Archive | May 21st, 2018

US says won’t recognize Venezuela presidential election

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The United States government says it is not going to recognize the outcome of Venezuela’s presidential election which will be held on Sunday.

US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan made the announcement in a press briefing on Sunday and stressed that Washington was actively considering strict sanctions against Venezuela’s oil industry.

He also noted that the US would discuss a response to vote with its allies at the G20 meeting in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires on Monday.

Washington has already put in place sanctions against Caracas and top Venezuelan government officials, as well as other measures to further weaken the country’s troubled economy and prevent the government and its state oil company from accessing international credit through US markets or entities.

On Friday, the US Treasury slapped sanctions against the head of the Venezuelan socialist party, Diosdado Cabello, and his wife, Marleny Josefina Contreras, who heads the country’s tourism institute, and his brother, Jose David.

Earlier in May, the administration of US President Donald Trump has slapped more sanctions against a number of Venezuelan companies and officials, accusing them of trafficking narcotics.

President Nicolas Maduro, who is running for a second six-year term in the vote, says the US has joined forces with opposition groups to topple his socialist government.

His opponents blame him for mishandling the economy and accuse him of dictatorial tendencies.

Maduro is predicted to win the Sunday election against main opposition candidate Henri Falcon.

Some opposition members have boycotted the vote, claiming it is rigged to ensure that Maduro wins a second six-year term in office.

Caracas, however, has assured the public that the election will be free and fair, saying those opposition members who refuse to participate in the election believe they have no chance to win.

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Maduro re-elected Venezuelan president; rival candidate challenges results


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Nicolas Maduro has been re-elected for a second term in office as Venezuela’s president in an election rejected as “illegitimate” by his main rival, who has also demanded that a repeat vote be held later this year.

With more than 90 percent of the ballots cast in Sunday’s presidential election counted, the National Election Council announced that incumbent Maduro had won another six-year term after securing 67.7 percent of the vote.

Maduro’s main challenger Henri Falcon came in second with 21.2 percent, followed by the president’s other rival, Javier Bertucci, who gained some 10 percent, said the Council’s head, Tibisay Lucena.

With the country’s mainstream opposition having boycotted the vote, the turnout was 46.1 percent, according to the board, which means 8.6 million out of the 20.5 million eligible voters took part in the election.

The ballots were recorded electronically, making the voting quick and easy. The presence of government troops around polling stations also ensured the safety of voters.

Some 150 international observers from 30 countries and international organizations were present in the Latin American country to monitor the process.

Maduro hails ‘historic’ win

When the results were released, Maduro’s supporters gathered outside his Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas, celebrating his re-election with fireworks.

Maduro, surrounded by thousands of his supporters, also hailed his “popular victory,” saying, “This was a historic day! The day of a heroic victory! The day of a beautiful victory – of a truly popular victory.”

“Never before has a presidential candidate taken 68 percent of the popular vote,” he told the cheering crowd.

“The whole of Venezuela has triumphed! Democracy has triumphed! Peace has triumphed! Constitutionality has triumphed [These were] elections that were constitutional, legitimate and legal,” he said. “We have a president of the people! A working president!”

The president also called on the defeated challengers to join him for negotiations about the future of the country.

He said “permanent dialog” is needed with the entire opposition so that Venezuela could set aside political disputes.

Vote ‘lacks legitimacy’

However, before the official results were announced, Falcon said he would not recognize the vote for what he called irregularities, including widespread vote buying in favor of Maduro.

“As far as we are concerned there has been no election. There must be new elections in Venezuela,” he told reporters. “The process undoubtedly lacks legitimacy and as such we do not recognize it.”

Falcon, who broke with an opposition boycott to run for the election, also called for a fresh election to be held in November or December.

Several of Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors as well as the European Union also joined voices with Maduro’s challenger and said they would not recognize the results of the election.

They alleged that the conditions did not exist for the election to be free and fair.

However, former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who is in Venezuela as an international observer, said he has no “doubt about the voting process.”

“It is an advanced automatic voting system. I come here to keep peace, coordinate and promote dialogue so as to improve the democratic mechanism here. What I need to do here is to see whether people can cast their ballots at their own discretion. Now we all see how people vote, don’t we?” he added.

The US also said it would not recognize the election and would actively consider oil sanctions on the country.

Washington has already imposed sanctions against Venezuela and blamed, together with its allies in the region and elsewhere, Maduro’s government for the country’s acute economic crisis.

On Saturday, the US ramped up pressure on Caracas by imposing new sanctions against the government’s top officials.

Maduro’s government, however, said the US was using new sanctions to sabotage the election.

It called Washington’s move as part of “a systematic campaign of aggression” by President Donald Trump’s administration and said they had no legal base.

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Ignoring the Astana Talks, the US Is Increasing Its Military Presence in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor Province

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By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation

President Trump’s announcement that he intends to order the US military out of Syria attracted a lot of public attention, unlike the war preparations that preceded and followed those statements.

Three months ago, the American military established an outpost in Manbij, in the wake of Turkey’s threats to seize control of the area. The US has some 300 soldiers based at two facilities there. In March, US Marines beefed up the military presence at the Al-Tanf base in southern Syria that is located just a few miles from the Jordanian border. The American military has established a 55-km. no-go zone around that facility.

On May 15, US personnel were reported to be setting up a new base in Badiyeh al-Sha’afa in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province. It’s hard to believe that this move is justified by the need to confront the Islamic State — that once-powerful enemy now on the brink of extinction. One does not need new bases to finish it off. The Syrian army is well versed in how to do that.

Last month US forces were also reported to be building a new outpost at the al-Omar oil field in southeastern Deir ez-Zor. They were deployed to positions around the Conoco and al-Jafreh oil fields. On April 7, the area around the oil fields in Deir ez-Zor was declared a military zone by the US-led SDF. That group has already clashed with Syrian forces in the fight to control the province.

The SDF is constantly reinforcing its positions in Deir ez-Zor as part of its ongoing Operation Al-Jazeera Storm, which was launched on May 1. It recently seized al-Baghuz and is pushing the remaining ISIS forces out of the pocket of Hajin and al-Dashisha along the border with Iraq. These operations are coordinated with the Iraqi air force. The SDF Arab-Kurdish forces have liberated about 65 square kilometers from Daesh. Making short work of whatever is left of the Islamic State is certainly a good thing, but Syrian troops will not be allowed in. The territory will become part of a quasi-state created to become a separate entity.

Despite its recent claims to the contrary, the US is hunkering down in Syria for the long haul. The US, Saudi Arabia, and France have already discussed the possibility of joint actions against Iran. The administration is pressing its Arab allies to do more. French forces are already operating in Deir ez-Zor together with the SDF.

The US buildup in northeastern Syria is important for cutting off any direct land route from Tehran across to the Mediterranean.

It is symbolic that the United States was not present at the Astana round of talks on May 14-15. It shows that Washington is no longer interested in de-escalation zones. It wants a divided Syria, with a new, pro-US entity on the map of the Middle East. It is creating local governing bodies that operate independently from Damascus, with enough money flowing in to keep them functional. And it would like to see other parts of Syria plunge into an all-against-all war. Instead of nation-building, Washington is engaged in nation-destruction. That’s why it continues to train rebel forces at Al-Tanf. The militants are not undergoing special exercises to hone their skills for peacekeeping operations, but rather for subversive activities.

Syria’s territorial integrity is guaranteed by UN Resolution 2254 — a binding document that the US, along with France, is in flagrant violation of.

But what if the US achieves in Syria what it wanted to do in Iraq — create a prosperous, pro-Western “democratic” state that can become a shining example for other Arab states to follow? The Iraqis have failed to grasp this “opportunity.” On May 15, they proved that once again by voting for Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of Saraya al-Salam, who fought against the US-imposed “liberation.”

The UN General Assembly’s condemnation of Washington’s decision to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem shows how badly the US needs a success to rescue its waning clout in the region. Becoming the leader of the anti-Iranian coalition is how they’ve decided to do that and the location for that is Syria. The creation of a pro-Western entity in northeastern Syria will weaken Iran’s influence in Iraq and keep Russia contained.

But things could go the other way around. What if the Kurdish-dominated forces plunge into clashes with the local Arab population and the problems of inefficient local governance mount, while the Astana process makes progress thanks to the cease-fire and restoration of peaceful life in the de-escalation zones? A Kurdish-dominated entity, even if it is pro-US, is not something that Turkey may like or accept. Will the partition of Syria boost US standing in the region? Other Arab nations will think twice about letting America play a role in the management of any conflict. There are more questions than answers, but we have what we have — the US military presence in Syria is ballooning, hampering peace efforts and provoking armed conflicts.

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OPCW says chlorine ‘likely’ used in Syria based on open-source info & samples provided by jihadists


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The OPCW report claiming that chlorine was “likely used” in Saraqeb, Syria in February is “seriously misleading” because its narrative is based on evidence provided by jihadists, a former UK ambassador told RT.

A fact-finding mission (FFM) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Wednesday published a report which “determined that chlorine, released from cylinders through mechanical impact, was likely used as a chemical weapon on 4 February 2018 in the Al Talil neighborhood of Saraqib” in the Idlib province of Syria. Eleven people were treated after the attack for mild and moderate symptoms of toxic chemical exposure, the OPCW said in a report on its findings.

The FFM based their conclusions on a number of factors, namely the presence of two empty cylinders, which allegedly earlier contained chlorine as well as patients who were admitted to medical facilities after the reported incident. The report also states that the FFM never made it to the site of the alleged attack and relied solely on ‘evidence’ provided by three NGOs, two of which are based overseas. Despite the compelling narrative of the OPCW, the former British ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, characterized the report as “seriously misleading” and “deeply disturbing.”

“The mission was supposed to be fact finding, but when you actually read the 34 pages of the report, you discover that there are no facts in it at all – not one fact which is supported by independent observers,” Ford told RT.

“You hear ridiculous claims such as, ‘we heard barrel bombs being dropped from helicopters.’ Well, I’m sorry that is a physical impossibility. And the report is full of idiotic statements like this that even a child could discard.”

In fact, the entire OPCW account is based on witness testimonies and material evidence provided by selected NGOs as well as medical records offered by the same questionable sources, including Belgium-based Same Justice/Chemical Violations Documentation Center of Syria (CVDCS), the notorious Syrian Civil Defence (SCD) – better known as White Helmets – and the US-based Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

Ford noted that the White Helmets are a “well-known jihadi auxiliary who have assisted in beheadings and who are notorious for making propaganda,” and that SAMS shares “a similar reputation.”

Other relevant information for the international chemical watchdog was gathered from “open-source media” because “various constraints,” mainly related to security, prevented “immediate access to sites by the FFM.”

“Believe it or not the inspectors did not go to the… alleged scene of the crime. Why? Because it is in the hands of jihadists. That is why they did not go,” Ford said. “These people are totally affiliated with the jihadists, yet the inspectors accepted at face value their samples which could have come from absolutely anywhere.”

While the OPCW did not assign responsibility for the attack, the White Helmets and SAMS have previously pointed the finger at Damascus.

Nevertheless, the inconclusive OPCW findings in the Saraqeb incident will likely be used to further back the narrative of the US and its allies, who repeatedly used claims by the White Helmets, SAMS, and other questionable sources to unequivocally pin the blame on President Bashar Assad. Chemical ‘incidents’ were also used as a pretext to strike government facilities in Syria in April 2017, and again as recently as last month.

“There are signs in the report of partiality,” Ford told RT. “I’m sure that attempts will be made to exploit this very inadequate report.”

Read more:

Terrorist capabilities laid bare in an Eastern Ghouta chemical lab

40 tons of chemical weapons left by militants found in Syria – Russian MoD

US ‘freezes funding’ for White Helmets as group’s Douma chem attack claim falls apart

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West Continues to Underestimate Support for Assad in Syria


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Although many politicians in the ruling Tory British government have expressed opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with some endorsing the UK’s role in the US-led strikes against Syria on April 13, some members of the opposition, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and members of his shadow cabinet, have called for restraint.

Shadow UK Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told Prospect magazine on Wednesday that the West underestimates the level of support President Assad enjoys in Syria and suggested that opposition forces have exaggerated domestic opposition to the Syrian government.

“There is an argument that if [President Bashar al-Assad] had been as overwhelmingly unpopular as the rebels told the west at the outset then he wouldn’t be there. I think there has been a depth and a breadth of support for Assad that has been underestimated,” the British shadow foreign secretary told Prospect magazine on May 16.

Shadow FM Thornberry went on to insist that all foreign forces need to leave Syria.

“They’re not fighting for the sake of the Syrian people. Any of them. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, Turkey, America, Britain—have I missed anyone?”

She proceeded to add Russia to the list.

When questioned about Russia’s vetoing of UN resolutions she pointed towards other countries which have also blocked numerous resolutions and said it’s the nature of international politics.

“People will always block resolutions. If you look at the number of resolutions America has blocked, I mean that’s the way of politics,” Shadow FM Thornberry said.

The UK shadow foreign secretary went on to say Britain should support any peace process which yields results, whether that’s the Astana, Geneva or Sochi process.

“I think we should be working with whatever works, for the sake of the Syrian kids. None of this is revolutionary,” she added.

Despite the tripartite aggression by the US, the UK and France against the Syrian Army and other military personnel in Syria last month, government forces have continued to advance against terrorists throughout the country and once they deal with the final Daesh* remnants in south Damascus, they are likely to take aim at either Deraa or Idlib.

On the topic of military intervention against Damascus, UK Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry warned that it could further destabilize Syria, citing Libya as an example.

“[It] has been such a disaster. Responsibility to Protect is not [supposed to be] a cover for ‘those people are being treated badly let’s go and bomb, everything will be fine.’ It didn’t work—look at Libya now,” FM Thornberry, who voted in favor of bombing Libya in 2011, told Prospect magazine earlier this week.

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Clashing Visions of Denuclearization Pose Risk to U.S.-North Korea Summit

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By Gregory Elich | Zoom In Korea 

The soaring hopes generated by the recent Inter-Korean Summit are now supplanted by uncertainty, due to North Korea’s suspension of a planned meeting with the South.

In the weeks following the summit’s Panmunjom Declaration, North Korea took actions to demonstrate its goodwill and desire for peaceful resolution of differences.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – the formal name for North Korea) announced that it would dismantle its underground nuclear test site, culminating in explosions to collapse tunnels, the blocking of entries, and removal of above-ground facilities.

Substantial progress has already been made on disabling the site. The DPRK could have waited and made this a negotiable issue in talks with the United States. Instead, it offered the step to the United States ahead of the summit as a confidence-building measure. Before that, North Korea also committed to a suspension of nuclear and missile testing. As an additional gesture of good intentions, North Korea released all three American prisoners.

Initial signs from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meetings with Chairman Kim Jong Un were quite encouraging, hinting at an uncharacteristic degree of flexibility on the part of the Trump administration. North Korean media reported that the talks indicated that Trump “has a new alternative” and a “proactive attitude,” and that Kim and Pompeo had reached a “satisfactory agreement on the issues.”

Meanwhile, as Pompeo and Kim were making apparent headway, the process began to unravel from a different direction. There were many in the Trump administration who were not keen on the idea of reciprocity. The dominant view was that rewards, such as they were, could only come after denuclearization.

National Security Advisor John Bolton was trotted out for a series of interviews to elucidate the U.S. position. Permanent, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization would have to take place before “the benefits start to flow.” The expectation is that the DPRK should abandon its nuclear deterrent without receiving anything more in return than the promise of future rewards. Nor does Bolton consider nuclear disarmament to be sufficient. Negotiations have not begun, and already the U.S. is piling on more demands. Talks, Bolton insisted, would also need to tackle the DPRK’s ballistic missile program and human rights concerns. Chemical and biological weapons will also be on the agenda, he said, despite the fact that their existence is purely speculative. Negotiations on denuclearization will be challenging enough. Overloading the talks with additional issues is likely to be a recipe for failure.

Even as North Korea strives to meet American demands, it can expect no relief from sanctions and threats. Bolton asserts that the U.S. needs to see North Korea implementing denuclearization, and the policy of maximum pressure will not relent until that happens.

What kind of benefits can North Korea expect in return for compliance with U.S. demands? “I wouldn’t look for economic aid from us,” Bolton bluntly stated. Presumably, once North Korea has satisfied all of the Trump administration’s demands, sanctions will start to be reduced or eliminated. That is not a reward. If someone is punishing another, and then promises to reduce the amount of punishment, it is safe to say that the victim will not regard that as a “reward.”

On the economic front, Mike Pompeo agrees with Bolton. No taxpayer funds will go towards assisting North Korea, he said. What the United States is willing to do is send rapacious corporate investors to North Korea to seek profit-making opportunities. Once denuclearization has been completed and sanctions lifted, Pompeo says that what Chairman Kim “will get from America is our finest – our entrepreneurs, our risk takers, our capital providers…They will get private capital that comes in.” A strong argument could be made that those are actually among America’s worst people, and not to be wished upon North Korea or any other nation.

Pompeo went on to talk about North Korea’s need for energy, agricultural equipment, and technology. The need is there. But why is that? For decades, the United States has subjected the DPRK to enormous economic damage through sanctions. The North Korean people are not incapable of improving their lot. They only need to be allowed to do so, unhindered and unpunished. What the DPRK needs and what it consistently calls for is normalization of relations.

Certainly, North Korea is not looking to privatize state-owned firms or to contract out work to U.S. firms that it is capable of doing itself, once it is released from the burden of sanctions.

It is clear that the Trump administration is not willing to give anything to North Korea. It costs nothing to lift sanctions or to cherish the hope that lucrative opportunities will blossom in North Korea for U.S. investors. Signing a piece of paper promising a security guarantee imposes no burden on the United States. The Trump administration, or any future administration for that matter, is free to ignore that guarantee and send the cruise missiles flying whenever it sees fit.

Nor does the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran inspire confidence in the reliability of the United States as a negotiating partner.

Bolton’s pronouncements, perhaps aided by behind-the-scenes maneuvering, appear to have led Pompeo to walk back on his earlier statements about progress being made and having reached a mutual understanding with Chairman Kim. He is now reporting that a great deal of work remains and the U.S. and North Korea are not “remotely close.”

“We have very much in mind the Libya model from 2003, 2004,” Bolton recently told Fox News. That model would have North Korea ship its nuclear weapons to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for destruction. The DPRK would be required to complete disarmament before receiving relief from sanctions.

So how did that model work for Libya? That nation began to denuclearize at the beginning of 2004, and throughout the process, it fully complied with U.S. demands for unilateral denuclearization. But the United States was slow when it came to compensation, and the Libyans often complained to American diplomats that they had not been rewarded for their compliance. It was not until 2006 that the U.S. restored diplomatic relations and removed Libya from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Although the U.S. was sluggish in providing relief to Libya, it was eager to issue more demands. John Bolton, who was Under-secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration at the time, told Libyan officials that they had to sever military cooperation with Iran in order to complete the denuclearization agreement. On at least one occasion, a U.S. official pressured Libya to cut off military trade with North Korea, Iran, and Syria.

American officials also demanded that Libya recognize the independence of Kosovo, a position that Libya had consistently opposed. That was followed by a U.S. diplomatic note to Libya, ordering it to vote against the Serbian government’s resolutionat the United Nations, which requested a ruling by the International Court of Justice on the legality of Kosovo independence. Under the circumstances, Libya preferred to absent itself from the vote rather than join the United States and three other nations in opposing the measure.

The U.S. was more successful in winning Libya’s vote in favor of UN sanctions against Iran. Under U.S. pressure, Libya also launched a privatization program and opened opportunities for U.S. businesses.

North Korea can expect the same treatment if it follows this model. The United States will start to treat it as a vassal state, expecting it to take orders on myriad issues having nothing to do with denuclearization.

We know how the model ended, with the United States and its NATO partners bombing Libya, and the brutal murder of Muammar al-Qaddafi. The North Koreans know it, too.

In 2006, Great Britain and Libya signed a Joint Letter on Peace and Security. The document stated that the two nations “pledge in their international relations to refrain from the threat or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of one another.” It further obligated the parties to refrain from intervening in the internal affairs of one another. Five years later, Great Britain was aiding jihadists fighting to overthrow the government, and joining NATO in bombing Libya. That is the Libya model, too, in which a Western security “guarantee” is proven worthless.

The DPRK has a more credible action-for-action approach in mind for negotiations, in which there is a phased approach, and each side gains something as progress continues towards the final goal of denuclearization and normalization of relations.

In continuing to set a framework of mutual respect for talks, North Korea sharply reduced the scale of its annual armored vehicle exercises this month.

Washington is sending signals of a different nature, however. On May 11, the joint U.S.-South Korea Max Thunder air drillskicked off, deploying over 100 aircraft, including advanced Stealth F-22 Raptor fighter planes. This year’s exercise is the largest ever held, in an apparent bid to apply additional pressure on North Korea.

In response, North Korea announced that it was suspending its May 16 meeting with South Korean officials. KCNA, North Korea’s news agency, pointed out that the expanded drills constituted “an undisguised challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration,” in which both Koreas had pledged to cease all hostile acts. It added that the Panmunjom Declaration cannot be implemented by one party alone.

DPRK’s First Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan followed that up by announcing that the improvement in relations with the United States risks being undone by American officials calling for unilateral disarmament and adherence to the Libya model. North Korea has already stated its intention to denuclearize in exchange for an end to the U.S. hostile policy, he continued. “But now, the U.S. is miscalculating the magnanimity and broad-minded initiatives of the DPRK as signs of weakness.”

North Korea has left the door open to the U.S. and South Korea. The May 16 meeting with South Korean officials was suspended, not cancelled. And the North Koreans are saying that they will closely watch the behavior of U.S. and South Korean officials. Portrayed in Western media as an act of inexplicable petulance, the suspension of the inter-Korean meeting is a wake-up call to the United States and South Korea. The capitulation model is not a viable approach. Reciprocity is essential.

The North Koreans are not going to relinquish their nuclear deterrent for nothing more than an empty security promise and the suggestion that sanctions may be lifted if they meet a host of additional demands.

During the Obama administration, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was at a sufficiently immature stage of development that the United States felt it could demand that North Korea fully denuclearize as a precondition for talks.

After the DPRK completed its fast-track nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs, it now has something substantial to trade. It expects the United States to engage in the normal give-and-take of diplomatic negotiations. Former U.S. Department of State Special Representative for North Korea Joseph Yun notes, “The price has gone up. You have to address what they want. If you believe they should only address what we want I think that’s a very, very mistaken path.”

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Nazi Army Endangering Syrian Lives


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Following last week’s extensive military activity, which saw projectiles landing in the occupied Syrian Golan heights, Al-Marsad, the independent, non profit human rights organisation, reiterates its call for the removal of Israeli army posts from Syrian civilian areas. Since its occupation of the Golan heights in 1967, Israel has constructed army posts and bases, laid landmines and erected a fortified fence to maintain control over the region and its Syrian population.

As a result, there are multiple Israeli army posts and bases in and close to Syrian residential and agricultural areas. Their presence puts the Syrian civilian population at risk of stray fire and is unlawful. The danger is tragically all too real. During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, approximately 20 Syrian civilians were killed during an attempted military strike on an Israeli military post in the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan.

As an occupying power, Israel has a legal obligation under international humanitarian and human rights law to protect the lives of Syrians in the Golan. Article 48 of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, says that Parties must ensure respect and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights requires State Parties to address threats to life and life-threatening harm and injuries that may result in loss of life.

Furthermore, PNN reports, both international humanitarian law and Israeli military law provide that military objectives such as army posts should not be within or near densely populated areas. Article 58b of the Additional Protocol requires that Parties ‘avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas’. Israel’s own Manual on the Laws of War (1998) prohibits ‘mingling military targets among civilian objects, as for instance, a military force located within a village or a squad of soldiers fleeing into a civilian structure’.

However, instead of complying with these requirements and removing existing military posts from Syrian civilian areas, the Israeli authorities have in fact recently completed the construction of a new Israeli military post in Majdal Shams. Al-Marsad urgently calls on Israel to comply with its legal obligations and immediately remove this new military post and all existing military posts in and close to Syrian civilian areas within the Golan heights to prevent any further harm or loss of life.

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Palestinian officials equate US embassy move to Occupied Jerusalem


‘Americans seen as invaders’: Palestinian officials equate US embassy move to Occupied Jerusalem

Palestinian politicians have condemned the US for moving its embassy to Jerusalem, likening the move to Israel’s seizure of Palestinian land.

Feisal Abu Shahlaa, a member of the Fatah party, said the US is now viewed as “invaders” of Palestinian territories following President Donald Trump’s decision to move the country’s diplomatic headquarters from Tel Aviv. The US now officially recognizes the city as Israel’s capital. “What we see is a seizure of our lands, something only Israelis did before,” Abu Shahlaa said in an interview with Sputnik.

Ruhi al Fattuh, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee echoed his party colleague’s remarks. “The land the US embassy stands on was illegally occupied. The Americans continue the Israeli practice of building settlements in Palestine,” Fattuh said.

Fattuh said Palestinians also see the relocation as a breach of international law citing UN Security Council Resolution 478 which ruled out recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 1980.

Fattuh was adamant that Palestinians will appeal to the UN to defend their rights, saying: “Americans will not succeed in changing Jerusalem’s historical status as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.”

Shahlaa went on to blame the US for the 60 Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza while protesting the embassy’s opening Monday. An eight-month-old baby thought to have inhaled Israeli tear gas was among the dead.

Calling on other Arab other Muslim-majority countries to close their embassies in protest, Shahlaa insisted that “aggressive actions” are now “forcing Palestinians to abandon all attempts to reach a peaceful resolution [of the conflict] and move on and resist.”

During demonstrations on the day of the US Embassy’s inauguration in Jerusalem, at least 60 Palestinian protesters, including children, were killed by Israeli bullets and tear gas in what the Palestinian government describes as a “terrible massacre.” The violence was condemned by rights groups and most UN Security Council members, with even the US’ closest allies refusing to stand by Washington’s support for Tel Aviv.

Israel however blames Hamas for instigating the violence, saying the group organised attacks on the border fence with Gaza which justified Israel’s use of deadly force. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu called the Gaza border clashes “a warlike act,” rather than “civilian” protests. “Israel will continue to defend itself as necessary and will not allow anyone who calls for its destruction to break into our borders and threaten our communities,” Netanyahu said, deflecting widespread criticism.

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Palestine: Nazi Brutality


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Photo by Shoah

On Accountability in the Light of Israeli Brutality

By Gilad Atzmon 

For the last few weeks Israel has displayed a new level of institutional criminality. Fearing that Palestinian protestors attempting to return to their land would cross the Gaza border fence, Israel deployed hundreds of snipers, scores of tanks and drones across the Gaza Strip border. The government ordered forces to shoot at anyone who managed to reach the border. (although it is clear that Israeli forces also shot well inside the border.) This was a premeditated massacre: a cold blooded governmental decision to shoot at protestors. The outcome of this disastrous decision is known and it reveals the murderous nature of the Jewish State.

The world reacted in disgust. The UN voted two days ago to send an international war crimes probe to Gaza. Israel has already refused to cooperate with this fact finding mission.

These events in Gaza proved that the nature of Israeli barbarism has no precedent in human history. Israel is not a tyrannical dictatorship deploying death squads against protestors, nor were the killings the result of an outburst by a lone commander on the battlefield. Instead, Israel’s actions resulted from a non-ethical continuum that stretched from the Israeli PM to the last IDF sniper on the Gaza dunes. The Jewish state is a democracy. Its army is a popular army. The events in Gaza were the direct outcome of a policy that remained unchanged for 6 weeks despite the high level of civilian casualties on the Palestinian side. We are talking about an murderous system that is institutionalised at all levels of the state that repeatedly defines itself as ‘The Jewish State.’

This has exposed a complete absence of moral awareness. Israel has acted with impunity to kill on a mass scale as if ethics had never made it to Israel. However John Adlington from Treflach seems to be really upset that I  insist that Jews must look into themselves so that they can understand what is it about their culture and politics that evoke so much fury. John Adlington from Treflach wrote to his local paper, Oswestry Advertiser, complaining about a local music venue inviting me to perform and run Jazz workshops. In Adlington’s eyes I am ‘anti-Semitic’ for insisting that Jews, like everyone else, must reflect on their actions to understand once and for all why their history has been a chain of total disasters and how they bring misfortune on themselves.

I remain firmly behind those words that upset Mr. Adlington “… maybe the time is ripe for Jewish and Zionist organisations to draw the real and most important lesson from the Holocaust. Instead of constantly blaming the Goyim for inflicting pain on Jews, it is time for Jews to look in the mirror and try to identify what it is in Jews and their culture that evokes so much fury. It may even be possible that some Jews would take this opportunity to apologise to the Gentiles around them for evoking all this anger.”

I insist that it is well past the time for the Jewish State and Jewish institutions to figure out why the entire world has been disgusted by the actions of the IDF in Gaza. It is time for the Jewish State and Jewish organisations to grasp that Israeli criminality paints Jews in a disastrous light. It is time for Israelis and Jews alike to accept that as long as Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State,’ the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians doesn’t reflect well on Jews. The ongoing Gaza siege doesn’t present the Jewish State as a humanist adventure either. I would advise Mr. Adlington that in this imaginary ‘racist contest’ he is well ahead of me. Expecting Jews not to self reflect and to understand their role in their own misfortune is actually a surrender to Jewish racial exceptionalism.

If the Jewish State and its many satellite lobbies and advocacy bodies around the world were taking responsibility for their actions, the Gaza massacre wouldn’t have happened because the Palestinians would, by now, be living back on their land and peace would have prevailed. However, if promoting Jewish accountability and peace is ‘anti-Semitism’ one may wonder, what is a real bigot?

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Palestine: Nazi Brutality

Congress Ignores Nazi War Crimes: It’s the American Way


Image result for Zionist Congress CARTOON

Congress Ignores Israel’s War Crimes: It’s the American Way

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune 

While many European parliamentarians have been outspoken in their disgust at the “horrific” one-sided atrocity being clearly observed in the Israeli slaughter of Palestinian demonstrators last week, most of their U.S. counterparts appear to have lost their ability to express themselves over the egregious human rights violations being committed by the Israeli Army in Gaza. Sixty-two unarmed Palestinian demonstrators were shot dead and nearly three thousand more were injured by gunfire and tear gas versus no Israelis killed or wounded while a leading Knesset parliamentarian has assured the public that the Army has plenty of bullets left to kill all the Gazans if necessary.

The White House, however, has obviously not seen the video footage of the slaughter, and was instead celebrating the opening of the new American Embassy in Jerusalem intended to coincide with the 70th Anniversary of the creation of Israel, which some might also refer to as the 70th anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Christians and Muslims. Donald Trump tweeted that it was a “great day for Israel,” apparently having missed watching the slaying of the Palestinians by split screen as the largely American Jewish celebrants yukked it up with a broadly grinning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A short time later someone named Raj Shah at the White House told reporters at a press briefing that “The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response” as “a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt.”

And meanwhile over at the United Nations, American Ambassador Nikki Haley vetoed a Russian proposal seeking an investigation into the carnage, explaining that that Hamas, aided of course by Iran, was to blame for the violence. “I ask my colleagues here in the Security Council: who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.” She then walked out when Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Permanent Representative to the United Nations began to speak.

Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was part of the Jerusalem delegation, even as violence was erupting in Gaza forty miles away, also knew whom to blame, saying “As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.” He was not talking about the 200 Israeli snipers firing into an unarmed crowd of Gazans.

To be sure, some Democratic Congressman have expressed horror over what has been taking place. Barbara Lee, Betty McCollum and Bernie Sanders have all spoken up. Sanders said that “Israel should be condemned.” Congressman Mark Pocan declared that “There are better ways to deal with the tensions in Gaza than bullets.” Pocan and Raúl Grijalva, Pramila Jayapal, Keith Ellison, and Hank Johnson all expressed shock and dismay at “the lethal force used by Israeli troops against mostly unarmed protesters demonstrating at Gaza’s border.” They asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to “show utmost restraint, allow for unfettered medical attention for those who have been wounded, and ease the 12-year blockade on Gaza, which has contributed to grave food insecurity, unemployment and a humanitarian crisis for Gaza’s two million inhabitants.”

Congressmen Johnson and Pocan as well as Dan Kildee of Michigan have recently called for the Israeli government to permit them to enter the Palestinian region to see what is happening on the ground there. The three congressmen visited Israel in 2016 but were blocked from crossing into the Gaza Strip by the Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration, which operates the borders and entry points, limiting who can enter and leave as well as the flow of such essentials as food supplies. It might astonish some Americans to learn that Israel can stop any U.S. Congressmen from entering Gaza, which Tel Aviv illogically claims is no longer under its control even though it has turned the area into an outdoor prison camp.

One notes particularly the lack of even a single Republican concerned over the completely disproportionate carnage in Gaza. Senator Rand Paul, who once referred to Israeli controlled Gaza as a “concentration camp,” is notable by his absence. Senators Ten Cruise, Lindsey Graham, Dean Heller and Mike Lee (a bit of a surprise that, but he is a Mormon) were all part of the official delegation, which also included a number of GOP House members as well as Florida governor Rick Scott.

Regarding the Democrats, it has long been observed that the party base does not any longer support the philo-Israel policies embraced by the Clintonesque Democratic National Committee leadership. Those congressmen who have spoken out certainly deserve the public’s support when they find Israel’s behavior just too much to take.

It would have been refreshing to see more Congressmen criticizing Israel for what are indisputably war crimes in using live fire against unarmed demonstrators. And they should use the same blunt language they use when criticizing Russia or North Korea or Iran. Unfortunately, even when there have been comments or statements that express some concern, they are inevitably and invariably wrapped in excuses for Israel’s inhumane actions, referring to provocative protests “organized by Hamas,” a claim that is pure Israeli propaganda, and/or blaming “all sides,” which again distributes the fault to make Israel look like a victim as well as the Gazans. It is typical newspeak intended to avoid making Israel and its friends unhappy.

The truth is that what Israel does in its own neighborhood endangers the United States and makes every American who travels through the Middle East a target. I recently returned from a conference in Iran and, as the Gaza tragedy was unfolding, we American participants were all wondering if we would make it home. We considered that Israel, bent on a war with Iran that would drag the U.S. in to do the real fighting, might just choose their moment of apparent strength with the new Embassy and the “successful” slaughter of the Palestinians without so much as a peep out of the White House, as a good time to escalate. How many civilian airliners might get shot down? How many more Palestinians will have to die for the monstrous Benjamin Netanyahu’s blood lust truly to be satisfied?

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Congress Ignores Nazi War Crimes: It’s the American Way

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