accuse and convict the Syrian government of horrible atrocities against civilians.  AI explicitly calls for the international community to take “action”.

As will be shown below, the AI report is biased and partial. To the extent that it is resulting in a widespread kangaroo conviction of the Syrian government, the AI release can be called a “Kangaroo Report”.

Problems with the Report

1) The Amnesty International report on Syria violates their own research standards.  As documented by Prof Tim Hayward here, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, claims that Amnesty does its research in a very systematic, primary, way where we collect evidence with our own staff on the ground. And every aspect of our data collection is based on corroboration and cross-checking from all parties, even if there are, you know, many parties in any situation because of all of the issues we deal with are quite contested. So it’s very important to get different points of view and constantly cross check and verify the facts.’ As documented below, the Amnesty report fails on all counts: they rely on third parties, they did not gather different points of view and they did not cross-check.

2) The report conclusions are not based on primary sources, material evidence or their own staff; they are solely based on the claims of anonymous individuals, mostly in southern Turkey from where the war on Syria is coordinated.

3) Amnesty gathered witnesses and testimonies from only one side of the conflict: the Western and Persian Gulf supported opposition. For example, AI consulted with the Syrian Network for Human Rights which is known to seek NATO intervention in Syria. AI “liased” with the Commission for International Justice and Accountability. This organization is funded by the West to press criminal charges against the Syrian leadership. These are obviously not neutral, independent or nonpartisan organizations. If AI was doing what the Secretary General claims they do, they would have consulted with organizations within or outside Syria to hear different accounts of life at Saydnaya Prison.  Since the AI report has been released, the AngryArab has published the account of a Syrian dissident, Nizar Nayyouf, who was imprisoned at Saydnaya. He contradicts many statements in the Amnesty International report. This is the type of cross-checking which Amnesty International failed to do for this important study.

4) Amnesty’s accusation that executions were “extrajudicial” is exaggerated or false. By Amnesty’s own description, each prisoner appeared briefly before a judge and each execution was authorized by a high government leader. We do not know if the judge looked at documentation or other information regarding each prisoner. One could argue that the process was superficial but it’s clear there was some kind of judicial process.

5) Amnesty’s suggestion that all Saydnaya prisoners are convicted is false.  Amnesty quotes one of their witnesses who says about the court: “The judge will ask the name of the detainee and whether he committed the crime. Whether the answer is yes or no, he will be convicted.” This assertion is contradicted by a former Saydnaya prisoner who is now a refugee in Sweden. In this news report the former prisoner says the judge “asked him how many soldiers he had killed. When he said none, the judge spared him.” This is evidence that there is a judicial process of some sort and there are acquittals.

6) The Amnesty report includes satellite photographs with captions which are meaningless or erroneous. For example, as pointed out by Syrian dissident Nizar Nayyouf, the photo on page 30 showing a Martyrs Cemetery is “silly beyond silly”. The photo and caption show the cemetery doubled in size. However, this does not prove hangings of prisoners who would never be buried in a “martyrs cemetery” reserved for Syrian army soldiers. On the contrary, it confirms the fact which Amnesty International otherwise ignores:  Syrian soldiers have died in large numbers.

7) The Amnesty report falsely claims, based on data provided by one of the groups seeking NATO intervention, “The victims are overwhelmingly ordinary civilians who are thought to oppose the government.”  While it’s surely true that innocent civilians are sometimes wrongly arrested, as happens in all countries, the suggestion that Saydnaya prison is filled with 95% “ordinary civilians” is preposterous. Amnesty International can make this claim with a straight face because they have effectively “disappeared” the reality of Syria. Essential facts which are completely missing from the Amnesty report include:

  1. Western powers and Persian Gulf monarchies have put up billions of dollars annually since 2011 to fund, train, weaponize, provide salaries and propaganda in support of a violent campaign to overthrow the Syrian government;
  2. tens of thousands of foreign fanatics have invaded Syria;
  3. tens of thousands of Syrians have been radicalized and paid by Wahhabi monarchies in the Persian Gulf to overthrow the government;
  4. over 100 THOUSAND Syrian Army and National Defense soldiers have been killed defending their country. Most of this is public information yet ignored by Amnesty International and other media in the West. They have done a massive distortion and cover-up of reality.

8) Without providing evidence, Amnesty International accuses the highest Sunni religious leader in Syria, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, of authorizing the execution of “ordinary civilians”. The Grand Mufti is a personal victim: his son was murdered by terrorists near Aleppo. Yet he has consistently called for reconciliation. Following the assassination of his son, Grand Mufti Hassoun gave an eloquent speech expressing forgiveness for the murderers and calling for an end to the violence. What does it say about Amnesty International that they make these kind of specific personal accusations, against people who have personally suffered, yet provide zero evidence?

9) Amnesty uses sensational and emotional accusations in place of factual evidence. The title of the report is  “Human Slaughterhouse”. What goes with a “slaughterhouse”?  Why of course ….. a “meat fridge”!  The report uses the expression “meat fridge” seven separate times, presumably in an attempt to buttress the association.  Even the opening quotation is hyperbolic: “Saydnaya is the end of life – the end of humanity”.  This report is in sharp contrast with fact-based objective research and investigation; it is closer to perception management and manipulation.

10) Amnesty International accusations that the Syrian government is carrying out a policy of “extermination” are contradicted by the fact that the vast majority of Syrians prefer to live in government controlled areas. When the “rebels” were finally driven out of East Aleppo in December 2016, 90% of civilians rushed into government controlled areas. In recent days, civilians from Latakia province who had been imprisoned by terrorists for the past 3 years have been liberated in a prisoner exchange. The following video shows the Syrian President and first lady meeting with some of the civilians and gives a sense of the joy.

11) The Amnesty report is accompanied by a 3 minute cartoon which gives the false narrative that Syrian civilians who protest peacefully are imprisoned and executed. The cartoon is titled “Saydnaya Prison: Human Slaughterhouse”. Apparently Amnesty International is in denial of the fact that there are many tens of thousands of violent extremists in Syria. They set off car bombs, launch mortars and otherwise attack civilian areas every day. While there are mistakes from time to time, and also cases of corruption and bribery, it makes no sense that Syrian security or prison authorities would be wasting time and resources with non-violent civilians when there are tens of thousands of foreign sponsored actual terrorists in the country. The AI accusation is also contradicted by the fact that there are many opposition parties in Syria. They compete for seats in the National Assembly and campaign openly for public support from both the right and left of the Baath Party.

12) The Amnesty claim that Syrian authorities brutally repress peaceful protest is also contradicted by the Syrian reconciliation process. For the past several years armed opposition militants have been encouraged to lay down their weapons and peacefully rejoin society. This is largely unreported in western media because it contradicts the false stereotype presented by Amnesty International and western media in general. A recent example is reported here.

13) The Amnesty report cites the “Caesar” photographs as supporting evidence but ignores the fact that nearly half the photographs show the opposite of what was claimed. The widely publicized “Caesar photographs” was a Qatari funded hoax designed to sabotage the 2014 Geneva negotiations as documented here.

14) The Amnesty report makes many accusations against the Syrian government but ignores the violation of Syrian sovereignty being committed by western and Persian Gulf countries. It is a curious fact that big NGOs such as Amnesty International focus on violations of “human rights law” and “humanitarian law” but ignore the crime of aggression, also called the crime against peace.  According to the Nuremberg Tribunal, this is “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister and former President of the U.N. General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, is someone who should know. He says, “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.” Amnesty International ignores this.

Background and Context

The co-author of this Amnesty International report is Nicolette Waldman (Boehland). She was uncritically interviewed on DemocracyNow on 9 February. The background and previous work of Waldman shows the inter-connections between influential Washington “think tanks” and the billionaire foundation funded Non Governmental Organizations that claim to be independent but are clearly not. Waldman previously worked for the “Center for Civilians in Conflict”. This organization is directed by leaders from George Soros’ Open Society, Human Rights Watch, Blackrock Solutions and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). CNAS may be the most significant indication of political orientation since it is led by Michele Flournoy, who was predicted to become Secretary of Defense if Hillary Clinton had won the election. CNAS has been a leading force behind neo-conservatives plan to escalate war in Syria. While past work or associations do not always define new or future work, in this case the sensational and evidence-free accusations seem to align with neoconservative political goals.

Conclusion

Amnesty International has previously published false information or “corroboration” which justified western aggression against Iraq and Libya. This seems to be the same role they are playing now in Syria.

The Amnesty International report is a combination of accusations based on hearsay and sensationalism. Partially because of Amnesty’s undeserved reputation for independence and accuracy, the report has been picked up and broadcast widely.  Liberal and supposedly progressive media outlets have dutifully echoed the dubious accusations. In reality this report amounts to a Kangaroo court with the victim being the Syrian government and people who have borne the brunt of the foreign sponsored aggression. If this report sparks an escalation of the conflict, which Amnesty International seems to call for, it will be a big step backwards not forward ….just like in Iraq and Libya.

Posted in Human Rights, Syria, UK0 Comments

How Grey are the White Helmets and Their Backers?

white helmets 566c9

While thousands of humanitarian organisations around the world are struggling fiercely with diminishing support from governments and the public, one has achieved a surprising amount of support from Western governments in a surprisingly short period of time and gained a surprising attention from mainstream media and ditto political elites: The Syrian Civil Defence or White Helmets.

Their name of course makes you think of the UN’s Blue Helmet and white is the colour of those who should be protected in harm’s way – and the colour of innocence. However, for many years there has been an Argentinian relief organisation with the same name.

The SCD or White Helmets counts nearly 3.000 rescue workers who operate in very dangerous areas in rebel-held territories in Syria and claims that it has, in three years, rescued about 70.000 lives according to its Twitter account (or 65 per day).

Contrary to what you might think, it isn’t a Syrian organisation because Syria has its own organisation, incidentally also called Syria Civil Defence, which was established in 1953 and is registered with ICDO, the International Civil Defence Organisation, since 1972.

The White Helmets seems to have an annual budget of US$ 30 million and has raised a total support of well over US$ 100 million. And it seems that they operate exclusively in war zones in which the fighting against the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army takes place, i.e. in ‘liberated’ areas where hundreds of groups and some 80 countries, mainly NATO members, Gulf states and Saudi-Arabia, operate.

On the White Helmets’ briefing page it is stated that “funding for their humanitarian relief work is received from the aid budgets of Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.”

Here is how the Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen explains the roughly US$ 9 million to the White helmets from Denmark, a country that bombs in both Iraq and Syria.

Other civil society and humanitarian organisations inside Syria have not been so fortunate. You’ve probably not heard that much about the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and its work? How much/little support have they received from Western humanitarian-concerned governments? And in general, civil society organisations in Syria – women, peace, human rights, culture, etc. – have received nothing like US$ 100 million in a few years and no one has such a flashy media appearance as the White Helmets.

The White Helmets was started in 2013 by James Le Mesurier who seems to have tried a little of everything everywhere, including the grey zones of special forces and intelligence in virtually all NATO wars, Yugoslavia in particular. He later set up a foundation in Holland to gather the funds. Here is a recent account by Scott Ritter, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and weapons inspector in Iraq with tremendous knowledge of things Middle East:

“The organizational underpinnings of the White Helmets can be sourced to a March 2013 meeting in Istanbul between a retired British military officer, James Le Mesurier—who had experience in the murky world of private security companies and the shadowy confluence between national security and intelligence operations and international organizations—and representatives of the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Qatari Red Crescent Society. Earlier that month, the SNC was given Syria’s seat in the Arab League at a meeting of the league held in Qatar.

At that meeting, the SNC assumed Syria’s seat, and the Arab League authorized member states to actively provide support, including arms and ammunition, to the Syrian rebels. The Qataris, working through the SNC, helped assemble for Le Mesurier $300,000 in seed money from Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom for a seven-day course designed to train and equip a 25-person rescue team, recruited by the SNC, for duty in so-called “liberated areas” of Syria. The SNC made available a pair of Syrian activists—Raed Saleh and Farouq Habib—to assist Le Mesurier in this work.

The group is – as will be seen below – treated as uncontroversial in virtually all Western mainstream media. However, there is enough material with documentation to merit caution.

If you read media reports about the White Helmets and do not see the author mention that this group’s real identity is disputed and functions controversial you can be sure that you are wasting your time with somebody who is politically incredibly naive, or gullible; someone who has not done his or her research or is knowingly part of a deceptive effort serving a one-sided political agenda.

The White Helmets definitely is an controversial NGO – at the same time as it is (made) difficult to understand clearly what it really is.

And until the whole picture has been developed, anyone ought to be cautious with taking information about them at face value. So much must be clear given the links below.

Dual purpose?

That said, this author has not been on the ground but has studied both the pro- et contra links provided below.

Some observers draw the conclusion that the White Helmets – Syrian Civil Defence – is purely good guys rescuing lots of people, children in particular. The opposite advocacy claims that, all told, they are part of the terrorist groups, serve Western governments with intelligence and that their backers run political propaganda in their name and that they are simply executioners – murderers with a human face.

But does it have to be either/or?

An alternative hypothesis could be that the White Helmets is a dual-purposeorganisation. They claim to be ordinary Syrian volunteers who came together around the idea of saving lives and are truly altruistic “bakers, tailors, engineers, pharmacists, painters, carpenters, students and many more, the White Helmets are volunteers from all walks of life.” It could well be that some of them actually are, even a majority.

That doesn’t preclude that other elements – not the least those operating outside Syria such as foundations, PR and marketing firms, change organisations, NATO government and NGOs are in it with less noble, war-promoting purposes.

Link collection pro et contra

Find below a link collection – long but fascinating in its wealth of information. We bring it as a help to those seriously interested in Syria’s fate and in studying how opinions are being built by means of connected actors in a rather opaque networking structure, in how NGOs have increasingly become Near-governmental organisations and for those who do not want to sound foolish when they discuss these matters.

First some links to how the the White Helmets presents themselves. Second, some mainstream media articles in their favour of and praising it – including some that argue that the White Helmets ought to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (which happens to be nonsense, since they don’t even remotely qualify according to the criteria in Alfred Nobel’s very clear will and the prize is not a general do-good-prize. In addition, it must be doubted that the Nobel Committee will get more persuaded by the White Helmets’ – quite immodest – campaign in favour of their own candidacy).

Third some links to the comprehensive network of organisations, including governments, that the White Helmets seem to be part of – and it is quite a confusing lot with absolutely no transparency – but quite a few investigations have been carried out.

And fourth and final – the main links to investigative reports and other stuff that are sceptical in various degrees to the first three.

1. The White Helmets present themselves

The Syrian Civil Defence – The White Helmets

The White Helmet Homepage 
On the front page you are asked to sign an appeal for establishing a No-Fly Zone (which would be a violation of international law).

Wikipedia’s entry about the White Helmets

The White Helmets’ media FAQs

Syria Civil Defence on Facebook

The White Helmets on Twitter

Netflix
Official Trailer about White Helmets

The Atlantic
The makers of the Netflix movie give their background

Mayday Rescue
Dutch foundation supporting the White Helmets
According to its website it channels government funds to the White Helmets: “Syria Civil Defence receives funding (through Mayday Rescue and Chemonics) from the governments of the UK, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Japan, and the USA.”

Chemonics
A US global development corporation through which government funds for the White Helmets are channelled (according to Mayday Rescue).

White Helmets themselves campaigning for the 2016 or 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

2. Sources that promote the White Helmets without questioning

Time
How the White Helmets are being hunted in a devastated Aleppo

Time
The White Helmets of Syria

The Economist
The rise of Syria’s White Helmets

Syria’s White Helmets
A film by Danish journalist Nagieb Khaja shown on Al-Jazeera (30 secs into the film one learns that they have saved more than 56.000 lives “since the war began in 2011″ although the White Helmets were formed in 2013).

Nominated for an Oscar

The Nobel Peace Prize must go to the White Helmets

The Guardian view on the Nobel peace prize: give it to Syria’s White Helmets – Editorial

Syria’s White Helmets nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The White Helmets get the Right Livelihood Award

The Right Livelihood’s motivation – almost a copy of the White Helmets’ own story

3. Organisations in the network around the White Helmets

Purpose
A social movement creation and PR company that allegedly wants to change the world, co-founded by Jeremy Heimans – whose mainstream, politically correct background you see here. Jeremy – of course – began his career with the strategy consultants McKinsey & Company. He also happens to be a co-founder of

Avaaz
Avaaz means voice or song in several languages and the organisation is known by millions as a petition platform for many good/progressive causes. Avaaz has some 43 million members around the world and is thus easily the largest NGO in the world.

Avaaz has also created Purpose.com. Here Jeremy Heimans, co-founder of Avaaz too, speaks to Forbes about his background and what the two companies do.

Avaaz is very active in promoting a No-Fly Zone in Syria which it explains in a petition text with these words: “Let’s build a resounding global call to Obama and other leaders to stand up to Putin and Assad’s terror. This might be our last, best chance to help end this mass murder of defenceless children. Add your name.”

The sad thing is that it has learnt nothing from its own campaign for a No-Fly Zone in Libya. John Hanrahan is a former executive director of The Fund for Investigative Journalism and reporter for The Washington Post, The Washington Star, UPI and other news organisations has made this extremely interesting analysis about how odd it is that Avaaz maintains an interventionist war-agenda in spite of earlier experiences and resistance even by high-ranking militaries.

Hanrahan quotes Avaaz’s campaign director, former State Department official John Tye, “that Avaaz shows 54,000 members in Syria in a population of 23 million – which means that even if every Avaaz member supported a no-fly zone, this would still mean that only one of every 426 Syrians had “voted” for one.

Avaaz spearheads – at least in this matter – an extreme militarist policy while “Avaaz is a global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere”. Which people want a No-Fly Zone in Syria? Do they know it’s a violation of a sovereign state’s airspace, of international law? That it would embolden every terrorist on Syrian soil because they would get rid of the Syrian Airforce as their enemy? That it continued into regime change in both Iraq and Libya?
Many questions unanswered by this peculiar “people power” organisation, more militarist than governments!

But back to Purpose.com and one of its important clients:

The Syria Campaign – home
They maintain on their website that “The Syria Campaign is fiercely independent and has accepted no money from governments, corporations or anyone directly involved in the Syrian conflict. This allows us full autonomy to advocate for whatever is needed to save lives.” But they also say that they have accepted funds from the Asfari Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and other anonymous donors.
The Syria Campaign also states that it is only pro-human rights and pro-freedom and takes no side. But they explain the conflict in these words:
“The regime of Bashar al-Assad is responsible for crushing a peaceful uprising that has led to the deaths of over 450,000 people, the displacement of over 12 million – half the country – and the emergence of violent, extremist groups like Isis.
Today the fighting in Syria has given way to a world war with more than eighty countries involved on all sides.
The majority of Syrians want neither Assad nor Isis. They want an end to the violence and a democratic Syria.
What is happening in Syria could be happening to any of us. No one is free until we’re all free.”

I would characterise such a presentation as side-taking wrapped in substance-free marketing jargon; a very politicised statement wearing only black-and-white.

About the Syria Campaign

What the Syria Campaign is proud of: Impact page

The Syria Campaign seeks all-stars senior campaigner and “You don’t need to know anything about Syria”

The Syria Campaign on Facebook

The Syria Campaign on Twitter

Analysis, Research and Knowledge (Ark)
A private company, headquartered in Dubai, that describes itself as “a research, conflict transformation and stabilisation consultancy”.
In Syria “Ark has been at the forefront of the response to the conflict … for the past five years”. One of its two team members, Alistair Harris is described here advocating two years ago that “moderates” should be armed to fight ISIS and not only in Iraq but also in Syria.

The British-based Asfari Foundation for change
White Helmets, according to their website, received seed funding came from the Asfari Foundation – trustees of which are heavily related to the oil industry and corporate finance. The Asfari Foundation’s bonds with the Syria Campaign is dealt with here.

4. Sources raising investigation-based questions about the White Helmets

Vanessa Beeley
Syria’s White Helmets: War by Way of Deception – Part I

Scott Ritter at TruthDig
The ‘White Helmets’ and the Inherent Contradiction of America’s Syria Policy

Hands off Syria
The White Helmets – al-Qaeda with a facelift (video)

Rick Sterling
The “White Helmets” Controversy

Vanessa Beeley
Who are Syria’s White Helmets?

Vanessa Beeley
The real Syrian Civil Defence

Christina Lin, Asia Times
White Helmets: Instrument of regime change in Syria?

Jonathan Gornell
Newsmaker: The White Helmets

Syria Solidarity Movement
Its list of humanitarian/human rights organisation that are pushing for war on Syria and its government

Open Letter from The Hamilton Coalition To Stop War
White Helmets should NOT be Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Max Blumenthal
Inside the shadowy public relation firm that is lobbying for regime change in Syria (I)

Max Blumenthal
How the White Helmets Became International Heroes While Pushing U.S. Military Intervention and Regime Change in Syria (II)

Rick Sterling
Seven steps of highly effective manipulators
The article contains this diagram:

21st Century Wire
CrossTalk: ‘White Helmets, Really?’ with Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett & Patrick Henningsen (video)

Russia Today
Multi-million funded – can’t be independent

General reasons for concern about the real identity of the White Helmets

Here are some of the reasons – numbers not indicative of priority:

1. Huge funding by NATO/EU countries which are militarily involved.

2. A degree of political lobbying – a very specific explanation of the conflict and how it started which points to a no-fly zone, weaponization of human rights issues and speaks strongly against the Syrian government and Russia and very critically of the UN – that is extremely unusual for a purely humanitarian organisation.

3. Incredibly advanced public relation in terms of very professional websites, videos and PR strategy dropping the right stories and images at the right time – quite unique for a group of “bakers, tailors and students” etc..

“Omram rescued from a Russian airstrike” – From the White Helmets’ homepage.

4. Too professional wordings and images, too much playing to (exploitation of) emotions, too catchy smart formulations again and again; in short, lacking every sense of genuine local quality. Too many children – and cats – in the images speaking to an audience with little politically consciousness but surely a good heart. In short, populist marketing also in the sense of conveying the message: Look how good we are and how evil everybody else are.

5. Guilt by association: If the White Helmets is a 100% humanitarian first responder organisation it must be extremely naive in ignoring that its integrity, credibility and noble purposes is put at risk with the specific network of organisations and governments that it has chosen to seek support from.

6. Substance versus public relation: how does a humanitarian organisation justify that millions of dollars are spent on self-promoting public relation rather than on saving more lives in such a horrific war? And taking so many photos and shoot films of its own work in the midst of massacres and bombing raids?

7. It’s very difficult to discern who actually manages the White Helmets in general and in terms of day-to-day operations. One looks in vain for something like an organisational chart secretary-general, board, executive director (although one is mentioned, Raed Saleh, whom the US has on one occasion actually denied entry into the US).

8. How come that such an innovative organisation seems to have been started in circles that have to do with oil interests, British intelligence, mercenary/military operations and interventionist/bombing countries?

9. How come it works only in rebel/terrorist/liberated areas? Could it do that without co-operation or co-ordination with some of these groups? It has been stated – naively – by the Right Livelihood Award Foundation that their vision is to operate also on government-controlled territory and later be a leader in re-building a new democratic post-war Syria. However, why should the sovereign state of Syria’s legitimate government accept a foreign-based and -financed civil defence territory there when it has had its own since 1953?

Perhaps we should not be that surprised?

Should we be surprised that humanitarian workers are involved in “something else” and are not exclusively devoted to doing no harm and doing good for humanity?

Not really. I’ve met that sort of people and organisations during the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, among other places at the US Embassy in Zagreb where the humanitarian section people, most likely CIA operatives, after some talk with me about helping the people switched to talk about how good it would be if president Milosevic was killed.

Are humanitarian organisations – like most other NGOs today – highly or completely dependent on governments? Yes, most are. And they should therefore always be checked for possible moral corruption and co-optation. Many are no longer Non- but Near-governmental and behave, at minimum, politically correct or serve/promote the interests of their governments one way or the other.

Wasn’t Doctors Without Borders started by Bernard Kouchner who advocated military humanitarian intervention as an idea, did the dirty job for NATO in Kosovo and morally advocated the bombing of Libya as a “peace guarantee”? Here an interesting video debate with him at Oxford by Mehdi Hasan.

Should it be so surprising that – even liberal, democratic – governments propagandise, construct concrete stories to appeal to the human heart in us all (for a good cause) and that they regularly lie, do fear-mongering, use stereotyping and demonisation, present black-and-white narratives – all of which serve their elites’ interests and may not always be that noble in reality?

Think of the ugly shadow world of the global arms trade in which virtually all governments take part in?

Of course not. No wars would be possible without one of more of these ingredients.

Think of the – invented – story about the Iraqi soldiers who kicked out babies of incubators in Kuwait city – all invented as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign which was run by American Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government.

Or, remember James Harf of the US public relations firm, Ruder and Finn, who in 1991 was hired by the Croatian and Bosnian governments as well as by the Kosovo-Albanians to create and promote an anti-Serb attitude in the Western media?

Says Harf “We were able to equate Serbs to Nazis in public opinion…” Some kind of balance or truth didn’t interest him: “We are professionals. We have got a job to do and we do it.”

If there is anything new in this field since the early 1990s it is the spectrum, the depth, the money and the intensity with which public opinion is being deceived about war and peace – that war today is peace and peace is preserved by violence. And the de facto replacement of knowledge and texts by purpose-driven, mediatized and emotionalised “narratives” and images and films – right down on you phone and into your mind.

In summary: Illusions about our goodness that feed social narcissism and the MIMAC

I do not believe that I know exactly what the whole story and the truth is about the White Helmets. But I know that quite a few things don’t feel right.

As a sociologist and peace researcher with four decades of academic and practical experience of global affairs and work in conflict zones, the word spoken by the guard Marcellus in Shakespeare’s Hamlet at Kronborg Castle in my native Denmark come to mind: “There is something rotten in the state…” not only in the bombing state of Denmark (that supports the White Helmets) but also in the state of the – free – media coverage of conflicts and wars.

If, thus, you are generally sceptical of Western media coverage of wars fought by the West and specifically of the story of the White Helmets as a purely brave humanitarian organisation – are you then automatically pro-Assad, pro-Russia or pro-bombing? If you are critical to A, must you automatically endorse everything B or C does?

Given the “Zeitgeist” of these times, my hunch is that the anti-intellectual’s, the propagandist’s and the blamegamer’s answer is a roaring “Yes!” Personally, I couldn’t care less but there is reason to worry about the fact that our media are not free to take up the issues dealt with here.

Pulitzer prize winner, Chris Hedges, talks about “the incessant manufacturing of illusions that feed social narcissism.” The – unwinnable – wars the West fights with the illusory ideology of spreading goodness, democracy, freedom and peace as well as the alleged good role of the White Helmets in it is little else but an expression of such an incessant manufacturing of illusions that feed social narcissism of the many while filling the pockets of the few in the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex (MIMAC).

It’s time to give reality show politics and media a reality check. But who can and who will? And who dares now everything will get worse after November 8?

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Syria, UK0 Comments

British Foreign Policy and the UK Weapons Trade

NOVANEWS

or-38678

By Matthew JAMISON 

Back in the halcyon days of the election of the first Labour Government in Britain in over 18 years, the New Labour Foreign Secretary Robin Cook expounded a radical shift in British foreign policy making, declaring that the Labour Government of Tony Blair would put human rights at the heart of it’s foreign policy with an «ethical dimension». This was quickly christened by the British media as New Labour’s «ethical foreign policy». Questions were raised at the time how a country with such a large weapons export industry could conduct an ethical foreign policy and that question is as pertinent today as it was back in 1997. In his party conference speech, the first as British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, paid ritual homage as many British Foreign Secretaries have before him, to his belief in human rights and reflected that: «After a long post-war period in which the world was broadly getting more peaceful the number of deaths in conflict has risen from 49,000 in 2010 to 167,000 last year».

Sadly, Britain has contributed to many of these deaths. According to a study carried out with official UK Government figures by the Independent newspaper, Britain is now the second largest exporter of arms around the world, and according to Freedom House since 2010 has sold weapons to 39 of the 51 countries ranked by Freedom House as «not free». What is even more disturbing is that out of the 30 countries ranked on the British Government’s own human rights watch list, the British Government authorizes the sale of weapons to 22 of those. Indeed, according to statistics from the UK Government’s own Trade and Investment body the UK has sold more weapons on average over the last ten years than Russia, China and France combined. All exports of British manufactured bombs, bullets, weapons and other munitions must be signed off and approved by UK Government Ministers with licenses granted.

Most of these arms are sold to Middle Eastern regimes, which have serious human rights issues, if one were to apply the standards the UK Government sets on human rights. In 2016 alone Britain sold over 3 billion pounds worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia. It is odd how the British Government which constantly lectures other countries on their human rights records can sell weapons of mass destruction to regimes like the Saudis who carry out routine be-headings and lashings of their own citizens as part of their penal code; subject women to severe restrictions such as forbidding them to drive; provide funding to Madrassas that indoctrinate and radicalise young Muslims in the ways of jihad etc. The list of human rights violations could go on. But the British Government, despite wrapping itself in the language of human rights, feels very comfortable within its own «ethical conscience» in allowing shipments of British manufactured BL-755 cluster munitions to be used by the Saudi Government in its war in Yemen. Unexploded remnants of cluster munitions have proved deadly for Yemenis, killing or injuring at least 85 civilians, including children.

Since March 2015, the UK Government has approved £3.3 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia, yet in November, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office concluded, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, that there was no «clear risk» of serious Saudi breaches of international humanitarian law in Yemen. The British Government has continued to sell arms to Saudi Arabia despite the Saudi Government’s vastly different approach and record regarding human rights which is incompatible with the British Government’s professed commitment to «universal human rights» and the problems that emanate from Saudi Arabia regarding Islamist extremist terrorism and radicalisation such as the fact that fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers where from Saudi Arabia and the emerging information that certain sections of the Saudi Government may have been complicit in the funding and training of the 9/11 hijackers. Saudi Arabia is not the only regime that does not conform to the UK’s own professed beliefs and standards in human rights that the British supply dangerous and destructive weapons of death to.

The UK Government sells arms to Bahrain which has used British arms to quell internal dissent; Burundi, which is being investigated by the UN for human rights violations and The Maldives, which in 2015 jailed its former President, Mohamed Nasheed, for 13 years following what critics said was a politically motivated show trial. The UK Government has also authorised the sale of massive amounts of arms to Egypt despite the coup against the democratically elected President Mohammad Morsi and the violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood that followed. The British Government approved licences for the sale of £7.7bn of arms in 2015 alone. Then there have been weapons scandals in the past involving the British Government and the UK arms industry. There was the shocking Arms-to-Iraq affair of the 1990s when it came to light that the British Government had endorsed and advised on the sale of arms by British companies to Iraq, then under the rule of Saddam Hussein. Ironically, some of these British made and exported weapons to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had been used by the Iraqi regime during the first Gulf War of 1991.

All of this raises serious questions regarding how the British Government can profess to on the one hand be a force for human rights and run a foreign policy based on «universal human values», upholding democracy, human rights and the rule of law and yet on the other hand maintain a massive arms trade of deadly weapons around the world, arming regimes that are the exact opposite of what the British Government professes to believe in and defend when it comes to human rights. At the heart of the British Government’s position on «human rights» is hypocrisy when examined within context of UK arms sales.

The British Government maintains a saintly image of itself and believes its own rhetoric that it is a great force for «universal human rights» around the world despite the contradictions in its policies and behaviour and that the British have higher standards and more noble beliefs than other cultures and countries when in reality this is not the truth. What the British Government hates above all else is to have its self-image shattered and exposed for the two-faced hypocrisy that it is. They are unable to effectively answer the inconsistencies and contradictions of their rhetorical image on the one hand and the reality of their behaviour, policies and practices on the other when confronted with reality. It is high time for the British Government, if is serious about its rhetoric on human rights, to scale back its domestic weapons export industry.

Posted in UK0 Comments

From Hannah Arendt to Gerald Kaufman: The “Self-Hating Jews” Who Survived the Holocaust…

NOVANEWS

gerald_kaufman_tribute

A brief word in respect for Labour MP Gerald Kaufman, who passed away a few days ago.

Kaufman, who served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until his death in 2017, was the longest-serving MP in the House.

It was curious that Kaufman happened to pass away at precisely the time I was putting the finishing touches on a very extensive article that I’ve been working on since December – specifically about the extremist nationalists in Israel and about Israeli agencies’ connection to the rising Far-Right parties and politicians in Europe and the West.

That article will appear here tomorrow, and contains several references to Kaufman himself: however, I also wanted, here, to simply talk about Kaufman himself.

A member of the Jewish Labour Movement, a key and influential voice in the Labour Party for decades, Kaufman was also a journalist and author (he also wrote the definitive book on the Judy Garland film Meet Me in Saint Louis).

A particular reason I think Kaufman is important to remember at this time is to further demonstrate – as I have been trying to on various occasions – how many proud Jewish people are passionately critical of Zionism and the right-wing Israeli government’s actions: and to help burst the manufactured myth that criticism of Israeli state actions amounts to ‘anti-Semitism’.

This in particular is a reason I always look to cite specifically Jewish criticism of Zionist policies and Israeli iniquities where possible – both to help us combat the horrible and widespread anti-Jewish hate-speech that pervades the Internet and to help dismantle the racist myth of the “Jewish Conspiracy” or the insidious “All Jews are in it together” line of propaganda that thrives on too many platforms.

And also, of course, it helps to rely on specifically Jewish thinkers and commentators, so as to steer well clear of any possible charge of anti-Semitism from right-wing Israeli nationalists.

They, of course, can’t call Gerald Kaufman ‘anti-Semitic’ – as it would be a horrendous thing to say to someone whose mother was executed by the Nazis. So instead they hit him with that other strategic label of the “self-hating Jew”. Indeed, Kaufman has been subject to plenty of demonisation and condemnation from Zionists and from writers and commentators aligned to Israeli lobbies.

This was nothing new. Militant Zionist policy is generally to viciously disavow any Jewish figure or writer who questions the Zionist narrative or touches upon some of the more inconvenient elements of history. Such figures are often dismissed as ‘self-hating Jews’ or some such: and this strategy is necessary because some of the most important and informed critics of Zionism or the Israeli nationalist government are Jewish people, such as Lenni Brenner and Hajo Meyer.

The most famous example of this is Hannah Arendt, who was one of the most famous, respected intellectual figures and progressives of the twentieth century.

Arendt, who fled Nazi Germany at the age of 27, was eventually labelled ‘an enemy of Israel’ for her views. As Daniel Maier-Katkin notes in this account, ‘Arendt’s experience in the 1960s offers an early example of repressive strategies for the punishment and repression of dissent. Arendt’s story has value to progressive Jews not only because she is a matriarchal figure in the development of progressive Jewish political thought, but also because the campaign against Arendt illuminates the recurring threat to freedom of thought…’

Arendt (pictured below) had been a tireless advocate for Jewish victims and in fact she had also broadly favoured the existence of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine; but she envisioned it as a pluralistic, democratic, secular state – for both Palestinians and Jews and without an official state religion. At the time she was famously reporting on the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel in the 60s, she had become disturbed by the nationalistic fervour in Israel, which the trial of Eichmann was being calculatedly used to intensify and maximise (for the sake of amplifying the sense of Jewish victimhood and reactionary Jewish nationalism: it’s essentially the same tactic the Netanyahu government has been adopting in Europe, particularly in the wake of French terror incidents seen to be targeting Jewish people).

The Council of Israeli Jews From Germany wrote to Arendt demanding that she withdraw her book from publication or face a “declaration of war.”

hannah_arendt

An old friend of hers, Gershom Scholem, even wrote a public letter declaring that Arendt had “insufficient love for the Jewish people” – which is frankly an extraordinary charge to level at a Holocaust survivor.

But it is basically the same strategy that continues to this day on the part of Zionist die-hards: the paradigm is simply that any critics of the Israeli government’s actions are ‘anti-Semites’ and any inconvenient Jewish critics of the same thing are “self-hating Jews” or “traitors”.

“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town…” Kaufman once recalled. “A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza,” he added, in an incendiary speech that – rightly or wrongly – likened Israeli occupiers to the Nazis.

Kaufman’s displeasure with the direction of the Israeli state and the right-wing govenrment’s policies – along with the propaganda policy of forcefully identifying all Jews with the State of Israel – even led to him vowing never again to visit Israel.

However, he made an exception when he returned to Israel in 2002 to make the BBC documentary ‘The End of the Affair’, in which he recalled the journey from his youthful romanticism of Israel to his later disillusionment.

Kaufman, who always appeared to be as proud of his Jewish identity as anyone, called for economic sanctions and an arms ban against Israel. His stance was consistent. In 2002, he referred to Israel as a “pariah state”, and later called senior Israeli officials “war criminals”. In 2009, during the Gaza War, Kaufman had given a speech in the House of Commons in which he talked about Israeli governments “ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”

The same year, he had led a very large European Parliament delegation to Gaza: a trip during which he said that Israeli officials who authorised the use of white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas in Gaza should be tried for war crimes.

On Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power in 2009, Kaufman presciently warned about “what is about to become the most extremist government in Israeli history.”

Kaufman more recently drew notice for outright complaining about the extent to which the Conservative party in Britain is rolling in ‘Jewish money’ (he also accused Israel of fabricating some of the Palestinian knife-attack stories as false-flags to justify its own actions).

In December 2010, Kaufman also ardently criticised the amendment to Britain’s Universal Jurisdiction law that was seeking to prevent Israeli officials from being indicted. Claiming that those changes to the law made a mockery of the British legal system, he highlighted the arrest warrant against former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for her part in the “slaughter” in Gaza.

It is worth noting that it is our present Prime Minister, the Snoopers’ Charter chief-advocate (and staunch Zionist) Theresa May – Home Secretary at the time – who led the way in changing British law to make it impossible to prosecute Israeli war criminals.

In the context of the current American President and his incestuous ties with the Israeli right-wing government, it is worth looking at what Gerald Kaufman said about the extent of Zionist control of American politics. On the activities of AIPAC, Kaufman had warned; “The odious pressure group, AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — can destroy any United States politician who makes the slightest criticism of Israel’.

zionism-netanyahu

This is also somewhat significant in terms of the recent Israeli embassy official and his leaked conversations about “taking down” British MPs that were deemed unsympathetic to Israeli state policies.

It is also hugely significant to the subject – beyond America – of the extent to which Israeli agencies are involved in the rise of Far-Right political figures and parties in Europe: a subject I have been compiling an extensive article on and which will appear here tomorrow.

Indeed, Kaufman’s passing away this week – at precisely the time I was finishing the final details of that article – served as a perfect and timely reminder that we have to avoid being deceived by this scam of falsely identifying “Jews” with Zionism: a scam that is in fact been perpetuated by both Zionists and anti-Semites alike.

And that we also have to pay acute attention to the perceived rise of Far-Right politics and figures in the Western world – Kaufman himself was a living reminder and product of the inhumanities that occurred the last time Europe was engulfed by fascism and ultra-nationalism.

 

Posted in UK0 Comments

Shame on you Stop the War Coalition

NOVANEWS

Image result for ZIONIST REGIME CARTOON

Cat Stevens image

  • Zionist Stevens
  • Cat Stevens Denied Entry to Israel

By Tim McGirk/Jerusalem

You’d think that if Shimon Peres invited you to Israel, getting a visa would be snap. After all, Peres does happen to be the country’s President, and surely that counts for something. But apparently not if you’re a musician named Yusuf Islam, formerly known as the folksy singer- songwriter Cat Stevens.Stevens, a Briton who converted to Islam over 30 years ago, was invited to play at a 10th anniversary bash for the Peres Center for Peace, along with Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. According to the Israeli press, Stevens was excited about the show and was going to play a re-written version of his hit “Peace Train” alluding to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

But the show’s producer Irit Tenhangel made a late check with the Israeli security services, who said that Stevens would not be allowed into Israel, even if it was at President Peres’ request.

In 2000, Stevens had been denied entry to Israel for allegedly making contributions to the Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas. “This put me in a very embarrassing situation with Stevens and his personal manager,” Tenhangel told Ynetnews.com. “What am I supposed to tell them now, that the State of Israel doesn’t want him to come and talk about peace voluntarily?” She added: “He may have supported Hamas once, but the fact that a singer who converted to Islam wants to come to Israel and express his support for peace and we’re not letting him do so infuriates me.”

A name like Yusuf Islam on a passport does tend to set alarm bells ringing, and not just in Israel. In 2004, the singer, educator and philanthropist was barred from visiting the U.S. He was suspected of being an Islamic militant, but it’s not as though he was plotting to meet anybody subversive, just that most wholesome of American icons: country singer Dolly Parton, who had recorded several of Stevens’ songs. Half Swedish and half Cypriot, Stevens was your typical, hard-partying young pop star of the 1970s when a near-drowning sent him on a spiritual quest, often explored through his songs, that ended with his embrace of Islam in 1977. He jettisoned his pop idol career, and dedicated himself to Islamic religious study. Using royalties from his 60 million record sales, he set up Islamic charities helping famine victims and orphans around the world.

Israeli officials say that this mishap over Stevens’ invite could easily have been avoided if the organizers of Peres’ party had checked first with the foreign ministry. The law says that anyone declared non grata and expelled, as Stevens was in 2000, cannot be allowed back into Israel for at least 10 years.

And as for Stevens now being a “Man of Peace”, as he is often described, “his actions speak louder than his music”, says Government Press Spokesman Daniel Seaman. “A man of peace doesn’t give money to terrorist organizations that killed Israelis and those Palestinians who disagreed with them.”

Nevertheless, denying Israeli entry to Stevens, a musician who advocates co-existence between Israel and the Palestinians, and who is a respected figure throughout the Islamic world, undercuts the message of peace that Pres. Peres is trying to convey to his wary Arab neighbors. Happy anniversary, Mr President.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UK0 Comments

Behind the Veil of LABOUR’s Manufactured ‘Anti-Semitism’ Crisis…

NOVANEWS

jeremy-corbyn-telegraph

Since his accession to leadership of the Labour Party, barely a day has gone by without the political establishment and mainstream media engaging in anti-Corbyn, anti-Leftist propaganda or questioning Corbyn’s ‘legitimacy’ as leader of the opposition.

It was clear from the start that the establishment media has been on a mission to eat away at Corbyn’s credibility and to portray him, his Labour allies, and all the scores and scores of people who voted for him as a danger to the country (David Cameron even used that very term to describe Corbyn not long ago). Just take, for example, stupid headlines like the one pictured above.

What we have seen recently, particularly around the issue of Ken Livingstone’s suspension from the party, appears to have been a largely manufactured media circus and contrived hysteria based on a ‘crisis’ that probably doesn’t even exist. It all seems designed to stigmatise the Left and to try to make the Labour Party seem more and more ‘unelectable’. Jeremy Corbyn’s initial denial that there was any ‘anti-Semitism problem’ in the Labour Party was spun by the media as an act of denial and/or cover-up: however, the reality is that he was simply telling the truth as he saw it.

The party has reportedly suspended 19 activists. Do 19 people (out of a membership of 400,000) really constitute ‘a crisis’?

Journalist Asa Winstanley has put up a very thorough analysis on Electronic Intifada to fairly convincingly demonstrate that the ‘anti-Semitism crisis’ in Corbyn’s party has been in large part manufactured by anti-Corbyn elements of the party and by Israel Lobby insiders, who have possibly been building to this for some time.

What is largely missing from the mainstream media narrative of this situation is that many of the target ‘offenders’ in this ‘anti-Semitism crisis’ are Jewish campaigners who happen to oppose Zionism.

One of the earliest was Tony Greenstein, who was been an ardent activist against Holocaust denial and general anti-Semitism – but who also happens to support Palestinian rights. Greenstein wasn’t even told what the reason was for his suspension. Labour activists, many of them Jewish, have hinted that accusations of anti-Semitism are being used as a strategic weapon against Corbyn by the party’s right-wing.

This wouldn’t be surprising, as the charge of anti-Semitism was being leveled towards Corbyn and the left-wing elements of the party from even before he was announced as the party leader. And where most of these (very few) instances of ‘anti-Semitism’ have been discovered, they weren’t things that simply happened and then got picked up on – they were things that were carefully *sought out*. Naz Shah’s controversial retweet, for example, was from several years ago. I don’t defend the sentiments expressed in that retweet – but someone had to have been specifically trawling Shah’s Twitter timeline to find it.

A number of left-wing Jewish activists are happy to suggest that anti-Semitism has become the “weapon of choice” against the left. Charley Allan, a Jewish Labour Party member has described the current atmosphere in the press and Labour Party as a “witch hunt.”

Influential author Johnathon Cook goes further in this piece on the subject, suggesting that ‘Labour is one step away from book-burning’. He adds, ‘We have also reached a point where the only major British political party with even a pretence of opposing imperialism and colonialism is creating taboos around the very issues needed to understand the colonial past of Britain and Europe’.

I posted already on the subject of how some of the most ardent anti-Zionism activists are Jewish – and therefore incapable of anti-Semitism.

In the same post, we reminded ourselves that Ed Miliband was even heralded by some newspapers back in the last election run-up as the man set to be the “first Jewish Prime Minister of Britain since Disraeli”. But Miliband – in spite of his Jewish heritage – had to face massive desertion by Jewish donors and supporters because of his supposedly “toxic” views on Gaza and Palestine. Specifically, Miliband was ‘warned’ by Jewish supporters that this desertion would occur because he had dared to criticise the 2014 Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

No one could accuse Ed Miliband of being ‘anti-Semitic’; in fact, perversely, while he was being condemned by members of the Jewish community, he was also being attacked by real anti-Semites for his Jewish heritage. His mother, Marion Kozak, a human rights campaigner and early CND member, is a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust thanks to being protected by Catholic Poles, and his father, Ralph Miliband, was a Belgian-born Polish-Jew who fled to England during World War II. Essentially, Miliband was boycotted by parts of the Jewish community simply because he had voiced an honest opinion about the excessive use of military force on a civilian population.

Naturally, as the former Labour Party leader is Jewish, there was no ‘anti-Semitism’ in Miliband’s stance. Again, this was simply a case of boycotting a political leader because he wasn’t towing the line. A far more aggressive version of the same thing is basically being conducted against the Labour Party now too, this time aimed at stigmatising everyone on the Left and eventually forcing Labour back towards a Blairite, Centrist disposition.

To expand on the point Johnathon Cook made in his piece on the subject, we could actually go further and wonder if this whole mess could be perceived as a contrived campaign to cripple or eliminate not just the current trend of Leftist-inclined politics in Corbyn’s camp – but to discredit and eliminate any semblance of the Left entirely, and not just right now but for a generation or more to come (a process that might already have begun last year with the utter decimation of the Liberal Democrats in the elections).

Why try to do that? Simple – because the Leftist camp in the Labour Party is the only real form of meaningful opposition politics with any chance of getting into government. And the Establishment forces, which can happily switch allegiance back and forth between Labour and Conservative governments (so long as they’re basically centrist in outlook), don’t want a real or problematic opposition party to create impediments or challenges or to engage in too much of a genuine counter-narrative.

Posted in UK0 Comments

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

March 2017
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031