Category Archives: Stephen Lendman

Palestinian Authority to Hold Sham Elections

 
Longtime Israeli collaborators Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad scheduled West Bank municipal elections on October 20, 2012. Democracy isn’t on the ballot. Palestinians are skeptical for good reason.
For the first time since January 25, 2006, they’ll vote in an election much different from then. Fed up with institutionalized Fatah corruption and subservience to Israel, Hamas candidates swept to victory.
 They won 74 of the Palestinian Legislative Council’s (PLC) 132 seats. Hamas became Palestine’s legitimate government. It remains so despite Fatah’s complicity with Israel. Doing so separated West Bank authority from Gaza.
Ismail Haniyeh is Palestine’s prime minister. Fayyad’s PM appointment lacks legitimacy. He represents lawless coup d’etat authority. Abbas’ term as president expired in January 2009. He remains in office illegally.

Palestinians suffer because of their allegiance to Israel and Washington, not them. Elections this month assure continuity, not democratic change.
On October 10, the Los Angeles Times headlined “Palestinian voters skeptical about value of elections.”
Hebron City Council aspirant Maysoun Qawasmi expressed popular frustration, saying:

“We are seeing the same people running, and they aren’t offering anything new. Voters are looking for independent voices.” 

In fact, they want officials representing them, not Israel. Abbas and Fayyad won’t tolerate them. Everything is arranged for Fatah candidates to win. “They always win,” said Qawasmi. “And nothing ever changes.”

One Palestinian perhaps spoke for others, saying:

“I don’t understand how we can have elections in just half the territory. I don’t even know who’s running.”

Given a rigged process, Hamas opted out. Doing so got Abbas/Fayyad to hold elections they might have cancelled otherwise, knowing they might lose. They tolerate no opposition.

They crack down hard against challengers. They mock democratic freedoms. They represent despot authority. They’re complicit Israeli puppet stooges.

They dismissed about 50 Fatah members wanting to run as independents. Prominent former Nablus Mayor Ghassan Shaka’a was bumped illegitimately.

 Other PLO candidates running independently were denied funding. They include candidates representing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and People’s (Communist) Party.

Al Haq human rights group legal consultant, Issam Abdeen, said: 

“The sound basis for any election to take place is a healthy, political atmosphere. (It’s) clearly lacking here.”

According to Palestinian Central Electoral Commission (CEC) chairperson Hanna Nasser, the West Bank has over 350 districts. However, 181 won’t participate because only Fatah candidates are running.

In addition, another 78 postponed voting until November. At issue is getting enough candidates to stand in a fraudulent process.

On October 18, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) expressed great concern about upcoming elections. At issue is limited public freedoms and “continuing widespread” PA human rights violations.

On July 10, Palestine’s CEC was “instructed to make the necessary arrangements in order to organize the elections in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by the Council of Ministers in Ramallah.”

After Hamas CEC participation was terminated, “the Council of Ministers annulled their previous decision.” They decided on only West Bank elections.

The most recent local council ones were held in stages from December 2004 to December 2005. In December 2009, the mandate for these elections expired.

Since then, separate West Bank/Gaza authorities appointed local council members directly. Favoritism substituted for democracy. 

“As the mandate granted by the Palestinian people in local, legislative and presidential elections has expired, these institutions have lost their authorization to represent the will of the Palestinian voters.” 

“Therefore, the holding of renewed elections is the democratic entitlement of the Palestinian people.”

 Fatah denies them that right. Abbas and Fayyad take orders from Israel. They salute and obey. Palestinians lose out altogether.

Legitimate general or local elections require certain conditions in place. Transparency is fundamental. So is a free, fair, and open process. The popular will of the electorate must be prioritized. 

Public freedoms must be protected.

They include “the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly, the right to form associations, freedom of the press, the release of political detainees, and an end to restrictions placed on political activities.”

Nothing resembling electoral freedom is in place. How could it be with democracy excluded from the ballot. Palestine is fractured in two pieces. Abbas repeatedly delayed elections. After promising Fatah/Hamas unity, he backed off and did nothing.

 Security forces he controls also compromise human and civil rights. Israeli diktats are prioritized over democratic freedoms and legitimate governance. Palestinians deserve better. They’re denied it under Israeli-enforced occupation rules.

Abbas/Fayyad began corrupting the process months ago. Fatah outliers, other challengers, and Hamas members were targeted. Arrests were made. Palestinians wanting legitimate government were imprisoned.

What’s upcoming this weekend assures continuity of lawless government and Fatah-enforced occupation harshness. Palestinians should opt out and stay home. With choice off the ballot, nothing they do electorally will change things.

Separately, Haaretz headlined “Netanyahu cabinet to adopt part of Levy report on legal status of West Bank outposts.”

All settlements and outposts violate international law. Israel spurns it dismissively. In January, Netanyahu appointed a three-member committee. Former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy headed it.

He excluded fairness and rule of law principles from consideration. Three issues were examined:

(1) Legal aspects of Israel’s occupation.

(2) The 2005 Sasson Report’s conclusion that dozens of outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land were illegal.

(3) Whether Israel’s presence in the West Bank is, or is not, an occupation.

Levy’s report rewrote international law. It claimed that occupation “as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades.”“Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of settlements cannot, in and of itself, be considered illegal.”

It recommended legalizing illegal outposts. It said zoning officials should authorize them without further political approval. It urged no restraints on settlement construction.

Netanyahu praised the report, saying:

“In my opinion, this report is important because it deals with the legalization and the legitimization of the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria on the basis of facts, a variety of facts and arguments that should be seriously considered.”

It’s unsurprising given Likud’s position on settlements, stating:

“The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (all Occupied Palestine) are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel.”

“The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.” 

Likud rejects Green Line separation of Israel and Palestine. It incrementally steals Palestinian land. It declared all Jerusalem sovereign Israeli territory.

Likud’s Charter also rejects Palestinian self-determination, saying:

“The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.” 

“Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem.”

“The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.” 

Levy’s Likudnik standing remains unblemished. He’s more shyster than jurist. He’s little more than a retired Likud Party hack. His opinions are entirely separate from legal principles. Revisionism defined his ruling.

Haaretz said Netanyahu plans to legalize West Bank outposts. Previously he stopped short. No longer. Together with other hardliners they’ll do it to appease settlers ahead of planned January elections.

Doing so will make it easier to steal land, expand settlements, and dispossess more Palestinians. Adopting key parts of Levy’s report effectively annexes all West Bank territory Israel wishes.

Maybe taking it all is planned. Put nothing past fascists like Netanyahu. Some of his policies exceed what some despots would dare.

Surprisingly, Defense Minister Ehud Barak opposes his move, saying:

Approving the Levy report “will backfire on those who support it. The report’s adoption won’t strengthen the settlements in the West Bank, but will instead cause diplomatic damage and will increase Israel’s isolation in the world.”

He urged cabinet members reject what’s now approved. Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich agreed. He called Netanyahu’s move a transparent pre-election stunt. He’ll do more harm to Israel’s security than improve it.

Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson said Netanyahu’s “playing with a flame-thrower over a barrel of gasoline. (He) wants to enslave the State of Israel for the sake of political interests and we will pay the price for that.”

Other opposition party members also expressed criticism. Likud MK Danny Danon said he’s trying to enlist congressional support. He wants Washington to legitimize what’s illegitimate.

Getting it he calls “a rare historical opportunity.” With US elections approaching, perhaps he’ll succeed. No one considers what’s right for Palestinians important.
Decades ago, Washington made them non-persons. Israel did earlier in 1948. Effectively, they’re denied all rights. Occupation harshness demands it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Israel Encourages Settler Violence

By Stephen Lendman, Contributor

Settler violence is terrorism. Even America’s State Department says so. Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another.

Israeli setter violence is out-of-control. It’s risen sharply in recent years because nothing is done to stop it. Israeli extremists literally have license to attack Palestinian civilians, destroy their property and crops, inflict bodily harm, and at times kill.

Last March, the London Guardian headlined “Israel ‘turning blind eye’ to West Bank settlers’ attacks on Palestinians,” saying:

Settlers conduct “systematic and expanding campaign of violence against Palestinian farmers, families and children with the Israeli authorities turning a blind eye, according to confidential reports from senior European Union officials.”

Two EU reports the Guardian obtained showed “settler violence (more) than tripled in three years to total hundreds of incidents.”

In February, EU ambassadors in Brussels said:

“Acts of settler violence are becoming a serious concern for the Israeli state which has so far failed to effectively protect the Palestinian population.”

The report said attacks rose from 132 in 2009 to 411 last year. Farmers are most vulnerable. In 2011, about 10,000 olive, almond, and lemon trees were destroyed.

Israeli authorities largely turn a blind eye and do nothing. “Over 90% of monitored complaints regarding settler violence filed by Palestinians with the Israeli police in recent years have been closed without indictment.”

Whitewash is official policy. Settlers are free to attack, injure, and destroy. Why not? Who’ll stop them. Every day is Kristallnacht in Palestine. Israeli security forces and supportive Fatah ones conduct their own reign of terror.

Settler attacks alone are out-of-control. “Discriminatory protections and privileges (they get) compound these abuses and create an environment in which (they) can act with apparent impunity.”
Government failure to act encourages violence. Settlers believe they enjoy “tacit support of the state of Israel.”

Farmers in their fields are assaulted. Children heading to or from school or at play are attacked. Most settlers are nonviolent. Too many others hate Arabs and show it.

“Arguably the single most important deficiency in the provision of an impartial rule of law is the difference in the level of protection afforded to settlers and Palestinians,” said the report.
Around 100 militant settler leaders “mastermind” attacks. Israeli authorities fear electoral fallout by deterring them. “In Israeli terms, there (are) negative political consequence(s) to cracking down on settler violence and no political gain” by doing it.

The EU report was one thing. Failure to act against Israel made it toothless. Follow-through never occurs after similar UN reports. One released in July said settler attacks increased 150% since 2008. Apparently it understated how bad things are.

Incidents include violence and destructive acts against individuals, mosques, crops, livestock, and other property. Former IDF head Dan Halutz said Netanyahu does nothing to stop them. “If we wanted, we could catch them, and when we want to, we will,” he added.

Last February, Israeli television reported Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman caught on tape. He was advising extremist settlers how to seek pardons if charged. He’d approve them, he said.

On issues regarding Palestine, Israeli governments (past and present) pursue similar policies. Settler terrorism continues because no one stops it.

Last July, Haaretz contributor Amira Hass discussed it. She touched important nerves. She headlined “The anti-Semitism that goes unreported,” saying:
“Here’s a statistic that you won’t see in research on anti-Semitism, no matter how meticulous the study is. In the first six months of the year, 154 anti-Semitic assaults have been recorded, 45 of them around one village alone.”

“Some fear that last year’s record high of 411 attacks – significantly more than the 312 attacks in 2010 and 168 in 2009 – could be broken this year.”

Last June, 58 incidents occurred – nearly two a day. They included “stone-throwing targeting farmers and shepherds, shattered windows, arson, damaged water pipes and water-storage facilities, uprooted fruit trees and one damaged house of worship.”

“The assailants are sometimes masked, sometimes not; sometimes they attack surreptitiously, sometimes in the light of day.”

Palestinians got “death” and “revenge” threats. Another said, “We will yet slaughter.”
Merriam-Webster calls Semites “member(s) of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia, including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs.” So are other Semitic-speaking people.

Anti-Semistism affects Palestinians like Jews. It’s no secret who’s more egregiously treated. “It’s no accident (why) diligent anti-Semitism researchers” don’t explain, said Hass.

Palestinian Semites are harmed, not Jews. In response, “Israeli Defense Forces, the Civil Administration, the Border Police and the courts all stand on the sidelines, closing their eyes, softballing investigations, ignoring evidence, downplaying the severity of the acts, protecting the attackers, and giving a boost to those progromtchiks.”

Palestinians face daily terror threats. Who’ll be attacked next? Will their children get to school and return home OK? How many trees and other crops will be destroyed? Is praying in community mosques safe?

On February 24, 1994, Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslim worshippers. Palestinians fear similar incidents for good reason. Even the conservative Washington Post commented. Last August it headlined “Settler violence against Palestinians raises alarm in Israel,” saying:

Jewish youths viciously beat an Arab teenager. “(S)oul-searching about the depths of ethnic hatred in Israeli society” followed. Too bad arrests virtually never occur.

“Israeli authorities (made none following) the Aug. 16 daylight firebombing of a Palestinian taxi….” They did little more than say they suspected extremist settlers. Case closed!

Four Palestinian family members and the driver were severely burned. Hospitalization was required. Netanyahu promised to find those responsible but did nothing. It happens after virtually all terrorist incidents harming Palestinians. Israeli authorities don’t care and show it.

Rarely ever do US media report negatively about Israel. Exceptions prove the rule. Left unsaid is how bad things are. Life in Occupied Palestine means having no one to turn to for protection.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other resistance groups do their best to protect Gazans. They’re no match against Israeli F-16s, attack helicopters, missiles, bombs, artillery shelling, heavily armed invaders, and assault vessels attacking Palestinian fishermen.

West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinians are virtually defenseless. They face three brutal enemies – extremist settlers, Israeli security forces, and PA ones used against their own people.

There’s nowhere to hide. Security is a four-letter word. Systemic violence is a way of life. No one’s sure from day to day who’ll live, die, stay unharmed and free, or know their homes and other property are safe.

Being Palestinian is their mark of Cain. Praying to the wrong God endangers them. Profound insecurity defines their lives. So do fear, intimidation, and institutionalized violence. Terrorism stalks them daily.

It takes a tolls. Palestinians bear physical and emotional scars. Children are especially harmed. Some end up permanently traumatized. Most people outside Occupied Palestine know or care.

Occasional Israeli policies are cosmetic without teeth at best. On October 12, the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) headlined “Israeli Police Forms ‘Jewish Terror’ Branch In The West Bank,” saying:
Netanyahu “form(ed) a unit” to deal with “Jewish Terrorism….” Allegedly it’s to curb settler violence. Previous measures did nothing. Policies with teeth didn’t follow rhetoric.

Protecting Jews alone matters. Palestinians are on their own. It’s been that way during 45 years of occupation. Netanyahu changed nothing. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. In Palestine, there is none.

On October 11, B’Tselem headlined “Five attacks on olive harvesters and damaged olive groves in four days,” saying:

Events suggest “that Security forces (aren’t) prepared (or don’t care about) protect(ing) Palestinian olive harvesters and their property from settler violence.”
In Ramallah and Nablus regions from October 7 – 10, B’Tselem “document five cases of injury to Palestinian farmers and their olive trees….”

Three other similar incidents occurred. Olive trees were either damaged or stolen. Several attacks occurred in full view of nearby Israeli forces. They witnessed them and did nothing.
In two farmer attacks, they violated IDF and High Court instructions. They “prohibit closing off areas to Palestinian farmers and removing (those) attacked by settlers.” Security forces are supposed to investigate these type incidents. Instead they ignore them.

On October 7, 25 olive trees belonging to Abu Fahaida family members were destroyed. The Zayit Ra’anan outpost lies 500 meters from their land. Extremist settlers infest it.

Some showed up the previous day. They confronted family members. Israeli security forces are stationed nearby. Palestinians asked for protection but got none. Following the incident, they complained to police. They’re assured no help there either.

On October 7, ten masked settlers attacked Beitillu village farmers. They came from the nearby Nahliel settlement. They’re suspected of setting their field ablaze.

On October 9, Farata and Amatin area farmers arrived on their land to harvest olives. It’s located near the Havat Gilad outpost. On arrival, they discovered that unknown persons stole their trees and crops.
About 220 trees were taken. Around 130 belonged to Ibrahim Salah. He complained to police with help from Yesh Din human rights volunteers. More on their new vandalism report below.
B’Tselem said Salah can’t reach his land “without prior coordination with the army due to the proximity of the Havat Gilad outpost.” Jewish settler rights alone matter.

On October 9, Qaryut residents discovered over 80 olive trees owned by 10 families severely damaged. Their land lies two km from the Eli settlement. Rabbis for Human Rights reported the incident. They try to help but have little success. Israeli authorities turn a blind eye.

On October 10, Ratib Na’asan, an al-Mughayir village resident, discovered about 100 olive trees he owns damaged. Most were “denuded down to the trunk.”

In an adjacent plot owned by his brother, Jamil, 40 trees were vandalized.

B’Tselem documented earlier incidents. They happen regularly. The only time charges followed, it said, was when one of its volunteers videotaped settlers stealing olives. Perhaps it was evidence too compelling to ignore. It’s also another example of the exception proving the rule.

Even soil is fair game for theft. On October 12, Maan News headlined “West Bank settlers ‘stealing soil’ from Palestinians,” saying:

Israeli authorities ignore it. An unnamed police official said nothing can be done to curb this type theft. In other words, he doesn’t care. Truckloads of Palestinian soil were reported stolen from various locations. Each load is worth 2,000 shekels.

On October 12, Yesh Din headlined “Investigation of vandalism of Palestinian trees: One indictment in 162 investigations,” saying:

Like B’Tselem, Yesh Din documents vandalism. It’s done it since 2005. Only once did charges follow. They came over four years after the incident occurred.

So-called investigations conducted were whitewashes. Rhetoric substituted for action. Settlers are free to commit “ideological” crimes. Palestinians are fair game. They’re denied inviolable international law rights.

Yesh Din, B’Tselem, and other human rights groups show how egregiously they’re treated. Abuses happen regularly out of sight and mind to most people not paying attention.

Western media largely ignore them. Israeli authorities don’t care. Fatah ones do little or nothing to help. Imagine living this way from day to day.

Imagine not knowing whether your property will be safe, destroyed or stolen. Imagine being unsure from dawn to dusk if you and family members will be safe.

Imagine daily fear and insecurity. For Palestinians, it’s their way of life. Most Israelis and Western residents can’t imagine what they endure. Somehow they persist and press on. One day they hope to live free.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Washington Plays Hardball with Russia on Syria

 

by Stephen Lendman

My PhotoIf words could kill, America and Russia might be at war. Hopefully it won’t come to that. Given America’s rage to fight, even the unthinkable is possible.

Russia and China represent Washington’s final frontier. Building up around their borders and encircling both countries with US bases makes anything ahead possible.

Prioritizing peace isn’t America’s long suit. Unchallenged global dominance assures war. One country after another is ravaged. Multiple direct and proxy wars remain ongoing. Flashpoints easily shift from one region to another or target several at the same time.

Currently, the Middle East is ground zero. Longstanding US plans want Syrian and Iranian governments replaced by pro-Western ones. Russia opposes US imperialism for good reason. Recent exchanges between both sides show strain.

On October 12, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland addressed Turkey’s anti-Russian/Syrian provocation. Fighter jets forced a Moscow inbound Syrian airliner to land in Ankara. “We have no doubt (about) serious military equipment” being shipped, she claimed. She lied.

In less than so many words, she accused Russia of aiding and abetting Washington’s enemy. AP said Obama officials “Friday accused Russia of pursuing a ‘morally bankrupt’ policy in Syria.”

Nuland added:

“Everybody else on the Security Council is doing what it can unilaterally to ensure that the Assad regime is not getting support from the outside.”

“No responsible country (should help) the Assad regime and particularly those with responsibilities for global peace and security as UN Security Council members.”

Washington, of course, planned and initiated conflict. Stopping it is as simple as withdrawing support, halting Turkey’s involvement, telling Saudi Arabia and Qatar to back off, informing other regional and Western states the same way, and calling off its dogs.

Russian nationals were on board the inbound flight. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lied or didn’t tell all, saying, “We received information that the plane’s cargo did not comply with rules of civil aviation.”

Syria justifiably accused Turkey of “air piracy.” Its Foreign Ministry said “the hostile Turkish behavior is additional evidence of the aggressive policy adopted by Erdogan’s government, taking into account the training and harbouring of gunmen and facilitating their infiltration through its borders and bombing Syrian territories.”

Syrian Air’s Airbus A-320 departed Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport. On entering Turkey’s airspace, Turkish Air Force F-16s forced it to land in Ankara. On board were 37 passengers. They included crew members and 17 Russian nationals with children.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Turkey of endangering the lives of those on board. FM spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said “the Turkish authorities without explaining the reason and in violation of the bilateral Consular Convention did not allow diplomats to meet with the Russian citizens.”

They and others on board were forcibly held for nine hours without food or other assistance. They were abused. Crew members were accosted at gunpoint. Turkish authorities demanded they sign a statement saying an emergency landing was necessary. They refused.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been spoiling for a fight for months. He serves shamelessly as Washington’s lead regional belligerent. He’s little more than a convenient stooge. Obama may get the war he wants without direct US involvement.

Erdogan claimed Moscow was sending “equipment and ammunition” to Syria. Syria’s Foreign Ministry accused him of lying.

Russia was very irate. A formal protest was lodged. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “We have no secret, and we have scrutinized the details. There were no weapons on board the plane and could not have been any.”

“There was a cargo on the plane that a legal Russian supplier was sending in a legal way to a legal customer.” The plane carried radar parts. International agreements permit them.

The pilot landed “because he knew he was not transporting anything illegal. We are waiting for an official reply why our diplomats were not allowed to meet with Russian passengers on board.”

So far, Ankara stonewalled. It displayed no weapons seized because there are none. Vladimir Putin indefinitely postponed a planned visit. Weeks earlier, he accused Washington of being back in bed with Al Qaeda. It’s no secret. Hillary Clinton admitted it months ago.

Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party called for decisive action. It wants Turkey’s Moscow ambassador expelled.

Other hostile exchanges followed. Tensions already are heightened. Russian Foreign Ministry deputy media and press director, Maria Zakharova, said:

“Based on news coming from Syria, terrorism has become the top among the means of the armed opposition. This raises a serious concern as it obviously signals the growing role of the radical extremists in the ranks of the ‘Syrian opposition.’ “

Security Council condemnation statements should be followed by corresponding deeds, she stressed. It hasn’t happened so far.

At Washington’s behest, Turkey falsely accused Moscow of shipping weapons and/or weapons grade material. At the same time, Western and regional countries actively supply anti-Assad mercenaries with heavy weapons and munitions.

It’s been ongoing since early last year. Funding, training, and directing foreign fighters are involved. CIA and UK intelligence elements are active players. So are Western and regional special forces.

Washington, Britain and Turkey actively wage war on Syria without declaring it. On October, 13 Hurriyet Daily News said Erdogan accused international countries of encouraging Assad. He told participants at an Istanbul World Forum:

“So what is the source of this attitude? If we have to wait for what one or two of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council will say, then the consequences for Syria will be very dangerous.”

“The UN, which was an onlooker to the massacres of hundreds of thousands of people in the Balkans 20 years ago, is having the same kind of blindness in Syria today. What kind of explanation can be made for the injustice and the inability that is being displayed here?”

His comments targeted Moscow and Beijing. On October 13, Hurriyet Daily News headlined “Syria row hits Assembly,” saying:

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) submitted a motion to censure Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. It was rejected. On June 6, so was an earlier one. Erdogan’s government was accused of aiding and abetting anti-Assad mercenaries in Turkish territory.

Davutoglu threatened to sue CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. CHP deputy Osman Koruturk said Turkey was coming to “the last exit before the bridge (on Syria). If we miss this exit, we will proceed through uncertainties in foreign policies.”

At the same time, Ankara bolstered its presence on Syria’s border. Armored vehicles, heavy weapons, and 250 tanks were deployed in Sanliurfa, Mardin and Gaziantep provinces.

NATO was asked to activate radar and other technical capabilities against Syria. Syrian air defenses and offensive positions are targeted.

Erdogan ordered military readiness. Maybe he knows something he’s not revealing. On Friday, in response to a Syrian helicopter attack on Azmar bordering Turkey, Ankara scrambled two fighter jets.

Each incident builds on earlier ones. At some point perhaps, a point of no return gets crossed. Ankara warned Damascus. Baseless accusations claimed Syria fired mortars on Turkish territory.

Anti-Assad militants were responsible. Assad wants tensions cooled and good relations restored. Washington wants its lead regional belligerent stoking conflict.

Turkish Chief of General Staff General Necdet Ozel warned about launching cross-border attacks “with greater force.” Conditions are dangerously close to full-scale war. Ankara awaits word from Washington.

It’s ready to attack on cue. NATO support may be involved. Fresh from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, perhaps EU/North Atlantic Alliance countries want to say thank you. What better way than by waging war. It’s what NATO/EU nations do best.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

 

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author  and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

 

NATO Edges Closer to War on Syria



By Stephen Lendman

My PhotoWaging war is easy. Instigate provocative incidents. Blame them on targeted countries. False flags work as planned. So do Big Lies repeated enough times to get most people to believe them.

Stoking fear is a common thread. So is claiming good v. evil. Mix well with misinformation and duplicity. Sun Tzu was right saying wars depend on deception. It’s been that way since antiquity. Modern technology makes it easier.
Churchill said lies get halfway around the world before truths get their pants on. Global communication today is instant. Sending hawkish information everywhere is as simple as ready, aim, fire.

Washington and NATO partners are involved in multiple direct and proxy wars. More are planned. Word hasn’t gotten out but it’s coming.

Obama and Romney want war. So does NATO Secretary-General Fogh Rasmussen. He’s a consummate liar. Numerous times he said NATO won’t intervene in Syria. It’s been planned all along.

It’s ongoing. America, Britain, France and Turkey are lead belligerents. They’ve been involved since winter last year. Much goes on covertly.

If NATO didn’t want war, its key countries would be supporting peace. Death squad armies wouldn’t have been recruited. Training, funding, arming, and directing them wouldn’t have been ongoing since conflict erupted in March 2011.
Nor would terrorists be given safe haven in Turkey on Syria’s border. Provocations throw fuel on the fire. Last June, two Turkish warplanes lawlessly entered Syrian airspace low and fast. Doing so showed hostile intent.

One escaped unharmed. Syrian anti-aircraft fire downed the other in its own waters. Assad was blamed for Turkey’s provocation. War could have erupted but didn’t at the time.
The latest cross-border incident makes it more likely. Inflammatory rhetoric increases the possibility. Turkey’s been shelling Syrian territory for six days.

Assad had nothing to do with mortar fire on Turkish territory. Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants are responsible. It doesn’t matter. Only who’s blamed counts. Fingers always point the wrong way. Media scoundrels spread Big Lies. They’re repeated ad nauseam.

Warmongering officials advance the ball for war. Turkish ones play with fire. As one of 28 NATO countries, it’s obligated in ways it wouldn’t be if independent. It also borders Syrian territory.

Prime Minister Erdogan has been hawkish for months. President Abdullah Gul marches with him in lockstep.

“The worst-case scenario is happening in Syria at the moment. Syrian people are suffering and the developments there affect Turkey. We have citizens who have lost their lives,” he said.
“In such a moment, we are always in consultations with our government and chief of General Staff. Whatever necessary is being done, as you know. And it will continue to be done.”
“Sooner or later, a transition will occur. But our wish is (for it to happen) before more blood is shed and before Syria is ruined. I am of the opinion that the international community should actively be involved.”

Did he ask NATO to declare war? What else can international intervention mean? It’s been involved all along short of launching Libya 2.0. Turkey’s role is lead belligerent. Whatever its preference, it’s acquiescent.

Except perhaps for EU admission, it’s hard imagining what it hopes to gain. War on its southern neighbor assures spillover in its own territory. Heavy casualties and destruction will follow.
Most Turks and key opposition parties oppose war. Erdogan and Gul risk their futures for going against the tide. They’re in lockstep with Washington’s agenda. The will of their own people is spurned.
Politically it’s a bad strategy. Maybe they have other aims in mind. Maybe they’re biting off more than they can chew. Maybe they’ll get burned or worse in the process.

They’ve already got enough blood on their hands. So does NATO’s Rasmussen. He’s a war criminal multiple times over. How many more corpses will he tolerate on his conscience?

Ahead of an earlier October Brussels meeting, he said:

“I would add to that that obviously Turkey can rely on NATO solidarity, we have all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary.”


He did little to cool tensions, adding:

“We hope that all parties involved will show restraint, and avoid an escalation of the crisis. I do believe that the right way forward in Syria is political solution.”


If he believed it, he’d work with other NATO members and to call off their dogs. Since conflict erupted last year, belligerence was prioritized. Alleged humanitarian concerns and fake peace plans were subterfuge for what’s planned.

On October 9, Rasmussen’s rhetoric grew sharper. “We have all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary,” he said.
Damascus needs defending, not Ankara. Rasmussen commended Turkey for its restraint. Shelling Syrian territory for six days hardly shows it. Clearly it makes war more likely.

“Obviously Turkey has a right to defend herself within international law,” claimed Rasmussen. “I would add….that Turkey can rely on NATO solidarity.”

Rasmussen and Erdogen both sound Orwellian. The NATO chief commends Turkish shelling as restraint. Erdogan practically says the best way to achieve peace is wage war.

Perhaps he also believes freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. Maybe Turks will get fed up enough to remove him and likeminded warmongers before their country get embroiled over its head.

On condition of anonymity, NATO officials said plans in place are longstanding. In response to Washington’s regime change agenda, perhaps they were readied in the 1990s.

Turkey is a willing client state. It risks its own well-being. Partnering with America’s imperium has consequences. The price of imperial arrogance may be too much to pay.

Syrians paid dearly for months. Thousands died. Dozens more die daily. On October 9, twin blasts rocked a military base near Damascus. Suicide bombers perhaps were involved.
Dozens were reported killed. Many others were wounded. It’s the latest in a series of major attacks. The Al Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front took credit. It claimed it was avenging Muslims “oppressed or killed” by Assad.

On October 9, Voice of Russia headlined “NATO invasion of Syria: coming soon, rated X,” saying:

Growing signs suggest it. It’s likely baked in the cake. Perhaps one spark too many will ignite it. They’re easy to create. They’re ongoing now cross-border. Erdogen already got parliamentary approval. Shelling may get more intense.

If Syria responds in kind, all bets are off. Turkey suggests it’s spoiling for war. It moved tanks and other heavy weapons to its southern border. It has 25 F-16s and other aircraft positioned in Diyarbakir. It’s in the country’s Kurdish region.

They attacked four alleged PKK sites in Iraq. It followed a near parliamentary declaration of war on Syria. It barely stopped short. After an earlier in October NATO meeting, the following statement was issued:

“In view of the Syrian regime’s recent aggressive acts at NATO’s southeastern border, which are a flagrant breach of international law and a clear and present danger to the security of one of its Allies, the North Atlantic Council met today, within the framework of Article 4 of the Washington Treaty….”

“In the spirit of indivisibility of security and solidarity deriving from the Washington Treaty, the Alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an Ally.”

At the behest of any member, Articles 4 or 5 can be invoked.

Article 4 calls for members to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any” is threatened.

Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members, an attack against all, and calls for collective self-defense.

Will NATO invoke it next? Will full-scale war follow? Heightened tensions increase the likelihood. If it’s planned, it’s virtually certain. Perhaps another pretext will launch it. As explained above, it’s as simple as ready, aim, fire. Heaven help regional countries if it’s ordered.

A Final Comment

Mossad-connected DEBKAfile‘s (DF) October 9 headline added another possible wrinkle of its own. “US, Israel plan October Surprise. Others: Israel can do it alone,” it said.
DF said an Israeli/Iranian war already is ongoing. It cited the UAV Israel downed over its territory days earlier. DF blamed Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

This writer called it a likely false flag. No regional country has anything to gain. For Israel, it’s a convenient casus belli. If one scheme doesn’t work, new ones are easy to invent. Israel does it often. So does Washington.

DF points fingers at Iran for practically everything it claims harms Israel. Tehran, of course, is victim, not perpetrator. So are Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Palestinian resistance groups.
The idea that Israel can go it alone is nonsense. Its capability isn’t up to the challenge. It won’t dare attack Iran without Washington’s approval and support. DF knows it but claims otherwise.

Perhaps it’s playing stalking horse for something else big planned. Full-scale war on Syria seems most likely. If it comes, it won’t be pre-announced. Nor will war on Iran or on any other countries. Targets aren’t given advance notice to prepare.

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Fatah Israeli Collaborators


By Stephen Lendman

September 26, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – 

 

Abbas and FayyadCall it an open secret. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, unelected Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and like-minded Fatah officials collaborate with Israel’s occupation harshness.

At least since Oslo, they served Israel at the expense of their own people. Abbas is more Israeli sheriff than legitimate president. He suppresses peaceful demonstrations, targets free expression, fills West Bank detention centers with political prisoners, and governs as an illegitimate Quisling head of state.

As chief Oslo negotiator, he unconditionally surrendered to Israeli demands. He became known for flexibility and subservience. His bosses reside in Tel Aviv and Washington. He’s more stooge than statesman. He’s rewarded with White House photo-ops and other handsome benefits.

So is Fayyad. His background explains why. He’s a political opportunist. He and Abbas are Israeli double agents. Their policies are double-dealing. They punish their own people for their own self-interest.

Fayyad is a CEO technocrat. His credentials include a University of Texas economics doctorate, teaching experience at Jordan’s Yarmouk University, and economic research employment at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.

From 1987 – 1995, he served as a World Bank and IMF official. Until 2001, he was IMF’s man in Palestine. He was Yasser Arafat’s finance minister.

In Palestine’s 2006 legislative elections, his Third Way party got 2.4% of the vote. Palestinians wanted no part of him or his party. After Fatah’s 2006 coup d’etat co-opted the PLO, PA and West Bank, Abbas illegitimately made him prime minister.

Abbas’ term expired in January 2009. He hasn’t scheduled elections and remains in office.

Under them and Fatah collaborators, power is concentrated in the executive branch. Palestinians are betrayed and ill-served. Democratically elected Hamas officials are marginalized, excluded, and arrested at the behest of Israel.

Since mid-September alone, 120 West Bank Hamas members and supporters were detained. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned the widespread sweep. It called on Fatah leaders “to fully comply with the law and stop political arrests.”

Those targeted were first summoned for questioning. It was a trap. Arrests followed. Others were seized at home or work. Victims include Hamas leaders, reconciliation figures, former prisoners, journalists, youth activists and university students.

Among them are Fuad al-Khuffash, Director of the Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights; Waleed Khaled Ali, Director of the Office of Palestine Daily in Salfit; and Sheikh Riad Rasheed al-Walweel, a prominent West Bank reconciliation figure.

It’s not the first time this happened and won’t be the last. At the behest of Israel, Fatah leaders salute and obey. Palestinians have two enemies. Their liberating struggle persists on two fronts. Israel is an illegal oppressive occupier. Fatah leaders reflect betrayal…

Netanyahu isn’t being “charitable, generous, magnanimous, or” good-neighborly. He didn’t change his spots. Nor have others around him and most Knesset members. They believe in Jewish exceptionalism. Arabs are considered subhumans.

Fatah leaders go along for benefits they derive. Doing so condemns their own people to continued occupation harshness.

Israeli money transfers reflect less than meet the eye. Amounts involved represent “Palestinian money the occupying power collects on behalf of the PA in accordance with the (1994 Oslo) Paris protocol which effectively put the entire Palestinian economy under Israel’s mercy.”

Israel levies about $100 million monthly. It’s for commodities Palestinians import. “Normally, Israel (extorts) bloated commissions and hefty salaries for (its) operatives” involved.

Last week, Netanyahu ordered $63 million in transfers. He claimed to be helping ease the PA’s fiscal crisis, saying:

“We are working on several fronts in order to help the Palestinian Authority cope with its economic problems. We have made several agreements in the taxation agreements.”  

“We are advancing several transfers. We have also helped with Palestinian workers and with a series of other steps in order to make things easier for them.” 

“Of course, there is a global reality and it is also related to the internal management of every economy, but for our part we are making efforts to help the Palestinian Authority survive this crisis. I hope they will succeed in doing so, this is in our common interest.”

 Propping up Fatah is key for Israel. At the same time, Hamas is vilified, its members and supporters targeted and arrested, and Gaza remains under suffocating siege.

Last week, “a high-ranking PA official (said) Israel” wants the PA weakened but not destroyed. It wants it subservient and compliant with Israel’s will. It wants services rendered as Israel’s enforcer.

It wants Palestinians doing some of its own dirty work. It wants nothing obstructing its ability to ravage West Bank and East Jerusalem communities freely.

Abbas, Fayyad, and like-minded collaborators willingly go along. They turn a blind eye to repeated crimes against humanity. They repeatedly commit their own.

Last week, the main al-Haras, Hebron police station was assaulted and vandalized. Israeli intelligence “saboteurs and provocateurs” were involved. Palestinians were blamed for their crimes.

PA West Bank control reflects “the biggest obstacle impeding the establishment of” sovereign Palestine and full de jure UN membership. It should have happened a generation ago. To this day it hasn’t because PA officials won’t institute steps enabling it to be accomplished.

In early September, Abbas told Israelis visiting Ramallah that the Jewish state “was created to last forever.” He’s Palestine’s main problem. He collaborates against the interests of his own people.

On September 24, Haaretz contributor Amira Hass covered an aspect of the same issue. Her article headlined “The Palestinian Authority – devoid of any authority,” saying:

Oslo was supposed to assure Palestinian self-government. Instead, it reinforced occupation harshness.

PA-run radio airs programming favorable to Israel. One talk show “provides airtime to family members of people imprisoned in Israel.” They’re brutally treated political prisoners. Their crime is praying to the wrong God and wanting to live free on their own land.
 
Broadcasts invert or downplay reality. Family members denied visitation rights make due with commenting on air about their loved ones.

Some settle for a brief “ ‘How are you, habibi? We’re all fine. Don’t worry about us. We hope you’re taking care of yourself and your health, and that you’ll be released soon – you and all the other prisoners.’ “

Others comment at more length. Doing so obscures occupation harshness. Between talk shows and news, public service announcements are aired. They encourage people to pay electric bills. They claim “non-payment strengthens the occupation.”

The common denominator of these broadcasts reflects what attorney Yael Barda covered in her book titled “The Bureaucracy of the Occupation: The Regime of Movement Permits 2000 – 2006.”

She disputes Neve Gordon’s conclusion in his book titled “Israel’s Occupation.” She summarizes his view, saying:

“Since the Oslo Accords, the force used against the Palestinians has changed and is now a sovereign power employing legal control by means of the law and policing forces; it does not intervene in civil decisions and does not distinguish between those who oppose the occupation and those who accept it …”

Barda believes the following:

“After the administrative and regional separation enacted as a result of the Oslo Accords, control over the lives of the Palestinians and interference in their civilian matters did not decrease; on the contrary, it grew.” 

Her view derives from extensive personal observations. She witnessed occupation harshness firsthand. It dominates Palestinian life ruthlessly. Fundamental human and civil rights are denied.

Military order diktats govern virtually everything. Free expression, movement, and most else are denied. Occupied lives are crushed into submission. Oslo instituted brutalizing state terror. PA collaborators permit it and commit some of their own.

“It’s enough to think about the terrifying presence of the Border Police, Special Patrol Units and National Insurance Institute inspectors in East Jerusalem neighborhood and villages, turned into choking pockets of poverty by the Israeli government, in order to remember the potential of direct control and its predatory nature,” said Hass.

“It’s enough to remember Area C in which Israel will not allow an old Palestinian community to build toilets or install a solar energy system.”

Israeli and PA security forces freely arrest Palestinians any time, anywhere, for any reason or none at all. Children are brutalized like adults. They’re terrorized, arrested, tortured, and at times imprisoned.

Israeli occupation created “a confusing hybrid of military-colonial state of emergency and civilian autonomy. The duality and all its contradictions are the glue that makes it hard to undo.” PA collaboration makes it much harder.

Hass called it the “genius” of Oslo. Israel got everything it wanted. Palestinians “were left with autonomous pockets that only reinforce Israel’s rule.”

They’re on their own to change things. A third Intifada is long overdue.

phen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 


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US Media War on Islam

Posted on 21 September 2012
 
America never treated Muslims respectfully. US media and Hollywood play lead roles. Jack Shaheen’s book “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People” documented how American filmmakers slander them.
For decades, they’ve been fair game. From silent to more recent films, prejudicial attitudes were fostered. They still are regularly. They disparage Islam in contrast to manufactured notions of Western values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority.
Islamic tenets are ignored. The Koran teaches love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not selfishness; and tolerance, not terrorism.
Its five pillars include profession of faith, prayer five times daily, fasting during Ramadan, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime for those able to afford it.
Nonetheless, Muslims are stereotypically portrayed as dangerous gun-toting terrorists. Hate messages repeat regularly. Fear is stoked. Imperial wars of aggression are called justifiable ones.
At home, Muslims are vilified and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, and at times prominence, activism and charity.
They’re lawlessly targeted. They’re hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted on bogus charges, and given long sentences.
For extra harsh treatment, they incarcerated as political prisoners. They’re segregated in Communication Management Units (CMUs).
Doing so violates US Prison Bureau regulations. They strictly prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or political beliefs.
In February 2005, the Supreme Court’s Johnson v. California decision affirmed 14th Amendment protection against racial discrimination. It “rejected the notion that separate can ever be equal or neutral.”
Bush administration officials violated rule of law provisions regularly. So do Obama’s. Innocent victims suffer grievously. It happens abroad and at home.
Guantanamo and other torture prisons exist globally. Muslims fill them. Post-9/11, they became public enemy number one.
Many in America are consigned to CMU prison hell. Treatment is ruthless and demeaning. Extra punishment may be ordered for any reason or none at all.
They get fewer rights than other prisoners. Their dietary requirements are compromised or denied. So is proper medical care when needed. Emergency treatment takes days to get. It’s not delivered properly when gotten.
Rotten, inedible food quality is commonplace. Tap water is inferior. Privacy is denied. The entire CMU is monitored round the clock with cameras and listening devices. Policy assures mistreatment and disrespect. Prisoner complaints go unanswered.
Virtually every imprisoned Muslim is innocent. They’re war on terror victims. They’re locked up for praying to the wrong God. They’re alive, but for those getting inordinately long sentences, they’re among the living dead.
Their families suffer with them. It’s the wrong time to be Muslim in America and in nations abroad Washington targets.
Major media scoundrels back the worst of US crimes. When Bush administration officials declared war on Islam, they marched in lockstep. They still do. They’re reliable imperial cheerleaders.
They headline inflammatory accounts of innocent Muslims charged domestically. They play the same blame game. Targeted victims are considered guilty by accusation. Before indictment and prosecution, they’re convicted in the court of public opinion.
Their coverage of anti-Muslim hate film violence is appalling. They ignore what’s really going on. On the one hand, it reflects rage over imperial wars on Islamic countries. People don’t burn buildings or harm others over blasphemous materials alone.
The film sparked what followed. It ignited violence. Promoting it on social media spread it. Something else could have done it as easily. People take abuse only so long before reacting. Once begun, it replicates elsewhere.
In the 1960s, racial segregation, related police violence, other denied civil rights, and economic depravation ignited violence across America. Neighborhoods in northern US cities were set ablaze. It can happen again and likely will. Provocative incidents spark it. It can happen anywhere.
Other factors also lie behind the anti-Muslim film. Dark forces produced it. Killing a US ambassador reinforced it. Israeli fingerprints are all over it. Jewish donors funded it. They got what they wanted.
Justifiable rage across the Middle East, North Africa, Central and South Asia, as well as elsewhere lets them portray Muslims as violent terrorist threats. US and other Western headlines reflect it. More on that below.
Also at issue is America’s November election. Netanyahu and Obama dislike each other. It’s no secret that the Israeli leader favors Romney. He thinks he’ll be quicker to attack Iran.
He’s angry about Obama’s reluctance to show rock solid support. He wants him Carterized. He picked a very public fight to get his way.
Perhaps he’s directly responsible for the blasphemous film. If not, very likely extremists around him. It has all the earmarks of a Mossad false flag. At issue is weakening him politically and fomenting war.
San Francisco anti-Muslim bus ads stoke it. They’re planned for New York and perhaps elsewhere. They read:
“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Concluding words say “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
Pam Geller’s running them. She’s a notorious hatemonger. US media scoundrels publish her writing. She’s interviewed on television. CBS’ 60 Minutes ran a full feature profile.
She and Robert Spencer co-founded the Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America. It’s legal to be bigoted in America. It’s appalling that media scoundrels support what they should condemn.
The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo fanned its own flames. It ran blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed. Some showed him naked in pornographic poses.
Editor in chief Gerard Biard claimed he did it to satirize the anti-Muslim video. He called its violent reaction absurd. Editorial director Stephane Charbonnier said “We have the right to express ourselves.”
Biard added the Charlie Hebdo is “a newspaper against religions as soon as they enter into the political and public realm.” He claims Muslim religious leaders manipulate French followers for political reasons. “You’re not meant to identify yourself through a religion, in any case not in a secular state,” he claims.
Christians and Jews do it freely in France, America, and other Western countries without incident. Only Muslims are targeted for their faith unfairly.
Who speaks for their rights? No one in high places or with media influence able to reach large audiences in America and across Europe daily.
White House spokesman Jay Carney stopped short of denouncing Charlie Hebdo editors, saying:
“We don’t question the right of something like this to be published. We just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it.”
Call it a back door endorsement. French officials also backed their hate speech rights.
Try denouncing the holocaust in France and see what happens. Try wearing a hijab, other head covering, or head to toe burqah and find out.
Try denouncing Israeli crimes on US television or in mainstream publications, and see how long you keep your job. Try supporting right over wrong and fair no better.
Major media in America and other Western countries suppress truth and full disclosure. Imperial wars are cheerled. Friendly dictators are supported. Independent governments are called terrorist ones. News, information, and analysis get turned on their head.
On September 19, a New York Times editorial was typical. It headlined “The United States and the Muslim world.”
It invoked “Arab Spring” terminology. It’s a Western, not Middle East, term. Since regional protests erupted in winter 2011, nothing changed. In countries like Egypt, things are worse.
The Times inverts reality. It calls regional states run by despots “liberated” ones. They’ve “become battlegrounds for Islamic extremists, moderates and secularists, all contending for power and influence over the direction of democratic change.”
Except for confessional-style Lebanese democracy, no Arab state tolerates it. Neither does Israel, America and hardcore NATO allies.
The Times blames regional violence on extremist elements beyond US control. They’re “eager to exploit unrest for their own purposes.”
Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah is a powerful force against Western and Israeli imperialism. The Times calls him a “particularly destructive force.” It denounced his ability to get tens of thousands of anti-US/Israeli protesters onto Beirut streets and elsewhere across Lebanon.
It pilloried his support for Assad.

It condemned Anti-American regional protesters.

It claimed they “reinforced the worst fears of those who see Muslims” as violent extremists.

“In 2009, (Obama) wisely sought rapprochement with Muslims.” His Cairo speech “endorsed an approach of mutual respect and promised, that….America never would be at war with Islam.”

From day one, Obama waged multiple direct and proxy wars against Muslim countries. Iraq remains occupied. Tens of thousands of US combat troops never left. Daily violence harms innocent civilians.
Afghan war rages. It’s America’s longest conflict. No end in sight looks near. Obama destroyed Libya. He killed tens of thousands of civilians. Violence continues daily across the country. No one’s sure who’ll live or die.
He supports the worst of Bahraini despotism, its war on people wanting democratic freedoms, and its persecution of activists supporting it.
He’s waging proxy wars against Somalia, Yemen, and indirectly against Palestine with billions of dollars of Israeli aid and strong support for occupation harshness.
He bears direct responsibility for ravaging Syria. He plans eventual war on Iran. Since January 1991, America killed millions of Middle East, North African, and Central Asians Muslims. Most were non-combatant civilians. Many were children.
How many more millions will die before The New York Times and other media scoundrels acknowledge decades of US mass murder?
Instead, The Times praised Obama’s commitment to Middle East democracy. It urged America “to stay engaged in whatever ways it can.”
Millions across the region feel otherwise. They want Washington out for good reason. It’s a scourge. It menaces people wanting peace and freedom, not war, occupation, genocide and destruction. Don’t expect The Times or other media scoundrels to explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
 
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author  and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Netanyahu: The Mouth that Roars

My PhotoHis bluster long ago wore thin. Iranian/Israeli/Middle East analyst Meir Javedanfar said he put himself up a tree and wants Obama to bring him down. “It’s come down to threats, threats, threats, but we are at a saturation point.”

Growing numbers of Israelis reject him for good reason. He menaces them like others. Attacking Iran assures retaliation most Israelis fear. It’ll mean widespread destruction, radiation contamination, and large numbers killed or injured.

Gush Shalom founder Uri Avnery asked if he and Barak are mad or crazy? Netanyahu “may be crazy, but he is not mad. (Barak) may be mad, but he is not crazy.”

They’re an incendiary duo, but won’t attack Iran. Avnery quoted the film line: “If you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.” He calls Netanyahu/Barak “beyond rational thinking.”

Israeli political analyst Yossi Alpher called Netanyahu’s antics “overkill. The US establishment is fed up with him. The Israeli public is fed up with him.” He created a “public controversy” and doesn’t know how to get out of it.

His vow to go it alone is bluster, not bite. Instead of calming things down, inflammatory comments follow earlier ones. On August 2, the Jerusalem Post headlined “Winograd: Striking Iran may endanger Israel’s future,” saying:

Former Supreme Court Justice Eliyahu Winograd opposes attacking Iran for good reason. In 2006, he headed the Committee of Inquiry on why Israel’s Lebanon war failed. He said:

“I am not convinced that the decision-makers will implement the findings of that report. If that is the case, we are all in big trouble.”

He denounced Netanyahu/Barak hawkishness on Iran despite strong opposition by senior Israeli past and current officials.

“All the heads of the defense establishment, the Shin Bet, the Mossad, both former and current, and military intelligence, everyone is saying ‘Don’t attack!’ ”

“(O)nly Barak and Netanyahu have decided yes,” or have they? Bluster often hides intentions. Bullies usually back down when confronted.

Winograd’s committee called Israel’s Lebanon war a failure. Political leaders didn’t sufficiently consult with military officials before attacking. They left before they looked.

Home Front preparedness was also inadequate. Little attention was given then and again now. A “rain of missiles” may follow attacking Iran. Israel is woefully unprepared. How many Israelis will die for Netanyahu/Barak’s folly? Why should any when peace avoids bloodshed.

How much longer will they put up with their bluster? Winograd criticized Netanyahu for complaining about former officials expressing views publicly. He’s more vocal than anyone.

“You intend to act. Sit down and shut up. Decide secretly if you’re attacking, and if you decide to attack, attack. But what are you talking for? So that the Iranians will be even more prepared and ready their missiles to target us?”

“You are going to endanger our entire country, everything we have built. Both the country physically and the economy.”

Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz echoed his comments, saying:

“Israel cannot act alone to prevent the Iranian nuclear program at this time. Such action might bring us into a very difficult war.”

Days earlier, Mofaz called Netanyahu “confused, stressed out and unfocused. (He) lost the trust of the security chiefs,” Obama and Shimon Peres. Former Mossad head Efraim Halevy fears a generation of war if Israel attacks Iran.

“We have to take into account the possibility that if we attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, there will no longer be a political horizon in regard to Iran or sanctions against Iran.”

“We have to deploy for the possibility that while the immediate result of the operation will be Israel’s glorification in the Sunni Arab world, the later result will be a sharp anti-Israeli public wave in the spirit of the Arab Spring.”

“We need to understand that after the attack, a deep Israeli complex will develop in Iran, one that crosses parties and opinions and communities, because we will become the symbol of those that humiliated Iran and prevented it from restoring its greatness.”

“We need to remember that we are very much dependent on the United States and not utter boastful slogans that we are sovereign and therefore will take our fate into our hands.”

Weeks ago, former Mossad head Meir Dagan said Israel faces no existential threat. He criticized inflammatory warmongering and urged changing Israeli’s system.

“(W)e need a prime minister,” he said,” who will not be subject to political pressures when deciding on such issues as an attack on Iran or a peace agreement.”

“The State of Israel is at a critical point in time of great challenges both foreign and domestic. Minority groups are controlling the state and the majority is not being heard.”

Former Military Intelligence head Major General (ret.) Uri Saguy also believes Netanyahu/Barak are heading Israel over a cliff. He expressed outrage over their dangerous warmongering. He called it “orchestrated and purposely timed hysteria that puts the country into a state of anxiety, artificial or not.”

His bottom line is that Netanyahu/Barak can’t be trusted. How can they be by putting Israelis and others in danger. IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz and Mossad head Tamir Pardo also oppose war.
So do Air Force head Amir Eshel, Military Intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi, Shin Bet director Yoram Cohen, and other top Israeli officials. Netanyahu/Barak are increasingly isolated.

On September 4, Haaretz headlined “In the Iranian poker game, Netanyahu and Barak have overplayed their hand,” saying:

The Israeli Hayom daily has close ties to Netanyahu. In recent weeks, it’s featured a barrage of worrying reports on Iran’s alleged nuclear progress and Washington’s failure to halt it.

In the last few days, something changed. On August 31, it highlighted Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey’s comments about America’s unwillingness to be complicit if Israel goes it alone.

The strategically timed IAEA report got second billing. On September 1, Iran got back page coverage. On September 3, it again made headlines, “but only in the form of Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz’s vague statement that the IDF can act ‘anywhere, anytime.’ ”

In other words, the daily out in front echoing inflammatory Netanyahu comments now backed off. “Does this indicate that (he’s) seeking a ladder to climb down from” his perch high up in a tree and very much out on a limb?

Perhaps he overplayed his hand. Crying wolf enough times begins falling on deaf ears. Growing Netanyahu/Barak public disapproval also matters. So does disagreement with Washington. It’s over timing, not policy.

Key is that Netanyahu/Barak talk is bluster. Without Washington’s support, attacking Iran won’t happen. Haaretz thinks inflammatory Israeli comments damaged US/Israeli relations. Perhaps eventually but not now.

Key is what major media reports don’t say. Their common theme is suppressing truth and full disclosure. On Iran, Haaretz is no different. The Islamic Republic poses no Israeli or regional threat. Its nuclear program is peaceful.

Top world leaders know it. Over 100 NAM countries support it. They oppose US/Israeli warmongering. Their agenda is peace, not conflict. They respect national sovereignty inviolability.
They know international law prohibits interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. It’s also unequivocal against attacking another one except in self-defense.

These issues are ignored in America’s media, what’s seen and read across Europe, and what Israeli broadcast and print media report. They’re key above all others. Failure to discuss them advances the ball for war.

Doing so is reckless, irresponsible, and complicit. It puts culpable journalists in the same category as propagandists. Blood will be on their hands if it’s shed.

Apologies won’t be forthcoming for being on the wrong side of rule of law principles, support for what should be condemned, and failure to do what good journalists should – their job.

A Final Comment

On September 4, Israeli intelligence officials briefed Netanyahu and security cabinet members. They do it annually or when special occasions arise.

They focused on Iran, Syria, Egypt, and US/Israeli relations. The meeting was closed. Ministerial aides and advisors weren’t invited. Military intelligence, Mossad and Shin Bet participated. So did Foreign Ministry representatives.

A follow-up meeting is likely. Hopefully opposition to inflammatory rhetoric was stressed. Honest talk about no existential threat needs highlighting and repetition. Truth needs to be separated from what’s not. Above all, avoiding potentially catastrophic war is vital.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is no peacenik. He’s hardline for direct Western intervention against Syria. His no-fly zone/safe haven advocacy means war if either or both are instituted.
At the same time, he warns about attacking Iran. “I think that if there were an Israeli attack, unfortunately it could come back to haunt Israel,” he said.

“I am absolutely opposed to the idea that Iran would gain nuclear weapons,” he said, “but I think if there was an Israeli attack,” Tehran will be victimized and gain legitimacy.

Britain’s defense establishment Royal United Services Institute director Michael Clarke says there’s “no basis in international law for preventative, rather than preemptive, war.”

There’s no basis for either except when clear evidence shows foreign forces mobilized for attack.
Israeli borders aren’t threatened. Iran supports peace, not war. Its nuclear program is legal and non-military. It fully complies with NPT provisions.

Those issues deserve daily headlines. Don’t expect warmongering media to feature them.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

 

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
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