Archive | March 18th, 2012


[Alison Weir

While people are suffering in Israeli prisons and being killed in Gaza, it is sad to see time and energy expended in a campaign against Israeli author and saxaphonist Gilad Atzmon. I respect and like people on both sides of this controversy and am troubled over this distracting and destructive (but, I hope, temporary) split.

I, of course, come down on the side of open discussion, even when the  subject matter is difficult or troubling – in fact, that’s probably when it’s most needed. I believe in such old fashioned but critical concepts as the free marketplace of ideas, and I oppose censorship and would-be “thought police” telling others what they may or may not do, even when those attempting to do this have created valuable work that I admire.

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, which sponsored a discussion with Atzmon, has posted the most recent letter against Atzmon, followed by Atzmon’s response here.

This recent letter against Atzmon was preceeded by an earlier one, which was posted on this anonymous blog; interestingly, Palestinians seem to have made up an extremely small percentage of its signatories. My guess is that some of the people behind the first letter helped push for the recent attack, though perhaps I’m wrong.

Despite this campaign against Atzmon, many people, including Richard Falk, Samir Abed Rabo, and James Petras, have endorsed Atzmon’s book, calling it a “must-read,” and many others have spoken up in his defense.

A Palestinian activist sent out an email with the subject header: “Palestinian ‘activists’ stand on the side of Israel and AIPAC,” that reads:

Palestinian “academists / activists” stand on the side of Israel and AIPAC. Willingly or unwillingly, they distort Gilad Atzmon work and thought. They don’t seem to have ever listened to his lectures or read his book, “The Wandering Who?” Their vicious attack will not silence or convince this wonderful man to abandon his staunch and effective support of the Palestinian cause. The great musician, a former Israeli Jew, is a humanist and a Palestinian at heart. I am ashamed as a Palestinian. I am greatly honored to have him as a friend.

Rich Siegel has written about the attempted censorship in “Permission to examine ‘Jewishness’.

Kevin Barrett has discussed the situation in Why Hate Gilad Atzmon? and Why Hate Gilad Atzmon Pt. 2: “He’s WRONG!” (Or Is He?)

Oren Ben-Dor has opposed such attempted black-listing of Atzmon for years and in n 2008 wrote “The Silencing of Gilad Atzmon,”explaining why he opposed the campaign against Atzmon. He and a number of other prominent thinkers have refused to sign these letters.

There are numerous commentaries on the British website, such as thisthis, and this.


Below is Jeff Blankfort’s response, which has circulated widely in emails (with his permission) but that I don’t believe is yet posted anywhere. Philip Weiss banned Jeff from commenting on Mondoweiss awhile ago, despite Jeff’s important work on Palestine, which predated Weiss’s awakening by several decades.

I suspect whoever initiated the list, and it appears that it was Abumimah, was pressed to do so by the Jewish left equivalent of the mainstream Jewish machers who pressure local black leaders to denounce Louis Farrakhan whenever he makes an appearance and has the audacity to speak out Jews and the slave trade which, like Zionist-Nazi collaboration, is a classic Left taboo.

Most of the rest, with the exception of  Joseph Massad, probably signed on because he asked them do so. I would bet that none of them, some of whom are friends of mine, have read or even seen your book. Massad, it should be recalled was the Palestinian professor at Columbia who was targeted by The David Project and accused of harassing Jewish students. He showed that he had learned his lesson by being the very first person to write an article denouncing Mearsheimerand Walt for their LRB article on the Israel Lobby which was lauded and reprinted by Asad Abu Khalil who seems almost as concerned about antisemitism as Abe Foxman.

After I took Massad’s article apart, paragraph by paragraph, for Dissident Voice, Henry Herskovitz in Ann Arbor suggested that Massad debate me on the issue when he made a speaking appearance in Michigan. Massad declined, claiming that I was an “antisemite.” When I wrote to Massad, asking if he had made such a statement I received no reply which told me all I need to know about him. Abu Khalil would only debate me and Hatem Bazian, one of the signatories to the letter, if we stipulated that The Lobby was the only factor in determining US policy, which of course we wouldn’t.

It would be nice if there was such a statement denouncing those in the movement who dismiss the power of the Jewish establishment over US Middle East policy but then they would be subject to charges of “antisemism” themselves, which most of them seem to greatly fear. So it goes.

A partial list of those sponsoring Atzmon’s talks and his remaining events can be seen here.

I hope anyone who is interested will attend these events, and I hope that all of us will continue our urgent work to bring justice and peace. Today a boy in Gaza died from his wounds and Israeli jet fighters pounded Gaza City’s men, women, and children. We need to join together to expose and stop this carnage.

Posted in Campaigns, PoliticsComments Off on THE UNFORTUNATE DIVISION OVER GILAD ATZMON

Hollywood in Homs and Idlib?



EDITOR’S  NOTE:  As the drama in Syria intensifies, we are finally getting glimpses of the remarkable stage-craft that is going into propping up this one-sided storyline.The BBC just reported that armed opposition groups have planted explosives in Idlib, which has been touted as the scene for the next regime brutalities. But Sharmine Narwani brings us detailed testimony from within Idlib last Sunday that these fighters were laying down IEDs in and around civilian buildings as well. Why bomb homes except to create the impression of massive damage by regime forces?  

The plot thickens, but still, few are asking the hard questions on Syria.


Do people want to go behind the velvet curtain and see the strings – or are they content to be simply led by the entertainment?


by Sharmine  Narwani


Last October I was asked to write an article on the direction of the crisis in Syria – a month later, I had still not made it beyond an introductory paragraph.

Syria was confusing.

The public discourse about events in the country appeared to be more hyperbole than fact.

But even behind the scene, sources strained to provide informed analyses, and it was fairly evident that a lot of guesswork was being employed.


By December, it occurred to me that a big part of the problem was the external-based opposition and their disproportionately loud voices. If you were actually in the business of digging for “verified” information on Syria last year, you would have also quickly copped on to the fact that this wing of the Syrian opposition lies – and lies big.

This discovery coincided with a new report by US intelligence analyst Stratfor that claimed: “most of the opposition’s more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue, thereby revealing more about the opposition’s weaknesses than the level of instability inside the Syrian regime.”

I had another niggling feeling that just wouldn’t quit: given the amount of regime-initiated violence and widespread popular dissent being reported in the mainstream media, why was the Syrian death toll so low after 10 months of alleged brutality?

Because, if the regime was not engaging in the kind of reckless slaughter suggested by activists, it would appear that they were, in fact, exercising considerable restraint.

Stratfor said that too. The risk analysis group argues that allegations of massacres against civilians were unlikely because the “regime has calibrated its crackdowns to avoid just such a scenario. Regime forces,” Stratfor argues, “have been careful to avoid the high casualty numbers that could lead to an intervention based on humanitarian grounds.”

For me, the events in Homs in February confirmed rather than contradicted this view. The general media narrative was very certain: there was a widescale civilian massacre in Baba Amr caused by relentless, indiscriminate shelling by government forces that pounded the neighborhood for weeks.

The videos pouring out of the besieged city were incriminating in the extreme. Black smoke plumes from shelling choked the city, piled up bodies spoke of brutal slaughter; the sound of mass wailing was only interrupted by explosions, gunfire and cries of “Allahu Akbar.”

But when it was over, we learned a few things. Contrary to reports during the “siege,” there were only a few thousand civilians in Baba Amr at the time – all others had already evacuated the area. The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and its local partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), had been administering assistance at nine separate points in Homs for the duration. They would not enter the neighborhoods of Baba Amr and Insha’at because of continuing violence on “both sides.”

The armed opposition fighters holed up in Homs during that month were, therefore, unlikely to be there in a purely “protective” capacity. As American journalist Nir Rosen points out, what happened in Homs on February 3 was a government response to direct and repeated “provocation:”

“Yesterday opposition fighters defeated the regime checkpoint at the Qahira roundabout and they seized a tank or armored personnel carrier. This followed similar successes against the Bab Dreib checkpoint and the Bustan al Diwan checkpoint. In response to this last provocation yesterday the regime started shelling with mortars from the Qalaa on the high ground and the State Security headquarters in Ghota.”

This account contrasts starkly with the oft-repeated notion that armed opposition groups act primarily to protect “peaceful demonstrators” and civilians.

Homs also marks the point in the Syrian crisis when I noticed a quiet cynicism developing in the professional media about sources and information from Syria. Cracks are bound to appear in a story this widely broadcast, especially when there is little actual verifiable information in this highly competitive industry.

Danny Abdul Dayem, agitator, not activist —

Cue the now infamous video by Syrian activist Danny Abdul Dayem – dubbed by the Washington Post as “the voice of Homs” – where he dazzles CNN’s Anderson Cooper with little more than bad 1950s-style sound effects, blurry scenes of fires and a breathless rendition of “facts.” Of all the media-fraud videos Syrian TV broadcast two weeks ago, none were as compelling as Danny’s – his credibility stock plummeting almost as fast as his meteoric rise to media “darling.”

It reminds me of August 2011 news reports of warships shelling the coastal city of Latakia. Three separate sources – two opposition figures from the city and an independent western journalist – later insisted there were no signs of shelling. It was also the first time I learned from Syrians that you can burn rubber tires on rooftops to simulate the after-effects of exploded shells.

Question: Why would activists have to resort to stage-crafting scenes and sound effects of violence if the regime was already “pounding Homs” to bits?

What have we actually seen in Homs? Explosions. Fires. Dead bodies. Injured civilians. Men with weapons. The government has openly admitted to shelling, so we know that is a fact. But how much shelling, and is it indiscriminate? Observers afterward have said Baba Amr resembles a destroyed ghost town. How much of this was done by the regime? And how much was done by the opposition?

Turkish publication Today’s Zaman reported on Sunday: “Last week, a Pentagon report stated that IED usage by the opposition has more than doubled since December.” How are these Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) – used mainly in unconventional warfare – being employed? As roadside bombs, targeting security forces, inside towns and cities?

On Sunday I was included in a private messaging thread with seven Syrians who I have communicated with over the course of some months. Most are known to me either directly or with one degree of separation. This was not a usual thread on Syria – the initiating participant, who I will call Ziad, was informing the others privately about what was taking place in Idlib as government forces moved into the area.

Ziad’s family is from Idlib, and although I wasn’t a participant in the conversation, it appears that he had spent much of the weekend making phone calls to family members who were reporting the following. I have changed the names of participants to protect their identities. Two things strike me about this chat – the first is the information that armed groups are rigging the town with IEDs before the army arrives, either to target security forces or to create material damage to buildings. The second is that there is a malaise among the message participants about this information. As in, so what? Who is going to believe this? Who is going to do anything about this?

Today the Army went into the city of Idleb (the city itself not the province).
There was no random shelling, they were slowly moving into neighborhoods, starting from the east and southern.

The militants had seeded IEDs (improvised explosive devices, basically remote detonated landmines) across the city, one of them was under my uncles balcony , who now lost half his home, his living room got bigger and has a panoramic view. They had set up machine gun nests on a few mosques and communication towers.

Around 200 militants were gathered near my grandmother’s house and took refuge in the building right next to them. The neighborhood is a Christian neighborhood (cant confirm or deny it’s a coincidence).
The battle lasted all day, my family is safe but both my grandmother’s house and my uncle’s house got damaged. The first by the IED and the second by exchange of fire, largely done by the militants and the army was returning fire.

The army was moving in slowly and checked Idleb neighborhood by neighborhood. They searched most houses but there were no mass random arrests. Mainly they asked adult men out before searching and they were released after. I assume at this point they have a list of who to arrest so there was no surprise there.

The rumors of electricity and water cuts are not true. The entire country is suffering from electricity cuts, so Idleb will not be an exception. There is no cell phone coverage but landlines are working, though there is heavy pressure and you have to attempt several times for the call to go through.

The plan will probably be pushing them into what is called “the northern quarter” an area already emptied from civilians and largely a militant stronghold. Once they corner them in the northern area the army will take them out decisively. Most people expect this to end within the next two days.

Outside the city there was a clash on the Turkish border with militants attempting to come from turkey to Idleb to reinforce the militants.

Just to make it clear the Army did not finish sweeping the entire city

I don’t know what to say Ziad. Should I be happy or sad? I feel sorry for the people caught in the middle, but this has to be done! So is the city clean?

No its not clean. Operation started yesterday from 5 am till around 6. The same thing today but today the army went in deeper. They are doing it progressively and trying to avoid the most damages.

Most damages are caused by the IEDs (some up to 50kgs of explosives) and random firing by militants (using PKT/PKC and DUSHKA/DShk machine guns), with the army returning fire when attacked, but no excessive use of force i.e no artillery barrages as reported by al Jazeera and other channels)

Also, contrary to what is being reported, the town of Benech (بنش ) was not shelled today and was not even attacked.
Oh and since the morning the army was asking people to go down to the shelters and take refuge using speakers across the city.
I just heard on Aljazeera that the army dragged over 20 civilians and executed them in “Dabbit neighborhood”(ضبيط ), that is not true because I have family there too and that did not happen.

Ziad, they are using the propaganda of the 80′s. Want to lead people’s brains to the Hama massacre. To make it look believable

The MB are insisting on getting their revenge. Linking the events to what happened in Hama. Many people will believe.

Just to give you a perspective on the scale of irresponsibility and damage by the militants. Just under my uncles house there were 4 IEDs, one of them exploded damaging a BMP (and the building) as the army was approaching and the army stopped there and pulled back to reassemble for another try. In that single spot there was over 60 kgs of explosives. Once large one was planted in a 2×2 hole. Right now the army reached their neighborhood and is still there.

These militants don’t even live there and are just making those neighborhoods their front using civilians as shields. Once they are pushed back into the open fields the army will mow them down like grass.
I’m optimistic this will be over in the coming two days.

But Ziad, why isn’t there anyone reporting this to the media?

if they report it no one (outside Syria) will believe it …

I think by now we can all agree the pro Syrian media has limited clout and the anti Syria media just doesn’t do any fact checking and research and is resorting to sectarian tone and hysteria.
The government I think it focusing its energy and resources on finishing the security element of the crisis while juggling the economy and foreign diplomacy. They realize they cannot win the media war and might as well focus on what they are good at and what is more important. Syria never was “popular” and it certainly won’t be done during this crisis.

Ziad is not a reporter, he relies entirely on his family’s accounts and estimates in Idlib, and his claims cannot be verified at this point. But these are important testimonies – the anecdotal evidence that provides the basis for further investigation. We used to hear many more of these accounts from all sides in the first few months of the Syrian crisis, before the pressure of the dominant narratives intimidated even the best bloggers into toeing a hyper-cautious line.

Conjecture and hysteria aside, there is plenty of indication that the Syrian government is pursuing a policy of eliminating armed groups in a slow, measured sweep of the country, particularly focusing on towns and neighborhoods where they have allowed these elements to swell in recent months.

There are many who would find this offensive enough to continue raging against the Syrian regime – it is unnecessary to concoct daily stories of civilian slaughters to keep Syria in the headlines.

There is also increasing evidence that armed opposition groups are targeting civilians, security forces and property with violence in ever greater numbers. Is there absolute evidence of this? Not yet. Is there absolute evidence for the allegations against the regime? Not yet. I doubt that there has been a recent conflict with this much finger-pointing, and this little established fact.

Today, reporting from inside Idlib, Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught described the bombing as “earth-shaking and relentless.” Bombing caused by who?

“Hollywood” in Syria? Oh yes. Scene-setting the likes of which we have not yet seen outside of celluloid fiction. Delivering lines to a rapt audience that seems incapable of questioning the plot. Some of what transpires in Syria in the future will depend on this: Do people want to go behind the velvet curtain and see the strings – or are they content to be simply led by the entertainment.

Original Source:  Al Akhbar 

Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East.

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Truth About Danny Abdul-Dayem 

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Hollywood in Homs and Idlib?



Iran: Israel ‘a barking dog’ that will not dare attack Islamic Republic over nuclear program

Parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani says Israel will not attack because doing so will be ‘playing with its own destiny.’


Iran’s parliamentary speaker has called Israel a “barking dog” that won’t dare attack the Islamic republic over its controversial nuclear program.

Ali Larijani said Saturday that the Jewish state won’t attack Iran because doing so will be “playing with its own destiny.”

Israel, the U.S. and their Western allies worry Iran may be trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran maintains its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes.

Israel and the U.S. have said that all options remain open, including military action, if Iran continues with its uranium enrichment program.

But Israel has been more aggressive in its rhetoric, threatening to attack  Iran if it feels it is necessary.

On Friday, senior Israeli officials said they believe that the latest sanctions imposed by the West against Iran result from the threats Israel issued about launching a unilateral attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities.

A day before, Swift, the global provider of financial services, announced that it is severing 25 Iranian banks from its systems, starting tomorrow. This dramatic move means that Iran’s government will effectively have to transact its international business in cash.


Mass graves found in evacuated camp occupied by the terrorist MeK


ed note–now remember, it is this same MeK–listed officially by the USGOV as a terrorist group–that high-profile NeoCons and supporters of Israel such as Rendel, Giuliani Woolsey and MANY OTHERS that is paying off members of congress in order to have them delisted as a terrorist organization.  


Three mass graves have been found in the evacuated Camp Ashraf that was used by Iranian dissidents before being moved to a new camp near Baghdad.

Remains of 50 people were found in the mass graves and the victims are allegedly Camp Ashraf dissidents who wanted to voluntarily return to Iran but were discreetly killed by the camp officials and buried.

Some Iraqis are also believed to be among the victims.

Uday Khudran, mayor of Khalis district, Diyala province, told AKnews that “many of the victims found in the mass graves are those who wanted to return to Iran but were prevented by the Mujahiden-e Khalq group.”

Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) is an Iranian dissident group that was based in Camp Ashraf. Members of the group were moved recently to Camp Liberty near Baghdad following increased pressure from the Iraqi authorities to expel them from Iraq. After talking to the UN, Iraq agreed to move the dissidents temporarily to Camp Liberty until they can be moved to a third country.

The Shia-dominated Iraqi government had wanted to close down the camp since 2003. The Mujahiden-e Khalq group was considered a terrorist organization by the post-Saddam government for helping the former dictator in massacres against the Iraqi people.

Khudran said: “The people of Diyala know very well that the MEK forces practiced cleansing policies against those who wanted to return to Iran.”

AKnews tried to contact the camp officials but was unable to receive a comment.

Posted in IraqComments Off on Mass graves found in evacuated camp occupied by the terrorist MeK

Syria tells UN envoy that armed opposition groups must give up weapons first


ed note–knowing a little bit about small arms myself, let me fill in a few details here that are relevant.

Assuming this indeed is a Syrian rebel, what he has in his hands is an M16 AI, originally made by the US for its armed forces, but which is also used in other countries, NAMELY ISRAEL. Although the weapon itself has been plagued with all sorts of problems in terms of its performance in the ‘heat of battle’, the one thing where it stands out from other small arms–such as the AK47–is in its inherent accuracy. Even though this particular model is fitted with a light-weight barrel, nevertheless even with just its iron sights, a moderately competant shooter can hit a target 18 inches wide target (roughly the width of a man’s chest) at 300 yards consistantly.

However, more important in fleshing out this pic here is the fact that what we see fitted out on this particular weapon is a sniper scope, as evidenced not just by its long length, but in particular the turret-type adjustments for the sights. I personally know from having spent hundreds of hours shooting various military and police sniper rifles that with a weapon of this kind, an average, ordinary, run-of-the-mill shooter becomes a highly-effective killing machine out to as far as 500 yards.

Furthermore, his stance–the manner by which he is holding the weapon (and more importantly, the fact he is using his right knee as a support for his right elbow and vice versa for his left) crouching, making as small a target of himself as possible with his weapon held very closely to his midsection and with his balance supported by the building behind him–is something that snipers trained by a professional military utilize. ‘Rebels’ with nomilitary training generally do not acquire knowledge of this sort on their own. This man has been trained and when it comes to snipers using the M16AI, no one has more experience than Israel.

So, what I am saying here is that the turmoil taking place in Syria, and most notably the news reports discussing the high numbers of civilians being killed are more likely than not as a result of individuals such as this one who has been trained and sent in by Israel and the US with the purposes of destabilizing the Assad regime.

Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — Syria has told international envoy Kofi Annan in a letter obtained Saturday by The Associated Press that it is “keen to end violence” but insists that armed opposition groups give up their weapons first.

The Syrian response falls far short of U.S. and European demands that Syrian forces stop fighting first — and even Russia’s insistence that both sides lay down their arms simultaneously.

But it does leave the door open for talks, and Annan is sending a team to Damascus on Sunday to continue discussions on implementing his proposal to end the yearlong conflict. Annan said Friday that if the team makes sufficient progress he will consider returning to Damascus, where he held two rounds of talks last weekend with President Bashar Assad.

The Syrian letter asks Annan, the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy, “to provide guarantees to the Syrian government that the armed groups will cease all armed aggressions and give up their weapons to the dedicated authorities in exchange of a full pardon.”

The Syrians said they want the “guarantees” because of “the lessons” they learned dealing with Arab League monitors.

The monitors were supposed to ensure Syrian compliance with an Arab League plan that Assad’s government agreed to on Dec. 19 calling on Syria to remove heavy weaponry, such as tanks, from all cities, free all political prisoners and allow in human rights organizations and foreign journalists. But the monitors were withdrawn in late January amid heavy criticism that the Arab League mission had failed to stop the crackdown.

The Syrians said that when the Arab monitors were in the country and they withdrew all their forces from cities and other urban areas “the armed groups used their weapons and attacked the population as well as the public order police and destroyed (the) Syrian economy.”

The letter, first reported by the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar, also demanded from Annan that neighboring countries control the flow of arms through their borders, and that countries that have called publicly for weapons and financing for armed opposition groups stop doing so.

When Annan provides all these guarantees, “the Syrian government can discuss with him the idea of putting in place a neutral monitoring system,” the letter said.

On the humanitarian front, a Syrian-led assessment team with technical experts from the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is scheduled to start visiting key cities affected by the uprising this weekend.

As far as Annan’s request for a two-hour “temporary humanitarian ceasefire,” Syria said “this would relate to the local situation evaluated by the Syrian party,” in consultation with the Syrian Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross and its foreign ministry.

Syria insisted that there have been no “random arrests” during the uprising and that a large number of prisoners with “blood” on their hands or criminal records have been released. The government said a decree has been signed pardoning all those who surrender weapons.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has visited the central prison in Damascus and the government said it is ready to organize another visit to the central prison of Aleppo.

In response to Annan’s request for unhindered media access, the government said “we agree to allow the entry for the media with freedom of movement according to the Syrian laws and regulations.”

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria tells UN envoy that armed opposition groups must give up weapons first

Saudi sends military gear to Syria rebels: diplomat


ed note–if the Saudis indeed want to ‘stop the bloodshed’ then they need to STOP sending more guns. There was no ‘bloodshed’ until the US, Israel, and other powers fomented this ‘revolution’ in Syria, which is just war by other means in bringing about Israel’s long term foreign policy objectives in the region.


Saudi Arabia is delivering military equipment to Syrian rebels in an effort to stop bloodshed by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, a top Arab diplomat said on Saturday.

“Saudi military equipment is on its way to Jordan to arm the Free Syrian Army,” the diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“This is a Saudi initiative to stop the massacres in Syria,” he added, saying that further “details will follow at a later time.”

The announcement came two days after the conservative Sunni-ruled kingdom said it had shut down its embassy in Syria and withdrawn all its staff.

It also followed a brief meeting on the Syrian crisis last week between Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the Saudi monarch King Abdullah in Riyadh.

There was no official reaction to the statement from the Saudi capital, but Jordan flatly rejected the report.

“Jordan categorically denies the report,” government spokesman and information minister Rakan Majali told AFP.

“This is completely baseless. Jordan has not discussed this issue with any parties or brought it up at all,” he said without elaborating, while adding that an official statement would be issued later on Saturday.

Amman had called for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis earlier this month, arguing that the kingdom was among the worst affected by its repercussions.

Jordan shares its northern border with Syria, through which more than 65 percent of its trade transits. According to local officials, some 80,000 Syrians are estimated to have fled to the kingdom since March 2011.

Saudi Arabia has taken a strong stance against the escalating bloodshed and, along with its five Gulf Cooperation Council partners, expelled Syrian envoys last month and withdrew their own over the “mass slaughter” of civilians.

Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal publicly defended the right of the Syrian opposition to arm itself.

“It is the right of the Syrians to arm themselves in order to defend themselves. Weapons used to target homes are used in wars with enemies,” he said.

King Abdullah had also previously called for “critical measures” to be taken against Syria’s regime, warning of an impending “humanitarian disaster.”

Last week, Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud told AFP that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were backing “armed terrorist gangs” operating in the country and were therefore responsible for the resulting bloodshed.

“Some of the countries backing armed terrorist gangs, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are accomplices to the terrorism targeting the Syrian people… and bear responsibility for the bloodletting,” he said.

Those charges were renewed on Syrian state television on Saturday after two huge bomb blasts killed at least 27 people and wounded almost 100 in central Damascus.

“Saudi Arabia is sending us terrorists,” a resident of the devastated areas said on television.

“These are the friends… of the Istanbul council,” said another, referring to the opposition Syrian National Council set up in the Turkish city last August.

The diplomat’s statement on Saudi military supplies being sent to Syria came as Iraq told Iran it would not permit weapons shipments to the strife-torn country.

Baghdad informed Tehran “that Iraq will not permit the use of its airspace or its territory for the transit of any arms cargo to Syria,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

Monitors say at least 9,100 people, most of them civilians, have been killed since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011.

Assad and much of his regime hail from the Shiite Muslim minority Alawite branch, while most of Syria’s 23 million population is Sunni Muslim.

Posted in Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Saudi sends military gear to Syria rebels: diplomat

How Mossad Justified Its Murder of an Innocent Iranian Electrical Engineer

Gareth Porter
On July 23, 2011, a 35-year-old Iranian electrical engineering student named Darioush Rezaeinejad was gunned down as he and his wife, who was also wounded in the attack, waited for their child in front of a kindergarten in Tehran.

Israel has never denied that it was behind that assassination, and two senior US officials have confirmed to NBC news that the accusation by Ali Larijani – a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei – that Israel’s Mossad had used the Mujahideen E. Khalq (MEK) to carry out the killing of Iranian scientists was essentially accurate.

Rezaeinejad was the fourth Iranian scientist whom the Israelis had tried to assassinate, but what was different about his assassination is the subsequent effort by the Israelis to justify it after the fact. That effort casts new light not only on the larger assassination campaign, but on the way in which Israel has gone about constructing its contention that there is an active Iranian nuclear weapons program.

In the first hours after Rezaeinejad was gunned down, the chancellor of Khajeh Nasir Toosi University, Majid Ghasemi, identified him as an MS electrical engineering student who had specialized in power engineering. Ghasemi said he was unaware of any involvement by Rezaeinejad in Iran’s nuclear program.

Iranian officials were convinced, at first, that the assassins had confused the young student with an assistant professor at Amir Kabir University of Technology in Tehran named Dariush Rezaei Ochbelagh, who is a specialist in nuclear reactors.

Fars News Agency reported the next day that it was indeed the student in electrical engineering who had been assassinated. The agency reported that Rezaeinejad had been doing basic research on high-voltage switches. Noting that high-voltage switches are used in detonators for nuclear weapons and missiles, the agency speculated that this was why Rezaeinejad was put on an “assassination list.”

It pointed out, however, that high-voltage switches have many nonmilitary as well as conventional applications, and insisted there was “no evidence” that Rezaeinejad’s work was related to nuclear weapons.

The possibility that Mossad killed the wrong Iranian scientist cannot be completely ruled out. But almost immediately after his murder, Israel sought to justify the murder of Rezaeinejad by presenting him as working on the covert nuclear weapons program Israel had been claiming for years.Associated Press correspondent in Vienna George Jahn reported on July 28 that an anonymous official of an anonymous “member state” of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told him Rezaeinejad had been participating in “developing high voltage switches,” which he described as “a key component in setting off the explosives needed to trigger a nuclear warhead.”

Jahn’s anonymous source also gave him the abstract of a professional paper by Rezaeinejad, which Jahn reported “appeared to back that claim.” Jahn went on to quote a source he described as a “former UN nuclear inspector,” who said the title of the paper would make an “explosive application” of the switch “likely” and suggested that he had co-written professional articles with a specialist on “explosives testing,” further confirming that view.

Two months later, on September 19, Jahn and his anonymous source from the unnamed member state were back at it again, this time with a purported “intelligence summary” claiming to identify the researcher who had allegedly collaborated with Rezaeinejad on making a “key component” of a nuclear weapon as Mojtaba Dadashnejad. The alleged collaborator was said to have been playing “a key role at the center of the Iranian nuclear project,” according to Jahn.

The “intelligence summary” further claimed that Iranian officials suspected that Dadashnejad had “leaked information” that led to the killing. There was no explanation as to why the purported collaborator, supposedly at “the center” of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, would have decided to “leak” information that he would have known would expose both of them to being killed by an Israeli-sponsored assassination team.

Finally, the intelligence summary claimed that Rezaeinejad was not an electrical engineer at all, but a “physicist” who had worked for the Iranian defense ministry on not only high-voltage switches, but also on other projects linked to nuclear weapons development – which it did not identify.

But an investigation into the Rezaeinejad case reveals that Israel had used the AP’s Jahn to carry out a deliberate disinformation campaign about the victim to justify his murder. Rezaeinejad left a record of published research which makes it very clear that he was indeed an electrical engineer, rather than a physicist, and that he had been working on basic electrical power engineering technologies.

The title of the professional paper by Rezaeinejad that was cited as evidence of his ties to a nuclear weapons work, written for the 2008 Iranian Conference on Electrical Engineering, was translated into English as “Design, Build and Test an Explosive Closing Switch.” His co-author on the paper, which can be found on the Internet, was indeed Dadashnejad, and the paper refers to a “test explosion of a switch for switching packets.”

But the Israeli official and his former UN “nuclear inspector” were implying that the “explosion” to be tested involved high explosives such as would be used to detonate a nuclear weapon. That was profoundly misleading, according to Dr. Behrad Nakhai, a nuclear engineer and former research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “One shouldn’t make too much of the word ‘explosive’ in the title and in the abstract,” said Nakhai, who suggested that “spark” would be a more appropriate term to describe what was tested in Rezaeinejad’s research.

In fact, the abstract also refers to the closing switch in question as a “spark gap switch.”

The “key words” accompanying the abstract further suggest that the closing switch Rezaeinejad was developing was for an “explosive pulsed power” system, an electric power technology which uses an explosive to produce the most rapid release of energy possible.

Explosive pulsed power (EPP) was originally developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory and its Soviet counterpart in support of the respective governments’ nuclear weapons programs. But in recent decades, EPP programs have sprung up in a number of countries as scientists and engineers have discovered a range of military and nonmilitary applications. The US Air Force, for example, is using EPP for aerospace missions requiring extremely high peak energy supplies provided by much more compact power sources. In addition, EPP is used for high-power lasers, high-power microwave sources and other commercial applications.

As for Rezaeinejad’s co-author, Dadashnejad, there is no institutional affiliation listed and no further record of any publications. Three Iranian-American scientists and engineers have told this writer that inquiries to their colleagues in the academic community in Iran about that individual have brought the same response: no one has heard of him. Nakhai believes that Dadashnejad may not have been a specialist on explosive testing, as the “former UN weapons inspector” and Israeli intelligence suggested, but merely a junior laboratory technician who helped Rezaeinejad assemble materials and carry out the testing.

Nakhai noted that the publication of that paper itself is actually strong evidence that neither Rezaeinejad nor Dadashnejad had any involvement whatever in anything related to nuclear weapons research. “If an individual were involved the design and production of any part of a nuclear weapon,” he told me, “they would not have been allowed to publish any paper with even the slightest hint of the research and development.”

Two other professional papers by Rezaeinejad confirm the fact that he had been carrying out rudimentary research on basic electrical technologies with a range of commercial applications. In a paper published at the same annual conference on electrical engineering in 2007, Rezaeinejad had described research on electrolyte resistors for a high-voltage pulsed power system. Such resistors are found in most electronic equipment.

And in 2006, Rezaeinejad presented a paper on the “Design and Simulation of a 5000 kV Marx Generator.” The Marx generator is a basic technology for generating high-voltage pulses used in testing the insulation of electrical systems such as large power transformers.

The story peddled by the Israeli “intelligence summary,” that Iranian officials suspected Dadashnejad of having “leaked” information about the sensitive work it claimed he and Rezaeinejad were doing for the military, was even more far-fetched. The logical implication of that claim would be that Dadashnejad – supposedly a top scientist in the nuclear weapons program – had reported Rezaeinejad’s work to Israeli intelligence. Perhaps it was imagined that such a detail would lend more credibility to the idea of Rezaeinejad as secretly working on nuclear weapons.

What Associated Press and the raft of newspapers which featured Jahn’s story should have asked themselves – even without having carefully examined the details of the claims – was why a researcher involved in a covert nuclear weapons program would go about his daily life in Tehran without the slightest security precautions, despite the previous assassination or attempted assassination of three Iranian scientists.

A notable feature of the Israeli effort to justify the killing of Rezaeinejad is the role played by an unnamed “former UN nuclear inspector.” The only former IAEA inspector who is known to have passed on “intelligence” about Iran from an IAEA member state or from someone inside the IAEA is David Albright, the head of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, DC. It was Albright who revealed the name of the Ukrainian scientist Vyacheslav Danilenko to a group of intelligence officials last October. Danilenko was reported in the November 2011 IAEA report as a “former nuclear weapons specialist” who allegedly helped Iran build a containment vessel to carry out testing of nuclear weapons designs.

In comments on the PBS NewsHour on January 12 about the assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, a procurement officer at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, Albright appeared to be justifying the killing by speculating that he was responsible for international smuggling of materials into Iran.

The murder of Rezaeinejad, and the way Israel has justified it, parallels the way Israel has made its case that Iran is pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program. The operative principle of the Israeli approach has always been that, if a particularly individual, technology or project could conceivably be linked to nuclear weapons, it must be assumed that it is evidence of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

For example, Israel, backed the Bush administration, began insisting in 2004 that the Iranian military was the real power managing the Gchine uranium mine in order to secretly acquire uranium for a covert weapons program, despite the evidence that the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran was managing the mine.

And that same year, the Israelis and their allies in Washington pointed to satellite photos of the Parchin military testing facility that they claimed showed sites that must be for testing nuclear weapons without fissile material. They insisted that the IAEA visit twice to find a nuclear weapons testing site, but after inspecting ten different buildings and grounds in two different areas of that base, they found nothing.

Rezaeinejad was a victim of the same scattershot approach, which claims a connection to nuclear weapons on the most slender and far-fetched evidence. But the Israeli government has been able to take advantage of the credulity of the news media to cover up the irrationality of its terrorism.

Posted in IranComments Off on How Mossad Justified Its Murder of an Innocent Iranian Electrical Engineer

Military Suicides, Duff on Press TV


Multiple deployments ‘while on anti-psychotics’

Press TV US Desk


Gordon Duff, Senior Editor at Veterans Today slams the U.S. military for doing “very little about” the rising suicide rate among troops, blaming multiple deployments and faulty medications as to why soldiers resort to taking their own lives.


The lives of these people have been built around their communities, their jobs and their families, and as they go to Iraq and Afghanistan year after year, every time they come back they are less likely to have a job or a family and anything to live for,” Duff told Press TV’s U.S. Desk on Thursday.

He said that there is no clear data on suicides in the U.S. military. “It was as low as 25%, as high as 40%. [Soldiers] have gone on multi deployments while on anti-psychotic medications and the cocktail of medications that the military has been giving to the troops has included items that have been shown to be capable of inducing suicide.”

The number of suicides in the U.S. Army rose by 80 percent after the United States launched the war on Iraq, American military doctors reported on Thursday.

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The New World Order Zeitgeist

by Sartre Batr



The “spirit of the times” for the New World Order worshipers is essentially anti-God sentiment. There is no longer an issue if the NWO is real. It operates as the dominant social matrix that engulfs the planet. Look around and the only cogent explanation for the absurdity that inflicts universal suffering rests upon an admission that humanity is evil to the core. Once religions recognized redemption and accepted that salvation as a divine gift. However, since the age of humanism and the supposed death of a supreme being, the planet has entered into an asylum of insanity and collective anguish. A detail examination of Humanism: Philosophy of the New World Order defines the parameters of the heterodoxy from all human history.

First: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.

Second: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process.

Third: Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected.

Fourth: Humanism recognizes that man’s religious culture and civilization, as clearly depicted by anthropology and history, are the product of a gradual development due to his interaction with his natural environment and with his social heritage.

Fifth: Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values.

Sixth: We are convinced that the time has passed for theism, deism, modernism, and the several varieties of “new thought.”

Seventh: Religion consists of those actions, purposes, and experiences which are humanly significant.

Eighth: Religious humanism considers the complete realization of human personality to be the end of man’s life and seeks its development and fulfillment in the here and now.

Ninth: In place of the old attitudes involved in worship and prayer the humanist finds his religious emotions expressed in a heightened sense of personal life and in a cooperative effort to promote social well-being.

Tenth: It follows that there will be no uniquely religious emotions and attitudes of the kind hitherto associated with belief in the supernatural.

Eleventh: Man will learn to face the crises of life in terms of his knowledge of their naturalness and probability.

Twelfth: Believing that religion must work increasingly for joy in living, religious humanists aim to foster the creative in man and to encourage achievements that add to the satisfactions of life.

Thirteenth: Religious humanism maintains that all associations and institutions exist for the fulfillment of human life.

Fourteenth: The humanists are firmly convinced that existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate and that a radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted.

Fifteenth and last: We assert that humanism will: (a) affirm life rather than deny it; (b) seek to elicit the possibilities of life, not flee from it; and (c) endeavor to establish the conditions of a satisfactory life for all, not merely for the few.

This list of humanism mindsets leads to a hubris and superior conceit that rationalizes a death cult of the New World Order. The video Peter Joseph Quotes HG Wells ‘ New World Order ‘ is a disturbing example of smug egotistical proponents of global hegemony advocating Marxist top down coercive rule.

The immature disciples of a New Age or The Third Wave of Alvin Toffler grovel to worship an alien creed because they refuse to recognize their own intellectual defects. The domination of the New World Order is no coincidence. The humanist prefers their cult beliefs to revealed scripture. Their disdain for religious doctrines requires a substitute. Their alternative is a worldly political structure that promises human perfection, while delivering global enslavement. Freedom and individual liberty has no room in the humanist milieu.

The humanists are destructive enablers. Often they are ignorant dupes of a far more sinister cabal of wicked despots, but they share in the responsibility of their evil deeds. These global demons revere the dark side. Their allegiance is to the hellion system of satanic perdition.

The next video, Avatar – Zeitgeist – New World Indoctrination is a frightful expose of the true nature and ominous threat to all humankind. The New World Order is really a religion that adores demons. The promise of humanistic fulfillment, as a reward, for blind obedience to the malefic global governance is contrary to all of lessons history and ethical conduct.

Linda Kimball presents the following viewpoint in Progressive Satanic revolt: from “nothingness” to worship of Satan.

“Since evolution implies continuous change, becoming, and/or progress, “Christian” heretics claim that immutable (unchanging) truths do not exist, therefore there is nothing immutable in the Bible or the Church….or for that matter in Americas’ Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights and Rule of Law. All are subject to change, for in that satanic monism conceptually dissolves the living, transcendent Christ into nature, everything becomes imaginatively infused with impersonal divine spirit, power, intent, determinism (fate), and motion. Thus claim heretics, religion itself lives and evolves, and “must in fact be changed.”

“Christian” change-agents further claim that all religions and belief systems are true because the satanic divine-force suffuses and energizes all things. By extension of this perverse reasoning, Gaia is alive, and Gnosticism, Satanism, Wicca, Theosophy, and Sharia are true. This is syncretism (moral relativism), the uniting of good and evil, truth and lie, the holy and the unholy. R.J. Rushdoony writes:

“Now syncretism is destructive of the human mind, of rationality…(A) man who wants to unite good and evil…has lost the capacity for clear thinking. His mind is darkened, clouded, fuzzed over, and incompetent….Man, by presuming to be god, has by that act destroyed the possibility of true thinking; from so radically false a premise, no valid conclusion can follow.”

This sums up the failure of the Zeitgeist that claims so many fools and unleashes so much agony. Rejecting immutable truth and personal responsibility for temporary gratification is a hallmark of humanism. Rejection of a created cosmology breeds a mental illness that identifies with all that is foul within our nature. The eternal struggle to tame our caustic traits in order to atone for our errant behavior is dismissed by the humanist as folly.

The political, economic and social distress that is destroying national sovereignty and eliminating social cultures for a worldwide-integrated technocratic paradigm is the very definition of hell on earth. Utopians have always made their ambitions known, but in the case of this NWO model of global gulag, the means to enslave all cultures and economies is rapidly advancing under the framework of the interdependence doctrine.

Restraint and self-admonishment is not relative. Moral conduct is not evolutionary, but is based upon principle and immoral precepts. Ancient religious teachings share the same fundamental moral values even in this era of rapid change. Abandoning core commandments for the thrill of continuous process is like swallowing hemlock to combat the pains of selfish appetites.

When the humanist seeks to replace everlasting penance with the satisfactions of life, they are promoting the sacrilege that man is the measure of all things. Therefore, the ultimate deception that the humanist accepts is the satanic enticement that global governance is the wave of the future and the fulfillment of human evolution.

For those who reject the existence of God much less His almighty authority, it becomes problematic for them to explain the Devil worship that characterizes the upper echelon of the New World Order elites.
“The New Age movement is a revival of occult mysticism which teaches that every human being can tap into their inner christ consciousness and become their own god. Yet because these people haven’t studied history to find the roots of what they follow, they do not understand its true principles.”

The same may not be said about the top of the NWO pyramid. They know that Satan exists because they are serving Lucifer. Such a statement is heresy to the humanist because acknowledging that Beelzebub is a real entity denies the central canon of humanism. However, for the highest level of the agents and aspiring demons, that coordinates the globalist plan for extreme human bondage; understand the essential spiritual conflict that confronts our souls.

Is this a Zeitgeist that free men and women can attest and support? How can anyone give freely his or her allegiance to this New World Order, when the entire axiom of intent, is to elevate the Devil to the throne of God?

Philosophically the humanist craze is intellectually unsound. Notwithstanding, the popular emergence of praising the refutation of the bulk of understanding from previous millenarians, the humanists delight in their anti-God hatred. Their inability to perceive that the controllers of the NWO scheme actually expound satanic adoration just adds to their defective belief system.

It should be manifest to anyone with the ability of objective thought and the skill to assess the evidence, that humanism cannot create a paradise on earth. The global conflict that engulfs the world is a spiritual battle. The Devil is the embodiment of the New World Order and anyone who obeys depraved dictates serves the Prince of Darkness.

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What Happened to Palestine’s Steam Railways?

David Shepherd’s ‘Black Prince’ (left) dwarfs the J15 celebrating her centenary

by Stuart Littlewood


Not all is doom and gloom here in the UK. The North Norfolk Railway (Poppy Line) put on its Spring Steam Gala last weekend and a good time was had by young and old.


Their cute little J15 was celebrating her 100th birthday, dwarfed by wildlife artist David Shepherd’s 120-ton 9F ‘Black Prince’, and the B12 which had been undergoing a major overhaul, emerged into the sunlight looking as brand spanking new as she did the day she was built in 1928. Two visitors joined the proceedings – the Great Western ‘Kinlet Hall’, 83 years old but absolutely immaculate, and a Black Five – to round off this steam spectacular.

As I snapped these snorting, chuffing, hissing beauties and basked in waves of nostalgia I couldn’t help wondering what happened to Palestine’s steam railways. In the days of the British Mandate there was an extensive rail network in the Holy Land with Lydda the hub.

When Britain quit Palestine in 1948 it left behind a considerable steam rail legacy. Lydda was renamed Lod after the Israelis attacked and annexed it. The same fate befell other Palestinian towns. Did anything survive? What happened to the trackbeds, locomotives and rolling stock? Are some hidden away in old sheds or did the Israelis steal everything that was moveable and destroy everything they could carry away?

In Britain the government discarded our fine steam locomotives in its unseemly rush for diesel in the 1960s. It was nothing short of criminal to treat our priceless heritage so carelessly. Enthusiasts scraped some money together and rescued what they could, and today there are well over 100 resurrected railways and tramways with more than 500 miles of track and some 400 stations. They carry about 7 million passengers a year and play a valuable role in tourism.

It is believed that nearly 3000 locomotives have been preserved or are restoration projects. ‘Black Prince’ is a class 9F heavy freight locomotive and one of the last to be build in the UK for main line use. David Shepherd paid just £3000 to save it from the scrap yard in 1967. “She was eight years old, she’d just had an overhaul and they were going to just chuck her away and cut her up,” he said. “I managed to save her and thank God I did.

“You can have all sorts of emotional feelings on an engine when it’s in steam! I just love this engine for the pleasure it gives.”

View the Classics with my compliments…

‘Kinlet Hall’
B12 passing Weybourne windmill
A young enthusiast
David Shepherd’s ‘Black Prince’ (left) dwarfs the J15 celebrating her centenary
‘Kinlet Hall’
Just overhauled B12 bult in 1928
J15 built 1912
Black Five
In Palestine key bridges and other rail infrastructure were destroyed in the 1948 war, the consequence of the UN’s daft Partition plan. Had the Palestinians been left in peace their steam railways would have played a major role in building the nation’s economy and bringing prosperity.By now they’d probably have a number of steam preservation lines in their coastal resorts and population centres like Jerusalem and Ramallah to excite the children, charm their parents and celebrate the romance of the steam age.

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