Archive | May 19th, 2018

Judaism is not Zionism ‘ Video’


Image result for NATORY KARTA



Jews and Palestinians protest Israel together.

A strange and “inconvenient” but true story.

Judaism is not Zionism. Zionism is Zionism.

Strange commentary from the Vice reporter: “Their blind faith goes too far.”

And people who bulldoze the homes and olive groves of Palestinians are normal?

Neturei Karta, a small ultra-Orthodox sect that rejects the existence of a Jewish national movement, is embraced by Palestinians because of its opposition to Zionism. However, its radical approach does not serve Palestinians in their national struggle.

By Eldad Levy

Neturei Karta protesting at an Israel day parade (David Galalis CC BY NC-ND 2.0)

Throughout the last round of violence in Gaza and the south of Israel, Facebook was flooded with Palestinian and Israeli support campaigns. The campaign of Neturei Karta, the most famous Hassidic sect that opposes Zionism, was among the most interesting ones. Facebook users often share pictures of Neturei Karta in their traditional black clothing, often wearing a keffiyeh decorated with Palestinian flags; by being both unquestionably Jewish and fervent supporters of the Palestinian national movement, Neturei Karta has become one of the most iconic allies of the Palestinian struggle. Many find surprising the existence of a group of Hassidic Jews who stand firmly with the Palestinians against the state of Israel.

In order to understand why Neturei Karta support the Palestinians struggle we need to examine their roots: historically, Neturei Karta had split from Agudas Yisrael, a much larger Ashkenazi Orthodox organization from the late 1930s, which was then a major opponent of Zionism that would ultimately reassess its opposition to the state of Israel. Neturei Karta however, remains a zealous opponent of the Zionist movement since it believes the exile of the Jews can only be redeemed with the arrival of the Messiah and that any attempt to establish a Jewish state is an affront to God’s will.

Therefore, it claims, the state of Israel and all its institutions should be resisted or at the very least ignored. Today there are only a few thousand Neturei Karta members around the world. The vast majority of them take minimal or no part in the daily life of Israeli society and only a handful takes an actual part in the struggle against the existence of Israel. Those who do however, are very vocal about it: it’s easy to recall Moshe Hirsch, the leader of the radical branch of Neturei Karta who served in Yasser Arafat’s cabinet as “Minister of Jewish affairs.”  The most renowned action of the group was probably the participation of members of Neturei Karta in the “International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust,” hosted by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The popularity of Neturei Karta among Palestinians is based on this fundamental resistance to Zionism. They don’t just oppose Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands or Israeli policies – they oppose the mere existence of Israel or the idea that Jews should even have a national movement. That stance places them among the “purest” and most radical opponents of Zionism. Moreover, the fact that a rigorous Jewish sect officially denounces the existence of Israel and joins efforts with the Palestinian national struggle has a symbolic political gain that exceeds the actual efforts of the group towards the Palestinian struggle. The use of Neturei Karta as “Jews opposing Israel” is heavily tokenized to achieve a political goal.

There are only about 100 members of Neturei Karta that actually take part in the political struggle. There are probably many more thousands of secular Jews around the world who sympathize with the Palestinian struggle – Jews who look much more like secular Muslim and Christian Palestinians and therefore cannot be tokenized by their appearance. Indeed, regardless of the “Jewish image” Palestinians have of Neturei Karta, the vast majority of Israelis or Jews around the world would find it impossible to identify with their fundamentalist, radical message.

The fact that most Jews or Israelis don’t feel Neturei Karta represents them is of course not a good enough reason to disqualify them. However, the reasons for which Naturei Karta so passionately join the Palestinian nation struggle are. For Palestinians who support them, the enemy of their enemy is naturally their friend, but they don’t seem to question the reasons why Neturei Karta joins their struggle. Neturei Karta’s worldview is shaped by their opposition to Jewish self-determination, not support for Palestinian self-determination. Similar to Evangelical Christian support of radical right-wing Israeli groups, Neturei Karta’s support of Palestinians is based on fundamentalist views and not on actual ideological identification with the Palestinian struggle. Both of these Messianic forces will take on any type of ideological form to promote their own fatalistic worldview.

In a sense, Neturei Karta is the equivalent of Palestinians in Israel who define themselves as Zionist – like the recently published story of IDF Major Alaa’ Wahib, a Muslim Zionist. The fact that a few Palestinians align themselves fully with Israel teaches us little of the complexity of the Palestinian position. While acknowledging their stance is important, the political discourse tokenizes them to exempt the larger Israeli public from grappling with why Palestinians reject Zionism. By the same token, Neturei Karta members are presented as model Jews: without national ambitions and fully aligned with the Palestinian struggle.

In the political arena, Palestinians could probably find better and more effective allies within the Israeli secular and even religious society, or within Jewish communities around the world. These allies may not be radical opponents of Zionism, but they will better reflect the fact that Israel’s existence has wide support among Jewish communities, even if Israel’s policies don’t always enjoy the same support. This would mark a positive change, from shifting the alliance of the Palestinian struggle with fundamentalist forces, to one with democratic and ideological ones.

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Serbs, Listen Up! Here’s Why Russia’s Getting Chummy with Croatia


The Russian-Croatian rapprochement might have understandably taken a lot of Serbs by surprise, partly because Moscow hasn’t invested the proper resources into explaining it to the country’s population, but this multidimensional outreach strategy to their regional rival is part of Russia’s larger ambition to “balance” the Polish-led “Three Seas Initiative” through pragmatic engagements with the members of its “Austro-Hungarian” sub-bloc.

“Believe Me, We Are The Most Reliable Partner You Could Ever Have…”

Countless jaws must have hit the floor in Serbia immediately after the latest interview with Russian Ambassador to Croatia Anvar Azimov (image below) was released right before the weekend. Speaking to his host country’s media, Russia’s top representative practically made a pitch to its citizens for a full-fledged strategic partnership between these two states, with the following excerpts being the most attention-grabbing statements:

“Economic and energy cooperation was the topic of the historically important meeting in October 2017 when President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin for five hours. I believe she never had such a long conversation…It is said that the (Krk island LNG) terminal will be constructed with 100 million euro invested by the EU, but that is not enough money, and Russia could give you billions. Believe me, we are the most reliable partner you could ever have…We want to invest in Croatia as well, but there must be political will. We are certain that Russia can do more for Croatia than the US and the EU put together…We want Croatia to be strong and self-sufficient and maintain good relations with the EU and the USA…Croatian ministers like me because I am very straightforward and open, and I accomplish what I promise…You need Russia.”

Related image

Without a doubt, Russia is reaching out to Croatia in an unprecedented way that’s bound to make some Serbs feel a little surprised since they can’t imagine Russia ever offering them literal billions like Ambassador Azimov just did with Zagreb and then assuring them that Moscow could do more for their country than the US and the EU put together. Russia is undoubtedly Serbia’s top strategic partner and enjoys widespread and sincere love within the Balkan country’s society, but Serbs are forgiven for wondering what’s really going on nowadays between Russia and Croatia.

“Balancing” The Balkans

The author tackled this subject in a three-part analytical series from February 2017 that the reader is encouraged to skim through in order to get a basic understanding of what’s happening:

Since the publication of those three texts, two follow-up theoretical ones were released that explain more about Russia’s “balancing” strategy in general:

 To be brief, the powerful “progressive” faction of the Russian “deep state” envisions their country being the supreme “balancing” force in 21st-century Eurasia, though it can only truly fulfill this role if it enters into rapprochements with its non-traditional partners such as Croatia in order to become a “neutral arbiter” in regional affairs. In this case, the tangible basis for the Russian-Croatian rapprochement is being driven primarily by large-scale economic interests stemming from Sberbank’s efforts to protect its investments in Agrkor (the largest employer in the Balkans) following its epic bankruptcy and Russian energy companies’ desire to expand their presence in the Croatian marketplace.

Pretty much, cynics could say that “oligarchic interests” are behind this newfound and fast-moving partnership, though that’s not the entirety of it because Russian tourists are now flocking to this coastal state like never before, with the Croatian National Tourist Board estimating a 15% increase in guests just this year alone. The grand strategic motivations behind the comprehensive betterment of ties between Russia and Croatia is that Moscow is, like always, looking to weaken the EU’s anti-Russian sanctions regime from within by courting countries in “New Europe” who feel neglected by Brussels.

The Austro-Hungarian “Pivot”

There’s more to it than just that, though, because Croatia is involved in a bitter maritime dispute with tiny Slovenia, which just so happens to be one of Russia’s closest partners in Europe. Although Russia will probably never play any formal “balancing” role between these two, just like it’s unlikely to do so between Croatia and Serbia, Moscow is nevertheless in an enviable position by having excellent relations with Zagreb and the two neighbors that it’s in disputes with. Moreover, Russia’s on fantastic terms with Croatia’s northeastern neighbor Hungary and also with Austria, which altogether means that Moscow has “pivoted” to the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.

These four countries – Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Austria – importantly form a third of the Polish-led “Three Seas Initiative’s” 12 total members, thereby enabling Russia to hinder the working efficacy of any potential anti-Russian agenda that it comes up with or is instructed by the US to implement. The strategic significance of this development can’t be understated because it essentially neutralizes what could have otherwise been a formidable future threat to Russia, though provided that this “balancing” act holds long enough to ensure that that the “Three Seas Initiative” internally fractures along a north-south axis between its more pragmatic Balkan & Central European countries and the institutionally Russophobic ones of Poland & the Baltic States.

The Need For A Narrative

For as masterful of a grand geostrategy as this is, and accepting that the Russian-Croatian rapprochement forms a crucial component of it, the worst shortcoming of this plan is that it was never communicated to the Serbian masses, who are now confused and haven’t the slightest clue why their closest international partner is now on such friendly terms with one of their worst enemies. Russia hasn’t “backstabbed” Serbia, nor “sold it out”, but it did seemingly take it and its loyal population “for granted” by assuming that nothing that it does could ever harm the trust between their two peoples, especially since Serbia’s geostrategic position compels it to pursue strong relations with Russia no matter what.

This “negligent” attitude was touched upon in general in the author’s previously shared piece about Russia’s grand strategy, but it’s certainly apt to reflect upon after Ambassador Azimov’s strong pitch to clinch a strategic partnership with Croatia. Russia must urgently communicate its “balancing” intentions to Serbs, regardless of whether they ultimately agree or disagree with this policy move, via its friendly proponents in the country’s academia and media fields, since remaining silent on the matter and pretending like nothing out of the ordinary is happening in Russian-Croatian relations naturally breeds suspicion, which is unwarranted but understandable in this context due to the absence of any explanatory narrative whatsoever.

The Kosovo Connection

The Russian-Croatian rapprochement is an integral part of Russia’s larger “Austro-Hungarian pivot” in seeking to split the Polish-led “Three Seas Initiative” along its north-south axis of Russophobic and pragmatic countries, respectively, but its grand “balancing” intentions in keeping this emerging threat in check have yet to be communicated to the Serbs, who are sitting on the sidelines with their mouths agape as they watch Russia chum it up with their Croatian adversaries. The narrative void that emerged after Russia got “so comfortable” with Serbia that it failed to invest any serious efforts in explaining this to its citizens has resulted in a lot of confusion over Moscow’s ultimate intentions, which is why a concerted effort must be undertaken as soon as possible in order to compensate for this soft power shortcoming.

This is more important than either party realizes at this point because a day of reckoning is soon approaching where President Vucic will probably end up “recognizing” (whether formally or informally) the “independence” of the NATO-occupied Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija as part of a deal for joining the EU, an historically traitorous move that will earn him the unforgettable and everlasting revulsion of his betrayed people. In a deceptive bid to deflect some of this hatred, he’ll likely hide behind the fact that Russia will respect whatever decision the Serbian government makes on this matter because, to paraphrase a saying, “Russians can’t be more Serbian than the Serbs themselves”. Without the masses understanding the basics of Russia’s “balancing” act, then Vucic’s ploy might succeed in getting them to redirect some of their disgust towards Moscow.

Concluding Thoughts

Per all of the aforementioned reasons, it’s high time for Russia to openly reveal its “balancing” intentions to the Serbian public so that it can preemptively defend itself from Vucic’s deflection and preserve its well-earned reputation as their country’s historic partner instead of unwittingly “sacrificing” itself for their President’s political “sake”.

There’s no better opportunity to do so than now, when Serbs are already scratching their head in bewilderment over what Russia’s up to with Croatia, but failure to act at this sensitive moment could doom Russia’s place in the hearts and minds of millions, especially if it comes to expectedly pass that Moscow lends “legitimacy” to Vucic’s likely forthcoming decision to “recognize” Kosovo by deferring to its usual position that this is an “internal affair of the Serbian state”.

The only way to stave off a lasting soft power defeat is for Russia to get Serbs to see that it’s “balancing” the Balkans without “betraying” anyone in the process, and that the realpolitik of the Hyper-Realist “19th-Century Great Power Chessboard” paradigm has replaced rhetorical feel-good slogans about “brotherhood” in its grand strategic calculations.

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Nazi, 200 Nuclear Weapons Targeted against Iran ‘Video’

Video: Israel, 200 Nuclear Weapons Targeted against Iran

The decision by the United States to exit the Iranian nuclear agreement – signed in 2015 by Teheran with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – causes a situation of extreme danger not only in the Middle East.

To understand the implications of such decision, taken under pressure by Israel that describes the agreement as “the surrender of the West to the axis of evil led by Iran”, we must start from a precise fact: Israel has the Bomb, not Iran.

For over fifty years, Israel has been producing nuclear weapons at the Dimona plant, built with the help mainly of France and the United States. It is not subject to inspections because Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East, does not adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran signed fifty years ago.

The evidence that Israel produces nuclear weapons was revealed more than thirty years ago by Mordechai Vanunu, who had worked in the Dimona plant: published by The Sunday Times on October 5, 1986, after being screened by leading nuclear weapons experts. Vanunu, kidnapped by the Mossad in Rome and transported to Israel, was sentenced to 18 years of hard jail time and, after being released in 2004, subject to severe restrictions.

Israel has today (though without admitting it) an arsenal estimated at 100-400 nuclear weapons, including new generation mini-nukes and neutron bombs, and produces plutonium and tritium in such quantities as to build hundreds more.

The Israeli nuclear warheads are ready to launch on ballistic missiles, such as the Jericho 3, and on F-15 and F-16 fighter bombers supplied by the USA, to which the F-35 are now added.

As confirmed by the numerous IAEA inspections, Iran has no nuclear weapons and commits not to produce them, according to the agreement under strict international control.

However – writes former US Secretary of State Colin Powell on March 3, 2015 in an email that has come to light –

“the boys in Tehran know Israel has 200 nuclear weapons, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands”.

The US European allies, which formally continue to support the agreement with Iran, are basically aligned with Israel. Germany supplied Israel with six Dolphin submarines, modified so as to launch nuclear cruise missiles, and approved the supply of three more.

Germany, France, Italy, Greece and Poland participated, with the USA, in the Blue Flag 2017, the largest international aerial warfare exercise in Israel’s history. Italy, linked to Israel by a military cooperation agreement (Law No. 94, 2005), participated in the exercise with Tornado fighters of the 6th Wing of Ghedi, assigned to carry US B-61 nuclear bombs (which will soon be replaced by B61-12). The US participated with F-16 fighters of the 31st Fighter Wing of Aviano, assigned to the same function.

The Israeli nuclear forces are integrated into the NATO electronic system, within the framework of the “Individual Cooperation Program” with Israel, a country which, although not a member of the Alliance, has a permanent mission to NATO headquarters in Brussels.

According to the plan tested in the US-Israel Juniper Cobra 2018 exercise, US and NATO forces would come from Europe (especially from the bases in Italy) to support Israel in a war against Iran. It could start with an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, like the one carried out in 1981 on Osiraq nuclear reactor in Iraq. In the event of Iranian retaliation, Israel could use a nuclear weapon by starting a chain reaction with unpredictable outcomes.

Source: PandoraTV

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Nazi Snipers Ordered to Shoot Palestinian Children

IDF Snipers Ordered to Shoot Palestinian Children, Threat to Security of Israel, according to Israeli General

GR Editor’s Note

Lets be clear as to the implications.

When they ” shoot at children, they are doing so deliberately, under clear and specific orders.” 

What this means is that the Netanyahu government ordered the killing of Palestinian children. The guidelines adopted by the IDF were approved at the highest levels of the Israeli government.

We are dealing with crimes against humanity and the self-proclaimed “international community” applauds. Western leaders, not to mention the media, are complicit: the consensus is that “Israel has the right to defend itself” …. by killing children: 

“So we’re putting snipers up because we want to preserve the values we were educated by… I am not Ahmad Tibi, I am Zvika Fogel. I know how these orders are given. I know how a sniper does the shooting. I know how many authorizations he needs before he receives an authorization to open fire. It is not the whim of one or the other sniper who identifies the small body of a child now and decides he’ll shoot. Someone marks the target for him very well and tells him exactly why one has to shoot and what the threat is from that individual.” (see transcript of Interview Below)

Through omission, the Western media  does not mention the words “Gaza Massacre”.  You won’t see it, because according to the mainstream opinion it did not happen.

Palestinian children are described as “terrorists”. The lie become the truth! Killing Palestinians constitutes a “Responsibility to Protect” rather than a crime against humanity. 

Brigadier-General Zvika Fogal‘s mandate is to kill Palestinian children with a view to protecting the State of Israel:

“And to my great sorrow, sometimes when you shoot at a small body and you intended to hit his arm or shoulder it goes even higher. The picture is not a pretty picture. But … that’s the price that we have to pay to preserve the safety and quality of life of the residents of the State of Israel” . 

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, May 19, 2018


An Israeli general has confirmed that when snipers stationed along Israel’s boundary with Gaza shoot at children, they are doing so deliberately, under clear and specific orders.

In a radio interview, Brigadier-General (Reserve) Zvika Fogel describes how a sniper identifies the “small body” of a child and is given authorization to shoot.

Fogel’s statements could be used as evidence of intent if Israeli leaders are ever tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court.

On Friday, an Israeli sniper shot dead 14-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim Ayyoub.

The boy, shot in the head east of Jabaliya, was the fourth child among the more than 30 Palestinians killed during the Great March of Return rallies that began in Gaza on 30 March.

More than 1,600 other Palestinians have been shot with live ammunition that has caused what doctors are calling “horrific injuries” likely to leave many of them with permanent disabilities.

View image on Twitter

Defense for Children@DCIPalestine

Our initial investigation confirms Israeli forces killed 14-year-old Mahmoud Ibrahim Ayoub in Gaza today around 4:30 pm local time. He sustained a gunshot wound to the head & was later pronounced dead at Shifa hospital.

As eyewitnesses and video confirmed, the child Muhammad Ayyoub posed no conceivable danger to heavily armed Israeli occupation forces stationed dozens of meters away behind fences and earthen fortifications on the other side of the Gaza boundary when he was killed.

Even the usually timid United Nations peace process envoy Nickolay Mladenov publicly declared that the slaying was “outrageous.”

Nickolay E. MLADENOV@nmladenov

? It is OUTRAGEOUS to shoot at children! How does the killing of a child in today help ? It doesn’t! It fuels anger and breeds more killing. must be protected from , not exposed to it, not killed! This tragic incident must be investigated.

Targeting children

On Saturday, Brigadier-General Fogel was interviewed by Ron Nesiel on the Israeli public radio network Kan.

Fogel is the former chief of staff of the Israeli army’s “southern command,” which includes the occupied Gaza Strip.

Ahmad Tibi


תת אלוף(מיל) צביקה פוגל ברשת ב כאן: מי שמתקרב לגדר כדי לבדוק למשל אם יש שטחים מתים דינו מוות!
רון נשיאל המראיין : גם אם מדובר בילד לא חמוש? פוגל: כן , גם אם מדובר בילד.

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian lawmaker in Israel’s parliament, drew attention to the interview in a tweet.

recording of the interview is online (it begins at 6:52). The interview was translated for The Electronic Intifada by Dena Shunra and a full transcript follows this article.

The host Ron Nesiel asks Fogel if the Israeli army should “rethink its use of snipers,” and suggests that someone giving orders “lowered the bar for using live fire.”

Fogel adamantly defends the policy, stating:

“At the tactical level, any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation.”

He adds:

“If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order to hide an explosive device or check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us …”

“Then his punishment is death?” Nesiel interjects.

“His punishment is death,” the general responds. “As far as I’m concerned then yes, if you can only shoot him to stop him, in the leg or arm – great. But if it’s more than that then, yes, you want to check with me whose blood is thicker, ours or theirs.”

Fogel then describes the careful process by which targets – including children – are identified and shot:

“I know how these orders are given. I know how a sniper does the shooting. I know how many authorizations he needs before he receives an authorization to open fire. It is not the whim of one or the other sniper who identifies the small body of a child now and decides he’ll shoot. Someone marks the target for him very well and tells him exactly why one has to shoot and what the threat is from that individual. And to my great sorrow, sometimes when you shoot at a small body and you intended to hit his arm or shoulder, it goes even higher.”

For “it goes even higher,” Fogel uses a Hebrew idiom also meaning “it costs even more.”

In this chilling statement, in which a general talks about snipers targeting the “small body of a child,” Fogel makes crystal clear that this policy is premeditated and deliberate.

While presenting unarmed Palestinian children as dangerous terrorists worthy of death, Fogel describes the snipers killing them in cold blood as the innocent, vulnerable parties who deserve protection.

“We have soldiers there, our children, who were sent out and receive very accurate instructions about whom to shoot to protect us. Let’s back them up,” he says.

Lethal policy

Fogel’s statements are no aberration but represent Israeli policy.

“Israeli officials made it clear that the open-fire regulations would permit lethal fire at anyone attempting to damage the fence, and even at any person coming within 300 meters of it,” the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem stated in a recent analysis of Israel’s illegal targeting of unarmed civilians who pose no threat.

“Nevertheless, all state and military officials have steadfastly refused to cancel the unlawful orders and continue to issue – and justify – them,” B’Tselem added.

B’Tselem has called on individual soldiers to defy such illegal orders.

Following its investigation of the “calculated” killings of unarmed demonstrators on 30 March, the first day of the Great March of Return rallies in Gaza, Human Rights Watch concluded that the lethal crackdown was “planned at [the] highest levels of the Israeli government.”

Two weeks ago, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court issued an unprecedented warning that Israeli leaders may face trial for the killings of unarmed Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.

Potential defendants would be giving any prosecutor a gift with such open admissions that killing unarmed people in an occupied territory who pose no objective threat is their policy and intent.

The question remains whether anything will finally pierce the shield of impunity that Israel has enjoyed for 70 years.


Full Transcript

Brigadier-General (Res.) Zvika Fogel interviewed on the Yoman Hashevua program of Israel’s Kan radio, 21 April 2018.

Ron Nesiel: Greetings Brigadier General (Res.) Zvika Fogel. Should the IDF [Israeli army] rethink its use of snipers? There’s the impression that maybe someone lowered the bar for using live fire, and this may be the result?

Zvika Fogel: Ron, let’s maybe look at this matter on three levels. At the tactical level that we all love dealing with, the local one, also at the level of values, and with your permission, we will also rise up to the strategic level. At the tactical level, any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation. If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order to hide an explosive device or check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us …

Nesiel: Then, then his punishment is death?

Fogel: His punishment is death. As far as I’m concerned then yes, if you can only shoot him to stop him, in the leg or arm – great. But if it’s more than that then, yes, you want to check with me whose blood is thicker, ours or theirs. It is clear to you that if one such person will manage to cross the fence or hide an explosive device there …

Nesiel: But we were taught that live fire is only used when the soldiers face immediate danger.

Fogel: Come, let’s move over to the level of values. Assuming that we understood the tactical level, as we cannot tolerate a crossing of our border or a violation of our border, let’s proceed to the level of values. I am not Ahmad Tibi, I am Zvika Fogel. I know how these orders are given. I know how a sniper does the shooting. I know how many authorizations he needs before he receives an authorization to open fire. It is not the whim of one or the other sniper who identifies the small body of a child now and decides he’ll shoot. Someone marks the target for him very well and tells him exactly why one has to shoot and what the threat is from that individual. And to my great sorrow, sometimes when you shoot at a small body and you intended to hit his arm or shoulder it goes even higher. The picture is not a pretty picture. But if that’s the price that we have to pay to preserve the safety and quality of life of the residents of the State of Israel, then that’s the price. But now, with your permission, let us go up one level and look at the overview. It is clear to you that Hamas is fighting for consciousness at the moment. It is clear to you and to me …

Nesiel: Is it hard for them to do? Aren’t we providing them with sufficient ammunition in this battle?

Fogel: We’re providing them but …

Nesiel: Because it does not do all that well for us, those pictures that are distributed around the world.

Fogel: Look, Ron, we’re even terrible at it. There’s nothing to be done, David always looks better against Goliath. And in this case, we are the Goliath. Not the David. That is entirely clear to me. But let’s look at it at the strategic level: you and I and a large part of the listeners are clear that this will not end up in demonstrations. It is clear to us that Hamas can’t continue to tolerate the fact that its rockets are not managing to hurt us, its tunnels are eroding …

Nesiel: Yes.

Fogel: And it doesn’t have too many suicide bombers who continue to believe the fairytale about the virgins waiting up there. It will drag us into a war. I do not want to be on the side that gets dragged. I want to be on the side that initiates things. I do not want to wait for the moment where it finds a weak spot and attacks me there. If tomorrow morning it gets into a military base or a kibbutz and kills people there and takes prisoners of war or hostages, call it as you like, we’re in a whole new script. I want the leaders of Hamas to wake up tomorrow morning and for the last time in their life see the smiling faces of the IDF. That’s what I want to have happen. But we are dragged along. So we’re putting snipers up because we want to preserve the values we were educated by. We can’t always take a single picture and put it before the whole world. We have soldiers there, our children, who were sent out and receive very accurate instructions about whom to shoot to protect us. Let’s back them up.

Nesiel: Brigadier-General (Res.) Zvika Fogel, formerly Head of the Southern Command Staff, thank you for your words.

Fogel: May you only hear good news. Thank you.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi Snipers Ordered to Shoot Palestinian Children

Beyond the headlines: here’s North Korea’s actual statement on Trump meeting

Beyond the headlines: here’s North Korea’s actual statement on Trump meeting

Pyongyang, North Korea, October 10, 2015. Photo: Gloria La Riva.

“Kim Jong-un Shows True Colors by Threatening to Cancel Trump Meeting.” This was how the New York Times headlined its recent “news” article, throwing any pretense of objectivity into the wind. This is typical of the imperialist media, which never accurately presents the perspective of countries that have been targeted for regime change, giving instead only the most sensational and selective soundbites that assist their demonization.

It has become evident in recent days that certain leading figures in the Trump administration, most notably John Bolton, the National Security Advisor, were insisting that the upcoming Singapore summit between Trump and Kim Jung-Un must be a purely one-sided negotiation whereby the United States insists that the DPRK completely abandon and relinquish all nuclear weapons before any meaningful discussion could take place on any other subject. The DPRK, on the other hand, is demanding a step-by-step negotiating process designed to end the Korean War and to stop the United States from engaging in non-stop threats and economic sanctions.

Specifically, the comments of John Bolton that the U.S. was envisioning the “Libya model” for North Korea could only be perceived by the leadership of the DPRK as the ultimate embrace of an aggressive regime change policy.

Furthermore, the U.S. government and the South Korean military have initiated new war exercises in the last seven days that simulate the invasion and aerial destruction of North Korea. Bizarrely, the U.S. corporate owned media accused North Korea of being “threatening” when it insisted this posture of the U.S. government was unacceptable as a prelude to the upcoming summit.

Below you can read the actual words of the North Korean government, and why it has threatened to cancel the upcoming meeting.

Kim Kye Gwan, the first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, made public the following press statement on Wednesday:

Kim Jong Un, the chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, made a strategic decision to put an end to the unpleasant steps for peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the world.

In response to the noble intention of Chairman Kim Jong Un, President Trump stated his position for terminating the historically deep-rooted hostility and improving the relations between DPRK and the U.S.

I appreciated the position positively with an expectation that upcoming DPRK-U.S. summit would be a big step forward for catalyzing detente on the Korean peninsula and building a great future.

But now prior to the DPRK-U.S. summit, unbridled remarks provoking the other side of dialogue are recklessly made in the U.S. and I am totally disappointed as these constitute extremely unjust behavior.

High-ranking officials of the White House and the Department of State including Bolton, White House national security adviser, are letting loose the assertions of so-called Libya mode of nuclear abandonment, “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” “total decommissioning of nuclear weapons, missiles and biochemical weapons” etc. while talking about formula of “abandoning nuclear weapons first, compensating afterwards.”

This is not an expression of intention to address the issue through dialogue. It is essentially a manifestation of awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers.

I cannot suppress indignation at such moves of the U.S., and harbor doubt about the U.S. sincerity for improved DPRK-U.S. relations through sound dialogue and negotiations.

World knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq which have met miserable fate.

It is absolutely absurd to dare compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya which had been at the initial state of nuclear development.

We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feelings of repugnance towards him.

If the Trump administration fails to recall the lessons learned from the past when the DPRK-U.S. talks had to undergo twists and setbacks owing to the likes of Bolton and turns its ear to the advice of quasi-”patriots” who insist on Libya mode and the like, prospects of upcoming DPRK-U.S. summit and overall DPRK-U.S. relations will be crystal clear.

We have already stated our intention of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and made clear on several occasions that precondition for denuclearization is to put an end to anti-DPRK hostile policy and nuclear threats and blackmail of the United States.

But now, the U.S. is miscalculating the magnanimity and broad-minded initiatives of the DPRK as signs of weakness and trying to embellish and advertise as if these are the product of its sanctions and pressure.

The U.S. is trumpeting as if it would offer economic compensation and benefit in case we abandon nuke. But we have never had any expectation of U.S. support in carrying out our economic construction and will not at all make such a deal in future, too.

It is a ridiculous comedy to see that the Trump administration, claiming to take a different road from the previous administrations, still clings to the outdated policy on the DPRK – a policy pursued by previous administrations at the same time when the DPRK was at the stage of nuclear development.

If President Trump follows in the footsteps of his predecessors, he will be recorded as more tragic and unsuccessful president than his predecessors, far from his initial ambition to make unprecedented success.

If the Trump administration takes an approach to the DPRK-U.S. summit with sincerity for improved DPRK-U.S. relations, it will receive a deserved response from us. However, if the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit.

Posted in North KoreaComments Off on Beyond the headlines: here’s North Korea’s actual statement on Trump meeting

Tamils mark Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day as struggle for freedom continues

Tamils mark Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day as struggle for freedom continues

Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day 2016. Photo: Vikalpa | Groundviews | Maatram | CPA

To learn about the history of the Tamil national liberation struggle for self-determination under the Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinist Sri Lankan government,check out this Liberation News article

For the Tamil diaspora across the world and the Tamils in Eelam — the homeland of the Tamil people on the island of Sri Lanka — May 18 of every year is commemorated as Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day. It is a day to remember, mourn and seek justice for the tens of thousands of Tamil civilians and freedom fighters who lost their lives to the murderous military campaign by the Sri Lankan government in 2009. It is estimated that between 40,000 to 150,000 unarmed Tamil civilians in the town of Mullivaikkal were mercilessly shelled to death by government forces in the final days of the conflict.

The island of Sri Lanka has been populated by two distinct peoples for thousands of years — the majority Sinhalese population and the minority Tamil population. Centuries of divide-and-conquer policies pursued by European colonial powers greatly exacerbated tensions between the two communities. For decades, the country’s central government has been dominated by political organizations that have a Sinhala-chauvinist orientation.

Not only is the same day celebrated as Victory Day with military parades for Sinhala “War Heroes” by the Sri Lankan government, the government has also banned Tamils from commemorating the victims of the May 18 genocide. Tamils in Eelam who organize public or private commemoration events have been met with threats, violence and arrests by the occupying Sri Lankan military forces. This is a strategic maneuver by the Sri Lankan government to both avoid taking responsibility for its massacre of Tamil civilians in 2009, and to create a false memory for the world that no such atrocities ever took place.

The suppression of Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day activities in public spaces is nothing more than the Sinhala chauvinist state’s attempt to prevent the growth of a mass movement among Tamils in the post-genocide climate.

The Sinhala government equates the commemoration for the dead Tamil civilians as commemoration for the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) itself. The LTTE was an armed national liberation organization with a socialist orientation that had wide support among the Tamil people in Eelam prior to its 2009 defeat. Despite the restrictions by the government, Tamils in Eelam continue to resist by holding small events to mark May 18 as a day to memorialize the victims of genocide.

Leading up to the genocide in Mullivaikkal

Under Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who came to power in 2005 specifically on an anti-LTTE platform, a military campaign was launched in 2006 to completely crush the Tamil resistance for an independent homeland.

In 2006, in broad daylight, the Sri Lankan Air Force dropped 16 bombs, utilizing Isreali Kifr jets, on an orphanage that was established and run by the Liberation Tigers (LTTE) for war-affected children in Sencholai. 61 schoolgirls were killed, and 129 were injured in the airstrike. The LTTE Peace Secretariat urged representatives of international agencies in Kilinochchi, including UNICEF, to visit the site of the bombing for investigation. Instead, the United Nations, in the service of U.S. imperialism, did not condemn the bombing. The international corporate media falsely reported that the children killed were child soldiers of the LTTE, and later used this very claim to demonize the LTTE. This event would become the model for how the Sinhala government would silence its injustices against the Tamil people, and eventually set the stage for the Mullivaikal genocide in 2009.

Following the failure of the Norway-brokered ceasefire, and the Sinhala government’s withdrawal from the ceasefire with the Tamil Tigers in 2008, the committee of Nordic experts who were there to monitor the truce were made to leave the country by the government, along with most other humanitarian agencies.

By this time, the Sinhala government had seized control of the Eastern part of the country and established the Eastern Provincial Council using a pro-government splinter of the LTTE. After the town of Kilinochchi, the administrative center of the LTTE, was captured by the Sri Lankan military in December of 2008, the Tamil Tigers’ last stronghold Mullaitivu became the target.

Mullivaikkal is a village in the Mullaitivu district of Vanni, the northern region of Sri Lanka. It was here that the Sri Lankan army launched a brutal, all-out offensive against the Tamil Tigers with over 350,000 Tamil civilians trapped in what became a war-zone. Earlier, the Sri Lankan air force had dropped leaflets over the village urging Tamil civilians to come to government controlled “safe zones,” also known as “No Fire Zones.” When the civilians took heed and moved to “safety” as directed, the Sri Lankan forces indiscriminately shelled the civilians, including children, using artillery bombardment and aerial bombing. The Sri Lankan forces also bombed clearly marked hospitals and engaged in many extrajudicial killings. The so-called “No Fire Zones” were in reality open-air mass killing sites.

In the aftermath of the genocide, hours of video and mobile footage from the last 138 days of the Sri Lankan army’s military offensive emerged. This evidence was compiled into an investigative documentary, “No Fire Zone: The Killing Field of Sri Lanka,” that shocked the world. In director Callum Macrae’s own words:

“No Fire Zone shows the relentless horror of those final weeks. These are images so shocking that they changed votes when we showed a cut of the film at the UN Human Rights Council in March [2013]. In the last few days of the war, in May 2009, the massacre of the civilians was followed by another series of war crimes. Victorious government troops systematically executed bound, blindfolded prisoners. Women fighters were stripped, sexually assaulted, blindfolded and shot in the head. In one incident the 12-year-old son of the Tigers’ leader is seen first in captivity, eating a snack. Two hours later he lies dead, having been shot, five times, at point-blank range. These events were recorded by the perpetrators on mobile phones as grotesque war trophies.”

Although the footage has been checked and verified by independent sources as being legitimate, the Sri Lankan government maintains the lie that the footage is fake and manufactured.

Sinhala government denies its actions

The actions of the Sri Lankan military forces in Mullivaikkal are not to be mistaken simply for neglect or ignorance, because the facts sums up to a calculated, premeditated genocide. The fact that the Sri Lankan government prohibited independent media from entering the combat region and kicked out human rights organizations from the area prior to the offensive further exposes this.

The Sri Lankan government saw the final offensive as an opportunity to not only completely decimate the LTTE, but to delegitimize armed struggle by deliberately killing civilians and creating a narrative in which all the loss of life in the conflict is attributed to the LTTE. It was also an opportunity to turn the Tamils who survived but lost family against the Tamil Tigers. Above all, the Sri Lankan state aimed to prove to the oppressed Tamil population that it, having the support of the imperialist West, would maintain a unitary government to the benefit of the Sinhala capitalist elite by any means necessary.

The fact that Sri Lankan government invited hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians to their deaths in the “No Fire Zone” like cattle about to be slaughtered, shows the Sri Lankan government’s utter disregard for Tamil lives, and that it would wipe out the entire Tamil population from the country if it could get away with it. If anything, the genocide only reaffirms the brutality of the national oppression faced by Tamils, and makes the case for a self- determining Tamil nation stronger.

Under the guise of “counter-insurgency” and fighting “terrorism,” the Sri Lankan government not only denies any responsibility for what it did in Mullivaikkal, it wouldn’t allow independent forensic investigations of the massacre sites. Moreover, in the aftermath of the genocide, only the Sri Lankan military had access to the sites to “clean up” the land, when really what was likely being cleaned up was the evidence of a massacre.

United Nations, U.S., and British complicity in genocide

In the months leading up to the Mullivaikkal genocide, the so-called “international community” and the international media fell silent. Throughout the period of killings of Tamils by the Sri Lankan Army, the United Nations under Ban Ki-moon adopted a position of neutrality. During the last months of the Sri Lankan army’s offensive, not a single meeting was held at the Security Council or any other top UN bodies to discuss the Sri Lankan military’s targeting of Tamil civilians.

A leaked draft of an United Nations internal report in 2012, also known as the Charles Petrie report, concluded that the “events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the UN… a sustained and institutionalized reluctance to stand for the rights of people they were mandated to assist.” The report stated that the UN team abandoned the civilian population with no protection or witnesses by withdrawing UN staff from the war zone in 2008. It also revealed that many senior UN staff did not perceive the prevention of the killing of civilians their responsibility. It is detailed in the report that the United Nations failed to publicize that the large majority of deaths were caused by Sri Lankan government shelling.

The leaked report also revealed that in New York, “[the UN’s] engagement with member states regarding Sri Lanka was heavily influenced by what it perceived member states wanted to hear, rather than what member states needed to know.” This shows that, for the United Nations, the geo-strategic interests of the imperialist powers, United States and United Kingdom, and the stability of the chauvinist Sri Lankan government took precedence over the lives of tens of thousands of Eelam Tamils.

In December 2013, an international panel of academics and lawyers who are experts on genocide convened in Bremen, Germany, as the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PTT) to hold the People’s Tribunal of Sri Lanka. The verdict of the panel not only found Sri Lanka guilty of perpetuating ongoing structural genocide towards the Eelam Tamils, but also found the United States and UK complicit in the genocide. Then in 2014, when the UN Commission of Human Rights finally voted to establish an independent international inquiry into the events covered in the No Fire Zone documentary, the Sri Lankan government denied UNCHR investigators entry into the country.

The Eelam Tamil nation’s struggle continues

After the 2009 Tamil genocide, the Sri Lankan government has continued to repress and limit freedom of speech for Eelam Tamils who demand accountability and answers for its war crimes. Using the 1979 Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) that gives the Sri Lankan police wide powers, Tamils who are merely suspected of any connection to or as being sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers are being subject to arbitrary imprisonment, disappearances and severe torture. Many survivors of the Mullivaikkal genocide who were taken prisoner are still not released. Tamils are held in detention for years without being charged, because of lack of evidence in the first place.

In recent years, students of Jaffna University have protested to repeal the PTA. Prisoners arrested under PTA have also engaged in hunger strike to bring attention to their unjustified detention.

Since 2009, there has also been a movement for missing persons primarily led by Tamil women relatives of victims with the support of university students, local organizations and trade unions. Having no confidence in any commission appointed by the Sri Lankan government, protesters demand international investigation into people missing after being arrested or abducted by Sri Lankan armed forces.

Since 2009, the northeastern region — the Tamil homeland — has also been turned into one of the heaviest militarized territories in the world. It is said that approximately one Sinhala soldier is present for every five civilians, which is about 198.5 occupying forces for every 1000 Tamil civilians. The occupation of Tamil Eelam by Sri Lankan armed forces is very much comparable to the situation of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Following in the footsteps of the apartheid Israeli state that implements a policy of “zoning” around military installments, the Sri Lankan state has established High Security Zones on large sections of lands occupied by the military in the northeastern region of Jaffna.

The militarization and occupation of the Tamil homeland upon the defeat of the Tamil Tigers is only a prelude to the larger agenda. It is becoming clearer by the day that the real intention of the Sri Lankan government is the colonization of Tamil Eelam by moving in non-local Buddhist-Sinhalese into the area. With the promises of land ownership and partnership in development projects, the government is attempting to pacify Sinhala workers and peasants who are dissatisfied by hardships under the capitalist Sinhala ruling-class. Already Eelam Tamils face second-class citizenship and lower quality of life in measures of wages, housing, healthcare, education and other areas. Colonization and dispossession of ancestral lands is a state-sponsored policy of structural genocide contributing to the further economic marginalization and imperialist exploitation of Eelam Tamils.

Over the years, some 800,000 Tamils have sought refuge in other countries and hundreds of thousands more have been internally displaced.

It is under these conditions that Eelam Tamils continue to organize and resist. While the form of the Tamil struggle has changed, at its core it still remains a struggle for self-determination and national liberation.

It is imperative for progressives and revolutionaries across the world to stand in active solidarity with the Eelam Tamil resistance movement. Without international solidarity among the oppressed peoples of the world, there will be no liberation!

Posted in Sri LankaComments Off on Tamils mark Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day as struggle for freedom continues

Trump, Naziyahu set a path toward war with Iran


Trump, Netanyahu set a path toward war with Iran – Statement of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)

Trump, Netanyahu set a path toward war with Iran – Statement of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)

U.S. Air Force jets over Iraq

The Party for Socialism and Liberation condemns, in the strongest possible terms, President Trump’s illegal withdrawal of the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015. We consider this move to be a dangerous step towards the escalation of U.S. hostility towards Iran and of its war-mongering interventionist policies in the Middle East.

Reminiscent of the Bush administration’s “mushroom cloud on Washington D.C.” scare tactic in 2003, Trump ridiculously claimed: “We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction.” In complete violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which the United States is signatory, the United States is embarking upon a nuclear modernization program, with an estimated cost of $1.2 trillion.

Outrageously, Trump attempts to portray Iran, which has no nuclear weapons at all, to be a threat to peace and on the verge of attacking U.S. cities. The greatest danger to humanity today is Washington, D.C., under the leadership of a band of corrupt elements, headed by Trump – a racist, sexist, bigoted billionaire who finds his deepest roots of support among alt-right white supremacists. The governments of the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia are now partnering in a synchronized set of actions designed to set the stage for military aggression against Iran.

As the danger from Trump and his cabinet becomes more and more evident to the people, the PSL is joining with people across the country to build a grassroots movement, independent of both imperialist parties, to resist this criminal gang that brings nothing to the United States and the rest of the world but war, racism and misery.

When targeting independent countries for regime-change, various U.S. administrations pretend to speak for the international community, often creating the false appearance that the targeted country is isolated and condemned by the world. Today, the international community, however it is defined, is uniformly opposed to the May 8 Trump decision. Support for the U.S. pullout of the JCPOA is limited to Apartheid Israel and arch-reactionary Persian Gulf states. Even European imperialist powers have expressed strong opposition to Trump’s withdrawal.

The PSL upholds the right of self-determination for Iran, and all other nations oppressed by imperialism. Ever since the 1979 revolution of Iran, the United States has wanted nothing more than returning Iran to its neo-colonial status. Trump promises to help the Iranian people to go back to “an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world.” That pre-revolution Iran that Trump talks about was declared by Amnesty International to have “the worst human rights record on the planet” but served up Iran’s resources to big oil companies. Different factions of the U.S. ruling class may have disagreements on tactics, but they all want that Iran back – a country that was effectively run by Washington through its client, the Shah.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Trump, Naziyahu set a path toward war with Iran

Saudi export of ultra-conservatism in the era of Crown Prince MBS

Saudi funding of extremists

By James M. Dorsey

There has long been debate about the longevity of the Saudi ruling family. One major reason for doubts about the Al Sauds’ viability was the Faustian bargain they made with the Wahhabis, proponents of a puritan, intolerant, discriminatory, anti-pluralistic interpretation of Islam.

It was a bargain that has produced the single largest dedicated public diplomacy campaign in history. Estimates of Saudi spending on the funding of ultra-conservative Muslim cultural institutions across the globe and the forging of close ties to non-Wahhabi Muslim leaders and intelligence agencies in various Muslim nations that have bought into significant, geopolitical elements of the Wahhabi worldview are ballpark. With no accurate date available, they range from $75 to $100 billion.

It was a campaign that frequently tallied nicely with the kingdom’s deep-seated anti-communism, its hostility to post-1979 Iran, and the West’s Cold War view of Islam as a useful tool against Arab nationalism and the left – a perception that at times was shared by Arab autocrats other than the Saudis.

Genie out of the bottle

The campaign was not simply a product of the marriage between the Al Sauds and the Wahhabis. It was long central to Saudi soft power policy and the Al Saud’s survival strategy. One reason, certainly not the only one, that the longevity of the Al Sauds was a matter of debate was the fact that the propagation of Wahhabism was having a backlash at home and in countries across the globe. More than ever before, since 9/11 theological or ideological similarities between Wahhabism or for that matter Salafism and jihadism became under the spotlight.

The problem for the Al Sauds was not just that their legitimacy seemed to be wholly dependent on their identification with Wahhabism. It was that the Al Sauds since the launch of the campaign were often only nominally in control of it. They had let a genie out of the bottle that now leads an independent life and that can’t be put back into the bottle.

That is one major reason why some have argued in the past decade that the Al Sauds and the Wahhabis were nearing a crunch point. One that would not necessarily offer solutions but could make things worse by sparking ever more militant splits that would make themselves felt across the Muslim world and in minority Muslim communities elsewhere in multiple ways, including increasing sectarian and intolerant attitudes in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Muhammad [bin Salman] has so far dropped tantalising clues, but neither said nor done anything that could be considered conclusive. In fact, what he has not done or said may be more telling, even if it would be premature to draw from that conclusions of the potential limits of change that he envisions.

The rise of Muhammad bin Salman clearly challenges these assumptions. For one, it raises the question to what degree the rule of the Al Sauds remains dependent on religious legitimisation as Muhammad moves de facto from consensual family to one-man rule in which he anchors his legitimacy in his role as a reformer.

It also begs the question of what would ideologically replace ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim Islam as Saudi Arabia’s answer to perceived Iranian revolutionary zeal. The jury on all of this is out. The key lies in the degree to which Muhammad is successful in implementing social and economic reform, his yet to be clarified definition of what he envisions as moderate Islam, and what resistance to his religious redefinition and social reforms will emerge among members of the religious establishment and segments of the population.

Muhammad has so far dropped tantalising clues, but neither said nor done anything that could be considered conclusive. In fact, what he has not done or said may be more telling, even if it would be premature to draw from that conclusions of the potential limits of change that he envisions. On the plus side, he introduced social reforms that enhance women’s opportunities and relaxed restrictions on cultural expression.

At the same time, he has whipped the religious establishment into subservience and positioned them, including key vehicles like the World Muslim League that the government used to fund and propagate ultra-conservatism, as forces against extremism and militancy and in favour of religious tolerance and dialogue. In February, Saudi Arabia agreed to surrender control of the Great Mosque in Brussels after its efforts to install a more moderate administration failed to counter mounting Belgian criticism of alleged intolerance and supremacism propagated by mosque executives.

Saudi officials have spoken of a possible halt to the funding internationally of religious institutions, although an apparent agreement to pump $1 billion into the building of hundreds of mosques and religious centres in Bangladesh would suggest otherwise. The failure in Brussels and the fact that there is little reason to believe that the religious establishment has experienced a true change of heart or that Saudi Arabia has satisfactorily completed a revision of its text and religious books suggests that the kingdom is ill-prepared to propagate a truly moderate form of Islam in Bangladesh or anywhere else.

In some ways, the question is whether this matters as much outside the kingdom as it does domestically. The parameters have changed with Muhammad’s grip on power but the fact that the religious establishment was willing to ultimately compromise on its theological principles to accommodate the political and geopolitical needs of the Al Sauds has been a long-standing fixture of Saudi policy making.

For the Wahhabi and Salafi ulema (scholars), the public diplomacy campaign was about proselytisation, the spreading of their specific interpretation of the faith. For the government, it was about soft power. At times the interests of the government and the ulema coincided, and at times they diverged.

Yet, more often than not the requirements of the government and the family took precedence. While contacts between Wahhabi and Deobandi scholars from the Indian sub-continent go back to the 1930s, if not earlier, Saudi scholars were willing to put their differences aside as Deobandis emerged as a powerful force among the anti-Soviet mujahedeen in the 1980s and subsequent anti-Shia strife in Pakistan.

Funding webs

The problem in mapping the financial flows of the campaign is that the sources were multiple and the lines between the funding streams often blurred. No doubt, the government was the major funding source but even then the picture is messy. For one thing, what constitutes the government? Were senior princes who occupied powerful government positions officials or private persons when they donated from their personal accounts in a country in which it was long difficult to distinguish between the budget of the government and of the family?

On top of that, the government had multiple funding streams that included the Foreign Ministry using its network of diplomatic missions abroad, the multiple well-endowed governmental non-governmental organisations such as the Muslim World League that often were run with little if any oversight by groups like the Muslim Brotherhood with their own agenda, institutions in the kingdom like the Islamic University of Medina and its counterparts in Pakistan and Malaysia, as well as funds distributed by Islamic scholars and wealthy individuals.

Adding to the complexity was the fact that there was no overview of what private donors were doing and who was a private donor and who wasn’t. This pertains not only to the blurred lines between the government and the ruling family, but also to Saudis of specific ethnic heritage, for example Pakistanis or Baloch, as well as Saudi intelligence. At times members of ethnic communities potentially served as government proxies for relationships with militant anti-Shia groups like Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Taiba and their successors and offshoots in Pakistan.

Further complicating a financial assessment is the lack of transparency on the receiver’s end. In some cases, like Malaysia, the flow of funds was controlled by the authorities and/or a political party in government. In others, like Indonesia, money often came in suitcases. Customs officials at airports were instructed to take their cut and allow the money in with no registration.

In other words, while the Saudis donated, prior to 9/11 and the 2003/04 Al-Qaeda attacks in the kingdom they seldom exercised control over what was done with the funds. The National Commercial Bank, when it was Saudi Arabia’s largest financial institution, had a department of numbered accounts. These were largely accounts belonging to members of the ruling family. Only three people had access to those accounts, one of whom was the majority owner of the bank, Khaled Bin Mahfouz. Khaled would get a phone call from a senior member of the family who would instruct him to transfer money to a specific country, leaving it up to Khaled where precisely that money would go.

Funding jihdists

In one instance, Khaled was instructed by Prince Sultan, the then defence minister, to wire $5 million to Bosnia. Sultan did not indicate the beneficiary. Khaled sent the money to a charity in Sarajevo that in the wake of 9/11 was raided by US law enforcement and Bosnian security agents. The hard disks of the foundation revealed the degree to which the institution was controlled by 

At one point, the Saudis suspected one of the foundation’s operatives of being a member of Egypt’s Islamic Jihad. They sent someone to Sarajevo to investigate. The investigator confronted the man saying: “We hear that you have these connections and if that is true we need to part ways.” The man put his hand on his heart and denied the allegation. As far as the Saudis were concerned, the issue was settled until the man later in court testimony described how easy it had been to fool the Saudis.

The measure of success of the Saudi campaign is not exclusively the degree to which it was able to embed religious ultra-conservatism in communities across the globe. From the perspective of the government and the family, far more important was ultra-conservatism’s geopolitical component, its anti-Shia and resulting anti-Iranian attitude.

The man who was until a couple of years ago deputy head of Indonesian intelligence and deputy head of Nahdlatul Ulema, one of the world’s largest Islamic movements that professes to be anti-Wahhabi, symbolises the campaign’s success in those terms. He is a fluent Arabic speaker. He spent 12 years in the Middle East representing Indonesian intelligence, eight of those in Saudi Arabia. He professes in the same breath his dislike of the Wahhabis and at the same time warns that Shias, who constitute 1.2 per cent of the Indonesian population and that includes the estimated 2 million Sunni converts over the last 40 years, are one of the foremost domestic threats to Indonesian national security. This man is not instinctively anti-Shia but sees Shias as an Iranian fifth column.

Frankenstein’s monster

The result of all of this is that four decades of funding has created an ultra-conservative world that lives its own life, in many ways is independent of Saudi Arabia, and parts of which have turned on its original benefactor. A study of Pakistani madrassas published earlier this year concluded that foreign funding accounted for only 7 per cent of the finances of the country’s thousands of religious seminaries.

The fact that ultra-conservatives are no longer wholly dependent on Saudi funding is a testimony to the campaign’s success. This realisation comes at a crucial moment. Post 9/11 and even more so in the wake of Al-Qaeda attacks on targets in Saudi Arabia in 2003/04, Saudi Arabia has introduced strict controls on charitable donations to ensure that funds do not flow to jihadist groups.

… there are… indications that Muhammad bin Salman is not averse to funding militants when it suits his geopolitical purpose. The US Treasury last year designated Maulana Ali Muhammad Abu Turab as a specially designated terrorist on the very day that he was in the kingdom to raise funds.

There is, moreover, no doubt that Saudi funding in the era of Muhammad bin Salman is unlikely to revert to what it once was. The Saudi-funded Bangladeshi plan to build moderate mosques, the relinquishing of control of the Grand Mosque in Brussels, and the World Muslim League’s newly-found propagation of tolerance and interfaith dialogue, as well as its effort to reach out to Jewish communities, would suggest that Saudi money may be invested in attempting to curb the impact of the kingdom’s decades-long funding of ultra-conservatism.

Yet, there are also indications that Muhammad bin Salman is not averse to funding militants when it suits his geopolitical purpose. The US Treasury last year designated Maulana Ali Muhammad Abu Turab as a specially designated terrorist on the very day that he was in the kingdom to raise funds. Abu Turab is a prominent Pakistani Islamic scholar of Afghan descent who serves on a government-appointed religious board, maintains close ties to Saudi Arabia, runs a string of madrassas attended by thousands of students along Balochistan’s border with Iran and Afghanistan and is a major fund raiser for militant groups.

Abu Turab’s visit to the kingdom came at a time that Saudi and United Arab Emirates nationals of Baloch heritage were funnelling large amounts to militant anti-Shia and anti-Iranian Islamic scholars in Balochistan. It is unclear whether or not the funds were being donated with Muhammad bin Salman’s tacit blessing.

What is clear, however, is that the funding and Abu Turab’s visit coincided with the drafting of plans to destabilise Iran by exploiting grievances and stirring unrest among Iran’s ethnic minorities, including the Baloch. Those plans have not left the drawing board and may never do so. The funding, nevertheless, raises the question of how clean a break with support of ultra-conservatism Muhammad bin Salman is contemplating.

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20 may events_bw and palestine.jpg


Gaza: Nazi Prepares to Kill More Peaceful Protesters


Image result for IDF Prepares to Kill CARTOON

IDF Prepares to Kill More Peaceful Protesters in Gaza on Friday

Michael Omer-Mann, editor-in-chief of +972 Magazine says, IDF does not care if you are protesting in peace or with violence, either way, if you are protesting you run the risk of being killed

Story Transcript

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.

I’m in the Great March of Return in Gaza, tens of thousands of Palestinians have marched to commemorate the Nakba, the mass deportation of Palestinians in 1948, which turned them into a nation of refugees until this day. The Israeli response to the nonviolent protests has been to kill over 110 unarmed protesters, and to injure thousands, which led to the collapse of the Gaza medical facility. After burying the 58 people who were gunned down on Monday, weighing that against the celebrations in Jerusalem over the opening of the U.S. embassy, many asked themselves whether the lives lost are worth it. Are they effective, as Israel appears to be going about its business? The other question this raises is are peaceful nonviolent protests the best way for Palestinians to earn their freedom?

A new article published by +972 Magazine with the title “You are far more likely to be killed protesting in Gaza than firing a rocket” reveals a worrying fact: that the Israeli armed forces are more likely to take the lives of nonviolent protesters than those of Palestinians using weapons in this struggle for freedom. Why?

Join us for a discussion with the author of the article. Michael Omerman. He is a writer and journalist and commentator and critic based in Israel. He is the managing editor at +972 Magazine. Michael, good to have you with us.

MICHAEL OMER-MAN: Nice to be with you.

SHARMINI PERIES: Now, Michael, your article implies that Israeli forces actually prefer the Palestinians to use violence over peaceful nonviolent protests. Why?

MICHAEL OMER-MAN: I’m not sure that the Israeli army has a preference. I think they would prefer the Palestinians not resist the occupation at all. What I saw and what I found was that since February 18, which is about a week and a half before, or a month and a half before the Great Return March protest began, that not a single rocket has been fired from Gaza into Israel. And this is, this is the framing of the conflict that we get most of the time between Gaza and Israel, that rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel, and Israel responds with, you know, F16s and tanks and mass destruction.

And so I looked at the numbers of, in the time before these protests, when rockets were being fired, and in the 18 months before these protests started, dozens of rockets and mortar shells were fired into Israel from Gaza. And in those 18 months, 28 people were killed inside of Gaza. And in one day of these protests we saw a death toll that by now has reached 62 people. That’s more than actually the entire period between the end of the 2014 war and the beginning of these protests. Surpassed in one day.

I think the easiest answer about why that is is that they’re hundreds of meters away, they’re shelling themselves. They’re within gunshot range. But it’s astounding, and it’s, it’s, it’s depressing. It’s sad and depressing.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Give us a sense of how you made the tallies you have. How did you calculate the data and come to these conclusions?

MICHAEL OMER-MAN: Firstly, I asked the Israeli army spokesperson when the last rocket was fired, just to make sure that I didn’t under-report it. And as I suspected, there had been no rockets fired. And the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, publishes data once a month about every sort of security incident, or a terrorist incident, as they call it. And so I just went month by month, and did a tally of enemy rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza into Israel, and lined that up with details, casualty information, which is compiled by Israeli human rights groups. Someone who sends its workers to investigate every death, and [inaudible].

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. I’m going to cut here to a clip that we have of Major General Etian Dangot, former commander of the Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory, and currently a senior government official and they’re talking about their strategy for Gaza.

ETIAN DANGOT: We are in a different event from a declaration about some kind of popular uprising. The new event means that we are witnessing an attempt to enter and infiltrate Israel under the cover of so-called human munitions. And the second thing, remember that the Hamas date is May 15. We shouldn’t wait until then. We must initiate. I don’t rule out in a situation of a perimeter an Israeli entry into Gaza. I don’t rule out death bombing and striking. Hamas is the enemy.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Michael, let’s start with you trying to explain the context in which Major General Etian Dangot is speaking here.

MICHAEL OMER-MAN: The Israeli Army put out a lot of information. There are a lot of statements by politicians, the political and military echelons of the decision-making structures in Israel basically saying that, you know, this, that we’re expecting mass groups of people just to storm over the border, and the Israeli population in southern Israel is at risk.

And it’s just, you know, they, they announced that they were going to be stationing 100 snipers on the Gaza border ahead of the first day of protests, in which at least 16 people were killed. And we heard, we heard quotes all the way up to the defense minister, like the one you just heard right now, basically this warning or declaring that there will be Palestinian casualties.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Now, on the other side of the border, last week a group of extreme right-wing Israeli activists have attempted to launch their own attack against Gaza by flying a burning kite into Gaza in order to cause a fire. Now, their plan actually backfired, literally, because the kite ended up starting a fire on the Israeli side instead, from what we saw. Now, did the Israeli military, how did they respond to this? I mean, obviously they didn’t assassinate these folks, which are trying some effort, making some efforts of their own to do what the Israeli military is doing.

MICHAEL OMER-MAN: Yes, so this is a kind of cynical response by, from what I understand, a well-known right-wing activist, in response to a tactic that the Palestinian protesters have adopted over the past several weeks, which is to send kites with various burning materials over the border, to try to set agricultural fields on fire. And you know, this guy tried to give them a taste of their own medicine, probably, in his mind. And as you said, it backfired.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Now, what is the reaction inside Israel, Michael to the Great March of Return? Do you think that the choice of Palestinians to stick to nonviolent protests is making an impression on the Israelis at all? Because I know in terms of the international community there was a great relief when we understood that the Palestinians were actually planning a non-violent and a peaceful demonstration over the period, the last month. But was it received in the same way in Israel?

MICHAEL OMER-MAN: Unfortunately we’ll never find out, because these protests were never portrayed as non-violent protests in Israel. They were portrayed as Hamas-driven terror marches, in which people were paid to basically march to their deaths and try and cross the border, and terrorize the Israeli communities on the other side. We really have seen very, very, very little reporting in the Hebrew media, in the Israeli media, that refers to this as nonviolent, or even unarmed protests, or civilian protests. It’s been hammered again and again and again, this is a Hamas initiative.

Which we know just isn’t true. I mean, it was organized by civilians in Gaza from various political affiliations, and yes, Hamas, as the biggest political mobilizer, in addition to its own activities, sent people there. You know, they hired buses and they sent people there. But to describe it as, as a Hamas, you know, terror, or the way it was in the Israeli media and put out by the Israeli army and government, it basically precluded us from ever having that discussion.

SHARMINI PERIES: I’ve been speaking with Michael Omer-Man. He is a writer, journalist, commentator, and critic based in Israel. He’s the managing editor at +972 magazine. Thank you so much for joining us today, Michael.

MICHAEL OMER-MAN: Thank you for having me.

SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us here on the Real News Network.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Gaza: Nazi Prepares to Kill More Peaceful Protesters

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