Benjamin Fulford: July 31, 2017
The Secret History of The Khazarian Mafia
The Black Nobility The Royal Houses Of Europe That Ruthlessly Eliminate All That Stand In its way
A Guided Meditation with Shree Ramesh Pattni
There are a lot of aggressive, warlike neocons in America who suffer from vicious sinful pride, diabolical self-righteousness and political paranoia. The neocons are willing to drag down and destroy all of humanity in Armageddon because North Korea is a threat to the security of the United States.
The neocons would sacrifice thousands of American troops, inculding Navy personnel, and South Korea and Japan in a quest for victory that would lead to World War III (TRIB LIVE 27 May 2017).
The US is more and more aggressive to Russia – in spite of Pres. Trump´s good will to live in peace with his friend Putin. But the neocons and their masters, the military industrial complex, seem to have kidnapped Trump, enforcing him to wage an aggressive policy against Russia.
Or did Masons Putin and Trump at their meetings at the G20 meeting recently simply agree on the Illuminati game (The Albert Pike-William Carr plan)?
The New York Times 28 July 2017: Russia took its first steps on Friday to retaliate against proposed American sanctions for Moscow’s suspected meddling in the 2016 election, seizing two American diplomatic properties in Russia and ordering the United States Embassy to reduce staff by September.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “This yet again attests to the extreme aggressiveness of the United States when it comes to international affairs.”
The Guardian 28 July 2017: The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted on Tuesday to approve new sanctions on Russia, setting up a potential showdown with the White House. Vladimir Putin has accused US lawmakers of “insolence”, and promised Russia will retaliate if the latest round of US sanctions against Russia are signed into law.
By the way: When I compare the above Pres. Putin with KGB Putin I see clear differences.
Is Putin really Putin – or a double – as purportedly claimed by the real Putin´s wife, Lyudmila (The Daily Star 24 Dec. 2016) after the original Putin was poisoned in 2014?
Left: Young KGB Vladimir Putin.
I found significant differences in age stable parameters: Young Putin´s lips are much thicker than those of Pres. Putin. Young Putin has no antitragus in his right ear, while Pres. Putin has a pronounced one. Young has a straight, regular nose, while Pres. Putin has a plump nose with a septum prominating much more downwards than that of KGB Putin and more marked nose wings. Pres. Putin´s eyebrows and upper orbital rim is curved – while that of KGB Putin is nearly horizontal.
Also. the below photos from The daily Star are clearly not of the same Putin.
“We are behaving in a very restrained and patient way, but at some moment we will need to respond,” said Putin at a press conference with his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö.
“It’s impossible to endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence towards our country,” Putin said, referring to the sanctions. “This practice is unacceptable – it destroys international relations and international law.”
It´s a very dangerous game: Putin is not stupid and has reserved the right of a preemptive strike
Global Res. 27 July 2017: Painting Russia as the Enemy.
Before any war, the state always embarks on an outlandish campaign to demonize the target in the eyes of the people. One logical conclusion to be drawn from the incessant array of anti-Russian propaganda that has been promulgated by the West in recent years, is that it is designed to inculcate in the minds of the western public that Russia is the enemy, in preparation for a future war.
In recent years, the world has become increasingly more unstable. Tensions between Russia and the US have reached a level not seen since the height of the Cold War, with some even arguing that we have surpassed this point by now. The US is continually provoking Russia, as the hawks in Washington cannot stand the fact that Moscow has stood up to the neocons in Syria.
Perhaps the US is trying to intimidate Russia so that it backs down, but this is a very dangerous game to play. How many times can the US poke the Russian bear before the bear responds?
The world stands on the edge of a dangerous precipice, as it slides towards war
Baiting Russia into a Military Response in Syria?
Although the official US narrative was that they were protecting US-backed forces on the ground, one cannot help but question the justification used by a country that has repeatedly lied and deceived in order to launch imperial wars.
There is a very real danger that the decision to shoot down a Syrian jet was designed to provoke Syria to respond militarily to US forces, therefore providing justification for a full-scale invasion of Syria by the US and her allies.
Moreover, and more dangerously, there is a potential that this incident was designed (by rogue elements with the US) to provoke Russia to respond militarily to the US in Syria, providing justification to start a hot war with Russia, and launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Russia.
Although this may sound like madness, we should not underestimate how mad the neocons are. The US and Russia have reportedly already come extremely close to a direct confrontation in Syria earlier this year. In April, after the US launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield, Russia was “an inch from confrontation” with the US, according to the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani.
Any followers of Dr. Paul Craig Roberts work, the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, who also worked at a variety of US think tanks in Washington, will know that he has repeatedly warned that some belligerent and crazed elements within Washington are actually considering launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Russia.
These persons with Jewish names were responsible for the Iraq war.
It is not just Dr. Roberts that is warning of this apocalyptic scenario however. At the end April, the Deputy Head of Operations of the Russian General Staff, Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir, warned of the potential that the US could launch a “sudden nuclear missile strike” against Russia:
“The presence of US missile defense bases in Europe, [and] missile defense vessels in seas and oceans close to Russia, creates a powerful covert strike component for conducting a sudden nuclear missile strike against the Russian Federation.”
Russia Today 27 July 2017: Army Chief Mark Milley: “It’s a very serious situation, and it’s not going in a good direction,” he said.
A ground war in the Korean Peninsula would be “deadly” and “horrific,” the general explained, with some 25 million people in the metropolitan area of Seoul within reach of North Korean conventional artillery and chemical weapons.
“Do I think North Korea’s military would be destroyed? I do,” he said. “But that would be done at a high cost in terms of human life.”
As terrible as war in the Korean Peninsula would be, Milley added, so would be “a nuclear weapon detonating in Los Angeles.”
The Daily Mail 30 July 2017: Donald Trump is poised to order a military strike against North Korea ‘within the next year’ after the communist state said it had successfully fired a ballistic missile capable of hitting the US mainland.
Pentagon officials have laid out plans to obliterate a nuclear weapons facility operating deep within a mountain in the rogue state.
On 14 July 2017, a terror attack at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem escalated into riots causing even an emergency meeting in the UN. And that´s not the first time.
As I have previously written there are strong forces in Israel and in Judaism moving forbuilding the 3. Temple (Ezekiel 40-47) – even demanding Pres. Trump´s help for it. Ezekiel´s 3. temple is thought by the Pharisees and a by a majority of Jews to be built by the Moschiach ben David in the end time, but a minority think with the famous Maimonides that Jews should build it as soon as possible. In fact, Rothschild´s Supreme Court building in Jerusalem does look very much like a temple for the god of Judaism and its layer, Freemasonry, viz. Lucifer and here and here
And this temple is being prepared in minute details right now
The Temple Mount Heritage Foundation was proposed by Culture Minister Miri Regev and Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Minister Ze’ev Elkin, with an annual budget starting at $550,000.
Left: Supreme Court in Jerusalem. Note the Illuminati pyramid on the roof.
The Electronic Intifada 24 July 2017: Plans to rebuild the “third Temple” on the Dome of the Rock would require the demolition of the al Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites.
Apart from provoking tumultuous outrage among Muslims worldwide, the destruction of the al Aqsa Mosque ties in with various end time prophecies about the rebuilding of the “Third Temple”.
If it is indeed rebuilt we will know for certain that we are in the midst of the “end times”. As the biblical prophets foretold that this would be accompanied by widespread wars and destruction, as will almost certainly happen if the al Aqsa Mosque is demolished to make way for the Third Temple.
I suspect that the people who are behind the campaign for the rebuilding of the Third Temple know this. But they aren’t really interested in the Third Temple, their real objective is the conflict and tumult that would follow the demolition of the al Aqsa Mosque. Ed.
Temple Institute head Yisrael Ariel, who has called for the destruction of churches and mosques and the mass slaughter of those who refuse to accept his extreme version of Judaism, at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in June.
Since the gun battle at the al-Aqsa compound on 14 July that ended in the deaths of three Palestinian citizens of Israel and two Israeli police, Israeli media have largely focused on outrage that anyone would carry out an attack at a holy site, while praising Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s collective punishment against the Palestinian population. (On 26 July 2017).
“Netanyahu and [PA leader Mahmoud] Abbas both acted responsibly to prevent a holy war; but the Arab world’s condemnation of Israel is a reason for concern,” read the subheading of an analysis by Haaretz’s Barak Ravid.
Missing from commentaries across the board has been any acknowledgement of the role played by fanatical settlers intent on wresting control of the al-Aqsa compound in occupied East Jerusalem and eventually destroying it as part of an apocalyptic vision. (Chabad Lubavitch).
The compound, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, includes the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. It is one of the holiest shrines for Muslims all over the world, as well as a touchstone of Palestinian identity.
Israelis who seek to take over al-Aqsa see the 14 July attack and subsequent violence as an opportunity to advance this agenda. Immediately after the incident, the Temple movement’s official body released a statement calling to expel Palestinians from the compound: “We must liberate the Temple Mount from the murderous Islam and return it to the people of Israel.”
“Looking forward to building the Temple this year and hope that you will soon see the face of our righteous Messiah,” Baruch Marzel one of the most extreme leaders among Israel’s West Bank settlers, wrote last week in an open letter to the mufti of Jerusalem – the top Muslim official in the city.
Bezalel Smotrich, a Jewish Home party lawmaker, does not want to wait that long. “I would set up a synagogue on the Temple Mount today, this morning,” he said on Monday.
Under Israeli military protection, these settlers and extremists tour the grounds on a daily basis, hoping to provoke violent reactions from Palestinian worshippers by shouting and singing nationalistic anthems.
This then provides occupation forces with the necessary pretext to enact harsh measures, with the eventual goal of cleansing non-Jews and replacing the Muslim holy sites there with a Jewish temple, thus triggering a civilizational clash with Islam.
Yehuda Glick, a longtime leader of the Temple movement, now a Likud Party lawmaker, last week welcomed Israel’s ban on Muslims entering the al-Aqsa compound in the days following the shootings.
“This is an enormous game changer,” he said. “Everything is part of the redemptionprocess but the things that happen on the Temple Mount are especially so.”
“Radical Muslims who desecrate with blood the holiness of the Temple Mount, the holiest place to the Jewish people, have no right to be there,” Glick and the Jewish Home party’s Shuli Moalem-Refaeli said.
Last week, Glick held a Temple movement emergency session in the Knesset building, Israel’s parliament. Attendees included genocide advocate Rabbi Yisrael Ariel and Bentzi Gopstein, leader of the anti-miscegenation youth movement Lehava.
Yisrael Ariel, the chief rabbi of the Temple movement, articulated an apocalyptic end times scenario in 2015. “[God] is the one who commanded us to go from city to city conquering them, and to impose the seven laws [of the Sons of Noah] throughout the world,” Ariel said.
Ariel added that if Muslims and Christians “raise the flag of [surrender] and say, ‘From now on, there is no more Christianity and no more Islam,’ and the mosques and Christian spires come down,” then they would be allowed to live. “If not,” he warned, “you kill all of their males by sword. You leave only the women.”
“We will conquer Iraq, Turkey [and] we will get to Iran too,” Ariel proclaimed.
Ariel is the founder and head of the Temple Institute, the government-funded group that has published detailed blueprints and a computer animation of what the Temple, to be built over the ruins of al-Aqsa, will look like.
The Temple Institute has received funding from Israel’s education ministry to develop a curriculum to instill “longing for the Temple” in children as young as those attending kindergarten. In 2013, Israel’s mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, presented Ariel with an award for his organization’s work.
In 2012, Zevulun Orlev, one of the party’s lawmakers in the Knesset, called for the construction of a temple at the compound, saying that removing the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque would mean that the “billion-strong Muslim world would surely launch a world war.”
The point is: Solomon´s Temple was not located on the Temple Mount – but at the Gihon Spring several hundred meters away – proven by archaelogy!
Before the destruction of the 2. Temple of Herod´s, Roman Fort Antonia was on the “Temple Mount” – and the Temple south of it. So, the Western wall, the Wall of Wailing has nothing to do with the Temple. That wall was the western wall of Fort Antonia – and built 25 years after Herod´s death!
This messianic extremism has taken hold in the Likud Party of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well.
In 2014, Likud’s Moshe Feiglin, then deputy speaker of the Knesset, explained the fanatical worldview. “We are in the major front of the fight for the free world against the evil forces of the most extreme Islam,” Feiglin asserted. “Behind the violence, there is a spiritual battle, and the core of that battle is that place – the Temple Mount.”
Many other Israeli politicians are following the Temple movement’s lead.
A Likud Party website has launched a petition to “raise the Israeli flag on the Temple Mount.”
“The Temple Mount is not in our hands,” the petition declares. “We must change this absurdity.”
Transport minister Yisrael Katz has vowed that Israel “will not cede sovereignty” over al-Aqsa. “We need to close the Temple Mount to Muslims for an extended period of time,” Jewish Home lawmaker Moti Yogev said.
Incitement from Israeli officials has become commonplace in recent years. Dozens of Knesset members have given verbal, and even material, support to the Temple movement.
But Israel’s official chief rabbis have long formally prohibited prayer by Jews at the compound for theological reasons – out of concern that Jews could inadvertently desecrate places that must remain ritually pure.
In keeping with this tradition, leaders in Israel’s Orthodox Jewish community blame those who insist on going to the al-Aqsa compound to pray for the resulting bloodshed.
“Those who visit the Temple Mount are turning the Israeli-Arab conflict into a religious conflict,” the Eidah Chareidis, a major anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewish organization in Jerusalem, has warned.
However, as Feiglin revealed at a Knesset session in 2013, the call for Jews to be allowed to pray at the compound is a pretext for an Israeli seizure of the site.
“Let’s be truthful. The struggle here in not about prayer,” Feiglin admitted. “Arabs don’t mind that Jews pray to God. The struggle is about sovereignty. That’s the true story here. The story is about one thing only: sovereignty.”
Some of the Israeli politicians identify with the movement themselves, while others understand it is politically expedient to make public statements in support of Israeli sovereignty at al-Aqsa.
Avi Dichter – former chief of Bet Shin´s secret police – posted on Facebook a photo of himself in front of the Dome of the Rock with text reading, “Open the Temple Mount for Jews.”
As Dichter said in 2013 when he was public security minister – before embracing the Temple movement’s agenda – Jewish prayer at al-Aqsa, “will serve as a provocation, resulting in disorder, with a near certain likelihood of subsequent bloodshed.”
That may be precisely what many Israelis hope for. Following a stabbing attack by a Palestinian on Friday that left three Israelis in the illegal settlement of Halamish dead, Tzachi Hanegbi, a senior Likud minister and close ally of Netanyahu, threatened Palestinians with a “third Nakba” – a reference to Israel’s mass expulsions and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967.
Compiled below this article, The Electronic Intifada 24 July 2017 brings a list of current and former Knesset members and ministers who have supported the Temple movement’s apocalyptic goals to varying degrees.
It was midday on Sunday, May 7th, when the U.S.-led coalition warplanes again began bombing the neighborhood of Wassim Abdo’s family.
They lived in Tabqa, a small city on the banks of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Then occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS, also known as Daesh), Tabqa was also under siege by U.S.-backed troops and being hit by daily artillery fire from U.S. Marines, as well as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. The city, the second largest in Raqqa Province, was home to an airfield and the coveted Tabqa Dam. It was also the last place in the region the U.S.-backed forces needed to take before launching their much-anticipated offensive against the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa.
His parents, Muhammed and Salam, had already fled their home once when the building adjacent to their house was bombed, Wassim Abdo told me in a recent interview. ISIS had been arresting civilians from their neighborhood for trying to flee the city. So on that Sunday, the couple was taking shelter on the second floor of a four-story flat along with other family members when a U.S.-led airstrike reportedly struck the front half of the building. Abdo’s sister-in-law Lama fled the structure with her two children and survived. But his parents and 12-year-old cousin were killed, along with dozens of their neighbors, as the concrete collapsed on them.
As an exiled human rights activist, Wassim Abdo only learned of his parents’ death three days later, after Lama called him from the Syrian border town of Kobane, where she and her two children had been transported for medical treatment. Her daughter had been wounded in the bombing and although the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led troops had by then seized control of Tabqa, it was impossible for her daughter to be treated in their hometown, because weeks of U.S.-led coalition bombing had destroyed all the hospitals in the city.
A War Against Civilians
Islamic State fighters have now essentially been defeated in Mosul after a nine-month, U.S.-backed campaign that destroyed significant parts of Iraq’s second largest city, killing up to 40,000 civilians and forcing as many as one million more people from their homes. Now, the United States is focusing its energies — and warplanes — on ISIS-occupied areas of eastern Syria in an offensive dubbed “Wrath of the Euphrates.”
The Islamic State’s brutal treatment of civilians in Syria has been well reported and publicized. And according to Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of the U.S.-led war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the battle to “liberate” these regions from ISIS is the “most precise campaign in the history of warfare.”
But reports and photographs from Syrian journalists and activists, as well as first-person accounts from those with family members living in areas under U.S. bombardment, detail a strikingly different tale of the American offensive — one that looks a lot less like a battle against the Islamic State and a lot more like a war on civilians.
These human rights groups and local reporters say that, across Syria in recent months, the U.S.-led coalition and U.S. Marines have bombed or shelled at least 12 schools, including primary schools and a girls’ high school; a health clinic and an obstetrics hospital; Raqqa’s Science College; residential neighborhoods; bakeries; post offices; a car wash; at least 15 mosques; a cultural center; a gas station; cars carrying civilians to the hospital; a funeral; water tanks; at least 15 bridges; a makeshift refugee camp; the ancient Rafiqah Wall that dates back to the eighth century; and an Internet café in Raqqa, where a Syrian media activist was killed as he was trying to smuggle news out of the besieged city.
The United States is now one of the deadliest warring parties in Syria. In May and June combined, the U.S.-led coalition killed more civilians than the Assad regime, the Russians, or ISIS, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a nongovernmental organization that has been monitoring the death toll and human rights violations in Syria since 2011.
“This administration wants to achieve a quick victory,” Dr. Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of the Syrian Network for Human Rights recently told me, referring to the Trump White House. “What we are noticing is that the U.S. is targeting and killing without taking into consideration the benefits for the military and the collateral damage for the civilians. This, of course, amounts to war crimes.”
And nowhere is this war against civilians more acute than in ISIS-occupied Raqqa, where trapped families are living under dozens of airstrikes every day.
Hotel of the Revolution
Located at the confluence of the Euphrates and Balikh rivers in northern Syria, Raqqa was first settled more than 5,000 years ago. By the late eighth century, it had grown into an imperial city, filled with orchards, palaces, canals, reception halls, and a hippodrome for horse racing. Its industrial quarters were then known as “the burning Raqqa,” thanks to the flames and thick smoke produced by its glass and ceramic furnaces. The city even served briefly as the capital of the vast Abbasid Empire stretching from North Africa to Central Asia.
Toward the end of the thirteenth century, wars between the Mongol and Mamluk empires annihilated Raqqa and its surrounding countryside. Every single resident of the city was either killed or expelled. According to Hamburg University professor Stefan Heidemann, who has worked on a number of excavations in and around Raqqa, the scorched-earth warfare was so extreme that not a single tree was left standing in the region.
Only in the middle of the twentieth century when irrigation from the Euphrates River allowed Raqqa’s countryside to flourish amid a global cotton boom did the city fully reemerge. In the 1970s, the region’s population again began to swell after then-President Hafez al-Assad — the father of the present Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad — ordered the construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates about 30 miles upstream of Raqqa. Wassim Abdo’s father, Muhammed, was an employee at this dam. Like many of these workers and their families, he and Salam lived in Tabqa’s third neighborhood, which was filled with four-story apartment flats built in the 1970s not far from the dam and its power station.
Despite these agricultural and industrial developments, Raqqa remained a small provincial capital. Abdalaziz Alhamza, a cofounder of the watchdog group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, which is made up of media activists from Raqqa living in the city as well as in exile, writes that the local news normally didn’t even mention the city in its weather forecasts.
In the mid-2000s, a drought began to wither the local cash crops: cotton, potatoes, rice, and tomatoes. As in other regions of Syria, farmers migrated from the countryside into the city, where overstretched and ill-functioning public services only exacerbated long-simmering dissatisfactions with the Assad regime.
As the 2011 rebellion broke out across Syria, Wassim Abdo and thousands of others in Raqqa, Tabqa, and nearby villages began agitating against the Syrian government, flooding the streets in protest and forming local coordinating councils. The regime slowly lost control of territory across the province. In March 2013, after only a few days of battle, anti-government rebels ousted government troops from the city and declared Raqqa the liberated provincial capital in all of Syria. The city, then the sixth largest in Syria, became “the hotel of the revolution.”
Within less than a year, however, despite fierce protests and opposition from its residents, ISIS fighters had fully occupied the city and the surrounding countryside. They declared Raqqa the capital of the Islamic State.
Despite the occupation, Wassim’s parents never tried to flee Tabqa because they hoped to reunite with one of their sons, Azad, who had been kidnapped by ISIS fighters in September 2013. In retirement, Muhammed Abdo opened a small electronics store. Salam was a housewife. Like tens of thousands of other civilians, they were living under ISIS occupation in Tabqa when, in the spring of 2017, U.S. Apache helicopters and warplanes first began appearing in the skies above the city. U.S. Marines armed with howitzers were deployed to the region. In late March, American helicopters airlifted hundreds of U.S.-backed troops from the Kurdish-led militias known as the Syrian Democratic Forces to the banks of the dammed river near the city. Additional forces approached from the east, transported on American speedboats.
By the beginning of May, the Abdos’ neighborhood was under almost daily bombardment by the U.S.-led coalition forces. On May 3rd, coalition warplanes reportedly launched up to 30 airstrikes across Tabqa’s first, second, and third neighborhoods, striking homes and a fruit market and reportedly killing at least six civilians. The following night, another round of coalition airstrikes battered the first and third neighborhoods, reportedly killing at least seven civilians, including women and children. Separate airstrikes that same night near the city’s center reportedly killed another six to 12 civilians.
On May 7th, multiple bombs reportedly dropped by the U.S.-led coalition struck the building where Muhammed and Salam had taken shelter, killing them and their 12-year-old grandson. Three days later, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced that they had fully seized control of Tabqa and the dam. The militia and its U.S. advisers quickly set their sights east to the upcoming offensive in Raqqa.
But for the Abdo family, the tragedy continued. Muhammed and Salam’s bodies were buried beneath the collapsed apartment building. It took 15 days before Wassim’s brother Rashid could secure the heavy machinery required to extract them.
“Nobody could approach the corpses because of the disfigurement that had occurred and the smell emanating from them as a result of being left under the rubble for such a long period of time in the hot weather,” Wassim told me in a recent interview.
That same day their bodies were finally recovered. On May 23rd, his parents and nephew were buried in the Tabqa cemetery.
“In Raqqa There Are Many Causes of Death”
A few days after the Abdos’ funeral, the U.S.-led coalition began dropping leaflets over Raqqa instructing civilians to flee the city ahead of the upcoming offensive. According to photos of leaflets published by Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, the warnings read, in part,
“This is your last chance… Failing to leave might lead to death.”
ISIS fighters, in turn, prohibited civilians from escaping the city and planted landmines in Raqqa’s outskirts. Nevertheless, on June 5th, dozens of civilians heeded the coalition’s warnings and gathered at a boat stand on the northern banks of the Euphrates, where they waited to be ferried out of the city. Before the war, families had picnicked along this riverbank. Teenagers jumped into the water from Raqqa’s Old Bridge, built in 1942 by British troops. A handful of river front cafés opened for the season.
“The river is the main monument of the city, and for many people there’s a romantic meaning to it,” Syrian journalist Marwan Hisham, currently co-writing Brothers of the Gun, a book about life in ISIS-occupied Raqqa, told me.
But on June 5th, as the families were waiting to cross the river to escape the impending U.S.-backed offensive, coalition warplanes launched a barrage of airstrikes targeting the boats, reportedly massacring as many as 21 civilians. The coalition acknowledges launching 35 airstrikes that destroyed 68 boats between June 4th and June 6th, according to the journalistic outlet Airwars. Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend later boasted about the tactic, telling the New York Times: “We shoot every boat we find.”
The day after the attack on fleeing civilians at the boat stand, the long-awaited U.S.-backed ground offensive officially began.
After three years of ISIS rule, Raqqa had become one of the most isolated cities in the world. The militants banned residents from having home internet, satellite dishes, or Wi-Fi hotspots. They arrested and killed local reporters and banned outside journalists. On the day U.S.-backed troops launched their ground offensive against the city, ISIS further sought to restrict reporting on conditions there by ordering the imminent shutdown of all Internet cafés.
Despite these restrictions, dozens of Syrian journalists and activists have risked and still risk their lives to smuggle information out of besieged Raqqa — and their efforts are the only reason most Western reporters (including myself) have any information about the war our countries are currently waging there.
Every day, these media activists funnel news out of the city to exiled Syrians running media outlets and human rights organizations. The most famous among these groups has become Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, which won the 2015 International Press Freedom Award for its reporting on the ISIS occupation and now publishes hourly updates on the U.S.-backed offensive. All this news is then compiled and cross-checked by international monitoring groups like Airwars, whose researchers have now found themselves tracking as many as a half-dozen coalition attacks resulting in civilian casualties every day.
It’s because of this work that we know the Raqqa offensive officially began on June 6th with a barrage of airstrikes and artillery shelling that reportedly hit a school, a train station, the immigration and passport building, a mosque, and multiple residential neighborhoods, killing between six and 13 civilians. Two days later, bombs, artillery shells, and white phosphorus were reportedly unleashed across Raqqa, hitting — among other places — the Al-Hason Net Internet café, killing a media activist and at least a dozen others. (That journalist was one of at least 26 media activists to be killed in Syria this year alone.) Other bombs reportedly hit at least eight shops and a mosque. Photos also showed white phosphorus exploding over two residential neighborhoods.
White phosphorus is capable of burning human flesh to the bone. When exposed to oxygen, the chemical ignites reaching a temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s so flammable that its burns can reignite days later if the bandages are removed too soon.
U.S. military officials have not denied using white phosphorus in the city. The Pentagon has, in fact, published photos of U.S. Marines deployed to the Raqqa region transporting U.S.-manufactured white phosphorus munitions. Its spokesmen claim that the U.S. military only uses this incendiary agent to mark targets for air strikes or to create smoke screens and therefore remains in accordance with international law. But in the days after the reported attack, Amnesty International warned:
“The US-led coalition’s use of white phosphorus munitions on the outskirts of al-Raqqa, Syria, is unlawful and may amount to a war crime.” (Amnesty similarly accused the U.S. of potentially committing war crimes during its campaign against ISIS in Mosul.)
Following the reported white phosphorus attacks on June 8th and 9th, Raqqa’s main commercial and social avenue — February 23rd Street — reportedly came under three straight days of bombing. Syrian journalist Marwan Hisham, who grew up in that city, recalls how that street had once been lined with cafés, entertainment venues, and shops. Its western edge runs into Rashid Park, one of the city’s main public spaces. Its eastern edge stretches to the ancient Abbasid Wall.
Between June 9th and June 11th, as many as 10 civilians were killed in repeated bombings of February 23rd Street and its major intersections, according to reports compiled by Airwars. (These sorts of air strikes, ostensibly aimed at limiting the mobility of ISIS fighters, were also employed in Mosul, parts of which are now in ruins.) On those same days, four adults and four children were reportedly killed in airstrikes on Raqqa’s industrial district, another 21 civilians were killed in the west of the city, and at least 11 more civilians, again including children, when airstrikes reportedly destroyed homes on al-Nour street, which is just around the corner from the al-Rayan Bakery, bombed less than two weeks later.
On that day, June 21st, a Raqqa resident named Abu Ahmad was returning from getting water at a nearby well when, he later told Reuters, he began hearing people screaming as houses crumbled. He said that as many as 30 people had died when the apartment flats around the bakery were leveled.
“We couldn’t even do anything,” he added. “The rocket launchers, the warplanes. We left them to die under the rubble.”
More and more names, photographs, and stories of the coalition’s victims were smuggled out by local journalists. According to these reports, on July 2nd, Jamila Ali al-Abdullah, her three children, and up to 10 of her neighbors were killed in her neighborhood. On July 3rd, at least three families were killed, including Yasser al-Abdullah and his four children, A’ssaf, Zain, Jude, and Rimas. On July 5th, an elderly man named Yasin died in an airstrike on al-Mansour Street. On July 6th, Anwar Hassan al-Hariri was killed along with her son Mohammed, her daughter Shatha, and her toddler Jana. Five members of the al-Sayyed family perished on July 7th. Sisters Hazar and Elhan Abdul Aader Shashan died in their home on July 12th, while seven members of the Ba’anat family were killed on July 13th, as was Marwan al-Salama and at least ten of his family members on July 17th.
Hundreds more were reportedly wounded, including Isma’il Ali al-Thlaji, a child who lost his eyesight and his right hand. And these are, of course, only some of the reported names of those killed by the U.S.-led coalition.
“In Raqqa, there are many causes of death,” the journalists at Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently wrote. These include “indiscriminate airstrikes by international coalition warplanes, daily artillery shelling by Syrian Democratic Forces, and ISIS mines scattered throughout the surrounding landscape.”
For those who survive, conditions inside the city only continue to worsen. Coalition bombing reportedly destroyed the two main pipes carrying water into the city in the 100-degree July heat, forcing people to venture to the banks of the Euphrates, where at least 27 have been reportedly killed by U.S.-led bombing while filling up jugs of water.
A Coalition in Name Only
The United States has launched nearly 95% of all coalition airstrikes in Syria in recent months, meaning the campaign is, in fact, almost exclusively an American affair.
“The French and British are launching about half a dozen strikes a week now,” Chris Woods, director of Airwars, explained to me. “The Belgians maybe one or two a week.”
In comparison, in Raqqa province last month the U.S. launched about twenty air or artillery strikes every single day.
In June alone, the U.S.-led coalition and U.S. Marines fired or dropped approximately 4,400 munitions on Raqqa and its surrounding villages. According to Mark Hiznay, the associate director of Human Rights Watch’s arms division, these munitions included 250-pound precision-guided small diameter bombs, as well as MK-80 bombs, which weigh between 500 and 2,000 pounds and are equipped with precision-guided kits. The bombs are dropped by B-52 bombers and other warplanes, most taking off from the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, or the USS George H.W. Bush, an aircraft carrier stationed off Syria’s coast in the eastern Mediterranean.
Hundreds of U.S. Marines, most likely from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, are also positioned outside Raqqa and are firing high explosive artillery rounds into the city from M777 Howitzers. In late June, the Marines’ official Twitter feed boasted that they were conducting artillery fire in support of U.S.-backed troops 24 hours a day.
The result of this type of warfare, says Airwars’ Chris Woods, is a staggering increase in civilian casualties. According to an analysis by the group, since President Trump took office six months ago, the U.S.-led campaign has reportedly killed nearly as many civilians in Syria and Iraq as were killed in the previous two and a half years of the Obama administration.
And for surviving civilians, the conditions of war don’t end once the bombing stops, as life today in the city of Tabqa indicates.
As of mid-July, according to Wassim Abdo, Tabqa still has neither running water nor electricity, even though displaced families have begun returning to their homes. There’s a shortage of bread, and still no functioning schools or hospitals. The Tabqa Dam, which once generated up to 20% of Syria’s electricity, remains inoperable. (U.S.-led coalition airstrikes reportedly damaged the structure repeatedly in February and March, when they burnedthe main control room, causing the United Nations to warn of a threat of catastrophic flooding downstream.) The U.S.-backed troops in Tabqa have, according to Abdo, banned the Internet and U.S. officials admit that children in the area are being infected by diseases carried by flies feeding off corpses still buried in the rubble.
Meanwhile, less than 30 miles to the east, the battle for control of Raqqa continues with tens of thousands of civilians still trapped inside the besieged city. Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend has indicated that the U.S.-led coalition may soon increase the rate of airstrikes there yet again.
From Wassim Abdo’s perspective, that coalition campaign in Syria has so far killed his parents and nephew and ruined his hometown. None of this, understandably, looks anything like a war against ISIS.
“My opinion of the international coalition,” he told me recently, “is that it’s a performance by the international community to target civilians and infrastructure and to destroy the country.” And this type of warfare, he added, “is not part of eliminating Daesh.”
Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and a news producer with Democracy Now! Her writing has appeared in Mother Jones, Al Jazeera, The Nation, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and frequently at TomDispatch. Special thanks on this piece go to Alhasan Ghazzawi.
Bolivian actress and filmmaker Carla Ortiz’s recent interview with Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations brings to the forefront several key issues regarding the dirty war on Syria and the West’s criminality.
Canada, for example, has always played a key role in the so-called Friends of Syria group, which is composed of countries that support terrorism in Syria. Literally, the group consists of Friends of Terrorism. Jaafari points out that whereas there were 137 members in the group, now there are only 11.
This is a political victory for Syria. Whereas the original membership, including Canada, still supports terrorism in Syria, the declining membership is at least symbolic.
Jaafari explains that Syria refuses to be destroyed, as Iraq, and Libya have been, and continue to be destroyed. Much to the chagrin of the West and its allies, Syria and its allies are defeating terrorism in Syria. Whereas (for the most part) terrorists are losing, Syrians are celebrating.
“Plan B” for the terrorist- supporting Western governments involves illegally supporting PKK/YPG/SDF terrorists who are trying to partition Syria by carving out a “Kurdish” polity on stolen Syrian territory. Just as Canada is violating Iraq’s territorial integrity by supporting Kurdish warmongering ambitions there, so too is Canada supporting these divisive elements on Syria.
Jaafari also details difficulties in dealing with the increasingly corrupt United Nations. It is this institution, after all, which recently elected Saudi Arabia – which forbids women to drive motor vehicles — to its Human Rights Council. He outlines evidence-based instances where the U.N. failed to appropriately condemn the West’s use of false flag chemical weapons fabrications (i.e. Iraq’s non-existent WMD).
The issue of chemical weapons, used extensively by the West and its terror proxies, is of particular importance now, since peace is on the verge of breaking out in Syria. The West and its allies have consistently demonstrated their preference for on-going, chaotic and destructive warfare, and they have consistently used false flag chemical weapons attacks to further their genocidal goals. Consequently, there are reasonable expectations that another such attack might take place as a pretext for escalated warfare.
In the interests of peace and humanity, we need to denounce these strategies of deception, and our (Western) governments’ support for terrorism.
We also need to spread the truth far and wide, to counter MSM lies about the dirty war on Syria.
 Ken Stone, “Canada’s Harper Government Supports Covert Mercenary War on Syria, Funds Al Qaeda Affiliated Rebels.” Global Research, November 12, 2013, (http://www.globalresearch.ca/canadas-harper-government-supports-covert-mercenary-war-on-syria-funds-al-qaeda-afiliated-rebels/5357781) Accessed July 29, 2017.
 Mark Taliano, “US-NATO Holocaust in Iraq: The Depopulation and Destruction of Mosul.” Global Research, July 12, 2017, (http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-nato-holocaust-in-iraq-the-depopulation-and-destruction-of-mosul/5598793) Accessed July 29, 2017.
Urban Times, “Libya: Ten Things About Gaddafi They Don’t Want You to Know.” Global Research, July 15, 2017, (http://www.globalresearch.ca/libya-ten-things-about-gaddafi-they-dont-want-you-to-know/5414289) Accessed July 29, 2017
 Sarah Abed, “The Kurds: Washington’s Weapon of Mass Destabilization in the Middle East” Global Research, July 14, 2017 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-kurds-washingtons-weapon-of-mass-destabilization-in-the-middle-east/5599207) Accessed July 29, 2017.
 Mark Taliano,“Syria Chemical Weapons Red Flags and False Flags.” Global Research, April 6, 2017,(http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-chemical-weapons-red-flags-and-false-flags/5583616) Accessed July 29, 2017.
On July 27, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Jew) imposed new sanctions against thirteen former and current Venezuelan officials including the interior minister Admiral Carmen Melendez, senior military brass, the president of the electoral council, and the finance chief of state oil company PDVSA, whose US assets would be frozen.
“Anyone elected to the national constituent assembly should know that their role in undermining democratic processes and institutions in Venezuela could expose them to potential US sanctions,” said Mnuchin.
The opposition and US moves are to force Maduro to give up his plan to have a 545-member Constituent Assembly elected on July 30.
Maduro called the US punishment illegal, insolent and unprecedented.
“Who do these imperialists in the United States think they are? The government of the world?” he said in a speech.
Could it be a warning to anti-Israel Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro that he too is going to contract cancer like the other six Latin American leaders who resisted American domination?
The opposition has rejected Maduro’s proposal of holding round table peace talks ahead of the National Constituent Assembly vote on July 30.
Addressing the crowds, Maduro said “I want peace, reunification and national dialogue. Do you want to give a lesson to these violent people? On Sunday the 30, you have to go out and vote in peace for the National Constituent Assembly.”
The pathetic anti-government liar from Miami, J.J. Rendpon bemoaned recently that the opposition is losing its support as the protesting crowds are shrinking.
Last month, an anti-Maduro terrorist hijacked a police helicopter and attacked country’s Supreme Court building in Caracas.
As usual, the Jewish-controlled media is busy churning Fake News in order to demonize democratically elected Maduro government.
United States have a long history of funding Western NGOs to bring regime changes in countries whose leaders refuse to take orders from them. Currently, this game is repeated in Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Lebanon and Iran.
In January 2009, Maduro political mentor, president Hugo Chavez order the expulsion of Israeli ambassador in Caracas along with entire Jewish staff in solidarity with Gaza people. Netanyahu blamed Iranian president Ahmadinejad for Chavez action.
Both Maduro and Hassan Rouhani exchanged state visits last year.
Watch a clip from Empire File below to learn the truth behind the Judea War on Venezuela.
A fresh release of emails, documents and photos was dumped onto online messageboard 4chan late this morning in the latest leak to hit Emmanuel Macron’s campaign ahead of France’s second round of presidential elections. The release purports to contain content from Macron and various staff members.
Files from the release are reported to have been sent to members of Chicago Hacking Conference THOTCON, who have verified their authenticity. Analysts who examined portions of the release say that the owners of the email accounts were practicing very poor security and appeared to have been targeted by a number of hacking methods, including spearphishing and bruteforce attacks. Staff members whose emails are contained in the leak include Quentin Lafay, Alain Torret and Pierre Person, among others. The cache of documents appears to be incredibly large and contains emails spanning back to over a decade ago in addition to financial data. The original leaker of the emails is currently unknown.
The WikiLeaks whistleblowing organization announced Tuesday the authenticity of over 21,000 documents leaked from the accounts of Emmanuel Macron’s campaign camp.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Friday, some nine gigabytes of emails allegedly leaked from accounts of Macron’s En Marche! movement were anonymously dumped. Macron’s campaign camp confirmed it had been hacked but claimed fake papers had been mixed up with authentic ones to spread lies ahead of the presidential election.
On Sunday, Macron won French presidency with 66.1 percent of the votes in the run-off. His right-wing rival Marine Le Pen conceded defeat with 33.9 percent of the votes.
On Sunday, two liars and Muslim haters, French president Emmanuel Macon and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Paris to mourn the 75th anniversary of the ethnic-cleansing of French Jews.
According to the Holocaust Industry, on July 14, 1942, French police rounded up 13,152 French Jews who were later sent to death camps in Poland and other German occupied territories.
Speaking near the former site of the Velodrome d’Hiver, the indoor cycle track from which the Jews were allegedly deported in 1942, Macron said: “It is indeed France that organized. Not a single German took part.”
It seems Macon agrees with Netanyahu’s Holocaust story that it were Palestinians who committed Holocaust.
In response, Netanyahu praised Macron as Friend of Israel, and said: “Your struggle against Islamic terrorism is also our struggle. The zealots of militant Islam seek to destroy you and seek to destroy us as well.”
In 2012, former French president Francois Hollande, a non-practicing Jew, had accused Netanyahu being obsessed with Iran and Muslims.
In April 2017, Macron’s opponent Marine Le Pen rejected the Velodrome d’Hiver round-up, saying French people played no part in the ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish communities. Marine is no Jew-hater. She has a Jewish bed-mate and she expelled her father and founder of her Front National (FN)party over denying the Six Million Died hoax.
French health minister Dr. Agnes Buzyn, however, claims that her father was among those Jews who were sent to holy Auschwitz torture camp.
This is part of the Zionist narrative of the so-called the Six Million Died, a claim debunked by New York rabbi Yosef Mizrachi in 2015.
“The truth, I’m telling you, that not even one million Jews were murdered by Nazis,” he said.
On February 17, 2015, American Jew writer, author and former Republican party’s propaganda strategist David Cole, claimed that Holocaust is based on fakes, frauds, and forgeries.
On March 3, 2016, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at The Week.com advised Donald Trump to learn from French Jew historian Marc Bloch’s book, The Strange Defeat, before throwing Israel under a bus. Bloch was executed on the order of the Vichy regime for treason. American Jewish couple, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, were executed on June 19, 1954 for stealing and passing-on America’s nuclear bomb secrets files to Soviet Union which enabled Russia to develop its first nuclear bomb in August 1949.
Pity, no French or American Muslim has committed such treason against his adopted country.
French-born Israeli ‘Holocaust historian’ Renee Poznanski claims that French Jews joined several French militias to fight the Vichy regime and the Nazi occupiers. Since 1990s, Hamas is conducting a similar military resistance against Jews occupying their homeland – but now the so-called Nazis victims – call it a terrorist organization.
Historically, France is the Mother of Terrorism. Even the word Terrorismhas French roots dating back to the 1794 French Revolution.
On June 5, 2017, UK-born professor Ben Carrington (University of Texas) said: Stop Saying That Muslims Invented Terrorism which was invented by Western Judeo-Christian colonists.
“The American side has made a move which, it is important to note, hasn’t been provoked by anything, to worsen Russian-US relations. [It includes] unlawful restrictions, attempts to influence other states of the world, including our allies, who are interested in developing and keeping relations with Russia,” Putin told channel host, Vladimir Solovyov, Sunday.
“We’ve been waiting for quite a long time that maybe something would change for the better, we had hopes that the situation would change. But it looks like, it’s not going to change in the near future… I decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything unanswered,” the Russian president added.
Earlier this week, following the US Congress’ approval of new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, the Russian foreign ministry announced that Moscow told Washington to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people.
The number of US diplomatic service staff in Russia was ordered to be reduced in order to equal the number of Russian diplomats in the US by September 1. As of now, it “greatly exceeds” the number of Russia’s embassy staff in the US, the ministry said. The American diplomatic mission includes more than 1,200 personnel.
“From the perspective of a working diplomatic mission, [the measure] is fairly sensitive,” Putin said.
The US State Department responded to Moscow’s move with regret, arguing that it was an “uncalled-for act.”
“We are assessing the impact of such a limitation and how we will respond to it,” a statement from the department said.
However, the State Department declined to comment on the exact number of embassy and consular staff in Russia, Reuters reports.
The Russian leader went on to say that there is a number of “important spheres of cooperation” between Moscow and Washington, which he hoped would not suffer because of America’s anti-Russian policies. Those mostly include the joint fight against terrorism, obligations to nuclear arms control, and space projects rather than economic relations, Putin said.
Moscow has much wider trade and economic relations with China, the EU and other countries than with the US, the president added.
Putin however underlined that Moscow and Washington had recently reached “concrete” results in de-escalating the crisis in war-torn Syria, which are in the interests of the entire Middle East region.
“We also work together on fighting illegal migration and organized crime in a broad sense. There are also issues of cybersecurity,” Putin pointed out, having also referred to joint Russia-US scientific projects in space, such as plans to jointly explore Venus.
“The main thing is, that we have a multi-faceted cooperation in many fields. Of course, Moscow has a lot to say and there is a number of spheres of cooperation that we could potentially cut and it would be sensitive for the US side. But I think we shouldn’t do it. It would harm development of international relations. I hope it won’t get to that point. As of today, I’m against it.”
The whistleblowing organisation claims the batch of 21,075 emails, dating from March 2009 to April 2017, are uniquely verified through its DKIM system.
A full archive of 71,848 emails with 26,506 attachments from 4,493 unique senders is provided for context, according to a WikiLeaks statement.
It states that while only the 21,075 emails marked with its green “DKIM verified” banner are certified by WikiLeaks as genuine, it believes “based on statistical sampling” that the “overwhelming majority” of the remainder are also authentic.
“As the emails are often in chains and include portions of each other, it is usually possible to confirm the integrity other emails in the chain as a result of the DKIM verified emails within it,” the statement reads.
Macron’s presidential campaign was hit with a huge email leak on the eve of the presidential election on May 5. The electoral commission prohibited the French media from publishing the contents of the leak.
DETAILS TO FOLLOW.
July 27, 2017 at 11:53 am
The National Committee of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement called for escalating the BDS campaign against the Israeli occupation and companies cooperating with it, including the British security firm G4S over its involvement in Israeli aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque, Safa News Agency reported.
The initial BDS campaign against G4S was launched in 2012 in response to a call by Palestinians. However despite selling its subsidiary G4S Israel the security firm maintained its presence in Israel through its 50 per cent shares in Policity, a national police training centre which works inside Israeli prisons where thousands of Palestinians are detained.
Policity also holds a contract with Israel to build the Israeli Police Academy in the illegal settlement of Beit Shemesh. This academy offers all forms of training for Israel, which practices torture against the Palestinian people, mainly in occupied Jerusalem.
Policity is also responsible for 40 per cent of the training Israeli police officers receive, a total of 40,000 working hours according to the current contract.
Training includes reigning in demonstrations, raiding homes, investigation, torture, shooting and an arrest campaign carried out by undercover forces against the Palestinians.
A New York Times headline on 24 July is representative of why there is continued American ignorance regarding Palestinian efforts to secure their freedom.
“Mosque crisis and Jordan attack raise fears of escalating violence in Israel,” it declares.
Written by Isabel Kershner, the text places the violence “in and around East Jerusalem.” Yet the headline tells a false story, since, as the UN Security Council recently affirmed, East Jerusalem is part of the West Bank territory Israel occupied in 1967 – and therefore not part of an expanded Israel.
A New York Times news quiz takes a similar approach, referring in its headline to “Israel violence” – rather than “West Bank violence.” The quiz itself poses this question: “Deadly violence erupted in and around Jerusalem and in the West Bank on Friday when Israel placed metal detectors at entrances to what sacred site?”
The newspaper’s headline writers would be hard pressed to present matters in a more misleading manner.
The seven Palestinians and three Israelis killed since last Friday – after Israel installed metal detectors at the entrances to the al-Aqsa mosque compound – were all slain in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the Gaza Strip.
Just as misleading, Kershner referred Wednesday to “Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem” with no mention of the fact that this is occupied territory or that the UN Security Council and all governments in the world reject Israel’s unilateral claim to have annexed the city.
(She did, however, note the world’s rejection of the annexation in an article published today.)
In another recent article – effectively a PR piece for the Israeli army – the newspaper also apparently awards part of Syria to Israel: “This week, the Israeli military revealed the scope of the humanitarian aid project, which it calls Operation Good Neighbor and which began in June 2016 along the Israeli-Syrian boundary on the Golan Heights.”
This suggests that this is a border between Israel and Syria. It isn’t. It is a ceasefire line entirely within the occupied Golan Heights, which is Syrian territory. Again, Israel’s 1981 annexation of the territory, which it also occupied in 1967, was declared by the UN Security Council to be “null and void.”
Yet a caption accompanying the article refers to the “Israeli-annexed Golan Heights.”
At one point Kershner does mention that “Israel captured” the Golan Heights “from Syria in the 1967 war.”
The article also states: “The humanitarian effort is likely to burnish the reputation of the Israeli military, which is usually viewed as an occupying force and formidable war machine.”
This is the only mention of occupation and it presents it not as a fact, but merely as a perspective held by people who don’t like Israel and whose view ought presumably to be viewed with suspicion.
Kershner refers elsewhere to the “Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.”
All of this suggests that instead of reporting the facts about the international status of the territory, The New York Times seeks to launder and support Israel’s claims with deceptive language that explicitly omits references to occupation.
This puts into perspective Kershner’s use of the term “Israeli-annexed” to describe occupied East Jerusalem. Similarly misleading language about the West Bank can be anticipated. In fact, it’s already occurring.
Most outlets have reduced their analysis of recent events to the past two weeks – starting with the killing on 14 July of two occupation police officers by three Palestinian citizens of Israel outside al-Aqsa mosque. All three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces.
Lost or downplayed is 50 years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank involving massive violence and discrimination against Palestinians. Media have largely ignored the constant threats and promises made by Israeli leaders and government-backed groups to take over the al-Aqsa mosque compound and replace the Muslim holy sites with a Jewish temple.
She did not refer to the “brazen” Israeli theft of Palestinian land over decades, not only since 1967, but since the Nakba of 1948 when most Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homeland.
Violence in the eyes of too many journalists begins when Palestinians initiate it, and everything Israel does is presented as a “response.”
Closely following the Israeli official line that Palestinian “incitement” – rather than the pervasive brutality of Israel’s occupation – is to blame for violence, Kershner stressed in the aftermath of the 14 July shootings, that the Fatah party of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had “whipped up emotions.”
“Moreover, the Palestinian civil disobedience campaign was coupled with bloodshed – three Israelis were stabbed to death and four Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces – and the decision to remove the remaining metal railings and scaffolding occurred under the threat of further violence,” according to Kershner.
She was referring to Israel’s decision to remove the metal detectors and other installations it placed at entrances to al-Aqsa that Palestinians see as another step in Israel’s plan to eventually seize total control over the compound.
Kershner managed to emphasize violence by Palestinians while whitewashing Israel’s. Occupation forces are described as providing “security.” And as journalists habitually do, she attributed the Palestinian deaths to vague “clashes,” rather than to the fact that Israel routinely chooses to attack civilians in an occupied territory with live fire and other weapons that in the last two weeks have injured more than 1,000 people.
And she has ignored very real incitement from senior Israeli leaders.
Not mentioned by The New York Times was the threat by Tzachi Hanegbi, a senior minister in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of a “third Nakba” against Palestinians – a reference to Israel’s previous bouts of mass ethnic cleansing in 1948 and 1967.
“You’ve been warned,” Hanegbi told Palestinians in a post on Facebook last week.
“It’s time to expel the families of terrorists,” Hazan said.
Hazan said he did not want to sound “too extreme,” adding, “if it was up to me, I’d enter the terrorist’s home last night, take him and his family with him and execute them all … A quick and simple execution.”
“The land of Israel is for the people of Israel and not for Ishmael,” he concluded.
Hazan has previously promised that if he becomes prime minister he will replace the al-Aqsa mosque with a Jewish temple.
It is perhaps his prime ministerial ambitions that are driving the current incumbent Netanyahu to echo Hazan’s demands for deadly revenge. This, of course, is not the first time the prime minister has voiced such violent sentiments.
Yet those who get their news from The New York Times will be misled into thinking that it is just Palestinian leaders who have “whipped up emotions.”
The New York Times is not alone in misleading the public.
CNN’s Abeer Salman and Oren Liebermann wrote about a Christian man, Nidal Aboud, who joined Muslims praying outside al-Aqsa mosque: “He is urging all Christians to unite with Muslims against what he says is blatant unfairness, and even urged Jews to stand against Israeli occupation.”
The “even” leaps out here. Why should it be a surprise to anyone that Palestinians urge Jews to stand against the Israeli occupation? It’s as if CNN is surprised that Jews would stand for equal rights and an end to the oppression endured by Palestinians.
Meanwhile, in an article about five interfaith activists prohibited by Israel from traveling from Dulles Airport to Tel Aviv this week, Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press gives more credence to biased descriptions of the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement than to what the movement itself says it seeks to achieve.
“Supporters of BDS … say they are using nonviolent means to promote the Palestinian independence efforts,” Zoll states. She provides a brief reference to ending the occupation, but says nothing about equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, two of the fundamental goals of the BDS movement.
But she gives prominence to Israel’s claims that BDS “masks a more far-reaching aim to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.”
Faithfully reproducing Israeli government talking points, Zoll asserts that “Some critics accuse the BDS movement of anti-Semitism because it singles out Israel for boycott while overlooking the Palestinian part in the conflict and ignoring countries with poor human rights records.”
Claims of singling out Israel in a Palestinian-led movement are as absurd as claims of South African anti-apartheid activists – and their allies – singling out the apartheid South African government.
Nor does Zoll balance the criticism of unnamed critics by pointing out that the Palestinian leaders of the BDS movement explicitly oppose all forms of racism and bigotry, including anti-Semitism.
By giving more space to the anti-BDS position of those who oppose equal rights for Palestinians, the AP – like The New York Times – launders Israel’s political positions as neutral and uncontroversial descriptions.
I first met Rick Ufford-Chase, one of the interfaith activists denied permission to board the Dulles flight, in 1990. He is now with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and was moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). We met in Arizona when he was focused on labor and human rights violations against Mexicans and Central Americans.
Israel is presumably concerned that its violations of Palestinian rights are now attracting the attention of American activists who, like Ufford-Chase, have in the course of their lives addressed human rights violations in Central America, Mexico, the US and South Africa – many of them participating in boycotts along the way.
Israel and its surrogates are deploying false accusations of anti-Semitism and other smears in an effort to silence those raising the alarm about Israel’s racist “two-tier system” for Palestinians and Israelis.
Israel is also being helped in its effort to stave off justice by journalists who continue to present a grotesquely false picture where Israel – which has imposed a system of apartheid on millions of Palestinians – is the victim and Palestinians are to blame for the ongoing strife.
July 30, 2017 at 2:53 pm
Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has reportedly taken steps to strip Amnesty International of its tax benefits in Israel, barring Israeli donors from receiving tax deductions from their donations to the international human rights organization owing to its calls to boycott Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, Israeli media reported on Saturday.
According to Israeli media, Miki Zohar, a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, from the right-wing Likud party wrote a letter to Kahlon in which he accused Amnesty International of working to “persecute and slander IDF soldiers.” He reportedly wrote:
Amnesty supports illegal infiltrators and draft refusers, and works with all its might to harm the State of Israel
He then went on to request that the finance minister use the anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) bill passed in March, which banned foreigners who have openly expressed support for BDS from entering the country, in order to “immediately revoke Israel’s recognition of donations to Amnesty, since it is an organisation which encourages others to boycott all or part of Israel.”
In June, Amnesty International announced that it was launching a campaign to convince the international community to implement a full boycott of illegal Israeli settlements across the occupied Palestinian territory.
Slamming Israel’s “virtually total impunity” for its war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since 1967, Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty called on foreign states to impose an “international ban on settlement products, a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel and Palestinian armed groups,” as well as full investigations by the International Criminal Court into crimes committed as part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“By banning settlement goods and putting in place laws and regulations that stop companies from operating in Israeli settlements, governments worldwide have an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of millions of Palestinians who have endured decades of injustice, indignity and discrimination” Shetty said at the time.
Amnesty International reportedly reacted to the calls for stripping the group from receiving tax benefits in Israel, which could greatly affect the amount of donations they receive in the country, by refusing to respond to “politicians’ populist initiatives.”
“When there is a need, we will reply officially to the authorised bodies, such as the Finance Ministry, and discuss the topics.”
The BDS movement was founded in 2005 by a swath of Palestinian civil society as a peaceful movement to restore Palestinian rights in accordance with international law through strategies of boycotting Israeli products and cultural institutions, divesting from companies complicit in violations against Palestinians, and implementing state sanctions against the Israeli government.
July 28, 2017 at 3:11 pm
Israel’s finance minister is working on a set of measures to revoke tax benefits for anyone that supports Amnesty International’s campaign for a boycott against the Israeli occupation.
Sources in Israel have reported that the Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is working to introduce a set of measures to revoke tax benefits from Amnesty International’s supporters, in accordance with the Boycott Law.
Kahlon’s remark reflects the growing anxiety within the country over the snowballing of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS). Since its launch in 2005 dozens of artists, academics, human rights organisations and various institutions around the world have joined the campaign against Israel’s occupation and its discriminatory policies against Palestinians.
The new measures to fight the global BDS campaign proposed by Kahlon are in response to a report by Amnesty International two months ago which called on the “international community to ban the import of all goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements and put an end to the multimillion dollar profits that have fuelled mass human rights violations against Palestinians”.
Amnesty submitted the report to mark the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. The report accused Israel of being a “war criminal” because the “settlements” are “war crimes”. Amnesty said:
For decades, the world has stood by as Israel has destroyed Palestinians’ homes and plundered their land and natural resources for profit.
Amnesty International‘s Secretary-General, Salil Shetty, objected to the international communities’ paralysis over the situation saying “50 years on, merely condemning Israel’s settlement expansion is not enough”. “It’s time for states,” he added. “to take concrete international action to stop the financing of settlements which themselves flagrantly violate international law and constitute war crimes.”
July 31, 2017 at 3:46 am
A military court on Sunday upheld an 18-month prison sentence against an Israeli soldier who shot an already-incapacitated Palestinian man after an alleged attack in 2015, local media reported.
The court denied both appeals by the former soldier, Elor Azaria, to quash or reduce his sentence and by the prosecution for a harsher sentence, according to the Times of Israel.
Warning: Disturbing video showing the murder of Abdel Fattah Sharif (viewer discretion advised)
The court said Azaria’s testimony had been unreliable and rejected suggestion that comments critical of Azaria by the Israeli army’s chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot had influenced the initial trial.
Azaria was filmed shooting Abdel Fattah Sharif in the head in the West Bank city of Hebron in 2015 by an activist with human rights group B’Tselem, opening a fissure in Israeli government and society between those who demanded an investigation and the soldier’s supporters.
While Azaria has argued his sentence, handed down in January, was too harsh because other soldiers have not been found guilty in similar situations, prosecutors have argued the sentence was relatively light.
The “Holocaust”, or Six Million Jews murdered in German “gas-chambers” as a deliberate policy of extermination of Jews by the Third Reich in the Second World War, is a religion.
Richard N. Williamson is an English traditionalist Catholic bishop who has been a figure of controversy among the holocaust establishment. Thought police Deborah Lipstadt calls him a “hard-core” denier. On her 2009 blog, Lipstadt declared that Williamson is “the gift that keeps on giving…I would be happy to never hear of him again.” That statement obviously underscores Lipstadt’s overarching goals for those who do not subscribe to the holocaust religion.
When Bishop Williamson questioned the prevailing notion that Jews were gassed in Auschwitz, fire-breathing dragon Abraham Foxman got straight to the point: “Bishop Williamson must unequivocally acknowledge the full extent of the Holocaust and recognise the fact of the existence of the gas chambers.” Bishop Williamson is going to clear some of those issues for us here.
Alexis: Avi Weiss, senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, wrote an article in the Washington Post last year entitled, “Auschwitz is a sacred place of Jewish memory. It’s no place for a Catholic church.” Weiss implicitly agrees with Israel Shamir, who writes that “the cult of the Holocaust” is actually “an adaptation of the Jewish spiritual rule for Christian minds, as it replaces Christ with Israel, Golgotha with Auschwitz, and the Resurrection with the creation of the Jewish state.”
Address some of those issues for us here. It seems that people can criticize virtually anything, but the moment a person touches Auschwitz in a critical way, he is somehow an anti-Semite. No one, to my knowledge, has ever called you names for saying that the Sound of Music is a “soul-rotting slush.” Help us here.
Bishop Williamson: Of course the “Holocaust”, or Six Million Jews murdered in German “gas-chambers” as a deliberate policy of extermination of Jews by the Third Reich in the Second World War, is a religion.
Professor Faurisson, professed atheist, has written a whole article to demonstrate how one feature after another of the Catholic religion has its substitute or counterpart in “Holocaustianity”. The Jews are constantly fabricating substitute religions for Christianity, either to pull souls away from Jesus Christ, whom they have continuously hated in his Church ever since they crucified himself, or to let out their own unsatisfied need for their own Messiah.
People search around for explanations of what one might call the Jewish phenomenon, or the phenomenon of the Jews. Few people can rightly understand them, because few people still take seriously the divine Messiah, for whom he made them and formed them, yet who rejected him when he came, and who are deeply and divinely frustrated ever since, a frustration that cannot come to an end until they once more recognise him, and join whatever there will still be of the Catholic Church at world’s end.
As for the label “anti-semite”, as Joseph Sobran said, that does not mean anyone who hates the Jews, but anyone who the Jews hate. My own eyes were opened as to who the Jews are and what they are up to, in theory by the small book of the Argentinian priest, Fr Julio Meinvielle “The Mystery of the Jews in History”, in practice by the Zuendel trials in Canada in the late 1980’s. Hats off to brave lovers and tellers of truth, without any hatred of the Jews or of anybody else, men like Faurisson and Zuendel, even if they are not Catholics (but then the Catholic Church too has been heavily subverted since the Second Vatican Council). Such men have rendered a huge service to poor modern mankind!
 “Denying the deniers: Q & A with Deborah Lipstadt,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 19, 2009.
 David Harrison, “Downfall of Holocaust-denying bishop,” Telegraph, February 28, 2009.
 Avi Weiss, “Auschwitz is a sacred place of Jewish memory. It’s no place for a Catholic church,” Washington Post, January 28, 2015.
 Israel Shamir, Cabbala of Power (Charleston, SC: BookSurge, 2007), 92.
by Muna Dajani
Earlier this month, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced a new deal in which Israel will sell the Palestinians 33 million cubic meters of desalinated Red Sea water per year, with 10 million cubic meters transferred to the Gaza Strip and the rest to the West Bank.
The deal masks the fact that Palestine is undergoing a man-made, rather than natural, water crisis. Government officials, the international community, donor agencies, and even academic literature portray Palestine’s lack of water resources as a foregone conclusion – a result of the region’s climatic conditions. What these narratives fail to address is that Palestine’s water scarcity is a social and political construct that obscures how Israel entrenches its hegemony over water resources, resulting in severe water inequality for Palestinians.
For decades, Israel has proposed technological solutions to address this scarcity, such as desalination plants and wastewater treatment and reuse. International donors have played a major role in reinforcing Israel’s approach. These solutions are tied to the belief that science, technology, and infrastructure will ensure that water is no longer a source of contention, conflict, and even war. But these technologically driven solutions disregard the social, political, and cultural elements of water.
This is not to say that technological advances in water are not essential for the development of societies. Indeed, the harnessing of additional water sources is needed to accommodate increasing populations, particularly in the face of the effects of climate change. But in the case of Israel and Palestine such technologies have embedded political motivations and uses. Indeed, we must ask: How does Israel benefit from these technological advancements while maintaining its coercive control over the water of the West Bank, not to mention its responsibility for the water crisis in the Gaza Strip? Can Palestinians rely on the potential of technology to increase their water availability under the context of occupation?
This policy brief examines how, in fact, Israel’s technological innovations operate in a context of systematic theft of water resources, which weakens Palestinian efforts to attain water rights and the equitable allocation of water sources. It focuses particularly on international donors’ role in shoring up this situation, and offers recommendations on what Palestinians can do to challenge the status quo and obtain the water rights to which they are entitled.
When Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights in 1967, all the headwaters of the Jordan River, in addition to West Bank groundwater, came under its control. 1 In 1982, the Israeli military transferred its control of the West Bank’s water resources to Mekorot, Israel’s water company founded in 1937.
The 1993 Oslo Accords established a Joint Water Committee (JWC) through which Israelis and Palestinians coordinate management of water resources in the West Bank. Yet the Accords allow Israel to control Palestinian water infrastructure development by sanctioning and freezing Palestinian water projects while also intimidating Palestinians so as to legitimize water projects in settlements, which are illegal under international law.
Israel is currently using 85% of the shared water resources of the West Bank, leaving Palestinians high and dry. Not only does Israel exert hegemony over access to West Bank resources, the Palestinian Water Authority is completely dependent on Israel as the main supplier of water, purchasing its stock from Israel since the Oslo Accords. And contrary to Israeli claims, the Palestinians are not receiving gratis water additional to that which was allocated by Oslo, leaving the PA with no choice but to buy more water from Mekorot to meet the increasing demand of its population. 2
Moreover, Israel has since the 1990s made huge investments in desalination and wastewater treatment, enabling it to become a water exporter to its water-scarce neighbors. Mekorot manages 100 mega-projects throughout Israel, including 40 desalination facilities that provide 60 million cubic meters of water per year. In addition, Israel’s wastewater reclamation and treatment facilities allow it to reuse 60% of its treated wastewater for agricultural purposes. Israel outsources this technical expertise to the developing world, and its collaborations with water companies and governments of Argentina, Cyprus, Uganda, Azerbaijan, and Portugal generate billions of dollars.
With its drive for technical solutions that ignore the politics of its appropriation of Palestinian water, Israel’s agreements with the PA have addressed water as a practical issue. The established transfers, quotas, and swaps fail to adhere to the principles of international water law, which call for equitable water allocations and the acknowledgment of Palestinian water rights. After a six-year freeze in the JWC’s work, cooperation resumed in January 2017. The freeze was due to a conditional arrangement in which Israeli settlement projects had to be approved for Palestinian projects to be considered. According to Jan Selby, between 1998 and 2010, Palestinians gave approval to more than 100 Israeli projects in the West Bank, but 97 donor-funded projects are still awaiting Israeli approval. The resumption of meetings and cooperation is far from benign. While the new arrangement will allow Palestinians to carry out the laying of pipes and networks without JWC approval, it does the same for Israel, meaning that Israel can develop its networks for settlements without joint approval from the JWC. Moreover, as Selby notes, “Though Palestinians will now have autonomy to lay pipelines, what they won’t have is any additional water to go in them – except with Israeli consent.”
The international donor community, in its eagerness to establish evidence of the usefulness of its million-dollar investments, exacerbates this system of water inequality between Israel and Palestine. Though donors’ approach has been to increase water availability and protect the health of people and the environment, under occupation this is achieved through acquiescence to the status quo. Aid is not supposed to be a long-term intervention, but rather should provide support to local actors and communities so they can develop sustainable resource reclamation and ownership. Considering the decades-long interventions and millions of dollars channeled to the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) in the water sector, the failure of donor communities to enhance the living conditions of Palestinians demonstrates how aid has harmed the recognition of Palestinian rights.
Since the 1990s, international donor agencies have increased investment in the Palestinian water sector by constructing small- and large-scale wastewater treatment plants, water networks, sewage lines, and even a desalination plant in Gaza. Most of these projects are conducted under the terms of the Oslo Accords, which dictate that the Joint Water Committee plans the projects before any money is given to the PA. As such, the development of the water sector outside the narrow scope of Oslo is restricted. 3
International investments have generally focused on the construction of wastewater treatment plants in the West Bank, with increasing donor interest in the development of six major plants in Nablus West, Jenin, Jericho, Al-Bireh, Ramallah, and Tulkarm. Yet a significant number of these projects do not come to fruition. The Salfit wastewater treatment plant, for example, secured funding in the 1990s but has never been operational. The JWC has taken the project through a labyrinth of bureaucracy, from changing its approved location to making its operation conditional on linking it to the Ariel settlement, one of the largest settlement blocs in the West Bank that channels its untreated wastewater into Palestinian villages nearby.
The official framing of these projects obfuscates underlying political issues. In 2015, for instance, the European Union and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) signed an agreement to construct a $20.5 million wastewater treatment plant in Tubas Governorate in the northeastern West Bank. The Head of the PWA, Mazin Ghunaim, said:
Untreated wastewater remains a major challenge in Palestine and has serious implications on health, environment, and agriculture. This project will significantly reduce health risks for the population of North Tubas Governorate and the contamination of the environment. It will also allow the re-use of treated wastewater in agriculture hence conserving the limited groundwater resources in Palestine. (emphasis added)
Such convictions of the need for wastewater infrastructure to replace a “limited” resource is echoed by many PA officials, donor agencies, and civil society organizations.
While wastewater treatment is necessary, its framing as an additional water source for agriculture strengthens the notion of finding alternative means of achieving water rights in Palestine. In other words, the focus on the potential of wastewater rather than Palestinians’ lack of water rights couches water as a natural crisis that needs a technological solution – rather than a man-made problem that deliberately deprives Palestinians of a vital resource.
As for the Gaza Strip, over the last decade news articles, reports, and international campaigns have described its water scarcity as “catastrophic,” “alarming,” and constituting a “humanitarian crisis.” Indeed, the population is forced to make do with a main water source – a coastal aquifer – that is 96% unfit for human consumption. This is due to decades of over-extraction, sewage contamination, and seawater intrusion. Israel’s blockade and offensives have exponentially exacerbated this problem and solidified water de-development, in large part due to the destruction of vital wastewater treatment plants, reservoirs, and power stations.
The international community as well as the PA have since the 1990s framed Gaza’s water crisis as solvable via a desalination plant. The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, a body bringing together 28 EU countries and 15 nations from the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, has particularly pushed for the project. The union argues:
With no alternative existing source of fresh water, a large-scale desalination plant is an absolute requirement to address the water deficit in Gaza. The urgency for the Desalination Facility for Gaza has increased with the rising level of humanitarian crisis in Gaza related to inadequate water resources with related impacts on human health.
Such an approach strengthens the narrative of the geographical and political separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, treating Gaza as a standalone entity requiring its own energy-intensive facility for water. These claims ignore the fact that the water of the West Bank – almost entirely controlled by Israel – can provide relief to Gaza. As Clemens Messerschmid, a German hydrologist working in the Palestinian water sector, contends:
Under international water law, Gaza has a right to a fair share of the Coastal Aquifer Basin. Gaza cannot be separated from the rest of Palestine. Gaza must be supplied from outside, just like New York, London, Paris, or Munich. The water-rich West Bank purchases ever-increasing amounts of water from Mekorot Company (Israel), while Gaza should look after itself? This is pure and 100-percent Israeli long-standing logic and hydro-political rationale. The historical Palestinian struggle for water rights, for an “equitable and reasonable share of trans-boundary water resources,” which is enshrined in international water law, is abandoned under this new paradigm. The Israeli Negev has a surplus of water because the entire upper Jordan River is transferred at Lake Tiberias into the National Water Carrier, which passes Gaza at its doorstep. Huge amounts of surplus water are literally flowing past Gaza, while the Strip keeps drying up.
Similar to the wastewater treatment plants in the West Bank, Gaza’s desalination plant, though constructed, is not fully operational. UNICEF, after decades of raising funds from the EU and others, inaugurated the plant in January 2017. However, by the end of February the plant was only running on a partial basis, powered by emergency fuel. Desalination plants also require continuous maintenance and spare parts and materials, which is now facilitated under the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism. Designed to “facilitate urgently needed reconstruction,” the Mechanism made the blockade its starting point, a move that Oxfam criticized as normalizing the siege and “giving the appearance of legitimizing an extensive control regime.” Moreover, Oxfam reiterated the danger of separating economic and technological solutions from political conditions.
When Palestinian and international policymakers flag desalination as the only solution to Gaza’s water situation, this shores up the narrative that technological advancement saves the day, without addressing the underlying political realities and restrictions on the ground.
It also exemplifies donors’ naïve approach to water in Gaza and the West Bank. Essentially, these projects fail to challenge – and thus, even unwittingly, underwrite – Israel’s international law violations, namely its continued occupation and expropriation of Palestinian land and natural resources.
Moreover, the main donors, namely the EU, the UK, and the US, not only fund problematic projects, but actively promote Israeli technology and scientific advancement while ignoring the potential for Palestinian water research.
With the Israeli occupation imposing military laws on the access and control of essential resources such as water, as well as tightening imports of basic fuel and energy sources, the Palestinian Authority has not developed substantial infrastructural development in the water sector for decades, especially in Area C, which constitutes 60% of the West Bank. The occupation’s “civil administration” has the power to veto all infrastructure projects in Area C, with an acceptance rate of only 1.5% between 2010 and 2014. Most large water projects have been frozen due to Israel’s condition of connecting settlements to such projects, whose funds come from donor agencies to the Palestinian people. Area C therefore remains a site of de-development and is framed by the international community as a space of humanitarian intervention only.
Moreover, the international community’s close collaboration with and admiration of Israel’s water technology remains unconstrained and blind to the de-development and sanctioning of the Palestinian water sector. Recently, the EU rated Jerusalem – occupied by Israel in violation of international law – as one of the top five cities in the world for water efficiency, management, and innovation. This congratulates an occupation regime for its work in a city where 36% of its Palestinian residents are not even connected to the Israeli water infrastructure and where discriminatory policies are implemented in order to empty the metropolis of Palestinian inhabitants.
In 2012, the European Commission and the Israeli Ministry of Energy and Water Resources signed a five-year memorandum of understanding to strengthen scientific cooperation, especially in the field of water desalination and energy. The British government is also pursuing such collaboration with Israel. It recently launched two platforms that entail such initiatives as placing Palestinian graduate students in Israeli laboratories to build partnerships and “solve serious water shortage and quality issues.” Apart from the business-as-usual stance toward an occupying force, the approach is problematic in that it seeks to normalize the occupation given that investment in scientific excellence is not considered for Palestinian universities and research institutions. Rather, all work benefits the institutions of the occupier.
One seeming exception to this trend is through the UK’s Department for International Development, which supplied$1.6 million to help vulnerable rural farmers in Area C of the West Bank, mainly Bedouin herders, support their families due to the increased cost of agricultural production. The program has allowed the farmers to rehabilitate water cisterns, and has provided approximately 20 miles of water conveyance systems; these developments have improved irrigation efficiency. Cisterns, however, have limited storage capacity (70 cubic meters/year) and rely on harvesting rainwater. As such, their rehabilitation only alleviates, rather than helps to solve, the occupation’s imposed water shortage, and in a broader sense weakens Palestinian efforts to achieve an equitable share of resources by limiting more empowering water development to small-scale solutions.
In sum, donors have continued a business-as-usual approach that normalizes the occupation, engaging with and funding research and scientific collaboration with Israel and investing millions of dollars in water infrastructure development commandeered by Israel. Donors are even rehabilitating or rebuilding infrastructure that Israeli forces destroy. Donors’ complicity in these destructive mechanisms contributes to Palestinian complacency and dependency, as well as an overall de-development of the Palestinian water sector. An overwhelming apoliticization of water issues impedes the Palestinian quest for the right to self-determination.
While the water situation may look bleak for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, there are a number of strategies that Palestinians and their allies are undertaking – and can develop further – to reveal the political, man-made nature of water inequality in the OPT and push for just solutions to the crisis.
Finally, underpinning all the above, it is vital to reintroduce and reframe the struggle over access to and control of natural resources as part of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and freedom.
Al-Shabaka Policy Member Muna Dajani is a Palestinian environmental researcher and activist from Jerusalem. Muna holds a Masters degree in International Development and Environment. She is currently a PhD student at the London School of Economics (LSE) at the department of Geography and Environment. Her research will aim to identify the link between identity, resilience and farming under belligerent occupation, where farming acquires political subjectivity as a form of cultural resistance. Her research interests are environmental politics, community-led resource management, and social impacts of climate change.
Israeli musicians urge Radiohead to reconsider violating the Palestinian call for boycott.
Dear Thom Yorke,
We are Israeli musicians writing you about your scheduled performance in Israel this July 19. It is our understanding that the public appeal urging you to respect the Palestinian picket line and cancel this concert was published only after a private appeal went unanswered. Likewise, we will only publish a public letter if we are unable to engage with you in private.
We would like to respond directly to a comment you made in Rolling Stone. Referring to Roger Waters, Desmond Tutu and the many other artists and public figures who’ve urged you to respect the call for cultural boycott, you said that you “just can’t understand why going to play a rock show or going to lecture at a university [is a problem to them].”
We have great respect for Roger Waters and Desmond Tutu, but their problems are not the point, as they would surely be the first to concede. Waters, Tutu and the others have reached out to you in response to a request for solidarity from Palestinians. The call for cultural boycott to end grave Israeli violations of human rights has overwhelming support among Palestinians. To them, it is clear that to entertain their oppressors at this point in time shows indifference to their suffering and helps perpetuate it.
Every international artist who plays in Israel serves as a propaganda tool for the Israeli government. International performances in Israel serve the government’s agenda of whitewashing its war crimes against Palestinians by creating a “business as usual” atmosphere wherein the status-quo, a reality of colonization and military occupation for Palestinians, becomes normalized. Maintaining this atmosphere relies heavily on creating a facade of Israel as a hip, advanced, progressive state with a vibrant and diverse cultural scene.
In 2005 the Israeli foreign ministry decided to invest in a public relations strategy to “re-brand Israel,” diverting attention away from Israeli crimes by highlighting Israeli cultural and scientific achievements. Needless to say, the government which just celebrated 50 years of brutal military rule over the occupied Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip should not be assisted, even unintentionally. The government which legislated to suppress even the commemoration of the displacement of the majority indigenous Palestinian population in 1948 should not be given the chance to claim that artists and musicians are endorsing its policies.
This effect of a performance in Israel can not be undone even with the best intentions. Any statement that you might wish to make on stage would be overshadowed by the fact that you would be crossing an international picket line established by the vast majority of civil society organizations in Palestine. On the other hand, if you decided not to play, it would send a strong message to the Israeli government that their racist policies and grave violations of Palestinian human rights will not be normalized. It would also send a message to the people of Palestine that you’re with them in their struggle in a very real way.
Israel is increasingly notorious for being a place that forward-thinking artists who care about equality and freedom want little to do with. We are confident that this reality will contribute to moving the Israeli government to change its unjust policies, and help convince companies to divest from Israel, just as they did in apartheid South Africa. Canceling your show will disrupt the “business as usual” facade that international performances in Israel perpetuate.
Please reconsider violating the Palestinian call for boycott. We remain at the ready to talk to you about any questions or concerns that you may have, and continue to welcome a conversation with you.
Michal Sapir (Afor Gashum)
Alma Ben Yossef (Lil’ Oof)
Aviad Albert (finkelbert)
Yonatan Eldan (You’re Next Records)
Via the Palestinian National BDS Committee and Mondoweiss.
The Jewish lobby in the U.S. Congress has introduced a law which – if passed – seeks to imprison for up to 20 years and issue fines of up to $1 million to any American who dares to propose or support a boycott of Israel on account of the Jews-only state’s suppression of the Palestinians.
The proposed law, H. R. 1697, is officially sponsored by the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), and was first introduced to the Senate by the Jewish Senator Ben Cardin (real name “Kardonsky”) and several other Jews in Congress.
The Act’s “short title” is the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act,” and, according to its official description, aims to “to amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 to include in the prohibitions on boycotts against allies of the United States boycotts fostered by international governmental organizations against Israel and to direct the Export-Import Bank of the United States to oppose boycotts against Israel, and for other purposes.”
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In other words, the bill seeks to include the proposing and implementation of boycotts of Israel (an international campaign known colloquially as ‘BDS,’ short for boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions) under the auspices of the already existing Export Administration Act, which grants the President the right to control U.S. exports for reasons of national security, foreign policy, and/or short supply.
According to the official website of the Bureau for Industry and Security, the criminal penalties for infringing the Export Administration Act “can reach 20 years imprisonment and $1 million per violation.”
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets/follow_button.html?screen_name=The_Resister&show_screen_name=true&show_count=false&size=lAccording to a detailed report by the Washington D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep), the bill is the “American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s top 2017 lobbying priority.”
In addition, IRmep says, the “other key problem with the Israel Anti-Boycott Law is that it inserts Israel into places it has no right to be – at the very center of laws protecting U.S. national security, trade and that moderate expansive presidential economic powers during emergencies.”
Because it is yet another case of Congress trying to write foreign policy – like the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 – the proposed law relies upon a stalking horse, in this case the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as its central authority.
The 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) limits presidential authority to regulate commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to any unusual and extraordinary threat to the US which has a foreign source.
The IEEPA itself falls under provisions of the 1976 National Emergencies Act (NEA), which governs how such special presidential powers to declare emergencies are to be invoked and then limiting their duration, through annual renewal requirements.
A 1973 Senate report on “emergencies” still in effect at the time under NEA listed bona fide but fading threats to the United States, such as the 1933 banking crisis, the 1950 emergency of the Korean War, and a 1970 postal workers strike.
“Israel’s growing international ostracization, which is generating worldwide grassroots calls for boycotts, is not a US emergency. Rather, it is a direct result of Israel’s brutal settler-colonial policies and increasing global awareness of Israel’s activities,” the IRmep report continued.
IEEPA has been misused in the recent past. After 9/11, IEEPA was invoked to block assets of accused “terrorist” organizations. This resulted in the formation of a new, secretive, AIPAC-backed office in the US Treasury Department that immediately struck down charities such as Al-Haramain, Benevolence International, Global Relief, and Kind Hearts with little due process.
Javed Iqbal was arrested through Treasury Department complaints of violating IEEPA for broadcasting Al-Manar over his cable network in New York City to offer viewers a counterpoint to typical US televised narratives during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.
Charges against Iqbal could not be defended based on free speech, since he was charged with material support for a global terrorist entity (Hezbollah). Iqbal was sentenced to almost 6 years in jail.
According to IRmep, “beyond subverting the First Amendment, which it is clearly intended to do, the Israel Anti-Boycott Law (IABA) inserts Israel into Chapter 56 – Export Administration section 4607, making Israel the only specifically designated foreign country in a trade law designed to advance US – not foreign – commercial interests.”
The IABA “suddenly makes US policing of foreign countries possibly interested in BDS, blocs such as the European Union and the UN, a US national security interest and problem – which they are clearly not – by placing Israel at the center of the US Export Administration Act of 1979, the IRmep analysis continues.
The IABL amendments seek to ban organizations like the UN from compiling and distributing lists of companies doing business in territories illegally occupied by Israel.
“What US national interest is served by banning transparency over illegal Israeli activity? No interest,” the IRmep report said.
“The bill’s “rule of construction” mandates “nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the established policy of the United States or to establish new United States policy concerning final status issues associated with the Arab-Israeli conflict, including border delineation, that can only be resolved through direct negotiations between the parties.”
Translated into English, this means that Israel and its lobby can continue to use the US as a diplomatic lever, but Palestinians cannot employ UN, the EU or other allies in the international community, as a comparable counterweight.
“There are many reasons why Israel might want the US to rewrite laws designed to advance America, to protect Israel against economic backlash. Few Americans are served by such meddling. So why do members of congress such as Ben Cardin quietly foist such laws on their constituents (and fellow Americans), to the extent of threatening fines and prison time?” the IRmep continued.
Among Ben Cardin’s top 20 year 2017 donors, 86 percent of the individual contributors administer, ran, or belong to Israel affinity organizations, including Howard Friedman, a former president of AIPAC. Among his top non-Democratic Party PAC contributors in the top 20, two are pro-Israel stealth PACs, providing 31 percent of his top-20 2017 PAC revenue. Members of the Israel lobby, not Marylanders, are Cardin’s top constituent on such matters.
“Although mainstream media and congressional attention is raptly fixated on Russia as America’s biggest foreign agent threat, the Israel Anti-Boycott Law is yet another harsh warning that until the Foreign Agents Registration Act is properly enforced over Israel’s agents, including those already ordered to register such as AIPAC, Americans can expect escalating attempts by the lobby to curtail their governance, economic freedom and liberty,” the IRmep report concluded.
Rochus Misch, who served as Adolf Hitler’s devoted bodyguard for most of World War II and was the last remaining witness to the great german leader’s final hours in his Berlin bunker, has died just few years ago.
He was 96 and died in Berlin after a short illness. Misch remained proud to the end about his years with Hitler, whom he affectionately called “boss.” In a 2005 interview with The Associated Press, Misch recalled Hitler as “a very normal man” and gave a riveting account of the Führer’s last days before he and his wife Eva Braun killed themselves as the Soviet Red Army closed in around their bunker in Berlin.
“He was no brute. He was no monster. He was no superman,” Misch said.
Born July 29, 1917, in the tiny Silesian town of Alt Schalkowitz, in what today is Poland, Misch was orphaned at an early age. At age 20, he decided to join the SS — an organization that he saw as a counterweight to a rising threat from the left. He signed up for the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, a unit that was founded to serve as Hitler’s personal protection.
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“It was anti-communist, against Stalin — to protect Europe,” Misch said. “I signed up in the war against Bolshevism, not for Adolf Hitler.”
But when Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Misch found himself in the vanguard, as his SS division was attached to a regular army unit for the blitzkrieg attack.
Misch was shot and nearly killed while trying to negotiate the surrender of a fortress near Warsaw, and he was sent to Germany to recover. There, he was chosen in May 1940 as one of two SS men who would serve as Hitler’s bodyguards and general assistants, doing everything from answering the telephones to greeting dignitaries.
Misch and comrade Johannes Hentschel accompanied Hitler almost everywhere he went — including his Alpine retreat in Berchtesgaden and his forward Wolf’s Lair headquarters.
He lived between the Fuehrer’s apartments in the New Reich Chancellery and the home in a working-class Berlin neighborhood that he kept until his death.
“He was a wonderful boss,” Misch said. “I lived with him for five years. We were the closest people who worked with him … we were always there. Hitler was never without us day and night.”
In the last days of Hitler’s life, Misch followed him to live underground, protected by the Fuehrerbunker’s heavily reinforced concrete ceilings and walls.
“Hentschel ran the lights, air and water and I did the telephones — there was nobody else,” he said. “When someone would come downstairs we couldn’t even offer them a place to sit. It was far too small.”
After the Soviet assault began, Misch remembered generals and NS brass coming and going as they tried desperately to cobble together a defense of the capital with the ragtag remains of the German military.
He recalled that on April 22, two days before two Soviet armies completed their encirclement of the city, Hitler said: “That’s it. The war is lost. Everybody can go.”
“Everyone except those who still had jobs to do like us — we had to stay,” Misch said. “The lights, water, telephone … those had to be kept going but everybody else was allowed to go and almost all were gone immediately.”
However, Hitler clung to a report — false, as it turned out — that the Western Allies had called upon Germany to hold Berlin for two more weeks against the Soviets so that they could battle communism together.
“He still believed in a union between West and East,” Misch said. “Hitler liked England — except for (then-Prime Minister Winston) Churchill — and didn’t think that a people like the English would bind themselves with the communists to crush Germany.”
On April 28, Misch saw Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and Hitler confidant Martin Bormann enter the bunker with a man he had never seen before.
“I asked who it was and they said that’s the civil magistrate who has come to perform Hitler’s marriage,” Misch said. That night, Hitler and longtime mistress Eva Braun were married in a short ceremony.
Two days later, Misch saw Goebbels and Bormann talking with Hitler and his adjutant, SS Maj. Otto Guensche, in the bunker’s corridor.
“I saw him go into his room … and someone, Guensche, said that he shouldn’t be disturbed,” Misch said. “We all knew that it was happening. He said he wasn’t going to leave Berlin, he would stay here.”
“We heard no shot, we heard nothing, but one of those who was in the hallway, I don’t remember if it was Guensche or Bormann, said, ‘Linge, Linge, I think it’s done,'” Misch said, referring to Hitler’s valet Heinz Linge.
“Then everything was really quiet … who opened the door I don’t remember, Guensche or Linge. They opened the door, and I naturally looked, and then there was a short pause and the second door was opened… and I saw Hitler lying on the table like so,” Misch said, putting his head down on his hands on his living-room table.
“And Eva lay like so on the sofa with knees up, her head to him.”
Misch ran up to the chancellery to tell his superior the news and then back downstairs, where Hitler’s corpse had been put on the floor with a blanket over it.
“Then they bundled Hitler up and said ‘What do we do now?'” Misch said. “As they took Hitler out … they walked by me about three or four meters away. I saw his shoes sticking outside the sack.”
An SS guard ran down the stairs and tried to get Misch to watch as the two were covered in gasoline and set alight. “He said, ‘The boss is being burned. Come on out,'” Misch recalled. But instead Misch hastily retreated deeper into the bunker to talk with comrade Hentschel.
“I said ‘I saw the Gestapo upstairs in the … chancellery, and it could be that they’ll want to kill us as witnesses,'” Misch said. But Misch stuck to his post in the bunker — which he described as “a coffin of concrete” — taking and directing telephone calls with Goebbels as his new boss until May 2, when he was given permission to flee.
Goebbels, he said, “came down and said: ‘You have a chance to live. You don’t have to stay here and die.'” Misch grabbed the rucksack he had packed and fled with a few others into the rubble of Berlin.
Working his way through cellars and subways, Misch decided to surface after hearing German being spoken above through an air ventilation shaft. But the voices came from about 300 soldiers who had been taken prisoner, and the Soviet guards grabbed him as well.
Following the German surrender May 7, Misch was taken to the Soviet Union, where he spent the next nine years in prisoner of war camps before being allowed to return to Berlin in 1954. He reunited with his wife Gerda, whom he had married in 1942 and who died in 1997, and opened up a shop.
At age 87, when he talked with the AP, Misch still cut the image of an SS man, with a rigid posture, broad shoulders and neatly combed white hair. He stayed away from questions of guilt or responsibility for the “Holocaust”, saying he knew nothing of “the murder of 6 million Jews”.
The jewish plot to genocide the White race is not a conspiracy theory. It’s well-documented in their own words. Let’s see how long this stays up. Jews are allowed to call for our extinction on youtube, but if you point out their hatred, it’s somehow hate speech.
Update: Indeed this video has been removed, so I replaced it with another one that exposes the jewish role in White genocide, which is obvious.
The idea that a government is actively poisoning its citizens may sound like the perfect propaganda plot to send the mainstream media into a feeding frenzy, and to make American neoconservatives beg for the invasion of a sovereign nation—unless it is happening in the United States.
The Department of Defense and its contractors are currently using at least 61 active military sites across the country to “burn and detonate unused munitions and raw explosives in the open air with no environmental emissions controls,” according to a series of bombshell reports from ProPublica that give insight into the largest source of pollution in the country: The Pentagon.
One of those sites is located at an army ammunition plant in Radford, Virginia. The town consists of around 17,000 people, and it is home to an elementary school that “has been ranked by researchers as facing some of the most dangerous air-quality hazards in the country.”
The rate of thyroid diseases in three of the surrounding counties is among the highest in the state, provoking town residents to worry that emissions from the Radford plant could be to blame. Government authorities have never studied whether Radford’s air pollution could be making people sick, but some of their hypothetical models estimate that the local population faces health risks exponentially greater than people in the rest of the region.
Congress banned American industries from using “open burns” to dispose of hazardous waste in 1984, with the land disposal restrictions program for the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency was instructed to specify “either concentration levels or methods of treatment for hazardous constituents to meet before land disposal.”
However, ProPublica noted that lawmakers granted the Pentagon and its contractors “a temporary reprieve from those rules to give engineers time to address the unique aspects of destroying explosive military waste. That exemption has remained in place ever since.”
In the United States, outdoor burning and detonation is still the military’s leading method for dealing with munitions and the associated hazardous waste. It has remained so despite a U.S. Senate resolution a quarter of a century ago that ordered the Department of Defense to halt the practice ‘as soon as possible.’ It has continued in the face of a growing consensus among Pentagon officials and scientists that similar burn pits at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan sickened soldiers.
As The Free Thought Project reported in February 2016, a former U.S. Marine and Army sergeant detailed the horrific conditions U.S. soldiers faced in Iraq and Afghanistan in a book titled, The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers. The book highlighted the constant streams of toxic smoke from the burning of waste, which created lifelong health issues for both soldiers and local civilians.
While the current number of active military sites using operations similar to “burn pits” stands at 61, there are records of nearly 200 sites in the U.S. that have a history of burning hazardous explosives in the open air.
ProPublica noted that facilities such as the one in Radford—which burns raw explosives in bonfire-like piles—operate using special government permits “that are supposed to keep the process safe, limiting the release of toxins to levels well below what the government thinks can make people sick.” However, even the EPA officials who govern the process “acknowledge that the permits provide scant protection.”
In addition to directly affecting the health of residents by polluting the air, the explosive residue from these burn sites is also affecting local residents by poisoning their drinking water.
In Huntsville, Alabama, officials began monitoring the drinking water after they found that the level of perchlorate in the soil was 7,000 times higher than safety limits, and in Grand Island, Nebraska, underground drinking water supplies were affected after explosive residues spread more than 20 miles from the site at the ammunition plant.
The important thing to remember is that according to the United States government, everything they are doing is legal—they have just found loopholes in order to justify any actions that would be considered “illegal” if they were committed by anyone else.
This is another reminder that just because something is “legal,” does not mean it is right, and that—as hundreds of thousands of Americans are experiencing firsthand—the U.S. government does not have the best interest of its citizens in mind, and it is not above poisoning them, in order to fuel the fire that sustains the U.S. war machine.
Rachel Blevins is a Texas-based journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.
Renegade Editor’s Note: I do not agree with the author that the flood of Arabic and African “refugees” into Western nations is largely an overhyped threat, as it is part of a genocidal agenda orchestrated by jews. However, I do understand how the threat of “Islamic terror” is being largely manufactured through false flags and hoaxes to further the goals of Greater Israel. If we just stopped waging wars for psychopathic jewish interests, we would not be in this mess to begin with. Anyway, this article definitely brings up some interesting points regarding who is being banned, and perhaps even more importantly, who is not.
According to Reuters, Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order that would include a temporary refugee ban on and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries.
The list is expected to include Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. If those countries are starting to sound familiar, there’s a reason for that.
According to four-star General Wesley Clark, shortly after the attacks of 9/11, the Pentagon adopted a plan to topple the governments of seven countries; Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.
Although such a refugee ban is welcomed by many frightened Americans due to the overplayed hype that the media has reported on the threat of refugees sweeping into western nations, these Americans cannot turn their attention away from the hand America has had in creating these refugees in the first place.
Clark’s list of countries is not an irrelevant conspiracy theory. These countries have seen heavy interference from the United States in the last decade or so. In 2016, the country Obama bombed the most was Syria. The United States was spending approximately $1 billion a year assisting rebels who have known ties to al-Qaeda, the majority of whom share ISIS’ core belief system. The U.S. air war against ISIS has now cost American taxpayers over $11 billion. Iran is bound to Syria by a mutual defense agreement and has lost significant personnel in the battle. Iran has also taken full advantage of poor Afghans, recruiting them to fight in Syria.
Libya was destroyed in 2011 by NATO powers, an offensive in which the U.S. played the most integral role. The U.S. was backing jihadists who fought against the U.S. in Iraq to topple the Libyan regime (these fighters were later rebranded as ISIS). Even up until his last day in office, Obama was still bombing Libya (from Missouri, believe it or not.)
Obama bombed Somalia throughout his presidency. He not only relentlessly bombed Yemen, but he also supported the Saudi-led coalition’s brutal assault on Yemen’s civilian population. It could be argued that Trump is set to discontinue these practices, but so far, he is well on his track to rapidly pursuing them. In his first weekend since inauguration, his administration conducted a number of drone strikes in Yemen with no hint at a reversal of Obama’s policies, though his approval was not required for those particular strikes.
Further, is the American public even aware that American troops are stationed in Sudan? American troops can go there, but refugees fleeing a brutal conflict can’t come to the United States?
It’s not really clear why Iran is on the list, other than the fact that Trump opposes the Iranian nuclear deal and has a love affair with Israel, Iran’s number one nemesis. Internally, Iran is not embroiled in any significant military conflict (for the time being), something Trump may look to change.
Notable omissions from the refugee ban list include Saudi Arabia, a country that admitted aiding terrorists as a tool of foreign policy and that has exported its radical Wahhabism ideology (incidentally, the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis); the United Arab Emirates (where the majority of the funding for 9/11 passed through); Turkey, which has been shown to aid ISIS fighters as they travel to and from Syria; Qatar, which has spent an immense amount of its vast wealth arming fanatical jihadists to fight in Syria; and Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda was born.
In essence, the countries kept off the list are the ones that arguably create the problem, yet the countries onthe list are the ones that have to deal with the problem. Sound fair?
It’s one thing to want to keep your country safe from infiltrating terrorists; it’s another thing to stay silent about the atrocities your military is committing abroad and to ignore the numerous suspicious countries that have escaped such a ban. If your military can go somewhere to wreak havoc, that nation’s civilians should be allowed to come to you.
Additionally, keep in mind that Trump’s proposal may also be illegal.
This article (The U.S. Had a Plan to Topple All 7 Countries on Trump’s Refugee Ban List) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Darius Shahtahmasebi and theAntiMedia.org.
Reports of appalling living conditions have been emanating from Metz, where hundreds of migrants have set up camp. Although the illegal site has been dismantled several times, more people arrive and start it all up again.
“The city of Metz was not prepared for the camp. The authorities emptied it, but now there are 700 refugees back there again. It’s becoming a second Calais,” a concerned local woman told RT’s Charlotte Dubenskij.
“This problem has to be addressed quickly, for their sake as well as for us,” another local woman said.
Even aid workers don’t feel safe at the camp which has been dubbed a “humanitarian slum.”
“There is a problem with alcohol and violence. Even as an aid worker, I’ve faced problems. They don’t have food, but they manage to get hold of alcohol. We don’t know how to handle the situation. There is not enough security for the number of people here,” an aid worker at the Metz camp told RT.
Locals say the many problems at the site are being downplayed by the authorities.
“There are a lot of home break-ins. A lot of aggression. They snatch women’s handbags, but no one talks about that on TV,” a local taxi driver told the RT crew while driving them to the camp site. “The migrants are everywhere in Metz,” he added.
Security guards at the camp interfered with RT’s filming, saying they didn’t “want journalists here.”
“People here are hiding from those who are looking for them in their own countries,” a guard claimed.
‘Too many foreigners’: French protesters build wall around former hotel set to become migrant shelter https://on.rt.com/8ima
French protesters build wall around former hotel set to become migrant shelter — RT News
Angry residents in a French town have built a wall around the entrance of a former hotel which is slated to become a migrant center, accusing the government of failing to consult citizens over the…
This week, French president Emmanuel Macron unveiled an ambitious plan to rid the country of its migrant camps and to better accommodate refugees in the coming months.
“The first battle is to house everybody in a dignified manner. By the end of the year, I want no more women and men in the streets, in the woods, lost. It’s a question of dignity, a question of humanity but also of efficiency. Everywhere where the emergency housing is built to welcome them, I want administrative steps for their cases to be examined,” Macron pledged at a ceremony welcoming some of France’s newest citizens.
France has struggled with refugee camps for years. One of the most infamous of these, the so-called “Jungle” in the port of Calais was dismantled last year, but migrants are still reportedly arriving at the illegal site. Human Rights Watch says over 400 people are now there, but other estimates say it could be up to 600.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that he believes “Russia needs to be aware, made aware of its responsibility in the bloody actions last week by the Assad regime and therefore we are always open to working with our friends, allies and partners allies to send clear messages through sanctions and other means to Russia,” as quoted by Reuters.
He went on to state that although Canada already has strict sanctions in place against Russia, his country is “always ready to strengthen those sanctions in concert with the international community.”
Trudeau, speaking to reporters at a military commemoration ceremony in France, also said that Canada fully supported US missile strikes on a Syrian airbase which killed 14 people – including nine civilians – last week.
The US missile strikes came after a chemical attack in Syria killed 86 people, including dozens of women and children. The US and its Western allies have placed the blame on the Syrian government, despite not presenting any evidence to prove Damascus was behind the deadly attack.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) says the chemicals were released after the Syrian Air Force destroyed a rebel-held warehouse where such weapons were being produced and stockpiled before being shipped to Iraq. The MoD has confirmed that information as “fully objective and verified.”
Canada is not the first Western country to voice the possibility of more Russian sanctions following the chemical attack in Syria. Earlier on Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesperson said the UK government is considering how to put “further pressure” on backers of the Syrian government, including Russia.
Also on Monday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Russia must decide whether it will stick with the “toxic” Assad government or work with the rest of the G7 on a political solution in Syria.
Johnson added that the UK and fellow G7 nations – France, Germany, Italy, the US, Canada, and Japan – will be discussing the possibility of further sanctions against Syrian and Russian figures during a meeting in Lucca, Italy, this week.
“We will be discussing the possibility of further sanctions certainly on some of the Syrian military figures and indeed on some of the Russian military figures who have been involved in coordinating the Syrian military efforts,” Johnson said in a television clip shown on Sky News.
On Sunday, the US envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, toldCNN that President Donald Trump is also considering sanctions against both Russia and Iran.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also accused Russia of “failing” to “live up to its commitments under the chemical weapons agreements” in relation to the current situation in Syria.
But while the US and its allies continue to support the deadly missile strikes on the Syrian airbase despite a lack of evidence, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders has stepped up to say that Trump’s decision was outside of the UN framework, and that further decisions must go through it.
Moscow has decried the US bombing of the Syrian airbase as being an “aggression against a sovereign nation” in violation of international law, stating that it was conducted “under an invented pretext.”
Iran has also slammed the missile strikes, with President Hassan Rouhani stating that “all terrorists in Syria are celebrating the US attack,” despite Trump claiming that he wants to fight terrorism.
The US and EU have already placed a number of economic sanctions on Russia, as punishment for its alleged role in the Ukraine conflict which led to Russia’s reunification with Crimea, following a 2014 referendum. That same year, the Kremlin responded with a broad embargo on food imports from all countries which slapped Russia with sanctions.
Halfway through a tour of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum on Monday, the former Islamic State sex slave slumped.
Two years after the first mass graves were found in Sinjar, the northern Iraqi region where her mother and six of her nine brothers were killed by the Islamic State in 2014, 24-year-old Nadia Murad was staring at photographs of Nazi firing squads peering over piles of Jewish corpses in freshly dug ditches.
Downcast but composed — and dressed entirely in black — the Yazidi woman placed her hand over her mouth.
A UN goodwill ambassador and Nobel Peace Prize nominee now residing in Germany, Murad was in the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem with a group to learn from Israel’s ill-gotten expertise: how to record, commemorate, and educate about a genocide.
“If only we were able to go back to the ancestral homeland, where we were driven out… we would do the same thing,” she said after the tour, speaking through an interpreter.
The Yazidi community “would be able to create a sort of similar type of museum where we would keep… the houses that were blown up, the piles of bones, the skeletons that were left, we could make something out of it,” she said.
“And all the things that happened to us — we would remind the future generation so they can… defend themselves and make sure this doesn’t happen to them [or us] in the future,” she added.
Standing before a photograph of a Nazi soldier shooting a woman and her child at close range, Haider Elias looked on as the Yad Vashem guide drew on the research of Christopher Browning of “Ordinary Men,” arguing that humans are inherently capable of evil in certain social frameworks.
That resonated with the Sinjar-born Elias, who said the observation was “very relevant” to the Yazidi killings at the hands of the Islamic State.
“Last night, a Muslim woman was asking me, ‘These ISIS members, were they on drugs? Were they alcoholic[s]? Were they normal people?’” he said. “Their understanding, they said, was that they were always drugged before they committed a crime. I said, ‘No, they were ordinary men. They were just typical men who would get up and kill people.’”
In the summer of 1942 — as the vast majority of European Jewry was being systematically murdered by the Nazis — an Israeli named Mordechai Shenhavi was gripped by an idea. Israel must build a center memorializing the victims of the Holocaust, wrote Shenhavi, who would go on to become the first director of Yad Vashem.
In the summer of 2017 — with the conflict in Iraq and Syria raging, thousands displaced, and 3,000 women still in IS captivity — the two Yazidi activists walked the halls of Shenhavi’s Yad Vashem, initiating meetings with its staff during a trip to Israel organized by the IsraAID humanitarian aid nonprofit and a Knesset lobby on Kurdish affairs.
They were not the first Yazidi visitors to the site, according to a Yad Vashem spokesperson. But they were the first who came to learn about its methods.
Elias was in Texas during the August 3, 2014, massacres that saw his brother, nephew and 50 of his friends killed by the Islamic State. By the end of that month, he had co-founded an organization, Yazda, that began gathering oral testimonies and evidence against jihadis in the hopes of future prosecution of the terror group in international tribunals.
His personal testimony, recalling life in Sinjar before the Islamic State and the attempted annihilation of his people, is 13.5 hours long, he said.
The project is a race against time, Elias said, because “the memory fades and they forget the details of what happened exactly.”
“In the first year, people were very focused and they could tell us exactly what happened to them,” he said, adding that some victims were able to name their IS perpetrators. “They tend to forget about the details and that’s why it’s critical for Yazda and supporters of this project… to create this archive.”
Touring the museum, the Yad Vashem guide emphasized the incorporation of video testimonials juxtaposed among the artifacts as the bread and butter of Yad Vashem’s methods.
You must highlight your religious and cultural traditions in Sinjar, the guide said, gesturing at Judaica and other artifacts from lost European Jewish communities.
“One day you will have a museum of your own,” he told the Yazidi activists, and you will need to get people to sit down before cameras and get them to talk.
In August 2014, two months after sweeping across Iraq’s Sunni heartland, IS jihadis made a second push into an area that had been under Kurdish security control. Thousands of Yazidi men were massacred when the jihadis attacked the town of Sinjar and thousands of women and girls were kidnapped and enslaved. Some 45 mass graves have since been unearthed in the region.
Yazidi community leaders say up to 3,000 Yazidi women may still be in the hands of the jihadis, across the “caliphate” they proclaimed more than two years ago over parts of Iraq and Syria. Yazidi boys were forcibly taken by the IS to join its ranks and toddlers were sold into slavery, according to the activists. Five different militias are currently battling over the region and hundreds of thousands of Yazidis are displaced across Iraq and Turkey, the activists said. Several thousand have emigrated to Germany, Canada and Australia.
The United Nations designated the atrocities a genocide. The legislature of the US, UK, Canada, France, Scotland have also approved formal recognition; Murad was in the Knesset on Monday to lobby Israel’s parliament to follow suit.
“ISIS has sought to erase the Yazidis through killings; sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and forcible transfer causing serious bodily and mental harm; the infliction of conditions of life that bring about a slow death; the imposition of measures to prevent Yazidi children from being born, including forced conversion of adults, the separation of Yazidi men and women, and mental trauma; and the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families and placing them with ISIS fighters, thereby cutting them off from beliefs and practices of their own religious community,” the UN said in a June 2016 report.
Dr. Eyal Kaminka, the director of the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem, declined to comment on whether the Holocaust memorial views the atrocities against the Yazidis as a genocide.
“If one wants a country to recognize… it has all sorts of legal ramifications, but that’s not Yad Vashem’s role. Yad Vashem does not declare,” he told The Times of Israel after the meeting.
Yad Vashem “has no processes of recognition, genocide or not genocide,” he said. “But there is no doubt that there is a great tragedy there and we can help them with methods — in the way of thinking, in the ways of documenting. We will do what we can.”
“You can never compare atrocities,” he had earlier told the Yazidi activists. “Every atrocity is 100 percent your own.”
Murad, who fled IS captivity, however, saw strong parallels with her own experiences after the tour.
“[The Yad Vashem guide] was talking about anger, starvation, a piece of bread — over 100,000 Yazidis were in the mountain and they were starving, and it happened to hundreds of them, if not thousands. People starved in the same way he was narrating,” she said.
Addressing the Yad Vashem staff, Murad said she “always wanted to hear from the people who have been through the same things my people have been through.”
And echoing some modern Israeli post-Holocaust affirmations, Murad said the Yazidis have learned they must “protect themselves by themselves,” with a regional security apparatus. If they had their own security before the Islamic State came for them, “this wouldn’t have happened,” she said.
Though they don’t harbor hopes for statehood, the Yazidis hope to one day return to their district in northern Iraq and rebuild their communities.
“It will largely depend on the international community’s support, because the Yazidis are tiny and they don’t have a diaspora to be lobbyists; only a few people like me,” said Elias. He paused and reevaluated. “Maybe we have — there are 100,000 people — but we are not strong yet,” he said.
If the international community doesn’t step in to help Yazidis go back to Sinjar, “of course everyone is going to go to different countries and there will be no homeland,” he said.
Stepping out into the light at the end of Yad Vashem, the guide pointed out the architectural trajectory of the museum, where the spike-like building ends with a vista over the Jerusalem mountains, a pathway from the dark history to the modern State of Israel.
The “positive” design, where at “the end of the museum when you see the light is continuous,” was raised by Elias as one of the stronger personal takeaways.
“It’s not the end. You don’t see dark[ness]… People are growing and multiplying and they’re advancing,” he said. “That’s a very important thing for the Yazidis.”
No RT employees were harmed during the raid on the PalMedia building which also houses the offices of Al-Quds, Al-Mayadeen, France 24 and Al-Manar.
Witnesses told the Ma’an News Agency that 10 Israeli army vehicles had surrounded the building before carrying out the search.
Several doors and editing rooms were damaged while some computers and other property were taken away.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli forces had “seized media equipment and documents used for incitement” from a media office in Ramallah, though did not say which agency they were specifically targeting.
The satellite channel Al-Quds said the search was directed at them.
The Palestinian Union of Journalists condemned the raid, which it said had led to “the destruction of property and the theft of equipment, computers and archival materials belonging to the satellite channel Al-Quds,” adding, that it was “an obvious attempt to drown out the voice of the Palestinians and make the Palestinian narrative invisible.”
The Palestinian Ministry of Information also released a statement denouncing the raid, saying, that targeting the media “proves Israel’s intentions to prevent the guardians of truth from continuing their media, national, and ethical role of transferring the message of our people’s desired freedom.”
This is not the first time Israeli authorities have mounted a search of the building, having done so in June 2014. At the time, Reporters Without Borders said the raid “joined the long list of violations of Palestinian news media rights by the Israeli security forces, with never-ending threats, arrests and military operations.”
RT’s offices in the Gaza Strip were also hit by an airstrike during Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. Though the building was severely damaged, none of RT’s employees were hurt.
“Next time, if the Syrian aerial defense apparatus acts against our planes, we will destroy it,” Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli Public Radio on Sunday. “We won’t hesitate. Israel’s security is above everything else; there will be no compromise.”
He was referring to the Friday morning raid of the Israeli Air Force, the latest of several reported over the past few years, in which Israel claimed it targeted weapons bound for the Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah. Israel says it has to protect itself from advanced weapons which the militants try to obtain from the Syrian government.
Syria shot surface-to-air S-200 missiles at the Israeli planes as they were flying back from the night mission. Damascus claims it shot down one of the planes, while Israel denies it.
The Israeli media said one of the Syrian missiles was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow air defense system. It was the first time Israel officials have confirmed combat use of the advanced anti-missiles, which are originally meant to intercept heavy long-range ballistic missiles.
The Israeli military is investigating whether the decision to fire Arrow interceptors against the Syrian anti-aircraft missiles was justified, according to Haaretz.
The former prime minister and defense minister, Ehud Barak, said Saturday that the involvement of the system forced Israel to acknowledge cross-border military activity.
“It could be that with more thorough thought, it wasn’t worth firing,” Barak said at a community lecture in Be’er Sheva.
“We have usually tended to reserve what would be called ‘room for denial’ for Syrian President [Bashar] Assad,” he added.
While Israeli acknowledgment of an intervention in Syria is rare, it is not unprecedented. Last April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed for the first time that an attack on dozens of Hezbollah targets in Syria was indeed conducted by Israeli warplanes, as speculated by the media.
Iranian worshipers have staged a demonstration in Tehran to express their outrage at the crimes committed against the Palestinian and Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
During the rally, held in the Iranian capital after the Friday prayers, the protesters chanted slogans such as “Death to Israel” and “Death to the US, Britain and Al Saud” and called on Muslims to reinforce their unity to counter global arrogant powers led by the United States.
The demonstrators issued a statement in condemnation of the Israeli regime’s recent atrocities against the oppressed Palestinian people and the killing of worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque as well as crimes by Myanmar’s security forces against Rohingya Muslims.
Israel is afraid of the Palestinian people’s resistance against this bogus regime and spares no efforts to take control of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the entire Palestine, the statement said.
However, it added, the arrogant powers and ignorant Israeli leaders must know that the Palestinian people’s resistance would continue until final victory.
It said Muslims and freedom-seeking people across the world would not remain silent in the face of any violation of the al-Aqsa Mosque’s sanctity and called for a firm stand against the Israeli regime’s crimes.
The protesters also expressed regret over the “cruel and painful” killing of Muslims in Myanmar amid the silence of international bodies and so-called advocates of human rights and called for an end to the killings.
“The silence of international communities and organizations that claim to defend human rights and human values has added to the sorrow and grief of Muslims over the killing of defenseless people in Myanmar and Palestine,” the statement read.
This silence once again showed the affiliation of these bodies to global hegemonic powers, it added.
It warned that Saudi-led Takfiri groups and Wahhabi movements seek to sow discord among Muslims and commit every possible crime with the support of the US and Israel to achieve their goal and emphasized that blood of the oppressed people would haunt the Takfiri terrorists and the Al Saud regime soon.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.
More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.
The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint Islamic site, which is also holy to Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Myanmarese troops and police are accused of killing and raping Rohingya Muslims, who are denied citizenship in Myanmar and widely viewed as outsiders by the majority Buddhists.
The more than one million Rohingya Muslims have been suffering widely-reported aggression for years in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, which has also been under a military lockdown since October 2016.
Since then, the military has banned journalists and aid workers from entering the area. Hundreds have been killed and more than 1,000 houses burned down. Some 75,000 Rohingya Muslims have already been forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
July 29, 2017 at 12:42 pm
Israeli occupation forces prevented on Friday morning the Arab MK, Hanin Zoabi, from entering the sanctuary of Al-Aqsa Mosque for “security” reasons, Al-Resalah newspaper reported.
The MK said that “Palestinian worshipers must be allowed to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque and those who must be banned from entering it are the Israeli military forces who close the roads leading to the Mosque.”
Zoabi represents four Arab parties in the Israeli Knesset and is widely seen as one of the most vocal Arab critics in the parliament of Israeli policies. She has, on several occasions, denounced the Israeli occupation authorities for its violations and aggressions against the Palestinians.
Prior to the mass Friday prayer, the Israeli occupation forces reinforced their presence around and inside Al-Aqsa Mosque. Last night, they wounded and arrested hundreds of Palestinian worshipers.
JULY 28, 2017
Do they know what they are doing? When the U.S. Congress adopts draconian sanctions aimed mainly at disempowering President Trump and ruling out any move to improve relations with Russia, do they realize that the measures amount to a declaration of economic war against their dear European “friends”?
Whether they know or not, they obviously don’t care. U.S. politicians view the rest of the world as America’s hinterland, to be exploited, abused and ignored with impunity.
The Bill H.R. 3364 “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” was adopted on July 25 by all but three members of the House of Representatives. An earlier version was adopted by all but two Senators. Final passage at veto-overturning proportions is a certainty.
This congressional temper tantrum flails in all directions. The main casualties are likely to be America’s dear beloved European allies, notably Germany and France. Who also sometimes happen to be competitors, but such crass considerations don’t matter in the sacred halls of the U.S. Congress, totally devoted to upholding universal morality.
Economic “Soft Power” Hits Hard
Under U.S. sanctions, any EU nation doing business with Russia may find itself in deep trouble. In particular, the latest bill targets companies involved in financing Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to provide Germany with much needed natural gas from Russia.
By the way, just to help out, American companies will gladly sell their own fracked natural gas to their German friends, at much higher prices.
That is only one way in which the bill would subject European banks and enterprises to crippling restrictions, lawsuits and gigantic fines.
While the U.S. preaches “free competition”, it constantly takes measures to prevent free competition at the international level.
Following the July 2015 deal ensuring that Iran could not develop nuclear weapons, international sanctions were lifted, but the United States retained its own previous ones. Since then, any foreign bank or enterprise contemplating trade with Iran is apt to receive a letter from a New York group calling itself “United Against Nuclear Iran” which warns that “there remain serious legal, political, financial and reputational risks associated with doing business in Iran, particularly in sectors of the Iranian economy such as oil and gas”. The risks cited include billions of dollars of (U.S.) fines, surveillance by “a myriad of regulatory agencies”, personal danger, deficiency of insurance coverage, cyber insecurity, loss of more lucrative business, harm to corporate reputation and a drop in shareholder value.
The United States gets away with this gangster behavior because over the years it has developed a vast, obscure legalistic maze, able to impose its will on the “free world” economy thanks to the omnipresence of the dollar, unrivaled intelligence gathering and just plain intimidation.
European leaders reacted indignantly to the latest sanctions. The German foreign ministry said it was “unacceptable for the United States to use possible sanctions as an instrument to serve the interest of U.S. industry”. The French foreign ministry denounced the “extraterritoriality” of the U.S. legislation as unlawful, and announced that “To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws”.
In fact, bitter resentment of arrogant U.S. imposition of its own laws on others has been growing in France, and was the object of a serious parliamentary report delivered to the French National Assembly foreign affairs and finance committees last October 5, on the subject of “the extraterritoriality of American legislation”.
The chairman of the commission of enquiry, long-time Paris representative Pierre Lellouche, summed up the situation as follows:
“The facts are very simple. We are confronted with an extremely dense wall of American legislation whose precise intention is to use the law to serve the purposes of the economic and political imperium with the idea of gaining economic and strategic advantages. As always in the United States, that imperium, that normative bulldozer operates in the name of the best intentions in the world since the United States considers itself a ‘benevolent power’, that is a country that can only do good.”
Always in the name of “the fight against corruption” or “the fight against terrorism”, the United States righteously pursues anything legally called a “U.S. person”, which under strange American law can refer to any entity doing business in the land of the free, whether by having an American subsidiary, or being listed on the New York stock exchange, or using a U.S.-based server, or even by simply trading in dollars, which is something that no large international enterprise can avoid.
In 2014, France’s leading bank, BNP-Paribas, agreed to pay a whopping fine of nearly nine billion dollars, basically for having used dollar transfers in deals with countries under U.S. sanctions. The transactions were perfectly legal under French law. But because they dealt in dollars, payments transited by way of the United States, where diligent computer experts could find the needle in the haystack. European banks are faced with the choice between prosecution, which entails all sorts of restrictions and punishments before a verdict is reached, or else, counseled by expensive U.S. corporate lawyers, and entering into the obscure “plea bargain” culture of the U.S. judicial system, unfamiliar to Europeans. Just like the poor wretch accused of robbing a convenience store, the lawyers urge the huge European enterprises to plea guilty in order to escape much worse consequences.
Alstom, a major multinational corporation whose railroad section produces France’s high speed trains, is a jewel of French industry. In 2014, under pressure from U.S. accusations of corruption (probably bribes to officials in a few developing countries), Alstom sold off its electricity branch to General Electric.
The underlying accusation is that such alleged “corruption” by foreign firms causes U.S. firms to lose markets. That is possible, but there is no practical reciprocity here. A whole range of U.S. intelligence agencies, able to spy on everyone’s private communications, are engaged in commercial espionage around the world. As an example, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, devoted to this task, operates with 200 employees on an annual budget of over $30 million. The comparable office in Paris employs five people.
This was the situation as of last October. The latest round of sanctions can only expose European banks and enterprises to even more severe consequences, especially concerning investments in the vital Nord Stream natural gas pipeline.
This bill is just the latest in a series of U.S. legislative measures tending to break down national legal sovereignty and create a globalized jurisdiction in which anyone can sue anyone else for anything, with ultimate investigative capacity and enforcement power held by the United States.
Wrecking the European Economy
Over a dozen European Banks (British, German, French, Dutch, Swiss) have run afoul of U.S. judicial moralizing, compared to only one U.S. bank: JP Morgan Chase.
The U.S. targets the European core countries, while its overwhelming influence in the northern rim – Poland, the Baltic States and Sweden – prevents the European Union from taking any measures (necessarily unanimous) contrary to U.S. interests.
By far the biggest catch in Uncle Sam’s financial fishing expedition is Deutsche Bank. As Pierre Lellouche warned during the final hearing of the extraterritorial hearings last October, U.S. pursuits against Deutsche Bank risk bringing down the whole European banking system. Although it had already paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the State of New York, Deutsche Bank was faced with a “fine of 14 billion dollars whereas it is worth only five and a half. … In other words, if this is carried out, we risk a domino effect, a major financial crisis in Europe.”
In short, U.S. sanctions amount to a sword of Damocles threatening the economies of the country’s main trading partners. This could be a Pyrrhic victory, or more simply, the blow that kills the goose that lays the golden eggs. But hurrah, America would be the winner in a field of ruins.
Former justice minister Elisabeth Guigou called the situation shocking, and noted that France had told the U.S. Embassy that the situation is “insupportable” and insisted that “we must be firm”.
Jacques Myard said that “American law is being used to gain markets and eliminate competitors. We should not be naïve and wake up to what is happening.”
This enquiry marked a step ahead in French awareness and resistance to a new form of “taxation without representation” exercised by the United States against its European satellites. They committee members all agreed that something must be done.
That was last October. In June, France held parliamentary elections. The commission chairman, Pierre Lellouche (Republican), the rapporteur Karine Berger (Socialist), Elisabeth Guigou (a leading Socialist) and Jacques Myard (Republican) all lost their seats to inexperienced newcomers recruited into President Emmanuel Macron’s République en marche party. The newcomers are having a hard time finding their way in parliamentary life and have no political memory, for instance of the Rapport on Extraterritoriality.
As for Macron, as minister of economics, in 2014 he went against earlier government rulings by approving the GE purchase of Alstom. He does not appear eager to do anything to anger the United States.
However, there are some things that are so blatantly unfair that they cannot go on forever.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini plans to travel to Tehran to take part in the inauguration ceremony of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Mogherini will arrive in Tehran on August 5 in her capacity as the head of the Iran-P5+1 Joint Commission, which oversees the implementation of the landmark nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in July 2015.
On the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony, the EU foreign policy chief is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Iranian dignitaries.
The sides will review the JCPOA implementation and discuss issues of bilateral and regional relevance.
Rouhani, who was reelected Iran’s president in May, is to be officially inaugurated for another four years as the country’s chief executive on August 5.
Many senior Iranian and foreign dignitaries will attend the swearing-in ceremony for Rouhani at the parliament.
Before the ceremony, a decree by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei will be handed to the Iranian president to officially assign him his duties.
Rouhani, first elected Iran’s president in 2013, re-ran for office in the May 2017 election, garnering 57 percent of the popular votes to defeat his main rival Ebrahim Raeisi, the current custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH).